San Francisco

fullsizeoutput_4997These past few days I was in San Francisco, where I met up with a friend from Frankfurt, Germany! She was attending a conference in the states, so we decided to make a little trip of it. We were lucky enough to stay with two of her friends, who quickly became mine as well. They were so kind to show us around the city and give us the royal San Francisco treatment. I’d been to the city twice before in my life, but it never gets old. It’s so artsy and unique, I could definitely envision myself there one day. I say that about a lot of places, but it’s true! Guess I’ll just have to live everywhere 🙂 fullsizeoutput_4998fullsizeoutput_4999fullsizeoutput_499afullsizeoutput_499bfullsizeoutput_499cfullsizeoutput_499dfullsizeoutput_499efullsizeoutput_499ffullsizeoutput_49ebfullsizeoutput_49a3fullsizeoutput_49a4fullsizeoutput_49a5fullsizeoutput_49a6fullsizeoutput_49a9fullsizeoutput_49eafullsizeoutput_49aafullsizeoutput_49abfullsizeoutput_49affullsizeoutput_49b0fullsizeoutput_49b1fullsizeoutput_49b2fullsizeoutput_49b3fullsizeoutput_49e9fullsizeoutput_49b4fullsizeoutput_49b5fullsizeoutput_49b7fullsizeoutput_49bbfullsizeoutput_49befullsizeoutput_49bffullsizeoutput_49c2fullsizeoutput_49c3fullsizeoutput_49c4fullsizeoutput_49c7fullsizeoutput_49c8fullsizeoutput_49c9fullsizeoutput_49cafullsizeoutput_49e8fullsizeoutput_49cbfullsizeoutput_49ccfullsizeoutput_49cdfullsizeoutput_49cefullsizeoutput_49cffullsizeoutput_49e7fullsizeoutput_49d0fullsizeoutput_49d1fullsizeoutput_49d2fullsizeoutput_49d3fullsizeoutput_49d5fullsizeoutput_49d7fullsizeoutput_49d8fullsizeoutput_49d9fullsizeoutput_49dafullsizeoutput_49dcfullsizeoutput_49ddfullsizeoutput_49defullsizeoutput_49dffullsizeoutput_49e0fullsizeoutput_49e6fullsizeoutput_49e4fullsizeoutput_49e5

Joshua Tree National Park

fullsizeoutput_40d1Last week I packed up everything I own in my car and set off for Texas with my dad. The trip from California to Texas is beautiful and, well, long. We stopped in Joshua Tree National Park in the California desert to explore for an afternoon. It is one of my dad’s favorite places in the world, and he tries to go at least once a year. But this was my first time! We are going to the U2 concert in a few weeks, which celebrates their seminal album “The Joshua Tree,” inspired by this place. They don’t have anything like this in Ireland, so I can see why it captured the band’s attention. The landscape is so harsh, yet strikingly gorgeous. Below are a few photos if you’d like to see!fullsizeoutput_40d2fullsizeoutput_40d3fullsizeoutput_40d4fullsizeoutput_411ffullsizeoutput_40d5fullsizeoutput_40d6^The valley stretches on for miles and miles, as far as the eye can seeIMG_6477fullsizeoutput_40d9fullsizeoutput_40dafullsizeoutput_40dbfullsizeoutput_40dcfullsizeoutput_40ddIMG_6528fullsizeoutput_40de^Selfies with my DSLR are always an interesting experience hahafullsizeoutput_40e1IMG_6575fullsizeoutput_40e3^My prized possession 🙂 She’s done really well on this long trip and it makes me proudfullsizeoutput_40e4^Trying to pose like Bonofullsizeoutput_40e5fullsizeoutput_40e6^Couldn’t resist the filters on these last two! I’m still stuck in 2010 apparently (lol)fullsizeoutput_40e7fullsizeoutput_40e8^We passed through this tiny town that reminded me so much of the movie “Cars.” The little motels, the signs, everything! I was looking around for Lightning McQueen ;pfullsizeoutput_40e9fullsizeoutput_40eaHave a good one friends– I’m off to drive another couple hundred miles today…

P.s. Stay tuned for photos from the Grand Canyon and Santa Fe

An Ode to Los Angeles

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I have lived in Los Angeles for twenty one years.

So, by my careful calculations, I have spent a total of two years stuck in traffic, approximately three thousand dollars on non-fat lattes, and seen a cumulative of four and a half celebrities in person, give or take a few B-level soap stars I barely recognized in Whole Foods, where they were no doubt buying gluten-free, taste-free chocolate cake.

