The Hidden Staircases of Silver Lake

#swanstairs

#welcome2laCombining three of my favorite things, street art, fitness and exploring, my most recent adventure took place in Silver Lake, one of LA’s most unique, and hip neighborhoods. Upon first glance, it may appear a bit on the gritty side, but a little dirt never hurt anyone, and if you dig just a little you’ll find a treasure trove of one of a kind shops, restaurants and hidden gems just waiting for you to come and discover them.

Speaking of Hidden Gems

#swanstairsLA wasn’t always the car town it is now, and at one time public transportation was the primary mode of travel. People used an extensive network of Staircases to get from their hillside homes to their transit stops. Many of these historic staircases are still in existence though these days they’re used more for fitness and #selfies than anything else. The challenge is finding them

#silverlake
The Stairs are hidden within the Silver Lake Neighborhood.

Because these staircases are steep, narrow, and located within residential neighborhoods, they are often hidden from view. However, once you do locate them, they are available for public use, and many of them have been painted with bright colors and fun designs, adding an extra element of fun.

#swanstairs

Always up for a challenge and enamored with all the local street art in the area it was my mission to explore these stairways and add them to my LA “collection.”

It’s easy to stay on the path if you create it yourself!

I had some very specific spots in mind, so created my own route through the hills. I admit to some initial trial and error, but in the end I came up with a route, which combines art, fitness and coffee! However, if you prefer it the other way around, you can always start with coffee…

This just over 2 mile walk will take you up and down just over 1000 steep stairs. Proper shoes and attire are recommended.

Step by Step Directions:

1. But First, Coffee. Alfred Coffee 3337 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

#alfredssilverlakeAlfred Coffee’s motto is particularly relevant because you’ll be starting your adventure here! Incase, you need something to work towards, you’ll also be ending here.

Direction: Coffee, or not, you decide, and then head to your first stop which is across the street. 

2. Micheltorena Stairs 3400 Sunset Boulevard (Up 205 Steps)

#micheltorenaWhen you see the cheerful rainbow stripes and hearts painted by artist Corrine Carrey, you’ll know you’re in the right place. Before you begin the walk take a moment to snap a few pics! #staircandy anyone!

Direction: You’ll be crossing at the corner of Sunset and Micheltorena and as soon as you cross head left walk a few steps and you’ll come to the Micheltorena staircase. Go up…

3. Descanso Stairs (Down 139 steps)

Direction: When you reach the top of the stairs you’ll continue on Micheltorena Street until you arrive at Descanso Drive. Go left. Take the stairs down and turn right at the bottom onto Larissa Drive, which about 50 feet later will once again become Descanso Drive. You don’t want W. Descanso Drive.

4. Music Box Steps (Down 133 steps)

#musicboxstepsThis next staircase isn’t painted but it is famous! It was named after the 1932 Academy Award winning short film, which was filmed here, The Music Box, in which Laurel and Hardy attempt to move a piano up a large flight of steps. These very steps!

Direction: At the bottom of the Music Box Steps take a right onto N. Vendome Street and walk towards Sunset Boulevard. Turn left on Sunset Boulevard and cross the street using the crosswalk at Descanso Drive.

5. Stair Tempo Staircase 3229 Sunset Boulevard (Up 90 steps)

#stairtempoAlso painted by artist Corrine Carrey, these fun piano key steps add a much needed element of whimsy to this otherwise mundane passageway. It looks like they could use a bit of sprucing up, but that didn’t take away from the fun.

Direction: Walk along Sunset until you come to 3229 Sunset and head up the stairs towards Hamilton Way. Go right at the top of Stair Tempo and your next set of stairs (up 102 steps) will be on  your left. Take them up to Elevado Street and go left. Go left again onto Westerly Terrace.

6.The Swan Stairs, Parts 1, 2 & 3

#swanstairsNamed for their location, the Swan Stairs were painted in 2015 by The Painted Line Mural Co. and are separated into three different flights totaling 287 steps. Each flight of stairs is unique with shapes and colors in different colors. My favorite, the final flight, showcases a quote from the band the Decembrists: “Los Angeles, I’m Yours.”

 Part 1 – Swan Place 2958 Swan Place (Up 77 steps)

Direction: You’ll find Part one of the Swan Stairs at the intersection of Westerly Terrance and Swan Place. Go up… At the top veer left and you’ll find part two is just across the street at 1802 Redesdale Avenue. Go up again… At the top veer left and you’ll find part three is just across the street at 1784 Rotary Drive. Go up, yet again…

Part 2 – 1802 Redesdale Avenue (Up 110 steps)

#swanstairs

Part 3 – 1784 Rotary Drive (Up 100 steps)

 Swan Stairs Los Angeles California

7. Its Time to Head back…

#swanstairs
Once you reach the top its time to head back down…

Once you’ve conquered the Swan Stairs you’ll be working your way back through the hills towards Alfred Coffee.

