But then you just need take a look around and see the palm trees and mountains. That tends to make you feel better.
Halloween time is a favorite among the LAQPs and we all love our share of shrieks and screams. But as with my love for all cheesy 80s movies I have a soft spot for cheesy Halloween places.
This past weekend some of my pals and I headed over to the Toluca Lake pumpkin patch. It had a haunted maze and a petting zoo too! Good thing we had a one year old with us so we didn’t all look like weirdos. The place isn’t very big and I wouldn’t exactly call it a “haunted maze”. We did have fun taking lots of pictures and successfully naming all the farm animals with very prestigious names.
It’s a good place for kids and to indulge in the cheese factor. It’s definitely a representation of an L.A. Halloween. Which, as us transplants know, isn’t a really fall or real Halloween season.
Check it out at:
10601 Riverside Drive (corner with Cahuenga)
Toluca Lake-North Hollywood CA 91602
Admission is $6.
And check out our pictures!
Christine w/ King Chesterton!
No joke, this cat was getting glamour shots taken near the pumpkins. He had a leash on so it was cool.
Free museum days are one of my favorite things in L.A. It’s how I’ve seen almost every museum in L.A. so far. The other day my friend called me and told me the Autry was free on the second Tuesday of the month. We made plans to explore together with her son Wyatt in tow (a cowboy by nature). She had been there before but I had yet to go. Even though, as always, I have passed it so many times.
A few of the other museums in L.A. I haven’t been too impressed with or the exhibits just weren’t that good at the time I went. The Autry was pretty fabulous though. The exhibits were all American West. They had a Western set exhibit that talked all about costuming and props from the old westerns (that I totally geeked about). They had tons of old clothing and other movie posters and references from the Westerns too.
There was an exhibit with some of the most gorgeous landscape paintings, an amazing mural, an adorable outside walkway with a general store. I could go on and on about this place. Oh and not to mention the gun gallery that was directly next to the saddle gallery.
It might have been because I had never been there and there was a lot to take in or it might be that my dream is to work on a Western some day but I was impressed.
Check out a few pictures from the day!
A woven strawberry basket!
I’d probably own this chair if I wasn’t somehow against it.
These men traveled across the country via covered wagon to be immortalized forever in a museum.
Baby Wyatt demonstrating what it’s like to be a real cowboy.
Check out the Autry Museum if you get a chance. It’s right across the street from the L.A. Zoo in Griffith Park. Admission is usually $10 but remember the second Tuesday of the month is FREE DAY, ALL DAY!
The Autry Museum
4700 Western Heritage Way
Los Angeles, CA 90027-1462
For over the past month or so and continuing through the remainder of this hot LA summer, I’ve been interning at the Downtown Women’s Center. If you haven’t heard of the Downtown Women’s Center or know much about the homeless population in LA, it’s an incredibly inspiring place to be a part of. The DWC has two parts. One side, the side that I’m working on, is the Residence. It’s a 71-apartment building that houses previously homeless women who have worked to get a permanent roof over their head. The other half is a Day Center that is open 7 days a week and allows women on Skid Row to come and get a shower, a day bed, a hot meal, any other clothing or needs they may have and even see a doctor if they want. The DWC not only meets physical needs but so much love can be felt in that place the second you walk in the door.
I’ve learned a lot over the past month and feel like I’m part of the family. The DWC was recently just interviewed by 89.3 KPCC radio station of LA. I highly suggest listening to the interview to learn more about the DWC and even listen to some of the resident’s stories. If you feel so inclined sign up to volunteer with this wonderful organization and lend a helping hand to people that need it most.
October!! One of my favorite months of the year. I love everything about it and whenever I do end up getting hitched it’ll be in a pumpkin patch in the MidWest.
In Chicago it’s because the leaves changed colors and I could stomp and crunch them under my feet. The air finally cooled off from the humidity of summer. Not to mention the month caps off with the best holiday of them all – HALLOWEEN!
Since moving to L.A. I haven’t lost my love of the month that includes all things orange but I have lost crisp, cool air, leaves changing and planning my Halloween costume according to the weather. We will get at most a week of “fall”weather. That’s not nearly enough to quench my needs!
