friday favorites: an LA edition
happy, happy, HAPPY EFFING FRIDAY, EVERYONE. is it just me, or was this week… weird? i literally had no idea what day it was for the majority of the week, and the days just seemed to craaaawwwwwlllllll. makes friday feel that. much. better.
it’s been a while since i’ve done a “favorites” post of any kind… and i felt like it was a nice way to end this long, grueling week.
and since i’ve been living in LA for about a year and a half [it will be 2 years in july… excuse me… WHAT?!] i thought… why not do a post about the things/places i’m loving in LA right now? i have to say that i really feel more at home here than i have anywhere else, so it really just feels right, ya know?
1. beaming. beaming is an amazing little superfood bar with several locations throughout los angeles. they have everything from smoothies to cleanses to nut butters to granola mixes. and everything is amazing. i recommend the kale-fornia smoothie [because duh]. they even have an online store for those of you not local to LA!
2. archlight culver city. a movie theater? yes. why, you ask? because they have a full bar in the lobby… and you can take your drink into the theater with you. talk about really transforming the experience of going to see a movie on a sunday evening! it’s possible that they do this in other theaters, too, but it’s the only one i know of so… there ya have it! i guess you could call this ~*soLA?
3. playlist yoga. this was a studio i had heard a lot about before i even lived in LA, but it took me way too long to actually try a class there. now, i’m hooked. all of the instructors are amazing, the music is LIT AF, and the lockers are all labeled with the names of musicians [think bey, kendrick, calvin, biggie]. maybe i’ll do a full class review one of these days!
4. my favorite murder. okay, so this isn’t specific to LA, but the hostesses do live here, so i’m counting it. my favorite murder is the podcast i’m currently bingeing. literally, cannot get enough of it. they cover a couple of different murders stories each week, walking you through all of the details… and they also manage to make it absolutely hilarious [in a non-offensive way]. if you’re into true crime, you’re probably already listening to it, too, but if you’re not… what are you waiting for?! oh, and their tagline is “stay sexy, don’t get murdered”… that’s all.
5. the weather. again. finally. the past few months have been pretty sh*tty here in LA, weather-wise. i know, i know you don’t wanna hear it because angelenos are spoiled and basically always have perfect weather, but GUYS. when it rains almost every day for 2 months and is grey and colder than usual… in a city where the weather is literally always perfect… it really takes a toll on you! don’t like it? don’t care. haters gonna hate, i guess. this past week has been absolutely gorgeous, and now that all of the rain has turned LA green… i’m more ready for summer than ever. can’t wait to get out and do some hiking this weekend!
what are your favorite things to do, places to go, food to eat in your city?! share in the comments below! and would also love more LA recs!
a note on california
it’s been almost 8 months since i touched down in l.a. and looking back, i cannot believe it’s been that long. talk about time flying by. it feels like just last week i hopped off the plane at l.a.x. [get it? anyone?!] with 2 suitcases, a duffel bag and a backpack, moved onto the couch of my friends’ apartment, and did what i had to do to make living in california a thing… and i am so happy that i did!
when i first started breaking the news to everyone that i was quitting my job and leaving new york for california, most were supportive, as i expected them to be, but they also had a lot of warnings for me:
“well you know it’s nothing like new york, right?” … yea, duh, that’s why i’m moving there.
“you’ll have to have a car and traffic in l.a. is a nightmare.” … that’s what i’ve heard… but have you ever been on the subway? now that’s what nightmares are made of.
“they have no seasons there. it’s literally summer all the time.” … YEP, PICKED UP ON THAT PART.
even though i was confident that making the move was a great decision, in the back of my mind i kept telling myself that if i absolutely hated it and things didn’t work out, i could move back to new york after a year.
well, i’ve been here since july 23rd, and i can say with confidence that i don’t ever plan on going back to new york. honestly, i’m a little surprised myself. i never thought i would live anywhere but new york until i came to l.a. for the first time in 2013. but now, i don’t know how i ever thought new york was where i belonged. why, you ask? a few reasons:
1. the weather. not to beat a dead horse, but seriously, why do people choose to subject themselves to subzero temperatures, snow, wind chills and winters that last for 6 months? i will never understand this.
2. the beach. [see also: the ocean, sand, palm trees, the sun, the coastal views, etc.]
3. the people. new yorkers get a bad rap, yes, but seriously, the people in l.a. are so much nicer than the people in new york. from my uber driver to the guy ringing me up at whole foods to random people at bars… everyone is friendly, everyone asks how your day is going and genuinely seems to care. even the homeless people here are nice! must be all that vitamin d.
4. driving. is the traffic bad in l.a.? yes. it’s just as bad as they say it is. but you know what’s worse than sitting in your car, ac on/windows down, listening to music or talking on the phone while you’re stuck in traffic? standing in a crowded subway car with no air conditioning in the middle of summer with a stranger’s armpit in your face for 3 hours when your commute should only take 40 minutes because of a mysterious phenomena known as “train traffic” caused by “signal problems ahead”. pick your poison, but personally, i choose the former.
