01lacasadelcamino-lagunabeach-staycation-travel

Wait, did I just traveled to Spain? Oh no, it's just La Casa Del Camino in Laguna Beach! Oops this place is so charming I forgot where I was!

If you've been following my blog for awhile, you would know that I love to travel whenever I can. And when I can't, I'll take a staycation any day! Laguna Beach is only an hour and a half away and I can't believe I've never been until now. It's pretty small so honestly there isn't too many things to do besides the beach, the infamous pirate tower, cute shops and restaurants, and some hiking trails. This is why a weekend is the perfect amount of time you'd need.

Now back to La Casa Del Camino, shall we? The staff was so friendly and accommodating upon checking in and bonus point for it being dog-friendly too! We stayed in the Quiksilver room with beautiful wood details, unique light fixtures, and high ceiling, overlooking the courtyard. Speaking of courtyard, hands down the best courtyard I've seen since traveling to Europe and I am totally guilty of taking way too many photos there! Breakfast is included and served in the courtyard every morning, it was such a pleasant start of the day! And after a day of exploring and hiking along the coast, we spent the evening at The Rooftop Lounge on top of La Casa Del Camino and caught the most gorgeous sunset. Mark had a red sangria and I had a white sangria (white sangria is hard to come by), and they were equally delicious! And the food, omg, I was so surprised at how good they were! I never have high expectation for casual bar food but the portions were big and that coconut prawns! Oh man, I wish I can have some right now!

Thank you La Casa Del Camino for hosting us and for such a lovely weekend! We (and the pups) can't wait to be back!

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La Casa Del Camino, Laguna Beach

November 15, 2019

01lacasadelcamino-lagunabeach-staycation-travel

Wait, did I just traveled to Spain? Oh no, it's just La Casa Del Camino in Laguna Beach! Oops this place is so charming I forgot where I was!

If you've been following my blog for awhile, you would know that I love to travel whenever I can. And when I can't, I'll take a staycation any day! Laguna Beach is only an hour and a half away and I can't believe I've never been until now. It's pretty small so honestly there isn't too many things to do besides the beach, the infamous pirate tower, cute shops and restaurants, and some hiking trails. This is why a weekend is the perfect amount of time you'd need.

Now back to La Casa Del Camino, shall we? The staff was so friendly and accommodating upon checking in and bonus point for it being dog-friendly too! We stayed in the Quiksilver room with beautiful wood details, unique light fixtures, and high ceiling, overlooking the courtyard. Speaking of courtyard, hands down the best courtyard I've seen since traveling to Europe and I am totally guilty of taking way too many photos there! Breakfast is included and served in the courtyard every morning, it was such a pleasant start of the day! And after a day of exploring and hiking along the coast, we spent the evening at The Rooftop Lounge on top of La Casa Del Camino and caught the most gorgeous sunset. Mark had a red sangria and I had a white sangria (white sangria is hard to come by), and they were equally delicious! And the food, omg, I was so surprised at how good they were! I never have high expectation for casual bar food but the portions were big and that coconut prawns! Oh man, I wish I can have some right now!

Thank you La Casa Del Camino for hosting us and for such a lovely weekend! We (and the pups) can't wait to be back!

02lacasadelcamino-lagunabeach-staycation-travel-style03lacasadelcamino-lagunabeach-staycation-travel-style
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01getaway-bigbear-mountains-outdoor-travel-landscape-photography

I wish I hadn't wait this long to visit Big Bear! Not only is it just 2-3 hours away (depending on LA's unpredictable traffic), there are also plenty to do if you are an outdoor lover like me. We drove into town, actually a nearby town before Big Bear closer to Lake Arrowhead called Running Springs, and checked into our cute little Getaway cabin on a late Friday night. We woke up bright and early to the most beautiful (and unobstructed) view of trees and mountains which we had no idea about since it was completely dark when we arrived. What a pleasant surprise! We made coffee and breakfast on our outdoor gas grill before heading out to Big Bear Lake for a full day of adventure.

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Big Bear Lake Getaway

October 24, 2019

01getaway-bigbear-mountains-outdoor-travel-landscape-photography

I wish I hadn't wait this long to visit Big Bear! Not only is it just 2-3 hours away (depending on LA's unpredictable traffic), there are also plenty to do if you are an outdoor lover like me. We drove into town, actually a nearby town before Big Bear closer to Lake Arrowhead called Running Springs, and checked into our cute little Getaway cabin on a late Friday night. We woke up bright and early to the most beautiful (and unobstructed) view of trees and mountains which we had no idea about since it was completely dark when we arrived. What a pleasant surprise! We made coffee and breakfast on our outdoor gas grill before heading out to Big Bear Lake for a full day of adventure.

