Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Universal Studios Hollywood

Despite coming to SoCal more times than I can count, I've never gone to Universal Studios. It just wasn't something that we had ever put on our schedule. I had Monday off because I'm working through the weekend and was invited by Kevin to go with him to the park for the day. It was supposed to be cold and rainy but it certainly didn't deter us! We just put on a couple layers and headed to the park.

Thanks Kevin for being such a peach!

Perk of rainy and cold: no lines. We walked right up to the cars for every ride that morning and had a fairly short wait for the Studio tour. I was surprised with how compact the "theme park" side of Universal is. They have certainly mastered the art of getting a lot into a little. The rides were more interactive screens than meandering through a set. We started with Transformers, followed by Jurassic Park, and ended with The Mummy. I don't know what it is at that park, but I got spit on by dinosaurs, mummies, and robots, sneezed on by Donkey, drooled on by Maggie, and rained on in Mexico.

Talk about a view!

For Lunch we hit up an LA classic, Pink's! Seriously, I might argue that they have the best fries I've ever had. EVER. Again, rainy day perk and being at the park was there was no line for Pink's either, which usually has a pretty lengthy wait off park grounds.

The burger was meh, but those mm!
Seeing as how it's the time for all things spook and gore, the park was decked out for their Halloween Horror Nights! The french quarter had all things morbid, the english alley way had lots of chucky dolls and part of the studio tour drops off (at night) to the Walking Dead maze, challenge, something or other.

The studio tour was interesting and of course full of pop culture trivia facts and some really pretty scenery, smack dab in the middle of the hollywood hills. The views from the park are amazing. And the best part? They broke ground on the addition of Harry Potter for the Hollywood park!!! Too bad its still a few years out.

For the characters, we kept bumping into the same ones over and over, small park, slow day, same characters. Minions from Despicable Me, Spongebob (walked off with a stroller), Shrek, Curious George, Scooby and Shaggy with the Mystery Machine, Marilyn Monroe, Betty Boop, Beetlejuice, The Simpson's family, Feivel(!), and Frankenstein.

Bonus points if you find Shrek! 

I snagged Feivel before he headed off to the casino and George is a little more curious than they would like you to believe.  
Scooby minus the Mystery Machine and Shaggy.
It was a fun day and a new adventure with a good friend! Talk about a great Monday!

Arizona State University California Center event space is NOW OPEN!

The California Center is the whole reason I'm living in Los Angeles. ASU procured office space at the corner of Lincoln and Arizona in Santa Monica and they wanted a student presence and to build relationships with some of the local governments. Enter Cassie and Travis. So in true LA fashion, we had a second grand opening event and ribbon cutting ceremony when our event space was completed. Dr. Crowe came to (re)open the office and Travis and I were invited to speak at the event. It was a lovely event put together by Kevin, the office and event manger for the space. David, my supervisor, and Alissa, the director of the CCIP flew in to be at the event as well.

Travis, my coworker and Dr. Swindell, the Director for the Center of Urban Innovation.

Kevin, the amazing office manager and event coordinator for CA.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Simpang Asia

I'm here in Los Angeles working with one other student, Travis. Among the many things that are incredibly interesting about him is that he has spent most of his life living abroad. One of the many places was Indonesia. So when he found an authentic Indonesian restaurant that he claimed was as good as what he grew up with, I tagged along for a pretty fantastic linner (too late for lunch, too early for dinner: linner). We left the office and headed the 3 miles to Simpang Asia (which of course took 35 minutes, thanks 405 for making the 10 a mess!). By the time I arrived he had already stopped next door at the market for his favorite beverage:
Pocari Sweat. The Japanese equivalent to Gatorade, without all of the extra sugar?
My beverage: a honeydew smoothie
Delicious potato balls battered w/ light crisp bread crumbs filed with ground chicken and potato in special sauce.
Chicken Sate 
Signature Indonesian soy-marinated chicken skewers paired perfectly with bold and tasty garlic peanut sauce.
Nasi Rames

Basic Indonesian rice plate. Combination of chicken curry braised tempeh, beef curry rendang, and garlic green bean. 

Needless to say, it was all delicious! And Travis was happier than a kid at Christmas! 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A trek up to Griffith

Something iconic, something memorable, something beautiful, something close. My classic Art Deco 1920's Los Angeles apartment is in the center of Los Angeles, Koreatown/Wilshire Center to be exact. It's a prime location that puts me near Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and a plethora of lovely neighborhoods I find myself enjoying. With its proximity, and pure gorgeous environment, I have found myself the few miles away at Griffith Park with Adelaide to enjoy walks and a few pleasant hikes.

The Griffith Observatory West Trail loop is a beautiful 2.5 mile 'hike' with some classic views.

Griffith Observatory is at the top of the climb, with the Hollywood sign off to the west and the DTLA skyline off to the east.

Adelaide has made the hike like a trooper and gotten encouragement from all of the other hikers. She's always been
the smallest dog I've seen on the trail but she goes with a smile the entire way.

It's easy, it's gorgeous, and you get to be a part of something that is so classic Los Angeles! The best part? The Trails Cafe along the road that serves up a pretty marvelous dirty chai latte! Sadly, they are closed on Mondays. But it's a nice treat after you hike up the hill if it's open. The pies and scones look pretty delightful, but I have yet to indulge that far.

If you find yourself in the area and want to enjoy the outdoors, this is certainly the place to do it. Parking is even free here! Do you know how rare that is to find in Los Angeles? Take advantage of it as soon as you can, it might not stay that way forever!

Iced Dirty Chai from Trails and a happy chi
Off the regular trail theres the most perfect spot to see everything quite clearly, Adelaide needed some help getting down but she enjoyed the view it seems.

HOLLYWOOD off in the distance

xoxo, sweets.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Cassandra Marie

Let me introduce myself. Who knows, maybe one of you few readers don't know who I am?

Call me Cassie. I'm a early twenty-something living in the City of Angels while finishing my masters.
I'm an avid Arizona State Sun Devil, by declaration of a BA in Psychology, a long list of graduate homework demands, and paychecks. I'm actually living in LA working for ASU in a new project with the University and a few other organizations working in the broad field of Public Affairs. Come May I will be the proud owner of another degree, my Master's in Public Administration and have a wide array of experiences in my back pocket.

Monsoon season in Tucson
I love good food, coffee (in almost every form, but I have a love affair with espresso), great literature, a perfect glass of wine, traveling to the big cities and the small gems, movies, fashion, and the warm feeling that good music brings to the soul. I have been blessed with some of the most amazing and caring friends and the most supportive family I could have ever dreamed of.

My home will always be the Sonoran Desert, where the saguaro cactus can be found. I highly recommend escaping to the desert for a few things: a desert monsoon (the smell of the wet desert cannot be beat), spring training (Talking Stick lawn seats+sangria with baseball, doesn't get much better than that), and an early morning hike when the cactus blossoms are in full bloom (try the Superstition Mountains, great views of the valley from there). There are plenty of other beautiful things to be found in Arizona, but those will be sure to come up later on.

Introducing Adelaide.

Adelaide is my (almost) 4-year old chihuahua mix and she is like my child. I have traveled with her and take more pictures of her than probably anything or anyone else. She'll be a common mention in this blog because simply, I cannot get enough of her adorable tendencies and cuddley nature. She's the cutest dog to exist. I'm not biased! People tell me all the time.

All in all, my life is full of blessings. I hope this fully documents how much I love each and every piece of my life and I hope I can share something lovely with you as well.

xoxo, sweets.

welcome and hello

I have been tossing around the idea of blogging for quite sometime. Always for different purposes, but the main idea has still always been the same. Now that I find myself living 400 miles from my family and most of my friends, I decided is now is as good a time as any to start. I'm not sure what direction this blog is going to take, I just know that I want it to scream me. It's a story of my life, which I'm sure will thrill you all...I am after all so entertaining. (Sarcasm, my friends, sarcasm!)

Let's just say I'm interested in keeping a journal of sorts for the many experiences I have been blessed enough to enjoy. It's time I put words to the memories and document all of my pictures that go along with them. As those who know me are well aware, I love photos and am constantly photodocumenting my life around me. Here I will post those pictures, share my stories, and express my feelings. Hopefully my family and friends spread throughout the world will be able to read and enjoy and we can all feel a little bit closer together...

Ta Ta for now, my sweets. We'll chat again soon.

Santa Monica Coast Line