Real Talk: LA livin’

It has been 6 months since we have lived in Los Angeles.

I have talked a lot about my emotional adjustment to our new place,. But I thought I should also share a midwestern perspective on our new life on the west coast.  It’s funny because when I say I am from Kansas, people look at me with wide eyes. They often say “Wow, that must be such an adjustment for you”. True; moving is an adjustment, and not an easy one. But overall the transition from KC life to LA has been a great one! I haven’t experienced culture shock (yet) but would I do experience is awe of how beautiful California is, and all of the wonderful, unique neighborhoods and places to experience around Los Angeles.


I thought I would share with you all a few things that we are really loving about Los Angeles, as well as just a few things that have taken some adjusting to:

Here are my top 10 best and worth things about LA livin’:

  1. Our Community/The Beach: we live in a pretty small beach community. Even though it is technically “Los Angeles” it feels quaint, and charming. It definitely has a small town feel, very laid back and family oriented. The people are SO kind and welcoming. It is a mix of transplants and people that have grown up here their whole life. We love so many things about MB. Being super close to the airport, 5 minutes from the beach, and a close proximity to some great LA spots. The farmers market here is INCREDIBLE, and I really take advantage of it. Everyone seems to know one another, and is very supportive of the small businesses in town. It is similar to KC in that way; a tight and loving community is something we have always treasured. Having beach access whenever we want is also such a gift. There is something so incredible being able to see the ocean everyday, and to play in it when the weather is great, or just to walk along it on the weekends. We feel very happy and confident in making Manhattan Beach the place where we would settle with our family.

2. The food: Everything is SO fresh here. When we first got to LA, we couldn’t stop eating all of the fruit. It was the best thing we had every tasted. The seafood is obviously exceptional, and surprisingly the beef is also some of the very best we have had. The grocery stores are really incredible, and a task I used to hate doing I now love. Many of the stores offer so much more than just groceries. Coffee bars within the store, great prepared foods, amazing cheese/wine selections, POKE BARS! in every store I have been to, fresh sushi bars, etc. It makes grocery shopping fun for once!

3. Fashion Inspiration Overload: it has been said that trends start on the coasts. People are not afraid to be unique here. I think men and women put in equal amount of effort which is also refreshing! I love the effortless beachy chic style where we live. Everyone looks very natural, pretty and simple/sophisticated. The natural, not trying too hard, but still looking amazing look at the beach is also very refreshing!

I also appreciate the over the top extra fashion sense that you see on the West Side. It’s like clueless meets 90’s grunge meets 2019 hip. Hard to explain, but it’s definitely unique. And then there is the vintage mixed with high end style in Venice. It’s like don’t try too hard with those vintage boyfriend jeans and ripped rocker tee, but throw some diamonds and Balenciaga with it. Lots of piercings and tattoo’s which makes me want more of the piercings + a tattoo 🙂 It is just such an amazing melting pot of ethnicities, styles, and pockets of demographics. I really have enjoyed taking in all of the great people watching.

@gumtree in Manhattan Beach

4. Hidden Gems: This is a never ending journey in LA. There are so many wonderful places that I am not sure where to start. But this also goes along with my “inspiration overload” from #3. Everywhere you turn there is a fun little spot begging you to come in. Whether it is a florist, a vintage market, a tiny little wine and cheese shop, or a surf store. I just love experiencing all of the great spots that are all over Los Angeles. We haven’t made a dent in the restaurants, and we definitely need to make more of an effort to get out of the South Bay bubble. But sometimes it is hard, when you know it will take 45 min to get to a restaurant. We find that it is often easier to stay close to home. So, we often venture out during the day or sometimes during the week when the traffic isn’t as bad.

