Thursday, July 30, 2015

Oh, hi

Aren't I supposed to be blogging all the time or something? :P Well, Bermuda was wonderful and it felt GREAT to unplug and regroup with my family.

Since I've been back...I hit the ground running...unpacking, grocery shopping, anticipation for two weeks of visitors that started 2 days after returning :) It's great to have people in town...especially family, but I've been busy!!

Fear not...some thrilling recaps are ahead in your future. For now, here's some Bermuda...because...Bermuda (GIANT HEART EMOJI).

Friday, July 10, 2015

Airport routines

I love traveling!! (Duh). I love airports...just not for any length of time. I like to roll up, breeze through security (was a lot faster with my gold status. SOB), fill up my water bottle, use the restroom, and hear the boarding call. Easy peasy. 

My husband, of course being full of anxiety in the few places that I am not, prefers to arrive FOUR hours early and hang around and drink Bloody Mary's. Four hours is torturous! 

If I do have any extra time, I peruse the books stores, walk around to keep my legs moving before the flight, or sit stretched out and people watch. Some of the BEST people watching can be done in airports. 

Being forever frugal, I always pack my own plane meals and snacks. The less smelly the better. ;) I bring an empty plastic water bottle to save on drinks. 

So many airports these days are incorporating water bottle filling stations. It's awesome. Unfortunately, I have yet to find these at LAX, so I'm stuck with the fountain water the tastes faintly of bleach. 

I'm headed home today to spend the night before I'm off to Bermuda tomorrow. I can't wait! I always love going to Bermuda, but am more excited this year than most. 

However, I regret to inform you that my flight is delayed. So I am on Preston Villers time and I am bored. :P I have looked at both bookstores, I've walked around, I've sat in positions impossible on a plane and people watched, I even ordered a TEN dollar egg sandwich, since I'm not sure my peanut butter one is going to hold me over for the next 9 hours till I land in DC. 

Oh wellllll. There are certainly worse things than being delayed on the way to paradise...since, you know...I'll get there eventually, which is better than not at all.  Did I just write a metaphor for life's frustrating situations? ;) Happy Friday! 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Following the Crowd

Everyone in blogland is talking about their 4th of July festivities, so I figured I should do the same...since I'm trying to blog more and all. ;)

Our 4th of July wasn't toooo exciting. We bummed around in the morning. Preston walked down to the beach to surf instead of heading down to Venice to his usual spot. Traffic and parking was just TOO insane. 

I made pasta salad, which is something I've been making since high school! I also made Rice Krispie treats, which...omg. I've not had in a while and SO good!! 

We gathered up the goodies, and some cocktails to go, and took off on our bikes towards Marina Del Rey for a pool party at my friend Meredith's. 

V. festive

It was really cool to be able to bike to Meredith's annual pool party, since in years was a nightmare to drive from Long Beach. :P

Marina del Rey is only about 4.5 miles south of where we are, so the bike ride is pretty easy. Luckily, just down the hill from us is the beach and the beach has a great bike path along the sand that runs for miles in both directions. It's usually bustling with people and it was a total madhouse on the 4th. The bike path ends right before the Marina, so you have to take to the alleyways to complete the journey.

It was so fun and festive! Pres and I took our time weaving in and out of all the people. I can't deny that it's hard not to yell at all the walkers lolly-gagging in the bike path. :P

Meredith lives in a great complex with a community pool. It was really crowded with tons of revelers, but Meredith had secured an area with lots of snacks and drinks. 

It was a great afternoon. 


Around 5, the usual clouds came rolling in and it got really chilly. Luckily, I had the foresight to bring a change of clothes, because I would have been FREEZING on the bike ride home.

