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L.A. Weekend Day trip adventures on the East Side


May 9, 2017

This weekend I packed up and headed to Los Angeles to celebrate one of my dearest friend in her new marriage! It’s the first solo travel trip I’ve taken in several months (and the first in several years that have been out of state), so I was up for making the most out of my trip and spending quality time with my friends. It makes me feel old, but we realized last night that we’ve been friends for 20 years! It seriously feels like just yesterday that my parents packed us up and moved us from New York to Phoenix, and though we don’t get to see or talk to each other all the time with our busy lives; my little friend group can always come together and pick up exactly when we left off. Sarah and I also made an impromptu speech, which I basically sobbed through because I am just so happy Bella found the most perfect person to start a family with! Renee is so smart and driven, I knew from the moment I met her a few years ago that Bella had found someone special!

When I got into LAX I prepared myself for the traffic on my trip to the East Side. I had a few hours to kill before meeting up with Bella and Renee to prep a few things for the following day, so I headed into Pasadena for a pedicure. I stumbled upon Olive and June on Instagram and actually booked my appointment mid-flight (Southwest you are the best!). The cute little square had the most perfect ivy wall and coffee shop, totally dreamy! Next time I head to LA I am definitely exploring Pasadena more.

My charming Air BnB (come on, how adorable is that wallpaper??) was located in the Highland Park neighborhood, and being only 10 minutes from Bella and Renee’s, I knew I wanted to keep my travels to the East Side. L.A. Traffic is no joke, even on the weekends. Saturday I woke up early and started my adventure! One of my favorite bloggers/Instagram makers Oh Joy! Has a series of blog posts detailing day trip ideas around Los Angeles, and they were a life saver! I picked and chose from some of her posts – specifically here and here, and also received lots of ideas from Bella on where to eat.

Highland Park

My first stop was walking to one of the coffee shops around the corner from my Air BnB. I stopped in at Civil Coffee and got the Arroyo (lavender and honey) latte. It was so good and the baristas were so nice. I’m also having crazy tile envy from their modern decor. After caffeinating up, I headed out to the Freestyle Film store to get film for the rest of the weekend.

La Feliz

After grabbing some Portra 400; I realized my next stop wouldn’t be open for over an hour, but the Griffith Observatory was right in sight! I re-coordinated my GPS and drove about halfway up the hill. From there I walked (tiring!) up the long road draped in a gorgeous soft fog. The Observatory is absolutely stunning, I still cannot get over those doors! It was great seeing the Hollywood sign, as I knew I wouldn’t get to that side of town during my trip.

From there I headed to La Feliz to go to Co-Op 28, which is a cute curation of small businesses (think like if Etsy had a storefront). It was such a fun and colorful stop! I grabbed more coffee (because, jetlag) and weaved in and out of the fun small shops.

Silver Lake

Lunch time! I headed over to Silver Lake to grab a bite at Pine & Crane. I had about 30 minutes to burn, so I walked around the farmers market for awhile and stopped to read a chapter in the book I brought with me. Once it was open, I grabbed Spicy Shrimp Won-Tons and Potstickers and they were so good, I wish they were closer! My biggest tip for this spot is to get there early. I was one of the first in the door, and by the time I left the entire dining room was full and the line was out the door!  I topped it off with some black milk boba tea and headed to the Social Type. I could have spent all day in this gorgeous stationary shop! The cashier was so friendly and helped me find a great guest book for the wedding later that night.

Tired yet? These stops surprisingly didn’t take too long. In all, I was out about 5 hours, which included a ton of walking (I logged over 25,000 steps!).


I headed to The Line Hotel to check out their garden cafe and the cutest little shop Poketo. While I didn’t get anything, I loved the options in the cafe and made a mental note to stop into their garden restaurant next time I’m in town. Next, I  took a little walk over to a small outdoor mall and grabbed matcha Taiyaki ice cream at SomiSomi.  Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I’m so glad I made the longer walk to grab a cone. It might be the best ice cream I’ve ever had!

My last stop was in Echo Park, but mostly just to check it out. By this time I was so tired, so I headed back to my Air BnB to get some R&R, watch some tv (American Crime Story) and hopefully nap before the party was about to start.

The party was an absolute dream! I admit I get a lot of anxiety when I know no one at a party (introvert!), but thankfully Bella introduced me to a few people and it was great hearing their stories of how they knew Bella and Renee. I also got to catch up with my dear friend Sarah, and we had so much fun we didn’t realize how quickly the night went by! We even gave an impromptu speech where I promptly cried my eyes out and dropped a whole roll of unexposed film on the ground. I’m fun at parties y’all. Besides my embarrassing moments, it was such a happy evening!

Though it’s not on the East Side, this morning I left my Air BnB (after one more cup of coffee at Civil Coffee) and headed to Venice Beach. I knew I needed at least an hour by the ocean, as it really is the place I feel most comfortable and dream really big dreams (Lake Michigan is now a close second).  The waves were so huge and yet it was still so calm and beautiful. I shot a few double exposures of the shops and graffiti and I cannot wait to get those back. Oh, and you know I stopped at In & Out burger on the way to LAX!

Overall my trip to Los Angeles was such a wonderful whirlwind. I’m already planning my return, and I’m really hoping Andy can come with me this time! I’m missing my girls like crazy, and cannot wait to give them a 10-minute long hug when I arrive in Chicago in a few hours (again, in-flight wifi is the best).
I’d love to know some of your favorite spots in LA to keep in my notes for next time, comment below with your favorite spot to visit!





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