Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Halloween...

- from the two cutest pups on the planet -
Oliver and Emmylou
Halloween 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Home Sweet Home

This birthday was as perfect as could be. David and I left South Carolina and made our way home, and the drive was absolutely beautiful. It is the perfect time of year when fall is screaming with colors.
The weekend flew by, but we jam packed our time with events… We had dinner with both of our families at our favorite local Mexican restaurant, which was DELISH! I got to spend an afternoon catching up with a dear childhood friend, Tess, and look forward to spending more time with her! Brooke and Derek needed some pictures, so we took some and they ended up turning out amazing! I also got a HUGE surprise from Crystal, she bought me the Tiffany’s & Co. heart script pendant necklace that I have been eyeing since our trip in March… god love her, she is the best! 
Spending time with my dad was the best part of this trip, and he is doing SO amazing. The chemo is obviously hard on him, but he is handling it better than any of us expected. So very proud of him!
My sweet baby niece, Ava, is now weighing in at ten pounds, and is as beautiful as can be! This is her modeling her new hat made by yours truly!!! I love making things for the kiddos then seeing them sport them… makes me smile!
 I also got to hang out with my baby girls, Lauren and Savannah – the sweetest little things on earth. They melt my heart every single day.
I will leave you with some of the photos I did for Brooke and Derek… I can’t believe my baby sis is getting married, but she couldn’t have found a better guy! 
I can’t believe October has almost come and gone… Time truly moves so quickly the older we get, just like my mom always said…
Sunday, October 10, 2010

Jekyll Island, Georgia.

I have returned home from Jekyll Island, Georgia. The place was full of natural beauty, and when I walked out my front door, my only sight was the sparkling ocean under a clear blue sky. The way the sunlight hit the water made it feel like glitter had been thrown into the waves, splashing every grain back and forth. Beauty.
I am, and have been for the past three weeks, in a state of excitement, fear, and utter exhaustion. I have started in South Carolina, drove to West Virginia - back to South Carolina. Packed and slept for 6 hours, flew to California for 7 days, back to South Carolina. Worked three 12 hour shifts in a row... Drove to Jekyll island, Georgia, (also a quick drive from Jekyll to Jacksonville, Florida), then back home to South Carolina.  And here I am. Anxiously inviting the day to come and go. Today is a day for me. No plans. No agenda.
The fear involving my dad has been heavy in sweeps, but it's always there. Possibly hiding well behind other feelings, but always there. We have gotten good and bad news, but the mere fact is that he has cancer. My dad has cancer. I still just cannot believe this. So far, chemo starts first. Three weeks of treatments, then another PET scan, then surgery to remove the top lobe of his left lung. And that scared me. Then I wonder how bad it scares him. I understand now that his fear is worse than mine.
My fear is that I am away, in South Carolina. My fear is that I will be absent from something, or not available to help with something.
I will be making the travel back and forth through this process. My work, bless them all, has let me arrange my schedule so I can work around trips... Because family is first... At least mine is!
On a fantastic note... My husband passed his committee this week!!! This is the very reason we were at Jekyll Island, and a celebration with the man I love... On the beach... Well, it was perfection! Many amazing conversations were had, great food and great friends to share it with... It was a great trip. One VERY memorable mention I must add - on Wednesday afternoon, we traveled with Stephen to pick up Author Sam Keen at the Jacksonville airport in Florida. This man has written many many books my husband is very fond of, and to see him in the car, embraced in conversation with Sam, and giddy about it, was amazing. I'm so happy to have experienced that with him!
Now that I am home, I plan on major R&R before going back to work. Though West Virginia, California, and Georgia all treated me so well, I am enjoying saying my goodnights in my own bed.
David and Stephen
Jekyll Island, Georgia
having lunch on the pier in Jacksonville, Florida
David with author, Sam Keen
Saturday, October 9, 2010


The joy of my husbands trip was made on our final day in northern California. Our breakfast consisted of farm fresh eggs, scrambled with wilted spinach, feta cheese, and roma tomatoes, all organic, and an assortment of bagels with jams and cream cheeses, and was shared with all the guests of the Pacific Grove Inn. We then headed out of Monterey and made our way to Salinas, the hometown of John Steinbeck. If you have ever read his novel, East of Eden, you will understand the way the town of Salinas is built, and the way it will look. As we entered, David said, "I have been here before!" referring to his time on reading the 700 pages. Salinas is a town surrounded by a valley. And it is beautiful. The original Steinbeck house still remains in Salinas, and is now a historical landmark that holds a gift shop and a restaurant, and offers tours and memorabilia of the house. When we arrived, we first went through the gift shop, browsing through books and merchandise. 
In the back of the shop is the bed that Steinbeck was born in, and a locked hutch with first editions of all his writings. 

