Notes from SDCC: Days 2 and 3.

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I can’t believe that another two days at San Diego Comic-Con have passed already! Be it the frenzy on the exhibit floor or the mad rush to get to panels- but it feels like it’s gone by so fast. I’m exhausted- definitely having a blast, no question- but exhausted just the same! As I’m writing this from my hotel room, I’ve got my feet up and am attempting to decompress from the whirlwind of the past couple of days before I try to get some sleep and prepare for the final day of SDCC.

Friday, the second day of the convention, saw me break out my Daryl Dixon cosplay- complete with (an unloaded) crossbow, tattered jeans, his signature angel wing vest, and a good amount of fake blood to give me that nice, dirty, post-apocalyptic bad ass look. I just FELT cooler when I had it all on, and some fellow TWD fans at the convention center really seemed to appreciate the effort, too- which was super exciting and made it all worth it.

Although I would have loved to have made it into the actual “Walking Dead” panel that morning, there was no way I was willing to camp outside Hall H at 3 a.m., and therefore I had to catch the replay at a nearby hotel following it’s recording. I did see the season five trailer, however- and once again- October can’t get here fast enough.

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Despite Hall H being filled to capacity pretty much 99.9% of the time, I did manage to catch some less cut-throat panels in Ballroom 20 that I had been really excited for on Friday. The first, a panel by Entertainment Weekly called “Brave New Warriors,” featured actors Jon Bernthal, Tom Mison, Theo Rossi, Freddie Highmore, and Brenton Thwaites. It was ridiculously funny (Tom Mison especially!) and was followed up by Marvel’s Television panel- which offered some information about the highly-anticipated second season of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and a glimpse into their upcoming new series- which I CANNOT WAIT to see- “Agent Carter.”

I had seen the star of “Agent Carter,” Hayley Atwell, at the Marvel booth earlier that afternoon- and she’s so, so stunning.

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After the convention on Friday, I washed the fake blood off of myself and changed into something a little more appropriate to go see a comedy show/live episode of Comedy Central’s “@midnight” with Chris Hardwick at the Balboa Theatre. Although I’ve walked by the theater no less than a hundred thousand times during my stays in the city- I’d never actually been inside of it ’til I saw the show. It’s a beautiful building.

And @midnight? Hilarious, as usual. I had tears running down my face from laughing so hard- and the live tweet-a-thon that was projected on a screen in front of the crowd prior to the show was a nice touch. #butts

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Yesterday, the third day of San Diego Comic-Con, was also the day I wore the last of my three cosplay costumes. Probably the most intricate, difficult bodysuit to put together, what with all the leaves and hot glue gun burns it took to get it just right- I’m quite pleased with my Poison Ivy costume. Not pictured, since I couldn’t take photos/text/function with them on, were the leaf-covered gloves I carried with me around the convention center for photos:

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Just to give you all an idea of the amount of leaves this took!

I have to say, as someone who has never cosplayed before-  I really, truly enjoyed it- and I don’t think I did half-bad for a first-timer! I felt confident enough in each costume- and the responses I got from other attendees and staff was overwhelmingly positive! I’ll definitely be wearing these costumes again for future conventions- and have already started thinking of ways to improve them and am coming up with new ideas, as well.

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Yesterday was another morning through afternoon of posing and panels. There was one in particular I really wanted to see, as did a lot of other people- and to ensure I got a space- I took a lesson from Hall H and showed up a few hours early. It worked in my favor, though- not only because I got in and found myself a good seat- but because before my panel began, I got to see James Spader’s Q&A regarding the show “The Blacklist,” which I’ve heard good things about but have never seen. Everyone in the crowd was also given one of these fedoras, in the style worn by James Spader’s character, Reddington.

