California Girls

When Jason and I decided to take a trip to California, there were lots of reasons for stopping in San Diego; the zoo, and the beach for one. Plus, both of us had spent some parts of our young life in San Diego. Our affection for this land and sea, a mutual one.

But a third reason for me included a chance to meet an online friend (or two). One that I had known for over FIVE years. In online time that’s like a hundred years. Her baby girl was a bonus to the whole deal. I am a partial to baby girls having one myself and two step-daughters.

I had a few panicky moments that we might not meet. Sometimes, vacation time, which seems endless, rushes by from place to place, then it’s mysteriously gone and you’ve missed out on half of what you wanted to do.

But somehow the stars aligned, and it all worked out.

Not only did we get to meet IRL (in real life), but I got to be silly with baby Kyla and see her first look at the Pacific Ocean. We met at my favorite place – Ocean Beach.

It was just like meeting a friend I had known my entire life. She was exactly as I imagined her – warm, sweet, and beautiful.

It was definitely worth the wait. We had a wonderful dinner, then hit the beach to snap a few pics. I wanted to get seven-month-old Kyla at the Ocean for the first time. And although, we didn’t do a formal portrait session, I think they still turned out great.

Look, it's the OCEAN!

Fun, and happy Kyla

Mommy and Kyla share a kiss.

Mommy and baby toes

Oh, Mama, that's cold!

Just hanging at the beach...LAUGHING!

Kyla really liked the Ocean.

I mean, REALLY liked it.

Love her game show face

Or maybe it was me making funny faces at her.

These two California girls are a pair to be reckoned with in cuteness. Don’t even try, because they will win hands-down.

Jen & Kyla

I am extremely glad we met.

Kyla and the ocean are now friends. The surf a new mesmerizing lullaby.

Kyla staring at the ocean

I was sad to leave them both. That’s the thing with online friends. They live far away and you just don’t know when (or if) you might see them again. I hope I do!

Hanging at the Harbor – Dana Point, California

Dana Point, our very first stop after landing in Orange County.

I had been to Dana Point before, somewhere around thirteen years ago. The cliffs and the harbor stood out in my memory, along with the Pirate ship they had on display. I had to see if it was like I remembered it, or how much it had changed.

Overlooking Dana Point Harbor

We first glimpsed the harbor from the street we were lost on driving on. This was, also, our first look at the Pacific this trip. Ahhh! The great deep beyond of the Pacific waters. I could stare at them forever.

Hillside view of the Pacific.

Dana Point is a little nugget tucked away from Orange County on the way to San Diego. It’s beach and harbor are surrounded by hills. It took quite a few turns (with GPS) to get us to this little gem of a destination.

Dana Point Sign.

But we did find it. I think we followed a surf board (and a sign).


We got to the harbor.


We got to the beach.



It was as lovely as I remember it. This time I wasn’t as in awe of the cliffs and ocean, as much as I was the endless boats. I had my boat picked out, the name christened, and I was ready to sail away.

I probably need to move to California first, heh.

We had a nice lunch next to the harbor highway. We watched the boats big and small parading in and out of entrance. We enjoyed a crisp 68-degree day that was (literally) heaven on earth after the scorching 110 in Dallas.

The flowers were not withered and brown, but a colorful display to the eye.




At the very end of the harbor, I found the Pirate Ship in the same place as it was before. It looked a lot newer. I believe they do cruises, or something. It was straight out of a movie cool.

Sailing Ship at Dana Point Harbor

The walk back down the harbor was just as delightful, except for my slippery sandals.

We took it slow to take it all in (and get sunburnt our first day). Looking all around and up at the hillside, I see beautiful palm trees and gorgeous homes.

Hillside Palm above Dana Point Harbor


Back by the beach, there is tons of surf board paddlers and children at play.


The wall surrounding the beach had hand-made tiles designed by children. I didn’t find the story behind who they were or why they decorated the beach walk, but they were very crafty and unique. I definitely felt the charm they added to Dana Point.


I took lots and lots and lots of harbor photos.

Dana Point Harbor
Dana Point Harbor, Dana Point, California, 2011

When we finally left, we stopped back at the first place we came to, and I took more pictures of the view.

Hillside view of the Pacific at Dana Point.


Speedboat and Sailboat in Dana Point, CA

And Again….

Pacific View from Dana Point, CA

And again….

The view is amazing. And guess what? A wedding was about to take place.

Wedding on hillside of Dana Point, CA

I totally creeped on it. We waited, and waited for the bride – maybe behind a tree with my camera – but she didn’t show. Not even after we saw all the bridesmaids. We finally gave up. I hope she made it. The groom was looking a little worried.

So we said good-bye to the view……


And took off for our next destination.

It’s going to take me awhile to post all the places we went to. Hope you don’t mind LOTS more.

So far, it’s been day one, ha.


I am uploading all the photographs to my photography Facebook page before I post them on the blog. If you like sneak peeks, be sure to “Like” and “Look”. Angelia’s Photography Fan Page.

Growing Up California

No, I didn’t grow up in California, but it was in growing up that I fell in love with California. The summer of age twelve, I spent a month in San Diego. A week of that month was at Ocean Beach. At an impressionable age, on-the-cusp of my teen years, California left its mark in my life.

