Today I’ve decided to write a travel post. Don’t worry, it’ll definitely incorporate my love of fashion!
As a long haul flight attendant for over 5 years, I was lucky enough to travel to my favourite country, the United States of America, almost weekly. I stayed in Los Angeles for one or two nights per week and it was heaven for me. There are so many things I love about LA- the people, the food, the weather, the shopping, the list goes on….
Los Angeles was like a second home to me. I had a routine that I followed whenever I got there. It always involved my first port of call, 7-11, for a large coffee. Yes, you heard that right. I absolutely LOVE the coffee from 7-11 in the US. I would heap three hazelnut creamers into a brewed hazelnut-infused coffee( I like hazelnut!) and pay the measly total of $1.89 for it. It was actually $1.59 when I first started going to the US a little over five years earlier but I’m not going to quibble about 30 cents when it was worth at least $5 in my eyes.
Next stop, and this is where the fashion comes in, was Nordstrom Rack. For those of you that don’t know, Nordstrom Rack is where the stuff that doesn’t sell at Nordstrom goes. I guess you could call it a discount department store. This means there are some really great items at fabulous prices. Brand labels at a fraction of the cost. Yes please. I don’t believe there was ever a time I left Nordstrom Rack without a new pair of shoes 🙂
Now it’s time for Ross- Dress for Less. This place is very hit and miss but it’s worth a look because sometimes there are some serious treasures at ridiculously low prices. I’m talking Guess and Nine West shoes for $12.95. I’m not kidding. You can get Asics, Nikes and K-Swiss runners for $35 and bags and purses from top brands like Betsey Johnson and Steve Madden for a steal. If home wares are your thing, there’s plenty of that too. I bought far more bathmats than I needed because of Ross!
After that, Walmart!!! Oh, how I love Walmart. I would stock up on make up and skin care at a fraction of the cost back home in Australia. I would buy everything from stockings and electronics to chocolate and perfume. Walmart is basically full of everything you never knew you needed. A bit like Kmart in Australia. Even when I didn’t buy much, which of course I usually did, I always had a great time at Walmart. There was so much to look at!
On days that I hadn’t quite satisfied my shopping obsession with these three stores, I would hit up the local shopping mall which had my absolute favourite fashion store- Forever 21. It was huge and I could easily spend 2-3 hours looking at all the goodies and trying on item after item (I’m quite sure I annoyed the sales assistants no end). Another great shop I love in the US, which is also now in Australia, is Bath and Body Works. It has a delectable range of candles, body lotions, body sprays and soaps that you simply can’t resist. They always have great specials on too, so you can really grab a bargain. Just be careful not to overload on products when travelling. Excess baggage charges are not fun!
Now, onto food. The United States doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to food but I found so many places I absolutely love that I want to share with you. When I was in LA for work, I didn’t indulge in restaurants all that often. I would usually buy take away or get something fresh and healthy from the supermarket. However, I have travelled to the US on holidays enough times to get a good feel for the restaurants over there.
First up, The Cheesecake Factory. Oh my goodness, this place is amazing. It’s not all about cheesecakes like the name suggests, though I will get to those in a moment. It also has a huge range of lunch and dinner options that are good. I mean, really good! I’ve eaten at the Cheesecake Factory many, many times and I’ve never had a bad meal. Madeira Chicken, Lettuce Wraps, Jambalaya Pasta, Mexican Tortillas- there is so much variety and it’s so delicious. Not to mention BIG. You could probably even share a meal because you want to make sure you save room for some divine cheesecake. They have a menu of over 40 creamy cheesecakes with flavours like Ultimate Red Velvet, Fresh Strawberry, Snickers Bar Chunk and Craig’s Crazy Carrot Cake Cheesecake. Trust me on this, you will not regret a visit to The Cheesecake Factory!
Whilst The Cheesecake Factory is definitely my favourite restaurant for budget friendly dining in the US, there are plenty of other fabulous places to indulge in. I’ve listed a few great restaurants and outlets below that also offer delicious, well-priced food. On this note, everything in this post is perfect for those watching their wallets. As a flight attendant, I earned good money but I still had to keep an eye on what I spent. I wasn’t able to hit up Neiman Marcus, Saks and Bloomingdales or treat myself at fine-dining restaurants on a weekly basis. (As much as I would have liked to!)
In terms of places to stay, I was always put up in a hotel in an area chosen by my company, so I don’t have much advice in this area. What I will say is, Los Angeles is very spread out. If you’re brave enough, I would strongly recommend you hire a car and drive. It will be so much easier to get around. If not, the train and bus systems are very good in LA. They’re cheap too!
So, in summary, my favourite places to shop on a budget in LA, in no particular order, are-
- Nordstrom Rack- Heavily discounted items from high end brands such as DKNY, Kate Spade, Tom Ford, Versace and Michael Kors.
- Walmart- Food and other basics at crazy low prices.
- Forever 21- Fashion forward clothes and accessories at ridiculously low prices.
- Ross- Dress for Less- Heavily discounted items from brands like Guess, Steve Madden, Betsey Johnson, Nike, Nine West and many, many more.
- TJ Maxx- A bit like Ross. Fantastic bargains on quality items like clothes, shoes, home wares and toys.
- Bath and Body Works- Yummy smelling stuff like body lotions, candles and hand soaps.
- Burlington Coat Factory- Not just coats. Lots of clothes, home wares, travel goods and fashion accessories.
My favourite places to eat are-
- Cheesecake Factory- As mentioned above. Fabulous food, drinks and cheesecakes.
- California Pizza Kitchen- A great variety of tasty food. Healthy options are also available.
- Chipotle- Very casual dining (mostly take-away) serving yummy Mexican food.
- Red Lobster- As the name suggests, this place is mostly seafood. It’s worth the visit for the Cheddar Bay Biscuits alone.
- Outback Jacks- The most amazing steaks with a divine blue cheese topping.
- Olive Garden- This is on recommendation from my friend. She says the unlimited salad and bread sticks with the signature Alfredo sauce is all you need.
- Yogurtland- Scrumptious self-serve yogurt in delicious flavours like praline, oatmeal cookies, peanut butter and coconut. The flavours change regularly so you need to go more than once 🙂
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post and I hope you’ll keep some of these places in mind on your next trip to the US. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or want more info.
Have a great day, Kylie xxx
- Lifeline Australia (thrifted) pussy bow blouse $5
- Forever 21 leatherette skirt $20
- Kmart floppy felt hat $12
- Guess shoes $40 (on sale)
- Colette Hayman bag $35