Hey guys! So sorry I’ve been MIA lately. I’ve been hopping around California over the past week and then came back to NYC to the craziest work schedule (as always). But I’m so excited to share details about my trip! For those of you who don’t know, my boyfriend moved to Los Angeles last June and has been trying to get me to make the move out there with him ever since. I’ve booked a few trips out to the west coast this year- this blog post is all about trip number one!
Ps- at the bottom of this blog post you’ll see a list of the best LA spots to check out! I’ve pulled together different places I’ve personally been to, places that were recommended to me by friends and others from research I’ve done online. I hope this gives you some guidance for your next Cali planned trip!
DAY 1: Thursday
I hopped on an early flight so that I could have most of the day to enjoy the California sunshine! I personally prefer early flights because I hate spending a full day traveling. After Jack picked me up at the airport, we headed back to his new place in Beverly Hills. His apartment is so cute! He has an orange tree in his front yard, rose beds everywhere, and a cute little balcony that looks out over the property.
Outfit details ⇓
On our way home from the airport, we stopped in Venice to grab a quick bite to eat. The Great White is this trendy little cafe, a few steps from the beach. Their harvest bowls are SO GOOD! It’s the perfect place if you’d like to sit outside in the heart of Venice Beach 🙂
I took this photo from their Insta- 📷 : @GreatWhite
After our brunch, we headed back to Jack’s to change and get ready for a day in Malibu! We had plans to have a picnic at Malibu Wines but ended up stumbling across Calamigos Ranch on our way there. OH MY GOD. I LOVE Malibu for many reasons, but after finding this magical rustic ranch, I now REALLY love Malibu. Keep reading for details!!
We drove up winding roads into the Santa Monica Mountains and found ourselves on these back roads that seemed to be in the middle of no where. All of a sudden we see these chandeliers hanging from trees (I’m not kidding) and could hear country music playing in the distance. I told Jack to pull over because how often do you see chandeliers hanging from trees?! We followed the music and ended up at Malibu Cafe at Calamigos Ranch! You guys. I am being so serious when I say no place has ever given me happier vibes. I fell IN LOVE with every single thing about this ranch. It was all outdoor, had a country chic atmosphere with a romantic glam feel (the chandeliers..) surrounded by mountains (with palm trees) and the Pacific Ocean far out in the distance. Jack and I sat there, had wine and cheese and he listened to me plan my dream wedding 😂. I officially discovered the ultimate wedding venue without even intending to. I think it’s a sign…Click here to check out their wedding packages!
Outfit details ⇓
After my imaginary wedding high, we stopped at this cliffside to watch the sunset on our way home. These pictures seriously don’t do this view justice. It was incredible, and the perfect way to end our first day together.
Some other places to check out of you’re traveling to Malibu:
Malibu Wines– a cute winery that I’ve heard amazing things about!
Malibu Wine Safari – we had this planned but it rained the day we were gunna go! It’s on my list to do when I’m back in Cali next month
Dukes Malibu– the most AMAZING view- sit outside in the back- have some beachy cocktails and enjoy the view. Their tacos are great!
Zuma Beach– Jack surfs there, it’s never too crowded!
NOBU Malibu– amazing sushi with a view
Malibu Farm Cafe and Restaurant– on Malibu pier!
Paradise Cove Malibu– beach cafe and terrace
DAY 2: Friday
Since it rained most of the day on Friday, Jack and I had a lazy afternoon and made homemade chili 🙂 Once the rain cleared up, we drove down to Hermosa Beach to meet up with some friends. We had dinner and drinks at Tower 12 (their burgers are so good). Then we hopped around and ended up at Patrick Malloys to see some live music. The band was so fun!
DAY 3: Saturday
On Saturday Jack and I went into downtown Beverly Hills to be tourists 😝. Rodeo drive is fun to walk down.There’s a ton of (expensive) shopping, cool photo opps and lots of restaurants and cafes! The thing about Beverly Hills is that everyone has this impression (or maybe it’s just me hah) that it’s this super expensive, boujee area. This is so not the case. Sure, there are boujee pockets (like Rodeo drive) but there are so many other cute neighborhoods in Beverly Hills that are so cool! I think BH is the most beautiful city in LA and it’s probably where I’d start apartment hunting iiiiifff I found myself moving to the west coast.
