RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life


BG and RMW’s big birthday bash

pershing square building

Pershing Square Building in downtown LA with PERCH restaurant/bar on the roof.

My birthday is in May and my friend BG’s birthday is in June so we decided to have a birthday bash this past Saturday. The last time we did a birthday bash was two years ago which I documented at this link.


Left to right. US Bank Building, Deloitte Building (formerly Gas Building), new construction, California Plaza (in background), Title Guarantee Building, Pershing Square Building (peeking in at right side)

We’re in the middle of June Gloom (not to be confused with May Gray although very similar!). The good news is the sun usually comes out late morning/early afternoon.

downtown la

Not sure what building this is but I love the mural

We both live in Culver City so we took the Expo Line train to 7th Street Metro Center Station and walked a few blocks (we could have transferred to the Red Line and exited at Pershing Square but it wasn’t worth the effort for a one-minute ride).

downtown la

There’s construction going on all over LA these days… mixed use projects… too much traffic, too many people…


downtown la

Detail of the Pershing Square Building. The 1920s were the glory days of downtown… fortunately most of the beaux artes and art deco buildings still remain to live a new life today.

downtown la

We took the elevator to Perch on the 15th floor of the Pershing Square Building. We ordered our drinks. B liked the idea of the My Fair Lady with vodka. I ordered the gin Hemingway on the Beach. I don’t particularly like very sweet drinks and this fit the bill. We each had two cocktails (it was our birthday bash…).

downtown la

We both ordered the Huevos Rancheros. I happen to be an expert on this dish (!) and I have to say this was about the best I have ever laid eyes on and eaten! They came with Perch potatoes that melted in my mouth. I’m also a potato aficionado…

downtown la

I can only assume these were the original 1920s tile floors… exquisite.

downtown la

downtown la

If you love downtown LA as I do, you can’t go wrong with this view. As I was sucking up the huevos I was looking directly at the Title Guaranty Building. Originally built as an office building it is now re-used as residential lofts, as are many of the 1920s office buildings in downtown.

California Plaza in the center. Beneath it is the Subway Building. Yes, there was a subway in LA.

downtown la

Looking down on Pershing Square with the Biltmore Hotel at right middle.

It’s fabulous to see the revitalization of downtown which really began in the 1980s. Before that it had become a virtual dead zone. It’s weird to think that most of the people who now live downtown in converted lofts and apartments weren’t even on the planet when the area was pretty much desolate. But I remember!

la downtown

Detail of the Title Guaranty Building

la downtownWe were told that our table reservation could only be held for 15 minutes if we were late. We could see why as the place was packed for lunch on Saturday.

la downtown

We were entertained by Emma-Jane and her band. A lovely selection of songs.

la downtown

View of the restaurant interior and bar

la downtown

We visited the 16th floor which is a bar only. Looked very cosy. And the sun was coming out.

la downtown

US Bank Building, Biltmore Hotel,Deloitte Building, California Plaza

We could have stayed at Perch for the rest of the day as we felt so relaxed and comfortable. But it was time to move on.

la downtown
We were on our way to the Intercontinental Wilshire Grand. On the way we passed one of my favorite buildings, originally the Sanwa Bank Building, not sure what it is currently. It’s a beautiful 1990s homage to the art deco style of the 1920s.

la downtown

Street entrance to Wilshire Grand Hotel

la downtown

Entrance to Wilshire Grand


la downtown
Across the street, another of my favorite buildings, originally a Home Savings bank, the lobby is on the 6th floor to allow parking on the lower floors because the Red Line train station was built under the building where underground parking would have been. Maybe the new Wilshire Grand took a cue from Home Savings with their 70th floor lobby?

la downtownla downtownThe Wilshire Grand lobby offers fabulous views of downtown, an upscale bar and comfy seating.

la downtown

la downtownThis thingamajig is holding the building up!

la downtownThe first time I saw the view from these windows I had a bad vertigo attack. Now I’ve been up there a few times it doesn’t bother me. It’s all in the head.

la downtownView of Echo Park Lake, about 3 miles from downtown. This reminded me that I need to visit there before the Lotus flowers fade.

la downtown
We ordered drinks… some concoction with Roses Lime Juice. Very tasty but too sweet for me.

