Five Things I Learned on Our American Road Trip

This year’s American road trip wasn’t just the biggest holiday I’ve ever been on, it’s also one of the most thrilling things I’ve ever done, period.

As well as seeing seven states’ worth of towns, cities and wilderness, spending nearly three weeks on the road with my favourite people was massively exciting! It was a totally new experience for me and it’s safe to say I learned a few things along the way…

Research is everything

From rest stops, to must-do activities, to the restaurants you REALLY want to avoid, doing your research before this kind of adventure really pays off. When you only have one day in a town, you want to make the most of it (and not waste any time Googling things to do when you get there!). Prior to our trip, we had a group access spreadsheet showing our timeline in each location and a Pinterest board to get all our ideas down. On reflection this was probably one of the smartest things we did and I would highly recommend it!

Expect the unexpected

You can plan as much as possible (see above), but sometimes you will still be surprised at where the road takes you. For us, it was up the side of a mountain on a dirt track on the way to Aspen (thanks a lot, road closure!), to a cabin in the middle of the woods in Utah (which Gary thought was a ‘rustic themed hotel’ when he spotted it online, haha!) and uh, Roswell generally (!) to name a few. These twists and turns are what made parts of our trip super memorable, and I wouldn’t want it to have went any other way.

Keep your camera charged

A bit of an obvious one, but when you’re using your camera so frequently (I don’t think mine was ever more than a few inches from me at all times…) it’s really easy to let the battery run out. Pack your charger, and make sure you use it regularly! Keeping my camera and phone charged meant I could freely capture the cities, the ghost towns, the insanely beautiful views and the odd selfie whenever I wanted.

The more you buy, the more you need to carry

…so go easy on the souvenirs! During our American road trip we visited more tacky gift shops, malls and gas stations than I can keep count of, and the temptation to buy things was REAL. But, when you’re having to transport everything around with you (there was a lot of car boot Tetris, you guys!), the novelty of shopping wears off fast! As some of you will remember, I picked up very small enamel pins as souvenirs as they were cute and easy to store!

Pack multipurpose clothing & accessories 

Partly to save suitcase space, also because you’re never quite sure what the weather is going to be like from one place to the next. I don’t think I’ll ever truly be a ‘capsule wardrobe’ type (surprise!) but I definitely brought a few things that I could get good use out of. My most-used item was this huge leopard print scarf (£2 from Primark about ten years ago!!), which I wore in my hair, as a wrap on chilly evenings and even over my face when we were in the windy desert.

These are just a few things I learned on our road trip, and I’ll be keeping all of them in mind for future holidays. If there’s anything I haven’t covered here, or if you have a question about something I’ve mentioned, feel free to get in touch or tweet me!

Here’s to adventure and the open road!

Pink Flamingos at Anaheim GardenWalk

How long does it normally take for you to get into “holiday mode”? You know, the feeling when you finally stop thinking about things back home and just completely start to live in that happy little bliss bubble of holiday fun? As much as I love to get excited for time off and new adventures, I must admit that it usually takes me a couple of days! During our time in California, it was on the day we woke up and decided to visit the Anaheim GardenWalk.

After a hectic travel day, followed by two busy (but awesome!) days at Disneyland, it felt like a bit of a luxury to sleep in a little, take our time and go out for some lunch. I decided it was the perfect occasion to wear this Lindy Bop tea dress, which is adorned with pink flamingos!

Anaheim GardenWalk is less than a ten minute walk from Disneyland and, since the area was new to us, we enjoyed strolling under the palm trees, taking it all in. It’s home to a shopping, dining and entertainment complex – all outdoors and set out like a shopping mall.

The upper level was the most exciting part (for us!), as it has been converted into the Artists Republic Gallery – giving local artists space to showcase the work in the form of beautiful and brightly-coloured murals. We spent ages admiring the pieces and spotting work from artists that we recognised like Sara M Lyons!

