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Living Like A Los Angeleno

Fun factoid: The iconic Hollywood sign was once an advertisement for "Hollywoodland," a real estate development

As a whirlwind living, globe-trotting fashionistah, my passport gets its fair share of stamp abuse from Customs Officers. 

Dramatic re-enactment:  Officer “Do you have anything to declare?” Me “I had fun.” Not True Story. Don’t try this at the airport. 

The sunshine state has its fair share of shoreline beauty but the glam factor is much like a Hollywood backdrop: airbrushed, re-touched and made for television.  For those who have high expectations of LA because of an unhealthy diet of non-reality programming, you my friend, may be a smidge disappointed.  When it comes to truly enjoying a trip, my friends often seek my advice and I theirs.  Here’s the real deal on California dreaming…

  • Baby Do You Like My Ride?  Conquer your fear of the freeway and perhaps rent a behemoth SUV (Cadillac Escalade anyone?).  Los Angeles wasn’t made for passengers, pedestrians or taxicabs.  You will see most of the city by renting a vehicle and driving through the many boroughs.  It will be just like that time Di got on the Freeway in Clueless.  The most important thing to remember is that Downtown LA is sketch but neighbourhoods get progressively tony as you move westward – Hollywood, West Hollywood, to Beverly Hills and the coastal towns of Santa Monica and Malibu.

"But this is an Alaia??!!" If you drive, stay alive...and don't wreck your dress. Make sure you don't stop in shady neighbourhoods at night.

  • Rush, Rush – That’s the sound of my heart bursting out of my chest as I hiked up the Hollywood Hills…or the name of a Paula Abdul song and video starring Keanu Reeves.  Park your car at the foothills of Griffith Park and walk your way to the top.  You might catch a glimpse of an off-duty starlet working on her fitness but you will certainly be rewarded with panoramic vistas of the Los Angeles skyline.  You can also take a break by visiting Grifith Park Observatory, unleashing your inner astronomy nerd.  Who doesn’t love a good Planetarium??

Griffith Park Observatory also has a water fountain in case you're parched from your hike.

  • Shop ‘Til You Drop – Any true fashionistah knows you never pay retail.  “Bahh!”  Adjacent to the Beverly Center is Nordstrom Rack (perhaps one of the best I have EVER been to).  My friend J’s hair got progressively wild as she desceded into her shopping shame spiral.  The greatest scores are for designer jeans and contemporary LA-based labels.  For those stalking the Zoe (as in Rachel Zoe) or you’ve got cash-money to burn, you can try the designer vintage emporium Decades on Melrose.

West Coast Style: Channel Lauren Conrad or Whitney Port. California girls like a mix of boho and casual dressy.

  • Eat Then Exercise – While it sounds as though, you may want to go easy on the carbs, the culinary delights in LA abound.  Try the Farmer’s Market at 3rd & Fairfax, a maze of local and gourmet food stands adjacent to the outdoor shopping complex The Grove.  To cool down in the heat, stop for a self-serve fro-yo and top it off with delicious toppings (cheesecake bits, fresh fruit, candies galore) at Yogurtland.  Nosh on brunch and rub shoulders with LA hipsters and undercover A-listers in West Hollywood at Taste, Toast or Joan’s.

Meet me at 3rd & Fairfaix: Get your savoury & sweet on at The French Crepe Company.

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