Wednesday, July 30, 2014

LA Summer Weekends

Whoever thinks there's nothing to do in LA on the weekends, especially during the summer, is incredibly mistaken. Like in recent news, when the beach provides you with sharks and lightening rather than just a nice tan, you can head towards the hills. It can definitely be said that I had a very LA weekend. It all started with a concert Thursday night after work, a trip to the zoo Friday night, a fair on Saturday and Sunday, and play to finish off the weekend.

Thursday: The Neighbourhood @ The Greek Theatre
And so my concert series has begun. It was better than just Sweater Weather. Well, it was actually a really hot night, but nothing a nice cold beer from your favorite local brewery couldn't fix. It excites me to see their sales and distribution increase all throughout the city.
The Neighbourhood rocked the stage. Having heard mixed reviews, I'm happy to report that they were really good live and wished they played a lot longer. The only thing that was disappointing from the evening was the noise curfew that The Greek has in place. That's almost always a downfall with any outdoor venue but 10:30 PM snuck up rather quickly. For the price you pay for a show at The Greek, you expect that the act you come to see plays a full set longer than one hour. Hopefully, the other 3 shows I have planned at The Greek are not as short as this was.
Tip: Definitely buy parking in advance for the shuttle. It's only $7 and completely efficient. Why pay $20+ for stacked parking when you can pay less than half, park in a well lit area and be shuttled to right out front of the entrance? Since you buy your ticket in advance, you're ensured a spot and you can specify the number of passengers so that everyone has wrist bands for the shuttle. It's a no brainer.

Friday: Roaring Nights @ LA Zoo
Having mentioned the Roaring Nights event in a previous post, my excitement for this had been building for some time. I love animals and the zoo, but drinking at the zoo at night just seemed like it was the best idea ever! Not having researched the event at all, my expectations was merely drinks + zoo with some music and food. The night delivered more than that and I was one happy camper.
As soon as you walk in, you're greeted by volunteers and offered a canvas to paint and take home. Of course I stopped to paint a masterpiece.
Impressed? Good!
What's better than a painting party? Photo op with props, of course! Ah, the possibilities for randomness is endless.
Back to the animals. Most were sleeping away, but all the nocturnal animals were out to play. We got to be enriched with the presence of the alligators, koalas, meerkats, wallabys, elephants, and gorillas to name a few.
There were bands performing near the elephants and a DJ near the carousel.
The food trucks did not disappoint. From the Grilled Cheese Truck to the Lobsta Truck, all the big players were there, and the line followed. As for drinks, there were full bars set up all across the zoo and many more beer and wine stands in between.
Tip: The zoo is only open from 7-10 PM. Food trucks stop taking food orders at 9:50 PM, so if you're still deep in line, security will definitely cut you off no matter how much you argue with them. Trust me, I witnessed some interesting negotiations take place for a grilled cheese.Spending your limited evening at the zoo in line for food may need to be reconsidered.

Saturday: Renegade Craft Fair
During the week, a quirky older coworker mentioned that she thought I'd be interested to check out a craft fair in LA since she's noticed how crafty I am. After sending me a link and then receiving it again on the FabFitFun LA weekend agenda email, I thought this may definitely be up my alley and worth a trip. It wasn't too hard to convince a coworker to join in. By the way it looked online, it looked like it would be a gathering of etsy shop owners and it sure was. Rows and rows of tents filled with different crafts. Really though, it was a cesspool of hipsters buying handmade goodies in the 95degree heat without wearing deo.
The new Grand Park is beautiful. I didn't know what to expect. When I hear "park" I think of grass, a sandbox, and some homeless people. There was none of these there. So clean and modern; not your ordinary Downtown LA vision.
The variety of items on sale was that of a farmers market without the produce:
That rose gold ring with onyx on my ring finger was circa 1930s and made of 16K gold. Trust me, I was incredibly tempted to buy it.

I walked away with only purchasing one necklace. I blame the heat for that erratic behavior of mine. My coworker, on the other hand, bought a ton of goodies. I was super jealous. I spent the evening thinking I should have bought more stuff and that I should have a tent at the next one. The Renegade Fair will be back in LA in December as it tours through the states. I don't know if I could be ready by then but it's definitely a thought. I've been meaning to get serious and open up an esty shop for the things I make and bake but haven't gotten to it. Seeing these booths really put things into perspective.

Tip: There's metered parking near 1st and Hope. Definitely worth the drive by before cashing out for a lot especially since the Walt Disney Music Hall is right there. Just be aware of the signs.
not confusing enough
Sunday Funday: Renegade Craft Fair & Shakespeare in the Park
With the opposite of buyer's remorse on my mind, I made the decision to drive back to DT and rummage through the fair again solo. I walked away thinking the event was pretty cool and the selection was awesome yet I only came back with one necklace. I knew I needed another run through after checking out the vendors online.

