Over this past weekend, one of my best friends that I grew up with in New Jersey came out to visit John and I.  I grew up with Michelle and Therese (sisters) always hanging out with Christina and I – we were all inseparable best friends.  Although Therese wasn’t able to make the trip this time, she’s currently hoping to plan a visit in early 2014!  And despite the “Fabulous Four” not being together, we had a fantastic weekend with Michelle!

She arrived in San Diego early on Thursday and arrived at DT via taxi right around lunch time!  I took a long lunch from work and we decided to eat at one of mine and John’s favorites – The Knotty Barrel.  Michelle wanted to check it out because she’s a big fan of craft beer (which conveniently enough there is a butt TON of in San Diego).  We had a great lunch and then I walked her to the Penthouse Penthouse, where she freshened up and took a nap while I finished out my day at work.

On Thursday night, Michelle joined us at DT for a little Vino & Vinyasa. Although she doesn’t do yoga very often, Michelle liked Eryka’s yoga class and enjoyed our post-yoga wine tradition, as well!  We went to Underbelly for dinner, where we indulged in some west coast Ramen. Thursday was a pretty low-key night aside from dinner, as John and I had to wake up for work early on Friday morning, but we still had a great time – I was just SO HAPPY that Michelle was HERE! In my NEW CITY!! :)

Friday Johnand I headed into work and Michelle explored some of downtown.  I was able to make up time earlier in the week, which allowed me to take a half day on Friday (Thanks again to my manager Laurence!)  I met up with Michelle when I left DT, and we decided to check out the Gaslamp together.  We walked all the way down 5th, stopping in stores, enjoying the sights, and eating lunch at an amazing restaurant called Barley Mash.

After exploring all the Gaslamp had to offer, we made our way down to the bay, where I showed Michelle some great views of the city, convention center, Coranado, and the military base.  She was able to take some really amazing pics (that I’ll have to post later when she sends them to me) with her nice camera. When John got home from work, we headed back to the apartment and met up with him and together we headed off to Sunset Cliffs.  Although the sunset ended up not being anything too spectacular, it was still nice to show Michelle the great sunset viewing spot from the cliffs before heading off to dinner.

We went to dinner at what has become almost a staple of John’s and my diet – Blue Water Market and Grill.  As usual, it was delicious!  After dinner, we spent Friday night enjoying the hot tub at our apartment complex while sipping on some cocktails with our friends Brent and Mark.

Saturday morning we were all up bright and early to get Donut Bar Donuts! (Another place that seems to have become a frequent repeat for us).  Michelle enjoyed the donuts as much as we did and we all indulged in some sugary deliciousness before heading over to Little Italy for the farmer’s market.

It was fun to walk around the market with Michelle, and she enjoyed browsing the art work, checking out items for sale, and sampling some of the delicious snacks sold at the market.  Michelle really loves lemonade, so John and I showed her our absolute favorite fresh-squeezed lemonade stand at the market – it surpassed Michelle’s expectations and she really enjoyed the refreshing beverage! Since the harbor is right near the Little Italy farmer’s market, we headed there after we had our fill of free samples and shopping around.  We walked down along the harbor and took pictures of the views along the way.

After our eventful morning, we decided to keep exploring by taking a hike to  Balboa Park.  We showed Michelle all of favorite spots in the park, including our engagement spot – it was exactly two weeks since John had proposed! :)  While walking around the park, we worked up quite an appetite, and decided to bring Michelle to a true California staple for dinner – In ‘N Out.  It was just as delicious as always and Michelle enjoyed every bite of her first In ‘N Out Burger Animal Style!

We were pretty pooped after our busy day, so we took a little rest before getting ready to go out for Halloween.  Originally, we had been planning on attending Monster Bash with our friends Heather and John (the zombies in the picture to the right), but had an unfortunate discrepancy with our tickets, which prevented us from getting in. Instead of Monster Bash, though, John and I thought it’d be fun to show Michelle a really cool place downtown – a bar called Shout House – where aside from being able to drink, you are entertained by dueling pianos.

I thought Michelle would enjoy it because of her love for music, and she did!  It actually ended up working out that we didn’t get into Monster Bash, because I feel like we ended up having a better time at Shout House than we would have at the Bash.  Later on in the night, our friends Jed, Jamile, and Brian joined us at the Shout House.  It was fun for them to meet up with us because Michelle, Jed, and I all used to hang out back in the day (we were all in the same homeschooling group).  Although the bar was loud with dueling pianos, it was fun for Michelle and Jed to see each other and catch up a bit.

Sunday morning we slept in and woke up late morning for brunch at Hash House A Go Go. A bunch of people had told Michelle she absolutely had to check this place out, and John and I have heard nothing but good things about it, so we were pumped. After waiting for about an hour and fifteen minutes to be seated, we were finally brought to the table, had our orders taken, and ended up being served up the most heaping delicious display of food.  I enjoyed one of their versions of eggs benedict, while Michelle and John got different flavors of their hash. Everything was unbelievably good and the portions were ENORMOUS.  John and I are excited for Nikki and Ryan to visit us this upcoming weekend, as it might give us a second opportunity to enjoy a Hash House A Go Go brunch!

Once we had sufficientlystuffed ourselves with food, we headed over to the San Diego Zoo.  We spent several hours walking around the zoo, and it was great because it had been years since Michelle had been to a zoo! John and I love the San Diego Zoo, and became members right off the bat, so we’ve been 6 or 7 times already since the move! It’s great!  We followed up the zoo with some dinner at Hodad’s and ended the night with some pajamas and a movie.

Michelle was in San Diego for the majority of my birthday on Monday, which was fun even though I had to work.  Michelle kept herself busy for the day, but joined us at DT for one of our weekly team lunches.  It was fun to have her be able to join us for lunch – it made my birthday lunch that much more fun!  We kept our night chill, as we had an eventful weekend with Michelle, and drove her to the airport at around 8:00 pm.  Having Michelle in town for my birthday weekend was a blast!  I’m so happy she was able to make the visit, and we hope she comes back again soon!  Now John and I are getting ready for our guests that we’re having this upcoming weekend – our friends Ryan and Nikki are coming!  Two awesome back-to-back visits!  I can’t wait to share with you all the fun stuff we end up doing with them, stay tuned!

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