We finished there, and went to the front of the house to have lunch. When we entered, my giddy husband signed the guestbook, and we were seated in the dining room under a picture of John Steinbeck as a young boy. 
You can only imagine David’s excitement. We had a wonderful lunch, then toured a bit more of the house. They have scrapbooks with original photos of the family, and furniture that was original to the house. It was amazing to see. Time was slipping from our day, and we still had a museum to visit. We left and made our way to Main Street to visit the national John Steinbeck museum. 
This was a place like no other. Original writings and letters written by Steinbeck, the original movie poster of east of Eden, starring James dean, the original camper truck used while he traveled the states writing travels with Charley, and so much more. 
After leaving the museum, we had one last stop... John Steinbeck's final resting place. After spending our day in his hometown, it was only necessary that we pay our respects.
Our time in Salinas was up, and we slowly made our way to the car, and said goodbye to northern California. We decided to take a quicker route home, not the pacific coast highway, to get back to Orange County at an earlier hour. Little did we know, the way back home, though very different than a coastal view, would be just as magnificent. We drove through what seemed to be the dessert before winding up in Paso Robles, also known as wine country!!! It. Was. Amazing. 
one of the vineyards we passed through
I would say we passed through 100 different wineries. At some point, we were driving through a valley that seemed to be 50 miles of straight highway, surrounded by a sight so wonderful I couldn't even put it in words. We simply pulled off the side of the road, got out of the car with the camera, and made our very own photo shoot. 
The sun was setting, and we couldn't have hit this spot at a better moment. 
By the time we made it home, we were beyond exhausted, and went to bed immediately. We spent our last day by the pool with family, and this was the day I received the news that my dads cancer had not spread. That very evening, just before dinner, a rainbow appeared in the sky, which I'm told is rare in California. It was a day of pure bliss!!! 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Carmel by the Sea.

This town is much deserving of its own blog - for it is the greatest, smallest, quaintest, and loveliest of all towns I have ever visited. Only a few miles in distance, nestled amongst the most beautiful beach, and filled to the brim with boutiques, bakeries, and cottages that will take your breath, and keep it for a bit longer than you'd expect.

Before I travel to a new place, I do my research to find the best of the best. And in all my readings, I always came across the Tuck Box. This is one of the fairy tale cottages of Carmel, built by Hugh Comstock in the 1920's for his wife to make her dolls. What a lovely story, and an even more lovely shop. We arrived and were seated in the outdoor eating area. With only a glance of the menu, I knew I would have the tea and sconces, for I had been told by a million Google hits that this is what I should have. And indeed, all my Google friends were correct. The most unbelievable sconces were placed in front of me, smothered in cream, then topped with a jam that I could have ate by the spoonfuls... Ololliberry is the name of the jam, and it can be ordered online from the tuck box website. The tea is also an absolute delight, served steaming hot and strained yourself. Add a dollop of cream and enjoy! Since the tuck box is somewhat like the mother load of Carmel’s fairy tale cottages, they have a map that will inform and direct you to all the cottages throughout the town. It is hand written and illustrated and a sight to see. I scooped up every bit of information I could get, and then headed out to find Hansel, the original 'doll' house.  We found it and loved it, and the Gretel cottage was just around the corner. It was so amazing to see these little wonders.
Tuck Box - English Tea Room
outdoor dining area
open windows
another little shop in the outdoor dining area
the map of the fairy tale houses
Hansel Cottage
After leaving the Tuck Box, we passed through dozens of Inns, which is where you stay if you visit Carmel by the Sea... and this was one that captured me. The flowers surrounding the building and the feel it had, made me decide that when I return, this is where I will stay! 
When walking around Carmel, you will notice that the shops have little passageways that lead to different shops. For instance, you walk into a particular shop, and the back of the store opens up to a whole other set of places you would never have known about. This is how we found the magical mosaic tile staircase that I realllllllly want in my home! We were shopping in a Christmas boutique for our 2010 ornament, and these stairs led you to out to another set of wonderful little shops. Just amazing.
the Christmas Boutique where we purchased our ornament 
the magical staircase that I so badly want! 
our 2010 Christmas Ornament
After walking through the town and taking in as much as possible, we decided to check out Carmel’s beach. Wow. Not only is it one of the most beautiful beaches I've seen, it is overlooked by the famous pebble beach golf course. And another fact about the fabulous town called Carmel by the Sea - locals and visitors gather on the beach in the evenings to watch the sun set. Yes, a town like no other. If you ever have a chance to go, definitely take the opportunity! 
a view of Pebble Beach Golf Course
Goodbye, Carmel... you will be greatly missed.

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