Posts tagged Los Angeles
July 2018 Money Diary: Choreographing Our Move Out of L.A. (to Save Time and Money)

July 2018 Budget Summary


 
July 2018 Money Diary - The Origami Life Couple
 
  • $3,148 spent in July (vs. $2,800 budget)

  • $4,712 in monthly savings in July

  • Round the world trip savings: $40,286 (out of $40,000 goal)

 
 

Choreographing Our Move Out of Los Angeles


Ivan and Jennie here.

Moving sucks. It doesn’t matter where you fall on the spectrum: from helpless hoarder to smug minimalist. It’s like boiling a frog in 100 degree water versus 200 degree water. One pot may be twice as hot, but either way, that frog’s been cooked.

While you can never completely remove the stress that comes with a move, there are ways to save time and money if you plan months in advance. Considering that we’ve moved to several different cities/states/countries over the past decade, this is one area where we’d consider ourselves experts.

Jennie’s Note: Just FYI, even though everything was 100% on timeline and under control - I will tell you that Ivan did not keep his cool in the moving process. He was still super stressed during the last week.
Ivan’s Note: Like I said, boiled frogs. And since Jennie likes to complain that I never provide enough details in our money diaries, I’m going to overcompensate in this post by giving a full play-by-play account of our move:

Timeline: How We Saved Time and Money Planning Our Move from Los Angeles


1. T-minus 60-90 days: how we settled on a move-out date

IVAN: There’s never a perfect time to move. Chances are, you’re going to procrastinate until the last minute. Some landlords make it easy by having a renewal clause built into the rental agreement. You either have to renew the lease for another year or move out.

In our case, our lease defaulted to month-to-month after the first year. Not sure how it works elsewhere, but this seems to be standard practice in Los Angeles. This worked out perfectly for transients like us who were never planning on staying long term, but less so for low-income families fighting gentrification (and the lack of character, imagination, and community that, for some reason, always seems to follow wealth and luxury).

The Origami Life - Donust USA

Three months before the move, Jennie and I were sitting down to breakfast at Donuts USA,  yellow notepad and pen in hand, as we made a list of all the dependencies that were keeping us in the city (and our apartment). One thing was for sure: we had no emotional ties to Southern California.

Our single biggest dependency was negotiating Jennie’s exit from her job (yes, it’s possible to negotiate your exit. A long overdue Jennie post is in the works).

The main thing we had to consider before moving:

What was the earliest we could leave LA before our September round-the-world departure date without:

  1. Messing up Jennie’s negotiating leverage.

  2. Being an undue burden on Jennie’s family in Albuquerque, who graciously offered to take us in.

In the end, we landed on August 1st, or one month before our September departure. We gave our landlord three months’ notice as a goodwill gesture.

Total Savings

  1. Time saved from Los Angeles: a whole month of August - or 31 days.
  2. Money saved in August: $1,425 in rent + $65 in internet + $15 in electricity = $1,515
     

2. T-minus 60 days: created a moving checklist

Source: Our actual Trello board for moving and prepping for our RTW travels

Source: Our actual Trello board for moving and prepping for our RTW travels

JENNIE: Shoutout to any Trello users out there! Because I’m a type A planning freak, I wanted to have a spreadsheet or trackable task list that Ivan and I both had access to (see image above). I didn’t want any excuses about how he “didn’t know” that we were supposed to do specific things. Although Ivan gets annoyed with my constant “let’s create a spreadsheet” or “let’s create a plan” suggestions - it ultimately helped decrease a ton of stress and work by the end of our move-out date.

Total Savings

  1. Time spent wondering whether we forgot anything. Or realizing after the fact that we forgot to cancel the electricity or the internet.

     

3. T-minus 45 - 16 days: sold our personal and bulky furniture items for extra cash

IVAN: Since we’ll be living out of our 40L backpacks for the next couple of years, this meant purging everything.

