Vacation, Part IV: Savannah

Yeah yeah yeah.  Two years later…whoops.  Anyway, first off for any “The Office” fans, remember that episode where they are doing a murder mystery thing at the office and Andy says “there’s been a murder in Savannah…” in his “molasses” accent?  Well, Brandon couldn’t stop saying it throughout our stay here (luckily in the privacy of the two of us, not in public where people might become alarmed).  It kept us laughing the whole time…

And another anecdote.  The first day, first thing we decided to do was to visit Bonaventure Cemetery, the most famous (and supposedly a haunted) cemetery in Savannah.  I always try to be very respectful in cemeteries, but I did want to snap a few photos because it has a really special feel to it–it’s pretty much what you imagine when you think old Southern cemetery.  Anyway, out comes the camera and as I’m snapping a few photos I was like “uh oh…my viewfinder must be dirty” because I started having trouble seeing out my camera.  I then realize that my lens has completely fogged over, like within minutes of being there.  Here’s a little example of what happened:

I, uh, took it as a sign that I needed to stop taking pictures.  For the record, I had other lenses on me and none of them fogged up, and none of my lenses fogged up at all the entire time I was in the South (and there were days that were much higher humidity than that afternoon).

Savannah lived up to its reputation for us: hot, humid, and gorgeous.  We loved just strolling around exploring, we loved the master plan of the garden grid throughout the city, and we loved all the iron/metalwork on the old buildings.


The architecture is just so different from the West Coast style we are used to, and of course I immediately fell in love.  The only thing I didn’t love?  The bug bites.  Otherwise, it was a magical city for us (just like Charleston was).

(For the record, some of these photos are film and some are digital)

I had extra fun seeing the sites because I had read “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” a few years prior, so I already had a fascination with Savannah.  Even without that background, however, I think anyone could feel how special this place is.  It just has an air of mystery and of a time past…


Sigh.  The good thing about posting so long after the fact?  You get to relive a great vacation.  The bad thing?  A bad case of wanderlust renewed…

Vacation, Part III: Hilton Head

Wow.  You know the bag thing about not posting about a vacation until 1.5 years later?  Well, you forget.  A lot. Oopsies.  Anyway, what I DO remember is that Hilton Head was incredibly beautiful and incredibly relaxing and it was my first time to an “East Coast” beach (you know, the kind in picture with beaches for miles and tall grasses at the top of the beach?)


Just like that.  Reeds/grass/whatever plant that is. Gentle breeze.  Warm weather.  Comfortable humidity.  You get the picture.  And then, I got to wake up to this:


Is it time to go back yet?  We decided to splurge and rent a cabana for a day, which was the best decision ever.  It was pretty toasty, so it was nice having a designated spot to set up camp with some guaranteed shade (especially at 6 months pregnant).  This leg of the trip was all about relaxation and we definitely indulged in a little bit of peaceful rest.


So picturesque!  And this was all just steps from our hotel.  It was perfect.  As an aside, I also had my first outing to a Piggly Wiggly on this trip! I always sort of thought those were just in the movies…apparently not!  The only downside of a resort-y place like this is the lack of food selection (and reasonably priced food at that).  We went to the store and got some lunch and snack items so we could avoid hotel food for at least one meal a day.


Awwww, so cute…the obligatory self-portrait.  Can you see how stress-free we look there?  Not a care in the world.  We had a lovely walk on the beach that night, which would only have been improved with a glass of wine in hand.  Warm summer nights are one of my favorite things (one thing I’m very much thrilled about with our move–the return of warm summer nights!), so I ate up every moment of our evening stroll.

Well, slowly but surely we are making it through vacation from two years ago!  Yahoo!  Only one more part to go!

Vacation, Part II: Charleston


Le sigh.  I have an extreme affliction of Wanderlust.  Every time I go to a new city, I want to move there–just temporarily, but still.  I often daydream about grad school just as an excuse to move somewhere for a predetermined period of time.  Charleston definitely made the list of “Yeah, I’d like to move here for a little while…”  It’s a beautiful city with so much history and great architecture!  I mean, the porches…oooooh the porches.  I have a slight porch obsession, and I sometimes fantasize about living in the south, having sweaty hot summer nights drinking my mint julep (or other adult beverage) on my porch.  I realize that there are downsides to this (sleeplessness, feeling sticky, BUGS) but I choose just to imagine the romantic idea of this lifestyle.


