LA Life: Holiday Fun, Theatre, Dining, Sonnet, Style

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With the bright lights of the holiday season upon us, LA Life Photographer Lorraine Devon Wilke’s cover photo and story, “Inside the Market,” was the perfect choice. LA Life Theatre Maven Laura Foti Cohen has the skinny on a female theatre company in Theatre Buzz. LA Style Stories from LA Fashion Stylist, Felicia Arlin, rock.Molly Cheek has her latest Tastes of LA. and  LA Poetess, Lady Penelope, is back with her unique wit and humor in Sonnets from Suburbia. I’ve got you covered for Giving Tuesday and so much more. I will be giving thanks to all of you Tomato subscribers! Yay You and Happy Thanksgiving!

 Inside the Market: Cover Photo and Story

 Anything to do with shopping and I am sooooo there but “Inside The Market”, LA Life Photographer Lorraine Devon Wilke’s latest cover photo and story, highlights such a uniquely classic and historic food shopping venue that is so inviting it inspires one jump into immediate action to visit. And, FYI, every Friday, Saturday & Sunday this foodie Heaven hosts The Grand Central Market with the very best in independent merchants, artisans and makers in LA. Be sure to check out Lorraine Devon Wilke’s marvelous photos on her webpage and browse her entire website as it reveals the vast tapestry of Lorraine’s amazing talents.

 “Inside the Market”

It’s not every city market that inspires the name, “Wonder Market,” but that was, indeed, the original name of the iconic Grand Central Market in Downtown LA. Opening its doors in 1917, this historic landmark took up the entire ground floor of the Homer Laughlin Building, a gorgeous Beaux-Arts edifice that prided itself on implementing the area’s first fireproof, steel-enforced design. With vendors and stalls of astonishing variety (there are currently over fifty, featuring everything from ethnic cuisine of every kind to local ice cream and donut favorites), the Market has been in continuous operation since it opened. There were, however, changes made to the architecture and design over those years that many felt diminished its original curb appeal, so in 1990 interested parties oversaw a renovation. This included the removal of various incongruous elements like a 1960’s tile facade that occluded many of the original Beaux-Arts details, and the restoration of the original neon stall signs, along with new ones created by local artists. In fact, that’s the focus of this week’s photograph called, “Inside the Market.” Featuring colorful neon art, it’s part of the very exciting, diverse world of the Grand Central Market. If you haven’t been in a while, get on down there!

Theatre Buzz: IAMA Theatre Company: Women Leaders Move Art Forward


In Theatre Buzz this week, our LA Life Theatre Maven Laura Foti Cohen, delivers an insightful story on IAMA, the only LA theatre company with all-female leadership. Gotta love that! Laura speaks with Artistic Director Stefanie Black. You will love Stefanie and the enlightening and inspiring perspective she gives on this special theatre company, the state of LA theatre, their current play Radical and more. Laura always asks all the right questions to bring you a wonderful column. You can check out Laura’s reviews at The Larchmont Buzz, Gals. Read more.

LA Style Stories

Oh my Gosh! These looks are both adorbs and classy! I Iove the timeless combinations, the mix of colors Felicia used and the hint of sassiness that both evoke. You gotta check out the Style Stories, The Devil Wears Prada and You’re the Bomb, from LA Life Fashion Stylist, Felicia Arlin. They are the bomb! Remember I only highlight a snippet of Felicia’s amazing cur8edme posts so be sure to follow her on Instagram.  And she is the most amazingly insightful guide for helping you to find the right and most flattering style for you.  Just sayin’, Tomatoes. Read more.

Tastes of LA: Bicyclettela & Birdiegsla

Wow, we’ve got not one but two awe-inspiring recommendations from LA Life Tasting Tomato, Molly Check.  Ain’t that glorious?! And so are the restaurants. What could be better than, not one, but two restaurants that serve delish old fashioned comfort food with gourmet quality…each in their own unique way.  Bicyclette and Birdie G’s take comfort food to a whole new level. So says, Molly Cheek. Read more.

 Sonnets from Suburbia


In this week’s episode of Sonnets from Suburbia, LA Life Poetess Lady Penelope objects to the name Chicken Caesar. Don’t forget to order a copy of Penny Peyser’s (Lady Penelope) brilliant book, “Sonnets from Suburbia: More Candles Than Cake”.  And Lady Tomatoes, you can always find out more about Lady Penelope on her websiteWatch the video.

November 23. Turkey Trot

Get ready to trot, walk, run or hobble along as The Turkey, aka Turkey Trot, returns to Downtown Los Angeles on Thanksgiving Day! Trot to fundraise for The Midnight Mission and enjoy the historic Spring Street without city traffic.  The kiddies and pets are welcome too. There’s something for everyone Tomatoes.

