Posts Tagged ‘California’

Exploring Los Angeles, California: The Museum of Ice Cream

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Obligatory selfie at the Museum of Ice Cream

One of my favorite things about Los Angeles is how many interesting and quirky events there are to check out. Last week I got a chance to visit the highly instagramable Museum of Ice Cream in the downtown LA Arts District.

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Great people watching at the Museum of Ice Cream

Part pop-up art gallery, part interactive ice cream experience (featuring artisanal frozen goodness from L.A. faves Salt & Straw and Coolhaus) the Museum of Ice Cream is an offbeat place to explore and get a sugar high while learning some interesting ice cream facts and history.

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Popsicle art 

25 year old Laguna Beach native Maryellis Bunn came up with the idea for the MoIC was recently profiled in Forbes magazine. The Los Angeles version of the MoIC opened in late April and is currently sold out for it’s extended run through August. It may be extended, so sign up here for updates.

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Pink telephone room at the Museum of Ice Cream

Ms. Bunn hopes to open Museum of Ice Cream locations in San Francisco and Miami by the end of the year, and is rumored to be thinking about a permanent location in New York City.

The banana swing room was my favorite installation 

My friend, photographer Rebecca Adler joined me at the museum of ice cream and shot this video in the banana swing room.

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Sweet decor details at the Museum of Ice Cream

The whole experience was fun and everyone from kids to hipsters to tourists were enjoying the MoIC. Workers were rocking pink denim Canadian tuxedos and entertained guests with fun factoids about ice cream. The employee who seemed to be having the least good time was the sprinkle sweep, in charge of explaining the rules to visitors before they are allowed to play in the four foot deep pit full of plastic “sprinkles.”

Slow motion sprinkles = good times

Be warned— those sprinkles get EVERYWHERE!

Visitors exit through the gift shop where they can buy ice-cream related items ranging from $10 Unicorn Snot body glitter to a $10,500 limited edition MoIC x Elevate tennis table.

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Cute museum of Ice Cream goers

I really enjoyed my interactive Museum of Ice Cream experience and think it’s a perfect opportunity for summer fun. The people watching was really great as well.

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Getting cozy with a giant gummy bear at the Museum of Ice Cream

Ticket holders should arrive ahead of time, as they are strict about entry times.

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Charcoal cookie dough”ice cream” in front of an installation by artist Abel Benton

The Museum of Ice Cream is yet another fun draw to Los Angeles’ Downtown Arts District, which gets more impressive every time I visit.

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Left: the sprinkle pit Right: Bon-Bon Jovi’s star at the MoIC’s walk of fame

Workers were checking IDs (one per group) against the names on tickets, so be warned if you are planning on attempting to buy a ticket on the re-sale market.

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You can buy this custom tennis table in the gift shop

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Neon sweetness at the Museum of Ice Cream

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Unicorn snot for sale in the gift store

Museum of Ice Cream

2018 E 7th Place Los Angeles, CA 90021

Adult ( age 13 +) $29

Child (age 3-12) Senior (age 60+) $18

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Exploring Southern California: Sunrise at Joshua Tree National Park

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Colorful sunrise in Joshua Tree

I have a fondness for desert landscapes and love to visit Joshua Tree National Park during the winter. The weather is pleasant and the park never seems too crowded. I find it particularly peaceful to get up before dawn to watch the sunrise.

I shot this time lapse video on my iPhone 7 plus at Joshua Tree National Park

On my most recent trip, I had my two labs with me. Since activities with dogs are limited in the park, I stayed in Palm Springs at the pet friendly Ace Hotel Palm Springs. The Ace Hotel also two dedicated Tesla chargers, which made this road trip easy since since I drive a Tesla.

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Bristled Joshua Trees

If I was traveling without my two dogs, I would have stayed closer to the park. I’m a big fan of the Mojave Sands at Joshua Tree (check out this previous post about a stay at Mojave Sands), but they only allow small dogs.

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Twisted, surreal Joshua Trees

If you’re heading to Joshua Tree National Park from Palm Springs, I suggest coming in through the West Entrance.  Each morning I drove towards Hidden Valley, Barker Dam, and Keys Ranch until I found a spot I wanted to watch the sunrise.

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Here comes the desert sun

If you are driving from Palm Springs, and want to watch the sunrise, allow at least 90 before sunrise to drive to the West Entrance of the park and find a spot to watch and set up your equipment. It can get windy at times, and you might want to use a tripod.

