RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life


Lotus Festival at Echo Park

echo park lotus festival

“Park Proud”

Another day, another adventure in Los Angeles!

Yesterday I joined several friends to celebrate the blooming Lotus plants at Echo Park, located approximately two miles from downtown LA. As usual, we all arrived by public transportation from all over the city. For me it was the Expo Line train to the #200 Metro bus up Alvarado to Sunset Blvd.

echo park lotus festival

This was the 37th annual festival. Echo Park Lake was closed for several years for rehabilitation. The festival started again just a few years ago. Every year the festival is hosted by a different country and this year it was the turn of Bangladesh.

You can read my blog post about the history of the park here.

echo park lotus festival

It was a pretty hot day yesterday… and humid… but it was a lovely day by the water. The lotus plants were lush and tall due to all the rain we had in the winter months and now the heat.

echo park lotus festival

echo park lotus festival

The dragonflies were enjoying themselves too.

echo park lotus festival

echo park lotus festival

echo park lotus festival

One of the highlights of the festival is the dragon boat races.  I’ve been to Echo Park many times to walk and take photos but this was my first time at the festival so I was delighted to finally see a dragon boat race! Click on a photo below for slideshow:

echo park lotus festival

The opening ceremonies were colorful and fun with a traditional Bangladesh puppet lion dance. Click on image below for slideshow:

This certainly worked up an appetite. I was hoping for some Bangladesh food but that didn’t pan out.

echo park lotus festival

But I certainly enjoyed my Korean BBQ squid. I also ordered a watermelon drink, not realizing it came with it’s own pool float! Now if I only had a pool…. but I’ll use it as a coaster.

echo park lotus festival

After lunch we had an enjoyable walk around the lake.

echo park lotus festival

The dragon boat races continued on throughout the day with various teams. It seemed that some teams were taking the race seriously, really out to win. Others were just having fun, which would be my option.

echo park lotus festival

I always enjoy festivals of any kind as they all have their own special flavor, like last month’s Summer Solstice parade in Santa Barbara. And coming up the end of this month is the Gilroy Garlic Festival, my all time favorite… stay tuned for my post about that!

If you’ve never visited Echo Park I certainly recommend the effort to get there… even if you can’t make it to the Lotus Festival…

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!



Eating in the rain

 La Grande Orange Cafe


Some friends and I had planned to meet for lunch at La Grande Orange Cafe in Pasadena. Because of the flooding in my building I wasn’t sure if I could make it. Fortunately that was squared away in the morning and I was able to catch the Expo Line train to the Red Line and join some of the others at Union Station. From there we took the Gold Line to the Del Mar station where we met up with another friend.

I just love how we can all come from different areas in Greater Los Angeles and travel by train to our destination!

The cafe is part of the Del Mar station so we only had to walk a few footsteps in the rain once we debarked the train.

I asked G jokingly if we were going to ask for an outside table. The rain was really coming down at that point. The joke was on me. The restaurant was so crowded inside they seated us in the outdoor patio. I told the waitress the table had better be right under a heat lamp. It was. The waitress had to wipe the rain off our chairs before we could be seated!

La Grande Orange Cafe

Our table was sandwiched between the fireplace protected by a glass screen (photo above) and a heat lamp.  You can see one of the heat lamps in the photo at top.

The patio is under canopies but the precipitation managed to sneak through and every once in a while the rain spat on us… but in a very friendly way!

la grande orange cafe

My Bloody Mary and Huevos Rancheros more than made up for any bad weather. They were both excellent.

I am always happy when I decide to go out and do something as opposed to staying curled up on the sofa, which I easily could have done!

Back in Culver City the rain was coming down in Velociraptors and Tyrannosauruses as I left the train station. I thought about waiting for the bus but decided to take a chance on walking. I did a lot of puddle hopping but as the bus never passed me in the entire walk home I obviously made the right decision not to get soaked standing at the bus stop. Better to get soaked walking. And I did. Get soaked.

We have at least another day of rain. But by Wednesday the sun should be back and we’ll have a few dry days. I hope this isn’t the end of the wet stuff but it will be nice to have a chance to dry out.

Oh, and our flood… it was still a flood when I got home but the pump is doing a pretty good job… so we may get lucky and it won’t seep into the garages this time. Fingers crossed.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


Belated birthday bash

union station

Looks like the original ticketing area is being renovated. In the station’s previous hey day each of those window openings would have lines of people purchasing tickets. Now tickets are purchased in a less glamorous location… or mostly online!!!

It’s good to have the computer up and running again. Still haven’t re-installed all my programs or properly recalibrated my monitor but I’m slowly working on it… and I have my fingers crossed!

On Saturday my friend B and I visited Union Station… my favorite building in all of Los Angeles. B and I met a couple of decades ago when we were neighbors. She stayed put. I moved. But only about 1.5 miles away, so we are still almost neighbors!

Union Station

Looking through the waiting area to the trains at the end.

Her birthday is in June, mine in May. For several years we have been talking about taking the Expo and Red Lines to Union Station and eating at Traxx Restaurant to celebrate our mutual birthdays. Although we meet for dinner at least once a month, we never seemed to be able to make it to Traxx.

Union Station

To make a longer story short, we couldn’t get a reservation at Traxx Restaurant for the day we wanted. So we decided to take the train to Union Station anyway and improvise. Turned out to be a better situation than getting a reservation. The bar opened at 11:30 (ish) and we were the first customers!

Union Station

B suggested a Bloody Mary which sounded good to me! Tasted delicious so we ordered a second round. Well, we were celebrating our birthdays! To balance out the alcohol we shared shrimp tacos and chicken quesadilla. Perfect.

We sat there for a couple of hours people watching and gazing at the beautiful architecture. This is just how I had imagined it.

union station

In the waiting room there is a piano that anybody is invited to play. This guy was obviously a professional as (fortunately) his playing was definitely melodious. I imagined he was a studio musician having his moment in the spotlight!



Just looking around at the walls and ceiling from where we were sitting.

Los Angeles Plaza

It was hard to leave Union Station. Really I could have sat there all afternoon. But we needed to move on. We walked across the street to the Plaza area where people were dancing to a Latin beat.

Los Angeles Plaza

Then we watched as a group performed traditional Indian dances.

Methodist church

I’ve never been able to see inside the Plaza Methodist Church before. This was built in the 1920s. I learned that the Methodist church was the founding agent in Southern California for Goodwill Industries (where most of my unwanted “stuff” ends up).

We ambled through Olvera Street looking at the stalls and the stores. I’m always fascinated and intrigued by the Mexican goods available on this tourist street. No need to drive all the way to Tijuana!

Nuestra Reina de Los Angeles

We stepped across the street to Nuestra Senora Reina de Los Angeles (Our Lady Queen of the Angels), the oldest existing church in LA, founded in 1781. The first Europeans, the Spanish, arrived in 1769. Everything changed!

Nuestra Senora

We couldn’t get into the main church. The door with the sign “Always Open” was locked. But I think the little chapel is much more interesting anyway.

Union Station

View of Union Station from La Plaza across the street

wilshire grand

The new Wilshire Grand which was “topped out” in March. It will replace the US Bank Building (Library Tower) as the tallest building West of Chicago. I’m sad about that but it had to happen one day.

I always appreciate the opportunity to show friends living in Los Angeles or visitors from faraway lands everything there is to see in this city. I have to say, it always amazes me how people who have lived here for decades, or were even born here, know so little about Los Angeles. But then it makes it so much more fun for me!

I’ve never trekked through the Amazon jungles or ridden a camel across the Saharan Desert, but I still consider myself to be an explorer. An urban explorer to be sure. But I certainly enjoy excavating every nook and cranny of my adopted city.

downtown los angeles

For those of you who know downtown, this is the newly re-opened The Bloc on 7th Street, across from the 7th Metro train hub, formerly the bricked-in enclave known as Macy’s Plaza

One interesting phenomena around Los Angeles these days is the redevelopment of the major shopping centers. At locations all over the city they are being transformed from closed-in fortresses to airy complexes open to the sky. What day did somebody wake up and say, hey, we have sunshine in LA, maybe customers could enjoy it while they are shopping!

Always worth peaking into Bottega Louie to salivate over the macaroons and other delightful pastries. No tasting now, just looking!

Our final destination in downtown this lovely afternoon was Clifton’s. As many times as I have been there since it’s re-opening, there is always one more soul who hasn’t visited yet. So I have to drag myself in there again.


We sat in the bar sipping an expensive glass of really bad Merlot. You don’t go there for the wine, evidently. But the ambience is definitely worth it as far as I am concerned. Another place I enjoy just sitting and people watching.

At this point B had a craving for apple pie à la mode. While I didn’t share that particular craving, we took the Expo Line back to Culver City and B drove her car over to the Marie Callender’s in West LA. As soon as I opened the menu my eyes were drawn to the tuna melt. The previous week with my other friend B (from England) I had a very disappointing tuna melt at what used to be my favorite restaurant on the Santa Monica Pier. I can no longer recommend it. But this tuna melt more than made up for it.

It was a happy ending to a beautiful day with a very good friend. What more can you ask for in life than that?

(Photos brought to you by my faithful point & shoot Canon G16 camera).

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


My private island – part one

catalina island

Catalina Express offers a birthday promotion of a free ride to Catalina Island as long as you travel there on the day of your birthday. You can stay for as long as 30 days.

Since visiting the island with friends last September (see post here) I have thought about taking advantage of this offer. So I made the decision, booked a hotel room and requested my free ticket.

Rather than pay the $34 parking fee for two days, I decided to make the trip to San Pedro by public transportation (Expo Line to Silver Line). There are some things I learned the hard way but I made it just in time to run on to the boat… fortunately on an off-season Monday morning the boat was less than full! Next time, hopefully, I will know not to get on the wrong bus!

As it was my birthday I figured I would treat myself to fish ‘n chips. Many years ago I remember ordering this dish at the same restaurant on the pier and was very happy.

catalina islandcatalina island

Well, nothing remains the same. I was not expecting fish rolls and shoe string potatoes… not quite my idea of fish ‘n chips!

But I couldn’t complain about the view (see photo at top of page). Although the island was experiencing typical “May Grey” (or May Gray, depending on what dictionary you use) I was feeling the magic of Catalina nonetheless, and sucking in the fresh sea air.

catalina island

This fellow came over to say hello. Or so I thought… Suddenly there was a flurry of wings and next thing I knew one of the fish rolls, the container of tartar sauce and several of the shoestring potatoes disappeared as I was looking at the backside of the gull flying off. I should have known better!

I really didn’t mind that I lost half my lunch but I did feel bad for the seagull. With that kind of diet on a regular basis he would not be looking forward to a long, healthy life.

catalina island

Compared to my photos from the last trip, these look pretty murky. But, nothing I could do about the weather. I’ve been to Catalina in every season and never before seen it without the sun.

catalina island

Because it was off-season (I believe the season begins next month in June) I was able to book a nice room for a great price at the Hotel St. Lauren. If you look at the top floor you will see a deck that is for the use of all guests with a view in all directions. I would have no problem staying there again.

catalina island

Out in the bay you can see the cruise ship Carnival Imagination. Too bad the passengers had to experience Catalina on such a dismal day.

I walked around with my little point & shoot camera snapping a few photos here and there. Even without the sun, I always feel like this is my special, private island and I was more than happy to be there.

Click on an image below to start the slideshow:

Part Two coming up when I have had a chance to look at the photos from my other camera.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!




Hauser Wirth & Schimmel and The Pho Shop


Hauser Wirth & Schimmel is a new art gallery that recently opened in the Arts District in downtown Los Angeles, close to Little Tokyo. Two friends and I rode the Expo Line from Culver City to the Red Line, then walked a mile from the Grand Park/Civic Center station. We met up with another friend who drove.

Hauser Wirth & Schimmel

The building was a former flour mill. The architects left some of the old building showing off its industrial roots. I am always excited to see an older building repurposed rather than torn down.

The current exhibit is Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947 – 2016.

We weren’t allowed to take photos inside the galleries. This is always disappointing to me. But if you click on this link you will see some of the artwork in the main gallery.

The pieces on the right hand wall (if you clicked on the aforementioned link) are by Lee Bontecou, an artist I very much admire. In 2003 I visited her exhibit at the Hammer Museum in Westwood with my friend TL. Neither of us had heard of her before but we were both in awe of the work we saw. I bought the catalog of the exhibit and still look at it from time to time.

Hauser Wirth & Schimmel

When I saw Bontecou’s artwork at this gallery it brought back poignant memories. My friend TL passed away last year. I felt her presence very strongly walking with me through the exhibit. I wanted to turn to her and ask her for her perspective on this display. We always enjoyed going to art shows together. She had very definite opinions which I appreciated!

Hauser Wirth & Schimmel

The photo above is the freight elevator and the previous photo is of a stairway.

The exhibit itself, in several galleries throughout the complex, was very enjoyable. Darn it, I wish I could have taken photos… very annoying!

Hauser Wirth & Schimmel

But the building is an artwork in itself. Just love this sliding door… well, I imagine it was a sliding door. Look at all the textures and patterns.

Hauser Wirth & Schimmel

And who knows what was going on here…

Hauser Wirth & Schimmel

This is the courtyard. There are tables on both sides with succulents in planters.

Hauser Wirth & Schimmel

In the summer a restaurant is supposed to be opening.


Hauser Wirth & Schimmel

In another area next to the courtyard are some murals. The first one incorporates the iconic rose. You will find roses depicted throughout Los Angeles in hispanic art. I’ve never been able to discover a definitive meaning but I believe it symbolizes or has something to do with the Virgin Mary (Queen of the Angels, or la Reina de Los Angeles). Somebody enlighten me if I am wrong!

Hauser Wirth & Schimmel

Frontage of the building, a nice drought tolerant cactus garden.

It was way past lunch time and on the walk in we had passed a newish shopping center in Little Tokyo so we went to investigate.

Hauser Wirth & Schimmel

We walked past most of the Japanese shops but I will have to go back on my own to investigate.

Hauser Wirth & Schimmel

The well-stocked Japanese supermarket.

Little Tokyo

Got rice???????

The Pho Shop

We decided to eat lunch at The Pho Shop, a Vietnamese restaurant. I ordered the shrimp salad with sliced and grated vegetables and rice noodles. The jug at the top held a rice vinegar dressing. I ate every scrap on the plate. I want to go back and order this same lunch again.

On the way back to the train station we decided to walk through Grand Park. They were setting up for a concert or festival that night. Downtown LA is a happening place!

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!






Colin Firth at the Pig ‘n Whistle

Pig 'n Whistle Colin FirthBefore our tour of Forever Hollywood Cemetery last Sunday (see my previous blog post here), my fellow tour guides met at the Pig ‘n Whistle for lunch. Located on Hollywood Boulevard near the Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the restaurant has a quasi British Pub ambience. There is a Pub menu sporting items such as bangers and mash, fish ‘n chips and shepherd’s pie.

Pig 'n Whistle

But I decided to go for the Mahi Mahi covered in mushrooms on a bed of fresh spinach leaves. There was enough spinach for a week and as much as I love the stuff I could only eat half of it. I hated to waste it but I really didn’t fancy carrying a bag of spinach through the cemetery or on the bus home!

Pig 'n Whistle

Pig 'n Whistle

The Pig ‘n Whistle is now a chain restaurant but this is the original, located here since 1927 and is a Los Angeles Historic Landmark #37.

Pig 'n Whistle

Our hostess gave us a short talk on the history of the restaurant. She was standing in front of a confessional booth that is now used as a photo booth. I imagine a lot could go on in there that would require a confession!!! It’s Hollywood, you know…


Pig 'n Whistle

The restaurant boasts a fabulous decorative ceiling. As plaster ceilings made to look like wood were very popular in the 1920s I assumed this was the case here. However, the website states the ceilings really are carved wood so that is very impressive indeed.

I had a terrible time with the lighting, as you can see. With bright light pouring in from outside, artificial light inside alternating with dark areas, the light meter on my camera was going crazy. I could have experimented but I was there for lunch, not to take magazine quality photos. So we will have to live with it.


pig 'n whistle

As always, the light fixtures caught my attention. These would look so great in my living room.

Pig 'n Whistle

Stairs to the mezzanine which looks like it would be a great place for a private party… I’m just guessing.


Pig 'n Whistle

A couple of shots of our merry group. A few people decided to skip the lunch and meet us at Hollywood Forever. But I have wanted to eat a meal at the Pig ‘n Whistle for a long, long time so I took the opportunity. I would love to go back when I can sit at the bar and order a good old British G & T  (gin ‘n tonic).

So by now I am sure you are asking, what the heck does Colin Firth have to do with all of this? 2011 was the Year of Colin Firth. Not only did he win an Oscar but also a Golden Globe for Best Actor in “The King’s Speech.” And he was laid to rest on the Hollywood Walk of Fame just outside the Pig ‘n Whistle… well, at least his star was laid in the sidewalk. This is a coveted spot as it has become the unofficial Brit location, home to the stars of other British luminaries such as Emma Thompson, Helen Mirren and Malcolm McDowell.

I’m trying to figure out how I can qualify for a star and come up with the necessary $30,000 for upkeep.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!





Something about a train – day trip to Oceanside

oceanside california

There’s something about the sound of a train that’s very romantic and nostalgic and hopeful. – Paul Simon

My friend KL obtained two free tickets for the MetroLink train and after several aborted attempts over several weeks, we were finally able to use the tickets last Saturday. We decided to go to Oceanside, the end of the line, and hang out for a few hours with nothing in particular planned.

Oceanside California

I took my little Canon G15 point & shoot camera to capture a few snapshots. It was a very glary day with the sun beating down on the white sand and sparkling water so I had a lot of problems controlling the exposure. But you get the general idea. Sometimes I just don’t want to deal with the DSLR.

Oceanside (population approximately 173,000,) is about 95 miles south of Los Angeles and about 40 miles north of San Diego.

Oceanside California

As we had been riding the rails for a few hours all the way from Culver City we were both starving. A passenger on the train who was familiar with the area recommended “the restaurant under the pier.”

This turned out to be the Tin Fish and what a great suggestion it was!

Oceanside California

My friend ordered the fish ‘n chips but (British blood notwithstanding) I am more partial to fish tacos. I figured there would be one small cut of fish in each taco so I went for the double order.

oceanside, california

That was a mistake! Each taco was big enough to feed two people! And look at those waffle fries…

But trooper that I am, I managed to eat everything minus the second taco shell. Oh my, highly recommended if you ever find yourself hungry in Oceanside.

Oceanside California

Southern California has been experiencing excessive heat lately. We thought we would cool off by the beach. But no such luck. It was a very warm day.

Oceanside California

I cannot be exposed to the sun and I don’t use sunscreen (all those chemicals leaking into my body, no thank you) so I go to the beach covered from head to toe. People are always asking me, when the temperature gets up there, “aren’t you hot under all those clothes?” Actually no. I believe in the Bedouin approach to sun protection: the stronger the sun, the more clothes to protect me from it!

Oceanside California

After our delicious lunch we strolled along the 1,942 ft (592 m) wooden pier. This is not an amusement pier, except for the entertainment provided by looking at the waves and watching the people.

Oceanside California

Mostly it seems to be a fishing pier. And as you can see, these fisherman agree with me about sun protection… I’m not so dumb after all!

Oceanside California

Although the fishermen were no doubt enjoying themselves, the fish, not so much…

Oceanside California

Although I don’t eat four-legged animals, I do love me some fish… so what can I say? Fish gotta be caught in order to be eaten…

Oceanside California

Nevertheless, I had to resist the urge to throw the poor creatures back in the ocean so they could frolick another day.

Oceanside California

The fish were obviously prolific around the pier as they were being hauled up all the time. You would think the fish would learn. Pier = people = dinner.

Oceanside California

The color of the water was really spectacular.

Oceanside California

Like golf, fishing has never appealed to me as a past time. But I’m sure it’s more satisfying to catch your own dinner than to buy it at the supermarket.

Oceanside California

I couldn’t get over all the hoards of people elbow to elbow on the beach soaking up the dangerous UV rays from the sun. In my twenties I lived at the beach, literally, and paid my dues with sunburns and heat stroke.

Oceanside California

As we left the pier and walked along Pacific Street, we saw several young men driving up in their tricked out classic cars. I can’t remember what model this car is. Not a Chevy Malibu but a….. oh well, whatever it is I thought it was tastefully painted.

Oceanside California

The walkway and bicycle path leading to the downtown area. The train station is just a hop and a skip from the beach.

Oceanside California

A mural in downtown depicting Mission San Luis Rey, Oceanside Harbor and pier.

Oceanside California

The main drag through Oceanside. It’s a very cute little town. My friend is thinking about retiring there. If so, I will be visiting. But I’m a big city girl myself and all things being equal, I intend to stay put.


Some beach front properties.

Oceanside California

We discovered the pink cottages have a senior citizen rate if you stay for three months. Sounds tempting but I would go nuts after about a week!

Oceanside California

Bikes, pedal cars and pickup trucks all share the Strand.


Oceanside California

Sand, sand, sand and then water, water, water.

I was watching the PBS three-night series Big Blue Live. It is crazy how many animals live out there off the California coast (albeit the show was concentrating on Monterey). Then multiply that by all the oceans in the world. And we humans are solely responsible for polluting those oceans. Oh well, another story entirely.

Oceanside California

Another day, another adventure. As we rode the rails, we followed Interstate 5 which was backed up with traffic all the way down. Going home it was still backed up. The train is the only way to go by land. I don’t know why people would want to sit for hours all cramped up in their tiny cars when they could travel in the spaciousness of the train, looking out the window and not having to worry about whether the car behind you or next to you or in front of you is about to do something stupid. I really don’t enjoy driving anymore.

And besides, I’ll take a train over any other kind of transportation, any day! Paul Simon was right!

Oceanside California

With the sun still shining brightly in the background it was time for us to walk the few blocks to the train station to catch the 5:45 back to LA.

The California Surf Museum

According to Wikipedia:

Oceanside is home to The California Surf Museum (we popped into the museum store for a look), and has been the official start of the 3,000 mile bicycle race, Race Across America since 2006, and has played host to The Beach Soccer Championships since 2007.

I’ve been gallavanting about a lot recently and when I am home I’m working on a myriad of projects. So I’ve fallen behind with my blogging duties. Not enough time for everything!

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


Triple art treat in Tujunga

katherine kean

Photo copyright Barbara Golbin

McGroarty Arts Center in Tujunga held its inaugural Artist Studios Tour on Saturday, June 27, 2015. Two artist friends who live in that area were participating by opening their home studios to the public. So my friend B and I decided to drive out there to be supportive.

As my car, AKA Cinnamon Girl, spends most of her life sitting in the garage I knew she would enjoy the 70-mile round trip (northeast of Culver City). We’ve been having unusually muggy weather on the Westside and as we were leaving Culver City around 1:00pm CG’s windshield was splattered with rain drops. In our terrible drought we will take every drop!

Our first stop was at Katherine Kean’s studio. (Photo above). She has a beautiful home nestled in the hills with lovely views all around. There is a lot to be said for living out in the “boonies.” As a die-hard city girl, even I can appreciate the call of the wilds!

I did take my DSLR with me but for whatever reason l left it in the car. Fortunately, my companion thought to whip out her iPhone to snap a picture of Katherine standing in front of one of her pieces. (Tweaked and cropped just a little in Lightoom by moi.) I’ve followed Katherine’s career for many years and seen her artwork evolve. I’ve always been a big fan.

