Kauai Photo Diary

Kauai Photo Diary

Finally sharing our Kauai Photo Diary and it’s making me want to go back in time! This was our second trip to Kauai and it was nothing short of magical. We’ve been vacationing on the island of Maui for many years but a few years ago my parents invited us to stay with them on Kauai. Our first trip was when I was pregnant with Jack. While I have no complaints being on any island pregnant or not, I have to say it was a bit more fun not being pregnant. It also helped that the kids are of great ages (almost 5 and 7) for island life. They are water safe, don’t need naps, and can partake in all sorts of fun activities, which makes exploring the island as a family that much more enjoyable. We spent most of our time in Poipu, the south side of Kauai, but Princeville which is the northern side is equally as beautiful. Our children still have sensitive travel tummies so we opted to skip driving to the northern side due to some winding roads. Kauai has a slower pace than most of the islands, which we enjoy, but it’s not lacking in outdoor adventure, amazing cuisine, and most of all natural beauty. Hope you enjoy the snaps.

Family Fun

Kauai Photo Diary

Kauai Photo Diary

Even Jack was able to snorkel. We loved Baby Beach in Poipu for its calm and safe waters.

Kauai Photo Diary

 My hiking/climbing girl.

Kauai Photo Diary

Kauai Photo Diary

Feeding the koi fish is always fun.

Kauai Photo Diary

Kauai Photo Diary

There are many high-end shops at both the Kukui’ula and Poipu Villages but I prefer the local boutiques for unique finds. Pictured about is a shop named Jungle Girl in Old Town Koloa. My mother bought me the most beautiful blanket towel here.

EATS

Kauai Photo Diary

Anake’s Juice Bar has the best acai bowls I’ve ever tasted.

Kauai Photo Diary

 Not for the health conscious eater is the Hawaiian Loco Moco, but it’s so worth the calorie splurge! The dish is made up of white rice, topped with a hamburger patty, fried egg, and gravy. So good after a night of too many Mai Tai’s.

Kauai Photo Diary

Kauai Photo Diary

Kauai Photo Diary

The best coffee spot and local breakfast/lunch eats – Little Fish Coffee.

Kauai Photo Diary

Kauai Photo Diary

Our favorite Poipu fine dinning. The view and food at Beach House Restaurant can’t be beat. Excellent wine list too!

Kauai Photo Diary

Kauai Photo Diary

Kauai Photo Diary

Kauai Photo Diary

Kauai’s Natural Beauty

Kauai Photo Diary

Kid_Fun_6

Kauai Photo Diary

Kauai Photo Diary

Kauai Photo Diary

My beautiful mother.

Kauai Photo Diary

Kauai Photo Diary

I wish I had more from our Napali coast boat cruise, but we had exceptionally rocky waters this day. Myself and 5 other lucky individuals spent much of our cruise sick. Most were fine so don’t be discouraged to board a boat and enjoy this adventure. It’s truly one of the most breathtaking coastlines I’ve ever seen.

Kauai Photo Diary

So much love and laughter here. Life gifted me the best parents and grandparents to my children. Thanks to these two for making our trip happen!

Kauai Photo Diary

Kauai Photo Diary

The only family picture of the four of us that actually turned out, but it pretty much sums up the vacation. Loads of happy memories that fill my heart! Mahalo for stopping by to share our Kauai Photo Diary! If you have any questions about the island before visiting, I’m happy to help.

Mendocino Photo Diary

Mendocino Photo DiaryOnce a year, Mike and I take a week-long trip without the kids. Yep, I said without! It’s a time for us to focus on each other and we truly cherish this time alone to connect. I should mention that this trip wouldn’t even possible without the loving help of some pretty amazing grandparents! This year we decided to spend our week on the Northern Coast of California in Mendocino and Bodega Bay. We’ve been to both areas before, and you can read about Bodega Bay here. If you haven’t been to Mendocino, I highly recommend visiting. This part of California feels less traveled, rural, and holds the most beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. Not to mention the Redwoods literally took my breath away. They are gargantuan! While many visit just to relax on the beach there is much to do in this area for the adventurous at heart. Kayaking, hiking, wine tasting, and great dinning.

