the campas

the campas

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Random end-of-summer fun

Brian starts school at Pepperdine!  Go waves! SO PROUD:

Saying farewell to MR with Korean soup:

Crew's first trip to La Verne for a big family party and to see his fav auntie and uncle:

Visiting the Whites and meetings our godson sweet Cal.  He loves me!!!

Spending a weekend in HB with my parents and having a triple Double-Click shoot with Laura! My mom made us do a dog beach episode and it was super popular!  Mother knows best!

Home Means Nevada Trip-August 2016

In August, I joined my family for a whirlwind, 3-day driving tour of Nevada just a few days after our East coast trip!  My parents had wanted to take Lizzie all summer since she spent her summer interning for Senate Candidate Catherine Cortez-Masto, and had to do research on a bunch of po-dunk little towns.  Plus my dad is always down to explore his favorite state with us.  When they decided to go to weekend Becky was in town, I couldn't pass up the opportunity.

The fun started on Thursday, when I metro-ed down to Long Beach with all my stuff and met up with Becky and Mom who were in town. We walked around the Belmont Shores area and got some ice cream, then went HB and walked to BJ's for a pizza dinner.  I love that Becky is taking so much of her time between DC and Chicago to visit us!!

We were unsure of whether or not we would even be able to do the trip because the massive Blue Cut fire had ripped through the Cahon Pass on Tuesday.  Fortunately, they re-opened the road Thursday, and we had a first-hand view of the destruction when we passed through!!

We also saw the 7 magic mountains display near Vegas, which was kind of weird.

Once in Vegas, we stopped by Lizzie's office, and got to see how professional and political she is.  So proud!!

That afternoon I was able to run some errands and visit Grandma Sharon, and that night we went up to see Grandma Karen and Grandpa Chuck.  Grandma has had a few health problems recently but she looked great!  We visited Baby Benji later and even found COTTON CANDY GRAPES (!!!) at sprouts, which was a huge victory for me!!

We left pretty early the next day.  The thing I will remember about this trip is the driving!  We were in the car for approximately 20 hours over the course of 3 days.  That's a lot.  Our first stop was Beatty, where we found weird art and Eddie's world candy shop!

We also saw a home made of all glass bottles.  Cooleo.

We drove on to Goldfield, where my grandfather used to have to go for work.  It's super tiny.  We saw the courthouse and a haunted hotel, which is the subject of many Ghost Adventure episodes, and it really was quite creepy.  Brian was super jealous of us.  (he was home for his Pepperdine orientation).

We drove to Tonapah, which was a little bigger and more happening but still very old and quaint.  We saw their extremely busy post office and enjoyed the Burger King and the haunted Clown Motel, another Ghost Adventure spot! So many haunted places in Nevada.  It's right by an old mining graveyard.  

Our next adventure was truly memorable.  My mom wanted to stop by the "matkin family mine," yes that is a real thing.  It's in the middle of nowhere Nevada, but my parents were convinced they could find it.  Well they found the right road but on that day of ALL days, it was shut down for an off-road race.  The grumpy many guarding it would NOT let us pass (think Gandalf's YOU SHALL NOT PASS!)  but my parents yelled at them.  Annnddd it didn't help.  So we had to park a ways and way and trek our way in, except my parents didn't really have a plan and didn't know where to go.  So us sisters were whining/laughing and trying to not get bitten by a rattle Snake or fall into an abandoned mine.  I am pretty sure we all thought we may never make it back.  BUT miraculously they found it and we got some pics to prove it!  i will never forget us all treking about the literal middle of the desert looking for some random mine.  It was hilarious. and HOT.

We also risked our lives by pulling over and dashing across the freeway to get this pic "outside the lonely Esmerelda county line," as quoted in a Killers song!  Nothing more Nevadan than the Killers!

