Posts Tagged ‘Surprise’

Capitola to Carmel!

Saturday’s Adventure.

Saturday was a total blast! After kidnapping Tiffany on Saturday morning, we landed in Capitola at around 10A after a pretty short drive! Capitola Beachwas absolutely darling! I visited another neighboring beach last year when I went with Hilary, but Capitola Beach is much livelier and there are loads of nearby restaurants, coffee shops and stores! We parked right on the town streets and took a two minute stroll down to the beach!

Hanging out on the beach (pre-sun!)

Hanging out on the beach (pre-sun!)

Tiff & Dad waiting for the sunshine <3.

Tiff & Dad waiting for the sunshine <3.

By 11A, the sun had come out and we were able to spend a few hours hanging out on the beach, soaking up the sun!
Afterwards, we strolled around Capitola for about an hour before deciding to move on to Pacific Grove to check in to our B&B. It was a short 40 minute drive from Capitola to Pacific Grove and we we were able to check it at around 2:30P at the Gosby House Inn. Our rooms were darling; large enough, cozy and a great value for the otherwise pricey area.

The Gosby House Inn

The Gosby House Inn

Our Room, Room #9!

Our Room, Room #9!

We loved our stay at the Inn (sans the treacherous staircase that scared my grandmother)! The service was great and we even had wine and hors d’oeuvres, which were complimentary for guests between 430P and 630P. It gave us some time to relax before heading down to Carmel for dinner.

My sister chose to check out The Forge in the Forest for dinner (check out the menu here) after perusing four restaurants that we had picked out. The atmosphere was awesome and the food was delish! Outside seating (if it’s not too chilly) is absolutely gorgeous. My sister and I each had a bowl of portabello mushroom soup and split a salad. Mmm! Plus, the atmosphere was such that we were able to get all prettied up and not feel out of place while there were other patrons totally dressed down dropping in for a bite to eat.

Tiff at the Forge!

Tiff at the Forge!

You can see how cute the outside area is in the background :)

Sisters at Dinner

Tiff & I at dinner!

After dinner, we went back to the hotel to enjoy the Baby Cakes that I had ordered from a little bakery in Monterey called Layers; we got two red velvet, two lemon love, and two strawberry cream. They even wrote “Happy Birthday” on one of the baby cakes:

Our Baby Cakes -- Mmm!

Our Baby Cakes -- Mmm!

We had such a blast all around on Saturday — after playing a few rounds of blackjack, we ended up passing out around 930P (such partyers, I know) to get ready for our fun-filled day in Carmel on Sunday. More about that tomorrow — stay tuned!

Signature Stamp - Shannon

Facebookers: Check out the entire album from Tiff’s birthday weekend here!


Memorable Moments!

There are so many things I have to discuss from this past weekend’s excursion in the Monterey Bay area! We had such a blast this weekend and it was a total surprise for Tiffany! She had no idea what was going on when I kidnapped her on Saturday morning — I can’t believe that we were able to pull it off! (More on our weekend will be posted in the coming week.) I have to say, in spending a weekend with my family, I managed to learn a few new things about each of them and we had some really memorable moments:

1. My mom has an obsession with artichokes and Dairy Queen soft serve. After passing a DQ on Saturday in Capitola, she mentioned that she “looooovvved DQ soft serve!” On Sunday, after passing a Burger King showcasing their 89c soft serve, I pointed it out. She stopped, grabbed me and said, “Soft serve?! Where?! Rick (to my dad), stop the car.” I looked at her and said, “At Burger King,” at which point she replied, “Oh, nevermind. Keep going, it’s not DQ.” She’s hilarious. Mind you, when we did find a DQ she asked the teenage boy to make her large ice cream an extra large *wink* if he could!

Happy to get her DQ!

Happy to get her DQ!

The difference in CONE size; small vs. large

The difference in CONE size; small vs. large

* My dad apparently burns, despite his dark skin. After an afternoon of fun in the sun while laying out on Capitola Beach, dad ended up with a pink face and an Arkansas-inspired tank top tan burn line!

