Monday, November 30, 2009

in it to WIN IT: food, fun and freebies from NORMS Restaurants

If you live in LA...and you leave your have driven by a NORMS Restaurant. The big, block, all-caps lettering is iconic. As is the food inside.

Here are just a few reasons to love NORMS...

1. They serve breakfast all day. Any place that will serve me an omelet when I'm drunk at 3 in the morning is good in my book.

2. They are 'Open 24 hours a day-Every day of the year!' I have called to verify and yes, that does include St. Patty's Day, Rosh Hashana, and Secretary's Day. This is astonishing dedication to service.

3. Cool, musical hip people like NORMS. And because I am a sucker for trendy things, if Friendly Fires likes NORMS, then so do I.

4. The Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. Another restaurant might try to come up with some new-fangled version of this classic dish for its menu. NORMS keeps it real. We all like the Kraft version. Why mess with success.

5. NORMS is giving away free grub to 1 very lucky reader of this here blog. And we all love free grub. Because we're hungry and not yet very rich.

Entry form must be submitted by Monday, December 14th at 12 pm PST. One winner will be chosen at random and notified on Tuesday, December, 15th.

Follow NORMS on Twitter.
Become a NORMS fan on Facebook.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Shop: Whatever you do, don't buy these pants.

I peeked into Black Friday sales this weekend. Online. Because no handbag/denim/stiletto heel is worth live and in-person pushing through sweaty mall shoppers still smelling of pumpkin pie and turkey gizzards.

And on Intermix's website, I found these pants. If there is one thing I'd like to implore you not to buy this holiday season...or is these pants.

These Elise Øverland Metallic Stretch Pants Were: $1,495.00 and are Now: $1,049.00.

The item description reads as follows...

The ultimate in slim pant/leggings chic. These skinny beauties from EO are styled in heavy knit with pieced knees, and are completely overlaid with a coat of matte gunmetal metallic. The black backing does peek through somewhat here and there. The waist is 1 1/2" of heavy black ribbing and they have a side zipper. Unlined. In silver, which is really a more muted gunmetal.

a. I don't care how 'ultimate' these pants are. Unless these pants are overlaid with 24 k gold, anything over $100 is retail robbery.

b.Does a price reduction qualify as a sale if the cost of the leggings are still over a grand?

c. Does designer Elise Øverland know that American Apparel sells these same pants for $49?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving thanks for: knowing enough to be grateful.

In addition to my gratitude for sugar, sunny LA skies, and other small pleasantries, I am also hugely thankful for so many significant and wonderful things in my life.

Things I give thanks for (in no particular order)...

My friends. I am so lucky to have met so many wonderful folks on both coasts and in between. Thank you for being entertaining and funny, for helping me and letting me help you, for telling it like it is and sharing your wisdom.

My home. I may wish I didn't live in a studio apartment in a dirty neighborhood with no parking. But I am fortunate to have any home at all and I know this.

My family. Thank you for conceiving me, for bearing me, for tolerating me over the last few decades.

My options. I am hugely thankful that I have had the opportunity to shape my own life. I have made mistakes and I have made wonderful decisions and I am all too aware that many of the globe's inhabitants are not so lucky. Having free will keeps every day exciting. I wake up daily--astounded by, and grateful for, the choices that are mine to make.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Food Find: Shojin offers organic + vegan...sushi?!

Thanks to good pal Renee, I discovered Shojin Restaurant this afternoon. It's organic and natural. It's vegan. It's...Japanese?!

A totally strange concept, but a delicious one.

Amongst the many things I'd thought might belong in sushi, I had never considered barbeque seitan. But I'm into it.

The prices are reasonable. The food is fresh. And it's housed on the 3rd floor of a rad Little Tokyo shopping center. Which means you can get fed and get a tour through Japanese shopping culture.

And if you're not booked for Thanksgiving, neither are they. Make a reservation now for your vegan faux-Turkey Day meal.

333 S. Alameda Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013

[I would] give thanks for: room and board at Art Basel Miami Beach.

I understand that wishlists are reserved for the December holidays. That Thanksgiving's a time for gratitude, not requests. I get that. And that being said...

