Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Adventures in Los Angeles - DesignLively

More Adventures in Los Angeles (and Santa Barbara too!)

I posted earlier this week about our other Los Angeles adventures here!

Most of our time in California was spent relaxing with friends and enjoying delicious food. We did, however, manage to throw in a few site-seeing trips that definitely qualify as “touristy”.

The following may be crowded and overrated, but I enjoyed them! (And they were all free!)

Adventures in Los Angeles - DesignLively

Beverly Hills Hotel

Does anyone else remember the (classic 80s movie) Troop Beverly Hills? This movie is the stuff sleepover dreams are made of.

Beverly Hills girl scouts (*ahem* Wilderness Girls), Shelley Long (I miss her! Where did she go?), camping under the Hollywood sign, and a pre-teen brunette Tori Spelling!

The camping trip was, of course, aborted for a slumber party at the famous Beverly Hills Hotel, which we stopped at for a quick photo-op. We went to a few other Beverly Hills iconic locations, including Rodeo Drive and The Grove.

Adventures in Los Angeles - DesignLively

Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the Hollywood Walk of Fame

When we were landing at LAX my husband asked me if there was anything I wanted to do in Los Angeles. The only thing I really wanted to do see Grauman’s Chinese Theater – where all the celebrities put their handprints in cement! I think it stems back to watching My Girl 2 as a kid.

The area is definitely touristy. And a little sketchy. It’s full of tour groups and people dressed up as movie characters who want your money. But, it was a unique opportunity and I’m glad I’ve checked it off my bucket list.

It was fun seeing how all the different celebrities made their mark. Many steered away from the traditional hand and footprints – the Harry Potter cast did their wands, John Wayne left a wist, and Roy Rogers (seen below) was one of my favorites with his pistol and Trigger’s horseshoes!

Adventures in Los Angeles - DesignLively

We also walked around the Hollywood Walk of Game for a few blocks and I spied a few stars:

Adventures in Los Angeles - DesignLively

Adventures in Los Angeles - DesignLively

The Hollywood Sign

Is there anything more quintessentially L.A. than the Hollywood sign? We drove around Hollywood Hills and looked at all the houses packed together and hanging off of hills. We drove to Canyon Lake Drive, and saw a great view of the Hollywood sign! There’s a place to park, and you can also see a great overview of the city.

I can’t tell you where (I was obviously riding along with excellent tour guides!), but close to the Hollywood sign area we found another great scenic overlook.

Adventures in Los Angeles - DesignLively

We didn’t have any celebrity sightings on our trip, but we did get to see a crew filming a scene of (what we are guessing was) a reality show. We waited at this overlook for a while because there was a camera crew. Eventually two people came out and filmed a conversation in front of the overlook.

Adventures in Los Angeles - DesignLively

Santa Barbara

Obviously not part of greater L.A., but I thought I’d tag Santa Barbara on to the end of this post. Unfortunately, our afternoon in Santa Barbara was a gray, spittle-y day, so we didn’t get to see it in its full glory.

Adventures in Los Angeles - DesignLivelyWe roamed around Stearns Wharf. The one thing I love about being oceanside is that it’s practically always looks the same. Doesn’t this look like a picture straight out of Boston? It felt just like home.Adventures in Los Angeles - DesignLively Adventures in Los Angeles - DesignLivelyAnd then you see the palm trees and you realize you are far-far-away!

Adventures in Los Angeles - DesignLively

You can see from the photo above it was a gray and foggy day.

We spent the rest of our time in Santa Barbara walking around town, popping into shops, grabbing food (Pickle and Swiss – try the dill pickle popcorn!) and warming up with coffee at The French Press with our dear friends who shared their beautiful home with us!

Adventures in Los Angeles - DesignLively

We also walked by this amazing restaurant called The Lucky Penny. You guessed it, the entire building is covered in pennies! How cool is that?

I posted earlier this week about our other Los Angeles adventures here!

I’m enjoying writing about our time in warm California. It snowed a bit more today – these memories of flip-flops will carry me through until the snow thaws! One more month!

Adventures in Los Angeles

Adventures in Los Angeles

If I was in L.A.. California dreamin’ On such a winter’s day.
– The Mamas and the Papas

I have been to California several times, but only once for pleasure – and that was over ten years ago! With a number of good friends and family living in the greater L.A. area, it was only a matter of time before I made it out there again. This time, I happily left behind my snowy state of Massachusetts for a brief reminder of what the sun on my skin feels like.

We planned this trip fairly last-minute, so unlike my usual self – I didn’t plan a thing! Instead I soaked up quiet and relaxing moments, many cups of coffee, good times with good friends, and far too much good food. I already shared about the LACMA, and today I’ll share some of our meandering and restaurants, and I’ll come back later with the touristy ones.

Although I didn’t have a thing planned – we ended up seeing a LOT! I was in the hands of some very good tour guides. I thought I’d share my favorites:

Adventures in Los Angeles - DesignLively


The beaches of Malibu are great for beach-walking. Though much narrower beaches than what I am used to here in New England, they are long and quiet. The houses practically come down to the high-tide line (!) so if you’re a house-gazer, like myself, you’ll have to spend the first half admiring the ocean, and the second half looking the other direction and admiring the homes.

