happy 2009

So it’s the last day of my holiday vacation. 🙁 So sad. But before real life begins again, I have to share some vacation highlights!

1. Spending time with friends and family.
Christmas Eve is spent with my family — my cousin and his wife just bought a Wii so they asked us to bring our games so they could try them out. We brought Guitar Hero with us (with our one measly guitar) and my cousin pretty much spent the entire night playing it all by himself. Heh.

Christmas Day is spent with Rob’s family — his parents hosted lunch and there was a constant stream of relatives visiting all day. I was pretty much parked next to the food table. YUM. Rob watched the Lakers crush the Celtics. 😀

Rob and I also hung out with friends — my best friends and I had a yummy dinner and annual gift exchange (where I received the Gossip Girl s1 DVDs and a gorgeous Paris picture book among other FABULOUS presents). And our friends Daniel and Carolyn hosted a potluck where we dined on healthy foods such as fried chicken, spam musubi, and korean bbq and played Rock Band 2 all night. Well, the guys did. I sang “Hungry Like the Wolf” and that was it. I suck at Rock Band.

2. Looking for (and finding!) an apartment.
Rob and I spent all day on the 26th and 27th driving around Orange County visiting various apartment communities. OMG. They were built by the same developer so after seeing 2 places, they all started to look exactly the same. Except for the kitchens. We barely cook at all but for some reason, the look of the kitchens really made a huge difference in how we felt about the apartments. We really liked 2 communities — Option #1 is a new-ish community (6 years) on the border of Tustin and Irvine and very close to a major retail shopping center and lots of “hustle and bustle.” Option #2 is a brand new community a few miles south close to the Irvine Spectrum but in a more quiet, less developed area. After visiting both locations a second time we went with Option #2. The rent was over a $100 less per month and we couldn’t pass up having a brand new apartment with granite kitchen countertops (sooo pretty). We still feel like we’re central to lots of stuff in the OC (South Coast Plaza!) so that’s good. We anticipate moving in sometime the last week of January. CRAZY!

3. Seeing Jorge Garcia (Hurley from Lost!) at South Coast Plaza. Rob spotted him going up an escalator while we were looking around in Crate and Barrel. I didn’t believe it was him at first but it totally was! I wanted to follow him but chickened out. 😛

4. I had Pinkberry!
I snagged a Pinkberry gift card from work (for some reason, a vendor thought it was a good idea to give out gift cards even though there is not a single Pinkberry in the Bay Area) and treated myself to a large. Oink oink. SO GOOD.

5. Going to CA Adventure and Disneyland!!!!!!!!!!
I’ve never been to DCA and it’s been about 5 years since my last trip to DL so I figured it was about time and I begged Rob to go with me. 😀 He agreed to 2 whole days! WOOT.

First day was spent at CA Adventure. A rundown of our day with some pics thrown in for good measure…

CLICK to see larger versions of the pics.

Grizzly River Run. Fun but I got SOAKED. ICK.

The Golden Gate Bridge!

Tower of Terror. OMG. I screamed and held on to Rob’s arm for dear life during the entire ride. Looking back the feeling of weightlessness is actually pretty cool.

Taking a quick shopping break and trying on the bride and groom Mickey ears!

Next up we went to the Animation Academy where we learned how to draw Donald Duck. This was definitely our favorite attraction of the trip! My drawing is on the left. 😀

Walking around the Wharf (does not beat the real thing right here in the Bay Area)…

Soarin’ Over California. A simulator ride that takes advantage of scent in addition to sight and sound.

California Screamin’. Awesome wooden roller coaster. Probably my favorite ride at DCA.

Mulholland Madness. Fun little mini-coaster.

At the Hollywood Pictures Backlot, I found the cutest fountain. So here I am with my Sorceror Mickey ears taking a picture with the Sorceror Mickey fountain! I have no idea why I am smiling like that. Dork.

Monsters Inc. Cute kiddie ride that takes you through the movie.

