The Lab Anti-Mall

but it still has an urban outfitters…

I have got some sad news today: this is going to be my last blog post, as my co-op ends this thursday so I will be moving out of Los Angeles this weekend. But the good news is that I have got a great post for you guy for this week, and I am going to see Star Wars on Thursday and Friday! This week I am going to talk about a place called ‘The Lab” which promotes itself as being an “anti-mall” which honestly it is just a really small shopping area that has a very hipster vibe to it. There are not too many stores, but there are a lot of open courtyard areas with lots of seating, so you can relax after spending way too much money on records and macaroons. I really recommend taking the time to visit all of the stores in this mall, because the vast majority of them are small, usually family run businesses. Another plus is that there is free parking, but the lot is very small, so just be aware that even though it is free parking, it is limited. The Lab opens right at 10am and stays open until 10pm, but for the first store i’m going to talk about, I recommend getting there right at 10am. The place is called Honey and Butter and they sell the best macaroons that I have ever had in my life, I am serious! They update some of the flavors they have every day, so you can get unique macaroons like Oreo, Matcha, or Cookie Butter. They even have theme days with macarons shaped like characters from Hey Arnold or Alice in Wonderland! The one thing about Honey and Butter is that the special macaroons tend to sell out pretty quickly, so you need to get there earlier rather than later to get some of the limited ones. But even if you get there later in the day, they usually still have a pretty good selection of macaroons available. Macaroons at Honey and Butter tend to run at about $2 a piece, which is pretty average in the macaroon world, so you may have to shell out some extra cash, but it will definitely be worth it.


This is what Honey and Butter looks like from the outside!



Some macaroons!


Here are just some of the options they have!

The second place that is a must visit at The Lab is Creme Tangerine Records. This is an adorable record store that is inside of an old airstream. Which as i’m writing this, I realize that both Honey and Butter and Creme Tangerine are built inside old airstreams… But anyways this is a really small record store with a good collection of old jazz records. One of the reasons why I really love this place is that even though it is so small, they keep updating their collection with new records, so it is not always the same vinyl when you visit. Another great thing is the prices! They try to keep their prices as low as possible, which is both a good and bad thing, because since the prices are so low I tend to buy even more records than I normally would. But anyways, the Creme Tangerine is right in front of the Urban Outfitters right in the middle of the Lab.

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Here is the Creme Tangerine!



And this is one of the many seating areas they have at the Lab!

The third place that I recommend visiting is the Gypsy Den Cafe. If you can get there early enough, they have an amazing bruch that is worth the wait for a table (which is sometimes a bit longer than I would normally wait). The prices are not outrageously high either, so you can get a really good meal for under $15 dollars. My favorite go-to items on the menu are the chorizo burrito and the brioche french toast. But overall the Lab is a really cool place to visit and you don’t even have to buy anything (even though you probably will.) It has a very nice atmosphere where you can browse around the stores they have or just sit and relax with a cup of coffee! And so that’s all for me! Thanks for keeping up with my many adventures around Los Angeles and the surrounding area! It has been a lot of fun writing about what I have been doing every week! 


The amazing Gypsy Den Cafe!


See how pretty it is!


A bit blurry but this is what you see of the Lab when you drive by


Another view of the atmosphere of the Lab!





Griffith Park…

…and the Observatory and the Hollywood Sign!

Hi everyone! I am back again for the second to last post about my time in Los Angeles! This time I am going to talk about Griffith Park and the Observatory along with one of my favorite places to drive: Mulholland Drive. A huge highlight is that this week you don’t have to hear me complain about how horrible parking is, as the parking near the Greek Theatre is absolutely free! And it is usually pretty easy to find a spot here, unless of course there is a show at the Greek or there is some sort of special event happening at the Observatory. But honestly other than that, I would say that Griffith Park has the best free parking in all of Los Angeles! Another great thing about Griffith Park is the amazing views you get from walking around the top of the mountain. There is even a great spot to get a few pictures of the Hollywood Sign if that’s something you are interested in. This is the best place to get a pic of the sign if you don’t want to make the 2 mile hike to get right up behind the sign. But if you are interested in hikes, there are lots of good trails that start from Griffith Park and go out into the canyon, so you have lots of options if you are interested.


My phone quality is not the best, but here is the view from Griffith Park at night!

Another great thing about Griffith Park is the Observatory, which is also free! A lot of the Observatory is focused on the Moon, with small exhibits that teach about its orbit and its influence on the tides. It is kind of a mix between an observatory and a museum, with lots of different exhibits inside with the telescopes that you would normally expect. While these exhibits may technically be geared towards younger kids, they are fun to play around with. An especially interesting exhibit is the one about the seasons, where you can watch the screen move an animated Earth through the seasons and you can see how both the Earth and the Moon interact. Another great part of the Observatory is the pendulum they have that keeps the time, meaning it knocks over a block every hour on the hour. I used to love standing there and watching it swing back and forth when I was younger! The Observatory also has a few different telescopes out that you can use to see the Moon if it’s a clear day. I highly recommend taking the time to go up to Griffith Park and visit the Observatory.


