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Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

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If You Have Not Gotten Your Christmas Tree Yet, You Are In Luck!

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

Procrastinating around the holidays isn't something we housesellers think many people are unfamiliar with. Whether it is decorating or getting Christmas cards out or waiting until the last minute to find the perfect gift, we have all been there. But if you celebrate Christmas and have not gotten your tree yet, we have the best and easiest ways to get one NOW! Our pals at dola.com have an amazing list of where to get that perfect Christmas tree in Los Angeles, and we would like to share that with you. Here are the top choices for those heading out this weekend for their tree:  

Shawn's Christmas Trees. From the mountains of Oregon, Shawn's Christmas Trees offer half a dozen variations of Firs. They take phone orders and have been selling Christmas trees in West Los Angeles for 37 years. They are also one of the oldest individually owned Christmas tree lots in the area.

Mr. Jingle's Trees is an operation that is all over Southern California, from Westwood to Hollywood to Palm Springs to San Diego. Their selling point is local delivery, and Mr. Jingle’s Trees are freshly cut, loaded onto trucks and immediately shipped to each of their locations from the Cascade Mountains in Oregon each season. If you are a haggler, they sell their trees on-site in Hollywood and at the Original Farmer’s Market.

Tina's Trees are known for being durable and can be custom flocked and coated with flame retardant for those who are extra safety conscious​. If you don't want to commit to a full tree, you will likely be interested in shopping her wreaths and garlands. If you are in the Valley, you may want to check out this Sherman Oaks lot.

If you are checking us out from the OC, Peltzer Pines is the perfect place when you want to pick and cut your tree. DoLa says their staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and that the lot is very family-friendly. A plus is that you can even pick your tree and come back at a later date for pickup. But, you'd better do it in the next 9 days because time is running out!

Another great Valley spot is Santa & Sons in Van Nuys. This is an easy to get to location just north of the 101 and is a wonderful family owned and operated shop that is an environmentally certified Oregon Christmas tree farm that has been operating since 1983. They offer tree delivery and you can live-stream their lot so that you can see exactly what you're picking from.

If you are in or near the Inland Empire, the most famous and fun place to get a tree is Sand Haven Pines in Perris. They offer the ultimate Christmas tree shopping experience from the snack bar to bouncy houses and photos with Santa, and there’s plenty to keep everyone entertained. Also, they offer free candy canes, coffee, balloons, popcorn and other treats...and the bouncy house is free, too!

Mr. Greentrees in Beverly Hills is where to go for more high-end trees and they are a boutique provider of the freshest premium Christmas trees, each one handpicked from family farms in Washington and Oregon. They constantly hydrate the pristine trees and shade them under a humidified tent to protect them from the Southern California sun, and they also offer wreaths and garlands unrivaled in quality and beauty. 

 

 

 

 

Spotlight On Westlake And Its Coming Gentrification

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

The Westlake neighborhood of Los Angeles has long been famous for resisting gentrification but, as the second most densely populated (after Koreatown) community in the area, big changes are in store to help relieve the overcrowding as well as provide more resources that have typically been lacking. One of the issues has always been a lack of investing in the area and that is about to no longer be a problem. Considering the neighborhood is considered the second most "walkable" in LA, we housesellers would like to highlight what we think will be some of the biggest changes that are being planned to make the community more self-sustaining.

Some of the changes are happening already. The Westlake Theater could have a new owner any day now; the neighborhood’s namesake park is in line for renovations, and another old theater is reopening as a new comedy venue. The biggest change, perhaps, is the plan for the Lake on Wilshire. This development would convert an existing 14-story office building into a hotel and build a multi-cultural center and 41-story apartment tower on Wilshire near Alvarado. The project would bring 478 apartments to the neighborhood (including at least 39 affordable units) and feature ground-floor restaurants and retail spaces.

The 15-story Mayfair Hotel is well into a thorough makeover that’s already updated the 296 available rooms, suites and penthouse suites. The last phase of the renovation will bring a pool and roof deck to the structure sometime in early 2018. Rooms run between $159 and $279 per night.

The Levitt Pavilion's free Summer Concert Series in MacArthur Park has already helped reverse that area's misfortunes and a long proposed $20-million renovation would update the park’s restrooms, build a new boathouse, add workout equipment, improve the entrances, and add a picnic area and outdoor classroom. Urbanize LA reported earlier this year that the city’s Housing and Community Investment Department was pursuing $1.3 million in funding to help bring ADA improvements to the park and kickstart early work on the new boathouse.