We buy furniture with the two year resale value in mind. Since we only own five articles, it’s not a huge list to keep track of. This means understanding the prevailing styles and trends and sticking to that scheme when we make furniture purchases. Jennie has an eye for this. In Boston, Jennie purchased a blue velvet couch from Walmart that came to about $400 after taxes and shipping but somehow, she managed to sell the damn thing for $250 when we moved out of Boston two years later.

Total Savings

  1. Sold $160 worth of goods on Craigslist.

    1. Bought full-size Askvoll bed frame (with the Luroys slatted bed base included) for $179. Sold it two years later for $90.

    2. Bought 2 Ikea Kallax bookcases for $34.99 each. Sold both for two years later for $30.

    3. Jennie was given an Apple Magic Mouse 2 (worth $79) and she sold it two years later for $40.

  2. Sold $80 worth of books at The Last Bookstore in July.

  3. Jennie’s pièce de résistance: Bought a Macbook Air back in 2014 for $600 (with friend’s student discount + tax free weekend) and was offered a $370 gift card from Bestbuy in 2018. Realized when we got home that the employee thought our Macbook Air was the latest version. Since we didn’t mislead anybody, we’re taking this as a bank error in our favor.

Jennie’s Note: We’ve been on a lucky streak this past year, and it’s making Ivan extremely paranoid. For starters, we got the Southwest Companion Pass offer this year, which was only available to California residents - just as we were planning on doing a lot of domestic travel. Then we got $400 worth of free Airbnb credits through this now expired offer - a couple months before we go on our RTW trip. And in June, when I treated my whole family to an expensive meal in Albuquerque, I found out afterwards that the employee had actually refunded me that amount on my credit card statement. If you believe in karma, it looks like Ivan and I are going to be pretty screwed in 2019.


4. T-minus 15 days: deep cleaning the apartment

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JENNIE: Essentially, Ivan was a huge pain in the ass for weeks about “deep cleaning” our apartment.

Here are a few useful tips we have for you:

Our apartment...post-deep cleaning

Our apartment...post-deep cleaning

  1. Not-so-white walls: Combine warm water, baking soda, and vinegar to create a paste that will quickly clean white walls as well as brighten it.

  2. A greasy stove top: Okay, so Ivan and I aren’t great about cleaning our gas-fueled stove top...so grease definitely built up. In this instance, we sprayed everything down with an all-purpose cleaning solution and scrubbed; when that didn’t work, we used the back of a spoon to scrape off remaining greasy residue.

  3. Heavy duty mounting tape on your walls: I had double sided mounting tape on our wall for months for our “inspiration” wall and our maps....and just never bothered to take them down. We took my hair dryer to the tape and melted it and it quickly came off the walls. Total lifesaver.

Total Savings

  1. Securing our $2,098 one and a half month security deposit. At least we hope so - we haven’t heard back from our property manager yet.


5. T-minus 10 days: held a goodbye party at a friend’s

JENNIE: By now, all of our furniture except for our mattress is sold, the floors and walls of our apartment are fairly spotless. And we were onto more meta things: saying goodbye to friends and Jennie quitting her job.

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Against Ivan’s will, I set up a “goodbye BBQ” party and invited all of his old high school friends that we were close to. And believe it or not, people came in from San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, etc. We were grateful several of them could come out and spend time with us. Although Ivan doesn’t say it often, we value all the friendships and relationships I’ve maintained over the last two and a half years in California.

We’ve had several great trips and memories from our time in SoCal:

  1. Daily coffee dates at our favorite donuts shop.

  2. Christmas in Death Valley National Park.

  3. Thanksgiving in Joshua Tree.

For Ivan, he uses too few words to express his gratitude for his friends. Eating BBQ and watching some dorky high school films that they wrote/directed/edited over a decade earlier was another way to say thanks for hanging out with us and that we valued our friendships.

Total Savings

  1. Well, we put in a lot of effort here into planning the little shindig, but it was worth the investment to spend time with some of our good friends.
     