* I also learned that my grandmother is unassumingly funny at the most random times — she killed us while we were playing blackjack last night! She says the funniest things and you have to double-take because you think you legitimately heard her wrong. :)


Here’s a sneak peek of our trip down to Capitola Beach on Saturday morning! I did her make up in the AM (so we could have a “sister day”) and then blindfolded and kidnapped her!


She had no idea that the whole family was in on it! I had her keep the blindfold on until we were securely on the freeway while I played the Beach Boys in the background!

Tiff PuzzleI cut up a bunch of letters that spelled out “Capitola Beach” and had her try to unscramble them to figure out the first stop on our getaway. (Only took 10 or so minutes <3.)


Then she opened my beach bag gift with a new monokini, a water bottle, a book for the beach, a beach towel and her iPod (I new she’d want it!) She still didn’t realize we were going for the weekend!


Then she opened up the book that I made for her that detailed the trip for the weekend including where were staying, where we were going and different restaurants that she could pick from for her birthday dinner. When she realized we were staying for the weekend she was stoked!

Painted Houses

Our ride to Capitola was pretty short with the company. I’ll tell you guys all about our weekend tomorrow. Tune in for pictures and reviews of our trip in Pacific Grove, Carmel and Monterey!

Hope everyone’s weekend was equally great!

Signature Stamp - Shannon

Happy Birthday, Sis!

I am actually doing some seriously relaxing and sight-seeing today!  We are spending the day on the beach in Santa Cruz, having dinner in Carmel & spending the night at a Bed & Breakfast in Pacific Grove to celebrate my sister’s birthday! She had no idea before today (which is half the fun!) so we kidnapped her this morning, packed her bags, packed a picnic lunch for our afternoon at Capitola Beach and we’re off! Check out yesterday’s post for all of the deets — got her some amazing new beach stuff, the most darling birthday “baby cakes” {courtesy of Layers Sensational Cakes in Monterey) and a room with a spectacular view! I’m so pumped and I hope she loves it as much as I hope!

Happy Birthday, Tiff!

If you’re reading this, I love you to the moon — you’re a pain in the ass, but you’re my best friend and I couldn’t imagine life without you! Glad my begging mom and dad for a baby sister paid off <3.

Shan & Tiff (2)Tiff & Shan (2)sleepy

shanni and tiff

Signature Stamp - Shannon

PS. After this weekend, I’ll keep you guys posted on the B&B, plus the eateries and places we’re hitting up! Should be a blast <3.

Sisterly Surprise!

So for anyone that knows me, you probably can attest to the fact that I am the consummate planner. Like a super planner. And it’s not because I’m anal, no… well, that’s a part of it, but the real reason is that I am obsessed with coordinating something awesome and memorable! I love when birthdays, holidays and other special occasions roll around because I am gifted with a new day for which to plan. Mother’s Day was the last thing I was able to plan and that was a success! We had a super fun tea party complete with homemade scones, tea sandwiches, bellinis and (of course) tea! We even had homemade place mats & roses for each of the moms present. Needless to say, there were a few tears. It was perfect. Well, as soon as Mother’s Day had come and gone, my mind was on to the next occassion — my sister’s 19th birthday!

As a preface, let me explain something: Not only do I totally love my sister to pieces, but she had to spend her 18th birthday in the hospital after undergoing a pretty major back surgery — although the surgery went well, her birthday was not so fun. She was stuck in a hospital bed, eating ice chips and downing pain meds like there was no tomorrow. I highly doubt she even remembers her birthday last year. Well, as a sister (and a super planner), I am destined to make this year a success. I had to wait until today to share this with you guys because I didn’t want her (and her nosy self) checking my site to see what was up for her birthday. She definitely knows that I have something planned, but she has no idea!  

So, here’s a run down of my super secret plan:

My mom, dad, grandma, Tiff & I will all be a part of this surprise weekend (although she is obviously not yet aware!)

