2014 year end reflection

scott-nancy2014 was a complete game-changer on so many levels. Starting off the year, my husband and I had been married for a little less than 48 hours, and were planning our move across North America from little ol’ university town of Waterloo Ontario, to smack dab into Silicon Valley, Amurica.

Never in my wildest dreams, had I ever thought about, or even imagined that I would be living in the United States, let alone breathtaking Northern California. Nevertheless, I must say 2014 was the best year yet — although it went by in such a blur I cannot believe we moved down here 11 months ago. We’re no longer newly weds, and we’re no longer new to being in California! Crazy!

My main goals when moving to the USA was to push my introverted self out of my comfort zone and say yes to more things, speak up to strangers and meet new friends (check, and check!), and overall embrace the change. It wasn’t scary to move down to California if we’re going to be honest. Especially easy since we moved during a Canadian winter. I wasn’t overly fond of living in Ontario, because I was stuck in a rut. I didn’t have many friends, and I certainty didn’t like the place we lived. We were already a 4 hour flight away from family, what’s another 6 added on top of that?

Okay okay, before I get all mushy let me walk you through all last year had to offer, shall we?

surpriseJanuary was full of panic and packing. It was when we came back to work, told our bosses we would be leaving our amazing wonderful jobs to pick up and move to the USA. I still miss my co-workers so much. I continue to e-mail all 30 of the staff on a weekly basis (every Thursday as a matter of fact), to keep them updated. I’m not sure if everyone is on board with my random ramblings, but for the most part a lot of them seem to be enjoying the updates. We skype, we BBM video, and we chat as though I am still part of their team. I loved that I was completely caught off guard by my going away/wedding/surprise party thrown by some of my co-workers, while I was at the mall with Aimster (who just so happened to be my bosses daughter and my co-worker).

imageFebruary was the time we took the swift 3 day drive from Canada to California in our 17 foot u-haul with my little Mazda on top of a trailer attached to the u-haul. I’m surprised we weren’t pulled over and asked for a truckers drivers license. That thing was a beast to drive, and so scary — I definitely white knuckled driving that monster. I looked back on my archives and it looks as though I blogged just the once. Guess that goes to show how busy we were driving across the continent, looking for places to live, and having our internet hooked up. Luckily we found a spot in no time, thanks to Jessica a hundred times over for helping us out from driving me to all kinds of apartments to me leeching off her internet to find apartments to look at. Couldn’t have done it without her help. By the way, can you not get over how amazing California looks in February?!

MonksMarch was another fun month. I got the chance to have a complete makeover at the Valley Fair Mall in Santa Clara at MAKE UP FOR EVER which was pretty sweet. I walked around Santa Row a lot, checking out all the stores readily available just waiting for me to whip out my pocket book. Man, the shopping is excellent here. We drove out to Lake Tahoe for a day trip so The Guy could get in some last minute cross country skiing done before the season ended. I had enough of the snow at this point, I wasn’t about to get on a set of ski’s especially after leaving the wretched cold winter up north. I was ready for some sun! So I got some at Capitola Beach when our friends from Ontario came down to visit their in-laws. My old co-op student from my previous job in Ontario was in San Francisco on a work term, so I visited him for a day and we were treated like celebrities, it was fantastic.

Golden-Gate-JumpApril I stepped out of my comfort zone as Ellen, a blog reader e-mailed me out of the blue one day mentioning she had been reading my blog for some time, but has never left a comment. She is also a climber, and suggested we meet up some time for a climb at the local rock gym. Of course I’m going to say YES. It was awesome, and I hope to continue to climb with her again this year! Our first Easter in California was a success, and pret-tee delicious if you ask me, gotta say… I’m a great cook ;) This was also the month my blog received a complete overhaul and re-branding, I love how it turned out. April was pretty memorable because Jessica took me out to see the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time in my life!

birthday-bannerMay ah my birth month, where even my local pizza place delivered me a heart-shaped pizza for my birthday, sweet. I got a membership to the local rock climbing gym and climbed more with Ellen. On Mother’s Day The Guy and I went to the Golden Gate Bridge to take some photos so I could make some Thank You cards to send out to our wedding guests. Not only that, I got to eat breakfast at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay!

June I bought a pretty sweet gym bag and bouldered a V4 for the first time in years, pretty happy about that. I visited Google for the first time, that place is so fun! I swore during yoga class. My husbands younger sister came by (and the older one came in July as their trips overlapped). The Guy and I finally have a grown-up bedroom, with a headboard and all. Now we just need to upgrade our bed from a double to a king.

