Palm Springs.

My mom and I took a short two day trip to Palm Desert & Palm Springs last weekend. Girl’s trip! She wanted to go, hang out, and take me shopping to celebrate Adam & my upcoming nuptials! Who am I to say no to that?!

First off, let me begin by saying that our trip was very relaxed, due to the fact that I have bronchitis. Who gets sick in May? This girl. So, between overdosing on DayQuil & Mucinex, excessively coughing, and constantly blowing my nose we still managed to have a fun little trip!

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My dad booked our hotel for us, and we stayed at the J.W. Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Desert. Fancy, fancy! The resort was beautiful, the grounds were immaculate, the rooms were extremely clean, and the food and drinks were delicious. You cannot ask for much more than that.

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Desert Springs is approximately 14 miles from Downtown Palm Springs. A quick 20 minute drive through Cathedral City and we arrived in downtown Palm Springs! What a neat little town! The architecture takes you back in time! It looks like it was all built in the 1950’s, complete with the pink and teal accent colors. Super cute.

We began our day by eating at Cheeky’s. Do not go to Palm Springs and miss out on the food at Cheeky’s. Yes, there will be a wait; yes, the wait is worth it. Cheeky’s is open from 8:00 AM- 2:00 PM everyday except Tuesday. Breakfast is served all day, and lunch is served starting at 11:30 PM. Best part? The menu changes weekly! Honestly, I would return to Palm Springs just to eat at Cheeky’s again.

There is no shortage of shopping in Downtown Palm Springs! Adorable and affordable little boutique shops line the main drag. A few of my favorites? Paperdolls Boutique, Lush Boutique (everything in the store is $16.99- woah), Diane’s Beachwear, Ooo La La, and Shoe La La.

PS. You can follow Paperdolls Boutique on Instagram- and they ship their products!


Near Palm Springs is the mecca of outlet shopping malls:  The Desert Hills Premium Outlets. The outlets are located in Cabazon off the I-10. I’m sure most people have seen these outlets and passed them to and from LA.

(The crowds here are a bummer, not going to lie. And filled with people who like to stop directly in front of you when you are walking.)

But, if you can get over the crowds, this place is filled with great stores and great deals! High-end designers such as Coach, Michael Kors, Kate Space, Gucci, Burberry, DVF, Dolce & Gabbana, Dooney & Bourke, Fendi, Prada and Jimmy Choo attract large crowds. Other great stores present at the Desert Hills Premium Outlets include, but are not limited to:  J. Crew Factory Outlet, Nike Factory Store, Levi’s, Banana Republic, TOMS, Aldo, American Eagle, BCBG, Hugo Boss, DKNY, Lululemon, Express, Fossil, Joe’s, and Lucky Brand.

Piece of advice: It is very windy! So, don’t do your hair all nice or anything & bring a sweater!


Overall it was a great weekend with mi madre!

Palm Springs is a cute town and the J.W. Marriott was a beautiful place to stay. But, this is not a destination I would frequent often. Except if I want a solid weekend to do some damage shopping!

San Diego Brewskies.

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First, let me get this out of the way, I love beer. Adam constantly reminds me that I am a rare find; I’m a girl who will only drink IPAs and sours. He is very proud of this (it’s the little things- ya know what I mean?).

Living in Phoenix, means we are just about a five hour drive to San Diego. While we love Southern California, and would love to live there, we don’t love the cost of living. So, we settle for our semiannual trips to San Diego. While in San Diego (obviously I’m saying this in a Ron Burgandy accent) we enjoy the beach, the sunshine, and above all- the craft beer.

Southern California, and especially San Diego, is known for their craft beer. So PLEASE, do not make a trip to San Diego without visiting at least one of these fantastic breweries!

Mike Hess

  • GO HERE, seriously.
  • There are three locations:  North Park, Ocean Beach, and Miramar. The North Park location is our favorite! Great modern and trendy taproom with ample space and board games are provided for your entertainment.
  • I would recommend ordering a flight of beer. With a flight of beer you receive a Mike Hess collectible pint glass. We have a few and let me tell you- they are pretty dang awesome.
  • Beers:
    • The IPAs at Mike Hess are SOLID.
      • Grapefruit Solis
      • Solis
    • My Other Vice Berliner Weisse.
    • Kolsch.