6. T-minus 7 days: donated the remaining unsold (but useful) items and saying Goodbye to Los Angeles

IVAN: Jennie scheduled the mattress for pickup three days before we officially moved out. Fortunately, L.A. has some great city services for bulk item pickup and recycling. For our 72 hours in LA, we slept on a mattress topper and a yoga mat we purchased from the Japanese dollar store Daiso.

Before her last day of work, Jennie also dropped off our rental internet router and I spent the remainder of the day getting rid of and donating any final knick knacks left in the apartment.

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On the last day in our sad and empty L.A. aprtment, we took our remaining chairs and set them up outside of our community hallway and balcony. We ordered takeout, listened to Twin Peaks: The Return OST (this series still haunts me), and chatted at length while we watched our last sunset in L.A.

Total Savings

  1. Fortunately, we had paid rent through the end of July and were able to stay at our apartment until August 1st - without paying extra.
     

In summary: we've left Los Angeles and we're moving on

And there you have it - our long goodbye to Los Angeles with tangible savings in time and money over the past three months. Now, we’re onto the next chapter in our lives.

We don’t plan on looking back anytime soon.


 

Goodbye Los Angeles: Lessons on Moving, Traveling and Selling Our Worldly Possessions
A story has no beginning or end. Arbitrarily, one chooses the moment from which to look back or from which to look ahead.
— Graham Greene, The End of the Affair

Ivan here.

I had a hard time writing for this blog in July. A couple weeks ago, Jennie suggested that I do a “Pre-departure Diary” summarizing our experiences in LA and our two year journey in preparation for our RTW trip.

But even as I sit here typing on this yoga mat in the middle of our empty studio, I have no idea how I feel. To be honest, things have worked out so perfectly and according to plan that it scares me.


The Origami Couple - The Story So Far & What’s Next


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Since I can’t process anything at the moment, let’s just stick to the facts of our story:

  • June 2015: Ivan lands in Boston, ending six years of long distance

  • March 2016: Jennie and Ivan move from Boston to Los Angeles

  • April 2016: We discuss the idea of traveling the world for a year

  • August 2016: We start The Origami Life blog and set a two year goal

  • April 2018: We save up $40k in travel funds and $2,500 per month in freelance income

  • July 2018: Jennie quits her job. We give notice to our landlord, sell our things and leave LA.


Over the next few months, our plan is to:

  • August 2018: Spend 3 weeks in Albuquerque so Jennie can spend time with family

  • August 2018: Travel to SF for a week for final face-to-face client meetings

  • September 2018: off to our first stop on our RTW trip: Kauai, Hawaii


5 Lessons on Moving, Traveling and Selling Our Worldly Possessions


While I have no further comment on Los Angeles, I do have some thoughts about the logistics of the move itself:
 

1. Our lifestyle in Los Angeles wasn’t as “minimalist” as we thought

apartment-chair-contemporary-509922 (1).jpg

It’s true - we only owned five pieces of furniture in Los Angeles. But during the move, the amount of knick knacks we found in our apartment seriously stressed me out: notebooks, never used. Papers, brochures and advertising. Piles of clothing. Wires and chargers for electronics that no longer worked. Then there were the odds and ends we “saved” because they had “sentimental” value.

Not gonna name any names, but one of us has a lot of sentiment.

After we sold, donated, or recycled most of the useful stuff, Jennie and I decided to “digitize” 90% of our memories by taking pictures of each item and then letting them go. The last 10% was what could fit inside one small carry-on luggage - to be stored at her parent’s place in Albuquerque for a later time.
 

2. We’re still not very good at "playing house"

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Laundry is my least favorite chore around the house, followed closely by cooking. I don’t mind washing the dishes or sweeping the floors precisely because they’re mindless. I can do them while thinking about something else. But laundry and cooking involves interruptions and willpower. It’s not possible to do these things in your spare time. They are activities that expend mental energy. Energy that, in my opinion, could be more profitably deployed somewhere else.  