I made reservations at a B&B in the Monterey area called Gosby House Inn. I managed to snag two awesome rooms for the night; grandma, Tiff & I are in one room, while mom and dad share the other (there will definitely be a review to come)! The B&B is kind enough to put celebratory balloons in our room before arrival as an extra bonus! The day before we head down, we’ll be packing up all of our clothes (and her clothes) for the weekend and throwing them in the back of the SUV where they are effectively out of sight. We’re also packing a picnic lunch for the beach. Mmmm! The plan is to stop at Capitola Beach on the way down and spend Saturday soaking up the sunshine at Capitola Beach ( has informed me that it’ll be about 70 and sunny). Tiff hasn’t been to Santa Cruz or Monterey before, so this is going to be a super fun experience for her.

Since it is her birthday, aside from the trip, I got her a slew of beach-themed goodies for her to celebrate the day. I’ll be giving these to her on the way down (once we’re about 30 minutes in) so she can get an inkling of where we may be going:

tiff tote

A cute new beach tote to store all of her beach goodies!

tiff monokini

A very Tiffany-esque monokini inside the tote!

tiff hat

A super cute floppy sun hat!

tiff gladiator

Gotta love Aldo’s Hempe gladiator sandals!

maui babe

So she can work on her tan <3.

And, of course, a beach towel, a water bottle & a good book to read while laying out!

For Saturday night, in honor of her birthday, we’re heading into nearby Carmel for dinner and hang out time. This is the first real family vacation we have been on since 1998 (I know!!) so it’s much-needed! My mom has been dying to go to Carmel, so this is a must. With so many restaurants and the gorgeous June weather, it will be heaven! For dessert, I have ordered little specialty cupcakes from Layers Cake in Monterey, CA!

Baby Cakes

They are clearly delicious looking and they come in a slew of flavors including: mocha latte, lemon love, cookies ‘n cream, rocky road trip and red velvet. They are ginormous and half dozen will be absolutely perfect for our night in paradise. I, of course, am having her cupcake emblazoned with a big “T” on the top to designate which one is for the birthday girl (cookies ‘n cream) <3.

We’re currently leaving Sunday up to the Birthday Girl — she can decide whether she wants to stay in Monterey or head back up to the Santa Cruz area for some more beach time! Since it is Father’s Day, however, breakfast in bed will be heading to dad’s room along with a mini gift exchange (made him a scrapbook & got him some super cute beach attire).

Like I said, I am an obsessive planner. I just hope it’s a success & she’s happy with it. Tiffy, if you’re reading this:

Happy Birthday, Sis!

Little heart&soul action!

Little heart&soul action!

Lots of love & many happy birthdays,

Signature Stamp - Shannon

Surprises Galore

The Birthday Girl & I!

The Birthday Girl & I!

I love, love, LOVE planning! Birthday parties, anniversary soirees, luncheons, Happy Hour get-togethers; anything that I can plan, I’m first in line to do it. The whole process is a good creative outlet and it’s incredibly cathartic for me.  Plus, with summer here, I love being able to fill my once-homework-filled-hours with something productive! So, with my younger sister’s birthday coming up this weekend, I have been planning like a mad woman! I’ll keep you guys posted on Friday night and give you updates with pics on Saturday and Sunday. I have the most amazing birthday surprise planned for her and she has no idea, which is the best part! I cannot WAIT to see the surprise on her face when she realizes that I actually care enough to plan the best birthday of her life. One thing I love about surprise birthdays is that the guest of honor’s only requirement is to be present! Other than that, they can relax and enjoy everything that everyone has planned for their special day! <3.

Tonight, as a pre-birthday beauty gift, I’m taking her in to get a (much-needed) brow wax and a facial (her first)! She’s pumped!

What’s your dream birthday surprise? Surprise party? Weekend getaway?

Signature Stamp - Shannon

P.S. In case anyone is wondering — my face is finally healed! Woo hoo! And, although I had to deal with some crazy dry skin, I must say that the color seems to be a little more even. I wouldn’t do it again but I’m happy now that it’s over!