Shameless Plug: Ice Storm

My cousin wrote another book and it’s available on amazon + for kindle called Ice Storm! Check out this new book and his first book, Chaos.

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Amazon describes it:

Deep in the heart of Antarctica lies a forgotten military installation. Deadly secrets are secured behind its doors…including the remnants of a decades-old plot to devastate mankind.

Disgraced treasure hunter Cy Reed is on the trail of an incredible treasure when a cargo ship mysteriously explodes. At the same time, a team of geologists makes an astonishing discovery that could rewrite ancient history. And a beast of impossible origins unleashes a bloody rampage across the ice.

As Reed unravels the mysteries behind Antarctica’s dark past, he begins to uncover a sinister conspiracy. Plagued by ferocious storms and betrayed on all sides, he races toward an inevitable clash that could salvage his ruined reputation…or unleash hell upon the world.

You can purchase it HERE.

Rosenthal Estate Winery

Do you like wine tasting? A few friends and I made the drive up the PCH into Malibu to visit Rosenthal Estate Winery where we had a fabulous Saturday.

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The weather was fantistic and this gem of a tasting spot is located right off the PCH (not up in the winding hills like the other wineries) which means it’s got ocean views.

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The tasting room has some indoor seating, but it’s best to pack a picnic and layout in the back of the property.

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While we were there, a group setup an engagement party in the back with flowers, homemade signs… the works! It’s looked like a pinterest board!

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There’s the ocean, just yonder. The heat lamps outdoors makes it so you can hang out on the patio long into the night (although they close at 8pm). We started our day with the $12 wine taster (which included 4 wines) and then purchased bottles to share among our group.

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Be sure to bring plenty of snacks and boardgames!

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Oh, and they have goofy surfboards you can pose with. Here is me and my friend Grace being silly.

Add this to your Los Angeles to-do list. In fact, stop at Trader Joes (load up on snacks), hit the beach and then around 3pm mosey on over to the Rosenthal Estate Winery. Doesn’t that sound like a fabulous Saturday?

DIY: Repainting a Side Table

Once again, I’m working to revamp my blank canvas. Another item my roommate graciously left behind is this fun little side table.

The shape of the table is clean and minimalist, which I like. But the scratched up top and orangey colored wood, I don’t like. Why live with something you don’t like? How about an easy fix?

Note: If your table has a finish on it, I recommend sanding it a little so the paint will stick.

I love the revamp of the side table. The black and gold make it feel very glam-Hollywood. And all it took was a touch of gold spray paint. Since this table is mostly for looks and not one that gets a lot of use, I’m not going to put on a top clear coat to protect it. If your side-table does get a lot of use I suggest doing a clear top coat to help protect it from the elements.

If you liked this post, you might also like these!
-DIY: Decorative Plants
-DIY: Renovate An Old Centerpiece
-DIY: Backing a Bookcase

Mount Whitney Hike Part 2

Did you enjoy Mt. Whitney Part 1? I last left off where we finally got to trail camp, where we could finally take the gear off our backs, and relax.

qIn the time it took to set-up camp and filter water to refill our canisters, it was time for dinner. Freeze-dried dinners to be exact. This was my first freeze-dried anything. You can get these packs at Sports Chalet, and the veggie lasagna was actually really good. All you need is some boiled water, and tada! Dinner!

The sun was setting as we finished our dinner around 7:30p. The moon came out, and so did the cameras. What a beautiful night. But just after dinner, it’s bedtime. With the alarm set for 2am, we were in our tents with our heads on our pillows by 8:30p. From my tent I could see the very far off headlamps of people at the top of trail crest. That would be us in a few short hours.

After an anxious night of sleep, it was time to hit the trail. By the time we got going it was 3:15a. These photos are courtesy of Dane on the trip. I was so exhausted that I couldn’t be bothered figuring out night photos. The right photo is from trail crest, after completing the infamous 99 switchbacks. You can tell by the rising sun, it’s getting later in the morning. As we hiked, it was fascinating to watch the stars move across the sky. It was the first time I really understood how you could use stars to guide you.

These photos were taken around 5:30am as the sun come up. This is why we climbed this. Where else can you see this? This is the reward for all of our hard work climbing. Priceless.

As we got higher the sun got higher. Light filled the valley behind us and suddenly we could really feel the impact of how high we were. It was a hard 5 miles up.

At 7:30am, I reached the summit. There is a small one-room shack at the top, which provided a temporary shelter from the freezing wind. I can’t stress how cold the last 50 steps to the top of the mountain were, compared to the entire hike. It was gorgeous but unpleasant. I signed in the guestbook, which is a nice pat-on-the-back.

After 20 minutes of photos, we were so uncomfortable and we knew the trek back would be long, so we moved back down this trail we had worked so hard getting up.

Coming down the mountain was frightening for me (I hate heights), but I did it! Slow and steady. Only 1 slight panic attack, which was better than what I had been anticipating. We climbed down the 99 switchbacks and landed at camp, where we packed up our tents and loaded our gear onto our backs. We had to keep moving on, since we had just gone down 5 miles and had the 6 from the day before to complete. We made it to the car at 6:10p, meeting tons of characters along the way. Hikers are so friendly. We had a celebratory pizza dinner in town, and then it was a 3+ hour drive back to LA. I arrived at my house at 11pm (after being up since 2am and hiking 22 miles in the last 24 hours) and collapsed into my bed. Success!

The Golden Road Brewing Pub Grand Opening

If you read my blog, you know I practically live at Tony’s Darts Away, love Mohawk Bend and have been eagerly awaiting Golden Road Brewing. Basically anything Tony Yanow has a hand in, I enjoy. Sunday, January 15th, was the Golden Road Brewing Pub Grand Opening and I wouldn’t miss it!

Making your way down San Fernando in Glendale, you can’t miss their primary-colored facilities just across the railroad tracks.

The opening was from 11a-11p and I showed up around 1pm and ended up staying until 4p. The weather was cloudy, but didn’t keep people from enjoying the patio. The last time I was here (which I wrote about HERE) was for their brewery opening, where I spent most of my time in a different building and only got a peak at what their pub would become. It’s hard to believe that was only 3 months ago!

I started off with their Rye on the Palate, which had notes of coffee (which I love). It was delicious. I followed it up with the Schwartz Stout which I also enjoyed. I was there with great company: Amber, Adam and Adams cousin Michael.

They had a wide selection of tee shirts, and promo items as well as books on craft brews. My favorite item is the tote with pockets for two Golden Road growlers (the middle bag in the photo).

The bartenders were very nice and the wait staff was active about collecting glasses and cleaning the tables. During the 3 hours I was there, there was a steady flow of people coming and going and we thankfully got a table for the full three hours. We were having so much fun that the hours flew by and we didn’t even do one of the many tours they offered. Occasionally a train would go by and everyone would cheer and drink! Now that’s a drinking game I like.

The crowd was a mix of hipsters, curly mustaches, older couples, groups of people in jerseys (they had football on their 3 tvs) and even families (earlier in the day). We ordered some of their fritters and I especially loved the mushroom risotto parmesan fritters (so tasty!).

We took advantage of their special “$10 for a burger and a can” deal. I ordered the vegan burger (of course) which was loaded with peppers and quite scrumptious as well as the Golden Road Hef, all for $10! I look forward to coming back and ordering off their main menu as well as tasting more of their brews. The only thing that could make this place any better would be board games. I could easily see myself meeting friends at one of their long tables on a Friday night, trying some new brews while playing some Apples 2 Apples and eating risotto fritters. Ahhhh, Heaven.

Hike #20: Millard Canyon

If you’re new to the blog, I must explain that not only do I walk all over LA but I also have a great hike book (101 Hikes in Southern California by Jerry Schad). Today I decided to venture out into the great outdoors and do hike number 20 in the book, Millard Canyon. I must say, the loop was incredibly difficult and Im so thankful I had my new hike boots. Well let me take you through it…

I started at 10:15am today and it was a perfect hiking day. It was partly cloudy, which gave a cool breeze and kept the temperature down. Unfortunately, it made for some washed out photos. But I’ll just show you the best of the best. I parked along Chaney Trail and be sure to bring your Adventure Pass.


I followed Sunset Ridge Trail which is popular with mountain bikers so keep an eye out for their bells when you’re traversing up the ridge.

This is Millard Canyon’s 50′ waterfall.

There were 6(?) Northeastern guys that just moved to LA to begin 6 month internships who were very nice. I ran into them several times throughout the hike. While on the Dawn Mine Trail I felt so relieved to hear their voices down below, as many parts of this trail were nonexistent and just straight drops to the canyon below. I should note that this hike was only 3 stars in my book, so I figured it was a safe one to do alone although I do not recommend it with this hike. There were several “hail mary” moments, and I was grateful to have these guys around for the parts of my hike that overlapped their trek.

This is Dawn Mine (at 3100′), which I didn’t enter (as my book didn’t encourage it).

This made me smile as I left Dawn Mine, so I thought I would share it.

The last leg of the hike (from Dawn Mine through Millard Canyon) was much less steep and high than Dawn Mine Trail, but equally as treacherous. There was no real path and it was a relief to see the occasional footprint in the sand to know you were following human life somewhere at least. There were a few steep drops off some giant rocks and many times I sat and slid because it was so steep. My shoes really held up and gripped well to the edges of some pretty smooth boulders. My photos don’t show the depth that I was facing.

This was comforting and let me know I was still on the right track.

Am I getting closer to the end of these rocks? If I missed a very hidden path along the left, I was warned that it would put me on top of the 50′ waterfall and I didn’t want that to happen.

Just a little further…

I’ve never been so happy to see a cabin! It was my marker to know when I was close to the last loop back to my car on Chaney Trail. The hike was an excellent adventure and I recommend it, but don’t make my mistakes. Bring a friend, bring snacks (which I left on my table at home), and when the book says to take the fire road, take the path that leads up by the Cape of Good Hope (as I added an extra mile+ straight uphill by misreading the map). Also, as my Northeastern friends experienced today, always bring a map because many LA trails are unmarked and confusing. Even the map in the book was better than having nothing at all.

I hope you checked out my WEEKEND GUIDE on this lovely three-day weekend, as there is much to do. I can even add to Saturdays events the Eagle Rock Art Walk (aka NELAart). HERE is a map to the walk. Now will I see you at the Golden Road Brew Pub Opening tomorrow? I can’t wait!

I will leave you with this image of the sun slowly setting as taken at the end of my Millard Canyon hike.

Hubbard Park + Castle Craig

Despite the extremely cold day, me and my good friends Jess and Mike ventured out on a hike. It was fun but coooold (I’m still regaining feelings in my fingers). I didn’t really know about Castle Craig’s existence until I went to Hubbard Park on Christmas day to see their Christmas light display (which I blogged about HERE). Get ready for a ton of pics!

After doing a little online sleuthing, I found this MAP to the trail that I took. So we met in Hubbard park and followed the white path (as we only had 2 hours to spend here) on a pretty low-key hike. Only a 700 foot stretch up to the castle was steep, the rest was a pretty graceful incline. No hiking boots necessary and great for the family.

We began by watching the ducks in Mirror Lake. I love the mini-Castle Craig model in the middle of the lake (it’s a duck palace!)

A lot of the hike is woodsy like this image. It’s a fun change for me, especially since you can tell by the photos that it’s frigid out there. The white trail is also heavily marked, so no need to worry about going off on the wrong path.

CASTLE CRAIG! It’s a CASTLE?!

I loved this shot of Jess close to the edge over looking Meriden.

Views from the top. I hope to come back and do this trail again in the summer. This would be a great hike to pack a lunch and eat overlooking CT.

This is the steep hike back down to meet up with the white path. A little rocky, but nothing too tricky.

Continuing on the hike, there are some great views up to the castle.

“Halfway House”

Eventually the hike loops up with Merimere Reservoir (with Mine Island in the middle).

There’s nothing like celebrating a hike well done with a veggie pizza from Modern Apizza in New Haven with my cousin :)

Exploring Cape Cod: Great Island Trail

The next day was about ten degree’s warmer, which in winter degrees, made being outside bearable. We decided to make a day of it and head out to Wellfleet, MA. HERE is the link to where you can park to do this hike. THIS link leads to an archaic yet helpful brochure with a map of the hike. We figured we did probably an 8 mile loop in total.

The hike is a mix of marsh, wooded trails, and beach. It also has several places to pick up the walk, so if you want more time walking the beach you can just jump back onto the trail when you’re ready (without having to back track).

Once we had our fill of beach walking (sand walking can be tiresome) we headed up into the hills.

After a wooded hike, the trail spit us out on the other side of the peninsula. We walked this side of the beach for a while. What beautiful cliffs sit ahead of us.

Unfortunately, we reached a point in the hike where we needed to cross a river that was just a tad too wide to jump across and way to deep to cut across. But we were there for a walk, so we just cut back along the dry edge of the marsh, adding distance to our hike.

One thing that was unavoidable, and a bit frightening, were all the dead birds we ran across while in the marsh. We were examining animal tracks, but it was still to hard to tell how they passed on. It was disturbing, the giant quantity of dead birds. Prepare yourself for this if you are going to do this loop. Also be careful if you’re bringing pets along. Whatever killed these birds must be pretty powerful.

Our timing was perfect, as we finished the hike just as the sun was setting. I imagine there are some scary animals in that woods, so be sure to allow yourself time to complete this during daylight hours. Also be sure to check tidal information, as I’m sure at high tide much of the marsh fills in.

The sunset was the perfect payoff to a great hike.

2012 Resolutions

As you probably can tell, my 2011 was unbelievable. The key thing that helped push me to  do new things in 2011 was my GIANT resolutions list. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like a huge bucket list filled with unobtainable goals. Some goals were small like “buy hiking boots”, “cook more”, and “stay positive!”. Some goals were larger like “run a 5k” and “complete 38 LA walks”. And one was huge, “conquer fear of heights”. I think its important when making a list of goals to have some easy and some hard, because boy does it feel good to cross things off the list. I also like to pull out the list at the start of every month, to help me pace out what I’ve done and what still needs to happen. Don’t save it all until December! And the point of the list isn’t to have a painful year doing really hard things, it’s about trying new things and making 2012 memorable.

Life Absorbed’s 2012 Resolution List

- Complete all 42 walks in “Secret Stairs, A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of LA”

- Go rock climbing!

- Do at least one “monster” walk in 2012. Use my new “Car-Free LA” book to find a good really long walk and make a day of it.

- Resume hikes from my hiking book! Give those new hike boots a work out.

- Go camping!

- Hike (or ski) Mt. Baldy.

- Go back to Catalina!

- Keep filling my nights and weekends with fun activities, even if it means being tired the next day. It’s worth it!

- Visit Hearst Castle.

- Go cross-country skiing for the first time.

- Go white-water rafting.

- Go kayaking.

- Try yoga.

- Try spinning.

- Make new recipes to last during the week.

- Go to Chicago to visit my good friends and see a new city.

- Keep up my nightly walks. An hour a day does so much.

- Try new bars, restaurants and museums from my “L.A. Bizarro” book. (As Amber pointed out to me, we don’t have to see any of the porn-esque stuff and that is agreed).

- If someone says, “try this hike with me” or “lets do this sport” or any other physical activity, say yes!

- “Grow a Pair!” In 2012 I need to face the little fears. I successfully faced giant fears in 2011, so this should be easy right?

- As a part of “Growing A Pair”, I’m going to go on dates in 2011. It’s something Ive been putting off because I hate doing it, but why not? If it’s the worst, then oh well. If it’s great then maybe I get a new friend out of the deal. I’ve jumped out of a plane, I think I can handle a silly little date. So send your single, outdoorsy, male friends my way.

- And of course I will work hard to maintain you, Life Absorbed. I wish I had started you last Jan. 1st, so now I must make up for lost time.

Here is my new list! It’s a lot shorter than last years, but I think this list will prove to be more challenging (and more expensive). I need to take a moment to thank all of my friends for helping me complete last years resolution list. It really is a group effort. My friends were so great about joining me for activities that I was nervous about. They got me off my butt when I felt myself getting lazy. Their encouragement really pushed me to follow through with my goals. I hope you are all as lucky to have amazing supportive people in your lives. I dedicate my 2012 list of goals to them, and cheers to 2012! We are going to have a blast!

 

Shameless Plug: Chaos

My cousin wrote a book and it’s available on amazon + for kindle called Chaos!

Amazon describes it:

New York City, 1976: Heavily-armed, masked men hijack a subway train…and its deadly cargo.
New York City, Present: An expedition vanishes while conducting a top-secret operation deep underground.
A SHATTERED MAN WITH NOTHING TO LOSE…
To locate his missing friend, former urban archaeologist Cyclone Reed must piece together his shattered life and return to the one place on earth he truly fears…Manhattan.
A LOST WORLD FULL OF DANGER…
Soon, he’s storming through flooded subway tunnels, discovering a lost laboratory, battling a mysterious man-eating beast, and scaling a mountainous skyscraper. But as he plunges deeper into the strange and murky legends surrounding a piece of forgotten technology, he begins to untangle a staggering conspiracy.
A SHOCKING SECRET THAT WILL ROCK THE EARTH!
More than sixty years ago, a Nazi physicist created a weapon capable of setting the world aflame. Now, a diabolical industrialist plans to finish the job. At stake is the future of a nation…millions of innocent lives…and one man’s final chance at redemption.
You can purchase it HERE.