[Wander Washington] Searching for Swimming Holes along the Skykomish

When we first moved up to the Pacific North West a year and a half ago, one of the first things my husband said to me was: “Now, how do we get to those swimming holes?!” Both of us born and raised in California, myself from the Bay Area and him from the High Desert in Southern California – most of our aquatic adventures had been to the beach, or a community pool, or with water balloons in the backyard on a long, hot afternoon. When we lived in Oregon, we lucked out – our new neighborhood friends told us about a stellar iPhone app, aptly titled Oregon Swimming Holes. Now, there are some fantastic applications for Forests in the Pacific North West, as well those for Wildflower, Plant and Fungi Identification – but so far to date, I haven’t seen any remnants of anything similar up here; which initially felt disheartening – but then, we turned it into an adventure; making notes on maps, dropping pins and doing some research.

It wasn’t until weeks later, wrapped in a vibrant conversation with a local that we were slyly informed of where the getting was good. And now that I understand Washington, and Seattle, more and more, I think I know why there isn’t an app that’s easy-peasy, lemon squeazy: they want you to pioneer your own life, to be a maker of your own moments. Washington and Seattle are rich with a strong craft and small business community, and within that – there are strong notions of being able to do for your self, and make it self sustainable. If being told “It rains a lot!” is enough to deter you from either visiting, or moving, you’re probably not going to have a good time; but here’s a hint: it really doesn’t rain a lot! It’s actually beautiful most days, and if you don’t like the weather – just wait thirty minutes. Anyhow, I digress. So, we took their advice – pack up a picnic basket, grab a swimsuit, and take the 2 East; then, enjoy!

So, we took a Summer drive along the winding Skykomish River and let our wanderlust guide us the rest of the way. All along the freeway, there are hidden nooks and crannies where you can hop out of your car, and into the refreshing, roaring waters. Pro Tip: if you’re unsure where to stop, just look at where the other cars along the way are, then plan accordingly and don’t be afraid to double back! I recommend a solid pair of water shoes, as I managed to slice my foot pretty well on the side of a rock – but besides that, my only other piece of advice is to give yourself a whole day and really enjoy marinating in a magical slice of wilderness.

As we gallivanted along our route, a spotted sky gave way into gradients of bright blue, echoing the vibrancy of the lush forest against the rushing Skykomish. It felt like Fern Gully, or even Avatar – and could make you believe that fairy tales were real. Descending down to the waters edge, you could see to the bottom of the river as the water cascaded over, around and even through some of the ancient pieces of rock that were lodged in the river.

Walk in nature and feel the healing power of the trees.” – Anthony William

From Monroe to Gold Bar, Index, Baring, and the town Skykomish – as you head towards Eastern Washington, it feels like there are an infinite amount of places to get lost for a few hours, so that you can rediscover yourself at your core.

Where do you turn to find your next big adventure? Do you ask around, find an app, research in a magazine or just wing it? Let me know in the comments below!

[LA Life] Frolic Among the Flowers at the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve

Adventures to the AV Poppy Reserve

Over the last year, my life has uncovered a bevvy of nuanced ways that it has to re-prioritize what’s important. Call it a quarter life crisis, or simply just growing up – but the things that used to sit on top of my pyramid of needs have reorganized themselves into a quieter, calmer lifestyle.  An avid audiophile through and through, when I pulled away from going to music festivals and concerts it was like I spearheaded an investigation into who I was at my core.  A daughter, a dreamer, a lover, a cat lady, a nature nymph, a very silly girl who cares very deeply about the world she cultivates around her. Two years ago, four years ago, ten years ago – I couldn’t escape the monotony of my home life enough:  living in Los Angeles, there is literally something to do at every second of every day, and I dove in head first, exploring new eats in new cities and musing around music festivals like it was my job, which eventually – it was.  At 23, it was the perfect lifestyle – at 28, still amazing; but as I cruise into the meat of my thirties, that’s just not what I want out of life at this current moment.

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What do I want? I want to be nurtured by nature, I want to analyze my psyche through the scope of the arts and I want to take things just a little more slowly, a little more sweetly.  Over the almost nine years that I’ve lived in Los Angeles, I’ve watched as this self professed ‘City Kitty’ has evolved into more of a ‘Country Cat’.  I’ve fallen head over heels in love with Big Sur and Sequoia, breathing in the the crisp, clean air while I revel in the romanticism of the great outdoors. Though we’ve been in a major drought these last few years, major rains during this past Winter have done their part to change the lay of the land and bring some much needed water to the area – and the Springtime Southern California desert has responded in kind with the Super Bloom.

