Friday, May 29, 2009

...My Trip to LA!

Finally, I bring you a log of my trip to LA! I went there from May 14th-May 19th and stayed with my long time friend Eric.

There are LOADS of photos on my Flickr site. Click on the "All Sizes" icon on any of those to see a super-sized view! Here's the breakdown:

Thursday 5/14
Arrive at 10am Pacific time.
My flight left Chicago at 6am Central time, which means I got up at 3:30am central to catch the cab at 4am. I was tired!

Eat at Pei Wei.
I was starving, and tired. Apparently this place is a chain, but it was yummy! And tofu everywhere.

Walk around Pasadena & Old Town
Eric lives in Pasadena, so he showed me around. Beautiful mountains everywhere. Old Town is a little area with shopping and restaurants, a nice place to walk around.

Yea, by about 5pm Pacific, I was DEAD tired.

Mediterranean food!
Perfect to have after a good nap, and a nice way to round out my first introductory day.

Friday 5/15
Visit Gnomon School of Visual Effects
This is where Eric works! It was really nice inside. I got a photo editing instructional DVD, thanks to sir Eric. (Thanks a BUNCH to sir Eric for that, actually!) Afterward, he took me to their occasional coffee stop next door at....Gold's Gym. Wow. I never wanted to leave a place so quickly in my life. haha!

Hollywood, star walk, autographs in cement..
Since we were in Hollywood already, we made this the Tour Hollywood Day. And everyone is right...its not all that glamorous. Its sort of run down. Sad almost. I was expecting Vegas, but I got Branson, Missouri. I got to see a lot of rummage stores, adult themed stores, multiple places that said "XXX NUDE!", and lots of magenta colored hair, as I mentioned in my previous blog post.

Farmer's market
There was a nice farmer's market in Hollywood with lots of places to shop, not just for fruit! It was a beautiful, hot sunny day. I enjoyed this area a lot. I also tried my first blood orange. YUM.

In & Out
Yes, I ate here. I had to. You all know I love a french fry. I also heard that on their "secret menu" they had "grilled cheese" which was really a burger without the burger. This thing had tons of fatty cheese and I think thousand island dressing? Well it also had lettuce, which made it healthy, right?? Of course it was followed by a massive amount of french fries. But I had water, I skipped the soda. Figured I'd give my body a "little" break!

Griffith Observatory/Planetarium
At dusk we headed back out to the Hollywood hills to go see the Griffith observatory. Its very high up and has a 360 degree view of all of Hollywood. Its amazing, you could see everything. It had a cool space museum inside, and a reallllly nice planetarium presentation that made us feel about as small as ants.

Saturday 5/16
Brunch w/Brian and Frank of the That's What She Said podcast
I was excited to meet the cast of the TWSS podcast! Christian wasn't able to attend, but I met up with Brian and Frank in Hollywood for some yummy food. They are really nice guys, to say the least.

Santa Monica beach & boardwalk, 3rd Street Promenade, Pinkberry
After lunch, we drove out to Santa Monica. I got to see the Pacific Ocean, finally! There was a touristy boardwalk. There was also a nice shopping/walking area called the Third Street Promenade. That is where I enjoyed my very first Pinkberry!

So tired from all the stuff during the day, we laid low at night and had some vegetarian sushi at a little place in Pasadena.

Sunday 5/17
Burbank is a nice little city. Very very clean. We walked around, saw the Cartoon Network building and had lunch. And sangria!

We headed out to Malibu on the Pacific Coast Highway. It was so beautiful. I saw so many mansions in the hills and ocean, ocean, ocean! We stopped at a little area in Malibu where I've heard we might see some famous people..but no luck. But we did see some amazing views, once again.
On the way back to the Pasadena/LA area, driving along the PCH, I was looking out the window and saw dolphins jumping in the water!! I've never seen one before in the wild. This was reallllly exciting for me! I just wish I could have snapped a photo in time!
We parked the car and stopped for a little beach break. Too bad there wasn't any really good beach day, it was always overcast and a bit chilly down by the shore.

Rodeo Drive, paparazzi
We drove down Rodeo. And we didn't get out! We were sweaty and gross from being outside all day. I don't think they would have let us walk around like that, haha! We saw an Audi R8, which costs around $110,, no biggie, right?
As we were just about to turn onto Rodeo, I spotted a group of paparazzi crowded around *someone* at a restaurant. There were so many paparazzi, I couldn't see who the famous person was!

So exhausted from walking so much and being such tourists, we ordered a pizza and watched Ren & Stimpy on DVD. I went to bed early!

Monday 5/18
Little Tokyo, China Town
Walked around Little Tokyo and China town. I bought rice crackers, Eric bought an action figure robot thing, go figure. Again I ate Pinkberry. (It doesn't get old) It was a cute area in downtown LA, but not everything was open because it was a Monday.

Huntington Gardens in Pasadena
In Pasadena there's about 200 reserved acres of gardens and museums and a library. There was so much at Huntington, one could really spend all day here. Being the designers we are, we really wanted to see the oldest bible on record in the museum, from the 1400s. Its one of the fist printed books in existence today!
We also walked through the gardens. My favorite was the cactus area! It was a nice way to spend a sunny day and see some pretty vegetation that is native to California. (And some awesome olllddd books!)

Vegetarian Thai Food on Melrose
For dinner I really wanted to eat at the all-vegetarian/vegan Thai place on Melrose. It was SO good. I even took my leftovers on the plane with me the next day.
This place is in the same area where Lauren Conrad works at People's Revolution. (MTV's The Hills! hehe)...and yes, I made Eric drive around the block after dinner just so I could snap this photo! What can I say, I'm an obsessed fan!

Sunday 5/19
My last day here.
I had to leave for the airport at 1, so in the morning I helped Eric grocery shop. The poor boy goes out to eat practically every meal. He wanted to know "stuff to buy that I can like, make myself, maybe?"

We walked around Old Town a little bit before I left. It was bright and sunny as usual! Afterward we had lunch at Panera, then it was off to LAX.

I had a fun time. But unlike Northern California, I just can't see myself living there. Its very spread out. Unless you're in the really rich areas, LA is kind of...dare I say dirty? The outskirts like Burbank and Pasadena are nice though. I'd like to go back and see Orange County and San Diego.

Don't forget to check out all the photos, in their full-size glory at my Flickr site!