I seem to have missed these interesting and cool finds on Saturday.
I definitely did try to have self control through out the day. After my second run though, I felt better and content as I came home with goodies.
California Card by Paper Parasol Press
California Necklace by Seoul Little Jewelry
Master Key Bracelet by Goat and Kettle
Stone Necklace by Mia Earrings
Meerkat Card by Paper Wilderness
Raw Almond Blossom Honey by Massey Honey Co.
Postcard Print by The Poster List
Lavender Mint Lip Balm by Ripe
After a nice small nap, my friends gathered at my place, we picked up some thai food from Kozy Korner and headed over to Griffith Park. Every summer, the Independent Shakespeare Co. has FREE plays in Griffith park at the Old Zoo area. The play is free and seating is first come first serve. Bring some blankets and have yourself a grand picnic with friends and family. We sure did!
delicious Thai food and wine
"how to take a selfie" tutorial was had prior to the show 
The idea for this evening all stemmed from a recent "Pay it Forward" chain that has been circulating on Facebook. My friend, Jessica, was one of the first five respondents that I was going to pay it forward to. The details in the chain indicated that the action could be anything from a postcard to a gift as long as it was done within the year. Since I was lucky to have it be a friend that also lived blocks away, I thought it was only fitting to have it be a night out. What started with just us two later became a girls night out and it was great!

We caught The Taming of the Shrew and it was really funny. Not having read the play, this definitely had a fun, light hearted tone... and even some skin on stage. The actors were great and the crowd enjoyed their performance as did we.
Tip: Get there early to find parking and to not get stuck behind people with high beach chairs. Just because it's 100 degrees during the day doesn't mean it will be at night. Definitely bring a jacket with you as the nights get a little chilly at the park. Alcohol is technically prohibited but that hasn't stopped any of us. Just be cautious as the cops sometimes patrol the area. Don't forget the corkscrew. ;)

It was a great weekend spent in LA with friends. Would you go to any of these events?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Snail Mail

One of my favorite things in  this world is snail mail: both receiving and sending. Everyone is so busy these days with work and life that sometimes you really need something to make you step back, smile, and reminisce. That small envelope that falls out from the handful of bills and junk mail can easily brighten a day.

Working at Papyrus was a game changer for me and made me appreciate cards more so than ever. Penpal letters instantly became upscale. I found any reason to send out cards while I worked there. Paychecks made their way back to the store. My Christmas distribution list kept USPS busy. Over a decade since my Papyrus days, I still try to send as many cards or packages as possible. As we get older, these cards become the little things that truly make our days. At our age, these special cards also come in the form of invites and thank you notes for weddings and babies.

Today I received a cute hot pink envelope in the mail and got super excited! A special note just because with a cute photo that has now made its way to my fridge. It stopped me in my tracks and brought a cute tear to my eye. As Julie Andrews or Sister Maria would say, these are a few of my favorite things: snail mail, friends, Gauchos, reunions, Disneyland. Ahhh, I just love it!  Totally made my day.

Danny totally gets it and he's just 5 years old. All he wants are birthday cards.

I highly encourage everyone to send Danny a birthday card. I already have.
Danny Nickerson
P.O. Box 212
Foxborough, MA 02035

Glendale Cruise Night

Old Cars. Rockability. Cover Bands. Bar Crawl. Fireworks.
This pretty much sums up Glendale Cruise Night from last Saturday.
Brand Blvd was closed off for blocks, between Doran and Broadway, to house almost 400 classic cars pre-'79. Last year, I was busy bar hopping that I didn't really take a look at any of the cars. This year, we made it a point to walk down the street in between bar stops.

First stop at Jax for a cocktail, Damon's for Mai Tais, oOo and ahhh the cars, pick up empanadas from El Morfi's, pitchers of beer from Charles Billiards and Tavern on Brand, then cap off the night watching The Kingsmen and some fireworks. I love fireworks. Watching them go off in the middle of the street was slightly concerning, but also a nice change.
a little too close for comfort
Till next year...

Monday, July 21, 2014

Jam of My Day: Rollercoaster by Bleachers

Looking forward to catching Bleachers at Outside Lands next month. I was even contemplating getting tickets to see them at the Wiltern later in the year. I'll definitely be jumping and dancing around all over the place during their performance.

Now I'm running and I won't stop; I don't wanna go
I think about it everyday and night; I can't let go
And hey, I'm never the same
It's a hundred miles an hour on a dirt road running away

Does anyone else hear a bit of The Bangles/The Cure from this group? I feel a very 80's vibe.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Keeping Resolutions Update #4

It's July and it's totally common to forget about the resolutions you set forth 7 months ago. I know I haven't provided an update in a long long time on my big resolution. I guess we get really ambitious in January and when life sets in it sometimes gets harder to keep up.

Took me a really long time to get back into things, but I'm happy to report that I finally crossed the border out of Arizona and now in New Mexico!!That's 715 miles YTD!
Unfortunately, this means that I'm incredibly behind on my original plans. We're about 54% into the year but I'm only 29% through the miles of Route 66. To make it all the way through Route 66, I would need to ride 10.34 miles EVERYDAY for the rest of the year. That seems incredibly daunting now. *sigh* When I first started this, I only needed to accomplish 6.7 miles a day. I'm now paying the consequences of completely slacking off. I'm still determined to cross the finish line in Illinois this year. I may have a total Phil Dunphy moment in December. Yes, this entire crazy resolution was inspired by Phil Dunphy from Modern Family with his resolution/deal with Claire to run the distance to Canada in order to keep the elliptical in their bedroom. I need to continue the spirit and remind myself that I can do this.

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