Happy Valentine’s Day ❤ ❤


Wishing everyone a day filled with lots of LOVE!

Today marks my 12th Valentine’s Day with my forever Valentine…my wonderful hubby. Tof, I love you more than words can probably every describe. Thank you for always loving me and making me feel so special. You’re the most wonderful man anyone could every ask for and I feel so incredibly lucky to call you my best friend and love of my life!  ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤  Happy Valentine’s Day! Looking forward to dinner tonight; spending time with you and snuggling with our pups!

Today we are also celebrating THREE years with Mr. Dash. You can read all about our Valentine’s Day pup here. Dash is definitely a big love bug and that has stuck since we first got him. Ha Ha Ha. He loves to give kisses and snuggle with his sister Emma and us of course! 😉

Dash is also our little trouble maker. Yesterday he thought it would be fun to celebrate by eating some gum (which apparently has a toxic ingredient to dogs) and spend 24 hours in the doggy hospital. Sigh. It looks like he’s going to be OK, but is still be monitored and having his sugar levels and liver tested. Fingers crossed he continues to do well and that we can pick him up later tonight. We certainly LOVE both of our pups very much!

❤ 2.14.15❤

Look at how little sweet Dash was?!

Handsome big boy!




Updates & Things:

Happy Monday friends! Can you believe Christmas is just ONE week away?!?!?!?

This is also my LAST week of work until our winter break/2018. Waaaahooooo! Seriously can’t wait for that. So here are some updates!

12.12.17 SIX Months at UCSB

Today is our SIX MONTH WORKIVERSARY at UCSB! Lauren and I both started on 6.12.17 and man has time flown by!

Cheers to six months and a new friendship! ❤

12.13.17 L&S Holiday Party

Today was our office Holiday Party! We had a really nice catered lunch in an event space on campus. Surprisingly, I was one of the WINNERS of our ugly sweater competition! I even got a trophy that I get to keep in my office for the next year.


Don’t you just love our group photo with our masks on? The air quality and smoke/ash is still terrible, so mask are required outside. We also got good news that we were being offered some time off (administrative leave) because of the fires, so we actually got Thursday and Friday off from work. Waaaahhoooo! After all we’ve been through and for continuing to come into work, this was super nice and very much appropriated. Thank you Chancellor Yang (finally)!

12.14.17 SB –> HB 25498059_10106148795576207_8109223752304180265_n

With no work for the next two days we packed up and headed out of town! FRESH AIR!!!!

12.15.17 STAR WARS 25443028_10106148811624047_1479113881827792578_n

Got up early and headed to the movies to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi at 7:30AM. Yes, you read that right. We went to the movies at 7:30AM. I had Starbucks on the way there and then a mini bag of popcorn because, why not. OMG it was awesome! I wouldn’t call my self a mega Star Wars fan, but I have come to really like these movies. Of course we got all caught up by watching Rogue One and The Force Awakens earlier in the week. We went to the movie theater at Bella Terra and it was truly an experience. We had assigned seats and super fancy chairs. Each seat reclined so we could totally stretch out. Next time I’m bringing my blanket. I can’t imagine seeing a moving any other way now. #spoiled



12.15.17 Half Day at Disneyland

After the movie, getting lunch and hanging out with all the pups some, we headed off to DISNEYLAND! Gotta take advantage of those season passes ha ha ha. We did a lighter day at Disney meaning we weren’t rushing around like crazy people to get on all the rides. I guess that’s one of the best benefits about having season passes. You don’t have to go crazy each time you visit the park. You can just go for a few hours, go on a few rides and then head home. We did a few fun things that we don’t normally do too:

We of course went on some rides and finally tracked down some deliciously amazing holiday treats that we’ve been seeing on Instagram at Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe. See pictures below.

Beyond DELICIOUS! OMG can you say YUM?!?!?!?!