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So, what was the panel I had so patiently waited to see? Why, Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment panel, of course! Robert Kirkman is a wonderful, yet evil mastermind- who has both improved/destroyed my life with his “Walking Dead” franchise, so it was such a treat to be able to be in the same room with him and David Alpert and listen to them discuss updates in other aspects of TWD world (i.e.- Telltale’s “Walking Dead” video game,) rather than just being limited to discussing the show.

Norman Reedus, forever my mancrush and still such a lovely human being- was also in attendance to discuss his upcoming movie with Skybound, entitled “Air.” We were shown a trailer- and it looks really, really intense. I’m excited to see it.

The panel was one of my favorites, and not just because of the content discussed or because Norman Reedus is very attractive- but because it was funny, moderated fantastically, and the questions some excited fans asked were a lot of fun to hear.

I had wanted to stick around the convention center for the “American Horror Story: Coven” panel shortly thereafter- but the line was insanely long and I needed to get my uncomfortable boots off. I begrudgingly made my way back to my hotel, which actually provided an unexpected surprise: I saw Orlando Bloom just hanging out.

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Wild!

Today is the last day of San Diego Comic-Con, and my full report and summary will be updated after that. Most of the panels are more family and children-oriented today, which means I’ll be roaming the convention center one final time (and not in costume) to snap photos of any exhibits or cosplays I didn’t get the chance to photograph over the past few days.

I can’t believe it’s almost over!

Notes from SDCC: Preview Night and Day 1.

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I have arrived! I’m here! And it feels like I hit the ground running the moment my plane landed this past Tuesday afternoon. Yes, I’ve reached the bustling center of all things fandom-related and I am right smack in the middle of San Diego Comic-Con! With three days left of the convention, I thought I’d use some of my downtime to unwind and recap my very first day (and night!) of SDCC before I dive head-first into what is shaping up to be a really busy second day.

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As stated previously in this post, I arrived in San Diego late Tuesday afternoon. My hotel, the same one I typically stay at whenever I’m in town, is right off the Gaslamp District- which in turn is literally minutes away from the convention center. As I approached my hotel via cab from the airport, it was clear to see that Comic-Con wasn’t just limited to the convention center- but had extended well into downtown San Diego, as well. So many of the buildings were decorated- some elaborately- to advertise shows, games, and movies that were being predominantly featured at the con. Come to find out, many local bars and restaurants in the Gaslamp District were and are having their own special promotions, contests, and previews for convention attendees and locals alike.

My hotel is also located right across the street from Petco Park, which just held a Nerdist-sponsored laser tag tournament and will be transformed into “The Walking Dead: Escape” today through Saturday. Literally EVERYWHERE is celebrating SDCC!

Wednesday, having most of the morning and afternoon freed up until the doors opened for attendees with consolidated admission (like mine,) to pick up their badges- I managed to have a lovely lunch and car ride around town with my good friend Duncan, who I haven’t seen since the last time I was in town in September 2013. I love him!

When it did eventually come time to pick up my badge, I was also provided with a detailed, elaborate guide to all events, panels, guests, artists, locations, times, etc. to the convention- a souvenir book- and a durable and oversized backpack to carry my stuff in. Since it clashes with my costumes, I’ve opted to use it to store my belongings I picked up at the convention for the flight home, instead.

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Batsuit nipples!

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With my consolidated weekend pass, I also had access to Wednesday night’s preview night- where I spent the majority of the evening within the exhibit hall- checking out different vendors and artists- and getting a head start on what I can only assume will be a bit of a weekend shopping spree (my collective haul will be shared in a later post!) While there were some panels going on, I think it was best for me to get my bearings in the exhibit room- which was packed in a matter of minutes- to sort of get used to the crowds and figure out where everything was. I also saw the first of many amazing cosplays!

My favorite part of the hall, however, had to be the re-creation of the tunnel leading to a replica of the Terminus shrine (and of course, it featured some very convincing walkers!) to promote the upcoming fifth season of “The Walking Dead.” It was so well done and so detailed!

