40 hours in California with Justin

Face of the Day

I had to be in LA recently for work and Justin was able to accompany me for the trip! We only had 1 whole day together, but we were both grateful for the time to just be the two of us! It was long overdue.

He had been to LA before but this was my first time. I asked him to have a general plan for the day but emphasized that it can be really loose and we can just see how we feel as the day goes. It was Valentine’s day as well, and as much as I would have liked to dress up and go out for a fancy dinner, I decided a few days before that I would just throw my hair up and go super basic for the day so we could enjoy the convertible we were hoping to rent!

We woke up early Sunday morning because our “internal clocks” were still on eastern time. Poor Justin was up at 4:00am but I managed to sleep in until about 5:15am! After I stirred he said we could go watch the sunrise at the Griffith Observatory, so we quickly threw ourselves together and did just that (with a Starbucks run on the way of course).



The sunrise was beautiful. It was so cool to see the city from the Observatory, and it was a clear enough day to see exactly when the sun rose from the horizon. It was a special moment.

A local recommended that we try The Griddle Cafe for breakfast. We managed to get there about 10 minutes before it opened and got in line. That’s right, there was a line of people waiting to get into the restaurant when it opened. I knew that was a good sign.

The portions are ENORMOUS. I’ve never seen bigger pancakes in my life!

I went with “the original” pancakes, because I’m convinced that can’t be beat, and Justin got some chocolate bread with chocolate chips concoction. It was a little bit too chocolatey for him, but I was kind enough to share a portion of my stack of massive pancakes with him.

If you are ever in LA, be sure to check this place out. And you could likely feed 4-6 people off of 1 order of pancakes.

After breakfast we went to the airport to swap out the rental car he got for a convertible. We then headed toward Manhattan Beach so he could show me the Strand.


We walked down the pier, I touched the Pacific Ocean, and then we walked up and down the Strand. It was really crazy to be walking so close to multimillion dollar properties. I wondered who lived there and what the inside looked like.


We started to get a little hungry for lunch, so we hopped back in the car and found the nearest In-N-Out Burger, as per my request. I had never had one and I wanted to see what the hype was all about! It was good! It was maybe a little bit built up from all that I hear about it, and I didn’t love the fries, but it was a good fast food burger.

We then found ourselves heading toward the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). We wanted to take full advantage of the beautiful weather and the convertible, so we planned on doing the drive until we were sick of it. It was absolutely beautiful. The views were breathtaking and the best spot was Point Dume where we parked the car and climbed up a little hill to look over a cliff into the ocean. There were seals sunning on rocks, and we even saw a whale! We got there just before sunset and we got to see the sun go down over the ocean at the end of a really fun day.

Between the sunrise and the sunset, the sunset was 1,000 times more stunning to me.



We were going to get back on the PCH to head back toward LA but (no surprise here) the traffic was horrendous. I navigated us to a back road that wound up through the hills so we took that. It was memorable to say the least! The top was down, the sky was filled with stars, and we were taking our time to get back to the hotel.

We stopped for dinner at a boring place on the way because our energy was quickly crashing! And once we did get back, I couldn’t get ready for bed FAST enough.

He flew out early the following morning, and I stayed back for one more day of work! It was a quick trip for both of us, especially him, but it may be one of the best days we’ve ever had on a vacation.

If you are ever in LA, my “definitely must do” things are driving up and down the PCH and getting breakfast at The Griddle Cafe. I’m sure you won’t regret doing either!


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Evelina says · 02.22.16

California sunsets are stunning and it’s on my bucket list to see one one day! I loved following along your trip on your snapchat!

Mel says · 02.22.16

Your pictures are amazing and so beautiful! I’ve never been to California but now I really want to!

Mel | http://www.thegossipdarling.com

jill says · 02.22.16

I would love to do this for a vacation, What hotel did you stay at?

jill says · 02.22.16

I would love to do this for a vacation. What hotel did you stay at?

Mary Kate says · 02.22.16

Gorgeous photos! I’m visiting LA over Memorial Day to visit my sister, and I”m so excited! I’m a huge fan of In’N’Out!

Mary Kate

Julia says · 02.22.16

I’m an LA native so it’s fun to hear what other people do when they come here. I was just telling my boyfriend (who is not from California) yesterday that you can always tell who’s not a local based on the way they say “PCH.” Locals never say “the PCH” it’s just “PCH”, like “we took PCH to Malibu yesterday.” Now you’ll fit in even more next time you come! 🙂

Anna says · 02.23.16

🙂 Julia I was thinking the same thing! Similar to the 101…its not the 101 hwy or fwy, just the 101 :). Was fun to read this from a visitors perspective, glad you enjoyed a memorable trip!

Suezi says · 02.22.16

I am a born and raised Californian and I have to admit I take for granted the beautiful sunrises and sunsets! Next time you are hear you must head south to Laguna Beach!

penny says · 02.22.16

The fries needed to be “animal” style. Sauteed onions and sauce. Soooo goood! Otherwise they are pretty blah. You can request extra crispy as well.

Denise Z says · 02.25.16

The only way to go!

