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Saturday, January 27, 2024

The Three Musketeers, Malibu Country Mart, and Color Me Mine

All for one and one for all because we are The Three Musketeers. I’m not that into jewelry. In fact, most of the things I own have been gifts. And I haven’t been wearing any rings or bracelets for at least a couple of years. But last year, I decided to purchase a few simple pieces for myself from different designers. The stackable handmade hammered rings in the above photo are from Fortunate Wanderer. I like the quality, the minimalist look and enjoy wearing them. So, I asked my nieces if they each wanted one so that we can share matching rings, and they said yes.

My nieces and I hang out whenever possible. They’re all grown up now and so it’s difficult to coordinate our schedules. But we make an effort to do things together and always have fun. So, when my younger niece, Ava, had a semester break, we decided to visit the same places we did when they were little. We took Las Virgenes Rd to Pacific Coast Highway, and to the Malibu Country Mart. I’ve been there many times with my family for birthdays and other celebrations. My older niece, Ellie, was modeling for me in the above photo.
It’s a pleasant place to hang out for a few hours. There are a lot of boutiques, places to eat, and a small playground for families with kids. We moved about, trying to figure out where to go. Ava is the finicky eater, and so we let her pick. We ended up at Cafe Habana. The place had a welcoming atmosphere, was clean, and had good service. If someday I go back, I would skip the breakfast burrito because the eggs were runny and didn’t taste all that great, and the guacamole and the lemonade were bland.  But my nieces liked their Chicken Enchilada and quesadilla.

After lunch, we browsed through the stores, and Ava found a cute sweater. As she drove toward our next destination, she was singing along with songs such as I like big butts by Sir Mix-a-lot, Take it off by Kesha, and Promiscuous by Nelly Furtado. Not songs that I normally listen to when I drive, but I enjoy them when I'm in her car.
We picked up drinks on our way to Color Me Mine, and spent ten minutes picking out our ceramics. Ava settled on a butterfly, Ellie, a wine glass, and I, a Buddha. When it comes to art and painting, I’m not the most talented person. So Ava helped out with coloring the Buddha’s eyebrows and the Bindi, the red dot on the forehead of Buddha.
A week later, the ceramics were ready. It takes awhile because the staff is busy, and they need to glaze fire them, before giving it back. They always say to use several coats of paint so that the colors don’t look faded. I haven’t yet seen mine in person. It’s sitting at my brother’s house. But when he sent me the above photo, I told him that he can keep the Buddha, because it didn’t turn out the way I expected. He said that my Buddha isn’t photogenic, and it looks better in person. Lesson learned: the next time I will take a longtime picking out my ceramic. On the day we went, their inventory was low. Maybe it’s better to go a day early and put something on hold. But, it’s all good. My plan was to connect with my nieces, share a memory, and have a nice time which we did.


Sunday, January 14, 2024

Playa Vista, the home of Google, YouTube, and Yahoo

Playa Vista is a relaxing place to hang out on a weekend. It’s not overcrowded because it’s a hidden neighborhood, and offers something for everyone. The best thing to do is to drive around, and decide in which area you want to hang out. Then just park somewhere and walk. There is plenty of parking spaces, and areas where you can picnic. Village drive divides the area into east and west.
If you take village drive and go south to Bluff Creek Drive, cross the street, and walk west, there is a dog park. Go east and you'll find a nice path, perfect for walking or riding your bike. At some point you reach Spruce Park, a wooded area that wraps around behind the YouTube building and ends back on the road again. Look across the street and you'll find the black Google building. As you leave the dirt area, you’ll notice a sand volleyball court.
A little further down, there is an easy hiking trail at Bluff Creek Drive and Artisans Way.

Or you can continue walking until you see the Yahoo building across the street. If you cross the street, and go down a bit, You’ll run into Central Park Playa Vista. Dogs are not allowed here. This park can also be reached from Millenium Drive. From whichever path you get there, at some point, you’ll run into BlueBottle Coffee, and HomeState breakfast taco. These are popular spots for the locals, and people who work in the area.
Go West of Village Drive, and you’ll see a bunch of eateries. Sol Mexican Cocina is pretty good. Even my younger niece who is a picky eater, likes it. On Saturdays, there is a farmers’market, and sometimes musicians play. In the past, I have tried various foods here. They were just okay. The last time I was there, I had Indian cuisine which was good. They only have a few items on their menu. I had the only vegetarian dish they offered which was a crepe with potatoes and spices. The mango lassi was excellent.

If you keep walking west, passing by townhouses, and apartments, and toward the end where there is nowhere else to go, you’ll run into The Coffee Bean, a small market, a bunch of eateries, and a pleasant mini park in your path. On Sundays, sometimes they have events or concerts going on. The above musicians are Pine Mountain Logs. They move around, are friendly, and approachable. If you google them, you can find their venue. Sat February 10, they’ll be in Agoura Hills.
So, there you have it. Playa Vista is a peaceful area where you can easily spend hours, walking, hiking, biking, picnicking, dining, people watching, and listening to music without dealing with cars honking their horns, and driving impatiently.