LA LIFE INSIDERS GUIDE: Winter Blooms, Wine, Chinese New Year, Entertainment, Bird Walk, Meditation

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This stunning photo of winter in LA says it all because our magnificent City of Angels has it all! Gorgeous winter flowers are front and center at Descanso Gardens, the Year of the Tiger is here, Union Station has a Wine Festival, the Skirball is talking to Justice Sotomayor, the Zip Code Plays are back… you can join a Bird Walk, drop-in to a Meditation session, and there’s a new exhibit at The Grammy Museum.  Wow! And we have a special offer for LA Tomatoes. There’s certainly an abundance of great “Things to Do” happening in LA, Tomatoes. Woo-Hoo!

Winter Flowers Blooming

There’s always something beautiful to see at Descanso Gardens, but winter… is a bloomin’ good time to visit, Tomatoes. There is a vast supply of a variety blooms to enjoy with the brilliant colors and aromatic smells of the Camelia’s, Toyon, Magnolia’s and Daffodils surrounding you.  I know it might seem that I consistently have gardens on the brain but visiting a garden does wonders for your state of mind, Gals.

The Camelia’s, also considered the “Queens of the Winter Flowers”, are in full bloom. They are definitely worthy of a royal title.  It’s totally Toyon time at Descanso! Toyon is considered California’s holly and Christmas Berry adding red throughout the garden. The pink tree season has arrived with the first Magnolia’s beginning to flower. Also revealing themselves are the gorgeous and fragrant Paper Whites, similar to Daffodils, known as Narcissus Papyraceous because of their delicate paper-like petals. What a wonderful way to brighten your winter days, Tomatoes.

A Special Offer for LA Tomatoes

Celebrity photographer Craig X Sotres  and acclaimed artist Sharon Marantz Walsh have joined creative forces for an amazing offer for LA Tomatoes. For $975 you will have a professional photo session with Craig X Sotres and the photo of your choice will then be turned into a beautiful work of art by Sharon Marantz Walsh to be cherished for a lifetime. For additional information and booking, please contact Craig’s studio at 310-990-9225 or email

Feb 5 & 6. Chinese New Year

Welcome to the Year of the Tiger, Tomatoes! Roooaaarrr! What’s not to celebrate about a Tiger, the revered symbol of strength, courage, majesty and nobility. The tiger is King of the Jungle after all. The Grove, the Citadel Outlets, Santa Monica Place , the Pacific Asia Museum are all having Chinese New Year Celebrations but the Chinese New Year Festival at the Huntington Gardens ….tickled my fancy.

All ages and all ethnicities can enjoy lion dancers, a mask-changing artist, martial arts demonstrations, Chinese music, art and craft demonstrations, and more. And all of the festivities will take place in and around the stunningly beautiful Chinese Garden. This festival marks the end of winter and the beginning of a long-awaited spring! Chinese or Lunar New Year is the most celebrated holiday of the year for nearly 1.4 million persons of Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese descent in Southern California.  Go and celebrate in this perfect place, Tomatoes!

January 29.  Uncorked LA Wine Fest 

The Uncorked LA Wine Festival” is back for its sixth year at Union Station and bringing with it the chance to enjoy over 150 wines from across the globe. Yes, that’s right, over 150 wines to explore! Wow! If you are thirsty this is the place to be, Tomatoes, whether you are a wine aficionado or not.

In addition, you can visit the festivals’ gourmet local food trucks for tasty eats, listen to a live band and DJ while tasting the glorious wines.  You can’t beat that combination, especially at such a fantastic location like Union Station. Uncorked LA benefits the national charity “A Kid Again” ( A Kid Again is a wonderful non-profit fostering hope, happiness and healing for families raising a child with a life-threatening condition. They provide ongoing, cost-free, group activities for children and their families to remember what it was to live carefree, create fun-filled memories, and give illness a time out.  What every child deserves.

