« Ten on Tuesday: Let's Do It Again | Main | Thirty-one more of #100happydays »

30 July 2014

La, la, L.A.

(A picture-heavy post. Just so ya know.)

I winged my way to Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago, invited by my sister Ann to be her guest at a wedding. We both had enough frequent flyer miles for the trip but, alas, on different airlines. Thankfully, we were able to depart/arrive to/from the same airports with no more than an hour difference and only a terminal/gate away, as the case may be! (I love GRB & ATW, my small city airports!!)

THURSDAY - ARRIVAL

20140717_201405

The flights both there and back were incredibly beautiful. We arrived in L.A. on Thursday evening, found each other, took the shuttle to Avis, waited in a very long line (that, thankfully, moved right along for the most part), and rented a car -- a red Mustang convertible! It's California!!

20140720_110743

We put the top down and drove to the Wilshire Motel, where we were booked for our first two of five nights. What a great little place -- cute, clean, good location, and very reasonably priced! The only improvement I'd make would be in decor; absolutely adorable on the outside and almost untouched structurally/architecturally on the inside, some vintage-y colors and furnishings would knock it out of the park. Our hosts were fantastic. I would stay here again in a heartbeat (with or without improvements in decor!). (I'm available for consult!)

FRIDAY - SANTA MONICA & HOLLYWOOD

20140718_083901

Santa Monica Beach was just a few mile straight down Wilshire Boulevard. We easily found a place to park in the morning (watch for cyclists!) and it was a nice walk, either by sidewalk or sand (we chose sand), to the Santa Monica Pier.

20140718_083215
20140718_083215
20140718_083215

The park was closed 'til mid-afternoon for a private party on Friday, which was absolutely fine because we'd already planned on our "real" visit for nighttime. Bright lights!

HELLO TO HOLLYWOOD

20140718_110351
20140718_110351

We got our tourist on and went up to Hollywood Boulevard to walk amongst the stars. My main mission there was to find (Sid Grauman's) (Mann's) TCL Chinese Theatre... it will always be Grauman's to me. We weren't disappointed!

20140718_115103
20140718_115103

A portrait of Eminem at Sweet! made of... M&Ms!

20140718_115103

We did some shopping (souvenirs and candy, along with some window- w/selfies in the mirror) (I believe I am now the shortest person in the family!), took pictures with wax figures and sidewalk stars.

On the recommendation of the guy at the flip-flop store (!), we had lunch at the Pig 'n Whistle. He did not steer us wrong! Annie had the most amazing Roasted Brussel Sprout Salad, and mine was Roasted Beet (how could I not?). We had dessert at the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain... and, OMG, that was almost too much! Good thing we were on vacation.

We drove over to The Huntington Library, but it was not long before closing and not quite worth the full price of admission, so we spent some time -- some very good and productive time -- in the gift shop. Fabulous gift shop at The Huntington, in case anyone needs to know. I left a lot behind.

We stopped at Whole Foods on the way back and bought more beet salad, some crackers, goat cheese, local beer, and ate a wonderful little dinner in our cute little kitchen on Wilshire, and then...

10407278_10203680531189770_8420794840934241053_n
10407278_10203680531189770_8420794840934241053_n

We made our way back to the Santa Monica Pier to ride the ferris wheel and rollercoaster. It was a beautiful evening, and a lovely end to our first day in L.A.

SATURDAY - WEDDING DAY!

The wedding was on the beach at Oxnard, so we checked out of the Wilshire Motel and drove up through Malibu on the Pacific Coast Highway.

20140719_121207
20140719_121207
20140719_121207
20140719_121207

We didn't stop in Malibu, but we did find ourselves at the gate to The Getty Villa! I apologized, intending to turn around, as I was aware that (free) tickets were required and we didn't have them -- not really planning that stop -- but the gateman gave us a couple and we parked our steed. We took a small guided tour -- loved our wonderful young docent -- to learn about some highlights of the collection, and then wandered the grounds a bit on our own, had a little lunch. There was an art class happening, so busy people were sprinkled throughout. It was all rather unexpected and fun to come upon them here or there, one or two or three; quite lovely. I'm so happy we accidentally stopped there.

We arrived in Oxnard prior to normal check-in time, but I'd called the day before and while not guarantted, the wonderful folks at Hampton Inn Channel Islands Harbor had our room ready early... thankfully! We had just enough time to freshen up and get dressed, before heading to the beach for the most wonderful wedding!

20140719_154008
20140719_154008

SO WONDERFUL! Reunited after 40+ years (they'd dated in high school), the couple incorporated so many things about the people and places that are most important to them. One of the (many) things I loved best was the sand... it was "supposed to be" mixed together -- sand from Portugal, Yosemite, Brasil and Hawaii, all special to this couple in some way -- but they layered it, beautifully, and then each scooped some sand at their feet and poured that on top... because Mandalay Beach at Oxnard, CA, is now quite special, too!

20140719_154008

20140719_195653

The reception was held at Moqueca Brazilian Cuisine. Oh my. Nearly everyone who works there is from Brazil! The food was fantastic, the caipirinha flowing. We danced all night...

SUNDAY - BEACH BBQ

20140720_112404
20140720_112404
20140720_112404
20140720_112404
20140720_112404
20140720_112404

There was a beach barbecue on Sunday and all I kept thinking was that we were those people -- the people at the beach having a party and a cookout and agreat time that you always wished was you!

That was us! There was swimming, body-surfing and boogie-boarding; music and singing and juggling; food and drink and laughter; birthday massages on the beach!!

That was us! We were those people! It was so fun.

20140720_191340

Never far from our minds was our family, in particular those we've lost and the one that should have been with us. We had some signs -- the guy in his own red convertible who drove up behind us at a stoplight, Andrea Bocelli blaring (Hi Mom!), the street performer singing Tracy Chapman's Fast Car on Hollywood Boulevard (Hi Sharon!).

When we saw the Kombucha DEPARTMENT in the refrigerator case at Ralph's on Sunday, we absolutely thought of our sister Karen. We even took a photo and sent it to her, fermenting fiend that she is, at the moment. Karen shared the photo on FB and wrote, "My sisters are making me jealous! They are like the wicked stepsisters sometimes! Ha, ha!"

And I'm pretty sure she won't miss the next outing with her sisters! (She had a good reason.)

We brought home some more groceries to "eat in" on at our hotel on Sunday while we watched American Hustle in preparation for Monday.

20140721_062827

The view of the harbor from our balcony on Monday morning... "paradise" comes to mind.

MONDAY - CRAIG FERGUSON DAY!

20140721_102824

But first, La Brea Tar Pits! We didn't have time to visit the Page Museum, but we did have time to visit the gift shop... we had a good time in gift shops on this trip!

Then there was a long period of standing in line in the hot, hot sun. Then sitting around in the shade. Then walking up a bunch of stairs to wait in line again, and finally into the studio. Without cell phones, as they warned us that they wouldn't be allowed and we'd have to check & then claim them, so we actually talked with our neighbors in line and it was GREAT! There were actually two shows taped that day, both Monday's and Friday's, because Craig was going to be at Comic Con in San Diego on Friday. The big name stars were were Octavia Spencer and Bradley Cooper (hence, American Hustle the night before) (were were unaware of the second show, or we might have also watched The Help!). I'm looking forward to Get On Up.

20140721_184059

20140721_191121
After the show, we went over to The Grove and had dinner at The Whisper Restaurant & Lounge. It just happened to be "seafood month" and the featured dish that week was half of a grilled lobster with a Blackstrap cocktail and dessert (grilled figs on honey mascarpone)... so good.

20140721_200212
20140721_200212
20140721_200212

Have I mentioned how much fun I had planning this trip? Annie said "let's go to L.A." and I pretty much took it from there. I love planning trips like this! The Farmer's Daughter Hotel kept showing up on my radar and finally I clicked and booked us for Monday night -- it was exactly where we needed to be! Annie was pretty happy with all of my suggestions and choices until this one, which we happened to pass a few times on Monday morning -- there were just a couple of things that made her question my choice (something about window treatments) -- but it turned out to be a STELLAR choice. Not only were they having a whiskey tasting happy hour when we checked in, our room was absolutely adorable (yay decor!), and the staff was amazing. Walking distance to CBS, Farmer's Market, and The Grove... it was perfect.

TUESDAY - DEPARTURE

20140722_100234

I opted to include breakfast at Tart in our hotel package, and that was magnificent. That's my crab cakes benedict, Ann had corned beef hash -- both excellent.

20140722_100234

We made our way to the aiport to return our car and make our way to the terminal. It could not have been a better trip, and I like L.A. so much more than I ever thought I would! I can't wait to plan our next get-away! Heh.

BRINGING IT HOME

20140723_171340

Did you know that L.A. has an average of 329 Days of Sun each year? It says so right there on a can of lager than I brought home in my suitcase. Cheers!  :)

 

Comments

That was epic! Thanks for sharing your good times.

wow! looks amazing! you did a wonderful job with the planning to see (and eat!) all that in just a long weekend.

Holy COW! You had the best trip ever! You truly are a trip planner and if I ever go anywhere (haha), I'm calling you. Your hotel and food choices look magnificent and that you got a red Mustang says it all. You know how to have a grand time.

What a fantastic trip! And you really captured it perfectly in your photos and descriptions. I'm having YOU plan my next big trip!

Wow, you really perfectly planned and beautifully documented this! I love how you managed to include all the good things in one big trip. Enjoy your 329!

Wow, what a trip! There is nothing quite like a California wedding. And remind me to have you plan a trip for me :-)

That was such a satisfying travelogue to see and read- you planned a great trip! Love the part about being Those People on the beach. Thanks!

You are THE Trip Planner. Everything looks wonderful from the beaches to the... well, I lingered a bit long on the photo of the crab cakes Benedict, mentally making it in my head!
329 days of sunshine - I feel a little gypped!

So glad you had such a great time in LA (and Oxnard). I enjoyed seeing your photos and also the places you ended up choosing to visit. I think you made some of the best selections. Visiting an area like LA can be overwhelming because there are so many diverse choices. When you live in SoCal you tend to stay in your little territory as the traffic and parking can be awful.

Wow! What a PERFECT getaway! Love the way all of it fit together -- but I think the red Mustang convertible was THE BEST THING. Thanks for this wonderful post. I feel like I was along for the fun, too!

Looks like an awesome trip!

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

My Other Accounts

Facebook Flickr Google Plus Instagram Follow Me on Pinterest Rav_link
free short rows knitting class at craftsy.com
Online Knitting Class
Blog powered by TypePad
Member since 03/2004
Victoria Mothes (knitorious) participates in affiliate advertising programs. Some of the links herein are designed to provide a means to earn a small percentage in advertising fees.