REWIND Day 2

Wednesday, June 18th

This day was jam packed like no other!  We explored a wide range of places within the Los Angeles area starting with the farmer’s market in Santa Monica.

Santa Monica:  Our two hosts, Michael and Tara, suggested this farmer’s market specifically because of its popularity and wide range of selections.  They also mentioned that this is the market a lot of chefs enjoy going to, so we instantly knew it must be good.  Being a Rochester, NY native, we understand what a good market looks like because ours is one of the best in the state, so it is safe to say our expectations were set high.  We arrived at the location (Arizona & 2nd) and were welcomed by swarms of people.  After being forced into the parking lot because of the lack of spots available on the side of the road, we entered the market and I was immediately drawn into the lively energy and pleasant smells.  There was everything from blossoming artichokes to home grown organic almonds.  My mom couldn’t get enough of those almonds!  I have to admit, they were splendid.  All in all, the market was a hit.  Before heading off on our next adventure, we walked along Ocean Ave and I got my first peek at the famous Santa Monica pier.  I knew I’d be back plenty throughout the summer, so we didn’t walk too far.

Santa Monica   Farmer's Market

This is the blooming artichoke!
This is the blooming artichoke!

Panorama of Santa Monica

Behind me to the left is the Santa Monica pier
Behind me to the left is the Santa Monica pier

Venice:  Back to Venice we went for yoga in the park, which is an all-time favorite Californian pastime!  It takes place daily in the small park adjacent to the Whole Foods in Venice.  Hands down, it still makes the top of my list as one of the best things I’ve done in California so far.  Tawney is the spectacular instructor!  Throughout the session, she would periodically make comments, like most instructors do, but hers were pearls of wisdom.  One thing in particular struck a chord with my mom and me, she stated, “the only thing preventing us from doing what we want to do is our own ego.”  A few words to sum up this experience:  freeing, moving, spiritual.

Tawney is one of the founders for a foundation that promotes a lifestyle where you always have the opportunity to be on vacation.  It’s called Live like You’re on Vacation, check it out!

Beverly Hills/UCLA:  Our next stop was to check out the place I’d be interning at for the summer.  It’s a small company with large clients.  However, because they’ve chosen to have a small office, they ultimately decided to work from home.  When we entered the neighborhood, we knew from our surroundings that I’d be working at a beautiful house this summer.  Sure enough, it is!  It’s absolutely fabulous and a great work environment.  Following this, we took a short drive up to UCLA to see the apartments I’d be living in for 8 weeks.  The doors were locked and all we could really see was the lobby, so instead we decided to venture into Westwood and discover the cute village I’d be spending lots of time in this summer.  I had my first experience with the oh so popular Coffee Bean and it was good, but it didn’t blow me away.  It quickly dawned on me that the walk from my apartment into Westwood was no short walk in the park or, in other words, nothing at all what I’m familiar with living in a small college town.

Malibu:  The day does not end yet!  I convinced my mom into a spontaneous drive up to Malibu!  The drive was unimaginably breathtaking, but not at all like we expected.  Malibu is spread out across a long stretch of windy roads; there’s no actual centralized part of town, which I found odd, but it sure did have that elegant, exclusive feel to it.  The beach was exceptionally clean and well-kept.  Probably one of my favorite beaches that I’ve been to thus far.  Dinner was great, I had one of my favorites (fish tacos) at The Sunset Restaurant.  My mom had this flatbread dish, which she found out of this world and adamantly said, “I’m going to replicate this at home!”

Malibu Beach Malibu Beach 2

After the drive back to Marina del Rey, I’m pretty sure we collapsed in bed and watched House of Food until we passed out from exhaustion.  My friend from college, Harrison, was one of the cast members and after I saw his Facebook post revealing that he won, I decided I had to catch up on the season.  Watch him dominate the show here!

Check back for Day 3, which I’ll be posting shortly!  You’ll get to hear about our Jimmy Kimmel Live experience and more.