Here’s a list of things that I can still do while in L.A. to get me in the spirit:
1) Halloween Horror Nights at Universal (check out a detailed blog about this a few posts below from Britt!)
2) Six Flags Magic Mountain – if you haven’t been to Magic Mountain and live in L.A. It’s a must! Not only do I think it’s much better than the one in Chicago but like all other Six Flags it does have a Fright Fest. We’re planning on going to this sometime this month so I will be sure to post a detailed blog!
3) Netflix Instant put up TONS and I mean TONS of old and silly horror movies. I snuggled up tonight with the cool-ish 70 degree weather gently blowing my window shades and watched a few. Guys – Troll 2 is on there. CMON!
4) Halloween Stores – Who would think that L.A. would even need Halloween stores with the way this town operates. But you’d be hard pressed to find a main city block that doesn’t have a Halloween store. Andrew and I stumbled upon a retty spectacular one over in Burbank called Halloween Town. It’s got two floors and your regular buy-a-costumes but it also has a slew of decorations that blew my mind. It’s a fully themed store and almost feels like you are stepping into a haunted house. Do yourself a favor and check it out!
2921 Magnolia Blvd.
5) Decorating the apartment – It’s time to wander into the garage and dig up my boxes of Halloween Decor. I mean it’s already the 3rd and I’ve yet to do this because of work. It’ll be done sometime this week and I can’t wait to spend the month surrounded by orange and black paraphenalia.
6) Planning a Halloween costume and then finding where to celebrate – Normally I start planning and making my costumes in June but this summer got away from me and I’m just not thinking about what to do for it. More to come on that. I also haven’t quite locked in my day of plans yet and for those of you like me and want something more than a house party look no further than the West Hollywood Halloween Carnavale. I have yet to experience this amazing experience but hear the most glorious things about it.It takes place on the actual night and Santa Monica Blvd is full of people in costume having a wonderful time.
7) Carve Pumpkins – It’s an age old tale. I never tire of the chance to hack open a pumpkin and let it rot outside my apartment over the next month. I love caving pumpkins. I love remembering the knives my mom and dad used to make us use to carve them. You know, the small handled orange serrated knives with pumpkins on it? They couldn’t cut into a block of cheese let alone a pumpkin but they still made me smile. Last year, the girls and I carved some pumpkins and set them out into the hallway of our complex for the whole building to enjoy. Well at the end of the month the hallway reeked of butthole and our neighbors were no longer in the spirit of things. And this year, you can bet we’ll carve some more and see ‘em rot!
8 ) Last but certainly not least (I may update and add to this list as the month goes on) – Fall beers! Who honestly doesn’t love a fall beer? I love beer and I love fall so it’s basically a party in my mouth. Now other than your basic shelf Oktoberfests and Pumkin Ale’s that can be found at all stores. A lot of restaurants have their own installments of fall beers. Andrew and I were recently at the Red Lion Tavern and were able to sit on the roof with the heaters and enjoy their version of the Oktoberfest. It was nothing short of delicious. My tastebuds collapsed into a fall-induced coma. I highly recommended hitting up the Red Lion to try their Oktoberfest.
2366 glendale blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039
I also know BJ’s has an apple cider and an Oktoberfest. I have yet to try either but hear some good things about it.
That’s all for now folks. For all those MidWest readers, writing this made my heart ache with miss, so inhale some cool air for me and crunch a few leaves under your boots!
P.S. – Here’s a picture of Britt and I on our first Halloween in L.A.
You can and will be surrounded by people in Los Angeles. You will be bombarded by the glitz and lights. You will become so desensitized by the giant billboards and movie posters being thrown at you, you’ll quit noticing them. You can be surrounded by 20 of your closest friends and feel more alone than ever. L.A. does that, it’s the nature of the city. It’s what brings you in and what drives you out.
You will find yourself waking up in tears because this isn’t what you signed up for. It will make your incredibly high self-esteem plummet into a self hating, not thin enough, not pretty enough, not talented enough monster.
