After the wedding, Thom flew home and I flew to L.A. to visit Jennifer, my long-time best friend. She lives there with her husband, Seth, and both are pursuing acting careers.
We spent the first night looking through old high school photos and as we dug deeper, we noticed a particular trend in the way we posed ourselves in almost every picture. Jennifer will now demonstrate our patented stance:
The next day, Tuesday 23rd, Jenn and I headed to Venice beach for some shopping and time in the sun. We walked from Venice to Santa Monica beach and back, talking and reminiscing. During that walk, we came to major life decisions, ended world hunger, and became one with the universe (as girls often do when given enough sand and shopping).
We also made time for lunch and silly pink drinks.
On Wednesday, we took a road trip up to Solvang, just outside Santa Barbara in wine country (where Sideways was filmed). Jenn got us an evening in her in-laws' time-share in this beautiful little Danish town. The buildings were all designed in a rustic, Scandinavian style and looked like this:
The first order of business, of course, was to go wine-tasting. We drove up to Los Olivos, where the Main Street is lined with tasting rooms. It was fun to see the different personalities of the wine-makers and how that was reflected in the design of their stores and labels. Tinsley was one of our favorites, simply because it sounded like an English boarding school. Another was Concilience for their snarky attitude.
We drove back to Solvang in time to catch the farmer's market, where we bought cheese and bread to munch on, then we went window shopping around all the cute little Danish stores. My grandmother would have been happy to see such a plethora of restaurants offering aebleskiver, a staple from my Swedish upbringing. They're tiny spherical pancakes made in special cast iron pans. I don't have much daily connection to my ancestry, so it was nice to be in a place full of Scandinaviann history and appreciation.
We rounded out the long day with a great dinner of Italian food and the season finale of Lost. Man, can you believe that stuff with Desmond?!
The next morning, we had a leisurely breakfast and walked over to the Santa Inez mission. It's a beautiful old church established by Franciscan priests in the 18th century. Damaged by earthquakes, much of the building was destroyed, yet a number of original arches still stood. In the back they had... I'm not even sure what you would call it... a memorial? stations of the cross? It was a beautiful garden, but a little excessively morbid. Check the red paint on the nails:
Finally we walked back to Solvang and packed up. Along the way we passed the Solvang Bakery, famous for its hand-painted line of Danish Monarchs.
I was particularly thrilled to see the early reigns of Harold Bluetooth, Sweyn Forkbeard, and Erik the Lame (unfortunately not pictured here).
We spent the afternoon in Santa Barbara, checking out cute boutiques. Jenn and I both bought a pair of jeans from the Blue Bee Company. That store has a brilliant business model: sell only women's jeans, hire only hot men. There is nothing like a cute boy telling you your "ass looks good in those" to make you drop a wad of cash on a pair of jeans.
That evening, we were back in L.A. and even managed to spend some time with Seth. The poor guy worked the whole week we were out gallivanting around, but he's such a sweetie he didn't complain. Jenn's new step-sister, Dawnya, came over with her boyfriend Chris after dinner. It was great to see her since Dawnya and I had been friends in Jr. High (it is a small freaking world).
I was on a plane home the next day, pockets lighter, belly heavier, smile big and bright.
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