Taste of California

Several of our loved ones left Houston for California to pursue their artistic careers. While school took up what seemed my every spare minute it was hard to get away. Those loved ones made an effort to come back to Houston and spend quality time, between my school.


Now school is OVER for now, until I decide if grad school is something I HAVE to pursue. For now it’s over and now it’s my turn to venture off to California and other places that my loved ones are scattered.

I wanted to go see my sister and close friend who both happen to be in California. Then a wedding of another dear friend also in California came up. So I planned a multi-purpose trip. Seeing family, time with friends, a wedding and some tourist time for my art.

Olvera Plaza

The only mistake I made in this trip was going in September. It was scorching hot! I had no idea California was so hot but now I know not to go in September.

If you know my art you know I get my inspiration from my travels. From all the research I had done there were so many things to see in California. Of course none close to each other. Since this was a trip to spend time with my ladies, I couldn’t demand to be taken all over California. This only leaves the door open to return to California over and over.

If you’re already in Olvera Street, GO to the Museum
People don’t know it’s there, it’s interesting

I was impressed with what I did see. I started this trip in Los Angeles. While there is so much to see, it is too touristy for my liking. I don’t think there is a time that it’s quiet in Los Angeles.

There are a lot of adorable things in and around LA. Even my friends who live there didn’t know about some of the things I asked to go see. Pinterest is every visual person’s friend when it comes to what interesting things to go see in a city. Even my sister who doesn’t live in LA anymore was sending me pins to see during my stay in LA.


The foodie that I’m married to has rubbed off on me enough that I am constantly looking for the next delicious plate around the corner. There wasn’t enough time to try them all, again more excuses to return to California. But I did get my people to experience foodie happiness while I was there.

The Old Abandoned L.A. Zoo
Hidden Staircases (Clearly I like staircases)

I kept saying that I felt like a child of a divorced parents, splitting myself between friends and family. It was worth it though, to spend time with them and be able to do what they did for me while I was in school. That’s why I don’t mind using my mileage points on airline tickets to go see them.

You heard me dislike LA, but when I went to spend time with my sister it was a different story. She is outside of LA, about 2.5 hours from Los Angeles and that is normal drive. There is always traffic in California. I will never complain about Houston traffic after being stuck in endless traffic in California.

This beautiful couple are going to have a very happy life

The cities outside of Los Angeles are gorgeous. It felt like I was in small towns sometimes. I have no idea why people choose LA over these smaller and clearly more affordable cities. After spending time with my sister, I can see why she is staying put. She has become a California girl, Houston has lost her completely. She is getting to live her dream, acting and lives close enough to the beach and yet not too far from mountains. Not to mention all the other interesting things to see and do. I didn’t feel extremely poor there like I did in Los Angeles.


Hubby caught up with me closer to the wedding of our dear friend. (A photograph from the wedding above.) He was only there for an extended weekend, so I had to manage to squeeze family & friend time, wedding and food all in that short time. We did it! Thanks to our people who drove back and forth to drop us up and pick us up. But all this helped to reconnect. You don’t realize that when people leave to another state, phone calls are not enough. Seeing each other re-energizes the relationship. I think this happened to me with my sister, my brother in law and my dear friend. We are now more actively speaking or texting to each other.


Either way I will go back to the crowded L.A. and to the small cities in Cali gladly to see my people and explore. Who knows maybe I will get proven wrong, that there is more to Los Angeles.


I’m already planning my next California trip, for next year. Maybe people will give me some pointers on what to do and where to eat.



Leslie M. Guzmán is a Guatemalan artist best known for her creative explorations of world cultures. Her works capture the untold stories of people, objects and the places from which they come.


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