A Pampering "Pupcation" in Newport Beach

These days, a calendar packed with travel is bittersweet. Sweet, because we get to see more of this beautiful world we live in. Bitter, because it (usually) means we’re away from our pup. She’s our baby. Our “firstborn”. When we’re home, we take her everywhere, and when we’re gone, we spend hours scrolling through photos and videos of her on our phones. Yes, we know we’re obsessed.

We jump at any chance we get to bring Sally with us on our adventures, and we’ve gone as far as taking her to Canada and back with us. She LOVES traveling, and we love seeing the world through her cute little eyes. We’re hoping 2019 brings more Sally-friendly adventures - and it’s already off to a great start!

Since we’re mentally (and emotionally) preparing ourselves for a month without Sally, we decided the best thing to do is take her on a little “staycation”. Somewhere luxurious and dog friendly, somewhere all three of us can be pampered, and somewhere close to all of Sally’s favorites spots (the dog park, the beach, and Sprinkles cupcakes - pupcakes, hello!)... The Fashion Island Hotel!

Checking in at the Fashion Island Hotel

Nestled in the heart of Newport Beach, across the street from the iconic Fashion Island Shopping Center, is the Fashion Island Hotel. The decor is coastal-modern, it’s chic and elegant without feeling stuffy, and everyone that works there couldn’t be friendlier. From the moment we checked our car in with the valet, we knew we were staying someplace special. Sally was warmly welcomed by everyone - even the guests! And our ROOM. Let’s talk about our room.

We stayed in a Coastal View Corner Suite, which features a spacious living room, seperate bedroom, a furnished private patio, and a roomy marble bathroom. Plenty of space for all three of us, and an ocean view too! The neutral, beachy tones were warm and inviting, and the Fashion Island staff greeted us with one of the best cheese plates we’ve had in awhile. Did we just check into heaven?!

We spent the rest of our day enjoying the amenities of the hotel (a stylish pool area, a well appointed fitness room, the lavish Island Club Lounge), and took Sally for a walk around the Fashion Island shopping center. We ended the night with dinner at the Fashion Island Hotel’s on-site restaurant, Oak Grill. Their menu consists of fresh, local ingredients coupled with one of the most extensive wine lists in the area - they have over 50 wines by the glass! Those of you that are local, this is a great date night spot. Bobby had their signature Prime Rib Eye, and Alli had the Roasted Chilean Sea Bass, and both were spectacular. (Don’t worry - we gave the leftovers to Sally!)

Sally is always the first to claim the bed

Welcome treats!

Sally loves the Koi fish at Fashion Island

Cheers to sunsets from the Island Club Lounge!

Sunset views from the Island Club Lounge

Fashion Island views from the Island Club Lounge

Quinoa Garden Salad at Oak Grill

We woke up to the glorious Newport Beach sunrise… and what a sight it was! We’re pretty sure even Sally was in awe! We took our time getting up, took Sally on a leisurely walk around the property, and then made our way up to the 20th floor for breakfast at the Island Club Lounge*.

Honestly, we’re not sure what we loved more - the breakfast or the views! We stayed up there for several hours, taking advantage of the quiet work space and endless cups of coffee. When we got back to the room, we found Sally sleeping in our bed, and we couldn’t help but laugh. She appreciates a big, plush, hotel bed just as much as we do!

The Island Club Lounge comes with a great breakfast and these views!

This quick little trip away was exactly what all three of us needed. Everything about it was relaxing and easy, and we can’t wait to do it again. Maybe for Valentines Day? ;) The Fashion Island Hotel is running a special “Suite Love Package”, where guests can stay in a suite, enjoy $100 credit to Oak Grill, and a bottle of bubbly. Sounds like the perfect Valentine's Day getaway, don’t you think?

*When booking a room at The Fashion Island Hotel, you have the option to pay an extra fee for access to the Island Club - and we highly recommend it. There are so many perks and ammenities included - like continental breakfast, a nightly wine hour, snacks, soft drinks and coffee all day, nightly turndown service, and more. Learn more here.