Even though, Meredith's hot tub is a GREAT place to view the fireworks, Preston and I headed back to Santa Monica before dark. For one, we don't have lights on our bikes (those were stolen when our old bikes were stolen. Grr.) and for two, the Venice alleyways are sketchy during the going in the dark miiiggghhttt have been a little scary...even with my big, strong husband. ;) 

Before the camera got put away for the jaunt through seedy Venice :P

It was so funny biking back. There were TONS of people out and about and it was just absolute debauchery. Everyone was REALLY drunk. I almost got run over by 2 different skate boarders. I wish I had some pictures, but I had my phone safely secured in my bag so it wouldn't be stolen. Never know...

Right at sunset, we headed out of the alleyways and back out on the beach path again and the view was incredible. It was that magical hour right at dusk and it was just beautiful. 

My phone didn't quite capture the distant mountains

We passed a cute little kid biking alongside his skate boarding parents. It was soooo California. The kid's bike was covered with lights and he was yelling 'woooo wooo' as he pretended to be a police cruiser! 

There were tons of cops around and it got me thinking about all this talk about white privilege...because the police presence made me feel safe. And that's how it should be and it's really sad that it is not that way for everyone in every town. 

We missed the fireworks, since it was still about 20 minutes to start time when we were nearing our house and we were both ready to tuck in. 

We are super old and super into "Orange is the New Black" and it just couldn't wait. ;)

I hope everyone had a great holiday! Happy Birthday that I love!! 

Friday, July 3, 2015

In the Twilight Zone

So, I grew up on the East coast and moved to California seven years ago. Of course, there are LOTS of things that are different between Maryland and California. 

For one, the people in Maryland are just a lot nicer. On one of my first trips back home, this girl held open the bathroom door for me and smiled. I didn't even realize the absence of that sort of thing in California until that moment. That's not to say that NO ONE in California is nice. There are  PLENTY of super nice people...but in general, the stereotypes of people being more self absorbed in L.A. seem spot on to me. And I clarify with L.A., because California is a BIG state. 

For two, I'm preeetty sure that no one in California learned that the left lane is meant for passing. I've asked around about this being taught in Driver's Ed here, but I mostly get blank stares. I'm not sure they even go to Driver's Ed. ;) It would actually explain A LOT. I think they just hand out BMWs and say "go at it" before releasing total driving novices onto 8 lane freeways. I think they all need a semester in Germany to find out how it's really done. Or maybe they just. don't. care. See point 1. "la la la. I'm the ONLY person on the road! Oh, happy day!"

For three, the weather. Duh. :P The weather and the beach is what drew me to L.A. (and if we're being perfectly honest here...I'd have to say probabbbbblllyyy also the Sweet Valley High books. Thanks Holly and Amy! :D). Maryland has the classic 4 seasons. L.A. has seasons of its own, but they are not classic. It's more like: sort of rainy-ish (tho it rarely actually rains) and foggy, hot and dry, cool and gray, sunny and warm in the sun, sunny and cool. These 'seasons' sort of cycle all throughout the year. But, in general...May/June are gray and cold. They call it 'May Gray' and 'June Gloom'. Sometimes it can be very warm randomly in January. Sometimes it can be cool. I haven't found any real consistency other than TYPICALLY--it's somewhere around 70 degrees and mostly sunny here. ALL. THE. TIME. Can't complain :) Tho I would say that the season I miss most is SUMMER. There's no REAL summer here. It's almost always cool at night. And I'm a freak that likes humidity, which is non-existent here. The season I miss second is Fall. Ahhh, Fall. It's so wonderful with its cool nights, and changing leaves, and warm sweaters, and crackling fires outside. I do NOT miss Winter or even Spring. Boo. Whatever. No one needs you. Although, I suppose L.A. is in eternal spring. Somehow, it's just less cold here for that.  My favorite season in L.A. is winter. Go figure. It rains more and it's not too cold and it's lovely.

I just wrote an entire paragraph about the weather. Slow blog day much? 

The point of this post, really, is to point out a VERY weird phenomenon that I've found here in California. I got to thinking about it doing a little 4th of July shopping. 

Some of the foods that I grew up with on the East coast have TOTALLY different names here. Huh?? It's SO weird. EVERYTHING is the same except for the name. 

