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A mid-month post!  I’ve spent the past week housesitting/dogsitting for my parents (who are enjoying sunny, warm Florida) and as a result, my nights have been delightfully free and open.  I used the time to do some behind-the-scenes work on my baking blog, which I hope to revive sometime this year. I also cleaned up this blog a little bit.

About ten years ago, I wrote a travel bucket list.  It’s amazing how many places have been crossed off the list since.  I’m a lucky woman to have been able to see as much as I have by the young age of 34. But there’s more to see!  I re-wrote my travel bucket list.  Now accepting applications for travel buddies!

National Parks:
Yosemite
Acadia
Saguaro
Redwoods
Sequoia
Crater Lake

Cruises:
Viking European River Cruise
Viking Homelands Sea Cruise
Viking Southeast Asia Cruise
Alaska (comin’ up in summer 2020!)

Domestic:
Seattle
New Orleans
Charleston
Washington DC for the cherry blossoms
Disney World for Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge

International:
Europe (all of it; everywhere; all the places!)
Morocco
Japan
Montreal/Quebec

I’m a day early with my January blog post!  That rarely happens.  Who reads this blog, anyway?  I always wonder.  In any case, hello to anyone reading (aside from my parents – I know you two always tune in!).

January brought my trip to California, which I covered in previous posts.  Here’s a roundup of the rest of this month’s photos.  Mostly Sadie because a) I’m obsessed and b) what else is there to take photos of in January in Wisconsin? Bleh!

I spent NYE at the Y (gettin’ those steps in!) — I’m such a wild child.
Sadie and a recently-bathed-due-to-the-pukes Gracie.
Scenes of winter.
I deep-cleaned my house and reorganized parts of it.  It happens about once a year.  It doesn’t always look this “perfect”!
I moved my guest bedroom downstairs and my office upstairs cause the upstairs room faces south and gets the most light.
My mom and I went to the Dells for a work conference.
MEGA STUF OREOS ARE A THING!  *hyperventilates*  Also, my collection of mugs aesthetically soothes me.
Scenes of a snow day.  We’ve had record snow + cold temps this month.
Sunday Funday. Totchos are my new favorite treat (nachos made with tater tots instead of tortilla chips).
My sweetheart.

  • Bethany Cox - February 2, 2019 - 7:29 am

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I think Palm Springs is my new favorite vacation spot.  I immediately fell in love with it and I fell hard.  It’s small.  It’s gorgeous.  It’s full of mid-century modern everything.  There are dogs everywhere.  It’s basically everything I love.

  • We stayed at the Kimpton Rowan, which we LOVED.  It’s a beautiful hotel and our room was so aesthetically pleasing — whites, grays, blues.  So calming.  The location was also ideal — right on the “main drag” for shopping, within steps of a Starbucks (we joke that it’s not a vacation without 35 iced tea lemonades from Starbucks), etc.
  • Given our travel schedule (we did a lot of driving on this trip — jumping from Anaheim to Joshua Tree to Palm Springs, etc), we really only had one full day in Palm Springs.  I’ve already vowed to make a week-long return in a future winter.
  • I wanted to drive around and see all the “famous” mid-century modern houses — you know, the ones with the colorful doors that look like they belong in a magazine?  So that we did.  I probably drove my mom nuts driving around and around and around the same neighborhood, stopping every 30 seconds to take photos.  I chuckled because a few houses had signs that said “no photography allowed.”  Nice try.  I’m on a public street, I can take pictures.  If you didn’t want attention, you shouldn’t have purchased this type of house, ya know? (and I’m always a fan of the “ask forgiveness not permission” mantra)
  • We visited the Saguaro hotel (aka the rainbow hotel).  I’ve seen so many photos of it and given that it literally looks like a rainbow, I had to see it in person.  I’m glad we decided not to stay there because the hotel is, well, pretty sad.  It wasn’t very clean, smelled like cigarettes, and had a real party vibe to it (which hey, if that’s what you want, cool! But it wouldn’t have worked for us).  But OMG, I still love that it’s basically a rainbow.
  • After our short visit to the Saguaro, we went to breakfast at Elmer’s because, well, duh.  Much to our surprise and delight, it was one of the best meals of our trip.  Even my mom, who is not a fan of breakfast foods (Ron Swanson would be aghast), really enjoyed it.  I had a gigantic German pancake and some really fabulous bacon.  I was a happy camper.  I also bought 4 of coffee mugs because, well, duh.
  • We then went to the Moorten Botanical Gardens.  Loved it!  I’m a sucker for succulents.
  • In the afternoon, we drove about 30 minutes to Cabazon to visit the outlet mall, which was a bust.  We made our way back to Palm Springs and did some more shopping, took a walk, had some Mexican food for dinner, and packed our suitcases up to leave the next day.
  • I absolutely, 100% loved Palm Springs.  I can see why so many people want to vacation and/or retire there.  I can’t wait to return.
  • And thanks again to my momma, my best friend and favorite travel partner.