All my best,

Danielle

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REWIND Day 1

It’s no secret that summer has hit its halfway mark and that I’ve already been in LA for about 4 weeks now.  My intention was to blog consistently throughout my entire journey here, but I just never took the time to set it all up and learn WordPress.  Instead I’ve been doing my best to remain present in the moment, soak up every experience possible, and remember it all so I’m able to accurately recount each moment.  As you can probably imagine, I now have endless amounts of adventures ready to be written here and published.  Recently my two suitemates, Kristen and Tessa, have become active bloggers themselves and have inspired me to actually begin posting and documenting my journey.  Kristen’s blog is A Blonde Movie Critic and Tessa’s is A Brunette With Baggage.  You should definitely check them both out and follow them!

I’ve decided, the days I spent with my mom prior to moving into the program each deserve their own post.  Far too much was condensed into these 5 days where one post briefly summarizing it all, would simply not do it justice and on the other hand, one long post would just be obnoxious and would probably end up being 10 pages!  Each day was beautiful and exhilarating in its own way and I cannot wait to finally relive the adventures we had by writing about it.

Tuesday, June 17th

My wonderful mother and I departed Rochester early in the morning.  We arrived at LAX with no difficulties (aside from spilling oatmeal ALL over my lap in the airport) and it quickly became apparent to me that this adventure was a) getting off to a great start (minus the oatmeal incident) and b) going to be one of the best experiences of my life thus far.

The first thing we did was check into our Airbnb “bed and breakfast” in Marina del Rey.  No question about it, my mom and I usually prefer using Airbnb because for 1) it’s affordable and 2) it’s the best way to immerse yourself in the culture without sticking out like a sore thumb as an obvious tourist.  Not to say I don’t enjoy a high class resort once in a while, but most of the time it’s nice to blend in and do what the locals do.  Upon arrival, we could immediately sense the warmth and friendliness exuding from the house and knew we had scored big.  We have experienced a not-so-great Airbnb before, so it was relieving to know our temporary home for the next couple of days was going to be an experience worth sharing.  In a few posts, I’ll talk more about our interactions with Michael and Tara, the kind, gentle couple who lived there.

Because we left Rochester at the crack of dawn and because of the drastic time difference, we had the entire second half of the day to roam the area.  Venice got our business that night when we ate at this cutesy, Mediterranean restaurant on the boardwalk, called Med Cafe.  Hands down, it was some of the best falafel I have ever eaten!  We spoke with some amiable locals, who could not have been kinder, and they gave us recommendations of places to go in the area.  Abbot Kinney Blvd was high on their list, so following dinner, mom and I ventured a few streets over to check it out.  It literally, was one of the coolest places ever.  I have grown a strong affinity for Abbot Kinney and it has quickly become one of my favorite spots in all of LA.  It’s basically one long street full of boutiques, art, coffee shops, retail, and restaurants with a cool, bohemian vibe.  TOMS was one of my favorite stores at AK, although I am a little biased because TOMS is one of our clients.  But really, who doesn’t like an earthy, organic retail store filled with TOMS products and a place with a positive ambiance?  It was a big score in my book and I discovered it to be a great hang out place to relax and recharge.

 

The view from the outdoor seating area
The view from the outdoor seating area
I ordered the falafel platter and it couldn't have been more tasty!
I ordered the falafel platter and it couldn’t have been more tasty!

Abbot Kinney Blvd

One of our clients for my internship is TOMS, so of course I had to go check out the store...it was awesome!
One of our clients for my internship is TOMS, so of course I had to go check out the store…it was awesome!

We also walked along the Venice beach, which was pretty neat.  There are a lot of interesting characters in Venice.  It’s a great place to go during the day, but definitely a place to avoid at night.

Well that’s a wrap for Day 1!  It was an incredible way to spend my first day in LA.  The only way I can describe it is absolute bliss.  Time sure is flying by though, I can’t believe all this took place exactly a month ago today.

 

Stay tuned for Day 2!  It involves a farmer’s market, yoga in the park, UCLA, Malibu, and everything in between.

 

All my best,

Danielle