Posted in Travel, tagged Abbott Kinney Boulevard, Culver City, feature, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, The Venice Whaler, Third Street District, travel, travel writing, Venice Beach, West Hollywood on June 20, 2010 |
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About a month ago, I set out on the streets of LA to discover life beyond Tinseltown. The assignment: spotlight some of the diverse neighborhoods that are the true stars of Los Angeles – and let tourists see the city through the eyes of a local.
From West to East, my story took me to the beach communities of Santa Monica and Venice (with considerable time spent on Abbott Kinney Blvd.), to old – and new – haunts in West Hollywood, to the stylish eateries of the West 3rd Street District and downtown to the newest mega-development, L.A. Live.
My favorite discovery, however, is Culver City, a place I knew little about prior to my research. Culver City’s notable film industry presence is just discreet enough to let the area’s restaurants, wine bars, hotels and art venues shine.
Below are some fun photos I snapped throughout La La Land. For the full story, click here.
Upstairs Interior of the Culver Hotel
The famous rooftop at The Standard, downtown
Mod decor at Santa Monica's Viceroy Hotel
- One of the many canals that give Venice its name
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Posted in Fitness, Life, tagged beach, Mission Beach, ocean, San Diego, stand-up paddle surfing, surfer, surfing, workout on June 15, 2010 |
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As it turns out, my family’s “surfer gene” may not have skipped my generation, as I’d long suspected. I just needed to get in touch with my inner Gidget.
Growing up in the seaside town of Narragansett, Rhode Island, my father took to the ocean at an early age. He spent countless hours in pursuit of the perfect wave – and as I am told, is lucky to have lived to tell about it. My mother took up the sport while attending college at the University of Rhode Island, also in Narragansett. Naturally, I just love the water – when it’s in a swimming pool, bay or bathtub.
Unfortunately, an early-life shark experience has left me in quite the predicament: I find the ocean beautiful, inspiring and absolutely mystifying – and I am deathly afraid of it. I have a long history of only going in the water up to my waist, unless it is tropical water that I can see through (although sometimes that’s worse, since I can kick up the sand and mistake the resulting grey mass for a shark). Yet as fate would have it, I have ended up living about 10 feet from the beach in San Diego. What can I say, I like a good challenge.
A challenge is what I got this weekend, when my L.A. friend, Lori, came down to visit and suggested we take a surf lesson. I found a less frightening option called stand-up paddle surfing. I’d seen people doing this all over San Diego and read about it being a fitness trend in women’s magazines. The best part: the bay is the recommended place to test the waters on your first time paddle surfing.
As I steadied myself on the board and set out paddling, I got an immediate rush. There was something about being out on that bay, a surfboard the only thing between me and the water, the breeze blowing through my hair as sailors circled (and laughed at my efforts to move against the current). Not only was I taking the first step toward conquering my fear – I only imagined a shark getting loose in the bay once or twice – but I felt a great sense of accomplishment since it took balance and endurance to remain standing for over an hour and a half. In fact, I got such a great workout that I’m considering doing this once a week. Lori and I had a blast – and a few good laughs.
As I write this, I see a woman in a wetsuit emerging from the water. She takes one hand off her surfboard to wipe a long, wet strand of hair from her face. At the risk of sounding juvenile, I have to say: she is so cool. Will that ever be me? Probably not. But maybe I can pass the gene on to a daughter someday.
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