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Old 12 Sep 17, 09:09 PM  
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Lisa_Lollipop
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Our West Coast Adventure - May 2017 - Day 14: The Grove, Griffiths Observatory and Saddle Ranch

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Wednesday 24th May 2017

Steps: 11,550
Miles: 4.69

The alarm went off this morning at 8am; I stayed in bed catching up on messages before getting up at 8:35am. Feeling a little peckish I had a quick snack on an oat and honey bar from the mini bar and drank the bottle of orange juice still loving those free drinks and snacks!

Once ready I had a quick FaceTime call with my sister Sarah and then by 10am we were ready to leave for the day. On making it down to reception we stopped to pick up some free pastries todays offering was marble cake and lemon cake, both delicious!





We started to make our way out of the hotel but it felt a little chilly this morning so I made a quick U-turn and headed back up to the room to grab a hoodie best to be prepared! I had a little bit of lift drama when trying to come back down to reception to meet back up with Paul, on making it to the ground floor the lift doors didnt open so I ended up riding all the way up the 12th floor and back down again before I could get out!

We had a short 5 minute wait for the car to be delivered to us from valet and by 10:15am we were pulling out of the hotel driveway. Our first destination of the day was The Grove, a shopping and dining area in LA. I had visited here last year when on my work trip and loved the area so was keen to show Paul how lovely it was! We arrived at 10:35am and parked up in the multi-storey car park.





There was also another big reason for visiting The Grove the American Girl store! My 5 year old niece Emilie has become somewhat obsessed with these dolls in the past year or so and watches many a YouTube video about them so I promised her I would pop in for a visit to take some photos and videos to show her.



Now I am not sure how familiar you will all be with American Girl dolls but they seem to be all the rage and are also pretty damn expensive! The store was absolutely huge and even has a salon where you can get beauty and hair treatments for your doll. There is also a cafe for dining with your doll all a little surreal it has to be said. To give you an idea here are some photos, it has to be seen to be believed!











Whilst in there we picked up an outfit and a backpack set for Emilie, the dolls are not only very expensive but also pretty large in their box so it would have been tricky getting one home for her! Luckily the UK equivalent dolls that she has (My Generation dolls) are the exact same size so all the accessories will fit both!

After spending far too long in there (poor Paul was very accommodating to the whole experience, such a good Uncle!) we made our way back outside and headed towards the farmers market area.







Whilst wandering around we picked up a Hollywood magnet for Pauls mum from one of the stalls ($3.95)



Leaving the farmers market we headed back to the main area, it is such a pretty area with lots of #usanumberone opportunities (look at all those flags!)















By now it had hit 12:10pm and we were both feeling rather peckish so we decided to stop for an early lunch and as there was a Cheesecake Factory right there we didnt spend long debating where to eat!







We got seated in a booth straight away and ordered our drinks (Coke for Paul and lemonade for me). As always the menu amazed me its literally a book! After quite a while browsing Paul settled on the crispy pineapple chicken and shrimp and I chose the fresh basil, tomato and cheese flatbread (I had this on our last visit to CCF at Mall of Millennia last year Im such a creature of habit!). Both from the lunch menu as we know how big the portions are!







The food of course didnt disappoint, it was absolutely delicious and super reasonably priced too. I dont like cheesecake and Paul was very full so we skipped dessert but here is a photo of the cheesecakes on offer just to keep you all happy!



On leaving the restaurant it was now 1:15pm and we had pretty much covered everything we had wanted to see so we decided to make a move from there. On making it back to the car park we owed $7 to cover our stay.



Our next stop of the day was at the Citadel outlets yes more shopping! We hit a lot of delightful LA traffic on making our way there so didnt end up arriving until 2:10pm.





On getting out of the car I had a bit of a headache (most likely from too long in the car!) so the first stop was at the nearest vending machine to grab a bottle of water ($2.50), whilst there I also spotted this sign which I thought was rather lovely (and something we should all live by!)



