Posts Tagged ‘san diego’

Window Seat: San Diego Babymoon, Day Four, 05.15.12

One quick thing I want to say about picture posts – despite the fact that it looks like I have TONS of photos (and I do), I really do try to not be one of those people who live on their cameras. I’m very much a fan of “live your life, don’t document it.” At the same time, you should see how many photos I took that aren’t worth keeping. I snap quickly, put the camera away, and move on. This results in some awesome photos and some duds. Basically, know that I don’t live behind the lens, but I do like to take lots of photos and journal because it keeps the memories more alive for me.

This post (along with all of the other San Diego posts that will follow) were actually written while in San Diego. I hope you enjoy this recap of our babymoon! Be warned – this is very photo heavy.

***

We slept in a little later this morning than usual, but we were still down at breakfast by 8 a.m. Breakfast is the same thing everyday; I’m very thankful they have fresh fruit, so I’m at least getting some nutrients there.

We went to Sea World, which opened at 10 a.m. Oy vey, the day started off rough. We got in a VERY short line (maybe 12 people in front of us, max) to exchange our vouchers for tickets. We didn’t get our tickets until forty-five minutes later. Every single person in line was taking about ten to fifteen minutes with their transaction. Ours was over in less than two minutes. I do NOT understand why the line took so long. Regardless, by about 10:50, we were headed into the park.

The rest of the day was awesome. We went to the Shamu Show at noon, which was truly incredible.

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We grabbed a quick bite of lunch, and on our way to lunch, we saw some other people having a dolphin expedition.

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We also enjoyed the various aquariums around the park.

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After the Shamu show, we checked out a few various exhibits and went to an amazing acrobatics, dolphin, bird, and whale show called Blue Horizons.

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Leaving the show, we saw this lady with this awesome backpack.

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All day long, Tina and I have talked about a half-serious-but-not-really-but-yeah-kinda-really desire to move to San Diego and get a job training marine animals at Sea World. Tina is a biologist; I’ve got a degree in psychology. We could make it happen.

We signed up for a Behind the Scenes tour at 3:45. The coolest thing ever happened. We were on the tour alone! Just the two of us, so we literally got a private tour of some behind-the-scenes magic at Sea World.

We got to feed romaine lettuce to some sea turtles, but the coolest part was getting to see some of the animals that, for various reasons (usually rehabilitation), were not out in the main park. We saw the hospital and the water treatment facilities; it was amazing.

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By this point in the day, our feet were toast. Tina wore sandals, and she’s pregnant, so her feet were super tired. Still, we trudged over to the penguin habitat, because we’re both fans.

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And finally, after five o’clock and completely wiped, we drove back to the hotel, showered, and are prepared to just sit back, relax, and watch Glee. Don’t judge.

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Window Seat: San Diego Babymoon, Day Three, 05.14.12

Several months ago, I did a weekly series on Stellar Path called The Window Seat, where I talked about my family’s various travels. I abandoned it, around the time that work just got too overwhelming, but I am picking it back up. I had talked about TWO days of our Babymoon to San Diego, (Day One, Day Two), and I am picking this feature back up with Day Three.

This post (along with all of the other San Diego posts that will follow) were actually written while in San Diego. I hope you enjoy this recap of our babymoon! Be warned – this is very photo heavy!

***

Breakfast was much the same. Good and very filling. This morning, they had raspberries. I can’t help it – apparently, I’m a fresh fruit dork.

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View as we are leaving the hotel…

Since we had a cruise at 7:00, we decided to save Los Angeles for a day when we didn’t have to be back. We’re planning to go on Thursday; today, we decided to go to Last Exit Mall (aka Las Americanas Mall) about one mile from the Mexican border.

It was a pretty standard outlet mall, and I’m just not a shopper. However, I did get a $500 leather jacket from Wilson’s Leather for $149. I also purposely got one smaller than would fit now, to give me some motivation for weight loss for the winter.

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On our way back, we stopped at Tuna Harbor (very close to the hotel) and ate at the Fish Market. We sat outside, right above the water. It was a little chilly, but the food was amazing! Tina got a lobster roll; I got cod, prawn, and scallops “fish and chips.” It was amazingly good. We may very well go back for dinner some time.

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We also did a bit of exploring around the restaurant. There was an exhibit set up for Bob Hope and a gigantic iconic statue of “the kiss” from WWII.

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After leaving the restaurant, we came back to the hotel and laid out by the pool. A few brave souls tried to swim, but we just enjoyed the sun for about an hour. I got a little pink; Tina got burned. Apparently, pregnant women burn easier than non-pregnant women. Who knew?

I napped, and we went to Hornblower Tours for our Sunset Cruise. This was the only stupid part of the day; we went to the address on our cruise tickets, 1066 North Harbor Drive. We parked about a quarter of a mile away. Well, it turns out that we actually had to walk down to 1800 North Harbor drive to board the ship. Rather than move the car, we walked the difference. The lady at the ticket booth said she didn’t understand why they didn’t print the right address on the ticket voucher and didn’t know how to fix it. (I dunno – maybe a sign on the ticket booth at 1066 that that is NOT where you board the ship. *sigh* Regardless, we got on the ship.)

