Friday, February 20, 2015

SoCal So Nice

An unexpected blessing from my job is the ability to travel. I never thought a showroom manager position would take me to Toronto, Miami, and now southern California in just a few short months, but I have been so pleasantly surprised by the opportunities. For the most part, my work travel is related to either training or regional meetings. My trip to Santa Monica this month was for the former, allowing me to gain some experience in another showroom and see how another showroom manager works.

Some showroom pics

It was a wonderful trip for many reasons and such a blast to be back in California. My counterpart in Santa Monica was my host during my stay and she knocked it out of the park! I am so grateful for her and the experiences she shared with me.

We went to some great restaurants including Urth Cafe-
(fresh, gluten free goodness)
where I had my very first boba! (basically a blended tea that has gummy, tapioca pearls at the bottom that you eat.) It was really good!
For dinner my first night we went to Sugar Fish for a true sushi experience.
I was a little skeptical when my friend Goli suggested we forgo any of the typical rolls and do the "Trust Me" menu selection. I usually am not a huge "eat a slab of raw fish by itself" type person, but she promised me it would be awesome and... she was right. The fish was so fresh, flavors so rich, and I can honestly say I loved it. 
One of my favorite things about dining in SoCal is all the places you can eat outside. It's just gorgeous... all the time! 

(Patio of Mondo Taco)
I also was happy to return to my favorite little cupcakery in Santa Monica called Vanilla Bake Shop. I came here years ago when cupcakes were just becoming all the rage. 
 Our afternoon sweet treats.
 In addition to great restaurants I also really enjoyed my hotel. The Shore Hotel is located right on Ocean Ave. near the pier and is very unique from an architectural standpoint.

Cute, vibrant rooms.
One of my favorite things about it was that is had succulents EVERYWHERE. I mean.. everywhere - at the front door, around the pool, on my patio... all different types, textures, colors. These are my favorite plants!
During my last night here, I spent the evening walking around the 3rd St. Promenade (big outdoor shopping/dining area),
checking out some shops (like the biggest, 2-story Anthro I've ever seen...)
and just soaking up every ounce of this wonderful place. Everything was so beautiful to me - the perfectly groomed landscaping, the unique architecture, and every outdoor patio was drenched in the most romantic, honey colored light. I could walk around this place forever!

After picking up dinner at ShopHouse Kitchen (the new, thai version of Chipotle that is ah-mazing), I headed back to the hotel to eat my dinner poolside.

 Jasmine tea ginger ale. Ahh... so good.
And what would a trip to southern California be without some epic west coast sunsets?!

Before heading into work my last morning, I had to pop across the street and take some pics of the coast from Palisades Park.
 The life of a Santa Monica homeless person. (Things could be worse lol)

 Baywatch anybody?
Typical, touristy shot of the pier.

The worst part about my trip was that Zach wasn't there. Had he been with me I would have asked to stay forever. Ha! After this trip and Miami I have definitely discovered the secret to surviving the winter: GO TO THE BEACH. For realz. You appreciate it so much more in the winter time because it is such a much needed retreat from the dreary cold. So thanks SoCal (and Goli!) for treating me so nice. You've made a friend in me forever and I can't wait for my next visit in September!!!

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