Adventures in Eastern Washington

It’s pretty rare that the opportunity to venture into Eastern Washington ever happens. The only other time a 3 hour drive east has happened was a couple years ago to go blueberry picking, but the drive out is always worth it. There’s nothing quite like the greenery, quiet neighbourhoods with lush lawns, and acres of farmland for as far as you can see out.

Deep Lake, Eastern Washington
outfit details:
cheetah top: c/o Aeropostale (exact, currently 50% off!)
striped ruffle bikini: Victoria’s Secret
ruffled shorts: Dear Creatures
peep toe flats: Franco Sarto via OnlineShoes.com (exact)

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Last weekend, a handful of friends – both new and even newer – hopped into a few cars and headed towards Deep Lake for an afternoon of lounging on the water. The lake was surrounded only by cliffs, trees, and nothing more. Crazy to think that such a place exist just a few hours outside of the regular city life that we’re used to seeing day-to-day.

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Here’s a dorky outtake where I was probably being awkward because “the squirrels are watching”:

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Good morning, Los Angeles!

These pictures are actually all from the second full day we spent in LA because our first official day was July 4, which didn’t end up being particularly interesting with majority of the shops/cafes we wanted to visit being closed for the holiday. We ended up taking a trip to The Grove shopping center, which was packed with people in every shop. That evening was spent on Venice Beach, hanging out with Ines’ friend from university who was sweet enough to meet us in the crazy crowds and take us on a night walk of the boulevard. Let’s just say that Venice Beach is a totally different place at night than it is during the day

Day 2 started with an attempt to take outfit photos, but with a full schedule of things to do for the day, this was sort of at the bottom of my list of priorities. We didn’t have to wander far to find a nice place to shoot, but the super bright morning sun (so different from what I’m used to in Seattle) made it a bit hard to get even lighting.

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Not even the fish in the fountain were in the mood for outfit photos…

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Our first stop for the day was to the LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). I was lucky enough to get a chance to visit back in March, but didn’t take many photos the last time my friends and I were there. Ines had done her research on all the exhibits and said, “A photo with the lamps is worth the price of parking alone!” So we went there first. She is such a good sport for photos!

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There were a handful of exhibits that don’t allow photography, but the ones that did were super fun! This interactive one that we both kept referencing as the “monstrous spaghetti” was ridiculously hilarious. So many kids were running in and out of the strands of rubber tubes, playing hide-n-seek, and some even hoarding handfuls of this stuff to themselves. My favourite was seeing one particular kid grab a handful of swing like Tarzan! Although they didn’t get much air, so they were just being dragged across the floor while attempting to swing…

After the LACMA came the real fun! We took a drive to quickly see the Hollywood sign, and then headed to Studio City to meet up with two of the sweetest ladies, Ashley (Southern (California) Belle) and Erica (Sweets and Hearts) for dinner!

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A quick recap from Instagram:
1 // Playing in the lamps at LACMA
2 // On the drive to see the Hollywood sign
3 // Erica brought cupcakes to dinner!! (taken from Ashley’s instagram)
4 // Our dinner table at Umami Burger

post-dinner meet up
Erica, Ashley, and me

Honestly, one of the first things I did when I knew Ines and I were doing this road trip was get in touch with Erica and Ashley. I’ve “known” Erica for the last 3 years and had been following Ashley’s blog since 2012. I couldn’t wait to meet them in person! They’re both so sweet and 10000x more gorgeous in person! It was so great to hang out and chat over dinner– almost too much fun since our parking spaces were limited to 2 hours and we ended up staying for 3! Having finally met, I think it’s safe to say that I would move to LA just to hang out with these two all the time.
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From the sand dunes to Hollywood Blvd

Our first (and only) morning in Pismo Beach started bright and early so we could beat the crowds at the sand dunes. The last time I went ATVing was almost exactly 3 years ago! I was really excited to take Ines out for the first time since there’s nothing quite like this back in Toronto.

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The one thing that’s awesome about riding in these dunes is that you never know what you’re going to get when you reach the top of a hill. Drops can be anywhere from 3 feet tall to hundreds of feet! Ines was pretty nervous when we first road out onto the beach, but she picked it up really quickly! Such an amazing way to spend a couple hours in the morning!

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You know it was a good time when you have to shake about a beach’s worth of sand out of your shoes and socks haha! We headed back to our room (in this cute cottage that backs right onto the shoreline) to clean up before heading back out to enjoy the sounds of the morning tides.

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Since it was still early, we didn’t have much competition for real estate at the beach. We both took in the sights and sounds before having to pile back into the car for the last big drive of the trip. Our goal for the day was to get from Pismo to Los Angeles. We took the Hwy 1 for majority of the drive, trying to stay along the coast for as long as possible, which meant at least 3 hours on the road. We ended up making a couple of pit stops along the way…

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I know I’m not the only one who asks for the paper hats at In-N-Out! Admit it. You go there just for the hats too. Ok, and maybe their burgers. And a shake if you’re feeling adventurous. ;) This was Ines’ first ever In-N-Out experience, so we had to get the paper hats.

