Tag Archives: Holidays

Christmas Tree Pickin’

Ever since I was little, I’d choose the Christmas tree with my dad. We didn’t go anywhere fancy or anything like that; the local Home Depot always sufficed. However, the tradition wasn’t able to hold this year since he was out of town, so J and I went and picked it out. We have high ceilings, and tend to always get a 6′-7′ Douglas Fir. We actually ended up choosing the second tree we looked at! We were a bit late to the game to be honest, so we got very lucky with our tree. We went home, blasted the Christmas music, and decorated the sucker. We weren’t feeling too much in the Christmas mood, so getting the tree definitely helped change that. After decorating, we got tamales. So, essentially, Christmas decor + tamales = successful night!





Dockside Boat & Bed: Sea You There!

“The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.”



After several crazy months filled with endless deadlines, reports, and events, it was time to step away and refresh. It’s so important to remember to breathe!. J and I decided to book a night to one of our favorite places, Dockside Boat & Bed, for the third time. I rarely stay at hotels more than once, so us staying in this wonderful “hotel” for the third time should be a strong indication of how in love we are with the area, the boats, and the overall experience!

Dockside’s six yachts are nestled in the heart of Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach, and are just four minutes walking from Shoreline Village, across the bay from the famous Queen Mary, and across from the Long Beach Pike. Talk about “location, location, location.” Prices to stay in these docked luxury yachts are higher than typical hotel rooms, which is to be expected. They start at approximately $200+ night for the smaller yachts, and increase depending on the boat’s amenities and rooms. Indecent Proposal, which we stayed on, starts at $275 night and changes depending on season and the day of the week. I can’t stress how important it is to join their mailing list; they send out some unbelievable deals that can take quite the chunk off your fees.

These fully-equipped yachts are perfect for entertaining small groups, soaking in the ocean, and relaxing in comfort. All boats come with one or two rooms and bathrooms, a refrigerator/freezer, televisions, cooking utensils, radios, and more. If you bring your own food, there’s absolutely no reason to leave the yacht. But there’s no need to bring breakfast: a continental breakfast is included in the price and delivered for you to enjoy in the morning!

The view from Indecent Proposal’s patio to the dock.


We have been fans of Dockside for several years now and have never had anything less than a stellar experience.  We’re always given a reminder call the night before check-in and asked if there are any ways they can make our stay more comfortable. We stayed in Ranita and Sea Peepers before, and since we make it a point to stay in different boats each time, we chose Indecent Proposal.

The moment we stepped on the dock, Molly was ready to help us settle in and gave us a thorough tour of the yacht, letting us know where everything from the toilet paper to the light switches were located. After we moved our car to the designated parking area and were ready to make ourselves at home. Side note: I suggest paying the $10 to park about ten minutes away if you are able to walk. It’s a fun walk past some beautiful boats and gives you a bit of exercise, too! If you plan to leave your boat multiple times or have difficulty walk, then pay $24/night for P.F. Chang’s valet.

Indecent Proposal was stunning inside. It had a massive eating/entertaining area with a modern television and radio, a fully-stocked kitchen with a coffee pot, microwave, and good-sized refrigerator, a small bedroom with bunk beds that could easily fit three adults, a small bathroom, a master bedroom with a massive bed and older television, and a bathroom/shower combination. Remember, you’re on a boat, so don’t expect a working stove or large bathrooms. I apologize for not getting any photos of the inside…I’ll have to do that next time!

Why, hello, handsome man on my boat!


We were quite hungry and since we didn’t follow our normal tip of bringing enough food, we decided to take the four minute walk to Shoreline Village. It was quite brisk, which put me in the holiday spirit.  The sun was beginning to set which made the view all the more perfect. We stopped by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory to split an apple, foolishly paid $5 for a small piece of pita bread and a tiny hummus container, and tried some new hot sauces out. There are some Mom & Pop stores, ice cream stores, overpriced bakeries, a Yard House, and more.

Our gorgeous panorama view at Shoreline Village.


Merry Grinchmas from Shoreline Village!


After heading back to the boat, we decided to throw some BBQ chicken and veggies on the dock’s grill. I didn’t want to spend too much time away from the yacht; after all, the whole point of a vacation is to relax. Think of it as a “staycation”, but in someone else’s home.

It’s become a tradition of ours to sit out on the boat after dinner and late at night. We bundle up in scarves, beanies, blankets, and boots–we are from California, after all–and sprawl out. The Queen Mary’s smokestacks are decorated in lights that resemble diamonds and  “Christmas trees” floated in the water, setting the perfect holiday mood. We started out on the bow of the boat, from where we are fairly certain we saw two dolphins. After it got too cold, we headed to the enclosed patio of the boat.  We fell asleep with full stomachs and even fuller hearts.

After waking up, we decided to sit out for our meal. The only thing I’d change about our boat would be for the “entertaining area” and back patio to be facing the water instead of the dock. I loved the privacy of Ranita and Sea Peepers, but fear not, the lack of a private patio wasn’t a deal breaker.

I woke up in the morning to a noise on top of my boat; I kid you not, I thought someone was breaking in. We ran upstairs and found that it was a seagull attacking a clam. False alarm, people, false alarm! Breakfast was delivered to us the night before in an adorable basket; it’s a simple continental breakfast comprising of a bagel, muffin, two yogurts, orange juice, fruits, and some spread. I used the coffee maker on board to make a coffee and soaked up the morning vibes. Nothing beats waking up and seeing the Queen Mary in all its glory while boats go by.

Talk about the perfect morning view.

Checkout was at a reasonable 11a.m., which meant we wouldn’t have to rush too much getting out. I always get a bit sad when we have to leave, but I know in my heart we’ll be back again.I’ve never had the time to stay more than one night at Dockside, but I know I will soon. I can’t explain to you how wonderful the whole experience is. From the wonderful staff, to the fully-equipped beautiful boats, to the breathtaking location, Dockside truly has it all, and more!


Holidays: Part I

“It’s not what’s under the tree. It’s who’s around it.”


As I get older and older, the holidays begin to mean something different to me. A holiday that once focused on receiving gifts, now means so much more to me. The holidays are now about giving back and spending time with my loved ones. Presents are just an added bonus! All my best friends have flown back for the holidays, which  means there are shenanigans a plenty! It’s often hard because my best friends live all over the country; having them home makes my heart so full.

We got in the Christmas spirit by taking Bijou out to see Christmas lights over the weekend. Luckily he behaved himself, because he got to meet a look-a-like! ;)

Bijou and his twin.
Bijou and his twin.

My last day of work was the Tuesday before Christmas; I absolutely love my job, but I was happy to have time off to spend with my best friends who all had flown home for the winter. I went out to sushi with Maddy on Tuesday night; we hung out with her younger sister, Ali, afterwards and caught up on life. Their family is my second family, so it’s always great to have them home.

I was bad about gifts and had to finish up shopping on Christmas Eve. J and I grabbed In-N-Out for lunch and managed to get home in time to get ready for dinner.

in n out
Josh’s Double-Double with grilled onions & animal fries in back!


In N Out Under The Sticks
My grilled cheese with grilled onions.


My family, J, and my brother’s girlfriend Amanda went to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner on Christmas Eve. We didn’t end up going to church like we had planned because my dad wasn’t feeling well, but we watched one of my favorite holiday movies, Love Actually, at home. Growing up, we would go to the 11p.m. candlelight service at church and come home a little bit after midnight, which meant it was officially Christmas. I liked the idea of waiting a couple less hours to open gifts when I was younger, but now I love waking up on Christmas morning to see what Santa brought! There’s something more exciting about it for me.

J certainly delivered by gifting me a Kitchenaid mixer. I was so excited that I started looking up new baking recipes right away.

Kitchenaid Mixer Under The Sticks
My new baby!


Stay tuned for those! I bought J a gold watch from Fossil (similar to this one, which he already has) , some accessories, and a gift card to start his PS4 fund. I also got some gift cards and kitchen accessories from my family. Overall, it was a fantastic Christmas and I was so happy to be with my loved ones.
I am happy to have any excuse to cook for large groups, so J and I volunteered to cook Christmas dinner. We went a bit nontraditional and made chicken enchiladas. The recipe will be up soon!

I’m trying to spend as much time as possible with friends and family, so I do apologize for the delay on updates! As everyone flies home, I’ll have more time to post new recipes and giveaways. I hope you all are enjoying your time with your loved ones!


Mad for Plaid

During the holidays, plaid becomes just as neutral color as black, beige, and grey. Its the perfect addition for every fall and winter wardrobe.


The perfect mix of contrasting colors, stripes, and geometric shapes, plaid brings an added pop of color, whether it be your statement piece or a dainty accessory. Here are some of my must-have plaid items this fall.




Mad for Plaid underthesticks.net

1. Oversized Plaid Wrap Scarf (Charlotte Russe)- $13.99

2. Classic Plaid Design Turndown Collar Longsleeve Woolen Coat (Rosewe)- $57.47

3. Mont Dolent Plaid Cushion (Fabrics & Papers)- $125

4. Kiel James Patrick Signature Tartan Bow Tie Bracelet (Brooks Brothers)- $58

5. Black Plaid Leather Leather-Look Brim Fedora Hat (River Island)- $50

6. Vivienne Westwood Derby Classic Eco Bag (Forzieri)- $885