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Last Day in Long Beach

by Meghann on April 25, 2009

Today was my last full day in Long Beach and I have to say I am completely exhausted and ready to go home. I learned a very important lesson today, traveling for work is not nearly as fun as traveling for pleasure.

I had a later call time this morning, so I took full advantage and hit the running path along the beach for a 5 mile run. I ran around the harbor and had a perfect view of the Queen Mary, too bad I had decided not to bring my camera this morning!

When I returned I showered and headed to breakfast for the conference. I was very tempted by the Cheese & Ham Crossiants and the various muffins and pasteries but stuck with what was the healthiest choice I could get.

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My plate was filled with plenty of Fresh Fruit and in the bowl was Non-Fat Plain Yogurt, Granola, Dried Fruit, and I added the box of Unsweetened Mini Wheats to the bowl as well. It was actually a great breakfast and I was really happy with the choices I made from the buffet.

We had three break out sessions scheduled this morning, with plans of ending the conference with a late lunch. Because of the late lunch we served a great snack between sessions.

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I was very excited about the Chocolate Covered Strawberries. My absolute favoritest thing ever!!

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I definitely indulged with 2 Chocolate Covered Strawberries, but with all the running around I have been doing I deserved to indulge.

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Speaking of running around…. I have been on my feet non-stop for the past three days. I guess my body is used to being at a desk and is loving the extra activity. With all the eating out I have to admit I have been scared about pulling on my size 2 pants everyday, but honestly they still fit fine! All the running around has hopefully burned off the extra calories and no doubt has spiked my metabolism.

THe fruit snack may have been good at the time, but was not filling enough to keep hunger at bay until my 2:00 lunch. I needed a little help so around 1:00 I broke in to the TJ Peanut Butter Pretzels. They definitely hit the spot!

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Lunch was not one of my proudest moments at the conference.

It started out great with a Cesear Salad with dressing on the side. (I gave the croutons to a hung over co-worker who ate nothing but bread for lunch)

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But then when they went to serve the vegetarian option I was presented with a bowl of Spaghetti. Anyone who knows me personally knows I have a certain grudge against spaghetti... honestly in my head its one of the worst dishes ever invented out there.

I was the one who selected the vegetarian menu and knew I had made a point not to select any pasta dishes because I for one hate that when people say vegetarain they automatically assume pasta. I told the waiter there must have been a mistake. I think he could tell I was tired and was willing to help me out. He requested a special meal from the chef on my behalf that had no pasta involved.

In the mean time I ate 2 rolls that went unpictured… they were really good though.

FInally my lunch was served.

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Steamed Veggies and Mashed Potatoes! LOL!!! Oh well, atleast I made up for all the veggies I feel like I have been lacking since I have been here. I ate all the veggies and about half of the taters.

The dessert was also something my supervisor and I did not remember ordering.

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It was an apple tart of sorts… or atleast that’s what we all guessed. It was not a popular dessert and the majority of the tables were left untouched or just a couple nibbles. For some reason I ended up eating about half. Maybe I was still depressed about my lunch mess up?

The conference officially ended after lunch. Everyone did a great job pulling together and wrapping it up. My supervisor had a 6:00pm flight to catch out of LAX so she left me in charge of final clean up and making sure out lap top rentals were picked up. I was the last person to leave at 3:45pm when we officially relinquished the rooms and my job was done. Woo hoo!

I declined exploring the LA area with co-workers and instead did a little bit of relaxation.

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I have been in Long Beach for four days and this was the first oppurtunity I had to wear my swim suit I spent a good 30 minutes soaking up the luxurious heat in the hot tub. My tired body, definitely needed the extra bubbles.

Tonight was my blogger meet up with some local bloggers and I was super excited for another night out. Chantalle from L.A. Daze was super sweet to pick me up from my hotel and drive to our meeting spot just outside of Newport Beach.

For something fun and different we met at the Avanti Cafe. It was a very cute and quaint Vegetarian resteraunt that had a very interesting online menu.

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Chantalle had called ahead of time and there was a little table in the middle with a reserved note just for us. Ashley C from Land of Fruit & Nuts and Monica from Run Eat Repeat met us there as well.

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I really enjoyed the hippie atmosphere of Avanti. The girl who assisted us with our drinks and orders was very kind and kowledgable of all the food. She asked if there was a special occasion on why we were all together and Ashley had mentioned I was from Florida and a food blogger. The girl immediately gushed about how they love receiving online reviews and that she would tell the owner there was a special guest.

As we were waiting for our orders a server arrived with a special plate compliments of the chef.

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I believe they were some sort of potato pancake topped with a ricotta cheese mixture (?). I had one of the pieces and it was very tasty, but very out there. The pancake base had nuts and what almost tasted like fruit in it.

Though, Avanti does have a menu of the items they serve daily, there was also a deli case with daily specials.

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I was tempted by the specials but there were too many great choices on the menu not to try something out of the ordinary. ;)

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I was dying to try the Polenta Crisps, but they were sadly sold out. Bummer! So instead I was reccomended the Tater Fries. So I placed an order for the table to try.

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It was an assortment of Yukon Gold Potatoes and Sweet Potato fries. Paired with the dipping sauces, I enjoyed them. I ordered them to share, but I am pretty sure I ate most of the fries myself. :)

For the main meals I ordered the Riviera Pizza.

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I asked for light cheese and added the tofu/tempah combo to the pizza for protein.

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The personal pizza was a decent size and I actually only finished half of it. I had been craving tofu and really was happy to have the option to add it to my pizza. THe Zhug sauce was something we had been asking about during the ordering process and were told it was a special sauce that they created on site. It was very spicy and green, but also full of wonderful flavors.

Ashley was kind enough to pick up dessert from Sprinkles on her way to meet us.

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I guess Sprinkles is a very popular LA Cupcake bakery that I just had to try while I was here. :)

She brought a Lemon-Coconut and Chocolate Peanut Butter for us to share.

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I happily tried a little piece of each cupcake.

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OMG!! THese cupcakes were AMAZING!!! Especially the PB one. So moist and sooo good!! There are about 1/4 of each cupcake left, the perfect sweet treat for my plane ride.

Meeting the girls was of course and awesome experience. Each one was wonderful and we literally talked non-stop about any and everything you could think of. Before we knew it was 9:00 and I had to head back to the hotel. I do hope I get to meet these lovely ladies again when I return to San Diego at the end of May!!

Thank you Chantalle, Ashley and Monica for making the trip, it was too much fun and the perfect way to end my visit!!

I am so ready to go home. I have a 9:00am flight out of LAX and hope to be back in O-town around 4:00pm. It will be another fun day of traveling.

Have a great weekend everyone!!!

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