Category Archives: Life in Los Angeles

Life in Los Angeles: Pop-Up Magazine

February 5, 2019

The week before last, I won tickets through an Instagram giveaway to a show called Pop-Up Magazine. I had never heard of it before, but I am always up for trying something new, especially cultural events. The event was last Wednesday, and I loved it.

The show is described as a magazine performed live. I didn’t quite know what this meant, but it’s basically live stories told through documentary films, animations, and poetry. The coolest thing about this is that none of it is recorded; the only way to hear the stories is to be there.

Some of the stories that really stuck with me were about the survivors of an Ebola epidemic around 20 years ago, about a taco restaurant that gave patrons free tacos for life if they got the shop’s logo as a tattoo, and about a woman who goes to work every day – but it’s really a home for adults with memory issues and she’s a patient there.

I had no clue what to expect but I enjoyed it. I went with my friend Molly and it was my first time at the Ace Hotel, the LA venue. It was beautiful. The performers stay after the event to hang out with the audience, but I went home since I’d woken up at 4:45 that morning and I was very tired. I highly recommend keeping an eye out on their website to see when they’ll be coming to your city.

Life in Los Angeles: Pasadena Half Marathon

January 23, 2019

Last year, my friend Mallory and I ran a half marathon that finished on the finish line of the Rose Bowl. It was Mallory’s first half and my fifth, and we had a great time doing the race together.

This year, I worked that race. My new job is at the company that produces the Los Angeles Marathon and the Pasadena Half, as well as a few other smaller races. It was certainly a different experience being on the other side of the race, seeing how it works behind the scenes.

It was a good, worthwhile, exhausting weekend. I worked at the expo on Friday and Saturday and then arrived at the race at 4 am on Sunday to prep for the event. I didn’t leave there until around 1:30 pm. My role at the expo was to answer questions people might have about any of our races and to register people for the ones that are upcoming, notably the marathon in March. On race morning, I worked at paid bib pick up and then continued to register people after the race.

I spoke to hundreds of people over the course of the weekend. I got to share my experience of running the marathon last year, take photos of runners at our artsy backdrop, and meet some cool volunteers. The mom of one of the volunteers asked me to fill out a form verifying her son’s service hours, and I swear I almost said, “Shouldn’t a real adult do this?” But it turns out that at 25, I am the real adult.

The morning of the race was a bit stressful; there’s bound to be some hard to deal with people in every bunch (trying to be diplomatic here) but I do feel like my coworkers and I handled any issues that arose really well. I have a renewed confidence for my ability to focus on the task at hand and avoid any distractions from working the long line at bib pick up!

I think my main takeaway is that I never considered all the work that goes into setting up a race and then breaking it down after the fact. We were on the field taking down the finish line setup and the signage long after the runners had left. By the time I got home and laid down on my couch on Sunday afternoon, I felt like I’d run a half marathon myself!

If you’re local to LA or ever in the area in January, I recommend running the Pasadena Half Marathon. The course is beautiful and the finish through the tunnel and onto the Rose Bowl is a really cool experience. And I’m not just saying that because I work there!

Life in Los Angeles: Notorious RBG

January 16, 2019

I went to an exhibit called NOTORIOUS RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Skirball Cultural Center this weekend. It was lovely.

Here’s the museum’s description:

With so much at stake on the Supreme Court, come explore the American judicial system through one of its sharpest legal minds. Coinciding with the twenty-fifth anniversary of her appointment to the high court, Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the first-ever retrospective about the famed associate justice and American cultural icon. 

The night before, I went to see On the Basis of Sex, the movie about RBG’s life that stars Felicity Jones, and I cried for half the movie because I felt so inspired. The exhibit was no different.

We weren’t allowed to take photos, but it was so lovely. Each section of Ruth’s life is in its own little interactive section: a living room set up for her early life, a car for her early marriage, her desk set up for her life on the Supreme Court. You can put on a judge’s robe and sit behind the Supreme Court bench to pose for a photo. I heard a woman when we were leaving say that the exhibit was so much better than she expected. I knew it was going to be good, but I agreed: it was much more interactive than I’d expected.

