In my life, three neighborhoods have immediately felt like home each time I've set foot in them: my current (and likely forever) neighborhood of Ocean Beach, here in San Diego, Hermosa Beach in Los Angeles, and Venice Beach, also in LA.
I love, love, love Venice Beach. So when I had the chance to spend a day up there last week for a work conference, I took advantage of it and spent the night. And since it was a few days after Valentine's Day, I decided to turn it into a romantic Valentine's Day date with myself, complete with a walk on the beach at sunset, a fancy meal and... turtle racing.
As it turns out? Venice loves me right back.
Hi, my name is Bri and I'm a sucker for over-hyped restaurants in trendy neighborhoods. Especially restaurants that have so much hype it condones publishing a popular cookbook of their recipes.
Which is why I ended up dining at Gjelina when I was in Venice Beach last week... for the hype, for the sceney scene...
Oh, and did I mention the delicious food?
Over a decade ago, when I thought I was going to make my living by being a writer, I got paid to write about music.
It wasn't often and it wasn't even the first thing I got paid to write about. No, the first thing was high school sports. The second thing was lifestyle pieces about dental lab technicians for a trade magazine (yeah).
But the third thing? That was music, which also happened to be my "plan." As in, my career plan.
See back then, I was obsessed with Chuck Klosterman and I watched "Almost Famous" like once a week so I had a very romantic take on what it meant to venture into music journalism. In reality, it was both more and less cool than that: for me, it meant going to album release parties in New York City and interviewing my favorite musicians on conference calls from my car and even hanging out on the occasional tour bus.
It was an exciting, anything-could-happen time, even when it didn't pay much or often or at all. Honestly, I was just happy that my art could live in the shadows of the art of my heroes. I liked the proximity of my creativity to theirs, no matter how irrelevant that proximity was.
And today, though it happens less frequently and though I no longer get or want to get paid for it, I still jump at the chance to write about music and musicians from time to time. And now that I'm in my 30s, it's ideal for those times to also involve comfy seating, craft cocktails and healthy snacks.
Because, 30s, amiright?
The absolute best part about finishing my MBA this past December was getting my weekends back. Not just the time... but the feeling of freedom, the unpredictability, the infinite possibilities that accompanied no longer having looming homework deadlines or the suffocating guilt that I wasn't working on homework during every spare minute I had outside of my full-time job.
Infinite possibilities. Meaning that I could wake up on any given Saturday morning and decide to go on an adventure. So I did.
During the first weekend of January, my friend Makena and I wrangled the dogs into my car, stopped for some coffee in OB and hit the road to explore the Salton Sea.