So, a crazy thing... tomorrow, we'll have been in L.A. for exactly three years.
J recently finished up his job here, and - coinciding with the school spring break - we switched our resident hats for tourist ones. We either checked out parts of L.A. we've been meaning to for so long, or revisited other parts that we just happen to be mad about. We squeezed in as much as we could in a short space of time, before he left for a speedy trip to Australia (visa-related)... and now my tourist hat has been replaced (temporarily) with a "single parent" hat. Wish me luck.
(Details below photos)
1. A favourite place of ours is the Huntington Botanical Gardens, especially in spring.
2. For some reason, we tend to end up at our favourite ice cream shop late on Sunday afternoons, when most of the other shops on that street are closed - including this lolly shop that the girls are yet to set foot in. They dream of being let loose in there.
3. Downtown, making our way home after an advance family & friends screening of The Croods, courtesy of DreamWorks - and officially the last time we'll be going to one of these (PS. It's good - go see it).
4. Last chance date night for quite some time (not that we do this often). I had one too many cocktails at an amazing mixology bar that's stumbling distance from home. It has an average of 4.5 stars on Yelp, which I'm told is unheard of. Probably a good thing we didn't know about this bar sooner...
5. & 6. The girls and I first visited Universal Studios nearly two years ago, when my brother (and sister-in-law) were in town, but J had to work that day and missed out. Being in hostess mode, wrangling both kids, and unaware of their child-switch passes for the rides, I managed the grand total of one ride. This time round, J came along and - happily - I got to experience my money's worth.
7. Venice Beach. Ever since my teen obsession with Jim Morrison, I've been keen to check out this area. Can't believe it took so long to get around to it - probably because, in all honesty, L.A's beaches underwhelm me. The coast south of L.A? Beautiful. North of L.A? Stunning. But L.A. beaches themselves? Meh.
(I'd heard how wacky the Venice Boardwalk was, but it was nothing I hadn't seen before. The shops - toting marijuana paraphernalia and touristy T-shirts with photoshopped images of Marilyn Monroe and Bob Marley - were no different from markets in any other Western city, but it was fun to watch the Faery's eyes pop from some of the people-watching she did.)
8. Although I never followed Baywatch, as far as pop cultural references go, my mind will forever associate these lifeguard stations with the Hoff (seriously - if in need of a giggle, click the link).
9. Filming on Venice Beach. As for which movie or TV show, I have no idea. Apparently each year in March, all the networks go ahead and begin production on new TV pilots, and there are currently about 75 pilots being filmed in LA. No business like show business...
10. I'm a sucker for North American style fire escapes, and don't see many around in my neighbourhood. This one was in Venice.
11. I've wandered around canals in London, Amsterdam and (the original) Venice. All have their own distinct look, and these ones in Venice were no exception. If I go back to Venice, it would be purely to explore this little network of residential canals - so lovely and not what I expected.
12. As well as admiring retro 50s and 60s style buildings, I also have a thing for art deco. This was my favourite house in the Venice Canals, and I love how the canal lent the home more of a Miami vibe than L.A.