Spring Break 2017: Capsule wardrobe

I’m not quite ready to let go of my vacation just yet, so I have one more post to share.

I decided to try out the whole capsule wardrobe thing to minimize my vacation luggage. Basically, you pick just a few items (that you love and know you will be excited to wear) and then mix and match.  #minimalist

My capsule contained the following: jeans, black knit pants, long sleeve tee, three short sleeve tees, one tank top, one black skirt, one grey skort, one dress, and a denim jacket (not pictured, oops!). I also included two swim tops, one swim bottom, a cover up, a work out top and capris, pajamas, and my wind jacket (again, not pictured). I needed a little more because we were going to be in a few different climates, plus the Soul Cycle class.  It all fit in my small carry on suitcase, along with my beach bag, toiletries, and hair iron.  And cap.

Here’s how it played out:

Day 1 – travel day:

Black knit pants, long sleeve tee, jean jacket, Converse

Day 2 – Sightseeing in LA, Hollywood, and Beverly Hills:

Jeans, short sleeve tee (#1), cardigan, hiking sandals. I left the cardigan behind pretty quickly as the day warmed up.

Day 3 – Soul Cycle, Grammy Museum and drive to Palm Springs:

Jeans, short sleeve tee (#2), sandals, also wore my jean jacket to the museum.

Day 4 – Joshua Tree National Park

Tank (that I bought at Soul Cycle), swim coverup, capris, hiking sandals

Day 5:  Hanging out at the resort and dinner out

Black skirt, short sleeve tee (#2), jean jacket, sandals. I took the jacket off and wore my swim suit underneath during the day.
Dress, sandals, and cardigan later in the evening.

Day 6:  Hanging out at the resort and dinner out

Black skirt, new tank from Soul Cycle, sandals
Grey skort, short sleeve tee (#1), hiking sandals

Day 7:  Drive back to LA, Santa Monica Pier, dinner out

Dress and tennis
Grey skort, short sleeve tee, hiking sandals
Black knit pants, tank top, sandals

Day 8 – Beach and travel home:

Grey skort, tank top, hiking sandals
Jeans, long sleeve tee, cardigan, tennis

Overall, it worked out really well.  I wore everything I brought (except one swim top because we only spent two days at the pool), most of it twice.  I was glad I bought the extra tank for wearing around the resort, but could have just worn my coverup.

There was one little glitch – Amy’s unexpected dinner at Sur.  I wish I would have had something a little dressier, especially shoes, but I think I looked ok and I just walk through the restaurant with my head held high as if I were introducing Hollywood to the latest in dining fashion (in my $10 tank from H&M and $25 knit pants from J. Jill!!).  I’m pretty sure nobody even noticed me it was so dark in there.

I also decided that I’m not a huge fan of wearing a shirt more than once, especially in warm climates.  I lucked out because the mornings and evenings were cool, so after the first day, I wore something new to dinner (which was just a couple of hours and right after I had showered) and then the second time during the day on a future date.  And having a long sleeved swim cover up was great for Joshua Tree because it was really chilly there at first but I wouldn’t have been as comfortable in the jean jacket (a little to constricting) or cardigan (too dressy, and I needed it later).  It really looked more like an athletic tunic.  And because I wore that, I didn’t ever wear my wind jacket.

I was able to bring all of my makeup and full size toiletries because Gary checked a bag, but I would have had room for travel sized products in my carry on.

This little experiment definitely taught me a few lessons for future trips.  And now I know I can get by on just a few things, but it really depends on the trip.  Gary and I are looking at something more tropical next year, much more casual, and all of the activities will either be water or hiking, so I will likely do this again.  But probably with one more pair of shoes, just in case he takes me somewhere fancy 😉

Weekend Edition: Scout is back!

This weekend was entirely devoted to picking Scout up from his vacation training and getting him settled back in.

After a long week at work, a glass of wine and JT in concert on Netflix was just what I needed Friday night.

We were in bed by 9:00 because we had to be on the road at 7:00 Saturday morning.  We got up to Prairie Peak Kennels at 10:00, reunited with Scout, and did our training with Jack.  We were back on the road at 11:30 for the long drive home.  Scout slept most of the way.

I think he was as happy to be home as we were to have him home.

There was lots of snuggling and kisses.  But do you want to know what there WASN’T lots of?  Jumping.  Or biting.  He’s a changed man dog.  But he was also filthy and tired.

After a bath, he did lots of snoozing in his kennel.

We spent a lot of time outside with him, practicing our new commands.  We played in the yard, picked up the random dog poo that we had gotten lazy about, and did a little fetching.  Then after lunch, when it had warmed up a little bit, we went to the park.  He was so great!  We took a long walk through the woods and along an open field.  He stayed close and came right back every time we called – most of the time without using the training collar at all.

And then he did more of this.

In other news, I made two recipes from the family cookbook this weekend – mom’s ribs and Aunt Cile’s apple crisp.  Neither are new to me, but I hadn’t made the ribs in years (Gary and Megan had never had them), and I had some old apples I needed to use up so that was an easy choice.  I will get more adventurous next week.

Hope you had a great weekend!

Spring Break 2017: Back to the coast

Days 7 and 8: Santa Monica and back to Minnesota (3/9 – 3/10)

We took our time getting up and moving Thursday morning. Gary and I walked our path one last time. Then we packed up, checked out, and headed for the beach.  Santa Monica beach.

FYI, those two chairs above our heads are the ones Gary and I were sitting in the previous day.