Stone Brewery

  • I’m sure everyone has heard of Stone. I mean, I hope you have. Stone revolutionized the craft beer scene on the West Coast.
  • There are two locations in San Diego County:  Liberty Station and Escondido. Both locations have beautiful grounds.
  • Take a brewery tour in Escondido! Even if you do not enjoy the tour, you get to sample all their current beers on tap after! Win-win situation.
  • The food here is phenomenal! The beer cheese soup- heavenly.
  • Beers:
    • Delicious IPA
    • Go-To IPA
    • Tangerine Express IPA
    • Enjoy By IPA
    • Any IPA really

Amplified Ale Works

  • Amplified is a brewery and restaurant located in Pacific Beach. The location, beer, and eats here are out of this world. Sit out on the deck and enjoy a cold one with a view of the Pacific Ocean!
  • Food:
    • Doner Fries
    • Pita & Hummus
  • Beers:
    • Electrocucion IPA
    • Citravesa

Ballast Point

  • Ballast Point began as a small group of home brewers and quickly grew into a West Coast brewery unlike any other. Since opening in 1996, Ballast Point has crafted some amazing brews, including the popular Sculpin.
  • Locations:
    • Miramar
    • Little Italy
    • Temecula
    • Long Beach
    • Scripps Ranch
    • Home Brew Mart
  • Beers:
    • Sculpin
    • Pineapple Sculpin
    • Grapfruit Sculpin
    • Habanero Sculpin
    • Mango Even Keel

Coronado Brewing Company

  • Located on beautiful Coronado Island, you will not be disappointed with a trip to the Coronado Brewery!
  • Beers:
    • Guava Islander IPA- my fave.
    • Idiot IPA
    • Islander IPA
    • Orange Ave Wit

Pizza Port

  • What began as a pizza place, quickly snagged a spot in San Diego’s craft beer scene.
  • Locations:
    • Solana Beach
    • Ocean Beach
    • Carlsbad
    • Bressi Ranch
    • San Clemente
  • Food:
    • Pizza- enough said!
  • Beers: there is a VAST amount of Pizza Port beer available at all locations. You cannot go wrong with any of them! They offer all types of craft beer, including:  IPAs, session IPAs, wheat beers, ambers, summer ales, pale ales, red ales, stouts, and much more!

Monkey Paw Brewing

  • A small brewery near the heart of downtown.  A local hangout spot with solid beer and the eclectic cask ale from time to time. If you make your way to this brewery you will not be disappointed.

Thorn Street Brewery

  • A small brewery located in San Diego’s North Park. Great atmosphere and even better beer! Grab a beer and check out the local food trucks! Thorn Street Brewery is pet and kid friendly!
  • Beers:
    • Relay IPA
    • Far Far Away
    • Tropic Daze
    • Mob Barely

 

So, if you are a lover of beer, on your next trip to San Diego be sure to check out a few of these breweries! I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

 

xo, Chels.

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.

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Pura Vida.

Pura vida. Pronounced POO-rah VEE-dah, in English translates to, “Pure Life”. However, per the locals, these two words have much more meaning throughout the Costa Rican culture.

Our trip to Costa Rica was the first international vacation Adam and I embarked on together. We were invited to a destination wedding, and created a ten-day vacation out of it! (Seriously people, this is why destination weddings are the BEST.)

I was SO excited about this trip to Costa Rica that we started planning our adventure eight months ahead of time. (Side note- I may be a little bit Type A.)

Prior to heading south, we had high hopes for our trip to Manuel Antionio. Well let me tell you, Costa Rica did not disappoint. To be honest, it far exceeded our expectations. The culture, the views, the food, and the people were amazing.

Manuel Antonio is a small village situated on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast. Beauty is not scarce in Manuel Antonio. The jungle meets the beach; it is breathtaking. Manuel Antonio is known for its white sand beaches, coral reefs, and vast wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, and hundreds of bird species.

Accommodations.

Adam and I traveled to Manuel Antonio with his brother, Joe, and sister-in-law, JonnaLee. We opted against a hotel, and rented a beautiful airbnb located in the rainforest. Best. Decision. Ever. We stayed at Casa Gina, a two bedroom, two bathroom home with a private patio and pool.

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The front of Casa Gina.

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The backyard and pool at Casa Gina.

The only hotel recommendation I have is La Mariposa Hotel. The wedding we attended was held at said hotel. I cannot speak for the rooms or amenities, but I can speak for the views. It was situated on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It was beautiful, to say the least. IMG_5406.JPG

Food.

There was no shortage of delicious eats in Manuel Antonio. The only thing there was a shortage of was good beer- sorry, Imperial, but your Bud Light taste did not do it for us.

Here is a list of some of our favorite restaurants and what we enjoyed the most at each!

