Los Olivos

My first word was “olive”.  My mom & dad would pop black olives on all my fingers and I would repeat “O-live. O-live. O-live.” After dressing my hands in olives for years they finally realized I was just trying to say “I love you”, and subsequently I now have an obsession with olives.

It is odd that with my ‘I Love Olives’ obsession I have never heard much about Los Olivos, in the Santa Ynez valley located 30 miles north-east of Santa Barbara. I am a big fan of local vacations and staycations so when my friends decided we should do a weekend there I was totally game.

Los Olivos began in 1880 on a 5 tree olive farm, and though they grow olives, they are most known for their vineyards. The quaint three block downtown is home to  24 tasting rooms including 10 vineyards that specialize in sparkling wine  (think outdoors Austin TX vibe with music, picnic tables, and string lights).

Los Olivos is also located just 15 minutes from the Dutch town of Solvang and 5 miles south of Neverland Ranch. There is a ton of stuff to do besides eating cheese and drinking like a horse (like horseback riding, making cheese, hot air balloon adventures, and historic museums)

We stayed in the most charming cottage via airb&b and we were walking distance to the Main Street where an olive festival was happening. There is also a Fess Parker there if you want to be extra swanky. Make sure you check out the “bacon steak” at the Brothers Restaurant, Sides Hardware & Shoes (it is exactly what it sounds like). 

If you want to make it a real adventure you can take the  scenic Pacific Coast train from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara and then an amtrak from Santa Barbara to Los Olivos which connects in Solvang. Perfect for a romantic weekend getaway, girls’ retreat, or mother-daughter weekend. [You can go alone too, just that’s sad and I am sorry. Ok it’s not sad, it’s good to have alone time, I just don’t like it because then the voices in my head get too loud]

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American Horror Story @ The Paley Center for New Media

This summer, the most visited clothing displays on rodeo drive aren’t going to be Chanel, Dior, Jimmy Choo or Prada. Check out the darker side of Beverly Hills at the American Horror Story costume exhibit which is currently at the Paley Center for the Arts through July 30th.

The temporary exhibit takes a look inside the minds of creator Ryan Murphy and award winning costume designer Lou Eyrich, who designed all of the costumes for Lady Gaga, Kathy Bates, Jessica Lange, and the rest of the cast for all 6 seasons of AHS (she also is the designer for Glee & Scream Queens).

Props and multimedia make the exhibit interactive and entertaining, and of course I saw it as a great opportunity to snapchat my face on to the mannequins. Check it out before the exhibit leaves at the end of July!

 

 AHS: The Style of Scare

465 N. Beverly Drive, at S. Santa Monica Blvd.

June 3 to July 30, 2017 • FREE Exhibit in Los Angeles
Wednesdays to Sundays 12:00 to 5:00 pm
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Less Douchebags, More Parking

I love the valley! I could scream it atop the highest of Mullholland mountains!

If you are a Westsider for life, let me try to persuade you. I mean really y’all, there is more to the valley than people shooting porn- there are also a lot of people watching porn (probably because its so hot they can’t leave the house).

But I digress…

What is more “in” than being not “in”? Literally nothing. Nothing says trendy like being somewhere that isn’t trendy. Why do you think all the Kardashians and Biebers live in Calabasas where old retired people who ride horses live? Well The Valley is not a trendy Westside, reservation required, valet only, overpriced apartment, small portioned bougie-organic-grass-fed and placed in a golden box for 28 hours and massaged ’til tender and then served to you on a cut slab of rock for $54 a pop, clothes store (I have no idea what that is, I just got mad and this is what my fingers typed- I even like organic and grassfed but it just sounds stupid to request *).  The SF Valley is easy to navigate, everything is accessible, it caters to families and old people so it’s designed around comfort, you don’t have to worry about crowds, there’s a plethora of outdoor activities to enjoy (stay tuned for my post on the best nature in the valley), there is endless shopping (upscale and thrift), and most importantly there are less douchebags, more parking.

