Beach Livin’ in Capitola

capitola_01 capitola_1capitola_2 capitola_3 capitola_4 capitola_5 capitola_6 capitola_7 capitola_8 capitola_9 capitola_10 capitola_11 capitola_12capitola_1 capitola_2 capitola_3 capitola_4 capitola_5 capitola_6 capitola_7 capitola_8 capitola_9 capitola_10 capitola_11 capitola_12 capitola_13 capitola_14 capitola_15 capitola_16 capitola_17 capitola_25 capitola_26 capitola_27 capitola_6874 capitola_6878This is just a little continuation of that Capitola weekend. As the valley heats up (to 102 last night … eek), I’m feeling the pull of the coast again. Where are you escaping to this summer?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Getting cozy in The Jewel Box | Capitola, Calif.

capitola_001On a weekend in January, when the waves should have been too cold to trample into and the sun should have been hidden in a misty haze, four girlfriends and I held ourselves up in a little beach town and didn’t leave until we absolutely had to. We found home in a colorful collection of flawed rentals on the beach, a little pastel neighborhood that Capitola locals know as the Jewel Box.

We went to get out of town for all those sorts of reasons people always talk about wanting to get away. This and that. Beginnings and endings. All of those things. You know. We went with few expectations, except to sleep on the beach, eat at least one ice cream cone, covet all of the jewelry in those little shops and to take time to make art and make cocktails with creams and Kahlua. capitola_002capitola_003capitola_004We unlocked our harbor-facing purple door when it was already dark. We’d left the valley immediately after work on a Friday, and were determined to make it a full night. With arms loaded with duffel bags and art supplies, we scoped out our little apartment and claimed our beds before running back outside to see the water. “We’re going to come here every year,” someone said before we even began.capitola_005We wandered the town that night. Had a nice dinner with a round of drinks that came topped with yellow umbrellas (which we awkwardly cradled in our hands after finally being asked to move to make room for the incoming band). We looked out to the moon reflecting in the sea. We found a liquor store for necessities. Then we headed home to the jewel box. capitola_005acapitola_006capitola_007capitola_008capitola_008acapitola_009Mornings on the beach could quite easily be one of my favorite things. Mornings, in general, and if they don’t involve slipping into work clothes, are heavenly. But in the Jewel Box, mornings are fluorescent and golden sunlight bounces off pastel pinks and greens and turquoise. Everything seems more alive. More textured. More excited.capitola_010capitola_011capitola_013capitola_30capitola_39capitola_40capitola_6934capitola_69capitola_014capitola_015capitola_6914capitola_6915capitola_6917capitola_6919capitola_6921capitola_6922capitola_6924capitola_6925capitola_6926capitola_6927 We didn’t do a lot in Capitola, but then we did everything. In our pajamas, we walked to the local coffee shop just across the river from the Jewel Box. I defended by breakfast burrito from a brave seagull, too.capitola_012(See where I’m pointing? That’s our little home in the Jewel Box):capitola_6828capitola_6829 capitola_21 capitola_23I keep finding that when it comes to photographs, much like life, it sometimes takes me a while to sit down and process them. It’s taken a while to share these, but they bring back happy memories from earlier this year. It also makes that wanderlust spirit set itself on fire. I’ll be back very, very soon with more from the Jewel Box. Promise.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Five Senses Monday

5-1Good morning, friends. Happy … June. Can you believe it? After 12 years of public school, it is still engrained in my brain that June officially kicks off the summer season. It makes me want to plan beach trips and rid my closet of all sweaters and corduroy. To make cold-brew coffee in mason jars and keep a bathing suit in my car for impromptu after-work dips.Those need to happen. Those will happen.

But now, here is Five Senses Monday, where I reflect on the last few days through the five senses. Please play along in the comments and share, share, share your world.

Five Senses Monday

Tasting: My attempt at my mom’s cream of broccoli soup (lightened up with coconut milk and chicken broth instead of cream) … pretty tasty, guys. Iced green tea; I downed an entire pitcher by myself this weekend. Tuna with pickles and celery spread on sea salt Kashi crackers (Trader Joe’s albacore has my heart). Fancy steak – twice this week – with girlfriends; who said girly girls are all vegetarians?

Hearing: I broke out the Adele album in my car because we all need a little 2012 throwback sometimes. A new wi-fi connection in my office has reinvented my work experience with a little First Aid Kit and Lulu And The Lampshades on Spotify.

Seeing: The yard finally coming to life, including beautiful artichokes sprouting. A former writing professor’s newest novel sitting on the shelf of new releases at Barnes and Noble.

Feeling: My dogs passed out at my feet as I type this. It takes a lot to be the K-9 Michael Phelpses of the world. Anticipation for creative work projects. Deeply: for friends who are expecting babies; for friends who cry over their lost children; for friends who are in crossroads.

Smelling: The stench of thrift store finds when you get them home. Fresh cod sizzling in a hot pan. L’Occitane Face Mist. OMG – that’s my new favorite brand for everything.

