I have been fortunate enough to call Los Angeles my home for a few years now and I have been loving this opportunity to experience all that this cool city has to offer. I lived on the west side when first moving to Los Angeles and now currently live in downtown. Keep reading to find all the hidden gems I have discovered along the way and have really enjoyed about my city.
G E T T I N G A R O U N D :
The city of Los Angeles is huuuuuge and you will definitely need to travel by car if you are wanting to go to a lot of different neighborhoods. I highly recommend planning your days around neighborhoods so you can get there and either walk, metro, uber/lyft, etc instead of having to drive through traffic all day. Also if you want a fun and different experience, rent a metro bike or electric scooter!
T O D R I N K :
T O E A T :
T O C A F F E I N A T E:
T O S I G H T S E E :
T O D O :
This past weekend Patrick and I took the doggo to Big Bear Lake for a weekend getaway. It was so nice to unplug and just relax together. And man the views were incredible. I highly recommend to plan a weekend getaway to a local lake or river if you can! Here are the essentials for your lake getaway from must do activities to what to pack.
C A B I N A D V E N T U R E
For your fun little lake getaway, find a cute lake cabin near the water on Airbnb or a local rental agency. Setting the entire trips mood starts with a cute little cabin. We rented the A Frame of Mind from Big Bear Cool Cabins and had the best time. We also loved cooking dinner on the charcoal grill and sitting on the fenced in porch with Finley.
R E N T A K A Y A K
We had such a fun time on the lake and seeing all the view by renting a kayak. I highly recommend renting either a kayak, canoe, paddle board, etc to get out on the water to explore and soak in all the views! We rented from GetBoards in Big Bear because it was so easy to have access to the lake and they were dog friendly. We spent 2 hours kayaking on the lake, admiring all the lake houses, and wow how peaceful it was. I wore a dark bikini to not get dirty from the lake water and had a backpack to store a tank top and shorts on the kayak. In order to not get burnt and stay shaded on my face, I had a straw hat and sunglasses. I highly recommend getting out on the water to complete your lake experience! Oh and Finley swam in the lake for the first time, eek!
L O U N G E & R E L A X
One of the most important reasons to have a vacation getaway is to lounge and relax. Taking some time to just enjoy being away is priceless. We spent some time on the beach at Carol Morrison Public Launch just hanging out. Whether you find a beach type area, rock side near the water, or hanging on a dock, take some R&R time to read a book or chat.
E N J O Y A W A L K I N N A T U R E
Your in nature so enjoy it! Take a walk around to admire the water, trees, and area around you. We found an amazing water path, Stanfield Marsh Wildlife and Waterfowl Preserve,
that had some of the most serene views. It overlook the water and we saw geese. Put on your walking shoes and get out there.
What a fun little trip and can't wait to plan our next little weekend getaway!
My family has started to adopt this mentality that we can celebrate family and each other on made up holidays that are not the typical Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays. So this year, we decided to all experience a new city together as our family get-together. So we all packed up our bags from different locations and flew to Portland for a fun 4 day adventure. Here is the itinerary and all that we go to see, do, and of course yummy food that we ate.
D A Y 1 : A R R I V E & T H R I V E
We landed in Portland early to mid afternoon after having somewhat of an early flight. I highly recommend staying in the Pearl District/ Downtown as this is the most hip and walkable part of Portland and gave us the most exploratory vibes. From the airport depending on traffic, you can either take the public transportation metro or Uber. The goal of today was just to take it easy and survive the rest of the day experiencing Portland without overwhelming ourselves. After dropping off our bags, first things first, we stopped for some coffee at Sisters Coffee Company to just relax and settle in. It was so much fun to people watch here and get a feel for the Portland community and people.
Next we headed to Powell Bookstore. To be completely honest, I had read many suggestions online saying to go here, but I was always doubting "How could this bookstore be so special?" and "Am I just going to walk around and look at a bunch of books???". But my parent's Uber driver from the airport insisted on a trip so we went. And man was I glad! My entire family ended up splitting up and exploring books on their own. It was great because they had so many recommended books through every type of section or "room". I bought a nice beach read, Patrick bought a book about shoe design, my brother bought a highly recommended fiction novel, my dad bought a Bonsai book, and my mom bought the cutest inspirational quotes book for a coworker. It really has everything for everyone and was just a really cool place to explore.
And lastly, we ended the night with one of the best meals we had in Portland at the Mediterranean Exploration Company. This Mediterranean restaurant is mostly shareable, tapas style plates and community table style eating which was I think my favorite part. We got to order so many dishes to try and honestly, everything was so tasty! Highly recommend getting the Radicchio salad, Hummus with Spring Vegetables, and the Lamb Tartare Kibbeh. So yummy!
D A Y 2 : M U L T N O M A H F A L L S
I highly recommend taking at least one day to do something outdoorsy while in Portland because not only is it just a beautiful and lush place, it is part of the culture. But before we left on our day trip to explore the outdoors, we stopped at Nossa Familia Coffee to charge up and start the day. This little coffee shop has a beautiful large patio to enjoy your coffee, so plan to go on a sunny and dry morning! Also if you are super into coffee, they offer cuppings on Friday afternoons.
After coffee we went on a day trip to Multnomah Falls. The great thing about Portland was their metro system. We could take the metro to the Columbia Gorge Express bus to get to the falls. We packed a picnic sandwich for lunch, but there is a restaurant and snack bar at the bottom of the falls. The falls has 2 viewpoints and depending on your willingness to get active, that will decide which one you choose. The first is a very short and easy hike from the base of the falls to the bridge crossing the falls. This is such a great view and is the "standard falls photo".
If you want to go a bit further, there is a hiking trail that goes all the way to the top of the waterfall. Just a warning, it is fully uphill the entire way so will seem like a workout. But the top is pretty cool to look down from.
After hiking and visiting the falls, we headed back to Portland just in time to get ready before heading out to dinner and then to see the fireworks since today was the 4th of July for our trip. I made a reservation at Jack Rabbit for dinner which is a good American style restaurant. One of the things that I loved since I drink gin, is they had an entire list, multiple pages long, or different styles of gin. Needless to say I had a pretty damn good martini with an old world gin! Lastly, if you happen to be in Portland for the 4th of July, you can walk over to Hawthorne Bridge to view the show, or just take a nighttime stroll along the river back to the Pearl District.
D A Y 3 : G A R D E N S G A L O R E
Day 3 we took it a bit easier but still managed to enjoy the outdoors in Portland. I highly recommend visiting the gardens in Portland. This day was probably everyone's favorite of the trip! We started at the Portland Japanese Garden first. There are bonsai trees that are hundreds of years old, rock gardens, and so many water features. It was honestly really cool to peacefully walk through this garden and just take it all in.
Next, we headed right across the street to the International Rose Test Garden. This garden is free and much smaller than the Japanese garden, but was fascinating none the less. This is where over 10,000 roses are blooming with different colors, shapes, and event scents. It was great to just walk up and down the rows and smell all the amazing roses! There are also spectacular views to downtown and Mt Hood.
After visiting both gardens, we were starving for lunch! So we headed over to Lardo to have some amazing sandwiches. Patrick and I split a sandwich and fries and also got the crispy pig ears for the table! The sandwiches are huge, so I highly recommend splitting with someone. Then we ended the night at 10 Barrel Brewing Company and just hung out in the Airbnb since we were all pretty exhausted ha!
D A Y 4 : C O F F E E C R A W L
If you know my brother or husband, you had to see this day coming somewhere on our itinerary. We visited about 4 coffee shops on day 4 (ha how fitting) and really got to just explore the city of Portland without really going anywhere. This was such a fun day for me as well since we had been so outdoorsy and adventurous our previous days. The first stop on our coffee crawl was Water Avenue on the east side of the river. We then went to Blue Star Donuts and then to Dapper & Wise Roasters. If you are not big coffee fans, then I would suggest to head to Blue Star Donuts to begin your morning on the east side of Portland.
Then we slowly started using all that energy to make our way north and walk through these neighborhoods exploring the houses, landscapes, and just seeing how the Portland people live. It was a really pretty walk (and if you have watched the show Life Unexpected on Netflix, these houses look exactly whats on the show ha!). We passed Sewallcrest Park and took a left on Hawthorne Blvd and stumbled across a really cool vintage shop with furniture, knick knacks, and clothing called Vintage Pink! After exploring some of the neighborhoods we rented the orange Nike bikes and rode up the river walkway path, crossed over at Hawthorne bridge, and continued up to Pearl District to visit the famous Saturday Market. We walked around to see all the vendors and tents and then enjoyed lunch while listening to live music.
After the market, we headed home for a quick little regroup before needing some more coffee to get through the day. On a side note, you may be thinking that a) we drank too much coffee this trip or b) why is Portland so fascinated with coffee. The answer is the weather! Portland is gloomy then sunny, cold then hot, sometimes slightly humid, and can never make up its mind. Being from LA, the gloomy days in Portland, especially today, was hard to not get tired. Coffee was much needed!! We headed further west of the Pearl district to see a new neighborhood set up and went to Good Coffee - Slabtown. This part of Portland was completely new with brand new apartments, grocery stores, and restaurants all built to be its own little community. We then rented scooters (my dad's favorite thing to do!) and scooted around the neighborhoods for a bit before settling down for a good beer-cocktail at Breakside Brewery - NW Slabtown.
Lastly we went to the famous Pok Pok - NW for dinner. There are two major locations and one takes reservations while the other one does not. We didn't want to risk the chance and we were already on this side of town, so we scooter-ed to dinner and made a reservation. Man was Pok Pok amazing! It is shareable dishes as well so was great to order a few items and all share. We got the famous Fish Sauce Wings, Da Chom's Laap Meuang (spicy), Muu Kham Waan pork, and the special for the night was a fish dish.
A born and raised Southern girl who's wanting to inspire every women through style and beauty while living in the big city of Los Angeles.