Catching Sun Rays and Waves {Lake Tahoe, CA}

After the conference, we headed back up north to Lake Tahoe with a few other family friends for a couple of days. This might be a long post with lots of pictures because we just had so much fun during out time! The last time I had been to Lake Tahoe was just with my family for a few days of vacation about 4 or 5  years ago. I remembered having a really great time and the water being amazingly blue. Although the weather forecast wasn’t supposed to be as clear this time, we still managed to catch quite some sun while out on the lake. We rented a house nearby and spent some time hiking, jet skiing, and  boating.

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The first two morning, we made breakfast in the house. All the kids were in charge of breakfast for day 2 and I have to say, we cameup with a pretty good meal. Breakfast consisted of berry pancakes, banana chocolate chip pancakes, chicken apple sausages, yogurt berry/cereal parfaits, ham/egg wheat bread sandwiches, scrambled eggs, and an assortment of fruit.

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My family decided to go on a walk in the evening and as we were strolling around the neighborhood, a kitten came out of nowhere and followed us home. We tried calling the number on its tag but since it was pretty late, no one picked up. It stayed at around our house for the rest of the evening and through the next day as well until we received a phone call back from its owners. Even though I’m allergic to cats, I couldn’t resist his charm. He was quite the adorable little kitten and seemed so lost.

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We rented out a boat for the last full day we spent at Tahoe and did some inner tubing. Thunderstorms were supposed to be rolling in for the afternoon so we made sure to head out early and catch the sun rays. The water was pretty calm and the weather turned out to be perfect for boating.

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Tubing took a lot of energy out of us so we headed back to the house to clean  up and rest. A lot of us ended up napping for a bit and sure enough the clouds rolled in as the thunderstorms came. It cleared up enough for us to drive up to Inspiration Lookout to take a look at the view and take a few photos.

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DSC_0601Before leaving our time at Tahoe, my family stopped for lunch at The Red Hut. Their burgers were really filling and just as delicious. It’s a must location to eat if you’re in the area and of course, don’t forget to order a shake!

 

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Old Fashioned Ice Cream Soda

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Chicken strips, Two avocado cheeseburgers, and a cheeseburger

If your family is ever looking for a place with some sunshine and water activities, I really would suggest going to Lake Tahoe. Even though we don’t have a dog anymore, this location would be the prime spot for vacationing with pets. There were happy dogs everywhere we went. With content stomachs, we left Tahoe with full and happy hearts looking forward to the next time we would be able to come again.

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West Coast Musings: Part II

I had every intention of blogging my trip while I was gone but due to busy schedules and terrible internet, here I am blogging the rest of  my trip after I’ve returned home already! photo 3 (5)

 

The third day of travels started out in Florence, Oregon and brought us down to Crescent City for the night. Florence is famous for its beautiful sand dunes along the coast. I’ve been here once before but it was years ago when I was much younger. Back then, we rented some one seater dune buggies and I got stuck….a lot. This time, we rented individual ATVs for each of us and I still got stuck….a  lot. The sand dunes were beautiful though and being stuck meant I had a lot of time to just sit and take in my surroundings while I waited for help. After the excursion, I had to empty myself of all the sand that had collected in my clothing.

DSC_1178We were all starving after we were done with sand dunes and decided to get lunch at Traveler’s Cove and it was delicious. The portions were just big enough to fill up the appetite we had worked up. If you’re in Florence and in need of a yummy, hearty meal, I would definitely suggest visiting Traveler’s Cove!

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I’m hungry again just looking at this!

The next leg of the trip was just to get to Crescent City for the night and take it easy. We were all pretty tired and just wanted to hang out in the hotel to relax for the next day which took us through the Redwoods and then to our destination of Sonoma for our conference.

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West Coast Musings: Part I

I’m attending a church conference at Sonoma State University beginning this Wednesday so a few of us who are attending together decided to make it a road trip. We left Sunday afternoon for Seaside, Oregon. I grew up going to the Oregon Coast at least once a year and haven’t been back in a couple of years. But I never got tired of the west coast and the soft sand along the shores. It may not be filled with as much sunshine as some of the California beaches but it’s vast and not nearly as filled with people. We used to take our dog to the Oregon Coast over spring break and some of our best memories with her were at the beach.DSC_0928

Stopping by Portland to pick up a few more people, we swung by Voo Doo Donuts in Portland before arriving in Seaside around 9 PM and got settled in our hotel. It was already dark but we decided to walk to the beach anyways. It felt so wonderful digging my toes into the cool, soft sand and listening to the sound of ocean waves.DSC_0932

Monday morning, we set out with Florence as our destination for the evening. Starting off with a hike in Ecola State Park and then some fun jumping photos at Haystack.

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Photo Credits: Sean Kung

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Photo Credits: Sean Kung

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Photo Credits: Sean Kung

For dinner, we stopped in Newport Bay at the original Mo’s. We used to at least on meal at Mo’s every time we visited the coast so it was a nice nostalgic meal. I was debating whether to order the Cannonball or the fish and chips but went with the fish and chips and just ate some of Ben’s Cannonball.

 

We had really wanted to catch the sunset at the beach so instead of driving straight to Florence after dinner, we stopped along the way at a beach and managed to catch some beautiful photos.

Photo Credits: Sean Kung

Photo Credits: Sean Kung

Photo Credits: Sean Kung

Photo Credits: Sean Kung

Photo Credits: Sean Kung

Photo Credits: Sean Kung

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We arrived in Florence pretty late in the evening and slept really well after a long day of playing and enjoying our time together.

