#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. 






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! 







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. 


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?? 






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! 







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. 


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




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. 


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! 




Five Finds | Cute Slide Sandals Perfect for Summer!

Simplicity and comfort--two essential elements that I look for when buying new additions for my closet. When it comes to summer footwear, nothing fits that bar better than slide sandals. Don't get me wrong, I love a cool, strappy gladiator sandal; but there's just nothing more wearable than an easy slide-on choice. When buying sandals this summer, prioritize purchasing a slide and see your investment have a MAJOR return on number of wears! 

Shop five of my favorite slides for summer below, just click the image! Bonus--all under $100! 

1. Matisse Moody Sandal 

Grab these while they are still available in tons of sizes at an AMAZING sale price! I'm a sucker for neutrals and animal prints. Love the black mixed in to ensure these guys will go with everything from denim to a little black dress. You guys might be seeing these pop up in a styled blog shoot soon... *adds to cart.* 

2. Melissa Cosmic Slide Sandal 

While I have never heard of the brand Melissa before, I am glad I ran across these slides while browsing Nordstrom Rack! I love the juxtaposition of the sport tread and black rubber composition with the traditionally preppy tortoise shell. Since these are rubberized, it makes them perfect to head from a day at the beach or pool right into your night time look. 

3. Bueno Shore Thing Slide Sandal

I picked these slides by Bueno up in the camel color the other day at Free People, so I can personally attest to how fantastic these sandals are. I was looking for a standard natural leather slide and these fit the bill to a T. The color is spot on, the leather is super soft and the sole is comfy. Nailed it! 

4. Soludos Embroidered Tassel Leather Slides

To break up the black and neutral tan theme I was getting into with the previous picks, this slide by Soludos is a great way to add some color to your footwear, yet remain versatile. I can see this pair teamed with nearly any summer look--beachwear, white jeans and a black tank, or a romper. At 50% off, you can't find anything wrong with these beauties! 

5. Dolce Vita Pacey Studded Slide Sandal

Jumping right back into black color options, I had to include this amazing pair of slides by Dolce Vita. If something is studded, chances are I am going to be quite into it. Black studded sandals are one of my top joys in life. Dolce Vita is one of my favorite brands of shoes, so these are bound to be high quality. The studs will instantly elevate any outfit! 

Style Edit | Holiday Party Outfits

2017 has flown by so fast! I have admittedly been listening to Christmas music since the beginning of October, so I'm excited that the season where that behavior is acceptable is upon us. It's always nice to get a head start on holiday shopping, and that doesn't just include buying gifts! Now is a great time to start planning outfits for your holiday parties--work events, glam nights out, family dinners--to avoid a panic at the last minute with nothing to wear. Below, a style edit of picks in a range of pieces curated for every occasion! CLICK THE IMAGES TO SHOP EACH STYLE! 

Classic Red..and Green!

Go the classic route and rock the colors of the season! While a red dress is the ubiquitous holiday party outfit of choice, choose a green dress and stand out. I love the metallic green material popping up in House of Harlow's latest collection.

Luxe Fur 

Inject a bit of Old Hollywood glamour to your holiday party ensemble with a cozy fur accessory. Whether its a coat, stole or scarf, adding fur is a great way to spice up a little black dress or even a jeans + boots outfit! From neutral tones to bold colors, fur pieces are available in so many colors and styles right now. For more budget-conscious shoppers, stick to faux fur! 

Metallic Shine 

Give me all the shiny!! Metallics are one of my great joys of the holiday season. Everyone embraces the glimmer and glitz, so this is the perfect time to go bold with metallics. These looks would be great for not only holiday parties, but also New Year's Eve! 

Velvet Everything 

Velvet is a trend I expected to burn out fairly fast, but this trend has some staying power! Personally, I love it--especially for winter! The luxurious, warm feel of this fabric is great for cold months. The texture of velvet (and fur, as shown above) allows you to get away with wearing traditionally "spring/summer colors" in the winter--pastels, white, etc. Crushed velvet is having a MAJOR moment right now. However, my advice is to go easy on the crushed velvet pieces in your wardrobe as I think this variety of velvet is definitely more trendy. However, a holiday look would be a perfect time to try out the crushed velvet trend while it's hot! If you prefer to stick to a classic-style velvet in deep jewel tones or black, this will be a piece to pull out again in seasons to come. 

Keep It Cozy

Not all parties are glittery, cocktail bashes--don't forget your family dinners and lazy lounge sessions by the Christmas tree! When comfort (or hiding your food baby) is key, throw on an oversize sweater and leggings. Sweater dresses are always a great way to create a polished, yet comfortable outfit. Ponchos are my new thing; they are perhaps the only socially acceptable way to go out in public more or less wrapped in a cozy blanket. Yes please, all the ponchos!

Statement Shoes

One of my favorite outfit hacks is simple--just add killer shoes. With any of these looks, your outfit will be instantly elevated. Go with an all black look and add a pop of color or sparkle. Go full out glam and pair statement shoes with one of the metallic or velvet looks shown above! For an irreverent approach to a casual holiday night out with friends, wear an oversize sweater, ripped black skinny jeans...and one of these glitzy pairs!