Friday, October 5, 2012

Catch-Up Post: California!

Remember when I went to California almost 3 months ago? Back before I got engaged? Before I started my new job and before moving to my new house? Basically, a whole lifetime ago?

Well, it was a pretty fun trip, and as usual I took a completely excessive amount of pictures. Enjoy the image (and information) overload!

I flew from Ronald Reagan Airport to George Bush Airport to John Wayne Airport, which I found hilarious.. it was like a "Greatest Conservatives" hit list.

Upon arrival at the California airport...

...the first sight to greet my eyes was palm trees!

Toto, we are not in Virginia anymore.

Taxis in California are different from taxis in DC... a fact that had to be documented from inside and out.

As a side note, do you ever find it hilarious after a trip to go back through the photos you've taken? I always seem to photograph the funniest things.

My hotel room was... luxurious. Definitely the nicest hotel I've ever stayed in. Below is a photo collage tentatively titled "Too Much Information."

I arrived early for the conference so I unpacked pretty quickly and needed something else to do. I decided to mosey over to the local mall, which was called Fashion Island. This was not your ordinary mall. It was pretty much the swankiest mall I've ever seen. It even had a trolley.

In retrospect, why didn't I ride the trolley? I don't know what I was thinking.

The highlight of my mall trip was discovering a cute little store with these darling and unusual greeting cards. I took pictures of the ones that made me think of Frank... and made me laugh.

I also followed my typical practice of taking photos of things I want to buy, so I can remember to come back to find them them later. These things caught my eye:

It should be noted that the above photos were taken a solid month before Frank proposed. Yeah... he wasn't the only one who had marriage on the mind.

And now for the highlight of my trip! The very best part! The whole reason I'm writing this blog post in the first place!

I HUNG OUT WITH VANESSA!!! Yes! In the flesh! (Is that enough exclamation points to do the occasion justice?)

Vanessa is a senior at Notre Dame in my exact same major and I adore her. We went to Mass together and had breakfast at a bakery near my hotel, and got caught up after not seeing each other for over a year. I absolutely can't wait to see her when I visit ND at the end of October.

We went to church on Balboa Island. It was pretty inside and fit the beach-town vibe.

Then we enjoyed pastries at the fabulous little cafe near my hotel.

Balboa Island will make another appearance in this post... just you wait!

One evening all the seminar participants went on a dinner cruise...

I thought of that wonderful line from The Wind in the Willows - "There is NOTHING--absolute nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." 

Wait, hang on. Let's take a moment to fully appreciate the wonder that is the sun over the water.

It did my soul good.

One day we went to a shooting range. You'll be shocked, I'm sure, to hear that I'm not a very good shot.

Some of the guys were pretty good. One guy, Sam, had never shot a gun before but ended up out-shooting everyone - a natural shot. He and Lewis had a shoot-out at the end to determine who was the best shot of the group.

And the whole group:

We had a great time.

On one of the last days of the program, I walked over to Balboa Island by myself for an afternoon.

The TV show Arrested Development was filmed there, so every time I saw an elderly woman in an expensive car, I was like "It's Lucille!!!" 

I couldn't get over the bridge leading onto the island, all decked out in its patriotic finery for the Fourth of July.

These are a few of the darling things I saw on Balboa Island - flower boxes, sunny patios, signs and buildings that caught my eye.

I walked all the way down the main street until I hit the water. Then I sat on a bench for a little while and took in the gorgeous day and the views of the water. I really missed Frank right then.

On my way back I stopped in a taffy store. Apparently Balboa Island is famous for its taffy. What's up with little islands being famous for a random candy? Mackinac Island is like that for fudge.

I hadn't bought Frank a present yet and it occurred to me that he might like some of the famous taffy. They had the most marvelous flavors there - frosted cupcake, strawberry cheesecake, chocolate chip cookie dough...

I chose a few different kinds and brought them home for Frank. It was divine - I restrained myself from eating it before I gave Frank his present, but afterwards, pretty sure I ate more of it than he did.

And that, friends, is the story of my delightful trip out West - boating, rifles, and taffy. I don't think that's exactly what the conference organizers wanted me to get out of the experience, but hey, we all know my inner age is 7.


  1. So flattered I tweeted it :)

    See you soon!!

    1. Hurray! Love you Vanes. Can't wait to see you this weekend!!

  2. Sounds like you had a wonderful time!! Love your pictures. By the way, I was wondering what kind of camera you have because your pictures are gorgeous?
    ♥ Becca

  3. Thank you Becca! I actually just use a little point-and-shoot Canon PowerShot that I got for Christmas 3 years ago and that cost around $100. So it's nothing fancy! I just try to use lots of natural light (I almost never use the flash) and fill up the frame. Just goes to show, you don't need a fancy camera to get nice pictures. If you want more ideas, I would read photo-taking tips online - those helped me. Good luck with your photos! :)

    1. Thanks for the info Tess!! Love your blog.
      ♥ Becca

    2. Thanks Becca! If you're interested, I would be happy to do a whole post on photo tips with a cheap camera - just let me know. :)

    3. I would love that Tess!! I am always interested in learning others techniques about things especially is photography. Can't wait..Thanks again

      ♥ Becca