Thursday, February 23, 2017

Thinner Thursday and Recapping our Los Angeles Trip! (Part 2)

Ug sorry guys, work exploded so I wasn't able to get my Part 2 recap up when I wanted.  Before we get to that, I wanted to do my weigh in with a small caveat.  Long story short, I discovered my scale is inaccurate (in my favor) by anywhere from 0.4 to 0.8 pounds and has been for God knows how long.  In the scale's defense, it is around 11 years old, so I just think the calibration is probably way off and old girl needs to be retired.  I am continuing to do my weigh ins on it until I can get a new one just to continue to be accountable, but keeping in mind that the number might not be 100% accurate.

Previous Weight:  186.8
Current Weight:  186
Difference:  0.80 pound loss

I'm really happy with that obviously and definitely suspect I'm lower than that due to the way my jeans are fitting.  I've had a good stomach week too (not sure why, I'm not doing anything different?), so I'm definitely less bloated.  Anyway, good stuff!  Now on to the rest of our LA trip!

Day 2:  Griffith Observatory, Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Chez Jay and Santa Monica Pier

We were obviously feeling a bit crispy the morning of Day Two after the holy shit death metal extravaganza, but we all sucked it up and ended up having an amazing and really packed day.  We started up at Griffith Observatory, which is one of the coolest touristy things you can do in my opinion.  I'd never been IN the observatory since it was closed the one time we went, but thankfully it was open.  It is SO cool!  I loved looking at all of the exhibits, especially the Tesla coil demonstration!

It was a stunningly beautiful day, so walking outside of the observatory was a real treat too.  LA has gotten so much rain lately that everything was lush and green, which was something I hadn't experienced there before.

And because I'm very mature and ladylike, I couldn't pass up this opportunity...

Afterwards Eric drove us down to Los Feliz and took us to lunch at a diner called House of Pies.  I hadn't eaten much for breakfast that morning so I was pretty hungry, and ended up getting a delicious BLT and split a piece of apple pie ala mode with Eric.  I am usually not a huge pie person, but theirs was really awesome!

After lunch we definitely needed to walk around and be active, so we took my aunt and uncle to the Hollywood Forever cemetery.  Now I know that seems ghoulish to some, but I really like cemeteries for some strange reason.  They are just always so peaceful and quiet, and especially in a frantic city like LA that can be a bit of an oasis.  I strongly encourage you to check this one out, it's incredibly beautiful and is a great place to walk around, and to me it is interesting to see all of the celebrity graves.  There is a fantastic statue of Johnny Ramone, and there are a lot of other people like Estelle Getty, Mel Blanc, Mickey Rooney, Cecil B. Demille and tons of other interesting celebrities who shaped Hollywood buried there.

One of the coolest aspects of the cemetery is that they have a ton of peacocks roaming the grounds.  I'm not sure why, but it definitely adds to the beauty of the place!  We were lucky enough to see one of the males put his feathers on full display when he felt threatened by another male, and it was very fascinating because he was somehow making his tail feathers vibrate?  I'd seen peacocks fan out their tails but had never seen this behavior, so it was pretty cool to witness!

After all of that excitement, we definitely needed a quick nap and shower, so we headed back to the rental for a quick break.  For the record, I personally think vacation rentals are a much better deal than getting a hotel room.  Sometimes it's a little bit rolling the dice, but we got a whole apartment that fit the 4 of us with room to spare, a full kitchen/fridge and a parking space (so impt in Hollywood!) for a fraction of what a hotel would have been.

So this day actually was my aunt and uncle's 12th wedding anniversary, so we took them down to Santa Monica to an old school place called Chez Jay for dinner.  Chez Jay is hard to describe, I suppose it's technically a dive bar, but it's really so much more than that due to its history!  It was a frequent hangout for celebrities like Jim Morrison, the Rat Pack, Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe.  Daniel Ellsberg reportedly handed the Pentagon Papers to a NYT reporter while having dinner there (in the booth we sat in this trip I might add!).  There's many, many more stories like that and you can just feel the history when you walk in there.  It's very dark and intimate.  I love it!  They also have super tasty seafood dinners, and all of us ended up getting the Swordfish Bearnaise for dinner.  Delicious!

After that we took a walk to the Santa Monica pier to take in all of the energy and the lights.  I'd been on the pier during the day but never at night, and it was so beautiful.  We walked the whole length, just enjoying the breeze and all of the musicians.  I also decided to be brave and get on the ferris wheel (momma does NOT do heights), and ended up being so happy that I did!  Their ferris wheel was actually pretty sturdy and didn't swing all over the place, so I actually was able to relax and enjoy the gorgeous view!  The moon was insane that night, it was really huge and bright and there were a lot of stars out too.  Hopefully they won't mind that I shared this, but I HAD to share this pic I snapped of my aunt and uncle while we were on the ferris wheel!  Aren't they cute?!

I also had to post this silly as hell souvenir photo that we got afterwards.  I mean of course we had to buy this, because how can you not buy it?  I just love that Eric looks very unimpressed by the impending death flying our way.

After the ferris wheel we each got a frozen custard for dessert, then I made everyone go down to the beach!  Even though this photo is dark, I really love it.  I was just so happy in that moment, standing with my feet in the ocean and taking in all the views of the pier.  It was the perfect night!

Day 3:  Universal Studios, The Rock Walk and El Compadre

Oh boy, this was yet another action packed day, but SO much fun.  We got to Universal Studios pretty early, I feel like it was around 9 am or so and didn't leave until 3:30 or 4 at the least!  I love this beautiful statue that greets you when you walk into the park.

So, the last time we were at Universal they were in the process of building the Simpsons and Harry Potter attractions, so we were excited to check them out now that they were done.  We were definitely not disappointed!  The Simpsons stuff was such a head trip, they didn't miss a single detail from the nuclear plant to Moe's to Krusty Burger!  They even had a Lard Lad donut stand, and I cannot stress how ENORMOUS the donuts were.  I later looked on MFP and the whole donut was over 1600 calories!!  (Don't worry, the 4 of us split that whopper).  It was shockingly tasty, as was the Krusty Burger and the Duff beer in Moe's!  The Duff beer was a bit outrageous though, they served it in a 24 ounce glass!  Eric and I just split one, and even that was almost too much.

The first thing we did actually was go on the backlot tour, which is my favorite part.  It's so fun to get to see all of the different sets and hear about the history of the studio.  They of course have all these cheesy special effects things sprinkled in, but that's what makes it fun!  They have this awesome King Kong 3D thing during the tour, and while I usually am not the biggest fan of rides, this is so well done and realistic!  (I believe I educated some kids behind me on every swear that exists the first time I ever experienced it!)  They had actually added to the experience when we took the tour this time, and when King Kong crunches into a dinosaur or snorts, they spray water in your face to make it seem like you're getting splattered with blood or mucus.  It's gross and awesome at the same time!

The Harry Potter attraction is absolutely exquisite.  I really give them props for what a beautiful job they did building that world, and there was definitely a lot of care and attention to detail.  It was really cute seeing how excited the little kids were (most of them were dressed up), and hell, even the adults were pretty excited!

I did get a frozen butterbeer, and it was very good although a bit sweet!

We also watched the Animal Actors show (I know some might find it cheesy, but we're all animal lovers so we liked it!) and did the Jurassic Park ride as well as the Simpsons ride.  I definitely was out of my comfort zone with getting on rides, it's not something I really do ever because I get horrible motion sickness.  The Jurassic Park ride is pretty mellow until the end so I can tolerate that, but the Simpsons ride is super intense and I had to keep my eyes closed the whole time because of the 3D they were using.  Every time I opened my eyes it made me super queasy since the ride was also pretty violently jerky.  Even Eric admitted that it was a bit too intense, and he doesn't nearly have the issues that I do with motion sickness and all of that.  Anyways, we survived!

For our Hollywood finale we visited the Rock Walk in front of the Guitar Center in Hollywood, then went to dinner at El Compadre.  If you are a music fan, make sure you go out of your way to get to the Rock Walk, it's basically the Walk of Fame but for musicians.  There are dozens upon dozens of hand prints of musicians who shaped the music industry.  I snapped tons of pics, but had to post my Brian Wilson picture.  :)

In general LA has amazing Mexican food, but El Compadre is really special.  It's another dark, intimate place, and not only do they have amazing food, but they light their margaritas on fire!

We had such a wonderful dinner.  My dinner choice of grilled shrimp tacos technically was healthy, but me choosing to eat a thousand chips with guacamole and two flaming margaritas probably didn't help my health goals!  Ah well, I enjoyed every bite of it honestly, even though we all rolled out of there stuffed to the gills.  Afterwards we took a stroll around the neighborhood and we walked past Eric's old apartment that he lived in before moving up here, which was sentimental for me to since that's where I stayed when we were long distance dating and I would come to visit!

Anyway, that's it.  Thanks for bearing with me spamming you guys so many pictures (and trust me, this was the culled down version).  It was just such an amazing time with my family that I wanted to share.  We definitely made some fantastic memories!


  1. Thanks for sharing. And can I just say, your photos look fabulous.
    You truly wear your number on the scale well. I know you are tall, but I think you are much harder on yourself than need be.
    You look great.

    1. Aww thank you so much, you are very kind! I am getting better about how I view myself, strength training has really helped me see my body in a different and more positive light. I am especially proud of the strides I've made with my upper body (chest/arms) and definitely see differences there. Most of my neurosis comes from being so unhappy with my midsection, my digestive issues have really messed me up in that respect. It's not that I expect to have 6 pack abs and zero loose skin or something, it's just more that I perceive myself always looking bloated. It makes me feel really self conscious, but I'm working on it!

  2. Aww I love every aspect of this trip! Thank you for sharing it with us! I'm so glad you had such a wonderful time!

    1. It really was the trip of the ages! Watching my aunt and uncle's reactions to things made me so happy, it was like experiencing them all over again through someone else's eyes! I do love going down to LA. Not sure I could ever live there, but I really enjoy the time we spend there!