Annenberg Beach House

A few weeks ago, I assisted Maggie on a photo shoot at the Annenberg Beach House.

I read about the Annenberg Beach House YEARS ago in a little blurb in Vanity Fair ….and sine then I’ve been just waiting for a reason to go.

From their website:

The Annenberg Community Beach House at Santa Monica State Beach is a public facility located on 5 acres of oceanfront property. The Beach House story is one of evolution from private to public, starting with the development of the property at 415 Pacific Coast Highway as an opulent private estate in the 1920s.

Go read the full history of it ….. The property started out as Marion Davies’s private home. Can you IMAGINE living right on the beach like that? I want to read all kinds of mid-century Hollywood histories!

Today, the Annenberg Beach House is gorgeous and relaxing … I believe you need to make an appointment to swim in the pool, but otherwise its free to park, free to visit, free to hang out on the long boardwalk in front of it.

Check out some photos from our afternoon ..

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Andrew and Liz’s Malibu hike

The week that Liz was in town, Andrew actually had several days off!

That Monday the 2 of them decided to go hiking – they went to Malibu so Liz could visit the beach as well.

And Andrew, bless his heart, thought to bring me back the trail map so I could include it in my Project Life spread for that week. That guy must love me.

They hiked part of the Ocean View Trail (near the bottom of this image below)…. and at one point ran down a hill.

Then for the rest of the week, both Liz and Andrew ACHED! Especially their shins, I think, from running full speed down a hill!

Andrew loves hiking (and I do not), so I think it was nice for him to have a new hiking partner for a day!


taking a local gardening class

Completely randomly a few weeks ago I just Google’d ‘Santa Clarita gardening class’ … and found a free composting class just a few blocks away from our house!

The County of Los Angeles is putting on these ‘smart gardening’ workshops in all kinds of cities in the area … (They also offer a series of gardening instructional videos that I need to watch).

Since the workshop was just a few blocks away from my house, I left at the last minute and was totally surprised to find the park completely crowded! So, uh … somehow I didn’t even notice that the city was having an “open house” event at the same place as the composting class!

I invited Julie to meet me there, and by the time we arrived (about 1 minute after the class was scheduled to start), ALL the seats were taken plus some more people standing around …

The man teaching the composting class was this adorable older guy who clearly loves gardening, loves his yard/property and has been composting/gardening for a long time…

He talked about treating his worm-composting worms like pets (if you’re going to be away from home for more than a couple weeks, be sure to have someone look in on them), and all excited about what he’s able to grow in his yard, giving hints about having your neighbors save their veggie scraps for you …

I kind of love him

The park/city division has this whole local-plant garden surrounding the area. Including signage/etc that describes what you’re looking at (recycling grass, drought-resistant, etc).

Such a fun Saturday morning! I went straight home and walked around our yards thinking about where we would put our compost bin, our herb garden and other goodies!

Can’t wait til next spring when the house is more put together and we can really focus on the yard!


The perks of Andrew’s job

So Andrew has been working A LOT.

With paying clients and everything….

But recently he got a couple fun little *extras* from a client that he shared with me….

First: A cake.

Chocolate cake with buttercream frosting …. YUM! You don’t want to know how much I ate in 2 days (knowing I was going to quit sugar that Monday).

Second: 2 tickets to see Ryan Adams at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

We went mid-February on a Friday night – I had requested the day off work because that is the day we closed on our house. And luckily enough, it also happened to be the night we had tickets!

He played a solo acoustic set …. and I just loved being able to just sit in the dark and listen to music…. I can’t remember the last time I did that.

I blogged more about it at Lemon and Raspberry.

Third: a gift certificate for Sunday Supper at Lucques

Fancy dinner …. SO much fun – especially if someone else is paying …

Sunday Supper at Lucques is – you guessed it – every Sunday night…

The chef puts together a set menu based on what is fresh and in season that weekend at the Farmer’s Market…. Freshest ingredients lead to the best food….

