Instagram Hot-Spot: Melrose Avenue

Melrose Ave.

Carrera Cafe – La La Land Mural

I recently went on a Los Angeles photo-taking adventure with my childhood friend Annie and her roommate Sicilia 🙂 Our main goal was to take pictures in front of the La La Land mural on Melrose Ave., after I came across it on my Instagram feed. I immediately thought of Annie because even though she lives in the OC now, she’s always down for adventures in LA, especially when photography is involved. She’s also a sucker for the movie just as much as I am.

Side note: Annie also has a blog and posts about her awesome photography, so you should check her stuff out HERE 😉

A few weeks went by until we were both free to make a trip, and we had it all planned out. I wore a yellow dress to sort-of match the dress Emma Stone wears in the movie and everything! (Don’t judge me). After the outfit-planning, enduring the usual LA traffic and struggle to find parking…we discovered that the mural was gone.  At the time, Coachella was two weeks away, so the wall had been overhauled into a festival-themed Lady Gaga mural. 😦 Not that I don’t love Lady Gaga and no shade on Coachella…but we were just so excited to check out the La La Land mural! So sad. Here are screen shots from Carrera Cafe’s Instagram:

After we took a few moments to mope about the loss of our La La Land opportunity, we still made the most of our time at Carrera Cafe and grabbed ourselves cute lattes. The cafe is well-known for it’s awesome, meme-friendly latte art:

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You best believe I got myself Ryan Gosling latte art to cope.

Paul Smith Wall

As we sipped our coffees next to the popular Lady Gaga wall, we noticed droves of people across the street as well, taking pictures in front of another Instagram-famous spot: the Paul Smith Wall (aka The Pink Wall). It’s a very interesting situation to observe, so I had a very good time people-watching. It’s literally a parking lot for the clothing store. Yet, an abnormal amount of people were hanging out in it with little-to-no intention of actually walking into the store. Their only intention was to take pictures. So odd…so fascinating…very LA. So,we joined the crowd to see what it was all about. Can you blame people for being attracted to a bright pink wall? Forget about the Hollywood sign that’s impossible to get to now-a-days, go to the Pink Wall instead! Haha. Jk…but not really.

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Fred Segal Green Ivy Wall

After partaking in the Paul Smith wall hype, we continued to walk down Melrose Ave. and stumbled upon a wall covered in vines from top to bottom! It was such a pretty green so we made a pit stop. Even as the cars zoomed by, we had no shame in our photoshoot game. A few other girls actually picked up on the photo-op and asked if we could take their pictures too! I don’t think it’s on the typical list of “Instagrammable” spots in L.A., but we thought it was cute, so why not? Do what makes you happy! If you’re curious to know it’s location, it’s the Fred Segal clothing store building on Melrose and North Crescent Heights Blvd. (I definitely looked that up on Google maps right now)

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Made in LA Mural

As we continued our trek down the street, we found a noticeable line (less hype than the Pink Wall though) in front of the Made in LA mural. I ended up not enjoying this one as much, maybe because I was getting hungry lol, the midday heat, or maybe because it wasn’t vibrant pink or green. I’ll never know for sure. A contributing factor could be the pressure we felt with the presence of a line of people waiting for their turn. It was also slightly difficult to capture the whole wall without having to be in the street…so we quickly snapped a few photos and headed on back to the car.

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I’m positive there are plenty more “Instagram Hot Spots” down Melrose Avenue. But after the Made in LA wall, we headed back to the car to check on our parking meter. Definitely don’t want to get a ticket in LA! Then we headed to Arts District/Little Tokyo for some food. But that’s a different blog post 🙂

What “Instagram Hot-Spots” have you been to in LA? I’d like to know 🙂 We do it for the ‘Gram am I right?! No? Okay…lol. In all seriousness, do it for the memories people, not just for the ‘gram!

