My Visit to So Cal – September 2013

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I am back! I am officially a Cali girl. Haha, just kidding. But yeah, I can finally say that I have been on both coasts. My friend, Josh, wanted to show me that West Coast is so much better than the East Coast. I’ll let you know which coast I thought was better at the end of the post so keep reading.

My flight from Chicago to LA was on Wednesday afternoon. Not wanting to miss it, I came to the airport early. Like, way early. It’s okay though because O’hare is an awesome airport and has a lot of cool places to check out. Since I hadn’t eaten since breakfast at 7am that morning, I was hungry for some lunch and was able to get Chilis! Yeah, normal restaurant price too. Whew.

Chilis in O'hare Chicago airport

I was really surprised by how little anxiety I felt. The last time I went on the plane was when I went on my New York City trip in April. I was not nervous nor anxious this time even though this flight was a lot longer than the NYC one and I was going alone. So that’s a win! I think it might be because the guy sitting by the window closed the shutter as soon as we took off. Not seeing that we are actually in the air might have helped.

Photography by Kamila Gornia

Between mini-naps on the plane, I got hungry for something sweet and I was glad to have seen this yummy Hersheys bar in an airport store. It was pricier than a convenience store but I haven’t had aerated chocolate since I was a child in Poland! Memories!

Hersheys aerated chocolate bar

I arrived at LAX earlier than expected by about 30 minutes. Unfortunately that meant I had to wait extra. I was meeting up with Josh at the airport since he was coming in too but from Madison, WI -> San Francisco. I got bored…

Photography by Kamila Gornia

Then apparently he found out the plane he was taking to LAX kept getting delayed because it had a flat tire. Now instead of getting to LAX at 8:30pm, he wasn’t planned to get in until 11:56pm. I basically had to wait around in the airport for around 5 hours. Fun first night in Los Angeles, huh? Haha. Josh kept nudging me to go and get dinner and drinks since I’m waiting so in the middle of watching Once Upon a Time on Netflix using my lovely Verizon hotspot (thanks again, Verizon, what would I do without you!?) I went to the airport restaurant and got myself some Cod Tacos with a Jameson & Ginger Ale, my typical drink.

Fish Tacos in Los Angeles airportWell, the tacos here are different than Chicago. The tortilla is huge and it was more like smallish burritos rather than tacos, haha. The fish was good though and it filled me up for the night.

When Josh finally got the airport, we met up, got picked up and went to the hotel in Pasadena, CA. Nothing too exciting was happening that night but it was cool to see the palm trees since I hadn’t ever seen those before.

Thursday morning, after a barely-slept night on the couch, Josh and I ventured into the Pasadena heat in search of breakfast. We found some breakfast joint a couple of blocks away and got our egg fix. It was my first time trying Eggs Benedict!

Eggs benedict in Pasadena, CA

I’ll admit – Eggs Benedict are not my thing. It wasn’t bad, but it’s just not for me.

We gathered our things and went to Josh’s cousin’s house in Pasadena. They left and him and I hung out at their pool and just relaxed while waiting for his girl cousin to get back so the three of us can go to Hollywood and check into the next hotel.

LA Lakers hatThis hat was protecting my head from the heat. It was like 105 degrees outside but since it was barely even humid, it felt amazing. It felt like 85F feels in Chicago. It was nuts. I didn’t bring my swimsuit so I didn’t really tan but we just hung out and played some ping pong. Good times.

Later, we got to The W in Hollywood. The hotel is really something. It’s beautiful.

The W HollywoodThe room was really nice too and I loved that it had a window seat thingy.

The W Hollywood

We hung out for a bit and got a bit ready and went for early dinner at a nearby Sushi restaurant which is supposed to be really hot right now in the area. It’s called Katsuya. It was pretty awesome. When you come in, they have this bar section with these glass statues in the middle with white knives inside them.

Katsuya Sushi HollywoodWe hung out at the bar while they prepared the dining area for dinner. We came pretty early and I guess they weren’t ready yet. The drinks were ALL amazing. We tried the Grapefruit Martini, Strawberry drink and some cucumber martini drink. I forgot the exact names of each but they were all really good, surprisingly. Like, every single one.

Drinks in Katsuya Sushi HollywoodDinner time and we ordered a bunch of stuff. Also, since Josh knew someone who knew the manager we got an order of crispy rice and brussels sprouts complimentary. Every single thing was delicious. It wasn’t mind blowing but it was really really good. The crispy rice was really good and I can see why it’s “the first thing everyone orders.”

Katsuya Sushi Hollywood

The W in Hollywood is right by the sidewalk with the stars. I forgot what that’s called. But yeah, it was pretty neat to see that in person!

Photography by Kamila Gornia

Photography by Kamila Gornia Photography by Kamila Gornia

Afterwards, we relaxed in a mini food coma, started pregaming and went out to Greystone Manor.

Greystone Manor HollywoodGreystone Manor Hollywood

Friday, we went back to Pasadena to pick up the rest of the cousins and started to venture out towards San Diego. There were some gorgeous views on our way there. I’d never seen mountains before so that was a sight in itself!

Photography by Kamila Gornia Photography by Kamila Gornia

We saw the Miller Lite production plant on our way there.

Photography by Kamila Gornia

And we saw boob shaped thingies. And sorry, that’s not my foot lol, it’s Josh’s reflection in the window.

Photography by Kamila Gornia

We stopped at In-N Out Burger on our way! I know it’s a hugely popular West Coast burger place and it’s a thing you just have to try when you’re there so I wasn’t gonna miss out on that one. I’m not a fast food person in any means but I had to see what the fuss was all about.