I recently graduated from college, and plan to move to Germany in September for the foreseeable future. All this transition has me feeling nostalgic about my home city, and has made me reflect on the many things I will and will not miss about this place. It’s funny, isn’t it? There comes a certain affection for a place that is only accessible to those about to leave it.

Truth be told, most of the time Los Angeles drives me absolutely crazy. The fast paced, never-ending hustle, the obsession with physical appearance spurred on by the pervasive influence of Hollywood, the ridiculously high cost of living, and so much more often builds up until I say, “I can’t do this anymore. I give up.”

On the other hand, I love Los Angeles with a deep, fierce love that can never be replaced. I am annoyingly proud to call it home and have been known to shout out the phrase “West Coast Best Coast!” at inopportune times. There’s a reason so many songs are written about this city and not, say, Wichita (no offense Wichita, you’ve got some killer wheat fields). There’s just something so enchanting about this over-grown town, where everyone believes their dreams will come true. People come here to make it– this city is populated with dreamers, artists, entrepreneurs and creators of all stripes. Just take a walk down the Venice Beach boardwalk and you’ll see what I mean. There is no prescribed lifestyle here– everyone can live exactly as they please! I’m so grateful to have grown up amidst such diverse cultures and groups.

But. I’m leaving. I am contributing to the transience that plagues this great city. And I feel all the mixed emotions a person can feel. Yes, I know I will return to visit. I care about too many people here to not visit. And yes, who knows, I may settle here permanently again one day in the future! For now, though, I am excited to try someplace new, to call another spot in this great big gorgeous world home. 

Regardless, I’ll always say I’m a California girl through and through.

Thanks for everything, beautiful city. Stay chill. I’ll miss you.

lists of note

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things i will miss about california

  1. the color of the ocean at sunset
  2. the mountains
  3. the sense that so many people’s dreams are made here
  4. year-round tans
  5. malibu canyon
  6. piers
  7. disneyland
  8. my older brother
  9. my cousins
  10. driving along the coast with the windows down
  11. liberal attitudes
  12. colorful people
  13. the fact that there’s no one ‘prescribed lifestyle’
  14. tiny spanish bungalows
  15. the lack of bugs

things i won’t miss about california

  1. the traffic
  2. the 405 at any time of day
  3. the 101
  4. did i mention the traffic?
  5. smog
  6. the lack of eye contact
  7. the crazy fast-paced hustle/business
  8. those toned people who only eat fruits and vegetable supplements
  9. crappy public transportation
  10. six dollar lattes

The Getty Center

fullsizeoutput_3c4dHave you been to the Getty Center? If you love art and architecture, this is the place for you. Plus, admission is FREE (besides parking). There were gorgeous paintings, sculptures, photographs, objects, etc. from all over the world, and the building itself is a masterpiece. The grounds are extensive, complete with gardens, waterfalls and panoramic views of L.A. (or as I’ve been calling it lately, La La Land). Really, friends, you should check it out if you’re in the area ;pfullsizeoutput_3c4e^My friend Mike!fullsizeoutput_3c51fullsizeoutput_3c52fullsizeoutput_3c53fullsizeoutput_3c54fullsizeoutput_3c55^My friends studying the oil paintings like prosIMG_4669.jpgfullsizeoutput_3c56fullsizeoutput_3c57^The French furniture section was insane…can you say opulence much?!fullsizeoutput_3c58fullsizeoutput_3c59fullsizeoutput_3c5bfullsizeoutput_3c5cfullsizeoutput_3c5efullsizeoutput_3c5f^Trying to be poshfullsizeoutput_3c60fullsizeoutput_3c61fullsizeoutput_3c62fullsizeoutput_3c63^Love the soft colors in this one!img_4722fullsizeoutput_3c64img_4736img_4740fullsizeoutput_3c65^Magazine covers, oh my!img_4744img_4746

A Beautiful Sunset

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Tonight I watched the sunset from the Santa Monica pier. The past week has been really rainy, but it cleared up today to leave us with a gorgeous view. I could see clear across the bay to Catalina Island and beyond. The pier was jam packed at sunset, yet strangely quiet. Everyone was mesmerized by the orange sun sinking into the navy blue water and the only sound was a violinist performing a hauntingly beautiful tune. I felt a sense of camaraderie with the crowd, as if we were all silently asking each other, “How did we get so lucky to live in a place like this?”