I had been checking their website periodically to check out the menu. There was one other Sunday we were thinking about going, but the appetizer that night was avocado-based and that would have just been a waste with me…

This particular Sunday, however…. All deliciousness…

I actually branched out and tried their recommended cocktail … I don’t like alcohol at all, and I can taste it in any kind of fancy drink you want me to try …

But ‘the O word’ (described in the photo below) …. was surprisingly well mixed, and I genuinely liked it :)

We went on Oscar night …. so the menu was appropriately themed:

our salad/starter …. it got too dark for photos after that, but trust me. It was DELICIOUS.

We got one of each of the entrees…. and split them both.

Both fantastic. …. Oh my word, so good. I *think* I liked the lobster better …. but only just. The chicken + risotto was amazing too …

Cappuccinos to finish ….

… and then we went off to look for a studio space for Andrew. More on that later.

So, basically, if you happen to be in L.A. on a Sunday and have about $150 for dinner for 2 … GO TO LUCQUES.

SO good :)

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Autumn tradition: Corn maze

One of my favorite newer Autumn traditions has been visiting a corn maze!!

This is something neither Andrew nor I did growing up, but when we lived in Arizona, Michelle introduced us to the wonder and glory of navigating a corn maze after dark …

This year, we returned to Pierce College with Fernando and Jessica …. except this time on a Saturday night.

First to Fab Dogs for dinner, and then we ended up getting to the actual Halloween Harvest Festival a little before 9p (after stopping for cash AND having to park miles away).

Once we FINALLY got there …. this was the line..

Correction: This was TWO lines of equally ridiculous length …

So, we had to wait about … 30 minutes? 45? maybe longer, I’ve blocked it from my memory….. Just to buy tickets to get in.

Finally in … Just before 10p sometime.

In addition to the corn MAZE … there is also a haunted corn … path (we did this last year), 2 haunted-house type places, a petting zoo, crafts and (of course) a pumpkin patch.

For whatever reason, the line to do the haunted corn path was looooong. Even though it’s not so good.

Luckily for us, we seem to be the only ones who know that. There was no line whatsoever for the actual MAZE…

If you’ve never done a corn maze … I should tell you: they GIVE you a map. There maze is set up as some sort of picture/creature/etc with check points throughout. They give everyone a little map (maybe about 4×6) and the idea is to punch your map with the hole-punch provided at each check-point.

For whatever reason, when we used to go with Michelle we would always forget to bring a flashlight. …. And, yes, it’s less scary with a flashlight, but there’s no way to actually read your map w/o one.

Unless, you WANT to get lost in the dark in a corn maze…. I mean, I’ve seen Children of the Corn, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre and all those other movies that involve middle-of-nowhere fields … I’m glad Andrew remembered the flashlight this time.

Besides, having just that spot of light makes for some fun photos (without using the flash on the camera)….

Also helpful?

I am EXCELLENT at ‘Corn Maze’ … . Or, rather, I am excellent at reading a nonsensical map in the dark.

We didn’t really get lost at all…. .Ok, maybe my excellence took all the fun out of it (for Andrew at least), but I led the charge and got us to all the check points …

Do you think corn-maze-skills translate into any real-world skills?

Jessica pulled up her Pandora app on her phone and started playing some John Carpenter soundtrack while we wandered around in the dark …. It was that perfect little extra touch :)

(blurry, but still spooky…. after all, what do you expect in the dark?)

after soaring through the corn maze with flying colors (no prize for being awesome, though) … we wandered around a bit more.

Most of the ‘exhibits’ or activities, or whatever you would call them were closed since it was so late ….

…. but we still got to feed a 4-horned sheep (goat? Just realized I have no idea)…

And got the best cotton candy deal ever.

2 for $5 …. and they handed me this one and I just about laughed out loud.

$2.50 for cotton candy twice the size of my head?? Yes please!

Yep, corn maze has GOT to be an autumn tradition from now on … tooo much fun!

You can view more photos and purchase prints here: 2011 Pierce College corn maze

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breakfast with the family


As in …. I make Andrew be extra birthday-nice to me all month….

