Exploring the City with Aussie Friends

One of the greatest benefit about living in California is Los Angeles is close by. The first time I went there I was probably around 17 years old. I remember hearing about LA from movies and seeing it on my freeway signs – west to go to Los Angeles and east Palm Springs but I never really gave it much thought.

For the first time this summer, I was able to spend a week in LA. I had a good friend from Australia come visit and I decided to send time in the city with him and hang out with my friend Annette. In college I had met a good group of people in Australia and they became my really good friends, almost like family when I was living there. They took care of me in so many ways and looked after me.

To pay the favor back and to spend time with them, we spent the week together and we did so many cool Los Angeles things. I wanted to share those things with you here. So if you ever travel down, you can do some of the cool things we did.

Griffen Observatory

Carters Restaurant 

Amoeba Music, Sunset / 101 Cafe

Photo Jun 15, 9 03 20 AM

Downtown Burbank

Oceanside, Ca

Mosaic Church, Hollywood

Australian Pie Kitchen, Santa Monica

Warner Brothers Lot, Burbank

Arch light Movie Theaters, Sunset / Counterpoints Records, Franklin Ave.

Sunset Media Building, Australia Channel 9 / Alcove Cafe & Bakery, Hillhurst Ave

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Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

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Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

It was nice to get out into the city, to get reminded of the people who are so different than I. We did Urber, which drove us all over the city, we didn’t have to worry about parking. This summer, try to do something fun, even if its local near by. Put the extra money away so you can stay there and not have to worry about driving. Driving can be one of the most stressful parts of traveling.

I was inspired and came back refreshed, which is the point of traveling as a creative. You differently need to get out of your zone, your circle, have conversations and listen and gather up those stories. I had a good time hanging out with my friends from college, they will always be my best friends no matter how much we’ve changed – its always good to reconnect.

California Road trip – Hollywood

Growing up my parent’s idea of a holiday is staying home. This summer because I wanted to save money, I was about to do that too.. but just couldn’t stay home for a week doing nothing! I talked Gus into doing a road trip with me but this time focus on California. We made our first stop in Hollywood to visit a church. After we went around the blvd and captured some photos and video. Gus shot and edited a travel series of our trip. I’m so happy to share the videos here along with my photos. Keep in mind, I am awkward in front of the camera! Next post – Santa Barbara!



Go get Inspired

There are seasons in life where work feels like that is all we do. When that takes place for me, I usually am in need of a day out. I know when I return home, I have some fresh inspiration. Getting out spending time with people in the real world can bring so much healing to the soul.

Last weekend, I took a day off from work. It was hard to turn off my work brain. I found myself thinking about what was taking place in the office but I had to tell myself my team is doing a great job without me, to enjoy my day out with friends.

When looking for something to eat, we found some food trucks. Next to it, there was this big wall of art. When we moved in closer we realized it was parts of the Berlin Wall. It was hard to believe this is the wall that kept so many people away from their loved ones in Germany.

We made our way to the LACMA to check out some art.  On our drive over we were listening to 90’s music, it was only fitting that we pose for our own 90’s album.

To my luck, the exhibit featured Germany artist and groundbreaking film makers.

It was funny to see everyone on their phones Immediately after. A coffee break was needed, we made our way to Beverly Hills to Urth Coffee.

For dinner we went to one of my favorite Thai restaurants in Los Angeles. Toi. The atmosphere is great and the food and service is amazing.

Before we made out way home I talked everyone in to one more stop…

Amoeba. Here I found some of my favorite albums. Albums I wanted when I was in 7th grade but couldn’t afford. Now they were 3 dollars. haha..

I know I had a good day when I come home full of creative ideas. Now I’m inspired. 🙂

What type of places inspire you?

Doing LA right

Having an authentic LA experience is no easy task. If you ever find yourself in this city, you will see there is too much to do in one day. With bumper to bumper traffic you have to do LA right otherwise it can put you in a bad mood. You must be prepared to have no plan. The trick is letting the city come alive to you.

I usually have an idea of some things I want to do. With my friend in town from Puerto Rico, it was my job to make the city feel like an old friend to him. Over time I have gathered up a few places I like visiting in LA.  I packed my new ipad mini to test out the camera, my gps and we were on our way.

First stop, Griffith Observatory. This is one of the best spots to see the city of Los Angeles. There is lots to do inside but being outside is the most rewarding.

Next we made out way to pick up a friend. She was staying in an area where there was a cool cafe and record store I knew of. We parked by her place and took a walk down the street. This gave us all a break from being in the car and a chance to relax.

For dinner, I recommended pizza. If shared, its cheaper for everyone. I knew of this place in Silverlake that made Chicago deep dish. As we waited to be seated, we placed our order so our food can cook while we wait. We ended up having a good time outside the restaurant, laughing and telling stories.

Later that night we went for a drive downtown to see the old buildings. During the day this would be a mistake, driving across town could take hours, but since it was pass 10pm, it was safe to make the drive. We got there in a few minutes.

After, Joanna mentioned her love for ice cream, lucky there was a place in Silverlake that was open pass midnight. We drove back to where we came from and made out final stop for the day.

As the driver of this trip I wanted everyone to have a good time without worrying about what to do next. It was my opportunity to share some of my favorite spots in LA. Its a city that can stress an outsider out but once you make friends and spend the day with them, the city will no longer feel like a stranger.

Photos: Chinese New Year

With a large city like Los Angeles there is always something taking place. The Chinese New Year was happening in Chinatown and I’ve always wanted to see the dancing dragon so my friend and I made our way to the big city.

The interesting thing was that everyone had a DSLR. It was intimidating but as I began to shoot I noticed they were forgetting to take photos of the most interesting thing, the people reacting to the parade.

It was an awesome time being apart of a different culture 🙂

Adventure in LA

Every LA adventure I have is so different. I always discover something new about the city. Yesterday Anabel and I parked the car and walked around the city.

There is this hidden cafe that makes home style breakfast sandwiches. I discovered this place with some friends last summer and since then stop by when I am downtown.

Harlem Place Alley 124 W 4th St Los Angeles, CA 90013

After breakfast we walked to the Art Gallery. We got lost and found Little Tokyo.

City Hall 200 N Spring St Los Angeles, CA 90012

We walked around the block a few times and finally found The Moca Art Museum to see Art in the Street. Its the summer exhibit of graffiti style projects from the 1970’s. The cool thing is that it’s attracting people who wouldn’t normally step foot in an Art gallery. My film camera didn’t do to well in the low light.

THE GEFFEN CONTEMPORARY AT MOCA 152 North Central Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90012

Afterward we crossed the street to El Pueblo. I find this place so fascinating. They sale so many cool hand-made toys, blankets and lots of Mexican restaurants to choose from. It feels like Mexico city.

Pueblo (Union Station and Olvera Street)

We made our way to the car and drove to Santa Monica. We were planning to get in the water but it ended up being so cold. As you can see I am ready to get a tan.

Santa Monica, CA

After the sunset we decided to go see a movie. Anabel noticed this indie theater down the street so we went to look at the posters to see if anything interesting was playing. Anabel made her FB status “I’m @ Santa Monica with Monica @ Monica Theater 4 watching an independent film not quite by Monica :)” It was great to see my name in lights.

1332 2nd St Santa Monica, CA 90401 (photo yelp.com)

Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen looked good so we bought our tickets and stood in line with 300 old people. We were the only young ones there.

To have an adventure in a big city or even in the next town next to you. Be spontaneous and let the city come alive. Walk around and have some child like wonder. The best things in life are free.

Personality Portraits

I use the city of Los Angeles as a character for my personality photo shoot. My friend and I found different locations and had some fun with the characters that each location created.

– Creating studio lighting with the Sun and the atmosphere around you.

A grass area near the cafe parking lot:

I had my model lay under a tree and place her face towards the sunlight. I wanted her hands to be over her chest to give  a hopeless romantic feel.

The Art Distract had lots of great back drops:

At noon the sun is the most harsh. I used it to my advantage and created a high contract colorful scene.

The cafe we stopped out for a break  had a great atmosphere with interesting lighting. I had her sit across the neon sigh and used my 55mm lens.

The cafe lounge had a small little light, I had my model point it at herself. The small light in the dark area created a high contract, highlighting only one side of her face.

– The atmosphere and clothes match to tell the story:

A run away bride escapes..

Lost in Paris..

The free spirited hippie…

A beautiful Mexican princess..

A young worried career woman..

The music indie lover..

The day dreamer…

Confident beauty…

The inner beauty..

At the end of the day, what matters is who she is when she is alone.

It’s fun storytelling..

The truth is, the story that I am telling is my own. Each character she played is apart of my personality. I didn’t notice that until now. My work is my personality. Neat…I am a real artist. 🙂

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