Wanderings: Eating in Istanbul

Baklava

Baklava heaven

Nothing beats traveling to a city where you have close friends who can show you around town and take you to all the best restaurants that only the locals know about.  A guided food tour is the next best thing.

On the recommendation of a colleague who had recently traveled to Turkey, we signed up for a culinary walk with Istanbul Eats.  Our guide, the amazing Angelis, led us on a five and half hour eating tour through markets and small restaurants in the Karaköy neighborhood on the European side of the city, and Kadıköy, on the Asian side.

Dried peppers and eggplant

Dried peppers and eggplant

The most amazing kebabs

The most amazing kebabs

Simit

Simit

Personally, I think it can be very intimidating to walk into a restaurant in a new place when you aren’t familiar with the cuisine and don’t speak the language well.  A culinary tour is a great ice breaker for diving into the food scene.  In addition to introducing us to dozens of kind of food, drink and desserts, Angelis from Istanbul Eats showed us how to order in different kinds of situations, how to garnish our food, what to look for in street food, and talked to us about the way various cultures intersecting over time led to the food we were eating now.

Spices

Spices

Yogurt soup

Yogurt soup

Grilling tantuni, beef served in a flatbread wrap with veggies

Grilling tantuni, beef served in a flatbread wrap with veggies

Wet burger!

Wet burger!

Apart from the amazing food we had that day, Istanbul Eats gave us a printed guide to all their favorite places to eat in the city, organized by neighborhood.  Afterwards we consulted that book constantly and often organized our city exploration around a place we wanted to eat from the book.  They were some of the best meals of my life and many of them were back street or upstairs places so far from the beaten tourist path, I’d never have found them otherwise.

Another great result of the tour was that we were able to make friends with a few of the other travelers who we spent the day eating and walking with.  We met up with one couple a few times for dinner, drinks and sightseeing and it was wonderful to have new friends with whom to experience city life.

Making pide and lahmacun

Making pide and lahmacun

Stuffed mussels

Stuffed mussels

Tulum seller.  Tulum is cheese ripened in a goat skin. I believe the sign says, "Those who know, know."

Tulum seller. Tulum is cheese ripened in a goat skin. I believe the sign says, “Those who know, know.”

Raki, an anise flavored drink

Raki, an anise flavored drink

Amazing dinner at Antiochia

Amazing dinner at Antiochia

Pickle and olive shop

Pickle and olive shop

Turkish delight

Turkish delight

Fresh squeezed orange and pomegranate juice

Fresh squeezed orange and pomegranate juice

Pomegranate reduction

Pomegranate reduction

Turkish breakfast

Turkish breakfast

Lahmacun and pide

Lahmacun and pide

Shrimp, squid and clams

Shrimp, squid and clams

Fish market

Fish market

Cheeses

Cheeses

Yogurt with sugar on the ferry

Yogurt with sugar on the ferry

Olives

Olives

Olives

Olives

Turkish meatballs and marrow bread

Turkish meatballs and marrow bread

Honey combs

Honey combs

Bakery

Bakery

Pickled vegetables

Pickled vegetables

Grape leaves

Grape leaves

Sütlaç, rice pudding topped with bananas, figs and Turkish delight.

Sütlaç, rice pudding with bananas, figs and Turkish delight.

Pide

Pide

Fresh aryan, a salty yogurt drink

Fresh aryan, a salty yogurt drink

Halka tatlisi, street food that tastes like churros if they were made of fried honey

Halka tatlisi, (as if churros were made out of fried honey)

Jams to eat with breakfast and clotted cream

Jams to eat with breakfast and clotted cream

Roasted chestnuts

Roasted chestnuts

Pastries

Pastries

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Wanderings: Visiting the Blue Mosque

Sultan Ahmed (Blue Mosque) in the distance

Sultan Ahmed (Blue Mosque) in the distance

This was my favorite afternoon in Istanbul.  Quiet and cold, and slow.  Sultan Ahmed, also called the Blue Mosque, is a functioning mosque.  As with a cathedral, faith comes first, and travelers must wait until services and prayers are finished.   I would wait all day in that lovely courtyard, listening to the echoing sounds of the muezzin from the Blue Mosque and the Firuz Aga Mosque take turns calling the faithful to prayer.

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Minarets

Minarets

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Shoe rack in the Blue Mosque

Shoe rack in the Blue Mosque

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Here are two videos of the calls to prayer that echo back and forth from the Blue Mosque and Firuz Aga Mosque.  I was caught a little off guard the first time I heard it, and felt very swept up and emotional.  The first (bad) video is mine, the second (much better) video was found on Youtube.