10 Perfect Mini-moon Destinations

10 Perfect Mini-moon Destinations

Any engaged couples out there have a short engagement, a tight budget, and the desire to do a huge honeymoon when you can afford it? Allow us to persuade you to embark on the mini-moon! Our mini-moon was a 4-night roadtrip up the California coast, and it was perfect. (Later that summer did our “real” honeymoon in Panama - so we basically had two honeymoons!) We thought we were being so original, but have since learned that a lot of millennials take the mini-moon route these days. (Hey, we’re working people here!) But not everyone knows where to go on such a tight time frame. Here’s our top 10 favorite mini-moon destinations that are romantic, relaxing, pampering, bustling, accessible and DO-ABLE! Heck, visit them all!

My Best Friend's Wedding - Seriously

We interrupt our regularly scheduled travel blogs to share some photos from one of our favorite days of 2018: October 27. AKA, the day our best friends Jessie and Adam got married. We're honestly still reeling from this day, this venue, the dance party, and these lovebirds (and you know how we love love)! 

For those of you that are beginning wedding planning or are currently in the thick of it, we highly recommend The Harper (@theharperoc), in Costa Mesa, CA. It's brand-spanking-new (Jessie & Adam's wedding was their first!), it's picture-perfect (think modern-minimalist vibe), and it's run by the incredible Room Forty team (if you know, you know).

Alli was the Maid of Honor and Bobby was a groomsman, and it was our first wedding (besides our own) that we got to be in together! The bridesmaids wore Show Me Your Mumu dresses, and the groomsmen were in suits from The Black Tux. Hannah Beth was the photographer, and (as you can tell) we're obsessed with what she captured.

The ceremony ran without a hitch, and we're pretty sure there wasn't a dry eye in the courtyard. Jessie looked stunning, Adam was as handsome as ever, and our other bestie Jared did a stellar job officiating the ceremony. 

And then the dinner. Oh... the dinner. Usually we aren't blown away by wedding food - but the Room Forty team really slayed it. They served a "Modern Tostada Bar" (that would put any local restaurant to shame) - but our favorite part was the "Nachos in a Gutter" they passed around during the cocktail hour! That's right - they served nachos straight out of an 8-foot rain gutter! And they were DELICIOUS
Dessert was a delectable array of the bride & groom's favorite sweet treats, but we were too busy on the dance floor to even try any (fail!!)! We danced so hard our legs were sore for days after. #WORTHIT! The night ended with an epic balloon drop to Witney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody", and it was pure magic. 

So there you have it. Our best friends' wedding. The second best day of our lives. Is it weird to make a photo album for ourselves?

Why Aspen is a Dream for Skiers, Snowboarders, and "I Prefer to Stay Cozy-ers"

Aspen’s been on our bucket list for awhile now.

We’ve heard amazing things about the resorts, the restaurant scene, the famous ski slopes… and then recently we learned how extremely dog friendly it is. And that was all we needed to hear. We booked a trip that week. We made a road trip out of it, stopping in Tempe, Arizona and Taos, New Mexico, with our final destination being Aspen… and what a way to end the trip!! If you followed along on Instagram, you probably saw most of our Aspen adventures - but let us recap.

For the first two nights we stayed at The Limelight Hotel, right in the heart of downtown Aspen. This is our second Limelight location (the other being in Sun Valley), and it solidified our love for this hotel brand. Their rooms are spacious, their complimentary breakfasts are extensive and delicious (very important), and they are so dog friendly. Located directly across the street from the Limelight was the Wagner Park, where Sally could get her wiggles out and play with other furry friends. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect location!

The Limelight Hotel Aspen decorated for Christmas!

Sally is always the first on the bed :)

The Limelight is SO dog friendly!

This was Sally’s first time playing in snow - and we spent the good majority of our first morning in Aspen mesmerized by her reaction to it (yep, we’re those people). It was so cute. She dug, she rolled, she licked, she LOVED. While we were freezing our booties off (It was maybe 3 degrees fahrenheit!!), homegirl couldn’t have cared less... She was made for this kind of weather! We did, however, buy her a sweater - mostly for the cuteness factor.

