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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Waterfall in LA?! Yes Way!

awe Mr. Roarke, Tatoo!!!
Fantasy Island waterfall
Remember the opening scene of the TV show  ‘Fantasy Island’ where the plane swoops through thick lush island foliage and right before Tattoo say’s his infamous line “the plane, the plane” – the plane passes right by a glorious and massive waterfall.  I think that’s when I fell in love with nature and Hawaii.  Did you know you can see a beautiful waterfall here in LA?

No Joke, it’s called Escondido Falls in Malibu and it is a GREAT hike. My hiking partner and I started our hike early as I don’t like to expose myself to too much sun and definitely not without any sunblock on!  We had to hike on pavement through mansion type homes to finally get on the rustic hiking trail but once on it, it was so worth the wait.  

little creek
The hike was magnificent; you felt as if you were hiking through a secrete forest with little creeks crisscrossing the trail - you had to literally step on rocks to cross the creeks and the trees were so overgown it created a refreshing natural canopy overhead...ahhhhh.   

Fall #1
Then you get to the first waterfall and you immediately gasp as you say “where the heck did this come from?”  It reminded me of Hawaii so I was instantly put in a good mood.  But Escondido Falls has three, yes 3, waterfalls and that was just the first!  

To get to the next one, oh boy was that fun!!  I had to climb a steep little hill where the use of hands were a must. And to my adventure seeking surprise - there was a rope to help you up another incline which when I hiked it, it was slippery and muddy…cool!!   

up hill using rope
Once past the rope there is a quaint little mini fall that overspills into a pool of water where you can hang out a bit and snap pictures.  But keep going to the second falls because “wow, what a site!” 

mini fall

At last, a tall cascading waterfall falling into a pool so serene and clear you just want to jump right in and swim in it.  There are big trees and tree roots you can sit on.  Some hikers even brought picnics.  It’s definitely a place you want to chill at for at least 20 minutes taking in the beauty and snapping tons of pictures.  It is so picturesque.  

fall #2 pool
Fall #2 Top potion (see the people?)

The third waterfall is visible once you start climbing higher but the terrain gets steeper and less traveled by hikers so I didn’t want to continue. 

And I was told by other hikers that it’s not “as cool” as the first two.  Sooo, I was happy stopping my journey at fall #2 and viewing fall #3 from afar. 

Thumbs up on this hike!
Escondido Falls is an easy hike even for beginners to the first waterfall but it does get more advanced having to climb steep little hills using your hands at times and let’s not forget one of my favorite moments, the use of a rope to get to up a steep incline, yeahhhh.  This hike may not be for everybody but it is definitely worth every bit of work to see if you do go. And if you only attempt to make it to the first waterfall, you’ll still feel transformed to another time and place where nature overrules and time stops…simply sublime.

Escondido Falls
 27200 Winding Way
Malibu, CA 90265
(310) 589-3200

on way down
so silly
LOL I slipped

Friday, July 22, 2011

From Cheerleader to Chola

Capt. Sr. year
Look at those cute little chipmunk cheeks, big megawatt smile…I was a perfect candidate for a cheerleading back in H.S. and at the University of Arizona but quite the contrary for a hardened, barrio chola for film & TV in Los Angeles.  In the world of Hollywood where a lot of Latina roles call for chola's, let's face it; I haven't necessarily been their first pick.
But that has all turned around for me, thanks to director/writer Terence Heuston, who cast me in his short film, Maddoggin’.  Shout out to actor/producer friend Eddie, for the highly recommended referral!! 

Last night the film made its world premier screening at an Oscar-Qualifying accreditation film festival - the Latino International Film Institute & Festival (LALIFF). 

red carpet
LALIFF celebrates 15yrs
the two boys in film
Maddoggin’ is the story of two boys in East L.A. being pressured to join the local gang and where the choices they make over a single day alter their lives forever.  The project was proudly filmed in Boyle Heights (an East Los Angeles community), with a combination of local, professional actors and kids from the area.  All of the music and art in the film was also created by artists from Boyle Heights and surrounding East L.A communities.  The purpose of the film is to help create economic opportunity for at-risk youth.

I played Juanita, girlfriend to the head gang leader and the head of her own female gang. I had so much fun being on set filming and working with the talented cast, crew and director.  Not to mention, the role was a big opportunity for me; playing a character that I would NOT normally be cast in.  I had fun researching everything from the cadence of speech, enunciation of words and even how to apply chola makeup. Believe it or not, not all Latino’s know this automatically LOL.

The movie was a smash hit at the screening and I was proud to hear my fellow friends in the entertainment biz complimenting me about my performance and about my transformation into Juanita the chola from East LA.   

The 15th Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF)
July 17th – 25th, 2011
Egyptian Theatre, Hollywood

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Bangles concert for free, a beach blanket on the sand and the light of the full moon…only in LA!

Santa Monica offers FREE concerts every Thursday during the summer and they are magical; such a great way to decompress from the LA daily grind.  I mean, a lot of Angelenos live in LA but never make it out to the beach…I fall into that category.  But before you yell at me for not being a bigger beach bunny let me just equate it to this example: say you have a house and in your backyard you have a swimming pool and at first you swam in it all the time but after a few years you just stare at your pool from the inside of your house saying “so pretty, I should go for a swim”  but you don’t.    
So last night I went to the beach, YAY me, for the 27th Annual Twilight Dance Series which offers free concerts of all types of music on the Santa Monica Pier.  

Last night was the 80’s pop group, the Bangles!!!  Who just so happen to play some of my all time favorite songs like ‘Eternal Flame’, ‘Manic Monday’, ‘A Hazy Shade of Winter’ and of course ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’.  I was so happy to be there and see them live - I mean their songs bring back some pretty vivid memories…ahhhh youth.  And I’d like to say, Wow, Susanna Hoffs is still incredibly gorgeous - I’m pretty sure I wanted to be like her when I grew up.    

This free concert series is a must see this summer.  Bring friends, food, drinks, beach games and take in the scenery of our beautiful beach with cool live music to boot!   

Tip: Plan to get there early If  you wanna stake out a place right on the pier where the concert takes place but in my opinion, the best seat(s) in the house is right below the pier on the sand where hundreds of other people are having a good time just like you will.  And I may even run into you…say HI.

Santa Monica Pier Twilight Concerts  
When: Every Thursday from July 8 through September 9, from 7:00pm to 10:00pm 
Where: Santa Monica Pier, 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA
How Much: FREE!
$10 in the Pier lot, or $3 in a public lot on 2nd or 4th. Or take the Big Blue Bus. Plus, free bike valet!
Full Moon
Making "Nice" with Police


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

France is just 5 minutes away!

After taking high school French I’ve fallen in LOVE with France.  If only I could live in France and master a French accent I would be truly happy…I digress.  Now I have a little bit of my chocolate croissant dreams in my very own back yard at L’Epicerie which means ‘market’ in French. 

I have stumbled in a morning or two to enjoy breakfast and a nice coffee but the other night my co-host on ‘Let’s Talk’ and amazing entertainment journalist in her own right, Naibe, and I decided to check out their happy hour.  

Thierry Perez, the general manager, warmly greeted us in his oh so amazingly thick French accent - Ooh la la!  Being from the south of France himself, he is truly passionate about his European-inspired French gourmet market, café and restaurant proudly talking about his food and upcoming beer and wine pairing dinners. Thank you Thierry, think I’ll definitely try the wine pairing dinner.  

L’Epicerie happy hour menu is small in options and portions so don’t come hungry however, their prices are trè magnifique at $3 for tapas, wine and beer. My absolute fav tapa of the night was the Tortilla de Patatas…YUMMY! 

The ceviche was nice too and I tried, for the very first time, a tinsy bitsy little bit of foie gras which Naibe loves and ordered (not my fav…poor ducks).  
Being a self proclaimed connoisseur of happy hours I found L’Epicerie perfect for a glass of wine in a European style setting, good for conversations - not loud at all and sprinkled with a dash of a “Cheers” vibe.  Where the regulars hanging out at the wine bar and where if you also stop in a time or two, they will also know your name.    

L'Epicerie Market
9900 Culver Blvd
Culver City
, CA 90232


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