Thing I [WOULD] give thanks for No. 4: Round-trip airfare to Miami, hotel accommodations (nothing fancy--maybe the Gansevoort South or the Ritz Carlton South Beach), and a pass to Art Basel Miami Beach.

While it does make me sad that Shepard Fairey seems to be the only LA artist represented in the Art Salon panels (and they spelled his name wrong - 'Fairy' - and he is probably only on because of his recent legal woes), I could surely get over this. And quickly.

Esteemed musical artists, LMFAO, describe the Miami scene best in their recent hit single...

Drink all day
Play all night
Let's get it poppin
I'm in Miami Trick
Drink all day
Play all night
Let's get it poppin I'm in Miami Trick
I'm sure they had Art Basel in mind.

Art Basel Miami Beach takes place December 3 - 6, 2009. I am available to attend.

[Image Credit: Rosemary Laing, a dozen useless actions for grieving blondes #5, 2009]

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Giving thanks for: a frosting frenzy.

How thankful was I to have a day-old Crumbs cupcake in my fridge tonight? Very.

Not much beats skimming the frosting off a cupcake with a fork. No cake, no carbs, I tell myself. And telling yourself is half the battle [toward denial, ignorance and pretty happy bliss]. Because everyone knows the frosting alone is, like, totally not bad for you.

Thing I give thanks for No. 3: Sugary, buttery, awesome desserts.

If you happen to be near any of the locations of this growing sugar empire this week, I'd like to try the 'White Hot Chocolate' cupcake next. Scoop that up for me by Thursday and I may even throw you onto the list of things I give thanks for.

A champagne for weight-watching merry-makers.

Finally, there's a sparkling wine for every eating disorder dietary restriction. Just in time for the holidays.

Laurent Perrier's low-sugar Ultra Brut bubbly has a whopping 18 calories less per serving than the regular stuff.

And, according to VitalJuice, 'Kate Moss is reported to be a fan!' What a surprise that the model recently quoted as saying that 'Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels,' should have a diet alternative to even her booze. Because even mild anorexics like to have fun.

Buy Laurent Perrier Ultra Brut NV.

[via VitalJuice]

Giving thanks for: looking forward.

Thing I give thanks for No. 2: So many things on the horizon.

Main Entry: excited state
Function: noun
Date: 1927
: a state of a physical system (as an atomic nucleus, an atom, or a molecule) that is higher in energy than the ground state

[via Merriam Webster]
[Image Credit: Getty Images]

Monday, November 23, 2009

Giving thanks for: agreeable temperatures and mountain trails.

It's officially Thanksgiving week. Sure, the holiday's not for a few more days. But the spirit of a short work week has already overcome me and I'm feeling thankful.

Thing I give thanks for No. 1: Blue skies and warm weather in Los Angeles.

It is not everywhere that one can go hiking. In a tank top. In late November.

Some pics from the trek up Griffith Park yesterday...

Warm weather fosters growth: cold weather destroys it.
- Hung Tzu-Cheng
[Image Credit: Jessie B. R. via her very crappy Blackberry cam]

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Shop: Temperley London (aka, my favorite new store on Melrose Place)

On a little street called Melrose Place and through a little alleyway that screams whispers delicacy and fancy-pants activity, is LA's Temperley London boutique.

I met John, the store's enthusiastic, adorable and well-heeled manager, the other night and had promised to drop by. So I did. And I am so glad for it.

The bridal collection--to die for. To all my lovely girlfriends who have recently become engaged, you must visit. To all my gent friends who've proposed, go rent a tux instead of buying and invest the difference in your bride-to-be's Templerley gown like a good boy.

For the non-betrothed, there's the original ready-to-wear collection that goes from flowy to fierce. With gigantic belts to tie it all together in between.

And good news for those of us who are neither planning weddings, nor sitting on trust funds (because the price points here are nothing to scoff at)--there are rumors of a lower priced line from Temperley (ala the house's 2007 collaboration with Target) to come this Spring. And though we adore the real thing, we do love, love, love lower prices.

Temperley London
8452 Melrose Place
Los Angeles, CA 90069

P.S. - There may (or may not) be an amazing sale starting in-store this weekend. Shhhh....

For all the beautiful, lonely people.

Daul Kim, a Korean model-just 20 years old, killed herself the other day. On her blog, she'd recently written...

i just know

the more i gain

the more lonely it is

In a previous entry, she had posted this cartoon version of one of my favorite books from childhood, The Giving Tree, which I never knew existed and am happy now to know exists.

Farewell to all the lonely, beautiful people.

Ms. Kim.

Mr. Silverstein.

The tree.

The boy.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Children I would give away include killers, crazies and poorly styled teens

Alyssa Bustamante happily qualifies on all three counts.

I adore children and like to say I will love my own no matter what. That I'll be tolerant of their quirks, their insecurities and their potential [god-forbid] slovenliness.

But c'mon. Could no one see a psychotic adult brewing in this Alyssa girl?

Mine or not, I would've seen it coming. I would've marched that bad hair and those crazy eyes outta my house. I would've taken this kid where the sun don't shine and thrown away the key.

As it stands, no one did deal with this 'situation,' otherwise known as a 15 year old psychopath. And she killed a six year old neighbor girl in October. One who wasn't out of her mind and I'm sure would've grown up quite nicely.

Making Alyssa Bustamante No. 1 on the list of kids I'd give away.

[via Gawker]

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Worthy Reads: The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley.

Tonight, my out-of-town mother and I wandered into Echo Park's incredible independent bookstore, Stories [which incidentally turned 1 today--congrats Stories!] and I picked up a picture book I hadn't read before.

The story goes like this...

Riley, a rat, is content with life's simplest pleasures (food, family, his one and only love), whereas humans never cease to aspire to achieve more (better food, a larger home, better and more beautiful mates, and so on).

And the take-away message is summed up over the book's last few pages...

This is why it's never a good idea for people to compare their lives to animals. You will only end up feeling depressed...

because realizing that rats have a better life than you do, is really, really sad.

And the answer is very simple really--you just have to be happy with a lot less.

Release your inner Riley

The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley is so poignant, so truthful, that it seems almost unfit for children. But, I remember, children are much more accepting of truth than us adults. And some messages are best learned at Reading Level-Ages 4 through 8.

Buy the book on Amazon.

Memories of an Artist and her Art. Memories of Jean-Claude.

Jean-Claude, one half of the environmental artist duo known as Christo and Jean Claude, passed away yesterday. New Yorkers will remember this pair for the orange sheets that swept over Central Park for 15 days during the winter of 2005. The Gates was a project that, I will admit, seemed ridiculous to me at the time. To spend so much time and resources to erect a temporary sea of orange flags didn't [and doesn't] make full sense to me. But after I mocked the project for many days, I did finally go. I went with a friend. And I'm sure we were freezing. And I'm sure we had snacks as we often did back then. But we went, as did countless other New Yorkers. And we all walked through Central Park that February to gawk, and mock and wonder at miles of orange trail that, as ridiculous as it was, was really quite tremendous.

[Photo Credit: Wolfgang Volz via Christos and Jean Claude]

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Design Dish: Zac Posen sells chic for cheap[er] with Z Spoke.

Just last night, friends and I were discussing the ups and downs and ins and outs of designers' shift toward lower end lines. Alberta Ferretti has Philosophy de Alberta Ferretti. Karl Lagerfeld's got K Karl Lagerfeld. Marc Jacobs has Marc by Marc Jacobs. And the list of houses with lower priced looks goes on and on. This is not to mention the designers who are reaching American shoppers through retailers like Target and Walmart. Selling to the masses has not only become trendy--with the economy as it dismally stands today, it's become a necessity.

The latest to join the ranks of designers reaching us poor peons is Zac Posen, whose Z Spoke collection will hit Saks stores this Spring.

And I, for one [poor girl amongst the masses], am excited.

[via WWD]

Shop: All I want for the secular holidays is...

It's almost Thanksgiving. Which means it's almost the holidays. Now, were I still a practicing Jew, I might reap the benefits of the 8 glorious days of Hannukah. I don't remember the full story of the oil and the lights and all that hullabaloo. But I do remember the 8 consecutive nights of gift receiving from my childhood. And I miss those days. As it stands now, holiday time doesn't signify much more than a few days off and an overload of wreaths in public places.

Well, I want to bring the gifts back. Friends, family, fans [and maybe Santa?]--please behold my holiday wish list...because a secular girl can still be a material girl.

Gifts to satisfy Yours Truly...or whoever's on your shopping list...

PhotobucketPerfect pictures. You know how the pictures on this blog are often just a little bit off? The lighting seems poor or the resolution just plain sucks? That's because I'm shooting with a 3 year old point and shoot. Or worse yet--occasionally my flash-less Blackberry. The number one item on my wishlist this year? A Nikon D60.

Deliver it raw. I want to be healthy. I do, I do, I do. But my dinners usually consist of boxed foods and flavor packets. Santa Monica's Rawvolution has just the solution for my cooking woes: The Box. Weekly delivered meals include 'Nut Loaf with BBQ Sauce' and a 'Mock Turkey Sandwich.' And yes, those do sound good to me.

Enlighten me. Reading Vanity Fair makes me feel one step closer to the well-dressed, well-read and well-cultured. Cause if you can't beat 'em...and you can't join ' about 'em. A subscription would offer me 12 months of highfalutin culture via VF's glossy pages.

PhotobucketSophisticated patterns. Plaid is in this season...again. But looking like a hipster in an oversized plaid button down is not for me. Instead, I'd rather don Topshop's super cute Dress Coat and fill both my trend quotient and my desperate need for warmer garments.

Photobucket Delicate drinking. Is anything cuter than drinking out of animal shaped glassware. No. Decidedly, no. These Animal Head Shot Glasses at MollaSpace are just the thing to get your friends completely wasted in absolute style and grace.*

* The 'grace' part only applies until words start slurring.

Affordable art. I am out of room on the walls of my studio and I am also--I'll admit it--out of money in the bank for new art. Blood is the New Black offers affordable pieces from your favorite artists. They also kill two birds with one stylish stone. The pieces are wearable tee shirts, you lucky art fans. I like this tee by one of my fave LA artistas, Kime Buzzelli.

PhotobucketResponsible reading. Author Jonathan Safran Foer (Everything is Illuminated) has tackled new subject matter with Eating Animals, a chronicling of his year investigation into meat eating. I'm already a vegeterian, yes. But I'm always in need of new fodder for the veg fire.

Do good. While I don't agree with the 'give at the holidays' mentality--I don't think generosity should be limited to Jesus' birthday--I can't argue with giving. And I encourage you to give the gift of giving to your pals. and are two great organizations that help do the good work for you.

N.B. - Hannukah begins at sundown on December 11th this year. And since I'm closer to Jewish than anything else, you better hit those stores soon my friends. Or, in light of my secular stance, I suppose I can accept your gifts at any point.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sounds: currently listening to...The Swell Season

I like that she's got this pre-nose job Greek Goddess look going on. And that she keeps it real with no makeup. And that she's sort a of a 'rounder' version of Claire Danes.

I like that he looks like a mountain man with perfectly styled hair. And is bearded. And is probably [no, I'm certain is] sensitive.

I like The Swell Season.

Listen to the Swell Season on MySpace.

Blog Love: Wendy MacNaughton is an artist. I am a fan.

Most of the time, the people who find me on Facebook are crazies. They live in Chile and they've found me through a friend who I don't even know that well. And they want to befriend me so that they may subsequently ask me to be their fan and buy their music and support them at their comedy shows and care about what they're eating for breakfast.

Occasionally fate steps in and Wendy MacNaughton from San Francisco finds me on Facebook. And then I find her blog. And I become a huge, huge fan.

Visit Wendy MacNaughton's blog here and check out her amazing, smart art.

[Painting by Wendy MacNaughton]

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunday at the Santa Monica Farmers Market [Gallery]

Every Sunday in Santa Monica, yuppies meet hippies meet health nuts at the Main Street Farmers Market. Why do I love it here?

1. There are children. Not just any children, but West Side children. And that means ridiculous outfits, free spirits, and lots of dancing. Peep this girl with the mismatched everything, topped off with a strawberry hat. Only in Santa Monica.

2. There are animals. And the crazy-looking kids can ride them. I do look forward to adult size animals in the future so that I might get a go. But for now...

3. There's music. The acts vary each week. And they're not always great. And sometimes they have bad names like the 'Jazz Mammals.' But that's cool. Beggars can't be choosers and tunes from poorly named bands are better than none.

4. There's a bike valet. Because Santa Monica is green. And we like that.

5. There are men with badly patterned shorts and [gasp] ankle bracelets who proudly go topless. I say this to those men: if you are going to go topless, please make sure the clothing you are wearing is tolerable.

6. Vendors have got all sorts of weird, ugly and occasionally cool things to buy.

7. Most importantly there is food to buy. There are fruits and other healthy grocery items, yes. But there are also pancakes the size of your first desktop computer...

And crepes that are made to order...

And omelets served with the best breakfast potatoes I've had in a long while...

9. There is no lack of people watching. Both good and bad.

10. And it's like 2 flipping blocks from the ocean. Which makes Sunday brunch at the Farmers Market just about as spectacular as a bonus at Christmas time.

Click here for the Santa Monica Farmers Market's vendor list, schedule of performances and more.

The RSVP Line: Vintage Swap Party at WGACA

What's new...and old...and boozy all over? What Goes Around Comes Around's Vintage Swap Party happening tonight at the vintage giant's Hollywood location.


Monday, November 16th
7pm to 9pm

Join co-hosts:

Alexi Wasser of I'm Boy Crazy
Monica Rose, Stylist
Geri Hirsch, Founder of Because I'm Addicted

Swap vintage with LA’s most stylish tastemakers and take home fresh designs from the best closets in the city*

Music by DJ Magdalena

Complimentary drinks by Tito’s Vodka and KARMA California Brut

1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Suite 4
Hollywood, CA

RSVP to:

*Bring 1 to 4 quality vintage items

Friday, November 13, 2009

Food Find: AOC and its rhyming deal nights.

AOC is new to no one in LA [but me]. Well, foodies and friends, I've finally eaten there. On Wednesday night I dined in the much-raved-about West 3rd Street wine bar and tapas restaurant with friends, old and new--Alberta Ferretti's PR maven, WWD's bestest retail editor, a fabulous LA newbie, and a bonafide Navy Seal--we were like a motley Veteran's Day crew of veteran fashionistas and, well, real veterans.

The service: Awesome. Our waiter helped us to select 12 tapas, meaty and veggie, as we were all a bit too fatigued to comb through the extensive menu of small plates ourselves.

The food: Good. I don't want to say fabulous. There were mushrooms in at least one of the veggie dishes after all (I loathe mushrooms nearly as much as I loathe poverty in Africa). But it was definitely on the good to great scale.

The verdict: Pricey, but tasty. I'd return. In fact, I'd be very interested to return for the restaurant's 'Flights & Bites on Monday Nights' evening of $12 flights and $8 bites. Not just because I like marketing taglines that rhyme. But also because my wallet may not be able to handle a return to AOC under any other circumstance.

8022 West 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048

art in LA: Barry McGee and Philip Frost 'mindthegap'

Last night I had the great pleasure of working at the opening of West Hollywood's new Prism Gallery. The gallery is the artsy baby of young [like, really, really young] fellow PC Valmorbida. With ties to Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld (yes, as in French Vogue Editor's Carine Roitfeld's son) and other fabulous young art fiends from both coasts and abroad, the gallery is intended to bring a little bit of New York's young, but sophisticated art culture to LA.

The show that opened the new space last night (to much celebrity, skater, and fashiony fanfare) is 'mindthegap.' Curated by RVCA founder PM Tenore, it features San Fran's Barry McGee (who had an awesome show at LA's REDCAT just last year) and NYC's Phil Frost.

My favorite part of the show? The eery mannequin who quietly and slowly graffittied allllll night long at the show's entrance. Yes, I almost talked to him several times. No, I had not been drinking.

mindthegap will be open to the public from November 20, 2000 - February 20, 2010. Go check it out.

Prism Gallery
8746 West Sunset Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA