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

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.



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




[Oh, Snap] Illuminating the Night with the LA Zoo Lights

When it comes to holiday lights, I’ll be the first to admit that my perception is a bit jaded by my frequent festival .  Whether it was my first experience at Electric Daisy Carnival way back in 2006 when it was still a one day event in San Bernadino, or my last in 2011 when Tiesto tore the sky open and caused the stars to rain down for what felt like an eternity – the dance music circuit and music festivals have almost spoiled the fun of holiday lights, but get one thing straight – I’m not complaining.  I’ve lived in Los Angeles since 2008 and finally – after almost eight years, i got the light show that I’ve been waiting for.

Hosted in conjunction with the Paramount Studios, Cirque du Soleil and Stella Artois, the LA Zoo Lights breathes electric nightlife into the stunning landscape of the LA Zoo and Botanical Gardens. With the real animals in sweet, deep slumber – the true wildlife comes out to play including an electric forest, musical flamingos, technicolor elephants, upcycled singing frogs crafted out of old water bottles, a stunning water-laser show, and so much more.

Upon entrance, you’re greeted by an array of wily monkeys, earnestly plugging in the zoo to set the festivities in full swing while the eccentric melodies of Cirque du Soleil’s latest traveling show KURIOS radiate through the loud speakers. Roaming through the park, Holiday tunes from KCRW ebb and flow out of the Disco Forest while light dances through the trees.  Though most of the live animals are asleep, the Lair is still open and sure to creep you out with all of their crawlies; let me just put it this way: thank goodness they’re behind glass! Or hey, if you like that kind of stuff…good for you, or something.

My theory is that you go in the very first group and slowly make your way around, enjoying each and every exhibit. One protip that I will forever live by: since you enter the Zoo by admission time, pick an early time, and show up about 20 minutes after the gates are open – you’ll be able to walk right in and the park won’t be as crowded.  And since your tour of the LA Zoo Lights is self guided, enjoy yourself a merry little Christmas and take your time to smell the illuminated roses.  We ended up staying for two and a half hours and could have easily stayed longer but vow to come back before the end of the year! The park is open through January 3rd, week days and weekends – so be sure to check the website for availability.


For more on the LA Zoo and the LA Zoo Lights, head to their website and socials – LA Zoo LightsWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


[Make Your Own] Sparkly + Seasonal Home Decorations

When I was younger, it felt like the holidays would  wait until at least after Thanksgiving to waltz into the world and steal the show.  I don’t know if it’s the awareness I’ve accumulated as an adult, or a fact of our modern reality but the older I get – the earlier and earlier the seem to sneak up into the everyday life.  Little by little,  Mariah Carey and The Ratpack have planted yuletide ear bugs, sweetly serenading me while Christmas commercials run rampant over the airwaves and my visual spectrum becomes inundated with red, white, green and glitter everything.  The holiday season provides a wonderful excuse to spruce up the place and though I’d love to ball out and adorn the apartment with brand spankin’ new holiday decorations, I have to admit that there’s something so gratifying and satisfying about making decorations all on your own.  Last year, I perfected making homemade candles so this time I thought I’d try my luck at something a bit more naturally beautiful.

Just the other day, when I dropped by my favorite local clothing shop – Native Boutique, I caught myself ogling their adorable holiday dresses, toying with the strings longingly as I lazed through the store.   Not only do they have a killer $20 rack outside, but they’ve got a welcoming staff and a stellar selection of clothing for the female young professionals that know how to both work and play hard.  While making my way through the aisles, I noticed they had some beautifully simple decorations lying around on cabinets, tables and cupboards – glittery, shimmery pinecones!

With the amount of camping and festivals that Danny and I have been to over the last three years, we’ve actually amassed quite a number of pine cones that are scattered throughout our place – the coffee table, the alter, and in even in a batch of potpourri that I made out of a bouquet of roses. I’d seen a few posts that detailed painting the cones like flowers, but that seemed a bit much for me – glitter, however, that I can do! It’s the perfect combination of natural and whimsical, while providing the perfect accent to any coffee table, window sill – or even in a bowl of pretty and pungent potpourri.



The great thing about the sparkly, seasonal pine cones is that they’re as easy to make as they sound and the result is beautiful any way you spin it!

  • Start by laying down a protective layer of cardboard or newspaper over the area you’ll be crafting over – that way you’ll keep all the MOOP (Matter-Out-Of-Place) in one area.
  • Gather your pine cones and flowers in a central area for efficient work space
  • In a small mixing cup, add any and all of the different glitters that you’re putting on the first pine cone

  • If you’d like to spare yourself glitter-fingers, toss on a pair of plastic gloves.
  • Shake the can of spray glue and remove the plastic top, spray can on a third of the pine cone and loosely sprinkle enough glitter to cover the glue.  Repeat on the rest of the pine cone.
  • Set pine cone in a safe place to set and repeat steps on other pine cones; allow cones to set over night
  • The next morning, take a blow dryer on the lowest setting and dust off any excess glitter.

Voila! Easy, breezy, beautiful home accents that can liven up any room 🙂

[Let’s Celebrate] National Cat Day

Not like we need a reason to celebrate on the daily – personally, the only reason I need to celebrate is because I want to – but when I was in college, my friends and I stumbled across a calendar that assigned holidays to each and every calendar day.  For example, it just so happens that National Cotton Candy Day falls smack dab on my birthday (serendipity, right?), International Sushi Day is on June 18th and April 16th is National Eggs Benedict Day.  As you could surmise, the other 365.25 days are equally zany and fun – but since when was I too old for zany and fun?! Now, there’s one holiday that I’m just head over heals in love with and it’s because of the two little furballs that invade my life on the daily – Sake and Stella.  Ladies and gentlemen, cats and kittens – Happy National Cat Day!

Beyond being adorable, fun and entertaining for hours on end – there are a lot of health benefits associated with owning a cat.  Those little lap lovers  purr at a frequency between 20 and 140 Hz which qualifies them as medically therapeutic!  Do you find yourself overly anxious at times? I know I do! So I was excited to learn that petting a cat can lower the amount of stress hormones coursing through that little body of yours. Plus, your blood pressure and risk of heart attacks decrease !  If you don’t have a cat of your own to hug, squeeze and pamper today then head down to your local pet shelter and put in an hour or two with the sweethearts without homes – I guarantee they’ll appreciate it, even more than their little mews let on.

So from my little cat family to yours – Happy National Cat Day; I hope you spend it with the furballs you love – I know I am!



Doing it Right: Halloween, Disney Style!

A few years ago, I was on the hunt for a career change – and I consider myself uberlucky because the career change actually found me.  I was working as a Data Analyst for a great firm, but only at Part Time – Walt Disney Studios, at the time with a contracted position, asked me if I would like a spot on their Space Planning Team and I jumped at the chance to not only leave my current job but work with some of the best and brightest in the entertainment industry.

The holidays here are celebrated in style, but most of all – Halloween is the coveted centerpiece of all the grand holidays.  And, if there’s one thing we here at Disney know how to do – it’s play dressup! When I walked into work initially, I was a tad disappointed by the lack of holiday spirit – but as the day waned on, I noticed more and more fabulous group, individual and little kid costumes.  The happiest place on earth today was definitely our lot!

Halloween Decorations =)

Ariel, Miss Devil and Woody

I’ve got an Angel on my shoulder, but a Devil in my head…

Hands down, best costume was the Mad Hatter!

Our LOVELY Starbucks Crew! ❤

Cotton Candy for lunch – #JUDGEME

Causing trouble, per usual…