2008 passed with some of the most incredible and unforgettable memories of my life, and I couldn’t have asked of a better way to kick off 2009 then by hanging out with some of my closest friends back in the States after 1o months of traveling the world. Each minute I am home I feel blessed to have the opportunity to be surrounded by those who I love and missed.
Jamie and Beck graciously hosted Davey, Sarah, Tommy and I at their apartment in Pasadena, California. We spent New Years Eve with cocktails in hand playing board games before heading out to Barcelona, a fun Mexican restaurant, for tapas and a celebration of the coming year. We decided to opt out on $30 cover charges and $10 drinks and headed back to the apartment after celebrating the stroke of midnight in the middle of the street with huge hugs and bright smiles.
The following morning we slept through the infamous Tournament of Roses Parade, but were able to get out the door by noon and walked to the Rose Bowl for a good ol’fashion, all-American tailgate! We made friends with the USC crowd, played football until our shoulders were sore and found our way to Barney’s Beanery, one of the best sports bars in Pasadena, before taking Davy and Sarah to the airport.
For Jamie’s birthday the following day we celebrated with lime margaritas and played more board games before going to Gyu Kayu, a Korean BBQ restaurant and one of the most entertaining ways to eat a meal. I tried Korean BBQ once before and if you’ve never done it I would highly recommend that you put it on your immediate list of things to do. A small BBQ takes up the middle of the table, which after ordering your choice of raw vegetables or meats, you can grill to your own likening and perfection. And nothing tops off healthy Korean food and garlic noodles than a round of Saki shots which we received complimentary by our waiter in addition to Jamie’s bowl of ice cream topped with a birthday candle. After dinner we were in route to another bar, when a rep from the club we were going to go to the night unexpectedly approached us and offered to get us in for free! Who can resist free? As you can imagine, we spent the remainder of Jamie’s birthday in the club on the dance floor.
The next morning after cream frosted cinnamon rolls and hot coffee, we packed our bags and made the two hour drive past green and brown palm trees, rolling dessert hills and hundreds of wind mills on our way to Palm Springs. We arrived mid-afternoon and after checking into our hotel we relaxed before firing up the grill and cooking up a steak and salad dinner. Although all of us were pretty tired from the previous three days of non-stop festivities…we knew we couldn’t be boring and decided to head to the Fantasy Springs Casino where Tommy’s beginner’s luck won him $50, the rest of lost a little pocket change and we all went home with smokey hair and clothes (yuck!).
Today we dropped off Tommy at the airport and headed to Starbucks for a much needed coffee. We spent the remainder of the afternoon walking the boardwalk on Venice Beach, having lunch/dinner at a Thai restaurant and catching the remaining glow of a burnt red sunset from Santa Monica Beach.
Tomorrow I head back to snowy Seattle but hopefully I will catch a few of California’s golden rays before I leave. Thank you Beck and Jamie for such an incredible weekend getaway!