Birthday Birthday Birth Month!

Last month, I turned the big 3-0! Pretty cool. I found this book in a cute little British shop in Santa Barbara & felt it was appropriate and hilarious.

As I was looking at it, a man walked over and picked up the 70 one. He said he was going to a friend’s 70th birthday party soon and thought it would be a good gift. He said, “You’re 30?” I said, “Almost!” His wife then said, “Oh, that’s depressing. You’re so young!” I’ve had a couple of comments like that regarding 30, so that’s cool. I guess I’m still young? What’s in an age anyway?! Birthdays are an excuse to celebrate and eat cake :)

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Thank you to everyone who made my birthday wonderful! I am so grateful for my family and friends. They’re the best.

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Avila Beach Break

We took a mini vacation up to Avila Beach last week thanks to Matt’s aunt & uncle! Thanks you guys!

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The girls and I had a blast exploring the property while Papa was at work. San Luis Bay Inn would be perfect for a family reunion!

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It was perfect because I cleaned my house and then we left. So when we came back on Friday night it was all ready for Ada’s bday party on Saturday morning because these two little loves couldn’t destroy it :)IMG 2771

We were so excited to have a little getaway at our favorite beach. It was so beautiful because it was freezing cold and the moon was full. We are used to being there at least once a week in the summertime so this was a really nice change of pace.

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One night, my mom came up and met us at the new Ocean Grill for dinner. I shared the filet and scallops with my mom. The filet mingon was good, but none of us were impressed with the scallops. For the price, it was very surprising that no bread or salads were served.

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The day we checked out, the girls and I went to lunch with Matt at Firestone Grill then headed to the Mac store to see if the keyboard on my lappy can be cleaned. Short answer – no. Not unless I want to spend tons of money.

I asked Ada if she had any change and she goes, “I’m just a kid!” Then I said, “Well you usually have a nickel in your pocket or something.” Then she came over and showed me her empty pockets.

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Me in Apple drinking Dr. Pepper…which is what was spilled on my keyboard by a certain 2-year-old.

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Pottery Barn at Christmastime is one of my most favorite things! Ada really took a liking to that fluffy bird ornament. And Lola thought that the basket was for a baby to sleep in :)

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We love Avila & SLO…so happy that they’re in our backyard!

Virginia & Travel Home

Some more pictures of the girls in the snow up at Mountain Lake Resort :)
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We got hot chocolate after this since our thin California skin was frozen! We drove around Blacksburg and the Virginia Tech campus.
Go Hokies!
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The house my grandpa lives in was built in 1870. It’s beautiful, as you can see!
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The girls had fun walking down to feed the cows with Grandaddy…except Ada ran so fast when one came too close to her!IMG 2524
We went to “dinner” (can’t really call it that because we went at 3:40 PM! Ha!) at Cracker Barrel and I didn’t realize they had a shop in front of the restaurant! They had some adorable Christmas decor.
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The next morning we hit the road and drove the 4 hrs. up to Washington/Dulles.
This picture is of Lola as she was pitching a fit…no nap for her. The second I held up the camera she pulled this face! Little ham :)
Our portable DVD player saved us for this portion of the trip. Thanks Mommy!
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When we got to the airport, we’d forgotten to gas up so had to leave the rental place and go get gas. This put us behind a bit and my dad was texting and calling like crazy while we were getting through security and to our gate. I kept ignoring him because I had two kids and baggage to worry about…then he says, “Where are you? I came to surprise you and my plane leaves in 5 min!” Needless to say we booked it off the tram and met him just in time! The gate agents were telling him, “Sir, all passengers all rows…” then the woman saw him kissing and hugging his granddaughters and goes, “Oh…you have 8 minutes.” haha :) Lola was happy to get some cookies from Scotland and Ada had her backpack from filled with gummies he brought them. Thanks for taking the detour to see us for a bit Cap’n Walt!
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The girls were complete angels on the flight home. On the bottom left you can see a sleepy Lola sitting on Ada’s lap. Then Ada was content with Papa’s noise-cancelling headphones (which were hilarious because they made her talk really loud) watching movies the whole flight.
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Lola was exhausted and fell asleep on me for a few hours.
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When we got off the plane, we headed to baggage claim. Matt waited for the bags while the girls & I stood out of the way. He started talking to an older man, and I noticed them talking quite a bit. On the drive home, Matt told me that the man had asked him, “Are you the one traveling with your wife and two little girls?” Matt said yes and the man proceeded to tell him that he could tell that our girls were loved. He said tell your wife that she is doing a wonderful job because he could tell these girls were listened to and raised well. I totally started to cry when Matt was relaying all of this to me, partially out of exhaustion and partially out of a nagging comment someone had made. It was a tender mercy from my Heavenly Father letting me know that I’m doing a good job and my girls are just fine :)

We got home around midnight and are just now recouped from the trip, visiting family, Thanksgiving, and all that’s been going on. I’ll post a recap of our two Thanksgivings soon!

Ever been to the East Coast?

What’s your favorite college football team?

Mixed Conference!

I just got back from the most amazing food bloggers’ conference! It is called Mixed Con, put on by the fabulous Paula of Bell’alimento & Susan of Doughmesstic. Bloggers that I look up to and got to meet! I applied to be a volunteer and they accepted me! I was so floored and honored.

