All things LA

El aye, el aye, LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! OMG! Where do I start? I cannot believe literally a week ago I was in LA, just know as soon as I got back I was already looking up my next flight there. This post will be highlighting an overview of my experience in LA and some of my favorites spots visited.

This place was amazing to me in every sense of the word. I was skeptical before I left because I had some people say, “it wasn’t all that great” and then others raved about it and told me how much I would love it, naturally I swayed to their opinion because, well.. I thought I was going to love it. Gonna jump into my trip and a few extra towards the end, enjoyyy!

So, flight there was fantastic, shout out to Delta – free wifi, I got to catch up on Vanderpump Rules, halfway through a book I’ve started reading, made it safely in and out of the miniature restroom - so overall I’d say it was a productive 5 hour flight.

I managed to get on the same flight with a friend and we land in LA about 9am, I was not thrilled by the airport. In my head I have always seen these pictures of the airport looking all cute + glamourous.. it was an airport.. a few cool eats + a super cool neon sign, but overall, just an airport. We meet up with another friend + get changed - the bathroom did have a huge prep area for hair and makeup, which was fab (and it was clean!)

Our first Lyft driver, "Nancy" for story purposes - left us because we got lost, but it was all good – we weren’t feeling her negative vibes and that led us to our new friend, Cherie. She was amazing and told us how much she was loving Lyft and all the magical things that have happened to her recently, she also gave us a free tour of LA and some of the surrounding cities just because and all the places we should hit up. So if you meet this cute woman, named Cherie with a low cut driving for Lyft with all the positive vibes, tell her, “Hey!” Our drop-off was in Santa Monica Beach, which led us to first Eats, Blue Plate Taco.

Eats | Blue Plate Taco | Santa Monica, CA

Short and sweet - service was meh, guac was bomb diggity, atmosphere was rockin’ + cost.. a little pricey.. When we arrived the hostess advised us they didn't open until 11:30a, for the record it was 11:24a - we all kind of looked at each other and prayed for a good meal because none of us had eaten since the night before and it was now technically 2:24p EST. The view was awesome, got to look at the beach and the people walking by and sit on the deck. Temp was a little cool, would be perf it was just a little warmer. Snagged a drink + an app with friends - it was yum. Would I eat here again? Yes, the food was really good! 

Sights | Santa Monica Beach | Santa Monica, CA

Beautiful + sunny. I think it could be more fun for families, it’s like a strip-boardwalk type of vibe with rides and games, etc. Not exactly my jam, personally. It was our first beach to see in Cali with beautiful palms, ended up visiting another beach about 3 times. Bear with me, it’s coming..

Eats | Milk | Los Angeles, CA 

Ice cream = yummm, got cookies + cream, they make it in-house - also I had been craving sparkling water all day and finally.. it was like I had been in a desert looking for water and then right before my eyes.. there it was, Pellegrino in the cutest miniature bottle I had ever seen. So yeah, it was A+ for me! I learned something new here, you know when people get their stacked scoop ice cream cones all Instagram worthy with the sprinkles?.. fun fact: scoop your ice cream onto the cone, then dip your ice cream cone in the sprinkles and repeat. Hope this makes sense. We were all like, “ohhhh, that’s how it’s done!” I only got one scoop, it was hot and we were tired at this point, we chilled here and reflected on the day and our Ubers/Lyfts so far. This was our last spot before checking into our AirBnb. Prior to, we walked + looked at all the Hollywood Stars, I was wondering where Beyonce's star was.. who is in charge of that?

Eats | Carrera Café | Los Angeles, CA 

European Café, super cool, it’s right across from the Pink Wall and a bunch of other cool spots. So the best part about this place is that you can take literally any picture and have it designed onto your coffee, hot or iced. This is the sole reason we made it to this café and we were not disappointed. I think next time, I’ll do something a little more detailed, but it was fun and tasty, would def go back!! Also, neon signs, I'm all about the neon signs!

Sights | Paul Smith, Pink Wall | Los Angeles, CA 

This was so fun! We didn’t manage to make it in the shop, but we definitely managed to get pics! Also, there was a security guard by the wall, (don’t put your feet on the wall!) – super fun and the best part is there are so many people waiting to take a picture in front on this infamous wall, so it’s like this party to take a picture + capture your moment. We vowed not to leave until everyone got their Instagram-worthy shot. We kept our word!

Events | United State of Women Summit | Los Angeles, CA 

Day 1, “Barriers were meant to be broken.” I grew up attending women’s empowerment conferences + summits with my mom (rest in heaven, mama!) and god mom, so this was reminiscent, just in a different, more fun capacity - I'm older, it makes more sense now and I went with friends. Two women, in particular, were at this conference and it was amazing! Tracee Ellis Ross interviewing Michelle Obama! Omg! Very empowering and during the summit we talked about real issues with women from every different background and how to break barriers. One of the most memorable things I took from this conference is.. 

