Great Scott! What day is it Marty? Visiting Doc Martin’s House in Pasadena, CA

Are you a fan of Back to the Future? Well you’re in luck because Doc Martin’s House actually exists! Officially known as The Gamble House, (4 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena, CA) this beautiful home was designed by architects Charles and Henry Green back in 1908 for David B. Gamble of the Procter & Gamble company.  I had a chance to see it on my trip to Pasadena and it’s definitely very impressive. 

You could take a one hour docent led tour for $15, but I opted to enjoy it from the exterior to admire the details. While many know it as Doc Martin’s house it’s registered as a National Historic Landmark, California Landmark, and museum.

Does anyone else geek out when they see places or things from movies in the flesh? Who’s house would you want to see IRL?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Visiting California’s Eye-Popping Reserves at Antelope Valley, CA

Recently, I’ve been seeing tons of flower photos through the various social media platforms and with abundant rainfall this year I was curious to check out “The Super Bloom” at at least one state park. My friend and I took two hour roadtrip from Orange County to Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve State Natural Reserve to see wild flowers in their glory. Suffice to say, we were not disappointed. The bright neon orange plants can be seen miles away.

Poppy Flowers

As you drive through Lancaster towards the park, you’ll be amazed by how far and wide the splatter of color reaches. Many people pulled over to take snap shots at the side of the road, but my friend and I drove into the park to learn a little bit about the state flower at the visitor center and took the official trails.

Panoramic Shot

There were a few trails that guests could explore, but for first timers like me I just wandered for about an hour or so admiring natures beautiful painting. I don’t typically gush at landscape, but the vividness is so surreal that it almost looks photoshopped.

More Photos from the Poppy Reserve

A trip to Lancaster isn’t typically a popular travel designation however if you plan to check out the Poppy Reserve this weekend (April 27th, 28th) you can also consider adding the California Poppy Festival presented by the City of Lancaster to your list. Admission is $10 and while I haven’t had the chance to visit, it might be a cool two-fer.

What’s one of the most beautiful places you’ve visited and why?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Colorful pockets of Joy on the Cheap in Granada Hills, CA – Cheat Day Edition!

For the past two months I’ve incorporated healthier foods into my diet and have been very selective on the carbs I’d consume. So when I heard of Hopia, a popular Philippine moon cake-like pastry I crossed my fingers that they’d be worth the calories *SPOILER* (They were!) and with an adorable name like Hopia Like It – it seemed fitting to try it out. NOTE: I didn’t eat the entire dozen, but totally would have!

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One Dozen Hopias!

The bakery is situated along a busy street in Granada Hills, and patrons would need to find street parking. Once my friend and I found a spot we headed in and were eyeing all the rainbow color of pastries. They had all sorts hopias with different fillings, but I gravitated towards the colorful ones. At a little over a dollar for one or $10 a dozen, I decided to bring a box to a work event and they did not disappoint. Everyone LOVED them! Flaky on the outside and sweet, chewy goodness on the inside.

Hopia Were Here! (Play on words – Hope you were here) tehehe…

Personally I loved the Ube (Purple) and the Buko Pandan (Green), but you really can’t go wrong with any of them. I guess the one downside of this discovery is that it’s so far away from home. There are two Los Angeles locations (below) so if you’re heading towards the Reagan Museum or passing through these little savory or sweet treats will be a hit with anyone at your final destination.

Hopia Like It – Granada Hills
17705 Chatsworth St
Los Angeles, CA 91344
 
Hopia Like It – Winnetka
20171 Saticoy St
Winnetka, CA 91306

 

Which flavor would you be most interested to try? Yellow Mungo (yellow mung bean), Purple Ube, Guava (filled with guava jam), Nutella, Baboy (the original flavor filled with onion & peanuts), Buko Pandan (young coconut and pandan leaves extract)? Comment below!

 

 

XOXO,

 

Rockstar

 
 
 
 

Getting up close and personal with the Hollywood Sign – check!

I’ll be honest I hate hiking with a passion. I had a really traumatic experience back when I lived in the East Coast and since then I forbade the “H” word into my vocabulary. Fast forward 8 years – a  group of friends wanted to make a trek up to the Hollywood sign and because I was A) planning to be in the Hollywood area that day B) I needed to differentiate my exercise regime and C) seeing the Hollywood Sign up close and personal was a bucket-list item – it seemed that all the stars aligned for me go for it.

Horses on the trail

Bright and early in the morning the group of us tied our tennis shoes and wore layers of clothes before heading up. While most people hiked on foot, there were a handful who were on horseback which was pretty cool to see.

Made it to the Hollywood Sign!

The 6.5 mile hike (round-trip) is a moderate hike for sedentary folks like myself, and while I probably won’t jump to do this hike again anytime soon I am glad that I did it and can share some cool photos! If you’re planning to hike to the sign – plug in this address (2927 Canyon Drive, Los Angeles, CA). There are two small parking lots, but they do get crowded so I did street parking before you enter the gate.

What’s on your bucket list?

XOXO

Rockstar

Wandering through the Piñata District and Grubbin’ on Authentic Cheap Street Food

Earlier this month my friends and I tried out the Alita Experience, a pop-up escape room in Los Angeles (see that adventure here!) . However, we arrived at downtown LA a tad earlier than our scheduled reservation and decided to explore the area a bit. As we drove through Olympic and Central we saw what looked like a vibrant and festive street fair. Turns out we were in the Pinata District and even on a Sunday it was poppin!

Pinatas for sale!

We found free street parking and made our way through the district. There were many shops selling various party favors including candy, decor, and of course pinatas! There were also other miscellaneous vendors selling t-shirts and electronics, yet we were most interested in the food carts/stalls!

Tacos and Arepes

There were many stands selling traditional street food and everything smelled soooo amazing. Grandmas were hand-making fresh tortillas, sons and daughters were carving and/or cooking meats and many things were made to order. After browsing though a number of the carts/stalls we decided to dine-in!

Different Stands in the Pinata District

I was most interested in the bean and cheese arepe as I saw the woman mold and create each one. That stand also had a self-serve condiment bar with super fresh guacamole with the pits still in the mortar and pestle bowl and a ton of other toppings to customize your base. Man… with the melted cheese, freshly fried dough and textures of all the toppings it was a perfect meal and for a bargain. I think I spent like $3 and because it was the end of the day and they were getting ready to shut down the owner also threw in a free drink (Many stands were closing shop around 5:00pm)! I got the horchata while my friends got lemonade with chia seeds. Two thumbs up and I will definitely be back for both the food and party supplies!

When a piñata pops what kind of candy do you rush to grab? Krackle and Crunch are my go tos!

 

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

 

From the Big Screen to the Big Office – Learning About President Ronald Reagan Legacy on and off screen in Simi Valley, CA

During my Atlanta Trip in 2018, I applied for an Annual Presidential Library Membership with the mindset of visiting several POTUS museums in 2019. I learned a lot about Jimmy Carter’s presidency (Jimmy Carter Post) when I was in the Peach State and now that I’m back in SoCal my friends and I took a short roadtrip to learn all about Ronald Reagan’s Presidency in Simi Valley, CA.

Oval Office Replica and Air Force 1!

This museum is located on top of a mountain and overlooks the valley. The view is quite spectacular and while the setting is very picturesque, the museum facility is very interactive and engaging. There were tons of short movie clips, physical artifacts, and they even have an Air Force 1 and guests could step inside and see what it’s like to ride like a VIP.

Exhibits

Reagan is probably best known as the actor turned president; however, he was one of three presidents (at that time) to serve 2 terms and is best known for helping to end the Cold War with the Soviet Union! I don’t think I could ever do something as brave as that, but I’d want people to know me as the adventurer who shared the world’s best hidden gems.

How would you want to be remembered?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Kicking off 2019 at the Peanuts Celebration at Knotts Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA

Like most people I too wanted to diet and exercise more for my new year resolution, yet instead of solely going to the gym more frequently, I decided to purchase a season pass to Knotts Berry Farm as an incentive to increase my steps. At $200 for a Gold Membership, which includes admission to Buena Park theme park and water park, parking, and admission to other Cedar Point theme parks throughout the US it seemed like a no brainer and also a fun way to move more. There’s usually a theme each month and in January and February, Knott’s celebrates your favorite beagle with birthday decor and various photobooth backgrounds.

Sidewinder in Camp Snoopy

It’s been a while since I last visited Snoopy and his friends (at least 10 years), so when I bought this pass I found out that there were several new roller coasters added. Hangtime has a 90 degree drop and Accelerator (my favorite!) launches riders at 82 mph in less than 2.3 seconds.  Sidewinder is a crowd favorite, and while it’s located in Camp Snoopy it spins while you peruse up and down the tracks.    

Since I live relatively close my plan is to go at least once a week after work to put in my steps – one lap around the park then ride an attraction. If coasters aren’t your thing, Voyage to the Iron Reef is a really cool underwater shooting game. On my first visit I waited almost two hours and still felt that it was worth while.

What are some things you’re doing to live a healthier 2019?

XOXO,

Rockstar

How much is that loaf in the window? Trying the Inland Empires Best Banana Bread

I love finding hidden gems whenever I travel and after some extensive research I found this business that sells homemade biscotti and award winning banana bread! Recognized as a neighborhood favorite Linda, The Biscotti Lady, is a retired healthcare provider turned entrepreneur with some serious baking skills.

Wall Motivation

On my visit I made sure to go bright and early at 8am to see the assortment. There were muffins, biscottis, loafs of banana bread with and without walnuts (also chocolate chip option available), and ample samples of all her products for guests to try. I really loved the banana bread and bought 3 loafs ($5 a piece) as they were super moist and had that homemade (not mass produced) feel. While the products are certainly worth a visit, I especially love Linda’s business approach. She bakes and opens shop part-time to keep the spirit of her hobby alive and doesn’t allow the business to consume and blind her from all the other things she enjoys like traveling.

Banana Bread Options

If you’re interested to see one of Inland Empires best kept secret you can follow her on The Biscotti Lady’s Facebook to see her schedule. For 2019 Linda informed me that she’ll opens at least once a month on Saturday morning and that she’s open for business TOMORROW (2/2) from 8am – 2pm (PST) or while supplies last. Pick up a loaf or two from 1102 N Euclid Ave, Ontario, CA 91762) If you’re looking to bring home a winner for Superbowl Sunday I think the honey jalapeno cheddar cheese cornbread muffins would be a hit!

What are you eating/bringing this Sunday for the Supperbowl?

XOXO,

 

Rockstar

 

 

Hero’s and Villains, Oh My! Attending the VIP My Hero Academia Voice Actor Panel and Autograph Signing at Anime Los Angeles in Ontario, CA

One of my favorite things to do at conventions is attend panels especially voice actor ones as I love learning about the audition process, and inspiration for characters. While I had the opportunity to see both the creator, voice actor for Deku and All Might at SDCC in 2019 (Post Here), Anime Los Angeles brought the full star studded My Hero Academia cast (!!!) for the weekended and included an autograph session for all attendees.      The weekend was far from short of My Hero Academia cosplays (post here) and the voice actors who brought their character’s voices to life including Justin Briner (Izuku Midoriya), Clifford Chapin (Katsuki Bakugo), David Matranga (Shoto Todoroki), Colleen Clinkenbeard (Momo Yaoyorozu) , Eric Vale (Tomura Shigaraki), Morgan Berry (Thirteen), and Christopher Wehkamp (Shota Aizawa) all participated in both individual and group panels. I was lucky to snag a front row seat in the group panel and got selfies with my two favorite voice actors Coleen Clinkenbeard (Momo) and David Matranga (Shot Todoroki)! I had a great time seeing these voice actors and loved that I got to converse with them in this more intimate convention. A few of the voice actors even complimented my spikes and were really impressed with my cosplay. I’m planning to continue working on it and who knows maybe at AX Momo will have even more refined details 🙂

Do you watch My Hero Academia? Who’s your favorite hero?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

 

“Gotta Catch ‘Em All” at Anime Los Angeles in Ontario, CA

Geek conventions are a great place to buy merchandise, watch panels, and see amazing cosplay! But one thing that differentiates Anime Los Angeles (ALA) from the other nerd gatherings is ribbon trading, an activity where you complete a task or trivial and in exchange get a ribbon to add to your badge.

Pokemon Gym Leaders

Anyone can participate in the ribbon trading and there are certain groups of individuals who work collectively to make the ribbon trading activity a scavenger hunt. One of the best groups is the Pokemon Group and this year they focused on Team Rocket Recruitment. Attendees would checkin at the “Pokemon Center” and be given a starter Pokemon (their first Pokemon ribbon). I started with Larvitar, a Rock/Ground Pokemon and needed to find other Gym Leaders (individuals with the Red and White Pokemon Button) to “battle” and collect more ribbons.

2019 Pokemon Rocket Challenge

Once you collect at least 14 of the 18 Pokemon types, you can see “The Boss” and collect the last badge – Pokemon 2019 Champion! It’s a fun activity to take part-in and it’s makes for a really cool souvenir.

Who would be your starter Pokemon?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar