Earlier this month, my husband and I were privy to witness my beautiful childhood friend marry her wonderful new husband in slightly cooler than expected, but ever-sunny California. Morgan had never been to California, and I had zero recollection of my brief trip for my mother’s wedding years ago, so it was like a first trip for the both of us. And we had an absolute blast. Due to layovers and some crazy weather delays, we only had the morning before the wedding and one full day to take a look at the city. But let me tell you, we crammed as much as we could in there.
Friday – Night of Arrival
Our central hub for this trip was the media capital of the world, AKA Burbank. While we didn’t have time to explore it in its fullest, there were some rather pleasant outings. Once we landed and found our hotel, our first order of business was getting some food into our hungry tummies. At the recommendation of the concierge, we moseyed on over to a cute little Mexi-Cali restaurant on Ventura Boulevard called Sol y Luna. Let it be known, Mexi-Cali is like the not-quite-as-cute step sister to Tex-Mex. However! We were treated to the absolute best guacamole I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Seriously phenomenal! The meals were enjoyable, but lacking a little in flavor compared to our norm. The service, on the other hand, was a dream.
Saturday – Wedding Day
The only item that was on my Californian Bucket List was to locate the magical Fantastic Donuts, complete with animal faces. After an accidental turn around putting us in North Hollywood, we finally made it to the K-Town gem that I’d been Instagram stalking for months on end. I called the night before and spoke with Lilly (the artist behind the operation) to make sure we would have a few set aside for us. As fate would have it, she set aside a precious collection of farm animals, all of which we raise. I have to say, the strawberry filled cow certainly took the cake in my book, or I guess the donut. Oh! I almost forgot to mention, the coffee was amazing!
After we finished our delightful breakfast, it was time to haul our derrieres back to the hotel to get ready for Melissa and Spencer’s big day. And we were absolutely blown away. We got to witness the most heartfelt nuptials either of us have had the pleasure of attending. The ceremony was held in a small glade nestled amongst the trees, where all you could hear was a gentle breeze and birds chirping. The bride and groom were both stunning. It was elegant and intimate, just like every girl’s dream. The dinner and reception were held in the blossoming rose gardens where there were pergolas and arbors galore! More than all of that, it was so nice to watch two gorgeous and kind hearted people coming together. I wish I could attend it on repeat for a lifetime.
We both had such a wonderful time. We truly celebrated until we had nothing left to give. I slipped out of my dress and fell asleep the moment we got back to the room. I don’t even recall getting into bed! That’s how you know you had fun.
Sunday – Exploration
The next morning, we hit the ground running, trying to cram as much of LA into a day as we possibly could. Our first order of business was to fuel our bodies with a delicious breakfast at Blu Jam Cafe in Woodland Hills. Their breakfast menu was to die for! As usual, we shared our meals – I ordered the Burgundy Omelette and Morgan indulged in their Signature Crunchy French Toast. Both were indulgent and decadent in their own right. And their blu jam was rightfully out of this world. It was such a treat to find a restaurant where I could order pretty much anything my heart desired without getting sick. Healthy food, for the win! BJC, if you are reading this, please come to the Houston area. We are already missing you.
We then headed straight for Venice, starting as far away as possible to work our way back in. We explored some of the lovely shops on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, where I found Cuyana, the loveliest little boutique that promotes my newest motto of “Fewer, Better” things and intentional shopping. While I didn’t walk away with anything in hand, I figured out my proper sizes and fell in love with their quality. So you may see a few of their items make an appearance in the future.
From Abbot Kinney we walked over to Venice Beach and carried on down to Muscle Beach. It was certainly a sight to see. Rather robust men ran around in speedos with horns adhered to their heads. Artists and small craftsmen dotted the border the entire way down. There were all kinds of shops and restaurants on that strip, I even saw the office of a Green Doctor. For some reason, it smelled like a family of skunks had been encircling the place, spraying the entire time. Strange though, we never could find them.
After our skunk search party, we headed straight up to Hollywood Boulevard to see Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and walk amongst the stars. We were enchanted with the positively uncanny impersonators roaming the streets. If I hadn’t known better, I could have easily found myself star struck standing in the presence of Johnny Depp in full PoC garb, or Marilyn Monroe in her iconic white dress. It was the one place in Los Angeles where I felt absolutely free in being a full on tourist. I checked my hand prints against those of Shirley Temple (age 3) and placed my knuckles in John Wayne’s fist bump.
Morgan and I both ooh’ed and ahh’ed countless times throughout our little stroll. At one point, much to my husband’s dismay, I found myself so caught up in the experience that I suckered us into paying a man to take a photograph of us holding snakes. I was tickled pink. Morgan, not so much. While we would have loved to stay and take a tour or catch a flick, we still had to travel five miles to Beverly Hills (which took nearly an hour). Those two are definitely high on our list though, for when we return on a leisurely trip.
As we arrived in Beverly Hills, suddenly everything became a treat to the eyes. The lawns and shrubbery were all well manicured. The buildings were beautiful with ornate accents, even on so much as City Hall. And there were flowers. Everywhere. Needless to say, I was in hog heaven. We parked and walked up and down Rodeo Drive, taking side streets and meandering around, admiring the pretty people and goofy young men revving their engines up and down the road.
I am embarrassed to say, the only store we actually purchased anything from was Club Monaco, also located in Houston’s own Galleria shopping mall. But it’s true. In hindsight, it seemed rather silly to waste any of our trip at something that could be found locally, but I wanted Morgan’s opinion on a trench. Not to mention, I was in desperate need of a jacket. And yes, in case you were curious, we did find the perfect one! And yes, it is now my highest favored article of clothing. Intentionally selective shopping, for the win!
By the time we made it back to our car, it was time to head to the hotel and pack our bags for our 6am flight. And while we were sad to leave, I must say that I am rather impressed with how much we were able to fit into a day without feeling rushed. There was never a point where we hit the chop-chop mode, instead all transitions were seamless and filled with excitement. Neither of us can wait to go back to see all that remains!
Tell me about you! Have you travelled to Cali, or more specifically, Los Angeles? What are some of your favorite stops? Shout out in the comments below, or find us by searching @ethieandco on all social media platforms.