Why I Don’t Want to Tell You Where We Stayed in Big Bear

Ollie and I visited Big Bear to celebrate our wedding anniversary in early April. We couldn’t believe it took us almost 2 years of living in Socal to make it up–we had THE BEST time. We left feeling like we found a whole other world (even though it’s only 2.5 hours from San Diego) and daydreamed about whether or not we could ever see ourselves living in the mountains.

Skiing was the main reason we chose to visit Big Bear–something we both had never tried but on our “Make Happen ASAP” list. Our anniversary was the perfect excuse to escape for the weekend, experience something new, and splurge just a little bit on accommodation.

I don’t want to spill the beans on where we stayed because we loved it so much and don’t want word to get out but… if you scroll through this post you’ll see pictures of the property that will give it away 😉 Less than 24 hours into our stay we were already planning a return visit.

What made this bed and breakfast so great? To start, it was really charming and dreamily surrounded by pine trees. There was a jacuzzi tub and homemade bath salts as well as a fireplace, which added up to total relaxation and coziness. The highlight of this place, however, was definitely the food. The owners are a husband-wife power duo. Just to give some background: Johann is a former CEO who left the corporate world to pursue his passions including cooking. We were treated each morning to the tastiest homemade breakfast ever, and the daily happy hour included South African wines and impressive hors d’oeuvres. I could go into a lot more detail about the owners, the food, their future plans for the property, and the conversation, but it’s something you should definitely experience for yourself. Just don’t tell too many people so they don’t jack the prices up 😉

Despite how much we loved our accommodation, we did manage to get out and explore a bit. We had a blast skiing for the first time at Snow Summit. We drank craft beers at Big Bear Lake Brewing Company. We ate at 752 Social and Fire Rock Burgers and Brew. We went on a hike and breathed in fresh mountain air while admiring gorgeous views of the lake. In general, we got a chance to slow down (except when we were speeding down the slopes hehe), relax, and enjoy each others company.

Big Bear, you stole our hearts and we can’t wait to see you again! Here are my favorite photos from the weekend (see more on Instagram: @thedaydreamernextdoor)

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Have you been inspired to visit Big Bear and stay at our “secret” bed and breakfast?

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3 Unique Spots for Your Next San Diego Brunch

Not like the weather is ever horrible in San Diego, but all the rain we got this winter has kept us indoors more than usual. However, we’ve reached that time of year when each day is getting better and better. San Diego has so many great brunch options to enjoy year round, but as we see more sunshine, the urge to go increases. If you’re looking for something different to spice up your weekend brunch, I highly recommended the following 🙂

1 . Karl Strauss: Brunch at a brewery

San Diego is home to over 100 breweries, some of which serve delicious food as well. Karl Strauss takes it a step further and puts on an amazing Sunday brunch. For the price, we can’t believe how good the spread is. You also get your choice of bottomless mimosas, a beermosa, or a beer flight. The service at Karl Strauss is consistently impressive, and each time we’ve gone they have brought out complimentary tasters of their beers as well. The location in Mira Mesa is my favorite because you can sit outdoors overlooking a beautiful Japanese coy pond while enjoying the live music.

Priced at $27 for a 2 hour slot

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2 . Flagship Cruises: Brunch while boating around San Diego harbor

In my opinion, one of the best ways to experience San Diego is from the water. Why not do that over brunch? We did this cruise last year for Easter and loved it so much we’re doing it again this year. You can’t beat the skyline views, cruising under the Coronado Bridge, and feeling the wind in your hair when you take your drink outside to enjoy the deck. My family and I were very happy with the food and probably went up for more 5 or 6 times haha. Bottomless mimosas are also included. Honestly, I don’t want anything to do with a brunch that doesn’t have bottomless mimosas. 😉

Priced at $75 for a 2 hour cruise that boards 30 minutes prior to departure

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3 . Hotel Del Coronado: Extravagant brunch with a side of history

The Hotel Del is one of the most iconic buildings in San Diego. It has hosted 16 US presidents ranging from FDR to Obama, and it’s where the movie Some Like it Hot starring Marilyn Monroe was filmed. Built back in 1887, it is now a National Historic Landmark and is worth checking out for that reason alone. If you plan to visit the Del you might as well experience The Crown Room Sunday brunch, too. The selection is insane and features several high end cuts of meat, seafood for days, and multiple alcoholic beverage options. Afterwards you can walk along the beautiful beachfront and work off some calories.

