A Stroll Through Balboa Park, San Diego


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.


House of Hospitality


Casa de Balboa


Lunch with a view


San Diego Museum of Man


Botanical Building

Signs of Solvang


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.


Giant Dipper: Belmont Park, San Diego


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!








A Day in Solvang


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.


Danish pancakes at Paula’s

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Little Mermaid statue


Loads of butter cookies!

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Danish almond custard kringle

IMG_7042Queen Elizabeth tart and Danish waffle

How cute is this little bakery?!


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


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.


Lulu! Such a fun little joint.


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!


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.


Elvis’ Honeymoon Hideaway



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


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


Mod in Palm Springs


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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LA: Union Station


A few weeks ago, Jason and I spent a day in downtown Los Angeles. Actually, it was the first day we have spent downtown since we moved to California. While I really love searching for and being inspired by all the Mid-Century Modern influences in California, there is quite a bit of Art Deco inspired architecture here as well.

Union Station is unique in that it was built in a mix of architectural styles including Art Deco, Spanish Colonial, Mission Revival, and Streamline Moderne. Built in 1939, Union Station consolidated multiple railways including Southern Pacific, Union Pacific, and the Los Angeles Railway. Today it serves as a hub for Amtrak, MetroLink, and LA Metro.

There’s something about spending time in a train station. You can’t help but imagine all the people who have traveled through a station. I usually imagine the golden age of travel. I picture people rushing for their train with their trunks and hat boxes, settling into their assigned car just before the train leaves the station, and then relaxing with a cocktail on the way to their final destination.


California Bucket List

Jason and I have been working on our ‘California Bucket List’ since we found out we were moving here. We have about 5 months left here, before we move to the mountains of Colorado. We are so ready for our next step, but hope to cross off as many of these things as possible in the next few months.



The Golden Gate Bridge, row houses and cable cars in the unique city of San Francisco

The gorgeous cliffside views in Big Sur

The quaint seaside village of Carmel

The beaches and architecture of San Diego

The desert and art deco of Palm Springs

The Danish village of Solvang



Attend the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade

See a Dodgers game

Spend as much time at Disneyland as possible

Ride the roller coaster at the Santa Monica Pier

Spend some time taking in the pink of the Beverly Hills Hotel

Have a churro and Mexican food on Olvera Street

Window shop on Rodeo Drive

Hang out in Chinatown

Stroll the Canals of Venice



Watch an outdoor movie

Hang with the bats at the Bronson Caves

Enjoy the solitude and beach at El Matador State Beach in Malibu

Catch a sunset at Griffith Observatory

Visit Joshua Tree

Take a hike in the San Gabriel Mountains

Take a hike that has views of downtown LA and ocean views

img_2940-001 copyArt & Museums

See the LACMA

Visit the Getty Villa to take in art and gorgeous views of the ocean

See the Museum of Contemporary Art

See Walt Disney Concert Hall


Tours and TV

Take a studio tour

Attend a live taping

Go on a Disneyland tour

See the Brady Bunch house

Hang out at the Peach Pit

See Grauman’s Chinese Theater

Walk on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

img_3585-1 copyFlea Markets

Pasadena City College Flea Market

Melrose Trading Post

Rose Bowl Flea Market

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Cupcakes at Confexions in Pasadena

Chilaquiles and tres leches pancakes at Cacao Mexicatessen

Truffle fries at Umami Burger

Ginormous pancakes at the Griddle Cafe

A Pink’s hot dog

Bob’s Donuts at the Farmer’s Market

Burgers at Father’s Office

Gelato from GROM, one of our favorite Italian gelato spots in Italy who have an outpost in Malibu

Chinese chicken salad and cupcake at Joan’s on Third

Cajun food at Preux and Proper

A sweet at Magnolia

Beach tacos

Potato balls, meat pies and guava pies at Porto’s Bakery 

Flannel Cakes at Musso and Frank’s Grill in Hollywood

Ice cream at Fair Oaks Pharmacy

Canter’s Deli

img_5133_edited-1 copyDrink

Drinks on a rooftop

Green tea latte at Urth Caffe

Wine in Napa Valley

Mint Mojito Latte at Philz

Blue Bottle Coffee in San Francisco

Hot chocolate at Ghirardelli

Cafe Oaxaca at La Monarca Bakery

Disneyland Days: 60th Anniversary


Disneyland kicked off their 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration festivities with a 24-hour event on May 22-23. Jason and I were so excited to be able to attend something so historic and fun!

We originally planned to get there at normal opening time around 10 AM, but we kept reading articles that predicted the park would reach maximum capacity and we were a tad afraid we would not get into the park if we waited until then. So, we woke up at 3AM and left our house at 4, to hopefully get into the park when it opened at 6. Success! We were in line by 5 and in the park by 6:05. The park did actually reach maximum capacity by 2PM that day.

Can we talk about how amazing Sleeping Beauty’s castle is all decked out for the Diamond Celebration?! I just love it. The atmosphere at Disneyland is always wonderful, but there is definitely something even more magical about visiting the park during this celebration. The energy and spirit is infectious. It is definitely our happy place here in California.

We were pretty excited to not only check out the new 60th Anniversary merchandise, but to also taste some of the special eats available during the 24-hour event. We enjoyed Mickey and Minnie cake balls from Candy Palace, while listening to ragtime piano. We ate at Carnation Cafe for the first time for lunch. We devoured their fried pickles pre-lunch and Jason ordered their country-fried chicken sandwich with honey-mustard coleslaw on brioche bun, available that day. That thing was so dang good! Directly following lunch was the ice cream sandwich from Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor, cookie dough ice cream sandwiched in sugar cookies! Um, hello?! We finished our culinary tour through the park at our favorite restaurant in the park, Cafe Orleans. They had bananas foster french toast on their menu for the day, which we inhaled when we needed a pick-me-up of coffee and something sweet. The bonus was when our sweet waitress brought us ‘anniversary beignets’ to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

We did not make it the entire 24-hours. We did, however, enjoy our day immersed in Disney culture and were excited to participate in history that we can tell our little ones about one day.


Breakfast: cinnamon roll french toast!


Mickey and Minnie cake balls


This is my size cupcake!


10:20 AM, already up 7 hours!


Fried pickles at Carnation Cafe


Fried chicken sandwich at Carnation Cafe


Ice cream sandwich

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Bananas Foster french toast