Whimsical Friday.

It’s been too long. It’s been more than a month of school, so I decided I need to come back! So, hello again!

On Friday, a few good friends and I journeyed all the way to the Hollywood Hills, despite some setbacks (traffic), to catch the sunset. LA sunsets are usually pretty beautiful, so we had high hopes. We started at a trail head, then speed walked about half a mile to the lookout point. We got there just in time to see the spectacular view.

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The sunset faded into a rainbow sky, filled with oranges, reds, even greens and purples. It’s dreamy, seeing your city on one side, and a magical aura of colors on the other.

Of course, we had to have a playlist to accompany us

Watching the sunset with good friends and good music is a perfect way to end a week. Try it out.

Summer Thoughts + Tunes.

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From July 4th-21st, I studied at Oriel College (1), one of the 38 colleges at the University of Oxford, among students from around the world. Majoring in Journalism, I learned so much about writing and how to become a better author. We spent the month wandering around the small town, going to different parks, coffee shops, bookstores, and more. Returning to Los Angeles three weeks later was quite the culture shock; I hadn’t been in a car since I left home. The day after my homecoming I visited a favorite spot of mine, Malibu. We grabbed some lunch, visited a friends house (2,3) and went for a scenic drive along PCH. It’s nice to be back in the LA heat, but I do miss the gloomy town of Oxford.

While writing editorials and opinion pieces in numerous coffee shops, I discovered new/old music to enjoy.

Townie – Mitzki

Too Much Time Together – San Cisco

Two Fingers – Jake Bugg

Who Needs Love – Razorlight

Breathe In – Japanese Wallpaper

Ooh La La – The Faces

Run Run Run – Phoenix

Regret – St. Vincent

Coming Down – Dum Dum Girls

Last Words of a Shooting Star – Mitzki

Baby Driver – Simon & Garfunkel

Coma Summer – Weekend

Renee – Sales

Leading Me Now – The Tallest Man On Earth

Reflektor – Arcade Fire


Today I have a guest for everyone. I asked my good friend Joji to write up a piece discussing his passion and talent for photography. Joji is 15 and lives in Los Angeles, CA, and attends school with me. Enjoy!

What really interests me in photography is light and shadow, and the bold contrasts between the two. Using subjects and mostly natural light, I’ll highlight certain aspects of a subject, but also keep their anonymity in the shadows. In art, it’s a technique called “chiaroscuro”, literally translating to light-dark in Italian. When creating these dark portraits, I’ll usually use light coming from a skylight or window, but I’ll also sometimes light a portrait with a off-camera ring light. I guess this would be my favorite type of photography, but I’m also very interested in street photography, and portraying people naturally.

The camera I use most is a DSLR; a Pentax K-3 and my new 35mm lens. But I also love to shoot film, so I guess my secondary camera would be my 1980’s 35mm film SLR, an Olympus OM-1 with a 50mm lens. But in a spur-of-the-moment picture, I’ll just take it with my phone.
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I just took this photo with my phone when some sunlight was coming through the skylight in my house.
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I just took this photo just with my phone, when I noticed how a light created some cool shadows. I then blacked-out the background with an app on my phone.
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This one I took on the DSLR, when I had my friend move in a patch of sunlight.
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Again, more of a street photo, I took this with my phone and boosted up the contrast to highlight the man running through the sunlight.
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I just had this photo to show a one with my film camera. It’s taken at the Grand Central Market in DTLA, but it sort go has the shadow-y feel.
Joji’s links


On June 22nd, my mom and I traveled to Granada, Spain, a small city in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. I’d never been to Spain, so I am very happy that I got to see a place I’ve wanted to visit for a while. Cobblestone streets lined white walls with beautiful bougainvillea flowers growing on them. We visited the Alhambra, a huge ancient Muslim castle in the old city of Granada. The views were spectacular, along with the gardens and many palaces inside.

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After four days in Granda, we flew to Mallorca, one of the beautiful Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean. There we did a bit of shopping, bust mostly swam in the crystal clear sea and tanned under the scorching sun.

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Overall the trip was a great experience, and I am very happy that I am now able to cross Spain off my list of places to travel to. Now I am off to Oxford to study for three weeks, so there may be a bit of a delay on new content!

Sunday Snack.

It has been way too long since I’ve shared a recipe, and I am very sorry for that! With the idea of baking some sort of cookie in my mind, I looked through my pantry to find ingredients to make a different snack. My mom has made great granola in the past, so I decided to try and make my own version with the different components I have. I adapted the recipe from this one.

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Golden Brown Granola Bars


3 cups oats

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup coconut chips, chopped

3 tbsp unsalted butter

2/3 cup honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

1/4 cup chopped dates

2/3 cup dried cherries


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a small baking sheet (12 x 14 rectangle), and evenly spread oats, almonds, and coconut chips.

2. Bake for 11 minutes, or until golden brown.

3. Remove from oven and reduce to 300F.

4. Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.

5. Once boiled, add in dates and cherries.

6. Pour the liquid mixture into the pan of oats, almonds, and coconut chips. Lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan.

7. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes, then divide into even squares.

8. Enjoy!

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Artist: Alexandra Taylor.

While browsing the suggested page on Instagram, I came across a lovely picture of a river flowing through a very green forest. Intrigued, I clicked on the photo, which lead me to the profile of Alexandra Taylor. From my understanding she was hiking in Washington, exploring new forests and staying at cabins along the way. Her beautiful photographs are very inspiring, as they made me want to roam through the forests of Washington taking pictures along the way.

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How To Make Life a Little More Interesting.

After a long and hard working school year, I finally finished my first year of high school. This past year has been a very inspiring one, and I am happy to say that I have grown so much and experienced so many new things and places. I have been inspired to make my life a little more interesting; simply reading a book, writing down my thoughts, or traveling to new places around Los Angeles with some friends. Summertime is one of my favorite times of the year, because I have the ability to accomplish these things and more without having to worry about tests, quizzes, essays, and more. Although it’s only been a day of summer, I already feel like I’m making my life a little more interesting, so why not share some of my thoughts and ideas with you.

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Write some stuff down. I’ve tried so many times to keep a journal, and every single time I have failed. I either lose it or just forget to write anything, then it just disappears with the other 15 somewhere in my room. My friends and I visited Muji, a store on Mane St. in Venice, and we bought and decorated these simple notebooks. If you don’t know what to write about, try this out.

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Add some new smells. While visiting Muji, I stumbled upon the greatest invention ever – an aroma diffuser. Being a fan of essential oils, I was so excited when I saw this; who wouldn’t want the smell of lavender or grapefruit to fill their room. This is probably the best invention ever made.

Aroma Light Difuser

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Listen to some new tunes. Music always gets me inspired.

Cherry Blossoms – Night Beds

Your Side Now – Trent Dabbs

Make You Better – The Decemberists

Age of Consent – New Order

I hope these suggestions and ideas help on achieving an inspirational and passionate summer. Sometimes it’s good to make life a little more interesting.