It would be easy to make this exhibit information-heavy, but it didn’t feel that way. Instead it felt like I was walking through Ruth’s life and learning about her impact on those around her and then later, the country as a whole. Ruth had never intended to become a judge; she instead saw herself as an advocate for others, especially the marginalized. She co-founded the ACLU’s Women’s Rights project and sought to strike down sex discrimination laws one by one. She also had a truly equal partnership with her husband, a rarity at the time. She is amazing.

The combination of the film and the exhibit had a profound effect on me. I’d already known that Ruth was a hero, but to hear about the specifics of her life really cemented that for me.

The exhibit is open at the Skirball Cultural Center through March 10, 2019. Adult tickets for the museum are $12, and the exhibit is included in the ticket price.

Life in Los Angeles: First Man Screening

October 12, 2018

My roommate Bri works at NBC Universal, and one of the perks of her job is that she sometimes gets invited to movie screenings. There’s a movie theater at Universal CityWalk. On Wednesday night, they closed it to the public and invited employees to see First Man, which is about the moon landing and stars Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong.

At first I thought it was just going to be one room of the movie theater but I quickly figured out that they had closed down the whole cinema. We were handed popcorn and a drink as we went in. The theater has really nice reclining seats (the kind I’d never pay for myself!) and they were really comfortable. The whole experience felt pretty special.

As for the movie itself, I loved it! I left the theater thinking about how much I love space and wanting to research all the historical events. I don’t think every movie ever has to teach us something, but I do enjoy leaving a movie and wanting to learn more. The film isn’t just about the moon landing, but rather the years leading up to Armstrong becoming the first man on the moon, so it deals with his training, the death of his young daughter, his family, and how he copes with everything going on. Claire Foy plays his wife and she’s excellent in the role. If you’re interested in space, I would absolutely go see it!

Adventure Day 01

October 10, 2018

A few months ago, I was lamenting the fact that I felt like my life was full of obligations to others and I wasn’t doing things I wanted to do. So many of the things that have happened this year have been because someone else forced my hand: looking for a new place to live, looking for a new job, finding a new therapist, the list goes on. That’s when I decided I wanted to pick one day each month where I would make absolutely no plans for the day, and do whatever I wanted in the moment. 

I picked September 22, a Saturday, for the first Adventure Day.

I started the morning by waking up late and not feeling bad for it. (Not feeling bad about my choice is key for the Adventure Day.) I had two cups of coffee, made eggs for breakfast, and watched half of The 1975 at The O2 while I worked on Project Life for the first time in months. 

I went to a 15 Years of Grey’s Anatomy pop-up exhibit that was put on by ABC and POPSUGAR. It was cute! There were lots of pieces of fan art, a few props from the show, and a bunch of places to take photos. I loved the sign that said ‘You’re my person’ a lot. I think this is something that would’ve been better with a friend – alone, it was just wandering the room and looking at the exhibit because I didn’t feel like taking photos alone. I haven’t watched Grey’s in a few years, but it was cool to get to see some of the props.

After that I went to get lunch at a vaguely fancy grocery store, and then I went to the library for a while to read. At this point I was starting to feel like I should’ve planned this whole day better. I didn’t make any kind of plan and since I had a concert to go to that evening, I was a bit limited on where I could travel. I toyed with the idea of setting a spending limit of $25 for adventure days, with the intent of trying to do free things. Between lunch and dinner, I ended up spending most of that on food.

I went for a drive around Beverly Hills to look at the fancy houses that I can dream of one day affording, and then I sat in a park and read Dreaming in Irish and wrote in my journal. It’s a park that I went to for a November Project workout once last year, and I’ve wanted to hang out there since. After that I made a quick stop at the Beverly Hills sign, since I’ve been wanting to grab a photo of it for a long time.

