Summer Lovin'

Oh man, do I miss summer. My lovely little L.A. summer. I've been back in Chicago since fall (and apparently, busy busy busy and no time to indulge in a little blogging!). It's now winter and a Chicago winter's cold wind is enough to take your breath away.

In the midst of all of this frostiness, I warm myself by thinking about L.A. I was there July through the beginning of September and I just fell in love. It was beautiful and interesting and there was so much to do between star-watching, hiking, and swimming in the Pacific. Below is a list of some of my favorite spots and memories.
  • Manhattan Beach: excellent waves, trendy boutiques, and yummy Manhattan Pizzeria
  • Huntington Gardens: a breathtakingly beautiful retreat in Pasadena where my 8 months pregnant friend decided to wear 4 inch heels to walk around in 100 degree heat while pushing her toddler in a stroller; the security man who rescued us when we'd crumpled to the ground will never forget us
  • Hiking: my favorite spots were in Malibu where you can see the ocean from your trail and climb back into little lagoons for a nice picnic
  • Rattlesnakes: I found a very large serpent on the Gettyview Trail which scared me into taking a weekend off from hiking
  • Farmers Markets: I love my Chicago markets, but in L.A. they sell sweet pluots and grapefruit and I couldn't get enough
  • Hollywood: cocktails on Sunset Boulevard and dinner at Katsuya were fantastic, but Hollywood frequently came to my Westwood neighborhood for movie premiers - and it was fun to have Meryl Streep wave to me from the red carpet
  • Susan Feniger's Street: my last night in L.A. was spent on the patio indulging in the Globetrotter menu under the light of the moon - a perfect finish
  • Fish fish and more fish: I had my choice of fishmongers that sold a beautiful selection straight off the Santa Monica pier
  • Santa Barbara: I ate local spider crab right on the pier, paddle surfed next to seals, and spent a lazy afternoon driving around the wineries on the Santa Ynez trail
  • Surfing: we spent a day in San Diego and one in Malibu trying to get up on our boards, we found we were a lot better at paddle surfing
  • Navigating: I love a good map and finding my way around and it was fulfilling to me that I was like a local, knowing when to take the 405, the 101, or a shortcut on Sepulveda
  • PCH: after packing up the car and driving through Brentwood and Santa Monica, we most often started our weekend adventures on this highway (plus, the name just sounds cool)
  • Laguna Beach: sparkly sand, clear turquoise water, and an early happy hour cocktail - aaahhhh.....
  • Rodeo Drive, Baby: other shoppers tried to act very posh and sophisticated while ogling Jimmy Choos, but my friend and I spent the morning giggling and trying on wigs and taking pictures of ourselves at the Jose Eber salon
  • Dodger Stadium: hey, I can watch my Cubbies lose anytime so why not do it here where I can also watch the sun set behind the mountains just outside of the stadium
  • Malibu Seafood Company: this is a little fish shack right on the PCH where I took all my guests, the fish tacos don't get any better and sitting at a table over from Sean Penn was a treat as well
  • Hollywood Hills: riding horses through the park and enjoying a 360 view of this incredible city was a highlight
I have to stop writing here. My memories are many and I don't intend to write a book. What I do intend, is to book my flight to go back to L.A. for spring break soon!

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