I’ll never understand how In-N-Out is super busy, all the time, regardless of the time of day. There’s always a line almost out the door, if not wrapping around all the tables by the windows already. Anyway, we chowed down on our burgers quickly and got back on the road. I really can’t believe how beautiful the landscape is driving down the 1:

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Golden Gate (insert business type here), Googleplex, and creepy drives in fog

Our last day (err, morning) in the northern Bay Area was full of shopping around Union Square. We woke up bright and early to start our day, hoping to kill some time before going to the Golden Gate Bridge, which is hidden by thick layers of fog (as seen from Fisherman’s Wharf the previous day).

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Powell Street cable car

While in the city, we caught a glimpse of the Powell St cable car. The line to ride this up a very steep street (Powell) is usually at least a 30 minute wait, so we just took photos and tried to live vicariously through everyone on it. Even about multiple visits to San Francisco, I still haven’t mustered up the patience to ride this thing up a few blocks.

Once the clock struck noon, we decided to leave the city and head north to the Golden Gate Bridge. Surely by noon, the fog would be cleared right? Nope! We were greeted by this lovely view of a half-hidden bridge. A little hard to see, but still beautiful!

Golden Gate bridge

Since we needed to be in Pismo Beach by the end of the day, we scooted along quickly from the bridge and headed south towards Chinatown. We were recommended by SF friends to check out the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, which is located just off an alley in the heart of Chinatown. We bee-lined there as soon as we could find parking (which is a nightmare, btw. I would not recommend driving to Chinatown if you can avoid it).

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golden gate fortune cookie factory

Ok, so it looks a little sketchy on the outside… but it is definitely worth stopping by to check out. We didn’t take any photos inside because, for one, there were no windows anywhere in the building so it was pretty dark, and secondly, each photo costs $0.50. Looking back, I really wish I had just paid the hefty (jk) $0.50 fee for the photo. Imagine a really small ~300 sqft space with iron cast machinery lining the walls. There was exactly one person hand-folding each and every fortune cookie as the flat cookie round came out of the press. There was a little box to her left, full of fortunes which were slipped into each cookie before being folded. Crazy! For $3.75, we left with a big bag of fortune cookies. I honestly wish I could’ve left more money for their cookies. Seeing the working conditions was… a little heartbreaking, to say the least.

We then headed to the Golden Gate Bakery, famous for its egg tarts. I love egg tarts!! Growing up, I used to always hope for a plate of egg tarts to snack on at the end of dim sum. The bakery had a “no pictures” policy, so I can’t show you all the other baked goodies available, but trust me, it all looked AH-MAZING!

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We bought… um… a few (*shifty eyes*) and headed to Ten Ren for bubble tea to enjoy with the egg tarts. It was a nice break before heading back onto the road to Mountain View: home of the Google headquarters!

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Googleplex - honeycomb

The first time I visited the campus (Building 44, to be exact), there was only the cupcake, donut, eclair, and froyo on the lawn. Since that visit, Android has released gingerbread, honeycomb, ice cream sandwich, and jelly bean. Embarrassingly, we spent more time taking photos at the Googleplex than we did at the Golden Gate Bridge.

Once our inner nerdisms had time to calm down, we got back in the car and started heading south on Hwy 1. After a ~4 hour drive in the creepiest fog I’ve ever seen, we ended up in Monterey! Honestly, the fog felt like a scene straight out of Silent Hill. It was thick and covered about 30% of the view as we were driving.

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Lover's Point
Lover's Point

The reason for our stop off was to see Lover’s Point. It’s supposed to be a breathtaking view over the water from the cliffs, but given the fog situation, it was hard to see past a few meters at best. Even in all the fog, the scenery was beautiful. It was so quiet and serene. We stayed and soaked in the views until the rain started to fall and urged us back onto the road.

Our last stop for the night was Pismo Beach, which was another 3 hour drive south. This was the longest stretch of driving distance covered in a single day on our trip. As the sole driver, I didn’t think it would feel as tiring as it ended up feeling. Ines was awesome and made sure to keep the music coming in the car… even if we had to do it ghetto style, blasting tracks from her iPad since we didn’t have any radio reception and my phone was tied up for navigating the route.

I can’t wait for the next post! Pismo Beach was the one place I wanted to stop off in for one reason: sand dunes!!

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Pier 39 and food touring the Bay Area

Eek, thanks so much for all the enthusiasm on the last post about Boba Guys! It’s so fun to share places that I really love and seeing a similar reaction from others. I honestly cannot tell you how much more excited I am to share more places we explored our adventure down the coast of California. Honestly, after looking back at the photos, I feel that the couple days that were spent in San Francisco were really ambitiously planned. We had a list of so many places we wanted to see in the Bay Area a day and a half to do it. Our first full day was mainly spent at Pier 39.

Pier 39 - San Fran, California
Pier 39 boats - San Fran, California

The marina was the first stop at the pier, which was a gorgeous sight so different than any other pier I’ve ever visited. There were rows and rows and rows of boats with a faint view of the Golden Gate Bridge in the background (covered by splotches of thick fog). We originally only budgeted a couple hours in the area but ended up spending half a day by the water because there was just so much to see and do.

Say hi to Ines, aka Tiny Tourist, my road trip buddy!

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One thing that I loved about visiting Pier 39 in past years was seeing (not smelling) all the sea lions. There would always be piles of them hanging out and sunbathing on the docks. This summer was a little different… Ines was like, “Are the sea lions on vacation too?” haha

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