Travel Diary: California 2016

el matador beach malibu

Ahh California… North, South – I just love it there. I feel like this trip was years in the making. Justine and I have been talking about doing a L.A. trip for ages and we finally found the time and an excuse to go!

Last year, we did go to Palm Springs, but didn’t make it out west to L.A.. This year however, we booked an L.A. extension to our trip as soon as we found out that we would be returning to Palm Springs for Coachella! Justine has an ongoing partnership with PANDORA, who signed on as the first-ever, official jewelry sponsor of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival. To celebrate the brand’s involvement with the festival, they brought Justine and me to Palm Springs to experience their amazing installation on the Coachella grounds. You can read all about it on Justine’s blog here.

It was the first time either of us have ever gone to Coachella and it was a total blast! The weather was hot, the performances were fantastic and we had tons of fun with a few of our fellow blogger friends who were also at the festival. Music highlight was definitely seeing Disclosure, one of our favorite acts.

Following the weekend of Coachella activities, we hit the road to Los Angeles. We rented a convertible for our time in California and lucked out, getting a yellow Camaro – how fun, right?! We spent 5 days in L.A. I got to celebrate my birthday there and we had an amazing time catching up with friends and enjoying some seriously delicious meals.

We even managed to fit in a trip out to experience san diego whale watching which really was an amazing spectacle, one that had been at the top of my bucket list for some time!

Take a scroll below to see photos and get all the details of the trip, starting with our arrival in Palm Springs…

The first thing on the agenda was to hit the pool:

alexanderkenton travel palm springs

Sunsets in the desert are pretty epic. There was a warm breeze on our first night and driving around with the top down was pretty fantastic!

palm desert

On our second night in the desert, we met up with the marketing team at PANDORA for dinner at Norma’s at The Parker Palm Springs. I love the Parker. A truly iconic Palm Springs destination. The white wall at the front entrance is unmistakeable.

parker palm springs alexander liang

Again, those desert sunsets…

palm springs sunset

Coachella Day 1! We didn’t take too many photos on the first day, distracted more by getting acquainted with the grounds and navigating through the crowds. But here’s a selfie of Justine and me:

alexander liang justine iaboni coachella

More palm trees and another beautiful sunset. It never gets old for me.

sunset palm trees

On Day 2 of Coachella, we went to visit the PANDORA tent and we were blown away by the setup. I felt like I was inside a diamond! There was also a really cool Alice in Wonderland inspired space, which you can see on Justine’s blog.

coachella pandora alexander liang

Out in festival grounds with our friend Margaret from PANDORA and Hawley from Sidewalk Hustle!

coachella 2016 alexander liang margaret nam justine iaboni hawley dunbar

Thanks Hawley for this great shot of Justine and me below!

coachella justine iaboni alexander liang

Then we met up with these crazy kids, fellow blogging couple: Ania B and her husband Tyler! The 4 of us went up in the Coachella ferris wheel to capture the view and (surprise) another beautiful sunset.

ania b tyler stalman justine iaboni alexander liang coachella

My full festival look:

alexanderkenton coachella fashion

Rockin’ out with Ania:

alexanderkenton aniab jetsetjustine coachellacoachella ferris wheelcoachella birds eye view

Justine capturing the wheel at sunset:

jetsetjustine coachella sunset

So here’s a crazy story. As we were leaving Palm Springs for our drive to L.A., we stopped the car to take some photos with the desert-scape, windmills etc. I pulled over off the road, maybe 5 ft. from the pavement and we had a great time getting our shots. But then, when we got back into the car to leave, it didn’t move. We were stuck! Panic ensued immediately. Being from Toronto, we know what it’s like to be stuck in the snow, so we figured it would be a similar situation. Nope! Totally different. The wind was blowing sand under the car and around the wheels. People stopped to help us a couple times and we were even digging in the sand with our bare hands at one point. After two unsuccessful rescue attempts, a man stopped in a pick up truck, got out and grabbed a rope from the back of his truck. It wasn’t until he was down on his stomach, hooking the rope under our car that he spoke to us, saying “what are you doing in the sand?”. LOL, taking photos of course. We were clearly not from there. Anyway, the rope tow was quick and easy (learn more from Canadian Towing). We were back on the road and the nice man left with some well-earned cash. Here’s the result: (Notice the area around the wheels, ha!)

alexander liang palm desertyellow camaro alexanderkentonkenzo mens t-shirt

One more desert sunset photo for good measure:

palm desert sunset palm trees

We kicked off our first morning in L.A. with coffee and breakfast at Alfred’s on Melrose Place. The original home of “But First, Coffee”. And the coffee did live up to the hype.

but first coffee alfreds melrose

For lunch, we met up with a friend in downtown L.A. and tried Bottega Louie, an amazing French/Italian spot with incredible food and delectable sweets. I ordered the meatball sliders, which were excellent.

bottega louiebottega louie los angeles

For dinner, we met up with one of my friends from university at Gracias Madre. The restaurant is vegan Mexican. I know, I know, how good could a vegan restaurant really be, right? Well, it was on point. You wouldn’t even realize that the dishes are vegan. The only thing that gives it away is the lack of cheese. The food was so flavorful and we also felt pretty guilt-free stuffing our faces, because it was “healthy” haha. Here’s my outfit that night:

los angeles mens style

The next day, Justine and I decided that we should take advantage of the beautiful rooftop at our hotel. We stayed at the Petit Ermitage in West Hollywood and their rooftop was heavenly! Complete with a pool, garden cafe and plenty of spots to lounge around, we were told by many of our L.A. based friends that it’s one of the best rooftops in the city.

petit ermitage rooftop pool

The next day, it was time to explore more of L.A.! First stop: LACMA (The Los Angeles County Museum of Art) to snap some shots with their famous “Urban Light” installation piece.

LACMA alexander liangLACMAalexanderkenton LACMA

We checked out Escuela Taqueria on Beverly Blvd for lunch. The crispy beef & pickle tacos there are seriously incredible. If there’s one thing you have to try there, it is those.

That afternoon, we took a drive to Malibu along the Pacific Coast Highway. The views were absolutely EPIC!! It’s such a scenic drive and Malibu is beautiful.

malibu californiamens fashion malibu californiael matador beach malibualexander liang malibu travel blogger

Quintessential Beverly Hills scene:

beverly hills

After a wonderful few days in L.A. it was time to leave. We packed up our Camaro and drove back to Palm Springs for one more night before heading home. En route, an In-N-Out stop was a made. An absolute must if you’re in California.

We met up with more blogger friends of ours for dinner later and the next morning we jetted off. It was a really nice trip. 10 days in total. I will definitely be back in L.A. again sooner than later!

in-n-out desert oasis


1 Comment

  1. Dustin Carrington
    May 7, 2016 / 1:19 AM

    Yessss! I loved following along on IG and snapchat, but reading all about it here really brings it to life! Sounds like such a blast!!! Definitely tagging along next time!

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