Independence Day greetings

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From my home to yours. I wish you all a safe and joyful Independence Day.
Here in Downtown Los Angeles Grand Park is putting on a spectacle for Independence Day with a free event named Fourth of July Block Party. They’ll have music (dj’s and live performance), food trucks (of course), grass for days for the perfect picnic, a huge fountain to cool off in the heat and fireworks!!! How does one celebrate the fourth without fireworks? :)
Whatever you are doing wherever you are, I wish you a very Happy Independence Day.

Beat the heat!

Originally posted on dtlaliving:

How are you finding ways to beat this heat? I have all my windows open and homemade ginger lemonade in the fridge to keep me going. I know in this heat our body just wants to lay around and be lazy. However, there are so many places to enjoy here in downtown Los Angeles especially now that summer is here and kiddies are out of school. It reminds of Alice Cooper’s song “Schools Out.” Though I haven’t been in school for ages it just seems fitting seeing more kids around town.

Here are a few ideas to get you out and about.

1. Go splash around in the big fountain at Grand Park. Be a kid again, roll up your pants and splash around side by side the chillin’s that are already there. They know what’s up. Follow their lead! There is nothing more fun then splashing in a…

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CicLAvia, KBBQ, KTown, LACMA, CAFAM, Petersen Museum, iconic Wilshire Blvd… Yep, just another day in LA.

narrown wilshire view at start

me on bike.ciclaviaRiding my Nerve beach cruiser along the iconic Wilshire blvd without cars seems crazy, but not when it’s CicLAvia. A wonderful program started by CARs (community arts resources). A completely free event open to the public even if you don’t own a bike.

losangeleswalks.org

losangeleswalks.org

It welcomes walkers like the LosAngelesWalker.org group, skateboarders, roller-bladers, roller-skaters, unicyclists, tricyclists, and a lot of other types of creative inventions on wheels. Riding with over a 100,000 people easily, I was bound to run into someone I knew, like Mike Mendoza of @ VeganBeastMode.

Veganbeastmode and I

Yesterday’s ride started at the beginning of Wilshire Blvd in DTLA with plenty of pedestrian zones and mandatory dismantle zones to get you ready for the ride west to Fairfax. Tern set up camp showcasing their amazing foldable lightweight bikes that I so desperately want!! The Eclipse S11(i) is such a beauty!

tern eclipse s11i

Another vender who set up camp was REI, complete with a rock wall! Plus, CicLAvia had multiple first aid tents all along Wilshire in case people needed water to hydrate or bandages for their falls. I didn’t see any wipeout, but I did see a cyclist riding way too fast through an intersection and almost taking out a lady stationary on her bike and a traffic cop! yeah, that was nutty.

KBBQ meal

CoCoHoDo is located 3500 w.6th st. 90020.

K-Town had the right idea with programming their yearly KBBQ festival on the same day as CicLAia so we (boyfriend, friend [also bloggers] & I, ) stopped for a look around. Thanks K-Town! I’m not a meat eater so finding vegan food was tricky. I settled with a vegetarian meal of… Samkak, Gimbab, and two cocohodos. Cocohodos are a walnut pastry. Basically walnuts in bean paste wrapped in a pancake or at least that’s what it tasted like to me.

Riding west on Wilshire we entered into Miracle Mile where LACMA, CAFAM, the new Academy Museum, The Petersen Automotive Museum and the La Brea tar pits are located. Everywhere you looked there were people! A sea of people out enjoying their Sunday thanks to CicLAvia. LACMA set up shop with tents that offered temporary tattoos, spin art, a photo booth and an informational booth.

LACMA full view

Across from LACMA was CAFAM which I am sure if you have driven or taken the bus along Wilshire you will have recognized the colorful crocheted building. Yarn bombers parked themselves in front selling their “bombs” to the many cyclist that promote this noble cause. You can read more about it here.

sewing bike

sewing machine is run by this bike.

yarn bombers

lovely lady yarn bombers

yarn bombs

yarn bombs anyone?

In the middle between the Petersen Museum and the new Academy Museum were these huge Oscar statues standing on none other than red carpet. Everyone was taking their photo with them. Why not, right?

oscar statues

Thanks to The Petersen Museum everyone was able to make their very own license plate. Super cute for all ages!

license plate

If you have never taken part in CicLAvia you are indeed missing out! Come any way you can with anyone you want. Families, couples, friends, foreigners, and your pets! I am still trying to figure out how I can bring my cat. I saw so many dogs of all sizes and even birds!

Los Angeles truly has so many fun free events that I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Today was such a great day. I can’t wait for the next CicLAvia!

