Happy Friday

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For today’s “Flashback Friday” I’m taking a look back at April-June. There was a whole lot of traveling in this little chunk of 2014: Philly, Richmond, Washington DC, San Diego, plus I did a show (Messiah Complex), saw a show (Bullets on Broadway) and started rehearsals for another show (A Midsummer Night’s Dream). I celebrated my Aunt Cynthia’s new position as Deputy Attorney General of Virginia, went to a sonogram appointment with Jassmine, supported my friend Jenna on her new web series, treated my cousin to brunch to toast her first PR job in the city, had an amazing reunion with Mississippi folks in town, went to the opera, enjoyed the sun and sand of San Diego, had a Mother/Daughter weekend in DC, and spent quality time with my friends as I rang in my 25th birthday. Enjoy the pictures below, some are old and some have never been published, and of course you can click the month’s in the menu on the left and relive these moments with me!

Ciao 🙂

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California Dreaming- Day Three, Carlsbad and Downtown San Diego

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July is basically over, and my trip to San Diego was one month ago, but that is no excuse not to write the final installment in my California Dreaming saga. Actually, since it’s Thursday, this could technically be considered a throwback post if I wanted it to be, and therefore it shall! So without further ado…

My travel diary conclusion

My final full day in San Diego was definitely a special one because I was able to spend the whole day with Michelle!!! While I definitely enjoyed exploring bits and pieces of the San Diego area, being able to wander around with a close friend my final day in town was the perfect champagne topper to a fantabulous birthday treat! It was a beautiful and sunny day that Saturday, as I got into my car headed for the 5 and Carlsbad, CA. The last time I saw Michelle was in March at Alice’s Tea Cup, our favorite catchup spot, before she flew out to San Diego to become a substitute teacher and all around helper for her sister, who was expecting her first child.

It was so good to see her and immediately pick up where we left off three months ago. First up on our itinerary was breakfast at a nearby cafe. The trio of pancakes, drip coffee and complimentary donuts were delicious as we chatted on the outdoor patio.  We headed to the house after brunch, packed up our beach bags and headed for Moonlight Beach. It may have taking me two whole days to make it to the beach, but the wait was worth it. After fighting for a parking space in front of a boathouse that was nestled in between the neighboring houses, we made our way to the ocean!

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Great day, don’t you think!

We laid out, with our magazines, hats and sunglasses and enjoyed the day. There was a group of guys playing some sort of beach game we’d never heard of behind us, an athletic group of girls and guys playing beach ping pong and football in front of us, and two teens attempting to paddle an inflatable kiddie pool in the water (i kid you not). The activity around us, the sun shining on us, and the great conversation between us made it a heavenly afternoon.

  Beach days are exhausting and before we headed home, there was one thing I had to do. Get In-N-Out Burger! Which just so happened to be right by the freeway exit.

Not gonna lie, it was a bit of a let down :/ I know, I know any California readers, In-N-Out is a delicious SoCal institution! How dare you!!! But for me, once you have Shake Shack…it’s hard to find another good fast food style burger that lives up to the Shackburger. *in Forrest Gump voice* And that’s all I have to say about that.

The final event on my San Diego itinerary was a trip to the baseball park! (Whenever I go out of town in the summer, I find that a good day at the ballpark is an inexpensive and fun way to get the flavor of the city I’m visiting.) Not only were the Padres playing at home, but it was Free Fedora Day!!! I got peanuts and beer, sat in the same section as the “Padres” and Padres Gorilla (still don’t get it) and chatted with my seat mate, who was in town from Chicago with her husband and two sons, about the ballparks we’d been to. (for me it’s Wrigley, Orioles, the new Yankee stadium, and now Petco Park). Michelle and I sang the National Anthem, Take Me Out to the Ballgame, and sang along with Phil Collins’ “Hold On” (which featured the Padres Gorilla on the drums) during the 7th inning stretch.

Looking back on Day 1, 2 and 3 of my epic California Dreaming trip, I’m proud of how much I was able to squeeze in! A bittersweet return to NYC for sure, but I CANNOT wait to make a return trip in the very near future! Until then adios San Diego!

California Dreaming- Day Two, Coronado and Balboa Park

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The travel diary continues…

Since I went to sleep at seven the night before, I woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 6:30am on the dot. Meh. I just kept telling myself “if you were home, technically, you just slept in.” Whatever works right? Well, the advantage to waking up early is that I was able to open the window and watch the sunrise from my bed, and decide what I would get myself into for the day. Before arriving in San Diego, I bought a ticket to “Dog and Pony” a new musical playing at the Old Globe Theater in Balboa Park, so I knew that a nice dinner and a show were definitely on my itinerary. But what to do with my day? Considering I was unable to make it out to Coronado the night before and my friend Collin sent me great recommendations for eateries on the island, breakfast in Coronado was the natural place to begin!

I went a little selfie crazy at the start of the day, but I was in a great mood! 🙂

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 As soon as I found parking, I skidaddled over to Clayton’s Coffee Shop for a diner style breakfast. It was a blast from the past with the waitresses wearing large flowers in their hair, tabletop jukeboxes, huge portions and a laid back California style, it was like Happy Days and Camellia Grill in New Orleans rolled into one. I don’t believe I should tell you that I ate well, haha. French toast, if you must know.

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 With a full belly and time on my hands, I began to wander a bit, knowing in the back of my head that I should make my way to the Hotel Del Coronado. Collin had actually suggested I get a delicious cocktail over at the hotel, which was my original plan, but now that I had the chance to see it in the light of day I decided the hotel could fill my morning. Before heading over, I decided to look into some of the shops that had just opened for the day and walked away with this great souvenir for a great price. (And it went with my outfit, added bonus!)

