'Tis the season of holiday cheer and winter in LA (it's about 55-65 degrees these days in early December, and it feels so cold for this Angeleno!), which means it's time to dust off the storage bins in my closet and break out all of my warm winter clothes and accessories. As someone who's a total weekend adventurer and typically on the go in my free time, I love to be comfortable in what I wear while also feeling confident and stylish in my own way. Toms has become one of my favorite brands for shoes and accessories because not only is everything is so comfortable and effortless to style, but they are a company that continuously vows to give back to those in need. With every product that you purchase from their stores or online, Tom will donate a product of theirs to someone in need. Their one-for-one promise makes this a company that I am happy to wear and support. As such, here are some of my favorite Tom pieces (pictured above) from their new winter collection:
Black & White Plaid Woven Women's Classics
Warm Tan Leather Women's Lunata Booties
Lomamba Matte Havana Tortoise Sunglasses
Drizzle Soft Suede Cosmopolitan Tote Bag
Or, click here to start your browsing all of the great items at Toms.com!
Photos in this blog post were taken by Evelynn, social media specialist & community manager at Toms.
I love music festivals because they bring a diverse group of individuals together to enjoy and celebrate something they all have in common: a love and apprecation for music. I'd argue that music is one of the most beautiful things in life, and a love of music is something that many, no matter your age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, etc., can share, celebrate, and enjoy. There's something about dancing to the music, smiling, singing along, feelin' alive and free, that makes you feel connected to the crowd at music festivals and concerts, regardless of how many people you personally known in the audience. And for that, among other reasons, I am grateful that music festivals exist. They bring people together.
I was able to check out my first LA music festival this weekend, in partnership with Otterbox (click here for more background on my Ambassador role for them), at FYF Fest. FYF Fest is a yearly two-day music festival located at the Los Angeles Sports Arena & Exposition Park, held in the warm and sunny month of August. Headliners included Kendrick Lamar, Tame Impala, AIR, Grimes, LCD Soundsystem, Rae Sremmurd, among many talented others - you can click here for the full Summer 2016 line-up. Something I find just as entertaining as the music performances is people watching at events like these, and it's pretty easy to get fashion inspiration from the many eclectic styles found at a music festival. In line with this, I also love planning my own outfits for events like this and typically plan them a week or two ahead of time so I won't have to stress over "What dooooo I wear?!" the morning of a big event. For Day 1 of FYF Fest, I coordinated my outfit to match my black & gold Swarovski covered Otterbox phone case, and for Day 2, I thought my more neutral outfit needed a fun pop of color. From grooving to the music in the summer sunshine, to trying different delicious food trucks, to taking a deep breath and enjoying the fresh air (#selfcare), this was an L.A. experience I won't be forgetting anytime soon.
Stay updated on next year's FYF Fest via their website, Instagram, or Twitter.
Thank you Otterbox for this memorable and unique LA this experience!
I’ve been an Otterbox Ambassador for almost 6 months now, and I’m grateful to be a part of this team. I used Otterbox phone cases long before I begun collaborating with this company, and as an adventure-loving gal, it’s important for me to trust that my iPhone is well protected at all times. So, naturally, when asked if I could share with their followers how I find symmetry in my city and how I integrate their Symmetry Series into my adventures, I said, "Sign me up!”
I love Otterbox’s Symmetry Series because it protects my phone from those unexpected falls and drops, while also having a sleek, professional, and modern design. It is the slimmest OtterBox case to date, offers complete drop/fall/tumble protection, slips on and off your phone super easily, AND comes in a variety of colorful or more neutral designs. It’s not bulky, slips easily in and out of the side pocket of my purse and camera bag, and I like the way it feels in my hand when taking pictures. I take my iPhone clothed in its Otterbox on every adventure I go on, so it was fun to incorporate this product into my quest to find symmetry in Los Angeles’ architecture, attractions, and scenes.
Symmetry seems to be everywhere in Los Angeles - from the architecture, art, attractions, and more - and it was so fun to think creatively about how to best capture some of the symmetry here. When I began looking for symmetry in the city, I also began to wonder, why is it that the eye is so drawn toward symmetry? I did some research for my own creative development, and I thought these articles were particularly interesting:
Why Our Brains Love Symmetry in Design
Design Principles: Compositional Balance, Symmetry And Asymmetry
A Study on Symmetry: Where, When and Why to Use It
Check out where I found some beautiful symmetry in Los Angeles below:
I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the content I created for Otterbox’s Symmetry Series, and encourage you to be on the lookout for symmetry in your own city! Lastly, I’d recommend following @Otterbox on Instagram and click here to start shopping* for your own OtterBox!
