Developing Downtown LA with LA Downtowner

Developing Downtown LA with LA Downtowner

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Photos by Ana DiGiallonardo
Article and styling by Popover
Location by LEVEL Furnished Living
Special thanks to our guests from Skid Row Housing Trust, G&B Coffee, The Simple Things Project, and LA Downtowner

Perched high above the cars, construction, and people found all around Downtown LA a group of individuals from different backgrounds gathered together to talk about their connection to the growing city, which was also our backdrop for the evening. Downtown LA has been the focal point in many debates about growth, development, and the blending of million dollar condos with the often overlooked tent camps lining the streets. LA’s rapid growth upwards and outwards brings with it a lot of excitement for new opportunity, but we wanted to explore how the new would interact with the old and what a city in the middle of a rebranding would look like a few years from now. Popover teamed up with LA Downtowner, a trusted voice in all things Angeleno related, to bring together a group of individuals for an evening of family style food and learning. Each guest had some connection to the city and a passion for their LA home, whether it was seen through the eyes of an artist reflecting on his time working in an arts district co-working space, a business owner changing the way we as consumers view coffee, a student whose campus is fully integrated with the city, or a spokesperson and advocate for the support and awareness of homeless housing. It was one of our most diverse gatherings to date, one that undoubtedly got people thinking about how they contribute to the reshaping of an iconic city and what it means to support LA.

LA Downtowner does an incredible job of not only highlighting the new and emerging locations, but also exposing the hidden gems that have remained nestled in the city for years. Their team is also comprised of marketing pros so a conversation about rebranding a city was only natural. The evening discussion was split into sections about the newbies of the city, the originals, and what the blending of the two could look like in some future vision of the city. In true family meal fashion we passed around platters of food filled with items like pesto and shrimp toast, corn and mint salad, prosciutto and figs, shortcakes and jam, then topped it off with lemon and thyme cocktails. Taking full advantage of the seasonally warm evening and the sounds of the city we set up on the sprawling patio at LEVEL Furnished Living, tucked into a quiet corner hidden by lush green bushes. Towering iconic landmarks like the unmistakable turquoise of the Eastern Building, the cursive sign of the Orpheum, and the exposed beams of the soon-to-be-completed Wilshire Grand rose high above the table making our conversation about the old and new of Downtown LA much more poignant.

There was no denying that sitting on the beautiful patio of one of Downtown LA’s newest condo high rises really pointed out how quickly the city is changing, but the dialogue remained focused on how the new and the old could and should work together. After all, at the end of the day when we find ourselves back at street level, face to face with the homeless people that nestle themselves among the new construction, it becomes apparent that we can’t push fixing the issue off on someone else. Remarks about a business owner’s duty to represent the city the correct way highlighted that the advocates around the table really take their roles seriously when protecting LA. Questions about how to cultivate the talent found among the artists setting up shop in co-working spaces led into discussions on how housing can and should be attainable to the homeless. Insight into the real origins of the name skid row lead into thoughts on rebranding a population. The dinner lingered well past sunset and even after the food was gone the discussion forged on. there were no heated moments or issues of complete disagreement, but rather a desire to understand our city a little better, promote it’s growth, and shed positive light on the homeless population.

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Candles and Conversation

Candles and Conversation

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Event design by Popover
Candle making by Hayworth and Heart
Venue by The Unique Space
Photos by Jessica Castro Weddings

After the end of a long work week most people like to spend their Friday night unwinding with friends and loved ones. It’s a time to pack away work for the next few days and revel in the fact that the alarm doesn’t need to go off too early the next morning. A few weeks ago Popover teamed up with Hayworth and Heart to create an evening of casual conversation with a hands on custom candle making craft for a group of guests at The Unique Space in Downtown LA. The goal was to celebrate a productive week by crafting, eating, and spending the evening with some new faces that could possibly turn into friends. Their large main floor provided the perfect setting for a long community table lined with all of the supplies needed to make a custom scented candle. A nearby table was packed with scented oils in every note from rhubarb and fig to the classics like lilac, rose, and vanilla. The guests were invited to mingle, drink, and discover not only a new craft, but a new person to chat with as well.

The part I love during each Popover gathering is when the conversation starts going and everyone begins chiming in on the topic at hand. Not only do I learn from what others are saying, but it begins to feel like those great dinner parties when everything just clicks. When I sat down to put together the conversation portion of the evening I tapped into a topic that I’ve been playing with recently, “how do you find friends and partnerships that mean something”, more playfully titled “will you be my friend?”. It’s a relatively simple and trivial question, but something that has a major impact on our own happiness, productivity, attitude, and a whole list of emotions that make us feel connected to a community. One of the greatest things about hosting Popover Gatherings is watching how open people are to meeting new faces from different backgrounds with different stories. A shared connection, shared neighborhood, or mutual interest is all it takes to reveal a new friendship or possible collaboration. The low key evening at The Unique Space was no different as the guests began creating their own candles, mixing their own scents, and ultimately cozying up to each other on vintage couches and stools to discuss how inspired scents can relate to inspired friendships and partnerships. Once the caps to the oil bottles came off the group was busy testing, passing, and sharing their favorite scents with fellow crafters.

