Made in LA: Ancient Art of Modern Ceramics

click the link on the website home page to watch video
This isn’t the real door in Los Angeles, but I chose this one because it fits with where it leads  to

First  you need to click on the door above and follow me to a place in Downtown Los Angeles where an ancient art form produces modern ceramics.  After you watch the video, be sure to come right back–there’s more to see and hear.

Such as what the artist has to say when you click on his photo (but then come back again…there’s more!):

Robert Siegel talks about RS Handmade

Robert Siegel Studio Handmade is part of the magic that is DTLA.         Thanks, Robert, for making your art in my neighborhood!                         Great meeting you at Unique-You told your story so well.                         My blogging job is done for today.                                                                       

Robert Siegel Studio is located at 3430 S Hill St. #105 DTLA               Phone: 310.779.9577


Gold Rim Berry Bowl
Gold Rim Berry Bowl
Original Baba Pitcher
Beaux Collection

DTLA California Hospital

It’s not a particularly sexy topic, but like sensible shoes for a long walk, if you’re new in town, knowing where to go when you need a doctor is something that’s good to think about before you’re hurting. Thanks to Nate Nusbaum, President of California Hospital Medical Center (CHMC) Foundation, I had the opportunity to tour the CHMC facility which is the only hospital truly located within the boundaries of Downtown Los Angeles at 1401 South Grand Avenue, just South of Pico Boulevard with Hope Street to the west.

Los Angeles Center for Women’s Health at CHMC

I was in awe of the Los Angeles Center for Women’s Health at CHMC,  with its high-tech lobby and sleek imaging and treatment rooms.  The Center describes its services as being for women who are in the prime of life–and whether that’s 35 or 65 by today’s age standards –it’s an inviting concept in women’s health care.  Given the ultra modern atmosphere of the facility, I would almost expect to be greeted with a glass of champagne instead of a health care professional with a clipboard.  If this is women’s healthcare for the prime of life, bring it on, baby!

The hospital has 318 in-patient beds as well as a variety of out- patient care options.  In addition to the Women’s Center there are four other special services provided by CHMC:   The J.Thomas McCarthy Center for Emergency Services  which handles over 70,000 patient visits a year and, situated in close proximity to Staples Center, the hospital is recognized as a vital link to the Los Angeles County disaster preparedness planning.  The other special services are The Keith P. Russell Women’s Birthing Center,  The  Los Angeles Center for Heart Health with its latest technology for detection of vascular and heart conditions and  the Hope Street Margolis Family Center–more to come on that in a minute.

Cardiac and Vascular Care Cath Lab facility at CHMC
Los Angeles Center for Heart Health

CHMC,  a member of the Dignity Health network of not-for-profit hospitals, is experiencing a transformation that  reflects the changes  happening in so many parts of  DTLA with more people moving downtown and an ever-growing diversity of income levels, ages, and health care needs.  More singles downtown will likely             (eventually) lead to more young families and more empty- nesters drawn to city life will likely lead to a growing senior population.  According to Nate, California Hospital Medical Center is adapting to better serve these changing demographics.

CHMC  View of DTLA
DTLA Skyline and CHMC in foreground

During our tour, Nate showed me the renderings for upgrades to the hospital rooms and the family lounge area that has an expansive curved window looking out on the downtown skyline.

One of the highlights, as well as one of the more emotional parts of the tour, was our visit to the neonatal ICU where several of the tiniest babies I’d ever seen were having life and love bestowed upon them by the latest incubator technologies combined with the attentiveness of the pediatric nurses–with a 2:1 baby to nurse ratio.

In a continued commitment to serve children and families, The Hope Street Margolis Family Center, a block away from the hospital, is an exceptional facility that provides licensed childcare, school readiness, family literacy, and  recreational as well as educational support for local families.

Hope Street Center
Hope Street Center

As we walked towards  Hope Street Center, I asked Nate why an adjacent old apartment building had not been torn down to allow  for expansion of the Hope Street Center. His reply showed me the deep understanding that Nate and CHMC have for the community: “That apartment provides housing to a number of working poor families…sometime there are six people living in one unit.  Through Hope Street,” Nate explained, “We’ve been able to send several children from that apartment building  to college.”   Once inside Hope Street Center, and after talking with the staff, it’s easy to see why they’ve been so successful.

Hope Street Margolis Family Center
Hope Street Margolis Family Center
Hope Street Study Area
Hope Street Study Area

Along with a recreation room equipped with a pool table and a foosball table, Hope Street offers a full-on outdoor basketball court complete with electronic scoreboard.  What kid wouldn’t want to hang out here!

basketball court at Hope Center
basketball court at Hope Center

Back at CHMC, Nate shared with me other community outreach programs the hospital offers in  Healthy Eating Lifestyles, Type 2 Diabetes Management, Healthy Pregnancy and Healthy Baby programs along with prevention education on chronic diseases.  Hospital medical staff are always willing to go out into the community, according to Nate,  to speak to groups at offices, churches, schools or other community gathering places.

Serving a diverse community with limited healthcare facilities has its challenges, which Nate fully acknowledges.  In seeking to constantly provide better patient experiences, Nate and his staff make their own daily rounds so they know first-hand if there are any concerns that management needs to address.  One remarkable innovation that CHMC has implemented is the Emergency Room “InQuicker” wait time clock that operates in real time on the CHMC website.  You can actually make an appointment from the website and, instead of having to wait in the emergency room,  you can stay home until it’s time to head over to the hospital where every effort will be made to get you in at the time your were given.  It’s the “Open Table” solution for non-critical emergency care!

Like all hospitals, CHMC seeks volunteers to support their efforts and there are always funds to be raised, challenges to address and recruiting and training to provide optimal services. At the heart of CHMC’s challenges is Los Angeles’ indigent population whose  needs, coupled with upcoming ACA provisions, will require healthcare providers do more with less–putting stress on the hospital’s ability to meet growing demands. The location of CHMC  between Hope Street and Grand Avenue really reflects its objectives–to implement grand plans and provide hope for all who come through its doors.

If you’d like to know more about CHMC health care programs, volunteer opportunities, philanthropic investment programs or community outreach , just leave a comment here or reach out to me through my Google + account below.   I know Nate will welcome the opportunity to connect with you.


Made in LA: Summer Jackets

Memorial weekend–the harbinger of summer–purple jacarandas blooming all over Los Angeles., fog rolling in from the coast, Vin Scully’s voice on the airwaves.   If you’ve decided to take a long weekend drive up to NoCal, remember it’s THE 5 or (NO “THE”)Hwy 1 and DO NOT put “THE” in front of ANY NoCal freeway…even though we call it THE 101  down here.  And one more  thing to remember, once you do arrive in Big Sur, Carmel, or San Francisco you are likely to experience  the kind of summer weather, that according to Mark Twain, was the coldest winter he ever spent.

So the question for us gals is: How do you dress chic when you have to deal with the California summer hot/cold dilemma?

The answer:  Jacket Society!  Nora Minassian’s made-in- L.A. collection of jackets curated for every season. Nora’s created  the perfect look to complete any  ensemble–whether it’s jeans and a tank top,  a tailored skirt and silk blouse or linen shorts and a T-shirt.  No more scrunching up a sweater or going with the 90’s passé  pashmina.  With Nora’s jackets, the look is comfortable and put- together at the same time.

I met Nora at Unique-L.A. and we instantly connected.  She’s got sparkling style with an equally radiant smile.  Her Jacket Society website not only gives you the opportunity to buy online, she also shows how to put the look together, accessorize it and where to wear it around L.A. as she blogs about; and her husband, Tim, photographs; favorite places to spend an afternoon or evening around town.

With Nora’s jackets in your closet, you have an easy wardrobe inspiration every day.  Here’s  a sample of just a few of her looks :

From imported Italian brocade:

The_Broccato_Jacket_Jacket_Society (5)

To Italian Rayon blend with metallic shine:

Nora Minassian Jacket Society

to lightweight Rayon Poly Spandex blend:

Jacket_society_kate_designer_womens_jacket (2)

To Rayon Tencel blend

Coral_Jacket_Harper_Jacket_society (2)


Nora and I are talking about getting a group of gals together here at the loft where she can bring her collection and we can enjoy some champagne and strawberries while we update the look of  just about every pair of jeans, skirt or dress that’s already in our closet.  No need to throw out the old…it’s the jacket and the accessories that make everything new again.

Have a great Memorial Weekend and while you’re lounging by the pool (hopefully we’ll get some sun!) pull out your iPad and check out Nora’s website for the perfect way to look cool and not freeze whether you find yourself in A.C. or catching some of that summer L.A. breeze.

Made in LA: By the Bloom on Wheels

Truck culture is rampant– food trucks show up everywhere.   In some neighborhoods you might even still see the random beat up ice cream truck  at a park or, if you’re really lucky, you might just spot the illusive Big Gay Ice Cream truck and have the privilege of waiting in a 20- minute line for a cup of Salty Pimp. Of course, back in the day there was the milk truck with the guy in white pants and a white short-sleeved shirt who left milk and eggs on the porch.  And if you’re a boomer born and raised in L.A. you  have to remember the Helms Bakery Truck that pulled up in your neighborhood, sounded the whistle twice to announce its arrival, then dazzled you with the rows of every pastry and doughnut imaginable lined up in those sleek wooden drawers. Today , though, there’s a new truck in town to dazzle you– By the Bloom, a flower shop on wheels!   Owner and Founder, Tara Grand, had a 1999 step van converted into a mobile flower shop where she creates, stores, sells, and even delivers, her completely unique floral art throughout the Los Angeles area. image I met Tara at Unique-LA where I got to see a little bit of everything she makes– oh so seemingly random, but ever so carefully designed  fresh arrangements, dried floral sculptures, succulent gift packs and even floral-wear:  wrist cuffs and head crowns made from sustainable plants that were inspired by the pieces she  recently created for her fans heading off to  Coachella . View image on Twitter Bythebloom

Tara has taken her experiences of living  and traveling through Europe, where flowers and gardens are everywhere, and created a mobile studio that  gives her the   flexibility to take  her creations everywhere in and around L.A.

According to her website, Tara has trained with various flower companies including London based Jane Packer, The Covent Garden Academy of Floral Design and Portland event florist, Francoise Weeks, which has allowed her to infuse her own style with traditional English and European designs.

So whether it’s a wedding, a birthday, a bridal shower, a hostess gift



or even something a guy might appreciate:


Tara has a bloom that fits every event, occasion, sentiment, customer or style.

You might find where Tara is rolling next by following her on or just give her a call at  (626) 371-3870 .

After her recent coverage by Hollywood  Access and her appearance on KTLA she may be more busy arranging flowers than arranging where her truck will be next.  My advice: get on her list now before all the celebrities get a hold of her!

Flower Moon and Saturn Meet at Twilight Tomorrow

Looking Southwest in DTLA
Looking Southwest in DTLA

Early tomorrow morning the full Flower Moon will slip behind Saturn.  I just happened to wake up at 4 a.m this morning and was drawn to the window to see this view that my iPhone camera doesn’t begin to do justice to.  If you get up before dawn tomorrow you’ll see Saturn come within a length  (two full moon diameters) of the moon.  According to Bob King who writes the Astro Bob Blog , Saturn’s rings are tipped nearly wide open right now so if you have a telescope or a good pair of binoculars it’s going to be pretty awesome.   On Bob’s blog you can also find out how to watch the phenomena online.  Australia and New Zealand will have the best view  with the naked eye.

And in case you’re wondering, that’s the crown of the Ace Hotel lit up in the foreground and the JW Marriott at L.A. Live towering in the background.  The redish-gold glow in the middle is the Jesus Saves Sign.


Made in LA- Custom Hats

As Southern Californians, let’s all  tip our hats to California Chrome  who might just show the world that a horse  from the  town of the stinky cows  has a chance at being the first California horse EVER to win the U.S. Triple Crown!  California Chrome’s win at the Kentucky Derby on May 3rd made him the only California horse to take the Kentucky Derby since 1962 –and the others were all the way back  in 1955 and 1922.  California Chrome’s next race is the 139th  Preakness Stakes on May 17th which will be the 6th race in his 5 race winning streak.

Did I say, “Tip our hats?”  What image better says “Race Day” than an undulation of remarkable hats?   Yes–it’s time to celebrate with a hat! So to honor California Chrome’s Derby win and his prospects for the future,  I headed straight to CLADE, Maya Reynolds’ downtown menswear store at 600 S. Spring Street, knowing that  Los Angeles milliner extraordinaire (Azita) Ariane  Azarpira  would be there this past Thursday night during  the monthly Downtown Art Walk. (Yes I know, it’s Saturday and I’m a day late on my Friday post!)

Owner/ designer  Maya is a big collector/ wearer of Ariane’s hats and she introduced a men’s hat line to compliment her expressive menswear collections for clients that include musicians, artists, actors and others who don’t have to conform to tradition.  And  now  Maya has added a  few women’s pieces into her shop, which is akin to a Victorian- era closet on steroids.    Happily, I discovered  that Ariane brought all her new spring/ summer women’s hat creations to  CLADE for Art Walk night.  With wine to  sip and cheese to nibble on–the men  make quick decisions while the women turn the minutes into hours of exploring their alter-egos.

I think there’s something about a hat that makes a statement about the mood of its wearer, festive, intellectual, sporty, brooding, whimsical, hip, mysterious, edgy, or, in some cases, just plain goofy.  Sometimes you’ll hear someone say, “I just don’t look good in hats.” I think the truth of the matter is you have to be willing to explore your personality with no preconceived ideas.  While California Chrome pursues the Triple Crown,   I invite you to sip a mint julep read California Chrome’s Wikipedia story to find out what DAP  really means on the silks of California Chrome’s jockey, Victor Espinoza–and pursue your own crowning moment with a new summer hat!

And for the first 25 people that:

1) Comment below by telling me what hat you think I bought and which other one you think I should buy                                                                      AND                                                                                                                                             2) You’ve subscribed to my blog

You’ll be invited to a hat party at our Downtown L.A. loft with Ariane to personally find the perfect hat for you!  The choices are (these are just a few of the many that Ariane has created):

1) The Diane Keaton

Diane Keaton hatBlack western style
Purple velvet trim







2) The Wild West







3) The Purple Velvet






4) The Multi-Stripemulti-colored stripe fedora







5) The Summer FloppySummer Floppy Hat







6) The  Hand Painted FloralThe hand painted floral






7) Ariane and me with a white            Panama fedora

Ariane and me at CLADE








Hats are like friends–you make an instant connection…and you rarely have just one!   Be one of the lucky ones to come to our hat party with the  gorgeous, gracious and amazingly talented  Ariane who will  help you find that perfect hat for your personal summertime style-and she’ll show you just how to wear it, too! So let me know your favorites and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get on the invite list.

DTLA Nordic Design Showroom

Nordic Design & Innovation Studio

 If you wandered past 9th & Hill on Saturday night this is what you would have seen: people working late unpacking boxes–one labeled “bicycle,” others of mysterious sizes scattered across the concrete floor.   There was a single, white, wooden chair on a plywood pedestal and, in the background, a brand new white Volvo SUV.Nordic Design & Innovation on 9th & Hill 5/3/2014

 If you walked past the same location on Sunday afternoon, a team was deep in conference at a long table with two small black dogs at their feet.  Most of the boxes were unpacked and the windows were dressed with an even more random, yet increasingly intriguing, assortment of items.

