vacations days

It’s been a busy few weeks with family visiting, and this girl is happy but tired! First up, was my cousin Carolyn’s Bachelorette Weekend. Dinner, karaoke, and fun times ensued!

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I am fairly certain that had American Idol not been cancelled last year, I would have won this past season. And there’s no way to prove otherwise.

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This also meant that my mom was here!!!!!

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We broke off from the group and had ourselves an extended vacation that meant two days at Disneyland, which we took by storm. No one was safe as we navigated our way through crowds, utilized our Fast Passes to the best of our abilities, and had a blast. Even in the rain, stuck on a giant ferris wheel that swung side-to-side.

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The next day was spent on the beach- Venice, Santa Monica, and Malibu.

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We caught the sunset.

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It was not easy saying goodbye (until April!), but things were made slightly easier by the arrival of my brother Jimmy and his girlfriend Cait!

Our first stop was the WB Tour, one of my favorite tourist attractions. Jimmy realized his life long dream to drive a bat-vehicle.

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And we chatted on the Friends couch. I don’t know why my go-to move was to lean backwards, but I think it works for the scene.

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The next day included a long, difficult, and sweaty hike to the top of the Hollywood Sign. I understand it’s rude to complain about the heat to my East Coast readers, but it was hot! And we all got sunburned. Whoops.

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We took a paddle boat out on Echo Park, which was not my favorite activity once I was stewing out in the sun. If you look closely enough, you can spot the sweat behind my glasses.

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They were amazed by the views at Griffith Observatory, another one of my favorite places.

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I had to take this picture and post on social media- the day back home was hit by a bunch of snow and I was being a beach bum.

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The snow actually postponed their flight home and extended their vacation. While I headed back to work, they enjoyed a few days of explorations on their own.

It was so nice to see everyone and to act like a tourist again in my new city. Before I knew it, six months has passed! Six months, crazy!

Part Five: I Think I Look Really Cool in a Backwards Hat

I love love love the sun and yesterday I spent the day at the beach, including starting my morning off with some Yoga by the water. It was harder than I imagined and I almost fell over a bunch of times, but I’m glad I went. A good rainstorm once in awhile can have the same effect, which has been especially beneficial to my garden today. When I first started typing this up, I was sipping on a cup of coffee and listening to the rain and all feels well. I had to run off to work so I am now finishing several hours later and getting ready to head out for a kickboxing class.

Now onto part five. These recaps are flying by as fast as the trip itself!

Our fifth day was a touristy one. We bought tickets to the Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour that I’ve done in a few places, as well as a few times in LA, including New York, London, and Oxford. It’s a great way to see cities, to get around, and to distinguish what you want to do more of and what you’re fine with just passing by.

It was about 95 and the sun was blaring, but thanks to no humidity and the cool breeze, we had no trouble sitting on the top deck. This time, we knew to slather on the sunblock and I wore my new hat to protect my scalp.

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I didn’t take a ton of pictures because I was nervous the bus would lurch and I would drop my phone, but I can walk you through the tour. We started in Hollywood, once again bypassing other tourists stopping to take pictures of the stars every few seconds until we could get onto the bus. The ride took us to Sunset Boulevard, Melrose Ave, Beverly Hills, and The Grove, where we got off for lunch.

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We walked around the Farmer’s Market then all the stores at The Grove while we waited to get a little hungrier and decide what we wanted to eat. It was a sandwich kind of day, so I went with a ham and cheese with lettuce, tomato, and mustard on a croissant. It was quite tasty and after finishing with a scoop of sweetness from an ice cream shoppe, we headed out to meet our bus.

The entire ride of this particular section was two hours long, so we stayed on, taking in the views and the clear, picture-perfect day until we made it to Beverly Hills again. Here, we hopped off and hopped onto another bus that would take us through Santa Monica, Brentwood, and Westwood.

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There is no live tour guide, but you can opt to listen to a pre-recorded taping that offers quite a lot of information. It’s particularly nice to take tours like this in big cities where walking everywhere is not particularly easy because you can see a lot more than you would otherwise. It was amazing to stop in front of the beach again and take in the view, though it made me want to run down and dive into the water.

Once we made it to Westwood, we jumped off in order to make a stop at a place called Diddy Riese where they sell delicious cookies and ice cream on the cheap. I mentioned that we indulged our sweet teeth quite a lot on this trip and didn’t hesitate to navigate our way to the store. It was so good!

