Sassy Kat Does Disneyland!

HeaderWhen one of my favorite people is within an hour of one of my favorite places, what else is there to do besides go to DISNEYLAND?! My mom has been with my dad before, but they visited in 1980! Check this out…

Mom and Dad 1980How much are you loving my mom’s purple tube top and my dad’s short white shorts? Surely not as much as I am. Anyway, as I was saying…it was Sunday, and we were heading to Disneyland!

IMG_2293How cute is my mom?? We were up early and leaving the hotel around 5:30 AM to get to Disneyland by park opening, and of course it started drizzling (for the first time ALL summer) as we were headed out. I’m pretty sure this Disney poncho is one Amy got on a Disney World trip in high school. Our family has been Disney fans for quite some time ๐Ÿ™‚

When we finally arrived at the park, we hopped on a tram and headed to Disneyland!

How cute are they?
How cute are they?

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We were obviously super psyched to be there. We lined up on Main Street right in front of the castle, and as soon as the park officially opened, we headed straight for Fantasyland. My mom’s favorite Disney ride is Peter Pan’s Flight, so we wanted to make that our first ride of the day.

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After boarding a magical flying ship to travel over London with Peter, we decided to enjoy the rest of Fantasyland. That included Snow White’s Scary Adventure (which actually seriously scares me), Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (which ends with the rider traveling to Hell…I can’t make this stuff up), and pictures in front of some various Fantasyland landmarks.

Dumbo, the flying elephant!
Dumbo, the flying elephant!
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
Trying to pull the sword out of the stone behind Sleeping Beauty Castle!
Trying to pull the sword out of the stone behind Sleeping Beauty Castle!

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Teacups from Wonderland!
Teacups from Wonderland!
In front of the teacups and Matterhorn Mountain!
In front of the teacups and Matterhorn Mountain!

We also made sure to enjoy a couple of boat rides near Fantasyland. The first was Storybook Land Canal boats. This ride was so cute! We hadn’t been on it before, and it was full of miniature sculptures from various Disney movies. The sights may look unimpressive below, but they were beautifully crafted and the accompanying music and tour guide really made this ride special.

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Sultan's Palace from Aladdin
Sultan’s Palace from Aladdin
Cinderella Castle! (not quite as big as the one in Walt Disney World...)
Sleeping Beauty’s Castle (this one looks more like the replica in Disneyland Paris, I think!)

Another boat ride we had to enjoy was “it’s a small world.” No trip to a Disney park is complete without riding this classic at least once. Even though this ride is also at Disney World, the Disneyland version has integrated some Disney characters and princesses throughout their version of the ride. It was fun to try to seek them out in their respective countries and states! ย I won’t bore you with pictures of the inside of the ride, but trust me that it’s a happy, fun Disney classic!

The facade here is much larger than Disney World's!
The facade here is much larger than Disney World’s!

The happiest cruise that ever sailed!

The happiest cruise that ever sailed!
Beautiful Mom!
Beautiful Mom!
Handsome hubbs!
Handsome hubbs!
We ran into Princess Merida outside of "it's a small world!"
We ran into Princess Merida outside of “it’s a small world!”

We then made the very unfortunate decision to go on Finding Nemo Submarines. We had heard great things about how fun it was. Nope. It was so crowded and claustrophobic. My mom immediately pulled out her fan to cool herself off, and poor Louis was so tall he could barely bend down far enough to see out of the submarine window. We thought the ride would never end.

Hot and cramped!
Hot and cramped!

You may notice above that we all have on Mickey or Minnie shirts. I am always down for wearing character shirts, but Louis isn’t such a huge fan. My mom really wanted us all in Disney shirts for pictures though. She asked Louis if she promised to ride Space Mountain if he would bite the bullet and wear a Mickey shirt. He only agreed if she would ride Splash Mountain as well. Shocking all of us (probably herself most of all), she AGREED! Louis and I hustled over to the Disney store before she arrived and found the coolest Mickey shirt I’ve ever seen. Then, my poor mom was locked into facing her fear of thrill rides. After Fantasyland, we finally convinced her it was time to tackle her first terror of the day: Space Mountain.

I can safely promise to everyone reading this, that I have never laughed as hard in my ENTIRE LIFE as I did when my mom rode Space Mountain. I was laughing so hard I almost threw up. Yes. Threw up from laughter.

In line for the ride.
In line for the ride…

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Too many great things going on in this photo.
Too many great things going on in this photo.

My mom seriously SCREAMED the entire ride. She alternated between, “OH MY GOSH!!!”, “HELP!!!!!”, AND “I’M GOING TO DIE!!!!!!”. I told Louis later, I would have paid $500 for a video of her on the ride. It was probably the highlight of my entire summer.

