My favorite part of LA is that you can wear sunglasses anywhere and nobody looks at your like you’re some giant douche. You can wear them into shops. You can wear them when you’re eating. You can wear them on the train. You can wear them in the early morning or at midnight. You can even wear them to the movie theater and wear them through the entire film. Nobody bats an eye. If they did, nobody would notice because everybody is wearing sunglasses. This is a look I love. I tried to do it for some time back home in the cultural wasteland that is Iowa, but all the people looked at me like some disgusting bug. That was hard for me since I’m reasonably attractive. I’m getting ahead of my story, though.
A few weeks ago, my mother received an email from Dancing With The Stars saying that her request for tickets had finally been approved. So, of course, we had to go. We aren’t a family that skips out on unexpected excursions. I began planning immediately. For reasons that I still don’t understand, my suggestion that we stay at the Chateau Marmont was immediately shut down. It’s only $550 a night. There are much pricier places in Los Angeles. Instead, I made a reservation to stay at the same apartment that I had last year when I holidayed in Hollywood over the summer. The apartment is absolutely perfect, too. It’s roomy, well decorated, in a charming neighborhood, across the street from the Grove, Potato Chips Deli is a thirty second walk away. Most importantly, it is literally within spitting distance of CBS Studios, where Dancing With The Stars is taped.
I made dinner reservations at all of my favorite places and made an itinerary that would showcase all the wonders of Los Angeles — well, as many as could be seen in three days.
Before I dive into the narrative of what occurred, though, there is a minor side story we have to introduce. I’ve always wanted lavender hair. I think it’s flawless. I think it’s the most beautiful unnatural color to have on your head. Just look at Tyler Oakley and Kelly Osbourne and try to disagree with me:
(I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with anything. Stick around for the final day of my vacation posts and you’ll understand.)
Last weekend, Jessica, Jose, and I decided we would all dye our hair. I have — had, rather — long, luxurious hair that I’ve been growing out, so I decided to not lighten it all up. There was a box kit by Vidal Sassoon that was called violent violet, which sounded perfectly all right. Well, it wasn’t, reader! My hair looked black and I hated it. I tried to like it. I tried to convince myself that I loved it, but that proved to be impossible.
I soaked my hair in Vitamin C and then bath salts since these two things are supposed to remove coloring from hair. I was rather impressed by this method, and it washed away nearly all the black. Now I was left with purple and brown hair. Worse things have happened to me. I was accepting this. But, as we walked by a hair salon at the mall the night before my flight, a horrible idea struck me. Then, all of a sudden all of my hair was on the ground and I looked like this:
I put it in black and white because the color image was simply too traumatizing. There were purple dots in my hair — like I was some freakish leopard. I was devastated. I couldn’t deal with it. I wanted my hair back. Both the old color and the length. I couldn’t get the inches back now, obviously, but I might be able to salvage the color. So, I bought something called Color Oops.
With this product, you have to stand in the shower for twenty minutes, continuously rinsing your hair. The water heater goes cold and it’s the worst twenty minutes of your life. When I emerged from the shower and started to dry it, I discovered that I was blonde. I looked like I was a Nazi in the Hitler Youth. It was awful! But, as time passed, it seemed to naturalize a bit and the color darkened. Now it’s just light brown. I can deal with light brown.
Because of this rather dramatic evening, I had little time to pack and found myself wildly throwing things into my backpack hoping that I’d have enough clothing with me and have all the correct cords and whatnot.
I had about three hours of sleep before I was back up again to leave for the airport. I tried to quiff my hair up — which was a near disaster — and hurried out the door. I’m not a morning person and when I get very little sleep, I feel deathly ill. I wanted to vomit over everything.
It didn’t take long to get through security. I’m an old pro at whipping out what needs whipped out (LOLz) and getting out in a timely manner. For some reason, my mother was approved for the Pre Check security and just walked right through. This annoyed me. I want to be in the Pre Check group. Whatever.
As I sat in the boarding lounge looking at my tickets, I realized that I was going to be in the plane for much longer than I had previously thought. I forgot totally about time zones. Stupid time zones. So, sickly and annoyed I boarded the plane and flew off to Arizona, throwing mad side eye at the annoying man beside me who kept pulling samosas out of his bag. I don’t know why he had a bag full of samosas. It was odd.
The Phoenix airport wasn’t as bad as the last time I’d been there. Here’s an excerpt from that horrible experience.
With a sigh, I seated myself. A lady turned around and said, “There’s somebody sitting there.”
I glared at her, looked around at the empty seats and threw myself dramatically to the floor. I hated her. She was poorly dressed and her hair was a travesty. I sat on the filthy ground in my custom suit eating a salad while obese trash sat in sweatpants and tank-tops. I about burst into tears. It was too much for me. It was the first time I’d been unhappy since I arrived in San Francisco. I needed to go back.
Guess what? Nobody ever sat in those seats. I HOPE THAT WOMAN DIES. I hope she gets in a car wreck. I hope she gets cancer. I hope she is stalked by a rapist. I hope she throws herself off a skyscraper. I hope she is crushed by an asphalt roller. I hope she is strangled by a python. I hope she gets lost in the desert. I hope she is shot at a bank robbery. I hope all these things happen at once. She doesn’t deserve air. VOTE FOR ME FOR GOVERNOR!
The airport wasn’t bad at all. I had a spring roll from a restaurant and nursed a bottle of water as we waited for our boarding time. Even though I was annoyed about the early morning and feeling unwell and feeling cramped from squashing my model length legs into tiny airplane seats, I was charmed at how fast air travel is. When I went to Los Angeles last year I took the train. The plane takes 1/10 of the time the train does. I tried to look on the bright side and hopped on the plane.
The only thing in the entire world that mattered to me during that hour flight was taking this image:
YES, READER, THAT IS ME HOPPING OFF THE PLANE AT LAX WITH MY DREAMS AND MY CARDIGAN. Do you need a refresher?
That song is everything to me. We took a cab because the other modes of transportation were stupid, but mainly so that I could carry on living the fantasy of recreating Miley’s classic song. Jumped in a cab, here I am for the first time! Look to my right and I see the Hollywood sign! This is all so crazy, everybody seems so famous! I was distraught and disturbed, I truly suffered emotional damage when I discovered that you can not see the Hollywood sign from LAX. This has forever changed me, reader. Later on, though, as we were getting closer to LAX, I did look to my right and I did see the Hollywood sign. It was small and almost indistinguishable from that distance, but there it was.
It didn’t take too long and I was back on North Stanley Avenue, one of the most charming streets in all of West Hollywood. If I were to become a Los Angeleno, I can’t think of anyplace I’d rather live. The apartment hadn’t changed one bit. Even the worn copy of The Great Gatsby that I had left there was still in the drawer. I hate that book. I was glad to get rid of it. I was amused that nobody had taken it. Nobody really likes that travesty of American literature.
We didn’t have any time to waste, since we would only be in town for a few days, so we hurried out the door to the Grove. This was not the original plan. I wanted to go to Schwartz Bakery and see my old Jewish lady and gossip in Yiddish whilst eating black and white cookies. This was not to be for a number of reasons that caused me severe mental anguish. Firstly, it’s a Saturday, which is the Jewish day of rest. Secondly, it’s effing Passover, which means that there weren’t going to be any black and white cookies. None. I want to cry right now just thinking about that. I will never convert to Judaism. I will never give up pastries, not even for a few days.
As we walked down the road, avoiding eye contact with the crazies at the asylum thing that I’ve never figured out, mother had a bit of an emotional breakdown because all the flowers were so beautiful. Roses were everywhere, blooming in profusion, and they were particularly lovely. I did want to chop them all down since I want to be Joan Crawford.
