Category Archives: travel + adventures

Oh Canada…

Earlier this month, Ricardo and I took off for a few days and headed up to Canada for the July 4th weekend. We started off in Vancouver with amazing weather where we arrived on their first sunny day of the year! I love most the many different neighborhoods throughout the city – I think we saw them all every day we were there.

What is there not to LOVE about poutine? It’s a French Canadian dish made with french fries, topped with brown gravy and curd cheese. Some restaurants have fancier versions of Poutine and I thought I would never say this but I was a little french fried out after the first few days…still delish though!

Named as one of the World’s Greatest Trips by National Geographic, we took the Rocky Mountaineer up for a few days to Whistler where we ended our holiday.

It was a much needed trip and we literally took just 2 days off from work so that still leaves Ricardo with a kazillion vacation hours. I’ve been trying to convince him to take more and more days off, but he’s one tough cookie. This was the longest time we had been away from Rambo so that was a bit hard for the first few days …I guess we’ll need to get an RV for our next trip?

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Catching Up…

This past Memorial Day weekend went by too fast! I didn’t do any of the things I should have done, but definitely all the things worth doing. For so many years when Ricardo was in school, I spent many weekends doing thing by myself. Now that we have weekends to spend together, each one is like a mini adventure and oh how I LOVE them! We thought about going away for the long holiday, but after so many busy weekends…we decided to stick around with the bullies.

Sometimes, we have visitors that unexpectedly show up in Southern California, but rest assured…we will always find a way to keep them entertained. Confession – we’ve been on both the TMZ Bus Tour and the Hollywood Stars Home Tour. Both were awesome.

I’m really loving this undone french braid beachy waves look. I braid the night before and let them go the next morning  with a spritz of hairspray for some texture. For extra kinky waves, try it with two french braids. You can also steal some of the hubby’s fancy hair pomade to work through the ends. In honor of beachy waves, we took the doggies for a sunset walk along the beach. We learned that Rambo likes the water and Joe is deathly afraid of the waves.

Summer is finally here and to celebrate…I picked up a pair of fun Seychelles sandals.

I just finished Mindy Kaling’s book and this popular trilogy. If you love The Office, then Mindy’s book is a must read. I’m tempted to start this risqué trilogy…should I?

On The Road Again…

So I woke up this morning for an early 7 am flight to Sacramento for Baby Shower #3 and the last of my travel plans for the month of March. As I stood in line to board…I quickly realized that I was standing in line for the gate to Oakland!! Thank goodness Long Beach is a small airport and the flights were only 5 minutes apart. I slowly got out of line and walked over to my correct gate. The past three weeks have apparently left me a little dazed and confused…


I’ve been making my way up to Oakland , San Jose and Sacramento…but the most confusing part is that I’ve been leaving from Orange County, Long Beach and Los Angeles. Doesn’t that make your head hurt…just a tad? And guess what…all of these baby mama’s are expecting boys so I haven’t had a chance to buy any cute hair accessories or frilly dresses…but that will change very soon!!! Stay tune…

Christmas in the City…

I have to say…Ricardo and I really do love the city! I know my Christmas post is a tad late, but I just can’t believe how fast the weeks have gone by!! We spent Christmas weekend in the city traveling to San Jose and Dublin in between, but had a wonderful time nonetheless! We met with some friends for dinner one night, ventured out to the ferry building (which I LUV), and had breakfast at a few delicious places like Dottie’s True Blue Cafe and The Grove Cafe! Strolling through Union Square and sipping hot cocoa at night all bundled up was quite memorable too. Ahh…I wish I can go on vacation every weekend…

We spent Christmas day with my sister in law’s family…partly because we had spent Christmas Eve with my family, but since I wanted double the dose of Charis…my brother invited us over for the festivities.

My brother is such a cheese ball, but I love him and I love that he’s a dad now because that makes me an aunt to cute little Charis! Growing up, people never believed we were related. They either thought he was adopted or he was my stepbrother, but rest assured…he is my brother.

This little family photo below kind of makes me wish Charis was really ours…but not today. I mean..one day…just not today :). Until then…We’ll just enjoy Charis.

rs

Sacramento – Part I

I love that most airports now have WIFI! We’re on our way back from an amazing weekend in Sacramento so I just had to get this post going!! We were able to do a little bit of touring in Sacramento before Tara’s wedding yesterday, which was lots of fun since we had never been to the State Capitol before this.