Feb 3.  Justice Sonia Sotomayor  “Building a Better World”

Writers Bloc Presents and the Skirball Cultural Center present US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in conversation with award-winning actor, director, and producer America Ferrera. Seeing this event listed stopped me in my tracks. A rare opportunity indeed, Tomatoes.  In this online talk, Sonia Sotomayor will discuss her new book “Just Help! How to Build A Better World.” Oh My!

How on earth does she find the time to write a book?! “Just Help!” is a fun and meaningful story about making the world—and your community—better, one action at a time, that asks the question: Who will you help today? This children’s book reminds us of how easy it is to be a kinder person, to be a better person. I’m such a fan of Justice Sotomayor. Reservations are required so I would encourage you to sign up quickly, Gals.


I recently mentioned the launch of Antaeus Theatre company’s brilliant Season 3 installment of “The Zip Code Plays”, a remarkable theatre adventure created in 2020 in response to the Pandemic. You can now discover the true events and fascinating history of the City of Glendale and the shocking secrets of founder Leslie C. Brand with the next episode of the audio drama, “91201 Glendale: The Six Pianos of Miradero”. And it’s free, Tomatoes…though a donation would be ever so lovely, Tomatoes.

Sign up for the Antaeus Theatre Companys and The Glendale Historical Society and the Brand Associates free virtual Salon featuring “The Six Pianos of Miradero”. After the listening session of the audio drama, go behind-the-scenes with Playwright Alex Goldberg, Director Lisa Sanaye Dring, Cast Member Kitty Swink (a fab Tomato) and Glendale historian Arlene Vidor. I’ll say it again… “The Zip Code Plays” series, set in a different zip code, inviting listeners to discover little-known facts about the culture and diversity of Greater Los Angeles, is a genius concept, Tomatoes.

Through May 8.  Songs of Conscience

The power of music is undeniable. “Songs of Conscience, Sounds of Freedom,” the newest exhibit at the Grammy Museum, will take you through the story of American music as it wrestles with issues that run counter to the spirit of our nation. Since America’s origins, socially and politically conscious songs have motivated us, and this exhibit tells that story, Tomatoes.

“Songs of Conscience, Sounds of Freedom” was first on display at the GRAMMY Museum when it opened in Los Angeles in 2008 and a lot has happened in the 13 years since that initial run.  The exhibit has been updated to include the Black Lives Matter movement, songs that fight for LGBTQ+ rights, and how music from artists like H.E.R., Dave Specter and Mickey Guyton continue the traditions of using music as an agent and catalyst for social change. This time around it will include a newly expanded section, “The Sounds of Los Angeles,” that explores Los Angeles-based social movements and events that have inspired protest songs spanning a variety of genres and communities, the Chicano Movement that formed during the 1960s and 1970s, the 1965 Watts Riots/Rebellion, the 1992 Riots/Uprising, and the city’s history of poverty and economic disparity, gang violence, and police corruption.

Feb 6. Sunday Bird Walk

This Sunday, at the wonderful Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve at Balboa Park, the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society will be hosting “Sunday Bird Walk.” It will be easy, and no birdwatching experience is needed…just a fondness for birds, Ladies.

It will also be very informative and fun. Not only is this wildlife reserve, in the middle of an urban area, a haven for birds but it’s also home to all kinds of wildlife, flora and fauna. It’s a refreshing and relaxing way to get back in touch with nature all year long while getting some your steps.


Every Thursday Mindful Awareness Meditation

The Hammer and UCLA EDU’s hope is that mindfulness can be a refuge for you in challenging times.  That’s why the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center is livestreaming weekly “Mindful Awareness Meditation” sessions via Zoom.  A wonderful opportunity to de-stress Tomatoes.

And it’s free.  The weekly 30 minute online “drop-in” sessions are led by UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center’s Diana Winston, and other MARC-affiliated teachers.  The sessions are open to anyone interested in learning how to ‘live more presently’ in life.  Sounds good to me Tomatoes.  I might just drop-in too!


  • 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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