Stranded in SoCal

So, last week I flew out to Santa Monica, CA for a quick work trip (or what was supposed to be a quick trip).  Then, Snowpocolypse happened, and everything on the East Coast shut down for 2 days, so Thursday’s return flight was canceled.  There are certainly worse places I could have been stuck (my co-worker sent me a pic of the customer service line at LAX, super glad I knew before I even left for the airport that my flight was canceled and was able to make alternative arrangements), but when your hubby is snowed in with a sick baby on the opposite side of the country and you have no way of getting home to them, it’s hard not to feel at least a little guilty.

Stranded or not, I was in sunny LA, the land of blue skies, cool ocean breezes, and a vibe that practically begs you to take a deep breath and relax.  So, guilt-ridden or not, I decided to make the most of it.  I finished up some work on the sun deck of my hotel (talk about an office with a view!) then went to work figuring out a way to take advantage of my extra time in LA.  I finally decided on one of those cheesy bus tours.  It seemed like the easiest and most practical way to see a little bit of everything in the short amount of time I had left.

I boarded the bus Friday afternoon and immediately noticed I was surrounded by nothing but couples.  Oh right, it’s Valentine’s Day I realized.  It’s nothing new for me to spend a holiday alone, which is probably why it’s kind of easy for me to forget about holidays in the first place, but in a strange twist, it turned out my schedule was the one ruining the holiday this time, not JD’s.

It was surreal to be touring LA, seeing all these iconic places.  LA has always almost felt fictional to me, like a place that only really exists in movies or on TV.  No one real actually lives or works there, it seemed.  Yet, it was all real- the Hollywood sign, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, giant cliffside mansions, gorgeous West Coast sunsets- I was able to experience it all.

By the end of the day, I was exhausted and ready to crash.  I was booked at a hotel closer to the airport for the night, so I called a cab to make the trek to the new location.  Unfortunately, it was a Friday night in LA, and a holiday on top of all of that.  Traffic was THE WORST, so I spent a good hour darting in and out of traffic in a tiny Prius (the cab of choice in LA) with a very nice man who was listening to some get-you-in-the-mood R&B radio station.  There was something both endearing and creepy about it.

I guess, all things considered, I was really lucky.  I wasn’t one of the people stranded on the side of the road or at a random airport.  The extra few days were a real gift- a chance to explore the city in a way I couldn’t have otherwise, given the time constraints of my original trip.  And, when I finally arrived home, I was welcomed by L’s grin as she toddled towards me.  I have a lot to be thankful for.

This is what the Santa Monica Pier looked like on the first night.  Just a bit foggy.IMG_2023

We found a cute Mexican place to have dinner right off Ocean Ave.

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I couldn’t get enough of the iconic SoCal palm trees against the blue sky.

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Working on the sun deck.  Not a bad “office view.”

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This is the part of the trip where I started taking awkward selfies because I was all by myself.

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The Santa Monica Pier.

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Thanks to my extra days in Cali, I got a slightly less foggy view this time 🙂

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More fun with awkward selfies.

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Finally able to catch that West Coast sunset.

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Gorgeous.  Almost looks like a postcard.

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A tiny little Italian place I found on Third Street Promenade.  The owner (who spoke with an accent) was very attentive  to his guests and asked “what a pretty girl like you is doing all alone?”

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Sunny afternoon at the beach.

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Beverly Wilshire Hotel- the same hotel from Pretty Woman!

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Rodeo Drive.  ‘Nuff said.

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LA really is as smoggy as they say.

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The Hollywood sign!

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Got a nice couple to take a picture instead of another awkward selfie.

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Found my favorite actress on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (I also found Chuck Norris for JD).

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A shot from Hollywood Blvd up to the Hollywood sign.

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Adventures in Denver

Well, I had a total BLAST in Denver last week.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect, since it was a work trip and I would be spending the week with people I’d never met, but I am lucky to have a team full of really fun, awesome people who wanted to explore Denver as much as I did.  In fact, we were so busy having fun, that I didn’t even get a chance to write any blog posts!

The week was full of laughs, drinks, late nights, new friendships, and a little work here and there.

Here are some pictures from my trip (sorry for some of the picture quality, they were all taken on my phone).

Denver, where even the airport terminal is cool….

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And the office views are gorgeous….

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And long-distance friends can meet up for dinner and drinks…

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Where business professionals meet for important meetings…

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And serious work gets done…

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 Where a quick half-hour drive will take you to some of the most breath-taking views….

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And a famous amphitheater…

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And a little park called Red Rocks can make your entire week…

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Bye Denver!  Hope to do it again soon!

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