Los Angeles, a private party at Manhattan Beach

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Los Angeles
Los Angeles and a private party on the beach are a good combination!

Would you like to have a great time on one of the beaches of LA? Mix a good bottle of wine with sun, sand and good company.

Which city: Los Angeles, United States of America.

Where to go: Go to Manhattan Beach.

What to drink and eat: Buy a bottle of the greatest wine, take some nuts, cheese and crackers with you and wine and dine on the beach. P.s. It is actually not allowed to drink alcohol on the beach so be discreet about it. So put your alcoholic drinks in a paper bag to cover up.

What to do: Enjoy the view over the ocean, feel free like a bird and dance in the sand.

What to love: The ambiance of Manhattan Beach, one of the best beaches in town!

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Florence versus Los Angeles

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Florence versus Los Angeles
A private jet, a convertible and a romantic aubade

Chic to the max in a private jet to Florence, driving a convertible to Schindlers House, visiting Hollyhock House and a romantic aubade about Manhattan Beach…it’s all in one compi and vlog. Enjoy, relax and get involved!

Desiré

I was enjoying my well deserved vacation at home, until I got invited for a trip to Florence by private Jet!
Normally I love to stay at home during my vacation, because we are always living out of our suitcases, but you can't say 'No' to a luxurious Italian weekendtrip with Jet powered luxury.
To make it more luxurious the trip started in Paris. Le Marais is definitely my favourite neighbourhood and I had enough time to sit on an outside terrace sipping petit café and eating croissants.
This outside terrace was a wonderful place to watch people passing by and have a great view on street art and fashion boutiques. It felt like vacation already!

The flying time from Paris to Florence was short but very comfortable. The perks of flying on a private jet is something (most of the time) only the rich and famous enjoy. No security lines, cushy leather seats and more than enough legroom. After a smooth landing, I received my luggage and headed down the ramp. A taxi was waiting to take me to my hotel. I stayed in the Junior suite at the Cerretani Firenze hotel MGallery by Sofitel , in the heart of Florence. This hotel is absolutely beautiful and the interior design is modern, with a cool vibe and clean lines. For dinner I went around the corner, where there is a historic place that, after a extensive renovation opened its doors as a new concept-restaurant. Meaning that here you’ll find a place to eat, drink, buy flowers, shop design items for your house and listen to live music. We’re talking about La Ménagère.

The next morning I spent time exploring Florence. I started by mooching around the city and stumbled across the Palazzo Vecchio and Duomo di Firenze. The latter was a particularly impressive piece of architecture; grand in stature and very ornately designed. The Palazzo, like most in Florence was surrounded by colourful houses, restaurants and shops and filled with street entertainers and musicians, Later on I headed to the Ponte Vecchio and window-shopped through all the tourist places on the bridge. Unfortunately there wasn't enough time to admire the original "David" at the Academia Gallery, but I saw a copy of Michelangelo's "David" in marble, in front of the Palazzo Vecchio.

During the afternoon I had to visit the Roberto Cavalli café ! This café is located on the corner of via Tournabouni, Florence’s high fashion street, and via della Spada. They serve one of the best coffees in town with just a hint of chocolate. You can buy a box of chocolates in a designer leopard box, or Roberto Cavalli’s own wine.
I also recommend to eat at Il Santo Bevitore restaurant. They have a cool website as well!

I really enjoyed my little vacation in Florence.
Despite my luxury adventure, my return flight from Paris to Amsterdam was on an economy seat with my own airline. Back to reality!!!

Margré

During Desiré’s holiday I visited Los Angeles two times in one month. That’s why I combined these two trips in one compi.

The Schindler House, also known as the Kings Road House is a house in West Hollywood designed by architect Rudolf M. Schindler. The residence was meant to be a cooperative live/work space for two young families. The concrete walls and sliding glass panels made novel use of industrial materials, while the open floor plan integrated the external environment into the residence, setting a precedent for California architecture in particular.

I visited the house in the early afternoon when the light was perfect. The house was secluded behind a screen of tall bamboo shoots. The Kings Road House may be considered the first home ever built in the modernist style. They also exhibit some MAK Center art work because the house is owned by the MAK Center. I loved the silver rake that stood in a corner of one of the open spaces in the house.

Another architectual highlight is the Hollyhock House. Also situated in Hollywood. The Aline Barnsdall Hollyhock House is a building in the East Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles, originally designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as a residence for oil heiress Aline Barnsdall, built in 1919–1921. I joined a small tour which I can recommend as a nice way to get information about the Hollyhock House project.
 
It is a pretty sad story because of the miscommunucation between the architect Frank Lloyd Wright and Aline Barnsdall. His strict way of thinking and building was not the way Aline Barnsdall wanted to live in the house. But all the colors, the arrangement of funiture and even the way he figured out where and how to live in the house were a kind of strait-jacket instead of a peacefull place to live in. But it is surrounded by the beautiful Hollywood Hills. I could very clearly see both the Hollywood sign and the Griffith Observatory from the property of the Hollyhock House. I found the house a little depressing inside with all the darkness, unlike the bright light and colors you can find outside the concrete building.
 