*Use OtterBoxAmbassador on the checkout page at www.otterbox.com to receive a 15% discount and free domestic shipping (free shipping offered within the US only).
I recently teamed up with Happening in D.T.L.A. to bring their readers a solid dose of L.A. history and some interesting places to explore in the eclectic and fascinating urban mecca of Downtown. Check out some of my articles below!
The Historic San Antonio Winery
With so many new businesses popping up all over DTLA, it’s important to remember that there are also businesses that have been a part of this community for decades. And they are just as worth checking out as the new places in town! Founded over 99 years ago in 1917, The San Antonio Winery is the last winery standing in Downtown and has become a landmark in our urban mecca. In fact, in the early 1960’s it was officially declared by the city as a Historic-Cultural Monument and remains #42 on the list. Click here to read my article Through the Grapevine: DTLA’s Last Winery Explored.
The Los Angeles Central Library
I explored LA's largest library and wrote an article about what makes this place so special. The Central Library opened in 1926 and is today considered a DTLA landmark, landing at #46 on the list of Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monuments. Rich in history and impressively designed and decorated, the Central Library is a one-of-a-kind space in DTLA. Click here to read my article Art Deco Lives! Checking Out DTLA's Central Library.
5 Fun & Free Things to Do in D.T.L.A.
DTLA is an eclectic, unique, and diverse neighborhood full of culture, history, art, museums, and attractions - which results in countless things to do & see - no matter your budget. If you’re looking for no-cost activities to enjoy in Downtown LA either by yourself or with friends, you’ve come to the right place! Read the full article here: 5 Fun & Free Things to Do in D.T.L.A.
Check back for more of my articles on all things Downtown Los Angeles, and in the meantime, I'd encourage you to check out all of the other great content at Happening in DTLA!
I’ve always said that if I could go back in time and live in any decade, I’d without a doubt choose to experience the roaring 20’s. Maybe it’s the thought of women finally having more liberation, empowerment, and freedom (to vote, in what they could wear, increased availability of birth control, etc.), and maybe it’s also because of the grandiose of it all – the idea of listening to live jazz, watching talented dancers and flappers, and sipping on the finest of champagnes…all in a swanky, dim lit basement with my closest friends.
Luckily for anyone else enamored with the 1920’s, there’s a new spot on the block that will let you take a step back in time to this roaring decade. The 1933 Group is re-opening Highland Park’s Highland Park Bowl at the end of this week – LA’s oldest bowling alley that has the décor and ambiance that replicates life in the 1920’s. While this bowling alley originated in the midst of prohibition and has been open since 1927, it’s been closed for the past two years while it underwent major renovations – or actually renovations-in-reverse one could say – as the recent years’ modern design has been entirely stripped away and the space transformed to reveal its incredibly charming 1920’s look and feel. The 1933 Group absolutely nailed it with the overall design – from the 8 wooden bowling lanes with vintage pin setters, to the long, dark leather couches, to the vintage bowling league banners displayed throughout the alley, to the glamorous horseshoe shaped bars – this space is unlike any other I’ve seen in Los Angeles!
In addition to the bowling to be enjoyed on a date or fun group outing – this venue will also soon begin to host live music events. The bar will serve a mixture of both modern and classic cocktails (think unique takes on Old Fashioned’s, Moscow Mules, White Russians, etc.) and chef Richie Lopez will be whipping up DELICIOUS, gourmet wood-fired pizzas, sandwiches, salads, and more. So, not only is the design gorgeous inside, but you’ll get to enjoy a refreshing cocktail or two, grab a delicious bite to eat, and have a darn good time bowlin’ with your friends! What more could you ask for in a fun night out?
Add it to your calendars, y’all: the beautiful, historical, and newly renovated Highland Park Bowl opens this Friday, April 29 at 5:00pm. This establishment will be open on Monday through Friday from 5:00pm-2:00am and on weekends from 10:00am-2:00pm. Bowling prices will vary depending on the day you visit, and are included on the image below.