Katherine comes across as a serene person and her paintings match her personna.

I encourage you to click on this link to her website.

Katherine was generously sharing her space with another artist, Rosanna Norton. I’ve met Rosanna on a couple of occasions previously but never seen any of her artwork. I wasn’t expecting her or her art to be at Katherine’s house so this was icing on the cake .

rosanna norton

Photo copyright Barbara Golbin

All I can say is that I immediately got the connection between Rosanna and her expressive work as her artwork matches her colorful personality. (And clothing!). What a nice surprise.

Click here for Rosanna’s website.

Last, but certainly not least, we drove over to Melissa Reischman’s home studio.

melissa reischman

Photo copyright Barbara Golbin.

I have a certain affinity with abstract art. The lack of immediately identifiable subject matter allows my imagination to run wild. I’ve also had the good fortune to see Melissa’s work over the years. She is always experimenting. I happen to love her latest series of black and white drawings such as the five at the top of this photo. Black holes, electricity… all kinds of powerful images come to mind.

Visit Melissa’s website here.

It’s no secret I love art! As I have often said, I even like art that I don’t like! But it’s even better when I feel an emotional connection with the art I am viewing. That certainly was the case on Saturday.

I believe there may have been twenty artists on the Tujunga open studio tour but I have a short attention span, and in any case, we had planned to only visit Katherine and Melissa. My brain had taken in all it could at that point and we headed back to civilization… I mean Culver City!!!

B and I often end up at the same restaurants when we have dinner together. Even though we do try to think up new places, there is nothing as comforting as the tried and true. One of these is The Original Thai BBQ of Culver City on the corner of Venice Blvd and Clarington Ave where we ate dinner Saturday evening. It’s off the beaten track and not as glitzy as the eateries in downtown Culver City. I usually order tofu and a mixed veggie curry. Mmmmm, I could eat that right now for breakfast!

I know Katherine and Melissa are often exhibiting their work in art shows around the LA area. So look for their names and check out their work in person when you have the opportunity. And say hello for me…

All content copyright roslyn m wilkins except where otherwise noted. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


Hollyhocks, art and wahoo

hollyhock house barnsdall park

Hollyhock House is Frank Lloyd Wright’s first Los Angeles project. Built between 1919 and 1921, it represents his earliest efforts to develop a regionally appropriate style of architecture for Southern California. Wright himself referred to it as California Romanza, using a musical term meaning “freedom to make one’s own form.”  – Text from the Barnsdall Park Art Foundation website.

Hollyhock House is located in Barnsdall Art Park in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Los Feliz/Hollywood. A friend and I took the Expo Line from Culver City to the Vermont/Sunset Red Line exit. We met our other friends who came on the Red Line from North Hollywood and on the Gold Line from Pasadena and the Blue Line/Green Line from Redondo Beach. Lovely public transportation!

Hollywood sign

Above is the view of the Hollywood Sign from the front lawn.

Hollyhock House

The house was built for Aline Barnsdall by Frank Lloyd Wright. Her favorite flower was the hollyhock, so Wright worked out a stylized design to represent that flower.

hollyhock house

Unfortunately, the specimens planted around the house were not at their best for our visit, but you get the idea. On a personal note, my mother loved hollyhocks and planted them all around our house in England.

hollyhock house

Wright’s stylized version of the hollyhock plant.

hollyhock house

In 1927, Aline Barnsdall donated Hollyhock House and eleven surrounding acres to the City of Los Angeles for use as a public art park in memory of her father, Theodore Barnsdall.

