Reader, I am falling in love with an intriguing paramour. One might even say he is perfect. It often seems so to me. Others do disagree, and insist is that he is a little too gauche and over the top; a luxury lover who could be called out as “unbecomingly arrogant” or perhaps “unbearably vapid”. True, he does bask in having the hottest clubs and restaurants just steps away. But reader, there is another side too. He possesses some of the most beautiful real estate in the country, a natural oasis of cliffs, palms, waves, and sand. He is a discerning collector of art, both ancient and contemporary. He is not the most forgiving boss, but employs the country’s finest creative and intellectual minds, leading the entertainment industry as a whole. Reader, I am falling in love with the city of Los Angeles.
Falling in love is an empirical experience; we fall in love with the help of our senses. The first sense that often drives an amorous affair is sight. A taut backside or ripped torso, jewel-box eyes, or a wicked smile. LA certainly can charm with these attributes too, as numerous trips down Melrose explicitly demonstrate.
But perhaps the most seductive view of the city for me came from my Saturday day trip to Malibu.
[You will always be my ‘Bu]
As an amateur art obsessive, I have wanted to check out the Getty Villa every time I am in town. But usually, I am only in LA for a day or two of back to back meetings, which makes it difficult to go on any sort of extended adventure. This time though, the (Hollywood Boulevard) stars aligned and my best friend, Robby, and I were able to coordinate a last-minute LA getaway which would enable us to explore Malibu, among other neighborhoods.
To get to the David Guetta Villa for the Advancement of Electronic Dance Music and Etruscan Art (aka the Getty Villa), we took an Uber from our Airbnb in Hollywood. We had opted to rent a spacious, super cute studio for a couple of nights on Argyle Avenue, right next to the W Hollywood, where I would be staying for work later in the week.
Though our Airbnb was a near flawless experience, the ride to the DGVFTAOEDMAEA was not. The mom driver who picked us up was not feeling our ~witty banter~ and attempted to passive aggressively blast NPR to drown us out. I do believe it backfired, as I then made her listen to Drizzy and Yeezy for the remainder of the ride. Five? Little mama you a three star (Uber driver).
We were both relieved to leave the somewhat tense ambiance of her Toyota Corolla, and envelop ourselves in a timeless, quiet Elysium of art and design. It was almost too easy to lapse back into feeling like we were 21 and exploring Europe together again, surrounded by columns, colonnades and constant beauty.
[Us as ~youth~ before the Feria de Abril in Sevilla]
Robby and I met as roommates in Spain during study abroad, when I was 21 and he was 19. We instantly became best friends when he helped me carry my luggage up the steps of our Madrid hotel hours after landing at Barajas, and did just about everything together from that moment on. Whether we were struggling/laughing through our science class as ~lab partners~, skipping aforementioned classes to guzzle cartons of 1 euro vino de caja (yet somehow still be skinny?!), dancing at Buddha all night then waking up at 1PM right in time for Mama’s fajitas, or just taking long walks around different parts of the city and talking about life for hours, we were inseparable.
When we hang out, hours feel like minutes and days feel like hours. Walking around the David Guetta/Getty Villa, it was clear that absolutely nothing had changed in the 5 years since we had last seen each other in person. It was a near-perfect afternoon of chic photo shoots, art appreciation, and most importantly, non-stop laughs.
[Besties in 2016]
It’s hard to discern whether our abs ached all weekend from the number of times we doubled over (occasionally on the verge of tears) from laughing so hard, or from the number of boutique fitness classes which we took.
Before we went to Malibu, I initiated Robby into my newest obsession, spinning, vis-à-vis a sassy Soulcycle class in Hollywood with Tina. We couldn’t stop raving about the sick Formation remix she played, or how cute it was when she twerked to pump us up and then rode alongside us for the last song. I really wish Soulcycle would join Classpass, so I could justify going more often.
[Why yes, we are ATHLETES, LEGENDS, WARRIORS, RENEGADES, ROCKSTARS]
On Sunday, we specifically coordinated our day around taking a class with Aaron Albert. I took my first class at Cycle House with him at the end of February, and was literally close to tears, due to how inspiring it was.
We were randomly assigned front row for class, which was a little ambitious, at a studio where celebathletes like Madonna and Khloe Kardashian are known to kill it. But we decided to take the plunge and stick with the front seats, knowing that it would push us to take a challenging workout even further.
Cycle House is the most hardcore studio that I spin at, with a grittier, more in your face vibe than Soulcycle, Flywheel, or Monster Cycle. Instructors like Aaron or Nishelle won’t hesitate to call out the group and say stuff like, “Are you here just to Instagram that you came or are you really here to work?” and “If anyone in this room dares to drop their weights, I am making the whole class re-do the weights section!” They also walk around the class regularly, adjusting people’s resistance and getting in your face to encourage/yell at you to pedal faster.
But, there is a method to the madness. At Cycle House, they know how to make you dig deep and think about why you are here; to really make you seize the moment of your workout and use the energy which the room as a whole creates to propel your whole life forward. How amazing is that?
Through the sense of touch, through tapbacks and tricep extensions, Cycle House can help you to cultivate self-love, which ultimately is far more important than that taut backside or ripped torso (though in the end, you will eventually get those assets too).
Even though it felt like we burned about 21,930 calories across various fitnessventures, it is hard to ascertain whether or not we actually lost any fat over the weekend, because we also culminated each class with a Freeze from Pressed Juicery.
[Photo Credit: HERE]
Though not entirely virtuous, we may have lost a couple of lbs after all, since Freezes are the healthiest frozen yogurt which one can have. The only ingredients are fruits, vegetables, and nuts, and there is no sugar or other additives. My absolute favorite Freeze is the vanilla almond, though the roots, greens, chocolate and citrus flavors were all delightful to sample too. I personally style my Freeze with shredded coconut, an aggressive dollop of almond butter, and either blueberries or strawberries.
[Marie Antoinette candles !!!!!!]
After our post-Cycle House Pressed Juicery date*, we were aimlessly wandering around West Hollywood and stumbled upon a new favorite store, Candle Delirium. I am not even a ~candle person~, but ended up spending almost an hour sampling Diptyque scents and admiring sundry Jonathan Adler accessories to hold said votives. This emporium to elevated aromas is the ideal locale to lose oneself in an often neglected sense, that of smell. Sweet rain, smoky exotics, calming vanilla, energizing lavender, cleansing grapefruit. Though often more subtle than sight or touch, scent too can tie us inextricably to a person, place, or even aspiration, as Candle Delirium gently reminded.
Fueled by our candle craze, as well as an additional WeHo voyage to a palatial Restoration Hardware, Robby and I became obsessed with the idea of living together in an ultra-chic Hollywood Hills abode in a few years. Could we be the West Coast Will and Grace by 2019? Would our Jack be that chatty dancer gay in a shiny gold jacket who we picked up from The Abbey via Uber Pool? Who would be our Karen?
[Future home owners together?!?]
Our anthem of the trip was Fifth Harmony’s “Work From Home”, an instantly iconic bop which reminds one that, “you ain’t gotta go to work, work, work, work, work, work, work, but you gotta put in work, work, work, work, work, work, work.” Life can feel like an endless grind, demanding increased effort at an unceasing clip. To fall in love with any major city, especially Los Angeles, requires grit and perseverance. But with the right mentors, with the right teachers, and most importantly, with the right friends, the struggle, the climb- whether it be to that aspirational Hollywood Hills home, to that seemingly unreachable place of perfect self-love, to that next power career move, or anything else one desires-that struggle can be a journey of joy too.