Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Happy Mother's Day


I hope all the Moms out there had a great Mother's Day weekend. Although I didn't get to spend the holiday with my Mom I am super excited because she is coming to visit me this upcoming weekend. I can't wait to show her where I live and work and why I feel in love with California. Of course I will blog about everything that we do together. I know I usually post my new blogs on Monday, but I had to wait for my disposable waterproof camera to be developed. You'll see why later in this post.
This past weekend's weather was really beautiful, but let's be honest, when is it ever not perfect? On Saturday morning we went to the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, CA. Our purpose for going was to ride on the huge orange balloon that goes up 400 feet in the air and on a clear day overlooks 40 miles of the OC. Unfortunately when we got there to buy tickets ($10 per person but parking is free) we were told by the visitors center that the balloon wasn't going up because it was too windy. I suggest calling ahead to make sure the balloon is operating. Since we were already there we decided to make the best of it. There is also a carousel for the kids, food trucks, kids parks, sports fields, live music, and a flower and fruit garden. We hung out most of the time in the flower and fruit garden checking out all the fruits that grow locally in Southern California. They grow everything from oranges (obviously it's Orange County), to blueberries, avocados, apples, peaches, strawberries, and many more fruits and veggies. They even have a chicken coop with about 8 live chickens where they sell the fresh eggs to the public. I really want to go back on a Sunday morning when they have the local farmers market from 10-2 and get to ride the helium balloon while shopping for some fresh food http://www.ocgp.org/visit/balloon/
Sign at the entrance 
Apparently too windy to go up
Visitors Center
Kids carousel 
Grapes
Apples
Some oranges in the OC
Blueberries 
Roses
Strawberries
Peaches
Beautiful flowers
Avocado 
Chicken coop
More chickens
I'm a butterfly
After our not so successful trip in the morning we decided to look on Groupon for some good deals being offered in our area. We ended up purchasing a wine tasting at the Orange Coast Winery in Newport Beach. The Groupon costs $39 which includes sampling of six wines for two, two wineglasses, a gourmet cheese platter, and one bottle of wine that you get to take home worth $29 https://www.groupon.com/deals/orange-coast-winery-1-14 The store is in a really weird industrial area where you wouldn't expect a winery to be but once inside you forget about it. Our server Colin was nice and informative about what wines to try based on our different preferences. I stuck to whites and my boyfriend stayed with the reds. We were both able to find one that we really liked and took a home a bottle of the Orange Bubbly. The cheese platter was pretty good, but I love all cheese so I'm easy to please. The samplings were just that, and a bit of a tease, so after we tasted all the wines we bought one full glass of wine before leaving. The only suggestion I would make to the store is to offer some bar stools. After standing and drinking for over an hour my feet and back started to hurt. The winery has some room for improvement, but overall it was well worth the money. 
The wine list
Cheers
Inside the store
Bottles of wine for purchase
With my boo
Delicious cheese
Endless summer
Store front
The best and most exciting part of the weekend for me was Sunday morning when we were invited to go paddle boarding with some friends at Balboa Peninsula near Newport Beach. We rented our boards from Balboa Boat Rentals which is right on the "boardwalk" of the peninsula. For the two boards and the paddles it ended up costing us $50 for a 2 hour rental. Make sure you bring a credit card and an id for them to hold on to while you are out on the water. We went around the entire Balboa Island which is about two miles. The first part was easy and relaxing since we were going with the wind. We got to see all the boats on the water, the beautiful houses, and even a few sea lion sun bathing on boats. As soon as we circled around the island and was paddling into the wind, I didn't think I would make it back. Standing up on the board surprisingly wasn't hard for me at all but paddling into the wind was almost impossible. I would paddle as hard as I could, but I would end up moving 10 feet backwards. My arms as definitely sore but my first time paddle boarding was so much fun and great exercise. I really want to go back maybe on a day that is not so windy to enjoy the full experience.  
Our trail around Balboa Island
Sea lions chilling on a boat
Look at that balance 
With my boo
Tons of boats 
Where we rented from 
The boardwalk with rides 
Prices
Ferry 
Balboa Village 
Have a great week! I can't wait to share what me and my Mom do this weekend.
XoXo,
Valerie