Exhibit 1:

This is what I grew up with. 'Bring out the Hellmans and brinnng out the beesssstt!!'

What the heck is this impostor?! 'Bring out the Best Foods and bring out the beessst!!' What?! WHY?!

Exhibit 2:

Ok. In Maryland, we have this. Everyone feels comfortable.
What?! What is this? Who is Dreyers?? 
Dreyers just makes me confused about Breyers. Are they related? Do they have Breyers here? Did the Dreyers kill the Breyers in a feud type situation?

Where am I?!

'There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.'

Doooo dooo dooo doooooooooooooooooooo. 

See ya on the flip side! Happy 4th. :) 

Thursday, July 2, 2015


This past Saturday I met Erica and her mom at Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes. Truthfully, I didn't even know that Terranea existed until recently.

Palos Verdes is just northwest of Long Beach and is a little bump off into the ocean. It's sort of its own little world, because you really wouldn't go there unless you had a reason to since it's off the main thoroughfares of Los Angeles. 

The drive through PV is beautiful and offers stunning views of the ocean and Catalina Island. If you're ever in LA it's definitely worth the detour.

Erica grew up in PV, so she knows all the ins and outs. Apparently, the grounds on which Terranea sit used to be a beloved marine park...sort of like SeaWorld, but maybe with less evils? Years and years ago this park was sold to the evil villian Sea World who came in the night with no warning and transported the animals to San Diego. A few of them died on the trip. :( The residents of PV were devastated to lose these marine friends that they considered their own.

Anyway, after that...Terranea moved in. The resort had some trouble at first, but seems to be doing just great now. 

I met Erica and her mom Trisha for lunch at Nelsons. I had a chicken sandwich on foccacia and it was delectable! We also sipped the house white wine, which was quite tasty too!

After lunch, we wandered a bit up and through the main building of the hotel. It's all very grand and beautiful. There are dozens of vistas from which to look out over the ocean. It was a overcast day, but this did nothing to deter from the beauty of the scenery. I only wish I had the money to rent one of the bungalows or villas for the weekend. Incredible. 

Near the entrance to the hotel, we grabbed some lattes and a peanut butter cookie, which was...omg. My Terranea latte was also unique and delicious. 

We sat for a long time chatting and watching dozens of people arrive to the hotel. Many of the visitors were dressed for fancy weddings and it was neat to see all the dresses. 

We meandered back towards the ocean side to see some views, but the chilly winds sent us into the lobby, where we decided on some more cocktails just in time for cocktail hour. 

Blurry pic of cool chandelier

Erica and I each got a champagne cocktail and Trisha had wine. Yummy. There were giant fire places with crackling fires and it was all so cozy. 

A jazz band started playing and we decided to order a light dinner to round out our day. We settled on a charcuterie plate with cheeses. Charcuterie is a word I did not know, so color me uncultured. :P It's a collection of cold meats for any other riff raff out there. ;) 

The aftermath

All was, again, delicious and we had a lovely time listening to the band and enjoying the ambiance. Women in fancy dressed continued to walk through the lobby. I felt like a member of the upper crust. ;)

Finally, we decided we were spent from 'resorting all day' and decided to head home for bed. 

Did I mention the sunset was awesome?

It was such a fun and unexpected adventure. I felt like we were on vacation in what is (almost) our own back yards. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Living the Free Life

Last night Meredith and I headed to downtown L.A. (or was it Cerritos? #insidejoke) for a free comedy show at Club Nokia. Mer is on some sort of list where she gets free tickets for shows if they don't sell out. Sweet!!

Having learned my lesson before, we did NOT park at L.A. Live for >$30 (are they serious?!) and instead parked in one of those lots nearby...for $6. Thrifty geniuses, we are. 

Walking up to Nokia, we passed a tasty looking food truck and decided to grab a bite before the show.

We each ordered burgers and something called Wachos...which were advertised as waffle nachos, but the ones we got were really just cheesy fries. #notcomplaining. 

The food was really good and we enjoyed a hearty and heart attack risky feast on a small wall behind the food truck overlooking an abandoned lot. We classy.