After our site seeing morning, we had another lazy, movie marathon afternoon that continued on through the night. Jack and I obviously don’t see each other that often, so it was nice to have a night just hanging out in sweats, cuddling on the couch. To all my ladies that live with or see their bfs everyday- don’t take these little moments for granted!
Other places to check out in Beverly Hills:
The Ivy Beverly Hills– great restaurant- very colorful 🎨
The Beverly Hills hotel (view of sunset blvd) 🌅
DAY 4: Sunday
Sunday was probably my favorite day of my entire trip. We jam packed SO MUCH into these 24 hours. In the morning, we got up early and did a hike at Runyon Canon in Hollywood Hills. It was picture perfect. Everyone hiking had coffee in one hand and a dog leash in other. I would repeat this morning every weekend if I could. After our hike, we left for our road trip!
The first stop to our road trip was Newport Beach. Where do I even begin to explain how cool Orange County is. We stopped at the Newport Beach pier, strolled around the little farmers market- I bought some awesome jewelry from a local artist. Check out her Insta here! Then we stopped at Billy’s At The Beach for a pre happy hour drink and a shrimp cocktail (order the Mai Tai, I promise you won’t regret it). Then we drove through Laguna Beach- I wish we could have spent more time here! This is also another beautiful area of Orange County.
Next up- Dana Point! Again, another picture perfect area. Here you’ll find marinas, beautiful properties overlooking the ocean, and can experience whale/dolphin watching boat tours! Jack and I found this gorgeous neighborhood right near the ocean, we walked the beach and explored as much as we could before we were off to the next town on our list! We stopped at Coastal Kitchen for lunch and sat outside- 5 star review!
I took this photo from their Insta- 📷: Coastal Kitchen
Up next- La Jolla! This seaside town is incredible. Jack and I just made it there in time to watch the sunset. We sat on this little grassy hill and watched seals play with each other as the sun set, filling the sky with pastel colors. Like c’monnn! I wish I could stop time it was so pretty.
♥ Side note- I stumbled across Mimi & Red Boutique while in La Jolla and I must say… I wanted to buy everything in the store. I ended up leaving with two jumpsuits and a necklace- but will DEFINITELY be ordering more through their website. They have free shipping… you’re welcome 😉.
Later that evening we finally checked into our Tiki Hut in San Diego! Scroll down into Day 5 for the inside scoop 🙂
Other places to check out in La Jolla:
DAY 5: Monday
Our final day together in Cali we spent exploring San Diego! First I’ll start with details of the Tiki Shack we stayed in in Ocean Beach. We found this little gem through Airbnb- I’ve linked it directly here. There are three little huts to choose from. You can rent one bedroom in the one shack or both rooms here. There’s also the “OB Love Shack” which has a JACUZZI IN THE ROOM! All of these cottages are managed by Kate- the coolest Airbnb host ever! She has an awesome travel blog- you can find it here. And I’ve linked her Insta here. If you ever find yourself in Ocean Beach, San Diego- you HAVE GOT to rent out one of her Airbnbs. We can’t wait to book another stay here.
For breakfast, we went to The Point Eatery just a short drive away from our Tiki Hut. This is such a cute breakfast spot! Everything on the menu looked awesome. Jack and I went at like 7am so we had the entire outside patio to ourselves 🙂
Check out their Insta here!
This cinnamon bun was the best thing I’ve ever eaten..Ok maybe I’m dramatic..but the caramel sauce on top was seriously so good (I’m writing this as I’m on Whole30 Day 4 and let me tell you the struggle is real as I’m staring at this picture. It’s also after midnight so I’m exhausted. Stay with me, I’m almost done!)
Vanilla chilled shaken espresso- if only I could have this at my fingertips every morning 🤤
After breakfast we drove to a dog beach. Fun fact- I am obsessed with golden retrievers. When I say obsessed, I mean I am a borderline crazy dog girl who stalks golden retrievers and contemplates stealing every single one that I see. My life plan consists of getting a little girl puppy, name her Rainey and she’s going to be my bestie. I tell myself I’m not getting a puppy while I live in NYC (although I might crack at any time..) so I am anxiously waiting until I leave the city and can become a dog mama and make all my golden retriever dreams come true.