Priced at  $96 for 3 and 1/2 hours

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Where’s your favorite place to brunch in San Diego??
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Coachella Photo Diary

Missing these “Happy Coachella” days. Even though I am not cut out for camping and putting up with the heat/lack of showering was hell, I had a great time at my first Coachella. Here are some of my favorite snaps from 3 days spent unleashing my inner hippie in the desert!

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How to Girls Weekend in San Francisco Like a Local

San Francisco is one of the most popular cities in the U.S., so it’s no surprise that there are endless options for tourists–Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz, the Pink Ladies, etc. However, when I came to SF for my most recent visit, I wanted nothing to do with the tourist attractions. I wanted to relax and enjoy the city the way a local would. Enter my cousin Ellen: born and raised in San Fran and the perfect person to show me this side of the city. Don’t get me wrong- the tourist attractions are great to see, but once those are out of the way, I feel like that’s when you’re really able to experience a place (wherever that might be, not just San Francisco).

Here’s what we got up to over 2 days, which made for a fantastic girls weekend!

Saturday: We grabbed breakfast sandwiches from Devil’s Teeth Baking Company and headed straight for Sutra Baths. After enjoying breakfast next to the ocean and exploring the baths, we hiked Lands End Trail to the Labyrinth. No trip to San Francisco is complete without views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Later that day, we took a picnic to Golden Gate Park and enjoyed music and people watching at Hardly Strictly Blue Grass Festival. I love how you can openly drink alcohol in the park-so fun sipping wine under the sunshine. After, we went to a wine tasting and then had a delicious Polish meal at Cafe Europa. We ended a great day at some fun bars in the Marina.

Sunday: We slept in and enjoyed breakfast and good conversation at home. Then we were off to the Mission District where we browsed the shops and art stands, drank award-winning Bloody Marys at a biker bar, admired the amazing street art, and took in the dichotomy of Mission Street and Valencia Street (traditional and hispanic vs new money from hipster techies). We ended at a rooftop bar, where we enjoyed hours of drinks and food overlooking beautiful San Francisco.

It was a perfect girls weekend, and I highly recommend this itinerary for those wanting to step away from the typical San Francisco tourist spots!

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Reflecting on Time With Jord Watches: My 1 Year Blogiversary

Quite often as I’m scrolling through the blogs I follow, I come across their anniversary posts. Reflections on the past year of their blogs-two, three, and even more years having passed since they first started. Then it dawned on me that I too have a blog and realized that it’s already turning a year old. So I’ve decided to join in on the tradition of posting a “blogiversary” post each year.

My blog all started a year ago when I decided I needed a creative outlet. I had recently moved to the west coast and started my big girl job in pharmacy, which is obviously highly scientific and structured. Then football season came around and I realized every Sunday for the NFL season (and even most Saturdays for college football) would have to be spent at home so Ollie could watch all the games. This gave me more free time and left me a little bored considering I don’t care to watch every single game if the Bears or Dolphins aren’t on. I spent more time reading, daydreaming about travel, and remembering the previous trips I’ve taken. I had an urge to write about it all, so I got on WordPress and started, without knowing how blogs work or what direction I was heading.

When I first considered writing a blogiversary post, I was hesitant. I felt like I hadn’t accomplished much or anything worth writing about. Some blogs and instagrams have thousands upon thousands of followers by the time they turn one. That definitely wasn’t the case for me; however, as I thought about it more, I realized I had accomplished a lot and that this first year was worth documenting and remembering even just for my sake-which is why I started my blog, for me and only me. If people want to follow along then that’s just a very welcome bonus.