Designed by KTGY Architecture, Hope on Alvarado is an 84-unit transitional housing project that will be built out of shipping containers. Developer Aedis Real Estate Group is planning a series of similar shipping container developments to be built across LA over the next year.The four-story building will hold 84 studio and one-bedroom apartments measuring between 400 and 480 square feet. Construction is expected to begin in 2018.

Holland Partner Group’s 606-apartment complex, Sofia, wrapped up this summer at the intersection of Sixth and Bixel Streets. The six-story project holds a mix of studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom units, plus a 16,500-square-foot grocery store and 25,000 square feet of street-level commercial space at Sixth and Bixel Streets.

A six-story apartment building, called HōM Lofts, would hold 80 market-rate apartments, a rooftop deck and a courtyard for residents. Developed by Sharp Capital Group, the project was anticipated to begin construction in 2016 with completion set for 2018, but city records indicate that building permits have been requested but not yet approved for the project.

Occidental Gardens, the six-story building planned near Occidental Boulevard and Third Street, would hold 47 new apartments, mostly one-bedrooms. Eleven of the apartments would be for low or very low income tenants. Resident parking would be provided by an underground garage. Designed by Chinatown-based Bo.Shi Architects, the project is listed as “under construction” on the architects’ website.

A nine-story building from Amidi Group at 1027 Wilshire has been in the works since 2007 and it appears to finally be getting off the ground. The project would contain a significant 376 live/work apartments, commercial space and resident amenities. The site is a parking lot right now but completion is expected in 2020, says Urbanize LA.

The Seven development would bring a glassy 26-story tower to Seventh Street near Lucas. The tower would hold 241 residential units, ranging from studios to three-bedrooms, plus ground-level commercial space. The complex would include six levels of parking, as well. Pangea Development, which is behind the project, expects the structure to be complete in mid-2019.

The above are just a few of the many projects underway that we hope will lead to this vibrant neighborhood enjoying even greater good fortune in the future.

 

 

 

How To Help Those Affected By The SoCal Wildfires

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

While we housesellers, like most Southern California residents, were thankful to be able to enjoy some of the lushest and greenest vegetation and landscapes in many years due to the intense rains in late 2016 and much of the first half of 2017 that greatly helped balance out some of the devastating effects that the multi-year drought had on our region, the hottest Summer on record in California has reversed much of that and has dried out much of that new greenery and turned the area, once again, into a dry tinderbox. The Santa Ana winds have been ferocious and the fires that have been raging the past week have been staggering and devastating to many of our friends, neighbors, family and associates. We know many of you are trying to figure out ways to help those affected so we put together a list (pulled from various sources) of ways you can help. Please note that much of the focus is on the Ventura County fires as they are, by far, the most dangerous, but the resources below will give you information regarding all of the current fire danger areas as well as any new situations that may arise as the Santa Ana winds continue to be unrelenting.

Donating money is certainly one of the easiest and most direct ways to help:  

United Way chapters in both Los Angeles and Ventura counties have established fire relief funds for communities hit by the blazes. Donations can be made online at the links above.

The Red Cross, which is operating multiple evacuation centers in LA County, is accepting donations through its website or by text. To make a contribution, text REDCROSS to 90999.

The Salvation Army, now providing food and supplies to evacuees in Ventura County, is also requesting donations, which can be made online or by phone (1 800 SAL ARMY).

If you’d like to have a better idea of exactly where your contribution is going, both GoFundMe and YouCaring have grouped their crowdfunding campaigns related to the fires.

Catholic Charities of Los Angeles is accepting donations as well as clothing or Christmas presents for those who have lost belongings in the fire.

You may feel like you want to donate your time:

The Red Cross accepts volunteer applications on its website year-round, and it’s a great way to get involved in your community during times of need. If you want to get involved immediately, you can go up to Ventura County where the United Way, Red Cross and the Sheriff's Department are teaming up to place individual volunteers in places where their efforts will have the most impact.

Once the fire is contained, volunteer opportunities will be posted to the United Way of Ventura County’s website and social media accounts.

As of today, you can also call L.A. County at 2-1-1 to find out which agencies are accepting donations of both time and money.

The nonprofit organization L.A. Kitchen is preparing meals for firefighters and displaced victims. For shift times, please visit their Facebook page.

You can also donate supplies:

The Salvation Army Ventura Corps is asking for food and water donations for evacuees at the Ventura County Fairgrounds.

A list of evacuation centers and animal shelters accepting donations of food, water and other supplies for the Creek Fire victims can be found here.

