Monday, September 15, 2014

When Novels Were Bad For You

"She will tell you about how, when she was small, she could lose herself in a novel for hours, and now, all she can do is watch the tweets swim by like glittery fish in the river of time-she-will-never-get-back."


I love this quote from this New York Times article I just stumbled upon. Definitely worth a read.


There are times when I hate myself for being oh-so-consumed by my facebook news feed, rather than picking up a great book. I've found that something that definitely helps me is having a book loaded on my phone, on the Kindle app - for those doctors-waiting-room-moments, when you do need something to pass the time. Now if only I could stop my fingers from tapping straight on the facebook app, rather than the Kindle one!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Incredible

My father-in-law sent me this mind-blowing video this morning. What an incredible photographer:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Taylor

Headshots from this week, with the oh-so-sweet Taylor!










Photographs by me.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Husband

I finally managed to convince Husband to let me take his photo. And it worked out so well! I have so much love for this man, and I think he looks pretty phenomenal in these pics, if I say so myself.








Photographs by me.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Guide to Los Angeles

Since moving out to LA about two years ago, we've had a slew of wonderful visitors, friends and family pop into town - either just to holiday, or to stay for good. And, as to be expected, they're always after some hints and tips and tricks and ideas. Over the years we've sent out brief emails, jotted down lists, and texted out maps, but it does finally feel like it is time to draw up a bit of a guide, to our experiences of Los Angeles, and what I think is worth visiting, and not.

So, I've split it up into a few blog posts, by area:

Silver Lake & Los Feliz (my 'hood)

Hollywood

Downtown

LA & Surrounds

I've also made a list of the ultimate tourist things to do in this town.

And I thought I'd include here just a few suggestions for making the most out of your stay in LA:

1. HAPPY HOUR
I can't emphasise this enough. If you can switch up your meal times and grab an early dinner you can save big bucks. Or just grab a great round of drinks!

2. RESERVATIONS
This city is packed to the rafters. If you'd like to go out for a meal on the weekend, do phone ahead and make a reservation.

3. CAR HIRE
Los Angeles is big, and spread out! You will need a car, seriously.

4. UBER
That said, uber is a fantastic option for getting around, especially at night time, when you'll pay a $10000 fine for getting caught drinking and driving.

5. AIRBNB
You can find some great spots to stay in and around town on airbnb, and often get to meet some locals in the process.

6. TIPPING
You have to add a tip! A good rule of thumb is to double the tax (which will be printed on your bill), or to make sure you're hitting between 15-20%.

7. TAX
Speaking of tax, in Los Angeles you're looking at around 9% added onto everything you purchase, at the time of purchase. So be prepared to hear a much higher price when you get to the check-out than you were originally expecting.

8. PARKING
Don't ever assume that you can just park somewhere - you can't park anywhere in this city. Or at least not without ready at least three parking signs, and feeding the meter. Pay careful attention here, the fines are hefty!


For those people looking to move to LA, these are some of the resources we found useful:

1. Immi Help
A website packed with details about visas, green cards and health insurance.

2. Craigslist
Everything from apartments to furniture to jobs to the world. There's some real junk on there too, so you'll need to sort through it carefully.

3. West Side Rentals
The best resource for finding an apartment/house. You pay a fee ($60 for 60 days), but at least that means you're finding the good stuff. We found all our apartments through this website!

4. Breaking Into The Industry
This blog has some great insight into what it means to be an actor in this town, and some good tips and tricks.

5. LA Weekly
A good daily dose of news and events around Los Angeles. I get it in my Facebook feed.

6. LA Casting
"Where the industry goes to work". Join up to network with fellow industry peeps. If you have an agent out here, they'll sign you up for free.

7. DoLA
What to do in LA - parties, events, specials.

These areas didn't quite make the cut in my book, but I can't quite leave out huge big gaps in my Guide to Los Angeles, so I'll let the internet do the talking:

Beverly Hills
Santa Monica
Beach Cities/LAX
The Valley
Pasadena

This is one big sprawling city, the second most populous in the United States (after New York), covering around 1,215 km2. Thanks Wikipedia!

I'll keep adding!



Friday, September 5, 2014

Jesika

This was one hot afternoon. Temps above 100 degrees! My camera kept overheating, and I'm surprised Jesika managed to keep it cool. She is one great chick.





Photographs by me.

Holding On To The Memories

My love of photography and photographs has definitely awakened a need in me to record and document life a little better. I mean, what is the point of taking all these pictures just to store them away in some computer?

So, of late I've been working on printing out a few more photo books, and it made me think of the previous books I've worked on - our wedding album, and a few 60th birthday gifts now.

Here's some sneak peaks from previous books:










Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Los Angeles Diaries: The Tourist Trap

These are the things that didn't quite fit into any of my other posts, and mostly are part of a real tourist experience of LA. It might be worth it to you to visit a few of these though, so I included them here:

The Disney Concert Hall - modelled after the Bilboa Guggenheim Museum. DTLA. You can take a free self-tour if you're a real music junkie, like my brother. Frankly, after seeing the real deal myself in Bilboa, I wasn't easily impressed.

