Feed Your Wanderlust with Flea Market Finds, Part One

Indulging on delicious cuisine, meeting people, exploring new places, opening your eyes to other cultures and going on epic adventures are probably the top reasons why we love to travel. They’re certainly a few of mine. But there’s one other reason that keeps popping in my head whenever I’m planning a trip or choosing my next destination: SHOPPING!

Visiting a new country means a fantastic opportunity to buy indigenous, artisanal wares that you’ll be hard-pressed to find in your own country or city. You don’t know how many times I’ve started obsessing about a country all because of an Instagram photo (of a beautiful rug from Marrakech, a colorful bag from Cartagena or a darling hammock from Nicaragua.)

Often, when I’m not traveling, I keep myself sane by means of retail gratification (aka shopping!) Luckily, our flea markets here in Los Angeles are bubbling with products imported from Mexico all the way to Ghana, and it’s the perfect place for me to feed my wanderlust without having to leave home and spend a few thousand dollars.

Here are some of the imported, artisanal wares I found on Sunday at the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena:

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Colorful baskets from Ghana – These normally cost about $45 at the market.


Purses from Colombia


Simple yet elegant umbrella from Thailand – This one was massive and only cost $175.

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Singing bowls from Nepal – The medium sized ones are $35 to $45 dollars. These are great for meditation.


Pastel pots from Mexico


Lanterns from Morocco – Some of these had bits of rust, but their designs are intricate!


Baskets from El Salvador – These are great for beach picnics or grocery shopping. The medium sized ones are about $55.


Moroccan-inspired rugs and poufs


Fabrics from South Asia

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Fabrics from Ghana – These are from $35 to $45. There were a few different vendors selling the same stuff, so it wouldn’t hurt to haggle.


Rugs and tapestries from India

Rose Bowl Flea Market is a monthly market that takes place every 2nd Sunday of the month at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. General admission starts at 9am. Tickets cost $9 per person.

Quick Tips:

  • Bring plenty of water, as water is not cheap inside the market.
  • Wear a hat and cool clothing, and apply plenty of sunscreen. It gets pretty hot after 10am.
  • Bring plenty of cash. Many vendors accept credit cards, but they might charge an extra fee. Most of them prefer cash.
  • See something you like? Shop around first. There are many vendors in the market that sell similar stuff, and you’ll probably find a better price elsewhere.
  • Bring a cart, if you plan on making several or large purchases.


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Things We Enjoyed at This Year’s Knott’s Scary Farm

Monsters lurk in dark corners, awaiting unsuspecting guests as they enter the usually very wholesome theme park. For 24 nights a year from now through October 31, 2015, Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA transforms into Knott’s Scary Farm, a spookfest for folks who enjoy a good scare. But fear not! You’ll will be happy to know that the separate-ticket event isn’t too scary for the not so brave.

Here are five of the things we enjoyed at Knott’s Scary Farm:


Paranormal, Inc.

Knott's Scary Farm Paranormal, Inc. (Courtesy Knott's Scary Farm)
Knott’s Scary Farm Paranormal, Inc. (Courtesy Knott’s Scary Farm)

Debuting this year, this new ghost-hunting maze will take you to a “filmed” paranormal investigation of an abandoned and haunted hospital that hides a morbid past. If you think this is too intense for you, don’t worry – the investigative team will be with you to guide you through the fiend fest. But do keep an eye out for those demons from hell, and don’t panic when the lights go out!

The Dead of Winter

Knott's Scary Farm The Dead Of Winter (Courtesy Knott's Scary Farm)
Knott’s Scary Farm The Dead Of Winter (Courtesy Knott’s Scary Farm)

Ever wondered how Jon Snow felt, facing an army of icy monsters descending down on him and the Free Folk? Dare to walk into the Dead of Winter maze, and the vengeful Snow Queen might just give you a small dose of that. This freezing maze of ice and snow is not only teeming with ice Viking warriors, it’s walls can also get uncomfortably disorienting so careful where you tread.

Voodoo – Order of the Serpent

Knott's Scary Farm Voodoo (Courtesy Knott's Scary Farm)
Knott’s Scary Farm Voodoo (Courtesy Knott’s Scary Farm)

Definitely one of the most intricate mazes at Knott’s Scary Farm this year, Voodoo takes the braver ones through the muggy swamps of New Orleans where swamp creatures dwell and Voodoo demons prey on the unsuspecting. As you keep a sharp eye on them, take time to appreciate the attention to detail they’ve put into creating this awesome maze. Get your Skeleton Key for access to a secret room where a freaky Voodoo Ritual awaits.

Ghost Town Streets

Knott's Scary Farm Ghost Fog Alley (Courtesy Knott's Scary Farm)
Knott’s Scary Farm Ghost Fog Alley (Courtesy Knott’s Scary Farm)

It makes sense that the streets where it all began hold the spot for the coolest scare zone in the park. Eerie lighting and thick fog envelops the streets of Ghost Town, so much so that it’s hard to see what’s creeping two feet in front of you, making it easy for monsters lurking about to take you by surprise. Both big kids and adults will get a kick out of exploring (or simply walking through) this area, and just bear in mind that nobody will judge you if you let out a little squeal.

Special Ops: Infected – Patient Zero

Knott's Scary Farm Special Ops Infected-Patient Zero (Courtesy Knott's Scary Farm)
Knott’s Scary Farm Special Ops Infected-Patient Zero (Courtesy Knott’s Scary Farm)

Sure, surviving a maze full of the undead is fun and exciting, but wouldn’t it be cooler if you can actually fight back? Last but certainly not the least is Special Ops, Knott’s Scary Farm’s most interactive maze yet – integrating gaming technology with the thrill of actually on a mission in person. You and your teens will definitely enjoy this attraction, which takes you through intense landscape to complete several missions whilst fending off flesh-eating zombies with your high-tech laser guns. Get ready to shoot the infected; the fate of humanity is in your hands!


(Originally published on MiniTime.com)

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“Fast & Furious – Supercharged” Sets Universal Studios Hollywood Ablaze

Sizzling celebrities. High speeds. Explosions. A car flying in the air and through a billboard. Universal Studios Hollywood certainly welcomed the latest family-friendly addition to Los Angeles’ favorite theme park with a bang!

Tuesday, June 23, saw the launch of the new Universal Studios ride, “Fast & Furious – Supercharged,” and fans of the movies as well as families with kids are in for the ride of their lives.

Photo by David Sprague | Courtesy Universal Studios Hollywood
Photo by David Sprague | Courtesy Universal Studios Hollywood

The high-octane but very kid-friendly adventure is an exciting hydraulic motion-based ride pumped with adrenaline, state-of-the-art 3D audio and 3D-HD imagery systems, other sensory special effects, and the world’s longest and most expansive 360-degree screen. The ride features some of the stars from one of the biggest movie franchises in history, including Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, and Tyrese Gibson, who all reprise their roles to fight the bad guys in an exhilarating car chase!

Expect rockets, debris, bullets flying and explosions as you get caught in the midst of all the action. And get ready to get a little wet. The best part? Dwayne Johnson, who plays DSS agent Luke Hobbs in the franchise, joins them with big guns blazing!

Photo: Michelle Rae
Photo: Michelle Rae
Photo: Michelle Rae
Photo: Michelle Rae

Kids, teens and adults will truly be impressed with this new ride that Vin Diesel himself called, “…incredible, ….really remarkable. It’s not like anything I’ve ever seen.”

“Fast & Furious – Supercharged” is expected to become a mega-hit like its big screen counterparts. It joins the ranks of War of the Worlds, Desperate Housewives, Psycho, Jaws, and other Universal Pictures hits as it now serves as the epic conclusion to the park’s popular Studio Tour, which attracts people young and old from all parts of the world. It is set to open to the park goers on June 24, 2015.

So what are you waiting for? Rev your engines, fasten your seatbelts, and race to Universal Studios Hollywood now for this thrilling ride!

(Originally published on MiniTime.)

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Staying Put


I am scribbling this on a ruled notepad in the warm confines of our bedroom in our Glassell Park apartment. It has gotten very hot here in Los Angeles as of late and I’ve been hoping and hoping for a quiet retreat. Perhaps miles and miles on the long stretch of asphalt and then on a small patch of dirt in the alpine woods. Maybe a little cool dip in a river up in the mountains.

Unfortunately, the electronic display of our bank account is a bringer of bad news and a bittersweet reminder of all the travels we’ve done in the last few months. It is telling me now that we will have to stay put for a little while; not a very comforting advice to a wanderer such as myself.

I still consider myself one of the lucky ones, however, as I listen to the cars speed past our building, almost like a symphony,  constant and with purpose, to be living in a city as blue and as golden as this. An hour or two in any direction and I am transported to magical places. Always. Whether it be the stillness of the mountains or the ruggedness of the desert. It’s as if the forces of nature around the city are in perfect synergy, working together to make it one of the best places in the world to live in.


Yesterday, I just witnessed one of the most spectacular sunsets of my life, just less than an hour’s drive away. And it was just exactly what I needed, to lubricate my tightening gears. It may be a while before I could go anywhere again but Los Angeles will always be here for me, humming its usual neverending optical song, however bad my case of wanderlust gets.

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All photos are taken by me. Please do not copy or reproduce without my expressed permission.