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Travel Log: Vancouver, Washington, and Portland, Oregon 8/12 – 8/15

August 22, 2016

I’ve long wanted to visit Portland, Oregon (“Portlandia” is my jam and I’ve heard such great things about the city), so when my friends Sierra and Jesse moved to neighboring Vancouver, Washington, I really had an excuse to visit. Read all that went down during this jam-packed weekender in my most recent Travel Log.

DAY ONE: Friday, Aug. 12
When I touched down late that night, I couldn’t wait to plant my feet on that deliciously retro PDX carpet. I immediately caught the gaze of one woman who was staring intently at me like I was a unicorn, so that was real fun. By the way, Portland has all of five Black people total, and I’ll just leave this clip about its unsavory past here. But I digress. My pals Sierra, Yvette and Khalid were waiting for me when I exited the airport. We took a short drive to Sierra’s house in Vancouver, Washington, to drop off our luggage, and then headed to a divey bar that had karaoke. I tried a tasty Ace Pineapple Cider, knowing that I had to take it easy to prepare for the Vancouver Brewfest the following day (more on that later…). A kindly redheaded man asked me to sing “Summer Nights” from “Grease” with him, and I obliged. And Yvette shut the whole place down with a soulful rendition of Journey’s “Separate Ways.” All in all, a nice introduction to Vancouver, which is all about “big trucks, bebes and big attitudes,” according to Jesse.

Read more about my amazing Pacific Northwest weekender after the jump!
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Out and About: Art at San Francisco MoMA

August 16, 2016

You may recall my previous Out and About post, chronicling the pieces from the Andy Warhol exhibit at the newly renovated San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Well, these are some of the other works that caught my eye while traversing the museum’s expansive seven floors last month. My homegirls Yvette and Toccara and I started at the top and worked our way down, playing a rousing game of “Art or Nah?” along the way. Immediately upon coming off the elevator to the seventh level, we were greeted by this big, robust sculpted floral arrangement called “Large Vase of Flowers” by artist Jeff Koons. I wanted to take it home, but my purse was nowhere near wide enough to fit it inside. Too darling! “Double America” by Glenn Ligon, a.k.a. the neon sign with the word “America” stacked on top of another, was an interesting change of pace from the abstract paintings dominating the wall space. There was this really dope installation (not pictured) in which you enter a pitch-black room, where in the middle is a metallic spinning sphere with light cast upon it. The piece, “Melter 3-D,” morphs and twists and turns like molten lava. I, like most of the other museum-goers, stood there transfixed, trying to figure out how in the heck it came together. Compliments to the artist, Takeshi Murata! Check it out here, but not if you’re worried about the trick being spoiled before you see it in person. Click through the slideshow to see some of the other pieces that captivated me that day. When we reached the bottom, we checked out the Living Wall installation, which is just a fancy way of saying wall of plants/leaves/greenery. Also, shout out to the docent/employee in charge of guarding the wall. You’ll notice him as the guy yelling at you for getting too close to the plants. Send him my love! All in all, there are some fantastic works inside the revamped museum. If you’re an art aficionado, run, don’t walk!

See what other adventures I’ve gotten into by clicking here to read more Out and About posts.

ashley ♥ adores

Out and About: Andy Warhol Exhibit at San Francisco MoMA

August 2, 2016

There’s nothing like getting lost in the magnificence that lies within an art museum. That’s what I felt while out and about on my first visit to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art a few weeks ago. Apparently, the museum was newly remodeled and had an impressive Andy Warhol collection, which came as a pleasant surprise to me. If you ever go (which I strongly recommend), it’s on floor 5 as part of “Pop, Minimal and Figurative Art: The Fisher Collection.” Click through the slideshow to see some of the iconic Warhol pieces that captivated me. Warhol’s pop art was striking when viewed blown up several feet wide and up close. And to be within an arms reach of something that was created by someone as praised and respected as Warhol was humbling. I often wonder what artists were thinking at the time they were creating. Did he know his art would resonate with so many people while he was dabbling away making these pieces in the 1960s? Among some of the famous faces depicted in this collection are former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (“Jackie Triptych”), actor Marlon Brando (“Silver Marlon”), singer Elvis Presley (“Triple Elvis,” a Ferus type) and actress Marilyn Monroe (“Nine Marilyns” from the Reversal series). These famous figures may have passed away, but their spirits were very much alive on the walls of SF MoMA. Check back here next, next week to see some of the other great works I spotted throughout the museum.

See what other adventures I’ve gotten into by clicking here to read more Out and About posts.

ashley ♥ adores

Out and About: Sights from the Metro Expo Extension Tour in Santa Monica

May 17, 2016

I must admit that I’ve been on BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) more times than I’ve been on the Metro in Los Angeles (My one and only time was with my guy when we rode to the Wilshire iteration of CicLAvia a couple years ago). It’s a shame, too, because the Blue Line is just a few blocks away from my apartment. But I digress. Last week, I had the chance to go out and about on a tour of the Metro Expo Line extension that’s opening up to Santa Monica, which is promising because my job is a short walk from one of the new stops. Maybe I’ll use that to get into work? We’ll see, but it was exciting to observe all the sights along the way. Click through the slideshow to see all the fun things I encountered on the train ride. Starting from the Culver City stop and going all the way to the Downtown Santa Monica stop (right at the intersection of Fourth Street and Olympic Boulevard, a short walk to the pier/beach and Third Street Promenade), I was amazed by the architecture of some of the older buildings, the growing list of places I’d like to visit, the hidden pieces of street art and murals peeking out unexpectedly. It all added to the wonder and surprise of getting an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the Metro’s new line. There was a dope Obey mural that I didn’t get to capture, and getting that on camera may be worth another trip alone. I was particularly impressed by the art adorning the different stops, each unique and highlighting a diverse subject. There were piles of artistically scattered clothes and more intricate tile works of the iconic Far East. It makes for great scenery to sit back and enjoy while on board.

To see what other adventures I’ve gotten into, click here to read more Out and About posts.

ashley ♥ adores

Out and About: The Getty Villa

March 28, 2016

I’ve always heard great things about the Getty Villa, but for whatever reason hadn’t ever gotten around to going. I got the chance to visit this Malibu/Pacific Palisades-area museum this past weekend when my friend Fifi celebrated her birthday there. It was a perfect Los Angeles day: not too hot, not too cold. I’m more of a contemporary art kind of gal, but it was nice to get out of my comfort zone and explore an entirely different era of art. Ancient Greece and Rome, to be exact. And you can see it all by clicking through the slideshow. There was so much beauty everywhere I looked, from the statues, statuettes and busts in bronze and marble, to the vases, to the architecture, to the gardens and flora inside. Even the floors and ceilings were a sight to behold. I also learned that a lot of those creepy, eerie dead eyes (you know the kind that follow you wherever you go?) were made of bone, stone and glass to resemble real eyes. Like, they’re intentionally that way. I guess you can say beauty is in the EYE of the beholder. See what I did there? I highly recommend making the trip to the Getty Villa (ticket reservations are a must), and while you’re on that side of town, try that new brunch spot you’ve heard rave reviews about.

To see what other adventures I’ve gotten into, click here to read more Out and About posts.

ashley ♥ adores

Out and About: “The Real” Taping

December 3, 2015

“This is our tiiiiiiime!” It truly was this past Tuesday, as my pals Linda, Lola and Octavia headed to Warner Studios in Burbank for the taping of daytime talk show “The Real.” I was extra amped because it was one of their holiday episodes. I had no idea what to expect, but shortly after arriving at 7 a.m. or so and waiting in the check-in line, I became a contestant on the “Fake It or Take It” game. I guess I had the right blend of zaniness, energy and style, because the producers picked little ol’ me out from dozens of audience members to play the game. No spoilers here. I’ll let you see how I did, right here. I hadn’t been to a TV show taping since “The Price Is Right,” and it was exciting being in the audience and seeing what goes on behind the scenes. Tamar was out sick, but Tamera, Loni, Jeannie and Adrienne held it down. The whole experience was awesome. You can tell that there’s an amazing team that makes the magic happen, and seeing it firsthand made me like the show even more. Friends, if you’re ever itching to go to a show taping, get in on “The Real”– you won’t be disappointed. Everyone, audience members included, was supportive, friendly and there to have a great time. So glad I got to experience it.

To see what other adventures I’ve gotten into, click here to read more Out and About posts.

ashley ♥ adores

Out and About: Ace Hotel Downtown L.A. Staycation

July 13, 2015

Rewind to last October when I won a staycation at the Ace Hotel Downtown L.A. after dancing for my life at 826LA’s Dance-a-thon and being crowned Best Dancer. Welp, fast forward to this past Friday when I finally cashed that bad boy in to keep my birthday week in full swing. Guys, it was AMAZING! To commemorate the occasion, this slideshow has 31 snapshots for my 31st birthday. So many things to let you know about, so I’ll just take it from the top.

Dash and I made it downtown at about 2 p.m. and had some time to kill before our check-in at the Ace Hotel, so we set out in search of a late lunch. As luck would have it, Grand Central Market was within a block of the lot where we parked. Boom! That meant I could finally try out Eggslut. The name is kinda out there, but the food is simply divine. And it gets bonus points because there was no line! We feasted on their famous cheeseburger, which has (you guessed it!) an egg in it. A sunny-side-up sucker, to be exact. I wondered, will it be messy? Will all the flavors be balanced? Will this change my life? The answer to all these questions: yes, Yes, and YAAASS! Seriously, it was the jam. Can’t wait to visit the Market again and see what other treats await. After our quick bite, we hit up Bar 107 for a little sippy sippy and then made our way to the Ace.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by the most stylish, friendly front desk agents, who made check in a breeze. We opted for the king bed on the 11th floor, as opposed to the queen on the 13th, because obvi. The room was legit!

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Out and About: D’Angelo and The Vanguard Live

June 11, 2015

Guys, I got to see D’Angelo and The Vanguard live in concert at Club Nokia on Monday night with my pal, Becky, and it was EVERYTHING! I was delighted to have seen him perform on “Saturday Night Live” but, of course, that has nothing on the live show. If ever you had a doubt in your mind, D’Angelo’s still got it. Yes, that velvety voice greeted me like a warm hug. He’s promoting his new album, Black Messiah, which has some great tracks. My favorites that he graced us with that night were “Really Love,” “Ain’t That Easy,” “The Charade” and “Betray My Heart,” which was accompanied by the flyest sign-language choreo I’d ever seen.

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Out and About: My Brother’s Wedding Day

May 19, 2015

Temecula in May is usually warm and sunshine-y, but May 8 turned out to be an overcast, chilly day. However, my family’s love and excitement shone brightly, despite the weather that day. It was a big day for the Sabree/Ratcliff clan, as my youngest brother, Jamaal, got married to his fiancé, Breana. The rustic venue, Whispering Oaks Terrace, was quaint and we were very glad to find that the wedding would be taking place inside of the venue’s surprisingly intimate barn. This was a shabby chic dream, with white stringed lights, baby’s breath in mason jars, dim lights, white linen, wooden chests — the whole shebang. My brothers Robert and Karim were groomsmen, and nephew Jordan was the ring bearer. I’ll never forget how beautiful everyone looked and how much love filled the room. It was tangible. Long story short: My brother’s wedding day was incredible, and I’m so excited to see Jamaal and Breana grow as a couple. Welcome to our wacky, loving family, Bree! No take-backs. LOL.

ashley ♥ adores

Out and About: Disneyland

April 30, 2015

What an adventure I had with my pal Zita earlier this week, when we set off on an adventure to Disneyland. Yes, we had the park going on up a Tuesday! I hadn’t been to Disneyland since I was in high school many moons ago. Zita has vivid memories of her one and only previous visit as a child, during which she was traumatized by the Autopia car ride, or “Automatopoeia,” as she called it. Tuesday is a wonderful day to visit Disneyland, as the crowds aren’t as large then. We lucked out and didn’t have to wait too long for any rides. We even started and ended the day off with a wild thrill ride on Space Mountain, which was way more cray than I last remembered. Mickey’s Soundsational Parade was a joy to watch, as tons of Disney characters could be seen. Great choreography and music, by the way. It almost made up for the fact that the park closed at 7:30 p.m., meaning no night-time parade and fireworks. We did swing by Toontown and caught a glimpse at Mickey and Minnie’s houses. Which, now that I think of it, why are they living separately? I could have sworn they were married. On the way out of Disneyland, I stopped to snag a photo opp with Goofy. Gotta love that silly guy! It felt like a successful trip, especially because we had a game plan going in. Here’s a final tally of the rides we experienced:

Space Mountain: 2
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: 1
Mad Tea Party: 1
Splash Mountain: 1
Autopia: 1
Pirates of the Caribbean: 1
Indiana Jones: 0 (Closed)
Matterhorn Bobsleds: 0 (Closed)

Pro tip: On a hot, sunny day (like the one we experienced on Tuesday), stop to refuel by grabbing a tasty Dole Whip Float (unbelievable pinapple-y goodness!) and heading to the Enchanted Tiki Room in Adventureland. It’s not the best thing since sliced bread, but you will appreciate the air conditioning, tap your toes to the rhythms permeating and even get a few giggles in laughing at the outdated animatronic birds.

When was the last time you visited Disneyland? What’s your favorite Disneyland treat? Let me know in the comments section below!

ashley ♥ adores