Solvang: California’s Taste of Denmark

One of the things that I love about living in California is that there are so many cool areas to go on road trips to, both within the state and in neighboring ones. I’ve been itching to go on a weekend getaway, and so at the end of last week, my husband and I journeyed to the Santa Barbara area for a few days of wine tasting, hiking, and exploring the Danish capital of America – a town called Solvang. Solvang-1

I like traveling to unique little places, and Solvang is definitely just that. It’s a quaint, Danish-styled town in the Santa Ynez Valley that was founded a little over 100 years ago, and is home to a population of just 5,000+ people.

Solvang is about a 4-hour drive from where I live in northern San Diego County. Pretty much the whole drive, you’re traveling right up the Pacific Coast with a pretty view of the ocean, or you’re looking at mountains, or sometimes both. Besides the Los Angeles-area traffic that you’re bound to hit in some shape or form, I find it to be a pretty relaxing drive with nice scenery to gaze at.

Coast Drive Scenery

When you walk around the town of Solvang, you feel like you’re in a bit of another world – or at the very least, you don’t feel like you’re in California. All of the buildings feature traditional Danish-style architecture, complete with windmills and replicas of statues found in Copenhagen. I’ve never been to Denmark, but the style of the town reminds me a lot of Austria. On the outskirts of town there are picturesque rolling green hills, that were also reminiscent of my stay in Austria.  Solvang Collage

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My February Yoga Practice: Three Poses I’m Working On

Happy Friday!!

Crane cab

Are you feeling excited for the weekend? You could say that I’m a bit overly excited because my hubby and I are going on a weekend getaway! We’re taking a road trip up to the Santa Barbara Wine Country area, and I’ve been looking forward to it all week long. Have I ever mentioned that I love wine country?!

In Napa, circa 2011

In Napa, circa 2011

A photo I took in Livermore Valley, circa 2013

A photo I took in Livermore Valley, circa 2013

At my favorite local winery when we lived in Morgan Hill, CA, called Clos LaChance

At my favorite nearby winery when we lived in Morgan Hill, CA, called Clos LaChance

….oh, probably only about 2,700 times! I’m sure I’ll be sharing all of the details of my weekend with you guys later, but for today, let’s get a little zen & talk about yoga. February has flown by in what feels like the blink of an eye, but my month has had no shortage of yoga practice!

Yoga Pose Collage

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Weighing in on the “Curvy” Girl Revolution

“Babe, you have to come in here and watch this,” my husband yelled to me as I cooked dinner while he relaxed in the living room one night last week.

He then proceeded to rewind the Sports Illustrated behind-the-scenes show he was watching where they talked about one of the models, Robyn Lawley, being a “plus- sized” model who represents the average woman in America:

robyn-lawley-sports-illustrated-swimsuit

Both his and my reaction were the same in thinking that Robyn – whose absolutely gorgeous – didn’t look like a plus-sized woman on the show. I do realize that in the modeling world, Robyn is indeed considered plus-sized, I just think it’s kind of crazy. I can’t help but feel that the modeling industry is totally warped and out of touch with what the vast majority of real women look like for Robyn to be categorized as plus-sized. I do think that the modeling world is moving in the right direction though, because Robyn takes the prize as the first plus-sized model to be in a Sports Illustrated issue.

Another “curvy” girl to be pictured in S.I. is Ashley Graham, who proudly shows off her size 16 body for a paid advertisement in the magazine. I watched this interview of hers, and I kind of love her. She’s fit, she’s healthy, but she’s not a small girl and she’s okay with that. In the interview they talk about this “curvy” girl revolution happening, and the topic has been on my mind since I saw it.

ashley graham

Ashley Graham

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Citrus Mint Cocktails {My Saturday Happy Hour}

If you’re living in a place where it’s cold and wintry, you may be dreaming of soaking up the warm sunshine lounging next to a pool, sipping on a refreshing fresh fruit cocktail…

citrus mint cocktail-1

And if you’re living somewhere where it’s currently warm, a citrus cocktail probably still sounds delicious… because well, who doesn’t love a fun fruity drink?

