ARIZONA ROADTRIP PART 2 – Phoenix to The Grand Canyon

Welcome to Arizona Roadtrip Part 2 – if you haven’t seen Part 1 check it out here.
After saying goodbye to the family Joel and I headed north on I-17 toward Flagstaff. Our first stop was just off the highway, Montezuma’s Castle National Monument. Here you can view one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America. There’s plenty of parking and a little museum where you can check out the history of the native people. For a couple dollars you can head down a path, through the trees, to check out the Sinagua ruins. The ruins are up in the cliffs – we brought along our trusty binoculars and were able to look up into them. It’s probably not a pit stop for everyone, but for a couple of nerds like us we thought it was awesome.

DSC_0114We continued up I-17 and made a detour onto the Red Rock Scenic drive into Sedona, AZ. I had found this kitschy Alien themed restaurant along our route so we decided to check it out. The Red Planet Diner is a pretty fun place, aliens and sci-fi decorations everywhere. We had a fun time and the food was decent diner food.
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After our out of this world lunch (I’m so sorry) we continued the scenic drive. At the time the road was closed partway up, and didn’t meet back up with I-17. But we wanted to see the beautiful scenery and didn’t mind driving back down and see everything twice.

Along the route we stopped at a store called Sun Silver West. They have all kinds of Western and Traditional art, and Joel and I were drooling over all of it. We love the Western/Native American style and artwork and there was plenty to see here. I bought a great little basket as a keepsake from our trip, but we could have thrown down some serious cash on beautiful jewelry, rugs and paintings.
DSC_0148I would highly recommend taking this scenic route. There are fantastic views along the way and plenty of places to stop at little parks, cafes and overlooks.

DSC_0127DSC_0157Once we made our way back to I-17 we drove up to Flagstaff. We knew we wanted to make it to the Grand Canyon that night but had one stop in Flagstaff we couldn’t miss. Heading west out of Flagstaff on Rt. 180 toward Winslow, AZ, you can find an abandoned town called 2 Guns. Joel loves abandoned places and he had visited this place on tour a few years ago.
DSC_0158There used to be a campground here and now all that’s left are a few buildings and an empty pool. We enjoyed wandering around the area and checked out some of the graffiti.
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That night we stayed in Williams, AZ, known as the Gateway to the Grand Canyon, along Historic Route 66. I wish I would have snapped some pics of our evening. We saw a (fake) gun fight in the streets, browsed shops full of cowboy gear and Rt. 66 paraphernalia, and had a delicious barbecue dinner. It’s a fun place to stop, with a lot to see and do.

The next morning we started early. One of the main reasons we stayed outside the Grand Canyon was so we could visit Bearizona. Bearizona is a drive through wildlife park full of all of our favorite animals, and we’ve been wanting to come here since we heard its fantastic name.

DSC_0173We got to the park right when it opened because that’s when all the animals are most active and being fed. We went into this experience with low expectations thinking that the animals would be to far away and we wouldn’t see everything, but we were so wrong. All the animals were out and very close to the driving path.

DSC_0179We saw big horn sheep, goats, American bison, and white bison.
DSC_0196Now this is where we had to roll up the windows – the next areas had Timber and Arctic Wolves. It was amazing to be so close to these animals, I don’t think I’ve ever seen wolves in person. They just kinda stare into your soul.
DSC_0188The last area was the bears of Bearizona – and there were so many bears! They were everywhere, we drove around this area multiple times to see all of them.
DSC_0205These are two very happy road trippers. After driving through the park we visited the “zoo” like area and gift shop.
DSC_0226There were some very rowdy bears cubs in an enclosure, I could have watched them roll around in the grass all day.
DSC_0227After we wrapped up at Bearizona we were ready to head up to the Grand Canyon. I love love love – did I mention love? the National Parks. National and State Parks in the US are some of my favorite places to visit, there are so many different ones to see across the country and I was super excited to visit this one. We went to the South Rim visitor center to start out adventure for the day. The great thing about the Grand Canyon is once you pay and get into the park you can park your car and use their bus transit system to visit the sites along the South Rim.

