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Summer Breeze

Words & Original Cocktail Recipe by Richard Swan // Photography by Sarah Prikryl 

Make no mistake, people: Summer is upon us and it’s time we started acting like it.

There seems to be little to argue on the merits of the ‘Spritz’ as the ultimate Summertime drink. It hits all the marks – cold, refreshing, versatile. All importantly: it is a ‘low ABV’* beverage, meaning you can enjoy them at length without needing a midday snooze as the pool party carries on without you…I call it a ‘cruise control’ drink.

The ‘Summer Breeze’ aims to hit these marks while combining two wondrous ingredients: the affable and ubiquitous LaCroix Coconut (the suntan lotion one) and the stunning Cocchi Americano Apertif. Cocchi is yet another Italian import made from grapes and sunshine and everything nice – and it is right at home in this combination.

To say this cocktail is simple to make would be an understatement.


SUMMER BREEZE

INGREDIENTS~

1 can LaCroix Coconut

1.5 oz Cocchi Americano

1 Lemon Peel

1 Lemon Wheel

ASSEMBLY~

Combine ingredients over cracked ice and stir thoroughly.

Express the oils of the lemon peel over the drink.

Drop in the lemon wheel.

Embark for Kokomo.

 

You can even eschew glass (wise for poolside hangs) and build the cocktail directly in the can. Simply pour 2 oz of La Croix out and pour in the Cocchi Americano. Drop the Lemon Peel in and keep the can on ice!

*(low alcohol by volume)

For more delicious summer whistle wetters, check out Richard’s updated twist on the classic Negroni…the Antīc Ferari: HERE. Happy Summering!! xoxo, Sirens & Scoundrels  

Richard is a first generation American, musician, gear head and cat dad. LA serves as his home base while he travels the country designing cocktail programs for events and venues as National Beverage Director for thegrandbevy.com. Follow his travels at @formulaswan.


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© 2017 Sirens and Scoundrels // Cocktail Recipe © 2017 Richard Swan

Sunset Swim 2017~ The Annenberg Community Beach House

Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl

Our favorite summer swim nights are back at The Annenberg Community Beach House! Don’t miss the first of three adult swim parties beginning August 11th, 2017! 

If you ever wished you could’ve been alive in the days when you drove your woodie down to the beach for a surfin’ safari and a little beach blanket bingo, then your time has finally come. The Annenberg Community Beach House is a throwback to the days when cool guys and gals gathered on the shores to enjoy some California fun in the sun.

Open daily to the public during the summer months, the Annenberg Community Beach House is still somehow one of LA’s best-kept secrets. A gorgeous pool. On the beach. Right in the heart of Santa Monica. Open to everyone. It’s almost too good to be true.

It has a rich history, too. The Beach House is actually on the old Marion Davies Estate, the beachside love pad built by William Randolph Hearst for his silent film starlet mistress back in the Golden Age of Hollywood. The pool is the estate’s original, all marble and tile refurbished by hand. Marion’s lavish guest house still stands and you can tour it during the day. But beware—we’ve heard the mistress of the house still likes to appear to handsome young gentlemen sometimes.

On a normal day during the summer season, the beach house is open to the public of all ages on a first-come, first-served basis. It costs $10 to get in and you can stay as long as you want. You can take advantage of the pool, the beach volleyball courts right outside, take a dip in the ocean and use their updated pool house to shower off when you’re ready to go home. They even offer classes including swimming, beach volleyball and Esther Williams-style water ballet to make all your MGM musical synchronized swimming dreams come true!

But it gets even better. Just three times a season, they throw their Sunset Swim party, opening up the pool for an adults-only night swim. This year, Sunset Swim 2017 is happening on Fridays August 11th, September 8th & October 13th from 7pm-10pm. It costs $10 to get in and includes s’mores, frozen fruit bars, big pool floaties for relaxing in and poolside games like ping pong and giant connect four. Basically, a big kid’s paradise.

