Category Archives: check it out

Fabulous Friday Finds!

I was listening to my favorite podcasts the other day (Tranquility du Jour) and the guests being interviewed mentioned that she does a regular feature called Friday Finds. Unfortunately, I’m listening to about 6 months worth of podcasts out of order, so I can’t find who it was that was being interviewed.

But I still thought it was a fun idea and something that I wanted to run with. I’m thinking that it’s something that I’ll eventually get on all my blogs since they all have different focuses.

So here we go…

Fabulous Friday Finds #001

  • Tranquility du Jour: I was first introduced to Kimberly Wilson at a recent Ladies Who Launch event. Since then, I’ve read her book, started listening to her podscasts and signed up for her Tranquilista Lifestyle ecourse. Definitely a fun resource (and as I said above, part of the inspiration behind this new feature).
  • Happy: a super fun online store (they also have a location here in LA). They’ve got it all, gift items, kitchen and housewares, unique decorating items. Very fun.
  • Papaya Art: Years ago, my very first job was at a card and gifts store in Princeton. I have since been crazy for cards and stationary. I was just introduced to Papaya Art and of course, I had to buy some cards. And a cool, new, blissed-out water bottle. Right now, I’m totally coveting some of the art panels and the canvas giclee wall hangings (good thing my birthday is coming up soon).

Mark Bittman’s TED Talk: What’s Wrong With What We Eat

I have a love/hate relationship with Mark Bittman.  I think he’s a cool enough guy.  I enjoy reading his blog in the NY Times.  I use his How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food cookbook when I need quickie steps on how to cook something correctly (like tonight’s tomorrow’s zucchini).

But sometimes he just rubs me the wrong way (as he often did during the PBS On the Road Again-Spain…A Culinary Road Trip).  Or how the basics he might keep in his kitchen are totally and completely different than what many of us normal folks might keep in our kitchens (as illustrated here in this ’07 article, Summer Express: 101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less).

That said…

This is another great TED Talk about everything that’s wrong with what we eat.

And let me just say, as a plus-sized, overweight adult (who has dieted for as long as I can remember), I completely agree that we have to change the way we eat and weight loss surgery isn’t the answer.*

* I’m going on at least 2 weeks without soda and nearly a month without any artificial sweeteners.  Yay!

Jamie Oliver at TED: Teach Every Child About Food

A friend shared this on Facebook, and I took a moment to site down and watch it.

It’s taken a while, but it’s all finally starting to sink in.  I’ve been working on getting off of artificial sweeteners myself.  I”m to the point that I’m not adding it to my tea and coffee, but it still might be in my diet (non-soda) drink of choice.  It’s been about two weeks now and I have to say, I really do notice a difference.  I’m not craving sweet things nearly as much.

I’ve also spent the last week avoiding soda of any sort, diet or regular.  Baby steps.

Next up…saying no to fast food.

And let me just say…wow, those kids couldn’t even recognize basic, every day, common vegetables. That’s just insane!  And very, very scary.

I Love Supporting Women-Owned Businesses

So a while back, I mentioned the awesome LA Cupcake Tour I was lucky to go on thanks to the Best of Tours folks and GM/Chevy.  This time around, the Best of Tours/Chevy gang were partnering with CraveLA for their take on the Best of Women Owned Businesses in Los Angeles.

A little full disclosure before we even get started…1) I know Nicole, the gal in charge of creating the Crave LA book and 2) I’m actually one of the featured Intelligentsia in the upcoming LA book.

Now that that little bit of clarification is over with, let’s get on with it.

For starters, we have the vehicles: Camero, Avalanche, Equinox and Malibu. Luxury all the way.  I wasn’t able to ride in all of them, but I was able to check out both the Avalanche and Equinox.  And if I didn’t say it last time…I’m loving that Equinox.  And chauffeur driven shopping, who could ask for more (unless we were maybe getting paid to shop too…that would be just too good to be true.).

Onto CRAVE (twitter): It all started in Seattle in 2001 when Melody Biringer realized that she was missing spending time with her friends.  Many were being pulled in different directions due to the work, family and social lives.  Melody thought a new way to connect was in order and CRAVE was born.  To put it in their own words, “CRAVE innovatively connects urban gals to the sassiest, gutsiest, most inspiring people they need to know in town. Soirees, gatherings and online networking—we are your guide to everything you CRAVE in your city.” What a fun concept!