So the reason we didn’t do a ton at Disneyland was that we were going to be back there on Sunday with my sister in law Kristin and all the niblings. Sadly, when they arrived at Disneyland (from San Diego), both Kendall and Kristin go the stomach flu! Colton had it earlier in the week and they thought everyone else escaped it…apparently not. They literally had to clean themselves up and then drive back to SD. #sadface We were supper bummed to have missed them, but totally understood they couldn’t stay. Chris and I were both really looking forward to seeing the kiddos again and watching the Christmas Fantasy Parade. Hopefully we can see it next year.

Fire Update:

Things got pretty scary over the weekend in Santa Barbara with the Thomas Fire. The fire moved into SB County and Montecito was was under mandatory evacuation along with other parts of Santa Barbara. Sadly, some multi-million dollar homes were burned down. Check out this video. Part of 101 was even shut down because of all of this. The Thomas Fire is now the 3rd largest fire in CA historyand is looking to become #1! Since we were in Huntington Beach, we were keeping our eye on the evacuation map and general updates on the fire. Again, we got really lucky that our home wasn’t in danger and we didn’t have to evacuate. Not much we could have done anyway since we were in Huntington Beach. So far 270,500 acres have burned and it’s 45% contained. Here are several reports on the fire: NPR, CNN and Cal Fire. Please continue keep us, Santa Barbara and all those either working to stop/contain these fires or people impacted by the fire in your prayers. We need RAIN and the winds to die down. ❤ ❤

Wishing you all a great last week before Christmas. Hope you don’t have too much shopping left to do. I gotta get wrapping a bunch of presents and maybe squeeze in some cookie baking.


Colorado Weekend!

Helloooooooooo! Happy Sunday night! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are gearing up for another week. This post is a little long over due but here’s all about our weekend in Colorado from earlier this month.

We caught an EARLY flight out of Orange County on 10.6.17 to Denver Colorado for one of Chris’ friends from PA schools weddings. Luckily, our dear friends Jess & Dan were also joining us on the trip. #McDahlins (combo of our last names), how we refer to the four of us and our hashtag for any time we are together. Here’s a snap shot of what we did over the course of three days!

10.7.17 — Downtown Denver & Red Rocks 

After we arrived in and got our rental car we headed to downtown Denver and straight to lunch at 5280 Burger Bar. One of my students from SJSU told me about this place a few years ago when I was in Denver for a conference and it did not disappoint. Just as good a few years later! Yummmmm! After lunch we walked around some (weather was 73* and just perfect) and then went over to the Colorado State Capitol. I did this last time I was in Denver for that conference, but it’s so worth it to go again. Located at the capitol is a step that reads “One Mile Above Sea Level.” I learned last time, that where it reads this is actually not the true one-mile marker. Ha Ha. The inscription was made based on measuring techniques from 1909, by students of the University of Denver. Originally, a brass cap was installed to commemorate this first measurement, but after the cap was stolen seven times in a matter of 38 years, the state carved the claim into the stone step itself. It turns out that the true maker of “one mile above sea level” is on the 13th step — we took note and of course lots of pictures!


Next we headed to our hotel in Ken Caryl and relaxed for awhile before we headed to Red Rocks Amphitheater for a concert. Going to Red Rocks has been on my bucket list for a looooong time. Luckily I got to visit when I was in Colorado a few years ago for that conference I keep talking about. We did A LOT while we were conferencing haha. Now show, but we walked around, had lunch, went to the museum and took tons of pictures! This time, we saw a SHOW and O.M.G. it was unbelievable!!! Kinda random, but we saw the X Ambassadors and Weezer. Although it wasn’t DMB (my favorite), it was a freaking incredible show! We’ve seen Weezer before (in Santa Barbara actually) and I wasn’t a huge fan of the X Ambassadors. After this show, big fans of both! They killed it!

Red Rocks is a stellar venue and the acoustics are crazy good.  We can’t wait to come back for another show. Hopefully it will be to DMB haha. 🙂

10.8.17 — Hiking, Golden, Co. and a wedding! 

After breakfast we decided to do a little hiking and found a great place just down from our hotel. We ended up at South Valley Park in Littleton, Colorado. Hello gorgeous red rocks and yellow aspen trees! I love fall; I love Colorado; and I love the Colorado Aspen Trees! While in Colorado, I was really hoping we would get some fall weather (not much of that in CA so far) and get to see some of the changing tree colors…well we sure did! Gosh this place was just beautiful! I couldn’t get over all the natural beauty and stunning red rocks! We saw so may people out hiking — kids, dogs, all kinds of people! Could totally see US doing that if we lived in CO. Hint hint.

After hiking through South Valley Park we headed to Golden, Colorado to check out the town per Heather’s recommendation. Golden is the most adorable town! It’s named Golden — Where the West Lives and it really lived up to all it’s charm! Golden is known as a Gold Rush town and also the location of Coors Brewery among many other way cooler breweries. After walking and exploring a bit, we grabbed delicious sandwiches from D’Deli and ate lunch by the river. Then we wandered over to a super cool brewery called Barrels & Bottles. My husband seriously always finds the best places for us to check out.

Next up was Heather & Corey’s wedding!! Heather, Chris and Jess are all friends from PA school. We were so excited to come out to Colorado for her wedding. A few years ago we saw Heather at Jess & Dan’s wedding so it was really fun to be at her wedding now. Heather and Corey got married in one of the most beautiful locations I think I’ve ever been at for a wedding. Arrowhead Gold Club in Littleton, Colorado was breathtaking. They got married against the most beautiful backdrop. I can’t wait to see their pictures because they are going to be fabulous! The views were just stunning. So gorgeous and such a perfect October day for a wedding. We were warned that we might see some wildlife during the ceremony, but we didn’t end up seeing any haha. These pictures don’t even do justice for how beautiful it was! ❤

Viewwwws for daaaaaaaays! So great. Heather looked beautiful and I LOVED her dress! The ceremony was short and sweet, so we got right to the party! There were also a few other friends from PA school (Erin and Suzanne) so it was great to catch up with them too. Per our style, we shut that party down! Danced all night and kept the PAR-TAY going! We had an absolute blast and it looks like Heather and Corey did too! So happy for you both! Congrats again! ❤ ❤

During the day we heard there was a winter storm coming, but clearly from the gorgeous wedding photos it hadn’t arrived yet. By the time we left the wedding it was a massive wind/rain storm! It was crazy getting back to the hotel and we got totally soaked. I was not so secretly praying for SNOW and to be stuck in Denver all week haha. Got part of my wish…because the next morning we woke up to freaking SNOW! Not just a little snow dusted on the ground but serious SNOW. SNOW. SNOW! — SNOW = dream come true!

Monday morning was like Christmas morning for me! I was so excited to be waking up to a real Colorado snow storm. They have a saying in Colorado, “if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.” Well we sure got a little of ALL the weather in Colorado this weekend — sunny/ warm 73*, a little cool fall type weather in the mornings, rain/wind and then SNOW! Jess and Dan weren’t too impressed with the snow, but I was digging it! I was excited to even clear off all the snow from our car! I think that proves I’m ready to MOVE to Colorado. Of course my husband was wearing shorts. Can’t take the CA out of that guy!

We had an absolute BLAST in Colorado and I can’t wait to go back soon! Seriously, I’m ready to move! I know we just moved to Santa Barbara, but Colorado would be super cool too! 😉 I know we might have to wait on that move for a bit, but Chris did like Colorado so that’s a huge plus!


Found the BEST hat at the airport that I just had to get. I may be a CA girl, but I’m ready for living life in Colorado! ❤ I mean look at that HAPPY face!!

Hope you enjoyed reading about our adventures in Colorado. Have a good Sunday night and a great Monday!








Update: Anniversary Addition 💕👫💕

Happy Friday!