Wanderings: Istanbul city life

New Mosque and a chestnut vendor

New Mosque and a chestnut vendor

One of the main reasons I travel is to experience life in a different place.  Some people like to focus on history and spend all their time in museums, but I am much more fascinated by modern life.  I want to find the places where the real citizens go, eat what they eat, drink what they drink, shop where they shop.   Before a trip, I try to read up on all the customs and habits of the place I am visiting: which way does traffic go on a sidewalk; do they look each other in the eyes; how to they greet each other; thank each other; what is the proper way to order food.  Then, when I get there, I try to blend in.  Some places its easier than others.

Some people think trying to blend in is silly, but I think it leads to a lot of nice surprises.  Maybe I get into the modern art museum for free because I look like a citizen.  Maybe the handsome men at the next table buy us dessert because we admired theirs.  Maybe the shopkeeper sends me to his favorite restaurant, or the fruit seller gives us a few pears as a gift.

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New Mosque

New Mosque

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Now that the Mister and I travel together, we rent apartments in neighborhoods, instead of hotels in the city center.  In Istanbul we stayed in the Karaköy neighborhood, which is across the Golden Horn from the old city.  We had nice views of Galata and the old city, but when we went downstairs the street was full of appliance and light fixture stores.  We could walk to İstiklal in ten minutes to party with the locals, or stay in our apartment to drink wine and play games as the gorgeous Galata Tower loomed over us.

Beyoglu apartment near Galata tower

The apartment we rented.  Look at those brick ceilings!

Galata Tower from our bedroom window

Galata Tower from our bedroom window

Sunset from our balcony

Sunset from our balcony

I love people watching.  So does the Mister.  We spent so much time in Istanbul sitting in cafes, sitting in parks, watching people, wandering around, watching, listening, tasting.  We explored back streets and fish markets, rode the ferries and the trams, peeked into workshops and stores.  We got lost so many times, but stumbled on cafes and antique shops and schools and cemeteries, and it was really all so wonderful.

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Anadolu Kavagi

Anadolu Kavagi

Simit vendor

Simit vendor

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Cemetery

Cemetery

Fortune telling bunny

Fortune telling bunny

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Looking out over the Bosphorus

Looking out over the Bosphorus

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Wanderings: Sightseeing in Istanbul

Hagia Sofia

Hagia Sofia

Istanbul.  I’d never been to a city with so much history.  Rome is the only place that comes close, and even that is not the same.  The area was first settled nearly 2,500 years ago, and over that time it was a major crossroads of trade and culture, as well as the capitol of four major empires.

History is everywhere in the city, re-appropriated and re-purposed, layered on top of its self and crammed together.  Stand anywhere in the city and you’ll find something beautiful from 500 years ago, then walk a few steps and find some place important 1,000 years ago, then turn a corner and find something 1,500 years old that was turned into something useful fifty years ago.

The modern day culture and the food were primarily what drew me to Istanbul, but we took a little time each day to visit one or two of the monumental historical sights the city had to offer.   Limiting the time we spend in museums, for us, means that when we do go to one, we don’t feel rushed and exhausted.  I like feeling like I can linger.  Explore every corner and look at the light from every window.  Imagine that I lived here and got to look at this tile or that stone, every day.

Hagia Sofia

Hagia Sofia

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Domes and Minarets

Domes and minarets from the Hagia Sofia looking over the the Blue Mosque

Hagia Sofia

Hagia Sofia

Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern

Yoros Castle

Yoros Castle

Installation at Istanbul Modern

Installation at Istanbul Modern

Topkapi courtyards

Topkapi courtyards

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Topkapi Palace

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Arcade leading to the entrance of the harems at Topkapi

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Spice Market

Spice Market

Istanbul.53

Spice market

Wanderings – New York City

Cherry blossoms and West 15th St.

Cherry blossoms and West 15th St.

This past spring, I found myself in the city a couple of times for work and a bridal shower.  We have so many friends that live all over Manhattan and Brooklyn that it can be a challenge hopscotching across town to see them when we visit.  One chilly but sunny day, just before we headed home, the Mister had brunch with his brother, while I met up with friends to pick up something warm to drink at Blue Bottle Coffee and then walk along the High Line.  It was the perfect way to catch up, stretch our legs, and enjoy the first days of spring.