The gang at Best of Tours/Chevy and CraveLA did an amazing job of picking our locations.  Of course, out of the possible 125 women owned businesses to be featured in the book, we wouldn’t be able to visit each and every one of them.  We started with just four this time around: Calleen Cordero, The Dry Bar, Studio Beauty Mix and Valerie Confections.  And what a fantastic group to start with.

I would like to spend a little more time on each business, so for now, I’m just going to keep it short and sweet.  That plus, I’d really like to visit each of them another time where I can maybe spend a little more time chatting with the fab women in charge as well as their products and services.  Well, that and I don’t want this post to be forever long with photos and rambling.

So until then we’ve got this…

First up, Calleen Cordero (website | twitter) on Beverly.  Calleen makes some of the most amazing and fabulous looking shoes and bags you’ve every seen.  Everything is made by hand, from the carved wooden soles to the rivets in the design.  Just gorgeous.


Onto The Dry Bar (website | twitter) in Brentwood.  The Dry Bar is not a bar at all…it’s better! It’s perky salon that only does blow outs.  No cuts.  No colors.  Just a wash and style for $35.  What this concept so long to come to be?  Definitely worth checking out when you want that fantastic blow out…I was eying the Cosmopolitan, big-curl style myself.  I will be back.


Next up, Studio Beauty Mix (website | twitter) at Fred Segal in Santa Monica.  Why have I never been to this store before?  It’s like Sephora meets Lucky Magazine meets Nordstrom with your own personal shopper…but better!  This boutique has everything from hair products, skincare, bath products, make up, candles and perfumes (I can’t wait to play around with creating my own fragrance at the Memoire Liquide counter) and even JimmyJane vibrators (I’m sure you’ve heard about their “FU*K LIMITED” 24k gold and stainless steel vibes).  I could get lost in this store.


And our final stop after a long drive through the city was Valerie’s Confections (website | twitter) located somewhere between Koreatown and Silver Lake. It may have been a long drive, but it was so very worth it. Valerie let us sample a couple of her handmade chocolates and all I can say is wow!  You heard each and every one of us ooh, ahh, mmm or exclaim in delight over how amazing her chocolates were.  I can’t decide which I liked best, the caramel, the champagne truffle, the salted toffee or the rose chocolate.  I do know that I came home with some toffee bites and two caramels and neither lasted the night.  Yes, they were that good.


The day lasted quite a bit longer than I think anyone expected.  But I have to say, it was so worth it.  All I can say is I sure hope that CraveLA and Best of Tours decide to do a couple more of these tours supporting local women owned businesses.  With 125 women in the book, there’s bound to be more stores and restaurants to visit.

Did I shop? You better believe it.

Will I be back to visit each and every store on the tour?  Oh, hell yes!

Will I tell everyone about how I spend my weekend?  I think I just did. 😉

CraveLA, thank you for introducing me to some fabulous new places to spend my hard earned money.  Best of Tours/Chevy, thanks for helping to put it all together.

The Hollywood Sign Goes Political: Save the Peak


This weekend the world famous Hollywood sign went a different way and tried some activism on for size.

Save the Peak: Hollywood Sign Goes Political

The event was to publicize efforts to raise money to acquire Cahuenga Peak, the 138-acre parcel just to the west of the sign, and add the land to Griffith Park. The parcel of land has been sold to the San Francisco-based Trust for Public Land for $11.7 million.  And if this sale goes through, the land is rumored to be developed into (still more) luxury homes.

If the community decides to stop the sale and purchase the land and leave it as designated “open space” they will need to come up with $12.5 million to cover costs.

Many locals and city officials assumed that the sign was part of the city’s Griffith Park.   At the time it was sold, its history came to light:

Billionaire Howard Hughes bought the land in 1940 with the idea to build a romantic hilltop home for his love, actress Ginger Rogers. “We’ll live up here by ourselves with the world far below,” he told her. The gesture, however, didn’t sit too well with Rogers who feared he would lock her up and never let her see anyone. The two broke up and the land was put in Hughes’ trust for 62 years until it was sold.

As the market began to crash, so did the new owner’s bloated $22-million asking price. Last year, the San Francisco-based Trust for Public Land entered into a one-year due diligence period with Fox River Financial Resources for a total of $12.5 million. The goal is to purchase the land and deed it over to the city’s Griffith Park, but to date, only $6.3 million has been secured. By April 14th, the rest of the money is due or the property risks being sold to other buyers.

