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My name is Lisa and I'm a crafty girl with wanderlust working as an engineer by day. My blog chronicles projects in my home as well as pictures and stories from my travels.

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Entries in California (6)

Monday
Jul072014

Griffith Observatory 

Last Tuesday while I was in LA on a business trip I finished up work at seven pm. Since I am not one to go to my hotel without some sightseeing fun I decided to visit Griffith Observatory on Mount Hollywood. I had been there a few times before over the years and it is a great place to go for a view over the city.

It was a beautiful evening and it seemed that quite a few other people had the same brilliant idea as I did which meant that I ended up having to park a mile away from Griffith Observatory on Western Canyon Road. Unfortunately, I had just come from work so I was sporting a dress and heels which was not prime attire for hiking up a curving mountain road. I am not known for being deterred by inappropriate footwear (Exhibit A: Hiking up Mount Warning in broken flip flops) so of course I headed off toward the Observatory anyway.

Along the way I had a lovely view of the Hollywood sign as the sun was low in the sky.

Twenty minutes (and quite a few pictures) later I was at Griffith Observatory. Construction on the beautiful Art Deco building began in 1933 and was opened to the public in 1935.

I headed up the stairs to the observation terraces to check out the view. One of the telescopes was open to the public, but the line was incredibly long so I settled for looking out at the horizon instead of peering up into the sky.

I watched as the daylight faded and the city streets below lit up. The view was really quite beautiful.

After the sun set I headed inside to check out the exhibits. There were so many neat displays relating to astronomy and our universe. One of my favorites was a periodic table with actual samples of the elements. I honestly could have wandered around forever but it was getting late and I needed to get to my hotel.

At this point it was pitch black outside. Other sensible people had flashlights with them however I was not so well prepared. Be advised that walking a mile back to your car in the dark with no flashlight wearing four inch wedge heels is not a good idea nor for the faint of heart. 

In the end I got back to my rental car safe and sound with no twisted ankles. Was my unprepared visit a smart thing to do? Decidedly not. Was is worth it? Absolutely.

Griffith Observatory is located at 2800 East Observatory Road in Los Angeles. Admission to the building is free, however there is a fee for planetarium shows. Griffith Observatory is open 10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, 12:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. from Tuesday through Friday and closed on Mondays.

Wednesday
Jul022014

An Evening at Manhattan Beach

At the beginning of this week I've been on a short trip to LA for work. I flew out on Monday afternoon and had made plans to get dinner with a friend, Don, who had recently moved out to California at 7:30 at the Strand House in Manhattan Beach. The traffic from the airport wasn't as bad as I had anticipated so I ended up getting there early leaving me some time to walk along the beach. I started by strolling out along the Manhattan Beach Pier for some lovely views back at the beach and the surfers trying to catch waves near the pier.

After walking the length of the pier and back I took off my shoes and descended down the stair to walk along the beach. There really is nothing like walking barefoot in the sand.

I walked in the surf soaking up the last remaining rays of sun and breathing in the salty air. It was perfect weather and everything looked gorgeous bathed in the early evening light.

I've never met a sea bird that I didn't take a picture of...

It was time to meet up with Don so I walked back towards the pier and used the public showers to rinse off my sandy feet.


The Strand House is located on Manhattan Beach Boulevard, perched for a perfect view overlooking the ocean.

It was really great to catch up with Don, learn about his move and how he was enjoying settling in. Our dinner was also really delicious. We shared a salad of pickled watermelon and speck, hamachi crudo with avocado, a prosciutto pizza with burrata and arugula and roasted peanut semifreddo with cacao nib cake for dessert. Everything was absolutely fantastic.

In addition to having fun chatting with Don and eating a delicious meal, the view from the restaurant was fantastic. All too soon we were done, the sun had set and it was time to say goodbye to Don.

Before I got in my car and drove to the hotel I couldn't resist one last photo looking out at the pier as I ended the evening.

Sunday
Oct272013

Lately...

