A morning at the Original LA Flower Market

One of the items that’s been on my Los Angeles bucket list forever has been to visit the Original LA Flower Market, and I finally had a chance to check it out! Since 1921, the flower market has been the hub of in-season flowers at wholesale prices. While most of the customers are flower industry professionals (event planners, retail florists, etc), the market was magical enough for us tourists!
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Some tips:

  • While it may be difficult to want to buy flowers as soon as you get there (they’re so pretty, it is hard not to want to!), we found it best to walk around for awhile and scope out the best prices. This season, hydrangeas, sunflowers, carnations, and babies breath seemed to all be priced around $2-5 so it didn’t really matter which vender we purchased from. The roses, mums, lilies, snap dragons, and tons of other speciality flowers ranged all over the board so it really depends on the season!
  • Consider how you will be storing your flowers for the drive home BEFORE you get to the market. We knew we wanted to hangout around Downtown LA for a bit after this excursion so we quickly improvised what to do. All of the flowers were stored in big white buckets throughout the district and we figured that maybe one of the venders would be gracious enough to let us buy a bucket to hold our flowers in the car. It took a couple tries but overall, the venders were incredibly friendly and we purchased a bucket and some water for $1! I would suggest bringing a bucket with some water to have for the car ride home if you will be traveling far. While the flowers are cheaper than store prices, they are just as delicate and beautiful 🙂
  • Bring cash! It costs $1 to enter the main building, and the venders will charge you extra if you use a debit card.
  • Bring friends and turn this adventure into a photography session! Flowers make everything more aesthetically pleasing 🙂

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After our lovely trip to buy all the flowers we could ever need, we decided to continue our LA adventure and find someplace for brunch! Bottega Louie just so happened to be five minutes away and I’ve been wanting to check this place out for a long time as well! It did not disappoint. I got two macaroons, lemon and raspberry, and I definitely recommend them. I have a special place in my heart for almond croissants, and there’s was one of the best I’ve had! The place was full of people, so it was loud and bustling. If it is in your budget, Bottega Louie seems like a great place for a fun meal with friends!

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As we were driving, my friend Christina spotted Philz Coffee on the corner of the street. She was thrilled to finally have found the location of her favorite San Francisco coffee shop in LA! Guys, let me tell you. The Iced Mint Mojito medium roast coffee was incredible. With real mint leaves and everything! I highly recommend it.

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So there you have it- a really great morning (and afternoon!) in downtown LA. I’m slowly marking off places on my summer bucket list and it’s been a blast! I’ve loved living in this awesome, adventurous city the past couple of years and I’m looking forward to my last semester of college! Graduating a semester early is daunting, because woah adulthood, but I cannot wait to dive right into my studies and get working!

Blessings,

Abby

Up to Yosemite we go!

Two weekends ago, I went on a road trip up north with my boyfriend and his parents. Yosemite National Park is my boyfriend’s favorite place on earth (and he’s been all over the world!) and I have never been as an adult, so we decided we needed to make a visit immediately. His grandparents have a house in Oakhurst, which is coincidently where my mom lived for a bit growing up!

So Thursday evening, we loaded up, got all of our food necessities, and slept most of the six hour drive to the cabin. Since we got in late that night, it was nice to have a relaxing morning the next day.

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Sleepy heads scouting trees for hammocking.

We eventually got going for the day and drove up to the park! Driving in for the first time was amazing. The mountains were so expansive and majestic, and it was truly breathtaking.

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View from Glacier Point.

View from Glacier Point.

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The park was buzzing with tourists, so we weren’t able to do one of the hikes we had planned. Tyler and his parents were super awesome and gave me a tour of the valley floor, and it was so fun to hear about their years of memories in Yosemite.

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We left the park that night, and got dinner at The Pizza Factory! My mom and her siblings worked there in high school, and I heard stories of this place for so long so it was fun to check it out! The next morning we were able to sleep in again, and it was so nice to wake up to fresh mountain air, although it made me miss Tahoe for sure. My mom spent most of her summers at Bass Lake so we headed up there for a quick drive to check out the scenery. The lake was super low because of the drought, but we passed the church my mom went to, as well as her favorite burger joint! Next, we drove over to Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad. This place was  awesome! The train ride was about an hour long, and it was fascinating to hear about the historic log trains that traveled through the Sierra Mountains. I would definitely recommend this tourist stop for your next visit! Any sort of excursion through the Sierra National Forest is bound to be beautiful 🙂

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The next day we got up bright and early for an adventure to Hetch Hetchy, the northwest corner of YNP. Tyler’s family had never been to that part of the park, and he and his dad were especially excited. It was about a two hour drive from the cabin, but so incredibly scenic that it went by quickly. We ventured over to the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and the O’Shaughnessy Dam. Although man-made, it was still a beautiful site. We decided to do the 5-mile hike over to the Wapama Falls, which probably wasn’t our brightest idea in the 80 degree heat, but the views were worth it. IMG_9016

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After we finished lunch, we headed to Tuolemne Meadows. Now this area of Yosemite was so beautiful, I never wanted to leave! We drove through the campground and it was awesome! We all fell in love with Tuolumne, and cannot wait to visit again.

