Tag Archives: California

A wedding, an art exhibit, a fun weekend in southern California

It’s not often that I travel back to my old stomping grounds of southern California. In fact, the last time I was there was to meet my great niece 7 years ago.  We all went to Disneyland together and had a grand time. You can check out my posts about that trip here and here.

This time it was for my niece’s wedding in Dana Point.  I traveled with my daughter and we met other family members there. We hitched a ride with my cousin, aunt and uncle who were flying into John Wayne airport within 40 minutes of us. My sister and her husband flew into LAX and rented a car. They were going to pick us up but we changed those plans since it made more sense to go with my cousin, aunt and uncle. We all stayed at the Best Western Marina Shores in Dana Point, about 2 blocks from the wedding site. My other niece, her husband and my sister-in-law stayed at another hotel together further inland. It was so nice to be together with family for such a happy occasion. The bride was beautiful, the groom handsome and it was a perfect day for an outdoor wedding. It was held in a park on a hill overlooking  the Pacific Ocean. Truly a perfect setting.

My first gallery contains a few photos from the wedding.

Since we weren’t going home until Monday I contacted my oldest friend from junior and senior high school days to see if she’d be able to spend the day with us on Sunday. Again we hitched a ride, this time with my sister and brother-in-law, to the San Fernando Valley where I grew up. They were going to Grace Community Church and then meeting up with a friend for lunch so my friend and her daughter met us in the parking lot of the church and off we went to explore some sights in Los Angeles!

First off, we went to the Getty Center which sits atop the Santa Monica Mountains. The views are fabulous!  We enjoyed the Manet Exhibit from the last years of his life and then wandered around in the gardens admiring all the lovely plants and flowers. By then it was time for lunch. Miss M suggested Korean food and everyone agreed so we had Korean BBQ in Koreatown. Miss M has a friend whose mother was a flight attendant and this friend has traveled everywhere. So she texted her and got a good recommendation and we had a great lunch at Bulgogi Hut. Miss M also wanted to get coffee at the famous Philz Coffee and just down the street was another famous place: Amoeba Music. Huge store!! We even saw the Hollywood sign. By then it was time to head back to the valley to collect my friend’s husband for dinner. We drove down Sunset Boulevard so that Miss M could see some famous places like The Comedy Store and The Roxy as well as the mansions in Bel Air and Beverly Hills.  We ooed and ahhed all the way to the freeway.

That evening we met the rest of the family and other friends that hadn’t left town yet for dinner at The Smoke House in Burbank, just down the street from Warner Brothers Studios.  Another cousin who lives in the area met us there so it was great to catch up with him. I had invited my longtime friend and her family to dinner with us. I wanted to spend as much time as I could with them since we don’t see each other that often. My cousin and my friend’s husband have mutual friends (and musicians) in common so they had a good time chatting with each other.

The weekend went too fast and soon we were on our way back home.  But before I leave, please enjoy other photos from the weekend.

Some photos from our brief visit to the Getty Center:

Our flight didn’t depart until the afternoon so my  niece and her husband took us to Roger’s Gardens in Corona Del Mar. Um, wow!! This place was huge!! And we only scratched the surface. They already had Christmas items for sale, room after room after room of them!  There were many rooms of orchids as well and I was snapping photos of these gorgeous plants. Take a look:

To close, please enjoy a couple more photos of bougainvillea. I love this vine!



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Benziger Family Winery, Glen Ellen, CA

While in northern California for my brother’s wedding over Labor Day Weekend we had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Benziger Family Winery.  And here’s the winery’s site but I should mention that I had to key in my birthday before I could view their site. Benziger winery is only a 30 minute drive from where my brother lived and we managed to get on the last tour of the day.  We arrived in time for the penultimate tour, alas, there weren’t enough spots on the tram so we had about a 30 minute wait.  While the rest of our group waited near the tram stop, my sister, my niece and I headed down the hill for wine tasting! So. Much. Fun!!!!

Our tram took us through the vineyards and stopped at particular places giving us wonderful views of the countryside and to give us more information about the Benziger vineyard and how wine is produced.

