Thursday, September 30, 2010

Half Pint No More

Half Pint is what my father called me most of my childhood.  I was a very tiny gymnast for 12 long years.  Once I stopped and put the 4 hour a day workouts behind me, I gained weight.  It's been a struggle ever since to keep things in check.  Lately, I'm feeling more like a gallon than a half pint.  So, I'm starting my next challenge and my unlucky hubby has found himself caught in the fray!  My challenge to him is this: he can't drink alcohol for 30 days!  Oh boy.  As for me, well, I have grueling workouts and a special diet.  Listen, if I have to suffer, then so does he!!  My new obsession is the petite pint sized powerhouse Tracy Anderson and I'm going to start her 30 Day Method today!!  Wish me luck because if I get back to half pint size status then my man can get back to full pint status in the pub.  Win win, baby, win win.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Hmmm..... Not sure what I think of Cafe M in Malibu.  Went on a date there with my man over the weekend and it was such a mishmash of things that it's hard to really put my finger on what exactly they are tyring to accomplish.  The setting is amazing - we took a long drive down PCH along the glittering ocean, then turned up a winding road heading into the Canyon.  Romantic.  Pulling up to Calamigos Ranch, we see millions of little dazzling lights hanging from the trees - this must be the place.  After we valet our car we walk down a path that looks like this:
Lovely - right?  The only problem is it's dotted with signs that let people know where to find their wedding venue (you see, there are 4 weddings on the ranch that night) and the signs are plastic and tacky. blech.  However we march along and come to this:
M Cafe!  It's charming, that's for sure.  When we reach the restaurant, we have a choice, outdoor seating on the lawn, or the deck.  The deck is cozy, fires blazing from metal sculptures that look like over sized flowers, crystal chandeliers hanging above the bar area - looks perfect to me.  The lawn has canopy seating.  It's quaint, however a touch Miami-ish for a Ranch.  Also, a bit amiss are the white lounge beds littering the lawn - again, more South Beach than homestead.  This place would be amazing if it embraced the intimate setting more deserving of such a rustic, rural lodge. We opted for the deck.
Had a nice dinner, food was decent to borderline good..... I'd go back.  Next time, I'll have them set up a fire on the lawn (they have firepits) and relax around it with a glass (or bottle) or wine.  Maybe I'll even challenge my man to a game of pool - did I mention there is one set up on the lawn with a chandelier hanging above it? Again, a touch cheese-mo but, hey, whatever.... something different - right? 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Art Of The Chase

So, I'm driving through the Malibu Country Mart and this incredible vehicle catches my eye as I caught it's eye:
I know I've seen this art somewhere before but I can't place it and I LOVE IT!  It's covered in all sorts of positive sayings "Do What You Love", "Don't Do A Thing Just Because", "Remember Who You Are", etc.  I can't find the owner but I see a web address on the side and google it.  Turns out it's owned by an artist named Chase.  It's all coming together now- I've seen Chase's work all over Venice.  He does phenomenal Murals all over the world but the highest concentration is right here in LA.  I'm dying to visit his studio in Los Feliz and buy a painting for my house.  Chase's art is pure positive energy.  If you haven't seen his work, you can catch him and MANY other artists at the Artworks For A Cure benefit at Bergamot Station this Sunday, September 26th from 1-6.  It's presented by the T.J. Martell Foundation which provides grants for innovative, early stage research for the cause, treatment and cure of cancer, leukemia and AIDS.  There will be over 50 painters, sculptures and photographers, wine, music, live auction and cuisine by Crustacean Restaurant.  I wish I could be there, but unfortunately life is going to get in the way of this one... I'll have to chase him down another time!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's A Double Standard!!

Dennis Hopper Double Standard

If you were planning on attending Dennis Hopper's Double Standard Show at MOCA's Geffen Contemporary, you better hop to it because these are the final days - it's over September 26th!  Unfortunately, the exhibit hasn't gotten rave reviews.  Many think the late actor's art is mediocre at best but all tend to agree he lived an extraordinarily, fantastical life.  This is what I'm most excited about - to view this collage of stills that show a life well lived; full of remarkable people, bizarre events and incredible places.  Lucky for us, Dennis Hopper had the ware with all to capture a good chunk of his incredible life in 200 or so black and white documentary photographs that make up the centerpiece of this show and I'm not going to miss the opportunity to get a glimpse inside his world - hope to see you there!  

