I recently took a trip to Los Angeles to shoot my upcoming Spring/Summer clothing line in collaboration with Something By Sonjia. This is our 5th collection and probably my 5th time heading to Los Angeles to help find accessories for our line (we always include a fire pair of sunglasses in every collection and this time we have 2 styles) and also to shoot the product shots for the website and our social media accounts. I’ve extremely proud of this collection because it signifies the growth that we have both had in our personal lives as well as the growth of our careers and brands. I always have a good time in Los Angeles, although I don’t think I could ever live there. The last time I was there, it was to shoot our Fall Collection and I stayed in Santa Monica at the Proper Hotel and much preferred that area and the quietness of it over Downtown LA. Prior to that I always got accommodations at The Line Hotel in Koreatown. But this time, I stayed at the new Downtown Proper Hotel in LA and quite enjoyed my stay. We also took a 2.5 hour drive out to Joshua Tree to shoot our collection and enjoy Cinco De Mayo in the peacefulness of the desert. Here’s a look at a few of my favorite things to do and wear while in Los Angeles.
WHERE TO STAY
Downtown LA Proper is a newer hotel in downtown LA and I chose it because it’s super close to the Something By Sonjia Studio. I also previously stayed at the Santa Monica Proper Hotel and absolutely fell in love with the decor and the beautiful aesthetics of the property. The Santa Monica Proper is definitely top tier and the Downtown LA Proper is giving too. The rooms are spacious and all of the common areas are perfectly instagrammable. The price is pretty good too. They have 2 restaurants Caldo Verde and Cara Cara and both are incredible. I’d recommend the rooftop Cara Cara for dinner as the view of Downtown LA is spectacular with a fire pit and dipping pool. For breakfast or brunch head down to Caldo Verde for a delicious meal. I also love The Line Hotel as it is very stark and fun with a coffee shop, club and rooftop restaurant that’s great for photos (the food is bomb too). Most of the rooms at The Line Hotel face The Hollywood sign and its a cool sight to wake up too.
In addition to staying at a hotel, I rented a house in Joshua Tree for a night to shoot the Spring/Summer Collection by Something By Sonjia and I. It was a scenic and majestic 2.5 hour drive from LA. I’ve always loved the desert. I’ve spent time at Scarabeo Camp in Marrakesh Morocco as well as Joshua Tree and Yucca Valley in the past. There’s something about the solitude of the desert that makes me feel very much at peace. I also quite like the thought of not many people being around for miles and how that makes me feel as a human being. Give me the ocean or the desert and I’m in my happy place. Being that our latest collection is full of neutrals and understated, yet elevated minimalism, I knew the desert would be a perfect place to capture the beauty of the collection and Casa Perla didn’t disappoint. It’s an absolutely breathtaking home on 5 acres of land. The home is well decorated and everything was well thought out. We enjoyed an evening cooking in the spacious kitchen and enjoying the hot tub under the stars at night. It was well worth the money as I had one of the best nights sleep ever and a marvelous sunrise in the morning. In the past I’ve also stayed at Flamingo Rocks Airbnb which I thoroughly enjoyed.
WHERE TO EAT
Cara Cara and Caldo Verde are both top tier restaurants at Downtown LA Proper Hotel. I’d suggest Cara Cara the rooftop restaurant for a sexy girls night out or dinner with your boo. The vibes are immaculate and the scenery divine. You’ll want to cozy up next to the firepit and take endless photos of the skyline. The food is great too. For some reason the arugula salad did it for me and I don’t even like salad like that. Everything can be shared which is fun too. I also enjoyed the drinks. Then there’s Caldo Verde which has a beautiful rustic yet clean aesthetic. I could probably spend an entire day in there admiring the furniture and decor. I had a very filling and delicious brunch there during my stay. Their freshly made juices are a chef’s kiss and the eggs and bacon were made just right. Lot’s of people order the avocado toast which looked delectable as well.
Ocean Prime is another favorite of mine and anytime I’m in Beverly Hill’s I make it my business to pop in. It’s pretty easy to get a lunch or late afternoon reservation as most people only frequent this establishment for a fire lit dinner. After an early afternoon of shopping on Rodeo Drive, I make the 3 minute walk to Ocean Prime and either sit at the bar or get a table outside. Don’t worry, they have heat lamps (it was still pretty chilly in early May during the day). I always get the Berries and Bubbles Cocktail. I have no idea what’s in it but it bubbles aggressively for 5 minutes and it’s so so good! It’s just a tad bit sweet but still gets you tipsy! Which is what the purpose of a great cocktail is! I also get the spicy tuna crispy rice. It’s very good, not as good as Makoto in Miami Beach, but it will still hit the spot. While you await your main server you are served a chive style popcorn (which I devoured in 1 minute flat). Be prepared for service to be a little slow.
CATCH LA was a vibe for my pre-birthday celebration with the girls. All of the eats are meant to be shared and we went in on the French 75s and Lemon Drops cocktails. I was definitely on the verge of drunkeness after an evening of sushi rolls, rock shrimp, truffle fries, branzino and a snickers cake for dessert. The ambience is dimly lit and sexy and it’s the perfect spot for a girls dinner or date night. The bill wasn’t nearly as bad for 4 people as it would have been in New York or Miami.
Honorable mentions include In-N-Out Burger…if you are hungry, the burger will hit the spot, the fries… not so much. Openaire at The Line Hotel is always a winner but you need to make a resy tout-suite. I’ve had one of the best dinner dates of my life here. Their brunch is also a bustling vibe too. Then there’s République restaurant, which has an expansive offering of delicious treats, cakes and cookies. I also love the rustic Parisian ambience. I come for the desserts and leave with enough for a week.
WHERE TO SHOP
When it comes to shopping I actually didn’t do too much, so I don’t have much to report. I always make my way to Beverly Hills for a stroll down Rodeo Drive just to see what I can see but one place I always visit in LA is What Goes Around Comes Around. They have an expansive collection of vintage luxury items that you can’t find anywhere else. They have lots of vintage Jean Paul Gaultier, Dior Saddle Bags, Chanel Belts and Jewelry and pretty much anything else your heart desires. I ended up finding a beautiful vintage JPG dress and Louis Vuitton Bag. I’d highly recommend popping in if you are on Rodeo Drive as it’s right off the main street of designer shops. The service is impeccable and the offerings are just as unique as the New York City boutiques.
WHAT TO WEAR
I brought an array of clothing being that LA is warm during the day and cold at 4pm. While in Joshua Tree I also knew it’d be freezing at night and pretty hot during the day. Thus, I packed quite a bit of light weight long sleeve dresses that can go from day to night depending on the footwear. I also packed my favorite leather jacket from Acne for the cooler nights in both the city and the desert. Downtown Proper LA Hotel also has a rooftop pool that’s heated, so I packed quite a bit of swimsuits as well. If you want to know exactly what I packed, make sure to check out this video on my YouTube Channel.
There you have it! My favorite places to stay, eat and shop in Los Angeles as well as what to pack for a trip (especially if you’re traveling when I did around the month of May). For more details and to see all of these places in depth, make sure to head to my YouTube Channel. I have at least 4 Los Angeles vlogs you can watch to see the food, the sites and the offerings up close and personal. Make sure to bookmark this blog post for your next trip to Los Angeles or Joshua Tree.