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Hello, my friends, and happy Friday!! I am coming to you from the gorgeous Laguna Beach, California area where I am currently attempting to escape the intense heat wave in Arizona. We are here for a month so you wouldn’t believe how much we packed! I brought almost my entire kitchen. 🙂 I even snuck in my Vitamix blender and ice machine.

Before we left town, I had to recipe test like CRAZY. I am SO EXCITED to share the next batch of NEW recipes with you so be on the lookout. So now that I am in California, I get to cook “just for fun” so it is so relaxing and fun.

While we are here, we will have a non-stop flow of friends and family coming to visit, which makes it even more fun! I am an early bird so I wake up early before all the chaos ensues. All of the doors and windows are open, the birds are chirping, and there is a cool ocean breeze coming through the house. It is heavenly!

One of my favorite parts about being in California is the ability to walk OUTSIDE at any time of the day and take a walk or go for a run. Let’s be real…I am not running! Hahaha! But you have to wake up at the crack of dawn in Arizona before the sun is even shining, to get a walk in. 🙂

I am pretty sure if Bentley could talk that he would say this was the best place ever because somehow he is getting in several walks per day.

We have been walking down to the ocean bluff most nights to eat dinner out there because it is just so beautiful. It may sound super extra, but I love setting a lovely table and using pretty dishes so this is a dream for me! I like to believe that I live in Nancy Meyers films. Hahaha!

There has definitely been some “June Gloom” at the coast but we are still loving the beach time.

Yesterday, I made some Italian subs and served it with macaroni salad, potato salad, fresh fruit, and veggies and ranch. It was DELICIOUS!

This was our very first time trying out the Crystal Cove Shake Shack and the kids loved the vibe. The shakes were super delicious and the sunset couldn’t be beat.

I love cozy dinners in. We usually do different themes and have had a few Italian nights. My kids could eat their weight in garlic cheese bread so that’s a staple plus my homemade lasagna, ravioli with browned butter and sage, and an Italian salad with fresh parm.

So many fun memories already made with the fam! We are cherishing this time together before Carson leaves for two years on a church mission. This time together is priceless!

Family Life:

There have been some big things happening in our family! Our son, Carson, just graduated high school, so we have been busy doing all of the graduation festivities. So proud of him!

Plus our daughter, Sierra, who has worked for Modern Honey, for years, ran her first marathon last week! She recently picked up running and is currently obsessed with it. She never ceases to amaze me with her work ethic and dedication to doing hard things.

Oh and I can’t forget that our youngest just turned 16. It is has been a BUSY two weeks! She is as sweet as they come. We love our little peacemaker!

Have you ever made one of these candy tackle boxes? They are so perfect for road trips, lake or beach trips, picnics, or just for snacking.

Products I am loving:

I put the skillets, pots, and pans in my kitchen to good use! They are used every single day so I definitely put them through the wringer. 🙂

Dean bought me a set of pans about 18 months ago and I am LOVING them. I love them so much that I took my largest skillet with me to California!

Have you tried the HexClad pans? I reached out to them because I am a huge fan and got a discount code for you — 10% off your purchase. Just use the code modernhoney to get your 10% off and CLICK this LINK HERE to read more about HexClad.

For those of you who have been to Southern California, who live in Orange County, or just travel here often…do you have any great food recommendations? I am cooking a ton plus wanting to try out as many new places as possible, as well as going to some of our favorites.

This one was another LONG one! There has been so much going on and just had to share. Thank you so much for reading and following along. It means so much! I hope you have the best weekend, my friends.

Hi, I'm Melissa Stadler!

I am an Award-Winning Recipe Creator. Cover of Food Network Magazine. Two-Time Pillsbury Bake-Off Finalist. I am passionate about sharing the best recipes so you have success in the kitchen!

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  1. Looks like you have the perfect family. With your cooking I would expect one to be a little chunky but everyone is slim, trim and beautiful. Hope you have a great time. Never could figure out why anyone would choose to live in Arizona with te heat.

    Love your recipies

  2. Thanks for sharing some of your personal life… what an amazing family. Life looks a little different to yours here in New Zealand,(coming into winter now) so always excited when you post places etc. Thanks.

  3. Love your posts and especially recipes. We live in Huntington Beach and my brother lives in Laguna Beach so there often. Nick’s is great and South of Nics great! Mood Mia for Italian in Newport Coast along with Javier’s and A Market. There are so many great restaurants in Laguna Beach. Looks like a great time for your family. Sorry about the June gloom we are having but it will be over in July and you will see the sun more often! Enjoy!