{trip report} Day 4: Sea elephant rookery and Big Sur

Please don’t mind the incessant posting about my roadtrip with the family. This is my way of making sure my family can see the pictures as we live so far away! Thanks!

I think we covered the most ground on day 4 of our Pacific Coast adventure. We drove from San Simeon up to Monterey Bay. On the way we stopped at a sea elephant rookery which is basically the cutest thing you’ll ever see! Big gelatinous grey creatures flipping warm sand on their backs and hanging out on a private beach.

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We stopped in Big Sur for lunch, paid way too much for a lunch that actually ended up being top notch. With views like these, you can charge anything you want for macaroni and cheese and a deconstructed BLT.

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Rounded our the afternoon taking pictures on a super scary windy cliff. Can’t you see the fear in their faces?? A wonderful afternoon driving on the prettiest stretch of the 101 — Big Sur, California!

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{trip report} Day 5: Carmel by the Sea

This place could be known as the quaintest oceanside town in California. The fact that a two bedroom, one bath bungalow costs more than 2 million dollars will keep me dreaming. My mom and I enjoyed shopping, I fell in love with no fewer than a hundred things and happened to make a purchase. Birkenstock’s! After two, yes two, big tow injuries, I needed something more solid to keep my feet safe as we hoofed it around the coast. Here’s just a few quick snaps of foggy/sunny Carmel by the Sea.

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Hand-dipped candles anyone?

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Give me this half door and tilework and I’ll be a happy girl.

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Pretty sign! But my favorite thing in the town…

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This piece of art with a crankshaft and various magnifying pieces of glass. And a clutch plate (I think — Papa, correct me If I’m wrong) brought it together. We stayed in this shop called Paloma’s home furnishings for more than an hour chatting with the shop manager (owner, not sure?) and drooled over their beautiful copper top tables. 

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We capped off a long day being tourists in Monterey (recap coming soon) with some treats from this cute little coffee shop. A carmel steamer put me right to sleep. My favorite pictures from the entire trip will be up soon – fog rolling into the rocky shores!

{trip report} Day 4: Hearst Castle in San Simeon

Castle? Middle of nowhere? Overlooking the ocean? Animals everywhere? The most incredible indoor pool I’ve ever seen? The most incredible outdoor pool I’ve ever seen? This William Randolph Hearst guy was onto something. Have a look at just a few of the TONS of pictures from Hearst Castle.

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Outdoor bliss. This pool is super deep on one end and shallower on the other. Stunning. 

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And then the indoor pool, serene and quiet. I definitely got the sense some amazing mid-evening jaunts took place here many years ago. With an inlet off the side, this pools offers secluded private spaces or bright open arenas for swimming.

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My brother acting as photographer. These girls were thrilled he knew how to use their camera. 

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Just me, hanging out. Pretending I own this picture-perfect spot.

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The photo above is my mom looking at the colors on the steps. She remarked that this is her perfect palette and I can’t help but agree. The exterior of the castle is the exact colors that I dream about in my perfect escape.

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The colors in this pool house are breathtaking. So much so, that I came back and took more photos of it. Seriously, I need to figure how to build a dream house with a pool like this one. Simply amazing and inspirational, as is Hearst’s legacy felt throughout the castle and grounds.  

Huge thanks to my bosses who recommended the Hearst Castle to us! It is a must-visit in Central California when you’re driving up the coast. We stayed at The Morgan in San Simeon, named after Hearst’s architect Julia Morgan. The room was beautiful and featured a similar color scheme. 

My morning inspiration v.2

If you know me, you know I’m close to my family. Really close. They keep me grounded, motivated and always inspired. I really need to visit them for a good recharge soon!

While we were driving up to San Simeon, we stopped to watch the sunset and..well, the pictures speak for themselves, incredible. 

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This last one is my favorite of my mom and I from the entire trip! And this is what I’m thinking about to get me through the last day of the work week.

Happy Friday loves. How are you recharging this weekend?

{trip report} Day 3: Madonna Inn and Dessert

There’s not much that I can say about the Madonna Inn. It feels like Dollywood meets…I don’t even know. It also is quite magical in a weird romantic sort of way. Each room has a different design and there are restaurants and dancing rooms to serve all the rooms. This place came recommended from my dad’s co-worker, but we were warned that it was “charming” and “quirky.” I loved it. Tacky, gaudy…the walls have holograms… but entirely charming.  

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Christmas decorations? No. Normal decor. 

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The bathrooms were a mix of old saloon and … where do hot pink hologram walls fit into design?

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And then there’s this. Some of the most fresh strawberry cake I’ve ever had. A wonderfully polite young (15?) waiter with the driest humor I’ve come across in a while made it even better. Between the strawberry cake and the chocolate cake? We were happy.

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The history of this place is a really sweet love story. And the families and couples that were dining were really sweet. It was almost like a supper club, but it was full of happy couples celebrating their love in the resort’s unique design. My brother and dad tell me the men’s bathroom is a site to see – something about waterfalls?

If you’re traveling through California, notably central, this place is a must-visit. For a few hours, it was a great evening snack after our massive midday meal at Brophy’s Bros. Have you stayed at Madonna Inn? I want to hear about your room!

