December 16, 2013

December Nights

Now it seems a bit cruel to tell ya'll about an event that's already passed, but it was so Christmasy and grand how could I resist? I promise to pop up some other holiday suggestions at the end, just to ensure no one is deprived of any Christmas cheer. 

The first weekend of December, every year, Balboa Park (one of my favorite spots), hosts December Nights. It is the largest community event in San Diego and host around 350,000 people over two nights. Crazy, I know. You might think that with this extreme amount of people the event might feel overwhelming, but it really doesn't. There's a good dose of Christmas cheer in the air, and everyone is generally pretty happy to be there. I went with a whole gaggle of people, and we trekked our way to the park to join in the festivities. 

December 14, 2013

How (Not) to Build a Gingerbread Bus: A Guide to Failure

It's Christmas time, you're feeling festive, and you stop and think, *gasps* "I should build a gingerbread house!" What says Christmas better than a Gingerbread house? Nothing really. 

Step one, find a building partner. I chose the lovely Miss Jewel; she has the face of one serious Gingerbread-er. 

Step two, come up with a really elaborate design for said house, that really is no longer even going to be a house, but rather a double decker London bus. Because that sounds like a logical plan and not too hard at all. Feel free to draw out an excellent sketch of your dream creation.  

December 9, 2013

A day on Apple Hill

As much as I adore the nearly ever present sunshine and warmth in San Diego, it tends to really just put a dapper on the whole atmosphere of the holiday season. Is it really fall, nearly winter, if I can still wear sandals? Not really. With this ever present "#socalproblem", I really appreciate going home to enjoy some actual seasons.

After a properly crisp Thanksgiving, I rounded out the end of fall with a trip with the fam-bam to Apple Hill. Located in Northern California, near Placerville, Apple Hill attracts a wide variety of hungry guests looking for some wholesome fun. Being honest, we all know I was basically just in it for the food. However, I also got a pretty good kick of stomping on some crunchy leaves and enjoying the cool crisp air of fall. 

The whole Apple Hill "process" essentially consists of driving from farm to farm and eating various products, mostly apple flavored (they were really clever with the title). There are various farms (some small some large) each offering there own specialty. 

We started with one of the largest, known as Boa Vista Orchards, which, though they have a whole smorgasbord of items, is not my favorite. It tends to be a little over crowded (I really hate queuing) and more commercial then I enjoy. Nevertheless, here's a little peek at the marketplace. 

December 3, 2013

Giving Thanks

Well Halloween has come and gone, One Direction Day (let's just pretend it's an official holiday) was celebrated properly, and to round out the pre-Christmas holiday season a jolly-good Turkey Day was had by all! 

Now, as I do with all holidays, I take Thanksgiving pretty seriously. I mean what's not too love? You get to see the ol' fam-bam, miss school, and best of all, eat all day! And I did plenty of eating. However, in an attempt to burn calories and support a good cause, Thanksgiving was started with a brisk Turkey Trot 5k run walk. 

The Michael Bratton II Turkey Trot is is a charity run for depression and suicide awareness began by the Bratton family after the loss of their 25 year old son in 2006. This year was the 8th annual run and the cause has steadily grown each year, rounding out at around 2,000 participants this year. It's both a great cause and a good start to a day of being thankful for what you have, especially those people in our lives we love. 

The kids and I were up bright and early for the event. We ran a brief leg of the track and then proceeded to laugh/walk our way through the rest of the event. 

November 14, 2013

The other side of the hill

When asking about the best spots in Los Angeles, one often is pointed toward The Getty Center. Now I have to say, I've yet to take a stroll about this said-to-be epic museum, though it is definitely on my to-see list (which is never ending). However, a few weekends ago, myself and a group of my favorite gals popped over to the other side of the Los Angeles hills to The Getty Villa

True to its name, The Getty Villa is the manifestation of J. Paul Getty's vision of creating a Roman Villa to house his dream museum. Constructed during the 1970s, the Villa is a replica of the Villa of Papryri at Herculaneum, Pompeii's less popular sister-city, also destroyed by Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Unfortunately, Mr.Getty died before getting to see the completion of the site, thought it was luckily still completed, in appropriate Roman architecture and style, with the inheritance left by the visionary. 

November 4, 2013

Halloween Haunts


Oh my, oh my, once October rolls around I go into holiday-mode straight into the New Year. I pretty much spend each month with an agenda of holiday-related activities that must happen for the season to be complete. October is obviously Halloween month (I'd say it's my favorite holiday, but I'll say that about them all). 

