Thursday, July 30, 2009

Shop: West 3rd Street's Summer Sidewalk Sale

Saturday, August 1st - Sunday August 2nd
3rd Street between Fairfax and La Cienega

West 3rd Street, your very favorite stretch of 3rd somewhere between your two unfavorite monstrosities, The Grove and The Beverly Center, is having another one of its stellar sales this weekend.

Shop the stores (my faves include EM & Co., Hillary Rush, and the wonderfully wacky Petro Zillia) .

Eat the eats (all hail the cheese case and egg salad to die for at Joan's on Third).

And enjoy a cocktail--I'm sure at least a couple of the stores'll be serving.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Do Good: GAP does good. So can you (while saving).

From July 30-August 2, Gap, Gap Outlet, Banana Republic, Banana Republic Factory Stores, and Old Navy stores are offering 30% off your purchase when you use this coupon (download via the link below). 5% of all purchases made with this coupon will go back to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society!


All Gap stores in the U.S and Canada, including Gap, Gap Outlet, Banana Republic, Banana Republic Factory Stores, and Old Navy


Thursday, July 30th - Sunday, August 2nd


Beside the fact that you could really stand to update your wardrobe (those leather chaps went out at least a year ago), using this coupon helps support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.


Check-out Gap's Give & Get Program – 30% off with 5% benefiting LLS. Download your coupon today!

Feel free to spread the word--this coupon's good all over the US of A. Happy shopping [and do-gooding]!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Customer service at Best Buy. A dramatic [but not exaggerated] reinterpretation.

Best Buy: You've reached Best Buy West Hollywood. What?

Customer: I'd like to order an air conditioner unit. I am hot. And I have cash. This should be simple, yes?

BB: It should be. But you called Best Buy. Let me just place you on hold for an indefinite amount of time while I go ask my manager how I can best service you. I'll be back in a few moments with what will likely be incorrect information.

5 minutes, 47 seconds, and 26 repetitions of the same piano melody later...

BB: Let's go ahead and schedule that installation for you. The next few days will go like this. We'll set up a time that doesn't exactly work for you. The morning of, once you've already cleared an obscenely large window of time for us, we'll call you to tell you we're not coming. Because we've made a mistake. We do that often. You'll angrily call the customer service line. They'll ask you if you're calling about a delivery. You'll say 'well, if you can call it that.' We'll say 'oops--we can't find your order.' And we'll tell you someone will call you back in the morning.

Customer: Great.

BB: Not so fast. We'll tell you that someone will call you back in the morning. But no one will. Cause that's how we roll.

Customer: Oh.

BB: You'll have to call us back. You'll be pissed. We'll have some sweet woman in consumer relations who you just can't stay mad at calm you down. You'll want to cancel your order and show us who's boss. But there's nowhere left in Los Angeles that will actually install an appliance for you as our competition's all gone out of business. So you'll huff. And you'll puff. And you'll agree to reschedule.

Custmer: I think I understand.

BB: Excellent. I didn't understand a thing.

Sweet thangs. Oh, and cookies too.

At a networking event last night, I was introduced to Bittersweet Treats--a new online sweets company--and its owner and chef, Danielle Keene. While I didn't get to try all the cookie flavors Miss Keene brought, I did swipe a dessert bar to go. Couldn't tell ya what was in it. And not so sure it fits into my new trainer-mandated calorie regimen. But it was rich, and chewy and 100% awesome.

Bittersweet does cookies...

They do ice cream...

And they do beautiful cupcakes and cakes...

So, I'll leave you with a quick reminder that my birthday's coming up next month. That's all I'm sayin...

[Images via Bittersweet Treats]

Monday, July 27, 2009

Food Find: The IV Group's [OC] Brunch

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of going to an amazing brunch in Orange County for my friend Sarah's (Pink Cloud Events) birthday. The pleasure, of course, being fully derived from the brunch and not at all from the trip to OC. In fact, had I known that the brunch was outside of LA County I may never have made it.

The IV Group, the catering arm of Chef Felix G. Barron, IV, hosted its second brunch of the summer and myself, along with 29 [mostly stranger] others, were treated to his incredible culinary creations along with open bar at his super fresh digs in Santa Ana.

From the flavored waters...

To the meat dishes that looked so good I nearly considered conversion back to the dark side...

To homemade ice cream sandwiches for dessert (may I give a special call out to the Twix flavored sandwich which I miss so much already--baby, you know I love you!)...

