Ruby in La La Land

After growing up in San Luis Obispo, I decided to follow my heart to Los Angeles. I had lots of expectations of what my life would be like–-full of great shopping, amazing food, and perfect weather. Obviously, the reality of living in LA is not as glamorous as I imagined it. For my first three months, it didn’t drop below a hundred degrees while I settled into my non-air conditioned building. Traffic discouraged me from leaving my neighborhood in East LA to explore any other part of the city. And being close to so much shopping and nice restaurants drained my bank account quickly. But then I realized that I could look at my time in Los Angeles as a series of adventures--that I could look at everything with a glass half-full attitude if I wanted to. So now, I appreciate that traffic allows for time to sing along to the radio in the car until I know all the words. I spend Sunday mornings at flea markets so that I can carry a (gently worn) designer handbag that only cost me $20 and a couple of hours of sleep. I’ve sat in Bed Bath & Beyond for hours with my best friend to get a free massage from the back massager chairs they have available to test. My life has become an amazing balance between enjoying all the fabulous stuff LA has to offer and enjoying the experience of being a starving college kid.

Here are a few of my very favorite things to do in Los Angeles. Some of these are a little off the beaten path and others are pretty famous, but all are worth it! 
**Note: the city is best experienced with a positive attitude, a full tank of gas, and your favorite pair of sunglasses.**

Enjoy a milkshake from Café Gratitude
Café Gratitude is probably the most popular vegan restaurant in Los Angeles and it deserves the hype. While their menu is on the pricier side, every item is phenomenal and has a fun name! My favorite is “Cool” – a mint chocolate milkshake made with cashew coconut ice cream and raw cacao nibs.

Drive to Griffith Observatory
Head up the hill just before sunset to ensure prime Instagram-worthy photographs. The Observatory is free and super cool, and just taking in the view of the LA skyline is worth the trip.

Have breakfast at Auntie Em’s Kitchen
Close to my college, Auntie Em’s has become one of my favorite Eagle Rock eateries. I always choose the biscuit sandwich with a cup of iced mint tea. If you don’t have time for a meal, their cupcakes are to die for!!

Search for a flea market treasure at Melrose Trading Post (and maybe spot a celebrity!)
Melrose is one of the smaller swap meets in LA and is probably my favorite. It’s not as overwhelming as the Rose Bowl and I can guarantee you’ll find something fun to bring home. It’s a perfect Sunday adventure that doesn’t cost much and usually includes a celebrity sighting. 

See a show at the Hollywood Palladium
While living in LA, I’ve tried to see a show at every venue. While I honestly couldn’t pick a favorite, the Palladium is such a rad space. I saw CHVRCHES there with a friend a few months ago and it was one of the most fun shows I’ve been to since moving here.

Grab a gourmet donut from Donut Friend 
I am a huge donut fan, so discovering Donut Friend has been one of my favorite memories from last Fall. You can choose from a long list of already loved combos or you can design your own donut from a bar of every imaginable topping. You can’t go wrong with a Donut Friend donut, but I highly recommend the strawberry jam/goat cheese/basil creation called “Jets to Basil.”