From outdoor movies to waterfall hikes to the return of Dodgers baseball, their countless ways you may find yourself head over heels for the city of angels when the spring season rolls around.
Hopefully, this list will remind you of some of the aspects of our city you may have forgotten about over the course of the past year, perhaps even spurring you to plan a few adventures of your own.
1. The Smell of Jasmine
‘Great smelling city’ might not be the descriptive term you most strongly associate with Los Angeles, but if you’ve lived here for at least one full set of seasons you’ve probably had occasion to go for an evening stroll and been struck by the intoxicating smell of some night-blooming jasmine.
It’s one of the signature experiences of spring in L.A.
Lisa Horowitz (per the LA Weekly) sums up the experience quite eloquently:
“There are enough varieties of this flowering vine that it’s nearly a year-round perfume in Los Angeles, but it’s most prevalent on those late spring/early summer evenings, when the warmth of the day has heated the blossoms and the cool of the night coaxes their sweet scent out into the air for you to inhale. It’s not a pervasive or overpowering smell — just enough to give you that whiff of pleasure as you pass by.”
2. Outdoor Movie Season Kicks Off
From film screenings at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery to Expo Park to Old Town Pasadena, outdoor movie season gets into high gear during April and May, and there are plenty of options to choose from.
Here are a few schedules for 2018 that have already been announced you’ll probably want to keep on your radar if attending an outdoor film event is on your bucket list for the year:
3. Waterfall Hikes That Really Have Waterfalls
One of the consequences of living in a coastal desert while experiencing ongoing years of drought is that some of the choicest hiking destinations in the region tend to dry up during the summer and fall months.
As Modern Hiker points out in spots like Escondido Falls (Santa Monica Mountains) or San Antonio Falls (San Gabriel Mountains), the strength of waterfalls is going to be subject to the most recent levels of precipitation. It stands to reason then that (usually) going early on in the spring is probably your best bet if you really want to see a strong flow.
4. Beach Season Gets Underway
Speaking of weather, there’s no denying Los Angeles is among the most privileged cities in the world when it comes to the weather, but even with that in mind, not all months are created equal.
By the start of May, the average temperatures (at least historically) are already into the mid-70’s, which for many people is plenty good enough to justify an afternoon laying out on the sand.
5. ‘Spring Forward’ Makes For Excellent Rooftop Time
Sure, you hate losing that hour of sleep when daylight savings time starts, but at least now that the clocks are adjusted you have even more daylight hours to play with after the workday ends. One of the best usages of that sun is to go find some of L.A.’s choicest rooftop venues, hangout, and get yourself a happy hour cocktail.
6. Walking With Fellow Angelenos
Nobody walk in L.A.? Think again.
Spring is the perfect season to go explore L.A. on foot, and if you’re looking for options on how to undertake that process, here are a few recommendations for (free) groups/events you may want to plug in to:
7. It’s Time for Dodgers Baseball
Perhaps the most familiar refrain of the springtime in L.A. are these iconic words from the legendary Vin Scully.
If you’re a fan of the boys in blue, it’s among the most cherished sounds in the entire world…
8. Flowers in Bloom
Do you want flowers? We’ve got your flowers…
For starters, destination botanical gardens like the Los Angeles Arboretum, Huntington Library, and Descanso Gardens are all arguably at their most beautiful during the spring months.
There are also a number of Cherry Blossom festivals that take place in March and April, and then, of course, there is the incredible Antelope Valley poppy fields up in Lancaster.
Though it’s hard to predict how the AVP bloom will play out each spring, the official California Parks website does a good job of updating the public on the poppy bloom status and what you might expect if you make the trip up there. Make sure to do your research before you decide to visit.
9. The Best Time for Outdoor Dining
Perfect weather makes a perfect dining companion, and if you want to try something new, we suggest checking out this list of excellent beachside dining options we put together. Also, if you have a pooch you want to bring along, we’ve created a rundown of great dog-friendly spots you might enjoy.
Everyone loves the place they were born and raised, they have amazing memories and while some people might hate the city you are from, you have your reasons why it’s the best place in the word.
While these reasons not make sense to others, you know you are correct deep down in your heart. Being born and raised in Los Angeles, and by that I mean like actual LA, not the valley, not Santa Monica, I mean deep in the heart of Los Angeles.
