Monday, October 3, 2016

Mini-Vacays

This summer, since we were expecting our newest grandbaby, we opted not to do a week long vacation with the family.  Instead we did a few small 1 night/2 day getaways and we decided that we liked that very much.   If you don't have much time or money to spend you can squeeze a lot of vacation into 2 days!  We did three little getaways in July, August, and September.  

There is minimal planning or packing needed for a mini vacay.  In fact, for our August one we made plans spur of the moment and our hotel reservations the day before!  There are many options for mini vacays here in southern California, so for those of you locals, I thought I'd share some of the fun places we went. We chose Marriott hotels for all the nights, since they are nice but still reasonable, and since we are Marriott Rewards members, we can earn/redeem free nights when we stay.

In July, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of our 1st date, which was the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna.  We have gone a few times since that fateful day on July 24th, 1986  - but this year as our 30th was extra special so we decided to make it a mini vacay and spend the night in Dana Point.   If you have never done the Pageant of the Masters, I highly recommend it!  Prior to the event, we dined at our favorite restaurant in Laguna, 230 Forest.   They have the BEST cioppinno on earth (and it's huge, so share). Rich and I dream about that cioppinno.... seriously.   The rest of the menu is amazing too.

We stayed at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott and it was outstanding! We always request early check in and try to arrive right around lunch.
We spent the first afternoon relaxing at the pool before heading to Laguna.  The next day, after check out, we continued to enjoy the pool.   Marriott hotels always allow you to enjoy the property as long as you want on check out day.  We just stow our bags in the car and pack a change of clothes into our pool bag.

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Beautiful cliff top property!

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View from our room.

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View of Dana Point Harbor from dinner the second night.  We decided to go old school and ate dinner
at the Chart House.  Great views, gracious service, and that awesome salad bar... just as remembered.


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Our night at the Pageant ... thankful he asked me on that first date and all it lead to!


 In August, we planned a fun spur of the moment getaway with Nick, Emma, and Darsy.  Our family loves Newport Beach and likes to squeeze in at least one day trip each summer.   Drew and Stephanie were busy settling in with baby Duke, so I asked Emma if they wanted to come along.  Rich took a Friday off, and we headed down early, and the Steadmans joined us after Nick got off from work (after a very trafficky drive ... not a good time to drive in L.A.!).   Newport hotels are expensive and crowded, so we opted to stay inland 15 minutes in Costa Mesa.

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Again, a splendid view from our hotel.  We shared a suite.

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We found a Bagel Shack for breakfast!

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My favorite... lox on toasted Everything bagel.

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Darsy mostly just enjoys the cream cheese part.

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Back at the hotel, we enjoyed our little cutie at the pool.

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Grammie's glasses are always a fave...

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"Relax"

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Later on, we played on the beach in Newport and had an early dinner at our family's favorite seafood restaurant, the Crab Cooker.  It was Darsy's first time and she enjoyed trying the new foods.

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And no Newport trip is complete without a trip on the ferry to Balboa Island.
Darsy also enjoyed her first taste of a Balboa Bar.

At the end of September, we celebrated another anniversary ... the 30th anniversary of our engagement!  (Can you tell we like to milk any anniversary we can?)  Rich proposed to me at George's at the Cove restaurant in La Jolla on September 28, 1986... so there we returned!  We decided it would be fun to stay on nearby Coronado Island.  We loved the Marriott there!

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Again, the hotel room view wasn't too shabby.  Starbucks in the hotel means morning tea and paper.

Our room was one of the prettiest hotel rooms I've ever stayed in.  Newly remodeled and  the huge bathroom with sunken tub was to die for!


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The island has a long, winding, scenic path. 

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Free bike rental was included with the hotel.  They also have tennis courts but we didn't have time.
We took advantage of the bike rental and the beautiful weather and biked to the elegant and historic Hotel del Coronado.


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Visiting the "Hotel Del" is like stepping back in time.

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Though we couldn't rationalize staying at this grand hotel, we enjoyed a (virgin) drink and the million dollar view at their beachside bar.

