day 2 // slowing down in Santa Rosa

After the hustle and bustle of yesterday, it was great to go at a slower pace today. We woke up unusually early  and eventually rolled out for breakfast. We hit up a cute local place in Santa Rosa, some Cafe Croissant, for bagels and croissants. It was there I found out I’m not a fan of bagels with burnt garlic shavings on the side (-:
My bad, next time I’ll order what J got [a delicious looking croissant with cheddar cheese and basically every breakfast meat possible.]
After breakfast, we hit up a local Target [they’re everywhere and I love it] to stock up on supplies for our next excursion to Tahoe. 
2 things I learned about Cali Targets today [or at least, Santa Rosa Targets]:
  1. They charge extra for plastic bags. Even then, the bags are super thick and nice and look like they’re supposed to be used again. Gold star for California for being eco conscious.
  2. They control their shopping cards with magnets! We saw a sign that told us that the carts would “lock” past a certain point, and lock they did. It was rather surprising and confusing and I didn’t know what to do. But apparently they do this so the homeless don’t take the carts. Ha.
We then headed to Aunt Linda’s for a reunion with J’s favorite red-headed cousin [someone I’ve grown close with over the past 3 years or so who I’ll  be referring to as “raspberry Jam” [for reasons inside joke-y and otherwise XD]. I met a few more of J’s relatives and they made us a delicious dinner of BBQ, potato salad, veggie kabobs, fruit salad [always my fave] and ice cream sundaes for dessert.
We caught up after dinner and tried to plan for tomorrow. Somewhere during that, we broke a wine glass, J’s mom got stung by a yellow jacket, and we unearthed a treasure trove of hand puppets. 
Soon after J and I left with Jam and her dad [a legendary man to which we refer as “Ted Hair”] to her house to help her pack and so J could gather some clothes he left while visiting a while ago [the articles of clothing I believe were parts of a mermaid costume…. don’t ask…. XD]  I’d never been to Jam’s house before and the reality that keeps coming up is that in order to live in California you a) have to rent places or 2) have to be rich. Which is so true– Jam rents her place, a really cute towering yellow house hidden beyond winding roads and towering redwoods.
On our way there, we drove those winding roads [the lines on the road are actually drawn with raised, yellow/white reflective dots about the size of halved baseballs– something I’m not used to because in VA we get all four seasons and when it snows we gotta plow so having 3D reflectors isn’t the best idea to have], went over a bridge that had a spectacular view of towering redwoods [see above!], and I realized that vineyards are common as HECK out here, and it’s not limited to Sonoma County either. It was gorgeous nonetheless. The Fray and Ed Sheeran were bumping through the car stereo and it was perfect as we whizzed by the mountains and vineyards. 
After Jam was all packed [she gifted me with a Forestville CA sweatshirt– 1st article of clothing from the West Coast :D!!!!!!!], we headed back towards a baseball field in Windsor to watch a cousin’s championship softball game. We got to the field to early, however, so we hit up Starbucks in the town square first. 
Skip ahead 9 innings and J’s cousin lost his game. But we made kick-ass fan signs for him, found a baby froggy, and ate delicious strawberry rhubarb cupcakes! (:
What an OP spider web *heart eyes*
ft. Jam’s lovely manicured hand 
Named “Squeezer” by J’s little bro because he “squeezed” through all of our hands to escape capture [the poor guy.]
I feel like a grandma as I’m super tired and it’s only 9:00pm here [though my laptop insists it’s midnight still]. 

Tahoe bound tomorrow, let sweet slumber call my name pls. 
Til next time, 

day 1 // a golden state of mind

The day started early. Too early. 3:30AM, to be exact. In a mild rush we left the house to speed along the ghost town parkways that eventually took us to the airport.
Once we were there, we headed over to TSA to get it over with ahead hour-ish early so we found ourselves in a line at Starbucks with a couple of flight attendants who were talking about how they “just made it to work” and I started to wonder what the life of a flight attendant might look like. I personally think I’d like it because you get to travel all over, but then J said you’d probably have to spend more time than you’d like on planes and at airports. I’m gonna wait until I find/read an honest blog about the flight attendant life style before I make a verdict (;
We ended up bending the rules a bit when we started boarding– J’s mom had all our tickets so we ended up in the same boarding group regardless. As we got our tickets scanned I made a swift mood towards the boarding dock. There’s a part of me that is a strict rule follower and likes everything to be in order. We’re allowed a certain sized suitcase for a carry on and then a smaller bag to keep with us at our feet so naturally I hard-core measured my wheel-y suitcase to make sure I was within United guidelines. I was, barely.
As they called us to board I heard a woman say “can someone please check her bag…?”
But I just uh
Kept walking because I was not about to pay to check my luggage.
We got on the plane and not gonna lie, fitting everything above us [esp. my bag–whatever–] was a mild struggle. But it worked out in the end. I’ve honestly never ridden a plane for longer than 2 hours [in my adult life] so the 5 hour flight took me a bit by surprise. If you’re not by the window, sleeping is hard. But J and I tried anyway, in every sitting position you could think of.
Once we landed [around 8:30ish AM], I saw my phone’s clock jump back 3 hours. We left the airport with the intention of going to J’s mom’s cousin’s house, however we had to take some mild detours because you can’t just land in San Francisco and not see San Francisco. XD
We put the pedal to the metal up the legendary hills of this crazy city [I don’t understand how people PARK on the side of MOUNTAINS like omg] and cruised up to the Twin Peaks. Couldn’t resist because apparently it was a super clear day and they’re normally covered in fog otherwise.

