Jim Mackinga's last two messages to encourage your soul
Check out my new blog - The Joy Writer PR at Wordpress

Yelp, Studio DNA, Funnel Mill, Bodega Wine Bar, Landmark Theatre, and Anna's

By Joy A. Kennelly

Today I remembered there was a Christmas block party I had rsvped for hosted by Yelp taking place down in Santa Monica right near where my old boyfriend used to live. It was too late to get anyone to join me so I headed down by myself not sure what to expect.

What a delightfully fun afternoon and evening! Total serendipity! Here's the official invite - cute or what?

It's A Holiday Block Party! - LA Yelp's Second Annual Holiday Bash!

That's right, we're takin' over an entire Santa Monica city block for a continuous flow of fun you won't wanna miss!

When is it?
Sunday, December 9th

Who's involved?
Studio DNA
Funnell Mill
Bodega Wine Bar
(Basically, the 814 to 930 block of Broadway in Santa Monica)

What's happenin'?
Awesome "spoken review" yelper performances
Complimentary salon styling sessions
Nokia phone giveaway
Discounted holiday shopping
And sooo much more!

 Click here for yelper chit chat about the event!

OH AND...ATTENTION ALL ATTENTION WHUUUWERRRS: If you are interested in being considered for a slot on the yelper "spoken review" stage, then include that in your RSVP and I will send you more info. :)

Thanks everyone and look forward to closing out '07 in true Yelp fashion with y'all!

Ciao for niao,

I hadn't ever been to a "yelp" event before, but it sounded interesting so I thought I'd give it a shot. I found the site promoting my artist client, Gali Rotstein's Art Opening Reception taking place January 12, 2008 at Lois Lambert Gallery from 6pm - 9pm (gotta get the plug in there or I wouldn't be a good publicist now would I?)

I arrived at the first location, Funnell Mill, and after checking in decided to go on down the block and check out the hair salon rather than stay there. When I walked into Studio DNA everyone was very friendly, it wasn't too busy and there was a lot of interesting African Christmas ornaments, art, purses, children's table ware, shoes, necklaces, and other cool items to look over. It soon filled up with an eclectic crowd. Made me glad I came early.

I asked what they were all about today with their salon specials and the very nice woman manning the front desk said we're offering free salon treatments. At first I resisted because I didn't feel comfortable being in a party setting getting my hair washed, but after she explained it was to demonstrate the new Bumble and Bumble hair products and would deep-moisturize my hair, I thought why not?

I'm so glad I did! My hair hasn't felt this soft, or looked this good in a little while! The owner, Aubrey (whose initial is part of the salon's name along with his life and business partner, Danny - get it? "D N A" aint that special? Very nice guys.) was very wonderful and trimmed my bangs which have been bugging me forever. I felt like a new woman after his skilled touch. I really enjoyed the pampering too. Thank you Aubrey! You're the best!

After experiencing the new hydrating hair treatments specially designed by Estee Lauder Research Laboratories and Bumble and Bumble so your scalp is treated just as well as your hair, Aubrey blew my hair out all flippy and curled which was a lot of fun to wear out of there. I felt so girly pretty!

If he's this conscientious and skilled just blowing out my hair, I can't wait to have my hair cut there too! There wasn't time today, but I'll be back. They're located on the corner of Broadway and 9th and are celebrating their one-year anniversary. Very stylish salon, friendly personnel, talented stylists and reasonable prices with great South African specialty Christmas gift items you won't find elsewhere. What more could you ask for? Great reviews on Yelp too!

The party crowd was initially predominantly Asian, but there were all ages and types of very stylish people milling around. What I really liked about this crowd was that everyone was very friendly. Very interesting seeing as many people hadn't met prior, but maybe had read each other's profiles online and connected at this event for the first time.

After getting my hair done I walked down to the Bodega Wine Bar to check it out. Their motto is "wine for one & wine for all." I remember that space from years ago and it looked nothing like it does now. Great wine selection, sexy moody environment, nice lay-out and very helpful staff. The food was good too. I'm telling you I hit the jackpot on this party.

I met a very nice woman there who explained that although she lived in Long Beach, she had met a lot of her nearby neighbors just going out to attend events she learned of on Yelp which seems like a real social group. She also explained that Yelp reviewers took great pride in writing their reviews of places they visited. It was almost like the reviewers were blogging more than reviewing, but it really made places come alive as a result.

Soon, some of the "Yelpers" got up to read their reviews and it was almost as if they were local celebrities the way the crowd responded. It was very cool to see an entire bar almost quiet down completely to hear someone read their writing.