Take a car-free trip around downtown LA with this guide.


Warner Brothers VIP Studio Tour - my brother and I went on this tour while he was visiting. You actually get a lot of bang for your buck, and see quite a bit of interesting stuff! The tour guide was very knowledgable, and it was fun to see the inner workings of Warner Brothers. PS - there is no non-VIP tour, they just call it that to make you feel fancy.


Pink's Hot Dogs - a Hollywood institution. Road side, every possible combination. Not overly palatable though.


Universal Studios - worth a visit after your stop at the Warner Brothers tour - they're reasonably close to each other, and there's a large section that you can wander around without actually having to go in to the Universal Studios park - which is a giant theme park. I've heard good things, but I've never been.


Disney Land - we were lucky enough to visit Disney World on our road trip across the US, and as such have not felt the need to visit Disney Land out here in California. But once again, I've heard good things. Disney World was friggin incredible, even for us mostly-grown-up adults, and it's one of those proper American experiences.

LACMA - The LA museum of contemporary and modern art, or some such. I'm so sophisticated. I've explored the grounds, but never been in. You need to get a photo under these lights, no matter what.



La Brea Tar Pits - on the same property as LACMA. A good dose of history, and actual bubbling tar pits.


Pann's Diner - feeling a bit peckish after your long flight? This diner is right by the airport, and was where they shot Pulp Fiction. A good intro to Hollywood.



The Grove - the ultimate mall experience. At least this one is mostly outdoors, and actually visually pleasing. But you can get your shopping on, grab some lunch, watch a movie, die of a sugar over-load at Sprinkles Cupcakes (a right of passage, you have to try it), and even visit The Grove Farmers Market - which is quaint, and a little more off the beaten track. I particularly like The Grove at Christmas time, they sure do know how to make it pretty. If you're staying over on the east side of LA (which I'd highly recommend), the Americana at Brand, in Glendale, is our very own version of The Grove, just without the farmers market. (Picture from the Google.)


In N Out Burger - don't miss out. Get it animal style.


Still want more?

Here's Trip Advisor's 350 Things To Do In LA.

Also, you can see my other guides here: Silver Lake, Hollywood, Downtown, LA & Surrounds, and Tourist-ville.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Los Angeles Diaries (Yes, again!): LA & Surrounds

Rose Bowl Market - Pasadena, about 20 mins outside of LA. Every second Sunday of the month. Hugest market I have ever seen! Antiques, clothing, furniture, scraps, novelties, everything ever. Totally worth it, but go early (9-ish) before it gets too hot, and too busy.


Malibu - it's definitely worth a short drive (about an hour) up the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) to Malibu. Eat at Neptune's Net - make sure to choose carefully between the steamed section or the fried section, as each produces amazing food. Spend the afternoon on the beach.



Venice - explore Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice. Gjelina for lunch, and The Tasting Kitchen for dinner. Great shops and awesome sea breezes make for a fun day out.


Venice Beach - I did not like Venice Beach at all. It was gross. Like crazy busy, kinda run down, lots of tourist crap. But I guess yes, it is worth seeing once. The skatepark was pretty cool, the beach was pretty perfect, and there's lots of crazies to look at. Also, take a walk around the Venice canals.



Santa Monica - personally, I've never been overly bowled over by Santa Monica. From us, it can be a good hour long drive to get there (even though the city of Santa Monica is completely encased by Los Angeles!). It's pretty, and the Santa Monica pier may be worth visiting, just because it's quite an iconic part of the coastline, but maybe I've just taken too many out-of-town visitors there, and I'm done.


Catalina Island - I've never been, but still hope to. A short ferry ride out into the Pacific Ocean.

Palm Springs - two hours inland from Los Angeles. Stay at the Ace Hotel. Prepare to be hotter than you've ever been in your life, lay out by the pool, order the Desert Facial (a cocktail), and enjoy. We love it here!






Death Valley - five hours north east of LA, and one of my favourite places in America. It's just you, the desert, and nothing else. I love this place! The first weekend of November hosts the annual '49ers weekend - celebrating the first people to cross - and get horribly lost in - Death Valley. You'll awake in the morning to the soft sounds of banjos and real country music playing outside your hotel room, and get to watch Dress-Up competitions and dog shows that look like they should be in a movie. But in real life.



San Francisco - totally worth visiting, a truly beautiful city! Friggin windy though, definitely pack the parka! Hire a bike and ride across that gigantic red bridge - the quaint little town that awaits you with the promise of lunch and ice-cream, and a ferry ride home, makes it all worthwhile.




Oxnard - about an hour north of LA. The most beautiful beaches.



Ojai - LA's slightly-lesser-known playground. Stay at the Ojai Valley Spa for a somewhat pricey, but totally worth it, weekend away from LA.


Big Bear Lake - we hit this up for a day trip last summer when my brother was visiting from SA. It was a quaint, little town, with beautiful wood cabins scattered throughout the forest. I believe the best time to visit is in winter, when it actually snows!


Also, you can see my other guides here: Silver LakeHollywoodDowntownLA & Surrounds, and Tourist-ville.