There are several food and drink places strung across the valley that perfectly align with the SF Valley’s (unwritten) mission statement  of being casual & comfortable.

The Spotperfect for after 1am

17200 Ventura Blvd, Encino

The Spot is a hookah bar & lounge that is open until 3am on weekdays and 5am on weekends. Hidden in the back of the Encino Commons complex between Louise and Balboa, it is one of the original Encino hangs (it has been around for 10 years). They don’t serve alcohol so it is perfect for after hours & late night drunchies since they serve delicious appetizer sampler plates (onion rings, chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks), over 40 flavors of hookah, and fresh cut coconuts to rehydrate you and take the ache out of that next day hangover.

Surly Goatperfect for date night

17337 Ventura Blvd #100a, Encino

The sister bar to the West Hollywood pub, Surly Goat Encino opened 2 years ago and is more calm in comparison to the sardine packed Friday Night situation at the WeHo location. Some nights I have been there and it is pretty slow and other nights it’s very crowded and hard to get a seat (especially when there is live music). There is pool, shuffleboard, a photo booth, Karaoke on Tuesday starting at 9pm, bar eats like tots & sliders, and reasonably priced cocktails with a wide bourbon, whiskey, & beer selection (good for date night). There is an outside enclosed patio which is nice for a daytime drink or those nighttime smokers.

Crave Cafeperfect for casual lunch

14504 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks

I’ll just say I crave the options. If your friends are never able to agree on a food genre, well Crave is open 24 hours, and has pizza, waffles, quiches, bagels, milkshakes, sandwiches, boba, burritos, salads, crepes, cakes, burgers, paninis, and even sushi (we get it – you name it they have it). They don’t serve alcohol, and it gets very busy around meal times so avoid the rush by going for a late lunch or late dinner. The salads are huge and the pizza is made fresh. You can lounge inside on couches or outside on the Ventura boulevard patio. This is the heart of Sherman Oaks so there is a lot of shopping and restaurants if you are looking to walk off your BBQ Chicken Pizza and Red Velvet Whoopie Pie.

El Torito Cantinaperfect for taco Tuesday

14433 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks

Taco Tuesday- duh. Every Tuesday from 2-10pm. They recently expanded their Taco Tuesday bar to include more appetizers and sides, all for the low price of $3 a ticket (which you trade in at the taco bar). On Taco Tuesdays they have karaoke in the bar, and the DJ will literally bring the mic to your table and you can sing while you stuff your face with chips and guac (it’s kind of my thing there).  At least three times I have yelled “I LOVVVE SHERMAN OAKS” to the tune of “I Love Rock & Roll” after consuming 3 v-strong cadillac margaritas.

tip: this location is huge so it is perfect for large birthday dinners and it is always a loud and fun environment

HQ Gastropubperfect for dinner & drinks on the weekend

20969 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills

This place is amazing, which is why its called HQ (“High Quality”). Designed around a music memorabilia collection & state of the art A/V equipment, this sports bar/ gastropub/ lounge opened about 2 years ago. It has a great menu that is very affordable, good music, a plethora of TV’s, great staff & service, an outdoor patio, and private rooms for events. It is also located within walking distance of three other bars, perfect for a casual bar hop.

Lakeside Cafeperfect for brunch on the weekend

16817 Ventura Blvd, Encino

This is the brunch spot of the valley (though many don’t know it). Right there on the corner of Balboa and Ventura, is a hidden gem. You can sit outside by a natural springs that is shaped like a giant guitar. It is built on Los Encinos State historic land, where some of the original structures still exist (there is a museum you can visit after lunch or while waiting for a table). A description of what was once the Fernandeno Indian village was recorded as part of the 1769 Portola Expedition, so it is full of history, and what a better place to appreciate  history than drinking endless mimosas for $14. The food is great and they have happy hour everyday from 3-6pm.