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Dinner at George's didn't disappoint.  We went to the California Modern downstairs. It's pretty swank.

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I had the venison with spaetzle, beets and nectarines. It was my first time having venison and it was delicious - tender like a filet mignon.


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Rich chose the aged New York steak with mushroom ragout and some insanely good sauce.
It came with a sunchoke/potato mash in a tiny, adorable lidded Le Creuset pot.

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Dessert is always a work of art at George's.   So much going on, it's a flavor party!
That green stuff is a "matcha" crumble.


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This spectacular view was waiting for us at the hotel when we returned from our dinner.

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The next morning, we decided to take the ferry from the island to downtown San Diego.
It's not cheap at $9.50/person round trip, but it is fun and the view is gorgeous.

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 The morning ride was so delightful and it was the start of another beautiful, sunny day.

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After disembarking the ferry, we had a short walk through downtown to breakfast.
  Unfortunately the restaurant we had chosen had a really long wait, so we found a cute spot called Cafe 222
I had a delicious veggie frittata and Rich had his fave, Eggs Bennie.

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The Gaslamp district is a foodie's dream.

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Once again, after checkout we enjoyed the pool for the afternoon.
I was a big fan of how they oriented their lounge chairs :-)

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Dinner that evening, El Pescador Fish Market, was found on Yelp and was awesome.

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As the title denotes, it was both a restaurant/fish market.  Everything was so fresh and appealing.
We also found it very reasonable in price.
It was casual, with a great vibe, and you just order at the counter.

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Poke... my favorite.

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One of everything, please!

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We settled on a bowl of cioppinno and a crab/shrimp cocktail to start.

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Then we devoured this super tasty grilled swordfish sandwich.
The swordfish was local caught and so fresh.

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After dinner, we drove over to La Jolla Cove, parked, and walked around.

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We stuck around for the spectacular sunset.

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The whole trip, I was plotting a time to go get some gelato at this place.  While not a huge gelato fan, I wanted to go because this place gets 5 STARS (unheard of) on Yelp.  So we walked over from the Cove to try it.  It was adorable.

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Just LOOK at the flavors!

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I went basic with an amazing chocolate sorbet and charcoal vanilla.
So incredible.  I don't usually get chocolate ice cream but this one was like ganache.
Rich got the chocolate as well, and a nutty flavor called Meditteraneo.
 This was the PERFECT conclusion to the perfect getaway.


So as you can see, we were only gone 3 nights all summer, but squeezed in a lot of fun!

Some tips for a successful little getaway:

Grab your favorite person (or persons).
Don't plan too far ahead.
Pack light.
Yelp your food spots.
(you're only there for a short time, 
so you definitely want to take advantage of the best local food finds. No chipotle, ok?)
Take pictures.
Savor every minute of your trip!









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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

He's here!!


We welcomed our newest grandbaby, and our first grand-SON!  The heir to the Harasick throne is here!

Duke Andrew Harasick was born on August 5th (his momma's birthday!) He weighed in at a hefty 8 pounds 2 oz and was 21 inches long.  We are praising the Lord for a sweet, healthy baby boy and healthy mama, too.  Have to say... he looks a LOT like his dada!

We got the alert early that morning that Stephanie's labor had started, and together with our dear friends, the Tubbs family, we kept vigil at the hospital until our newest little family member was born around 6:00 pm at night.   We got to go in and see him around 8:00 pm! 


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The waiting room cheering team selfie!


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The happy family!


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Holding him for the first time!
 (yes...Rich felt it necessary to get a DUKE shirt)

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Such a dream that we get to share this grandson with our dear friends Robert and Luci!

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Nothing quite like a just born baby face!

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The cutest and plumpest little boy!

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The three Harasick men

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Darsy meets baby Duke!

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My kids holding each other's kids!  My heart!
(and don't forget, Emma's having grandbaby #3, a girl,  in December!)

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Darsy is SO excited about her new cousin! Yay for Duke!






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