One of my favorite places to spend time in Venice Beach is on Abbot Kinney. The street is filled with tons of great shops, restaurants, cafés, etc. The whole area surrounding Abbot Kinney is also a great place to walk around, spend time with family and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Though Abbot Kinney itself tends to get a little crowded on the weekend, it still remains after all these years, one of my favorite places. Some of my favorite spots on the street are: Gjelina’s, TOM’s shop & café, Skylark, Burro, Kreation, etc. They also have some of the greatest street art in the area, including this classic Rooster Fish.
It was long overdue, my SoCal Adventure Pt 2 post. Apologies for the delay! It’s been a busy two weeks since I got back from vacation. We shot a bunch of pilots, commercials, etc. at work for the upcoming season so I was spending a lot of time working on that.
For the second half of my most recent California trip with Offner, we decided to stay in Marina Del Rey. It was the first time we were using Airbnb to find a room in someone’s apartment. We’ve done the individual apartment before on numerous occasions but it was a little scarier scoping out places to share with people. We got super lucky and found an amazing little studio fully equipped with a private bathroom and small kitchenette in a lovely woman’s home right at the limit of Marina Del Rey and Venice. We had a beautiful balcony that overlooked the little housing complex that had a beautiful pool and garden. This is where we ate our breakfast every morning. It was such a relaxing place to stay! Offner and I were like two kids in the swimming pool; playing games, doing contests, synchronized swimming, etc!
While in the area, we spent some time wondering around the Venice boardwalk and legendary skatepark. We are also really fond of the Venice canals, a super quiet and beautiful area in Venice that is removed from all the waterfront chaos. Offner and I walked around picking out our “future” home, going to garage sales and enjoying the pretty sights!
Our breakfast go-to spots in the area are Deus ex machina in Venice & Urth Caffé (Hello!! Green tea almond milk latte, my favorite!!) in Santa Monica. Deus were actually have a really rad surfboard swap event the second day we were there so we had to stop by. No boards were purchased but it was nice to meet a lot of local vendors, eat yummy food and drool over amazing surfboards!
We returned to Offner’s favorite fish taco joint in the area called Reel Inn, for some fresh tacos and veggies after an amazingly relaxing day of surfing in Malibu. The water had really warmed up the second week we were there, so surfing was delightful! The waves weren’t breaking too often, so you really had time to sit on your board and relax while you waited for the next set. I honestly think that this little spot is one of my new favorites. Thinking about it just warms my heart and makes me want to go back so badly! There’s nothing quite like riding a nice longboard beach break 🙂
We also had the chance to go out on several nights after spending the day either lounging around, surfing, shopping, etc. We tried out The Bungalow in Santa Monica. Though the decoration and overall concept was great, the crowd and atmosphere was disappointing. My top spots that we tried this time were:
–The Standard in downtown Los Angeles (there’s a new SPIN Ping Pong club there too!). It was a super hip spot with a dreamy pool and a cute beer garden on rooftop. The view of downtown LA was spectacular. Interestingly mixed crowd as well!
–Hotel Erwin‘s rooftop bar. It has the best view of Venice, hands down! Our friends Lisa from This Beautiful Day and her husband joined us and so did my lovely friend Rosie, who I met last year through instagram. Such a memorable night!
Since we’re big foodies, we also checked out a few new & hip restaurants. My top two were:
–Nikita, a brand new ocean-front restaurant right beside Nobu in Malibu. It just opened in July and is already super popular. It was surpringsly easy to get a table on a Friday night. The atmosphere was chic but also laid-back. The food was spectacular (I would have taken photos but I didn’t feel it was appropriate in this kind of environment), the wine was delectable and the service was impeccable! We also really enjoyed their beautiful oceanside patio. The perfect romantic evening!
–Tar & Roses, a beautiful Spanish-influenced restaurant in Santa Monica. They had incredible tapas and probably one of the best cheeseboards I’ve ever tasted! They had a very big selection of fine cheeses and for $20 for a selection of 5, you can’t beat that. Attention cheese lovers, this next pic might make your mouth water 😉
We also returned to the Melrose Trading Post and visited the beautiful town of Manhattan Beach for the first time. The beach there was so peaceful and uncrowded, it was a perfect place to hang out for an afternoon. Their little downtown area is also super cute and fun to explore!
This trip wouldn’t have been complete without many lunches, walks, shopping excursions and hangs on Abbot Kinney. Loved the TOMS flagship store & café and the 3 Square Caféfor an afternoon snack!
