Category Archives: Bucket List

[LA Life] Getting Artsy at ARTIC

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“Time goes faster the more hollow it is.
Lives with no meaning go straight past you,
like trains that don’t stop at your station.”
Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

One of my favorite things about photography is the belief that each and every one of us views the world through their own technicolor lens. We all see different shades of beauty in the world, and photography gives a keen insight into the way that each person’s visual interpretations can differ.

To say that I have an obsession with beautifully unique architecture and lavish locations is a bit of an understatement.  My wanderlust propels me to constantly explore, adventure and discover each and every corner of the world, but mostly – my own backyard of Southern California. Boasting a beautiful menagerie of natural settings, from the diamond blue oceans of the Pacific to the snow-capped mountains, fields of flowers and the deserts between, California’s got a little bit of everything for every type of nature lover. So, when I tell you that for the past year I’ve been itching to go take pictures of a Transit station, you might not get it – until you see for yourself. Ever since Instagram introduced their geotagging feature a few years ago, I’ve been building, developing and adding to an epically long list of places I want to frolick around like a little fairy, or at the very least photographically capture them to my heart’s desire. And one of the very first places on that list was ARTIC, otherwise known as the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center.

Located part way between Angel’s Stadium and the Honda Center, ARTIC was unveiled to the public in December of 2014. Depending on who you ask it’s, the venue itself is either $188 Million Dollar drain, or a photographer’s wet dream with great lighting, lots of color, loads of reflections and a whole lot of symmetry. Since I don’t live in Anaheim, I’ll go with the later – but after visiting, I definitely understand the former as well.

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Even though I’d permanent markered ARTIC into a list of epic, must-shoot places, it was purely a beautiful coincidence that I happened across it.  Just the other weekend, I was down in Anaheim with Danny to handle some family business.  We were getting a bit famished and my craving for happy hour oysters had set our hungry kitty sights on Oyster Bar SKC.  As we pulled into our parking spot, the technicolor haze of lights inside ARTIC danced across the sky and I felt like a little kid that just got to the amusement park.  Words spilled out of my mouth as I bubbled over with excitement as we walked between the Palm Trees, underneath ARTIC’s rainbow ceiling, and into a technicolor daydream.

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Come for the pictures, stay for the oysters. Currently, there are plans to build a Pinkberry on the first floor of ARTIC – but until then, the one tried and true food favorite is the Oyster Bar SKC which boasts $1 oysters during happy hour, half-off appetizers and beer as well as some of the most delicious drinks I’ve had in recent months.If you’re a fan of the venue but don’t live nearby, you’re in luck because Oyster Bar SKC is opening a second location down in sunny San Diego, with a third in the works just around the corner from Los Angeles in Pasadena. Though there aren’t very many reasons to visit ARTIC, there are definitely a few – catch a baseball game at Angels’ Stadium or catch a concert at the Honda Center, Chapman University and Disneyland are also just a little jaunt away.

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For more on ARTIC, head to their socials, browse through my favorite photos – or just jump on the local transit lie and take a little trip – I promise you, it’s so worth it.

ARTIC on Instagram

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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First and Last Photos by Daniel Leist Photography

[LA Life] Get Lit at the Descanso Gardens This Holiday Season

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I’ve been known to gush about the plethora of wonderful parks, gardens and green areas in Los Angeles – so when I found out that the Descanso Gardens was hosting an illuminated evening befit with lights from every direction – I was all ears and eyes.  In tandem with the LA Zoo Lights event, the fabled Descanso Gardens in Altadena is joining in the fun – creating their own Enchanted Forest for the holiday season.  During the day, the sprawling landscape of Descanso consists of a Lilac Garden, a Japanese Garden, California Natives and a sprawling 5 acre rose garden – and at night  for the next four weeks, it’s transformed into a whimsical wonderland with expertly curated and interactive exhibits.

 

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Daytime at Descanso

Technically, hypothetically – it’s helpful if you and your crew acquire your tickets ahead of time but I’ve discovered that anything is possible the day of, especially if you put your mind to it.  If you’re into planning, tickets for the Enchante Forest can be purchased either online or in person at the Descanso Gardens during normal operating hours. Tickets for the Enchanted Forest event run about$30 for weekends through their official website, but I found a discount link through a company called Goldstar for only $21 for as long as tickets last.  Each ticket is timed to a specific entry time, and you’re allowed to enter at any point after and stay until close at 10pm.

