Ok this place is everything. It’s a beautiful hotel located in Dana point area. The pool area is a dream + the rooms are beautiful. It’s just off the PCH and within a quick driving distance to Laguna, Newport Beach etc.
Book a walk out fireplace room where you can walk out to the courtyard area or pool directly from your room. They will also supply you with a smores kit for roasting marshmallows over your own personal fire pit.
Aveo does Sundays right! Their Sunday brunch is bomb. Anything + Everything you can think of. If you’re lucky enough you can get a table outside on their patio with the fire pit overlooking the ocean and courtyard area.
Nobu does Japanese food right. Located right on the water in Lido Marina Village, Nobu is a cool spot for dinner. The patio is beautiful on a warm night. Their patio overlooks the marina and you can watch the boats come in and out. Nobu is definitely share style and is fun with a group. I’ve been to other Nobu locations but I have to say that Newport Beach location is a favourite. I love the ambiance and the massive wood staircase leading up away from their lounge area to the dining area. Have a cocktail while a dj spins downstairs before being seated at your table.
Located in the heart of Laguna Beach, Alessa, is great for an intimate dinner on their patio or fun for a more casual vibe with friends. Always ask for the patio. Their Cali Cali pizza is soooo good. Avocado on pizza.. nothing says California more. Or opt for one of their many yummy pastas. I’ve been here on a few occasions and this little restaurant definitely has me coming back. If you’re waiting for a table be sure to put your name in and browse some of the shops on the streets close by.
Best breakfast spot. I’ve been to Babette’s on a few occasions, the first time was for my cousins girls breakfast before her wedding. Great spot for brunch with your girls or with your significant other. My favs are a Lavendar Latte + The Don Omlette. I wouldn’t have thought of ordering sweet potatoe fries with breakfast but it’s surprisingly so good. If you are thinking of heading to the beach or on a hike somewhere get some of their cold pressed juice + their rosemary chips to go. They also do wraps and salads to go. Crystal Cove is just across the street on the other side of the PCH.
Le Labo I fell in love with Le Labo after staying in the Fairmont hotels and became acquainted with their signature scent Rose 31. I first discovered Santal 33 here at Le Labo in Lido Marina Village + fell in love. Now the scent reminds me of California and everything that California dreams are made of. Be careful as this scent is addictive! Le Labo has other bath products, perfumes, candles, oils + lotions.
Take the tram for hotel guests down from The Monarch to the beach. You could walk but it is a bit of a trek and the beach tram is seriously cool. The private beach is for hotel guests or people living on the golf course.
Once you reach the beach there is a private club down there where you can order drinks or food and sit in the restaurant or take it out to the chairs or sit on the beach and enjoy it.
They have a guy down there you can get towels, chairs and umbrellas from. Outdoor showers are also provided to rinse off before you head back up from the beach.
This spot is perfect for watching the waves rolling in and out or for talking a walk on the beach. From time to time you can catch a few surfers doing their thing.
It all starts with self care and self love. Take time for yourself… in whatever way that means to you.
Some of the ways I stay mentally healthy are:
We spend so much time on our phones and never really know when to quit. Make a habit of going without a phone before bed or in the morning when you first wake up. Put down the phone in the am before scrolling on Instagram. Spend this time alone with yourself. Put your phone on the charger at night and read a book before heading to bed. Just simply eliminating the phone during these times will help clear your mind to be productive in the morning and to get a good night’s sleep.
Be mindful while eating and choose healthier options. Try to do more cooking and make it fun by trying out a new recipe at least once a month.
This could mean using essential oils, lighting a candle or salt lamp, pampering yourself or reading a book while cozying up in your favourite spot.
Take time to check in with yourself. How are you feeling today? At this moment? Journalling can be a good way to do some healthy self reflection and to put thoughts on paper.
Surround yourself with people who lift you up and support you. Eliminate toxic relationships.
Staying organized will make you feel calm and at ease. I use a bullet journal simply for keep tracking of my tasks daily + monthly. I have found this to be one of the greatest organizational systems one could use. I also use Google Calendar. Google Calendar is fun because you can colour code all your appointments etc. I’ve started scheduling in everything. I mean everything… from appointments to time for myself to coffee with friends + family. And bonus it syncs up to your phone calendar!
