la la land

There are certain places that make me want to breathe deeper. The air is clean, the sky is clear and everything about it makes me want to fill my lungs up, close my eyes, and be washed over with its freshness.

This is the effect Manhattan beach had on me this weekend. I visited Sam in LA and we jam packed the trip with activities, culminating in a morning at Manhattan and Hermosa beaches. But let me back up...

Friday night we went to dinner with Ricky, Sam's roommate, in Thousand Oaks, which is, funny enough, just a couple of miles from where I lived when I interned at Los Angeles Magazine in college. Turns out Sam goes to the exact same gym and grocery store I went to. In a city that big...!? Small world.

Saturday we went to Coffee Bean (yaay!), then spent the day in Santa Monica. We sat oceanside for lunch at the Georgian Hotel, checked out the flying rings at Muscle Beach, went down to the Pier, shopped on Ocean Ave., and took in every inch of the area.
On the way home, we drove through Malibu up the Pacific Coast Highway, at which point I seriously started wondering how one city could have so many beautiful things packed in it.

We then did a little outlet shopping and met up with dear family friends, with whom I lived while I was there, for dinner.
Sunday morning, we went to brunch with Sam and Rick's friends at Post, which was pretty much amazing. If you're in the area, you should try it right away. And Phil Dunphy was eating there :D (not afraid of being blatantly star struck here.)

After that, we walked along the beach from Manhattan to Hermosa. And that was when I fell in love.

Santa Monica is awesome and Malibu is beautiful, but I adored the feeling of these beaches. They're much more relaxed. They have less of a touristy feeling, and are much more a surfer, I just want to enjoy the weather and beach, vibe. I cube-dreamed about it all day long yesterday.
(Beverly Hills 90210 House. :))

And, of course, the best part of all of this was seeing Sam and Ricky all grown up. They were such wonderful hosts - paying for my meals, thanking me for making the trip (to which I said: no thank YOU for living here!), concerned about my boot...

Those two are real gentlemen, and I am so grateful I got to visit them in yet another beautiful place. I told them they just have to keep living in awesome cities so I can continue my touring. Not so much to ask, right?

Thank you Sammy!!