lizzie's wedding.

//the girls, photo via



My childhood friend, Liz, got married a few weeks ago, and it was the most touching wedding I've attended, so intimate and personal. Dave and I had just returned home from Shanghai a few days before, so the timing was perfect. After a year abroad, there was nothing more beautiful to me than spending time in the California sunshine, celebrating love and reuniting with the girls I grew up with.

//lavender iced tea, loves, and sparklers//

The wedding took place at the

Highland Springs Resort

, which I didn't know anything about until Lizzie said that she was getting married there. We ended up spending

our three year anniversary

there, at the same time as their annual lavender festival. If you're in Southern California during that time, it's a must visit. The resort is a local gem - olive trees and lavender fields and rustic beauty all around.

//friends, laughter, and celebrating Lizzie and Matt//

I honestly believe that California is one of the most  beautiful places in the world to live. I loved soaking in everything that I had missed - friends, glorious sunsets, fresh outdoor air. They served breakfast for dinner, which was so cute and yummy. I'll take pancakes at any time of the day!

//stunning reception backdrop and sunset//

That night was one of those nights where I was so happy that everything felt surreal and perfect and just so much like


. That night to me was the best possible kind of summer night, all filled with sunlight and laughter and celebration and catching up on everything. I'm so glad to have been there. Life is beautiful!

sunset boating on the harbor.

California is just hands down one of the most beautiful places in the world, and when I look back on pictures that I took last summer, I miss it even more. I miss the sunsets, the light, the water.  The colors, the vibrance of everything. It is just such an amazing place to call home.

And of course, I miss the people. Because what's a place without the people you love?

// my sweet parents //

// my dream house on the harbor //

// Bruins forever //

I'll be seeing you in August, California! I'll be the one kissing the ground at LAX.

Three years.

Three years of marriage has gone by so fast! Since we'll be spending most of our next year in China, I'm especially glad that we got to spend extra time in the area. We had the best time celebrating our anniversary at the Highland Springs Resort (Cherry Valley, CA). Even though throughout this weekend I was waking up early and staying up late working a presentation for grad school, the whole weekend was so relaxing. I felt like we had stumbled upon a rustic oasis in the middle of nowhere. Our little cottage room was simple (no TV, no blowdryer), but it was so refreshing and felt like we were finally disconnected from the city. The lavender festival was going on at the same time, so we sipped lavender margs (I could drink those all day long), lavender lattes, and lavender lemonade while listening to live classical music, ate lavender-marinated brisket on the tree-surrounded picnic tables, and I even rewarded my hard school work with a scoop of lavender-honey ice cream. We woke up early to stroll through the lavender fields, brunched on pastries and coffee in the bar overlooking the fields, lounged poolside, and had filet mignon and cake ordered from Martha Green's (some of the best cake you'll ever have). I still can't believe that Highland Springs is only 30 minutes away from my hometown, and I had never known about it. This place will definitely be added to our list of local favorites.