LA Made for the Holidays: Interview with Frances Anderton


Alissa Walker, Marissa Gluck, Erin Cullerton and I were interviewed earlier this week by KCRW’s Frances Anderton for the last Design and Architecture show of the year. As founders of de LaB, we were asked to give our top picks for great LA-Made design gifts.  From books to garbage cans, DIY laser cutting to miniature air plant sculptures, our selections ran the gamut.  Frances caught up with us at the de LaB Holiday Party hosted at LACMAfollowing a viewing of the current California Design 1935-1960 “Living in a Modern Way” exhibit and we all crammed into my car in the parking garage for the interview, but only after we grabbed a glass of wine at Stark Bar.  All I can say is that it’s way easier to be on the back side of the mic than it is to be in front of it!

If you missed it, catch it again here.  Click to listen or just check out the links to all the amazing places and people mentioned on the show.

I still can’t believe we were on the same show as Jonathan Adler.  What an honor and such a great way to end an amazing year.  Hats off to all the creative people that make our LA design community so vibrant and always surprising.

Secret Agent Supper #1

There’s no better way to celebrate than to cook and enjoy a good meal together, so Secret Agent decided to host our first-ever “Secret Agent Supper” this year with the help of Hipcooks, a West Coast guild of cooking studios that teach students to unleash their inner cooks.  We gathered at Hipcooks East at the Brewery for Una Noche de Tapas.  The DIY meal kicked off with an array of olives and delicious manchego with membranillo (quince paste) followed by handmade empanadas, tortilla espagnol, garlicky gambas, a fresh arugula salad, and of course some hot sticky nuts.  We topped the meal off with a ridiculously sweet but gorgeous flan replete with handmade sugar sculpture.  Besides a full belly, we all walked away with the basic recipes for the next tapas extravaganza with ideas on how to improvise.  Great fun, good food, and even better company.

Big thanks to everyone who braved rush hour traffic to get there.  Next year, we hope to host more intimate and fun Secret Agent Suppers with clients, friends, and the amazing creative people we meet through our work infiltrating the media in the name of good design.  All, of course, to be hosted at undisclosed locations.  And yes, invitations will self-destruct upon receipt.

Been: West Elm Beverly Hills Store Opening

We happily braved holiday rush hour traffic last week to check out West Elm‘s Holiday Party hosted in their new Thomas O’Brien-designed showroom on Beverly.  Some of LA’s most notable interior design personalities were in attendance, including Carter OosterhouseAmy SmartEmily SchumanJoy Cho, Bri Emery, Kelley LilienKishani Perera, and Secrets From a Stylist‘s adorable host, Emily Henderson.  Immaculately coiffed guests shopped with champagne and canapes in hand, taking full advantage of 20% discount.  Proceeds from the evening benefited the Art of Elysium.

We can’t wait to see all the photos of the new showroom, shot by our friend, red hot photographer Laure Joliet.  Be sure to check out the space for design ideas and great modern, eclectic finds.

West Elm
8366 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Photos by Christine Kim/Secret Agent PR

Been: X Ten Biennial at ATX

What inspires some of today’s most inspiring Angelenos?

This weekend, attendees of the X Ten Biennial at ATX were treated to a sneak peek into the creative minds of ten local visionaries, who were given ten minutes to share about their favorite artists and sources of inspiration. Organized by Leonardo Bravo (Big City Forum) and writer Jeremy Rosenberg, the Desert Island Discs-meets-PechaKucha-style event featured participants from every discipline – art, literature, design, architecture, anthropology, and even puppetry.

“It takes a foreigner to see Los Angeles in a different way than a native. That’s what David Hockney did for me,” cultural anthropologist and graphic designer Jim Heimann said about his personal source of inspiration.

Slake co-editor Laurie Ochoa shared a few beautifully illustrated articles from Joseph Pulitzer’s time at The World, along with a number of Inferno-esque images that prompted Slake co-editor Joe Donnelly to remark, “I didn’t know about your fascination with Hell, but it explains some things.”

Other highlights of the evening included a live puppet show from Emmy-nominated puppeteer Ronald Binion, surprise guitar solo from Joe Donnelly, and music by The Cartographers.

For more information about the X Ten Biennial and upcoming events, visit

Been: Unique LA Holiday Hoopla

Having missed the last few shows, I was determined to hit up Unique LA’s 4th Annual Holiday Show this past weekend, even if it meant missing a de LaB event.  My mission: to pick up a few holiday gifts and to check out all the amazing wares that LA’s creative community has to offer.  With a few friends and a stroller (slash shopping cart) in tow, I managed to catch the last few hours.  All I can say is WOW.  From custom flasks to handcrafted baby shoes, silkscreened textiles to laser-cut felt, wood, records, etc., handmade jewelry to irresistible terrariums and soy candles…talk about sensory overload!  In my frenzy to fill my tote with goodies, I stupidly neglected to take any photos.  But luckily, Unique LA has just posted some amazing photos on Flickr.  Check out their photo stream to see much more.  Congrats Unique LA on another amazing show.  The collective creativity was really inspiring!

Spotted: Child’s Own Studio

CHilds Own Studio, toy, craft

Oh, had we only spotted this a few months ago!  If your kid is a Baby Basquiat (or even if he’s not), then this is the perfect way to translate their imagination into a real (and huggable) object.  Child’s Own Studio is a brilliant craft-idea-turned-business that can transform a kid’s doodles into a real work of art and a totally unique keepsake.  The  process is simple.  Upload your child’s drawing, pay online, and just wait for your custom stuffed creation to arrive.  Of course, it’s way too late to order anything in time for Christmas but they’ll be taking orders again starting in January.  Check out their blog to see more of their adorable creations.  As Pablo Picasso said,Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

Gifts Spotted 2011: Our Secret Agent Picks for Best Gifts Spotted By the Best Gift Guides Out There

We’re usually in the business of pitching our favorite blogs to be included in their spectacular holiday gift guides, but this year we wanted to find a way to thank the host of editors out there who take the time each year to compile such great ideas. For 24 festive days, we’ll be posting our picks of the day, spotted in one of our favorite holiday guides.

Follow us on Twitter to check out our picks at @secretagentpr #giftspotted!

Whether you spot the perfect gift waiting under the tree or not, the most important mission this month is to spend a happy and healthy holiday season with friends and family. Happy holidays from Secret Agent PR!

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