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Now, with this being my first ever San Diego Comic-Con experience, I thought I’d make it a weekend of firsts and try my hand at cosplaying- a hobby I often enjoyed watching others participate in but had been too indecisive, and frankly- shy- to try myself.

With yesterday being the first official day of the convention- I decided to start slow, breaking in my Cheryl Blossom costume. Surprisingly enough- I got some love (especially from the folks at the Archie Comics booth!) and even had a few people stop me to take a photo with/of me- proving once again that the “Archie” series is still classic and that Cheryl is an awesome, recognizable, underrated character.

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This was made entirely out of Lego blocks!

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Pam & Cheryl/Carol/Charlene!

Pam & Cheryl/Carol/Charlene!

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Again, being new to the SDCC scene- I took it slow yesterday, mapping out locations and even managing to catch a couple of panels from Riot Games and Blizzard Entertainment before I stepped out to have a couple of beers with a friend.

Today I’ll be going into Daryl Dixon mode- and I can’t wait to snap a few photos once the costume is on and ready. I worked so hard on everything I brought with me to wear and display, and it feels so awesome to finally be able to do it! Also, now that I (sort of) have my bearings- I’m planning on making an attempt to catch a few panels I know for sure I don’t want to miss. There’s already a lot of people camped outside the coveted Hall H to establish their positions within the room- but we’ll see how it goes!

Stay tuned for more updates!

Prepare for Takeoff…

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Well, it’s finally here. The costumes are packed. The props are prepped. My suitcase is by the door, and all I have to do is throw in my toothbrush in the morning before I dash out to the airport- and from there I will be en route to my week-long vacation- and San Diego Comic-Con! I’m excited, and giddy, and nervous all at once. Despite the fact that I fly fairly frequently- I still get a little jittery prior to takeoff. Luckily, I’m flying with Virgin America (for the very first time!) and I hear they’re a lot of fun. It also helps that I’m fully prepared for my flight and have my carry-on ready to go.

There was a time, in the not too distant past, where I would be the woman in line at the airport at 6:30 a.m. waiting for my turn to step through the security checkpoint in my six inch heels, a full face of makeup, and carrying a bag that was so weighed down with stuff I didn’t even need to bring on board that by the time we took off- my shoulder was throbbing from holding it up for so long.

I always wanted to step off the plane looking like I’d just come off a runway at Fashion Week- but I consistently never took into consideration how the high altitudes, cabin pressure, what I ate/drank on the plane, or simply falling asleep and unconsciously touching my fully dolled-up face while I snoozed would affect my skin, my hair, and my overall feeling of comfort and wellness. My flight would touchdown in whatever location I was headed to- and I would start towards the baggage claim- typically looking disheveled, sleepy, and feeling very hungry and/or dehydrated.

Thankfully, over time I’ve tweaked and developed a pre-flight and “carry-on” system that works well for me. My bag is lighter, I’m more comfortable during the flight, and when I get off the plane- I don’t feel like a frazzled, exhausted, cranky mess.

For starters, I dress a little more casual. Don’t get me wrong- wear what you like and what you feel good in, and if you can rock stiletto heels at the airport and you feel fierce as hell doing it- I say all the more power to you. But for me? I opt for sneakers or flats, looser fitting denim or yoga pants, and cotton t-shirts that are just a couple of sizes too big on me so they aren’t clinging to me for hours. This is especially helpful if I nod off during the flight. I can sleep in peace.

Since I typically fly in the morning, I eat a big breakfast before I leave my place. This prevents me from grabbing something unhealthy (and usually overpriced,) while I wait at my gate. If I have a coffee, I make sure it’s well before I reach the airport so I can get my caffeine kick without amplifying the cabin pressure induced skin dryness as the plane ascends.

I keep my makeup simple: BB creams or tinted moisturizers- products that will give me a little coverage, maybe even a subtle glow, and ample hydration without making me feel oily or look shiny. A little mascara. A little lip balm- and I’m feeling fresh-faced enough to fly.

