[Oh, Snap!] A Morning at The Griffith Park Observatory and Planetarium

There’s nothing quite as wonderful as when parents come cruising into town – work and reality take a back seat to family time, heart conversation and big laughs; the world slows to an even keel and all seems relatively right with the world. After spending last Saturday roaming around The Huntington Gardens, it was only fitting that we continue our conquest of Los Angeles – one beautiful park at a time. Danny and I’ve been to Griffith Park several times before – to hike on the trails both above and below the observatory, as well as adventure through the surrounding woods but last time was our first adventure inside the observatory itself.

Science buffs, technophiles and camera lovers be warned – it’s all sorts of amazing in there! From the elemental building blocks of science
(highlighted: are all the elements in the human body), to amazing telescopes and celestial discoveries, there really is something for every level of scientist.

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[Trekking Tales] Griffith Park Observatory


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As the month progresses, I’ve begun to realize that there’s a deeper motive hidden under my menagerie of miniature resolutions.  I fully believe that to evolve, to become a better version of yourself, there are baby steps that need to be taken and in a way each an every one the thirty items on that list are an investment in my future and the person I want to be.  Lingering somewhere between lofty goals and simple practicalities are life hacks that double as cost saving methods, building blocks for future endeavors and last, but certainly not least, there’s the mental and physical gymnastics of it all.  Admittedly, I miss school – not the tests or homework mind you, but the sense of community and the push for personal growth in all endeavors.  Travel, reading, hikes, meditation, crocheting; all of these endeavors are inspiring me to expand who I am at my core and what I’m capable of. By crafting unique infused olive oils, pickling vegetables and manufacturing my own basic salad dressings – I’m not only saving loads by reducing the amount of pre-processed foods I purchase, plus it’s an immensely fun, delicious alternative.  The books on my nightstand have been gleefully riffled through more than once, my yoga poses are getting stronger by the week and through hiking I’ve had the chance to explore the urban jungles that my city has to offer.

With my affinity for activity, a penchant for photography and a need to be in the great outdoors, it’s absolutely no wonder that hiking has also etched its way into my heart. Back when I moved to Los Angeles, I viewed the city as concrete jungle that desperately needed repaving, but after five years of exploring the city I can attest to the contrary.  Between Will Rogers Memorial Park, Runyon Canyon, the Pasadena Hills, the Old LA Zoo and Griffith Park – the city is literally teaming with all sorts of fun urban safaris that don’t shy away from importing a little bit of nature into the city.   Plus, what better way to get intimate knowledge on your city than diving into it headfirst?  I’ve never considered myself much of a hiker, but we all have to start somewhere I suppose.  Two years ago, I didn’t consider myself a runner, either.  But life tends to throw me curve balls, and I’m proud to say that I’ve adapted quite nicely.

When my GTI gave out in ’12, I “lost my ride to the gym“.  For the first three days, I was frustrated but on the fourth, I had a mental breakthrough: why am I driving to the gym just to run on a treadmill?  Immediately, my iPod playlist was updated and I whisked myself out the door before I had the opportunity to give it a second thought. I came back exhausted, dripping in sweat (which, by the by, is rare), out of breath, slightly dehydrated – and the happiest I’d been in months.  As a former competitive athlete, my body literally craves that sweet rush of fresh air (not to mention, endorphins) that the great outdoors can provide – about ten minutes in, this grin starts creeping up through the corners of my mouth, working its way towards dropping my chin and brightening my eyes. And then I remembered what it’s all about – working out makes me a passionate creature without worries or anxieties; not only does physical activity help me be the best version of myself, but it completely plays into loving myself, too. 

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Part of my new years resolution was to find a new hike every month and I love that it’s pushing me to explore more of Los Angeles.  The first hike of the new year was Griffith and personally, I’m sort of having a love affair with it.  One of the best things about hiking at Griffith Park is the ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ aspect of the exercise. I’ve gone about four or five times over the last month an each time, I explored a new and completely different part of the park – terrain and view wise.  Plus, there’s the Observatory – which means I also get to flex my nerd muscles a bit.  

As you walk around the outside of the observatory, you’ll notice some curved lines: these lines represent planetary orbits and equinoxes.  The park is open from sunrise through sunset, and I highly recommend making it for one, if not both of them.  Though you don’t have the same view of the Pacific that you get from Runyon, if you’re there during the magic hour you’ll get to watch downtown slowly light up the city skyline; you can also clearly see the Hollywood sign, Runyon and Santa Monica.  

There are multiple levels and types of terrain for hiking on, the Berlin Forrest is one of the more wooded areas where the hikes by the Observatory tend to be on gravel.  This area is rich with picnic benches and perfect for some lowkey stretches, or even some lowkey laziness 😉

The view of downtown is absolutely unreal; especially when the city is shrouded in haze.

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[Self-Discovery] My ’30 Before 30′ Bucket List

Ever since I turned 29 in December, my head’s been swimming with ways to make the last year of my 20’s a fabulous one.  I woke up with the urge to challenge my personal growth last week, and I realized that a ’30 before 30′ bucket list was the perfect way to approach the big 2-9. Sure, maybe it’s a little late and overly ambitious to accomplish 30 things in about 48 weeks, but I’ve always been a better performer under pressure and after the ‘7 Life Resolutions‘ I started living by last year, I know I’m up for the challenge.  While compiling this list, I’ve had a handful of ah-ha moments and tiny epiphanies – the first being this: personal goals shouldn’t be tied to anyone else’s existence.   Instead, these goals should further your sense of self and individual happiness.  After all – how can you successfully contribute to your community, or to a relationship, if you haven’t proven that you can contribute to your own growth?  And on the flip-side, don’t believe that growth is a unidirectional endeavor; growth is perpetually infinite and occurs in 360°. In the years after college, there was such a rush to pursue a corporate career that the idea of evolving creatively, or in the kitchen, or spiritually, had fallen by the wayside.  Like my parents always said when I was a kid – there’s simply no way to do everything,  but like I’ve always believed, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.  I can’t wait to incorporating these milestones into my year and become the best version of myself; I know my spirit, my mind and my body will grow in ways I never thought possible.

  1. Read sheet music
  2. Make potstickers
  3. Travel outside of the US
  4. Get published in the Huffington Post
  5. Learn how to ride a bicyclemadewithOver (2)
  6. Get a new tattoo
  7. Pickle my own vegetables
  8. See the Grand Canyon (Saw Zion + Bryce, though!
  9. Have a ‘make-your-own-sushi’ date night
  10. Walk the Golden Gate Bridge
  11. Maintain + use an herb garden
  12. Develop a dedicated Yoga + Meditation Practice
  13. Read at least a book a month
  14. Go camping under the stars
  15. Learn French
  16. Buy a stranger’s meal
  17. Cancel Cable for a Month
  18. Shoot a Gun
  19. Organize my iTunes Library
  20. Do the splits
  21. Watch a Meteor Shower
  22. Host a dinner party
  23. Make Candles
  24. Crochet a blanket
  25. Road Trip to Oregon
  26. Find the perfect shade of lipstick
  27. Visit every museum in LA
  28. Be an extra in a Movie / TV Show
  29. Learn to use a DSLR Camera
  30. Find new hikes