Don’t get me wrong - I do them anyway. All I’m trying to say is that I’d rather not spend so much time on things I don’t value. Maybe it’s a sign of immaturity, but I’m very much looking forward to 15 minute laundry by the sink and not needing to cook 4-5 days a week.
 

3. We’re not convinced by the cost vs. quality debate when it comes to buying new things

They say you get what you pay for. To an extent, I suppose that’s true. But the further from the midrange you go, the less relative qualities matter. This makes sense because raw materials are only a small fraction of the cost of production. What’s leftover is design and brand. I for one, give zero fucks about brand. If I wanted a story, I’d just write one. As for design, is there an objective difference between the best that money can buy and the second best that money can buy? And if it’s all just preferences and self-expression, I’d rather express myself in ways that don’t cost me both my time and my money.
 

4. We’ve probably outstayed our welcome in Los Angeles by 2 to 3 months

Being responsible adults can be insufferably boring at times. Jennie and I achieved the goals we set out in this blog three months earlier than our September 2018 plan. Ever since, we catch ourselves staring at each other over breakfast and wondering:

“What the fuck are we still doing here?”

There was some discussion about Jennie quitting her job back in May. I mean, do we need to be adults all the time and tie things up into neat little bows? To quote Bobby Axelrod from the entertaining series Billions: “What’s the point of having fuck you money, if you never say fuck you?”

In the end, we decided that relationships are the reasons (not to say fuck you). You never know where certain relationships can lead you down the road. And a person with a reputation for burning bridges or disappearing can’t be trusted with anything of value.  
 

5. It’s a relief not knowing what the future holds

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For some time now, Jennie and I have known that all of the goals we set out two years ago were within reach. We might not have been there yet - but we could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Everything was working on autopilot. And that was comfortable - for a while. The satisfaction of having turned an initial conversation into a reality.

But soon, we found ourselves missing the uncertainty of a new beginning. That hopeful/fearful feeling of facing the unknown. The thrill of the pursuit. It doesn’t matter what we’re pursuing so long as it’s challenging and meaningful. For us, the pursuit and the journey is all there is.

I realize now that this is why we’ve been struggling to “sum things up.” We’re sick of talking about what we’ve done or are going to do. We’d rather just be doing it. We’re looking forward to having a new blank page - and all the possibilities that come with it.

Finally, another chance to start over.



May 2018 Money Diary: What Makes the Perfect City?

Ivan here.

The highlight of May was a four day trip Jennie and I took to New Orleans to attend the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. It was on my bucket list of items to check off before we leave North America to work and travel around the world.

 
Money Diary May 2018.png
 

Total cost of the New Orleans trip was around $600, with the help of Southwest Airlines points (transferable 1:1 via Chase) plus the Southwest Companion Pass.

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Now, with money out of the way, let’s talk about something I care about...


The (Very Short) Lifespan of Music and Cities


Diamond or doorknob?
Sapphire or sawdust?
Champagne or just home brew?
Tell me, tell me, tell me, dreamface,
What am I to you?
— Duke Ellington, Tulip or Turnip

I’ve been a casual fan of jazz since high school. It’s one of the most liberating art forms to emerge from the U.S., with a focus on “dialogue” and “improvisation,” something that really resonated with me from a young age. Spontaneity has never been my strong suit. Generally, I have what most people would consider an uptight personality. Music and writing helps me experience and feel things I’d normally miss in the moment.

In recent decades, jazz has gone the way of classical music. It’s stuffier, more “high brow” now. Academics have gotten their hands on it, turning a working class art into a “discipline,” to be studied at arm’s length like a museum piece. When this happens, art loses its original vitality and connection to everyday life.  

I think this applies equally to capitalists and cities. There’s something about achieving a certain level of wealth and comfort that tends to narrow peoples’ imaginations. One of my biggest fears is to wake up one morning and settle into a conversation with Jennie over breakfast about the price of real estate.

