Los Angeles Travel Guide

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I left New York at the perfect time a couple weeks ago (in the middle of one of the coldest weeks in February) and landed in sunny California. I’m not usually one to rave about Los Angeles, but I think this trip might’ve changed my mind 🙃I couldn’t have asked for better weather, I loved the hotel I stayed at, and every day we explored a new part of the LA area. The warm weather got me excited for spring 🙏🏻

Alicia and I had a heyday shooting in so many of California’s beautiful locations. There’s nothing better than shooting in warm weather – it gives us so much more time to play around with lighting and colors/outfits without freezing like we do in Chicago and New York most months of the year. Conner flew in to meet me over the weekend and it we had the best time!! We received so many great recommendations of things to do & places to eat, so I wanted to share all of our spots with you guys:

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Where I stayed:

La Peer in West Hollywood

Everything about this hotel was perfect. I loved the boutique feel of it and the service was amazing. The lobby was big and beautiful and such a great place to sit and work / hang out. Every morning they had fresh matcha, tea, and coffee in the lobby. The best part of the hotel was the location. It’s in the heart of West Hollywood (right between Melrose and Sunset Blvd) and so close to the best restaurants and shopping in the area. We loved the beautiful pool bar so much that Conner and I spent an entire night down there drinking prosecco and had oysters and truffle fries for dinner 😂The pool was quiet and relaxing – I spent a couple afternoons just reading and drinking iced tea down there. Definitely recommend this area & hotel if you’re thinking about a California trip because it so central. Malibu, Santa Monica, and Venice were just a quick day trip away.

 


Coffee Spots:

Verve Coffee

I went here every morning, it was right next to my hotel. Every day I ordered the usual – decaf coffee with heavy cream and the steel cut oatmeal (creature of habit, lol). The oatmeal was incredible!! Not usually wow’d by oatmeal, but it was topped with fruit, brûlée (the best part), and almond milk. They have a really cute front/side patio with shady areas to sit. The inside is warm and cozy – the big windows let in a ton of sunshine.

Cha Cha Matcha

Where I shot the pink sweater pics in this post 💕Such a cute little spot to stop in to get a lemonade, matcha, coffee, or ‘purple drink’ (idk, it’s a LA thing I think?). It’s all pink and green inside and the patio outside is such a cute spot to sit and hang in the sun.

Alfred Coffee

Cute but crowded – definitely worth stopping in to see it! We got iced coffees then walked around the area and window shopped.

Where To Grab A Drink:

Harriet’s

The best rooftop view in Hollywood. Conner and I had pre-dinner drinks up here on Friday night and had the best view of the sunset over the entire city. The twinkle lights, dark green and white striped decor, wax candles, and panoramic views of LA are hard to beat. We hard this place is a great after-dinner hang out spot on the weekends. If you like spicy tequila drinks, get the Spicy Siena 🌶️

The Tower Bar

This place is iconic! The vintage Hollywood inspired decor is so elegant and charming. The poolside dining is the quintessential Los Angeles experience and the views of the view of the city is amazing.

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Restaurants:

Son of a Gun

If you love seafood, you HAVE to eat here. Order the brussel sprouts, cold peel and eat shrimp, and the chicken sandwich – some of the best food I’ve ever had!

El Spago

In the heart of Beverly Hills – this is celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck’s buzzy, sleek bistro that serves locally sourced Californian cuisine. Definitely a splurge experience!

Gracias Madre

This place was directly next door to our hotel so I went here twice! Delicious organic, farm-fresh Mexican food and a really cute outdoor patio.

Catch – it was right next to our hotel, so we went here one morning for brunch. We got there early so it was quiet and such a beautifully sunny day so it was the most peaceful experience! The fruit plate is amazing. Also – the entryway upstairs is so beautiful, definitely a pretty place for a picture!

The Henry – a good lunch spot! We sat at the bar and had a quick lunch here.


Other things we did…

Point Dume

Point Dume State Beach is made up of cliffs, rocky coves and the beach. We climbed up the cliffs that were covered in yellow wildflowers and butterflies were everywhere – it was surreal! We climbed to the top of the cliff that overlooked the ocean and watched the whales swimming in the ocean. It was amazing and not crowded at all.

El Matador Beach

Malibu was probably my favorite part about this trip. The ocean right up against the hills covered and wildflowers was so beautiful and peaceful. We drove to El Matador Beach to explore and take pictures at sunset. There are lots of rock formations and caves for exploring. Absolutely recommend!

Soho House Malibu

One of our good friend’s in town – Brett (John’s boyfriend!) lives in West Hollywood so he invited us to Soho House Malibu (Little Beach House) one day and it was truly an unforgettable experience. It’s a small, oceanfront club for the creative community of Malibu and the surrounding coastal areas.

Nobu Malibu

Conner and I had been wanting to eat at Nobu Malibu for a while because his Mom always says it’s her favorite! But we didn’t think we’d have time before leaving for the airport so we didn’t make reservations. Last minute we decided to stop by to see if we could get in after leaving Soho House and somehow we got a table for two! It was one of the most amazing dining experiences. Definitely recommend if you’re headed to Malibu.

LACMA

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art- the largest art museum in the western United States. We shot my Steve Madden campaign in front of the Urban Light sculpture, it was so fun!

