Griffith_Observatory-south view

The Iconic Griffith Observatory

Griffith_Observatory-south view

I practically grew up at Griffith Park in Los Angeles. I remember Earth Day celebrations in the park where I planted tree saplings with my Dad, walked the forest trails and became totally mesmerized by that giant swaying ball in the Griffith Observatory lobby. Seriously, I would watch it for hours trying to decide if it was swaying from the Earth's magnetic pull or rather some machine in the ceiling. While there is much to Read More

Pink lotus flower macro

Sea of Sacred Lotus Flowers in Los Angeles

Pink lotus flower macro

I recently visited the lotus flowers at Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles, a place I have happy memories of as a kid. For those of us who love flowers, this is a bit of a dream come true, especially in such an accessible and non-exotic location. The flowers are so beautiful, it's a bit surreal. Hundreds of blooms in white, pink and yellow frame your view of the lake in every direction, with ducks and paddle boats providing that Read More

1929 Duesenberg Model J LeBaron DC Phaeton

Vintage Cars at Greystone Mansion, Beverly Hills

1929 Duesenberg Model J LeBaron DC Phaeton

Always on the lookout for unique things to do in Los Angeles, I jumped at the chance to attend an afternoon at the Greystone Mansion's Concours d'Elegance. I'm not specifically a car person, but the stunning colors and curves of the collection showcased this year got me very excited. Weird, I know. Located at the Greystone Estate in Beverly Hills, the annual Concours d'Elegance continues to be one of the most exclusive Read More

Lake Arrowhead_sunset over San Bernadino Mountains

Sunset over Mountains at Lake Arrowhead

Lake Arrowhead_sunset over San Bernadino Mountains

Camera: Sony NEX-3N Iso: 200 Focal Length: 28mm Aperture: f/6 Exposure Time: 1/20 On the route between Los Angeles and Lake Arrowhead, along the CA-18 Highway, you'll have several chances to soak up the sweeping vistas of San Bernardino National Forest. As I watched the fiery sun fall below the horizon, "blue hour" lasted no more than five minutes, casting a moody blue light over the mountains. It was an appropriate end Read More

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Crystal Cove, Newport Coast California

crystal_cove_binocuars

The coastal California getaway known as Crystal Cove is about as hidden as it gets; driving along the Pacific Coast Highway you would never know what awaits below unless you've been there. Each year, over 25,000 visitors stay here in California's last surviving historic beach community which flourished from 1935 to 1955. It is an excellent spot for families exploring the tide pools, cocktails with friends, passing through on a Read More

treasure_island_path_laguna_montage

Favorite Gems in Laguna Beach

treasure_island_path_laguna_montage

As a California native I have always been drawn to the coast. When I first started driving in Los Angeles, I was constantly getting lost and always ending up at the beach. Between Los Angeles and San Diego we have some epic coastal scenery; it's easy to stay on the freeway and miss some of the best places! Next time you're passing through or even doing a west coast road trip, check out these coastal gems. I promise you won't Read More

toucan_sama_lazoo

Wildlife Photography at the Zoo

toucan_sama_lazoo

I recently got my hands on some new lenses (50mm prime + 300mm telephoto zoom) and I wanted to try them out at the LA Zoo. The reason is simple: I love animals and I'm working on improving my wildlife photography. The timing turned out to be perfect. Just three days earlier one of the female hippos gave birth to an adorable baby. The pair cuddled while the papa stayed close (see photo below). Check out my photos and I'd Read More

best_whale_watching_california_blue_whale_tail

We Saw Five Blue Whales!

best_whale_watching_california_blue_whale_tail

This summer I found a fantastic outing with Captain Dave's Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari. I love the idea of this trip for several reasons; they have been recognized for their whale rescue efforts and have produced an award winning documentary and a great book on the subject, the tours are small in size and they take daily trips off the coast of Dana Point, California, where there are more blue whales and dolphins than Read More

Amandine-Cafe

Los Angeles Foodie Favorites – I’ll Have The Usual

Amandine-Cafe

While Los Angeles is a major hub for food lovers and new restaurants regularly open all over the city, I stand by my long-term favorites. These are the places where I always order the same mouth-watering dishes when I visit. I day dream about them.... You know exactly what I'm talking about.  Tell me in the comment section below what your favorite restaurants and dishes are. I would love to try them and expand my list Read More

manhattan beach walking street ocean view

Taste Manhattan Beach – Award Winning Breakfast

manhattan beach walking street ocean view

I adore Manhattan Beach. One of my other loves is breakfast / brunch. Seriously, what's not to love about sunshine and a brilliant spread of waffles, veggie omelets, blueberry or banana pancakes and fresh fruit? Where am I going with this? Saturday morning breakfast in Manhattan Beach at Uncle Bill's Pancake House. Sit on the patio of this house built in 1908, soak up the ocean-air, sipping your OJ and have one of Read More

