Hiking to Sturtevant Falls

A couple of weekends ago, I spent a few hours ago with my brothers, nephew, and niece and went hiking. It was the first time I’d gone hiking in… 5 years? So, I was pretty excited to go. We hiked in the Big Santa Anita Canyon and took a trail to Sturtevant Falls then took another trail up to the top. We arrived around 6:30am and the parking lot at the top was PACKED! We parked a little big down the hill on the side of the road, the trek up to the beginning of the hiking trail wasn’t too bad from where we were parked.

I figured this blog could use some different pictures aside from all the beauty products, so enjoy! Note: These were all taken with the iPhone5s.

This was one of the first views we got when we started the hike down the paved road.





Much of the trail was canopied by beautiful trees so it didn’t get hot at all.





This is one of my favorite pictures. I love the reflection in the water.



And the main reason why we came– the waterfall!





This next photo was from the second trail that we took that went up along one of the hills– literally, on the edge of the hill, the path was so narrow and pretty rocky. It went up higher than the waterfall. We made it about half way through the trail before I started to die and we made out way back down.



And back down we go, back to civilization.


Hope you enjoyed the photos! I’m excited to go hiking again and explore different trails and when I do, you know I’ll be posting pictures again ;).


Hollywood Farmers Market

I hate hot weather. What do I consider hot? Anything above 75 degrees F. I do not belong in Southern California– the weather in the Spring through Fall do not jive well with me. So why do I stay here? Because of everything else about Southern California. But whether it’s fall, winter, spring, or summer, one of the things I love to wake up bright and early in the morning for is the farmers markets. There’s something about being surrounded by all the fresh produce and plants grown by local farmers that really gets you going and excited to cook something up.

I haven’t been to many farmers markets, I mostly frequent the small one in my hometown that has maybe 30 or so stalls with many selling the same items. So, when my parents decided to visit me this past weekend I took advantage of it. They typically spend the weekend– the first day is used for doing work around the house and the second is used wandering around the area with my dad tagging along (my dad NEVER goes out with us when I go to their house to visit). He tags along the second day because 1) he gets the important work done on day one of their visit and 2) he tends to only bring one clean change of clothes so he hasn’t got any spare clothes to get dirty from working again.

Sorry, this was the only picture I managed to take while we were there. I got too caught up in enjoying the sights, the smells, and all the people that I didn’t snap more pictures.

My explore-something-new pick for this past weekend was a farmers market. Initially, the plan was to take them to one close by my daughter’s school but after reading reviews for the CORRECT market, I decided against it and to Yelp I went looking for others around the area. My search turned up the Hollywood farmers market and, on my, almonst 300 reviews with an overal 4.5 out of 5 stars?! Yelpers have yet to steer me wrong so we made the approximately 15-20 minute drive over the hill down to Hollywood.

I hate looking for parking and I like to be early for everything to beat the crowds so we had no trouble finding parking. As we walked down the street and entered the farmers market, we were welcomed by the smell of fresh cooked culinary deliciousness wafting through the air. It smelled AH-mazing. We browsed through all the produce and plants before entering the cooked food area.

Vegetables and fruits (with many organic) galore! The first stand that caught my eye was one that had their fruits displayed quite gorgeously and, more specifically, these cherriums “spilling” out of baskets. What the heck is a cherrium, I thought. I’ve never seen those at Ralphs or Food 4 Less. No sh*t, Sherlock. (You guys ever say that as kids? I sure did.) A cherrium is a “cherry & plum combination” that will “tickle your taste buds.” When I saw the fruit before reading the sign I thought they were rainier cherries (my fave). I felt a little deceived by their appearance when I finally did read the sign. I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed about that. But the friendly farmers had samples of the cut fruit and, ohhhmahgod, all the disappointment washed away. They are gorgeous fruits in terms of appearance, that’s a given. Some of them were the size of regular cherries and some the size of cherries on steroids.

One of the larger cherriums next to a bing cherry.

They aren’t on steriods, don’t worry. Biting into the fruit for me is most reminiscent of biting into a fresh plum. The taste and texture resembled the green plums that my parents used to grow in their backyards– slightly sour but oh so sweet.


Here is some of the other loot that I brought home:

Lamb hass avocados, $1/each. Cherriums, $3.50/lb. Eggplant, $3/lb.

My daughter came along for the trip as well. Her favorite parts? The strawberries and all the dogs (they were all on leashes so no worries there).

The crowd picked up about an hour into it so if you’re like me, it’s best to get there when it first opens. Most, if not all, of the produce stands were already set up as were many of the cooked food stands. Overall, a very successful trip to the Hollywood Farmers Market. I will definitely be going back and if you see me there, don’t forget to say hi. I’ve either eaten or (unselfishly) given most of my cherriums away for others to try so my next visit may be sooner than I thought.

Exxopolis Luminarium

A couple of weeks ago, Cal State Long Beach hosted the Exxopolis luminarium on campus and it was open to the public for four days. When I saw pictures, I immediately knew… I HAD TO GO. There are a few things that I have always been fascinated by: fireworks, pretty colored lights, water fountains, and funky shaped architecture. I think Exxopolis loosely fits into the pretty colored lights category as well as funky shaped architecture.

I perused the Architects of Air website for information about Exxopolis. So on the Saturday of the exhibit weekend, four generations of the women in my family made the short drive to the university ready to be mesmerized. When we pulled into the parking lot of the Pyramid, we saw this funky thing in the grassy field: IMG_5152

Kind of looks like a blow up version of something out of the King Arthur days, doesn’t it? OK, maybe it’s just me who thinks that. We purchased our tickets and waited in line for about 30-45 minutes. It was a cloudy day with questionable rain and I had an impatient 2 year old bouncing around so it was a very long 30-45 minute long wait. But I thought it was worth it because when we stepped into the unusual “building” I was immediately in awe.

Now remember when I said it loosely fits into the pretty color lights category? That’s because there are no lights! No man-made lights anyway. The entire plastic luminarium is lit by natural light. The colors that you see are created by the natural light through different colors of plastic material. It was remarkable. The structure had three rooms– red, green, and blue, curved walls, with round alcoves in and around each room. One in particular had AH-mazing panels that were created to resemble stained glass windows.


Another housed a structure called “The Tree” for obvious reasons.


I couldn’t get crazy with the angles because there were quite of few people already inside by the time we got in and I wanted as many people-less pictures as I could get. We wandered around for about 20 minutes which was the “time limit” everyone was given. My kiddo didn’t seem to pleased about leaving either.


Anywho, read on for more pictures.

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