Back in Georgia, I was raised to love the outdoors. Some of my favorite childhood memories come from hiking with friends up the Appalachian Trail, weekends by the lake, and cooking over campfires. I still lace up the same hiking boots I wore when I was in high school. So when I moved out to LA for work, hiking was how I got to know the city.
It wasn’t long before I learned that there are plenty of overwhelmingly beautiful hikes in Southern California, but sometimes I just needed to escape after a long workday and didn’t have the time or energy to leave the city. I found Elysian Park to be the perfect little urban oasis.
My favorite way up is on Wildflower Trail. It’s only about a two and a half mile loop, but I like to take my time and let my dog explore. It’s well marked, shady, and isn’t terribly steep, so it also makes for an awesome trail run if you want to get a good sweat in. Whichever pace you choose, be sure to take in the scenery -- the downtown skyline, the San Gabriel Mountains, and everyone stuck in rush hour traffic on I-5.
I was always the kid with thick zinc smeared across my face, so I wouldn't be my father’s daughter if I didn’t say that sunscreen is mission critical. I don’t leave the house without putting on my EltaMD tinted sunscreen. Honestly, I like the way it looks more than my foundation - it’s perfectly light and blends so naturally.
While I’m on the east side, I like to head over to Endorffeine in Chinatown for what I insist is the best cup of coffee in the world. Jack, former biochemist turned barista, makes his water from scratch, thoroughly filtering the water and then adding back in a cocktail of minerals to create the perfect flavor profile. The coffee is outstanding.
I love it over at Elysian Park, but going outside doesn’t always have to mean deep woosahs and wide open spaces. For me, it’s the walk I take during my lunch hour, or getting some sun on my apartment stoop, or taking a break from bright screens. Going outside means finding peace of mind by connecting with the natural world.