Monday, May 31, 2010

Los Angeles!!!

Having been BORN in California, it's always a TREAT to go "home" whenever we can.  I was able to do so this weekend, with a quick trip to Los Angeles.

I LOVE L.A.!  I know that's "been said" a million times on a million different t-shirts, but it's true.  From the days when Robin and Dave lived in Whittier years ago, to the FIVE trips Duane and I have taken there, it's  a GREAT, GREAT city.

We arrived Friday afternoon, and, except for the part where we got on the Avis car rental bus, and then went BACK to the airport because our car was rented through Alamo, had a very smooth arrival!  Getting first class seats on the journey there DEFINITELY made it a lovely flight!

We stayed at the Marriot by the airport, as we did last time, and I can HONESTLY say that, with the exception of our hotel in Paris last year, this is my FAVORITE place to stay.  From the FABULOUS courtyard on the interior, to the AMAZINGLY comfortable beds, to Alex, the concierge who knows EVERYTHING, it is the GREATEST place to stay!

Here's a picture of the courtyard.  It was so lovely that we didn't feel the need to keep "going, and going, and going"....coming back to the room to just sit on the balcony was enough...!

Our first "adventure" was Manhattan Beach.  We'd been there on our previous trip, but it was close to sunset, so we weren't able to spend much time there.  We got there earlier this time, and had an hour or two to just walk the beach, check out the "artsy" lifeguard stations, and walk out onto the pier.  I LOVE the ocean.  It's "magical" to me, so ANY time that I get to spend there, is AMAZING!

Manhattan Beach

Duane and me at Mahattan Beach

Those PESKY pier sharks!!!

My "natural habitat"!

Those AWESOME lifeguard stations!


Another AWESOME lifeguard station!

After the beach, we headed back to the hotel to "hang out".  I think we were actually in bed by 8:30...we're SUCH party animals!!!  It WAS 10:30 in Minnesota, so we didn't worry TOO MUCH about it!

Saturday, we headed to Santa Monica.  We had explored it a bit on our previous trip, and LOVED it, so wanted to do some more exploring.  We found an AWESOME cafe on our last trip, so wanted to eat there again.  The "Novel Cafe" was a "whole-foodsy, organic" type restaurant, and had GREAT food.  I had the sun-dried tomato and feta omelette with spinach (SO California!), and Duane had a TASTY waffle.

The Novel Cafe

After the cafe, we headed to Santa Monica Pier, which has been featured in COUNTLESS movies and television shows...most recently, I saw it in "Flash Forward".

Santa Monica Pier!

Jeff under the pier!

Duane under the pier!

There was a memorial (for Memorial Day) being set up on the beach as we were walking...very somber, very cool!

Memorial Day Remembrance...

Crosses on the beach

After walking the beach, we headed to the pier to see what was there. I TRIED to find sunglasses, but this was the best I could come up with:

How about THESE sunglasses??!!

After time at the beach, we headed to Griffith Observatory.  We'd tried to go there on a previous visit, but they were doing renovations, so couldn't get to it.  It was worth the wait...what a COOL place!!!!

I COULD have posted a REALLY cool picture of a coyote that we saw along the side of the road on our way to the observatory, but Duane FREAKED OUT when I rolled down the window of the rental car to get a good shot.  I'm SURE the coyote wasn't THAT interested in jumping through the open window to bite me, but from Duane's FREAK OUT, you'd think it was possible...!

Griffith Observatory was AMAZING!  Fabulous views of L.A., the Hollywood sign, and really great walking trails...

The "Hollywood" sign from Griffith Observatory

LOVE this place!

The L.A. skyline from Griffith Observatory


The telescope

The moon seems so CLOSE!

Duane and the moon!

Albert Einstein and Duane!

One of the exhibit halls at Griffith

A walking paths below Griffith Observatory

After spending a couple of hours at Griffith, we headed to West Hollywood, to go to one of Duane's FAVORITE restuarants...House of Pies...very 50's, very kitchy, very good.  He had turkey and gravy over white bread with mashed potatoes, and I had a lovely steak with poblano chiles and mashed potatoes.  OF COURSE we had pie...he had...I can't remember...I had PEACH PIE ALA MODE.  It was AWESOME!

After House of Pies, we headed back to the hotel, hung out for awhile, then did some shopping along Sepulveda Boulevard.  They still HAVE World Market's in L.A. so we spent a little time there purchasing stuff we can no longer get in the cities!

Sunday, we got up and headed to Pann's diner for breakfast.  The diner looks EXACTLY like it did in the 50's, and I MUST ADMIT, the chicken and waffles were AMAZING!

After a FABULOUS breakfast, we headed back to the hotel to check out, then headed to the L.A. Farmer's Market, to check out the celebrities, and cool shops.  No celebrities, but we DID have a good time looking around!

We had to fly COACH on the way back, but it was ALL GOOD, and a LOVELY chance to get out of Minnesota and enjoy some "coastal living" for a few days.

Here's hoping YOU were able to enjoy some time away from your "real life" for awhile!!!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Last weekend Robin, Dave, Emilie, Abigail, and I went to Sheboygan to visit our friend Amy.  She knew they all were coming, but I "snuck" along to surprise her.  We had a blast!

I hadn't seen Amy since last June or July, when she was here for a visit, so it was GREAT catching up on the last year (we've e-mailed back and forth, but it's just NOT the same thing!).

It was a fun weekend!  We did some shopping (in Sheboygan and Kohler), ate at some FABULOUS restaurants (an apple orchard/barn/restaurant outside of town, Cafe Kita, and Cucina in Kohler), hung out at the beach (on Lake Michigan...even though it was REALLY foggy, and we couldn't see further than a couple of dozen feet out over the water), and just had a good time "chatting"!

Here are some photos:

Robin and Amy

A peacock (and old motorcycle!) at the apple orchard/barn/restaurant

the peacock (again)

(a turkey...trying to impress the "lady turkeys")

Abigail and Emilie (and a bear)

My DELIGHTFUL chili powder chocolate in Kohler

a cold snooze on the beach

rock hunting on the beach

more rock hunting on the beach

spoils of the search

Caffe Kita

Davey and me (and red wine!)

Jeff and Amy


Amy dining on the patio at Cucina

Robin and Dave

Emilie and Abigail

Here's hoping YOU were able to reconnect with "old friends" recently!!!!