Tag Archives: beach

California Beaches – Malibu & Venice


And you thought I was done talking about California… Nope!

If you are having trouble following our trip out-of-order, Pulp Fiction-style, know that I’ll be listing the links to each post in chronological order before the end of the week.


After leaving Beverly Hills, our check-in time to our lodging in Temecula wasn’t until 4pm, so my plan was to hit a few beaches before we left L.A.

First, you must know that neither Rob nor I are beach bunnies.

We both are very fair-skinned and have no desire to spend hours tanning on a beach. When we go to a beach, it’s usually to swim, to read {either in the shade or lathered in SPF 45}, to sip on a cocktail seaside or just to enjoy the beauty of nature. We did, after all, get married on the beach in Pensacola, Florida.

Our friend who recommended nearly everything we did on this California vacay, also recommended taking a drive to Malibu. She said to make reservations on OpenTable.com to have lunch at Paradise Cove. We were playing most of the day by ear, so we didn’t make the reservations. But it was a Monday and a quick scroll of OpenTable showed reservation availability every fifteen minutes. We figured we’d be safe.


As we drove along the beautiful coast, Rob suggested I pull out his iPhone to use his Zillow app. Zillow tells you the approximate value of housing in the area. It was hard to tell exactly which homes were being referred to for a few reasons:

  1. It works better when you are walking or standing, not driving.
  2. Many homes, of course, are tucked away behind gates and up in the hills.
  3. It may not show the exact value of a home, but maybe just the listings of those for sale or that were just sold. Even then, you’d have to take the time to find which house number corresponds.

But it gave us an idea how much it costs to live around there. I think the least expensive home we saw on the Zillow app was $1.2 millon dollars. But they ranged from that end of the spectrum, up to $12.5 million. I am just so curious if those little condos right on the water were that much, too? They were so tiny!

We spent a good forty minutes driving along the coast until we happened upon Paradise Cove. As predicted, it wasn’t busy. We asked for a table outside, as the weather was perfect that day. We settled in, with the sand beneath our feet, kicked off our sandals and contemplated this view.

004Sure, we weren’t right in front of the water, but we had intended to walk the beach afterwards. It was so nice just to be outside, digging our toes in the sand.

A beach calls for a fun cocktail right? We ordered a Malibu Mai Tai and something called The Perfect Day. It was only fitting! It was a gorgeous day and the ten-year anniversary of our first date!


What’s inย The Perfect Day, you ask? Well, here is your answer:

007And who know Malibu had vineyards? Certainly not me! Love that they had a whole list of Malibu wines:
008I was pretty perplexed by what to order. The menu was a little kitschy, but certainly appropriate for aย  beach. I finally settled on the Fish Tacos, but only because they were World Famous. ๐Ÿ˜‰

"The Best Fish Tacos - Pablo's Recipe from Home. The Guys in the Kitchen Love These and So Will You!" - with rice & beans, fresh guacomole and pico de gallo

The Best Fish Tacos – Pablo’s Recipe from Home. The Guys in the Kitchen Love These and So Will You!” – with rice & beans, fresh guacomole and pico de gallo – $19.95

I know that they sound so basic, but they were sooooo fresh-tasting and good! And filling, too. I only ate ate two of them and even that was pushing it.

Rob went for A Steak Sandwich:

A Filet Mignon on Sourdough Cheese Toast with Onions and Mozzarella - $19.95

A Filet Mignon on Sourdough Cheese Toast with Onions and Mozzarella – $19.95

Somewhere hiding under those tomatoes {which Rob promptly removed and placed on my plate} was a cooked-to-perfection filet with a cheesy, toasted, well-seasoned slice of sourdough that was so good it could make you cry. The fries made Rob happy, too.

Before we knew it, we dropped $100 (including tip) – FOR LUNCH!

And although our jaws dropped over the thought of a $100 lunch, we reminded ourselves that we loved the food and it would have sucked to shell out that dough if it hadn’t been that good. We were in California. We had beautiful weather, a gorgeous view and some time to wonder along the beach!

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We drove away from Malibu, past Santa Monica. We decided that the next beach we wanted to hit was Venice for a completely different vibe!


Even around Venice Beach, we were astonished by Zillow’s account of the housing costs for some of the little run-down units. What was one of the first things I noticed as we approached the boardwalk after parking our car? The Packer clock in one of the apartments! Can you spot it?

