Living the SoCal Life: A Warm Christmas in LA

Living the SoCal Life

A year and nine months ago, I moved back to Southern California from New York City. Why? I missed The SoCal Life. The beaches, my bike rides, hiking, the mountains, snowboarding, wakeboarding – all of this in sunny, 70-degreee weather. There are two things I love about SoCal – people are active year-round and there are countless beaches stretching from San Diego up to Santa Barbara. I live in Santa Monica/Los Angeles which is right in the middle, 2 hours north and 2 hours south, so its the perfect location to live the SoCal Life.

Paseo Miramar Life Above the Clouds

Los Angeles, CA – Santa Monica & Marina Del Rey

December 25 – 28, 2013

While most of my friends & family were freezing on the east coast, it was 80 degrees in Santa Monica on Christmas Day – typical for Southern California. This has been the warmest winter I have had in a while as I’ve spent the last three or four winters in either NY or London. I also usually try travel abroad during this time of year as well but time got the best of me this season and I wasn’t able to plan anything big, so I decided to explore California’s Coast during this holiday break starting with my “backyard.” In two days, I’ll head out to explore the Central Coast which I am actually really excited about since I have been wanting to go to the Big Sur for quite some time now.

Sometimes I forget that I live in one of the top destinations to visit, Los Angeles. Not only do I live in Los Angeles, I live on the Westside (west of the 405 fwy) which is close enough to bike to beach and a 15 min Drive from Malibu. What else could I ask for? So thinking about going somewhere “warm” for vacation is quite hard when I kind of live in a place that’s usually warm year round.

Two days before Christmas, I went hiking at Paseo Miramar. The trail ends at the Parker Mesa Overlook and if you hike on a semi-cloudy/foggy day, you may be able to hike above the clouds. I love this hike because of the ocean and city views – the best of both worlds. Its 5-miles roundtrip, takes about two hours, and is definitely a workout as the first 45-mins is uphill. A couple days later, I ran along Palisades Park on Ocean Ave., just north of Santa Monica’s famous 3rd Street Promenade. The park is a great place to walk, run, stroll, etc. just for the ocean views. Nearby are the Santa Monica Stairs where you’ll find a crowd of regulars (locals) working out. I often bike down Montana Ave. where you’ll find plenty of cute shops and restaurants and then spend my afternoon’s at the Loews Hotel in Santa Monica, another local favorite of mine. Its a great place to watch the sunset with a glass of wine in hand.

Today, I went stand up paddle (SUP) boarding in Marina Del Rey. Again, I forgot how accessible things are in LA! I used to live in the marina and its just 15 mins away – so easy!  I love being ‘on the water’ and ‘on a board’ so SUP is perfect, especially since you don’t necessarily need to get in the water (that’s if you don’t fall). Its also a great workout and something active to do on the weekends. I rented my board from Phins Water Sports, they also have kayaks, open water rowing, SUP Pilates, and SUP Yoga. Its located right by the beach in the Marina off Panay Way. After my workout, I stopped at Mendicino Farms on my way to the Playa Vista pool and I ended my perfect day at Playa Del Rey beach.

Sometimes we’ll search the world for something but often forget to look at what is standing right in front of us. 

I met someone today who was similar to myself and one day decided to give it all up to do what he loved the most. He mentioned that work always came home with him and one day he realized that he was never able to ‘turn it off.’ He was always traveling, thinking of the next project, the next deadline, and Sunday nights were never relaxing because of the stress and anxiety Monday would bring. While he was really good at his job, he was only ‘living’ two days out of the week, if that. So, he quit and moved back to Los Angeles.

I am always on the road. I love the feeling of always moving, traveling, seeing the world, but I sometimes forget to see, appreciate, and experience what’s right here in my own home. Sometimes I forget to truly live and explore Southern California. I’ve been thinking about moving but maybe I’m not ready to move, maybe I’m just scratching LA’s surface. I think I’ve seen a lot here but there just might be so much more to discover! Something to think about on my road trip through California’s Central Coast….

Marina Del Rey

Marina Del Rey

Playa Del Rey Beach

Playa Del Rey Beach

Playa Del Rey Beach Rocks

Playa Del Rey Beach Rocks

Loews Santa Monica

Loews Santa Monica

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