A Perfect Day Out

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Even though we haven’t been in strict quarantine for months, it still feels like we’ve been cooped up since forever. We do get out these days to enjoy the alfresco dining that is popping up everywhere but we haven’t really been out out for a long time. So yesterday, when we spent the day in Laguna Beach, it felt like we were on vacation. Like really on vacation! If I squinted really hard and forgot that we were only a half hour away from home, I could almost feel like I’d flown thirteen hours and I was back in Italy. Laguna Beach feels like Italy sometimes. It’s just such a quaint touristy sort of town like that. I love it.

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Yesterday we took a pottery class at Artime Barro studio in Laguna Beach.   I booked it a few weeks ago and carted the whole family off whether they wanted to go or not. At first the girls protested. They usually like to meet up with a few friends at our local shopping center in our neighborhood. It’s a habit Payam and I are not that fond of, given the risks of covid AND the fact that they are both starting to think that hanging out with a passel of boys is the cool thing to do. We fight them on it but give in regularly. Parenting, it is not for the weak.

After a few eye-rolls and sullen sulks with headphones in the back seat, they gave in and started to get excited too. It felt so good to be back as a crew having an adventure again. I LOVE love love when all four of us do something fun together. I guess, that’s the meaning of family after all. Now all those adventures my mom used to drag my brother and I off to make sense. These are the things that makes moms happy! Like really really happy! I should plan these sorts of adventures every week.

Of course everything comes with a price and a pottery class was $40 per person BUT you get to make two things each, you learn a new skill and it’s really really fun.

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Bug is taking ceramics in highschool already so she’s a pro. I took a sculpture class at the local community class years ago but throwing pottery on a wheel is completely new to me. It is so relaxing. I found staring at the spinning clay almost hypnotizing. I could have stayed there for hours.

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We took turns. Two of us making pinch pots and two of us learning how to use the pottery wheel.

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Pinch, pinch, pinch.

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Spin, spin, spin.

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I defied the instructions and made a fox instead of a pot. I thought I’d get in trouble but the instructor said it was perfectly fine. As long as I had a hole for the air to escape I could totally make a fox head instead of a pot. And that is why I like Laguna Beach and artists in general: It’s okay to break the rules and be creative! If Laguna Beach didn’t have such traffic problems I would seriously consider moving there. It is definitely my kind of town. Maybe someday…

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The studio is so nice and open, you almost feel like you are out doors. There are several doors and all of them are open with the gentle ocean breeze wafting through. In the back is the classroom area and off of that there is another outdoor seating area. In the front where you check in and out there is a little shop where you can buy locally made pottery. Lots of really cool gift items.

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Of course it’s decorated crazily.

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My favorite part is the interactive wall map where you can write on a broken shard of pottery and glue it to the wall with stucco.

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I really hope this studio lasts forever. Firstly because I want to go back and make more pottery and secondly because I put SAJ up own the wall and I want her to live there forever.

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Just fun all around. I think I should get a job here. Too bad I am a newbie at ceramics.

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In true laid back Laguna Beach fashion, dogs are, of course, allowed. I would not bring Cody here though. His sweeping giant tail would costs me hundreds of dollars.

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There is a cute little pot on the check out counter. I want to make one of these one of these days.

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After our pottery class we walked down to the beach. When in Rome… You can’t really visit a beach community without at least putting your feet in the water. I miss living by the ocean. I’m only 15 minutes away now but you’d be surprised at how rarely I leave my little sunny town to go find it.

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Covid or no covid, I’m so glad to be out and about with my crew.

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Then to top off the day we got gelato. Because that’s what you do when you go to Laguna Beach!

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I even had some, which if you know me is a pretty big deal. It was such a perfect day.

Evening Stroll at Huntington Gardens

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On Sunday night we went as a family for a stroll through Huntington Gardens at Golden Hour. It’s a thing. You can buy tickets. It really is one of those good things that has come out of Covid. Maybe it existed before but I’d never heard of it until I saw it on a friend’s instagram feed. I’ve been to Huntington Gardens before but last time I went it was really really hot so the thought of strolling in the evening seemed like the perfect idea to me. And of course golden hour doesn’t hurt anything. I should probably even say it was a photo walk. My favorite!

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Here I am posing in the Rose Garden.

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The roses were reaching their blooming end but they were still nonetheless impressive. Maybe even prettier in their late summer decay. There are just so many varieties. It’s fun to walk the rows and read all their names… some of them are quite unique: Sexy Rexy, Vogue, Hanky Panky, Marilyn Monroe…

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It was a photoshoot every which way we turned.

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I do feel kind of stupid posing in the rose bushes but even though roses are the most beautiful thing to photograph, you’ve seen a million photographs of them. They sort of fall to the back of the pile while we pore over pictures of people. So I take pictures of people with roses.

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I love the Shakespeare Garden. I think I’ve over-color-corrected these because they were in shade. This is what they look like to me in my mind but the original photos were quite blue. Maybe I should nudge them back to blue.

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I don’t have a lot to say about these photos. Just us, exploring and being goofy.

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The two places that I really wanted to see were the Rose Gardens and the Japanese Gardens. Since we were only there for the limited sunset hour we had to move quickly. I wish sunset could have lasted three more hours. The Gardens are so big you can really get lost there. It’s almost like exploring Disneyland but prettier and with less rides. It was perfect for Payam’s mountain hike training.

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After the Japanese Gardens we strolled the Chinese Garden which I actually hadn’t seen before. It was a nice surprise.

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So many photo ops! I have to remember to bring people here for model shoots when I have them. It’s really a beautiful setting.

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The girls thoroughly enjoyed it as well which is a big win with teenagers these days. I don’t even think I caught one of them playing games or watching YouTube once!

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So peaceful and serene.

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Payam enjoyed it as well. Though he was a little less enthused with the picture-taking.

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Bug impersonating a Bonsai tree, like you do.

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And then before we knew it it was time to leave.

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Which was way too soon for me.