Thursday, April 28, 2011

Giveaway: Win a $50 Gift Certificate to Popcakes!

photo from Popcakes

365 L.A. is now on
Facebook and Twitter, and to celebrate, Popcakes is generously giving a $50 gift certificate to one lucky 365 L.A. reader! (Orders can be shipped throughout the U.S..)

Cake on a stick? Genius! I was smitten by Popcakes the moment their moist red velvet cake melted in my mouth, and I've been dreaming about them ever since. Popcakes come in ten mouth-watering flavors and a multitude of fun shapes and toppings. They also do custom orders. These delectable treats would be the perfect present or party favor (or you can keep them all for yourself too ;) ). Popcakes is featured in #131 L.A.'s Best Desserts.

How to Enter:
  • Visit Popcake's website and tell me which Popcakes you would get with your $50 gift certificate. The entry form is at the bottom of this post.

Rules of Participation: This giveaway ends on May 9th at noon PST. The winner will be chosen by a random number generator and has 7 days to respond before a new winner is chosen. This giveaway is for U.S. residents only.

*** Congratulations to Casey Melanie Y. for winning our $50 Popcakes Giveaway! This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all who entered! ***

Sunday, April 24, 2011

#172: Descanso Gardens

Bunny sightings, a hammy tortoise, and too much fun with photosynth were a few of the highlights from my recent trip to the Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge. A mere $8 buys you access to a mother's horticultural dreamland. Since it's Spring, you'll find roses, lilacs, camellias and irises in full bloom.

the lilac garden

Brad and I spent about two hours exploring the grounds. It was largely shaded, and while there were a good number of people there, it didn't feel as crowded as the Huntington Gardens. Descanso is also not as large as the Huntington, so it's a great choice if you don't feel like doing a lot of walking. (And for those who really don't want to walk, there are tram tours ($4) and an Enchanted Railroad ride ($3).)

the Enchanted Railroad

Mother's Day is coming up so why not bring your mom to this beautiful garden oasis?

People were lining up to take a picture of this little ham

blue steel


Brad thought we were back at Eaton Canyon
and proceeded to cross this river 19 more times.

cherry blossoms near the rose garden

Have you been to Descanso Gardens? What did you think of it? Leave me a comment below!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

#171: Westwood's Hidden Farmer's Market

Dave's Gourmet Korean Food

Neatly tucked into a corner of the Vets Garden in Westwood every Thursday from 12-6 pm lies a small, one-of-a-kind Farmer's Market. I discovered this hidden treasure through the (seemingly defunct) blog Adventures in La La Land, and brought along my friends Mike and Michelle to check it out. It was an unusually windy day, and as we walked around, we were startled by a loud crash as one of the tents toppled over. Other vendors were holding onto theirs for dear life. It seemed like a miserable way to spend an afternoon, and I felt bad for them because there were hardly any shoppers around.

The lack of people worked out for us though--more samples! We walked from table to table, sampling the usual bakery sweets, hummus, and salsa. There were about three tents selling produce, three or four hot food stands, a fresh seafood stand, and the delicious Dave's Korean Food stand that I also see at other Farmer's Markets. My favorite find was Smart Simple Gourmet. I bought a canning jar of their curried leek and potato soup and ended up eating it all in one day. The menu changes daily, so check out their website before you go.

There is a small area near the hot food vendors where you can sit and eat. Parking is free. Check it out if you're in the neighborhood--just know that this is no Hollywood Farmer's Market---this one is tiny!

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

#170: Sturtevant Falls Hike

The Angeles National Forest is full of waterfall hikes. Some of them are closed due to the 2009 fires, but the Sturtevant Falls hike in Arcadia is open and busy. We went with our hiking buddies Mike and Michelle on Saturday at around 3 pm. There were cars parked here and there on the street for a mile before the parking lot, but we drove to the lot and luckily found a spot (booya!). Note that you need a National Forest Adventure Pass to park here. Annual passes are $30 and can be found at REI, Adventure 16 or online. Additional passes are only $5, and daily passes are $10.

at the start of the hike

From the parking lot entrance, look for a sign that directs you downhill to the Gabrielino Trail. Follow this trail to the waterfall. It's a easy, well maintained, shady, out-and-back hike that is 3.7 miles long.