We ordered drinks  At 4:00pm the open air rooftop bar opened… we were on it! I felt like I was on a cruise ship. Hmm… it’s been a few years since I’ve been on a cruise… I think I’m ready to go again!

la downtown

The mast which makes this the fake tallest building in LA!

la downtown

B ordered another sweet drink but I went with a Gin Gibson to get that tart onion flavor. We shared an order of chicken wings for some much needed protein.

santa monica

It was a wonderful experience sitting on top of the world, but we wanted to go west to the Santa Monica Pier to finish up the day. Fortunately we were just a few footsteps away from the train station. So we jumped on the Expo Line and headed for the beach. The pier was jammed with people out for a summer evening.

la downtownWe were glad we weren’t driving and having to hunt for a parking space!

santa monicaAll the cars on Pacific Coast Highway were heading back into town.

santa monica

santa monica

Despite all the people I always love to see the ocean. There’s no way I could ever live far from it.

santa monica

santa monica

We walked back into downtown Santa Monica. santa monica

The Third Street Promenade was alive and well on a Saturday night. We were looking for ice cream but settled for milk shakes. I ordered a Kit Kat shake. The last time I had a milk shake was at a McDonald’s in Oregon in 2015. It was a vanilla shake and possibly the best thing I ever ate in my life! But this shake was even better. Maybe in three years I can have another shake!

We headed home to Culver City on the Expo Line, two very happy birthday girls…





Eating in the rain

 La Grande Orange Cafe


Some friends and I had planned to meet for lunch at La Grande Orange Cafe in Pasadena. Because of the flooding in my building I wasn’t sure if I could make it. Fortunately that was squared away in the morning and I was able to catch the Expo Line train to the Red Line and join some of the others at Union Station. From there we took the Gold Line to the Del Mar station where we met up with another friend.

I just love how we can all come from different areas in Greater Los Angeles and travel by train to our destination!

The cafe is part of the Del Mar station so we only had to walk a few footsteps in the rain once we debarked the train.

I asked G jokingly if we were going to ask for an outside table. The rain was really coming down at that point. The joke was on me. The restaurant was so crowded inside they seated us in the outdoor patio. I told the waitress the table had better be right under a heat lamp. It was. The waitress had to wipe the rain off our chairs before we could be seated!

La Grande Orange Cafe

Our table was sandwiched between the fireplace protected by a glass screen (photo above) and a heat lamp.  You can see one of the heat lamps in the photo at top.

The patio is under canopies but the precipitation managed to sneak through and every once in a while the rain spat on us… but in a very friendly way!

la grande orange cafe

My Bloody Mary and Huevos Rancheros more than made up for any bad weather. They were both excellent.

I am always happy when I decide to go out and do something as opposed to staying curled up on the sofa, which I easily could have done!

Back in Culver City the rain was coming down in Velociraptors and Tyrannosauruses as I left the train station. I thought about waiting for the bus but decided to take a chance on walking. I did a lot of puddle hopping but as the bus never passed me in the entire walk home I obviously made the right decision not to get soaked standing at the bus stop. Better to get soaked walking. And I did. Get soaked.

We have at least another day of rain. But by Wednesday the sun should be back and we’ll have a few dry days. I hope this isn’t the end of the wet stuff but it will be nice to have a chance to dry out.

Oh, and our flood… it was still a flood when I got home but the pump is doing a pretty good job… so we may get lucky and it won’t seep into the garages this time. Fingers crossed.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


Triple art treat in Tujunga

katherine kean

Photo copyright Barbara Golbin

McGroarty Arts Center in Tujunga held its inaugural Artist Studios Tour on Saturday, June 27, 2015. Two artist friends who live in that area were participating by opening their home studios to the public. So my friend B and I decided to drive out there to be supportive.

