california dreaming – inspiration from the california coast
The helium team loves to travel. We crave new experiences, people and places; they give us a fresh perspective on life and, of course, tons of design inspiration. Traveling renews the soul and inspires creativity. Kristin, helium’s marketing coordinator, recently visited Los Angeles then drove up the California coast over 5 days staying in a different town each night. From the museums and movie studios of Los Angeles to the beach, jagged coastline, hills of Santa Barbara county and Red Wood forest just outside San Francisco, Kristin shares highlights and inspiration from her trip in this post.
Part of my first day in LA was spent at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, CA. Yeah, yeah, I know – such a tourist thing to do. But the 3 hour tour gives an amazing behind the scenes look at the creation of our favorite shows and movies, from Friends to Batman to The Ellen Show and countless others.
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The visit left a lasting, sentimental impression. So many talented artists have made a career doing something they love and have given millions of people hours upon hours of entertainment. They create an enduring part of American pop culture and give the world an inside look at the [however gilded] life of Americans. You often hear of parents not wanting their children to be artists, an idea that has always saddened me. After seeing the production process where sets are imagined and brought to life; animations, sculptures and costumes are created; and writing, directing and acting skills are perfected, it’s clear there would be no reason not to be an artist. In fact, it had me imagining what life would be like had I followed my first love of fashion and costume design.
Miracle Mile by Robert Irwin was my favorite piece at the Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art [LACMA]. It’s a super simple 36’ long, multi-colored fluorescent tube light piece, but it’s mesmerizing!
The Japanese ukiyo-e exhibit was also really impressive. Ukiyo-e are woodblock prints and paintings of beautiful women, history and folk tales, travel scenes, landscapes, flora and fauna. On display were a number of pieces by Utagawa Hiroshige, who was considered the last great master of the tradition. The intricacy of these works is incredible, especially considering they are carved into wood before printing.
Just walking the streets of downtown LA will leave you inspired as you pass by oversized murals, loft galleries and film crews.
Not to mention the fabulous architecture. We had dinner at Perch, a rooftop restaurant nestled amongst downtown’s skyscrapers. What a view!
Departing LA, we were greeted by the rolling hills, vineyards, olive trees and sweeping vistas of the breathtaking Santa Barbara countryside. An earth-hued color palette accented with bright yellow wild flowers leaves you completely relaxed.
We pulled up to Babcock Winery + Vineyards tasting room, greeted by oversized, fragrant, white roses.
Whimsical vintage furniture and décor greeted us as we entered the large warehouse type space. So many pieces would have fit perfectly in the helium studio! Lisa Babcock curates the tasting room with eccentric pieces and inspiring quotes, and it’s all for sale. I should have brought another suitcase!
Lisa’s love affair with inspirational quotes inspired the label for Babcock’s Bright Fortune wine. “On the outside of each bottle is Lisa’s expression of this journey”; a simple, typed quote with a beautiful art deco inspired wine label on the back. “Her message is…be grateful, be optimistic, be perseverant, be in the moment. Don’t be afraid to let life take you where it wants to take you.” Mantras I am always trying to incorporate into everyday life. My favorite fortune, “A diamond is merely a lump of coal that did well under pressure” – Unknown, always brings a smile to my lips. It’s a reminder that good things will come to those that persist.
[tweet “A diamond is merely a lump of coal that did well under pressure” – Unknown]
The winding road leading us through the hills of Santa Barbara gave way to dramatic cliffs and Pacific Ocean vistas of the infamous Big Sur coast.
Making our way along the Pacific Coast Highway [PCH] we stopped at Julia Pfeiffer Banks state park to admire McWay Falls, a picture-perfect place complete with a waterfall and aqua blue water. I swear it’s straight from a fairytale.
Pebble Beach’s 17-mile drive was the last leg of the Big Sur coast and let me tell you, they saved the best for last. Stone gray beaches, lined with dried kelp, driftwood and tidal pools teeming with tiny hermit crabs scurrying along the sand. Large rocks dot the water line, giving even more interest to the beautiful seascape.
A hike in Big Basin Redwoods State Park was the last adventure of our journey. Another dreamlike world filled with massive trees shooting up into the fog, picturesque streams and waterfalls, wildflowers, mushrooms, foot long slugs [I may be exaggerating] and super slow brown lizards.
Our 4-mile jaunt in the woods turned into a 7-mile hike after a wrong turn, but it makes the story even better!
I knew driving up the California coast was going to be amazing and now I have the memories to prove it.
We’d love to hear about your adventures and how travel inspires you! Share your story with us @heliumcreative on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.