This is the outside of the Observatory!



An exhibit on gas giants and stars!


Yes they have a wall of the elements!! (not all of them because some are highly volatile but still its cool to see that chart that was always in my Chemistry books in real life!)


One of the telescopes they have that shows the light spectrum!

A lot of people don’t like driving, especially in Los Angeles, but I happen to love it! (even though there tends to be a lot of traffic) One of my favorite roads to drive is Mulholland Drive, yes the famous one and the namesake of a 2001 movie that was a bit forgettable. Mulholland Drive connects the 101 to the 405 through the canyons of Los Angeles. This means that the road is very very windy, which makes it that much more fun to drive. Also there are many lookout spots on Mulholland Drive where you can get a great view of the valley down below! In addition there is also a small park right off of Mulholland Drive called Lake Hollywood Park and it is a nice place to picnic or relax. Also it is correctly named for its position as another great place to get a view of the Hollywood Sign! There are usually less tourists in this park, as it is less well known as Griffith as a place to get a picture with the sign, but that does make it maybe an ever better spot because it is much less crowded. But the real reason I love Mulholland Drive is because it is a lot of fun to drive on. There are so many curves and turns you have to put a lot of focus into driving and staying on the right side of the road. But it is totally worth it for the views that you can get! So if you find yourself in Los Angeles, I say you need to drive it once, just to say that you have! Ok that is all for this week, hope you enjoyed and will leave a comment or a like!



The view off of one of the view points on Mulholland Drive!


The view of the sign from Lake Hollywood Park, it’s not bad at all!!!


Honestly it is a really cute little park where you can bring your dog and have a picnic while also still being a bit touristy and seeing the Hollywood Sign

The Mad Beet…

Acaiwol Nation, A Tribe Called Zest, Florange and the Machine, and Jimmy Blendrix

Hey guys! This will be another restaurant review week, about a place called The Mad Beet! Ok one of the best things about this smoothie and juice bar is the theme behind the restaurant. Every item on the menu is named after a band or musical artists! They have everything from Beyoncai bowls, which is an acai bowl with bananas, strawberries, and peanut butter, to the Lemonem, which is a juice made with lemon and honey. The restaurant is located in Pacific Beach, right around a bunch of other clothing and surf shops. The area The Mad Beet is located is very fun because there really is so much to do! Just beware of the locals on their bikes because they are fearless and will ride in front of anything, car or person!




A little look at the menu!

If you head to the Mad Beet, I definitely recommend checking out some of the stores in the surrounding area, especially this one called Pangea Outpost. While some of the clothes can get a bit pricy, the store is a really cool collection of a more beachy style. They also have a lot of small trinkets which are interesting to look at, a highlight was the back wall had a display of album covers that had been made into clocks. I will say it was the hardest thing ever not buying the ‘From Under the Cork Tree’ one. Other than Pangea, there are a lot of other small boutiques and antique shops all up and down the street where The Mad Beet is located. But as always, parking is a huge hassle, so be prepared to have to park somewhere else and walk.




Here is a Beyoncai and an Acaiwol Nation!



This is what you see when you walk in…



See the chalkboards everywhere!!


Back to The Mad Beet, another thing I really like about the place is the atmosphere. The walls are all made of black chalk board, and some of the drawings on the wall get changed pretty often. They also have a lot of seats and some tvs set up so you can take your time and enjoy your drink without having to rush right back out. Some other fun drink names are the Tropic! at the Disco, Muddy Watersmelon, Frank Spinatra, and Drink Floyd! Overall, I highly recommend that you go and check this place out, both for the atmosphere and the amazing acai bowls that you can get. And if you are extra hungry, they even offer a 32 ounce, extra large, version of all of their bowls! The prices are good for a smoothie place and they have so many different options that you can chose from. When I go I always try something different, and it’s a hard toss up to chose a drink because of the ingredients or because of the name. I will admit that the first thing I got was the Tropic! at the Disco (sadly there are no Fall Out Boy references on the menu) But either way, whatever drink or bowl you get, it will be worth the price and hassle of finding parking! That’s all for this week! Sadly this blog is coming to an end pretty soon, as I only have a few more weeks left of my co-op, but I will be sure to keep it interesting and hopefully entertaining!


I thought the logo was cute…I mean he has a smoothie!!

A better look at the full menu!