So here are some things I’m proud of and some journeys I’ve been on this year:

  • I’ve stayed with it and still feel inspired every day
  • I put a lot of thought into my vision and target audience to try and post more consistent content
  • I renamed my blog to “The Daydreamer Next Door”
  • I reached out to a graphic designer to collaborate on a logo in the future
  • I started an Instagram page specifically related to my blog and to highlight travel
  • I invested in a nice camera to post high quality photos
  • I started playing around with making videos of my travels using said camera
  • I started reaching out to tourism boards for potential collaborations-no bites yet but good practice!
  • I took a promotion at work so I now have weekends off and more vacation time (making things happen with 1 week paid vacation and working every 2nd weekend was very challenging)

Last but not least, I started collaborating with Jord Watches which has been so fun and wouldn’t have been possible without my blog and social platforms. I’m so excited to be able to offer my readers a chance to win $75 off a gorgeous women’s watch or men’s watch. The contest goes until September 25 and just by entering you are guaranteed a $20 off voucher (all vouchers must be used by 1/31/17). I choose to get Frankie which is made with natural zebra wood and has a navy face-the perfect shade for me considering I so often find myself on the beach chilling by the ocean. It’s a unique watch-simple and neutral all while making a statement with the large face and pop of blue. It’s also been a cool watch to take on my travels because it matches so much of my wardrobe and quickly makes me feel more put together and accessorized. Thank you Jord Watches for making me feel like a more fashionable adult and for helping me keep track of the time that passes by always too quickly. I can’t believe my blog is already a year old. Instead of receiving presents on its birthday, it’s offering them haha! Click the link below to enter my contest! Much love to those who read along. And hey it’s football season again which means more time to write 😉

https://www.woodwatches.com/g/thedaydreamernextdoor

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This post was sponsored by Jord Wood Watches, but my opinions will always be my own.

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Luxury Wood Watch

Exploring our state: Malibu, Hollywood, and Venice Beach

Since moving to California last year, I’ve jumped at the opportunity to explore more of our new state. Ollie and I spent a sunny weekend in July checking out Malibu, Hollywood, and Venice Beach (finally utilizing our proximity to LA). Although they were all quite touristy, I still wanted to see what the hype was about at least once. We strolled along Malibu Pier, the Walk of Fame, and Venice Beach. The color of the water in Malibu took my breath away. Getting to see the Harry Potter square in Hollywood was so much fun since I’m such a huge fan. And even though I wasn’t too impressed by Venice Beach, it is pretty famous and I’m glad I got to experience it. Here are some snaps from the weekend… I love you California!

Check out the vlog here: Malibu, Hollywood, and Venice Beach

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Joshua Tree National Park Photo Diary

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And California continues to impress.

Jasna and I decided to take the scenic route back to San Diego after attending Coachella, and it doesn’t get much better than road tripping through a national park with your bestie! We had both wanted to visit Joshua Tree for quite some time, and it did not disappoint.

Here’s how we spent a few hours exploring (but there is so much more to do if you have a longer amount of time): Our first stop was the Cholla Cactus garden. They were so unique and beautiful. We also had fun wandering around on the deserted street-hardly any cars came through this area. Then we made our way to the Oasis Visitor Center, which I’m very happy we did. Planning for the madness that is Coachella did not leave either of us with much time to plan our day in Joshua Tree. While at the visitor center, they showed us a couple must sees that we would have regretfully missed out on otherwise. We stopped at Skull Rock which blew us both away! I had to get a mature picture of me picking its nose. Then we continued the drive to Keys View. From here you can see Mexico, Palm Springs, the Salton Sea, snow covered mountains, and the San Andreas fault. I had to get the map out to try and figure out where exactly the fault line was, but it was so exhilarating being so close to it! The end of our drive was through tree-lined winding roads where we stopped for some last minute pictures.

I loved every minute we spent in Joshua Tree National Park- it’s the perfect combination of strange and stunning.