Surprise Trip to Southern California | Summer Bucket List

The kiddos are on their 3rd week back to school and although it's been nice getting into a regular routine and being able to work without interruptions, sometimes the school grind has me missing the lazy days of summer.  The heat in Las Vegas has not let up, so carpooling and driving back and forth in 105+ degrees is the worse!! So, it make me so happy that we were able to squeeze in one more super quick trip before school started earlier this month.  

Ever since Diego started school we've taken a beach trip to Southern California in August as our end of summer/back to school trip. We had such a  busy summer this year that we just didn't think the trip would happen.  We told the kids and they were totally fine with it  But, It's been our tradition for years and I still wanted to make the trip happen! I decided to redeem some of our Hilton Honors Rewards points for the hotel and drive out to SoCal on Friday morning and head back Sunday!

Since the kids didn't think it was happening, we thought it would be fun to surprise them! For the past few years we've added a "mystery activity" to our yearly Summer Bucket List and they've been simple things like mini golf with friends and driving out to get ice cream.  Well, we totally surprised them Friday morning when we woke them up to our favorite California song! You can listen to it HERE ;)  Elysse got it pretty quickly and started jumping up and down and ran into Diego's room yelling, "We're going to California! It's our mystery surprise!" It was a pretty funny moment!  We had packed the car beforehand, so we had them get in the car in PJs and change when we got there. It was epic. 

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And just like that, 4 hours later, we were sitting on the beach under our umbrella in Crystal Cove State Park in Newport Beach, CA! The kids had a great time boogie boarding, building sandcastles, and just playing in the water.  Once everyone started getting tired, we packed up and headed to our hotel to shower and grab some dinner.  We were all beat after our long day on Saturday, so we slept in Sunday morning and took our time checking out.  We decided to hit the beach again, this time making our way towards L.A. and hanging out in Venice Beach for a bit. Jason and Diego skateboarded along the boardwalk and Elysse and I hung out at the beach.  The boys joined us after a bit and we stayed a little longer but we didn't stay too long since we were driving back to Vegas.  

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It was definitely a whirlwind trip but it was still a good time and we made some fun memories together, which is always the best.  The kids were so appreciative of their surprise trip and kept thanking us.  I'm so glad we made it work and didn't break one of our family traditions.  Now, I hope the kids don't expect us to top this "mystery activity" next year! LOL

What traditions do you have with your family? Have you ever had to break a tradition? How do you keep them going year after year?  

Southern California Getaway

Earlier this month we got invited to our friends, Linda & Sean's wedding in Orange County, California.  My sister & her hubs (the Riveras) were also invited, plus it was a kid-free wedding, can you say "Road Trip!" 

We left early Friday afternoon and made it in time for dinner out there.  Every time we're in the area, Jason and I try to make it out to our favorite sushi spot, Orange Roll and Sushi, and knew the Riveras would love it too!  It did not disappoint!  It was the perfect way to start our weekend! 

The wedding was on Saturday (12-13-14) at 4pm, so we got an early start to our day with a workout in the hotel's gym before making our way to Newport Beach & Huntington Beach.  The weather was perfect and we had a great time relaxing and enjoying the California sunshine and taking in the ocean breeze!  Before we knew it, it was time to get dolled up for the wedding.  I gotta say, as wedding photographers, being guests at a wedding was such a treat.  I got to dress up in a fancy dress, wear heals, and makeup!  We only took our handy little Fuji x100S point & shoot camera and enjoyed the evening drinking, dancing, and mingling!   

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Sunday was our last day before heading back home and I had scheduled a photo shoot in Laguna Beach while we were there.  I got to photograph a gorgeous couple in such a fun location, while the rest of the crew enjoyed the sights.  I caught up to them after my session and we all walked along the beach for a bit together before it was time to say "till next time" to lovely SoCal!  Ya'll know I love my kids, but getting away for a couple of days to recharge, is a must in my book!  I am so grateful we got to relax, enjoy uninterrupted adult conversation, and make some fun memories with friends and family.  


Wine Tasting | Temecula, CA

What do you do when your Spartan Sprint Race gets canceled in Temecula?  You go wine tasting, of course!  At least, that's what we chose to do and it was a ton of fun.  Not as much fun as running a Spartan Race, but a very close second ;) 

Paleo Breakfast Bowl for the win! 

Paleo Breakfast Bowl for the win! 

Jason and I started our day off with a yummy breakfast at E.A.T. Marketplace in downtown Temecula.  I was very excited to finally get to try it out.  I'd been following them on Instagram and swooning over their yummy organic, locally raised foods.  I especially loved that they offer Paleo-friendly options!  We met up with our teammates after breakfast and since we were all still bummed out - them about not being able to race at all that weekend and me about not getting my trifecta like I planned -we drowned our sorrows in wine tasting!  

We started at the hubs and mine's favorite winery in Temecula, Wiens Family Cellars.  They did not disappoint and we even became wine club members (again!).  Our next stop was Lorimar Winery, which we had not visited before.  The grounds were so pretty and the tasting was a ton of fun there too!  At this point, we all agreed some food was needed so we made our way to Ponte Winery's restaurant and ate al fesco & enjoyed fun conversation and a beautiful view!  Of course, we couldn't leave without trying some of their wines too :) 

Forgive the blurry picture, our wine pourer maybe had a few herself behind the counter ;) J/K hubs had the camera set on manual focus- FAIL! 

Forgive the blurry picture, our wine pourer maybe had a few herself behind the counter ;) J/K hubs had the camera set on manual focus- FAIL! 

This was definitely our motto for the day! 

This was definitely our motto for the day! 

Flor, how was that mediterranean wrap?!!? LOL 

Flor, how was that mediterranean wrap?!!? LOL 

Our last winery visit was Mount Palomar.  This of course, was after a lovely nap and freshening up for dinner afterwards.  We spent a long time in their cozy tasting room and were starving when done, so we made our way to a yummy Italian restaurant, Trattoria Toscana.  Thanks To Yelp for all the great reviews, this place was delish and the perfect way to end the day!  

Not Paleo. Not Sorry. So worth the indulgence!  Homemade pasta & pasta sauces!  Mmmmm

Not Paleo. Not Sorry. So worth the indulgence!  Homemade pasta & pasta sauces!  Mmmmm

So, yea we totally made the best of a not-so-good-kinda-crappy situation and we've got lots of wine to prove it!  It's not a Spartan Trifecta medal, but that will come soon too, I'm sure of it :)