On January 1, 2011, Jonathan and I were fortunate enough to attend the Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena, California. Throughout my childhood, my mother and grandmother had told stories about the Rose Parades that they had attended in the '60s and '70s, and I had always wanted to see the parade for myself. When Jonathan surprised me with tickets, I couldn't believe it. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
While our modern-day rose parade didn't smell like flowers (something that I found to be very disappointing), the overall experience was a magical one. We went to bed several hours before midnight on New Year's Eve (something I hadn't done since I was a little kid) and arose at 4 a.m. to make the drive from Cerritos to Pasadena. We slept in the car in the parking garage for a little while, and then walked down Colorado Boulevard to the grandstand. It was freezing -- very unlike California -- and everyone was bundled up like Eskimos. Once we were seated, I pulled out my giant camera and shot tons of photos to remember the day.
From the breathtaking backdrop (and city) to the painstakingly beautiful floats (decorated entirely with flowers, plants and seeds), a trip to the Tournament of Roses parade is something that should be on everyone's bucket list. It was the perfect way to welcome 2011.
Learn more about the parade here.