Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Get Your Bad On

Sigh. Christmas won’t officially be over for us until we visit Derek’s fam in Utah this week. But I already feel so full and happy from Christmas joy. It has been a really wonderful, peaceful, sweet holiday season for me this year, even with a minor sickly curve ball thrown at me before Christmas Day. Bam! I knocked it out in a day and a half and was done. But now I’m just tired and want to lie down. For about three days.

Which brings me to my latest blog confession, dear readers. You know when it’s before bedtime and you’re tired, but not tired enough to sleep, but too tired to read or do anything semi-productive or even focus on a movie you haven’t yet seen? You know what I like to do? Besides that, you pervs.



I will hunt around the tube until I find the movie Showgirls. I know! I know. It’s almost always on some channel or another, and it is quite possibly the worst movie ever made, but dammit, that’s what makes it so good. Especially watching the edited for TV version of it, where you can make fun of the dubbing where there should have been overly-passionate, righteously indignant cusswords, and make extra special fun of the skin-colored bra thingies that they digitally add over any exposed boobies. It rules! I swear, I never get tired of watching that stupid-ass movie! What is my problem? Is there a 12-step program for this? I love listening to Elizabeth Berkley grunt and gasp during her dance solos, and violently whip her head around when she is pissed off (which is practically every scene). I love making fun of Kyle McLachlan’s super-sissy hairdo. I love the cliched, over-the-top, cocaine-induced Star Is Born type story line that even a 3-year-old could navigate and find cheesy. God! It’s just so good!

There are other movies that are also terrible, but when they come on, it is a moral imperative: I simply have to watch them. In a lot of ways, I think they make me a better writer because the writing is bad, but obviously there is something compelling about it that makes you watch, right? There is something to be learned from this, though I’m not sure what that is. Does anybody else do this? Here is my list:

The Cutting Edge (Rich girl skater meets bad boy hockey player and they must learn to skate together. Sparks fly and bitchy jabs ensue.)
Center Stage (Bitchy bitches at the New York Ballet Academy. Backstabbing dancers, eating disorders, male ballet lotharios. Oh, it’s all SO serious.)
Flashdance (Duh. Every little girl on the planet wanted to be Jen Beals with that white-hot off-the-shoulder sweatshirt. Finding out that she didn’t actually do any of the dancing was like finding out there was no Santa Klaus.)
Striptease (Demi Moore takes it off, but only for a noble cause people! And she rips those clothes off with righteous, fierce anger because she has to keep custody of her daughter away from her mean, mean, drinking, asshole ex-husband! Featuring Burt Reynolds, in perhaps the most embarrassing role of his entire career.)

So what are your guilty movies? Come on. Confess. Confess. You know you want to tell me.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

It's the MOST wonderful time... of the year....

This time of year always gets me thinking a lot about traditions. What I mean by that is, a few years ago, I realized that with all my protracted family members and the consumerism frenzy that is foisted upon our psyches every year, my holidays were becoming WAY too convoluted, stressful (most stress being entirely self-imposed) and commerce-oriented. This is not good. This is not what the holidays are all about. So in the last few years, I have made more of an effort with each year to remember the good, in-the-spirit-of-celebrating, meaningful traditions that fly in the face of crazy-making and depressing attitudes that accompany this time of year. I would like to share them with you now, and hope you will share your traditions with me as well so we can make this a great holiday season, people. I'm always up for new ones.

1) Go be with your God in your own way. You don’t have to be “religious” to get into the spirit. Most of my friends aren’t remotely religious, but are definitely highly spiritual, and find meaning in the season by climbing a hill and admiring the view, or finding God through riding a snowboard down a sweet run, or in the selfless giving of donating one’s time to help those less fortunate. It’s all very individual. If you’re bored out of your mind and feel nothing at church service, for God sake (literally!) don’t go to church. Why on earth would God want you there? Find a special place where you feel your spirit connect with God and the season. That is the way to go, and don’t EVAR let anyone tell you different. That’s someone foisting their own issues on you, and that’s not allowed.

2) Make stuff. My past personal favorites are homemade soap, cookies, Christmas ornaments, wreaths, and girly crap like aromatherapy body scrubs and the like. You can get pretty much all the stuff at Michael’s and/or a good health food store. (For really good aromatherapy and soap-making supplies and all the pretty stuff to wrap up your homemade stuff in, go to Soothe Your Soul in Redondo Beach. That place rules.) It doesn’t matter what you make or how 3rd grade it looks, so long as you sit your butt down, hang with some girlfriends, drink a little nog (I like mine with spiced rum and nutmeg), and focus on letting your creative self be free for awhile. Laugh, talk, be dorky. Don't fret if you have dried toothpaste crust in the bathroom -- your friends won't care. They will just be happy to be there with you. I couldn’t have the holidays without making stuff. It just wouldn’t work.

3) Get a tree (or Hannukah bush, Kwanzaa harvest stuff, whatever your thing is) and have a few close friends and Mom over to decorate it. I like to heat some spicy cider (from Trader Joe’s, of course), serve nog, and have a few munchies, and let everyone help you put on the lights, hang the ornaments, and decorate the house, all whilst playing some groovy Christmas tunes. It’s so relaxing and fun, and spreads around a LOT of warm fuzzies.

4) Go for a walk or drive specifically for the sole purpose of checking out everybody’s lights and lawn decorations. (Bonus points: bringing kids along for this)

5) Just enjoy the season for all its unexpected (non-material) gifts. That is a tradition worth keeping.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Olé!