We didn’t have much time to explore the area though it seemed like a nice, fun college town reminiscent of Boston because we had to catch the last bus to Beverly Hills! As we pulled into Beverly Hills and were stopped at a traffic light, Molly spotted Kerry Washington. Neither of us watch Scandal but she’s recognizable enough for us to brag about it and get street cred for the sighting. Just as we were about to wave, she turned around, but it’s probably for the best not to look like crazed tourists.

Back in Beverly Hills and waiting to get onto our bus back to Hollywood, we spotted a helicopter flying above us, which led us to think something crazy cool was happening, but nothing ever came to fruition.

It was cool to be driving through the area as it darkened until I got hit in the eye by a tree branch and I decided to wear my sunglasses for protection. It was actually funnier than it sounds though it could have done some damage.

Deciding to get a bite to eat for dinner before heading back to our hotel, Molly and I stopped into Mel’s Drive-In for a little Breakfast for Dinner. I chose French toast and Molly had pancakes that were pretty good.

Another fun day was had!

To end, I would just like to pay tribute to Robin Williams who passed away a year ago today. I remember exactly where I was when I found out, on vacation with my family in New Hampshire, and that sadness and shock lingers.

Forgive people their humanness, you never know the pain that is in their hearts, even when their smile is so bright.

Part Two: Roaming Beverly Hills

This post is a little delayed because I had to work early this morning. All was fine until I dropped a lime into my coffee instead of my tea, but I prevailed and drank it anyways. Let’s get fancy.

Beverly Hills is swank and I’ve decided that one day, I will live there. It’s just a fact.

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There are very fancy people mixed in with not so fancy tourists and very expensive stores that said not so fancy tourists look into with longing. Molly and I were of these not so fancy people who wanted to be fancy, but not looking with longing, so we just strolled on down the street as though we owned the place. Which one day, I will.

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This is also where we were on alert, ready for a celebrity sighting. Many celebrities may have walked by without us even noticing, but we’d like to think that we have keen eyes. We did not in fact have any of these celebrity sightings on this particular day.IMG_3464

After wandering around, and stopping in Starbucks for a drink and bathroom break, we found ourselves in front of The Paley Center, which houses hundreds of thousands of tv shows.They just so happened to have an exhibit on type writers and to offer free admission, so we decided to stop in for a visit.

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Before we found the typewriter display, we wandered into an auditorium that many television stars and writers have once stood to speak on their topic, so I couldn’t resist heading to the podium for a photo opportunity. This is me dreaming, one day.

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The typewriter exhibit was interesting and it was fun to see things that Julie Freaking Angel Goddess Baby Andrews and John Lennon have once used to type incredible things. We were not allowed to touch them however, so I could not mix my prints with Dame Julie.

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After a visit to the museum, we wandered over to a park that a bunch of tourists happened to be snapping pictures of a sign, so we did too but from a respectable distance. It was nice to sit off to the side in the shade as we planned our next adventure.

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One thing the West Coast has that the East Coast definitely envies are In-N-Outs. I’m not much for fast food and though I enjoyed the meal, it wasn’t anything I found to be ultra satisfying, however, the food tasted fresher than usual fast food offerings.

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The other factor that may have made this meal a little lackluster was the wait. When we arrived, lunch was heading into dinner and we didn’t expect there to be such crowd! We were wrong. After ordering, we waited at least 45 minutes for the food and had to share a table with a kind gentleman. It was seriously super crowded in that restaurant and I was having none of it.

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We headed back into Hollywood to see more stars and make our way towards our hotel. I couldn’t resist stopping to take a picture with the Backstreet Boys star to send to my sister. She still hasn’t replied to my message, in which I say, You’re Welcome, Lauren.

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Back at the hotel, we relaxed for a little while by the pool before getting ready for a night out at The Grove. First things first, I showed Molly the view from the upper deck of the Barnes and Noble. The sun was starting to set and it was beautiful, but most importantly, it was above the crowd.

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We were supposed to meet my friend Brad for dinner, but he got sick and couldn’t join us. Instead, his roommate Jourdan met us for some drinks and appetizers. It was nice to catch up and sit outside next to a spectacular fountain. It even got a little chilly, but nothing too uncomfortable.

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It was an excellent day two to spend in LA!