Tuesday, January 20, 2015

King Gillette Ranch ~ Santa Monica Mountains

Back in November, before my little visit to the Paramount Ranch, I headed to the King Gillette Ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains, for a little hike and plein air day! 

It was my first visit to the area and it made me realize (once again) how much there is left to explore, that is so close to where we live our every day lives! It felt good to get out of the bubble!

This short film talks a bit about the old 1920s horse stables, at King Gillette ...

I loved this building, and how they restored the original horse stables to be a great little Santa Monica Mountains visitors' center. It just opened in June of 2012!

There was a 10:00 am guided nature walk with one of the rangers, which was a great little intro to the area. Through the trees you can see the original, early 20th century ranch.

The quieter you become,
the more you can hear.
~Ram Dass

And up we went!

Below, you can see the actual "ranch house" on the left. In the middle, is a dormitory which was built for a buddhist group, who was on the land, at one point. The tennis court and large building on the right are temporary. A bit of the land is leased to the TV show The Biggest Loser. In fact, a lot of TV shows have filmed in the area, including Castle.

On the nature hike was a big Brownie troop, having their father daughter day. So cute!

Brownies enjoying the view!

We are all just
walking each other 
~Ram Dass

Beautiful views of the Santa Monica Mountains!

The universe is an example of love.
Like a tree.
Like the ocean.
Like my body.
Like my wheelchair.
I see the love.
~Ram Dass

After the hike, I found a spot to picnic and do some art ...

Below, little field sketches and the 9 x 12" underpainting, on the lower right. The weather was cool and the clouds came in, so the watercolor wouldn't dry enough for me to start the pastels over the top. I will show you how I resolved the piece in the studio, next time!

I see my life as 
an unfolding set of opportunities to awaken.
~Ram Dass

This following video gives more info about the beautiful area and Santa Monica Mountains ...

Beautiful area, right? On a weekend morning it only took about 45 minutes to get there! (Mind you, it takes 10 minutes for me to get to the freeway.) To think I've been driving right past it for decades, and  had never jumped off the 101, to check it out!

Anthony C. Beilenson Interagency Visitors Center (the old stables)
Santa Monica Mountains, Things to do!

Hope you are all enjoying your neck of the woods, wherever that may be!

Many blessings and much light!!!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Los Angeles ~ So much to do ... so little time!

Now I've been happy lately
Thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be
Something good has begun

Oh, I've been smiling lately
Dreaming about the world as one
And I believe it could be
Some day it's going to come
~Lyrics by Cat Stevens

So much to do the last couple of months!

Sometimes, I really do feel like I'm the luckiest lady on the planet. At work one day, one of the moms came in to pick up her kids, at the studio, and was beside herself! "Tickets go on sale tomorrow for Cat Stevens!" she said, in almost breathless excitement. She is without doubt, his biggest fan. 
At this point, my jaw dropped.

I love Cat Stevens, and I had seen on Facebook that he was coming to the Nokia. As much as I wanted to go, it wasn't really in my budget and good tickets were going to be impossible to get without a pre-sale number or American Express account, or however they were doing it for this concert.

Long story short. She saw my expression and since they have 3 kids, and you by tickets in sets of 2 ... guess who go to go and sit with one of the kiddos!!!!

One of my faves!

View from the VIP terrace. Yep.

It ended up that Evie and I got the VIP tickets ... (Includes things like drinks, cheesecake and prime rib. I had the cheesecake. Evie had the Prime rib.)

It was the Peace Train tour and that's the train station on the stage, below.

Packed and sold out.

I was naughty, at the end. I was so good the whole time not taking pics (not supposed to during the concert) but I lost all self control near the end and took this pic, below, to show show you guys. Sigh. So good. The seat above is where I sat for the first half and then I switched with dad for the second half. Very cool to see two different perspectives. Both amazing.

Cat Stevens' songs brings up not only childhood memories, but also when I first moved to San Diego with my friends. I have specific memories that go with so many of the songs and by the end of the concert I was in full (silent) ugly cry. (The song Father and Son, does me in!)

He played every significant song I would have wanted him to play, and when he played Moonshadow, I knew my friend Scotty, who past away just a few years ago, was right there watching and grooving along with me. I will never forget it. 

Thanks Kari!!!

Oh, a little trivia. His song Father and Son was the first Mp3!

Here he is now, a from his new album, plus some oldies. All acoustic. Music starts at 1:08.


