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When my husband, Jamison, and I finally landed on a wedding date of 08.10.08, we had to get the green light from my maid of honor, Jo’ie. Jo’ie and I have been friends for 12 years now, and for nearly every single one of those years we have done something special for her birthday—even when special was the Oreo Cookie Madness at T.G.I. Friday’s. It’s like the one holiday where are all guaranteed to get together. It may be Thanksgiving for most, but for us it has always been August 9th.
We began planning our joint “Jo’ie’s 30th Birthday/Michelle and Jamison’s 1st Year Anniversary” trip early this year. Jo’ie, Jamison, Roxann, and I finally landed on our destination: Los Cabos, Mexico. Jo’ie is from So Cal but had never been to Mexico; I’ve traveled in Latin America but not to Mexico; Rox loves Mexico from a previous trip to Monterrey; and hell, we all wanted relaxation and cocktailery on a beautiful beach.
The travel gods were not on our side. First there were drug wars in Mexico. Then they were kidnapping people. Then there was swine flu, oh excuse me – H1N1. So, we all had to agree to throw in the towel on the Mexico trip. L We agreed on a great alternative: Southern California—L.A. and San Diego. I was thrilled! What a great idea! I have never visited either city and wanted to validate the possibility that I may be a So Cal girl at heart.
So, what did I love about So Cal?
1. Coronado Island: You cross this amazing bridge to get to great beaches (with free parking – how democratic), beautiful homes, amazing hospitality from Jo’ie’s mentor, and delicious dinner at Il Fornaio. And I mean, come on – this is clearly where the Top Gun professor lived = THROWBACK!
2. Build Your Own Burger at The Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood: This was our lunch on Day 1 in L.A. and honestly – it is the BEST burger I’ve EVER had (and I’m from Nebraska, so that means a lot coming from a Cornhusker.)
3. The Ivy Restaurant: I was prepared for this to totally not be worth the $29 cost of just about any entrée because it was SOOOOO trendy. We went there for a late lunch and I was BLOWN AWAY by the tasty food. We really enjoyed the Fish N’ Chips (not just fish and fries but a GINORMOUS platter of onion rings, scallops, shrimp and calamari), which encouraged me the seafood purist to eat a fried scallop (tastes like pure sugar!)
I had the Seafood Risotto, which was also delicious. And I almost DIED for the Lobster Ravioli, which was a special, and sadly the meal my girl Rox selected – hello, serious FOOD ENVY! All in all, it was the best $200 lunch we’ve ever had. Hey – the price did include wine for each of the four of us but no dessert because we were stuffed.
4. Kitson: OK, so my love of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears means I KNOW all about Kitson. I assumed I’d just browse around the store – until I reached the shoe section, which is ALWAYS my weakness. They were having a 50% off sale. And a pair of gorgeous red suede Jeffrey Campbell shoes caught my eye. I tried them on and I was in heaven. This great find led us to scour each of the 3 Kitson boutiques on that block of Robertson, but alas NOTHING could top those shoes.
(Note: I test drove those bad boys last Friday and they ARE actually comfortable. Even my brother-in-law the sneaker guy was like, “Those are some hot shoes.” So you KNOW they are a winner. I am contemplating another pair in a different color – grey was available after all… My girl Rox got the last pair of purple, so you know I am jealous. Come to think of it, I suffered FOOD and SHOE envy in the same day!)
5. Mercedes GLK 350: Jo’ie’s mom, Ms. Joyce, just got a new whip before we arrived. And she even told us to whip it around… I was a bit shocked that she upgraded to a Benz from an Altima that had seen its day, but we felt it was an appropriate way to ride around L.A. Let me tell you, I LOVE German engineering (I’m an Audi girl) but have never really felt Mercedes much except for the 1980 450 SL, my childhood dream car.
This GLK 350 totally changed my mind. It rides really smooth and was very sexy in the interior. It’s definitely not the roomiest SUV, but if it arrived outside my house with a bow on it – I would NOT be mad. The environmentalist in me had to look up the MPG, which is terrible at 14/16; the diva in me was like, “Maybe I need one after I am over convertibles and have a kid…”
What did I not-so-love about So Cal? Stay tuned…
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