You’ll pass by such notable buildings as the Continental Building (LA’s first skyscraper), the Walt Disney Concert Hall and more! It’s all for a worthy cause.

Founded in 1914, The Midnight Mission has been offering a path to self-sufficiency to men, women, and children experiencing homelessness. As a comprehensive homeless shelter and homeless services provider serving the Los Angeles homeless community, they take an approach that fuses care and compassion with meaningful accountability, providing the structure and the resources that people experiencing homelessness need to truly improve their lives.

November 28.  Giving Tuesday Guide


Giving Tuesday is coming up and if you are in a position to give back, I have a few suggestions of local nonprofits that need help.  If you are having trouble coming up with gift ideas for friends and family, donations made in someone’s name always make a very worthy Holiday gift.

And if my Giving Tuesday guide (listed in alphabetical order) doesn’t give you enough choices then check out my LA Life Non-Profit Resource Guide, Tomatoes.

Blue Man Dog

I am always going to toot Blue Man Dog’s horn because that’s where we found and adopted our very special Stella Bella Superstar . Mia and the “Blue Man Dog” staff go beyond what many other higher profile well-funded animal welfare nonprofits accomplish. Mia and her staff are passionately committed to not only the rescue & rehabilitation of dogs from shelters/desperate situations but helping dog owners and their adopted dogs make the adoptions a long-term success, Tomatoes. For over a decade, Mia has worked tirelessly in dog rescue, including temperament evaluations, and fostering, helping hundreds of dogs and adopters with information, training, and consultations for people needing help with their dogs or looking to adopt a dog. She also specializes in saving and rehabilitating the most challenging of homeless dogs.  Blue Man Dog’s needs are great, and they can always use a donation.


The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA) is a non-profit organization whose primary role is to seek and provide financial support for animal welfare, animal species conservation, learning & engagement and community outreach programs. The Zoo works to save vulnerable, endangered, and critically endangered animals here at home and around the world. You can help by becoming a member, making a tax-deductible donation , and/or taking everyday actions to support biodiversity and protect habitats. GLAZA is a leader in conservation, and they make LA proud, Tomatoes. Angelenos are blessed to have this magnificent zoo to visit. But GLAZA’s goals and accomplishments behind what you see at the zoo are so vast it boggles the mind. From the daily care of animals to educating and inspiring communities to leading species-saving efforts in far-off lands, everything they do has a single unifying goal: to help create a better future for wildlife. Awesome!

The Gentle Barn

Since 1999, The Gentle Barn, located 30 miles outside LA, has been rescuing, rehabilitating and giving sanctuary to animals and healing children through telling the animals stories. Through interaction with Gentle Barn animals, children learn reverence for all life. The Gentle Barn works hard to make the world a kinder place, Tomatoes. They support the rescued animals year-round with medical treatments for some of the most neglected and abused animals. They also have many senior animals who need extra supplements, including monthly or weekly chiropractic care, acupuncture and massage therapy, specialized veterinary attention, and more. Another very worthy nonprofit focused on animals for you to consider donating to.

HoldYou Foundation

The HoldYou Foundation helps to remove the financial barrier many families face when their children experience a medical crisis so that they can care for their families with stability, dignity, and love. Natalie Hill, founder of HoldYou Foundation, has long held the belief that being present in the lives of those suffering is the greatest gift you can give them. As a teenager, she faced a medical condition that led to her spending time in the Oncology Unit at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She was scared and grateful to have the support of her parents and family. But she noticed that many children were there without their parents by their side. If she, as a teenager, needed her mom, how much more did the younger children need their family? She vowed that when she was well again, she would do something to support sick children. To help a child facing a medical crisis by donating here.

Los Angeles Animal Services

Though LA Animal Services is overwhelmed, they also do an amazing job under dire circumstances. I was shocked by how much I didn’t know about our city animal shelters and all that they do to provide extra care for animals in shelters, helping to keep pets and families together, and to prevent suffering for animals big and small. So please check out their story and consider being a hero to animals all over Los Angeles, Ladies. The LA City Animal Shelter Organization’s mission is to promote and protect the health, safety and welfare of animals and people. They envision a day when every pet born has a good home and is cared for all its life, when no person is ever endangered by an animal and when all Angelenos are actively engaged in making Los Angeles the most humane city in the nation. Bravo!

Los Angeles Food Bank

A great way to give thanks and give hope this Thanksgiving and Holiday Season is by donating to “Los Angeles Food Bank.”  1 in 5 people in LA experience food insecurity.  And for every $25 100 healthy meals can be provided to feed hungry children, seniors and families. Bravo LA Food Bank! Thanksgiving is a good time to remember that the LA Regional Food Bank always needs help, not just during the holidays. They have one vision and mission…that no one goes hungry in Los Angeles County. Since 1973, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank has distributed more than 1.7 billion pounds of food. The Food Bank collects food from hundreds of resources.  With the help of 30,000 volunteers annually and an agency network of more than 700 partner agencies, they serve more than 900,000 people on a monthly basis. 97% of their revenues go directly to programs. Wow!

Operation Blankets of Love

OBOL is headquartered right here in the San Fernando Valley but they have a very special mission with a wide reach that sets them apart from other animal welfare organizations…they help rescue the rescuers. They also help pets of homeless and struggling pet owners and are on-call for emergency relief. The need never stops and neither does OBOL. Isn’t that incredible, Tomatoes. The demand has tripled and so has their need for donations.  Since January 2008, OBOL’s mission has been to improve the health of homeless animals and increase their chances for survival and adoption. They aim to eliminate animal homeless ness and euthanasia by rescuing the rescuers.

Sky Valley Volunteers

Habitat Restoration is the name of the game with this non-profit. Started in 2018, passionate and fearless leaders, John Luker and Wendi Gladstone, started Sky Valley Volunteers, a rag tag group of  mismatched misfits, fighting the insurmountable odds against the forces of evil in order to save the world! In other words, a group of dedicated environmental stewards, working diligently to preserve, protect and restore the local mountains and regional open space through education and habitat restoration and planting forests. These amazing and strong members/volunteers gather acorns, stratify and germinate them, pot and plant the sprouts. They brave heat and cold 2 to 4 times a week to water the sprouts to keep the thirsty babies alive. Some who have seen them say they look like “little ants carrying watermelon”. The team is also forming strategic relationships with other local non-profits and community groups who help spread the word about the need for Habitat Restoration. With an estimated 111,000 trees killed in the Santa Monica Mountains, Sky Valley Volunteers’ efforts are essential and serve as an inspiring example for other communities here and across the world.

November 17, 18, 19 Southern California Poetry Festival

The annual Southern California Poetry Festival is a three-day celebration of the art of poetry and was founded in 2016 by Sonia Greenfield and Donna Hilbert in partnership with the Poetry Foundation. It is an extraordinary literary showcase. The Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center is the perfect place to host the Poetry Festival as it is dedicated to the possibilities of language, Tomatoes.

Since 2018, Beyond Baroque has organized and curated the festival with the best poets with the support of partner organizations, including the Poetry Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Department of Cultural Affairs for the City of Los Angeles.

Beyond Baroque’s mission is to advance the public awareness of and involvement in the literary arts; to provide a challenging program of events which promotes new work and diversity; to foster a place in the community for the exchange of challenging ideas and the nurturing of new work; to support writers through readings, workshops, books sales, publication, access to archived material and performance space; to encourage collaboration and cross-fertilization between writers and artists in multiple disciplines with the goal of producing mixed media art; to use the literary arts as a foundation for increasing education and literacy in our community.

November 18 Burbank Winter Wine Walk & Holiday Street Fair

The magical day of the Burbank Winter Wine Walk & Holiday Street Fair will kick off  with the Holiday Street Fair from 12pm-8pm on San Fernando Blvd with the Winter Wine Walk starting at 4pm along the same route. Wow, shopping and booze, Tomatoes!

The Street will be lined with vendors, live entertainment, and wine tasting locations that will be pouring samples throughout the event. The Wine Walk will showcase amazing Wineries and Breweries in favorite Downtown businesses. Each guest will receive a tasting cup and a map of the participating tasting sites. As you stroll down San Fernando Blvd. you will be surrounded by a winter holiday ambiance of live entertainment and beautiful holiday lighting.

DEC 2 & 3. Holidays at Greystone Mansion

Book your tickets pronto for The Holidays at Greystone Mansion event, hosted by Friends of Doheny Mansion, will sell out fast so book your ticket pronto, Ladies. Simply a splendid way to celebrate the holidays Hollywood style. You name it and they have it that day Tomatoes.

Besides the tours, music and décor there’s treats and beverages, book signings, sumptuous holiday décor, appetizer and desert demonstrations and shopping, parking is complimentary and there’s even a shuttle service Gals.  Simply Maaaahvelous!

CASA Holiday Cards

I bet Holiday Cards have just crossed your mind…or not…But it will. You can celebrate the holidays and help foster children have a better chance in life, all across LA, by making a donation to CASA LA. In return you’ll receive physical CASA Holiday Cards that you can send out or you’ll receive digital e-Cards that you can send directly to the inbox of friends and family. What a gift for CASA and your peeps.

