hanhgry.com | closeup with hat

outfit: superbloom at anza-borrego and lessons with timing

hanhgry.com | posing among superbloom with mountain in backgroundPlanning these superbloom outfit photos has been a big learning experience. I photographed this outfit over two months ago but hesitated in posting it. Why?

Well, I wasn’t entirely happy with a lot of the photos. This was my first time shooting around sunrise, and I thought I had built in enough time in our schedule to get more of that “golden hour.” I’ve taken plenty of photos around sunset but for my first time taking photos around sunrise, I didn’t give myself enough time. The soft glow of golden hour quickly gave way to super bright overhead/direct sunlight.

I still liked a couple of the photos so I decided to post them anyway. Now I know to better schedule my time and gauge the quality of the available light.

My original idea was to take pictures among the flowers. This year, California’s unusually wet winter led to a once-in-a-decade massive superbloom all over Southern California. One of the more beautiful sites for this year’s superbloom was Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, about 3 hours southeast of Los Angeles.

We waited to see what the flower forecast would be. The blooms were forecasted to peak around mid-March. The town of Borrego Springs has very few hotels or accommodations, and the few hotels were solidly booked. To spare ourselves from waking up at 2 am to drive down to Anza-Borrego, Ross and I booked an AirBnB in Escondido (a suburb of San Diego) for the night before, so we wouldn’t have to wake up as early. It was still an hour and a half drive, but that’s better than 3 hours!

hanhgry.com | superbloom purple flowers, close up

We got to our AirBnB on Saturday night, went to bed early and woke up at 4 AM the next morning. The drive to Anza-Borrego was eerily quiet in the pre-dawn darkness. We got there a little before sunrise.

We arrived at the perfect time to take photos, and it wasn’t busy yet. I am happiest with the photos we took right around sunrise.

hanhgry.com | superbloom white and yellow flowers, close up

hanhgry.com | posing among flowers with mountain in background

hanhgry.com | Ross at Anza-Borrego, with mountain in the background

I love this lighting here!

hanhgry.com | closeup with hat

The photo above was when the light started getting way too bright. I like the composition and I’m not making a silly face!

Unfortunately it only got even brighter (and hotter) after this, and none of the outfit photos we took during the hike on the trail turned out. We did the easier hike on Palm Canyon Trail, which was about 4 miles roundtrip. We saw beautiful flowers and small waterfalls and streams that made getting up at 4 AM totally worth it. I really enjoyed the hike but man, I’m out of shape.

hanhgry.com | posing in the flower fields at Anza-Borrego

The above photo was taken around 11 AM, after we finished the trail and drove around the town of Borrego Springs because there were fields of flowers EVERYWHERE. The superbloom definitely lived up to its name. You can’t really tell in this photo but I’m sitting under a tree in a giant field filled with those tiny yellow flowers.

Overall, this was a great experience. We saw the beautiful superbloom and got some exercise! I did a lot of planning to scope out when to go take these pictures, but I didn’t really plan for the amount of time I would have good lighting. Next time when I go to a new site for an outfit shoot, I’ll definitely keep what I learned here in mind.

Outfit details:

Dress: Anthropologie, old
Shoes: Bait Footwear, old, similar ones here
Hat: Forever 21, old

hanhgry.com | museum of ice cream neon sign

museum of ice cream los angeles: a pastel, treat-filled wonderland

When I heard the Museum of Ice Cream was coming to Los Angeles, I knew I HAD to go. I bought tickets the second they went on sale, to go with some good friends on my birthday in May.

But then my husband got tickets for the opening day! Since he’s out of town during my birthday, he got tickets for just us to go. And after going through it, I am definitely happy to go see it again with my friends.

