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Out and About

Out and About: Ace Hotel Downtown L.A. Staycation

July 13, 2015

Rewind to last October when I won a staycation at the Ace Hotel Downtown L.A. after dancing for my life at 826LA’s Dance-a-thon and being crowned Best Dancer. Welp, fast forward to this past Friday when I finally cashed that bad boy in to keep my birthday week in full swing. Guys, it was AMAZING! To commemorate the occasion, this slideshow has 31 snapshots for my 31st birthday. So many things to let you know about, so I’ll just take it from the top.

Dash and I made it downtown at about 2 p.m. and had some time to kill before our check-in at the Ace Hotel, so we set out in search of a late lunch. As luck would have it, Grand Central Market was within a block of the lot where we parked. Boom! That meant I could finally try out Eggslut. The name is kinda out there, but the food is simply divine. And it gets bonus points because there was no line! We feasted on their famous cheeseburger, which has (you guessed it!) an egg in it. A sunny-side-up sucker, to be exact. I wondered, will it be messy? Will all the flavors be balanced? Will this change my life? The answer to all these questions: yes, Yes, and YAAASS! Seriously, it was the jam. Can’t wait to visit the Market again and see what other treats await. After our quick bite, we hit up Bar 107 for a little sippy sippy and then made our way to the Ace.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by the most stylish, friendly front desk agents, who made check in a breeze. We opted for the king bed on the 11th floor, as opposed to the queen on the 13th, because obvi. The room was legit!

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Out and About: D’Angelo and The Vanguard Live

June 11, 2015

Guys, I got to see D’Angelo and The Vanguard live in concert at Club Nokia on Monday night with my pal, Becky, and it was EVERYTHING! I was delighted to have seen him perform on “Saturday Night Live” but, of course, that has nothing on the live show. If ever you had a doubt in your mind, D’Angelo’s still got it. Yes, that velvety voice greeted me like a warm hug. He’s promoting his new album, Black Messiah, which has some great tracks. My favorites that he graced us with that night were “Really Love,” “Ain’t That Easy,” “The Charade” and “Betray My Heart,” which was accompanied by the flyest sign-language choreo I’d ever seen.

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Out and About: My Brother’s Wedding Day

May 19, 2015

Temecula in May is usually warm and sunshine-y, but May 8 turned out to be an overcast, chilly day. However, my family’s love and excitement shone brightly, despite the weather that day. It was a big day for the Sabree/Ratcliff clan, as my youngest brother, Jamaal, got married to his fiancé, Breana. The rustic venue, Whispering Oaks Terrace, was quaint and we were very glad to find that the wedding would be taking place inside of the venue’s surprisingly intimate barn. This was a shabby chic dream, with white stringed lights, baby’s breath in mason jars, dim lights, white linen, wooden chests — the whole shebang. My brothers Robert and Karim were groomsmen, and nephew Jordan was the ring bearer. I’ll never forget how beautiful everyone looked and how much love filled the room. It was tangible. Long story short: My brother’s wedding day was incredible, and I’m so excited to see Jamaal and Breana grow as a couple. Welcome to our wacky, loving family, Bree! No take-backs. LOL.

ashley ♥ adores

Out and About: Disneyland

April 30, 2015

What an adventure I had with my pal Zita earlier this week, when we set off on an adventure to Disneyland. Yes, we had the park going on up a Tuesday! I hadn’t been to Disneyland since I was in high school many moons ago. Zita has vivid memories of her one and only previous visit as a child, during which she was traumatized by the Autopia car ride, or “Automatopoeia,” as she called it. Tuesday is a wonderful day to visit Disneyland, as the crowds aren’t as large then. We lucked out and didn’t have to wait too long for any rides. We even started and ended the day off with a wild thrill ride on Space Mountain, which was way more cray than I last remembered. Mickey’s Soundsational Parade was a joy to watch, as tons of Disney characters could be seen. Great choreography and music, by the way. It almost made up for the fact that the park closed at 7:30 p.m., meaning no night-time parade and fireworks. We did swing by Toontown and caught a glimpse at Mickey and Minnie’s houses. Which, now that I think of it, why are they living separately? I could have sworn they were married. On the way out of Disneyland, I stopped to snag a photo opp with Goofy. Gotta love that silly guy! It felt like a successful trip, especially because we had a game plan going in. Here’s a final tally of the rides we experienced:

Space Mountain: 2
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: 1
Mad Tea Party: 1
Splash Mountain: 1
Autopia: 1
Pirates of the Caribbean: 1
Indiana Jones: 0 (Closed)
Matterhorn Bobsleds: 0 (Closed)

Pro tip: On a hot, sunny day (like the one we experienced on Tuesday), stop to refuel by grabbing a tasty Dole Whip Float (unbelievable pinapple-y goodness!) and heading to the Enchanted Tiki Room in Adventureland. It’s not the best thing since sliced bread, but you will appreciate the air conditioning, tap your toes to the rhythms permeating and even get a few giggles in laughing at the outdated animatronic birds.

When was the last time you visited Disneyland? What’s your favorite Disneyland treat? Let me know in the comments section below!

ashley ♥ adores

Out and About: ’90s Party in Oakland

March 26, 2015

The ’90s called last weekend and I was so bout it-bout it! So I flew to Oakland and put on my “Damn Gina” tank, leopard-print stretch pants, high-top Pony sneakers and some door-knockers (it pays to be a pack rat!) — it was all to celebrate my pals Yvette and Thomas’ birthdays.

