Los Angeles

My husband and I had our first weekend away without Leo at the end of May. We decided to go to LA: far enough to feel like a real getaway, but close enough to rush home in the middle of the night if necessary :)

*It's worth noting that Leo stayed with Grandma + Grandpa, and had such a fun time he didn't even know we were gone.

We have long had a love/hate relationship with LA. We love the Getty, but hate battling the traffic to get there. We love camping in Malibu, but can't stand the crowds. We love the food, but hate the image driven culture. Living in San Diego means driving through LA every time we head up the coast. We often leave home at ridiculous hours to avoid the 405 at rush hour.

But, like many cities, LA seems to be undergoing a renewal of sorts. There are artists coming out of the woodwork, small, local restaurants opening, and people generally longing for a slower pace of life.

We started off the weekend with a tour of the Gamble House in Pasadena. Ed's working on his masters in architecture, and the Gamble House is one of those must-see residences in SoCal. I'm not a huge craftsman fan, but I fell in love with the sleeping porches. I know sleeping porches were born out of paranoia, but man are they awesome. I told Ed that I want at least one sleeping porch when we build a house someday, and he agreed. Maybe the best part is they let us picnic on the back lawn when the tour was over!

Then we headed down to Silverlake to check out Claire Vivier's new shop, but unfortunately we got there 30 minutes after they'd closed. I was so disappointed my husband promised me one of these next time we're in LA :)

(image via Claire)

We stayed in Santa Monica at The Ambrose, which is perfectly located a mile or so from the beach (read: craziness). The hotel is LEED certified, and they have all sorts of cool green touches: Aveda bath products, a British cab that runs on biodiesel, and free bike rentals. Not to mention the best continental breakfast I've ever had from local Urth Cafe.

The next day we stopped by Space 15 Twenty, which Sunset magazine describes as "a former lighting studio refurbed into a mini-mall for the creative". The space is amazing and totally worth your while if you're in Hollywood. There's a lot of outdoor space (they host a mini flea market on Sundays) and great shops. We especially enjoyed Hennessey + Ingalls, an art and architecture bookstore.

We lunched at Umami, just because we had to find out all the fuss was about, and we can't say no to a good burger. I had the truffle burger, which was very good, but definitely didn't live up to the hype. I don't know...I guess I'm more of a Jayne's girl.

(image via Alice)

It was a weekend of renewal for us, and a fresh look at LA. We'll be back :)


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