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Open A Book And You'll Open Your Mind

Where can you visit the Sistine Chapel, gaze upon a sea of divine derriere, design your dream home and peek behind the curtain of Coppola's masterpiece "The Godfather" all under the same roof?  TASCHEN in Beverly Hills- that's where!! There are only three Taschen stores in the United States and California is lucky enough to have one of them!  I adore art books - they are the perfect conversation starter, offer an exciting way to introduce your kids to new and interesting things, make fabulous gifts and look extraordinary on your coffee table. Taschen, celebrating their 30th Anniversary this year,  has mastered the art of publishing some of the greatest artists of our lifetime.  They are know for publishing innovative, beautifully designed art books at popular prices.  Walking through their store is like stepping into a whole new world.  When you open a book, you're opening your mind to new possibilities - WHAT is better than that??

Friday, September 17, 2010

Venice Art Crawl

I had such a wonderful time last night at the Venice Art Crawl!  There was a bit of everything: mixed media, sculpture, paintings, photographs, live music, DJ sets, food, wonderful people, wine, etc.  I went into so many buildings and stores that I've never even noticed before.  It was fabulous!!  I will definitely go back next month!!  Hope to see you all there!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It's Cyclical

I haven't worked out in ages!!  All summer long it's been one excuse after another.  Now that the kids are back in school, I'm running out of excuses.  So, this morning I found my way back to my favorite spinning joint:  Kinetic Cycling in Brentwood.   This place is modern, clean and green!  The Keiser bikes are light years ahead of any other bikes I've ridden.  The whole place is outfitted with LED lights AND it's even a test site for a new kind of bike that generates power for the facility!  Above and beyond all that, the instructors and the music/videos on the flat screen can't be beat.
My instructor today was John, (also the owner) and he has been spinning for 20 years - this guy knows exactly how to keep you moving.  Just when I thought I'd had enough I heard him scream "You came here with your time..... not to spend it, or waste it, but to INVEST it!!" - pure motivation!
pic from website
I'm so happy to be back in the saddle again.  Had a great time today and I'll be back next week to sweat my arse off (literally!).

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Must Be Something In The Air

How rad are these hats??  We had my son's 7th Birthday party over the weekend and these hats were the parting gifts for his friends!!  After a lot of research online, I decided to go with an artist named Neneki "Nick" McGee, owner of Artistic Graphics.  Nick is a Los Angeles Artist that has won numerous awards and has had his art featured in several Hip Hop  music videos and photo shoots.  We were incredibly lucky to have him at the party.  He was the most wonderful, positive, patient man with all the kids - he even showed my daughter how to work the airbrush gun and let her make a hat herself!!  Everywhere Parish wore his hat today somebody told him how great it was and asked who did it!!  If you are searching for a unique idea for a parting gift or need a great artist for your school fundraisers or looking to commission a hot piece of art for yourself, you must check Nick out!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Raising Cane!

This just looks bad for you - doesn't it?  We all know Cane is sugar and sugar is BAD - but guess what -   Drinking Raw Cane Super Juice is nothing but GOOD for you!  That's right!  Diabetes is sweeping through our nation right now and many are turning toward artificial sweeteners in hopes that it's better for them, but it isn't - in fact refined sugars and processed sweeteners are pretty much single-handedly responsible for the wave of diabetes attacking us.  I'm LOVING this drink - I use it every morning in my smoothies instead of agave.  It's pressed from a raw grass, therefore it's rich in chlorophyll and minerals and has a super low glycemic index (lower than agave).  In addition, it's an anti-oxidant, internal cleanser and energizer; an unrefined, unprocessed, complete superfood!!  I buy mine at Whole Foods (in the freezer section) but you can also find it at some Farmers Markets such as Culver City, Silverlake and Studio City (among others).
If all this wasn't reason enough, listen to this:  Raw Cane Super Juice is grown locally by California family owned, non-corporate, chemical-free/organic farms!  It is a zero-waste, cyclic business. They use compostable and recyclable containers and all post-juice cane waste is donated to local growers for compost and fuel!!  So go ahead and Raise Cane!  It'll be a good thing for once!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Now This Place Has Got The Goods!!

I looooooove when I find a neighborhood store that has unique gifts for just about anyone on my list!!  Goods LA is just that place!  Picky girlfriend that has everything??  How about a beautiful succulent arrangement from  Roots & Stems?  Here is a picture of the one I bought for myself today. 