Please curb your dog.

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Please curb your dog

How many of us actually know what this statement means? We read it everywhere from the middle of the city to the suburban streets, but not many of us seem to know what it means.

Most commonly it means to “clean after your dog”, but recently there has been a movement to take these words more literally. This is their motto: Take your dog to the curb. Simple as that. When your canine needs to do his/her business, pull them over to the curb (where street meets sidewalk) and allow them to pee/poo in the street not the sidewalk, but the actual street! It baffles me that people of all economic walks of life allow their dog to piss or sh*t in the middle of the sidewalk. Sure they “sometimes” pick up the poo with their bags conveniently designed for this task, but the poop gets smeared along the sidewalk for us humans to walk around or on if we aren’t paying attention. To those of you who do in fact pick up after your dog, thank you for being a responsible pet owner, but can you just go that extra step and train them to “go” in the street where it will get washed away at night?

Allowing your dog to piss on the sidewalk is just plain dickish! Really people?! Why are you ok with letting your animal stream it’s pee on a public walkway? You clearly walk on these sidewalks, aren’t you annoyed by the constant stream of urine on your path? Or the awful stench of piss eating away at the walls of buildings? Pull your dog over to the street and let them go in the street, once again, so it will be washed away at night. 

Interestingly here in downtown Los Angeles the police like to offer silly tickets to people crossing the intersection when the red light is flashing “don’t walk” when we know we have 10 seconds left and it would only take 5 seconds to cross the street. But where are the cops when a dog splatters the sidewalk with its urine? These owners should get fined. It’s a public nuisance and it’s prohibited!

Here’s the law for LA~

Los Angeles

  • The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works Environmental Programs Division developed a program to control pet waste. Los Angeles Municipal Code requires dog defecation to be immediately removed by the owner of the animal. Los Angeles County’s pooper scooper law is listed under the county’s nuisance ordinance and says, “Animal defecation on public property or upon private property other than the owner’s property is prohibited.

images-1Read more about laws in your area: California Pooper Scooper Laws | eHow http://www.ehow.com/list_6630110_california-pooper-scooper-laws.html#ixzz2VThRAWsP

Found Animals. Here is another lovely article about this issue of dog waste in public space.

Thanks for reading and spread the word.

Ways to rid your organic garden of Fungus Gnats.

I have for a while been trying to rid my garden of tiny flies without success. I read somewhere that apple cider vinegar in water sprayed on these “flies” will kill them, alas that has not happened. In fact, today I have more flies than 2 weeks ago and now I have white larvae living underneath my cilantro leaves. After a days worth of research I discovered the names of these new unwanted roommates, Fungus Gnats. These guys have been burrowing in my soil for weeks regardless of my shooing hand. I need more than just an apple cider mist bath, I need real propellants! In my research of various blogs and rants online, this is what I discovered.

*First things first… dry out the soil! These buggers LOVE moist soil. So, if you are able to dry out the soil without killing your plants do it! This ensures imminent death, but if you can’t… try these options:

(All these options are chemical free as I promote organic non-toxic gardening. Even the dish soap is made of all natural non-toxic chemicals.)

~A mixture of 1 tsp of 100% Neem oil in a quart of water (the oil can be found at many natural health food stores). Also, you can try a mixture of 1 tbsp dish soap in a gallon of water and flush it through the soil of the plant till the gallon is empty. This seems to drown and kill the larvae. And the flies can’t come back as the oil and or soap mixture is unattractive to them. However, this only works if your pots can be drained. If you can’t drain your plant, then just keep spraying the soil and plants with the mixture.

~Sprinkle a generous amount of cinnamon all over the top soil or you can even add cinnamon sticks to the water you feed your plants.

~Place small pebbles on the top soil of your plants so the gnats won’t be able to burrow and therefore they won’t lay their eggs.

~Chamomile tea bags and tea after it has cooled seems to work well. I would cook up a pot of tea and steep it appropriately, let it cool and add that to your watering can.

~Create your own flies traps by cutting strips of construction paper and gluing corn syrup or sugar-water (more sugar than water) to the paper. Place these strips in your garden all throughout. These attract the flies they get stuck and die. Though it doesn’t stop reproduction of more flies. However useful in ridding the adult flies you already have.

~Another option I heard, some people actually use the hose part of their vacuum to suck up the adult flies so they diminish and therefore lessen the chances of breeding. Sounds easy to me.

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I sprinkled a ton of cinnamon on my soil.

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Try these options and let me know what works for you. Good luck.