3. The Griffith Observatory
The observatory is one of my favorite places. It gives you the beautiful sight of the city, especially, at night, and it’s one of those places that you can never get tired of and every single time you fall in love with the city more and more.
4. The Food
Let me tell you, we have some of the most unique, exotic, and weird foods. You can find basically any type of food, cuisine or style. I love trying new pop up shops that showcase unique flavors and merge different styles.
5. The Culture
There are so many different types of cultures and LA is one of the most diverse places that I have ever been too I love the people, as rude as some may be, I believe it adds to the flair of Los Angeles
6. The Beaches
I know some states have better coasts than others, but I love some of the beaches you can find near LA, they are absolutely beautiful and all the different people there doing their own thing is just so awesome.
By Hollywood, I don’t mean the walk of fame, but the industry. Hollywood plays such a huge role in Los Angeles and it’s so awesome to see random celebrities on the 405 sometimes, or at the local Cheesecake Factory, you can also take tours of sets and get cool movie screening passes.
Los Angeles holds a big portion of my heart, and I love it forever and ever, at times I hate it but 99.9% I miss it for all the reasons listed above.
These days, it seems like everyone is working more hours and using the old “no-time-to-exercise” excuse more than ever. But what if you could actually work out at work?
While you won’t get to the Olympics this way, you can do stretching, muscle-strengthening, and even short stints of aerobic exercises right at your desk (or maybe in a vacant conference room or stairwell). After all, doctors say any amount of exercise helps — the benefits are cumulative.
“We are made to move, not sit at a desk 12 hours a day,” says Joan Price, author of The Anytime, Anywhere Exercise Book. “As ergonomic as your desk or chair may be, sitting produces back pains, headaches, and listlessness. You become less productive.”
Not to mention less … er, thin. The U.S. surgeon general recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate activity five days a week. Yet most Americans don’t approach this level of activity. You know who you are: You are the woman who’s so stiff when she gets up from her desk that she walks like a robot for the first few steps. You are the man with repetitive motion injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. You are the person who vies for the “rock star” parking place closest to the door.
But come on — can you actually go beyond working out the kinks and get some meaningful exercise in your cubicle?
Kelli Calabrese, MS, an exercise physiologist and spokesman for the American Council on Exercise, says yes. Calebrese believes in 60-second or 10-minute bursts of aerobic exertion. “This is cardio — if you get in your [target] heart rate zone,” she says.
Calabrese says that improving your heart rate variability — your heart’s ability to jump from resting to “pumped” — has been shown to increase longevity and decrease heart disease risk.
While you shouldn’t give up on your home or gym exercise routine, you can certainly supplement it with exercises done at your desk (and, on those extra-long workdays, it’s much better than doing nothing.) Here are a few aerobic tricks to try during your next break between tasks:
Glance at the wall clock and rip off a minute’s worth of jumping jacks. If you’re a beginner, try the low-impact version (raise your right arm and tap your left toe to the side while keeping your right foot on the floor; alternate sides)
Do a football-like drill of running in place for 60 seconds. Get those knees up! (Beginners, march in place.)
Simulate jumping rope for a minute: Hop on alternate feet, or on both feet at once. An easier version is to simulate the arm motion of turning a rope, while alternately tapping the toes of each leg in front.
While seated, pump both arms over your head for 30 seconds, then rapidly tap your feet on the floor, football-drill style, for 30 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times.
If you can step into a vacant office or conference room, shadow box for a minute or two. Or just walk around the room as fast as you can.
Or do walk-lunges in your office or a vacant room. (You could also amuse your co-workers by doing these in the hall; remember Monty Python’s “Ministry of Silly Walks” comedy routine?). Set your PDA to beep you into action.
No conference room? Take to the stairs — two at a time if you need a harder workout! Do this 5-7 times a day.
Want Something Less Breathless?
Afraid the phone will ring and you’ll sound like a lion is chasing you? Price’s book has more than 300 less dramatic — but equally beneficial — exercises. “I call these fitness minutes,” she says.
Some strength-building suggestions:
- Do one-legged squats (hold onto a wall or table for support) while waiting for a web page to load, the copier to spit our your reports, or faxes to slither out.
- Stand with one leg straight and try to kick your buttocks with the other.
- Sitting in your chair, lift one leg off the seat, extend it out straight, hold for 2 seconds; then lower your foot (stop short of the floor) and hold for several seconds. Switch; do each leg 15 times.