As my car, AKA Cinnamon Girl, spends most of her life sitting in the garage I knew she would enjoy the 70-mile round trip (northeast of Culver City). We’ve been having unusually muggy weather on the Westside and as we were leaving Culver City around 1:00pm CG’s windshield was splattered with rain drops. In our terrible drought we will take every drop!

Our first stop was at Katherine Kean’s studio. (Photo above). She has a beautiful home nestled in the hills with lovely views all around. There is a lot to be said for living out in the “boonies.” As a die-hard city girl, even I can appreciate the call of the wilds!

I did take my DSLR with me but for whatever reason l left it in the car. Fortunately, my companion thought to whip out her iPhone to snap a picture of Katherine standing in front of one of her pieces. (Tweaked and cropped just a little in Lightoom by moi.) I’ve followed Katherine’s career for many years and seen her artwork evolve. I’ve always been a big fan.

Katherine comes across as a serene person and her paintings match her personna.

I encourage you to click on this link to her website.

Katherine was generously sharing her space with another artist, Rosanna Norton. I’ve met Rosanna on a couple of occasions previously but never seen any of her artwork. I wasn’t expecting her or her art to be at Katherine’s house so this was icing on the cake .

rosanna norton

Photo copyright Barbara Golbin

All I can say is that I immediately got the connection between Rosanna and her expressive work as her artwork matches her colorful personality. (And clothing!). What a nice surprise.

Click here for Rosanna’s website.

Last, but certainly not least, we drove over to Melissa Reischman’s home studio.

melissa reischman

Photo copyright Barbara Golbin.

I have a certain affinity with abstract art. The lack of immediately identifiable subject matter allows my imagination to run wild. I’ve also had the good fortune to see Melissa’s work over the years. She is always experimenting. I happen to love her latest series of black and white drawings such as the five at the top of this photo. Black holes, electricity… all kinds of powerful images come to mind.

Visit Melissa’s website here.

It’s no secret I love art! As I have often said, I even like art that I don’t like! But it’s even better when I feel an emotional connection with the art I am viewing. That certainly was the case on Saturday.

I believe there may have been twenty artists on the Tujunga open studio tour but I have a short attention span, and in any case, we had planned to only visit Katherine and Melissa. My brain had taken in all it could at that point and we headed back to civilization… I mean Culver City!!!

B and I often end up at the same restaurants when we have dinner together. Even though we do try to think up new places, there is nothing as comforting as the tried and true. One of these is The Original Thai BBQ of Culver City on the corner of Venice Blvd and Clarington Ave where we ate dinner Saturday evening. It’s off the beaten track and not as glitzy as the eateries in downtown Culver City. I usually order tofu and a mixed veggie curry. Mmmmm, I could eat that right now for breakfast!

I know Katherine and Melissa are often exhibiting their work in art shows around the LA area. So look for their names and check out their work in person when you have the opportunity. And say hello for me…

All content copyright roslyn m wilkins except where otherwise noted. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


Marmite, eyebrow threading and saris in Little India

Grocery store in Little India with spices, beans and grains

Grocery store in Little India with spices, beans and grains

I am so behind with writing blogs I many never catch up. So I decided to start with the latest adventure first and work backwards.

For months now KL and I have wanted to visit Little India (or Artesia International and Cultural Shopping District) so when my copy of the January/February AAA Westways magazine arrived with an article on that location, we decided to set a date. That day was yesterday, Sunday, March 27.   

We started out from Culver City at approximately 10:30 am. KL had called a while earlier from the San Diego Freeway (Interstate 405) to inform me it was raining cats and dogs and she was wondering if she should turn around. From my deck I could see it was raining lightly. There were bright patches in the sky over the area we were planning to visit so we decided to take a chance, even though there had been some pretty heavy storms in the days preceding. I was cold to the bone in my house so I wore plenty of layers to keep warm.

