After work my friend Jessica and I grabbed a picnic dinner at Bay City Italian Deli and headed down to the Santa Monica Pier for one of the summer concerts. We couldn't really hear the music, but just hanging out on the beach, with the huge crowds was relaxing and fun!
I had a couple extra days in California this weekend, after flying back from Atlanta for 2 day work training. So I decided to rent and car and go visit San Diego for a couple days. I drove down on Saturday morning, checked into my hotel in the Gaslamp district and met up with my mom's best friend Cathy, who drove in from Murietta. We walked down to the water and had a nice lunch at San Diego Pier Cafe. We walked around some of the Seaport Village shops, and down the harbor, then decided to drive out to Coronado Island. The island was insanely crowded on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, but after much driving around we finally found parking at the Hotel Coronado. We sat out on their huge patio and had a couple drinks and caught up with each other, which was so much fun! After that Cathy had to get back home, and I just took it easy that night.
The next day, I went back out to Coronado Island to walk along the beach. I then drove down to La Jolla on my way back to Los Angeles and saw the sea lions and explored the town for a bit. It was a short trip, but good to finally see San Diego.
Check out some more of my photos from this trip here - San Diego Photos
I work in downtown Los Angeles, and one night my company took everyone on our project to a King's game. There were about 30 of us and they rented a suite. It was a lot of fun! This picture is with my friend, Jessica, who oddly enough also loves taking feet pics!
My friend Kylee and I took another trip to Sonoma and Napa this year. It was her 40th birthday, so I had fun celebrating with her and surprising her with a couple things along the way!
We stayed in Petaluma, which was the quaintest little town - we just loved it. We got into town that night and drove into downtown for dinner. We stumbled upon Old Chicago Pizza, and had a really great dinner! On our first day we drove to Napa to stop at some of the wineries that a few friends had recommended. First stop was Silver Oak Winery for a tasting. You can never go wrong with Silver Oak! Next we stopped at a small winery - Goosecross, which was great. We had fun sipping our wine and laughing with one of the workers behind the counter. You get such a better and more personal experience at the smaller wineries. We stopped to grab a sandwich at Ranch Market Too (they really have the best sandwich shops in wine country). Next we went to Mumm for a Champagne and Cheese tasting I had made a reservation for. That was really nice - just to sit at a table overlooking the vineyard, relax and enjoy the tastings. We've made a note to do more of this on our next visit...pick just a couple places and really enjoy the experience. After Mumm we stopped at Paraduxx. Their tasting was really nice - you got your 4 tastings on a tray and could go sit at a table to enjoy them. On our drive back to Petaluma we made one more stop at Domaine Carneros for some more bubbly. We were pretty tired after our long day, so we found a Chinese restaurant in Petaluma - Lily Kai, which actually ended up being some great Chinese food.
Our next day was my big surprise for Kylee. I set up a private car through Ultimate Limo to drive us around Sonoma for a marathon of tastings. Ha! Our driver was great - he picked us up in Sonoma Square, I handed him my list of wineries and off we went. He dropped us at the door of each winery and was ready to go when we walked out. Now that's the way to do it! In about 4 hours we tasted at Ledson Winery, Chateau St. Jean, Wellington, Arrowood and Imagery Estate. After our last tasting he drove us back to Sonoma Square and we enjoyed a picnic lunch in the park with our sandwiches from Basque Cafe.
On our third day we drove into Sonoma, rented bikes from Napa Valley Bike Tours and headed out for some tastings. We started at Sebastiani - the tasting was great, but we also really enjoyed the trees around the winery - gorgeous reds and yellows. From there we biked to Buena Vista Winery, from 1857, which was pretty unique. Lastly we biked to Gundlach Bundschu. Their vineyard was huge and they had this great outdoor space near the tasting room. We made our way back to the bike store and then walked around the Sonoma square shops for a while. We had heard really good things about the restaurant Girl & the Fig, so we stopped in for an afternoon snack. That night we ate at a really good Italian restaurant in Petaluma - Cucina Paradiso.
We checked out of our hotel the next morning and drove out to the coast. For a couple years we had been hearing about Spud Point Crab Co, so we had to go check it out. We drove out to Bodega Bay Spud Point Marina. It was pretty cold and raining, but we got out to enjoy the views for a bit. Then we finally got our chance to try out the crab sandwich...and yes they completely lived up to all of the hype! When can we go back for another one?! We explored the bay a little more, stopped in at a taffy shop and then drove up the coast on Hwy 1 headed towards Muir Wood National Park. We enjoyed the scenery, the countryside, the cows, the ocean, etc along the way. As we passed by Stinson beach it looked really nice, so we stopped there to stretch our legs.
We made it to Muir Wood National Park and thankfully the rain stopped so we could enjoy our hike. The redwood trees were pretty amazing, and I just had a field day taking pictures of all the trees, moss and creeks. I was testing out my new camera on this trip, so in the darkness of the park, it made for a great learning experience to attempt to get a decent picture!
That ended our great girl's weekend trip! We drove back to San Francisco and caught our flights back home the next day. Until next time wine country...