OK, so if you are going to be in LA before March 2nd, you HAVE to go to the Hollywood Costume exhibition. It's in the old art deco May Company Building next to LACMA. (Los Angeles County Museum of Art.) It was done through the Motion Picture Academy (Thus the Oscar, below) and conjunction with the Victoria and Albert, in London.

I've seen some great costume and clothing exhibitions, in the past, but this one is on a whole other level. Not only was it the sheer number and breadth of the costumes, but it was multi media aspects, with all kinds of interviews and movie screens and ... well, it's really hard to explain!

This short video, with the lady who created it, explains it better than I can!

My favorite thing in the show was Charlie Chaplin's "Little Tramp" costume!!! But they had costumes worn by everyone from Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe, to Harry Potter and Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. 

I didn't even know the exhibit was going on until my friend Drew called, and asked if I wanted to go! Thanks Drew!

You can't take pictures inside, so we made the most of the outdoor space. 

With my boyfriend, Han Solo. ;)

For more info and to get tickets, click here.


So this next bit, was back in November. I was at a documentary screening at the Arclight Cinema, in Hollywood. I was able to go to by being in the Union. (S.A.G.) Even though we don't vote on Docs.

It was for the documentary Varunga, which has now been nominated for Best Documentary Feature, for the Academy Awards!  You can stream it on Netflix. (you might note the big red lettering, below.)

Afterward they did a Q & A with the director and producer.

from the website:


In the forested depths of eastern Congo lies Virunga National Park, one of the most bio-diverse places on Earth and home to the planet’s last remaining mountain gorillas. In this wild, but enchanted environment, a small and embattled team of park rangers - including an ex-child soldier turned ranger, a caretaker of orphan gorillas and a dedicated conservationist who’s a member of the Belgian royal family - protect this UNESCO world heritage site from armed militia, poachers and the dark forces struggling to control Congo's rich natural resources. When the newly formed M23 rebel group declares war, a new conflict threatens the lives and stability of everyone and everything they've worked so hard to protect, with the filmmakers and the film’s participants caught in the crossfire.
A powerful combination of investigative journalism and nature documentary, VIRUNGA is the incredible true story of a group of courageous people risking their lives to build a better future in a part of Africa the world’s forgotten, and a gripping exposé of the realities of life in the Congo.
From director Orlando von Einsiedel and executive producer Leonardo DiCaprio."

It was really well done. Below, is the director Orlando von Einsiedel (white shirt/beard) below. I talked to him a bit. SUPER nice guy. And they had wine and h'ordeuvres.

Here are some of the folks involved in the film, interviewed on TV.

For more information, on Virunga, click here. 

One more! Because we need a little Peace Train, now!

Get your bags together
Go bring your good friends too
'Cause it's getting nearer
It soon will be with you

Now come and join the living
It's not so far from you
And it's getting nearer
Soon it will all be true

Oh, peace train sounding louder
Glide on the peace train
Come on the peace train ...
~ Cat Stevens, Peace Train

Hope your new year is off to a great start!!!
Blessings and light!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year! But wait!

How'd that happen so fast!?

Well, I made this (below) instead of a Christmas letter.

Not so fascinating, I guess, if you don't know the people in my life, but if you have iMovie (And it's pretty easy once you figure it out) you might want to make one for your family and friends!

Some of you who have followed along in the past, may recall I usually do something ... different for my Christmas cards. Sometimes I go way out there, and sometimes it's pretty tame. ... like this year.

I'd found some cool graffiti in an alley behind Melrose, and thought it would be fun to shoot it with my new mini ...

The Front of the Card


And there was a tiny version of this on the back.

 This was the runner up. Kinda sassy for a Holiday Card, although that never stopped me before.

My friend Karen took the pics for me. I wish I could tell you who the awesome graffiti artists were! Anyone?

Anyway, if you are interested in what I am talking about, in reference to my past cards, you can click here. Otherwise ... Lot's of fun places to post about, coming up, in 2015! Can you believe it?! 2015!

Marianne Williamson wrote this at the end of 2010 and I thought I'd share ...

The year ahead lies before us like a newborn child, fresh with possibilities, its history not yet written. And as with a child we must be very careful, for its future will reflect either our wisdom or our lack thereof.
Spiritually, every moment is a new beginning. We enter into it with either an open heart or an unloving attitude, voting with our consciousness from a slate of infinite possibilities. Standing on the brink of a new year, let's feel the joy but also the sacred solemnity of our extraordinary power to design the future.

I wish you a New Year filled
with many miracles.
May you live a long and 
productive life-one present
moment at a time.
~Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

To read a wonderful post that Wayne Dyer posted today on Facebook, click here.

Blessings and light to you all,
 for a wonderful