My Story: 365 day blog challenge Day 55 What I really enjoy doing…

365 Day Blog Post Challenge 2019
Day 55
321. What do you really enjoy doing?

Although there are many things that I enjoy doing (scrapbooking, cooking, late Sunday mornings laying in bed watching movies with my husband…), if I had to narrow it down to just one thing, I would say that the thing I most enjoy doing is our weekend getaways.

Don’t get me wrong, I love extended vacations as well, but there is just something so fun about the weekend getaway.  We try and do this at least two or three times a year and often times these are the trips that end up being our most memorable.  Maybe it’s because these are normally the only trips we get to take by ourselves.  Pretty much all of our vacations are spent with other people, but when we do an overnight getaway, we can usually find a way to sneak away on our own and that is truly magical.  One would think that after over 15 years, I would be bored spending time with my husband, but we have such a great time together when we hit the road.

A little insider tip, I love to use Groupon getaways for our small overnight or two night trips.  You can find some amazing deals through Groupon and we have found some of our favorite places by taking a chance and booking some of these deals.  One of our funniest overnight getaway was a quick trip to Pacific Grove, CA.  I spent a great deal of my childhood in Pacific Grove and the Monterey area.  My great-grandparents lived in Pacific Grove and we would go and spend weekends there on a regular basis when I was younger.  So any change I get to go back and revisit all those memories is always a special time for me.  I found on Groupon a great deal on a hotel right in Pacific Grove.  It was the Lighthouse Inn.  We went down for an overnight stay to celebrate my birthday.  When we arrived, I was a little surprised to find out that the Inn was located right next to a cemetery.  At first I was a little freaked out and wondered if I would be able to sleep, but it turned out that it was actually rather beautiful.  Our deck faced the cemetery and we were able to sit out on the deck and watch deer walking around the cemetery grounds.  It was so peaceful that I found nothing scary or frightening about it.
We had the most amazing 36 hours.  And let me tell you, that 36 hours felt like we had been away for days.  We took walks and ate great food and visit some of my favorite childhood places.  All of this in just one overnight trip.  As a side note, Pacific Grove/ Monterey/ Carmel are all some of my favorite places to take pictures, which is an added bonus when we get to go spend time there.  Here are some random pictures from a fantastic overnight getaway.  One I hope that we get to do again very soon.

 

This was just one of so many quick weekend trips that we have taken, but I will save the rest for another time.  This was just one of my very favorite getaways that I think really shows that you don’t always have to go on a big lavish trip to feel like you are getting that refreshing vacation feel.  We were literally gone less then 36 hours and yet still got to do and see so much.  And most important, got to spend quality time together talking and laughing.  Our relationship only gets stronger each time we take one of these weekend trips.  I look forward to many, many more in the future.

Our Santa Rosa, CA weekend

IMG_4970

This past weekend, we had a fun little getaway to Santa Rosa, CA.  We received a lot of questions and strange looks when we told people we were going away for the weekend and that our destination was Santa Rosa.  People did not really understand why we would plan a weekend getaway just an hour from home and also were very curious about what we planned on doing in Santa Rosa of all places.  My thoughts are that ANY PLACE can become an adventure if you have the right mind set.  For me, just getting away from the house and having time away from work and errands and responsibility is an adventure in itself.  We were only gone from the house for 30 hours, and yet, we came back feeling refreshed and decompressed.  It is not always important to go far away, but rather, just learning to enjoy the time away- wherever that may be- that is important.  For us, the weekend was fabulous and we were even able to have some new experiences along the way.

We started off the weekend checking into the Flamingo Resort and Spa.  We had watched one of those travel shows about a year ago where they showcased this historic hotel.  We thought it sounded interesting, and then I just happen to be checking Groupon one day and there it was!  So I quickly reserved a room.  The hotel is older, but nice.  The rooms were big and unique.  I have to say that I’ve never stayed in a hotel room with a front and back door, so that was interesting.  The hotel had a great looking spa with lots of massage and facial options (which we did not get to enjoy.. THIS trip).  Also a very large pool and a nice hot tub.  I personally love anyplace that has history, so I had a great time walking around the lobby where they had lots of photos of the hotel in the 60’s with Hollywood guests like Jayne Mansfield who used to frequent the hotel.

After checking in and getting settled, we ventured over to the Charles Schulz museum to get some history on the Peanuts Gang (admission was included in our Groupon deal).  We learned some fun facts about the creation of Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the bunch.  For instance, did you know that most of the phrases used in the Peanuts comics were actually things that Charles Schulz would say in everyday life.  It’s funny to imagine him saying  “oh, good grief” when he was frustrated, but apparently he actually did.  The best part for me however was the  actives room.  Granted, most of the things they had in there were for kids, but I didn’t mind.  I took a crack at drawing Woodstock (that did not turn out very well) and then made my origami Snoopy doghouse.  Which turned out great if I don’t say so myself.  Next door to the museum was the Snoopy ice skating rink for those into ice skating.  We passed on that.

The rest of the day and evening were spent exploring the area and of course eating (our favorite thing to do).  We did not make it over to historic downtown Sonoma, which I really wanted to do.  That will be on the list for our next visit.
So, that brings us to Sunday morning and the FABULOUS brunch at the Flamingo Hotel restaurant.  The price was super reasonable for a Sunday brunch and the food was fantastic.  We are already making plans to go back again.  I would say my favorite items were the made-to-order waffles, eggs benedict and the prime rib (so tender you could just cut it with your fork).  That being said, nothing compared to the biscuits and gravy.  One of my all-time favorite breakfast items.  The dessert table- although limited- was more than enough for us to get a few treats after our meal.  We ended up spending 90 minutes there sitting and enjoying the ambience and the mimosa’s.

Brunch was a great ending to a perfect one-night getaway.  Whenever we go on these little adventures, we spend so much time talking and laughing that it makes me wonder why we don’t plan more of these types of trips.  I guess sometimes the reality of life gets in the way of the more important things like making memories such as this.  I think it’s time to change that and spend some time reprioritizing what is a more valuable use of our time.  When I am older, I want to have way more “that was a great memory” and way less “I wish I would have” moments.

 

The Importance of the Weekend Getaway

IMG_4992Let’s face it…. life is hectic.  Between work, errands, time with family and friends, cooking, cleaning and the myriad of other things that require time in our lives, often times we put ourselves and our relationships  on the back burner.  I am a firm believer in the weekend getaway.  Just a place to escape for 24-36 hours where we can decompress and reconnect with the one we love (or simply zone out and forget about all we have on our to-do list back at home).

I find the best weekend getaways are the ones that are only an hour or two away from home.  Close enough that you are not in the car for hours and hours, but far enough away that you feel like you have escaped your day-to-day life.

I’ve found some of our best overnight getaways through Groupon.  This weekend our getaway is at the Flamingo Conference Resort and Spa in Santa Rosa, CA.  The resort is a Santa Rosa landmark.  Opened in 1957, it was once a hotspot for many in Hollywood as “the place to stay in the bay”.  It still holds much of its glamour and has a feeling of the old 1950’s summer resorts of the day.

From wine tasting during the day in nearby Sonoma, to dancing in the lounge in the evening, the Flamingo seems like it will provide just the right amount of entertainment and relaxation that we need.  From what we have been told, there is an  amazing Champagne Sunday brunch (one of the main reasons we wanted to stay at this location).

Wherever we end up, I love that life is always an adventure with this wonderful man beside me.  Our getaways are always full of lots of talking, acting silly, eating good food, but most important TONS of laughter.

 

Boysenberry Festival

Being a devoted Disney gal, I had some reservation about going all the way to L.A. to only visit Knott’s Berry Farm. After all, we would only be miles away from Disneyland!! That being said, I must admit I had a fantastic day today enjoying the boysenberry festival. The festival itself was great and we enjoyed spending a day at Knott’s Berry Farm which provided a completely different feel and experience than Disneyland.

Part of our package includes the tasting card. Which I will say I highly recommend. There are 8 different boysenberry inspired foods (there are many other boysenberry foods throughout the park, but these are the highlights of the festival). The card has 8 tabs which you remove and use to pay for any of the 8 items listed on the card. You have 8 tabs, so enjoy one of each, or if you really enjoy something have it multiple times. We hit them all. Here are some photos of our culinary boysenberry journy.

 

Everything we tasted was great. These were just our favorites. We would share each of the items and the portion sizes were more than enough to make us feel satisfied.

We also ventured out and had a few items not on our tasting card. A little boysenberry ginger ale and a very yummy peanut butter chocolate cup filled with boysenberry jam. Both fantastic. 

So would I recommend a trip to the boysenberry festival? Absolutely!! We will be back next year to do it all over again for sure.  A big thank you to my wonderful husband who let this be my day and let me choose everything we did and everything we ate. The day was perfect.20180318_101105

Road Tripping

They say the journey is more important than the destination. I guess in someways that can be true. Road trips are a great way to reconnect. After the week we have had, I think this particular road trip is especially important. To say the week has been an emotional one is an understatement. We need this escape…. And what better escape then a trip south to go to the boysenberry festival. I am looking forward to rest, relaxing and eating lots of super yummy boysenberry food.

When we take road trips, Don always insists on leaving in the middle of the night. Okay… Maybe I exaggerate, but we always leave super early. It has its perks. We miss a lot of the traffic and get to our destination early. However, I still think sleep is a nice thing, so I have mixed feelings on the subject.

The 6 hour drive was rather uneventful. Once we hit highway 5, we played the game of “dodge the pothole” for the majority of the trip. What at first was rather annoying became sort of humorous after a few hours. My yelling out “there’s one..swerve left”.

Don was very sweet and bought me some lottery scratchers to keep me entertained (for 5 minutes). Won $6.00…. Don spent $20.00. I keep telling him to stop buying them for me. I never win!!

IMG_4554

We did get to see some beautiful skies as we were driving into L.A. Such pretty clouds. Made me think of my mom.

IMG_4557

Now the day has come to and end. Time for some rest so we can be up and ready for our day at the boysenberry festival in the morning. I cannot wait to try all of the amazing food. This is just a small example of the boysenberry inspired food we will be tasting tomorrow.IMG_4559

As I sit and watch the sunset from the hotel window, it’s hard to not think of DJ and how much I miss him. I feel horrible that we left Chrissy for the weekend. I can tell she is in mourning too. My consolation is that my Mom and Dad are taking care of her, so I know she is in good hands.IMG_4565