Catharsis Up The Coast—Our Road Trip Up Highways 1 and 101

Friday, July 22, 2016

We turned two on June 28, 2016. We celebrated by paying for a very fancy dinner on the waterfront with gift cards. What can I say? We're shopping geniuses! We always will be. 

I will never forget this day
The next morning, we got up even before the cats did to catch a one-way flight to Santa Ana (aka John Wayne) International Airport. I'd been thinking about doing a road trip up Highway 1 for a few months. It seemed like I was seeing it everywhere and mah boy Thomas Rhett kept telling me about it every time we'd sing together

Then my mom told us she needed to get a new car—funnily and quite seriously, the little Z3 my dad got before he got really sick doesn't have a enough trunk space. A bunch of various family members wanted it. I told my mom the only people she could justify giving it to, at least for now, had to be us. After all, was the one who rode around in it with my dad with our top off. was the one who watched him wash and wax it in the driveway. was the one who married a man equally fastidious about car care. It wasn't hard to convince her. 

Raz and I batted around a few ideas as far as timing, and I plugged some dates into my trusty Alaska Airlines app one night over dinner. When I discovered a $64 flight the day after our anni, we booked it. Fate. 

I also made us a Google doc outlining our journey. To be honest, I built the framework and let Raz plan the stops and time between them. After that, he volleyed it back to me, and my Travel Agent alter ego, Roxana, booked the accommodations. If you haven't noticed, we aren't exactly "happy campers," so a combination of airbnbs and hotel/motels were well within Roxana's purview. 

We landed in Orange County and were packed and ready to hit the road from my mom and George's house before noon. We gave ourselves seven days to get back to Seattle. Here's where we knew we needed to get to each night before the sun set:
  • Night 1: Santa Barbara
  • Night 2: Carmel
  • Night 3: Bodega Bay (we stayed in Occidental and it was so weird and amazing)
  • Night 4: Eureka 
  • Night 5: Bandon, OR
  • Night 6: Lincoln City
  • Night 7: HOME
Along the shore in Ventura, CA
Ready to get this party started
Exploring the Santa Barbara marina 
Where Oprah and I might stroll 
Beach steps in Santa Barbara—I had to pull over a few times
Starting up those is not comforting
Mountains just north of Santa Barbara 
Bev at one of many vista points 
Everywhere we looked was just epic
McWay Falls in Big Sur
Taking it all in—my hat is from Urban and on sale for $10 if you want it
Can I move in under the waterfall?
Found a nice person to take our photo
Bixby Bridge in Big Sur
Just north of Big Sur
Hairpin turns on the way to San Francisco—this is where I almost lost my cookies, and I don't get carsick

Stalking baby elk just north of Eureka (where they have the BEST Best Western Plus and Cambodian food—trust me)
Just over the border of Oregon on the 101
The cutest house I made Raz drive back to in Bandon just so I could take a pic
Celebrating the 4th in Lincoln City 
Almost home and feeling a little emo about it all—check my Instagram for the whole little essay
A few Dos and Don'ts:
  • DO take as much time as you can. It would have been great to have a few more days for some of our favorite places along the way, but we treated this as an intro to where we wanted to return.
  • DO get recommendations from locals. We took some incredible back roads and had a few delicious pastries because we asked questions. 
  • DO pull over. A lot.
  • DO take the detour onto Seventeen Mile Drive in Pebble Beach. Very worth it.
  • DO take the detour onto the Avenue of the Giants, which parallels the 101. It's otherworldly. 
  • DON'T rent a Mustang. We had a fun little game counting them all. 
  • DON'T invest much time in Malibu. It's extremely overrated. Unless you go to Nobu to join the Kardashian/Jenners for one of their private back room parties. 
  • DON'T forget to ask your friends for reccos before you leave.
  • DON'T be afraid to take wayyyyyy too many photos (I'll probably be posting mine forever).
  • DON'T underestimate the power of Yelp in random towns to tell you where the best places to eat are along the way (hello, Annie's Cambodian in Eureka, CA—even thinking about it is making me drool in my mouth).
  • DON'T forget the tunes, even if they're throwback mix CDs! 
We didn't stop in San Francisco because my bff was selfish enough to be in Europe while we were driving through (who does she think she is?). If we were to do it again, we might stop there for a few days. We might not. We weren't terribly tired in spite of chilling with only each other for seven days straight, having a terrible radio signal most of the time, and forgetting our CDs.

