One of the places Gala and I meet up most often is LA. Between the great weather, beaches, a number of mutual friends and awesome vintage shopping, it just can’t be beat. This was our fourth LA trip together and we were ready for a change — during each previous trip, we stayed in Hollywood but this time, we wanted to be able to walk to more places and to be closer to the beach. Because of this, we decided to switch things up and stay at The Viceroy in Santa Monica — in part to see Kelly Wearstler’s amazing interior design skills up close (I’ll share more about our hotel next week).
I flew in from Portland on a few hours of sleep, swathed in head-to-toe black and Gala met me in a similar look, topped off with a pentagram shirt. Our looks weren’t cheerful enough for our new surroundings so we headed off to our hotel to brighten up.
After a quick change, we hit the beach. The Viceroy is great because it’s only about a five minute walk to the Santa Monica Pier which has an amusement park, arcade, food stands, photo booths and long stretches of beach. It’s an ideal area to stay if you don’t have a car but still want to see a lot of sights.
Our stay in LA never really gets started until we’ve stopped in Coffee Bean.
Gala definitely went all out in the color department. I told her she was very LA from the knees up and very New York from the knees down.
I dug up this completely insane psychedelic toucan dress at Shareen Vintage (our favorite vintage store in the city) and joined in the rainbow-fest. And, I couldn’t stop snapping photos of this logo for a shop called Books and Cookies. I sort of wanted to move in.
We passed this interesting looking camera shop along the beach. Has anyone been in?
I love all the details of a city that appear frozen in time.
The Santa Monica Pier is a great place to just chill out. I wore a vintage handmade skirt and ASOS boots.
I fell in love with the vintage sign at this coffee shop — this was a minute walk from The Viceroy. I look like I just got off work!
One of my absolute favorite parts of our stay in Santa Monica was renting bikes. I used to ride bikes every day as a kid and really miss it…Gala rented a pink cruiser (of course) while I went for purple. We got up early, did yoga (my first time with an instructor!) and then hit the beach.
The ride along the beach from Santa Monica to Venice is only about 10 minutes — I was amazed at how much the scenery changed the second we crossed over to Venice Beach; it reminds me so much of St. Mark’s Place, just with palm trees. I think an hour rental for both of our bikes was about $15.00 and it was by far the highlight of our trip.
Our vacation routine quickly fell into place — we woke by 6:30 a.m. (I am a crazy morning person!), got ready and made the 10 minute walk through Santa Monica to Urth Caffe. So many of our friends had told us how great this place was and they were right. There are tons of fresh, organic options and it really helped us to start our day off right. I was obsessed with their honey vanilla lattes. Portland is known for its coffee but damn, this was close.
Gala and I have some rad friends in LA — our long-time friend Mary Bee spent the weekend driving us to all her favorite spots. One of the best was Joan’s on 3rd, a gourmet market and cafe that reminded me of Dean & Deluca. Great for treats and gifts!
What I love about traveling with other people is that you end up in places you might have skipped over — Gala wanted to visit Lucky Scent and they have the best selection of perfumes I have ever seen. This bottle was my favorite of the bunch.
A great moment of our trip was when Gala’s friend John Halcyon Styn stopped by for a visit. This guy is so inspiring and entertaining.
Halcyon took us to a place I’ve been wanting to visit for ages — Intelligentsia. I wanted to check out their branding in person but realized that they didn’t even have a sign! The cups are great, though.
The allure of palm trees never gets old to me. Also, I fell in love with this vintage polkadot dress, a gift from Mary Bee (she always unearths the best treasures). Our hotel carpet was off the hook; Kelly Wearstler has great taste.
We skipped the Hot Dog Stick…
But eventually ended up at In-N-Out. Gala is obsessed! I never see what the big deal is because in Portland, we have Burgerville. I know what I’m having for lunch today!
This trip was the first time I made it down Abbot Kinney (I know, I know!!) which is full of cute boutiques. There were a few antique shops stuffed to the rafters. I loved this vintage tin.
Shark silliness with Gala!
Pool time back at The Viceroy.
I fell in love with this Liquor sign. That script!!!
One last stop at the beach and it was time to go…back to the rain and back to the reality. This stay in LA was so different from all our others but that’s what I really enjoyed — staying in a new hotel in a new area (for us) really forced us out of our old routines and I know that from now on, I want to stay near the beach. I’m still waking up every morning, wishing I was riding a bike through Santa Monica. Until next time…
P.S. Lookin’ for some more California love? Check out Gala’s recap right here!