Of course, I do bring a few touch-up items in my carry-on, which is what this whole post was initially about- what’s in my carry-on?

The Necessities:

My wallet, of course. I double check no less than ten times to make sure I have my license, my debit card, my cash, and yes- my Starbucks card.

My phone. I don’t usually keep my phone on, or even in airplane mode during a flight- but when I have a layover- it’s nice to have on me so I can send desperate texts of airport boredom to friends.

My camera. I’m not a shutterbug on the plane by any means, but I rarely leave home without it and I always like to have it close by in case there’s something worth documenting.

In-Flight Entertainment:

I’ve had my little green iPod for six years, I believe. It’s been with me wherever I’ve go, be it on a plane, on a train, in my car, or when I go for a walk. I like to load it up with new albums and podcasts prior to traveling to ensure I have hours worth of material to listen to.

Books & magazines [ not pictured. ] Although I don’t like spending money at airports, if my airline doesn’t offer a movie or some form of distraction- I’ll usually pick up a couple of magazines or an interesting looking book at the gift shop prior to boarding to pass the time if and when my iPod battery eventually dies out on me.

Nourishment:

So even though there’s a water bottle in the photo, TSA guidelines prohibit people from bringing drinks or other large amounts of liquids from outside the airport through security, but once you’ve passed the checkpoint- you can stock up prior to taking off. I used to sip a Venti coffee during flights, but I noticed my skin felt extremely dry by the time I landed. Now, I grab 1-2 large water bottles and drink those during my flight, instead, to keep myself hydrated and refreshed.

When it comes to snacking, airline peanuts are all well and good- but I prefer something that will hold me over so I don’t go craving-crazy once I land. Granola bars or dried fruit always seem to find their way into my carry-on bag.

I can’t fly without having chewing gum- not only because I like having minty fresh breath at all times, but because the chewing sensation keeps my ears from popping in high altitudes.

Fashionable:

It doesn’t matter if you’re flying to/over/through the tropics- airplanes are cold. As someone who is completely opposed to frigid temperatures, I always bring a cardigan or a light jacket with me when I fly. I’m currently loving my Captain America cardigan, courtesy of the fine folks over at HER UNIVERSE. This one is making the journey to San Diego with me- especially for Comic-Con!

I never leave home without my sunglasses, and my sunglasses never seem to come in handy more than they do when I’m trying to catch a nap during travel. These cat-eye shades are perfect for when I want to rest my eyes and don’t want the sun to disturb me while I’m up in the air.

Beauty Touch-Ups:

When it’s approaching time to land, I usually bust out a light brown/taupe eyeliner and highlighter pencil to quickly give my eyes a little pop of color and/or a much needed “pick me up” (especially if there’s been turbulence- in which case my mascara will almost certainly end up running down my cheeks and I’ll need to fix my face- and fast.)

I also bring a moisturizing lip balm with me to keep the cabin pressure from drying out and cracking my pout. For tomorrow’s flight, I’ll be accompanied by this pink Pixi balm- which I reviewed in my most recent Ipsy Bag post!

Dryness is a reoccurring theme when I talk about flying- and it doesn’t just affect my face or my lips. My hands and elbows can also get a little patchy after a lot of time up in the sky- so I always pack a small, TSA-approved tube of lotion or tin of balm to occasionally apply to problem areas so my skin is moisturized and glowing when I land.

All of these products are lightweight, will fit comfortably in my bag, and won’t weigh me down when I’m making my way through security, to my gate, onto the plane, and then to the baggage claim after I land. I’ll be able to rest easy and enjoy my flight knowing I have the essentials and some helpful products with me (and that everything else is stored safely in my luggage!)

And that’s what will be in my carry-on tomorrow morning! I’m planning on updating from California as Comic-Con gets underway, and will most certainly be sharing my completed costumes on here. I’ll also be frequently updating my Instagram (HERE) and Twitter account (HERE) during my trip!

See you all on the West Coast!

xx

Top 10 Photographs of 2013.

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In between visiting with family and friends during the holidays, working, and preparing for New Years- I’ve been drafting my “2013: In a Nutshell” post in my free time. For those who may not know, at the end of every month, I like to summarize said month, talk about any major events/turning points that took place, post any pictures that may not have initially made the cut when I blogged, write about the days to come, etc. My 2013 summary is a lot like that- but for the entire year, of course- including an assortment of news, pop culture, random tidbits and nonsense, etc.

I digress, to prepare- I’ve re-visited some of the photographs I snapped during 2013 (and there were a lot!) and wanted to create a post highlighting my Top 10 of the year and the stories behind them.

So without further ado,

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# 10: Dropkick Murphys, TD Garden (March 15th)

I took a shot of the heavily illuminated stage- and an enthusiastic fan- during the band’s annual series of Saint Patrick’s Day shows in March. The timing of this shot couldn’t have been any better, thanks in part to the guy in front of me who threw his arms up as I was snapping away while the band prepared to launch into a cover of AC/DC’s “TNT.”

This wasn’t my first Dropkick Murphys show of 2013, and it also wouldn’t be my last. I’d go on to see them perform a couple more times over the next few months- one concert in particular being especially poignant as it was a benefit for “The One Fund” to help those directly affected in the Boston Marathon Bombing.

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# 9: Ocean Beach, San Diego (September 27th)

This may not be the most complex photograph I’ve ever taken (I took it sitting down in the sand, after all,) but it’s one of my favorites from the year because it was taken during one of the most relaxing afternoons during one of my most relaxing vacations in recent memory. I was sitting in a small sliver of shade underneath the pier at Ocean Beach waiting for my friend Duncan to arrive while I listened to music and watched the surfers paddle out as the waves crashed in.

I could have stayed like that for hours. It was truly a little piece of paradise.

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# 8: Red Velvet Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting (January 22nd)

If there was ever a photograph I wanted to eat, the above shot of surprise cupcakes, a combination of two of my favorite flavors, that my family concocted and made for my birthday would be it. This picture apparently received a lot of attention on Pinterest among foodies and dessert-enthusiasts, which is pretty cool- but I especially liked it because it was a (delicious) reminder of how wonderful my relatives are and the effort they put into giving me a fun (and again, delicious,) surprise.

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# 7: Photobombing Norman Reedus in NYC (June 29th)

I can’t take credit for this photo, since I simply posed and a woman at Wizard World NYC caught the moment with her camera- but it’s still one of the best pictures I have from the event, and the year- although definitely not the most flattering. Norman Reedus, of “The Walking Dead” and “Boondock Saints” fame, is also a notorious photobomber. Having seen countless photos of fans simply standing beside him and looking timid or giddy, I decided to liven things up.

I gave Norman a heads up when we got ready to pose in front of the hilariously awkward K-Mart style backdrop, and he was an incredibly good sport and enthusiastic participant to the shenanigans. He’s a genuinely cool guy.

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# 6: Mick Jagger, TD Garden (June 14th)

Winning Rolling Stones tickets was a dream come true that I’m still pinching myself about since I can’t believe it actually happened. To be able to see the man, the myth, the legend- Mick Jagger- sashay, dance, and kick his way around the stage- performing all the songs I grew up with and love so, so much- was beyond surreal. I took this shot in between cheering myself hoarse and singing along at the top of my lungs- and it’s an incredible memento to have in my collection of concert pictures from throughout the years.

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# 5: Autumn Shade, Winsor Dam (October 5th)

During one of my countless weekend drives, I had stopped in Western Massachusetts to take in the fresh air and beautiful fall foliage. It was during a long walk over the Winsor Dam in Ware/Belchertown when I saw the sun shining through this tree, in the midst of the transition from Summer to Fall- hanging over and shedding it’s leaves onto an unoccupied picnic table. I grabbed my camera, and the result is something I am really quite pleased with.

