4/19/16

Travel Recap: Los Angeles

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I've found travel posts from my blogger friends quite helpful in planning and packing for my own trips, so I wanted to share a little about our Spring Break trip today. I'm also linking up with Momfessionals for "A Day in the Life," but really you're getting about 4 days worth here! Not exactly my typical day, but the ones worth remembering!

Day Three: 

What We Did: Road Trip + Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Family Rating: 4 Stars out of 5 (for the Walk of Fame). While it's not really spectacular, it's iconic and fun to see in person. The kids had fun finding celebrity names they recognized (e.g. Harrison Ford) and especially comparing their handprints to the ones outside Mann's Chinese Theatre. Minus one star for lack of convenient public bathrooms and the fact that the area in general didn't feel that clean or safe.

What I Wore:
Tee: Express | Jeans: Express (Similar) | Long Necklace: LOFT | Short Necklace: c/o Kendra ScottRing: Rebecca Minkoff (Gift) | Sandals: Nordstrom

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Outfit Notes: My car ride outfit was easy and comfy, and it transitioned easily into our evening outing by changing into sneakers and adding a jacket (same as in Day Two outfit below).


Day Two: 

What We Did: Universal Studios Hollywood

Family Rating: 5 Stars. We didn't even realize that Harry Potter World had just opened up at Universal Studios here just a week prior, so my kids were excited to be among the first to experience that. Every ride and every attraction (in the whole park!) was just top quality and enjoyable for the whole family. It's worth noting that my kids are 3rd and 4th Graders. I wouldn't recommend it for kids under 48" tall since they won't be allowed on most of the rides. Actually I don't think kids much younger than 1st/2nd Grade will appreciate a lot of attractions there (like the Studio Tour). I noticed there were a lot more teenagers at the park than younger kids!

What I Wore:
Jacket: Express (Similar) | Tee: Target | Necklace: Express | Jeans: Express | Bag: Aldo (Similar) / Shoes: Nike Internationalist

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Outfit Notes: We did more walking this day than on any other day. I was so glad I wore real sneakers and not just Converse.


Day Three:

What We Did: "A Day in LA" Bus Tour + Santa Monica Pier

Family Rating: 5 Stars. This was my personal favorite activity of the trip! (Kids rated this second place after Universal Studios, but still gave it 5 Stars.) We got to see so many different parts of the Los Angeles area (Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, The Grove, Griffith Park Observatory and Hollywood) without having to deal with driving and parking in LA traffic. Plus, our driver/tour guide (Harrison, in case you want to request him) was totally entertaining and informative. We learned a lot about the LA area and its history. We had plenty of stops with time to explore (and the driver always informed us of public bathroom locations at each stop) so even though it was a very full day (9:30-5:00), it flew by and I never felt like I was sitting on the bus for too long. I was worried my kids would get a little bored but they were riveted the whole time. When the tour ended it was peak rush hour traffic time so we stayed in Santa Monica, had dinner, and explored the Pier and downtown area for a couple of hours before heading back.

What I Wore:
Tee: Nordstrom | Necklace: LOFT | Jeans: ExpressShoes: Nordstrom | Hat: Target (In Store)

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Outfit Notes: It was probably a mistake to travel with this tee because it wrinkled terribly in my suitcase (see front view below) and I really didn't have time or desire to iron this in the morning on the way out the door. Aside from that, my outfit worked well for the bus tour. All of our 30-60 minute bus stops added up to a lot more walking than I expected, so my Nikes would have been better this day too, but it wasn't bad in Converse.


Day Four:

What We Did: The Getty CenterHollywood Hike at Griffith Park

View of the Getty Center Gardens

Family Ratings:

Getty Center: 3 Stars. This is the top-rated LA Activity on Trip Advisor so we decided to see what the fuss was about even though it didn't sound especially kid-friendly. Unfortunately my instincts were right. Unless your kids are very interested in art and architecture, this will be a little boring for them. Mine were not interested in looking at things like Louis XIV tapestries. The garden was beautiful and we enjoyed walking through it and we appreciated the building architecture, but that's about it. I personally wouldn't tell other families with similar-age kids that it's a must-see in LA.

Hollywood Hike: 4 Stars.  This hike is not an easy one and you can't actually get that close to the Hollywood sign (without getting arrested I hear), but the views are really incredible. Minus one star for lack of clear signs on and around the hiking trail. Luckily some regulars were around to tell us which path to take at various points since there are multiple options with no indication of how long/difficult each trail is or where it ends.

What I Wore:
Workout clothes. (No outfit pics from that day unless you saw them on Snapchat!) I was under- dressed in such casual attire at the Getty Center and felt a little uncomfortable about it, but I knew we were going on the hike directly from there. I suppose I could have worn something slightly nicer and changed clothes in the car, but it didn't seem worth the hassle.


Day Five:

What We Did: Road Trip Home

What I Wore:
Jacket: Express (Similar) | Tee: Old NavyNecklace: Express | Jeans: Express (Similar) | Sandals: Nordstrom

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Outfit Notes: Simple, easy and comfortable for the ride home!

Front View:


Before packing for this trip, I reviewed my own posts from my last two family trips (e.g. San Francisco and Oregon Coast) and it was helpful to see I have this travel style formula of neutral, basic t-shirts and jeans with a couple of jacket options (I also brought a warmer jacket on this trip that I didn't need to wear) that seems to work for each trip. And I needed the reminders from those posts that comfortable shoes are everything! Going forward, I also have to remind myself not to worry about having Instagram/Blogworthy outfits for every day or occasion when I travel. When I start packing I start to think, "These outfits are so boring and repetitive." But when I think back on the trips we've taken I don't think, "My outfits were great on that trip." I think, "We had so much fun learning about Alcatraz/riding the Jurassic Park Ride, etc." So there's a little reminder to my future self the next time I'm stressing about outfits for a trip! Just grab some jeans, t-shirts, sneakers and jackets and go have fun!


Linking up with:
ErikaAndreaNarci | JoLynne | Katie | Megan | Lindsey | Amanda | AnnieNatalie

CONVERSATION

28 comments:

  1. So fun to read and I really cannot wait to visit again. I really loved Venice Beach and Santa Monica.

    xo
    PinkSole

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  2. Sounds like a great trip! I so need to get here one day :)

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  3. Sounds like a perfect family vacation! Your recap is so helpful! I've always wanted to go to LA for vacation and I'm going to have to save this for a reference.

    Jill
    Doused In Pink

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  4. Great post and lovely outfits, Gina! I enjoyed your trip on snapchat :D

    -Tatiana
    We Shop in Heels

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  5. This was so informative. I'm planning to go to LA this sumer with my 5years old, and I will definitely take a Bus tour, sounds like fun. xx
    Nina
    http://www.ninasstyleblog.com

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  6. I loved following your LA adventures on Snap! :) And of course you looked so cool- killer classic street style!

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

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  7. So fun! You've seen more of LA than I have, and I was born there! Well, the San Fernando valley anyway ;) I really want to do a bus tour because although I've been to places like Santa Monica, Venice, and Beverly Hills, I've never seen them all in one day and I think that would be enjoyable. I also really want to take blog pictures at the Getty center! So beautiful! I think your outfits are perfect for travel. I pack similarly, because comfort is key for sightseeing.

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    1. I definitely think you would really enjoy the bus tour! There's just so much LA/California history that they share all along the way that's fascinating and that I'd never know on my own just driving through town. Plus it's just so convenient to have someone else do the navigating and drop off/pick up so you don't have to find parking.

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  8. I am with you on the jeans and tee - and Sam Edelman's are comfortable sandals for traveling/exploring. Santa Monica was one my favorite locations in LA - but it has been several years.

    Lisa
    Daily Style Finds

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  9. Sounds fun! I wish I would have remembered to check snap chat for your updates! Grr. Totally thought of you when packing my bag for Vegas this past weekend. Great tips you've shared in the past here.

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    1. Well now I can't wait to hear your trip recap! :)

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  10. Sounds like you guys had a great time! I've always wanted to do that hike. I didn't realize it was so hard though!

    Nicole
    Nicole to the Nines

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    1. It's not terrible...I am probably just a wimp when it comes to hiking! It was definitely a workout and not just a nice nature stroll though!

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  11. I really enjoyed following along your vacation on Snapchat. You may have been dressed super casual by your standards, but I'm impressed by how fashionable you remained. I'm really looking forward to going to the Harry Potter World, but I know that I need to wait a few years, especially now that I know that there is a height requirement on most of the rides. I'm still looking forward to reading the books with my son. I would love to know when your boys first started getting into Harry Potter.