  • Cafe Milagro
    • This cafe was amazing. The roast their own coffee (you can buy their coffee on their website- you will not be disappointed!). Their espresso and macchiatos were out of this world. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner is all served here!
    • The best part? This is the ONLY place in Manuel Antonio that was serving craft beer! The IPA- damn. Hoppy and knocked us on our asses!
  • El Wagon
    • Wood fired pizza. Because seriously, who doesn’t love a great pizza?!
    • Pair the pizza with a  refreshing mojito and enjoy the views.
  • El Avion
    • This restaurant is on the list because of the ambiance and decor. There is a full size airplane in the center of the restaurant. SO neat.
  • Falls Garden
    • This is the cutest little place, with mouth-watering food. Honestly, we ate lunch and dinner at Falls Garden, and everything here was delicious.
    • My favorite item on the menu was the fresh ceviche served with plantain chips. I still have dreams about that meal.

 

Activities and Adventures.

In Manuel Antonio, there is no shortage of activities to fill those sunny, warm days.

First, the beach. Duh.

  • Playa Espadilla is located across from the entrance of the Manuel Antonio National Park. White, sandy beaches and some big waves live here! Head down to the beach early and rent a beach chair and umbrella (this is worth the money- trust me). Spend your days soaking up some Vitamin D and grabbing fresh food and cold drinks from the nearby beach clubs.

Second, the National Park.

  • Manuel Antonio National Park is a must while in Manuel Antonio. Take a stroll through the park to experience Costa Rica’s wild life, including monkeys and sloths! Then head to the fresh water lagoon to soak in the views. This place just kept impressing us!
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Fresh water lagoon.

Third, the adventures.

Two of our days in Manuel Antonio we spent on some extreme adventures! We booked our two adventures through Amigos Del Rio. I highly recommend this company. Their customer service and prices were impressive.

  • ADR, 10 in 1 adventure.
    • Hiking, ziplining, repelling, free falls, etc.
    • SO. MUCH. FUN. Adventuring through the Costa Rican rain forest was definitely an exciting, memorable experience.
  • White water rafting.
    • What a great day! Our guides were a blast and the river was beautiful. We took a break in the middle of our rafting and hiked to a beautiful waterfall for a hike and swim.

 

Get out there and explore, people! You will not regret it!

Costa Rica, you are beautiful. We will be back to see you. Pura Vida.

 

 

xo, Chels.

Puerto Vallarta.

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So, I tured 27 last month. Adam decided that we needed to take a vacation to celebrate said birthday, so we headed south to beautiful Puerto Vallarta!

Let me just start out by saying, it was my best birthday yet. It wasn’t about receiving gifts, money, or cards; it was about spending a special day with the love of my life, while celebrating life and all it has to offer. Adam made sure that our time in Puerto Vallarta was a perfect as it could have been. Let me tell you- I am one lucky lady!

To be honest, we didn’t do a whole lot of anything- besides eat, drink, and lay on the beach. It was an actual relaxing vacation- what a concept!

 

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Accommodations.

There is multiple areas to stay while vacationing in Puerto Vallarta. We decided to stay in the Romantic Zone or Zona Romantic. Let me tell you- we were not disappointed in our decision! The Romantic Zone was the perfect location, complete with the beach, fantastic restaurants, and nightlife all within walking distance. It’s also out of the way of all the major chain hotels and resorts- which is always a nice thing!

Adam and I are HUGE fans of Airbnb. How great is it to live like a local?! We found a beautiful condo two blocks from Playa De Los Muertos! We would highly suggest renting a condo versus staying at a hotel, but hey thats just our opinion!

Food.

One thing that Puerto Vallarta is not short on, is delicious food! A few of our favorites were:

  • Tacos Revolucion– holy moly. We cannot say enough about the tacos here! The service was wonderful, the food was delicious. This place is a MUST! Grab a beer or margartia and enjoy!
    • My recommendations:  carne asada and chorizo tacos, chips and guac!
    • Adam’s recommendations:  shrimp taco (he swears this is the best shrimp taco he has ever had) and the Taco Revolucion.

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  • The River Cafe- we ate here for breakfast three days in a row, and I’m not ashamed to admit that. Everything we had here was fantastic. The wait staff was incredible as well, which always makes the experience better!
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Chilaqueles!

 

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Bacon, egg, & gouda sandwich! Complete with fresh fruit & rosemary hash browns!

 

  • Cafe Des Artistes– Adam made reservations here to celebrate my birthday dinner. Thank the Lord he did. Holy cow, I cannot say enough about Cafe Des Artistes. The food, the wine, the employees, the service, the outdoor seating, the ambiance, etc. I could go on and on about how incredible this place it, but I think you get the point. We decided to splurge and ordered the 5 course meal with a wine pairing. Again- INCREDIBLE. As our dinner came to an end, our waiter and other employees presented us with a extensive dessert display while singing me Happy Birthday. It was a night to remember.

     

PV.

Honestly, PV is an insanely beautiful city that we would recommend to everyone! The architecture, the food, the beach, the picturesque views, and the people are all amazing. We even toured a new condominum building- we couldn’t help ourselves! One day, one day.

 

xo, Chels.