My first impression of Topanga Canyon was that all the kids from there that went to my highschool were always barefoot. When Drew and I decided to do a stay-cation type adventure for his 26th birthday, I discovered that 7 years later, this is still an accurate impression. That being said, Topanga is awesome. I would 100% live there and never leave if that was a realistic option for me.
One thing I really do love about living in LA, is the insane range of terrain. You can drive a little bit and be in a city, beach, desert, forest, canyon, and like ten different types of each of those. Topanga is less than an hour from my house, but feels worlds away. In New York, this is also possible, like the Catskills, but thats 4 or so hours away, in a car you don’t have. Basically- if you’re into nature, as smoggy and traffic filled as LA is, it is a pretty decent place to access it.
We found a little house on a commune that produces essential oils on Air B&B. We read on the hammock, walked our dog Nora around the premises, and explored. We shopped in the Topanga town center. Had lunch at Abulitas, a little Mexican restaurant on the creek in an old house, and went to a nice birthday dinner at Inn of the Seventh Ray, one of the more beautiful places I’ve ever eaten. At night, we realized we weren’t sleepy and went to Calabasas and saw a horrible scary movie.
I got into the details about my Japan trip, especially Tokyo, here. But I wanted to show some more photos of Kyoto, where I took a day trip on the Bullet train to visit temples, rock gardens, walk along the Philosophers Path during the Sakura, or cherry blossom blooming.
We took a cab from the Kyoto train station towards the part of the city that is more historic and less urban. There’s also a bus but since we were on a day trip, we wanted to save time. We started at the Ginkaku-ji temple, where we wore slippers and drank green tea. We got to pour water over bamboo shoots to create this super calming noise. Then I was starving but food was actually not abundant, which was nice, because no one wants gross restaurants or shops in the middle of this beautiful serene atmosphere, but this tiny little cafe had Japanese curry! My favorite comfort food I had been on the prowl for. This adorable Grandma made us plates for basically $4 USD that looked exactly like the curry emoji.
The philosophers path was filled with about half cherry blossoms, and plenty of stray cats. Of course, since everything in Japan is cute. I was so happy to have made it (basically) in time to catch the annual cherry blossoming. Definitely prioritize this, it’s beautiful!
I know I’ve said this before, my Paris and Tokyo have always been my dream cities to travel to. I honestly don’t even remember where the fascination began, before age 5 definitely, and it’s stuck. I had a trip in the works senior year of highschool to Japan, but things fell through and since then, I’ve been dying to go.
After visiting Hong Kong, Drew and I hopped on a flight to Tokyo for five days of eating, shopping, and exploring (read: getting lost and not that mad about it.) I think I can safely say Tokyo is my favorite place I’ve ever traveled to, and I cannot wait to go back.
Below are some tips and tricks I picked up if you’re planning to go, or just like planning fake vacations in your imagination like I do.
Sam moved to Hong Kong for a FIT program was ultimately motivated me to take this Asia trip. Drew and I flew to Hong Kong to visit him, and our friend Kathy, who I met in NY, but is currently living in London, made the trek too.
We ate, went to the tallest bar in the world, gambled in Macau, hiked to The Peak to see the Hong Kong skyline, rode around in double decker busses, and got insanely lost going to the beach. Click read more for more photos and details!
I leave for Hong Kong and Tokyo in about a week and a half and before I start flooding my feed with travel pics, I wanted to share some insight into what goes on in my brain while planning a trip and figuring out how to make a seemingly unrealistic multi-country trip fit in my budget.
This upcoming trip, like all the ones I have planned in my last two or so years of being travel obsessed started from random browsing. I was staying at my Grandma’s house in December when I first moved to LA as I waited for my stuff to get shipped from NY. One night I just started planning a fake vacation in my head to visit my friend Sam who is living in Hong Kong and then going to Tokyo, which I thought was nearby but is actually 4 hours away. I picked a range of possible dates I was into, and started plugging them into Kayak. I was pretty open since I would be taking my vacation days at work and have paid vacation days that don’t roll over, so what could be more motivation. Below I break down how I plan where to go, when to go, where to stay, and how to fly.
Please leave any of your tips and tricks in the comments! Both about saving money, taking trips, and vacation ideas!
I’ve found myself always chiming into conversations online, and in person, about where to go to eat in NY. I lived in Brooklyn so I have a few suggestions there, as well as in Lower Manhattan.
Writing this I realized I tend to like places that have lines. Maybe this means I’m boring and trendy, or NY made me tolerate a lot of B.S. like horrible weather, expensive rent, and waits longer than the actual meal, but take it or leave it. Trust me, they’re worth it. And anyone who spends their time waiting for a restaurant being bored and not exploring or drinking next door isn’t doing it right.
Just kidding, kind of. But I got a few requests to talk about why I love Air BnB the service as both a guest and now a host. I have rented my new apartment in LA four times (yah, four weekends in a row.) And I’ve rented apartments in Amsterdam, Colombia, and San Francisco.
So I’ll tell you a little bit about using it as a guest, but focus on why I choose to let strangers into my house and go stay with my mom on the weekend.
Tijuana, like Vegas, is one of those places I somehow had not been to despite being a Southern California native. Though now I’m hooked, I’m glad I didn’t go in my party days and saved it for now. Valentines day weekend also happened to land on a three day weekend, so my savvy self rented out my apartment on Air B&B, (If you haven’t used it, its amazing for both renting places or renting your own place- get $25 off your first time )
OK so back to it- Tijuana is a 2.5-3 hour drive South of LA, so Drew (and I- I actually got my drivers permit and helped!) headed down there early Saturday morning and came back midday Monday. To quote Drew who I overheard saying this as I swooned “we came here for the food.” The motto.
Not sure if I’m that surprised, but whenever I’ve posted on social media asking you guys what you want me to blog about, 9 out of 10 times, it’s money. This is probably because, I am someone who is really open about the highs and lows of my life, especially financially an professionally. Money is a topic that people are convinced is taboo and inappropriate, but I believe the only people who benefit from us not talking about money, are the people paying us and the people with a lot of it. I can understand how talking about money can make things uncomfortable. People are reluctant to evoke jealousy, anger, insecurity, or air out any personal information that may apply to their situation. Also, it’s just a societal norm. Personally, I would rather be up front and honest, and HOPE that somehow, I am helping someone else become more aware and get into a better situation. A few (thank you angels!) people have done it for me, and here is my attempt.
As some of you know, before living in New York, I lived in San Francisco. This is the city where I got into eating out, learned about brunch, gained 72 pounds (not really but it sure felt like it) and it was possibly my favorite place I’ve ever lived. After moving off my college campus, I lived in the Castro/Duboce Park area and the Mission District, so most of these are around there, in my opinion the most fun areas and usually the sunniest. I was pretty broke during most of my time here, but I definitely splurged on bottomless mimosas and delivery food.
I went to SF last weekend for work and stayed through the weekend trying to pack in every one of my favorite meals (andddd see my friends I guess.) I’m still bloated but already miss it. Below was my go-to list of San Francisco food I couldn’t not snack on while in the Bay. Of course- being able to expense some of it didn’t hurt, and you guys know a work trip is my favorite excuse to squeeze in some excessive meals, but these are all reasonably priced. I got you.