We have so much to celebrate! Aside from welcoming in a brand new year, we also recently rang in our one-year anniversary over here at Sirens & Scoundrels! It’s been quite a wild ride, bringing you our most beloved local, travel and food adventures every week! We are thrilled to see our readers answering the Siren call—seeking out our favorite places in your own lives. Our greatest hope is to inspire you to get out into the world in a bigger way. As Californians, we are so incredibly lucky to have all the Best of the West right at our fingertips! We can’t wait to bring you along on many more beautiful adventures this year!
To celebrate our 1-Year Anniversary, we are taking a little inside look at the real Sirens behind all the adventures. We sat down for a joint interview to reflect on our favorite moments from the past year and what we are most excited to share with you in the year ahead. Thank you so much for all of your love and support. We’re so happy to have you on board this incredible journey…we’ve got a lot of living to do!
Q: What was your favorite adventure from 2016?
Christina: Well, the first Adventure Project hike to Running Springs in all that deep winter fog was really special. And our trip to Bodie Ghost Town made my inner history-loving nerd crazy happy. But if I had to pick just one, I’d say our trip to Zion. It felt like entering the land of unicorns and dragons—it actually felt more weird that we didn’t see them flying around there! Every inch is just jaw-droppingly stunning. I don’t remember ever feeling so deeply serene in every moment for so many days on end. I spent my birthday sitting in the Virgin River watching the sun set and the moon and stars rise behind those giant mountains and it felt like time could just disappear forever.
Sarah: Mine was Sierra Fall Colors for sure, that was a magical trip. Not only did we get to play in a Technicolor dreamland, we saw breathtaking views and gazed at landscapes that didn’t feel like we were on Planet Earth. I will never forget laying in a bed of golden yellow leaves in a white wooded forest, watching the clouds blow by overhead. We saw a breathtaking sunrise, sunset …and on our late trek home, a double NIGHT rainbow appeared lit by the glow of the full moon! I didn’t even know that existed in real life! I couldn’t believe we were the only ones on the road seeing this wonder—like it was just for us. The two of us, standing on the side of Hwy 395 for 45 minutes just staring in awe and then it dissipated and was gone. But that will forever live as one of my favorite life moments and a lesson in what a gift it is to be present–present enough to notice magic when it’s happening right in front of you.
Q: If you had to choose just ONE place to take an out-of-towner visiting LA, where would it be?
SP: The Old Place. Its down-home feel in the wooded mountains of Malibu, live bluegrass, the great barbeque and wine-tasting next door…it’s so special. I’m from Austin, so that Old West vibe and the smell of smoked ribs surrounded by trees and peacocks wandering the grounds—it feels like a magical version of home to me.
CH: I agree, the Old Place is always the favorite for a special meal. But I think I might actually go with the Griffith Observatory because there are just so many cool things to experience, it’s a true one-stop shop. You start with a little yummy nibble and hot drink down at Trails Cafe on the Los Feliz side followed by a short hike up to the Observatory to get those 360° city views and a clear shot of the Hollywood sign. Stroll through the Observatory to see the Tesla coil and discover what your weight would be on Mars. Then step back outside to watch the sunset over LA as all the city lights come on. The first Friday of every month, the Observatory hosts a free space talk called All Space Considered that’s fascinating and entertaining. It’s space science with humor. Afterwards, you can go take a peek through the giant mama telescope and the smaller telescopes spread out on the lawn to see all kinds of celestial bodies right in your own eye! Seeing Saturn’s rings literally changed my life. It alters you somehow…getting that kind of immense perspective.
Q: What is your favorite West Coast spot?
SP: The whole stretch from Big Sur to Napa is Heaven on Earth. Northern California has the best food, wine and people. The natural environment there is a whole other world—cliffs meet the ocean inside the mountains, surrounded by ancient redwoods. I am always a “Yes” to traveling up the coast!
CH: Big Sur, hands down. It really does feel like you have left Earth completely. The whole town is set on these curving cliffs perched so high above sea level that you’re often looking down upon the ocean and even the clouds way below. That kind of perspective makes you feel like you have the angels’ view. The redwood forests are green lush fairylands. The community itself is filled with artists, philosophers and foodies. I highly recommend staying at Deetjen’s for the full storybook experience (and the best food in town). Then treat yourself to the midnight public bath at Esalen’s hot springs for something completely out of this world—totally mind, body and soul blowing.
Q: What was your funniest 2016 behind-the-scenes story?
CH: I have to say, most of our travel adventures really are as incredibly magical and dream-like as they appear. But being on the road can also bring unexpected kinks in your fairy tale and I think this moment from our trip to Lake Tahoe last summer brings a fair representation of both sides. After a long hike in the sun to a hidden beach without us drinking enough water, Gina (our fellow Siren & photographer) woke up the next morning with a crushing migraine right as the power went out in the little town we were staying in. She had to throw up in a pitch dark hotel bathroom while all the girls waited in the car because we had checked out and were moving on to our next destination. We had to stop at Walmart (a first for me) because it was the only place with any electricity and we needed to buy Excedrin and water for Gina. So Gina & I went inside to get her supplies and then went into the Walmart public restroom so she could brush her teeth and recover before heading out for another day of exploring. I took my first bathroom selfie ever to document the highly glamorous behind-the-scenes moment—the two of us standing with our plastic Walmart bags and Gina brushing her teeth in a public toilet. Luckily, it all actually helped. Gina perked up and we enjoyed a lovely afternoon at Bodie Ghost Town afterwards that truly was magic. So I guess, thanks Excedrin, Vitamin Water, Walmart and disposable toothbrushes for making it all possible! And to Gina for being a road-tripping, no-migraine-in-a-power-outage-will-stop-me badass!
SP: People always ask how we get our portraits of the two of us when we don’t have fellow photographers around. The truth is, we’ve had to learn to be self-sufficient out of necessity if we want to both be in a shot sometimes, so I’ve become an expert at the tripod selfie portrait. I have tried to buy MULTIPLE hand-held shutter releases, but they always seem to have some malfunction. So I’ve learned to set up my shot, framing, lighting, have Christina stand in for herself, then have her stand in for me and mark each spot. Then I set the timer on the camera and have 10 seconds to run to my spot, get in position and try to take a breath and look effortlessly relaxed until we hear the click. Then I run back to the camera and repeat 40 times and usually something comes out. So we have this weird system in place that is already funny and complicated but absolutely impossible without a tripod. So on one of our recent Mammoth shoots (which is about 5 hours away from LA), I realized I forgot my tripod mount for my camera. On a wing and a prayer, I had to call on my inner MacGyver to just make it work. Thus, the birth of the Toyota Prius tripod shot. This entails framing up my shot, backing my car into position with some precision driving, stabilizing my camera on the roof of my car on top of a sweater, climbing off of the roof and running into position. For the video version of this, it’s the same except for measuring if we are in focus by using a belt from my trunk to make sure the distance from the camera lens and car stays consistent. The lesson here is that we just make it work, what ever you gotta do to be creative and get the shot.
Q: What are you most excited about for 2017 with Sirens?
SP: Creating art video content.
CH: Definitely video content for me too. And adding a bunch of new contributors to our roster—I’m excited to hear what kind of inside scoops they’ll have to bring to the table through their various expertise!
Q: What are your passions outside of Sirens?
CH: Meditation teaching, film making, writing. Anything that has to do with art, music and nature. Being cozy with my dogs. And dancing, of course.
SP: Photographing pets, chefs and food, directing art videos, a good meal with friends, frolicking in nature and spontaneous dancing.
Q: What did you want to be as a kid?
CH: I wanted to be the 1st female president. Seriously. I wanted to change the world.
SP: A superhero. My magical powers entailed the power of invisibility so I could see into people’s inner lives without disturbing them. I could also fly, morph into water and my dance moves could magically soften any villain’s angst.
Q: What might surprise people to know about you?
CH: I’m not a serene yogi—I’m really playful, I’m a dancing machine (I’ll go 4 or 5 hours straight without stopping just on pure natural joy) and can rap along to most Beastie Boys songs by heart.
SP: Maybe not a surprise, but I’m obsessed with dogs, trees and farm tables. I’m a Czech-Korean hapa. I didn’t have my two front teeth for a year when I was a kid because I fell and it took forever for my adult teeth to come in. My Grandpa nicknamed me “Open Gate”. I’m a secret living room hip hop dancer. I went to clown school. My brain loves the weird—the weirder perspective the better.
Q: What is your favorite song to dance to?
CH: Uh…”I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Huston. Obviously.
SP: I’ll dance to anything from bluegrass to The Bangles, but I HAVE to stop everything and move if I hear any old school Missy Elliott.
Q: Any sage advice for 2017?
SP: Be present with yourself and others, you’ll be surprised by the magic that’s right in front of you. Speak up for what you believe in, be a voice against the bully. Always start everything with gratitude and compassion. A sense of humor and spontaneous dance sessions will make every situation that much better.
CH: Go big. Go bigger than you have before. Widen your reach. Help more people, make a bigger contribution. And…get curious again. Get excited again. Make your every day life an adventure.
Check out our “Meet the Sirens” 1 Year Anniversary video below! ~
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THANKS SO MUCH FOR A BEAUTIFUL YEAR!
MAY YOUR 2017 BE FILLED WITH LOVE, JOY & ADVENTURE!!
Sirens & Scoundrels xoxo
Christina Huntington~ Meet Christina, our resident content creator, writer, adventure babe and spiritual advisor! In her spare time between writing, directing and teaching meditation, our native Cali Girl can be found burning up any dance floor, curled up with a book and some Sam Cooke records, piling friends up in the car for an epic road trip and helping people live their best possible lives. Enjoy all her build-your-own adventure guides, travel tales and tips on the best things to do in LA to help make your life one big delicious beautiful adventure!
Sarah Prikryl~ Meet Sarah, our resident content creator, photographer, chef and adventure babe! Sarah’s whimsical art videos will put a smile on your face while her mouth-watering, easy, gluten-free recipes make all your foodie fantasies come true! A Cali Girl by way of Texas, Sarah can always be found dancing in her kitchen, taking iphone snaps of all the dogs and babies of Silverlake and organizing bountiful garden feasts for friends in her spare time. Check out all her video and foodie offerings to warm your heart and hearth!
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Words by Christina Huntington // Photography & Video by Sarah Prikryl
Contributing Photography by: Becca Murray, Daniel Mansfield, Christina Huntington
Contributing Video by: Michael Peters
Music in Video by: Allah-Las , The Drums, Beastie Boys & Missy Elliott
© 2017 Sirens and Scoundrels
Adore you two beyond believe. I loved the introductions! (and loved the migraine bathroom walmart selfie). Thank you for continuing to inspire us to get into the world and be in our lives! You bring SO much magic!
Thanks for being one of our MVP Sirens, Gina! And for contributing your gorgeous light-filled photography & ethereal world view! Can’t wait for many more beautiful adventures as we wind our way across this gorgeous planet of ours!
Thanks, beauty!! You’ve got to come along on an outing soon…
Congratulations on your one year anniversary! Always look forward to your new posts. Love you, Bob and Yana
Thanks so much, Bob & Yana!! Love you guys! Thanks for all your love & support always!