Purchase Tickets to Enchanted Forest

As a warning, it gets packed – not to the brim, but you should know that to get in, there’s only one line; it moves fast, but it gets pretty lengthy by the end of the night. There are several bars inside that give generous pours, and some snacks and winteresque drinks like apple cider and hot chocolate.  Perfect for a date night, family night or just a night out on the town with friends getting a dose of something a little different in their lives.

For more on the Enchanted Forest + Descanso Gardens, head to their social media channels:

Facebook | Website | Instagram | Yelp

1418 Descanso Dr

 La Canada Flintridge, CA

 

 

 

[LA Life] Gallivant Through The Gardens of the Getty Villa

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Getty Villa

The weekends are made for reveling and laxing; for shedding that thick skin you buiilt up throughout the week and letting your soul shine through in diamond delight for 48 hours. For those of us out on the North East side of Los Angeles, it’s also that one time a week that we’ll leave our pocket of the city and venture to Hollywood, Downtown, Long Beach, Malibu – little slices of our near and distant bubbles of life that feel like another planet entirely.

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Built as an homage to the Herculaneum’s Villa of the Papyri, the gallery was curated back in 1954 and opened to the public in the 70’s. Back a several years ago, I took my first trip out west to the stunning Greek Inspired Getty Villa and marinated in the Greco Egyptian and Greco Roman artifacts and treasures.  This time felt different. As we entered, we lingered in the gardens, lapping up the luxurious landscapping and gorgeous greenery each corner of the Villa had to offer.

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The Getty Villa is open from 10am to 5pm, Monday through Wednesday and parking is $15 before 3pm and $10 after. Good news is that tickets to get in are $Free.99, you’ll just need to reserve your spot online to get in; you can plan ahead, or just get tickets the day of.  The food options, which admittedly aren’t why you come to a museum, are nominal but delicious – and the wine and beer selection makes for excellent Sunday Funday material.

For more on the Getty Villa, visit their socials – or just plan a visit!

Website | Yelp | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tickets

 

 

[Oh, Snap] Gallivanting Through Crissy Field and Over the Golden Gate Bridge

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For the last week of 2014, my wanderlust swept me away from the City of Angels and up to my favorite City by the Bay – San Francisco.  Even though I was born and raised in the Silicon Valley, now that my father lives in the heart of the city I spend a significant proportion of my time gallivanting around neighborhoods in search of epic street art, beautiful scenery and the unique architecture of the city.

Typically, my parents are my road dogs while I roam but this time, Danny and I enlisted a few of our LA favorites to explore with us.  Due to weather issues (typical) and unexpected detours (also, typical) over my last few trips, we never managed to make it down to Golden Gate Park, and I’ve kinda been begging, pleading – maybe even whining – to be dwarfed by the awe inspiring Golden Gate Bridge.  As we descended on the city after a hearty (and delicious) brunch at the Butler and the Chef, my friends asked around to see where we wanted to go; after squeaking ‘Golden Gate Park’ from the back seat, my friends smiled in agreement.  In sync, we took a sip of our roadies while rolling down the windows, the slow backbeat of a moody rock song filled the car while the engine purred in response.  Adventure was calling, and we were ready to answer.

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How lucky were we that the last day of the year also turned out to be a beautiful one? A quick storm from Canada trampled it’s way through California earlier in the week.  Though it left the city windy and cold our first night, paved the way for radiant blue skies dotted randomly with assorted fluffy clouds.  First on the list – Crissy Field.  Originally build as a US Airfield, Crissy Field has since been repurposed into one of the best natural spaces in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is often considered the Golden-gateway, or proverbial front door, to the Presidio.

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Slowly but surely, we made our sundrenched way through the winding paths and up through the Battery Trail to a great viewpoint of the Golden Gate Bridge.

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One thing I’ve always stood by is that you never know where the limits of your comfort zone are if you refuse to push them.  So, on Wednesday – I decided to conquer my tried and true fear of heights (known as acrophobia) and walk the Golden Gate Bridge.

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What are you determined to accomplish this year?

Shout out your resolutions in the comments below and let’s conquer them together!

