Tag Archives: 50mm F/1.4

Pie Day

Almost a year ago I was having dinner at a lovely German sausage restaurant on Traction Ave in the arts district of downtown LA when I spotted something nearly mythical across the street. What I saw was The Pie Hole, and what I felt was the heart-warming reminder of a quirky tv show I used to love called Pushing Daisies. Now, I really have no idea whether the owners of The Pie Hole named their eatery after pie-maker Ned’s restaurant or not, but in any case this café is quite lovely and not without its own touch of whimsy. The menu seems to change almost daily according to whatever fresh produce the cooks have to work with, and the selection ranges from savory pies stuffed with Brussels sprouts or steak to the sweetest of sweet pies full of Mexican chocolate. I recently had the pleasure of stopping in for a bite and I know that The Pie Hole and I have a bright future ahead.

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The lovely Samsko with her fancy Italian-coffee-I-forget-the-name-of. I am so thankful she and I were able to spend a few days together exploring, eating, watching too much reality tv, and encouraging each other in our walks with the Lord. I love you, Sam! *muah!*

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My Brussels sprouts and soyrizo pie above, Sam’s steak and ale pie below. Yummmeh.

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…And sometimes you just have to buy some sweet pies to go and trek up to the Griffith Observatory for desserts with a view.

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For any curious taste buds:

The Pie Hole | 714 Traction Ave | Los Angeles, CA | 90013

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Paris: 4eme arrondissement

This October, Hôtel de Ville was the site of an exhibition called “Paris vu par Hollywood” (Paris Seen By Hollywood) in which stills, costumes, and clips traced the romanticized image of Paris created by nearly 800 American films. The exhibition exposed the exaggerated stereotypes and generalizations used to create a Paris fit for stars like Gene Kelley, Audrey Hepburn, and more recently Owen Wilson. This Paris is one where cobblestone streets abound, no two corners look alike, and even Belle herself might come strolling past singing some harmonious tune. While the actual post-Haussmann Paris is much different with wide, paved streets and uniform buildings, the iconic Paris of the film world does still exist in the 4th arrondissement. Most of this district remained untouched by Haussmann, with plans for demolition put on hold in favor of other priorities. Thanks to this delay and the eventual end of Louis-Napoléon’s rule, we were left with a piece of Paris which to this day remains tangibly drenched in history. Two of the major neighborhoods in this arrondissement are the Île de la Cité and le Marais.

At the center of the Île de la Cité is a quirky market that dates back to 1808. One day a week, it becomes the “marché des oiseaux,” filled with every type of bird from the canary to the chicken. When Emilie and I strolled through there were no birds but the market was still full of unique cadges and other trinkets.

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We spent a wonderfully overcast morning wandering the Île de la Cité with Leonard Pitt as our guide. I will never forget his story of the 14th-century barber of the Rue des Marmousets who would slit his customer’s throats to provide fresh…pâté…for his neighboring pastry chef. We also learned the love story of Héloise and Abélard, situated on the north side of the island at 9 Quai aux Fleurs. In 1118, Canon Fulbert hired a thirty-nine year-old Abélard to tutor his young niece, Héloise. The classic tale of forbidden love ensued, Héloise bore a child, and Flubert punished Abélard with castration. Héloise was sent to a convent and Abélard to a monastery. Regardless, their love endured, and when Abélard died at sixty-three in 1142, Héloise had his body transported in secrecy to her convent. Twenty years later, she also died at the age of sixty-three, and their bodies were placed in the same coffin which would go on to travel throughout France for the next seven-hundred years. Today, they rest at the Père-Lachaise cemetery, which Emilie and I visited towards the end of our stay.

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Hôtel de Ville from the Île de la Cité.Paris_20121010_0513_1 Paris_20121010_0510_1

Directly to the left of where I stood to take this picture is a place I would never…ever…have thought to visit if it weren’t for Walks Through Lost Paris. This is Hôtel Dieu. Although this is the oldest hospital in the city, dating back to the middle ages, it bears the same mark of Haussmann and Napoléon visible throughout the city and was torn down and re-built in the 19th century. In response to Louis-Napoléon’s demand for a hospital with eight hundred beds, Haussmann began work on this structure in 1867 despite resistance from the Paris medical corps’s argument that a large hospital would be better suited for the outskirts of the city. Such a large hospital also contradicted Napoléon’s desire to create more light and air in the city, but construction began nonetheless. A pretty comical race ensued between Hôtel Dieu and the Opéra Garnier, whose construction began simultaneously. It seemed the Opéra would be finished first, and Napoléon was not so keen on a building for pleasure and merriment taking precedence over a building for medical purposes. Napoléon urged Haussmann to accelerate work on the hospital and asked that the opera builders would do whatever they could to delay their progress. Even so, the Opéra Garnier was completed a full two years before Hôtel Dieu.