One guy was very funny and wrote Santa a letter as his way of describing the place he had gone to visit. Another guy compared his favorite bar to a long-lost girlfriend - very clever writing.

My new friend told me that many of the Yelp reviewers were from the advertising community. Very good writers, some so much so they'd been asked to write for magazines which again, I found very interesting.

Her husband had been approached numerous times, but he writes for fun and to please himself since he's a nurse and uses Yelp strictly as a creative outlet. Very fun. She's a librarian so very literary too I would assume. I can't wait to go back to the site and really read some of these reviews now that I understand the culture a little more now.

Soon after there was a drawing for a free Nokia phone which I was hoping to win because it had 8mg of storage, took pictures, had an mp3 player and all kinds of other cool features that I forget now. I didn't win, but had an enjoyable snack and conversation.

To kill time before the drawing I had returned to Funnell Mill for a cup of coffee. I wrote some Christmas cards and when I asked someone for more cream because my coffee tasted a little bitter, he took my cup away and said he would replace it.

He then brought me the cutest coffee serving, almost like a formal English tea setting, but with my  fresh brewed coffee rather than tea. He then explained that he was the owner. We had a wonderful conversation discussing his philosophy of business, all the various types of gourmet coffees he offered (including a $60 cup of Kopi Luwak from Indonesia--$600 a pound!-- You must be a coffee connoisseur for him to even consider serving you! I love it! A coffee critic!), and how he started the business with his fiance. Very nice guy.

This is definitely not Starbucks! It's a gourmet coffee house in the heart of Santa Monica that people find out about word-of-mouth which is why I'm telling you. Check it out. Relaxing music, simple surroundings, classy service, personable owners, and great freshly brewed coffee. An enjoyable way to cap off my night, but it didn't end there.

My friend Brenda called me out of the blue and asked if I was planning to hit another party in the area. I hadn't heard of it and really wasn't sure I really wanted to since I was having such an enjoyable experience just hanging out alone with the interesting people I was meeting. I told her I'd meet her there after the Nokia drawing. She went ahead because she was close by, but then called me to suggest we meet elsewhere instead.

She suggested the new Landmark Theatre over in the Westside Pavilion which I was game to experience. I'm so glad we did. It's way cool. They have three theaters that seat 40 or less people with couches! How cool is that? Plus, numerous other larger theaters with up to 300 stadium seating. All brand new, very quiet, very relaxing and with all the quality of a larger-size theater with great sound and visuals. HIGHLY recommend you check it out. Better than the Arclight and closer too! Check it out and you'll agree I promise.

It was teeming with people. Even saw my local bank teller from Hermosa.

For a film buff like myself and Brenda, we were lovin' it. Not in the mood to see a film tonight, but definitely keeping it in mind for future events and as a place to return to. Brenda plans events for a large Christian entertainment group in town called Inter-Mission and because she's so busy working over in Studio City at CBS Studio, we rarely see each other since I'm way down in Hermosa Beach. It was real special to spend time with her after so long.

We opted to catch a quick bite and since we were so close to Anna's, one of my favorite old-school Italian restaurants in the neighborhood my Goal Gal group and I had gone to in the past, we went there. Even though it had been months since my last visit, the owner acted like he remembered me and was very gracious. Brenda and I enjoyed catching up on each other's lives since she was leaving for home next week and I wouldn't have seen her otherwise. We loved our night out!

So guys, if you're looking for a romantic evening with your favorite gal, Brenda and I suggest going to Anna's for dinner then getting great seats in the smaller, intimate theaters to watch your favorite movie together cozied up next to each other on your own private, leather couch. If Brenda and I had a special guy you better believe we'd be suggesting it to them! Very romantic and low-key at the same time. FUN!

Brenda and I had a Ro-tic evening - you know - romantic without the guy. She and I wonder when God is bringing us our special guys, but we're enjoying life in the meantime. We're thinking we need to throw some cool events in the new year and invite everyone we know to catch a movie there. Ya never know. I know guys she doesn't know and vice versa so could be fun. I'll keep ya posted.

I finally feel in the Christmas spirit! I needed a day like today. I bought a few gifts, wrote some cards, decorated my little live tree, put out my Christmas decorations around my home while listening to Christmas music (now I'm hearing the all Elvis hour of Christmas music - very fun) and feel very content.

I hope you're having a great Christmas season and enjoying yourself! Like Elvis is singing - "Santa hear my plea and bring my baby back to me!" Whoever my baby is right Elvis? LOL:)

That's all for now. Busy day tomorrow and need my beauty sleep. C ya!


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)