CASA’s mission is to mobilize community volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children in Los Angeles. CASA/LA’s vision is a Los Angeles in which all children and families impacted by the child welfare and juvenile justice systems have equitable access to the resources and support they need to thrive.

Indie Market Shopping Guide

If you are a Tomato dreading the massive deluge of shoppers at the malls and department stores, an independent outdoor market might be just the ticket.  I’ve compiled cool shopping alternatives across LA this month so there’s bound to be one in your neck of the woods that might tickle your fancy, Tomatoes.

November 18  You can treat everyone on your list with the Huntington Holiday Market  featuring unique, handmade, and distinctive gifts from local artisans along with quality brands. Free entry with general admission. Proceeds from the evening support The Huntington’s education programs and collections.

November 18 & 19 A contemporary handcraft market, The Pasadena Artazan Show, at the Pasadena Convention Center, was established by artisans who were inspired by the Arts & Crafts Movement. It boasts 200+ exhibits and special events. The 2-day show encompasses all handcrafted media, including jewel smithery, painting, ceramics, wood working, glass work, textile weaving, hand tooled leather, handspun yarn, felting, natural-dyed fiber, paper arts, beadmaking, lapidary, gem cutting, metalwork, embroidery, hand sewn clothing, and wearable art.

November 18 & 19 Renegade Market LA returns for a festive wintertime marketplace at the sunny and green Los Angeles State Historic Park! You’ll find the best of the best with over 275 top notch local and national artisans, food trucks, a beer garden and a bar.  Enjoy this one-of-a-kind shopping experience.

November 18 & 19  Jackalope Indie Artisan Fair  in Pasadena celebrates handmade goods and shopping in Old Pasadena’s Central Park. Shoppers can expect to find indie goods from over 200 makers, including original fashion & jewelry design, paper goods, ceramics, baskets, candles, innovative home décor, housewares, art, photography, and food. Wow! A shopping mecca, Tomatoes! And FYI, there’s a Jackalope Artisan Fair also happening in Burbank on December 9th & 10th.

November 25 & every Saturday The Artists and Fleas Market is where independent artists, designers, stylists, vintage collectors and food makers meet their market & Tomatoes can discover new talent.

November 26 Topanga Vintage Market is considered one of LA’s best sources of vintage items, this market has over 200 vintage & antiques vendors, artisans, top food trucks & live music that make it a fun shopping experience.

November 26 At the Cabrillo Aquarium Holiday Market Tomatoes can enjoy yummy refreshments while browsing hundreds of collectible ornaments, books and specially curated ocean-themed gifts and all your purchases will go to support the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium. I love gifts with meaning gals!

Christmas Tree Lightings

Yep! It’s that time of year, Tomatoes. Tis’ the season of lights and lightings that add sparkle to our lives and bring hope and cheer. Though many public Christmas trees have already been lit…crazy huh…there are a few around town just waiting to dazzle us.

November 20 is the date for the Union Station’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. Not too far away on November 27th is the LA County Tree Lighting Ceremony with Marketplace & Festivities.  On LA’s westside is the Holiday Tree Lighting Sled-tacular in Culver City on November 30th. Head on over to Pasadena on December 1st for the Mayor’s Annual Holiday Tree Lighting.  Lot’s of tree lightings to still enjoy, Gals!


The Three Tomatoes LA Life editor, Debbie Zipp is your friendly guide to the best of everything in LA with a tomato style perspective. Debbie is an actor, producer, and writer. She is best known for her recurring role as Donna on the CBS series "Murder She Wrote" starring Angela Lansbury. She has had many other TV and stage roles and has starred in over 300 national TV commercials. As head of In The Trenches Productions, Debbie produced, directed, acted in many short films for her company. Her book, The Aspiring Actor's Handbook: What Seasoned Actors Wish They Had Known was recently published.

Buy her book: The Aspiring Actor's Handbook: What Seasoned Actors Wish They Had Known

Debbie Zipp

The Three Tomatoes LA Life editor, Debbie Zipp is your friendly guide to the best of everything in LA with a tomato style perspective. Debbie is an actor, producer, and writer. She is best known for her recurring role as Donna on the CBS series "Murder She Wrote" starring Angela Lansbury. She has had many other TV and stage roles and has starred in over 300 national TV commercials. As head of In The Trenches Productions, Debbie produced, directed, acted in many short films for her company. Her book, The Aspiring Actor's Handbook: What Seasoned Actors Wish They Had Known was recently published. Buy her book: The Aspiring Actor's Handbook: What Seasoned Actors Wish They Had Known

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