After all that culture I decided to explore a new eatery in Culver City, named The Cannibal. As you might expect, The Cannibal is meat-focused, although its name is actually a nod to Belgian cyclist Eddy Merckx, who was given the nickname during his heyday in the 1970s.
Cycling references in the decor pay homage to Merckx but also to owner Christian Pappanicholas and partner Cory Lane. Both are avid bikers, so it makes sense that they also offer a number of bike-friendly accommodations to fellow cyclists.
 
There’s a bicycle valet parking, and if cyclists dine at the Cannibal in their riding gear, they’ll get their second beer on the house. A gift known as a “kit” in the cycling world. I wasn’t wearing riding gear at that moment so I didn’t get a second glas of red wine for free ;-)! The food was delicious and the service was great. But I had to pay a lot of money for that. So prices are a bit overrated in my opinion, but a YES for sure to visit, specially for bikers!
 
My beloved Manhattan Beach is the place where I often end up at the end of my tour in Los Angeles. No matter what I did that day and no matter how far I had to drive for that. My love for this beach is huge and I always have to say goodbye to the place before I leave LA. You could call me a ‘romanticus foolicus' but I can't resist it's beauty and get tons of energy from it. This beach is inresistable...till the moon and back!
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Los Angeles versus New York

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Los Angeles versus New York
West Coast meets East Coast

This time DDTS traveled apart together: Desiré was on the west coast in Los Angeles and Margré on the east coast in New York City. How far can you go ;-)! Read about our adventures with one aspect in common: water!

Desiré

My short stay during the happy holidays in Los Angeles was amazing but exhausting!!. Of course after a long flight I was not very happy to wait in a long line at Target to buy my ' oh so important' whitening toothpaste.( Yes, in the Netherlands you can buy this as well, but I like the big size packs here). Luckily after a few hours the shopping list was completed. It was time to go to Manhattan Beach and watch the amazing sunset.The pier is decorated with beautiful Christmas lights during the holiday season. I walked around and had some dinner at Fushion Sushi.

The next morning I drove around and stopped at the beach near Palos Verdes. You have breath taking ocean views here from the red tile roofs of Palos Verdes all the way to Malibu. Palos Verdes is an affluent, picturesque city on the peninsula. It has a mix of smaller, older and huge, modern homes perched on the hilltops.
There are many trails to choose for hiking or just walking along the ocean. For golf enthusiasts, Trump golf course is also located here. This area is a nice respite from the LA daily grind.
I finished my breakfast at the beach surrounded by strollers, bikers, dog walkers, surf dudes and runners. What a lovely place to be!

Margré

This time I wanted to see New York City from another perspective. So I decided to take the East River Ferry from the Pier at East 34 street across the East River to Pier 11 near Wall Street. It was such a great trip.

Of course it's a normal way of travelling for the commuters in the Big Apple. But for me it was one big party. With a big smile on my face, feeling like the queen of the world, I watched the impressive skyline of New York City on the roof top deck of the ferry. All commuters were inside the ferry, instead of me, struggling with the strong wind! But the blue sky and the sun made it very pleasant to stay outside and I felt like I was on top of the world at that moment. Via Williamsburg I travelled to Pier 11 and had a great view of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and the skyline of Manhattan. Tickets you can buy at the machines near the Pier. This trip cost you only about four dollars. But real entertaining ;-)!

I jumped of the Ferry at Pier 11 and walked to Wall Street. Saw the Trump Building just after Donald Trump won the elections. Some tourists were staring at the building maybe not knowing that THE big Trump Tower is on fifth Avenue. 40 Wall Street, also known as the Trump Building, is a 71-story skyscraper. I had a glimpse of the Wall Street Stock Excange and walked into the Trinity Church for a peaceful moment.

I took the subway from Rector Street uptown till Rockefeller Center to see the big Christmas Tree. The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is a large Christmas tree placed annually in Rockefeller Center, in Midtown Manhattan. The tree is erected in mid November and lit during a public ceremony on the last day of November just at the time I landed in New York City. Approximately 50,000 multi-coloured LED lights adorn the Norwegian Spruce’s branches. But unforntunately during my visit at the middle of the day it was not as spectacular as I expected. It will be great during the evening and night when it is dark and all the colourfull lights are shining. Don’t forget to watch the Swarovski star on top, which made its debut at the top of the tree in 2004, weighs 550 pounds, spans nine-and-a-half feet in diameter and features 25,000 crystals.

A winter visit to Rockefeller Center wouldn’t be complete without enjoying one of the city's most celebrated traditions. Each winter, visitors lace up their skates and twirl away at The Rink at Rockefeller Center. Here you’ll find New Yorkers and visitors alike skating at the base of the iconic Christmas Tree in the heart of Rockefeller Center. I wandered around, didn’t skate but twirled away at Victoria’s Secret instead ;-).

Watch our vlog of Los Angeles versus New York!

