Guest Post: LA Sunday

Hi All! I’m Ashley and I run Any Lovely Thing. I’m especially excited about Staci’s move not only because she is a fellow blogger moving to Southern California, but she’s also my cousin. Staci asked me to write a guest post about living in Los Angeles so I thought I’d share my ideal LA Sunday.

First things first, we need coffee to start this Sunday off in the right direction. I’m headed to Starbucks on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. I love living so close to the ocean. Once fully caffeinated with a grande iced coffee (no sweetener, 2% milk, please!) you know we’re hitting the beach! There is nothing like escaping the stress and traffic of Los Angeles and breathing in that refreshing ocean air. My boyfriend and I love walking from Santa Monica to Venice and back. Each little stretch of the beach has it’s own vibe and it’s so great to just hang back and people watch.

After the beach it’s back to the Promenade to check out the sales at Club Monaco and J.Crew. What’s that? Lunchtime? It’s impossible to live in Los Angeles and not love Mexican food. I can live on tacos. Seriously, I can! When lunchtime rolls around we’ll get our hot sauce and guacamole fix from Wahoo’s Fish Tacos. It’s a hop, skip, and a jump from the Promenade. Literally.

Let’s hit the road. I love cruising the PCH in my little Honda Civic with the moonroof open and the windows down. Is there anything more quintessentially Californian? Who doesn’t want to feel like Kelly Kapowski every once in a while? Between Malibu and the Palisades is the Getty Villa. It’s absolutely one of the most romantic settings in all of Southern California. The art, the view, the gardens…it’ll take your breath away. This is the perfect date spot. After a couple hours of meandering it’s time to head back into the city.

I love to entertain and can’t think of a more perfect way to end my Sunday than by having a handful of friends over for cocktails and to watch the sun set. I love trying new recipes. My favorite drink of the summer is the Paloma, which I featured a while back. Grab a tray, load it with pretty glasses, and bring it to the rooftop for a relaxed and casual farewell to the weekend.

Thank you so much, Staci, for allowing me to share with your readers what a perfect Los Angeles weekend would be for me. It’s so nice to meet you all!


Guest Post: The Best of Los Angeles for Free

Alyssa Bacon-Liu is a new wife, southern California native, and wannabe world changer who lives with her husband in Los Angeles. She is passionate about justice, equality, anything sparkly, and reusable shopping bags. She blogs about life, love, and the pursuit of all things beautiful at You can also find her on Twitter (@alyssabaconliu).

I am very vocal about the fact that I love living in Los Angeles. I know that big city life isn’t for everyone, but the City of Angeles has my heart. One of the best things about L.A. is that there is SO much to do and see. There is never a dull moment and you will rarely find yourself bored. Want to know the best part? You can experience the best of what this city has to offer and you can do it on a budget! I’m here to give you an inside look at how you can explore my favorite city in the world for practically free.

If you like architecture…

The historic Bunker Hill area of downtown Los Angeles has so much eye candy in such a relatively small area. First, you can make your way to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. The architecture alone of this Catholic cathedral is worth checking out, but it also boasts a relaxing meditation garden, children’s garden, religious art, fountains and an open plaza where people can walk around or sit and talk. Next, head over to the Walt Disney Concert Hall which is home to the LA Philharmonic. The cool thing is that you can take free self-guided walking tours of the inside of the Hall when there isn’t a show going on. But even if that’s not your thing, you can just walk around the outside of the building and take in the awesome architecture. Finish your adventure at the California Plaza Water Court which is one of my absolute favorite places in downtown L.A. because of the beautiful skyscrapers and relaxing atmosphere.

If you like art…

The J. Paul Getty Museum is a must-visit for anyone in the Los Angeles area. The museum has an impressive collection of art and wonderful rotating exhibits. The grounds of the Getty are as stunning as the artwork inside. They have beautiful gardens to explore, plus an amazing view. Entry to the museum is free, but parking will cost you $15 so carpool with some buddies! You can also visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and get lost in the largest art museum on the West Coast! Their general admission usually comes with a price tag, but if you plan your trip right you can get in for free! Go on the second Tuesday of the month or go after 3 pm Monday through Friday if you are a resident of Los Angeles County and enjoy the expansive collection of art at no cost!

If you like the beach…

Los Angeles has so many beaches to choose from and any one of them is great for basking in the California sun and working on that tan. But I recommend Santa Monica because it has so much more than just the beach. When you’re done being a beach bum, you can do some serious window shopping at the Third Street Promenade. Towards the end of the day, make sure you head to the Santa Monica Pier for a breathtaking view of the sunset. An entire day full of fun with the ocean as your background, and it doesn’t have to cost you a thing!

If you like history…

The perfect place for history buffs is Los Angeles Plaza Historic District, nestled in the oldest district of Los Angeles. The area is a living history lesson and there is a lot to explore in this little gem. The three standouts are the Plaza, Olvera Street, and Avila Adobe. The Plaza is usually coming alive with live performances in Mexican music and dancing.  Olvera street is a bustling Mexican marketplace with colorful souvenirs and trinkets. Avila Adobe is the oldest residence still standing in the entire city of Los Angeles and it is well preserved for visitors. And if you can spare a few dollars, indulge in a delicious cinnamon churro. You won’t be disappointed!

If you like being a tourist…

If you want a quintessential Los Angeles experience, look no further than Griffith Observatory and Rodeo Drive. Griffith Observatory is a Los Angeles icon and landmark. Perched atop Mount Hollywood, it gives you great views of the greater L.A. area and the famed Hollywood sign. The grounds of the Observatory are great place to take pictures and take in the sights. And entrance to the Observatory is always free! I know that “Rodeo Drive” and “free” don’t seem like they belong in the same sentence. But fear not, my friend on a budget! Rodeo Drive is the infamous shopping playground for the ultra-rich and glamorous, but it is also a window shopper’s dream! The luxury stores on Rodeo Drive only stretch out over 3 palm tree lined blocks, making walking up and down the entire Drive very doable. Take your time and enjoy the scenery of Gucci, Armani, Versace, and Chanel…as well as some plastic surgery jobs gone wrong.

I hope this post inspires you to not only have fun, free adventures in my favorite city, but also inspires you to find the fabulous and free places to explore wherever you go.

Guest Post: Grout Cleaning

Those of you with tile countertops in your kitchen or bathroom will be kissing my feet (okay, my mom’s feet) for this useful and handy tip. I have one-piece counters so I can’t complain… but I think this will definitely work on problem-ridden areas of my floor tile too (when it’s warm enough to banish the pup to the backyard, that is! Safety first!)

That said, yes this is my very first GUEST POST written for facebook by the woman who brought me into the world and taught me that dishes can [almost] always wait until later. I’m sharing it with her permission!

How do you clean your grout, tile and
hand towels all in one project?

This is not a riddle.  A few years ago, when Clorox introduced the bleach pen, my daughters, Staci and Stephanie and I went to work on the grout in my kitchen.  I have a 6 x 6 foot island with offwhite tile and white grout.  It was quite a chore, but the grout lines were improved.

Now it is time to clean the grout again, but I didn’t have a bleach pen and was too lazy, busy, unmotivated, (whatever adjective you want to insert here) to go to the store, so I looked around to see what might work.  Hmmm.

I spied the tub of powder Oxyclean sitting on my washing machine, so I decided to try making a paste and using that on the grout.  Now to find my grout brush.  Couldn’t find it.  So I looked for a small brush that could work, but the discarded toothbrushes were too wimpy.  I asked Randy if he had a brush attachment for his Dremel tool, but he was afraid that would ruin the grout.  I spied my worn out and unused electric tooth brush.  Voila!

Armed with my somewhat dissolved Oxyclean and my tooth brush, I began the project.  Oxyclean worked really well to get rid of the dirt in the grout lines, but left a residue.  Paper towels were useless, so I grabbed an old dish towel.  I wiped off all the extra with the dry towel and then grabbed another old towel and dampened it to wipe up the rest.

Randy told me the counter looked like new!  Later in the day, the counter dried a little cloudy so I took some Sprayaway and washed it one more time.  Now it shines and the grout is clean.  Throw the towels in the laundry and they come out sparkling white!

Today, I reluctantly decided to tackle the tile and grout next to the stove, but did not want to do it.  I procrastinated by washing the linens on Stephanie’s bed and spied an Oxyclean tube of gel that my husband had purchased.  Hmmm.

So, I grabbed the gel, squirted it out onto my counter top and repeated Saturday’s process.  It worked really well, but is very messy and took more rinsing.  Overall the stove area looks better than the island, but we will see if it dries with a film.  No problem if it does, but it would be great if it doesn’t.

Side effect:  We loved the clean grout and are biting the bullet and having a pro come to clean the floor tomorrow.  Randy saw how much effort it was to clean the island, and couldn’t imagine how long it would take me to do the floor.  Probably over 200 square feet!  woohoo! I have been wanting to hire that done, but until Randy saw how hard it was, I think he imagined me doing it myself.  Win Win.  Clean counters, clean dish towels, and after tomorrow, clean floors.

It is the small things that get me going!  :’)