A line of taxis on West 14th

Taxis on West 14th

Crocuses

Crocuses

Crossing

Crossing

Rendezvousing with this handsome guy to head home

Rendezvousing with this handsome guy to head home

Wanderings: Orange County and Los Angeles

I love this gorgeous girl and the gorgeous view

I love this gorgeous girl and the gorgeous view

At the end of this trip to California, we headed south for the wedding of one of the Mister’s good friends from college, hopscotching all over Orange County and Los Angeles for various wedding events, visiting family, and getting in a little sightseeing.

We started out in Irvine, staying with family on his side.  I wrote a little about it here.  To kick off the busy weekend, the Mister’s auntie made us an Italian feast, with homemade gnocchi, eggplant parmesan, fresh fig salad, and on and on.  By Saturday morning, we were well-rested and energized for a busy couple of days.

Newport Beach

Newport Beach

Beach cruisers

Beach cruisers

Stuft Surfer Cafe

Stuft Surfer Cafe

Early Saturday afternoon we drove to Newport Beach for the ceremony.  We got to the church about an hour early and walked a block over to the beach to have a look around.  It was a gorgeous day, and I wanted to hitch up my long dress and run straight into the waves.

Wedding flowers

Wedding flowers

Gorgeous florets on the bridal gown train

Gorgeous florets on the bridal gown train

I wished I had been wearing this beautiful sari

I wished I had been wearing this beautiful sari

The Mister and the groom come from a tight-knit group of ten or so friends from college, most of whom were able to make it to the wedding. They are scattered all over the country now, and we were glad to spend time before the ceremony chatting and laughing, and catching up with the groom’s family, who they knew well.  After the ceremony, the married couple dashed to their vintage ride in a cloud of bubbles, rose petals and cheers, and while they went off to take photos, we all piled into our cars and headed straight to the nearest In-N-Out Burger for a pre-reception snack.

Pre-reception pit stop at In-N-Out Burger

Pre-reception pit stop at In-N-Out Burger

We split a Double-Double with fries

We split a Double-Double with fries

The reception was at the gorgeous Montage Hotel, overlooking Laguna Beach.  Cocktail hour and a tea ceremony were held on the lawns, perfectly timed to coincide with the last few golden hours of the day.

Pool at the Montage in Laguna Beach

Pool at the Montage in Laguna Beach

Cocktail hour over looking this gorgeous view

Cocktail hour overlooking this gorgeous view

Look at those green green waters

Look at those green green waters

Succulents, bougainvillea and the sea

Succulents, bougainvillea and the sea

We took turns taking each other’s photos and indulging in the champagne bar.

Catching up with friends who now live far away

Catching up with friends who now live far away

Amazing champagne bar

Amazing champagne bar

I had a few of these

I had a few of these

Once the sun had sen, we made our way into the ballroom for dinner, each table set with elaborate ceramics, and bowls of candles and blossoms.  We danced the night away to a Beach Boys cover band, under dozens of paper lanterns.

Paper lantern over the dance floor

Paper lanterns over the dance floor

Some tables had these beautiful ceramics

Some tables had these beautiful ceramics

Other tables had these bowls of flowers and candles

Other tables had these bowls of flowers and candles

The next morning, we pried our weary bodies out of bed, and drove to Corona del Mar, for a brunch overlooking the beach at the bride’s family home.  We sipped mimosas and bloody marys, and watched the waves crash on the rocks a few feet away.

Wedding brunch overlooking Corona Beach

Wedding brunch overlooking Corona del Mar

and me

Needing more coffee

All brunches should have bloody mary bars

All brunches should have bloody mary bars

the Mister

The Mister

Just some brunch

Just some brunch

Quiet little oasis

Quiet little oasis

After brunch, and many hugs goodbye with good friends, we headed into Los Angeles to drive around a bit before I had to catch a red eye home.  On the recommendation of Kristina, we stopped at Grand Central Market for lunch.  We wandered around the building, eating all the food with our eyes, and finally settled on the taqueria with the longest line and no visible name.  Amazing.

Grand Central Market

Grand Central Market

Beef and pork tacos

Beef and pork tacos

Packed lunch counter

Packed lunch counter

We also made our way up to Griffith Observatory to take in the views of the city and explore the observatory.

Griffiths Observatory and downtown Los Angeles

Griffiths Observatory and downtown Los Angeles

Irresistible touristy photo

Irresistible touristy photo

View of the city

View of the city

Downtown Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Visitors mesmerized by the pendulum

Visitors mesmerized by the pendulum

Pendulum

Pendulum

There was so much amazing food and architecture that we couldn’t get to, and now we are both itching to come back soon and taste a little more of what the city has to offer.

