Sunday, February 26, 2012

Huntington Library for Tea

My fabulous friend, Denise, is turning fabulous fifty next month!  She is going to be celebrating 50 days of being 50, and I got to celebrate DAY ONE with her. You now the old saying- save the best for first...

Since she will be moving to Tahoe soon I decided to take her to tea at the Huntington Library in Pasadena, instead of buying her something to lug up north. 
The pictures and memories are her present. 

Henry Huntington's third home (Paris and New York is where he spent the rest of his time) is extraordinary. 
There are works of art scattered throughout the 207-acre property. 

Huntington had a vision; he amassed his collection of art and gardens throughout his life.  Now, about 500,000 people a year come to enjoy it. Well, 500,002 is more accurate.


It is impossible not to be in complete awe of these immaculate, exotic gardens... 

unless you are blindfolded, or course.

What a gorgeous day!

I don't think this insect is going to make it. His legs are being slowly digested by enzymes. 

The rain forest looks good on me.

The Rose Garden Tea Room was a highlight of the day. Clotted cream on fresh scones are incredible. 

Lunch and dessert is buffet style, but everything is fresh and gorgeously presented. 

Huntington's home is behind us. Completed in 1911, he designed it to display his art collection. I think 55,000 square feet is a modest way to show his appreciation for the arts. 


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Happiest Place on Earth

Fred has been begging to go to Disneyland so we couldn't think of a more perfect reason to go than Ruby's 4th birthday. Fred missed out on her birthday party so we brought her an extra little gift to emphasize her special day. Inside the decorated book are blank pages for her to color on; she would not put it down for the rest of the day.

Golden Horseshoe Saloon is no longer selling the giant pieces of chocolate cake they use to (one of the last few deals at Disneyland) but the new cake is very decadent. As we devoured the cake we watched Billy Hill and the Hillbillies perform. Ruby cried because we left before the show was over. Sorry Ruby, but there are rides to be ridden! 

Marla heard a rumor that if you are the first to ask, you can ride in the wheel house of the Steamboat. We had to wait for the second trip, as someone was in line, but it was well worth it.

The girls got to steer the boat, ring the bells and whistles, and they got a special captain certificate when we were back on dry land.

The only problem was that only four people could be in the wheel house and Ruby chose Fred and I to come. Sorry Marla! But she had fun watching the excitement on the girls' faces from the bow.

Disneyland is the happiest place on earth! Fred and I got the SoCal 2-day Park Hopper ticket for 114$ (and we have until June to go again). It is expensive, but well worth it considering a 1-day Park Hopper is 99$!

This was the most interesting Autopia experience of my life. I pressed the gas while Ruby "drove". She seemed to be missing the point, that you are not supposed to continuously hit the center track. Towards the end of the drive, she realized that she didn't have to steer at all and so looked in her book instead.  When I tried to steer she yelled at me that it was necessary. Ruby is a riot!

Smiles from car to car!

Disneyland is great at all ages, but it is fun to see it through my nieces' eyes.  

One of the reasons that this trip to Disneyland was so exciting was because I had never been on the new Little Mermaid ride. It was totally awesome, but way to short. It should have been 2 hours longer...

Fred is such a show off!

What a perfect day at Disneyland. Marla and I were both worried about the weather, as it POURED the day before but Walt must have worked some magic up there.

I tried to convince my sister to let me take the girls on Tower of Terror but she claimed it was "child abuse".  I am glad she didn't agree, I forgot how terrifying this ride is!

"Disneyland will never be complete. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world."- Walt Disney
Walt was a GENIUS!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Elfin Forest

Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve is located on the border of Escondido and southern San Marcos.  Although it is a popular hike, it would be a lot more popular if it weren't so hidden. I didn't know it existed until just a few months ago. 

There are about 11 miles of hiking in the 750+ acre reserve. 
Within this small area there are three habitats; Chaparral, Coastal Sage Scrub, and Riparian Oak Woodland.  While hiking, one can't help but notice all the biodiversity. 

Fred and I were surprised by the amount of wildflowers, there were at least five different flowering species. 

The Way Up Trail is the most challenging of the trails; 1.41 miles to the top.

The Olivenhain Dam contains eight billion gallons of water.  It is part of an Emergency Storage Project for San Diego County, a six month water source in case of drought or major earthquake.  The dam is built to withstand, and remain operational during an earthquake, and is the largest of its kind in North America.

What a perfect day for a hike with the one you love.

North County has a lot to offer.  It is impressive that Escondido has managed to preserve the land that it has, but I can't help but wonder what it used to look like before it was developed.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Ruby's 4th birthday party!

I can't believe my adorable little niece is almost FOUR! 
She is growing up so fast...

Ruby made it very clear that adults are, in fact, allowed to jump on the jumpy, and she recruited often. John is a good sport!

No kid's birthday party is complete without mimosas for the adults!

Oh, when will everybody stop singing so she can eat her cupcake!

Marla is always the hostess with the mostess.

Dan made Ruby's pinata... it turned out so cute. 

I felt like this picture well captured the present opening... a total blur.