After the thrill of Space Mountain, we decided something slightly tamer was in order. We hopped on Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters, and my mom promptly tripled my score! She’s like some sort of shooting wizard!

Saving the galaxy one shot at a time!
Saving the galaxy one shot at a time!

We then headed over to New Orleans Square to enjoy Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and lunch at French Market. On our way there, we stopped for a picture with Aladdin and Jasmine.

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With mom in the Court of Angels in New Orleans Square!
With mom in the Court of Angels in New Orleans Square!
Our whole group!
Our whole group!

Then, with a tummy full of yummy French food and after much encouragement from us, my mom decided it was time to tackle Splash Mountain. We lent her one of our Disney World ponchos and sped through the line with the FastPasses Louis had wisely obtained. The funniest part of this journey was after the drop inside the mountain in the darkness. Once we reached that drop, my mom started screaming, “I PASSED OUT! I NEED TO GET OFF THE RIDE! I’M PASSED OUT!” I had to control my laughter long enough to assure her that she was not passed out, since she was talking to me. I still don’t know how she convinced herself to get on this ride! I’m so proud of how brave she was! Check out what a champ she was…

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After getting soaked on Splash Mountain, we headed to the bathroom, so my mom could change out of her wet clothes. She really came prepared! ๐Ÿ™‚ Knowing that Space and Splash were over, it was like a weight was lifted off of her shoulders! We set off to enjoy the rest of the day. First up was character pictures!

Goofy in front of his kooky house!
Goofy in front of his kooky house!
Meeting the big cheese himself!
Meeting the big cheese himself!
Sweet Pluto!
Sweet Pluto!
Princess Aurora!
Princess Aurora!
Princess Ariel!
Princess Ariel!
Mom enjoying tea with Minnie at her home!
Mom enjoying tea with Minnie at her home!
Mom let me join her and Minnie for tea!
Mom let me join her and Minnie for tea!

After hanging around in Toontown for a bit, we decided to do some souvenir shopping before dinner on Main Street. As we were walking towards Main Street, I ran into a cast member I met on 4th of July. His name was Levi, and he was so friendly. He remembered me as well, and while we talked, I told him how my mom was visiting Disneyland, and we were spending the day fitting in all of her favorite things. He asked us to hold on for a moment, and when he came back, he told us he had put us on the list for VIP Fireworks viewing!!! We were soooo excited! I know it sounds cheesy, but I seriously think God had me meet him on July 4th, so I would see him again with my mom and be able to have VIP seats for her Disney day. Full of excitement we headed to look for my mom a Disney ornament and Henry some monogrammed Mickey ears! You’re never too young to start being a Disney fan, after all.

Louis being silly in the hat store!
Louis being silly in the hat store!

We also stopped on Main Street to watch Mickey’s Soundsational Parade. It’s such an amazing parade, and while the princess float was going by, Belle noticed my mom and waved right at her! She was beautiful…definitely still my favorite princess!

Beautiful Belle!
Beautiful Belle!

After the parade, my mom treated us to a delicious dinner at Carnation Cafe on Main Street. We enjoyed the special of the day (Shrimp Alfredo Penne Pasta), and Louis ordered Mac ‘n Cheese (because he’s a big kid at heart).

Carnation Cafe
Carnation Cafe

Not long after dinner, it was time to grab our snacks for Magical Fireworks Spectacular and head to our VIP seats! The view was absolutely incredible. The show was so beautiful, and I’m so thankful my mom got to experience it with us from our amazing seats.

Carnation Cafe
Disneyland Fireworks

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After the Magical show, we strolled over to enjoy Fantasmic! in the Rivers of America. Finally, we enjoyed a late night ride on Haunted Mansion and snapped some pictures in front of the castle as the park was closing for the evening.

The beautiful castle with Walt waving goodbye for the night!
The beautiful castle with Walt waving goodbye for the night!
After a long, fun-filled day!
After a long, fun-filled day!

It was such an amazing day, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing about it! I loved how my mom was brave enough to ride Splash & Space Mountain. I loved how we got to meet so many characters. I loved that we opened and closed the park. And I LOVED that we got VIP seats for the fireworks. We had SUCH a blast, and I love that we got to experience Disneyland with my mom! Hopefully next time we head to a Disney park, it will be with the whole family!

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Sassy Kat Visits La Jolla!

sassykatvisitslajolla

About a month ago (already a month!?!), my wonderful mother, Sassy Kat, came to visit us in La Jolla! I was so excited to see her and spend time showing her around where Louis and I have been living this summer. ย She flew in on a Saturday, and Louis and I were so excited to greet her at the airport!

