california

Catalina Island Travel Diary

A few weeks ago I went to Catalina Island for the day, and it was so beautiful I had to share. Catalina Island is is a little island off the coast of Southern California, about an hour ferry ride away from Orange County. I have had it on my list of places to go since I moved to LA, and finally made the little trip.

When you pull up to the island, it looks like a postcard from the South of France. There are colorful houses lining the hills and boats docked in the water — it truly looks like paradise. I think one of the reasons I was so excited to travel here was because it reminded me so much of Nantucket Island. I used to go to Nantucket almost every summer with my family, and it is still one of my very favorite places in the world. Something about taking a ferry to a little island reminded me so much of those trips, which I loved.

Anyways, I thought I’d share a few recommendations for places to eat, things to do, and some places to stay on Catalina Island, in case you’re heading to the quaint little island in the near future.

 

What is your favorite place for a weekend getaway?

 

Joshua Tree Travel Diary

Last weekend I took a little day trip to Joshua Tree, which I have had on my list for quite some time now. It was unlike anywhere I have ever been before, and certainly did not disappoint! For those who aren’t familiar, Joshua Tee is a national park here in Southern California (roughly two and a half hours from LA, and just outside of Coachella Valley). It is in the Colorado and Mojave deserts, and mostly known for rugged rock formations, Joshua trees, and crazy cacti.

Whenever I go somewhere new, I like to create a little travel diary to showcase my top recommendations for you in case you’re planning a trip of your own. I typically give my suggestions for everywhere to eat, play, shop, and stay, but today’s guide is a little different. I left out the “shop” category since I didn’t do any shopping while I was there, and didn’t feel like there were any must-sees in that category. So, without further ado, here is my Joshua Tree National Park travel diary. I hope you enjoy x

{pin this to your travel pinterest board for future trips!}

Since I only spent one day in J-Tree, I’m going to give you what I would describe as the perfect day there:

So just outside of the national park there is the little town of Joshua Tree. I would suggest starting your morning there, with breakfast at Crossroads Café — they even have soyrizo as an option on the menu for my fellow vegans 🙂 Once you’re fueled and ready to go, I would make a pit stop at Joshua Tree Coffee Company and get a coffee to-go, then head into the park.

Since it is a national park, you will have to pay a fee to get in, but the pass is good for a few days. Once inside the park, I would hit a few things off the list under the “play” category. Arch Rock, Skull Rock, and Cholla Cactus Garden were some of my favorite hot spots. Driving through the park is also a sight within itself, and there are tons of places to pull off and take pictures or take in the scenery, which we did a few times.

We brought a lot of snacks with us, and there are a few stops along the road with picnic tables which was perfect. If you want to leave the park and go back into town for lunch or snacks, I would highly recommend Natural Sisters Café; they have juices and smoothies, soups, salads, sandwiches — the works. They even have options for vegan desserts… Take something to go to enjoy once back inside the park.

One thing that I would consider a must-do would be to watch the sunset at Key’s View. This is — I believe — the highest point in the park, and it overlooks all of Coachella Valley. It’s a beautiful view and makes for a perfect sunset viewing point. It was pretty crowded while we were there, so a lot of people had the same idea! J-Tree is known for its stunning sunsets so you won’t be disappointed 🙂

There was one thing on our list that we didn’t get to do, and that was the Smith Ranch Drive-In. I haven’t been to a drive-in movie theatre since sometime in middle school, and would have loved to go to one. It is outside of the park, a little ways past the town of Joshua Tree in Twentynine Palms. It’s a classic, cash-only drive-in, open Thursdays–Sundays. They also have a concessions stand with popcorn, candy, drinks, etc. Next time I am 100% planning on going here!

Since the park is so secluded and dark at night, it’s also a great place to stargaze. This was something I was really excited about! I have always really, really loved looking at the stars, so when I get to be in places like this where I get a great view of them, it always makes me really happy.

A few miscellaneous things to note: Dress in layers! There were times where it was super nice and warm in the sun, and others where the wind was blowing so much we couldn’t stay warm at all, lol. Definitely be ready to take layers off and put them back on at your next stop. Also, beware of rattlesnakes and other dangerous wildlife. We were told just to “not put your hands or feet anywhere you can’t see.”

Those are my top travel tips for a trip to Joshua Tree National Park. I hope you enjoyed!