First up, the California Museum! If you haven’t been here, I would totally recommend it. The exhibits are always changing and they’re quite interesting…

I thought of my friends…Megan, Mel, and Karen who all love reading + traveling…

Next up was the State Capitol tour, which was also pretty fascinating…

Here we are inside the assembly chambers and every county in the state has a window display in the annex. Of course we had to pose with San Luis Obispo 🙂

A five course dinner with beer pairing is a dream come true for Ricardo…Tara’s wedding coming soon for Sacramento | Part  II…

Change for Twenty Eleven…

Hello Everyone! I don’t like that my first official post for 2011 is 7 days late, but changes for the new year already have me behind so hopefully that’s not a sign of what’s to come…

I have to be honest… 2010 was a very challenging career year for me. I was starting to grow comfortable and wanted a change, but the economy wasn’t in the best situation and the marketplace seemed quite competitive. I spent a lot of my vacation days going on interviews that didn’t seem hopeful or I found less than impressed, but I had faith that the wonderful Lord had a much bigger plan for me so I had placed my complete trust in Him. Besides, when something doesn’t work out…I remind myself that I’m being prepared for something far greater and I just felt so blessed that I even had a job to begin with.

After all the hoopla of more interviewing in the last few weeks of 2010, I received two offers one day apart and I didn’t know what to do. My goal last year was to apply to at least one job every week (52 weeks in a year) and looking back…I think I submitted close to 50 resumes. After careful thought and consideration, I knew where I wanted to be. Isn’t it funny how things work out? Everything was moving at the speed of light and before you knew it…I was packing up my cubie box and December 31st was officially declared my last day of work. The only problem was the holiday schedule and there were so many days off in my office, my two weeks notice quickly became three days. I’m lucky that I work with a very understanding company and they wished me nothing but the best when we parted ways.

It goes to show that things always work out.

I’m writing this post once again from the airport making our way up to Sacramento for a wedding this weekend. That’s right folks…3 weekends straight of non-stop traveling and we are totally pooped. We also gave our 30 days notice last night and by the end of the month, we’ll be moving into another apartment!! Ahh (I HATE moving)….to make it short, we were just getting a little fed up with the neighborhood and note to self, LOCATION matters.  Change is good…sometimes scary and frustrating…maybe even stressful, but always exciting!

So here’s to more change (good ones) for 2011!!!!!

Happy New Year – From Las Vegas!

Happy New Year everyone! When Ricardo graduated months ago…I asked him what he wanted to do for New Year’s Eve?! We’ve never done anything crazy since he usually has school the same week, but now that he was done…he said VEGAS so Vegas it was!!

We woke up yesterday morning trying to decide whose idea was this. It’s nice to be home sometimes and we had barely unpacked from San Francisco yet so here we were packing again. I did the whole New Year’s Eve deal in Vegas when I was in college so I warned Ricardo that I’ll probably never do this again. He agreed that would be okay 🙂

After all that was said and done…I am really glad we went! We had an amazing dinner at Mesa Grill last night and brunch at the Bellagio this afternoon. I’m actually writing this post at the airport on our way home right now. I’m not sure if we’ll be back again soon since we’ve learned that Ricardo is practically allergic to the casinos. The smoke was just a little too heavy this time and probably because there were so many people. We had many memorable cab rides…one that literally made me throw up and another that almost had me peeing in my pants. We’re not going to lie…we were with some crazies at midnight on the strip, but had a whole bunch of fun…even in the frigid cold.

And of course I always LOVE the Bellagio Bontanical Gardens…

The desserts at Mesa were so delicious…the kind that puts you in your happy place! Since we had a prix fixe menu, we each had one dessert to order and since Ricardo was too stuffed to have anything sweet…I ordered us the two most popular desserts of the night to taste which was the deep dish banana cream pie and the toasted coconut layer cake. They were both heavenly divine and I’m daydreaming about them right now. The white peach margarita was also a hit! Yummy….

photo from Mesa Grill website

We didn’t hit it big, but we did come away with some winnings and that definitely makes us happy. So long Vegas and we hope to not see you any time soon…

 

San Diego with Aziz Ansari

Whew….what a warm weekend it was! Ricardo and I took off for San Diego on Saturday morning for a little one night trip. We stopped at the Carlsbad Outlet for a little shopping and then spontaneously headed over to Stone Brewing Company for a brewery tour. Luckily, they had a few spots open for us to join.

The best part about any brewery tour is most definitely the complimentary beer tasting afterwards!

And then we went to the famous Hodad’s for lunch…I didn’t really like it, but I’m glad we tried it. The trick to skipping the line is going inside to order for take out. The restaurant is really small and the beach is 2 blocks away so order take out and skip the long line in the hot sun.

We relaxed at our hotel for a little bit and then headed into the Gaslamp Quarters for a late night dinner. I forgot how wild San Diego was until we got there and as the night went on…the street just got more crowded and crazy.

It was finally time to see Aziz Ansari at the House of Blues for his Dangerously Delicious Tour and since he postponed his show here for 2 months, we were really hoping it would be good. I had no idea where our seats were until we sat down on the second row right in the middle beneath his mic. He really didn’t disappoint…I can’t remember the last time Ricardo and I laughed so hard.