Try to be active
Even if it’s just a small walk every day. Getting out in nature for a quick walk can also do wonders for your mood and overall health.
Celebrate small victories
Enjoy the little things and treat yourself once in a while, whether its a new skin scrub or a coffee.
And of course Travel
Travelling opens your eyes to new experiences and sometimes new cultures. A change of scenery can even boost your happiness.
I decided to try Chrissy Teigen’s Salted Maple Granola a few weeks back. It’s so quick and easy and makes such a beautiful gift! It’s a little sweet but a little salty. And really good on top of plain greek yogurt or with berries!
+ 3 c old-fashioned rolled oats
+ 1/2 c unsweetened finely shredded coconut
+ 1/2 c chopped pecans
+ 1/2 c sliced almonds
+ 1/4 c sunflower seeds
I omitted sunflower seeds, you could add them or any type of seeds or nuts
+ 1/2 c vegetable oil or melted coconut oil
I used coconut oil
+ 1/2 c maple syrup
+ 1/3 c packed light brown sugar
+ 2 tsp vanilla extract
+ 2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
+ 1 c chopped dried cherries
The result is simply beautiful and tasty granola
In a large bowl combine oats, coconut, pecans, almonds, and and seeds you may have added.
In a small bowl whisk together oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add to the oat mixture + toss together.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the granola on the baking sheet.
Bake at 350F for 25 to 30 minutes stirring occasionally until golden brown
Once cooled add to clean bowl + stir in dried cherries
Put into a mason jar + wrap some ribbon around it. Would make a great Holiday gift!
Can be stored in airtight container for up to two weeks
So for this years theme I wanted to do something natural and with matte black flatware. And so my 2018 theme was born.
natural with matte black, brass + gold
What you’ll need
+ Mandarin Oranges with leaves still on (find at your local market)
+ Eucalyptus Leaves if you can’t find oranges with their leaves still on
+ Cinnamon Sticks
+ White Linen Napkins
+ White Plates
+ Matte Black Glasses
+ Matte Black Flatware
+ Cozy Sheepskin to throw over a chair
+ Small Gold Candle Holders
+ Antique Brass Candle Holders
+ Matte Black Candle Holders
+ Natural looking place mats
+ Champagne flutes (optional – I actually thought I had more than I did.. that’s why there’s only 4 on the table)
Layer placemats with the usual place settings, add glasses leaving room in the centre for your centrepieces (matte black + vintage brass candle holders). Then scatter oranges around the settings until you figure out what looks good. Add gold candle holders outside the place settings on either end. Take your linen napkins, roll them up + place a cinnamon stick in the centre of each one as you tie twine around.
Tips for setting the mood
+ Turn on fireplace or holiday fireplace on tv
+ Light candles
+ Play John Legend A Legendary Christmas on Spotify
Ahh the Holidays are finally here. Christmas feels so close! If you’re stuck on gifts then look no further. Below is my holiday 2018 Holiday Gift Guide curated especially for you. I know I’m a little late to the game but it’s been requested so here it is.
Settle in with a latte at Cafe Gravity + Wine Bar in Inglewood. I first discovered Inglewood as my best friends brother lives there. It’s such a cute and trendy little spot with seriously good coffee just minutes from downtown.
Check into hotel. Typically we stay at the Westin when in Calgary as it is just close to everything and the service is always the same.
Mercato on 4th street. If you like Italian food then you are in for a real treat! Request to sit at the bar top so you can watch all that happens in the kitchen. It makes the experience!
Usually they have a special on and if you’re lucky it will include truffles! This truffle parmesan risotto will have your tastebuds tingling.
Also their tomatoes are imported from Sicily making the Caprese salad a must try. The restaurant is definitely share style, whether you are two people or with a group prepare to eat!
Drive around and look at Christmas lights. Since it is Christmas time we decided to go for a little drive to check out the Christmas light displays at Spruce Gardens.
Relax in hotel.. blog.. or whatever you want to do.
Breakfast at oeb on 4th street. Ask for the Double Trouble! Fried egg on brioche bread with cheddar cheese + heirloom tomatoes with chipotle aioli, all topped with arugula and shredded manchego cheese.