It was a very fun experience. We were fed a three course meal, salad, steak with potatoes and broccolini, and a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake with a cookie crust. We literally just cruised around the harbor, but it was a lot of fun. We also got some amazing photos. It was a three hour tour (snicker), but it felt a little long. By 9 o’clock, we were ready to go. (It went ‘til ten.)

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Still, we had a good time.

We’re both dead tired. Hopefully, we’ll wake up refreshed for a fun day tomorrow at Sea World.

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Window Seat: San Diego Babymoon, Day Two, 05.13.12

This post (along with all of the other San Diego posts that will follow) were actually written while in San Diego. I hope you enjoy this recap of our babymoon! Be warned – this is pretty photo heavy!

***

We got up REALLY early. Tina woke up at 5 a.m. I was up by a little after six. We are still apparently on Central time. We showered and headed down to the buffet by seven.

It was very good, and given that it was free, it was even better. It would have cost $22.95 each, and it would NOT have been worth that, but free… awesome. It had the standard breakfast buffet fare (photos coming on a future day’s post), but my favorite part… the fruit! I ate one plate of nothing but fruit. So freaking good.

And one photo of the view from our table…

We had nothing really planned for the day, so we decided today would be a good day to go to Joshua Tree National Park. It was a three hour drive away, but that was fun, too, because we saw some amazing landscapes that we just don’t have in Kentucky.

Tina and I were both especially impressed with all of the wind turbines. It reminded me a little of the truly awful movie M.A.C. and Me.

After driving for three hours, we stopped at a Carl’s, Jr. for a quick bite before we set off to go hiking. Most surprising to us was that it was in the high 60s in San Diego, but by the time we got to the high desert, it was around 100 degrees. Amazingly huge difference. (And we packed all wrong, thinking we’d be in hot weather all the time and not just far inland.)

We stopped at the Visitor Center, talked to a Ranger, and then headed into the actual park. It is largely a driving experience, but we got to stop several times to take photos and do a bit of exploring.

It was so beautiful; it was almost like being on an alien planet, because it just looked so different!

A nice shot of Tina and Moon Pie…

First tumbleweed we’d ever seen! (Other than the restaurant.)

I have no idea what I’m doing here.

Our rental car is the gray one beside the red car. This is a small parking area at the highest point in Joshua Tree.

And I get to cross an item off of my Bucket list, because we hiked in Joshua Tree National Park! (I want to visit all of the US’s National Parks.)

After leaving the park, we stopped at a small gift shop and bought our Joshua Tree Christmas Ornament. One of our travel traditions is to buy Christmas ornaments of the different places we visit.

They also had this very cool piano out back. We tried to play it. As you might expecting, a piano, outdoors in the elements, doesn’t sound so good. Looked cool, though.

And then, it was time for the LONG drive back to San Diego. We stopped a few times to stretch our legs and so forth, but eventually, we made it back.

On the way back, we stopped at Fillipa’s Pizza Grotto and ordered an all-white pizza (garlic, olive oil, mozzarella, and provolone) to eat in the hotel. Even though it was a bit cooled, it was DELICIOUS!

We’re currently in the hotel, full up on pizza and watching Bob’s Burgers. It’s 8:30 here (10:30 back home), but we’re wiped. It’s funny how driving in the car for what felt likes years can tire you out. But we’re back in the hotel, going to sleep soon, and tomorrow will be a fun, new day of our babymoon!

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Window Seat: San Diego Babymoon, Day One, 05.12.12

This post (along with all of the other San Diego posts that will follow) were actually written while in San Diego. I hope you enjoy this recap of our babymoon! This one isn’t very picture-heavy, but some of the later ones have TONS!

***

We left the house at a little before seven this morning. Traffic wasn’t too bad, and we quickly dropped our car off and took the shuttle to the airport.

I have a story to tell about this vacation first. We earned the miles from Travel Hacking (thanks Steve!) so this trip was already virtually free. There were various fees and taxes and so forth, but by and large, we’re going to San Diego, for a week, with airfare, and a few attractions (San Diego Zoo, Zoo Safari, SeaWorld, a tour of San Diego’s old brothel district, and a sunset cruise) for only using select credit cards for about six months. We could have been more efficient with our miles, for sure, but this works great for us.

After we got our airline tickets, Tina still had 60,000 miles left over. She called American Airlines, told them we were going on our babymoon, and asked if we could use the 60,000 miles to upgrade our flights to first class. Much to our surprise and delight, they agreed and gave us the first class upgrade for free!

I have to say – flying first class was a huge mistake. I can’t go back to coach. I was comfortable. Not comfortable for flying on a plane, but comfortable.

Flying is ruined for me now. First class is the way to fly.

We made it to Dallas on time, and we grabbed a bite to eat at the food court. Moon Pie was kicking up a storm, but I still can’t feel it yet.

Leaving Dallas, we hit a snag.

After boarding the plane, we had to wait for maintenance to come fix a toilet. That took about half an hour. After that, they announced there was an electrical short. Finally, after we had been on the plane, at the gate, for over ninety minutes, they apologized and put us on a different plane.

At long last, two and a half hours later, we were airborne. Yes, the delay sucked, but I’d rather have a delay than die on a plane, y’know?

On the longer flight from Dallas to San Diego, first class was AMAZING. If I was a drinker, I would have racked up. Several people around us were drinking wine; the lady behind me ordered Kahlua. I LOVE Kahlua. However, since Tina can’t drink, I don’t drink. It’s just fair. But I digress. Plenty of free drinks.

Rather than get a little bag of chex mix, we actually got a hot meal. We had the choice of a grilled chicken salad or a grilled chicken sandwich. Tina and I both took the sandwich, which came with a salad, a bag of pita chips, and some hummus. Unbelievably good. And just when we thought it couldn’t get better, they came by with warm cookies and milk in wine glasses. Seriously.

I can never fly coach again. On the return flight, I’ll have my camera ready to snap some photos.

San Diego was a surprisingly tiny airport! A very nice lady saw Tina and me trying to take a photo of ourselves with my cell phone, and she volunteered to take one for us.

And being the dork that I am, I took a photo of a cool seashell collage in the men’s room.

And another pic of an exhibit about airports in the airport…

A shuttle took us to Alamo, and we soon had our car, a Kia Forte, put our GPS in the windshield, and headed off to our hotel.

Here’s where the story gets interesting. We are staying at the Sheraton Marina and Bay Towers. We wanted to be in the Marina Tower; we discovered we were booked in the Bay Tower. Our desk clerk upgraded us for $20 a night to a nicer room in the Marina Bay. When we told him it was our babymoon, he gave us some free tickets to the breakfast buffet, too. Yes, I realize we had to pay for an upgrade, but I’ve checked in at hotels on some many other occasions and gotten nothing but a poor attitude, so getting to speak with someone who was willing to work with us was a great experience.

Oh, and best yet? This room has the best view I have EVER had from a hotel room (other than in a tropical locale). We can see the harbor and the skyline.

Parking does admittedly suck here, and it’s $22 a night. Yuck. But oh well. Can’t have everything.

We went to Wal-Mart tonight to buy some drinking water. We brought our water bottles and plan to stay hydrated. And as it was kind of late at this point, we stopped at a Subway for some sandwiches.

We’re about to hit the hay. It’s been a long day. Exercise was pretty lacking, but we’ll definitely get our activity in. Right now, I need some sleep.

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Stellar Recipe: Sauteed Scallops

On our recent trip to San Diego, we went to a restaurant called The Fish Market. They would change their menu daily, depending upon what was caught fresh. Both times I went, I got scallops, and both times, I left very, very happy.

When I used to think of scallops, I pictured that tough, rubbery piece of white meat that came in perfect circles and was breaded and fried on the Chinese buffet. Hey, even tough and rubbery, I thought it had a decent taste. Now granted, I would probably think a pencil eraser was good if it was breaded and fried, too.

The first time I ate them at The Fish Market, I actually got them fried. They were one of the most amazing things I had ever eaten. The only taste I can compare it to was a more buttery corn on the cob, if anything. They were tender and melt-in-your-mouth good. The next time we went, I got them grilled, and they were just as amazing.

I came home to Kentucky and figured I wouldn’t have scallops that good again until my next trip to the ocean.

On my most recent trip to our local butcher, the Fatted Calf, I happened to notice that Sea Scallops were listed under his seafood section. I asked about them, and he said that they were flown in fresh from Massachusetts. They were also $18.99 a pound, but I had to try them.

I bought eight scallops, and they were gigantic! (And ended up costing me about $22. Yikes!)

I knew I couldn’t fry them (for one thing, while I love the taste of food that other people have fried, if I fry it, it always tastes unpleasant and gross to me, and two, I’m doing great on Weight Watchers and I didn’t want to count the points for the frying), so I decided to sauté them in a little butter and garlic.

How were they?

Well, they did NOT taste as good as they did in San Diego.

But they were still pretty freaking awesome. Tina and I had them with some sirloin (grass-fed, locally raised, and locally butchered), so we had our own little Surf and Turf. Next time, we’re going to get significantly fewer scallops, but they will definitely be making an appearance on our menu again. Oh, and on the plus side? They’re extremely low in calories, high in protein, and high in B12. Triple win!

To prepare, melt some butter in a pot. I added a little olive oil to make them a bit more heart healthy.

Throw in some minced garlic.

When the garlic has browned slightly, put your scallops in the pan. Cook on each side for about four minutes. Turn. They are done when slightly browned.

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1-3-14 - 407.0 (-5.0 pounds total)