Santa Barbara fun...Part 1

I was supposed to post these pictures a few weeks ago, but with school starting and my computer being unbelievably slow(getting a new one soon!), I couldn't post them.

A few weeks ago I went to Santa Barbara for my sister's birthday.  Santa Barbara is very pretty and I took a million pictures.  This is what I saw:

Our first stop was the Santa Barbara Courthouse, which is a Spanish Colonial revival building and a historic monument (for good reason as you will see!).
In Southern California there is lack of beautiful architecture.  Nothing is truly old around here.  Every now and then you find a gem though.  This is such a place.
We lounged on the grass and had a picnic.  I know it's supposed to be Winter, but the weather was amazing!  We sipped sparkling water, ate fresh berries, and soaked up the sun.  Criminal I know.
Then it was time to explore the building.  At every turn, we found rich Spanish interiors.
My sister's boyfriend, Donald, takes a break.
We headed for the highest point in the building...
to a viewing platform.
Once there, we enjoyed breathtaking views of the mountains...
DSC_5555edit...and the Ocean.
Then we drove a few minutes to the beach.
We took the stairs down to get a closer look.
Surf's up!
We hung around the beach for a while and then moved on for more fun at a new location.

Part 2 coming soon to a screen near you ;)

They Say It's Your Birthday

Last week, my sister turned 24.  Weren't we just 21 and 15 yesterday?  I feel so old just thinking about it.Valgift
We met at Val's apartment for vegan goodies and pressies.  Val excitedly opens her gift from me.
Say hello, kittens.  Meooow.  I found this book in a lovely bookstore in Wales.  I am thinking of getting this book too.  God, I love it.  The photographs were taken in the 40's.
We played one of our favorite childhood games, the Game of Life.  We all started College first and later "married" the same sex in honor of Proposition 8 being repealed(anti-gay marriage law).
We had chocolate cake and ice-cream.  All vegan and good.

Over the weekend we had more birthday fun.  More you say?  Yes, more :)  Pics to come.

Baby it's cold outside...

A little over two weeks ago, I was in the heart of England.  I was there half of December and almost all of January visiting my boyfriend.  It was glorious. The entire time I was there, not one snowflake caressed my face.  Every year it snows that time of year like clockwork.  However, when I was there....absolutely nothing.  To be honest I was glad. I am from Los Angeles.  I hardly know what snow is about and it scares me.  Bitter cold scares me.  Snow is cute in photos, but not in real life(I am dramatic I know, haha)

Greg sent me these pictures a few days ago(he lives in England):
This is his car.  Oh dear.
Now, this is what it was like when I was there.  Night and day.

I can't believe I dodged this bullet.

Now, I must sleep because soon I will be among beaches and picnics.  What a cruel world.

50's Diners, Victorian Places, and a Castle in Cardiff

I'd always heard of Cardiff, but mistakenly assumed it was in England.  After reading gig ads in British music magazines for years, I assumed all the cool bands were playing in Cardiff, England.  Not Cardiff, Wales, as is correct.  Geography is clearly not my strong suit.  Haha.

Upon arriving in Cardiff we walked through their mall.  The amenities and stores were even better than malls in L.A.!  I visited several of my favorite UK stores, seeing Alexa Chung videos streaming in one.  I was in hipster heaven ;)
In the mall we found this American-style diner.  I was keen on trying the UK version.  Do me proud UK!
Greg's hot dog.  It was pretty close to the real thing.
As we ate, we listened to dreamy 50's tunes.  Admittedly, I felt cool for being the only American there ;)
Outside in the city center we came across an American sweet shop <3 which sold everything from Lucky Charm cereal to Fluff.  I've never actually had Fluff, but its an old-fashioned marshmallow topping.  Greg received this from Val(my sis) once as a present/joke :)
We moved on and saw a sign for Cardiff Central Market.  I grabbed Greg's arm and dragged him inside immediately.  I looove old markets.  The fish stall is the first thing you see.  They've been here since 1866.
The market is Victorian and opened in 1891(for all you history buffs).
On the second floor we found a record shop.  I was in search of a Wings CD I haven't heard in many years, but didn't find it.  I still loved flipping through records and CD's, one of my favorite pastimes.
Delicious fresh bread.
Then we walked past Victorian and Edwardian arcades near high street.
Ridiculous architecture <3
Cardiff Castle! And remnants of Christmas.
The gorgeous clock tower.  I will definitely come back to tour the castle inside someday.
The British and Welsh flag, side by side.  The flags remind me of the obsession my sister and I had with British culture when we were young.  My sister especially had a fascination with Wales, since a favorite guitar player of hers was a native :)
After the castle we went to the National Museum of Cardiff.  It is free so I recommend you visit.  .
The cafe.
Greg ordered his favorite, Millionaire's Shortbread.  He was kind enough to share.  It was soo good.
I ordered the Welsh cake, since I have to try new things everywhere I go.  It tasted similar to an American pancake, but smaller and with currants.  Quite tasty.
We explored the museum's collection, but I couldn't take pictures of the masterpieces(as usual).  We sat here to rest our feet.
Next was the Natural History section of the museum.  I love looking at animals up close, even if they are stuffed.  The bird exhibit reminded me of the film Psycho.
Cardiff25After being mesmerized by the gems and minerals, we headed back to the mall.  We had parked there.
We decided to get some frozen yogurt(a.k.a. froyo) to send us on our journey in style.  They piled on the chocolate as you can see.  We didn't mind!

That was just a taste of Cardiff.  It was a good mix of history, shopping, architecture, and art.  The capital of Wales did not disappoint.  :)

Thank you, Wales!