OMG people, serious, serious rave reviews coming. My dad and I did the ol’ “Let’s Drive Down Ventura Blvd. on a Saturday Night And Just Spontaneously Pick A Place” routine. Did we want Italian? Did we want Seafood? Did we want something ethnic and exotic? We just didn’t know, so we flew by the seat of our pants, poo-pooing the French places, eschewing the franchise-type eateries. As you know, this approach to eating out could be met with disastrous results, but Dad and I got super lucky. We happened upon Olé! From the outside, it looked warm and inviting, and I saw that it was a tapas place, which is always fun, so we pulled in and gave it a shot.

We sat on the patio under their patio heater thingies and were greeted by a totally sweet server who took great care of us the whole evening. Though I love doing the thing of ordering several tapas and sharing, we were so starving that we opted to get one tapa, then share two entrees. I should mention here that, like any Spanish place worth its salt, they have sangria options, but the cocktail choices caught my eye and I settled on a Midnight Kiss. Our server recommended the Filet a la Plancha to start (grilled rosemary flatiron steak w/ anchovy butter). Who would think that starting off a meal with steak would be so inviting, but it set the tone for the rest of the meal, it was just so delicious and savory (no, you don’t taste the anchovy fishy thing). I got the salmon and Dad got the Fideos Vascos (angel hair pasta, shrimp and chicken in beer reduction sauce). We shared each and man, they were awesome.

It’s too early for lunch, and I’m getting hungry already just thinking about that place. So yeah, total thumbs-up. Oh, and since we got there early, there wasn’t much of a crowd, but by the time we left, the place was jumpin’. Reservations recommended.

Olé!
13251 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA 91604
(between Coldwater and Woodman)
Tel: (818) 986 3190

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Goose Whisperer

One thing I love about living in the valley at this time of year: Geese. You will hear this distant sort of funny little honking sound, like one goose told a joke and they all kind of share a chuckle. Then you’ll see them, gracefully flying overhead in formation, their long necks stretched out and bobbing as they fly, softly honking into the breeze.

First thing this morning as I let the dogs out back for their morning business, I heard that gentle honking sound and looked skyward. A flock of geese (oh wait, I think it’s gaggle)… a gaggle of geese flew overhead and I was filled with this warm, fuzzy kind of feeling.

When I was little, my grandparents had a house on the lake in Tahoe where they would live several months out of the year, and then head back to Van Nuys during the cold months. My bro and I would go visit and spend weeks at a time with them. We would be playing in the backyard or on the dock, checking Grandpa’s bait trap for minnows, and we would hear the geese coming from a few houses away. We would scram at high speeds to the house and up the stairs to the kitchen, where Grammy would give us day-old bread to feed the geese and ducks. She would usually come out with us to feed them, as she had a special relationship with a certain goose named Oscar. Geese mate for life, and Oscar would make an appearance every day with his beautiful snow-white wife, Carmelita. But his loyalty to Carmelita didn’t stop him from having a very deep, albeit platonic, relationship with my Grammy. Oscar would run after you and hiss and try to bite your toes if you came anywhere near my Grammy. Seriously, he was like a pit bull on 'roids. But when he sat next to Grammy, he was suddenly Mr. Charming Sensitive Guy. She would ask him about his day, to which he would softly coo his replies. I am convinced my Grammy was able to interpret Geese as she always replied to his mumblings and they carried on a conversation like this for several minutes with equal amount of give and take. He would gently take chunks of bread from her hand. He would quietly give his take on current events, discuss the weather, gossip about the neighbors. After they were all caught up on their niceties, Oscar would stand up, wriggle his bushy, feathery butt, round up his bitch, and head to the next house that would give him carbs. To this day, it is among my very fondest of childhood memories. My Grammy is no longer with us, but she remains the only Goose Whisperer I have ever known.

What a nice way to start the day, seeing the geese through my sleepy eyes and thinking of her.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Halloweenie

People, I ain’t gonna lie. I love me some Halloween. I love dressing up and being someone else for a day. This year, I decided that since I didn’t get to dress up last year, I would be TWO different people for a day this Halloween. One costume would be work appropriate:

I won the costume contest at work for this one. $50 gift certificate is mine. Wheeeee! I have to say, I have a newfound respect for pregnant women everywhere after lugging around this pillow over my belly all day. I was like a human incubator! And I had a nice white-trash accent to go along with it. I cruised the office in character asking everyone for beer and cigs. And doesn’t Miata look cute? She reminded me of a sexy muppet.

. . . And one costume I would wear later for attending the West Hollywood Costume Carnival wherein it would be appropriate to be boobylicious and scandalous:



This was our little pre-party. Doesn’t Bunnie look just like Kim Catrall from SITC only with a pink wig? She looked hawt! The girl with us who looks semi-possessed by Satan is an opera singer, and sang a few bars for us which was made super-creepy by her Corpse Bride costume. But it was so cool.

We had too much fun at the carnival. Bunnie nor I had ever been (I know, the shame, being a native Los Angeleno and all), and it did NOT disappoint. The only bummer: my dogs were seriously barkin’ by the end of the evening after walking around in my big huge black boots. I could barely walk by midnight. And then it’s impossible to find a cab to get back home. I practically crawled into my front door at nearly 2 a.m., totally exhausted and filthy with sweat from dancing to the Spazmatics, but other than that, dang it was a blast! It totally sucked that I had to work the next day. I tell ya, I just can’t rage like I used to on school nights.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Encino Deli and Restaurant

One of the things I love the most about discovering great new places in our new ‘hood is sharing them with you guys. You will LOVE this one. It is such a find. I can’t believe the place wasn’t mobbed with hordes of people.

