Exploring Beverly Hills

Right before I wrote out the title for this, I put Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So” music video on, but immediately got their song “Beverly Hills” in my head.

🎸 Where I come from isn’t all that great 🎸

🎶 My automobile is a piece of crap 🎶

🎸 My fashion sense is a little whack 🎸

 🎶 And my friends are just as screwy as me  🎶

I’d say that’s about accurate for myself. Except, I don’t actually have a car. But the gist of it is totally relatable!

So guys, the thing is, I went to Beverly Hills today for a job interview. I know for sure that it was in Beverly Hills. After it was over, I walked about a mile to a bus stop, taking photos on my new iPad along the way.

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Between Lenses: Urban

Between Lenses

I’m going to be honest with you. When I first read that this month’s theme for the blog hop Between Lenses is urban, I thought of how the word urban has become code for black. I had recently watched the first few episodes of the show Black-ish on Hulu, in which the lead character Andre Johnson is promoted to Senior Vice President of the Urban Division. The ABC show depicts an upper middle class black family living in a primarily white neighborhood. Have you seen it? It’s not the best, but it’s not bad.

I don’t think I had heard of or thought about urban being a code for black until hearing Sasheer Zamata and Nicole Byer talk about how they have been instructed to sound “more urban” and “be blacker” in their auditions.

This has nothing to do with my picture. I just thought I would share that bit of word association. Why is urban code for black in some circles? I don’t know.

Besides that, the word urban made me think of cities, the actual definition of the word. I thought about taking a photo in my suburban city, which is part of Los Angeles County. I could take a picture of a packed parking lot or a bus stop. Those things stand out to me as the markers of a densely populated area. But then I remembered that I have taken pictures of Los Angeles itself so I may as well use one of those.

in progress

I took this photo sometime during my internship in Downtown Los Angeles, which I did from February to May. This is actually the street the company I worked for is on. It’s in the building across the street, so you can’t see it in the photo. But you can see some tall buildings, shorter buildings, construction and signs in multiple languages. All these things say urban to me.

Interestingly enough, my grandma’s friend’s mother worked at the suit shop on this street (far left in the photo) when my Grandma was young. That’s how old that building is. It’s still a suit shop with old advertisements painted on the windows. As it is the Fashion District, there are many fabric and sewing supply stores. I’m sure many of the buildings here are old and some of the other businesses may very well be also.

Out of view, but just down the alley (Santee alley, to be exact), are some fairly new restaurants. One of them, TBLA Catering & Cafe, is so good. If you ever happen to be in the Fashion District, do go. Just know that it’s (almost) impossible to find parking.

Cities, like any other area, are not perfect. They have a lot of problems and plenty of positives. They’re perpetually in progress. In some ways, they are a reflection of greater society. I would love to see more progress made on ending homelessness and violence, improving transportation, improving working conditions in many areas and reducing the cost of living in Los Angeles, as well as the surrounding area. It took me a while to write that out because I know I can’t just say it. I have to be part of the solution.

What I like about urban areas is that it’s easy for people to come together. Activism, networking groups and helpful organizations do exist outside of urban areas. That is true. It’s just that the more people you have in an area, the more likely you are to find people to connect with. That’s what I think any way. There are also great community events in urban and suburban areas that I love, such as concerts, food truck festivals, lectures and art exhibits.

I hope you enjoyed reading my ramble on the word urban, as well as my photo.

Thank you, Latrina and Tara for hosting the Between Lenses blog hop each month. I enjoy thinking about the themes and seeing other people’s takes on them.

P.S. See my past Between Lenses posts on Mornings and Movement. Next month’s theme will be reflection and the blog hop for it will start on December 12.

June Adventures

Happy July!

Last month flew by crazy fast for me, but also slow at the same time. Yeah, that makes no sense. But life moves at a different speed when you’re unemployed and out of school.

I was looking through my Instagram account earlier to remind myself what I had done this month. Although some interesting things happened, I was thinking “There must have been more events than that.” I checked my Flickr and it turns out I hadn’t updated it since May. Whoa. That’s odd for me.

So, I decided I need a way to track my adventures besides just Instagram. I need a writing portion. Since I haven’t kept a journal in a few years  and this is my Modern Notebook (get it?) I’ll recap my month here!

last college paperour succulent

I submitted my last college paper, which I stapled in the library that has a sense of humor, apparently. Paul and I got our first plant for his apartment. Every time I look at it, I think of the love fern in How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Well, the boyfriend hasn’t broken up with me yet.

we're alumni now Cal Poly ladies

Graduation day! Every time I think of the phrase “graduation day” I think of Reba McEntire saying “Here’s Cheyenne and Van on Cheyenne and Van’s graduation day.” The Reba show was the best. Any way, I graduated! I couldn’t have done it without these beautiful people.

Grandma's favorite place Snoopy and friends

These ladies are the best. Summer is my favorite. I got to go to Laguna and Knott’s Berry Farm in the same week. #Blessed

DTLA bookstore cutesy tea time

 

My adventures took me to Downtown LA one day, where I wandered around The Last Bookstore. Later I took a bus to Santa Monica and got desperately lost for an hour. But it worked out. A few days later I was relaxing in a tea house in San Dimas.

best friend adventure beautiful ocean

The best friend and I took a one day trip to Santa Barbara on the Amtrack on Monday. That was quite an adventure! Neither of us had been on the Amtrack before. It was a good option, especially considering that we don’t drive much or own cars. We got to see Isla Vista, where she will be living in fall, and even splashed around in the water at the beach. It’s crazy how close of a walk the beach was!

Wow, wow, wow! June was pretty perfect, I must say.

All the photos in this post were taken from my Instagram. Follow me, if you would like! I just started doing a photo challenge for July on Instagram by Postcards from Rachel. You can find out more about that here.

Did you guys have any adventures in June? What are you most looking forward to in July? 

Exploring Downtown Los Angeles

Yesterday was my last day at my internship in Downtown Los Angeles. I’ve become so used to my commute, coworkers and work there. It’s going to be sad not to be there three times a week any more. It was a great experience and I learned so much.

It was a great adventure.

Besides being an incredible learning experience where I got to work with awesome people, it was also really cool to be in the big city of Los Angeles a few times a week. I love

I thought I would share just a few photos I’ve taken over the past three months in LA, along with some restaurant recommendations.

store front view

Santee Village

sandwich shop
^^ Delicious and cheap Mexican food

Bega

Ace Sewing Machine & Thread Supply Company

Best Sewing Maching

illy and fishy

^^The pastry fishies at Delicious Together are amazing. They come with every purchase. Illy coffee there is so good too! Try the honey vanilla latte or Vietnamese coffee.

There are so many great places to eat in this area. If you happen to be in the area, definitely try out one of the independently owned places to get an experience you won’t find anywhere else. I recommend Delicious Together, TBLA, Grand Central Market and Casa la Doña. There is also a great pizza stand near the Urban Outfitters on Broadway that I can’t think of the name of and that good Mexican place pictured above. Try them! If you can, then you must!

LA folks, do you have any favorite places in downtown you would recommend?

Falling asleep at a concert (or several)

Eagle Rock Community Cultural Center concert

I’m one of those people who can fall asleep anywhere if I’m tired enough. I guess that comes from being the youngest of four kids and being used to plenty of noise. I’ve fallen asleep in cars, buses, hospital waiting rooms, classrooms (of course) and this past summer I added concerts to the list.

After a long day of listening to bands outside during FYF, I had to curl up on a blanket and get some shut eye. I rested while My Bloody Valentine played, which I felt bad about because they’re one of my boyfriend’s favorite bands. Then I ended up losing my glasses. Karma, maybe? Hmm. No, that doesn’t make sense. I wasn’t hurting anyone. I just need to be more careful about setting down my glasses while napping.

Next up, I crashed during Outkast’s set at Coachella. That was the same situation as FYF. I was curled in a ball on a blanket at a big, long outdoor concert. I missed Usher’s guest performance, so that was a bit of a bummer.

More recently, I was mostly successful in staying awake at a Tycho show. Paul and I won tickets to the show from KCRW. Thanks favorite radio station! I appreciated it, honest. I just stayed up too late the night before and forgot that sometimes I just can’t hang. Same thing happened when we saw DIIV at the Center for the Arts Eagle Rock. I was awake enough to get pictures of the last one at least. (See below.)