 

Fascinating Facts About Johnny Carson And His 'For Sale' Malibu Estate

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

Since Johnny Carson's famed Malibu estate was listed in early October, we housesellers have seen what seem like weekly stories in various real estate journals and websites discussing the legendary talk show host's home, which he lived in for roughly two decades in one of the most exceptional beach cliff homes in the exclusive community. Each new article brought up different interesting facts about Johnny and the home that we thought we would share with you. 

The first thing we got a kick out of was how the sale of the home to Johnny came to be. The house wasn't on the market but when Johnny was invited to a party at his neighbor's home (he lived in another Malibu home nearby) he knew the moment he walked in he was in love with it. Within minutes he asked the hosts what they wanted for the house. The owners told him it wasn't for sale, but he made them an offer they couldn't refuse and the home was soon his.

Carson was a tennis buff and amid the estate’s manicured grounds is a championship court, as well as a bench from Wimbledon that was given to him by NBC as a gift to commemorate his retirement. The massive tennis pavilion with about 2,750 square feet has two guest suites, a bar, gym, locker room and sauna and that was also gifted to him from NBC for being the "King of Late Night". It was said the only sure way to be invited to Johnny's home was to be an excellent tennis player as that was his main passion outside of the Tonight Show

Carson loved playing tennis so much that when he sold a different Malibu property to tennis star John McEnroe in the 1980s, there was reportedly a stipulation in the escrow agreement that McEnroe had to provide three one-hour lessons on top of the $2 million price tag.

The back patio, with one of the best views in Malibu of the Pacific, has a sparkling blue pool, waterfall and a Koi pond. In fact, even though his widow Alexis sold the home in 2007, his 12 pet Koi are still swimming in their crystal clear pond, a swarm of gold, brown and white. Apparently, Koi can live to be a hundred years old and the new owners had no desire to be rid of Johnny Carson's beloved fish!

Johnny wasn't much for visitors and preferred peace, privacy and quiet at home, so the large main house only had one bedroom when he lived there. If he did invite overnight family or guests, they would stay across the street at a guest house.

The 7,083-square-foot main residence on the bluffs overlooking Point Dume was designed by architect Ed Niles and features a glassy, late modern design with sky-high ceilings and cavernous living spaces. Reminiscent of the Tonight Show set, the interior of the home features verdant ferns and vines dangling from the tall windows. There’s even an arboretum and a fully grown tree in the living room.

 

 

 

Where To Get Unique Holiday Gifts For Friends And Family

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

With less than two weeks until Hanukkah, and not quite a month until Christmas, if you haven't gotten your shopping done yet you might want to get on it this weekend. Nobody wants to give or receive the same old boring presents so we housesellers have some suggestions for where you can pick up some quirky, more memorable or personally made gifts for a great price at locations that are pretty easy to deal with during the Holiday rush.

The With Love Market & Cafe on Vermont Ave near Olympic hosts a flea market this Saturday that will offer up hard to find vinyl & cassette, homemade jewelry, art, DIY fashion accessories and book vendors while you enjoy live acoustic music. Best of all, you will be introduced to the incredible locally sourced food the market has to offer and you'll learn about their community programs that offer free classes centered around healthy eating, child development, exercise and other life skills that enable the local community to thrive.

Theatre Unleashed in the North Hollywood Arts District is holding a Holiday Craft Fair & Bake-Off on Saturday offering handmade treasures including jewelry, original art, healing crystals and old time books and photo cards. You can sign up to be a judge for the bake-off and grab some homemade treats for the next Holiday party you are scheduled to attend!

On Sunday, Modern Artisan Marketplace Holiday Market, a one-day-only pop-up outdoor event in Downtown LA, will highlight a carefully-curated collection of emerging artisans and inspiring brands who will bring retail, workshops, and interactive experiences to the heart of the LA Arts District. There will be more than 60 unique vendors offering up unique takes on things like kid's toys and clothing, home goods, jewelry and lifestyle items.

There probably are not a whole lot of places in the United States where you can craft your loved one their own Bonsai tree that will thrive all year long in the warm LA weather, but you can do just that very thing at the FA LA LA Holiday pop-up workshops on Saturday. Not only that, there will be a macrame workshop, a floral and tabletop design workshop to spice up your holiday decorating arrangements and a class on crafting your own gift wrap. Now that makes for some unique and personal holiday gifts!

