Everybody Has a Laughing Place...

...a laughing place, to go (oh oh)! And one of my laughing places is, of course, Disneyland! Sean and I are heading down to Anaheim this weekend and spending an evening in the Happiest Place on Earth. I am SO excited. I have it all planned. Here are the Must Rides and Must Eats...

Must Ride

(Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters)

Must Eat

Turkey leg!
Mint Julep!
Dinner at Cafe Orleans. 
Pineapple Whip Floats!
Goodness, how lucky can a girl get? Disneyland, Yosemite, Hawaii all in 2012. I will have a full report of the trip next week!


Valentine Decorating and Summer Planning

Hellooooo! It's only mid-January and I'm not only all over this Valentine's Day thing coming up, but also got much of my summer planned! My apartment is mostly decorated for Valentine's...

$4 Valentine door hanging.
Made these hearts using paint samples!

Sweet owls dishtowel from my mom.
Valentine corner. Be Mine bag full of treats and surprises for Sean.
Got the nifty plastic Xs and Os at Target.
I love decorating for Valentine's Day! I made a really cool gift for Sean that I will share with the blogosphere after February 14! In other news...

I got these beautiful crystal vases for a steal.
I am on the hunt for fancy fake hydrangeas!
Have I mentioned how much fun this trip was?
This weekend Sean and I planned two BIG adventures. We are going camping with his family in Yosemite this June! And then in July we are going to Hawaii! Two places I've never been, but have always wanted to go. I am so excited. My Sagittarius self is going nuts. 

I can't wait until summer.


16. Take a trip along CA-1.

On Friday, Sean asked me what I wanted to do this weekend. "Just hang out with you," I said. Well, he had far bigger and better plans. "How about we take a trip along highway 1?" "Yes!" It was spur of the moment and oh-so-fun. Here's a map of where we went...

From Davis to Monterey, to Morro Bay, to San Luis Obispo, to Morro Bay, to Sunnyvale, to Davis.
An estimated twelve hours of driving.
We got on highway 1 just south of Gilroy (the garlic town, you know)!
Hours of beautiful ocean to come.
We walked around Cannery Row in Monterey...
Just gorgeous.

Had lunch at Bubba Gump's -- Sean is a huge Forrest Gump fan and he totally dominated the trivia game!
We liked the quotes as you walked into and out of the restaurant.
In Monterey.
After winding our way back to the 1, we found this spectacular view.
We spent a lot of time taking in the views at Bixby Canyon Bridge -- Sean's favorite.
It is magical. 
A civil engineer and his favorite bridge.
Having a blast in the sun.
We stopped to see the elephant seals -- on the beach for birthing and mating season!
I loved watching them. They're very funny, interesting creatures.
Dude elephant seal shouting something of importance to the group.
Mamas fighting about babies.
One mama bit the other one's baby. Not cool.
Feeding time! The babies and mamas had cool barks to recognize each other.
I loved hearing the babies bark at their moms to roll over a bit more. 
<3 Seal love <3.
We made it to Morro Bay and relaxed for a few hours -- we were exhausted! Then Sean took me to San Luis Obispo for dinner. He found a place that was "very Natalie" called Big Sky Cafe. I had shrimp tacos (divine!) and Sean had a chicken and eggplant grilled cheese sandwich. For dessert we had a scrumptious apple crisp. SLO closed too early -- we were ready to hit the shops, so we walked around a bit before heading back to Morro Bay and crashing for the night.

We woke up the next morning and headed to the rock!

Morro Rock -- a HUGE rock in Morro Bay.
I loved watching the surfers ride the waves.
We took CA-101 to Sunnyvale, to visit Sean's sister. It was beautiful as well, lots of agriculture. We stopped in Gilroy to check out the outlets (I scored a sweater for $3.75!) and found a delicious (dangerously delicious) hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant in Morgan Hill. It was fun to hang out with Sarah and G, and to see Maui and Hilo. We then headed back inland!

I am so glad I put this on my twenty-five before twenty-five list! Everyone should drive the 1. California truly is a magical place. I can't decide what my favorite part was... but I think it was the moment when we found ourselves singing at the top of our lungs about how nothing comes close to our golden coast.


Six down, nineteen to go!

1. Go backpacking.
2. Walk across the Golden Gate.
3. Have a gluten-free beer tasting. (I don't like beer! 12/17/11)
4. Take a midnight walk on the beach.
5. Make gluten free pasta.
6. Paint. (Painted Valentine art! 1/2/12)
7. Do an entire roll of instant film using strangers and subjects.
8. Make my own goat cheese.
9. Take the train to Reno.
10. Solve a Rubix cube.
11. Attend Midnight Mass.
12. Pick a pineapple in Hawaii.
13. Host a dinner party.
14. Lose 25 pounds.
15. Get my A1C below 7.5.
16. Take a trip along CA-1. (To San Luis Obispo! 1/7/12-1/8/12)
17. Make gluten free bagels.
18. Go on a Segway tour of San Francisco.
19. Snowshoe. (Whew! Exhausting and fun - 12/28/11)
20. Make my own amazing CrockPot recipe. (Spaghetti with veg and sausage! 12/19/11)
21. Camp in Yosemite.
22. Learn to and catch a fish.
23. Take a wok around Chinatown in Vancouver.
24. Make stained glass.
25. Embroider pillow cases.

Gifts and Apartment Improvement!

Hello, hello!

I've been back in California for 6 days now, just enough time to unpack, enjoy the wonderful gifts I got for Christmas, and go on a great adventure (post to come)! Sean put up a few shelves in my apartment and I got the place cleaned up yesterday for him to take photos with his sweet wide-angle lens...

My kitchen has many new additions! Aurora and Khrystine gave me a wonderful kitchen timer, Sara gave me a fun flask, my mom gave me some new kitchen tools including an avocado slicer and cutting boards, as well as some great new wintery dinnerware. My dad gave me an Amazon gift card with which I bought a colander scoop and a nifty 5-in-1 tool, as well as some fancy kitchen shears.
Emily made me adorable cafe curtains and Ali gave me a hilarious pig calendar. My mom also gave me some cute Valentine dishtowels and magnetic picture frames!
My living room is just perfect. Sean's parents gave me a wonderful cozy blanket for Christmas. It makes me slightly chilly apartment much more bearable! The only thing I have left to do, and my apartment will be DONE, is make wall hangings for above my couch. 
Sean installed the shelves above my TV! Perfect for knick-knacks. Emily made me the neat paintings on the top shelf. Also, with my dad's gift card, I bought a sweet magnetic key holder. It's next to my door.
Thanks, Sean, for putting up my shelves! Also, my dad gave me those super cute bunnies on the top shelf.
My bedroom is nice and cozy with my flannel sheets and super soft blanket I got for my birthday! (And I am still loving the window treatments my mom put up!) Sarah and G got me the most adorable carafe imaginable. It's next to my lamp but a little hard to see...
My photos were updated after my birthday with frames from my mom. I love it.
Finally, my bathroom was difficult to love at first... but I'm getting there! Sean installed the glass shelf and I topped it with a really cool storage solution. And Caroline got me a nifty Mary Kay skincare set that included a cute brush set and pouch.
My little California home is wonderful and full of character. It's so nice to have my own space to get creative and even better to have Sean and family to help out! Thanks for all the wonderful gifts, friends!

...Now, please wait patiently for the next, sure to be fantastic, post...