My Style


Study Abroad

Hollywood Hike

Hiking is not exactly a big activity in Florida, as you might have imagined. I have only hiked a handful of times in my life. But what hiking I have done, I have loved! Hiking the Cinque Terre is one of my all-time favorite activities. And when I wasn't freaking out over jumping across large rock crevasses in Barbados, I love hiking there as well. So, when I heard you could do a seven-mile hike to the Hollywood sign, it immediately made my LA bucket list.

There are actually lots of hikes you can do in the Hollywood hills from Griffith Park (many are shorter and easier then the one I did). But for obvious reasons the hike to the famed Hollywood sign is the most popular. I thought the hike was pretty easy, especially when compared to my Cinque Terre and Barbados hikes. It is basically a steady, low-grade climb to the top of Mount Lee (they call it the moderate hike). There are lots of people and dogs (and as I quickly discovered curious coyote, don't worry he was super chill) along the way and there are easy to follow signs.

I had my Uber drive drop me off at the entrance to Griffith Park off Canyon Drive. From this spot you can also explore the Bronson Caves, which are super famous and have been featured in TV series and movies. You can find more detailed directs for this hike here. These were the directions I studied and followed. It felt complicated when I was reading about the hike and I worried I would get lost. But it is so simple once you are on the ground.

The hike takes you to the summit of Mount Lee, which is actually above the sign. If you want the photo op, make sure you take a quick detour down Mount Lee drive, either on your way to the sign or on your way back. Once you turn down Mount Lee drive, you can't miss it. You will see everyone taking selfies lol.

After my hike, I rewarded myself with another LA favorite, Mr. Holmes Bakehouse (you can see all of my favorite LA eateries here).

Have you done the Hollywood Sign hike?


The Huntington

dress // hat // sunnies // bag (similar) // mules

I truly cannot say enough good things about The Huntington. Not only are the botanical gardens and art museum wonderful to visit, they have created a refuge for scholars. I have never worked in such an amazing library with so many wonderful resources and equally wonderful people. This has been such an enjoyable and productive time for me.

But you don't have to be a scholar to enjoy The Huntington. Their gardens and art collections are open to the public six days a week. Surprisingly, almost everyone I met in Pasadena and LA had never been to The Huntington. If you are or going to be in the LA are you should definitely set time aside to visit.

The incredible property and library were built by California railroad tycoon Henry Edwards Huntington and his wife Arabella. Both Henry and Arabella were avid collectors of European art and rare books. Arabella was fascinated by Versailles, while Henry collected books on science and medicine (part of this collection is a scientific history of the Medici dedicated to Anna Maria Luisa, which I was able to read at the library). Following World War I, Arabella and Henry took advantage of the destitute European art market willing to sell almost anything to begin their collection. After Henry's death, the art collection, library, and estate were opened to the public.

In addition to the Huntington's mansion, you can also visit the property's numerous botanical gardens (the Huntingtons were also into collecting plants from around the world). Each has a theme and houses an incredible array of plants from around the world (most I had never seen before). My favorites are the Rose Garden, Chinese Garden, Japanese Garden, and Dessert Garden (I wasn't expecting to love the dessert garden as much as I did).

In addition to several lovely cafes, you can also picnic on the grounds. It is basically the perfect way to spend the day. More importantly, while The Huntington is one of the wealthiest cultural institutions in the country, they devote most of their resources to education and research. Oh and PS, you know they are good people because their gift shop sells Kate Spade picnic accessories.

You probably had never heard of The Huntington, but now you have. And trust me, you should definitely add it to your LA itinerary!


Santa Monica Pier

The famed Santa Monica Pier was on my LA to-do list. Although, I am not really sure why. I honestly did not know much about it or what to expect. But, I had a free morning, knew it was famous, and decided why not? As luck would have it not only does the metro go all the way from Pasadena to Santa Monica, but I also had a friend from Florida who had recently relocated there. He offered to show me around for the morning.

Truth be told, I was disappointed by the actual pier. It was smaller than I had imagined and only had a couple rides and food stands. Fortunately, the rest of the town is lovely and Matt showed me the highlights. We started with a stroll overlooking the ocean (so weird that the beach isn't flat btw) to the famous Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, where we just happened to run into the press day for the new movie Keeping Up with the Joneses.

From there we headed to the pier and down to the water. We ended our morning with mimosas and brunch at the gorgeous Casa del Mar. Santa Monica is a really cute town with great dining and places to shop. After a long brunch Matt had to head out so I did a bit of retail therapy before heading back to Pasadena. 

While in LA, I have struggled to dress appropriately for chilly morning and super sunny, hot days. Especially when I am spending the warmest part of the day outside. I landed on this long-sleeve dress that I had recently purchased from Madewell's Sezane capsule, which you can see more of here. The long sleeves kept me (some what) warm through the morning chill, but the light fabric saved me from the sizzling sun while I explored Santa Monica. I think this dress will look great with tights and a cardigan for true fall weather. 


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