Holiday Visit

Published by javierandbriana on

When you click our links and make purchases, we may receive commissions at no extra cost to you. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

We always make a point to return to the states for the holidays. Loved ones typically have time off and its easier to wrangle everyone together to reconnect. The time always fly by too quickly and we return home a few pounds heavier. This year was no different and we are grateful to all those who took the time to see us.

In the past, our relatives and friends housesit for us and we have the piece of mind that Meka (our cat) is well taken care of while we travel. This year we tried something new and signed up for the website trusted house-sitters. We wanted to see if it would be a more sustainable option for our future travel plans. Membership allows us to find house/pet-sitters or to be a house sitters ourselves, internationally. Use code RAF236844 to get 25% off your membership.P1020157

It was no surprise that when we listed that the property is a 592-year old Tuscan castle, we were flooded with request. We settled on a lovely couple of animal lovers who took great care of our place and our kitty. After meeting them, we were able to focus on our trip, knowing Meka was in good hands.


We started our journey on the East Coast to visit some of our relatives. They were fantastic host and we were able to explore some of Washington D.C. and Baltimore. A couple of our family members recently moved and began new chapters in their lives. We were happy to find that everyone was settling into their new lives and doing well. We only wish we had more time to spend with the family that we do not see nearly enough of.P1020843 copy

As we grow older, the relationships we have with those we love is at the forefront of our minds. The more of the world that we see, the easier it is to recognize just how fleeting life is and how important it is to be present and grateful. We cherish the ones we have with whatever time we are allotted. Visiting D.C. was great start to our trip. The next stop was California to visit both of our parents and some wonderful friends.


Northern California is always the most fast-paced part of our trip. We have so many friends and family that the days just seem to fly by. We wish we had been able to spend more time with Briana’s mom, brother and sisters, but we made the most out of the time that we had. I was happy to cook some requested goodies for the family such as ratatouille, pulled pork, chocolate mousse and tortilla soup…not in the same day thankfully. Granpa was able to make the trip down and we all had a great time eating, chatting and being around one an other.P1030004 copy

The sponsored work that we do online has increased our opportunities to review more and more products. Most companies prefer to ship to the U.S., so we were thankful to our family for allowing their home to become our receiving center leading up to our visit. After so much travel, we have gotten use to packing light. After arriving to our mom’s house and seeing all the stuff that was sent for us, we saw that traveling light was not going to be an option.

After saying our goodbyes, we traveled down to the Bay Area to see Briana’s dad and some close friends. In addition to the Bay being a mad dash to see everyone, its also where we start to indulge in the local food scene. The next few days were a blur of great food and company.

Bay Area

It’s always cool to visit Briana’s dad and hear of how much Berkeley and Oakland have changed from the time when he was a kid. Our friends in the Bay always come through and make the time and effort to see us when we’re in town. Another cool part about this leg of the trip was a new sponsored collaboration.P1030185

We had the opportunity to have a sponsored stay at The Claremont Spa and Club. Staying at this beautiful and historic icon has been a dream of Briana’s since she was a child. We had a wonderful stay and an amazing chefs dinner on site. You can read more about the delicious tasting menu that we enjoyed here.P1030120 copy

Unfortunately, our time was cut short when we discovered our flight was actually departing a day earlier than we had planned. Inevitably something always goes wrong when traveling but you have to roll with it. We packed in a few more visits and headed down to Los Angeles for the end of our trip.

Los Angeles

Our food free-for-all begins in the Bay but we really kick it up a notch when we get to LA. We had our fill our ramen, burgers, tacos and dim sum. On top of all the food that we ate out, we had an obscene amount of food at my parent’s house. My love for cooking was definitely inspired by my mom’s passion for feeding everyone. The tradition of making tamales for Christmas eve never disappoints. We had fun eating, talking and then eating some more.IMG_4155

I was happy to find that my grandniece wanted to assist me with baking. We made biscotti and Mexican wedding cookies for the whole family. Its good to know that the passion for food continues to run strong in the family and will be enjoyed by future generations.P1030311 copy

The time always flies by and leaves us wishing we had planned a longer trip. Luckily, even though were are all unable to see each other all the time, we make the time we have with loved ones really count. Getting busy is just the nature of life but whenever we see the ones we love, it leaves us grateful to have such amazing human beings in our lives.

This upcoming year will mark another exciting chapter of our lives. Many of the same relatives we saw during the holiday will be visiting us in Italy and we can’t wait. We hope all of you enjoyed this season with those who matter the most and that you all have a wonderful New Year.


underhisfeathers · December 30, 2018 at 6:45 pm

What a wonderful description of your visit to California! Keep it going! Love reading about all your adventures around the world!

    javierandbriana · December 31, 2018 at 1:15 am

    Thanks so much for the kind words! We really appreciate it and your support ❤️

Mary · December 30, 2018 at 7:34 pm

So fun to read about your adventures, Javier and Briana! We look forward to meeting you guys soon and caring for the lovely Meka. Happy new year!

    javierandbriana · December 31, 2018 at 1:13 am


javierandbriana · December 31, 2018 at 1:12 am

Thanks so much for the kind words! We look forward to seeing you in Florence soon.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: