going back to Cali…

Back in January our family went to California to watch our Auburn Tigers play in the National Championship.



Let’s not talk about the outcome…

suffice it to say that many tears were shed. sniff.

It was my first time ever in California.

And I fell in love.

It’s not at all what I imagined.


Breathtaking beaches….


And this???


“Rodeo Drive, baby.” 


I took full advantage of the 175 Pretty Woman quotes I have stored in my brain.

Big mistake….HUGE….I have to go shopping now…”

And finally this…


For years I’ve heard people going on and on about in-n-out burger…

And now I know why.

We may or may not have made 3 trips there in 3 days. 😉


Spring Break for my youngest two started today.

This winter has been brutal here in Chicagoland.

Bru.TAL. (I know we aren’t alone in that).

We’ve had a bazillion inches of snow and it’s one of the coldest on record.

Yesterday on the first day of spring…it snowed.

And this Tuesday?

More snow.

So for spring break we are chasing sunshine and warmer temps.

We’re going back to Cali.

LL Cool J style.

Staying in the Laguna Niguel area.

For any Californians/ex-Californians/people who have been there….

My question to you is…

What should we do/see/eat while we are there?

Cool family friendly things…

maybe off the beaten path not necessarily “touristy” things?

Suggestions are very appreciated!

Please comment here or email me @…mapleandmagnolia@gmail.com!

Have a wonderful weekend, everybody!



11 Responses to going back to Cali…

  1. Naomi w. March 21, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

    The Beachcomber Cafe at Crystal Cove. It is a funky cafe right on the beach just north of Laguna Beach. You park on the inland side of Pacific Coast Highway and walk thru a tunnel to get to the beach side. http://www.thebeachcombercafe.com

    I hope you enjoy yourselves. I work in Newport Beach and live in Huntington Beach. I love living here.

  2. Kim B. March 21, 2014 at 10:07 pm #

    I can’t wait to pick your brain when you get back! Hubs has a conference in California this September and it will be my/our first time there! I have had so many co-workers go there over the years, and after hearing how much they all loved it have secretly wanted to live there ever since! The weather is perfect there! Enjoy the sun and the sand and the well deserved break! Kim

  3. Niki D March 21, 2014 at 11:22 pm #

    Roger’s Gardens – the most amazing nursery/garden store! It’s nearby in Corona Del Mar.

  4. Terri S March 22, 2014 at 12:32 am #

    Enjoy! I wish I could help but I grew up in the Other state of California. AKA Northern California.

  5. Kathy March 22, 2014 at 1:33 am #

    Juxtaposition at crystal cove is a must see, Brooke Gianetti told me about that place and it was such a cool store, u will love! Next time u come out make time to see Palm Springs and stay with us, fun, fun girl!!

  6. Christy March 22, 2014 at 2:52 am #

    Sorry, no suggestions. Just wanted to let you know my husband and I were just singing “I’m goin’ back to Cali” in our best LL Cool J voice. Thanks for the memories. 🙂 Have fun!

  7. Bobbie March 22, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

    I have not been to where you are going but I must say…LOVE California! The past 2 Februaries our family has spent in Tahoe/Truckee. Our oldest son got married on Lake Tahoe last year and it was absolutely stunning! I fell in love with Truckee the minute we arrived. People say go in the summer because there is so much to do.
    I know your family will have a wonderful time. California here we come!


  8. Nana March 24, 2014 at 2:41 am #

    Check out City Walk and Universal. It gives you a tour of some of the movie sets. We really enjoyed it.

  9. Sue March 25, 2014 at 2:15 am #

    Yes – Crystal Cove for sure – wear comfortable walking shoes (speaking from experience) and we loved Tuvalu in downtown Laguna Beach – enjoy!

  10. Shera March 27, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    We usually only travel down to Southern California when we have to. Although the beaches are warm and sunny. We tend to drive “over the hill” and go to the Monterey area. Although a long drive from Southern cal – this part of the California coastline is some of the most beautiful coastline in the world. Plan on spending the night or two! Or maybe a destination for your next vacation to California!

  11. Anne April 2, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

    I used to live in Orange California back in the late 70’s. I have never been back so I could not suggest a thing.I bet many places we went to are gone.We always loved going to Laguna beach and Newport beach.I bet you had an amazing time.How lucky to escape the cold weather here!

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