Monday, September 21, 2015

Solstice Canyon Hike

Twas a hot one in LA today, but that didn't deter my friends Marcy, Zoia, and me from setting out on a hiking adventure.

I actually chose this hike today by googling 'shady hikes in Malibu'. Lol

Solstice Canyon is an easy 3.2 mile hike on relatively flat ground that heads guessed it! Solstice Canyon. I had actually hiked this hike years ago with Gianna, but I think we took the more challenging 'Rising Sun Trail' that has a much higher gain in elevation before settling back into the canyon.

We got a late start and convened around high noon. After chatting a bit, we headed north to Malibu and stopped at the cute Marmalade Cafe for a quick bite. Our waiter had other ideas on the 'quick' part. 

By the time we arrived it was nearly 4 o'clock, which suited us just fine. It was still hot!

This was a terrific hike and perfectly shady for a hot day and we got in some exercise without too much exertion. Nonetheless...I was still plenty sweaty. :P

Marcy loved this rock.
I loved this tree
One of the most exciting things for me was that we saw a rattlesnake!! I've never actually seen one in person and was so excited!

So excited that my hands were shaky! 
The hike culminates at the ruins of an old mansion built by Frank Roberts who was a successful grocer in the 1950s. It's hard to really get a feel for what the house looked like since so little remains, but it's still quite neat to see. 

The mansion was designed by well-known architect Paul Williams. Since this canyon was known to be sometimes ravaged by wildfires, the design included an elaborate pump system with water from the nearby stream. 

Unfortunately after Roberts' death, this system was not maintained and the house burned to its foundation in 1982. 

We wandered the ruined foundation and tried to imagine the house as it was while we walked 'room' to 'room'. 

Behind the house is a trickling waterfall. We explored and enjoyed the cooler air that water brings. 

The adventurous spirit overtook Marcy and she headed off trail to loop above the falls and back down in front of the house. Zoia and I followed suit. 

We strolled leisurely back towards the car, sweaty and happy with our hike. 

I went noir on this one ;)

Bit bright in the sun :P

Sunday, September 13, 2015


I saw this picture on the left on Pinterest and thought I should try it...tada! Picture on the right. I think I need some red pillows maybe to make it pop more?

The original Pinterest image is this:

Lol. Like Indian blankets on your bed? Step 1. Get an Indian blanket. Step 2. Put it on your bed. 

Hehe. Thanks Pinterest! I think maybe just the picture would have sufficed. 

Happy Wednesday! I've been sick since Sunday with a stomach bug. Fingers crossed I'm on the mend. :)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

To market, to market

Gianna and I ventured out today to check out the Abbott Kinney market

I've heard some buzz about this and since it's near my house, we decided to investigate. 

We hopped on the bikes and headed down to Venice. I always love choosing different streets to explore. 

The market is on the grounds of Westminster Elementary and once we got close, we were ushered in by a group of friendly men along the sidewalk. 

Honestly, the market was much smaller than I had imagined and there was barely anyone there. But, oh my gosh...everyone there was incredibly nice! Every single vendor talked to us with real interest. The man at the first tent even offered to watch our bikes. Another woman offered to do our numbers in numerology for free. It was just wonderful!

We walked around for a while and saw so much that we wanted to buy! Unfortunately, today was not the day for buying...only browsing. 

Our favorite tent was full of terrific Indian printed pillows, dream catchers, and rugs. 

I hope to go back someday with more funds!

From the market, we returned to Gjusta-a bakery we had tried on another bike adventure. 

GJusta was PACKED and about as hipster as a place could come. Haha. Gianna and I were cracking up at just how perfect everyone appeared. I felt like we were on a movie set-or as Gianna said 'a living instagram'. Lol! It was too funny. 

Gjusta has done an incredible job with their rustic decor and delectable food. 

We both ordered veggie sandwiches and hibiscus tea with baguettes and tapenade for later. 

I know that we'll be back-both for the market and the bakery!

