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Monday, July 21, 2014

Scenes from SoCal & Forgiveness

A few weeks ago I alluded to a bunch of personal crappola I was going through, and as hard as I tried to pretend it wasn't there and sweep it under the rug, it finally came time to deal with it. I've mentioned a few times (mostly in this post of my blog name's backstory) of the strained relationship I have with my dad. And by strained, I mean, four years with no talking, and only a handful of times in the years before that.

I thought I'd made peace with the fact he wasn't in my life, once finally realized it's okay to distance yourself from some people...even family. Especially if that relationship threatens your mental and emotional well-being. (Can you tell I'm married to a therapist?) 

But a few months ago all that false bravado came crashing down on me. Turns out when you hear the words "Stage 4" and "metastasized," all the rationale you've been clinging to just evaporates. The reasons I kept my distance suddenly felt small and insignificant. This was my father, the man who loves me even if he doesn't know how to show it, the man who wants the very best for me, even if he doesn't say it.

I tried to play it cool and stay in denial, but life was having none of that, and soon enough I was booking a last-minute trip to California to see him. (There are worse places to reconcile with your dad, right?!) On the flight over, my friend Erika posted this, and it spoke directly to my heart.

Hi Sugarplum | Scenes from SoCal

Sure enough, the moment I laid eyes on him, all was forgiven. Just like that, I let it go, and instantly felt lighter and happier. I no longer needed the big, heavy conversation, rehashing the past. I didn't want to look back...I could start fresh right in that moment.

My dad and I spent a lot of time just being together, reconnecting and recommitting. Mr. SP and I were able to enjoy the area some too, which really contributed to the whole healing experience. The weekend was liberating, yet exhausting...why is that always the case with emotional journeys?!

Hi Sugarplum | Scenes from SoCal

Hi Sugarplum | Scenes from SoCal

Hi Sugarplum | Scenes from SoCal

I can't do a travel-related post and not fill you in on what I packed, and tips on the area!

Hi Sugarplum | Scenes from SoCal
Hoodie (similar) | Pink Oxford layered underneath (similar) | Shorts (similar) | Flip Flops
Crossbody Bag (similar) | Watch (on sale!!) | Cross Bangle


We spent time in Malibu, Summerland (a picturesque and charming town just south of Santa Barbara), and Manhattan Beach. The weather and beauty of Southern California totally helped to soothe our spirits.

Hi Sugarplum | Scenes from SoCal

Hi Sugarplum | Scenes from SoCal
Peach orchard in my friend's backyard. No big deal.

My dad lives part-time in Malibu (that doesn't suck), so the Mr. and I were able to take breaks from all the emotion, and enjoy the beach. I adore this man of mine. It's easy to love your spouse when life is easy...it's when life gets hard that you realize the true importance of the one you choose.

Hi Sugarplum | Scenes from SoCal

Hi Sugarplum | Scenes from SoCal

Hi Sugarplum | Scenes from SoCal

Hi Sugarplum | Scenes from SoCal
Dress | Bomber Jacket | Crossbody Bag (similar)


On the third day, we hugged my dad goodbye, with pure intentions of talking and seeing each other again soon, and Mr. SP and I spent the day hiking in Malibu Canyon, and riding bikes along the promenade in Manhattan Beach.

Hi Sugarplum | Scenes from SoCal

Hi Sugarplum | Scenes from SoCal

Hi Sugarplum | Scenes from SoCal


I'm not going to lie, as good and therapeutic as it was, there were a lot of tears. And even more tears when I got home. Along with a full day of baking...not sure where that came from! But God and my husband walked me through it. And now my dad is doing miraculously well, and we're figuring out this new chance of being in each other's life.

Thank you for your kind and thoughtful comments, emails, and texts in the past months, even though most of you didn't know what I was going through, I felt your support. And thank you to my mom and stepdad who stepped up without hesitation to watch the kids so we could take this unexpected trip. It really does take a village, and we are blessed with ours.

Hi Sugarplum | Scenes from SoCal

Now for the details of our trip...first up, my travel uniform.

Watch (on sale!) | Cross Bangle | Gold Hoops


{Where We Stayed & Ate}

The Anza Hotel - Calabasas
Malibu hotels are hard to come by, so we stayed one night in nearby Calabasas.
We didn't see any Kardashians, but we were impressed with this comfy hotel.
It has several good restaurant options within walking distance, including Pedalers Fork, where we had an amazing breakfast.

Sea View Inn - Manhattan Beach
We had an early departure from LAX, and this little gem is a short 15-minutes away. For an unbelievably fair rate, we got an ocean-view room that included bikes, beach chairs & towels, and free parking. (A rarity in the LA area.) Some of the rooms haven't been updated yet, so ask to see a few before settling in.
The street is lined with restaurants, and we especially loved Fishbar for dinner.
Hermosa Beach Pier is a short bike ride away.


