Los Angeles: Whirlwind D-Style

by Leighann on April 11, 2011

Since I was going all the way to LA, a city in a state I’d never been to before, I figured I should stay an extra day and do a little sight seeing.*

A few other people were staying on for the rest of the weekend to see friends they knew locally, help a ninja move, or to sight see like me. I was so excited to have two companions for the day: Lee Ann Thill and Allison Blass. I met both of these PWD’s in Chicago in 2009 at BlogHer for the first time in person and again at the 2010 Roche Social Media Summit.

The Weather

Of course on the day we spent indoors at Medtronic, the weather was gorgeous. On our sightseeing day, it was not as warm and was overcast most of the day. But even so, it was better than the 40 degree week I left back home!

LA weather


The Waffle

We started the day at a restaurant called The Waffle in Hollywood. I’m a big fan of fresh baked waffles and the menu had so many varieties to choose from including red velvet! I opted for a traditional breakfast because I wanted a little protein to fill me up.

Three buttermilk pancakes or a waffle, two eggs cooked to order, and served with maple syrup, butter, and your choice of applewood smoked bacon, fakin bacon, country ham, or sausage.

What I appreciated was that the eggs were organic and free range and for the first time I can recall, I had the choice of vegetarian bacon instead of meat. Yahoo! I usually just request that diners hold the meat. My kids would be in heaven. I should have asked how they cook it because it was so crisp. (Or maybe I don’t want to know.)

What’s not shown in the above photo is the waffle, which did not disappoint.


We then headed over to Hollywood to see all the things that you think of when you think “Hollywood.” We looked at the stars on the Walk of Fame. (We missed Penelope Cruz getting her star by exactly 24 hours!) We looked at the footprints in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater (Helen Mirren‘s footprints were still wet). And then we took a tour of the Kodak Theater where the Academy Awards are now held.


Graumans Chinese TheaterGraumans Chinese TheaterGraumans Chinese Theater

Le Brea Tar Pits

After a late lunch we headed over to the Page Museum Le Brea Tar Pits. Unfortunately it was too late in the day to really take our time to enjoy the museum, but we did get to walk through and see skeletons of many extinct animals that were excavated from the pits just outside.

A quick trip to the gift shop yielded a set of small stuffed animals for the kids: a wooly mammoth for my daughter and a saber toothed cat for my son. They have been sleeping with these every night since my return. I also picked up a larger item for my son’s upcoming birthday. You can’t come home from a trip without souvenirs for the kids.

The grounds are open even after the museum closes so we spent some time entranced by the bubbling tar in one pit and bubbling methane gas in the other. You can imagine the plethora of smells! But it was quite interesting to watch the oozing tar!

Le Brea Tar Pits

Video of the bubbling tar:

(Click over for embedded video.)

Venice Beach

Venice Beach

I had never seen the Pacific Ocean. Had it been a picture perfect day I probably would have suggested starting out at the Santa Monica Pier. We ended our sight seeing at Venice Beach.

I learned a new term: kush. There were several “kush doctors” located in the shops along the beach who sell medical marijuana.

Hotel Palomar

Hotel PalomarHotel Palomar

While in Los Angeles, we stayed at the Hotel Palomar which is a trendy hotel located in the Westwood neighborhood.

(Medtronic paid for the first two nights of lodging while I was on official business, but I paid for the additional night.)

If you travel with your pet, you will like that it is a pet friendly hotel. If you have bad allergies like me, you will need to remember to ask for a pet-free room. (Or switch rooms when you notice the dog biscuits in the mini bar!)

One of the best features? Free wine from 6-7:00 pm. And the wine was good! I just wish they had announced last call so that we could have refilled our glasses!

If you ever go to one of the Kimpton Hotels, such as Hotel Palomar, sign up for their free Kimpton InTouch customer program. I received free wifi and a $10 credit for the minibar.



During the trip I had a Sprinkles cupcake. I am a HUGE fan of cupcakes. I have never been to Sprinkles, or Crumbs for that matter, so I was excited to try one of these cupcakes that everyone is always talking about.


I had the carrot cake cupcake and I thought there was way too much frosting, which over-powered the cake. And the cake itself wasn’t that great. The carrot cake with cream cheese frosting I make from a box each year for my husband’s birthday is better.

There was a Crumbs store by the Kodak Theater and I should have gotten a cupcake there just so that I can say I’ve tried one.

A Good Day

Overall, I had a terrific day and I can now mark several things off my bucket list. I had great company in Lee Ann and Allison! I am so glad I decided to stay on an extra day and have a little fun.

*Medtronic paid for my flight to and from LA and my expenses and hotel on the official days of the trip. Please read my expanded disclosure statement regarding this trip. I paid for the extra night at the hotel as well as meals and other expenses associated with my sightseeing excursion including a set of pterodactyl wings.

Further Reading

Disclosure: Medtronic and Roche

All post about the Medtronic Diabetes Forum

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lee Ann Thill April 11, 2011 at 10:16 am

What a great re-cap! I had such an awesome time sightseeing with you and Allison. That was definitely the highlight of the trip for me, so thanks again for that 🙂


2 Leighann April 15, 2011 at 10:51 am

Thanks for sending me the photos you took! It was so nice to spend time together and sight see!

And the gifts I bought at the tar pits were such a great hit! But I’m saving the pterodactyl wings for my son’s birthday.


3 Allison Blass April 11, 2011 at 10:27 am

Yay! I had such a great time too. It is a bummer that the clouds got in the way of our beach time. We’ll have to insist the next Medtronic forum being in May or June!

BTW if you don’t like frosting, you will not like Crumbs. Crumbs has a TON of frosting, and most people can only eat half at a time because it’s so thick and rich. Magnolia (my preferred cupcake vendor) is sweeter than Crumbs, but it’s smaller and less frosting, which is why I prefer it.


4 Leighann April 15, 2011 at 10:49 am

Allison- PR from Sprinkles was on the ball and contacted me about my experience within a day of posting this. Not that I’ll likely be near another Sprinkles location soon, but after their nice e-mail I think I’d try it again…just maybe a different flavor.

Ooh, and I’ve heard of Magnolia. Gotta give them a try.

I just LOVE cupcakes. The grocery store we use has fantastic cupcakes with the fluffy marshmallowy frosting. Yum!


5 George April 11, 2011 at 1:16 pm

It was great seeing you again. Sorry the weather didn’t cooperate but sometimes it’s just like that. Next time we will make sure we order in some clear skies!!

Take care.


6 Leighann April 15, 2011 at 10:50 am

George- It was so awesome to see you and I’m glad I got a big hug! I didn’t feel like I had enough time with individual people though. Next time 🙂


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