Direction: 

  • Don’t go back down the stairs tho! continue forward by taking a left onto Webster Ave,
  • left on Dillon Street,
  • right on Effie Street and,
  • left on Cicero Drive.
  • walk to the end of the cul-de-sac and you’ll find a staircase on your right (down 90 steps),
  • At the bottom of the stairs go left onto Redcliff Street,
  • right onto Murray Drive,
  • right onto Berkeley Avenue and,
  • finally a left back onto Micheltorena Street. You’ll find Alfred Coffee at the corner of Micheltorena Street and Sunset Boulevard.
Now that you’ve worked up an appetite going up and down all those steps consider going just a little further to Pine & Crane, a delicious Taiwanese restaurant just a five minute walk up the street. The food is fresh, delicious and affordable!

There are many other hidden and painted stairways throughout Silver Lake and the greater Los Angeles area just waiting to be collected, and once I do, I’ll be sure to update with photos and locations!


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Highlights… & Hindsights Making The Case for Repeat Destinations

I’m currently, ok always, considering my next vacation destination, and with so many amazing places in the world it’s hard to decide. Should we commit those precious vacation days to repeat destinations, digging deeper into what a city has to offer? If we do, what about all those wonderful new places just waiting to be discovered?

#jardindestuileries
Sailing ships! A highlight of our Paris visit!

When traveling, I’m torn between wanting to wing it and not wanting to miss anything, which definitely helps makes the case for repeat visits to certain destinations. For example, our recent trips to Paris, London, and Edinburgh were all repeat visits, we’d already checked off many of the main attractions, which enabled us to explore more freely. One point for repeat visits!

#bigben
Our tour of the Houses of Parliament was a definite highlight!

That said, one of my favorite things about traveling is the discovery of the new. The surprise and delight you feel when discovering something wonderful in a new place simply can’t be beat! These moments are one of the reasons I love to travel, the highlights of our adventures! One point for new destinations!

#arthursseat
We missed out on Arthur’s Seat during our first visit to Edinburgh.

However, being new to a place can at times be a hindrance. No matter how much research I’ve done, there are times when things don’t go quite as planned. Whether it’s accommodations, location, food, or timing, these are what I like to refer to as the hindsights of our adventure. These are things one can only know after time spent and often it’s too late… Another point for repeat destinations.

#brugge
This view from our hotel window in Bruges was a highlight!

Of course not everywhere has a hindsight and some places are just plain full of surprise and delight. I love surprise and delight! Looks like another point for new destinations!

Northern Ireland Antrim Coast
Flying to Glasgow from Belfast we were treated to this fabulous view!

So, it looks like a tie between old and new, which means I’m no closer to working out where in the world, we’ll go next, but in the meantime, here are some of the highlights and hindsights from our summer 2016 adventures in Europe!

Highlights & Hindsights

Dublin, Ireland

Highlight: Guinness Factory Tour

There were many wonderful moments during our visit to Dublin, however it was our visit to the Guinness Storehouse that came out as number one! Which speaks volumes, since I don’t even drink beer. All four of us absolutely loved this experience and if you should find yourself in Dublin I highly recommend you go.

#guinnessstorehouse

Hindsight: Popular attractions require advance planning

Our planned a visit to the  Kilmainham Gaol Museum went awry when we couldn’t print our tickets and unfortunately we missed out. We ended up visiting Malahide Castle instead, which was delightful, but lesson learned.

Cork, Ireland

Highlight:  The Blarney Stone

For more than 200 years people have been kissing the Blarney Stone and after some debate (it is the world’s germiest attraction) Simon and I decided to join the club!

Cork Blarney Castle
The Blarney Stone

Hindsight: Touristy doesn’t always equal bad

If only we’d known how much we were going to enjoy exploring Blarney Castle, we would have given ourselves more time.

Killarney, Ireland

Highlight: Killarney National Park

We spent three nights in Killarney, the gateway to the Ring of Kerry and the perfect little Irish town! Quaint, friendly and picturesque, it was exactly what I had pictured an Irish town to look like!

Killarney Ireland
Ross Castle is located inside Killarney National Park

Hindsights: Whoops, attention to detail is key!

Putting the wrong fuel in our rental car meant a drastic change in our plans. Instead of a visit to the Dingle Peninsula and Skellig Michal we spent a lovely day wandering in  Killarney National Park. If I ever find my way back to the west of Ireland a trip to the Skellig Islands will be my first order of business!

Limerick, Ireland

Highlight: King John’s Castle

We weren’t sure what to expect at King Johns’ Castle, but I do love a good castle and we had to stop for lunch anyway so why not just eat lunch at the castle?

#kingjohnscastle
King John’s Castle

Hindsight: There was none!

This was a bonus stop on our way to Galway, and we were delighted with the way this midday stop turned out!

Galway, Ireland

Highlight: The Cliffs of Moher

The spectacular Cliffs of Moher are a definite must-see if you’re visiting the West Coast of the Emerald Isle.

ireland cliffs of moher
The Cliffs of Moher

Hindsight: Allow time for unexpected adventures

There is a walk along the cliff tops , but we were running out of daylight and weren’t really dressed for a hike, so we satisfied ourselves with a good long look over the edge.

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Highlight: Everything about the entire visit

Our visit to the Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland was by far the best day of our 12 day tour of the Emerald Isle, if not our entire summer abroad!

#dark Hedges

Hindsight: We should have stayed longer.

Having no idea how much we would enjoy our visit we only booked three nights, but easily could have spent twice that many exploring Belfast as well as the amazing natural beauty along the Northern Coast.

Glasgow, Scotland

Highlight: Mural Trail

A very happy accident, we discovered Glasgow’s Mural trail on our way to another destination!

#hiphopmarionettes

Hindsight: Glasgow deserves more time!

Two days just wasn’t enough in this walk friendly city brimming with architecture, art, music, and shopping!

Inverness, Scotland

Highlight: Urquhart Castle on the Shores of Loch Ness

Having missed out on a visit to Loch Ness on our previous trip to the Highlands, we decided to make it a priority. A highlight was exploring the ancient ruins of Urquhart Castle, located on the shores of the lake.

#urquhartcastle

Hindsight: So much more than a monster!

Our visit here was wonderful and exceeded our expectations in every way.

The Highlands of Scotland

Highlight: Eileen Donan Castle

A last minute decision to see Eileen Donan Castle did not disappoint. It’s no wonder that Eilean Donan is the most photographed castle in Scotland, it’s setting in the middle of three lochs is stunning!

#eileandonanbagpiper

Hindsight: The Isle of Skye

There is never enough time in this magical country. We got a small taste of what the Isle of Skye has to offer and I’m definitely going back for more!

Edinburgh, Scotland

Highlight: Everything

Have you ever visited a place that felt so right, so special that it was almost painful to leave? Love at first sight? That’s exactly how I felt about Edinburgh from the very first moment.

#edinburgh

Hindsight: I’ve realized my Edinburgh list will never be completed

Although we didn’t have time to go inside the Writers Museum, we did spend time in the courtyard reading the tiles, which are inscribed with lovely quotes written by some of the city’s most famous writers. All of them about Edinburgh of course!

Hadrian’s Wall

Highlight: A dream come true

I know that for some, what basically amounts to a crumbling brick wall in the middle of nowhere England might not be interesting, but for me, a history loving anglophile, this was an absolute dream come true!

#hadrianswall

Hindsight: Walk the Wall Hike

It’s quite popular to “walk” the Wall and I would have liked to, at least for a little while, but serious rain was threatening and after a few minutes the boys abandoned me for the shelter of the Housestead’s Museum.

York, England

Highlight: York Minster

It made sense that the center piece of York, York Minster, the largest medieval Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe, would be our first stop. We were not disappointed!

#yorkminster

Hindsight: There wasn’t one!

The rain fell hard and steadily during our visit, but thankfully we still managed to enjoyed this lovely city.

Nottingham, England

Highlight: THE Nottingham!

Yes, that Nottingham, home of Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men!

#robinhoodnottingham

Hindsight: Sometimes the weather wins

Sadly, extremely heavy rain put us off from a visit to Sherwood Forest.

London, England

Highlight: Camden Market

My highlight is also a hindsight!  I can’t believe the Camden Market wasn’t already on my radar, It’s right up my alley and reminds me a lot of Venice Beach, California. Fun & quirky!

#camdenlock

Hindsight: Top of the Shard

With my love of photography, I regret that I didn’t take the time to visit the observation deck at the Shard. Greenwich is also high on my list for next time…

Brugge, Belgium

Highlight: Beautiful Medieval Town

I was delighted by the incredible beauty of Brugge, a quaint little medieval town. I immediately fell in love and spent the better part of my three days there taking endless photos.

Bruges Canal

Hindsight: Why didn’t we eat more chocolate?

The question is: With endless chocolate shops around every corner, why didn’t we visit more of them? I’m afraid that’s a question, I’ll never know the answer to.

Ghent, Belgium

Highlight: Graffiti Street

Wanting to see something a bit off the beaten path and big fans of street art, we were excited to learn that Ghent has a dedicated graffiti street called Werregaren straat. We really enjoyed this and loved the idea of a dedicated place where anyone can express themselves freely.

#wergeranstraat

Hindsight: Maybe next time…

Elliot really wished we’d had a can of spray paint or two, so he could contribute.

Amsterdam, Holland The Netherlands

Highlight: Everything about our visit!

A lovely and walkable city with no shortage of interesting sights and streets to wander we made the most of every minute of our visit in Amsterdam.

#nightcanal

Hindsight: We visited Amsterdam and didn’t ride a boat or a bike, what?!

We made the most of every moment while visiting this fabulous city, but still ran out of time before ever stepping onto a boat, or peddling a bike. We did see some windmills though! If I had to do it over again I would stay on a houseboat!

Zaans Schans, Holland

Highlight: Windmills

I felt I couldn’t visit Holland without seeing at least one windmill up close and personal! I know, I know, that’s a very touristy thing to do, but hey, sometimes I’m a tourist!

#zaanseschans

Hindsight: Why didn’t we rent bikes here?

If we ever find our way back to this wonderful place we will be sure to rent bikes. The wide pathways and lovely scenery would make for a perfect bike ride!

Paris, France

Highlight: Sainte Chapelle

As I emerged from the doorway into the main part of the chapel my mouth literally fell open. I was completely surrounded by jaw dropping beauty. How did I not know about this amazing place?

#saintechapelle

Hindsight: Accommodations

While there wasn’t really anything wrong with our hotel, I’ve yet to really hit the nail on the head as far as Paris lodgings go… hopefully next time!

Versailles, France

Highlight: Marie Antoinette’s Gardens

My favorite part of the day was our visit to the Petit Trianon, the home away from home of Marie Antoinette, who apparently wasn’t so enamored with the main Palace and preferred to spend her time elsewhere.

#petittrianon

Hindsight: An evening visit might have been better

We should have considered going later in the afternoon for the musical fountains show and evening fireworks. We might have been able to beat the crowds, and the heat.

London, England

Highlight: Hyde Park

London’s parks are the perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon just like the locals do! They are beautiful, vast and filled with activities for every interest.

#serpentinepavilion2016

Hindsight: Do we really have to go home?

Even after six weeks of travel, I wasn’t ready to go home.

Nothing makes me happier than discovering new places with my family and sharing them with all of you!


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Take Me With You…

#thismomentisyours

Okay, it’s probably not reasonable to take me with you on your next adventure, but, now with the help of GPS-Guided travel articles you can almost take me with you, and that’s the next best thing, right?! Wondering how to make this possible? Read on…

#hilarystyle
I’m ready, lets go!

I recently discovered a new app, GPSmyCITY, that ties in beautifully with the reason I started this blog in the first place, my love of travel and the desire to share what I love with others. The GPSmyCity app provides offline access to travel related articles from 750 cities around the world, some of which were written by yours truly!

#swanstairs
My most recent Los Angeles discovery: The hidden staircases of Silver Lake

Like many people who travel, I do a lot of research before I go, the problem is gaining access to that research once I’m at my destination. The reality is that wifi isn’t always available, which means I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to pull up that great article, blog post, or map, when I need it most. However, even if I could, there’s the high cost of international data to consider. This is where the GPSmyCITY app comes in handy!

What is a GPS-guided travel article?

A GPS-Guided travel article is exactly what it sounds like: An article with GPS coordinates embedded directly into the text. The best part is that once you’ve downloaded the article you won’t need access to the internet to use it!  Download all the articles you’re interested in free of charge. Once you’ve decided on the article(s) that best work for your destination, you have the option to upgrade for a small fee f $1.99*, which will activate the GPS coordinates within the article along with an offline map.

#gpsmycityhilarystyle

Say goodbye to dragging along those heavy guide books, besides, they only offer information about the most well known spots anyway. When you bring along a GPSmyCity article, you’ll have everything you need to find all those hidden travel gems (for example, those hidden stairway walks in Los Angeles) right on your smart phone. Bonus: You’ve saved money and your aching back. How great is that!

Ready to try it Out?

Here are two easy ways you can access GPS-guided travel articles:

  • click on a link below for the article you are interested in (if you haven’t already downloaded the free GPSmyCity app, you will see a prompt to do so). After downloading the app, you will be directed to the article, where you can choose UPGRADE to get the GPS-guided version.
  • From the GPSmyCity app, you can browse by city to see which articles are available.

You can download any article for free or upgrade for offline GPS-guided use.

I’m really excited about the ability to share my articles with you in this new way, and hope you love it too. To introduce you to this new idea, I’m able to offer three of my articles free of charge for the first week. (expires March 12, 2017)

Some of my other articles, are also available on GPSmyCity! They offer details about my favorite museums, shopping spots, off the beaten path surprises, and delicious food finds. With GPSmyCity on your smart phone, you really can take me with you!

*Note: If you do upgrade one of my downloaded travel articles, I receive a small portion of the sale, which I’m hoping might contribute to maintaining this travel blog…


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Day Trippers: Joshua Tree National Park

#joshuatree

Perception can be a powerful thing, especially perception of one’s self. Shaping  everything from what we wear, who we interact with and even where we travel. For example, I’ve always considered myself an indoor* city girl, which meant most of my adventures involved the exploration of larger cities, with an emphasis on indoor activities, but lately that seems to be changing.

#joshuatreeSince I began writing hilarystyle almost two years ago I’ve found myself branching out more than ever before. My desire to see more, experience more, and learn more, not just about the wide world, but about the places closest to me, and the need to share what I’m learning has become a passion. I’m breaking out of my self imposed box and I have this blog to thank for it!

Which leads me to the subject of my current post… An outdoor adventure in nature!