DSC_0243This was my first visit to the Grand Canyon and it did not disappoint. The pictures don’t really do it justice.  We traveled West along the red route taking the bus to 8 different overlooks, we walked between some and bused to others. I highly recommend this if its your first visit. There’s a lot to take in at the Grand Canyon and this way you get to see some awesome spots and get ideas for what to do on your next visit.
DSC_0246DSC_0254DSC_0262After a long day at the Grand Canyon we drove back to LA a little sun burned and a lot tired. I’m looking forward to going back to the Grand Canyon and camping/hiking there. I can’t wait to explore more of the South West in general there’s a lot to see and do.
DSC_0266Thanks for checking out my first adventure in the South West. Don’t forget to check out our youtube channel and subscribe to this blog for more adventures.

xoxo – Loee

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ARIZONA ROADTRIP PART 1 – Los Angeles to Phoenix

DSC_0006 Joel and I love to road trip, so when we were invited to his sister’s wedding in Phoenix we thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to explore some of the South West together. On our trips we prefer to stop at the unconventional, weird and unique places. I use roadtrippers.com to find interesting stops along our route, and on this one we found some really awesome ones.

Our first stop was lunch on our way out of LA at Tio’s Tacos in Riverside, CA. This place is crazy. It’s a little Mexican restaurant with a huge garden of creations made from recycled materials. There’s tons to see here, so Joel and I wandered around for a long time checking out all the characters and little buildings.DSC_0022

DSC_0015 DSC_0021 After walking around we headed into the restaurant for lunch. The food was good, your general mexican fare, but the agua fresca was amazing! They had so many different kinds, I had the pineapple and it was fantastic.
DSC_0031Our next stop was the Cabazon Dinosaurs. Being dinosaur lovers we had to stop here. These are gigantic dinosaurs on the side of the highway in Cabazon, CA. There is a museum here and you can go inside the brontosaur to visit the gift shop, but we needed to get on the road so we just stopped off for a few quick pics.

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Once we made it to Arizona we went straight to Joel’s sisters in Phoenix for the rehearsal dinner and to spend time with the family. I couldn’t believe how short of a drive it is from Los Angeles to Phoenix.

DSC_0057On the day of the wedding Joel and I had plenty of time to take in some of the sites in Phoenix. Our first stop was a Frank Lloyd Wright house, Taliesin West. I studied some of his work in college so I just wanted to go take a look, we didn’t have time for a tour, but we definitely want to check it out when we go back.

DSC_0061 I’m obsessed with the cactus there as well – they’re so cool. DSC_0063Another interesting stop we made was at Louis Lee’s Rock Garden. This is a suburban property owned and decorated by Louis Lee from 1958 till his death in 2006. His family now owns the property and you can look at it from the road. There’s tons of altars, statues, and lights all over it, its really amazing that one man did it all himself.

DSC_0068DSC_0066DSC_0067Phoenix was incredibly hot – like hotter than anything I’ve ever experienced. As the day wore on we still had places to visit but kept retreating to the air conditioning. We made a quick stop and see at Camel Back Mountain. The pictures just don’t do it justice. Its an incredible mountain with a great view of the city. DSC_0078 We also went to check out Hole in Rock on our way back to the hotel – in the heat of the day we weren’t able to hike at either place. We’re hoping to head back to Phoenix in the cooler months and spend more time outdoors and get some great hikes in.  
DSC_0080DSC_0082That evening we attended the wedding at a beautiful golf course in Scottsdale. The wedding was wonderful and we had an awesome evening with family and friends. Joel and I always forget to take nice pictures of us together so all we got was a hotel bathroom selfie. 
DSC_0084More posts to come on our Arizona adventure – check back here to see our trip continue from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon.

 

xoxo – Loee

A Day in Vegas

IMG_6086Hello L&Aers

The other weekend I went to Las Vegas for the first time. My stunning friend Lauren was having her bachelorette weekend there and invited me to join her and her bridesmaids. I felt so loved to be included in their weekend – and it was an incredible one.

I was only able to fly in early Saturday morning and stay about 24 hours until my flight back to LA on Sunday. But 24 hours – anyone will tell you – is just enough time in Vegas. Although I love to travel, Vegas wasn’t necessarily at the top of my must see list this year. The extreme heat and culture wasn’t straight up my alley but I wanted to see the parts of Vegas that I’d heard were truly amazing. My wish list was short. Belagio Fountains, the sparkly walls of the Cosmopolitan and some time poolside. Saturday did not disappoint.

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I got to the Palazzo at the Venetian via aiport shuttle (a steal for a 12$ rountrip ticket) and met the girls in the room. The hotel was breath-taking. I had no idea the style and scale that these Vegas hotels demand. I was so impressed.

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We started the day right with brunch at Mon Ami Gabi, a pretty terrace Bistro at the hotel Paris. With views over looking the Bellagio fountains it was the best place to sit and see the glistening promenade. The food was also delicious and I highly recommend the French toast – we were stuffed half way through the meal and I could barely finish my pile of crème fraiche.

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We then decided to skip Daylight at the Mandalay Bay in favor of lounging poolside at the Palazzo. We lucked out and the life gaurds helped us nab 5 loungers side by side. We stayed in the sun with frequent dips into the pool and enjoyed the light music and conversation for a few hours. We drank gallons of water, the girls had a few margaritas and we even were offered some cool cucumbers to munch on. The staff was so accommodating.

We then stopped off at Azure – the Palazzo’s pool club for some champagne and fun. It was pretty crowded but a nice little spot to see the busier social scene of Vegas. We even got our own pool side couch.

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We then went upstairs to nap and refresh before getting glammed up for dinner. We had 8 pm reservations at COMME ÇA at the Cosmopolitan. We took an Uber from the hotel and it was about a 25 minute drive down the strip in traffic. Be sure, you where comfy heels because even when you Uber, there is a lot of walking through the hotel lobbies.

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Once we got to the restaurant, we were educated by our waiter about all the different gourmet foods and preparations that go into the menu there. The food was incredible and the view fantastic. I definitely understand why the food in Vegas is so acclaimed. {I suggest the Crispy Lemon Risotto} It was definitely one of the best meals I have ever had. The restaurant wasn’t very crowded and we enjoyed some wine and gabbed for while. We then topped it off with some champagne at the Chandelier bar. That’s right – you can sip champagne inside of a Chandelier. It was such an experience. I love sparkles and this made the night so special.IMG_6077

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But it wasn’t over yet – we finished off our time in Vegas with a VIP table at Hyde at the Bellagio. Oh my goodness. Thank you to the friends who helped set this up for us. We had our own private terrace section over looking the fountains. We were able to dance and enjoy our cocktails while having our own little private part of the club. I was so thankful for this. We had security to escort us any where we needed to go as well as private bartenders and servers. It was fun to celebrate with some of the other VIP groups on the terrace and enjoy the mist that falls when the fountains do their dance. And there was a lot of dancing : )

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I could not have asked for a better first Vegas. It really was a top night.

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Palm Springs Beach House

IMG_1259The other Weekend a bunch of friends and I drove out to the desert to celebrate Miss Sarah’s Bachelorette in style.

IMG_1255Her only requests were Palm Springs and Bro Tanks and our planning did not disappoint. My friend Angie found an amazing house through Air B&B for us to rent for 3 days and 2 nights. The website Vacation Palm Springs had numerous homes available with tons of pictures and honest reviews. We found our mid century ranch house closer to Palm Desert but opted for it as it was slightly less expensive and did not require the mandatory 4 night stay that many Palm Springs rentals ask for.

IMG_1251The House was just off the main drag of Monterey Avenue in Palm Desert. We were within convenient driving distance of restaurants and the major box stores. We all caravanned down on Friday, dropped our bags and picked up some sustenance at the nearby Ralphs Fresh Fare. We decided to cook the whole weekend and it was the best decision as we got to thoroughly enjoy a rest at the house.

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IMG_1280Our ranch had 4 bedrooms and slept 8 (I mean 12) comfortably. We had a fully stocked kitchen and deck complete with an in ground pool and jacuzzi. There was a great deal of privacy as well as multiple nooks to lay out or sit around a nice bon fire (if you could handle one in that heat!)

IMG_1274We spent Friday night in (mostly) eating, sipping cool drinks, and listening to music on the Beats Pill. Saturday morning through the evening was all for sun bathing and BBQ-ing, catching up and cooling off in the pool.

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IMG_1285We journeyed into Palm Springs on Saturday night, visiting the local hot dance spots and bars. If you don’t mind bright colors and some serious dancing – I would suggest Toucan’s Tiki Lounge. It was our favourite.

IMG_1304We cabbed around via Uber and it was so convenient with cars readily available.

All in all it was a wonderful weekend and I am so happy we got to take some time out of LA to explore the beautiful mountains and the oasis that is considered the Palm of God. Happy [almost] wedding Sarah!

IMG_1272If you are considering Palm Springs I would definitely go the Air BnB route for large parties.

Make sure you subscribe to this blog for more L&A and go check out our YouTube Channel!

Here’s to summer!

xoxo

A~

Santa Clarita Adventure

Joel and I woke up a few weekends ago and decided we wanted to go on an adventure. We had heard that there were bison up in Santa Clarita, and Joel loves bison, so we packed up the car and headed to William S. Hart Ranch and Museum. DSC_0031The Horseshoe Ranch is the retirement home of silent, western film star William S. Hart. It consists of 265 acres of land and includes various structures, animal pens, a small bison herd, park, gift store, and camp grounds. Its a cool little spot to venture around, great for families, and FREE!

DSC_0001After parking, we ventured to the museum/house. You have to take a steep and winding trail that snakes its way up past a dog graveyard. This is where William Hart’s beloved great danes are buried. These dogs had their own room in his house next to his bedroom.
DSC_0002 DSC_0003Next on the trail we found the bison. These bison were donated to the park by Walt Disney. They look pretty small here, but in person they are HUGE. Joel and I watched them for a long time before heading to the top of the hill to see the house.

DSC_0011The house is really amazing and still contains all of Hart’s original furniture, decorations, and film memorabilia. There are free tours every half hour. We waited on the front steps, with a surprisingly large amount of people, for the tour guide to greet us, and take us through the house.

DSC_0012The house is completely done in western style including Navajo patterns painted on the beams. There’s Willam Hart himself, this is a large painting of him in the formal dining room, riding his beloved horse Felix. DSC_0014This is the upstairs sitting/screening room. Hart had his own movie projector and projection room adjacent to this one, where he would show all his friends his silent films. DSC_0016 There were really cool Native American pieces all over the house. Joel and I loved these bookends and want them for our house. We would also love a couple of the paintings we saw inside, some were the original artwork from adventure books Hart had written for young men. 
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After visiting the house and gift shop we left the park to find better views of the bison. From the top of the hill we could see a path running behind the enclosure fence where we saw joggers, so we knew we could get closer. We parked near by and found the path and watched the bison for a long time. Joel was in heaven, until one kind of charged the fence!IMG_2242

 We had a great visit in Santa Clarita, but I couldn’t leave with out getting a passion tea from It’s a Grind, where one of my favorite vloggers stops every day.

To learn more about the William S. Hart Park and Museum visit here.

And don’t forget to subscribe to this blog for more adventures from L and A in LA.

xoxo – Loee

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VIDEO: CicLAvia – April

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Every few months L.A. comes alive for CicLAvia events. Originating from Bogota Columbia as a response to the congestion and pollution of city streets, CicLAvia now happens throughout Latin American and the United States.

In LA we need this event more than ever. With our big population of commuters in a sprawling city, this event creates a temporary park by removing cars from the city streets, and  filling them with bikes, roller blades, scooters, pedestrians and special events to explore the city in a new way.

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It’s fun to see people ride, walk or roll through the car free streets of L.A. This particular event in April was extra special as they shut down 6 miles of Wilshire Blvd, with hubs to stop at along the way. We pedestrians visited the downtown hub to explore all of their activities, shops, performers and food trucks.  IMG_1185Learn more about CicLAvia at their website and get ready for the next event Sunday October 5, 2014.

CHECK OUT OUR VLOG OF CICLAVIA AND SUBSCRIBE TO OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL FOR MORE VIDEOS!

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VIDEO: EAGLE ROCK

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A few weekends ago we all felt we needed to get out of the city and be in nature. We found a great spot at Topanga State Park. Located at 20825 Entrada Rd, Topanga SP its a quick drive north just inside of the Santa Monica mountains. What we loved about this park the most were the scenic vantage points, and its more lush than many other parks we’ve been to, due to its location nearer to the Pacific Ocean. 

DCIM102GOPROIMG_5581The park hosts nearly 40 miles of trails and includes some incredible views of the mountains, the Pacific as well as LA”s famous Eagle Rock. The cool thing about Topanga SP is that it is located entirely within the Los Angeles city limits. We learned it is actually considered the world’s largest wild land park within the boundaries of a major city. Amazing. 

 

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IMG_5653We took our time on a relatively easy trail, stopping to take photos and film with the GoPro. There was a perfect breeze and the panorama went around us on both sides of the trail – as if we were on a giant land bridge passing through this vast wild land.

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DCIM102GOPROAfter about an hour and a half of meandering we made it to the top of Eagle Rock trail. The sun and sky were so bright and the greens of the mountains are something you have to see in person. Eagle Rock boasts such an incredible view of the Santa Monica mountains and forests. We took advantage of the time and cool temperatures and played around for quite a while.

IMG_5632 IMG_5641We found a hidden cave under the rocks and all 4 of us climbed in for a little siesta. With nothing out in front of us we felt like were dangling on the edge of the world with all of the Santa Monica Mountains to gaze at. There is something very special and bonding about seeing such a beautiful place with the people you love.

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DCIM102GOPRO theboysFound these gems on the camera card while editing. These goof balls snapped some pics with the camera when we weren’t looking.

Topanga State Park is definitely on our short list of hikes to check out in the city. They are also bike friendly and even allow for Equestrians! (select trails only). The public areas were nice and very clean and there was plenty of easy parking.

CHECK OUT OUR GOPRO VLOG OF THE ADVENTURE AND SUBSCRIBE TO OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL FOR MORE VIDEOS!

Want to learn more about this hike and many others? Check it out here – http://www.hikespeak.com/trails/eagle-rock-topanga-state-park-trippet-ranch/

Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for more L&A!

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L GOES TO HAWAII

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About a month ago Joel and I got to spend an awesome week with my family in Hawaii. We had an amazing trip! Check out the video and pictures below, be sure to subscribe to this blog and our YouTube channel for more L and A in L.A.

IMG_2101Dipping our toes in the South Pacific

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Lava rocks on the beach. The island of Hawaii is home to 5 active volcanoes

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View from our lanai. Waikoloa Village Resort, Hawaii

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Snow topped volcano, Mauna Kea. Waikoloa, Hawaii
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Amazing diving hole. You can swim out to the ocean from here. Ka Lae, HawaiiDSC_0158

The southern most point in America. Ka Lae, HawaiiDSC_0183

Representing my sorority, Delta Zeta(!), hanging out with a sea turtle on Black Sands Beach. Punalu’u, Hawaii

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Lehua Flower. Volcano National Park, Hawaii

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Active Volcano, Kilauea. Volcano National Park, Hawaii
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Akaka Falls, Honomu, Hawaii

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Beautiful hibiscus flower at our resort. I was obsessed with these flowers when I was younger.

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Joel enjoying the grass while I did some art photography. Check back for more pics!

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Old Town Pasadena

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The other weekend Jeff and I celebrated our 9 month anniversary. We wanted to make a day of it and do something really special. We had been wanting to check out the eastern cities for a bit and thought that the call for upper 80s weather was the perfect excuse to make the voyage up north.

