Tuesday, August 27, 2013

San Diego - Day 5

 Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Tuesday was our last day in California, sadly.  We had a slow start to the morning, but eventually we all packed into the car and made our way to Coronado Island.  It's a ritzy island off the coast of San Diego and it was another thing on my must-see list.  We walked around Hotel Del Coronado after driving around the neighborhoods a bit.  The hotel was gorgeous and reminded me of Disney's Grand Floridian at Walt Disney World.

We also walked a bit along the beach at Coronado too.  It was probably my favorite beach that we saw the whole trip.  Despite being very windy, it was gorgeous!  And it looks like the hotel hooks you up if you're a guest.

We went back to San Diego to go to lunch at High Dive, one of Christian's favorite burger joints in San Diego.  It was also a nice little celebration for Jay's birthday, which was a few days after we left.  It was pretty good burger, but their German soft pretzel was incredible!  I'd go back for another one of those!

 We didn't have much more time, so we said our goodbyes and got all packed up.  We had to drop Jay off at his church for a meeting, so Sarah took us back downtown to El Camino again.  I wanted to go there again because of how good their salsa was.  Next time I'm in San Diego, I'm going to be there every day!

It was such a great trip and I had a lot of fun.  It was nice to meet Christian's dad and his sister for the first time, too.

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Monday, August 26, 2013

San Diego - Day 4

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

Monday was jam-packed with fun!  The main thing I wanted to do while we were in San Diego was go to San Diego Zoo.  It's definitely one of the best zoos in the country and hardly anyone disagrees.  (I have to admit, I wasn't prepared for how hilly it was going to be!  Also, it was kind of a complicated maze.)  Christian's sister Sarah had come down from LA the night before, so I met her that morning and she joined us at the zoo, along with his dad Jay.

We hit up the reptile house first because it's the closest exhibit to the entrance and it's one of Christian's favorites.  I loved seeing the koalas and pandas since they haven't been at other zoos I've visited (just Denver and Memphis that I can think of).  I also enjoy seeing the tigers and polar bears at any zoo.  Christian's other favorite animals to see are the hippos.  We rode the Skyfari Aerial Tram, which has a great view of the surrounding areas and gets you across the zoo quickly, but you can't really see any animals.  By the way, I'm pretty sure I was the only person at the zoo that didn't have a camera with a huge lens!  I'd like to see their pictures!

 Christian and I went back to Ocean Beach for yet another late lunch at one of his favorite Mexican spots, Nico's.  It was okay, but not my favorite.  Also, my burrito was too big for me to finish, so Christian ate his plus a third of mine and was full for the rest of the day.

We got pretty lucky that night that we were able to get free tickets to the Padres game because Christian's friend Greg couldn't go to the game.  We took the trolly downtown and met Greg and his girlfriend at Barley Mash for drinks before the game.  The place was pretty cool, but it was a little expensive.  I had the Kate Sessions cocktail, which has gin, St. Germaine, lemon, and strawberry and it was delicious.  Greg and his girlfriend Ashley split the San Diego Iron Fries.  Think nachos with fries.  Amazing(ly bad for you).

Petco Park was within walking distance, so we headed over to the game eventually.  We didn't get there till the sixth inning because we had so much fun over drinks, but when you get free tickets from someone who got them free, who cares?  Unfortunately (for Padres fans), they lost to the Pirates, but we still had fun.  There was an older gentleman that kept getting on the jumbotron for dancing during their pump-up songs, which was probably the best part of the game.  Petco Park is pretty nice, but I'm still partial to Coors Field.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

San Diego - Day 3

Day 1 | Day 2

I barely slept on Saturday night.  In fact, I did all my sleeping on Sunday morning, so I wasn't up till about noon.  We had another low-key relaxing day, and one with only a few pictures.

Christian and I drove to La Jolla so he could show me around.  There were people everywhere, though, so we didn't stay long.  However, we watched the waves roll in for a while and watched people snorkeling and kayaking.  We were also highly entertained by a pair of seals.

 We went back to Ocean Beach to eat at Pizza Port.  I've heard from just about everyone I've talked to about San Diego that this was a must.  It didn't disappoint.  Christian and I split a medium pizza (and didn't finish it) and it was amazing.  They also have a great selection of beer apparently, but since I still wasn't feeling 100%, I stuck to water.  Christian seemed to like the beer though.  It had a cool laid-back atmosphere too.  Great place for lunch!

That night (not shortly after our super late lunch), Jay hosted a dinner party with four of his friends.  It was a nice, enjoyable evening and Jay's seafood lasagna was great.  I could barely stay awake though, so I called it an early night yet again.

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

San Deigo - Day 2

Day 1

Saturday started off with breakfast at Jay's house before Christian and I headed west (just a few miles) to the beach.  We parked at his mom's house, the house where he grew up, and then did a 2-mile walk along Sunset Cliffs and through the neighborhood.  It was pretty cool listening to him tell stories about specific places that we passed.

We had great beach weather, so we headed down to a small beach that wasn't crowded at all.  The longer we stayed, the more the people trickled down from the road above us, but it was still quiet and relaxing.  We read and played a new favorite game, Quiddler.  I put my toes in the water and it was pretty cold, so that was as much time either of us spent in the ocean.

For lunch, we drove to Ocean Beach to go to a place Christian likes that was also recommended by some friends of my sister, South Beach Bar & Grille.  They're known for their huge fish tacos.  We shared some ceviche, which I've never had before and was super yummy, and I got a mango colada (okay, two), which was probably the best drink I've ever had.  For lunch, I got a lobster taco and a classic fish taco and they did not disappoint!

With the beach just a few steps away, we checked out Ocean Beach and walked out onto the pier.  Christian pointed out different parts of San Diego and La Jolla that you could see from the end of the pier.  It was a good view of the mainland.

After a nap (and more reading) back at headquarters, we got ready to go out to dinner with Jay.  He took us to one of his favorite restaurants, Au Revoir in Hillcrest.  It was to die for!  I had the ribeye special that came with lavendar fries (OMG, yum!) and asparagus.  It was delicious!

Jay dropped us off downtown after dinner and we waited for Christian's friend at Yard House, which is a boring chain.  Later, we met up with Christian's friend Greg at his bar Hennessy's Tavern.  The guys played pool and I listened to a funk band that was covering some current popular music (think "Blurred Lines" and "Get Lucky").  After that, we checked out Vibe, a sushi place turned bar, and Gaslamp Tavern.  Unfortunately, I was feeling like total crap and we called it a night at about 12:00. 

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

San Diego - Day 1

Christian and I set out for San Diego on Friday afternoon.  I could not have been more excited because I've never been anywhere in San Diego and since he had grown up there, I've heard so many wonderful things about the city.

Christian's dad Jay picked us up from the airport in San Diego.  After we got settled at his house, we took his dog Matty to the dog park near Balboa Park.

We walked around Balboa Park for a while and Jay and Christian showed me everything there is to see.  Balboa Park is a great place for culture.  There are all kinds of museums and theaters.  The architecture is beautiful and its a real sight to be seen.  We walked near the zoo and the botanical gardens too, but didn't go into either.

After we left the park, we went to one of Christian's favorite happy hour spots, El Camino in Little Italy.  It had a great outdoor patio with planes flying right over it.  The happy hour specials were awesome and while the margaritas were good, the salsa was out of this world!  I'm usually not one for salsa (I prefer guacamole) but I had dreams about this salsa.  It's definitely a must in San Diego.

We picked up some dinner to-go at a place Christian and his family have loved for years, Saffron.  I had only had Thai food once before, but I loved it.  Especially the drunken noodles, but the Pad Thai was good too.  It's just a little hole-in-the-wall type place, but it's owned by a pretty famous chef and is a great place if you like Thai.

Since we only had the afternoon and evening, it was kind of a low-key day.  We ended the night watching one of Jay's favorite movies, Body Heat.  His dog Matty is named after Kathleen Turner's character.  Surprisingly, I fell asleep during the movie, which never happens, and called it a night before 10:00.

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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Ten on Ten :: August 2013

10 pictures on the 10th day of the month!

Document a snapshot of your life & find beauty among the ordinary things in your day!

Started my Saturday morning with a 6-mile walk with Christian and his dogs.

I guess if I have to sit in horrible traffic, this is the view to have.

Barely made it to Pure Barre in time to life, tone, burn.

Spinach and fresh fruit salad with chicken for a girl's lunch at Noodles.

Every day should be a Target day.

 Avocado skins from my guacamole.

A little reminder that today is a happy day!

Let the 4th Annual Salsa Party begin!

It's definitely five o'clock somewhere.  (Margarita station.)