Truly reminiscent of a decade that roared, trust me when I say that you do not want to miss out on this special Los Angeles gem. Highland Park Bowl is located at 5621 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90042. There’s plenty of street parking or parking in the lots accessible via Avenue 57 or Avenue 58. If you’d rather avoid parking and take public transportation, take the Gold Line to the Highland Park Station.
Click here for more information on Highland Park Bowl, and check out the bowling prices below:
Ps: Thank you to abc7 News for featuring this picture on the news below:
If you’ve been following along with my blog, you’ll probably know by now that I am an adventure enthusiast. One of my favorite hobbies is to photograph my explorations and share them on this platform, to help inspire you to explore the big, wide world we live in and push yourself to have new experiences. As I love to be out and about exploring Los Angeles with either my Canon and/or phone, it’s important for me to trust that my iPhone is well protected at all times. This brings me to sharing a product with you that I love and used long before I established a partnership with this company: The OtterBox!
Otterbox is an electronics accessory company based in Colorado that produces water resistant, shock resistant, and drop resistant cases for mobile devices and tablets. OtterBox produces a variety of series of designs based upon the needs or desires of the consumer. The Symmtery series is my favorite OtterBox series, as the cases protect my phone while also having a sleek, professional, and modern design. It is the slimmest OtterBox case to date, offers complete drop/fall/tumble protection, slips on and off your phone super easily, AND comes in a variety of colorful or more neutral designs. It’s not bulky, slips easily in and out of the side pocket of my purse and camera bag, and I like the way it feels in my hand when taking pictures. Take a look at just how much I love my various OtterBox products below...
So, why should you choose OtterBox for your own phone protection needs?
*Because I care about you and want you to save every penny possible, use OtterBoxAmbassador on the checkout page at www.otterbox.com to receive a 15% discount and free domestic shipping (free shipping offered within the US only).
Thank you very much to City Councilmember José Huizar for hosting an incredible event in the historic theatre district of Downtown Los Angeles on January 31, 2016 - appropriately named Night On Broadway! The entire street was closed to drivers, and pedestrians were allowed to visit a wide variety of historic theatres on this iconic street - FOR FREE! The interiors designs of these theatres from the early-mid 1900's were incredibly detailed, so the photographer in me was in absolute heaven!
Special thanks to those who voted for my winning picture below of the Los Angeles Theatre for the People's Choice award for Iconic Architecture . I can't remember the last time I won something, and this is my first time winning a photo contest! So very exciting. :)
To see a complete list of the winners, click here. Can't wait for this awesome event next year!
I love love love finding new and exciting things to do in the city of Los Angeles. I love them even more when it involves: 1) Food. Really delicious food, and 2) A healthy dose of Los Angeles culture and history. After living here for almost one year, I’ve been able to explore almost all of the main tourist attractions and now have more time to discover hidden gem activities and unique adventures. This brings me to an awesome experience I had this past weekend…the ever delicious and highly informative Melting Pot Food Tours!
LA natives, foodies, and sisters Lisa and Diane Scalia started Melting Pot Food Tours in 2008 to share with locals and tourists their love for both food and Los Angeles. Their tours have been enjoyed by many (read the very positive Yelp reviews here) and have been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Daily Candy, Tasting Table, AAA World Magazine, AARP online, Pasadena Magazine, and Pasadena Star News, as well as CBS Evening News and the KTLA Morning News with Gayle Anderson. They offer unique tours for food lovers in a variety of Los Angeles neighborhoods, and after reviewing the options, I chose to go on the Original Farmers Market Food & History Tour.
I’ve been to the Original Farmers Market a few times before and each time have been enamored by the 100+ vendors and the buzzing energy of the outdoor marketplace. I thought this tour would be the perfect way to learn more about the history of LA’s oldest farmers market and how to best navigate through all of the delicious vendors, and of course, try tasty samples from some of LA’s more adored local merchants. Melting Pot Food Tours' website shares this about the Farmers Market Tour: “Get the insider's perspective and understand why locals consider this the best restaurant and grocery store in town! This epicurean 2.5 hour stroll all takes place within the Original Farmers Market. Guests will be introduced to the Market's fascinating history, hear stories of the legacy families who have been part of this landmark location since its beginnings in 1934, and taste signature items from a variety of Farmers Market stalls!”