When we got to this beach and I saw all the dogs running around, I was in HEAVEN. I sh*t you not, as I was sitting on one of the rocks on the jetty, a GOLDEN RETREIVER ran directly up to me, kissed my knee, and then ran away. I think it’s a sign from the Dog Gods that I’m getting Rainey soon (Hint, Jack. Hint, maybe for Christmas🙈 HINT HINT HINT!)
After the dog beach, we hopped on some bicycles and rode around Ocean Beach! This was so great! It was such a nice day so we didn’t want to be in the car, but there were so many cute neighborhoods throughout OB, so riding bikes was the perfect idea.
Other recommendations in OB:
Wonderland Ocean Pub– we went here for a late dinner the first night we got in. The fish tacos and shrimp burgers are delish.
Ocean Beach Brewery– we didn’t make it here but we’ve heard good things!
Point Loma Lighthouse– if you want to see a local attraction!
Lazy Hummingbird– funky little cafe with coffee, teas local artwork and DOG FRIENDLY patio. Yes please.
Next up- Pacific Beach! I’ve heard so many things about this town so I was really excited to finally check it out for myself. Jack and I walked the boardwalk and then spent the majority of the day soaking up the sun, laying on the beach.
I’ve linked my exact bathing suit below ⇓
For lunch we went to PB Shore Club– they have the best Mexican street corn. We sat outside in the back and overlooked the ocean while we ate lunch. Not too shabby if you ask me.
After lunch we both had a sweet tooth craving. I highly recommend The Baked Bear– they are known for their ice-cream sandwiches. The perfect sweet treat to end our beach day.
Other recommendations in San Diego:
Communal Coffee– check out their site or insta to see for yourself. This place gives me allll the feels and I haven’t even been yet!
Living Wall at Pigment– who wouldn’t want to take a pic in front of a living plant wall? So cool.
Greetings from San Diego sign– you’re allowed to be touristy for a second and snap a quick photo here, it’s worth it!
Last and FINALLY not least- The 311 concert! Jack is a HUGE 311 fan. This was our 3rd 311 concert together. Im personally not the biggest fan on Downtown San Diego (I like other areas much more), but I will admit that House of Blues was really cool.
Overall thoughts about my trip→ I love California, Los Angeles specifically. I love the sunshine, warm weather, the “no stress” mindset and I love how LA has easy access to other amazing mini trips (like San Diego). I don’t think I could live in SD- it’s a little too chill for my on-the-run-city-girl mentality, so I personally prefer LA (at least for now!) But San Diego was incredible, as were the other areas we explored. My favorite part of the trip was Calamigos Ranch, just because it was more of a secret surprise we stumbled across and I loved our Tiki Hut in SD. I’m heading back to Cali at the end of next month and hope to explore some new spots! Send me an email with any questions about where to go or stay if you’re planning a trip. I hope you enjoyed my post!
The best spots to check out in LA:
Stumptown Coffee Roasters– I obviously like coffee if you couldn’t tell
Yellow Vase Malaga Cove– cute brunch spot (right outside of LA in Palos Verdes)
Republique– the most adorable little cafe
Eggslut– I LOVE breakfast sandwiches so this is at the top of my list when I go back to LA. It’s inside Grand Central Market
Joan’s on third– trendy food marketplace
The Nice Guy– restaurant with a cute wall- reservations only
The Perch– pretty rooftop
Petit Ermitage– rooftop garden and pool
Runyan Canon Hike– this is where Jack and I hiked (you can see the Hollywood sign in the far distance)
Museum of ice cream– the happiest place. I’m going next month!
The Wall at Carrera Cafe– cute insta opp!
Hollywood Farmers market- every Sunday
Santa Monica pier– an iconic spot if you’re in Santa Monica
Bright Pink Wall @ Paul Smith– for all my pink lovers!
LACMA– cool museum + photo opp in front of the lights outside
Hollywood Sign Hike– if you’re in LA, you have to do this hike. It’s a must!