Lacey says · 03.03.16


Christy says · 02.22.16

I live in LA but never heard of The Griddle cafe before. We don’t go out to Hollywood much because traffic is worst up there. My husband and I usually walk on The Strand in Manhattan Beach since we live just next town north from MB. Yes there is millions of dollars worth of houses on beachfront. Im not sure if you know Denise Austin who live in MB on the strand (south from MB pier) and Tone it Up girls live on the strand as well (north from MB Pier). That is all i know who lives there. Point Dume look so beautiful, I havent gone there yet and that would be my next to do things in LA. Glad that you enjoyed the adventures in LA.

Tracy says · 02.22.16

As a Californian it’s fun to hear the perspective from someone else’s eyes. I live in such a beautiful state. Sometimes I think I take it for granted. Time for a road trip!

Kristin Harris says · 02.22.16

Thanks so much for sharing- it sounds perfect! Your blog is GREAT! I always feel like I am just talking to a friend ?

MissMat85 says · 02.23.16

Lovely pictures Katie, I’ve never been to the US but definitely visit your country one day 😉

Lizzy says · 02.23.16

I dated a guy from Cali once. We drove from Houston to Austin just so he could have an In- N Out Burger. I would take a jalapeno cheeseburger from Sonic any day over In-N-Out. Served with Wendy’s fries…..I’m not a fast food connoisseur, but I was really unimpressed with all the hype around In-n-out.

Great pictures! Hope to make it out there one day.

Jo Ann Tobias says · 02.23.16

Never heard of In-n-out but when I am visiting my sister in NC I do love me some cookout!!!!!! Their shakes are yummmmmmmo.

Paula says · 02.23.16

Just beautiful! And what a great Valentine’s day! The one thing I thought when looking at your pics is I know the observatory! If you’ve ever seen Rebel Without a Cause, you’ll know it immediately!!! 🙂

Elle says · 02.23.16

Beautiful pictures! Definitely frame one of those for your house.
My husband and I were recently in Mexico (without our little man) and I think I will never stay on the east coast again – sunsets are way better than sun rises! Plus, you don’t have to get up as early 😉

Julia says · 02.23.16

long time reader, first time commenter. 🙂

i’m a native californian now living in northern virginia, and boy do i miss the sunsets. beautiful sunrises don’t happen very often there, but the sunsets are almost always spectacular. they’re even better when on the edge of the continent (like you were), and i lived in a beach town pretty much my whole life.

thanks for reminding me of their beauty.

Karrie says · 02.23.16

Have to agree on In-N-Out fries. I have never liked them. I always just order a burger. Everyone I know thinks I’m crazy and that those are the best fries in the world. I actually prefer McDonald’s fries over In-N-Out. LOL! Glad you had a great time here in California! Come back soon, there is so much to see and do here!

Nancy H. says · 02.23.16

I’ve lived in California for 35 years now – originally a New Jersey girl. My kids are all born and raised Californians! So nice to see home through a visitor’s eyes! But I will say I don’t take the sunrises and sunsets for granted – I’m always looking out my kitchen window in the mornings and commenting to my husband how spectacular the sky is! Glad you could come – hope you get back here soon to visit!

Andrea says · 02.23.16

Totally agree with you on In-N-Out. We have a few here in Utah and I just can’t seem to get on board with them. I prefer Five Guys!

Sondra says · 02.23.16

What an awesome Valentine’s Day!!! I’ve lived in SoCal my whole life & I just always assumed the sunrises & sunsets were the same everywhere. Thank you for a new perspective. I have always thought that the drive up PCH was beautiful until I drove up ALL the way to NorCal. The coastline is stunning up through central & Northern California.
Also, In-n-out is pretty good (but I totally agree with you about the fries), but next time you’re here, go try The Habit. It will definitely become one! 😉
So glad you both had such a great time here!!!!

Sarah @ Foxy's Domestic Side says · 02.23.16

I agree, Cali sunsets over the ocean are way prettier than the sunrises. 🙂

Momzi says · 02.23.16

Come back to CA and go to south Orange County. PCH runs through the best beach / town ever – Laguna Beach. You would never want to leave. We also have THE best mall here – South Coast Plaza. Fashion Island is nice as well, only because it has an ocean view and Athleta. Those stores are hard to come by. I am a native and In and Out is HIGHLY over rated. I don’t go there unless I have to, which thankfully is almost never.

Lynn says · 02.23.16

Thanks for the post, but following you on Instagram I was hoping to hear about your glam session! And what work? Are you doing a Colgate commercial for Optic white? Or an ad? Spill, Kate!,

Amanda says · 02.24.16

Ahhh, PCH! I miss driving that at night, it was my favorite. My husband lived right off PCH near Manhattan beach and I had to drive it all the time. 10 pm was my favorite time to drive it because it was less crowded. I do miss it there sometimes, since I am now a “southern girl” but then I think of all the traffic and say nahhh! Plus I don’t miss the smog but I do love to go back and visit the in laws!

Deb says · 02.25.16

The secret to getting good fries at In-n-Out is to order them “well done” – that way they are golden and crispy (and delicious.) The sad soggy things they regularly serve are criminally bad, but well done? Those are just amazing!

Tejal says · 02.28.16

Native Californian here, and def. have heard that about the fries. Next time, try the fries “extra crispy.” Have to get the burger animal style with whole grilled onions, and if you’re adventurous chopped chili!
Glad to hear that you had fun in the Golden State!