IMG_2260Louis obviously helped me make made the “welcome” sign as my artistic skills are those of a 4-year old (and that’s being generous). As soon as my mom landed, we all hopped in the car and headed down to the La Jolla Cove for dinner and a beautiful view of the ocean! First, we grabbed dinner at The Prospect Bar & Grill, where Louis and I have dined before.

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We had a great time catching up and enjoying dinner until the live music for the night showed up and played so loud we could barely think! Once the music started up, we finished eating and decided to walk along the cove to see the seals and waves. Of course, we wanted to snap some shots in front of the water, which led to this series of pictures.

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We are constantly laughing when we’re together ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_2291I was SO happy she was finally in La Jolla! I promise Louis was there, too. Need proof?

IMG_2292Am I blessed to be surrounded by such amazing people or what? We enjoyed the (cloudy ๐Ÿ™ ) sunset down on the shore cliffs after we climbed under a fence to get closer to the water. Such rebels, I know.IMG_2464

We got a couple to take this after we awkwardly laughed and talked for about 15 minutes behind them while they were probably trying to enjoy a romantic sunset. Oops. Also, how cute is Sassy Kat in her scarf? Such a Cali girl.

We headed home after that though to hit the hay early because we had BIG plans for Sunday. ALL DAY at DISNEYLAND! Don’t worry…that’s going to get its own post entirely. ๐Ÿ™‚

Stay tuned to read all about our VIP day at Disney!

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Night Al Goes to the Aquarium

NightAlGoestotheAquariumQuite a few weeks ago, Louis and I visited the Birch Aquarium here in La Jolla. We went on an overcast Sunday afternoon and enjoyed a few hours of walking around the building admiring both the amazing sea life and the beautiful views around the aquarium. Being so close to the ocean and being part of the Scripps Research Center and UCSD allows for the aquarium to have several interesting exhibits. And, of course, being built on a cliff less than a mile from the ocean allows for both great views and a large assortment of fish and species to research.

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One of the first exhibits to greet us inside was their assortment of jellyfish. I could have stood there for hours and watched them. They were SO relaxing and serene looking. The coral jellyfish were my 2nd favorite type, and my favorite type were the moon jellies shown in the video I captured.

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Another neat area was their Kelp Exhibit, which was one of the largest indoor aquarium tanks I’ve ever seen. They do several daily feeding shows you can watch, and they also have a live stream on their website called the Kelp Cam. I tried to include some children in the picture below so you could get a grasp of how large this exhibit was.

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IMG_2182After we admired the kelp for a while, we journeyed over to a different exhibit. There, we saw a cute little fish that was scooping up rocks with his mouth and then spitting them out to form either a pile, a hole, or both??? I snagged a quick video while we observed him. There were no volunteers around for me to ask what he was up to, but we enjoyed watching him for a bit! I feel like I should have added the Rocky theme song to the video or something…too much?

We finally headed outside on the back deck of the aquarium to take in the beautiful views and enjoy the tide pool exhibit. In the tide pool there were different types of starfish and fish you could touch. Some were super slimy, and some were rough and spiky! We “pet” the different species and then stood around awkwardly looking for someone to take our picture ๐Ÿ™‚

OutsideCollage AliandLouisOnce we were done on the balcony we headed inside to the seahorse exhibit. The coolest seahorse in my opinion was the Weedy Seadragon. It looked so wispy and fragile and was barely drifting through the water.

WeedySeadragonThere was also a bizarre video in this area explaining that the male seahorses develop the babies in their stomach and give birth to them. The video showed a male seahorse giving birth, and the only way I can describe it is that it looked like he was sneezing out the babies about 15-20 at a time. Seriously bizarre. It’s so crazy how diverse sea creatures are and how HUGE the ocean is. There is SO much of it that is totally undiscovered and unexplored. It’s like an entirely different world!

Our quick, educational visit was a fun way to spend our afternoon! I still have SO many things that have happened that I need to blog about! I’ll try to catch up in the next couple of weeks. Until then!

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La Jolla Life: Part 3

La Jolla Life

Oops! I’ve let too much time go by since my last La Jolla Life post! We’re currently on Week 7 (what!?!) of our summer adventure, so I have a lot to catch y’all up on. We’ve had visitors, explored more, and had several Disneyland excursions, but I’ll save those details for some other posts! Here is a summary of some of the other Cali “adventures” we’ve experienced.

I’ve been spending some time with Louis’s coworker’s wife and daughters while we’re all here for the summer. They have been so sweet to let me “hoard in” on their mother-daughter time! A couple of weeks ago, we spent the day exploring the Westfield UTC Mall and Mt. Soledad. The malls here are basically all outdoor due to the year-round beautiful weather, and I can’t complain!

