While researching a hotel for a weekend Napa getaway, I almost went with the tried and true Andaz Hotel in downtown Napa. I decided to research lesser-known boutique hotels and the beautiful Napa Vineyard House caught my eye. After communicating with the nice manager Kevin, I booked a suite which turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made! Here’s our experience at Napa Vineyard house and why I think it’s a wonderful hidden gem in Napa.
North Shore, Oahu is one of our most favorite family vacation destinations. Often times we find that the small food stands, trucks and stores are the best places to find the freshest more tasty foods. We last visited in Spring of 2016 and here are my Top 5 Tastiest Treats in North Shore!
Matsumoto Shave Ice
Matsumoto Shave Ice is a state in Haleiwa. Smalls are plenty and there are tons of different flavors. Matsumoto’s has evolved into a sundries type of store and they also sell souvenirs and tee shirts. The surrounding buildings are being renovated to create a courtyard atmosphere but right now there are a few ratty benches outside the store to sit and enjoy your shave ice.
Island Vintage Coffee
Island Coffee is a newer coffee shop in downtown Haleiwa that offers up some delicious brew and rustic breakfast and lunch dishes for a quick bite to eat. The shop also has tables inside but it was nice to take our coffee outside and people watch. Early mornings are the best time to visit when Haleiwa is still quiet and the shops along the main street are just opening up.
Crispy Grindz is a small food truck along Kamehameha highway that serves the best acai bowls. Pronounced ah-sigh-ee, acai is a fruit blend that is native to Brazil. Crispy Grindz creates different bowls with different toppings that include fresh fruit, coconut and granola. It’s fresh, not too sweet and a light snack to partake on especially hot days on the North Shore. Parking can be tricky but there are tables to eat at so if it takes you a bit to find a parking spot, you can enjoy your treat right next to the food truck.
Ted’s Bakery does plate lunches but they are known for their delicious pies. The shop is just outside of Haleiwa and off the Kamehameha highway with plenty of parking and tables to eat. Try the chocolate haupia pie or macadamia upside down cake!
Foodland may be an unusual choice because it’s a local grocery store but it has delicious fresh poke and produce. It’s a great spot to shop for lunch and dinner or for snacks to take to the beach. Sign up for the frequent visitor card even if you don’t live on the island. You can save quite a bit of money!
Over the last two years, I’ve concentrated on crossing off some bucket list items. We saw the sunset over Santorini, I saw the Kings of Leon in concert and recently, P and I decided that an adult Disneyland trip was needed. Disneyland without the kids is such a different experience than what we are used to. P was skeptical at first, he figured that we would miss the kids (we did) and it would be awkward with no kids (it wasn’t.) We snuck away to celebrate P’s birthday by going to a UFC event in Los Angeles so we tacked on an additional day in Anaheim. We make it a priority to have regular date nights and time away from the kids, it’s the best! [Read more…]
Have you ever had those long summer weeks where the kids are bickering and you have to get out of the house? Last month I was at my wits end with the fighting and the boredom. So when a friend suggested a huge playdate at Lover’s Cove In Pacific Grove, I was first to RSVP!
It’s notoriously cold on the central coast and even though it is summer, our friends warned to bring lots of layers. I’m so happy to report that Lover’s Cove was sunny and HOT! Lover’s Cove is a beach nestled near Monterey, California and calm enough for babies to splash in or for beach loungers to lay out near the shore.
It’s about a 1.5 hour drive from San Jose so a stop in Gilroy for snacks and drinks was needed to break up the trip. Also, A get car sick so I wanted to make sure she was hydrated and comfortable before we hit the windy road through the hills and down into Monterey Bay. We met a group of mom friends who have been in my life for a long time. Our kids get along great and everyone played for several hours. They built sand towers, buried themselves in sand, nibbled on treats all day and had a blast.
I found Lover’s Cove Beach to be a family friendly environment with no rough waves and a fairly easy drive from the South Bay. We will be back as soon as we can!
Some Things to Know:
- There is a snack shack that serves hot dogs, burgers and fries just as you enter the beach on the west side.
- Parking is limited to two hours in the parking lot. There is unlimited street parking south of the beach.
- Traffic can be terrible in the afternoon so leave plenty of time when leaving the area. Rush hour commute seems to begin at 4:00pm.
Photos taken by the talented Sarah K.
We recently took a quick road trip down to Disneyland. What can I say, it’s my happy place! Walking through the gates into Main Street always gives me happy vibes. This time, we met up with some family members and stayed across the street at the Howard Johnson. We usually stay on property or at the Hilton but the HoJo had a deal we couldn’t pass up.
The first day was filled with hitting up our favorite rides. We took the time to get the girls portraits cut by the tiny shop on Main Street. We have a portrait for Amaya that was done years ago that was turned into a Christmas ornament. Surprisingly, Kiki sat quietly while the gentlemen created her profile with a black sheet of paper and a tiny pair of scissors.
We love Disneyland and every time we make the trip, we try to experience something new each time we go. One night, around 7:30, Kiki was knocked out in the stroller and P and A were on Soarin’. I walked over to Carthay Circle to ask if you needed reservations and they told me yes, but the lounge had a table available. I started to thank them and walk away but they insisted I at least come inside and rest my feet. The staff was so sweet and said to wait a few minutes, they put together two small tables with space for everyone and also in the corner so I could park the stroller. During our meal, Disneyland had a huge blackout, but the staff checked in with us as did the manager after the lights were turned back on. P had the pork sandwich and A loved the pigs in a blanket. My pear martini was delicious!
Disney Jr. Live!
One other new thing we tried was the Disney Jr. show, thanks to a tip from my BFF. The show consists of large puppets that are Disney Jr. characters. The characters do a short story but the effects are what make this show awesome for toddlers. Bubbles, snow and confetti rained down from the ceiling during the performance. Kiki danced, screamed and had a great time.
By the third day we were all exhausted and excited to head home. Does anyone have a upcoming Disneyland trip? What new thing will you try?