Redlands with the Girls

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I happened to schedule a visit to my tax guy during Spring Break. Not smart on my part. I spent the first part of the week adding up receipts (the exact opposite of my idea of a vacation) and the last day taking a trip to Redlands where my tax guy works. I would have much rather been in Paris but well, you gotta do what you gotta do, right?

On the upside: I ended up taking the girls with me to Redlands and we found this cute little photo op in downtown Redlands called Orange Alley. Nothing like a photographer with a new camera and two cute side-kicks! Bring on the instagrammable moments! Bug just bought herself a new dress so she was happy to oblige and Joon is just a good sport.

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Orange Alley is where it’s at. It’s not a huge tourist attraction or anything and you can walk the whole stretch in less than two minutes but it’s a nice little spot. I really appreciated who ever thought this art installation up. Way to brighten up an otherwise dreary downtown!

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Pretty, right? I wonder what they look like in a rain storm.

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Joon especially loved the “Hannah’s Wings” painting since Hannah is her real name after all. I’m not such a stickler about protecting their names anymore now that they are old enough to have their own online presence and embarrass and exploit me all they want. Believe me, they do. I have a whole gallery of fat arm photos in Bug’s instagram feed. Turn about’s fair play I guess.  I actually don’t mind. It’s kinda cool to see what I really look like. I have such a distorted version in my own head.

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There she is. Just touching down for a minute before she flies off to grace some other place.

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I was desperately hungry so we went in search for a restaurant that everyone could agree on. This is no small task. Sometimes I think the girls set their parameters on what is acceptable and not acceptable to eat based on how much resistance the other will guarantee. I guess there’s an easier way to say that. They are opposites and will fight to the death over it. If Bug wants Mexican food, Joon wants Italian. If Joon wants pizza, Bug wants hamburgers and never the twain shall meet. Rinse and repeat until you are clawing your eyes out and eating your arm off in starvation. Of course I could just put my foot down but that would be like parenting or something.

Anyway, we found a fondue restaurant that we all liked and had a glorious afternoon eating bread with long stringy pieces of cheese hanging off them and delicious strawberries dipped in dark chocolate. Not the cheapest lunch but I wrote it off for business since the whole reason we were stuck there was because my tax guy lives in Timbuktu aka Redlands. I really need to get a new tax guy. Too bad I like this guy so much. And guess what guys? He told me he wished all his clients were as organized as me! *bats eyelashes and feigns false modesty* This is a new high from the girl who hates math. Did you hear that? I’m organized! I have spreadsheets! Who knew! Turns out I’m a lot more left brained than I thought.

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Then we stopped into Bug’s new favorite store, Nectar. She is obsessed. Every time we go there she tells me that she wishes the whole store was her closet. At least she’s easy to figure out these days. She loves muted colors, all white walls and plants. Plants, plants, plants! I love plants too so I’m super happy about this latest trend.

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She bought herself a pathos and carried it around in her backpack all day with the leaves hanging out the back. She calls herself a plant mom. Heart eyeballs!

And then we went home and lived happily ever after. Sort of. Until next time!

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens with Sonja

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Last week I tagged along with Payam for a work thing and since it happened to be in my friend Sonja’s neighborhood, I decided to visit my old 7days buddy. It’s been a few since we last hung out, sadly. But you know what makes me happy? She didn’t even mention that I haven’t visited in forever and she took me on a walk with her boys to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens! I LOVE that she thinks nature trails when I come to visit. That’s the kind of friend I want to be.

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It was a beautiful spring day, squeezed in between weeks of dreary rainy days so we felt like we won the lottery with the weather. It was so nice! Look at that snow! I’ve been scrolling past post after post of snowmageddon images on Instagram feeling major FOMO so getting a glimpse of snow like this is gleeful. Wee! Snow! If only I owned a cabin and we could pile the dogs in the truck and head up for a day of it. Not gonna happen though. I am on budget-watch 2019 and no trips to the snow are included. Sad face.

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But that’s okay because we have things we can do for free like visit nature trails and look at native plants and art installations…

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This particular installation was so perfect for the gardens. If I was a sculptor making stainless steel origami statues I would definitely want them placed strategically around these gardens. It was wonderful. Walk into a clearing, there stand some iron origami horses. Look sideways into a dark patch of evergreens, there’s a tower of origami cranes. 

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Paper airplanes, floating boats, standing bison, iron eagles… it was very imaginative and fun. Hats off to the artists.

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Of course there were animals to watch too.

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We brought our very own wild animals with us. Just kidding.

Sonja’s boys are not wild animals but they are boys and therefore very different than girls, which is what I’m used to. No chatting about ASMR or singing Ariana Grande songs or whining about who gets to sit in the front on the way back but definitely lots of climbing, stick stealing and rock-throwing… At one point we were by a pond and her boys were throwing big boulders into the pond. Sploosh went the boulders one after another until a woman nearby who was eating her lunch chided them to stop. They stopped and threw little pebbles into the pond instead.

Then later they were sliding down a stone wall next to a staircase and someone piped up that they sure hoped they didn’t get hurt which passive-aggressively meant: please stop doing that. Sonja very kindly informed the woman that the boys were fine and she was keeping an eye on them. I had to admire her parenting because if boys can’t play in a botanic garden full of nature, where can they play? I suppose the commenter preferred they sat quietly on a bench sketching or something but if anyone knows boys, they know that is just silly.

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I supremely enjoyed myself even without any quiet sketching. I could have easily wiled away an hour or two sketching my favorite plants but it was fun to see the park through new eyes. Not just flora and fauna but fun jungle gyms and rock launchers, stinging nettles, noisy palm fronds and which stick would make the best walking stick.

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I suppose this post is going to be pretty boring to most. Except the 2 percent who love native California plants like I do. Hey there 2 percent! Let’s be friends! Happy, sunny black-eyed Susans, curling spindly reddish manzanita…these are a few of my favorite things!

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Don’t hold back on the spikes dudes!

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Before I close up this post I should also mention that they have lovely facilities if anyone wanted to throw a gala event or a wedding. How pretty, right? There were white paper solar powered lanterns everywhere.  I would love to come back at night and see how they glow.

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Very lastly, on the way to the parking lot actually, we visited the nursery. I wanted to take home a few spikey friends but my drive was long and I didn’t really do my research yet on where I should plant them at home so they stayed there. Next time!