Tag Archives: State Park

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

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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

[Nature Is Nurture] This Friday, Green Is The New Black

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Dear 2016, there might only be five weeks left of you but I have a feeling these are going to be the longest five weeks ever.  Despite the fact I have my first true health diagnosis in three months, the icecaps aren’t melting, the world feels slightly post-apocalyptic and our president-elect is #notmypresident. It can’t just be me that feels an extrasensory burden of the cosmic consciousness, wrapped around life like a wet blanket; sometimes, it really did feel like David Bowie, Prince and Alan Rickman held together the fabric of the cosmos.

In just a few days, Thanksgiving will be here – but this year feels so very different feel than other years. Whether it’s the post-election depression that the country has seemingly been swimming in, the horrific actions against the protestors at Standing Rock, or the lack of chill between your neighbors tearing down their Halloween decorations and fast-forwarding right to the Christmas cheer – this moment, this moment right now feels different; it feels manufactured and store-bought instead of well-loved and handed down gently. And in a sense, that’s all Black Friday truly is: a day of fabricated happiness and discounted opulence masquerading as necessities for people who, no less than 12 hours before, were proclaiming how thankful they were for all that they had. Instead of rushing to the mall this Friday – think outside of the box and into the great outdoors where Green is the new Black, especially for you California locals out there. Spearheaded by the Save The Redwoods League and in conjunction with the California State Parks and the California State Parks foundation, the Green Friday initiative invites Californians near and far to venture to the state’s wonderful parks with their loved ones and enjoy themselves some nature.

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Spearheaded by the Save The Redwoods League and in conjunction with the California State Parks and the California State Parks foundation, the Green Friday initiative invites Californians near and far to venture to the state’s wonderful parks with their loved ones and enjoy themselves some nature. Enjoy high-quality time and high caliber conversations surrounded by the epic beauty and dramatic landscapes from the coast to the mountains of California.  Green Friday supplies access to one of California’s 116 state parks with a free day use pass so you don’t have to pay the $12 fee – instead, think of donating that $12 to a worthy cause like Standing Rock, the World Wildlife Fund or any number amazing organizations. The parking passes are first come first serve, and many parks are selling out – meaning you might even make a new best friend!  To get your green on in California this Friday, simply head to the  Green Friday website and get down on that web search.  If you’re not located in California, never fear – REI is continuing their #OptOutside campaign, this time with a little bit of help from the folks at Subaru and Google.

For more information on the California State Parks + Foundation, Save The Redwoods and Green Friday, head to their socials:

Save The Redwoods: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Blog

California State Parks Foundation: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Blog

California State Parks: www.parks.ca.gov | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Blog

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[Oh, Snap] Chasing Sunset at Malibu’s Point Dume

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Last Sunday, we bid adieu to the succulent last seconds of Autumn in one of the most blissful fashions. As I’m sure you’re well aware, Los Angeles either has the absence of seasons or a mass inundation of each throughout a single 24 hour stretch.  With strong Winter storms coming in from the North West on Saturday night, we almost changed our Sunday plans – discussing the merits of cloud coverage in romantic photography and the like, but we decided to throw caution to the literal wind and get our booties out to Malibu to enjoy the last weekend of the season with some of our favorite people, creating magic and celebrating true love.

Love.  It’s a simple four letter word with a complex, vast and almost unfathomable meaning.  Love takes you by the arm securely and leads you to safety, while encouraging you to blast out of your own comfort zone and reach for the stars.  Love isn’t only giving, it’s forgiving; the last piece of the puzzle of a beautiful picture, a picture that was once so inconceivably incomplete.  Love fills your life in time with your heart, warming each and every nook and corner; clearing out the cobwebs of the ego, unchaining your pride and letting your soul shine free.  Love is natural, like the sun, wind, water and Earth; yet love is extraordinary, like the existence of the universe, like the rose that grew from concrete, like the existence of you, or I – or the simple fact that between you and I, there’s a we that is coveted more than the deepest secrets and oldest friendships.  Love is a bridge from nowhere to everywhere, a door that opens infinitely and a dream that’s never deferred.  But the most beautiful thing of all is that love is.

Though photography is a passion of mine, it certainly isn’t a profession – I’ve left that to the fiance.  He’s been building a bustling portfolio in the three years we’ve been together and I’m so thrilled that I’ve had a first hand view at how he’s grown as a creative, as an artist, as a working professional.  Though he’s done his fair share of concerts, shows, festivals, plays and musicals – he’s itching to get his feet wet in other arenas, including headshots, portfolios, high fashion and engagement shoots – and I’m thrilled, because this means I get to learn, too!  So after a quick breakfast and conversation, we were off to the beaches to capture the effortlessness of true love in a fantastic couple.  Now, I don’t have any spoilers – because, well, they’re not my pictures.  But I did get to spend a good amount of time chasing one last Fall Sunset at Malibu’s Point Dume, and let me tell you – so worth it. And a perfect full circle from last year, where we spent the first day of Winter in Big Bear.

Locals might think of it as a total tourist trap with not a lot of parking, but I think the scenery is stunning, the views up and down the Pacific Coast are  breathtaking and there’s a whole host of marine life for you to take in. – from cranes to seals, and even a dolphin (or shark!) if you’re there on a good one.   There’s plenty of rocks for rock climbing, and tons of ocean to relax the mind and body.





For more on Point Dume, check out their State Park website and social media channels.

Website | Facebook | Yelp

[Oh, Snap] Weekend Wanderlust Along California’s Coastline

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“We do not “come into” this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean “waves,” the universe “peoples.” Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe.”
Alan W. Watts

When life seems overwhelming and bubbling over, it’s important to take some personal time and marinate in the purity of the moment. Whether its work or social life, the cure for emotional chaos and calamity is the warmth of the wilderness and the nurture of nature. This past weekend, I took a wonderful little trip up and down the California coast on the historic Pacific Coast Highway with Danny and a few of our friends, leisurely exploring nooks and crannies and enjoying each other’s company.  Danny and I had done the drive before a few years ago, but we always found ourselves wishing we had more time to explore tide pools, coves, caves and the great outdoors – so this time, we made a point being leisurely and letting it all soak in.

Constructed over the course of several decades, California’s Highway 1 began segmented construction in 1911 to connect coastal communities.  Commonly just referred to as The 1 or the PCH, depending on which leg of the journey you’re on, the route was completed through the Big Sur region in 1939 after securing funding from Roosevelt’s New Deal during the Great Depression. After cruising along the 101 into Santa Barbara, we jumped on the 1 in San Luis Obisbo and took a necessary lunch break in Morro Bay where its almost obligatory to get the clam chowder.

Our pit stop took us to the Otter Rock Cafe and man, oh man – was it ever delicious!  I had to get some clam chowder in a bread bowl and a Bloody Mary after the table over dished some elated dirt on them, and then some oysters on the half shell to top it all off.   Leaving Morro Bay, we set our sights on San Simeon’s Elephant Seal Vista Point. I’ve never seen so many of them – they’re loud, a little bit ridiculous looking, in my opinion they’re one of the few living remnants of God’s sense of humor.  There were literally hundreds of them lazing around various coastal beaches, from young pups to more mature seals.

After leaving San Simeon, we were off and away to Big Sur, Carmel and Monterey, winding the roads with wanderlust in our eyes and adventure in our veins.  We finally reached Monterey around dinner time and took a nice Uber into the Warf area and searched for a worth dinner spot.  After some searching, we found ourselves at Lallapalooza, and let me tell you – their specialty drinks are phenomenal; I had a Skytini with cucumber, mint and Hypnotiq and it was refreshingly fantastic.  With some bar hopping under our belt, we resigned ourselves to our hotel in Seaside for the night so we could get a roaring start to our Sunday funday.

My #1 objective for the weekend: find us some tidepools.  I don’t know about you guys. but growing up I loved searching through the tide pools for brightly colored creatures and slippery souls.  Sea urchins, starfish, hermit crabs, sea anemones  – you name it, if it’s in a tide pool I will undoubtedly think it’s awesome.  Our first stop on Sunday was at Del Monte Beach just outside of Seaside, then we were on the road again – more concerned about the journey than our final destination. After scouting a few beaches we found ourselves at Garrapata State Park, just a few notches south of Monterey. The park is host to wonderful hiking trails up and down the coast and on clear days it’s wonderful for dolphin watching – we even saw a pod!  For the more daring it’s just a hop, skip and a jump down to beach level, and more importantly – you guessed it –  tide pools!

On closer inspection, the tide pools evolved into technicolor colonies – so gorgeous!

Visually, there’s something so simple yet stunning about peach flowers against a bright blue sky and I can’t help but try and capture it. I actually took a really similar picture last time Danny and I came through the area, but it was just so delightful that I had to snap another.

One of my personal favorite things about hiking along the cliffs was seeing bits and pieces of old abalone, muscle and clam shells glistening and sparkling in the dirt.

After a leisurely, lovely stroll through the park we were off, off and away – but not without first losing my phone in the car, then finding it, the trunk almost coming open on the drive, rushing out to close it and flinging my phone into the sand….so that five minutes later I’d actually lost it and we had to do a major search along the roadside for the next fifteen minutes. Good news is that we found it, glistening in all it’s rose pink glory in the bright Autumn sky; never a dull moment when you’re with me, I promise. 😉  On our way up the coast we strolled through the area around Pfeiffer Beach near sunset and made a mental note to come back the next day and I’m so thrilled we did, there was so much wilderness to explore – including rocks that had been pulverized so much that a cave had been created in the middle of it, and there was a completely hidden cove with so many stacks of rocks – it was beautiful!

Last, but certainly not least, we caught a stunning sunset near Lafler Canyon – the cotton candy, sorbet skies are permanently etched in my mind and not in my phone because I found myself enjoying the moonrise too much to care – retrospectively, maybe I should’ve asked to stop but the memories will live on.

From start to finish, this past weekend was one for the books and a completely necessary deviation from the normal, routine of everyday life – an escape from the fast paced, high anxiety world that’s part of some weird reinforcement cycle that I’m most certainly an integral part of.  As a self proclaimed city kitty, this time away from the sheeple and masses reaffirmed to me that I’ve been overwhelmed with life, over-inundated with work, tasks and relationships and haven’t taken the proper time to reset myself, to meet myself at my core and be unshakable, to find solace in a moment without flustering over the past or fumbling into the future.  A weekend without cell phone reception, wrapped up in conversations that ranged from trivial and hilarious to insightful, inspiring and compelling. Before our journey, I felt a dark cloud over my head and an unshakable awkward, anxious feeling but after a weekend swept up in nature and seduced by the open sea air, I found myself calm and collected upon my return to Los Angeles – a change that was hopefully deeply imprinted upon me. Though to be fair, I could always use a good excuse to escape again.

 I can’t wait for our next weekend getaway and am already looking up fun routes to and from Oregon for Thanksgiving! When’s the last time you got away for the weekend and where did your wanderlust inspire you to wander to?