Fall is here! Orange and red leaves, goblins, ghouls and Halloween candy are just a few things that come to mind when this season hits us. You know what comes to my mind every October? German beer and yodeling at Oktoberfest at The Phoenix Club Anaheim! So put on your German Oktoberfest outfits and bring your stein for a fun evening! 

Oktoberfest at The Phoenix Club Anaheim

Oktoberfest at The Phoenix Club Anaheim

Oktoberfest people dressed in traditional German outfits!

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Looking for a vegan restaurant in OC? I recommend Freesoul Caffe. Located in the heart of Old Town Tustin, this cozy restaurant offers an array of foods, using only 100% natural, plant-based ingredients. This includes no eggs, honey, or dairy products of any kind. You’ll discover all kinds of healthy entrees, soups, organic salads, sandwiches, burgers, pasta, pizzas and tasty desserts. Bring your hungry tummy and prepare to be happy! 

I enjoy the relaxed vibe of this place so much. Next time I’m bringing my laptop and getting some writing done at Freesoul Caffe! It’s the perfect place to enjoy an almond milk latte and chia pudding with berries (my absolute favorite dish!) for breakfast or their colorful plate of roasted cauliflower (not pictured, sorry I ate it too fast) and miso ramen for lunch or dinner. They also have an almond milk matcha latte which is so delightful. Another delicious veggie plate is their charred brussels sprouts with Medjool dates, garlic, chili flakes, vinaigrette. Those are my favorite things to eat when I have to opportunity to go. On a cool evening, ask for their chili. You will be surprised how good all of their dishes taste and it’s all plant-based. Whether you are a new or seasoned vegan or vegetarian or one who likes to enjoy a healthy meal, this place is for you. It’s great for some quality time with a girlfriend or a date night. (Side note: if you have any nut allergies, please consult with your server. Lots of vegan foods have nut ingredients.)

vegan restaurant OC Freesoul Caffe

My favorite!!! The chia pudding with fresh berries.

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We recently enjoyed a San Diego Gaslamp Getaway. It’s our go-to weekend staycay spot! We stayed at the Westin Gaslamp Quarter, which is conveniently located next to the Westfield Horton Plaza Shopping Center. A hotel next to a mall? This made our teenager so happy! I love that San Diego is less than a 2 hour drive away from our home in Irvine. Just a quick road trip and we’re in a totally different and fun place.

gaslamp San Diego Westin

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Montage at Laguna Beach

One of my favorite watering holes are hotel lobbies, and the spot that takes lounging to the next level is The Lobby Lounge in the Montage Laguna Beach.  

Montage lobby

Lobby decked out for the holidays

So let’s talk about the stages of my life:  there was a time when standing in a crowded bar or club trying not to spill my precious Bombay martini that is filled to the rim in a very impractical long stemmed glass was a regular and appealing night out.  Nope.  Not doing that anymore.  Fast forward ?? years. Please show me the way to comfy seats with table service.  If it has not occurred to you to hang out in hotel lobbies when you’re not on vacay, well, let’s think about it!  They are open late, you can lounge without getting the stink eye from servers,  and you can always find a comfy seat.  One of my favorite hangouts with my honey, with girlfriends, and even with the whole family are hotel lobbies.  That’s right, they are pretty good places to hang out with kids.  Order them a snack, hot chocolate, and bring a deck of cards or a board game – everyone is happy! View Post

Talk about decking the halls!  Roger’s Gardens in Newport Beach is a great place to start your shopping for holiday decorations.   A little confession:  we were on our way to the tree lighting at Fashion Island, and we were late getting out there (you all know, taking about 20 mins to get socks and shoes on, then having a last minute bathroom emergency as we start loading up the car). When we realized as we sat waiting in a long line of cars to get into the packed parking lot that we would not be able to find parking and get to the lighting in 12 mins, we planned our escape. Yes, the kids were a little disappointed to miss the official Christmas tree lighting, but we promised to bring them back another evening to see the tree.  Seeing festive lights behind us, we flipped a U turn and followed the lights.  To our pleasant surprise, we drove into a twinkling oasis.  I have had Roger’s Garden on my list for awhile, so  this accidental discovery was so timely.

For those that are not familiar, Roger’s Garden is a spacious outdoor nursery with an equally expansive indoor store.  At the back of all this beautiful garden is their Farmhouse restaurant.  The kids were so excited to roam the nursery that is currently decorated with beautiful holiday lights – simply magical!  Holiday tip:  if you call the Farmhouse restaurant, they are completely booked for reservations until January; however, we simply walked up and put our name on the wait list before exploring the garden.  The wait was only an hour on a Thursday night, with plenty of open seating at the bar, but I will assume that it will be longer if you go on a weekend.  This was just the perfect amount of time for us to enjoy the lights and do a little shopping.  The have beautiful decorations and ornaments, with a good selection of traditional and marine themed holiday items – we are in Newport Beach, after all!  The kids got some adorable fuzzy beanies with koala ears and owl ears (yes, I probably overpaid, but they were so darn cute!).  There is also a coffee cart in the middle of the garden, so you can grab a coffee or a hot chocolate on a cold evening.  

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