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The Hotel! Gosh it was absolutely breathtaking! When I got out of my car, I knew instantaneously that this was the hotel used for one of my favorite movies Some Like It Hot! The Victorian architecture, the beaches, the flags, the pools, the air of sophistication and a bygone era were breathtaking! I, timidly walked inside and asked the concierge about a tour and just my luck the Historical Society was holding one that morning! I was pretty early for the tour, so I decided to do a little exploring before and toured the grounds and beach.

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Next up was the tour, led by a California transplant, who told our tour group the history of the island, how the Hotel basically was the reason why the island became populated and go-to spot for the nouveau-riche regime at the turn of the 20th century. Oh, to spend the season in California! Arriving by private train car and partaking in the luxe accommodations and planned activities and sports. How utterly fantastic!

 

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Lunchtime!

Off to another Collin tested and approved restaurant to rest my tootsies and eat some fish tacos. Yummers!

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My jam-packed day in Coronado was at an end. Time for a nap. And then off to the theater!

I had been to San Diego, as I stated in my first post at the age of 10, with my group at the Idyllwild Summer Arts Camp. It was a day trip to see Cymbeline at the Old Globe Theater in their outdoor space, (I remember this only because I checked the theater’s archives). I was definitely looking forward to my return and the park it was housed in as well. I arrived at Balboa Park close to dusk. The sunlight and warm air made my surroundings almost magical. It was as if I had been transported to another place without having left the country. The Spanish architecture, the Botanical Building, the gardens, museums, singers who lined the sidewalks, restaurants and ponds, made for a tranquil environment.

A great way to spend my Friday evening sipping on a delicious pear martini with a pre-fixe meal and berry crumble dessert. I had a great conversation with the hostess, who applauded me for taking a solo trip out to the West Coast for fun, and asked me for bar and club suggestions in New York for her 21st birthday trip. Small world.

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That delectable meal settled comfortably in my tummy, I was ready for the fun that awaited me at the Old Globe!

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Day two was at an end, only one day left and boy did I have even more in store! To be continued…

California Dreaming- Day One, La Jolla

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I’ve finally come down from my California high, no pun intended there folks. This was the first vacation, in a while, where I was a little sad to see the New York skyline again. This vacation was extremely satisfying for many reasons. First of all, it was my first solo trip that I planned for (even though I was able to spend an amazing day with my friend, Michelle, the last day I was in town) where the only person I needed to think about was me, and what I wanted to do. It was my first time on the west coast since I was 10, and it was the first trip where I was able to really relax and enjoy my own company without fear of  discomfort or judgement. I truly enjoyed planning my full three days in San Diego and decided to focus on one area each day, so Thursday I decided to stay in La Jolla, where I was staying.

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This was the view from my “bungalow”. (really a small guest house, where my friend Melissa stayed while attending the University of Califorina-San Diego [UCSD])

The time difference caught up with me later in the day, but before my power nap turned into a major snooze fest I was out the door at 9am looking for breakfast. Being a member of the theatre world, I was able to reach out friends from apprenticeships and college asking for great places to eat and things to do while visiting San Diego. Lucky for me, my day one meals were planned by my friend Michael, who had just earned his MFA from UCSD, and who I knew from my Williamstown Theatre Festival Apprenticeship five years ago. He suggested I head over to Caroline’s Diner for an al fresco breakfast with gorgeous La Jolla Beach views, so I did 🙂

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The views were amazing! The food, delicious! The coffee, bottomless (haha). All in all, it was a great kickoff to my trip and couldn’t wait to head over to the Birch Aquarium, a quick drive away.

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Traveling solo, I was able to have conversations more easily with workers and other tourists while exploring the San Diego area, and the aquarium was no exception. I ended up having a great conversation with one of the employees working out by the tide pools and the one thing I remember quite strongly was her order to “breeze through the rest of the aquarium and head on over to the zoo!” The rest of my day was kind of up in the air, and since I hadn’t been to a zoo in a while I decided to take her up on her suggestion. Little did I know, that the San Diego Zoo is a national treasure and a leader in animal and nature conservancy! But before reaching this conclusion it was selfie time at the Aquarium to document that I was, indeed there.

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Off to the zoo!

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Unfortunately, between Google Maps, remote blog and Instagram updates, phone calls and text messages, oh yeah, and the pictures I was taking, my phone didn’t live long enough to see the zoo (sad day for all). But I did take pictures as I journeyed through the zoo itself. Click over to storipass.com to see me before boarding the tour bus and holding a “baby panda” before I got a chance to see the Pandas (soooo cute, and ferociously hungry haha). The Storipass ID# is SZ1TF259479.

After charging my phone at Guest Services, buying a Koalifornia (love) magnet in the gift shop, and talking with an actor for about 20 minutes about the Nature Conservancy initiatives the Zoo funded, promoted and carried out, I was headed back to La Jolla for a power nap before heading to Coronado. You probably saw this picture on my Instagram feed. Alas, the Coronado trip did not come to pass that evening…

Until Day Two!

Ciao 🙂

Stay Classy San Diego

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Well it’s still morning here in California and I’m finishing up my oceanview breakfast at Caroline’s Cafe in La Jolla. The beach is calling my name and I shall return , but must admit I’m pretty excited to head over to the Birch Aquarium and then to Coronado this evening for a drink and dinner. I know
Ron Burgundy’s city is gonna show me a good time.

Ciao 😎