Thnks Fr Th Mmrs

Yes, I seriously did see Fall Out Boy again…I will admit that I do have a problem

Hi everyone! I am back again to talk about the crazy stuff I got up to this weekend…and surprise surprise it has to do with Fall Out Boy! So if you still haven’t picked up on it, Fall Out Boy is by far my favorite band. So this weekend I was able to see them play in both San Diego and Los Angeles! This tour was in promotion of their new album that is set to come out on January 19th and I recommend checking it out! If I could change one thing about this entire tour, it would be the fact that it was a seated arena show. Personally, I prefer when shows have general admission pits, because then you know that the people at the barricade are going to be the fans that are willing to wait outside all day. At these shows, since they are all seated, even in the floor, there were times when people with seats in the front row were sitting for the entire show. And I realize that this probably happens at other shows, it can’t happen in a pit, because everyone is so close together and there are no seats. But even though it was all seated, I still had so much fun at both shows! And I will say that the one positive of having a seated arena show is that I did not have to wait outside all day, and I could dress up more than I could if there was a pit.


I was not even joking about the purple…


One of the few pictures I took that night!

For the San Diego show I was lucky enough to score tickets in the second row! I even had a friend in the same row that was four seats down from me. What was really cool about this show was that the band played their new single live for the first time that night! Which means I got to hear two of Fall Out Boy’s singles live for the first time! During both this and the Los Angeles show I tried to keep my phone in my pocket as much as possible, and I only took it out for my favorite parts of songs. I do try to do this with every show I go to, and it is really nice to be able to experience the show in the moment and not worry about trying to get a good picture of everything.

This may be one of the favorite pictures ever, my friend got this pic of Pete looking at me being an idiot during the show

The Los Angeles show was a bit crazy as well, just because on that Friday Fall Out Boy had a pop up shop where if you were one of the first 75 people, you got a meet and greet pass to come back and meet Pete Wentz on Sunday. I had a friend fly out from Texas and stay with me because she really wanted to go to an LA show and then get to meet Pete. Now I will admit that I have a problem with getting to shows too early, I would rather be way too early and in the front of the line, rather than late and chancing missing the show or not getting the meet and greet or whatever. But anyways, Kaylie my friend was ok with me dragging her to the pop up shop 12 hours before it opened. This means we got in line at the pop up shop at midnight, yes midnight. We weren’t even the first in line! But we were somewhat prepared for this night of sleeping on the streets of downtown Los Angeles, which means we had sleeping bags, a ton of blankets, snacks and water. The bad news is is that we did not have any umbrellas, and of course that night was the one night that it had to rain. So to paint a picture, we were sitting in the rain in our sleeping bags with towels over our heads all night because we didn’t have umbrellas. But in the end it was worth it, as we were the third and fourth people in the pop up shop and we were even featured on the merch company’s instagram!




A sneak peak of the pop up shop (around about 4am)



Yeah I know I’m basically famous now



We all spent a bit too much here


Los Angeles concerts are kind of wild, because there is a huge range of people that tend to show up. This was especially true at the Fall Out Boy show, as a lot of people who are old friends of the band showed up, and by chance, my seat was right next to where all the friends and family were sitting. Which now that I am thinking about it is a bit embarrassing because my friend and I were jumping around and going crazy for the entire show, so much so that people had to walk through the row behind us. It was weird to see a lot of these people walk right by us and recognize them from different bands that I was a fan of years ago. For example, Gabe Saporta of Cobra Starship walked right behind my friend and me a few times so he saw us jumping around and using the entire row to move around. This show was so much fun because my friend and I got to be crazy and jump around and sing along to all the songs and we didn’t care how stupid we looked. Oh I almost forgot to mention…I got interviewed about Fall Out Boy and music in general! There were some people who were trying to pitch a feature to noisy and vice about music fans and live music, so they interviewed me and my friend! I almost hope it doesn’t see the light of day because we did sing the chorus of “Sugar We’re Goin Down” and anyone who knows me knows that I can not sing, like at all. But it was another crazy moment from the show!


Snagged a pic of the sign as I was leaving



I had to get some during ‘Saturday’!

The craziness doesn’t end there, on Sunday at the meet and greet, I managed to sneak in so I got to meet Pete twice instead of just once. Long story short, I somehow ended up with two cards instead of just one, so after I met him the first time and got some pictures, I borrowed my friends shirt, put my hair up, grabbed some sunglasses and got back in line. I really only did this so I could have a story to tell and to see if I could actually get back in, I wasn’t too worried about getting kicked out or yelled at. What I thought would be my downfall was the fact that I had talked to the people working at the pop up a lot so I believed that they may have recognized me trying to get in again. But even though I did get some weird looks, I made it inside! Pete instantly recognized me though, so I apologized for sneaking in a second time and luckily enough he told me that it was hilarious!