DIIV

Tomorrow night I’m going to see Panda Bear with my boyfriend in LA. I promise myself I won’t stay up late tonight and hopefully I won’t be tempted to get any shut eye during the show because I’ll definitely regret that later.

Tell me, have you fallen asleep anywhere weird?

Cool People: Maria Sipin

Maria Sipin

Public transportation and health are two very important things in our society, but I didn’t realize quite how they intersected until asking Maria Sipin some questions on the topics. Maria, who is the Health Communications Specialist, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is a passionate ally in health justice and frequent public transit user. She serves as an Advisory Board Member for the Multicultural Communities for Mobility. She is also a Blogger and Creative Team Member at Pedal Love.

Not to mention, she went to the same college as me (Cal Poly Pomona), although not at the same time. We met on Twitter of all places! Read on to hear her thoughts on public transportation, biking, health and Downtown Los Angeles.

How did you become involved in active transportation and public health?
The four-hour commute from City of Industry to my internship at UCLA had a lot to do with my involvement in advocacy for active transportation. I first tried driving and vanpooling, and the stress combined with fuel costs were unpleasant. I eventually used Metrolink train, Metro rail, bus, and a lot of walking to get to my destinations. The time and costs were the same as driving, but at least I was constantly moving during my multimodal commute and not just stuck in unpredictable traffic.

My health care internship at the medical center led to a career in community health research where I often talked with patients about the best routes to get to their appointments and discussed their transportation issues. This is how I began to see the importance between transportation and health.

As someone involved in public health and bike awareness, what do you wish more people realized?
Transportation is directly linked to health outcomes. Having access to public transportation and streets designed for walking and bicycling is essential to helping people navigate their lives. Making streets safer for people creates healthier communities. There has to be something done about the hit-and-run issue in Los Angeles. It’s alarming and it’s a public health issue too.

Where is your favorite place to bike and why?
My favorite place to bike is around my neighborhood in Downtown LA. I don’t have a special route or destination, although I really enjoy river and beach paths dedicated to bicycles and enjoying delicious food at the end of the ride. I love exploring LA by bike and finding new places to eat, shop, and hang out. I’m all about short trips.

biking in LA at night nice road
biking in LA

What is one thing people are often surprised to find out about you?
People are often surprised that I don’t want to leave LA. They assume that I would enjoy living in other places because I love to travel (and because I would enjoy public transit systems elsewhere), but LA is my home. I want to continue building my life in this city and contributing the community I’m a part of here.

Tell me about some cool people in your life who inspire you on a regular basis.
I’m inspired by women in the STEM (science technology, engineering and math) fields, especially young women who are getting recognized for their innovative work and leadership. I admire people who are great mentors and dedicate their time helping others build their capacity to work in STEM careers.

What are some things that make you happy on a daily basis?
Walking with my puppies, going on pleasant bike rides, and trying new flavors at my local ice cream shop are some of life’s simple pleasures. Those are the most basic ways I practice self-care at the end of the day.

Follow Maria Sipin on Twitter to get her thoughts on active transportation, health, life in Los Angeles and more. You can also email her at maria@ahealthydesign.com.

Cold and wet

me, annoyed

bus stop

I don’t want too much time to pass before I post a few photos from the LA storm this past weekend. It seriously poured on Friday!

In LA, rain makes the news. That’s true pretty much every time, no matter what month or year. It’s not just news for no reason this time, though. This winter has been unusually, which is especially bad considering California produces most of the nation’s crops.

I was glad that we got some rain. I love the sound of rain on the roof. In high school, I loved running in the rain. I was a crazy cross country runner then. But, I gotta tell you, I did not love standing around waiting for a bus to come on Friday afternoon while I stood around in the rain. My bus was 30 minutes late, which I didn’t realize at first, so I stood at the stop for a total of 45 minutes. I say that because I also got to the stop a little early. So, that’s why I look so annoyed in that photo up top. I actually took a selfie because I was annoyed and bored. Plus, posterity of course.

