California Dreamin...

It's about 25 degrees in Pittsburgh today, which makes it the perfect time to share some photos from my trip to California.  In my post from last week, I mentioned a couple of the stops we made and wanted to share just a few of the amazing photos from the trip (seriously between all four of us there are well over 2,000 photos - thank you iPhones).   I loved being able to wear shorts and sandals in the middle of January and eat breakfast outside in the sunshine.  Driving up the coast was amazing and something I would recommend to anyone that gets the chance.  There is no better therapy than laughing with friends and nothing that will soothe your soul like watching the sunset from a bluff over-looking the ocean.  As I mentioned before, pictures simply don't do it justice.  What are your favorite vacation spots?  I would love to hear from you! 

Huntington Beach....

A few years ago, I lived in Southern California (for a very short time).  I was in my early twenties and perhaps even more of a dreamer than I am today.  So I thought it completely logical to quit my job, pack up the few belongings I had, and drive (for five days) from Pennsylvania to California.  I had no job waiting for me and very, very little money saved.  Needless to say, that plan didn't work out the way I had hoped.  Looking back, obviously I would do many things differently, but I don't regret it.  I am glad that I was the type of person willing to take a huge leap.  I am also so grateful for the opportunity to make that drive.  The things you see when driving across the country are truly amazing and will humble you almost instantly.  So although I lived there for a very small amount of time, southern California still feels a tiny bit like home.  The laid-back atmosphere is such a departure from what I am used to.  On this trip to the Huntington Beach pier, I even made friends with a handsome seagull and we chatted for a few minutes before he flew off to join his companions.

The Only Thing Missing was a Fanny Pack...

Ok, I'll admit that we did A LOT of tourist activities on this trip.  But hey, I had never been to San Francisco and was only there for two and a half days.  I had to cram everything in!  While in Anaheim, we spent a day at Disneyland.  Favorite rides were probably Space Mountain and the Tower of Terror.  The next day we did the Warner Brothers Studio Tour.  We got a pic (below) sitting on the famous Central Perk couch from Friends!  In San Fran, we took a ferry across the water to tour Alcatraz.  We also watched cars make their way down the curves of  Lombard Street, walked across the Golden Gate Bridge, and stumbled into the Palace of Fine Arts while on a walk (because those are the type of things you stumble upon in San Francisco).

Santa Monica & Venice...

We spent one beautiful afternoon at the Santa Monica Pier and walking the Venice Beach Boardwalk.  Though I didn't see any muscle men lifting weights on the boardwalk (sigh), there were plenty of street vendors and performers.  We also got some great photos at a skateboard park in Venice (doesn't get much more California than that).  

And I gained 10 lbs...

Ok, so luckily I didn't really gain ten pounds...mainly because we walked SO much.  However, we did enjoy some pretty incredible food.  It's always a little difficult being in a new city and going out to eat.  You want to make sure you are trying the best restaurants the city has to offer!  We got some recommendations, listened to the local experts (our uber drivers), and set out to try as many new treats as we could.  Below are a couple of my favorites.  The top photo is a beignet filled with Ghirardelli chocolate that was my breakfast appetizer at a restaurant called Brenda's French Soul Food.  No reason to not sample some New Orleans cuisine while in San Fran...and in this case the picture almost does this pastry justice.  Of course we had to get In-n-Out Burger and in my previous post I mentioned the sushi happy hour.  We also ate breakfast at a place called the Buena Vista which is famous for their Irish coffees.  Seriously, if you are a lover of breakfast food, this was one of the best Eggs Benedict I have ever had!

The Golden Gate Bridge...

Ok, I live in Pittsburgh.  We are literally a city filled with bridges...some pretty unique ones I might add.  It takes a lot for a bridge to impress me and the Golden Gate Bridge lived up to my expectations  After a few obligatory photos looking out at the bridge, we decided to walk across it back to Crissy Field.  The views were amazing and I got to burn off some of those Eggs Benedict calories.

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Sand between your toes...

Below are just a few shots of some of the beautiful beaches and ocean.  I am in love with the sunsets we were able to capture and the blues in the sky were just breath-taking.

Cheers to a Great Trip!

This picture was taken at the Barrel House Tavern in Sausalito...probably one of my favorite spots on the trip.  The deck hung right out over the water and there were sea lions swimming right below us.  You could look across the water and see all of San Francisco off in the distance.  Add a glass of wine and let's just say I could have stayed there forever.