The hike starts on a paved path and descends into the canyon. It soon turns into a dirt path that follows the river and passes many old cabins. After rock hopping across the river about three times, you will reach the powerful Sturtevant falls. Its cool spray will make you shiver even on a hot Saturday. The trail is easy to follow--there are signs to point you in the right direction.

most of the hike is shady and green

As you return the way you came, you will hike the last 3/4 of a mile or so uphill. It is the most tiring part of the hike, but not too bad. There were a lot of people young and old hiking to the falls.

what a gentleman!

After we finished the hike, we rewarded ourselves with gelato from Bulgarini Gelato in Altadena. Pistachio + salty chocolate + goat milk and cocoa nibs = the perfect post-hike pick me up!

Have you been to Sturtevant Falls? What did you think of it? Leave me a comment below!

you'll pass about five of these man made waterfalls

and many of these old cabins

you follow this river for the whole hike

another cabin
Brad took the first opportunity to get his feet wet.
another crossing
Mike and Brad chose to get their feet wet, while us girls opted to keep them dry.
the crowd of people at the waterfall

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Tempest Freerunning Academy in Northridge

I failed tumbling class when I was 5--the teacher promoted everyone in the class but me. That's why when I see these super athletes from Tempest Freerunning Academy doing flips and somersaults without bruising a knee cap, I am in utter awe (and jealousy!).

Tempest Academy just opened this month in Northridge, and it looks like the kind of place a child's dreams are made of. I don't think I could ever do what these guys are doing, but if you're interested, they are offering kid and adult classes for all experience levels. Check it out!

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

#169: Eaton Canyon Waterfall Hike and Nature Walk

After a morning of taxes, and an energizing lunch at my fave Pasadena spot Cham Korean Bistro, Brad and I headed to Altadena to get our feet wet at the Eaton Canyon Nature Area.

An educational stroll

Eaton Canyon is my kind of place: it has free parking and admittance! After stopping at the visitor's center to get a map, we started our walk off like an old married couple, taking a leisurely stroll along the Oak Terrace nature trail. There are 11 stops along this short trail. With pamphlet in hand, we read the descriptions at each stop. It was quite the educational experience--now I know for sure what poison oak looks like (not what I thought it was...), and I also found a new favorite plant: the yucca plant.

a living yucca on the left. a dead one on the right.

This amazing plant lives for 8-12 years, then in the last two weeks of its life, it shoots up a huge stalk that sprays seeds all over the place. Talk about going out with a bang!

After completing the loop, we were ready for the main attraction: the waterfall hike (3 miles, moderate). It seemed like everyone in Altadena was going to the waterfall: young children, older folks, dogs, babies... Brad commented halfway that this was one of the most diverse hikes we've been on. Now normally I don't like a crowded hike, but it actually warmed my heart seeing so many people willing to get their feet and pants absolutely soaked just to see a waterfall.

Yes, I said soaked. If you're going on this hike, prepare to walk at least half of the way with wet feet. That's because you'll be doing 10 river crossings. And that's just one way.

Crossing #1: This is easy

Now we had no idea that there were 20 river crossings in our future. At the visitor's center, one of the rangers simply told us about the first crossing, and advised us that it's best to just walk through the water instead of rock hopping. That's because a lot of people twist their ankles on unsteady rocks and branches. Well, like most of the people heading to the waterfall, we didn't follow the ranger's advice, so there was a traffic jam of people waiting in line to rock hop across the river. Even as we saw all the people coming back from the waterfall soaked from the knees down, we stubbornly refused to get our feet wet.

Crossing #2: Whew, that was a thin log

We got through the first 7 or so crossings fine, but by the 8th one, it became obvious that our feet were taking a dip: there simply weren't any stones to hop onto. So we rolled up our pants and stepped into the icy cold water. And you know what? It was liberating. With wool socks, it wasn't even that cold. After embracing the wetness, we bypassed the lines, and just walked right through the water.

Oh, and the waterfall? Amazing.

Brad insisted on taking pictures of all 10 river crossing for y'all, so enjoy:

Along the easy nature loop

That's it on the left! Very tasty.

Stink bug. Nutritious!

Crossing #3: Piece o' cake.
Crossing #4: If those little kids can do it, so can I.
Crossing #5: Come on, give me something challenging.
Crossing #6: I'm loving this
Crossing #7: Eek! A little water seeped through.
Crossing #8: Hmmm that pipe is pretty shaky.
Crossing #9: Aw the heck with it. Wet socks it is!
Crossing #10: Almost there
Made it!
There's a mariachi player at the end of this rainbow

Have you gotten your feet wet at Eaton Canyon? What did you think of it? Leave me a comment below!

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