Our Camper Van (Sportsmobile)

Sportsmobile, Dodge, Vanlife

Three years ago, we decided we were going to invest in an camper van.  Like most, we started looking exclusively at VW Westfalias and VW Adventurewagens.  We stopped after realizing the price of the VWs were climbing and we aren’t fans of the cab over/forward command layout either.

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Weekend DYI- Roasting Coffee Beans

We recently started roasting our own coffee beans because Louis discovered a wholesale coffee shop called Sweet Maria’s located in Oakland, California. It turns out roasting your own coffee beans at home is very easy, it only takes about 15-30 minutes per batch and the taste is amazing! The roasting process has taught us so much about different varieties of coffees, the roasting techniques and ways of coffee trading.


Our roasting set up. We purchased a digital thermometer on Amazon to provide more accurate temperature gauging. 

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SoCal Adventures-Paddle Boarding in Lido Island

We try to enjoy the outdoors all year round since living in Southern California pretty much guarantees constant sunshine. Even with El Nino weather this year, the rain has not prevented us from the outdoors. We decided to go paddle boarding on Lido Island a couple of weekends ago. This was a request made by my friend Azrina before she went back to the “real” winter in Boston. Lido Island is a manmade island located in the harbor of Newport Beach, CA. Since only Louis and I had our own paddle boards, our friends found a good deal for a 2-hr paddle board rental at Wayward Captain Watersports for $10. The weather was partially sunny with very light breeze, which turned out to be perfect paddle boarding climate. One thing to watch out for is the wind when paddle boarding, it can be quite a workout fighting against the wind!

Good to know:

  • Wayward Captain Watersports is located at 2406 Newport Blvd, Newport Beach, CA. They are located on the dock behind the American Junkie restaurant. Their hours of operation are from 10AM-6PM.
  • Parking is tight on Lido Island, it is especially chaotic on the weekends. Valet parking is available in front of the restaurant for $12 or street parking is available if you don’t mind walking a bit further.
  • Once you launch your paddle board, watch for boat traffic in this area- it’s a harbor for small boats coming in and out of the Pacific Ocean.

We ended up paddling around the perimeter of Lido Island for the afternoon


Paddling around Lido Island


Alpana in her “winter” attire while paddle boarding

Badlands Park- Laguna Niguel, CA

The Quick and Dirty:
31671 Isle Vista, Laguna Niguel, CA. Free parking can be found on Isle Vista street. Park on the street before entering the private, gated community.
Distance:  Short 1.5 mile walk with panoramic views of Dana Point and Laguna Beach. 
Difficulty:  Easy, this trail is not really a hike but a leaisure walk. It is super short but perfect to bring friends and family who wants an ocean view by can’t walk or hike very far.
Dogs Allowed? Yes, dogs need to be leashed on to be on the trail.

If you want a panoramic ocean view in south Orange County without the crowd, this is the place to come. We stumbled upon this short hiking trail during a dog Meetup for Dakota and have been taking family and friends to visit this place ever since.

Located in Laguna Niguel, Badlands Park is a short 1.5 walk  with a view of the Dana Point to Laguna Beach coastline on one side and equally impressive cliff-side houses on the other. We think this trail is great if you are looking for a leisure stroll with a panoramic view and without needing direct beach access. Picnic tables are also available at the beginning of the trail for a meal and a nice view of the coastal sunset.


Coast view looking north towards Laguna Beach. On a clear day, you can see as far as Long Beach toward the north and Catalina Island towards the west.