We drove through many more towns, where mom lost her fancy Ray Bans, and past a huge lake, until we finally made it to the Reno area.  We saw a Tesla factory and eventually made it to the biggest little city!  I haven't been to Reno in forever and was surprised by how big and nice it is.  I was feeling kind of sick when we made it to our huge hotel (which is in a casino), but rallied and made it to Louis' Basque Corner!  That restaurant is kind of a legend in our family, we ate there once a million years ago and never forget.  They serve you a ridiculous amount of food, meaning EIGHT COURSES.  We were all so full we could hardly eat our steak and shrimp and gave it to a homeless lady. :)

The next morning we started early with a walk along the Trukee River where we saw some Silvery Rills!  We had breakfast at a bagel shop, then drove up the mountain to Virginia City!  That place is amazing!  It's an old gold-mining town that has been preserved and become a tourist-trap, but is so interesting.  We walked around the shops and enjoyed the ambiance or it.

Lizzie and I paid $$$ for these ridiculous Donkey pics.  Turns out I am terrified of dusty old donkeys!  Who knew!?

Notably all small towns in Nevada love Trump!  Interesting!

We drove on to Carson City.  I slept the whole way, and missed a lot of flat desert, I am sure.  We made it to the most interesting part of the city, which is where all the legislative buildings are.  I learned so  much about my parents on this trip, like about how my mom has Nevada family history with her mining grandfather, and how my dad used to come to Carson City of long periods of time to lobby at the capital.  What!?

The rest of the day was filled with lots of driving and a few stops.  We drove by OJ Simpson's jail which is in the gosh darn middle of NOWHERE.  We also went to Love lock, NV, where you can leave a lock by the courthouse! By far the most interesting thing about that city!

That night we stayed at a hotel in Elko.  i didn't get many pics, but we enjoyed the Hilton Garden Inn we stayed at which was super nice!  Lizzie and I swam, I ran, and we ate Costa Vida outside in the beautiful weather!  Elko was a pleasant surprise.  We watched the closing ceremonies that night, as well.

The next morning we drove through Spring Creek, NV, where McCall's parents used to live! We got to the Ruby Mountains, where my dad has been dying to go to, and may be the only spot in this great state he has never been to.  My parents had picked out a nice hike which we all loved!  It was the perfect distance and took us to a nice lake.  We all loved the green scenery and perfect weather. 

After the hike we drove for sooooooo long.  Like, for forever.  Through many tiny towns, and Ely for snacks and gas.  We stopped by Cathedral Gorge State Park and briefly took pics before the skies opened and the rain poured down!

The rest of the drive home to Vegas was slightly terrifying because it was raining so hard and there was tons of lightning!  I am so glad my dad was driving in the super safe Volvo!  Despite the flooding on the 15, we eventually made it home to Dustin Ave. safely.  It was such a fun adventure!  Even though we saw so many towns and interesting places, the thing I will remember about this trip is being in the car with my family for so long and just talking, eating fast food, and trying to find music we agree on.  It was a great bonding experience and I feel more like a Nevadan now than ever before.

Home means Nevada to me! ###

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

NYC/Philly-August 2016

In the middle of August, Brian and I met up with Lizzie for a 4 day trip to NYC/Philly.  Ever since I have known Brian he has wanted to go to the dedication of the Philadelphia Temple.  Because of his fall class schedule, we realized we couldn't swing the dedication but we could attend the open house!  We invited the sisters and Lizzie was able to sneak away from her fancy internship to join us.  It was SUCH A FUN TRIP.  The main thing I will remember is the heat!  It was so bloody hot and humid!!  In fact when we got home, we saw on CNN 4 people died during the heatwave in Philadelphia, and it was almost 7 people with us whimps dragging ourselves around the sweating to death!!! Despite that we had such a good time.  Enjoy a billion pics:

We landed at Newark, found Lizzie, and took the train to NYC!  I love the subway!

First stop: SHAKE SHACK!  love that place!  We stayed at Aunt Kristen's fancy penthouse cause she was in Rio for the olympics, duh, and they live near a shake shack.  I would be so fat if I lived in NYC, fact.

We also got to see Jen Rose and 2 of her friends who were staying at the apartment too!  It was so fun to visit with them!  But we didn't get a picture, fail!!

Brian was amazed by the Raskopf's swanky apartment, haha, we took him to the roof to further blow his mind.

Brian stayed at the apartment to rest and watch the olympics, but Lizzie and I were up for an adventure!  We walked to Magnolia's to feast on banana pudding, then walked to the Temple and Trump tower.