Adventures to the AV Poppy Reserve

Just a hop, skip and a jump up the 14 Freeway from Los Angeles lies the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve.  Sitting right on the outskirts of Lancaster, and potentially one of the only valid reasons to go to Lancaster at all, the AV Poppy Reserve is surrounded by rolling hills and a sweeping skyline.  Part of the California National Park system, the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve spans 1,781 acres acres and boasts a wide variety of trails to take you from corner to corner of the park. The state natural reserve is located on the states best natural poppy bearing land. But, beyond the orange beauty of the California state flower, the Poppy Reserve and outlying areas are covered with luscious blue lupines, and yellow goldfields and cream cups.

Adventures to the AV Poppy Reserve

Though the Poppy Reserve is stunning, and boasts plenty of walkable trails – I found that the best Poppies were right on the side of the road.  With ample turnouts available from Castaic Lake all the way up to the Reserve, you could literally spend the entire afternoon staring into the soul of flowers.  And boy, do those flowers sing back.If you couldn’t get enough of the sprawling desert landscapes of Lancaster, the Arthur B Ripley Desert State Park is only about 8 miles West of the Poppy Reserve, and has plenty of wildflowers and juniper woodland, in addition to the area’s native Joshua trees.

For more of my photos from the Poppy Fields, check out my album here 🙂

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Southern California and plan your trip to the Poppy Reserve now! For more on the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve, head to their website and social media channels –

Website | Facebook | Yelp

Adventures to the AV Poppy Reserve

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Adventures to the AV Poppy Reserve

[The Audiofiles] The Road to the Desert Hearts Spring Festival is Paved with House, Techno and a Whole Lot of Love

Over the last five years, Southern California’s Desert Hearts troupe has blossomed from a homegrown hub of House and Techno into a global party sensation. After taking the Fall season off this year, much to the dismay of Desert Hearts fanatics all over – Desert Hearts is proud to announce their triumphant return to the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation from March 31 to April 3, 2017.

Playing host to an intimate number of attendants, the festival is capped at 3,500 and the warm, bubbly ethos that the size of the event curates is delightfully palpable. Between the various Desert Hearts virgins and assorted Desert Hearts vets, the weekend is as much a festival as it is a family reunion…with the grooviest soundtrack on the West Coast. Musical tastemakers to grace the decks have included Tiefschwarz, DJ Harvey, Monkey Safari, Rodriguez Jr., DJ T, Claude VonStroke, Marc Houle, Olivier Giacomotto, Mark Henning, M.A.N.D.Y, alongside the usual suspects – Mikey Lion, Lee Reynolds, Marbs and Porkchop.

The road to the Desert Hearts Spring Festival is paved with House and Techno from coast to coast as the squad heads out on their 21 tour date City Hearts Winter Tour. The mobile micro-festival vibe will takeover premiere festivals in previously unexplored markets for the burgeoning brand including Brazil’s Som & Sol Festival, Costa Rica’s Ocaso Festival, Tucson’s Gem and Jam, plus return trips to Brooklyn, Denver, Miami, Salt Lake City, its prized home turf of Los Angeles and San Diego, and many more standout shows.

Tickets for the highly anticipated and long awaited Spring 2017 Edition of Desert Hearts go on sale Tuesday, December 6th at 12 PM PST.

RSVP on Facbook and Rally Your Squad | Snag Tickets Here!

For more on the Desert Hearts squad and their upcoming roster of events, head to their social media channels –

Website | Facebook| Twitter | Soundcloud | Instagram

[Oh, Snap] Eagle Rockin’ and Eagle Walkin’ v9

Over the last few days, the air has been vibrant with floral fragrances and the coquettish dancing of birds, bees and butterflies while temperatures have sky rocketed back into the 90s.  No, Summer isn’t quick on our heals and Spring isn’t exactly just around the corner – it’s simply another mid-February heat wave in Los Angeles.  Half my mind is wrapped up in the sheer beauty of nature right now, while the other bemoans the fact we haven’t had a good rain in quite some time.

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The year itself is accelerating at a rapid pace, while a proverbial bullet train of emotions, feelings and thoughts trace geometric patterns in my mind.  I’ve had friendships ebb and flow as trust has been simultaneously instilled in and and removed from those who have one way or another, proven themselves to me.  I refuse to be sad or remorseful over the loss of people in my life – while intentional or not, the lessons that I’ve learned and the mechanisms that have inspired my maturity and growth are tantamount to my self understanding in the same way that the love, support and friendship of others have lifted my spirits.  As with pulsating tidal waves on a brilliant seashore, the push and pull are one in the same and it’s the totality of myself that I’m truly in awe of at this point.  The resilient, bounce back of personality and perseverance of passion – it hasn’t left, instead the flames have been fanned higher.

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[Self Discovery] Delight Yourself in Friday’s Once In a Lifetime Solar Hat Trick

This Friday, the stars are aligning in the most beautiful of ways.  First and foremost, Spring will finally be sprung!  Living in California, we’re a tad spoiled with the weather – but with Spring comes Festival Season, which makes me all sorts of giddy like a kid on their first day of Summer Camp with the best snacks in their lunchbox and a stuntin’ new do. Spring means love blossoms from the heart like flowers from the bud, that the happy humans and beautiful brains of Los Angeles will be out and about, spanning rooftops, lounges and underground affairs while enjoying laughter and a light evening breeze.  The Spring Equinox is more than ushering in the new season with the idea of rebirth, regeneration and growth.  Known as the Vernal Equinox to some, it’s also the time of year when the suns shines directly on the equator of our slightly shifted home planet – giving us hypothetically equal amounts of day and night. Derived from latin roots, equinox translates into ‘Equal Nights’ but that isn’t always so.  As it turns out not only does your attitude depend on your latitude, as Kanye muses, but your equinox does, too.  Depending on where you’re sitting on the Earth’s axis, you’re going to have your equinox at slightly different dates surrounding the equinox.  The closer you are to the poles, the closer you are to celebrating the equinox on the ‘Equinox’ – our actual equinox in Los Angeles was on the 16th; so good news for us, the days are just going to keep getting longer!  But no matter, at 3:45 PM in LA, 22:45 UTC, the First Point of Aries will usher in the Spring Equinox in sweet, serene style.

A point of balance in the world, the Spring Equinox brings with it a beautiful time to lay plans into motion, forge a new friendship or enter into that romantic relationship you’ve been tip-toeing around.  Spring is a time to expound upon chances and effectively be reborn within yourself.  Go start a new project, follow your passion and add a bit of spark to your life and watch your world shine.   This equinox occurs with the moon at one of of it’s closest points to Earth’s atmosphere, making it a ‘Supermoon‘!

Not only does the 20th mark our Spring Equinox, but we’re all about to get an incredibly special treat.  In a monstrous celestial celebration for all of Earth’s creatures (and maybe a few on Venus and Mars as well), on Friday we’ll be treated to a rare bird: the total solar eclipse. In fact, it’s been almost a year and a half since the last total eclipse back in November of 2013.  If you want your brain to explode just slightly, try this on for size: it’s been over 350 years since there was a total eclipse during the spring equinox! The last time these two celestial events coincided was supposedly all the way back in 1662, and it won’t be happening again until 2034!  The next time they appear simultaneously will thankfully be within my lifetime, but noting the odds – that’s a bit of luck as well!

Unfortunately for those of us in the Americas, we’ll have to live vicariously through our brothers down under and the lads across the pond in Europe.  The next time we’ll get our gander at an eclipse of any sort in the US will be August 21, 2017. Mark your cell phone calendars and etch it in your mind, it’ll be a day to remember.

If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where you can see the Solar Eclipse – please, please, please: take precautions with your eyes!  The sun is a powerful ball of energy, bursting with life and just because the moon is passing over it doesn’t mean you should stare into it.  If you want to appreciate the full glory of the eclipse, there are special shades you can buy – and special lenses for your camera if you’re in the mood to get a stellar snapshot.

For more details on Friday’s Eclipse, these two infographics from NASA and Space.com sum it up very nicely:

Credit: NASA

Credit: Space.com

[Weekly Dose of Wisdom] Spring Forward

While March marched on into our lives hail paraded down on Southern California, eliciting a sonic onslaught as if it were a troupe elephants gallivanting over tin roofs while blanketing Orange County beaches with a coat of unprecedented snow.  And now?  Spring has yet to be sprung, and it’s been a lovely past few days with a threat of a heat wave flowing in tomorrow.  In a monumental personal feat, this is the first morning since Daylight Savings Time that I’ve woken up naturally and with my usual bounce in my step! For multitudes of reasons, I’m enamored by these few months before Summer – life is passionately on display as blossoms and wildlife color the sky, humans and animals alike couple up in cute, baseball gets into full swing and festival season reigns supreme. In the spirit of Spring’s impending arrival – here are some of my favorite seasonally inspired quotes on blossoms, flowers, nature, love and life with pictures  from various trips to Big Sur, Ventura, Colorado and around Eagle Rock.


[Wednesday Watercooler] Take a Mini-Mind Vacation

As we enter the middle of the week, we sit smack dab in the cusp of Gemeni and Cancer, and at the pivot point Spring and Summer; June Solstice is just around the corner, happening this Saturday around 3:50 AM PST.  Now, I’m not in school anymore but I definitely wish I was for more than one reason – I loved my collegiate community in Santa Barbara, I loved summer in Santa Barbara – but more over, I loved celebrating the Solstice there! Every year, the streets of downtown are littered with excited visitors and locals getting down in the beautiful sunshine to live music, great food and wonderful art all weekend long.

Festival Date: Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Solstice in SB

If you’re in the So Cal area, I definitely suggest getting to State St to check out the festivities; but if you don’t make it, don’t sweat it – there’s always the ‘Old Spanish Days’  and Fiesta in early August.  Put all of that together and shake it up, and you’ve got me thinking that I could use a vacation – couldn’t we all though? This whole week I’ve been staring at posts, links and pictures that literally transport me to a different world – so even if you’re stuck in an office cube, and your version of a vacation is getting off work at 5pm and diving into a cold beer, take a mini-mind trip through these awesome posts…enjoy!

Travel Through Underground Caves in Wales by Trampoline

Yes, you heard that right – in the Llechwedd caverns, Bounce Below has set up three giant trampolines to take visitors on a unique sight seeing experience.   The caverns are located in Northern Wales and the trampolines will open this July, boasting a 60′ slide and 10′ tall net walls on either side.   According to creator Sean Taylor – “It’s a one-hour activity where customers get dressed up in a cotton overall and are given a helmet…they then jump on a train and travel inside the mountain. They then disembark into a cavern twice the size of St. Paul’s Cathedral.” The cherry on top of this amazing adventure sundae? Lights.  The Llechwedd caverns will be swimming with gradients of pink, green, purple and turquoise lights. I say we book a group trip, like now.

Photo Cred: Creator’s Project

 

Nocturnal Wonderland Returns to Southern California

There might be a bit of gloom in the June of Southern California, but thanks to an early announcement from Insomniac Events founder Pasquale Rotella – residents are far from bummed. Late last night, Pasquale took to Facebook to announce that their pinnacle Autumn attraction ‘Nocturnal Wonderland’ will be making a triumphant return San Manuel Amphitheater for two days of festival fun over September 5th and 6th.

We are taking all the necessary steps we need to alleviate some of the logistical issues we’ve had in the past, especially where traffic is concerned. We’ll be lowering the capacity to create a more comfortable experience so that we ensure that everything about the event runs smoothly, even after the music ends. Our top priority is delivering the highest quality experience possible for all you Headliners. – Pasquale Rotella

As it stands, Nocturnal Wonderland is Insomnaic Events’ longest running festival with deep roots in Southern California – and as they always say, ‘The Show Must Go On’ – and, it is! Past headliners for the event have included 12th PlanetAbove & BeyondCosmic GateChris LakeGui BorattoMat ZoOrbitalSub FocusUmek and more.

Thanks to the love, dedication and determination of the EDM community at large Nocturnal Wonderland is back in a big way. Make sure to stay tuned for the latest and greatest in Insomniac Events headlines, and keep your ears to the ground for line-up announcements, ticket sales and more through the company’s websiteFacebook and Twitter.

See you in Wonderland!

Uber in Style with Optimus Prime 

In a cross-branding effort by Transformers and Uber for the new movie ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’, the companies have teamed up in three major US cities to shuttle you in tech savvy style.  In Dallas this past Tuesday, Phoenix this Thursday and Los Angeles on Saturday – if it’s between 1-7pm, Optimus Prime will cruise to your neighborhood and swoop you for 15 minutes of fame.  You might not get where you wanted to go but really, who the hell cares: YOU’RE RIDING ON OPTIMUS PRIME, DUDE.

Photo Cred: Uber