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# 4: Great Gatsby Lawn Party at the Crane Estate (July 21st)

This is another photo I didn’t take myself (Sean helped!) but I loved it, even if it’s considered a “selfie.” We had considered taking this picture in black & white or sepia, to give it a more authentic “old time” feel, but in the end I’m glad we decided to keep the photo in it’s full color. The bright red of my hair and lipstick pales in comparison to the Crane Estate, surrounded by other attendees and the greenest grass I’d ever seen, looming in the background.

It was a beautiful party, and I’m glad I have this photo to remember it by.

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# 3: Cliff Walk, Newport (December 22nd)

This is one of the most recent photographs I’ve taken (from a day trip this past Sunday,) but it’s one of the most beautiful, in my opinion. The ocean has always been a place of refuge for me. It can be calming or exciting, perfect to sit and watch in any mood or mind set. On this particular day, it was wild- with waves crashing against the rocks while I strolled Cliff Walk. I took this photo of the water breaking against and inside a small cave within the cliff while some of the Newport Mansions are peeking through the fog in the background.

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# 2: The Day After, Boston (April 20th)

At a glance, this photo isn’t anything extraordinary- there’s probably hundreds out there just like this- but to me- the date it was taken and the frame of mind myself and many others were in is what makes this photo so important to me. Shot hours after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the two Boston Marathon Bombers, was taken into custody- I snapped this photo by the reflecting pool while heading out to brunch with a friend. The sun was shining, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and everyone I saw or spoke to that day seemed to be in good spirits.

The city of Boston has never looked more beautiful to me than it did that day, and in this photograph.

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# 1: Medfield State Hospital (January 26th)

And finally, my favorite photograph. Something I captured that I am still, and will remain, very fond of. Taken on one of the coldest days of the year at the abandoned Medfield State Hospital, I was rounding one of the wards when I spotted this dilapidated bench with a tree growing through it. Although I am very pleased with every shot I took that day- this one is my favorite. I know there’s a metaphor in it somewhere, like “life continues through destruction and decay,” or something poetic like that- but I just thought this picture was neat. The snow, the boarded up building in the background, the fence. Every part of it.

I hope to go back someday in warmer weather and see the tree in bloom- still growing through the bench.

And there they are, my top 10 photographs from 2013. It was a hard decision to make, limiting all of my pictures I took down to just ten- but I think it’s a good compilation. All of the photos posted have fun or meaningfulness to them.

I hope to be even more of a shutterbug in 2014 (and who knows- maybe double my list to a “top 20” this time next year?)

Time to Head Home…

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Ah, yes, the dreaded “last day of vacation” has finally arrived. As much as I would love to stay in San Diego forever, I’m due to fly back to the East Coast early tomorrow morning (arriving just in time to catch the series finale of “Breaking Bad!”)

My last day of vacation usually involves packing, double checking that I packed everything about four to several more times, catching up on my (sigh) e-mails so I’m prepared when I get home and get back to business, double-checking that I packed everything another five times, and shopping. My mom, God bless her, loves souvenirs, so I always have to make a point to bring her back something cheesy to appease her, and even though I bring more than enough clothes and outfits for any and every occasion that should arise (you never know when you’ll need a cocktail dress… or a ball gown) while away from home, I always end up picking up a few more things that catch my eye.

Today, while stretching my legs, I stopped by a little store downtown to take a quick peek at a dress displayed in the front window that I had liked the pattern of. Instead, I ended up leaving with a bunch of fun-printed scarves and a crop-top I couldn’t resist buying:

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Yesterday, I spent a good chunk of the day catching some sun and salty ocean air down at the pier at Ocean Beach (O.B.) which is one of my favorite spots in San Diego. The overall environment and the people that frequent there, at least every time I’ve visited, are very laid back surfer, skater, and hippie types. When I wasn’t down at the water, I was walking along the main strip of surf-shops, bars, and food shacks, admiring the spray-painted murals and street art on display on the sides of most of the buildings. The entire look of the beach is like something out of late 60s/early 70s, with more modern cars and clothing, of course. I’m so smitten with the place.