I snapped these pics while I was waiting around. Actually, I was prepared for this. Not only was I wearing my big green jacket with a nice hood, I also brought along my camera and a plastic bag specifically to take photos. I put the plastic bag over the camera to cover it from rain. All I had to do was rip a hole for the lens.

Then I called my Grandma. Thankfully, my grandma was able to meet me halfway, so I didn’t have to transfer buses. We had a few minutes at her house to chat, eat cookies, and drink cappuccinos before I went off to have dinner with friends.Grandma loves the rain, so it was nice to experience it with her, even for just a bit.

turning in water

near Starbucks

LA, I love you

at the bus stop

Whenever I’m coming into the city I feel like I’m going on an adventure. It also feels like coming home in a way. I’m home in the big city of Los Angeles, even though I grew up in the suburbs. I come from urban sprawl. I come from a city about 20 miles from LA in LA County. I’m an LA County kid at heart as opposed to being from the Inland Empire or Orange County. It’s not like that really means anything, but it might if you’re from around here.

As a kid, I would love it when I would get to go into the big city. Downtown has always been a favorite area of mine, for better or for worse. Sometimes my dad would take me into the big city with him when he needed to go to the LA Law Library or the court house. A few times I went with my mom and her family. Sometimes we would all go as one family. One of my favorite memories was going to Olvera Street with my mom, aunts, cousins and grandma on my mom’s side.

Last Wednesday I went by myself into Union Station by Metro and explored the city a little. I actually explored it more than I intended to because my phone ran out of battery three times. I don’t know my way around well enough without Google Maps and it’s a good idea to have a working phone, so I had to stop to charge it at two different Starbucks and an Italian restaurant. It was a little scary being just slightly lost in the Fashion District. That’s when I found the Italian restaurant. I got to see The Last Bookstore that day and take a bus to Santa Monica to see my guy so it all worked out.

book tunnel

My grandma hadn’t been to Olvera Street since that time we went when I was about 10 years old, until yesterday that is. My aunt and uncle spontaneously decided that they would take their moms to LA via Metro and I hopped along for the ride. My aunt and uncle got on in Rancho, I got on in Covina and the grandmas got on in Baldwin Park. It was quite an adventure!

restaurant at Union

cielito lindo

shoes

Wherever you live, I hope you love it too. If someone says they’re going on a spontaneous adventure and you’re not doing anything, why not hop along for the ride?

Cool People: Ramiro Gomez, artist

I’ve been meaning to start a profile-type series for a while and I figure I might as well dive right into it. It’s interesting and inspiring to hear what other people are up to. Instead of waiting until all my ducks are in a row and the timing is perfect, I’m starting now with this first installment of a new series of profiles. Find out more about the Cool People series.

ramiro1

Ramiro Gomez Jr. standing next to one of his cardboard cutouts

Although I didn’t get a chance to do a question and answer session (recently) with cool person Ramiro Gomez Jr., I decided to write about him first any way. Here’s why: He has an art gallery in LA right now that you should totally check out before you miss your chance. Also, he’s way more popular than when I first met him and I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes a household name.

Almost two years ago, I met Ramiro in a small music venue in LA called Perhspace where he was having his art exhibited. I loved his work right away and took little shitty pictures of his drawings with my iPhone as I walked around. I wish I still had those pictures to show you, but they’re probably saved on my old laptop that won’t turn on. I was there on a first date and about to see my now boyfriend and his band Wonder Wheel play. But that’s another story for another time.

When I needed an article idea for a magazine class a few months later, I decided a profile on Ramiro would be perfect. Unfortunately, I chose not to interview him in person because I had little time and no car. So we talked on the phone about his education, family, inspiration, work and how it all influences his art.

Maria's paycheck

“Maria’s paycheck,” by Ramiro Gomez

I went to what I think was my fourth Ramiro Gomez exhibit yesterday at the Charlie James Gallery in Chinatown.  At that show at Perhspace, he was exhibiting Rose Gardens, which was more focused on pop culture than his Happy Hills series. Since 2011, the majority of his work has been focused on the predominantly Hispanic workforce who work hard behind the scenes to maintain the look and life of luxury in Los Angles. His work includes cardboard cutouts, magazine paintings and other paintings. No matter the subject or the medium, his work is the kind that makes people stop, stare and reevaluate the space around them.

