Thursday, July 25, 2013

California...The Rest of It

There's seriously nothing like a week's vacation and a five hour plane ride to make you appreciate coming home!

Matt and I are back safely from our trip to Los Angeles. After sleeping in way too late today, we're trying to get back into the usual grind. Today's post isn't about running or marathon training or prepping for back-to-school stuff. Today's post is about pictures.

Lots and lots of pictures.

When I last wrote, we had enjoyed two days of California sight-seeing. So let's pick up where we left off!

Day 3: Point Dume, Malibu Wine, Griffith Park, and Venice

Point Dume is a beautiful national reserve outside of LA. You may recognize the cliffs from the Iron Man movies; Tony Stark's house is superimposed on them! We hiked up to the top for a beautiful view, then hiked down to the beach to enjoy the crashing of the waves and watch the surfers.

Beaches in California are rocky and chilly; not at all the Florida beaches I'm used to! It's pretty cool that so many of the beaches require a little mountain climbing to see them.

Matt and Scott hiking up Point Dume
View from the top
Enjoying the view
Walking along the bottom of Point Dume...Yes, that is a rusted-out car transmission at my right.
After leaving Point Dume, we headed to a winery in Malibu and enjoyed a wine tasting. We each got a different flight and took detailed notes of which wines we liked. It was a great way to unwind after scaling those cliffs.
One of Matt's groomsmen and his fiancee were in LA from Florida as well (small world!), so we headed over to Griffith Park to see them. It was getting dark, but we were able to hike up for some blurry pictures of the Hollywood sign. We also got to spend some time at the Griffith Observatory.

Shane, Mark, Matt and me...and the tiny Hollywood sign in the background
Scott, me, and Matt
View of LA from the Observatory. Talk about light pollution!
But wait, day three wasn't yet over! Some of our good friends from college had moved to LA a couple years ago, so we stopped by the Sunny Spot in Venice to have a couple drinks and catch up.

Stetson alum, reunited.
Day 4: San Diego and La Jolla

Remember how I mentioned that Matt really likes to go-go-go on vacation? Well, I was able to win a battle for once. We headed down to San Diego to check out of the zoo.

If you were keeping up with Instagram, you know I embarrassed myself in public by doing lunges throughout the zoo. We enjoyed the honor of seeing three of the 14 Giant Pandas in captivity in the US...we also saw red pandas, which I am in love with.

I'm actually really torn about zoos in general; I think animals should be left in their wild habitats. Throughout the day my mood fluctuated between giddy and melancholy. But still, I'm glad we were able to go.

Outside the zoo! It was very chilly and even drizzled while we were there.
Bai Yun chowing down on some bamboo.
Red pandas are basically bear-foxes. CUTEST THING EVER.
After the zoo, we opted to skip the Gaslamp District because ComiCon was going on and we didn't want to be trapped by the masses. Instead, we went to La Jolla to see the seals and eat dinner.

Seals are basically the sloths of the sea, and man do they stink!
Overlooking the cliffs.
I was surprised by how cold California is in July. Not exactly what I'm used to.

Day 5: Manhattan Beach Pier

We pretty much spent Sunday doing nothing. We had brunch at Manhattan Beach at a place called The Kettle, which was amazing. We walked the pier and checked out the aquarium, which was terrifying. After a day of wandering, we picked up food to cook at home with Mark and Shane. It was a nice, lowkey day.
For some reason I really enjoy scaring myself with sea life.
The starfish were really cool, and you were allowed to touch them!
Day 6: Museum of Natural History and the Angels Game

Our plan for day 6 was originally to rent a car, go for a run, travel to Santa Barbara, and see the Angels play the Twins. However, it took us over an hour to get our car. Dejected, I agreed to put off the run. Instead, we went to Rodeo Drive and the Museum of Natural History.

I will never stop being amazed by the sheer size of dinosaurs. The LA MNH has a nice array of original fossils and casts. I was in heaven. I miss learning things!
Yes, I am that tourist. Also: more Sprinkles!
How can you not be awed and intrigued by that T. Rex skull?! And the Triceratops skulls are even bigger!
We met Scott and Robby-with-a-Y at the Angels game. We sat in the nosebleed section. It was interesting to be at a game and to really not care about the outcome. Matt actually ran into another Rays fan there! It was pretty nice to be in an outdoor stadium.

Overlooking the field.
Outside the stadium.
Day 7: Leo Carillo, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica Food Trucks, the Standard LA

Finally, on our last day in LA, we were able to take our rental car and drive along the Pacific Coast Highway. The views were simply gorgeous. We stopped in Leo Carillo, a spot our friend Alan insisted we see. I'm so glad we did! The views from the cliffs were phenomenal. I couldn't resist climbing some of the rock faces.
Paths along the top of the cliffs give way to stairs down to secluded mini-beaches.
Climbing the rock walls that surrounded one of the many beaches.
We cruised our way up to Santa Barbara and enjoyed a beautiful run along the boardwalk. It was sunny but windy; I must say, California is perfect for runners. Even when it's warm out, the breeze off the water is downright chilly.

(The downside is that is rarely rains out there, so running in the rain is basically impossible.)

