Saturday, January 25, 2014

a peek around Oro Grande, CA

Playing: Boring-The Brobecks
Reading: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (Actually not as good as I thought it would be.)
In general, I have a fascination with art and artists that choose to create beautiful things out of their surroundings. After visiting Noah Purifoy's Outdoor Desert Museum and Watt's Towers, I thought it was sensible that I go out to Elmer Long's Bottle Tree Ranch. It was quite a drive, but I found the drive to be really beautiful. Seeing how Southern California's landscape changes so quickly has always been interesting to me.
Elmer Long still lives on the property, so if you have any questions, he's more than happy to answer them and give you tours of the area. He's been working on his creation for more than 14 years now and started collecting bottles with his dad as a child on camping trips. Most of the materials he found are things that others tossed away, so it's really incredible to see how he has preserved pieces of history that would've otherwise been lost such as rifles from WWII and glass bottles of Aunt Jemima maple syrup.

Since I went that far to take a look around the Bottle Tree Ranch, I decided to look at the town surrounding it. I liked how rural everything was and it was very picturesque. There's something about how nostalgic and worn in everything looks in places like the desert or inland California that I really enjoy. I like broad, open spaces, but I could never live there. I would choose to live in a big city over a rural area just because I need a lot of human interaction, even if it's just walking in a big group of people.
About a five minute drive away from the ranch was an ostrich farm, so I had to check it out and I realized I actually really like ostriches. They were all curious about us and were really friendly. They would watch me walking around and follow me the way Jacques does. (Seeing them being this cute and amiable makes me feel kind of guilty about owning two ostrich skin purses.) If you decide to check out the ranch or the ostrich farm, I highly recommend getting to Oro Grande earlier because there was a conglomeration of antique shops called Antique Station along the same road that was all closed by the time I got there and I wished I could've seen it.

PS I just got tickets to see New Politics with my friends, so I'm really excited about that. It'll be the sixth concert I've gone to this school year.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

a life's work

Playing: A Shell Across the Tongue-The Drowners
Reading: A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro
A couple of weeks ago, I took a trip out to Watts Towers, which I've been wanting to go to for a long time now. I saw it in a book a few years ago and couldn't get it out of my head since then. A friend of mine, Naomi, and my APUSH teacher also recommended it to me last year. Since both of them generally have good taste, I knew I had to make it there eventually.
The artist, Simon Rodia, spent over 30 years building these towers in his backyard and even let his neighbors climb them for fun. The city of Los Angeles wanted to tear them down at one time, but luckily they're still there. From far away, it looks like a few grey spirals, but up close, it's a colorful mosaic similar to the work of Gaudi. (The major difference is that Rodia did this by himself, while Gaudi had many people to help him.) Even though it's in a dangerous neighborhood, I felt perfectly safe as long as I stayed by the Simon Rodia Art Center. Also, I highly recommend paying for the tour otherwise I don't think you can go through the gates that surround it.
Have I ever told you what a random and eccentric city Los Angeles is? If not, I thought you should see this photo. While I was heading towards Koreatown for lunch, I saw this man patiently sitting there with a large head. It didn't seem like he was waiting for a bus or anything, just sitting there, enjoying life.
Anyways, the main reason for going to Koreatown is to get my favorite fried rice from Mannaria, the Special Shrimp Fried Rice. I love how its topped with Kewpie mayonnaise, katsuobushi and smelt roe. It just has a very interesting creamy/smoky flavor to it and I appreciate the large portions at this restaurant. I also tried Bopioca for the first time and got the Kiwi Green Tea, which was suspiciously neon and artificial. Even though my drink tasted a lot like kiwis, it tasted more like flavored syrup and lacked any sort of tea flavor, so I will not be purchasing from them again in the near future. Hope you have all been doing well! (Do you guys know of any places in Southern California that are worth visiting? I'm starting to run out of ideas and only have five more places on my list of places to go.)

Monday, January 6, 2014


Playing: Lying is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Off Her Clothes-Panic! at the Disco
Reading: The Asylum by Simon Doonan (Very entertaining! This book is definitely a strong reason why Simon Doonan is one of my favorite people in the fashion industry.)
A few weeks ago, I went out to Los Angeles' Art District with Sophie to celebrate her birthday. Sophie's main goal was to check out a small design store called Poketo, which was very quaint. I have driven through the Art District multiple times, but never bothered to look around. If you take the time to actually walk up and down the streets, there are many indie and creative stores to explore.
One of my favorite stores that we looked around was Guerilla Atelier, which had a lot of nice clothing with everything from simple sheath dresses to well done harem pants. It also had an eclectic collection of steak knives, candles, and books to accompany all of the clothing. Everything in there seemed well made and each of the classic designs had a clever twist. It's definitely worth going to if you want a unique (but still easy to pull off) kind of dress.
Once we were finished with the Arts District, Sophie and I walked over to Little Tokyo to explore all of the stores there. I was on the hunt for a specific type of erasers at Kinokuniya, but unfortunately, they weren't selling any. I love how Japanese magazines always come with freebies. It makes it so tempting to buy the magazine just for the cute item that comes with it. I saw Karlie Kloss' editorial for Vogue Japan on tumblr and she did an amazing job like she always does.
Before heading home, we stopped at Boba Club in Little Tokyo's Galleria for cold drinks. The ambiance of the store was kind of weird, since it doubles as a Cherry on Top, but the drinks were fine. Overall, it was a very pleasant day and I'm glad I stopped off to explore the Art District with Sophie. A part of me really wants to go to Los Angeles for college because I love it there so much, but another part of me says that I should go farther from home. I guess it all depends on which universities accept me (and which universities reject me).

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Playing: Out of My League-Fitz and the Tantrums
Rereading: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
When school let out for the winter holidays, I went off with a Tina, Taylor, and Sophie to go hiking. Usually, we would celebrate by getting lunch and then going shopping for an excessive amount of time, but we decided it was better to do a less expensive activity. We found ourselves at the Fish House Market & Grill for lunch, where we ordered their self proclaimed famous fish and chips. Everything about the restaurant was very average. There was nothing wrong with the place, but there was nothing exceptional either.
Left to Right: Tina and Taylor
Afterwards, we went to Irvine Regional Park, which was our desired location. We did the completely touristy thing to do and rented some of these bicycle things to go around the lake on. With the autumn appropriate weather and the yellowing leaves, it felt like we were part of an impressionist painting.
It's odd how Irvine Regional Park has wild peacocks just walking around the park. You would never guess that Orange County had wild peacocks, but sure enough, here they are. At school, it's winter formal asking season, so boys are going out of their way to ask girls to the dance. Since we were watching peacocks court peahens with their display of feathers, we all joked around that it was winter formal asking season for them too.
Left to Right: Sophie, Taylor, and me
Pretty much for the rest of the afternoon, we hiked over boulders and Tina even forced us to go to the top of a cliff, which was a pretty tiring thing to do. Sorry about not posting for over a week, but my internet connection has been very slow and it's been almost impossible to stay connected for more than five minutes. I think I may have some pretty decent posts coming up soon (lots of food pictures). Happy New Years! What's your New Years resolution?