"..As women, or as cultures + people with different backgrounds where we are often the minority, we are too appreciative to have a seat at the table. We deserve a seat there just as much as the next person + we have to stop being so appreciative, we need to speak up, shake things up, break barriers and continue to help this country progress while we're at the table!.."

Day 2 of the conference I got to hear from other phenomenal women who have produced shows that we watch, act in movies that we love (Frangela + Lea Thompson) + meet other incredible women and go back home with new connections + friends. 

Sights + Eats | Venice Beach | Venice Beach, CA

My favorite! This is the beach I visited so many times! It was just that spot - you can relax, have fun, eat or shop. The beach is gorgeous and literally so diverse! Did my work first and play for later - Got a snack at Lemonade, also a new fav - It's this super fresh bar of all the goodness, mac and cheese, brisket, curried cauliflower, macaroons, gluten free options, all different flavors of lemonade, etc.. I got a classic lemonade and truffle mac and cheese (I think my mac is the best, I'm taking mac and cheese challengers) this was pretty damn good y'all, pretty damn good! Some of my fav stores that I shop at online I was able to visit an actual brick and mortar, places like Warby Parker and Saje! Stores closed at 7p, so I headed to the beach to put my toes in the sand before I left and snap a few last pics. Had dinner with the cuzzo and back to my AirBnb to close out my LA stay.

Eats | The Assembly | West Hollywood, CA 

Ultra modern café and literally (in my English accent) my new favorite coffee shop. This place was fab. I had a couple extra days to travel solo and on my next to last day this was the place I ventured to for several hours. I had some emails and things to catch up on and clients to check in with and this was the perfect place to do all of that. I am a sucker for aesthetics, I think that comes with the creative design life - SO this was allllll my vibes. Seems to be a quiet spot to visit, several others were working, tunes were on point, I got a little bit of Erykah and Jill - I was jammin'. Got a banging Latte + Turkey Bánh Mì (Vietnamese sandwich) and hooked up to wifi. I chilled inside, but there was a super cute spot outside that you could work or mingle in too! Honestly, the only reason I left was because it was time to check into my next Airbnb.. aka The Perfect Getaway!

Rest | Byrd’s Nest | The Perfect Getaway | Los Angeles, CA

This place y'all! It’s going to be my secret getaway, I think. It was everything I wanted and more. For my last night, I splurged a little, hell, you only come to LA for the first time one time - so I was going to make it the best. I wanted to end my trip with some R+R time alone, peacefully doing whatever I wanted to do. Checked in to my Airbnb to find a sign that says “Welcome Marissa”, that’s when I knew it was about to be onnn and poppinnn - showered, washed my hair, little makeup and put on something cute + comfy because I was headed back to Venice Beach again, this time to do a little competitor analysis and browsing for a brand client of mine. Grabbed a snack at Lemonade, roamed to all my favorite stores and headed back. Immediately when I booked this spot I knew I was looking for something relaxing and OMGGGGG the garden tub at this place was everyyyything. There was mood lighting, Bluetooth music that was playing via my phone from the speakers in the bathroom + coconut bath salts for your bath. I had the best most relaxing bath, two people could have been in that tub comfortably - I’m going back just for the tub. Bed was perfect, she even had food + drinks in the fridge, like how much more perfect can you get? This was the perfect way to end my trip, The Perfect Getaway!

If you are trying to plan your perfect trip and want to try out AirBnb for the first time, whether it's one night or for several days, go ahead + snag $40 off your first AirBnb Stay! Seriously, it's a steal! 

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A few extras + afterthoughts

I had the best time! I had time with friends, family and MYSELF - in a place with tons of sunshine, where people are chill, everyone is going after their dream and literally worried about themselves and not you - this was what made it so great for me! It was so refreshing and INSPIRING! I'm obsessed with sunshine - it dramatically makes the day better and everyday I was there the sun was all the way out! I had so many different Uber/Lyft drivers and I loved talking to each and every one of them, most convos were casual, some about the driver's goals and dreams, some political and I really enjoyed talking to each and every person! I've been talking mostly about all the good things and hardly any bad. So to keep it alllll the way real, the thing that got me a little down was the homeless population. As a community leader in Greensboro, I work really hard to contribute my efforts to ending the cycle of poverty and homelessness, so seeing how large the homeless population was, I just felt heartbroken. Definitely sent up some prayers and a lot of thoughts on what could I do to help.. I had a lot of time to reflect, in my last days and on the flight back - All in all this trip was fun, anxiety-free, empowering and definitely challenged me to make some decisions on how to make my day to day more like my vacay.

Let me know your thoughts on the post - Did you enjoy? Are you going to try out some of these spots? What was your experience? Snag your $40 off AirBnb? Share with me below! Until next time..

 

XO, 

MARISSA JO