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01michigan-annarbor-downtown-theater-landmark-travel

Ann Arbor... What a quaint little town you are! We flew into Detroit on a Wednesday night (more like super early Thursday morning), picked up our awesome 2019 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R Design Volvo kindly let us borrow for the week, and then drove to Ann Arbor which was only a little over half an hour away. We spent a couple of days in Ann Arbor before driving north to Cheboygan to hang out with Mark's family over Labor Day weekend and then we came back down to Ann Arbor for another day before flying back home. Since Mark went to school and lived in Ann Arbor and was working out of his work's Ann Arbor office, I was mostly exploring aimlessly by myself and I feel like I know downtown Ann Arbor like the back of my hand by the second day. I checked out a few different coffee shops, walked around University of Michigan which was sooo beautiful by the way, went to the art museum, and basically just ate A LOT. Oh, I also got another tattoo (I lost count, I think it's my 20th one?) while I was there!

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Where to stay:
Graduate Ann Arbor (Great location, cool lobby, awesome view)

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Where to go:
University of Michigan (Beautiful campus especially Law Quad)
Nickel's Arcade
Liberty Street (Main strip downtown)
Michigan Theater (Cool signage and photo spot)

Travel Guide: Ann Arbor, Michigan

October 17, 2019

01michigan-annarbor-downtown-theater-landmark-travel

Ann Arbor... What a quaint little town you are! We flew into Detroit on a Wednesday night (more like super early Thursday morning), picked up our awesome 2019 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R Design Volvo kindly let us borrow for the week, and then drove to Ann Arbor which was only a little over half an hour away. We spent a couple of days in Ann Arbor before driving north to Cheboygan to hang out with Mark's family over Labor Day weekend and then we came back down to Ann Arbor for another day before flying back home. Since Mark went to school and lived in Ann Arbor and was working out of his work's Ann Arbor office, I was mostly exploring aimlessly by myself and I feel like I know downtown Ann Arbor like the back of my hand by the second day. I checked out a few different coffee shops, walked around University of Michigan which was sooo beautiful by the way, went to the art museum, and basically just ate A LOT. Oh, I also got another tattoo (I lost count, I think it's my 20th one?) while I was there!

06michigan-annarbor-trees-landscape-travel

Where to stay:
Graduate Ann Arbor (Great location, cool lobby, awesome view)

10michigan-annarbor-graduate-hotel-travel
11michigan-annarbor-graduate-hotel-travel-ootd12michigan-annarbor-graduate-hotel-travel-ootd

Where to go:
University of Michigan (Beautiful campus especially Law Quad)
Nickel's Arcade
Liberty Street (Main strip downtown)
Michigan Theater (Cool signage and photo spot)

01mackinacisland-michigan-grandhotel-carriage-travel

While we were up in Northern Michigan over Labor Day weekend, we decided to hop on a ferry and traveled back in time on Mackinac Island. It is located in Lake Huron between Michigan's Upper and Lower Peninsulas.The island was home to an Odawa settlement before European colonization began in the 17th century and in the late 19th century, it became a popular tourist attraction and summer colony. The entire island is listed as a National Historic Landmark and known for its numerous cultural events, its Victorian architecture (including the Grand Hotel), the ban of any type of motor vehicles (there are carriages and bikes!) as well as nature hikes and interested rock formations (Arch Rock, Sugar Loaf Rock and many more).

My first impression upon stepping off the ferry was, "Is this Disneyland?" The main part of town looks a bit like Main Street full of people, carriages and tons of fudge/candy shops! We wandered around there not for long before renting bikes and ventured off on our adventure. We stopped by St. Anne's Church, climbed up to Arch Rock and rode our bikes deep into the island to Sugar Loaf Rock. We had a late lunch at an Jamaican restaurant and the food was incredible! I had the battered fish with a curry slaw and fries and Mark had the jerk chicken which I can't stop stealing bites from!

Last but not least, we ended the day at the Grand Hotel. What a whimsical little place! A lot of its decor and quirkiness definitely reminded me of Wes Anderson. We walked on the largest porch (660 ft) in the world, explored the garden and had a drink up in the Cupola Bar which had the most beautiful view of the island and the Mackinac Bridge!

We almost didn't go to the island due to the fact that it was Labor Day but honestly it wasn't too crowded outside the main area. It was such a fun and strange place and I am so glad I got to experience it (and brought lots of yummy fudge home)!

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Travel Guide: Mackinac Island, Michigan

October 4, 2019

01mackinacisland-michigan-grandhotel-carriage-travel

While we were up in Northern Michigan over Labor Day weekend, we decided to hop on a ferry and traveled back in time on Mackinac Island. It is located in Lake Huron between Michigan's Upper and Lower Peninsulas.The island was home to an Odawa settlement before European colonization began in the 17th century and in the late 19th century, it became a popular tourist attraction and summer colony. The entire island is listed as a National Historic Landmark and known for its numerous cultural events, its Victorian architecture (including the Grand Hotel), the ban of any type of motor vehicles (there are carriages and bikes!) as well as nature hikes and interested rock formations (Arch Rock, Sugar Loaf Rock and many more).