Anyways, that was a short-ish recap of another crazy weekend I had because of Fall Out Boy. Hope you all enjoyed it and I will be back next week!


Part 1 of meeting Pete



Back again…


This was when he told me that it was hilarious that I snuck in again




Maybe it was…





I might have done this whole trip just for the pie…

Hi everybody! This week will be about a weekend trip I went on to Julian, a small mining town in California. From Los Angeles the drive is around about a couple of hours (the town is an hour east of San Diego). I have been visiting Julian ever since I was a small child, so I know all the good places to visit and shop. Whenever my family and I visit Julian, we stay at Orchard Hill Country Inn, which is one of the cutest hotels I have ever stayed at. Since Julian is such a small town, the hotel is more similar to a bed and breakfast, with many separate cottages and then a main lodge where breakfast is served. The hotel is up from the main road a little bit, so there is a lot of the elements of nature and wilderness that are present when you stay there. The room I was in for this weekend even had wild turkeys outside the window in the morning! And as my family has been going to Julian and staying at this hotel for at least the last 15 years, I can tell you that I have some not so fond memories of posing for Christmas card pictures near the water feature (and no I will not be including any of those pictures in this post) but that also means I do know my way around the hiking trails that start behind the lodge. I would recommend taking the trail that leads up the small mountain, because you get some extraordinary views of Julian and the surrounding forest on clear days! For those of you not familiar with Julian, I will note that there were some big fires that hit the area many years ago, so a lot of the trees in the area are blackened and a kinda greyish color. There are some new plants growing up between the trees, so it gives a really cool contrast for taking pictures if you are interested in photography. I will also note that Julian has some spectacular sunsets, even when it’s cloudy outside!


A crazy beautiful sunset!



And I will say my iPhone captured it pretty well!



Now onto the shopping in Julian! The town was an old mining town that was founded in the 1800s during the California Gold Rush (which you can ask me all about because literally all of my 4th grade was spent studying it) but they have managed to keep a lot of their old town feel, making it seem like you stepped back in time when you visit. The town is set up mainly around Main Street, with some smaller offshooting streets, but most of your time shopping in Julian will be centered around the places on Main Street. One of the most important places you can go is Mom’s Apple Pies, which as the name suggests, sells pies. In San Diego, Julian is kind of famous for how good their apple pies are, as there are a lot of apple orchards in the surrounding areas. There are a couple of other pie shops in Julian, but I really recommend going to Mom’s if you have the time! In terms of other stores that sell food of some sort, the Cider Mill and the Candy Bucket are two places you definitely can not skip! The Cider Mill is modeled after a general store, and has a lot of variety in jams, preserves, honey, and of course lots of candy and dried nuts and things like that. I would recommend getting some of the apple cider that they have and also getting a snack in the chocolate covered pretzels or the homemade licorice! The Candy Basket, obviously sells candy of all sorts. A lot of what they have is older candy that is hard to find at regular grocery stores! They also have a lot of older kind of soda that were popular in the 70s and 80s. My recommendation for here is to be sure to get some of the fudge, because it is all made locally and is seriously some of the best fudge I have ever had!



Mom’s Apple Pies! Amazing! Delicious! Extraordinary!



Seriously, you guys do not want to see just how much candy I buy from here



You can spy the amazing apple cider in the left of the picture!



I was tempted to add ‘Lab-opoly’ to my collection



Another small glimpse at the assortment of items you can buy



For clothing stores, Julian is a bit weird in that a lot of these stores are similar to thrift stores or antique stores. So don’t go to Julian and expect to see modern clothing, but instead spend some time in the antique stores and you could find a really cool leather jacket for a great price! If you walk further south on Main Street, that’s where you run into a lot of the clothing stores. One of my favorite places to browse is a store right next to Ruby’s Diner. I don’t think it has a name but it is basically a giant antique store with lots of unique items. I really enjoy just taking some time to see what unique kind items they might have. I have gotten some really cool jackets there and one time I even bought Dog-opoly, which is a version of Monopoly with dogs instead of buildings. The times they have there are such a random assortment of things, it’s fun to go in and see what they have in store.


Just to give you an idea of what Main Street looks like…



At lot of the stores are almost exactly the same as from when I was a kid, so nothing changes too drastically around here


Julian is a really cute little town, that you could do as a day trip, or as a weekend getaway. There is a lot to explore with all of the stores and the hiking trails that lead through the forest that surrounds Julian on all sides. Well that is all for this week, and I hope you enjoyed reading! Next week you will get to hear a bit more about a certain band that I may be a big fan of.



This is from a trip a few years ago, but I felt it really showed the spirit of Julian




See if you can spot the horse!