The inscription reads: “Barnsdall Park in memory of Theodore N. Barnsdall 1851-1917. Our fathers mined for the gold of this country. We should mine for its beauty. Aline Barnsdall.” Today we could substitute oil. Although, interestingly, she was an oil heiress and perhaps she meant that the oil was gold… I don’t know.

hollyhock heiress

The house was closed recently for extensive renovations and re-opened in February of this year. I was disappointed that we weren’t allowed to take photos inside as the interiors, including the furniture designed by Wright himself, is indeed spectacular. Also, some of the rooms that had previously been open to the public (that I remember from previous visits) were not accessible, which was also disappointing.

hollyhock house

A nice view of the Griffith Park Observatory from the lawn.

hollyhock house

Beautiful FLW lamppost.

hollyhock house

After our visit to the Hollyhock House we walked across to the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG) to see the Individual Artists Fellowship Exhibition.

I really enjoyed this exhibit. Some of the highlights:

barnsdall-park-hollyhock-062815-037-C-800px barnsdall-park-hollyhock-062815-038-C-800px barnsdall-park-hollyhock-062815-039-C-800px barnsdall-park-hollyhock-062815-040-C-800px barnsdall-park-hollyhock-062815-042-C-800px

As at this point we were satiated with visual delights, it was time to fill our tummies. Our fearless leader had suggested The House of Pies on Vermont. Okaaaaaaay… what could I do but go along with the plan?

But I was pleasantly surprised. It was a 1950s (?) style family restaurant complete with a shrill screaming kid (THAT was not too pleasant). I went for the Grilled Wahoo Burger (see menu here). Also known as Ono, it was excellent and fortunately did not come with the pickle spear as promised on the menu. I substituted sweet potato fries for the regular fries.

We did a LOT of walking so I have my fingers crossed that mitigated my lunch (yeah, right!). So as I sit here enjoying my well-deserved heartburn, I wish you adieu for another day!

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


Saturday’s adventure – part two – South Pasadena

south pasadena

We hopped on the train to South Pasadena after visiting the Southwest Museum. See previous Part One post here.

From the Foothill Gold Line website: “Astride-Aside”: A larger-than-life walking man stands as an icon atop formidable granite cubes at the entrance to this station. Made of annealed bronze strips that have been welded over a supporting armature to create a woven latticed form, the figure represents a unique community that is determined to move forward in its own distinct way.


south pasadenaIt was still rather a gloomy Southern California day but the six of us were managing to have fun anyway!

south pasadenaG had researched a place to eat, Fair Oaks Pharmacy and Soda Fountain, in business since 1915 and located on historic Route 66 no less! It was restored in the early 1990s to its original turn-of-the-century splendor.

south pasadena

Not one to break with tradition I first had to visit the restroom. While waiting I noticed this wonderful ice cream sundae curtain.

 was restored in the early 1990s to its original turn-of-the-century splendor

The ceiling decorations caught my attention. Where else are you going to find Japanese lanterns and plastic vines but in a vintage pharmacy?

south pasadena

south pasadena

Everything you could possibly hope to find is in this place.

south pasadenaYup, the soda fountain.

We had sit down service and I immediately spied the Tuna Melt on the menu. Excuse me, the California Melt! Why is it California? You get ten points if you guess before I type it…. running out of time… okay, it has AVOCADO! What could be better than a tuna melt than a tuna melt with avocado, I ask…. nothing!

south pasadena

Don’t really think this was a working popcorn machine, do you? But look at those classic Coke bottles on top. Growing up in England I never had the opportunity to become addicted to that stuff and I feel fortunate!

south pasadenaOkay, I had to take my selfie…

south pasadenaG had noticed this museum when we left the train station so we had to investigate. The building was first a grocery store and hotel, then later it was modified into a blacksmith and iron works shop. Today it serves as the South Pasadena Historical Museum. south pasadena

south-pasadena-020715-015-C-850pxThis wonderful organ once graced the endangered Rialto Theatre and it is hoped that when the theatre is restored the organ can once again be placed there. Yes, that’s an ostrich you see poking his head into the picture. There was an ostrich farm in South Pasadena in the 1920s.

The docent at the museum was wonderful, answering our many questions.


Poster as a reminder of uglier times when Japanese Americans in World War II, including those who were born here, were rounded up and interned in camps, losing their homes and businesses.

And another wonderful day of exploring came to an end.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!