I love technology

Here’s another movie for you: Napoleon Dynamite. Did you see it? Did you see the song at the end? Where Kip sings to his bride about his love for technology? If you haven’t seen it, click here for a 30 second clip of the song. Just like Kip, I love technology. And here’ why: all through my vacation, I was posting photos & updates on Facebook so my family & friends could follow along. I emailed a fellow blogger from the shore and even had a couple of friends download the Find My Friends app so they could follow me on my adventures (thanks Anthony & Melissa!). It was so delightful sharing my fun experiences in and around Santa Monica.

After my time at Leo Carillo Beach, I was hungry. Before I even left for California, my friend Vickie from Lilacs and Cupcakes had told me that I just had to eat at one of her favorite cafes. She couldn’t remember the name, couldn’t remember the address but knew it was across the street from the beach & the Malibu police station. But when I looked up the police station, it was miles from the beach. We went back and forth with text messages and she told me it was right in the middle of a shopping center on PCH. We were getting close: I only saw two shopping centers on PCH. I took a guess, pulled into one, took a picture & sent it to her asking if this was the right one. Lo and behold, it was! Now do you see why I love technology? My friend in Missouri was giving me “directions” to a cafe in Malibu! 

I had a delicious burger at Coogi’s Beach Cafe. Inside, it looks more like a diner than a cafe but the food was divine. I had the pesto burger and oh.my.gosh. So very good.

When I left Coogi’e I decided to head up toward Los Angeles. My friend, Kevin (who lives in Florida), has a brother, Tom, that works at Fox Studios and I was going to meet Tom for dinner. This isn’t something I normally do; meet strangers for dinner but I just had a feeling that this would be fun. Since I still had a couple of hours before dinner, I thought I’d drive around Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive for a bit. I posted on Facebook that I was heading that way and I really felt like everyone at home was cheering me on as I went. I got requests for pictures (but they felt more like threats if I didn’t get pictures). I rushed to get there before dark but the California traffic was working against me. I got there in enough time to snap this picture from the car:

Not a great picture, but proof that I made it! While receiving directions from my dad over the phone, I found The Witch’s House. This old house was in several silent films and can also be seen in Clueless (one of my guilty pleasures).

I told Facebookland that I was now heading to Rodeo Drive. Again, I got requests (or threats) for pictures. Most of the stores were closed when I arrived but, like Beverly Hills, I got some pictures to prove that I was there. I didn’t realize that the window displays are so extravagant there.

Ralph Loren:

Most of the other pictures are too dark to see much of anything but I still had fun wandering around pretending that I could go into any store and buy whatever I wanted. From a new Hugo Boss suit for Ken to some jewelry for me from Cartier. And then I found the mothership: Paper Source. It’s a cute little shop with all things paper and paper crafts including books, wrapping paper, cards, rubber stamps, home decorations. I could have spent an hour in there! But I think the craziest thing I saw at Rodeo Drive were parking meters that take credit cards. Super convenient and a great idea but I never thought I’d see this.

And now it was dinnertime! I followed Tom just a few minutes down the road to Farmer’s Market (be sure to watch the video). And this is why I love meeting people that live in places that I’m visiting: I would never have gone to this place, I would have missed it completely. I highly recommend this place. There’s something for everyone at Farmer’s Market. It was so much fun. So many different places to eat and if I wanted I could have picked up some fruits and veggies. We walked around and decided on a place for dinner – The French Crepe Company.

We ate dinner and then walked around The Grove. Tom is the most fascinating person I’ve met in a long time. He’s a foley editor currently working at Fox Studios. In case you don’t know what a foley editor is I’ll tell you. Anything you hear in a movie that isn’t dialogue is the direct result of foley artists. Background noise, footsteps, cars crashing, keyboard tapping, punches being thrown…all that is created by the foley guys. I could have sat there and listened to his stories for hours. Wait…that’s exactly what I did. Let me stop here and say that I really hate people that are name droppers just for the sake of impressing others. And Tom was nothing like that at all. He had story after story of people he’s worked with but never made it sound like he was trying to impress me or those around us. I know the secret (maybe it’s not a secret but I like to think that it is) of how they made the sound for Face/Off when the boat crashes. I know how they got the sounds for the fight scene. I know that Jim Carrey is most likely a great guy to work with but I probably wouldn’t want to work with director William Friedkin.

Tom and I spent four hours talking movies, his journey to working in the movies, my interview with Roma, houses, the economy, Florida, California. It was so much fun. And like I said, not something I normally do, but I trusted my friends Raegan & Kevin and it payed off. I feel like I have a new friend for life now.