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We didn’t have a huge list of things to do – save for a park picnic, shopping and ice cream. Old Town did not disappoint on any of those. We made our way over from church in Burbank around 1pm. The traffic on a Sunday was practically non-existent. We parked in a convenient pay as you go garage (with 2 hours free) and made our way to Memorial Park in Old Town’s north east corner.

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IMG_1030There was plenty of shady patches and we laid down with some home made tuna salad and Trader Joe’s favorites (I am addicted to the kettle corn and snap pea crisps).  We took in the sky and for the first time in weeks caught up with no agenda or timeline. It was wonderful.

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From the park you get a great view of the downtown area (like a scene from a movie with couples holding hands, children on their scooters and dogs on leads); however, you also get a gorgeous view of the Angeles mountains.

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After about an hour and a half of pure vegging-out, we dropped our picnic bags and made our way towards dessert 🙂 Walking around Old Town reminds me of being on holiday. There are a ton of boutiques and shoppes, beautiful window displays and everything is impeccably clean. It really does feel like a vacation town in many ways. Everyone was milling about with shopping bags, coffee and ice cream and naturally we had to follow suit.

 

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We decided to check out Cool Haus, an LA chain of ice cream parlors we had yet to visit. It was located in a cool communal dining building and the treats did not disappoint. I will have a full review of Cool Haus up soon 🙂

After a brief break from the sun, we decided to walk up and down the streets and go into some stores. We made it out with only a few obligatory purchases for spring 🙂 and just had so much fun meandering about together. We wanted to make sure we checked out some of the land marks in the city. We caught the huge rotundra of city hall when we first lunched at the park and wanted to see this impressive building up close.

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Pasadena City hall is one of the most beautiful buildings I have seen in California. We were able to walk through the main entrance into the court yard. To our surprise it was filled with about half a dozen different photography sessions ranging from engagements to senior portraits. After I gawked at this beautiful ballerina being photographed we made our way back out.

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We could not have asked for more perfect weather. The sun was beaming all day and I can honestly say it was just a little too hot outside – which I loved. We always welcome the chance to lose ourselves in discovering a new city.

We even stumbled upon a little hidden courtyard and snapped some fun outfit of the day pictures. We know that Old Town has even more to offer and we are already planning a return trip soon – so look out for that!

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IMG_1130Dorothy Perkins tube top (old) Forever 21 waterfall maxi skirt (last season and perfect for sun burnt legs) Target sandals, American Eagle Aviators

IMG_1116American Eagle Slim Chambray Button Up, Stripe Shorts (Ross), white Vans, American Eagle Aviators

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Thanks so much for reading! Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and join our blog email list for more L&A. We are also on Bloglovin’

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xoxo A

The Grotto Trail

DSC_0011Named The Grotto, this hike is in the Santa Monica Mountains is great destination.

This hike starts at the Circle X Ranch, which has a few different trail heads at it and a camp ground.

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Start your hike in the free parking area and check out a great view to the right of the ranger station. There’s actually a monitor up here which tracks the movements of the earths crust.

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Following the road down to the camp ground you can find the trail head just past the restrooms.

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This trail is mostly down hill on the way to the creek bed. There’s plenty of great signs to let you know you’re on the right track.

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This is a great trail with some challenging climbs at the end to get into and out of the Grotto. Definitely get here early to avoid the late morning crowd and get a great parking spot.

DSC_0021Its a little challenging to climb down into the Grotto, there’s no “easy” path and you’re going to have to do a little bit of climbing down around the large rocks above it. 
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Since we’ve been in a drought in So Cal there wasn’t a lot of water in there but it was nice and cool and the water was ice cold, which felt great after the tough climb down.

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Though a short 3 mile round trip hike, I’d rate this as an intermediate level hike. For this hike you need to come prepared with proper shoes and the ability to do some climbing to get in and out of the grotto.

There’s a great hike that starts nearby that we’re hoping to try soon and even come back for a camping trip. Subscribe to this blog for more posts on our adventures and hikes.

For more on this hike and other great hikes check out –

http://www.hikespeak.com/trails/grotto-hike-malibu/