The Perfect Weekend

One of my earlier memories is when I was probably 3 or 4, around Tessa’s age, and we were at the beach with my family. I was collecting seashells all afternoon and had a full bag. Right before we were about to go home, we noticed one shell was actually a little hermit crab. It was gross to me and I remember being so sad (and probably cried) that I had to dump out the entire bag. This memory may not be 100% accurate because why we didn’t just take the crab out of the bag we’ll never know, ha, ha! Anyway, even though we don’t live super close to the beach we are excited to be living a lot closer than before!

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CA newport beach

This weekend Brent didn’t have any Saturday sports (the pee wee sports he’s been doing through the city rec center) so we decided to check out Newport Beach (which only took us about 40 minutes). It was a little chilly at first which was actually perfect because the beach seemed less crowded and we found a front row parking spot. I underestimated how much the kids would want to play in the cold water so we didn’t dress them in their swimsuits but we still had fun wading in the water, watching surfers, and building sand castles. Neither of the kids had any interest in collecting shells but were very into the waves. The weather turned out to be perfect and it was fun to see the kids’ excitement since the last time we were at a beach was when Tessa was 6 months old.

newport beach

newport beach

CA newport beach

After the beach, we went to Hop Doddy, which is a gourmet burger place that we had tried in Austin. If I had to compare it, it would be similar to Shake Shack in price and restaurant vibe but like 10x better than Shake Shack. I like Hop Doddy’s quality of meat, variety of burgers, the basic fries are very flavorful and they also have shakes which I’ve heard are delicious. Luckily for us, there are a few locations outside of Texas including  Southern California (the one we went to was in Tustin).

hop doddy classic burger

Because of all the rain this winter, the wildflowers are in full bloom and everything is more vibrant and lush than normal. It is gorgeous in Chino Hills with all the rolling hills and the highways lined with yellow and purple wildflowers. We wish every Saturday could be like this!

CA wildflower bloom

 

Chino Hills house pictures

So far we’ve really loved Chino Hills! We’ve been here for one month already. The main things we look for when we move cities is 1) quality of school district 2) affordability 3)accessibility (distance to important things like a gym, church, library, freeway, etc) 4) crime levels. Since we’d never heard of or been to Chino Hills before submitting our lease application we did a ton of online research. One of the sites we found very valuable is Area Vibes (thanks, Nashes!)

Chino Hills is hilly (obviously ha), has top rated schools, lots of vegetation, close to shopping, restaurants, gym, church, parks, etc. It isn’t super close to downtown (depending on traffic it can take a long time) but luckily we don’t have to drive into the city and Dave can work from the units he manages or from their downtown office. The house has a lot of natural light and lots of built in cabinets in the kitchen, like so much there are empty cupboards!

The only things we haven’t liked so far are behind the backyard is a road that isn’t super busy but still has traffic. Our other homes have been on cul de sacs and super quiet. Our current home is on a cul de sac but it’s a long cul de sac and we’re not on the end part. The other thing I dislike is the color of the main part of the house – it’s yellow!!! You can’t really tell from these pictures but I feel like the color makes the room feel dated and grungy. The master bed and bathroom are cornflower blue which I’m not a huge fan of but the hallway, stairwell and other bedrooms are white (which is my first choice). Overall though we are happy especially since we signed the lease without seeing it.

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Our favorite LA things so far

We’re bit by bit getting settled in and unpacking on rental home in CA. While we miss Austin, we are enjoying the great weather and looking forward to exploring another new city. Some of our favorite family things we’ve done so far:

Hike the Hollywood sign – There are lots of trail heads and we picked one based on Google searches that said this trail was good for strollers. The 2 small dirt lots that are usually available were closed because it was a holiday but, the trail was dirt or asphalt and great for our double jogging stroller. It’s a great hike with views you can’t beat! It’s on the opposite side of the city but if it were closer we’d probably go more.

hike hollywood sign

Georgetown Cupcake – We loved Georgetown Cupcake when we lived in DC and Virginia and happy to be reunited here in LA with our favorite cupcake place. They have classics, everyday flavors  (like vanilla squared), daily flavors and seasonal flavors – I finally got to try their peppermint cupcakes!

Georgetown cupcake

Georgetown cupcake

Tacos – there are so many great taco places, our 2 favorites so far are Guisados (downtown and Santa Monica) and a local place Taqueria Mora. We like simple street tacos, basic sides like rice and beans and carne asada fries 🙂 We’re looking forward to trying more tacos!

tacos

Salt and Straw – we first tried this in Portland and it’s my favorite ice cream so we were excited that they have a location in LA. Last summer I tried their Rocky Road and it was seriously the best rocky road I’ve ever had. Last week I tried Lemon Meringue Pie and it was also amazing.

salt and straw LA

Any suggestions of LA things or in the Chino Hills area?

