Californication

 

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View from my balcony early one morning

San Diego, California, has been my home for three months now.  I can hardly believe it!  I’ve done more in that time than some people do in years, because I feel like every weekend is a vacation.  My hardest decision has been, do I go to the beach, or hike a mountain?!

Here are some of the places I’ve been:

  • Torrey Pines State Park is famous for its view of the ocean. I scrambled down a steep path (I would say, “hiked,” but I wasn’t that graceful) to the water.  Still, I wasn’t impressed.  Sorry, California, but it was just a walk, which I can do anywhere.
  • Black Mountain was better. Sally & Penny joined me for this one, back in December.
  • Iron Mountain was better still! I’m hitting it again today, because it kicked my ass last time.  In a good way.
  • Woodson Mountain was another good hike.
  • Little Italy, a neighborhood in downtown, was my home for two months. The food was superb and I love how walk-able the area is!  The farmer’s market on Cedar Street is open every Saturday; if you get a chance, go!  Buy some fresh fish or a tie-dyed shirt.  Or maybe some beef jerky.
  • Gas Lamp District is a famous neighborhood downtown. It’s full of clubs and bars; I visited during the day and said, “Reminds me of Austin’s 6th
  • La Jolla has some beautiful beaches. And sea lions.  And a Dr. Suess Museum!  It’s a magical place.
    • I took Gary Mathews there and he didn’t want to leave. I spent 20 minutes pushing him into his rental car.
  • Los Angeles is a two-hour drive, so I visited it, too. It’s crowded, dirty, and the beaches aren’t as nice.
    • Walking around the neighborhood checking out the area, a nice old man approached me. He was well dressed with a friendly smile, so I thought it was nice when hugged me and said that I was perfect.  “Oh, your boyfriend is so blessed to have you!  If you have one, that is,” he told me, then proceeded to kiss my neck.  Seriously, two seconds after I met him, he’s sexually assaulting me on the street, on a Sunday afternoon, in broad daylight.  THAT’S L.A.
    • Exception: my darling, talented, beautiful friend Amy Arrow lives there. She’s an artist actor and an amazing person.  If you ever get to see her in a movie or in person, do it!
  • Fashion Valley is a huge mall. One of my friends invited me to go shop there; I was so excited that a handsome man wanted my opinion on his pants, that I jumped at the chance.  After sitting in traffic, then circling the parking lot for 20 minutes, I realized that it was Christmas Eve.  DOH!
    • The mall is open air, which means that shoppers walk on the sidewalk outside to get to the stores. Why?  Because the weather here is so perfect so much of the time that you don’t need a roof over your head!
    • We saw “Rogue One” at the theater there. Although I hated the ending (he said that it fit), the movie was awesome!

As beautiful as it is here, it is definitely not Texas.  As I said in my last post, people don’t greet each other here like they do back home.  However, once I get a person talking, they are just as nice as anyone from the South.  It became a game to me, to see how many people I can get to smile and say, “Hi,” in the hall at work.  More and more are coming around.  My first week here, I made some new friends, and invited Heather and Heather over to watch the movie, “Heathers” (Winona Ryder and Christian Slader, 1998).

I visited Dallas a couple of weeks ago and saw as many friends as possible: Allie Apple, my sister & nieces, Elizabeth & Daniel & their darling children, Therese, Gabby Gumbo, and Andrew.  Each one is precious to me.  Visiting them was visiting home; spending time with them was like a shower to my soul.

Allie and I went to Billy Bob’s Texas, the World’s Largest Honky Tonk, in Fort Worth.  I’ve two-stepped there since I was 18 years old, and visiting it was like stepping back in time.  Yee haw!  (The cowboys are just as handsome as ever, only now they look so young !)

Next blog post: the guys I’ve met since I got here.  Peeps be cray cray!

Cheers!

PS For more pics, follow me on Instagram (jules_strawberry_rules) or Facebook (Jules Strawberry).  I also tweet, though not as often (JulesSberry).

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CA doesn’t allow as many billboards by the highway, so the views are spectacular!

 

 

And The Winner Is…

I went to Destin for a mini-vaca, but it was so much more. Lilly Peach and I strengthened our friendship. Sandy Oranges and I met for the first time. And both photographers took pictures of me on the beach, making me feel like a supermodel. We went on a boat and watched dolphins frolic, we jammed out at a piano bar (where Lilly picked up helicopter pilots!), and we played in the ocean. It was the best weekend ever.

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Sandy said, “I feel like I won the lottery that weekend.”

To which Lilly responded, “Hey, I got to hang out at the beach, I think I was the lucky one!!”

And I just smiled, because I was so happy that my friends were happy. And, ok, I feel like I won the lottery, too!

I broke up with my last boyfriend on September 1, 2013. (That’s the one from “How to Ruin a Romantic Vacation,” blogged on August 7, 2014.) Since then, I’ve been on a few dates and even tried online dating again. Which, yes, was just as terrible as I remember, and I will be sharing those stories, I promise. The rest of the year, I’ve been answering the question, “What would make me happy?” I started running again, lost a little weight, published my book, spent more time with my incredible children and extended famiy, and concentrated on grad school. It’s been a pretty kickass year.

I wasn’t expecting to meet an awesome guy almost exactly a year after my break up. Or, more precisely, meet in person. Technically, we met on Facebook over a year ago. And “met” via telephone months ago. And via Skype on August 8th. However, it wasn’t until we met in person, that we realized how well we fit together. Our sense of humor matches (BOOBIES! Hee hee hee), we have similar interests (airplanes! Me! Lol), and we can talk for hours. And text all day. And then Facebook message each other.

If I were a cartoon, I’d have little hearts in my eyes.

What were we talking about? Oh, ya, the contest. Sandy “Sugar Lips” Oranges won with Entry #6, “B&W Bikini.” (The title “Oozing with Sexuality” was proposed and rejected.) Second place goes to Entry #4, “I’m Biting My Lip.” And last, but certainly not least, is Lilly’s Entry #2, “Look, I can hold up my hair in one hand and my dress in the other.”  (See below.)

Congrats to all of us, because we are all winners!

Cheers!

Learn more about Jules by following her Facebook page, Jules Strawberry.

P.S. Sandy is visiting me next weekend!  YAY!  Lilly, Allie, and I are planning a road trip to see him in October!  YAYAYAYAY!

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Supermodel Contest!

Two professional photographers had a shoot out on the beach, with me as the model. I highly recommend this ego boost; I felt beautiful! I swear, I lost 10 lbs just from their compliments alone. Since my photographers are my best friends, they made me smile by throwing out punch lines from our favorite jokes. I was sure that the pictures would have me snorting and ugly, but they are pros and caught me at my best.

Why did we do this photo shoot?  Because we could!

One week from today, I’ll announce the winner. Will it be the hot, talented Lilly Peach? Or will it be the smooth-talking, sweet-as-candy Sandy Oranges?

What’s your favorite? Vote by commenting below with the title of the picture you prefer. You can vote once per day. May the best man—or woman—win!

Cheers!

 Lilly1_dress   Entry 1 Lilly2_dress2  Entry 2

 

Lilly3_BikiniEntry 3  Sandy1_dress_kneesEntry 4

 Sandy2_Bikini_standing  Entry 5   Sandy3_bikini_knees  Entry 6