Taipei versus Los Angeles

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Taipei versus Los Angeles

Desiré

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is located at the heart of Taipei City. I woke up late, but caught the last few moments of closing of the gates and retiring the national flag for the day. The guards ceremony is precision at it's best! The area is large but a wonderful place to stroll. I would suggest a twilight visit to capture day and night when the memorial building becomes illuminated. Here I met my new Taiwanese friend named Annie and had some drinks, food and laughs! A good way to practise her English, and mine! 

After this great visit I went to Shilin Night Market and bought sneakers and a furry keychain (It's a fashion thing, don't ask). There are a lot of night markets in Taipei. Most are open nightly and offer a variety of snacks, clothing and fun accessories.

The next day I visited the Taipei Fine Arts Museum within walking distance of the crew hotel and located in Taipei Expo Park. It's the most popular art exhibition hall, hosting a wide variety of international and Taiwanese art. I found the paintings a little bit bizarre, compared to the other parts of the exhibition. Overall I had fun and you can easily spend half a day here!

Margré

This time in Los Angeles I decided to go to the Venice Art & Collectables Flea Market on the parking of the Venice High School on Venice Boulevard. This outdoor flea market provides vintage jewelry, clothing & wares on the 2nd Saturday of every month. There's free parking and it is very easy to park your car in the vicinity of the market. I bought an amazingly nice, old chewing gum machine this time. What a gem!

After the market I went to Venice Beach and had a glimpse of Muscle Beach, but due to the June Gloom there was not much to see. June Gloom is a southern Californian term for a weather pattern that results in cloudy, overcast skies with cool temperatures during the late spring and early summer. It is most common in the month of June.

I visited a small vintage clothing market on my way to the beach. This market had a clothing truck instead of a food truck, very funny. I parked in a parking lot with an extraordinarly overrated price of fifteen dollars near Venice Beach. No matter if you stay for half a hour or the whole day you have to pay this amount. Totally different prices at Manhattan Beach. I spent a couple of hours on Venice but it is not my cup of tea. Manhattan Beach is my thing, so later on I finally went to my favorite Manhattan spot and was happy to be back home. Enjoying beach life and sunset...feeling home abroad.

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Los Angeles, oysters at Manhattan beach, breakfast in the sand, a vintage community, chill mode at Mama Shelter and music allover at Amoeba Music

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Los Angeles

Fishing with Dynamite at Manhattan Beach. That means oysters, crab, ceviche, clamps everywhere! Fishing with Dynamite is a reflection of chef David LeFevre's roots, his travels and his three culinary touchstones. Preparing food that is artisanal, soulful and handcrafted. And this is apparent in the taste of the dishes. It is so delicious! We sat at the bar instead of a sophisticated table, but it was so cozy. We chatted with the staff and made fun with the guys who prepared the oysters just in front of us, while we had a nice overview of this tiny little restaurant and a glimpse at the ocean. Tip: you'd better make a reservation because it is always full house!

The day after we bought breakfast at Target, and fresh coffee and croissants from the Bakery Café at 37 Pier Avenue and settled on the beach of Hermosa. It was saturday and during the weekends it is beach volley paradise on Hermosa Beach. A sportive theatre show during breakfast!

If you haven't visited St. Vincent de Paul Store downtown LA, try to arrange it some day. Because we are always in LA on the wrong day for the Rose Bowl (this Flea Market occurs on the second Sunday of every month) we searched for a nice alternative and that's why we picked out St. Vincent de Paul Store. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Los Angeles, is known for thrift stores in Los Angeles and Long Beach. But the Society is more than a store. It is an organization with 2,500 volunteers who devoted 263,000 hours to calls for help from the needy last year. From books to large furniture and even cars...an afternoonspent at St. Vincent's is sure to turn up some unexpected gems.

We were supposed to only have lunch at Mama Shelter but we stayed their till after sunset. This is not only a hotel. It is more than simply rooms or restaurants. Mama Shelter is a living and meeting space, a true urban refuge that's not just beautiful, modern and lively but also popular, friendly and, Mama Shelter says: sexy. Curl up on one of the sofas and enjoy a drink, a small bite and relax. Mama takes care of everything! The rooftop is brand new and just opened for the public. We had a magnificent view over LA and the Hollywood hills with the remarkable Hollywood-sign when we were laying on lounge sofa's.

After a half day of enjoying the comfort of Mama we visited the Amoeba Music on Sunset Blvd. Music fans head to this bustling shop for its huge selection of vinyl, video and CDs, plus live shows.

Watch our vlog of Los Angeles, oysters at Manhattan beach, breakfast in the sand, a vintage community, in the chill mode at Mama Shelter and music allover at Amoeba Music!

Los Angeles

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Los Angeles
Plopped into the sand of our beloved Manhattan Beach after a long working day. Intensely happy that we are back in our second home town, overlooking the Pacific. The sun, the surf boys who passed by, the cheeky seagull, the smell of the sea and swaying palm trees. Dancing in the sand and enjoying every minute. Los Angeles…we love you so much!