it's been over a month since my last post and i didn't even finish blogging about my trip to cali. oh my! i guess it's been a busy start to 2012. so i'll just pick up where i left off...

my final day in california was one of the best! my flight left at 11pm which was nice since i had the full day to enjoy (it was not nice because taking the red eye back east is quite miserable). we started by visiting venice beach. since it was a wednesday morning, it wasn't as crowded as we expected. we rented bikes and rode from venice beach to the santa monica pier. they are only about 2-3 miles apart so we were actually surprised when we saw the santa monica pier. we rode bikes for awhile and then stopped for lunch at a cafe right on the beach. it was perfect. beach. sun. food. christmas music! i can't think of anything better. we walked around the beach and shops and then discovered that there are canals in venice beach. who knew they actually named it venice for a reason! we walked away from the beach to find the canals and they were super cute!
after spending most of the day in venice beach, we headed to downtown LA for sushi. we had dinner and then explored downtown. we saw the staples center where katy perry was in concert at that very moment (sad we missed out on that... not). we came upon occupy LA and decided we needed to get out and get a closer look. there were so many people and it was cool to see this famous movement!
soon our time came to an end and i had to get to the airport.
 thanks for the memories, LA! i had a blast and hope to see you again soon!


word verification

to my blogging friends, please please turn off word verification so i can comment on your posts without going through fort knox! i have turned mine off so return the favor. it's as easy as this.

thank you!

chocolate lava cake

thanks to mama pea over at peas and thank you blog for this delicious {and kinda healthy} chocolate lava cake. no sugar, no butter, no processed ingredients. except for a few chocolate chips, this is one healthy treat and get this... it tastes pretty darn good! not to mention, pretty simple and quick to make.
get the recipe here and let me know how much you love it!


into the great wide open, under them skies of blue

LA gave us another beautiful, sunny day for day 5! allison had to work so coco and i headed out with a list of things to do for the day. on the top of the list was hiking up near the hollywood sign. the most adventurous part of the hike was finding the trail. it took us a long time, a few wrong turns, lots of u-turns, and a few near accidents but we made it. {barely}. surprisingly, there is very little information about where this trail starts. it was less hike and more walk up a dirt road but it did offer great views of LA, the ocean, and of course, the hollywood sign! i'm sure we could have hiked even closer to the sign but we had other things we needed to get done {like another trip to sprinkles cupcakes}. we headed back to beverly hills for lunch, cupcakes, and a drive through the hills to see the amazing houses. and i needed to have one celeb stalker moment. i found an address that was allegedly kim kardashian's {pause for a moment to judge me} and turns out, it really is her house! i know, i know, kim k is on the bottom of the "celebs i'd like to see" list BUT it really was her house and i'm convinced we passed her driving down the road. {also tom hanks, according to co}. that night, i took co to see the sites in hollywood then we headed back to long beach to rest up in preparation for my final day in cali!
 kim k's house


the OC

day 4 was a whirlwind of driving around the southern coast of cali.  in the morning, allison went to work and paula and i went in to the OC to shop, get our nails done, and eat lunch before she had to leave town. after dropping her off at LAX {with seconds to spare before her flight left} i headed down the pacific coast highway through seal beach, huntington beach, newport beach, and eventually stopped in laguna beach. laguna beach is one cute town! imagine downtown cary or apex but right on the beach with more rich people. i shopped, walked on the beach, drove through the hills of laguna and right past laguna beach high school where LC and kristin what's-her-name went to school. right where it all began! i headed back to long beach to get allison so we could go pick up courtney who flew in that night.


"it never rains in southern california"

nope. not true. it might be a popular 70's song but it's a lie because it poured all day on day 3 of the trip. despite the cold and rain, we still tried to power on and enjoy the day. we hit up pasadena and shopped in old town. it was a really cute outdoor shopping area that would have been much more fun without the downpour. the city hall in pasadena is the building used for filming the city hall on the show Parks & Rec. so of course we had to see it. another sites in pasadena: the rose bowl and the original trader joe's! after spending the afternoon in pasadena, we headed back to long beach but first made a very important stop at sprinkles cupcakes for the most delicious cupcake one has ever eaten! so delicious that this was not the last time we'd be visiting sprinkles on this trip. it was definitely worth the long wait outside to get to one of these cupcakes. since we were right by rodeo drive, we took a little stroll to see the expensive stores and beautiful decorations. as we headed home, we drove through compton, notorious for gang violence and crime and often the setting of one of my favorite crime dramas, southland. i just had to check out this town. it was after dark and the streets were surprisingly empty. probably due to a curfew for the residence. what a difference it was from beverly hills to compton; only about 20 miles apart. despite the rain, we had a really fun day!
 pasadena city hall aka pawnee city hall

 rainy shopping in pasadena

 best cupcake ever!

 rodeo drive