LA LA Land

As I may have mentioned before, my family and I typically fly down to Los Angeles for Christmas 2.0, the new year, and birthdays. The trip came up pretty quickly for me because UW is stupid and decided to cut winter break down to two weeks. After a week in Colorado with friends, the fam and I escaped the freezing cold in exchange for sunshine and 60-70 degree weather in LA. 


Arriving late in the evening, we relaxed with family in the evening and planned out our week. LA is a sprawling city bursting at the seams with activities, restaurants, and sights so we needed to plan accordingly to maximize our time. 

Every single time, we make a coffee run (or like three) to Alfred {Coffee + Kitchen} down on Melrose to kick off our morning. We opted for Alfred in the Alley so we could grab some Yeastie Boy Bagels for breakfast. 


Coffee and bagel sandwiches in hand, we drove to the newly reopened Runyon Canyon to hike up to the Hollywood sign for our morning exercise. All of the Angelinos (lol that's what they refer to themselves as) were bundled up, while we soaked up some rays. Though the terrain wasn't really anything to look at, the views on this clear day (minus the overhanging smog) were incredible! In the distance, we spotted the Griffith Observatory, DTLA, Century City, Santa Monica, and the lovely Pacific Ocean. 


We rounded one of the bends and took a slight detour to grab a quick glance of the Hollywood sign from below. As we trudged up, we realized we were on a bit of a time crunch because of lunch reservations. To my disdain, we started jogging in order to make it up behind the sign in enough time and then make it down to the car.


Ugh, the running was no bueno. BUT the views above the Hollywood sign were all worth it. 


Sweaty, we jogged back down past the other tourists with their stupid selfie sticks and jumped in the car to realize we weren't going to make it to lunch on time. It all worked out though, and headed straight to the Grove to meet up with everyone. 


At the Grove, we did some quick window shopping and grabbed some Pressed Juicery to tie us over for "lunch". It tastes DELICIOUS. Get the Citrus 2 and Strawberry-Apple-Lime, you won't be sorry. 


The whole reason we were at the Grove in the first place was to see the movie Sing! with Xander and his friend. It was such a cute little movie, definitely go see it. On our way out, we bought some post-movie cupcakes from Sprinkles


We split off from the rest of the family who headed back to Julie's and instead jetted over to Hollywood and Highland to check out the 1975 pop up store. After searching for the shop for a solid 20 minutes, we found it and snapped some pics. With a little bit of time remaining on our parking, we wandered the shopping area and the star studded sidewalks doing some prime people watching. We concluded our busy day by relaxing in the evening and playing card games. 


The next morning, we slowly got ready and decided to go to brunch as a family. Julie, Mom, Gina and I wanted to walk since the restaurant was only a few blocks away. Along the way, we stopped by a few classic, nay iconic, colorful walls on Melrose and snapped some pics. 


It was oddly and deceivingly hot outside and we were sweating. Luckily, we rounded the corner and there was Maison Richard. The bright little cafe-restaurant was the perfect start to our day. Their French dishes and pastries were divine. 


With full bellies, we strolled down Melrose and popped into the boutique stores. Croft Alley for a snack with Caroline since she was the one who introduced us to this little gem. 

Later that afternoon, we met back up with Caroline to do a little matching outfits.

Caroline had bought this shirt first, but Gina and I had had our eyes on it at H&M. In the end, we both bought the tee and we planned to bring them to LA.


This has got to be one of the more ridiculous things we've done, and clearly the funniest. The plan was to take a few pictures in front of the iconic pink Paul Smith wall and call it day. 


We made the mistake of venturing to the wall in the afternoon when everyone descends on the place. Folks were planning the perfect poses to prime their Instagram profiles, and here we were in matching outfits.

Our trio definitely drew some quizzical glances. 

Because of how funny this actually was, we scurried around Melrose and hit all of our favorite walls. Cue the compilation!


And this whole thing took a good chunk of the afternoon. Caroline went home because she had to go to a dance class (classic) and we decided to drive across town to Silver Lake and explore. For whatever reason, Gina and I neglected the fact that we were still matching and basically looked like twins, drawing more odd looks. Eh, it's LA so people really shouldn't be surprised. 

We wandered all throughout Silver Lake, hitting our favorite spots like the Dallas Clayton mural at Dangerbird Records, the piano steps, the heart steps, and the cute cafes, boutiques, and restaurants lining the street. 


