Thursday, April 30, 2015

Los Angeles Part I {Santa Monica | Beverly Hills}

So I thought this would be the last recap....but it got too long. Sorry I am so long-winded and take too many pictures. 

But this is a good one (and long), so get comfy!

So, after a few days in San Diego {part I | part II | part III | part IV}, we left at 6 AM to deal with the God-awful LA traffic. It took us 4 hours to get from SD to Santa Monica...LA traffic is no joke! Never will I ever complain about traffic in Charlotte again! ;)

Ella managed to take a nice long nap though!

We finally got to Santa Monica around 10 AM. I recognized this area from the tabloids (all of the celebs go for jogs along here)!

We walked out on the pier, and saw the whole carnival situation they had going on there. 

Then we walked back the other way to the beginning of the pier.

Fun fact: did you know Rt. 66 ends here? 

When we first got to the pier, it looked like the carousel was closed...but when we walked back past it on our way to the car, it was open! I was SOOO excited!!!

All aboard for Ella's first carousel ride!

Holding on for dear life...

...but she ended up loving it!

After we left Santa Monica, we headed toward the Hollywood sign. I was trying to kill 2 birds with one stone, and made my parents take Mulholland Drive instead of the freeway, so we could drive past some Real Housewives' houses!

We found Kyle's!!! Gorgeous...even with the trash cans out front. 
Unfortunately, hers was the only house we were able to find (we missed the turn to Lisa's and the others weren't off of Mulholland or tagged on Instagram...). 

We continued along Mulholland toward the Hollywood sign for about another HOUR. Please google and look up Mulholland Drive on a map...the most twisty, turny, nauseating road in the history of EVER. For someone who is insanely carsick like me, sitting in the back seat for all of this, I pretty much wanted to die. It was like a flashback to the pregnancy morning sickness that I was not wanting to revisit. 
At least the views were pretty!

We stopped near Runyon Canyon (where celebs/Real Housewives go on hikes!) and took a pretty pic of the scenic overlook. 

Then, some 45 minutes of nauseating roads later, we made it to the Hollywood sign!

Spoiler alert: Ella was not impressed.

After that, I was ready to get out of the car for the rest of my life...but we were high up in the Hollywood Hills, so no such luck.
Another 30+ minutes, and tons of traffic later, we arrived in Beverly Hills.

After a gourmet lunch at Chipotle (hey, I was nauseous and we had a toddler!), we walked around Beverly Hills...we had accidentally forgotten the stroller in San Diego, so Ella was taking turns atop my parents' shoulders. 
These people (from China!!!) thought Ella was so adorable, they stopped us to take her pic on my mom's shoulders. We were dying laughing!

Beverly Hills...ooooh lala!

Then we walked around Rodeo Drive...which was pretty much what I expected: a palm-tree lined street with super expensive stores!

Then we got to the "historic" (or probably just super touristy) part of Rodeo Drive!

Anyone remember that scene in Clueless when she walks down those steps?! That movie was constantly going through my head during our time in Beverly Hills!

Oh! And Pretty Woman! Here is the Beverly Wilshire, where it was filmed!

We also stopped in Saks, where Ella was very interested in a pair of Louboutins! (Girl has exquisite taste!)

Then we passed Kyle Richard's store!

When we walked by, I noticed she was INSIDE!!!!! After I totally freaked out, we went in and asked her for a picture!!!

She was SOOOO nice!!!!! She was in love with Ella's eyelashes! And very sweet to take a pic with some annoying touristy girl who was busting in to her place of business ;) 

(If you're new here...I have an obsession with meeting Real Housewives. I've met Adrienne from RHOBH, Teresa and Kathy from RHONJ and Bethenny from RHONY. Oh and now Kyle!)

Kyle's store just happens to be a block away from Villa Blanca (Lisa's restaurant), so of course we walked by there, too!

Sadly, she was not there :( Or at least, from what I could see.

We ended our afternoon by candy shopping at Sugarfina!

And yes, that's where the housewives went on their scavenger hunt this season.
Ok, I have a problem.

Now that you think I'm completely psycho crazily obsessed with the housewives, come back for my recap of Orange County!!! 
It's the last trip recap!!! Woohoo!!

Monday, April 27, 2015

San Diego | Part IV

Ok! Last post of San Diego!

April 6 we decided to hit up the Birch Aquarium.
Highly recommended for anyone visiting San Diego with kids...I liked it even better than the zoo

It is right on the campus of UCSD (but really, why didn't I consider coming here when I was looking at colleges 13 years ago?!) and the view from the aquarium is just gorgeous!!

As soon as we got there, we got to see them feed the sharks...

and then, outside there were lots of activities for little ones. Ella really liked this one where you could make a little waterfall ramp thing (I'm sure there is some legit name for it, but words are failing me at the moment). 

Of course we had to take a few pictures on the balcony with the gorgeous backdrop!

And then we went in to explore the aquarium! Ella really liked seeing all of the different kinds of fish!! A true aquarius :)

Back outside in another section, they had lot of little "tide pools" for little hands to explore...

We loved our time at the aquarium!!!

After that, we headed down to the beach so Ella could put her feet in the Pacific Ocean for the first time (and me for maybe only my second or third time in life)!

She did not like was really cold!!!

There were a lot of surfers on this beach and one of them even let Ella stand on his surfboard!

My mom decided to take matters into her own hands, and tried to get Ella to enjoy the beach...she was not having it.

And then my brother tried to get her to go in the ocean again. She was not impressed.

All she wanted to do was play with my mom's glasses!

Oh well. Thanks for entertaining us, La Jolla Shores!

Just 2 more days of LA to recap...thanks for hanging with me through these vacation posts! I know they are super boring, but I want to remember everything we did because it was Ella's first big trip! 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

San Diego | Part III

Back to our trip recaps....

{If you missed it: Part I and Part II}

Our third full day in San Diego (gosh, am I only up to the 3rd day?! I promise I will pick up the pace here!) was Easter Sunday! 

Travis had to fly back to Charlotte for work, unfortunately, so we dropped him off at the airport and then headed to church with my brother.

While we were in church, I saved our spot in line at a restaurant called The Cottage...they don't take reservations but you can put your name in using the No Wait app. I am so glad we did because the wait was over 90 minutes long. So as soon as we got out of church, we walked to the restaurant and only had to wait about 10 minutes!

The food was delicious and Ella especially liked the bacon!

After Ella's nap, we headed to Torrey Pines, which is a short drive from my brother's house. I was not excited about hiking, but my brother told me the pics would be worth it...he was right!!

Torrey Pines is not stroller friendly whatsoever, so my brother carried Ella like this the entire hike!

And here is Ella sitting on a real Torrey Pine! 

The next day we headed to Coronado! Add this to the list of places where I want to retire. SO gorgeous!!

{Those rocks spell out can see it from a plane!}

{These villas are part of the Hotel del Coronado...only $1500+ a night; you know I was curious and looked it up!}

Hotel del Coronado was gorgeous...kind of reminded me of a California/tropical version of the Biltmore. 

We went inside to go to the bathroom...fancy!

And then someone has a meltdown when I tried to take her picture...

After leaving the hotel, we met up with Molly! Molly was one of my first friends in Charlotte who taught with me for 4 years, and we also went to grad school/wrote our thesis together! She moved out to San Diego a few years ago so I was happy we could meet up with her!

After Ella's nap, we went to Old Town. We had been here a few nights before, but it was dark so I couldn't take good pictures! Priorities...

I got Ella the cutest dress from one of these little shops!

We ended with dinner at La PiƱata good!!!