Tuesday, January 28, 2014

California: Day 1

Before I start the recap posts of this incredible vacation I have to thank LuAnn, Ramzi, Nicole, Jason, Brittany and Jay. They were the most generous, lovely hosts anyone could ask for and we had the time of our lives! They set up all the fun activities and restaurants I'm going to share and were spot on with every single recommendation. We cannot express enough how thankful we are for making us feel welcome and comfortable. They just took this trip to a level we were not expecting! We will remember it for the rest  of our lives. Please, please come to Michigan so we can spoil you guys. We may not have the ocean, but we will hang out on Lake Michigan, go to a Tiger's game and check out the food and beer in Grand Rapids.


Okay, lets start at the very beginning because that is a very good place to start! We were up bright and early Wednesday morning excited for sunshine and 80 degree weather. We got to the airport with time to spare and enjoyed a fun shuttle ride to the airport with this outgoing couple that were excited to head to Florida for a cruise. We laughed that we basically learned their whole life story on the ten minute shuttle ride from parking to the airport. I love people like that!

We checked our bags and headed to security. I always dread security because I also get "randomly" chosen for searches. I don't think I look shady, but apparently TSA does. My parents were chosen for "Pre-check" and had minimum security and I naively thought we would get that too. WRONG. I took my shoes off and put my purse and phone on the conveyor belt, as instructed and get scanned. As I was walking out of that little machine this lady starts yelling "Ma'am! Ma'am! Take your scarf off!" So I oblige and she pats me down from head to toe. I think it's over, but I'm wrong again. She points to this lady holding a scanner and yells "Hands!" I have no idea what is going on and my parents and Garth are just staring at me. My brother later joked I must be on a no fly list somewhere. So I get my hands scanned and watching the computer processessing. Finally the results blink "no alert" and I'm free.

We head to our gate and see our plane just as first class passengers are boarding. Perfect timing or what?!

The four hour flight went pretty fast. There was a bit of turbulence, but the views were beautiful and I am now addicted to bejeweled and pretty much played that game the entire flight.

We landed!!!!! We got in almost an hour early meaning we had the whole day ahead of us! LuAnn, Ramsey, Brittany and Jay met us at the airport and took us to this fun restaurant right on the harbor in Dana Point, Wind and Sea.

They are known for their mai tais so I had to try one (or two), of course! My first one was incredible and took me right back to Hawaii. The second one was so strong I couldn't drink it. I made Garth drink it and even he had to dilute it with water and lots of ice. The food was amazing! I had a tuna melt with their guacamole dip and it was all amazing. How could it not be? We were with old friends reconnecting. Sitting outside. Watching boats and paddle boarders go by. Perfection!

After lunch we took a walk around the harbor.

The whole gang!

G & I soaking up all the warmth.

After walking around the harbor for a bit we drove out to see the ocean. This was our first time seeing the ocean in two years! Long overdue if you ask me.

It is well with my soul.

Garth was in a pure state of bliss, if you couldn't tell.

After seeing the ocean the second best part was seeing palm trees!

After a fun lunch, walk and ocean visit we went to LuAnn and Ramzi's house for one of Ramzi's amazing espressos. Yummo! We sat on their patio and did some more catching up. Nicole and Jason came soon after and took Garth and I back to their house so we could get settled in. They were THE best hosts! We had a wonderful, relaxing room with a super comfortable bed. We unpacked a bit and had a glass of wine and caught up with them.

Around seven we went back to LuAnn and Ramzi's for dinner. Now I don't remember the name of the restaurant, though I can find out if you live in the area. It was seriously the BEST Lebanese food I have ever had. I wish they shipped to Michigan because I would seriously be a regular.

This was one of my favorite nights. 

We were all so excited about the upcoming wedding and about all being together and we were up late (MI time it was late, ha!) talking and laughing and drinking wine. It was just so much fun.

Also? Ramzi introduced us to fine wine. I don't usually buy wine that costs more than $10, but this wine? $85 a bottle. I didn't want to try it because I knew it would ruin everything. It did. It was the best wine I ever had in my life and drinking anything less afterwards didn't do it justice.


Lauren said...

this looks like such a fabulous trip! I've never been to California, but it's definitely on my bucket list!

TexanCouture said...

Ah Beach & Sunshine! Looks like you had a great trip.
I've never had expensive wine for that reason too. My Cupcake wine would just not do it for me after that i'm sure.

Kenya said...

Looks amazing and that picture of the waves crashing on the sand is stunning.