BlogHer-BloggersJuly is when I went to my first BlogParty in San Francisco and met so many awesome Bay Area blogging buddies. I also attended the BlogHer conference where I spotted Khloe Kardashian in person, kinda fun. My two sister-in-law’s (husband’s sisters) came down for a visit and we totally bonded, froze are buns off in San Francisco on the Fourth of July, and had a laugh, it was amazing having them both here. I cannot wait until they both come down again, hopefully SOON!

BlogHer14-Day2-005August was a slow month in the blogging world. Jessica and I teamed up and hosted a giveaway together, and I posted the outfit photos (here too)that she took of me at the blogging conference. Total fav. Then there was a whole whack of talkin’ and reviewing of some Dior products. Nothing much to report in August, really!

Swimming-IMTahoe-2014September The Guy made his featured appearance on the blog and starting reviewing running shoes. I was back to Newfoundland for most of August and a little bit of September. I still haven’t recapped our non-wedding wedding reception that we flew back for, in August. I didn’t take many photos from the day, so there isn’t much to look at really. But I did take you around to the little fishing place called Petty Harbour, and then showed you the most easterly point in North America, Cape Spear. I blogged about going to the annual Flatrock Festival (climbing fest) too. The Guy was going for his 6th Ironman in September, out in Lake Tahoe but it ended up being cancelled due to smoke from forest fires, and we came face-to-face with a bear at our hotel. Scary stuff.

Alfie-shower-cap-1October onto my husband’s birth month. For his birthday I surprised him with a two day honeymoon to the romantic village of Carmel, an hour or so south of us. The views from Point Lobos had to be my favourite spot of our trip. October is when I introduced Pomeranian Friday’s to the blog, which seems to be a huge hit with the readers. Glad you’re enjoying Alfie as much as we are!

Bloggers-at-UniqloNovember was a fun month because not only did I received a ton of lip glosses to play with courtesy of bareMinerals, I attended a pretty fun event for the grand opening of Uniqlo in the Milpitas mall. I also started exploring coffee shops, which I’ll continue to do as a feature throughout 2015. The Guy, Alfie and I hit the trails one afternoon, and then I showed you what my “uniform” looks like on weekends. Then I did a flashback to the summer where I  talked you through beautiful Conception Harbour, Newfoundland.

napkins2December is my favourite month of the year! For our first American thanksgiving (although in November but blogged about in December) we hosted our first dinner guests, ever ever!  We invited our Canadian friends to join us as I cooked us a feast! I attended a really cool event in San Francisco and received the utmost royal treatment getting there. I ended up taking my hair dye woes into my own hands and doing an at-home dye-job, how did it go? In December we hosted some more family and friends, and after they left I showed you how I like to unwind after a long day. I visited another great coffee shop! December was pretty awesome, we got to fly home again to be with our family. Although arriving later than expected with many airline troubles, we still enjoyed our time in Newfoundland.

If you’ve read this far, thank you! That’s the end of my 2014 recap. I’m feelin’ good about you, year 2015. I sure am.

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Point Lobos, Carmel

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Point-Lobos-beachesYou can’t visit Carmel without a drive down to Point Lobos to take in those spectacular views, it was on my 7 things to see in Carmel for a reason. I knew I wanted to spend a couple of hours there, so before heading out we stopped by 5th Avenue Deli in Carmel to put together an afternoon picnic for ourselves.

The Guy and I had a great time exploring the gorgeous grounds of the Point Lobos State Nature Reserve and took some of our new favourite couple-y pictures together. Framers. After walking around with our 5th Avenue Deli picnic lunch, we sat down on a bench and enjoyed the majestic views. The Guy said the scenery isn’t too different from our home province of Newfoundland, but I say it varies. The colours of the rocks, cliffs, dirt here in California are mesmerizing. I know that sounds silly, but I swear this place looks like a fairytale with the winding trees with their flat tops, and rocks protruding out of the water. Oh, and the sand — guys, the sand is unreal.

Disclaimer: We had a gift certificate given to us to use at 5th Avenue Deli. Opinions are my own.

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Visiting Hofsas House in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Hofsas-House-HeaderFor my husbands birthday I surprised him with a two day honeymoon to the 3rd romantic city in the world Carmel-by-the-sea, California. You see we got married in less than a week, and immediately packed up our belongings to move to the United States. We never did have a chance to have our honeymoon, so I took it upon myself to book a small one for us. The only thing I told him leading up to his birthday was to clear his weekend schedule, something I knew would prove to be difficult.

