5 Great Things To Do In LA

5 Great Things To Do In LA

 

Inspiring week in LA capped off by an exceptionally fun Korean wedding (a first for me). Unbelievable amounts of creativity in LA at the moment. Makes it difficult to narrow recommendations down to a top 5 list but here it is.

#1 DOWNTOWN

Still sketchy but so many interesting new things popping up especially as the Arts District expands. My recommendation is to hit up downtown on a Saturday or Sunday. And based on how much time you have in LA, you may want to devote two days to downtown.

Here are my must-dos:

 LA Conservancy Walking Tours:

  • I took the Historic Downtown Tour offered every Saturday. This 2 ½ hour tour provides an overview of the historical and cultural landmarks of downtown LA including the Bradbury Building, the Library, One Bunker Hill, Grand Central Market.
  • Not only was our guide super fun and well-informed, my fellow tour-takers were incredibly knowledgeable as well.
  • Other tours offered by the Conservancy include Art Deco, Modern by Moonlight, Angelino Heights, Broadway Historic Theatres, Union Station.
  • Book online ($15) and meet up at Pershing Square
  • I plan to book one of these tours every time I visit LA

Freehand Hotel and Exchange Restaurant

  • This gorgeous hotel recently opened (original is in Miami).
  • The hotel’s Exchange Restaurant is outstanding. My lunch was the tastiest meal I had while in LA.
  • Make sure you also check out their Broken Shaker Rooftop Pool/Bar – very fun although not as fabulous as the Miami original

Grand Central Market

  • Newest food stall to open is the Sari Sari Store, Filipino food from the owners of Republique.
  • Make sure you try the buko pie – delish!
  • Also worth checking out at the market, even if the line is long: Egg Slut

ICA LA Museum

  • This new museum opened this past weekend. The founder/director is Elsa Longhauser (formerly of the Santa Monica Museum of Art)
  • The inaugural exhibition features work by late Mexican artist Martín Ramírez – and it is wonderful.
  • Half of the gallery space is devoted to the gift store
  • Worth checking out once but may not be on my roster every time I am in LA

ROW DTLA

  • Right down the street from ICA LA, you’ll find a complex of 3 historic buildings covered in RETNA hieroglyphics.
  • These former American Apparel factories are now being converted into a major creative hub featuring work spaces/lofts/mall complex.
  • If you come on a Sunday you can also nosh your way through Smorgasburg LA (same group as in Brooklyn)
  • During the week there are food trucks on site.
  • Next time I am back in LA, this will be a top priority for further exploration

Read on below for more recommendations.

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Visiting LA? Need to Eat? Here are 3 Spots Not to be Missed

Visiting LA?  Need to Eat?  Here are 3 Spots Not to be Missed

 

The best restaurant I hit up while in LA last week was The Exchange (416 West 8th Street) at the new Freehand Hotel in DTLA.

  • I had lunch there so can’t vouch for dinner but the Tunisian Sandwich (tuna conserva with preserved lemon, hardboiled egg, potato, olive & chili morita) was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. They also serve harissa and a house-made green sauce that is sublime.
  • Besides the food, staff is great (ask for Keisha).
  • Finally, the look and ambiance of the entire hotel is wonderful.

Note: While I recommend coming to DTLA for a night out, I would not stay downtown unless I had a very specific reason to do so. Even with a Whole Foods across the street from the Freehand, it still feels sketchy and I would not want to wander around outside.

Read on below for more favorites (as well as a few misses).

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Street Art: Saving Retail One Mural at a Time

Street Art: Saving Retail One Mural at a Time

 

My most outstanding discovery while in LA (not new, but new to me) was the RETNA-covered complex of buildings in DTLA at 7th and Alameda (former American Apparel factories). I drove past them on my way to the opening of the new ICA LA Museum. All I could think about while at the ICA opening was how I could make my way back to the RETNAS. Amazing work.

  • The buildings (dating from 1917) are being converted into a shopping and office campus with 100 shops and 15 new restaurants called ROW DTLA (great link, check it out if real estate and/or retail is your thing!!).
  • Owner Atlas Capital Group will convert the remaining 1.3 million feet of industrial space upstairs, originally designed by architect John Parkinson (known for Union Station, City Hall, and the Coliseum), into creative offices and lofts.
  • Architect for the conversion is wHY out of Culver City (has become the go-to for creative repurposing, also did the Marciano Foundation Building)
  • Smorgasburg LA (from Brooklyn) is set up there on Sundays.

When it comes to more traditional shopping, the liveliest retail corridor in LA is Venice’s Abbot Kinney. And once again, part of what makes it so dynamic is the profusion of commissioned street art found on store exteriors, restaurants, galleries, houses and fences all around the area.

Also noticed lots of witty signage around town (favorite may have been Alfred Tea’s “Can’t We All Just Get Oolong!” (pic below).

Another new discovery was Platform Mall in Culver City with its “Technicolor Ooze” mural by Jen Stark. The mall has a NYC/Brooklyn vibe with stores by Cynthia Rowley, bird, Sweetgreen, and Soulcycle.

See below for photos (along with artist info where available).

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What LinkedIn Reveals About How Work Is Changing

What LinkedIn Reveals About How Work Is Changing

 

I’ve been intermittently annoyed, nonplussed and confused by LinkedIn and how it’s being used these days. And I know I am as guilty as the next person for overusing, or misusing it, since all my blog posts end up there.

But then I had an AHA moment:

Our use of LinkedIn has changed and I don’t always like it but the site now much more closely reflects how work has changed as well.

