Tag Archives: Fun

[Traveling Tales] The Surreal Scenery of Salvation Mountain + East Jesus

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Tucked away in a small sleepy corner of California just East of the Salton Sea sits not just one but two of the most beautifully bizarre man-made areas I’ve had the pleasure of visiting.  The stores and fables of Salvation Mountain and East Jesus have intrigued me ever since I moved to Los Angeles almost a decade ago, but it wasn’t until last weekend that I finally witnessed the oozing creativity for myself.  One second, you’re taking a dusty road off the beaten path, in what feels like the proverbial middle of nowhere: you’re off the grid and surrounded by a sweeping desert landscape of BLM land with scattered mountain ranges.  All of a sudden, you see it – and once found you absolutely can’t miss it: a brightly painted surreal scene that felt born of Dali and Dr Seuss.

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First created back in 1984, Salvation Mountain is an otherworldly artistic expression from area local Leonard Knight.  Recognized by the Folk Society of America as a “folk art site worth protection” back in 2000, the mountain itself is ever evolving – with volunteers flocking to the mountain the first Saturday of every month with their buckets of paint, ready to pour themselves into Leonard’s vision.  My personal favorite part?  There’s cats – eight of them, to be exact, and they’re so freaking adorable roaming the yellow brick road. Let your wanderlust carry you to the top of the mountain, and don’t forget to take in the vibrant colors that are dancing around you.  Saunter off to the right of the main hill, and you’ll find multiple nooks and chaotic crannies littered with bible verses, prayers, religious sentiment and offerings. All around the outskirts of the mountain are refurbished cars, embellished with impeccable detail and design.If you couldn’t get enough of Salvation Mountain, just you wait until you get into Slab City and East Jesus.

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The best way I can describe East Jesus: think of it as a retirement center for Burning Man art, and maybe even burners as well.  The area itself is so off the grid that one truly could create a year round community built on the ethos of Burning Man – and indeed, some have: Slab City itself is considered a sparse ‘snowbird’ community –  no running water, no food, no amenities – meaning residents are forced to be radically self reliant within it.  If it’s chaos, then it’s the most controlled version of chaos I’ve ever seen – there are blocks, addresses and streets, basic societal infrastructure…just without the rest of society. It really makes you think about the bare minimum you would need to be content, and how magically creative you could be as you create your own world.  Built on top of a Camp Dunlap, a de facto military base that was dismantled at the end of World War II, Slab City was named for the literal ‘slabs’ that were left over – using them to create their city.

Last, but certainly not least, my favorite part: East Jesus.  I’m pretty sure I could get lost inside their art garden and I’m 1000% alright with that.  The art inside is made completely from repurposed and upcycled materials.  Ever evolving and interactive, there’s treehouses to climb, outdoor bowling, the craziest sculptures built out of seriously who knows what, and so very much more.

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There’s not only something to look at around every corner, but something to make your head spin just a little bit, maybe even enough to spark a conversation with a stranger. Hands down, Slab City, Salvation Mountain and East Jesus are roadtrip destination worthy of being on everyone’s bucket list.

For more photos, head to my album here.

For more, head to their socials – or just plan your next visit!

East Jesus: WebsiteFacebook  | Instagram | Twitter  

Salvation Mountain: Website | Facebook

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[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] Can You Outwit The Escape Room?

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For the last four years, I’ve worked my job from home – which definitely has an equivalent amount of both perks and problems.  On the plus side, I can work from anywhere with a WiFi signal, or from home on my front yard in a bikini, or with my cats in the comfort of my apartment and my pajamas.  Conversely, some days I have almost no social contact and end up talking to the cashier at Trader Joe’s about our cats for twenty minutes because I JUST NEED HUMAN CONNECTION.  So when Disney tells me to come in for the day and do some team building exercises with the entire department, I jump at the opportunity and eat it up like hot cakes.  Well, at least 95% of the time.  We’ve done personality workshops and have volunteered with local shelters…but when I found out we would be doing an Escape Room – my heart skipped a beat or three.

Maybe it’s because I’ve seen the movie Saw too much (highly possible) or my anxiety was just running away with itself (equally possible), but my initial reaction included thinking “Hell to the no, how can I get out of it?!”  I don’t talk about it much, maybe even at all except to Danny and my family, but I get anxiety, and lots of it. Anxiety over small things, anxiety over big things, anxiety over past actions and future endeavors.  My mind is creative, vast, deep, imaginative – and it tends to run away with itself at times, like the Escape Room.  Being stuck in a room with hypothetically close quarters and people on other teams that I wasn’t as familiar with struck an anxious chord in my body that I couldn’t shake.  After some excellent convincing by teammates, friends and Danny – I put on my big girl pants and saddled up for the ride.

