Goodbyes are by far my least favorite and this one in particular was the hardest to date. Im currently on the plane en route back to New York after spending the holidays and then some in the beautiful state of California with Landon making this his third state checked off in his traveling adventures- woohoo!
If you know me, thoroughly, you'd know that ever since I was 13 I've dreamt of traveling to California. I envisioned the hills, Hollywood, the "perfect weather", the famous In and Out indulgence, and the s l o w paced lifestyle in contrast to a speedy city girl habitat like my own. For many, California is home or may seem as the cliché go-to spot where people typically travel to but to me it has always seemed like something far much more than that, well at 13 that is at least. "The west coast" just sounded like such a distant intriguing place and can I just say, it was.
"Flight attendants prepare for landing...."
After arriving at LAX and being greeted by "welcome signs" from my friends & family, I knew this trip was off to a good start. I stayed at my sisters place in Westchester, Los Angeles. She moved there just a few months ago and had a California must-do list all set up for me, excitement overload! Right now, she lives with her boyfriend and roommate who both happen to be good friends from college/back home- talk about full house!
We got things rolling on the very first night and hired my sister as babysitter allowing the rest of us to step out to a speakeasy setting place called Blind Barber. It embodied the nightlife of the 1920s with a 21st century twist. The lounge is located directly within a Barbershop and opens up for after hours playing a perfect mix of oldies and today's top hits. Another thing that was for sure hitting were the drinks- yum!
Beverly Hills, California
Now- you can take me out of fast pace New York but you could not take me out of my typical New Yorker who must have coffee in the morning before doing absolutely anything. This led us to the infamous Alfred's Coffee & Kitchen in Beverly Hills where their trademark slogan alone defines my life: "But first, coffee." It was delicious and the setting reminded me of a trendy grandmothers house with floral wall paper decor and trinkets all along a fireplace- cozy!
We then made our way to Abbot Kinney strip. This small town is filled with boutiques and restaurants of all sorts. Unique family owned baby stores were of course mine and Landon's favorite.
Side note: it started raining and sadness consumed my entire being! My sister swore it's only rained maximum two times since she's been there so I was blamed for bringing the rain with me, go figure.
Melrose Avenue, California
Holy jet lag! For my Momma's who have their babies on strict sleeping schedules you might as well cancel yours because sleep was not something I was taking part in this trip due to Landon's schedule being all types of crazy because of his New York time & routine. But hey how does that saying go ?- I'll sleep when I'm dead.
Our second day started off with getting glammed and geared up to take a few shots with my forever photographer, my sister! We visited Paul Smiths famous pink wall. I don't know why it's famous or why it's such a popular pinpoint in Cali but it's super strict and fairly populated for a wall that's simply just painted pink. Nonetheless, the photos do in fact come out pretty in pink, get it?
Los Angeles, California
Time for some museum fun! Although it wasn't my favorite nor my kind of artistic taste- The Getty Center had tons to see in what seemed to be a very smaller than usual museum. Besides the art,historical portraits, and photographs it had such amazing views overlooking those hills I spoke about in my dreams earlier.
Downtown Los Angeles, California
This was one of my favorite days and places I've visited- Bottega Louie,The Last Bookstore, and Manhattan Beach.
Bottega Louie is macaroon heaven- seriously. Not only did they have an assortment of desserts to choose from but their food menu was also mouth watering. My sister and I shared a Tartufo pizza and split a burger & fries, plus a lemon mousse blueberry cheesecake, and lastly but not least- my must have coffee. There are truthfully no words to describe that pizza, in fact, sitting here on the plane thinking about it is making my mouth salivate- gimme gimme!
The Last Book Store was a book store designed like a labyrinth. You know that saying, "you can get lost in a good book"- welp, this place physically allowed you to do just that. Underpasses, spiral stairs, and intricately designed bookshelves gave this book store the "WOW" effect making it a must-do thing on our lengthy list.
We ended the day with a breath-taking sunset at Manhattan Beach. I will forever be chasing sunsets, they don't call me Ray for no reason ay!
Happy Belated Thanksgiving to you and yours!
This year- it was my turn to cook Thanksgiving dinner and the pressure was on. Coming from a Hispanic background for the most part cooking is second nature but just knowing it was up for critiquing by our guests for the holiday was nerve racking. All in all, it came out tasty. Seconds and left overs were for sure had.
Oh! Almost forgot my outfit details as promised. I've had my top for some time but didn't get a chance to wear it in New York considering summer left us so quickly but I am obsessed with it. I didn't add any jewelry because well, the shirt speaks for itself effortlessly. Heads up: Zaful takes a while to ship so if you are planning an outfit for a particular event order early in advance.
My skirt...isn't a skirt. I totally forgot to pack my original planned bottoms for this fit as a typical klutz. It's actually a dress in which I folded down the top part and pinned tightly enough to fit around my waist giving it DIY pleats, I guess. Clever, I know.
Lastly, chunky heels are the best- especially when having to lug a baby around that always wants to be picked up. You can still be dressy not having to result to flats because of a heavy baby- these worked just fine.
Bell sleeve blouse: Zaful
Fake skirt/dress: Ralph Lauren
Chunky Leather heels: Aldo
Venice Beach, California
For my New Yorkers, if you think we have our share of street vendors, interesting "spare a dollar" signs, hidden talent, and graffiti- come to Venice Beach and then let's compare cities. To me, Venice resembled the Jersey Shore Boardwalk with a mix of New York City and a twist of free spirited California. A little bit of everything was definitely the vibe here.
What stood out to me most were the unlimited amount of wall murals and their detailing.
Berris: Beverly Grove, California
Have you guys ever heard of a high class resturant that doesn't serve alcoholic beverages? Me neither- till we came to Berris. With a short and sweet straight to the point menu we ordered a Seafood pizza, I know I know- it's the New York in me that my eyes immediately focus in on the word pizza. Now this pizza hit all the right spots. The place could do without drinks because the food made up for every single bit of it.
Santa Monica, California
What a beauty! I was looking forward to visiting Santa Monica the most just because it was so highly spoken of- I wanted to see what all the fuss was about for myself.
Considering the holidays are in full effect, the Santa Monica strip that led to the piers was lit up! Amongst all the decorations and stores are events and gatherings of different activities like bands, souvenir carts, and a relatable favorite- salsa classes on the very streets of Santa Monica. Alongside good company and a chilly yet beautiful night, this day is sealed and locked away as one of my forever adored memories.
The Culver Hotel: Culver City, California
Our fancy family dinner night took place at my sisters job, The Culver Hotel. When on vacation we always choose a night to dress up and treat ourselves to some excellent food & drinks. Along with our dinner and dates we were also accompanied by a pleasant jazz band playing top 40 hits and a few Christmas tunes in which I wait all year for so the setting was perfect- to say the very least.
LACMA: Central LA, California
To cap the night and trip off, we spent some time under the unforgettable lights of LACMA. This was truly everything I envisioned it to be. Although the lights feel to be located in the middle nowhere or what seems to be a local street, they stand out like nothing I've ever seen before.
There's still so much to see, so much to do, and so much excitement for my next trip back here which I promise will be sooner than later. *starts to-do list part II*
Nonetheless, California was it. By "it", I mean everything I thought it would be. It was carefree, it was timeless, it was happiness, it was love, it was home. Although I am gone, my heart stays here with you, California.
"Home is where the heart is."
To be continued...
From my coast to yours,