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!

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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!

042113_map_8-3029.5x11_FINAL_cropped-3029

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…

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.

“Nothing but blue skies do I see…”

The weather is warming up Angelenos. How do you spend your sunny SoCal days? Are you an early morning riser or a late night owl? My loft has huge windows that let in an insane amount of early morning light which has me waking earlier than I ever would have on my own. I used to consider myself a late night owl, but now a days I think I am swaying towards the early risers. Watching the sunrise or at least catching a glimpse of the sun just after it peaks the horizon is magical! The sky looks as if someone painted it with watercolors. As soon as I get up the first thing I do is open the windows wide and let in the morning air, so crisp and cool before the day takes over with its blanket of heat.

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Today is Pershing Square’s Farmers Market. Nearly ever day somewhere in the city there is a farmer’s market. Pershing Square is close by and has a large assortment of fresh produce with some farmers selling goods without pesticides, or so they claim. I noticed lots of people taking advantage of the weather, lunching at the tables near the center of the square. I was pleased to see a brand new plot of grass in the center, though I am not sure how long it will last. I filled my reusable bag with as many veggies to last a few days of juicing and a quick lunch with my cousin. As I was walking home, the song Blue Skies was drifting through my head… “Blue Skies… Smiling at me… Nothing but blue skies… Do I see… ”

Here is Ella Fitzgerald singing her version…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epRXoS_P0lk

Enjoy the sun in whatever way you can. Even if it’s only for a moment to close your eyes and soak up the rays, take that moment for yourself, your soul will thank you. Happy Blue Skies to you all… enjoy the California sunshine.

Pershing Square of yesteryear.

Pershing Square of yesteryear.

Pershing Square today

Pershing Square’s only grassy area.

Pershing Square today.

Pershing Square today. What happened to all the greenery? It will be nice when they finally redesign the park. Too much is concrete.

Sans automobile in Los Angeles?

I recently sold my car… I know, I know… having a car in Los Angeles is really a must, but I have sold my car non the less in hopes that public transportation will deliver me to my destinations. I will lower my carbon footprint and demand more out of mass transit. Win win right?! So far, I have been pleasantly surprised as to what is available to people sans automobile.

Take for example yesterday, my boyfriend and I took a trip up to Griffith Park Observatory on Mt. Hollywood. We walked a few blocks to the underground Metro at Pershing Square, hopped on the RED LINE for $1.50 each, took it to the Vermont/Sunset stop, caught DASH’s weekend only Griffith Observatory Shuttle for .50 cents per person. The shuttle drops you off directly in front of the Observatory, how convenient! From there, we “hiked” (walked along) the Mt. Hollywood Hiking Trail to the tip top to view all of Los Angeles. The trail head is found just at the entrance of the parking lot. At the top you will see everything from the famous Hollywood sign, to downtown, Burbank and beyond. It was so gorgeous out even the butterflies were dancing in the breeze. Many people were out from all over! Some jogging, families brought their lunch to picnic,and some people rode on horseback to the top! The trail is moderately easy as far as hiking goes, but it’s a great outdoor walk if you feel like escaping the city for a day. It’s not far from downtown either, it probably took about 35 min from my house to the Observatory.

View from atop the Griffith Observatory overlooking the grounds, Mt Hollywood and the Hollywood sign.

View from atop the Griffith Observatory overlooking the grounds, Mt Hollywood and the Hollywood sign.

Inside the Dome of Griffith Observatory houses the Zeiss 12 inch refracting telescope.

Inside the Dome of Griffith Observatory houses the Zeiss 12 inch refracting telescope.

 

Recap… Metro RED line + DASH + Hike = perfect car free outing in LA!

.. and it was only $4 RT! what?! Plus, when we got up the mountain to the observatory I noticed many cars were idling waiting for a parking spot for 10+ minutes. So even if we had driven up there, it would have been a nightmare finding a parking spot. In addition, the DASH makes a few stops on it’s soute to and from the Observatory. So if you wanted to, you could stop over to see the latest art at La Luz de Jesus,  grab brunch from Figaro’s, lunch at Alcove and dinner after your “hike” at Home. It just seems so much easier to use public transportion then stress about parking and waisting gas looking for said parking spot. Besides traffic these days is an adventure unto its own. I for one am happy to toss out my car and use my legs to get around.

Hollywood sign in the distance.

Hollywood sign in the distance.

 

A view of the snow capped mountains way off in the distance.

A view of the snow capped mountains way off in the distance.

A view of downtown Los Angeles.

A view of downtown Los Angeles.