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Colors change dramatically just after dawn in Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree has been a favorite spot of mine to just chill. After photographing the sunrise, it’s nice to explore the cholla cactus garden, an easy quarter mile loop with a dense population of cholla cactus.

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Sunrise panorama shot on my iPhone 7 plus

Pet owners should note that activities with dogs are limited and animals must be leashed at all times. You can check out what activities you can do with your dog in Joshua Tree National Park here.

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The last super moon of 2016 seen through a Joshua Tree

My trip occurred during the last supermoon of 2016, so that made both the sunrise and moon interesting to photograph.

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Warm skies in Joshua Tree

After exploring the park for a few hours after sunrise, I like to head to the funky Joshua Tree Saloon for breakfast. The service is friendly and the place is packed after 7:30 with climbers and desert dwellers. They make a mean Bloody Mary, and the potato pancakes are quite tasty.

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Morning walk through the cholla cactus garden

If you head to the Joshua Tree Saloon, don’t miss the vintage photo of Johnny Cash near the front door.

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Rocky landscape at Joshua Tree National Park

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Morning in the desert at Joshua Tree National Park

I’m a big fan of National Parks and Joshua Tree is the one I am most comfortable exploring on my own. It’s pretty user friendly.

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Funky roadside Joshua tree

If you’re visiting Palm Springs, Palm Desert, or the Coachella Valley, I’d definitely recommend spending a morning exploring the surreal desert landscape of Joshua Tree National Park. It’s one of those special places in California that has a “vibe.”

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Morning sunlight in the cholla cactus garden

Joshua Tree National Park

74485 National Park Dr.
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277-3597

Joshua Tree National Park is open 24 hours a day and may be visited at any time of the year.

Entrance Fee – $20.00 (7-day vehicle permit, admitting the passengers of a single, non-commercial vehicle on the day of purchase and for the next six days).

Motorcycle or Bicycle Entrance Fee/ Walk-In Fee – $10.00 (7-day entrance permit, per motorcycle or bicycle/per person on foot).

Joshua Tree Saloon

61835 Twentynine Palms Hwy.
P.O. Box 289 Joshua Tree
CA 92252 USA

1-760-366-2250

Hours Open:
Sunday – Thursday 7:00 am-12:00 Midnight
Friday & Saturday 7:00 am – 2:00 AM

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Exploring Southern California During the Holidays: Robolights in Palm Springs

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Giant inflatable santa on the roof of this year’s RoboLights display

If you are going to be in Southern California during the holidays and are looking for an outside-the-box holiday experience, consider heading to Palm Springs to see artist Kenny Irwin Jr’s 32nd year of RoboLights, an upcycled holiday lights display unlike any other.

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Robo reindeer outside the RoboLights display

Palm Springs artist Kenny Irwin, Jr.’s more is more aesthetic has been putting on an increasing complex mixed media holiday lights art installation at his father’s home since he was 12. Now in it’s 32nd year, RoboLights is truly something to behold.

Video of the RoboLights reindeer

Visiting RoboLights is like walking through a surreal winter wonderland.

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Surreal winter wonderland at RoboLights

Built on the outdoor property of the artist’s father’s home, the greeter outside RoboLights told us the display has over 4 Acres of lights. It’s wildly impressive in a Watts Towers meets Willy Wonka sort of way. Sculptures are made from repurposed toilets and mannequins, and old dog crates re-worked into Sci-Fi art containing giant spiders, all bedecked with holiday lights.

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Sleigh pulled by team of jackalope

Visiting RoboLights, I felt I was walking through a surreal winter wonderland. Some of the sculptures seemed better suited for a haunted house or dystopian futuristic film set than a holiday light show but that’s what makes RoboLights so interesting.

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Left: Upside down Santa Clause Right: Bunny driving a sleigh straight out of Mad Max

I spoke with some locals who visit RoboLights every year and asked them how much the display changes from year to year. They guessed about 30%– sometimes new elements like color schemes or themes get introduced, or the layout changes.

Video of one of the displays of lights at the 2016 RoboLights

This year’s addition of an inflatables on the roof, including a Santa and a Godzilla with a candy cane,  bit of an uproar. The City of Palm Springs attempted to close down this year’s RoboLights citing safety concerns but the artist prevailed in court last week and the city was denied a restraining order that would only allow residents of the property and contractors to access the robotics and light displays.

