travel

lifestyle, travel

California dreaming

FINALLY! Sorry this post took me a while to post, there were so many photos and memories to sort through.

Hopefully, you remember that we went to California for our son Aaden's 8th birthday. It was our first family trip on a plane. Part of the plan was to take them to Disneyland, if you missed it, you can see our family Disneyland photos here

This post is loaded with everything we did and where we ate. I don't have any hotel recs because we were so fortunate to be able to crash at my best friends place in the OC. 

adventures: 

California Family Trip

We did a lot of driving! A LOT! Thank gawd for my husband, he did all the driving. I don't know what's happened but I have developed some serious highway anxiety. California highways are no joke, so I definitely didn't want to drive. We were so lucky that not only did my bestie & her bf leave us their apartment but also their cars! 

I wish I had a tour map for you, on how we got around to all these parts of California during our 6 day stay. Other than our day at Disney, we didn't really have a plan and kind of just hit the road and explored. 

It was important that we went places the boys would have fun, while also crossing some places off our bucket list. 

Here are some of the places we wondered to:

  • Venice- we went to the beach-- some parts of it were really nice & cool like their outdoor recreation center. My husband got a day pass to Gold's Gym (which was top on his bucket list, it's the 1st Gold's Gym so I guess it's a big deal lol whatever that's his thang). We also walked up and down Abbot Kinney Blvd. checked out some of the shops, restaurants (so many vegan spots by the way!), and we saw so many murals! Avery kept asking me to take pics of him in front of them-- totally my son! 
  • Santa Monica Pier- Pretty self explanatory what we did there. But it was definitely one of our top favorite spots. Such a beautiful beach & pier. The boys played some games in the arcade as well. 
  • Disneyland- only the best day ever! Totally cried at the end at the fireworks show. *Dreams really do come true* 
  • Irvine Spectrum Center- super cool outdoor mall. There's a big ferris wheel in the center, you can't miss it! Wish we had malls like this in Boston, but you know we have something called snow and freezing weather <insert eye roll emoji>
  • San Diego - Belmont Park- another beach/amusement park/arcade type of day. Super nice & Tacos errwhere! 
  • The LAB Antimall in Costa Mesa - loved loved loved it! Super cool artsy type of outdoor shopping. 
  • The CAMP in Costa Mesa- right across from The Lab, such a cool spot. It has the camping vibe with plenty of photo ops with little campers, that I believe are stores in the day time (we went at night). There's also lots of cool restaurants. 
  • Newport beach - balboa peninsula- yes, another beach lol super clean and family friendly. Lot's of yummy food spots. We had some delicious (& cheap $) baked donuts at Seaside Donuts Bakery. 

food: 

Coolhaus LA
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COOLHAUS: deliciously awesome ice cream! Industrious decor, neon sign, big letter balloons and wine infused ice cream? SOLD! we tried the ladies night- which is a cream base ice cream with rose wine. Um rose? hell yes! My girl and I got it as a sammie with their double chocolate chip cookie. Loved it!

URBAN CUP: a Vietnamese cafe located right on Newport beach. A very cute and modern cafe. I only had the cold sea salt Vietnamese coffee, and OMG it was so damn good. 

COYOTE GRILL: we stayed in the OC so we were right near this Laguna beach gem. My girl took us here for our first breakfast in Cali, and we were hooked. Beautiful view in the indoor/outdoor seating area. We ate breakfast and had bfast dranks here a few times. Everything we had on the menu was delicious. The staff was always super nice! Even the boys loved it here, and they are the toughest food critics. 

GRACIAS MADRE: OMGAWWD SO DAMN GOOD! A vegan Mexican restaurant. So happy my whimsy girls took me here (& the next 2 places on the list). We had the Tacos that are made with bbq jackfruit carnitas, and when I tell you they're amazing--- they are amazing! I haven't had meet now for 5 months, but I definitely haven't forgotten what it tastes like. These tacos tasted even better than meat, so much so that I paused looked down and questioned whether they were really vegan. Also, the butternut squash quesadillas, brussel sprouts with coconut bacon, and guac.....all wicked delicious! For dranks: I had the snow cone drink called La Quincenera & the Paloma---- you guessed it both were de-li-cious! The restaurant is also very beautiful and insta-worthy! 

ALFRED TEA: I mean it's an all pink tea room....and...there's a neon sign...so of course I loved it! I popped my boba tea cherry here, and there were no regrets! So yummy, I wish we had one or a few in Boston!

