A bustling hub of entertainment, Los Angeles is filled with plenty of music venues if you want see a great show. While I have been to plenty of concerts though, I have found only one venue has left me completely blown away each time, and that is the NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. 

The NOKIA Theatre has only been around since 2007, but the 7,100-seat venue has since rocked the stage with top performers year round like the Eagles, the Dixie Chicks, Queens of the Stone Age, Neil Young, and Mary J. Blige. It is located within L.A. LIVE, an entertainment district alive with restaurants, a movie theatre, a Grammy Museum, a Conga Room, an assortment of clubs and bars, and a Lucky Strike Lanes bowling alley. Not only can you enjoy a concert, but there are plenty of great things to do beforehand if you get there early enough. 

One of the main reasons I enjoy concerts at the NOKIA is because the intimate setting of the theatre offers terrific sound quality. The seating area does not extend further than 220 feet from the stage, allowing generous views of the artists for everyone in the audience. Because the auditorium is not as gargantuan as the Staple’s Center, the acoustics are much better than any other venue I’ve ever been to. If you are looking to see a great concert this weekend, I can almost guarantee you will have a truly wonderful concert experience if you choose the NOKIA!



When it comes to art, there are many places to visit in Los Angeles, but only one has such a breathtaking collection of visual arts—the J. Paul Getty Museum. Since opening its doors in 1997, the museum has welcomed over 14 million people, and houses extraordinary historic collections of European art, sculptures, illuminated manuscripts, drawings, and photographs. 

The Getty Center was established by Jean Paul Getty, an American industrialist. It began as a collection of notable works of art in the early 1930’s, and grew to a modest museum in Getty’s ranch house in Pacific Palisades by the early 1950’s. Today, the Getty Center comprises the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. These institutions fund widespread research programs to educate its visitors on dramatic and historic exhibitions, and enrich the community’s knowledge of art.  

The grounds of the museum are absolutely stunning. Six buildings surround an idyllic central courtyard filled with sculptures of Greek and Roman antiquity. It is one of my favorite museums to visit because it is such a cultural experience. By the time you are through you really feel as though you have gotten a glimpse of an ancient world portrayed through gorgeous sculptures and works of art both inside and out.

The Getty website includes an event calendar that lists performances, lectures, tours, and family activities to partake in, which deems it an ideal place to take the family on the weekend. Admission is free, and parking is $15 except after 5pm, or during mid-week evening events. They also have great little cafes to lunch in that overlook the Central Garden which is a real treat. It is definitely one of the more cultural places to visit in Los Angeles, and you do not have to be an art fan to enjoy it!

The Getty Center

1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, California 90049

(310) 440-7300



Shopping for your dog or cat can sometimes be a bit perplexing. Our pets are like our children, we constantly strive to provide them with healthy nutritious meals, but how can we be sure what is good for them? What with all the pet food recalls a couple of years ago, reading labels on pet food is not as easy as it used to be. How do we know the ingredients listed are providing our pets with the proper nutrition? 

The answer to canine and feline nutrition can be found at a wonderful pet store in Santa Monica called Healthy Spot. No longer does shopping for pet food have to be a chore. At Healthy Spot, which first opened in 2008, the employees are of the same breed as those you would find in a high-end jewelry store. They are extremely knowledgeable of each and every one of the products sold in the store, and are exceedingly helpful in finding the best food for your dog or cat. You can also rest assured that most of their pet food is all-natural, organic, or raw to ensure quality nutrition. My shih tzu, Jade’s favorite food is the ZiwiPeak Premium Dog Food from New Zealand and is the equivalent to a true raw diet.

(Miss Jade!)

Not only does Healthy Spot provide the most top notch pet food in town, but they also provide grooming services. They offer spa packages, teeth cleaning, pet massage therapy, obedience courses, doggy daycare, and even portraits! Their core values involve providing high quality and assistance to every pet that trots through their doors, exceptional service, and authentic customer and pet recognition. We put so much effort into optimizing our own physical health why not for our loving pets too?

Healthy Spot

1110 Wilshire Boulevard

Santa Monica, CA 90401

(310) 458-2004 Tel

(310) 458-2109 Fax


Los Angeles is ever the hub of activity, and we are all guilty of letting a little peace and relaxation escape us. When it is your time to drive to a scenic environment and just relax, I am sure you often think of places on the outskirts of the big city, like the beach or a quite place with open fields. Little do you know though, that a wonderfully serene place to meditate and relax can be found right off of Sunset Boulevard in Pacific Palisades called the Self Realization Fellowship Center.

The Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) is an internationally recognized, non-profit spiritual organization headquartered right here in Los Angeles. It was founded by Paramahansa Yogananda, a world teacher from India who was one of the first great masters of Kriya Yoga meditation in the West. The SRF was founded in 1920 in order to carry on his spiritual legacy, and where he has since impacted millions of lives through his teachings on the art of balancing health and well-being in the body and soul, and religious unity.