Sincerely,

Melissa ❤

 

 

2017 So Far: The Year of Yes

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With almost a quarter of 2017 come and gone already, I wanted to take a moment to reflect back on what I’ve experienced so far. I didn’t really make new years resolutions this year, but the one thing I decided was to make an effort to embrace more situations that scare me and make more decisions that make me happy. I purposely made these goals very broad, to allow myself to explore what it is that scares me and makes me happy.

Graduating from the Bunny Slopes – In January, I went on a semi-spontaneous snowboarding trip. It was my second time snowboarding and I was nervous about falling and shortness of breath from the altitude…not far off from the fears I experienced the first time I went snowboarding. Last time, I may have only gone down the bunny slope a total of three times before knocking out in the warm and cozy lodge while the rest of the crew went up the mountain. This time, with some peer pressure…I mean a lot of encouragement from my friends, I embraced the fear of falling and actually allowed myself the opportunity to learn! It was a lot of fun an I’m glad I did it. I also learned new phrases like “Shredding the gnar today bro?” lol.

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Taking on Public Speaking – I did not get into the public relations field because of increased opportunities to speak in front of crowds. It has always been my least favorite part of the profession because I always imagined myself as the person “behind the scenes.” Which, for the most part, is my role. Most of my job is outreach program development, which does require plenty of interaction with people, but on an individual basis. In the past couple of months, I’ve started leading meetings with other departments and making presentations at board meetings on a regular basis. I still struggle with the nervousness, but with every presentation that I complete, I’ve  become a little more comfortable and confident in the way I present my reports. It also helps that I receive such helpful feedback from my colleagues.

Getting Back to My Creative Side – I’ve upped the activity in my DIY, writing and photography side of my brain. This is something that I neglected in 2016. Last year centered around establishing myself at my job, and with that came less trips to Michaels and JoAnns and more nights of unwinding with Netflix. Not saying I didn’t enjoy that, I just miss using my hands to create things! Now that I feel like I’m at a good place in my career, I’ve taken the past few months getting back into finding the time/place to express these creative urges…including maintaining this blog. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m trying! (I’m currently sitting at Barnes & Nobles on a Tuesday evening to force myself  to get this post written). See below for a few photos I captured on some random exploration days I had recently in Los Angeles.

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Saying Yes to Travel – I travelled to Seattle, Washington for the first time in March! Going into the year, I didn’t have any set travel plans, I just knew I wanted to go somewhere. As opportunities to travel come up, I’m making more of an effort to work it into my schedule. I’m a big fan of taking advantage of 3-day weekends and turning them into mini-vacations. I’m also a working adult now that accrues vacation days…so that’s a thing to consider. Luckily, my boss is also awesome and encourages me to take these mini-vacation opportunities. She’s all about making sure the team doesn’t “burn out” and I appreciate that. Anyways, I’m grateful that I was invited to join my friends’ trip to Seattle because it’s been the highlight of my year so far! I’ve had multiple people tell me that they could imagine me loving Seattle, and they weren’t wrong. The only thing that I didn’t enjoy so much was the biting wind chill D: Such cold. Much freeze. I took so many photos in the city, so here are a few for you to browse through:

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Running Past the Pain – Second 10K down. Much more exercise to go. I signed up for A Better World Running‘s Spring Equinox 10K on March 25th as a source of motivation to get back into running. The training process was….hit and miss. I started training 6 weeks out (when I should’ve started 8 weeks out) and on the week prior to the race, I travelled to Seattle and spent that week prepping for the trip and not running. Surprisingly though, I had the best race experience I’ve had to date! Out of the 3 races I’ve done (10K, half marathon, then this 10K), I ran the furthest without stopping, I experienced my runner’s high at 3.5 miles which lasted to the end, I stopped feeling the pain in my shin and ankles at 4 miles, and it was great! We’ll see if 2017 brings another medal to the collection…I’m debating on signing up for another 10K this year.

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And…that’s been some of the highlights of my year thus far. I’m looking forward to doing more scary and exciting things and documenting them here 🙂 I hope you all are have had a productive first quarter of 2017 ❤ Let me know how your goals have been shaping up this year!

