A few weeks ago my husband and I took a trip to visit old friends in California. We had planned this trip since the beginning of the year but knew it could only be for a weekend because… three kids you know. We were so thankful my mom agreed to stay at our house so she could send our oldest two to school. Taking on the job of all 3 kids is tough, so bless her heart because I know it wasn’t an easy weekend for her but this is one of the many reasons why I love her.
To start with we had an early Thursday morning wake up call for 4am however we went to bed so late packing up that night before we only managed to have about 3 hours of sleep. I am not a morning person so waking up that early was almost impossible. I kept pushing back my alarm so many times we ended leaving our home around 6am and we didn’t check in at the airport until after 7am making us miss our flight to Orange County at 8:10am. So we were no longer arriving at 9am PST as we had planned (was looking forward to arriving early in the morning) I could tell my husband was upset, not only that but we were on the verge of missing out on flying out to Cali that day since all flights were booked now. Luckily they managed to find a connecting flight for us that will take us to New Mexico then to Las Vegas and from Vegas we would board to Cali. Let’s just say the 3hr flight we had planned turned out to be more than 7 hours total for us. It is safe to say I have learned my lesson-never show up at the airport late. Never again!
But even with all the travel and 3 states later we arrived around 2pm. Our good friend Anthony was there shortly after to pick us up and took us to explore Cali right away. I was amazed quickly by California, it is nothing like Texas. Mostly it was the weather that I instantly fell in love with . Something about the cool breeze running down your face & hair and the light jacket and jeans kind of weather in mid September was my type of place that I would love to wake up to every day.
I don’t want to spoil anything but just within those 4 days of visiting California I was wishing I could call this place home. I fell deep in love with the scenery and all the attractions, there is really nothing like it. I can finally say I got to experience livin’ the Cali life.
Once we arrived at Fashion Island which is very close to the John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, we walked around the shops and headed to the Apple store. I had an appointment already waiting for me (two days before the trip I shattered my iphone) While we waited on my phone there were many stores to check out and I did not mind walking around an open mall because unlike Houston there is no humidity here.
This is probably the coolest shopping mall I’ve ever seen. It’s everything about it! Best place for outdoor shopping with so many boutiques and even open spaces for parents to bring their kids. I enjoyed the beautiful landscaped gardens, the water fountains, and koi ponds. Glad I got to experience it. I even bought a new pair of Kendra Scott earrings. I scored a deal since I got them for 50% off and that is why I felt my luck was turning back on my side. I have to say the people in California were not what I expected them to be. They were so sweet and friendly & brought back a little feel of that Texan Southern hospitality. After all the window shopping and walking around we decided to eat at the mall at P.F. Chang’s since we were starving from all the travel. (And I admit it was my first time eating there although I know we have a location or two here in Houston)
We also couldn’t pass our first day in California without visiting a Costco- because you know it’s a must for us! (side note: my husband and I have worked for Costco for 10 years now) so visiting a Costco in another state was exciting for us. Not just that, but to see they have so many locations in every corner is kind of crazy to me!
The next day – Friday we woke up early to have brunch around Laguna Beach. We ate at The Cliff Restaurant, a place with such a beautiful atmosphere with an oceanfront view. This place has 180 degree ocean view from a multi- level patio where you can relax over breakfast, lunch, or a sunset dinner. There is also live music and fire pits six nights a week. Unfortunately at the time we went no band was playing but as soon we finished lunch the parking lot got packed and quickly a rush a people were beginning to wait to be seated. I could tell this spot gets packed fast, so glad we went before it got crowded so we got to enjoy a pleasant meal with no rush. So if you are looking for the perfect Southern California seaside sunset or a day stroll The Cliff has you covered. We ordered a salad for starters and everything from Mexican enchiladas, to fish tacos, to salmon, and burgers. Wish I had photos for it all, but even my foodie photography heart couldn’t wait and ate right away.
After leaving the Laguna Beach area we headed to Ken Sampson Overlook Park where we can get the view of Dana Point Harbor down below. I’ll let the pictures do all the talking because is beyond beautiful with a crystal blue water as the sun is shinning down on it. A hidden little neighborhood gem for sure.
After we left this Gazebo that overlooks the Dana Point Harbor we headed to San Clemente. We headed to the San Clemente Pier and Beach, which is one of the places you should consider visiting when exploring Orange County. But i’ll leave all that for my second post to come soon!