Wednesday, March 27, 2013


We didn't know about this oasis until we were at the Salton Sea State Recreation Area, looking at one of those little four-sided map/wildlife poster pavilions. A flyer listed "Ten Things to Do In an Hour or Less" and the oasis hike was #4. It turned out to be one of the coolest parts of our day-- it was so unexpected to see a lush, tropical patch of palms in the middle of the desert!

It kind of felt like Jurassic Park. I also joked to Dane about how cool it would be to get married/elope in the middle of it (don't worry Mom, it was just a joke!).

Monday, March 25, 2013

salty salton sea

Dane's spring break is this week, so we decided to take a little day trip on one of our coinciding days off. Rather than choosing San Diego, Malibu, or some other typical tropical location, Dane wanted to go to the Salton Sea, a lake in the middle of the Colorado Desert (named for the river, not the state--the desert is in south central California). Like Death Valley, the Salton Sea is below sea level-- 226 ft. to be exact. The draw of the lake in the middle of the desert turned the area into a popular resort town in the 1950's, but the lake is rapidly drying up and the salinity increases about 1% every year, making it now the home to some trailer parks, campgrounds, and sea birds.

Yes, I did end up getting a v-neck sunburn from this trip.

Speaking of reddening, the increasing salinity and area runoff creates large algae blooms in standing water near the shore. Not that I'm comparing my skin to this next photo.

We even had dinner and a drink at the local (only) bar, the Ski Inn. The bar was specked with visitors and a few regulars. I love these kinds of bars-- the ones where a tall frothy glass of PBR is $2.50 (unheard of in LA), an old jukebox plays country and southern rock, and everyone there wants to meet each other. We ended up talking with Steve and Gene, two buddies staying at Slab City; Stewart, a business major turned photo journalist; and Colleen and Rich, two members of the biker gang from Palm Springs that showed up. Those who had passed through the Ski Inn decorated its walls with a taped up dollar commemorating their visit, and we added our own mark:

This day vacation ended up being even better than I expected-- not that I had high expectations traveling to a dying lake in the middle of the desert (but kudos to Dane for choosing the destination). Our trip also included a hike to an oasis and a gorgeous sunset that I will be posting about this week, since I ended up taking way too many photos for one post.

(Note: I didn't get mauled by a wild animal--I was going to try to edit out the benchmarks on my legs in that photo, but I like to keep it real for you guys--when I sit on benches in shorts, I get marks on the back of my legs. C'est la vie.)

My guy sure knows how to find a good adventure.

Monday, March 18, 2013

canyon drive

On our way to Bryce Canyon from Salt Lake City, we came to an actual fork in the road (well, an off ramp on the highway): we could either stick to Interstate 15 and make good time or take the slightly longer route on Hwy 89 that snaked through the canyons north of Bryce Canyon. Taking the interstate had its advantages; we would be a major highway with rest stops and gas stations, and we would know exactly where we were going and how long it would take to get there. Highway 89 was twisty and fairly remote, only passing through one town and then continuing on through the unknown until it reconnected with 15 just north of our destination.

I think you can guess which path we chose.

This drive was one of the best surprises of our trip. We came across a small abandoned farm and met some of the locals.

If you're ever on a road trip, I highly recommend taking a slightly less direct route. Interstates are great, but cruising down a two lane highway in the middle of a gorge is better.

Monday, March 11, 2013

inspired by: Miranda July

image from here
 As I work on my movement piece project (I posted a bit about it here) I appreciate artists like Miranda July, who I've always admired, for making her own art on her own terms. One look at her website introduces you into her outlook on her creative process. Her films, performances, and art are woven together by the desire to simultaneously connect with others on a genuine level while celebrating one's own personal voice.

image from here
Sometimes it is difficult to explain to people (especially in LA) that I consider myself an actor but am not currently going on any auditions. To some, it seems less legitimate to create your own art, film, or theatre piece than to participate in the expected way of becoming an actor. And when I try to describe exactly the kind of art I'm creating, things only get more complicated and my legitimacy seems to plummet.

Thankfully, I have some solid friends and fellow artists who support me 100%, understand what I'm doing, and are excited for me. Yesterday, I was texting with a far away best friend, who wrote: "I am so proud of you for doing your own thing." I am always thankful to hear simple words like that.

This little compilation "Don't Give Up": 20 lessons for creatives from Miranda July has a few pearls of wisdom in it (even if you'd rather pursue science or technology or accounting). Mostly, she just inspires me to do my own work and not to worry if it doesn't fit neatly into a category.

image from here

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

man vs. wild

LA has an amazing amount of green space for being the second largest city in the country. Most homes, and a large number of apartment complexes, have lawns or courtyards that are constantly being tended by gardeners, and I've mentioned before my surprise at the number of hiking trails smack dab in the middle of the city (like Runyon Canyon). I really enjoy the outdoor-mindedness of Los Angeles, and how remote areas can be situated so close to busy destinations (last week, Dane & I went for a walk on the secluded beach at Will Roger's State Beach, about a mile and a half north of the Santa Monica Pier).

There's a large orange tree growing in the middle of our courtyard (too bad I don't like oranges). In Chicago, the closest we could get to nature was probably Lincoln Park and the lakeshore--which I LOVED, don't get me wrong! But it's nice to have numerous hiking trails and beaches just a short drive away.

It also doesn't hurt to see so much green when 80% of your facebook friends are complaining about snow. :)