Sincerely,

Mez ❤

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Summer Adventures in Los Angeles

I unexpectedly found myself in the “City of Angels” multiple times these past two weeks. On the 13th, I brought my friend Vanessa to accompany me while I interviewed for a marketing internship in Westwood Village. In order to avoid the usual traffic with the additional fear of added traffic from UCLA’s graduation, we arrived about two hours early for my interview and ended up exploring the shops around the area before I headed to my interview. The interview was walking distance from the central area of cute boutiques, cafes and trendy food stops. Me and Vanessa ended up eating “lunner” at Native Foods Cafe, a vegan-based restaurant. Being the vegetarian I am, I was excited to share this place that I discovered that past weekend while eating with a couple of friends prior to heading to a bonfire in the area. I ordered a Twister Wrap accompanied by sweet potato fries and lavender lemonade. I unexpectedly loved their lavender lemonade. I have been wary about lavender-flavored things because of an odd experience I had with lavender ice cream that I tried during a vacation in Berkeley, California. Anyways, I digress. Below is a picture of the delectable wrap that I enjoyed that afternoon.

Amazing all-vegan Twister wrap, Sweet Potato Fries from Heaven and refreshing lavender lemonade ❤

On the 17th, I took the Metro (public transportation system) to Hollywood with my aunt and cousin. It was the first time I had ever taken public transportation to this area and it definitely was an experience. It took about an hour and a half to arrive at Hollywood and Highland. If you are unfamiliar with the area, this stop brought us right to the heart of Hollywood. We were on the street where the Dolby Theatre, El Capitan Theatre, Chinese Theatre, Hollywood Walk of Fame and Madam Tussauds Wax Museum is. It was interesting to step into the shoes of a tourist because even though I have lived in Los Angeles County all my life, I never really took the time to really explore the areas LA is famous for.

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A couple of days later on the 19th, my friend Joseph and I found ourselves at what I now believe is my favorite spot in Downtown LA: The Last Bookstore. If you are ever exploring DTLA, make a visit! It’s a wonderful place to get lost for an hour or two. Not only are there a variety of books to choose from (at bargain prices!), but there are events that are held there and art displays on the top floor. Me and Joseph decided to go because we were talking the night before about how we both wanted to find new books to continue our summer leisure reading. We spent about three hours in there roaming around. It got a bit stressful when I couldn’t find several books on a list I was referring to. But not to fear, we both found a book in the end! I loved everything about the place; the quirkiness and artistic, cafe-esque atmosphere was right up my alley.

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After spending an unexpected and ridiculous amount of time in the bookstore, we visited Little Tokyo to have a late lunch. It was a warm and clear day in LA, so it was perfect walking weather. We ate at a small mom and pop restaurant…with a name I seem to have forgotten. But none the less, it was delicious. I got vegetable udon noodle soup which was delicious!

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After returning home from Little Tokyo, I ended up leaving not very long after to go back to the LA area with my girl friends.  We got together to visit Vanessa (previously mentioned above) at Loyola Marymount University and enjoy happy hour at Buffalo Wild Wings. It was the first time in a long while we were able to get together, minus our friend Kristina, who was being an awesome human being and volunteering as a camp activities coordinator for the Ronald McDonald for Good Times summer camp. We ate dinner and specifically calculated our time to finish dinner at the beginning of happy hour 😛

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After a few drinks, we found ourselves a few doors down at Dave & Buster’s. We took some fun photo booth pictures and played games until closing.

Photo booth silliness <3
Photo booth silliness ❤

All-in-all, I had a great week of unexpected LA adventures and I couldn’t be happier about it. I loved the spontaneity of it all. I am definitely taking this summer to unwind, relax and enjoy the company of my family and friends. It has been a great year and I had the pleasure of witnessing a lot of my friends graduate from college. We are all finally home this summer to live it up as much as possible! I hope you enjoyed recounting my LA adventures 🙂 I’m sure I’ll have more adventures to share through out the season.

Sincerely,

Mez ❤