View from the 8th floor: Rocket Dog Shoes HQ’s Rooftop

See the woman in the pink dress? You have to look closely in the lower center of the photo–she’s standing at the corner of the railing on top of the Rocket Dog Shoes building on 9th & Broadway.

Just before she did her on-the-bow-of the-Titanic pose.
Just before she did her on-the-bow-of the-Titanic pose.

Seconds after I turned off my camera she did her best Rose-on-the-bow-of-the-Titanic pose…



PSOMAS Paper Yacht Challenge DTLA June 26

Got paper? Got folding skills? Think you can make it float?  Those are the lofty challenges that bring out the best in the friendly competition of the Paper Yacht Challenge that’s coming up on Thursday, June 26th  from 5:00-7:30 at City National Plaza Fountain at 5th & Flower Streets in DTLA.

Whether you come to win or to watch, this is one of the best summer afternoons of the season in DTLA!  If you’re considering entering, here’s a peak at what your competition was up to last year: It’s not just about a pretty boat–it’s what makes it across the water that matters!  For more insight, check out the video from last year.

Along with the race, participants compete in a nautical costume contest, enjoy live entertainment, eat tasty treats from local participating restaurants, and bid on silent auction items.

This fun Downtown Los Angeles community event is where ingenuity, enthusiasm, paper, water, and wind will combine to raise money for a wonderful cause: Hope Street Family Center, a community health, education and recreation resource of California Hospital Medical Center.

Entry fees are:  Student – $10 per boat                                                                 Non-student/Individual – $35 per boat                                                               Company – $50 per boat

For all the details on how to register click HERE to download your registration form.

See you there Cap’n!


If you’re going to San Francisco…

If you’re a boomer you remember the song that tells the San Francisco-bound  to  “be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.”  That song, released in May 1967 and sung by Scott McKenzie and written by John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas, was pretty much the only memorable song that McKenzie ever recorded.  It had the distinction, however, according to Wikipedia; of being  “the unofficial anthem of the counterculture movement of the 1960s.”  Having grown up in the Bay Area during those years, the song  has a lot of memories and still goes with me on my iTunes today.

Now I just came back from a busy 9-day visit to San Francisco and flowers were the last thing on my mind–my hair was blowing wildly in the cold wind off the Bay and I was frequently freezing as I traversed from the City to the East Bay to Silicon Valley.  No matter where I was, there was a chill in the air at night,  but in San Francisco it was an all-day thing where the typical summer day  looked like this:

June morning looking towards Downtown SF from atop a hill in the Inner Sunset
June morning looking towards Downtown SF from atop a hill in the Inner Sunset

Which made me think about these great scarves and shawls I saw at Unique LA at the Late Sunday Afternoon booth.  I sure wished I’d had one with me!  One of those fabulous shawls would have so easily folded into my briefcase and whenever the fog rolled in, I could have swirled it around my shoulders, my arms, even my head and been warm and cozy with no real added weight in my bag.

There’s also something very retro-San Francisco about Late Sunday Afternoon scarves and shawls- they consider each one they make to be a prayer shawl and they knot and bless each one for the individual who wears it to have Love, Adventure, Happiness and Mystery.  Alpine Forest ScarfWoods Scarf14-14.jpg

The guys (yes, it’s dudes that design and make these scarves) go beyond just their words–they are also creating a scarf/blanket/ backpack called “The Voyager,”  that’s waterproof on the outside, with a pull string on the outer edge turning it into a backpack with straps and fleece on the inside for warmth.  They intend to use a portion of their profits to provide homeless/houseless beings their own Voyagers.

So you can do a good thing for yourself and someone else by checking out the Late Sunday Afternoon website–or if you want to meet the guys behind this great Venice, CA-based company, you will find them July 26 & 27 at the free-to-attend Renegade Craft Fair in DTLA’s Grand Park.  As long as we live on the coast, we’ll always (thankfully) have cool evenings–so why not look cool and be warm with a little something from Late Sunday Afternoon?

Made in LA–Glass with a Positive Vibe

With Father’s Day coming up on June 15th, I started thinking about what I’d like to give Jay…that would make my life better…isn’t that what wives do? We buy our husbands new T-shirts when we can’t stand the old ratty ones,  we get them organizers so they can clean up the mess in the garage, or we get them sessions with a trainer so we don’t have a panic attack every time they eat a bag of  Fritos .

Living in a loft, though,  has taken several of the go-to Father’s Day items off my list…the new set of barbecue tools,  a lounge chair for the back yard, a new rake.  But I have hit on an item that would give Jay the freedom to do something he really loves to do…but up until now I don’t allow…keep reading!

Here’s the deal…we love having lots of tall bottles of cold water in the refrigerator.  At dinner you can grab a few and put them on the table –no ice needed, no filling a pitcher and they’re great for entertaining, too.  We buy the bottles of Lorina Sparkling Sodas at World Market and then reuse them as water bottles. But note the bottle on the right in this photo  I’m not saying this happened, but I have to wonder…did someone drink out of THAT bottle?

water bottles photo

So I’m thinking the perfect Father’s Day gift would be a custom bottle from Spoken Glass that has either “Dad,” “Jay,” “El Jefe” or some other endearing term lovingly inscribed on the bottle.   Then–anytime my wonderful husband, and devoted father to Nick, wants to chug from one of the glass bottles, he has his own personal bottle to down as much agua fria  as he can guzzle in one standing.

Familia bottleHere’s a sample of a custom option

 Spoken Glass also does some really fun things with wine glasses.  You can customize them with your own inscription  or you can choose from their clever creations.  Here’s one that resonates:

:Wine Glasses "Easy Day - Rough Day - Don't even ask"

I could see Jay liking this, too–and so would I.  Depending on the pour level, I’ll know whether to let him leave SportsCenter on during  dinner or engage him in a meaningful conversation about our relationship.

There are stories about water having its own energy and a theory that connecting it with a positive message gives off more positive energy.  So maybe the message for Father’s Day will be I ♥ Jay!

Whether you’re looking for something different for Father’s Day or like the idea of customizing the vessel for your beverage of choice, check out the Spoken Glass website.  Conor Gaffney, the founder of Spoken Glass, makes the bottles  locally in Venice, CA with passion and purpose best stated by this quote on his website that he attributes to his momma “Keep The Positive Vibration”!

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.