[Oh, Snap] A Quiet Corvallis Morning

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods

In Los Angeles, and essentially anywhere in California, we’re subjected to a go-go-go mentality intermixed with a fast paced lifestyle. Sometimes it doesn’t even feel like we can fit a whole 24 hours in the day – zipping around from task to task, our heads are in the air and our feet rarely touch the ground; how many times have you wished for an extra minute here and there to smell the roses, or for the scenic way home.

Instead, we rush from one frame of mind to the next, often never even delving into our innermost complexities and questions in order to meet some imagined deadline.  We hurry in hushed tones, seeking approval before self acceptance, forgetting to kindle our inner fire before choosing to passionately  ignite the world around us.  Too often, we’re required to put ourselves last – to place our universe on life’s back burner while living up to standards we never agreed to, yet can’t avoid trying to live up to.

At those times, we need to let the world around us dissolve as we turn inwards to our hopes and dreams, wishes and desires. The external world doesn’t understand your emotional richness or personal passions; instead, we’re erroneously adhering to an apathetic formula where money and time are interlaced. The tangibility of having is deemed better than the effortlessness of giving and somehow,  presents have become more meaningful than presence.  With heightened access to social media, our haves become have-nots as we compare to contrast, stacking ourselves against the world in continued contempt.

Every once in a while, we need to be released from the societal shackles that made us believe we continually have more to prove to the universe and instead focus on what we can give to ourselves. The bustling and hustling of everyday life doesn’t allow us to fully marinate within the moment, allowing a full undulating understanding of our personal growth and maturation. Take a step back and see yourself from a birds eye view, sink into the full weight of a second, take it slowly and then take it twice.  It’s only within quiet moments of meditation that we’re able to truly evolve.

I’ve only been in Oregon for less than 36 hours but I already feel my muscles limbering from the top of my crown to the tips of my toes.  I’ve been awakened, reinvigorated, ready to take on the world while fanning my own flames. I feel myself growing, evolving, understanding my minutiae contrasted with the novel nuances in emotion.  In stark difference, of how I live in Los Angeles it’s quiet life, life surrounded by the whimsical wilderness of nature and the breathtaking beauty of Oregon’s lush landscape.  It’s simpler here, slower, calming and all sorts of cathartic. The weather has been blissfully blustery with a sprinkling of sunshine almost unprecedented here this time of year.  It’s a paradigm shift, and I’m curiously caught in mid-swing.




  

 

[Oh, Snap!] Street Art v20: Adventures Through Downtown LA

When I moved to Eagle Rock almost a year ago, I knew that I’d be leaving behind a few things – some of which I’d miss more than others.  I definitely wasn’t going to miss the general lack of parking in the area or the amount of rush hour traffic you can get stuck in trying to drive three miles; but on the flip side, there was my proximity to West Hollywood, which brought with it a ridiculous amount of shopping and a menagerie of awesome restaurants, the amazing hipster watching at the Melrose Trading Post and last but certainly not least: the fact that my backyard was essentially the Melrose + Fairfax district, a mecca of the underground arts community that’s rarely spoken of. Sure, the area boasts a good amount of shopping – but in this case, aimed at ballers on a budget like myself and full of fresh street fashion, mirroring the often mind blowing and socially conscious graffiti that ebbed and flowed around their walls.

Once I was relieved of my bubble, I realized that though my area was overflowing with culture and art – so was every other area of LA!  Now that I’ve lived here for almost seven years, and in several different parts of the city – I’ve experienced so many unique pockets of creativity that I’ve realized they must be hidden in every nook and cranny here.  Out further West in Venice, Street Art runs rampant and it’s heavily strewn through Silver Lake and Echo Park all the way into the Arts District of downtown.  The following pictures were collected over the last few months while gallivanting through downtown on urban safaris with my partner in crime; enjoy!

[LA Love] The Last Bookstore is the Only Bookstore You Need

Photo by Daniel Leist Photography

Photo by Daniel Leist Photography

Though we haven’t yet fine tuned the ability to time travel, thanks to the power of the written word it’s possible to walk into a room and simultaneously transport yourself in a thousand different directions spanning the course of several millennium, in irrational, fantastical ways.  Where science boldly says no, literature proudly asks ‘Why Not’ in a thousand shades of possibility.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve proudly ebbed and flowed through my bookshelf with new eyes and an open mind – there’s no topic to small to ponder and no question to big to tackle; but often that leaves me holding seven books, wishing I had six extra sets of eyes so I could read all of them at once.

After seven years in Los Angeles, it’s easy to believe that you’ve seen it all – but let me tell you, in a city of bewilderment, wonder and constant creation – there’s always something hiding just around the corner, waiting to make your day; which is precisely the case with The Last Bookstore.   An exciting hodge podge of new and loved books and records that shop frequenters can buy, sell and trade – the Last Bookstore the largest independent bookstore in the world, and  simply the only bookstore you’ll ever need in your life.  Considering w shops like Borders and Barnes & Nobles falling by the wayside, this very well might be the last bookstore we have left in LA.

Located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles’ Financial District, The Last Bookstore is much more than home to thousand upon thousands of stories, dreams, diatribes, poems, whimsical words and resilient reads.  The first story is a beautiful open air bookstore, with loads of literature for every type of reader, and high vaulted ceilings with a view into the shops of the Springs Arts Collective, with their unique creations peaking out for the world to see.  As you walk up the steps into the second floor, you’re whisked away in the same sort of wanderlust I lose myself in while reading.  Instead of noticing things in a sequential order as I ascended into the Labyrinth, they were all thrust upon my brain in simultaneous artistic attack.  Books were suspended in mid-flight, exploding every which direction to the delight of everyone around. Incredible sculptures crafted from books adorned the walls and aisles, while the floor was lined with contemporary galleries and art shops.

