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  • Writer's pictureLisa Marie

Tour of Southern California: Day 3

It’s day 3, but even better….It’s my birthday! Wait….I’m 40. Like 4-0…like 4 x 10. I’m the age that I considered my mother to be old when I was a kid. This can’t be the same 40. I feel younger than I imagined 40 would be. Well, either way, I’m excited because today is our tour of LA! We hired a private driver to take us to all of the greatest sites that LA has to offer.

Our driver, Darnel, picked us up in a Mercedes van stocked with pre-ordered drinks. Darnell’s personality was bigger than life in the best way possible. He told us about his many years of being Robin William’s personal driver. He also informed us and showed pictures of all of the other celebrities that he drove around town.

Our first stop was Venice Beach. Venice Beach was actually a surprise to me. I don’t know what I was expecting….but this wasn’t it. Venice Beach had a lot of character. The palm trees had graffiti, the skate park was filled with skaters showing off their skills, and the basketball courts were starting to fill up. Venice Beach had definitely had an edge to it. The highlight of Venice beach was being on the same court that White Men Can’t Jump was filmed.

Then, we drove for what seemed like 5-10 minutes and we were at the Santa Monica pier. The Santa Monica pier was what I envisioned a California beach looking like. There was a pier filled with rides and restaurants, a beach full of people, and a mountain cascading in the distance. It seemed like a really cool hangout spot. We took pictures at the Route 66 sign (because the pier marked the end of the route) and the original Bubba Gump restaurant. The next time that I visit California, I would like to stay at a nice hotel in Santa Monica. Do you guys have any favorite Santa Monica resort? I'd love to know.

Then, we were off to see Beverly Hills. I always wanted to see where Julia Roberts said her famous line, “Big Mistake,” on Rodeo Drive. We drove down Rodeo drive and marveled at the lifestyle. We took a picture in front of the Beverly Hills sign and drove to several celebrity homes. The most impressionable stop was seeing the Fresh Prince of Bel Air house. I watched this show for years....and then I was driving in front of the iconic mansion.

We went to The Grove to eat lunch. The Grove has a fresh food market with lots of options. Plus, there is a beautiful strip of stores and restaurants. It’s so pristine that it looks like it’s staged or like you’re walking through a Disney park.

After The Grove, we stopped by Hollywood. Hollywood was another surprising location to me. It wasn’t the glitz and glamour that I imagined. However, It was more of a tourist trap with a grimy backdrop. It was really nice to see the Hollywood stars on the ground, the famous theatre, and all of the iconic history. The highlight of this stop for me was seeing the Hollywood sign. To see a sign that I had seen in so many movies, right in front of my face was magical. I absolutely loved it. Oh my gosh....I am such a tourist! Lol! Anthony never had California on his bucket list, but he was loving every minute of the private tour too.

Then, we wrapped up our tour with Darnell singing “Happy Birthday” to me at our hotel. I loved it! For the people that really know me, I’ve longed for a birthday serenade since Tevin Campbell (aka Little T) sang Happy Birthday to Ashley Banks. This was the closest I’ve gotten to it and it was beautiful! Thank you Darnel!

That night we ate at Perch. Perch is a French restaurant in the heart of LA. It sits on the rooftop of one of the many tall buildings in LA. The food was amazing, the atmosphere was pretty cool, and I loved the staff. They make us feel like VIP because we had to have a reservation, we went into two different cryptic elevators, and we finally made it to the top floor to see the the entire downtown area. It was the perfect spot to celebrate turning 40!

Overall, this birthday trip and birthday has superseded all of my expectations. I’m 40! I’m embracing it and loving it.

How am I going to top this!

Tomorrow, we have a spa day at our hotel and we head to San Diego. I can't wait!

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