Our weekend getaway to Los Angeles

Cecilio and I have been talking about wanting to go to LA year to visit some beaches, Disneyland, Griffith Observatory, and to visit his lifelong best friend Carlos (who works at Disneyland!) We were actually supposed to go in August, but all of those plans went down the drain when his 2004 Honda Civic started overheating and went to pot and had to buy a new car, so there was no more money for Disneyland.

We actually planned to go to LA this past weekend because I have been trying to get an office assistant or office technician job with the California state government. But in order to even apply for those state jobs, you have to take an exam first and rank high to qualify for your desired position. There was an exam in LA on the 8th, and I was on the page 15 minutes before clicking to self-schedule the exam, and what do you know? The link was broken, and I called Human Resources, and the automated message told me that all of the exams were full. For those of you who don't know, trying to get JUST an exam to apply for a state job in California is like trying to go through the eye of a needle (unless if you're applying for a position that has an online exam). It is especially competitive for those trying to get an office assistant position.

So even though I was not able to get into the exam, we still booked our hotel days prior, and we were determined to have a blast. LA is a 6 hour drive from Sacramento, and it's a straight drive going from I-5. It's long, but easy (until you hit the infamous LA traffic). I even drove for an hour while Cecilio took a nap until my stomach started to hurt and I needed to stop to use the restroom. Here's a little photo travel diary for our 2 nights in SoCal:

We stayed in Jamaica Bay Inn, a small hotel in Marina del Rey. MDR is a small town with the world's largest manmade small harbor, the Marina. Our hotel overlooks the Marina with it's bajillions of boats and people paddleboarding on the water. The sidewalks are great for jogging or a nice stroll. Marina del Rey is walking distance from Venice Beach.

Our bed. Not the most comfortable and it made my back hurt. Our room had 2 beds but we decided to use the extra bed as a "table" for our stuff.

Our hotel had a restaurant called Beachside Restaurant & Bar, and we had dinner there on the 1st night. I ordered Seared Maine Sea Scallops, and it was over brown rice and asparagus. It was so delicious and buttery! I also had 2 mai tais. Cecilio and I ordered a flourless dark chocolate cake which was pretty good, but not out of this world.

After brunch, we spent the whole day in Santa Monica. Our first stop was the beach. We actually parked 2 miles away in a parking structure, and it was hot that day. So when we made it to the beach, we dipped our legs in the water and our shorts got wet. We regretted not choosing Saturday to swim (California beaches usually have cold water but I felt refreshed on Saturday) so we decided to come back don our swim shorts and bathing suits on Sunday. We also walked around the pier and caught some Pokemon (yes, we are still playing it). Santa Monica is a hot spot for Pokemon, and we walked by a whole bunch of people playing it and talking about it. So even if it seemed like the fad is waning, Pokemon is alive and well in Santa Monica.

After strolling around the pier, we attempted to walk back to our car but got exhausted and hungry along the way so we ate in the shopping area. Afterwards, we drove to Culver City for the nearest Target for some of the essentials (swim trunks for Cecilio, beach towels, water bottles, etc.) and went back to our hotel. We freshened up before we met up with Carlos for dinner. Carlos has been Cecilio's best friend since 1st grade and is his best man for the wedding. Carlos takes us to Roscoe's House of Chicken & Waffles, a pretty self-explanatory restaurant :) it has 7 locations in LA and Orange County, but we ended up going to the original one. We all ended up ordering the same entree (waffles with friend chicken drumstick and breast) and man oh man, I swallowed up that butter for the waffles! I usually expect waffles to be thick and hard (maybe I am thinking of eggo and Belgian waffles?) but these were so soft and fluffy. Even though I was getting stuffed, I loved the aftertaste of the chicken. I do not have a photo...well, I did take photos but the lighting was so bad. It was dark and had a dark red tint. It was great to hear them catch up. I am so so happy that they are still friends to this day, because it is sad when friendships drift a part slowly. But with them, they could see each other and catch up like it's nothing.

I will show you photos of of Hollywood Blvd. though! The night was still young and Carlos wanted to show us around. This was amazing, especially because I have never been to Hollywood despite all of the times I have been in LA. My trips down south mostly consist of going to Disneyland (even though it's in Orange County) and staying at my mom's friend's house. 

Above is Hollywood & Highland Center, a mall and entertainment center which holds Dolby Theatre and Grauman's Chinese Theatre. I found Sephora and the Kiko Milano store, but I didn't bother to go in because I haven't been too happy with the Kiko products I ordered, LOL!

The Dolby Theatre, where the Oscars are held. It looks empty but trust me, Saturday night on Hollywood Blvd. is happenin', trust me!

Christina Aguilera's star on Hollywood Walk of Fame. I should have looked for Donald Trump's star, since I heard it was trashed (for good reason too).

Above is the Grauman's Chinese Theatre, where most of the movie premiers are held. The theatre now holds the largest IMAX theatre in the world and seats 932 people! Grumman's Chinese Theatre is also known for its signatures and handprints from the stars on its concrete. It's really fascinating to see the lettering from the actors starting from the 1920s. I found Marilyn Monroe's signature from when she starred in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, the first Marilyn movie I have watched. I had the song "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" stuck in my head.

After walking around, the 3 of us stepped in side the Disney Studio Store, which also shares a building with Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop. Yes, there was Disney and chocolate abound!