As we made our way around the shops we made a stop at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory as I had a craving for something sweet, this place certainly didnt disappoint! I went for a milk chocolate macadamia bear and Paul chose dipped marshmallows with M&Ms. Delicious!











We continued to make our way around the shops, next stopping in Toys R Us where we picked up an Animal Planet dinosaur set for our nephew Reece ($12.99), as well as a love for Marvel characters he also loves dinosaurs!



Next stop was Aeropostale and it was another successful visit with Paul picking up two pairs of shorts and two shirts and I bought a t-shirt and a shirt (sorry I didnt seem to note down prices for these but no doubt a bargain as always!)



The last purchase of the trip was in Under Armour where Paul picked up a work-out top and a cap for golf (sorry, again no prices in my notes!)



By 5pm we were all shopped out so it was back to the car and back on the road. Paul was really eager to head over to the Dodgers stadium to have a look so we headed in that direction. On getting closer we found there was clearly a game happening that evening as it was very busy and pulling up to the entrance we were told we would have to pay $20 to park even if we just wanted to have a look from outside no thank you! So away we went, maybe next time!



Our next stop off the day was up at Griffiths Observatory. On getting up there it was crazy busy so we ended up having to drive down and back up again 3 times before we could get a space! We paid for an hours parking (6:19-7:19pm) at a cost of $4 although the machine didnt take cash so I had to pay with card for this tiny amount!

It was certainly worth the effort of trying to find a space up there though as the views were beautiful, unfortunately it had become quite a smoggy day in the direction of the Hollywood sign so it was very difficult to see, most odd as the sky behind the observatory itself was crystal clear!

















We headed up and around the observatory to take in some of the sights and of course take a heap load more photos!















We also headed inside which is free to do although it was quite busy with a lot of school trips taking place! We had a brief look around and then headed back outside to get some more photos out front.





On leaving Griffiths Observatory we decided to have a slight detour on the way back to the hotel to see Rodeo Drive surely a must when in LA! One coming to the end of the road we also got to see the Beverly Wiltshire hotel as a big fan of Pretty Woman this excited me quite a bit!







We made it back to the hotel at 6:30pm, although on getting back up to the room I realised I had left the video camera in the car so Paul then had the task of going back to the valet and asking them to retrieve it for us whoops! (Can I blame pregnancy brain?!)

After pottering around the room for a bit we had showers and got ourselves ready and by 9:55pm were heading out to get some dinner (we got distracted watching Forrest Gump on the TV!). We didnt fancy heading too far out for dinner so we decided on going to Saddle Ranch Chop House which was pretty much next to the hotel.







We got seated straight away and instantly loved the western theming of the place! It certainly wasnt the fanciest of eating establishments but very fun with a really lively atmosphere and some great music playing. Any restaurant that has a mechanical bull promises a good time in my book! (We were offered a free ride on said bull as it was our first visit there, I obviously wasnt able to get involved and Paul also politely turned down the offer!)





On browsing the menu Paul ordered a Coors Light and the fillet Mignon with truffle fries and corn. I went for a lemonade and a California Club wrap. We also ordered a portion of sesame glazed edamame beans to start too, they were yummy! (Apologies for the poor photos, it was very dark in there!)







Whilst waiting for our food to come out we discovered some trivia questions on the table which I then quizzed Paul on, he impressively managed to get 9 out of 10 correct (much more than I would have achieved if he had been testing me!)



And here are the answers should you have been testing yourself



The portions were huge so I was unsurpringly completely defeated by my dinner despite it being really tasty. Paul was very impressed with the steak and polished all of his off. We had been given a 20% off voucher when checking into the Andaz so we used that, making it a very reasonable meal given how much food we had. On bringing out the bill the waiter also brought us a platter of smores for free which was a lovely gesture. We repaid his kindness with a hefty tip! We also of course couldnt pass up the opportunity to buy yet another souvenir glass ($8.99)!







After settling the bill we took our platter outside to where there are several fire pits and got to work in constructing some delicious smores! It was so much fun to make them ourselves and reminded me of camp fires back when I was a camp counsellor in New York many years ago!







