I absolutely love to travel and I was super fortunate to spend last weekend in one of my favorite cities, Los Angeles. The main purpose for the trip was to cover the press junket for The Giver (out August 15th!), but I managed to squeeze in some sightseeing and family time.
My trip was Friday-Monday and on Friday evening, I had the opportunity to screen the film at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. I admit, I was a little hesitant about this film at first, but I really enjoyed it! I’ll have a full review coming on Shelf to Screen next week so stay tuned for that.
Saturday was spent at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills where I interviewed Brenton Thwaites, Cameron Monaghan, Odeya Rush, and the woman herself…acclaimed author Lois Lowry. She is such a fascinating woman.
After wrapping up at the Four Seasons, I headed a few miles down the road to In n Out Burger because I mean, come on…how could I not?! After my delicious lunch, I headed to the Getty for a little culture and some sightseeing. I’ve always been told that the Getty Center is a must-see but I never really had an open chunk of time to visit before. The art that is on display is gorgeous and the architecture of the Getty is amazing. I wish that the sky had been clearer but wishing for a Los Angeles day without smog is like wishing for the sky not to be blue. It’s just not going to happen. Later that evening, I met up with my friend Angie for dinner.
On Sunday I drove out to the Inland Empire (the Ontario/San Bernardino/Riverside region), which is where my Dad grew up. I had the day completely free and I had contacted my cousins and my great-aunt to let them know I would be in the area for the day. It was the first time that I had been in the area since my Aunt and Uncle passed away so I wasn’t completely sure how it would affect me.
I stopped by my great-aunt’s house first where I had quite the welcome! My Auntie Bola was there, along with two of her brothers (and my late grandpa’s brothers), my Uncle Ben and Uncle Arnold, as well as my second-cousin Laurie. My other second-cousin Annie would arrive later with her family. My Auntie Bola is such a special woman and just recently went through a battle with breast cancer. She’s pretty fiesty, that one. And hilarious. I think I get some of my sense of humor from her.
After leaving my Auntie Bola’s house, I stopped by Vallarta’s Bakery in Rialto to pick up some Mexican pastries. California is different from North Carolina in MANY ways but one thing that California has that NC does not, is a variety of good and authentic Mexican bakeries/restaurants. Mexican restaurants here in the South get a little Americanized. From there, I drove out to Riverside National Cemetery to visit my Grandpa and my Uncle Louie. I’ve written about what my family has endured over the last year here, so I won’t get into that much but it was definitely an emotional visit. My Grandpa and my Uncle are buried just two rows apart from each other. From there, I headed over to have lunch with my cousins Krissy and Diane and their children.
When I made it back to Los Angeles, I met up with my dear friend Erin for dinner. She is one of my biggest inspirations and I adore her so much.
All in all, it was a fantastic trip and come Monday, I really found myself reluctant to get on the plane to head home. No one knows what the future holds for them but if my career aspirations work out the way I hope, Los Angeles may just be my new home one day, so this trip was a nice little peek at what life like that might be like.