3x5: hurray for hollywood!

The sun must be impairing my thinking because I never want to go back to Paris! California is once again enticing me with her juice bars, coffee shops that offer almond milk, small talk with complete strangers, smiles, bright-colored fashion, 60s architecture, and those palm trees. 

I kid, I kid, Paris is my new home that I absolutely adore but I would be lying if I didn't feel like I am cheating on her a bit as I relish each day in the Golden State.

Here are my next batch of postcards from the City of Angels...

We stayed at the fantastically kitch Farmer's Daughter hotel on Fairfax across the street from LA's Farmer's Market. I picked the hotel for the location, reasonable rates, irresistibly charming decor, excellent reviews, and out of my own curiosity. You see, I had stayed at this hotel back in the early 2000s (during my way more coquine days -- oh mon dieu), back when it was a rundown rock n' roll motel with flickering fluorescent lighting, staff that resembled the janitor in the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video and the hotel guests were a revolving door of up-and-coming bands on tour as opening acts as well as suspected ladies of the night. 

To observe the more adventurous days of my youth, I did what any cheesy chick would do: I bought the t-shirt. At a yard sale years after my wild weekend, a woman was selling a t-shirt with the hotel's former logo on a faded yellow shirt, the same color as the nicotine stained walls of their hotel rooms. I couldn't resist passing up the two bucks for the memorabilia.

Fast forward 13 years later, the hotel has been fully renovated, redesigned into a full service boutique hotel and caters to tourists, honeymooners and industry professionals. It was truly the perfect choice for our Hollywood lodging. 

Thinking I was cool, the first day we arrived, I went wearing the hotel t-shirt. Okay. That's worse than going to the concert wearing the band's shirt. Way worse. Especially since several guests had asked me questions and me, not understanding why, and coming across as the world's worst employees as I blew off their requests. And the hotel staff thought I was either making fun of them or trying to get free stuff. I will forever be that corny girl trying to join in on the fun.

The shirt got shoved back into my suitcase not to be taken out until we leave California. 

One touch I appreciated walking through the lobby was
the central air gently wafted out gardenia scents. 
A vast improvement to what the hotel smelled like before.

The hotel restaurant Tart...

...that served as our nightcap spot, working our way down their
creative cocktail menu.

It wouldn't be a trip to Hollywood 
if I didn't stop at my old job, The 101 Coffee Shop.
I can say it now that it's years later but I really was one of
the worst servers. I pretty much sucked.
It was no wonder I only got the 6am shifts...

It was nice to see that nothing has changed at one of Hollywood's favorite greasy spoons and even saw some of the old regulars.
I got my usual iced soy latte and a tossed Greek salad...

...that apparently got a makeover.
It's now Kalefornia because it's everywhere.
Even at diners.
I love this state.

              And then I took Aurélien to mecca.
Amoeba Records on Sunset.
He stood in shock for about five minutes.

Then one day during our trip, 
he got all French on me and asked if it was possible
to get a French baguette anywhere in LA.
Laughing off this impractical request, I reminded him that we were in Hollywood and that they hadn't imported bread since
Jennifer Aniston went on the Zone Diet in 1999.

I then stood corrected.

And then....this happened...

I found her when I was not even looking. Olympia!

Seeing my enthusiasm as I snapped photos of Olympia's star like a possessed fan, a woman who was wearing a name tag that read the name Bobbie popped out of a nearby door and told me to step into her office. She had something to show me. Usually I would never follow a stranger under these pretenses, but rationally thinking, who would lure someone into their death lair using Olympia Dukakis as bate? So I followed..

Good thing I trusted Bobbie because this is what she wanted to show me...

I'm not the only one proud of Olympia's star!
I was so bummed I missed what was clearly a celebration!
Look how happy Olympia looks!
Good for you, girl.

We had the quintessential Hollywood afternoon lounging with good friends Brett and Sti at her Melrose Place complex with tons of juicy neighbor gossip and a pool to encourage it.
Just as we were getting the total dish on the guy in Apartment 102 who left the grill on all night, 
this came creeping out behind the grotto.

This is Aspen.
He bought his skull mask on Hollywood and Cahuenga.
He is 12.
And he is making a movie.
Of course he is and of course I asked.

You know I just had to, right?
I had to go in for the money shot.
And almost getting hit by a car for it.


  1. The hotel staff thought...??? Don't leave us hanging!

    1. Omg, Gwan, I didn't mean to publish this yet! I'm such a ditz sometimes. I thought I had saved it to publish today after revisions and instead pressed publish and went to sleep.

      I added the "cliffhanger" of what the staff thought. It's so not that juicy... : )


    2. I refreshed and refreshed just in case you filled-in-the-blank on the hotel staff comment!

      What a wonderful trip though - putting LA on my to-travel list for next year. But hoping I don't meet an "Aspen" of my own

  2. Whoohoo!!! Oh I loved all of this--it really does make you want to pack in all the Frenchooey and Move West!!! And you look beautiful as ever, m'dear.

    1. Aww, thank you Heather! I'm loving the sunshine and how friendly everyone is! This place is so special. It makes sense why there are SO MANY songs written about it!

  3. YUM! That kale salad looks great ;) Great to see you both having a wonderful honeymoon! xo

    1. It was good. I was proud of the 101 for being so progressive! We also saw kale on display at the San Fran airport at a soup concession stand. It's like serious here.