FONUTS: gluten free & vegan donuts....GOOD vegan donuts! I had the chocolate coconut donut and it was amazing! It was like eating a vegan almond joy (which are one of my fave chocolate bars). The boys had the red velvet & the glazed, yum! There were so many flavors that sounded delicious, it was so hard to choose a flavor! 

EAT CHOW: we visited the Costa Mesa location, it was a really nice space surrounded by really cute shops. I had the po-boy sandwich and it was pretty damn good! I also had their El Corazo mimosa--- because it had passion fruit- duh! 

CASEY'S CUPCAKES: we grabbed some cupcakes in this wicked cute shop while at the Irvine shopping mall. Although my eyes lit up over the shop and the super cute glittery cupcakes, I didn't actually try any. My boys did, but of course and they thought they were really good! 

HELLO KITTY CAFE: while at Irvine Spectrum Center, we passed by the Hello Kitty Cafe truck. Obviously, I had to stop and see what all the hype was about. I'm not a huge Hello Kitty fan, but everything was so cute! I grabbed a pricey latte, and was instantly thrilled over all the aesthetics, but the taste wasn't that great. I think I should've grabbed one of the cute little box cakes instead. I tossed half off the pricey latte away-- womp womp. 

more cali Faves: 

We fell in love hard for California, and hope to one day live there.

One thing I really fell in love with was all the plants everywhere. Succulents, cacti, palm trees, purple bushes, flowers, everywhere! Omg I stopped every 2 minutes to take pics & sent them to my sister who is such a plant lady. LOVED it! I also felt like everyone has a little jungalow on their front porches. Jealous!

It was so great to see my best friend even it was just for day! Also, it was so much fun sharing the Disney day with my friend Justin and getting to meet his boyfriend (who is the sweetest guy ever!) Plus, finally meeting up with my whimsy girls, I can't even tell you how long we've been planning to meet up in LA! Love those girls so much! 

My boys had such an amazing time, they didn't want to leave. We created so many amazing unforgettavle memories. Even though we didn't get to do everything we wanted to do (pretty long list, not enough time + picky eaters) I couldn't have hoped for a better trip! AND the plane trip with 2 kids was not bad at all! So thankful for tablets! 

So here's to next time, which will hopefully be soon! 

 'til then we'll be here in Boston, California dreaming! 

xo

-Melinda

lifestyle, things to do, travel

The Rodrigues' do Disneyland!

disneyland family trip

As you know we took our son Aaden to California for his 8th Birthday, and the big surprise was that we were taking him to Disneyland! 

Honestly, his reaction when we told him was kind of disappointing, he was just like ok....seriously? Whatever. But I think it was because he really had no idea what Disneyland really is. 

When we got there we got the reaction we were hoping for. The boys eyes lit up and they were so excited! It definitely became one of their top greatest memories for sure! 

I was also lucky enough to meet up with my insta bestie Justin (@misterjustindelgado) again!

& because Justin is the bestest he asked his friend Cojo, who happens to be a photographer, if she could follow us along for part of our day and capture all the magical moments. 

I'm so happy to share the photos she took with all of you! 

The day was so amazing....and totally worth how much Disney costs (even if it's a little crazy, just sayin..) ! Oh & we really lucked out that day, the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride opened, so everyone was in the adventure park, so the lines were short and the park wasn't packed. THANK GOD! 

We took all the photos in ToonTown, and it was definitely the boys favorite part of the park. 

Favorite Rides:

My husband & my favorite ride was definitely: Star Wars- Launch Bay

Aaden: Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters

Avery: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad 

We didn't get a hopper pass and do both parks because we knew wouldn't have time and didn't want to rush. We didn't even get to get on all the rides we wanted and we were there from 9am to 10pm. Even still it was the perfect day. 

and.....I may have cried at the end of the night during the fireworks show with the whole dreams do come true thang....oooh Disney, you get me every time! 

I feel so thankful that we were able to create these memories with our boys. I hope it's something they always remember (I will never let them forget it either way). 

I'm also super thankful to Cojo for capturing these beautiful snaps ;) Especially because I rarely get to be in the family pics. Seriously, thank you so so much! 

If you live in the magic that is California, and want to meet up with her for a shoot, you can find her here

Again, special thanks to our family & friends who also played a big part in making this day possible for Aaden & Avery. 

xo

-Melinda

p.s. stay tuned for the post on all the deets from our California trip, coming soon

things to do, lifestyle, travel

bday trip to new york with the girls

New York with the girls was such a blast! I know some of you were following our adventures on Snapchat and Instagram stories- hopefully you still love us after witnessing all the craziness and the beautiful car karaoke singing! xD

honestly, I don't even understand where all the time went when we were in NY. There were tons of places we wanted to visit, but didn't get a chance. It was raining when we arrived Friday evening- total bummer. and it was that 'I can't see where I'm walking' type of rain'.

