Tag Archives: los angeles

2 months of life in 43 pictures.

I promise this is my last post about being in California. I was going to detail every single day from waking up to going to sleep, but decided that everyone would be so overwhelmed with excitement that you’d pass out before making it through every post. So I compromised. Below are 43 pictures that pretty accurately describe my time in SoCal. Enjoy.

LA. I used a filter, but it’s about that smoggy anyway.

They have the coolest street names.

And some of the most famous.

The generic tourist pose. Not getting the sign in your hands.

Chinese Theatre filled with tourists.

Once again, I’m a tourist.

They really put us interns to work.

We didn’t really work much though.

See? Told you. This is at 9:30 AM.

And then at the end, we had a beach party.

Our team enjoying the last few days of our internship.

Oh and one day this is where we ate lunch. No tables. Kind of a bitch.

Each Sunday I sat, read, and normally fell asleep underneath this palm tree on the Santa Monica cliffs.

Leo Cabrillo State Park  has awesome rocks and cliffs that often collapse on people.


There’s no way you can live here without taking the generic lifeguard stand beach pic.

This dude didn’t even care.

Venice Beach.

Those are my feet because I’m artsy.

The snazzy Santa Monica Pier.

Why is it awesome? Free Thursday night concerts on the beach.

And this badass Ferris Wheel.

One weekend I went to San Diego because my girlfriend was visiting.

This is the amazing house we were at. That’s an outdoor living room. Such a thing is unheard of in Pittsburgh. And mostly everywhere in the country.

Another concert on the beach.

Mmmm eating a breakfast burrito and watching surfers.

This house has no relevance to my trip except that it’s sweet.

But this is more awesome.

One night I went to a bar with some friends. One by one, Waldos walked in until they filled three-quarters of the bar. I have no idea who any of these people are or why they were there, but as you can see I’m thrilled about it.

Burgers. In my mouth.

Fourth of July rocked.

A girl at work wore these. They’re as cool as America and as impractical as a phonograph.


I lived really close to Malibu.

So one day my roommates and I took a hike.

This pond was cool.

And so was this view. However to get to this view, we took a wrong turn but kept going. Essentially, we free climbed up the side of a very, very dry mountain, hopped a fence into private property, hopped two gates that said “No Trespassing”, then walked about 2.5 miles until we could hitchhike back to the car. So that was a weird day.

Pepperdine University is in Malibu. Most beautiful campus I’ve ever been on. There’s absolutely nothing around it though.

Malibu Lagoon. Ignore the woman reading. She snuck into the frame.

One night there was the most beautiful sunset I’d ever seen. I was running on the Santa Monica cliffs as it set over the water and made the clouds orange, yellow, pink, purple, and blue all at the same time. Every single person was taking pictures of it. I turned and looked behind me to see a huge rainbow on the other side. It was incredible.

So naturally I didn’t have my phone and missed it. This is what my roommate got from a golf course.

There’s nothing like seeing the sunset behind the mountains.

Or over the ocean. (This was my last run of the summer there, down on the beach.)

Lots of other things happened while I was there, but that’s pretty much the gist of it. Work, beach, play. All day everyday. It’s definitely not the worst place in the world because it’s actually the best place in the world. Well, at least for two months in the summer when you’re 22.

Next up, the trip home. Spoiler alert: we didn’t go to Toledo.

And if you’ve stuck it out this far through the post, I give you this Fourth of July gem. Go America.

14 things I learned about living in LA (celebrities not included)

I quickly realized that my apartment was an anomaly (which means different from the norm for my uneducated friends) since I was paying only (yes, only) $950 a month and got my own room, bathroom, and an underground parking spot. Plus free laundry was in the apartment (not the complex, the actual apartment). And it was nice and new. Turns out there aren’t a lot of old things in Los Angeles. Spoiled.

The apartment was located in West LA where it meets Brentwood and Santa Monica. Sounds great, right? It was. 3 miles from the beach and right on Santa Monica Boulevard. Being that I’ve never lived closer than 200+ miles from the beach, this was unsurprisingly awesome.

I lived with a guy (also 22) and a girl (28). None of us knew each other ahead of time which made for an interesting dynamic. It worked out great though – we all got along but also did our own thing. And we all had our own bathrooms.

Living in California, or at least Southern California and Los Angeles, was completely different than what I was used to. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, it was weird not seeing a cow or cornfield for two months. Here’s what I learned.

1. The grocery store is called Ralph’s. Which is ironic. Since ralph means puke.

2. Everyone is beautiful or on drugs.

3. People will just tell you things. I understand now why Northeasterners have a reputation of being cold. I once showed my ID to the cashier at the grocery store when buying beer (yes, you can buy beer in the grocery store there, Pennsylvania lawmakers) and she told me that my birthday is special to her. After asking why, I was informed that it is the day she stopped doing drugs. Congratulations, receipt in the bag please.

4. Don’t think about taking public transit because everyone drives. And if you want to take public transit good luck finding it.

5. Because everyone in the second largest city in America drives, there is traffic at every hour of the day. And it’s either stopped or flying down a 6 lane highway at 80 miles per hour. Which is fun, in a life-threatening kind of way.