[Oh, Snap] Celebrating the Elements of Winter Solstice in Big Bear

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Perpetually enraptured by the bright lights, booming sounds and the effervescent buzz of humanity within the heart of a giant metropolis like Los Angeles, or San Francisco where I was raised, I’m constantly dazzled, delighted by and devouring each and every detail of my surroundings like a fine wine.  With a step-mother from the North East and a father from Oregon, every now and again they’d toss in a dash of Corvallis countryside, assorted camping trips with my pre-school, some hikes here and there and some family vacations in locations I now wish I could’ve appreciated in their entirety. Almost two decades ago when I was a wee 5th Grader (…at 5’10″…), I accompanied by my Grandmother to an ‘Elderhostel’ in Mount Denali, Alaska over the Summer Solstice.  Sure, I knew that it was the day of the year with the least amount of darkness – but had I understood then what I know now about the solstice, changing of the seasons, position of the stars and angles of the planets, I would’ve had a much deeper, greater appreciation for mother nature and all of it’s offerings.IMG_5202

Yesterday at 3:03 PM Pacific Time, Winter Solstice hit the West Coast – wondrous, wild and incredibly elemental.  Contrary to (my…) popular belief, Solstice doesn’t imply that the sun is setting at it’s earliest for the year – in fact, due to discrepancies between our modern Gregorian calendar and the actual cycle of planets, the majority of the Northern Hemisphere delights in the earliest sunset a few days before and the latest sunrise a few days after Winter Solstice occurs. But, what it does mean is that we’re getting the least amount of sunlight (conversely, the lengthiest amount of darkness) of the whole year as the Sun reaches it’s lowest vertex – around -23.5°.  Often referred to as Yule, December Solstice and the first day of Winter, the Winter Solstice ushers in the new moon in Capricorn.

Be it my love of a man befit for the mountains, a rapidly growing disdain for the ‘fast life’ or my commitment to adventuring through a healthy proportion of our countries National Park system – but I’ve been on a mission to conquer at least one new park a month, if not more.  Our friend’s adorable puppy was having his 3rd (or, 21st) birthday depending on how you look at those types of things and he invited us to tag along up to Big Bear.  As someone who can count the number of times they’ve seen snow fall on one hand – I couldn’t help but squee with glee. We were heading up Sunday and after a few quick calculations, I realized that I’d be truly in the elements for Winter Solstice.  I’ve never skied, gone snowboarding and definitely don’t own many snow appropriate pieces of clothing – but how could I pass up a chance to really welcome Winter and celebrate the Winter Solstice? Of course we were in!

If you’re heading up to Big Bear for the weekend, I vote you check out Air BnB for some gorgeous one night rentals; but if you’re going up for the day, like we did, meet up with your friends in the Stater Brothers parking lot before you head into Redlands.  It’s right between the 38 and the 330, so you can mash the whole mountain – plus, you should probably stock up on some power bars, water, whiskey (don’t forget the whiskey, and a flask…), fruit roll-ups and any other crucial snackables you might want as you gallivant throughout the mountains.   We started at at the Thurman Flats Picnic Area, but seeing as the snow is incredibly frozen – there wasn’t much runoff at the moment.  So, we slowly wound around the mountain – first hitting the Forest Falls Waterfalls which was a beautiful hike off the beaten trail.

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After reviewing the tread on the bottoms of our shoes (aka there wasn’t any), we decided to rent some snow shoes (knock that one off my life bucket list!) and head up to Green Valley Lake. It was definitely a hike, but so worth it. Nature fueled, wonder filled – as I looked into the vast, white beyond I felt humbled and happy, elated and insignificant.

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I absolutely loved spending Winter Solstice fully immersed by Winter: ice, snow, snowmen, children scream laughing while their parents threw snow balls. Not only that, but the drive was gorgeous and the sunset – doubly so.

How to you celebrate the changing of the seasons?

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[Self Discovery] 31 Before 31: A New Year – A New Bucket List

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Fresh off of my birthday weekend, I’m coming into 30 with a brand new outlook on life, a zest for exploring, a lust for learning and an eye for adventure. 29 was an amazing journey, and I’m absolutely blessed that I’ve passionately forged a new path for myself, even if it was taking the road less traveled.  My wanderlust took me around the Greater West Coast – from Utah, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and up to my first trip to Canada.  I have an ETSY store for my chromotherapy candles and I’m going into the New Year with a fiance in tow and a wedding to plan. Some things are slightly inevitable and others, anything but – either way, I’m excited to tackle some new endeavors and inspired to catalog the journeys.