Always huge fans of a secret party, we brought our Sirens & Scoundrels gang to check out last summer’s Sunset Swim and had the time of our lives. There is no alcohol permitted on the grounds, but you can BYO snacks and beverages in non-glass containers. We brought a big group and set up shop in one of the poolside cabanas, then headed straight to the shining star—the pool. It’s huge, gorgeous and deep. Luckily, there were plenty of golden swans for lounging on, bringing that old world musical flair to life.

It’s a rare thing in LA to get to enjoy a night out that also feels like going back to a much more innocent time. Our inner kids came out to play as we splashed around in the setting sun, watched the stars come out overhead, roasted endless s’mores of different flavor combinations and just enjoyed each other’s company. It felt like stepping into a Beach Boys ballad and seeing it come alive all around us…slowed-down, beautiful, full of innocent nostalgia and pure joy for the good stuff in life.

If you wanna travel back in time yourself, be sure to swing by the Annenberg with your gang for some good old-fashioned American fun in the sun. Or in this case, fun in the sunset!

Sunset Swim at The Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica. Fridays August 11th, September 8th, October 13th, 2017. 7pm-10pm. $10 entry, adults only, no RSVP required. For more information, visit the Annenberg website: https://www.annenbergbeachhouse.com.

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© 2017 Sirens and Scoundrels

Happy Ours Ranch ~ Utah

Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl // Contributing Photography by Gina Cholick

Halfway between Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park lies a little secret gem tucked away amongst the rolling green fields of Glendale, UT. Winding your way off the main highway onto a sprawling expanse of ranch land, a small dirt trail slowly circles the grounds to finally reveal the sweetest home-away-from-home a cabin lover could ever dream of. Beautifully hand-built by the family who own and run the property, Happy Ours Ranch makes all your tiny cabin fantasies come true the moment you lay eyes upon it. Quaint and cozy, this wood and tin delight has enough charm to tempt you away from ever leaving the property…even with the astonishing draw of Zion and Bryce just a short car ride away.

On the hunt for the perfect pied-à-terre to kick up our feet and rest our heads during our Summer Sirens Utah Roadtrip, we knew we hit the jackpot when we stumbled across Happy Ours Ranch on HomeAway.com. It was everything we could have hoped for and more: a tiny wood cabin (our cabin obsession is real), close to both Zion and Bryce, large enough for a gaggle of gals and our belongings, double bathrooms and showers to accommodate all those ladies in the morning, a full kitchen, a private laundry room to keep our clothes fresh during our weeklong stay, clean, quiet, comfy, cozy, 100% one-of-a-kind unique…and most importantly, it had double queen bunk beds made from logs to really create the girls-gone-summer-camp vibe. Our five girls, one Prius landed straight into a little slice of Utah ranch heaven…complete with nuzzling horses!

The lovely owners, Dave and Karren, have taken great pains to ensure that the bunkhouse is clean, comfortable and stocked with every amenity. They are as available as you want them to be to answer any questions or offer guidance to the local sights. We definitely recommend taking a moment to chat with them about the history of the cabin and the property. Happy Ours felt like such a special hidden treasure, we almost considered keeping it to ourselves. But since it is our sworn duty to always share our favorite discoveries with you, we decided to let you in on the secret. You just gotta promise to keep it in the family!

You can book a stay at Happy Ours through HomeAway.com here: https://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p325278vb

Tell them Sirens & Scoundrels sent you! Happy Adventuring!! xoxo

Discover Zion’s Heaven on Earth HERE.

Explore Bryce Canyon’s surrealist daydream HERE

The Grand Canyon by: Sarah PrikrylContinue your Wild West road trip with a stop at the Grand Canyon HERE.


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© 2017 Sirens and Scoundrels

Bryce Canyon ~ Utah

Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl // Contributing Photography by Gina Cholick

Deep in the heart of Utah lies a surrealist dreamland sprung to life. If Salvador Dalí painted the Grand Canyon full of drippy peach candlestick mountains all melting in the desert sun while Indiana Jones hosted an archaeological dig for extraterrestrial life at the center of it all…that pretty much sums up what Bryce Canyon National Park feels like. At once awe-inspiring, mind-blowing and really pretty trippy.