The Museum of Ice Cream is totally Instagram bait, with all the pink and other bright pastel colors. It’s not really an educational or historical museum; it’s more like a set up of various ice cream-themed art installations. So don’t expect to learn about the history of ice cream or the science behind making frozen treats.

hanhgry.com: museum of ice cream entrance

There’s the ubiquitous “millennial pink,” but it fits with the nostalgic, whimsical feeling of the museum. There were several themed rooms but I didn’t feel rushed at all to go through them. The museum lets you spend as much time as you like in each room (except the sprinkle room, which has a time limit). Many of the rooms have some sort of ice cream sample or sweet treat to try, which is a nice bonus.

museum of ice cream: LA roomPastels and palm trees, in the Los Angeles-themed room

hanhgry.com: museum of ice cream venice cream backdropAn homage to the famous hanging Venice sign

hanhgry.com | museum of ice cream banana room

Banana swing room (a great Boomerang opportunity!)

hanhgry.com: museum of ice cream mint chip grown roommint chip grow room

I totally need this sign, as I have so many mint colored clothing items.

Real mint plants, planted in crushed cacao shells

hanhgry.com | museum of ice cream rainbow sherbet room

Rainbow sherbet room

hanhgry.com | museum of ice cream behind a rainbow in the sherbet room

hanhgry.com | museum of ice cream ross in front of the pink lemonade wall

Ross in front of the pink lemonade wall in the rainbow sherbet room

hanhgry.com | museum of ice cream popsicle room

popsicle room

hanhgry.com | museum of ice cream artwork by Abel Bentin

artwork by Abel Bentin. Each cone is unique!

hanhgry.com | museum of ice cream sprinkle pool

The famous rainbow sprinkle pool!

hanhgry.com | museum of ice cream sprinkle pool

An explosion of sprinkles. I basically had sprinkles everywhere and had to shake them off me. When I got home later I realized that a bunch had gone down my bra, haha.

hanhgry.com | museum of ice cream neon sign

Neon sign at the end of the museum.

There is also a gift shop by the museum exit and there are a lot of cute ice cream themed knick knacks and clothing.

I didn’t post photos of all the rooms in the Museum of Ice Cream as I’d like to keep some element of surprise for people who have yet to go. But I definitely recommend it if you love cute, quirky interesting artwork. And of course if you love ice cream. Not sure if this museum will travel to other cities, but it’s already been in New York and LA now, so who knows?

Unfortunately, tickets for the Museum of Ice Cream Los Angeles are completely sold out until July. However, more tickets may be released, so keep checking the website or sign up for their mailing list to be notified when additional tickets may be available.

Museum of Ice Cream
2018 E 7th Place
Los Angeles, CA 90021
Tickets: $29, plus additional service charge

hanhgry.com | rainbow balloon wall

outfit: matching my surroundings

Jihan Zencirli is a Los Angeles-based artist who creates balloon art installations. Her most recent installation adorned the walls of a convenience store in my neighborhood. The installations are temporary, as the balloons eventually deflate. They are so playful and colorful, and I couldn’t resist taking photos there! (I wasn’t the only one. There were several people taking pictures there and after a while you can tell they’re bloggers too, hehe.)

hanhgry.com | balloon wall hanhgry.com | rainbow dress and sunglasses in front of balloon wall hanhgry.com | rainbow dress in front of balloon wall

This is an older dress, one I’ve had for probably four years now. It’s from Eva Franco, an LA-based designer who designs and makes her clothes in the US. I love her fit and flare dresses, and this one in particular is colorful and rainbow without being too over the top. It came with a bright orange belt, but I don’t like orange much and prefer wearing it with different belts. You can find her dresses at her website and Anthropologie.
hanhgry.com | rainbow dress in front of pastel mural

While the front of the convenience store was covered in tons of balloons, the side of the store has a pastel geometric mural which I thought kinda matched my dress.

