“Your airline’s either got it or it hasn’t”
I LOVE LOVE the new Virgin Atlantic advert.
Does anybody know the agency behind this?
“Your airline’s either got it or it hasn’t”
I LOVE LOVE the new Virgin Atlantic advert.
Does anybody know the agency behind this?
I met some amazing people on my trip.
People that made me laugh.
Thank you Tony Baker – hilarious guy!
I had the pleasure of meeting Rick Husong, Managing Partner at brand design agency, Loyalty Creative, based in South Pasadena, LA. Back in 2008 Rick and his team were responsible for coming up with the hand salute, dubbed the Big-O in support of the Obama movement. This soon to lead to a barrage of negative press where the Big-O was likened to Hitler’s hand salute. Extreme perhaps?!? As I’m sure you can guess, most of the hate came from Republican supporters.
Rick gave me an insight into the US market and how the creative industry (design, advertising & digital) are faring in this current climate. What I love about Rick and his team is their spirit of daring to be creative, being unique and embracing ‘new’ with an open mind! An inspiring Husong-hour – thank you!
I fell into Inno by chance and was so happy I did. A fashion boutique based in West Hollywood, Inno is founded by Inno Aguib, whose career in fashion over 20 years; from London to Milan and is now based in LA. Beautifully designed, modern clothes and living the dream! I loved his spirit and encouragement, “You can make it happen!”
Also housed under the same roof is ViV (Venus in Venice). Aside from being drop dead gorgeous, Bete is the mastermind behind some of the most authentic and beautifully crafted women’s accessories you’ll be lucky to see.
If you’re ever that way in town you have to check them out: 8223 West Third Street LA, CA 90048, (+1 310- 721-7006) or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
What an inspiring and amazing life story and personality; best described as the most influential female figure in the history of Cuban music.
I fully immersed myself into this recent trip and came away having learnt a lot! I have a lot of criticisms about the US, but what perhaps overrides that is my love for its willingness to embrace success. With enough drive, confidence, ambition and determination, there’s nothing on these shores that you can’t achieve. American culture feeds and nurtures that belief system. Here in blighty we’re a bit more demure and self-deprecating.
I started this blog with the intention of going on a journey is discovery and consideration. That’s definitely happening. Now that I’m back I plan to up the ante; the blogs, the trips, the opportunities, it’s just the beginning so watch this space!…
There was something so especially sad about seeing this man busking with his haggard, worn and dirty puppet. Every movement was limp, as though all hope had passed him by.
All things being equal there would be no homeless or hungry people in this world, but it’s even more ironic when you see so many pushing all their worldly possessions in bin bags and shopping trolleys in the world’s ‘leading democracy’ and richest nation…
Welcome to the Jenesse Center.
The place where women come alone or with their children when they decide enough is enough and they wish to take that first step to re-gain themselves and re-connect with their souls.
Based in LA, the Jenesse Center is a shelter for domestically abused women. But more than that, it gives broken women the chance to start their lives afresh in a safe, supportive and proactive environment.
I don’t think I could shout loudly enough how much women’s empowerment means to me. Don’t get scared, I’m not talking about burning the wonder bra, but a more a case of women’s roles in society and relationships. Sadly prevalent in most cultures around the world, statistics say that one in four women is the subject abuse in relationships, be it violent and / or verbal – it’s never okay. It is not just a women’s issue. It is a family issue. It is a community issue. Men are involved as are children. What leaves the home enters the world!!
I came across details of the Jenesse Center in a magazine article and made contact to arrange a visit whilst I was in town. I was greeted and given a tour around the centre’s sites by Angela Parker, whose role oversees both internal and external communications. This includes the Teen Angel programme, co-founded and inspired by local teenagers; the programme seeks to educate adults of the impact of domestic violence on young people.
She showed me where the women are placed when they first arrive. After thirty or so days they are soon moved to their own transitional apartments in a gated community, they are given childcare support, access to vocational training and academic resources, all of which is complimented by ongoing pastoral care and counselling.
The centre and its work has in the past decade gained a more public profile through the involvement of Halle Berry, its patron. Ms Berry, as she’s referred to by staff, hasn’t just aligned herself to this cause for the feel-good factor, but through our conversation and the tour I could tell her involvement is genuine, practical and sincere – she really does care. Angela showed me a couple of the apartments that Ms Berry has been actively involved in re-modeling, the project aptly named, What A Little Love Can Do, the idea being if you offer these women a taste of something better, they will want it for themselves.
