apples, road trips and contentment

living in san diego is pretty close to living in paradise. it’s usually still warm and full of sunshine when other places are freezing cold with below zero temperatures. i love being outdoors as often as possible and have never really been a winter sports kind of girl so san diego weather suits me well. that being said, i grew up in the mountains of montana and lived most of my young adult life in boston so i grew to appreciate the changes in seasons. around this time i start to long for changes in colors of leaves and the crispness of autumn i once knew. every year we have a family tradition of taking a mini road trip to julian, ca for a taste of fall foliage and foods. it’s a nice way to reset and reconnect with each other. i have a teenage daughter who has  a busy school and social life and my husband and i are very busy so it can be easy to get into the pattern of moving through our hurried lives without taking the time to actually BE with each other. there’s something about road trips that really brings our family together. no ipads, to do lists,  homework, house chores…just being together. we are plugged in more often than i would like in our daily lives so this trip is always a great way to unplug.

we chat, listen to music, catch up, laugh, take in the view during the drive and get to know each other better. these days my daughter is growing up right before my eyes. i feel like i could blink and she will no longer be my little girl anymore. i always go back to this thought and remind myself when i’m busy or hurried and she wants my attention to stop what i’m doing and be fully present for her. these years are so important and will go by quickly. we forget how precious life is and how precious time is with the people we love. checking that e-mail, sending that text, updating that facebook status…these things seem to be getting in the way of connecting with the people around us. we’re so busy staying “connected” that we are losing out on precious time with the actual people in our lives who matter most, time we can never get back.

our first stop on our way up to julian is always at this sweet little farm stand, pam’s place. everything is homegrown or homemade and you can tell the love and pride they take in their cute little stand. i was on a mission this trip to find the perfect apples for a future recipe. i’m wild about apples. i eat an apple or 2 a day. you might have read something about that here.


i really get into choosing the perfect apples. it’s a whole process for me. admiring the color, inspecting the shape and size, checking the firmness, smelling the aroma to gage its sweetness. it’s easy in this day and age to be mindless and disconnected from our food. taking the time to admire, appreciate and see food as an art form, full of vast colors, flavors and textures brings me closer to my food, elicits a sense of gratitude and loving feelings towards my food which in turn makes me feel like i want to choose food that is nourishing and loving to my body.


can we talk about this hat and t-shirt…i’m a big fan. i’ve always been drawn to earth tones and choose a lot of earthy tones for my wardrobe. browns like the trunks and branches of trees, greens like the leaves and stems of plants, tans and creams like the shades of grass or cat tails. the color of this shirt reminds me of a subtle tone of red clay found in the earth. color makes me feel alive. i found the hat and t-shirt here at my favorite local boutique. i love the worn softness of chaser tees and sweatshirts. there’s something about putting on clothing that is soft and gentle and has a flowy feel to it. color and feeling of my clothing is everything. natural and soft…the best way to go.

after our trip to our favorite farm stand we drove for a bit and stopped off by the side of the road to take in the view. we usually don’t have much of an agenda when we go on road trips and are the kind of travelers who stop at spots along the way that catch our eye. we find the most hidden gems by traveling this way. it makes the trip that much more enjoyable when we are not so focused on where we’re going but what we can experience along the way. wouldn’t it be nice if we focused more on this notion in life? we are so busy making plans, setting goals, making lists, thinking about where we want to be that we forget to live in the moment and look at each day as an adventure, an opportunity to discover something new.


“life is a journey, not a destination.”

~ralph waldo emmerson



if you know me, you know i’m all about moccasins. if i could wear moccasins every day i would. i love style but i also like to be comfortable. these steve madden moccasins are one of my favorites. when i put them on it feels like a cozy mexican blanket is wrapped around my feet. they’re the pair of shoes that you wear down until you have holes in the soles. the kind you wish you had bought 3 pairs of because you know you will never tire of them. sadly it’s too late to get this particular style but you might like similar styles like these or these. the jeans are one of my favorite pairs of jeans. i love this particular shade of denim. i know i mentioned them here. you can find them on sale here.


one thing i love about fall is being able to wear cozy sweaters and cardigans. i found this one last year and it has definitely been worn its fair share. a cream cardigan is an essential piece to my wardrobe. i can dress it up and wear it over a flower dress with tights or i can dress it down and wear it over a comfy tee with jeans and moccasins. i love the button detail and pockets on this sweater. it’s BDG, made exclusively for urban outfitters. you can find a similar style here. here’s a hint. wait for the sale to come then buy it for next season. you’d be surprised how quickly items go on sale to make way for the next season. i always end up getting the styles i want for way less…it just takes a little patience.

if you’ve visited the little town of julian before then you know it’s quaint and unique style and energy. it has the cutest little shops, cafes and restaurants. we always hit the same spots when we visit.


if you’re in the mood for a warm beverage to sip while strolling down the main street or a bite to eat you can stop by granny’s kitchen -coffee shop and cafe. i was craving a warm chamomile tea latte. the great thing about this place is that they have gluten free options for breakfast and lunch.

we drove home after a long day of shopping, strolling through town and taking in the scenery. it was quiet ride home. i drove and everyone else fell asleep. as i drove i watched the sun go down behind the mountains and took in the colors of the beautiful sunset. content is the best word i can use to describe my feeling at that moment.

con-tent – to be in a state of peaceful happiness and satisfaction

i’m planning on doing more things in my life that elicit this state of being more often. but this is the catch. feeling content doesn’t come from filling our time with activities, filling our stomachs with food or filling our closets with clothes. being content comes from appreciating the small moments, the big things that seem like little things, time spent with family, relishing in the sweet scent of an apple, stopping to take in the surroundings, watching the sun go down. being present and connected. finding gratitude for even the smallest experiences like having a warm drink on a cold day, laughter with others, the taste of fresh baked apple pie just out of the oven.

speaking of apple pie. i’m pretty sure my daughter and husband enjoy our trips to julian most because of the pie. we brought this pie home from mom’s pies.

moms pies

i don’t know if it’s the name or the taste of the pie, but they always have a line backed up around the corner to get one of their sweet treats.

don’t you just love this plate? i do. i bought a whole set of dapper animal plates just for fun and because they remind me of my upbringing. you can find them here.

take more road trips. stop along the way. unplug. connect with the ones you love. drink a warm drink on a cool day. take in a sunset. be content with what you have. eat a slice of pie and be content with one slice. take time picking out the best apples. time is precious.

much love, Shawnee

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