Anyway, I digress.  Basically I had a lot of lusting for the large ancestral homes on the Charleston waterfront, as well as plenty of other homes around the various neighborhoods.  I mean, porches/balconies on every level?  Yes please!  A girl can dream…I’ve already told Brandon that if we ever get to design our own house, there will be a porch, preferably a wrap-around.  This is non-negotiable.

charleston 02

A major selling point for the porch? A porch SWING. In Charleston by the harbor there are these amazing huge porch swings. I made Brandon sit on them with me every night. It was very romantic and relaxing. I never wanted to leave…in fact, on our last day I might have gotten a little teary. I’ll blame it on the pregnancy hormones.


We watched the end of an amazing electrical storm from the swings one night (Brandon wanted to go out during it, but I was too much of a scaredy cat–this Bay Area girl is not used to major lightning!). Speaking of storms, we also learned a lesson: when the wind suddenly REALLY picks up, run for cover because a downpour is approaching. Luckily we learned this the easy way while in Charleston. On a side trip to a plantation, however, we learned it the hard way.

We visited the Magnolia Plantation on our way out of town.  On the way in, I noticed a sign saying no refunds for weather.  “Luckily for us,” I thought to myself, “it’s a beautiful, sunny day.”  And it was.  We started at the petting zoo, and made a few friends


We then ventured into the gardens. They have a map with 20 something various sites to see that are all along a winding path around the beautiful gardens, so there we were wandering and gradually we noticed it was less sunny.


And then we heard some thunder in the far off distance. We still had quite a few sites on our list. And the wind. Oh, the wind came. Sudden, large, strong gusts of wind. Brandon and I looked at each other and said “uh oh….” but we were pretty much exactly halfway through the gardens–the only way to shelter was forward or backwards. We chose forward and continued on our way and then the rain started. It began absolutely POURING, and first we took shelter on a bench (the gardens are extremely dense and lush) under a tree. It worked for a bit, but then we started getting soaked and realized we should keep moving.

This is the storm that was approaching

As a little reminder, I was 6 months pregnant at the time. And I was wearing wedge sandals. And a skirt. Anyway, we start moving (quickly) and then the thunder and lightning is directly on top of us, and we’re in a foresty garden area. At this point I start freaking out a little. The gardens are flooding and I’m running through trees in water in lightning in wedge sandals while pregnant and the storm is directly over us. I will admit I was terrified. We kept going, however, and we made it back to shelter to where a bunch of other people (equally as wet) were also waiting out the storm. A native of the area confirmed for me that being near trees is not a great idea, so it was good we moved.

And here is us after we survived our little storm encounter:


Phew!  Since we were on our way to Hilton Head already, we had our suitcases in the car and were able to change into dry clothes and get on our way.  And speaking of Hilton Head, that will be the next post destination!

(All photos except the final 3 were taken with film)

Vacation Photos…From Almost a Year Ago

Whoooopsies.  I guess this is what happens when you are 6+ months pregnant and you take film photos on vacation and then go ahead and have that baby…your life gets a little crazy and you forget to develop those photos.  ANYway…last year Brandon and I attended the wedding of my good friend in Nashville.  We decided to make a trip out of it, and visit a few other destinations that we had been wanting to go to, namely Charleston and Savannah.  We also added a little side trip to Hilton Head while we were at it.

I’ll separate this out into a post per location, so for starters, our trip to Nashville, in film:

Construction site visible right next to our hotel




Next up will be Charleston!

A Weekend Away


The week after my birthday proved to be a long week for some reason.  The baby was crabby and not sleeping well which puts a big drain on everyone.  On Friday around noon I was at a café working, and I got a call from Brandon asking what I was doing.  I said I was working, but just about to pack up and go home to which he replied “Good.  When you get home pack an overnight bag for you and Eleanor.”


Woohoo!  I love surprise getaways.  Brandon booked us a room at the Seal Cove Inn in Half Moon Bay, where I took him for his 29th birthday.  It’s a beautiful, cozy spot that is only 30 minutes from our home so you feel  like you’re getting far away without taking up the whole weekend to get there.


