Monday, November 26, 2012

5 Must-Have LA Items

There are many things that I realized that I needed and didn't need once I got to the big city. An umbrella, for example, is something of a joke to own here. One of my first days I overheard this man at a coffee shop telling his friend that he bought an umbrella the other day "just in case" it rains. His friend laughed at him.

Coming from Wilmington where it rains without warning all the time, I brought two umbrellas and have yet had a chance to use them. Seriously, it NEVER rains here. I have been here for four months now and it has sprinkled (not rained mind you, but sprinkled) a total of two times so far. I was screaming for joy just because I got the opportunity to use my windshield wipers for the first time. I almost forgot where the control for them were even located in my car.

Along with umbrellas, you can also erase rain boots, rain jackets (basically anything that includes the rain), winter jackets, anything that takes up a lot of room (you probably won't have space for it in that studio apartment) from the list. You WILL need these following items, however:

1. Leather jacket: In case you didn't know already, no signature LA look is complete without a leather jacket. Sport it with literally anything and you will look completely LA posh and fit right in with the locals. It's also handy to have at night when it gets a wee bit chilly. I, unfortunately, have not purchased one yet and stick out like a sore thumb.

2. Large recyclable bag: This bag will become your best friend. Not just because it is environmentally friendly, but because it is just way more convenient than lugging around five bags for the six blocks from the grocery store. Plus every time I ask for a plastic bag at the Farmer's Market I feel the judgment around me setting in.

3. Tap card: Otherwise known as the Metro card, this little piece of plastic is LA's new way of not killing trees. You buy the card for $1.00 at any Metro stop for one time only and add on as much money as you'd like. One train ride is $1.50, so depending on how often you need to use the train, you can put as much as you want on it. There is no transaction fee if you pay by card, which is nice. Then you just tap the card each time you enter the metro (hence the clever name) and it's applicable for the Metro bus as well.

4. Black boots: To match your black leather jacket. Another LA garment that almost everyone wears, these are essential because you can wear them year round (yes, even in summer) and are very durable in a city that is walking-intensive. I've thrown away literally four pairs of shoes since I've been here. Again, black boots are something that I need to work on getting. Fail so hard.

5. A Car: Or at very least a bike. Seriously, I don't know how anyone gets around LA without a car. Even with the Metro system, the train goes to few stops (the City of Beverly Hills actually petitioned for the train to even run below it, let alone have a stop there), and the bus is confusing as hell. It would take you hours to get anywhere on the bus and it is constantly late. Yes, parking does suck and yes, traffic is freaking horrendous, but its one of the things that everyone has to go through, and it at least beats public transportation. The smaller the car the better too– it's way easier to parallel park a Honda Civic than a big SUV.

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