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I’ve often heard that heat brings out the worst in people. The exact opposite is true for me. I’m happiest and friendliest under the sun, and while everyone else couldn’t stand the 100 degree weather we experienced in Vegas this weekend, I soaked it up. And I wish I could go back right now.

There’s not a lot to say about the trip other than that it was way too short. A lot of people say three days in  Las Vegas is plenty, but given how far I traveled to get there, a holiday weekend felt insufficient. Every time I’ve gone to Sin City, I’ve thought about how my next stay should be different. Last time around, we lodged at Hooters, which is at the end of the Strip. The time before that, I vowed not to wear heels unless it was absolutely necessary. This weekend, I walked out of the vacation knowing three days just doesn’t cut it anymore. With so much on my plate, I need an entire week! And perhaps my own room. Hey, I’m getting old. As much as I hate to admit it, I am a pampered cleaning fanatic and can’t stand to look at unmade beds, towels strewn across the floor, water marks on tables, or open bags of chips. Don’t hate me for quoting “The Hills” star Heidi Montag (hey, I’ve been watching that show nonstop lately, but that’s for another post entirely), but here goes: “What you’re like in preschool is what you’re like as an adult.” In Heidi’s case, she liked every boy she saw at age four and grew up to be just as boy crazy. I, on the other hand, became a neat freak as a toddler and have been the same way ever since. I take after my father, who also had heightened blood pressure any time he stepped into a cluttered kitchen with an overflowing trash can, wet counter tops, or molding recycling bins. I may not dust as much as a healthy person should, but I sure like to make everything look clean.

I don’t have a ton to report about my trip, as it was pretty relaxing and drama-free. We’re nerds, so the extent of our shenanigans was laughing about “Harry Potter” villain Voldemort and the movie “Teeth.” How did the disgusting movie even come up in conversation? You don’t want to know. All right, I wrote about it once in a slideshow…before my editor cut out the reference. My friends and I joked about it over the weekend and caught up on each other’s lives. No trouble or bad behavior, just harmless fun. Nikki requested to pop up in my blog, and while I’d love to pen another long post about her, there’s little more I can say aside from the fact that she’s just plain awesome and it’s a shame we didn’t meet earlier in life. We’re different in many  ways — she’s spontaneous and open-minded in the areas I crave structure — but our lives have a few glaring parallels, as illustrated in the aforementioned previous blog post:

“Though we’d led different lives, Nikki and I had many similarities. We’d both beaten up boys in high school (to be fair, I’d only thrown a guy into a pole and he hadn’t fought back, so it wasn’t much of a duel. Nikki’s male arch enemy tossed her onto the bleachers without reason). We both lost a parent to cancer as teens. We both strive for the acceptance of older siblings. We’re both soft and easily disappointed, but she’s better at veiling her sensitivity than I am.”

In layman’s terms, she’s terrific, and it sucks living across the country from her and so many others I love. That brings me back to my new obsession with “The Hills.” All my life, I’ve campaigned against all things-southern California, but I’m ready to set the rabid hatred behind me and revisit the idea of eventually living there. Sure I find it more toxic than New York, but all I really need is sunshine, dry heat, friends and family in close proximity, burritos, and Zen people to be happy, so I think I could make it there. My mom tries to convince me to return to California on a daily basis, going so far as to offer me a car if I relocate there. I have an awesome career in NYC, but this place is just so overly ambitious, you know? LA must be the same, though. Bottom line: I complain wherever I go, so I’ll never be able to escape downsides, and as long as you keep up with me, you’ll regularly have pages and pages of rants to sift through. I change my plans multiple times a day, and that’s no exaggeration. On the plane last night, I made a list of pros and cons for California and New York. Here’s what I came up with:

New York
Pros:
Lots and lots of journalism jobs
Many publishing houses (remember that book I wrote? I’m in the midst of shopping it around…too bad the publishing world is so darn intimidating and confusing!)
Great for pedestrians, eco-friendly, excellent for my health
Endless amounts of professional connections

Cons
Terrible weather: scorching hot summers, blistering cold winters, occasional hurricanes
Major distance from mother, brothers, nephews, niece, and sisters-in-laws
Major distance from my friends
High cost of living
Overly ambitious, hostile, rude people
High crime rate

Los Angeles
Pros
A plane flight away from my mom, brother Kevin, and his family
Sunshine!
My sister is moving there at the end of the year
Healthy environment
Lots of publishing houses
Close to my brother Mikey and his family
Good journalism opportunities (i.e. Conde Nast, EW, LAT)

Cons
Awful traffic
Superficiality
Smog
Need a car
Fires
Earthquakes
Limited journalism jobs outside of the examples above

Bay area
Pros
Happy beach towns
Close to my mom and brother Kevin
Less smog and traffic
Warm weather
Lots of publishing houses
Positive vibes

Cons
It’s the tech industry, so journalism jobs are few and far between
Expensive living
Need a car
Only a handful of friends nearby
Earthquakes
Occasional fires

Looks like California could work for me after all — but I have to establish myself before I can return to the motherland. Once I’m there, I’ll get to see Nikita, Nikki, my family, and many other gems more often. Until then, I can stare at my Vegas pictures and dream of a day when I can hop on a plane and arrive there in less than six hours.

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