Environmentally-friendly outdoor ice skating at the W Hotel Westwood

W Hotel’s Chill Ice Skating Rink (Photo: Irene Chen)

In a city known for make believe, it couldn’t have been long before someone came up with fake ice skating rinks. The W Hotel in Westwood has transformed its pool area into a festive winter wonderland complete with an outdoor ice skating rink called Chill.

Chill is different from the rinks in Santa Monica and Pershing Square because it is made from a  synthetic “hybrid ice”. That means no refrigeration or Zamboni needed, which is a good thing for the environment. It’s also a good thing for you because no more falling or trying to get up on frozen ice.

W winter wonderland (Photo: Irene Chen)

At 1,300 square feet, the rink isn’t very big but the setting is beautiful with lots of lighted Christmas trees, decorated cabanas, and greenery. Chill will be open until January 23, 2010, Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. $10 includes an hour of skating and skate rental.

W Hotel Los Angeles – Westwood
930 Hilgard Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Tel: (310) 208-8765

   More on the holidays: Guide to Christmas Tree Lightings in Los Angeles and Orange County

2009 Holiday Gift Guide for Travelers

Gorillapod. (Photo:joby.com)

Find the perfect gift for your favorite wanderlust this holiday season. Here are ten practical items all under $100 that any world traveler would love to receive.

1. Gorillapod: This compact, portable tripod is perfect for hands-free picture taking. The Original Gorillapod is good for compact digital cameras up to 325 grams and comes in seven different colors. Using its three flexible, wrappable legs with over two dozen leg joints, you can secure your Gorillapod to almost any surface. $21.95 at joby.com

2. Digital Luggage Scale: Never pay overweight baggage fees again with this tiny digital luggage scale. You can weigh your bags before you leave for the airport and avoid any surprises. The scale can weigh items up to 100 lbs. At only $25, it’s sure to save you much more. Available at flight001.com

3. Eagle Creek Comfort Travel Blanket: Ever met a flight attendant who recommended you use their smelly, old communal blankets? Neither have I. Bring your own soft packable blanket for a more comfortable journey in the plane, car or train. This full size blanket packs into itself and has a zippered pocket to keep earplugs, eyeshades or other items handy. $20 at eaglecreek.com

TourSafe Handbag (Photo: pacsafe.com)

4. Greenaid Hand Grenade Reusable Shopping Bag: Have a little fun while doing your part to save the environment even when you’re abroad. This reusable polyester bag rolls up inside a hand grenade-shaped neoprene case for easy packing and its clip allows you to attach it to your bag or clothes. $18 at fitzsu.com

5. TourSafe Handbag: A classic handbag with four Pacsafe anti-theft features, The TourSafe Handbag allows you to travel with sophistication and peace of mind. Anti-theft features include eXomesh slashguard in lower front, lower side and bottom panels, slashproof adjustable shoulder strap, snatchproof shoulder strap that allows bag to anchor to a secure fixture and tamperproof zipper. $89.99 at pacsafe.com

6. Power Monkey: This 3 oz portable charger packs a lot of punch in a little package. Who wants to travel with an iPod, digital camera, cell phone and PDA plus all of their chargers? The Power Monkey charges all your electronics in your pocket almost anywhere in the world. Included are four adaptor plugs, a 110-240 volt adaptor for recharging in 150 countries, connectors for most mobile phones and a wide range of other electronics and a black storage pouch. $69 at magellans.com

7. Pack-It Shoe Cube: Keep your dirty shoes away from your clean clothes. These shoe cubes come in three colors and feature side ventilation and a top handle. $14 for medium-sized, $18 for large-sized at eaglecreek.com

Global Atomic Clock (Photo: magellans.com)

8. Hadaki Hanging Toiletry Bag: No counter space in your tiny hotel bathroom? Here’s your solution. This fashionable brown with multi-colored striped toiletry bag unfolds and hooks to hang wherever you need it to. It features four transparent zippered pockets for easy organization of your necessities. $28 at flight001.com

9. Super Leight Earplugs: Before you strangle the screaming baby in 14C (or its parents), put in a pair of Super Leight Earplugs. These soft foam earplugs have a noise reduction rating of 33 to get rid of those unwanted noises. 5 pairs for $2.69 at amazon.com

10. Global Atomic Clock: This travel alarm clock uses radio signals from international atomic time transmitters in the United States, Western Europe, Japan and the United Kingdom to set itself. Available in red, black or silver and featuring a large digital display, soft back light, snooze alarm, 12/24 hour formats, dual time face, date display, signal strength indicator and twist-n-stand base and includes a travel pouch. $39.85 at magellans.com 

More holiday links: Guide to Christmas Tree Lightings in Los Angeles and Orange County

2009 Guide to Holiday Events in Los Angeles

Exhibition celebrates 35 years of Hello Kitty

  Hello Kitty’s house (Photo: Irene Chen)

Hello Kitty was born in Japan in 1974 and has since become a global phenomenon. This year marks her 35th birthday. To celebrate, Sanrio is presenting Three Apples, a very special, multi-dimensional exhibition celebrating all things Hello Kitty, and those of us lucky enough to be in Los Angele have the opportunity to view this one-of-a-kind event. Taking place until November 15, 2009 at Royal/T café / shop / art space in Culver City, California, this event is free of charge and open to the public. Three Apples will feature an art exhibition, product retrospective, pop-up shop, and special events. The café will also be presenting special Hello Kitty-themed fare.

Product Retrospective includes items only found
in Asia (Photo: Irene Chen)

Why Three Apples? This is Hello Kitty’s height. Hello Kitty has long been a muse to artists and designers around the world. Over 80 contemporary artists including Gary Baseman, Ron English, Buff Monster and Camilla d’Errico have interpreted their vision of Hello Kitty in one-of-a kind pieces on display. One series of photographs by Markus Klinko and Indrani even feature pop singer Lady Gaga posing in a dress made entirely of Hello Kitty stuffed animals and other Hello Kitty attire. The Three Apples Art Show is curated by Jamie Rivadeneira of Japan LA. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the art will benefit LA Works.

Halloween event included a pumpkin decorating contest (Photo: Irene Chen)

Events still to take place.
Saturday, November 7 – Meet the Artists Party
Wednesday, November 11 – Hello Kitty’s Gyaru Beauty Parlor
Friday, November 13 – Hello Kitty’s Bats and Cats Masquerade
Saturday, November 14 – Hello Kitty Art & Fashion Happening

For more info: Royal/T Cafe