No filter was needed when I captured the beautiful Marina during our 15 minute morning walk!

I've been wanting to take a live barre exercise class, especially when I mentioned how I was using The Bar Method DVDs and streaming videos to help me get in shape for the wedding. When I found out that there was a studio in Marina del Rey, I simply had to take a class even if it was just for one day. I signed up for the 8:30 am class (the earliest class on a Sunday), and Cecilio dropped me off (thanks love!) There were women taking the class of all shapes, sizes, and ages, which made me feel good about myself. They gifted me and this other girl who was also a 1st-timer a box of epsom bath salts to sooth our muscles. And boy do I need it!

About the workout: while the DVDs and streaming videos are very challenging, they did not prepare me for the intensity and fast pace of the live class. Oh my gosh, it's been 2 days and my thighs and triceps are still sore. There are way more reps, and being in a class with 17 other women forces you to keep going. When I work out at home, I am guilty of working out and taking a break when it gets too difficult. Also, the instructors correct your form, ESPECIALLY at The Bar Method. What differs The Bar Method from other barre classes (Physique 57, Pure Barre, barre3, etc.) is that the instructors are trained to remember your name and call you out for corrections. So I got a lot of "Hannah, square your hips" "Hannah, raise your heels about 2 inches higher to protect your knees and get deeper into the thighs"  "Hannah, you're doing much better on your left side!" During the middle of the class (especially during the thigh portion), I was thinking in my head,"What the fuck did I sign up for. I could be relaxing in the hotel with Cecilio right now!" but I felt amazing and in a state of euphoria afterwards. I could barely walk, but I had that workout high. And my back pain was gone! If only there was a studio in Sacramento (we have The Dailey Method though)...and if only I had a disposable income, because barre classes ain't cheap. 

Even though I felt amazing, all of those calories came back with our Dunkin' Donuts breakfast. But I saw a familiar face from the class there too! Haha!

We wrapped up our last trip to Santa Monica again. This time, we went with our swimwear. As much as I wanted to go deeper in the water, it was actually colder and I only wanted to go in knee-deep. Cecilio dunked his head in though. We saw a couple where the woman braved her way to go in further. Me? I'm a wimp and get cold easily. Like I said, California beaches are cold and not very swimmable. At least I went as far as I did! It would have to be 90°+ for me to actually swim!

I did lie down under the sun (with sunscreen of course) and got my summer tan (or should I say...fall tan?) back. We didn't take pictures at the beach because we didn't want to get our phones wet or stolen (while they were on top of the towels), and we wanted to enjoy the moment at the beach without our phones. So we left them in the car. We went back to the car to shake off the sand and get our phones back, and walked back up to the pier. We played more Pokemon and Cecilio played some games in the arcade. After lunch, we walked around and decided to say goodbye, and drove back to reality (AKA Sacramento).

I wouldn't mind living in LA, especially because some areas are less expensive than SF. There are more job opportunities too. The only thing that kills it is the traffic. Regardless, we will visit again! It was a fun getaway. You know how when you're engaged and getting deeper into wedding planning, you get told to have a non-wedding related day to just enjoy each other as a couple? We do that. As much as we are going to love our wedding, we love each other more.

Have you ever been to LA or any part of Southern California? (Orange County, San Diego, etc.)


  1. Such a lovely getaway, Hannah!! So glad you got to enjoy the weekend with the people you love :) How cool is that Cecilio's best friend works at Disneyland!! Eekk!! So many of these photos bring back so many lovely memories :) I visited California on a spring break & went to Disney and Universal Studios when I studied in the US. I love visiting Hollywood as well but wasn't too fond of LA. I have heard amazing things about San Diego & would love to go there one day :)
    Girl, you have no idea how much I can relate to what you said about the wedding planning. Hubby and I were planning ours while being in two different countries so every evening we had to discuss all these bits and pieces all wedding related. There were moments when we just wanted to talk about anything else but wedding :D It's just the part of the planning, I guess. But you're absolutely right!!! What comes after that one day is much much much much much more important (it doesn't even compare) <3 <3 <3
    xox Nadia

    1. I've been to San Diego twice and it is breathtaking!

      Oh man, I can't imagine planning a wedding in 2 countries! But I know it was such a fairytale day for you guys! I'm in the phase where I'm tensing up because we need a lot more to get done since it's 5 months left, and right now I am sending the save-the-dates. We're a little more relaxed because our engagement is 2 years so we have a lot of time...but man oh man..5 more months...I'm so excited and I can't wait to share this moment with you and everyone else in our little blog community!

  2. I loved Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend, so cool you got to see her signature! I've always wanted to go to California, especially LA. The beach looks beautiful x


    1. I hope you get a chance to go, it's gorgeous and fun!

  3. I've been a few times and each time the drive was beautiful! I was younger and didn't have to drive, so I can imagine traffic causing the most anxiety! You are someone so easy to relate to and it is a joy seeing your photos and the fun you had! I'm glad you got out to enjoy the area even though your plans fell through trying to get into the exam. God will open another door for you and something better! (easier said when you're not walking in that person's shoes, but we walk by faith and not by sight!)

    1. Thank you so much! I am putting my faith and trust in Him no matter how hard it feels at times <3

  4. sounds like you had such a lovely time! Santa Monica is just a dream! I really admire you for taking that Barre class on holiday-- and I'm so glad the Epsom salts helped :) You two are so cute together!! Xx