[LA Life] Getting Artsy at ARTIC

“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.


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.


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.


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

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First and Last Photos by Daniel Leist Photography

[LA Love] Make a Happy Hour Date for Plate38


Though I’ve been living in Los Angeles for the past six years, I’ve never stayed in one spot for more than two and somehow, I’ve even managed to hop skip and jump myself all over LA ‘Proper‘.  Starting with a two year stint in Korea Town, I migrated to the Miracle Mile area (near The LACMA and the Tar Pits) and then onto two wonderful years submerged in the music, street art and hipster chic culture of the Fairfax District. Now, in my triumphant sixth year in the City of Angels, I’m a happy resident of the Eagle Rock community – caught in a wonderful nook of nature between Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena. Whenever I move, I love taking an entertainment and edible inventory of my new neighborhood and the surrounding digs.

I have a few trusty books that I reference, my favorite being the Not For Tourists Guide to Los Angeles – it has literally anything and everything you could be curious about cruising the community for, from Sports Stadiums to Beaches and Marinas, Arts and Entertainment to City Transit. Plus, I’ve also been known to reference the occasional Zagat Guide and am a tried and true fan of Yelp (and a Yelp Elite, at that!).  Now that I’m situated on the East Side of town, there are a whole host of things that are unequivocally more available on the daily – from nature walks, museums and botanical gardens like Griffith Park , Arlington Gardens and The Huntington,  to Farmer’s Markets, The Eagle Rock Music Festival and delicious restaurants spanning from Glendale to Pasadena, and Downtown LA up to Arcadia. Well, I know I’ve only been over here for about six months – but combine that with the year and a half that I was coming over to hang out with Danny and that’s almost two years wining and dining through the East Side of town, and in that amount of time I’ve turned into quite the little foodie it seems; I can’t wait to share my favorite finds, hidden haunts and unknown gems in my new segment aptly called – LA Love!

Lately, as Danny’s been driving around town he’ll send me text messages with new locations, awesome happy hours and unbeatable meal deals.  One such place was Pasadena’s Plate38; we were initially drawn in by $1.50 for oysters on the half shell, but were absolutely satiated by their  host of small ‘tapas’ style appetizer plates perfect to share, if you can remember how. Even though the weather’s cooled down a bit around town, the sunshine cruises through at a respectable 80 with a lovely little wind chill to make sitting outdoors a cinch; and Plate38 has a wonderful outdoors patio that wraps its way around the building.  Deceptively long and full of warm lightning, it’s perfect for getting the gang together to watch some Sunday NFL games and reminiscing about the weekend.

We grubbed out on some amazing Bloody Mary’s with just the right amount of spice, chicken wings deep fried in duck fat, tuna tacos, duck sliders and so much more on their weekend happy hour menu. Oh, right, and the oysters.  And then I drooled on my keyboard.


IMG_2106.JPGLocation: 2361 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107

[Oh, Snap] Adventure at The Boiling Crab

Being an only child, I have a different take on what it means to be selfish and what it means to share.  And by all means, refusing to share yourself with another person – especially when that person loves you, is the worst version of selfish there is. We’ve been friends for almost four years now,  and because of that our communication is pretty much always on point.  We talk all the time.  Granted, it’s rarely a phone convo for hours on end, but whether it’s to share a silly joke, an educational news article or the latest and greatest festival set from our favorite DJs – we want the other one to bear witness to our ridiculousness; we want the other to be part of the daily, mundane details that don’t interest anyone but ourselves.

It’s amusing  how love tends to open up more than just the mind and the heart.  Beyond the beauty of the big picture, what  makes my mind spin lies in my day to day minutiae of memories and emotions; for being such a logical person, it surely drives my head in circles – but the best of all kinds.

How could I think I was in love yesterday when I’ve definitely fallen deeper into it today?

The way I see it, a good relationship is synonymous with being ‘stuck’ in an ever evolving positive feedback cycle; things can only get better – as long as you remember the foundation the relationship was started on.

Over the past few months I’ve been getting adventurous with my favorite hat trick of a person; he’s my best friend, my partner-in-crime and as of the last six months – my boysoul-friend. I’m not one for titles, especially when words fail to accurately convey how I feel inside – and it’s simply bigger than anything I’ve ever felt before.  So, on Saturday we went on what I consider to be one of the most nerve wracking adventures of all – meeting his mother.

As a self professed Daddy’s girl, I know a thing or two about an only child’s bond to their parents ; after intermittently whispering “Don’t worry, she’ll adore you!” between kissing me on the nose and forehead, I was back to breathing normally…for the time being.  After doing some crowdsourcing, they decided it was off to chow down on some sea food at The Boiling Crab in Koreatown.

Now, let me drop a little knowledge on you about places like this – you’ll be getting down and dirty with some crustaceans, so be prepared for a delicious mess all over your table.   If it sounds like a ridiculous experience – trust me, it is!  And to boot, a great way to get to know someone unabashed; I found that it’s incredibly easy to be an honest version of yourself when you’re wrist deep in a garlic lobster, trying to crunch the goodness out.

We took some advice from the savvy Yelp-sters who frequent the spot and showed up a few minutes early – it’s a damn good thing we did because the line was already about 30 people deep and we were some hungry kitties!  A few things to be aware of before you stop by – The Boiling Crab doesn’t take reservations and your whole party needs to be present to be seated.  The two parties before us didn’t follow these rules and looked pretty disappointed when we were seated ahead of them; oops!

The last time anyone put a bib on me I think I was five; game on.

Proof that our table was actually white when we started out.  For appetizers, we got some oysters on the half shell and omnom they might be my new favorite snack ever!  Yet another thing I would have never tried without some coaxing from my man.

After that, the main course began in a big way:  all the shellfish comes in these plastic bags that are toted to your table in buckets (pretty adorable branding if you ask me). If the restaurants do it right, there aren’t plates or silverware – your food is brought to your table in a plastic bag with all the fixn’s (garlic butter, cajun sauce, etc) and you get to dump it all out to grub it all up by the handful in scrumptious bites.

It took me until just a few weeks ago to get the hang of the tempura amebi heads they serve in sushi restaurants; they’re delicious but they surely don’t look it!  Meaning when it came time to try shrimp – again – I was ready to dive head first.

Though it’s of little importance picture wise at this point, they had hands down the best garlic butter drenched corn I ever had; I even ordered more after the whole meal was over because it tasted like dessert to me! The two highlights of the meal were the Maine Lobster and the Dungeness Crab – so perfectly delicious!

Last, but definitely not least – the aftermath of our once clean table.  And per usual, Danny was right – meeting his mother was an absolute breeze and to boot she’s a total gem (and of course I knew she would be, her son turned out pretty fabulous himself!).  One of the next adventures will definitely be a trip up north to introduce him to my family and friends back home – it’s about damn time! =)