 

for more on LA Metro click here

for more on DASH click here

 

A room with a view

Waking up in a loft with windows that face the morning light is magical. Though at first I was not a fan of such early rising, I have now adapted to the light and learned to love it. My loft faces east with giant windows that take up our entire eastern facing wall. And to my luck, we only have a short building across the street that blocks half the view otherwise I can see Mt. Baldy on a clear day. myview

Today on the other hand is quite gloomy and cold. I can see the hills just barely as the fog is blanketing their grounds. I can see the cars in the distance chugging along the freeway trying to get somewhere in la. Not many birds out today, probably huddled together under a tree waiting out this weather. Normally I see a hawk flying around looking for its next meal. As for me, I am cuddled up in a blanket drinking tea, reading and watching my cat sitting on the ledge of our window seal watch all the people hurrying below. All bustled in their coats, hats and scarfs. You would think it’s going to snow, but it’s only California rain. The city always looks so crisp and clean after a good rain. I smile in anticipation for the rain to end when I get to see the city buildings in their glory of the sunshine. I always love a good rainy day. The sound of the drops on the window is beautiful, the smells are wonderful and the aftermath is even better.

What are you doing today? Where ever you are, if you are outside (if you aren’t, go outside) stop, close your eyes and breathe in to remind yourself that today is just one day of many. Make it a good one. Enjoy the cold Angelenos, summer will be here before you know it.

A trip to Big Lots…

A trip to Big Lots always comes with a little excitement and trepidation. The chance to find really expensive goods for crazy cheap prices. I go with the intent to find exactly what I am looking for i.e. crackers, tea, shampoo… etc etc. However, I mostly come out with more than I went in for. BIG lots

The entrance is rather intimidating and dirty. With stairs that decline into a dusty glass door with a single security guard just inside, that seems to get younger and younger with every visit I take. The escalator works only half the time and there is only one sign that states where they are located. Just look for the large orange exclamation sign and you found it!

Once you get in, you may feel a little overwhelmed by the whole store. It doesn’t seem to have a rhyme or reason, but it does. It has almost everything you are looking for, sort of like  Target or K-Mart. Of course, Big Lots is neither, but you get the idea. Food and holiday goods to the right, home goods and tech stuff to the left, and long lines of customers waiting for the only 2 lines ever available to ring you up. FYI there is always a line! If you think you can walk in to Big Lots for a quick trip, it’s probably not going to happen, but who knows, maybe you are the lucky one. The cashiers are hardly forthcoming or friendly, expect 0% customer service, however, every now and then you get a smile from one of them.

I have however had amazing luck at finding organic foods that I would have purchased at Whole Foods and Co-op for three times the price. More so on the dry goods, like oatmeal, crackers, cereal, nuts, cookies, etc. I have even come across great finds like vitamins and shampoos from quality brands! Brooms, containers, cleaning products that are the exact same product for half the price, if not less.

I seriously recommend a trip to Big Lots. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Weekend Wonderland

Are you looking for something to do this weekend? A few great places to start would be the LA Art Book Fair at the The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. 36499_385407698219233_966874203_nHundreds of art books on display from oldies to goodies, prints to catalogs. A delight for your artistic side. Take a friend and wander the isles of art literature from all over the world. Pick up pretty prints for your sweetie or rocking awesome zines, Valentines day is on it’s way. They even have a few book signings, so check their schedule to not miss out.

 
 
 
 
Hours and Location:
The LA ART BOOK FAIR is free and open to the public.
Saturday, February 2, 11 am–6 pm
Sunday, February 3, 12 pm–6 pm
 
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA152 North Central Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 626-6222
moca.org
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday night at Space 727 Art will be all over the walls in the newest group exhibition  entitled LINES featuring artists, Matt Maust, Cody Comrie, and Harley Cortez. From floor to ceiling drawings, paintings and prints are on view for the art (and music *hint hint*)LINES lover in you. These are very talented men showing off their creative side off stage. I wouldn’t miss it if I were you. It’s only up for a week, so join the reception Saturday night February 2nd from 6:30-9:30pm. Space 727 Spring Street, DTLA.

And if that’s not enough…

PicnicGo for a walk in the city. Go for a long walk up to Vista Hermosa park. It might be a bit of a distance, but it proves to be such a gem. With views only wishes are made of. It’s 10 and half acres of walking trails, streams, kids playground, and hidden away picnic areas. Gorgeous meadows and the perfect city bench overlooking a vast meadow and the best view of DTLA! Scope out the perfect spot for your Valentines Day picnic. Romance is not lost in LA, certainly not DTLA. This park is really a treat. So much thought and heart went into creating such a beautiful retreat.

Vista Hermosa ParkBench
100 N Toluca St
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
 
 
 

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