February

At Home Date Nights

It’s February the month of love. This year, our time is quite limited due to our work, but also interest. We love staying home. Usually, around this time of year, I’d have some cute craft for you lined up for the blog, but my intentions with my blog is headed to a different direction with intention with highlighting family life, and daily lifestyle. As I’ve evolved into a working mom, my time isn’t as flexible doing crafts (although I do miss, the occasional colored craft paper, and handprint paint). However, my time now prioritized through making high quality memories with my family. Let’s start with how I’ll be spending Valentine’s Day with my husband this week.

Both my husband and myself are introverts. We love our home. We love staying home. And will choose over mostly anything to stay home. That’s why we invest in our home to make the most comfortable base for us as a family. Investing in comfortable couches, having just the right amount of throw pillows, and the coziest throw blankets ever. Everything down to what we eat off of. Our plates and dishes cultivate the right amount of love and high end experience to living. Eating from nice decorative dishes (Majority thrifted btw!) all create peace, harmony, love and intention. We love it. And that’s all that matters.

We love our home, we love staying home… All because we’ve created it for us.

This Valentine’s Dinner, will consist of staying home. Obviously, being on a work/school night, we’ll be avoiding the crowds, and Hallmark marketed day, staying in our humble abode, and preparing a nice warm meal candle light and wine added.

Usually, on weekends the husband and I enjoy a cheeseboard either in the late afternoons before dinner, or later the evening when the children are down, and we want to watching a Netflix comedy special or two..

Above is a spread we’ve been loving for quite some time. The cheese board includes:

  • Pears
  • Red Seedless Grapes
  • Dried Apricots
  • Almonds
  • Italian Dry Salami
  • Rosemary/Olive Oil Flavored Crackers
  • Cheese: Brie

When it comes to dinner, this is a typical dinner we usually do on weekdays. Chicken has been our go to meat in our household. Anything from chicken thighs (boneless & bone in), or chicken tenders. We refrain from going Chicken Breast, because in all honesty, it is way too d r y.

Meat:
We prepare our chicken thigh (in this case, above shown picture is bone in chicken thigh.) And we’ll just season it up, and bake it on a baking tray for 45-50mins at 390. Then broil for 3mins at the end, for that extra crispy skin.

Salad:
Salads are the perfect pair to every meal in our kitchen. There is no way, in an entire day we don’t go a day without eating vegetables. It’s all about how you flavor it up! It’s not always about the dressing. My husband loves sliced Golden Greek Peperoncinis sprinkled in our salads, It adds a little crunch, as well as a zing to every bite. In addition we chop of tomatoes, radish, flavor bomb red onions, and also add some crumbles of feta cheese.

Dressing:
Home made.

It’s been a really really long time since the last time I’ve purchased a salad dressing from the grocery store. Thanks to my sister-in-law who currently live’s in Paris, France, she’s taught us a few recipes on easy go to salad dressings with everyday ingredients you already have.

Ingredients:

  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Chopped Garlic
  • Basil
  • And a secret his secret ingredient. Which he doesn’t want me to share. LMAO.

Staying in at home isn’t just all about saving money. But also who the individuals are. My husband and I have no problem skipping out on the holiday and creating a special dinner on our own, at home. Being able to be in our own kitchen preparing a meal for ourselves creates a more intimate and delightful evening between us two.

Are you and your special someone just like me and my husband? Do you love staying in? Avoiding the crowds? And invest in your home? Comment below! I’d love to read your “stay-at-home” Valentine’S Day Date ideas!

Santa Cruz Weekend

Last weekend my husband and I enjoyed President’s Day weekend in Santa Cruz, CA to celebrate out 16 year anniversary! That’s right, highschool sweethearts, turned parents, to now husband and wife. It sounds crazy and out of order, but we love it! It’s us!!! We’ve been together so long that it’s a clear come every anniversary (Feb 15th) the day after Valentine’s, we’ll usually plan a getaway for us to relax, and enjoy each others company. This year, since we’re now residing in Sacramento, and due to the last minute planning of our trip, we couldn’t branch out as far as we wanted with the time frame give. But Santa Cruz, has always been a favorite, so check out every year or so. This time….Without the kids.