I still marvel at HOW MUCH Downtown L.A. has changed in the last 7 years. When I first moved out here...I lived downtown (long story) and there was NOTHING there. Ok, there was very little there. None of this L.A. Live stuff was there except the Nokia Theater and Staples Center. There were not tons of fun and cool restaurants, bars, or lofts. The place was like a ghost town after 5pm when all the office buildings closed. I kept expecting to see tumbleweeds rolling down the streets. It was the weirdest city I'd ever seen. I had two choices for dining...some chicken restaurant and California Pizza Kitchen. I got pretty sick of both. 

Back then people were saying, "Buy now in Downtown. It's going to blow up." and I wanted to! I did! But I do not have a million dollars. :( It's like now in Santa Monica. "Buy now in Santa Monica Downtown. The train is coming. It's going to blow up." But I do not have TEN million dollars. :( Darn it!! I could be tripling my money if I was already rich. It's not fairrrrrrr!! I'm always sitting broke on a real estate gold mine. Curses!! 

ANYWAY. There's a definite trend in my blog of going off on crazy tangents. :P

We walked from our delicious burgers and cheesy waffle fries over to the theater...which was closed. It was also now the 'Microsoft Theater' and not the 'Nokia Theater'. Luckily some random guy called out to us and directed us to the right spot. Thank you random comedy guardian angel. 

Not where we were supposed to be :P
The club let everyone in pretty quickly. Meredith and I were able to snag some comfy seats near the back! Excellent. Then we waited...for like an hour and a half. Boo. There was a DJ though and the music was pretty good. Meredith got us some drinks and we sipped on those and talked a bit. 

Finally the comedians came on. The host was someone we had seen at ANOTHER comedy club for Meredith's Birthday in January. Weird coincidence. I feel like L.A. is big enough for this not to be happening. :P 

I can't remember his name, but we'd heard most of his jokes already. My favorite is that when ordering stuff online how ridiculous it is that Afghanistan is first amongst the list of countries from which to choose as your country of origin and then we have to scroll wayyyy down for United States. Haha. He said America should always be first since we are the Capitalists. We have to be buying the most online. Lol. 

Retelling jokes is never funny. I'm sorry.

The next person to come out was Kelly Landry. I'm sorry to diss on her since we are in the Kelly club...but I didn't find her funny at all. I never even cracked a smile. The next comedian was Brian Monarch. Also not very funny and kind of gross. His jokes made me feel uncomfortable because a pre-teen in the audience had gotten his attention before the show for a photo together...and his jokes were NOT pre-teen approved. At least not by me. Eek. 

Then this guy Theo Von came out. He had a great Louisiana accent and was apparently on Road Rules. He was super funny and somehow did this whole molester bit that was hysterical and I felt bad laughing. There was also a great story about meeting Brad Pitt. 

The headliner was Bill Burr. He was ok. There was definitely more energy in his stand up and he discussed a lot of current topics. I didn't find his wage gap stuff all that funny. He went on and on about how men SHOULD be paid more because they pay for more in relationships. Hahahahahahahahahah. Now THAT'S funny. Maybe in the beginning, but even then...I pull my own weight. If you buy dinner...I at least buy coffee or something. #Equality. #IneverusehashtagsexcepthereandonlybecauseIfinditfunny

I can buy my own dinner thank you very much. Now please pay me what that guy doing nothing is getting.

One thing he did say was that it's all women's fault, because we are banded together AGAINST men, but not WITH each other. I know he was 'joking', but I couldn't agree more. My favorite thing he said was that as women...we should be randomly high fiving other women and telling them that they are crushing it. Haha. That would make my day.

Crushing it
The last comedian was Hannibal Buress. He was ok. We ended up leaving halfway through his set, because we are old and it was late.

The moon was beautiful as we were leaving downtown, but I was sorry to have missed the peak of Jupiter and Venus coming together. They were sort of dim by midnight. Womp wa.

Happy Hump Day. :D