Sunday, October 30, 2016

Life WITHOUT Lucy Belle!

Thanks for the title suggestion, Lisa!

So last week Matty and I did something pretty impulsive . . . we took a little vacation to Los Angeles! To be fair, Matty was already out there last Sunday through Tuesday for work. Prior to him leaving, we kind of tossed around the idea of me possibly joining him but we didn't really get our act together in time. However, Saturday night while he was packing I was kind of sad because I felt like we were missing a great opportunity for a little vacation. His flight was paid for by work, and he had more than enough miles to book a flight for me. We talked to our parents about watching Lucy, and Matty tried to switch his flight to stay longer, but it didn't really work out . . . until Sunday afternoon! Once he landed, Matty was able to switch his return flight to Saturday, and he booked me a ticket to fly out and join him on Wednesday morning. That means we had Wednesday through Saturday to do whatever we pleased whenever we wanted to. Did we love it? Yes! Did we miss our sweet baby girl? YES WE DID! 

I honestly can't believe I got on the plane. It was a rough start Wednesday morning because Lucy woke up way earlier than usual so I was unable to sneak out. It wasn't pretty for either of us! However, once I landed I was ready to see my hubby and do a little sightseeing and relaxing. I was also ready to feel a little cuter and more put together than usual. I packed my hairdryer, straightener, and curling iron so that I could have some cute hairdos throughout the trip. All of those dreams went straight out the window when Matty pulled up at LAX with this little surprise! So let this serve as my disclaimer for the rest of the post: This car is the reason I have crazy hair in all of the pictures!

After Matty picked me up, we immediately drove to Newport Beach and checked into our hotel. Then we drove to the Bluewater Grill and had lunch. This was a recommendation from one of my mom's friends, and it did not disappoint! We shared the most delicious fish tacos we've ever had. 

Here's Matty chewing his food and happy to be on vacation!

We walked to the pier after lunch and enjoyed the beautiful weather and views. 

It was a Wednesday afternoon, so the beach was pretty empty. 

After lunch we went back to the hotel to relax a little, and it was one of my favorite parts of the trip! We spent a few hours snoozing, reading, and watching TV . . . in the middle of the afternoon! I was so happy about it that Matty said maybe we should have just checked into a hotel on Ford Road for a few days instead of going all the way to California. The best part was that I did not feel one bit guilty about all that relaxing!

The next morning we checked out of our hotel and headed to Huntington Beach, Santa Monica, Malibu, and then back to LA to check into our hotel. We had a great view of LA on our way to the hotel. 

Huntington Beach was definitely touristy, but still a cute little town. We ate breakfast outside at a little cafe on Main Street and then walked a few blocks to the beach. There were stores and surf shops everywhere. 

So many beach volleyball nets!

Early morning beach pic.

Even 2,000 miles away, I still require Target! The weather forecast changed a bit, and it was going to be a warmer day than I had dressed for. We stopped quickly to pick up a short sleeve shirt for me for later in the afternoon. 

Our next stop was the Santa Monica Pier. It's just like what you see in the movies. Super touristy, but still pretty cool to see. 

I can't believe there's a roller coaster and a ferris wheel above the water!

A view of the pier from the beach. 

The beach was gigantic. We walked along it for a mile or two and then headed into town for lunch. I was surprised at all of the homeless people and intrigued by all of the people who live a totally different lifestyle than what we are used to in Michigan. 

I really don't care for this picture of me, but I'm gonna take one for the team because I think this restaurant is worth showing. We ate lunch at a cute little place in downtown Santa Monica. They had this outdoor area and each chair had a blanket for when it gets cooler outside. It was really cute and colorful . . . and the pizza we shared was delicious! Matty took this picture as he was walking back from the bathroom because there happened to be no one else around me at the time. 

And after lunch we got the MOST DELICIOUS ice cream! It was all homemade and organic, which means it wasn't cheap, but it was definitely worth it. I got Lemon Cookie in a homemade waffle cone. Matty got Mint Chip in a cup. 

After Santa Monica it was on to Malibu where Matty was super excited to drive the Mustang along a twisty turny road he found on Google maps. This is a screenshot of the road on the map. 

I zoomed in on it a bit because the zoomed out view didn't do it justice. So many twists and turns . . . all through the hills and canyons of Malibu. We weren't on flat farm land, we were on cliffs with no barriers over the edge for a lot of the drive. Matty LOVED it. I strongly disliked it. #oppositesattract

We took a less twisty road back down (my idea, not his). We stopped at one point to take some pictures. Walking past those rocks was certain death. I can't believe people choose to spend millions to live off of those roads!

Malibu is 27 miles of scenic beauty. One thing I noticed as we drove through was that they do not let you forget where you are. Everything had the name Malibu in front of it . . . Malibu Grocery, Malibu Pet Store, Malibu Tanning Salon . . . you get the idea. 

Check out that handsome guy in his car! 

Later than afternoon we checked into our hotel in LA and then got ready to walk around and explore the area and grab some dinner. As we were getting ready to leave, I noticed we were wearing similar outfits. #twinningiswinning

Our hotel was right by UCLA so it seemed totally safe to walk around in the evening, and there were tons of restaurants and stores in the area. We chose a little restaurant that got good review on Yelp and shared a delicious kale salad and this yummy hamburger. Matty is still talking about how good it was. I think it was the 1000 Island dressing!

Friday morning was a little rainy, and we got a great view of a rainbow on our way to our guided tour of LA. 

Our tour left from The Grove, which is a fancy shmancy outdoor mall in LA. You may have heard of it from such places as US Weekly or the tv show Extra. No? Maybe that's just me . . . 

Anyways, we got there about 7:30am, and it was kind of cool to walk around while it was totally empty . . . except for the people putting up the Christmas decorations! This was a quick pic I snapped from the parking structure. And it ONLY cost $15 to park for the day. 