026I loved the artistic vibe of Venice Beach, from the wall murals, to the musicians to the artistic vendors.

033We stopped at a cafe for a beer:

027The prices were much more affordable here! I chose a beer that I thought was fitting for Venice Beach.

{Zoom in on the beer on the left.}

028I found it was fitting, especially since we passed by an “office” no the boardwalk that “The Doctor is in!” and that you could be tested to see if you were eligible for medical marijuana. Well, that is, if you didn’t bring in your camera. ๐Ÿ˜‰ LOL!

Then we turned around and walked along the beach:

031It was such a gorgeous day to be by the water.

With such beautiful weather, walking along the beach, enjoying the views and people watching…

It truly was the perfect day.

That is, until we managed to get back into traffic in order to drive around the mountain to the highway that led us to Temecula.

What’s your idea of a perfect day?


Back from a Cruise…


Where in the world is Wine Wednesday?! It’ll have to come back tomorrow as Thirsty Thursday because we have something else to recap. However, the topic of wine and chocolate will only be appropriate for Valentine’s Day!


Monday night we returned from a 3-night cruise to the Bahamas. I booked this vacation with a certificate I earned through doing Wine Tastings with the Traveling Vineyard. Lucikly, we are home and not floating around in the sea like those poor passengers stranded on that Carnival ship without power. My heart goes out to them and I am sending over positive vibes for a quick return home!

Our cruise departed from Miami, so Rob and I spent a night there, right on Miami Beach. Our ports of call included CocoCay (a Bahamian island owned by the Royal Carribbean cruise line) and Nassau.

Majesty of the Seas

Here is what we learned.

Miami is one of the most expensive cities I’ve ever visited. And that includes London. Sure, these drinks were huge {salt shaker and water glass for reference} and by no means were they weak, but…

Champagne Mojito & Caipirinha

Champagne Mojito & Caipirinha – Rob says that this is where limes go to die!

…Do you think one of these drinks is worth $45? Maybe. There’s probably about a half of a bottle of alcohol in each one. At least they were buy one get one free!


Gratuity seems to be included on every bill on Miami Beach

At least the food was good. But that’s for another post. We still loved the city and our experience there. {Or at least what I can remember of it after that big drink and our hotel’s free drinks at Happy Hour.}

We checked out the beach just across the street from our hotel on Ocean Drive before the sun went down...

We checked out the beach {just across the street from our hotel on Ocean Drive} before the sun went down…


Renting a cabinette on the beach away from the crowds for $50 is worth every penny. Instead of trying to secure a lounge chair lined up within inches of each other on the crowded beaches of CocoCay, we paid the extra to be taken to the other side of the island to Barefoot Beach:

Our cabinette came within

We chose the shaded canopy as our cabinette instead of the chairs with the blue awning. $50 bucks provided us with rides to and from this side of the island, two reserved lounge chairs with a table, towels, Evian water in an ice bucket, two floating mats, a fruit plate and our own personal servers for ice cold alcoholic beverages {for purchase}.

Oh… Also included? These gorgeous crowd-free views!


If you take the time to look, you can find some beautiful things in the ocean.

this little guy

Rob found Patrick!


When relaxing on a beach, sometimes you feel like you are in a Corona commercial.


Sometimes a 40-year-old can still act like a kid.ย Boy, did Rob get excited when we returned to our stateroom to find a towel shaped like this:

This monkey {later named Lulu} is wearing my sunglasses!

This monkey {later named Lulu} is wearing my sunglasses!

And sometimes that 40-year-old is just in search of something he discovered as a kid.

Rob tried Goombay Punch as a teenager on his first trip to the Bahamas.

Rob tried Goombay Punch as a teenager on his first trip to the Bahamas. It can only be found there. He was delighted to find it again when we stopped at a local food mart in Nassau.

Then we found something also labeled “Goombay” that was marketed just for me:

Our Goombay drinks! {Truthfully, these pineapple punch sodas tasted almost identical!}

Our Goombay drinks. Truthfully, these pineapple punch sodas tasted almost identical!


Only on a cruise, can trail mix become crack.

This stuff was addicting. Yeah, like we weren't going to be fed enough on board. For the record, I gained 5 lbs on this 5-day vacation.