Guys, the party was all that AND a bag of chips! I mean, no detail was spared, thanks to our lovely hostess, Edwina, who opened her stupid phat crib up to her home skillets, who proudly rocked acid wash denim, floral prints, overalls and shortalls, candy necklaces, chokers, flannels, high tops, glows-tick necklaces, crazy patterns and at least one commendable tail. I’m talking Ring Pops, Fun Dip, Jolly Ranchers, brown liquor in red party cups, a bangin’ playlist that included Snow’s “Informer,” ‘NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye” and E40’s “Sprinkle Me,” and everything in between. Seriously da bomb!

You’re not gonna believe this, but special guests included a Fly Girl (from “In Living Color” — duh!), Sidney (a.k.a. Wesley Snipes from White Men Can’t Jump), Da Brat, LL Cool J, Lisa Turtle, Kelly Kapowski, Blossom, the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and bourgie cousin Hillary, and Carlton. Oh, and figure skater Nancy Kerrigan and her nemesis Tonya Harding made quite an appearance — lots of “oh snaps!” were heard when they entered the building.

I love a theme party and was geeked to see all the homies fully commit to it. I already miss by Bay Area boos, but I’m glad I have these photos and crazy memories to remind me of this glorious time. On that note, I’m outtie 5000!

Thanks to Yvette and Crystal for these amazing photos, and a major shout out to Edwina and Thomas for making THE dopest ’90s party happen.

Out and About: San Diego by Train

February 17, 2015

Last weekend was filled with multiple occasions that called for celebration: my guy’s birthday, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day weekend (and, thus, a four-day weekend for me). Being that Dash and I share a love of train rides, we decided to set off on an adventure to San Diego, where we both grew up, via Amtrak’s Surfliner, which hugs the coastline and offers some amazing views. You can see a few of the sights we observed on Friday afternoon in the slideshow above: the Pacific Ocean, the Del Mar Fairgrounds, the Solana Beach and Old Town train stops, Downtown San Diego and more.

But what’s even more incredible are the myriad scenes that I couldn’t quite capture on camera. The picturesque views conjured up daydreams, made me thank God for His creation and gave me a sense of peace.

The majestic, three-story Craftsman with two wooden chairs set outside, surrounded by flower beds and a babbling brook. In an instant, I pictured in my head a privileged, idyllic lifestyle with my love, where money is no object and our biggest concern is, “Do we prepare the filet mignon or the salmon at our dinner party tonight?”

The lone egret resting in the marshland, seemingly with not a care in the world.

The iconic red schoolhouse in San Clemente that, if done right, houses the creative imaginations of dozens of brilliant, precocious children.

The amused elderly couples and awestruck toddlers waving vigorously at the passing train in Del Mar, as if it were a part of their weekly routines and that a very important person was on the receiving end of said gesture.

The pristine bluff tops sprinkled with native plants of plentiful hues. The sitting ducks wandering about the lagoons. The eerie, solemn pet cemetery in Sorrento Valley that always weirded me out in my youth.

The passing snapshots worth far more than these words of mine can convey. So I sit back and vow to enjoy the scenery on our ride home.

Out and About: Placita Olvera

January 26, 2015

I vividly recall visiting Los Angeles with my eighth-grade Spanish class. We took the Amtrak from San Diego to Union Station in Downtown L.A. and walked across the street to Placita Olvera, or Olvera Street, a historic Mexican marketplace. While there, we practiced our Spanish by ordering lunch and paying for tchotchkes in Español. Why I purchased a sombrero is beyond me, but a wonderful time was had by all. It’s been at least 16 years since I’ve been back to that culturally rich, vibrant, brick-paved plaza, which is a shame, really, since I’ve lived in L.A. County for more than eight years.

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Last Friday, my colleagues and I found ourselves near Olvera Street after attending a professional development workshop, so we took a short walk to the placita for a bite to eat. It was tough to choose from all the many options, but we settled on El Rancho Grande, where I feasted on these delicious taquitos with guacamole sauce. Their hot sauces were fire, too!

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After lunch, we walked around the various shops and saw so many things we wanted. How darling are these leather purses? No doubt they’re authentic.

See more of the sights from Olvera Street after the jump!

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Out and About: Antioch Church of Long Beach’s AIM Awards

November 24, 2014

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I got used to interviewing celebrities on red carpets while working at an entertainment magazine, but this time around I was the one walking the crimson pathway. A couple of weeks ago, my church, Antioch Church of Long Beach, presented the inaugural AIM (Antioch Innovative Missions) Awards, honoring those working in ministry at the church and those impacting our community. My guy, Dash, and I got gussied up in our black tie best for the glitzy event and had a wonderful time at the awards show.

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Out and About: 826LA’s “Let’s Do the Time Warp” Dance-a-thon

October 21, 2014
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Photo by Spencer Shwetz | http://www.madebyspencer.com

Oh, what a night I had this past Saturday at 826LA’s “Let’s Do the Time Warp” dance-a-thon! Since September, my pal, Zita, and I have been raising funds for 826LA’s writing and tutoring programs. Our team, The Sister Act formerly known as The Tiny Dancing Queens, brought in $1,735, thanks to our generous friends and loved ones. And it all culminated in the dance-a-thon at The Unique Space in downtown L.A.

As you can see from this image, we dressed as the dancing girls emoji, and got rave reviews!

See more from this awesome event after the jump!

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Out and About: Animal Style in Pacific Palisades

September 8, 2014

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My guy and I had a wild time — literally and figuratively — yesterday at his company’s family and friends day at a property in Pacific Palisades, Calif. We were treated to a Tommy’s food truck, a magic show and other excitements, but the petting zoo was the highlight for me, by far.

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How could your heart not melt for these sweet faces?

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But don’t let that fool you. This horned fella was rambunctious and later head-butted an unassuming sheep for no reason at all. Totes McGotes out of control!

See more of my shenanigans after the jump!

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