We took the 405 to the 91 and exited at Pioneer Boulevard. Just a few blocks south we passed 186th Street and found a parking space on the street. The sign specified two hours parking so we figured we would move the car later. However, as we were walking back to the car to move it, we noticed the street signs on the other side of Pioneer all had the usual “Except Sundays” qualifier we had not noticed when we parked. Sure enough when we checked, all the signs on our side of the street had the “Except Sundays” text covered up by another sign so we could only assume it was okay to remain parked. We didn’t get a ticket so that must be the case.


Sari in Artesia Little India

Most of the shops in Little India are either clothing stores selling saris (sarees) or markets specializing in Indian spices and groceries, not to mention the eyebrow threading parlors. The saris are beautiful but there are only so many you can look at. I tried to take a photo of a sari in a display window but the saleslady came charging out to announce that no photos were allowed. I already had one photo from another shop anyway. As for the eyebrow threading, it is apparently an ancient method of hair removal that is more precise than waxing and does not require chemicals.

I was much more intrigued by the grocery stores. Although India was a British colony at one time, I was not expecting to see so many familiar products from my English childhood such as Horlicks, Tate & Lyle’s Golden Syrup, Rybena and many others. As payback for giving India Marmite, Britain got curry. I think we received the better end of that bargain! (Okay, I do like Marmite.)

I wanted to buy some kind of food as a souvenir of the trip and decided on three different kinds of Sanjeev Kapoor’s Khazana spice mixes: Methi Chaman Biryani, Korma Curry and Paneer Butter Masala. One of the customers informed us his brand was the best and that the first in this list was her favorite. This morning I cooked my usual pot of whole rice and grains with mixed dry beans. I prepared the Methi Chaman Biryani spice mix with a whole head of chopped, sautéed fresh garlic and added it to the beans and rice. I divided up the mixture into one-cup Pyrex storage bowls to freeze and kept out enough for breakfast. A suggested serving is with raita. I decided plain Greek yogurt was close enough so I piled a few tablespoons on top. Oh my, absolute heaven! It was so good I had more of the rice dish with veggies for dinner.


Shana Restaurant and Cottage Art

But back to yesterday. As lunchtime approached and our tummies were rumbling we poked our heads into several restaurants but were not feeling the warm fuzzies. Then we saw a sign for a Pakistani/Indian restaurant offering a buffet and that fit the bill. Shan has no glitz or glamour, just a comfortable, homey place. The buffet offers every kind of Indian food you could want in a tiny space and you are elbow to elbow with other customers reaching into the tureens. The buffet offers chicken and mutton but as I don’t eat four-legged animals I helped myself to ample servings of the three kinds of chicken dishes. I also chose two kinds of rice, fried veggies and raita. Every morsel was totally scrumptious. Before we could even finish the freshly baked naan bread, more was placed in our basket. Every table has its own personal jug of water with metal drinking cups.

Artesia Little India

This would make a comfy corner in my living room

We walked around a little more and then, saving the best for last, we visited Cottage Art with beautiful and unique home décor items such as bedspreads, pillows, mirrors, furniture (I wanted to drag the four-poster bed home with me) and everything else under the brilliant Indian sun. I couldn’t resist buying a sheer scarf which will go with just about every shade of black that I wear.

Artesia Little India

My new scarf that goes with everything

Both KL and I were somewhat disappointed that we had not been able to discover some kind of cultural center in the area such as a museum or art gallery. Also, we were expecting to find more shops like Cottage Art with fabrics, artifacts and tchotskies imported from India—kinda like an Indian Cost Plus Imports. Well, I guess we could just go to Cost Plus Imports!   

By the time we left mid-afternoon the skies were blue, the sun was blazing and the air felt like it was in the 80s (27+C)—a total contrast to the morning hours when I was shivering and turning blue. We do have seasons in southern California but sometimes they all occur in the same day!

(photos copyright roslyn m wilkins)