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Walls of dolls and fairy lights at RoboLights

RoboLights is open to the public and accepts donations ($5 is recommended).

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Dangling mannequin installation at RoboLights

Sensory overload comes with the territory and some of the subject matter is non-traditional enough that I think adults will enjoy RoboLights more than children with more traditional expectations.

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Mannequins on display at RoboLights

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One of the more light hearted sculptures at RoboLights

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Christmas trees at RoboLights

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Dog crate sculpture at the 2016 RoboLights

Artist Kenny Irwin Jr. has really gone above and beyond and RoboLights is unlike any other holiday lights display I’ve ever seen. If you’re in the Palm Springs area, I’d recommend checking it out. The display runs through January 1, 2017.

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Dystopian holiday spirit on display at RoboLights

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tunnel of lights at RoboLights

Opening hours for RoboLight are from  4-9:30 pm but the display is capacity controlled. If you don’t want to wait in line, consider getting to the outdoor light show when they open.

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RoboLights exterior is hard to miss

 

ROBOLIGHTS is OPEN to the public from Thanksgiving to January 1st 4:00-9:30PM 
The installation – free to the public, but donations are suggested to help defray costs.
Address:
1077 E Granvia Valmonte
Palm Springs, California
(Located in a very residential part of Palm Springs, Robo Lights is in/around the 1077 Property).

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Exploring Southern California’s Joshua Tree National Park #FindYourPark

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Eponymous Joshua trees at Joshua Tree National Park

2016 marks the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. I’m embracing the Centennial celebration by visiting National Parks when I can and sharing my images using the #FindYourPark hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. I recently returned to one of my favorites, Joshua Tree National Park.

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Classic California PCH Road Trip: A Mobile Photo Essay

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PCH Panorama shot on my iPhone 6

I recently spent a day driving down the PCH from Big Sur to Los Angeles with both my dogs for company. It’s one of my favorite drives and I try to do it once every year or so. Here are some of my favorite images from that trip.

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Moody blue coastline

I started my trip in the morning, which is not really the best way to do it. The coast is notoriously foggy and often doesn’t burn off until later in the day. Fortunately, I liked the moody morning and the cool way it made the coast look.

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Rocky Creek Bridge

I stopped at several scenic points along to way to take photographs with my iPhone 6. The scenic overlooks near the bridges are my favorites.  The bridges are so impressive and I like to imagine what the building process must have been like back in 1932.

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Left: A Seagull who knows location is everything Right: Flowers at Limekiln State Park

Mobile phone service is very spotting along parts of the coast and I forget this every time I do the drive. If you want to visit a specific beach or park, I’d advise bringing a paper map or printed directions with distances between landmarks. I missed the turn off to Pfeiffer Beach, often considered the crown jewel of dog-friendly Big Sur beaches.

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Foggy tree line above Limekiln State Park

Instead I stopped at Limekiln State Park, which has a dog-friendly beach area. Parking was an issue at Limekiln because of the number of campers, but I lucked out and got the last space.

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Zeppelin and Scarlet exploring the beach

I don’t have a ton of photos because it’s tough to get great photos when your handling two dogs who are curiously exploring the beach.

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Left: a stream flowing into the pacific at the Limekiln beach  Right: Zeppelin in Profile

This was the first time I’ve had a chance to take both my labs to the beach in California. They have previously enjoyed the Washington Coastline and San Juan Islands.

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Scarlet on the sand

I always stop for a bite to eat in the town of Big Sur. I like the Big Sur River Inn because it has a wide expanse of lawn near the river where I can walk the dogs. There is also free wifi, which is rare in these parts.

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An old school omelette at the Big Sur River Inn

The Big Sur River Inn is a total time warp. The soft 70s musical stylings of Al Stewart and Jim Croce play in heavy rotation and the menu doesn’t feel likes it’s been updated since 1977. There is something fabulous about how non-ironically retro this place is that brings me back time and again.

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Spring has sprung south of Hearst Castle

Foodies might prefer grabbing a bite at the Big Sur Bakery, or popping into the restaurant at the Ventana Inn & Spa for a meal.

*All images in this post were shot on my iPhone 6. I used the ShakeItPhoto App for the groovy, 70s inspired Polaroid effect inspired by the music at the Big Sur River Inn.

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