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Second Wave (in two parts): Part II

Saturday 31 July 2015
Today we drove north up the PCH for Maddie to see the University of California at Santa Barbara.

It's only about a 2 hour drive from LA and the views are beautiful. We stopped in Malibu to load up on Starbucks. 

We also stopped at an In-n-Out, but Mad wasn't hungry, so we just used the bathroom. :P

Once we arrived in Santa Barbara, we headed right to the campus. Oh man!! It's BEAUTIFUL! Seriously. I was super kicking myself for not having gone there. Lol. It sit rights on the ocean and it's just glorious. There grounds are very nice and there are TONS of bike paths. They even have traffic circles for bikes. How cool!!

I was feeling kind of sad about it and was texting my cousin Manda about how I really messed up by not going to school there. She replied, "I wish I could have made a lot of my 17 year old decisions with a 30 year old mind". Lol. Touche. She always knows just the right thing to say to cheer me up. <3

From the campus, we headed to downtown Santa Barbara. I've driven through, but had never really stopped to explore. 

It's an adorable place with lots of Spanish influence. We wandered around on the streets and ducked into many of the boutique shops. 

We got delicious burgers back in a little courtyard and walked around some more before heading home to LA.

 Burger aftermath. I don't look pleased, but I was. :D
Sunday 1 August 2015
Is it really August already? How?! 

I picked Mad and Sherry up in the morning and we toured around my area a bit. I drove them over the canals in Venice, but they didn't have much interest in the famous boardwalk.

We decided to do the drive down to Long Beach and around the coast (this is a go-to for me if you can't tell ;)) to show them where I used to live. 

I miss Long Beach so much, so it's always nice to go there and I like to show it off. 

The drive was beautiful as almost always and we arrived in Long Beach just in time for dinner.

We hit up a very American/SoCal cafe called Simzys. It was another hit. :)

Playing hangman

And we, OF COURSE, had to get cupcakes for dessert

Monday 2 August 2015
Today is Sherry and Maddie's last day, so I was able to get out of work to go sightseeing with them in Hollywood.

As glamorous as it gets. ;)
We had a slow morning before I scooped them up to head to Hollywood for the TMZ tour! Haha! I've never done this tour, but Maddie watches the show sometimes and had some interest, so my Aunt graciously paid for us to go.

Maddie finally had her In-n-Out nearby on Sunset Blvd and it was a mad always. Funnily enough, this is the same In-n-Out where I brought Toni and Hannah.

Amazingly, it took us like 45 MINUTES to drive the ONE MILE up to where the tour was starting at the Hollywood and Highland mall. It was NUTS...even for LA. 

After a tense and stressful one mile car ride (lol...seriously. FORTY FIVE MINUTES!!), we arrived JUST in time for the tour and they were kind enough (Thank GOD) to let us use the bathroom first. I'm not sure I would have survived without that restroom break.

The tour was pretty fun and entertaining. I didn't see anything new, but I did learn some new stuff. We rode in a open air van around Hollywood, Sunset, and Beverly Hills. I enjoyed all the little celebrity tidbits. 

Our guide. She was a blast.

Some highlights...

I actually met my ex boyfriend Davide here. Haha!

Lol. I look thrilled. I think I was still recovering from the traffic.

The only celebrity we actually saw was Ben Stein (my Aunt Sherry spotted him first!) 

LOL. There he is!! The young girls sitting next to me had no idea who he was and I found myself referencing "Win Ben Stein's Money". Remember that?! I think they thought I was insane. Bueller? Bueller? Blank stare. 
After the tour, we walked and walked and walked for miles on Hollywood Blvd to see the Billy Joel star. Haha. But, we saw lots of others on the way and got a good taste for Hollywood (blech).

We headed back to Santa Monica and had dinner at the super California spot 'Blue Plate Taco'. I think this place is overhyped, but it was actually pretty yummy this time and you can't beat the views.

Fiesta at the Blue Plate
I think it was the perfect end to a California trip. I hope Sherry and Maddie had as much fun as I did with them. :)