Travel Diary: Los Angeles Day 2 (Part 1) - Venice Canals

January 25, 2016 (continued): After many of the heavy, sleep-inducing, carb-laden meals I’ve had throughout the trip I was craving something lighter and cleaner for breakfast. My plan was to explore the Venice/Santa Monica area so I googled juice places near there. I chose Juice Served Here as they had a few food options as well. There were only a couple of parking spaces out front, the building itself looked like a converted garage with a cool, glass roller door. The interiors were clean, modern with a slight industrial feel.

For breakfast, I chose the juice flight which was a selection of their juices in shot sized glasses that were supposed to be a re-invigoration for the day. There was an order to which one you drank first, including starting with Green Easy (Cucumber, Red Apple, Kale, Spinach, Lemon, Romaine, Green Pepper), to things like Charcoal Lemonade (Filtered Water, Sugar Cane Juice, Lemon, Montmorillonite Clay, Activated Charcoal), to finishing it off with the “dessert”, Cream Party (Coconut Water, Coconut Cream). As someone who regularly made their own smoothies and tried similar juices before, I didn’t mind the veggies in my juice thing as I know some people get weirded out and think it’s gross, but honestly the fruit flavors usually balance out any “green” tastes. I thought each juice had their own unique flavor profile, and the flight was a good way to test out which juices you might prefer over others.

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I also ordered the vegan grilled cheese to round out my meal. Usually, I’m pretty wary of vegan imitation products as it’s never quite the same but thought I’d give it a go. As a connoisseur of grilled cheese and lover of dairy (but trying to cut back on it), this was one of the best grilled cheese I’ve had in my life. It was packed with flavor, with some red peppery bits in it, and a nice amount of creaminess to it. The melty, stringy cheese part was a little lacking because, well it’s not cheese but I didn’t really miss it. Since I am so late to writing this post, I don’t think they have it on their menu anymore unfortunately!

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My first sightseeing stop of the day was at the Venice Canals. I’d wanted to visit as it was the scene to several movies, plus a few YouTubers I watched had also been there, the location looked interesting and artistic so it was definitely on my list. Since I had started my day off early the place was almost empty apart from the residents, so I had it all to myself. The interwoven walk amongst the canals was one of the most peaceful, serene, and picturesque places I’ve ever been. I can see why one resident had to post a sign saying that they’d never sell so stop asking!

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I loved crossing the bridges and stopping to take in the scenery of the canals, each one was slightly different and unique. Funny story, there was a young man who went on one of the bridges and sat down with his puppet and started talking to himself, at first you’d think quite odd but then this is LA so I figured he was rehearsing for some project. Not sure why he had to sit on a bridge to do it but whatever helps the process I guess!

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Each house was decorated in their own unique way, which for my curious/detail oriented mind was like heaven just stopping at each home to see what they had done. The architecture was also unique in itself with some resembling quaint cottages, to clean and modern, to artsy/hippie decor, to some that looked like what I’d imagine was out of a Hansel and Gretel storybook.

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There were also several animal spottings like the ducks gliding down the canals, or in someone’s backyard, to doggo’s chilling on the porch, to crows and squirrels getting their feed on.

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In conclusion, this was one of my favorite places I had visited, as it touched on a number of my top things, arts, architecture, animals, nature, water, the peace and tranquility (especially for my introverted self). It was such an expansive place that I couldn’t see everything thoroughly but I knew if I was ever back I’d have to visit again.

Travel Diary: San Francisco Day 2 (Part 3) - de Young Museum

January 20, 2016 (continued): Inspired by the arts and culture I witnessed at Haight-Ashbury, I ventured to Golden Gate Park where I visited the de Young Museum. Tip: They offer same day admission to the nearby Legion of Honor, to which I took full advantage of because I love me a deal.

De Young has a nice mix of classic and modern art with a range of sculptures scattered about their outdoor area and around Golden Gate Park. See below for my main highlights.

Beethoven’s Fur Elise was one of the first pieces I learned during my piano years from ages 8 - 13, so the replica of the original monument (in Central Park) by Henry Baerer caught my eye.

The Spreckels Temple of Music designed by the Reid Brothers was another favorite since it reminded me of the classic architecture I saw when I visited Rome many years ago.

First view of the de Young Museum welcomed to me by the Roman Gladiator statue by Guillaume Geefs.

The Untitled (Three Dancing Figures) sculpture by Keith Haring located in front of the museum was a favorite not only because of it's color and because Haring is an icon, but the figures also looked like they were replicating some Taekwon-Do moves (which I was a black belt in back in the day.)

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Located at the entrance to the Museum was the Drawn Stone by Andy Goldsworthy, an artist I chose to study for sculpture in high school art class. I loved his use of using natural materials and incorporating the surrounding environment as part of the art. This piece was no different as the cracks in the pavement followed the cracks in the stones. 

Fruit Still Life by Flora C. Mace and Joey Kirkpatrick - I always enjoy novelty size things whether miniature or oversize so this piece definitely ticked the box!

I love the colors in this woven piece, juxtaposing new and old world.

It was cool seeing another Chihuly piece after visiting the museum in Seattle.

I enjoyed this trompe l'oeil-esque chair as it kind of reminded me of my other favorite surrealist, De Chirico.

My inner magpie was definitely attracted to this Nick Cave soundsuit, bejeweled in beads and sequins.

David Hockney had a series of his works on display he created with an iPad. These were some of my favorites because I loved that established artists are into exploring new mediums and what they can do with it.

I love the colorways of the next set of pieces.

This room had a nice view of the courtyard out front.

It was great coming across pieces from my old homeland, New Zealand - interpretations of the Maori cloak, Kakahu. This piece was by Te Rongo Kirkwood in collaboration with Judy Robson-Deane.

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A classic Tiffany lamp.

A life imitating art moment of moi in front of Tulip Culture by George Hitchcock.

Hello Dali!

Seeing a Picasso with my own eyes.

Dropping my next mixtape at the Pool of Enchantment.

The sculpture garden with one of my favorites, the Corridor Safety Pin sculpture by Clase Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.

Beverly Gardens Park

A couple months ago, I kept driving past the famous Beverly Hills sign and finally made some time to stop by and get a closer look. What I didn’t realize sitting next door was a great little sculpture garden including pieces by one of my favorite artists, Yayoi Kusama! Be sure to check out her large range of work here.

Beverly Gardens Park is a beautiful respite from the chaos of the city, with it’s neatly manicured gardens and iconic palm tree lined streets nearby. It is on the end (or start depending where you’re coming from) of the shopping mecca, Rodeo Drive so definitely make sure to stop by if you’re in the area.

All photos taken by me on my iPhone 6.

Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens

I had come across the Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens through researching my next mini adventure in LA. It came at a perfect time when there has been so much tension and emotions running high in the world.

The location is described as a spiritual oasis in the city, and when I visited today, I had found just that. There was this calming energy that washes over you the longer you stay there. I took one of the free tours that recalls the history of the restored mansion and development of the grounds. After your tour you are able to stay in the gardens as long as it is open publicly. You don’t have to come from any particular religious background as it is open for all to enjoy.

I thought the labyrinth was a beautiful physical manifestation of the philosophy that there are no shortcuts in life. You walk the path that is laid out, and you cannot cut across to reach the middle (your target). Walking the path allows you to truly contemplate, to build the foundation first, then when you reach your destination, you will have the right tools to allow whatever you wanted to grow into fruition.

I posted a snapchat (user: meganmatsuoka) and instagram story of my time here so check it out while you still can.

All photos taken by me on an iPhone 6.