Derek and I found ourselves in need of breakfast Saturday morning when I discovered we were out of eggs and pretty much any other reasonable facsimile of breakfast-like food. So we meandered to our local Jewish deli around the corner, and boy, were we pleasantly surprised by how good it was. How good EVERYTHING was. For starters, we walked in and though we were dressed like chores-around-the-house folk with no discernable hairstyle of note on either of us, we were greeted like celebs and immediately ushered to a nice, fat booth where our drink order was taken. The menu is extensive and has all the traditional Jewish fare: gefilte fish, whitefish, matzo brie, etc. Even sturgeon. Who eats sturgeon? Isn’t that like a giant, seamonster-looking kinda thing? I mean seriously, what is that whole sturgeon thing about? But I digress.

After much perusal, I went with the Lox Benedict. Now, I love me some lox yo, so I was not disappointed with this dish of nicely poached eggs on a fresh bagel with tasty lox and hollandaise from scratch, not from a powdery packet. Derek opted for the standard pancake sandwich situation, which was also very good with big giant fluffy cakes. Service throughout was very friendly and accommodating, but not overly attentive or intrusive. I discovered a great tip from our server. If you are served with cold, hard butter that you want to spread some time this year, set your hot plate on top of it for about a half a minute. Instant softened butter.

We stuffed ourselves and then cruised the deli counter in the front, where we discovered (with little surprise because they were so good) -- holy crap! -- this place bakes their own bagels! There’s even a window to the bakery where you can watch them being made and check out stacks and stacks of freshly made bagels of all varieties about to be baked. In the deli case are all sorts of slabs of pastrami and huge sides of salmon and delicious-looking side dishes. We didn’t get anything, but it was so fun to look and know this place is there for us. Yeeeeeeah. Best breakfast EVAR. Would have to give it two big thumbs up, baby!

Encino Deli & Restaurant
17271 Ventura Blvd. (at Louise)
Encino, CA 91316
Phone: (818) 995-4545

Thursday, October 27, 2005

You Got Served

So I visited my new friend CaliValleyGirl’s blog and got tagged. Here are my answers. You can also consider yourself tagged by reading this, or not. Whatevs.

Seven Things I Want To Do Before I Die:
1. Accept an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay (shut up bitches, don’t laugh!)
2. Drive across the country in a convertible with Derek and see all the great states I’ve missed so far, taking only a few clothes, a toothbrush, and a video camera.
3. Adopt a child.
4. Go snowboarding in Whistler, Canada.
5. Check out the rest of Europe that I haven't seen.
6. Buy a cabin in Lake Tahoe.
7. Be a good person.

Seven Things I Can Do:
1. Throw a party.
2. Give a good massage.
3. Type 115 words per minute.
4. Sing I’m Tired by Lily Von Schtupp of Blazing Saddles in its entirety.
5. Cook.
6. Cut men’s hair.
7. Rollerblade like the wind.

Seven Things That I Cannot Do:
1. Math. Or anything math- or logic-related.
2. Write anything with my right hand.
3. Eat mushrooms.
4. Be on time.
5. Draw.
6. Understand why Paris Hilton is famous.
7. Resist hugging my dog when he does his daily spazz-out “My ass is on fire, can you feel my jungle heat?” dance.

Seven Things That I Say A Lot:
1. Dude!
2. Shut up!
3. I mean!
4. Whatevs.
5. I am so sure!
6. M’kay? (a la Mr. Mackey from South Park)
7. Yeah, bite me.

Seven Things I Find Attractive In A Male:
1. Sense of humor
2. Intelligence
3. Street smarts
4. Integrity
5. Good relationships with his family and friends
6. A positive attitude
7. An interest in his health and appearance

Seven Celebrity Crushes:
1. Angelina Jolie (duh)
2. Dave Grohl
3. Marlon Brando in Streetcar
4. Gary Oldman in Dracula and The Professional
5. Dr. Drew from Loveline
6. Michael Biehn from Aliens and Terminator
7. Shane on The L Word

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Ballantines

I love me a little weekend getaway. It’s got to be fairly easy and close, not ungodly expensive, and has got to pack a good three days’ worth of relaxation into each weekend day. Which is why when I was planning a little getaway for Derek’s birthday, there was really only one place that came to mind: Ballantines in Palm Springs.

I had been there once before with Rhonda and we had such a great time, and I knew the man would love it. Ballantines is an intimate, sweet, authentic time period little baby-hotel “with an emphasis on vintage 50s kitsch.” It is located conveniently close to downtown Palm Springs, but not in downtown, so it’s quieter and feels more like a vacation. You won't want to leave the hotel anyway. They play soothing 50s ballad type music by the pool all day, where there is a beautiful view of the mountain range; they do free happy hour with wine and beer and free breakfast (with good coffee!) every morning; there are no screaming kids at the pool; and I would be terribly remiss if I did not mention that the ladies who work at the front desk are just as kind and hospitable as can be while still allowing you to just get your chill on. Betty was there when we checked in and saw me by the pool wearing this bathing suit, with my red lips and nails, and exclaimed, “My, but you look like you belong here!” Flattery like that gets you everywhere in my book. Basically, this is where you want to go to hang by the pool in the 90-degree-sun-even-though-it's October, read smut magazines and drink beers.

