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Because Missing Out Is Never Fun!

Grand Central Market

Something smells fishy around here!

Grand Central Market
Los Angeles, CA

Open air markets like these are one of the best ways to explore what large cities have to offer.  Step inside and you’ll find raw ingredients like spices, produce and poultry as well as prepared meals from cultures around the globe.  Whether you’re looking for a quick snack, fresh-from-the-farm fruits and veggies, or a cup of steaming hot coffee, this is a premiere destination for food enthusiasts and blue collars folks alike who are looking for some cheap, delicious eats.

Because of the previous night’s doughnut run, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted for breakfast.  As soon as I walked into the market, my senses were overloaded.  I watched as expertly hand-formed flour tortillas puffed instantly when thrown onto a grill.  Apples and oranges were being unloaded onto displays as quickly as handtrucks could deliver them.   Pounds of coffee beans were being ground while baristas hustled to fulfill espresso and cappuccino orders.  Italian greetings were offered to passersby as pizza crusts were being flailed into the air; all the while, sushi chefs in stark white chef coats quietly shaped rice with bamboo mats.

I wanted all of it…and then none of it when enormous piles of ceviche sold by the pound caught my eye behind a pristine glass case.  Eureka!  BREAKFAST!

Moments later, and only a few bucks lighter, I was seated at a nearby table where thousands of individuals have likely sat during the market’s nearly century-old run.   At an unladylike pace, I shoveled ceviche tostadas into my mouth as if it were my last meal on earth.  Seafood at 9:00 in the morning?   When it’s this fresh and inexpensive, absolutely.

California Strawberry Festival - 05/17/14 - 05/18/14

Breakfast or dessert?  (Correct answer:  It doesn't matter.)

California Strawberry Festival
Oxnard, CA

This festival is jam-packed with all sorts of fruity fun, from the Tart Toss to concert performances to the Build Your Own Strawberry Shortcake tent.  Come for the funnel cake, stay for the strawberry beer and strawberry nachos!

If you like strawberries, and LOVE free vacations, the Berry Best Hat Contest is for you.  Submit your sweet creation and you may win a three day, two night stay at your choice of destinations.  Enter your kids in the Berry Best Dressed Baby Contest and compete for photo packages, scholarships, gift certificates and more.  Not too shabby!

Be sure to take advantage of the Strawberry Express shuttle from various Oxnard locations to avoid the traffic jams.  Like that?  Is anybody reading this??

Charles M. Schulz Museum

Santa Rosa, CA

Step inside the world of Charles Schulz.  Charlie Brown is there with the whole gang, and admission costs peanuts!

Likely Santa Rosa’s most beloved resident, Charles Schulz created a myriad of characters, each of whom personified him in one way or another.  Maybe that’s why his Peanuts strip portrayed emotions running the gamut from joy to despair, and why so many people can relate to the comic which ran for nearly 50 years.

Stroll through the museum and browse through dozens of Schulz’s personal belongings.  You’ll find cases housing early childhood sketches, a picture which earned him a mention in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and plenty of awards celebrating his achievements as a cartoonist, athlete, and philanthropy.

My favorite part of the museum was the recreation of his artist’s studio.  In an interview, Schulz joked that the simple tools necessary to create the comic strip didn’t result in much of a tax deduction; it just goes to show you that his own creativity was his most valuable asset.

This is where the magic happened!

You can spend the whole day in the Auditorium catching up on Peanuts animated specials and archived interviews with Schulz, then lament in the fact that you can barely write with a fountain pen, let alone draw with one.

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