Midwest on the West Coast

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 8.37.58 PMAs I shared in my most recent post, my parents were here to visit early this month, and we had SO much fun while they were here. The weekend after they were here, our sweet friends, Jessica and Tell, came to visit next. We met these two back in St. Louis (Jess and I met through social media actually 🙂 then later had grad school classes together at Webster then worked weddings together that I was planning and their company, Created Space Studios, was filming), and then these two left us to head a little bit west (but not quite California west) as they moved to Kansas City. We were so sad when they moved, but at the same time, we were inspired. We admire this couple and their dreams and ambitions and feel so much on the same page as them in terms of work, life, career, goals, everything. Their move may have been a little touch of inspiration for our own big move (along with a few other subtle touches of inspiration from a few others too). This is also a couple who loves to travel like we do, so we knew that they would definitely be coming out to visit. Not only do they share our love for travel, but also our love for baseball, and specifically, the Cardinals. So, their trip was planned around two conveniently scheduled series games – one vs. the Angels and the other vs. the Dodgers, and we made a full weekend of it.

We had an absolute blast at a winning game vs. the Angels the first night that Jess and Tell got here. Although Angel Stadium and Angels games have not yet proven to be my favorite, everything about this game was so much fun. The stadium had so many other Cardinals fans which made it that much more exciting. There was even a cat (see Rally Cat) that ran across the field in the middle of the game?! Ha, we couldn’t help but laugh. Toward the end of the game we moved down to the first section with the rest of what was dubbed ‘Busch Stadium West’ to finish out the game, and being surrounded by what seemed to be only Cardinals fans left in the stadium at that point, it was a truly phenomenal experience.

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Saturday was the Dodgers game, so we decided to spend the entire day being touristy in LA and Hollywood. We had lunch at the newly opened Shake Shack in West Hollywood (happy to have some of the East Coast here with us on the West Coast!) followed by a trip down the Hollywood Walk of Fame to take another look at the stars and the Hollywood sign. See it in the pic below? Ya, it’s not quite as big as the movies make it seem 😉

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We also took a Warner Brothers Studio Tour which was also SO much fun! We got to see all of the Batmobiles, studio locations for Fuller House and Big Bang Theory, I was a ‘stand in’ for Ellen (her studio and stage are beautiful!) and our tour guide gave us an extra special behind the scenes tour of the Pretty Little Liars set and so much more. We had an awesome guide who seemed to love our loud and lively group. My appreciation for the entertainment industry continues to grow out here. I’m absolutely amazed by it all. We finished up our tour with coffee at Central Perk, just like Friends! 

 

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Then came time for our next round of baseball. We were afraid to ask any Dodgers fans to take our picture outside of the stadium, so we had to wait for Cardinals fans to save the day, and of course, they did. We may not have taken home a win at this game, but we ate a lot of food, had great company and Jon Hamm was there (and we caught a glimpse of him on the jumbotron wearing a Cards hat. YES!) so we’ll take it. Another ballpark to check off the list (no worries, Busch Stadium is still my number 1!)!

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And before they had to leave to head back to the Midwest on Sunday, we took them to one of our favorite donut shops in Costa Mesa and took our donuts and coffee to the pier to watch the surfers catch some waves in the morning, followed by a quick drive down the coast so that we could give them a little taste of OC life too.

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My heart is so full after having family and friends here to visit and explore with us this month. I’m anxious for more visitors already so I hope we have more friends coming soon!

Xo.

We’re ‘locals’ now

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Ok, so we’re not really ‘locals,’ per se, but being here for five months now has us starting to finally get in a groove (although I still use my GPS to get everywhere, even in our neighborhood because there are SO many different routes to get everywhere…because traffic…) and starting to endure the SoCal culture. I figured I’d wait until at least the six month mark before I start sharing the things that I really don’t love so much about this SoCal life. In the meantime, though, we still act like tourists almost every weekend. With so much to do here, I don’t know that that will ever not be the case. But, it’s interesting the way that this place will do crazy things to you. For example, the 72 degrees that I once thought was so warm and cozy early on actually does not feel as warm as one may think. I no longer make fun of those jacket wearing folks when the temperature dips below 70 in the morning or evening. The Pacific air is just different I tell ya. Also, I’ve learned about ‘Gray May’ and ‘June Gloom,’ both times of the year through which the marine layer from the ocean forms cloud cover that doesn’t break until afternoon each day. It feels a bit more like fall than almost summer to me right now. Even though this place doesn’t particularly have seasons. Hm.

The weather is one thing, but the food is another. Although I’m a relatively healthy eater (and I’ve also got that whole gluten thing that most people know about me), I still crave a good burger and fries and comfort food. By comfort food, I mean pizza, pasta, steak, potatoes…All the things that either my parents always made really really well or that St. Louis has some of the best restaurants for. Food is different out here. Think juice, smoothies, salads (I do love salads, thank goodness), but gosh some days I just want something with more substance! At a happy hour for work today, I discovered that I accidentally ate fish eggs (insert wide-eyed emoji here from the girl who doesn’t even eat seafood, no sushi, more or less eggs from a fish), and at a work lunch yesterday, I ate my entire meal at a Japanese restaurant with chopsticks. Not that that doesn’t make sense or anything, but at home (as in, back in St. Louis), it wouldn’t be a problem to simply ask for a fork. Not the case here. I’m embracing the culture, although I’m definitely a wee bit out of my comfort zone most days. Oh, and I was also complimented on how well I ate with my chopsticks. Ha.

Weather, food, weekend getaways. We also just booked a trip to the desert. We will be spending our Memorial Day weekend in Palm Springs. Who would have thought?! I’m sure I’ll have a lot to share following that excursion.

With us having been out here for a few months now, family and friends are finally starting to come visit us too which makes my heart so happy. This past weekend my mom and dad were here, and we took them all up and down the coast of OC and LA to share some of our favorite places.

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Brunch at Las Brisas in Laguna Beach with my family while they were here to visit.

Although we’re definitely still foreigners to the real locals around SoCal, to those who come to visit, we are able to share some local insight which makes me feel kind of cool 😉 I’m also catching on to the local terminology, like using ‘the’ before every freeway name (the 55, the 405) and talking about the ‘Santa Ana Winds’ like they’re no big thing (more on that to come some day I’m sure). Now excuse me while I go put on a jacket and find myself some darn good, greasy gluten free pizza and pasta con broccoli to satisfy my Midwest, yet ‘SoCal local,’ soul.

KaseyLucasStLouis