The flight from Ft. Lauderdale to LA was about 5 hours long. We had ideal weather and no turbulence. The first place Sarah and I visited was In & Out Burger. This is the BEST place to get a burger! I always have it whenever we are on the west coast. Even being vegetarian, it tastes just as good without the meat. In & Out only uses fresh ingredients. They also have the best customer service.
Sarah and I stayed at the Kawada Hotel. It's a nice hotel in downtown LA. You can stay here without breaking the bank. I love the old brick and architecture in this city. I've never been on a fire escape before. Look at the view!
At night, we walked a few blocks over to Perch. Take an elevator to the thirteenth floor and you will be escorted to another elevator. Take it two more floors up and you arrive to the rooftop bar. With plenty of comfy seating areas, this is the perfect place to have a night out with a drink by the fire.
In LA, you walk everywhere. The Grand Market was a few blocks away from the hotel. This is where we ate the majority of the time. They have Thai food, Mexican food, a coffee bar, breakfast places, produce stands, and more. Eggslut (yes, that's really the name), had the best breakfast sandwiches!
Desiring a reprieve from the city, Sarah and I visited Runyon Canyon Park. It is a 160-acre park where people go to exercise and enjoy nature. The SUV we rented was excellent for parking on a steep hill and navigating our way through the mountains. The weather couldn't have been better as we hiked in 65 degrees. There are many lookout locations where you can get a good view of the Hollywood sign.
Nearby is the Griffith Observatory. Continue driving through Griffith Park and you begin to see the parking for the Griffith Observatory. It took us about thirty minutes walk up the mountain to the observatory. Once we reached the top, it was truly breathtaking. The architecture is incredible. You have a striking view of the Hollywood sign here as well. The observatory itself is remarkable with a lot of activities. Visitors can look through telescopes, learn about the cosmos, view shows, and enjoy the view.
After catching up on rest from our eventful day, we found a Colombian restaurant called La Fonda Antioquena with delicious food. We went over to Perch again at night. We landed comfy seats again close to the fire with a view of the city skyline. It was the perfect way to end the evening.
It took a few days, but we discovered a Starbucks a block from the hotel. This was a much more pleasant walk than the previous trips to the Starbucks a few blocks away in chilly weather. With caffeine and new energy, Sarah and I ventured over to the Last Bookstore. This is a MUST SEE location for whenever you visit LA. I am an avid book reader. This place is heaven on earth for book lovers. They have new and used books and vinyl records on the first floor. Art is incorporated into the design of the bookstore. Most of my time was spent searching through the poetry section. I purchased two new books by Rupi Kaur to add to my personal library at home. The second floor has more books, a labyrinth, shops, and an art gallery from local artists.
Later in the afternoon we drove to the Santa Monica Beach & Pier. This historic landmark opened in 1909. There are restaurants, gift shops, and rides along the pier. Since Sarah and I are from the east coast of Florida, we were looking forward to seeing a sunset on the west coast. It definitely did not disappoint!
This would be the day I have the honor of attending a complimentary workshop with Sue Bryce. There were hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants who entered their name for one of twenty seats. When I got the email that I was accepted, I must admit I did freak out with excitement. Sue Bryce is one of the world's most renowned portrait photographers. I had been following her education for about a year and a half and now I would finally get to meet her in person at her own studio!
Still not familiar with the buildings in LA, I was thankful to run into Bri in the elevator. She is Sue's hair and makeup artist. She led me to the room where other nineteen equally nervous and excited photographers awaited. We all talked over breakfast that Sue and her team generously provided. Many of the attendees were from the west coast. It turns out I traveled the farthest coming from South Florida.
When it was time for us all to enter into the studio, we couldn't wait to see everything. Her studio was just as gorgeous as it appears in the education videos. I made sure to grab a seat in the front row since I'm so short. Sue greeted us all with great enthusiasm and a welcoming spirit. The Confidence Workshop was broadcasted live to all the other members of Sue Bryce Education. There were four 90 minute segments with breaks and lunch in between. When the broadcast was over, Sue spent about an hour with us all. She took a picture with everyone and chatted with each of us personally.
You will have to watch or listen to the workshop for yourself, but this was a life changing experience for me. For those of you who know about my journey and how much C2C has grown this year, you know about the turmoil my family has gone through since my brother passed away four months ago. This the biggest thing I learned from this workshop. When you go through challenging and painful times such as this, you have two decisions: let the pain cripple you or use it to your advantage. Grief has a way of making you face your fears. There is arguably nothing more frightening than having to learn to live without someone you love. I will not live an unlived life. I choose on a daily basis to be empowered by my pain and to honor my brother's memory by chasing after my dreams. I hope you do the same. Face your fears, no matter what they are. Spend each day doing something to work towards your dreams and they will happen sooner than you think. Big things are in store for 2018!
THANK YOU to Sue Bryce for hosting this workshop; to my husband, Julio, for encouraging me every step of the way; to Sarah Bonilla for traveling to LA with me; and to my family, friends, and clients who continue to support me and C2C. :)