Somehow we still managed to go to a bar that night....and I wish I could tell you which one it was.... but I can't because I never even thought to ask where we were. it was fun tho! it's so awesome meeting nice people at a bar, especially when you're an introvert and usually don't do the whole 'lets talk to strangers thang'. 

Saturday morning was spent drinking bottomless mimosas and...shopping.... well...let me show you where we went! :

 

Miss Lily's

love love love this place!! it's a modern Caribbean style oasis! we went to the one in SoHo. they have a 2hr brunch deal- BOTTOMLESS MIMOSAS! for 2 hours. which I'm sure is no big deal in NY- but we don't have that in Boston. and if there is some secret bottomless mimosa place in Boston someone better let a girl know! 

anyway back to Miss Lily's- the mimosas were so good- the one that we chose with our brunch special was the love bellini- champagne and passion fruit. have I mentioned my passion for passion fruit? ;)

oh and the food is AMAZING! we tried: the jamaican rancheros, jerk chicken, mac and cheese, and the fried chicken and waffles. it was all delicious. but if I had to say which one I suggest it would definitely be the chicken and waffles. OH MY GAWD SO GOOD! 

we called and ahead and made reservations. I would suggest you do the same. it's not huge in there and it's no secret that it's really good. 

i love the decor in the bar. all the caribbean vibes. I really love how the juice bar it's set up to look like an island bar. they also have a disco ball....so yeah you know I was sold. 

in the back they have more of a large group room. You may have caught the really fun celebration on my snapchat. if you missed it- basically instead of just singing happy birthday, they turn off the lights and blast Rihanna's  cake cake cake song, bring a cake with sparklers and EVERYONE gets real live. SO FUN! the entire staff was super nice and fun! 

basically if you're in NY and you haven't tried this spot- you must! 

Don't ask why New york

after brunch we hit up some stores in SoHo for some shopping. 

I think I just gravitate to neon signs. so obviously I had to check out the store Don't Ask Why store. 

another store that has great attention to detail. a very cute space. 

their clothes are a part of american eagle outfitters and are just our style....so many cute things. mostly new york street wear- which we love!

Cool mess

On our last day in New York- I made sure we stopped at the one really colorful ice cream shop I was dyyying to see. After catching it on our girl Vanessa's (Brite and Bubbly) NY ice cream blog post, we had to stop by and see for ourselves. 

wow this place definitely did not disappoint. no secret i love bright colors. i also love ice cream. like a lot. so this place was everything. right when you walk in the hallway is sprinkle and neon heaven. 

i love places that really put effort into creating a fun experience and then also have something delicious! 

now about the ice cream.....it's also a fun experience because you make the ice cream yourself!! they give you everything you need and you make it yourself. pretty cool ;)

the staff here were also super nice and friendly- which is always a +

this ice cream parlor is definitely another must! i don't care if you're lactose and tolerant lol

 

Saturday night we went to a club- which again I have no idea what it's called. but we met up with some old high school friends so that was a great time! 

i feel like I did a bad job documenting the night stuff, however I think I was really trying to just enjoy the moment and not worry about getting the perfect shots for once. but i do believe some of it was on snapchat....those following along saw us singing our hearts out to Selena with the uber driver at 4am xD 

shout out to that uber driver- he was definitely the best! only the best uber drivers will let your friend plug her phone into the AUX cable and blast Selena....AND then sing along! wherever you are friend- you are the man!

anyway....what's really funny is I normally don't do clubs, and i swore I wouldn't- but I did. I had so much fun too, sometimes your friends know what ya need! but- will I go clubbing again? probably not. I think I did enough of that in my early 20's. i think I'll stick to bars.

well, we didn't get a chance to head on over to Brooklyn, where we really wanted to go, so we are definitely planning another trip soon! 

Snaps you may have missed:

we stayed at the Hilton New York Midtown, which was super nice. and the view was amazing....but i didn't want to go near the window because holy crap we were up high! 

hotel view:

i'm so grateful to have such amazing sister/friends who made sure i had a memorable 30th birthday! thanks girls! love you!!

thanks for having us New York....you won this time....but we'll be back soon! 

xo

-Melinda