Like music, I think every city has a limited lifespan. Like the perfect sushi, every piece of nigiri has its own time. Its moment in the sun. And it’s up to each of us to decide the kind of city we’re looking for - before it's too late. 


3 Things We Look For In a “Perfect” City


Downtown Los Angeles, California


There are three main things Jennie and I look for in a “perfect” city:
 

1. Cost: How much does it cost to live there?

Economics tells you a lot about cities. The average price of rent determines the type of neighbors you’ll have, the kind of retail/dining experiences available, and even the opinions people tend to hold. From our experience, Jennie and I are a lot more comfortable living in neighborhoods that are affordable to a wider range of people. This not only helps our wallet, but provides a form of stimulation that’s very hard to find in certain parts of New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles (where we live).

Affordable cities like New Orleans and Philadelphia have some of our favorite types of places. For example, at the Bacchanal Wine Bar in New Orleans, we were eating cheese and sipping red wine at a table with two certified hipsters, a middle-aged couple from Houston, and three local contractors/electricians who were originally from Guatemala and Honduras. By contrast, the only Hispanic people we meet in the tolerant, liberal oasis of West Los Angeles are construction workers, cleaning ladies, nannies, and gardeners. We have a huge fucking problem with this.
 

2. People: What is the general attitude toward life?

Are people ambitious or laidback?
Do they prioritize getting the most out of life today or working for a better tomorrow?
Is there room for different ideas and perspectives?

To what extent do people care about how they look versus who they are?
Do they communicate directly or indirectly?
Are they comfortable with dissent and conflict?
Are they individualists or collectivists? 

These are just some of the questions Jennie and I ask ourselves when we visit a new city. We tend to gravitate towards certain types of people. People who like to push the envelope and are unafraid to say what’s on their minds, even at the risk of being “wrong” or causing offense. These are usually the same people who tend to be less flaky and can be depended on to do what they say they’re gonna do. And while it’s hard to make sweeping generalizations about large groups of people, we’ve traveled to enough places to notice certain patterns and differences - even between residents of neighboring cities.
 

3. Convenience: How easy is it to get around?

None of the first two points matter if the city is inaccessible.

  • Is it possible to get around by public transit in a reasonable amount of time?
  • Can people of similar interests come together in an area?
  • Are there social/invisible barriers that prevent people of different backgrounds from mingling?

OUr Verdict on Los Angeles


Some beach in Los Angeles, California.

Some beach in Los Angeles, California.

Basically, the “perfect” city we’re describing here is the exact opposite of Los Angeles. 

LA is not very affordable, the average person here is too cool and trendy for us, and it’s certainly not convenient. Now, I’m sure there are some wonderful people living in this city who we’d get along with swimmingly. But if they’re from East LA and we’re from West LA, they may as well be from the surface of Mars.

If our trip to New Orleans this month (and every other trip we’ve made outside of California) has taught us anything, it’s the realization that Los Angeles is not our type of city.

Honestly, Jennie and I are surprised we took two whole years before coming to this conclusion. Of course, every place has its positives and negatives, and we’ve really tried to make the best of our time in this city. But when we actually sat down and weighed the city’s pluses and minuses, all the positives were much lower on our list of priorities.

We've learned that some things are just more important than 284 days of sunshine.



5 Consequences of Living in a Bubble

Ivan here.

April marks our one year anniversary in Los Angeles and already we’re starting to feel restless. As compulsive movers, this typically doesn’t happen for another 6-8 months. All of a sudden, the thought of spending another 17 months in one place fills us with dread. 

Recently, we’ve begun to suspect that our neighborhood might have something to do with it. Living in West LA has struck a nerve. We’ve allowed ourselves to get too comfortable. There’s a reason they call it La La Land. It’s too easy to sweep problems under the rug here. Everything in Los Angeles is room temperature. All the time. 

I’m not saying we’re above any of this. I took the PBS “Do you live in a bubble?” quiz and my score was 5 out of 100. 0 presumably means I'm The New Yorker logo: man with upturned nose, powdered wig under a top hat, examining a butterfly through a monocle. 