The traffic was insane through LA so we didn’t get to the hotel until 2:00. But we were greeted with complimentary champagne!

The ferris wheel peeking out above the long row of buildings is on the Santa Monica pier.
I spent most of my time in this corner, trying to figure out how I can recreate it in my bedroom!

We settled in and then walked the few blocks to the pier.

We found a place to eat, Amy bought some souvenirs, and then we made our way back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. At SUR Restaurant in West Hollywood.

I don’t watch any of the Real Housewives shows, but I have seen enough to know who Lisa Vanderpump is, and that she owns restaurants. Amy requested that we go there, and since the earliest reservation we could get was 9:15, we just had cocktails, appetizers, and dessert. The Strawberini was excellent, the food was very good, and it was fun walking around West Hollywood at night.

It took an hour to get there due to TRAFFIC, and only 20 minutes to get back. There was some sort of Fashion Week event we peeked into, and the paparazzi were outside of a club we walked past. It was also the latest I had stayed up this entire vacation!

Friday was our final day. I had planned to borrow cruiser bikes from the hotel and bike along the beach to Venice Beach (including Muscle Beach), but we decided to cover more ground and drove instead. We spent a couple of hours walking around, then drove up the Pacific Coast Highway (or PCH as the locals call it) to Malibu where we had lunch.

Patio and entrance to our hotel – Le Meridien Delfina

Then it was back to the hotel to pack up, shower, and start our 90 minute drive to the airport that was 9 miles away because TRAFFIC!

It was a nice quiet flight. I watched “Arrival”, which I didn’t really understand because I couldn’t hear half of the dialogue. And then we used Uber for the first time to get home from the airport.

It was a great trip, full of fun activities and beautiful weather. I confirmed that driving in and around LA is beyond annoying. I also decided that if we travel with anyone else again we have to stay in villas instead of hotels. I was awake between 5 and 7 every morning, but Amy slept until at least 9. I couldn’t go out on the patio without waking her up, and she couldn’t stay up and watch tv when we were trying to sleep. We made it work but we were starting to need our own space at the end.

And now we are starting to think about our 2018 Spring Break trip… something tropical, perhaps?  And not around Spring Break time?  We’ll see how it goes!

Spring Break 2017: Finally taking a break

Days 5 and 6:  Palm Springs (3/7 – 3/8)

Tuesday was all about relaxing in the sun. Gary and I took a walk along our favorite path and watched the golfers.

Then we grabbed a light breakfast, got pool ready, and were lounging by 10:00.

I was was surprised how empty it was, but that made it even better. Gary and Amy took a break while I ordered our lunch and walked up to the tennis center where Jon Hamm was hosting a celebrity tennis tournament.

They didn’t recognize anyone then, but Amy and I had worked out with Timothy Olyphant Monday night, we saw Jon Hamm on our way to dinner, and we saw Ashley Tisdale on our way home from dinner. But good thing Amy was with us because I didn’t actually recognize any of them.

And speaking of dinner, we were on a bit of a bad luck streak. First, in Hollywood, we had to wait forever for a server. Then, at Applebee’s outside of Joshua Tree, the manager waited on us because our server never came around. Then Tuesday night we went to a little Italian restaurant just down the road. Twenty minutes to take our order, then an hour to get our food. And it’s important to note that none of these places was busy. At all.

Wednesday was another down day.

We had breakfast at the main restaurant, then laid by the pool until mid-afternoon. Still very quiet so we had chairs both in the sun and the shade.

Gary and Amy played tennis later in the afternoon.

Then we drove into Palm Springs for dinner. Good service and excellent food, finally!  I don’t have any pictures because I was feeling a little off – luckily just tired.  It felt good to crawl into bed that night!

Here are some of the critters that live at the Westin Rancho Mirage resort.  They also foster a dog from a local rescue until a permanent home is found.

It was starting to heat up in the desert, so we were glad we would be heading to the coast in the morning.


Spring Break 2017: Into the desert

Days 3 and 4:  Palm Springs (3/5 – 3/6)

Amy and I got up early Sunday morning and did this!

I was expecting it to be challenging, but it was way more so than I had hoped. Amy kept up with much of it and I was beyond impressed. I started strong but quickly fizzled out. It was a great experience though and I’m so happy she could cross that off her bucket list.

We picked up breakfast and went back to the hotel to shower, then we all walked to the Grammy Museum.


All three of us really enjoyed it.  History, indepth exhibits, interactive recording equipment and instruments to play with, and clips from the most memorable Grammy performances. You could easily spend a full day there.

After that we packed up and drove to Palm Springs. We made a quick stop for gas and In and Out burgers.

It had rained while we were in the museum and picked up again for much of the drive. But the sun was shining once we came over the last pass!

We hung out in our room the rest of the night. It had been a long day!

We woke up to blue skies and sunshine. Monday’s plan was Coachella and Joshua Tree National Park. They were starting to set up for the festival so we got an idea of what it’s like. It’s held at a polo club. There wasn’t really any place to stop so I just drove slowly so Amy could get pictures.

We entered JTNP from the south this time and drove up to the west entrance, stoppping several times to hike around and climb the rocks. Cholla Cactus Garden, White Tank Campground, Hidden Valley, and the Boy Scout trail head to Willow Hole were favorites.

We stopped for a late lunch and to pick up a few snacks for the room and then settled in for the evening.  Oh, and we rented “Sing”.  We were all ready for this vacation to slow down a little!