Summer 2018

Summer is a whole lot different as an adult than it is as a kid. But even though we don’t get a summer break anymore, I’ve decided to recap our summer 2018 adventures to remind myself summer is just as fun as an adult, if not better.

summer beach


We kicked off the summer with the first Reality SB BBQ Picnic. Each month, our church puts on a picnic where they bring in the best catered food, Neighborhood Tim’s BBQ, to a local park and invite everyone to eat and spend time together. When we first moved to Santa Barbara, a couple from church invited us to the last BBQ of the summer and we had such a good time we were already looking forward to the next summer’s BBQ! They served brisket, pulled pork, beans with bacon, salad, and mac and cheese. It’s one of the best summer get-togethers there is.

Reality SB BBQ

Later in June, we drove to Park City, Utah for a friend’s wedding. We explored the adorable ski town, went on an incredible hike, and had the best time celebrating our friend’s wedding. You can read more about this adventure in my other post: A Sunny Weekend in Park City, Utah.

While we were in Utah we stopped by Zion National Park to celebrate our two year wedding anniversary. We started a tradition of going camping for our anniversary so Zion was the perfect spot as it was on our way home anyway. We had an amazing time hiking Angel’s Landing and walking through The Narrows. You can read more about our anniversary adventure in this post: Anniversary Trip to Zion National Park.

Towards the end of the month we flew to Las Vegas for a work trip of mine. Jackson was fortunate to get a couple days off so we could experience this city together for the first time. To be honest, I don’t think Vegas is for us. It was fun to see and I’m glad we experienced it, but we don’t have a desire to go back anytime soon. We enjoyed walking through the hotels and seeing all the themed decor. While I was at my work conference, Jackson was able to sneak away and hike Red Rock Canyon with a friend. Steep elevation, temperatures in the hundreds, and little water, made for a difficult hike, but they made it and enjoyed the incredible view at the top. One of our favorite things we did in Vegas was go to Taco Bell Cantina for breakfast. Those Cinnabon delights rocked our world and the place was so cool! It had eight different alcoholic slushie machines and a mix between wood and metal accents around the restaurant.

Taco Bell Cantina

Instead of flying back to California from Vegas, we flew up to Minnesota to visit friends and family—the highlight of our summer. We stayed with some of Jackson’s friends from college and had a blast catching up with them all night. On our way to Surly Brewery, we stopped by The Witches Hat where Jackson proposed to me. You can read more about that story here.

The next morning we had brunch at Betty Dangers. I’ve been dying to go there as almost all my twin cities friends frequently post pictures of that adorable restaurant featuring a Ferris wheel and mini golf. We got The Brunch Experience—a platter filled with sausage, biscuits, gravy, eggs, potatoes, chicken strips, and mini donuts. Highly recommend! The place had the coolest decor—pink and green everywhere!

Betty Dangers Brunch

After brunch, we met up with one of my best friends from college at Caribou Coffee. We try to go to Caribou as much as possible when we’re home. So good! My favorite drink is their iced crafted press. It’s just a really really good iced coffee. Mmmmmm.

Jenna and Coffee

We had to leave the twin cities early enough to drive to my parents in time for the wedding of one of my childhood best friends. Since we’ve moved out of Minnesota we’ve had the hardest time making it back home for our friends’ weddings. I was so glad we were able to celebrate Kayla’s big day in person. We stayed as long as we could, but eventually headed out for our three-hour drive to Sioux Falls to spend a few days with Jackson’s family.

Kayla Wedding


This is where the summer gets crazy. July was one of the best and busiest months of our summer. When we arrived to Jackson’s parent’s house late at night, we fell right asleep. The next morning, we went to church with Jackson’s family, took family pictures in the park, got ice cream from The Parlour, and ate Jackson’s dad’s homemade smoked burgers for dinner.

The next morning we went to the gym with Jackson’s parents. After a couple lifts, Jackson and I went outside to the outdoor workout area and climbed the monkey bars like we were in elementary school. When we got back to his parents house, his mom had an egg bake and coffee cake ready for us to eat. Not a crumb was left.

In the afternoon, we went to the Palisades State Park to walk the trails and have a picnic. We quickly learned there weren’t too many hiking trails in the park, but our nephew was there and all I wanted to do was stare at his adorable face anyway. When we got back to the house, Jackson’s grandparents had arrived. We got to catch up and enjoy some good food with them.

