It seems like I blinked and before I knew it, it had been over 15 months since I’d been home to the U.S. When I landed at LAX a couple of weeks ago, I was SO thrilled to be home that I came very close to bear hugging the immigration officers who said the cursory “welcome home” to me but then thought the better of it lest my enthusiasm be taken the wrong way. Seriously though…hearing that welcome home meant more to me than those strangers will ever know.
While I have become relatively comfortable living in Germany as an expat for almost 2.5 years, I’m still not 100% at ease. I’ve realized that my efforts to blend in and not draw attention to myself have caused me to stifle certain more gregarious and silly bits of my personality. REALLY need to work on not caring so much what people think about me so much but that’s a topic for a different time. All of that to say, it was 100% glorious to be home where everything is comfortable, familiar, easy and there is no language barrier! Actually, since I’ve been back in Germany, I’ve noticed that I feel more comfortable being “myself” like I was while at home and it feels quite liberating.
The other absolutely glorious aspect of my visit was the weather – sunny, mildly warm days with lovely cool breezes. The mild weather allowed me to hide my uber pale legs under jeans most of the time, but I did opt for my favorite maxi dress a time or two.
Here are a few of my favorite outfits from my trip home to California.
Handmade Tunic from Sévya and White Mavi Jeans
Let’s kick things off with my birthday outfit, shall we? If you remember my 4 items to buy in 2017 write-up, then you know I’m on the prowl for pretty tunics. I found this lovely blue cotton tunic with white embroidery and a keyhole neckline with a tassel tie at a shop in my hometown which makes it all the more special. I love that the top protected my fair skin from getting sunburnt but I still stayed cool in the lightweight, breathable cotton.
I’ll do a full review on the top soon but for now back to my birthday. It was such a treat to spend my birthday with my sister. We drove down to Carlsbad in San Diego County to check out the amazingly bright and cheery ranunculus flower fields. When my sis first saw my outfit for the day, she shook her head and said “Hold on…you’re wearing white jeans and sandals to a flower field!?” Granted, sandals weren’t the most sensible footwear choice but plenty of other people were wearing them at the flower fields too. This is SoCal after all…one of the sandal capitals of the world. I’m sure my fellow sandal wearing flower gawkers were also trying to ignore the pesky little pebbles that kept finding their way into the sandals. I am proud to say that my white jeans emerged from the flower fields unscathed.
After we were done wandering around the flower fields, we drove north to Newport Beach and my favorite restaurant Javier’s Cantina. I still miss the now shuttered more humble original location in Laguna Beach but this location holds special significance as it’s one of the places I went on my first date with my now-husband. I indulged in the meal I almost always get there – margarita, guacamole, and crab enchiladas.
Our stomachs full of Mexican food, we drove up PCH to a lookout point over Corona Del Mar and took in the coastline and some more sunshine. I always feel so relaxed and happy when I’m at the coast.
Overall, I’d say it was a perfect birthday combining some of my fav things – time with my sister, pretty flowers, Mexican food and the ocean. We also stopped at Sprinkles Cupcakes to buy bday treats for later and my mom made one of my fav childhood meals for dinner that night. My family spoils me!
I am sure it will not shock you to know that I wore my “summer uniform” a couple of times on my CA trip. This Long Tall Sally maxi ticks all the boxes with its generous length, lace-up back, mixed print fabric and customizable leg reveal thanks to the buttons. But best of all, it’s comfy! The cool weather where I live hadn’t permitted me to don a sundress and sandals since September of last year so having the chance to do so was sublime!
I wore the dress while spending a relaxing day at the ever charming Balboa Island (where I lived for a couple of years) and Balboa Peninsula (across the harbor from the island) with my sister, niece, nephew and dad. This is truly one of my happy places and if you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend a visit! I love watching the boats go by in the harbor, looking at all of the beautiful houses and gardens, checking out the cute shops, taking the little ferry boat across to the peninsula and eating Balboa bars! We even saw a whale go by while we were on the peninsula side!
I wore the dress again the day before my birthday when I drove up to L.A. to reconnect with a college friend. She knows the best spots to hang out and we always have such a good time together. We spent the day brunching at Blu Jam Cafe where I enjoyed crunchy French toast with vanilla bean sauce (complete with a bday candle).
After stocking up on picnic supplies at Whole Foods, we then drove through the beautiful Santa Monica mountains to Malibu Wines on Mulholland Drive. We enjoyed our picnic in the expansive outdoor wine garden before wandering about the grounds to check out all of the classic vehicles.
A Couple of Random Outfits
I ordered myself the Else top and Luna sweater in the recent MARGE Clothing sale and was so happy that these items were waiting for me when I arrived at my parents. I wasted no time in wearing the Else top the very next day while visiting my grandparents. I paired it with my Long Elegant Legs chambray button-up, thrifted J.Crew jeans and Pretty Ballerinas flats. The Else top fits SO well and I’m totally in love with it. I foresee myself wearing it a bunch this summer. Full review of the MARGE items coming soon of course! In the meantime, the Else top is still on sale and you should go buy it.
Speaking of my Pretty Ballerinas flats, I definitely got some good wear out of them on the trip thanks to the mild temps. And – surprise! – I wore my IVKO tunic too. It looks SO good with white jeans!
I did a bunch of other fun stuff while in CA like going with my mom to Glen Ivy hot springs day spa, getting together with friends, going with my niece, nephew and sister to Knott’s Berry Farm, hanging out with my extended family members etc. Needless to say, it was the best trip I’ve had since I left CA 6 years ago! I’m deteremined not to let so much time pass by before going home again!
Have you ever been to any of these places or to Southern California in general? What are your favorite spots?