- To work your chest and shoulders, place both hands on your chair arms and slowly lift your bottom off the chair. Lower yourself back down but stop short of the seat, hold for a few seconds. Do 15 times.
- To stretch your back and strengthen your biceps, place your hands on the desk and hang on. Slowly push your chair back until your head is between your arms and you’re looking at the floor. Then slowly pull yourself back in. Again, 15 of these.
- Desk pushups can be a good strengthener. (First, make sure your desk is solid enough to support your weight.) Standing, put your hands on the desk. Walk backward, then do push-ups against the desk. Repeat 15 times.
- Reach for the Sky
- Stretching exercises are a natural for the desk-bound, to ease stress and keep your muscles from clenching up. Here are a few suggestions:
- Sitting tall in your chair, stretch both arms over your head and reach for the sky. After 10 seconds, extend the right hand higher, then the left.
Let your head loll over so that your right ear nearly touches your right shoulder. Using your hand, press your head a little lower (gently, now). Hold for 10 seconds. Relax, and then repeat on the other side.
- Try this yoga posture to relieve tension: Sit facing forward, then turn your head to the left and your torso to the right, and hold a few seconds. Repeat 15 times, alternating sides.
- Sitting up straight, try to touch your shoulder blades together. Hold, and then relax.
- You get to put your feet up for this one! To ease the hamstrings and lower back, push your chair away from your desk and put your right heel up on the desk. Sit up straight, and bend forward just until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your leg. Flex your foot for a few seconds, and then point it. Bend forward a little farther, flex your foot again, and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Unobtrusive but Effective
If the boss wonders why your feet are on the desk, what about some invisible exercises?
Women can do kegels — tightening and holding, then loosening, their pelvic floor muscles (the muscles that control the flow of urine when you go to the bathroom). This will prevent leakage and other problems down the line.
Butt clenches are also helpful in today’s booty-conscious society. Tighten your buttocks, hold, hold, hold, and then relax. Repeat 15 times. The same goes for ab squeezes — just tighten your tummy muscles instead.
Use Every Minute Actively
Whenever possible, “stand rather than sit,” Price says. “Walk rather than stand.”
- Walk during your lunch break. If you find that boring, buy a camera and walk around taking pictures. Some experts say it’s ideal to walk 10,000 steps a day — this can be five miles, depending on the length of your stride. “Buy a pedometer, wear it five days, and divide by five,” Price suggests. “If you’re nowhere near 10,000 — and this takes some doing — set a reasonable goal. If you clocked 2,000 steps, go for 2,500.”
- Join a gym near your office and go during your lunch hour. If your employer provides a gym, that’s even better.
- Forget emailing the guy three cubes over — walk.
- Remember, walks to the vending machine don’t count!
Calabrese often calls her fitness-coaching clients or emails them to remind them they had planned to work out or walk at lunch. You can do the same — put a reminder on your desk calendar, a sticky note on your computer, or send yourself an e-mail reminder.
One last thing: Don’t let fear of embarrassment keep you from exercising at work. Chances are, your co-workers will admire your efforts rather than be amused. You might even get them to join you on a lunchtime walk or to help you lobby for lunch-hour yoga classes at your workplace. So what should you do if one of your co-workers, say, finds you in your chair two feet from the desk, stretched out, staring at the floor? “You could pretend you dropped a pen,” Price laughs. “But it’s better to say, ‘This feels great! Try it.'”
Top Proteins with Sautéed Vegetables
Instead of topping cooked fish (or meat or poultry) with a sauce, use sautéed vegetables, such as peppers, onions and tomatoes. They’ll add plenty of flavor and nutrients—and at the same time, boost portion size without adding a lot of calories.
Replace Carbs with Vegetables
Lighten carbs with low-cal veggies. If you love cheesy mashed potatoes but not all the calories they deliver, replace some of the potatoes with vegetables, such as broccoli You’ll get fewer calories and more disease-fighting antioxidants. (Another twist on this trick: replace some of your pasta with veggies.)
Use Lettuce Leaves As Bread
The next time you make a sandwich, consider lettuce leaves as a virtually calorie-free alternative to a bread slice or wrap. Just about any filling works beautifully. Try tuna or chicken salad, a stir-fry or even a burger.
Stock Up On Salsa.
The low-cal condiment is long on flavor and fiber—and it packs a whole vegetable serving into every 1/2 cup.