Mendocino Photo DiaryHard to beat the Littler River Inn’s location. Great food, service, golfing, and offers some pet friendly rooms. Mendocino Photo Diary

Mendocino Photo DiaryEven if you aren’t lodging here, stop at the Little River Inn Bar/Restaurant to enjoy this famous view over a glass of wine! Great food & service, we loved the fish and chips.Mendocino Photo DiarySeafood is plentiful and so fresh. Mendocino Photo Diary

Mendocino Photo DiaryHiking the Redwoods. Mendocino Photo Diary

Mendocino Photo DiaryHiking the Hendy Woods State Park. The Hermut Hut Trail leads hikers to one of Hendy Hermit’s famous huts. The man lived in the park for over a decade. Pretty amazing. Learn more here.Mendocino Photo DiaryAnderson Valley has many fantastic wineries and is well known for producing outstanding Pinot Noir. Other favorite wineries not pictured were Handley Cellars, and Baxter. Fantastic wines!Mendocino Photo Diary

Mendocino Photo Diary

Mendocino Photo DiaryMost of the wineries are pet friendly. Our pup, Louis was very popular amongst the tasting crowd. Mendocino Photo Diary

Mendocino Photo Diary

Strolling_the_vineyard

Mendocino Photo Diary

Mendocino Photo DiaryWe dug the rustic and unpretentious tasting space at Phillips Hill. Mendocino Photo Diary

Mendocino Photo DiaryMendocino art is everywhere. Mendocino Photo Diary

Mendocino Photo DiaryOn your drive to or from Mendocino, stop at the World Famous Hamburger Ranch & Bar-b-que in Cloverdale. Owners Bob and Joanne Krucker know what they are doing when it comes to BBQ. Everything is cooked slow and low for the most mouthwatering brisket, ribs, chicken and more!Mendocino Photo Diary

Bodega Bay – A Little Slice of Heaven

Happy Friday! Just a few more hours to the weekend, whoop whoop. A perfect time to get you in relaxation mode, and share last weeks spring break shenanigans in beautiful Bodega Bay. It’s been awhile since I’ve done a travel post, but I always enjoy putting them together. When traveling, I find that some of the best suggestions come from bloggers who have very personal and honest experiences, which I love. So here we go!

We decided to keep our spring break vacation close to home. Bodega Bay is located an hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge, off HWY 1, so it literally feels like a hop, skip, and a jump away. Perfect travel time for two antsy toddlers. Living in San Francisco for the past eight years, Mike and I have traveled California’s northern coastline frequently. We’ve explored small towns like Valley Ford, Jenner, Albion, Little River, Mendocino, and Bodega Bay. It’s during these travels, that we have truly fallen in love with the beauty and sense of peace that the northern coast brings. It really is a little slice of heaven.

Touching_the_sky { Just a girl in her happy place. }

A_huggung_JLodging-We used VRBO and rented a home that was located just past the town of Bodega Bay. The views (pictured above) were some of the best we’ve ever experienced. Fields of wildflowers beamed of yellow before the blue rippling ocean. Each night, we would sit on the patio and watch the sunset. It was magical. For quick getaways we have stayed at Bodega Harbor Inn and the Bodega Coast Inn & Suites, both have great views, are clean, but simple. I’m dying to stay at Bodega Bay Lodge, definitely more upscale. Note – Yes, Audrey really does have a roll of toilet paper taped to her arm. She informed me that it’s her battery, and web shooter that helps her fly to space. Her imagination is wild, and I hope it never changes!

Kite_store

Kite_flying

Flying_kiteKid Spots –The beach offers endless fun, but your kids will love visiting Second Wind and Candy and Kites. Two charming stores stocked full of toys, beach gear, candy, and kites. Bodega Bay is perfect for flying kites, since there is usually a slight breeze. Audrey and Jack chose a shark kite that they loved!

Spud_sign

Crab_sandoEatsSpud Point Crab Co. is a must! The crab sandwich’s are out of this world. My mom and I went for lunch two days in a row. They are that good and only $13 a sandwich. Everything on the menu is delicious, but the clam chowder and crab sandwich are two of my favorites. For fish and chips, The Boat House is the place. Also, The Sandpiper Restaurant comes highly recommended from locals, but we haven’t actually tried it yet.

Mom-Audrey

Audrey_looking_ocean

Audrey_hat

AudreyWhile the guys fished and golfed, we played at Schoolhouse Beach. Here for info on other beaches. Just like her parents, Audrey is happiest when she is near the ocean. I loved capturing her in these moments of pure joy.