{trip report} Day 3: Santa Barbara Harbor & Brophy Bros.

Check out the Mission, drive through the town, walk around a bit, but make for damn sure you go to Brophy Bros. Restaurant and Clam Bar. The view, the staff, the food, not sure what was my favorite, but this place ranks in my top memories from my entire trip. 

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Few things warm my soul more than an active fish market – smells and everything. Clearly Caleb was intrigued as well. 

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Not sure how this happened, but for my favorite meal, I didn’t capture but one picture…of my second oyster. It was amazing – the fresh taste of the ocean, earthy and lemony. I was probably too busy scarfing super fresh little shrimp with tons of horseradishy cocktail sauce, then a warm bowl of the best clam chowder I’ve ever had to shot pictures. Wrap me up with a heaping bowl of seafood pasta and this place gets my vote. The resulting food coma was glorious. This mid-afternoon meal replaced lunch and dinner. 

My brother had a sharkfish (or something) and wasn’t impressed, but my parents enjoyed the salmon dish they split. The atmosphere swayed us incredibly positive either way. 

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My parents smiling while we walked around the harbor. We stopped and looked at boats for sale along the shops and dreamed about life in Santa Barbara. It could happen! This was the first place we visited in California that I could see myself living. The house styles, the ocean, the general calm of grown up successful hippies does a place really well. 

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Have you been to Santa Barbara? What did you think in comparison to other California towns?

My morning inspiration

This week I’ve been rehashing my trip to California more than a month ago. It’s been so fun to finally go through all my pictures! This set is my Friday inspiration – I hope you find as much calming energy as I do when I look through these. Enjoy! 

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These were taken early in the morning on the pier that once belonged to William Randolph Hearst’s family. We started day four of the trip here, across the highway from the entryway to his castle, this place was incredible. You’ll notice how few houses there are in the background. This serene stretch of land in central California is dreamy and calms me down whenever I look at it.

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I love being in the middle of nowhere and by an ocean at the same time. Where do you go to seek inspiration?

{trip report} Day 3: Mission Santa Barbara

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On day three of the Highway 1 trip we headed to a town that my mom told me was her favorite in California. As she reminisced her own family’s roadtrip in the 60s, I knew this place was going to be special. Santa Barbara is magical. The hilly land with blue as far as the eyes can see – the sky and the ocean. 

We went to the Mission Santa Barbara and, while I’ll reserve my opinions on colonial rule and it’s impact on the “New World,” I’m happy to report those Spanish friars make some great looking buildings. 

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Ready for some unintentional porn?

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Yep – I’m mature…taking pictures of this in the middle of the cemetery in a Mission. With skull and crossbones looking over me. Good, Eliza, good.

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There’s this massive tree in the middle of the grounds and under it are some 4,000 people buried over the course of the years. The energy there isn’t sad though, it was just plain calm and beautiful.

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The chapel had incredible acoustics and my mom belted out a song in the middle of it!

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The art hung on the walls was dark, but very pretty. It was really dark inside compared to the beautiful light everyone else around the grounds. And there were some great features hidden throughout. The warm building designs meshed nicely with the darker art on the walls. 

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The fountain in front of the Mission had stunning flowers, these pictures don’t do them justice. 

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How cute are they? Shortly after this picture was taken, I was pooped on by a bird. Good luck, right?

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Mission Santa Barbara is a must visit in Santa Barbara, but doesn’t need a full day. We could’ve done the entire thing – museum, church, grounds – in about an hour or two max. Afterwards, walk around down town Santa Barbara and work up a good hunger.

Once you’re good and hangry, head to the harbor. Seriously. More to come on that. 

{trip report} Day 2: Malibu, Neptune’s Net & more ocean

A month ago I went on a glorious vacation with my family and intended to post about the entire thing here. Sadly, or not so sadly, life got in the way. In an attempt to rehash my memories, I’ll share short tidbits when the mood strikes. The full trip report will stay in my Word document unedited…

Day One: 
http://newnukem.posterous.com/trip-report-day-1-la-brea-tar-pits-hollywood 
http://newnukem.posterous.com/trip-report-la-to-san-fran-day-1-part-1

On day two, we explored some more! After a morning on Rodeo Drive (yes, I bought a purse), we headed up to Malibu and through the surrounding canyons. This included was a stop at a restaurant that cameod in the Fast and Furious series – Neptune’s Net! I was star struck, the food was magical, we all had a great meal!

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If you go to Neptune’s Net in Malibu, make sure to get the fresh seafood NOT the fried stuff. This place gets a ten in my book – a heaping plate of freshly steamed veggies and shrimp, great sourdough bread and an ear of corn with a cold beer overlooking the ocean? Yep. Heaven.

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My mom sitting at our table — that might even have been where the actors sat during filming! Tons of motorcycle dudes were walking around, totally adding the atmosphere. 

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After lunch, we ran across the street to go play on the rocks and watch the sunset. Another great day spent on the ocean. 

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I took tons of pictures of the family, but this is probably one of my favorites of my brother and me. In my small collection of family photos, I have a shot just like this at various points in our lives. Making faces and laughing. Love it.

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My favorite thing about these? My dad and my brother have so many similar mannerisms that came out! Look at the way they walk, stand, play with sea creatures, all of it!