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    1. Ha, this is funny because my boys actually aren't that into Harry Potter! They are avid readers, but both of them read the first book and just weren't into the series after that. (I know...kind of surprising!) I think second grade was when they each read the first book and when their peer group really started getting into that particular series. But despite not being into the books they still enjoyed the rides and the whole setting of Harry Potter World.

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  12. exactly! seriously, love the last part. i have tried to make cute/blogworthy outfits before and i almost always end up reaching for the more simple outfits or regretting the cute but not very comfortable outfits. i never look at photos or look back on memories and remember my outfit, unless it was a situation like you said at the getty in your workout clothes, not that it's a bad thing but you might remember that you felt uncomfortable but it was because of the hike. so who cares about boring or repetitive! yay! anyway. so good to hear about universal, maybe KC and I should go there next time instead of the florida one, which we loved. My mum wants to go to the LA universal when she comes to the US in a few months and I keep telling her she won't like it but she's not listening to me. She HATES rides. like she went on the spinning teacups in disneyland because it was a dream of hers and then she was like never again! haha. she's a weirdo.

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    1. Cute outfits just don't travel that well and I do not want to spend my vacation ironing stuff that got wrinkled in the suitcase and keeping it all perfect all day!

      You know, I don't know how different LA and Orlando Universal are but I don't feel like we went on a ton of "rides." My kids don't like roller coasters, so we only went on two things that resembled a roller coaster. One- the Harry Potter motion ride (not the roller coaster). That made me sick (and roller coasters don't usually make me motion sick!) but my kids loved it. Two - The Jurassic Park ride. It's mostly like floating down a lazy river with a big drop at the end. (We sat in the back so I only got small splashes of water - didn't want to get soaked!) Other than those we went to a bunch of shows and did the Studio Tour (which is a tram ride but not a roller coaster at all). So that's my long way of saying I think your mom might have enough to do without going on all the rides!

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  13. I would love to see all the stars in person one day! Bummer they don't keep it clean though, you'd think they would!
    www.amemoryofus.com

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    1. Well, I shouldn't make it sound like it's terrible! It's really not terribly unclean. But compared to a lot o the other areas on the trip (e.g. downtown Santa Monica and of course, Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive!) it just wasn't the best. :)

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  14. I loved watching your adventures on Snap, you guys definitely were having an amazing time! I saw some familiar places from my trip to Hollywood such as the Walk of Fame. I recall the characters in front of that theater dressed up as this or that famous person. It truly is intriguing to look at all of the stars up and down that street. Seems to me one can visit Cali over and over again and still experience something new. Can't wait to go back! Your attire for the trip is perfect girl, at the end of the day it's all about having fun with the family..don't worry about blogland, we're always here for you :)

    www.dressed2dnines.com

    www.dressed2dnines.com

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  15. I love travel guides and we love our LA visits. Great share! xo ~ Megan The Fashionista Momma

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  16. This is helpful! LA is one of the places I really want to visit. The bus tour sounds like a perfect way to see everything. Glad Universal Studios was such a hit. Your travel outfits are perfect.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

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  17. you always have the best hand bags! very cute!

    kelseybang.com

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  18. Love your sandals and jacket! Beautiful!

    xo, mikéla / simplydavelyn.com

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  19. You definitely know how to dress for a casual day exploring! These posts are always so helpful. Hopefully I will make it to LA soon
    Carly from Dresses & Denim

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  20. Of all the times I've been to LA, I never get to do touristy stuff! The bus tour sounds fun! Every bus tour I've done in other cities has been so worthwhile! I will need to break away from family at some point to do that! And amen to keeping it simple when packing. I'm a firm believer in not checking bags unless physically impossible, and the only way to do that is with basics and remixing! I have a week to pack for in Orlando next week and I'm kind of thinking about closing my eyes and throwing stuff in a bag!!!!
    Carylee | http://morepiecesofme.com

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  21. We're going to San Diego this week and this post is reminding me that I need some cuter walking sneakers!! It's also reminding me that I can still look cute with simpler, comfier outfits!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment! I sincerely appreciate each and every one and always do my best to answer questions promptly!