Imagine an unplugged weekend where you reconnect with your loved ones. A beautiful place where the entire town shuts down at sunset and is completely quiet. Street signs, and store fronts made from wood, no street addresses to get to a place, just the customized names on houses or businesses. This is Carmel, a welcoming and friendly atmosphere from everyone who was visiting and living there. The incredible pacific coast line was simply breathtaking. Today, I’m taking you through our trip and stay at the Hofsas House.

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Laying-on-rose-petalsWe called Hofsas Hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea our home for the past two days. The location of Carmel-by-the-sea is about a square mile on Carmel Bay. Hofsas House is walk-able to Carmel itself, where it has many boutique stores to meander through, a diverse selection in restaurants and wineries, everything in walking distance.

Once we collected our room keys and walked in through the pink dutch doors, we were taken back by the hospitality. Our room was completely decorated into this romantic honeymoon suite with rose petals, fireless candles and Hershey kisses (an added upgrade guests can request for a fee) with a massive king sized bed with treats and a dog bed off to the side for Alfie. On our bedside table there was a bottle of wine and a cheese platter from The Cheese Shop, which guests can order to their room for $30. Talk about a warm welcome, hey?

Hofsas-House2The three of us (Alfie came too!) took off for this two day weekend to explore this town for the first time. We have heard a lot about this place and its beauty. We were welcomed with open arms, even after arriving an hour later than anticipated due to traffic, from the charm of the Hofsas House, which is in its 3rd generation of the family run business. We had about an hour to get ready for supper at The Grill when we arrived. Perfect time to re-curl my hair, swap out my cozy clothes and change into a silkier blouse and skinny jeans for our date night.

Fireplace-Alfie-and-ICarmel is much cooler at night, so we took advantage of our in-room fireplace and had a cozy fire each night. There’s nothing quite like sitting in in front of a warm evening fire.

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Hofsas-House-breakfastThere were trays available if we wanted to enjoy our continental breakfast in the comforts of our room.

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Alfie-chewing-on-boneCarmel is known for being incredibly dog-friendly with tons of restaurants catering to your pooches. At Hofsas House, not all rooms are dog-friendly but the ones that are take special care and go the extra mile to make your family pets feel much more at home. Alfie is crated and we bring his with us when he travels, but to our surprise he hopped on the plush dog bed in front of the fireplace to chew on one of his bones that we picked up in Carmel at Diggity Dog.

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Carrie-of-Hofsas-HouseCarrie Theis started working at Hofsas House with her Grandmother Donna Hofsas, the founder of Hofsas House over sixty years ago. Carrie has since taken the position full time and moved to Carmel to run Hofsas House. You can tell she takes great pride in not only the business aspect of Hofsas House, but she truly lights up, talking about Carmel. She gave us many suggestions as to what to do while we were in Carmel along with supplying us with wine walk tour tickets, and reservations to The Grill, a fantastic restaurant where we had a delicious 3 course meal, which I’ll talk about in an upcoming blog post. Our impression of Carrie is that she doesn’t care just about the business she runs with the family, but more about the village itself.

Out of the 38 rooms on the Hofsas House property they are each decorated differently. Looking past the retro feel to the room we had, it has its charm. The room itself was huge and we had a lot of extra space which felt comfortable. I got sparkly eyes looking out the Dutch doors in the morning when I realized the view we had. There’s nothing like waking up in the morning and taking in the Pacific Ocean air. It’s clear I missed the ocean living in central Canada for a number of years after growing up in Newfoundland.

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Alfie-and-me-outside-HofsasSaturday night we were completely wiped from our day adventure to Point Lobos where we had a picnic lunch provided by 5th Avenue Deli. We hadn’t planned on staying all afternoon until the sun set, but the place was more breathtaking than we had imagined. More on that spot soon! I loved the hospitality we received from Carrie and everyone at Hofsas House last weekend. Since we are so close to Carmel, we’re excited to return sometime to explore the other areas we didn’t get a chance to. Big Sur is definitely on our to-visit list, along with a trip to the neighbouring city, Monterey.

Hofsas House Hotel

San Carlos St, Carmel, CA 93921, USA
Phone: 831-624-2745

To learn more visitwww.hofsashouse.com

Our stay was hosted by Hofsas House, however the opinions in the blog post are 100% my own.

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