The Joshua Tree National Park

#joshuatreeThe Joshua Tree National Park is located just over two hours from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, and while that might be stretching the limit of a day trip, it’s very doable. More than just the name of an incredibly popular U2 album,  people come from all over the world to enjoy the park’s unique trees and alien like desert terrain. Hiking, camping, rock climbing and stargazing are just some of the activities available within the park.
#joshuatree

Having recently purchased a new lens for my camera, my main interest in visiting the park was photography. I was excited to take photos of both the Joshua trees and the night sky, but unfortunately the weather wasn’t on my side and the sky was overcast and grey.

Although conditions weren’t exactly ideal for photography, we made the most of our trip, stopping at three different locations within the park. We took a leisurely nature walk in Hidden Valley, did a bit of “rock climbing” along Park Boulevard, and our final stop was the appropriately named Skull Rock. I really enjoyed our visit to Joshua Tree, which offered something for everyone in our group, even me a self described indoor girl.

Hidden Valley Nature Walk

#joshuatree

Park Boulevard

#joshuatree

Skull Rock

#skullrock

Bonus Stop: The World’s Biggest Dinosaurs

#cabazondinosaurs
While researching our drive to Joshua Tree I discovered these wonderful and very large dinosaurs. We just had to stop! The World’s Biggest Dinosaurs, these giant concrete statues, are probably most well known for their appearance in the 80s movie Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. We were delighted to stop and take photos with them, before heading on our way!

Tips & Advice

  • There is no food of any kind for purchase inside Joshua Tree National Park. Trust me there is NO food. Make sure to bring snack and drinks with you.
  • There are no flush toilets in the park.
  • Wear proper shoes, especially if you think you might like to climb up on any of the giant boulders throughout the park. My kids couldn’t stay away from them!
  • Wear layers. Joshua Tree is a desert environment and the temperatures can be quite extreme. The day of our visit it was only a high of 45 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Stop at one of the park’s ranger stations before you enter. The rangers will provide you with a free map as well as directions and advice.
  • The Ranger Station exhibits give a brief but nice overview of the history of the park and the trees.
  • There are many hikes and walks throughout the park. The degree of difficultly varies and there is something for every ability.
  • If you’re interested in Night Sky photography Joshua Tree is one of the few places in the United States where you can see the Milky Way.
  • From the website: Do not rely on GPS directions to navigate to or within Joshua Tree National Park! Vehicle navigation systems sometimes try to route you onto backcountry roads with ruts or soft sand that may be impassable to your vehicle.

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London: An Afternoon in Kensington

#kensingtonhilarystyle

#southkensingtonAfter Six weeks of travel our amazing adventures through Ireland, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, and France, were coming to an end, and it was time to head home, but not before one last hurrah! What better way to end the trip of a lifetime, than strolling around in my number one favorite city: London!

#kensingtonhilarystyle

Wanting to explore somewhere new, we chose Kensington, not only was it a neighborhood I hadn’t spent much time in, but we had an early flight back to the States and its proximity to Heathrow was a big plus. Our hotel, The Kensington, was walking distance to Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, the Museum of Natural History, High Street, and many other interesting sights and restaurants!

#herefordarms

Speaking of restaurants, arriving, from Paris, just in time for lunch we discovered the Hereford Arms, a friendly  pub and restaurant with excellent service and even better food. I had the best tarter sauce I’ve ever had there, and after weeks traveling throughout the UK, thats saying a lot! Seriously!

After lunch we walked up and down High Street enjoying the beautiful flower arrangements, poking in and out of the various shops and galleries and stopping to take photos. Our little one had recently discovered he actually enjoys reading, so we picked up a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone for the flight home.

Hyde Park & Kensington Gardens

#princealbertmemorialWanting to make the most of our very last day, Simon and I decided to explore Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, which were walking distance from our hotel and are conveniently connected to one another.  London’s parks are the perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon just like the locals do! They are beautiful, vast and filled with activities for every interest.

#royalalberthall

We wandered through the parks taking photos, hunting Pokemon, and stopping along the way to admire The Albert Memorial, Royal Albert Hall and the interactive Peter Pan Statue.

#princealbertmemorial

One of my favorite things to see is the Serpentine Gallery, but in past visits my boys have enjoyed both the Princess Diana Memorial Playground and Diana Memorial Fountain.

The fountain was an especially big hit as the day we visited it was quite a warm afternoon, however the playground’s Peter Pan theme is really charming. Who wouldn’t want to take the helm of a giant pirate ship, hang out in a tee pee , or play sentry on the walls of a fort!

The Serpentine Gallery

#serpentinepavilion2016As I mentioned I really enjoy, the Serpentine Gallery and our  first stop within the Park was the Gallery’s Summer Pavilion installation. If you haven’t had a chance to see this, I highly recommend it! The exhibition is different each year, and showcases the designs of up and coming architects via the building of unique and temporary structures located within the Park. This was my second visit to see this exhibition and if given the opportunity I would go every year! Depending on the year’s design, visitors can go and in and out, enjoy drinks and snacks, and even climb onto the structure. While most years the exhibition features only one structure, this year’s featured some smaller buildings as well.