Angela explained that Ms Berry’s involvement has been nothing short of a blessing, the only hindrance is the centre’s increased public profile has meant that many of the public take for granted its financial security, meanwhile it continues to receive an increasing number women calling for help. California’s also been badly hit by the recession so grants are no longer what they once were.
The challenge of overcoming domestic abuse is a massive one, but the implications of its continued existence are even bigger. Did you know that the majority of men sentenced to death row have all grown with domestic violence in the home?! I’m not saying that every one that grew up seeing violence in the home goes on to be a serial killer, but its emotional and psychological impact cannot be denied. I saw DVD clips of women speaking of their experiences, how they escaped and what the centre means to them. Angela also told me the story of a nine (or so) year old boy who’d had to intervene when he saw his father beating his mother. Heartbreaking.
What the Jenesse Center does is nothing short of amazing, I left hopeful and inspired by the team’s dedication.
I’m no photographer and I was keen not to intrude on anyone’s privacy, but here are a couple of shots that capture the essence of what it’s all about:
What this picture fails to show you is that the diameter of this pancake covered two thirds of my lap (bear in mind I’m a tall lass with long legs), that there were two other layers beneath and it came with two tubs of maple syrup plus a tub of blueberry yoghurt (full fat I’m sure). It doesn’t even fit in the box for goodness sake!
It’s no wonder 64% of US adults are either overweight or obese. Especially in LA where there’s a non existent walking culture; everyone gets everywhere by car.
First Lady, Michelle Obama, has initiated the Let’s Move campaign – an attempt to engage schools and the food industry to tackle the biggest American health epidemic within a generation.
There really should be no reason for anybody to be hungry in this world; the restaurant that I purchased my mutant pancake from has built its reputation on its excess portions, but I was completely shocked and disgusted by the amount of food that was sent back to the kitchen only to be thrown away. Rachel and I did our best to saw through this pancake over two days, but in the end had to admit defeat
I used to paint all the time, but once I finished my A’ Levels my acrylics, oil pastels and brushes got left to dry. So whilst in San Francisco I decided to immerse myself in some culture and attend an art class for the day.
I was a little bit nervous given that I haven’t painted properly in 10 or so years – eek!! But staying true to my belief in fully immersing oneself in opportunity, personal growth and learning (deep I know), I wanted to do it.
A friend once said to me, “We meet people for a reason, a season or a lifetime,” and with running the risk of sounding pretentious it was definitely for a reason that I had the pleasure of being tutored by classical artist extraordinaire, Rob Anderson.
Rob is to the art world what Mr Miyagi is to Karate Kid! Such a patient, knowledgeable, talented and kind spirited man. Despite the contrast between our two styles; his classical, mine ‘loose’ (Rob’s words not mine!) He reminded me of not only the skill required, but the thought process, science of what the eye sees and how its translated through your own movement onto your medium. I’m telling you it was a hot day and there was a lot to cram into six hours, but I came away feeling enlightened.
I must say, I was equally in awe and inspired by Betsy Tamblyn, a fellow art student. Whereas mine was a quick pit stop, Betsy has been attending the Atelier school for four years now, six days a week. There’s a Western Cowgirl Art competition that she has the ambition of one day entering. The standard is extremely high and she’s working her way towards that. I have such respect for her dedication and ambition, I wish her every luck!
There must be some statistic on the ratio of Hollywood Stars per square meter in LA. In one week I did spot my fair share; Mario Lopez, his royal cuteness Adrian Greer and Hugh Laurie to name a few. The Yanks are the biggest suckers for a Brit accent! It won me favours no end and is perhaps the basis on my new found friendship with Robin Williams . We were introduced and before you knew it we were racing around the British Isle, jumping from East End barrow boy, to the Queen, then passing through Scotland (yes Mrs Doubtfire did make a comeback!). Robin needed a little guidance with his Gerry Adams (Sinn Féin) impression and his scouser accent was far too genteel. But what a lovely guy; really low key and a natural and instinctive entertainer, the impression of his dog Lennard, who all of a sudden adopted a Jewish-New York twang was hilarious and he decided on the spot would be included in his upcoming Australian “Weapons of Self-Destruction” tour.