The Standperfect for casual lunch or dinner (family friendly)

17000 Ventura Blvd, Encino

A block down from Lakeside, is The Stand (which is a block away from The Spot- could we get more creative guys?) It is a “hotdog” stand in that they specialize in hot dogs (over 8 types or you can DIY), but they have everything from burgers & sandwiches, t0 salads & loaded fries. This is a peaceful place to sit outside in the shade (it’s very Austin TX with the picnic tables and string lights). They have a good craft beer and wine selection and it’s super cheap.

tip: try the fireflies they are ta-die for (warning: you will probably self combust)

The Federal– perfect for brunch or dancing on the weekend

5303 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood

The Federal bar is in an old building that used to be a security bank in the late 1800s (I am a sucker for history). They have hip hop upstairs on Thursday, and it usually turns into a pretty crazy dance party on the weekends. There is usually a $5 cover to get upstairs, but if that irks you, then the downstairs saloon is a two-bar, live music, prohibition style speakeasy which is always very busy.  My fave thing at The Federal is their “One Entree & Bottomless Mimosa” brunch which is only $20. I guess you can dance all night, and sleep in your car and come right back for brunch if that is your style (PS if it is your style, you are a real trooper and A+ for being in public at all).

I will continue to update this list as I discover more no fuss, easy going valley hangs. These are just a few of the places that I suggest when people ask me, “Wuz good in the valley?”

*Footnote- I also do love the Westside, I am just a born & raised valley girl so I definitely feel the need to defend from the haters

RenFair 2017- Angie Verified ✓

SPOTTED: Shi & Knox Pitt out with mom at the SoCal Ren Fair in Irwindale. I missed them by a week. To think I could have been getting my face painted with Knox and throwing tomahawks with Shilo while sipping mead with Angie.  Angie, do you guys need a babysitter?

Do you even need convincing that the RenFaire is the ‘it’ thing to do if it has already been Jolie Verified?

Coachella is so 2015.  Ren Faire is so,  1415 B.C.?  From the fairy costumes, to the music, flower crowns and face paint, sometimes I wasn’t sure which festival I was attending. Though some of you might scoff the idea of going to Ye Old Pleasure Faire rather than attend your ecstasy filled music mecca, here are some reasons that might persuade you to attend the Pleasure Faire in the following years:

1. Thou Art Too Old For Thine Excrement

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As I age like a fine wine, I am less inclined to participate in events where I am continually suffocated between a group of neon clad rave tweens and shirtless sweaty bros wearing Raybans. I understand there are other places to sit and hang, but essentially this is the heart of the Coachella beast, and I for one would choose to avoid this nightmare in the first place.

2. Thine Shallow Bank Account

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Coachella is a blowout of $800 plus for two days. If you want to do it right (and you don’t have the hookup), you are going to spend upwards of up to $1500, if not more. I would rather go to the Renaissance Fair, drink mead and buy jewelry and silver chalices and go to a nice Sushi Dinner later that night. Notice how I capitalized Sushi Dinner ? That is how much sushi means to me. Also check out Broke L.A.  (for next year), previously Brokechella, the low key version of Coachella for people who don’t have the monetary funds or luxury of getting to the mothership.

3. Thy Hearty Edibles

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I know Coachella has better fair than Fyre Fest but I promise it is nothing as good as the selection of Turkey Legs, Gyros and Mediterranean food, Chocolate Covered Bananas,  Candied Almonds, and Pickles (among other things), at the Ren Faire.

4.   Supporting Thou Neighbor

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If you are really into “F-ing the System”, then this is a perfect way to support your local artisans and small businesses.  Coachella has become a mainstream mesh of corporations and media-made-pop culture, so for all of you genuine hipsters out there despising the “man” then this is perfect for you.

6.  Thy Attire
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You might be confused when you see flocks of girls wearing long hippie dresses and flowers crowns, fear not- you are still at Ye Old Pleasure Faire. If not for anything else, go to check out the costumes…

PS: you can rent costumes for the day if you arrive unprepared!

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5. Accessibility

oprahThe Ren Faire has something for all ages, and all types of people. Feel free to bring your Mom, your grandpa, your newborn (we did), your accountant, and your pizza delivery guy. I promise you EVERYONE will have a good time. There are acres upon acres of games, food, music, jousting, shopping, and just the most amazing people watching.