While Halloween may not be the same as back in the day (oh golly do I miss trick-or-treating!), it's can still be quite the bash. For a really great October you need three things: pumpkins, a good scare, and an excessive & unreasonable amount of candy corn. Having a really awesome costume doesn't hurt the festivities either, but we'll get to that. 

The best part of this October was that it was chalk full of great people to share it with. Brooke even made the trek all the way from Nor Cal for some ever-traditional pumpkin carving. 

October 31, 2013

Just Tonight

-For full post experience please click here for the appropriate reading soundtrack-

Music is great. Amazing really. Turning on a song can completely change a moment. It can help you escape or, alternatively, allow you to immerse yourself entirely into an emotion. Music is whatever you need it to be; and in this age of unlimited choices, no one can ever tell you what is "right" when it comes to the soundtrack of your own life. Choose from any genre, or choose them all (like I do).

I have a pretty extensive musical appreciation; classical, country, rock-n-roll, pop, alternative-you name it, I'm open to it. You can in no way delegate a whole genre into the "dislike" pile. That's just silly and limiting. This in mind, I always give everything a good listen before judgement, and I thank the universe that I was slightly-obsessed enough with Gossip Girl's Taylor Momsen, that I gave her band, The Pretty Reckless, a listen. 

October 21, 2013

Closing a distance

Once upon a time, there were two princesses, named Kenna and Jewel. These girls were sisters, 5 years apart in age. Both were strong willed (stubborn) young ladies, and for many years this caused quite a conflict. There was always feuding in the kingdom amongst the young royals. They fought over everything, from territory (bathroom shelves) to the most valuable commodities in the realm (make-up vs. toys). Many feared, especially the King and Queen, that the feud would never end. 

Then something strange occurred: they princesses began to laugh together. The two girls, who once had nothing in common, now found themselves having similar interests. They could do things together and share their passions. Books could be traded, music tastes expanded, and even clothes exchanged. 

Their shared childhood finally became conceivable as a shared past; a past that had molded them into like-minded young women. Both determined, a little ridiculous, contemplative, and with a inclination toward manic giggling. And even those traits that had once made them so incompatible, now brought them closer, allowing them to learn from one another and grow.

They had always been sisters, but now Kenna and Jewel were finally friends.

With peace across the realm, the girls enjoyed the opportunity to spend time together, making memories and laughing until the point of literal tears. One such weekend of merry-making was held across Southern California, the domain which Kenna was currently ruling. They spent their time highly caffeinated and indulging in all their favorite things.  

The extravaganza began in Little Italy, with a necessity for coffee and pastries.

October 10, 2013

Just Breathe

Sometimes, the best thing you can do after (or during) a long stressful week, is just take a break. Leave whatever is making you stressed behind and go somewhere to just breathe.

For most of us college students, we've been bombarded with mid-terms and projects for the past couple weeks; I know I have. Especially last week, even when more tests were coming, and the stress of deadlines nearing, I just needed a break. I teeny tiny window of time to say "peace out world." Luckily I have the best friends, who were feeling just like I was. And an added bonus: we live in a city chalk full of great escapes. One of my favorites of which is Balboa Park

Balboa is this immense park (1200 acres to be exact), that is home to a number of awesome attractions, including, the San Diego Zoo, the Natural History Museum, the San Diego Museum of Art, The Old Globe, and The Museum of Man, just to name a few. What's great, though, is that you don't even have to go to one of these museums or other places in the park, you can just walk around and enjoy all the beauty around you. Which is exactly how Nicole, Rubi, and I escaped our hectic schedules last week.

October 4, 2013

Dinner for two

"Girls do not dress for boys. They dress for themselves, and, of course, each other. If girls dressed for boys they'd just walk around naked at all times." 
-Betsey Johnson

Oh the wise, wise Betsey. Thankfully my girl's-night-out date, Miss Rubi, entirely appreciated my outfit, as did I appreciate her sky-high heels. We also both appreciated some very decadent food. 

The Birthday month is officially over, which is a pity, but Rubi and I made sure to go out with a bang: a good ol' Happy Birthday to us! We treated ourselves to dinner at The Melting Pot.  

September 29, 2013

La Cuesta Encantada

In 1947 the vision of William Randolph Hearst and the incredible architect, Julia Morgan, was finally realized in La Cuesta Encantada or the Enchanted Hill. Better known as Hearst Castle, this towering estate in San Simeon sits looking out onto the ocean from the high hill of the 40,000 acre Hearst estate. With 167 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, pools, terraces, and walkways, Hearst Castle was built to showcase William Hearst's vast art collection and entertain the elite of his era. 