Add spinach to soups, stews and casseroles. It pumps up the volume—so you feel like you’re getting more—for virtually no additional calories.
Dress Up Your Vegetables
Eating vegetables simply steamed—plain—gets old fast. Add just a little olive oil plus big, bold “no-calorie” flavoring (garlic, sherry vinegar), and you’ve got a delicious proof that low-cal eating doesn’t have to be boring. You can do it forever.
Get edamame—green soybeans—into your diet. They have satisfying protein and fiber. Try adding them to salads, stir-fries or soups.
We will be Closed Today
Favorite international comfort food recipes that hit the spot when you’re tired of the usual mac and cheese Image: bhofack2/iStock/Getty Images Plus Print
Favorite international comfort food recipes that hit the spot when you’re tired of the usual mac and cheese
You know what comfort food is just by looking at it. It’s the warm, carby deliciousness that gets us through bad days, homesickness and the flu. Every country has its own version of the stuff, so if you ever find yourself looking for something perfect on a rainy day but feel tired of the usual mac and cheese, why not try one of these international favorites?
Spain: Croquetas de jamón
Let’s be clear: Croquetas — real ones, not the ones that come frozen or on a hospital food tray — are little-fried morsels of delightfulness. Like most comfort foods, this one utilizes little bits of leftovers. In this case, it’s ham. Croquetas are to the Spanish what stovies are to the Scottish.
Some comfort foods serve one basic purpose: to cure what ails you. The next time you’re sick, try a steaming bowl of okayu. You may never accept chicken soup on a sick day again.
There are plenty of jokes to be had about borscht, and I find almost universally that the people who make them have never had a bowl of it done right. This is borscht done right, and you will love every spoonful of it.
Traditional clafoutis is a sweet dish stuffed with cherries (pits and all!), but modern renditions take a savory twist, like this tomato version, and are not to be missed.
Ask any Canadian, and they will tell you there is no such thing as proper American poutine, a dish made with pomme frites, cheese curds and gravy. It is the ultimate food for getting over hangovers and heartaches.
The Philippines: Kare-kare
Kare-kare is a stew that uses a peanut-based broth, oxtail, cabbage and occasionally offal, among other ingredients. If any of that makes you wary, I suggest pretending you don’t know what’s in it. If you miss a chance to have traditional kare-kare, your life will be incomplete and sad.
Ah, pierogi. Who can resist the siren song of carbs wrapped around starch? It’s the definition of comfort food.
Picadillo originates in Spain and is popular in Latin countries.The Cuban version usually has olives in it and is served over black beans and rice.
Tortillas. Eggs. Salsa. Chilaquiles are the perfect breakfast on any day, and the perfect all-day meal on really bad days.
Oh, colcannon. It warms my little Irish heart to be able to share this with anyone who has never had it before. If you think you don’t like cabbage, this dish will almost certainly change your mind.
Jamaica: Oxtail soup
There are tons of versions of oxtail soup, which is made with beef, not necessarily oxen. My personal favorite is the Jamaican version. It’s actually a great soup for hot days too, so you might want to hop on this while there’s still a little bit of warm weather left.
India: Moong dal khichdi
Khichdi is a great dish. It’s easily digestible for off-tummy days, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring. It has a wonderful texture and a great flavor that comes from lovely soft rice and lentils. Just be warned: Turmeric, the spice that gives this dish its rich color, can stain pretty much everything it comes in contact with. I’m of the mind that it’s worth it, though, and once you taste khichdi, I think you’ll agree.
The Middle East: Kibbe
I feel kind of bad lumping multiple Middle Eastern dishes together, but with so many rich cultures and countries, it would take an entire separate post to go over all the great foods from each one. But most Middle Eastern countries have a version of this delicious dish, kibbe.
Moussaka is technically a casserole, but it just feels wrong to apply the name to something so delicious.
Indonesia: Pisang goreng
Pisang goreng is deep-fried bananas. That right there is perhaps the perfect sentence in the English language.
Sri Lanka: Kottu roti
Vegetables, eggs, a flatbread called “roti,” delicious Sri Lankan spices… I could go on, but I don’t want to take too much of the time you could be spending on cooking or otherwise securing this dish.
Italy: Spaghetti alla carbonara
This bowl of carbs and bacon is the perfect dish for any day, and on top of that, it takes only minutes to make. Just remember, kids: Only total heathens put cream in their carbonara