Los Angeles & Beyond

May 24, 2018

Hey there, sweet friend!

If you're new here, I'm Lauren, owner of this little corner of the internet.  I am a creative to the core who is constantly inspired by good light, sweet love stories, pretty little details, exploring new places, and creative projects.  Here you'll find a little exploration of each!

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Well friends, if you saw the blog post from yesterday or you’ve been following along on Instagram, you know that Morgan and I took a trip to the coast of California!

The original purpose for this trip was photographing this gorgeous Newport Beach engagement session, but with the timing falling so closely to our anniversary, we decided to turn it into a little mini vacation too!

So I decided I would throw together this little post of the things we did, places we ate, etc!  Enjoy a peek into our trip and the Best Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles.

We started out our trip with a delayed luggage at LAX.  Thankfully there was a beach nearby and so we just went to have a little picnic! We were greeted by the most amazing dolphin show I’ve ever seen in the wild at Playa del Ray.  There were probably 12 of them riding the waves, playing together, and doing some flips for us to see!

Playa Del Rey, LAX

Playa Del Rey, California | the Best Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles

Playa Del Rey, California | the Best Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles

Playa Del Rey, California | the Best Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles

Playa Del Rey, California | the Best Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles

That photo to the left was the time I told Morgan he would have step up his selfie game. He got better as the trip went on ;) #InstagramHusband

EAT: Del Rey Deli — get their Cubano.  It’s a bit on the salty side but so delicious. Don’t get their turkey sandwich like I did… it was a bit dry and definitely in need of some mayo.  Thank goodness Morgan is usually willing to share with me when I do a bad job ordering ;)

Santa Barbara

Then we were off to Santa Barbara, visiting my sweet friends James and Jess! They were the host/hostess with the mostest and we were so grateful to have a few days with them!  Plus, they even asked us to exchange a few portraits to remember our trip.  The best!!

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Photos of us by the amazing James & Jess, edited by me!

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

DO: Take a jog along the beach, walk to the pier, visit the mission, exchange portraits with the best!!

EAT: Mony’s Mexican (SO delicious!! – get the chicken burrito for sure), anything prepared by James and Jess. See: charcuterie board & the best quiche I’ve ever had. Jess, send me the recipe will ya?! ;)

Malibu

Then we headed out for the day and went to the beaches in Malibu! We explored El Matador State park… read: I slept on the beach and Morgan took a walk ;) Then we grabbed a bite at Neptune’s Net, a local treasure, just in time to go down to Leo Carrillo for sunset.  The caves and views were so beautiful! OH, and we saw TWO WHALES! Y’all, I’ve never seen a whale before and even from far away they were so impressive!!! Also, Morgan and I had been talking about how I wanted to go whale watching one day, minutes before they appeared. How cool is that?!!

Malibu California | Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles

Malibu California | Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles

Malibu California | Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles
Malibu California | Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles

Malibu, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Malibu, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA
Malibu, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Malibu, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Malibu, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Malibu, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Malibu, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Malibu, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Photo above provided by a self-timer. Candid moment provided by the guys that walked in front of us taking this photo about a billion times! LOL

DO: Take a nap on the beach ;), explore the caves at El Matador Beach & Leo Carrillo.

EAT: Neptune’s Net — the fish tacos and fresh seafood were delicioussss! Plus, Morgan got their fish and chips… equally as good!  Plus, it was pretty reasonably priced.

Long Beach

Our home base for the following few days was in Long Beach.  It was perfect because it was on the southern part of LA, a quick drive away from Newport Beach.  In true vacation style, we used one of our days in Long Beach for a good relaxation day!  We also explored the downtown and went for a little jog.  It’s such a cute area!

While we stayed in Long Beach, we also spent time with one of our best friends from high school who lives near North Hollywood! Such a perk to get to see him too!!

Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Newport Beach

Then we headed down to Newport Beach for this sweet couple’s engagement session! 

Newport Beach engagement portraits by Annapolis Maryland Wedding photographer Lauren R Swann

It was fun to see the pier and explore around.  While we were there we got to check out another locals’ find.. the Wench! It’s this cool little spot where bodysurfers go to ride the waves that are made by the jetty at its border.  It makes the waves pretty darn huge and it was so fascinating to watch!

We also hopped over to the little town a few minutes away to visit one of my favorite design firm’s new store locations! The tiny space is full of so much pretty inspiration and I definitely loved popping in.  Also, Sidecar donuts is across the street, and that was fab.  Highly recommend!!

Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA
Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA
Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Do: Check out Studio McGee’s new shop and the Wench.  Plus if you love arcades and a boardwalk feel, there’s a fun one near the pier on the Balboa Peninsula.

Eat: Sidecar Donuts, Harborside Restaurant – get the scallop risotto! It was delicious!

I’m sure there’s something that I missed, but there’s my little recommendation for the Best Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles.

Have you ever explored right outside of Los Angeles? What were some of your favorite parts that we missed?

PS. Looking for more fun from this trip? Follow along!

Well friends, if you saw the blog post from yesterday or you’ve been following along on Instagram, you know that Morgan and I took a trip to the coast of California!