My California trip is quickly coming to an end. My dinner with Tom marked my last night in California. I was to leave the next day. I’ll only have one more post to tell you about the canals in Venice. This was not something I had seen on any of my previous trips to the West Coast and it was amazing. Can’t wait to show you pictures!


The California coast and crepes

And now I understand why some people feel overwhelmed with vacation pictures. I was only gone 3 days and I can’t seem to get my head above water. Tons of pictures plus new editing software means I haven’t been able to blog about the rest of my trip. So I’ve made a compromise with myself. I’ve done only the bare minimum on these pictures I’m about to show you. I’m excited and I cannot wait any longer. So here goes nothing…

After the interview, I went back to the hotel to pick up my car. As one of the other interviewers said, “Only in California can you rent a luxury car for just $25 a day but pay $30 a day to park it!” He was right. It was $30 to park our car in the hotel’s garage. Crazy, no? Since the day was young, I picked up my car and headed to The Third Street Promenade. This is an outdoor pedestrian friendly shopping center where they’ve closed off 3rd Street to cars. They have a web cam so I called home, waved to the family, blew kisses to my boys and went on with my shopping. This is a great area and would be a regular stop if I lived in Santa Monica. The Third Street Promenade has the biggest Anthropologie store I’ve ever seen. I’m pretty sure I heard the angels singing as I walked in. Other stores include Apple and a gi-huge-ic Urban Outfitters. 

Old movie theater:

Lots of street performers. Not quite as unique as the guy rollerblading and playing electric guitar on Venice beach, though. But maybe that’s not a bad thing after all.

Water fountains like these were up and down the whole shopping center.

After walking around for a while, I decided to do a little tourist thing (I can shop at home, after all). I had read online that the beach house from Spanglish was only a few miles from where I was staying! This is probably one of my top 10 favorite movies so I just had to see the house. It took less than 15 minutes to drive to the house, hop out and snap some pictures. I hear that it only costs $45,000 month to rent it. Maybe I’ll do that next time I’m out there.

Remember when they walked next door so the guy working on his car could translate & ask Flor if she could stay for the summer? I love that scene. The guy is so cute – putting on his shirt to talk to her. And the shot from across the street while she’s trying to decide what to do and all the cars are passing by is another favorite scene of mine. If you look to the left, you can see that area where they had that conversation:

Then it was back to the coast. I couldn’t help it, it keep calling my name. I would drive 1/4 mile and have to pull over to see and hear it. I read about a good place to see the sunset so I rushed back down south just in enough time to see this:

See the tiny sun hidden in the clouds? Yep, the sun had set behind the clouds and wasn’t stunning like I had hoped. I had to laugh at the thought that I had raced to that spot just to see a beautiful display only to have it ruined by clouds. One day I’ll make it out there again and see the beautiful sunset of the West coast. 

Looks like shopping was in the plans for me that night. I found the neatest mall, Santa Monica Place. It’s just like a multi level shopping mall but with no roof. It’s open air but not in a strip center style. Make sense? I browsed around and decided that I’d have crepes for dinner. Thank you, Yana.

Let me go off subject for a minute here and tell you how very connected I felt during my entire trip. I used Facebook to connect to those at home and received more than one recommendation for dining.  I felt that my friends were really rooting for me to make it to Beverly Hills before the sun went down. And I could almost hear then cheering me on as I walked around Rodeo Drive, posting pictures of the stores and their window displays. I think that the social network thing is amazing.

OK, back to my crepes. I only have an iPhone picture of it & I’m surprised the poor little crepe lasted even that long. May I present the Nutella crepe with strawberries and a hint of cognac:

It was heavenly, delicious, delightful, enchanting and simply yummy. If you make a trip, I insist that you try Cafe Crepe. You’ll thank me.

Well, that about wraps up Monday. I’ll be back tomorrow with tales of my beautiful drive on Topanga Canyon Road as well as my favorite part of my trip and how I connected with another blogger while sitting at the shore. I have to catch up because I also have two great birthday presents to show you!

Beach bum

Ken & I had a free night without the kids so we decided to go out to eat. We didn’t have to pay for the kids, didn’t have to worry about getting them to bed at a reasonable hour and didn’t have to worry that the restaurant would have something they’d like to eat (yes, I have picky eaters). So we decided to try Pete & Shorty’s. It’s a new restaurant that opened up in our city. I’m sorry to report that this water fountain was the best thing about the place. It wasn’t horrible, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to go back. The food was ho-hum as well as the atmosphere. But at least I got my photo of the day!