January seemed to be somewhat of a long month. It always is to me, but lately time has been flying by and thankfully January seemed to slow down a bit – that was until I looked at the date and realized it’s the first day of February. (And now we are in March!)
My sister Katie flew into town for a girls getaway in Laguna Beach for the weekend with her college best friends. But before her trip started she came a few days early to visit Zeke and I, as she hasn’t been to our new apartment yet in Santa Monica since we’ve moved here, and she’s never been to Los Angeles, which makes everything ten times more exciting when I get to play tour guide and show her my favorite sites and homes, streets and roads, restaurants and such.
We went to dinner the night she flew in to my most favorite restaurant in Los Angeles, ‘Baby Blue BBQ’ in Venice. There are obvious reasons as to why it’s my favorite being that it’s a familiar taste of home in the south & the fact that their mac n’cheese makes me so happy when I consume it. Zeke and I discovered Baby Blues while watching ‘Dinners’ Drive-In’s & Dives’ on the Food Network and they did a spotlight on their Mac N’ Cheese and we were sold. Baby Blues passes the test because the chef and owner is from Texas – so I know it’s good BBQ. You can’t find BBQ here in California. Also, it’s in Venice, which is true to its past with its hippie vibe and grunginess which isn’t my style, though I appreciate it because they stick to the way Venice has been since the 60’s. I love that Baby Blues is a hole-in-the-wall. Makes me feel more comfortable and at home as most soul food, bbq joints and Cajun places are like that with lots of southern character & charm. And they play nothing but bluegrass jazz as well as Johnny Cash. It’s a nice place to escape too because most of Los Angeles is ritzy, lavish & expensive. It’s fun to explore and the interiors of the restaurants are always so incredible but the atmosphere is very snooty & trendy. So, you can see why I was really excited to take Katie here for dinner. Not to mention, I needed a good excuse to go so I could pop that BBQ shrimp drizzled with lime & remoulade in my mouth!
The next morning I drove her up to Malibu where we ate at the end of the Malibu Pier at ‘Malibu Farm.’ It’s very charming inside and has a quaint coastal feel. The food of course is all organic & such, as everything is in Los Angeles, but it’s delicious & you can't beat the view. You can sit either inside or you sit up top on deck outside and you overlook the ocean. You see nothing ahead of you but the sea and it’s incredible. I could go there alone and order breakfast and bring a book & just stay there all day. It’s very calming. I always stare into the depths of the ocean and wish I had a pair of goggles or glasses that had x-ray vision and you could see straight through the water, as deep as you’d wish to see & it would be in HD and you could view every living sea creature and know their whereabouts and see what’s really beneath you when you’re swimming in the water. I’d probably regret it and never step foot in the ocean again but it would be so incredible to see that.
Katie loved the Malibu Pier & Farm. She requested to go there after seeing a photo of mine during a previous brunch visit and she was saying how she wanted to live here, and wanted my life. It does seem appealing. On the outside it’s very dreamy, I do live in a very glamorous almost not realistic place – but I told her, it does seem appealing but it only brings so much happiness and only for a small amount of time. Soon enough the life that I’ll desire is the one she is living. With land, space, children, simplicity, hospitality & a life that is real and not fake. She agreed and knew she had it best, but the grass is always greener, isn’t it?
After brunch I drove her through Malibu, Pacific Palisades & Brentwood and gave her a tour of all the celebrity homes that I knew of consisting of Yolanda from ‘Housewives of Beverly Hills', Gwyneth Paltrow, Maria Shriver & Betty White. And Katie got to enjoy her first celebrity sighting, which was of Betty White. We had pulled the car over so that we could get out and walk the streets and see the homes better and sure enough, the moment we walked to Betty’s, she pulled into the driveway with her at-home nurse and took about 15 minutes to walk inside her front door. Katie was dying. I was kind of sad noticing how much older Betty looked in person. I mean, I’ve known she’s in her 90’s but they do her up right when on screen because in person, she looked so frail and fragile. It made me very sad.
After the tour, we went shopping, of course on the Promenade – I don’t think there will be a day where I won’t step foot on that Promenade. I am now to the stages of cringing if I have to go there. Working on the Promenade has made that tourist attraction a place to dread and avoid and somehow, someway, I always find myself there.
We had only a short amount of time to hangout together because she had to head to Orange County to pick her friends up from the airport but it was time well spent and I loved every second being with my sister. I feel as though I don’t get to see my sisters too often as they are across the United States and home in the South where I seriously desire to be. Not a day goes by where my mind doesn’t go in that direction of longing to be near my family, and being a part of all the memories they make together that I miss out on. And not a day goes by where I don’t think of the South and the comfort it brings to me. Katie brought some of that comfort with her and it brought me ease. I love my sisters so much.
That same weekend, Zeke and I attended a Ball-like Banquet for Forrest Lawn who Zeke partners with for work. Zeke told me it was going to be a ball and I needed a gown. A gown!? I don’t own anything close to a gown and he told me almost two days before the event, so I went shopping and honest to goodness there was nothing in store. It shocked me knowing that the Oscars are just a couple of weeks a way but I was scrambling to find something appropriate for this fancy occasion!
