Have you ever gone on a trip and come back really disappointed and unfulfilled? Me too. But not this time!!! Our trip last week to Los Angeles/Anaheim far exceeded my expectations! Read about my goals here if you haven’t already (most of them came true). Additionally I insta-storied like a fiend while we were there are it is all saved in my highlights! Check it out. I have categorized our trip into two main activities: What we ate, and things we did.
Things we did:
Day 1: We arrived and we were blown away by how sweet the air was! (this is the first in many exclamations about the weather) We got a shuttle from LAX to Anaheim and checked into our Airbnb.
We arrived in Anaheim! Our hosts seemed very nice with two girls. A toddler, and one only a few weeks old. After we settled our things we went immediately back out again to get some food. While we were at the supermarket with the food we saw all kinds of really interesting produce.
Banana flowers?! That color is so beautiful. This store was in a mostly Arabic neighborhood so the ingredients were really interesting and varied.
Day 2: After breakfast, we decided to spend the first day of NAMM together! Michael was giddy. I had fun too, but most of it consisted in people watching, and seeing Michael light up at all of the techie music stuff. The people watching there was prime. There are some weird looking people at music conferences! There was one guy walking around in a flesh colored fat suit dancing at anyone who would look at him. Another girl was completely bald except for a 3ft tall American Indian headdress fused to her scalp. Interesting.
One thing I really liked was a talk given by Geoff Emerick, the Beatles sound engineer! He and author Howard Massey took us through the beginning of his career (started in the studio at 15!) and talked about the progression of the Beatles music and why things changed, etc. Interesting story: apparently the day the Beatles recorded “She Loves You” (“yeah, yeah, yeah”) 300 screaming fans stormed the studio and ransacked the place, hiding in cupboards, and trying to get to the Beatles. They all thought it was hilarious and as a result the energy in that song stems directly from the energy of that day.
Being at the conference was interesting because Michael is pretty crazy about this stuff, but so was everyone there! If there was music playing somewhere, all 100 people or so in the vicinity would start drumming and tapping on anything they could find, just like Michael!
That night we saw OKGO in concert! They are known for their cool videos but they weren’t bad live and we got to be right in the front.
Day 3: Not much to this day. I mostly relaxed! After breakfast I spent the day in coffee shops, writing and doing research, which gave my feet a break. Read a little bit about the coffee shop headache HERE. At 5 Michael and I met for dinner and to see another concert. This one didn’t have anyone I knew but I really enjoyed the music!
Day 4: This day was a big deal! The original plan was for me to explore the Glendale area on my own but last minute Michael felt like he needed a break from the conference so he came with! This was our first real excursion into the city of Los Angeles. Up to that point we had been in the Orange County/Anaheim area. Our first stop was the Americana where we had breakfast at the adorable Le Pain Quotidien Bakery.
I choose the Glendale area for a few reasons. #1 Joy Cho of OhJoy was doing a meet-and-greet at Nordstrom in the Americana from 3-4 and I was determined to meet her! and #2 there are a lot of cool design things near by in Atwater Village and Silverlake that I wanted to check out.
After breakfast we went to Glendale Blvd where there are a selection of very cute little stores (here is where the design comes in people!) Our first stop was to deKor.
I heard about deKor from This post from Emily Henderson and it did not disappoint! They have a beautifully curated collection that was expertly styled.
Afterwards we checked out AVION clothier which had a very cool aesthetic. The woman manning the store was really nice, and gave us lots of suggestions for places to eat (see: Proof Bakery), and what the best neighborhoods were.
A lot of the stores that we visited weren’t exclusively interiors stores but nevertheless they were very beautiful and well designed. There was something about being around beautiful things, even if they aren’t specifically my field, that inspired me.
Treehaus LA: This shop had some really interesting little knick-knacks which made Michael and I smile:
There is a painted fly on the tea cup and the book reads: “Not- Even-Remotely-Artisinal, Three-Ingredient-or-Less Cocktails that Get to the Point” by Jennifer McCartney. Ha!
Kin and Kind: This was one of my favorite shops! The atmosphere was very clean, warm and stylish. It has so many sweet touches, and everything is really high quality.
COMMON: This is primarily a clothing shop, and everything I saw felt high quality but with surprisingly reasonable prices! These are some pictures from their website:
Unidentified Antique Shop: Unfortunately, I couldn’t find this place online or Google Maps, It was an adorable little shop tucked into the side of one of the stores:
La Commune General: This place was really special. When we came upon it at first it seemed closed and very quiet, although the hours said that it should be open at that time. We stuck around for a few minutes trying to decided where to go next and I am so glad we did because, then a slightly flustered looking woman hurried up to the store and started opening everything! Apparently she had a late start to the day. You guys. Everything in there is so good. All vintage and really cool stuff.
Carri is really cool and Micheal and I talked with her and her friend Barbara for almost an hour and a half! I am so grateful to be able to talk to like-minded people who love design as much as I do.
After reveling in pretty shops and vintage stuff, it was time to see Joy! We only got to meet for a few seconds but she was of course very engaged and asked us questions about ourselves! It takes a lot of energy to be genuine with people like that. It is something I appreciate about Joy’s brand and hope to emulate.
Surprisingly, after all that walking we found that we had some more juice left! And since we were already in the city, Michael and I wanted to see the Capitol Records building. I thought that area would be really touristy and ugly and while there were tourists, it turned out to be a really pleasant walk.
We certainly found out why they called it Sunset Blvd! Everything was bathed in orange light and that combined with cool breezes and warm sunshine made for a pretty amazing moment. But that is when my feet started burning probably worse than I have ever felt! We had been walking since 9am, and when our Uber pulled up to take us home, the relief I felt was overwhelming.
