No, I don't want to go to the Walk of Fame with you.
This month marks my eight year anniversary of moving to Los Angeles, or my LAversary, if you will. Below are some of the amusing and unusual unspoken rules of this incredible place I now call home.


On Planning

8 Essential LA Survival Skills

Coachella is an Angeleno state holiday.

Coachella is basically a state holiday during which the SoCal youth all get out of town during two blissful weekends in April, making it a great time to visit all the places you’d normally avoid due to traffic/parking/crowds. Same goes with Thanksgiving and especially Christmas. Nearly all-the-LA-people are transplants who depart for the holidays so it’s a great time to pretend like you live in a quasi-populated city rather than the bustling metropolis.

On Commuting

8 Essential LA Survival Skills

Leave 45 minutes before you think you need to.

Always, always have cash with you and leave for your destination 45 minutes before you think you need to. Cash will help you pay for parking – either valet, parking attendants or paid meters. And Google Maps’ estimated arrival time is a lie! Trust in Waze to get anywhere in this town.

On Traveling

8 Essential LA Survival Skills

“I’d love to take you to the airport,” said no one, ever.

Travel from Burbank, if you can… unless you really can’t risk a canceled flight (learned this the hard way one time trying to travel to Europe). Also, keep your Angeleno friends and take an Uber because no one actually wants to drive your ass to the airport.

On Apartment-Hunting

8 Essential LA Survival Skills

Refrigerator not included.

Driving around the neighborhoods you like and talking to your friends are the best ways to find unlisted vacant apartments. Westside Rentals is also worth the cost (and most Angelenos have had one so if you’ve made some friends, borrow the login). If moving to LA for the first time, keep in mind that you probably need to purchase your own refrigerator– and washer/dryer hookup options are a luxury. ALWAYS confirm your parking situation before you commit to a new place.

On Making a First Impression…

8 Essential LA Survival Skills

Barista today, leading actor tomorrow.

Don’t lead with ‘what do you do for a living as an icebreaker question. You may as well ask someone what religion they practice. Everyone in LA is either 1) Successful and doesn’t want to tell you what they do for fear that you’re going to ask them for a favor or 2) Striving for success as an actor/model/designer/artist and therefore, hustling around their full-time gig as a server. Therefore, no one knows how to articulate a response to this question in a comfortable manner until you know each other a bit better.

Other Unspoken Etiquette Rules

8 Essential LA Survival Skills

Blasphemy against the Disney shall not be forgiven.

Bad-mouthing or making bad jokes about any of the following is basically a cardinal sin:

  • Dogs
  • Vegans
  • Fine Roast Coffee
  • The Environment
  • Disney (the corporation or the Land)
  • Hiking
  • Kale
  • Bloggers
  • People’s Sexual Orientation or Gender Identification Preferences
  • Yoga
  • The Dodgers or Lakers (Kings, too… I guess)
  • The Kardashians

Some language tips:

8 Essential LA Survival Skills

It’s CaliFORNIA.

  • Freeway Speak is really a thing (it’s not 405, it’s The 405).
  • Don’t refer to this glorious state as Cali.

On Avoiding Tickets:

So. Wait. Can I park here or nah? #LAParking

A photo posted by Ryan Seacrest (@ryanseacrest) on

The Golden Rule

8 Essential LA Survival Skills

Living More Than Three Miles Away From Someone = Deal Breaker

West Side Boy Meets East Side Girl is a doomed relationship (unless you move in together– which happens more quickly here than in other cities). Los Angeles Magazine cited “Living more than three miles away from each other” first on its round-up of odd dating deal-breakers in a recent article.  It’s for the same reason that despite the “short” distance, visiting The Beach is a Day Trip, not a quick stop. The moral of the story is, once you cross the 405, say farewell to your friends on the other side.


I’m so grateful to call this crazy, impossibly busy, surprising, eccentric place home.


Mani O'Brien

Mani O'Brien

Storyteller and Virgo

LA-based social media marketer and brand journalist Mani O’Brien spends her downtime raising a small human and ranting on this blog. Here you’ll find frequent cursing, a self-indulgent analysis of her 30-something existence as a wife, mother, Millennial, digital marketer and astrology-obsessed feminist.

More Stories

Second Glance

With all of the distractions that we face every single moment of these overly informed, visually over-saturated, social media/Internet-driven modern day lives, it’s hard to stay focused.

When it comes to creation of any kind– whether it’s art/writing/design/fashion/music…  I think a good rule of thumb is to attempt to make it worth the second read, a second glance, a second visit, a second listen– worth a second second in a world in which time is everything.

Personally, this theory translates to my everyday life decisions. Don’t do anything that’s just not worth your precious seconds. Here’s to staying true to yourself, and to having integrity in everything you do.

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.” -Cecil Beaton

Image via: Tang Yau Hoong

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Another Year, Another Fucking Blog

I’ll admit that I’m a failed blogger. And yet I can’t help to do it, so here we are. I don’t know how in my 33 years of living (especially during the 17 of which was under the roof of my late-poet-father) I’ve never heard this quote by William Faulkner until recently – “If a story is in you it has to come out.”

The phrase sums up the reason I’m here, typing this. Writing literally haunts me. Call it compulsive or whatever. I’ve journaled consistently since I was eight years old and writing to me is the equivalent to my coffee or alcohol consumption. I suppose I could live without writing, but it would take a convulsive detoxing process. Just kidding about the alcohol thing (I think). The point is, I can’t help but write. It’s a bit of a curse, really.

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