We stopped along the run to check out the beach below us. After rinsing in the frigid beach showers, we checked out the courthouse gardens. We drove through the historic area, then headed back to LA.
We ran 2.5 miles uphill, then 2.5 miles down. What an easy way to ensure negative splits!
In the gardens of the Santa Barbara Courthouse.

Matt and I both agreed that if we ever moved to California, Santa Barbara (or somewhere like it) would be our destination of choice.

We had dinner in Santa Monica. On Tuesdays, the food trucks in the area park on Main Street. We enjoyed the atmosphere while eating dinner in the grass.
Freshly grilled shrimp tacos.
Food truck craziness!
Scott, Robby, Scott's roommate Leighanne, and her boyfriend Gareth met us at the food trucks and we drove over to the Standard, a rooftop bar in LA. Alan and Doug met us out again, and we enjoyed the perfect weather and gorgeous views.

True heroes: going out and drinking on a Tuesday night.
10 points to anyone who recognizes the building directly behind us. Hint: think aliens...
As we left the Standard, a lovely stranger offered us homemade cake! Turns out she's the blogger behind Sitting in Bars with Cake. Her experiment - to bring cake to bars to meet men - is hilarious and tasty! She was super friendly and the cake was a divine way to end the night. (I'm hoping we get a little shout-out on her post for cake #22!)

We drove through WeHo but were too late to enjoy the drag show at Rage. Instead, we headed home. It was a good way to end our trip.

I can see why so many people love Cali! If we go again, we need to see San Fransisco, Yosemite, and a few other places Alan mentioned for white water rafting and the like. We had a great time...But I am 100% happy to be home!

When was your last big vacation?
What have you been up to while I've been away?
Link me to a blog post you wrote while I was gone that I really shouldn't miss!



  1. First I love your cross body purse, too cute. Second I want to go to California so badly, the weather looks great there. I always wonder about the Cali bloggers I see running year round with no problem and I am over here in GA sweating like mad in the heat. Third, how fun about the cake and what a fun idea. I am now following her blog.

    1. Those Cali bloggers' secret is out: it's seriously perfect weather all year round. It doesn't rain, it stays between 65 and 80 degrees, there's no humidity...That was seriously the best part of the trip!

    2. Don't worry, it definitely rains up here in Northern California. It's been a really dry year, but some years we go weeks with non-stop rain. :-D

  2. Oh my goodness, hello super cute red panda!

    I had no idea seals smell bad! They have such cute faces ... and anything with a cute face can't possibly smell bad :)

    California beaches are awesome! I spent some time in Santa Monica a couple of summers ago because I was consulting with a company out there and I was amazed at what a great view they get treated to. I love our beaches here on the east coast, especially my wonderful Fort Lauderdale beach, but Cali beaches take things to the next level!

    1. The seals reek of fish! It was pretty overpowering lol.

      The beaches in CA were really beautiful. For sights, they definitely outrank Florida, but for actual swimming and weather I'd take Florida any day. We flew out from Ft. Lauderdale, actually!

  3. 1. I am so glad I'm not the only one who embarrasses myself doing exercises in public. On a drive home from LA in May, I got out my Kettlebells at every gas station. My boyfriend wanted to leave me on the side of the road.

    2. I lived in Santa Barbara for my freshman year of college. Your photos made me really miss the old stomping grounds!

    3. I am so glad you had a great vacation here and that you made it home safe and sound!

    1. LOL! I love the image of you doing a Kettlebell workout at a gas station. I feel like there's some good reality TV/blog fodder in that idea...

  4. KT@runrelaxrecovery.comJuly 26, 2013 at 3:22 AM

    Looks like you had an awesome vacation. My next big vacation will be in Alaska, hopefully next year! I am getting ready to leave for the beach today for our yearly anniversary vacay.
    I posted about Body Image at
    After seeing your pictures, we may hang around in Cali when we return from our Alaskan cruise, I would love to see the West Coast. Glad you are home, safe and sound.

    1. I loved Alaska when I went! It was a long time ago, but I still have such clear memories of it. It's seriously just beautiful. Can't wait to check out your post!

  5. Looks like so much FUN! Last big vacation I took was in February to Mexico...had such a great time!!! I have never been to Cali - so seeing all your pics makes me hop I can swing a trip there next year!

    1. I'm interested in seeing Mexico, but a little wary because of the reported violence in recent years. I'm sure it's gorgeous, though!

  6. What an awesome trip!!!!!!
    I loved reading about it and seeing the pictures!!!!!
    The last big trip we went on was our honeymoon to Vegas and we had an amazing time!!!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed seeing it! I know it's not really "running" related, but sometimes the blog needs to get a little off topic haha.

      I love Vegas! I've been twice, but never with Matt. Maybe next year that'll be our destination of choice!

  7. Glad you had a great time! Tempts me to go visit southern CA someday. I was in LA once for a conference and didn't really see much.

    Last big vacation - honeymoon. We roadtripped from Chicago to Paducah, MO, to Memphis (Graceland! Stax Museum! Sun Studio!) to Louisville. Since then all vacations have been for family.

    1. Southern CA was definitely beautiful...way better than LA itself.

      Some of my best memories are of family vacations!