The Great Wall of Los Angeles (PPAC #1)

Cee Neuner and Marsha Ingrao are co-hosting a Photographing Public Art Challenge which explores public art and how to define public art. This challenge totally excited me because I have taken A LOT of photos of public art around my hometown and around the world. I remembered many years ago after college, my friends and I started blogging as a medium to keep in touch. I guess we thought we were too cool for Facebook.

Anyways one of the things we shared on our blogs was public modern art found in business parks. It sounds random for a lot of people, but for us it was our inside joke. A lot of the sculptures just did not make any sense. We started working our first jobs at the time, so naturally we wrote a lot about work and the “quarter-life” crisis.

For these challenges, I would like to start sharing public art found around my hometown, Los Angeles. First up is the Great Wall of Los Angeles. This mural can be found in the Tujunga Wash. I posted this mural originally in May 2017 when I was doing the 52 hike challenge that year. I loved they made this neighborhood wash a trail.

Though the definition of public art is fuzzy, I believe one of the qualities for art to be public is that it recognizes a piece of a city or town’s history whether it is good or bad. The Great Wall of Los Angeles is one of the longest murals in the world illustrating the history of Los Angeles starting from pre-historic Los Angeles and La Brea tarpit to the Olympic champions in 1984. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the mural from the National Park Services site. I intend to return to take better close-up shots of each section. Maybe that will be my summer project. I’m still designing my summer.

Some public art around the blogosphere:

Our Other Blog: Two Sisters and Two Points of View: lovely roadside art in Tasmania.

WoolyMuses: Portraits on a cement work site

MV Obsessions: I love that mural on the side of the house.

Nowathome: That pink giraffe looks so much fun!

Shade and shadow


“I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

This week is appropriately named since it’s been so hot the last few days in Los Angeles. At some point during the week, we’ve been experiencing temperature high s 106 degrees and it’s not officially summer time! Whenever it gets this hot time I daydream about hanging out somewhere coastal…or anywhere near water really…

amalfi Coast
Amalfi Coast, Italy
lake tahoe
Lake Tahoe, CA
ventura county
Somewhere in Ventura County

Lens-Artists Challenge #152 – Shades and Shadows

Some shades and shadows around the blogosphere:

Large to small

This is an interesting challenge. It reminds me of those cardboard children’s books where each page there is a small cutout of a color and it leads you another object to the next page and on to the next page. If this was a children’s book, it would a color feature and the first page would start off as a large object going down to a small object with that color.

I decided for this challenge to play with the color yellow because it’s warm, inviting, and fun. Plus, I wanted some excuse to share a photo of the gigantic Rubber Duck sculpture. I remembered when the duck arrived to San Pedro many years ago, I dragged my boyfriend (now husband) to go check it out after work. I think if it were to make a children’s board book around the color yellow, these photos could pull it off…

Here are some colors from large and small across the blogosphere!

…plus other fellow yellows!

Lens-Artist Challenge: Large to Small

CMMC – June Color – Yellow

Wedding cake…and other celebratory treats around the world (#1)

“Eat Around the World” is a monthly photo/writing challenge combining the love for food and travel. Share a dish based on the featured monthly prompt. The prompt could be around a particular dish, an ingredient, or a tool. 

Welcome to “Eat Around the World” — a new blog challenge…or is it a blog party? A blog potluck? A blog potluck is fun to say so I am going to stick with that.

This is the first post to kick off what I hope is going to become a long-running series where I invite the blogosphere to share their food around a certain theme each month. I wanted to combine my love of making food, eating food, dining out, and traveling. You don’t have to be a home cook to participate. In fact the inaugural theme is wedding cake and I don’t know many people who have actually made their own wedding cake.

I chose to make it monthly because that’s my bandwidth. But I am hoping I can challenge myself to attempt to make some of these foods throughout the month. Please bear with me since it is my first time doing anything like this.

To participate, please submit complete this brief form for review — this is to ensure that the people participating are well…real people. And it be populated on this sheet. Also, please pingback to this page. At the end of the month I will do a recap post.

The deadline to submit your responses is June 30th at 11:59 PM EST.

