Category Archives: Health & Fitness

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Day Spa Coming to Hill Street

DTLA Hill Street location 1st expansion for Sunlight Day Spa?
DTLA Hill Street location 1st expansion for Sunlight Day Spa?

A new retail  location on Hill Street between 8th & 9th is going to be a day spa. It’s part of the complex created by LEVEL, the luxury extended stay concept that houses SoulCycle on the ground floor at the corner of 9th and Olive.   Parking above ground is designated for LEVEL guests which, hopefully, will also be available to those spa-goers not within walking distance.

Behind those papered windows are cubicles with individual dry saunas partnered with marble showers. One might guess the rest of the space will include treatment rooms for massages, facials and other well-being services.  A similar concept is based in Overland Park, Kansas by the name of Sunlight Day Spa , with a parent company, Sunlighten , that manufactures saunas using an infrared technology that claims to have added wellness benefits to the basic sauna experience.  Perhaps this DTLA  location is the first expansion of Sunlight Day Spa’s concept?  If so, another kudos to  DTLA in attracting new businesses that see our downtown boom as the place to grow.

LEVEL's pool deck and basketball court sit on top of parking structure with new DTLA day spa on street level.
LEVEL’s pool deck and basketball court sit on top of parking structure with new DTLA day spa on street level.

We won’t know for sure until the sign goes up, but regardless of what company is behind this innovative, and much welcomed destination for residents and visitors, it’s exciting! We could all use a calming escape as we continue to endure the cranes, blocked sidewalks and promises of better bike routes.   And if it IS Sunlight Day Spa out of Kansas, they also support the American Heart Association…any business with a cause is always close to my heart.

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.


Dogs Dress up for Heart of the City 5K

If you live in DTLA you know  there’s a pretty vibrant neighborhood in the proximity of Staples Center called South Park.  California Hospital Medical Center sits right at the south end of this community at 1401 S. Grand Avenue.  This past Sunday, April 13th, California Hospital Medical Center hosted their 2nd Annual Heart of the City  5K run/ walk.  They obviously have some pull with the city because we were  treated to the pleasure of strolling down the middle of the pristine, empty, quiet streets of this newer, more modern section of downtown.  Whether it was the decorum of this chic neighborhood or the proximity of FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) never have I seen so many well-dressed dogs out for a morning stroll!

The event started in front of California Hospital Medical Center at 8:00 a.m.

4 12 race time

Parents pushing babies in strollers,  lots of leisurely walkers                and dogs galore!  Here Coco has turned around to make sure I’m going to catch up!

4 12 Coco waiting for me

Let’s just say I was more in it for the fun of it–but I did spend a little time on my wardrobe, too.

4 12 in the race

Now here’s some serious competition!

4 12 Big poodle dog

Love the matching shoes and wings!

4 12 fair dog walking

Coco & Jay make their move to overtake the beflowered prancing poodle

4 12 Jay and Coco

The finish line in our sights!

4 12 CA Health Bldg

Yes, there were medals for the winning runners–more on that for another post..but the  biggest competition was about to go to the dogs…

Who would you pick?

4 12 ladybug dog 4 12 minnie mouse dog winner 4 12 panty dog 4 12 Pink dot dog 4 12 pink stripe T and skirt dog 4 12 scout dog4 12 fairy dogs

It was a close competition but the pup in the red and white polka dot I Love Lucy dress (some called it a Minnie Mouse frock) took home the prize.

4 12 big dog

And  there were those who just couldn’t believe that  any self-respecting dogs would subject themselves to such humiliation.   Thank goodness Matteo Pasquini from the famous Pasquini Espresso Company was there serving free cappuccinos and sufficiently distracting dog owners from thoughts of  XXL velour doggie jogging  suits.

Make a note on your calendar to check The Heart of the City 5K website next January to see when the 2015 event will take place.  This year the fund-raising goal was $123,000 and so far $80,263 has been reached.  There are 6 days left to donate. Click HERE if  you’d like to support the work of this dedicated  facility that does so much for the downtown L.A. community.  More to come on this amazing place with heart after I get my tour in May!

Made it to the top! What’s next?


1,400 steps and it felt great!  Well, maybe not every floor–there were a few pauses to catch my breath, let my ears pop and drink some water that volunteers were handing out. The pauses were also to remind myself that pushing one’s limits is a good thing but going past them could defeat the purpose.  My time was 19:28 and I finished 15th in my division of women 50-59.  Training was key–both doing  the stairs in my building twice a week as well as one-hour workouts on Wednesdays and Saturdays, whenever possible, with  trainer Bayo who NEVER lets Jay or me get through a session without  pain as well as some good laughs.  And beyond my physical accomplishment I was so incredibly motivated by the donations from friends and family that raised over $850 for the American Lung Association to help save lives.

So what’s next?

Heart of the City 5 K Walk/Run

I think I’m going for something a little less strenuous.   I like the sound of A 5K with Heart.  It’s a dog-friendly Run/Walk race in downtown L.A. on Sunday, April 13th that will benefit California Hospital Medical Center.   I’m looking forward to a brisk spring  stroll that Jay, Coco and I can all do together with our downtown neighbors and visitors.  The route is a loop that starts in front of the hospital  at 1401 S. Grand Avenue, traveling along Grand Ave., 11th Street and Figueroa Street between 7th Street and Venice Boulevards.

The goal of the race is to raise funds for, and awareness of, California Hospital Medical Center which has been serving the needs of downtown Los Angeles since 1887…more on the value of the hospital in a separate post.  Heart of the City 5K participants, through support from their friends and colleagues will be contributing to  two priority projects: the acquisition of a state-of-the-art 128-slice CT scanner for faster, more detailed imaging with less radiation exposure, and the renovation of the 9th floor of the patient care tower which, according to the hospital website, will maximize comfort and convenience and create a more healing environment.

So if you’re in the mood to enjoy the streets of downtown L.A. with two and four-legged ambulators see you on Sunday April 13th!



Fight For Air Climb

The support that’s been coming in for my climb is so incredibly inspiring!  Thank you, everyone, for believing in me and in this great cause in the fight against lung disease.  To all who have lost a loved one, I am honored to do this on their behalf in hopes that some day no one will have to suffer from lung cancer, asthma or any other breathing condition.

To visit my page you can click HERE.

April 5, 2014
Aon Center, Downtown LA
Los Angeles, CA

Climb 63 flights to the roof of the AON building in Downtown LA and support the American Lung Association

This intrigues me on a few levels:

1) I’m not a runner and I’ve always envied people who train for marathons. I think this is something I might be able to train for.

2) The climb is April 5th.  So  far  I’ve made it up the 13 flights of our building twice a day this past week.  Tonight I did it two times back to back so I’m thinking maybe 63 flights is actually remotely possible.

3) If you make it to the top of the AON Center building, you’re outside on the roof of one of the tallest buildings in DT LA. When else are your going to have the opportunity to do that!?

4) It’s a fund-raiser for the American Lung Association.

So this is my goal– if by March 20th I can make it up the stairs of our building 4 x in a row, I’m signing up!  If anyone wants to join me, let me know.  And if indeed I do make this commitment I’ll post the link if you want to donate a dime or a dollar per flight.

Click  to learn more: