I was feeling a little restless coming up on the Forth of July holiday. I had a couple of options of things to do: 1. Stay at my Echo Park house and go to a Dodger game and watch the fireworks, which would make my home alone dog crazy. Or 2. Go down to my Oceanside beach house with the town flooded with loud, drunken tourists, which makes me crazy. Neither got my juices flowing.
I missed the good old days of spending the 4thon the trampoline at the Playboy Mansion or hosting a big bash at Lorschville Beverly Hills. It’s hard to get excited for a friend’s back yard BYOB BBQ after superb summer soirees being the norm…especially when I’m not drinking. I wanted a posh party, great food, some swimming and sunning. Maybe a getaway I thought? But I couldn’t stray too far as I was about to start shooting a new television series July 6thand need to be in Los Angeles. What was a girl, who just wanted to have some fun, to do?
Lucky for me, just as I was about to settle for a ho-hum-holiday, I received an email from Terranea L.A.’s Ocean Front Resort. Apparently I was in their system as a guest from my stay there last year for California Science Center’s Board Retreat. They wanted to know if I would like 2 VIP tickets to Music On The Meadows, a 4th of July Celebration coinciding with the 10 year anniversary of the resort, with headliners Wilson Philips. I called them immediately and quickly found out it was a firework free zone and dog friendly. Would I like an ocean view room for 2 nights? Why yes please. Thank you. My dog would be happy to get out of the firework frenzy and I would be thrilled with a five star Independence Day party. Wanting to spread the joy, I called my good friend actress/writer Nancy O’Brien, who I used to hang out with at the Mansion on the 4th back in the day, and asked if she wanted to join for a little girls trip. She was in. Woo hoo! Terranea here we come.
Perched on coastal bluffs, with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, Terranea is the only luxury destination resort on the Los Angeles coast. Mediterranean villa-inspired, Terrenea was just as sophisticated, yet relaxed, as I remembered. The 100 plus-acre estate featuring distinct dining experiences, a full-service spa and fitness center, four swimming pools, including a 21+ civilized adult pool, was the perfect place to spend my favorite summer holiday.
Once turning the car over to valet and getting an early check in, the first order of business was to walk my doggie along the cliffs to take in the panoramic views, fresh ocean air, wild sage smells, and end up where I remembered was my favorite Terranea snack spot, Sea Beans. There they serve small batch gelato, coffee drinks, and my personal favorite: daily homemade chocolate chip cookies. Yes they are worth the cheat calories.
Though I wasn’t planning on making this a diet and fitness focused weekend, obviously from my immediate ice ream cookie sandwich pit stop, I could not go completely off the deep end on bloating holiday fun fare having to be on camera in the weeks to come. So to balance out my cookie monster brunch I made a reservation at mar’sel, their upscale local farm to table restaurant, instead of the fried chicken sandwich type place Nelson’s, which I also enjoy.
Set overlooking the Palos Verdes Peninsula with stunning views, mar’sel offers an ideal location for an elegant dinner. Mar’sel, a play on the Spanish word for “sea” and the French word for “salt, offers an inventive twist on California cuisine. With a seasonally rotating fine dining menu that features locally sourced ingredients, citrus and herbs from the resort’s grounds, hand-ground chocolate (Oh goodie more chocolate!) farm-fresh eggs, and playful takes on culinary favorites. Nancy and I arrived at sunset just as the fireplaces were being lit. We had a pretty perch above the Pacific and a lovely meal of a shared strawberry and organic greens special salad and whole fish branzino accompanied by vadouvan spinach, and hen of the woods mushrooms in a tomato caper sauce. The entire experience was delectable.
Of course the holiday resort get away would not be complete without a spa experience. I opted for their signature Ocean Prelude treatment. The Spa at Terranea embraces the natural coastal beauty and energy of its Southern California setting. The serene oasis spans 50,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor oceanfront relaxation, a state-of-the-art wellness center, Solviva restaurant, a sweet boutique, and separate indoor/outdoor spa lounges complete with saunas, steam rooms, whirlpools, cold plunges, and fire pits.
With the sound of the waves crashing below my open-to-the-ocean private spa suite, the signature treatment began with a dry brushing and replenishing seaweed wrap before slipping into a massive saltwater copper tub bath. My sensual journey continued with a warm, rhythmic, laminaria oil massage. I was so deeply relaxed I completely missed the 6.9 Earthquake that rocked the Southern California area – so much so I had 11 text messages asking “are you ok?” as I got dressed to head back to my suite and meet up with my friend and pup. I was of course fine. I was more than fine. I was aqua spa blissed out and nothing, even the earth shaking, could stress my buzz. All the rocking and rolling did however wake me up for some Music on The Meadows.
I could tell right away it was going to be a one of a kind experience. Even the warm up bands sounded terrific. There were plenty of reserved shaded seating areas with an abundance of drink options, including a Kombucha stand, food spreads, fun vendors, and happy, helpful staff. There was even an unbeknownst to me meet and greet with performers for the small group of VIP Ticket holders and special guests. It all ran easy breezy smoothly to and chat and take a photo with the artists, including 90’s Dishwalla heartthrob and prolific singer songwriter JR Richards, and the harmonizing trio Wilson Philips who have been on another hot streak since “Hold On” was at the heart of the movie Bridesmaids. I sang along to their performances and danced my little heart out like the teen I was in 1990-something the first time I heard their songs. However, unlike my younger days, I was not running around with my fake ID drinking beer and chasing boys. I was in bed with my dog by 10pm.
A nice transitional day of checking out and getting back to reality in the city began nicely with a dog walk to Terranea Cove beach followed by a group Pilates class. It would have been a perfectly healthy morning except that I chose to exchange the spa breakfast smoothie for a Sea Beans cookie with my coffee. As I swirled the last bits of sweet and salty chocolaty goodness in my mouth I felt a twinge of guilt for all the sugary treats I had been allowing myself. Then I shut that nonsense down by physically patting myself on the back. I made it through a major party holiday with much joy and without whisky. So yay me! Now back to the regularly scheduled diet to shoot the pilot episode of a new TV series. After all, not all my getaways are going to be wellness retreats or spiritual quests. Some will just be for the fun of it.