DOWNTOWN LA APPRECIATIN':


For those days when I'm missing New York...









When you think of Los Angeles, what comes to mind?

For me, some of what I conjure up in my head include: food, museums/galleries, and, of course, traffic. This array is actually very reminiscent of Times Square in New York, which I miss so dearly (only, NY has extra-food, extra-museums, and extra-traffic).

As a native of Southern California, visiting downtown L.A. is nothing novel to me. However, on some occasions, I suddenly become aware of the prominence that lies within the area I take advantage of too easily. I become inspired by the captivating architecture evocative of the 1920s style and the subtle, yet awe-inducing street art painted on random corners of certain one-way streets.

I took these shots sitting in the back of our family van, completely mesmerized by a spectacle that I never would have looked twice at a couple years ago. Everything became an adventure--I wanted to revisit all the places I had been to throughout my life and take another look, but this time with a more honest and open-minded lens. I hope these photos and what I've expressed provokes you to return to those places you haven't fully appreciated yet. Go with the desire to catch all the details you missed the first time. Take pictures too and record your memories...

Happy travels,

Rachel Park

LITTLE TOKYO:

 
Third-wheelin' with my parents a.k.a. an easy, cheap way 
to eat a lot and spend quality bonding time...







Before winter quarter started at my university, my parents decided to take me along with them to Downtown LA. We all were craving some meat, so we chose to drive on over to our favorite shabu shabu place in Little Tokyo. I swear, this place is amazing. The owner, an aging, yet extremely amiable Japanese man, has been working at Shabu-Shabu House since...probably its conception. He really knows how to work in a restaurant catered to people who truly enjoy some good food and company.

The only downside to this place would have to be its waiting list. Because Shabu-Shabu House is so popular, a group would probably be seated, on average, an hour and a half after arrival. This, however, is not as bad as it sounds--the tiny restaurant is located in a plaza filled with various cafes and shops that you can explore as you wait for the mouth-watering Japanese dish. My parents and I, as we waited for our name to be called, visited some of the stores and even satisfied our hunger by eating a savory chicken kabob and red-bean filled goodness as an appetizer.

If you're ever in need of an adventure or want to try a different cuisine, make sure to stop by Little Tokyo and dine at Shabu-Shabu House. I hope you've also had a great first week of 2014!

Thanks for reading,

Rachel Park

P.S.-I've started Winter Quarter at university (supposedly the most difficult quarter for Freshmen) so my posts may or may not publish as consistently as before. Keep in tune though for future blog entries! Thank you all for your support. xx

JOSHUA TREE:


What's up with the Park Family and nature parks?










We just really enjoy traveling OK.

No, really. My dad can literally drive for 8+ hours straight without dying--given that we have a bathroom break somewhere in between. Because of my dad's wanderlust, my family has been blessed with the opportunity to say we've been to many locations across the nation. I think the travel bug actually bit me when my parents decided to take a teeny, tiny 2 month old me to Las Vegas. From that day on, I've been here, there, and everywhere(ish) and I only hope that I am able to continue my dad's influence on me forever until I die..(to visit all 7 continents is actually on my bucket list, given that I am physically able to travel to Antarctica and the Arctic).

After Christmas Day, my entire family took a visit to Joshua Tree National Park to enjoy a small speck of God's creation. This desert area is filled with an array of Joshua trees, or yucca brevifolia, whose roots reach deep into the ground and allow the plant to live for hundreds of years even in the dry, rain-less weather. There are also rock formations that one can climb about--there were even some climbers bravely attempting to free climb the giant boulders.

A trip to this place is definitely worth it especially if getting fit is on one's New Year's resolution list! The fresh desert air is a plus when hiking and this park offers plenty of benches for a meal break. Use this to help plan a trip and to know more about the history of the place.

Thanks for reading & see ya'll in the new year,

Rachel

PALM SPRINGS:


Celebrating a very Merry Christmas away from home 
and at a warm, inviting Palm Springs..








While most folks spent their Christmas unwrapping presents in the morning and sharing a feast at dinner time, my family decided to head on over to a much warmer and sunny Palm Springs. The weather was perfect, not your average Christmas winter chill, but a record-breaking 80+ degrees that called for some dips in the pool.

My baby cousins were definitely the highlight of this trip, with their adorable smiles and baby chatter that is sometimes too unintelligible to understand. It's amazing how fast those little girls grow! Trying to take the right picture of them was not a hard task since they lit up and made cheesy, cute faces for the lens.

I'm so thankful for my family and this year's Christmas was another amazing experience celebrating Jesus' birth. For those who celebrate the holiday, I hope you had a blessed time as well!

Look out for my next blog post concerning what I did the day following--coming soon!

Enjoying the SoCal winter,

Rachel


VALLEY OF FIRE:


Visiting the Valley of Fire on a not-so-fiery winter day...






The "White Domes"




Can you spot the elephant?


With Christmas just around the corner, my family decided to take a short trip to Nevada to visit the "Valley of Fire." Despite the name, the state park was a good 63 degrees--warm enough to wear only a light sweater and scarf.

This hidden gem in Nevada was absolutely breathtaking and my camera really could not do its natural beauty justice. The sandstone formations were a combination of vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows. This payed off very well actually in my photos: the contrast between the bright rocks and the clear, blue sky made for a photogenic nature shot.

Each area of the park contained special features such as the "White Domes," "Elephant Rock" and much more. We couldn't get to all of the locations, but just by roaming around random places outside of the hiking trails, we were able to get a fun and memorable experience that I believe would not have been obtained had we rushed ourselves trying to take pictures of every tourist spot.

It was a blast climbing up and down the rocks, seeing how far up we could go and just take in God's awesome creation. The immense size of the valley itself was overwhelming and I only wish I had an accurate picture of how ginormous some rock formations were compared to our tiny human sizes. If you would like to know more about this park, click here for a historical background and here to plan a trip for you and your family and friends.

Hope you've had a great break!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

OUTFIT:
-Hat--Urban Outfitters
-Sweater--Forever21
-Scarf--Grandma
-Jeans--Cheap Monday
-Boots--Dr. Martens 1460

Excited for tomorrow,

Rachel Park