And to close our day at DCA, we went back to the Animation Academy to draw Jack Skeleton. My drawing is on the right.

Last picture of the day – Mickey, the “C”, and me!

Some random comments:
— Wow, I am SO OLD. We were only at DCA from about 11am to 9pm but my feet were KILLING me. What happened?!?
— I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it but Rob smokes. And I honestly had no idea that there were smoking areas at DCA. So Rob would leave the park every once in awhile to handle his business. Then we happened upon a smoking area in the Condor Flats area across from Soarin’. Isn’t that crazy? The other one is in the Hollywood Pictures area near the Muppet Vision show. (At Disneyland, there’s a smoking area near Big Thunder Ranch and another at Fantasy Gardens, which I dubbed “Smokey Gardens.” :P)

Overall, I enjoyed DCA but I probably wouldn’t spend another whole day at this park alone… I’d definitely have to mix it up with some time at DL. Still tons of fun, though. I’m sure I’ll be back to draw some more characters at Animation Academy and ride Screamin’!

Our second day was spent at Disneyland. YAYAYAYAYAYAY. I seriously love this place. My face lights up and I get so happy here. *giddy* There was an INSANE amount of people at DL and we missed a lot of the “kiddie” rides due to long lines (and the fact that they don’t have Fast Passes) but we trudged through and still had a great time. 😀 Since it was DL day, I forced Rob out of bed at 6am(!) so we could be at the park by the 8am opening. That didn’t happen exactly as planned but we still arrived around 8:30am.

Matterhorn. Always a classic. One of my faves.

Splash Mountain. After agreeing not to ride any water rides (considering how wet we got after GRR the previous day), we still went on SM when we saw that the stand-by line was only 5 minutes. Well, we got UNBELIEVABLY DRENCHED. So soaked that I had to buy a t-shirt and sweatshirt to replace my dripping sweater. I wish I had a picture of us after the ride but I was preoccupied.

Haunted Mansion with the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay. Going on this ride totally made me want to see this movie.

After breakfast, we made our way over to DCA to go to the Animation Academy again! This time we drew Winnie the Pooh. My drawing is on the right.

Back at Disneyland sporting our Mickey tees!

Hanging out at the Star Trader store in Tomorrowland. One of my favorite stores because they have Star Wars themed merchandise. Heh.

Rob as Buzz Lightyear.

Me as Goofy.

Rob as Eeyore.

Me with an awesome R2D2 backpack I found. 😀

It may be unbelievably crowded during the holidays but I just LOVE seeing all the decorations. Look how gorgeous Sleeping Beauty’s castle is!

Eating a pineapple dole whip. A MUST HAVE.

Indiana Jones Adventure. Not as crazy and fast as I remember but still a goodie. Thank goodness for Fast Pass — the stand-by line for this ride got up to 2 hours!

Pirates of the Caribbean. A good time to rest our tired feet. Also got to see the holiday decorations in New Orleans Square.

Space Mountain. MY MOST FAVORITE RIDE EVER. The Fast Passes for this ride ran out quickly or I would have tried to get another one so we could ride it a second time. It’s the BEST.

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. My first time on this ride! Rob’s score: 63,800. My score: 52,200.

The HUGE Disneyland Christmas tree in the middle of Main Street. We passed it because…

… we were on our way to DCA and the Animation Academy for a second time! This time we drew Minnie Mouse. My drawing is on the left.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Another oldie but goodie.

The castle all lit up!

And Small World too! I took this picture as we were waiting for the Fireworks Spectacular, which were pretty fantastic. I always love the music and the buildup to the Disney “snow” at the end.

Star Tours. Went on this ride because the line was only 10 minutes. It’s ok. I kinda think the video needs to be updated.

And finally, we end our day with another ride on the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. Rob’s score: 14,800. My score: 48,500. I WON!!!

And so ends a great day and a fantastic holiday vacation. 😀

Back to real life tomorrow.