They were so good but very sickly so we only managed a couple each! It was 12:15am by the time we left the restaurant so we headed straight back to the hotel from there and by 1 am we were tucked up in bed ready for our last night at the Andaz.

So that brings us to the end of another day of fun in Hollywood (with lots of delicious food!). Tomorrow will see us moving on from Hollywood, making a stop at Santa Monica and arriving at Long Beach for the very last night of our trip.

Day 15 can be found here

Last edited by Lisa_Lollipop; 19 Sep 17 at 08:15 PM.
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Old 12 Sep 17, 09:35 PM  
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Ok that doll store is literally the creeeeeepiest thing I've ever seen!

Still can't believe you don't like cheesecake. Alien haha!

The views from the observatory look lovely, even if it was a bit misty!

Did you know there's a replica of the Wiltshire at Universal? I only noticed last year!

Hmmm loving the s'mores action! You are so right though, those things about melt your teeth off! Ha!

Exactly how many magnets and souvenir glasses did you return home with? Hahaha!

Xxx
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Old 13 Sep 17, 07:26 AM  
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Another full on day. You both fit so much in.

Seeing that dolls shop makes me glad I have a boy

Totally keep calling the pregnancy brain card then after that you can called the new baby lack of sleep card
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Old 13 Sep 17, 12:58 PM  
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A brilliant day, as always you got so much done. The doll store is pretty terrifying.
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Old 13 Sep 17, 02:12 PM  
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Lisa_Lollipop
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Originally Posted by Redrach1903 View Post
Ok that doll store is literally the creeeeeepiest thing I've ever seen!

Still can't believe you don't like cheesecake. Alien haha!

The views from the observatory look lovely, even if it was a bit misty!

Did you know there's a replica of the Wiltshire at Universal? I only noticed last year!

Hmmm loving the s'mores action! You are so right though, those things about melt your teeth off! Ha!

Exactly how many magnets and souvenir glasses did you return home with? Hahaha!

Xxx
Haha if you had a doll phobia it would be an actual nightmare... some of them were so freaky looking it had to be said!

Ooo no I have never seen the Beverly Wiltshire at Universal... something to keep eyes peeled for on our next trip!

Oh goodness I lost count of how many magnets we got for Paul's mum on this trip... I am surprised her fridge hasn't toppled over! xxx

Originally Posted by Disney Wishing View Post
Another full on day. You both fit so much in.

Seeing that dolls shop makes me glad I have a boy

Totally keep calling the pregnancy brain card then after that you can called the new baby lack of sleep card
Haha as we were walking around the shop I think Paul was thinking to himself that he hopes this baby is a boy... it was a whole new world in there!

Haha I am going to be using the 'baby brain' excuse a lot I think... it sure beats my normal 'blonde moment' excuse!

Originally Posted by Jake71 View Post
A brilliant day, as always you got so much done. The doll store is pretty terrifying.
Haha only in the US could you find a doll store of this scale... truly amazing!
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Old 15 Sep 17, 02:41 PM  
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Brilliant busy day! Nice end with the free s'mores too!
Not sure I can read any more though after your revelation of not liking cheesecake
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Old 15 Sep 17, 05:56 PM  
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Originally Posted by Unexpectedpenny View Post
Brilliant busy day! Nice end with the free s'mores too!
Not sure I can read any more though after your revelation of not liking cheesecake
Haha please don't judge me! I love a good dessert but cheesecake is just one I can't get my head around!
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Old 15 Sep 17, 08:36 PM  
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Oh my goodness those s'mores .

Another fab day, the American Girl store looks crazy haha! xx
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Old 15 Sep 17, 11:21 PM  
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Originally Posted by EJSakaAnna View Post
Oh my goodness those s'mores .

Another fab day, the American Girl store looks crazy haha! xx
Those s'mores were so good, brilliant to put them together over a real fire pit too!

Haha what an experience that American Girl store was... a little insight into what could be to come with Libby in the future!
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Old 16 Sep 17, 01:32 PM  
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Oh wow I love s'mores that is amazing!
Another great day
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