Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Like the Locals Do

Sandwiched between all the rehearsal and work that's consumed my life over the past two weeks, Alex and I have been constantly thinking, talking about and planning our trip to Europe coming up this April.

If food in all its many forms is my true love, I'd deem travel its gorgeous twin sister who's twice the fun, and adds substantially to the fantastic flavor!!

One thing I've never been a huge fan of while traveling is living like a tourist. By that, I mean limiting my exploration of a place to the monuments and parts of town highlighted in guidebooks or posted in high traffic areas on the internet as "THE TOP 10 PLACES TO SEE IN CITY X!" 

Shoot me: I think that's why I couldn't bring myself to love Venice, Italy.

BUT... Put me with a local who knows the ins, outs and secret dive bars of a place, and I'll show you some city love!

Venice natives, anyone? ;)

A few of my favorite instances:

In Paris, an unassuming young native man took a group of us [literally] underground to a maze of secret caverns dating back to the French Revolution. In the 18th century, they were used as a top secret means of traversing the city. Today, they've been transformed into a private party lair.

On the same jaunt across the Atlantic, we visited my hip n' awesome aunt and uncle in Istanbul, Turkey, where VIP treatment was on the agenda. Despite being unable to comprehend a lick of Turkish, Istanbul sits proudly on my list of top 3 cities in the world.

Thanks to the locals' tour, of course :)

When Alex and I took our first trip to Guadalajara, Mexico, we were hosted by his childhood buddies who were- you guessed it- natives through and through.

Though I wish I could have communicated a little better with the group (I should really learn Spanish), we had a ball nonetheless and saw some really amazing sites!

(yes, bars count)

All these thoughts about natives and locals got me thinking about life in Los Angeles.

There are plenty of preconceived notions about this place- the glitz of Hollywood, rows of palm trees, bronzed beauties, spotting Lindsay Lohan on every corner.

Sometimes the stereotypes are right on, but more often than not, people wrongly see LA as a diamond-encrusted celebrity playground. Sorry to crush your dreams (hey, mine were), but 87% of the city is far from it.

Which is why I'd like to set the record straight and show you an example of a typical day lived like a local in the City of Angels.

If any of you are planning a trip soon: a, you should let me know and we could meet up for lunch- I'm always looking for excuses to break my newly-imposed "no dining out" rule. And b, by checking this page, you might find a of couple ideas off the beaten track.


First, wake up, open the window (if it's not already) and revel in the sunshine and 70 degree morning temperatures you're enjoying in the "dead of winter."

After throwing on some workout garb, dash off to meet the bff or honey at your favorite neighborhood spot for a little brunch al fresco.

Since many of us are health conscious out here on the best west coast, maybe opt for a chai tea latte over coffee...

Might I suggest, however, straying from your generally healthy ways when it comes time for the main course (you are on vacation after all) by ordering the homemade garden burger florentine.

After brunch, decide to live dangerously and take a hike. 

Your trail options are endless.

Seeing as we're trend setters out here, you should always take the path less travelled.

And never, ever give up 'til you've reached the top.

If you're lucky, the smog won't obscure your view too much but regardless, you'll like what you see!

Maybe do a little yoga for Zen's sake.

Practice makes perfect ;)

After the hike, drive on over (while obtaining involuntary sun burn on your left arm)

to the local grocer.

(Though a farmers market is ideal if you know of one.)

Stock up on some healthy produce and goodies for a casual dinner at home later.


Since traveling is all about it, try something new:

Maybe you'll like it, maybe you won't- but at least you'll know you stretched yourself outside your standard comfort zone!  (I thought the coconut juice + lime was pretty tasty)

If you're lucky enough to be staying with a host who owns a juicer, go straight to the kitchen upon arriving "home" and squeeze out some of that green.

Drink it like a classy lady (or gentleman)

while lounging with the windows open, a breeze blowing in and the sun shining.

If you've still got time to kill in the daylight, head to your local thrift shop for some secondhand furniture shopping.

I suppose you can't fit a bureau in your carry-on luggage, but I'm sure your host would greatly appreciate the excellent taste and input you have to contribute to her purchase...

If the weather's just as nice the next day: GET THEE TO THE BEACH!

And that, my friends, is how the locals do it.

I'm curious about the town you live in. 

What off-the-beaten-track activity would you suggest to someone visiting? 

The more obscure, the better...

(If you've been to Prague, Budapest or Dubrovnik, Croatia, Alex and I are actively searching for suggestions there!!)

Alright, I'm heading out to check off my grossly backed-up to do list.

*** I know my updates have been somewhat sporadic lately, but don't you worry: once the show opens this weekend, I'll be back in full blogging force with cleanse updates and new recipes come next Monday :) 


  1. o-m-g. you clearly live in the best city of all time. and that boyfriend of yours, he just seems so awesome. must be nice to live in the best city ever.

  2. What beautiful pictures!! I love the fun that you and your man have. It is so heart warming and sweet!!

    What a beautiful city :)


  3. I totally love this post! I'll do one about living in Newcastle,England :-)

  4. there are swing sets on the beach there? *blinks* why is this brand new information? that is awesome. i'm coming back ASAP, for serious.

  5. I somehow managed to perfect the "Karate Kid" crane.


  6. Holy moley -- coconut juice with lime! Gotta try it!

    Hmm, I would put museums near the top of the LA "to-do" list.

  7. Love it..... too bad it is freaking 3 c in montpellier- too cold. love you and this post beaucoup!!!!!!