In-N Out Burger In-N Out Burger The burger was good! I mean, I can’t really compare it to anything since I don’t ever eat fast food and I don’t remember the last time I had a fast food burger, I usually eat craft burgers and those are obviously very much different. But it was really good for a fast food thing and I enjoyed it thoroughly!

A bit later, we stopped at their Aunt and Grandma’s house and went by the beach. They have private access beach so it was rather empty and just beautiful. My first time seeing the ocean. Now I can see why people laugh when they see the Lake Michigan beaches in Chicago. It does not even compare.

SoCal beach SoCal beach SoCal beach

Simly beautiful. So serene.

SoCal beach

Alright, time for San Diego! Woopee! We stayed at The Westin in downtown San Diego.

San DiegoWe pregamed and went out for the night! We went to Bassmnt in San Diego, followed by some hookah bar that stays open till 4 since they don’t serve alcohol there. It was weird that every single place in CA stays open only until 2am. But that’s probably perfect for me since I’m a grandma and I usually stay at bars until around that time anyway haha.

Didn’t get much sleep that night, woke up around 9am and got ready to go back to the airport and fly back home.

San Diego


My thoughts?

I liked it but definitely will have to go back and actually see more of California in terms of sight seeing since I didn’t do any of that during this particular trip. As much as I like going out, I like touristy stuff too. My mom thinks she would want to live in California so I bet I will make a visit back here sooner than later. Also, from what I’ve seen (aka not that much) I liked the atmosphere of San Diego much more than I did of Los Angeles, or at least Hollywood, which is the only part of LA I saw.

At first I thought I couldn’t live here since it’s warm all the time and I like my seasons but after leaving and getting to Chicago on Saturday night – it was gloomy all day Sunday and now it is super hot and humid, it makes me miss California. Maybe I could live there after all.

Is West Coast better than East coast? Hard to say. I didn’t actually SEE the East Coast, just NYC – which I fell in love with right away. West Coast is beautiful but I don’t know how I feel about the same kind of weather year-round.

I do want to see San Francisco next. But I guess Minnesota this coming weekend will do! 🙂 Hopefully I will get to see SanFran by the end of the year still! Fingers crossed.

Now it’s your turn:

  • How was your weekend?
  • Have you ever been to SoCal? Which do city do you like better- LA or San Diego?

Let me know in the comments!

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Health and Fitness Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product

Last Updated on March 29, 2019

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  1. Looks like you pretty much did all you could in LA except you totally didn’t take a TMZ tour or a tour of WB or Paramount! LOL! Or oh wait, you didn’t tell me you were going to be in TOWN – then I totally could have REALLY shown you around! 😉

    • You know what, next time I come I am hitting you up and it’s happening! I bet I will make my way out there sooner than later, especially since one of my really good friends is moving to LA in February too. So yes, this is gonna happen! haha I can’t believe I was right down the street from you too and didn’t even realize it. Womp.

  2. Looks like you had a great trip, and I’m SOOO glad you got to experience an In ‘N Out burger! That is the only fast food burger I will touch!

  3. I just love Southern California! Honestly, I don’t really understand the hype about In ‘n Out… I suppose they’re pretty good for fast food, like you said, but nothing spectacular. You got some beautiful photos!

  4. I’m not sure of your choice of basketball team in your cap, but I love all the other pictures! 😉 Some of the best Mexican food I ever had was in California, yum!

  5. Incredible pictures! My favorites probably are the celebrity stars and all of the food! Lol. The white knives encased in glass is pretty interesting too.

    Sounds like a great visit 🙂

  6. What an amazing trip! I’m a San Diego fan myself (can’t take LA traffic), but you have me wanting to go back to LA too. Overall, I need an In and Out Burger STAT!

  7. SO JEALOUS! I’d love to go to the states..and to in and out burger haha.

  8. Sounds like you had a lot of fun on your trip! I’ve never been to LA but visited San Francisco this past fall and had a great time : ) Now if only we had a vacation of any kind planned anytime soon … sigh. lol.

  9. Great trip recap! I’m from near San Francisco and my extended family lives near LA, so I totally know what you mean about loving SoCal. Such great weather! I am personally not in love with LA the city, but I love certain spots and the beaches in San Diego are incredible!

    Also, funny that Josh was flying in from Madison–my boyfriend is also from Wisconsin!

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  11. Sounds like you had a good time. I love SoCal and planned to move there after I’m done with school. I am probably the minority but I think it’s so much better then NYC. Maybe I’m just over NYC since I’ve been here my whole life but I just loved everything about it. I like LA the best, I’m not a fan is the weather in San Diego. Also there is a lot more to LA and the surrounding areas that I really like.

  12. Your pictures are so beautiful!!! 🙂 Looking at them is changing my mind and thinking CA is not that bad 😉 … San Diego is differently way better than LA…more chill and laid-back vibe…and the water is cleaner 🙂 In-n-Out is awesome! Next time you go check out their “secret” menu 😉

  13. I live in LA and LOVE it, but I the Hollywood. Next time you are here I’ll give ya a what to see and do list:)
    Incidentally, I also loooove Chicago.

  14. This sounds crazy, but I’ve never been to CA, but I know, I just know I want to move there. See ya, winter, hello sunny skies!

    • That’s not weird, that’s how I was with NYC. I thought I would wanna live there even before visiting. I doubt it’s gonna happen cause it’s outrageously expensive but hey a girl can dream. On the other hand, my mom knows she wants to live in California too even though she’s never been.

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