If you have any tips on hosting a blogshare (blog potluck), please let me know! I greatly appreciate the feedback!


On to the theme of wedding cakes (and other celebratory treats). I chose wedding cake because June is peak season for weddings. Ironically, I do not like a lot of wedding cakes, especially the ones covered in fondant. Also, my wedding was not in June, it was in October.

The wedding cake is the center piece of any wedding reception. Cutting the wedding cake is its own event on the wedding reception program while the main course and hors d’oeuvres are just something to keep the guests from not being too hungry. I’ve seen some stunning wedding cakes — they almost look like sculptures. But when I look closer and see the cake is covered in fondant, I am immediately turned off. I find fondant barely edible. You’ll probably find me tearing the fondant out as soon as I get a slice.

When it came to my wedding, I did not want to spend a lot of money on a cake that was unpalatable because it was covered in fondant. I get that fondant makes the cake looks prettier, cleaner, and more polished. I understand fondant is all about the photos, not about how it tastes. But sorry, I actually like to eat food in general.

We decided to do a small two-tiered cake and have a dessert bar of cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, and dulce de leche cookies. The cake was made by a friend. She did a vanilla cake with strawberries and cream filling. The cover is vanilla buttercream. Another friend of ours made the cake topper. The cupcakes and cookies were from Porto’s bakery. The vase, cake stand, and pastry covers were from me. The event venue had wooden crates. Though it’s not pictured, the boxes for people to pack their desserts were from Michaels.

I was surprised how incredibly inflated the prices were between a wedding cake versus a regular party cake when looking around for bakeries. The cake could serve the same amount of people, but the wedding cake price would be at least double (or triple) the price of a regular cake. Since I did not have it in my heart to lie that I wanted a cake for a really large party, I thought to look for other creative measures by asking a friend to make a small wedding cake and do a dessert bar of our favorite treats.

Here it is, our wedding cake and dessert bar on a budget.

Our vanilla wedding cake with strawberries and cream filling with vanilla buttercream

I recalled when planning for the wedding, I wanted to have a cookies-only bar. I spent my time researching recipes but did not have any time recipe testing. I spent a lot of time DIY-ing other details for the wedding such as the invitations, centerpieces, table cards, etc. I was DIY burnt out from the wedding. A few years later I did have an opportunity to do a cookies bar for a friend’s wedding. I was so enthused to contribute the moment she told me about her engagement.

Share us your wedding cake — whether you were the bride, groom, or guest! Or was there no wedding cake and you served donuts? Or share with us other celebratory treats from around the world — whether it’s celebrating a birthday, promotion, a new home, graduation, paid off your credit card debt, etc. because honestly there are many other milestones worth celebrating. You can pingback to this post or submit your post on this this form. The deadline to submit your responses will be June 30th at 11:59 PM EST.

Find me in a garden…

My favorite place to go are gardens and parks. I like to go there to find calm from a busy week. Also, I like to learn about different plants and grab some inspiration for my own yard someday. Every year during the holiday season I remind my husband we have to go to the garden to enjoy the holiday lights. Forget going to the mall! I’m going to the garden. Plus don’t forget to reserve tickets as early as possible!

Anyways, here are a few gardens I’ve visited in the past. For this week I went through my WordPress media archives to find plenty of garden photos.

Getty Villa in Malibu

getty villa malibu entry tree

A Mediterranean style garden in Malibu.

The Arboretum in Arcadia – Moonlight Forest

I have not gone to the Arcadia Arboretum in the daytime. I only went there a couple years ago for the holiday season where they transformed the place into a garden of lights. These are just a few of the photos I took that day. The original post was from a previous Lens-Artist challenge.

Descanso Gardens — Enchanted Forest

Another garden I visited during the holiday season. I love how the different colored lights are shining on the branches; the blue looks little magical but the gray branch with the green in the background looks little creepy. Here’s the original post with a few more photos from Descanso Garden. I’d like to return for the cherry blossom festival in fall.

