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.  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 🙂

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 🙁 ) 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. 🙂

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 🙂

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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

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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? 😉 )

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!!!”

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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. 🙂

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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 🙂 Their scientific name is the Aeonium arboreum Zwartkop, and they are also known as “Black Rose.”

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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-Ulta 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.

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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  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!

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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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San Diego Zoo

NightAlGoestotheZoosdAccording to everything I’ve heard, the San Diego Zoo was a “MUST DO.” Everyone said it was really incredible and unlike any zoo in America. Supposedly, it is the #1 zoo in the United States. It better be for the $45 a day adult tickets! I mean seriously? That’s half a Disneyland ticket! My review? Eh. I mean, it’s still a zoo. It’s still crowded, hot, and makes me kind of sad to see wild animals in tiny cages. However, I was offered a coupon to go with some of our friends, so I tagged along with them last week to see what all the excitement was about.

entranceOnce we arrived, we headed to the koala exhibit to see the little cuddly marsupials. They had a large exhibit and were mostly just relaxing in their trees or enjoying some leaves.

koala1The next thing we saw was my favorite part! It was their cheetah exhibit. The cool thing though was each cheetah had a best friend that stayed with them 24/7. Their best friend? A dog!!! Apparently the dogs being around the cheetahs keep them calm. So calm in fact that they often walk the cheetahs around the zoo on a leash! Can you imagine!? The dogs and cheetahs are raised together from birth, so they are used to being together even if their schedule or exhibit changes. How would you like to be the first dog they tried out this combination on? Hah! They were nuzzling an playing together…it was precious! The pair we saw were Bakka and Miley.

cheetah collage

cheetah3 cheetah4How cute are they? I loved it! Next we strolled through some other various exhibits…

Precious Polar Bear enjoying a carrot for lunch!
Precious Polar Bear enjoying a carrot for lunch!

Bear, flamingos, kangaroo

Giraffe CollageAfter exploring a chunk of the zoo, we made sure to checked out the panda bear exhibit. They volunteer said they have the only female panda outside of China, and she has birthed all of the cubs at the San Diego Zoo. This handsome guy was climbing all over the place while we were there…too cute!

Panda Collage

The last exhibit we checked out was the Orangutan area. There was one male and three females in this large exhibit. The big guy walking on the ground below is the male. The orangutan up on the ropes is pregnant right now; she’s due in October! Can you imagine climbing around like that when you were pregnant!? Ya right!

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Monkey Collage

I’m pretty sure the best pat of the exhibit though was how this sweet girl, Karen, traveled around the exhibit. She LITERALLY used this method of transportation to get from one side of the exhibit to the other. It was cracking me up so much, I took a quick video.

How cute is it that she rolls everywhere!?! I loved it! After the monkeys we decided it was time for a quick ice cream snack, and guess what? I ran into a girl I know from A&M! What are the odds of that? I guess the Aggie Network really does extend everywhere! Gig ’em!

Overall, it was a fun day, and if you are a zoo fan you should definitely check it out. However, if you want to save $45, I’d say a day at the beach is just as well spent (and free!)! Hope y’all enjoyed the quick zoo review!

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