Outfit:
Dress: Eva Franco, old
Belt: Modcloth, old
Shoes: Bait Footwear, similar

hanhgry.com | sitting among flowers

outfit: plenty of heart

I’ve spent some time researching interesting places to take photos. Los Angeles has a wide variety of beautiful locations but the frustrating thing is quite a few places charge you a fee or require a permit to take photographs, even if you’re not a professional photographer or affiliated with a film shoot. That’s a consequence of living in LA, where the film industry is headquartered. So I have to get creative when searching for places to shoot.

hanhgry.com | heart printed boat shoeshanhgry.com | sitting among flowers

Luckily, I found this place! This set of outfit photos was taken in one of those open secret locations that is open to the public and as long as you’re not intrusive, you can take as many photos as you like. It’s a volunteer run public garden in Pasadena, right outside of LA. When I was there, I saw a couple doing an engagement photoshoot and a few kids taking photos of the flowers in bloom. It’s not a huge garden but it has plenty of little nooks and themed sections with different plants and flowers.

hanhgry.com | standing in garden

hanhgry.com | purple flowers, close up

hanhgry.com | sitting under floral arch

 

hanhgry.com

One of the neat things about writing for my blog and planning photos is that it has really encouraged me to explore more of my adopted city and its surroundings. I have found all sorts of new places, or looked at places I already knew about with an eye for what would make for good photos.

As for this outfit, well, I just love hearts! Are there specific prints or motifs you really love?

Outfit details:
Sweater: Sugarhill Boutique, old
Skirt: Miss Patina, old
Shoes: ASOS, old

hanhgry.com: wearing miss patina outfit in courtyard

outfit: lots of cats

I love most animals, and I also love animal prints. When I bought a couple items from the Miss Patina after holiday sale, I noticed how cute their animal themed prints were, especially the cat ones. I had so much fun wearing this cat shirt and the detailed embroidery on both the shirt and skirt always get compliments!

hanhgry.com: wearing miss patina outfit in hallwayhanhgry.com: wearing miss patina outfit in courtyard

 

hanhgry.com: wearing miss patina outfit in hallway

hanhgry.com: wearing miss patina outfit in courtyard

We have two rescue cats; the older one was a stray that lived behind our first place in LA. She had a litter of kittens that were all adopted out, and she was spayed and left back outside. Ross and I felt so bad for her, and she was friendly with us so we eventually lured her into the house and she became ours. Our second cat we rescued when she was a tiny kitten, her and her siblings were found outdoors in someone’s backyard.

I never had pets growing up because my parents always said no. But once I moved out on my own, I knew I wanted pets of my own. Do you have a rescued pet? How long have you had him or her?

Outfit details:
Shirt: Miss Patina
Skirt: Miss Patina
Shoes: Bait Footwear
Purse: Forever21

Overhead shot of pizza slices

food review: NY style pizza at Gracie’s Pizza in East Hollywood

There are always new places to try in a city this big. Sometimes places open up that fly under the radar and I wonder why it took so me long to try it out. Gracie’s Pizza opened up nearby in the past year and a friend recommended that we try it, knowing that Ross and I are originally East Coasters.

Gracie’s serves New York style pizza, which has a thin and crispy crust, but is still soft enough that you can fold it. I’ve had NY style pizza from a few places in LA that were mushy, or had weird ratios of sauce to cheese, so I’m wary about pizza here. But fortunately, I had nothing to worry about at Gracie’s Pizza.

Gracie’s is located in the neighborhood of East Hollywood, kind of plopped in a more residential area. There is plentiful parking. The inside of the restaurant has a good amount of seating but still feels like an neighborhood place, like the pizza places from back home. We sat down and an employee came by to take our order. We didn’t have to wait long for the food to come out.

Cheese slice: $3

a slice of cheese pizza from Gracie's Pizza

I had just gotten my new camera lens that day and I was testing out taking photos with it, so please excuse the extreme focus here. This slice of cheese pizza was exactly what I wanted it to be; thin crust, crispy at the edges but still soft in the interior. Not overloaded with sauce or cheese, just the right amount. Ross teases me because I never fold my pizza when I eat it and take dainty bites instead. Hey, at least I don’t eat it using a fork and knife.

Grandma slice (pesto, grandma sauce, roasted garlic, burrata): $5

a slice of Grandma's Pizza

So Ross got this slice; I did not taste it. According to him, it was good but it had too many elements going on all at once and he preferred the cheese slice. The burrata was good though, silky and not salty.

Garlic knots with marinara dipping sauce: $5

These garlic knots were delicious; I ate them so quickly. They came out hot and were super soft and fluffy. They weren’t dense or tough at all, which happens to garlic knots sometimes. The parmesan garlic herb mixture on top was a nice bit of crunch and added extra flavor. They didn’t even need the dipping sauce. I wish I had gotten two orders of these.

Overhead shot of pizza slices

I thought this sign in the front window was pretty cute.

Neon red sign spelling out the word PizzaCool neon sign inside the pizzeria.

Overall, I really enjoyed the pizza at Gracie’s and the people working there were really nice. It reminded me a lot of the pizza back East, and we found out the owner is originally from New Jersey, so he definitely knows his pizza.

Gracie’s Pizza
Menu
4330 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90029

hanhgry.com | outfit photo at vista hermosa

outfit: pretty much all modcloth

hanhgry.com | outfit photo at vista hermosaI recently bought a new camera lens because I wanted to improve my photography for the blog. The kit lens that came with my camera is fine, but I wasn’t getting the kinds of pictures I wanted. I did a bunch of research and settled on this one. I’m still learning, and sometimes it’s annoying to take a bunch of photos and then you realize that a lot of them are out of focus. But that’s what practice is for, right? So you can get better.

Case in point, this set of outfit photos was the second one with my new lens (the first shoot using the new lens was this post). It was incredibly frustrating because the auto-focus kept focusing on the wrong parts of the photo. Ross and I eventually got a few decent shots, but it was definitely a learning experience. (I also figured out how to manually set a focal point instead of relying on auto-focus. yay!)

hanhgry.com | outfit photo at vista hermosahanhgry.com | outfit photo at vista hermosa

This shot of me on the bench? It took about probably a dozen attempts before Ross got one I liked AND was in focus.

hanhgry.com | outfit photo at vista hermosa

I’m also trying to take photos in different settings. This is a park right outside of downtown, and part of the park is elevated so you can get some really cool views of the skyline. It’s a little silly; I’ve known about this park for a while but the entire time I’ve lived in this area, I never went to it. One benefit of doing this blog is that I’m discovering new places, or I’m looking at locations with an eye for seeing it if would make for a good backdrop for outfit photos. I’m even keeping a list filled with places that I think would be good for photos. For a while this past year, I kind of abandoned this blog, but now I feel pretty renewed and inspired.


Outfit details:
Sweater: Modcloth
Skirt: old, Modcloth (no longer available but similar style here)
Shoes: Modcloth
Trench coat: old, Modcloth
Heart scarf: old, GapKids

hanhgry.com: close up of box of ponchik pastries from Papillion

sweet treats review: ponchik from Papillon International Bakery

hanhgry.com: close up of box of ponchik pastries from PapillionYou know what everyone loves? Fried dough. I’m pretty sure every nationality or culture has its own version of doughnuts/beignets/etc, usually covered in sugar or stuffed with sweet, creamy filling. And I am totally happy to try them all.

There is no shortage of various fried goodies here from different cuisines. The LA area has a large Armenian population and clustered in Little Armenia near Hollywood and in the LA suburb of Glendale there are lots of Armenian bakeries. Some are well known for making ponchik, which are basically Armenian filled doughnuts. Ponchik are made with a yeast based dough fried in oil and typically filled with custard cream, although there are lots of other fillings like Nutella and different fruit jams.

Ross and I went to the North Hollywood location of Papillon International Bakery, an Armenian bakery well regarded for its ponchik. This location is in a small strip mall. They have two tables inside but it’s mostly a take-out or pre-order and pick up type place.

hanhgry.com: menu of ponchik filling flavorsThe ponchik flavor menu displayed in the bakery

We ordered four pieces: two custard, one dulce de leche and one strawberry. The lady told us it would take about 10 minutes, since they make them to order, so they are fresh. They sell a variety of other baked goods as well as the usual cakes but we were there for the ponchik! After waiting a few minutes, she called my name and showed me the box of freshly fried pastries, and I was surprised at how big they were. Each was about the size of my palm. They smelled AMAZING. Just imagine being surrounded by the smell of fried dough/batter with sugar everywhere. She suggested eating some right then and there since they just came out of the fryer, so she gave us some plates and we took one of the two tables in the store.

I took my first bite and it was sooooooo good. Steam billowed out since it was still so hot. The ponchik is hollow, as you can see in the picture below, and filled with custard.  While an American-style doughnut is denser and filled the whole way through with dough, the ponchik has a thin outer layer that is slightly chewy and fluffy.


hanhgry.com: eating a ponchik from Papillion

hanhgry.com: close up of ponchik pastry

I only took a photo of the custard filled ponchik, but that was probably my favorite filling. I enjoyed the dulce de leche with its sweet caramel flavor. The strawberry tasted ok, but I probably wouldn’t order it again. I don’t really like jam filled doughnuts so it makes sense I didn’t love the strawberry ponchik. I preferred the creamy, thicker fillings like the custard and dulce de leche.

If you’re ever in the area and want to try some ponchik, I definitely recommend going to Papillon! At only $1.75 each, it was a delicious, inexpensive treat. Because it is fried to order, your ponchik will always be super fresh and warm. (However, I saved two of them to eat several hours later and even at room temperature they were still pretty tasty. I recommend eating them within the same day though; I think they would get too hard or stale after a day.)

 

Info:

Ponchik, various flavors: $1.75 – $2.00 each

Papillon International Bakery
2904 Victory Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91606
Other locations here

hanhgry.com: pastel winter at the arboretum

outfit: pastel winter at the Chavez Ravine arboretum

hanhgry.com: pastel winter at the arboretum

Pastel winter: is that a thing? I guess I’ll make it a thing. I mentioned in my last outfit post that I don’t like wearing dark colors, which is more common in the colder seasons. I figured I might as well wear whatever colors I want no matter what time of the year it is.

I finally made it out to a different location to shoot some outfit photos this past weekend. It’s been raining SO much in Los Angeles that it is green everywhere. Although the rain is great for the drought, it has foiled a few of my photo plans in the last few weekends.

hanhgry.com: pastel winter at the arboretum

But…it also gave me a good excuse to buy a new coat! I wanted an anorak or utility style coat, but all the ones I kept seeing were tan or that blah military green color, both of which look terrible on me. A few days ago, I wandered into a Forever21 because sometimes they have cute accessories. I rarely go in there for actual clothes shopping because most of it is not my style at all. And their stores always play music so loudly! I know, I’m getting old.

They had their spring stuff out, and surprisingly there was actually a ton of stuff in colors I like- all sorts of springy pastel pinks, yellows and greens. I saw this pink coat, tried it on and totally loved it. I have peacoats and trench coats, but I wanted something a little more casual and I adore the color!

hanhgry.com: mint green unicorn flats

hanhgry.com: pastel winter at the arboretum
hanhgry.com: pastel winter at the arboretum
hanhgry.com: pastel winter at the arboretum
These pictures were taken at the Chavez Ravine Arboretum, a section of Elysian Park that has big grassy areas and over 100 different kinds of trees. With all the recent rain, it was so lush and green (or as lush and green as LA can get)!  It was a little cloudy and chilly that day, but it was perfect weather for wearing my new coat.

Outfit details:
Coat: Forever21 (I couldn’t find this on their website so it must be really new)
Sweater: Wilfdfox Kids, old
Skirt: American Apparel, old
Shoes: TUK Footwear via ModCloth (similar ones available)

Photos by Ross

Full shot of unicorn milkshake from Creme and Sugar

sweet treats review: Creme and Sugar unicorn milkshake, cake and cookie

Full shot of unicorn milkshake from Creme and Sugar

The famous unicorn mikshake

If you’ve been on Instagram in the past few weeks, you’ve probably seen a dessert that went viral. The unicorn hot chocolate (and its frozen counterpart, the unicorn milkshake) is from a cafe called Creme and Sugar. I love anything sweet and pastel colored and luckily, Creme and Sugar is in nearby Anaheim.

Last week some friends and I went to check out their “secret” unicorn menu. Parking was easy in a giant surface lot. We got there around noon and the cafe itself is small on the inside, but there were couple tables and a coffee table/sofa area. When we came in, there were only two people ahead of us in the ordering line. That was just lucky on our part, as the line got crazy long a little after we ordered.

Creme and Sugar cafe, interior wall with unicorn chalk mural

This is the chalkboard mural that’s by the front entrance.

Creme and Sugar has the usual stuff you would find in a cafe, such as hot/iced coffee drinks, tea, and assorted pastries. Also, they also serve ice cream from Fosselman’s, which they use for their milkshakes. The decor is vintage inspired/shabby chic. They have a cute chalkboard drawing of a unicorn by the front door.

I got a unicorn milkshake, slice of unicorn cake and a unicorn sugar cookie.

Unicorn milkshake, 32 oz: $10

Close up of unicorn milkshake from Creme and Sugar

Creme and Sugar makes their unicorn shake with cotton candy flavored ice cream, giving the shake its pastel lavender color. They top it with whipped cream, a special blend of sprinkles (jimmies, colored sugar, sugar pearls), marshmallows, a rainbow swirl lollipop (for the unicorn “horn”) and a candy bracelet, with a metallic gold striped paper straw. I noticed some other people’s milkshakes came with a rainbow sour belt but mine didn’t. They serve it on a plate to catch the dripping ice cream and random sprinkles/marshmallows that spilled off the shake. The presentation is quite cute and pretty much made for Instagram/social media.

The shake came in one of those 32 ounce glass mason jars, and let me tell you- it is tough to finish a milkshake that big. I recommend sharing with friends, but I had this all to myself as one friend got her own milkshake and another only got cake. The cotton candy ice cream was not super sweet at first like I thought it would be, but a third of the way through the milkshake I had to stop and ask for a to-go cup. It was just too much liquid and way too much sugar, especially since I just came from a full meal at brunch. I took the rest of it home and finished it later. I would have preferred a smaller amount (like 12 or 16 oz) but that probably wouldn’t have looked as impressive.

Would I order it again? Yes, but I would share it with a few people!

Unicorn cake, slice: $8

close up of unicorn cake slice from Creme and SugarContinuing with the pastel unicorn theme, the unicorn cake is made of layers of white cake dyed to be light pink, sky blue and pastel purple. There was light yellow buttercream between the cake layers. The unicorn cake is covered with a thick, very sweet, pure white American-style buttercream frosting. The sweetness of the frosting was a little overwhelming and I didn’t eat all of it, as I’m particular about my frosting not being too sweet. I did eat all of the cake part. It was moist and fluffy, with a tender crumb. Not dry at all.

Because I got only a slice and not an entire cake, there was less of the special sprinkle blend on the frosting. It was still really cute though. It reminded me of the sprinkle blends from Sweetapolita, with the varying textures and sizes of the different sprinkles. The shimmery sky blue large sugar pearls are so pretty!

Unicorn cookie: $6

Close up of decorated unicorn sugar cookie

This was a typical rolled sugar cookie decorated with royal icing. The cookie was chewy, which is my favorite consistency for cookies (I’m not a fan of crisp or thin cookies). The royal icing decorating was flawless, with no bumps or bubbles. The horn was decorated in a shimmery gold icing, which was a nice touch.

Additionally, Creme and Sugar also serves unicorn hot chocolate and unicorn candy bark. Of the three items I tried, I liked the cake the best. I may have to go back and try the unicorn hot chocolate! What do you guys think about desserts like these? Does the spectacle of all the over-the-top decoration make the desserts seem more enticing to you?

Creme and Sugar
6312 E Santa Ana Canyon Rd
Anaheim, CA 92807
http://www.cremensugar.com/

1 2 3 4