The tour guide talked about the use of biodynamic farming at the winery and we stopped at an example of this where native plants are used.  Here’s more information on biodynamics from wikipedia:

Biodynamics has much in common with other organic approaches – it emphasizes the use of manures and composts and excludes the use of artificial chemicals on soil and plants. Methods unique to the biodynamic approach include its treatment of animals, crops, and soil as a single system; an emphasis from its beginnings on local production and distribution systems; its use of traditional and development of new local breeds and varieties.

We saw holding tanks and finally the caves where the wine is stored in mostly oak barrels.  This was my second favorite thing from that day, the first being the wine tasting.  I wish I could reproduce the fantastic aroma once you step inside the caves.  Imagine being surrounded by the smell of old oak.  It was divine!!

It was a gorgeous day full of sun and warmth and family.  It’s a day I will never forget.  If you’re in northern California do take the time to visit a winery, I was so glad I had this opportunity.  If I’m in the area again I’m definitely going to go the Benziger winery.


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Not to be confused with Disneyworld, please!  Poor Disneyland.  Seems nobody east of the Mississippi has ever heard of you.  We heard from more than two people who thought we were going to Disneyworld.

We took a trip to southern California to finally meet our great niece.  She will be two in December so we thought it was about time we meet this little cutie.  Here she is just arriving to Disneyland for our family day, which turned into a short visit at the park because it was very hot and very crowded due to a fund raiser for a local hospital.

I suggested that everyone bring bathing suits along because it was very crowded the previous day.  I thought it would be a nice break to go back to the hotel and relax in the pool in case it was still crowded for our family day. But what happened was that my great niece ended up napping in Tomorrowland while hubby, kidlet and I went back to relax in the pool.  We met up with them a couple hours later for dinner  and we had an enjoyable time at the Rainforest Cafe.  My niece and her daughter returned the next evening as well so we got to see more of that little cutie pie who is my great niece!  How did I get this old??

Since we were going all the way to California hubby really wanted to fulfill one of his bucket list items: to stay at the Disneyland Hotel. It was very nice!!  Here are a few photos I took in and around the Disneyland resort.

The carpet outside of the elevators:

The hallway carpet was really magical:

We could see the Matterhorn from our room! I’m told that Disneyworld does not have this ride.  One more reason to visit Disneyland instead of Disneyworld I’m thinkin’.

The pools and jacuzzis from our room:

A cool picture of Walt Disney and Sleeping Beauty’s castle in our room:

In downtown Disney, we happened upon a group of young ladies all dressed up who were celebrating a Quinceañera, a Latin American celebration of a girl who is turning 15.  They were all so beautiful!  And they were kind enough to let me take their picture:

And what would a post of mine be without a flower? Bird of Paradise were in bloom everywhere and they are so gorgeous!

And one ride photo.  Space Mountain is a very fun roller coaster and at the end there is a huge flash of light when your picture is taken.  You have a very short time to view the photos on the wall to decide if you want to purchase them. We saw people taking photos of the photos so we did the same thing.  Our good friends came to the park with us one day and this is the five of us on Space Mountain:

Last but not least for this post is a photo of Mickey’s magical hat from Fantasia at one end of downtown Disney where the hotel is.  It was a most magical time at the Disneyland resort, one we won’t soon forget.  I’m updating because I forgot to mention the fabulous fireworks that we just happened to see the evening of family day.  Everyone except my other niece and her hubby went home and the five of us got to Main Street just in time to see the fireworks.  I have to say this display blows the doors off the fireworks on the mall in D.C., now formerly the best fireworks I’ve ever seen.  This fireworks show is not to be missed!! If you’re there in the off season, the fireworks show is only on the weekends so plan accordingly!

Have you ever visited any Disney resort? Which resort do you like the best? What is your favorite ride?


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Venice California

I’m on vacation in southern California and I thought I would share some photos of Venice.

The beautiful beach:

An interesting house that we passed(there are many interesting houses in Venice!):




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