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I met up with my longtime San Diegon friend, Duncan, at O.B., where we had a really nice little picnic by ocean before heading back to his beautiful apartment in Hillcrest. I met his three-legged cat (who is ADORABLE) and Duncan surprised me with an absolutely gorgeous Michael Kors watch. I’m still a little stunned by it. Every time I go to look at the time, I can’t help but smile.

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The night concluded with a visit to a rooftop bar, where I had the most breathtaking view of the city as the sun was setting, followed by some New York style pizza- which is really the only way to end a perfect day.

And now, as the sun begins to set here again (sadly, I have no pizza this time,) I’m preparing to bid farewell to SoCal, and to what was an entirely and thoroughly enjoyable weekend. It was so, so nice to see some familiar faces- and meet some new ones, over the past few days, and while there were a couple of people I sadly did not get the chance to visit due to distance or time constraints- there’s always next time.

It seems that the only thing left to do before I go is stuff my face with one last heaping amount of In-N-Out Burger. I’m craving animal fries like you wouldn’t believe right now.

See you all back on the East Coast!

xx

“We’ve got the ocean, got the babes, got the sun- we’ve got the waves.”

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Hello from beautiful San Diego, California!

This little four day getaway (I arrived Wednesday) was sort of a spur of the moment decision on my part. October looks as though it’s going to be a month full of fun events- with my time split between being at home in Massachusetts and in NYC- and November and December, as is the workplace tradition- will be very, very busy as the firm wraps up cases for the end of the year and prepares for 2014. It’s a little wild to think about- that in just a few months we’ll be heading into an entirely new year.

But I digress, since talking about time going by so quickly can be awfully depressing. Seeing an opportunity to get away, if only for a few days, before I am indubitably swamped, I flew out to Southern California to do, well, nothing. This is the first time in a long time where I’ve traveled somewhere, not to see any specific sights or participate in any specific activity under any specific schedule, but to just sort of come and go as I please- eat and drink where I want, sleep as late as I’d like (although I was up and moving at 7 A.M. Pacific Standard Time yesterday and this morning, so I guess some things never change, even on vacation,) and roll with the punches as they came at me- and it’s been phenomenal, and also very, very relaxing. I’ve discovered a ton of new places in the area to add to the list of places I already frequent and enjoy.

I’ve already explained my love for San Diego, and my long-term goal to eventually make the permanent move here, so there’s no need to bore anyone reading this with the details of my love affair yet again. This place is the best- and that’s really all that needs to be said.

While Wednesday was pretty quiet, low-key, and uneventful (after a pretty long and horrific flight, the only thing I really wanted to do was grab some food and take a nap in my hotel room,) yesterday was filled with a lot of exercise and exploring. I spent the majority of the morning and afternoon in Balboa Park, stopping by the San Diego Museum of Man (an absolutely massive and gorgeous building I’ve always admired from afar whenever I’m here,) to see an exhibit of Medieval torture devices- because why not? I only got a little queasy just once while reading the description of how one of the devices was used (spoiler alert: it was a device designed specifically for women,) but overall, it was morbidly fascinating. Definitely worth checking out if you’ve got the stomach for it.

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As it turns out, my timing for this trip turned out to be perfect, especially last night when I stopped by The Griffin to grab a drink and catch a show put together by SoundDiego that featured Neighbors to the North (awesome,) the first live performance from Saint Diego (my new favorite band,) and my old pals, The Nervous Wreckords. Now, my love for the city of San Diego itself and it’s beautiful weather and lovely scenery is only surpassed by my love for the people I know here. I’ve known Brian, the frontman, since my teens- and Daniel, the keyboardist, for a while now, and I hadn’t had the pleasure of spending time with either one of them in about two years. The show was fantastic, but getting to see them and catch up afterwards was truly the highlight of my night (apart from Saint Diego covering CCR’s “Bad Moon Rising,” of course. That was the coolest thing ever.)

