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Okay, I finally admit it — I love LA now!

After leaving the UK, Ian and I diverged for two and a half weeks so I could fly back to New York to catch up on some work and then jet down to Florida to see my aunts in Tampa and head to Orlando for the Universal Blog Squad Retreat. And then I was straight off to our reunion for our next multi-week adventure — to Hawaii. Yes — it was a big year!

But of course, we couldn’t fly over the Golden State without an extended stopover in LA to see my dad — and spend Ian’s birthday in his favorite US city.

OUE Skyspace LA

My dad picked us up on a Friday afternoon — Ian and I had coordinated our flights to arrive at the same time, one of my favorite travel thrills — and we went straight to fulfill Ian’s first request: trying In-N-Out Burger. I’m going to be honest — I’ve tried In-N-Out several times and I just don’t get it. I’m sorry, SoCal friends!

I know them’s fightin’ words to many, but I guess that means more milkshakes for you?

Palm Trees in Los Angeles

In-N-Out Los Angeles

In-N-Out Los Angeles

In-N-Out Los Angeles

We popped to my dad’s just long enough for us to drop our bags, change, and for me to berate my dad for not hiring a house cleaner. (And I swear this will become relevant, ha ha.) After all, at an age many have retired to play golf and lounge by a pool, he’s still working crazy hours running a major healthcare company, sitting on many volunteer boards, and running around trying to see his four daughters whenever possible. If there was ever a man who didn’t have time to scrub his own shower, this is he.

So anyway, we’re driving down the street in my dad’s convertible and I’m laying all this out like the bulldozer my family loves to accuse me of being. And we’re stopped at an intersection, about to go straight through, when my dad interrupts me to yell, “that woman is getting robbed!”

Indeed, she was. I looked up and saw a teeny woman at the bus stop, fighting desperately with a man who eventually shoved her into a poll, wrenched her oversized purse from her and took off sprinting to the right. I was already whipping out my cell phone and calling 911 when the light turned green and my dad veered hard to the right, chasing the guy! Ian was in the backseat and he unbuckled and crouched on the edge, and as soon as as we get a bit ahead of the thief my dad pulled over and Ian leapt out of the back of the convertible and took off running, tackling the guy to the ground and wrestling the purse back from him. He ran.

OUE Skyspace LA

Oh, and that 911 call? I got a message that all operators were busy. Cool yo we got this!

Other drivers who saw this go down pulled over to cheer for Ian. One woman in particular cracked me up, stopping to roll down her window and yell, “Y’all are my heroes! You just made me believe in this city again!” We returned the now tattered purse to its rightful owner, who was understandably distraught. My dad, worried the man might return, insisted that she let us drive her home twenty minutes in the opposite direction we were going (that’s so my dad — he would never hesitate to delay himself an hour to help someone in need.) Our new friend Gloria didn’t speak English, so we chatted away in Spanish and I learn she’s a housekeeper who moved to Los Angeles from Guatemala a few years ago to send money back home to her family. She takes English classes one day a week and works the other six — suddenly I understood why she fought so hard for her bag, which had her wallet, her phone, her keys, the keys of her housekeeping clients, her notebook of all her client information, and even bus fare to get home.

Here’s the crazy part: we exchanged number so I could check on her the next day, and a week later I asked if she just might possibly be looking for any new clients. A year later, she’s still cleaning my dad’s house once a week, and we get to practice our Spanish and English on each other whenever I’m in town!

Isn’t that the craziest dang thing you’ve ever heard?

View from OUE Skyspace LA

OUE Skyspace LA

View from OUE Skyspace LA

So, suffice it to say we were all pretty bewildered by the time we made it to our intended destination, OUE Skyspace, California’s tallest open-air observation deck. My dad had been super excited to take us here, and we could see why! Rising nearly 1,000 feet above the city, the two observation decks offered the best panoramic views over Los Angeles I’ve seen with these two eyes.

OUE Skyspace LA

OUE Skyspace LA

View from OUE Skyspace LA

Mural at OUE Skyspace LA

OUE Skyspace LA

View from OUE Skyspace LA

What a place to watch the sun set! Once it did, we got in line for what has been the Skypace’s most viral feature — the Skyslide. Now, I was totally unprepared to capture this and did not get a single Youtube-able video or Instagram-able shot, but I did capture Ian’s pure, blurry joy at sliding through a clear 45-foot glass chute bolted to the side of a building. While you’ll definitely capture better images in the daylight, sliding over the city lights at night was pretty magical.