We took a one-day excursion out to Bryce in the middle of our Zion adventure week to take in some new scenery and hit some new trails. An easy 2-hour drive east of Zion, Bryce is definitely the wild child amongst its sleeker Utah and Arizona canyon cousins. If the Grand Canyon is Mozart, Bryce Canyon is Bowie. Nothing to see here but mind-bending intergalactic rock ‘n roll mountainsides incarnate in nature.

Upon arrival, we decided to take in the lay of the land as our first endeavor. The road into Bryce is laid out in a loop where you can pull over and hop out along the way to check out all of its epic views. And the views here are indeed EPIC. The rocks in Bryce have formed amphitheaters full of “hoodoos”—drippy spindly geological formations that gradually change color from orange, peach and white like a giant tie-dyed t-shirt.

After mapping out the domain, we hit the trails of the main event taking the Navajo Loop Trail directly into Bryce Amphitheater. A “moderate hike” that takes you down into electric nectarine slot canyons dotted with neon green fir trees before opening out into the sweeping amphitheater, the Navajo Trail delivers all the best of Bryce in just about two hours. We meandered through walls of tall crumbly hoodoos that made us feel like both a band of ancient archeologists and intergalactic futuristic explorers on an excavation mission all at the same time. We even met the “natives”—friendly chipmunks who love to come visit and have a chat to showcase their local way of life.

The day we went was sweltering. Aside from the slot canyon, most of the Navajo hike is in direct sunlight—so hats, sunglasses, sunscreen and tons of water are an absolute necessity. But the rewards for trudging through the sun here are enormous. You will never see anything like this landscape anywhere else on Planet Earth, guaranteed. Its beauty is overwhelming—it will stun you into silence, fill you with awe and absolutely take your breath away.

The final payoff at the end of the steep incline back up to the top is the lookout point waiting for you above. Take a moment to soak in the great accomplishment of completing your hike and enjoy your reward—an epic vista view of the entire Bryce Amphitheater laid out before you. Standing here on top of it all, you can’t help but marvel at the astounding beauty of Nature. How just when you think you have seen it all, your entire world can get rocked by the new and mysterious Great Unknown. An important reminder that there is so much more to explore, so much more to discover on this beautiful planet of ours if we just stay open, stay curious and remember that life is meant to be an adventure.

Our Utah Road Trip series continues next week with our stay at Happy Ours Ranch! You can check out our Zion adventures HERE! And our Grand Canyon adventures HERE!

Happy Trails! xoxo Sirens & Scoundrels


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© 2017 Sirens and Scoundrels

Zion National Park

Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl // Contributing Photography by Gina Cholick

A couple years ago, I came across a photo of a giant bright peach of a mountainside towering over a meandering aqua river adorned with patches of bright green fluffy trees dozing under a hazy golden sunset. It seemed like something out of a dream. Or perhaps a distant memory from some other world where only peace, beauty and tranquility exist. A mythological fantasy planet that someone managed to come back to Earth with visual proof of. I recognized it somehow, though I had never seen it before. This intense feeling immediately rushed up from deep down inside my soul and commanded, “We must go to there!!” I could almost taste the gorgeous landscape on my tongue, hear it whispering in my ear. My eyes searched for the name of this biblical Eden incarnate until they landed on the word “Zion”. Of course…Zion. I had heard the tales many times from others who had made the epic journey before me but this was the first time I was laying eyes on it myself. Like meeting a man that every single one of your closest friends somehow dated and now refer to as “the one that got away”, Zion walked into my life the same way—its legend looming large before we ever officially met. And suddenly, I just knew. I had to go to Zion.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my work as a meditation teacher, it’s that when your soul sends you such a loud and clear message, you answer it. Even if you have no idea where it came from, why, or where it’s leading you. So taking my own advice, I cancelled my annual desert birthday celebration with friends and put out the adventure call to see who wanted to hop in the car and road trip it out to Utah instead. Sirens Sarah, Gina, Kelsey and Pippa immediately volunteered for the mission. So with our backpacks, hiking boots and plenty of snacks in tow, we loaded up five girls in one Prius and hit the open road.

The seven and a half hour drive from Los Angeles, CA to Zion National Park, UT stretched into more like eleven hours after gas, rest stop, lunch and leg stretch breaks. Luckily, we had some awesome playlists to keep us company as we cruised up the 15 through Vegas and even dead-stopped for a while in a parking lot sea of thousands of cars headed to an EDM festival on the desert outskirts. Trapped amongst carloads of young kids dressed in neon as far the eye could see, their cars adorned with flashing lights and glowing signs, I could not help but feel this was all part of the plan. We were most definitely traveling to another world, possibly another galaxy. And this was just the beginning.

It was the dead of night when we finally arrived. We had to drive through the park to get out the other side where our accommodations awaited, beckoning us to come lay our heads down and sleep for awhile. As soon as we crossed the threshold into the park, the paved road turned bright red as if we had just touched down on Mars—our first clue that we definitely were not in normal life anymore. The stars were clear and bright—more stars than we had ever seen in our lifetimes, even with the low-hanging waxing moon. We wound our way through the park in pitch black, giant darkened slabs towering above us on all sides that seemed to stretch up up up forever so that we had to crane our heads to see the starry sky above. Even in total darkness, the enormity of Zion’s mountainscape was breathtaking. It felt huge, ancient and powerful. In that moment, I understood that if I could just stay open and listen for the wisdom, this journey would somehow change my life.

Driving into the park in daylight was a completely different experience, though no less surreal. The hulking darkened slabs from the previous night transformed into sweeping vistas of bright peachy sienna mountains that looked like they had been painted by Van Gogh’s brush, all thick sideways sherbert swirls. It felt like landing on some future Mars, the red planet suddenly bursting to life with trees and flocks of animals resting in the shade under the galactic sun. Surely the Prius had accidentally dropped us into some different star system in the night and we were no longer on Earth but some brand new planet just waiting to be explored.

The people of planet Zion are very friendly, I’m happy to report, and very well organized. They have a hop-on-hop-off shuttle system that runs all day and conveniently takes you to all of the different hikes and sites throughout the park. We parked our car down at the first lot inside from Springdale, the tiny town full of restaurants, markets and sporting goods stores for all your adventuring needs. Our first stop would be Emerald Pools Trail, a moderate mountain hike that leads to—you guessed it—emerald water pools. We stepped off the shuttle, crossed the bridge and collectively gasped at our first real sight of the Virgin River. It literally took our breath away. We stood in awe as we watched the gentle sea foam green water babbling across glittering rocks under the giant peach mountains dotted with bushy side-growing trees. Suddenly, I understood where we were. This wasn’t Mars at all, this must be the land of unicorns and dragons! The mythical planet that provides James Cameron and fellow filmmakers with all their sci fi inspiration. THIS is where the unicorns and dragons live, of course! I swear we saw some giant fire-breathers flapping their majestic wings off the mountaintops in the distance to take to the sun, heard the soft hooves of unicorn families drinking from the nearby stream. And it all felt perfectly normal and right. In fact, taking in this landscape, we realized it would actually be stranger NOT to see dragons and unicorns here. Clearly, this was their natural habitat.

So with our bearings finally gained, we proceeded with our hike deep into mythical creature country. We followed the winding Emerald Pools Trail across walls of giant rusty sandstone, under naturally-occurring hanging gardens and waterfalls until we reached the lower pools and then the upper pools, each stop along the way more jaw-dropping than the next. On planet Zion, time ceases to exist, so there is no pressure to have to get anywhere or do anything quickly. You can take your time—because you have all the time in the world—to just slow down and feel each drop of water fall into your palms, press your cheek to each warm earthen wall, splash your feet in the cool emerald waters. It’s a different kind of photosynthesis that occurs here, where you soak in all the natural surrounding beauty directly through your skin, filling up inside with all of your essential nutrients: peace, tranquility and a deep knowing that all is right in the world.

Day two on planet Zion was time to answer the warrior’s call. Armed with our water boots and walking sticks rented from Zion Adventure Company (and after watching the safety video to make sure we were properly prepared for our exploratory mission), we arrived at The Narrows. Why is a safety video necessary? The Narrows is a water hike where the river IS the path. You literally walk on water the entire way through red rock subway slats jutting up thousands of feet above you. While this creates stunning beauty and an incomparable experience, it can also be very dangerous. Flash floods happen in the area without warning even on a bright hot sunny day. In a slot canyon filled with water, there is nowhere to go when that happens. So when deciding to venture out on a Narrows mission, always be sure to check the park’s daily safety warnings first.