 

On the road again

December was quite the whirlwind for us as Dave flew out to LA to start his new job the first week, we sold our Texas home, packed up again, found a rental in an awesome area (Chino Hills), drove 20+ hours and are trying to settle in and unpack before Christmas. We’ve always said we love to travel and see new places and we’ve had plenty of opportunities just this year.

Dave and Bruce drove the Uhaul and Brent, Tessa and I took a few days driving and stopped in Marfa, TX and Tucson, AZ. The kids did a good job driving for so long for 3 straight days (although they were crazy upon getting out of the car!) and loved staying in the hotels. Thanks to a tip from a friend, we stayed overnight in Marfa (at the Riata Inn) which is a tiny town in west Texas and saw a unique landmark that’s literally right on the side of the highway!

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riata inn marfa texas

Chino Hills looks a lot like Penasquitos with rolling hills, lots of vegetation, stucco homes, small yards, great weather, great location and lots of good places to eat and shop. We’re excited to explore yet another new city in 2016!

Last day to enter to win a custom at home teeth whitening kit from Smile Brilliant!

See you after the new year hopefully with some house pictures 🙂

2016: the year of unpredictability

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After we got married, ten years ago, we would often play the game, “where will we be in 10 years?”- the future seemed so far away and we were open to any travel and education opportunities life offered us. Well here we are 10 years later and on our 10th anniversary we woke up in an AirBnB in Austin, TX and drove to the title company to sign closing papers for our current house! We would’ve never guessed we would live in Texas, and we would’ve never guessed how much we would love Texas. Even though it’ll only be about 6 months, we have loved our community in Cedar Park and the city of Austin. We survived a Texas summer, enjoyed the plethora of splash pads and parks, ate more than our weight in brisket and Blue Bell ice cream and made some great friends in our ward. We experienced Brent’s first soccer game and first preschool. We full intended on staying in Austin until our kids graduated from high school…until…

Dave was offered an awesome position as an HR regional manager in Los Angeles. Los Angeles! Southern CA was always in the back of our minds but we didn’t think it would happen for years, like when we were old enough to retire. This amazing opportunity fell in our laps through some amazing people we have met and we would’ve never been connected to this new job if we hadn’t moved to Cedar Park. Funny what the Lord and life has in store for you. It’s a great career move for Dave and I’m extremely proud he was offered this position!

We now face another unknown. Although San Diego isn’t far from LA, I’ve only been there a handful of times (because traffic!) and we don’t know much about the suburbs in the area. Once again we’ve been able to connect with people who know the area where we can start the house hunt all over again (except this time we’re going to rent!). The day we found out he was offered the position we needed a rolling pin for a dessert. We found it in a cupboard, still in bubble wrap!!! That along with the boxes we still haven’t unpacked have left us one step ahead of the game ha, ha!

So in a few months, we will say goodbye to another home. A city we’ve enjoyed and really haven’t had too much time to explore. We will miss the Texan hospitality and the awesome people we have met here. We are excited for the future even if it means packing up everything again.

Homesick candles: Places we’ve lived and loved

I recently discovered this awesome soy candle brand that makes ‘homesick candles‘ whose unique scents transport you back to states you’ve loved.  After reading the scent descriptions, I feel they’re pretty accurate! Here are the signature scents of the sttates we’ve lived and loved (minus DC which they don’t have):

Southern California: cactus, orange and ocean

Utah : desert air, mountain spruce and ski lodge

Virginia: honeysuckle and forest floor

Texas: leather, cotton and sage

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Top 10 things about my hometown

Even though we’ve moved about a dozen times, it’s been hard to beat San Diego as a hometown. I’ve loved things about every city we’ve lived in but would always love to move back to San Diego. Top 10 things I love:

  1. Weather- SD weather is hard to beat, generally sunny and warm with a little humidity and an ocean breeze!
  2. Beaches – between the beach and the mountains, I’m definitely a beach person! Nothing better than an afternoon relaxing or sleeping on the beach listening to the ocean waves.
  3. Relaxed culture – I feel like SD people are very relaxed, casual, and friendly.
  4. Vegetation – I love the rolling hills, finger canyons and coast.
  5. Mexican food – close proximity to the border makes for delicious and pretty authentic Mexican food. I could eat rice and beans everyday!
  6. LDS temple – This is the first temple I saw and where we got married. I love it’s grandeur that is manifest when you come around the freeway bend.
  7. Padres – I have a lot of good memories going to baseball games with my family! I still love hearing AC/DC’s ‘Hell’s Bells’ because it was Trevor Hoffman’s entrance song.
  8. Family activities like the San Diego Zoo, Wild Animal Park, Sea World, Balboa Park and the Aquarium.
  9. Location – it’s close to Mexico and LA/Disneyland. I love that Spanish culture has influenced the style of homes and street names. I also love that there’s a major airport downtown, complete with an amazing view when you fly into the city.
  10. Natural beauty – I feel that SD is naturally beautiful, clean and fresh. It will always be my hometown!

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photo via

Would you want to go back to your hometown?!