Inspiration Show LA

The thing about having a creative job is, you have an incessant need to be inspired--to have new ideas to display and to create an environment that makes customers want to linger and shop.

We had been hearing from a handful of our vendors in Los Angeles about a show they set up once a year called the Inspiration Show LA. Now this sounded like just what we needed! It is held in February on the second Saturday of the month--the day before the Rose Bowl Flea Market. All the vendors are either vintage 1900's to 1980's or they are Americana trades. It's very evident why this is called the Inspiration Show.

It was just as amazing to see what people were wearing as well as selling, it was the best of the best!

The Levis booth had on display different details on their jeans from the late 1800's to current, and also had a working custom embroidery machine on hand.

I particularly loved all of the signage and textiles, and lots of vintage bikes and and and we will definitely be going again!


Ruby in La La Land

After growing up in San Luis Obispo, I decided to follow my heart to Los Angeles. I had lots of expectations of what my life would be like–-full of great shopping, amazing food, and perfect weather. Obviously, the reality of living in LA is not as glamorous as I imagined it. For my first three months, it didn’t drop below a hundred degrees while I settled into my non-air conditioned building. Traffic discouraged me from leaving my neighborhood in East LA to explore any other part of the city. And being close to so much shopping and nice restaurants drained my bank account quickly. But then I realized that I could look at my time in Los Angeles as a series of adventures--that I could look at everything with a glass half-full attitude if I wanted to. So now, I appreciate that traffic allows for time to sing along to the radio in the car until I know all the words. I spend Sunday mornings at flea markets so that I can carry a (gently worn) designer handbag that only cost me $20 and a couple of hours of sleep. I’ve sat in Bed Bath & Beyond for hours with my best friend to get a free massage from the back massager chairs they have available to test. My life has become an amazing balance between enjoying all the fabulous stuff LA has to offer and enjoying the experience of being a starving college kid.

Here are a few of my very favorite things to do in Los Angeles. Some of these are a little off the beaten path and others are pretty famous, but all are worth it! 
**Note: the city is best experienced with a positive attitude, a full tank of gas, and your favorite pair of sunglasses.**

Enjoy a milkshake from Café Gratitude
Café Gratitude is probably the most popular vegan restaurant in Los Angeles and it deserves the hype. While their menu is on the pricier side, every item is phenomenal and has a fun name! My favorite is “Cool” – a mint chocolate milkshake made with cashew coconut ice cream and raw cacao nibs.

Drive to Griffith Observatory
Head up the hill just before sunset to ensure prime Instagram-worthy photographs. The Observatory is free and super cool, and just taking in the view of the LA skyline is worth the trip.

Have breakfast at Auntie Em’s Kitchen
Close to my college, Auntie Em’s has become one of my favorite Eagle Rock eateries. I always choose the biscuit sandwich with a cup of iced mint tea. If you don’t have time for a meal, their cupcakes are to die for!!

Search for a flea market treasure at Melrose Trading Post (and maybe spot a celebrity!)
Melrose is one of the smaller swap meets in LA and is probably my favorite. It’s not as overwhelming as the Rose Bowl and I can guarantee you’ll find something fun to bring home. It’s a perfect Sunday adventure that doesn’t cost much and usually includes a celebrity sighting. 

See a show at the Hollywood Palladium
While living in LA, I’ve tried to see a show at every venue. While I honestly couldn’t pick a favorite, the Palladium is such a rad space. I saw CHVRCHES there with a friend a few months ago and it was one of the most fun shows I’ve been to since moving here.

Grab a gourmet donut from Donut Friend 
I am a huge donut fan, so discovering Donut Friend has been one of my favorite memories from last Fall. You can choose from a long list of already loved combos or you can design your own donut from a bar of every imaginable topping. You can’t go wrong with a Donut Friend donut, but I highly recommend the strawberry jam/goat cheese/basil creation called “Jets to Basil.”


Day 1: Road Trippin' to the O.C. and L.A.

My girl turned 'sweet 16' and she wanted to spend it at Disneyland with two close girlfriends that she grew up with. Good enough reason to get some shopping and inspiration in while the girls did their thing, right? Stacy and I dropped them off in the morning and headed to two shopping areas (aka The Antimalls) in the O.C. that we had read about. Antimalls, meaning there no chain stores--the only exception being urban outfitters, as this was one of the original stores.

One is called 'The Lab' and the other right across the street is 'The Camp'. We were hungry and in need of nourishment so we started at The Camp, and put our names in at The Old Vine Café (thanks to my friend Margaret for the recommendation--she always knows the cool new eateries). We were charmed as we walked up and saw the waiting area--long tables, hammocks, and tractor seats all amongst succulents and tall grasses. The menus were attached to beautiful oil paintings. Stacy is a great travel partner because she loves to share food, which allows us to try different things on the menu! We had the most amazing pumpkin/pecan french toast, and a poached egg dish with parmesean crusted green tomatoes, yummy.


The main store at The Camp is an indie department store called Seed People's Market. I think I walked in through the wide opened glass doors with my jaw dropped. The displays, the art, the layout, and the merchandise choices, dang!


This collage was newspaper cutouts on black and simple white frames. I didnt get pictures of the clothing area, but I was in Patagonia heaven! It was very sporty/outdoorsy oriented, and all very stylish at that.


The one theme that was continued through both Antimalls was the "store within a vintage trailer" theme. Love! We own vintage trailers and are suckers for all things "campy". There was one airstream with a succulent shop, one with all things bicycle, a vintage trailer with a record store, and another with vintage clothes and finds.




One of my favorite things to do is hang out at magazine stands, shops, newstands, book stores...this one was tucked in a lovely sitting area.


I loved that each of the parking spaces had little messages, what a way to start or end the day--with a little ditty!



We can't wait to go back. Stay tuned for day two!