We split up for the rest of the day - Bobby snowboarded, and Alli went to the spa. AKA, the perfect day for both of us! ;)

Bobby here. Snowboarding in Aspen is was way better than I could have imagined. The first, and most important thing, is the crowd factor. It’s non-existent. There were never any lines for the lifts, and most of the time I was snowboarding relatively alone. Next, the mountains are HUGE. There are four mountains: Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass. I spent most of my time at Snowmass, but want to explore the others more on our next trip. The scenery is stunning, the runs are incredible, and in 4 days I barely carved the surface (hehe). Hopefully I’ll get Alli on a board next time.

Alli here now! The Spa at Viceroy Snowmass couldn’t have been more luxurious. This 7,000 square-foot spa has a wide selection of holistic spa treatments, a stunning relaxation lounge, and all of the amenities that one could wish. I had the Earth and Air Hot Stone Ritual, which was 90 minutes of soothing relaxation, and they ended it with tea, champagne and chocolates! I could’ve stayed here all day!!

We then met up for lunch at the top of Snowmass and to ride their newest attraction, the Breathtaker. And let’s just say the name is fitting! This thrill ride covers over a mile of terrain, zipping and zooming past trees at speeds of up to 28 mph! It’s crazy smooth, beautiful, and really cold. (If you ride it in the winter, bundle up!)

Nothing sounds better than a couple of hot toddies after being out in the snow, so we went back to the Limelight Hotel and had just that! Later that night, we dined at the iconic La Creperie du Village… a cozy French chalet that serves raclette, fondue, and scrumptious crepes. It was heavenly.

La Creperie du Village is as cozy as it gets!

The next two nights we stayed at The Little Nell, the only 5-star, 5-diamond Aspen hotel. Not only is the property breathtaking (We didn’t want to leave our room!), but their location at the base of Aspen Mountain is unparalleled. It’s ski-in, ski-out, so it was quick and easy for Bobby to hit the slopes. And they’re one of the most dog-friendly hotels we’ve stayed at! They serve a dog menu in their lobby (Sally dined on Wagyu beef - “ruff” life, huh?), they set your room up with a bed, bowls, treats, and more, and their bellmen will even take your pup on a walk! Did we just check into doggy HEAVEN?!

The Little Nell had treats for Sally!

We took the Aspen Mountain gondola up to lunch at the Sundeck, where we dined on burgers and stir-fry dishes from their wok station, followed by some warm Lavazza coffee.

While Bobby snowboarded for the rest of the afternoon, Alli explored downtown Aspen, shopping their quaint boutiques and wandering through the innovative and interactive Aspen Art Museum. We met up later in the evening for a “Garden Party” hosted by The Little Nell, to celebrate Relais Chateaux’s new book, “The Art of the Garden”. We sipped on cocktails and made friends that instantly felt like family… this little hotel is something very, very special.

Lunch at the Sundeck

Our last day in Aspen (insert cry face here) was spent dining at Element 47 for breakfast, Alli walking with Sally around the downtown, Bobby snowboarding, enjoying a hot lunch at Shlomo’s, playing on the slopes with Sally, enjoying a cocktail at the Marble Bar Aspen, and feasting at Ajax Tavern.

It was the perfect way to end a perfect trip. Aspen is one of those places that quickly feels like home. We expected it to feel more pretentious, but it wasn’t at all. Everyone is so friendly, welcoming, and eager to share about their love for this quaint mountain town. We can’t wait to come back.

Beautiful breakfast at Element 47

Drinks at the Marble Bar

Dinner at Ajax

Lunch at Shlomo’s

A Festive, Pup-Friendly Staycation in Surf City USA

Last week we spent a few days (a “staycation”, if you will) in a wintery, Christmas-y beach side town we love... Huntington Beach! Okay, so maybe it’s not thattt wintery, but it’s definitely a festive spot during the holiday season. Huntington Beach is a short 15 minute drive from our home, and a perfect destination to escape for a weekend and soak in the relaxing surf vibes. Staycations are our hassle-free way to appease that travel itch - and if you forget your toothbrush you can always go home!