His work and the inspiration behind it is inspired by personal experience. After leaving the California Institute of Art and Design, Ramiro worked as a nanny in Beverly Hills where he keenly observed the relationships around him. The 20-something Mexican-American artist began to document what he sees and make the invisible stand out.

Los Olvidados

“Los Olvidados,” by Ramiro Gomez Jr.

In July 2012, he traveled to the Arizona desert to install a special series of cardboard cutouts. As Ramiro states on his Desert Project website, “The Desert Project is my way of honoring those who have made, as well as those who never completed, the treacherous trip through the unforgiving desert.”

Portrait of an affluent family

“Portrait of an affluent family,” by Ramiro Gomez

Ramiro has been featured in multiple publications, including the Los Angles Times, NPR, Policy Mic and The Huffington Post. Recently, he was chosen as one of 25 Artists to watch by Artvoices Magazine. In fact, Ramiro last week Ramiro stated on Facebook that with all the attention “Portrait of an affluent magazine” has received lately, it reached the man who is pictured with his family. The man is a designer and said he loves Ramiro’s work.

Domestic Scenes, his first solo art exhibit, opened last night at The Charlie James Gallery in Chinatown and will be on display until February 15.

You can see Ramiro Gomez Jr.’s work on his website. You can also find him on his Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram.

What I learned from a Girls in Tech event

Last Tuesday I spent a total of three hours on buses from Pomona to Santa Monica to hear women speak on social media. Yes, I was that excited about the event. It was Social Media Week in 14 cities worldwide, including Los Angeles. To me, it would be crazy to not go to at least one of the many classes, seminars and panels. The event I went to, titled “Females Forging LA:  A Social Media Showcase,” was organized by Girls In Tech Los Angeles. Five experts shared how they use social media both in their companies, as well as the ups and downs of their careers.

The panelists were:

  • Tatiana Simonian , Vice President, Nielsen Entertainment – @tatiana
  • Lee Ann Daly, Media Executive | Connector-Investor-Advisor, Partners + LAD, Garden Organics, Inc., POPTIP – @leeanndaly
  • Katie Ann Rosen Kitchens, Editor in Chief and Co-founder of FabFitFun – @katieannro
  • Tara Tiger Brown, Tech. Director, DML Research Hub & Connected Learning Alliance Founder LA Makerspace – @tara
  • Karina Kogan, SVP Digital, Participant Media, TakePart.com at Participant Media – Participant Media @_Participant

And the event was moderated by:

  • Karli Henriquez, KIIS FM On-Air Personality / MTV Host – Karli Henriquez

I learned a lot from what everyone had to say, including audience members asking questions. A lot of things being said were pieces of advice I had heard before, but it was still good to hear again whether it be about company strategy or professional growth. All of the women had great things to say.Their jobs were fairly different, so it felt like their answers about social media management for companies varied more than that of their careers. Each company is different, but there are common threads in our lives. In my notes I didn’t write down each person’s name next to what she said, so what I learned will have to be lumped together.

Here are my favorites:

1. Focus on the people who get you and laugh at the people who don’t care.

2. Don’t make excuses for yourself.

3. The less self interested you are on social media, the better you do. On a related note, be authentic to the audience you’re serving.

4. Recognize that you are a brand. If you work in anything entertainment related, be careful of what you say. It could come back to hurt you.

5. Help others and let others help you in life. Ask for what you need.

To be honest, I knew a lot of what they said about social media already, but of course it was still good to hear everyone’s perspective. I did hear of two new to me websites, Topsy and Awe.sm, which I will be trying out and I encourage you to try too.

Overall, it was a pretty awesome event. Unfortunately, I did get nervous and only ended up talking to two people (none of the panelists) during the networking portion. I’m working on being less shy. Sometimes it’s still hard though. Also, sorry no picture. Although I had my DSLR I was so into taking notes that I didn’t even try snapping a photo.

This post is kind of a week late because I’ve been busy with other things like starting school and … okay, excuses are lame. Whatever, I just haven’t written it until now.