And everything in between (and there was so, so much in between)...each dish, served fresh, delicious, and family style, was worth its calorie count and, yes, even the long haul to Orange-friggin-County.

The next brunch is on Sunday, August 16th. It is $40 you won't regret spending. It is better than the Grand Slam at Denny's, I can tell you that much.

Find out about reserving your spot at Felix's next brunch!

[Images via iv group]

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The RSVP Line: Cage the Animals

This Sunday, my buddies at This Is Tightrope present 'Cage the Animals,' at Studio 1444 in Hollywood. My source tells me that there will be "ten vendors, Territory BBQ, beer," and I can only imagine the always elusive 'more.'

Don't forget to RSVP for discounted admission.

Perhaps I'll see you there after the Paddleboat Regatta.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tipping: a rant by yours truly.

Let me begin this by saying that a) I have worked in the service industry for years--planning events, catering, waitressing (I may have gotten fired from the latter, but this does not disqualify the mention), and b) I know that many employees are paid less than minimum wage with the assumption that they will be tipped, and c) I rarely rant on here, so give me a break while I proceed to do just that.

The tipping system is broke and it needs fixing. The system creates a situation in which I, the consumer, am made to feel personally responsible for certain service providers' salaries. And the last thing a Jewish girl's guilty conscience needs is someone's livelihood on her hands. As much as I may like my waitress, I don't need to end my meal with thoughts of her unpaid rent if I don't dole out an additional 20% to her for bringing out food I've already paid for. The clerk at Nordstrom's shoe department brings lots of things back and forth to me but I'm not expected to throw cash at him.

There are tons of places to read up on tipping etiquette, but none can tell me why some professions are tip-based and others salaried.

One of these sites does offer up the following scenario, however...

Have you had a hard day traveling or at work? Do you feel a little grumpy? Were you sharp with someone?

Well, guess what! People in service industries don't always have great days either. Show them a little mercy and assume the best about them. Maybe your waiter is a little absent-minded because his mother is sick in the hospital.

Righto. I do feel grumpy. Because I just gave $5 of my measly salaried cash to some dude who can't land an acting gig and therefore has to refill my diet coke. He's grumpy?! Well, he should get a steady job.

And if we are going to continue the archaic practice of tipping, I vote that we make the following jobs and activities tippable...

1. Being a good friend. That's right. If you call me to blather on about some problem of yours, I want a dollar.

2. Temp work. Think your temporary secretary answered the phone with enthusiasm and speed? Tip 'er a couple bucks.

3. Supermarket bagger. I have had some fantastic baggers. They put the heavy stuff on the bottom, the produce up top. They deserve their fair share.

4. Graffiti artist. Do you have an illeagal mural in your neighborhood that speaks to you? Take a photo of the artist's tag. Show it around to some 'in the know' folks in the area. Find that guy who defaced local property. And slip him a 5!

5. Marketing & Events. Who makes you go out and buy things you don't need? Who convinces you of brand loyalties you didn't know you had? That's right--your local marketing and events worker. She deserves a cut of the company's action. And who better to give it to 'er than you. Tip her a hundy for all her hard work....oh, I'm a Marketing & Events worker? Well, gosh then. Thanks so much in advance for recognizing my hard work and paying me for it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

826LA's Echo Park Lake Paddle Boat Regatta. Cause reading's for winners.

If you're reading this, I'm pretty sure you can read. If you can't, then let me include some pictures here for your entertainment:

Now, back to those of you who are literate. Being a reader and all, you understand the significance of reading, learning and edumacation. 826LA is a non-profit that ensures that the young people of LA receive the tutoring, reading skills, and creative voice they deserve. This Sunday, the org is hosting its 2nd Annual Paddle Boat Regatta. Yes, it is as fancy and regal as it sounds. And it's not too late to register a team to participate.

If you can't participate, raise money, and compete for greatness, consider joining me as a spectator.

The event needs all the $$$ help it can get so please consider getting involved.

Peep the details below!

xx * Jessie


Please join us on July 26th at 4PM at Echo Park Lake for the pageantry on the lake as we celebrate the teams* of volunteers, staff and interns who have been racing for four weeks to raise money for 826LA!

We are also offering a limited number of tickets to The VIP After Party at the Rec Center to spectators (NON-RACERS**) for a donation of $15 (to cover food and drink costs). Don't let the fun end at the lake! Come to the after party and mix and mingle with your favorite teams! RVSP

Prizes will be awarded for the following categories:

Winners of Fundracing (highest fundraising team)

Best Costumes

Best Theme

Team Spirit

Best Paddle Boat Manuever - a quick figure 8 or something better!

