the tournament of roses

Last weekend Matt and I experienced some Rose Bowl madness here in Pasadena. There is not only a lot of excitement on game day, but also in the weeks of preparation.
We both work on a street called Colorado Avenue, which is also the main street of the parade route. Since the sidewalks become so packed with spectators the businesses shut down for the day to avoid chaos. This meant that we both scored the day off to enjoy the parade (and our anniversary!). The 24 hours before the parade involved a detailed preparation of  the streets and sidewalks. In every possible open area along the road bleachers are assembled to house the coming spectators. As I walked to work the morning before the parade I got some shots of my store being fenced in! Some neighboring stores even went so far as to board up their storefronts completely. Crews cruised up and down the street setting up extra trash cans, unbolting newspaper stands from the sidewalks and sealing mailboxes with heavy-duty saran wrap. Finally, by late afternoon, the stage was set.

 As night fell on parade eve, I biked down Colorado to check out the scene. I had heard stories of people camping out on the sidewalk the evening before the parade to claim their spots. I see people camp out for Black Friday each year, so camping out for the Rose Parade didn’t completely shock me. However, I did not anticipate how far some people would take it. I expected  to see some people sitting in camping chairs and saving spots with tarps. However, as I rode down the street I passed crowds of people who appeared to have brought their living rooms with them! Air mattresses, fires, heat lamps and coolers lined the streets. People were playing cards, sitting around fires roasting marshmallows and watching movies on laptops plugged into generators! It was quite a sight and unfortunately, being on a bike, I wasn’t able to get many photos so you will have to take my word on it and let your imagination run wild.

On the morning of the parade we woke up, made some hot chocolae and set out down our block. It was fun to see others popping out of neighboring homes to join us as we made our way down the sidewalk. Continuing to get closer and closer, it seemed as though we were going to be able to get a decent view. Our street intersects Colorado and where the two meet we were able to nestle into a spot near the action! I was being quite a maniac, snapping photos of nearly everything that passed by. To spare you from boredom I narrowed down my collection to share with you some of the floats we liked best. Enjoy!


holiday special

Somehow this holiday season has gone and a new year has begun. The season from October through December can either be full of celebration or busy and stressful. It is really important to us both that we slow down and really enjoy these special times. We have found that investing time into creating special memories and traditions for us as a new family makes that possible. Here is a recap of our first California holiday season …

cider and pumpkin bread made perfect treats to inspire us to create these beauties

since flights aren’t cheap we had a romantic little feast in our apartment, just the two of us

Old Town’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony

since we were traveling back home for Christmas we skipped putting up a tree. wihtout a tree or snow (or a chill in the air!) I made sure we managed some festive spirit in our apartment 

through our many Christmas celebrations at home we relaxed, enjoyed delicious treats, soaked up my mom’s amazing Christmas tree and were visited by Santa

date night : at the pharmacy

Since our last post was a bit of a bummer, I’m lightening the mood with a few snapshots from a recent date night. In south Pasadena there is a cute little area with privately owned shops and resturants that reminds us of Chicago. The part of Pasadena we live in is filled mostly with chain stores and resturants, so this little nook is a nice change of pace. We had passed the Fair Oaks Pharmacy in an earlier trip to the area and made note of it for a future date.
A few weeks ago we had a night set aside for a date and took our trip to the Pharmacy! Fair Oaks in its original form–soda fountain, pharmacy and gift shop all in one! There was a lot of old architectural details and memorabilia to enjoy. We ordered an old fashioned chocolate shake that we sipped and slurped until our bellies were full. It was delicious! I think this could become a regular date destination.


This past week Pasadena was hit by  a wild windstorm. No rain, snow or tornados accompanied the fury, like in the midwest, just viscious gusts of wind that reached 97 mph. The damage was an extraordinary sight to see as we weaved through debris littered streets. Initially, many roads were partially or completely closed off due to mounds of fallen branches and even entirely uprooted trees. Even today, a few days after the storm, the proof is everywhere as chainsaws buzz outside our window in a continual attempt to clear the sidewalks and roads. 200 homes damaged, 40 had to be evacuated.
Due to the damage, loss of electricity and the struggle to travel all schools were closed and even some effected businesses shut down for the rest of the week. Matt’s classes were cancelled for the week, but both of us were still forced to go to work. Shopping and coffee can not be stopped! (sigh)
Through it all we were very fortunate to remain safe, keep our power and have no damage to our apartment or car. I was feeling very thankful during my trip to the grocery store this morning as I overheard several people talking about all the food that they lost from the extended void of electricity. When checking out the clerk even told me that his electricity still was not on yet. Poor guy.
The images are from our immediate neighborhood (the first three are from our block). However, I found this collection of images created through submissions by residents. It certainly captures the breadth of the damage a bit more completely than our humble attempts.

weekend adventure : wayfarers chapel

We have been earnestly trying to take advantage of our new home by taking time during our weekends to explore! This weekend we traveled to San Pedro, a city on the coast just south of us. While we certainly got some beautiful views driving up the coast, the main reason for the journey was to visit Wayfarers Chapel. I had recently seen pictures of it and told Matt that we should go see it for ourselves sometime. We found that it wasn’t very far so we decided it would be a good way to spend part of our holiday weekend.
The chapel is a memorial to the theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, built in the fifties by Lloyd Wright (Frank’s son!). Nestled on a hill overlooking the coast, the views were pretty spectacular! The chapel is made mostly of glass and blends into the surrounding forest seamlessly. Standing inside, sunlight flooded the chapel creating playful shadows all over the cobblestones. The grounds also held beautiful gardens, a fountain and a walkway made of bricks dedicated by couples who were married at the chapel. After wandering about we had to make our way out as guests began to gather for a wedding. We headed down to the coast to soak up the last of the sun as it was beginning to set on our day, bringing a beautiful end to our weekend adventure.

home sweet home

Welcome to the piece of Pasadena we now call our home! Our funny little apartment complex is certainly nothing fancy, but it’s location is a dream. We’re both able to bike to work and Matt to school. Not to mention all the necessities are so close–Trader Joe’s, Target, Chipotle–all within but a mile!An obvious bonus to our relocation is the difference in scenery. Palm trees abundantly line the roads and bushes decorate the town in full bloom. It has made our past few months very exciting and full of discovery. BUT, what really makes our location fabulous is the continual view of mountains! Yes, from our street we can see the Angeles mountains, friends! I remember when Matt called me from out here on his apartment hunt and told me, “I really think you’ll like it here–you can see the mountains.” Mountains, you say? That seemed too good to be true! Yet, there they stand–a breath-taking backdrop at the end of our street.

I can’t believe we’ve nearly been here three months already. Things are beginning to become fairly familiar, so I suppose that’s the first part of the transition into a new place feeling like home. Our apartment is ever so slowly starting to feel  settled into. For me, it cannot officially bear the title of “home” in my mind until everything is in its place and the decorating is complete. So, I am desperately trying to get things in order, one room at a time! Stay tuned for a series of posts to come that will serve to reveal our apartment’s interior and share some of the process.