California Dreaming

Kevin and I had such an amazing trip through California this summer! We rented a convertible (white GTE Mustang) and drove north from La up the coast. We stopped in five places: Venice Beach, Santa Barbara, Morro Bay, Monterey, and Santa Cruz. (I’ll make sure to link the places I recommend at the end of this post.) This summer Kevin and celebrated 20 years being married. We can now make that statement in which more than half of our life has been together. Incredible!! And wonderful all at the same time. I do love the life we have created, and I feel very blessed (as cliché as that word is, it’s true) to be with Kevin Krembs.

It’s funny, but I had to have this sweatshirt (it’s on sale now for $13!!) for the trip. I knew on the coast, I would get cold, so I was very happy to have it. I felt like the print was so “Cali.” Right?! When I had packed for the trip, I had planned to wear it with a fabulous sequin skirt, but for as glitzy as one might think California is, it’s actually very laid back. It’s so beachy, and I love that about the place. In the end my cutoff jeans (both shorts and pants) were my staple–as per usual! And these Mossimo Supply Co flip flops….well I have ordered three more pairs from Target because I love them so much. (Btw, the mint green sunnies are also a Targé find.)

While I was in Pasadena where we first started our trip, I was able to go to a Savers. It was very overwhelming to say the least. I was in shock by the size–not to mention the fact that most of everything was half off. (This happens every Sunday–can you imagine?!) The Wrangler’s in these shots have been my very favorite for a few years now, and they are definitely starting to show the constant wear. I was very happy to find a new pair of Wrangler’s at Savers. They’re now in the cutoff short rotation that tends to be my uniform. (Here’s a link for a ton of Wrangler options on Etsy.)

Let me talk a little about the souvenirs I collected along the way: a necklace filled with baubles of our travels. First, I bought my (umpteenth) evil eye at Burro in Venice Beach. Abbot Kinney road is a dream, and the one regret I have from our trip is that we didn’t stay longer in Venice Beach. Actually, if I’m honest, I could have spent more time in LA exploring all the beaches–I guess we’ll have to save that for our next California trip…. In Morro Bay, I had to limit myself in the Shell Shop. I’ve always, always wanted a shark’s tooth. I’m not quite sure why–maybe I saw one on Krystal Bick, from This Time Tomorrow. I think that might be it. Then, of course there were so many pretty shells. I was missing Gigi a ton (Vincent was fine at baseball camp), so I put on a pretty green one (her favorite color). Oh, and I almost forgot; I had started the trip with a Pisces pendant necklace from Francesca’s, so that’s under the pile too. Jewellery becomes so easily sentimental to me. I adore my jewellery and basically adorn myself daily in little baubles filled with stories of memories past. This was my California bauble in the making!

And here’s my hunky husband–well at least he’s hunky to me, and that’s pretty awesome since we’ve now been together since 1993! His sparkly eyes still make me gush. He’s getting more and more handsome with each year. He’s now my silver fox, and I do love him so. I feel very, very lucky to still be in love with my husband. Here’s to many more trips to California–or anywhere–with him. I love him, and I especially love the life we have made with one another.

Some California Recommendations

Here are some of the most favorite places we stayed, ate, and shopped at that I highly recommend:

Venice Beach

The Rose Hotel–this magical boutique hotel was such a treat to start our trip off. I knew we were at the right place when I saw that Emily Weiss–founder of Glossier and the blog Into the Gloss was staying there too! (Yes, I did holler at her three times, but she was on the phone, and I shyly hollered. I never did meet her in person, unfortunately.) I must mention that the folks that work here and the owner himself are the nicest people ever–really, they were so kind. I’d go back to this sweet hotel in a heart beat!

Burro–this is the cute little shop is found on Abbot Kinney road. It had everything from jewellery to notebooks. I bought three evil eye items: my charm, a notebook, and a card. Of course there were tons of other items there including the travel candle I picked up for our rooms along our stay in California.

Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop–Oh my! What a Bloody Mary! In the middle of the day no less. The meal at Greenleaf was so good: fresh, healthy, easy, and economical. I thought we might break the bank eating in LA, but at Greenleaf expect delicious food at a very reasonable price. Make sure to check all their locations–but the one in Venice Beach on Abbot Kinney Road is so cute!!

Pixi–I didn’t realize that Pixie had shops; I’d only ever seen Pixi Beauty products at Target. Go directly to the shop to get a good price–the prices that aren’t jacked up when they’re sold elsewhere. Have you used the Pixie Glow products? If you haven’t, do give them a glow–op I mean go!! They’re amazing.

Santa Barbara

Shoreline Café–By far our best meal on the entire trip was at the Shoreline Café. We sat right on the beach and had the most delicious tacos. It was very romantic meal–even though we were both in our puffer coats! Nothing like a glass of vino tinto to warm you up especially while dining on the beach with your feet in the sand. It’s such a great little spot, and again it did not break the bank.

