After several days camping and driving through Colorado and Utah's beautiful mountains and canyons, our time in Las Vegas was a definite change of pace and prepared us for a weekend in the City of Angels. Instead of being hurried and busy, though, we actually spent a great deal of time simply relaxing in a lovely apartment.
LA was sort of the crown jewel of our trip; when people asked where were traveling, we'd answer with shining faces: “Los Angeles!” And it was all because of a conversation one early summer evening less than a month ago.
Mike and I were on a walk, chatting about the rest of the summer and our tentative plans to go on a trip down to the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. We sat on a stone bench, and I said wistfully, “Some day, I'd like to go on a road trip to California and back.”
Mike paused. “It's funny how we limit ourselves,” he said, “because there's no reason we couldn't go to California right now.”
Ever the “No!” one in our marriage, I quickly countered that I had a job and he had classes. It was easier to come up with reasons why we couldn't go than why we could. After a bit more conversation, I excitedly agreed that we could go once our obligations were over.
And thus the planning began – a few short weeks before the trip.
I emailed my blogger friends in LA, absolutely on giddy that we could finally meet. Crystal generously offered her gorgeous apartment for our use as she would be gone (sadly!). When my grandma asked me where were staying in LA, I was certain not to mention anything like, “internet friend” or “never met her.” Seriously, though, how sweet is Crystal to trust someone she's never actually met to stay in her beautiful apartment? It was absolutely glorious to unwind for once on the road. No tent, no seedy motel, and wi-fi! What more could you want? (Oh, a freaking huge television? Check. She has it.)
We spent some time in Malibu Beach – trying a raw restaurant for the first time, checking out their awesome farmer's market, and staring at the ocean. (Mmm, ocean. I sure miss the days I lived in Hawaii.)
We checked out Beverly Hills, drove Sunset Avenue, and did the totally touristy Walk of Fame, Kodak Theater, and Chinese Theater. It was a bit overwhelming, so we opted for a quiet dinner at an adorable little restaurant...
Where we had a celebrity spotting. Yep. We were stuffing our faces with black bean nachos at A Votre Sante when I was a bit bothered by the PDA-crazy couple at the table next to us. I looked at them, slightly annoyed. I looked closer...is that?...and it was totally Oscar from The Office
Grinning, I mouthed my discovery to Mike. We both grinned like idiots throughout the rest of dinner, stealing furtive glances in his direction. The first thing I whispered to Mike was, “Well, I guess he's not gay for real!” Did I mention how giddy we were? He and his wife were adorable, they were cuddling and obviously enjoying their night out together. There was no way I was going to bother him. (Plus, I am a total chicken. Total.)
Despite our being very lame and not doing tons of cool stuff in LA, we managed to see a celebrity. And what's more, an actor from a show we totally love!
On Sunday, we spent nearly the entire day with a delightful group of girls (and Jonathon) from around LA and Cali. When I first met them, I wanted to yelp, “Finally!” I can't put into words how very, very wonderful it was. Conversation flowed easily, they were ridiculously sweet, and as Jimaie said, “I haven't stopped smiling; my face hurts!”
Saying goodbye to them was no fun, and even now as I remember, I'm smiling now as I recall the many hugs I gave each of them - in disbelief, in pure happiness, and in reluctance to let them leave. Any time you girls find yourself in the midwest, I'm driving to see you. And that's a promise. (You can also find yourself in Cleveland and I'll show you a good time.)
It was so wonderful to have Mike there with me – honestly, I wasn't sure if I'd rather have it just be girls – but it was nice to have him meet them and fall in love with them as well. (I believe his exact words were, “I feel like I'm a mom who just met her daughter's friends and is very, very happy with how sweet and kind they are.” Ha.)
Who knew that this whole blogging thing could bring you true, real friends? Friends who would drive across the state or find a substitute for work or come after a long day of work to say hello? I am blessed.
PS: I may have fallen in love with these while in LA, too:
Thanks for the recommendation, ladies. (Steph actually wrote down our entire order for us, so I could be sure to get yumminess my first time at In -n- Out.)