[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.

 

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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

 

 

 

[Top Shelf] My Favorite Winter Skin Solutions

 

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The air has resolved into a crisp, blustery whisper, the coldness of the night has slowly crept its way into the nooks and crannies of my apartment and between the cracks, some days it becomes increasingly more difficult to decipher whether my skin more resembles a leaf or vice versa.  Ah, yes – Winter in Los Angeles; it’s not for the faint of heart, nor for those who aren’t as versed with skin care remedies.  Between the sun, the smog and the cold, your skin needs to be prepared to combat all the elements – so I think it’s about time you were covered, both literally and figuratively.

Though there are definitely products that In life, there are a whole lot of things that I don’t mind in knock off form, but unless it’s a great deal or a stellar sale – skincare and hair care are two of the few corners in life that I refuse to cut.  Abraham Lincoln once joked ‘If I was two faced, would he really be wearing this one?’ Well the truth of it is, we really do only have one face and unless you’re in the business of Botox or more extreme treatments, you better be taking care of yourself.  As the largest organ that your body has, your skin deserves to have you treat yo’self.  And even though you can go all high end, your local CVS and Walgreens also have a whole host of products that are simply great for you, like Cetaphil, Clearasil, Dove and Vasoline brand. Balling on a budget, definitely;  feeling good and looking great in my natural skin – bitch, I might be.

For the Face

As a little pre-moisturizer ritual, I give my face, neck and chest a little dose of Murad’s Intensive Vitamin C Face Mask.   You leave it on for ten minutes and let the glycolic acid do the work – exfoliating your skin while leaving it feeling fresh and smooth.

Murad: $55

Also available through Sephora for the same price

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For the best 24 hour moisturizer, I turn to Korres Wild Rose 24 Hour Moisturising and Brightening Cream.  For the better part of the last decade, it’s been part of my morning ritual and I can’t for the life of me see myself deviating from that anytime soon.

Korres Wild Rose Cream: $38s750992-main-hero-300.jpg

Since the time I was just a wee little girl my mother always told me the only face cleaning product I ever really needed was Cetaphil.  And now, almost 30 years later – I want to let you know: lady was right. Great for a simple face cleansing, and works effectively to take off makeup – not to mention, you can find it at your local drug store.  Win.

Cetaphil: $7.99

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For the Lips

When I found out that my favorite line of chapstick was discontinued, I sunk into a pseudo depression.  Trust me, though I wasn’t full on sad the idea that I’d no longer be able to find a Pink Lemonade or Mango flavored Bonne Bel was more than I could handle for a period of time.  Yes, you read that right – 2015 was a monumental year….a year where Twinkies came back and Lip Smackers were discontinued. But thanks to the Evolution of Smooth (EOS), I’ve been having a ball with my lips and have barely looked back. Snag them at any of your local drugstores, or just load up online – my favorite flavors are Summer Fruit and Strawberry Sorbet.

EOS: $3.29

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For the Body

I have loads of tips and tricks up my sleeve when it comes to buying beauty products (like I said, balling on a budget) – but one of the best is that you don’t need a fancy lotion to lavish over, what you need is tried and true.  And that means you go with Vaseline brand.  With my skin as succeptable as it is to the dull, dry months – I always go with the Intensive Care Total Moisture – and the Cocoa butter smell definitely helps!

Vaseline with Cocoa Butter: $4.19

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For the Hands

Last, but most definitely not least – those ten little digits that rub on all that lotion could use a bit of love themselves.  Enter Bliss’ High Intensity Hand Cream.  With it’s tantalizing mix of macadamia oil and grapeseed extract, the lotion sinks deep into the skin – nourishing it from the base to the top, providing extra comfort in the dead of winter to dry, brittle skin.

Bliss Hand Cream: $91003-01295-bliss-high-intensity-hand-cream.jpg

[Oh, Snap] Celebrating the Elements of Winter Solstice in Big Bear

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Perpetually enraptured by the bright lights, booming sounds and the effervescent buzz of humanity within the heart of a giant metropolis like Los Angeles, or San Francisco where I was raised, I’m constantly dazzled, delighted by and devouring each and every detail of my surroundings like a fine wine.  With a step-mother from the North East and a father from Oregon, every now and again they’d toss in a dash of Corvallis countryside, assorted camping trips with my pre-school, some hikes here and there and some family vacations in locations I now wish I could’ve appreciated in their entirety. Almost two decades ago when I was a wee 5th Grader (…at 5’10″…), I accompanied by my Grandmother to an ‘Elderhostel’ in Mount Denali, Alaska over the Summer Solstice.  Sure, I knew that it was the day of the year with the least amount of darkness – but had I understood then what I know now about the solstice, changing of the seasons, position of the stars and angles of the planets, I would’ve had a much deeper, greater appreciation for mother nature and all of it’s offerings.IMG_5202

Yesterday at 3:03 PM Pacific Time, Winter Solstice hit the West Coast – wondrous, wild and incredibly elemental.  Contrary to (my…) popular belief, Solstice doesn’t imply that the sun is setting at it’s earliest for the year – in fact, due to discrepancies between our modern Gregorian calendar and the actual cycle of planets, the majority of the Northern Hemisphere delights in the earliest sunset a few days before and the latest sunrise a few days after Winter Solstice occurs. But, what it does mean is that we’re getting the least amount of sunlight (conversely, the lengthiest amount of darkness) of the whole year as the Sun reaches it’s lowest vertex – around -23.5°.  Often referred to as Yule, December Solstice and the first day of Winter, the Winter Solstice ushers in the new moon in Capricorn.

Be it my love of a man befit for the mountains, a rapidly growing disdain for the ‘fast life’ or my commitment to adventuring through a healthy proportion of our countries National Park system – but I’ve been on a mission to conquer at least one new park a month, if not more.  Our friend’s adorable puppy was having his 3rd (or, 21st) birthday depending on how you look at those types of things and he invited us to tag along up to Big Bear.  As someone who can count the number of times they’ve seen snow fall on one hand – I couldn’t help but squee with glee. We were heading up Sunday and after a few quick calculations, I realized that I’d be truly in the elements for Winter Solstice.  I’ve never skied, gone snowboarding and definitely don’t own many snow appropriate pieces of clothing – but how could I pass up a chance to really welcome Winter and celebrate the Winter Solstice? Of course we were in!

If you’re heading up to Big Bear for the weekend, I vote you check out Air BnB for some gorgeous one night rentals; but if you’re going up for the day, like we did, meet up with your friends in the Stater Brothers parking lot before you head into Redlands.  It’s right between the 38 and the 330, so you can mash the whole mountain – plus, you should probably stock up on some power bars, water, whiskey (don’t forget the whiskey, and a flask…), fruit roll-ups and any other crucial snackables you might want as you gallivant throughout the mountains.   We started at at the Thurman Flats Picnic Area, but seeing as the snow is incredibly frozen – there wasn’t much runoff at the moment.  So, we slowly wound around the mountain – first hitting the Forest Falls Waterfalls which was a beautiful hike off the beaten trail.

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After reviewing the tread on the bottoms of our shoes (aka there wasn’t any), we decided to rent some snow shoes (knock that one off my life bucket list!) and head up to Green Valley Lake. It was definitely a hike, but so worth it. Nature fueled, wonder filled – as I looked into the vast, white beyond I felt humbled and happy, elated and insignificant.

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I absolutely loved spending Winter Solstice fully immersed by Winter: ice, snow, snowmen, children scream laughing while their parents threw snow balls. Not only that, but the drive was gorgeous and the sunset – doubly so.

How to you celebrate the changing of the seasons?

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[Friday Fun]

Laughter, wonder, shock, awe – there all parts of our everyday lives and sometimes, I feel like these slip to the wayside during the week because we’re so engulfed in the 9-5, corporate world.  This section is my way of celebrating the world around me and preparing my brain, heart and soul to let it all go at 5pm today so I can enjoy this wonderful Los Angeles Winter weather (yes, it’s 70 – and yes, I am bragging).

“Every year for a few days in the month of February, the sun’s angle is such, that it lights up Horsetail Falls in Yosemite, as if it were on fire.”

Fun With Graffiti

Mindy-kaling

“The Piano House is located in An Hui Province, China and there’s an escalator into the building in the transparent violin.”

“Hong Kong Apts from the Ground Up”