5a. Speaking of highways, they all start with “the”. And everyone talks about how they get places. “I take the 10 to the 405, the 405 to the 105, and then get off on the PCH.” is how I would tell people I got to work. And it sticks. I still say “the” when referring to those highways (which is never, since I live in Pittsburgh).

6. Most days it’s 75 and sunny. Some days it gets down to 73. Some days it goes up to 77. My first week there everyone was talking about the “heat wave” LA was experiencing. It was 83.

7. Oh there’s no humidity either.

8. There’s also no rain. One day a few coworkers and I were walking to lunch and a few raindrops (4) fell on me during our 5 minute walk. They complained about it. It hadn’t rained there for 3 months. Not kidding.

9. Mexican food is everywhere and is amazing. I no longer trust any “authentic” Mexican food from a state that doesn’t touch Mexico.

9a. I lived across from a late night taco shop called Benito’s. Stay tuned for some interesting stories to come out of there.

10. Weed. Everywhere.

11. A ton of people ride their bikes there. It’s not like here in the East, where the streets are so narrow you have to pull over to let someone pass or you’ll hit them and the car parked on the side of the street at the same time. All major roads there have at least two lanes that also include a bike lane AND a parking lane. My personal heaven.

12. Things there matter. I have never seen more Audis, BMWs, Mercedes, and so on in my life. My Honda Accord did not live up to LA standards.

13. They don’t really care about sports. Even the Olympics seemed not to matter that much. Of course, I come from a city that is so obsessed with their teams that I know numerous people currently watching old hockey games from past seasons because of the NHL lockout. BLACK AND YELLOW.

14. People say “photo”, not “picture”. For example: “Will you take a photo?” “I uploaded that photo to Instagram.”

I learned a lot more than that, but those were the biggies, culturally. Overall, I loved it. Would I move back? Yes. Right now? Probably not. It’s so expensive (when I left in August gas was over $4 a gallon in a city where everything is at least 20 minutes away). However, under the right circumstances (or close enough circumstances) I would. The three hour time difference from family and friends would be tough, but by the end two months I was used to it. And really, when places like Malibu, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Manhattan Beach are less than 20 minutes away, how could you not want to live there?

Well I guess if you hate being awesome.

Are those carrots from California?

The final day was here and I couldn’t have been happier to finally be arriving in La La Land. Not that the trip was going poorly, but over seven hours in the car each day doesn’t exactly bode well for personal hygiene. Or lumbar support.

We headed out of Williams and towards beautiful Southern California. Jokes on us though, to get to Southern California you have to go through Eastern California which is comparable to the setting of The Hills Have Eyes without deformed hellbent mutants trying to kill you for no reason.

As we entered the final state of our trip, I finished strong with state welcome signs:

REALLY?! Eleven states later and I still didn’t learn to turn HDR off.

A few minutes later we encountered something in California that we didn’t elsewhere in the country – in order to cross the border into the state you have to go through a “border control” that checks to make sure you’re not bringing in any foreign plants or animals to the state that can harm the ecosystem. Surprised? Neither was I. Hippies.

After convincing the border control lady we didn’t bring in any carrots from Colorado we drove the few hours into the city. Finally, after 7 days and over 50 hours of driving, we got our first glimpse of the City of Angels:

I was elated to finally be there. As expected, it was sunny, warm, all was right in the world.

As the trip entered its last 20 miles, I reflected on everything that I’d experienced over the past several days. Things that many people never get to see in their lifetime. It made me realize that this country truly is amazing. Lampshades in Toledo, Chicago, the Great Lakes, vast cornfields, the Midwest, Omaha, the Badlands, the prairie, Mt. Rushmore, the Black Hills, Wyoming (even Lusk), the Rockies, Denver, I-70, Arches, the Southwest, the Grand Canyon, Los Angeles. And it’s not just a gorgeous place – it’s incredibly diverse. Every area where we stopped seemed like it could be a country in itself. The people we met were all so different that you’d think they could never live in the same county. Yet they do and, at the risk of sounding cliche, together we form the melting pot that makes America so great.

What makes it even greater is that I knew I was doing it all over again in two months.


Buckle Up

Driving in LA is my new favorite sport.

I moved to LA a few weeks ago and thought to myself “How bad could traffic really be? They’re probably just being overdramatic.” Well Wrong. It’s nuts.

Think back to the worst traffic you’ve ever sat in, now add two more lanes and overly aggressive drivers, and you have a taste of what it’s like driving here on a good day. Not only are all six lanes always full of cars, but if you’re not sitting in stop-and-go plans-ruined traffic then you’re going 80 mph look-out-I’m-crossing-five-lanes-without-looking madness. Every time you drive. I like to think I’m good at texting and driving. Now I put my phone in the trunk.

Merging onto the highway is even more fun. If you’re not gonna cut someone off then here’s hoping your lane doesn’t end. Or you’re driving a Hummer and not a two door Honda Accord.

Growing up in small town Pennsylvania, I got excited when a highway had three lanes. Here, if a highway has less than four lanes I refuse to use it because it doesn’t put my life in enough danger. Who needs coffee in the morning when you have the median to your left and an 18 wheeler merging into your lane on the right? My 25 minute commute is a rollar coaster of emotion.

Basically what I’m trying to describe is summed up perfectly with this clip from the comedic geniuses over at Family Guy.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKcSZfY1sf4&w=420&h=315]

Be safe out there friends.