Holiday break :)

We’re wrapping up this holiday vacation and I’m loving every moment of family time and rest. It’s a rainy morning, so thought I would jot down some happy memories from the first half of vacation:


Writing this to remember next year: when waffling between taking a few days off before Christmas or saving the vacation days: TAKE THE DAYS. I’m really grateful I was able to take Thursday and Friday off (thanks, vacation policy!). Between my post election low-grade depression, the unrelenting winter cold/virus that hit our office, and general pregnancy sleepiness, it was particularly helpful to have a bit more time this year.

I mostly took care of overdue errands on Thursday (doctor, car check up, Christmas shopping), but Thursday night we went out for our traditional Christmas burgers and milkshakes at Bob’s on the Marina. Delicious! 


Photo from Silvia

After a cozy brunch and afternoon with Adri in Benencia, David made a pot of rich Cacio e pepe for dinner. I took over the living room to wrap up presents (a day early-that never happens) and watched one of my all-time favorite holiday movies.


We hosted Christmas Eve dinner for the fist time!

Photo from Silvia

David made an incredible prime rib and sides and we opened presents after dinner. It’s been years since we hosted Thanksgiving dinners and I forgot how tiring hosting a holiday dinner is! And I didn’t even cook! Eek. Grateful we could all be together.

David, Abuelita and Silvia :)

This was the first Christmas Eve we’ve ever spent in our own home. We left the tree lights on overnight and a plate of cookies by the fireplace…it just felt right.


It was kind of neat to wake up, at home, on Christmas morning. And it was CHILLY! We drove over to David’s dad’s house and opened presents with the family. His family hosted an incredible breakfast buffet, with Belgian waffles-my favorite. 

David and his new diaper bag backpack-getting ready :)

Soon it was time for our other holiday tradition: midday flight to Irvine!

Thankfully, it’s an easy, short flight and my parents live super close to the airport. 3 1/2 hours later, we gathered around Janou’s gorgeous appetizers, sinking in to a festive afternoon.

After Christmas crackers and Mom’s delicious prime rib and scalloped potatoes, we curled up by the fireplace and Katie and Kevin came over for dessert. I can’t adequately articulate how special it was to all be together, in one place, listening to Katie and Janou’s stories of their exiting adventures, soaking up the Christmas hygge spirit. So special!


After sleeping in (hooray!!!), David and I decided to try for the Beachcomber for lunch. It’s always such a kick seeing the beautifully decorated tree sitting on the  beach.

David’s drink, the Beachcomber, couldn’t have been more ridiculous and he LOVED it. Noting to try making it in the future: Cherry Cruzan Rum, Svedka Lemonade, and Cranberry Juice.

That night we drove to Manhattan Beach for dinner with some of my UCLA favorites at Tin Roof Bistro. It definitely wasn’t enough time to fully catch up but a treat briefly be together.


Engagement celebrations!!!!! Max’s family graciously hosted an engagement lunch at True Food Kitchen to celebrate Janou and Max. It was so special to kick off their wedding celebrations together and get to know Max’s family. Can’t wait for the wedding!!!

After lunch, Janou, David and I drove to UCLA. The sun was beginning to set and we just marveled at the beautiful campus.

We couldn’t resist checking out our ceremony location and taking some photos…looking quite different now than in July 2014!

And of course, some Diddy Riese before heading home :)


More quiet and lounging and then a special Christmas lunch! I took my dad to lunch at the Disneyland Grand Californian Hotel, flipping a tradition from my childhood, when he used to take me out for special Disneyland days.

The hotel was gorgeous and spectacularly decorated for the holidays. I loved having the afternoon to catch up with my dad. Very special.

That night, over latkas and salad, we all celebrated Hannukah together.


Jen Tan and I had plans to hang out and when she mentioned Salt and Straw in Venice, our plans were SET.

Despite the lines and hype it’s surprisingly not overrated-the ice cream is that good. After an appetizer of salted caramel ice cream, we enjoyed a delicious lunch at Gjelina. I peppered Jen with about 800 pregnancy and baby questions and she patiently reassured me about all of it. So grateful for my wise and expert friends.

Later that evening, I met up with the UCLA favorites at Belmont Shore in Long Beach. It was especially nice to have more time to catch up some more.


One last morning of sleeping in and laziness in Irvine. It was rainy and cozy, and Janou’s pumpkin pancakes were a delicious way to greet the day. After lounging, we got our act together and ventured out for wedding dress shopping!

We checked out a few spots and got a better idea of the different types of dress styles. And, of course, Janou makes every dress look stunning :)


And now, it’s the last day of 2016! After a super early flight this morning, I took a very long winter’s nap. And now, we’re off to San Jose to greet the New Year with some of our best friends. Very grateful for this restful holiday break and the time with family and friends :)

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