5. the lifestyle. the grind in new york is real. no one ever stops. everyone is moving quickly and is always “too busy” for this and “too busy” for that. when you’re caught up in it, it just becomes normal. but out in l.a. everything is more laid back. people walk slower [working on losing my “new york walk”], showing up 30 minutes late is considered being on time [also working on not showing up everywhere 30 minutes early] and the “i’m too busy” excuse is something you almost never hear. people are generally more carefree, open and relaxed… and it’s been a nice change of pace for me.
so there you have it. i’ve officially gone from “empire state of mind” to “golden state of mind” … and yea, i’m just fine with that.
motivation mondays: week 40
good morning, ya’ll! sorry that I’ve been m.i.a. since bananas + bellinis officially turned the big o-n-e last week… i’ve been ever so slightly busy with the whole relocating process. today, i’m happy to say that as of last thursday, i’m officially in warm, sunny, absolutely perfect los angeles… finally!
i spent the weekend catching up with my friends who live out here, exploring the city a little bit, attending the grand opening of wanderlust hollywood [where I’ll be going this week for a class and a full tour of the new space, so stay tuned for that!] and, naturally, eating some really effing good food.
[hummus salad at kreation kafé]
[veggie tacos + ginger margaritas at blue plate taco]
[shakshuka + basil gimlet at the misfit]
and just for good measure… some beach/palm tree/sunset pictures [prepare yourself to start seeing a lot more of these]:
i typically find inspiration for my motivation mondays posts in my own life and this week is certainly no different. considering the big move i’m making this summer, i really connected to this quote:
honestly, i kind of have no choice but to believe this right now. making this big move, i’ve put a lot of faith in the universe. not that i’m totally plan-less… but, i am kinda wingin’ it. i have to believe that because i’m doing what i feel is right for me, that it’s all going to fall into place.
when you’re going against who you are or what you want to do, that’s when things don’t work out. don’t look at the roadblocks… look past them. you have to believe that if you’re listening to yourself and going after your dreams the universe will align for you so that it all works out in the end.
have an amazing week! see you on wednesday with a new recipe and on friday with another recap from my australia trip!
p.s. you may have noticed some of the new pictures that i mentioned before are now up! how amazing are they?! thanks again to the lovely and talented jess husted for making these happen!
photo courtesy of deena douglas
as you probably already know based on my instagram feed and last week’s what i ate wednesday post, i visited two of my dearest friends in l.a. a few weekends ago and had so. much. fun. this was my 4th time visiting southern california in the last year and every time i go i find it harder and harder to come home. and this trip was no exception. seriously, i basically had to be forced into the car that was taking me to the airport.
i stayed with two friends who left new york last summer and had a chance to see some of the other people i know out there who have recently migrated west. let me just say, i 100% understand why all of these formers new yorkers have made the decision to relocate and it’s something i have thought about doing quite often since my first trip out there [but actually since the first time i ever watched the o.c.].
while we didn’t opt to do a lot of touristy things [i was going for a more “local” experience this time], i still wanted to share a few pictures and do a little recap from the weekend that weren’t related to food, just to… you know… prove that my entire world doesn’t revolve around eating… maybe.
yogaworks santa monica
just quickly, i wanted to mention that, as a graduate of yogaworks’ teacher training, i made it a priority to check out a class at their santa monica studio [the main street location] while i was out there. i took a level 2/3 class with mia togo first thing on friday morning and absolutely loved her style. based on the philosophies she spoke about, it sounds like she has struggled with many of the same things i have in the past, so relating everything she was saying to my practice was very easy. the class was challenging and the perfect way to start my weekend of socal living!
what would a trip to l.a. be without a little visit to beverly hills? after brunch on saturday, we walked from west hollywood to beverly hills, taking detours through a few neighborhoods to scope out the houses/cars/landscaping/etc. [in a totally not-creepy way… i think] and then eventually made our way down rodeo drive, wandering in and out of the designer shops and boutiques. the weather was perfect and it was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. go ahead and file this under “things i could get used to”.
rooftop [birthday!] drinks in venice beach
Photo courtesy of High Venice
while i don’t have any of my own pictures from high rooftop lounge [pretty fitting name, right?] because we were there later at night, i can only imagine what the view from this place is like during the day. even though it was dark and we couldn’t really see anything, the sound of the ocean and the breeze were enough, and i will be coming back here for sunset cocktails the next time i’m in l.a.! when this bar closed, we headed to larry’s just down the street which was really fun… a nice, laid back vibe with friendly bartenders who gave me a few birthday drinks/shots on the house [and also gave us total control of the music at one point]… exactly the type of place i wanted to ring in the big two seven!
