We fit in a little weekend getaway with friends who live right outside of Los Angeles after a work obligation took Dave to Anaheim for a week.  If you missed it and want to catch up, you can go back HERE to see our first day in El Segundo and Manhattan Beach with our friends Ashley and Justin.

Although we were only in Anaheim together for a day, we made the most of it by going to both Disneyland which you can read about HERE and Disney's California Adventure which you can read about HERE

Now, back to El Segundo... Justin had to wake up super early this day to get to work (Fox Sports 1) for the final game of the World Cup so Dave and I slept in and then headed out to a local spot for breakfast.

Good Stuff is pretty self explanatory... it was really good stuff.  Like REALLY good stuff!  Dave enjoyed the cinnamon roll french toast and I had the California quesadilla.  We shared lots of bites with one another.

Although they serve breakfast all day, Good Stuff also has both lunch and dinner menus as well.  If you are in the surrounding area (they have about four different locations), check them out!  As they say... you are what you eat, so eat good stuff!  They also have a dog menu at a couple of their locations.  Too sweet!

By time we finished, Justin was getting off work so we met to grab a ride and head to Malibu.  We passed through Venice and Santa Monica on the way.  When we visited California a few years ago for their wedding, we stopped in Santa Monica to spend a little time there.  Venice was such a neat area and although we didn't have time to stop, it was still nice to be able to see it and get a feel for the town.

Our plans in Malibu consisted of visiting Rosenthal Tasting Room.  This place was so cute!  The had a live band outside and the scenery was absolutely stunning.  Ashley was coming from a bridal shower and meeting us there that afternoon so we wasted no time tasting wine while we waited. 

Here's the thing, the wine actually wasn't THAT good which we were a little disappointed about.  It was fine... but there was not a single bottle we wanted to purchase to bring home.  We knew that Southern California wasn't exactly Napa or Sonoma when it comes to wine country, but we had higher hopes.

That being said, the atmosphere was low key and could not have been better and honestly that probably made the wine taste even a little better.  Although the wine wasn't super impressive (to us, anyways!) the atmosphere and the company was the best.  Dave and I had never officially been to Malibu either so it was fun to check another Los Angeles suburb off our list.  

With Justin and Ashley living right outside of LA, all of these areas are places they go often either to get together with family and friends or just have day trips away from home.  It's crazy to imagine having access to places like Santa Monica, Venice and Malibu less than an hour drive (in LA traffic mind you) from home.

Napa has been on our short list for travel and I'll tell you what, this afternoon made us want to get on planning that trip STAT.  Picturesque settings, great wine, the two of us together on another adventure... need I say more?  This is an area both of us want to visit, even if it's just for a long weekend.  Let's just say, it keeps moving on up on our list.  Someone please get us to wine tasting in Napa and Sonoma soon!

The tasting room is literally right across the street from the beach so I insisted on having to put my toes in the Malibu sand.  The beach was pretty (although I'm not sure I've seen a California beach that wasn't), but it was much more touristy than I expected.  Compared to Santa Monica Beach which is so wide, it seemed much smaller... which also made it appear to be much more crowded.  Or, maybe it was the homeless man getting arrested?  I'm not sure, but it just wasn't exactly the Malibu beach that I was expecting.

We had dinner reservations back in El Segundo so after our impromptu stop at the beach we caught a ride back.  We still had some time to kill before dinner so there was more outside sitting, visiting/laughing with each other, more wine drinking and cheese eating... #keepingitreal

We were enjoying a break from the hot Kentucky heat and humidity and taking in every single California breeze.  The weather was absolutely perfect during out stay.  We were loving every second!

We had dinner at a restaurant in The Point, a neat little place in El Segundo.  The Point is an outdoor area in town with lots of shopping and restaurant options.  The area was really cute and family friendly.  

It was a Sunday night and with having a later dinner reservation, most of the shops were closing when we arrived... which was probably a good thing because I happen to love all of the stores there.  We did have a little bit of time to walk around which was nice because it was already dark once we finished dinner.

Dinner was at North Italia, a restaurant Ashley and Justin visit often and really enjoy.  As soon as we stepped food inside (before even trying the food), we could see why.  The place was gorgeous and styled with our kind of decor.   They have a handful of locations in big cities all over... we're talking Arizona, Colorado, DC, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas and of course California.  Go find one!  NOW!

And the food... oh my goodness!  We really love Italian food, but we don't eat it very often so when we do we always indulge.  Let's be honest, it's hard not it.  We had Black Mediterranean Mussels...

Crispy Calamari...

Funghi Pizza (roasted mushrooms/cipollini onion/smoked mozzarella)...

 Prosciutto Pizza (mission fig/goat cheese/arugula)...

 Traditional Spaghetti & Meatballs...

 AND Squid Ink Madaldine... 

I told you... WE WENT FOR IT!

Everything on the dessert menu looked auh-mazing, but we grabbed our checks and went to Smitten Ice Cream (also located in The Point) instead.  There were two reasons why we had to have ice cream.

First and foremost... can you say National Ice Cream Day?  How perfect!  At Smitten they believe that ice cream = JOY and you know what, Ashley and I believe that too!  #lifeisbetterwithicecream

Secondly, Smitten isn't just your typical ice cream shop.  When you order you pick out a flavor and then they put the ice cream base into the Brrr®... which is where the magic happens!  As they put it, a chilly fog billows over the counter as liquid nitrogen freezes each scoop to-order.  And, it is pretty cool.

A couple of minutes later you're eating fresh, creamy ice cream (in a beautiful little outdoor location).  It was REALLY good ice cream.  And, let's just say I've had my fair share!

We got one cone to share (what were we thinking?) and immediately wished that we had each gotten our own which would have happened initially if it wouldn't have been for the large dinner line up.