Both those of political esteem, like Winston Churchill, and those of notoriety in Hollywood, such as Charlie Chaplin (who often frequented the estate), were invited to stay at Hearst's grand home. Guests could enjoy tennis courts, horseback riding (a pastime which William himself had grown up enjoying across the endless acres of his family estate), multiple pools, a movie theater, miles of gardens, and many other amenities. An eccentric character, William Hearst wanted his guests to fully enjoy the lavish fantasy that he had created on La Cuesta Encantada. 

In 1957, six years after William Hearst's passing, the Hearst Corporation donated the estate to the State of California, which then turned the land into a state park. Today Hearst Castle is open for tours daily. For just $25 you can be transported into what not only feels like another era, but another world. 

Upon arrival to the tour you are placed on a bus that takes you up the very steep and generally treacherous mountain. It is a wee bit sketchy, but the view at the top is entirely worth it. You arrive at the summit and continue your accent up to the main house, named Casa Grande, by foot. Casa Grande is the largest house, but there are actually four houses on the main estate, and you can purchase a more extensive tour that allows you to walk through them, as well as, more of Casa Grande. I personally recommend this longer tour if you don't have young children and like history. I definitely plan on going back for the longer tour at some point. 

However, the Casa Grande Tour is plenty substantial. During it you are lead through the main house through several of the beyond ornately decorated rooms, while a tour guide explains some of the traditions of the home and Mr. Hearst's interesting belongings. For example, you are shown one of his collections: his ceiling collection, which is displayed right above your head in every room. After the walkthrough of the main house you are allowed to roam the gardens at your leisure. 

September 26, 2013


Now, I was lucky enough to grow up in a household that was always very appreciative of Birthdays. Therefore, I won't even deny it, I kinda totally love my Birthday; but to be fair, I don't just love my Birthday, I love all Birthdays! They're just so fun! You can have a party! And cake! And presents! All jolly good fun. 

As you get older, however, your Birthday changes. You start to resent getting older (or so I hear, I'm still game to get a little older!), you don't get a piñata, and sticking your fingers in the cake is frowned upon. If you're like me though, you'll continue to act like a little kid whether or not you're turning 5 or 20. There may have been some finger-licking-frosting-stealing behavior...

I know, I'm cute. 

Also, when you get older, if you don't spend your Birthday with your family, you are not really entitled to act like a Birthday-brat. (It's my party and I'll cry if I want to!) Luckily, I remedied that by spending the weekend with my big sis, who let's be real, unnecessarily spoils me rotten; which is exactly what she did on my birthday weekend. 

September 2, 2013

Summer days

Despite rising temperatures here in San Diego, the inevitability of Autumn is near. Even living in Southern California, where our seasons lack the extremity of the rest of the world, summer ends. We've gone back to school, bought our books, and are already eying this years boots. And even though Autumn has its perks, does anything really compare to the electric air and freedom of summer? 

As Anaïs Nin said, "We write to live twice, in the moment and in retrospect." So with that ideal I've been holding on to some of my summer memories, trying to make them last just a little bit longer, while avoiding going back to reality. However, I'm afraid that the time has come to accept that it is, in fact, somehow (where did the time go?!), September. So here's to the lasting memories of summer and the joy of retrospect. 

If you've read previous posts (Welcome to OregonTree climbing and other shenanigans, and Bye bye blue), you'll know that I spent time in Oregon early on in the summer. Well, on that trip we had just so gosh-darn-much fun, we decided to go for round two. My parents, younger sister, and I all made the trek up to the lovely coast in early August and galavanted around, making more than a few memories.

August 26, 2013

Coming back

Bad-blogger Kenna here. I've obviously been lax in telling you lovely people my summer stories, so I'm going to consolidate a few adventures, all about a troublesome trio aka myself and my besties, Brooke and Lindsey. 

When you've been friends with someone your whole life, or at least since high school, you expect your friendships to change as you get older. You graduate, go to college, move to new places, meet new people...things do change. If you're lucky, though, some things always stay the same. 

July 30, 2013

An unexpected weekend

When it comes to music, I can hardly chose a favorite band or singer, because I am beyond obsessed with any new music that comes my way. However, there have been a few constants in my iTunes library since I got my first iPod back in the 6th grade. 

1. Jon McLaughin: hands down my favorite singer, who I got to see perform live in December of 2011. (One life-completing experience down.) I doubt I could even begin to pick my favorite of his songs, but here are few songs definitely worth checking out: Beautiful Disaster & Maybe It's Over.