The coolest thing is the various theme rooms, though, all with little kitchenettes with retro appliances. For this trip, I opted for the Palm Springs Suite, which is adorable. Private patio, bathrobes in the dressing room, happy cheery décor. But one of these times when we go, I definitely need to stay in the Pretty In Pink Suite, which is outfitted (of course) entirely in pink, with Marilyn Monroe photos and memorabilia all over the place. The photos on the website do not do justice to the major, whoop-ass, flaming pinkness of that room. When Rhonda and I went, we stayed in the 50s Musical Suite, and the girls who were staying in the Pretty In Pink Suite were nice enough to give us a tour. That’s the other thing about Ballantines – the guests. There is a nice, laid-back vibe amongst the guests and it’s hard not to end up friends with them.

So, go there. Get away. And make some friends. You will love it!

Ballantines Hotel in Palm Springs
1420 North Indian Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, California 92262
Toll free reservations: 1-800-485-2808

Friday, October 21, 2005

No Wankers

After sitting in traffic for about a jillion hours last night due to George W's visit to our fine city (pretty sure I saw the Air Force One chopper zoom over the 10 to land at SM Airport -- I flipped it off), I swigged a glass of badly-needed pinot and then Tirza came over for a good hound-walking for the first time since that last fateful time we walked the dogs together and encountered a public wanker who had creepily followed us so we could watch him wank. Though I came up short on poo bags twice due to Babe being uncharacteristically pooptastic (I hate when that happens and I have to do the stealthy I'm-A-Crappy-Ass-Neighbor Walk of Shame afterward, but geez, she had already crapped once and used up the poo bag I had on hand), I am happy to report that there was nary a wanker in sight. Just a lovely Encino night with a giant, caramel-colored, low-slung moon in the sky and lots of good kvetching with a good friend.

Life is good.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Yippeeee!

The sun is back out! The sun is back out! Woot! Woot!

OMG we are spoiled. ROTTEN.

Friday, October 14, 2005

What Is It With People These Days?

I saw this in today’s news, and I have to say, it perfectly encapsulates my feelings about people’s behavior lately. Why is rudeness so commonly accepted these days? Are politeness and common courtesy things of a bygone era? Why do people not teach their children this vital concept of civilized living?

I was pondering this question with great earnest on the drive home last night, but was interrupted by my life flashing before my eyes as someone in an SUV attempted to dart into my lane space with my Cabrio still unfortunately in it. Now, understand that as the driver of a smallish car in a dark blue color, I am well aware that it renders my car virtually invisible to most, especially to SUVs. I have to make a point of driving defensively around these types, and especially to not lurk in someone’s blind spot. My very survival depends on it. But people, this happened no fewer than THREE TIMES on the drive home. Someone would be pissed off that their lane wasn’t moving, and decide that they had to be in my lane, like, stat, immediately, NOW, and wouldn’t even do a cursory over-the-shoulder glance to see if anyone or anything was there. My poor little factory-issued horn got a serious workout last night trying to save my and Derek’s precious asses from being crushed by some idiot who couldn’t be bothered to care or notice that hi, in rush hour traffic, there ARE other cars on the road. All over the place, in fact. It is just a hard, cold fact of existence in the big city. And after bitterly swerving back into their chosen lane, I don’t even get the “Whoops, sorry!” wave for scaring the crap out of me? WTF?

And don’t even get me started on the cell phone thing. I have a cell phone. I have had a cell phone that has existed as my sole telephone (i.e., no land line at home) for many years now. But it is pretty much a known fact amongst my friends that if we are hanging out, and you find it necessary to be chatty with someone who is not with us in person about something of little import (and what could be more important than quality time with moi?), you will find our visit abruptly over and I will, in the future, opt to instead hang out with a friend who is actually interested in being present during our time together. Managing to coordinate two or more people to congregate for social purposes is no mean feat these days with everyone’s busy schedules, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend any of that precious time sitting around with my thumb up my butt whilst someone chats on the phone about some inane nonsense. Don’t waste my time, and I promise I won’t waste yours.

And of course there are exceptions to this – geez, I’m not a total hardcore cruster. One night when Bunnie and I were about to have dinner, I noticed I was getting a call from Jillie-pew who was fresh out of the hospital after pumping out a wee bairn. She hadn’t yet been able to talk to me since the travails of birthing, and lives in Okla-freakin-homa so it's not like I can go to the hospital and visit, and so of course I explained same to Bunnie who was very understanding, and I promptly skulked off into the corner to talk to my god-baby-mama. There are always special circumstances. That’s what cell phones are for. Duh.

What they are NOT for is to talk to people while you are in a movie theater surrounded by several other movie-goers, in the middle of a movie. What the hell is that about? Since Derek and I usually frequent the ArcLight for our theater-going needs, I was totally unprepared for what displeasures they suffer at theaters in the valley on a recent movie venture to see The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Not exactly a light-hearted comedy if you know what I mean. There, in the middle of the theater, during a crucial moment in the film, an obnoxious ringtone could be heard several rows ahead of us. But rather than being turned off, the person actually picked up the phone and started talking! I know, I couldn’t believe it either. This is where the higher cost of the ArcLight is worth its weight in gold. People actually go to view the movie with some respect for others that are there for a similar purpose, and are not there to chat on the phone. “Hello? What? No, nothin’, just chillin’. I’m at the Promenade. Yeah some stupid movie about some chick who’s trippin’ on the devil or some shit. Ooooh, scary. What? Where you all at? Oh yeah? What you gonna do later?” etc., etc., ad nauseum. Yeah, even though he was nowhere near us, everyone could hear everything this dipshit was saying. Okay, not only is it not that difficult to turn the dumb phone off BEFORE the movie starts dumbass, but dude, if you are absolutely DYING to chit-chat, save the cost of the ticket and go hang outside and chat all you want in the lobby, you rude FREAK! I don’t get it. I really don’t get it.