Looking back at the past year, I almost spent so much time lamenting, stressing and bemoaning that I was turning Thirty that could’ve very well not enjoyed the last year of my 20’s [Spoiler Alert: Don’t worry, it was very much enjoyed].  But, it brought me to an excellent realization the night of my birthday party: any time we’re spending being anxious or worried is time that we’re not spending in the present moment. To fully breathe, live and laugh in the now – you need to lose any and all ties to the past, the ego and your preconceptions of the path you’re walking.  And remember, if you don’t choose to push the boundaries of your comfort zone – how exactly can you be sure where they are?

  1. Finish 25 Books
    1. The Beginners Guide to Constructing The Universe by Michael S. Schneider
    2. Vibrational Healing Through the Chakras by Joy Gardner
    3. The Agile Gene by Matt Ridley
    4. The Joyous Cosmology by Alan Watts
    5. You Are Here by Thích Nhất Hạnh
    6. The Tao of Pooh
  2. Make Potstickers
  3. Get Published in The Huffington Post
    1. Step One: Got Danny’s photos and a Nod to The DJ List! Next Up: my own article!
  4. Freelance PR
  5. Visit the East Coast
  6. Learn how to ride a Bike
  7. Sing Karaoke For a Crowd
  8. Get a New Tattoo
  9. Shoot a Gun
  10. Learn French
  11. Plan a Wedding
  12. Run a 5K
  13. See the Grand Canyon
  14. Learn to Hula Hoop
  15. Make Your Own Sushi Night
  16. Walk the Golden Gate Bridge
  17. Go Camping at Joshua Tree
  18. Buy a Stranger’s Meal
  19. Launch a Lifestyle + Music Blog for Southern California
  20. March in a Protest
  21. Watch a Meteor Shower
  22. Host a Weekend Getaway
  23. Crochet a Blanket
  24. Find a New Hike Every Month
    1. December: The Los Angeles Arboretum | Big Bear | Crissy Park
    2. January: UC Botanical Garden
    3. February: Glenoaks Canyon
    4. March: Desert Hearts @ Los Coyotes Indian Campground
    5. April: Coachella, Indio
    6. May: Lightning in a Bottle, San Antonio Recreation Area
    7. July: Woogie Weekend, Irvine Lake
    8. August: Multnomah Falls, Oregon
    9. September: Big Bear
    10. October: Big Sur, California
    11. November: Stanford Arboretum + Arizona Cactus Garden
    12. December: LA Zoo Nights
  25. Have a Craft Stand at a Local Flea Market / Farmer’s Market
  26. Use a Sewing Machine
  27. Build a Website From Scratch
  28. Write a Short Story
  29. Learn the Piano
  30. Create a Coffee Table Photo Book
  31. Make Incense

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[Oh, Snap!] A Beautiful Day Off at The LA Arboretum

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One benefit of completing less than half of my Thirty Before Thirty Bucket List is that I already have a substantial start on my list for my 31st Birthday next year. Even though I’ve kicked myself a bit on the things that were left half undone or completely neglected, admittedly I’m equally impressed with the caliber of quests I’ve accomplished. Between becoming quite a kitchen kitten with my pickles and olive oils, crafting candles, learning to use a DSLR, and covering both National and Internationally renowned music festivals – I’ve knocked a few pegs off my list and I’m itching to add more. One that I’m excited to continue into the New Year is my Resolution on hiking a new botanical garden, historic park, museum or arboretum to visit. With a ridiculously fun birthday weekend on tap, I planned ahead and took today (the day after my actual birthday) off of work to celebrate, relax and rejoice in whatever personal what I felt. So, Danny and I descended on a lovely day-venture at the Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia.

The very first thing I noticed were just how many peacocks were roaming the area – and hummingbirds, butterflies, bunny rabbits and assorted wildlife. We had a wonderful time gallivanting through the African and Australian Outbacks, wistfully wandering around waterfalls and stealing every stunning view we could.

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The most staggering thing for me were those multiple moments where I’d lost all sense of location, time and place; for all I knew, I was in Northern California or Utah, Arizona or Washington.  For a second, I was transported out of the tug-of-war of Los Angeles traffic and personalities and delicately displaced into acres upon acres of lush rolling grass, rose gardens, carnivorous gardens, greenhouses, succulents and my personal favorite – the bamboo groves.

For more on the LA Arboretum, check out their website, Facebook or Twitter – or if you happen to live in the Southern California area or are plotting a visit, just store the GPS Info in your phone like, now. Fun fact: on the Third Tuesday of every month, admission is free!