#TravelTuesday | LA, Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Catalina Island, Hollywood Hills

Kansas is in a heat wave, my air conditioner is on the fritz and I could definitely use a vacation ASAP! In honor of summer vacation season definitely being upon us, I am here with a #TravelTuesday post featuring one of my favorite places to travel to, a place I have visited a lot--Los Angeles/Orange County! I have family who have lived in California for a long time, so from a young age I've made frequent trips to the west coast. Below, a round-up of my experiences on my most recent LA trip + a few tips for travel to SoCal. 

DAY 1 // Travel + Hollywood Hills 

For me, sightseeing begins well before the plane lands--especially when I am traveling west! The painted tones of the desert are amazing from great heights. Upon landing, we went to our Air Bnb in Hollywood Hills. Johnny and I love using Air Bnb because we love checking out all the super unique properties. In many cases, you can stay somewhere super luxe with Air Bnb for a similar price to a hotel. Our house this time was really nice with modern architecture and amazing views (including the Hollywood sign)! After settling in, we hopped in an Uber and saw Johnny's favorite, The Trailer Park Boys, live at the Orpheum Theater! To complete the night, we explored downtown a little bit and found some cool spots, like a beer and fries restaurant whose bathroom mirror left no room for vanity (see last picture!). 

However, I did manage to snap a mirror pic at the Orpheum Theater, to add to my collection of "crappy mirror pics Elise takes while tipsy." I wore this outfit for travel + out in DTLA. These high waist jeans are truly AMAZING. 

DAY 1 OUTFIT DETAILS // 

JEANS // ONE TEASPOON, HIGH WAIST FREEBIRD SKINNY JEANS

CROP TOP // FOREVER 21

MINI BACKPACK // LOUIS VUITTON

DAY 2 // VENICE BEACH + SANTA MONICA 

SoCal was in a massive heatwave during the time we were there. Temps were in the mid-upper 90s during the day, which is super warm for LA in April. Thus I made the risky move to wear shorts out to the coast for a day of bar hopping, scooter riding and catching up with our old friends (from Washington Co, Kansas, too!). 

Shorts in SoCal can be a risky move because the weather is really not blazing hot all the time, and temperature varies quickly (especially by the coast). Many travelers do not realize this about California and thus arrive grossly unprepared for the true temps. I've been there a few times! My biggest piece of advice is to plan on wearing jeans or a maxi dress most of the time, or plan to haul around a jacket all day. Ideally, you would be able to change outfits between night and day but this is not always an option. When traveling to CA, always, always pack LAYERS! 

OUTFIT // DAY 2 

HAT // FREE PEOPLE (SOLD OUT, SIMILAR) 

WHITE TEE // FOREVER 21 (FURTHER CUSTOM CROPPED BY ME) 

SHORTS // AMERICAN EAGLE (LAST SEASON, SIMILAR) 

BOOTIES // CHLOÈ

DAY 3 // ROOFTOP R&R

Sorry guys, no pictures from this day--I had my hands full of rosè! Something Johnny and I always like to do on vacation are rest days. This took a little while for me to get used to, because I have this Midwestern budget-minded sense of "getting your money's worth" of every day of travel. However, sometimes a mid-trip refresher is one of the best memories of the trip because you get to spend a lot of quality time just lounging and talking (and napping). Our Air Bnb had a rooftop lounge complete with fire pit that was perfect for a chill day. 

DAY 4 // CLAREMONT, CA 

Claremont is a little hidden gem of a town just east of LA. My aunt and uncle have lived in the area for quite sometime, so it's always fun to visit some Claremont favorites whenever I come to visit. My favorite restaurant (so far!) is The Back Abbey. With a huge selection of delicious Belgian beer and cute outdoor seating, what's not to love?? 

DAY 4 // OUTFIT DETAILS 

SUNGLASSES // RAY BAN 

CROP TOP // FREE PEOPLE

JEANS // ONE TEASPOON

DAY 5 // LAGUNA BEACH 

It's become a tradition to travel across the city to Laguna Beach whenever I visit my California Hardenburgers. Laguna is one of my favorite places in the US; the beach is pristine, the town is full of great little shops, and the restaurants are amazing. There are two must-go spots whenever I'm in Laguna: Las Brisas seafood restaurant and rooftop bar La Casa del Camino for the BEST mojitos of your life! 

DAY 4 // OUTFIT DETAILS 

HAT // FREE PEOPLE (SIMILAR) 

SUNGLASSES // RAY BAN

JEANS // LEVIS

SHOES // MARC FISHER

DAY 6 // CATALINA ISLAND

Did I mention that everyone in my family is mega tall?? I definitely felt short amongst them! This trip was my first time going out to Catalina Island, and it won't be my last visit to this beautiful place. Catalina is about an hours' ferry ride from LA and you will definitely feel a sense of escape from the concrete jungle that is SoCal. Catalina is really all the quintessential Los Angeles vibes packed into one island--rolling golden hills, ocean, quaint architecture, and even a glamorous dose of old Hollywood with the landmark Casino Theater. Pro tips: shell out the extra cash for VIP tickets on the ferry as you'll get premier boarding access for the ride back (amazing after a long day), and DO THE GOLF CART RENTAL! Renting a golf cart to drive around the island may sound way touristy, but the views are absolutely incredible. 

DAY 6 // OUTFIT DETAILS 

JUMPSUIT // FREE PEOPLE (Wish I would have gotten a better pic of it--such a unique vintage cut!) 

SHOES // CHLOE 

GENERAL TIPS // LA TRAVEL 

  • KNOW THYSELF 

LA is a big, spread out city; plan your Air Bnb home base accordingly. If you generally gravitate towards city life (museums, shopping districts, clubs/nightlife), stay in Hollywood Hills or Downtown LA. If big-city vibes aren't your idea of a getaway, make sure to stay somewhere on the coast to make sure you don't have to endure long Uber rides through traffic. If you don't try to stay centrally located to the majority of things you want to see, you WILL spend tons of your precious vacay time in traffic. 

  • LAYER UP

No matter what time of year, those temps are going to be shifting in SoCal. Especially if you're by the coast. Bring a cute backpack; you can stuff a jacket and jeans in it during the day to switch into after the beach as the sun goes down. You are going to want a wide brim hat. Hat packing hack: fill the crown of the hat with rolled t-shirts/smaller soft items and place it in your suitcase, then nestle other items around the crown to help hold its shape!