January 21, 2016

winter break: nor cal

Disclaimer: I am aware that locals do not use the terms SoCal and NorCal, but for the sake of these two blog posts, I am going to use them and risk sounding like a dork. Over it.

The main reason for our SF trip was our friend Thad's wedding in Oakland on January 2nd. Thad has been buds and roommates with Drew for most of their college careers and he was one of the first of Drew's friends I met when we started dating. We were so excited that it worked out over the holidays for us to attend such a wonderful and glamorous celebration for Thad and Kari!
 We made the 12 hour drive on New Year's Eve and spent all of New Year's Day exploring SF! First spot on the tourist checklist: Painted Ladies aka Full House houses.

I just looove the architecture in SF. I could totally see myself living here if rent wasn't the highest in the country. LOL, maybe one day.

I asked all of my foodie friends what the best restaurants were in SF, because if there's one thing I love, it is eating my way through any city I visit. Thank you so much for all your recommendations! Sadly, many of them were closed since it was a national holiday, but luckily Tartine Bakery was open and made for the perfect lunch spot. There was a huge line to get in, but I totally understand why. The sandwiches and pickled carrots were tasty, but the orange cinnamon roll Drew and I split was to die for (not pictured we ate it way too quickly for me to snap a pic). Thank you to my foodie friend Liz for this recommendation!! I will definitely visit this place again solely to load up on delicious baked goods.

After lunch, we attempted to visit Muir Woods aka home of the Redwoods aka ENDOR, but it was a bit of a failure. Thanks to our fellow tourists, the site of the woods was so busy and parking was a nightmare. We took a shuttle up to it that we were told would take 20 minutes, only to be stuck in traffic for over an hour. By the time we got to the entrance, the last shuttle available was about to take everyone back to the parking lot. So basically we spent $5 to take a shuttle up to the entrance and back. After this debacle we stopped by to marvel at the architectural wonder that is the Palace of Fine Art. That ceiling is the coolest, but I loved all the sculptures and intricate designs in stone as well. We spotted so many bridal shoots happening and I don't blame them. We were all feeling some Naboo vibes walking around that place.

The NorCal weekend road trip group: Tim, Drew, me, and Coulsen. Thanks for being such great travel companions and not minding the fact that I didn't drive at all. :)

After a delicious seafood dinner at Pier 39, our last stop before driving back to East Palo Alto (Thad's apartment where we crashed for the weekend) was ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery. This place was the common denominator between all my foodie friends' lists, so I knew I had to go. It did not disappoint. After taste testing probably 10 flavors, I settled on the salted caramel and coffee. DELISH and the perfect sweet treat to end such a jam-packed, tourist-y day.

Saturday was wedding day!! This was actually the first sealing I have ever attended after my own and it was such a lovely experience. I even got a little teary-eyed because the memories of our own sealing are still so fresh in my mind. Getting married is the best! The Oakland temple is beautiful, and we were so grateful to witness such a happy moment for Kari and Thad before the party started that evening.

Such a glam wedding party. That groomsman right next to Thad is quite the looker, am I right? hehehe

So this reception was probably the most glam reception I have ever attended to date. We set sail on the Cabernet Sauvignon Yacht and cruised along the San Francisco Bay all night. NBD. It was a blast! There were some truly stunning views from the top deck and it was so funny to see everyone rush upstairs and brave the cold and wind to snap some pictures whenever we passed some kind of landmark (guilty on all accounts). The dancing was equally as fun, and the whole day was such a party! There were so many of their other friends who made the trip too, making it the definition of a perfect destination wedding. Happy marriage Mr. & Mrs. Blankenship!

Shout-outs to Kari and Thad for getting hitched and giving us a reason to visit such a fun city, my fellow road trip companions for letting me pick 90% of the activities and 100% of the food stops, and of course to my sweet Drew for always being the best travel buddy/wedding date/dance partner for lyfe.

January 15, 2016

winter break: so cal

Guys. Last week I started my last semester of my undergraduate studies...EVER! I cannot believe I am graduating from this wonderful university in April. So many uncertainties ahead! But a lot of exciting things to look forward to as well. Nervous, but excited for sure.

Rewind to winter break, when I celebrated the holidays without my parents for the first time in my life. Most of the time, being married feels no different than dating, but then the holidays came around and I remembered I wouldn't be going home to Lancaster at all and got a little depressed. My house is the best place to be for Christmas. Seriously. My mom always puts up the cutest decorations, I get to visit my Lancaster friends, home ward, and my mother's cooking is second to none. I was definitely homesick for a good chunk of my break. However, trading the bitter cold of Provo for sunny southern California definitely helped.

After recuperating from finals week, we had a lazy weekend in Provo before flying to Yorba Linda for six days of movies, eating, and my favorite event...Disneyland! We decided to go on Christmas Eve and no one else wanted to go with us because everyone thought it would be too busy and figured it would be better to go after Christmas. However, Drew and I left a few days before everyone else (the Monday after Christmas), so Christmas Eve was our only option, because Christmas day would've been a nightmare, and so would the weekend. So, we just ventured by ourselves. SO GLAD WE DID, because it was the least crowded I have ever seen the park! Honestly. The longest wait was probably 45 minutes and since we finished all the attractions at Disney by about 2 PM, we decided to upgrade to a park hopper and head on over to California Adventure for the rest of the day, which was even LESS packed. It was my first time ever going to California Adventure too! Best decision of our whole trip. 
I had to include that ridiculous picture of me on the right to mourn my long hair. Last week I got my annual haircut and I always have a hard time with short hair for the first few weeks, but then I get over it. In other words, I am slowly but surely starting to hate how short my hair is less and less.
The Haunted Mansion decked out with Nightmare Before Christmas decorations was my favorite holiday change to the park.
California Adventure did not disappoint! I'm a big roller coaster person, so naturally we had to ride California Screamin' three times.

Christmas day was equally as wonderful, the highlight was definitely talking to Nic! That kid is such a riot and I miss him lots. He is doing great and although he wanted to talk about Yeezy boots and rap music, he is also improving a lot in his Mandarin and I can tell how much he loves serving the people in Melbourne. He even developed a little bit of an Aussie accent and uses the lingo which was so weird/funny to hear. Less than a year left until he's home folks!!
Elder Padilla probably talking about Kendrick Lamar
Getting married meant gaining this cutie as a nephew and I love it. Look at him in the onesie I got him for Christmas!! I cannot. He is in a huge Toy Story phase right now and he watched Toy Story 3 at least five times that week. Here he is hanging out with his friends aka Toy Story toys in a box.

The rest of our trip involved watching tons of movies, reading up on fan theories after watching Star Wars (please discuss with me because I'm not over it), visiting some friends, and hanging out with Harvey a lot. We flew back to Provo for a hot second (just long enough for me to remember how much I hate the cold and snow) before road-tripping to San Francisco for our friend's wedding! Pictures and stories from our Nor Cal weekend coming soon <3