I have, since writing this post, dusted my plants with cinnamon, watered less often to dry out the soil, sprayed neem oil and water as well as a rinse of dish soap and water. Plus, I scooped out the top layer of soil and replaced with new soil and added rocks to rid my plants of these pests. In addition, I took out the eaten cilantro plants since they were too far infected. I have very few, if any, gnats left. I’ve noticed, that they don’t care for basil and have planted basil amoungst my other plants.
Tell me how your plants are doing and what worked for you.

Fresh food in your ‘hood. (organic)

People seem to think because we live in downtown Los Angeles we have little to no access to fresh foods and produce. Which, I think is silly. Sure we have no Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Co-Op, Sprouts, Erewhon or even VP Discount Health and Food Mart (though I must say, I trek it here every now and then for amazing deals, they truely are discounted from their competitors), but we have MANY farmers markets that offer an amazing spread of fresh produce and meats. And to top it off, we have organic markets located in the heart of our community. Two Bits, Om Nom Organics, The Artisan and soon to be Urban Radish opening in a couple of months. Plus, Ralph’s actually offers a huge variety of organic produce and pre-packaged foods.

Two Bits Market located on 5th street (the nickel) is small, but offers fresh local organic foods, produce and organic packaged foods as well as organic coffee, cheeses, and made to order sandwiches. I am always finding my way to Two Bits for more avocados and day old bread for half the price. It’s a bargain!

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Two Bits Market~ Fresh. Local. Organic. on 5th between Broadway and Spring.

Om Nom Organics is a convenient mini market that offers all organic pre-packaged foods that are free of pesticides and toxins. Think mini Whole Foods. Everything for every meal. From pancake mix to pasta and sauces. They have a large assortment of organic teas, toddler goodies and needs, household cleaning products and needs, and even carry Babycakes! In addition to the market they have fresh foods to go! Conveniently located under the Eastern Columbia Building on 8th Street. Plus, they deliver! what? yes, they deliver in DTLA, so really there is no excuse for not eating healthy. click here for the menu.

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Om Nom Organics on 8th near Broadway.

The Artisan House located on Main Street and 6th is another mini market that offers only in-season local organic produce. As well as a variety of organic pre-packaged foods and local cheeses and meats. In addition, they house a mini liquor store of beer, wine and liquors. Plus, it’s attached to their restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. Perfection! I say.

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Artisan House on Main and 5th.

Urban Radish is coming soon. Follow their story on facebook here. But with 8,200 sq.ft. of space, this is fantastic news. Said to be slated to open May 29th. Fingers crossed! This is going to be a great addition to the organic local fresh food movement.

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Designs of Urban Radish on Mateo

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Urban Radish on Mateo.

Ralph’s located on 9th between Flower and Hope Street is the largest of markets in the area. I am happy to say they offer a huge variety of organic fresh local produce as well as organic prepackaged foods. So if you find yourself in this gigantic market fear not, they have organic foods, too.

Grand Central Market located on Broadway has fresh local produce as well, though I am not sure about organic. I ask and ask, and every time I go I get a different answer. Oh well, at least it’s local right? Though it is heading into a revival with many retailers selling organic and free range foods like Sticky Rice.

Then we have our Farmer’s Markets!!!!!!

Monday~ Visit the mini markets ;)

Tuesday~ Grand Park 10am-2pm.

Wednesday~ Pershing Square 11:30am-2pm (my personal favorite).

Thursday~ Fig at 7th  9am- 3pm (Above Target) & City Hall 10am-2pm (on 1st and Spring St.).

Friday~ Bank of America Plaza 11:30am- 3pm

Saturday~ trek up to Echo Park‘s Farmer’s Market 3pm-7pm.

Sunday~ Historic Core on 5th street between Spring and Broadway. This is another treasure of farmer’s markets. 9am-1pm.

Beat the heat!

How are you finding ways to beat this heat? I have all my windows open and homemade ginger lemonade in the fridge to keep me going. I know in this heat our body just wants to lay around and be lazy. However, there are so many places to enjoy here in downtown Los Angeles especially now that summer is here and kiddies are out of school. It reminds of Alice Cooper’s song “Schools Out.” Though I haven’t been in school for ages it just seems fitting seeing more kids around town.

Here are a few ideas to get you out and about.

1. Go splash around in the big fountain at Grand Park. Be a kid again, roll up your pants and splash around side by side the chillin’s that are already there. They know what’s up. Follow their lead! There is nothing more fun then splashing in a giant fountain in the middle of a city. Remember Silvia from La Dolce Vita? Great movie.

Silvia in the fountain

Silvia in the fountain

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Grand Park Fountain of Fun

2. Find a friend with a roof top pool! Take advantage of your friends and neighbors. There are so many buildings with pools and most residents don’t make use of them. So start asking everyone you know if they have a pool and if they don’t mind lending it to you.

Here are few I know that have pools. Do you have friends that reside in them?

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Eastern Columbia on Broadway.

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SB Properties along Spring St. and 6th Street

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Pegasus Apartments on Flower

3. Museums! I am always looking for excuses to head to a museum. Though I probably don’t need any excuses since I absolutely love museums. But museums have air conditioning and in this crazy heat you may want to escape the sun’s rays for a few hours. There is no better way than with culture indoors. In downtown, we are lucky to have a few in walking distance. For example: Museum of Contemporary Art, The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Japanese American National Museum, California Science Center, Natural History Museum, California African American Museum, and come next year, the Broad.

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MOCA

4. Go find a restaurant you haven’t tried yet and order only desserts! Or better yet, go straight for dessert and skip the lunch altogether! You could always grab a veggie juice later so you still get some nutrients and then head on over to dessert land. Peddler’s Creamery opened on Main st. Made with organic, fair trade, local & exotic ingredients. They have ice cream, sorbet and even vegan desserts. YUMMM! Plus, 5% of their profits goes to social and environmental causes. Win win!

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Peddler’s Creamery

5. Head to the beach (much like everyone else) via the METRO 720.~ Everybody seems to have the same idea when the weather obliges. Getting caught in beach traffic is never fun, so get out earlier. Pack a lunch and picnic out under the sun. Of course, you will have your sunscreen and sun hats, right? Sun burns are never fun to deal with. So lather up! Nobody likes lobster skin.

vintage-beach

 

6. Go see a movie, but that’s a given right? I put this last since I’d rather do the prior 3 on my days off.

Enjoy and stay hydrated.

¡Viva CicLAvia!

Today is the day where cyclists unite and ride car(e)free from DTLA to the beach. 15 miles one way. Starting at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles and ending in Venice Beach. How awesome is that?! It’s a gorgeous day out so get your bike and ride on! Wether you ride for a mile or the full trek, today is your day to take advantage of a bike path through the city, without cars trying to run you off the road. They are estimating 100,00 people will participate in today’s largest bike ride yet. So, come take part in this fun-filled carfree sunny southern California bike ride.

Check the map for road crossings for cars and the direct path for “bikes only” straight to the beach!

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To The Sea Map

 

You can always come out in support of riders throughout the route, cheering them on, taking photos, offering waters or riding with your kids a few blocks in participation. This event is for everyone. Start in DTLA or even in Venice Beach to ride back to DTLA. Many public transportation systems are available to help out in your trek. There will be hubs all throughout the route. Click here for hub locations. In Venice Beach there will be a kids zone to partake in a bike skills workshop and hone in on their biking skills complete with obstacle course and helmet giveaway from 11am-1pm. Thanks to Walk’n’Rollers.

Click here for safety tips. Especially if your children are joining you. There will be a lot of people out today, so stay safe people!

For those of you without a bike, take your scooter, skateboard, roller skates or even walk along with everyone. Click here for a few places to rent a bike along the route.

DowntownMuse loves her bike!

DowntownMuse loves her bike!

 

P.S. Rumor has it DTLA is starting a BIKE NIGHT… hint hint… DowntownMuse.

Spring is in the air… continued…

2 weeks later and here is my window sill garden. I am now looking into containers to transplant into organic non-toxic soil. Surprisingly my walk to Home Depot amazed me with such options. They now offer Non-GMO seeds and no pesticide, non-toxic, organic soil for seedlings and more mature plants. Phewww… In addition to Home Depot, since it is a giant corporation and I’d prefer to support more eco-conscious, Lassens the natural food and vitamin store in Los Feliz (only a small metro ride away) offers a large variety of Non-GMO organic seeds for about $2.50 a packet on average.

They've sprouted

They’ve sprouted

My grandmother has been helping me plant indoors via the telephone and old fashioned letters. Grams says any deep container will work if placed in the sun near a window. Look at thrift stores in your area for unwanted trash bins, buckets, etc. You can always save your food containers such coconut water cartons, nut milk cartons, larger yogurt containers, to-go containers, etc. My boyfriend laughs at me taking home “trash” as he calls it, while I say I am “UP”cycling which is way better than “RE”cycling, yes? All these work great for transplanting unless you have larger containers already that you can use right away.Once the sprouts reach a healthy 3-5 inches and the stems seem strong enough to move, go ahead and get your soil, containers and gently transplant them into your containers.