Sorry it’s taken me all week to get this post up…it’s been a busy one.

Over the weekend and on Monday we celebrated our 7th Wedding Anniversary! Yay! 10.02.17 ❤ ❤ Hope you caught Monday’s post about it.

On Saturday we decided to not only go to Disneyland  but to also get SEASON PASSES!!!!! Ahhhh…YES! As you may know from this post and others, I love Halloween, but I’m also a huge Disney fan. We try to visit Disneyland as much as we can. One of the things on my fall bucket list (#14) was to see the Halloween decorations at Disneyland. Check! 471603924

This is the first year California Adventure has gotten into the Halloween spirit and decorated. Let me tell you, the decorations did not disappoint! The park was pretty crowded and since we knew we were getting passes we didn’t stress about going on all the rides. The main goal was to get passes and see all the Halloween decorations. Check out these sweet pictures below.

We also turned this trip and getting season passes into our anniversary/Christmas/both birthdays/every holiday you can think of presents! Ha Ha Ha. We even made a Disneyland COPPER penny to get that “copper” 7th anniversary theme in. 😉


Can’t wait to go back again soon!!! Yay for Disneyland and season passes!

For our actual anniversary, we decided to take the pups for a walk along the beach downtown and walk through Chase Palm Park where we got married seven years ago. It ended up being super sweet and rather romantic. We took a bunch of pictures and reminisced about our special day. There’s a fountain in the park that we got married in front of (well it used to be a fountain) so we sat down, took more pictures and ended up reading through our wedding vows. We both got pretty emotional when re-reading them. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever really re-read our vows and we certainly haven’t re-read them together. Awwww it was so very sweet. Seven years and we both still “I DO!” ❤

Like I mentioned before, since our first anniversary we’ve been following the “traditional” anniversary gifts. This has made each anniversary so much fun. The theme for this year was copper/wool (more details about that here).  As usual, my husband went above and beyond but I think this year might take the cake (at least so far). My wonderful husband LEARNED TO KNIT and knit me not one, but two WOOL SCARVES! Now who does that?!?!?! MY HUSBAND…mic drop!

The funny part about all of this is that I typically go for the funny/joke side of whatever the theme is and Chris always goes for the more romantic/sentimental route. I’m trying to pick up my game and over the years I really have ;). But, the whole point was for this to be fun and for it to not be about the gifts. This is true; the gifts make it fun, but it’s still about US and honoring/celebrating our anniversary. ❤

In terms of gifts, here’s what we’ve done so far:

  • Year 1 = Paper — I gave toilet paper (funny right?!). He gave me a leather bound journal with our wedding vows written throughout the pages. Chris wins.


  • Year 2 = Cotton — I gave him cotton scented candles. He gave me “cotton lingerie” as in the Fruit of the Loom socks/underwear/socks from Target. Funny Chris, very funny. He still wins.


  • Year 3 = Leather — I gave him a leather USC key chain. He gave me a handmade (from someone else) leather luggage tag and a leather bracelet with my favorite DMB quote engraved on it. Chris wins.



  • Year 5 = Wood — I gave him a “wood” cheese plate with a slate inlay with our names & wedding date engraved on it. He gave me/us a tree, a necklace with 5 interlocking rings for 5 years and a wooden card that said “I love you.” I think the playing field was a little more even this year…



  • Year 7= Copper/Wool — I gave him copper collar stays and a handmade wool bow tie. He gave me a penny from 2010 that says “I still Do” and learned to KNIT. And then of course he KNITTED me TWO scarves. I’m calling this one a TIE.

I know it’s not a competition on what we get each other for our anniversary, but I do feel incredibly lucky to have such a wonderfully romantic husband who loves and spoils me. Clearly I won the lottery with this guy! At the end of the day he knows I LOVE him more than anything and we have such funny stories from each anniversary. That wraps up our anniversary update.

Hope your week went well. It’s FINALLY Friday and the weekend is just hours away. Waaahooo. I’m excited because we’re headed to Colorado for a weeding! Enjoy friends





Happy 7th Wedding Anniversary! 10.02.17 💕👫💕


I feel like each year our anniversary sort of sneaks up on us…and here it is already! When I really stop and think about it, it’s hard to believe SEVEN years have gone. Sometimes it feels like just yesterday we were getting married in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA. Now we are living in Santa Barbara! If you want to read all about our wedding, you can do so here.

The past seven years has brought us all kinds of ups and downs (marriage isn’t easy friends), new jobs, multiple moves/relocation’s and of course, lots of FUN! Marriage is hard and takes work, but I can’t imagine going through life’s ups and downs with anyone other than my hubby Chris. He’s caring, supportive, loving, funny and my best friend. At the end of the day he gets me and I get him. He’s my biggest cheerleader and always wants the best for me. Chris puts us first and makes sure we are creating the best life together. I LOVE YOU TOF and feel so lucky to call you my husband! THANK YOU for everything that you do and for always loving me unconditionally! ❤❤❤

Since our first anniversary we’ve been following the “traditional” anniversary gifts. This has made each anniversary so much fun and very entertaining. Ha Ha Ha. The theme for this year is copper/wool. I was reading up on the 7th wedding anniversary and found that copper has had the traditional meaning of prosperity, good luck, and good fortune. We certainly have had good fortune, especially in terms of finding one another. Wool represents the comfort, durability, security, and warmth that couples married this long give one another. Aww well that’s certainly sweet. I do feel comfort and security not only in my marriage, but in our relationship. Chris and I have been married for seven years and together for eleven. Can’t wait to see what the hubby does with this theme! He keeps teasing me that I am going to be blown away…I’m ready!

Today we are sadly both working and I have a nasty head cold. Hopefully I’ll be feeling better and we can do a little celebrating tonight. Last night we were supposed to go to dinner at Stella Mare’s (this is where we had our rehearsal dinner), but I was feeling too under the weather. We both wanted to enjoy our dinner at such a special restaurant, so we will go another time. It was so very sweet of Tof to make reservations for us and I felt terrible we had to cancel. But last night would not have been as much fun. I’ll be sure to do a follow up post of how we celebrated later this week and of course to share how our copper/wool themed gift exchange went.

Cheers to us on seven years of marriage! Here’s to many more years together filled with LOVE, LAUGHTER and HAPPINESS! ❤



GAME DAY ❤️💛✌🏻🏈

IT’S BAAAAAAACK! Here’s to 12+ weeks of college football! 

LET’S GO TROJANS!!! ❤️💛✌🏻🏈 #ftfo #usc #itsgameday #fighton #collegefootball

Happy Saturday friends! Stay cool 😎

P.S. Sorry I’ve been MIA lately…things have been a little hectic. A much needed catch up post is coming! 



Exciting news…we’re MOVING!!!

I (we) can finally share the exciting news that the McConnells are moving to Santa Barbara! Chris (Tof) actually already moved down to SB and started his new job as a PA in the Student Health Center at UCSB back in March. This Friday will be my LAST day at SJSU 💙💛👌🏻and then I will be joining the rest of my family! It’s been a great 4 years at SJSU and an even more fabulous 7 years living back in the Bay. We are going to miss our friends and family dearly, but are really looking forward to this new adventure and chapter in our life as well as all the future visitors. Thank you all of your love and support these past few months! It’s been quite a whirlwind since the start of 2017 with the selling our SJ condo and then buying a new one in SB. None of this could have been possible without the endless support, patience, encouragement and LOVE from my AMAZING husband. Tof, I love you more than words can ever express. ❤️❤️THANK YOU for leading the way for our family and for making the past 3 months apart not feel that way at all. Here’s to our next great adventure in SB!


Will be sure to do a follow up post about selling our SJ condo, buying our SB one and just more about our MOVE!