December 10, 2015

The Malaves Take California | First time in the West Coast!

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I left a piece of my heart in Los Angeles. If you asked me what I loved about LA, my answer would be the food, the beaches, the people, the lifestyle, and most importantly the beautiful 70 degree weather! I love the heat, the kind of love when you say things like, “Yes! It’s 90 degrees today”. Maybe it’s because I’m a June baby, but I’m most comfortable in the warmer weather.

Jorge had a business trip to California in February, and since there were job offers in Cali, he suggested that I come out towards the end of his business trip to explore LA together. I jumped at his suggestion of visiting the west coast — not only was it a chance explore new places, but I was tired of the sub zero degrees in Pennsylvania — I booked my flight the very next day and before I knew it, I was boarding a plane to California…

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I arrived in California about 9:00pm PST, that means it was 12:00pm in EST — my body was beat! But what welcomed me at the gates was not only my already sun-kissed husband but a blast of warm air — it was glorious.

The next day while Jorge was spending his last work-day in meetings, I drove around LA by myself, giddy with excitement, exploring what Hollywood had to offer.

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The Sunday after I left was the 2015 Oscars! I couldn’t believe that I was standing in the area that some of my favorite actors and actresses were going to stand. I was such a groupie/tourist!

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I’ve been in love with Johnny Depp since I was 12 years old. You can imagine how hard my heart was pounding to once stand where he stood…

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Jorge and I spent a lot of our time at Manhattan beach. It was about 15 minutes from our hotel and quickly becoming one of our favorite places.

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The next day, Jorge was all mine! We spent the day roaming about at the Santa Monica Pier and Venice beach. It was so much fun!

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I had my toes… in the ocean… in February!

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In Venice beach there were so many performers — and some talented people. I’m sure the people of LA are already used to the free shows, but I wasn’t. So I plopped right on the grass and watched the talents that LA had to offer.

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Time for lunch! We had to try In-and-Out burgers. Apparently it’s a big deal in LA. It wasn’t bad… but in our opinion it wasn’t something to really brag about either. We still prefer our 5 guys burgers!

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The following day we visited Little Tokyo. I’m sure the place doesn’t measure up to the real Toyko (which I hope to visit some day soon), but since I’ve always been curious about the culture, I checked out what they had to offer. Such a cute little place.

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Of course while we were in LA we had to visit the Griffith Observatory for Jorge. The guy is a physicist after all, and he loves everything and anything that has to do with space. Unfortunately the one time we were in LA, they had their first rain drop from the long drought they were suffering from, so we didn’t get to see much. However we did enjoy the shows and cool gadgets in the museum (Jorge will kill me for calling it gadgets).

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On the second to last day, we did what we do best, enjoy a small hike up Runyon Canyon. It wasn’t like our normal hiking trails in PA, but we wanted to enjoy the beautiful view of LA and hoped to spot a celebrity in the middle of a workout.

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After our hike, we met up with an old colleague of Jorge at Urth Caffe. I wish I had grabbed more photos — it was such a cute cafe with a ridiculous wait line but it was worth it! With our stomachs full from the delicious food and coffee, we made our way back to hotel to shower and dress in time for  dinner and a night out at a comedy club and drinks at another beach that I couldn’t remember for the life of me. But can we stop for a second and let me express that I’ve had the best noodle bowl of my life! It was this quaint little Japanese shop 5 minutes from the hotel. It was so good we ate there at least TWICE before the end of our trip.

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On our last day, Jorge called it the ‘Vanessa Day’. Jorge is the type to have an agenda and do things, don’t get me wrong I enjoy that too, but I was in Hollywood! I wanted to drive down Rodeo drive, look at the pretty houses that I could probably never afford, try to spot a celebrity, visit a wax museum dedicated to the Stars, walk around at the Grove and see how much of a price difference everything was. What? I was being a tourist.

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We ended our night at our favorite beach, Manhattan beach. With a view that would be forever etch in our minds, and grateful for the small experiences LA offered us.

We don’t vacation as often as I would like, but this opened our eyes and promised each other to do more of this. Us time. I’m also super sad because I had brought the camcorder to record our journey, but I lost the memory card! I cried that night, but I’m grateful for the photos I did get, and if there is something I want to get better at is taking better vacation photos. Looks like we need more vacations!

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