A guide to Silver Lake

Silver Lake teepee

It’s no secret I’m in love with my neighborhood here in L.A.

Last month, I wrote a guest post for I’m Moving to LA that serves as a guide to Silver Lake and all the wonderful conveniences, attractions and beauty it has to offer. (I’ll toot my own horn and say it’s a super helpful resource for anyone considering moving here.)

I was particularly excited for this week’s LXL vlog topic—our cities and neighborhoods! Check out my video below to see some of my favorite things about Silver Lake. While hardly exhaustive (I now want to go out and shoot way more footage), it’ll give you a pretty good idea about what makes this city so special.

As always, feel free to use our vlogging topics as a jumping off point for your own vlog or blog post. What do you love most about your city or town?

How you know you’re becoming an Angeleno

how you know you're becoming an Angeleno

When does a person who’s moved to L.A. officially become an Angeleno, anyway?

Now that I’ve lived in L.A. for eight months (how did that happen?!), I feel fairly established in the city and know my way around pretty well. While some locals would say you’ve not a true Angeleno until you’ve lived here for some arbitrary number of years, I’m of the belief that you’re a member of your community as soon as you start actively participating in it. I might’ve only scraped the surface of what L.A. has to offer, but already I’ve already noticed some telltale signs that I’m assimilating.

Here are just a few of the signs that you’re becoming an Angeleno:

Smoothies, tacos and avocados are all a regular part of your diet, thanks to their abundance. (The avocado tree in front of my apartment is arguably the best part about living here.)

You dress up to go out… to Trader Joe’s.

You ask everyone you meet where they’re from, because so many people here aren’t L.A. natives. And despite your best efforts to talk about something more interesting, you inevitably end up commiserating about traffic and talking about the beautiful weather.

You follow stalk food trucks on Twitter. (Grilled Cheese Truck or Let’s Be Frank, anyone?)

You’ve driven or walked to the grocery store only to turn right back around… because you realized you forgot to bring reusable bags and are too cheap to pay 10 cents for a paper bag.

You constantly face FOMO (fear of missing out) because there are so many events, restaurants and neighborhoods to check out, and you can’t possibly visit them all.

You’re more familiar with the map of Los Angeles than you are your own hometown’s because you’ve spent so much time taking alternate routes to avoid traffic.

If there’s one thing you want police to give out more tickets for, it’s all of the fake placeholder license plates half the population seems to be driving around with.

Unless you live on the west side, you’re constantly explaining to friends and relatives back home that the beach is not just steps away from your front door.

You’re excited to have visitors come and stay with you so you have an excuse to do all the touristy things like see the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

You complain about sub-60 degree weather. Seriously.

You never want to leave.

 

Now make a list about your town/city!

When has someone officially become a Portlander, Austinite, Nashvillian etc.? Angelenos—do you have anything else to add?

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?

wittycassiehere Instagram

Driving stick in San Francisco

Petrero Hill

I bought my new car, Sheila, just a month or so before moving to California.

When I got her, I envisioned lots of day trips and road trips along the West Coast. This weekend, I had the chance to show Sheila what San Francisco is all about.

When I began to get serious about moving to California and going to grad school, San Francisco felt like a real possibility. The last time I visited four years ago, I was enamored. Northern California is one of the most beautiful parts of the country.

To think that San Francisco is only a five-hour drive away from Los Angeles is kind of mind-boggling to me. You know what else is mind-boggling? How frighteningly steep the hills are—especially when you’re driving stick.

My first car was a stick shift, so I’ve always had an appreciation for the art of getting into first gear. But parallel parking on a steep incline was never part of my training. I might’ve had a mini panic attack over the summer when I was parked between two BMWs on a hill in Runyon Canyon and wasn’t exactly confident that I’d be able to get out of the spot without causing some damage. John gave me a crash course in using the emergency break as a back-up then (and no damage was done), but San Francisco was the real test of my abilities.

There’s something special about zipping around a city as a visitor in your own car. Even though Sheila was embarrassingly filthy (bird poop, bug guts, desert dust, etc.), I was proud to take her around town. We visited Golden Gate Park, drove along the Embarcadero and struggled with directions when we realized you can’t make left turns anywhere. We even parked on one or two of the steepest hills San Francisco has to offer. Though I handed John the keys and let him sweat it out when we parked here.

The weekend went by fast, but knowing the Bay Area is just a few hours away means we won’t go another four years before we visit again, and that’s pretty cool. I’ll share more pictures later this week, when I do my monthly photo roundup.

Do you know how to drive stick? Has anyone ever driven stick in San Francisco?

Found in L.A.: The best flea & farmers markets

The best thing about Los Angeles flea markets and farmers markets is that they’re open year-round.

What also makes them so damn special is that a lot of the produce you’ll find is locally grown and is therefore often reasonably priced and incredibly delicious. As for the thrifted clothes, furniture and accessories… well, you’ve got a lot of L.A. style to choose from.

This post… well, it only scratches the surface of the flea and farmers markets L.A. has to offer, but I couldn’t wait any longer to share photos from the few I’ve had the chance to check out. I’m a little biased toward Silver Lake, but their twice-weekly farmers market it just a mile up the street from me. The novelty of this, as you can imagine, has not worn off.

Melrose Trading Post Melrose Trading Post Melrose Trading Post Silver Lake farmers market Silver Lake farmers market

The Silver Lake Farmers Market is the epitome of a neighborhood market done right. Most of the vendors are regulars, but many of them also switch out a lot, so there’s always something new to check out. I love this spot because you can buy fresh fruit, flowers and vintage clothing all in the same place. It’s been a great way to meet people who live in the neighborhood, and it’s a fun spot to people-watch. (And yes, there are LOTS of hipsters.) Very casual, friendly vibe. It’s open every Tuesday and Saturday.

Melrose Trading Post Melrose Trading Post Melrose Trading Post Melrose Trading Post Melrose Trading Post

I also had the chance to check out the Melrose Trading Post in West Hollywood, which is a flea market lover’s dream. You have to pay $3 to get in, but you can literally get lost it’s so huge. The market is open every Sunday, and you can find everything from valuable antiques to what looks like junk out of some guy’s closet.

Silver Lake farmers market Silver Lake farmers market Silver Lake farmers market Silver Lake farmers market

And back to my neighborhood (because I don’t have to venture very far to get to the good stuff)—the Silver Lake Art, Craft & Vintage flea market is another spot worth checking out every second Saturday of the month. It’s much smaller than the others with a decidedly quirky vibe. It’s also perched just above a community garden, where there are always groups of people getting things done. (There are also chickens… on Sunset Boulevard.)

Micheltorena flea market Micheltorena flea market Micheltorena flea market Micheltorena flea marketThere are countless others throughout the city, it’s overwhelming. This post could easily have a follow-up with a part two. And part three. And so on. I’m looking forward to checking out more.

Angelenos! I’m looking for a new adventure. Where should I head next?