Attached to The Grove is the LA Farmers Market which is a historical landmark in LA. 

There were a few produce stands, but it's really just a bunch of tiny little restaurants that have set up stands and pavilions that have all become connected so it's almost like you are inside. This was helpful when it was raining in the morning. There was a place there that had amazing looking donuts. I exercised self control, though, and didn't get any. Or course, I regret it!

Our tour started and ended at The Grove/Farmers Market. This is our tour guide, Mark, and Matty thought it was funny that he was squeegeeing off our windows even though it was still raining. 

There were only four of us in the tour van, and our guide was great. It was a four hour tour, and it seemed to fly by. The time went so quickly that our selfie is blurry!

We drove through a neighborhood of older but very fancy houses called Hancock Park. There are a lot of consulate houses in the neighborhood where diplomats and such stay when they are in California. This is the British consulate house where William and Kate stayed for part of their honeymoon. 

This is the building they show for the outside of Jerry's apartment on Seinfeld. Jerry is supposed to live in NYC, but his house is right there in the middle of LA!

This was the site of the hotel where Robert F. Kennedy was shot and killed. The hotel has been knocked down, but in its place the city built a super expensive K-12 public school named after Kennedy. It's the big, long building behind the lighter colored one. 

This is the Walt Disney Concert Hall. It was a very cool looking building and is supposed to represent a ship at full mast. 

The boxy building to the left of the pointy building (I should be a tour guide, right?) is where the OJ Simpson trial took place. 

This is the house used in Michael Jackson's Thriller video. 

We stopped in the middle of a pretty seedy looking area because of the great photo opportunity with the Hollywood sign. 

Remember the end of Pretty Woman when Richard Gere climbs up the fire escape to whisk away Julia Roberts? This is the building!

This is Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. A few days before we got there, someone took a pickax and destroyed it. 

Here's the Dolby Theatre, home of the Academy Awards. I waited there for Brad Pitt, but he never showed up. 

This picture is hard to see, but along the walls they have all the Best Picture movies and the year they won. 

They've planned enough space for all the way to 2071!

Directly across the street from the Dolby is where Jimmy Kimmel tapes his shows. We tried to get tickets, but you really need to plan in advance for that. 

Because I figured I should take a picture with at least one star on the sidewalk. We only walked a few blocks, but the stars go on for 18 city streets!

I would have loved to actually go inside of Madam Tussauds Wax Museum, but our tour guide only gave us about half an hour on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Fifteen minutes of that was spent finding a bathroom and a snack. #pregnanttourist So we settled for this picture at the entrance. Lucy squeals every time she comes across it on my phone. 

The Beverly Hills Police Department. Not a bad place to go if you have to be arrested. #wheresaxelfoley

Sidenotes about the tour:

1. We also drove down Rodeo Drive. I forgot to snap any pics because I was too busy searching for celebrities. I didn't see any. I thought maybe Matty and I would head back there later, but I figured there wasn't really a reason to. I didn't think my Target dress and cardigan and DSW ballet flats wearing self fit in with any of the boutiques down there, and I was fine with that. 

2. We also spent some time driving through the Hollywood Hills (yes, more twisty roads on cliffs, except this time with a crazy driver in a van. ugh!). We saw the homes of Katy Perry, Gwen Stefani, Al Pacino, Denzel Washington, and Mark Wahlberg. Oh, and I saw the top of the windows of Justin Timberlake's house! ;) 

3. We were given no information about Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, or Beyonce, which I was pretty disappointed about. 

4. Tours are a great way to see LA and the surrounding areas. There's no way we could have seen everything, or even have known where to go, on our own. 

After the tour, we ate lunch at the Farmers Market and then drove up to the Griffith Observatory. For those of you keeping count, this was our third time traversing twisty cliff roads. It was almost getting to be too much for me! 

For those of you interested in a little history, the land for Griffith Park and the Observatory was donated to the city by a man named Griffith Griffith. For real. He was a real upstanding guy who shot his wife in the eye but she survived and stayed with him because, according to our tour guide, love is blind. ha. What's with guys with the same first and last name shooting people in LA? I'm looking at you, Sirhan Sirhan. 

The Hollywood sign is behind us. 

The views really are unbelievable. 

After the observatory, we drove back to the hotel, had some drinks and delicious sweet potato fries by the pool (Coke for me!), and then laid in bed and watched a movie before dinner!! Again, the guilt-free middle of the day relaxation was glorious!

On our last night, we walked to a sandwich place for dinner . . . 

 . . . and to an ice cream sandwich place for dessert! We were super excited about this place because it got a ton of good reviews on Yelp. When we walked up, they were lined up down the street which is usually a good sign. You get to pick two types of cookies and one type of ice cream to make a sandwich . . . for $2! We couldn't believe it. You can't even get a candy bar in LA for $2. However, perhaps the organic ice cream from the day before ruined us because we weren't super impressed. I thought the ice cream itself was pretty good (Peanut Butter Cup!), but neither of us liked the cookies. In fact, we were so unimpressed with the cookies that both of us ended up throwing them away. So that's saying something. 

The next morning Matty reluctantly returned our rental car, and we headed off to LAX to fly home to our Lucy Belle. She was so happy to see us, it was great! The grandmas survived and said Lucy had a good time. We're experiencing a little clinginess now when I leave the room, though. I think Lucy thinks I'm going to leave her for four days every time I leave.

It's back to real life and business as usual this week. We're ready for some Halloween fun and a few play dates. We enjoyed our vacation so much, but are happy to be home with our girl. However, I'd by lying if I said I won't be thinking about that movie in bed while I'm doing schoolwork during nap time this week ;) 

Hope everyone has a Happy Halloween! 


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