So as most of you know, I’ve been back from my California trip for about a week.
And now, I am happy to say that I think I have finally recovered enough from the trip, plus my best friend Angela’s visit this past weekend, to finally write a recap.
Also, because I love you THAT MUCH, starting with the “Day Two Recap” post, there will be some fun giveaways! So keep your eyes open for that post!
Where we start this trip, at 4am on a Wednesday, was in the airport at Bellingham. (A MASSIVE SHOUTOUT TO my friend Monica who woke up at the crack of 3am to take me to the airport. She drove 45 minutes from her house to brighten my morning and drive me the 5 minutes from my house to the airport. I seriously have the best bunch of friends around.)
I adore flying out of Bellingham early in the morning because there is almost nobody at the airport. Alaska Airlines is one of two airlines that fly out of our little hamlet, and they are always a delight, with amazing customer service. No, I am not paid to say that. But I won’t fly any other airline.
Finally landed at LAX, after one ridiculously short flight (I waited longer for the flight to take off than the actual flight itself), two extremely chatty seatmates, one early morning sprint through SeaTac while wearing my headphones and singing Disney music at the very top of my lungs, and one flight where the girl next to me pretty much passed right out when we got on the plane and woke up as we pulled into the gate.
It was glorious to finally get off the plane and into my getaway vehicle. My BFF Angela and her two littles, Mayhem and Meatball, picked me up and off we went to our first adventure.
Let me just stop here for a second. I need to explain how I do my vacations. I get so few, and for such short periods of time, that I like to go hard. I pack as much as humanly possible into each second of every day, and if I could figure out a way to just not sleep at all while on vacation, I would probably do it. I enjoy my vacation as much as humanly possible. So when I stepped off that plane, it was Game On.
We headed off to a pretty sweet event out at the Sole Technologies headquarters in Lake Forest, CA. I have never actually been to a blogger event, but I can say with 100% certainty that Sole Technologies treated this group of mom bloggers right.
We listened to Pierre-Andre Senizergues, the CEO and founder of Sole Technologies (the parent company of Etnies) talk about his amazing company, and their sustainable business practices. From the solar panels on their building’s roof, to the renewable materials they used for decorating and building the space, to managing the materials to manufacture their products, they make an amazing effort towards being good citizens of the earth and doing their part to make this a better place.
Plus, you can’t help but love a company who mentions “ by installing water saving toilets, we’ve saved the equivalent of more than 3 million bottles of beer annually” on their website.
Let’s just pause here for a second to talk about Etnies shoes. Etnies is a brand that builds shoes for skateboarders. And skateboarders will abuse their shoes like no other. Dragging the soles on the ground. Falling. Grinding. A mom could go through a lot of shoes with a skateboarding kiddo, but Etnies is built to last. I would know, I have a teenager who DESTROYS shoes and since we switched to Etnies, I only have to buy him shoes when he grows out of them. So nice work, Etnies!
So after our chat with Pierre-Andre (his kids were completely adorable and running up and down the stairs behind him…they are a SUPER family-friendly company!), we got to go into the display room. And being completely obsessed with shoes and skater shoes in particular, I was in heaven.
Rick Marmolijo, who is the lead designer for Etnies, went through how the shoe is built, what the difference is between the Marana line and the Scout line (Marana is built to withstand the beating a skateboarder can dish out, the Scout is more of an athletic shoe, with a flexible sole and a cushiony insole) and then let the kids go wild in designing their dream shoe. Mayhem (Angela’s second-youngest) needed to inspect the shoes VERRRRRRY CLOSELY, as you can see.
Angela got a pair of shoes for each of her four monkeys, which was pretty awesome, but Meatball is 8 months old and the crib shoes they gave her were ridiculously adorable.
Anyhoo, so off we all walked (after the kids got to design their own shoes and the moms got to chat for a while) to the Etnies Skatepark, across the street from the Sole Technologies headquarters. Pierre and his son rolled their way on over, completely adorable. Seriously, this guy is French and one of the nicest people I have ever met. He was completely charming and his children and his wife were just lovely.
The Etnies skatepark is HUGE. Boasting 40,000 square feet of skateboarding (and some BMXing!) glory, it’s the largest free skatepark in the state of California. The city actually owns and operates it, which is pretty awesome. There was a huge summer camp going on when we got there; it was fun to see all of these tiny people dropping into the bowl like pros.
Mayhem, being as awesome as he is, kept running straight towards the skateboarders. One time we almost lost him over the side of the bowl, another time Ryan Sheckler put him on his board and rolled him back and forth. I am pretty sure that Mayhem will be a skateboarder and we will all get to go to some amazing skateboarding expo something in 10 years to cheer him on.
We got to meet Ryan Sheckler, whom I have actually heard of, and who all the kids were freaking out over. He was incredibly polite and so sweet to the kids, and Angela and I made sure to tell his momma on the way back to the car that she did a good job raising him. Because she totally did. Nice work, mom!
He was really sweaty, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a photo, since The Boy was freaking out I got to meet him. (PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF MY FABULOUS PANTS.)
By this time, I was starving. I had been up for nearly 10 hours, and had not yet eaten. And boy, did Etnies do it right.
They brought in Matt Meddock from Sessions in Newport Beach. Matt not only had the best sandwiches I’ve ever tasted (and I am NOT just saying that because I was beyond hungry), he brought them without the chowchow mustard so they wouldn’t get soggy while waiting for us to devour them.
Plus the chips. OH MAN THE CHIPS. Housemade potato chips with rosemary, sea salt and parmesan. And the cucumber salad. I could go on ALL DAY LONG about these sandwiches, but since I went there two more times in the next week before I went home, we will save some for later.
Etnies and Sole Technologies was kind enough to provide us with some credits at their company store and let us go wild. I ended up with a pair of ridiculously amazing shoes for me, a pretty sweet pair for The Boy and I would have picked up a pair of new kicks for Chuck but a) she does not care for it when I shop for clothes or shoes for her without her and b) her feet are growing so fast, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable buying shoes she would hate or already have grown out of. (So I just took her and bought her a pair when I got home!)
You love Etnies too? Head on over to their website and enter to win a $250 Back to School shopping spree of your very own!
After the Etnies bonanza, we headed out to the Anaheim Convention center so I could pick up my packet for the IdeaWorld Blogfest and fitness conference, which I was down in SoCal to attend. It was a little overwhelming. I had never been to a blogger conference before, so I had NO idea what to expect.
The swag bag was epic. Watch the video below for the full list of all the things I got (plus all the snacks I picked up at Target!)
We had dinner at a nice place near Angela’s house and then I had to get to bed because the next morning started early!
To be continued…..
DISCLAIMER: I went to the Sole Technologies event as a guest of Angela from Mommy Mania. I did receive gifts, but the opinions here are all mine. This post does contain affiliate links, I do receive a small portion if you choose to purchase something using that link. (that money usually goes to shoes for the Boy or glitter for Chuck. Just so you know.)