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California Dreamin’

What could be better than leaving the cold weather in Dallas? Leaving it for the sunshine of southern California! My flag football team’s holiday party was this past weekend in Santa Monica, CA. I was fortunate enough to get to attend and take part in the festivities. It even got up to 75 degrees on Saturday! I’ve been to LA before, but that was 12 years ago (yikes, that makes me feel old). I arrived out there Thursday afternoon. After checking in and going for a walk around the beach, I met up with teammates for happy hour and dinner at a little Irish Pub. After some late-night poolside shenanigans Thursday night, I went for a run along the beach early Friday morning. It was foggy! I’ve never seen such thick, heavy fog light that before.  It only got up to 60, or 65, on Friday. But with the breeze it definitely felt cooler. After a walk around Santa Monica Pier and Muscle Beach, I was definitely cold in a short sleeve shirt!

Two very fun things then happened, I met stand-up comedian Joe Praino (also known as @FixYourLife on Twitter) and had my first In-and-Out Burger experience! I had my burger “animal style”, which means it’s fried in mustard. Heads up though, it does come with sauteed onions on it. I’ll definitely get mine without that in the future because the rest of the burger was delicious! The real test was the fries, and I have to say, they were fantastic and passed my strict standards. After happy hour and dinner, the day caught up with me and I fell asleep pretty early that night.

On Saturday, Joe Praino gave a wonderful tour of Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Brentwood, Englewood, and the like. We went to Graumann’s Chinese Theater, drove through Hollywood and the Hollywood Hills, saw the infamous OJ murder scene house, and of course got up close and personal with the Hollywood sign itself!  We also drove the entire length of Mulholland Drive, which was absolutely amazing. Dallas is flat and structurally pretty boring, but the rolling hills and the desert-meets-beach-meets-oasis style of that part of Southern California was just beautiful. Lunch at Mel’s Drive In was also amazing. Maybe it was because I was hungry, but that BLT and curly fries absolutely hit the spot!

The party itself was fun also. I’d found a wonderful navy blue cocktail dress that I looked great in (and as any girl will tell you, a killer dress can absolutely make the night!) David karaoked to Neil Diamond, Ben got up and performed what he’d been practicing for the occasion, and the rest of us danced! There was lots of dancing! Sunday morning came quickly and we were whisked back to the airport and several hours later were back in Dallas. All in all it was a fun weekend. For one, I thoroughly enjoyed eating french fries each day! But I also got to know several people I didn’t know that well before, I got to get out of the city for a long weekend, and I got to hang out with some amazing friends.

I don’t get to travel nearly as much as I’d like, so it was interesting to see how it all is starting to effect me in my ripe “old age”. For one, I never felt like I adjusted to California time! I woke up each morning no later than 6:00am (in all fairness that would be 8:00 in Dallas). I was on vacation and hoping to really sleep in! But nope, I’d wake up and be wide awake for an hour or so before anyone else. I also noticed just how different things are out there versus here at home. For one, LA is disgusting! I was never downtown in the city of LA, but from Mulholland Drive could see the brownish haze that envelopes the city. It’s beyond gross and makes me so thankful my home city isn’t like that. Breathing that in and out every day cannot be healthy!

Like every trip, I’m glad I went, I’m glad I got to experience something different, but I’m always happy when I get back home.

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