5. The Shopping: I have no shame in sharing the joy I have for the shopping in LA. EVERYTHING is here. Whatever you want!!!!!! It is nice to not have to always order online, and to be able to go into the stores for the brands you have been eyeing online forever. Also, the vintage is beyond beyond. It is more expensive here, but you can find such great pieces. I am anxious to do the West Hollywood flea, it is on my list! You know I love a treasure hunt and that has my name written all over it. Century City Mall and The Grove have lived up to their reputation. I am still dying to go to the new Palisades Village, but it is a hike for us (about an hour drive). But, it is definitely a place I will be hitting up soon! West Hollywood Melrose Place is to die for. Even if I am not buying anything, it is really fabulous window shopping, and just a gorgeous street to walk down. I love Venice for unique stores and things you won’t find anywhere else. I could go on, and on, and on 🙂

6. The Weather: This probably should be #1, but the other points came to mind first 🙂 It has been rainy for days but I don’t even care because its still 60 degrees. It is SO nice to not have to bundle up and to see sunshine almost every day! Also, to be active and outdoors as much as we want. The kids love being able to be on the playground everyday, to eat lunch outside, and to come home and jump on the trampoline. It has been really amazing so far, and I am truly thankful for Los Angeles and a warm winter!

7. Access to everything: We are minutes from the beach, 2.5 hours to the desert, a few hours from the mountains, 45 Minutes to Downtown LA, and just 2 hours to San Diego. I love that there are endless opportunities to explore, and I hope we can do more of it the longer we live here!

The things that are taking some getting used to:

  1. Everything costs 3X as much: I am not kidding. The prices are mind blowing. From homes to how much it costs to get your hair cut and colored. Just double or triple it. I am trying to adjust to the sticker shock, but it is crazy! They have a thing called “zip code pricing”?! So they feel like they can charge more because of where we live! Gas is crazy expensive too. The only thing I have found that cost about the same are a manicure/pedicure.  But every other service/treatment/outsourced help is definitely double or triple

2. It takes forever to get anywhere: everyone bitches about the traffic, but it really is a problem. Most people would say the traffic is the worst thing about living here. It can take an hour and a half to go 12 miles. The good thing for me, is that everything I need on a daily basis is super close. I really don’t have to go that far for school, shopping, doctor/dentist/hair, etc. But when you do want to go, it can be frustrating when you have to tack on at least 2 hours for traffic just to be safe. So, that is why we typically just go to places near us. Venice is super close, and West Hollywood (at the right time) can take about 30-40 minutes so those are the other pockets of LA we hit up the most. I am excited to go to the OC eventually, and to explore more of Downtown LA.

3. This town can be intimidating and overwhelming.  You have to be strong, and confident. I could see how people either love it or hate it here.  But I have found that you can’t compare yourself, and you can’t get wrapped up in it all. I think it is important to stay grounded, and also make an effort to keep your children grounded as well. It is so different than the midwest in that respect. But, with that being said. We chose Manhattan Beach for a reason; it is very laid back here. And we were confident that this would be the best place in LA to raise our kids.

4. There are positive and negatives to this point; but there is definitely more pressure here to look good. I mean, when you can wear a swimsuit most of the year, it pushes you to be in really good shape. No hiding in big sweaters and oversized coats in LA! Being in the fitness community I definitely feel the added pressure; there are so many gorgeous bodies and beautiful people. But, I think being older and more confident helps me to not get inside my head when it comes to this. I try to not compare myself, and to continue to do what makes me feel happy and healthy. On the upside to this point; because we live in the mecca of healthy living there is EVERY resource you could want here. The newest workouts, best fitness apparel, food, supplements, alternative medicine, you name it. It really is awesome to have all of that at our disposal.

Like any big city, there is always more progressive fashion and trend. This applies more pressure on one to stay up to date. For me personally, I just feel like living here has given me the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone. It is pushing me to be a little bit more adventurous and creative with my fashion choices.

Overall though, we absolutely love Los Angeles. It is such an amazing, dreamy place. We still are pinching ourselves that we actually live here. It has been good to us so far!

xoxo, Melanie 



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