FUNNIEST STORY.  There was a big race between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte and it was going to be on live in NYC (yay east coast time!)  Lizzie and I figured we would miss it because of our walk, but Brian texted us when we were getting close that the race was starting soon and we could catch it.  So we ran like idiots down the street and into the revolving door of the apartment building, except WE GOT THE WRONG BUILDING and realized as we were swinging around the recolving door, when we reached the lobby, we kept on revolving and yelled at the door man "wrong building!!!"  If you could watch it in slow motion you would see what idiots we are and how perplexed that poor doorman was.  haha!!!!  Also I seriously almost fell flat on my face as I entered the door, so many embarssing moments for us to laugh about later.

Good news: we made the race!!

The next morning we got up super early and went to Levain's bakery to try their famous cookies.  Maybe it was the heat but they were just "meh" to me and I was not blown away.

After cookies we went across Central Park to the GMA Keith Urban concert!  We were already pouring sweat but it was so fun!  There werent a ton of people there and we had plenty of room to see Keith.  We caught about 4 or 5 songs and saw all the GMA talent and some olympians they had on.  So festive!

After, we parted ways and Lizzie went exploring while Brian and I went to the 9/11 Museum.  It was such a crazy experience.  That place really touched me.  We spend over 4 hours walking around, reading the information, watching the videos.  It's such a nice tribute to the victims.  I am always blown away when I really stop to think about 9/11.  I was so young when it happened but so many people died, and so many heroes gave their lives to save other people.  I don't think I can emotionally handle the museum more than once but it was such a great thing to do.

After, we met up with Lizzie ((who saw Donald Trump while she was on her own! what!??!)   on the Upper East side at a veggie burger place I saw on CBS this morning.  When we stepped inside Brian and Lizzie were like "yea we aren't eating here."  haha!  SO I got a crazy expensive veggie burger and they stopped at a local deli.  So funny.  Then we went to the Big Gay Ice Cream shop because it's trendy, but not very tasty.

After ice cream we were perplexed about what to do.  It was so hot and we were all exhausted.  After much pondering outside a local McDonald's where Lizzie had to buy a cheeseburger to use the bathroom, we decided to catch a bus to Chelsea Market and walk the High Line.  We got some fancy snow cones and enjoyed the high line despite the heat!

Our next activity was so spontaneous and fun!!  We looked for things to do during the summer online and saw that Chelsea Pier has a sports complex where you can hit golf balls into an area that jets out into the hudson.  We got a bunch of balls for like 20 bucks and had a great time!  Brian especially loved it, or maybe he loved laughing at how bad Lizzie and I were.  Oops.  He helped us figure out how to actually hit the dang ball, but we were mostly excited about sitting in the shade and using their outlets to charge our phones!  Hip hooray!

After that fun outing, we took the subway back to Kristens (after accidentally taking the express train to Harlem, ugh) and cleaned up for a broadway show.

We got there in plenty of time and grabbed dinner at a salad/sandwhich place near Times Square before our show started.  We saw "An American in Paris," and loved the costumes and dancing!  It was so good!!  But the best part was that a guy proposed to his girlfriend during intermission and we all cheered them on.  Yay love!

The next morning we didn't know what to do since it was SO HOT (have I mentioned it was hot that weekend?) so we decided to have breakfast at a bagel shop Lizzie read about online.  But when Brian and I got there we saw a sign on the door that said it was closed for a jewish holiday.  What!?  So we got bagels at a nearby chain.  As we were picking them out an employee asked Brian if I needed some napkins becuase I was having a sweating attack.  I literally hate myself.

After breakfast we met Lizzie at the museum of natural history and walked around and saw tons of dead animals!  The museum has a "suggested" donation.  So the man at the front rang me up and said "we suggest the price of 61 dollars, but you may pay what you wish."  I handed him a 5 dollar bill and walked in!  Holla!

We stopped at Shake Shack once more and at another little shop's grand opening that Lizzie liked in London.  Then we packed up and went to Penn Station to catch our train to Philly!  Peace out NYC!

The train ride to Philly was wonderful because it was so well air conditioned and we all slept.  Yaaaay.  When we arrived in the city of brotherly love, we took the subway into town and then walked to our hotel which was centrally located and really nice!