But it was an honour to have had dinner and been in the company of Mort Sahl. Now for the youngsters (ahem) among us his name might ring no bells. But think back to old school Hollywood, when glamour was real, Mort Sahl, a political satirist, was a house hold name in the 1960s. He occasionally wrote jokes for speeches delivered by his friend and President, John F. Kennedy and was the first comedian to record a live album and the first to perform on college campuses. Mort’s now 84 and spent time over dinner recalling tales of time spent with Ronald (as in Reagan), Frank (like Sinatra), Hugh (Play Boy Heffner) and Jackie O (there is only one). An utter gent, Mort still performs and was at the time over dinner thinking of his next performance set for two days later. I asked him if he still gets nervous and he said no, I also wanted to know what defines a great comedian, he said, “If you believe your audience believes your jokes as much as you do, I can assure you they won’t!”
He he… Mort doesn’t do swearing or derogatory references to women – I told you, he’s of the old school. And that’s why meeting him highlighted the stark contrast between what it meant to be famous and celebrated then and what it means now.
Okay so how random is this, whilst in town, a friend and I happened to stumble upon Miss Lindsey Lohan, paparazzi and all! We were all in a boutique together, Lindsey and I ended up trying on the same cardigan and discussing how cute it was, meanwhile a sizeable number of photographers circled the perimeters waiting to pounce upon and snatch a photo of their prey – her.
I can’t tell you enough how sad the whole debacle was. The photographers were unrelenting, how can anyone live like that, being hounded constantly, but on the other hand; a) how did they know she was there, who tipped them off, perhaps it was her? b) it comes with the territory of modern day show biz c) I hadn’t realise that she was due in court a couple of days later RE breaking the terms of her bail, some might say an ideal chance to have some one on one time and inner reflection, but hey it’s Hollywood, that would be too sensible!
LA is undoubtedly home to many different cultures and ethnicities and given the geography it has a stronger Mexican community than here in the UK.
But – now I’m open to debate – I definitely feel a more obvious ethnic segregation as compared to the set-up here in London. Don’t get me wrong, every large city has its own China Town or hubs where ethnic communities form and base themselves, but LA’s vibe is more specifically intended. You have your Crenshaws and your Inglewoods, where you kind of get the impression that if you’re not African-American then you wouldn’t be passing that way through town! The same way that West Hollywood is a great source of employment for the Latino community, but not somewhere they’d also call home.
It could just be that because everything was unfamiliar to me so it all just felt that little bit more raw, but it’s something I’ve noted in New York also. Even observing the local High School kids at the bus stop, it was very easy to note their ethnic cliques.
On my second night a friend and I went to a comedy jam. We made sure to arrive on time and sit as close to the back as possible – I am not one for being unnecessarily drawn out of the crowd… Yes well that didn’t work! We caught the eye of the second act; apparently, West Hollywood just ain’t the place for two black girls to hang on a Tuesday night, so we were obviously ‘trying to be white’. Oh lawdy. On one hand it was a joke, but really, it also has other implications, because of course black people would never naturally be found anywhere other than the ‘hood right? Hmmm. The Mexicans don’t get an easy ride either, every other Manuel or Miguel being the butt of everyone’s jokes. And don’t even get me started on the use of the N-word. With its loaded past, it’s not a word that I think needs to have been reclaimed and given hip-hop’s current and mainstream relevance I find it very hypocritical and contradictory to maintain its acceptance in ‘black’ conversation and outlaw its use in non-black dialogue. A lot of the black comedians dropped it as every other word, and given the racial mix of the crowd, I just found the whole thing uncomfortable and unnecessary!
Apparently us Sagittarians are born with a dose of the travel bug; my Jupiter’s recently slipped into Uranus – and has resultantly ignited a massive desire to start checking off my global destination wish list!
I love a good holiday as much as the next person, but gone are the days of auditing hotel swimming pools. There’s so much to see and people to meet, so back in January when I decided to hit the west coast of the US of A, I knew Mann’s Chinese Theatre, the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the like might have to be given a miss.
First stop LA.
It’s been drilled into us that America really is the land of the free and the home of the American Dream. But if I’m completely honest on first impressions I was quite disappointed; whatever happened to 24 hour sunshine? I was hit with grey skies – well at least for the first 72 hours at least. And that’s after my first run on the freeway – with jet lag – and poor signage – on the other side of the road, amid some of the most inconsiderate drivers this side of the western hemisphere, “Please let me into your lane, otherwise you’re going to force me to take this exit that leads to Compton and I know for sure that’s not where I want be this time of night!”
After a two hour debacle (it should have taken 24 minutes, but I guess that’s what happens when you try to be smart and skanky, refusing to pay extra for a sat nav!) … I arrived at my home for the next week.
The best find ever! I got introduced to this website, airbnb.com – a great way to find accommodation all over the world.