Sunshine and Smiles

Sunshine and Smiles

Friday, December 30, 2011

Bring it on 2012

Tomorrow is the last day of the most amazing year.
2011 was full growth, happy memories, and a lot of love.
I couldn't be happier with the experiences and fun memories I have made and been blessed with this year.
I kind of love making new year's resolutions even though my eternal clock runs on the school year beginning in September, it is fun to make goals at different times of the year for yourself. This year, I am making the VERY lady like decision to stop biting my nails. (Once again!)

And...a little recap, because I did love 2011 oh so much!

In 2011 I:

*Rang in the new year sick with a stomach bug while D took care of me. Award for the best. boyfriend. ever. went him that night. (And always.)

*Went wine tasting in Healdsburg (my favorite little town ever!), Sonoma, Napa and Paso Robles 8 times through out the year. I feel as though I have been able to learn so much by trying different grapes from regions and discovered I absolutely love learning about wine!

*Explored Northern California to the fullest! Day trips to Santa Cruz, wine country, hiking in Marin, Half Moon Bay, camping in Pescadero with the teachers, Big Sur, San Luis Obispo to name just a few.

*Visited Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with D and spent a week lounging at the beach and sipping delicious drinks by the pool.

*Went wild during festival season in the city! Absolutely am in love with that time of year in San Francisco. Madness.

(My very favorite festival season partner in crime!)

*Watched my dear friend Brandi get married in June and (just yesterday!) met her precious new little one Journey Sophia.

*Made 4th of July cupcakes and rode bikes around Coronado during the holiday weekend and soaked in the Summer sun in San Diego, and watched fireworks with my whole family from the bay in Coronado.

*Had my mom and dad come visit me in San Francisco where they were able to see my classroom, meet my friends, go see the Giants play at AT&T park, eat delicious food, and get to know the city I love so much!

*Spent the entire month of August off work and relaxing. Every day at the beach, hiking in La Jolla, Del Mar with tons of friends for Tracy's 28th, visits to see my dad in Malibu, celebrated Dale's 21st birthday, and came back to work in September very refreshed and tan!

*Had my dear friend Kirby move to the city. Since she's been here, we have become closer than ever and know that when I need a friend to calm and center me she will be right there for me. (We also have many laughs and fun nights as well!)

*Had dear friends over in my cute little apartment for nights at home with wine and food with one another. Cody set out to make me a cook but failed. (My fault, not his- he is a great teacher.)

*Went to Big Sur for Dan's birthday where D made a camper out of me. I actually enjoyed sleeping in a tent and shutting off my phone for a weekend to disconnect from the world and connect with my love.

*Celebrated my first Fleet Week in the city with sunny, clear skies, the Blue Angels, and parties that didn't stop all weekend long with Brit. One of my very favorite weekends in SF EVER!

*Picked pumpkins, and got lost in a labrynth with Cody and Kirby in Half Moon Bay on a most perfect, warm October day.

*Had so much fun getting in the spirit for Halloween while visiting haunted houses, going on haunted tours of San Francisco, and watching the travel channel with all things spooky!

*Also celebrated my birthday for the whole month of October and had my favorite year of parties yet! Brunch and bars in SD with my friends, a family bbq, a wonderful dinner at Sociale with my sweet SF friends, and a weekend in San Luis Obispo with D to cap it off. Hard to beat October. It was a month of feeling overhwelmingly lucky and blessed!

*Watched Dale get married in a beautiful wedding at the Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach where the teacher's let loose and danced all night long.

*Said good bye to my dear friend Meghann who moved to Florida with her husband and adorable baby girl Gia. Must. Go. Visit.

*Went on our family's annual trip to Disney together where we celebrated Dylan's 1st birthday!

Watched my sweet nephew go from 1 month old to one year old! And watched him start smiling, crawling, standing, to walking and talking! (It is incredible what a difference a year makes in a babies life!)