L.A. will eat you up inside and force you to do things you would never do otherwise. It’s a living, breathing city that fights to take everything you think you know and turn you into something you’re not, without a chance to claw your way out. Gasping for breath, being blinded by the sun.
I lived in the Midwest for 22 years. The Midwest was all I had ever known. Leaving it was something so exciting I couldn’t handle it. I drove my SUV out to L.A. with everything I could fit into the backseat.
Throughout my first year living in L.A. I packed my bags 57 times, called “home” everyday, cried myself to sleep the nights the Xanax wore off before I fell into REM sleep and missed everything and everyone I had ever known. Thinking constantly, “Just WHAT am I doing here? WHY am I here?”
Yes, I was going through a lot of personal issues as well as trying to adapt to a new environment. But that aside, WHY was I here?
I AM here because I have dreams. And though I think I am the farthest from the dreams I have right now, I’m a lot closer to it than most people my age. I took that jump. I uprooted myself and left everything behind, to build a new life. I chose to put marriage and a family on the back burner and focus on my career and for me that’s the best decision I’ve ever made. I’ll never again wonder “What If…”.
“How’s Cali?” is the question I hear most often. Well on the surface it’s great. It’s always sunny here and the weather’s great, mmmm traffic sucks though. It’s hard to get past the surface in such a surface oriented city.
But really…Cali IS pretty great. I do or see something EVERYDAY that someone back home doesn’t. Oh, no big deal those are just mountains on the right, see ‘em everyday. Oh that, that’s just a TV show being filmed. And that? That’s just me passing Disney and WB studios on my commute home. Psh, everyday life.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in Hollywood gossip and the vanity of it all. To repeatedly primp yourself in that store window.It’s nice to take a step back sometimes and realize why God put you here. There’s a plan for everyone and while it may seem like it’s taking forever to get anywhere or at a point that you’re happy with the direction it’s going in, it’s going to get somewhere. God has already made life easier in L.A. by putting people in my life that save my sanity everyday.
I’m coming up on my two-year anniversary of being in L.A. So the point of this blog was to reflect a little on those years. How the first year was full of being homesick and longing. While the second year was spent getting my bearings and figuring out how to actually live in this place and call it home without cringing. The past two years have been a challenge to say the least. But I have learned more in those two years than I have in most of my life.
With that being said -
Andrew McMahon says it best, with a song that will make me cry until I can’t breathe on bad days and sing as loud and as out of tune as I can on good days.
Just keep your head above…
Sitting down to write a blog about El Cholo is like sitting down to write a blog about — well anything else that’s hard to write about. There’s so many good things about El Cholo, it’s hard to focus and pen coherent thoughts instead of writing Mmmmm Yum…Mmmmmm….Oooooh Yeah! But I’ll give it the old college try! To start off with, Mexican has taken over my palate recently and become my favorite dining out option. How can one argue over free chips and salsa every time?! But I digress…
I heard about El Cholo through Brittany and our other roommate Christine. They absolutely raved about this place. A few months back Andrew and I had a date night and went there. We were blown away! Absolutely delicious and the staff was so friendly and wear the cutest outfits.
So when he asked where I wanted to go for my birthday it was a toss up. El Cholo or Pure Luck. Pure Luck lost of course but there will be a great blog about that coming soon! I couldn’t wait to go back to this place. This time around I think it took us longer to decide what we wanted than actually get our food. The service was incredible and so quick. We ordered some chips and guac to start and it was handmade to our perfection in front of us.
I ordered the cheese quesdailla (which was the same thing I had last time), it held up and it was just as delicious.
Andrew had the chicken tostadita, it was also very very good. I pushed away from chicken and ate some of the amazing veggies that were inside.
We stuffed ourselves to the brims and rolled ourselves out of there.
Not only is the menu amazing but the margarita menu is also quite good. I’ve only had the Pomegranate Margarita but I would have it again and again.
So, if you’re looking for Mexican dishes with some L.A. History behind it, look no further than El Cholo. They have locations in Santa Monica and the original is in Los Angeles on Western, plus a few in the surrounding LA counties.