Beer with a Blogger: Angel City Brewery in DTLA

There’s something very special about blog-friends-turned-real-life-friends.

When you’ve been following each other’s blogs for months (or even years!) and finally meet for the first time, it can be so surreal, because even though you’ve exchanged dozens of comments, read about their most personal experiences and seen plenty of pictures of them, it’s still strange at first that they’re actual people with voices and stuff. It’s also bizarre how totally normal it is to meet them and, like with old friends, have a million things to talk about.

Which is exactly what it was like meeting Rachel for the first time last summer.

Rachel of Existation

THE BLOGGER

Rachel Jackson, the photographer, writer and adventurer behind Existation. This Minnesota lady moved to Los Angeles in 2011 to pursue her California dream (something that instantly attracted me to her blog, since I had dreams and plans of doing the very same). Now, she and her boyfriend Toby live in West Hollywood and explore the great state of California whenever they get the chance. (Check out her photos of Joshua Tree and June Lake, and you’ll want to move out here, too.) What I love about Rachel is how warm, inviting and open she is. Must be that Midwestern charm. Follow Rachel on Instagram and Twitter.

Angel City Brewery

THE BAR

Angel City Brewery in the Arts District of downtown Los Angeles. This might just be my new favorite spot. The vibe is very industrial/casual/chic in this bowling alley-sized warehouse, where dogs are welcome and the bartenders are friendly. Angel City opened up almost a year ago exactly and doesn’t serve food, but it regularly welcomes food trucks to its parking lot. Live music, darts and regular run + yoga + beer events make it the perfect neighborhood spot, and quite frankly, I’m a bit jealous of everyone who lives within walking distance of this place. (There are so many other great spots in this part of downtown, too.)

THE BEER

An Angeleno IPA for me and a Mexican Cola Beer for Rachel—this one seemed to be a hit among the other patrons, too. All imbibed beverages brewed in-house, of course.

Angel City Brewery Angel City Brewerygerman shepherd puppy

Every time Rachel and I get together, the conversation flows naturally, and we end up chatting about so many different things. Namely, all the adventures we want to take, our anxieties and excitement about the future, creative outlets and inspiration, and the paths that have led us to where we are now. It always makes for good, much-needed girl talk.

Oh, and the brewery is just around the corner from the building where Jess and the boys from New Girl live, so of course we had to get a picture.

New Girl building

Real-life friend status even further solidified and a love for Angel City Brewery established. Good times.

Cassie and Rachel

Are you a blogger living in (or visiting!) L.A.? Do you like beer? Shoot me an email at wittycassiehere (at) gmail (dot) com, and let’s go to happy hour!

Through the lens: photos from March

DTLA

March was a lot like the photos below—busy, colorful and all over the place.

Anybody else feel the same? This month certainly had its highlights (a trip to San Diego, gorgeous weather as usual, etc.), but I never did feel like I had time to breathe. Every time I accomplished one small task, five more would pile on top of me. And because I expect more of the same from April as my second semester of grad school begins wrapping up, I’m trying to adjust my mindset and power on through. I can do this.

Despite the insanity, there were a lot of bright moments of I’m so glad I’m here. School might make me crazy sometimes, but I’ve never once doubted that this is the place for me right now. The following photos capture those bright moments perfectly.

fire escape

DTLA

DTLA art

phone booth

heart Los Angeles

The above photos were all taken in DTLA, which I’ve explored a fair amount lately for writing assignments. Ask an Angeleno about the area, and you’re likely to get mixed reviews. (If you’re not familiar with L.A., downtown is NOT Hollywood—they’re a few miles apart.) The other day I Instagrammed a photo of a corner downtown, explaining how I’d fallen a little in love with that part of the city. Rachel commented on the photo and summed up my feelings exactly: “DTLA either creeps me out, bores me, or makes me fall in love with it, depending on the area/day.” But in this particular area on this particular day, I was smitten.

Below, a walking tour of the antique shops and street art in Silver Lake:

Sunset Blvd. Silver Lake

Sunset Blvd. signs

Living Room furniture

antique shopping in Silver Lake

Micheltorena Flea Market

street art

Silver Lake street art

Silver Lake home

A dog chilling on his Silver Lake balcony above and a long hike in Griffith Park below.

Griffith Park hike

Dan's Burgers San Diego

San Diego sunset

And a couple more memories from San Diego above.

The days, weeks and months might be feeling overwhelming lately, but if the photos above can teach me anything, it’s to live for the little bright moments. And when I stop and look back, I realize that there are a whole lot of them.

What were your favorite moments from March? What are you looking forward to in April?

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Found in L.A.: The Last Bookstore

Last Bookstore

Want to know about the time I felt like Belle in Beauty and the Beast when she discovers the castle’s library? Visiting The Last Bookstore in downtown L.A. was kind of like that.

If you love books, this is a book lover’s heaven. And if you don’t—though I’m not sure how that’s possible—The Last Bookstore will make you love books.

Last Bookstore

Last Bookstore

Last Bookstore

This magical place was named with irony in mind, but as the number of book stores continues to diminish, well, just about everywhere, this really is one of the few that seems to be thriving. And as soon as you walk in, it’s easy to see why. The 10,000 square foot space is the largest-selling independent book store in California, selling new and used books and records. It’s easy to get lost. (I totally forgot about the parking meter, which I let expire while I browsed.)

records

labyrinth

Last Bookstore

Upstairs is what’s called the “Labyrinth,” where there are more than 100,000 used books for just a dollar each. THAT’S RIGHT, FOLKS. You can really get your reading on here. If you’re into bookshelf porn, this is the place to visit. The Labyrinth really lives up to its name, too. I couldn’t believe how expansive it was. Every time you think you’ve reached the end of the books, there’s another hidden corner to turn. And what better place for a bibliophile to get lost?

Last Bookstore tunnel

book tunnel

books and light

The Last Bookstore also commissioned several artists for funky, permanent installments, which really add so much to the whimsy of the place. Can you imagine how especially fun this would be to explore as a kid? You could turn any child into an avid reader by bringing them here.

art installment

art installment

old cameras

books organized by color

There are also lots of events at the Last Bookstore, like readings and open mics. Apparently, you can even get married there. (Would be well-suited for a couple of book-lovers, no?) I can’t wait to go back.

Would anyone else like to spend his or her whole day at The Last Bookstore? Angelenos, where should I visit next?

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