Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Why You Should Check Out OUE Skyspace LA

One of my favorite ways to see a city is from above - nothing beats being up way high and getting a bird's-eye view of a city.

I was so excited when OUE's Skyspace LA opened, because it finally gave me a chance to see Los Angeles - my hometown - from up above. Perched on the top of the US Bank building, OUE Skyspace LA houses an observation deck, some interactive technological exhibits, multiple lobbies, and a cafe and restaurant/bar. For those seeking a bit of an adrenaline rush, it also features a 45-foot glass slide that goes down the side of the building.

Being up at OUE Skyspace LA, being able to take in those panoramic views of the city, and going down the slide was definitely a memorable experience! Here are 6 reasons why you should check out this cool new attraction:

1. There are cool interactive exhibits even before you get up to the top
Your first stop at OUE Skyspace LA will be on the 54th floor, which is the Interactive Level. Here, you will find some a virtual reality time lapse of the view you are about to see from the top, some awesome light shows, and cool optical illusions, like one that looks like you are looking 54 stories down - so trippy!

2. It's the highest observation deck in California
OUE Skyspace LA is located on the 69th and 70th floors of the iconic US Bank building, which stands 1,000 feet tall over downtown LA. It is the highest open-air observation deck in California. You won't find views like this anywhere else in the state!

3. Those panoramic views can't be beat
There are two decks here that give you unparalleled 360-degree views of downtown LA, the valley, the San Gabriel mountains, the ocean, and everything in between. On a clear day, you can see up to 34 miles! The observation decks also provide free telescopes so you can REALLY get a great view.

4. The Skyslide is a thrilling experience
When you buy tickets to OUE Skyspace LA, you also have the option of purchasing an add-on to ride down the Skyslide, which takes you on a 45-foot long, 4-feet wide, 1.25-inch thick glass slide that gives you a view of the LA skyline while going down from the 70th to 69th floor. It goes by in a flash so make sure you remember to look outside at the view!

5. It's an amazing place to see the sunset
LA is notorious for its smog, but one great thing about all that smog? It results in some pretty epic sunsets. There's nothing better than seeing it from 1,000 feet above ground. Seeing the sun fall below the horizon while perched up so high was one magical sight.

6. It's still new-ish and not too crowded - yet!
OUE Skyspace LA opened in summer 2016, so it is still pretty new. It seems that not too many people have heard of it yet, because it wasn't packed at all (unlike when I went to Skydeck in Chicago). Now is the perfect time to check it out, before everyone starts to hear about it!

Things to know:
633 W. Fifth Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Parking is available across the street at the Westlawn Parking Garage, located at 524 S. Flower Street Los Angeles, CA 90071. The P7th Street/Metro Center and Pershing Square Metro subway stops are also located a few blocks away.

Sunday through Thursday: Opens at 10am; last ticket sold at 9:00pm.
Friday and Saturday: Opens at 10am; last ticket sold at 10:00pm.

Observation deck only, timed admission:
Adults: $25
Seniors 65+: $22
Youth 3-12: $19

You can also purchase flex admission, which is valid for any time for an additional $5. Add $8 for Skyslide add-on. Tickets may be purchased in-person at the box office on the 2nd floor, or you can buy tickets only here. 

Do you like seeing a city from high up above?

Photos of me: Photos of me by Melissa Teng. All other photos by me.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Tour of the Color Factory

If there's one thing you must know about me, it's that I LOVE color! Being surrounded by fun, bright colors always makes me so happy.

So, when I heard that the Color Factory was popping up in San Francisco, I immediately jumped on tickets. Created by the masterminds behind the popular blog Oh Happy Day (which I had been following for YEARS), the Color Factory is 12,000 square ft and 15 rooms full of interactive exhibits that celebrate color and material.

In other words - the Color Factory is full of fun and plenty of photo ops perfect for that Instagram feed of yours!

I checked out the Color Factory with my friend Natalie of Pastels and Passports (who helped me take the photos of me in this post). I had been giddy and excited about it since the day I bought tickets. The verdict? It totally lived up to the hype, and I had sooooo much fun!

Come along with me on my tour of this fun-filled, rainbow-inspired wonderland!

The Rainbow Staircase and Lobby

Confession: The suggested time for one to spend in the Color Factory is one hour, but it took us over 30 minutes to even get past the lobby and get our tickets scanned. Once you enter the doors of this building painted in rainbow colored steps, you will find a rainbow staircase, with each step painted in each color of the rainbow, and then basically leading onto a rainbow!

Once you get down the steps, you will find these fun dots on the floor. It kind of reminded me of a rainbow hopscotch, but almost more fun! Once you walk down this dotted walkway, you will get your tickets scanned.

Behind the ticket booth is this rainbow plaid mural by Erin Jang. Proceed to take a million photos here, because helloooo how fun is this backdrop!

Registration + Scratch and Sniff Room

After your tickets are scanned, the staff will instruct you to walk into the registration room and sign a waiver on one of the iPads. They will also hand you a nifty photo card. The Color Factory has several "photo booth" spots within in the exhibits, where you can scan your card and smile for the camera! This was handy because sometimes we wanted photos of both of us, and in some spots (like in the balloon room - more on that next) the lighting wasn't ideal.

The registration room is painted in vertical rainbow stripes, and also serves as the scratch and sniff room. Here, there are a bunch of scratch and sniff scents that are attached to each of the stripes, and are of anything from "your grandmother's perfume," to "your first trimester pregnancy craving," to "when life gives you lemons." It explores how different smells are tied to color and memories.

One thing that I loved about the Color Factory was that they gave you little treats from local food vendors - in this room, it was macarons from Chantal Guillon. These were served conveyor style on top of colorful coasters, and under a neon "Now Serving" sign. So much fun - and the macarons were tasty!

Black and White Laboratory

You will then walk through some doors that lead into the next room, which is the Black and White laboratory. Here, you will checkered black and white floors, and striped walls, both vertical and diagonal.

It has a laboratory theme, and you will find a contraption that dispenses charcoal lemonade from Pressed Juicery - a black liquid that looks questionable at first glance. I got over my hesitation and chugged my shot - it is actually a really tasty, refreshing drink!

Orange Room

Artist Tosha Stimage's exhibit examines the color orange as an analogy for black identity, the meaning of objects, and the relation to one other.

This super bright, orange painted room houses a ton of orange-colored objects, from a traffic cone, to a Ziploc bag full of Goldfish crackers, to a basketball. All these objects fall into the visual wavelength spectrum 590-620 NM.

Blue Balloon Room

Created by Geromino Ballons, who is famous for its large-scale balloon installations on building exteriors, this room houses an overwhelming number of blue balloons, all in varying shades and sizes. It almost has an underwater vibe - so very cool!

Disco Mirror Room
Exit the balloon room and get ready for a dance party! This disco dance floor features a sparkly glitter floor, and a mirrored disco ball ceiling that reflects light onto the floor creating a fun iridescent rainbow. Lots of sparkly fun in this room (and now I will have Justin Timberlake's "Mirrors" stuck in my forever)!

Lite Brite Room

Who else loved playing with Lite Brites as a kid? I sure did, so I was super stoked about this giant version of it!

Green Room

Illustrators Andy J. Miller and Andrew Neyer collaborated on this large-scale black and white mural, leaving the spaces black so that attendees can color in the blanks with giant, 5-foot tall green markers.


I call myself 5 feet tall...but I think these markers might be taller than me?! WHAT?! Anyways, it was fun to color for a bit with these giant markers for a bit, and I even got a great arm workout from it, which is always a plus!

The Ribbon Room

I've always had a thing for ribbon since my crafty/scrapbooking days, so I was super stoked when I heard about this room. Playing hide and seek while getting lost within some colorful ribbons?! YASSS! This installation, by Swedish artist Jacob Dahlgren, consists of a cube of 10,000 hanging ribbon strands, and celebrates everyday objects and materials. One of my favorite installations in the Color Factory!

Smiley Face Stairs and Rainbow Hallway

The ribbon room is the end of the downstairs part of the Color Factory. You will then head out the doors, go up a stairwell with a glowing hot pink smiley face smiling down at you. Go through the doors, and walk down the rainbow hallway, which brings you to...

The Stained Glass Chapel

I love playing with cool lighting, and when I saw photos of the neon colors streaming through these windows, I was so very excited to see it in person and take photos here!

The stained glass chapel consists of these colored stained glass windows, as well as some neon-colored plastic benches so that you can sit and soak in all those colors. Best seen on a sunny day, and the sun was definitely streaming through those windows that day. Such a pretty sight.

Purple Selfie Room

This room explores the instant gratification of today's digital world. London-based artist Tom Stayte set up a computer with a thermal printer that prints out every Instagram photo hash-tagged #selfie ever 12 seconds, piling up all over the floor. Natalie and I got involved in the selfie-taking as well, and I got so involved in trying to capture a Boomerang of our selfie printing out (which I missed - TWICE - epic fail!), that I forgot to take a photo of the actual room. I'm just going to say that I was too busy having fun ;)

The Confetti Room

Quite possibly my favorite room in the entire exhibit! Here, pounds of confetti are slowly sprinkled from the ceiling, accumulating on the floor. We spent quite a bit of time in here, and had soooo much fun (obvi) - because how can you NOT have fun when you are throwing bits of colorful confetti up in the air and then twirling in it?

(And yes, you WILL be picking out confetti out of your hair and stuff for a while. But I mean, #worthit).

The Yellow Room

If you've followed me on Instagram for awhile, you might know that yellow is my favorite color. So, maybe I lied - maybe this was my favorite room?

The yellow room features a giant ball pit, and come on - when was the last time you got to play around in a ball pit? I kept sinking in and getting stuck (and moving through it is a lot harder than I remember it being when I was a kid), but this was soooo much fun! (and resulted in some fun Boomerang videos)

This is the end of the Color Factory. (Insert sad face here). On the way out, there is a yellow store, which has a collection of perfectly curated yellow merchandise for sale, along with a super fun striped wall.

You will also receive some parting gifts - an mini cone from Garden Creamery, a postcard, and a map of some Color Factory bonus locations that are all over San Francisco. This map tells you where to find anything from bonus murals, where to get a Color Factory manicure, where to find extra treats, and more.

We checked out some of the stops in Chinatown, like this mural by Erin Jang, and I can't wait to check out the rest of the stops on the map to continue the fun!.

Tickets for the rest of August and September are sold out, but you can sign up for the mailing list here to hear of future dates/locations. Methinks that with the insane popularity of the event, this won't be the end of the Color Factory. (And this story says that they have an interest in taking the pop-up to New York as well).

What's your favorite room in the Color Factory?

Friday, August 04, 2017

The 15 Most Instagrammable Places in Seattle

You've heard me say it (many times) before, and I will say it yet again - Seattle is one of my favorite cities in the world. It may get a bad rap for being rainy and grey, but it has it all - a modern, urban, vibe, gorgeous greenery, incredible waterfront views, great food, coffee, and boutiques. And when the weather is nice - well, you really can't go wrong - it is a beautiful, photogenic city full of Instagrammable places!

Seattle is full of spots that make perfect photo ops for your Instagram feed. Here are my picks for the the 15 most Instagrammable places in Seattle:

1. Pike Place Market
85 Pike St.
Ok, ok, so this is an obvious choice. But with that infamous sign, an abundance of drool-worthy food stands, pretty flowers vendors, and more - there are plenty of opportunities to take those perfect photos for your Instagram feed.

2. Space Needle
400 Broad St.
This futuristic tower is an icon of Seattle, and can be seen all over the city. And it's so fun photograph from different angles and vantage points, that it's a must for your Instagram feed.

3. MoPOP
325 5th Ave. N
This Gehry-designed building changes color and reflects light differently depending on what angle you see it at. How cool is that? Definitely a perfect backdrop for your next Instagram portrait.

4. Olympic Sculpture Park
2901 Western Ave.
This 9-acre sculpture museum and park has it all - unique sculpture installations, open green space, and amazing waterfront views. Definitely one of the most Instagrammable places in Seattle.

5. Belltown Mural
113 Blanchard St 
I am a sucker for Instagrammable murals - so I was excited to find this one in Belltown, behind Cookies SF on Blanchard and 2nd.

6. Chihuly Garden and Glass
305 Harrison St.
Glass artist Dale Chihuly's work is renowned all over the world - and here, you can see it in all its glory. This exhibit houses a gallery, a stunning glass house, and a garden featuring Chihuly's magnificent work, all of which are perfect material for your Instagram feed.

7. Pier 66
2201 Alaskan Way
The views of the waterfront, downtown Seattle, the Great Wheel, the Stadiums, and Mt. Rainier here simply cannot be beat, especially at sunset.

8. Seattle Great Wheel
1301 Alaskan Way
What is it about ferris wheels that make them so photogenic? The Seattle Great Wheel is the tallest ferris wheel on the West Coast and it is definitely one of the most Instagrammable spots in Seattle.

9. Gas Works Park
2101 N Northlake Way
Once a coal gasification plant that produced gas for energy for the city of Seattle, this park features not only the (very cool) ruins of the plant, but also green grass hills, and stunning views of Lake Union and the Seattle skyline.

10. Fremont Troll
Troll Ave N (under the Aurora Bridge)
He may be a bit weird and creepy, but let's face it -  you're still definitely going to go take a photo with him for your Instagram page.

11. Kerry Park
211 W. Highland Dr.
You know those postcard perfect views of the Seattle skyline, with the Space Needle perfectly situated right in front of it? This is where you get it. You're welcome.

12. Seattle Library
1000 4th Ave
This Central location of the Seattle Library was built to be a modern "information store," and the steel and glass building has won numerous architectural awards. The atrium, the reading rooms, and the view from 10th floor are all perfect spots to get that perfect photo for your Instagram feed.

13. Waterfall Garden
219 2nd Ave S
Did you know that there is a roaring waterfall in the middle of Seattle? This man-made waterfall and surrounding garden sits in Pioneer Square, at the site of the original UPS headquarters. You can hear the roar from down the street, and the waterfall itself is a beautiful sight and worth a stop.

14. Pike Place Gum Wall
1428 Post Alley
Gross or totally Instagrammable? I say both, but mostly the latter! It may be the second most germiest attraction in the world, but it sure makes a colorful backdrop for all those Instagram portraits.

15. Discovery Park
3801 Discovery Park Blvd.
This 534-acre natural area park sits on the shore of Puget Sound, and has amazing views of the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges. It also has forests, meadows, streams, and sea cliffs, as well as a lighthouse. Plenty of photo ops here for your Instagram feed, making it one of the most Instagrammable places in Seattle.

Have you been to Seattle? What are your picks for the most Instagrammable places in Seattle?