Los Angeles

ABOUT LOS ANGELES

L.A. is a very cosmopolitan city. We have people from all over the world here. It is a place where everyone is welcomed, so people visiting this great city should never feel out of place. It is also a city that is constantly in flux. The cultural landscape is always changing, but our perpetual sunshine makes it a place where you feel as though time is standing still. Los Angeles is such an expansive city, so I narrowed down my list to include some of my favourite neighbourhoods that I think are worth seeing.

VENICE

Abbot Kinney Boulevard is a thriving mecca of shops, restaurants and great cafes. It’s a charming street to walk down for either the casual ambler or the serious shopper. The Venice Beach Boardwalk is a carnival of crazy. Street performers, artisans, and hippies abound. It’s also heavy on free entertainment while being light on the wallet.

BEVERLY HILLS

Beverly Hills epitomizes luxury. However, for a more modest adventure in this opulent city I recommend getting a manicure at Nail Spa Clinique, and then heading over to either the Beverly Wilshire hotel (think Pretty Woman), or Villa Blanca to have a glass of champagne. Also, the Montage hotel is a wonderful place to have a cup of tea or a cappuccino.

SANTA MONICA

Santa Monica has a casual sophistication to it. It is a beautiful seaside community that is renowned for its beaches, great restaurants, cafes, hotels, and shopping. Santa Monica prides itself on “being green” and has provided lots of public transportation, so you really don’t need a car to get around. You can easily walk, ride a bike, or take a bus around the city’s eight square miles. Santa Monica has several fun streets for shopping and dining. There’s upscale Montana Avenue, low-key Main Street, and the bustling 3rd Street Promenade. Lastly, for art lovers, I recommend visiting Bergamot Station which has approximately 30 independent galleries comprised of art of various media.

MALIBU

Malibu is a tranquil oasis. Along the PCH, more shops and restaurants have opened in the last few years. The Malibu Yard is Malibu’s newest and most popular place to shop and grab a bite to eat.

For an excursion to Malibu, I recommend grabbing lunch at the Malibu Farm Cafe and then heading over to the Serra Retreat for a relaxing, meditative, and digestive walk.

PACIFIC PALISADES

Nestled in the hills of the Palisades is the Self Realization Fellowship Center. The lake and the garden are open to visitors who wish to walk or meditate in this serene setting. The Getty Villa is another unique place to visit. It was conceived by J. Paul Getty who modeled his museum after ancient Greek and Roman sites.  This location has thousands of antiques, and numerous replicas of famous frescoes adorn the walls. The Getty Villa also has a lovely cafe with indoor and outdoor seating. Parking at the Villa is limited, so reservations are required.

WEST HOLLYWOOD

West Hollywood, or WeHo as Angelenos call it, is another glamorous niche of Los Angeles. Robertson Boulevard in particular is a fun street to explore. There are plenty of unique boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. For shopping, Ralph Lauren has a sumptuous store that is beautifully merchandised. For eating, The Ivy is probably the most renowned restaurant on Robertson because of its heavy celebrity clientele. But if you want something more low-key, I recommend going to Le Pain Quotidien for lunch and then Georgetown Cupcakes (the chocolate ganache cupcake is delish!) for dessert.

MID-WILSHIRE

Mid-Wilshire is not far from WeHo, so if you’re in the area I recommend visiting the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. LACMA is L.A.’s most expansive museum and has permanent art exhibits ranging from ancient to contemporary art. LACMA also hosts film screenings and diverse musical events as well as educational lectures and courses. Also nearby is the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. This is the same organisation that founded the Academy Awards/the Oscars. The Academy has frequent film screenings with panels of experts from the motion picture industry that offer insider commentary on the films presented. The venue is exceptional and the guests are too!

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FEMALE FRIENDLY HOTELS IN LOS ANGELES

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GREAT EATING PLACES

La Vecchia (good service, good food, reasonable prices)

Penthouse Restaurant at the Huntley Hotel (best views of Santa Monica)

Urth Cafe in Santa Monica (best coffee and pastries)

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LOS ANGELES WOMEN’S NETWORKS AND EVENTS

Step Up Women’s Network

Ladies Who Launch (Los Angeles)

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BEAUTY AND FITNESS

Bliss Spa at the W Hotel (Westwood)

Queen Bee Salon (Brentwood)

Blossom Spa (Hollywood)

Golden Bridge Yoga (Santa Monica/Hollywood)

Sheila Kelley’s S Factor Studio (Los Angeles)

Nail Spa Clinique (Beverly Hills)

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CUSTOMS AND SAFETY

Los Angeles is a casual city, so there are no customs per se. For safety, I recommend not walking alone at night or before 6 a.m. It’s just not a good idea to be alone at night in any city no matter how “safe” it is. But if you are out at night, make sure that you are in a well-lit and populated area. Also, text or email friends or family members before going out to let them know where you’re going. Then call, text, or email them once you return safely to your hotel.

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TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT

Los Angeles is extremely spread out, so it’s best to have a rental car. However, once you’re in one of the smaller cities within the county, it is a lot easier to get around using taxis, or public transportation. Walking is also a great option for most of the areas that I mentioned above.

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ABOUT DEIRDRE CLARIDGE

I am a native of Los Angeles, a.k.a. an Angeleno. I love spending time with my husband and my cat Snoopy.  In my free time I practice kundalini yoga. My passions are yoga, spirituality, cooking, fashion, interior design, and art history. Additionally, I like to read autobiographies, and I love to spend time in nature.

I also love my business, Live Language Los Angeles. I provide English conversation lessons to international professionals either living in or visiting the L.A. area.

Since creating Live Language Los Angeles, my international clientele has expanded to include professionals from Japan, Saudi Arabia, Germany, South Korea, Italy, France, Russia, and many others.

In 2005 I decided to start a business that allowed me to utilize my talent for teaching while also fostering my passion for learning. My enthusiasm for art, culture, and continued learning are central driving forces to my unique approach to teaching language skills.

I also just recently became a merchandiser for the wonderful lifestyle and fashion company, Chloe and Isabel.  I sell affordable, high-quality jewelry that is both beautiful and chic. Feel free to browse my personally curated online store.

For a friendly chat, please feel free to contact via email, Facebook, or Twitter.

I look forward to meeting you! Love, Deirdre xoxo

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Networking: See who is networking in LA now

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