I would be lying if I said I wasn’t in an almighty tizz right now. I have long known that I only function at 100% capability when under pressure of a deadline, and now that I only have four days until I leave for six weeks in California, I am, to put it frankly, doing my nut.

How can there be so much to do? Partly it’s because I am researching interesting California-based stories to pitch to my various editors in the UK, which occupation could fill as much time as I cared to give it, and partly because I gave up my apartment so I could afford to go away, so I can’t just lock and leave.

Every day I cycle fifteen blocks to my storage container, my bike basket filled with a teetering pile of winter clothes, books & random stuff, which gets replaced on my return journey with items from my summer wardrobe that I’ll need in CA. Of course I could just save time by booking a car, but I need the exercise and I need to save the money. And then there’s all the admin: car hire and insurance and buying & researching my GPS and guidebooks and booking hotels and eh, just, eh.

Of course, I do have plenty of time, it’s just that I get distracted by the internets, Twitter and watching re-runs of Law & Order on Netflix.

And there’s the packing. The state of my room has to be seen to be believed. My case is brimming and I am at my wits’ end about how to fit everything in that I need. Normally a light packer, I’m finding that you need as much for six weeks as you do for six months. Even though my summer wardrobe is basically silk frocks & shorts, I’ll need clothes for three distinct climate zones: Los Angeles, San Francisco and the desert, all my shoes seem to be clumpy wedges which weigh pounds and, as I am covering various physical activities for work, I need my hiking boots & yoga kit & a sleeping bag (the horror), as well cocktail frocks & party dresses. Then there’s all my unguents, hairdryer, books and the rest.

It’s been suggested that I box up some of the small but heavy stuff and send it on, so maybe that’s the answer. Only problem is that whatever I do, it all has to fit in the trunk of my rental car eventually for security reasons. Sigh.

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Fed Ex all your bulky stuff out to your first destination. Its so much easier and in the end, works out to be not that expensive. I’ve done it, its perfect and takes some of the stress out.


Can you hire a car with a roof rack? Does such a thing even exist? You never see them any more. Sorry, not madly helpful.

Am empathising so much with state of bedroom that am practically falling off my chair. Even for a short trip south I begin packing three weeks in advance, plan for all weather eventualities and unexpected social situations, then have a mad panic around midnight on the eve of departure and start all over again.

Will be so worth it once you get there, though.


oh dear. i have trouble packing for a week, and you are packing for something MUCH MUCH more difficult! i hope you enjoy your trip to california! i live in la. there are many super places here, and i hope you love it. 🙂


Good luck! I would say buy some stuff out there, but that doesn’t help with the fitting everything in the car for security reasons, and I definitely identify with the exercise and saving need ;-D

Your packing dilemma sounds a lot like me when I have to pack up to go home at the end of each term. Sigh.

Hope you have fun once the packing’s done and sorted!




I lived in LA for years before I moved to Manhattan. I know you don’t know me from Adam, but thought I’d pass along some ideas anyway; I love Los Angeles and miss it dearly.

You MUST go to Sweet Lady Jane, which has the best desserts ever. Two of my favorite cakes are the Italian Wedding Cake and Fudge Blackout Cake. Also, every other Friday, they have tiramisu, which is out of this world. But be warned – get there early for the tiramisu because a Tiramisu Nazi will occasionally come and buy the entire thing.

Other favorites…

Favorite cheap eats in Malibu Malibu Seafood – Almost like a roadside stand with picnic tables. The beach is right across the street. Love going late afternoon after a day at the beach. Can eat there or take out.

Favorite Wine Shop (in Malibu)
Malibu Village Wines – Owner is super nice and extremely knowledgable. There are always open bottles to taste. This is a tiny shop packed with gems.

Favorite Short Hike in the Middle of LA
Runyon Canyon – Love going on Saturday Morning followed by brunch at Toast or Lulu’s

Favorite Place for Picnic Food
Joan’s on 3rd – Yes, this is in the middle of LA, but their food is perfect for picnics and it doesn’t take long to zip down Wilshire to the beach.

Favorite Boutique
Curve (on Robertson) My absolute favorite place to shop. While they’ve expanded to NY and Miami, the LA store is still the best by far. Also like Vionnet next door (same owner).

Fun Bead Shop
(string your own)
King’s Road Beads – they have everything from supercheap beads to sapphires, rubies and 18 Kt Gold. I discovered this place when I wanted a delicate strand of beads from Fred Segal that was incredibly overpriced; I decided to make my own. I love stringing my own “beachy” beads for summer. Try to go on a week day when it isn’t as crowded. You can also pop in King’s Road Cafe on the corner for a tasty lunch or coffee.

Favorite Farmer’s Market
Beverly Hills Farmer’s Market – Every Sunday. Go hungry. Try crepes, tamales and kettle corn.

Favorite Small Flea Market
(alternative to the Rose Bowl and Santa Monica flea Markets)
Melrose Trading Post – at Fairfax High School; every Sunday. A perfect lazy Sunday for me is hitting the farmer’s market, then heading to the Melrose Trading Post.


Dawn has some great ideas. I live in LA. and if you need anything at all-accommodations, advice, directions,give me a shout out. I’d say don’t bring too much. California casual is not a myth; it is reality. Jeans,tees, and a couple of summer frocks will do. Dress up the jeans with heels and fancy tops for evening. A leather jacket and a scarf for San Francisco and you’re set. Oh, and we have Loehmann’s here too.

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