Also, it helps to reinforce birthday month when we don’t celebrate with Kaitlin and Joe until mid-way through the month ….

Way to stretch it out :)

Over the weekend, Kaitlin, Joe and Chris came up from OC to go to breakfast (at noon) with us for my birthday!

There’s a place near us that we had heard good things about and never tried – and I LOVE breakfast restaurants….. I don’t know what it is about them. They’re so cheery!

So Sunday morning we headed over to More than Waffles for a (very) late breakfast….

We got to hear about what is new in Chris’s life … about how Katie and Joe are getting exchange students from China for the summer … talked about our Alaska cruise (!)


Plus some YUMMY food …. Really very good. Andrew and I have already decided to go back some weekday morning when it is not so crowded ….

Andrew and I got a breakfast burrito and waffles with peaches (and shared both)



Breakfast dates might be my favorite thing ever!

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brunch at IKEA

So, 6 days a week I blog tips and inspiration for creatives over at Lemon and Raspberry.

And if you don’t know that …. um. …. Shame on you? What are you doing here? I don’t even know ….

Blogging is SUCH an incredible thing. …  I seriously feel so lucky to be able to connect with all kinds of SMART and CREATIVE people!

Anyway, through that site I’ve made online-friends with SEVERAL different amazing girls around the country (and even the world)….

And 2 of them live in SoCal.

Saturday morning I drove down to Covina to meet with a couple of my favorite girls for breakfast …. at IKEA!




And, by “breakfast” I mean, we got there at 9:30a and left at about 2:30p

We’ve got plans, my friends. Big big plans!

I don’t really have any “real life” friends who understand my blogging and my online career …. So it was great to spend so much time talking to girls who GET IT.



And then I went to Hollywood to pick up Andrew at National Record Store Day!

How was your Saturday?

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Our walk to TJ’s

We’ve lived in this apartment now …. a year? Plus a couple weeks?

One of my favorite parts about where we live is that we are within walking distance of a Trader Joe’s….

Not just walking distance – a short 2 tree-covered blocks!

Once you leave our apartment…. walk down the hallway to the stairs to the courtyard:

Through the courtyard, out the front double doors to the street (Burbank Blvd):

Turn EAST …. and here is the view…. Yes, Burbank is kind of a busy street, but this first block is always so green and pretty!

At the end of the block, you’ll need to cross a small (tiny) little street. It ends in a cul-de-sac on the right, so you hardly even have to look for any traffic. Andrew’s co-worker actually lives in this blue apartment building (right, across the street)

Walk down that last block … and there’s kind of a big intersection.

This is actually just off the freeway, so there are almost always a lot of cars like this. There are 2 gas stations …. but Trader Joe’s is just there across the street (see the sign already?!)

This particular Trader Joe’s is ALWAYS incredibly busy, so they actually block off one of the entrance driveways to create a couple more parking spots.

It’s crazy busy.

One more reason I’m so grateful we can walk there ….



God Bless Trader Joe’s …. with their vanilla yogurt that tastes like cream cheese frosting, and their roasted red bell pepper hummus ….. mmmmm ….

I love that we can walk there – considering how busy the parking lot is, and how gorgeous the weather is right now, and how expensive gas is ….

What is your favorite treat to get at Trader Joe’s?


on cars and living in L.A.

I had a different blog post planned for today … but the beauty of running your own blog is you can change the schedule whenever you like!

Gas is now about $4.25/gallon by our house!

Not a typo. It’s absurd.

We have been saving on gas this week though …. Now that we’re down to one car.

Yep. That’s right.

Down to ONE CAR at the moment.

Tuesday around noon, Andrew left for work …. and came right up back to the apartment about 10 minutes later:

“Um, my car isn’t where I parked it. So I’m going to take your car and drive around the neighborhood and look.”

OK. Awesome. Exactly the way I was planning on spending my mid-April this year.

It’s now Thursday. Day 3 with 1 car. …..