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This tranquil garden was, until 1979, the entrance courtyard and parking lot for the hospital. Paris_20121010_0521_1 Paris_20121010_0523_1

Between the garden and the rocky area above was an old piano available for public use. This lent a somewhat eerie vibe to our entire visit. The hospital felt more like an insane asylum to me.Paris_20121010_0527_1 Paris_20121010_0528_1 Paris_20121010_0529_1 Paris_20121010_0530_1 Paris_20121010_0532_1 Paris_20121010_0533_1 Paris_20121010_0534_1

Across the Seine from the Île de la Cité, the Marais is one of Paris’s most charming neighborhoods, offering some of the best falafel and vintage clothing stores in the city (and maybe all of France…but I’m biased). But since this post has swelled to a hefty size I’m going to delay the Marais until next time…

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Birthday Presence

“What do you want for your birthday?” I paused to let The Question sink in. Another year, another birthday. I internally asked myself the same question my friend had just posed. That’s when I realized it happened. I had reached the age at which material things no longer carry the same hope of satisfaction and gratification that they used to. Perhaps this is because I have accepted the truth that they won’t, in fact, sustain my soul. Neither will they retain the same excitement factor they once held when they were shiny and new. But if I didn’t want a present what was it then that I really wanted?

If there’s one thing I’ve longed for the most during this transition season it’s community. I definitely experienced a period of restlessness and discomfort while struggling to grow into life after graduating, and a huge part of this was exacerbated by the fact that in the aftermath of change my friends and I were pretty scattered while we figured out how to piece the puzzle back together. Now that the dust has settled I can confidently and gratefully say that God has blessed me abundantly with the restoration of old communities and the birth of new ones.

So, in response to The Question, I decided that all I really wanted for my birthday was to set aside a day with close friends going to church and doing all of my favorite things in the great city of Los Angeles. Instead of presents from my friends I wanted the presence of my friends.

What resulted was the best gift I could have ever received. A day spent with wonderful people eating our way through LA. Moreover, it was a day drenched in Love. I am so indescribably thankful for each and every moment I have with these people and I am in awe of the work God is orchestrating in our lives both separately and together. As I looked around the table at dinner and the night drew to a close I was overcome by the awareness that we are all threads in the tapestry of life and together we are being woven into a great and perfect design.

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KatieKat and me at the good old Mercantile. A staple and forever favorite.

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The Hollywood Christmas Parade happened to be that evening, so we camped out on Hollywood Boulevard and patiently awaited Santa Clause. We never actually saw him, but in the meantime several Batmobiles, the Ectomobile (Ghostbusters, anyone?), the Scooby Doo van, a Tatooine land speeder complete with Jawas, and many other iconic film vehicles cruised by. …and of course the occasional supersized Elmo or Kermit the Frog.

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IMG_0747_1IMG_0743_1IMG_0754_1Dinner at Figaro Bistrot could not have been more perfect. This is one of my absolute favorite places because it truly feels like France whenever I’m there. Totally and completely.

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(Thanks Kimmie for taking the camera to capture some of the above images! Check out all the interesting and lovely things going on over at her bloggity)

It was pretty fitting that my actual birthday fell on Thanksgiving this year. I was able to stop and truly appreciate God’s provision, faithfulness, and undeserved, unbelievably abundant grace in my life.

Thank you to everyone who made my birthday special whether or not you were in LA with us! You are loved!

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Drink Cheerwine

As September drew to a close, there was only one logical way to celebrate the start of autumn: Apple picking. We trekked out to the same apple orchard I once visited as a Girl Scout (technically a Brownie at that point) and childhood memories flooded back into my head. The air was so crisp and fresh, the sun was warm, and I was in the company of two lovely ladies.

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Sometimes you just need to take some time away from the civilized world with bottles of old fashioned soda pop and apple burritos. Yes, apple burritos.

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Rip ’em.

When spontaneity collided with nostalgia, Tera and I found ourselves in Aldrich Park reminiscing about our time as anteaters. It feels like just yesterday we were students at UCI…but it also feels like eons ago given all that has happened in the past year.

Architecture.

The room was abuzz with Sunday morning patrons eagerly anticipating the consumption of French delicacies and brunchtime delights. We were seated in the front section at Bottega Louie, and although so much activity was swirling around us time seemed to stand still. I think time always stands still on Sundays. For a brief moment I see a glimpse of the Architect at work constructing my life and the lives of those around me. This is most clearly evidenced by the community He has blessed me with, for no brick means anything if it stands alone. I am so grateful for the other bricks in my life and the greater building we are a small part of.

Les macarons pour tout le monde.

^ Sassypants T-Pain.

Life in the in-between.

Life is weird. Especially right now. I feel like I’m living somewhere in-between college and reality. I think I like it though, because it means you can eat waffles for dinner and wander college campuses without the stress of assignments, class, or exams.

Ok one last one…but in color because it’s the Berlin Wall. Yes, Chapman has a piece of the Berlin Wall. I’ve never been to Berlin, but I’ve managed to see a decent amount of the wall without having to leave Southern California.


So I guess I’ll just keep on living in the in-between, in the tension of the already and the not yet.