Hopped off the plane at LAX

I’ve always wanted to visit California.

We considered going a few years ago when I had a week vacation from my old job, but we realized it was cheaper to travel outside the country. So we went to Punta Cana instead and got engaged 😉


Well it was finally time to splurge and make the trip to the west coast! Shout out to our accumulated travel points. Last year we traveled to Vegas for Eric’s birthday and this year we celebrated his 26th in Los Angeles (his actual birthday was spent in airports, but ya know…)

Overall, the trip was amazing! Our visit wasn’t nearly long enough, but is it ever?? It didn’t help that we missed the entire first day due to a huge travel mess.

Original plan was Raleigh –> DC (Dulles International Airport) –> LAX

That didn’t happen.


After the most turbulent 6am flight ever and 2 failed landing attempts at Dulles we diverted to Pittsburgh. It was honestly one of the scariest experiences of my life. It felt like we were on a rollercoaster (I love rollercoasters!) but then I remembered we were in the air thousands of feet above ground. So that rollercoaster feeling became a lot less fun. Also, so many people were getting sick because of the turbulence. We were sitting in the very last row right in front of the bathroom — just the place you wanna be in that situation. Except nobody was allowed to get up and use the bathroom because the seatbelt sign never shut off.

I was so happy to finally be on the ground in Pittsburgh! The two flight attendants in the back of the plane told us that was one of the worst flights they’ve ever been on. Super not comforting. But we made it safely to the ground!

We sat around Pittsburgh airport for hours. After missed connections and boarding/de-boarding the plane, our pilot got news that multiple planes had landed at Dulles, so we went for it again. And praise God, we landed! The whole plane cheered. God was seriously on our side because we somehow made it to Los Angeles despite packed out planes and being put on standby for two different flights. My checked bag even made it! Victory!!


We arrived in LA at midnight (aka 3am back home). Naturally, our first stop: tacos.

It was a bit rainy and overcast our first full day, but that didn’t stop us. We took the long, scenic route to find food and ended at a delicious restaurant called Paty’s. So delicious! The mimosas were a great decision.


I know they say California traffic is bad, but I didn’t realize to what level. It wasn’t even as bad as usual because we were there on the weekend. It would take 40 minutes to go 9 miles. I loved California, but I’m not sure I could deal with that on the regular. It does allow you to see a lot of things.


Next stop: Santa Monica! One of my main things in LA was to capture a California sunset. We spent hours walking around Santa Monica beach and the pier. We actually ended up missing the true pink sunset because we thought it was over. We were struggling. The weather and time change had us confused I guess. But we did see it! That’ll just have to be a goal for our next trip.


We tried to do the Warner Brothers Studio Tour on Saturday, but of course tickets were sold out. So we went ahead and purchased our tickets for Sunday morning at 8:30am. I’m still not sure how we all managed to wake up, get ready, and make it there by 8:30, but it was so worth it! Plus they have Starbucks in the lobby, so that definitely helped.


The studio tour was so cool! There are different studio tours in LA, but I think Warner Brothers was the best because they have done so many popular shows and movies. We got a behind the scenes look at where the Hollywood magic happens.

I wish I would have been able to record everything our tour guide said because there was so much! We got to see the front door from Annie, the Alibi Room from Shameless, the church and high school from Pretty Little Liars, the alley from Friends, the Ellen stage, the house from Fuller House, jungle scenes from Jurassic Park, and so much more.

The front of the Alibi Room from “Shameless”
Church from “Pretty Little Liars”
Rosewood High School from “Pretty Little Liars”
The “Fuller House” House
Each stage has a red light like this — when filming the light is lit, so be quiet


Where Ellen stands to do her monologue
Ellen’s stage


Hubby and I hanging out at Central Perk from “Friends”

I have so much respect for those involved in entertainment — it’s amazing what they can do! If you’re ever in LA, the Warner Brothers Studio Tour is a must. But make a reservation or purchase your tickets ahead of time!

So many more pics and tidbits of info I could share, but we’ll leave it here for now!

Demonstrating how they use forced perspective
It was Oscar Sunday, so duh
Screen writing for “Shameless”

Actual fire escapes from New York — wanted them to be authentic

The Hollywood Sign is of course another must do when in Los Angeles. We were planning a hike, but a little bit of birthday celebrations happened… Can’t say no to sangria and guacamole!


Once we got there and saw how long the hike would be, we decided against it. Maybe next time! It was still really awesome to see the sign and the Hollywood Hills.We even drove down Rodeo Drive on the way. Not as impressive as I had imagined, but the houses nearby are gorgeous! I enjoyed getting a glimpse of the California real estate market in real life.


Turns out we were staying a block away from the Academy Awards for Oscar Sunday. We had no idea until we were there and they kept mentioning it at the studio tour. Turns out the Oscars are a pretty big deal in Los Angeles. We were so close to the action that the street our Airbnb was on was actually blocked off. We had to show proof to a cop that we were staying there — that was first. Too bad we didn’t see any celebrities! From now on the Oscars will be way more interesting.

I’m already ready for our next cross country adventure! As long as our flights are much smoother. I’d love to go back to Los Angeles. San Francisco, Laguna Beach, and Napa top the list as well among others. So much to see, so little airline miles! All the more reason we’re working towards financial freedom. So we have the freedom to travel and experience the world! It feels so much better to travel without debt.

Until next time, we’ll be dreaming about (and planning) our next trip!

Where’s your next adventure!?


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