Andrew was my tour guide for the morning, and he was very friendly, engaging, and extremely knowledgeable about the history of Los Angeles and the OG Farmers Market. I had no idea this was the first farmers market not only in Los Angeles, but in the entire country! This large outdoor market provides a variety of specialty foods, meat, fish, bakery items, and produce to the many smaller farmers markets throughout the city of Los Angeles each weekend, which was also news to me. It was great to hear about how the farmer's market got its start in the early 1930's and what life was like in mid-city Los Angeles back then. Andrew had a great sense of humor and kept us engaged throughout the tour – and was a good sport when some members of the group didn't laugh at his jokes. :) It impressed me that he knew so many of the vendors personally and had special FYI's to share about many of them.
In addition to the overall high quality tour, the food was a great representation of the various cultures in the diverse city of Los Angeles. Some of my favorites tastes included Bob’s Coffee & Doughnuts (the apple fritter was to die for), various cheeses from the gourmet French grocery store, Magee's no oil or sugar added in-house churned peanut butter, tacos from Loteria, Brazilian meats from Pamaps Grill, and Bennett's ice cream (you can choose a smalls scoop of any flavor in a cup or cone – I chose my favorite mint chocolate chip). Although I tried a good amount of food samples, I surprisingly wasn’t THAT full on the end of the tour. I wasn’t hungry, but I wasn’t uncomfortable either, which was nice. I also liked that we alternated between walking, standing, and sitting throughout the 2.5 hour tour. There was plenty of shade throughout the tour and, luckily, the weather was perfect. Basically, I now feel like the Original Farmers Market know-it-all and can’t wait to visit soon and be a tour guide to either friends or family. I loved the tour for many reasons, but mostly because I got to try so many food vendors that I may not have tried otherwise. You betcha I am inspired to go back try even more!
The Original Farmers Market Food & History Tour is $59 for adults and $45 for children, and the ticket includes ALL the food and beverages on this tour. There are a variety of other tours – the Old Pasadena Walking Tour ($75 for adults, $50 for children), Chef Jet Tila’s Flavors of Thai Town Tour ($175 for adults), East LA Latin Flavor Tours (I want to do this one next! $75 for adults, $50 for children), and Melting Pot Food Tours also offers private and group tours starting at $28 for adults. Special tip: you can use discount code DISC2014 to save 10% of the regular tour price. With the great variety of tour options, there’s something for everyone in Los Angeles to enjoy. These tours are all so unique and make for a great birthday present for a friend, a cute date idea for you and your boo, or for a special treat for yourself!
Don’t forget to wear comfortable clothing, good walking shoes, and come HUNGRY. :) Also, bring a camera or your phone so you can take pictures of all of the delicious samples. Aaand make sure to tag @MeltingPotFoodTours when you post to social media.
Click here for all of the details on booking your own Melting Pot Food Tour! Happy eating and exploring, my dear friends!
Delve into a world of curiosity where seeing is disbelieving. KURIOS will immerse you in a mysterious and fascinating realm that disorients your senses and challenges your perceptions, leaving you to wonder: "Is it real, or just a figment of my imagination?"
Something on my life bucketlist – not just on my Los Angeles bucketlist – for a very long time has been to see a Cirque du Soleil show. I love being entertained (but really, who doesn’t?) and am a huge fan of concerts, shows, plays, and performances of all types! Cirque du Soleil in particular is something that has always interested me because it’s recognized world-wide as producing extremely creative, imaginative, emotional, mesmerizing, and mind-blowing performances. I find it fascinating that each circus-inspired show is different and has its own unique theme and imaginative storyline. The shows include a mixture of live music, magic, comedy, dancers, actors, mind-bending contortionists, and so much more. Cirque du Soleil is well-known all over, especially in good ol’ Viva Las Vegas, as being an amazing entertainment experience for all ages to enjoy. The performance company even has a star on the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard!
When I heard from multiple sources that that Dodger Stadium was hosting a Cirque du Soleil show during its off-season, I knew I had to find out what the hype was all about. First of all, how cool of a performance location is Dodger Stadium?! Before heading to the show, I figured the performance would take place in the actual stadium and thought, where the heck would the acrobats hang from?! But, to my surprise, the show was located in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium in an actual circus tent and not in the stadium itself. My boyfriend and I loved this because it felt like we were at a traditional, old time circus. Walking into the gigantic and beautiful blue and yellow tent made us feel like we were back in the early 1900’s where circuses were one of the world’s most captivating sources of entertainment. In the main lobby, we grabbed cocktails from the bar, a warm pretzel, and peanut m&m’s, and then headed into performance tent. Our seats were awesome and we had a perfect view of the stage.
I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect from KURIOS but I had a feeling it would be an incredible show. Cirque du Soleil’s KURIOS website explains: “Reality is relative. There is a world of curiosities to unravel. The show is a mysterious and fascinating realm that disorients your senses and challenges your perceptions. Step into the curio cabinet of an ambitious inventor who defies the laws of time, space and dimension in order to reinvent everything around him. Suddenly, the visible becomes invisible, perspectives are transformed, and the world is literally turned upside down.”
Overall, we were totally blown away by the performances, and not a few minutes went by that we weren’t ooh-ing and ahh-ing out loud. From incredible gymnastics, to impressive trapeze acts, to the costume design and make up, to the overall story line and traditional circus feel, it was a great first time Cirque du Soleil experience for both my boyfriend and I. The music choices throughout the show were perfect (you can purchase the soundtrack after the show if interested), the various acts captivating in their own unique way, and the actors did a great job at interacting with the crowd and keeping us all entertained. Oh, and I’m still trying to figure out how some of the performers can bend their bodies like they do…Yikes! This show turned me into a total Cirque du Soleil fan, and I can’t wait for my next Cirque experience.
Get your tickets while they’re hot - KURIOS will only be at Dodger Stadium until February 7, 2016. As your trustworthy LA tour guide, I can guarantee that you do not want to miss this experiencing this unique and amazing show! Click HERE to view ticket options and purchase tickets (starting at just $50!). Parking is $25 in the main lot at Dodger Stadium but you can easily find street or metered parking for much cheaper or you can take public transportation (we ubur'd - totally worth it). KURIOS at Dodger Stadium is located at 1000 Elysian Park Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
Want to see KURIOS but don’t live in Los Angeles? You’re in luck because the show will be touring throughout the country and will be stopping in Atlanta, Boston, New York, and Washington D.C. Click here for more information on the tour locations and dates.
Thank you to Cirque du Soleil for sponsoring this special night.
I experienced the city I adore from a completely new perspective last weekend - from above! Since moving to LA and falling in love with this city, it’s been on my bucket list to experience the city from a bird's eye view on a helicopter. I had never before flown in a helicopter so didn’t know exactly what to expect, but I was surprised at how much I LOVED flying through the sky! The views were obviously incredible and the journey felt like I was sitting on a cloud, floating through the (sorta smoggy) beautiful So Cal sky. The ride was pretty gentle and I didn’t feel nervous or uncomfortable at any point throughout the flight. My first time in a helicopter was such a surreal experience, and I love reliving this afternoon by looking at some of the pictures posted above.
My best friend Liz and I went on Elite Helicopter’s VIP Helicopter Tour – because very important ladies need a very important tour ;). Elite’s website shares, “If you’re looking for an amazing ride and a chance to see all of Hollywood, Downtown L.A., Santa Monica and more, our VIP Helicopter Tour is the perfect choice for you. Nowhere else can you see all of these amazing landmarks on one fantastic ride and a chance to witness how diverse the terrain of Los Angeles really is.” About a 45 ride through the Los Angeles sky, we were able to enjoy views of the Santa Monica mountains, Malibu’s coastline and Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu Pier, Santa Monica Pier and coastline, The Getty Center, Downtown L.A. (my favorite part by far!!!), Griffith Park Observatory, Hollywood Sign, Universal Studios, and so much more.
Experiencing Los Angeles from this new and exciting perspective allowed me to adopt an even greater appreciation for the unique beauty of our city. From the Pacific coastline to the downtown skyscrapers to the hills of Hollywood, our city is so incredibly diverse and truly offers something special for everyone. I will absolutely #FlyWithElite in Los Angeles again but hope to fly during sunset next time!
If you’re looking for an adventure in the sky, I would most definitely only recommend flying with Elite! Click HERE to review various tour options and pricing. Happy flying (and doing new things!), my friends!
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION
Follow along on my journey as I collaborate with various companies and attend fun events in the City of Angels!