A fun way for the family to learn how to make their own sweets to hand out for the holidays happens Saturday in West LA at the Culinary Classroom. Their Holiday Candy Making Class will teach the gang about cooking sugar and the variety of candy you can make in your own kitchen, including old-fashioned staples such as almond toffee and traditional varieties of fudge.

The Unique LA Holiday Market on Saturday and Sunday in Downtown is billed as the largest made-in-America shopping event in the country and features clothes, accessories and art pieces from a number of quality handmade brands. This year's 10th annual event will feature over 400 of the hottest independent designers, artists and emerging trends. They are also adding interactive art installations, an exclusive VIP Experience, a huge DIY area and a cafe with more than 35 food vendors.

Also being held both Saturday and Sunday is A Current Affair: Pop Up Vintage Marketplace in the LA Fashion District. This is one of the most awesome places to find vintage clothing and jewelry gifts each year, and more than 50 of the top vintage retailers and private dealers (both local and national) attend this event. A Current Affair is a major source for stylists, designers and anyone in search of one of a kind vintage items ranging from perfectly worn-in jeans to rare and collectible designer vintage hats and scarves. The clothing, accessories and jewelry range from the Victorian Era up through the 2000s.

 

 

 

 


 

Things To Do With The Kids Over The Holidays

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

There are many kid-friendly activities for families to enjoy in Los Angeles, but where do you begin? We housesellers know that, as the second-largest urban region in the United States, LA offers families more activities and adventures than some small countries. But which ones are worth the time? Taking some pointers from locals and our neighbors (and excluding obvious places like Disneyland and Griffith Park), we want you to see Los Angeles County as many of us do, full of vibrant cultural opportunities, art, amazing outdoor spaces, and yes, an amazing public transportation system. Also, the weather in LA means that a family vacation is doable any time of year without ever having to leave SoCal. Even in places that are designed for kids, like the Bob Baker Marionette Theatre, adults will find plenty to keep them interested, as well. So, here is a list of some of the best: 

Descanso Gardens. If you're looking to beat the heat, this bucolic retreat is just the place. Full of lily ponds, roses, and leafy trees, Descanso Gardens lets kids roam free and explore the natural world.

Kidspace Children's Museum. With 3.5 acres of interactive exhibits including an indoor imagination workshop, an ant colony climbing structure, and an interactive greenhouse, the Kidspace Children's Museum is one of the top destinations for LA kids.

Tree People. Located on 45-acres of Coldwater Canyon Park in the Santa Monica mountains, Tree People offers nature trails and experiential education with the goal of teaching kids environmental stewardship. Admission is free, but make sure to check the website for special events like moonlight hikes, group dog walks, and native plant walks.

The Huntington Library and Gardens. This magnificent place consists of an extensive library of rare books, three separate art galleries, and a botanical garden that covers more than 120 acres. For the little ones (2 to 7 years old), the Helen and Peter Bing Children's Garden is not to be missed. Children can splash in the water, explore a fog grotto, climb through a prism tunnel and even dance in a circular rainbow room. Make sure to bring a bathing suit!

El Capitan Theatre. Los Angeles families love the old El Capitan Theatre, a glittering example of Golden Age cinema that opened in 1926 on Hollywood Boulevard. Apart from the popular "Tiny Tot Tuesdays" for parents with toddlers, the theater always adds something extra to any film experience. Expect to see Disney cast members, live singing and the delighted faces of children when the colorful  streamers and confetti fall from the ceiling during and after film showings.

The Los Angeles River. We have been posting periodic updates about the progress of this once neglected nature destination for years now and we are happy to report that the process of revitalization that aims to reconnect the river with the vibrant urban core it passes through is still in full swing. Biking, tubing, picnicking, fishing, horseback riding and kayaking are all popular family activities and the LA river has it all. Adults on their own can rent bikes from from Spoke Bicycle Cafe and pedal down to the Frog Spot where you can listen to live music, drink beer and wander down to wade into the river.

Time Travel Mart. This is a really neat place in Echo Park that older kids will especially get a kick out of. The time travel-themed retail store with the slogan, "Whenever you are, we're already then," is run by 826, the founders of the Superhero Supply store in Brooklyn, NY and the Pirate Supply Company in San Francisco, and sells humorous gifts from the past, present, and future. FYI: While the front of the store boasts its quirky collection, the back houses a non-profit tutoring center where 20 to 30 students receive instruction each day.

