Category Archives: Local Love

[LA Life] Downtown Goes Dapper For A Night On Broadway

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Last weekend as the threat imminent downpour loomed over the quite literal horizon, we decided to throw caution to the wind as we got dolled up and dappered out for a ‘Night on Broadway.‘ A party with a purpose, the second annual event sprawled through the stunning cityscape of Downtown Los Angeles and into the historic Broadway District.

Commencing back in 2008 under the guidance of L.A. City Council member José Huizar, Bringing Back Broadway set its sights on reinvigorating the entire outlying area, from the preservation and display of the old school neon signs to re-opening doors to awe inspiring theaters, bringing back the fabled streetcar and even the relatively new facade lighting brought onto Broadway in 2013.  A chip off of the ‘Bringing Back Broadway’ initiative block, the second annual ‘Night on Broadway‘  is designed to restore a variety old theaters in the fabled Broadway district and reinvigorate local interest in the art, music, culture and community of the area.

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Revelers are encouraged join in the shenanigans surrounded by the amazing architecture and interior design of theaters from The Palace to The Los Angeles Theater, The Ace Hotel and The Globe.  Festivites included a brains to brawns chess and boxing match, a wide variety of interactive street art, comedy from Reggie Watts, my personal highlight, Rebel Bingo, and last but most definitely not least live music and entertainment and even some of the local talent, like Skrillex from both the OWSLA and Mad Decent imprints, plus hourly performances from city’s very own electric and eclectic avant garde performance troupe Lucent Dossier Experience (which was a serendipitous treat in itself considering a friend of mine had landed himself DJ duties at the same stage for the night).

Don’t fret if you missed out on all the fun, because one of my favorite things about the city of angels is there’s simply always something stunning to do about town, and half of them are free! But, if you’re feeling the festive FOMO, make a calendar reminder and don’t forget to catch Night on Broadway next year in Downtown Los Angeles when it returns on Saturday, January 28th 2017.  For more about the city’s famed ‘Night on Broadway’ event or Bringing Back Broadway initiative, head to their website or socials –

Night on Broadway: Website

Bringing Back Broadway: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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[LA Life] Squad Out for LA’s Free Museum Day on 1/30 + 1/31

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Though the holidays are considered one of the most magical times of the year, the end of January holds a special treat for anyone in the Southern California region.   On the last Saturday in January, some of the best museums from around the county will be opening their doors and waiving the fees and I guarantee you’ll find a museum in each nook of the city that tickle’s your fancy, as well as your brain.

If you’re into Contemporary Art head over to the MOCA or the latest museum – The Broad in downtown Los Angeles, for photography – the Annenberg Space for Photography has you covered,  get a close up with a dinosaur at the California Academy of Sciences or the La Brea Tar Pits, marvel over Greco-Roman art and architecture at the Getty Villa in Malibu or the beauty of botanicals at the Descanso Gardens in Pasadena. 

Even with the eight years that I’ve lived in the city of angels, I haven’t had the opportunity to frequent the museums as much as I would like. So far, I can cross only a handful off of the list but believe me when I say these are all on my bucket list.   As of now, I’ve visited each Getty location and was lucky enough to see Tim Burton’s exhibit at the LACMA a few years back, plus the California Science Museum, the Descanso Gardens and the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits.

Available Day Adventures

The museums below are all available for free admission on January 30th – so round up the troops, call up the squad and get the gang together; this is one Winter treat you won’t want to miss out on!

Now, be warned – all of Los Angeles is going to be out and about that weekend, and the museums are bound to get a little packed.  So if you’re a stickler on a time crunch or a tad claustrophobic, never fear – there are plenty of museums and local gardens that offer up a free day a month!

The ArboretumFree the 3rd Tuesday of Every Month

Descanso Gardens Free the 3rd Tuesday of Every Month

The Huntington Botanical Gardens The First Thursday of Every Month

Getty Villa – Admission is always free, Parking is on a Pay Basis

For a glance at the Free Museum and Garden days with more detail – the So Cal Museum’s website set up this handy grid:

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For more details, visit the official website for So Cal’s Free Museum Day!

Which venue strikes your fancy? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

[LA Life] CERB and A Taste of Eagle Rock

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Do you ever feel like your entire life is one giant sign? Anxieties, troubles and tribulations tend to occur for me when I don’t pay attention to the motion of internal tides.

A few weeks before Danny and I left for Lightning in a Bottle, we haphazardly stumbled across one of the cutest sights I’d ever seen in the middle of Eagle Rock. We were on our Sunday stroll through the neighborhood, and for the past few weeks we’d talked about the strange and almost human-like mannequin in the middle of the road.  Approaching from the other side, we finally made out a sign – a sign for Know Reality Pie. We took one long look at the pie truck, parked delicately next to open grass and a pop-up cafe, and then nodded in agreement: this was it.

As we settled into our triple berry and richly flavored apple pies, we noticed that each and every person coming in was in some way, shape or form a young professional and we felt naturally compelled to strike up a conversation with all of them. From Kelly behind the counter pouring us morning mimosas, or the procession of puppies that galloped into and around us, we were enamored in conversation and instantly felt an urge to be something more within the community.  Slowly delighting our fresh drinks, we met a lovely lady named Sarah with a refreshing demeanor.  After a few minutes of talking about our start in the neighborhood, photography, social media and festivals, she got to telling us about Collaborative Eagle Rock Beautiful.  They’re a local, non-profit volunteer organization that focuses on creating a more sustainable environment within their community and as it turns out, they’re the ones responsible for the large, local push towards the reintegration of succulents and California landscaping around Eagle Rock that I’ve been enamored with.  They were about to host a CGhrc6OUgAEX0V3weekend event they were calling ‘A Taste of Eagle Rock’, featuring dozens of our fantastic local food joints, some local drinks and – hopefully – a great turnout from the town; they were looking for an event photographer, and it just so happened – I was engaged to one!  After we exchanged laughs and business cards, and enjoyed another drink or two, Danny and started on our way home and looked at each other with excitement coursing through our veins.  This is something we’ve been wanting for so long, and now – we were about to get it!

With things like Lightning in a Bottle around the corner and my lack of actual time to manage,  I’d only been in touch here and there.  But after Lightning in a Bottle (which I cannot wait to dish on!), curiosity caught the cat, and I asked how I could really help.  I inquired about their social media presence and as my luck has it – that’s exactly what they needed.  On top of the five accounts already in my Tweetdeck, it wasn’t exactly absurd to add just one more!

Sunday was the day, and let’s be honest – we didn’t get cold feet per-say – but they were at least lukewarm.  It was a stunning day out, and before the June Gloom and awkward midday showers started; bright, crystal blue skies sent down succulent rays of sunlight as we approached our final destination. We’d managed to meander to an area of the neighborhood that we frequently stroll through, camera in hand and a bounce in our step – the houses are sweeping, with plush yards encompassing them like moats. “This is where we’re going…?!” we both mused.

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Winding around the house were tables and EZ-ups, with pile upon pile of delicious, local eats and treats.  From Milkfarm and Public House Eagle Rock – two of the latest establishments to cruise onto Colorado Blvd – out the traditional grubberies Little Beast, Max City BBQ, Capri, Four Cafe, Spitz, Dave’s Grillin and Chillin’ and the delectable Caramia Gelato stand up to the national spots like Chipotle, Trader Joe’s and Jamba Juice, everyone was there and doling out their Sunday best.  We even got to do some Cider and Wine tasting thanks to Cider House 101!  Within the first 45 minutes over 200 people had shown up to grub down and chill out, and the property was a buzz with warm energy.

We showed up dazed, slightly confused, knowing only one person and absolutely hungry – we left with full bellies, happy hearts and a hope to really do some good within the community. There were so many familiar faces, from weekly walks and random restaurant romps.  Even though we didn’t make any new best friends – we feel committed to the mission of CERB and are beyond excited to be part of future endeavors. And I’m excited to say that I’ll be stepping into a bigger role, but for now – I’ll just be doing their social media 🙂

For more information about Collaborative Eagle Rock Beautiful and all the details on their next wonderful event, keep in contact through their websiteFacebook and Twitter.

All photography by Daniel Leist: Flickr FacebookWebsite  

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[LA Love] The Last Bookstore is the Only Bookstore You Need

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Photo by Daniel Leist Photography

Photo by Daniel Leist Photography

Though we haven’t yet fine tuned the ability to time travel, thanks to the power of the written word it’s possible to walk into a room and simultaneously transport yourself in a thousand different directions spanning the course of several millennium, in irrational, fantastical ways.  Where science boldly says no, literature proudly asks ‘Why Not’ in a thousand shades of possibility.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve proudly ebbed and flowed through my bookshelf with new eyes and an open mind – there’s no topic to small to ponder and no question to big to tackle; but often that leaves me holding seven books, wishing I had six extra sets of eyes so I could read all of them at once.