Okay, don’t answer that. There just may be a few people in the world who aren’t citrus nor cocktail fans. While I’m all for a good cocktail, I myself am not a huge citrus person when it comes to certain things. Offer me an orange muffin or any kind of lemon candy and I’m all, Ehhh I’ll pass.

But when it comes to using it in my kitchen creations, citrus can sometimes be my cup of tea. I often make a simple salad dressing with fresh lemon juice, and I love to throw oranges into my green juices.

orange picking

Speaking of oranges, the orange tree in my front yard has been out of control, producing a ton of fruit. It seems to be pretty popular in my neighborhood, as people sometimes ring my doorbell and ask if they can buy some of my oranges (Side note: No, I don’t charge people to pick oranges!). One time I even caught a boy quite literally hanging in my tree as I pulled into my driveway.

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10 Fitness Friday Motivational Quotes

Happppy Friday!

Since I love to workout and almost always feel great post-exercise, that must mean that I’m always excited to get my workout on. Right? Well not quite. Just like virtually everyone else, I have my days when I’m just not in the mood for the exercise session I had planned.

This was the case yesterday, when I had finished work for the day, and it was time to fit in a workout before I had a Skype catch-up date with a girlfriend of mine who lives 1,000 miles away. I had been sitting at my desk working for awhile and was just sort of feeling tired, but I knew that there was no real good reason why I shouldn’t workout, so instead, I spent a few minutes getting myself motivated with some exercise quotes. Here are my top 10 motivational fitness quotes on this lovely Friday!

#1 – 

today is my tomorrow

(source)

#2 – 

strength is beautiful

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An Attitude of Gratitude: Little Things that are Making Me Happy

I’m big on enjoying the little things in life. I believe that our attitudes determine our direction, and if we cultivate feelings of gratitude and appreciating the great things in our life, both big and small, it can only lead to a happier heart and soul.

Attitude-of-Gratitude_1024x1024

(source)

In the spirit of this, today I want to talk about some of the little things that have been making my happy lately. Here we go!

Puppy snuggles – When I work in my home office, sometimes my dog comes and lays under my desk. Not only does she keep my feet nice and warm, but every time I look down at her, she’s looking up at me like this:

Harley desk snuggles

I picture her saying things in a little kid voice like, “Hey mom! How’s work going? When are we going to go on a walk?”

I just love my dingo.

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Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew Granola Cups

“Believe that you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt 

Hello, and Happy Presidents Day to all of you fellow Americans!

How did you all spend your Valentine’s Day? My hubby and I decided to head to the beach to celebrate the occasion. He surfed while I caught up on a few magazines (more specifically, I dreamed up our next vacation while reading Islands, then read a Self issue with Cameron Diaz that has been sitting in my magazine rack for a year and a half), then we had a picnic and watched the sunset.

Valentine's Day beach picnic

Noshing on good food with my hubby + perfect weather + a bottle of refreshing riesling + a beautiful sunset = the perfect low-key Valentine’s Day in my book.

Speaking of the beach, lately a bunch of you have asked me about the weather in the San Diego area this time of the year, so I wanted to take a moment to chat about it. Southern California is notorious for being mild and sunny most days. The weather here is different than other areas of the state. For instance, when I lived up in the San Fran Bay Area a bit inland, the weather had much more of a range. While the winter could dip into pretty chilly weather and the summer had many sweltering days in the 90s, in San Diego the temperature hovers around 65-80 degrees year round.

Camel Pose on the beach

I couldn’t resist striking a yoga pose on the beach during this sunset!