The next morning we woke up extra early to get to a CrossFit class with Jackson’s brother. It was tough, there was a lot of sweat, but it was so much fun! I even met a girl who I had so much in common with which made our circuit workout partnership all the more fun.

Will and Jackson Hiking

After we showered up, we drove to Iowa to spend time with Jackson’s grandma. She made creamed chicken and boy was it good! Once our bellies were plump full she even pulled out an apple pie. There’s always room for grandma’s apple pie.

Later that night we went to Jackson’s cousin’s 3rd of July party. They served three different kinds of grilled chicken legs—classic, buffalo, and BBQ. The rest of the food was various potlucks goods—my favorite. It was one of the those perfect summer nights and spending it with family and friends made it all the better.

The next day was the fourth of July and we drove 7.5 hours north to get to my uncle’s cabin. We met up with my family on the way so my sister and her corgi could hop in our car. And of course, we made a pit stop at Paul Bunyan.

We spent the next few days eating incredible food (rhubarb torte, dad’s smoked pulled pork, cookie dough bars), playing The Game of Things and Bowls, and swimming in the lake.

We drove home on Friday and spent the night at my parents. The next morning we visited Grandma before heading to my sister’s new house where we enjoyed our favorite Papa Murphy’s Pizza (Herb Chicken Mediterranean) while watching Jurassic World.

Because our flight on Sunday morning left super early, we left her house at 4:30 am. When we arrived to the Spirit Airlines customer service desk to check our bags we were told our 6:00 am flight was delayed until 4:45 pm. We weren’t too happy at that point, but thankfully it took no time to get through security and Caribou Coffee was already open. After grabbing some coffee, our friend’s found out we were stuck in the airport all day and said they weren’t allowing that to happen. Nicole picked us up and we watched Finding Dory at her house. She had a family lunch to go to so Jess popped by and took us to Culver’s for lunch where we all ordered Team Scoopie meals and custard—the silver lining of a terribly delayed flight. Eventually our flight took off and we made it back to Santa Barbara.

Caribou Coffee

Another highlight of July was when our all-time favorite ice cream shop, McConnell’s Ice Cream, opened a second location in Santa Barbara! For their opening they gave away free scoops and we gladly stood in line for 20 minutes.

McConnell's Ice Cream Free

We took a trip up to Solvang to enjoy a day in the adorable Danish-style town. We explored the shops and ate some incredible food at Solvang Brewery. On our way home we stopped at Gaviota State Park for a quick hike up to the Gavoita Wind Caves.

Solvang Bakery

Even with all the amazing adventures we had in July, one of the best things that happened was when Jackson got a promotion. He went from Assistant Athletic Trainer to Associate Head Athletic Trainer.


The last month of summer was a lot less crazy than July. We spent most of it just exploring new parts of our city.

Jackson bought a bike so we could both bike around town together. We biked to church one morning and decided to venture around downtown after. We noticed a line of people outside MAC Cosmetics and decided to check it out. Turns out it was National Lipstick Day so we stood in line and got free lipstick! We stopped by McConnell’s Ice Cream after standing in line on that hot Sunday and got a couple of ice cream sandwiches before heading home.

ice cream sandwich

Santa Barbara celebrates Old Spanish Days, also called Fiesta. Last year we didn’t go to any of the celebrations, but this year we unintentionally found ourselves enjoying them. When it was super hot in our apartment one night, we went for a walk and stumbled up the carnival. We biked downtown another time, and happened to catch the end of the children’s parade where they were handing out free ice cream. During fiesta confetti in is the air 24/7 and flamenco dancers have performances nearly every hour. It’s a fun time for the community to celebrate. We even went a local market with some friends and enjoyed homemade tamales.

Another place we road our bikes to was Recipes Bakery. I can’t believe it took me a whole year to discover this place. It was an adorable house-style bakery that served the most incredible homemade organic cinnamon rolls.

Recipes Bakery Cinnamon Rolls

Mid-august, Jackson had to work on some weekends but we still found time to go on an adventure. We drove up to Lizard’s Mouth and watched the sunset. It’s an incredible view of the ocean, tucked away in the mountains. I don’t recommend it for anyone who might get car sick though. To get there you’re basically twisting and turning for a solid 20 minutes, but it might just be worth it.

Until next time, Summer!