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Having become accustomed to quick 3-4 day trips, where I land, see the sites quickly and then head out, mostly to maximize my vacation days over the course of a long weekend, the idea of spending ten days in California boggled my mind. What could I possibly do for ten days? Fortunately I had the opportunity to do so many things I normally would not have, primarily due to the generosity of my friends Jess and Jonathan, who live in Beaumont, California, which as it turns out is quite central to a number of major sites. Here are some of the highlights for your perusal!

Kayaking & Sea Cave excursion, La Jolla, San Diego

Before Caitlin and I got to California, Jess found a Groupon for kayaking and sea cave exploring out in La Jolla, San Diego, which was the perfect way to kick off Day 1 of our trip. We arrived at Everyday California in the AM to check in, grab our helmets, life jackets and kayaks and head out. For anyone who has been to San Diego, you already know how beatiful it was, but there’s a certain peace of mind that comes with checking out the sea lions and other animals which the South Western Ontario weather doesn’t allow for. The only downside to the day, which thankfully didn’t impact me, is Everyday California is in the transition of switching from old kayaks to new ones. So while some of us were fine and dandy in our shiney new(er) kayaks, a few people were stuck in older ones which actually sank out in the water and saw them flip upsidedown! I would not have been a happy camper if that had been me. But since it wasn’t, all in all Day 1 was a definite a success!

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The Price is Right, Los Angeles

There is so much to be said for the Price is Right day! This was an experience like no other – check out my feature on the Price is Right by clicking here.

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The Spring Resort & Spa, Desert Springs

This was an experience like no other! To read more about my day at The Spring Resort & Spa, click here.

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Hard Rock Hotel, Palm Springs

The Hard Rock Hotel, to be quite honest, was a bit of a miss for me, rather than a hit! The staff were pleasant in person but seemed disorganized and unaware of the amenities they had to offer. The hotel itself, the pool and the view were all absolutely astounding. The food at the restaurant was to die for. They had every aspect of an amazing, stand out hotel, but what was missing was the kind of fun environment I’ve come to expect from the Hard Rock Hotel, having stayed at many others throughout the USA. We were the only people in the restaurant for most the time, the only people at the pool for most the time, and the only people in the lobby while we were there. With the exception of a few stragglers here and there, it felt like a ghost town staying here. Thank goodness we bring our own party everywhere we go, because we still had an amazing time nonetheless celebating for Jess’ bachelorette party! When I got home to Canada howeveer, I noticed the hotel had overcharged me for both the room and the in-room services we ordered, and while they refunded me the difference when I called, I still took an over $30 hit on the exchange rate from the bank due to the Hard Rock Hotels staff error.

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Pacific Coast Highway Roadtrip

What started out as just a day heading to Dana Point to relax at the beach turned into the most unexpected, wonderful little road trip down the Pacific Coast Highway for a few hours. As traffic on the highway was going to be a nightmare on our way back to Beaumont, Jonathan asked if we’d be okay taking the long way, which might just be one of my favourite parts of the trip. As much as I try to fight my shallow tendencies, the sites of Laguna Beach (The Hills!), Newport Beach (The O.C.!) and Huntington Beach (Helllllloo Tito Ortiz) were far more exciting to me than perhaps they should have been, getting just a glimpse of the life of those on some of my favourite shows.

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The Grand Oaks Resort & Lavender Field

The beauty of the location and the deliciousness of the food made this stop an absolutely treat. It was a little gem Jess has discovered since moving out to California so we decided to head over there to take some wedding photos. Fortunately for me, Jess is completely understanding of the fact that I will be missing her wedding so while the entire bridal party was together we decided to get some pictures. Following photos, we were treated to an amazing dinner by the bride & groom where we all toasted to our amazing friendships that have and will continue to stand the test of both time and distance.

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IPIC Theatre, Pasadena

On my final night in California, Jess and Jonathan treated me to the IPIC theatre in Pasadena. Now this theatre is something that needs to come to Canada. Our VIP theatres in no way compare to what IPIC has to offer. Reclining lounge chairs, pillows, blankets, full meal and drink service before and during the theatre, the whole movie-going experience was an entirely new one to anything I’ve done before. But what really captured me was the quaintness of Pasadena. My next trip in California will definitely require more time to be spent here, from the village type feeling, the humming sound of people talking and just the warm small town feeling it gave me. I just loved every minute of my very short time here and left wanting so much more.

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