After seven years in Los Angeles, it’s easy to believe that you’ve seen it all – but let me tell you, in a city of bewilderment, wonder and constant creation – there’s always something hiding just around the corner, waiting to make your day; which is precisely the case with The Last Bookstore.   An exciting hodge podge of new and loved books and records that shop frequenters can buy, sell and trade – the Last Bookstore the largest independent bookstore in the world, and  simply the only bookstore you’ll ever need in your life.  Considering w shops like Borders and Barnes & Nobles falling by the wayside, this very well might be the last bookstore we have left in LA.

Located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles’ Financial District, The Last Bookstore is much more than home to thousand upon thousands of stories, dreams, diatribes, poems, whimsical words and resilient reads.  The first story is a beautiful open air bookstore, with loads of literature for every type of reader, and high vaulted ceilings with a view into the shops of the Springs Arts Collective, with their unique creations peaking out for the world to see.  As you walk up the steps into the second floor, you’re whisked away in the same sort of wanderlust I lose myself in while reading.  Instead of noticing things in a sequential order as I ascended into the Labyrinth, they were all thrust upon my brain in simultaneous artistic attack.  Books were suspended in mid-flight, exploding every which direction to the delight of everyone around. Incredible sculptures crafted from books adorned the walls and aisles, while the floor was lined with contemporary galleries and art shops.

Photos by Daniel Leist Photography

Photo by Daniel Leist Photography

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Two of my personal favorites were from David LoveJoy  (above) – a contemporary designer who forges unique, otherworldly designs, gadgets and gizmos – and the FOLD Gallery (below), the niche boutique brainchild of Jena Priebe. The third Thursday of the month marks Downtown LA’s Art Walk, and The Last Bookstore and Labyrinth gallery are definitely a hipster hot spot; but would you expect any less?

Additional Pics: Daniel Leist Photography

For more on The Last Bookstore, David Lovejoy’s art or the FOLD Gallery, head to their socials –

The Last Bookstore: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

David Lovejoy | #LoveJoyArt: Website | Facebook

Jena Priebe | FOLD Gallery: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

[Oh, Snap!] A Beautiful Day Off at The LA Arboretum

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One benefit of completing less than half of my Thirty Before Thirty Bucket List is that I already have a substantial start on my list for my 31st Birthday next year. Even though I’ve kicked myself a bit on the things that were left half undone or completely neglected, admittedly I’m equally impressed with the caliber of quests I’ve accomplished. Between becoming quite a kitchen kitten with my pickles and olive oils, crafting candles, learning to use a DSLR, and covering both National and Internationally renowned music festivals – I’ve knocked a few pegs off my list and I’m itching to add more. One that I’m excited to continue into the New Year is my Resolution on hiking a new botanical garden, historic park, museum or arboretum to visit. With a ridiculously fun birthday weekend on tap, I planned ahead and took today (the day after my actual birthday) off of work to celebrate, relax and rejoice in whatever personal what I felt. So, Danny and I descended on a lovely day-venture at the Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia.

The very first thing I noticed were just how many peacocks were roaming the area – and hummingbirds, butterflies, bunny rabbits and assorted wildlife. We had a wonderful time gallivanting through the African and Australian Outbacks, wistfully wandering around waterfalls and stealing every stunning view we could.

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The most staggering thing for me were those multiple moments where I’d lost all sense of location, time and place; for all I knew, I was in Northern California or Utah, Arizona or Washington.  For a second, I was transported out of the tug-of-war of Los Angeles traffic and personalities and delicately displaced into acres upon acres of lush rolling grass, rose gardens, carnivorous gardens, greenhouses, succulents and my personal favorite – the bamboo groves.

For more on the LA Arboretum, check out their website, Facebook or Twitter – or if you happen to live in the Southern California area or are plotting a visit, just store the GPS Info in your phone like, now. Fun fact: on the Third Tuesday of every month, admission is free!

[Let’s Celebrate] Friendsgiving

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‘Tis the season for festive candles, home cooked meals, holiday cards and spending time with the ones you love; sure, Thanksgiving is right around the corner – but Friendsgiving? That simply never goes out of style. Living in Los Angeles, as in many big cities, there are twice as many transplants as locals.  A good proportion of which stay around for the holidays and end up below the radar for Thanksgiving, if they’re not flying solo.  Not that you need an excuse to get the gang together or have an ‘orphan’ dinner, but I couldn’t think of a better one than this family infused time of year.

First things first, you need someone that’s willing to both offer up their home for the night and then deal with the mess the next day; sure, guests will help but as the drinks keep flowing – you might want people to keep away from glassware and plates and enjoy simpler, less chaotic activities that won’t result in broken dishware. And remember, crystal is nice – but it’s less nice when it’s shattered on the ground; this is an opportune time to get some plastic plates and forgo dishes for the evening.  Get a group e-mail chain going and confirm what everyone’s bringing to ensure everyone leaves with a happy heart and a full stomach, and to avoid appetizer overlap.  If you’re hosting, the turkey is on you – and if you’re attending, don’t forget to bring a little somethin’ somethin’ for the entourage beyond your appetizer and or dessert like spiked eggnog, homemade candles, a magnum of wine, or the like.  Reserve your status as host(ess) with the most(ess) by creating room for plenty of beer, ice for any coolers and Cards Against Humanity is a must.   – . Oh, and don’t forget a camera and a kickass sound system!

Last weekend was my first Friendsgiving since college, so that’s almost ten years. And it’s really taken me that long to come back into my own skin.  It’s been a while since I’ve had a group of individuals that I’ve felt this at home and in touch with, and each and every day I’m infinitely thankful that they’re in my life.  We all combined culinary forces for a night that went down in infamy, fully equipped with beer pong, dance parties and Polaroid pictures.

[LA Love] Make a Happy Hour Date for Plate38

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Though I’ve been living in Los Angeles for the past six years, I’ve never stayed in one spot for more than two and somehow, I’ve even managed to hop skip and jump myself all over LA ‘Proper‘.  Starting with a two year stint in Korea Town, I migrated to the Miracle Mile area (near The LACMA and the Tar Pits) and then onto two wonderful years submerged in the music, street art and hipster chic culture of the Fairfax District. Now, in my triumphant sixth year in the City of Angels, I’m a happy resident of the Eagle Rock community – caught in a wonderful nook of nature between Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena. Whenever I move, I love taking an entertainment and edible inventory of my new neighborhood and the surrounding digs.

I have a few trusty books that I reference, my favorite being the Not For Tourists Guide to Los Angeles – it has literally anything and everything you could be curious about cruising the community for, from Sports Stadiums to Beaches and Marinas, Arts and Entertainment to City Transit. Plus, I’ve also been known to reference the occasional Zagat Guide and am a tried and true fan of Yelp (and a Yelp Elite, at that!).  Now that I’m situated on the East Side of town, there are a whole host of things that are unequivocally more available on the daily – from nature walks, museums and botanical gardens like Griffith Park , Arlington Gardens and The Huntington,  to Farmer’s Markets, The Eagle Rock Music Festival and delicious restaurants spanning from Glendale to Pasadena, and Downtown LA up to Arcadia. Well, I know I’ve only been over here for about six months – but combine that with the year and a half that I was coming over to hang out with Danny and that’s almost two years wining and dining through the East Side of town, and in that amount of time I’ve turned into quite the little foodie it seems; I can’t wait to share my favorite finds, hidden haunts and unknown gems in my new segment aptly called – LA Love!

Lately, as Danny’s been driving around town he’ll send me text messages with new locations, awesome happy hours and unbeatable meal deals.  One such place was Pasadena’s Plate38; we were initially drawn in by $1.50 for oysters on the half shell, but were absolutely satiated by their  host of small ‘tapas’ style appetizer plates perfect to share, if you can remember how. Even though the weather’s cooled down a bit around town, the sunshine cruises through at a respectable 80 with a lovely little wind chill to make sitting outdoors a cinch; and Plate38 has a wonderful outdoors patio that wraps its way around the building.  Deceptively long and full of warm lightning, it’s perfect for getting the gang together to watch some Sunday NFL games and reminiscing about the weekend.

We grubbed out on some amazing Bloody Mary’s with just the right amount of spice, chicken wings deep fried in duck fat, tuna tacos, duck sliders and so much more on their weekend happy hour menu. Oh, right, and the oysters.  And then I drooled on my keyboard.

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IMG_2106.JPGLocation: 2361 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107