Spectators Choice - the crowd will choose!

MVP - most valuable pedaler (highest individual fundraiser)

Click here to register or learn more.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Text o'the Day: Hey Papi Wus Up

Earlier today, in a case of mistaken phone identity, I had the pleasure of participating in the following conversation over text...


Me: Who is this?


Me: Wrong number.

Well, not 'rember'ing Dasha or our apparent MySpace love affair, I entered in Dashka's name in the MySpace search box, intrigued by who might show up.

What showed up was this:

Allow me to zoom in closer so that you might get a better glimpse of Daksha's literary interests.

I am so, so scared.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Food Find: Barbrix in Silverlake

After missing the driveway into Barbrix about 4 times and making the same number of U-turns on curvy Hyperion Avenue to try again, I finally found Silver Lake's newest wine and tapas bar last night.

While I can't speak much to the food--my friend and I tried only the Crispy Grilled Polenta--I can vouch for the teeny, tiny portion sizes after receiving our own dish and watching many others arrive at neighbors' tables around us. The tapas are indeed, by definition, small plates. Which for a girl with my appetite is problematic. But they're not terribly priced. And I suppose I could stand to learn some portion control anyway.

I ordered a glass of the Sauvignon Blanc and was pleased. After the second glass, I was tremendously pleased.

Tip #1: Don't sit at the bar during sun down--the large glass wall which faces it will have you feeling like you're lying in a tanning booth turned up dangerously high.

Tip #2: Arrive early--the restaurant fills up fast.

Tip #3: Avoid the $5 valet and easily find street parking nearby.

[Photo Credit: Zagat]

Monday, July 13, 2009

LA, a goat-laden wasteland.

Sometimes, when you think you've seen all that you could possibly see in the wildest city on Earth--the homeless and the trannies, the Hollywood stars and the celebrity car chases--you see a herd of goats in Downtown Los Angeles.

And you realize that, oh, there's more to see. Cause now there are barnyard animals at the corner of 3rd and Hill. And you're not really that surprised to see them there.

[And yes, the goats are no strangers to city life. They made an appearance last year as well. Via LA Times]

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Funday c/o Playboy.

It's Sunday. And nothing says Sunday like bacon and eggs, the NY Times, and a girl in a shimmering bikini and thigh highs.


Have a good one Los Angeles.

xo * Jessie B. R.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The RSVP Line (Weekend Edition): Poketo Karaoke + Echo Park Fest + Renegade Crafts

T-G-I-[the mother f++king]-Weekend. Pardon the potty mouthed intro, but this week could not end soon enough. And the next few days are jam-packed with awesome free and fun activities. Because, apparently, the party Gods knew we needed a [mother f++king] break.

Tonight (Friday)! Get down with your local art community, care of Poketo at their Karaoke Dance Party. The party goes from 8 p - 1 a at Royal/T and offers something for everyone. For those who like to sing [badly], there is (duh) the karaoke. For those who prefer to shake a tail feather, there's (duh) dance. For those who get down with visuals, there's the Poketo pop-up to check out as well as the amazing collection housed by cafe-meets-gallery, Royal/T. Quick! RSVP here.

On Saturday and Sunday, the Echo Park Community Festival will be taking over what used to be the Lotus Festival (Lotus ran out of funds, so I've heard). The fest will take place in [where else] Echo Park. Though the website's art features dragons and ducks, I'm not promising either one. I just know there will be music and probably a lot of hipsters.

Also on both Saturday and Sunday is the Renegade Craft Fair, arriving in LA for the very first time. As we all know East Siders love to craft, I expected this to be held in Silverlake or somewhere equally artsy, but the fair makes its debut in Downtown LA at the California Market Center.

And if and when you do make it to Downtown, I highly recommend you stop by the sample sale going on over the weekend at Guy Baxter's studio (117 W. 9th Street, LA). I stopped by and spotted lots of great deals from $15 and up.

Happy weekend!! xoxo

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

art in LA: Public Art Party in Beverly Hills

If you're not yet familiar with ForYourArt, I suggest you get familiar. From the organization's Map of public art, to its involvement with amazing art events aroud town, FYA is making art happenings and art news accessible to the community.

This Saturday, FYA is hosting its first Public Art Party, celebrating the renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama and I'm super excited. Find the details below and find me in Beverly Hills on Saturday! (I'll be the one shoving Crumbs cupcakes down my piehole while others are actually making note of the art.)

Public Art Party invites Angelenos to celebrate public art in Beverly Hills and the renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama whose public sculpture, Hymn of Life: Tulips, is located on Santa Monica Boulevard and Rodeo Drive by participating in a one-day, self-guided cultural experience.

A special MAP ForYourArt: Public Art Party will be available at participating locations as well as online at

Public Art Party: Beverly Hills Locations

1. Yayoi Kusama's Hymn of Life: Tulips (Rodeo Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard)

The 10-foot-tall, brightly colored, floral sculpture is a beautiful example of Kusama's practice and the centerpiece of Public Art Party. Visitors can have their digital portrait taken in front of the sculpture as a keepsake that will be featured on Reading, knitting, hoola-hooping and yoga are encouraged in the park around the sculpture.

2. Videos by Yayoi Kusama at The Paley Center for Media (465 N. Beverly Drive)

The Paley Center for Media screens three short films by Kusama in the Bell Family Gallery: Flower Orgy (1968), Flower Obsession Gerbera (1999) and Flower Obsession Sunflower (2000) that highlight the trajectory and development of the artist’s use of the flower motif as an artistic model. As a special treat, the rooftop gardens will be open all day for picnicking.

3. Yayoi Kusama: Flowers That Bloom at Midnight at Gagosian Gallery (456 N. Camden Drive)

The Japanese artist's first solo show in Los Angeles since 1998 transforms the gallery space into a magnified and playful garden. Gagosian is open today for the festivities, and the exhibition is on view until July 17.

4. Picnic lunch from Porta Via (424 N. Canon Drive)

Pick up a box lunch at the neighborhood favorite to enjoy a picnic at Kusama’s Hymn of Life: Tulips or on the rooftop garden at the Paley Center for Media. Boxes include a panini, salad and a cookie. Call to order 310.274.6534.

5. Kusama-inspired cupcake from CRUMBS Bake Shop (9465 Little Santa Monica Boulevard)

CRUMBS Bake Shop is offering a special Kusama-inspired cupcake for Public Art Party.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Obsessions: toys, ponies, and parks

Remember those toys you had when you were young--the ones that had you dreaming of moving into fantasy lands, eating ice cream all day, and living on a cloud? Be it a dollhouse or a maze--the toy land seemed magical and far more fun than real life (later on, you would come to realize this was entirely true and regret not spending more time playing Candyland, but that is neither here nor there).

Well, I don't know if I'm just having Neverland-related fantasies from all the Michael Jackson hype, or if this is actually the coolest toy set known to child. But I'm just head-to-toe excited about this My Little Pony Ponyville Sweet Sundae Amusement Park Play Set. Not only is the name so long it could entertain you for hours, if not days, but check out some of these highlighted features...
  • It’s just another day at the park for you and your pony pal—the amusement park, that is—with this fun-filled play set
  • Park includes a pony figure, an ice cream parlor play set, a roller coaster play set, a Ferris wheel play set and play accessories
  • The fun and surprises don’t end until you turn out the lights at this adventure-filled amusement park
  • Manufacturer's Suggested Age: 4 Years and Up
Well, color me excited and older than 4 years old--I want to move in! I vote for a life size build-out of the whole shebang.

* The website for Hasbro--maker of both Candyland and My Little Pony seems not to be working. Which makes me wonder--have they gone belly up like every other business in the 50 United States?

Monday, July 06, 2009

Laugh Track: Upright Citizens Brigade

Sure, I started going to shows at the Upright Citizens Brigade (founded by Amy Poehler and other funny human beings) because I had to (classes at the theatre require two visits per term). But some of the best places I've ever visited would have gone unearthed had someone not forced me to go. Take the dentist, for example. Or jail.

The line to get in is a complete and utter hassle, yes. But the entertainment inside is good. And it's cheap. And there aren't many good, cheap entertainment options left in Los Angeles. Aside from dog-walking and gender guessing games on the corner of Santa Monica and Vine, going out in this city's expensive.

I can only speak to two of the theatre's shows so far--'Facebook' (featuring cutie Ron Huebel of The Office and Human Giant) and 'The Smokes' (featuring no one I know but dudes who were funny all the same). And both are worth the $5 to get in. They are especially worth the free admission for UCB students.

Tip No. 1 - Arrive early to wait in the block-long lines that form before popular shows.

Tip No. 2 - Arrive with entertainment for the wait--be it a deck of cards, a bottle of wine in a paper bag with a straw, or another human being.

Tip No. 3 - Sitting on the stage looks like it would be fun--being part of the spotlight and the action and all. But, in fact, you end up unable to see half the cast's faces. Which is not that fun after all.

Tip No. 4 - Apparently 'ASSSSCAT' is one of the better shows. I haven't seen it. But I would like to give it a 3rd party recommendation anyway.

ASSSSCAT - Medicinal Marijuana
Joke of the DayStand-Up ComedyFree Online Games

Idiot Lotus Flower Who Runs with Children.

Beware--there are severely disabled Idiots out there and they have video cameras and access to children. Sometimes, they are racist. Sometimes, they're just plain stupid. They are throwing horrifically themed kids' parties and need to be stopped.

Exhibit A: Watch the video of this Idiot giving Native American Names to a gaggle of kids for a Native American themed party.

How to Give Native American Names to Kids -- powered by

Stop the madness. Steal an Idiot's camera today.

* This is a warning from the Anti Idiot League of America. That's AILOA for short, yo.

Mind f**k: rad optical illusion.

Just because it's Monday and you obviously need a break, let me present to you the greatest mind f**k of the century, or at least of today--Monday, July 6th.

Take a look at the below (not for too long--I tried that and will now likely vomit) and notice the green and the blue spirals...

Now ooh and aah when I tell you that those spirals are actually the same flipping color. The orange spirals do not in fact go through the 'blue' spirals as they first appear to and the 'blue' is contrasted with a magenta, playing all sorts of wild tricks on our eyes.

Don't believe me? Well, I didn't believe in Santa Claus and then a reindeer landed in my backyard one day, so there you go.

[Via TED Blog via DISCOVER Magazine]

Thursday, July 02, 2009

We Like to Party: En Tu Ciudad (or, a white girl learns to shake her boot-ay)

Last night, I went out with mi three amigos to the LA pit-stop of My Space Latino's En Tu Ciudad tour (which I painstakingly translated--for your sake, of course--to mean 'in your city'). In response to my RSVP, I had been emailed back with a secret password to enter the party. While password-protected parties usually make me want to hurl, I was excited as this password was so much fun to say--'Paloma.' (Try it--say it aloud--it's fun, I promise!) And apparently 'Palomas' would also be the featured drink special for the evening. Needing translation for this word as well, I asked my Latino coworker for assistance. He claimed 'Paloma' meant bird--something between a dove and a pigeon. Not satisfied with this definition, I googled it. 'Paloma,' it turns out, is also a tequila cocktail. I much preferred this translation.

At the party, after enjoying one or two (ok, perhaps three) Palomas, another of my Mexican cohorts explained that a Paloma is made with Tequila and Squirt. Well, after my initial shock...and then disgust...I settled on delight. Yes, I like Squirt cocktails--it's true!

My buddies in Wait. Think. Fast. performed an awesome set.

And I learned that there is such a thing as a cute accordion player.

I'm old and needed to get to bed before my coach turned into a pumpkin and/or I crashed my Jetta from too many Palomas. But the crowd continued to party on long after I did. Because, as it turns out, Latinos (not blondes) have much, much more fun.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Pictures: (500) Days of Summer

I attended Gen Art's advance screening of '(500) Days of Summer' tonight. I went with high hopes for romance. (There is nothing more satisfying than a happy ending when you most expect it.) The film was definitely going to be an 'artsy' one--Zooey Deschanel seems to favor the kind (even her role in the uber-commercial 'Elf' was subversive)--but the trailer seemed to offer the promise of love--or at least love-making--and indie romance is better than none. But [without disclosing too much] '(500) Days of Summer' didn't deliver the happy ending I was hoping for.

The filmmakers depicted a stunningly truthful and beautiful portrayal of love's realistic pitfalls. But in the film's cinematic universe, the characters are far more attractive than the rest of us and are able to pick up the pieces of a broken heart at a rather un-realistically rapid pace. The leads, played by Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, show much greater resilience and experience a good deal more luck than us mere non-actor mortals.

The movie is out on July 17th. See it for yourself. Perhaps the ending will satisfy you and your bizarre desire for realism in art. If nothing else, the soundtrack was pretty rad, featuring the likes of The Smiths, Feist, Hall & Oates, my absolute fave Regina Spektor, and other fine musicians.