http://www.flickr.com/photos/39214918@N03/

The universe is a vast and beautiful place, something we are a part of yet never really take note of. Like the many exploratory places Los Angeles has to offer, the Griffith Observatory is a great place to visit if you are looking to connect with your inner astronomer. It embodies the sheer magnitude of the universe, and brings about a child-like sense of wonder because you truly realize how small you are in the vast universe.

The Griffith Observatory opened in 1935, but long before that it began as a dream by Griffith J. Griffith in 1896. Armed with the audacious plan of building a public observatory, Griffith started out by donating over 3,000 acres of land, and in 1912 began negotiations and funding for a full fledged public observatory. While he died in 1919, shortly after negotiations were put in place, the funds left behind enabled a team of architects and astronomers to construct the glorious astronomical landmark that the Griffith Observatory is today.

Closed for a short period from 2002 to 2006, the Griffith Observatory now offers more of an interactive experience than ever before. It is open Wednesday through Sunday and offers the public a chance to star gaze with their public solar telescopes, showcasing the night sky for all to see. Three live shows premier daily at the Samuel Oschin Planetarium featuring our place in the universe, the role of water in our solar system, and the ancient wisdom behind the appearance of the northern lights. For fifth graders only, (although all grades are welcome to visit) the Griffith Observatory holds a special Field Trip Program that includes theater experiences, exhibits, and a visit to the Observatory’s telescope.

Best of all, visiting the Observatory is free! So if you’re in the mood for a little stargazing and have some time on your hands, take a moment to explore the wonders of our great universe!

References:

http://www.griffithobservatory.org/

Does your furniture tell a story? Sure there is a story or two  to be told about how we stumbled upon an eclectic piece of furniture, perfectly suited to a specific room, but how many of us can share a story about the artistry behind the furniture, or its origin? 

I am guessing not many of us. Furniture shopping has become somewhat of a pricey, loathsome errand when you are not sure which pieces best fit the décor of your home. For  those of you eco-fans out there however, myself included, there is an entire furniture store dedicated to showcasing pieces made out of sustainably harvested and salvaged wood just waiting for your inspection—Environment Furniture.
With six locations in major cities like Los Angeles, Atlanta, and New York, Environment Furniture is more of a museum than a store. Much the way our environment represents the conditions of our natural surroundings, Environment Furniture strives to bring that natural, earthy environment to your home.  They offer non-laminated, natural furniture with recycled and re-purposed wood that has a naturally weathered look and feel. The entire store is an extraordinary testament to ancient craftsmanship with beds and tables made out of 100 year old reclaimed wood from Brazil, and couches made out of fabrics used in pup tents that once sheltered soldiers in the Civil War.

Even if you are uncertain about going the more wholesome, “earthy” route with your furniture, it is worth a stop, at least for a quick browse. There are plenty of knowledgeable and friendly proprietors there to give you suggestions and maybe even a quick history lesson or two. It is definitely a furniture-shopping experience like no other–a great place to take your eco interior decorating to the next level!

Environment Furniture

8126 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
323-782-0296 (phone)
323-782-0989 (fax)

References:

http://www.environmentfurniture.com

Imagine the best spa you have ever been to. Was it clean and luxurious? Were the products natural and refreshing? If Crystal Spa in Koreatown is not the first place that comes to your mind, you have not visited one of the best in Los Angeles!

Crystal Spa is one of the most amazing Korean spas I’ve ever been to. You can find it at the City Center in Koreatown, and it is open 24 hours a day on the weekends, which is great because you do not have to limit your pampering time. It consists of four main rooms: a salt room, made with all-natural Himalayan mineral ore; a charcoal room which purifies the air with the negative ions released by the charcoal; an ice room to cool down the body after a steamy sauna; and a yellow sand room that contains a Korean mud that rids the body of harmful toxic agents.

The spa is also equipped with a cafe, large screen televisions, and a variety of treatments including acupressure, facials, foot massages, and full body scrubs (my favorite is the Aroma Scrub and Massage!). The best part about the spa? One hundred percent of their products are Aveda; talk about a treat! It is a great place to take a few friends or a mate, as there is a unisex room where everyone sits and sweats together in ridiculous, yet fun baggy shirts and shorts!

I always have a relaxing time when I go because the Crystal Spa is more than just a spa—it is like a relaxing hang out where you can eat Korean food on the floor and unwind. My favorite room is the salt room! After a long week, grabbing a friend and heading to the Crystal Spa would be a great way to kick off the weekend!

References:

http://crystalspala.com

It  has been pretty windy in Los Angeles lately, and if your allergies are acting up with all of the pollen and weed antigens blowing around, you might want to consider staying indoors this weekend. Of course, given the sunny climate of Los Angeles you might be wondering how you can still maximize weekend fun indoors. Aside from catching a movie or heading to a mall, why not take up a fun activity like ice skating?

The Toyota Sports Center has a terrific ice skating rink. It is located on Nash Street in El Segundo, and has been described as of the nicest skating rinks in Southern California. Not only is it a great place to celebrate a birthday for a little one, but they have ice skating classes for all skill sets. The same applies to hockey league participation—it does not matter if you are a novice or a professional, anyone can participate at the level they are comfortable with.

If you or your children have shown an interest in skating, the Toyota Sports Center also has a pretty terrific deal for first-time skaters—how does the price of free sound? The Toyota Sports Center offers a Kids First Ice Hockey series that allows children 8 and younger to learn to skate and become familiar with the sport of hockey free of charge!  However there is a deposit for equipment in case it is returned in poor condition.

The Sports Center is a pretty popular place to skate because they are affiliated with the Los Angeles Kings, who hold practices that are open to the public. Additionally, what separates this center from other ice skating rinks is that the Toyota Sports Center has two ice skating rinks, NHL and Olympic. Two rinks are better than one when it comes to familiarizing yourself with ice skating—there’s nothing like learning in a rink with people that are on the same level as you!

You can register online for their classes if you are interested, at www.toyotasportscenter.com.

 

References:

www.toyotasportscenter.com

 

 

 

It is easy to admit that libraries are not as frequented as they used to be—when was the last time you visited your local library? With the ease of books and the luxury of big bookstore chains, they almost seem as obsolete as compact discs. The Santa Monica Public Library however, is a rare gem in the big city that should not be overlooked if you do not have any big plans for the weekend.

Four branches comprise the Santa Monica Public Library system, each of them providing activities, programs, lectures, books, audio books, and movies that are completely free. The Main Santa Monica Library has regular concerts, book discussions, and workshops to participate or volunteer in, and even provides a delivery service for the handicapped individuals who are unable to leave their homes. The library is the perfect place to enjoy both the luxury of free information via internet, books, and magazines, along with the opportunity to connect with members who have similar interests in the community.

The best part about it? There is something for everyone. Story time and clubs for kids, a teen lounge with tutoring and book groups, a program called “The Living Room” where adults can meet with others to re-establish the library as a place for social and intellectual connection, and a broad array of reading, writing, and game-related activities for seniors. The Main Library even has a café where you can sit outside and enjoy a latte while you read or wait for an event.

The Santa Monica Library is not your run-of-the-mill library, and offers so much more than books, what better way to spend a Saturday afternoon?

 

601 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
310-458-8600

 

References:
http://smpl.org/default.aspx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have dinner plans this weekend? Do they involve an ocean view? If not, they should! There is a great restaurant in Malibu called Moonshadows that claims to have the best ocean view Malibu. As a frequent diner there, I can definitely vouch for that!