The original purpose for this trip was photographing this gorgeous Newport Beach engagement session, but with the timing falling so closely to our anniversary, we decided to turn it into a little mini vacation too!

So I decided I would throw together this little post of the things we did, places we ate, etc!  Enjoy a peek into our trip and the Best Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles.

We started out our trip with a delayed luggage at LAX.  Thankfully there was a beach nearby and so we just went to have a little picnic! We were greeted by the most amazing dolphin show I’ve ever seen in the wild at Playa del Ray.  There were probably 12 of them riding the waves, playing together, and doing some flips for us to see!

Playa Del Rey, LAX

Playa Del Rey, California | the Best Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles

Playa Del Rey, California | the Best Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles

Playa Del Rey, California | the Best Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles

Playa Del Rey, California | the Best Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles

That photo to the left was the time I told Morgan he would have step up his selfie game. He got better as the trip went on ;) #InstagramHusband

EAT: Del Rey Deli — get their Cubano.  It’s a bit on the salty side but so delicious. Don’t get their turkey sandwich like I did… it was a bit dry and definitely in need of some mayo.  Thank goodness Morgan is usually willing to share with me when I do a bad job ordering ;)

Santa Barbara

Then we were off to Santa Barbara, visiting my sweet friends James and Jess! They were the host/hostess with the mostest and we were so grateful to have a few days with them!  Plus, they even asked us to exchange a few portraits to remember our trip.  The best!!

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Photos of us by the amazing James & Jess, edited by me!

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

DO: Take a jog along the beach, walk to the pier, visit the mission, exchange portraits with the best!!

EAT: Mony’s Mexican (SO delicious!! – get the chicken burrito for sure), anything prepared by James and Jess. See: charcuterie board & the best quiche I’ve ever had. Jess, send me the recipe will ya?! ;)

Malibu

Then we headed out for the day and went to the beaches in Malibu! We explored El Matador State park… read: I slept on the beach and Morgan took a walk ;) Then we grabbed a bite at Neptune’s Net, a local treasure, just in time to go down to Leo Carrillo for sunset.  The caves and views were so beautiful! OH, and we saw TWO WHALES! Y’all, I’ve never seen a whale before and even from far away they were so impressive!!! Also, Morgan and I had been talking about how I wanted to go whale watching one day, minutes before they appeared. How cool is that?!!

Malibu California | Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles

Malibu California | Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles

Malibu California | Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles
Malibu California | Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles

Malibu, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Malibu, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA
Malibu, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Malibu, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Malibu, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Malibu, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Malibu, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Malibu, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Photo above provided by a self-timer. Candid moment provided by the guys that walked in front of us taking this photo about a billion times! LOL

DO: Take a nap on the beach ;), explore the caves at El Matador Beach & Leo Carrillo.

EAT: Neptune’s Net — the fish tacos and fresh seafood were delicioussss! Plus, Morgan got their fish and chips… equally as good!  Plus, it was pretty reasonably priced.

Long Beach

Our home base for the following few days was in Long Beach.  It was perfect because it was on the southern part of LA, a quick drive away from Newport Beach.  In true vacation style, we used one of our days in Long Beach for a good relaxation day!  We also explored the downtown and went for a little jog.  It’s such a cute area!

While we stayed in Long Beach, we also spent time with one of our best friends from high school who lives near North Hollywood! Such a perk to get to see him too!!

Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Newport Beach

Then we headed down to Newport Beach for this sweet couple’s engagement session! 

Newport Beach engagement portraits by Annapolis Maryland Wedding photographer Lauren R Swann

It was fun to see the pier and explore around.  While we were there we got to check out another locals’ find.. the Wench! It’s this cool little spot where bodysurfers go to ride the waves that are made by the jetty at its border.  It makes the waves pretty darn huge and it was so fascinating to watch!

We also hopped over to the little town a few minutes away to visit one of my favorite design firm’s new store locations! The tiny space is full of so much pretty inspiration and I definitely loved popping in.  Also, Sidecar donuts is across the street, and that was fab.  Highly recommend!!

Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA
Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA
Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Do: Check out Studio McGee’s new shop and the Wench.  Plus if you love arcades and a boardwalk feel, there’s a fun one near the pier on the Balboa Peninsula.

Eat: Sidecar Donuts, Harborside Restaurant – get the scallop risotto! It was delicious!

I’m sure there’s something that I missed, but there’s my little recommendation for the Best Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles.

Have you ever explored right outside of Los Angeles? What were some of your favorite parts that we missed?

PS. Looking for more fun from this trip? Follow along!

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Well friends, if you saw the blog post from yesterday or you’ve been following along on Instagram, you know that Morgan and I took a trip to the coast of California!

The original purpose for this trip was photographing this gorgeous Newport Beach engagement session, but with the timing falling so closely to our anniversary, we decided to turn it into a little mini vacation too!

So I decided I would throw together this little post of the things we did, places we ate, etc!  Enjoy a peek into our trip and the Best Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles.

We started out our trip with a delayed luggage at LAX.  Thankfully there was a beach nearby and so we just went to have a little picnic! We were greeted by the most amazing dolphin show I’ve ever seen in the wild at Playa del Ray.  There were probably 12 of them riding the waves, playing together, and doing some flips for us to see!

