Although I had so much fun on my recent trip to New York, it really validated that I undoubtedly belong on the West Coast. I was born in California, and although I moved away when I was little, I'm still a California girl at heart.
In fact, after I visited my kindred spirit Meghan this past March, I made the official decision to only apply to grad schools in southern California. (That is, after I teach English in Spain!) SoCal is the only place I can see myself living indefinitely - well, besides Paris, of course. But let's be realistic. As much as I love Seattle, homegirl needs at least 300 days of sunshine per year to maintain her sanity. I connect with the California attitude and lifestyle so much more than I ever could the East Coast (or the Midwest, or the South, or... anywhere else in the United States.)
I cannot wait to visit Meghan again and soak up the beautiful SoCal sunshine when I visit in July for my birthday!! I'm still (very obviously) reminiscing about my most recent trip. One of my favorite parts was when we ventured to beautiful Santa Monica for some time near the beach and shenanigans on the pier. Everything about Santa Monica is so quintessentially Californian, in which I zealously embraced. The golden sunshine, bustling pier, charming ferris wheel, iced coffee and hordes of perfectly bronzed natives in shorts and sandals made me feel like I was in a picture-perfect SoCal paradise. We even ended our day by watching the sunset at the Shangri La Hotel rooftop bar, rendering our adventure positively flawless.
One of my absolute favorite parts of LA is Larchmont Boulevard. Meghan calls Larchmont "like a hug for the soul". After spending a morning wandering through this charming neighborhood, I couldn't agree more. The glamorous Hollywood sign lies in clear view, while darling boutiques and coffee shops line the main street. We started our day at Babycakes, the most amazing gluten free and vegan bakery I have yet to experience. Words cannot express my euphoria as I took my first bite into my allergy-friendly maple donut. Following our bakery-induced bliss, we ventured to the farmer's market across the street where we admired all of the stunning flowers and colorful produce. Roaming about this quaint farmer's market in the sunshine while savoring the charm of the neighborhood sent me into a state of profound happiness.
I can't write a post about Los Angeles without mentioning The Standard. I mean, what's better than a chic rooftop bar in downtown LA with sunshine, delicious libations and awesome people to hang out with? Nothing. Between the bellinis, the amber rays of sunlight reflecting off the pool and onto the city skyline, cozy bubble-enclosed waterbed cabanas, outdoor fireplaces, skyscrapers towering over us, unicorn topiaries, and a fabulous crew to enjoy it with - the rooftop bar at The Standard Hotel is easily the coolest bar I've ever been to. If I lived in LA, I would come to The Standard every day just to swim in their magnificent pool and drink divine champagne cocktails. That is all.
Oh, and last but not least: Bottega Louie. Enough said.