I’m so jealous of Californian gardeners with their year-round basil plants and palm trees and all their wonderfully flavored food. It’s nonsense. Iowa is supposed to be an agricultural heaven, but that’s a bunch of crap. California is where it’s at.
When we got to the Grove, Ma proceeded to cry at the parking lot because it reminded her of Disney World. I never understood this breakdown. I did understand the one she had a few moments later when I took her to Sprinkles. They have some of the best cupcakes in all of Los Angeles. Now, my mother loves cupcakes, but I had no idea her passion was so strong. She ogled the display and then she gasped in delight when she saw the napkins and wooden forks and bamboo plates with the Sprinkles logo emblazoned proudly upon them. The cupcakes were delicious and she ate them with tears streaming down her face. Perhaps it’s the menopause?
After the Grove, we passed quickly through the Farmers Market where I am sure you can guess what happened. Ma began to merrily sob because it reminded her of the markets in Paris. I understood. I felt much the same way when I walked through the streets of San Francisco last year. There’s no more perfect place in all the world.
We didn’t have a lot of time because we wanted to head down to Olvera Street to see the Blessing of the Animals. This is a very old tradition where guests are encouraged to bring their pets to be blessed by a priest. Such fun! So, we hurried up Fairfax and passed by the Veggie Grill where it was my turn to break down emotionally. I just love the Veggie Grill so effing much. It’s perfect.
I did have to make a quick stop at The Pygmy Hippo before we left since it would be the only day it was open while we were there. This is a minuscule little shop where it is impossible to fit in more than two shoppers at a time. It’s quirky and bizarre and I always liked looking around when I lived across the street. To add to my intrigue, Tyler Oakley Instagrammed a photo from there a few weeks ago.
I bought the cutest picture of a black cat all dressed up like a 1950s housewife. I’m kind of obsessed with it.
The bus took us quickly up to the Hollywood & Vine Metro station where it was as creepily empty as ever. I don’t understand why the locals don’t use the Metro. Is there some kind of taboo? Is it just because they aren’t well plotted? Either way, the cavernous station was eery, but so beautiful.
We didn’t get to see the parade or the actual blessing, but we saw all sorts of dancing and it was just beautiful. There were still many animals there, too, and I fell in love with a little chihuahua named Rico Suave. Try not to:
Mexican culture has been huge in my life growing up, so I felt right at home here. I absolutely loved the festivities and the vendors and the sweet woman selling postcards who taught me how to say Happy Easter in Spanish — a phrase I’d never needed before — Felices Pascuas. We decided that we would be wronging our stomachs if we didn’t stop for some food at one of the popular vendors that lined the packed little street, so we had a burrito with soy chorizo — it is California after all!
Since we were at Union Station, we had to stop at Traxx, one of my very favorite restaurants in the city. It’s where I had the best caprese salad I’ve ever had. The tomatoes that day changed my life. I will never recover from their perfection.
The caprese salad wasn’t on the menu, which made sense since tomatoes weren’t in season, yet. There was a beet salad, though, and I will never ever turn down a beet salad. It was gorgeous and delicious.
This monstrous street was just as awful as ever. I really do hate it. It’s full of hustlers and creeps and costumed pedophiles and poor musicians and horrible tourists of the worst variety. I would happily never visit this street ever again. Well, I would have to make a pilgrimage once in a while to see the handprints of Joan Crawford:
And of course I have to stop and see my friend Joan Fontaine:
We scurried around the Roosevelt Hotel for a little bit — always fun:
We were rather exhausted after flying halfway across the country and then walking all over the place, so we headed back to the apartment where I quickly fell asleep. I had vague plans of going to the Veggie Grill for a third dinner, which isn’t all that remarkable for me (I’ve often thought I could be a competitive eater), but my exhaustion was more powerful than my hunger. Don’t worry, though, reader, I didn’t starve to death.