The Skyscrapers of California’s Coastline

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The towns on the central and southern coasts California enjoy a different kind of “skyline.”

City skylines seem to have become an icon in graphic design and photography, and it’s not hard to understand why.  For me, I’ve grown accustomed to remembering my trips to London and New York City whenever I see an outline of the London Eye and Big Ben or the Empire State Building.  While city skylines remind me of my travels in the world,  I’ve found that I feel more deeply connected with a different silhouette on the horizon line.

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Palm trees have always been a part of my backyard.  Literally speaking, my earliest memories of growing up in Southern California consist of running around in my yard with my little brothers, where we have three large palm trees lining our driveway and two tall ones in the back.  Little orange seeds would fall from the palms onto the driveway.  My dad would sweep them up every week, sweeping from one end of our driveway all the way to the other.   Our dog would try to eat the little seeds.

Outside of our yard, we’d always pass the many tall, skinny trees lining the beach walk as we drove to school.  When we went to the park to fly kites, one of our kites got stuck in a tall palm tree across the main road, thus, making it impossible to retrieve.

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A view from my yard of one of our palms

It’s kind of weird to be glorifying a bunch of wonky trees, but I just never noticed how often they came up in my pictures and memories until now.  Looking at my Instagram profile and Flickr, I saw a lot of sunsets and beach scenes, but a palm tree always made its way into a picture.  I don’t know why.

Maybe it’s because, unlike a lot of other trees, palm trees have a really distinct silhouette.  Profile-wise, they are mostly a really long trunk with huge fronds that fall like the hair in a girl’s high ponytail.  Fireworks on sticks?  But I also love looking upwards into a palm tree and seeing the fronds splash out like a giant sun.

I also believe these trees to be extremely iconic.  Kids always add a palm tree to their drawings of tropical islands.  I know.  I draw with them at daycare.

There’s also this street in LA that is lined with palm trees that always appears in television and movies.  Characters who are originally from the big city, the midwest, or even central CA roll down this street in a convertible, wearing sunglasses.  They pass the tall trees, basking in the sunlight and enjoying their travels in sunny LA.

Whatever it is, either the shape, the symbolic nature, or something else,  I am truly thankful for and in awe of these giant wonders.

See more pics at www.frankievictoria.com!

The Weekenders | Making the Most of a Rainy Day

This was going to be one of those weekends, I thought.  It had rained for most of the day on Friday, so I felt that I would be too lazy to leave the house at all.  Micah arrived on Friday night, and we had planned to get lunch and maybe boba, if it didn’t continue to rain.  

We woke up Saturday morning and it was raining and we started off the day with some breakfast.  We started watching Justice League and I didn’t think we’d stop all day until my mom asked us if we wanted to go for a walk.  She said something about how the ocean looked cool and she wanted to take a quick walk while it had stopped raining.   

So, I broke out the rain boots that had been collecting dust in the corner of my room and went for a walk in the rain with my mom, my auntie and cousin, and my boyfriend.  

My cousin Annie, my mom, and my Auntie as we set out on our walk in the park.  

 

Grey, foamy water seemed high as we walked around the cliff side.  

 

We made sure to take plenty of pictures to document our adventure.  

We weren’t the only ones that were braving the storm – we met a few dog-owners and joggers on the way.  However, I felt weird because we weren’t trying to tire out our dogs or get in our exercise for the day – we just wanted to look at the ocean.  It was supposed to be a short walk and we almost didn’t bring the umbrellas – but it’s good that we did.  It started raining 10 minutes into our walk.     

This gentleman held my umbrella for me :) 

 

Almost home!  

We made it home with soaked jeans and wet shoes.  My mom made hot chocolate and Micah and I watched Justice League while Annie played games on her phone.  

We went out a couple more times for food, including the best boba in Santa Barbara.  Then spent most of the time inside.  

There isn’t much you can do on a rainy day in Southern California.  Or that’s what Southern Californians might think anyways – the rain seems to halt everything, even one’s motivation to work.  

However, just taking a simple walk and appreciating the rain and transformed scenery was a new experience in itself – something that I won’t forget anytime soon.        

The Weekenders | Exploring Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone

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Which way do we go? Compasses were graffitied all over The Funk Zone. Were they supposed to lead us somewhere?

Welcome to Funky Town.  This weekend, I decided to drag mine and my boyfriend’s butts off of the couch and go for a little adventure in The Funk Zone.  The Funk Zone is Santa Barbara’s hot spot for trendy tasting rooms, art, and local businesses.

I mainly wanted to look at murals and go for a wine tasting, so we did just that.  As it was almost dusk when we arrived, we decided to walk around and look for wall murals.

The Funk Zone is a small industrial area just off of Cabrillo Blvd. in Santa Barbara.  It’s small, but a lot of the artsy stuff is concentrated towards the State Street side.  We managed to find a whole wall of murals.  Here are a few of my favorites.

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As the sun started setting, we headed towards Anacapa Street, where most of the popular tasting rooms were located.  I had looked up a couple of places to go to and decided to try a place called Corks n’ Crowns.  However, the patio was packed with people.  We didn’t even venture inside.  It must be pretty good if many people were there, but I wasn’t looking to push through a large crowd.

Right next door to Corks n’ Crowns, however, was a tasting room that I thought used to be the Anacapa Dive shop – I used to take swimming lessons there.  Based on that, a pretty patio with twinkle lights, and The Burger Bus food truck parked in front, we were drawn towards the Municipal Winemakers tasting room.

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The inside was overwhelmingly shabby chic and there was a good-sized crowd – enough to show that the place was good and not enough to take up every seat in the house.

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When we went up to the bar, the staff was friendly and informative.  It was $12 for a flight of 5 wines.  And there were free crackers.   We took a glass and a basket of crackers, claiming a spot on the porch in front.  It was a really nice atmosphere and it never got super crowded.

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My boyfriend and I don’t know too much about wines, but it was a good opportunity to learn what I like and what I don’t.  It was also a good chance to catch up with him – it had been a few weeks since I’d seen him.  We also had some fun with my camera, making some light art photography as cars passed by.

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Lights and ghosts…

Simply put, if you’re ever looking for a chill adventure on a nice night in Santa Barbara, think about hitting The Funk Zone.

The Weekenders | Connecting with my Greater Good in a Hike for Haiti

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This weekend, I have learned again that things happen for a reason.

Back in September, my mom had asked all of us if we wanted to do a “Hike for Haiti” for our church.  I was reluctant because it was early on a Saturday (yes, I am that lazy).  However, her desire to do it outweighed my reluctance to get up early for one Saturday, so I registered along with her.

One month after registering, this past week before the hike, I was feeling pretty down.  I felt lazy and lonely with a short wick of patience.  When I have weeks like this, there really is no hope for me to get anything done – or to want to get anything done.  I will watch too much TV, eat too much ice cream, decide that I can exercise next week, and avoid contact with people, even my family members.

So, going to this weekend’s Hike for Haiti wasn’t really something I was looking forward to.  However, after a night out with my parents and family friends, I was kind of looking forward to going outside and being active – even if it meant just walking around.  I had also decided to cover the event as a Noozhawk intern, so it’d would be nice to write something afterwards and get something out there on the web.

As it turns out, the Hike was really a refreshing experience for me.

When we got to Manning Park, where the Hike began, one of the first people I ran into was my first childhood friend, Katie.  She was always a bright ray of sunshine in my life as a middle-schooler, and she’s still exactly the same person.  Ok, not exactly the same, but still as much infused with unicorns and candy in every fiber of her being as she was before.

I was able to meet a lot of people at the event thanks to Sr. Kathleen Patrice, who I’ve known since I was a little kid at elementary school.  The Hike was also a benefit for a local nonprofit called Destined for Grace and I was able to meet the founders and talk with them.  The organization has a lot of thrift shops in the area, those of which I love going to, and all the profits made at these thrift shops fund a school in Haiti.

And as the Hike started, my mom walked alongside some old friends and I was able to hang out with my brother and talk with him as we walked together. He and my dad were acting like goofballs the whole way there.  It was nice to be together.

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He’s walking!

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Just getting water from the well…

From the beginning of the week to the Hike, I felt like anything I did had no meaning.  Things would happen and no matter what I did or how hard I tried, I could not change the outcome of things.  For example, no matter how hard I try to wake up early, it will never happen.  I could go to my parents’ prayer group, but I’m not close enough with everyone to make a difference.  I have also been brooding about things that are happening outside of my control, like where my boyfriend will go to med school.

Sometimes, in the words of someone who works with me, I was just having a hard time last week.  It’s not like anything has triggered these emotions (maybe hormones have), but I just feel them all at once.

I am not saying that going on the Hike for Haiti made my feelings go away, but something alleviated these feelings.  Action, and it didn’t benefit just me.  I decided initially to go on the Hike for my mom.  And I covered the event for my news organization because I didn’t think anyone in our community knew about this great event and about Destined for Grace.

Life is always a work-in-progress.  It will never be perfect and I will not always be happy.  But I think what I can take away from all of this is that action is always the best medicine.  Writing it all down, going on a walk, anything.  The less selfish the action is, the better.

I recently came across this quote that explained it perfectly for me.

Greatness lies, not in being strong, but in the right using of strength; and strength is not used rightly when it serves only to carry a man above his fellows for his own solitary glory. He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own.

– Ovid

So instead of using my strength to worry about myself, I need to remember to use it in the action of taking care of others.  That’s where my happiness lies.

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Me after the hike :) Thanks for reading everyone!

The French Press, Santa Barbara

The French Press, Santa Barbara

Yesterday, my mom and I ventured out on our first assignment in our mission to drink good coffee and eat pastries.  At the top of our list of cafes to try was The French Press, a locally-owned cafe which lives up to its namesake – every cup is made-to-order with a french press.  At their State Street location, there is always a long line spilling out of the front doors of the cafe.

Instead of going to the State street location, we opted for the less-crowded Anacapa Street location.  We ordered two lattes and two homemade pastries – a lemon-blueberry buckle, which is a sort of coffee cake, and a chocolate chip cookie.  Everything was delicious and the espresso was really flavorful, without the bitter part.

You don’t need to tell me twice that we should nix the coffeemaker at home.

The Weekenders | An Eventful Week

Summer officially started two weeks ago and I haven’t used up my free time too well (hey, me and my Netflix account have been really friendly, there’s something).  But I’ve found the time to go outside and get some work done (and read the news too!), so here’s a few of the highlights from my last week (no ranking involved here).

1. Star Trek: Into Darkness

My mom is really a trekkie.  Who knew?  Anyways, it was another great addition to the Star Trek series.  Might even start watching the tv show (more because it’s conveniently streaming on Netflix).

2. Seeing Louis Zamperini

Louis Zamperini is a former Olympian (runner) and a WWII veteran and POW.  He is the subject of the New York Times’ Bestselling novel Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.

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I got to see Zamperini speak at a United Boys and Girls Club fundraiser that I was covering for Noozhawk.  He’s kind of a boss and has a really great sense of humor.  You can read my story about the event and about Zamperini’s life story at Noozhawk.  Kind of disappointed that the pictures came out blurry – it just sends me the message that my camera is again unsuited for my career choice.  Still, a great experience and Mr. Zamperini is truly an inspiration.

3. I finally make a video

I MADE A VIDEO FOR GIRL’S ROCK! Finally came through with one of my ideas to edit some interviews with GRSB volunteers.  Still working on a few more videos – it’s been a little under a week since I made one and I’m hoping that I can continue to make more videos without basking in my own glory because I am pretty proud of myself (not that it’s amazing haha).

You can watch it here on the YouTube Channel for Girls Rock SB!

4. Cheese, Grommit! 

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Finally went to C’est Cheese!  Got to eat at this great little shop on Santa Barbara Street for breakfast on Saturday morning.  They recently acquired the shops next to them (formerly occupied by a small bookstore and Our Daily Bread which moved to De La Vina) and are expanding into a larger shop.  For now, they operate with friendly service and have a really wicked blt sandwich.

5. Love prevails

Prop 8 is officially overturned by the Supreme Court.  I think the first same-sex marriages were allowed in CA this morning.  There was a lot of other things happening, including Wendy Davis filibustering an abortion bill in her state of Texas as well as the Supreme Court dismantling key provisions in the Voting Rights Act of 1965 originally placed to prevent racial discrimination in voting in 9 Southern states.

Really an exciting week, not just for me, but for the country.  Thanks for reading!