Monday, April 27, 2009

A Creative Outlet

Fun size Heath bars can be used to make simple creations

A Spiral

A pyramid

And even a lady bug

Art by Sarah and Cheryl

We would have sold these but we decided that it was better to eat the candy

Hotel Del Coronado

I have longed to visit the iconic Hotel Del Coronado for quite awhile. The Victorian architecture was what inspired the Grand Floridian hotel, which I have stayed at, in Disney World. Sarah and I went and visited it, but didn't stay in it, but we have learned that if we ever do stay there, it will be in one of the private villas that have balcony's literally overlooking the water and steps away from the beach.

It was fun to walk around and check out the beautiful architecture inside and out. Crystal chandeliers in the lobby and ballroom

Pool side cafes that also have a view of the ocean

And we were luckily able to enjoy these picturesque views for free. Maybe one day we might rent one of those villas . . .

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Birch Aquarium

My mom, Sarah and I went to the Birch Aquarium, part of the Scripps Institute at UCSD. They have this neat sculpture fountain outside, complete with a dripping whale tale.

The aquarium is situation on top of a hill with a great view of a San Diego beach.

Since it was the first weekend of the month, and I am a Bank of America cardholder still (from my Boston days), I got in FREE. It was a good aquarium- small, but with fascinating exhibits and sea creatures.

I was completely amazed by this octopus. I had never seen one move/swim around in the water before and so it was incredible to watch it for like 10 minutes. Sarah thought it was creepy, but I found it fascinating.

They also had several different types of jelly fish- I hope that I never actually encounter either one in the ocean!

The seahorses also were completely fascinating. They had the traditional type, like the one on the left, as well as one that blends in quite well with the seaweed on the right (can you pick the two out?)

However, these really weedy ones completely stunned me- they actually appear that they have actual weeds growing out of their body!

The aquarium also had a few interactive exhibits that Sarah enjoyed

We also got to hatch our own baby grunions. Grunions are this type of fish that live in sand and hatch due to agitation of the water. During the summer evenings at like midnight, there are literally hundreds that wash up on the beach and you can legally catch them with a pillowcase on certain days and times. We actually hatched several dozen eggs in our little cup- the only problem was that they are REALLY small so I wasn't able to capture them on camera.

I also bought one of the most elaborate pop-up books that I have ever seen. Its called "Sea Creatures: A Squirmy, Scary, Prickly Pop-Up" and it had pop ups of lion fish, octopus, shark, and even the weedy sea horse! I think it was the weedy sea horse that sold me on actually buying the book.

Cynthia the Actress

While I was in San Diego several weekends ago, my mom, Sarah, and I drove up L.A. to see our other sister Cynthia perform in two plays. We were lucky that they were both on the same day- one a matinee and then an evening performance. Since she was little, Cynthia has always had a flair for the dramatic, and she also has a fabulous voice, and can dance, making her a true triple threat.

The first show was a children's theater production of Sleeping Beauty- not the Disney version- but they had 4 fairies including one named Sunbeam, the ditsy, airheaded cheerleader type yellow fairy. That was Cynthia and she did a fabulous job! She was so popular that after the show, she had a huge line of kids getting her autograph (Sunbeam with a little drawn sun) and a photo with her. So of course we couldn't miss out on this opportunity as well!

The evening performance was of the muscial "The Scarlet Pimpernell," the version that used to be on Broadway. The music for this is incredible, and for a local theater, we were super impressed by the production. Cynthia was one of the singing cast members and she had several very elaborate costume changes throughout. Just look at this costume!

It was a center theater and we were fortunate enough to have a place on the front row. I was impressed that Cynthia was able to keep her composure with us smiling and cheering for her the whole time. Don't we look so much alike. Supposedly we even have the same laugh, according to the theater owner who immediately pegged us as Cynthia's family.

Look- she even had her head shot and bio on display in the lobby!

I am so proud of my sister- she has worked so hard for this, and she literally is in her element.

It was her birthday in a week so we celebrated it early by having desserts at this INCREDIBLE bakery near the theater- Portos. I had thought that Mike's Pastry's in Boston was crowded, but this place was even worse. It was just INSANE. The building was twice as big as Mike's and was just completely packed with people. But, it was worth it. We went there for lunch and then later for dessert. I highly recommend their cream cheese rolls, the soup in a bread bowl, and any of the pastries. Our little actress particularly loves the strawberry layer cake.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

San Diego Temple with Sarah

The main purpose of my trip to San Diego was to be there when my sister Sarah received her endowment at the San Diego temple. It was a beautiful, touching experience to be there with my family whom I love so much. It also was nearly 2 years to the day that I had received my own endowment in the Boston temple. Sarah before the session on the temple grounds.
The temple itself is breathtakingly beautiful by day and by night, but nothing compares to the beauty that it leaves with you from the special ordinances performed inside. I know through ordinances found in this holy house that I will be able to be with my family for eternity.

Japanese Friendship Garden

Inside of Balboa Park lies the Japanese Friendship Garden. Its only a couple of dollars, which is good because its not very big at all. What they do have is very pretty though, but probably not a must see in my opinion.

And no Japanese garden would be complete without bonzai- I love the flowering one

Balboa Park

In celebration of having completed my dissertation defense, I headed off to San Diego for the weekend to visit my sister Sarah, who is going to school at San Diego State, and my mom. On Friday morning we wandered through Balboa Park which is large and has many unique aspects to it.

The park had an entire section of roses.

It made me laugh that the name of this type of rose is "Howdy Doody"

This was my personal favorite- I love the red to orange to yellow coloration of this type of rose- I forgot the name though (see, unique names like "Howdy Doody" stick)

The park also had another garden section also in full bloom

They also had this twisted, weird plant thingy that almost looks like a monster

But they also had another alligator mosaic that seemed more friendly

Sarah's surprised that he didn't eat her- but he did eat me

I absolutely adore the Spanish style architecture of the many museums located inside the park.

They have an outdoor amphitheater and guess what's inside of the building- an ORGAN. It seems kind of random to me that they would have an organ in an outdoor park.