It has long since been a dream of mine to live in Pasadena.
I’ve always felt a certain kinship with that beautiful city that I just don’t feel with most LA towns. Sure, the summers are nearly 4 million degrees. And maybe they get hit with the same lovely Santa Ana winds that I grew up with in Simi (ugh). And maybe, just maybe, it’s a tad bit pricey to live there. SO WHAT! I am in love with Pasadena and I don’t care who knows it! (insert Elf reference here).
Since John works in one of the umm, finer? (g h e t t o) parts of Los Angeles, we knew our search for a place close (but not too close) to his office had to be on the outskirts of town. Imagine my sheer joy when after a quick Google mapping, I realized that his workplace is less than ten miles away from my DREAM CITY. Booyah! Instantly I was envisioning the way I would decorate our new home. I was fantasizing about Sunday morning walks to Colorado Blvd for brunch. I was torn between which local coffee shop I would get some work done at first. This is was happening! We were moving there ASAP, as far as I was concerned.
Needless to say, our search turned out to be tougher than we anticipated…and we’re not even in the market to buy! (How anyone can lock down – much less afford! – a house in California these days is a feat that I just cannot wrap my brain around). We viewed many properties and fell in love with nearly all of them. We applied as fast as we could and were always beaten out by other eager renters. We continued to get our hopes up over + over again. There may have even been a few tears involved (not of the John variety). We reluctantly extended our search beyond the Pasadena borders and I felt so bummed about it that I took a self-imposed Craigslist sabbatical.
But then, in a moment of weakness / genius, I decided to revisit the listings to see what was new and it turned out to be my best decision yet. I booked the first appointment available to see a beautiful apartment in person and in turn, landed us a Pasadena address. We get the keys six days before our wedding…! The timing could not be better or worse (depending on how you want to look at it), but just like the heat, the winds, and high costs, I am blissfully ignorant. Pasadena, here we come!
This past weekend my brother graduated from college with a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering, so we spent the better part of Saturday exploring the Cal Poly Pomona campus (beautiful!), taking tons of photos (740 to be exact…lord help my hard drive!), and celebrating Andy’s hard-earned accomplishment (heyyyy, brother). It was a reminder of the good things in my life: lots of walking under the California sunshine, big camera + empty SD card in hand, quality family time, an opportunity to wear a new dress + a giant hat, lots of laughter, exploring a new-to-me place, and a chocolate chip Pizookie for good measure.
Not only is my brother a whip smart, hilarious, human calculator, but he is also one of my best friends. Cheers to all your successes, Andy!
It’s really no secret by now that San Diego has a hold on me. It truly is my ultimate happy place and I can’t quite shake the feeling that it’s where I want to settle down. Eventually I’ll convince John that we need to move back down there, but until then, I’ll just keep visiting. A LOT.
One of my favorite spots in San Diego is Balboa Park. I’m absolutely in love with this place. Not only is the location (perched above the bay + downtown) ideal, but the sheer size of it is incredible! It’s home to a wide variety of museums, restaurants, and even the world famous zoo (all of which I highly recommend).
On Wednesday afternoon, I had time to kill between visiting Elise and trying to avoid rush hour traffic, so I spent a few hours wandering around the park and pausing to snap a photo every five feet. Even though I’ve been to Balboa Park countless times, I discover something new with each + every visit…the park is THAT big.
This trip, I finally found the walkway that crosses the insanely beautiful Cabrillo Bridge. It stands high above the 163 freeway and offers the most amazing bird’s eye views of the lush San Diego landscape (I may or may not have let out an embarrassingly audible gasp upon first glimpse).
I don’t know if it was the thrill of a new discovery or the cozy marine layer creeping in from the bay or just the fact that I took the late afternoon to myself, but I felt so happy standing there in Balboa Park. San Diego, you are my fave.
P.S. If you’re wondering if I ever wear anything other than that black + white dress, the answer is a resounding…NO. (ha!)
There’s really nothing in this world that I love more than a good treasure hunting excursion (obviously). I mean, what could possibly be more fun than digging through others’ discarded junk and giving it new life?! (Uh, just about EVERYTHING is more fun than that, my mom would say – ha!) Thrift stores, flea markets, garage sales – bring it on! So on the fourth Sunday of every month, I love to attend the Topanga Vintage Market in the San Fernando Valley. This market hosts a wide variety of vendors + vintage products in all different price ranges. Of course I’m always on the lookout for unique glass + tableware, but even if I don’t buy anything, it’s worth it for the visual inspiration alone! Here are a few of the awesome items I spotted the last time I attended:
One of these days, I want to purchase a giant sign like this and work it into a lush outdoor landscape. I love when urban + natural aesthetics collide, a la my beloved Grow.
The wooden crate! The orange tackle box! The yellow lawn chair! Everything about this photo makes me want to dig in.
If I had a few kids + a few hundred spare dollars, I would definitely snatch these chairs up and put them in a playroom or on a patio for outdoor dining. You could even use one as a place to stack books or blankets! Aren’t the colors just perfection?
These handcrafted glass beaded necklaces are amazing. Not only would they be great for wearing, but they would also look fantastic if they were tied into a loose knot and displayed on a dresser or coffee table. So many possibilities in so many beautiful colors!
P.S. If you make it to the market, be sure to stop by booth F-20 and say hello to my lovely future in-laws! (:
What are your favorite things to look for when you go treasure hunting?
San Luis Obispo has a way of making me regret filling in “Architecture” as my major of choice on my Cal Poly application back when I was eighteen. I mean, architecture, Ann-Marie??? Really??? Needless to say, I did not spend my college years in endlessly charming SLO. (I spent them in endlessly charming San Diego, so I’ll survive.) But now that I have long since graduated (sans architecture degree) and scored myself a cute fiance, San Luis Obispo is the perfect place for two twenty-somethings looking for a weekend adventure. Because when you break it down, this town has it all: beauty, brains, and a whole lot of thrifting! We’ll be back soon, SLO…
When Saturday rolls around and John and I are looking for a fun way to spend the afternoon, Ventura often seems to top our list of places to go. And why not? It’s such an underrated little beach town so close to where we live. The weather is always nice, the parking is always plentiful and FREE (take note, LA!), and there are so many fantastic thrift shops on Main Street that we could spend hours wandering though. Oh, and we’re totally getting married there in October! Needless to say, we love it.
On the way home, we stopped at our wedding venue to see what it looks like at night. Despite my previous concerns that the lighting wouldn’t jive with my vision, I am happy to report, it looks SO GOOD! Warm, cozy, and ready for an all-night fiesta! Am I killing you with the wedding stuff yet? My apologies friends, but we’ve got a loooong (but not that long – ahh!) way to go! And speaking of wedding stuff, lately I’ve been sending e-mails with potential vow material to myself whenever a poignant thought crosses my mind. This includes, but is not limited to, grabbing my phone to write out my thoughts in the middle of the night while still half-dreaming (nightmaring?) about arriving at the ceremony only to realize that I forgot to write any vows…! (P.S. I woke up the next morning to some surprisingly decent work!) I am LITERALLY writing these vows with my eyes closed. If only the rest of the wedding planning could be so easy!