This past Saturday I embarked on my first trip to the land of paparazzi, celebrities and silicone, Los Angeles, California. Would I see a celebrity train wreck in action? Would I open my eyes to the possibility of acquiring fame and decide to stay in hopes of being discovered? A world I knew only from the pages of Perez Hilton and episodes of “The Hills” was about to be unveiled to me and I couldn’t wait!

My first day started off pretty low-key. I arrived at LAX and took a rental car to my hotel, the Mondrian. It was only fitting that my hotel was situated directly across the street from a giant billboard of Lauren “L.C.” Conrad, “Speidi,” Audrina, Brody Jenner... And who could forget “Lo” Bosworth? I kicked off the day with an underwhelming lunch at an outdoor café and then headed to my hotel pool. I’ve never seen more people at a pool who looked like they were trying out for America’s Next Top Model. I was even more surprised to get the $36 dollar bill for my two mimosas. Who are these people who can throw money away on small flutes of orange juice and Champagne?

That night, we were headed to dinner at Koi. I was worried that if I wore a skirt I would be overdressed. Turns out, I was the only one there not wearing a mini-dress! The food was delicious, but again we were paying more for the atmosphere than what we actually ordered. As we waited for our car, I laughed to myself at the girls huddling together under the heat lamp in 58 degree weather. They definitely hadn’t spent a winter in Chicago!

After dinner I was given a tour through the hills (the real ones, not the show) and saw where Christina Aguilera and Leonardo DiCaprio live. I was surprised to see Leo’s house with all the lights on and what looked like a few thousand extra square feet of space than what one person needs! I thought he was “green”... Throughout the night I was amazed but not surprised by the number of people with fake body parts. The place is a plastic surgeon’s dream!

On Sunday, I woke up and got ready for a more relaxing day further south in Laguna Beach. The one day I spent in Los Angeles was definitely fun – and eye opening – but convinced me that I’m a Chicago girl at heart! As much as the fast-paced, gossip-hungry town excites me, it doesn’t suit me! The laid back attitude many of its residents have doesn’t mesh well with the thousand dollar outfits they wear to get coffee!

I’m glad I can say I’ve been to Los Angeles, but I prefer a city that’s a little less wealthy and a bit more windy.

Susan Schreiber