  4. As always, I love your blog -- I read it in stealth mode though and rarely comment. Although I must post a bit of an errata comment for you ... California is the Golden State (as in Gold Rush), and Florida is the Sunshine State (which is also where I live). For fun, here is a list of the State Nicknames:

    And, yes, I am a teacher. Yeah, we just can't help ourselves. Keep up the fun posts; your posts are always a joy to read!

    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Error fixed! That was on my fact-check list that I refer to before publishing and thought I had just saved the post to review for today, not realizing that I had instead published it! That's a first in my blogging "career"!

      We just got into SF and while getting here was painless, I was more exhausted than I wanted to accept. Jetlag between LA and SF perhaps is possible....who knew?

      Thanks fellow Greener for your comment! ; )

  5. I'm loving your CA posts! No need to feel as if you're cheating on Paris. It's August. All the Parisians have something going on with other cities all over the world. ;) Paris (at least my part of it) feels like a ghost town.

    Enjoy the rest of your honeymoon. Fingers crossed that Aurélien has his star spotting. Who would be his top choice to see?

    1. Thanks Mary Kay! We're having a great time and are loving how funky CA is! We're definitely not in Paris anymore.

      My mom was just in Paris yesterday for work and she was shocked at how quiet it was -- it was also Sunday, but still. She had never believed me how much Paris clears out in August until she saw it for herself. The French really do take their vacations seriously!

  6. wow and it..I was in LA ten years ago and the most amazing thing for me was that I instinctively knew my way around because it was all so familiar from tv and movies..turn right on melrose, go up wiltshire, left on much fun to drive around.
    We stayed at the Loew's in Santa Monica right on the beach...heaven.

    I love LA. looked so relaxed and tanned in the money shot...great feeling right?

    1. Thanks Deb!

      I felt that way too! Every corner seemed familiar because of tv and the movies! I do think LA is an easy town to get around in as long as you know the order of the streets. SF on the other hand (where we are now), not so much. I'll be packin' maps and guides because there is so much to see and we have so little time here!

      I am very relaxed! It's been nice. I'll definitely be ready for work in a few weeks!

  7. I'm glad you enjoyed Hollywood! There is so much more to LA than meets the eye, and there is so much more to Hollywood too!

    1. Hi Quyen! Thanks for your comment! Yes, we had such a good time in LA. I'm glad I was able to show off the ole town for my Frenchie! You're right, there is so much more to Hollywood than meets the eye. : ) It's a special town!

  8. Oh God! The t-shirt thing is priceless!:)

    You know, you DO look tiny!

    (Go easy on the soy. Most of what is sold in North America is genetically modified.)

    God, your post makes me wish I were on holiday someplace sunny!:)

    Are you stopping in NYC on your way back to Paris?

    1. Hahahaha I truly am a dork! Who wears the hotel t-shirt AT the hotel??? I amuse myself even if I'm the only one laughing. I'm glad to have entertained you all. : )

      Yes, I have been going more almond milk than soy but it's not always available. But you're right to go easy on it. Thank you. : )

      Yes, we're back in New York now soaking up the last days of our holiday before it's back to work!

  9. Looks like you're having a fab time! Did A get over himself to buy any music in the end?

    1. Yes, we are having fun! Just ended the trip but I'll be filling you in on some of our holiday tidbits!

      Yeah, he bought the Daft Punk vinyl, an Amoeba tote, Adam Green and Binki Shapiro disc and were offered a few stickers on the house. It was a great trip to my favorite record store!

  10. Love Olympia Dukakis!:))

  11. I laughed out loud at you wearing the t-shirt at the hotel! I wish I could say I was laughing 'with' you but... HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!! You are just as dorky as I am and I love it!

    1. Go ahead and laugh...Aurelien was laughing too! I admit, it was BEYOND dorky but I had to do it. I've had the t-shirt for years and was dying to share it with them!

  12. You look so fab in both photos! I love your style. Glad you guys are having a blast.

    Dying to visit LA now!
    It's not too hot in August?

    Enjoy the rest of your honeymoon :)

    p.s. I've yet to try kale!
    oh and I no longer receive your email updates (why I'm late to commenting). :\ I get your instagrams at least. :)

    1. Thanks D!!

      You have to check it out but before you do, you need to make it back home to NY one of these days! Do you miss the States at all? For you, it's been years! Wow.

      Yes, it was hot, but not too bad because it's really dry out there. We just got back and were sad to leave! California is such a magical place, you need to see it! : )

    2. Yep it's been over 2 years. Can't afford it yet. Will see.. saving up w/ my teaching job but have loans and crap. So, yeah, may be a while!

      The only bit of California I know is performing at the Coachella festival in a giant balloon costume, lol.

      Enjoy the rest of your time in the States L!

  13. The t-shirt staff member incident is funny! Wow!

    So much for the native sense of appreciation and humor...urgggh! Poor Lisa tried to bring back the old memories of the century old boutique.

    Love the photos! you're just fab!


    1. The staff seemed a little confused and were not as amused as I was, as I laughed blatantly at myself! I was SO trying to bring back old mems...hey, what can I say, I'm nostalgic to a fault!

      Thanks so much for your comment, Mlle! I'm glad you enjoyed the snapshots. : )

  14. Hi Ella....just catching up with your honeymoon posts.Sorry I have been absent for a while. As usual very entertaining and I love your pictures, you really transmit the feel of the place.
    As Debbie says, to us foreigners the surreal thing about visiting the US is that everything is strange but familiar , as we a so used to American TV programmes and films. To me it is like being in a larger than life film.

    As you know I missed my San Francisco trip in May but now have rebooked for next April so will look forward to any posts from there. from England