Photos by Daniel Leist Photography

Photo by Daniel Leist Photography

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Two of my personal favorites were from David LoveJoy  (above) – a contemporary designer who forges unique, otherworldly designs, gadgets and gizmos – and the FOLD Gallery (below), the niche boutique brainchild of Jena Priebe. The third Thursday of the month marks Downtown LA’s Art Walk, and The Last Bookstore and Labyrinth gallery are definitely a hipster hot spot; but would you expect any less?

Additional Pics: Daniel Leist Photography

For more on The Last Bookstore, David Lovejoy’s art or the FOLD Gallery, head to their socials –

The Last Bookstore: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

David Lovejoy | #LoveJoyArt: Website | Facebook

Jena Priebe | FOLD Gallery: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

[Oh, Snap!] Eagle Rockin’ and Eagle Walkin’ v7

So far this year I’ve learned that if you’re on the West Coast you should literally pay no mind to Punxsutawney Phil; he might know a thing or two about weather on the East Coast but when it comes to us, just consider him Jon Snow: he knows nothing.  For the past few weeks, Danny and I have been on a determined fitness kick. With festival season right around the corner and the wicked terrain of Lightning in a Bottle heading our way in almost T-3 months, we’re planning on kicking our own asses, taking some names and making our bodies into lean, mean, workout machines. A few weeks back, I snagged a sweet crystal ball off of Amazon and we’ve been having a ball (pun) snapping pictures using it. We’ve even managed to discover a few new walking trails around our apartment. Enjoy our journey!


 

[Oh, Snap] Sunday Funday at Thousand Steps Beach

The tides are in our veins.

Photo by Daniel Leist

Calming and cathartic, the ocean beckons with a quiet roar masked as a whisper – cascading from shore to shore in enigmatic harmony. Growing up in the Bay Area, only a hop, skip and a jump from local beaches like San Gregorio, Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz and Capitola, and spending a good amount of my childhood on the Oregon coast – I have a plethora of fond memories building sand castles and feeding s

ea gulls while unearthing sea glass and haphazardly discovering beautiful raw stones.  And even though I spent my collegiate years right on the beach in Santa Barbara, I could’ve spent a lot more time actually at the beach. So whenever I get the chance to finally hit one up, the five year old trapped in this 6’0 body gets butterflies in her stomach and stars of excitement in her eyes.

Photo by Daniel Leist

Life, as they say, is what happens while you’re making other plans and the other weekend was no different.  After a haphazard morning leaving Los Angeles, timing had proven tumultuous and schedules had shifted. Thankfully, it was a beautiful day and there’s nothing quite like hitting the road with some good jams and great friends. Soaking in the wonderful weather over Valentine’s Day weekend, a great few days filled with lots of love and great company, my wanderlust waved me over to Laguna Beach’s Thousand Steps Beach. Located just off of the Pacific Coast Highway, tucked away between two bluffs – Thousand Steps Beach is a gem among beaches with loads of soft sand, caves to explore and loads of blissfully breaking waves for hydrophilic humans.  Though it’s not technically a thousand steps to get down to the beach, there are definitely enough to warrant a lazy afternoon soaking up some rays.

Photo by Daniel Leist

We couldn’t leave before Sunset on the beach and as we thought, it was absolutely stunning. Sprinting out to the water to snap a picture, my body tangled in itself and the necklace I was wearing broke and my pendant, a beautiful little piece of Amethyst that I got at the Gem Fair in Tucson,  tumbled through my sweatshirt and plunged into the current.  I watched three or four waves swoop, swish and rearrange the stone and instinctively thrust my hand into the water. Miraculously, I saved it – and it hasn’t left my neck since.  This was almost two weeks ago and I’m still finding grains of sand on it!Last, but certainly not least – as the sun went down, the creativity heated up and we tried our hands on some light painting.  Danny took hold of the wand, our friend All Day Jimmy was behind the camera – and the result: magic!

What’s your favorite beach to soak up the sunshine? Let me know in the comments below!

[Oh, Snap!] Exploring The Eagle Rock / Glenoaks Canyon Trail

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In my never ending quest to take in all the nature I possibly can in Los Angeles, the idea of finding lush, green pastures and wind swept trees locally has more often than not escaped me. When I was living in Korea Town and West Hollywood, I was easily and habitually reminded of the close proximity of the heart of the city. I could feel the pulse of the streets and yearned to be closer to nature. So, thank goodness I moved out to Eagle Rock – there’s all the amenities of West Side living but paired with the lackadaisical but passionate work ethic of the modern Renaissance person, advocating equal time for work and play. Instead of being engulfed by the traffic and smog of the city, I’m constantly in awe of the natural beauty that surrounds this area.

For Valentine’s Day weekend, Danny and I had a few friends stay with us and we got to explore a whole new side of the neighborhood. Just over the freeway, where the 2 and 134 meet, there’s a wonderful little trail right on Sleepy Hollow Lane, oh and also – most adorable street name ever. We walked a few miles while the blazing succulent sun-rays rained down on us and I couldn’t think of a more beautiful way to spend my Friday afternoon. What’s even better, is this is just 5 minutes away and boasts a view of Big Bear, Orange County’s Saddleback Mountain, Downtown LA, Santa Monica and the Pacific Ocean.

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