And here are a few snapshots, just cus:

The cookbook aisle = home:5-13My very first creative writing professor has a new book on the shelves, and it was so exciting to see a familiar name while browsing Barnes and Noble today: 5-14Thrift store finds: Barry and a forgotten Jacob:5-12The broccoli soup:5-10Friends don’t let friends not share homegrown cherries:5-8Sunday morning bed head:     5-7Farmers market haul: 5-6I adopted a friends’ succulents and they totally bred: 5-5Here, there, everywhere: 5-5-11Leaning tower of pots: 5-4Growing! 5-3 5-2

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Concerts in the Park

music-1Aaaand, it’s back.

Golden light.

Soft breeze.

Strums and soul.

Picnic blankets.

Weekday evenings.

It is Concerts in the Park, the best weekly idea since Sunday-fun-day! It totally breaks of the week and makes you feel like you’ve stepped into vacation.

Will I see you there this summer?    music-2music-4  music-5 music-6 music-7 music-9 music-10 music-11 music-12 music-152015-concerts-in-the-park

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment


2Summer has rolled in, and that’s not something we take lightly around these parts. On a Saturday not too many weeks ago, my niece Sophia and I rolled back and forth upteen times down a breezeway and then found a nice tree to climb. We made a couple of videos and took a few photos to share, too. Happy summer, friends!

First #longboard outing of the year. It may as well be summer. #skateboard #summer #sunshine

A video posted by Lauren Nelson (@theurbanhippie) on


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Five Senses Monday

5-1Happy Memorial Day! Perhaps you’re waking up on this holiday in a beach house and sipping coffee with almond milk on the patio. Or maybe you’re gearing up for a day of shopping all those giant holiday sales. Or maybe you’re like me and waking up with absolutely no concrete plans — and oh-so-excited about it.

The weekend started Friday night after work with dinner with one of my bestestest girlfriends at our favorite place, where we go when we’re really in the mood to splurge on our favorite dishes (steak for me; fried chicken for her) that we order every time (one of these times I will have to take a picture). We then resorted back to high school and fell asleep in a mount of blankets on her floor after some good wine and better laughs. The rest of the weekend was so laid back and surprisingly care free as I just floated amongst friends and savored coffee dates, an evening barbecue, a champagne brunch, a country drive and, surprisingly, a bit of downtime. It has been pretty perfect, and there’s still today to go.

And so now, I say we jump into Five Senses Monday, where I reflect on the past few days through the five senses. Feel free to join in and share yours in the comments or on your own blog!

Five Senses Monday

Tasting: An awesome local-grown asparagus omelet at Phillips Farms Winery & Cafe, the perfect Saturday morning breakfast. A barbecued hot dog, marinated in BBQ sauce, is the epitome of summer. Yogurts and Hawaiian squeezers and mimosas and homemade bread at a ladies’ backyard brunch. Nom. Greek yogurt in my protein shake, a new favorite.

Hearing: Bob Marley in the background. Dogs barking and grumbling because they want to swim. An older gent’ singing Taylor Swift’s “Take it Off.”

Feeling: L’Occitane on my hands (I’m resisting the urge to become obsessed with these skincare products). Thoughtful and contemplative, as friends and family work through those things that surprise us sometimes. Surprisingly settled. Hopeful.

Smelling: A failed attempt at roasted chickpeas. Oy.

Seeing: Sometimes too much Netflix. Other times, not enough.

And now, friends, here are just a few images of my life lately. I hope you enjoy this beautiful day.

The view from my Starbucks office recently:5-2This was heaven recently: 5-3I love when the yard starts to come to life with color and texture: 5-4 5-5 The view from a home-early day:5-6 And the pooches just dying to hear “go!”5-7 I skipped spin class one morning because I just wanted to take a little time to enjoy a cup of coffee in my favorite morning air. No regrets. 5-9 There’s a new coffeehouse in town. They have wi-fi. And good coffee. And actually want people to sit and stay a while. I’ve been waiting forever for my small town to get a cozy and inviting cafe. Yay.5-10 Post-coffee-run lounge with my gal pal and our pile of blankets. And the comfiest PJs (that I may someday try to wear as pants), ever.5-11

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Five Senses Monday

1Tasting: Sunday morning coffee in the backyard; it’s starting to feel a little like summertime. Avocado sprinkled with pink salt on tiny toasts because I never stop craving it.  2
Feeling: All cozy, all the time … at least on Saturday when we inflated an air mattress in the living room and binge-watched “Orphan Black” until we couldn’t keep our eyes open anymore. But then, Sunday was productive, with a little work and planning and organizing at a coffeehouse.3 4 5

Smelling: All that grass, itchy and hot and gloriously summer.
Hearing: These words over and over again in my head. I keep finding this, and I read it to myself every time. Isn’t it good? Also, I listened to a Fleetwood Mac album on my way home tonight, and it was absolutely the best.
6 7Seeing: All of my siblings together in the same room for the first time since we were kids. My little brother came home for the first time in three years. A lot of our time was spent with my stepdad during his short bout in the hospital, but we still all enjoyed having everyone together.8

Thank you, friends, for always stopping by. Share with me, please, your five sense or happenings in life lately ….

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment