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california dreaming

I was fortunate enough to be sent on a trip to Orange County for my job this week. I won’t talk about the work part of the trip here, except to say that it was very good–busy and productive. Now, on to the fun stuff…

Saturday I travelled all day long and ended up at my hotel in Anaheim at about 8 p.m. PST. I was wiped out and starving (Dear Atlanta-airport Starbucks and surrounding “restaurants,” I hate you.), so I ordered room service and hoovered it down in a matter of minutes. When I travel, I usually eat a bunch of crap that I’d never eat in my real life, like cold, soggy room-service French fries.cahollywood.jpg

On Sunday night, my friend Arielle convinced me to meet her and her beau in Hollywood for dinner. I was more than a little apprehensive about driving an unfamiliar rental car in some of the worst traffic in the country without a good idea of where I was going. But, how often am I in California? Yeah, never. And it may be a while before I get another opportunity like this, so I decided to be brave and go for it. Driving really wasn’t that scary at all. The freeways are easy to navigate, and traffic is controlled by a stoplight that only lets one car onto the highway at a time. Piece of cake.

We went to a restaurant called Koji for sushi and shabu shabu, which is basically Japanese fondue, meaning that they serve you a plate o’ raw meat and veg and you cook it tableside in boiling water. It was really different and quite cool. But, man, do I suck at using chopsticks. Arielle said they’d bring me a fork if I asked for one, but I decided that’s way too lame.

After dinner, coffee and dessert, we sauntered down to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre to check out the stars’ autographed cement blocks, hptrhands.jpgincluding the new Harry Potter square where I discovered that my hands and feet are the same size as Emma Watson’s. We checked out the Kodak Theatre, and I walked up the red-carpet stairs. And we wandered up and down Hollywood Boulevard window-shopping and being fabulous.

Hollywood is grittier, less glamorous than what I’d pictured in my mind, more Courtney Love than Katherine Hepburn. I didn’t run into any stars, but I did see lots of homeless people and street performers. Even still, it was so much fun; I’d love to go back someday when I have more time to spend.

hollywood.jpgWhen the working day was done on Monday, I ventured out to the South Coast Plaza and spent a few hours in shopping nirvana. The stores, oh, the stores! H&M, Williams-Sonoma, Paper Source, Zara, World Market—I went to them all. And some extra items must have inexplicably found their way into my suitcase because I could barely zip it for the flight home. Afterward I ate a forgettable hotel –restaurant meal and was off to sleep, visions of kitten heels dancing in my head.

I have decided that if I lived in Southern California, I’d be totally broke, 300 lbs and astoundingly well-dressed. It was a wonderful trip, as exciting as it was exhausting. The universe is generous, and I’m happy to be home.

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