We decided to try a Philly Cheese steak place near our hotel I had read about, so we walked there, and guess what: it was randomly CLOSED!  seriously, I was 2 for 2 that day!  haha.  We decided to Uber to the most famous place for a Cheese Steak, pat's king of steaks!  It was so good!  Brian ordered our fod like a real local and we loved the experience.

Since we were in Philly, we HAD to go to Rita's!  So we Ubered back and went to one near the hotel.  I loved seeing Brian in his happy place!

The next morning we walked to Independence Hall for our tour.  We braved the heat and waited outside.  The tour was awesome!  Our tour guide did a great job summing a lot of history into a short presentation.  We went to the Liberty Bell after and learned all about it.

One of the best part of the Philly trip: donkeys!  The Democratic National Convention was in Philadelphia just weeks before, and every state had a custom donkey somewhere in the city.  We loved seeing them, and even found the Nevada one!  Stay tuned!!

We walked by Ben Franklin's grave after our tour, then decided we were starving so we would go to Reading Terminal Market for lunch.

We LOVED the market!  So many good food options!  Lizzie and I got gyros and brian got a brisket sandwhich.  We mostly loved walking around and seeing all the food!

This pic is shameful, we thought the DNC was at the convention center so we made a Hillary "H."  But then becky told us it was a the wells fargo arena, not the convention center!  Haha!  Fail!

We walked by city hall and took a picture by the original LOVE statue.  Lizzie was trying to get us to take a kissing picture and brian straight up refused, party pooper!!

We went back to the hotel and briefly watched synchronized swimming, haha, then took an Uber to see the Phillies play!!  We were so worried about the heat, but all our research about the shade paid off!  We were in the shade the whole time and it was bearable!  The Rita's we got may have helped. :) We stayed for the whole game and LOVED it! Phillies beat the Rockies.  Lizzie and I desperately wanted a picture with Phillie Phanatic but it was not meant to be, haha.

Here is a our Hillary re-do picture ;)

That night we walked around awhile trying to find a place to eat and finally settled on a fancy organic burger place.  It was good but their service was slow!  But they comped part of our meal to apologize, #worthit.

We ended our night getting dessert and watching the olympics together.

The next morning was the main event: the temple dedication!  Our tickets were pretty early.  We joined our group at the church across the street and watched the introduction video.  Then we walked across the street, got our booties, and started the tour.

The Philly temple is amazing.  As soon as you walk in there is a photo o the founding fathers signing the declaration of independence.  And there are beautiful pictures of America all over the temple.  The temple's interior colors: off-white, blue, and gold, are gorgeous.  The whole temple is just beautiful!  And so big and centrally located.  It seems everyone in Philadelphia knows about it.  We felt the spirit so strong and were so blessed to be able to go to the open house together.

After the open house, we grabbed some breakfast, then walked over to the Nevada donkey!  Isn't it amazing!?

We walked about a mile to the Rocky Steps, where we turned on our Rocky music and ran up the steps like champs.  Lizzie and I have never even seen that movie so we truly are posers.  It was fun though and we got a great view out of it!

After Rocky, we went back to Reading Terminal Market.  The Menonites were off on Sunday, so we wanted to go back on Monday to try some of their food.  I got a delicious pretzle and Brian and Lizzie got some snacks. 

We decided to go to Elfreth's Alley, where many founding fathers lived.  Turns out it's kind of a snooze, but it's close to Betsy Ross' house, so we walked there and paid to do the tour!  Such a good idea!  We loved the Betsy Ross impersonator and learned a lot.

(lizzie also found this bar that is featured on it's always sunny in philadelphia)

After Betsy, we did the self-guided tour of the US Mint.  It was neat!  After that it was time to go.  We picked up our bags at the hotel and took an Uber to the airport.  It was a near-death experience.  We got there with PLENTY of time, so we all relaxed together and grabbed dinner.  We took off about an hour before Lizzie.

This trip was so memorable and fun.  I am really glad we made it happen.  And I am SUPER glad Lizzie came along!  We did/saw so much, and made the best of the weird weather.  I will never forget this trip. ###