Run by experienced restaurant manager Andrea Bullo, Moonshadows has been called the “ultimate romantic dining locale” by Digitalcity.com for its efficient service and intimate seating arrangements. Pretty much anywhere you sit inspires a feeling of closeness and romance, perfect for anniversaries! Their menu items include tasty appetizers, chowders and salads, and entrees that use Niman Ranch meat and goat cheese. You can also get organic scrambled eggs if you are there for breakfast

The best time to dine at Moonshadows is in the afternoon, around three o’ clock for a late lunch or early dinner. If you grab a booth outside you can catch a glimpse of the restaurant’s stunning ocean view. Moonshadows is one of the few restaurants in Malibu where you are literally right on the water, which adds such beautiful ambiance to the meal. Also, if you’re lucky the dolphins will be out—I see them every time I go!

Take a look at the link below for Moonshadows’ address, as well as their hours of operation.

 

http://www.moonshadowsmalibu.com/new/

 

Moonshadows

20356 Pacific Coast HWY.

Malibu, California 90265

(310) 456-3010

 

 

If you are a gardening aficionado looking to explore 14,000 kinds of plant varieties this weekend, the Huntington Gardens should be your first pick. Spanning 207 acres, the botanical gardens dot the expanse of the Huntington Library in over a dozen places, a beautiful testament to Henry E. Huntington’s original San Marino Ranch created in 1903.

 

What started out as nearly 600 acres of citrus groves, alfalfa crops, and even a small herd of cows is now 14 themed gardens scattered across the grounds of the Huntington Library. Henry Huntington, a business man who founded the non-profit institution in 1919, began his special interest in plants after purchasing the San Marino Ranch with then superintendent William Hertrich, who later had a profound impact on the foundation of the gardens.

 

Of the 207 acres that comprise the gardens, roughly 120 are open to the public to enjoy. The Library provides an assortment of tours for groups and schools, as well as some that are self-guided. Garden tours are held on select days of the week between 12 and 2pm but weekend tours are from 10:30am to 2:30pm, depending on how many volunteers are available. The Huntington also provides tea tours, where you can enjoy English tea in the Huntington Rose Garden tea room after a private morning tour.

Personally, my favorite garden is the cacti with so many varieties to study. I love walking around the grounds on a lazy afternoon, taking in all of the sweet plant smells and enjoying the peace and quiet. The Rose Garden is especially to die for, and with the beautiful sunny weekend coming up, the flowers will definitely be in bloom!

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

1151 Oxford Road

San Marino, CA 91108

(626)405-2100

 

References:

http://www.huntington.org/huntingtonlibrary.aspx?id=210&linkidentifier=id&itemid=210

 

 

Career Expos, Fashion Expos, Fitness Expos—there are not many trade shows out there we have not heard of. Expos are a wonderful way to bring people together for different networking opportunities in a certain field. While you are probably aware of some of the more popular ones, there’s also a great networking expo event right here in Los Angeles that pertains to everything eco called the Go Green Expo.

Like other expos, the Go Green Expo focuses solely on bringing together retailers and consumers in order to share new ways of living green. There are literally hundreds of booths, exhibits, and hands-on activities to participate in to discover greener alternatives to use both in the household and in business practices. It started after Bradford Rand, trade show and fair producer, saw the movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” which like most people, were profoundly impacted by it.

After its initial debut, the Go Green Expo was a smash hit. It featured everything from hybrid cars, household products, and eco fashion to organic pet and baby food. The expo brought famously eco speakers and actors such as Ed Begely Jr., Josh Dorfman, David Bach, and Kevin Wall, out of over fifty speakers total with over 250 exhibits.

Currently the Go Green Expo is showcased all across the country, and is going to be a widely broadcasted event when it hits Los Angeles from April 15th to April 17th at the Los Angeles Convention Center. If you do not have plans that weekend, it would be a great way to learn some new ways of incorporating more green into your life!

 

References:

http://www.gogreenexpo.com/

 

 

 

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!

References:

http://www.nokiatheatrelalive.com/index.php

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

References:

http://www.getty.edu/museum/about.html