When I think about life in a bubble, I'm reminded this passage by a one-time LA resident: 

 
They were never young and will never be old. They have no beauty, no charm, no style. They don’t have to please anybody. They are safe. They are civil without ever quite being polite and intelligent and knowledgeable without any real interest in anything. They are what human beings turn into when they trade life for existence and ambition for security.
— Raymond Chandler
 

5 Consequences of Living in a Bubble


1. The Grand Canyon between thought and action

People in LA are generally in favor of immigrants and refugees. Just enough to allow them to stay and continue building our homes, cooking in our kitchens, and tending our gardens. But God forbid they raise our taxes or move into our neighborhood!

George Orwell took the cynical view that liberal elites sympathize with the poor, but not enough to do anything about it - the sacrifice to their way of life is too high a price to pay. Liberal values, loosely held, means having the right opinions among friends and acquaintances. Outrage becomes the antidote to a problem we were never committed to solving in the first place. Instead, we write a clever piece of satire on McSweeney’s and have a protest before happy hour.

It’s hard to rally against a system in which we are the primary beneficiaries. It’s a constant uphill battle to divert time and money from disposable pleasures to things that actually add value to the lives of those around us.  

For example, there is little direct incentive for us to donate our time to charity vs. staying at home and literally throwing hours of our life away on Netflix. Living in a bubble means having to battle the cognitive dissonance we experience when faced with the choice of doing what’s good versus what’s easy. 

2. Lack of empathy

In our neighborhood, there are more pet shelters and animal hospitals than homeless shelters and human hospitals. What we spend on our pets could conceivably feed a family of four abroad for years. 

A few weeks ago, Jennie told me a story about how some in her office were debating how to rescue a half dozen newborn puppies from a homeless couple. It’s easy to be cynical and say that people value animal life over human life. I’m not sure that’s true. I don’t think our urge to protect the defenseless makes us assholes - just lazy. A suffering animal is the easiest thing there is. It will never demand anything we aren’t prepared to give. 

3. Our IdentitieS Are For Sale

I’d like to think that individuals are more than the sum of their social, political, and gender identities. These days, I’m not so sure. What started as a righteous battle against bigotry and discrimination has devolved into a series of political hot takes, backlash, and backlash to the backlash. 

What makes us individually unique has been drowned in ideology. Our hopes and aspirations melted down and fed into an amorphous group that needs us to think and act a certain way. Please, somebody tell me what I should be offended by. 

Joining “a movement” means letting yourself be defined by someone else. It’s relinquishing control over your life. As a capitalist, there is nothing noble or true in this world that can’t be perverted and exploited for monetary gain. Consider the proliferation of products, advertising, and content that openly panders to the personas we choose to adopt. 

4. Trivial Things Become Important

Everyone seems to be in a rush somewhere. We’re too busy for the people who matter. We're connected and yet are left feeling utterly alone. How else could this article make it to the top of Medium? What are other people working on in coffee shops? Such a simple question, and yet so very...profound. 

By the way the coffee shop in question is called Deus Ex Machina: Emporium Of Post Modern Activities.

               Lord give me strength. 

               Lord give me strength. 

5. Self-congratulatory tolerance and enlightenment

Much like this entire post, we’re good at pointing out hypocrisy but terrible at providing concrete solutions. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers. Neither Jennie or I have got a clue, and as the name of our blog suggests, we’re literally making it up as we go along. 

The only practical takeaway from this is that perhaps it’s time for us to move. In the interim, let’s try not to lose our sanity as we both pine for Timbuktu. 

Hey, can you keep a secret? We’re trying to organize a prison break. We’re looking for, like, an accomplice. We have to first get out of this neighborhood, then this city, then the state, and finally, the country. 



Our Los Angeles Bucket List: 60 Things To Do Before We Leave

Jennie here.

