I am a pretty big fan of the East Coast and grew up here all my life, but I have to say a recent vacation to California had me rethinking where my loyalties lie. Also: NO HUMIDITY is a pretty nice feature coming from the southeast. My husband and I decided to take a West Coast trip for our tenth anniversary (he’s never been!) and I was in dire need of a real vacation – not just a work trip. At Candy Shop Vintage, we go from the busy Holiday season – if you work in retail then ya’ know, to market in January to producing and shipping all of our spring wholesale orders in January/February plus running the store and website in between. It is just a whirlwind from late October to March and it can often feel difficult and guilt inducing to take some real time off. Nothing like some laid back California vibes to cure you of that! Something about the architecture there – particularly the 1950’s and 60’s era apartment buildings and homes is just RIGHT to me. And it is literally ALWAYS sunny. These are just a few we saw on Beechwood Canyon Drive where we were staying, a neighborhood I love – and one of the few walkable roads in Los Angeles:
We ate breakfast our first morning there at low key Beachwood Cafe at the top of Beachwood Canyon Drive. It was an easy walk from where we were staying and the food is fresh and filling. It has a great updated vintage vibe. This is my first trip to LA where I actually have NOT seen a celebrity. I did randomly run into my old friend Pete in The Beachwood Cafe and he informed me Jason Segel walked in about five minutes after we left. Devastating.
After a good breakfast we ventured up the hill for the obligatory Hollywood Sign shot (it looks mini in this photo – promise it was the real one) and a visit to The Griffith Observatory which has the most incredible panoramic view of Los Angeles and of course featured heavily in La La Land. You kind of have to navigate the traffic and hoards of of tourists doing the exact same thing you are but it really is worth it for the view. And the even had a VINTAGE CELESTIAL JEWELRY exhibit waiting for me in The Observatory (what?!).
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I also got to catch up with some friends while I was there who live in on the West Coast and I had not seen in years. Like Amelia who you may recognize as one of my very first Candy Shop Vintage models. She took me to Alfred Coffee, a pretty perfect spot with cute little bistro tables outside:
Which was right around the corner from one of my favorites, Reformation. Being a women owned business it seemed appropriate to shop there on International Women’s Day.
She also introduced me to the blogger mecca that is the pink Paul Smith wall. Not going to pretend I did not feel a little silly posing in front of it with a million other girls – but hey, I am a tourist in LA. And what is it about pink lately?
We had the most incredible dinner that night at Jitlata a Thai food restaurant that my friend Taylor recommended and pretty much puts all other Thai food to shame. Just amazing. The crispy papaya salad was my favorite:
It takes a lot to get around LA – cars – traffic – navigation. And when we rented a car they “upgraded” us to, yes, a pick up truck. Large pick up trucks and their obnoxious tailgating tendencies are pretty much the bane of my existence in South Carolina, so it almost felt like a cruel and hilarious joke that that was our only car option. (It turned out to be a good decision on the mountain roads for the weekend, but that is another post!)
We took our truck into the wilds of the city to The Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (LACMA) which was a great way to spend an afternoon. There is a very fun spot to take photos next to the installation of Urban Light (2008), a large-scale assemblage sculpture of old fashioned looking lamp posts (by artist Chris Burden) right off of the Wilshire Boulevard entrance. (It actually looks much cooler at night but still very fun during the day).
Also, just barely walkable from LACMA if you are up for it, is The Farmers Market at The Grove which is an actual treasure trove of food stands, fresh produce, sweets and all kinds of casual seated dining. We had lunch at Monsieur Marcel, a french gourmet market with Parisian style outdoor patio dining (casual but chic!)
Our last dinner before we headed up north for the weekend was with a group of friends at El Compadre, a festive Mexican restaurant on Sunset Boulevard. Think flaming margaritas and live music and even an in house photographer who comes around to take (then sell you) your group photo, which you buy after a couple margaritas. Thank you Annie & Greg for organizing such a fun evening and finding the time to do so – we are all at that phase in life that feels pretty non-stop and with young kids so it is so nice to take some time out and reconnect!
Sometimes it really feeds your soul to see old friends who you have been through so much with and with whom you go back so far, even if they are not still a part of your day to day life. The next day I grabbed a coffee to go at The Oaks Gourmet market which is a perfect little coffee/wine/gourmet shop a short walk from where we were staying before we hit the road to San Luis Obispo for the weekend. (Apparently they have an amazing burger? I sadly didn’t discover it soon enough in the week to find out but always good to leave something for next time!) Plus there are still so many things we missed on this trip… The Beverly Hills Hotel, Stahl House, The Santa Monica Pier, The Getty… just to name a few. We headed out for the weekend to this amazing inn, which is honestly a whole other story and a treasure trove of vintage kitch and splendor… to be continued!