Between some good naps that day and just how relaxed Brandon and I were, Eleanor was amazing on the trip.  We had such a great time!  I even got a soak in the jacuzzi tub while Brandon entertained Ellie.  We took walks along the coast, watched a movie, ate, drank and just had an extremely relaxing time.  A jacuzzi tub, a fireplace, a comfy bed, fresh baked cookies…what more could a girl ask for?


Trips like this are a great refresher, reminding me of all I have to be thankful for (and it’s a lot!). Thanks to Brandon for making this trip happen…such great memories as one of our first family trips!

Santa Cruz Weekend


I share my birthday with my mom (January 21) and we typically like to do something together around that time to have a joint celebration. Conveniently this year my good friend Jessi was having a birthday party the following weekend in her hometown of Santa Cruz, so I stretched my birthday celebration into two weekends by convincing Brandon we should make a weekend out of Jessi’s birthday party. For my birthday celebration with my mom, we had a Saturday filled with pampering, the wine exhibit at the MoMA, some coffee time at the rooftop sculpture garden, and then dinner on Belden Place; it was fantastic!

For the following weekend, Brandon and I rented a car and drove down to Santa Cruz where we stayed at the modern Dream Inn, right on the beach. These photos are all views from our room.


On Saturday after we arrived, we wandered along the boardwalk for a bit of nostalgia (I forgot my camera! UGH) before we headed back to our hotel room to get ready for the party. I ended up falling asleep, I guess I was lulled due to the waves crashing. When I woke up, it was sprinkling and foggy but it was a good excuse to not feel bad for just wanting to hang out in our room. We had a great time at Jessi’s party, and then headed back to our room with enough time to enjoy the hotel’s hot tub before it closed for the evening.

After our hot tub excursion, we snuggled up in our room to watch some TV and listen to the waves crash. In the morning it was drizzling and we decided to order breakfast room service to eat on our covered balcony. Luckily for us it stopped sprinkling right as the food came, so we were able to soak in some sunshine while we ate food and drank our coffee.



After breakfast the sky looked threatening, so we just sat on the bed, balcony door open and music on, listening to the waves and reading.  It was a glorious morning of relaxation!  I realized that we should do these mini-escapes more often…it was just what the doctor ordered after some hectic weeks at work.

Weekend Getaway


I’ll have a more extensive post soon, but the short of it is that Brandon and I had a fantastic (and extremely relaxing) weekend in Santa Cruz, listening to the ocean waves and celebrating birthdays with friends.  It doesn’t get much better than listening to the waves crash all night long after a soak in a hot tub…

Yosemite, Part II

As promised, here is the rest of the Yosemite photos! We stayed at the Yosemite Lodge and just wandered around the valley floor, marveling at the beautiful sights.











Isn’t it gorgeous?


Phew!  It’s been quite a while, and it’s been bothering me that I haven’t had a chance to post.  I have been so busy that it took me weeks to download my Thanksgiving pictures compared to what I usually do, which is download them as soon as I get home from a trip or an outing.  Chalk + Dot has been going quite well, but it’s also been time consuming, especially with my overwhelming work schedule.


Anyway, enough about that!  Time to rewind time back to Thanksgiving.  Brandon, my parents and I went to Yosemite for a wintery Thanksgiving escape.  We were lucky because there was a snowstorm the few days before we arrived, so there was a thick blanket of fresh snow.  It was so absolutely beautiful and serene! As I’ve started writing this, I realize it’s going to be a 2-part post…I have WAY too many pictures to post them all at once!


We arrived Thanksgiving day, and just laid low at the Tenaya Lodge, drinking wine, playing games, and eating.

Friday we got up early, rented some snow shoes, and trekked out to Mariposa Grove to catch a glimpse of some giant sequoia trees. The road was closed out to the grove, so we had to hike in and then snow shoe around once we got there. It was breath-takingly beautiful!


It’s hard to see, but the snow was sparkling like mounds of sugar.


The fresh air, the beautiful scenery…it was the perfect day.


Note the red arrow–that is Brandon standing in front of Grizzly Giant. They aren’t kidding around when they say those trees are giant…

After our invigorating hike we went back to the lodge to clean up, play more games, drink more wine, eat more food, and watch the Oregon Ducks play. That’s all you get for now! More to come on the Yosemite trip…