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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Vacationing in your own city

We all needed a break.
Meg was overworked planning for the upcoming photo shoot and fashion event.
Jamie had her last final for her Masters Degree two days prior.
I have students this year that make me straddle between laughter and a strong desire to drink.
And V? Well, Vanessa just needs any excuse to spend money.

...Actually, V works as a doctor at a jail, but she downplays it. She also has her private practice and she often flies out to help her dad at his clinic. But she's always like, "Oh, I don't do much..."

So the Friday before Christmas, V treated us to a hotel room at Terranea. If you've never visited this resort, it's only about 15 minutes from where we live, but it's like entering another city. Here's the map of Terranea. Click on the link to see what I mean.

We all left work early (except for Meg, who if you know anything about the fashion industry, you know there's no such thing as "leaving early"). The three of us basked on the porch of our oceanside room until sunset, reading our two faves: The New Yorker and Us Magazine. Brilliance and trash -- a perfect combo. I don't know how to use Photoshop, so I assure you these photos have no added colors to them, but check out the sunset:

For those locals, Terranea is a great place to get away for dinner. They have a few restaurants to choose from. We picked the one, Mar'Sel, where you couldn't understand the menu. Think I'm kidding? And I quote: "leg confit and goose liver foie gras." WTF? I learned many important dining facts that night. Roasted salsify is not salsa. Char is fish, not something blackened on a grill. The chef was amazing, despite his tattoo of salt on his arm.

Also, if you're a local, they have a jazz band that plays in the lobby on Friday nights. It's a bunch of older men, but be careful, they will call you out if you are four girls sitting on the couch with cocktails and your heads in four novels. I wrote this dialogue on my iPhone immediately after it happened because I couldn't believe it just did:

(Setting: A fireplace. Four girls on a couch enjoying their wine and their books before dinner. Old men setting up their band equipment. Background noise: Meg giggling throughout this entire interchange)

OLD MAN: Is this the book club?
VANESSA: Ohhh. How sad. We just got called out on a Friday night.
OLD MAN: We're going to be playing music in a little bit. Is that going to distract your book club?
JAMIE: No. When the music starts, we become the dance club.
OLD MAN: You're funny. You should be on stage. There's one leaving in the morning.
(he walks away)
ME: (to the girls privately) Like a
stage coach? The stage coach is leaving?
VANESSA: What does that even mean?
JAMIE: I don't know. I think he just asked me to sleep with him.

After cocktails, we had a guy give us a ride in a golf cart to Mar'Sel, and on the way, he told us of a man who pays $30,000 a month just to live at the resort. We asked if there were a lot of families that came here, and he informed us us that currently the resort is doing "Elf Tuck-ins", where you can order one for your kids, and a worker dresses up in an elf costume and comes to read a story and tuck you in. We were like, "We HAVE TO call for an Elf Tuck-in". Fortunately for them, we were stuffed after a glorious dinner of who-knows-what, and instead we walked over to Nelson's for an after dinner glass of wine by the firepits.
In the morning, we woke up to this sunrise. Doesn't it look like a painting?
And locals... want to have a morning with a beautiful view? You don't have to spend the night to have this kind of ocean-front buffet breakfast:
On our way from the gym to our massages (glorious), we noticed this on a golf cart:
And we were like, "Hey, lady, there's a bird on your golf cart." Apparently, she knew. In fact, here is the coolest thing I learned -- even cooler than Elf Tuck-ins and Salsify. It only takes one bird of prey to keep out all the seagulls from this 120-acre resort. ONE! The resort has three because they do a bird show, where they explain it all, but suddenly I looked around and realized, there were NO SEAGULLS IN SIGHT! When does
that happen on the coast of California?

In the beginning, the trainers would set the bird free for a 45 second flight multiple times throughout the day. Now, they just have to release him once a day, and that is enough to keep the seagulls away. Up close these birds are gorgeous. Check out the eyes on this owl.

It took me four pictures before I actually got his face on camera.
He really loved pulling an "Exorcist" move and twisting his head backwards. Maybe he was just camera shy. I was like a deer in headlights staring at his face. The stripes, the beak, the colors, the gorgeous eyes. It's creatures like this where you're like, "Damn, God, you're clever!"

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