Luckily, I found something last minute at Anthropologie that I knew I could return the next week and I was beginning to find myself excited to wear it. As of late, I’ve noticed that the older I get the less excited I am about dressing up, but I think its mostly because I am not in the best shape that I could or should be in and I’m very self conscious and I just don’t feel as though anything fits me as well and not to mention at the time I needed to get my hair colored and was pasty white. So I just was feeling really low about myself and sort of felt hopeless but I did the best I could with myself and for the state I was in, I don’t think I turned out so bad.
I wore this sleeveless faint metallic gold dress that hit mid-calf. The skirt of the dress was long with pleats and I adorned the dress with a white fur shrug worn around my shoulders and clasped it in place with a very large brooch clustered with gold and yellow stone jewels that my mom gave me. I wore my hair down and curled and wore my newest addition of jewelry – these J.Crew earrings that almost dangled long enough to my collar bones and to top off the ensemble, I wore my cream Sam Edelmen kitten heels that I wore with my wedding dress. I also brought my Grandma Jean with me, in spirit, as I clung onto her white leather clutch with a gold metal clasp and I wore one of her chunky gold rings that has a ruby gemstone set in the center. I miss her a lot and I feel so thankful to have a few of her things that were once so special to her and they are now just as special to me.
Zeke looked sharp with a bowtie and his glasses. I love when Zeke wears his glasses. There is something so sexy and manly about it in a non-nerdy way. His glasses are very dapper and adds so much charm to his appearance.
While we were getting ready, I realized how excited I was beginning to get. I was beginning to feel like I was living in the 40’s or 50’s in Santa Monica, California – the golden age of Old Hollywood. Our bathroom and bedrooms windows were open, we could smell the sweet scent of the ocean and hear couples arguing from across the way in other apartments and I felt as though I was in Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window.’
As we climbed into the car, I don’t know what got into Zeke but he turned the radio onto AM and we listened to classical symphony music the whole drive up to Pasadena, where we’d arrive at the historic Langham Hotel. As odd as this is – I had yet to drive on the freeway through downtown Los Angeles towards Pasadena and the freeway was the most beautiful freeway I have ever driven down. It was hilly, and there were lots of turns back and forth, and it started to get dark because the freeway started to become eloped with trees and lush shrubbery, and before you knew it we were going through tunnels; long tunnels that were paved on the inside with an art deco pattern in the concrete. I felt like we were in another world. The whole ambiance of the situation, our location, our attire, our background noise and surroundings were on point. I remembering smiling the whole drive and Zeke and I held hands the whole car ride up.
Once we arrived in Pasadena, I knew right then and there that if we have to stay in California for the next couple of years, then I want to move here. The neighborhood streets were so charming, with these beautiful white houses and picket fences and beautiful pedicured lawns. The streetlights were vintage looking like the 30’s and the streets were lined with these large trees that hovered over the pavement – reminded me of home in the South.
We arrived to the Hotel and unfortunately, it was so dark out that I really didn’t get a good look of the exterior and we were taken into a banquet hall of the hotel which was just mediocre, therefore the neighborhoods of Pasadena left a more lasting impression on me then the hotel. Zeke and his group at Precoa won an award. While he was on stage I couldn’t help but admire him and his hard work. He looked so handsome up on that stage, I was so in love with him that night. He’s just so impressive to me. I adore him so much. The night was long – lots of awards and not so great food. We both were banking on the four course meal to hit it out of the ball park but all courses didn’t impress which left us both wanting to go through the In-N-Out drive-thru. Though we didn’t, we ended up dancing for five minutes which had me laughing on the floor. Zeke’s dance moves are like Bowser’s in Super Mario when you enter Bowser’s Castle and he frantically moves back and forth in such a stiff manner but still manages to bounce off the walls. That’s exactly what Zeke looks like and it makes me smile. The night was long that we may have danced for only five minutes and headed out back on the road for Santa Monica and went straight to bed. It was a night to remember. It was a romantic and enchanting night and it was something new and very much needed for the both of us. I’d do it again and again and again.
Then February rolled around and it was another busy month. I was able to see some close friends who flew in from New York for a two week trip in California, starting in Los Angles and driving their way up the coast to San Francisco. We managed to squeeze in a day trip to Disneyland and it was a total blast. Seeing my friend Chad again was so good for my soul and it was such a fun a youthful day with friends.
Then Valentines Day weekend rolled around and we made it out of the house and went into the Malibu Canyon and went horseback riding. Zeke and I have been talking for a very long time about picking up horseback riding as a hobby. It has always sounded so appealing to me and I loved it even more than I knew I already would. And what a workout! I didn't know leisurely riding a horse would have you sore for days. It all makes sense to me why cowboys walked the way they did.... I was walking like that all weekend long and I looked ridiculous. I looked like I was riding an imaginary horse. Despite the pain, Zeke and I want to do it again and again. Summer will be a lot of fun.