Good morning from Newport Beach! [VIDEO at end of post]

There are a handful of things I cherish and hold so close to my heart. One of those things is my constant need for alone time. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and friends (that includes my cat Max). I love going out and doing things with the people I hold dear. But I get so caught up in my head and my thoughts that I have this constant need to have some alone time.

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The best place for me to get that solitude is by going to the beach.. right before sunrise. I love both sunset and sunrise but they give me different kinds of peace of mind and calm.. if that even makes sense. My go-to sanctuary is Newport Beach. It’s a small strip of beach in the Balboa peninsula, and the area has a small community surrounding it, which makes it perfect because it doesn’t get as crowded as the more touristy destinations like Santa Monica, Venice, etc.

I love that beach so much, even though it’s quite a drive from home. But in the morning? It’s so quiet and homey. As soon as I get there, I go buy my donut and coffee at Seaside Donuts, a tradition I’ve set for myself. And then I go sit at “my bench” and set up my camera, my book, and then I get comfortable while I wait for the sun to rise.

There are times when it’s too cloudy that you won’t see the actual sun go up. But just being in that place, in that time, warms my heart.

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As I walk around the pier and then down to the shoe, you see people greeting each other – most likely neighbors who do the same routine every morning. Most weekends, you’ll find a long line coming out from Dory Fishing Fleet Market. People flock there even before dawn breaks to catch the freshest seafood for that weekend. You also get your community of surfers, starting their days by catching some waves.

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I stay for maybe 3 or 4 hours, depending on how fast it gets crowded or warm. You might think, “Well that’s quite some time to kill huh.” I only go there when I have no plans for the day. I’m not a big fan of rushing, that’s why I always plan my day accordingly.

On this particular day, I noticed a group of people doing some huge and beautiful sand art. The artists are called Low Tide Aliens (IG: @lowtidealiens), and it look like a fun activity they were having. They had kids and other family members and friends helping them out. Check out their Instagram account to have their beautiful sand art take your breath away!

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I’ve visited Newport Beach more times than I can remember, from every “season” California can offer. I love the sense of community in that place, I love the peace and quiet it brings. I love that it doesn’t get too crowded, and I especially love that it’s open so early in the morning. It doesn’t matter if I wanna go there and catch up with a friend, or I want to de-stress my mind and my soul. This piece of the world will always be my mind’s sanctuary.

I wanna share one this video I made in Newport Beach back in December of 2015. I remember I had an 11hr work day the night before ( I think I came home 2am) and I was restless and tired from all the emotional and mental stress from my old job. I knew I just had to go to the beach that morning. I shot a time lapse video of the sunrise, and while I was sitting there, Ed Sheeran’s Lego House popped into my mind. So as soon as I got home, I stitched together the videos I shot while listening to the song. Here it is, guys. It’s not much, but the visuals pretty much reflected how I was feeling that day.

 

 

 

 

Sunday Instagram Round-up (Week 1)

Every Sunday, we want to share with our blog community the photos that made the cut on our Instagram feed. You can also follow us at @eatplaychicagola.

Good morning, everyone! It’s been a week and a half since Eat Play Chicago LA went live, and together with Justine and Maeven, we just want to say thank you thank you THANK YOU to everyone who’s been stopping by our blog, Twitter, and Instagram. We truly whole-heartedly appreciate your support.

Every Sunday, we want to share with our blog community the photos that made the cut on our Instagram feed. You can also follow us @eatplaychicagola.

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Thin crust, brick-oven pizza from Big Chef Burgers
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View of the city from the rooftop of Griffith Observatory
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Black sesame soft serve ice cream from ReLeaf
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Refreshing cold drinks while chilling at Newport Beach
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J. Paul Getty Center is a perfect way to spend your day, from exploring the exhibits to laying on the grass outside.
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Asparagus, portabello eggs benedict w/ breakfast potatoes from Brunch Cafe.
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Something different from Jamba Juice: Strawberry-peanut butter-banana smoothie bowl.

Check out our blog and IG for more of our food and travel adventures! (All places and food information can be found on the Eat and Play categories under the Directory menu)

-Jaja

Wanderlust Wednesday: Newport Beach

Good morning everyone! Welcome to Eat Play Chicago LA’s Wanderlust Wednesday, where we share with you places we’ve been to or places we wish to visit. Today, I want to show you my favorite place to go to when I want to spend some quiet alone time here in California.

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Good morning everyone! Welcome to Eat Play Chicago LA’s Wanderlust Wednesday, where we share with you places we’ve been to or places we wish to visit. Today, I want to show you my favorite place to go to when I want to spend some quiet alone time here in California.

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If you want to catch the sunrise at the beach but would rather avoid the crowd, Newport Beach Pier is the best place to go. To get there, head south of Balboa boulevard and make a left on 21st street. There is plenty of metered parking inside the area and along the boulevard, but I suggest getting there as early as you can to get a good spot. Most of the restaurants and shops are found on the main road, that is why this beach (compared to other tourist-friendly beaches) is not as crowded. Most of the people tend to occupy the shore to the right of the pier early in the morning, since there are gift and rental shops and restaurants on that side. Parking is also located on that side, so it’s more convenient for people to stay in that area.To the left of the pier is where you can find residential and rental properties. It tends to be more quiet here early in the morning. This is where I usually go to lay out my chair and beach blanket.

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My favorite part is the feeling of community in Newport Beach Pier. Almost all the surfers who frequent that place know each other. I see them greeting each other as they put on their wet suits, yelling across parking spaces and talking about their surf boards. Even the owner and employees of Seaside Donut Bakery know their customers.

My little tradition whenever I drive there before the sun is up is to grab coffee and donuts at the bakery and walk halfway up the pier to my favorite bench spot. There, I sit down and listen to the waves and the birds and enjoy the peace, the quiet, and the calm while I wait to see the sun.

If you want to do some fishing, you can do so right here at the pier. Even before the sun is up, you see fishing poles lined up towards the end of the pier, and the people engaging in conversation while they wait for a catch.

Once the sun is fully up, I go back to my car and grab my chair and blanket so I can pick a spot right along the shore to the left of the pier. Once situated, I dig my feet in the sand, and just spend the rest of my time there people-watching, smiling at all the cute dogs passing by, and reading a book.

I want to share something really cool that I saw when I was there. There was a group of people (a family, maybe?) that were doing sand art just right below the pier. I thought it was so cool and interesting that I went ahead and checked them out on Instagram. Low Tide Aliens (IG: @lowtidealiens) have been giving everyone a smile to whoever has come across their beautiful sand art in Newport Beach.

Check out their art of the day!

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The last time I was here this statue was still being erected. I also noticed that the lifeguard station was named after him. Ben Carlson was a 32-year old Newport Beach lifeguard who drowned during a rescue in 2014. Click here for more information about his story.

Personally, I have never invited a lot of people here during my sunrise trips. But overall, I would definitely recommend going to Newport if you want to go to the beach but want to avoid the crowd.

-Jaja (IG: @theforevertourist)