#serpentinepavilion2016

Highlights and Tips:

  • The many activities within the park differ depending on the time of year, so consider repeat visits.
  • Admission to The Serpentine Gallery is free.
  • The Pavilion Exhibition is a summer installation and changes every year. Check the website for the most current information.
  • Kids 12 and under can enjoy the Peter Pan themed Diana Memorial Playground with adult supervision.
  • Go ahead and dip your feet into the Diana Memorial Fountain. Its permitted!
  • The Peter Pan statue is interactive, so consider bringing a smart device.
  • Did you know you can take a guided tour of the Albert Memorial?
  • Kensington is a great place to stay if you have an early morning flight out of Heathrow.
#
Until next time, London…

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InstaLA! 15 Places to Snap Those InstaGood Pics

These days it’s all about documenting. After all if you haven’t posted it on Instagram, were you really there? Of course you were, but sharing the fun is a big part of any experience, which is one reason why I started this blog in the first place! Sharing the fun!

#paulsmithwallla
The famous Pink Wall at Paul Smith on Melrose #paulsmithla

As an amateur photographer, I appreciate that a great photo, not only documents the moment, but also tells the story. So, as a tourist in my own town, I’ve been on a quest to see new places, enjoy the moments, AND get that #pic.

Are You Looking for that LA Experience?

#madeinla
Another Insta Icon the #madeinla wall at  Cisco Home on Melrose

Whether it be a #selfie, a portrait, or just your surroundings, If you’re looking for more than just a photo, but an experience to go along with it consider some of these #fun on and off the beaten path LA locations:

1. Colette Miller Angel Wings Location: 453 Colyton Street, Los Angeles

If there’s one #instapic you have to take while visiting the City of Angles it’s the one with a pair of Colette Miller’s Angel Wings. Surely, you’ve heard of Colette Miller’s Angel Wings project by now, and if not, you have now! With multiple locations around LA, and now the world, you are bound to run across a pair! This particular pair is located just outside the DTLA Arts  District Co-op, which also happens to be a great shop!


2. Fnnch Honey Bear Mural Location: 608 Mateo Street, Los Angeles

The #insta #opportunities in Downtown’s Arts District are endless. No matter your taste, there is street art for everyone! It was while looking for another piece that we came upon this lovely “little” honey bear by the San Francisco based artist known as Fnnch. Of course I had to take a quick #pic with my #littlehoney!


3. The Most Famous Artist Mural Location: 608 Mateo Street, Los Angeles

You might already be familiar with the polka dot wall as it’s become an #icon of the LA #instawall scene. (Is that a thing? I guess it is now!) The work of Matty Mo, otherwise known as The Most Famous Artist, its just one of many murals made with the intention of being featured on social media. It’s conveniently located in the same area as some other pretty nice pieces.


4. The Broad Museum Location: 221 S. Grand Ave, Los Angeles

If you only have time to visit one museum while in LA, I highly suggest The Broad located in DTLA. Entry to the museum is free, and the collection is top notch! Not only that, the building itself makes a lovely #instawall backdrop! Do keep in mind that it’s incredibly popular and advance reservations are required.


5. The Chandelier Tree  Location: 2811 W. Silver Lake Drive, Los Angeles

The Chandelier Tree, created by, Silver Lake resident and artist, Adam Tenenbaum is a magical piece of art which is located in his front yard! The tree’s restored chandeliers have been collected over time through donations, swap meet purchases and film sets. Visitors to the tree are very welcome and if you’re so inclined you can contribute to Adam’s electric bill, by inserting coins into the meter beneath the tree. Check out this neat little video to learn more about the Chandelier Tree.


6. Elliot Smith Figure 8 Wall Location: 4334 W. Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles

Just a few minutes away from the above #instaspot you’ll find the Elliott Smith Figure 8 Wall. If you’re a music lover, you might be familiar with Elliot Smith, who met a tragic end in 2003. This wall was featured on the cover of his last album and has since become a place where fans can snap a #pic and pay tribute to the deceased singer. As my husband is a big fan of Elliott’s music, our son is also named Elliot…


7. Micheltorena Stairs Location: 3400 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles

Painted by artist Corrine Carrie the Micheltorena Stairs are not only a lovely spot for an #instapic, but part of a larger network of “hidden”stairs within the Silver Lake neighborhood. If you’re feeling inspired after you snap your #staircandy pic, why not consider an urban hike! You’ll get some exercise along with your #snap!


8. View of DTLA Griffith Observatory Location: 2800 E. Observatory Rd, Los Angeles

The views from the Griffith Observatory, are quintessential LA, so it’s no wonder this very view was featured in the movie LA LA Land. Not only will a visit here provide you fabulous views of #DTLA, but the #iconic Hollywood Sign as well. Thats two birds with one #instastone!


9. The Hollywood Sign Location: 2800 E. Observatory Rd, Los Angeles

#hollywoodsign #griffithpark #hollywood #losangeles #california #icon #staycation #fun #hilarystyleme

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One of the most famous icons in Los Angeles and the world, no trip to Los Angeles would be complete without a glimpse of the famous Hollywood Sign!


