Christmas part 2: Alone in LA

A few days before Christmas, Casey and I left the kids with his parents and spent a day alone in one of our favorite cities. Well, I spent the whole morning alone in LA and then he joined me around lunch time.

I spent plenty of time running from shop to shop in the garment district:
and sifting through odds and ends. You can see more about my fabric shopping experience HERE.
Then I swung by Casey's office to pick him up. Their old building is really cool and actually part of the architecture tour on 500 Days of Summer.
We then drove from downtown, through West Hollywood and took a moment to pause at this. If you ever need to go clubbin, while pumping your gas, you must stop at this ARCO station on Santa Monica blvd. The only missing elements were Ben Stiller and his boys splashing gas on each other.
From there we continued to the Miracle Mile and ate at our favorite pizza place, Rocco's.
I've blogged about this before. But seriously. Pepperoni Calzones, mixed with....
Barq's rootbeer?
is cheesy heaven. I hope we can eat there this summer too.
With full bodies, we continued west and ended at: the beach.
I've realized, while going through my pictures, that we made 4 different trips to 4 different beaches while we were there. Most beaches are dreamy and simply beautiful. But especially in LA, it's a nice contrast to the craziness of Hollywood Blvd. The beach is one of the top things I miss about California.
The famous Santa Monica pier:
Late afternoon drivers on PCH:
I was actually there.
(and Casey was actually at Rocco's...though my cheese was more important in the photo than he was)
After watching the sun go down, we wandered 3rd Street Promenade.
Paid a visit to this place:
Tried on boots at Aldo (didn't buy any). And then saw this movie:
We both thought it was....Fantastic! haah. I was actually going to write that. We highly recommend it.

We came out of the theater to a darker 3rd Street, with sad singing acts getting ready for the crowds that night.
We admired the pretty Anthropologie windows:
We hit up Urban Outfitters one more time and then called it a night! (or a day).
We really love where we live right now and the lifestyle we're able to have in Texas. But man, there really is something about L.A. that draws you in. Maybe it's the fact that we know it so well? I think of the countless hours I spent driving these streets while working as a P.A....knowing all the ins-and-outs, short-cuts for getting "over the hill", best places to park, ways to avoid the 405/10 interchange. LA really feels like home to me. So much life, character, and still some natural beauty.

"I lovvvvvvve LA."


Christmas part 1: The Willards

Well, I'd hate to have to do a post called "Christmas in July", so I figured I better get my Christmas pics up on the blog before summer rolls around. And we have a bunch of travels coming up, so I really need to get ahead of the game NOW.

I have so many pictures from our Christmas/New Years in California that I'm going to break it into 5 or 6 blog posts. So here goes the first!

Christmas with The Willards!
Jeff, Nicole, and the kids came to town for a few days and it was a blast. We love to hang out with them and the kids just act silly together. There was a lot of this going on:
(cute Harrison and aunt Nicole):
and if we weren't eating grilled cheese, we opted for donuts:
Owen at his morning best:
I snapped photos of the darling girls. Jillian has the most amazing eyes.
and great expressions too.
These were supposed to be her "3 years old" pictures.....just a few months overdue.
Jacqueline is fun to take pictures of too. Both girls are very photogenic.
and she has cute little feet.
This pic just makes me laugh. Can't remember now what she was bothered by.
and, cheese! Such a cute girl.
Cousins, playing together in Grandma's front patio.
One night while they were in town, we braved the LA traffic and drove from Simi Valley to Fairfax.
We ate at Messob (Ethiopian food), which Chad and Lauren introduced us to...and also announced that night that they were having a boy! And to follow that up: she just had baby Henry last week! The Willard male/female ratio is now balanced.
The food was quite tasty and it was fun to eat adventurously. My only complaint is that the bread was a bit too spongy to me. Now if you put some Indian Naan with it?! Perfect!
We had a great time eating family-style in the middle of the restaurant. And when the kids got restless, the staff entertained them. Does it get better than that??
Thank you Messob!
After dinner we walked around the LA temple to see their Christmas lights.
Everything was cheery, bright, and festive.
Moroni still:
Moroni moving:
We had a slight scare while at the temple grounds when we lost Lucy for 20 minutes. She was with all of us but at some point she must have lost sight of me or Casey and decided that she needed to go back around the temple to find us. So she started walking in the opposite direction of us. Some people saw her and asked, "what do you need?" She calmly responded, "I'm looking for my people!" Of course we were not as calm as she was and were a bit worried. So we circled around the temple as well, Casey going one way, me going the other, and yelling "Lucy! Lucy!"

People who heard us asked, "little blonde girl? She went that way...."
So we knew she was close by, we just needed to find her. And eventually we did. PHEW. Scary to think of what could have happened instead, in LA, at night time.

On that note, to finish off the night we hit up our favorite ice cream sandwich shop in Westwood:
I quickly snapped photos inside the shop, before getting busted.
Yum. I wish I had this right now in my house to devour.
For the rest of our Willard hang-out, we just played around the house, went to the outdoor mall to see the "fake snow". All the girls went to see The Princess and The Frog (and the boys went golfing). Jeff, Nicole, Casey, and I had a date-afternoon where we got In-N-Out to-go and smuggled it into the movie theater to see A Christmas Carol.

I'd been wanting to make Lucy a jacket for a while now. And since the cousins were here I made one for all three girls and ended up using them for SYTYC. It worked out great. And the girls were just cute together.
Jacqueline really could model kids clothing. She was so perfectly posed in all these shots.
Jilly's amazing expressions again.
Thanks for coming down to California Willards! It was a fun, fun weekend.