Playa Del Rey, LAX

Playa Del Rey, California | the Best Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles

Playa Del Rey, California | the Best Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles

Playa Del Rey, California | the Best Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles

Playa Del Rey, California | the Best Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles

That photo to the left was the time I told Morgan he would have step up his selfie game. He got better as the trip went on ;) #InstagramHusband

EAT: Del Rey Deli — get their Cubano.  It’s a bit on the salty side but so delicious. Don’t get their turkey sandwich like I did… it was a bit dry and definitely in need of some mayo.  Thank goodness Morgan is usually willing to share with me when I do a bad job ordering ;)

Santa Barbara

Then we were off to Santa Barbara, visiting my sweet friends James and Jess! They were the host/hostess with the mostest and we were so grateful to have a few days with them!  Plus, they even asked us to exchange a few portraits to remember our trip.  The best!!

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Photos of us by the amazing James & Jess, edited by me!

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, California | Best Things to Do Right Outside of Los Angeles

DO: Take a jog along the beach, walk to the pier, visit the mission, exchange portraits with the best!!

EAT: Mony’s Mexican (SO delicious!! – get the chicken burrito for sure), anything prepared by James and Jess. See: charcuterie board & the best quiche I’ve ever had. Jess, send me the recipe will ya?! ;)

Malibu

Then we headed out for the day and went to the beaches in Malibu! We explored El Matador State park… read: I slept on the beach and Morgan took a walk ;) Then we grabbed a bite at Neptune’s Net, a local treasure, just in time to go down to Leo Carrillo for sunset.  The caves and views were so beautiful! OH, and we saw TWO WHALES! Y’all, I’ve never seen a whale before and even from far away they were so impressive!!! Also, Morgan and I had been talking about how I wanted to go whale watching one day, minutes before they appeared. How cool is that?!!

Malibu California | Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles

Malibu California | Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles

Malibu California | Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles
Malibu California | Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles

Malibu, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Malibu, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA
Malibu, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Malibu, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Malibu, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Malibu, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Malibu, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Malibu, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Photo above provided by a self-timer. Candid moment provided by the guys that walked in front of us taking this photo about a billion times! LOL

DO: Take a nap on the beach ;), explore the caves at El Matador Beach & Leo Carrillo.

EAT: Neptune’s Net — the fish tacos and fresh seafood were delicioussss! Plus, Morgan got their fish and chips… equally as good!  Plus, it was pretty reasonably priced.

Long Beach

Our home base for the following few days was in Long Beach.  It was perfect because it was on the southern part of LA, a quick drive away from Newport Beach.  In true vacation style, we used one of our days in Long Beach for a good relaxation day!  We also explored the downtown and went for a little jog.  It’s such a cute area!

While we stayed in Long Beach, we also spent time with one of our best friends from high school who lives near North Hollywood! Such a perk to get to see him too!!

Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Newport Beach

Then we headed down to Newport Beach for this sweet couple’s engagement session! 

Newport Beach engagement portraits by Annapolis Maryland Wedding photographer Lauren R Swann

It was fun to see the pier and explore around.  While we were there we got to check out another locals’ find.. the Wench! It’s this cool little spot where bodysurfers go to ride the waves that are made by the jetty at its border.  It makes the waves pretty darn huge and it was so fascinating to watch!

We also hopped over to the little town a few minutes away to visit one of my favorite design firm’s new store locations! The tiny space is full of so much pretty inspiration and I definitely loved popping in.  Also, Sidecar donuts is across the street, and that was fab.  Highly recommend!!

Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA
Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA
Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Long Beach, California | Best Things to Explore Right Outside of LA

Do: Check out Studio McGee’s new shop and the Wench.  Plus if you love arcades and a boardwalk feel, there’s a fun one near the pier on the Balboa Peninsula.

Eat: Sidecar Donuts, Harborside Restaurant – get the scallop risotto! It was delicious!

I’m sure there’s something that I missed, but there’s my little recommendation for the Best Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles.

Have you ever explored right outside of Los Angeles? What were some of your favorite parts that we missed?

PS. Looking for more fun from this trip? Follow along!

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COMMENTS -

  1. Newport, Rhode Island Travel Guide - Travel Photographer Lauren SwannAnnapolis, Maryland + Washington DC Wedding Photographer – Lauren R Sw

    September 5th, 2018 at 4:45 PM

    […] that Morgan’s come with me, too!  You may remember that he tagged along in May when we went to California for this Newport Beach Engagement […]

Los Angeles & Beyond the Best Things to Explore Right Outside of Los Angeles

Well friends, if you saw the blog post from yesterday or you’ve been following along on Instagram, you know that Morgan and I took a trip to the coast of California! The original purpose for this trip was photographing this gorgeous Newport Beach engagement session, but with the timing falling so closely to our anniversary, […]

Well friends, if you saw the blog post from yesterday or you’ve been following along on Instagram, you know that Morgan and I took a trip to the coast of California! The original purpose for this trip was photographing this gorgeous Newport Beach engagement session, but with the timing falling so closely to our anniversary, […]

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