Morro Bay

The Shell Shop–If you enjoy a shop filled with tschotske, then you must enter The Shell Shop. But, be forewarned, it’s a haven for those of us who like our trinkets!!

The Libertine Brewing Company–One of my favorite memories from our trip was watching the sun set from the bar at The Libertine. Seals were lounging right in front of the stone while the sun would clear away the fog only to repeat itself. It was a magical moment for sure! Plus, the beer (according to Kevin) was really good.

Monterey Bay

Pacific Hotel–This kind and very beautiful hotel upgraded us since they knew it was our 20th wedding anniversary. One of my favorite color combos is navy and white, so when looking for a hotel, this was of course my first choice. It couldn’t have been more romantic: our room had a fireplace!! And the service at this hotel, well it was impeccable.

Monterey Bay Aquarium–You have to go. It’s a must. Really. Enough said.

Adventures by the Sea for bike rentals–We biked pretty much everywhere we could which was so fun. By far though our most memorable and fantastic ride was in Monterey. We stopped at Lover’s Point, but then we just kept going. That ride was both one of our highlights of the trip. We went at sunset which was extra romantic!

Santa Cruz

Sea and Sand–This hotel is absolutely the best place to stay in Santa Cruz. For half the price you get to stay on the beach just without the beach access. This hotel, well actually motel, is up on the bluff, but it has a view of the sea and sunset plus has a wonderful breeze. Sea and Sand does some extra special things for its guests: homemade cookies at 3 with coffee and tea, wine and cheese at 6, and a breakfast with more home baked goods. They’re doing things right at this little place.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk–We hadn’t intended to go to the boardwalk, but somehow we ended up there, and I’m so glad we did. It was such fun–if even just to people watch with a beer in hand. I thought we’d have to pay to go in, but it’s all public and we walked around enjoying the atmosphere–plus I was introduced to Chiledas once again. Love that kind of beer!

Have you been to California? What are some of your favorite memories from the place?

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  • WOW it sounds like you had one hell of a great trip, Anne! And congratulations on your 20the anniversary. My hubby and I have been together since the end of 91 and next year celebrate 20 years of wedded bliss too. I think you and I are some of the really lucky ones to have found true love so young! <3
    Suzy xx

    Suzy Turner

    • I totally agree with you. I met and fell in love with Kevin when I was 21. I feel very, very lucky. I can’t believe my luck at meeting my soulmate at such a young age. Rare. Right? I am so happy for you too Suzy!! Besos!! A x

  • Judy Gramith

    It sounds like this trip up the California coast was an absolutely perfect way to celebrate 20 years with your true love. The pictures of you and Kevin have such a positive vibe. I love that you captured your reflection in Kevin’s sunglasses!! 🙂 I think the fact that you live and work in Hong Kong for most of the year has made your whole family more relaxed, open and adventurous. You’ve learned how to appreciate unfamiliar places in such a relaxed manner.
    My husband Jay and I celebrated our 20th in Ireland and haven’t been out of the country since.
    We we married 42 years this past June. Our Airstream will be used more once we’re settled in S. Dak.
    I worked in California a couple of summers during college and did an up the coast trip one Spring break like poor student/hippies 🙂 My husband and I did a vacation there early in our marriage (a week in Laguna Beach). My husband did a business seminar in San Francisco in about 2005 and i went along. My feet developed blisters om my walk back to the hotel from Fishermen’s Wharf and I accepted a ride from an old hippy (like me) on a motorcycle! It was a crazy risk but makes a great story. He politely dropped me right in front of my hotel!! 🙂

    • Jude! I love all these stories!! You have an airstream?!! Awesome! On my bucket list is to see the United States via an RV or some sort of house on wheels. Kevin isn’t as into it, but I can wear him down! Hahah!

      I love your hippy stories. Keep sharing them! And 42 years! That’s so amazing. Right on.

      Our trip was very dreamy. It was such fun. And we rode bikes everywhere which was so good for Pinky and my bum knee that is doing much better after a summer of biking and strengthening my quads and hamstrings. This is a must. The second opinion regarding my knee said, “Delay, delay, delay!” So that I will. He told me to do that which works and avoid what doesn’t. Makes sense! Biking and swimming work, so that’s what I’ll do!

      Love the stories. Keep them up!

      A x

  • Happy Anniversary! What a wonderful trip to celebrate! You were right in my neck of the woods…

    We love the Central Coast, and my husband loves the beers at Libertine. Morro Bay is a great place. We have season tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, so we go often. And I’ve passed the hotel Pacific many times…

    Andrea’s Wellness Notes

    • Oh my gosh! You live in the most beautiful area! You are so lucky to have all of that at your fingertips. Wow!! Sounds like you get out and about often taking advantage of your surroundings. I like that. Every time I go to California, I always have the best time. I’m a Cali at heart!! I’ve probably mentioned it before, but I was born in California–I only lived there till I was four. My dad was in the service down there….

      Sorry I missed you!

      A x