Sister Adventures | McGowan Images Blog


Sister Adventures

I spent the weekend in LA with my sister, exploring the city she’s called home for 7 years now, and seeing her adorable new apartment. It was a perfect little whirlwind adventure, unexpected and only sort of planned, and just what we both needed.

And, of course, I took lots of pictures while I was there. Do you mind if I share a few favorites with you? For my photographer followers, I took with me only the Canon 50 mm 1.2, and the Sigma 20 mm 1.8. The Sigma has a wicked distortion on the edges, but it’s still a really fun walking around lens, and I was glad I had it for wider images!

The first thing we did was head down to Santa Monica to explore the Promenade & see the pier, and let me stick my feet in the freezing cold Pacific. I really loved all the street performers, but Sam & I were too busy gabbing to take many pictures of those. 🙂

On Friday morning, we took a gorgeous drive down Laurel Canyon to the charming little neighborhood where Sam works as a Nanny. The incredible family she works for is in the entertainment industry, so they’re very supportive of her music career (hey, click that link and buy some really cool music.)

We took a walk with Sammy, the youngest of the boys she cares for, down to Joan’s on Third for breakfast. No celebrity sightings, but a super yummy latte & omelette!

I could probably do a whole blog post of the awesome houses in the neighborhood. Can I live here please?

After a short nap, I took off in Sam’s car to explore LA by myself. I love this view of the city…

My first stop was the Grove, an outdoor mall & farmer’s market. I LOVED the market, and really could have spent all day there. I ate a lovely little lunch in the french market.

After the farmer’s market, I drove up to Greystone Mansion. I wasn’t able to get close to the house as there was a private event happening, but I got some beautiful photos of the grounds.

Ya’ll would laugh so hard if you saw me workin’ for this selfie below… I had to balance my camera on the edge of the fountain, and under my breath I’m whispering “please don’t fall, please don’t fall!”

The last stop I had time for on my solo adventure was Hollywood Forever Cemetery. It was SUCH a gorgeous property!

The cemetery is loosely separated into ethnic groups, and this section was so vibrant. I think it’s Thai? I obviously couldn’t read any of the signs. 🙂

I saw a few famous  markers, but this one was my favorite!

On Friday night, we tucked in lazy at my sister’s cute little apartment, ate chips & salsa, watched “Nacho Libre” and laughed and laughed and laughed. It was good for my spirit.

We got up early Saturday morning for a little exploring in Long Beach. First stop, the Queen Mary! We didn’t take any of the tours (expensive!), but just walking around the outside and seeing signs about the haunting was really fun.

This is really where that 20 mm lens earns it’s keep… squishy face pictures. 🙂

The beach we went to for a little relaxing before lunch was nearly deserted… so nice!

Then it was time to hope across the road to the CRAWFISH FESTIVAL! This is really the reason I went to LA this particular weekend to visit my sister. Such an awesome event! And good LORD, so many crawfish.

A lot of people chose to just order the crawfish dinner platter, but we decided that was for sissys, so we manned up and got the 3 pound bucket!

All that’s left is shells & claws. YUMMY. So delicious… I’m hungry again just looking at it!

There was even a second line!

It wouldn’t be a proper cajun festival without beignets (with some beautiful masks I bought for the kids).

We went out to Twin Palms in Old Town Pasadena on Saturday night, with Sam’s friend Meghan. Meghan is a super talented photographer & graphic designer, and we had a wonderful time talking shop all evening!

I don’t know the people in this next picture, but they were having their engagement party, and I thought this was too sweet not to memorialize.

On Sunday, we planned to go explore downtown a little before I had to head back to LAX. I really enjoyed getting to ride the metro from Culver City, because it let me see a lot of the city I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to glimpse.

Our real goal in heading downtown? BOOKS. We walked around the beautiful grounds of the library (it’s closed on Sundays), and then Sam took me to the most amazing bookstore ever.

“Books alone are liberal & free : They give to all who ask, they emancipate all who serve them faithfully.”

I quite literally could have stayed in this bookstore for days on end and not gotten my fill. It was incredible and perfect and I want it to be my house.

Isn’t that amazing? I can’t wait to go back, and if I hadn’t already hit my packing space limit, I would have purchased way more than just two beautiful new books.

I’m so grateful for this time with my sister. The last few years our relationship has really changed, and it’s so nice to call her a friend. She’s got some amazing life still ahead of her to live, and I can’t WAIT to see what the next year has in store for her!

  1. Carrie Waggs says:

    Love these!

    You’re right, there’s nothing like house browsing in Los Angeles! They have the BEST neighborhoods – even middle class is SO pretty. Scotty and I may or may not have spent an entire Sunday just going to open houses pretending to be prospective buyers…

    We’ve also done Long Beach, Santa Monica, AND the Grove. I will have to put the library on my list for next time!

    And I have Sam’s turquoise blazer from Target! And I wore it yesterday!

  2. Cindy says:

    That bookstore!!! Gahhhh! The shelf with the hole to peek through. I must go there NOW!

  3. Audree says:


    And that bookstore is STUNNNING

  4. Kevin says:

    That bookstore is awesome!!!

  5. Ashlie says:

    Ahhhh that bookstore!! It looks like the most glorious place. I MUST go there one day! Looks like you had a great trip!

  6. Will says:

    I love this post.

    It tracks like a hip travel mag. Makes me really want to hop on a plane and see some sights and eat something different. Thanks for letting me live through your lens! You and sis make a stunning pair!

  7. Amber B. says:

    Beautiful pictures and oh my gerd!! That bookstore is amazing!!!!

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