I made this catch up post 3 parts to spare you a really long review post in case you were totally bored with the first one, you can just skip along past this one and the next. If you want to get caught up on the Spring, you can check out my last post.
May brought my Golden Birthday, which I celebrated with a girl’s weekend with my mom in the Big Easy. We love booze and history, so it was basically a match made in heaven. We stayed in the French Quarter and got a nice dose of history and a whole lot of good food. We stayed at the Hotel Monteleon in the French Quarter, which is probably best known for it’s trendy Carousel Bar in the lobby, but it is a gorgeous historic luxury hotel. I love modern hotels, but there is something so glamorous about staying in a old hotel – especially in such a historically rich city. We wanted a hotel that had a pool and a spa, and Hotel Monteleon delivered on both. Their rooftoop pool is a gorgeous santuary with a great bar and city views. I highly recommend!
Since we had never been to New Orleans before we did every tourist stereotype and we loved it. The first day we did a city bus tour and had an afternoon snack at Cafe Du Monde for some beignets. I will eat any kind of fried dough so I loved them of course. Then of course I had to make a stop at Jean Lafitte’s Old Absinthe House. Jean Lafitte was a dope American pirate from the 18th C and he opened this bar almost 200 years ago. Pirates + booze + history is what my life is all about.
On the second day we took a bus tour out into the country to visit some plantations We visited the Laura Creole Plantation and the Oak Alley Plantation (pictured below). So gorgeous!
Another fun May highlight was a special field trip to Historic Jamestown with the teachers and students of my school’s ESOL program. The all-day trip was the result of the herculean efforts of so many teachers and students who organized, researched, planned and fundraised to make it happen. As a result we were able to take 150 very enthusiastic ESOL students to visit a really incredible historic site. For many of them it was their first time on a field trip, and they were so excited to visit a place they had learned so much about. I myself had never visited, and while my inner nerd enjoyed herself immensely, as a teacher it was so much fun to watch kids truly enjoying a learning experience. This is probably my favorite memory of my teaching career. If academic enjoyment can be measured in selfies and snapchats, I don’t know if anyone has ever enjoyed a trip to Jamestowne more. (With the possible exception of the colony’s investors who made a boatload of money off it and didn’t actually have to live there.)
June was basically a nightmare of finishing up the school year and planning the move and I would rather block it from my memory. But at the end of the month one of my best friends moved to DC and lived with me for a few weeks before I prepared to reunite with my husband in SoCal. We had a ball (and a cocktail), and we spent our nation’s birthday on the national mall. It was pouring and miserably wet but we had the best time watching the fireworks with a bunch of sweaty strangers on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial (aka the best memorial). The rain stopped just in time for fireworks. Yay America! Then about 4 days later I said goodbye to all my east coast friends and got on a plane with my cat-sharks for San Diego. If I wasn’t an emotionless alien I would have probably cried. Instead I got stranded in Detroit for a few hours and said bad words. And when I finally got to SoCal I kissed my husband with that mouth.
Exactly 10 days after I arrived in San Diego (and before my furniture did) I got on a plane and joined the glammest group of babes you’ve ever met in the less-than-glam vacay destination of Orlando for Stella & Dot’s annual conference, Hoopla. Just imagine 2000 rockstar stylists learning, partying and celebrating together for four days at a resort. It is an incredible, inspiring, exhausting weekend we look forward to all year. This year I got to celebrate my Star Stylist promotion with some of my favorite people! I can’t tell you how much I love these girls.
On the last night of the conference, corporate rents out a nightclub for all the stylists and throws a huge party. I love a good dance party almost as much as I love things that glow in the dark.
Since I don’t make it Orlando that often (i.e ever before in my life), I decided to stay a few days after the conference and visit my little brother who lives there doing some nerd video game thing that pays infinitely more than any job I’ve ever had. My friend Charlotte from styledbycharlotte.com stayed too and we indulged our inner princesses at Disneyworld for two days. As a California girl I have been to Disneyland more times than I can count, but after years on the east coast I can finally end the shame of admitting I had never been to Disneyworld. And there’s definitely nothing weird about grown adults wearing matching shirts vacationing at Disneyworld together.
Pirates of the Caribbean is the best thing at Disney and there is no room for discussion on this matter.
My brother scored reservations to the Be Our Guest Restaurant and I have to give it to Disney that they have pretty great customer service. We got stuck in a really long line for a broken down ride in Fantasy Land and when we got out we were complaining amongst ourselves. An employee walking by overheard us and took us to another a ride and let us skip the line. When we got out she was waiting for us with UNIVERSAL FASTPASSES. Say what? We were able to use them any time we wanted anywhere in the resort. I thought such a thing was only a myth. She made our day.
When I got back to San Diego our stuff had arrived and it was time to unpack. Check out the next post to see how the fall went.