the new routine and ode to California

School is out.
Summer is here.
and holy cow, I just can’t keep up
(with the projects and sewing that is).
This is the first year that both my kids have gone to pre-school (2 days a week, 5 hours each day. Of course I’m always late dropping them off, so it’s more like 4 hours a day).
That doesn’t sound like much but I gotta say that I’m feeling the loss of free time. It just seems that I’m always behind now, that I have a hard time concentrating, and I can’t hear myself think.
I know….welcome to summer life Dana. Many of you have been there.

I’ve decided that instead of complaining, I’ll embrace it.
Sewing can wait. Playtime cannot.
(especially when you’ve forgotten a swimsuit and need to jump in with your undies on).
So instead of a project today, here’s what I’ve been daydreaming about: Southern California.

We’re headed there this summer to see both of our families. And if there’s one thing I really miss about California (besides family of course)….it’s the beach. I know we have beaches here. I love those too. But there’s something about the cool, dry weather of the Pacific Coast.

If you want to daydream too, here are our favorite Southern Calif. beach spots (cue Ventura Highway by America….and leave it running while you read along).

Perfect for strolling the harbor and pier.
With our favorite beach food on the boardwalk: Seaward Fish ‘N Chips. Yummm.
Santa Barbara.
Oh Santa Barbara.
Casey thinks we’re going to retire here. I’m not sure which of us is striking it rich but yes, it does sound dreamy. Those California mountains feel just like home.
It’s unpretentious; filled with beach loving folks.
and beach loving birds.
I know, it’s not a beach town.
But it’s only 30 min from Ventura and home to the best waffles I’ve ever had in my life at Bonnie Lu’s (well next to a liege waffle in Belgium….so maybe I should say best waffles in the US). We can’t vouch for anything else on the menu. But honestly, I’m not lying about the crispy waffles. There’s something secret in that batter.
And the decor is kitschy cool.
I could really go for one now. But that’s a long drive from Texas.
Newport Beach.
How can you talk about California beaches and not include Newport? It’s a place that sort of has it all. Enjoy the beach, get lost in shopping, take a ride on the ferry, and eat at a bazillion places.
There’s really something for everyone, no matter what age kid you are.
or if you really can’t stand the sand.
My family comes down here often to walk the pier. And my dad loves spending a cloudy morning fishing with the locals (he’s wearing the gray sweater below).
It’s also the place where I took that very first Shirt Dress photo.
Finally, Santa Monica.
This city is special to us. I worked here for most of my young film career. And Casey and I spent most of our dating life along these few miles of coastline.
Of course I could include 50 more lovely beaches, like Corona Del Mar, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, San Clemente, Capinteria (we camped there as kids!). But this bundle’s enough to make me homesick. We’ll be there soon!
In the meantime, the kids and I are off to play in the water. The Texas water….i.e. the pool.

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