Day 5: Today we relaaaaaaaaxed! Michael went to NAMM for part of the morning and when he came back we geared up to hit the beach! We had been looking forward to this all week. Neither of us had seen the ocean in 3 years and we really, really, love the ocean! I’m not sure how this happened, but I forgot to pack towels and sunscreen (face-palm). So we stopped by Walmart first. Our original plan was Newport Beach but our Uber driver (very enthusiastically) suggested Huntington beach as a more clean, less touristy location. We are so glad we took his advice because it was a beautiful place. Despite the fact that there were still a lot of tourists, it was very clean, not too crowded, and had a lot of great places to eat!
After walking down the pier and getting lunch, we lay on the beach (me heavily sunscreened) talking and goofing around for hours. The water was so cold. I think it was something like 55 Degrees? Cold enough that my feet immediately started cramping up when we went in the water. But once I got my head under, even though it was still the coldest water I have ever been in, it was also the most refreshing.
After watching the sun set, we packed up and explored the shops. We saw an extremely talented street performer, relaxed on the green, and got gyros before going home to watch a movie.
This was by far my favorite day.
Day 6: We leave very early to head to LAX. When our plane took off over the pacific ocean all we could see for a few minutes was deep blue and sunshine.
What we ate:
Day 1: Our driver told us about the greek food that they serve in the supermarket so we decided to take the 10 minute walk at sunset to the store. I got a gyro and Michael got the wrap. It was so good. I’m going to say this a lot but it was truly delicious. As our first meal in LA, it didn’t disappoint (unlike the photo quality).
Day 2: Nothing special for breakfast, just yogurt, oats, berries, and a cranberry muffin. But, lunch! Well. Lunch we hit the food trucks (“food trucks! food trucks! food trucks! food trucks!…”) And we got this:
I got the Chicken Pesto Panini, Michael got the Lobster Crab and Bri Panini, and we both shared the garlic fries which were just garlicy enough. Everything was incredibly satisfying. Apparently this person won Chopped and has a ton of awards! It showed. (I apologize for the photo quality)
For dinner we decided to go to the food trucks again and this time we tried the Margarita Pizza! This pizza is the real deal. The sauce was sweet, tangy and subtle. The cheese was salty and stringy. The crust was chewy and soft with a slight crunch. and everything came together perfectly. The only problem we found was that it didn’t fill us up AT ALL. Since the crust was so thin and delicate, and it was fairly small to begin with we needed to go and grab some burgers that I wont bother showing because they were okay but weren’t much. The pizza however, goes on my top 5 list!
Day 3: After our yogurt and berries, Michael and I went our separate ways and I hung out at a few different coffee shops for the day. I took a break to have lunch at a Hawaiian Barbecue. This being my first time trying it, they were very helpful to steer me toward what I wanted. And I honestly wasn’t expecting it to be much! Just some chicken and rice. And it was just chicken and rice. But the chicken was probably the most tender, juicy, and flavorful chicken I have ever had which is saying a lot because I eat a lot of chicken!
Dinner was again, food trucks. The prices for these trucks were insane ($20 per meal) They came for the conference which means they can charge more because of a very captive audience. Although this is some of the best street food in the world…case in point:
The Falafel truck. This was one of the freshest things I have ever eaten.
Day 4: No berries and yogurt for us this morning! We had Le Pain Quotidien Bakery!
Side note: I love it that pretty much every restaurant here has the option for sparkling water! I can’t get along with out it. This was also my first espresso. I have been experimenting with unsweet coffee (I used to need tons of cream, sugar, and flavoring) and this was really smooth. The brioche french toast was an indulgence, and Michael’s goat cheese omelet was really delicate and flavorful.
After breakfast we walked around and got a recommendation at one of the shops for Proof Bakery. Since it was right across the street we gave it a shot! The aesthetic was really cool and it was packed – a good sign. But the pastries were unbelievable!
The crunch on the croissant was like biting into salty-sweet air.
For lunch, before we met Joy Cho, we went to All-Acqua, a really adorable bistro-type place in Atwater Village. I had an amazing pizza with brussel sprouts! I love brussel sprouts. Michael got a panini, but I can’t remember what it had on it.
After we got back home Michael wanted to go to Pizza Press. Apparently he and some friends went all the time when he went to NAMM a few years ago and he had very fond memories. I love this because its basically subway for pizza.
That balsamic vinegar was so good…
Day 5: I spent the morning in bed and we had our leftover pizza for breakfast. After Michael got back from a morning at the conference we hit Huntington beach! We walked down the pier and got burgers at “Ruby’s” recommended by our Uber driver.
Now, by the time we ate this I was very hungry, which always makes food taste better but really, this was so. good. The bacon was very crispy and the bun had an amazing crunch. It was dripping with juice. Very filling and satisfying.
After spending the day on the beach we walked into the shopping area and got Epic Gyro. The woman who was running the shop had just opened 4 months ago and she was a very energetic person. We watched her arrange every vegetable and piece of meat with so much care and passion. It was really fun to see someone taking so much pride in their work (and fun to eat their work!)
I have to say, Indiana food is ruined for me! Even though everything there was exorbitantly priced, it was soooooo good! The variety in a city like LA is an inspiring thing.
You know you are doing travel right when it takes you out of your comfort zone. Thats the only way to experience another culture! And even though it is uncomfortable, the return is so worth it. Michael and I have discovered since we got married that we absolutely love being out of our comfort zone together. Los Angeles was beautiful and exotic, full of energy and inspiration! We both made connections and came home inspired to do what we love! And even though its a little cheesy, I couldn’t ask for anything more.