If you are planting tomatoes, they need deep containers to root and only one stem in each container. Tomatoes need a lot of room to spread their roots. Eventually they will need a good stick to keep them upright. A bamboo skewer works great or find a stick outside and give it a good rinse from the grime of the outdoors.

As for my avocado plant, I found out that I have to mate the seed. Otherwise my plant will only be that, a plant. No fruit will grow unless I find a male to my female seed or vice verses since I have no idea what sex my avocado seed is. More on this later. Avocado plants take a very long time to root, so if you don’t see anything happening for weeks, it’s normal.

Also, lavender takes a very long time to sprout too, so if you have planted lavender, don’t fret, they are growing slowly, but surely.

*Side note* Since I have direct morning sun, I covered my sprouts with either left over clear food containers that fit over the egg containers and snack size plastic zip lock bags over the tiny terra cotta planters to keep the warmth and moisture inside while the seeds are growing. I also water each container of seeds with about 1 TBSP every morning if the soil seemed dry. Lately the weather has been cold and drizzly, so the soil has stayed moist on it’s own.

Herbs and veggies

Herbs and veggies

top view of more herbs sprouting.

top view of more herbs sprouting.

They are about 2 inches tall.

They are about 2 inches tall.

herbs and veggies

herbs and veggies

The pit of my avocado has split to make room for the root.

The pit of my avocado has split to make room for the root.

Tell me how you are doing in your garden. As for the flies that a few of you experienced; it might be due to an abundance of water in your containers. Maybe try covering the seeds as well, this may help. I haven’t had any small flies in my house. Let me know how it goes.

Happy planting

Spring is in the air…

And I bet your allergies are in full bloom, huh? It’s time for the bees (what’s left of them) to do their job and pollinate the land with beautiful flowers, fruits, veggies and more. Too bad we can’t tell them to stay on organic plants. Shameful Monsanto is ruining everything and killing our hardworking honeybees! Without them we are all done for. 60+ other countries recognize this issue of systemic herbicide, GMO, and altering our foods… but I digress. That is a hot issue for me. I just watched Vanishing of the Bees and remembered why I only shop organic EVERYTHING.

So, Spring is here and things are growing. I am fortunate to live in an apartment that gets flooded with morning sunlight. I frequent the farmers market at least 3x a week if not more and thought to myself, why not grow the food in my 11th floor loft? So this is what I have done.

Can you see the sprouts?

Can you see the sprouts?

I am growing herbs like Italian large leaf basil, thyme, oregano, and cilantro. I am also growing Big and Delicious tomatoes, chili peppers and an avocado plant along side flowers like, Love Lies-Bleeding, English Lavender and Forget-Me-Nots. It’s very easy to do, especially if you have egg cartons around and lots of good lighting. I cut the top off my egg carton. You can use both the top and bottom to fill with seed soil to start planting. It’s good to start with the soil moist for seeds to grow, but not too wet. After filling the carton with soil, place about 5 seeds in each mound, spray gently with a mister if you have one nearby and cover with a container for a greenhouse like enclosure. I turned my glass “tupperware” containers upside-down to make a greenhouse. Seeds should start to sprout in a few days to a week depending on the sunlight hitting them and water consumption. They need to have warmth and lots of sunlight. Check the soil everyday to make sure they have enough water. I use my tablespoon to apply more water to each dish almost every day and mist the container tops every night. I would suggest labeling your dishes so you don’t forget what you planted where. I always forget. “) Paper taped to toothpicks work great for labeling. Click here for a guide to help you grow from seed indoors.

6-12-08-avocado

Now, avocados are different since it contains a pit. Take a few toothpicks and insert them into the pit in order to have it rest in a glass cup or jar full of water keeping the top inch dry. Place the jar out of direct sunlight and in a few weeks you should see the plant start to sprout from the top and roots underneath. Replace the water when it gets low. Click here for more info on growing avocado plants. It’s super easy and great for teaching kids to grow plants indoors.

I am itching to grow more. Can’t wait to get organic heirloom tomatoes, organic yellow pear heirloom tomatoes, and more organic seed flowers. Remember Chia plants? They’re super easy to grow with kids or beginners. Tell me what you are growing and your experiences. I am so curious.

*I heard through the grapevine, DTLA is looking into a community garden. Hal Bastian has the land, he just needs experienced people to help run it. “I have been offered a plot of land in Downtown to start a community garden and need someone with community garden experience to volunteer to run it. If you know how to set-up a garden, decide who gets the plots and all the business aspects, please email me to hbastian@downtownla.com” quotes Hal. Let’s figure this out and be gardeners together. I need somewhere to put my compost bin goods.

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