A Stroll Through Balboa Park, San Diego

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When we visited San Diego, one of the places I was most excited to visit was Balboa Park. Balboa Park is the largest urban cultural park in the United States and is home to 15 museums, the San Diego zoo, and several varieties of gardens. We spent a morning at the zoo and then strolled over to the Spanish Village Art Center. The center was absolutely one of my favorite places we saw in San Diego! It is so full of color and is just so happy!

We walked further into the park to experience some of the park’s architecture. Many of Balboa Park’s buildings were built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, which was meant to celebrate and recognize San Diego’s port of call as the first stop in the United States, after a ship’s passing through the Panama Canal.

The Spanish Colonial Revival architecture is absolutely stunning and incredibly detailed. Prior to the construction of the buildings in Balboa Park, the term Spanish Colonial Revival did not exist; it was coined in San Diego and after the styles utilized on the buildings in Balboa Park. The Spanish Baroque and Islamic and Persian Moorish Revival architecture styles were the inspiration for the now iconic style of architecture which became widely-used and recognizable in the state of California.

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House of Hospitality

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Casa de Balboa

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Lunch with a view

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San Diego Museum of Man

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Botanical Building

Signs of Solvang

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I have posted about Solvang before, here. While I was getting that post ready for the blog, I realized I should just do a separate post on the amazing signage there. As a marketing major, I am always inspired by good branding.

Many of the buildings in Solvang have façades that were modeled in the “Danish Provincial” style and exhibit the characteristic half-timbered façade. In addition, many of the signs feature windmills, a nod to the four windmills in the village.

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Giant Dipper: Belmont Park, San Diego

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While in San Diego, Jason and I visited Belmont Park at Mission Beach. The highlight of Belmont Park is their historic wooden roller coaster, Giant Dipper. Built in 1925, it is one of two remaining wooden roller coasters on the West Coast built by Arthur Looff and designed by Frederick Church. Church also designed Tornado, a wooden coaster once in operation in Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York.

I have always loved the nostalgia surrounding the wooden roller coaster and old boardwalks. I think of people enjoying their ice cream cones and cotton candy, while enjoying the various amusements and entertainment available at the boardwalk. While we did not enjoy ice cream cones or cotton candy on this trip, we did enjoy our ride on the historic coaster!

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A Day in Solvang

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Visiting the Danish village of Solvang was one of those places I knew we could not miss while living in California. Jason and I visited when my Mom and her best friend were in town back in July. Chock-full of the cutest cafes, bakeries, wooden signs, and windmills, Solvang is the sweetest little place. Spending time in Solvang was almost like being back in Europe, but with a touch of undeniable California style.

We started out the day with Danish pancakes at Paula’s Pancake House. Danish pancakes are thinner than American-style pancakes, and I ordered mine topped with fresh strawberries and whipped cream and bacon. Yum! We walked around the village for most of the morning and ended our trip by indulging in a variety of treats at Olsen’s Danish Village Bakery. We shared a Danish waffle, which is two long crispy cookies filled with raspberry jam and butter cream; a Danish almond custard kringle, which looks like a huge pretzel; and a Queen Elizabeth tart which was delicious but I am having a tough time remembering what was in.

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Danish pancakes at Paula’s

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Little Mermaid statue

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Loads of butter cookies!

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Danish almond custard kringle

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How cute is this little bakery?!

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Do and See: Little Mermaid statue – The bronze statue is half the size of the famous statue that sits in Copenhagen, Denmark’s harbor commemorating Hans Christian Anderson’s tale of the mermaid.

See the village by walking it. It’s not huge, so you can take your time and still see it pretty quickly. Don’t miss all the cute details and signs in the village!

Eats: Paula’s Pancake House – I can only speak to the Danish pancakes, which were crazy good! We all left happy!

Sweets: Olsen’s Danish Village Bakery – Everything we had there was delicious! Not pictured are their amazing iced vanilla lattes.

California: Palm Springs

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Do y’all mind if we talk about Palm Springs for a minute? I just love it there. It is the funkiest place, complete with so many of my favorite things: Mid-Century Modern architecture, the desert, great food, and splashes of color, everywhere!

Jason and I spent a fun Sunday there recently. We thrifted, ate lunch at Lulu, took loads of pictures of our favorite homes and buildings, and topped it off with shakes from Great Shakes.

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Lulu! Such a fun little joint.

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Palm Springs Airport in all its Mid-Century glory.

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Marilyn Monroe’s Palm Springs home

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We were so intrigued by the neon lights on this home!

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I think this one might just be my favorite. The cacti, the white details with the pop of blue, the concrete wall, the flowers, everything.

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Elvis’ Honeymoon Hideaway

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S’mores shake with homemade everything, ice cream, graham crackers, fudge sauce and toasted marshmallows, then topped with Great Shakes’ signature mini donut!

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The Blueberry Hill shake. Blueberries, freshly squeezed lemon and lavender. So good.

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Mod in Palm Springs

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Old Navy dress, Kate Spade bag, sunglasses and bangles, Etienne Aigner shoes, necklace from Germany

After a crazy week and a busy start to the weekend, Jason and I cruised down to Palm Springs for a relaxing Sunday. I have fallen in love with all things Mid-Century since moving to California and this desert locale still has a high concentration of architecture from the time. We spent the day checking out former homes of early Hollywood’s elite and any other homes whose architecture caught our eye. Movie stars were attracted by the warm, sunny weather and the seclusion that Palm Springs offered.

We also spent some time antiquing and thrifting and I found some funky little treasures that I am so excited to wear! I was drawn to the long thin stem of the flower pin and the vibrant colors. The clip-on burst earrings are absolutely perfect to wear with almost anything, particularly the retro inspired dresses I just bought. Stay tuned for those outfit posts!

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