Assuming we leave by our deadline of September 1st, 2018 (and not earlier), Ivan and I have exactly 530 days in Los Angeles before we give up everything and start our trip around the world.

Since there’s a 0% chance that we will ever settle down in Southern California again, this will definitely be our last opportunity to experience the city of Los Angeles and get the most out of our time here. 17 months may seem like a long time, but when you think of it as all the time we’ll ever have, there’s the added urgency to appreciate every second of it.

In that spirit, I went ahead and created a bucket list of things that Ivan and I are interested in doing before we leave. In keeping with our travel style, I deliberately steered clear of some of the touristy areas.

Griffith Observatory

Here’s the list and what we’ve covered so far:

  1. Enjoy happy hour drinks and live jazz at The Varnish.
  2. ✅ Catch a live Jazz at the Blue Whale Bar in Little Tokyo.
    Jennie's thoughts: This was fantastic! I LOVED this jazz bar -- it was intimate and so refreshing to see some fresh jazz groups play live.
  3. Watch a movie and picnic at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
    Ivan's thoughts: we saw Casablanca. Bring a picnic blanket to sit on, some wine and cheese, and dress warmly!
  4. Check out the abandoned LA Zoo.
  5. ✅ Listen to music and buy a record from Amoeba Music.
    Ivan's thoughts: I bought a copy of Curtis Fuller's Blues-ette. Five Spot After Dark!
  6. ✅ Check out Angel's Flight.
    Jennie’s thoughts: It wasn’t functional while we were there but I hear they’re opening it up again because of La La land; it’s in a state of disrepair currently and seedy
  7. See the "modern" art at Bergamot Station.
  8. ✅ Visit the Caravan Bookstore.
    Jennie's thoughts: the owner here gave us some really great advice about traveling across India!
  9. ✅ Buy and sell used books at The Last Bookstore.
    Ivan's thoughts: Selfie taking tourists wouldn’t get out of my way near the second floor decorative book arch of “who gives a shit?” Otherwise, there’s a reasonable selection of used books. 2.5 out of 5. Like most things in downtown LA, everything is covered in a layer of grime.
  10. Check out the goods at Historic Core Farmers Market in Downtown LA.
  11. Lounge around The Huntington Library, art collections, and botanical gardens.
  12. ✅ Go to both of The Getty museums.
  13. ✅ Travel outside of Los Angeles on the metro line.
    Jennie's thoughts: we went to San Diego. 
  14. Drive around Mullholland Drive.
  15. See what's what at the Santa Monica Camera Obscura.
  16. ✅ People watch and listen to live music/musicians at Union Station.
    Jennie’s thoughts: Ivan and I sat here for a few hours just people watching and talking. We even got to listen to some random person play piano for the public!
  17. ✅ Take a photo at the Bradbury Building.
  18. ✅ Bike or walk along The Strand (along Venice Beach, Santa Monica).
    Jennie’s thoughts: Pretty nice intro to LA as a whole. It’s fantastic to walk along the beach early in the morning when the city isn’t hustling and bustling yet.
  19. Somehow score a chance to tour SpaceX.
  20. ✅ Go to LACMA during a free day and check out the art exhibits.
  21. Meditate and visit the Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine Temple -- apparently this is where part of Gandhi's ashes were spread.
  22. ✅ Eat sushi at Sugar Fish
    Jennie's thoughts: Hands down the best affordable sushi that I've had in the U.S. 
  23. ✅ Have a meal at The Grand Central Market.
    Jennie’s thoughts:  Meh. The lines aren’t worth it if you ask me.
  24. ✅ Enjoy dim sum in the San Gabriel Valley / Arcadia area.
    Jennie’s thoughts: It’s a trek from the Westside but definitely a worthwhile area if you’re craving decent Chinese food.
