Girls Who Take Too Many Pictures of Themselves

We've all been there, though this problem is especially rampant in Los Angeles. When trying to enjoy a meal at a restaurant you're distracted by the repeated flashing of bulbs at the adjacent table. A small group of girls (it's always girls) take repeated photos of themselves in various poses, hoping to grab a flattering shot for their Facebook pages. Usually, these girls update their photos once a week.

Multiple-self-photo-takers usually have the arm shot in the corner, a telltale sign that no other human has the patience to deal with their vanity.

A series of shots may include:

"Us holding up our margarita glasses!"
"Us making pouting kissy-faces!"
"Me grabbing my friend's boob because I'm soooooo crazy!"
"Me holding a cherry in my teeth!"
...and so on.

Thank God for Random Creepy Guy, sneaking into the background to ruin the photos of multiple-self-photo-takers. In the long run, he'll hopefully reducing that blinding flash that lashes at you in dark bars while enjoying cocktails, restaurants, and if you are a Random Creepy Guy yourself, at the Anime covention.


Escape to Palm Springs!

One of best things about living in L.A. is getting out of L.A.. All the quiet canyons in the world can't make up for the bustling energy of America's second largest city.

up and away
We escaped to Palm Springs! The Palms Springs Tramway sweeps you off the hot desert floor to the snowy peaks of the San Jacinto mountains. In ten minutes, we went from the low desert to 8,300 feet above sea level! With a 360 degree view and a tram that spins on the way up, it was breathtaking. And kind of terrifying. 

How is this OK???

Yeaaaa...what if a cable snapped?
different ecosystem at the top of the San Jacinto mountains
in thin air
We stayed at the Renaissance Esmeralda resort. While the place was teeming with children (which is hideous), it was gorgeous. It featured three pools, a bar in the middle of those three pools, waterfalls, an outdoor movie theatre in the sand, a gym, a spa, restaurants, boutiques and more.

one of the countless outdoor lounges, open all night & fire included

Cava, aglow in midcentury modern style - de rigueur in Palm Springs
It's also home to Stir Lounge, a hopping nightclub. Girls in spandex dresses and 4-inch heels passed by one night, all perfumed and bejeweled. I was covered in aloe from a day in the sun, wet hair and a hoodie. They looked great, but I couldn't be bothered. I wanted to sink into my hotel bed, watch HBO and eat my Peanut Butter Cups. It's not like I missed out on anything. I live in L.A.

in the lap of luxury
In fact, it seemed L.A. came to us! We dined in two different restaurants owned by Clint Eastwood. Well, he's a partial owner, but once you hear Clint Eastwood, all other names become white noise. He is the man. We dined at the Hog's Breath Inn and Jackalope Ranch. They sound like dusty watering holes, but both were in fact plush and modern. The Hog's Breath Inn twinkled with delicate glassware and candles, which were seamlessly juxtaposed with murals from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

The Good, The Bad and The Delicious

The Jackalope Ranch was a whimsical Western-themed hideaway, with stone slab interiors, piano bar and serious meat.

If Clint thinks this is cool, so do I!
It was a great trip, but like most, was too short. One needs a week at minimum to decompress from Los Angeles. So I stalled on the way home, going on my usual Palm Springs shopping spree, where the vintage is unbelievable. I scored a Japanese kimono-like shirt, seventies party dresses and a new Bandolino top. Not bad!

Dirty Harry martini and  a chocolatini

And if you're really  stalling on your drive back to L.A., stop at Cinemas Palme d'Or, which features quality and independent films, serves beer and gives an air-conditioned respite from the heat. I like it because the Palme d'Or is the most prestigious award given to films at the Cannes Film Festival. Good name. Good times.

One for the road - strawberry was the best


People that take themselves too seriously

I was at Bar Marmont a while back and couldn't help but notice Michael Stipe (lead singer of R.E.M.) sitting nearby. He was pouting, wearing all-black with a black beret and refusing to smile at his table of otherwise shiny, happy people. 

I was annoyed, but not because I think he's some celebrity monkey that needs to dance for me. I want to stress that if I saw any dude pouting in all black with a black beret it would bother me. Some people just take themselves too seriously.

Part of the reason for my anger is that Mr. Tortured Artist refuses to play the song Shiny Happy People on stage, no matter how bad his fans want it. His excuse? Apparently the song is really deep, and was making a mockery of a Chinese Communist propaganda poster. Um, yea. No one got that from the technicolor video of him flailing his arms and dancing with the redhead from the B-52's. So shut up and play the song that helped you be a millionaire courtesy of us.

Now that my rant has started, I should mention that Radiohead refuses to sing their iconic song Creep live. Yet another example of our money making these guys a bunch of self-important knuckleheads.