10. Urban Light at LACMA Location: 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles

There’s something so magical about artist Chris Burden’s Urban Light installation, I could spend hours there! I couldn’t stop taking photos. The solar powered installation is made from 202 restored cast iron street lamps from 1920s and 30s Los Angeles. Part of LACMA’s permanent collection, the exhibit is free to the public. Urban Light is an incredibly popular place to take photos and hang out, so unless you visit in the middle of the night, expect to have other people in your photos.


11. Carrera Cafe Location: 8251 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles

Located just across the street from the pink #paulsmithla wall on Melrose Avenue, Carrera Cafe, is not just a pretty face, but also a lovely little cafe with both sweet and savory treats.


12. Social butterflies LA Location:  8222 W. 3rd St, Los Angeles

You’ll be kept plenty busy exploring all the restaurants, shopping, galleries and fun #wallcandy on West 3rd Street, which is located in West Hollywood about one mile from Melrose Avenue.


13. Palm Tree Photo Mural Location: 1130 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice

For a guaranteed LA experience and those #instagood #instapics don’t miss one of the hottest streets in town, Abbot Kinney located in Venice. Both sides of the street are lined with not only fabulous street art, murals and pasteups, but many of the most sought after fashion brands have stores here. After you’ve snapped and shopped, you can satisfy your hunger in the one of the many trendy bars and restaurants. It’s #instapic heaven! This Noah Abrams photograph is on the wall outside of Kit and Ace.


14. J. Goldcrown’s #bleedinghearts #Lovewall Location: corner of Santa Clara Avenue and Abbot Kinney Boulevard

While you’re in the neighborhood, why not make a stop at J. Goldcrown’s #bleedinghearts #lovewall, which is painted on the side of the Green Leaf Chopshop. Don’t worry, it’s okay to take photos at both! Then stop by the TOMS store and pick up a matching pair!


15. Will Rodgers State Beach  Location: 17000 Pacific Coast Hwy, Los Angeles

Tourist or not, there’s nothing quite like an LA #sunset, and the best part: It happens each and every night!

#happysnapping


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#instalapinme

 

 

The J. Paul Getty Museums 

#gettyvilla

I had the best time during my visits to the Getty Villa and the Getty Center, two world renowned art museums, and I didn’t even look at the art. Yep, it’s true! I was so busy enjoying everything else they had to offer, I ran out of time, which is why both of these LA institutions will be going on my Repeat List and should definitely be on everyone else’s Must List.

The Getty  Villa

#gettyvillaLocated on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, the Getty Villa is dedicated to the antiquities and features 7000 years of ancient art. Even if antiquities aren’t your thing, The Villa itself is a site to see.

#gettyvilla

Built in the early 1970s it was modeled after the Villa dei Papiri, a roman country home which was located in Herculaneum, Italy.  Herculaneum, along with Pompeii, was buried in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD and has only been partially excavated.

The Getty Villa Los Angeles California

My friend, Melissa, and I had the most amazing time here, it was the perfect day out. We  enjoyed two guided tours, architecture and garden, watched a brief film about the history of the Villa and its creator, J. Paul Getty. We also enjoyed a fabulous lunch at the Getty Cafe.

#gettyvilla

As I mentioned we ran out of time and didn’t see much art, even so, this may have been the most fun I’ve had at an art museum… well… ever!

Tips & Advice:

  • Entry to the Getty Villa is free, but reservations, which can be made online, are required. There is a $15 fee for parking.
  • The museum tours of the art, architecture, and gardens are complimentary.
  • The food in the cafe was excellent. Consider eating there while you enjoy beautiful views of the Villa and gardens from above.
  • I hope to visit again in the summer when the there will be performances in the Villa’s amphitheater.
    The Getty Villa Los Angeles California
  • Don’t forget to leave time for the art!

The Getty Center

#gettycenter

If you’ve been to LA you might have noticed the Getty Center, a large white building perched on the hillside above the 405.

#gettycenterview

While the Getty Villa features antiquities through the fall of the Roman Empire, the Getty Center features American and European art from medieval times to the present. Not only is it considered an architectural masterpiece, but it’s surrounded by beautiful gardens and on a clear day the view of Downtown Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean are spectacular.

#gettycentergarden

The museum campus is vast and there are many different areas to explore. My boys loved the gardens and it is our goal to come back each season to see how they’ve changed. Hopefully, we’ll find time to see some of the art during one of those visits! Stay tuned!

#gettycenterview

Tips & Advice:

  • Entry to the Getty Center is free. There is a $15 fee to park. Unlike the Villa reservations are not required.
  • Once parked you’ll take a complimentary tram up the hillside to the Getty Center.Getty Center Los Angeles California
  • If you’re visiting with children, the casual Getty Cafe is cafeteria style and offers something for everyone.
  • We plan to come back every season to see the changes in the gardens.

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Los Angeles, How I ❤️ Thee…

#lovewallI ❤️ LA, and clearly I’m not alone! From Venice Beach to the streets of Downtown and everywhere in between! Love is everywhere in the City of Angels!