the famous “venice” sign… i know it’s not the best picture, but i couldn’t not include it.
santa monica is where my friends live and easily my favorite place in l.a. i just effing love it. the ocean, the beach, the pier, the park, the shops, restaurants and bars down main street… everything. on my last day, we did a little shopping, walked through palisades park, wandered down the pier and eventually hopped on the pacific wheel, the ferris wheel in pacific park, which is the famous amusement park located on the santa monica pier. the view could not have been more perfect.
so… like… can i go back yet?
what i ate wednesday: l.a. edition
from the minute i booked my birthday trip to l.a. back in january, i’ve been researching restaurants and mapping out my meals. i find myself planning weekend trips and full vacations around where and what i’ll be eating [and drinking!] more than what tourist spots and sightseeing i want to do… i guess that means i’m officially a “foodie”?
if that’s the case, l.a. is definitely a great city for foodies and even more so, a great city for health conscious foodies. while i’m all about balance and believe in letting yourself go all out, especially when you’re in a new place or celebrating a special occasion, i have to say that i didn’t really feel like i was overdoing it at any point, simply because 90% of the meals i ate were vegan… and i didn’t even have to try! here’s a round up of the places i ate and most importantly, what i ate.
breakfast at rawvolution:
this little café in santa monica is 100% raw and organic. i had the probiotic coconut yogurt with berries, a little agave and bee pollen with a hot cup of organic coffee after a yoga class. great food, really great service [as with just about every place in l.a., the people are so nice!] and very eco-chic environment.
lunch at kreation kafé:
this place was #soLA i could have died. i met up with a friend here for lunch and we sat outside on the patio [duh]. the vibe was great, the service was also great [again, you’ll notice a pattern in l.a. with this] and they serve your water with chlorophyll in it. yea, right up my alley. i had the hummus garden salad and a green juice [naturally]. kreation kafé has multiple locations in the l.a. area and also happens to have a full juice bar/cleanse line, so they kinda kill two birds with one stone here.
pre-dinner drinks at nobu malibu:
no explanation needed.
dinner at malibu farm:
the pictures are a little dark because we were seated outside, but this was one of the best meals i had on this trip for a few reasons. let’s just state the obvious first: malibu. now, more specifically, this place is located at the end of the malibu pier… outdoor seating, cute decor, big fleece blankets to stay warm with on those chilly southern california nights… you see what i’m saying right? second, all the food is fresh, organic, sourced locally and doesn’t contain any sh*tty ingredients. simply prepared, but so. effing. good. we started with the cauliflower pizza [and wine, duh] and i had the vegan coconut entrée [tofu, veggies, wild rice and coconut sauce].
brunch at gracias madre:
plant-based mexican food. again… do i really need to elaborate? easily my favorite meal of the weekend. first of all, just look at those drinks. now take those, add some chips and guac, vegan cauliflower and mushroom tacos with black bean sauce and cashew cream, and then wrap it all up with a fudge brownie topped with salted mezcal caramel, cashew coconut whipped cream, and coconut bacon… PINCH ME, I MUST BE DREAMING. amazing ambience with an outdoor patio, the best service ever, and bangin’ food. don’t be scared away by the whole “plant-based” thing if you’re not really into that. i promise you won’t even be able to tell the difference.
dinner at sur:
if you’re a bravo fan, you’ll know that we really just ate here more for the novelty factor than anything else. i’m a huge fan of the real housewives of beverly hills [no shame, everyone’s allowed a guilty pleasure] so i felt like not eating here wasn’t an option… and i really wanted to meet giggy. the food was fine, but a little pricey and the portions were pretty small. i had the fried goat cheese balls and the endive salad with gorgonzola cheese and pears [and a cucumber cocktail]. no signs of giggy or lisa… soooo like… did we really even eat at sur?
ice cream at kippy’s:
coconut ice cream [i tried a combination of the cinnamon and date flavors] with a coconut-based chocolate shell and coconut-based caramel syrup. yup.
lunch at true food kitchen:
so, at this point you can probably see what i meant when i said how effortless it is to remain conscious of what you are eating in l.a. i had the “tlt” – tempeh, lettuce, and tomato – sandwich with avocado and two sides [kale salad and sweet potato hash] and the kale-aid green juice… really effing good.
birthday donuts! from dk’s donuts:
finally, my friends surprised me on the morning of my birthday with these babies [and “21” candles, because i’m 21 and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise]. i’ve never seen donuts quite like this before – literally sliced in half and assembled with fillings like sandwiches. one was strawberry shortcake and one was strawberry nutella. yea, i’m done here.
so, my final thoughts are:
must-eat: gracias madre
must-drink: nobu malibu
honorable mention: malibu farm + dk’s donuts
your turn! tell me all of your favorite l.a. spots! my list has grown to 50+ restaurants/bars/cafés… so i have a lot of work to do, but always want more recommendations!
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