Category Archives: Southern California

Southern California

Weekend disappointment and failures

It is silly to feel as despondent as I do. Especially since I am as fortunate as I am — my family is healthy and happy and provided for, we have all we need, and we even got to go to a fantastic event like the California Strawberry Festival. But I am despondent. Why? Because I lost my photos. Continue reading

Visiting the Palm Springs Air Museum

A couple of weeks ago, my family and I went out to Indio for a visit with my sisters. My older sister had been telling me for months she wanted to take the boys to the Palm Springs Air Museum, so we of course made our way there during this visit.

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Birthday at the Aquarium of the Pacific

For Mike’s 4th birthday, we decided to visit the Aquarium of the Pacific, where the boys both looked forward to seeing the sharks. I bought the tickets via Goldstar, but realized only the night before that the tickets only allowed us entry in the afternoon, to visit during the last three hours of the day. Bummer — the difference in discount versus the corporate sites I had access to was a measly 50 cents. We had a good time regardless, but I’d pay the extra 50 cents next time so that we could go when we want and stay as long as we want. Ah well, you live and you learn.

Ways to celebrate a 35th birthday

I really enjoy celebrating my birthday, but even I had to pause when I realized I was approaching my 35th birthday. What is it about no longer being in the 18-34 demographic that makes us a little sad? Plus, my timing was totally off — with Trinity just a few months in at a new job (did I mention Trinity is designing again, now at the Orange County Register?), I was looking at a full week of cleaning the house, doing laundry and blogging. That does not sound like a fun birthday week, does it?

So about a month out, I emailed a bunch of girlfriends and basically demanded they set aside some time to hang with me on my birthday week. Yes, I fully admit that I demanded day dates with my friends; but I don’t get to see them very often, and this was a perfect occasion and opportunity. Out of the five or so friends I emailed, four initially were in but two got laid up by illnesses. But that was OK — I had a lot I still wanted to do, like prepare for a garage sale (and this gets its own post).

IMG_3999The birthday indulgences actually started on Sunday. After church, we were trying to decide what to eat, and I said, “how about Roscoe’s?” (It just happens to be a block down from church.) I don’t generally have to spend much time convincing Trinity we should eat at Roscoe’s, and the boys are pretty much agreeable to any type of chicken, beans, rice, etc. It was an excellent lunch.

So, on my actual birthday, which fell on a Tuesday, my friend Sam came out and I took her out for her first visit to Neptune’s Net in Malibu. I love me some Neptune’s Net. Any excuse I have to go out there, I’m all about it. As I regaled Sam with funny stories (I won’t tell you where they’re from), we wound our way through the Santa Monica Mountains and at our first glimpse of water, our inner fobs came out. “Look, da water!” “Ay nako! It’s so blue!” “TUBIG!” Driving down Pacific Coast Highway on a weekday (and not during rush hour) is a must for any visitor to Southern California — it’s what you picture Southern California living to be like. All the time.

IMG_4083Anyway, once we got there, we opted for the sampler platter on the steamed side (we’re both Filipino, so I knew Sam would be down with getting seafood that was not deep fried), and it was glorious — ceviche, clams, oysters, crab claws, shrimp! We also ordered French fries so we would have something to munch on before the seafood arrived. We shared a big bottle of Coke and it was awesome. We spent some time across the street taking pictures of the ocean and the windsurfers, then went back down PCH in search of some coffee. A gas station advertising Coffee Bean fooled us, but luckily, there was a Starbucks across the street. It was a wonderful, perfect Southern California lunch.

On Wednesday, the day after my birthday, I originally had plans to run around Westwood, catch a bus up to the Getty Center, then come back down and get ice cream sandwiches at Diddy Riese. But it didn’t pan out because my friend ended up having some sort of infection that warranted an emergency room visit and a few days in the hospital. I even called her on her last day at the hospital and expressed doubt she would be up for running around Westwood with me….and a day later, she messaged me on Facebook, conceding that she didn’t think she’d make it. It was totally fine; I had a Plan B.

IMG_4107First off, I needed to get some major cleaning projects done — the refrigerator and my washing machine, which had that funky smell. It took some work, but I was pretty happy with how it all turned out. I basically gave myself about two hours to get the cleaning done, then I ate a quick lunch at home, then drove my tired butt down to the Four Seasons Westlake Village to take advantage of their Wow-Me-Wednesdays deal. Basically, the deal lets you get a 50-minute massage or facial for a discount, plus entry into their very swanky spa. When I was reading it, I was like, “You mean, I can get into a really nice spa and get a massage for about the price of doing the same thing at Burke Williams — without driving 30 minutes out of my way? Heck yes!” The massage was great — I actually dozed off, which I don’t normally do during a massage, since, you know how you’re naked with a stranger during a massage? IMG_4121Not only was the massage great, the masseuse also used warmed towels on my neck, feet, head — I remember thinking, “that’s frigging genius.” The parking validation gave me about four hours to hang at the Four Seasons, which I split into: 1st hour, hanging out taking advantage of the saunas and jacuzzi; 2nd hour, massage; 3rd hour, hanging out by the pool and 4th hour, taking pictures of the grounds for a blog post. I probably should have nixed the 4th hour, which included walking around in the sun all over the Four Seasons grounds. I ended up with a raging headache due to dehydrating myself after the massage, I’m pretty sure.

On Thursday, I made my way out to Porto’s Bakery in Burbank to have lunch with my friend Iliki. I had asked for an earlier lunch date, and we ended up completely missing the lines, which was so awesome. Seriously, it was like going out onto the streets of LA at 5 p.m., and holy sh*t, where’s the traffic? I am a creature of habit, so I of course ended up getting my usual steak torta sandwich and a Parisian chocolate cupcake for dessert. With lunch at Porto’s, I think it’s literally impossible to go wrong.

IMG_4208Finally, while Trin was unable to get the entire week off for my birthday, he was able to get Friday off, so with the boys in daycare, we took the opportunity to go see a movie. Yes, I know, we’re so wild. But it wasn’t just watching a movie…it was watching a movie at Cineopolis. Quite a few luxury movie theaters have popped up in my area, and Cineopolis is probably the most luxurious. Instead of airplane-esque stadium seating, the theater capacity is small because the seats are butter-leather upholstered reclining chairs set in pairs or singly. It’s so awesome. There is a call button, and you can order from your seat — anything from normal movie theater fare to short ribs and coffee whipped up by a barista. It doesn’t come cheap — I think our total movie date cost at least $55, including the matinee movie tickets and the food and drinks — but we don’t see movies often, so its a nice indulgence.

All in all, it was a productive birthday week — not exactly a relaxing vacation, but I suppose when you have kids and you work full-time, there’s really no such thing until the kids are in college. And, now, I’m 35. While getting older physically has its drawbacks — gosh, now I have to moisturize! I can’t eat anything and everything I want! I get tired so easily! — for the most part, I feel the same as I did when I was 15. And I hear I don’t really look much different from when I was 25. So, happy birthday to me!