Category Archives: Travel

Ladies Only Weekend Getaway

I’ve heard of these fancy lady outings where a group of women take a vacation alone together and do nothing. For women who do them it’s a getaway they look forward to and make time for. I, on the other hand, never understood them. Does that say something about my hormonal make-up? Is there something wrong with me that I’m not thrilled to just hang with the girls? Maybe it’s because of the four years spent in a same-sex high school, or maybe it’s because I can’t sit still, but for whatever reason, these kind of trips don’t come naturally to me. So imagine my surprise when a friend of mine proposed going to Palm Springs for her 40th birthday celebration. Of course! So exciting–hang with one of my best friends! Then she went into greater detail, “Yeah just me, you, Florence, Jessica, and not sure who else. Just a bunch of girls.”

There ended up being eight of us. All women. That’s right. No men. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a woman who loves the company of women, but in larger groups I prefer a mix of both sexes so I’ve never done a vacation with just the girls. Okay once I did when I was living in Seattle, but it wasn’t a vacation. It was just eight college roommates who scored a free hotel stay in Vancouver where we dressed up and spent the whole night out dancing and controlling our one drunk friend who couldn’t stop telling guys at the bar that she was from Australia in a really bad fake Australian accent (I swear it even sounded Vietnamese at times). Somehow the next morning we found the hotel in time to check out and drive back to Seattle. But a grown up, for-real, relaxed ladies vacation? Nope, never done it.

For those of you have never been on a women only retreat it consists of a few simple things: staying somewhere at least one or two hours away from where you live, weather that is pleasantly warm not scorching hot, a nice hotel with a pool, and a dreamy bed that is yours alone or lucky you, you get to share with a friend or friend of a friend you’ve never met. Then there are the activities: laying by a pool, reading trash mags, eating snacks your inner teen loves you for, and of course, drinking. That’s it. No going out and exploring your new surroundings. No meeting new people. No gettin’ into trouble. You just sit there by the pool. Literally just sit there… by the pool.

Not my pretty feet.

If it sounds Zen, that’s because it is. I don’t know if it’s my age or thoughts of my stressful calendar that did it, but somehow I found myself in Palm Springs taking pleasure in just sitting there a whole afternoon reading, chatting with friends, and doing nothing by the pool. Any other thoughts of my life in LA were nowhere near our mid-century escape. Later that night us ladies were so satisfied with our accommodations that we ordered take-out and stayed in by the pool. That stupid pool was incredible! Another great thing about this getaway was that nobody cared what anyone did, so while some of my friends went for a late-night jacuzzi dip, no one batted an eye when I opted to stay in my own private little room to finish some writing and work that I had been so desperately in need of completing without distractions. Pure heaven.

The next morning I woke up rested, jogged around the neighborhood, came back and took a swim in the salt water pool. Was I ready to enjoy another half day of bliss? Hells no. I don’t know what happened, but my nature set back in. As the other ladies slowly came out of their rooms and went back to their positions from the previous day, I suddenly had to get out, walk around, do something. Why don’t you just sit around and have some more delicious mustard flavored pretzels? No!! Oh come on, trash mag #2 has a whole article on the worst Hollywood butts in a bikini. No!!!! I looked around at all of the Zen Masters laying about the pool. I desperately tried to recall the peace I felt the day before. I even put only my special flowy and colorful moo moo and tried reading another chapter of Game of Thrones. Nothing. It was lost. That ladies who lunch type lady had exited the building and the regular can’t do nothing woman sunk back in. Since I had caught a ride with friends and couldn’t head back home until they were ready, I left the girls behind and strolled down to the center of town to wander and explore until it was time to head back.

In the end, it was exciting to be one of the girls in such a traditional way. All women need to be especially girly from time to time. It brings some ease and a feeling of pretty that is good for the soul. So would I do one these trips again? Yes, but I would drive myself to the destination so I can leave once my less ladylike self comes raging back out.

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Five more lessons learned from living in Paris

Jennifer Scott learned a lot from her trip to Paris and shared it on She set out five lessons she learned along with her observations:

1. Live a passionate life; 2. Cultivate an air of mystery; 3. Look presentable always; 4. Don’t forget the simple pleasures (and do not deprive yourself) and 5. Make life a formal affair – Scott was impressed by the formal manner in which her host family lived. They were always elegantly dressed, their apartment was beautifully furnished and they maintained graceful rituals. As a visitor to their home, for example, Scott was considered the female guest of honor and was always served first at dinner, ahead of her host and hostess and their son. ‘They just observed these formal protocols and manners and etiquette were very important to them,’ Scott said. ‘They used their best china and their best crystal on a regular basis. … They used the nicest things that they had on a daily basis and it elevated every experience that we had.'”

So I talked about this article with my friend Sara who just got back from another trip to Paris, and she shared with me a few lessons she felt were missing from Ms. Scott’s list.

#6  Don’t Follow the Rules

In America we get ticketed for not following the rules of the road, but in Paris, Sara says people ride small cars and Vespas anywhere they want to avoid traffic.

“For example, on Bastille Day, my host (Magali) hooked me up with a friend of hers who owned a Vespa. The streets were packed, so her friend was resourceful and swerved us between lanes and cars — my hand even hit someone’s side view mirror! He drove us onto sidewalks hitting a pedestrian or two — it was magical.”

At one point Sara asked the driver why he didn’t follow traffic rules. He said, “Because I’m not German.”

#7 Add excitement to your seduction

Parisians are known for being experts in love.

“It was crazy. I noticed Parisian men were way more interested in sleeping with me than American men. And they always seemed to think outside the box.”

At an upscale Parisian home, Sara’s date kissed her in front of his male friend, then turned and kissed his friend before looking back at her.

“I was so confused. Was he gay? Then it hit me, ‘Oh he wants a ménage à trois!’ Americans are much more forward, but French people know how to ask for things in very mysterious and unexpected ways. It was thrilling.”

#8 You’ll never get it right so don’t bother

Every time Sara would try to pronounce words like “eau” or “putain” she would get corrected again and again by Magali. In the end, she finally gave up since she realized she’d never get it right.

“I felt like such a fool. I must have been killing Magali’s ears. Then I realized, the less I tried, the less I’d get corrected. So I stopped trying to speak French with her and enjoyed the rest of my trip engaging in thoughtful conversations in English. It was lovely.”

#9 Too much attention can be too much

Magali thinks Père Lachaise cemetery is a national treasure and was proud to show it to Sara one overcast afternoon.

“I had an ex-boyfriend that loved Jim Morrison, so I couldn’t wait to get a photo taken at Jim Morrison’s grave so I’d have another reason to talk to my ex again!”

Walking into the cemetery however, Sara saw the downside of being a deceased celebrity.

“I kept seeing his name graffiti’d on tombstones, so thinking it was him, I found myself taking photos at graves of people like Auguste Comte and Marcel Proust (whoever they are). I got so tired of taking a photo with the wrong dead person that I gave up. I never did talk to my ex again.”

#10 Stop trying to learn how to improve yourself

Sara noticed that Magali never read self-help books or watched Oprah.

“The French have gone through so much, they have nothing else to learn. They’ve been through wars, revolutions, guillotines and now Nicolas Sarkozy. After so many ups and downs they realize there’s never any chance of real improvement so it’s best to just live and let live. C’est la vie!”

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