Two weeks ago my girlfriend, Heather, and I spent a quick 36 hours in LA eating and shopping our way through the city. It was my first time leaving Lawson since he was born 15 months ago and it was fantastic. Of course I missed my boys, but I had such a fun time with Heather. I forgot how easy and stress-free it is to travel solo, sleep through the night without listening to a baby monitor and pop in and out of stores on a whim. Jim and Lawson had just as much fun at home together. The weekend was a win all around!
Heather and I are both planners. We researched the places we wanted to go, mostly concentrating on eating and shopping. A week before we left, we met to map them out and decide on our must visits. Our trip focused on a few areas, which worked out perfectly for us. I can’t wait to return!
Brentwood Country Mart
After an early morning flight, we grabbed our rental car and headed to Brentwood Country Mart in Santa Monica for brunch at Farmshop. With our bellies full, we hit up a few shops: Sugar Paper for the best paper products and Intermix for window shopping fashion above our budget. On other trips, I’ve also loved looking through the Toy Crazy and the DIESEL bookstore.
highlight: crown maple sticky bun from Farmshop
After reading about the Instagram-worthy Alfred’s Tea Room, we knew we needed to head to Melrose and see it for ourselves. Let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint. Not only was it incredibly Instagram-worthy, the peppermint honey boba tea special of the day is the best non-alcoholic, caffeine-free drink I’ve ever had. I eliminate or limit caffeine when I’m pregnant, but often crave an iced tea. It was my first experience trying boba tea. I’d get one from Alfred’s every day if I could.
We wandered in and out of Violet Grey and Chloe and stopped for a few photos at the famous pink wall outside Paul Smith. Violet Grey is an upscale skincare, makeup and fragrance boutique that curates the best products as recommended by makeup artists and those “in the know.” While they don’t carry all natural products exclusively, they do have several of my favorite brands.
My 40th birthday is coming up next month. I’ve made it a tradition to gift myself something special for big birthdays and am considering a Chloe Marcie handbag. While I didn’t make a decision (small or medium, tan or grey or blush), seeing all my options in person definitely put it at the top of my wish list!
highlight: peppermint and honey boba tea from Alfred’s Tea Room
At this point, we were in almost desperate need of a restroom (downside of traveling with a 8 month pregnant woman). Fortunately, our next stop, MILK, was located next door to a 7-Eleven. Surely one of them would have a restroom. Or not…We forged ahead with our red velvet and grasshopper macaron ice cream sandwiches from MILK and headed to our next stop, Clare V, one of my favorite handbag designers. With a coffee shop next door, we thought we’d hit the restroom jackpot. Nope…now we could barely walk. After asking for the nearest restroom,
we I waddled to a restaurant at the end of the block. Finally!
Highlight: macaroon ice cream sandwiches from MILK
Tip: don’t assume you’ll easily find a restroom, take every opportunity to use one
By late afternoon we were hot and dragging a bit. We headed downtown to our hotel for a much-needed rest before walking to Grand Central Market for dinner. With lots of yummy options, we somehow both decided on the spaghetti and meatballs at Knead & Co Pasta Bar.
Sunday morning we started off the day by picking up donuts from Sidecar Doughnuts. They were dense and delicious. After reading rave reviews of Olive & June, we had scheduled pedicures to make the most of our time before stores opened for the day. I fully admit I’m a bit of a pedicure snob. From the check in questionnaire to the polish options to the bright and simple decor to the actual pedicure, we loved every minute of our Olive & June experience.
Highlight: tie between the cinnamon crumb doughnut from Sidecar Doughnuts and pedicures at Olive & June
The #1 place I wanted to visit on our trip was the Cuyana store in Venice on Abbott Kinney. To say I’m obsessed with their quality products and #fewerbetter mantra isn’t an understatement. The store didn’t disappoint. We both found ourselves making purchases. A monogrammed wallet for Heather and a set of travel cases and the softest cotton tee for me. I could have bought more, but stopped myself!
From there we meandered in and out of stores: Marine Layer, Aesop, Steven Alan and Burro. This stretch of Venice was probably my favorite of the entire trip. I had been looking for a gift to give Lawson from his little sister when he visits us in the hospital. Burro had so many cute options that it was hard for me to choose just one.
We were lucky enough to snag a seat at the community table at Gjelina for lunch and shared the roasted cauliflower appetizer and a pizza. Gjelina is on most of the travel guides as one of the best places to eat. We liked it, but it didn’t quite live up to the hype. Blue Star Donuts on the other hand…we grabbed a few to take back home with us. Lighter than Sidecar Doughnuts, they were absolutely delicious and worth carrying the box through the airport.
highlight: shopping at Cuyana
We made a couple of other quick stops during our 36 hours in LA: Sugarfina in Beverly Hills and The Detox Market on Beverly Blvd. It was so hard to narrow our candy choices at Sugarfina- we could have bought out the entire shop! The Detox Market carries a ton of pure beauty products, including some of our favorite brands and others that were new to us.
highlight: all the natural beauty brands at The Detox Market
I’m already scheming a way to make it an annual trip. What should we add to our list for next year?!
photo of brentwood country mart by heather, all others by me