Echo Lake Park. While you're in Echo Park getting your 1960's Star Trek phaser and old fashioned metal Slinky, you might as well rent a pedal boat at Echo Park Lake. Located in central Los Angeles with a stunning view of downtown, Echo Park Lake is a favorite destination for strolling, fishing, and picnicking families and the pedal boats are only $5 an hour for kids.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Yes, LACMA is a top destination for adult art lovers but it is also the best art museum for kids in the Los Angeles area and delivers top-notch art in a family-friendly environment. Start in the spacious Modern Art galleries on the second floor of the Ahmanson building, let the kids burn off energy in the LACMA sculpture garden, watch the little ones awe at the illuminating Urban Light sculpture then hit the Boone Children's Gallery for painting and story time.

The Los Angeles Public Library. Yes, we know, there are a million libraries in Los Angeles and they are not really places you want to spend the whole day at with the family. This one is. In fact, you might want to stay in the children's section of the Downtown public library forever. You can wander among the stacks enjoying the rich wood shelves, gawk at the colorful California history murals, read the newspapers and framed magazine articles about California that line the walls of various sections that go back hundreds of years or opt for one of the many storytimes and shows designed to educate and entertain your young ones. Older kids will like the computer zone and the young adult section that contains a well-curated list of recommendations.

The Last Bookstore. While we are on the topic of books, we must mention the Last Bookstore. As California's largest used and new book and record store, the two-story shop is part Harry Potter wonderland, part sci-fi spectacle and part artist loft, and has been called everything from LA's best bookstore to one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. Hit the kids section on the first floor and then take a stroll through the "Labyrinth" on the second floor, a quirky area of used books organized by color that features a spectacular book tunnel.

Hauser & Wirth. This is kind of an offbeat place, but certainly one that the kids will love. Recently opened, the huge 116,000-square-foot complex in the Arts District is one of 6 Hauser & Wirth art centers located around the world devoted to contemporary art and modern masters. Kids and parents will enjoy the art and the amazing indoor and outdoor spaces, and the onsite restaurant is not only kid friendly, it also boasts 12 rare-breed chickens that are sure to delight the younger crowd. If you are not feeling a sit-down meal you can just bring your own lunch and picnic in the garden.

CicLAvia. We have posted about these events frequently when promoting bicycle events or walking districts, and if you happen to be in Los Angeles during a CicLAvia event, drop everything and take the kiddos to this vibrant car-free street festival. Working with the city, CicLAvia temporarily opens streets to all Angelenos to bike, walk, skate, dance, and play. Free to the public, it's a giant, family-friendly party that turns streets into parks. The route varies at each event in order to explore different parts of the city and during each CicLAvia, you can expect friendly people, fun costumes and a really good time. 

California Science Center. Kids and adults alike love the IMAX theater and the rotating exhibits at the California Science Center, but the real draw is the space shuttle Endeavour, which is on display in the Samuel Oschin Pavilion. The museum is in the process of building Endeavour a new home, but, in the meantime, you can still see the NASA shuttle that traveled to space 25 times between 1992 and 2011.

Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. This is not an all day type of excursion, but while you are enjoying any number of things in Santa Monica, take an hour or two to visit this unique gem. Run by the nonprofit Heal the Bay, this under-the-radar aquarium on the Santa Monica Pier is home to over 100 species of marine animals and plants. The kids will rave about the interactive exhibits, the mesmerizing "moon jellies" and watching the aquarium staff feed the horn and swell sharks.

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

How To Prepare For Sunday's Hollywood Christmas Parade

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

We housesellers hope everyone had a safe, fun and delightful Thanksgiving! Guess many of you saw the news that it was the hottest Thanksgiving in Downtown L.A. since 1877. With that hot holiday behind us we now focus on Sunday's Hollywood Christmas Parade, one of the more extravagant events of the year in Los Angeles. This year marks the 86th Anniversary of the historic parade, held in the streets of Hollywood and attracting more than one million people. During the Red Carpet Arrivals Event at the parade on Sunday, Parade Grand Marshal Dr. Oz will be presented with a Certificate of Recognition from The City of Los Angeles for his career accomplishments. The parade features 5,000 participants and will be taped and premiere as a two-hour primetime special on The CW Network on Friday, December 15, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT (7:00 p.m. CT) and will be seen on Hallmark after The CW broadcast. The parade will also air to more than one million American servicemen and women worldwide on the American Forces Network during the holiday season.

