I love the luxury of rolling to my desk and completing my first assignment before officially getting ready for the day. By the time I put on my makeup and exchange my comfy baggies for real clothes I already feel as if I have a head start on everyone else. The trouble is that working from home is a little too comfortable sometimes and I need a change of scene to get my creative juices flowing.
But since moving from Music City to the Golden State I no longer have the luxury of just hopping in my car and going to any of the roomy coffee houses in town. First of all, I’m still mastering the art of parallel parking, secondly, not all coffee houses want patrons to patronize their place all day, and last but not least, going anywhere in LA includes more than the cost of coffee.
From the comfort of my own home I know that I can always warm-up my cup of hot tea or french roast, never worry about getting a good seat or getting kicked-out of my seat, and can rely on multiple, available plugins for my ancient cord dependent laptop.
When I go out in LA, I have no idea if I’ll find free parking, find a good seat or locate an outlet that hasn’t already been stripped by thousands of other users. I’ve recently had to tape my cord to such an outlet…it’s a little funny, but mostly frustrating.
If you live here, you know that simply going across town can be a major time commitment. Trying that new coffee place your friend told you about (a theoretical ten minute drive on Google Maps), is really more like 30 minutes with LA traffic so going anywhere is a bit more of an investment than $4.35 for a caffeine treat. With the nation’s highest gas prices burning through your fuel tank and notoriously congested traffic, it pays to do a little reconnaissance before venturing out. Before I go to any new coffee shop, I call ahead and make sure they have: Wi-Fi, outlets, and free parking!
I’m trying to be smarter about the way I spend my money in every way these days and that includes mapping out my routes to save money on gas, appeasing my taste buds without spending more than I can afford, cooking more at home, and casting my net further when I’m shopping for goods and services.
The trouble is, researching and planning to save money takes time. My “research” typically entails, “Googling it” as I’m rushing out the door. Sometimes the reviews I read seem consistent and fair but when results are skewed because of unfair griping or seemingly “placed” reviews, I find myself hesitating before making the commitment to check it out. I’m already concerned about not “wasting” my money so it kills me when a review I see doesn’t give me the kind of information I need to make a confident decision about whether or not to spend.
My goal on “Choice Spots” is to build a thoughtful resource that includes spots mostly in and around LA where you can frugally spend your hard-earned money and confidently spend your valuable time. I’d like to write about everything from, “choice coffee spots within walking distance of a train” to “choice online retailers”.
I travel a bit throughout the year too, so don’t be surprised if you see reviews of establishments in New York or Miami pop-up once in a while. And if you have a place you’ve always wanted to check-out in and around the LA area, leave me a comment and I’ll see if I can get out there to do a little reconnaissance for you.