 

Mel’s Birthday Dinner

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Our dear friend, Melissa, turned 24 last week. She’s always so busy planning for other’s birthdays that we wanted to do something special and thoughtful for her. Since Mel knew we were planning a small get together, she insisted we keep it casual and simple so we tried our best.  Mel loves potatoes and everything that is made of them so what better way to celebrate her than throwing her a potato party! Inviting 20 of her closest friends for her birthday dinner this past Sunday, each person was charged with making a potato dish to share. Most of our decorations were things we already owned, were easily handmade, or easily attained.

Janice made  a large card out of poster board for everyone to sign and also served as another sign. We rearranged some furniture in their house and created an open space for everyone to be able to hand out in. The banner Janice bought is also a chalkboard banner so it can be reused over and over again. We stopped by QFC and picked up some flowers because who doesn’t love flowers? And we borrowed the Mr. Potato Heads from a family with young children for our potato themed meal!

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All the food that was brought was absolutely delicious and I was quite impressed with potato dishes people came up with. The classics, of course, were there such as mashed potatoes, french fries, and potato salad. But there were also dishes like Shepherd’s Pie, Tater teens (super yummy btw), and a potato bake. What is a “tater teen” you might ask? Well,  it’s like an adolescent version of a tater tot and quite possibly even more delicious! And while the food theme was potatoes, we still needed some protein and greens so there was also some mouthwatering smoked pulled pork + coleslaw, a strawberry/mango/mandarin spinach/spring mix salad, as well as a pesto pasta salad (one of my favorite dishes of the evening). Janice and I used these chalkboard coasters she bought from Target as food signs, aren’t they adorable?  We didn’t think they were very practical as coasters since they felt like cardboard and would probably fall apart if they got wet but they worked perfectly for food labels.

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One of my favorite food presentations was the curly fries buckets. Janice has these cute metal pails, again from Target’s dollar section, which are really versatile in what they can be used for. As you can see in the earlier photo with the card and a banner, a pail was used to hold the pens needed to sign the card.  I ate at a restaurant last week where they used a fancy metal cylindrical container to hold their fries which inspired me to do the same with these curly fries! Lining the pails with parchment paper, we loaded them up with curly fries. This is a super easy way and cost effective way to present your food so next time you’re scrambling to find plates or bowls, think of any other container you can use as well! Just line it with some parchment paper and ta-da!DSCF0592

See some more close ups of the food below:

 

Janice did most of the work on the cake and even though she kept calling it a disaster, we all thought it turned out lovely especially since she hasn’t made a cake in years and feels out of practice. The cake itself is a simple vanilla cake with a chocolate pudding + krackle chocolate filling iced with simple buttercream. It was pretty warm on Sunday so we kept running into challenges of the buttercream melting or being too runny but I think the cake turned out pretty nicely!

DSC_0377wI’d say the party was success and was a low-key as we could have made it. Everyone was comfortable and relaxed, especially Melissa. We spent the rest of the evening after dinner playing group games and just enjoying spending time with each other. I realized we forgot to get a group picture with everyone but here’s one of just the girls!

DSCF0630eAnd last but definitely not least, some OOTD for you all! It seemed like the theme for the party was also maxi dresses! Mel and Jess actually unintentionally matched perfectly in their black maxis and salmon-colored cardigans. Mel’s dress from Nordstrom and Jess’ from Loft.  Janice wore a pretty printed maxi which I really wish I had gotten a good photo of  and I wore a blue and white knit striped maxi from Gap. Maxi dresses are something I could wear forever, they’re just so comfy and versatile. I didn’t have a chance to take a lot of photos but here are just two:

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(Thanks Sean for many of the photos in this post!)

 

The London Plane {Seattle, WA}

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My friend Jessie and I decided to take a nice break at the end of the week and go out for lunch, spend some girl time together. We’d made plans to go to the The London Plane earlier and had been looking forward to it all week long. Located in Pioneer Square in Downtown Seattle, The London Place is beautifully and spaciously designed.  It’s a flower shop, dry goods shop, bakery, cafe, wine shop & bar, and events space.  This sounds like there’s a lot going on but once you visit The London Plane, you’ll understand how beautifully integrated the different components are woven together. 

Walking in, you’re greeted with beautiful arrangements of flowers and the entire space is filled with natural lighting. The interior of this place is quite breathtaking and you just soak it all in when you’re there. I couldn’t get enough of my surroundings.

The cafe portion is located in the front corner of the entire space, separated by the floral arrangements. They serve a variety of local beverages so we ordered two different flavored DRY sodas: Lavender and Juniper Berry.DSC_0127
The menu changes daily and servers a variety of meats and vegetables. We ordered three small plates to share.

All three plates were spectacular and refreshing. The bread was delicious and the herb butter was even better.  The Albacore tuna had just the right amount of flavor but my favorite was definitely the asparagus. With a strong hint of mint, they were perfectly seasoned and pistachios added the perfect touch. Jessie and I couldn’t get enough of it!

After we finished eating, we walked around the rest of The London Plane and their shop area. I also tried their homemade peach preserve and it was amazing. Next time, I’m definitely going back to buy a jar!

Visit The London Plane here.

Lastly, here’s what we wore to our little luncheon!

Crossroads Trading Co. : J. Crew Navy blue seersuckered gingham
H&M: Lace Skirt
Charlotte Russe: Grey ankle boots
Nordstrom: Gold bar Necklace

Crossroads Trading Co. : Eyelet Tunic
J. Crew: Leggings
Lucky Brand black flats

If you’ve been to The London Plane, please share your experience! And if not, definitely stop by for breakfast, brunch, or lunch sometime soon!