Palms and sunsets

Palms and sunsets

Wanderings: Santa Cruz

Amusement park on the Santa Cruz board walk

Amusement park on the Santa Cruz board walk

While in California we had hoped to have a chance to meet up with a couple of good friends who live in the Bay area.   We’d all been traveling a lot, only had part of one day free, and they have a baby, so when our friend hit on the solution of meeting up half way in Santa Cruz, we thought “Perfect!”  On Sunday morning, we rented a car and made the hour long drive north.

Beach baby in her french duds

Beach baby in the outfit we got her in Paris last year

Santa Cruz Beach

Santa Cruz Beach

Getting some quality snuggle time

Getting some quality snuggle time

I’d never been to Santa Cruz before and it was really the perfect town to meet up for a few hours.  It was still a little foggy when we arrived, so we parked near the boardwalk, got espressos and drifted down to the beach to watch the volleyball players.  Not long after, our friends arrived with a beach blanket and picnic food.  We set up a few feet up from the water, snacked and caught up, and dug in the sand with the baby, all the while watching athletes complete a triathlon along one stretch of the beach.

Boardwalk

Boardwalk

Pat the Beard-y

Pat the Beard-y

Once the sun had burned through the fog and we’d had a chance to soak up the warmth, we packed up the blanket and headed over to the boardwalk to check out the amusement park and the arcades.  It was fun to see the baby taking in all the lights and sounds and the movement of the rides, sometimes wide-eyed and sometimes squealing in delight.  We hadn’t seen her since last summer when she still so tiny and sleepy, and now she’s practically a pro at walking.

Selfies from the chair lift

Selfies from the chair lift

Chair lift

Chair lift

Hi!

Hi!

We women snuck off on our own to ride the colorful chair lifts high above the park, and the men and the baby wandered around the rides and booths below.

Nom nom softserve.

Nom nom softserve.

Playing well so we can win her a big prize

Playing well so we can win her a big prize

We combined all our tickets and got her this sea horse.  She approved.

We combined all our tickets and got her this sea horse. She approved.

Like the end of any perfect summer trip, we indulged in vices treats like corn dogs and chocolate dipped ice cream cones.  We wandered into the arcades and did our best to win enough tickets to buy the baby something cute, and when we came up short, we fed more money into the token machines so we could win more tickets.  Eventually we racked up enough tickets to get her a soft blue sea horse on a bendable stick, and she rewarded our efforts by laughing and repeatedly giving it kisses.

Making friends

Making friends

Such a cool theatre and I want to see Mason Jennings!

Such a cool theatre and I want to see Mason Jennings!

Wanderings: Biking around the Monterey Peninsula

One of many breaks along the trail

One of many breaks while biking around Monterey Peninsula

One afternoon, I found myself on my own with time on my hands and no place in particular to be.  I popped in to Adventures by the Sea and asked about renting a bicycle for a few hours.  Within a few minutes they fitted me for a small white, dutch step-through style rental bike, taken my info, and pointed me in the more scenic direction of the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail.

My ride

My ride

This part of California is known for quick weather changes and this day was no exception.  On the ride out, the fog (they call it the Sea Layer) clung to the rocky outcroppings and crashing waves, and the landscape was spooky and otherworldly, making the coast seemed wild and a little dangerous.  On the ride back, the sun had burned through the fog and everything was bright and warm and calm, and almost unrecognizable from the earlier ride.  I felt as though I was returning through a completely different place.

Red ice plant growing along the dunes

Red ice plant growing along the dunes

Monterey.Bike.4

Foggy, craggy coast

There are numerous little beaches along the way, some of them with benches and picnic tables.  I probably stopped a dozen times, locked my bike up to a chain or fence post and wandered down to the beaches, exploring the rocks and tide pools, numbing my feet in the water and looking for sea glass.

Tide pools and crashing waves

Tide pools and crashing waves

Little boy looking out at the giant waves

Little boy looking out at the giant waves

The crashing of these giant waves is incredibly loud

The crashing of these huge waves is incredibly loud

Red aloe bushes

Red aloe bushes

There and back, I rode a little under 19 miles in 3.5 hours–pretty slow and leisurely.  I’ll probably be back in California later this year, and I’m hoping to pack a picnic and do the entire ride down to Carmel-by-the-Sea.  This would almost double the distance and probably take a full day, but I’m looking forward to it.