This stuff served with our cocktails was addicting. Yeah, like we weren’t going to be fed enough on board. For the record, I gained 5 lbs on this 5-day vacation.

Fruity tropical drinks get old real fast… (At least for Carrie.) Rob’s favorite onboard beverage was the Goombay Smash.

There were dozens of other tropical drinks. But after a while, I was just done…

Peach Bellini {even this got to be too sweet for me!} and a Goombay Smash

Peach Bellini and a Goombay Smash

And sometimes, just sometimes… You have to break down and order a white zin. Kidding! I finally decided to order the a dry rosรฉ from Provence. They brought me the Beringer White Zin instead. Oh, well. Now at least I could try to relate to my Wine Tasting guests who are still drinking the stuff.

This pretty much sums up

This pretty much sums up one of my favorite things to do – reading while drinking a glass of wine.

And lastly, I learned that I get quite frustrated when I can’t do all of things I used to be able to do.

This back issue driving me nuts. I would have loved to walk around Nassau more. I would have loved to go snorkeling and swim with the dolphins. I would have loved to be able to swim more easily in the ocean. Oh, how I’ve taken little things like walking and swimming for granted! Luckily, I have an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon next week to discuss my options.

Have you ever been a cruise?

If so, which cruise line and where?

What did you like best about it?


Everything’s More Colorful in Hawaii


From the breathtaking beaches…

to the exotic vegetation…

to the magical rainbows…

to the protected chickens…

to the rugged cliffs and canyons…

to the fruity, refreshing cocktails…

to the crystal blue ocean…

to the breathtaking views…


is more colorful in Hawaii!

We were fortunate to spend a week on the beautiful Garden Isle of Kuau’i. Our friends Mike and Lisa visit often and invited us to join them this year. Without them, we would have not had this opportunity. We can’t thank them enough!

If you are not familiar with Hawaii {as I wasn’t}, this it the less touristed island of them all and a more accurate portrait of Hawaii in its natural state. {Actually, this is what I am told. I have never been to any of the other islands to compare.}

And let me tell you, we were completely in awe!

I don’t know what I was expecting… A Florida beach? A Caribbean destination? I guess I pictured what I had previously experienced on beaches in warm climates before – sand, water and palm trees. However, Kuau’i was much more exotic.

The Hawaiian Islands are really just little morsels of land set in the ocean over 2500 miles from any mainland. I think this is one of the reasons that makes the vegetation and wildlife so much more exotic to me. As noted above, the colors were extraordinary. I felt very different from what I’ve felt in any other warm-weather destination near the water. I was more aware of my natural surroundings than ever before.

Mike and Lisa secured a condo oceanside. Imagine waking up to this view every morning:

So what did we do?

We hiked. We golfed. We swam.

We explored!

We enjoyed any and everything there is to enjoy about an island this beautiful.

While the guys golfed five days out of seven, I was happy the day we golfed along with them at the little nine-hole Kukuiolono Golf Course. The weather was variable that day, with bouts of rain which drenched my clothing {leaving me feeling like I just went swimming fully clothed} followed by the warming sun that served to dry me completely!

I remember climbing up to the green of Hole #5 and just standing there in awe. I felt almost like I was on top of the island world! There was a gorgeous 180-degree view of the ocean. A view from a $9 nine-hole golf course? Best value in the world. Is there another word for breathtaking? I have a feeling I’m overusing that word in this post. Here’s a better one: Stunning. Absolutely stunning.

We visited the Waimea Canyon, known as “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific”. This place made me nervous. Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m deathly afraid of heights. The narrow roads up through the canyon were enough to make me sweat and act irrationally. I was even more nervous when Mike pointed and told us to check out the view while he was driving. Very nice, except for the fact that he was checking out the view with us as he rounded the dangerous curves! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Despite that extreme fear, I was grateful we did it. {Though, I would have never been able to do one of the helicopter tours. Baby steps, ya know?} If we hadn’t, I would not have captured the essence of these spectacular views!

We were up as high as the clouds!

I’ve got more to share, so check back in the next few days. Not only that, but I’ve also got some great tips for staying healthy on vacation. Considering that I lost two pounds during this week-long trip, it was either just a fluke, or I know a thing or two. ๐Ÿ˜‰