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I recently got back from my third annual Ladies Weekend with two of my very best friends. Unlike the previous two, where we visited the Orlando theme parks and Miami’s beaches, we decided to be a little more ambitious this go-around.

We planned a jam-packed few days starting in San Francisco and ending in San Diego, with a couple of stops in between. Even though there may have been a little confusion about the specifics, the general idea was that we would each plan a leg of the trip.

Our first day together was off to a bumpy start thanks to some bad directions. We’re not ones to let things like that get to us, so we forged on… but something wasn’t quite right.

Normally, these weekends are all about leaving reality behind, taking a break from our day-to-day stresses. This year, though, some of the stress seems to have followed us to the west coast.

Even though it was technically my day of the trip to plan (and you know I love a good plan), I felt it right away and proposed a change. Rather than spending a few hours walking around San Fran, we would grab lunch and do a mini driving tour before heading to our hotel for the night in Monterey (about two hours away).

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We took a leisurely stroll through Chinatown, and ended up at Great Eastern Restaurant. As you can imagine, there are a ton of restaurants in the neighborhood, but this one counts Barack Obama as a customer and was full of Chinese diners – which is always a good sign, if you ask me.

Don’t mind us; we’ll just take one of everything. And that’s saying something, since the menu rivaled that of Cheesecake Factory.

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After our very large meal, we drove by some SF highlights: the Golden Gate Bridge, Ghirardelli Square, and, of course, the Full House house.  And we were off.

The drive was longer than anticipated, but it went by pretty quickly. Soon, we checked in at Hotel Pacific. After a few minutes of freshening up, it was time for dinner.

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The Alvarado Street Brewery was packed thanks to the NBA Finals, so we opted to sit outside even though it was a little chilly. The food and drinks were great, but it was the company that made this a meal to remember.

Remember those stresses I mentioned? Well, a lot of them came pouring out over mushroom pizza and burgers.

To say the last year has been a tough one for all of us would be a huge understatement. In our own separate lives, we’re dealing with insecurity, loneliness, lack of clear direction, and a million other things in regards to work, families, money, you name it!

Like I said before, we’ve used these trips in the past to get away from those things. I guess you can’t avoid them forever. We’ve struggled with leaning on each other in the same way as we once had because, well, we’re ALL dealing with stuff.

By the end our (so delicious) PB&C cake, we had all shared a lot…and maybe cried a little. Did everything get resolved? No. But it was a step in the right direction, and great way to end our first day together.

Ready to hear about our second day in Cali? Check it out next week…

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