Check out some more photos from this trip here - Sonoma & Napa Photos
This is a mix of various trips/activities in the Los Angeles area. For my birthday, my friends Jessica and David went with me to Santa Barbara for the weekend of March 31st, 2012. We drove up on Saturday and enjoyed some wine tastings. Lincourt was my favorite of the day, and of course I decided to join their wine club.
The following day on our drive back to LA, we stopped in Malibu to go hiking. What an amazing view of the ocean from the top! After our hike we treated ourselves with a great lunch at Malibu Seafood.
On April 11th, 2012 - still part of my extended birthday activities - Jessica and David surprised me and took me to Griffith Observatory after work. I had wanted to go there for a while - so that was a fun night. The lights of the city from up there are just amazing.
Finally there is the mud run on April 15th, 2012. My project decided to get a big group of people together to run in the 5k Mud Run. I really enjoyed getting muddy, but I did not enjoy the insanely steep hill we had to run (barely crawl) up during the first mile. However running down the hill…awesome! Then after finishing the race probably the worst thing of the day was the beyond ice cold water we had to rinse off in afterwards. That might have been more traumatizing than the 5k! But despite that, it was still a really great day.
Check our some more of my photos here - Santa Barbara & Malibu Photos and Mud Run Photos
I decided to stay in Santa Monica this weekend. No real plans, just wanted to hang out and explore the city instead of flying back to Texas for the weekend.
On Friday night I walked around the Santa Monica Pier. Ate dinner at Marisol's on the end of the Pier while watching the sunset.
On Saturday, I went out to the Getty Museum. When I got back to Santa Monica I rented a bike and took the bike path from Santa Monica down to Venice Beach. Walked around some of the interesting shops there, then made my way back. That night I went and had a great dinner at Duke's in Malibu.
Sunday was by far the best day. I decided to take a Trapeze class that I saw was offered on the Pier. I have a gymnastics background, so swinging on the bar and flying upside down was right up my alley! (Sadly though I am not in near as good of shape as I was back in my gymnastics days – talk about being sore the next day!) There were about 6 of us in the class and we each took turns climbing up to the platform and attempting various stunts. First we would swing, then hook our legs, then go through the motions of releasing, and finally an actual release and catch with a partner. Now that was a rush!
After my adrenaline rush from the trapeze class ended, I finished off my day by going over to Hollywood Blvd and walking up and down the Hollywood Stars and looking at the hand/foot prints in front of the Chinese Theater.
Check out some more photos from this trip here - Santa Monica & LA Photos
I met my friend Kylee in San Francisco this weekend. We were so excited, because we were finally getting to wine country! I had a free hotel night, so we stayed in the very posh St. Regis hotel! It was really nice, but we definitely felt out of place. That night we had a great dinner at Kokkari - sharing a bottle of Greek white wine and splitting some small plates.
The next day we started by exploring San Francisco. We walked to Powell Street to ride the cable car, which we rode down to Fisherman's Wharf. We walked down to Pier 39, saw the sea lions and a view of Alcatraz. Then grabbed a crab sandwich from one of the sidewalk vendors, took the trolley back to our hotel, packed up and headed on our way to Napa Valley.
We stayed at the Westin Versa in Napa and wow was it a great room! Full kitchen, dining and living room, with 2 king suites. We were spoiled for sure! As soon as we checked in we left again for our wine tour and tasting at Beringer. We were actually really impressed with the winery. That night we took it easy - grabbed a quick dinner at Gott's diner, then went in the Oxbow market to grab some snacks.
The next day we were taking a bike tour with a couple of our friends - Crissy and Oliver, who were celebrating their engagement. We met at Napa Valley Bike Tours and got our bikes for the day. Our first stop was at Cakebread winery, and then we went on to St. Supery. We all really enjoyed their wines. Next we went in the Napa Olive Oil shop and then rode to Rutherford Hill Winery. And boy was that a steep hill getting to the top - I didn't think I would be working that hard on a wine tasting bike tour! We finally made it up though, and then our lunch picnic baskets were waiting for us. After lunch we sampled some wine at Rutherford Hill, then hopped back on our bikes for one more winery - Miner Family Winery. By this point in the day it was so extremely hot (Napa was having an unusual heat wave) - the temp on the road was around 106! So needless to say I really just wanted water not wine. We finished at the last winery and then made our way back to the bike shop just before 5pm. That night Kylee and I ate at an Italian restaurant - Ristorante Allegria in downtown Napa. We had a nice dinner and then called it an early night.
The following day we drove down to St. Helena where we got breakfast and coffee at the Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Co. We then went to Grgich Hills Estate mainly to do the grape stomp! I knew it would be a fun feet picture. After that we drove up to Chateau Montelena for a tasting. It was by far the best wine we had all weekend! I even decided to join their wine club. Next we decided to give ourselves a wine break and go look at California's Old Faithful Geyser. I have to admit...it was pretty cheesy...but we were there and so we couldn't leave until the silly thing actually went off! After the geyser we got back in our car and drove to Sonoma. We stopped at Alexander Valley Vineyards, then Geyser Peak Winery. We did the reserve tasting at Geyser Peak, which was very nice - overlooking their barrel room in the warehouse. Our last stop was Silver Oak Winery before driving down to San Rafael for the night. We flew out the next day from San Francisco, so we grabbed an early dinner and called it a night.
Check out some more photos from this trip - San Francisco & Napa Photos