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Sneakers for Spring

Bertie Grey Reflective Sneakers| Bertie in White | Bertie in Black | Outfit: Top / Bottoms

A little motivational fact:

Steven Madden started his business driving around the NYC area selling shoes out of the trunk of his car.

This drive is what established his company and built his brand in to what it is today.  Steve Madden has always been my all time favorite shoe brand, his shoes take up the majority of my closet! His start up story gives me so much respect for him and his drive as a self-starter to make his dreams a reality.

I feel like blogging has challenged me in so many ways over the years and taught me a lot about the nature of building a brand from scratch. It’s been the best learning experience when it comes to motivation, entrepreneurship, and self-improvement. Every single day it challenges both my creative side and business mindset. I’m driven by the constant challenge to invent new ways to mix art and fashion in a way that tells an interesting story.  Self expression through fashion and photography is what drives me.

Alicia and I have been in California all week and we really wanted to shoot this Steve Madden campaign at LACMA. It’s definitely a cliche spot for photos, so we wanted to challenge ourselves to try to shoot it different and put our own spin on things. Which involves camera angles, the perfect backlight glow, and a funky pose to bring some personality to this shot. I love how LACMA worked as the perfect background for this shot – we loved shooting this! I love these platform sneakers for spring/summer – I linked a few other pairs I have my eye on:

Thank you to Steve Madden for partnering with me on this post!

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Organizing My NYC Apartment

They weren’t kidding about NYC living being a tight squeeze 😳! One of the biggest challenges about moving from Chicago to NY has been the limited storage space. I moved here with only 2 suitcases, but once I started to accumulate things over the course of a few months, I realized there was no way we were going to fit everything in the apartment in an organized way. It got to the point where I was storing beauty products in kitchen cabinets and using the one-in-one-out method when it came to clothes. John was definitely feeling the same sort of storage limitation as Conner and I, so we started researching the best home organization teams in the city.

We partnered with the Horderly team and The Container Store to take over our apartment organization and maximize the space. We knew they were the perfect professional organizers for us from our first phone call with Jamie and Fillip. They were so friendly, passionate, informative, and asked us so many detailed questions about our space. They are experts! Fillip and Jamie wanted to help us live more simply and efficiently, and that’s exactly what they did for us. Watch the video below to see the behind the scenes process:

The Closet

The closet was the main issue. Originally it was just a single hanging rack with no shoe storage beneath and no dividers on the shelves. The Horderly team started the process by taking everything out and ‘editing’ our clothes – a process of donating the things we don’t need and keeping the stuff we wear all the time. It made me realize how pointless it is to hang on to pieces of clothing I haven’t worn in years.

BEFORE

After editing the clothes, they organized them by ’type’ (sweaters, t-shirts, bodysuits, tanks) with dividers and replaced all of our hangers with slim non-slip hangers – this made a HUGE difference and freed up a lot of space. Next, they built a 3-level shelf for my shoes and staggered each pair – these are Elfa shelves from The Container Store custom designed by Horderly. The last updates in the closet were the clear shelf dividers. These separate the folded piles of clothing on the shelves and keep them from falling over/overlapping with each other. (I have a separate rack that’s not pictured in this post that’s for photoshoot clothing that I’ll be showing you in my bedroom tour soon).

AFTER

The Dresser

We did the same ‘editing’ process with the clothes in the dresser. Then, Horderly inserted drawer dividers in the drawers with my jeans and shirts. This was a game changer! It created a filing system – so once you took something out, you’d push the section back to make room for the new piece in the front of the drawer. The way they taught us to fold our clothes for this filing system was also so helpful! Definitely more time consuming, but worth it. I was able to it so much more in my drawers this way. This is my dresser from Anthropologie – I’ll go into more detail about this in my room tour post that’s coming.

BEFORE

AFTER

The Storage Bed

Best small space living tip: a storage bed! The extra pull out drawer under the bed is so great for storing clothes or anything else you need more space for. This bed is The Nina Bed in Bella Dove Fabric by Jonathan Louis (queen size), find a retailer that carries this bed here.

BEFORE

AFTER

The Bathroom

An important part of my job as a blogger is test out new products so I recommend the best ones to you guys, so you can imagine the overflow of beauty products this apartment sees every month. We edited the bathroom and got rid of some things (I had to be realistic about what I use every day or at least once a week). They organized the shelves behind my mirror with the things we use on a daily basis. I love the acrylic organizational pieces they used for these shelves. The bigger items like hair products and tools, medicines, and lotion were stored in bins beneath the sink. I love how they label everything!

They installed a storage unit on the back of the bathroom door that’s for overflow items and product testers. I love having this for storage – especially for when I order toothpaste and things on bulk from amazon.

BEFORE

AFTER

Jamie and Fillip were incredible to work with. We loved getting the chance to hang out with them and their team while they worked on our apartment. They’re so passionate about what they do and they’re making such a difference in their clients lives! In my opinion, getting rid of the clutter, donating what you don’t need to people who need it, and living more simply will change your life for the better. I kept the things I truly loved, and got rid of the rest. It makes outfit planning and getting dressed so much easier.

Thank you so much to Horderly and the Container Store for simplifying our apartment and organizing our lives! I highly recommend the Horderly team if you’re struggling with space or just need someone to help you get rid of your clutter and say bye to things you don’t need anymore. You will LOVE the end result.


Dark jeans | Ripped JeansGray Stripe SweaterSimilar White Bodysuit | Shoes

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