Soon after that it was time to leave to head to the Greek Theatre for the Johnnyswim + NEEDTOBREATHE show. Ticketmaster did a $20 all-fees-included promo earlier this year, and I will take any excuse to go to the Greek that I can. It was a good show! I like some of their songs a lot, and others not at all. They didn’t play some of the ones I love, which was a bummer, but I still had a great time.

I’m loosely planning the next Adventure Day for this weekend, and I’m not entirely sure what I’ll do yet – stay tuned!

Life in Los Angeles: Malibu Wines

October 9, 2018

Tucked away in the mountains of Malibu is a little oasis called Malibu Wines. I went with some friends from November Project this weekend, and it was incredible. It’s a bit of a drive from LA, but definitely worth the trip.

The aesthetic is really lovely. There’s a lot of tables with umbrellas, a grassy area for picnicking, and a stage that held live musicians. It’s basically a beer garden, but for wine.

I expected it to be more wine tasting than wine drinking. I’m sure you could go there and making more of a wine tasting afternoon if you wanted! But for us, it meant sitting around a table eating snacks and drinking various bottles of wine we bought one at a time, trading stories and laughing hysterically and listening to the various live musicians (some better than others) and taking full advantage of my friend Joel’s portrait mode.

It was perfect.

The great thing about Malibu Wines is that you can bring in whatever snacks you want. You’re not allowed to bring alcohol (and there is a security check) but you can easily bring a box of crackers or a whole picnic. There was an Italian food truck on the premises. I didn’t buy the $10 Italian wine ice because I thought it was wildly expensive, but it sounded really good. They seemed to have a big wine selection. I do know their cheapest bottle is $28 because that’s the one we bought.

We did have a bit of trouble with parking when we first got there. Basically, Malibu Wines is split into two sections: the Malibu Wines area, which is where we had our picnic, and the Wine Safaris, which is a tour that yes, involves animals. You park in the same parking lot for both, and then take a short shuttle ride (literally three minutes or less) to the picnic area. It wasn’t a big deal, but it would’ve saved us about 15 minutes of driving around looking for the entrance had we known. 

Malibu Wines is located at 31740 Mulholland Highway, Malibu, CA 90265. It’s open 11 AM – 7 PM Monday through Thursday, 11 AM – 9 PM on Fridays, and 10 AM – 9 PM on Saturdays and Sundays.

As a bonus, when we were driving back to LA, we spotted the Bachelor Mansion on the side of the road. I never expected it to be so close to the freeway! 

Life in Los Angeles: Salt & Straw

October 4, 2018

The 18 month anniversary of my move to LA seems as good an opportunity as any to write an ode to my favorite ice cream shop: Salt & Straw.

There’s three things I love most about Salt & Straw: their branding, their changing flavors each month, and their instagram-ability (let’s be real).

I don’t know the first time I went, but I do know that my now-roommate and I used to stop there on our way to concerts at the Troubadour, which I love (and haven’t been to in far too long).

Salt & Straw has a set list of consistent flavors, but they also have 5-7 new flavors each month, usually on a theme. The last time I went there it was “Late Harvest”. In April it was misnamed flavors invented by kids to trick people for April Fools’ Day. In August there were a bunch of flavors with vegetables, and I had a delicious scoop of chocolate zucchini.

I really like that you can try as many flavors as you want – and even if I don’t like the flavor, they’re still always interesting and new.

There’s also the time that I saw Victoria Beckham and her kids (on my roommate Bri’s birthday, no less) and she asked me if we were “in the queue”. We were, but I said no, because it was Victoria Beckham. We basically all stood there in silence while she ordered and then coped with the shock afterward.

It might seem silly to wax poetic about an ice cream place, but I really do love it there so much. I get the same thing pretty much every time (chocolate gooey brownie) and it feels like a small luxury each time I do.

My favorite location is in West Hollywood (where I saw Victoria, obviously) but find a complete list of Los Angeles Salt & Straw locations here. Find all my LA food recommendations here.