Tuesday, June 25, 2013

California Vacation

Well hello there.  I returned yesterday from a wonderful vacation in California.  I went to see my good friend Stephanie get married but since I had previously lived in Long Beach it was also a chance to catch up with a few old friends and meet some new ones (bloggers)!  I hope you enjoy my picture heavy post.  Wedding post coming next. . .

I arrived on Wednesday at lunch time and after a quick bite to eat with my friend Caroline and her kids she went back to work and we went to the beach!  It took them about 2 seconds to get in the water.  I on the other hand enjoyed the view from my towel on the beach!

It was a GORGEOUS day!  The temp was perfect and the sky was blue without a cloud in it.  I was just happy to be on vacation in such a beautiful place!

Is there anything better than palm trees?  Maybe flowers?!  I just love how there are so many beautiful gardens in SoCal and I could stare at palm trees all day!

We went to picked up my friend from work and then went home.  We were discussing our evening plans when my friend got a terrible phone call from her mother (who lives in the Midwest).  She was in the hospital and had just been told she had a brain tumor and needed emergency surgery.  Needless to say my friend was devastated.  We decided to stay local and walked to a restaurant so neither of us had to drive (clearly my friend needed a few drinks)!  We sat outside and enjoyed yummy bar food and cocktails.  On our walk home we decided we also needed ice cream.  I love Cold Stone!

We had a nice night despite the terrible news.  But I didn't take any pics of my friend and I since she had been crying and wasn't feeling her best.  The next day she decided to fly to her mom's when during surgery they found another brain tumor that can't be operated on.  So I didn't get to see her again! :(

It was really too bad since the main reason I went early was to spend time with her and her kids.  Of course I totally understood and supported her decision to go.  Hopefully I'll get back to see her soon (or she'll bring the kids for a trip to Boston)!

Pray for her mom who will start radiation soon.  She has already beat lung cancer so hopefully she can beat this too!

I gave all 3 kids a Boston Strong shirt.  Unfortunately Andy had already left for his friend's house so I didn't get a picture of him!

Thursday morning I went to the Diana exhibit at the Queen Mary in Long Beach.  I had seen it advertised the night before and knew I had to check it out while I was in town.  It was really cool but they wouldn't let you take pictures inside which was a disappointment since there were SO many beautiful dresses (shhh don't tell that I took 2)!  You can see more of the dresses and other items here.

They had many other displays from other royal family members and even had a entire section for William and Kate including her engagement dress!

I had a very short time to visit due to other plans so went through quickly.  It was worth seeing but I think it was overpriced ($30 for entrance to the Queen Mary and Diana exhibit as you couldn't just purchase a ticket to see the Diana exhibit).

I had previously been on the Queen Mary back when I lived in Long Beach but I figured since I paid all that money for the Diana exhibit I would walk around the ship a little bit too.  I didn't have a digital camera back in the day when I lived there so it was nice to take some new pictures!

The Queen Mary made her maiden voyage on May 27, 1963 from England across the Atlantic Ocean.  This was the way the rich and famous traveled!  During WWII the ship was used to transport troops and after the went went back to being a cruise ship for two more decades.  In 1967 she arrived in Long Beach and has called it home ever since.  It is now a hotel and used for functions.  It is also said to be the "haunted ship" with plenty of ghosts aboard!

The views from the upper deck are beautiful.  You can see for miles! 

More views of downtown Long Beach from the Queen Mary.  By the way it was another fabulous day!  No June gloom here!!

After my adventures on the Queen Mary I went to visit my friends Art and Evelyn.  They are the sweetest couple around and I always make time for them when I'm in SoCal.  We went to lunch at one of my old favorites, Tequila Jack's, in Shoreline Village.  We had a delicious lunch and I of course had to get a margarita.  Oh and Art and Evelyn just happened to be celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary!!!!

We sat on the back patio and these are the views we enjoyed during lunch!  This is why I love this place - not only are the food and drinks great but the view in priceless!  We had such a nice time catching up.  In the top left picture you can see a view of the Queen Mary from the other side!

Thursday night I went to Hollywood for a blate (blogger date) with some of my favorite SoCal bloggers.  Leeann had suggested we do some sightseeing prior to meeting up for dinner.  She took me to Griffith Observatory since I had never been there.  Kat joined us too!

We saw a great view of downtown LA but unfortunately due to the location of the sun we couldn't get that great of a view of the Hollywood sign.  If you've never been up there I highly recommend it.  You can see all the way to the ocean on a clear day!  Oh but be warned the drive up in on a very curvy road so if you get motion sickness beware!  

Leeann, Kat, me and Amy (top picture) enjoyed a great dinner at The Bowery in Hollywood.  It is a small place and we sat at a table near the open windows which was really nice.  They are known for their burgers which the other three ladies all ordered.  I don't eat burgers so I got the Green Lentil Falafel and it was surprisingly good.  When it first came out I was afraid it was burnt but it wasn't and I really liked it.  I also really liked the company.  It was so fun getting to know these ladies better.  It will make reading their blogs even better.  If you don't know their blogs you should check them out! 

On Friday I went to Santa Monica for some sightseeing and to meet up with friends who had flown in from Boston that morning (they were also attending the wedding).

In case you hadn't noticed it was ANOTHER gorgeous day! Ha!  But really it was.  Sightseeing on the Santa Monica Pier is a must!  The people watching is great!

There are plenty of rides, carnival games and yummy food all while seeing a beautiful view of the beach and ocean!  Lynne and Brian took a ride on the roller coaster.  I'm not a fan of those so I just enjoyed the view!

After the Pier I enjoyed relaxing at their hotel pool prior to a walk around the 3rd Street Promenade.  It is basically a shopping area and the street is closed to cars.  It is very pretty!

We kept on walking to 4th Street to meet up with the bride and groom.  You'll have to wait to read about that in the upcoming wedding post!

I also got to have breakfast with Amanda from Sweet Tea Paperie.  It was so nice to catch up with her in person.  I gave her a gold anchor and Ani bracelet as a thank you for designing The Bean Team logo.  I love chatting with Amanda b/c we can discuss all things social media and blogging but then we can also discuss our professional lives since we have similar masters degrees.  It is so nice to chat with someone who "gets it" since my job can be stressful and often unbelievable!  I only wish she hadn't left Boston!!  

All in all it was a great time despite the rocky start.  I enjoyed great weather and plenty of sightseeing and relaxing!  Can I go back now?!


  1. Wow. Looks like an incredibly fun time. I LOVE all the photos :)

  2. those water pictures are beautiful! i want to be there! and that dress looks beautiful on you! glad you got it! :) so sorry about your friends news - how scary.

  3. What a scary phone call to get! I am glad you had such a good vacation though. Your pictures are great!

  4. LOVE the pictures!! We are going to California next week and this post just made me that much more excited to go :)
    It sounds like you had an amazing time!!

  5. I hope your mom's friend is at least feeling better. Poor thing :(

    So glad we got to meet up! It looks like you had an amazing time. You squeezed so much in. That's totally my style too when traveling. And how cute are Art and Evelyn?!

  6. I'm so sorry about your friend's mom! How sad! You packed in so much and again, great photos! I love Leeann and Kathrin! I met Leeann last year, and get to meet both of them in October! Blogger meetups are so fun. If you're ever in Seattle...

  7. This looks amazing! You packed in awesome sightseeing and visits.

    So sorry about your friend's mom.