Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Power of Sunshine

I never quite realized just how powerful sunshine was until our trip to California.
As y'all know, I have been going through a "funk", and forcing a smile during day to day life here in New England.
With the brutal Winter that we had, it was safe to say that I was at my wit's end with this place. 
We arrived at John Wayne Airport in Orange County in late afternoon/early evening, and as soon as we got off the plane, I could instantly sense the mood of my entire family just "perk up".

John Wayne Airport

I can't even describe it.
I wanted to dance in the airport and sing "The Hills are alliiiive....with the sound of muuusic."

Not only was the sunshine amazing, but it felt like "home" to us.
I consider Southern California my second home next to Texas, and if for whatever reason, we couldn't retire in Texas, I'd want to take my butt immediately to Southern California.
As we drove our rental car down the 405 and the 5, I had the biggest grin on my face.
I looked over at my husband, and he had an equally as big of a grin on his face as I did.

It's seriously the happiest we have been in the last 2 years since we left California...happy is actually an understatement.
My husband's been in a "funk" too with New England weather, the amount of energy he puts into work, the lack of family time that he gets because of work, etc. etc. etc..
I knew on that first day that it was a much needed trip for the both of us and for our family.

We stayed the majority of our trip at the Laguna Cliffs Resort & Spa in Dana Point, CA.
 I chose this place because it was a place Nick and I had spent many anniversaries, New Years, and special occasions together when we lived in Orange county.

Absolutely gorgeous view from the hotel.
I seriously can not believe that we used to live literally 5 minutes away from this hotel!
 The first thing I did on our trip was go for an early 4AM morning run on the beach!
I was up super early due to the time difference, so I figured I'd make my time worthwhile and go on my usual run route along the coast.
The weather at 4am was 55 degrees, misty, and absolutely perfect for a run.
I ran almost 6 miles before realizing that I needed to head back to the hotel and nurse my son!
I wasn't even tired!

Obligatory "pre run" selfie.

Obligatory "post run" bathroom selfie.

So on our first day, we met up with my best friend, her husband, and her two boys.
Her and I went to Target together (of course) while the men took the kids to the park in San Clemente right next to Target.

I think that Orange County has some of the most AMAZING public parks in the country for kids.'s like a miniature Disneyland at these parks!

I wish I woulda gotten some pics of this park.
Did I mention how awesome it was to wear crop tops, skirts, and Havainas!?!?!

My New England born son was in heaven too!
He was so happy to not be bundled up and miserable. 

After the park, our family went to a late brunch at one of our favorite spots in San Juan Capistrano called the Sundried Tomato Cafe.
 Dannika and I are a bit of a celebrity at this cafe.
When Nick was deployed to Afghanistan, we used to go there every Saturday to have brunch together.
They have these sheets of butcher paper laid out on top of their nice table cloths that kids can draw and color on.
I used to write little notes to Nick on the table cloth, snap a photo of it, and send it to him in Afghanistan.
The staff got a kick out of it, and they started to save the table cloths after Dannika and I would leave because the manager loved reading my little notes to Nick.
When Nick returned, we had a meal for us and 8 guests comp'ed by the Sundried Tomato.

So when we showed up for brunch on this trip, EVERYONE was so happy to see Dannika and me.
The manager discounted our bill (by A LOT).
It brought back fond memories of a time in my life when it was just Dannika and me. 

I seriously mean it when I say that I had not been this happy in 2 years.
I never wanted to leave, and it was only our first day!

 As I posted photos on Instagram of our trip, EVERYONE kept telling me how happy we looked.
Friends of mine from New England even commented that they had never seen this genuine look of pure joy on my face.
 I was told multiple times that I looked more in my element in Cali than I do in New England.

I'm just meant to be in warm climates, I guess...

Stay tuned for more details on our trip, and my 30th birthday!


  1. The sun definitely brings out the happy in you! Glad you guys had such a great trip!

  2. Yay for sunshine!! Looks like a great trip so far!! :)

  3. Dana Point!!! I love it there. I've spent several summers there with my friends. I love visiting there when I get the chance. You sure do look happy, both of you! And the kids of course. Did you guys feel the earthquake the other day over there?

    Just A Girl


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