Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Let's Pack Up and Move To California

Hi there everyone! I am back from the beautiful state of California and here to share photos of the adventure! I went with my family to see my older sister's national gymnastics competition which was in LA over the weekend. We had a few extra days to do some fun stuff as well!

I absolutely loved Cali. One of the best parts? The weather. I woke up to sunny and warm days, not too warm or cold- just perfect. I loved the fact that there were bikes (super cute bikes, all different colors and with baskets) everywhere. Not kidding, everywhere! There were parts of Cali that were better than others (traffic was horrible!, some parts not so pretty as others), but it was overall a really cool city. The first sight I saw stepping out of the airport was lots and lots of palm trees. They are real, you guys! Driving on the highway, seeing these trees that were new to me, it felt like adventure.

We drove down to Santa Monica on the first night. I loved this place! The pier was filled with people, a lot of tourists but it seemed there were a lot of locals as well, particularly on the beach. I ate the most delicious burger/fries at the Pier Burger, and finished off with some yummy ice cream! I also drank some iced coffee from The Coffee Bean (Starbucks ain't got nothin on this place). Yummm.

Like I said, bikes all over the place! I wore my white converse everywhere in Cali- style and comfort in one!

One of my favorite memories from the trip was renting bikes in Santa Monica! Of course, cause I love bike rides. And this particular ride was on a bike/running path in the middle of the beach. A bike ride right next to the ocean! So perfect. Of course, I had to make a stop for some coffee!

I found my new favorite coffee shop! It is called Intelligentsia. The cutest/coolest coffee shop I've been to. They had an outdoor patio right in front of the store, and kept the doors open. The perfect place to sip a yummy iced mocha. As we were driving one day, we saw the Hollywood sign up ahead of us. We kept on driving to see if we could get any closer and found ourselves in a really pretty place. I stopped to take a pic out in a park area with the greenest of grass! The area was quiet, surrounded by trees. Beautiful. We drove up into a winding neighborhood, which had a flower shop halfway up the hill. The most cutest place ever! I stopped and had a conversation with a really nice lady named Jennifer, probably in her mid twenties, who worked there and one day hopes to own it. I feel like I met a new friend!

Like all vacations, I ate so much this week in Cali! Including (but definitely not limited to) a delicious monster cookie from Corner Bakery Cafe on the UCLA campus, burger, fries and a shake from Cafe 50's, a vintage diner in Venice, and yet another iced coffee from Dogtown Coffee. 

The famous Hollywood stars are all over the place, on various streets. I didn't spend much time in Hwood, so I only saw a few celebs names. Randomly as I was walking to the car, I spotted Michael J. Fox's star! I had a big freak out moment. He plays Marty McFly in Back to the Future, my all time favorite movie. So cool! I got to check out Amoeba music, which is like the largest record store in the world. Coincidentally, I was there on record store day so the place was crazy! I saw my favorite band on the outside of the building. And finally got to eat In-N-Out. I had heard that the place was amazing, but not I can attest to it. Best burger and fries ever! Across the street, there was  a little park where I hung out, drinking my delicious chocolate milkshake, and watching planes landing at LAX.

We drove the pacific coast highway to see the pretty view. Ocean, surfers, and huge houses in the hills made for an adventurous drive. We drove up to Malibu, then turned around. On our last full day, we spent the morning at Huntington Beach in Orange County. It was probably the most perfect place ever. That day, the weather was beautiful. The beach was clean, pretty, and had the perfect amount of people, not too many or too few. I liked this beach because there were a whole lot of surfers out in the water, which was very fun to watch. Also, I got a chance to use my new mini longboard! I spent most of my time, though, splashing around in the water. I didn't plan on getting wet, but that kinda happened while I was frolicking in the Pacific Ocean. And okay I have to mention, there were cute life guards training that day :) 

I loved having a little time to spend with my sister! She is like a rockstar at gymnastics, and it was fun watching her moves. Here's a pic of my family at dinner on our last night! After dinner, we stopped at the beach one last time. It was freezing cold and getting really dark out, but we spotted dolphins out on the water and it was perfect.

Traveling home took quite a bit longer than expected. We missed our flight and flew standby after a few hours hanging out in the airport. To be honest, I like long layovers because airports are really fun to me! I took this picture outside of the airport as we waiting (for a while!) for a shuttle to the hotel we had to stay at overnight.

California rocked my world. I loved this trip, I loved this state. I hope to go back someday, and if I do, I  will spend my time exploring nature as much as possible. While shopping, eating, and seeing tourist sights were fun, I am starting to yearn for adventure bigger than those things. Nature is God's artwork, his glory, and I want to embrace it and love it. Wow, such a big post. Thanks for reading!!
                                                                 Aleah Eileen

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