Jackson Market

“The Secret Garden Market”

Hi everyone! I am back again to talk about an amazing restaurant that is in Culver City! I have been trying to find some great places to eat during my lunch break, so I am a little limited in my options, as it has to be close enough to my co-op that I can get there, eat, and be back within an hour. My absolute favorite place I have found so far is Jackson Market, which is what I am going to be talking about this week. The first time I went to Jackson was actually on my first day at Brave New Films. What is interesting is that all around the area where Brave New Films is located, it is very residential. It basically turns into what a stereotypical suburb looks like. Within these houses is where Jackson Market is located.


Here is what Jackson looks like from the front!


I believe that it used to be a house, but the story is is that the family started informally serving food from the backyard, and it eventually grew into a restaurant and market. I was so confused when I went here the first time because it is literally located on a residential street right next to normal houses! Even before walking into the restaurant, I fell in love with how cute the place is. There are tables and a small yard area set up so when it’s nice out, you can enjoy your food out front. Another thing I realized when I arrived, was that this place must be good because it was very busy. Walking in, there is a lot to look at, from the people making sandwiches to the left, the actual market portion of the store in the back, and the drink and snack selection to the right. The restaurant is a little bit of a mess, but in a more family owned, small store kind of way. I then went and ordered my sandwich, I got and Italian club panini-pressed. After paying for it, only $10 which wasn’t too bad because it was a big sandwich.


(Not the best quality picture, but this is a koi pond that is in the back eating area)

After getting my sandwich, I went out back to try and find a seat, and in doing this, I found what is now one of my favorite seating areas I have ever been too. Walking out, you go through this narrow hallway where the walls on both sides are covered in vines. This brings you out to what is the backyard of this remodeled house. There are trees everywhere, tables set up in groups, and even a coy pond in the very back. This area is much quieter than the inside of the market, so it very relaxing to find a seat and just take in the surroundings. On sunny days, it is especially beautiful because the trees block out a lot of the light, but there are still sunbeams that peak through. The best spot in this area is a small table in the back corner near the coy pond. This is my favorite spot because there is another fountain near the table, so you hear a lot of water running while you are sitting and eating. This whole area is so relaxing, I love sitting here and enjoying my food and not worrying about anything else.


This is the walkway you go through to get to the back eating area, the walls of the buildings are covered in plants!


If you are ever in Culver City, I would highly recommend stopping at Jackson Market, both for the relaxing atmosphere and the amazing food! That is all for this week, check back next time for some more adventures and reviews!



One more pic of some of the seating that is available in the back garden



I will end with a picture of the menu and all the desserts they have displayed! (the cookies are especially good, trust me)

The Getty Center

Time to Van Gogh to a museum…

Hello everyone! I am back once again, this time to talk about my trip to the Getty over this past week! The Getty is a free (yes free!) art museum in Los Angeles. They have hundreds of paintings in the museum, with a lot of their focus on European works. Technically the Getty has two locations, the Getty Center is the main museum just off of the 405, while the Getty Villa is a mansion in Malibu that houses a lot of Greek and Roman art and architecture. For this week I will be writing about the Getty Center, as I haven’t had the time to visit the Getty Villa yet. The Getty Center is actually on top of a hill in north Los Angeles, meaning that on clear days, you have an incredible unobstructed view of downtown LA to the South and the valley to the northeast.


This is the view to the north



and here is what it looks like to the south


Since the Getty has such an enormous collection of European and American art, they separate the works into different time periods and art styles. This really allows you to stroll through the different exhibits and see the progression of art styles from the medieval to the present. I really recommend taking extra time to just walk around and stop in front of art pieces that catch your eye. What I tend to do at art museums is walk around a room and only really stop in front of works that catch my eye or seem confusing to me. I do this because if I stop and stare at all of the works, I tend to get tired, but if I only stop on the works that inspire me or seem interesting, I can spend more time looking at them and studying them. Again, this is just what I do personally, but if you tend to think art museums are boring or take too long, this approach may work for you as well. Another great thing about the Getty is that they offer free tours about different art styles, periods, and even the architecture of the museum itself. So if you would prefer a more structured approach to the museum, that is available for you as well. I went on a tour about European impressionism (one of my favorite art styles) and the guide was very informative and knowledge about the subject. It was fun to see the painting and then get some more background on the piece and the artist as I was looking at it. Honestly, another plus was the price (everything is free, except for the parking) which is incredible given how big the collection is.