The area outside of our hotel.
I’ve heard that the Kimpton Rowan has the only rooftop pool in all of Palm Springs.  I find that hard to believe (as it gets to be, like, 100 degrees there).
These homeowners have a good sense of humor.  I love people that embrace the attention.
See what I mean?  It’s like a rainbow.
Unintentional coordination of sweater color, eye color, mug color, and restaurant name. :)
Look at that wallpaper!  Hot. Dogs.
Frankinbun. Cold Nose Warm Heart (where I spent approximately two billion dollars on items for Sadie).
Kimpton Rowan
There was an art museum behind our hotel — and some weird giant baby art to go along with it.
My favorite of all the houses.  Gimme that orange door, please!
Another successful mother-daughter vacation.  Taking advantage of these years while we can. <3

We were anxious about this element of our trip.  The federal government shutdown meant that the National Parks were either closed or just entirely unsupervised.  Luckily, Joshua Tree was “open” to visitors, but had no park rangers or staff present.  As it turns out, it was a fabulous way to see the park.  No one was there!  It was eerily quiet: no traffic, no crowds, no parking issues.  We were disappointed to miss out on seeing the Visitor’s Center, but all in all, we had a very positive experience.

We also didn’t see any litter, vandalism, or damaged trees or plant life.  This is not to say that the damage wasn’t there (after all, we didn’t visit the campground areas, etc), but sometimes you have to take what the media throws out into the world with a grain of salt.  It wasn’t anarchy; everyone we saw was peaceful, respectful, and the park was as beautiful as ever.

On our way, we stopped to see the Cabazon dinosaurs!  Of course.  :)
A highlight for me was the cholla cactus garden.  They are actually dangerous to humans (their little “barbs” will pierce your skin and be very painful to remove), but aren’t they pretty? In a the-desert-will-eat-you-up-and-spit-you-out kinda way?

I’m off of work today due to a blizzard, so what better time to blog than the present?
My mom and I went to California for a week in January.  We were anxious about the trip because of the government shutdown (we were planning on going to a National Park and all, but more on that in a later post), but we had a wonderful trip.  Perfect weather, smooth travel, and great experiences.  We felt extra lucky because it rained non-stop for a week (in Southern California!) right after we headed home.  I always appreciate those instances where I feel like the universe is giving me a hug.

We spent one day at Disneyland, one day at Joshua Tree National Park, and a few days in Palm Springs.  I went to Disneyland in 2012 and 2016, and I like it more and more with each trip.

  • We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Orange County, which is where I stayed on my previous two trips.  We really like it.  It’s clean, convenient, has a shuttle to/from the parks, and has a Starbucks in the lobby.  What more could we want?
  • Given that our first day was a travel day, we didn’t have the energy to go to the parks that evening.  So we went to Downtown Disney instead and did a little shopping.  The thing I LOVE about Disneyland is how close together everything is.  You can walk between Disneyland, California Adventure, and Downtown Disney easily and quickly — no bus or monorail is necessary to get you from one to the other.
  • The next day, Tuesday, we spent the whole day at the parks (and walked 18,000 steps!).  We didn’t plan ahead for Fastpasses, so we didn’t do many rides or shows.  Most of the joy for me is just being there — and soaking up the Disney atmosphere, food, and cuteness.  I say it all the time, but to me, the parks feel like a warm, comforting hug.
  • I got to see Pixar Pier at California Adventure for the first time.  It was formerly Paradise Pier.  Disney re-branded the whole “land” to be Pixar-themed — and it is ADORABLE.  Two very enthusiastic thumbs up.
  • My other favorite land at California Adventure is Cars Land, which is weird because I’m not crazy about Cars as a movie.  The land is just so precious though — Route 66-themed and completely charming.
  • We ate a lot of Disney treats, my favorite being the Churro Toffee. OMG.  Toffee, covered in white chocolate, dipped in cinnamon-sugar.  To die for.  I have a t-shirt from my last trip to Disney World that says, “Just Here for the Snacks” — so true.
  • I wish we could have spent more time at Disneyland but I was thrilled to get one day.  See you next time, Anaheim!

The palm trees that greet you at the Hyatt Regency Orange County.
Looking up in the lobby.  I love how open and airy the hotel is.
Y’all know that my favorite thing in the world is a Mickey balloon.
Walking out of Downtown Disney.
Our hotel attempted to do Mickey waffles.  It was a good effort but not the same experience as a Disney resort Mickey waffle.  I’m such a snob, aren’t I? ;)
Sleeping Beauty’s castle was undergoing renovations, so it was all walled off and unavailable for photos. Here’s Walt and Mickey instead.
Really happy to be there!  And on the right is the Wall-E wall at DCA.
Always and forever my favorite ride.
The New Orleans Square area is so cute!
I mean, duh, we had to get Dole Whip.
The cutest!
The Incredicoaster!
My mom had never tried a churro before (*gasp*!) so we had to fix that (spoiler alert: she loved it).  I also tried a treat at Bing Bong’s Sweet Stuff (spoiler alert: I loved it).
The cuteness overwhelms.
I think the Cozy Cone area is one of the cutest things of all time.
Each “cone” sells a different treat.
Mickey’s house!
Minnie and Goofy’s houses.
Oh look, another photo of my most favorite ride ever.
Churro toffee!  Cheshire cat tail!
Stormtroopers in Tomorrowland; and my personal hero: a girl who bought 5 Mickey balloons and took photos of herself throughout the park with them.  I’m gonna do that next time.  I’ll probably be spending $100 on 5 balloons, but I’m gonna do it.
One of the things I’ve always wanted to see is it’s a small world lit up for the holidays.  I assumed that I’d miss that chance because we were visiting in January.  Wrong!  I was so thrilled to see it all bling’ed out with Christmas lights.
Had to buy these Mickey ice cream bar ears — notice the “bite mark” one of the ears? So cute. Also, this “Up”-themed wall at DCA is amazing!
Back at our hotel after a long day of walk walk walking.  See you next time, Disneyland.  I love you so much.