Travel

Hiking The Hollywood Sign

My friends were visiting from Phoenix, Arizona and wanted to go on a hike. My friends convinced me to hike the Hollywood Sign and to the Wisdom Tree. I reluctantly agreed and gave up my precious beauty sleep to get up at 7:30 am on a Saturday morning and drive to Griffith Park to begin the hike. 

It was an above average hot day for Southern California, but we thought it was early enough for us to beat the heat. We were wrong. The heat seemed to be permeating off the dirt and rocks and really hit us hard. We made it up to the Wisdom Tree, which is aptly named such due to being the sole surviving tree of the 2009 wildfires. It is a beautiful sight and great spot to catch some shade and take a break while taking in the beautiful view. 

Then we continued on to the Hollywood sign. The trek over there is not easy. The paths are slim, filled with loose rocks and void of shade. The hike takes about two and a half hours, so be prepared and pack lots of water to stay hydrated. I made the mistake of wearing newer tennis shoes and they were packed with dirt after, so remember to wear older ones. 

I won’t be making this a regular hike, but it was nice to do something different and share the experience with friends. The views were beautiful and the pictures speak for themselves. 

 

 

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Travel

Grandma’s Tea Cups

I am up in Seattle celebrating my grandmother’s life. She had sass and spunk, and eyes that lit up. She was the life of the party, the comfort, kindness, and warmth of our family. She encouraged me to speak up for myself, be confident, and be spontaneous and fun. I promise to live an authentic life, full of amazing experiences, and be bold, just for her. 

One of my grandma’s loves was her tea cups. Whenever we visited her home, all of us grandkids would stop in the hallway of the kitchen and look at her collection. We would gift them to her over the years and she would buy interesting ones when shopping. She lost several in a bad earthquake, but many still remain. I remember having little tea parties with them and she and grandpa participating,  letting us pretend we were having high tea at a fancy place, even though we were only gathered around the kitchen table. 

My grandpa was welsh, so we had tea the english way, served with cream and sugar. We always had tea after dinner with dessert. I always looked forward to the creamy, sweet tea and still drink it that way to this day. 

I have included my grandmother’s tea cup collection in the post. The beautiful colors, shapes and pretty patterns are perfect for a tea party and the memories I have will last a lifetime. 

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Travel

If You’re A Bird, I’m A Bird–El Matador State Beach

One of my favorite movies is ‘The Notebook’ starring Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling. One of my favorite scenes in that movie is “If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.” In this scene, Rachel’s character, Allie, acts like a bird and flails her arms about and forces Ryan’s character, Noah, to say he is a bird just like her. He hoists her into the air and declares he is a bird too. It is such a romantic part of the movie (ok, the whole movie is romantic) and the backdrop is breathtaking.

El Matador State Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Malibu.  The entry to the beach is a steep dirt trail that leads down some stairs. The views from the upper cliffs are incredible, looking down on large boulders and deep blue water laced with kelp.

I went with my LA family, comprised of my dearest friends, to El Matador State Beach to stand where romantic movie history was made. The beach did not disappoint and has all these rocks and alcoves that filled with small pools of water. It was so fun and we explored all afternoon. I even reenacted the scene with my bestie, Sarah, and galavanted around the film location with my friends. It was one of the best days I have had in LA.

The trek out to the beach in LA traffic was bad and back was even worse. LA traffic is no joke and can test the patience of even the best of friends. We made it through though and have a memory that will last a lifetime. Take a look at my photos below and rent the movie to refresh your memory on what the day was like for those beach going lovers, Noah and Allie.

El Matador State Beach is located at  32215 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu

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Travel

One Direction–San Diego

I became vastly aware of One Direction when a dear friend of mine became obsessed with them. And by them, I mean Harry Styles. I couldn’t get over how she could be so taken with him and how young he was. My friend bought VIP tickets to the show in San Diego and I committed to go along to see what all the pandemonium was about.

Lucky for my friend, S (names have been protected), my other dear friend was able to gain unfettered access to the band for this concert. I had no idea what I had in store.

Upon pulling up to the venue, we were ushered straight through to where the boys were hanging in their trailers. By the boys I mean, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, and Louis Tomlinson.  We grabbed a bite to eat, got to meet them, and they even taught us how to shoot a bow and arrow. That made my archery expert father proud. What I wasn’t prepared for was all the screaming girls, the signs, the tears, and the professions of love for the boys. And I certainly hadn’t bargained for these sweet, teenaged fans to question who I was and how I was able to be so close to the band. It was a far cry from the chic, Almost Famous, groupie status, but more like, “What the **** are these girls doing next to the love of my life?” Trust me my little beauties, I was not after your boys. I can’t say the same for my friend, but I was not a threat.

Things got really interesting during sound check when Harry himself threw a snack of a sandwich to us, which I requested on behalf of my friend, and she actually caught it. After the concert, we grabbed some ice cream at McDonald’s with Harry, which was short lived because the Twitterverse spilled the beans on his location and the girls were on the move for on last chance to meet him. We said our goodbyes and off we were, back to LA having lived out a version of the teenage dream.

These boys were really genuinely sweethearts that I am sure are breaking teenage hearts all over the globe. I never understood how this band could be such a sensation, but then I remembered what it was like to be a teenage girl, have a poster on your wall, beg your mom to let you and your friends go to the concert in hopes of meeting your biggest crush. I loved the bright hopes of these little darling fans, and my friend actually got to spend time with her dreamboat. It was all in good fun, the band was really great live and I finally “got” it when it came to the hype around the guys.

Now I may not be a Directioner, but I truly wish that all you fans of the band get to meet them one day and who knows, maybe one of you will date them.

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Travel

The Parker Palm Springs

The Parker is nestled in the desert of Palm Springs, California. It is a beautiful property that has a nostalgic, 70’s charm mixed with modern flair. It is the perfect place to relax and let your inner hippie out.

Upon entry of the hotel, the lobby features velvet covered sofas with bohemian throw pillows, a suit of armor, and a retro inspired chandelier hovering in front of a gold studded sign that reads “DRUGS.” The rooms all feature red doors and a slightly different decor, and the bathroom amenities are quite chic. Hermes soap…yes please. Once you are settled, make a spa appointment and go explore the property.

The property is speckled with little alcoves all with relaxation and fun in mind. You can relax in a hammock, sip a spiked lemonade from the lemonade stand, take a dip in one of the pools, or partake in one of many games. You could get lost along the twisty, Alice in Wonderland-esque gardens. And you should.

Playtime at The Parker features croquet, bocce ball, tennis, and cruising around on a property bike. Once you are tuckered out from recess, toss on a robe and enjoy the spa, PSYC (Palm Springs Yacht Club). The spa is nautical themed and features sayings on the door like “Loose Lips Sink Ships” in hopes to keep the mood tranquil. The vibe is relaxed upper crust and the treatments are divine.

No need to leave this boho-modern playland because dining on the property is fantastic. My favorite restaurant is Norma’s and you must go for brunch. The comfort food served with a twist is sure to please your taste buds. The perfect late night treat is S’mores that you can roast yourself around one of the many fire pits on the property. And if you know me, you know S’mores are one of my favorite things.

A weekend in the desert is just the ticket after a long work week. Enjoy The Parker and return refreshed.

http://www.theparkerpalmsprings.com

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Travel

The Bungalow at The Fairmont

Sometimes you don’t have to travel far to experience something great. The Bungalow is attached to The Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica and is the brainchild of Brent Bolthouse. It is a surfer chic  renovated 1947 beach cottage made into a hip hangout for a breezy summer day and into night. There are five distinct spaces within The Bungalow. The Study, a main bar, an outside deck, the State Room and East Garden, and a game room. With this many different aesthetics, you are sure to find a spot that suits your needs. 

I personally love the patio because there are lanterns and lights strewn from the trees, sofas strategically placed for lounging and catching up with friends, and little nooks and tables for a more intimate feel. The ambiance makes you feel as if you stumbled upon this secret party on a little known beach. The only dose of reality is the daunting line that bends around the door for entry. While it can be annoying to wait in line, the bright side is everyone gets in, no glances up and down from the door guy. Just a check of your ID and a smile for your patience and you are in. 

Grab a glass of the red sangria, some chips and guacamole and gab the night away with great friends. 

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Travel

Honolulu Hawaii

My mother was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. I was lucky enough to live in paradise until I moved to Nebraska when I was 8 years old. Or as the locals would say, I moved to the “Mainland.”

My memories of Hawaii are fond of the beach and all my favorite local foods. Hawaii is a piece of home to me.  Rough life, I know. Two of my most cherished places to go are Liliha Bakery and Ma’ema’e Elementary School.

Liliha Bakery serves the most light and fluffy pancakes at their well known pancake bar, which boasts a line out the door on most days. Don’t fret my pet, the line goes quickly and there are plenty of other delectable delights to go around. My three other favorite items on the menu are the Coco Puffs, which are cream puffs filled with rich chocolate pudding, the ladyfingers, and the blueberry corn muffins. These are the tastes of my childhood. The goodies are purchased in a deli counter fashion where the customer takes a number and waits for their number to be lit up in red and called out. My Popo, Chinese Grandmother, loves the chiffon cakes, so we always get her one and my sister, Megan loves the Ensemadas, which are sweet pastries.

http://www.lilihabakeryhawaii.com

Visiting my Elementary school, Ma’em’ae, is always a must. It reminds me of balmy Hawaiian days playing under the banyan trees and learning to hula for the school performances. The teachings of Hawaiian culture were embraced and celebrated. I have such warm memories of that time.

http://www.maemaeschool.com

The other must do for me is go to Lanikai Beach, which is ranked among the world’s best beaches and is known for it’s soft sands and aquamarine blue water. Lanikai means “heavenly sea,” which describes this beach perfectly. There are soft, onshore trade winds that cause a soft rippling in the water in the tide pools, which are perfect for children. Offshore reefs protect the beach and make the water ideal for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and sunbathing. The ideal way to end the day is to stop for Shave Ice.

Hope you all get to visit one of my homes away from home, Honolulu, Hawaii. Aloha!

 

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