I really love the movement in this piece


The Getty Center has a bunch of really cool aspects to it, including the way you get up to the actual museum. Since the building is on top of a hill, but the parking is at the bottom, the museum gives you two options of how to get to the top; you can walk or you can take their shuttle. Of course I chose the shuttle option, and what is interesting is that the shuttle isn’t a traditional shuttle, but more of a mix between a shuttle and an elevator. After you get to the top, there is a courtyard that has a few statues, and this is a great place to eat while you are visiting! When you enter the museum, you have many choices on which direction you could go, all leading to different exhibits. Because the museum is so huge, I definitely recommend grabbing a map before you head off, just so you know where you are and what pieces will be in the room.



It was the colors and the way the moon is the brightest part of the picture that really caught my eye



By far, my favorite work in the museum is Van Gogh’s ‘Irises’ I was really excited to be able to go to the Getty and see this work, as Van Gogh is one of my favorite artists. The work is a very special piece, and when you stop and really study it, you see that there is an incredible amount of movement within a piece that may look a bit simple at first glance. This piece was one of the highlights of the guided tour I took part in, so I also learned some cool facts behind the painting. One of the coolest facts is that there are no straight lines in the entire work, which seems impossible at first, but really makes the movement of the piece as a whole come together. Another highlight was the exhibit on photography that was in the basement of the museum. The photographer Thomas Annan, took pictures throughout his life in Glasgow during the industrial revolution. These pictures really gave a personal view into what life looked like during the 19th century in Scotland. It gave me even more insight into how people lived and what the world around them looked like. These pictures were next to others from 20th century Scotland. This means that you can walk from room to room and see how times had changed from the factories to the rise of punk in the 80s. The Getty is also very nice in that they provide so many different mediums of art, so it is not only a museum of paintings, but also of sculptures, photographs and graphic visuals.

here it is!


There are so many beautiful and creative works in the museum, that it would be impossible to talk about all of them, so I will include pictures of a few of my favorites below! That’s it for this week, if you have any requests or ideas for places I should visit, leave a comment below!



In this work, it was the emotion on the peoples’ faces that made me stop


The scale of this work, with the towering trees and the small birds in the distance was what got me to stop


I love the realism and the detail that is found in all of the fruits and flowers in this work!




Santa Barbara

Insert a Psych reference here…

And I am back! This week I took a 2 hour drive up the coast to Santa Barbara. I have been to Santa Barbara lots of times before, my mom went to college there and absolutely loves it, so I was more familiar with where to park and where to go. What I really love about Santa Barbara is the shopping. There are so many cute little stores on State Street (the sort of main street of Santa Barbara) that sell antiques, records, and vintage clothes. One of my favorites in this record store called ‘Just Play Music’ that is super super tiny and filled to the brim with records and old t-shirts. Now let me tell you, this is my absolute favorite store in all of Santa Barbara and every single time I am in the city, I have to visit this place. For being so small, they have an amazing collection of records from so many different artists and genres. This trip I was incredibly lucky to find a copy of Low by David Bowie, which I have been looking for soooooo long. I really should have stayed away from this store because I had just gotten paid, so I will admit I spent a bit more than I should have. But I just really needed that Pinkerton shirt ok!


How cute is this store though!

After the record store I took some time to just walk down State Street and window shop for a while. Santa Barbara is hugely influenced by Spanish architecture, as much of Southern California is, which makes it incredibly beautiful. Another favorite store is called ‘Find your Feet’, and they literally only sells socks. They have some crazy designs like socks with pugs or the Mona Lisa on them! In addition to having amazing stores, Santa Barbara also has incredible restaurants! If you want some amazing Mexican and some crazy fresh seafood there are so many choices! Seriously, you can chose just about any restaurant on State Street and you will get an incredible meal (trust me I have eaten at just about every one of them)!


A quick example of the Spanish architecture!

Another thing I love about Santa Barbara is the beaches! The beaches here are similar to Los Angeles in that they are really wide, giving lots of room for people to spread out on the beaches. Also the main beach has volleyball courts already set up, so anyone can go and play there. A weird thing about the Santa Barbara beaches is that offshore you can see oil rigs, that are currently in use. This means that if you dig through the sand enough (like I used to do when I was younger) the sand gets more tar like because of the oil. It’s one of those weird Santa Barbara quirks that you get used to if you visit enough times.

Here is the main beach in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is overall actually a really small area. Most of the touristy activities are around State Street or near the beach. This means that you can easily do a day trip to Santa Barbara and not be pressed for time trying to fit everything in. If you do make the trip up there, I would save some time for a tour of the mission, especially if you have never seen one before. Having the luxury of growing up in Southern California, I have been able to see a lot of the missions that were built and learn about them in depth (seriously in 4th grade it felt like we were learning about missions the entire year!) Because of this, I wasn’t able to go on a tour of the mission this time, but it should definitely be on your list of stops!