#lovemeanywaysAnd while some might complain that it’s too big, too smoggy, or too congested, there’s a reason 45+ million people found a reason to visit in the last year. With mild weather and endless possibilities it’s no wonder that Los Angeles is the ❤️ of Southern California.

Sharing The Love

#lovewall #bleedinghearts

Join me on a whirlwind photo tour showcasing just some of the fun and he(Art)s I’ve discovered throughout the LA LA Land that I love.

Venice Beach

#ilovevenice

Like the sign says, I ❤️ Venice, and not just for the cheap sunglasses and great people watching! I just can’t get enough of the good weird that is Venice!

#heartglasses

Thinking about a new pair of shades? Have you considered heart shaped?

#venicebeach

Who doesn’t love candy, hearts and selfies, but especially selfies with candy hearts?!

Venice is a work in progress, always changing, so whether you’re, driving, biking or walking, keep your eyes open! Even Muhammad Ali is showing the love.

Washington Boulevard

#wrdsmth

WRDSMTH’s inspirational pieces can be found throughout Los Angeles and the world. ❤️

Windward Avenue

#ilovevenice

While out biking one morning Marioe’s bright red heart caught my eye !

Abbot Kinney Boulevard

#aviatornation

We often find ourselves in the Aviator Nation shop  on Abbot Kinney Boulevard! And it’s not just because we love their ping pong table… Their loungewear is pretty awesome too!

#lovewall

Artist J. Goldcrown’s #bleedinghearts #lovewall is a favorite among tourists and locals alike!

Santa Monica Pier

#bodylove

I came across these brave and confident lovelies sharing the #bodylove on the Santa Monica Pier one afternoon!

Culver City

#lovelovelove

Artist Curtis Kulig’s Love Wall at Smashbox Studios in Culver City isn’t exactly on the beaten path, but it’s bright happy message is worth a detour, especially if you’re with someone you love!

Museum Mile

#Lovebug

If you’re a car lover, than you might like to visit Herbie the Love Bug who lives at the Peterson Automotive Museum on the Museum Mile!

Silver Lake Neighborhood

#micheltorenastairs

It was love at first sight when I saw the not so “secret” Micheltorena Stairs while out exploring the Silver Lake neighborhood with my boys!

#dallasclayton

We just had to stop at take a family photo underneath this happy message of love painted by artist and writer Dallas Clayton on the wall at Dangerbird Records on Sunset Boulevard!

Downtown Los Angeles

The change to Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) in the past decade is unbelievable and IMHO it’s all for the better! Not only will you find amazing art everywhere (more on that in a future post), but there are fabulous brewery’s, restaurants, shopping, markets and more! I LOVE DTLA!

#angelcitybrewery

This lovely street art heart is on the side of the Angel City Brewery.

#gotlove

Literally, art on the street, these fun little stencils can be found just about everywhere around town. I’m particularly fond of the official kissing spot!

#adamdare

This new piece by artist Adam Dare was finished in October 2016 and it says, Love is Love. I couldn’t agree more! It’s located just outside the Dejavita boutique in the DTLA Arts District. What I don’t love… cars parked in front of the art, but it is LA, and we do love our cars!

#cafegratitude

Can’t get enough of  J. Goldcrown’s #bleedinghearts? You can visit them in DTLA at Cafe Gratitude!

With Love
xo

 

#xo


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#pinmeLA

Paris: The City of Love A Photo Tour

Sometimes referred to as The City of Love, Paris is definitely moving up on my Favorite Cities list, but it wasn’t love at first sight. In fact, It wasn’t until my third visit, that I really came to realize what, many other people already feel: I love Paris! I know that with so many amazing places in the world it can be hard to commit precious vacation time to repeat destinations, but sometimes it’s those repeat visits that really show you what a city is all about.

In Paris there are…

#Paris

Lovely views around every corner.

The Pantheon…

Paris France

Is a place I’ve still never stepped foot inside. Its first on my list for next time!

How much love is too much…

Paris France

Over 1 million locks of love have been removed from Paris’s bridges! That’s 65 tons of love!

Speaking of Love…

Paris France

I just love it when we see a bride and Groom!

What’s that smell…

Paris France

I love cheese, but the boys weren’t too keen on the smell.

However…

#paris

They had no complaints about the cookies!

A perfect afternoon…

#paris

is made up of, Street performers, Berthillon glace and a little rest along the banks of the Seine on the Ile de Sainte Louis.

Once upon a time…

#ruemouffetard

The Rue Mouffetard was a main road in and out of town. One of our favorite places! You’ll find a mix or tourists and locals alike on this pedestrian friendly market street.

Graffiti or art…

#paris

Street Art! We were delighted to discover among other street art pieces this C-3PO Chewbacca piece by the elusive French street artist, Invader.

You’ll find yourself surrounded by beauty…

#paris

Sometimes in the most simple of forms. From the Metropolitan signs…

yellow-bicycle-7125

and bicycles…

Paris France

to corner flower shops, and

#paris

The many corner cafes.


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