The SRF Center is built on gorgeous grounds bordering Lake Shrine, a huge lake with beautiful swans and turtles. It is so peaceful from the moment you step on the grounds you do not even feel like you in Los Angeles anymore. People flock there to meditate, participate in inspirational sermons, attend special meditative events and classes, relax, and even marry. You can even bring the children! The SRF is non-denominational and welcomes faiths of all creeds. The best part about it is its location—just two blocks from PCH in Pacific Palisades, which means after you visit SRF, you can take a long walk on the beach and hang out with the surfers!



The Natural History Museum (NHM) is an absolute gem in my book of places to visit. Museums are not for everyone, but the Natural History Museum is just too great of a place to pass up. I used to take my son there regularly when he was younger, and each time I go it is a brand new experience.

With the world’s second largest collection of marine mammals fossils, the Natural History Museum offers wonderful displays of our grand history. Its goal is to inspire wonder and discovery to all its visitors, and it certainly lives up to its standards. From their Spider Pavilion to their Ancient Latin American Art, the NHM is a glorious hub of culture and history. They have extraordinary representations of animals like the Fin Whale, the second largest whale next to the blue whale, and dinosaur remains dating back nearly 250 million years ago. Also, their revamped Dinosaur Hall is set to re-open this summer with expanded galleries twice the size of what it was!

On top of it all, they have one of the most intriguing gem and mineral exhibits in the world. The NHM’s Gem and Mineral Hall contains two galleries filled with natural stones from all over the globe, totaling 150,000 specimens, each with its own unique energy and frequency. Truly a treasure to view, I would highly recommend visiting the NHM soon—all tickets are under $10, and children under 4 are free!

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
900 Exposition Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90007
Phone: (213) 763-DINO


Located off the tip of the southern Baja peninsula on the Pacific Ocean side is a charming little Mexican town called Todos Santos. About an hour away from La Paz, my favorite place to vacation in Mexico, Todos Santos is a beach town well known for its thriving artist community. It is also only forty-five miles north of Cabo San Lucas, so if you are in the mood for a day trip while vacationing there, Todos Santos would be an ideal little place to incorporate into your itinerary!

I suggest visiting Todos Santos this time of year is because of the wonderfully warm weather and the great galleries all around town. It would be a great vacation to take if you are weary of the cold weather here in Los Angeles. The beaches are incredible! Playa Los Cerritos is the best beach for surfing, in my opinion, which has a beach bar and restaurant you can lounge around all day, and Playa Las Palmas, is picture perfect and one of the best beaches for swimming in Southern Baja. If you do decide to hit the surf, however, be sure not to leave your valuables in the car—break-ins in that area are not uncommon!

If you end up venturing towards Todos Santos in the near future, a great place to stay for the night or weekend is the Todos Santos Inn, run by my good friend John Stoltzfus. John has owned the inn for at least five years after the he swapped his 9 to 5 job selling dental hygiene products for inn keeping. It is the perfect, cozy place to stay if you head to Todos Santos any soon—satisfaction guaranteed!


It is that wonderful time of year again, when filmmakers and movie stars alike attend one of the biggest cinematic events to hit Park City, Utah—the Sundance Film Festival. Spanning from January 20-30th, the 2011 festival comprises ten straight days of emerging independent films that could potentially see the same success as the Blaire Witch Project or Memento, two movies made famous by the popular festival in the past. The best part about it is the lodging—at Robert Redford’s very own Sundance resort!

Before Redford took ownership of the property in 1969, the resort was called Timphaven. Nestled at the bottom of Mount Timpanogos, Redford envisioned the resort as a place where nature and humanity could co-exist in a balanced, synergistic environment. Despite suggestions from New York investors who urged him to build a lucrative promenade with hotels and condominiums, Redford chose the artistic, environmental route, and to this day the resort remains a hub of natural scenery and creativity.

The entire Sundance resort is eco-friendly, and has had longstanding green policies since its inception. Their cleaning products are non-toxic, the soaps in the rooms are made organically from the resort’s Art Shack, and all glass products are turned into decorative pieces of art. Activities available at Sundance range from guided hiking tours, to spas and winter sports activities like snowboarding and skiing. You can even purchase a season pass on their site to enjoy the festivities all year long. If you are headed to the Sundance Film Festival, this would definitely be the ideal lodging spot—what a wonderful way to start the year!



If you are planning on hitting the slopes this holiday season, one of the best year-round mountain resorts to visit is Northstar-at-Tahoe. This is one of the most ideal places to visit in the winter because unlike many of the surrounding resorts, Northstar is less crowded, giving you and the family ample opportunity to take part in all of the great winter sport activities it has to offer!