Towards Lover's Point

Towards Lover’s Point

A few notes on the ride: I started my ride on the paved bike path near Cannery Row.  This is part of the larger Monterey Bay Coastal Trail; its a paved multi-use trail that is separated from the street.  After Lover’s Point, in Pacific Grove, the paved bike path ends, and I followed some other cyclists on to the street along Sunset Drive.  I don’t typically feel super comfortable riding along with cars, but the traffic on Sunset Drive was slow and lazy, and after about two miles a bike path reappears on either side of the road. I followed this for another mile or so to Spanish Bay, then cut inland and joined up with 17 Mile Drive.  The road is free for cyclists, $9.00 for cars, and absolutely beautiful.  Ride along for a few miles or the length of the trail, there are plenty of places to stop and rest, but be sure to bring your own food and water, as I didn’t see anything available for sale.  The ride is relatively flat, with only one incline that left me a little winded.  Here’s a map of the approximate ride I did, 8.7 miles each way.

8.7 Mile bike ride along the Monterey Bay Peninsula

8.7 Mile bike ride along the Monterey Bay Peninsula

Wanderings: Kayaking in Monterey Bay

Sea lions chasing each other around our kayak (and splashing us!)

Sea lions chasing each other around our kayak (and splashing us!)

Early one cool, golden morning, we headed down to the beach to explore Monterey Bay by kayak.  It was a little breezy, but the water was glassy and calm, and our wetsuits kept us perfectly warm.  I expected to see harbor seals and sea lions, and was surprised by just how many animals we saw.  I only got photos of a few of them, but altogether we saw sea lions, harbor seals, otters with pups, dolphins, sea nettles, starfish, a sea hare, cormorants, pelicans, and small octopus.  Our guide was thrilled about the octopus as it was the first one he’d ever seen there and couldn’t recall hearing of a sighting in three or four years.

Our amazing guide, Alex, from Monterey Bay Kayaks was incredibly knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and clearly loved his job.  Alex was careful to keep us a safe distance from the birds and mammals (for their safety), but many of them seemed just as curious about us and swam over to check us out–and occasionally give us a good splashing.

Starfish

Starfish

Sea lion

Sea lion

California sea hare releasing ink

California sea hare releasing ink

Sea lion diving beneath our kayaks

Sea lion diving beneath our kayaks

Great day out on the water

Great day out on the water

These cormorants popped out of deep water next to us, then completely disappeared twenty seconds later

These cormorants popped out of deep water next to us, then completely disappeared twenty seconds later

Lounging sea lions

Lounging sea lions

Ghostly harbor seals checking us out from below

Ghostly harbor seals checking us out from below

A sea nettle among the kelp forests

A sea nettle among the kelp forests

Happy kayaker

Happy kayaker

Wanderings: Monterey

After a satisfying hour of looking for sea glass

After a satisfying hour of looking for sea glass

After nearly two weeks spent in California, I’m finally home and it feels strange to no longer be two blocks from the ocean.  I already miss the crashing waves and smell of eucalyptus.

Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea

Beach path leading down to Monterey Bay

Beach path leading down to Monterey Bay

I worked via laptop most of the time I was away, so it wasn’t really a vacation.  Still, it was amazing to walk down to the bay when I was done for the day and work with the windows thrown wide open because the weather was so lovely.   I’ll likely be back again in early December and I’m already making lists of things I didn’t have time to do this time.  Longer bike rides and boating, the aquarium and the markets.

A little strip of beach near Cannery Row

A little strip of beach near Cannery Row

Wandering around the neighborhoods before dinner

Wandering around the neighborhoods before dinner

California was golden days and the perfect blend of warm and cool.  Now I’m home and the heat seems to have burned off for the year.  It really feels like the start of autumn and I’m looking up and waiting for the leaves to change.  Its been more than five years since I was last in school and summer blends into the other seasons with no clear delineation.  This year feels different.

Candy shop along fisherman's wharf

Candy shop along fisherman’s wharf

Kayak crossing

Kayak crossing

I want one of these perfect little bungalows

I want one of these perfect little bungalows

Cormorants and gulls

Cormorants and gulls

Dunes

Dunes

Brown pelican and the marina

Brown pelican and the marina

Wanderings: Irvine

Pomegranates

Pomegranates

Today I’m working from a relative’s house in Irvine.  I got chance to sneak out this morning for a little walk and was delighted to find pomegranate and lemon trees growing in neighbors’ yards.  My life’s dream is to have my very own avocado tree, and if I’d seen one of those I might not have been able to stop myself from taking one.  Have a great weekend!