There are multiple variations of the Escape Room around Los Angeles like The Exit Game, The Basement  and Countdown Escape Room, each with their own tricks and treats. Some seem a tad more sinister or brooding than others, but the one we went to reminded me more of Da Vinci Code mixed with some CSI than anything else.  The  Escape Room in Downtown Los Angeles was a pleasant experience that I would actually do over, over and over again.  A mix of problem solving ingenuity and being able to think outside the box while trapped inside a box, the Escape Room was befit with four incredibly different rooms.  The Detective and The Theatre transport you back in time,  while The Cavern  and The Alchemist transport you to another place altogether.

As we descended into downtown Los Angeles, my nerves started getting the best of me – I’m incredibly thankful that I have solid friends that surround me that know how to calm me down.  Plus, you technically only have an hour to outwit the design – after that, you’re released from the room regardless!  As we separated into teams, I tried to translate my anxiety into excitement – because let’s face it, this was about to get fun. My team was assigned to The Alchemist, and once inside the room, I kind of went from 0 to 100 real quick – but in the best of all possible ways.  I think in patterns and have a keen ability to recognize them immediately, not to mention thanks to shows like Law and Order and CSI, I was always under the impression that I’d be a pretty kickass, problem solving detective and after kicking ass and taking names with my team – I actually have some foundation for that claim.  Each room contains hidden clues that need to be unlocked in succession, some of it is cryptography – some of it is ingenuity, but it’s all an amazing amount of brain power, team work and fun.  Though we didn’t get allll the way through, we were damn close – plus our room only had a 18% success rate. The Escape Room was the perfect ploy for team building in an extra special setting.  Games run $30 a participant during the week, and $35 on the weekends.


We weren’t allowed to take photos inside the rooms, so besides what was on the website -there aren’t any- plus, I don’t want to ruin it for anyone that might fancy a game! For more on the Escape Room LA, or to reserve a room for you and your squad – head to their website or socials:

Website | Book a Room | Yelp

[Make Your Own] Curtains and Drapes

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One of the many perks to moving is – if you’re willing – you cancompletely revamp your surroundings in a unique way with just a dash of DIY. At my old apartment, my plastic faux-shade curtains were deemed more of a nuisance than a necessity, so one morning as I meandered through the living room I decided to rip them off, one by one. Which caused a very obvious issue for those out there that enjoy sleeping in; because, let’s face it, you couldn’t. Because I was so close to moving out, we didn’t want to invest too much in anything for my windows so as a quick fix we took some tacks and a few flowing tapestries and voila – instashade. After I moved a few weeks ago, we decided to go “one deeper” and really get into crafting some curtains and I have to say, the end result is absolutely awesome. 20140408-165722.jpgNow, I’ve got to admit that I can’t take complete credit for the idea; back when I first moved to LA, my stepmom crafted a small divider to separate my living room from the bedroom…and I’ve loved it so damn much that found a place for it at each apartment since then.

It’s worked exceptionally well as a room divider, but I’ve also had it over my closet and in a walkway through my apartment; each and every way I tried it, I fell back in love with the idea.  So, when it came time to get down to brass tax about our new room curtains, I was all too game.  Ever since I ventured to Hawaii on my 18th birthday, I’ve had an affinity for sarongs and other light, flowing materials – so I’ve kept a small collection that I can now proudly display with a delightful glimmer of sunlight behind them.

You can make this as simple or as complicated as you want; for more options than you needed – just hop over to your local JoAnne’s Fabrics and they’ll have literally any and every pattern you could think of.  Last time I checked, they also had drape clips, but if not head over to the home section of a WalMart or Target and you’ll find them; most likely right next to the curtain rods.

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At lunch today, I found myself completely lost and dancing by myself to the new mix from Aeroplane; it just sounds like Summer is enveloping your ears – so good!

 

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Window Rods and Drape Clips, so necessary!

 

 

Supplies

4+ x Festive and Flowing Fabric; and enough fabric per piece to cover the length of the window

– Tension Rod or Window Rod (measure your space!)

– 2-3 packs of Drape Clip Rings (7 a pack), or roughly 20 clips

I’d give out instructions for this one, but let’s face it – totally straight forward once the thought’s in your head, isn’t it? Here’s the end results from my new room – I’m absolutely in love!

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Regardless of your current projects, I totally encourage you to get up, get out and get your DIY on – it’s a beautiful day for creativity.