WestfieldUTCMallWe explored the various shops and ate outdoors at their food court. The mall even had a Tesla store, which doesn’t mean much to me. However, that is Louis’s current dream car as it is apparently masterfully engineered and electric. Naturally, I had to take a picture of the store front for him, and we have since returned to explore the store and dream of future purchases.

After we had our fill of the mall, we drove over to Mt. Soledad. This “mountain” holds a memorial for veterans and offers an amazing panoramic view of all of La Jolla and San Diego.

IMG_2083 IMG_2084 IMG_2089As you can see above, it was a rare overcast day in La Jolla. However, the views were beautiful, and the memorial was very touching. While I will always be a Texas girl at heart, I do love the terrain here. The hills (mountains? cliffs?) offer so many wonderful views regardless of if we’re sightseeing or simply driving around.

Another activity that often occurs when I’m with “the girls” is hairstyling. Below is their youngest daughter’s creation with my hair on the left. She kept saying this was The Princess Style. I also got to try The Princess Jasmine Style and The Princess Belle Style. On the right, I’m proud to claim that fishtail braid. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hairstyles

 

Louis and I have also tried a few new restaurants since my last post. The first “restaurant” is none other than Krispy Kreme!

Krispy KremeWe each sampled their glazed donuts because, to us, that should be the heart of any donut establishment. Louis also tried a chocolate iced with sprinkles, while I opted for plain chocolate iced. Overall? Meh. The best part was the cute hat that Louis is modeling above. Now having tried Dunkin’ Donuts (YUCK.) and Krispy Kreme (meh.), I can safely say Shipley’s FAR surpasses any other donut chain. Honestly, that is one of the reasons we are most excited about going home to Texas. ๐Ÿ™‚

Another California restaurant we sampled is Islands. Their main menu item is their burgers, but they offer other American food as well.

Islands

 

Their tag line is “Fine Burgers & Drinks.” I think they mean ‘fine’ as in high quality, but to us, it meant ‘fine’ as in yeah…it’s ok. Hah! Our burgers weren’t terrible, but they weren’t anything to write home about either. (I guess they were notable enough to blog about though? ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

After Islands, we decided to branch out and try…wait for it…another burger place! Just kidding! This place does offer burgers, but they have several other options as well. Stacked is a trendy, cool restaurant located in Fashion Valley Mall. The coolest part about Stacked? Each table has an iPad on it, and that’s how you place your order! Everything from drinks to dessert! You can even request for your drink to be refilled from the iPad! The entire meal, I kept saying, “It’s like we’re living in the FUTURE!!!”

Stacked

 

The iPads were so awesome and so simple to use. You just “drag and dropped” whatever you wanted to add to your entree, and swiped it to the right if you wanted to remove it. You could also drop things next to your entree if you wanted them on the side. We were even able to pay by simply swiping our credit card on the iPad attachment. If this is the way of the future, waiters and waitresses better start looking for new career paths! Our burgers here were delicious, and we hope to return here before we journey home! The mall it was located at is amazing, too! It is the mall pictured in my intro photo at the top of this post, and it was gorgeous to walk around as the sun was setting.

Another fun thing I wanted to add in this post, is a plug about the Aggie Network! I mentioned how I ran into an Aggie I know at the San Diego Zoo. Since then, I met a sweet Aggie here on a mission trip at our hotel, AND we saw a car with a Former Student Century Club member decal on the back of their Tahoe. I creepily left them the note below on their windshield. Even though they had no way of getting in touch with us, I still wanted them to know there was another unit of the Aggie Network staying at their hotel! Too much? Oh well. The Aggie girl I met at breakfast, said she actually reached out to them as well, and that it was a sweet couple that graduated in 1958! Looks like they’ve been carrying on the Aggie Spirit for quite awhile! Gig ’em!

aggienetworkFinally, I want to give a shout out to all of the landscape artists and gardeners around La Jolla. All of the greenery, succulents, flowers, and general beauty around here is stunning! I keep seeing a particular black succulent that I affectionately coined “the Louis plant.” I said if he was turned into a plant this would be him because it is so beautiful and unique, and his favorite color is black. ๐Ÿ™‚

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The outside is black, however the inside is a vibrant fuchsia. They grow up on a tan stem, which makes them tall…also like Louis ๐Ÿ™‚ Their scientific name is the Aeonium arboreum Zwartkop, and they are also known as “Black Rose.”

black rose

 

Ok! Whew! That’s a long summary for now! Look for more posts soon including details about other experiences we’ve had here! Thanks for checking in…I’ll try to post more this week!