Beautiful isn't it?  I'm also crazy about the felt bowls surrounding it - they are filled with felt rocks made by an artist named Birte Reimer - I will definitely be back for these!  Need a gift for a new bambino?  I did.  Believe me, this was not an easy decision....there are adorable felt hats and baby booties from Kyrgyzstan, hand-knit, organic cotton blankets from Bolivia.... then... I saw them!! These dreamy, little, sleeping felt animals - HAD TO HAVE THEM!
I'm almost done shopping when I spot the cutest little Bento lunch box!  This is a perfect gift for my kids for the first day of school this Monday.  I'm a sucker for any kind of Bento lunch box - my kids have 4 of them a piece!  This one was irresistible: 

The last item on my list is soap.  Not just any soap.... my favorite soap!! Compagnie De Provence's entire collection of Savon De Marseille!  Seeing as how I'm almost out, I pick some up!

I decided on the Fig - lovely.

Now the only thing I need is a bag to carry it all in and what do ya know?  There are some delicious plastic totes made from a Collective in Bolivia begging me to carry my goods home in!!

All I have to do now is hope my husband doesn't read this post!  It was an expensive one!!  Check out Goods LA if you have the chance, you won't be disappointed!
pic taken from web site

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Donabe Love

My favorite Donabe Lady (don't we all have one?) is Naoko Moore.  Naoko is from Tokyo, but now lives in Los Angeles and she has the most wonderful blog chock full of delicious recipes.  Don't know what a Donabe is?  Let me explain.... Donabe is an earthenware pot made out of special clay for use over an open flame in the Japanese kitchen.  My go-to, sure to impress meal for dinner guests is Shabu-Shabu, cooked over a gas burner right at the dinner table.  It's an undeniable conversation starter, healthy, easy and ALWAYS sure to impress.  In Japan it has long been believed that sharing a meal from a single pot forges closer relationships.  Here is a picture of a traditional Shabu-Shabu dinner I made for friends and family on Christmas Eve last year:
Naoko imports several amazing products on her site Toiro such as a Homemade Tofu Kit, Donabe Rice Cooker, Donabe Smoker, Soup and Stew Donabe, Iga-yaki Grill, etc.  Her site is dreamy!!  Each of her Donabe are imported and made from a skilled craftsman in the Iga region of Japan.  Iga-Yaki pottery is one of Japan's most highly-regarded traditional ceramics.  Whenever I need a spectacular gift for one of my foodie friends, I order one of Naoko's beautiful Donabe and pair it with my favorite hot pot cookbook: "Japanese Hot Pots, conforting one-pot meals".  

This present is a sure fire hit!  You can view the authors of this book making one of my favorite recipes at this link.  This meal is a knock-out!  In addition to the incredible products on her site, Naoko also offers cooking classes!!  I've been dying to take a class with Naoko, however she is all the way in Echo Park (which is half way around the world for me in LA traffic) but I've put it off long enough.  My goal is to get there before the end of the year!  Echo Park isn't too far to drive for my Donabe Love.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Be A Whistle Blower For Peace

A lot of you have asked about the whistle I'm wearing in the picture with the Hawaii Aviator Nation T-Shirt.... well - here is the info so you can get your own!  Falling Whistles is an amazing non-profit.  100% of the proceeds are used to rehabilitate war-affected children in the Congo and advocate for their freedom.  The story is very sad:  Boys that have been captured by the rebel army and are not big enough to hold a gun are given a whistle and put on the front lines of battle.  They are called the Whistle Blowers.  As the site tells you, "their sole duty is to make enough noise to scare the enemy and then to receive - with their bodies - the first round of bullets.  Lines of boys fall as nothing more than a temporary barricade".  Horrible.  I wear my whistle to be an advocate for these children.  People ask me about it every time I have it on.  Let's all be Whistle Blowers for peace!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tortoise Has The Lead

This Venice gem is ahead of the game when it comes to supplying fabulous gifts and beautiful housewares.   I buy presents at Tortoise General Store (TGS) for EVERYONE: children, friends, parents etc.  TGS was started by Keiko and Taku Shinomoto, a husband and wife team from Tokyo, Japan.  Each hand picked item is either designed or manufactured in their native land, which gives every piece a special, unique quality.  The big bonus is that on occasion, if your lucky, you can participate in one of their extraordinary events.  In the past these have included a Soba Workshop, Floral Workshop, Handweaving Workshop and a Wood Carving Class.  This is absolutely one of my favorite stores in Venice - Be sure to race on over the next time you need that special something for someone (or yourself!!)