December in LA.

As I've mentioned a time or two, Miles and I live on opposite sides of the country. I spent the week before Christmas with him in Los Angeles before we headed to Austin for the holidays. While the trip started out inauspiciously thanks to a mean cold I will, perhaps unfairly, attribute to my nephew and his toddler Christmas party, it ended quite well, and I was grateful for the chance to spend time with old and new friends. And the Beau. Always good to see him. 

What did we do on this mini-vacation, you ask?

We played on the beach.

We rode bikes with new friends (and played on the beach). Note to self: must invest in beach cruiser bike upon eventual return to LA. Those suckers are nice.

We popped into the new Toms store in Venice. The retail vs. outdoor square footage is almost at a 1:1 ratio, resulting in an inviting, friendly, stay-a-while-and-hang-out vibe. A display tells the story of their giving mission and gives customers a chance to see the actual shoes that they donate around the world. I was especially touched to see the winter boots; I don't know why I assumed that everyone got the same shoes, but seeing that they were customized for the different locales and climates made me feel even more positively about the company, which I already held in high regard (a peek into my closet will confirm that I am a big Toms fan.). 

We discovered a Danish bakery in Culver City that makes the best pastries in LA, possibly on the planet.

And as if that wasn't enough fun for one trip, we also went to a Christmas party that featured both Santa AND Jesus (adult, not baby), as well as caviar and McRib sandwiches. We ate dinner with my college roommate and her husband, newly relocated to LA, and participated in another friend's twenty-four year tradition of Benihana birthday dinners. The evil sinuses waylaid our plans to play trivia with Jeopardy alums, but hopefully we can make that one up on the next trip. 

But hands down, the best part of the trip was seeing this guy face to face (I'm not going to lie: that pastry was a close second.). It was by far my favorite Christmas present.