All posts tagged: Southern California

Complaining About LA Doesn’t Make You Cool

People complain to me about Los Angeles all the time. Mostly it’s grumpy folks who don’t live here, but sometimes it’s even those who have never stepped foot in the city. Everyone in LA is shallow! There are so many hipsters! The traffic is horrible! Everyone’s so snotty! There’s no culture! There’s no history! There are too many health nuts!  I wonder why friends, family, and acquaintances who live elsewhere feel the need to tell me how much they hate LA? Why they waste their time and energy whining about a place they barely know, to a person who openly loves calling Los Angeles home? There are folks who live here and can’t stand it because it’s not the right place for them, but some of them decide it’s objectively bad. LA’s too crowded, dirty, and pretentious…and I don’t fit in here because I’m different! These types of arguments seem to be based on a very narrow view of the city, ignited by ideas about what life’s like for predominantly white, upper-middle class people who live here. …

Visiting the Huntington

I’ve been meaning to visit The Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino for over two years, and finally went with my sister recently. Below are photos we took in the various gardens, which span 120 acres and include a Desert Garden, Japanese Garden, and Chinese Garden, among others. The photos below do not do The Huntington justice, so I recommend spending the day there if you’re ever in the Los Angeles area. The Huntington Library was founded in 1919 by Southern California businessman Henry E. Huntington. Huntington had a deep interest in gardens, art, and books – building a massive research library, art collection, and botanical gardens. Only 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles, the Huntington Library is a wonderful place to relax and appreciate nature.

Business & Leisure in San Diego

This past weekend my sister accompanied me to San Diego, CA, where I presented a paper at the Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association’s national conference. My paper, titled “How YouTube and Instagram are Normalizing Veganism,” analyzes the ways in which vegan cooking and lifestyle content creators appropriate mainstream YouTube aesthetics, and examines the importance of a strong digital community for vegans. While the purpose of my trip was to present at the conference, I spent the majority of my time hanging out with my sister in and around San Diego. On our way down from Los Angeles we stopped in San Juan Capistrano, Del Mar, La Jolla, and Coronado Island, and in San Diego we spent time at Balboa Park and around Old Town. We also drank great coffee from Heartwork Coffee Bar and Dark Horse Coffee Roasters, and stuffed ourselves with food from Kindred and Barra Barra. Presenting at PCA/ACA not only gave me the chance to work on my public speaking skills (I’m doing better but there’s so much room for improvement), but it also provided me with some much-needed time for …

Riding the Pacific Surfliner

This past weekend I rode Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner from Los Angeles to San Diego & back. Here’s a diary entry-style post about my experience: From industrial neighborhoods to the ocean, journeying on Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner from Los Angeles to San Diego takes you through some of California’s distinct landscapes. Leaving from Union Station in downtown LA, the first views from the train are what I’d describe as hyper-industrial: cement trucks, train cars, wires, fences, and giant warehouses that are either overwhelmingly grey, or dotted with colorful graffiti. It’s dirt, metal, and cement for miles. The illicit art on buildings and walls – ranging from indecipherable messages to exceptional works of art – interrupt the monochromatic dominance of the landscape. Oddly enough, I think there’s something particularly beautiful about Los Angeles’ industrial and warehouse districts. The area isn’t at all glamorous, but the beauty is in its history and scope. Downtown LA is home to global industries and distribution centers. It’s where clothes are made and shipped internationally, and produce is organized and distributed across North America. Downtown is a hub …

Snapshots from Coronado Island

A few weekends ago I had the chance to visit Coronado Island, just across the water from San Diego, CA. While I intended to get some work done while I was there, it was practically impossible with the near perfect weather and pacific waves calling out to me: just relax…relax…seriously dude, you need to chill… So I ended up getting about 10% of the work done that I needed to, but that’s what happens when you’re near a beach and the type of person who easily puts things off, right? Oh yeah…I have some time on Monday to finish that…I think… I took a day-trip to Coronado a few years ago, but this was the first time I really had the opportunity to check the place out. My boyfriend’s family was in town and kind enough to invite us down, so we explored the island for a few days with them. We ate breakfast at Clayton’s Coffee Shop, a 50’s diner that genuinely feels like a 50’s diner, walked along Dog Beach, and spent plenty of time strolling around the glorious Hotel del Coronado, …

A Letter to Los Angeles

Dear Los Angeles, I’ve been living in your expansive, complex, beautiful sprawl for over a year now, and it’s been quite a wild ride thus far. In some ways you’ve met my expectations, but in total, this relationship has grown and evolved in ways I could have never imagined. I came here worried I’d hate driving alongside “California drivers,” as some Arizonans derogatorily refer to maniacs who cut you off and zip by smugly. Worse than that, I was worried that I couldn’t drive your streets; I thought that maybe the freeways would be so fast and frightening that I simply wouldn’t have it in me to get behind the wheel. I fretted about this for months before moving, but within a day of driving your crowded streets, I realized that I’m rarely moving fast. And surprisingly, I’m becoming a “California driver” myself. Many Californians (though definitely not all) drive smart, aggressively, and prepared to slam on their breaks or move out of the way at any given moment. Despite the often unbearable traffic, I somehow enjoy driving here. I’ve learned that you’re nothing like the way …

Creating a Cher Horowitz Inspired Outfit

This past July Clueless, the ultimate 90’s coming-of-age film, celebrated its 20th anniversary. Although the movie may be two decades old, I’d argue that its humor and the message at its core is just as relatable today despite Cher’s laughably large cell phone and compulsive use of irrelevant slang. Much of what’s so fun about Clueless is how each character’s wardrobe acts as an extension of themselves. Cher’s style is structured and preppy, but she takes risks with patterns and accessories, which is illustrative of her good-natured, yet sometimes wild personality. I was asked by Farfetch, an online shopping site where you can discover the latest in designer fashion, to recreate an iconic fashion moment in movie history. As both a student and resident of Los Angeles, I’m personally inspired by Cher Horowitz’s take on west coast prep, but I wanted to put a bit of a contemporary spin on her look. Here’s what I came up with: Although the outfit is simple and structured, the fun is in the details. Cher is all about pairing a tucked-in button-up with a sophisticated a-line skirt, and she’s also known to rock a chic headband. Since …