*Threw my annual Holiday Cocktail party and danced all night while catching up with friends in my house I decorated in all DIY inspired ways for Christmas!

*Spent the holidays with my family in our best Christmas yet! The laughs and love (and adorable baby!)that filled the house on Christmas was the most joy we have all felt in a long time!

*Got on 26 planes back and forth to San Diego this year! I am so looking forward to not having to struggle with being back in forth so much (and missing Funny Bunny all the time!) when I move to San Diego July 1st!!!

This has been the most exciting and terrific year with the amazing love I have felt from family, friends, and boyfriend. I am looking forward to 2012 bringing changes, and A LOT OF MERRIMENT! A move to a new house, new job opportunites, a new puppy, and A LOT of travel-
a trip to Belize to D with April
Europe with my mom in July
a family trip to Yosemite in the Spring
and a road trip up the Northern California coast are all in the works for 2012.

And, of course whatever wonderful little surprises life wants to bring me, I am up for it!

Happy New Year friends! What are you most excited for?

(My most important lesson learned in 2011.) Love this.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Little Dates

Yesterday D and I celebrated Christmas together. We had decided to forgo the stress of leaving our families on Christmas day and just enjoy the time we had with them. Although we missed each other dearly, it was really nice to relax and not have to be anywhere in particular and just soak in the laughs and family time on our own.

We planned to go to Julian sometime during my stay. (I had NEVER been!) So, after tearing open all our gifts yesterday (and me immediately putting on my Anthropologie outfit from D) we cruised up the mountain to Julian. It was an absolutely beautiful day. The sun was shining, and it seemed as if everyone had our same plan! It was a busy little enchanting town!

We visited the most charming little book store while we were there. It was in an old house and had little rooms of rare books and classics. There is something about the old floor boards creaking, and the smell of old books that is so reminiscent of times past. I have always loved wandering around old book stores, it is one of my favorite things to do in San Francisco. It makes me feel like I am a little part of the history.

We had lunch in town and headed back down the mountain to nap and relax before dinner with one of my co-teachers Limor and her family who were in town on vacation. We went to the U.S. Grant Hotel downtown and enjoyed an excellent dinner with them at Grant Grill and had a great time. This restaurant was CLASSY. I feel very fortunate that I have been able to enjoy terrific food and wine since I arrived last week. I love trying new restaurants, so these past few days have been really memorable.

Hope you all are well rested after Christmas festivities! One week left of vacation and I plan on doing a lot of resting. Heading outside in the warm sun to lay out and walk Obie now. Oh, San Diego how I love you year around!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Glittery Stars and Wrapped Surprises

Merry Christmas!

There was the most special spark in the air today. Not only was it Christmas, but it was my wonderful mom's birthday. That in itself is magical, but something about today being filled with love, family, precious Dylan and whispers of the new year paints everything in this golden light of sweetness and beauty. The past few days have solidified everything I am meant to do and be, and I feel so whole and fulfilled. Next year will bring a fresh new place to be wild and free spirited in once again and surprising little gifts along the way I am sure. I will tip tap on that road to stability, new friendships, a closer love with my love, and being even closer to my family. I cannot wait to embrace these delightful ideas and adventures.

I guess the heart is never silent. When I write I realize that impossible things are not all that crazy under the stardust. Sometimes they actually become real with a glowing depth, beauty and joy. This is how I feel with my family surrounding me as I sit and write this. If you just open your soul to these possibilities then the universe is constantly unfolding right. in. front. of. your. eyes.

These past few days have been a blast. I have had some lovely dinners with D, did a restaurant walk with my mom, been light looking, spent a lot of time chasing Dyl pickle around the house, watched sunsets from the Del, played board games with my sister and brother in law and laughed SO much with my family. This morning we opened the most thoughful, well thought out presents for each other. We all loved what we received, but the greatest part was seeing the happy expressions and true appreciation for the gifts you picked out yourself for that special person and the way it filled your heart with merriment from giving to them.