And major kudos to the friendly new faces I met last night who talked Boston sports with me (without ripping on my accent too much) and directed me to different things to check out in the city, either during this trip or the next time I’m in town. Those guys, and gals, made an already wonderful evening even better with their hospitality.

With only a couple of days left on the West Coast, I’m looking forward to visiting a few more friends and hitting the beach. It’s still early-ish here, however- and I think I hear breakfast calling my name.

xx

California Dreamin’…

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The first time I ever visited Southern California, specifically San Diego, it was 2007, I was in my very early twenties, and I had gone to visit friends who were both performing, and working, at an all-day, outdoor music festival. I made a weekend out of it, sticking around an extra few days to take a look around and spend time with said friends who lived in the area. It didn’t take long for me to fall completely head over heels in love with the city and all it had to offer a wide-eyed, and (then) innocent girl like me. I wasn’t a jet-setting, world-weary traveler. At the time I’d barely gotten used to Boston, had taken NYC by storm a couple of times, and had even traveled to London, England the previous Summer for what will forever be known as the “Dynamic Duo Tour de Force”, as my best friend Samantha had come with me for the sight-seeing and the Reading/Leeds Festival experience- but I knew San Diego was different from anywhere I’d been before. I could feel it almost immediately.

Not only is the weather perfect nearly year-round, making outdoor activities and exercise all the more fun, but the scenery is picturesque, the nightlife options- bars and restaurants- are so diverse and easily accessible for whatever mood you’re in, and the San Diego music and art scene, in my opinion, is one of the best in the country.

Six years and countless trips later, I’m not as wide-eyed (and definitely not as innocent) as I used to be, but I’m just as enamored with San Diego as I was the very first time I visited- maybe even more so now that a good chunk of my dearest friends and family have moved there, and in surrounding areas, over time. Some visits have been great, others not so much, for different reasons, but I always go back because I feel so “at home” there. People I know, friends, family, new and old alike- have told me on more than one occasion that I belong there- that I need to make the move.

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I had said in 2011 that I had every intention of moving out west, but as most of you know, and have probably experienced yourselves, life has a way of throwing curve balls when we least expect it. No sooner had I expressed my desire to leave New England when my father was diagnosed with cancer, and any and all plans to relocate immediately came to a grinding halt while I spent the next year at his side until his untimely death in the Summer of 2012. The idea was, obviously, put on the back-burner ever since- until now.

My father knew how much I wanted to move to San Diego, and he supported the decision (almost) 100%. Of course I was, and still am, his little girl- and the idea of me moving across the country to a place he hadn’t been in a long, long time- made him uneasy, but he wanted me to be happy, and as long as I flew back to Massachusetts from time to time, or found a suitable sofa for him to sleep on when he dropped by to check on me, probably unannounced knowing how my dad was- he had nothing but good luck and well wishes for me. I feel like holding myself back by not doing what I truly want to do, or going where my heart is telling me to go would make him so disappointed if he were still here- and I want so much to make him proud of me, wherever he is.

During my recent stay, I discussed the possibility of going through with the move with a couple of friends out there. They were so unbelievably eager, as well as helpful, with giving me advice and ideas of where to look for a safe, suitable place. One of my longtime friends, Duncan, even suggested we become roommates- which, if anyone knows Duncan- knows that it would be AWESOME.

Nothing is set in stone just yet, but I’m staying optimistic and positive that things will work themselves out in due time. I’m going to continue saving my money, planning, and preparing- and hopefully soon, I’ll be a permanent California girl, and not just a frequent visitor.

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