We drove pretty far up and stopped for pictures– I was not, however, prepared for the huge gusts of wind and FIFTY DEGREE FARENHEIT weather, esp. after hitting the upper 90’s back home in the past couple days.

Needless to say, the view was… astonishing. Breathtaking. I’ll let the pics speak for themselves:

We then took a drive over the Golden Gate bridge and stopped off to admire it at one of the lookout points just beyond.

Again, speechless.

Because we hadn’t really eaten anything since a brownie J and I shared at the airport, we were kinda starving so we met up with J’s extended fam [owners of the place we’d be staying at for a couple nights] at Mary’s Pizza Shack in Santa Rosa. We ordered BBQ chicken [J’s fave!] and it was *heavenly*.

When we arrived at J’s mom’s cousins, we started the hunt for new rental properties, as the wildfires near Yosemite have only seemed to intensify [the fire jumped TWO HIGHWAYS like what????]
After what seems like hours of surfing AirBnB, we found a place up in Truckee, near Tahoe, so we’ll probably be adventuring up there the day after next if the smoke isn’t too bad.

To relieve ourselves from searching and to fuel some hunger, we made a trip to Paradise Ridge Vineyards for wine tasting and chic food truck food. We also scored some home-made artisan cookies, so there’s that.

The atmosphere was probably the coolest part about this place, though. Upon entering, you saw a sign saying “Welcome to Paradise” [ha, get it] and I didn’t really believe it until the sun started to set over the vineyard. There were great scenic overlooks, rails to lean against and tables that granted us a spectacular view of the mountains in the distance and the vineyards below. There was even a platform where a small, jazzy band of mostly elderly members were playing older classics [that also managed to give me some PTSD from working at the Italian restaurant] like a jazzy rendition of “Route 66” [when we first walked in] “Try a Little Tenderness”, and “Save the Last Dance for Me”. There were people old and young dancing, and one elderly couple in particular was KILLING IT on the dance floor. It was so sweet.

“A flask of wine, a book of verse, and thou beside me singing in the wilderness – Ah wilderness, were Paradise enow!”

After eating and soaking up the sunset [these pics can’t even begin to convey it] we visited the sculpture garden nearby. We found some sculptures AND some llamas- dunno if they were wild or not… We tried to get close to them to take pics and try to pet them but they kept galloping away. Oh well, next time.

We then stopped to take pictures with the “L O V E” letters and pet a multi-poo on the way out. The radio was cranked up and “Brighter than the Sun” by Colbie Caillat was blasting, followed by “Roller Coaster” by Bon Jovi.

We’re currently fighting off being completely consumed by tiredness, but it was a fantastic first day.

Til next time,

day 0 // waffle fries & wildfires

I know it hasn’t officially started yet, but I’m on the verge of exploding from excitement so I have to start my cali cruising blog series now. [writer’s block shall be no more! For a couple weeks, anyway…]

Let me back up– tomorrow I get on a plane at 5am and head to the West Coast with J for the first time ever. [Well, maybe I went when I was little but I have no memory of it]. We are scheduled to stay at a family member’s house, and then to stay at an AirBnB right near Yosemite, all over the span of two weeks. I say scheduled. I’ll get to that later. Ha.

I rolled out of bed today feeling sore [I think I’m secretly one of those people who does parkour in their sleep and then wakes up regretting it] and practically packed on and off throughout the day. I’m on of those people who tends to WAYYYY overpack for trips/vacations so I challenged myself to not bring past 12 articles of clothing [excluding sleepwear and underwear lol]. I feel guilty but accomplished at the same time, as I hit 16 articles… but my carry on small bag is a chic small black backpack that holds very little! Honestly, a step up for me.

Anyway. Evening approached and I was whisked away to a Chick fil A and then to J’s place where we’ll stay until we have to wake up at the crack of ass barely even dawn to hop on a plane to head over to the Golden Coast. I got some killer pics of the sky as we were wandering around and helping J’s mom finish up packing.

Approximately 30 minutes ago, I find out that our later place of residence [near Yosemite] is in the middle of a current raging wildfire zone. (-: Though we weren’t scheduled to arrive in that location until Friday, it’s been raging since Sunday and it’s [apparently] only 5% contained.

See the little bit of green right above the letter “o” in the word denoting “Mariposa” on the map? HA that’s where our AirBnB is. (-:

Needless to say, this will be interesting. Please enjoy some nice pictures from J’s mom’s house and please send us some prayers that we/our house doesn’t burn down in the meantime.

I am also debating whether to stay up until we leave the house [3:30am] or to sleep…. 😳