Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lost in Los Angeles

One of my favorite things about Aaron, from the beginning of our relationship, was his fondness for traveling. Since seeing the world was important to me, I knew I would want to spend my life with someone who would want to journey with me.

When Aaron was invited to interview for a film school in the Hollywood, we both went to Los Angeles. Neither of us had been to L.A., and flights were super cheap (we're talking $100 round trip from Omaha), so I went with him. We stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel right on Hollywood Boulevard for a steal at $70, thanks to Hotwire, and it was a fun, quick trip.

It began with a red eye from Omaha to Denver to Los Angeles. We landed in the city of angels mid-morning and rented a car from the sketchiest of rental car places. It looked like this:


Yes, we cruised around L.A. in style. Slash embarrassment. But all in the name of saving a few bucks. We got in a huge fight driving down the 101. I don't know why I remember that so clearly, but I do. I also remember being very surprised by the terrible condition of the roads; specifically, I hated how everything was covered in graffiti, even the barbwired signage 25 feet in the air in the middle of the interstates. We went straight to Hollywood and checked out the AFI campus in Los Feliz. It was a truly beautiful area, with lovely homes all around, but since Aaron's interview wasn't until the next morning, we had a whole day to explore the city.

Looking back, we were quintessential naive college kids. We had lunch at a since-forgotten hamburger place where I had a hot dog. I don't know why I ate a hot dog, but I did. We picked the shadiest burger joint in the city to eat.

After lunch we went to check in at the hotel. It was a very fun place to stay.


The hotel was built in 1927 and named after President Theodore Roosevelt. The Hollywood Roosevelt also hosted the first Academy Awards in 1929 – of course, my filmie loved it. Wikipedia tells me the hotel underwent major renovations in 2005 and is that "there has been a recent surge in popularity within young Hollywood in the last few years, thanks to trendy nightclub Teddy's, which is located in the main lobby of the hotel."

The interior of the hotel was very nice, but also quite dark. I mean very, very dimly lit. The elevator was creepy, and the corridors and hallways were not very well identifed. That is to say, Aaron and I almost got lost in a scary abyss on the first floor as we attempted to find the elevators. On the floor our room was on, everything was quite dim (keep in mind it was early afternoon) and the black lacquered paint was sort of ominous. Definitely my least favorite part of the entire hotel.

The photo below is exactly what my room looked like. Very bright, very nice, with a minibar that was pretty great. And apparently the people pricing the bar thought so, because the costs were insane. When I checked out and the desk tried to charge me $25 for a cordial, I laughed. They called someone back to the room and cleared the tab, so to speak. The view was nothing fantastic, just the back of the hotel and rooftops.


One of my favorite parts about staying at the Hollywood Roosevelt was that the bathroom was stocked with Kiehl's products. Can you say LOVE? I made that stuff last for a long time.

We left our bags and went to explore. The Walk of Fame is literally outside the historic lobby. We went to the Kodak Theatre first, which is where the Academy Awards are now hosted and American Idol is shot.

That iconic Hollywood sign from the balcony at the Hollywood and Higland "mall," which is connected to the Kodak Theatre.

One of Aaron's favorite directors of photography and an icon.

Then we waited to go to Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Then we had dinner at 25 degrees, which is the more casual of the restaurants at the Hotel Roosevelt. We split an amazing, if overpriced, burger and had the most delicious fries ever. So delicious that Aaron made me take a picture of them so that we would always remember. It's not a great picture because I was trying to be subtle about taking pictures of fries. Check out AC's old glasses!

A two-hour jet lag, the fact that we left Omaha at 5 a.m. central time and an interview with the potential to determine the next two to four years left us feeling like old people, so we prepped for Aaron's interview and then hit the hay.

The next morning, Aaron went back to AFI for his interview and I went out and looked for a breakfast and coffee shop on Hollywood. I found one and had a quick breakfast there and then went on a walk through the iconic streets. It was nice to see the city a little more sleepy and laid back than the frenetic, buzzing Hollywood strip the night before. Aaron returned around 11 a.m., changed out of his dress clothes and then we checked out of the hotel. We had to wait for the valet to bring us our sweet wheels, and while we sat I took a few pictures of us and the hotel signage, which I never get tired of seeing.

We grabbed lunch at the In-N-Out, of course. We parked the car and on the sidewalk so we wouldn't have to pay for the next day's valet (I love my husband) and walked down to the next burger joint on our agenda. I should call this the hamburger trip, because I feel like we ate at a burger restaurant of varying caliber for almost every meal. Anyway, Aaron's uncle provides the potatoes that make the fries at In-N-Out, so we had to stop.

Good burger and fries, but definitely not as good as 25 degrees the night before. We left Hollywood Boulevard and drove through the Griffith Park/Los Feliz/Silverlake area for a while. We planned to go to Santa Monica Pier that afternoon, so I called my friend Wes, who then lived in Santa Barbara, to see if he wanted to meet us there. Granted, Santa Barbara and Santa Monica are about an hour and a half away, but for Wes and I, that was a lot more attainable trip than California and Nebraska. So we jumped on the highway with promises of seeing another new place and meeting up with an old, dear friend.

Santa Monica was also the first time I've ever been to the Pacific Ocean. One of my life goals is to see each of the oceans, and I was happy to stick my toes in these cold waters.

We met up with Wes and grabbed a quick dinner at P.F. Changs and then did some window shopping on Third Street Promenade. It was so great of Wes to travel down to see us! In this picture, Wes and I are standing in front of an Anthropologie display. Laura, you were on our minds all night. Missed you, love!

After dinner and a fun jaunt through Santa Monica, Wes headed back to Santa Barbara and Aaron and I headed to LAX to fly back home. Our flight didn't leave until midnight, so we got to spend the whole day enjoying new sights. However, by end of the day, we were both exhausted. And crazy looking. Point:

We flew back through Minneapolis and then had the drive from Omaha to Lincoln back to school. Needless to say, it was a whirlwind journey. Ultimately, Aaron didn't get in to AFI. He doesn't regret it, though, as FSU is really where he was meant to be. And I don't regret tagging along, either.

{all images, unless noted, are property of the author}

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