Four Days in L.A.


Last summer, I flew to L.A. to visit my cousin Natalie, who had just moved there the summer before. It was both my first time flying completely alone (not ideal for a nervous flyer, but traveling for pleasure is always worth it) and my first time in the City of Angels. The wonderfully frustrating thing about L.A. is that, just like with New York City, you can run around nonstop to fit in as many sights, bars, restaurants and activities as you can in a week, and still leave feeling bummed that you didn't get to see a bunch of other things on your list. It's what makes living in big cities so appealing, and makes leaving one so bittersweet.

Once I literally "hopped off the plane at LAX," my cousin picked me up and took me to her adorable brick-walled apartment in artsy DTLA to give me a quick tour. From there, we kicked off my visit with a walk through Griffith Park and up to the Observatory, and a second walk through Echo Park after my cousin's car battery overheated (never a dull moment with us Goenaga girls). It was the perfect - albeit unexpected - start to a great four day trip.

While I have a long list of things I want to do the next time I visit her, including more hiking, eating and shopping, and some touristy requests (watching an old film at Hollywood Forever Cemetery and going on a back lot tour of one of the film production studios), I'm grateful for all of the running around she did so that I could see as much as possible around her work schedule. We had a great time together and I'm really looking forward to my next visit. 

Here's a look back at my four days in L.A.! 

After a coffee at Verve, we kicked off the trip with a climb up Griffith Park

Griffith Observatory 

Hollywood sign in the distance

Sole perk of the car overheating: a long, leisurely walk through Echo Park

Mid-day pick-me-up from Wild Living Foods

Mediterranean appetizers (this one was delicious) and cocktails at The Exchange at The Freehand Hotel
Not pictured: ended the night at Laurel Hardware

Post-brunch drinks at E.P. & L.P.

The prettiest rooftop 

Some bargain shopping in The Santee Alley (not for the claustrophobic, impatient or faint of heart)

Can't go to L.A. without having some Mexican food

Cole's, a speakeasy-style piano and jazz bar (where the french dipped sandwich originated!)

Tasting our way around Grand Central Market 

Iced coffee and waffles from C&B

Bagel from Wexler's Deli

Our one super-touristy stop to visit two of my favorites :)

Malibu homes

Wine and appetizers on the water at Moonshadows in Malibu, where we spotted a few seals (!)

My first time eating Korean BBQ. So. Damn. Good. 
Not pictured: a game of Mafia at my cousin's friend's apartment in Marina Del Rey, followed by some post-drinks dancing

4th of July rooftop brunch at Perch

Walking along Rodeo Drive

Prettiest pillow placement in Abbot Kinney

Fireworks over the Venice canals 

Solo time on the Santa Monica pier. I enjoyed this view for hours. 

Our goodbye meal at my cousin's favorite inexpensive Santa Monica sushi spot: Ninjin


2017: A Look Back at My Favorite Memories


2018 ... how did we get here?! People older than me always say that time only goes by faster with each passing year, and I just can't fathom that being true. At the same time, the past year was filled with so many milestones, "firsts" and memorable moments that I keep forgetting they all fell within the last 365 days. Over the course of 2017, my sister (finally) turned 21, my childhood best friend had her first baby, my now-best friend got engaged to the love of her life, and I adopted my first rescue, started acting classes, visited three cities for the first time ... the list goes on. For these memories (see some highlights below) and many others, I feel incredibly fortunate.

Here's hoping 2018 is filled with more love, laughter, adventure, success, health and great company than all of our years past. :)

Welcomed 2017 with our new puppy, Riley
Visited Boston  - and saw snow fall! - for the first time

Weekend trip to Savannah with friends in March (which was great, aside from a bad reaction to pecans that resulted in a 911 call. Some things are better left in 2017 ...) 

Celebrating my sister Gabbi's 21st birthday weekend at Epcot 

Celebrating my 25th birthday weekend with friends in Miami

4th of July weekend trip to visit my cousin in Los Angeles (first trip there - and also my first time flying solo, which was a huge deal for me)

End-of-summer trip to Fort Myers Beach (and Riley's first vacation) :)
End of "semester" awards party with my film acting class
First day home with Archie, my first rescue kitten, who I adopted in late August
A slightly older Archie playing with his big sis (Nova is still not totally on board
with being a sibling ... hopefully she comes around in 2018)
First trip to Chicago, where my friends and I saw John Mayer in concert  

Mumford & Sons concert crossed off my bucket list. Easily one of the best concerts I've ever been to.
Halloween weekend, with three of my favorite costumes to date - and a bunch of my favorite people 

Thanksgiving with some of my cousins
My best friend got engaged, and I got to see it firsthand - such a special moment!
Home for Christmas 
Christmas/New Years Trip, kicked off with a stop at The Biltmore in NC

Pretty Place Chapel in Greenville, SC

Grandfather Mountain's Swinging Mile High Bridge (NC)

Fell in love with Charleston - I plan to be back in 2018