Through the Lens: photos from June

guitar pedals

Once again, another month has flown by, but July marks a special anniversary for me.

In mid-July of last year, John and I hit the road for an epic cross-country road trip. We were headed West by way of the suburbs of Baltimore.

I’ve lived in Los Angeles for almost a year now, which is surreal to say. It seems like just yesterday we were crashing at a family friend’s house scouring Craigslist and Padmapper and Zillow and every other rental site you can think of for a place to call home. We’ve come a long way since then.

But before I get all nostalgic for last year’s big adventure, let’s take one last parting look at June’s adventures.

amp Angel City brewery

John played a couple of gigs, and I even joined him on background vocals for a few songs. We met some awesome people those nights.

LA Zoo El 7 Mares laundromat Silver Lake hills

I got to check out the L.A. Zoo, discovered my new favorite fish taco stand in Silver Lake, peeked into windows and dreamed about the houses in the hills.

This month’s highlight was a road trip to Big Bear Lake, just a couple hours east of L.A.

Big Bear Lake mountains

Big Bear was incredible. We camped there for the weekend and found the perfect site in Hanna Flats campground. The weather was perfect—crisp air and insanely blue skies. The highlight of the trip might’ve been the drive itself. As we climbed up more than 7,000 feet, we rose above a thick bed of clouds. I felt so small in the best possible way up in those mountains.

above the clouds Big Bear Big Bear trees Big Bear Lake Big Bear camping campsite Big Bear Lake burnt trees golden hour Cassie & John

Every time we go on a new adventure like this mini road trip and our last trip to Joshua Tree, I’m reminded of last summer and how I explored so many new-to-me parts of the country for the first time. I plan to always make that kind of adventure a regular part of my life. Being on the road and seeing how insanely different the landscape can be in just a couple hours’ drive blows my mind every time I get out there. I think that mind-blowing factor is good exercise for the brain.

For my fellow road trip enthusiasts out there, I’ve got something special planned for July that I think you’ll enjoy.

I’ve reached out to a handful of travel and photography enthusiasts who are going to be sharing their adventures in a summer road trip series, which will kick off this Friday (the Fourth of July!) and last throughout July—possibly longer. Because you can’t romanticize the Great American Road Trip enough.

So keep an eye out for that this week and join me in welcoming July! What are you looking forward to this month?

Beer with a Blogger: Angel City Brewery in DTLA

There’s something very special about blog-friends-turned-real-life-friends.

When you’ve been following each other’s blogs for months (or even years!) and finally meet for the first time, it can be so surreal, because even though you’ve exchanged dozens of comments, read about their most personal experiences and seen plenty of pictures of them, it’s still strange at first that they’re actual people with voices and stuff. It’s also bizarre how totally normal it is to meet them and, like with old friends, have a million things to talk about.

Which is exactly what it was like meeting Rachel for the first time last summer.

Rachel of Existation

THE BLOGGER

Rachel Jackson, the photographer, writer and adventurer behind Existation. This Minnesota lady moved to Los Angeles in 2011 to pursue her California dream (something that instantly attracted me to her blog, since I had dreams and plans of doing the very same). Now, she and her boyfriend Toby live in West Hollywood and explore the great state of California whenever they get the chance. (Check out her photos of Joshua Tree and June Lake, and you’ll want to move out here, too.) What I love about Rachel is how warm, inviting and open she is. Must be that Midwestern charm. Follow Rachel on Instagram and Twitter.

Angel City Brewery

THE BAR

Angel City Brewery in the Arts District of downtown Los Angeles. This might just be my new favorite spot. The vibe is very industrial/casual/chic in this bowling alley-sized warehouse, where dogs are welcome and the bartenders are friendly. Angel City opened up almost a year ago exactly and doesn’t serve food, but it regularly welcomes food trucks to its parking lot. Live music, darts and regular run + yoga + beer events make it the perfect neighborhood spot, and quite frankly, I’m a bit jealous of everyone who lives within walking distance of this place. (There are so many other great spots in this part of downtown, too.)

THE BEER

An Angeleno IPA for me and a Mexican Cola Beer for Rachel—this one seemed to be a hit among the other patrons, too. All imbibed beverages brewed in-house, of course.

Angel City Brewery Angel City Brewerygerman shepherd puppy

Every time Rachel and I get together, the conversation flows naturally, and we end up chatting about so many different things. Namely, all the adventures we want to take, our anxieties and excitement about the future, creative outlets and inspiration, and the paths that have led us to where we are now. It always makes for good, much-needed girl talk.

Oh, and the brewery is just around the corner from the building where Jess and the boys from New Girl live, so of course we had to get a picture.

New Girl building

Real-life friend status even further solidified and a love for Angel City Brewery established. Good times.

Cassie and Rachel

Are you a blogger living in (or visiting!) L.A.? Do you like beer? Shoot me an email at wittycassiehere (at) gmail (dot) com, and let’s go to happy hour!