the Art of Traveling Solo in L.A.

Prior to my most recent trip, I had a salty attitude toward L.A. The city was too much for me - at least from what I gathered the last time I visited California with my family in 2013.

Downtown seemed boring, Hollywood was bizarre, and there would be no way I could ever dream of living in the Hollywood Hills or the 90210. It seemed like a fantasy land where wannabes are en masse and dreams go to die. 

I couldn't have been more wrong. Instead of having just graduated high school, I flew out to LAX for my senior spring break with a degree from Michigan State University on the horizon. At this point, my world view has changed, and so did the way I approached my solo trip on the West coast.  

I stayed with my friend Kojo on USC's campus. He's a dear friend of mine who lived on my floor freshman year at MSU, and then he transferred to USC to pursue his dreams. Awesome, right? Now, living with four dudes is interesting, but that's a separate, more humorous blog post that will come your way soon. The main point here is that it was their mid-term week, and I didn't want to be in everyone's hair. No worries - I was ready to explore. 

Here are some of the BEST things you can do for yourself while in L.A. 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) 

After spending five hours at this place, I have vowed to never go to a museum with another person ever again. I went at my own pace, I made friends with a security guard and an usher from Greece AND I saw a lot of cool art. 

The details: I spent $10 on a student day pass, and it's worth it. There are so many exhibits and buildings to wander through. Works from Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, Roy Lichtenstein, and Ernst Ludwig Kirschner were some of my favorites. I also spent a lot of time at the Broad exhibition, perusing through galleries filled with modern art.

The Getty Villa 

Ya'll. This place rocks. Did it help that it was 75 degrees and sunny when I went? Yes. But still. Beautiful gardens, magnificent sculptures. 

I got a metro day pass - the cheapest and easiest way to do it. I took the Metro from USC down to Santa Monica, and then hopped on the Big Blue Bus that dropped me off right at the entrance of the Getty Villa. 

The Getty Villa is FREE, but you do have to reserve tickets online ahead of time. I did this on my phone as I got off the bus, and was lucky enough that they were still available. They also don't allow pedestrians to walk on up. You can only get to the top of the hill to the museum by car. Thankfully hey've got you covered - for free a shuttle comes and picks you up to take you to the top. I'm going to let my pictures do most of the talking for the rest.

the broad

I was super excited about this one and it did not disappoint. I argued with my uber driver about the pronunciation of "The Broad" - no it is not Brawd it's Brode. Me working at the Broad College of Business (as in Eli & Edythe, our Broad Museum, Michigan State Alum, etc.) wasn't enough to convince him. Anyways, I got super lucky and was able to see the Infinity Mirrored Room. Waiting in the standby line for 45 minutes was WORTH IT! 

 

runyon canyon

Google it. Park at the bottom. Run/walk/crawl up it. Take pictures. Pet the dogs. Repeat as needed. 

 

Santa Monica

This was the most convenient beach for me to get to while staying at USC. The Metro took me from campus all the way down to the pier in about 35-40 minutes. It's a bit touristy, but I love it here. And is there really anything better than watching a sunset with mountains in view? Again, see pictures. 

Eats:

The Ivy Room, right on Main St. is the cutest, (most expensive place) I ate at on my trip. It was a total treat yourself moment. I was in desperate need of food, but I wanted to eat as close to the coast as possible. You'll know it when you see it below. 

Bruxie: Really good chicken and waffles. 10/10 recommend. Then hit up the stores on the same strip. 

 

 

Christians, Why Aren't You Angry?

Because I sure as hell am. 

People who claim to be women and men of God have been fairly active on my Facebook timeline this week. Posts included telling people to "Move on, the election is over" and "Quit with the divisive politics" and "We need to just love each other!" 

But these same people have been eerily silent on the atrocities happening in this country. This confuses me. I thought Christians were supposed to love thy neighbor? Be accepting of everyone? Stick up for people? But you've been silent. And this silence is violence.

Because president 45 signed an executive order that bans Muslims from this country. Do not let anyone tell you this is for our safety. It is not. It is a racist act of injustice and it is a death sentence to the refugees who have gone through an extremely difficult vetting process and are running for their lives. 

Do not tell me you are pro-life when you are so careful about which lives to speak up for. You fight for an unborn fetus, but have shown no empathy for people fleeing for their lives. Or for People who depend on the healthcare the Affordable Care Act guarantees them. There are dozens of other ways in which the lives of marginalized people are at risk right. now. Do your research.

People who fight for justice are not being divisive. This isn't democrat versus republican. This is the oppressed resisting against their oppressors.  What side of history do you want to be on? Because it is possible to be a Christian and be angry at the injustice that is happening.  *There are many that are.*

Don't let the loudest thing you say be nothing at all.  

 

Put your Money where your Mouth is

A lot has happened in the past week. My heart is broken and I am angry. I am broken because our administration has chosen to reject those who are seeking a life free of violence. We have rejected people that are in life or death situations. We shut the door on them completely, even though our door was barely cracked to begin with, as our vetting process is extremely difficult to get through.

Millions of marginalized people are under attack right now with legislation that is being pushed through in D.C. You can no longer tell me to "wait and see what Trump does." It's happening. In fact, it started a long time ago. 

I URGE you to donate. There is nothing that is more important right now. If you are a person that keeps advocating for "unity, peace & love" -- put your money where your mouth is. 

1. www.CAIR.com and https://www.nilc.org/ and www.refugeerights.org --> To fight against the #MuslimBan and make #RefugeesWelcome once again. This executive order is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. It is morally wrong. It is a travesty. 

2. http://standwithstandingrock.net/ --> money goes directly to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe still fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline. #NoDAPL #WaterIsLife 

3.  http://www.hrc.org/ --> Donate to the Human Rights Campaign to fight against the 16 anti-LGBTQ bills proposed across the U.S.

4.  Unitedwaygenesee.org --> Flint, MI still does not have clean water. Money goes to the immediate services Flint residents need.

5. PlannedParenthood.org and https://www.reproductiverights.org/

6. Search the #TransCrowdFund on twitter -- donate. It will save a life. 

7. ACLU.org 

Happy 180th birthday, Michigan

Oh boy, am I smitten with the mitten. Happy birthday to the place I'll forever call home. 

(When did I get so cheesy? What's happening to me!?!?) 

Eastern Market. Detroit, MI 

Eastern Market. Detroit, MI 

Michigan State University. Beaumont Tower. East Lansing, MI

Michigan State University. Beaumont Tower. East Lansing, MI

Twelve Mile Beach / Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Lake Superior. Munising, MI

Twelve Mile Beach / Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Lake Superior. Munising, MI

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Munising, MI 

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Munising, MI