I really do love this style of architecture

Before I forget, I wanted to include some tips on parking, because as this still is Southern California, parking is a giant hassle. Santa Barbara is nice in that they have public lots scattered throughout the main town area. You get 75 free minutes of parking, and what I do is go back and leave the parking structure before my 75 minutes are up and just drive to a different lot to get more free parking. If you are okay with setting a timer and moving your car a couple blocks every hour, this is a great way to avoid having to pay anything for parking!

So that is all for this week! I will be back soon with another adventure!



Here is what State Street looks like!


Yes, another beach picture!

Even the main mall has this Spanish style architecture!



Ok I will leave you with one last beach picture!

Paramount Studio Tour

There were a lot of Transformers…

Hello again! This week was fun because I got to do something I have always wanted to do…go on a tour of Paramount Studios! I have always been a huge fan of movies and how they transport you to a different world for an hour or two. And historically speaking, movies have had a really important cultural and social impact with people utilizing them as a way to escape the hardships of everyday life (as during the Great Depression) or to tell stories that comment on current political happenings (…Citizen Kane). One of the first, and arguably one of the biggest movie and tv production studios is Paramount Pictures. They started back in 1912 but quickly rose to the forefront of the emerging Hollywood scene. Paramount is responsible for hundreds of classic movies, from Forrest Gump to Titanic and the Godfather to Indiana Jones. Because Paramount created so many of my favorite films, namely Indiana Jones, the Italian Job, Footloose (just to clarify I mean the original), Ferris Buehler’s Day Off, and the Patriot Games; I was very excited to go on this tour. Another plus was that this tour was scheduled through Northeastern, so I only had to pay $20 as opposed to the $40 it would have costed me otherwise. This also meant that I got to meat some other Northeastern students who are doing their co-ops in the Los Angeles area! Ok onto the tour…before the actual tour even started we got to go into a room where they had some actual costumes out from famous films such as Sweeny Todd and Zoolander. In the next room there were four Best Picture Oscars that were on display for everyone to see. The Oscars were from Wings, the Godfather, Forrest Gump, and Titanic. The tour guides also played a movie that showed famous clips from many of the movies that paramount has been a part of since its beginning.

Sorry for the bad lighting, the case the Oscars were kept in was very reflective and brightly lit so it was hard to get a good picture, but this is the Oscar for Titanic!


After the short video, we moved into another room where we were briefed on what we could expect on the tour and what kind of things we might be able to see. Shows like NCIS: LA, This is Us, and a few Nickelodeon kids shows were filming the day we were taking the tour, and even though it didn’t end up happening, there was a possibility that we could see the sets and/or actors on these shows. The tour started with a walk around one of the many courtyards and the cafe, which used to function as a dance hall to rehearse big dance numbers before filming. Fun fact: that dance hall is where the creators of the show I Love Lucy met for the first time. After this we headed out to look at some of the soundstages which is where a lot of shows and movies are filmed. There are 29 soundstages on the Paramount Pictures Lot, and they are all gigantic, and I mean gigantic! A soundstage is basically a giant warehouse that is heavily soundproofed and fitted with a grid system of lighting hanging from above. Since the soundstages were were let into were being used as current sets, or set for shows that were going to be coming out in the future, no pictures were allowed inside any of them. Still it was a really cool experience to be able to go inside the soundstages where shows like Frasier and Cheers were filmed! One of the coolest parts of the tour was getting to walk through the New York sets. There are facades set up in block style, with each block being styled as a different neighbourhood of New York, such as uptown and Greenwich Village. We got to walk around the area and even walk inside some of the buildings, which were pretty much empty. It was at this point that the tour guides mentioned a little movie secret, if you carefully watch the extras in films, you can usually spot some of the same people come onto screen more than once. What happens is that the extra will walk through a door wearing one outfit, then quickly change their top and add a hat, turn around, and walk out a different door, becoming a completely different person. The next time I watch a movie, I am definitely going to be on the lookout for some repeating extras! After that we got to go into a prop warehouse, and before we went in, the tour guides mentioned that we could touch anything we wanted too, with the exception of getting into the cars. With that being said, we walked into another giant warehouse filled to the brim with props from hundreds of iconic movies. Some highlights were of a huge Transformer standing in the corner, a futuristic looking tree from Star Trek, and the car from Grease Live used for the Grease Lightning performance.


Here is the transformer I mentioned!

Later, we got to walk past the giant pool that is used to create ocean scenes in movies. As unbelievable as it sounds, the pool is only 4 feet deep when filled with water, but on camera it looks just as real as the ocean. Movies such as Orange County, and the Patriot Games were filmed here, and both films utilized people on wave runners to simulate the waves that are seen in the final cut of the movies. When it is not being used for filming, the pool is emptied and actually used as a parking lot! At the end of the tour, we got a chance to sit on the bench used to film the iconic opening scene from Forrest Gump, which was actually made at exactly a 90 degree angle, so that Tom Hanks didn’t injure his back while filming for long hours every day. This did make it very uncomfortable to sit on though. The tour ended in front of the main Paramount Gates, with the Hollywood sign visible in the distance, a very fitting ending for a studio  that is steeped in history and has been involved with so many iconic movies. That’s all for this week, check back next time for some run on sentences about how much I love Los Angeles.


A look at the famous front gates of the studios, in person if you look carefully, you can just see the Hollywood sign in the distance!



Where the magic happens!



This gives you an idea of what a lot of the studio looked like as we walked through




There’s a place off Ocean Avenue..

where I used to sit and talk with you, we were both 16 and it felt so right, sleeping all day, staying up all night

Hello! I am back again to talk about my adventures at the Santa Monica Pier! Even though the pier is a bit touristy, it is still a really fun place to visit, and I make sure to take everyone that visits Los Angeles here! One of my favorite things about Santa Monica is the parking…seriously! Parking in LA is notoriously impossible and expensive, I already have one $60 parking ticket to my name, I am trying to avoid another, so Santa Monica is a nice reprieve from the craziness. This is one of the only places in Los Angeles where you can get free* public parking (usually the first hour and a half is free, but I have only had to pay $2 at most). There is an abundance of public parking structures that let you know how many open spaces there are, and even have lights attached to the ceiling that show where the spots are! But ok enough about parking structures, onto my adventures! So the main attraction in Santa Monica is the pier, but there are also a lot of great places to eat all around, and the beach is pretty nice as well! This post will mainly focus on the pier though, just because it is the main attraction and when I go to Santa Monica, it usually is to visit the pier. If you grew up listening to pop-punk or emo music, like I did, you are probably familiar with the song “Ocean Avenue” by Yellowcard, whose lyrics feature in the title of this post. The actual Ocean Avenue, described in the song is actually in Santa Monica and runs just in front of the pier! Enjoy the picture below:

ocean av

(Do I always blast Ocean Avenue when driving on this road…maybe)

Another interesting fact is that, Route 66, the historical freeway that connected Chicago to Los Angeles, actually ends right at the pier. There is even a sign that states “this place is the end of the historic Route 66.” In addition, it is also a pretty cool place to take pictures! The main reason of why I love the Santa Monica Pier so much is because of the small amusement park they have that is literally on the pier! There are 3 rides total, including a roller coaster and a ferris wheel! There is an old fashioned arcade and game booths where you can try to win prizes. This amusement park gives off a very old fashioned, Coney Island vibe, and I absolutely love it! If you walk further out onto the pier you will pass by a Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co, of Forrest Gump fame. Just a warning: this restaurant is always busy so be aware you might have a long wait for a table. As you continue walking further out, you can look over the railing and see surfers trying to catch some waves, and on the pier, you see a lot (and I mean A LOT) of people fishing over the edge of the pier. At the very end of the pier, it squares out more and allows you to get some pretty spectacular views looking out at the ocean, and even some nice ones looking back at the beach and the amusement park.

yes yes pier

A pretty nice view!


bach viewsss

This is what the beach looks like from the pier!


hotel cali

I even found the REAL Hotel California…just kidding, but I have always wanted to stay here just for the name



So I am not going to only talk about the Santa Monica Pier, I am also going to mention how to get some great pictures of the ocean and even the valley from above. What I am talking about is driving up into the hills where you can get some of the most amazing views of the coast line, and even see some crazy-looking mansions! My advice in doing this would be to make sure that you are driving in a smaller car that can handle tight turns and uphill acceleration. Even though I have successfully  driven these roads in a giant sleeper van that could fit 8 people, it’s just much easier in a smaller car. If you take the 1 north for a few miles, you can see that the hills are just to the right of the freeway. In my opinion, you can take any off road and just explore from there, but do always have google maps open just in case. Usually when these roads wind up the mountain there are places you can pull off and get some really cool scenic pictures! It is hard driving on these roads if you do not have practice, because of how narrow the roads are, and because of how the people who live here tend to go much faster than the speed limit, making it a bit more dangerous. Now i’m not trying to scare you off from going, just wanted to put a warning so you aren’t surprised when a Tesla comes flying around a bend doing 50 in a 35. I seriously encourage you to go and explore all of these areas, because it is usually pretty empty and you can get some killer pictures without have to deal with a bunch of tourists.


yes view 1

The people who live here get amazing views!


ocean yaaaa

Imagine seeing that view every day!


road and view ??

Here you can kind of see what I am talking about with the narrow, winding roads



And last but not least, a view overlooking the valley


And that is it for this week, check back in next time for more exciting trips around Los Angeles!