Weekend Road Tripping- San Onofre

san_onofre_state_beach_a_house_in_the_hills_4

Happy Wednesday my friends!  How did we even get here, was it not just Monday?!  This summer is going by far too quickly for my liking, I can’t believe September is creeping up on us so quickly!  All the more reason to enjoy every minute of it I suppose, which is exactly what I intend to do.  Beach days, eating outdoors, and soaking up all the sun I can get.  You may have seen here that Lou and I bought an RV!  It has been a lifelong dream of mine- it satisfies my wanderlust in major ways, and feels like a bucket list dream come true!

We took her on our maiden voyage over the weekend to San Onofre State Park.  We wanted to go someplace close to home for our first trip- dipping our toes in the experience so to speak.  And…. it was incredible!  I couldn’t love the RV life more, I was pinching myself all weekend long!  It was so fun traveling with our pack of animals (yes, Pepito came along too!) and waking up early and taking Bean for a run on a beach that was entirely empty filled my soul right up to the top.  I’m going to share our travel adventures here, and of course we’ll be posting on our Instagrams here and here as well.  We’re planning on renting out our house on airbnb for the times when we go on longer adventures, so stay tuned for that as well if you have any trips to SD in the works.  Cannot wait to explore this incredible country (and maybe a couple others) and share it all with you here!  Hoping I’ll inspire your own adventures, in summer and beyond.  I like to imagine that I’m taking you all with me in my pocket!  More on San Onofre below…   xx- Sarah

san_onofre_state_beach_a_house_in_the_hills_13

San Onofre State Beach is beach is a madhouse on a Summer weekend, for good reason.  It’s a great place to find a little surf during the summer months when the waves die down and it couldn’t be a better spot for beginners to learn!  I love the energy there- it’s Southern California beach culture at it’s best- so many sprinter vans and VW buses outfitted for surf trips, so many little kids who can ride waves with the best of them, and so much mellow energy.  Even though the beach is crowded and chaotic, the people are friendly and everyone is there with a common purpose and a common love of the ocean.  It’s really quite a special spot and holds a place in my heart.

As far as outdoor adventure goes- I love it but I’m rarely willing to sacrifice in the food department.  I have a hard time an enjoying an experience if I’m not well-fed!  So we packed up our trusty Weber grill and all sorts of delicious ingredients before we headed out.  We grilled Branzino and ate it with a sauce similar to this one and served it with the salad below (butter lettuce, mache rosettes, purple cabbage, carrots, cherry tomatoes, avocado, garlic roasted pistachios, watermelon radish and a dijon balsamic vinaigrette).  It was heavenly!  Everything tastes better when cooked and eaten outdoors, doesn’t it?!  This is how we intend to camp/travel- deliciously!!!!!

san_onofre_state_beach_a_house_in_the_hills_14 san_onofre_state_beach_a_house_in_the_hills_9

I don’t think I’ve worn a matching bikini set all summer- I’ve been all about mixing and matching patterns and colors.  This top is Mara Hoffman from a couple of years ago and the bottoms are Athleta (on insanely good sale marked down 10 $14.99 from $49!  Now is the time to take advantage of those end of summer swimwear sales!  Here are a bunch I’m loving:

 


 

san_onofre_state_beach_a_house_in_the_hills_8 san_onofre_state_beach_a_house_in_the_hills_7

This is the beach I discovered the morning I took Bean for a jog.  It’s just south of San Onofre- I believe it’s the San Onofre State Park campground- at the San Onofre bluffs.  The camping is parking lot camping, essentially.  And the highway noise was a bit of a bummer.  But all was forgiven when I woke up for my morning jog with Bean and discovered this beach.  It was early enough that it was just the two of us and a long stretch of sand.  Magical!!!  That’s one of my favorite parts about camping- being able to find spots where you’re alone in the world, even if for just a moment.  (And yes, I use the word camping with full awareness that what we’re doing in that RV barely counts!)  More of this beautiful spot below….

san_onofre_state_beach_a_house_in_the_hills_6

click to read yo

Surprise Summer Sneak-Away

birdling_bags_a_house_in_the_hills-1

One of my favorite things to do for Lou is to surprise him with weekend get-aways!  In the past I’ve told him to pack a bag and prepare to be away for the weekend, with specifics like “bring a book to read”, “pack a bathing suit”, or “you’ll need a sweater”.  But I dream of one day just packing his bag and heading out for the weekend with him having ZERO CLUES!  The thing is, he’s a way better at packing than I am, he always remembers to bring things like a candle to make the hotel room smell nice, or a bluetooth portable speaker so that we can play music outside if we go for a picnic.  He’s just always way more prepared- I’m always the ones asking him to borrow a scarf or if he remembered to pack an extra toothbrush for me (he always does).  So today, in partnership with Birdling Bags I’m sharing what Lou would pack for a Summer weekend get- away!  (And they’re offering readers 10% off all orders with the code HOUSE10!)

First up:  Lou and I are both obsessed with this compartmentalized weekend bag- I have it in this color.  The canvas is such high quality, the compartments are great for keeping shoes seperate (always the struggle with duffle-type bags!) and it’s exactly the perfect size for a weekend away!  And we love the front pouches for misc, items that get lost in a duffle.  Lou usually packs three pairs of shoes- a pair for dressing up, his go-to Vans, and a pair of sneakers for any outdoor adventures we may have.  He also packs his favorite jeans, tee shirts, and dress shirts as well as his glasses (something I would TOTALLY HAVE FORGOTTEN IF PACKING ON HIS BEHALF), sunglasses, chapstick, book, magazines and an old point and shoot film camera that we take on vacations.  There it it my friends, a perfectly packed weekend duffle for a man!  Now, start planning your weekend getaway surprises- it’s one of those amazing gifts you give to someone else that is SO much fun for yourself too!  Happy Summer!  xx- Sarah

a_House_in_the_Hills_Birdling_Bags-1a_House_in_the_Hills_Birdling_Bags-2

San Diego Staycation at the Marriott

a_house_in_the_hills_marriott-11 a_house_in_the_hills_marriott-1

Happy Thursday friends- one more day till the weekend!!!  Since we moved to San Diego in January I’ve only left once for a quick business trip to LA, and life has been hectic with the house selling/buying, 6 weeks staying with friends etc.  And since we’ve been settled in the house I feel like my brain is running non-stop about how we can make it feel like home (design obsessive disorder, let’s call it).  So when the Marriott reached out to offer us the opportunity to book a spontaneous staycation we jumped on that like a cat pounces on feather toy!  So one random day when the mood struck us, using their mobile booking and check-in app we left the beach, booked a room, threw a few things in an overnight bag and headed out for our overnight stay at the Marriott Marquis.  The mobile check-in app makes it super easy- you can check in after 4 pm the day before your arrival and the app notifies you when your room is ready!

a_house_in_the_hills_marriott-13 a_house_in_the_hills_marriott-3 a_house_in_the_hills_marriott-2

Once we got there we hung out by the pool, ordered room service, checked out the amazing views from our room on the 23rd floor of the north tower (I got a little bit scaredy-cat-ish on the balcony for a second), lounged around and just generally made sloths of ourselves.  It was just what the doctor ordered!  My brain turned off, my vacation self turned on, and we were able to relax.  Of course we snapped a few photos to share below.  And here’s the bonus:  From April 2 to December 31, 2015 Marriott guests who check-in with the mobile app during their stay at a hotel in the US, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands have a chance to win a grand prize of one million Marriott Rewards Points!  That could be you my friends, and that’s A LOT of nights of R&R!  Here’s a video Marriott produced to celebrate the millionth mobile guest check-in.

a_house_in_the_hills_marriott-4 a_house_in_the_hills_marriott-7

click to read yo

Win a trip to NZ with Air New Zealand!

