Just a little more pool time please

13 06 2014

There’s only so much sitting around the pool and soaking up the sun you can do……but I have to admit, I could have done just a little more.

We spent a long weekend in San Diego to celebrate our two year anniversary and it was fantastic!  We’ve done road trips and quick trips to Arizona and San Francisco this year, but it has been a really long time since we took a trip with the sole purpose of not doing anything.  We didn’t get a rental car because we didn’t want to feel forced to use it.  So that meant wandering from pool to hot tub, to room for a nap, to an onsite restaurant for dinner and back again.  Three days of heavenly, lazy bliss.

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There were plenty of water sports to partake in if we wanted to.  But, the pool seemed way too inviting.  And there was a fitness center, and I even brought my running shoes.  But did those shoes take one step outside of the room?  Actually, did they take one step out of the suitcase?  With mixed emotions, I say ‘no’!

It wasn’t until our last day when we had checked out of our room already and were looking to kill a little time, did we finally explore the resort other than the direct paths between the pools, restaurants and our bungalow.  And we found a tropical jungle.  There’s something very prehistoric feeling about some of this foliage.








From Beach to Desert to Bright Lights

17 01 2014

Good Morning Sunshine!

After 3 days of (almost) non-stop driving with most mornings spent waking up hours before the sun decided to show its face, it was heavenly to wake up after the sun came up.  And better than that – this was the view from our hotel room at Mandalay Beach in Oxnard, CA.


Breakfast with the locals, a walk on the beach chasing sand pipers and skirting the waves.  It may look warm and balmy but that water is still shockingly cold on the toes.





An afternoon soaking in the hot tub, an after-soak nap and watching the sun ease its way down beyond the horizon after the end of a relaxing day.  Can’t get better than that.



From sand and surf to desert and burros – and it only took 5 hours!


Check out those fuzzy bangs!


Mom & Baby # 2

Two days after strolling the beach – Vegas….

From the Vdara Hotel – a view of the Vegas Strip and the Bellagio Fountain Show




And to enjoy the different side of Vegas – Old Vegas….and the Fremont Street Experience.





Sunset Magazine says, ‘Loveliest Spot in the World’

16 01 2014

There’s something about driving along the coast and sucking in the sunshine.  The magic of California definitely spun its web around me as we drove along Highway 1 from Santa Cruz to Santa Barbara.  We spent a leisurely Sunday morning browsing a Farmer’s Market in Berkeley and picked up a tasty collection of  goodies for a picnic lunch: pumpkin bolani and sundried tomato spread, apples, grapes, dried apricots and chewy ginger cookies.  And I had just the place to stop for our lunch.



Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.  Part of the Big Sur area and home to this beautiful view of a sandy beach cove, turquoise water and an 80 ft waterfall that drops from granite cliffs into the ocean.






The best view for our picnic lunch.  We got comfortable on a bench and dug into our feast.  Off in the distance we saw spouts of water mist as we watched the migrating grey whales.  It was a pretty popular place to visit and there was a constant stream of traffic of people walking the path, seeing the waterfall and moving on.  But we felt like we had a secret – everyone was so focused on walking the trail and feeling disappointed that the waterfall wasn’t larger (come on people – it’s not exactly rain or snow melt season!) that they weren’t even paying attention to all of the whales that were in the water.  So we kept quiet, enjoyed our farmer’s market picnic lunch and enjoyed the magic of the moment.




Our lunch detour took a little longer than expected….but we still made sure to enjoy the sunset before heading onto Santa Barbara.




Hollywood vs Runyon Canyon

10 05 2011

‘Keep your eyes peeled for celebrities!  You recognize faces better than I do’.  

These were words straight out of my mouth as we started our Sunday morning activity:  hiking around Runyon Canyon.  Just steps away from Hollywood Blvd, the tourist magazines tell me that this is where the stars really hang out.  And if I believe all of the celebrity gossip magazines and the reality TV shows that show the canyon when stars are trying to get back into shape, this must be true.

They definitely don’t hang out at Hollywood & Highland, where we spent the greater part of the week.  If you want to see Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson impersonators, or grown men dressed like Spiderman and Captain America bickering over a dollar and asking families to give them more money since there’s two of them and they don’t know how to make change, or Darth Vader walking around without his helmet, or even a woman dressed in a bright pink ballgown who we think is trying to be a Disney Princess but we don’t know from which story (we later decided she was trying to be Barbie)……then Hollywood & Highland is the place to be.

What started out as a thinly veiled excuse to do some celebrity scoping, turned out to be a pretty cool workout.  We opted to climb up the steep incline at the start.  Good thing there were some nice views at the top as a reward.

Did you see any celebrities?’  I had to ask, because in the end all of my focus was spent watching my feet and making sure I didn’t fall….and taking in the panoramic views of course.

