Southern California – Part Two

{Southern California – Part One}

On Friday morning (the wedding was that evening), we drank coffee and ate breakfast with members of my extended family as rainstorms rolled through town. Once the weather cleared, we joined my parents, Scott, and Kelly (my sister, Julie, and her husband, Zach, checked out Downtown Disney and my sister, Megan, and her husband, Mike, were driving in from San Diego later in the day) for a walk down to Balboa Island and the beach.IMG_3648

On the Balboa Island Ferry.


At Balboa Pier, we stumbled upon the gunshot start of the 2015 Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race. I do not come from a family of sailors (speedboats are more our style) but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to be fascinated by the sport. I’d love to learn how to sail but I’m hesitant to fall in love with such an expensive hobby that isn’t exactly compatible with the various locations the Army is known to be throughout the world. And watching the start of the race from the pier definitely didn’t do anything to squash said desires.



 Balboa Pier, Newport Beach, California

We ate lunch at a Mexican place on the peninsula where Clay and I shared the largest margarita I’ve had in years. After popping into some shops on the walk back to the hotel, we met up with the rest of my family and hung out at the pool until it was time to get ready for the wedding.


 The original six.


 Prom-pose time! Sadly, we didn’t realize that we didn’t get a picture of everybody, including my parents until it was too late. The next time we will all be together will be in July so hopefully we remember then!


So this is my cousin, Matt, and his beautiful bride, Angie. They were married on Huntington Beach in an absolutely gorgeous and personal ceremony. We all adore Angie and can’t think of a better match for Matt…she is a great addition to our family.


The reception was on a yacht that sailed throughout Newport Harbor. Also at our table was Matt’s brother/our cousin, Nick, and his finance, Abbie. Their wedding will be this July on the coast of Lake Michigan – we can’t wait! How lucky are we that we get to add yet another fantastic person to the family?


The happy couple.



On Saturday morning, we met up with everyone for coffee (sensing a common theme here?). After saying goodbye my parents, Julie, Zach, Scott, and Kelly (they were flying back home that afternoon), Megan, Mike, Clay, and myself went to brunch at Plum’s Cafe, which did not disappoint. Afterwards, we checked out Aliso Beach Park and made the best of the not-so-great weather.



Not going to lie – it was cold.



That afternoon, we drove to Orange, California to check out Matt and Angie’s new house. I’ve never been shy about my love for older ranch homes so obviously, I fell in love with their mid-century home. They even have a lemon tree in their backyard…how awesome is that? After socializing at the open house, the four of us went out for sushi and called it a night.


Sunday morning began with bagels, coffee, and saying goodbye to Megan and Mike. They were heading back to San Diego to catch a red-eye flight and we were heading north to LAX to catch our own red-eye flight later that night. We decided to take the Pacific Coast Highway back to the LA-area, which proved to be an interesting…not only did we see a woman using a selfie-stick as a passenger in a convertible (pictured), but we had the pleasure of seeing police drape a white sheet over a body in Long Beach (not pictured).


Our destination for the day was Malibu. Although the skies were clear and the temperatures were a little warmer, it was not a good beach day. So instead of laying on the beach, we decided to grab lunch at (surprisingly) one of the few fresh seafood places in town and hike throughout the area.


If we had more time, we would have checked out Escondido Canyon Park but settled for the Coral Canyon Trail instead. Not that the views weren’t spectacular but the trail was shorter than we had hoped. Oh well.





After spending some time in Malibu, we drove through the mountains to take the 101 back to Los Angeles. I’ll be honest – this trip we realized that we’re more east coast, than west coast. Not that we didn’t appreciate all that Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, and Malibu has to offer, but we just prefer the New England and mid-Atlantic coastline. And we definitely prefer the San Diego area over the Los Angeles area. That being said, we really liked the Thousand Oaks and Calabasas area…being in the mountains/hills that close to the coast?


And of course, no trip to the Los Angeles area is complete without a Hollywood sign photo-op. We checked into the airport a little earlier than usual so we could eat, have a couple of drinks, and become sufficiently sleepy for our flight. After a quick mechanical scare, we took-off without incident and landed at RDU around 5:30am. We were reunited with the kids by mid-morning (yay!!!!) and then cursed ourselves for choosing a red-eye on the llllooonnnggg drive home to the DC area. Thanks for the memories, California…it was real.


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