Wine

Wine_2Vacation means that Mike will be bringing some of our favorites from the wine bunker. A personal favorite from the selection was the 2004 Clos des Papes which was full-bodied, rich, and lovely.

OystersFishermans Cove is directly next door to Spud Point and is a fantastic spot for oysters on the half shell. Their fish tacos are also popular, but you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Or, if like us, you want the views and comfort of your beach rental, grab fresh oysters to shuck at home. Available at The Tides Fish Market.

Crab_pot

CrabTo Do -There are plenty of great hikes and kayaking spots in Bodega. But if golf is your game, throw in your clubs because The Links at Bodega Harbour is a great course with ocean views. Following a day of golf, the guys decided to go deep-sea fishing for salmon. Did I mention these boys got to play play play! Unfortunately, after eight hours on the boat not a single fish was caught, but the crab pots were pulling up full. They brought home 18 crab to feast on! Nothing better than fresh sweet dungeness crab!

Jack_naked { Enjoying the view on the last day of vacation! }

Family_picWishing I was in these fields, gazing out at the Pacific Ocean. But, it is Friday! The start of the weekend, which makes everyone happy. Hope you all have a fun-filled, relaxing few days! Don’t forget to think of Bodega Bay for your next adventure. It won’t disappoint!

Danville Farmers Market

Produce

One of my favorite ways to spend a weekend morning, is casually strolling through a local farmer’s market, admiring the carefully stacked piles of colorful fruits and vegetables. Talking with the local farmers, sampling the fruits of their labor, taking the time to smell and touch my chosen goods, it’s all a beautiful experience. Sharing this passion with my children is important to our family. I want them to appreciate where food comes from, and know they are blessed to have such an abundance available. I love that my children, 2 and 4 years old, already enjoy being in the kitchen together as a family. Truth, I’m sure many of you can relate – I could do without the gargantuan mess that my little sous chef’s have become very skilled at creating, but it’s all part of sharing the tradition of family cooking (or so I tell myself). This past weekend we ventured to the east bay, deciding to explore the adorable town of Danville and its Farmers Market offerings.

Strawberries

{Homemade strawberry shortcake anyone? Yes, please!}

Broccoli

{Romanesco broccoli}

Strikingly beautiful with its vibrant green. Also called broccoflower, because it visually resembles cauliflower, but the texture is more crunchy, and the flavor milder. These will be so bright and cheery in my Easter tablescape.

Jam

 {Local jam’s and preserve’s}

Flowers

{Happy Flowers}

Canolonis

 {Cannoli’s}

We couldn’t leave without a trio of these Italian pastry sweets. The light and crispy shell filled with slightly sweet creamy goodness made for one delicious cannoli. The Danville Farmers Market (located in the Lunardi’s shopping center off Railroad and Prospect) had everything from fresh fish, spiced almonds, raw milk, chicken pot pies, honey, to freshly baked bread so you won’t be disappointed.

b.patisserie love

Cafe_shot

If you are a local, hopefully you have visited what I believe to be the best pastry cafe in all of San Francisco – b.patisserie. If you haven’t visited, GET UP, RUN, and GO NOW, it’s that good. For anyone visiting the city by the bay, I highly recommend adding b.patisserie to your list of places to visit. Located on California and Divisadero, it’s away from the popular tourist spots, but only a 5-10 minute cab ride away. The pastry kitchen is popular and often has a line out the door, but it moves fast, and is well worth the wait.

B_pastry

With so many sweet and savory delicious choices it’s hard to decide. The staff is just as lovely as the pastries offered, and will gladly help first time visitors decide what to indulge in. Believe me, you will want to try one of each! Take a peek at the menu here to get your mouth watering! Favorites in our house are the chocolate banana croissant (pictured above) and the plain kouign amann (a sweet, buttery, fluffy cloud of goodness). Coffee by Four Barrel makes this “anytime of the day” outing perfectly complete.

Jack_eating

Jack shares the same refined sweet tooth as mom, so we often make trips after dropping Audrey at school. The look on his face when taking that first bite, is pure love, and he actually moans “mmmmmm”. One morning, while walking back from b.pattisserie, we decided to savor our goods before going home. When I took a moment from moaning with Jack (which makes him giggle) over my croissant, I realized we were nestled under this charming doorway. A heart drawn above us, a bit ironic..sharing the sweetest thing with my little love.