Life, Travel

Visiting Los Angeles

I visited my sister (et. al.) in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago. It started as a vacation, but when I boarded my flight back, I felt, once again, like I was being pulled away from my home.

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My sister has been in Los Angeles for just over a year. I’m simultaneously used to it and “like whoa” about it. When talking about her week, it’ll often include L.A.-isms like her friend’s boss being some actor from “Lost”, her landlord being friends with Quentin Tarantino, having attended this or that premiere, or running into celebrities at coffee shops. It’s  bizarre that my sister lives a life where these things can happen.

Not to say her daily life is full of celebrity run-ins. Her day-to-day conversation is more often filled with mentions of getting stuck in traffic on the 101, finding more freelance design work, and moving from one cramped living situation to the next. However, these are L.A.-isms as well, which are, in their own way, fairly surreal too.

Both Kim and  a friend, Ariel, had just signed a new lease that week, and didn’t technically have their own place to stay, so the three of us got the cheapest hotel there was. When looking for the complimentary breakfast, it was so nondescript, Kim and I passed right by it. After asking where it was, we were told we could eat the packaged english muffins or danishes in our room or by the pool. Initially slightly put off, we toasted some english muffins, poured ourselves some coffee and ate and talked by the pool for an hour, and I wouldn’t have traded it for any $7.99 breakfast scramble anywhere.

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Kim and I walking down to breakfast.

Kim’s boyfriend’s brother was also flying in, from their home in New Zealand. He was able to spend an enviable two weeks there, to my 4 days. Also, about half of my close friends now live in Los Angeles, pursuing different careers in the entertainment industry. I was reunited with so many college friends, all at once, and meeting many new people, and it could only last for a few days. It was like starting a really good, anticipated, novel, and losing the book after only 30 pages.

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Catching up with amazing friends in Venice Beach.

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Hanging with the cool kids at Santa Monica Pier!

My first time in Los Angeles, years ago, Kim, another friend Satpreet, and I went to to a desert park scattered with Joshua Trees and had one of the most fun photoshoots I’d ever had!

Desert near Joshua Tree

I’ve loved Joshua Trees ever since, and was determined to go to Joshua Tree National Park. Our group shrunk and grew, and we were able to squeeze into one car for the 2.5 hour trip, leaving way later than intended, and getting there for a fantastic dusk, climbing the rocks, and sitting on top of the desert as the orange sky turned into some of the clearest stars I’d ever seen. It was so much better (and bigger!) than I thought it would be, so I’m definitely going back for a full day hike there next time I’m in California!

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The ‘gents.

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It was an excellent trip! I couldn’t have asked for a better collection of activities! Friends, barbecues, beaches, museums, architecture, landscape, hiking. It could have been improved only with length.

I left wishing Michigan could offer as much excitement, which is a shame, because I know it can, if I only looked. I did go on a hike a week before going to California, to a state park, which was a stark contrast to my hike a week later. It was beautiful, even more beautiful than this photo captured:

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Kensington State Park, Michigan

But California has Joshua Tree National Park.

Life, Travel

Fall in Amsterdam

I did fall today, actually, off my bike. I was hopping onto my bike, and my leg somehow didn’t make it over the bike… My groceries and I were just fine. I’m really glad I waited to get eggs.*

Fall is by far my favorite season. Michigan does Fall very well, as proven in so many PureMichigan advertisements:





I always felt, that if/when I left Michigan, Fall wouldn’t be the same without cider and donuts at the local cider mill. I googled “Cider Mills Amsterdam” and found ONE in the whole area.

But Amsterdam’s beauty in the Fall makes up for it’s lack of cider mills! Fall is hard to mess up, though.





The Netherlands can’t decide if it’s ready for winter or not. It goes from winter-coat-cold back to should-I-bother-with-my-jacket warm. Yesterday, I wore a dress and was completely comfortable. That’s something I wasn’t expecting about The Netherlands! An extended season of warm! I like it!

Yesterday I met up with two friends of mine, Tomas and Nazam, for Indonesian food in a nearby city called Haarlem. Haarlem’s downtown is a bit quieter than Amsterdam, and still retains most of the wonderfully Dutch old-architecture, so it’s a popular place for families to move to. Tomas and Nazam know the family from the Indonesian restaurant, which was very cool.

I can’t believe I haven’t discovered Indonesian food before now! It’s delicious! It’s different from Thai, but it does share it’s love of peanut-based sauces, which I love. I feel like there was a missing element of my diet all my life, and Indonesian Satay is it.

I’m headed to Munich for the Christmas markets, so I’m hoping Munich is better at Winter than Michigan! I give Michigan an A+ for the first week of Winter, then hovering back and forth between a B- and a D for the rest of it.


* Tip for dropping your carton of eggs – if they don’t crack and spread all over the place, but only have little cracks in the shell, boil them up real fast and have a week’s worth of hard boiled eggs!

Life, Travel

First-Time Marathon!

I’ll probably not have that meme’s final fate, nor quite the ravishing glow that Ridiculously Photogenic Guy has, though the first part of the meme sounds about right. Yes, I’m going to run my first marathon!

“Some people train knowing they’re not working as hard as other people. I can’t fathom how they think.” -Alberto Salazar

Most of the inspirational running quotes I found were quite the opposite of our own. We’re not running to win, we’re just running to finish!

I never thought I would run a marathon, because I thought you had to be some sort of crazy epic runner, but my two friends, who aren’t really runners joined one and all the talk got me excited to do it too! It’s in July, in a beautiful area of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It’s actually in the same place that this photo was taken, for the movie I helped work on, “Sleep, Wake, Forget.

We won’t be running by this waterfall, but around an island nearby, but you get an idea how beautiful it is!

I’ve lived in Michigan most of my life, but I’ve barely experienced the Upper Peninsula or Northern Michigan. As I’m getting older and having more means to travel, I’m seeing more of Michigan, which is great! It’s such a beautiful, colorful, cultural state.

I’ve been training for a whopping 3 days, which I think deserves this reaction:

I enjoy these meme’s too much not to include some other good’n’s:

ridiculously photogenic guy meme