So while it’s winter here, some of the days have been 60 degrees, but lately, it’s been more in the 70s, and we had a couple of days in a row here last week that hit in the 80s – which is why I’ve mentioned being in a bikini and on the beach a couple times lately. Sometimes here we get what’s called a marine layer – thick foggy clouds along the coast. Yesterday I was at the dog beach for about an hour. When we got there, it was perfectly sunny, but all of a sudden, this thick fog moved in, making it feel much chillier and damp. My hubby was surfing, and came out of the water because he said it was freaky and he could barely see in front of him. It happened so suddenly and was one of the craziest beach weather turn arounds that I’ve seen here!

Dog beach fog

I snapped the above photo when I got to the beach, and you can see the fog about to roll in from the water. A few minutes later, I couldn’t see that land in front of me at all!

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What Do You Look for in a Gym? My Must-Have List

Hi friends!

I’m writing this on Thursday night, as I’m coasting on an exercise high from a workout that ClassPass hosted at The Rush Indoor Cycling Studio tonight. I had never been to the studio before, and found it to be a lot like SoulCycle (review of me trying that out in NYC here): a fast-paced cycling workout with good music and high energy. Thanks for hosting the fun event, ClassPass!

RUSH cycling stats

Any other American readers have off of work on Monday for Presidents Day? I do, and I’m pretty excited for the long weekend!

But back to fitness! Recently I talked about how I haven’t been a member at a regular gym since moving last year. I decided that I’d like to shop around for a normal gym to possibly join. I did a free trial at a gym a few weeks ago, and while they had all of the material things I look for in a gym, I just wasn’t completely sold on it. Call me crazy, but I didn’t feel like it had good vibes or was homey enough for me. I like gyms that I join to feel kind of comfortable, not like a big old warehouse that just had exercise equipment and carpets put in it.

gym checklist

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Taking Time to Date Myself {Weekend Recap}

Happy Hump Day!

hump day

Today I’m backing it up to a couple of days to last weekend. Any longtime readers may remember that when my hubby left active duty for the Marine Corps almost 2 years ago, I wrote a post about lessons I had learned as a USMC wife (read it here!). I talked about my experience as a military wife – a chapter of my life that was seemingly over (although I still referred to my man as a Marine – because once a Marine, always a Marine!) but I mentioned something in there about never say never to being a military wife again…. 

Well, it turns out that I’m now a Marine Corps wife again! This time around is a little different because my hubby is now a Marine Corps Reservist. He missed being a Marine, and it just sort of worked out that an opportunity opened up at the base really close to where we live that fit in with his other jobs, so here we are… back in the military life, only at this point, it’s not a full-time thing. Last weekend was his first training for the Reserves, which meant that I had a few days off of work to have some “me” time.

Elfin Forest stream

My weekend kicked off with a great hike with Harley just before sunset – literally, as we had to kind of book it back to the car before the park ranger had my car towed – and a homemade broccoli, ricotta, mozzarella & tomato pizza with whole wheat dough that I had nabbed at the farmer’s market.
broccoli pizza

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Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate Cake for 1

Every time I get anything new for my kitchen, I get seriously excited. Some people may not understand my enthusiasm in the least bit, but kitchen gear to a foodie is like candy to a kid… Okay, I get excited in candy stores too, but you get what I’m trying to say.

So you can only imagine how great it was when I walked into Bed Bath & Beyond after my bridal shower a bunch of years back with thousands of dollars in gift cards. My bridal shower was on the east coast, and since I live on the west coast, most people gave me a gift card instead of shipping tons of presents.

bridal shower

My mom and me at my bridal shower…opening a Bed Bath & Beyond gift card

I wish I had a photo of the awesome madness of that shopping excursion…though I did just find this lovely photo of my face when I walked into my grandma’s house for what I thought was a lunch date, only to find 50 people in her kitchen for my surprise bridal shower:

bridal shower surprise

Um yeah, I think my eyeballs bugging out of my head say it all… I was surprised!

Oh and did I mention that my husband was deployed at the time? So I went on a shopping spree at Bed Bath & Beyond alone. With a lot of money. And no supervision. Can you say troubleee? I walked out with 2 entire carts worth of kitchen home items and could barely contain my excitement.

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