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“Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space.” ― Ansel Adams
 Tunnel View of El Capitan, and Half Dome in the back
Tunnel View of El Capitan, and Half Dome in the back

The next morning we packed up, cleaned the cabin, and headed back down to LA. It was a tough transition for me back into smoggy LA, but I am immensely grateful to Tyler and his parents for inviting me on this weekend vacation to finally experience Yosemite! They were fantastic hosts and tour guides, and I am looking forward to our next adventures.

Blessings,

Abby

My Kiddos

IMG_8303I was telling my boyfriend recently that my life currently revolves around 20 children throughout the week and I would not change that for the world.

In January, I started working at my church part-time in the nursery on Sunday’s. I attend the first service and work two services, and it is an absolute blast! These babies are incredibly adorable and most of the time, the nasty diapers and insanely loud screams do not even phase me. We average around 13 children per service- which is crazy, chaotic, and adorable all at the same time. In the last four months, I have learned so much about children, about parenting, and how to dress toddlers well for Easter. Give me all of the bows, please. The babies may test my patience, but I have truly learned more about myself through their cries and temper tantrums. I have learned that kind words and eye contact are essential, and a hug cures just about anything.

Last Tuesday, I began my first summer of being a part-time nanny. I watch a three year old girl, whom I absolutely adore, three days a week. Her mom is pregnant (due date is May 23rd!!) and she needed some help taking care of Little A, prepping for the new baby, and nesting around the house. We spend almost all of our time together at the park, at the library, and reading books about princesses. This little girl is brilliant, bright, and absolutely charming. She is sensitive- we talk about how we are feeling, what makes us feel that way, and the differences between positive and negative feelings (or “good” and “bad” for Little A). She is empathetic- another girl at the park started crying so Little A went over to her, put her hand on her shoulder, and tears started to well up in her eyes too. She teaches me daily that feelings are made to be felt. She also teaches me how to be joyful about the little things- all it takes for Little A’s day to turn around is to play the song Happy by Pharrell. Man, that little girl can sing and dance. And scream with excitement.

As of this Friday night, I have completed my first full week of my summer internship. For my psychology major, I am required to take a practicum course which is essentially an internship in my desired career path. I sent tons of emails and interviewed at a couple places and somehow, by the good grace of God, landed an incredible opportunity at a non-profit called Door of Hope. Door of Hope is a Christian organization that equips homeless families to rebuild their lives. They provide transitional housing and restoration programs for the families and their children. I work with the children’s assistant’s during the afternoon school program, four days a week. So far, I absolutely love it and I am learning so much. We start the program with snack (Thursday’s, we get to bake our treats!), do homework together for about an hour, have a bible lesson, and then finish the afternoon with board games or more homework. This week, I have learned about the “prehistory mystery” that is dinosaurs, how to successfully lose to a 5 year old at Candyland, and that I should always guess that the Pictionary drawing is always, always, always Pokemon. This week, I learned that behavioral difficulties at age 9 are real and much different than temper tantrums when you’re three and in a church nursery. I repeat this phrase over and over- “kind words, warm eyes, kind words, warm eyes.” These kiddos need and deserve the greatest of love, and I try to shine even the smallest of light in their days because that is what Jesus would do.

julia child quote

I am passionate about children. I love seeing them grow and develop. I love seeing the spark of imagination, the building of self-esteem, the steps toward confidence and independence, and the discovering of new and exciting things. I love seeing the difference in a child’s behavior when they are encouraged and loved. I love that as I work with children, I am helping their families as well. I love nurturing and caring for others, and I see that as a gift of mine. My days are full of laughter, insight, learning, and various body fluids. It’s kind of the best thing ever.

This quote above is one of my favorites, and so perfectly describes how I feel about the career path I have chosen right now. I don’t know what the workforce looks like after I graduate, but I feel like I am heading in the right direction. This may look like working in a preschool or early education, special needs care, social work care, and going back to school. Good thing God knows! “Find something you are passionate about and stay tremendously interested in it.” Being around children brightens my day. They make me feel happy, fulfilled, and helpful. I hope to be a bright light in these kids lives. And I have learned…this is most often turned upside down because they make my life better, happier, brighter.

I don’t have time for negative thoughts. I don’t have time to worry about things I can’t control. I don’t have time for letting the opinions of others affect how I live my life.

Because people matter more. There are children in my life that look at me and my world is instantly changed by their smile. These babies have been a huge factor in teaching me what unconditional love looks like.  These children have been tiny, yet daily and consistent blessings in my life. As I have tried to help these kiddos be the best version of themselves, they have turned the mirror towards me so I can learn what that looks like for myself.

Blessings,

Abby