Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The First Wave

:D teehee! My post title cracks me up.

When I returned from Bermuda-Frederick to LA...it was 3am. I got up at 7 and went to work and then I went to the grocery store and then I put away all the groceries and then I promptly passed out on the couch. On Tuesday, I worked (our busiest day) and cleaned out my car--it had been a while. On Wednesday, I worked again and cleaned our apartment like mad. On Thursday, I worked a half day and then my Aunt Toni and cousin Hannah arrived. WHEW!!

Hannah just graduated high school this year. As a graduation present, my Aunt Toni brought her to see California(what a great grandma!). Much like me at the same age, Hannah feels California calling to her, so I was happy to oblige and show her the best time that I could. :) 

Thursday 23 July 2015
I picked Hannah and Toni up at the airport and we headed to their hotel in Santa Monica. It was a cute place not too far from my house. Aunt Toni wanted to rest for a bit, so I took Hannah to Downtown Santa Monica.




We walked along the bluff, hit the promenade, and had some subpar tacos for lunch. 





Hannah and I headed back to the hotel to collect my Aunt Toni and we returned to my apartment to meet up with Preston and my friends Erica and Meredith. We had plans to walk down to the Pier for the summer weekly concert series.

Preston went to pick up some sandwiches we had ordered from a nearby Italian deli, which claims to have the BEST sandwich in LA. Verdict: 'The Godmother' was tasty, but I wouldn't rank it as the BEST. 

We walked down to the beach and set up with the hundreds (possibly even thousands) of other people on blankets in the sand for a nice picnic.





It was a beautiful setting. Toni and Hannah got to put their feet in the Pacific Ocean for the first time. It was surprisingly warm! We enjoyed the music and watched the stars come out before heading home.








Friday 24 July 2015
I got through work as fast as possible today and drove back to Santa Monica to pick up my family for a day of sight seeing in LA.

We headed first to the Griffith Observatory, which is a famous LA landmark with great views of the whole city. 

Since we were hungry, we stopped first at a little cafe in Griffith Park for a quick bite. Then we headed up the hill towards the Observatory. It was a MAD HOUSE. Oh my gosh. We had to park along the road and hike up to it. 



Even in the hot weather, the views are well worth the climb. We strolled the grounds for a bit and snapped some photos before heading back to the air conditioning of the car. 







Our next stop was Hollywood. We parked at the Hollywood and Highland mall and walked up to the Walk of Fame to see the sidewalk stars. We went over to Grauman's Theater to look upon all the hand/foot prints from celebrities past and present.




Everyone who visits LA wants to come to Hollywood...and it's surely a 'do not miss' kind of spot, but ugh...it's so disgusting! It's dirty and busy and there are weird people dressed up in costumes that try to take pictures with you for money. Guys walk around with headphones they'll put on your head to hear their new CD. It's uncomfortable and crowded and you've got to watch your purse!

We grabbed some smoothies at a shop upstairs in the Kodak Theater/mall and got out of there!

From Hollywood, we drove to Beverly Hills. What a difference! Beverly Hills is so green and clean! We parked near Rodeo Drive and strolled down admiring all the shops we can't afford. :P 




We drove through some of the surrounding streets to gawk at the huge houses and followed Santa Monica Blvd back into Santa Monica.

After such a long day, we decided to stay in and have pasta for dinner. 

Hannah has really been wanting to see the movie "Santa Ana", so we tried to find it online and we did! We put the movie on and sat down to watch. About twenty minutes in...we realized The Rock was not showing up. Haha! Somehow we had the wrong movie! We were watched "San Andreas Fault", which had a very similar story line and a much smaller budget!! Lol. We were already invested, so we finished the movie. It was unintentionally hilarious and I would highly recommend it. I am still laughing that we watched the wrong movie.

Saturday 25 July 2015
I picked up Hannah and Toni in the morning and we headed to Calabasas. Hannah is ALL about the Kardashians and Calabasas is their hometown. It's just north of LA and I had never been there. 

Unfortunately, we saw no Kardashians (blast. I would have been the COOLEST cousin ever if we had!!), but we did see lots of big houses and got some frappuccinos from Starbucks. Mmmm s'mores. Totally worth the 500 calories. :D 




We drove back through the mountains of Malibu and then along the coast to Santa Monica. 



Since it was so hot, we took a little break at my place and got some lunch.

A little later in the afternoon Hannah, Toni, and I hopped on some bikes to bike along the beach path down to Venice.




I love biking on the beach. :) We saw all the wild and craziness of Venice and headed back towards Santa Monica. On the way, some guy asked Toni if she was Hannah's pimp. Um what?!



Looks just like a California Girl <3

I don't know what's going on with this weather, but it's hotter than it usually is here. Whew. Summer has arrived at last. We returned to our apartment and cooled down a bit outside before dinner.




I cooked a new recipe in the crockpot. It was ok, but I do love crockpot meals on hot summer days. Saves me from cooking! 

Sunday 26 July 2015
I picked up the fam again and we headed to see Downtown LA and USC where I work. 


Next stop: In N Out. A California Institution.




We backtracked towards Melrose to check out the DASH Store. A must see for Hannah. hehe. 



Next, we headed south towards Long Beach. I lived in Long Beach for nearly 6 years and boy do I miss it. Whenever I go to Long Beach it feels like going home. SOOOOO I like taking people there to show them my old stomping grounds.

There's a beautiful drive around the Palos Verdes Peninsula just southwest of where I live, so that's where we headed. 




We stopped at the Point Vincente Interpretive Center, which was a first for me. They have a couple cute little exhibits about the area, notably the ecology and geology. It was definitely worth the stop, plus they have restrooms. :P










We continued around the peninsula to San Pedro which is in the western part of Long Beach. Hannah is interested in studying marine biology, so my friend Erica had suggested we stop at a rescue center for seals and sea lions. 




There's been a big problem this year with seal and sea lion pups coming ashore near death from starvation. The people at the rescue center informed us that this is mostly due to warming waters and lack of fish due to high population.



It was fun watching the seals and sea lions play. They are so similar, so we learned some of the differences between them (such as-sea lions have little ears and seals do not. Sea lions have a loud bark, but seals do not (I didn't really get this one bc the seals were definitely making noise!) and sea lions walk around on their front flippers, but seals...do not.) These animals were so huge that it was hard to believe that they were only pups!

We finally headed into my old neighbor of Belmont Shore and took a break for some drinks and apps at Erica's place. We walked from there to dinner on the beach. I seem to always take visitors to this place, because it really has the best view, but man...the food is just not good. I'm not going there anymore. :P Lesson learned.



We left Long Beach and headed back to Santa Monica to finally watch the CORRECT 'San Andreas' movie. It was ok...and of course a bit over the top. I kind of liked 'San Andreas Fault' better, because it was so funny.

Toni and Hannah leave tomorrow. Sad. But, my Aunt Sherry and Maddie arrive on Tuesday in the second wave...stay tuned! 



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