It was a super hot day, one of those sticky ones that melts all your makeup off by noon (TMI?) BUT, as well as being very cute, this dress was also really light and cool to wear – which felt like a godsend, trust me! I also love the cut of the dress – I have two other frocks in this style from Lindy Bop in this ‘Clarissa’ silhouette. It has capped sleeves and a belted waist which, if I had my way, all of my dresses would have.

The most important part though? Well, that would obviously be the flamingos, which look as though they have been hand-painted onto the fabric (they haven’t, of course, but the print effect is almost like a watercolour – so pretty!).

Outfit Details:

Flamingo Dress | c/o Lindy Bop

Swinton Sunglasses | c/o IOLLA

Sandals | Primark

Hair Orchid | Crown and Glory

After walking around the murals of the Anaheim GardenWalk, my flamingos and I took Gary for lunch, cheesecake and copious glasses of mango iced tea. It felt like the start of the perfect trip. Cheers to being on holiday mode!

 

A Postcard from LA

It’s been one month since we arrived back in Glasgow from our US road trip and I’m honestly still processing a lot of it! I can’t believe the distance we covered (about 4,000 miles – not including flights!), the things we seen (seven beautiful states!) and the places we visited. Mountains, deserts, towns, forests and cities – you name it, we probably went there!

We started our journey in California and, after a few days in Anaheim, spent four nights in LA. It was our first time visiting this awesome city and I really wanted to share a few highlights with you guys.

Here’s a postcard from LA…

Shopping

LA is ridiculously good for shopping and the mix of stores is perfect! We loved the indie streetwear, vintage treasure and high-end designer stores on Melrose, alongside specialist stores like Drake’s OVO and the adorable Pigmy Hippo Shoppe just a short walk away.

We stayed near The Grove which is a really nice outdoor shopping mall, filled with all the usual retailers like Sephora and Zara plus a really great farmer’s market. I had to be super strict with myself in LA, otherwise I’d have needed an extra suitcase!

Food

You’ll never be stuck for a bite to eat in LA and we noticed that tacos were the most popular dish (though we couldn’t get near the Mexican bars on Cinco de Mayo – too busy!). One of my favourite places we grabbed breakfast was Eggslut… so much so that I’ve been trying to recreate the sandwich I had ever since!

We also adored Cake Monkey, which came highly recommended by some of you over on Instagram. Amazing cakes and delicious coffee – it’s probably for the best that we discovered it on our last day in the city…

Sightseeing

In just a few days, we managed to squeeze in a lot of sightseeing. It was fun to tick the Hollywood Walk of Fame off of our list but, if you go, be prepared for it to be extremely crowded! Seeing the hand and foot prints outside of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre was like taking in a little bit of cinematic history and we also couldn’t resist going on a studio tour while we were in Tinsel Town – we chose the Warner Brothers tour and loved every minute!

The Griffith Observatory at the top of the Hollywood Hills has stunning views and is well worth the hike/Uber ride up there – especially on a clear day.

We also hit a couple of beaches for some laid-back, California vibes. Venice Beach was iconic and exactly how it looks in the movies and Santa Monica was perfect for people watching (and posing!).

Staying

While in LA, we stayed in Fairfax at The Farmer’s Daughter Hotel. I’m not going to mention too much about the hotel itself (there’s a separate review post in the works!), but the area itself was very well-located for shopping and food. Plus, you could see the Hollywood sign as soon as you stepped out of the door!

I think the best thing we found about spending time in LA is that you can really make it any kind of trip you want. If you want to take it easy, there are plenty of nice places and beaches to hang out at or, if you’d rather to be a tourist, there are plenty of activities to fill your day with too.

We left the city with lots of great memories but still hungry for a little bit more. I have a feeling we will be back in this babe of a town someday… watch this space! In the meantime, for more photos from our road trip, hop over to my Instagram and take a peek.

Have you ever visited LA? What are your favourite things to do in la la land?