  25. ✅ Get the chicken and waffles at Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles.
    Jennie’s thoughts: Delicious, salty, and probably heart attack inducing.
  26. ✅ Eat delicious Japanese food in Little Tokyo.
  27. Queue up for street vendor Corn Man's cheesy, buttery corn goods.
  28. ✅Drive to and eat Ave 26 Tacos on a spring/summer night.
  29. ✅ Enjoy SOMI SOMI's taiyaki ice cream delight.
  30. Try Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken.
  31. Eat Japanese/Italian/WAFU pasta and baked goods at Spoon House Bakery & Restaurant.
  32. ✅Try tsukemen ramen at Tsujita LA Artisan Noodles Annex.
    Jennie’s thoughts: Overhyped. There’s better ramen elsewhere and not worth the lineup.
  33. ✅ Try fresh pasta dishes from Pasta Sisters.
    Jennie's thoughts: Still prefer Italian food in Boston, but not bad!
  34. Take a tour of Huy Fong Foods, Inc. (aka home of la Sriracha).
  35. Check out and tour Meiji Tofu, where they still make tofu the traditional way.
  36. ✅ ✅ Go to The Broad and check out the Infinity Mirrored Room exhibit.
  37. Spend an afternoon getting lost at The Museum of Jurassic Technology.
  38. See the Space Shuttle Endeavour installation at the California Science Center.
  39. Go paddle boarding with whales in Redondo Beach.
  40. ✅ Enjoy the sunset and “star party” at Griffith Observatory.
    Jennie’s thoughts: Probably one of my favorite sunsets in LA.
  41. ✅ Trek around and camp at Joshua Tree National Park when there's a meteor shower.
  42. Weird hike to Rustic Canyon’s Nazi Ruins “Murphy Ranch” in Santa Monica Mountains.
  43. ✅ Hike the trails of Santa Anita Canyon.
  44. Do the cliche hike up to the Hollywood Sign.
  45. Commit and do a 10 mile hike to the Bridge To Nowhere.
  46. ✅ Hike up Runyon Canyon. Apparently very popular and worth the hype.
  47. Eaton Canyon hike to get to some gorgeous 40 foot waterfalls.
  48. ✅ Relax and lounge for a day at one of Malibu's gorgeous beach spots (e.g. Zuma Beach)
  49. Be in awe of the "Lost Sunken City".
  50. ✅ Take a road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) through to San Francisco.
    Ivan's thoughts: We took Amtrak along the PCH. Does that count? 10/10! Google Coast Starlight Amtrak. 
  51. Do a random road trip to Wayfarers Chapel.
  52. ✅ Watch a double feature at the New Beverly Cinema.
    Ivan's thoughts: We saw a double feature of Die Hard/Die Hard 2 on Christmas Eve, Thunderbolt & Lightfoot/Desperate Hours, and a John Cassavetes double feature (Opening Night/A Woman Under the Influence), oh and Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch on Thanksgiving. Love this place!
  53. ✅ Take a tour of the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Fascinating architecture.
  54. Enjoy a cheap show at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre during a weekday.
  55. Watch a movie at a drive-in theatre (e.g. Vineland Drive-In or Electric Dusk Drive-In Theatre).
  56. ✅ Watch a show and check out the interior of The Orpheum Theatre.
    Jennie's thoughts: Pretty gorgeous venue. I ended up going to a DragCon show hosted at the Orpheum Theature with an old friend. 
  57. ✅ Pathetically trek up the Santa Monica Stairs.
  58. ✅ Drive by the Chandelier Tree in Silverlake.
  59. ✅ People watch at Santa Monica Pier.
    Jennie’s thoughts: I sort of regretted this immediately because it was just SO crowded. Probably not going back, especially during the Thursday Summer Concerts.
  60. ✅ Walk through and enjoy the fancy houses and bridges/canals in [America's] Venice Canals.
    Jennie’s thoughts: Surprisingly...few people still know to check out this area. It’s gorgeous and wonderful to walk through on any day of the week.

AUGUST 2018 UPDATE: We managed to cross off 35 items (out of 60) before we moved out of Los Angeles. 58% - not too shabby!