Adventures in Los Angeles - DesignLively

Santa Monica

We spent three nights in Santa Monica. I spent one morning walking to famous Santa Monica promenade and (formerly known as Muscle Beach) shorelines. The pier was crowded even early in the morning, but still a fun place to see. It’s like a scaled down version of Navy Pier in Chicago.

Adventures in Los Angeles - DesignLively

Adventures in Los Angeles - DesignLively

I spent two happy afternoons scouring the Montana Ave area of Santa Monica. The street is full of great shops (both boutiques and chains) and, although I came home empty-handed, a fun way to spend an afternoon. With freshly pedicured feet (a rare treat for this gal), we lazy-ed around enjoying cookies and cappuccinos at well-known bakery Sweet Lady Jane.

Adventures in Los Angeles - DesignLively


It’s no secret how much I love our own CSA and farmer’s market back home, so hitting up the Venice Saturday Farmer’s Market was a blast – and so different from my own back home! Oranges, fruits, flowers, pressed juices. Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore! (All my farm has at the moment are root vegetables and the like.)

Adventures in Los Angeles - DesignLively

Also in Venice, and totally worth checking out, are the Venice Canals, which you may recognize from the highly disappointing movie “Valentine’s Day”. It’s a quaint, historic neighborhood built on man-made canals, complete with arched bridges and all!

Adventures in Los Angeles - DesignLivelyimage source: Scopa Italian Roots

Delicious food was certainly not in shortage on this trip, and one of my favorite restaurants we went to was Scopa in Venice. Rocking a hipster vibe, meals are best shared family style. You may as well try one of everything – but my favorites were the roasted cauliflower and the deep-fried peanut butter banana fluffernutter sandwich.

Adventures in Los Angeles - DesignLively

Yes, it’s a real thing, and it was devilishly good. I’ve officially filled my fried-fluff quota for the next ten years. Forgive the rotten picture – it was dark and a quick Instagram captured this gloriously gluttonous moment.

South Pasadena

We spent a morning power-walking with my Aunt in South Pasadena (I’ve got to work-off that deep-fried sandwich – don’t I?) and, if you are a house-lover like myself, this is a great way to hit the pavement! Sadly, I can’t even begin to recall the route we went on, but the area was a very fun and full of beautiful homes to admire and comment on. (Is this a strange or normal way to pass the time?)

Adventures in Los Angeles - DesignLively

We saw several of the Greene and Greene houses, such as the Gamble House. Greene and Greene was an architectural firm (two brothers) that worked mostly in California. They are well-known for helping start the Craftsman and American Arts and Crafts Movement.

Adventures in Los Angeles - DesignLively

We also went by the Father of the Bride house – which may be the very best house of ALL TIME.

The night before we dined at Gus’s Barbeque – a South Pasadena landmark. If you’re in the area this is definitely worth a stop. The Smoked Tri-Tip Caprese sandwich was so delicious my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

We also did a few very touristy L.A. things that I’ll talk about later this week! : )

The Father of the Bride house has always been one of my favorite movie houses! I always cry at the basketball scene in the driveway. What’s your favorite “movie house”?

LACMA Gets Dressed Up: Diane Von Furstenberg Exhibit


Fashionista I am not, but even I am familiar with Diane Von Furstenberg’s iconic wrap dress.

My dear friend I was visiting had been to the Journey of a Dress exhibit at the LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) and thought I would enjoy it – she was right! The exhibit celebrates the 40th anniversary of Von Furstenberg’s brand.

The exhibit is made up of three halls – one central hallway features large-scale photographs that tell the story of the dress and its inclusion in pop culture throughout its lifetime. (Everyone from a 1970s Sharon Stone to modern-day First Lady Michelle Obama.


The second is an art gallery where Diane Von Furstenberg served as a muse to many famous artists. Many of you will recognize the famous series done by Andy Warhol. Fewer of you will recognize the haunting series of portraits done by Chuck Close (one of my personal favorite artists).


The third is the Wrap Room – a large room where many dresses are displayed, organized by theme. The dress truly transcends time, as many of the original patterns I could easily see women wear today. Only the size and shape of lapels and cuffs gave any indication of decade.


The concept of the wrap dress is simple, yet revolutionary. Truly a sign of the times when it came to the changing culture of women in the workforce. The dress, which wraps around the torso and ties at the waist, featured no tricky zippers, easily transitions from day to night, and work to play. A piece of fabric that is symbolic of the modern woman.

“For the women of the land had gone to work. Heigh-ho! It was the 70’s, and en masse, they left their sculleries and their hearths for careers in finance, law and other fields that had been the province of men… They went straight from the office out to dinner, they went around the world, washing the dress at night in their hotel room’s bathroom sink.”  – Holly Brubach, Fashion Historian


The entire hall itself is attractive and exciting – from the hot pink walls of the entry way, to the funky floors mimicking the patterns from the textiles.


The Journey of a Dress exhibit will be at the LACMA until April 1, 2014 and should you be in the L.A. area I’d certainly recommend checking it out!

Entrance to this particular exhibit is free. Parking at the LACMA is $10. For parents, if you register your child with the LACMA, your child and you (one parent) can get into any exhibit for free.