Tag Archives: los angeles

Happy Birthday, Babycakes.

We recently celebrated a dear friend’s birthday on a Sunday at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, situating ourselves amongst the tombstones to nosh on cupcakes and bagels. All reservations aside, the afternoon was incredibly peaceful and surprisingly joyful as we loved on our birthday girl. Despite a near-death experience with an aggressive swan, I walked away feeling like cemeteries might actually be the perfect locales for a quiet afternoon with friends.

I guess I’m 2 for 2 with cheerful jaunts through cemeteries!

 

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Happy birthday, babycakes.

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Sundays in the Arts District

The Arts District of Los Angeles is quickly becoming one of my favorite nooks in the city. We spent a recent Sunday meandering around its streets for a bit of urban exploration. And of course, no trip to the Arts District is complete without a stop at Urth Caffé.

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I love juice!! 🙂

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Having grown up in a city that pushes cookie-cutter suburbia to the extreme, the Arts District is always such a welcome reminder of creativity and culture in an urban setting. Rather than tearing down historic buildings to replace them with modern conveniences, the structures in the Arts District are re-purposed and upcycled to evolve with the culture around them. I love this. A shining example is the old National Biscuit Company (NABISCO) warehouse on Industrial, now converted into luxury lofts. The coveted French bistro Church & State resides on the ground floor and is most assuredly calling my name…..hoping to pay that one a visit soon!

 

If you’re heading Los Angeles definitely plan some time to stop by this area! Some of my other favorite eateries and drinkeries are:

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

Wurstküche | 800 E 3rd St  Los Angeles, CA 90013

The Daily Dose | 1820 Industrial Street #104  Los Angeles, CA 90021

Angel City Brewery | 216 South Alameda Street  Los Angeles, CA 90012

What are your favorite places?

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Suiting up

When I first started this blog two years ago I was riding the high of an inspiring photography walking tour in Seattle and I was fueled by mounting adrenaline as I quickly approached college graduation. Photography was an escape and a destination; a means of turning my back on the traditional career route in favor of the exciting prospect of being my own boss and running my own business. This all was happening in conjunction with Christ drawing me deeper into a relationship with him and making me exponentially more aware of the scope of his kingdom and plans. Slowly but surely this blog documented my development as a photographer and as a follower of Christ, and behind the scenes this translated into my growing desire to use photography to glorify God and serve as a testament to his goodness and beauty.

Here’s where I went wrong:

I started to believe that since my photographic aspirations were aligned with God-honoring intentions, everything should just fall into place easily and smoothly almost as if by magic. God does, after all, have a perfect and wonderful plan. All we have to do is walk in it.

But instead of walking in God’s plan I allowed myself to become busied in other tasks, responsibilities, and jobs. I wasn’t walking, I was waiting for God to swoop in like a magician to sprinkle magic fairy dust over everything and make all my dreams come true. A year and a half later, when nothing had changed, I started to doubt God’s plan for me.

Oh, how wrong was I, thinking God is a magician who works to satisfy our every whim.

Part of our walk with God requires steps, leaps, bounds of faith. This faith is evidence of our trust in God to work out everything for our good according to HIS plan. Not our plan, or our expectations for life, but His plan. I had been so paralyzed by fear of making a mistake or of experiencing disappointment that I wasn’t doing anything to move forward. I wasn’t stepping out in faith because I didn’t trust God, or at least because I didn’t trust God with my plan. The result was nothing short of my feet getting so stuck in the mud that my only choice was to reach up with trusting arms so that God could lift me out of my sterile and controlled environment. The thing about this though, is that I also have to trust that God will place my feet back on good soil. I also have to do my part and take those steps of faith in order to allow God to direct me, realizing that a rejection here or closed door there are merely signposts from God steering me in the right direction.

So I’m taking a step. For a while now I’ve known that in order to really commit to photography in any capacity I needed to pull myself together and invest in a real website with a portfolio that communicates “I’m not just a hobbyist” (because that’s how I was treating my photography and that’s what I was subsequently limited to). I’ve heard it said that a photographer’s website is their handshake, and a photographer’s blog is their voice. Well, I had plenty of voice but I wasn’t making any first impressions. That’s why I decided to suit up, put on my big girl pants, surrender my fear of judgment, failure, etc etc blah blah blah lies lies lies and really take a risk. (Let it also be said that I’m additionally fully committing myself to finding an adult careerish job…hi Mom.)

Today I launched my first official website and I couldn’t be more blessed by the response I received from my family and friends. Thank you ALL for being so supportive of me and encouraging! You are my cheerleaders and I couldn’t run this race without you!

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Here’s to taking risks,

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Angel City

Angel City Brewery is doing cool things. Not only are they participating in the burgeoning Los Angeles craft beer scene, but they are playing an active role in their community. Located in the Arts District of downtown LA, Angel City is dedicated to the growth and development of this neighborhood by hosting events, food trucks, and art exhibits. I’m particularly stoked about an event coming up later this month: Barks, Bubbles & Brews…a dog wash and mini pet adoption to benefit Much Love Animal Rescue. If you happen to be in the Arts District definitely stop by for a good beer and good company. The bartenders are friendly and very well-educated on their craft. Also, they offer free beer…tours.

I can’t really comment on the beer since I’m definitely no connoisseur. You know what I can comment on though? The light. So many rays of beautiful diffused light streaming in all over the place!

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Angel City Brewery & Public House
216 South Alameda Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

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Whitley Heights

It’s been a long while since I last did a Secret Stairs walk. When I stumbled across this book two years ago it launched me into a season of pretty serious urban hiking. Now, my hikes are a bit fewer and farther between. I was able to get out for a walk recently, though, which took me into the Hollywood Hills. Just across the street from the Hollywood Bowl, Samsko and I meandered past residences which once belonged to silent film stars like Rudolph Valentino and Gloria Swanson. Even William Faulkner once called these streets home.

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Los Angeles is just so interesting. I know she’s often regarded as cold and unfeeling, but it is on walks like these that I see her in a completely different light. I see the generations of people she has carried up and down these pedestrian staircases–reminders of a time when cars were an added luxury rather than an essential commodity. I see the trees that have shaded her streets for decades. I see the artistic imprints left by past and current inhabitants, signs that “home” is not a word that defines a space, but rather a space that defines the word and has a different meaning for everyone.

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Let’s hope I don’t go another 6 months or so before staircasing again. Let’s hope.

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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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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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