Jan 26, 2018

LA Story #3: Dry Bar. Venice Beach. Rodeo Drive. The Grove.

Hello again.

As you might have gathered from my Instagram, I've been Out and About here in LA.  The places I've been and the eating I've done.  It's been an amazing break and I'd love to share what I've been up to with you.  The only downside is that I have photos.  Hundreds of them and I don't know where to begin.

Santa Monica... everything a girl like me could want.  It's beautiful, it's streets are wide and it has All The Stores.
What's basically happened for me in LA is that I took a day tour earlier in the week and have somehow also managed to see and do a million other things around the trip. I'm planning to break up my photos from that day trip over a few posts and add a few other day to day in LA things to each post.

So here goes.  Beginning with how I managed to be one step ahead of the LA morning peak hour and be at my tour meeting point an hour and a half early.  What else can a girl do but grab a Starbucks using her Starbucks name and get a blow dry or blow out as they're called here at Dry Bar, Santa Monica.

Dry Bar is a chain of salons that does nothing but do perfect hair.  They don't cut or colour, they purely wash, dry and style.  The theme is literally 'dry bar', the styles of hair you can get done are named after cocktails and their in house styling products are all cute riffs on beverages too.

Most salons in the chain open aroun 7am (!!) and while it was quiet when I entered at 8am, it was buzzing half an hour later.

Each station features an array of products and styling tools.  The lovely staff also are on hand to off you a coffee or water if you'd like either.

 The one stylist attends to you from wash to finish. 

I was done in 40 minutes and loved how soft my hair felt in addition to being so shiny and bouncy.  My do is still going strong two days later.  A blow out costs $45 USD, flat rate and a $10 tip is suggested if you wish.

Sydney, are you reading and hatching plans to make this happen locally?

Perfect hair bouncing with each step, I made my way up the road to meet the rest of my tour group at A Day In LA's headquarters.

I thoroughly reccommend boarding a Rasta Bus and day tripping with A Day in LA if you're a first time visitor to the city and aren't planning to drive.  LA is a sprawling city and its traffic is epic.  The LA tour is well organized, efficient and our guide was very informative.  We covered a lot of territory during our day together and it would've been impossible for me to have covered the same itinerary on my own. We spent just the right amount of time at each location and the lunch break was well timed and its location perfect.  Our Rasta Bus was clean, comfy and well stocked with water.

Our first stop was Venice Beach, the beachfront community that actually began its life as a mini Venice, complete with canals.  The houses here are smaller and more closely grouped than they are elsehwere in the city, a throwback to the European village style of living that tobacco billionaire Albert Kinney had for the area.

After a time, the canals fell into disrepair and the area became a beacon for the artistic community.  The Doors and Janes Addiction were bands that formed in the area.

An artistic and alternative energy still flows through the landscape of Venice Beach these days.  There are art walls on the beach where you're free to change or add to the spray painting already there.

The Venice Skate Park enables young and old to safely practice their art.  Legend has it that the skate boarding took off in the area because the local youth needed something to do when they weren't any waves to ride.  The Z Boys are a famous, local group of skate boarders who have also had a film made about themselves.

I can't get over how beautiful California is in its geographical contrasts and diversity.  Those rugged mountain ranges peek out from the most unexpected places.

 Muscle Beach is a little way up from the skate park.

It was a bit chilly when we were there but a dedicated few were training in the sand.  With more clothing on than I suspect they would do on a summer's morning.

From sneakers flung over electricity cables to ... Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills. Postcode... 90210.

via Google images
Oh Donna / Tori...  it was hard not to step back in time when 90210 was my must see TV every week as I strolled the immaculate sidewalks with their fire hydrants painted platinum silver and the occasional film crew disrupting the landscape of pristine store fronts and their matching sales attendants.

I always had an image in my mind that Rodeo Drive would be brash and ostentatious with helmet hair and power shoulder pads as far as the eye could see. 

Instead, it was all very civilized and as low key as you can be when your focus is luxury retail.

Dali peaked out at me from a marble tiled building as I walked up a cobbled laneway and admired the wrought iron and gold leaf features above.

I haevn't window shopped aimlessly in ages and this was the perfect place to get back on the wagon.  Above, dreamy gowns by Dior.

 I always love a good Tiffany window.

Hermes broke with tradition by going for stark white for their store on Rodeo Drive.

This Dolce and Gabbana window made me smile.

Another house that dressed to suit the climate of an adopted home was Louis Vuitton.  Silver awnings set off windows dressed in vibrant tropical prints.  In the foreground is 'The Torso' by Robert Graham, Anjelica Houston's late husband.

The Beverly Wilshire was holding firm, though and upholding tradition with its facade.

The Grove is an outdoor shopping arcade that's a short drive from Rodeo.

It continues with the latter's parallel universe approach to life.  A tram line runs through the mall and you can ride it with a uniformed conducter. Master SSG loved the video I sent him of it,

I believe that's a little lake in the background and you can eat al fresco as you gaze out at it if you wish.

All the stores are airy and light.  A bit more Tiffany, sorry. They had a little pop up store on the main lawn and there was a waiter outside with a tray of cakes.

Speaking of cake, did you know that Dominique Ansel, the father of  cronuts, has a bakery in LA as well as New York?

The cakes were stunning.

And quirkily unique.  But the queue.  I just couldn't.

So I scooted over to my perennial favourite dessert stop in the US, The Cheesecake Factory.  Where there wasn't a queue but there was delicious dessert to go.


  1. I'd love to eat at the Cheesecake shop one day, only because of seeing it on the Big Big Theory, haha! I loved you pictures of Rodeo drive too. My sister got to shop there and I was so jealous, it's such an iconic destination I'd love to visit and window shop there one day.

  2. It sounds like you had a perfect day SSG, thanks for sharing it with us.

  3. Which cocktail/blow dry did you go with? It looks beautiful.
    Also did you drop any $ on stuffs?

  4. I just watched the movie "The Lords of Dogtown" last night! Looks like you're having a great time in LA.


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