My guacamole submission (Hanamole) ended up taking first prize out of five guacamoles!

ten on ten button

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

A Weekend at Grand Lake

When Christian and I were discussing where we might go camping again this summer, Grand Lake was mentioned because it's one of my favorite places in Colorado.  It turns out, Christian's neighbors own a cabin near Grand Lake that he's stayed at a few times and they were generous enough to offer it to us for the weekend.  After I saw the forecast for the weekend (rain everyday), I was thrilled!
We left on Saturday morning and headed up to the mountains.  While we were finishing up packing the car, Zoey had already jumped in the back and was ready to go!  We drove through Estes Park and got a glimpse of the Stanley Hotel, made famous by Stephen King's The Shining.  We also drove over Trail Ridge Pass, the highest highway in the country, and saw the beautiful mountains and lots of wildlife!

As soon as we got to the cabin, Christian let the dogs out and they were loving it!  Unfortunately, because of some legal issues with the neighbors, what would have been a large lake was mostly drained, leaving only a small pond and some "wetlands".  Still, Sasha couldn't wait to swim!

We decided to go for a "walk" on the road behind the cabin, but it actually turned into a hike.  The road is mostly used for ATV's that can be rented at the bottom of the hill, so we had to share the road.  We also took a trail that apparently hadn't been used in years because it quickly disappeared and we were just off-roading.  (Terrible, I know.)  Still, we found some wild strawberries and raspberries (so delicious!) and got great views of the surrounding mountains and even Grand Lake itself.

Almost right when we got back to the cabin, there was a torrential downpour outside.  It even started hailing!  All four of us just sat on the porch (bundled up because it got pretty chilly) and watched the storm roll in and then back out.  I read my book (which I later finished the next day) and Christian studied.  It was so cozy and so perfect!  We both napped that afternoon too. Ha, that's what vacation's for, right?

We had made chicken and macaroni and cheese for dinner (we totally spaced on the veggies) and watched the sunset over the mountains.

After the sun went down, we headed inside and made a fire.  Since we watched Naked & Afraid in its first season, we've been joking for weeks that when we go camping, we'll have to start a fire primitive-style.  Luckily, we had lots of kindling, dried wood, and a lighter.  We played a round of Qwirkle by the fire and turned in early.

 On Sunday morning, the only thing on the agenda was canoeing at Grand Lake.  We left the dogs at the cabin--who were so sore from running around the day before, by the way--and drove the 2 miles to the lake.  We ended up going all the way around the perimeter of the lake.  I've been to Grand Lake many times before, but I saw so many houses I've never seen before.  It was so much fun.  I risked it and brought my camera on board (we also had our lunch and spare clothes in there as well) and luckily we didn't tip the canoe.  It was a close class more than once with the motor boats zooming by.  We also went through a sail boat race.

Once again, we narrowly missed some crazy rain!  We were going to have a picnic lunch along the lake, but it started pouring and hailing again, so we just went back to the cabin.  Our afternoon activity was disc golf.  Christian loves any sport with a frisbee, it seems, so we met his friends in Tabernash at the YMCA for a round of golf.  They were already on hole 12 when we finally made it, but I walked around with them for the rest of the round before heading back to the car to avoid more rain.  They played the first five holes again while I hung out in the car wishing I had brought the next book in my series since I had finished book four that morning!

That night, we had a (really) early dinner in Grandby at Brickhouse 40.  It was okay.  We picked that place because of great reviews online (someone said it was the best food they had ever had except for when they were in Italy), but it was so-so.  I got the Gyros and Christiand got a Philly Cheesesteak, but we ended up switching.  It was alright for a mountain restaurant.  We spent the evening sitting on the porch, enjoying the view, before I fell asleep in front of the fire (at like 9:30).

We decided to leave fairly early on Monday morning.  We had breakfast and then packed up the car before heading out on the road.

On the way back, we saw three elk crossing the road right in front of us.  that was pretty awesome.  We also decided to stop on Trial Ridge at one of the pull offs to play a round of Qwirkle at 12,000 feet.  Christian had just gotten a picnic table attachment for his trailer hitch and since our picnic got rained out on Sunday, we hadn't used it yet.  It was the perfect opportunity and we got a beautiful view of Longs Peak.  So many people were just perplexed about what we were doing out there, but whatever!  It was fun, even though I lost and later had to buy lunch.

It was one of the best weekends I've had in a long time.  It was just what I needed at the end of my summer class and after barely going anywhere all year.  We didn't do much, but sometimes the best vacations are just full of reading and relaxation.  We got to enjoy Colorado and each other's company too, which is priceless!  

I'm so grateful we got to go because it was a little bit hectic in planning with a few things coming up other weekends we were supposed to go and then almost not getting to go again last weekend.  It was a close call, but so worth it!
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