Tiny Beautiful Things

dear sugar

Read this book. It will change you and make you consider and open you up to possibilities. Most of all it will make you grateful.

Ms. Strayed writes an advice column and shares some of the letters she receives in this book. While very few related directly to my life, the thoughts she shares are full of wisdom, pain and grace. Here is one section that impacted me.

"That you would not have chosen the things that happened to you in your life, but you are grateful for them. That you have two empty bowl eternally in your hands, but also the capacity to fill them." -on the loss of her mother and father-one to death and the other throughs distance. 
"Let yourself be gutted, let it open you, start here."

24 Hours in Denver Colorado

best hipster restaurants on denver
This past weekend we went to Denver for 24 hours! It was fun, delicious and a little crazy. But I'd do it all over again :) Here's what we did and how much we spent (for those of you who want to know).

Southwest to Denver. We booked an early morning flight and arrived at 10:30. We used points and our Southwest Companion Pass so it was $11.20 each for taxes and fees.

By 11:00 we grabbed our rental car booked through Costco $40. We chose an economy car and ended up with a Ford focus hatchback. Clean and easy. We didn't do much driving it was perfect this trip. If you are going to do a lot of driving-check out Silvercar.

Brunch @ Steuben's. Fries smothered in gravy and cheese, cast iron skillet french toast and chilaquiles. Yum. Awesome service and awesome food. Definitely making our Denver top ten.

Denver Botanic Garden-Such a great place to walk around and explore. Close by and so well designed. Go! $12.50 per person and free parking.

Hilton Garden Inn downtown Denver. I love Hilton's new app. You can check in early and choose your room. We scored a room on the 12th floor, newly remodeled and spotless. We stayed on points-free. And the parking was $38. I suppose we could have parked across the street but the valet parking was just so easy. Call down from your room and your car is waiting :)

Pinche Tacos. By 3 we were check in and after a quick nap, we headed out to Pinche Tacos for Happy Hour. This is an edgy place, lots of beards, plenty of tattoos and whiskey. The food was incredible. Noisy inside, quiet outside. We opted to sit at the bar. Go but don't dress up.

Back to our hotel to drop the car and grab a Taxi to the concert. Parking is $20+ at the Sports Authority stadium so we opted to grab a cab over for just $10. Our plan was to take the light rail or a cab back to the hotel.

Jason Aldean and Kenny Chesney-great concert, easy venue. We opted for the cheap seats which turned out great for us. $40 each

After the concert we checked the taxi stand to find a line of over 200 people so we followed the crowds to the light rail station. After talking to a police officer who assured us  me that it was safe to walk back into downtown, we did. It was fun and there were tons of other concert goers doing the same thing. Wear comfortable shoes, it's about 2 miles.

In the morning we went in search of some delicious coffee. We found The Molecule Effect, a really modern hipster place with great coffee. I loved the clean aesthetic-not cluttered and the artwork was beautiful. It was not more than 5 minutes from our hotel in the Santa Fe Arts District.

Before heading back to drop off our rental car, we wanted to try Jelly's Cafe for breakfast. You can't really go wrong with breakfast but Jelly's does everything right. There food is so flavorful-even the basic eggs and bacon breakfast. Mike got the special which included gravy over biscuits-amazing!

A quick gas up and we were back to the airport for our flight home at noon. Goodbye Denver, Hello Orange County.

PS-The TSA precheck in Denver was a huge timesaver :)

Disclaimer: I didn't include any prices for our meals because you can eat whatever you want. I don't think we spent more than $40 at any of the food establishments.

The Best Coffee in Orange County, CA

You won't find any Frappuccino Milkshakes at Hopper and Burr. With just 5 items on their coffee menu, this is serious coffee.

When we travel, we always try small local coffee houses. Some of our favorites have been in Portland and Austin. When we come home to Orange County,  great coffee is hard to come by. Hugely disappointing.

Then there is Hopper and Burr. The Cappuccino is so smooth that I didn't even need to add any sweetener. They are a small pop up shop inside Little Sparrow in Santa Ana. And they make toast! With fresh bread! And Avocado!

I think I finally found great coffee in Orange County! This girl is in heaven.

San Luis Obispo Road Trip

Last week we drove up the coast to San Luis Obispo along the central coast of California. We enjoyed the cool weather, some hiking and of course the Thursday Farmer's Market. Here's a few notes from our adventures. These photos are from our favorite secret hiking spot...open coastline without anything but water, sand  and cows :)

San Luis Obispo Road Trip-Central Coast California

Lake Forest Donuts at Michaels Coffee House. If you are a lover of apple fritters, Michaels makes it into my top 3.
Santa Monica Need a coffee stop? Cafe Luxxe 225 26th Street-(Wilshire exit 55 b-c)
Santa Barbara Lunch time ….. authentic street tacos @ Lillys Tacos  290 Storke road.
Santa Barbara Public Market Roris Ice Cream 1024-D Coast Village Rd-try honey lavender. Not into tacos? There are lots of other good food places here!
And if you need more coffee for the road try The French Press or Handlebar Coffee-in Santa Barbara

San Luis Obispo
I have yet to find a favorite hotel along the central coast but the staff here are super friendly and helpful and the rooms are clean. We had some Hilton points to use so our room was free.

Hampton Inn 1530 Calle Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405 Bonus: There are pastured horses across the street.

Bello Mundo Cafe-980 Monterey St Great coffee and really nice people too!
Scout-Coffee and Pastries 1130 Garden Street in downtown SLO- We will be trying them next trip.

Thursday Night Farmers Market (don’t miss this-so fun) Clam chowder in bread bowl, Kombucha and wood fired pizza! And some very eclectic entertainment too.

Elephant Seals Head north along highway 1 out of Morro Bay. Just past San Simeon, you will find a large area to see Elephant Seals. It’s totally worth the drive. They are spectacular!

Hiking in the area
Montano de Oro-drive to the very end of the parking lot and you’ll find our secret place to hike :)
Elfin Forest Trail -couple of miles mostly on a raised boardwalk. This is a walk more than a hike. Great for views of Morro Bay. There are several ways to get on the trail.


Just finished All the Light We Cannot See. Good book :)