Adventure: Beauty in Faith

Last week I went on a mini adventure to the to visit my aunt at work at none other than the Cathedral of Our Lady of Los Angeles. Personally, I am not a religious person as many people, but I do have faith in something out there.  I don’t feel real attached to one particular faith because I feel that all of them are quite beautiful in their own way. 

 I am proud to say that my father had a hand at building this gorgeous place; (he was working with the construction company that built it, go dad!!) now understand why he was so happy working at this particular site. 

This of course was my first time visiting (and maybe not my last) and was just in awe with all the amazing art and little exhibits in the corridors surrounding the main worship area.

What I thought was great about this place is that I didn’t feel the feeling that I needed to act a certain way because its church.  It was quite odd because growing up Catholic I knew that there was just certain things are expected, however not here.  I felt that everyone was welcomed, no matter what faith to take a look and appreciate it not just as a place of worship, but also a place to be.

I did enjoy the fact that they honored those resting in the Mausoleum by weaving the holiday of “Dias de Los Muertos” in an alter.  It really did capture the essence of a city that has a huge faith among the Latinos that reside in it.  Another interesting feature was that there where no statues of saints anywhere within the main worship area, which is pretty odd since there is always a huge presence in many catholic churches.  Instead they had tapestries with all the saints along the walls, which helped make the room feel modern, open, and inviting.  Plus, they had many artifacts from the Pope’s visit in the 80s which was cool to check out.

I guess the big thing that I got out of not only the beauty of this place, but a chance to sit and reflex about everything that I have done since I first began. I have come so far, yet I feel like I haven’t accomplished much.  But I will keep trying and keeping my head up and moving forward.

Hooray for Hollywood!

I have always been a sucker for Hollywood’s Golden age, I guess it has to do with the mystery, glitz, and glamour around the stars of yesteryear.  So, its no surprise that there are a few things i’ve been meaning to do as lover of old Hollywood and right of passage as an Angelino.  So what better place to go but none other than the Hollywood Forever Cemetery to pay an homage to those pioneers of filmmaking and of course some notable rockstars!

I’m not going to lie, but I geeked out when I saw Johnny  & Dee Dee Ramone’s final resting place! For myself being exposed to music at an early age shaped much of my life.  Their lyrics where no more than a few sentences repeated under a thrashing guitar, drums, and bass, but it spoke to a generation that ached to rebel.  I just had to go and pay my respects these guys who really knew how to rock!

After visiting these guys Matt and I walked around and ran into some other notable celebs such as Alan Crosland who was the director of The Jazz Singer, which was the first “talking film”.  Then there was Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer, better known as Alfalfa from “Our Gang” comedies (or for you youngings “The Little Rascals”).  There was also Hattie McDaniel who played the maid in Gone With The Wind was the first African American Actress to win for Best Supporting Role.  These are only a few notable celebrities who call the cemetery home.  Because they where setting up for “DIa de Los Muertos” we where not able to get into the mausoleum where Rudolf Valentino lies, but that’s for another day.  Maybe more people will be interested in joining me in this adventure.

Now away from the cemetery and up above lives the oldest star in Hollywood, none other than the Hollywood Sign.  Many people do not know that the reason why its up there was to draw people to buy real estate there.  Originally the sign said “Hollywood Land”, however after years of disrepair it was fixed and dropped “Land” and a new icon was born.  Funny thing about the sign is that the HUGE small fact about the sign is that Hugh Hefner was twice a key player in saving the sign, first in the 1970s and most recently in 2010.  Thanks to him, Hollywood junkies like me can admire this true icon that inspires us all.

After the sign we did a small walk down Hollywood Blvd. better known as The Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Seriously, I can spend hours on end walking up and down the street reading the names on each star.  Fun fact about the WOF, pretty much anyone can petition for their favorite celebrity to get a star as long as they fit a category and meet the criteria listed on the official Hollywood Walk of Fame website.  Yes, there are many amazing celebs with stars out there, but I gotta say Vince Scully’s was one that I really wanted to find, and yes I geeked out again!

Now, I couldn’t just walk up and down the Boulevard without stopping at Grauman’s Chinese Theater and checking out a few hand prints.  This place still is the site of many premieres and first run films.  I love that place!  By the way check out Frank Sinatra, Natalie Wood’s and Betty Grable (she imprinted her leg, lol!), among the many celebrities immortalized in front of the theater.

Last stop, like a true CM, had to get ice cream at the Soda Shop next to El Capitan, why? Because I needed a sugar jolt to make the drive back to the I.E. seriously I had a ton of fun and can’t wait for my next impromptu adventure!



New Orleans: You sure know how to make a girl feel welcomed!

I did promise that I would recap my spontaneous adventure into the REAL New Orleans, that began as a trip to get away from the heartache and sorrow I was living into an awakening into a new outlook into a brighter future.  Honestly, before this trip I was stuck in  limbo where I was not to sure who I was and what I wanted to be.  I was in a relationship that was poisoning my future and feeling that I had to settle for less because that person did.  So, after saving for two months, encouragement from friends and family and guts I packed up for a trip into the big easy!

I couldn’t explain how nervous I was getting on a plane for the first time by myself and going somewhere I had never in my wildest dreams travel to.  I mean seriously, who does that?!  I honestly didn’t know what to expect, it was also of course my first time to a journalism convention. First day I made my way down Ducater up to canal to the sheraton where the convention was being held. I had already done my homework into the sessions that I thought would be the most beneficial to me, but was really was open to anything.

My first session was with the AMAZING Victoria Lim, a Multiplatform Journalist better known as the “Queen of Coverage”.  Lim is by far an amazing type of journalist essentially because she is a jack of all trades when it comes to reporting.  She does TV, web, and print reporting in which she can take a story and deliver it in many different mediums.  Honestly, before I met Victoria I had no idea this even existed.  I always thought you had to be one or the other, but after hearing about her career it made me hands down decide this IS the type of journo I want to be.

After my first day at convention I joined my fellow Journos in a street up which was in place to meet, network, and explore Burbon Street.  It was fun, I enjoyed being able to sit in to listen to the joys of jazz that New Orleans has to offer.

In the days that followed I did get an opportunity to learn about how to manage my finances as a freelancer, how to build page views and other tools to gain an audience.  However, by far the best the session I thought was going to cover how to cover immigration lead me front row and center in front of Jose Antonio Vargas ! Now for those of you that have no idea who he is, well he is an amazing journalist whom spent his time covering campaign trails, Facebook founder Mark Zucherberg, HIV/AIDS in DC and so forth while living a secret life as an undocumented individual in this country.  Sitting in that room listening to his struggles before and after the truth came out, made me fight to hold the tears back.  I know of so many people out there that are in the same position that are striving for the American dream, and those who have turned their back to it.  It was such a powerful session that it has made me think about what type of beat I would like to specialize in.  So far it looks like immigration can be it, and I have Mr. Vargas to thank for helping me realize that.

That night I had an opportunity to take a fairly inexpensive ride around the French Quarter in a carriage!!  Yes! A carriage, it was so fun to see the city in a different light. My carriage driver was a bonafide local that beamed with pride about his fair city.  Plus, he was so gracious that he took me back to my hotel!!

Lastly on my last day, I spent some time touring the streets of the New Orleans by stopping by at Cafe du Monde for some Beignets (yes, I just HAVE to!). I moved on to taking some pictures of the city during the day and did some shopping.  However, the highlight of the day had to be the New Orleans Cemetery tour by Haunted History where I toured St. Louis #1 the eternal resting place of the Voodoo Queen.  Honestly, this was the most interesting, informative, and fun tour I have ever been on.  Our tour guide Ernest was the best guide ever!! He just made the history come a live and also added some personal touches.  Loved it!!  Next time your in New Orleans, seriously request him!

Now as I ended my day and got my luggage together to fly back to reality there are a few things that I did take away with me.  New Orleans taught me not to stress on the little things, live life, push forward and above all be strong.  These are the lessons that are keeping me afloat while I face another challenge in my path, the overall separation from that person I was to the person I want to be.




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