Coronado on the most beautiful Christmas day!

Me and Dylan in front of the tree at the Del

Grandpa Dizz and the babe admiring at the flowers

Cute mama and sweet boy

The other night D and I went to Little Italy to see his cousin and fiance's new apartment and have dinner with them. When I lived here I didn't spend too much time in Little Italy. What a sweet surprise! It is enchanting and precious with wall to wall restaurants and shops to walk along. It was decorated absolutely adorable for Christmas and I fell in LOVE with it. We met them at their beautiful new house and chatted for a bit, and headed out to dinner. Johnny had heard about this great restaurant called Bencotto, so we headed over. Everything we had was TRULY amazing. It was one of the best dinners I have ever had in San Diego. We ended up kind of sharing a pumpkin ravioli dish, beef braised in red wine, cioppiono, and a delicious seafood special. We laughed, had great conversation, and enjoyed a delicious meal over wine and friendship. To my San Diego friends, run, don't walk to this restaurant. Amazing service, the BEST food, and great company= an unforgettable night out.

When D and I were walking to the car, I lost him for a minute. I looked around for a second to discover there was my amazing boyfriend kneeling down handing our leftovers to a very grateful homeless man. To see such a random act of kindness by Dan, literally made me weak in the knees and fall in love with him all over again. It truly is the little things in life.

Hope everyone has had an exceptionally happy and wondrous holiday filled with that magic I spoke of earlier. I just played Apples to Apples (which I bought for the fam this year knowing they would love it, but not with much intention.) I never counted on the laughter and joy that it would bring us for hours upon end tonight. We sang for my mom, we cheered when one of us won, and we all told each other just how much we love and cherish each other.

And that's exactly what Christmas is about.

(Oh, and him. That sweet Christmas baby. He makes things EXTRA special!)

So much love to you all. xoxox

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I See The Party Lights

Hi sweet friends!
I didn't exactly fall off the map, well let's get real...actually I did. These past few weeks have been crazy busy with holiday parties, school ending before Winter break, which included tying up loose ends on the kids picture books, making sure parents got presents and hanukeiah's from their kiddos, babysitting a ton, Christmas shopping, and oh, a little bout of pink eye from those glorious children I love as my own.

Even as busy as I have been, I have been so looking forward to being home for the holidays. I have most of my shopping complete, and am looking so forward to little Christmas dates with D and enjoying every second with my family. We have so many fun things planned between light looking, seeing movies, walking to the Del for drinks, a day trip to Julian, dinners and gift exchanges with friends, and dressing up for New Years.

4 days! It is absolutely almost Christmas. I am so excited to give out all my presents to my family! It's the best part! I did a lot of online shopping this year, which was so much easier than being out at the malls. Although, I can't completely avoid the malls. I will be there Friday to finish up my list.

Since I have been so busy, I would love to catch you up on my last few weeks through pictures. It has been fun, exhausting, and lovely.

Disney with my family and D

My annual holiday party with friends

Wonderful co-workers

Great friends

Best boyfriend in the world

QT with baby D

Wine tasting in Healdsburg at Truett and Hurst

The crew- love this winery!

California Adventure Ferris wheel

The gorgeous castle for the holidays!

Laughing about Fun Bun's teeth with Kirbs

Impromptu dinners at home with my dearest friends

Gorgeous christmas lights in NoPa

Kirbs and me at the Divisadero Art Walk

A fun night!

Hope this caught everyone up. This month has flown by. Tomorrow morning I leave bright and early for San Diego... for 11 days! I am ecstatic. Cannot wait to share what a joyous holiday season this is going to be. I am so excited to get lost in this magical time of year, with unexpected kisses under the mistletoe, celebrate with happy bubbles next to the ones I love, and to let my inner child make Christmas wishes for me.

Merry Christmas friends!