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California Diary | Hollywood Boulevard & Rodeo Drive

retro outfit on via rodeo

The last days of a holiday are always a little bittersweet. 

Physically you’re still on vacation: still walking around in the sunshine and seeing the sights. Mentally, though, you’ve already started to make the transition back to ‘real life’: everything you do has a temporary feel to it, because while you’re out there enjoying yourself, you know your suitcase is already packed, just waiting for you to throw in the clothes you’re wearing, zip it up and head back home.

Which is kinda sad, really.

On the second last day of our California holiday, I was hit with the urge to do some of the things we’d been intending to do for the past few weeks, but just hadn’t gotten around to. First on my list was a walk down Hollywood Boulevard: a plan which met with a little bit of resistance from the rest of the family, who maintained that we’d done it before (in 2011, when we were last in LA), so why would we need to do it again?

Hollywood Boulevard

Collectif Colores top and white New Look skirt

Mann's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood Boulevard

on Hollywood Boulevard

Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame

(please excuse the Band Aid on my heel: after walking miles around California without getting a single blister, I ended up scraping my heel against the wooden bed frame in Las Vegas, at exactly the point where it hit my shoe: ouch!)

I was insistent, though: I was thinking of the first time we’d seen Hollywood Boulevard, and how exciting it had been to walk down the famous street, stop at the Chinese Theatre and put my hands in the imprints left by Marilyn Monroe. What I was forgetting, though, is that Hollywood Boulevard is a giant tourist trap: it’s one of those things you have to see once… but maybe not twice. The street itself is so busy (especially at the area around the Kodak Theatre) you can hardly move, and every few steps you’re stopped by someone else trying to sell you something, convert you to Scientology (The Church of Scientology is located on this street, and the implausibly good-looking people outside will do their best to get you to come inside…) or get you to take a photo with them. At one point as I walking along, someone dressed as Spiderman thrust his face right up to mine and demanded that I take his photo. “Er, no?” I said, walking on by, because the fact is: a) The hell do I want a photo of Fake Spiderman for? and: b) What a lot of people don’t realise is that you’re expected to tip these ‘performers’, who can get quite demanding if you don’t hand over the cash.

Word to the wise, then: only say yes if it’s really important to you to have your photo taken with some dude in a Spiderman suit, and you’re willing to pay for the privilege – otherwise, just walk on by. Oh, and Terry did a really good job to get those photos of me on my own, because here’s what the street really looks like:

Hollywood Boulevard

Don’t get me wrong, it’s well worth a visit, and it’s pretty cool to walk up the same steps the stars take, on their way in to the Oscars, but some of the magic was missing the second time around, so once we felt we’d seen enough we got back into the car and headed over to Beverly Hills, for a walk down Rodeo Drive.

Via Rodeo, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles

Beverly Hills

cafe on Via Rodeo, Beverly Hills

Needless to say, Rodeo is a street you definitely DON’T get tired of walking down: in fact, I was going to suggest that Terry just drop me off there on our way from the airport, but then I remembered there isn’t a single store on it that I could actually afford to shop in, so another great idea bites the dust. I may not be able to shop there, though, but I do like to look: it’s a beautiful street, with stores that look more like art galleries than actual shops, so if you love fashion, you’ll probably love Rodeo Drive. God, I wish I was there right now, instead of sitting here looking out at grey sky, rain, and… wait, where was I?

Oh yeah: once we’d “done” Rodeo, we had one final stop to make. For this one, you have to understand that my mum is currently obsessed with the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (and God knows where else), and for the entire holiday she’d been talking about Lisa Vanderpump’s restaurants, Pump and Sur, which are located on the same street in West Hollywood.  We had dinner reservations at Sur, but, seeing that Pump was having a Happy Hour when we arrived, we figured we might as well go there for a little pre-dinner cocktail. Or, you know, two.

It was still really warm out, so we sat outside in the garden, and oh my goodness, what a beautiful setting:

Sexy Garden at Pump, West Hollywood

Sexy Garden at Pump, West Hollywood

Sexy Garden at Pump, West Hollywood

The service was excellent too, and after a couple of pink cocktails we were feeling … let’s go with ‘happy’, shall we? … as we headed down to Sur, which was also pretty spectacular. We were seated inside this time, and I didn’t want to get the camera out while we were eating, but this photo of the ladies bathroom will give you a rough idea of the decor:

bathroom at Sur
Yeah, I totally took a photo of the bathroom. Or maybe my mum did, I’m not sure. It seems like something either of us would do, to be honest. I think the hand drier really makes this shot, don’t you?

I’m embarrassed to admit I can’t actually remember what I ate there (Once again, I find myself having to make my usual ‘Not a Food Blogger’ disclaimer. I NEVER remember what I order in restaurants: it’s like there’s just not a compartment in my brain for it…), but I DO know I enjoyed it, and felt only slightly scruffy next to the model-like waitresses. OK, more than slightly scruffy. REALLY scruffy, actually: because by that stage I was two cocktails down, and had been wandering around in the hot sun for hours, and those girls are GORGEOUS, let me tell you.

Anyway, it wasn’t quite the last meal of the holiday – or even the last meal I’ll be telling you about, so apologies in advance for that – but it was one of the most memorable settings… and now I’m going to crawl under my desk and rock back and forth, wailing, ‘Why am I not in Calfornia right? WHY? WHY?’

Just a regular Thursday for me, then.


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  • Maria
    October 22, 2015

    This top looks just like the Dolores dress you showed us awhile back! What a sweet-looking outfit!

    • Amber
      October 22, 2015

      It’s from the same brand!

  • Lucy
    October 22, 2015

    LOL! I find it hilarious that you felt scruffy, because the whole time I was reading this post, I was remembering how when I went to Rodeo Drive, I felt out of place and like the scruffiest scruffster that ever scruffed, and thinking how your outfit is so much more appropriate than mine was (I was probably wearing a tank top and cutoff jean shorts or something equally actually scruffy), and then I get to the scruffy part, and I realize I was doomed from the start to feel scruffy in Beverly Hills.

    • Amber
      October 22, 2015

      You didn’t see me at the end of the day, with my hair falling down and my makeup sliding off my face, though! I think anyone will feel scruffy when they’ve been walking around in the blazing sunshine all day!

      • Lucy
        October 23, 2015

        I wasn’t wearing makeup at all. Hm, does that make me more scruffy, because no makeup, or less scruffy, because my face stayed put?

  • Suya
    October 22, 2015

    I really love this outfit… It looks so light and breezy and effortless, which is the hardest thing to do!

  • Erika
    October 23, 2015

    The last time I was in Hollywood was in 1998, whoa it’s been way too long – I wasn’t even old enough to drink! But, I did take that stroll down Rodeo Drive; it was spectacular! I definitely felt very out of place. I think it’s been long enough for me though, I’d go back and do it again. I’d like to think I’ll be better dressed next time. 😀

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California Diary | Hollywood Boulevard & Rodeo Drive