There were children’s tailored shirts and a men’s shirt winking from a craft-brown box with “Schnayderman’s” scripted as the label.  Really? A shirt in it’s very own box?

Nordic Design & Innovation Showroom 5/4/2014

And what about those snow white chairs and the orange-handled branch pruners laying on display? Is it a prop shop? Is it a museum?

Nordic Design & Innovation Showroom 9th & Hill 5/3/2014

Apparently it’s the latest iteration from  Carlström & Company|C&CO, described on their website as a growth consultancy and business incubator headquartered in New York. The website describes C&CO’s services as “Bridging the gap between a management consultancy and an advertising agency.”  Clients listed include Absolut Vodka, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Estee’ Lauder and The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) as well as advertising agencies.

What they appear to be doing in this space is fulfilling their plans of establishing a Nordic design and innovation showroom in Downtown Los Angeles.  I love these guys!

In C&CO’s other role, as stated on their website, they function as an incubator and invest time and/or capital in new ventures, of which Schnayderman’s Shirtmakers is one–having brought the brand from Scandinavia to the U.S. in the fall of 2013.

According to C&CO’s website, the company’s founder, Fredrik Carlström, is a marketing veteran with almost two decades of experience advising companies including IKEA, H&M, Electrolux, and L’Oréal, to name a few.  Carlström was the CEO & Executive Creative Director of the U.S. operations for the digital agency, Great Works, which was named by AdWeek as the 2010 Agency of the Year.

Looks like this creative space is C&CO’s new base for helping Scandinavian companies get established and grow their presence in the U.S.  Hence the orange-handled reminder of what the Swedes have made a household requirement:  If it’s a scissors (or rose pruner…when I had roses to prune) it’s got to be Fiskars!

With Stockholm-based Acne Studios and il Caffé just a block away, and  H & M soon to open at Fig & 7th, we might call it the Swedish Awakening in L.A.  And just think about it, not only is DTLA one of the most creative emerging urban locales, we also get 8-9 hours of nighttime 365 days a year… and no snow! Now there’s another good reason to choose our city as the perfect place to innovate and incubate!    And since I’m pretty sure Camilla and Anna, our Swedish au pairs whom we haven’t seen in nearly 19 and 18 years respectively, are probably reading this–it’s  time for you both to come back for a visit– you can actually have a really great time in downtown now!

Made in LA: Footmate System Sweet for Feet

blog footmate croppedWhether you’re walking city streets in sandals or heading to the beach to beat the heat, this is the real deal to keep your feet sweet!  The company  is Gordon Brush Mfg. Co. and they make the Footmate System® at their 51,000 square foot state-of -the- art  manufacturing facility in Commerce, CA, just 7 miles southeast of Downtown Los Angeles– which definitely puts them in the “Made-in-L.A.” category.  Gordon Brush makes over 15,000 different kinds of brushes but this one is like no brush you’ve ever polished, cleaned or scrubbed with.  It’s like a massage for your feet every time you step into the shower.

The website describes The Footmate System® as “A complete foot care system for cleaning, soothing, stimulating and massaging your feet every time you shower.  It’s the ultimate foot massage.”

You squirt the cleaning gel on the brush and slide your feet across the bristles every which way–you get a little tingling with a lot of soothing–and you end up with soft, smooth, super-clean feet.  And the gel  keeps the brush clean, too.

Crazy as it sounds, I’ve given this as a gift… and everyone who sees it wants to know how they can get one, too.  If you’re thinking you want one… and that your mom would, too, (my mom loves it), there’s a Mother’s Day special going on where you can order right off the  Footmate System® website between now and May 11th and get 20% off and an extra 10% if your order hits $100.  One for yourself, one for Mom and one for someone else and you have the deal of your life…OK…maybe it’s just the deal of your week.  But you’ll have a new lease on your shower life, I guarantee it!

At the risk of sounding any more like  an infomercial than I already do(and, no,  Gordon Brush is NOT paying me for this post) I’ll leave you to enjoy your weekend…but with a plea on behalf of your feet–they want this brush!