Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tales from the Mythical Land Called Southern California

Alternately titled: St. Regis Monarch Beach Hotel and Laguna Beach, you are so lovely and hence have ruined my life.

Well, I have uncovered myself from my post-trip laundry and was all ready to blog about my adventure but then I got swept up in preparing for birthday season (you could read about it here, here, and here, but simply put, from the months of March to May, we have a slew of birthdays thrown in with Easter). The kickoff to the season is at my house this Saturday, so I’ve been a bit busy.
Which is a far cry from my incredible time in California. (Especially the part when I went to Spa Gaucin to get a massage and afterwards, ate grapes and sipped wine in the cozy post-treatment room).

First of all, it was 70 degrees and sunny Every. Single. Day. And get this, people actually go OUTSIDE to walk and get exercise. They don’t pack up their kids to go walking for exercise . . . at the mall. And it should be noted that outside included a beautiful beach and bluff with lots of flowers. This definitely creates a different experience than walking past the store fronts of Forever 21 and Wetzel Pretzel.

Also, there were healthy food options everywhere I looked. For breakfast, I had a Mediterranean omelet with roasted tomatoes, artichokes, feta cheese, and chicken sausage. Another day, I had an egg white burrito with chicken chorizo. (Which totally balanced out the pound of prosciutto and fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese I had on my “ham and cheese” sandwich). (I did say healthy “options,” but seriously, I could not pass up that prosciutto).

It just makes me realize how hard I work to have an active lifestyle in Michigan . . . especially with all the ice we got today. At the end of March. Mother Nature has no mercy for us, none! (And not even in the summer because in July, we’ll have 90 degree heat with 100 percent humidity). People just seem to have a much easier time being healthy. Maybe that’s why the overall vibe was laid back and casual, as in, “Hey, I am going for a seven mile hike today up the coast and bluff. But afterwards I might want to eat at a really cool restaurant so I am going to wear my ‘good’ workout clothes that actually look like an outfit, not some baggy, faded maternity rags.”

I realize that where we were staying was probably not representative of the major cross section of Southern California’s socioeconomic status. I mean, I am sure not everyone lives in houses like this (although MTV would like to have us think so):

Houses right by our hotel. 
Check out those windows!


Houses right on Laguna Beach.
What's it like when the ocean is
your backyard?

At least my family who lives in Bakersfield in Northern California doesn’t have a house like that.

But it seriously was beautiful and I don’t even know what the word is, maybe unique?

I’m thinking that maybe the cool artists’ colony in Laguna helped with that vibe. We went on a tour and our guide was amazing. We got to see how etching was done and watch an artist paint in her gallery. Everything just seemed so relaxed and natural and effortless. It really got me thinking . . .

I know part of traveling is appreciating home (which I am coming to), but there was a huge part of me that was kind of depressed that living in the suburbs of southeastern Michigan isn’t as beautiful and artistically inspiring as Laguna. Part of me left thinking that maybe I was accidently born in the wrong state. (And maybe traveling without a diaper bag and a 30 plus pound weight on my left hip made things seem really relaxed and effortless. Just a thought as I am writing this out).

And seriously, I would love to live there except for the following reasons:
  •  I know for a fact that I could not afford to live at the St. Regis for more than a half a day.
  •  I have an overwhelming fear of earthquakes that could break California right off into the ocean.
  •  I could run into Vicki or even worse, Alexis, from The Real Housewives of Orange County (Tamara, I would be OK with seeing you since you dropped that dead weight names Simon).
  •  I would miss my friends and family.
  •  Finding a new pediatrician seems like an awful lot of work.

So I’ll leave you with the pictures of The Mythical Land of California (minus the spa pictures (obviously) and my adventures in eating sushi because I had to concentrate all my efforts on not focusing on the squishiness of raw fish in my mouth. And taking of picture AND doing that was much too much).


On the way to the pool.

The actual hotel.
Or my pretend home, as
I like to think of it.

The hotel from a distance.
Too many rooms to clean,
if I actually lived there, right?

Lemmon trees right on the property!
The beginning of the 7 mile
hike up the beach and bluff.

About 5 miles into our walk. 
See what I mean about the scenery
being more inspiring than the mall?

Harrington and I on Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach.



Anonymous said...

Your trip sounds heavenly! Especially because it's been reaining in Boise for about 5 days. It's like...SPRING or something!

And I LOL'd at your RHOOC references. I like to call Alexis "Jesus Barbie". Hahaha! I can't take credit though. I got that from a blog I read called Reality Zen With Jenn.

Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress said...

Love it! The St. Regis in Dana Point is one of my favorite places to go...posh and quiet and just plain beautiful. Such a lovely escape from reality, as everything is green and organic and delicious and orderly...a far cry from my home! =)

Mommy on the Spot said...

Lessons, Jesus Barbie! That is awesome!!

Mommy on the Spot said...

Elizabeth, it's a far, far cry from my home, too.

Michelle Saunderson said...

Sounds great. You can always move to Florida instead. We have great beaches and no earthquakes and we get at least 24 hour notice before hurricanes hit. Did I mention that homes are really cheap here

Debbie said...

Loved the post! Your pictures look like they could be postcards. The St. Regis Spa is soo nice. Have you been during summer? They have a poolside bar ( so laying out by the pool all day is sooo tempting and relaxing!

New York Mama said...

All so beautiful, heavenly, & luxurious! What a serene escape.Glad you & Harrington had such a fantastic trip! No worries about too many rooms to clean if you actually lived in the hotel, it's your fantasy and you might as well have a full staff to go with it! ;)

Amy said...

It's just not fair that people ACTUALLY live like that, right?

I live in south louisiana where the humidity is so high, you are damp the second you walk's truly miserable. And forget about good hair days!

Imagine what it would be like to have perfect year 'round weather, wine country, and celbrities galore in your state!!!!!

Ah, the good life;)

Sparkling said...

Living in cold New England, I often think about how happy I am in warm weather. And how when it's light until 6 or 7 at night, I get things done because I'm motivated by light. And then I think maybe CA would be perfect for me because the weather is reasonable all year and you can't help but be healthy. But, I don't want to move. So I'm stuck in cold New England until it becomes unbelievably hot New England and then goes back to dreary, cold New England.

Mommy on the Spot said...

michelle, that is a tempting option!! Will file that in my possibilities mental file drawer :)

Mommy on the Spot said...

Debbie, I have not been there in the summer. And I thought that place could not be any more perfect, and then you mention poolside bar?! I will have to start scheming a way to get back there.

Mommy on the Spot said...

New York Mama, you are so right! What was I thinking?!

Mommy on the Spot said...

Amy, seriously? What is that like?! And funny you should mention perfect hair because doing my hair there was effortless. *sigh* unlike the dry, cold hair and then the humidity of the summer, I always have to work for good hair.

Mommy on the Spot said...

Sparkling, I think we must be on the same latitude line. Because SUPER cold and then SUPER hot are the two seasons we have here in Michigan, too.

Jennifer said...

You are making me so excited for our trip the end of June! Loved reading your blog :)

The Empress said...

I love calif., but everytime we've gone there's been a mini earthquake.

No thank you.