 

What is your favorite weekend getaway destination? I’d love to hear about it 🙂 Thank you so much for reading x

A Los Angeles Fall

When I came to LA last year, I shared a lot of my favorite places to eat, play, shop, and stay in this travel diary. Now that I’ve lived here for a little bit and have spent an entire fall season here, I wanted to share an updated travel diary, but themed for fall. This will be perfect if you are visiting the area during this time of year, or if you live here and just need a few ideas for some fun things to do.

Fall in Southern California is a bit different than fall in the Northeast (where I’m from). It’s definitely a different type of festive, but still festive nonetheless. There is plenty to do, just without the changing leaves and chilly weather. If you’re in SoCal and looking for that, I’d say take a day trip to Big Bear. Without further ado, here is your guide to a Los Angeles fall…

First thing’s first: pumpkin picking. In my mind, nothing quite says fall like a pumpkin patch. I went to Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch, which is in Culver City, and I loved it. Once you’re inside, you would never know that you’re in the middle of a big city, which was perfect. There were tons of pumpkins to choose from, along with some other fun activities and, of course, food. Fun fact: I randomly saw Mr. Chow from The Hangover while I was there… I can confidently say that there were never Hollywood stars at my pumpkin patches back home, lol.

It’s also no fun to go a fall season without at least one pumpkin spice latte. Though they are as basic as it gets, they’ve become this popular for good reason. I’m not embarrassed to say I’m a fan of pumpkin spice, as you know from this recipe I shared earlier this season. I’ve tried a few pumpkin spice lattes from different coffee shops in the area; this is my favorites (spoiler alert: they’re not Starbucks).

The winner in my eyes is Peet’s! They actually have locations all over California and even a few other states, so if you’re not in LA, you may still be in luck 🙂 One of the things I love about Peet’s is that the coffee is brewed in small batches so every cup is so so fresh. The pumpkin spice is delish, and I can’t wait to try their holiday drinks.

Another one of my very favorite parts of fall is going to haunted houses and hayrides. Fortunately, there are a few great options in LA. Some of the most popular spots are Los Angeles Haunted Hayride, Knott’s Scary Farm (which is down in Orange County) and Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights.

Pumpkin picking, pumpkin spice lattes, and haunted houses are staples for any fall, so I hope you enjoyed this quick guide on how you can get all three in LA!

What are your favorite things to do in LA in the fall? Thank you so much for reading x

Big Bear Travel Diary

Last week I took a mini road trip to Big Bear, which is a town in the San Bernardino Mountains, about two hours away from Los Angeles. Picture the perfect little ski town with mountains, a lake, cute shops and restaurants — the whole nine yards. It was the perfect fall getaway, and it was so nice to get a taste of fall, which we — of course — don’t get much of here in LA.

As most of you know, I grew up in Upstate New York, not far away from the Adirondacks. I would go to the mountains every fall, so it was nice to continue the tradition here in California. If you’re from the east coast or familiar with the ADK, Big Bear was very similar to Lake Placid or a even like a bigger Old Forge.

I haven’t shared a travel diary in quite some time, but this felt like the perfect opportunity. With all that being said, consider this my guide to the fall season in Big Bear, with all the best places to eat, play, shop, and stay. I hope you enjoy!

{pin this to your travel pinterest board for future trips!}

I was only in Big Bear for the day, so I didn’t get to do everything that I would have liked to. One of the things I so badly wanted to do but didn’t have enough time for was a helicopter ride. I have only been on one helicopter ride before, but had so much fun. I would love to do another one soon, and Big Bear would have been the perfect spot (especially with all of the colorful leaves!). However, these are just better excuses to return to Big Bear soon and get more done 🙂 I’m definitely going to visit during the wintertime and see the snowy mountains and hopefully even snowboard.

As soon as I got in town I stopped at The Copper Q for some coffee, and it was the perfect cup for walking around The Village at Big Bear Lake. I got latte with the vanilla soy milk, and it was the perfect amount of sweet. The Village is a specific area of the town where there are cute tree-lined streets with tons of shops and restaurants. It was so pretty, and just like the mountain towns in the Adirondacks.

After walking around the town for a bit, I drove around to some of the trails and parks just to scope out the fall colors. It was so peaceful and relaxing; I had such a great time just exploring for the day.

Even the drive up to Big Bear from LA is stunning; I pulled over so, so many times just to snap a few pics along the road. There are mountains as far as you can see, and with the fall foliage it couldn’t have been a more perfect view.

 

What is your favorite fall getaway destination? I’d love to hear about it 🙂 Thank you so much for reading x

Day in the Life Living in Los Angeles

I’ve been wanting to film a little day in the life style vlog for awhile now, and I’ve tried quite a few times before. I always end up forgetting to pull my camera out though, so at the end of the day I only have a few minutes of footage. Over the weekend I finally (!) was able to vlog for an entire day, and I’m so excited about it, lol.