Those of you who have seen it know Andrew’s car is nothing special. 1996 Honda Accord. Really, people. ~$2200 ? What possible reason would someone have for stealing it?

I keep hoping we’ll get that phone call saying it was abandoned perfectly fine a few blocks away. Joy ride, right?


But, the good news is:
One of my coworkers lives just down the street AND works the same shift as me, so I’ve been able to get a ride to work.

The other good news is:
With gas at $4+/gallon I probably should have been carpooling all along

The other good news is:
We HAVE plenty of $ to get a new car. Luckily. There’s no need to apply for a last-minute car loan or anything. That fact alone keeps this from being a stressful situation.

The bad news is:
That $$ was supposed to be for our house down payment. Sigh.

But, living in Los Angeles, with our way different schedules and work locations we’re going to have to get another car soon. It’s nice that my co-worker can take me to work this week … but I’m sure he would appreciate the OPTION of not having to.

L.A. is simply based on a car-culture. I don’t have the option of taking public transportation to work.

Andrew could ride his bike to work, but he runs so many errands as part of his job, he needs a car too.

So, we’re shopping for a second car!

What kind of car do you drive? Do you like it?

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Schooner or Later

Andrew and his co-workers watch Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives during their lunch …. One of the great things about living in Los Angeles is so many of these well-known foodie places are within driving distance.

One of the ones from that show – Schooner or Later – is down south of us, not far from where Kaitlin and Joe live …

One Sunday morning recently we drove down for brunch with Kaitlin, Joe, Chris, Chris’s girlfriend Kahla, Kahla’s mom and some more of their friends …

Schooner or Later is pretty cute …. it’s right on the marina and there’s a dock specifically for Schooner or Later guests …

The *thing* to get there is a SCHOONER of beer (or Bloody Mary) … and The Mess.

So (obviously) that’s what we got!

Good diner food (I kind of love diner food in general) … .but not really worth the nearly 2 hour wait we had.

Oh well.

Breakfast is always fun!


Hann fam at the Stand

When my family is in town all I want to do is take them to all the good food places we visit…..

So after visiting LA Renegade, Andrew and I finagled a trip to The Stand on Ventura.

mmm …. the pickles are the best … hard to tell if my dad is having a good time or not, though …

Thus ends Christmas with my family …..  we watched some DVDs and played some games Sunday night and then they left Monday morning …..


Los Angeles Renegade Craft Fair

For whatever reason, the weekend my parents were in town, Los Angeles FORGOT that it was December….

That Sunday (mid-way through December) it was something absurd like 85 degrees out. Yuck. I am not a fan of heat.

But, since it was “so nice outside” (my mother’s words) we thought we should all go DO something as a family. Outdoors. In the heat.

After a couple suggestions, we settled on the Los Angeles Holiday Renegade craft fair – which I had wanted to go to but didn’t plan on due to the presence of family in town.

View more photos from the event here (not mine)

We arrived a little after lunch time and immediately got in line for some Kogi (Korean BBQ) tacos (yum!)

Renegade was at a Los Angeles park (with the skyline in the background) that would have been awesome if the weather had been cooler. With so much sun, it really would have been nice if they had chosen a park with trees.

Andrew and I were pretty much done with our Christmas shopping by this time, and I didn’t really have any money set aside to spend (even though I could have easily found a TON to buy) …. so we kind of just browsed, window-shopped and got ideas for our own projects to make….

Like these owl pillows – Andrew thought they would go GREAT with our couch. Cute, no?

We found this amazingly adorable octopus bookend.

Andrew thinks he could make one. We’ll see.

Oooh … one of my favorite booths – and one I would have gladly spent money at had I had it – was ErinZam’s collection of handmade/handbound books. Love.

She even sold tutorials so you could try your hand at making one (

Sad her etsy shop is closed at the moment….

Since Andrew and I weren’t really there to spend money, we found a shady spot to hangout, play Angry Birds, and wait for the others.

Kevin came walking up with bags of stuff for his girlfriend.

And none for me. Sad.