Boots on, sticks in hand, our four tall American Amazons and one little Aussie Fairie waded into the refreshingly cool waters that sloshed up thigh-level, a welcome gift in the afternoon heat. We had been told to go first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds that flock here in the summer. But we decided to go mid-day after a leisurely sleep-in and cabin breakfast. Our wager worked in our favor. The morning rush was coming out as we were coming in, so we had lots of room to meander at our own pace. We wound and twisted our way through the russet slot canyon. Placing one wet foot in front of the other, rock by sparkling rock, greeting every new reveal behind each turn in the path became a waking meditation connecting us to a deep and ancient part of ourselves with each new step. This must have been what it felt like before language, before words, when there was only feeling. And this feeling was pure wonder.

Our third and final day on planet Zion was all about slowing down and just enjoying the scenery, relishing this new process of nature-synthesis. We picked up treats from Café Soleil Zion in Springdale—a restaurant we found early on in our expedition because, as Siren Gina keenly pointed out, their sign was “definitely our font”. She could not have been more right. With a menu full of healthy, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options as well as smoothies and lattes, Café Soleil became our go-to purveyor of all things human food while hiking through the park. But on this day, we ordered to-go with one final mission in mind: to picnic by the Virgin River and take in the sunset over The Watchman, Zion’s most famous and picturesque mountain peak.

Armed with our bounty of healthy and delicious provisions, we hiked down to the riverside under the bridge off Hwy 9 and happily discovered several small private sandy beaches just perfect for lounging. We kicked off our shoes, laid out our picnic and munched happily as the afternoon sun began its descent and Leon Bridges’ achingly beautiful “River” played in the background. All the while, The Watchman stood guard, his majestic robes ever-changing from dusty pink sherbert to electric orange nectarine to deep russet rose as the sun dipped ever lower. The air was cool and still, the water warm and inviting. Honoring our pledge to explore all native territory thoroughly, we stripped down to our bikinis and waded into the Virgin River to watch the final blaze of light pass behind the mountains. This is where time truly stopped. Was it an hour, was it three, was it a lifetime in one moment? There was absolutely no way of telling. All I know is that life stretched out indefinitely, infinitely. No life, no death, no other time or place but this. This one moment for all eternity.

As I sat there on my birthday in the Virgin River and just watched the light shift over The Watchman for three hours/three years/three lifetimes, I asked the river to lend me her ancient wisdom—what was it that I needed to know? I was instantly shown an image of us walking through the Narrows with our walking sticks the day before. How much easier it had been to walk back out when we were going with the current versus when we were first walking in against it. How slow and clumsy it felt going against the current, how many more people around us stumbled and injured themselves that way. And I was told, “Life is not just about surrendering to the will of the Universe, it’s about going with the current of your Life. Move with Life in the direction it is flowing and use that momentum to catapult you forward to where you need to be. Do not get bogged down in trying to walk against the current of your life, you will only slow your own progress. It’s not about just surrendering and floating in whatever direction the water happens to take you. Your participation and your deliberate action are required. But walk in the same direction that the water is leading you, feel how it wants to support you from behind and propel you forward. Tune into that force and use it…and you can never go wrong.”

With that, the Great Big Eternal Silence returned as the stars peeked through the evening sky and the moon smiled above the sleepy mountains. After a long while (decades, centuries, millennia), we reluctantly decided it was finally time to go. The dragons had already flown back to their evening nests, the unicorns snuggled down in cozy pairs for the night. All that was left to do was hop back in the Prius and watch the moon illuminate the nighttime mountainsides while Neil Young serenaded, “There’s a full moon risin’, let’s go dancin’ in the light…” with the windows down. See, the beauty of nature-synthesis is that it works whether the sun’s out, moon’s out or none’s out. It ALL gets distilled down through your cells into the essential core of your being, begins to alter your very DNA and gently turns you into something…more. A person made, at least partly, of pure magic.