Anyway - let’s talk about Huntington Beach. This surfer’s paradise has been termed “Surf City USA” and it’s easy to see why. The pristine, white, sandy beaches, the iconic lifeguard towers, the picture-perfect pier (complete with a bustling Ruby’s Diner).. it’s all like something out of a surf movie. The activities are endless, and with hip restaurants popping up left and right, it's quickly becoming a foodie's destination. It’s about as California as you can get - and we love it for that. We were there in mid-December, so an added bonus was all the holiday decor and sparkling lights around town. It was magical!

We stayed at the Shorebreak Resort, a Kimpton property just steps from the water. We partially chose it because of its proximity to the beach, and partially because of just how dog friendly and accommodating they are (there's no additional pet fee - insert praise hands). In typical Kimpton fashion, every need is met - even extra doggy items such as dog bowls, toys, beds, and more. Sally even made their VIP board!

For us humans (haha), they do an insane job of making your experience as special and memorable as possible. The Shorebreak has a nightly wine hour, complimentary s’mores (yes please!), bicycles to ride around town, even hot coffee and cold pizza (a true surfer’s breakfast) in the morning! You better believe Bobby had pizza for breakfast every. single. day. We also tried their on-site restaurant, Pacific Hideaway for dinner... and their Latin/Asian influenced cuisine blew us away! (Make sure you try the Samurai Old Fashioned and the Tea Pot Pork!) The real highlight of our stay was the picture-perfect view from our balcony. If it wasn't for all the things to do, see, and eat we might not have left! 

Nightly s’mores? Yes please!

Being on a "staycation" gave us the excuse to try some of the hot Huntington Beach restaurants we’d been hearing so much about! Tanner's (located at the Pasea hotel) has a stunning outdoor patio that has an ocean view and welcomes pups. And the FOOD! Alli likes to say that you can judge a restaurant based on how good their salmon is - and Tanner's has one of the best salmon entree's we've ever had. This just might be our new date spot. Located right on the beach is Sandy's Beach Shack, a fun and festive restaurant for lunch and dinner. Prices are affordable, the food is great, and they even have a dog menu! Order a Mai Tai and some fish tacos, and you'll feel as though you're in Hawaii! Milk and Honey is a fun little coffee shop just a short walk from The Shorebreak. They have light and healthy breakfast options, their coffee menu is extensive, and their grassy patio was a hit with Sally. Another great breakfast option is the pup-themed Sit Stay Cafe, with made-to-order coffee and bagels. You can even bring a framed picture of your dog to hang on their (very) full doggie-lined walls! We'll be back shortly with a photo of Sally. ;)

Sally trying to get a bite of Bobby’s burger at Tanner’s :)

Yummy dinner at Sandy’s

Sally begging for a bite of bagel at Sit Stay Cafe

It can sometimes be challenging to find things to do with Sally when we're on the road. Not the case here! We took her to the Huntington Beach Dog Beach daily, aka her favorite place in the world. She could dig, swim, and frolic around leash-free... and the look on her face says it all! The Pasea Hotel has a brand new dog park called PawSea, where she had the chance to run around and play with other pups, and we got a kick out of all the quirky little features. On Tuesday nights they have the Surf City Night's Weekly Street Fair, with live music, vendors, snacks, and more... and a good portion of it is dog-friendly! 

Lifeguard on duty at Paw-Sea :)

Our staycation may have only been for two days, but we packed a lot in, and we truly felt like we'd gone away. Bobby had a chance to surf (while Alli watched from our balcony), Sally got to play on the sand, and Alli got her foodie-fix. It was perfect. Whether you're a So Cal local like us, or in the market for a California getaway, we highly recommend a trip to Huntington Beach. We'll meet you for drinks at the Shorebreak. 

See our Huntington Beach guide HERE.