And then off to dinner …. Andrew and I took them to one of our favorite SF Valley places….

(to be continued)


My idea of Heaven

Last week Andrew and I made a trip down to Burbank for a little Christmas shopping …. We stopped by IKEA and the $1 bookstore to browse.

The $1 bookstore selection was a bit disappointing – the price point makes up for it, though.

Since we were looking for some Hemingway for Kevin, Andrew suggested we go across the street to the other used bookstore in the area. Still used books but about 1/2 the cover prices (vs. only $1).

It’s called ‘Movie World’ (why? I have no idea) …. and it pretty much looks like my idea of heaven ….

Bookshelves piled feet (and feet) above your head, more books piled on the floor (up to your knees), and SUCH an amazing selection … I found *exactly* what I was looking for. And then some.

For my birthday, Andrew’s going to take me back there and let me SWIM in all those books!

*please excuse the photo quality – we were just running errands so the only camera I had on me was the iPhone*

(This is the “cashier” … see that shoulder? Yea, exactly. This is his “counter”)

I can’t WAIT to go back!

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Pierce College pumpkin patch

Ah…. pumpkin patches…

Last year we went to Lombardi Ranch … this year – there’s a pumpkin patch just almost down the street from us.

Pierce College (a local community college) has an agricultural program, with a corn field, strawberries and all … Turns out they also do a pumpkin patch in the fall.

Andrew and I went down in the afternoon to meet Fernando and Jessica for some pumpkining and corn mazing …

But we decided to go to dinner and take some time so it would be dark when we did the corn maze.

Because a corn maze in the daylight is just not the same thing.

Man oh man the food smelled good. Between the kettle corn and the other goods …. yum!

In addition to the corn maze, they had all kinds of other to dos, rides, etc. A petting zoo, a haunted house, lots of kids rides, and even this little set up where you could practice milking a cow.

Unfortunately, by the time we got there, the cow was bone dry.

Oh well.

Next time. :)

Here’s the thing about the Pierce College corn mazes …. $12 per person. Not cheap.

So we decided to do the ‘Creatures in the Corn’ scary trail – not the corn MAZE (that would have cost another $12) …

It’s not a maze. It’s just a trail with “actors” around every corner trying to scare us….

Doing an OK job.

And then about 2/3rds of the way through the “monsters” etc tried to tell us to hurry up, that we were going too slow.

How obnoxious!

I paid $12 for a 10 min walk? And you want me to hurry on this dark, uneven ground?


(thanks Fernando for taking this of us!)

Andrew decided to get a pumpkin. ….. I’m not really sure what he’s planning on doing with it…..

You should ask him.

Happy October!


Getty Center with Lori

When Lori and I were first talking about her coming out …. She asked, “Have you ever been to the Getty? Is it good?”

Um, yes. I’ve been to the Getty – it might be my favorite place in L.A.

So, Sunday afternoon we headed over to the Getty … it was SUCH a gorgeous day to be there ….

And the current photo exhibit – Engaged Observers – was RIGHT up my alley …

(just thinking about it now, I want to go back)

We first headed over to the paintings (part of their permanent exhibit) and ran across this *ridiculously cute* little class for kids about art.

The teacher was pretty awesome … we stood and eavesdropped for a little bit .. .

Also, what a fun job she must have!

The sculpture below by Houdon – who I *just* learned about in my American History class.

I love when it all ties together ….

Below – from Girl Culture by Lauren Greenfield
(p.s. added to my Amazon list)

I have LOVED having an iPhone, but especially this weekend so I could make notes of all the photographers that were part of the Engaged Observers exhibit … I think that was the first time I had seen a show there that held more than 1 artists’ work … and I wanted to remember all of them …

Another temporary exhibit that weekend was illuminated manuscripts (one of 2 exhibits. I think the second will be up in November) ….

This little book (below) was actually a legit illuminated manuscript that was essentially a collection of calligraphy instructions for other illustrators …. cool cool…

Seriously, I could go to the Getty every weekend ….