Oh, and the Beastie Boys refuse to play (You Gotta) Fight for your Right to Party. How do you like that? Apparently, they don't like jocks pump-fisting to that song because they say it was meant to make fun of those very people. Funny, that didn't come across in the video. And they certainly didn't seem that socially conscious when they recorded the song Girls which included the lines:

Do do the dishes.
To clean up my room.
To do the laundry.
And in the bathroom.

Oh but let me guess, that song was really deep too. They were probably exposing the dark underbelly of sexism in Hip Hop culture.


Spanish Love Affair

"That's so racist!" is my usual response when receiving an invite for an event geared towards the advancement of one race and one race only. However, I do embrace invites that celebrate a race's culture. And by culture, I mean an open bar and good food. So when I received a recent invite to an event about Latinos in media, the response went something like, "That's so rac...tacos?"

Not only was this party a celebration of Latino culture, but there were thoughtful discussions on Latinos in media today; how they are represented in TV and movies, Nielson ratings and more. I learned a lot. 

so much booze, you need a ladder
Playa Restaurant threw the bash, and their chic restaurant was decked with a floor-to-ceiling wine rack, a floor-to-ceiling bar with a library-like sliding ladder for bartenders, and light fixtures that looked like space age Muppets. They served lobster ceviche on homemade potato chips, chipotle caviar, quesadillas and asparagus cream soup with bacon. 

Best of all, their signature cocktails were made with fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs. They squeezed a rain forest of delights into our glasses. 

jungle juice, redefined

In order of importance:

Spanish Love Affair
vodka, red bell pepper, basil, lemon and agave nectar

Street Fighter
white rum, coconut cream, turmeric, pineapple and mint


Diving Bell
Single Village Mezcal, English gin, lime, falernum, caramelized pineapple gomme, yuzu and cayenne pepper

how many turmeric-wielding bartenders do you know?

drinking pure culture


Fashion's Night Out 2011

A lot of people claim that L.A. is devoid of fashion, and to be honest, I got a little angry when I saw this Spearmint Rhino-looking mess outside of Kitson for Fashion's Night Out:

dressed for the male gaze, not for beauty

But it got better. In fact, I had more fun than last year and took in a fashion show. Santa Monica Place had been closed for eons, had a giant L.A. Facelift and unveiled last year. It's now an open-air mall, sadly devoid of one-of-a-kind boutiques but filled with mall-ish stores of the uptown variety. Thankfully, there are exciting new features, like free KCRW concerts with everyone's crush, Jason Bentley, non-mall restaurants (take that, Sbarro!) and outdoor movies.

Laura Mercier makeover
Santa Monica Place stepped up for Fashion's Night Out with free makeovers, courtesy of Laura Mercier and Carlton Hair. Free ice cream samples, contests and best of all - a full-on fashion show. I can never deny that New York is the epicenter for American fashion. But like the song goes, "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with."

mini cupcakes at Brandy Melville

Amazing stuff from Betsey Johnson

wine and cheese spread at Kitson


Summer is NOT over

Capri, Italy - August 2011
Summer is NOT over. Summer is NOT over. It's a mantra I repeat as Indian Summer approaches. It all started during a Labor Day party we threw years ago. After the sliced watermelon, fireworks, water balloon fight and endless Negra Modelo, each of our guests walked away with a jade plant in a pot that read, "Summer is NOT over."

bike riding in Venice beach with Dawn Kohn & Kim Burke-Connors
I can feel my East Coast counterparts rolling their eyes. I know what they're thinking. What do I know of the sadness of summer being over? In Los Angeles, I won't have to deal with frozen windshields and bare trees. But aside from the subtle Californian cues from Mother Nature that summer is indeed over, the cultural cues inundate daily life. Back-to-school media is everywhere, the sun sets before I can finish hiking Fryman Canyon, and most importantly: the September issue of Vogue sits on my nightstand. January may be the new year on the calendar, but every woman knows that fall fashion is where we make a fresh new start on the year.
training the grapevines and bougainvillea

Pisa, Italy - August 2011
Am I ready for it? No. Why? Because I don't have to be. Summer is NOT over. But since it actually is, I've decided to share some of my favorite moments during this glorious season. This post is more personal than my others, but this summer was very special. We feel blessed and I can't help but share. Enjoy!

Xai Verandah, Sunset Strip


breaking into creepy Bottle Village, Simi Valley, CA
Rome! Carbs!
VIP pass at Six Flags Magic Mountain - A.K.A. Wally World!

gigantic cruise ship on the Mediterannean, with 3 sick water slides!


Capri, post-espresso pre-gelato

Sorrento, post-Limoncello

Hiking with the dogs, Griffith Park


Cava, Palm Springs

Blackjack, craps, roulette and Davinci's Mystery!

boating off the Amalfi Coast