Staged like a true dinner party we all enjoyed drinks pre-candle making and wandered around the venue enjoying The Unique Space’s incredible decor, the main event brought everyone together around the community table to listen to Hayworth and Heart owner, Suraiya, talk about scent trends while helping everyone mix their candles. In the end we all filed up the the living room to cary the conversation from unique scented candles to building unique friendships. With a diverse group of guests each person provided their own take on topics like how to blend and layer meaningful relationships and developing lingering partnerships that are built to last. Conversations went from how to ask someone on a “friend date” to how the LA landscape inexplicably influences friendships, to the ever popular dating apps redesigned for friends. By the time the candles had cooled and were packed and ready to go, the group was still lingering in the main room, sparking conversations, making future plans, and celebrating a Friday evening not with strangers, but new found partners and friends.

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An Evening of Astrology with Popover and Creative Collective

An Evening of Astrology with Popover and Creative Collective

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A few weeks ago a group of women met in a secluded home nestled in the hills of Silverlake, CA to drink, dine, and learn a bit about their inner astrology. The patio overlooked a picturesque view of the Hollywood sign and the glowing sunset above while the dining room displayed a long table inviting guests to nestle close to each other for an evening of food and conversation. The gathering was the outcome of a creative brainstorming session held between Popover and Creative Collective LA. I was introduced to Creative Collective’s vibrant owner, Mara Mehdy, through mutual friends and from that initial meeting we both knew a collaboration had to happen. Both companies have a distinct style so this event was sure to be a memorable mix of approachable entertaining and insightful personal discovery. Like all good gatherings, the guests became the focus and the table that evening did not disappoint. Artists, photographers, publicists, florists, and other equally creative backgrounds and mindsets filled the seats to kick off an evening rooted in what the stars would hold for 2016.

One of the most amazing parts of co-hosting a gathering is watching both contributor’s visions come together in those last moments when the scene is being set. Rustic blue dyed fabrics from Warp and Weft Dye Co. lined the table, while wildflower blooms from Lark Farnum Floral Design curled and stretched upwards out of vintage vases. Each plate displayed a hand painted menu from Kitty Moss sealed in it’s own constellation envelope. Ana DiGiallonardo from Salome was there early to capture every moment, from the thoughtful placecard arranging to the passing of food between conversations. Like a true family meal, bowls of roasted tomatoes and Mediterranean faro salad were shared alongside platters of flatbreads. A champagne cocktail concocted by the evening’s discussion leader kicked off the meal and from that moment on there wasn’t a quiet moment until the last guest left.

It was fitting that a discussion about horoscopes happened perched in a bird’s nest of a home under the stars of a clear night. Not to mention, the year is just kicking off and fresh starts are still on everyone’s mind. Cara George, co-owner of Mojave Rising led one of the best discussions on how each sign defines a person. We’re not talking pop horoscopes either found hiding in your spam e-mail folders, she dove into a root of each star sign from the energetic rise of Aries all the way down to Pisces’ mystical calm. Smiles, laughs, and moments of personal discovery flickered from guest to guest as each sign was introduced. Common bonds were quickly formed as people found their astrological partner across the table. The discussion rolled into where we see those horoscope traits leading us for the year, what attributes can we steal from another sign, and how to find that magical connection with someone when you are creating collaboratively. With Cara’s guidance each guest’s most personal traits were essentially exposed to those around them and when there may only be a few familiar faces in the crowd that vulnerability can be overwhelming. But, as the discussion built and layered upon additional comments and questions everyone reached the same conclusion that in what can be considered a fast-paced and competitive city, everyone is just looking to share something creatively with someone else. That evening, there weren’t any walls to break, there wasn’t any competition, just everyone’s innermost traits on the table.

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Gathering by Popover and Creative Collective LA
Photos by Ana DiGiallonardo of Salome
Flowers by Lark Farnum Floral Design
Table fabric by Warp and Weft Dye Co.
Menus by Kitty Moss
Horoscope cards and discussion by Cara George Mojave Rising

A Storefront Friendsgiving

A Storefront Friendsgiving

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The season of friends-givings has almost become as important as the big day itself. We spend the year sharing memories with our friends so it’s only natural that the family centered meal should include those non-related figures in life. Popover gatherings are meant to build friendships over food and highlight how inspiring a good dinner party can be, so when it came time to plan the next gathering a friends-giving was top on the list. We partnered with the adorable local shop Shout and About because her long communal table, usually bursting with trinkets, plants, jewelry, gifts, and more just begged for a family meal to be served. Plus, the store owner, Tamara, has to be the friendliest person to collaborate with. We decided to split the guest list, creating an environment of familiar and new faces. There is always a moment of pause when guests meet for the first time, but as the intimate group of eight sat down to share homemade food the conversations, laughs, and thanks began flowing naturally.

The menu consisted of easy to share food that looked seasonally tasty, yet was incredibly easy to make. Everything kicked off with a ginger beer cocktail spiced with flavored bitters from Seven Stills of SF, balsamic chicken skewers with sweet potato were topped with pomegranate pearls and feta, while a winter salad featured toasted hazelnuts and big sweet pieces of dates. Mini cornbread muffins cured the carb cravings, but the star was definitely dessert. Kelley from Valley Cruise Press treated the guests to a decadent chocolate ganache tart with a pistachio crust. It’s the holidays after all, so dessert calories don’t count. The table itself was glowing with mini orange tea lights nestled between Tamara’s tiny potted succulents (benefit of hosting a dinner in a store means you have an endless supply of table decor). The Social Type treated everyone to a card, while Alisha of Goldpress Paper gifted everyone with a thoughtful hand brushed written greeting. In true thanksgiving fashion, the photographer of the night, Lily Glass, sent everyone home with her famous biscuit recipe…something sure to make it on the menu this season.

While the big Thanksgiving meal is still the star, this intimate friendsgiving, hosted in an equally intimate and inviting space was a great way to gather with new and familiar faces. The conversation was refreshing, with topics ranging from life in the suburbs to the joys of running a small business, but more importantly the table discussion was natural, like good friends sharing a holiday dinner.

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Photos by Lily Glass
Location by Shout and About
Cocktail bitters from Seven Stills of SF
Thankful cards from The Social Type

A Popover Community Table – The Part Time Entrepreneur

A Popover Community Table – The Part Time Entrepreneur

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A few weekends ago Popover partnered with BUNCH Magazine to host the first Popover Community Table – The Part Time Entrepreneur. The brunch event brought together a fantastic group of creative women to talk about part time passions and full time jobs. It’s the unique combination, that many people face today, of how to balance a career, a budding hobby or business. Throw in the need to have some downtime or family time and those 24 hours aren’t nearly enough to get it all done.

Lizzy Okoro of BUNCH Magazine and Jennifer of HoneyFitz Events, led the group in a discussion about full and part-time entrepreneurship, passion projects, and how to know when it’s right to pick one to pursue. The group realized that many had similar experiences, whether they were triumphs or challenges and the topics covered included, self-promotion, time management, marketing, and how to be paid what your hard work is truly worth. Gathered around the community table the guests interjected meaningful anecdotes about being afraid to ask for money and the uncertainty of hiring people on little to no budget. Guests from all different backgrounds and industries gave thoughtful insight on how they view their passions, whether it means managing three independent businesses or getting up the courage to even market yourself.

The gathering was held at Fort, Jacqueline Sharp’s furniture studio in Downtown LA and the table was dotted with lovely and detailed centerpieces crafted by Weina Dinata of Poppy and Finch. Guests enjoyed a delicious breakfast of yogurt, berries, and granola, paired rustic bread spread with ricotta and jam. Lily Glass Photography captured the group enjoying an inspiring and empowering morning.

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A loft lunch with BUNCH Magazine

A loft lunch with BUNCH Magazine

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There is an amazing thing that happens when you gather a room full of talented people who are all pursuing their creative dreams and ask them to lunch together at an intimate table in an intimate space. That is exactly what happened when BUNCH Magazine, along with other friends, joined Popover for a casual Sunday lunch in a quintessential Downtown Los Angeles loft. Most of the people had never met so this lunch was a blind date of sorts, one where you knew the conversation would be good and the phones would be snapping every plate and bite throughout the meal. Illuminated by an oversized metal-framed window the long dining table held a range of creative thinkers, from editors to artists, who dined family style while passing plates of orange pomegranate salad, lavender honey goat cheese, faro salad, and crispy bacon pitas with thick cut tomatoes. This lunch was more than just a gathering with one group, we reached out to friends both new and old to contribute their best qualities to the meal. Delicate branches were arranged by The Bosky Dell, while Pigment and Parchment commemorated the event with a watercolor menu. The Moon and Co. provided the incredible surroundings, while Onelove Photography beautifully captured each laugh, bite, and prep throughout the lunch. The beauty of the gathering was that these little helpers were the lunch guests too and were encouraged to actually sit down and enjoy the meal.

The conversations flowed from raising indoor plants, to the sadness of watching a TV series end (yes, Mad Men), to the memories of a life in New York, and finally the prep that is currently going in to finishing another issue of BUNCH Magazine. While the topics were as diverse as the lunch guests, everyone quickly found some common bond or shared acquaintance that connected them proving just how small a seemingly saturated world and industry can be.

As the lunch began to wind down the plates were all clear and a tray of buttery cookies was passing from hand to hand. The washed out light of the loft continued to illuminate what was still a beautifully inviting table. The napkins were folded under plates, wine bottles nearly empty, and once full platters of food only displayed crumbs, everything that a true gathering should reflect by the end. By the time everyone left we had all scribbled an accompanying Instagram handle onto the back of a menu, leaving it packed with individual and business accounts ready to be shared. The next generation’s business card passed among new guests that were once strangers, but ultimately perfect lunch guests.

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Photos by Onelove Photography
Location by The Moon and Co.
Menus by Pigment and Parchment
Branches by The Bosky Dell