a week in LA with Kristin and Walter

I've said it before, and I'll say it again... I love California. I especially love where my parents live in Marina del Rey. I wish they could stay forever! I am thankful for their time there and for so many opportunities to visit. In July, Kristin and I went for eight days to dog-sit for Walter while my dad was on a business trip and my mom visited her dad and sisters.
We spent most mornings taking Walter on runs to the jetty... He loves to stand on the bench, jump onto the gate and gaze into the ocean. :)
 So many pretty sights along the way!
We ate lunch at one of my favorite cafes, Thyme. I could seriously eat there every day. This curry chicken salad with cashews and mango was amazing and so colorful!
 We also went for a run through the Venice Canals. Also a beautiful spot!

We rented bikes and rode up the coast to spend the day at the beach. 
This summer was particularly rainy in Atlanta, so it was wonderful to escape the dreary weather and enjoy some sun!

 We watched a beautiful sunset on the pier.

 Walter also enjoys sunsets.
 We went paddle boarding...

Hiked at Runyon Canyon...

 Watched the sunset at the Griffith Observatory... Walter got lots of attention here. So handsome.
And then we went sailing! It was just us and Captain Larry. The ocean was a little rough as we sat in the front of the boat. Kristin was holding on for her life!
I turned around and saw Captain Larry ASLEEP in the back of the boat! We weren't so sure about this...
 But it ended up being a beautiful day and a great time.
 I only got a little sea sick....

And we made it back safely!
 That night we had dinner at the Santa Monica Food Truck Park.

 All the lights lit make it feel so festive!
When I visited in April, i discovered Palazzolo's gelato food truck. I had literally been thinking about it ever since. My parents hadn't seen it around in a while, but in the time that we were visiting, it was open at both food truck locations we went to! I told the owners that I came all the way from Atlanta, and I was so glad to see them! When I went back to their location two days later, the husband addressed me by name... Probably not a good thing that I was on a first name basis with the gelato food truck people. And it's probably a good thing I don't live there because I would be there every week!
 Toasted almond coconut fudge was our favorite. I can't even describe how good this is.
The next day, we went on the longest and hardest hike ever. The inclines were ridiculous! And it was HOT! My parent had done it a few weeks before, so I figured it would be no big deal if they could manage it. I was wrong. It took us four hours!
 We felt like we were in the desert.
Walter barely made it. He was going to extreme places for shade and almost fell off the side of the mountain. We had to rescue him (without falling ourselves!) It was  little scary, but we made it.
 How we felt at the end. :)
Walter slept for days after the hike. I had to force him to go out to go potty. And he wouldn't take the stairs. He literally looked at them and wouldn't budge. One time I had to carry him to the elevator! It took a couple days for him to recover...
And this is how we spent our evenings! I just love this dog. He may be a little mischievous, but he's so sweet and gives the best snuggles. I was really sad to say goodbye.
On our last day, we grabbed lunch at Lemonade and took it to the beach in Malibu. Along with amazing salads and every flavor of lemonade you can imagine, they also have a great bakery selection. Their macaroons were gluten free, so I decided to try one. I don't love macaroons, but oh my goodness. This was seriously the best thing I've ever had. First of all, it was enormous. It was so soft in the middle and the filling tasted like lemon curd marshmallow fluff. I could taste the fresh lemon zest. I might need my mom to mail me some. It's a good day I discovered them on my last day, because I would have wanted one every single day.
We also discovered the best gluten free pizza I've ever had. Fresh Brother's margarita pizza was simply wonderful. We had this not once, but twice on our stay. We loved it so much that we saved it for our last meal. :)
Our stay was eventful, but relaxing at the same time. I hope to go back for another visit soon! 

4th of July weekend in Norfolk

We took a road trip up to Norfolk, VA to visit Dan and Natalie at their new home! It was the first time since seeing them at the wedding. We hadn't taken Toby on a trip in a while, and he was SO excited to come along.
 Natalie made red, white, and blue fruit pizza!
 Natalie and Dan got a puppy a few weeks ago and named her Finley. She looks so much like Toby did as a pup. Here they are bonding on a walk together...
 We went to the beach on Friday afternoon with the dogs.
 Finley loves to dig in the sand.
 Look at that face!

 Sisters :)
 Toby finally warmed up to the water! He was such a good swimmer.
 Nat made the best coconut waffles for breakfast on Saturday morning.
 And then we drove to pick up the boat for the day.
 We spent the afternoon on the water in Virginia Beach. So fun!!

 Finley is so adorable in her puppy life jacket.
We put a human one on Toby, but it just made him hot.
This is my favorite picture of Toby. Pure joy. He loved being on the boat! 

We found an island beachy area where we could let the dogs off leash to swim and play.

That night, Dad joined us for dinner! He was staying in Hampton, VA for a few weeks for business. It was so fun to see him!
We left on Sunday morning... Thanks Dan and Natalie for a wonderful weekend! Can't wait for another visit!