The parade starts at 5 p.m. right by the TCL Chinese Theatres, then the U-shaped route heads down Hollywood Boulevard, turns south on Vine, and then doubles back on Sunset Boulevard. There is also a pre-parade concert, as well as other activities while the parade is happening, and it is really an insane amount of entertainment. Santa starts it all off by driving his sleigh down Hollywood Boulevard and then things just get crazy. There are oldies acts, current indie/alternative music superstars, pop stars, movie stars, American Idol winners, Donny and Marie(!)...basically, a huge mix of "something for everyone". This is just a portion of who will be performing: a special 40th Anniversary performance by The Village People, CeeLo Green, Macy Gray, The Band of Merrymakers, a yearly Indie holiday supergroup featuring a rotating cast that includes Tyler Glenn of Neon Trees and Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo (among others) this year, Nickelodeon star Breanna Yde of "School of Rock" a special tribute for Toys for Tots from Ludacris and magic performances by the stars of The CW hit series, "Masters of IllusionTommy Wind and Farrell Dillon. ​

If you are not able to make it to the parade but have plans in the area, here is all of the important street closure info you will need to know:

Tow-Away/No Stopping from midnight Saturday to 6 a.m. Monday

  • Hollywood Boulevard between Highland Avenue and Orange Drive
  • Orange Drive between Hollywood Boulevard and Hawthorn Avenue
  • Sycamore Avenue between Hollywood Boulevard and midway to Franklin Avenue

Tow-Away/No Stopping from 6 a.m. to midnight Sunday

  • Hollywood Boulevard between La Brea Avenue and Orange Drive

Tow-Away/No Stopping from 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday

  • Cherokee Avenue between Hollywood Boulevard and Selma Avenue
  • Hawthorn Avenue between Highland Avenue and La Brea Avenue
  • Sunset Boulevard between Highland Avenue and La Brea Avenue
  • De Longpre Avenue between Highland Avenue and La Brea Avenue
  • Fountain Avenue between Highland Avenue and La Brea Avenue
  • Lanewood Avenue between La Brea Avenue and Orange Drive
  • El Cerrito Place between Franklin Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard
  • Sycamore Avenue between Franklin Avenue and Fountain Avenue
  • Orange Drive between Franklin Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard
  • Mansfield Avenue between De Longpre Avenue and Fountain Avenue

Tow-Away/No Stopping from 1 p.m. to midnight Sunday

  • Hollywood Boulevard between Highland Avenue and Vine Street
  • Vine Street between Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard
  • Sunset Boulevard between Vine Street and Highland Avenue
  • Franklin Boulevard between La Brea Avenue and Highland Avenue
  • Santa Monica Boulevard between La Brea Avenue and Gower Street
  • Highland Avenue between Franklin Avenue and Sunset Boulevard
  • La Brea Avenue between Franklin Avenue and Fountain Avenue
  • Cahuenga Boulevard between Yucca Street and Hollywood Boulevard (west side of the street)
  • Yucca Street between Gower Street and Argyle Street (north side of the street)

Freeway Closures

  • The 101 northbound and southbound Cahuenga Boulevard off-ramps will be closed from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.

 

Here's Where To Donate Your Time This Thanksgiving Holiday

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

Thanksgiving is one of the biggest holidays of the year in Los Angeles for volunteering and all across the region there are multiple ways you can help those who are less fortunate. We housesellers have put together a list for those who want to volunteer their time but are not sure where to do so, and also to alert those who may need a meal or a little assistance this year.

One of the biggest events that feeds people in need is the Westside Thanksgiving Community Dinner & Celebration. This long-standing community event is open to all those seeking a festive and fun experience. Hundreds of volunteers unite to serve dinner to thousands of folks, especially low-income families, veterans, seniors and anyone who is homeless. In addition to dinner, free haircuts, hygiene kits and medical services are provided to guests. This event is especially noted due to the large amount of kids who volunteer. There’s such a massive turnout of little ones volunteering that the organization hosts a carnival in the morning to keep them entertained. Two hour shifts begin as early as 6 a.m. and you must call ahead to be assigned a slot on Thanksgiving Day. 

Food on Foot is an organization committed to assisting low income and homeless people through all year long programs that offer meals, clothing and work placement. This organization receives no government funding and relies entirely on donations so, for that reason, volunteering requires a donation of $100 per person (including children) on Thanksgiving Day. Your generous gift will be used for the food and gift cards that you’ll help distribute, along with sleeping bags, to over 250 people in Hollywood. If you’re interested in volunteering for Food on Foot but would like a more affordable option, visit any Sunday from 3:15-5 p.m. ($20 donation per person) for an equally rewarding experience. Children 6 & up are welcome to volunteer.