Fig & 9th

24 02 2011

There’s just something about LA that makes you smile when you say, ‘I’m on my way to LA’ or ‘I’m in LA for the week’.  Sunshine, palm trees, great food and celebrity sightings, that’s what you think of when you think about LA.

For one week Fig and 9th was my home, the downtown corridor was my cafeteria, FedEx was my office and people asked me for directions.  And I could actually give people directions, instead of saying, ‘ooooh sorry, I’m not from here’.

During the Grammy’s and NBA All Star Weekend the palm trees were in abundance, it was a different trendy restaurant every night, and the celebrities flocked to town, but unfortunately the sunshine didn’t get the memo or else it had a big case of stage fright.  Not only was there very little sun, but it actually rained.  Rained.  There was drizzle, spitting, misting, rain showers, thunder showers, heavy rain and sprinkling.  (If you’re from Vancouver you know that there are endless types of rain). And people get desperate if they’re out and not expecting rain in LA.  Desperate, like paying $200 for an umbrella, desperate.  It’s a true story.

Despite the temperamental rainy weather, we did see some sunshine and the festivities continued on.  Unsurprisingly the sports enthusiasts were out in full force, rain or shine.  Surprisingly, the number of celebrity/athlete groupies that were hanging around almost matched the sport enthusiasts in number.  Teenage boys wearing basketball jerseys of their favourite team were bouncing off the walls trying to chase after the players.  Girls in short shorts and sleek flat ironed hair would teeter down the streets in their high heels.  I couldn’t help but almost feel the pain in the balls of their feet, and I did notice that although a lot of women were walking towards the stadium in their heels, they were walking away from the stadium in flip flops.

The biggest surprise were the groupies that would hang out in the lobby of the hotel.  Yes, we were staying at one of the official host hotels.  But really?  Walking into the lobby we were greeted by a crowd of girls (and a few guys) all dressed up standing in the foyer.  They weren’t sitting at the bar and casually keeping an eye on the door, they were standing in front of the door, eyes fixated on any movement at the entrance.

If I could have taken a photo without being too obvious I would have, instead, we spent time taking photos during the 1 hour of sunshine on Sunday morning.

A Line Draws a Line

30 12 2009

Before the holidays we spent a week in LA and had a chance to hit some famous landmarks.  You may think Disney Land, Seaworld, Knott’s Berry Farm, The Kodak Theater, the Hollywood Stars, etc.

But, if you have been following this blog as closely as I think you have been, you’ll have realized that the iconic/famous landmarks that are usually visited during these travels follow a different theme.

You guessed it…..FOOD!

Duke’s Malibu: www.hulapie.com

Perched between the Malibu surf and the Malibu hills, Duke’s was a perfect place for lunch.  With a view of the water, we watched surfers, pelicans diving from 40 ft in the air and, best of all DOLPHINS.  I saw my first wild dolphins while we ate Opa fish and Mahi Mahi.

And, we couldn’t leave without their specialty – Hula Pie

Here are some photos we took while we walked on the beach after lunch:

Our second iconic stop:  Pink’s Hot Dogs: www.pinkshollywood.com

Pink’s has been around for 70 years and is a fixture in Hollywood.  After 45 minutes in their line up, at 1:30am, we enjoyed their specialty Chili Cheese Dogs and Polish Sausages.  There is ALWAYS a line up.

Next Stop:  In-N-Our Burger: www.in-n-out.com

For those fans out there you’ll know that this burger joint is really only on the WestCoast (California to be specific), however it has started easing its way out to Arizona, etc.   They are known for their fresh ingredients and their simple menu.  Single Hamburger, Single Cheeseburger, and Double Meat/Double Cheese.  With Onions OR Without.   Well, simple menu no more.  We found out that there is a secret menu to order from and although it is not posted anywhere, if you know what to order your receipt will show these secret menu items.   To name a few: Animal Style, Flying Dutchman, Protein Style, 4 x 4, etc.  You’ll have to look it up for more info.

Last Stop: Diddy Riese Cookies: www.diddyreise.com

A line draws a line.  This is what we know.  While waiting in the car while Nathan was picking up a few goodies from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, a friend and I saw a line forming outside a store.  Once we discovered that this store was in fact a place to buy custom homemade Cookie & Ice Cream Sandwiches, I called Nathan and said ‘If you haven’t paid yet DON’T BUY ANYTHING.  We found something else – homemade cookies and ice cream.  We have to get in the line”. And then abruptly hung up.  Well, the ladies at the chocolate store overheard this conversation and guess what, they asked Nathan if we were part of a TV show doing an episode on desserts.  They had never seen anyone come in with such passion over these tasty little treats.  Now, this is after Nathan stopped everyone in their tracks at the chocolate store to ask them to recommend their favourite treat – which just so happened to be a Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Caramel Apple – which tasted exactly like a Dutch Apple Pie.