When I walked in the first morning, Paula gave me a big hug. I’m like, yes, we’re going to get along :) I’m a hugger too. And Susan asked if my eyelashes were real and was showing me off to people! They know how to make a girl feel good :)

It was held at Mountain Lake Resort in Virginia. I used to go here when I was a little girl (and the lake was full) to feed the ducks with my grandparents. You might recognize the hotel from the movie Dirty Dancing! My grandma actually wrote a book about the history of this place and dedicated it to my sister and I. I was disappointed that it wasn’t in the gift shop! When I asked my grandpa about it, he said that he sold the last of them and can’t find anyone who still prints them the way they were originally done.

Isn’t the resort beautiful?

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I was assigned to be the Dixie/Imperial Sugar Crystals girl. Anything they needed, I did! I met Kim & Christy who were so much fun to work with. I put together the jars for the Sugar Suite and helped make sure things ran smoothly while we all made sugar scrubs and ate food. Check the sugar scrubs out on Dixie’s site, they are so easy and Kim’s hubby made some adorable labels for them. I made the lip scrub and my girls keep asking for more brownie…that’s how good it smells! Bonus: it’s edible :)

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The conference had relevant, useful classes. I learned so much from Andy at AdThrive! I loved Bree’s photography course! She took my headshot and I’m so excited to see it :)

Helene & Tami inspired me with their gorgeous food photography. I want to buy lots of props from antique stores now.

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Sweet Meredith from In Sock Monkey Slippers…we had the same shirt on! No, I’m not pregnant, just leaning awkwardly :)

Love this girl.

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McCormick was a platinum sponsor and had workshops for us on Saturday. How cute are these pink lemonade cupcakes?! Not only do they look like cups of pink lemonade, they taste like it too.

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I had fun decorating a little cake. Lynda from Me & My Pink Mixer took this pic of me in action. Thanks, Lynda!

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I started doing the ombre thing and was going to blend it with a fork…then they made us switch to the next station! I was bummed cuz I was in the zone man!

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Karen & Alan from Hello Cupcake were there to teach us some of their tricks & techniques for decorating. The things they make with candy & frosting are insane!

These flower petals are made with marshmallows! Love the effect of the sugar on the petals. I got lots of inspiration for Ada’s birthday!

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The cool thing about Mixed Con is that you are virtually unplugged because there is no cell reception up there. They do have wifi, but it wasn’t the most reliable. I couldn’t even get on it with my laptop so didn’t even bring it the second day! No TV in the rooms, either. I liked it! I liked that everyone was talking with one another instead of live-tweeting everything.

The other cool thing is that everyone was SO friendly!! I’ve been to events and conferences before where the “big” bloggers hang out and are cliquey and exclusive. Not at Mixed! If someone walked up to your table or circle of people, they were welcomed with a hello and joined in the convo. It was so refreshing!! I think I met just about everyone at the conference and made some great friends. Come visit me in CA :)

New buddies (in addition to those already mentioned):

Kate from Food Babbles

Kerry from Milk Glass Kitchen

Emily from Jelly Toast

Courtney from Neighborfood

Shari from Tickled Red

Christy from My Invisible Crown

Lindsay from The Live-in Kitchen

Jenn from The Whole Kitchen

Caroline from Chocolate & Carrots <—she had her baby boy with her and I guessed his age right away…made me miss my girls even if I did get to see them every night :)

Marly from Namely Marly

Angie from Big Bear’s Wife

Bethany, Jen, & Carolyn from the Center For Food Integrity

Janet from The Army Mom

Crystal from Mrs. Happy Homemaker

Shaina from Food For My Family

Roxana from Roxana’s Home Baking

Kelly from View Along the Way

Nikki from NikSnacks

Lauren from Healthy Delicious

Melanie from Melanie in the Middle

& Leslie who doesn’t have a blog yet :)

If I missed anyone, I’m sorry! I didn’t have your card in my pile.

Saturday night there was a pre-dinner hangout, dinner, then a closing party with a band. I was definitely overdressed, but I’d rather be over than under! When the schedule says dancing shoes & live band…this girl puts on a dress & heels!

Me with Kate & Emily, Kerry is taking the picture :)

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The day after the conference was over, I took Matt & the girls up to the resort to show them around.

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The girls channeled their inner Baby and practiced the lift with Papa/Patrick Swayze ;)

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Thank you for a perfectly wonderful time, Paula & Susan. See you next year :) xoxo

Travel to Virginia

Thursday morning, we left home at 3:15 AM to drive down to LAX for our 8:30 AM flight. I didn’t sleep at all…I get wound up packing and then stress about sleeping through my alarm. 

So I just made sure we had everything we needed. Girls’ backpacks were packed full of snacks and activities & the suitcase was filled with layers and layers of clothes.

It was pouring rain in LA and we got parked, on the shuttle, and to the airport fine. Ada was happy as a clam as we stood (forever) at the check-in line.

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Lola was happy watching the planes come and go, snacking on a PopTart. 

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We got on the flight, with Matt & Lola sitting in front of Ada & I. The in-flight entertainment was SO worth it! Ada loved it and I got to take some cat naps.

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We landed in Dulles and it was freezing cold! We got the carseats in and scored a free upgrade! Ada said, “I’m just really tired right now.” and put her head to the side and fell asleep!

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I did a little research before our trip and saw that there was a Cafe Rio close to the airport, so we went there. It was incredible, as always!! 

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The next morning, I got up and ready to head up to Mixed Conference at Mountain Lake Resort! The girls were SO tired and still on CA time, so I just kissed their sweet faces goodbye and took pictures of them ;) 

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The drive up to the resort was so peaceful (no kids!) and the fog at the top of the mountain was beautiful. 

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Mixed was such an amazing time! I can’t wait to share with you. We travel home tomorrow and I’ll try to get a recap up as soon as possible. 

How was your weekend? Do anything fun?