My first impression upon stepping off the ferry was, "Is this Disneyland?" The main part of town looks a bit like Main Street full of people, carriages and tons of fudge/candy shops! We wandered around there not for long before renting bikes and ventured off on our adventure. We stopped by St. Anne's Church, climbed up to Arch Rock and rode our bikes deep into the island to Sugar Loaf Rock. We had a late lunch at an Jamaican restaurant and the food was incredible! I had the battered fish with a curry slaw and fries and Mark had the jerk chicken which I can't stop stealing bites from!

Last but not least, we ended the day at the Grand Hotel. What a whimsical little place! A lot of its decor and quirkiness definitely reminded me of Wes Anderson. We walked on the largest porch (660 ft) in the world, explored the garden and had a drink up in the Cupola Bar which had the most beautiful view of the island and the Mackinac Bridge!

We almost didn't go to the island due to the fact that it was Labor Day but honestly it wasn't too crowded outside the main area. It was such a fun and strange place and I am so glad I got to experience it (and brought lots of yummy fudge home)!

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01fall-autumn-recipe-hot-apple-cider-drinks-food

Happy October! Oh my goodness... Is it really October? Fall is my favorite time of the year but since we don't get much of that here in LA, I have to "create" it by using pumpkin decorations, lighting candles, and cooking up some autumnal favorites. One of which is hot apple cider. Sure you can buy already-made apple cider at the store BUT homemade apple cider is incredibly easy to make and it tastes a thousand times better! Have I sold it to you yet? All you need are apples, an orange, some cinnamon sticks, cloves, sugar and water... and well, time. This recipe does require 6-7 hours of slow cooking time so make sure you do this in the morning and by the evening you'd be sipping some delicious hot apple cider.

02fall-autumn-apples-style-ootd
03fall-autumn-recipe-hot-apple-cider-drinks-food

Ingredients:
- 10 apples (use a mix of honeycrisp, fuji, and granny smith)
- 1 orange
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 2 tsp of cloves
- white sugar
- water

Directions:
1. Rinse apples and cut them into quarters (don't worry about removing seeds/stems, you'll strain later). Put them into a dutch oven or a large pot.
2. Slice the orange, add to pot.
3. Place the 3 cinnamon sticks and 2 tsp of cloves into the pot.
4. Add about 1/2 cup of sugar (you can add more later if you want it to be sweeter).
5. Add cold water, just enough to cover the fruits.
6. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for 5-6 hours.
7. After a few hours, the fruits should be soft. Mash them up and continue cooking for another hour.
8. Slowly strain everything through a mesh sieve into another pot or pitcher.
9. Serve the cider warm!

* Drink as it or spike it up with your favorite liquor such as bourbon or brandy!

04fall-autumn-recipe-hot-apple-cider-drinks-food
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Fall Recipe: Homemade Hot Apple Cider

October 1, 2019

01fall-autumn-recipe-hot-apple-cider-drinks-food

Happy October! Oh my goodness... Is it really October? Fall is my favorite time of the year but since we don't get much of that here in LA, I have to "create" it by using pumpkin decorations, lighting candles, and cooking up some autumnal favorites. One of which is hot apple cider. Sure you can buy already-made apple cider at the store BUT homemade apple cider is incredibly easy to make and it tastes a thousand times better! Have I sold it to you yet? All you need are apples, an orange, some cinnamon sticks, cloves, sugar and water... and well, time. This recipe does require 6-7 hours of slow cooking time so make sure you do this in the morning and by the evening you'd be sipping some delicious hot apple cider.

02fall-autumn-apples-style-ootd
03fall-autumn-recipe-hot-apple-cider-drinks-food

Ingredients:
- 10 apples (use a mix of honeycrisp, fuji, and granny smith)
- 1 orange
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 2 tsp of cloves
- white sugar
- water

Directions:
1. Rinse apples and cut them into quarters (don't worry about removing seeds/stems, you'll strain later). Put them into a dutch oven or a large pot.
2. Slice the orange, add to pot.
3. Place the 3 cinnamon sticks and 2 tsp of cloves into the pot.
4. Add about 1/2 cup of sugar (you can add more later if you want it to be sweeter).
5. Add cold water, just enough to cover the fruits.
6. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for 5-6 hours.
7. After a few hours, the fruits should be soft. Mash them up and continue cooking for another hour.
8. Slowly strain everything through a mesh sieve into another pot or pitcher.
9. Serve the cider warm!

* Drink as it or spike it up with your favorite liquor such as bourbon or brandy!

04fall-autumn-recipe-hot-apple-cider-drinks-food
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