Thursday, July 2, 2015

Catching Up- May & June

Hello blog family, 

This weekend is the 4th of July, and my boyfriend and I are going away! I can't wait to share our amazing trip with all of you when I get back. For now, here's what I was up to in late May and June. 

I absolutely love living in California, and right now I am probably the happiest I've ever been. Still, the hardest part about not living at home is being away from my Mom. She really is my best friend and my rock. Every year since I left Pennsylvania my Mom has made a trip to see me over Memorial Day weekend. We had another great holiday weekend spending quality time together in California! We went back to the Crystal Cathedral, got new shoes from the Asics headquarters, picked fresh lemons, enjoyed wine by the fireplace, dipped our feet in the pool, ate a vegan dinner, went to the beach and relaxed, had beignets and watched the fireworks in Downtown Disney, and ate fresh food at the farmers market. I loved being able to share my favorite things about my life here in California with her. We had an amazing time, and I was super sad to see her leave. Until next time Mom <3.

One of my favorite things to do in Orange County is to grab some delicious food and enjoy a walk along the beach to watch the sunset. The weekend after my Mom left, my boyfriend and I were both really craving a fresh lobster roll. I found a place located across the street from the ocean in Laguna Beach called Slapfish that we just had to try. It was a perfect meal followed by a perfect walk along the beach to watch the sunset over the ocean. Heisler Park is a great place in Laguna that has trails along the beach and also includes some lookout points that would be great for photos. The following weekend we had the same idea and went to a great little Italian restaurant called Cucina Alessa across the street from the ocean in Newport Beach. Dinner, drinks, and the ambiance were great. After dinner we walked across the street and sat on our blanket to watch the sunset. California truly has the most incredible sunsets. I will never get tired of sitting in the sand and watching the sun disappear into the ocean. 
Every year in early June you can experience the OC Night Market held at the OC fair grounds. Admission was $5 per person and parking was $7. Once inside there were booths with many different types of Asian food. We first walked around to see all of our options before we decided what to order.  We started with a lobster roll and garlic crab fries. Next we got some sushi and salmon poke. Along with a beer, we got a chocolate waffle and Korean dumplings. For our last round of food we ordered an uniq-ice cream cone and a cronut filled with Oreo ice cream. All of the food was delicious, but I felt it was overpriced. The lines were also ridiculously long especially as it started to get dark. I'm glad we experienced the OC Night Market at least once, but I probably wouldn't go back again next year. 

Last weekend we decided to go on a strenuous hike in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. We parked in the lot by gate #7 off of Laguna Canyon Road. There was plenty of parking available on a Saturday, just make sure you leave by 5PM or you may get locked in. Parking was $3 for the day. We started by taking Big Bend Trail which was pretty difficult. It was uphill the entire way. It also happened to be in the 90's the day we went, so it was hard to breath. Luckily when we got to the top, we could feel the ocean breeze which cooled us down. We then took Boomer Ridge to Boat Road. Both were fairly difficult but manageable. The trail isn't anything special. There were no trees or interesting things to look at, but the view of the coast at the end is amazing! You can see all of Laguna and Newport even on a hazy day. This would be a great place to watch the sunset, so I will definitely be back for that. By the time we got back to the car we had hiked about 8 miles. This was a great hike, but definitely not for beginners. 

I hope you all have a fabulous holiday weekend, I know I will! 

XoXo, 
Valerie 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Catching Up- April & May

Hello blog family,

I know I've been MIA for a few weeks, so of course I have lots to catch up on. I have an exciting trip coming up next week for the holiday weekend that I can't wait to share with all of you. For now, here's what I was up to in April & early May.

In early April we made a day trip down to San Juan Capistrano to visit the historic 230 year old mission. I was fascinated by the beautiful flower gardens, koi ponds, and the remainders of the original church from 1775. The mission is a place of historical, cultural, and religious significance which you can learn about from one of the audio tours (free with admission). Once inside the mission, it feels like you are transported back to the early 1800's. They did a great job of preserving the grounds. We spent the afternoon walking around the gardens and learning about the history of California and the church. Of course we stopped to take lots of pictures. Admission is $9/per adult and worth it for an afternoon inside the walls of the Mission at San Juan Capistrano. 

Every year in early April if you make a trip to Carlsbad outside of San Diego, you can see hundreds and hundreds of wildflowers come to life. Admission is $12/per adult. This allows you to walk around the large flower fields, enjoy the flower gardens and maze, look through local vender booths, and shop in the garden store. They also offer wagon rides, but I didn't see the point when I could walk and save the money. I honestly just wanted to take pictures in the fields which I found were roped off so you cannot run through them like I had imagined (I wanted my Sound of the Music moment). It was still a fun experience, but I probably wouldn't go back again next year. 

After our trip to the Carlsbad Flower Fields, we drove back home and made a stop at the Anaheim Packing District for dinner. Inside you will find a foodies paradise! It's like a mall but filled with trendy food, drinks, and dessert. There is also live music played on a stage, so California! Our first stop was at Popbar which is a super trendy ice cream place right now. It was, well.... overrated. Not my favorite but something you have try once. After dessert (we're adults we can do what we want!) we then got dinner and beer from The Iron Press. We grabbed some waffle sandwiches (they taste as good as they sound), waffle fries with jalapeƱo syrup, and washed it down with a few locally brewed beers. I really fell in love with the whole vibe of the Packing District. If you are ever looking for a delicious trendy meal, this is your place! 

As you probably know by now, I have a California bucket list which helps me decide what to do on the weekends. One of the hikes on the top of that list was Heart Rock in Crestline, CA. This is a very easy beginners hike (only about 1 mile) with a great pay off in the end. Of course the day we decided to go it ended up raining, but I didn't mind. We had the trail all to ourselves, and the rain made the waterfall which is normally dry, flow with water. If you follow the painted hearts along the trail, you will end up at Heart Rock, and if you are really lucky you will get to see the waterfall. This is a great place to take Instagram worthy photos and enjoy being outside in nature. 

When my Dad and family were out in California last August we made a trip to Joshua Tree National Park, and I fell in love with this park. I wanted to take my boyfriend here since I knew he would love it too. The thing I love most about Joshua Tree NP (which I've blogged about before) is you can really do your own thing. Yes there are many trails, but you can pull over anywhere, get out, and explore. I love creating my own trail which will definitely involve a lot of awesome rock climbing. This is one of my favorite National Parks, and we will definitely be back the after summer heat is over.

I have more things to update my blog on like my Mom's visit last month and a few other hikes we've done. Check back soon! 

XoXo,
Valerie