Hi everyone! I have to laugh at my last post — June 27th. Just a week before I started teaching again, and then once I was teaching…well I fell back down the black hole of a work-consumed life. Going to try to reach a better state of balance, but we’ll see how that goes one my new semester starts next week.
On to stuff I’ve been doing! At the end of July, my entire immediate family flew out to Los Angeles to attend an event honoring my dad. He was being inducted into the Hall of Fame for his his industry’s major association. My dad is a hard-working person, and I think most people see him this way, but it’s not often to get to hear “We see you and recognize you”, especially on such a big forum. The event meant a lot to him, and it meant a lot for all of his kids to come and celebrate with him. Let’s get on to the trip:
When I say my “entire immediate family” I mean “all 9 of us”. Yes, 9 full grown adults all flying in for a trip together. (We are an odd number because I’m the only single person – wahhhh :-p.) Sometimes it’s hard to make it through a family meal with all 9 of us in good spirits, so I was a little nervous. Luckily everyone was in a great mood the entire time, so it was kinda magical. Because there were so many of us, we all flew in on different flights and only planned to have dinner all together that evening. We went to an Italian restaurant called Tutti Mangia, and I had the most delicious ribeye with truffle butter (yes, it was awesome).
We had one full day of doing whatever we liked before my dad’s main event, so we decided to be full on tourists. We headed down to Hollywood to visit the main street there and go on a tour of the area.
Here is my family exhibiting tourist-y behaviors. Siblings in the back getting photos, and my brother posing up front. Gotta love a pose that gives the knees a time to shine.
We walked down to the main street there where they had the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I only took a couple shots of the stars, one being Daniel Radcliffe.
Later I found the Harry Potter trio’s handprints in front of the TCL Chinese Theater. More exciting was seeing Shirley Temple’s and Bing Crosby’s. I have to imagine that putting your handprints down back then was a little more exciting than it is now.
We only had a little time before our tour of Hollywood/Beverly Hills, so we headed into a candy store where we’d meet our tour guides. The store had exciting features like an M&M Eminem:
It also had guys making candy. I had seen a video circulating on Facebook a month prior of how people make this candy (layering and then rolling into thin/reduced pieces), so it was fun to watch them in person.
The tour we went on was for stars’ homes in Hollywood/Beverly Hills. There were a lot of things I wanted to do while on the trip, but I didn’t get a chance to (Disneyland, studio tour, Santa Monica Pier), but this was one thing we could easily fit into our schedule and many of us could do at the same time. It ended up being an interesting tour with some limited views of homes and good views of neighborhoods in this part of CA.
I wasn’t good at taking pictures during the tour, and eventually I gave up. I also might have spilled Sprite on myself at the very beginning of the tour and was slowly crystalizing into sugar. I did get this picture of Nicholas Cage’s home – You’re welcome for this insider look into his life!
I was more so fascinated by the various things people had to do to perch a house in the limited space available. These houses below would give me anxiety-filled dreams of beams breaking and the house sledding down the hill.
Afterwards, my sister Katie, her husband Brandon, and I made a side trip to go see Jen at The Plus Bus Boutique (owned by Jen and Marcy, I believe). I met Jen a few years ago at Full Figured Fashion Week, and I had kept in touch with her and her business venture online. I really wanted to stop by the store itself. This is the kind of business that I wish was available around me. I love that her shop also has community events where women are encouraged to come in together and shop but also just have fun, hang out, and meet other plus size women. I shopped with friends growing up, but never had a friend around my size that shopped plus size alongside me. I think it’s really great to have these social events for women and to have a meeting place where people “get it”.
My sister Katie, Jen, and me
My favorite piece in my size: A Joe Browns dress perfect for fall
Katie’s favorite was a Jessica Simpson dress
So many colors and prints!
After talking visiting the boutique, we headed back toward the hotel. We were about 45 minutes from just about everything in LA due to traffic, so it was dark by the time we got in. We went for a quick dinner and In-N-Out, which I had heard of before. I’m sorry to report that the food was most definitely “Meh”, though maybe we just got a bad batch!
I finished the night out with a swim in the pool with my brother and his wife Brittany (who I traveled with to FFFWeek the second time around). I wore this Lane Bryant two piece (top can be found here and bottoms were purchased last year). This is actually the first time I’ve ever worn a two piece in public. I’ll admit that sometimes doing so feels very radical in the moment of wearing it, walking around the pool, going from pool to hot tub, etc. I felt good, so it worked for me.
On day two we all went out to breakfast together again. My dad and mom had events all day related to his Hall of Fame induction, and we really only had about half a day to do things. We decided to head to a local mall that had a City Chic. I was really interested in seeing what their store would be like. They had a gorgeous display and set up.
I thought everything was displayed really well, and it made me want to look at various pieces. The sales associate was really nice and fun. She immediately keyed in on my brother-in-law who read as “Southern” quickly. The changing room was nicely decorated as well and had a chic seating area. As nice as the store and sales associate were, I was so incredibly disappointed in the visit. I knew that City Chic carried up to a 24 (their “XXL”), but in this store they only received items up to their XL/22. I’ve worn their pieces before and know a 24 can work for me depending on shape/fabric. What a disappointment. I want to love brands. I really do. But when I enter into their stores and cannot shop, when they actually DO have clothes that fit me but do not stock them, I leave disappointed and unimpressed. This isn’t just City Chic. I went to Torrid right after, and while some Torrids carry up to 5 in shirts/dresses, I couldn’t hardly find any 4s in the store. Really, I just wanted to try on jeans, but they only carried up to a 26 (they carry up to a 30 online). Their sales associates were also super friendly, and I could tell they felt uncomfortable with not being able to provide things for me to try on, but ah.. it wasn’t meant to be. Note: EVERYONE I met who worked in CA was super friendly to the point where we all commented on it. North Carolina is supposedly known for “southern manners”, but the people in California were much more friendly and helpful everywhere we went.
That night was the big event. I headed back to my room to hurry and get ready. I went with simple make up (the only thing I really know how to do) and wavy hair. My dress is Kiyonna and earrings are Aldo Accessories (similar).
My mom and dad in front of his display.
My sister Katie in ASOS, Brittany in City Chic, and me in Kiyonna
Katie, my brother Danny, and me
My dad and me
All 9 of us
On the last day in LA, I wanted to make sure to spend time with my parents. They had been busy with things from my dad’s event, so we hadn’t done much more than eat together. My mom wanted to go to a miniature train show, so there we went. Yes, I went to a miniature train show during my trip to LA. Yes, it made me think of the Borrowers. Yes, it kinda made me want to shove everything off my kitchen table and start creating some random scene for an electric train to run through.
That afternoon I headed back out with Katie and Brandon to visit Laguna Beach. Danny and Brittany had gone on a previous day, and the pictures they took were gorgeous. I also wanted to live out my high school fantasies of running into Stephen Colletti while walking along the shore.
Stephen Colletti was no where to be seen, but it really was a gorgeous beach. It was crowded, so it took us awhile to find a place to park and to venture out to the beach itself. We found a small beach with a community walk down and garden.
All of the houses and cliffs were eye candy. Every where you looked there was something beautiful. I loved that the part of the beach that we went to had rocks coming out of the ocean. NC beaches (the ones I go to) are very flat, so it was exciting to see the waves against cliffs and rocks.
Day four was spent flying back to North Carolina on two delayed flights. I did manage to read all of The Cursed Child during the flight and got home safe and sound. My suitcase on the other hand…