As most of you probably already know, a week or so ago, I went to Santa Monica, California for the Beautylish Beauty Social. I had an amazing time and have so much to share with you, including two really big hauls. Rather than bombard you will one huge post outlining my trip, I've decided to break it down into five or so smaller posts: my travel experiences and what I did in Santa Monica, the different Beauty Social booths and what treatments they were offering, the Beauty Social seminars and panelists, a Santa Monica haul and finally my Beauty Social swag bag haul.
For today's post I wanted to tell you about my experience traveling to Santa Monica, what I did while there and show you a bunch of pictures of my hotel, the Santa Monica pier, etc.
As I mentioned on a previous post, this was my first time traveling completely alone and I would be lying if I said I wasn't somewhat freaking out the morning of my trip. After calming myself down in the shuttle bus on the way to the airport, I started to relax and figured we would have an easy ride and a quick trip across the border considering we didn't have anything to declare (I live in Canada but flew out of the US). Boy was I wrong. The border patrol guy was on a serious power trip and started asking me some pretty random questions. The first line of questions started after I told him I was heading to a beauty blogging event. "What is a beauty blog? So you blog about beauty, what does that mean? You really write about makeup? Hmmm...weird!" The next line of questioning started after he saw my tattoos. "What does that say? Well does it have a meaning? Well what does it mean, explain it to me?! What does that one say? What language is that writing in? Hmmm...weird!" After 15 minutes of my heart pounding like crazy, he finally let us go and I was off to Santa Monica.
After requesting a room switch (the first room was not nice), I finally settled into my hotel after a long day of traveling. Not wanting to worry about finding my way around the city, I chose to stay at the same hotel where the Beauty Social was taking place -The Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. As the name suggests, the hotel is located right on the beach, just a short walk from the famous Santa Monica pier. The hotel had a nice pool (it was too cold to go swimming unfortunately), a stunning lobby and this really cool lounge area outside where you could have a drink or some dinner around a fire pit. My hotel room was nice with a big bed, a chaise lounge chair and a TV in the bathroom (need to get one of those at home!).
Because I was in Santa Monica to experience the entire weekend of Beauty Social events, I didn't get much of a chance to really explore Santa Monica, but I will fill you in on some of the highlights of my trip.
I had this huge plan that I would spend all day Friday shopping on Third Street Promenade (a four block pedestrian-only road lined with a variety of stores and restaurants). I really wanted to get some new clothes and was excited when I found out that there was a Nordstrom and a Bloomingdales in the outdoor mall near Third Street. Unfortunately, Santa Monica (or maybe just Third street) has a thing about us bigger girls because not one store I went to (including Forever 21) carried anything bigger than a size 12. Needless to say I didn't buy much except for some cheap costume jewelry and, of course, some makeup. Luckily, I managed to find an amazing cupcake store called 'Yummy Cupcakes' and drowned my sorrows in icing. So good!
Dinner With a New Friend
One of the most exciting parts of my trip was finally getting to meet Keira from Keira's Lucky Charm (picture above), a fellow beauty blogger and second time mommy-to-be. Keira not only picked me up from and dropped me off at my hotel safely, knowing I was a vegetarian, she picked a vegan restaurant with lots of choices for me. We had a great time and had lots to talk about so the conversation was always flowing. Being the sweet person she is, Keira surprised me with a gorgeous mineralized eyeshadow from the latest MAC collection (you can see it in my upcoming haul post). My only regret about the night was that we didn't get a picture together (I even brought my camera!). It is so awesome being able to meet fellow bloggers and I really hope Keira comes to Ontario at some point so I can be as great of a host for her as she was for me.
The Santa Monica Pier
Before I left for trip, I checked various weather websites and saw that Santa Monica was supposed to be super hot (in the 80s) while I was visiting. Not wanting to over pack my suitcase, I planned for the hot weather and didn't bring anything warm except for a light sweatshirt. Yep, not hot, actually kind of cold, especially when I spent my last night in the city walking along the pier. Luckily, what the pier lacked in warmth, it completely made up in appearance. Not only was the view of the beach and water really pretty, at night when the ferris wheel is lit up, the whole pier looks absolutely gorgeous.
From sitting by the water for breakfast to watching people doing crazy acrobatics (we're talking cirque du soleil here) on the beach, I had an amazing time in Santa Monica. However, the best part for me was traveling completely alone and proving to myself that I could find my way around, handle any problems that arose and have fun by myself. I definitely have the travel bug and can't wait for my next solo vacation (hopefully to NYC for IMATS in April).
Have you been to Santa Monica? Where have you always wanted to travel? Any places you highly recommend I visit? Want me to come crash on your couch? Let me know in the comment section below.