Category Archives: Nature

Fall Floral Inspiration

Fall is among us and I couldn’t be more excited to finally see a few leaves change color! I started looking for fall floral arrangement ideas online and realized that there are very few that don’t look like they belong in a window display at Kirkland’s. But here are some exceptions that really stood out. Happy floraling!

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milk glass

Amy-Osaba-7

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19440008$!400x

amaryllis-english-manor-wedding-01

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6359478709_030c8d01b4_z 6359488977_d5ff8bed36

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A Most Unusual Hike

The most surprising hike I’ve ever been on took place a few weeks ago when I happened to have an extra day off work. Don’t three day weekends give you an extra burst of energy to go out and do something productive or something new?? Well, that’s what they do for me. I could use a few more 3 day weekends in my life.

As I was Googling interesting places to go in this crazy city, I stumbled across this little baby: Murphy Ranch Trail.

The hike begins at Rustic Canyon, which is part of Topanga State Park in Santa Monica.

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It starts off like any other hike you might take in the mountains.

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A gorgeous view, wildflowers, a few weird looking bugs and lizards.

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You walk about 15 minutes along a path lined by a chain-link fence.

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THEN- there’s a gap in the fence. Take the gap, take the gap!

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As you veer left through this gap in the fence and stray away from the main path, you come across, what seems to be, an endless, cement stairwell that leads down into the canyon.

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The stairwell takes you down an almost 200 ft. descent into the desolate, Murphy Ranch. (The DEscent is NOTHING compared to the AScent, let me tell ya…)

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What is Murphy Ranch, you ask? OH..well…that’s where things get spooky.

I’m just going to let hikespeak.com explain it to you….they do SUCH a nice job. And I tend to ramble:

“In the 1930s Nazi sympathizers built a refuge in the Pacific Palisades. Herr Schmidt, Winona and Norman Stephens, and their followers occupied a self-contained stronghold in what is now Rustic Canyon between Sullivan Ridge and Will Rodgers State Park. Murphy Ranch was designed to serve as a hold out for fans of the Third Reich waiting for America to fall to the Nazis. Instead, the ranch was raided by U.S. authorities and closed in 1941. The abandoned buildings were transformed into an artists’ colony in the 60s and 70s, but were abandoned after the Mandeville Canyon Fire in 1978. Today the grounds of Murphy Ranch are uninhabited, dilapidated, covered in graffiti, and open to hikers. While much of the history is lost, several structures remain, along with long cement staircases that still link Murphy Ranch to Sullivan Ridge Fire Road, providing a 3.85-mile hike with 325 feet of elevation gain.”

Crazy, right?? Here’s where you start to see some graffiti action. Until…

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BAM! It hits you in the face.

The first building you come across used to house a diesel generator and fuel tank. You’re free to wander inside…although I was hesitant. Even in broad daylight it just felt like I was in the middle of terrible horror movie and someone was yelling at me from the other side of the screen…”WHY WOULD YOU GET CLOSE TO THAT? RUN AWAY, STUPID! RUN. AWAY.”

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Once you pass that building, you come across one more dilapidated shed.

Apparently these crazy Nazis had commissioned famed African-American architect Paul Williams  to build a four-story mansion within the canyon, but those plans were never executed.

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It’s amazing to me how much of this eerie piece of history was just left there. Not cleaned up and wiped away by the government or Parks Department. It’s just sitting there, rotting away. Which I guess is pretty symbolic in a way. To be able to see the literal destruction of  such a misguided and terrible mindset.

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There are literally still old vehicles there, rolled over and rusting. image

So if you don’t vomit at the thought of climbing down over 500 stairs (and then back up!), you need to take this hike. It’s mind blowing and you come out of it thinking you might have just had a psychedelic, Nazi nightmare. But it’s totally worth exploring every step!

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xoxo

~Alex

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Wild

I recently just finished reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed. If your a twenty-something year old female who’s been feeling a little lackluster, I definitely recommend giving it a read. It’s both inspiring and a bit soul crushing at the same time. Cheryl Strayed writes about her summer hiking solo through the Pacific Crest Trail (a trail that runs along the Pacific Coast from Mexico to Washington State) in efforts to cope with her mothers death and her failed marriage. She was 26 years old when she started her hike. Hiking the ENTIRE California coast, BY HERSELF, at the age of 26 with NO PRIOR HIKING EXPERIENCE. Insane? Yes. Completely motivating? Yes.truly want to just pack up a giant backpack and take off right now. Seriously. BUT, alas, a hike like this takes an extremely large amount of planning, gear, and knowledge that I have not begun to scratch the surface of. And of course I start Googling hiking gear and get lost in a fanciful world of completely impractical camp gadgets and garb. So let me dream a bit and plan my fairytale hiking experience. Thanks.

“Wanting to leave is enough.”  – Cheryl Strayed

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What makes me happy- Day#20

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You know about the penny, right?

I heard that repeated three times while walking with my bunch of tulips at the farmer’s market yesterday before I realized that this guy was actually talking to me.
“You know about the penny, right?”
“Ummm…no. No, I don’t think so, ” I replied.
“If you put a penny that was made before 1982 in the vase with the tulips, they won’t wilt.”
“Oh, wow. That’s good to know,” I said.

Not quite sure if this guy knew what he was talking about, so I went home and asked the guy I trust the most, Mr. Google. Sure enough, this flower-loving, market stranger knew his stuff. Check out ehow’s  How to Avoid Drooping Tulips. Apparently pre-1964 pennies contain almost 100% copper and are the best medicine for droopy lips- but those are also very hard to come by. So your best bet is to at least find a penny dated before 1982. After 1982, we were left with nothing more than a copper plated zinc penny (97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper.) Apparently, the copper helps decrease the pH level and works as a fungicide. Who knew, right?

Thanks random flower-lover. You made me happy!

~Alex

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What makes me happy- Day #14

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The view from the roof of my apartment building- for obvious reasons. 🙂

What makes me happy- Day #9

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Berries– all kinds! They’re so bright and beautifully sweet…A handful of these babies with breakfast and I’m rarin’ to go!