Los Angeles, California

if you are one of my Instagram buddies (hi!), you’ve had to deal with the bombardment of pictures from our trip to Los Angeles. I really do apologize for that, but I use Instagram as a travel diary, and I like to tag locations I visit for future reference. thanks for bearing with me!

so, first of all, California is a DREAM. I could not get over the weather. the sun was always shining, but it was constantly 75 degrees. like, that doesn’t compute at all in my Floridian brain. I never wanted to leave. I say that pretty much every time I visit somewhere, but this was a special I never want to leave feeling. because the weather was so pleasant, it made me feel refreshed and ready to get active and explore. on Sunday afternoon, I actually convinced Harris that we should go hiking at Wildwood Park rather than check out the Reagan Presidential Library. this is the craziest decision coming from a history nerd who loves air conditioning, but I felt so invigorated, and I wanted to experience more of California’s beauty. we took our time on the trail, talking about the future and how lucky we were to be there together and then decided to stop at the waterfall and enjoyed watching everyone. we were feeling really great so we decided to press on to Lizard Rock, but just like most of our adventures, we had a bit of a mishap when we ended up hiking 6 more miles than we had initially planned. thankfully, Harris was really supportive when my asthma was getting to me and I had to rest. when I wasn’t complaining about being close to death, I was taking in the incredible landscape. Cali really is a sight like no other.

after our harrowing hiking expedition, we desperately needed ice cream. we stumbled upon a gem: Little Calf Creamery and Cafe. I forgot to take a picture while we were there (too wrapped up in the deliciousness), but their churro bites and lavender ice cream were phenomenal. definitely a must-go.

as soon as we landed at LAX and made our way to Thousand Oaks where we were staying, I told Harris I just had to see the ocean. I could not come all the way to California and not see the Pacific Ocean. I’m so thankful that we did because the most breathtaking view I’ve ever seen was standing at the edge of Pacific, horizon stretching on forever and mountains soaring behind me. I got really excited to step into the Pacific for the first time, and then I did, and I was much less excited. that water is cold.​

after having my first taste of California beach life, I had my first taste of California burger life, and let me just say, I was unimpressed. everyone always goes on about In-n-Out Burger, but I honestly didn’t enjoy my meal at all. now, Shake Shack was awesome. will someone explain to me the draw of In-n-Out? K, thanks.

thankfully, my burger was the worst part of my whole vacation. I had an amazing time exploring the area and getting to know the people at West Ventura County Church of Christ. it didn’t take long to feel like a part of the family: I mean, I got invited to an incredible Harry Potter themed birthday party while we were there (thanks, Giles fam!). I am so thankful that Harris was asked to come and preach at a gospel meeting for this church; I’m very blessed to have more people in my life to love.

while we spent a lot of time at church and with different members of the congregation, we did get to spend one whole day in L.A. doing all the tourist-y things. our first stop was Randy’s Donuts. when Audrey (hey, girl) recommended it to us, we didn’t realize that it was also the donut place from Ironman 2 where tony sits in the giant donut. to commemorate, Harris pretended that his donut was an arch reactor.

Randy’s gets a solid 10/10 from us. next, we made our way to the La Brea Tar Pits. it’s free to walk around and see the pits. there’s also a museum, but I think it’s very educational just exploring the park. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I’m glad we made time to see it because while it was sad to think of all the animals that died, it was also a unique experience.

for lunch, we headed over to the Farmer’s Market (another Giles family recommendation). it took us awhile to decide what to eat because there were so many choices, but we settled on smoothies and empanadas. not your typical food pairing, but definitely tasty! the empanadas are stamped with their flavor: super cool (Nutella-stuffed pictured below).

after we ate, we stopped by the Hollywood Forever Cemetery (because of the scene in Valentine’s Day, of course, and a great place for finding Pokémon) and then took a long walk up Sunset Boulevard. the Walk of Fame was pretty cool, but also just a regular sidewalk. we saw the Chinese Theatre (I could have sworn it was a red building) and then drove up to Bronson Cave. the old Adam West Batman drove out of Bronson Cave so Harris wanted to see it. after a quick hike up and back, we drove through Hollywoodland (coolest place ever!) and got a great view of the Hollywood sign at Lake Hollywood Park.

with the sun setting, we decided to wrap it up and hit the last two stops of the day: The Last Bookstore and Wanderlust Creamery. let me tell you, the Last Bookstore was a wonder. everything was made out of books and because the bookstore is located in an old bank, they filled the vaults with different genres like horror or special edition. I was in book nerd paradise. I only bought one book, John Adams by David McCullough, and a sticker while we were there. I decided to pick up that particular book to commentate our trip because we stayed with John and Kathy Adams (just the sweetest couple!!). before we headed back to get some sleep, we enjoyed some pretzel flavored ice cream from Wanderlust Creamery. all of their flavors are inspired by cultures around the world. at some point, I discovered them on Instagram and told Harris that I had to try it if we ever went to LA. I definitely enjoyed mine, I believe it was inspired by Germany. unfortunately, Harris wasn’t feeling well so he didn’t get anything, just tasted mine. finally, we headed back to Thousand Oaks to get some shut eye.

that’s a wrap on our trip to LA! we wanted to see so much more so hopefully this is just part one of our LA adventure. come journey with me again soon 🌎

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