Hi Sugarplum | Scenes from SoCal

This is by no means a comprehensive travel post on Southern California...but I wanted to share the little treasures we discovered. Turns out Erika was right, forgiveness really is the key to life's happiness.


Sidenote: Most of the pictures in this post were taken with my new Samsung Galaxy Camera, and it rocks! Oh, and one of you lucky ducks will win one later this week, because I'm giving this $500 camera away! (Not mine, I'm not that nice...but another one.)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fashion Friday

Happy Friday!! I'm so excited for a weekend at home...with nothing to do, and nowhere to be! Like yours, my inbox is flooded everyday with sales and promotions, but very few peak my interest. However, there is one sale I look forward to every year...the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale...which starts today! I love it because it's not picked-over, end-of-season stuff...but next season's must-haves...and for a few short weeks, it's marked down A LOT!!

It may be the middle of July, but I can't miss this opportunity to grab Fall essentials at such great prices. You guys seemed to like when I shared my real-life reviews last year, so I thought I'd do it again, just in case you're considering any of it. My Nordstrom was already sold out of most of the things I wanted to try, but I was able to check out a few. I've ordered the rest online (yay for free shipping and free returns!) and will share that stuff when it arrives.

1) I can't believe I'm doing it again, but I'm humiliating myself by posting a butt-shot on the blog. But how else are you going to see the cute pockets on these Hudson jeans? They have a good amount of stretch for a comfy fit, and there's no gap in the back waistband (you booty girls know what I'm talking about). I'll still wear my skinny jeans this Fall, but I think a slight bootcut is a bit dressier, and more flattering on curvy shapes.

I also love that these come in Petite sizing (online only). Nordstrom offers free alterations, but they'd just cut the bottom off, which changes the line of the jeans and where they are supposed to hit on your leg. By going with the Petite length, the bootcut starts at the right placement on the leg. I ordered these in my regular size, but in Petite, so they should be perfect with a slight heel. If you're considering designer jeans, now is the time since they are $70 off! Update: It looks like the petite is currently sold out...but keep checking for re-stock!

Hi Sugarplum | Nordstrom Sale picks

2) I'm still completely gah-gah over my striped bag, but I've wanted a cognac-colored bag for the past few Fall seasons. I think this one fits the bill....especially for the price. It's the perfect size for all my stuff, but still has good structure to it, so it won't collapse on my arm. The lighter shade makes it perfect for pairing with any color outfit, including black. And of course I'll slap my tassel charm on it! #duh

Hi Sugarplum | Nordstrom Sale picks

3) The only thing more awkward than taking butt-shots, is taking a picture of your feet!! Especially without getting funny looks from strangers. But I sacrificed my dignity in order to show you these cute booties. The heel is a flattering height, without being uncomfortably tall, and the sole is sturdy. I think they'll be perfection with skinny jeans, and the neutral color will go with any top. My normal size was a little tight across the toe area, so I ordered one-half size up online.

Hi Sugarplum | Nordstrom Sale picks


4) I always get my kids school shoes during this sale, too...at these prices, they aren't much more than Target's shoes, but they'll actually last the entire school year! They literally walked in this week, wearing the shoes we bought at last year's sale. My son is all about the over-priced Nikes now, so I'm thrilled to score them for under $50! He also only wants to wear athletic gear or jeans, so we scooped up quality items like this hoodie, and these well-made jeans for $25.

Hi Sugarplum | Nordstrom Sale picks


5) My daughter doesn't like to shop at all. Like seriously, not one bit. But once she caught a glimpse of herself in this ridiculously cute outfit, she decided shopping wasn't so bad. And clearly I've lost my mind, because I actually bought her this pair of Hudson jeans. But she said they were as comfy as leggings, and with the sale price, they aren't much more than Gap jeans. Don't even get me started on the leopard hoodie and booties! I'm in trouble if she ever decides she likes to shop!

Hi Sugarplum | Nordstrom Sale picks

She insisted I take a picture of her posing as me...should I be flattered or offended? Can I get this entire outfit in my size?!?

Hi Sugarplum | Nordstrom Sale picks

She always chooses wacky tennis shoes, so none of us were surprised when she went straight for these high-top Converse. The girl definitely has her own ideas about style...wonder where she gets that?!

I'm also scoping out holiday gifts in the Home and Beauty departments, like this Candle trio and Sawtooth Throw. And when can you get North Face for under $100? Never, that's when. I'm taking advantage and grabbing this one for Mr. SP's Christmas gift. Or maybe this one since it's even less.

What are your faves? Have you grabbed anything yet? Shop fast, because the inventory won't last long. Happy weekend, lovebugs!

{Click the arrows to shop items from the post, and some of my other picks.}


This post is sponsored by Nordstrom, but opinions on all these items are mine. Some affiliate links are used, but it does not impact the price you pay. Thank you for supporting Hi Sugarplum sponsors!

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