Amboy, CA: The lion-dogs that guard the desert (Part One)

No one knows how the lion-dog traveled to the Mojave Desert, or who brought it there. No one knows why, for a few months, she disappeared and came back again. And yet, there she stands at six foot tall, one paw patting the head of her cub. Her tooth is chipped, knocked off by a bullet from when a traveler thought it a target and shot up the statue with a high-powered gun.

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Santa Paula, CA: At this haunted historic inn, spirits abound

I feel a chill cross my back, as I climb the floral carpeted staircase to the third floor. I feel another one as I cross a sitting area and make a left into the hotel’s corridor. The hallway is dim. The dark, burgundy walls are illuminated by tired daylight shining through the window of what seems like a little reading nook. (It’s the perfect weather outside for something like this — gray, damp, dreary.) Under my foot, the floor sinks and creaks with every step I take, breaking the silence. Squeak, croak, pop.

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Fresno, CA: The hidden genius of the Forestiere Underground Gardens

Above ground, the October sun is at its zenith, and the mercury hovers in the mid-90s in what feels like an endless epilogue of an exhaustingly hot summer. Down here, however, it’s 10 degrees cooler And that’s exactly why a man by the name of Baldassare Forestiere spent 40 years of life building this — this crazy, peculiar underground complex of patios, grottoes and gardens, all connected through passageways he dug by himself.

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Did ‘Emily in Paris’ satiate my wanderlust?

“Emily in Paris is a new dramedy created by producer Darren Star, best known as the brains behind shows like Beverly Hills 90210, Younger — and you guessed it — SATC. Which is really why I’ve been waiting for this as impatiently as a tot on Christmas eve. The truth is, I’ve been watching SATC on repeat throughout this pandemic.”

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Beverly Hills, CA: I tried Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura. Here’s my experience.

The truth is, I’ve been obsessing over Chef Massimo Bottura ever since I saw him on the very first episode of Netflix’s Chef’s Table. Massimo, with his strong ideas, knack for clashing flavors, quirky dish names and avant garde plating, is a force to be reckoned with in the kitchen.

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Solvang, CA: What is this Danish town like during COVID-19?

I need to preface this by saying that I thought long and hard about how I’d write this, or if I’d even write it at all. Here’s the reason. On the last weekend in August, I took a day trip to Solvang. If you haven’t heard of this town, dubbed the “Danish capital of the…

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Palos Verdes, CA: Hiking through Pelican Cove Park

“But it’s not just the weather that’s different. The vibe is, too. Unsurprisingly, there’s no one here. (Last time we made the trip out there, there were four people total). There’s something somber and mysterious about standing here, just the two of us, visually isolated from the rest of the world.”

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Roundup: My favorite places to socially distance in Ventura

Ever since the pandemic broke out, I’ve been spending a great deal of time at home. When we do go out, though, it’s usually to a handful of places we know and trust. (Think: lesser-known beaches, wide-open picnic areas, gardens and hiking trails). When we do feel an urge to grab a bite to eat,…

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Death Valley, CA: Visiting during its hottest summer in 100 years

Have you ever smelled heat? The musk of molecules bumping into each other in a frenzy? Have you ever felt the rim of your nostrils prickle, the short, thin hairs along its walls catch fire? The nerve endings in your lips fire up, tingling even more than the last time you bit into something spicy…

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Roundup: Underrated, unique brands I discovered during quarantine

“If finding gems like pushBUTTON and Marcia (read: fresh attire that’s guaranteed to be a conversation starter) is something you like doing, too, here are a few of my favorites.”

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