Am I missing something? Can somebody please give me a clue if you have one. Please?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Dont'cha Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Her?


I am posting this photo because hi, my friend Shannon is ridiculously freakin’ hot. Her friend took these photos as kind of an homage to the Madonna/Ray of Light album cover. I think they are so beautiful, and really come close to the original. Can you believe her luminous skin? Her lustrous locks? Her perfect straight white teeth? She makes me want to go drink 100 glasses of water and do a bunch of yoga. What a fox. This one is definitely my fave of the bunch – it makes me happy just looking at it. But you can see more of his work here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/whipflash/


Monday, October 10, 2005

Thought I Heard Your Voice Yesterday...

So I had a dream last night that I went over to Miranda’s house to visit and play with little Brady (you know, from Sex In The City). He was so cute with his red hair, getting into everything, full of energy. When I picked him up, he would cling to me like a koala bear. Miranda was busy talking on the phone and dealing with Magda while I played with Brady. It was a nice visit and I was happy to see all three of them.

What does this dream mean, you may ask? For me, it’s not difficult to interpret at all. It is really quite simple. I MISS THAT DAMN SHOW. So much. God, so very much. I miss it so much, I have to visit the characters in my dreams like they are my friends in life that I would go visit. Geez, I miss that show! And keep in mind, dear people, that I am most definitely NOT a TV show person. At all. I can barely sit through any of them, especially quote-unquote “comedy” shows. Whilst watching them, I am thinking of about ten jillion things I would rather be doing. I always find them so formulaic and boring that I can never get into them, despite the best intentions of my friends who swear I will absolutely LOVE this or that show. I almost never do. Sex In The City was the one true exception. I relished every single episode and its ability to make me laugh, cry and cheer. Sometimes I’ll be talking to a girlfriend and a quote will come up from that show that we both know by heart. We’ll laugh. And then there will be a wistful silence for a minute, followed by one of us saying almost tearfully, “God, I miss that show.” “God, me too,” the other will say. It is still just so sad that it’s over.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not bitter at any of the stars or producers of the show for ending it when they did. I totally understood their reasons for doing so, and I always feel that it’s better to end something on a high note rather than let it get so played out that people lose interest. But damn, there is just no equal to fill the void since our loss of our generation’s most beloved women’s show, a clever and witty and adorable piece of art that revealed for the first time how real women talk to one another, and how deeply their bonds with each other really go. I feel an emptiness, and the emptiness hurts. So I visit my dearly missed friends in my dreams.

Sigh.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Le Petit Cafe

I have a confession to make. I often like to dine alone. The perks are many: no waiting on someone else’s indecisiveness, no having to make polite conversation whilst trying to concentrate on savoring my meal, being able to sit and read neglected magazines that I never seem to find the time for, etc.

But that’s not what I need to confess. What I need to confess is my unabashed dumbshit-ness. See, I have extremely close access to this adorable little French bistro. And unlike the stereotype about French people, when you walk in there, you are greeted like a VIP, even if you are just a lonely little scrappy valley beotch table-o’-one like me. They have fabulous things on the menu like duck confit, sandabs, trout almandine, lobster bisque -- some of which I have sampled in the past and loved. So what does Yours-Dumbshit-Truly order every time she patronizes this establishment of such delicately flavored, authentic, sensitive-palate-catering cuisine?

A turkey burger with fries.

Wait, wait, wait, you guys, lemme explain. Hold on a sec. Please don’t hit the little x-marked close window button. Seriously. I’m really not THAT lame. There’s a good reason. See, I’m not much of a meat eater, and actually prefer the flavor of ground turkey over greasy hamburger meat, so as you can imagine, my quest for the perfect turkey burger has run far and wide. And this place has it: Slightly smokey-tasting, juicy, perfectly grilled turkey patty, topped with just-so, perfectly melted, quality cheese, topped with the perfect amount of perfectly thin-sliced produce, topped with some kind of sauce that is akin to Thousand Island, but no, it tastes far, far better than mere Thousand Island, and all of this is surrounded by a perfectly toasted bun. Basically, the thing is a perfect, perfect work of art. Every time. Did I mention it’s perfect? And the fries?

Oh. My. Lanta.

I try to avoid fried food whenever possible, but geez, a woman can only be so strong. These are perfectly thin-cut and crispy little devils that just beg and cry out to be eaten. The whole meal is close to what I imagine it would be like in a perfect world if In-N-Out would make a turkey burger, but then again, at In-In-Out you can’t order a nice glass of cabernet to go with your meal, and you can’t have the luxury of sitting in this cute little place, alone in your own world, eyes rolling back in your head with every bite while a sweet, adorable server checks on you periodically with a smile and respectfully lets you have your foodgasm. You think I’m exaggerating? Try it. I dare you.

Afterward, while walking down the street back to my place of business, I find myself looking at the ground, grinning and giggling to myself like I have a secret, running my fingers through my hair, walking with a swing to my hips. It is just like after a good shag. Remember that song by Joan Osborne, “My Right-Hand Man”? This is my Right-Hand Burger. That’s the power of Le Petit Café’s Turkey Burger with Fries.

When you go, ask for Danielle. She is adorable. Tell her Stupeet American Girl sent you.

