Nikki Takes California – Part 2 (Santa Monica)

Back in September I went to California for the first time! Read about part one, my time in the desert that is 29 Palms, before reading this!

The whole reason I was even in California was because I was given a free two nights stay at a swanky hotel in Santa Monica. So I took those two nights and turned it into a 10 day vacation. 

So after spending time in 29 Palms, I drove to the LA Airport to drop off my rental car. I then took a cab to Marina Del Rey to see my sweet cousin who has lived in Cali for a little while now! It was so great to see her and catch up. I’m going to have to go back out to spend some more time with her 🙂

Then she and her boyfriend and his friends dropped me off at my hotel and I checked in, rolled my stuff to the room, put on my bikini, and walked to the beach! It was so lovely. The water was quite warm and I can officially say I’ve been in the Pacific Ocean from the United States (oddly enough, I’ve been in the Pacific Ocean before, but it was from Australia).

I laid on the beach and just chilled and it was perfect. People watching was also fantastic, and then I got bored and walked around and took some photos around the Santa Monica Pier.


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Then I had scheduled to meet and photograph Julia in LA! I took a very long uber ride to Melrose Avenue, and had a ton of fun photographing Julia. In case you missed that shoot, check out those photos!

After the shoot, I went and ate some really delicious food at a neat little bar restaurant place. Julia recommended it – twas tasty. Once I got back to the hotel, I uploaded the photos I had just taken, and decided to go see what the Pier looked like with all the lights on. Walking around the Pier, I definitely felt a little creepy. Not going to lie. A grown, solo, female, with a camera… oh well. It was neat and I got cotton candy because even though I just called myself grown, I’m actually a child. I walked down to the beach and just sat… it was awesome. The lights on the beach were so neat and I was able to just relax.

santa-monica-california-photographer-36santa-monica-california-photographer-27santa-monica-california-photographer-26santa-monica-california-photographer-21santa-monica-california-photographer-22santa-monica-california-photographer-20santa-monica-california-photographer-19santa-monica-california-photographer-18santa-monica-california-photographer-17The next day, I woke up and went to a local breakfast cafe. I had the most delicious breakfast burrito ever.  I watched surfers and paddle boarders take on the puny waves that were happening. It was a PERFECT morning. I read a bit of the book I was reading at the time, then decided to take a little swim. It was so lovely.

I then rented a bicycle and rode to Venice! The Venice Boardwalk is the weirdest place I’ve ever people watched. It was AWESOME. The bike ride was a lot of fun – there is a fun bike path that I took, which a decent amount of people were using. I felt so athletic, to be honest. Anyways, I watched guys on roller skates dance to 80’s hip hop music, I watched a lot of skateboarders do tricks at the bowls, and I walked around and looked at shops and artwork. I also got an ice cream cone and wanted to take a cute artsy photo of it… I barely stepped out of the shop before it started insanely melting. I still took a photo of it to show my future self how stupid I was for photographing my melting ice cream rather than eating it. I walked down to the beach and did some more people watching.

santa-monica-california-photographer-38santa-monica-california-photographer-39 santa-monica-california-photographer-33Santa Monica California Photography by Nikki Schell santa-monica-california-photographer-32santa-monica-california-photographer-29santa-monica-california-photographer-31 santa-monica-california-photographer-30  Santa Monica California Photography by Nikki Schellsanta-monica-california-photographer-28I rode my bicycle back to the bike shack, showered, and ran out to watch the sunset. Please note, I am awful at using a Go Pro, hence the very confused look on my face in my sunset selfie. I watched guys who were touring for the company Life is Good promoting #GROWtheGood. They were being filmed in 4K and I was geeking out and very curious about what they were doing, so obviously I talked to them and learned a little bit about their project. Recently found this video and there are tiny snippets from that night.

The finale to my SoCal portion was getting to see my friend Fran! I hadn’t seen Fran in so long as she’s been out in LA and before that I was in NC and SC. We were able to go out to dinner and catch up and it was a lot of fun.

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I had to go pass out as I had to wake up at 3am to catch a flight… stay tuned for part 3!


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