  • The line between business and personal is increasingly blurred.
  • Work is not so rigidly “professional”
  • For millennials, LinkedIn is just another social media platform. They are as likely to use Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat professionally
  • Social media has created business opportunities that didn’t exist 10 years ago.
  • Posts that initially seemed inappropriate for a business site (e.g. too personal, too risque, too facebooky) reflect many of today’s most successful businesses.

Bottom Line:

Some people are looking for inspiration to cope with a changed workplace, others are inspired to “keep it real.” Whichever applies to you, the line between work and personal life is disappearing (even as more people talk about work/life balance).

Read on below for more on how disruption in the workplace is impacting LinkedIn as well as specific examples of how LinkedIn usage has changed over the last decade as it becomes more interchangeable with Facebook.

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Malls Give Way to Massive E-Commerce Fulfillment Centers

Malls Give Way to Massive E-Commerce Fulfillment Centers

 

My namesake hurricane (Irma) may have put a bit of a dent in the industrial development that is taking place around Florida’s Interstate 4 corridor – but undoubtedly not for long.

Here are some highlights from the I-4 Commercial Corridor Conference sponsored by Lakeland-based Coldwell Banker, just one month ago:

  • E-commerce will soon represent $500 billion in sales in the U.S.
  • Every $1 billion of e-commerce sales needs 1.25 million square feet of fulfillment space
  • “Last mile” channels are also increasingly essential and require more distribution facilities
  • E-commerce biggies understand they are only as good as their supply chain; they want to be as close to the customer as possible
  • Amazon’s Whole Foods purchase will create a need for additional distribution nationwide
  • Today, only 2% of all food purchases are made online – this is expected to change dramatically
  • Some estimate online food shopping alone will prompt the need for 1 billion square feet of additional distribution space – especially freezer space

Read on below for info/statistics specifically related to Florida’s Interstate 4 corridor.

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SupChina: Excellent News Platform for the China-Curious

SupChina: Excellent News Platform for the China-Curious

 

I came across SupChina while researching Chinese pop up retail trends recently. It’s a news platform and website founded in June 2016. Based in New York City, all of its founders and contributors have deep roots in China.

  • I immediately subscribed to their free newsletter. From what I’ve seen so far, I would describe them as the BusinessInsider of all things China-related.
  • What I am especially drawn to is their coverage of China from a younger person’s perspective (whether that’s actually true or not, I am not sure but it certainly reads that way).
  • Their focus is tech, business, culture, lifestyle – and it’s all delivered in a really fresh voice.

As they note on their website:

  • We’ll be clear, but not cold. We’ll be pointed, but not partisan. We are serious with a twist – a voice that pulls in readers new to the country while engaging those already in the know.

Whether you do business in China or not, it is such an important country and economic force that understanding the culture and understanding young people’s priorities is important to us as global citizens.

  • For my business friends, SupChina will also be hosting conferences. Their inaugural one last May was on Women in China.
  • The site also features the popular Sinica podcast, a weekly discussion of current affairs, hosted by Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn (haven’t checked it out but sounds very Charlie Rose-like).

So, once again, highly recommend you subscribe and spend 2 minutes a day getting caught up on the relevant issue of the day in China.

Their voice is unique vs. what I am used to reading about China. My usual sources are dry and academic. SupChina, on the other hand, feels authentic and conversational. And, perhaps most importantly, brings the subject matter to life in such an intriguing and compelling way that it makes you want to learn more about the culture.

Read below for more on SupChina, their mission, who’s involved, what they’re offering.

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LA is All About the Most Gorgeous Succulents, Cacti and Greenery

LA is All About the Most Gorgeous Succulents, Cacti and Greenery

Desert Gardens at Huntington Library in Pasadena

 

My trip to LA started last Sunday, on a sweltering hot day, with a visit to the Huntington Desert Gardens, one of the largest succulent collections in the world. Absolutely spectacular.

It also set the visual tone for this trip. Restaurants, retailers, hotels – all using greenery to great effect.

Bottom line: Los Angeles is where drought-friendly, heat-tolerant plants thrive while flowers look out of place.

And I must add that my home away from home, the Standard Hollywood, has been on the cacti-trend since Day 1 but they have upped their game as well with a new emphasis on succulents throughout the property. They even have a Cactus Lounge where every Wednesday night they present Desert Nights, a live acoustic music series that is worth checking out if you are in LA (photos and video below).

Check out all the “greenery” photos below from retailers, restaurants, hotels, and event spaces throughout LA.

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Everything Filipino Is Suddenly All The Rage

Everything Filipino Is Suddenly All The Rage

 

All things Filipino have been popping up on my radar over the last year. However, my visit to LA this week, dialed up my Filipino-awareness to new heights.

Since arriving here last Sunday I have been immersed in Filipino-ness through:

  • Food. Checked out Sari Sari at Grand Central Market and had their Buko Pie – so good!! (pic above). Note: I wrote about D.C.’s Bad Saint, ranked the country’s top Filipino restaurant back in April (the middle pic, lower level above, are the 3 founders).
  • Wedding traditions. Through my Uber driver, Arnulfo, who is getting married in November, I learned about family dynamics, wedding rituals and how important it is for a bride to master traditional cooking skills from the groom’s mom. I could tell that Arnulfo was a little disappointed that his Guatemalan fiancé would rather order in than learn to make the Filipino Pancit dishes that he loves.
  • Spirituality. Over a catch-up dinner with a longtime friend (who I did not realize was Filipino), I learned more about the fascinating indigenous religious beliefs and cosmology of Filipinos.

And then, I found this excellent write-up of a soon-to-be-published marketing book specifically focusing on cultural, social, personal and psychological factors observed in the Philippines.

Whether you do business in the Philippines or just have an appetite to learn more about different cultures, this is definitely worth a read (see below).

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