That summer wasn’t easy. My parents had separated. Southern California was our my escape. I didn’t have to worry about my family or the changes that were taking place. All my troubles washed away in the Pacific.

At the end of summer, I went back to my home in the Oklahoma countryside, where my accent wasn’t cute anymore and people didn’t ask to hear me talk. I sounded like everyone else again, and I missed the care-free days of the summer. So, I decorated my bedroom walls with posters of surfers. I was determined to hold on to the magic of my California summer.

Surrounded by 60-foot waves, I dreamed of beach days and mushroom omelets at the beachside cafe.

My love for California never departed from my heart. Every chance I get, I go back to remember and dream of those summer days that meant so much to me.

Jason and I leave tomorrow for California and will spend a whole week “California Dreamin”. On our radar is San Diego, Palm Springs, Big Bear Lake, and Ventura. Who knows where else in-between, lots of places I haven’t been to. We don’t have a schedule or strict plan. Our only plan is do and see and go.

I will be taking LOTS of photographs.

Truthfully? Tomorrow morning can’t get here fast enough.

I am not even sure what I’m looking forward to more….sunsets on the beach, being off work, visiting the San Diego Zoo, or under 100 degree days.

Whatever we do, I can promise you, it will be enjoyed.

My next post will be from my iPhone in CALI!!!


Thanksgiving Part Two

As a child of divorce, I am used to multiple Thanksgivings. That is, and was, a way of life. A way of the holidays. You had Thanksgiving dinner with Mom at Papa’s house and then you had it with Dad at Granny’s, either later that day, or another day of the weekend.

When my sister became a grown up, we made trips with her and her husband to my Grandma’s house on her dad’s side of the family (which was not my dad but still family to me) to Colorado. She would drive her three younger siblings (me and my brothers) all the way from Oklahoma through Kansas blizzards to get to Thanksgiving at Grandma’s every year. My sister must have really loved Thanksgiving to go through ALL that. We were three extremely obnoxious and bratty kids (okay, it was mainly me), point is….she loooves Thanksgiving.

This year after our Thanksgiving with Sue – who is OUT OF THE HOSPITAL AND HOME.

I’ll wait while you do the happy chicken dance, then you can finish this post – CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP!

Okay, we headed from Dallas to Houston for Thanksgiving part two at my sister’s house with her new blended family (she got married in June).

This was only the second time we took a long road trip with the girls (I swore I’d never do it again). We came prepared; car Bingo and iPhones. Come to find out we didn’t need the car bingo. The teen slept most of the way. Molly had iPhone #1 (dad’s) and Bridget had iPhone #2 (dad’s old iPhone). Sydney had hers (when awake) and I had mine (with newly bought Family Feud app) and we were all happy happy happy.

The trip went GREAT! Seriously, we were there before I knew it – five hours later (if only the trip back went so well – 5 1/2 hours – but never mind that).

My big sister’s house smelled like Thanksgivings past. She used the seasonings my step dad always used filling my nostrils with nostalgia. It was wonderful and precious and so, so, so, so GOOD. She made my favorite chocolate pie and I was in heaven.

My sister’s family

My big sis (by 9 years) – Deedy. She is smiling and cooking, often wears an apron and spoils my little step-daughters to death (said she was practicing for when she had granddaughters). Excellent job sister!

Man in most of the pictures next to her – Roger. He is my sister’s new husband. He has two daughters Leighann and Chelsea.

Oldest daughter of Roger – Chelsea. She is a special needs child, and doesn’t vocally speak, but she signs to communicate. She is VERY smart (and funny), plays guitar, and loves to model for the camera. I adore all her pictures. And? I even learned a few signs.

Youngest daughter of Roger – Leighann. She plays the piano and loves her big sister. That is pretty incredible for a thirteen-year old. She could be a sister to Molly and Bridget with her coloring.

Oldest daughter of Deedy – Eryn. She is the gorgeous dark haired girl in a few of the pictures. She lives with her husband Luke (in the ball cap). She is the oldest grandchild on our side of the family. She is in school to be a Physical Therapist. We are so proud of her.

Oldest son of Deedy – Gabe in college and lives on his own. Not pictured, but his girlfriend Britanny was there for dinner and she is a sweetheart.

The next morning we went to the beach in Galveston. The girls were supposed to barely get their feet wet. Well…..oops. Molly is like an ocean goddess. She turns into this matrix dancing queen splashing in the surf. It’s amazing, but a little messy. Luckily, we had a change of pants.

After picking up shells, running through the waves, and being thoroughly sandified and oceanified. We went to ride the Galveston ferry. Which? Is a State Highway; in other words – free.

It was a gorgeous sunny day. Perfect weather. We couldn’t have asked for anything more, except extra time. We had to head back less than 24 hours after our arrival. Life. It happens. But Thanksgiving part two was definitely worth the trip (even with the ride home and I’m not going there).

My favorite picture out of the 341 (possessed by Nikon- I know) – this one.

Seagulls eat Thanksgiving lunch.

Too bad the kids had eaten half the bag already.

We want more Cheetos!