Upon entering YogaHop's boldly colored confines and hearing vibrant pop and hip-hop tunes blasting from the classrooms' speakers, exercisers know they're not in a typical yoga studio. At both the Pasadena and Santa Monica locations, students immerse themselves in energetic classes that, like the Taj Mahal after hours, blend the ancient practice of yoga with pulse-pounding dance music that forms a workout InTouch magazine dubs “insane” and Maxim calls “inspiring” and “spiritual.” No matter the ability level, students find their stride thanks to patient and effervescent instructors who lead them through a continuous flow of poses, stopping only to gently correct a position or ask occasional student Reese Witherspoon for her autograph.
A 150-acre oasis of beautiful flora, Descanso Gardens is cozily situated in a secluded section of the San Rafael hills and offers visitors a refreshing glimpse of Mother Nature when she's not busy. Guests can stroll through the various gardens and soak in the sights of roses by the thousands, examine native California flowers, parley with old oaks, and meditate in a Japanese-themed sanctuary that features a picturesque arched bridge, a tea house, and a pond. Upcoming special events include Botanic Bling on December 11 & 12, hosted by Mark-Alan Harmon, and Enchanted Railroad Storytime on December 18, hosted by professional storyteller Bill Ratner.
A collector of fine wares from around the world, Adobe has gifts and rare items you’d be hard-pressed to find outside of Ancient Persia, the Holy Roman Empire, or Middle Earth. Nab a ceramic serving platter by well-known Mexican craftsermerator Gorky Gonzalez ($45), a box of hand-rolled Perin-Mowen votive candles ($30), a bar of herbal Italian soap ($10), or velveteen, eco-amorous bamboo towels ($37).
Stinging nettle, lambsquarters, and mugwort: as ubiquitous weeds around the LA area, it’s a rare sight to see them celebrated as elements of gourmet cuisine. But the duo behind Transitional Gastronomy, Pascal Baudar and Mia Wasilevich, are changing that with their inventive approach to foraged food. Baudar combines his background in French and Belgian country cuisine with more than a decade of experience teaching survivalist classes and studying wild food in Southern California. On the other hand, Wasilevich’s own diverse heritage informs her more modern approach to the culinary arts, which incorporates molecular gastronomy as well as more traditional methods. Each dish they create depends on whatever seasonal botany they come across, in addition to careful research on how each ingredient was used through history.
The pair has been celebrated in local and national media for their educational excursions and culinary innovation, from mentions in Time and the Los Angeles Times to features on NBC and ABC. Their experiments have yielded dishes as diverse as lambsquarters bisque and mousse to flatbreads topped with acorn, nettle pesto, and homemade preserved lemons. Transitional Gastronomy’s team shares their passions through small-group foraging hikes and cooking classes, which also include Baudar’s expertise in Old World styles of preservation and fermentation. Elderberry wine and mugwort beer make frequent appearances at each workshop, proving that you can even celebrate happy hour if you were stranded in the forest or on a spaceship that harvests elderberries and mugwort.
Patty Schaller has always had psychic powers. Though she knows her field is obscure, and “[most people] think you’re nuts when you tell them,” that hasn’t deterred her from helping people and pets with psychic readings and other supernatural services. In addition to phone readings, she also offers in-home assessments, during which she can visit with the pet and communicate with them in person. Through her readings, she can provide insight into a pet’s behavior, feelings, and medical condition. Patty can also reach out to people and pets that have passed into the spirit world, which can help provide families with peace of mind. Patty offers her services for private clients, but also reaches out to help animal rescue organizations for fundraisers.