We've discussed it, and this trip probably comes in at #2 behind our honeymoon, which is nearly impossible to beat. We knew it would be once-in-a-lifetime driving my dad's car home to Seattle where I know he'd be thrilled for it to live. I'm so glad we jumped at the opportunity and got to make such powerful anniversary memories. This is a tradition I know we'll keep going—the tradition of adventure instead things each year.

Anything I missed? Anything you want to know about our trip? Let me know in the comments! 

Finding the Monkeys with Alaska Air + Global Partners

Friday, July 8, 2016

I've been getting texts and Facebook messages and Instagram comments:

"Did I just see you in an Alaska commercial?"

"How did you get in an Alaska commercial?!"

The rumors are true. Raz and I were "real and interesting" people in the newest Alaska Air spot, which is apparently airing during a lot of primetime shows.

So here's how it happened: I am a part of Alaska's Insight's group, which basically means I answer surveys and give them advice to help them improve. I've had high status the past two years because of my work travel, and I tweet at them often—about baggage delays, about my dreams of Fruit & Cheese, about my excitement for upcoming trips. Given my status and love for Twitter, I think they thought I'd be eager to fill out surveys for them. THEY WERE RIGHT.

The Insights group is a new thing. I'm not completely sure, but I think they started it the month they invited me to join it. I'm just that major, I guess. :)

One day I got an email: "Last Chance to Star in Our Next Commercial!" I'm pretty on top of refreshing my email and swear I never got the first one. Either way, it said I just had to answer a few questions ("If you could go anywhere, where would you go? What do you love most about Alaska?"), which were pieces of cake, and send a photo. So I did.

A couple days later they asked me some follow-up questions, and I was invited to come in and talk to them at this random, new apartment building common room in West Seattle.

I figured I had nothing to lose and had been fighting traffic earlier to get to a job interview in Tukwila, so talking to Alaska people about why I loved them at some random apartment building in West Seattle was a welcome change in my day. I have spent a LOT of time flying with them, to a LOT of places, so I was happy to prattle on and on and on. I filled out some paperwork and was called into a room with, essentially, a hot seat in the middle, a bunch of people around the sides (clients and agency people) and two British director guys in front.

They asked me the same questions from the email, along with a few more, we all laughed, they thanked me, and I went home.

A few days after that, I was waiting to go in to another job interview, and got an email asking my husband's name and can I please send a photo.

I have experience with this. I built the eHarmony profile that got my friend married and pregnant within a year. I know what I'm doing when it comes to selecting photos that show how fun and well-rounded people are. I sent three photos, along with his name and how to pronounce it. They thanked me and said, basically, "this does not mean you've been selected."

No skin off my nose, I figured. But I knew they wanted me, and they wanted Raz to ride my coattails. I had mentioned him when I talked to them at that apartment building in West Seattle.

Again, a few days passed. Then they started calling and emailing—lots of different people—saying we were selected and to send our availability for two days in the next week and asking various other questions.

We were in! We had no idea what it meant.

The next week, we went in to a big warehouse by the airport with a bunch of outfits they told us to bring ("We want you to look like you're coming home from a tropical vacation"). Of course they didn't use anything that I brought for myself, but all they did was change Raz's shirt and fluff his hair. Boys...

There were people everywhere and chaos and a woman making quesadillas. It took about two hours for my outfit to be selected. They ended up letting me wear my own sweater and sandals, but that was it. They wanted to remove my lashes. Thank God they couldn't. They painted my nails coral to seem more "tropical." They were still tacky when they wanted me to wheel in my bag for our big debut, and someone else had to do it for me so I wouldn't mess up my mani. That's when I really felt like a star.

When it was our turn, we stood on our marks on a blue screen in front of a green screen and answered the same questions again.

"If you could go anywhere, where would you go?"

"What do you love about Alaska?"

That's why we look all shifty eyed and weird. We were in a huge room staring at a bunch of people answering the same questions over and over. But I suppose that's the life of an actor!

The whole process was maybe 20 minutes once we were in? I can't be sure. They laughed again and clapped (after they asked if I would have wine with my Fruit & Cheese and I said "sure, why not?" and then asked Raz if he would have the same and he said "I just like the jerky and beer,") and said we "nailed it" and they wanted to send me some Fruit & Cheese because I clearly loved it so much. It was one of those experiences we get to use in those "Two Truths and a Lie" icebreakers now.

The commercial is out and I was shocked to see they closed with us. Basically, we're the Kendall Jenner of this thing. I embedded it below. 

And that's the story of how Raz and I became commercial stars. We're still the same people you know and love, just slightly more famous. 


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