It was kind of like the low-tech version of the Chicago 360 Tilt I loved so much earlier in the year. And just like in Chicago, they also do yoga classes here too — I’ll definitely be back for one someday!

View from OUE Skyspace LA

Slide at OUE Skyspace LA

Slide at OUE Skyspace LA

Slide at OUE Skyspace LA

Speaking of yoga, that’s exactly where Ian and I were headed the next morning. The Line Hotel does a free rooftop class every Saturday morning, and I love that this hip Koreatown hotspot is easy walking distance from my dad’s place. What a way to start the morning! Not into yoga? They also host a weekend Koreatown Running Club.

It’s the place to be!

Palm Trees in Los Angeles

Yoga at The Line, Los Angeles

Brunch at Home Restaurant, Los Feliz, Los Angeles

Next up on this birthday bonanza tour? Brunch at Home, a dog-friendly hipster hideaway in Los Feliz. Tucker strongly approved of this choice. After, we wandered around the neighborhood for a bit, ducking in and out of crystal and record shops and overpriced clothing boutiques. I had warned Ian he’d like Los Feliz as much as he did Silverlake, and by the time we dragged ourselves home, he agreed.

Brunch at Home Restaurant, Los Feliz, Los Angeles

Sign in Los Feliz, Los Angeles

I was thrilled about the evening’s activity: the weekend’s edition of Streetfood Cinema. I’ve gushed before that the movie-going scene in LA is one of my favorite things about the city — and this is just one example.

Street Food Cinema is LA’s largest outdoor movie series with ever-changing locations, so you kind of have to hit the jackpot on a destination within reasonable driving distance and showing a movie you want to see. This particular early October evening, they were showing Scream (score!), in Poinsettia Rec Park in Hollywood (score!) and it was a dog-friendly showing (score!). We paid $19 for reserve seating because if there’s ever a time to pointlessly indulge, it’s someone’s birthday, but general admission is $14.

We loaded up the car with three beach chairs, a trunk-load of blankets, and some emergency snacks that we totally did not need thanks to the array of food trucks that awaited us.

Hollywood Gate, Los Angeles

Hollywood Gate, Los Angeles

Street Food Cinema Los Angeles

Street Food Cinema Los Angeles

It was such a fun night. Watching an iconic movie with a city of film-buffs is always a good time — I smiled when the crowd quoted along with the most famous scenes, and we all roared together when one of the interrogation scenes involved a cop grilling a high school student on the suspicious grounds that he had a cellular phone in his possession! (It was made in 1996.)

Most importantly, Tucker had a great time, even if he was reluctant to pose for photos proving it. If I was an Angeleno, I think I’d be a Street Food Cinema regular.

Street Food Cinema Los Angeles

Street Food Cinema Los Angeles

Street Food Cinema Los Angeles

And then, we were off to bed! While I’m guessing this was one of Ian’s lower-key birthdays, that early morning flight to Oahu was a pretty strong motivation to hit the hay.

This was my shortest trip ever to Los Angeles and while we fit loads into two quick nights, I was gutted to say goodbye to my dad already. Luckily, I was stopping for a longer visit on the way back. But lesson learned — I’ll try to make it a three night minimum in the future.

Hollywood Gate, Los Angeles

Palm Trees in Los Angeles

And with that, we were off to the Aloha State! Stay tuned!

Confused on where we are? I’m catching up on the black hole of content from August of 2016 to April of 2017 — when I jumped forward to blog the summer of 2017 as it was happening. Right now, we’re in October of 2016 on the way to Hawaii, and I can’t wait to turn my detailed notes and journals into blog posts from Jamaica, Thailand and Bali next! My apologies for any confusion with the timeline, and thanks for sticking with me.

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47 Comments...
  • Danielle
    February 6 2018

    I love your LA posts because you always post photos of Tucker! He is so cute and fluffy and I just love him, haha. I lived in CA for a few years and while I certainly like In-N-Out, I don’t get the hype either. And I’m definitely not waiting in that line unless I have to. You’re not alone!
    Danielle recently posted..Day Trip to the Texas Hill Country

    • Alex
      February 6 2018

      He is definitely the star of any and all California content 😉 We are planning some major dog-friendly adventures together for 2018!

  • Amanda
    February 6 2018

    Such a different take on LA – but I love it! And that story at the beginning…. whaaaat!! And now she’s your dad’s housekeeper; that’s so amazing!
    Amanda recently posted..Exploring Egypt Safely with Intrepid Travel

    • Alex
      February 6 2018

      I know! Literally makes my heart happy every time I think about it. The universe works in mysterious ways! And yes — love getting to explore LA a little bit like a local 🙂

  • S
    February 6 2018

    Love your hibiscus necklace. Do you recall where you got it? A previous trip to Hawaii perhaps?

    • S
      February 6 2018

      The one in the last picture in the post, not the first picture. Thanks.

      • Alex
        February 6 2018

        Actually, it’s from H&M a few years ago! I got a TON of wear out of it — and funny that I have so many big chunky flower necklaces that this comment needs clarification, lol.

  • Vanessa
    February 6 2018

    What a bloody brilliant story! TBH that could have been a blog post in and of itself! So many feels – congrats to you all for having heroic presence of mind and courageous and generous hearts!

    • Alex
      February 6 2018

      I guess you are right, it totally could have been! Maybe I’ll make a screenplay out of it someday — now THAT would be LA!

  • Erin
    February 6 2018

    omg. That story about the housekeeper is almost tear-inducing. Also that movie night looks so cool, I LOVE Scream! One of my favourite scary movies.

    • Alex
      February 6 2018

      It’s literally the ONLY scary movie I can stomach, and I think that’s because it’s mostly really campy! Still cracks me right up, even when I’m watching with my eyes between my fingers!

  • Joella
    February 7 2018

    Woah! That story at the beginning deserves a post of its own haha! That really is amazing. Poor woman but I’m so glad you guys were able to get her bag and it all worked out in the end.
    Joella recently posted..San Francisco with a Toddler

    • Alex
      February 10 2018

      Haha oh gosh, maybe you guys are right, I should have! Ha! I do think it’s one of the coolest stories I’ve ever told on this blog…

  • Julia Nix
    February 7 2018

    Tucker!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Sorry, cannot help myself) 🙂

    • Alex
      February 10 2018

      Haha, favorite comment 😉

  • Aww! This is such a great story. What a hero your dad is, and really nice of him to help the lady!

    p.s. I’ve only been to America once, but we liked LA so much, that we spent 3 days at the beginning of our trip, and 2 days on the way back!
    Victoria @TheBritishBerliner recently posted..Hamburg: An Introduction to a Port City!

    • Alex
      February 10 2018

      It definitely took me a longer time than most to warm up to the place… but now I love it!

  • Rika | Cubicle Throwdown
    February 7 2018

    I’m biased with all posts that include Tucker, but this was a great read!! I’ve never spent much time in LA at all (just layovers really) but this has definitely corrected the image I had in my head of it. (And so glad you were able to squeeze in some Dad & Tucker time!)
    Rika | Cubicle Throwdown recently posted..Diving in Roatan: Tobri Divers

    • Alex
      February 10 2018

      I didn’t really have a vision of LA prior to starting to spend time there (apart from traffic, which was… very accurate) but it’s definitely turned out to be a cooler city than I ever imagined. I think you really need to look past the touristy stuff, which makes me feel lucky to be daughter of an enthusiastic new local!

  • Nadine
    February 7 2018

    The story about Gloria was so beautiful and heartwarming, thank you so much for sharing it here!
    Nadine recently posted..Planning a Walk on Hadrian’s Wall Path

    • Alex
      February 10 2018

      You’re so welcome Nadine! Still makes me smile!

  • Dominique
    February 7 2018

    What a great story! I totally did not expect the happy ending that you guys would still be in touch with the lady you guys helped out!

    Ha, thanks for reminding me I need to watch Scream again! I used to know it by heart, and now I feel I haven’t seen it for years! It’s time for a marathon 🙂
    Dominique recently posted..Kuching – A Two Day Itinerary

    • Alex
      February 10 2018

      LA definitely goes CRAZY for the scary movie showings around Halloween! It’s so fun!

  • Susan
    February 7 2018

    I love real-life superhero stories with happy endings like this one! Thank you for sharing that. Your dad and Ian make a great crime-fighting team!

    • Alex
      February 10 2018

      And good thing, considering the 911 situation! That actually really scared me to be honest… what is my dad had been having a heart attack?! I literally didn’t know you could get a busy signal from 911 before that.

  • Ijana Loss
    February 7 2018

    1) holy crap that story! How amazing and perfect is that?? Go Ian for going all action hero!

    2) I live in Las Vegas and have no excuse for not having explored Los Angeles yet lol. I’m typically a mountains person but I gotta admit there’s something about SoCal

    • Alex
      February 10 2018

      Well speaking of mountains, have you been to Big Bear? I think it’s on my list for 2018 California explorations!

  • Riley
    February 8 2018

    I love this story! It’s so wild that she still cleans your dad’s house. Can’t wait to read about your lengthier visit to L.A. 🙂
    Riley recently posted..5 Reasons Why You Need to Visit Blue Spring State Park

    • Alex
      February 10 2018

      Lots coming up, stay tuned 🙂

  • Taylor
    February 8 2018

    I can’t believe that story about Gloria is real and not the plot of your Street Food Cinema movie!! So heart warming!
    Loks like it was a great trip, so much fun packed into a few day! Looking forward to your Hawaii post, I adored Hawaii!

    • Alex
      February 10 2018

      Oh my gosh, I’ve been just melting working on them. They make me want to book a ticket back RIGHT NOW!

  • Thuc Do
    February 10 2018

    OMG that story about Gloria is THE BEST THING EVER. So much karma points to you guys too- love!

    • Alex
      February 11 2018

      I mean all of it — the timing, the circumstances, the after-story… it’s insane how much it feels like fate! We’re just so glad we were at the right place at the right time.

  • Lili
    February 10 2018

    I’m headed to LA in April for a quick weekend! Do you have suggestions on where I should look for a hotel/AirBNB? I’m going to be doing mostly museums (California Science Center, The Getty, Tar Pits etc) but I’m at a loss of where would be a good place to stay.

  • Yvonne
    February 11 2018

    You’re making me miss California! I love living in Paris, but some sunshine and Mexican food would really hit the spot right now. (I’m with you on In-N-Out, though–it’s just a burger joint.)

    • Alex
      February 11 2018

      Ha, glad to hear I’m not totally alone in the In-N-Out situation 😉

  • becky hutner
    February 12 2018

    THIS IS THE BEST STORY YOU HAVE EVER SHARED ON YOUR BLOG. My heart is swelling with joy…

    …for 2 reasons! You love LA now? At long last! And it’s Ian’s favorite American city? Triple hurray!

    I’m so homesick, my tummy twists anytime I read or see anything about my beloved city. No exaggeration. Glad you see the bright side of old LaLa now 🙂

    • Alex
      February 23 2018

      Awwww. Sadly this is my last LA post for a while! But it’s a new year, and I hope I’ll have some new California adventures in 2018…

  • Karen
    February 12 2018

    That was just astonishing!!
    I have never heard any of this. So gripping too. Heros all around! Love my fam!

    • Alex
      February 23 2018

      Really!? I can’t believe we never told you! You’ll have to meet Gloria someday when you come visit 🙂

  • Wow that story of your dad and the lady you guys helped.. Unreal! I really enjoyed this post.
    Kirstin (LetsGoSomewhereElse) recently posted..A BLOGGERS GUIDE TO DISNEY

    • Alex
      February 23 2018

      Isn’t it like a Hollywood movie! It’s still wild to me, and I was there!

  • Marni
    June 28 2018

    WOW the story about the robbery gave me chills! Kudos to all of you for actually doing something about it. It’s one of those stories that really just renews your faith in humanity and makes you believe again in the power of good people. Thanks for sharing!
    Marni recently posted..MosaïCanada: A Different Way to Tell Stories

    • Alex
      July 4 2018

      Still to this day I think it was one of my craziest travel tales ever! Can’t believe it happened!

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