Our Utah Road Trip series continues next week with our trippy archaeological dig down the rabbit hole at Bryce Canyon!


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© 2017 Sirens and Scoundrels

 

Summer Road Trip Playlist!

Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl 

The dawn of May means one thing: road trip season is officially upon us! Time to make your plans and hop in the car with your nearest and dearest this summer to go explore the big wide wild open! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing highlights from our epic Sirens road trip to Utah’s stunning national parks. We took in the jaw-dropping majesty of Zion and Bryce Canyon and even stayed at the world’s sweetest tiny log-and-tin cabin, Happy Ours Ranch. We’re sharing our on-the-road playlist to set the mood and soothe your soul on all your summer adventures! Car packed, wheels down…go get those tires dirty with our “Dusty Trails” playlist!

MAY 2017 ~ DUSTY TRAILS // ZION

And stay tuned for this month’s adventures to Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon! 

Happy Trails!! xoxo, Sirens & Scoundrels


FOLLOW US ON SPOTIFY FOR EASY LISTENING FROM ANY DEVICE!~ https://play.spotify.com/user/sirensandscoundrels

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Words & Playlist by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl

© 2017 Sirens and Scoundrels

The 14th Factory

Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl 

If you ever wished you could combine a haunted Halloween funhouse with a large-scale multi-media international modern art installation (minus the chainsaws and hulking guys in masks breathing down your neck), your wish has finally come true. Full of thrilling discoveries and suspense around each new darkened corner, The 14th Factory is an art-lover’s moody paradise—combining video, sound design and both static and interactive immersive environments to create an art experience truly unlike any other.

Envisioned by British-born, Hong Kong-based artist Simon Birch in collaboration with global artists from China, Hong Kong, the US, the UK and Canada, The 14th Factory asks you to step inside a nondescript seemingly abandoned warehouse located in a forgotten part of Los Angeles and follow the path it leads you down…armed with little more than the promise of experiencing a Hero’s Journey. The black box entrance greets you with a brief introduction written on the walls where you are handed a map and then let loose to discover what secrets await.

Funneling onto the darkened path, your eyes strain to adjust and find your way through the first few stops. In the blackened quiet, you become aware of sounds ringing out from somewhere—knocks and cracks echoing from an unknown faraway chamber. The familiar eerie feeling of the haunted funhouse begins to settle in as you enter into Phase One of the Hero’s Journey, passing by a painting of a man covering his own eyes with an illuminated chain hanging just beyond him. A light beckons further ahead at the end of a long dark tunnel, revealing upon approach a moving mandala made up of men—twisting, turning, contorting into the most exquisite shapes, at once tortuously pained and breathtakingly beautiful. Much like man itself. Mesmerizing, meditative and utterly hypnotic, you could easily stay here all day. But a Hero’s Journey can never stop at the very beginning and there is so much more to see. So onwards you go…

And here we take a pause. As with so many of these immersive art experiences, our honest recommendation is to go in knowing as little as possible so you can allow it all to be a true discovery in the moment. The more unprepared you are, the better. The only things you really need to know are the how-to facts. The exhibit runs Tues-Sun mornings into evenings through the end of May (exact times vary by day). Tickets are around $20 after processing fees and should be purchased in advance. It’s best to get there on the earlier side when there are less people so you can have more of the place to yourself. Neighborhood parking is not great but valet is available for $15. All pertinent info is available HERE.

If you don’t mind visual spoilers, you can scroll through the photos here. But just trust us and go immerse yourself in the full experience. Take time with each stop along the way, especially with the video installations. They have an unexpected way of working on you that require your patience and focused attention. Sit still and soak them in longer than you normally would and notice what begins to open up in you. At the end of the road, who knows? You might just find your own transformation…

If you are interested in joining us for our organized Sirens & Scoundrels field trip to The 14th Factory this month, be sure to email us at: sirensandscoundrels@gmail.com. We’ll enjoy an afternoon of soaking up art followed by a delicious meal in DTLA!

 Contributing Photography by Christina Huntington // Video by Katie HilliardChristina Huntington  


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© 2017 Sirens and Scoundrels