Highlights From Our California Route 66 Road Trip

California Route 66 road trip

Starting in sunny Santa Monica and ending in the dramatic California desert near the Nevada border, Athena and I went on a California Route 66 road trip. Legendary Route 66, also known as the “Mother Road”, follows the strip of highway that was the main route for 20th century pioneers heading west in search of the California dream. With stops in Santa Monica, Hollywood, Pasadena, Victorville, Barstow, and Joshua Tree, I followed the historic route enough to get the true “Mother Road” feel and added a few worthy detours to fit my travel style. These were the highlights of our Route 66 road trip in California.  Continue reading

Complete Joy at Santa Monica Pier’s Pacific Park

Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CaliforniaWhen Darren and I first moved to California, I wanted to visit Santa Monica Pier before anything else. It is the end of Route 66 but the beginning of a new life for us. I had seen it on tv shows and movies but I never thought I would see it with my own eyes. When I did, it was as glorious as I had envisioned. Now, five years later, Athena had a similar experience at Santa Monica Pier.  Continue reading

Pool Fun at DoubleTree Golf Resort in Palm Springs

Suite view at DoubleTree Golf Resort in Palm Springs

When we arrived at DoubleTree Golf Resort in Palm Springs and pulled back the curtains in our room to a massive pool with a stunning view, we had our bathing suits on before we could count to ten. The temperature was 88 degrees and the sun was making everything shimmery. It was our version of a dream and we were happy to enjoy it.  Continue reading

17 Mile Drive on the Monterey Peninsula in California

17 Mile Drive in California

Today I had one of those moments where I said, “how the heck did I ever end up here?” And it wasn’t because I was in a bad place. It was because I was in one of the most beautiful places in the world. The 17 Mile Drive winding between Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach offers so much beauty that I had to stop at every look-out point and marvel at the views before my eyes.  Continue reading

Everything I Imagined for My Family During the Holidays

Noon Lodge Big Bear CA

Every year, we spend one weekend in December in Big Bear, California to experience the joys of snow and cold in the mountains. Last year, we chose a typical hotel in the village center for our stay and while we had a fantastic weekend, we wanted something a little more rustic this year. I found the newly reopened Noon Lodge at Mallard Bay and it was the ideal blend of rustic charm with village access. It’s only a little over a mile to the village center yet it’s situated on a lake with fireplaces indoors and out. It was exactly what we needed.  Continue reading

The Toddler Bucket List – LEGOLAND California

Playing at LEGOLAND Water Park

LEGOLAND California was the last major amusement park left for us to visit in Southern California. We visited Disneyland, Adventure City, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Safari Park, Knott’s Berry Farm, and The New Children’s Museum but LEGOLAND reminded on the top of Athena’s bucket list. With more than 30,000 LEGO models created out of more than 60 million LEGO bricks, over 60 family rides (including 3 roller coasters), “hands-on” attractions, shows, a water park, and an aquarium, LEGOLAND California provides education, adventure, and fun for all ages. She must have seen a commercial or an ad somewhere that showed LEGOLAND’s Water Park because it’s all she talked about for the last two months and when we finally arrived, it didn’t disappoint. Gliding down a water slide was everything she’d hoped for and more.  Continue reading

A Typical Family Weekend in SoCal

Dana Point Sunset

I usually post about my travels and adventures. I’m on the road so often that I never lack content ideas, but it’s rare that I show our daily life at home in Southern California. This weekend was typical for us. We went to a birthday party, attended the ballet, and hit up the beach as a Sunday favorite. It wasn’t extreme and I didn’t cross anything off my yearly list but it was beautiful. We try to make our daily life just as fantastic as our vacations, which isn’t too difficult when you live in Southern California.  Continue reading

A Fun-Filled, Toddler-Friendly Holiday at Loews Coronado Bay

Happy in the Pool at Loews Coronado Bay

Athena and I planned to visit Loews Coronado Bay this week so we asked our friends to join us. We were pleasantly surprised when they agreed. We spend a lot of time together in Orange County but life is busy and a mid-week getaway isn’t always possible. From the playground and the beach to the pool and the restaurant, we had a fun-filled, toddler-friendly holiday.  Continue reading

Glimpse of Big Bear & the Drive Back to Orange County

Drive Home from Big Bear

We spent an unforgettable weekend in Big Bear, California enjoying the snow in the mountains. A detailed post will follow shortly (most likely tomorrow) but I wanted to give you a glimpse of Big Bear and the stunning drive home. It’s it dreamy?

Discover The Perfect Day in Southern California’s Dana Point

Dana Point Marina, California

When I first moved to California, I was the typical tourist. I wanted to visit Universal Studios, The Price is Right, Hollywood Blvd., San Diego Zoo, Santa Monica, Newport Beach, and Laguna Beach. They were my “TV version” of California – the places I saw on a regular basis on TV shows and dreamed about experiencing my entire life. Now that I’m a local, though, I spend less time at those places and more time at the places I’ve come to know and love as a mother, a wife, an adventure seeker, and a beach lover. Dana Point has a regular spot in our weekly schedule. It’s situated on the beautiful Southern California coast, halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles. It prides itself with nearly seven miles of coastal bluffs and rolling hills along the Pacific Ocean with its charming beaches and wild surfs. The city is home to the Dana Point Harbor, Captain Dave’s Whale Watching Safari, scrumptious food, and some of the best sunset views I’ve seen in my life. I’ve come up with a schedule for discovering the perfect day in Southern California’s Dana Point. Continue reading