california knows how to party

yes it does.

ben and i snuck away to huntington beach late last week. he traveled for a work conference, and i was his moral support/clothing consultant (i ironed his clothes each morning). it is tough work, but hey. someone's gotta do it. ;)

when we checked into the hotel on wednesday, they upgraded us from a double-queen room to a king room, which happened to be a full-on suite. there were two bathrooms. fan-CIE!

ben thinks we got the upgrade because they saw my pregnant tummy. perhaps. i'll take it.

we explored the hotel a bit and stumbled upon this cozy little outdoor fireplace. tres romantic.

on thursday, ben was in sessions all day and i had some freelance work to do. i ventured out to a local panera for lunch and free wi-fi, and then we enjoyed in-n-out for dinner. i ordered a neapolitan shake off the secret menu. delish.

on friday, i had the entire day free! i started with a walk on the beach and promptly found myself in the middle of the ragnar relay. costumes, music, and some male speedos. very interesting stuff.

after a quick shower, i took the rental car down pch to laguna beach, driving through newport on the way. i've been to newport on another trip, and i wanted to go somewhere a little smaller, cuter, and less touristy. laguna was perfect. i really liked that city.

the beach i visited was much more interesting than huntington——more character somehow. it had a really fun vibe. see the houses built into the hills? i would have loved to see inside one or two of them.

i spent a few hours browsing the shops and people watching. i was tempted by these polka-dot toms and cutie stuffed animals for baby girl, but i showed restraint.

on friday night, i got to attend the conference's closing event with ben on the queen mary in my hometown of long beach. even though i was born there, ben teases me for pretending to be a californian because i only lived there a short time. i'm claiming it, though. i am!

it was a bit chilly, but we had a good time.

saturday might have been the best of all. while ben attended his last session, i took some pictures of the hotel. it was pretty fancy.

and then came the major fun! i got to meet ben's cousin angie, her husband keith, and their four wonderful children. one of the boys had a little league game and we tagged along. unfortunately, i neglected my camera, but here are a few shots of their two lovely girls looking very serious and ben tickling them as much as possible.

they fed us a delicious dinner. we both tried edamame for the first time and were pleasantly surprised. then they took us out for frozen yogurt. neither of us wanted to leave, but we had an early plane to catch and said good-bye around 10. we stayed at a hotel near the airport and caught a 7:45 flight back to good old minnesota. it was a fabulous trip——maybe the last time the two of us take a trip alone for a while. i am thankful i was able to go!