When I moved to California last October, I had just spent about a year’s worth of time unsuccessfully applying for jobs in human resources. That September, though, prior to moving, I got a call from Bill Lawrence, a bada** celebrity horse trainer. Since I’d grown up owning and showing horses, Bill asked if I’d help him out on a film that happened to be shooting where I was living at the time, Seattle. When I got to the set, I was costumed as a college cheerleader and told I’d be running from a buffalo. Very A-list stuff, no? Anyway, after escaping my cubicle for those three days of filming, I knew there was no going back. I quit my job in HR and left for Hollywood with not much more than an air mattress.
Hollie Bilbrey, one of my closest friends from back home, encouraged me to take the leap of faith. So, when she booked a trip out to visit me, you can understand why I was thrilled to show her my new town.
Seeing the city
Cramming my favorite spots into one weekend was a challenge, but I’m no quitter — unless you’re talking about jobs in human resources, I guess.
First stop, Runyon Canyon. I first went up Runyon with an ex-boyfriend two years ago. He was in amazing shape and I was not — and our outdoorsy date culminated in my projectile vomiting from the top of the canyon. Awesome. That painful memory aside, I love Runyon for its people-watching and I always leave there feeling like I’m the only person left on earth without a dog. This time, though, Hollie and I made it to the top, snapped a million pictures and took in the view. Like me on my first trip up Runyon, Hollie was in awe of how you could look out on an enormous city from atop a canyon (only she did it without puking).
Laughing in the city
Our night started with a drink at my friend Jonathan’s house in Hollywood Hills. I met Jonathan through my ex and I’d go through it all again JUST to know him. I was so happy to have one of my closest friends from home in the same room with a friend of mine in LA. A part of me is convinced that if anyone sees Los Angeles the way I do, they’ll move in a heartbeat (hint, hint, Hollie). We shared a bottle of wine while laughing about everything from the time Hollie and I laughed so hard we peed our pants to our affinity for the boy band “One Direction.” Finally, we met a few friends at The Village Idiot on Melrose before our last stop at The Dark Room.
Eating in the city
The next morning, we went to Home Sweet Home in Silverlake, inhaled the best avocado toast you’ll ever have and decided our next adventure would be Will Rodgers State Park — first, because it doesn’t smell like Runyon and, second, because the views will make you forget about Instagram. Places like this are why I fell in love with California. I didn’t have to sacrifice one life for the other. I can be in the middle of Hollywood, dressed up having cocktails and the next morning hiking a trail that borders the ocean. Paradise? I think so.
Leaving the city
Hollie’s last night in LA sneaked up on us, but luckily my amazing friend Ryan Phinny — who just HAPPENS to be a Firestone Indy Lights driver — took us out for dinner at Pace in Laurel Canyon and then out to James Beach in Venice where we met up with another friend. Introducing one of my closest friends from home to the friends I’ve made in LA meant a lot to me. While there definitely are times I miss my hometown, I also feel a since of unity here that is easily as tight-knit as what I’d find back home. Everyone is from somewhere else and we all came here because we were chasing something. This city is full of dreamers and people who accept you for who you are and who you’d like to be. Say what you want about Hollywood, but I love this city. And Hollie already booked her next trip.
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