Peacocks in Pasadena! SWEARS!

Yes I am defensive about this. No one believed me. While hiking the hills of Pasadena what did I see? A family of peacocks. Yep, just milling around someones front yard. No leashes, no gate - they weren't pets. I looked to my left. I looked to my right. I had no witnesses. I had no camera. So I just...stared.

I frantically I searched the Internet. Peacocks were native to India, and I wondered what they were doing "in the wild" here. At the time, info was scarce. I asked around, and some kindly old lady told me that a long time ago, some peacocks escaped the Los Angeles Arboretum in nearby Arcadia and began breeding in the wild. I should have gotten her name and number, for when I reported this to my friends, they told me I was dreaming. 

Not too long ago, tidbits starting tricking in online. This realtor calls Arcadia the "unofficial home of the wild peacock." This designer sells peacock feathers to help feed "the wild peacocks that graze the Pasadena foothills." And the clincher? BOOM!!! Arcadia Animal Control, fool!

The point: I am not crazy. Thank you.


Ask the Hot Chick

An expert...life coach?

I have to be careful about how I write this one. One false move and readers will assume I am toe up and pissed about it.

Studies have shown that good-looking children are favored by their teachers. Good looking men are rumored to be less likely good in bed, cook or have a sense of humor because they don't have to. Gorgeous women are reputed to have a sense of entitlement because of preferential treatment they've grown accustomed to. Of course, this isn't always the case, but I'm laying some groundwork so you know where I'm going with this.

The point: Good looking people in general have an altered sense of reality because of their special treatment. So much so, that in Los Angeles, one can achieve fame with it.

There's a website called Ask the Hot Chick, where it's assumed you'll get better advice since they're...hot.

This makes the assumption that:
  • All hot chicks can relate to everyday problems
  • Normal-looking people and (gasp!) even the unattractive cannot be trusted with your problems.
  • Average-looking people do not possess the tools to solve problems.
Are you kidding me? Average people invented the tools and the tricks. They had to learn to be funny, how to cook, master beauty techniques to make the most of what they had and actually try out all those pick-up lines. They learned things on their own and never had others do it for them. Sure Dr. Phil's a joke, but you gotta love Dr. Ruth. She was never a great beauty, so you know homegirl had some tricks.

"Zis eez ze perfect size!"


Gallery Openings: A New York cliche goes West

Matthew Blackwell with art patron

Don't gallery openings seem like a rite of passage for grown-ups? If you're invited to them, you feel like you're still attached to the buzzing epicenter of a city's culture.  Gallery exhibitions of the highest order always took place in New York, where dazed models in backless dresses held flutes of Champagne. So said the movies and Sex and the City, anyway.

Painting by Matthew Blackwell

But the art world has been evolving in L.A. for quite some time. The Downtown Art Walk is an event so great, it unifies the entire city. Venice Beach and other enclaves have since followed suit.  Young artists are taking up residence in airy lofts in our newly-revitalized downtown - and the creative energy is palpable. Writer Mary Melton from Los Angeles magazine wrote about how LACMA's outdoor art installation (among other things) have turned that part of Wilshire into our city's new piazza. And don't even get me started on my obsession with Gallery 1988.

What got me hooked on Matthew Blackwell

I went to the SENSATIONS of the Heart and Spirit exhibit in West Hollywood, and took a liking to Matthew Blackwell's art. Admittedly, I'd been a fan since discovering his bunny sculpture collection.  3D glasses hung from the ceiling, and visitors were welcome to slip them on and enjoy his Organic Mechanical paintings. Points for originality. While the colors were carefully juxtaposed to create a pop when 3D glasses were put on, it was even more interesting to see him use multiple moving parts to create the shape of an image that wasn't actually there. Also, his work feels unabashedly Southern Californian.

Matthew Blackwell and myself

While I may see something different every time I look at his paintings, there's no mistaking the way this collection makes me feel. I see a mix of pop art and graffiti. If his art had a soundtrack, it would be Sublime. If it had a taste, it would be carne asada fries after a night of drinking. It feels tribal, but looks modern. It's mechanical like a machine, but fluid like the human body. It's the beach and the inner city, all in one. It feels like like Los Angeles.


From Gritty to Gorgeous: Ludis Extensions at Beauty on Robertson

Much ado has been made of Jennifer Aniston's hair. For two decades, we can say she was almost defined by it. It started with "The Rachel" and morphed over the years into a longer, blonder, beachier style. But the worst kept secret in town is out. She owes her tresses to hair extensions. And she's not the only one. From the Kardashian sisters to Beyonce, this glamorous upgrade is here to stay.

I wanted in on this trend, but was afraid to get my feet wet. You hear horror stories of cheap extensions gone wrong, or maybe I just watched Clueless one too many times. But these stories confirm what is true. You have to go for quality, and when you do, it's worth every penny. What better place to get gorgeous than Beverly Hills? What better product to use than top-of-the-line brand Ludis Charming Instinct? I stole away on Saturday to a Beverly Hills gem called Beauty on Robertson, and walked out a new woman.

Cold heat? I don't have to understand it to appreciate it!

Ludis uses real Indian hair,  which is so thick and silky, it made me insecure about my own tresses.  Beauty expert Denise Genova, the owner of Beauty on Robertson supplied a perfect color match with highlights to boot. As she worked me over in her gorgeous salon, many of my questions were answered. The extensions would not destroy my hair, as Ludis uses cold heat to seal the bonds. Also, my hair won't be "precious." I can brush my hair at liberty; the extensions won't slip out. I can blow-dry, flat-iron and curl my hair, so long as I avoid placing the heat tools on the tiny bonds.  No one will see the extensions if I put my hair up because Denise Genova is a master of disguise, knowing just where to place every strand. And fellow stylist Christina is the master at perfecting beachy waves.

Seriously getting my money's worth!

Last but not least was the fear of breaking the bank. But a few rows of extensions are just a few hundred dollars, and the hair looks great for up to 3-4 months. The full Monty can go from $700 - $1,500. But considering all that it entails, it seems only natural. I spent hours in the salon getting meticulously groomed as if I were royalty. And what better place to do it? Upon entering, you're offered hot coffee or gourmet teas, and can explore the gorgeous garden out back. But the best part is sitting in the mirror and watching yourself get hotter and hotter! It bears to mention that Denise Genova has also built a strong customer base due to her long-term pricing. It keeps them loyal, which is rare in an age where bargain hunters flock from one Groupon deal to the next.

Who wouldn't want to spend a few hours here?

All in all, I highly recommend a sexy summer upgrade with hair extensions. I'm a more glamorous version of myself. If you want it to look natural and shiny, use Ludis hair extensions, and if you want them done right, be on par with Hollywood's elite and and let Denise at Beauty on Robertson take care of you. I am one happy customer.