From the time I was a child I dreamed about visiting New Zealand- it lived in my mind as a magical, awe-inspiring place.  This was before they filmed Lord of the Rings, but in every photo I saw it looked like an absolute wonderland.  When I started looking into colleges- you can bet that the one at the top of my list was in Auckland. I didn’t go because I was too intimidated to take such a big leap straight out of the nest, but I did make it one of the first vacations I took as an adult.  A girl friend and I rented a camper van and spent two weeks exploring the north island (the south island is still calling my name, I WILL get there!)  It was one of the best vacations of my life- we ran amuck, had grand adventures, saw the prettiest sights,  jumped into cold lakes in the middle of the night, hiked through the most beautiful rain forests, tried sand boarding, made friends (one that would later become my long distance boyfriend for a year!), ate incredible food and generally just had the time of our lives.  I wish I could pass along recs- but we did absolutely no research besides reserving the camper van before we arrived and we just followed our instincts through the entirety of the trip- so I may have not even known where we were while we were there!  I’m very often a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants traveler.  But if any of you have any recs, please leave them in the comments for those planning trips and for my next one!!!

Right now Air New Zealand is running a promotion where some very lucky folks will win their own New Zealand adventure!  Watch the video below, enter the contest, and if you win- bring me, OK?!   PRETTY PLEASE!!!  And for those of you that don’t win, Air New Zealand is offering flights starting at just over $1k round-trip- adventure is calling!!  Below the video are some of our vacation snaps and a few little blurbs- going through the photos was such a treat, it brought me right back to all the fun!  Enjoy and GOOD LUCK!!!!!  xx- Sarah

Air_New_Zealand_A_House_in_the_Hills-97 Air_New_Zealand_A_House_in_the_Hills-79

CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE THIS IS REAL?!  It is.  I was pinching myself.  I may not remember everything but I do remember that.

Air_New_Zealand_A_House_in_the_Hills-68

click to read yo

Bali Part II

nusa_dua_bale_hotel_A_House_in_the_hills_1

Thank you all for the sweetest comments on my last two posts- they made me laugh, some of them made me cry, and overall they just made my heart warm.  I love you guys!!!!  We’re all settled in with the friends that we’re staying with until we close on the new house (!!!!!!!) and I’m thinking that by next week I’ll be back to regular recipe posts, style posts and my usual song and dance.  But before that happens I want to share the second half of our Bali trip with you!  This post is dedicated to all of you in the northeast still shoveling your way out of the heaping present that Juno left!  I grew up in Maine so I remember those stormy days oh so well!  Let today’s post be a little escape to a place where snow doesn’t fall, windshields don’t need scraping, and mittens are non-existent!

As you saw here, we spent the first of our two weeks in  Ubud,Bali at the amazing Castello Jasper with friends!  And then we snuck away for a romantic week at The Bale´hotel in Nusa Dua- in search of white sand beaches and a whole lot of nothing to do.  We found exactly what we were looking for!  I don’t have a ton of recommendations because we barely left the beach/hotel/spa- but it was one of the most amazing places we’ve ever stayed and too gorgeous to not share!  It’s not a budget friendly hotel but we were there during the off season and they were running a special so we snuck into a hotel that we normally couldn’t afford.  As for travel to Bali during the “off season”- it rains a bit more (which I found romantic and lovely), there a more mosquitos than during the non-rainy season and it’s quieter.  From what I gathered that’s about the only major difference. Well worth the savings to visit then in my opinion!

nusa_dua_bale_hotel_A_House_in_the_hills_2 nusa_dua_bale_hotel_A_House_in_the_hills_3

click to read yo

Ubud Bali + Castello Jasper

a_house_in_the_hills_bali_2014-82

Things have been a whirlwind since the beginning of December when we spent those two magical weeks in Bali, but I’ve been DYING to share our trip with you and am so happy that the day has finally arrived!  We spent our first week in Ubud with our friends Greg, Farra, Juan and their baby – and it was hands down one of the best vacations of my life.  We stayed at Castello Jasper, an incredible rental home with an infinity pool perched over rice paddies and facing the jungle and mountains.- A DREAM!  Each morning the lovely staff at the house (Wayan and Suri) greeted us with breakfast and helped us with anything we needed for the day (including arranging spa services at the house!).  We skipped a majority of the typical tourist things in lieu of relaxing, but we did have a few adventures and eat at some amazing restaurants.  More about that and my recommendations after the jump!  xx- Sarah

a_house_in_the_hills_bali_2014-78 a_house_in_the_hills_bali_2014-249b a_house_in_the_hills_bali_2014-151

click to read yo