Getty Villa Malibu Los Angeles Ancient Roman Museum Must See Gardens Facing West

Getty Villa – The Road Less Traveled

Getty Villa Malibu Los Angeles Ancient Roman Museum Must See Gardens Facing West

While the famous Getty Center Museum atop a hill in Brentwood, California draws over 1.3 million visitors annually, the Getty Villa in Malibu is really the road less traveled and should be on your short list to visit in Los Angeles. The Getty Villa is an educational center and museum dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece and Rome. It is a lesson in art, history and nature. And dedication. And Read More

Mothers Day Personalized Perfume

Making A Personal Fragrance is Fun & Affordable

Mothers Day Personalized Perfume

Why not create your own personalized fragrance that is yours and only yours? The fragrance and skin care hot spot in Burbank, California, known as KleanSpa has made it not only fun, but totally affordable. KleanSpa is a product line founded in 2005 by Jennifer Hardaway, one which she describes as a journey of discovery that will dip into exotic oils, butters and fragrances and will delight you and your skin. Their Read More

Hollywood sign from the path at Hollywood Lake

Lake Hollywood, The Road Less Traveled

Hollywood sign from the path at Hollywood Lake

Hollywood Reservoir, also known as Lake Hollywood, is a definite hidden gem. Most people visit for the paved, flat, pedestrian trail extending a 3.2 mile loop around the perimeter of the reservoir. It's enjoyed by joggers, walkers and bicyclists every single day.  The walk is peaceful and you'll see some great views of Lake Hollywood, Los Angeles and the Hollywood sign. Most people who visit for the first time ask Read More

champagne cruise marina del rey

Champagne Brunch Cruise in Marina Del Rey for a Great Discount

champagne cruise marina del rey

I had the chance to experience the Champagne Brunch Cruise hosted by Hornblower Cruises at the Marina Del Rey Harbor in California.  It was pretty great, and I found a great discount too, so I wanted to share! The Champagne Brunch is held aboard one of their luxury yachts every Sunday of the year. It offers a few hours escape from the traffic and chaos that is Los Angeles. You'll have a very well-prepared brunch buffet Read More

Outdoor movie film screen

Last Hurrah for Summer Outdoor Movies in Los Angeles

Outdoor movie film screen

 If you live in Los Angeles, you more than likely enjoy the long summer days and warm summer nights. Most would agree that outdoor film showings are a perfect opportunity for hanging outdoors as long as you can, enjoying the great weather and good friends. While daylight savings time will sadly end soon, you still have plenty of opportunities to invite some folks out and have a fun outdoor movie night over the next few Read More

TheOCmix_Portola

A New Breed of California Shopping Mall

TheOCmix_Portola

If you have any reason to be in Costa Mesa or passing through, I recommend a quick visit to this place. It's between Los Angeles and San Diego. What drew me in originally is an organic specialty coffee shop called Theorem by Portola Coffee Lab. I read that they give you an intimate experience at their six-seat "craft coffee lab" and use old bartending trends like adding barrel aged bitters to caffeinated drinks – pretty Read More

Hacienda Inn Hot Springs hotel pool

Desert Hot Springs Retreat – Summer Special

Hacienda Inn Hot Springs hotel pool

This summer special at the Hacienda Hot Springs Inn in California might be exactly what you need. It is a "Boutique Mineral Spa Hotel" just 2 hours north of Los Angeles and 20 minutes from Palm Springs. Their deal right now is $225 for accommodations for two with sauna and mineral water, a 60 minute spa treatment, organic breakfast, a bottle of champagne or wine, art museum passes and extended checkout. Pretty good Read More

fifty shades of blue in rock mineral form

Fifty Shades of Blue

fifty shades of blue in rock mineral form

The Gems and Minerals Hall at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum is incredibly awe-inspiring and the colors alone are impressive. I wanted to share my photos as a reminder how vibrant nature can be. How to Get Discounts at the Museum The best time to go is on the first Tuesday of the month when all admissions are free (except in July and August). Otherwise the admission is $12 for an adult, $5 for kids 12 and under and Read More