Mendocino Travel Diary

 Any time there’s a long weekend, I try to get out of town and explore somewhere new. But when there’s a holiday weekend and our 8 year anniversary all in one, we definitely head out of town—and to a beautiful place at that.

This year, we decided to spend our long weekend along the Mendocino Coast. We had seen photos and heard a few stories from friends about Mendocino, but we had no idea just how deeply we’d fall in love with it. To say it was a perfect weekend would be an understatement, and I’m breaking down everything we did below.
Day 1: Since Mendocino is about a 3.5 hour drive from our house, we decided to take Friday off so we could take our time getting up there. The first stop we made was in a small town called Boonville. It was no less than 110 degrees outside so we weren’t really able to do the exploring I had hoped for, but we did grab delicious sandwiches from Boonville General Store and a sweet, refreshing treat at Paysanne afterward.
Our second stop of the day was Navarro Vineyards, a seriously stunning winery with delicious wines. After doing their tasting, we purchased a bottle of their Gewürztraminer and then made our way to our hotel in Mendocino, the Sea Rock Inn. With expansive views and quaint cottages, this place looked perfect on paper but was even more stunning IRL. I seriously cannot recommend it enough—every little detail was perfection. Just look at our adorable cabin below!
We closed out our first day with sunset drinks and dinner at Little River Inn. Pro tip: Order your drink at the bar and then enjoy it outside on the deck.
Day 2: To kick off our second day, we woke up early and hit the hiking trails to beat the heat. The views from Russian Gulch State Park were breathtaking, as is a nice walk through the Mendocino Headlands. From there, we made our way into what may be the sweetest town I’ve ever seen. Between the Victorian homes with white picket fences, adorable shops and cafés, and ocean views, it’s no wonder that we spent a couple hours just taking it all in. There aren’t a ton of great lunch spots to choose from but we loved our salads and iced coffees from the Goodlife Café and Bakery.
After a solid shopping sesh (my favorite shop was Honey & Ro!), it was the perfect time for a beach sesh. Best part? Big River Beach is just a few steps away from town and was the dreamiest place to spend the rest of the afternoon.
The dreaminess continued with happy hour at MacCallum House. As soon as we walked in and saw the massive white windows and wraparound porch, it was love at first sight. We didn’t have a chance to eat here, but it looked like the perfect place to spend an evening. Instead, we ate dinner at the Ledford House, which is the ideal spot to catch the sunset and listen to live jazz, but is a bit of a drive from town.
Day 3: On our last full day, we traveled north to Fort Bragg, a much larger town just about 10 miles from Mendocino. To be totally honest, I’d say you could easily leave this off the itinerary and opt to spend yet another afternoon in the oh-so-charming Mendocino. But if you do decide to venture to Fort Bragg, here are the top spots to hit: Glass Beach, MacKerricher State Park, Jenny’s Giant Burger, and Pacific Star Winery for a $5 tasting in Adirondack chairs overlooking the ocean.
I guess you could say we saved the best for last for our anniversary dinner because our meal at Wild Fish was one for the books. Whatever you do, make your reservation in advance because the restaurant is teeny tiny and fills up quickly.
Day 4: Though it took significantly longer, we ended up driving all the way down the coast to go back home. Along the way, we stopped whenever we saw something that caught our eyes with our favorite places being: Point Arena Lighthouse, Bowling Ball Beach, Bodega Bay, and Nick’s Cove for fish and chips.

I’m already looking at the calendar to see when we can spend another weekend in magic Mendocino. If you’re looking for more long weekend destinations, check out my travel guides for Big Sur and Seattle.

Tricks of the Trade: Makeup Organization

I’ve always appreciated the magic of makeup, but recently that appreciation has turned more into an obsession. Every night, I find myself watching makeup tutorials on YouTube, which inevitably have product endorsements in them, which inevitably winds up in me ordering said products and growing my makeup collection. Please tell me I’m not alone in this!

Because my collection has grown these past few months, I’ve been experimenting with different organizational techniques and have finally landed on a system that I’m excited to share.

Of course, if my bathroom were much larger, I’d definitely be stocking up on these clear makeup holders to do the job. But alas, I’m working with a few drawers in my second closet, as well as some vanity space. To maximize this limited space, I invested in some really pretty vases to store my brushes, eyebrow gels, and lip pencils. Some days, I’ll only apply some eyebrow gel and hint of lip color, so I love that these two staples are now super easy to reach.

As for the rest of my makeup products, I found these very practical cubes from IKEA that happen to fit perfectly in my vanity drawers. I use two for my makeup: One for My concealers, highlighters, and beauty blenders, and the other for bronzers, blushes, powders, eyeshadows, and foundations. Because they are quite small, I stack most things with the largest item on the bottom and the smallest on top. When I get ready in the morning, I simply empty out the bins and pull my selections for the day.

How do you organize your makeup? Please share in the comments!

It’s Time to Slow Down

Have you ever been asked what you’re doing over the weekend and feel the need to list off a myriad of activities in response? I know I have. With social media—particularly of the live variety—taking over, it’s hard to avoid the pressure to present yourself in an always-on, always-interesting light.

Amidst all of these social standards though, it’s so important to make the time for what you really want to do on your weekend. Whether that’s laying on the couch catching up on TV shows or going for a long hike and not bringing your phone along for the journey, it’s so necessary to carve out weekend time to do what we need to do to feel in tune with ourselves and caught up on life.

Personally, I often get really overwhelmed with my schedule and wonder when I’ll have time to do all that I need to. When these feelings come about, I know it’s time for a “me” Sunday. Just the other Sunday, I did what some might call “nothing.” While I don’t think I left the house all day, I crossed so many chores off of my list and felt infinitely more caught up with the fast-paced nature of my schedule at the end of it. From swapping my work bag, clearing out my wallet, treating myself to at-home facial, and changing the sheets, I was so incredibly happy that I took the time to do what I needed to do—even if it didn’t make for the best Instagram content.

Tricks of the Trade: Pantry Makeover

I’m not going to lie, I’ve really struggled with organizing my pantry over the years. Sure, I’ve got a system in place for what goes where, but I’ve had a hard time finding enough space to store all of my snacks and canned goods. While our pantry is very tall, it’s not practical for me to store essentials all the way up at the top, and I’ve been trying to find a solution for a while.

Just the other weekend, I was in the Container Store and stumbled upon acrylic risers. I wasn’t sure if they were going to work for my project, but I figured I’d give them a try and return them if need be. Thankfully, they worked perfectly and have created much-needed additional shelving in my pantry.

As you can see in the above photo, cans can go under the riser while other items, such as farro and quinoa, can live on top. Hooray for extra storage!

Look Back on Summer Adventures

From beaches to bougainvillea, this summer has been filled with so many memorable adventures. While our trips to Santa Fe and Southern California, as well as our weekend getaway in San Francisco, were certainly the highlights, we’ve also really enjoyed staying local and soaking up the sun. I’m planning to savor every second of this last month of summer, but here are some of my favorite photos from the season thus far.