We probably got out around 12:30 am or so and if you know me and Ric…we just don’t stay up that late on a regular basis. By now, there were drunkies everywhere and we were ready to call it a night. It was most definitely a super funny weekend!

Fun Finds…

Ada + Dan picked up this ultra cute paper weight owl for me from Lake Garda, Italy. I can’t believe this little guy traveled all that way. They bought it from a grumpy old Italian man, but we believe it’s his own handmade creation and I LOVE, love, love it. Hooty hoo…

I feel so special and loved when my friends think of me! Katy was in San Antonio this past week when she came across this street and sent me a photo. Ricardo was very excited about me taking the Navarro name when we got married so he apparently thinks he’s famous now.

Beautiful Aspen

Ricardo and I love the great outdoors, but we  rarely take advantage of all that Mother Nature has blessed us with. We’ve never even been camping…something we’ve been meaning to do. Although, we are always up for a good adventure and had a most wonderful time in the quaint little town of Aspen.

Maroon Bells: These are believed to be the most photographed peaks in all of North America. Ricardo and I took a lovely hike along the scenic trail.

Woody Creek Tavern: The bike ride to this funky tavern was very much worth the trek. It was a beautiful ride along the river and through the mountains, but coming back was quite challenging. The sun was starting to set and Ric was afraid we wouldn’t make it back in time before it got dark and we would be attacked by bears. Luckily…there were no bear sightings.

Aspen Mountain: We took the gondola ride up 3,000 feet to the top of Aspen Mountain. The ride seemed never ending, but the view at the top was breathtaking!

Ute Trail: To get back to town, we decided to hike. The mountain guide warned us it would be a steep trail, but something we could definitely handle. I look happy, but honestly…I almost cried 3 times. The vertical cliffs and steep rocky hills made me dizzy, but my sherpa husband guide kept me going all the way down. Everyone we passed kept asking us why we didn’t take the gondola ride back down…I guess we really wanted to go on a hike.


3,000 ft.  and 2.5 hours later…we were so happy to make it back to Earth in one piece!

Big Aspen BBQ: We had passes for this BBQ bash and it was such a deserving lunch after our hike. This is the sister event of New York City’s acclaimed Big Apple Barbecue extravaganza, featuring several of the nation’s top pit masters. Who doesn’t love BBQ??!? I think even vegetarians must love BBQ like BBQ veggies? Aspen is a mecca for food, wine, and art during the summer months and with picturesque perfect weather…I can’t imagine it any other way. It was a short trip, but I have a feeling we’ll be back in Colorado soon.


Off to the Rockies…

Hi Everyone! We’re off to Aspen, Colorado to get away for a few days. We closed our eyes and randomly pointed our finger on a map and actually ended up in Farmington, New Mexico…then we realized the game wasn’t working out in our favor.

We were so super close to booking Vancouver after hearing from most of our friends about how wonderful and beautiful it was. And then…we learned something new that made my toes tingle. My dad has an amazing associate rate from his hotel and I just found out it’s also available for immediate family members. I thought it was only for the hotel we stay at in San Jose when visiting because who wants to vacation there? BUT it’s true…a 4 star resort stay will set us back $25/night in a one bedroom suite that usually go for $250/night.  Life is so sweet!

I’m excited for Aspen…but I’m even more excited about these other hotels:

Dolce Sitges – Barcelona Area | Spain

Dolce Chantilly – Paris Area | France

Dolce Frégate Provence – Marseille Area | France

Dolce Munich Unterschleissheim – Germany

Dolce La Hulpe Brussels – Belgium

Ricardo and I are a little more determined to visit Europe next year or at least before my dad retires. There aren’t many Dolce properties since they’re not a major chain, but they’re beautifully designed and well worth the trek across the pond. A girl can dream, can’t she?

Navarro Family Vacations

The funny thing about family vacations is that Ricardo and I never took any growing up. We did day outings and such, but we never took vacations. My dad sent us to summer school every year until I started working in high school. And if it wasn’t school, he would put me in classes like piano and ice skating, etc. Ricardo on the other hand spent his summers in Mexico playing in dirt on the hillsides and on his grandparents ranch with horses, goats, and chickens.

We’ve thought about taking some type of family vacation since we’re all grown up now. The coordination alone makes me feel uneasy with so many different types of personalities to deal with, but we’re still hoping to take one soon. As we were driving up to SLO, Ric tells me…”I have a secret to tell you. The only vacation Mexican families take are the ones to Mexico.” What about the Grand Canyon or Mt. Rushmore I asked? Nope…they only go to Mexico.

We didn’t know each other that long, but our first trip together was to Mexico City and Puerto Vallarta in 2005. Go figure. So as an homage to Mexico, this post is dedicated to the future of Navarro family vacations. Maybe we’ll be back soon…

Teotihuacan, Mexico

posed by the sweetest filipino ladies who made us take this photo

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

i love this photo...ricardo probably hates it