Balboa Island, California

After a night of dreaming of the California sky, I woke to howling outside my door – I don’t think I can ever go back to a normal alarm clock again.

A cup of coffee and a few rounds of fetch later, I was whisked out the door and headed back along coast.

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This time, to Balboa Island. A small island by Newport (is all the California knowledge you soaked up when watching Laguna Beach rushing back) that just happens to be the perfect spot for an early morning walk and spot of breakfast.

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You can walk along the waters edge, watching boats float lazily in the harbor, while kids play in the sand and early morning walkers speed past you, high ponies bopping.

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Or, if you’re like me, you can grab a seat and relax with the sun on your face and with the sound of the waves slowly lapping against the shore all around you.

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When the sound of your stomach growling becomes louder than the waves, you can head inland to the cutest downtown area you’ve ever seen.

Rows and rows of stores, markets, restaurants and ice cream stands. You really can’t ask for more.

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We grabbed a pastry and a smoothie and sat back, watching car after car of tourist pile onto the island.

As the streets started to crowd, we left downtown to zig zag through the residential streets (all named after gemstones, naturally).

Having a huge snow storm in Michigan a few weeks before I left, I could not get enough of these pastel homes, basking in the warm California sunshine with fake, sparkly snow  out front.

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The houses are incredibly close to their neighbors and deceivingly small.

What you think is a cute, tiny cottage from the front, turns out to be a large mansion as you walk past. If you like window shopping, especially house window shopping, this is the place for you!

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You’ll think you found your new favorite dream house . . . until you head over and see what’s on the next street.

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As the morning ended and the island started crowding, we hopped in the car and headed home to the face we knew would be waiting in the window.

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Waking up this morning to a fierce wind and a temperature of 10 degrees makes me miss mornings in the sun something fierce!

I don’t know if I could ever get used to a warm Christmas though. What do you think? Is it something you can easily get used to?

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