2. Matchbox Twenty: from the time I forced my Dad to play their More Than You Think You Are album over and over again in his truck, Matchbox has been at the top of nearly every playlist I've ever made. Their most recent album, North, came out in 2012, and was just as perfect as all the rest (my personal favorite song is Overjoyed-a beautiful, heart-wrenching, tear-jerking, perfect love song). 

So guess what a new album meant?? A TOUR!!!! Yes, Matchbox Twenty going on tour again means that I got to cross off yet another life-completing experience off my list. Two of my friends from Southern California and I decided last minute to meet up for their concert in Paso Robles last weekend and it was beyond amazing. 

Additionally, my older sister and niece happened to be in Paso that same weekend, so I was able to jump start my spur-of-the-moment-weekend with some bonding time with those two crazy kids. We toured around wine country, visited family members, let my niece ride a horse for the first time, and got caught up after too many months of separation.


July 24, 2013

Fairytales come alive

"So this is love...mmmhmmhmm...So this love...So this is what makes life divine...." Now this sounds a little better than your common wedding march, now doesn't it? 

Recently a friend of mine, whom I've quite literally known my whole, got married. Though we've spent several years out of touch, going to her wedding immediately reminded me all that we have in common and why she has always been one of my favorite people. 

July 13, 2013

Bye bye blue

If you think about it, it is kind of amazing how many different colors water can appear. You have the crystal clear of a clean river, that mossy green of a lake, the stormy gray of the ocean on a cloudy day, and even crazy pepto-bismol pink lakes that take form around the world. My personal favorite though? That true-blue color of the ocean on a bright sun shiny day. That's the blue we got on our last afternoon in Oregon. 

Jewel and I went exploring the rocky eroded bluffs. It was a pretty good spot to just soak in the sunshine and that spectacular view. (And also jump on rocks, dance around, and generally act like silly kids). 

July 11, 2013

Tree climbing and other shenanigans

If you are not at least slightly inclined to enjoy the outdoors, I do not suggest you visit the Oregon coast. Trees, beaches, rocky coastlines, wildlife, all things outdoor-recreational; these are the kinds of things you find along the western coast (that is until you hit mid-Cali, then it is an entirely different story). 

Prior to actually moving to a city, I called myself a city-girl. Post-move however, it became apparent that while I love living in a big city, I am still, as my mom would say, a "country bumpkin." I like being among tall trees, out in the mountains, camping, exploring, playing with wild critters, and most of all, tree climbing. 

Now I cannot say my tree climbing and exploring skills are top notch, but my adventuring spirit is there and you can bet if I see a proper tree for climbing I'll be up it. Oregon has a lot of trees. 

We went on a walk along the coast our first night back in Coos Bay, and Jewel & I thoroughly enjoyed the foliage. 

July 10, 2013

Welcome to Oregon

Some things on earth just have a perfect, unforgettable smell. The kind of scent that immediately makes you dreamy and nostalgic. Amongst these divine scents, you may know, are a hot summer nights, christmas trees, your best friends house (everyone has their own distinct smell), and the Oregon coast. 

Ohhh, the Oregon coast. It's like breathing in fresh oxygen, salty sea, and memories. Thousands upon thousands of majestic pine trees explain the fresh, crisp air. The nearby Pacific gives you that salty harbor feel. But the memories? Well breathing in those babies stems from summers spent with the family exploring the beautiful coastline.

It's been over 7 years since we had ventured to our northern coast, but stepping out of the car into the familiar area, it was like nothing had changed. The view and landscape stretched out before us and my sister and I were immediately off exploring the dense forest with great enthusiasm.  

June 22, 2013

The Great Donut Muffin

It was 2010, I was innocently sitting at home watching the Food Network, little did I know, my life was about to have a new purpose. Now you could say this is an exaggeration, but for the past three years my life has had one constant: the need for the Duffin.

What is a duffin you ask? Well let me tell you. The duffin is the love child of a donut and a muffin. As Candace Nelson said in that video 3 years ago, when she created my obsession, it is "the soul of a donut, but in the form of a muffin." The Downtown Bakery and Creamery in Healdsburg, CA has perfected this sugary pastry, and it was my mission to obtain it. And I did.

Just take a look at this beauty, how could you say it wasn't worth a 3 hour drive?

I feel we properly conveyed our sheer delight in the goodness. Imagine biting in to a perfectly moist muffin but with the flavor of a donut, coated in such a layer of cinnamon sugar that it immediately covers your face and lap and all other possible surfaces. Perfection.  

June 20, 2013

It's time for a blog

Finding some space to share my adventures and ramblings.

Yours, Kenna

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