Monday, April 14, 2014

New Day, New Adventure

Happy Monday blog family! I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend and was able to enjoy the beautiful weather. My boyfriend had his wisdom teeth pulled last weekend so we really just took it easy at home. By this weekend I was ready to get back out in the LA sun and have some fun exploring. On Saturday morning I referred back to my "CALI BABY" Pinterest board to decide what I wanted to do. The day ended up being perfect and mostly free which is always a plus! 

Our first stop was the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach (20612 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach, CA 92651). I love animals especially marine animals, so I knew I wanted to make a stop here at some point. The center is open daily from 10-4 and admission is free although they do accept donations. Since there is such a large population of marine life in the OC, there is unfortunately going to be some that are not able to survive in the wild or are sick. The volunteers help rehabilitate the animals back to good health before releasing them back into the wild. Tamara was our "guide" and was super informative. She answered all of our questions and gave us a great overview of what they do at the center. The best time to go is in the spring/summer since that is when the pups leave their mothers and are on their own for the first time. They had about 70 sea lion and elephant seals while we were there, but hopefully by the end of summer they will have far less. I also recommend going around 11:00AM since that is lunch time. Watching the volunteers feed the sea lion was really special. Since they are under weight and sick, they have to force feed some of the smaller seals to make sure they gain weight. The seals are behind a fence which can make them hard to see, but the volunteers will take you up the stairs and let you look down if you ask. Overall this is a great place to spend an hour and get to experience marine life up close. 
video
Easy to miss while driving. Look for this sign
Playing together
So many cuties 
Escape artists 
On top of the stairs 
Lunch time and they know it
Feeding the sea lion
After having fun with all the marine cuties, we wanted to go somewhere with a nice view of the ocean. I again referred to my bucket list and decided on "Top of the World" in Laguna Beach which was only a 10 minute drive from where we were already. I was planning on this being a hike, but when I typed in the address (Alta Laguna Blvd, Laguna Beach, CA 92651) into my GPS it took us to the top of the mountain. No hiking necessary. The cool part was on the drive up the mountain we drove past Laguna Beach High School. As a kid I loved watching Laguna Beach on MTV and always dreamed of living here. Now my dreams are a reality, and it was all put into perspective from seeing the high school overlooking the ocean. At the top of the mountain there was free parking, yayyy! We only had to walk about 1000 feet to the very top of the mountain with 360 views of the ocean, mountains, and city. There are tons of hiking trails to explore, a park for kids, and tennis and basketball courts. This would be a great place to watch the sunset or sunrise, and I can't wait to go back! 
Mountains 
Kids park
Overlooking Laguna Beach
Cactus 
Typical us
Panoramic view
Trail to the top 
California has so many wild flowers 
On top of the world... literally 
Hiking trails 
On the way down
After our "hike" we worked up quite an appetite. We decided on lunch at The Rooftop in Laguna Beach since we went to the restaurant on the 1st floor before and it was delicious. The restaurant has beautiful views and good food, but the service and wait was not so good. Tables are first come first serve and it was a bit like hunger games when someone gets up from a table. We had to wait about 15 minutes for someone to leave before we jumped into the open table. Every table was filled and there seemed to be a lack of servers which made the service suffer. When we finally did order, we decided to enjoy our margaritas while eating some appetizers including the Hawaiian ahi poke and shrimp salsa both which were delicious. We were pretty full after the large appetizers so I just got the brie cheese appetizer and my boyfriend got the spicy seafood chowder that we both scarfed down. If I ever go back (the views alone are worth going back for), I would go at a less busy time to be able to find a table easier.
Margarita and menu
The view 
Appetizers 
Brie cheese
Spicy seafood chowder 
I am really loving living here and can't wait to check more things off my bucket list. 
XoXo,
Valerie