Here I am with a cute barbarian man
Here I am with a cute barbarian man
Here I am after I stole a pig
Here I am after I stole a pig

 

Look, if you think I am hating on Coachella, I am not. I understand the cultural experience and importance. I just think over the years it has been deflated from what it is originally supposed to be, and personally I can’t take dealing with the heat, the crowds, and the idiots. I prefer a small shorter version of that, in which I leave and don’t come back after 5 hours.

The faire runs through May 21st, so there is still time to check it out. Buy tickets and get more info here.

It’s Shmeeeeeeee

So You & Your Friends Want to Take a Cruise?

 

Something cheap,  something out of LA, something short (because you all have different work schedules), something fun, and lets face it, the boat is the best part so who really cares about the destination?

Trust me when I say you will wind up on the same cruise as me- a 3 day Carnival Cruise out of Long Beach to Ensenada= $300.

Sailing on an 80’s Bally style Walmart of America= Priceless.

This is actually the main dance club on the ship, and yes for whatever reason there was a Mrs. Potato head that wandered around the boat- wat?

The Ups:

  1. Parking was $19/day and easy, & check-in was quick and painless TIP-you can even bring your own bottles of champagne in with you
  2. The alcohol package didn’t make sense for us and it was cheaper to splurge on bottles TIP- it was only $45 for champagne bottle service by the pool
  3. The Grand Dining Room was very delicious and was all inclusive. There was also a Guy Fieri burger joint which was great for lunch by the pool
  4. There is lots of karaoke to be sung (this is V important if you know me at all)
  5. There is an 18 or older jacuzzi and bar  area which weeded out the kiddies and the jacuzzi there was not as crowded
  6. The public areas were very clean and well tended to
  7. There’s music everywhere (live bands and shows) and a small casino which is where most of the people our age tended to be
A real dancer at the Grand Dining Room on the last night of the cruise- amazing

The Downs:

  1. Drink packages were upwards of $200 total per person (it’s per day regardless and your whole party HAS to opt in) and they charge you a full day even though you don’t arrive on the boat until 6pm the first day (TIP- skip the drink package  and opt in to pre-arranged bottle service which is in your room upon check in- a fifth of Patron was $100 and lasted the whole trip for 3 girls).
  2. The entertainment was just barely hitting the mark (this is only because I have been on fancy ships with some of the best entertainment I have ever seen, like above the quality of Cirque De Soleil & broadway shows- TIP- definitely attend the comedy shows)
  3. The rooms were VERY small and dated- think airplane restroom- same size, same furnishings… ew
  4. The pool was so crowded with children, I think I counted 14 kids in one jacuzzi- you won’t want to be in there during or after the kids leave for that matter… ew
  5. Un-related to the quality of the ship, the water was very rough & if you are interested I can give yo my friends number so she can explain to you what happens when you mix a hangover with terrible sea-sickness- (TIP just wear those weird tight anti-nausea bracelets the whole cruise so you don’t even have to worry about rockin’ the boat)
Our very small cabin

 

If you book this trip as a quick getaway and don’t expect 5 Star experience, then you will have a blast. There was a point after we got over the shock of the terrible 80’s carpet and the fast food style main cafeteria where we all looked at each other and said “Just go with it.” I think we did about 5 outfit changes a day because it was just fun to walk around in nautical attire with our Patron margaritas and take pictures and eat endless food. The shore excursion we did in Ensenada was most likely barely legal as they had us kayaking 10 foot swells to get up close to the very rocky La Bufadora (and some of the participants had never kayaked before).

Moral of the story is that if you are booking with a good group of friends then you will love this trip. If you are looking for a classy vacation getaway with trendy clubs and fine dining, then splurge an extra $300 on a Celebrity Cruise. We had a great time, but 3 days was definitely long enough for us to appreciate that which we ended up calling the ‘Spirit Airlines of the Sea’.