Although this day was nothing special — I didn’t do anything exciting nor was it even my typical day — I still think it was fun to follow along and see how I spent a lazy Sunday. I really hope you enjoy! Please let me know if you would like to see more vlogs… I’m wondering if you’d be interested in seeing weekly ones? I think that might be a good option and fun for me to film. Let me know!

I hope you enjoyed! Thank you so much for watching. You can subscribe for more videos here x

The Best Workouts in Los Angeles

Being new to the Los Angeles scene, I’ve been doing a lot of research into the best workouts in the area. It’s no secret that LA is a wellness-oriented city; we are home to some of the most talented personal trainers, the best-of-the-best gyms, and certainly no shortage of both tried-and-true and up-and-coming fitness trends.

Now that I’ve been here for a few weeks and had the chance to check out the fitness scene, I wanted to share some of the best workouts I’ve found. These range from hikes to yoga studios, and everything in-between. I hope you enjoy!

{runyon canyon views}

/ B E S T  H I K E S /

1. Runyon Canyon. If you know anything about LA, you probably have heard about Runyon Canyon. This is without a doubt one of the mot popular hiking destinations in the area, and for good reason. I have started hiking Runyon a few times a week, and it hasn’t gotten old yet. What makes this place so popular is because it’s extremely dog-friendly, there are plenty of celebrity sitings, there are water fountains along the way, and the views are great as long as it’s not too hazy out.

2. Griffith Park. Griffith Park has a few different trails, with Wisdom Tree and The Hollywood Sign/Mount Lee being some of the most popular. They’re both great options depending on what you’re looking for: Wisdom Tree is a little bit more challenging, but the Hollywood Sign is a bit longer. The Hollywood Sign brings you up and close and personal with Los Angeles’ most notable landmark, and while you can’t get up too close to the giant letters, it brings you up behind them with the view of the city beyond them. Wisdom Tree takes you up to see beautiful views of the city, along with one lonely tree at the top. This is the one and only tree that survived the massive Hollywood Hills fire in 2007, and was originally planted by a man who dedicated trees to his mother. There is a also box where hikers leave things behind — ranging from business cards to handwritten letters, and everything in between.

/ B E S T  Y O G A /

1. Wanderlust Hollywood. Wanderlust Hollywood is a cult fav and is from the makers of the famous Wanderlust festivals. The vibe here is amazing, with a mix of wood, metal and exposed brick. There are two floors, complete with a café and patio, multiple studios and a meditation room.

2. Set & Flow. Set & Flow has more a modern, sleek vibe than Wanderlust. It has super high ceilings and mood lighting/lighting therapy, which is — in my opinion — the coolest aspect of the studio. There is also kombucha on tap and Runyon is in walking distance… You can’t go wrong.

3. One Down Dog. One Down Dog has two locations on the Eastside, and has a different feel than most other yoga studios. They offer super unique classes with great playlists. They have a down-to-earth, upbeat vibe, and offer plenty of workshops, too — everything ranging from tarot circles to sound baths.

/ S P E C I A L T Y  S T U D I O S /

1. modelFIT. Let me just start off by saying modelFIT is loved by Karlie Kloss and Taylor Swift. Enough said. This fitness studio focuses on small muscle groups, striving to give you a long and lean look. They offer a variety of classes, ranging from toning to dance cardio, barre, and kickboxing.

2. Cycle House. Cycle House reportedly has the toughest spin classes in LA. Picture dim lights, intense music, amazing instructors, and sweat everywhere — that’s what Cycle House is supposed to feel like. Jessica Alba is a fan, so I am too.

3. Box Union. Think of Box Union as the Cycle House of boxing. It has dimmed lights, loud hip-hop music, and drips of sweat everywhere. There are floor-to-ceiling windows that set the tone for a great ambiance. The only downside is that it’s over in Santa Monica, which is a hike for me personally.

 

Do you have any more suggestions of workouts I should try? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Empty Apartment Tour + Update

Happy Monday! I posted a new video on my YouTube channel today, and wanted to share it here as well. I talk a little bit about my move, what I’ve done during my first week in Los Angeles, and give a little tour of my empty apartment before I moved in. I hope you enjoy!

{you can subscribe for more videos here!}

I hope you enjoyed! Thank you so much for watching. Let me know if what videos you’d like to see from me in the future. x

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