Joey and I haven’t been on a vacation since 2015. San Diego was actually the last trip we took without the kids. After that, we have been so busy with Julianna, being pregnant with Rocco, moving to our new house last December, and visiting family in Florida so we haven’t really focused on having some time to ourselves. So necessary.
Since my mother-in-law was coming to visit us for a little over a month, we decided to take a trip to Santa Clarita, California and visit Six Flags. We have been talking about going to these thrilling roller coasters since we met back in 2012. So this was definitely on our bucket list. Check! The plan was to spend one day in Six Flags and 2 other relaxing days in Santa Monica.
We left our house Monday evening and drove about 4.5 hours to Santa Clarita. We listened to great music, had awesome conversations, and snacked yummy stuff. The road trip wasn’t terrible at all. We actually had beautiful skies the whole entire way. It went from scattered rain to bright blue skies, and to a perfect romantic sunset. Skies are always captivating.
We arrived at our hotel around 9:30 PM so we decided to grab our first beer of the trip. We had a late healthy dinner at BJ’s. Yes. You read right. No, they don’t only serve fried chicken wings and greasy pizza. We actually had a delicious quinoa dish with grilled chicken. Yum! We had to fuel our bodies the right way for what was to come.
The best feeling about being on vacation is that we were able to “sleep in”. We both automatically woke up at 9:00 am, (rolling my eyes) feeling as if we had slept for an eternity. If I were 20 years old, I would probably sleep until 2:00 PM. and still feel tired enough to continue sleeping. Parenthood is no. joke. It even changes your sleep rhythm.
Six Flags was AWE-SOME! We arrived at 10:30 am and rode the majority of the thrilling roller coasters. By 4:30 PM, we were absolutely exhausted. The loud noises of the roller coasters were becoming overwhelming and our hunger was getting the best of us. We decided not to eat at the park because 1. It’s crazy expensive ($11 for a slice of pizza) and 2. because every restaurant sold junk food (cheeseburgers, pizza, pretzels, french fries, candy, etc.) Zero healthy options. Not good.
We left the theme park and stopped by this AWESOME restaurant in Santa Clarita called Newhall Refinery. We were lucky enough to have gotten there just in time for happy hour. We tried some good beers, appetizers, and a spectacular charcuterie board. What restaurant has a charcuterie board like THIS on happy hour? We were in heaven!
After having an amazing late lunch, we decided to drive to Santa Monica (which was only like 35-40 minutes away) and have some cocktails at night. We visited a place called “The Alley Lounge“, which was pretty cool, but it was pretty dead for a Tuesday night. The Mixologist made some pretty delicious cocktails so the visit was totally worthwhile. We then headed to a super cute and cool place called The Bungalow. It was super packed, great energy, ambiance, and amazing LIVE tropical music. Joey and I really enjoyed ourselves all night long.
The next morning, we decided to head to the gym and burn some calories off before starting our day. We then walked the streets of Venice Beach, saw some crazy people and vendors, and then had lunch at Water Grill restaurant which was absolutely DELICIOUS! Their food is so fresh, their service is outstanding, and their views are incredible. We sat right next to the window with an ocean view, so it couldn’t get more romantic than that. My sweet tooth then compelled me to look for a yummy coffee shop close to where e were and I ended up finding a donut shop called Sidecar Doughnuts. Their donuts are O-M-G! We only had 3 because I didn’t want to rack up all the pounds! We ordered the Butter & Salt, Lemon Poppyseed, and the Maple Bacon. Jeez! Can they get any more delicious?!
After those delicious donuts and a sugar high, we ended up going back to the hotel to take a NAP! Can you even believe that? I haven’t taken a solid nap in forever. It felt so freaking good. We then got dressed and headed over to the most romantic Italian restaurant I’ve ever been to. We found this place on Yelp and we’re so happy we found it. The entire experience was second to none. We began the night with complimentary glasses of wine by Chef Antonio Murè. The restaurant is called Barrique and it’s inside the cutest little two-story house next to Abbot Kiney. We sat on the second floor in a cute table with romantic, dim candle lighting. I can’t even describe the flavors of their fresh foods and homemade pasta. We started with a yummy appetizer of thinly sliced pan seared buffalo with a mustard grain dressing and a portobello mushroom salad. As an entree, I had their signature dish Tagliolini Rossi con Ragù di Quaglia in Fonduta di Taleggio. This translates to homemade red beet tagliolini pasta in a Marsala quail ragù served on a bed of taleggio cheese fondu. Joey had a Pappardelle al Ragu’ di Coniglio, Prugne e Porcini which is a homemade pappardelle sautéed with a rabbit ragú, prunes, in a Marsala porcini mushroom sauce. These dishes and experience changed our lives forever. It was truly unforgettable. The place was perfect, my husband looked amazing, and our love just kept radiating throughout the entire night. I honestly wish we could relive this night over and over again.
Sadly, our trip was coming to an end, so we decided to make the most out of it. We started our day with a great gym workout and then headed to eat at this awesome place in Los Angeles called Jon and Vinny’s. Their food was wowzers! Super cute and small little place, but their food is the bomb-diggity! Everything we had was to die for. We had the gem lettuce, Calabrian chili dressing, parmesan, and bread crumbs salad along with the marinara braised meatballs with ricotta and garlic bread as an appetizer. I ordered the spicy fusili with vodka sauce and Joey had the “LA woman” pizza. Man! We went all out!
After having all of that amazing food, we got on the road to head back home. It took us a little over 4 hours to get home just in time to see Julianna before her bedtime. She was so excited to see us that we let her stay up an extra 30 minutes. We played with her, heard all of her random funny stories, and gave her tons of hugs and kisses. Coming back well rested and so connected with each other again felt so damn good. I am so happy that we were able to have such a fantastic trip and that we’re able to afford things like these. We are truly blessed and I wouldn’t change our experiences for anything in this world. I love my husband to death and I can’t wait to continue to live life with him and our beautiful healthy kids.
*P.S. For those of you wondering, I had my lips injected with Restylane before the trip. (Terrible mistake). I thought the swelling would go down by the time we left town, but unfortunately, the right side of my upper lip got extra swollen. For that reason, I couldn’t smile on our pictures. They look great now, but I was extremely conscious about them during our trip. Bummer. Here’s a picture of how they look now. Big difference.