The Best Shows You’ve Never Barely Heard Of (IMO)

I am sure that there is a Binge Watchers Anonymous group meeting somewhere as you read this. We have logged so many thousands of hours of viewership that it amazes me people are still looking for things to watch. After scouring the vast horizon of brand new Hulu, Netflix, & Amazon originals, we hope to find something that our eyes haven’t consumed. Well here are some underrated, poorly publicized, older series that might have been lost in the explosion of new content, and places where you can view them.

I promise you will binge watch them all.

1. Black Mirror

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A tri-season British series created by Charlie Brooker (Screenwipe and Newswipe), chronicling a not so far off dystopian future in which humanity is crumbling at the hands of technology. The series is episodic (each episode is a different story and different characters) and features actors from Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones. Reminiscent of The Twilight Zone, the sci-fi 45 minute episodes examine modern society, and will leave you questioning your own uber-involvement in technology.

A lot of the episodes in season 3 have well known American actors like Bryce Dallas Howard & Alice Eve, and Rashida Jones is one of the screenplay adapters on the first episode.

Watch the series on Netflix.

2. Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23

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Now for something that is not so depressing, one of my personal faves, Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23 created by Nahnatchka Khan. The show stars Krysten Ritter and James Van der Beek, and only ran for 2 seasons, which I find shocking (2007-2009). The show follows a young overly optimistic June Colburn, who moves to NY to follow her “life plan”, which quickly falls apart resulting in a very interesting last minute roommate situation. Van der Beek is Ritter’s bff and plays himself, a once famous actor who still thinks he is really famous, and the self sabotage is so hilarious you have to give him props. Ritter is the spokeswoman for the YOLO lifestyle- she doesn’t have a job, or morals, and she definitely has a partying problem, and I promise that every time after you watch this you will want to get dressed up in high heels and a LBD and go out and have a fabulous adventure- she makes you believe anything is possible, and that all you have to do is fake it til you make it!

You can watch the show on Netflix.

3. Pushing Daisies

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This Bryan Fuller (Heroes & Hannibal) creation ran for only 2 seasons as well, but the “forensic fairy tale” type show had a great cast, including Kristen Chenowith and Lee Pace (Guardians of the Galaxy & LOTR). A dark comedy about a pie maker named Ned, who has the gift of bringing dead things back to life, but there is a catch: every time he does this something near by will die- almost a transfer of life. You can see how this can cause some problems, especially after he revives his once dead childhood crush- if he touches her again, she will be dead forever. What would that make out session look like? Quirky, funny, dark, and each episode documents Ned helping a private investigator solve a murder mystery.

You can watch the show on Amazon Prime.

4. Coupling

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The writing in this 2004 British comedy is so well done, from beginning to end, the references come full circle and will be tied up with a perfect little pink bow. Steven Moffat (Doctor Who & Sherlock) is the genius behind this. Friends meets Seinfeld, featuring witty writing and an all around enjoyable cast.  Coupling  ran for 4 seasons, where it explored the raunchy, endearing, confusing, and exciting lives of a group of mid 20 to early 30 somethings, that we can ALL relate to.  Full of flashbacks, honest girl & guy talk, perfect for a couple (or friends) to watch. You can watch it on Amazon & Hulu.

PS My friends who don’t understand British comedy aren’t fond of this show…

5. Dead Like Me

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You almost for sure have never heard of this show unless I told you about it, but you probably have heard of either Mandy Patinkin or Rebecca Gayhart. The dark dramedy (also created by Bryan Fuller) begins with the pessimistic Georgia Lass, being killed by a toilet seat released from a de-orbiting MIR space station (see, it’s sad and funny).  Before she is able to move into the “great beyond” she must be an assistant grim reaper, where she helps people move into the afterlife with ease.  Each episode ends with a sweet life lesson we can all relate to, reminding us to appreciate the present and those we love. Even though the subject of the show is dark, you are left with such a nice feeling about life, and even death after watching.

Watch it on Hulu.

6. Satisfaction

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This one is sexy.  Liam Hemsworth even made a debut in it. NO ONE has heard of this show (I even had to make my own GIFS) 1. because it is Australian 2. because it stopped airing after four seasons 3. because there is a US show called Satisfaction, & 4. because it is too raunchy for American TV.

It used to be on Netflix, but has recently been removed. The show (created by Roger Simpson) follows a group of high class call girls in an Australian brothel, and how their not so normal jobs parallel their normal lives. So interesting, so much drama, and such good characters (and weird fetishes- who knew some guys just want to be treated like a baby?).

Plus sexy Liam Hemsworth as a young and rich (and topless) client, I mean come on.  It used to be on Netflix, but now I can only find the DVD’s for purchase on Amazon.

7. The Riches

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Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver- Weeds meets  Desperate Housewives meets Shameless (maybe just because Noel Fisher is in it) and throw in some Joe Dirt?

Dmitry Lipkin (remember ‘Hung’?) is the writer behind the story of an Irish gypsy family on the run. Through their gypsy ways winds up in an upper class suburban neighborhood posing as a prosperous family that has just moved in. Sweet Dee from It’s Sunny In Philadelphia plays their nosy southern neighbor. Minnie Driver must have been the inspiration for Orange is the New Black because for the first episode she’s in jail, corn rows and all.  Funny mostly, and sometimes quite sad for the family (they have loads of issues), but for some reason you can’t stop watching because it’s so fun to see them try to fit in to this new world.

Also, Minnie Driver= Girl Power, she’s a bad ass in this show. You can watch it on Amazon Video (you have to purchase the season but it’s worth it.

8. Masters Of Horror Anthology

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I didn’t forget about all of you horror freaks out there. Most of the aforementioned shows are running along the darker side, but if you are really looking for something that will haunt you for the rest of your life, look no further. I have had some friends tell me years later that they are STILL scarred by Jenifer- the girl with the good body and the, uh, butter face, shall we say (check the first GIF with the blonde chick). This is like Goosebumps for adults, and to be honest the episodes can be hit or miss, but the ones that hit, oh boy do they. I suggest Jenifer, The Fair Haired Child, and Imprint.  There are two seasons (2005-2007) and the shows creator Mick Garris is the guy who wrote the screenplay for Hocus Pocus, so you know it can’t be all bad. It is also cool because each episode is a different director and a different cast, so it really runs the gamut. For purchase on Amazon

These should give you an other 500 hours of stuff to watch. Don’t forget eyedrops.

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Survive that MWC (Mid Week Crisis) with Some Hump Day Happiness

There is beyond enough to do on the weekends in Los Angeles, but for those who are looking to get in some hump day action to hold them over until the weekend, consider squeezing in a laugh at one of the many comedy clubs that LA has to offer. It’s the perfect concoction of goofiness, greasy bar food and cocktails, all topped with an early curfew. It’s basically like sitting on your couch watching “live” tv (so no excuses for you lazies). Next time you are having a “Mid Week Crisis” because you can’t TGIF, check out one of the following comedy clubs.

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HAHA Cafe- North Hollywood

WORK OUT WEDNESDAYS

4712 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 508-4995

The HaHa has recently moved locations down the street to 4712 Lankershim Blvd. I have been going here for years, and I have NEVER had a bad experience. That saying, you get what you expect; it is a small venue with bar food and a small stage, but every now and then every single member of the Wayans bros family will get up on stage and put on a 3 hour set for the 15 person audience. At the Haha you get anyone from movie writers, to TV personas, and lots of comedians from Last Comic Standing. Wednesdays are “Work Out Wednesdays”, where there are usually 5 comedians, and 3 out of those 5 are fabulous, the other 2 aren’t horrible enough to make you cringe from embarrassment (most of the time).  Ask to get on their email or text list and you will be frequently contacted with great ticket deals.

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Westside Comedy

THE BEAR SUPPLY @8PM & LIP SERVICE @10PM

1323-A 3rd St Promenade (A stands for Alley)
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 451-0850

Located in the alley adjacent to the third street promenade (I am sure most patrons get lost just trying to figure out where 1323 “A” is located), is a small comedy theater opened by a group of UMASS grads in 2009. With a long list of celebrity drop ins, this comedy theater is special for hosting a wide variety of comedy related events from stand up classes, to open mic nights, and critically acclaimed solo comedian shows (Dana Carvey will be performing July 26th).  On Wednesdays they offer more improv based sets called The Bear Supply (which begins at 8PM) and Lip Service (which begins at 10PM). With 30 beers on tap and a “no drink limit”, this theater gets some pretty big names for being located in an alley way behind a Johnny Rockets.

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The Comedy Store

8433 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90069

If you love Whitney Cummings and Bobby Lee (which I do), then this is your spot. They are regulars, and when I say regulars, I mean that they are there performing or hanging out on any given  night. Sammy Shore was the original owner, and the his wife Mitzi took over the joint, and she recognized that female comedians don’t get the same stage time and respect as male comedians, so she opened up a special room called “The Belly Room” for the women to perform. The spot is now run by Mitzi’s children, and this is where you find the A-list stand ups. I am always a little star struck when I go here. Every Wednesday is a different show, so be sure to check the calendar.

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Flappers

102 E Magnolia Blvd
Burbank, CA 91502
(818) 845-9721

Though this one is a little off the grid for us Valley or West Side peeps, it is definitely something to make a night of. They alternate their Wednesday shows with Whacked Out Wednesday and Hump Day Nasty Show (always featuring a different host). There are plenty of restaurants in the area to get dinner and see a show, in fact Barney’s Beanery is right next door. Grab a drink at Barney’s and then head over to Flappers. Flappers is very active with the NACA (National Association of Campus Activities) and college community, and is continually on tour across the US at different campuses. They even have special family, all ages welcomed events called Two Milk Minimum, so if you are looking for a comedy show appropriate for all ages, then this is your spot!

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Upright Citizens Brigade

5919 Franklin Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90028

(323) 908-8702

It all began here for some of your favorite TV personas and comedians like Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, Nick Kroll, Ed Helms… the list goes on and on.  This theater has been rolling out our generations top comics for years now. Setting the bar in terms of what is culturally relevant, one of my personal fave shows is their Wednesday Facebook night, where 2 random people in the audience are selected to display their Facebook page on screen where the comics of the night riff off of the person’s posts and photos (show starts at 9:30). The line is long to get in, but tickets are cheap and so worth it. I recommend Sushi Stop next door for dinner, as it is cheap and good quality (and by cheap I mean like $3 for spicy tuna rolls). There is also a few very nice bars next door to grab a drink after (or before- get there early to make sure you get good seats and tix).

Like I said, anytime I am in one of those  mid-week, what-am-I-doing-with-my-life, who-am-I, moods, I like to go to a comedy show, and I always leave re-calibrated and ready to roll the following day!

Hidden Philly: The Non-Touristy Guide to the OG Forefathers City

Philadelphia is one of the best kept secrets and underrated cities the US has to offer. Usually when people are going on vacation from the Best Coast, they go to NY, or Hawaii, or Florida. No one goes to Philadelphia. Why? My family is from Philadelphia, and I have been going since I was a child. I have converted many a friend into Philly Lovers, and you will be converted too if you follow my list.

Of course there are the basic touristy things to do, you have to go to the Liberty Bell, and see where the Declaration of Independence was signed. You have to run up the Rocky Steps to the Art Museum. You must go to the Franklin Institute and do a walk through of the human heart and catch an IMAX…. but Blah Blah Blah, after you do that the first day you get there, there is so much more that is kept under wraps that the normal tourist wouldn’t even give a second thought to. Here are the best things to do in Philly that the average tourist would ignore:

 Mutter Museum

Mutter

American Horror much? The new season Freak Show is based off of this oddities museum. The old antiquated display cases contain some of the freakiest and disturbing abnormalities from conjoined twins to the worlds biggest tumor. Also, part of Einstein’s brain is there as well as a wall of about 200 skulls. If you are not easily disturbed and like getting creepy vibes, go here. This is one of the best hidden gems the city has to offer. It is also where they performed separative surgery on the famous conjoined twins, Chang and Eng.