Before leaving my dear friend Maggie came up to the Santa Monica area to take pictures of Offner and I on the pier. It was a lot of fun modelling for her and taking pictures with such a stunning scenery! She has lovely photo site that you can check out: http://emwhyphotography.com/. Here’s my favorite photo from our shoot:
On the way to the airport in Vegas, we stopped by Calico to visit the ghost town. It’s an $8 admission fee per adult. Though it may sound like a lot to just visit an old mining town, it was pretty neat to see just how well preserved these buildings were. Plus, there’s a beautiful view of the desert from the top. It was definitely a lovely way to end this vacation!
All this blog writing and remising is making me miss SoCal SO MUCH! Can’t wait to be back to continue the adventure! I love you California <3
I spent part of the weekend in Ottawa with some of my childhood friends. Thankful to Porter Airlines for always making my air travels so efficient and painless. I was in Ottawa because I will be a bridesmaid for the first time ever next summer, an interesting experience to say the least! (dress shopping, flowers, shoes, etc.). It’s always nice to see girlfriends you’ve been friends with for over 25 years. Though I don’t see these girls nearly as often as I used to, it always feels like no time has passed since I last saw them. Grateful for these lifelong friendships!
I got back to Toronto in time for the VMAs last night. It was fun to be live tweeting during the event, seeing everyone’s reactions to the now infamous Miley Cyrus performance, what people were wearing, etc. My highlights of the evening were:
The Good – the Justin Timberlake performance, Drake, Taylor Swift’s “Shut The Fuck Up” during One Direction’s acceptance speech
The Bad – Daft Punk not performing, the Miley Cyrus performance, the 30sec NSYNC reunion, Bruno Mars’ snoozefest performance
Lot’s of great looks on the red carpet. I appreciated seeing stars dress up for this event, even if it isn’t renown for being the fanciest gala. Here were my top 3 looks of the evening:
For today’s outfit, I’m wearing my new 90s inspired buttoned up shirt that I got on Abbot Kinney in Venice and my new “Small Details Make A Big Difference” tee from Uranium.
It was my first time officially staying in Venice on this past trip. @Offneraurelien had stayed there before and definitely is very fond of this beach town. Though I’d hung out in Venice and had meetings there, I had never really explored the town more: the infamous boardwalk, the enormous guys work out at Muscle Beach or those dressed up asking for money to pose for pictures, etc. What I liked about Venice is the fact that not too far from that madness, you have all the beautiful canals and homes in quiet streets. I envy those who live in that area. How about a nice kayak ride after breakfast or a coffee on your porch overlooking the canals and being just two blocks from the ocean?! Sounds dreamy! What I also fell in love with in Venice is Abbot Kinney street. The street totally screams MEL! I love all the quaint coffee shops, the abundant choice of restaurants (you must go to Gjelina – the Caramel & seasalt pot de crème is RIDIC! & 3 Square Café + Bakery) the cool clothing and vintage shops and its overall vibe!
Located in Venice, this coffee shop/bike shop is a cool laid-back spot for a croissant and coffee in the morning. If you like the old motorcycle culture, surfing and coffee, then Deus is the place for you! I loved how friendly the staff was there. They don’t offer a very extensive menu but the stuff they do offer is yummy. Plus, they’ve got a cool shop design. Deus is always putting on some rad events in the Venice area, so make sure you check them out!
Those who know me, know how much I LOVE cheese! I don’t think I could live without it. We stopped by the Silverlake cheese shop for a little “goûter” one afternoon. Their selection was fantastic! They had so much variety, cheeses that are hard to find even in Toronto, fresh baked goods and a wonderful selection on wines. Plus, their prices were really affordable! I loved sitting down on their bench out front in the sun and enjoying my goûter!
@Offneraurelien had been telling me about this place for quite some time now. He claims that Reel Inn was the coolest little taco restaurant in all of LA. Located on the PCH right at the beginning of Malibu, Reel Inn looks like some crappy wood shed. You would have no idea that they serve a huge variety of fresh fish they caught that day as well as some good old tacos. You could see it in Aurelien’s face just how stoked he was to be at his favorite “taco fish” spot. I loved their terrasse and super cosy atmosphere.
While on vacation, I had the chance of getting tattooed by the ultra talented Dr. Woo, who works at Shamrock Social Club in Hollywood. I’ve been following his instagram feed for the last couple of months and am a big fan of his work. He’s tattooed some bloggers I follow, celebrities, musicians and regular folk like myself. I’d been thinking of getting the word “Wanderlust” tattooed on me for quite some time now and thought he was the perfect guy to do it! Love the script that he did. For those who don’t know what wanderlust means, it’s “A strong desire to travel”. Seemed fitting!
There were tons of other fantastic things on this trip – daily Urth Caffé stops, Café Gratitude, bike rides, my entire birthday extravaganza, Micheal Jackson slot machines in Vegas, Universal Studios, surfing, Encinitas, etc. Can’t wait for the second part of our adventure in July!!