Another opportunity for families to volunteer together is the Saturday after Thanksgiving at the One Incredible Family: 24th Annual Homeless Feeding & Banner Creation event in Playa del Rey. This event at the Westchester Masonic Center benefits LA County residents who are either elderly, homeless or disadvantaged children. OIF needs volunteers to roll up their sleeves and get to cooking and creating. You and your children (ages 8 & up) will assist in preparing 1,600 Thanksgiving meals and create artistic, inspirational banners for numerous homeless shelter residents. Participation involves a minimum $5 donation and registration is available online.

If you are in the Valley, volunteers are needed for the Thanksgiving Morning Turkey Trot in Burbank to assist with set up, take down, handing out water and after race treats and assisting on the race course. This is the biggest turkey trot in the area and is also a fundraiser with all proceeds turned over to fund the Burbank YMCA for those in need. ​For those who want to participate, this event starts early (7:30 a.m.) on Thanksgiving morning and is a race that's for everyone, even pets, so you can run, walk, jog or push a stroller. There is a 5K/10K run, 5K walk and a Kids Run: The 5K run/walk is for competitive and casual runners, as well as walkers, the 10K is for competitive runners only and the Kids Run is not competitive. Those who live closer to Downtown LA may want to be one of the 125 volunteers needed for the 5th Annual Turkey Trot Los Angeles which starts and finishes in front of City Hall at 200 N Spring St. 

Socks4Souls is an organization dedicated to passing out socks, blankets, coats, hygiene kits, bottles of water, conversations and smiles every Thanksgiving Day and they ask that you bring as many of these items as you can afford. Instead of taking these items to the local shelter, they take them directly to people in need so they can have some companionship and warm human contact on a day when families are gathering all over the country. Plan to meet up at the Flowers Street entrance of the 7th Street Metro Center Station at 8:30 a.m. and even if you don't have anything to bring, still come out because the most important part of the day will be the conversations and smiles you'll be providing to the residents of Skid Row.

The above are just a few of the many ways you can volunteer your time, resources and energy over the Thanksgiving holiday. Please visit this link for more volunteer opportunities.

 

 

 

 

 

The Fall/Winter Holiday Activities Kick Off This Weekend

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

It looks like this is the weekend that kicks off the Fall/Winter Holiday season in Los Angeles and even though Winter isn't officially here (FYI: it begins with the Winter Solstice on December 21st...and, really, never in LA), there are plenty of events to conjure up traditional Winter colors, sights and activities. One of those activities is ice skating, a paradox in the land of sunshine and heat, but every year for the past 20 years the Holiday Ice Rink in Pershing Square has been drawing big crowds to Downtown LA thanks to its amazing skating program. There are DJs for late evening skating on Thursdays, the Holiday Ice Rink transforms into Disney’s ALADDIN-themed “Arabian Nights” skate sessions every Wednesday and you can take curling lessons on fresh ice on selected mornings. Then there is the Polar Bear Skate: The Los Angeles Edition on January 1st where skaters are encouraged to ring in the New Year on the ice while donning their shades and beach attire for a West Coast take on the cold water polar bear plunge. The rink opened for daily use yesterday and will stay open until January 15th. 

If you are in the Valley, Burbank kicks of the holiday season with a Winter wine event on Saturday. Actually, it's the 2nd Annual Winter Wine Walk & Street Fair, which will be taking over the streets and stores of Downtown Burbank from noon to 8 p.m. There will be artist booths, craftsmen selling their wares, food stands and various types of entertainment. The actual walk itself starts at 4 p.m. and walk participants will receive a tasting cup and a map of the participating tasting sites, and each tasting site will have a designated area set up for Wine Walk guests to sample the amazing wines or beers. Also, as you stroll down San Fernando Blvd, you will be surrounded by a winter holiday ambiance of live entertainment, beautiful holiday lighting and snowfall from 6:45 p.m. until 8 p.m.

If you happen to be in Orange County this weekend, the Swedish Womens Education Association of Orange County (SWEA) will hold their annual Swedish Christmas Fair at Old World, Huntington Beach on Sunday. This is a super-authentic celebration of Scandinavian Christmas traditions and there will be an interesting variety of handmade gifts, clothing, crafts, food and baked goods, unique Christmas decorations, sweets & treats, Swedish themed artwork, paintings, festivities and Glogg, the hot mulled wine made from spices, red wine, port, and brandy. There will also be a fish pond, dancing around the Christmas tree and a spacious outside patio and beer garden. If you are not familiar with Swedish culture or are looking for a really unique, authentic experience (as well as unusual, one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts), this is probably a "best bet" for the weekend.