Palms

Palms

I just love all the bougainvillea

I just love all the bougainvillea

Lemon and lime trees

Lemon and lime trees

Hibiscus flowers

Hibiscus flowers

Wanderings: Last day in Monterey

Heading down for drinks and dinner

Heading down to the hotel bar for drinks and dinner

Outfit: Madewell sweater (similar) / J. Crew Skirt (similar)/ Madewell Shoes / Madewell bag (similar)

Today is my last day in Monterey.  Tonight I head south to attend a weekend wedding and hopefully do a little exploring.  I’ll share some photos from my time here next week, but for now, here are a few shots around our gorgeous, Spanish-style hotel.

Rose garden

Rose garden

Lounging in the old atrium

Lounging in the old atrium

Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea

Wanderings – Greetings from Monterey

Sunset on Monterey Bay

Sunset on Monterey Bay

I’ve been in Monterey for a few days now and its been a wonderful change of scenery.  The days have been sunny and cool, and the air smells like eucalyptus which is one of my favorite things about being in California. Here are a few photos from my first walk down along the water.

This weekend we are planning to go kayaking in Monterey Bay, explore Carmel, and drive up to Santa Cruz to hang out with friends.  Hope you have a great weekend!

Path leading to the bay

Path leading to the bay

Hello, Pacific Ocean.

Hello, Pacific Ocean.

Packing for California

Blues, whites and greys

Blues, whites and greys

Packing up for a two week trip to California.  I like to travel light and have tried to adhere to a great packing tip I read about on Cup of Jo a while back: stick to a simple color scheme.  This let’s you mix and match tops, bottoms, layers, jewelry and shoes, so that you can have lots of outfits without lugging around too much stuff.  I’ve packed one brightly colored dress, since I have a wedding to attend at the end of the trip.

I’ll be working from California for next two weeks, mostly in Monterey, but spending a little time in Santa Cruz and Los Angeles.  Any tips on great places to eat or things to do?

Mix and match shoes, a swimsuit, and one dress for a wedding

Mix and match shoes, a swimsuit, and one vibrant dress for a wedding

Wanderings – Florida

Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach

Over Memorial Day weekend, we traveled to central Florida to attend the second part of our four-weddings-in-six-weeks blitz.  We tacked two extra days onto the long weekend and rented a cottage on Cocoa Beach.  The water was clear and warm, and large waves broke a few feet from shore.  We had fun standing right at the break and trying to jump over the waves without getting barreled over.  One day we went dolphin watching and were even lucky enough to catch a rocket launch from the Kennedy Space Center.  After five days we were so relaxed and it was hard to leave our tiny kitschy cottage by the sea.

Enjoying the ocean breeze

Enjoying the ocean breeze

Swimsuit – Modcloth / Sunglasses – Persol / Beach tote – J. Crew / Jewelry – Satomi Kawakita and Steve Alan / Hat, Shoes, Towel – Target

About 30 seconds before he jumped in the ocean

About 30 seconds before he jumped in the ocean

Video I shot of the rocket launch.

These two are oh so cool

These two are oh so cool

Satellite Beach

Satellite Beach

Dolphin watching on Banana River

Dolphin watching on Banana River

Wanderings – Ann Arbor

Scatter picking blueberries

Scatter picking blueberries

As a child in the southwest, I never understood why people loved summer until I moved to Ann Arbor in my mid-twenties. Long golden days and cool nights, littered with fireflies, ice cream and more flowers than I’d ever seen.  I’d never really believed in the summers I read about in Anne of Green Gables; Ann Arbor made me understand.

In need of a summer getaway, the Mister and I spent the better part of last week there visiting with old friends, picking blueberries, and eating more than our fair share of ice cream.

Friends at the Cakery, not Bakery

Friends at the Cakery, not Bakery

Sparrow Market

Sparrow Market

Washtenaw Dairy ice cream counter

Washtenaw Dairy ice cream counter

My former roommate, Bill, the Washtenaw Dairy donut baker

My former roommate, Bill, the Washtenaw Dairy donut baker

Cheese counter at Zingerman's Deli http://www.zingermansdeli.com/

Cheese counter at Zingerman’s Deli http://www.zingermansdeli.com/

Blueberry haul

Blueberry haul

Joel, The Lunch Room, http://thelunchrooma2.tumblr.com/

Joel, The Lunch Room, http://thelunchrooma2.tumblr.com/

Washtenaw Dairy

Washtenaw Dairy

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