wanderings: california


I can’t lie, I might have been humming Phantom Planet’s “California” on the ride out. I finally made it out to the west coast!

One of my college roomies returned to her home state for grad school, so there was no reason not to go…the fact that I was also able to include a stop at Dapper Day at Disneyland was the ultimate icing on the cake!

I flew into LAX (and had a magical travel experience – both of my flights out, no one was sitting in the middle seat! Score!) and was picked up by the lovely Miss Elise. We grabbed In-N-Out, as you do, and hit the ground running with a stop at Santa Monica Pier.


I hadn’t had a chance to apply sunscreen yet, so we just wandered around a little before taking my vampiric self back to the car and heading to Elise’s parents’ house in Altadena. The next day was dedicated to exploring the L.A. area – my wishlist was to see the Hollywood sign and visit the brick & mortar location of one of my favorite online shops.

We headed to Griffith Observatory, then cruised up to Burbank for the shopping. We even drove past some movie studios, which made me feel like I was getting the proper Hollywood experience! After a quick stop by Caltech to see a very unique science-themed play, we were off to Anaheim.


Dapper Day is an unofficial Disney event where fashion enthusiasts of all types wear their finest duds in the park. It was so much fun to dress up and see all the beautiful outfits. We had a pretty magical day at Disneyland; everything worked out pretty much perfectly, and we basically didn’t have to wait in line for anything. A great first experience at the park! But no rest for the wicked – once we’d had our fill of Disney, it was off to Santa Barbara!

Elise is a grad student, so I had some time to explore on my own while she was in class the first day. I visited the Santa Barbara courthouse and got some great shots from the observation tower, then explored downtown (with crepes for lunch, yum!). That night, Elise’s mom treated us to a lovely oceanside seafood dinner. Scallops with crab and lobster risotto, oh yes.

My last day in Santa Barbara, we explored tidepools, visited the historic Mission and rose garden, and had some delicious Chinese food for dinner. I saw sea slugs, an anemone and even a wee little crab! I had such a lovely time on my trip, thanks in huge part to Elise & Zach. You guys were such amazing hosts – thank you again for having me!

Since I’ve gotten back, a lot of people have asked me if I “got the bug” for California. And…honestly, I think I have to say no? I had a lot of fun and definitely want to go back there again, but at least in this brief glimpse, it’s not a place I can really picture myself living. It doesn’t help that we got caught in a big L.A. traffic jam on the night I landed, curing me of any romantic notions about the city. At least at this point in my life, I don’t think I’m a big city kind of person. Milwaukee is definitely still the right size for me.

But part of the fun of having a home is that it’s always there waiting for you when you want to go exploring. And this was a great week of exploration!


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