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It started with a casual chat, another one of our epically loooong and rambling phone conversations about what it’d be like to have a girls night out together.
I got off the phone and consulted my oracle deck (because woo!) and the first card I pulled was Yemaya. She is not my matron goddess, but I had to giggle because we have talked endlessly about mermaid goddesses. The next card I pulled was...Athena. Which made me laugh out loud (literally) because if you know Joanna, you know that she looooves Athena.
So that settled it. I'd make the trip to Los Angeles to meet my internet bestie, Joanna DeVoe, for the first time in person AND to celebrate her 43rd birthday.
Of course I had to bring along my trusty travel companion, my fiancé, Barry. When the day came, we flew out of Boise on Allegiant, a low cost (but comfy!) carrier. Apparently they only fly on Thursdays and Sundays between Boise and Los Angeles, so this worked out for us. I was a bit nervous about it because I had never flown them before and had heard they commonly cancel return flights from Los Angeles to Boise due to lack of travelers. Our plane was much more enjoyable than the little Delta hoppers we've taken in the past, and the flight was over before we even knew it.
Getting our rental car sorted and making it through traffic was an ordeal and by the time we got to our hotel it was 11:00 pm (on Joanna's birthday, nonetheless, and she still took the time to come out and meet us-- just a quick hello and a hug so I could meet her son Tanner before he had to leave the next day!)
Our room at Hotel Brandwood, a quaint 100-year-old boutique hotel was clean, quiet and convenient. I'd give three out of five stars because the hallway reeked of orange oil cleaning solution and the concierge didn't seem too informed about dining options and events in the neighborhood. However, the saving grace was that I originally found the hotel on Trivago, and a week later, when I went to book the room, the prices had jumped. So, I called the hotel directly and they honored the original price I saw online. Major bonus points for that!
After Joanna and Tanner left, I felt like I needed to take a walk and blow the airport off me. When I travel, I feel like I collect all kinds of energetic debris from going through airports and the like. I've discovered that connecting to the local elements once I arrive at our destination (either by feeling the wind, or getting my foot in the water, if there is a body of water to dip into, that is--or basking in the sunshine or even hugging a tree) helps me to shake off that feeling and feel settled.
At any rate, on this night, there was a warm and gentle wind blowing, so Barry and I decided to take a walk. We got lost looking for a convenience store to buy water and some candy and ended up getting back to our room around 12:30. But I felt very safe in this neighborhood, almost safer than my hometown. Fortunately, the hotel bed was amazing and I slept like a baby that night.
The next morning, Barry and I met up with Joanna for breakfast at Russell's, a comfort food diner in Pasadena. (Mmmm...bacon!) The line was long to get in, but I don't mind that. When people are patiently waiting in line for their breakfast at a diner, it usually means something good -- and it was!
After our breakfast, we browsed an eclectic little shop called Gold Bug. It was an interesting curation of taxidermy and crystals and all things witchy. (They did not allow cameras, so no pics, but it was cool.) Despite the reputation for being rude, I thought the shop owner was very friendly and even joked a bit with us, but if i could have I'd buy one of everything in that store.
Joanna had errands to run that day, so we parted ways and Barry and I took in the requisite tourist attractions-- shopping on Melrose Drive, star searching on Hollywood Blvd and a trip up to Griffith Park and the Observatory. Oh yeah! And we stumbled onto the back lot of the Jimmy Kimmel studio, where they were setting up a charity sale to take place the next day. (In case you don't know, Barry makes his living as an eBay reseller, so he was chomping at the bit to get in. We browsed as best we could before the security guard kicked us out, and besides, we couldn't buy anything (much to Barry's disappointment. ) As far as touristy-things that we took in, we did good. But if I had three days to do it all again, I'd definitely have gotten down to the beach or taken a cruise along the coast.
On Saturday, Barry stayed back at the hotel and Joanna gave me the witchy tour of the City of Angels. So much to take in! Our first stop was The Crystal Matrix, a small little shop filled with rows of gorgeous specimens, geodes, minerals and carved crystal Goddess statues. I especially loved the "water is life" crystal grid.
Next stop was the The House of Intuition, which is situated in an old California bungalow perched on top of a steep climb. At the bottom of the stairs is a sign that reads, "your intuition led you here." Walking into the shop, I felt like I was home -- the scent of incense wafted in the air and the walls were lined with crystals, herbs and books.
When we arrived at Spellbound Sky, the owner was consulting with a couple regarding Herkimer Diamonds, and I was trying not to be so obvious in my eavesdropping because he had a lot to say about it that I had never heard before. But I busied myself with browsing the crystals, the books and the gorgeous "You Are Magic" altar. It was in this shop I found the dress my Inner Witch wants to wear every. single. day. We finished up and I bought a tote bag with the shop logo on it. I asked the owner if it was a his logo or his sigil, which inspired a great conversation about sigil magick. (I would love to have an afternoon to sit with that man and talk all things witchy. He was an absolute delight, and his shop is so tastefully done that I kinda didn't want to leave.)
By that time it was late afternoon and time to take a nap(!) before celebrating Joanna's birthday party, at Hamburger Mary's WeHo. I dropped her off at her house and went back to my hotel, but was locked out because I'd arranged for Barry to have a massage while we were out and he had the hotel key. I walked next door to the nail salon and treated myself to a mani/pedi. So worth it!!!
We met up later in the evening for a tour of Joanna's (adorable) California bungalow -- it's so cute! --each room a different color and the floorplan so flowy. And then we headed out to meet up with the rest of the gang, including the ever talented psychic artist Erick Silvermoon and Joanna's neighbor and friend, Amber.
Hamburger Mary's is a diner with a drag review show. What a blast it was watching the beautiful Queens perform! My favorite part, though, was when the hostess, Misty Violet, called all the people who were celebrating a special event up on stage. She jokingly asked Joanna why she would come to the drag review wearing so much sparkle...too funny!
It was a great three day playcation! I feel like even though it was our first meeting, everything was so effortless and felt like we had known each other for eternity. Honestly, it's weird to think the visit has come and gone, and so I'm already planning another trip, ...soon ...soon...soon!!!
Who's that girl? Ha! Couldn't resist!
This post has been edited and expounded upon from earlier. My blog editor apparently ate a few of my text blocks when I posted it this morning, so I came back in and rewrote them.
My name is Dawn Champine and I am the Creatrix of The Goddess Diaries. I am very passionate about helping women remember their REAL GODDESS selves.