If you are not a big fan of winter sports however, the Northstar resort is still your best bet for holiday travel. There are plenty of fun and festive activities to partake in. First and foremost, they have over 30 unique shops and restaurants to visit, which are, in my opinion, both chic and hip. Secondly, their skating rink clocks in at 9,000 square feet, which gives plenty of elbow room for beginning skaters. It is a hub of activity this time of year because of their tubing, skiing and snowboarding lessons, adventure parks, mountain tours, and panoramic sightseeing tours. For lodging guests, there is also a pool, spa, and fitness center, so your workouts do not fall to the wayside!

Northstar Resort is also very environmentally responsible, admirably so for a four season destination. They strive to enhance natural resources by espousing a Habitat Management Plan that balances land use with aquatic and rural habitats. Their seral (ancient) forests contain unique wildlife like the California Spotted Owl and Pileated Woodpecker, which are survived by restricting access from visitors during critical nesting seasons.

Northstar-at-Tahoe was ranked the fifteenth top resort in North America, which further cements my reason for visiting year after year. The absence of huge crowds has added so much value to my experience there, and the slopes are just too good to pass up! You will definitely find me on the mountain snow boarding during New Year’s weekend, would love to see you there too!



Every year from October to February some 50,000 to 70,000 Monarch butterflies flock to the Pacific Grove Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary to overwinter. The Monarch butterfly is incapable of withstanding temperatures colder than 55 degrees. The butterflies migrate to safer climates like Pacific Grove, where the shrouded pine forests keep them safe from wind and colder temperatures with proper shade and humidity. The butterflies’ migration is so unique; inhabitants of Pacific Grove have even coined their town as “Butterfly Town, U.S.A”.

The scientific name for the monarch butterfly is Danaus plexippus. It is a tropical insect that can fly as high as 10,000 feet, and has far as 2,000 miles at 100 miles a day. Who knew such a little insect could cover so much ground in one day? The difference between these migrating insects and other migrating animals like whales and birds is that most of the butterflies have never been to their warmer destinations. The female Monarch butterfly for instance lives anywhere from six weeks to eight months, depending on the climate in which she is born. Monarch butterflies born in late summer and fall tend to live longer as there is less daylight, which delays their sexual maturity. Regardless, several generations of Monarchs will pass before it is time to migrate again to a warmer climate.

Pacific Grove has been a butterfly community for years and has always fought to keep the Monarchs protected. The Monarch sanctuary is free to visit and an absolutely brilliant sight to see on a warm weekend afternoon. It is open year round, but the best time to go is when they are overwintering from October to February, as I mentioned earlier. Although I wouldn’t suggest trying to touch or capture the butterflies -the fine is $1000!




On the windward side of Oahu lies a sprawling beach named Kailua, my favorite on all of the Hawaiian Islands. Twenty minutes from downtown Honolulu, Kailua is the perfect spot to vacation with the family, with its turquoise blue water, miles of clean white sand, numerous reef formations and three off shore islands offer a place of beauty, abundant wildlife and gorgeous scenery.

Home to recreational activities like swimming, stand up paddling, kayaking, and snorkeling, Kailua is also known as a world-class location for wind surfing, an aquatic sport that combines surfing and sailing. The beach is recognized for its steady winds, gentle surf, and dazzling tropical backdrop. You can find a number of rental facilities with gear for both wind surfing and all other types of aquatic activities in Kailua’s surrounding town, which houses shops, small eateries, and everything you need to make your trip as active and fun-filled as possible. The town acts as a middle ground between sprawling urban areas and more secluded sections of the beach.

Directly offshore, about 700 meters, from Kailua Beach is Popoia Island (“Flat Island” to the locals), a bird sanctuary. Flat Island hasnumerous holes in which sea birds make their nests and it’s not uncommon to come across seabirds nesting in these holes on the ground as you walk around the island. Kayaking or stand up paddling is a perfect way to get out to this sweet bird sanctuary.

Approximately one kilometer off shore, the Mokulua Twin Islands, are also wonderful destinations for kayaking and picnicking. The waters around are rich with coral formations, and are excellent spots for snorkeling and diving. Beginner kayakers’ stick to Flat Island, to get to Mokulua it will take some physical strength and endurance.

As always, when frequenting any beach, pay close attention to weather conditions that may affect the surf. Beware of any posted signs that warn of stinging limu (seaweed), and thePortugese Man-of-War jellyfish, which are rampant from June to September. While I cannot attest to the dangers of these marine creatures, I can tell you the recreational activities in Kailua far surpass any sea-creature phobia you might have. It is a great time for the whole family, so grab your gear and test out the waters!

Dr. Bennett Must Do’s: Stop off at the Kalapawai Market on your way out, it is 200 feet from the Kailua Beach parking area and is well known for their gourmet Hawaiian coffee and fresh yummy food!