I hope you are able find beauty around you this long weekend friends. Have a good one.
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A visit to LACMA

dsc02623Yesterday afternoon I went with my girlfriends Alexa and Sarah to the LA County Museum of Art, or LACMA, in downtown LA. It has a wide array of art, ranging from sculpture to painting to photography and more, as well as from ancient to contemporary styles. Sarah and Alexa are art majors, which is how we met back in the day when I was an art major, so it was fun to explore and appreciate the museum with them! LACMA is known for its unique art instillations like these lamp posts out front– below are a few photos if you’d like to see.dsc02577dsc02601dsc02616dsc02652dsc02659dsc02674dsc02681dsc02693dsc02694dsc02696dsc02700dsc02711dsc02719dsc02728dsc02729dsc02731dsc02749Have a good one friends!

A Sunday Tradition

img_1397Yesterday afternoon my housemate and I decided to go on a hike in Malibu Creek State Park. We’ve been wanting to spend more quality time together, and it was so much fun that we are determined to make it a Sunday tradition! Sometimes the week is so stressful I don’t make it off campus until the weekend. It is important for my mental health to get out of my room and explore the beautiful world around me once in a while! Below are a few pictures if you’d like to see.img_1398img_1406^I don’t know if I’ve ever seen California this brown. We need rain desperately!img_1409img_1411img_1417^Hope is a great model 🙂img_1419img_1430img_1435img_1437img_1439^This outlook was stunning. I forget how mountainous this area is!img_1448^Then we stumbled upon a watering hole of sorts– a small lake with people swimming, paddling around in row boats, and even slack-lining. img_1451img_1452img_1454img_1455img_1456^I slack-lined quite often at the rock climbing gym in Frankfurt this summer. But never this high up across a lake! These guys were intense…img_1457^Whoopsy daisy, time for a little swim!img_1459img_1468^The second watering hole we visited reminded me of the mermaid lagoon from Peter Pan. Anyone else get those vibes or is it just me?img_1475img_1478img_1479img_1438Have a great week friends!

An Engagement!

IMG_8661So…my brother and his girlfriend Hayley got engaged on Saturday! WOO! They dated for two years in high school, then got back together after college and have been together for another two years now. Our families basically grew up together in El Segundo, and I went to high school with both her and her younger sister. I’m so glad I was back from Germany in time for this special moment. Congrats you two!IMG_8614^The mamas were so nervous as we snuck through the park to the designated hiding spot in the bushes. IMG_8617IMG_8619^Hayley’s sisters are so sweet! It was fun to share this experience with them. After we gave Luke the secret signal that we were in place and video taping, he got done on one knee and popped the question. Hayley said she wished her family could have been there, to which Luke replied, “Turn around,” and we all came running towards her! When I watched the video I took, all you can hear is me saying “Oh my god, oh my god…” and shaking hahaIMG_8628^You could say tears were shed.IMG_8630IMG_8631^Admiring the rock!IMG_8634IMG_8637^He was so relieved. I don’t think he slept for a week before hand. Poor guy!IMG_8642IMG_8644IMG_8646IMG_8647IMG_8656IMG_8657IMG_8660IMG_8663IMG_8665^Such a beautiful couple!IMG_8668IMG_8672IMG_8675^Lookin’ good LukeIMG_8697IMG_8706IMG_8709IMG_8714IMG_8721IMG_8722IMG_8724IMG_8725IMG_8735IMG_8743^Then we headed back to Hayley’s house for a ‘little’ engagement party. I think 60 plus people showed up– these two certainly are loved!IMG_8748IMG_8754IMG_8755IMG_8761IMG_8769IMG_8771IMG_8779^I like this picture of all the ladies oohing and awwing over the photos 🙂IMG_8800IMG_8807IMG_8813IMG_8814I’m so glad I finally get that sister I always wanted. Can’t wait for the wedding. If Saturday was any preview, it’s going to be one heck of a party!

Life State-Side

IMG_4769And just like that, I’m back to life state-side.

I don’t quite know what to say. My brain is still fuzzy from jet-lag and German words keep popping up uninvited in my english sentences. Americans seem foreign and confusing in some ways, yet totally familiar and comforting in others. I moved straight into my house at school and hit the ground running with training for my job at the school newspaper and other fun preparatory stuff. It feel strange to be a senior. I see the bright-eyed, fuzzy tailed freshman wandering around campus and just feel plain old. But it is nice to already know what I’m doing and who my established friends are.

Here’s hoping it’s a great semester!