A few holiday traditions start up today at the LA Zoo. There are the LA Zoo Lights, which is an incredible display of colors, designs and images that blanket the zoo from 6 p.m. - 10 p.m. nightly through January 7th. What the zoo has done is truly a jaw-dropping wonder and the theme that ties all of the different displays together is that a group of LED monkeys have commandeered a Christmas tree and the zoo's power supply and created a glowing "Animal Power" cord that they've draped across the grounds that electrifies everything. Santa will be available to visit with on select dates and, though most of the animals will be asleep, you will be able to see reindeer each night. Speaking of reindeer, the Reindeer Romp is also back at the zoo today through January 7th and this is definitely something you will want your kids to experience. Visitors will get to see and learn about real reindeer, have photo ops with the animals, participate in a craft station with make-your-own antlers, ask questions during the Reindeer Keeper talks and present holiday presents to various zoo animals (nutritious treats to help with their physical well being).

While any time is a good time to make the hike out to La Cañada Flintridge and Descanso Gardens, the world-famous 160 acre botanical garden that is home to internationally renowned botanical collections, spectacular seasonal horticultural displays and meticulously cared for gardens and woodlands, their Winter program, which starts Sunday, is truly something special. Enchanted: Forest of Light takes visitors on a mile-long journey through ten different interactive light displays that put a twist on classic holiday decorating with things for you to experience such as rainbow-colored forests and hands-on art installations.

We housesellers think any of these early holiday events could be just the thing to get you in a spirited mood for the many celebrations we have to look forward to over the next month and a half.

 

 

 

How Well Do You Know Today's Melrose Avenue?

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

If you haven't been on Melrose Avenue in awhile, it may not be exactly the way you remember it. The 6-mile strip of eclectic shops, excellent dining and all manner of entertainment stretching between Lucile Avenue in Silver Lake and Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood is still the unique, colorful and ever-changing merchant district it has been for decades. Always a destination for Angelenos, it was made nationally famous by the 1990's drama, Melrose Place, and, from the literally sparkling and electric atmosphere (at one time there well may have been more neon on Melrose than any other hip street in LA) to the eccentric cast of shoppers, visitors and locals, it makes for fantastic people watching. However, it’s easy to forget the Melrose Avenue neighborhood is also a community and in addition to the business owners and employees who dedicate so much of their time to keeping the district vibrant, Melrose is also home to a dense and diverse Los Angeles residential area.

In recent years as the Melrose Hill Historic District (a neighborhood just north of Melrose Ave that we housesellers specialize in), and HPOZs in general, gathers attention and becomes more and more of a desirable place to set down roots, we have noticed that there are new attractions designed to attract a wider range of people. This is especially true when it comes to family activities and things for children to do in the neighborhood. For example, the Tiger Gym teaches kids 5 and older old-fashioned boxing skills where they experience discipline and mastery, as well as getting a challenging workout. There is Playground LA where children  9+ can learn acting, music and dance skills from internationally recognized instructors. Even the world-famous Groundlings Theatre, a centerpiece of Melrose Avenue since 1979, offers an improv workshop for kids 11-18. There are ice cream and comic book shops specifically catering to children, JapanLA, which offers up toys, art, accessories and clothing inspired by Japanese and LA pop culture with tons of imported stuff straight from Japan, and places where kids can spend the afternoon doing elaborate puzzles or rent kid-sized mountain bikes to tool around the neighborhood.

Of course, many spots on Melrose still put the "funk" in "funky" and there is no danger of a Times Square-like "Disneyfication" of the famed thoroughfare (there are still tattoo parlors and smoke shops and clubs that are strictly for adults), but how many of you knew that the area has the Melrose Trading Post, an outdoor Sunday flea market at the corner of Melrose and Fairfax that supports the community and has used its profits to award grants to different Fairfax High School organizations (over $7 million since the MTP started in 1997) for sports equipment, beautification projects, teacher programs, theater productions and more? Or that the Lemon Grove Recreation Center in Melrose Hill offers youth baseball classes/clinics/training, girls softball, Jr. Clippers Basketball, their After School Club, arts & crafts, ballet, board games, guitar lessons karate classes, the LA Kids program, piano, pre-school and zumba dance classes? Bet you didn't know that some of the weekend sidewalk sales not only feature goods from the avenue's shops, but from residents in the neighborhood as well. We definitely think that whether you are looking for a new neighborhood to settle down in or just want a fun day trip with the family, Melrose Avenue and the Melrose District is an area you'll want to visit soon!

 

 

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