The next day, Dad flew into LAX in the morning where we promptly picked him up and whisked him away to jumpstart the day's adventure. I guess that meant us being indecisive. We went back and forth on what to do and ended up driving up the coast towards Malibu. On a bit of a time schedule, we didn't quite make it up to the pier, but did enjoy the beautiful scenery. 

From the coast we jetted across town down Sunset Boulevard to go into the heart of Silver Lake (again) and eat breakfast at Square One. Everyone was starving at this point, and we all gorged ourselves on the food. Our eyes may have been to large for our stomachs, but I thoroughly enjoyed my lemon ricotta pancakes. 


We drove around Silver Lake some more and ventured over to the hills to meet up with Caroline and her friend Brad at the Skirball Cultural Center. On display at the museum was Roy Lichtenstein's Pop Art exhibition, Pop for the People, which we were all excited about. 


You may have seen Lichtenstein's work in many other galleries and museums; his pieces are easy to identify with the characteristic comic strip style coupled with the primary color scheme. The coolest part of the exhibition was the blown up-real life version of Bedroom at Arles where you could actually step into the painting. 


After seeing all the colorful Lichtensteins and taking way too many Boomerangs for social media (ahem, CAROLINE), we strolled through the permanent collection and viewed all of the Jewish artifacts. 


As the day drew on, everyone started losing energy and began to become lethargic. Since we were already in the hills, we decided to cross over to the other side and head into Studio City. Once there, we took in this part of town and spotted all of our LA favorites like Alfred's and Joan's. To boost our spirits, we grabbed some ice cream from McConnell's (the same place as in Santa Barbara!) aka my favorite ice cream shop. We called it a day and played more cards with everyone in the evening.


Well the next day was December 31st and we had to make 2016 go out with a bang! We drove across the LA area to DTLA for a lovely rooftop brunch at Perch (fitting name). We went up to the restaurant through a series of sketchy elevators and through purple velvet curtains. The space was swanky, and that is an understatement.  


The bar was filled to the brim with funky bottles precariously stacked side by side and outside the deck wrapped around the building to offer different perspectives of LA spreading out in the distance. We were seated for a brief moment and ordered, then proceeded to scurry around and take in the view. 


Amazing view AND amazing food. This place does it all. I was just so happy to be ending 2016 with an excellent brunch. 


The rest of the day was a bit of a mishmash of random sites and errands. We popped over to Chinatown and admired a truck bed full of oranges, not something you see every day. We also had an ordeal with Caroline attempting to fix her center console. And the strangest part throughout the whole day was that we kept finding things such as a wad of money (returned to its rightful owner), a skateboard knee pad (also returned to the owner), and a sports watch. 


In the evening, we celebrated the new year with the whole family!

2017!!! I honestly didn't think this year would come so soon. It was awesome to start the new year with my family. 

We rang in the new year by crossing off Joshua Tree on our national park list. I can't think of a better way to begin the year than hiking and road tripping. You can read more about our day in the desert here

The next day we woke up at 6:00 am to go to a spin class with Julie. Well, if day one of 2017 was getting outside and hiking, and day two started off with spin class at Fly Wheel, all I have to say is that this better be the year I actually get fit and in shape. 

We freshened up and headed out for Santa Monica. Along the way, we stopped by this Mondrian mural on the side of an art store. Of course we hopped out and snapped a few pictures.


Funny enough, on the other side of the wall, was another mural where Gina quickly posed. 


One of our main motivators for going to Santa Monica was, well, to go to Santa Monica, but in reality, it was for Egg Slut. It's only the sluttiest egg sandwich in all of LA. But actually it's amazing. Their Grand Central Market location usually has a line winding around the counter and through the walkways, so we were praying this location was a bit more demure. Wrong. Not as busy, but still a bit of a wait. Mom and Gina hung out in the line while Dad and I strolled over to the skate park and Venice Boardwalk. 


UGH THOSE SANDWICHES ARE THE BEST. We scarfed them down and walked around Venice and Abbot Kinney some more. 


We ended the day at Joan's on Third to admire the cute little food market/hall/restaurant (Joan is a GENIUS) and stocked up on snacks for our flights the next day. 


I flew back to Seattle the next morning and went straight to class from the airport (because Iā€™m a good student) and started winter quarter of senior year. As always, it's a whirlwind of eating food and driving across LA, but I wouldn't have it any other way.