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God Bless America & Disneyland

Fireworks Instagram

Since Louis & I are in Cali, we couldn’t attend my parents annual 4th of July Party this year. To distract ourselves from that, we decided to spend our Independence Day at Disneyland. Nothing’s as great as being with family, but we definitely had a fun day! Since we are in a hotel, I didn’t get to decorate for America’s Birthday. To appease my pain, I decided to decorate my body as much as I could. Okay, that sounded weird. What I mean is, I wore red, white, and blue eyeshadow and painted my nails navy and glitter! It was probably too much, but when else can you be that patriotic and not be judged?

Red, White, & Blue Eyeshadow!
Red, White, & Blue Eyeshadow!

For anyone DYING to recreate this American look, the products are as follows: Blue-Ultaย eyeshadow, Red-Urban Decay Gash, White-MAC Blanc Type. My eyeliner is Maybelline Unstoppable Eyeliner in Onyx, and my mascara is Maybelline Falsies in Blackest Black.

American nails!
American nails!

For my nails, I painted two coats of Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Navy Baby. Once that dried I added a stripe of Essie Beyond Cozy for some American sparkle.

Don’t worry, I don’t always do my makeup and nails this obnoxiously, but I figured I might as well go all out for the 4th!

Louis and I headed to Disney California Adventure first, so we could ride the thrills over there before heading to Disneyland for fireworks! It was a beautiful, sunny, hot day. We rode Tower of Terror THREE times without a wait! I guess everyone wanted to spend their day in Disneyland, and we were happy to have DCA to ourselves.

DCA Louis TOT

After Tower of Terror, we enjoyed the Disney Animation Academy building (a nice break from the heat), Toy Story Mania (Louis’s fave), California Screamin’ (another great way to cool off…it’s speedy!), and Soarin’ over California (one of my faves). Those are all favorites of ours, so I’m happy we were able to enjoy them! We figured Disneyland may reach capacity for the fireworks, so we headed over there around 3:30 PM to enjoy more rides. We grabbed lunch right away (corn dog for me! Yummmmm.) and enjoyed some people watching in Frontierland. After a bit of relaxation, we headed to ride Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion. Is there a better way to celebrate Independence Day than with Pirates and Ghosts? We didn’t think so. By then it was almost 6:00, so we decided to get a spot for Mickey’s Soundsational Parade.

Parade

The parade was cute and a fun way to see several of my favorite characters. We also had a great view of ย Sleeping Beauty Castle and of Matterhorn Mountain.

Castle

Matterhorn

As you can see, it was a beautiful, blue sky day! Another thing it was that day? CROWDED. The fireworks were scheduled for 9:30 PM that night. Louis and I assumed we could stake out a good spot around 8:00 PM. However, when we got our seats for the parade at 6:00 PM, there were already people saving seats for the fireworks! Even crazier, we talked to the people sitting behind us, and they had been saving their benches since 8:00 AM!!! They hadn’t gone on any rides or anything! They took turns grabbing food and using the restroom, and that was it! Louis and I weren’t that insane, but we decided to stay put to keep our spots for the fireworks show. While Louis saved our seats, I grabbed him a Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar and a nice cold Coca Cola to wash it down (along with some Space Mountain FastPasses!). The crowds were so crazy and thick, that it was almost impossible for me to get back to him!

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The time went by surprisingly fast as we chatted with the fellow Disney lovers sitting around us. We all exchanged stories, tips, and memories, and had a great time. Soon the castle was lit up for the evening.

Night Castle

Finally, 9:30 arrived and the incredible fireworks show began! The entire thing was probably around 20-30 minutes with speaking interludes, fireworks synced to patriotic music, and projections on the castle. I can’t lie, I definitely teared up a few times, while thinking about how proud I am to be an American! The show was beautiful, whimsical, patriotic, fun, and magical! Everything I have come to expect from Disney! The pictures below are a small sampling of one portion of the show, but they definitely don’t do it justice. The final picture is from the finale, which was obviously too bright and amazing for my iPhone camera to handle! Haha!

DisneyFireworks

When the amazing show came to an end, we headed toward TomorrowLand because I was craving a yummy Mickey Pretzel. We perused the gift shops until our Space Mountain FastPasses were eligible, and then we hopped on our rocket to outer space! Since Louis had work the next day, once our rocket returned to earth, we decided it was time to head home. I passed out kept Louis company on the drive back, and we got back to the hotel around 1:00 AM. After our showers, we fell into bed, exhausted from our long, exciting 4th of July. It was a fun-filled day and a great way to celebrate America!

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