Where we stayed:

Hotel Paradox

Address:

611 Ocean St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

As we arrived to Hotel Paradox, we were welcomed to an awesome florescent sign at the front of the hotel. Modern lighting sitting against a cemented wall, leading you into a chic boutique hotel. My husband and I walked into the lobby and were greeted by the front desk, which was behind a huge fallen eucalyptus tree, as the reception desk. What a great wow factor!!!!!

Now I can go on with all the adorable swanky details in the hotel. From the succulent floor markers, clean poolside cabanas, heat lamps, the gorgeous fire pit, and tasty food. Hotel Paradox is your Santa Cruz hipster heaven of reclaimed wood and sleek design touches.

With just a short walk through San Lorenzo Park located right behind the hotel, you don’t need to worry about driving and finding parking downtown. My husband and I walked majority of the time of our stay. An amazing PLUS, it was walking distance to Trader Joes, Rite Aid, and also a Whole Foods!!

Hotel Paradox is such a great home base location for tourist. Since it wasn’t the season for the beach, the Boardwalk wasn’t an attraction to check out. But, if it were the season, there’s a shuttle to the Boardwalk!!!

The following day we walked through the park, and over the river which took us directly to downtown Santa Cruz. We started each morning with coffee from Santa Cruz’s coffee roaster, the Verve.

Verve locations we checked out:

Pacific Avenue

Address:

1540 Pacific Ave.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Seabright

Address:

104 Bronson St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95062

 

If you’re a coffee drinker or not, Verve is a Santa Cruz must!!! The coffee is amazing and the atmosphere is great at every location. Their latte is smooth and rich, and their coffee is definitely high quality. I do recall my husband saying their pour over was $7, which is ridiculously expensive, maybe because it’s their higher quality bean, on top of being a touristy spot. Overall, the Verve will serve you well, if you pay them a visit. I’d compare them to Blue Bottle or Temple if you’re familiar with your California coffee roasters.

We explored through Pacific Ave. as we shopped at local novelty shops, book stores, and even got to catch a movie at the Regal movie theater. There would be pockets of time, were we even walked back to the hotel for a small cat nap/recharge (times we usually don’t get while having children!)

Evenings were fun, as my husband and I would start drinking close to dinner time, and bar hop. One night we hung around Joe’s Pizza & Subs to catch the NBA All Star game. After a couple beers, and pizza slices, we found ourselves at Penny Ice Creamery.

The Penny Ice Creamery 

Address:

913 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
When talking about Santa Cruz with friends, I’m sure somewhere in the conversation The Penny Ice Creamery will be mentioned. Their delicious artisinal ice cream made from scratch, and toasted marshmallow fluff, is what gives The Penny Ice Creamery all hype it deserves. With it being the only ice cream shop in Santa Cruz making small batches in house – this ice cream shop has that distinctive edge.
Open daily til 11pm (Cedar St.) this is the original location for The Penny Ice Creamery. I was able to try the Dark Chocolate Sorbet and Tahitian Vanilla with the marshmallow toasted fluff. Fresh and flavorful,  you can’t really go wrong here. When it comes to fresh ice cream, it all the texture and taste, which beats out store-bought. Coming in, I knew the marshmallow fluff would be on the sweet side, so I paired it was simple yet decadent classic favors. If enjoying a junior sized waffle cone, double scoop ice cream with warm toasted fluff, buzzed at 10pm on Sunday means not being an adult, we cannot be friends.
Along with many cities I’ve visited within the past 2 years, Santa Cruz has a special place in my heart. Only one hour away from San Jose, going straight down I-17, Santa Cruz has the beach, coffee, and small town feel….California at it’s best small scale. It’s no San Diego, but it makes the Bay Area natives, and people from all over visit SC to relish it for its beach town vibe, and family owned businesses. 
 

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