Things have been a little crazy for me lately. In a forty day span from mid-September to late-October I spent only fifteen days in Ann Arbor. Honestly, I am a bit exhausted and looking forward to being back home for a bit.

The traveling kicked off when Frank and I flew to New York for a few days. We ate some wonderful dinners at Blue Ribbon and Mission Chinese and had a decadent brunch at Norma's. We visited the Whitney Museum to see a wonderful Edward Hopper exhibit and then paid a somber visit to the 9/11 Memorial. We also snuck in some time to visit the Feast of San Gennaro and pick up spices at Kalustyan's. One of the big highlights was that we got to see my favorite play, The Glass Menagerie, being performed at the Booth Theater starring Cherry Jones and Zachary Quinto. It was really quite amazing.

That Saturday we then drove to Connecticut to see Michigan play U Conn. It was an ugly football game but thankfully Michigan pulled out a win.

After being back home for two days I flew out to Japan for work. That weekend I had time for sightseeing and started my Saturday morning by going to the Osu Kannon flea market and picking up a few fun items.

I then took the Shinkansen south to Himeji to visit Himeji Castle. The main keep has been under restoration since April 2010 continuing through March 2015. I had previously visited the castle in September 2008 before the restoration began when I was living in Japan and my sister came to visit. I decided to visit the castle again so that I could see the restoration process. I also spent a little time at the nearby Japanese style garden, Koko-en.

On Sunday I spent the day in Kyoto. I was with my friend from work, Cassie, who had never been to Japan before so I took her to see a few lovely temples and shrines. We visited the gorgeous golden Kikaku-ji followed by the amazing rock garden at Ryoan-ji. We then visited the sand gardens at Ginkaku-ji and ended the day by visiting my favorite place in Kyoto, Fushimi Inari Taisha, to wander through the brilliant crimson torii.

After a long work week I was ready to head home that Friday. I went to the airport to see if I could get on the non-stop flight to Detroit, but unfortunately I was stuck with my connections through Honolulu and LA. I had some time before my flight so I headed to Arimatsu which is known for its special technique of tie-dying fabrics called shibori.

I finally got on my 8 pm flight and after a three hour layover in Honolulu (where I got breakfast at Nico's Pier 38 and wandered the airport gardens) and LA (where I grabbed dinner at Encounter in the Theme Building) I finally got home at 6 am on Saturday morning.

The following weekend Michigan was playing Penn State so off we drove to Happy Valley for the weekend. We had a fun day tailgating but lost the game in the fourth overtime.

After a week at home I was out in Arizona this week past week for work. It was very busy with long work days but I did get to see some friends who live in the area in the evening and satisfy my fix for In-N-Out Burger. Also, when driving to work one day my co-worker and I saw some hot air balloons and one even landed near the road we were on.

As you can imagine, not too much has happened on the home front with all this traveling going on. There are two items of note, however.

First, right before all of the traveling started all of the rough inspections for my bathroom and laundry were approved. Now I just need to get some time to start closing the walls up!

Second, the house paint was looking a little faded and there was some peeling that needed to get addressed so we hired a guy to paint the house. We are keeping the same basic color scheme but going with bolder, darker shades. Below is an example of the new paint on the left and the old paint on the right. It makes a world of difference and I can't wait until it is done.

Anyway, that's what I have been up to lately. I'm looking forward to some time at home to get going on finishing up the laundry and downstairs bathroom. On top of that I have a bunch of apples and sugar pumpkins that I bought yesterday that I plan on making into applesauce and pumpkin puree.  Have you been doing any traveling or working on any fun projects this fall?

Monday
Aug122013

Picture of the Day: View Along the Needles Lookout Trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sequoia National Forest, California
6.2005 

Saturday
Feb162013

Picture of the Day: Pink Flowers Overlooking Mountains

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sequoia National Park
California, United States
6.2005 

Monday
Jul022012

Picture of the Day: Degas Ballerinas at the Norton Simon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Norton Simon Museum
Pasadena, California
United States
12.2010