There was a theme on this little weekend getaway and we wouldn't have wanted it any other way.  We had the best company, endless laughs, ice cream every night for dessert and full glasses of California wine.

We headed home for one last hurrah together!  Justin and Ashley LOVE karaoke and love hosting karaoke nights at their house.  We always enjoy seeing stories or facetiming with them from Kentucky to get glimpses.  We ended up having to improvise from their typical karaoke setup, but it wasn't something that a duffel bag boom box and Filipino karaoke jam couldn't fix.  Oh my goodness, we laughed so hard!

We flew out of LAX around noon the next day which was great because it meant that we didn't have to get up super early for the airport... which doesn't happen often.  This allowed us to catch a few more of those California breezes while enjoying more coffee... always Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf with Ashley! :)

Dave had also picked up a chocolate covered delicious marshmallow something while we were somewhere over the weekend and it ended up being the perfect little sweet treat before heading to the airport. 

We grabbed one more California inspired meal at LAX before catching our flight to Chicago.  It had been such a fun weekend, but after being away for almost two weeks Dave was more than ready to get back home... and even if I'm not ready to get back home, I am always ready to get back to Hopsen. 

This is about where this recap should have ended.  But...

We ended up taxiing for awhile waiting for takeoff and right as we were getting ready to put our phones on airplane mode, we each got a notification (we had booked the flights separately since Dave was traveling for work) that our flight from Chicago to Evansville has been cancelled.

Not delayed or rerouted, but cancelled.  CANCELLED.  Who cancels a flight eight hours before it is scheduled to depart due to "air traffic control"?  United Airlines.  That's who!

Although Evansville is the biggest airport closest to us, it still isn't a big airport so we knew that the chances of us catching a later flight were pretty slim.  We began scrambling trying to re-book flights (before we had even taken off at LAX) to get back home as early as possible... the next day.

When we landed, we went directly to United Airlines Customer Service and got in line with a handful of others who were having travel issues (not a single one of them was in line due to a CANCELLED flight).

Traveling a lot comes with the understanding that many things can happen (especially unexpected weather) that just can't be controlled.  The unfortunate thing for United in this situation is that the weather appeared to be perfect (both in Chicago and in Evansville) AND there was another airline still flying into Evansville that night. 

Long story short, we waited in line for over an hour (and had multiple phone conversations) to basically get zero assistance (for anything!) except for them to let us know that if we wanted our luggage it would be about a two hour wait.  They were however able to confirm that we had both successfully booked ourselves seats for the first flight out the next morning (which was good since there were only 3 flights and the others weren't until the afternoon and evening).  Although this Rice Krispie's Treat was pretty tasty after waiting in line, in no way did I see it as a fair parting gift from United Airlines.

We debated (A LOT) about getting a room near the airport or in downtown Chicago, but after waiting for so long and knowing that we had to be back at the airport first thing in the morning we opted to stay close to O'Hare.  And although it was not ideal, we actually had a fun little unexpected night in store together.

We quickly decided that if we were going to be stuck in Chicago for the night that deep dish pizza was a must.  We caught a shuttle bus from the airport to our hotel and after dropping off my carry-on luggage and setting the thermostat to freezing (does anyone else do this at hotels?), we were on our way to Giordano's for Chicago's famous stuffed deep dish pizza.

Of course we had to order something that would come out quicker then the pizza (deep dish takes awhile and we were hungry)... you guessed it, Italian Beef Sandwich for the win!

What's your favorite spot for deep dish pizza in Chicago?

We haven't met many deep dish pizzas in Chicago that we didn't like... in fact, we even had some at the airport earlier in the summer on our way to and from Scottsdale.  We love to take advantage of local food when we can.  Even if that means eating deep dish pizza or a hot dog at 8:30 AM in the airport.

Travel plans don't always go as expected which can be extremely frustrating, but sometimes you just have to chalk it up as a loss... and then most of things.  Like deep dish pizza and a pitcher of beer in Chicago!  Also, these things are always so much better when we're together because at least we're together!

After dinner we went back to the Hampton and crashed until our early morning alarm sounded to get back to the airport.  Seeing this little message cracked us up on our way out the next morning because in no way was spending the night at the Hampton outside of O'Hare our plan, but they were gracious hosts.  And really, the one thing making us happy at this point was feeling like we were finally going home.

Once we were through security with plenty of time to spare and had checked on our gate (there indeed was a flight scheduled to depart on time)... we grabbed our go-to iced drinks and celebrated.   

CHEERS!  To a wonderful weekend in California with sweet friends, making the most of a cancelled flight and successfully (finally!) being on our way home.

If you missed the first part of our weekend in El Segundo (including our visit to the beach), you can see it HERE.  Also, before we left for El Segundo we were in Anaheim and visited both Disneyland and California Adventure.  If you want to read about each of those experiences, you can find them here:

We had the best time at the Disney Parks in California and are looking forward to sharing all of our comparisons between Disneyland and Disney World.  I am definitely partial.  Probably because I grew up going to Disney World a lot AND because Florida is much closer to Kentucky than California.

We've been to MAGIC KINGDOM multiple times, checked out EPCOT last year for the first time as adults and visited (and loved) ANIMAL KINGDOM this spring.  We also might even happen to be planning another trip there sometime later this year!

If this weekend taught us one thing (other than remembering to always practice patience while traveling), it was to soak in time with your friends.  Time is so very precious, friends!  Soak it in.  Sometimes in order to do that it means booking that flight, setting aside a weekend and flat out making the effort.

You will forever be thankful for time spent like this with your sweet friends!  In the words of a pretty controversial (at the moment) brand... just do it!  Time spent together is truly good for the soul.

Thanks so much for hosting us, Ashley and Justin!

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