Barnes Museum

Barnes

This is not your average museum. The beautiful architecture contains an EXACT replica of Albert C. Barnes personal collection (down to the millimeter). He collected the pieces of work done by famous artists like Van Gogh, Picasso, and Monet (among many others), that were not well received, and now they are on display in this beautiful modern building.

Tip: Check out the documentary about Barnes called The Art of the Steal  to give you an appreciation before visiting!

Reading Terminal

Reading Terminal

If you can navigate this without going around and around in circles, props to you. On a busy day, the lanes and avenues of food shops located inside the giant old train terminal can get overwhelmingly confusing if not claustrophobic. Some cities have one signature food or good, but Philly is famous not only for Cheesesteaks, but also Italian Ice, Soft Pretzels, Water Toffee, and Italian Food. Check out Thrillists Best Terminal Food to get the idea…

Tip: Most places offer samples, you can fill up on these and get a taste of everything!

Eastern State Penitentiary 

Eastern State

Definitely one of the creepiest spots, this old dilapidated prison that was operational from 1829-1971, housed famous inmates such as Al Capone. Styled like a fortress or a castle, the dark, cold prison was built to be inescapable yet over the years people found peculiar ways to flee.

Tip: Visit during Halloween, they turn it into a haunted prison!

Magic Gardens

Magic Gardens

I stumbled upon this when I was walking down Southstreet during one of my visits. Throughout the entire city of Philadelphia you might catch a sparkling glimpse of mosaic street art installation. It is done all by the same man, Isaiah Zagar who uses all different materials from glass ware and mirrors, to urban findings like wood and bike wheels. The mothership of mosaics is brought to life with a giant walk through mosaic maze like garden that is probably one of the most mind blowing pieces of art  I have ever seen.

Tip: The artist is usually on site and you can meet and greet (he’s awesome).

Church

Church

Step inside ANY Church- there are hundreds and they are the oldest buildings in the city… Almost always open, and the architecture is awe inspiring.

NIGHTLIFE

Nightlife

Speakeasies/ Underground Clubs/ Dive Bars-

Philly has some great nightlife (but only if you know where to go)

Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. 

FM

Hidden underground speakeasy that is very small and exclusive but serves awesome drinks and “Punches” (giant bowls of alcohol) that originate in the 1920s-40s.

G Lounge

philly

Lingerie clad dancers and a 50 Shades of Grey vibe, more of the guys club, but if you get a table you are sure to have a good time.

Mac’s Tavern

macstavern

Opened by It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’s own Mac (RobMcElhenney), the bar has references to the show and might even be considered a mock of  Paddy’s Pub. Located on Market street, there are plenty of bars to walk to if you do want to do some more touristy style bar crawling.

Tip: The door when you walk in says “Pirate” just like on the TV show

Dirty Franks

Dirty Franks

More of a locals bar if you want to see what that is like, cheap drinks and a version of the the city special is offered here for like $2.50 (7 oz. beer & Kamikaze shot). The City Special is a shot of Jim Beam and a PBR for $3, here is a list of the city’s bars that offer it.

Pulse (open til 4am)

Pulse

One of the late night clubs that is open til 4am, the intimate two story dance club is always fun for after hours.

Voyeur (open til 4am)

voyeur-nightclub

3 Story dance club, arena style on the top floors and pub style on the second floor. Lots of strobes, & lots of stages, smoking friendly.. Just a good time.

Tip: They usually have free hot dog stand on the lower level- a nod to their very gay friendly vibe (it is pretty much a gay dance club).

The best thing about this city, is it is a museum in itself. The whole city is populated with signs that will tell you what historical noteworthy place you are standing near. I recommend popping on some sneakers with a backpack and just follow the signs, and follow your instincts. You will understand why it is really the best city to mAdventure.

 

[This list represents not even 5% of activities there is to do- check out these other sites for more helpful info on where to go!]

Discover Philadelphia

Visit Philly

 Philly Fun Guide