Huntington Library

Huntington Library is one of my favorite places to go. I’ve had a couple of posts featuring a picture or two — but that’s nothing, it deserves a solo post. Many years ago, I entertained the idea of having our wedding at the Huntington, but we did not have $100,000 for the venue fee. If you are wondering, the fee does NOT include food and beverage, photography, music and entertainment, flowers, rentals, tents, supplemental security, and cost of event planner or producer. I understand they are an estate first, not an event center.

https://japanesegarden.org/Portland Japanese Garden

When we were in Portland, we rented a bike to explore the city. We went far enough and ended up at this Japanese Garden. It was not in our itinerary, but it we thought “let’s check it out.” It’s a small garden but there’s lots to see!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #147: Gardens (Host: Amy)

Harpa Concert Hall

The unusual shapes and the way the walls and ceilings capture light makes the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik a fun building to take photos. One of my biggest regrets was not watching a show at the Harpa — I don’t care what show. It could have been a concert, a comedy act, play, or a ballet — I wanted to watch something at this concert hall. We went to Reykjavik in November of 2017. I told my husband I would like to return here in the spring or summer when is greener. Maybe we’ll even watch a show at the Harpa.

Harpa on a sunny day. Around 11 am.

Elongated hexagons
Hexagon on hexagons
Rectangles, parallelogram
Cubes

The Harpa when it’s dark at eight in the morning. Yes, we made a second visit to the Harpa the following morning. See how it transforms in the dark. It looks like the building transformed from clear crystals and silver to smoke and rose gold.

Rectangles

November in Iceland is short. The mornings are dark and the sun stays up for a few hours before setting around 4 PM. That is why I wanted to avoid saying morning and night.

Do you prefer the Harpa in the light hours or the dark hours? Comment below!

Lens-Artist Challenge: Geometry

CMMC – Bright Rectangles

Natural Light

I don’t remember the last time I’ve used a filter on social media. Maybe when I first got my dog, Teddy? I thought, “why would I filter my dog? He’s great just the way he is.” That was about six years ago.. Since then I have not bothered with filters and presets and it’s been incredibly liberating.

Teddy does not require a filter.
Neither does Koda

Anyways, here are some photos with no filters. I enjoy playing with light when I use my camera whether it is an SLR or my phone. I like to let nature be the painter.

Hiking trail in Hollywood
Iceland
Somewhere in the Pacific Northwest
Chau Doc, Vietnam
Amalfi Coast, Italy
Joshua Tree, California
Salton Sea, California
Lake Tahoe, California
A road trip from many years ago. Somewhere in the USA.
Downtown Los Angeles from my work place

One year ago today…

Saumur, France

Last February, we went on a multi-city trip around Europe. Who knew this was going to be the last time we’d travel like this for a while. Nowadays, we don’t even travel outside of the county to visit my in-laws. I tell myself we will travel again.

Oh yeah…I was pregnant and did not even know it at the time.

The weather in LA today looks and feels like the weather when we visited Saumur last year. Just as cold, just as gray.

Life according to my first digital camera

The first digital camera I ever bought with money I earn from my first job was a Canon point-and-shoot camera. Before that I would buy a series of cheap point-and-shoot 35 mm cameras and one-time-use cameras with money I earned through meager allowances and babysitting gigs. The Canon camera was my first big purchase in my life — it was the first items I bought in my life that was more than $50 — actually I remembered it was around the ballpark of $250+ in the early 2000s. At the time, my Canon point-and-shoot was the most expensive thing I owned and I was devoted to taking care of it, hoping it would last me a long time. From my senior year in high school at 17 years to 23 years old, it had a pretty good lifespan. Here is where it took me according to my Canon:

Lens Artists #133– My Photography Journey

Striped and Checked

This week’s photo challenge was a little tough and then I found this little gem. This was from my Zion trip back in 2016. I went to Zion many years ago before, but I did not recall this unusual checker-pattern rock formation.

Striped and Checked

Found Paddington Bear in Peru

Location: Lima, Peru

Paddington is a Spectacled Bear native in Andean jungle and the only bear species in South America. You’ll find this statue is one of the many landmarks you’ll find along the Miraflores boardwalk.

Tuesday Photo Challenge: Salvaged

I went to the September 11 Memorial and Museum in the summer of 2012. I came across this sculpture of the old New York sky line. The medium was a salvaged piece of the World Trade Center. Definitely not junk.

Theme: Junk