Adventurers in Downtown LA

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You know I love adventure. I love big cities. I love little towns. I love the countryside.  I love the sea side. I even sometimes love the ugly downtrodden side! I just love getting out and exploring the world.

Of course getting out of Orange County is a huge big deal because I am kind of bored of my safe little neighborhood. I love it here but I also love to get out of it and when I do, my eyes are so big taking everything in.

Naturally, I love having a travel agent friend (aka Teresa). I mean, how could I not? I want to download her brain and snag some insider tips on travel! Who wouldn’t?! But she’s also super nice and one of my very best friends.

We have a lot of common interests but exploring LA (and specifically points of interest from the tv show Bosch) is definitely one of them. So when she was going to meet a mutual friend and client in LA to discuss travel, I hopped on the chance to tag along. Woo hoo!

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We went super early of course so we could sneak in some sight-seeing before her lunch meeting. We explored the Bradbury Building—a favorite of mine ever since I spotted it on 500 Days of Summer.

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Have you ever seen such a beautiful building? It’s like a giant iced cake of design in a Victorian bird-cage like atrium. Does that even make sense? You get it. We didn’t have time to brush up on all the history but I do plan to find out the story behind this building and it’s famous namesake architect.

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After that we hopped on Angel’s flight because if you watch Bosch it’s a major key landmark and why not. It’s better than walking up a steep hill in the hot, hot sun.

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Then a block or two later we met up with our friend (and Teresa’s client), Christine, (You might recognize her as Bug’s old elementary school principal!) for lunch at Bottega Louis.

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Wow. This place. It’s so pristine and perfect. It felt like a fancy hotel lobby with perfect lighting in Paris. Except we weren’t. It’s an Italian restaurant in LA.

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Macarons and pretty treats for days. Huge white walls reaching expansive bright white ceilings with decorative crown molding…

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Cooks and servers, waiters and bakers…everyone on their toes being polite with Disney-trained smiles and good attitudes. You definitely get what you pay for here. Primo primo!

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I was smitten with the crazy flower-bomb bouquets and the white walls. A perfect backdrop for a movie if I ever decided to make one. See that guy on the right? He totally caught me taking his picture. I never made eye-contact though so I’m hoping he’s thinking I was taking a close-up of the bottle and blurring him behind. We both just pretended it never happened. He ate a whole pizza and drank a beer by himself and then left, walking by with a gold-handled cane. I would love to know his back-story.

Our lunch lasted for hours and nobody pushed us to leave. It really was like being in Paris.  But guess what the best part of our three hour lunch was?

Christine talked me and Teresa into visiting Italy (for a week) with her next month. YESSSS!!!!  Of course we had to go home and talk it over with our families but she planted the seed and we fell for it hook, line and sinker. Can you believe it? It will be a bit of a stretch but I’ve landed a few jobs and I think I can swing it. The tickets are bought and I cannot wait to be blogging from ITALY! I will be sharing everything with you of course!

Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Please drop me a line with all your recommendations. We plan to hit Milan, Florence and Venice.

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After that fun-packed lunch, we weren’t ready to stop talking yet so we walked through the Biltmore hotel next-door and continued our Italy discussion.

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The Biltmore is also a Bosch landmark so Teresa was happy to get her travel agent research in. She’s putting together a tour for other Bosch fans. What a fun job she has.

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We both have fun jobs and I have to admit I know how lucky we are to be freelancers who can take our jobs on the road with us. and take three hour plus lunches (!). I don’t know that I’ll be doing any crafts in Italy but I do think I could get a book idea out of it. Little Hoo in Italy perhaps? Wouldn’t that be a fun travel series?

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After the Biltmore we walked through the downtown market, got some ice latte’s and a small treat. We talked and talked and talked some more until we had to come back to the reality that we had to go home and we had to sit in some serious traffic. Ugh. The only bad part about visiting LA: traffic. Next time we’re going to take the train!

The Seven Magic Mountains

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Probably every Friday night that we don’t have kids, Payam looks at me with a gleam in his eye and says, “Wanna go to Vegas?” I usually roll my eyes because everybody knows I hate Las Vegas and everything it stands for. The nightlife, the gambling, the soul-sucking depressing-ness of old people sitting at slot machines watching their pennies dwindle to nothing by computerized dinging machines. The smoke, the drunk frat guys, the too-young girls dressed like prostitutes, the drugs, the poverty…all of it. I’d just rather stay in my bubble in California.

BUT I hate being that un-fun girlfriend, you know? I am so un-fun on a regular basis.  I can’t even stay awake to watch a tv show past nine pm. So I thought about it and remembering the last trip to Vegas that actually wasn’t that bad because we stayed in this really cool hotel called the Cosmopolitan said, “Yeah, maybe.” with a big fat IF we can find someone to watch our dogs AND we can stay at the Cosmo. Because I am a spoiled princess like that.

Pshaw! You already know what Payam said.

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He whipped out his phone, called the local vet, got our dogs boarded, with a bath even AND reserved a room at the Cosmo. Only one night but we figured we’d live on the edge and find another hotel for the next night so we didn’t have to bust our butt home and only stay one day.

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So yeah. We drove to Vegas at 7pm on a Friday night for “date night.” Not too shabby right? We also got McDonald’s for dinner because it’s kind of a romantic tradition and we didn’t want to waste too much time off the road. I slept most of the drive because I’m magical like that and when we arrived I was rested and ready to gamble! Or watch Payam gamble because I actually hate gambling because of my aversion to math and losing money. I hate it when Payam loses money too so I only let him play blackjack because at least it takes longer to lose money that way and you can sort of justify it as entertainment.

See what I mean by un-fun? But Payam loves me anyway.

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We stayed in my favorite hotel and I enjoyed the view on the balcony just as much as last time. Then the next night we switched to Vdara, the hotel next door for the next night. It wasn’t anything special but it did smell nice and clean because it is just a hotel and spa and they don’t have a smokey casino inside. So that was nice. AND Payam sent me off to the spa for a massage because I told him it was a better way to waste his money. Boy was it ever! It was soooo nice. Everything was “Miss Ponnay” this and “Miss Ponnay” that. I really really felt like a spoiled rotten princess.

I’m probably making everyone sick with how romantic and sweet Payam is but you remember the hard years… I’m so glad I went through everything I did so that I can really appreciate my life now. If I had met Payam right out of high school and married him and had fifty kids I would have been so awful, expecting this kind of life like it’s normal. I’m already probably getting awful. I have to check myself now and then.

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So yeah, it was super great! After we were already in Vegas, Payam decided to book a special dinner at Paris and we called it our “four year anniversary dinner” even though the day we decided was our anniversary (we aren’t really sure since we never really kept track) is the 30th. But nothing is set in stone. It’s been about four years, give or take a few days.

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Then on our way out of town we stopped off to see the Seven Magic Mountains and I took a zillion pictures because that’s what I love to do! That’s my kind of fun. Payam humors me.

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The magic mountains themselves are not really that big of a deal. You park, you walk along a dusty path and there they are. Just a bunch of brightly colored rocks stacked on top of each other. It won’t take you more than ten minutes to really look at them. What is amazing though is their contrast to the vast desert on all sides. The desert is so beautiful. Dust devils whirl in the distance and hills fade into gauzy purples and blues.

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I love it. I told Payam I’ll go to Vegas anytime he likes as long as I get a little photo trip out into the desert because it is good for my soul. I need it to offset all the bells and whistles and electronic circus that is the Vegas strip itself. I’ll always be a desert girl.