Natalie Notions » Where Taste Meets Travel

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Dresden Christmas Market

This year I really hit the Cyber Monday deals and online shopping hard. I’m happy to say that I finished all of my Christmas shopping. It’s a big feat to pull off before December even hits. With all of the looking and researching for gifts, I found a few things that I would love to find under the tree.


Note: The picture is from my Christmas trip to Germany a few years ago. It makes me want to go back.


Cambria coastline

A few weeks ago I decided to take a spontaneous road trip to Cambria. The end of October is one of the best times to visit Cambria to see the elephant seals lounging on the beach, which solidified my decision to go there. The other popular times for elephant seal watching is end of February and in May, but Cambria is beautiful all year round.


Cambria Beach Lodge – I loved everything about my stay at Cambria Beach Lodge. It’s located across from Moonstone Beach and the picturesque boardwalk that lines the oceanfront. Each room has a modern beachy feel, supplied with a cozy wool blanket, tasty snacks, wine, and the surf report written on a chalkboard hanging on the wall. I loved watching the sunset from the front patio and waking up to a tasty breakfast in the lobby with ocean views.

Cambria Beach LodgeCambria Beach Lodge


Moonstone Beach – Moonstone Beach is the famous beach that lines the Cambria coastline. There’s a picturesque one-mile wood plank boardwalk that lines the coast and this popular surf spot. I caught the boardwalk in front of the hotel and walked along the beach and into the forrest area until it ended, before ending up in town. Moonstone Beach doesn’t have many shells, but there’s lots of beautiful drift wood to collect.

Cambria Moonstone Beach

Hearst Castle – When I was young we spent many family vacations driving up the coast and stopping at Hearst Castle. The legendary estate was inherited by William Randolph Hearst in 1919. He then developed it into what it is today and purchased more land around the stately home, and in Cambria. In the 1920s Hearst started one of the first print media companies and was a major producer of movie newsreels. Some of these historic newsreels can be viewed during a tour of Hearst Castle.

Hearst Castle

Elephant Seals – From Hearst Castle, drive a few miles north up Highway 1 until you see signs for elephant seal viewing. This enclave is one of the best places to watch the elephant seals. There’s a secluded fenced area perched on top of the cliff not far from the sand, where you can witness nature at its finest. The seals lounge, bark, swim, and roll in the sand. It’s like an episode on National Geographic IRL.

elephant seals CambriaSan Simeon elephant seals


Home Arts – This quaint shop is filled with beachy home decor, chic furniture, and children’s finds. There’s a little bit of everything and so many things that I wanted. I walked out with a cozy poncho sweater and a brass buck, which is now on my desk.

Cambria Shopping

Linn’s – So it’s not what you normally think of when you hear shop; it’s a pie shop. Linn’s is known for their olallieberry pies and it’s a tasty must buy. All of the pies are made in house and olallieberries are pretty famous in Cambria. It’s like going to Napa and not tasting the wine. You need to taste something with olallieberries and I would suggest the pie.

Note: I’m already planning my next weekend getaway. Big Sur, Joshua Tree, Palm Springs, and San Diego are topping the list right now.


Nip Fab Skincare Review

Recently, I was gifted some Nip + Fab skincare, which I tried out for the first time. After a few weeks I immediately noticed how soft my skin felt. I don’t use many drugstore brands, but this is worth a try for an inexpensive line that hydrates the skin.

I started using the Bee Sting Fix Repair Shot without reading the instructions, and actually like the way I used it more than the suggested. After cleansing and toning my face, I rubbed a full dropper into my skin like a serum. I followed it with a moisturizer. The instructions say to add a few drops to a serum or moisturizer, which I tried, but didn’t think it worked as effectively. My skin seems to change from normal to dry once fall hits, so I need a bit more moisture.

Nip Fab skincare

The Dragon’s Blood Fix Mask is a hydrating gel mask that’s perfect to use during this transition season. It’s made with hyaluronic acid to hydrate and help refine the skin’s texture. I’m a huge fan or products with hyaluronic acid and glycolic acid. Both help keep the skin plump and are amazing for anti-aging. The main ingredient in the mask is Dragon’s Blood, which protects against environmental aggressors. Environmental damage is one of the biggest aging factors.

Nip Fab Skincare

Note: Shop the post below! Nip + Fab is available at CVS and Ulta Beauty.


Beach Yoga

I recently posted about yoga, and how it’s one of the best ways to stay balanced in life. And there are so many more benefits. Yoga can also help open up your creativity. By doing poses that open up your Sacral Chakra, your second chakra, you can bring in more creative awareness and inspiration. I’m not saying practicing once and your creative genius will be revealed. Practicing yoga can enhance the creative experience. By meditating on the second chakra and doing grounding yoga poses that support this area of the body, you will find that you are more open to your creativity. This is just one of the reasons why I practice yoga.

If you’re looking to dig deeper into this work, then join me and my friend, Ashley Corlis, this Sunday for Creativity Flow Yoga. More details are below.

Where: Surfrider Beach in Malibu, by Tower 3, at 8:30am

What to bring: Towel or mat, journal, pen, and layers in case it’s chilly. It’s a $10 suggested donation.

Note: Would love to see you this weekend at the beach!


Alfred Coffee

Blue Bottle Coffee (Arts District + other locations) – The company works with farmers around the world to source delicious and sustainable coffee. They sell their coffee within 48-hours after roasting, to deliver peak flavor. In the cafes they are constantly tasting each coffee to determine which day it will achieve peak flavor.

Alfred Coffee & Kitchen (Brentwood + other locations) – This is one of the most Instagramable coffee and tea shops in LA. It’s hard not to want to take a pic of a delicious latte, with a cute coffee bar in the background. Alfred is known for it’s motto that is displayed in every location, But First Coffee. 

Alfred Coffee LA

Aroma Coffee and Tea (Studio City) – Not only is it another cute place to grab a coffee, but it also has amazing food. This is a neighborhood hot spot with lots of industry professionals meeting and working. The cafe is located in a converted house with expansive yard, which is used as the patio.

Aroma Cafe Studio City

Coffee Commissary (Hollywood + other locations) – The shop offers a variety of boutique roasters, all brewed to perfection. The Hollywood location is located in the Siren Studios Building, where you can sometimes spot talent coming in and out. The outdoor walk-up window is a quick and easy way to get your caffeine fix.

Coffee Commissary Hollywood

Rubies + Diamonds (Hollywood) – I love the inventive infusions at Rubies + Diamonds, which isn’t a jewelry store. Some of my favorites are Rose Vanilla Latte and Coconut Sea Salt Cold Brew. This is the place for coffee with a twist and it will get you away from the regular black cup.

Best Coffee Shops LA

Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea (Venice Beach + other locations) – Intelligentsia’s mission is to make the coffee experience a memorable one. It’s an experience, from the act of making and brewing the coffee to the ritual of enjoying it. This is definitely felt in all of their shops and in the experience of waiting for a fresh cup.

Note: The best coffee in LA comes from the neighborhood boutique-style shops.