Monday, April 7, 2014

What Happened To March?

Passed Pawnee City Hall one day.
Bacon waffles might be the best culinary idea Isabel and I have had.
Neighborhood wildflowers
The actual Grand Budapest Hotel!
Pumpkin and prosciutto pizza with Isabel
Kiwi is my new favorite agua fresca flavor.
I love my job.
My gallery is now complete! Finally hung up one of Elis' prints!

How was your March?


Monday, March 31, 2014

That time Estrella came to LA and I didn't take any pictures of her

Nowadays when I get to see Estrella we have so much to talk about and there are so many things we want to do with our short time together that I completely forget about taking pictures. Usually I at least get a couple but this time I took not one picture of her or us together! I realized later that we usually take our selfies while we're sitting on the pier, which didn't happen this time because she came to visit me so there was no pier.

Regardless, it was so nice to finally have her here in LA! We saw a Poem Store which was so special because we were together the first time we ever saw a Poem Store at a street fair in Oakland, and I've actually never seen one anywhere else. We also got some ramen at Daikokuya and explored Little Tokyo and Olvera Street for a bit before her train. It never seems like we have enough time! Hopefully the universe and our schedules will align again soon.


Monday, March 17, 2014

There's Always Money in the International Banana Museum

Banana museum
The day we went to Salvation Mountain was really an action packed day! On the way to Niland we passed a sign for a "World Famous International Banana Museum", so of course on the way back we kept an eye out and pulled over to investigate.

We didn't take any pictures inside because there was a sign asking that you make a purchase or a donation before taking any, but we did take some pictures with the stuffed banana outside, and the banana bug. The museum was actually pretty small but stuffed with boxes and cans from banana flavored foods, and other banana related items like a Bananas in Pajamas toy and a UCSC banana slugs sweater. There was also a counter where you could order milkshakes, presumably banana flavored as well.

Banana museum
Banana museum
Banana museum
Banana museum
Banana museum

Unexpected gems are really the best thing about road trips.

Bottom two photos taken by Isabel

Monday, March 10, 2014

What happened to February?

I liked the idea of a photo round-up post, so I think I'll keep it going. Here are all the bits and bobs of things that happened in February.

February 2014
Glitter boots in the sunshine
February 2014
The best boba in the world (sans boba)
February 2014
What's Valentine's Day without macaroons?
February 2014
Breakfast at night!
February 2014
Car packed for a desert adventure
February 2014
My last Christmas bath bomb


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Salton Sea

Salton Sea
On the way back from Salvation Mountain, we stopped at the Salton Sea.

I hadn't heard of Salton Sea before I started looking up Salvation Mountain, and even then I didn't know any details about it. I'm still not quite sure how I feel about it. The shore is made of dead fish, which is disturbing enough to look at, but standing on it was such an unpleasant sensation I can't even completely describe how unsettling it was. In some places it was squishy and my feet were almost sinking into the dead fish mulch; I had to backtrack on to a firmer patch because I couldn't handle stepping on the squishy bits. The water looked horrible close-up, almost like sludge.

Salton Sea
Salton Sea
Salton Sea
Salton Sea
Salton Sea
Salton Sea
Salton Sea
But then from a few steps back the lake looks gorgeous and peaceful.

Salton Sea
It was a very, very strange place, and I kept thinking about it days after our trip. I read about how the sea was created by accident and how at one point they tried to make it into a Palm Springs-esque tourist destination but it never panned out. Now the sea is fed by agricultural run-off and the rising saline levels in the lake (it's currently saltier than the ocean) caused the massive fish die offs that give the sea it's eerie atmosphere. I found a movie on Netflix called "Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea" which goes much more in depth on the environmental crisis that is the Sea, and on the communities that live in Niland/Bombay Beach. I definitely recommend checking it out if you're interested.

Salton Sea

Top photo taken by Isabel

Monday, February 24, 2014

FUN in LA: The Huntington Part 2

We went back to the Huntington! It turned out that we happened to go on day 2 of the Camellia Show, so they had camellias for sale outside and inside they had the winning camellias on display.

They were all so beautiful! I had no idea there was so much variation within the species, it was incredible to see the differences in size and petal shape.

After we left the camellias we popped into the greenhouses, and eventually we made our way over to the Chinese garden, which we had missed last time.

The customary shot of the back of my mom's head.

We also walked through the Children's garden, which we had never seen before! It may be built for children, but everything was just my size.

It was the perfect day for a garden stroll! It was so nice to be outside enjoying the clouds and the slight chill. I know people living in places that get a real winter probably think I'm crazy, but there's no fun in 80 degree days in January/February, so I relish the few cloudy days we get.

I can't wait to go back! I'm seriously considering getting a membership. There's always something new to see!


Thursday, February 20, 2014

FUN in LA: Salvation Mountain

To be honest, I don't even remember when or where I first heard about Salvation Mountain. It's possible that I first saw it during it's cameo in Into the Wild, or in the A Beautiful Mess archives, or that I just saw a picture on tumblr somewhere. The first time that I thought of it as a place that I could actually go see was when my mom and I went to Palm Springs in 2012, and I wanted to make a detour to see it on the way. We were planning on going, but we ended up just staying in Palm Springs where there was air conditioning. (I don't know why we always end up going into the desert in August, but there you go. Driving out to the middle of nowhere in temperatures over 110 degrees doesn't always seem like the best idea.)

So what I'm getting at is that I've wanted to see Salvation Mountain for about 2 years now, so I was very excited when I brought it up to my friend Isabel and she said she wanted to see it too. We decided on a day and made plans to trek out to Niland to see Leonard Knight's creation. I was so sad when I heard just days before our trip that Leonard had died, and that news cast a different light on my experience of the mountain. It went from a piece of art to one man's life's work.

It took us about three hours to get down there, and the last hour of the drive there was literally nothing around. Just road and desert. When we finally caught sight of the mountain it was this big splash of color rising out of the emptiness. We walked all around it, inside it, and climbed the mountain and I was just blown away by it. Just the sheer size of it is incredible, and then you realize that one man built the whole thing and it becomes that much more mind-blowing.

There are signs on the mountain designating it as an American Folk Art site, and Isabel said something I thought was really interesting, that Salvation Mountain felt "very American." She talked about how the monuments and tourist attractions in Europe are usually religious, and this was like the American counterpart. I liked that a lot, it got the American Studies minor part of my head buzzing. I totally agree with her. I think in relation to the European cathedrals and shrines that were built as tributes to God over hundreds of years by thousands of people, it does seem really fitting that the American version would be built by one man all by himself out in the desert. It was hard to shake the John the Baptist vibes I got from the place too; a voice crying out in the wilderness that God is love.