This is not the first time this LA landmark, which originally read “HOLLYWOODLAND” has been altered or gone political. It has also been altered to read “CALTECH,” “HOLLYWeeD” and a few other phrases through the years.

You can show your support and donate at The Trust for Public Land – we have until April 14th to save the hill.

Source: LAist

By Lauren Luke’s Valentine’s Promotion: A Sony VAIO Giveaway

I’m not doing a giveaway here myself, but I just thought I’d share the info.  I mean who wouldn’t want a chance to win a free laptop, right?  And did I mention that it’s PINK??

During February Lauren Luke is partnering with Sony for a special giveaway. Valentine’s Day is all about making someone feel special, and that’s just what Lauren aims to do through her makeup line, video tutorials, and social media outreach. Coming right off the heels of her “Inspiration Nation Tour” and to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Lauren is giving away a pink Sony VAIO laptop through a contest on her website ByLaurenLuke.

Contest starts February 12th and ends February 28th.
The winner will be announced March 7th

To Enter
Lauren’s friends and fans should visit ByLaurenLuke to tell us what they LOVE and how it has inspired them to do something unexpected. Their love story can be between them and anything from a significant other — spouse, mother, a child or best friend – to… well, makeup even. Whatever it is, Lauren wants to hear about it. A winner will be selected by the Lauren Luke team based on their level of passion, originality, and inspiration.

For more information on Lauren, her makeup line or the Valentine’s Day promotion, visit ByLaurenLuke

What Folks Are Say About Lauren Luke
“It’s amazing to see someone using YouTube to change not only their own life, but the lives of so many others.”
– Chad Hurley, YouTube Founder

“It’s that voice of every woman looking in the mirror and fantasizing what they can do with makeup. She demonstrates it step-by-step and makes you think you can do it too.”
– Linda Wells, Allure Editor in Chief

“Her appeal is that she is the Everywoman. She connects on an emotional level, and her quirky honesty is infectious.”
– Ed Burstell, former Vice President at Bergdorf Goodman

“She seems an unlikely candidate to shake up the beauty world. And yet it appears she is doing just that.”
– Ruth La Ferla, The New York Times (Styles section

PS: seems like mis-spoke before and it’s not sleepy pugs that she has (thought all that snoring could only come from pugs – LOL)

The Real Housewives…

It’s no secret that I love me some Real Housewives of Orange County and New York drama.  I think those shows are juicy as juicy can be.  Well today I was poking around my Facebook feed and saw mention of the Real Housewives of Late Night.

Oh my God!  It’s awesome.

I’m not sure how all this NBC late night rescheduling is going to play out, but I need more of these Housewives.

Jimmy Fallon’s wife Denise introduces us to the brassy ladies of Late Night.

There are seven in the series so far. Be sure to check them all out. Funny, funny stuff.

SISTER GIANT: Rousing the Sleeping Giant of American Womanhood

Photo: Library of Congress

From Marianne Williamson:

On February 26, 27 and 28, 2010, I will be hosting a weekend gathering called SISTER GIANT: Rousing the Sleeping Giant of American Womanhood.

This seminar/conference speaks to the role of women at this pivotal moment in history. It’s a critically important time to transition from disastrous probabilities to fantastic possibilities, and women can lead the way.

If you are a woman who feels a prompting in your heart that goes something like this: “Okay, it’s time. I might not be perfect, but I’m good enough. And I’m ready,” then this invitation is for you.

During SISTER GIANT, we will review the historic forces that quelled the voice of the Western woman, as well as those that both challenge and invite us to speak our truth now. I hope you will come to Los Angeles on February 26th to join with other women who feel moved to both find our greatness and to do something great.

We will journey from an understanding of our history …. to a reclaiming of our personal power …. and ultimately to a vital commitment to be a powerful collective force in eradicating hunger and poverty on the planet today. It is time for us to change the world.

We will look within, and we will look without. In partnership with the RESULTS organization, we will work on forming a women’s delegation to the regional Microcredit Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, in April 2010.

Sister Giant will take place at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport Hotel. The cost of the seminar will be a suggested donation of $250 but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Click here for registration information

This Girl’s a Geek

I’ll admit it, I’m a geek. I’m not a total geek mind you (I’m totally not a fan of gaming), but I do have many geeky loves.  One of my geeky loves (aside from all things social media related)…Dr Horrible’s Singalong Blog.

Check out this AmberMac interview with Felicia Day from the Guild (talk about awesome geekiness) for a little geeky fun.