Le Petit Cafe
2842 Colorado Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone: (310) 829-6792

Monday, October 03, 2005

Spot The DBV

Sitting in traffic? Bored on your regular commute and sick of all the same crap they play on the radio all the time? Do what Derek and I do when we’re bored on our drive home: Play Spot-the-DBV.

It’s really very easy. Douche Bag Vehicles come in many shapes and colors, but the fundamental requirements are the same:
1) Must be a Mitsubishi or Honda Civic or some non-descript cheapie Nissan-esque car (Bonus points: Stolen BMW logo on the back).
2) Must be lowered to within one inch off the ground.
3) Must be stripped of mufflers to produce unnecessarily and obnoxiously loud engine sound.
4) Must have tinted windows (Bonus points: Advertising on the windows for the tinting company).
5) Must have huge drag racer-style spoiler on the back.
6) Must have huge, super-shiny rims that cost more than the car (Bonus points: spinning rims)
7) Must be painted an appropriate DBV color. Acceptable colors include Complete Tool Teal, Dipshit-sparkle Blue, Shit-for-brains Sunburst Orange, and Small Penis Purple. Of course, other colors are acceptable so long as they scream “LOOK AT ME – I’M A DOUCHEBAG!”

Now, try to catch up to the DBV and get a load of the Douche Bag behind the wheel. Does he have spiky hair so sharp and shiny that it looks like it could cut your hand if you accidentally touched it? Does he slouch way low in his seat? Extra points.

Try playing Spot-The-DBV for endless hours of entertaining distraction. If your commute is on the 405, you’ll be especially in luck spotting these special creatures. Happy Hunting!

Friday, September 30, 2005

Am I Missing Something?

I don’t know about you other Vals, but it was super creepy driving home last night. Unlike the night before, there was hardly anyone on the roads for my commute home, and by the time I got off at Burbank to head home, the smoke in the air was so thick, it was like a scene from a post-apocalyptic war movie. The sun, hanging low in the sky, was an unhappy shade of reddish-pink. When I got out of my car, ash was flying everywhere like snow and the smell was chokingly acrid.

Okay, here’s my thing. And forgive me if you’re sick of hearing about this issue in the media, but it is a question on my mind that keeps nagging me. We, as Southern Californians, and particularly San Fernando Valley peeps, anticipate the Santa Ana Winds and their ensuing fires every year, along with the accompanying floods that later result from the rains tearing a destructive path through the burned out brush plains. With this particular fire, as with others in the past, our firefighters and emergency workers have it down to a system. Evacuees have a place to go, evacuated neighborhoods are cordoned off and you must provide ID to re-enter them, presumably to prevent any looting or vandalism, and to protect the safety of the citizens. At press time, over 16,000 acres have burned, but only one house and five structures have actually burnt down, no lives have been lost, and the fire is 35% contained. When the floods happen later this year or the beginning of next year when we get our first major storms, people will have sandbagged known problem areas, evacuees will again have a pre-ordained place in which to gather to wait out the disaster. Here’s my thing: We don’t get a three-day warning when a fire is started – we just have to put the usual response into play of what we know is coming. Okay. They get hurricanes down south all the time, right? They usually have a warning ahead of time that they’re coming, right? Like at least three days or so? They knew they were going to get an especially colossally damaging hurricane in the near future, right? So what the eff happened there? Why was it still such a huge, unprepared for disaster? Of course I realize fires and hurricanes are completely different in their scope of damage and that this is a different ecosystem we are talking about. But you can’t help but note the similarities. Or at least I can’t. And this bothers me. It bothers me a lot.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Hello, Gorgeous!

I have to give a big huge shout-out to the fabulous, beautiful, chic, just-arrived-in-time-for-fall, my lovely goddaughter, Juliette. Behold, and gasp in awe:


Isn’t she gorgeous? Doesn’t she have magnificent bone structure? Isn’t she positively fraught with benevolence? The little towel/hoodie thingy was a gift from her Auntie Valley Girl.

Her expression seems to be saying, “Don’t you wish YOUR self-tanner made you this beautiful color?” or “Is that a boobie I see against the far wall over there? Is it? Dang, isn’t it time for my mid-morning snack yet? Don’t you know it takes nourishment to look this good?” or maybe “Bitch, get me OUT of this dumb frock and into a Galliano, dammit!”



In this photo, we see that she popped out of the womb a true patriot just like her mother, and is pledging allegiance to the flag. I know it’s the wrong hand, but cut her a slackburger with cheese bitches, she’s a newborn! This probably means she will be left-handed, and thus, a gifted genius like myself. And modest, too. Like mysel... never mind.

Welcome to the world, you precious little bundle. I can’t wait to meet you in November when I visit!

Love,
Auntie

The Hills Are Alive... With the Flames of Fall



I knew it when I woke up yesterday morning. I smelled it. The Santa Anas are here already. The hot air, the whiplash winds, that smell of fall and leaves, only without the cold. The combination means murder to people with allergies, or who live in brushy areas. I knew it was only a matter of time before shit would be on fire, and sure enough, by yesterday midday, the reports were coming in – 118 was closed, Moorpark was on fire, Chatsworth was on fire. Crap. My drive home is screwed. It took me an hour and a half to get from Santa Monica to Encino. From the cliffs of Mulholland overlooking the valley, it was a pretty horrifying sight. Thank God I had sushi with Mom to look forward to, or I probably would have done a nosedive into Depressedville, Population 1. We walked to Enshino (you know by now it is my fave) and had a rockin’ good meal, then stopped on the way home to stare in horror at the fires from the Louise overpass. They seem so much scarier at night when you can actually see the flames. They seem so much closer. When I arrived home, it felt like my house was 100 degrees. The dogs were anxious, pacing around. They can smell it and they don’t like it. I kept my calm demeanor so they wouldn’t feel scared. But leaving them today to go to work was hard. Their doggie-senses are telling them something is wrong and that it ain't that far away.

I hope these fires are out soon and this is the extent of our disaster for the year. The country has suffered so much already, and to be honest, I feel sort of numb from all the gut-wrenching trauma of watching the hurricanes happen. I want to feel for my peeps in the valley, but I feel like I have nothing left right now. Isn’t that terrible? It almost seems like it's not even happening. My thoughts and prayers are with you evacuees. I know this must be a heinously difficult time. Hang in there, folks.

I wish they could use some of my excess water retention from last night’s insane sodium intake to put out the fires.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The Scarlet Tea Room

Have you ever actually done a tea? I never had either, until yesterday for Beth’s bridal shower. I have to admit, I had many preconceived notions. Bridal and baby showers are generally NOT my idea of a rockin’ good time. And the idea of doing a tea always conjured up images of stuffy, highfalutin’ people in uncomfortable, straight-backed chairs, sipping from dainty little china cups and nibbling from itty-bitty little tea biscuits or whatever those people eat, and talking about how Muffy and Bitsy will be attending Westpoint and how Thurston and Annabelle-Suzette will be summering in Nantucket, all whilst wishing you were either A) In a dingy bar by the beach somewhere with your new best friend Bubba, downing shots with beer chasers; or B) Dead. But the angelic and beautiful women who were throwing this shower right off the bat got up and announced first and foremost that there would be no goofy bridal shower games here today. I stood up and applauded. Probably a little too enthusiastically. I think I also high-fived my mom. And decided I could endure doing a stuffy “tea”.

But this was nothing of the sort. Yes, there are straight-backed chairs, but they are quite comfy. Yes, the surroundings are uber-over-the-top girly frou-frou, complete with the chandelier overhead that makes you feel underdressed even if you are wearing your best Donna-Karan-you-got-on-sale-at-Ross. But there is this very personable and sweet woman there, walking around offering you a choice of different teas, iced or hot. They all sounded fantastic, but I decided on the green tea infused with fruit, and was happy I did. They start you with a course of just-freshly-picked strawberry sorbet that is really yummy, and served in a cute, teensy little bowl with a cute, teensy little spoon. Yes, you could eat 16 times the amount they give you, but there are many courses to come, so you can live with just the little bit.

Next, they bring out a giant, 4-tiered platter with fresh scones, and every type of cute little sandwich you can think of – salmon and dill, mozzarella and tomato, red pepper and prosciutto, etc. There are probably ten different kinds. The scones are served with fresh preserves and fresh whipping cream. I’m not even normally a big scones fan, but this was my favorite part. Then comes the first of TWO dessert courses. Yeah, hearing this news was when I really started to dig this place. They bring a platter full of adorable little desserts, some chocolatey, some fruity, all different flavors, each decorated so cute that it is almost a shame to eat them, ALMOST. They refresh your tea constantly and then….just when you think they couldn’t possibly understand chicks any better, they whip out the CHOCOLATE COURSE. No, I ain’t kidding. I thought stuff like this only existed in my wildest, wettest dreams. Each of us was served with a bowl made entirely of chocolate. Did you allow that to sink in just now? A freakin’ bowl made entirely of chocolate. It is filled with some kind of strawberries, creamy, liquer-type goodness that you can either eat first, or just start eating the bowl and leaving the strawberry goodness on it as you eat said bowl. I swear the memory of it now is making me a little…. frisky.

And the thing I noticed about doing tea, socially speaking, is that it does induce a sort of contemplative, easygoing, sharing environment where you can just be yourself. You have nowhere to go mingle since you’re fixed at a table, nothing to do but drink tea and nibble things, and so conversation becomes relaxed and a bit uninhibited, even without the presence of alcohol. I felt like the women at my table had become old childhood chums by the time the event was over.

I officially LOVE doing tea now. What’s not to love?

The Scarlet Tea Room
18 W Green Street
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 577-0051

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Reunited And It Feels So Good

I'm posting this photo just because it kills me.



You've probably already seen this on the news, but in case you haven't, these are a husband and wife who had to leave their dogs behind during the hurricane because the husband has a liver problem, and had to be flown out for special care. Their dogs weren't allowed to come along and these poor people were forced to leave them behind. I couldn't imagine the agony of having to do something like that. I'm so thrilled there was a happy ending here when animal rescue workers reinuted them with their precious family members. Much love for animal rescuers!!!

Willow Spa

I have to give a shout out about this beautiful, serene place. Terrie and I had an appointment for their 2-for-1 Japanese Enzyme Bath with half-hour Thai massage. Neither of us really knew what to expect, but we were very pleasantly surprised. The place itself is beautiful, calming, soothing, zen-like. A cute little converted beach bungalow. You wish you could live there, it’s so peaceful. Everyone speaks in hushed tones and everyone is nice. It’s quite an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

After changing into the “loungewear” the adorable Hugo provides you with, he gives you a little shot of this enzyme drink, then leads you to the bath area. The bath is a deep heating treatment that was originally developed in Japan for the athletes in the Olympics. It is a dry bath that consists of a combination of finely cut Juniper shavings, rice bran, and fruit and vegetable enzymes. Its purifying properties can assist the body up to five times its natural ability in detoxifying. And we all need to detox, right? Shoot, I know I do. You lie in this stuff and it ferments and heats up naturally. It has the consistency of potting soil, though not the smell, thankfully. It smells herby and woodsy. You are completely covered in it and it feels like being in the womb since every part of you (except your head) is covered and warm and soft. You lie there completely still for 20 minutes and sweat, but the adorable Hugo comes to you like an angel every 5 minutes or so to wipe down your face with a lavender-scented washcloth and give you a cup of water through a straw. I have to say here that I normally am not the type to tolerate a sauna or steam room since I just get too overheated and claustrophobic. It doesn’t feel good to me. But this was easy to tolerate and was actually very meditative and quite nice.

After rinsing off and donning the loungewear, Hugo led us to a separate room to lie on a mat with an eye mask on and earphones playing soft, Japanese type music in your ears. Then he starts the Thai massage. Now, being a massage therapist myself, I’m ashamed to admit I have never had Thai massage, but am a total believer now. He used his body weight to apply pressure to certain muscle groups in the thighs, while placing your legs in specific poses that offered a great stretch. Along with this comes an outrageous foot massage. I asked Terrie if it would be inappropriate for me to ask Hugo for his hand in marriage. But she reminded me that I am, of course, partnered with a perfectly good man. But can’t I have two? I asked. No, she replied. Well, a girl can dream.

We sat out in the garden sipping green tea afterward and reading smut mags. Like I said, you wish you lived there and don’t really want to leave. But we eventually did, with soft, smooth, glowing skin and a relaxed and serene disposition for the rest of the day. I highly recommend this place. It’s a little zen vacation, conveniently close in Santa Monica.

Willow Spa
3127 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone: (310) 453-9004
www.willowspa.com

Friday, September 02, 2005

It's All Going To Be Okay

Sometimes it’s just too much. You try and shield yourself as much as possible from reliving the catastrophe over and over in the media, but still you are drawn to it. I remember when 9/11 happened and we were told not to come into work. We sat glued to the TV screen, horrified by what was happening to our people, in our own country. At some point, I had to leave the house and just take the dogs for a walk. I was dazed. I felt like I had been amidst the wreckage myself. I walked up and down the streets, sobbing uncontrollably, not caring who was around that might see me. No one was around. It was like a ghost town. I realized everyone else was inside, glued to their TV sets, watching the planes crash into the buildings countless times.

Compassion is what makes us human and alive. We connect with the pain of our fellow human beings at times with such acuity that it feels like our own pain. First and foremost, we have to do what we can to help. While hearing about the violence, looting, rapes, and general chaos that has descended on the survivors of the disaster, I am particularly distraught over the plight of the animals that have been left behind, who likely have no one coming to rescue them, who don’t understand what is happening and therefore suffer all the more. We will be donating to both the Red Cross, and to the Louisiana Humane Society. You can access donation centers for both charities, and other legitimate charity organizations that you have a particular passion for, by going to the following website: http://www.networkforgood.org/ --- This website is also particularly helpful since you can donate to the Red Cross even if the Red Cross website is overloaded. Many donations are pouring in, but this tragedy is going to take years and much funding to recover from, so donating any way you can is best.

The next step is to do what you can to ease your pain. For me, that was having a good cry, hugging my dogs and taking them for a walk, writing a few weepy pages in my journal, then drinking a couple glasses of red wine while watching Honolulu Transvestite Hookers on HBO. Your thing may be something else. In fact, I’m guessing it probably will be. Try to limit your exposure to the media. If that means switching to specials on she-males, then why not? We know what the facts are in this tragedy, right? Do what you can to take yourself out of it all for a bit so you are able to go to bed and start fresh in the morning.

Yes, this is our Tsunami. But somehow, it’s all going to be okay. We'll get through it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

All the riches, Baby

I am posting this photo for two reasons:

1) Hi, Jen and I look hawt. My mom just sent me this photo that was taken at my bro and Amy’s wedding. Amazing how nice we clean up, eh?

2) We didn’t look quite this hot last night when Jen took me out for sushi at my new fave place Enshino, but you still get the idea. Heh. Yeah. I’ll let you live that little fantasy for now. We macked on the best sushi known to woman and had an awesome time. This is how much she rules: She gave me a thong with a Liger on it. [For those of you who haven’t seen Napoleon Dynamite yet, hello? Get on the stick! A Liger is bred for its skills in magic. Gosh!] Sitting next to a redheaded hottie, eating delicious sushi, with a Liger thong at my disposal. I mean, does it get any better? If I was a rich girl, na na na na na na na na na na naaaaa!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Hurricanes and Beer

Bunnie and I had decided we needed a day at the beach before summer is over. I haven’t taken a vacation in awhile and don’t plan on one anytime soon, and just need a little getaway, know what I mean? A little fun in the sun, a little quality time at the dive bar by the pier, a little nappage in the sand, a little swimming in the surf. What’s not to love, right? After fighting crazy stupid traffic to get down there (Laurel Canyon was closed down – I am so sure!) we cruised in my car with the top down to the gigantic parkinglotasaurus by the pier and headed straight for Big Dean’s, where they serve Big Gulp-size draft beers. After quaffing two each (yes, I did say “quaff”, that's what you do with beer, duh) we schlepped our stuff across the sand to our spot. It was a perfect day. We had our tunes, our portable champagnes in a cooler, good snacks. We went swimming and the water wasn’t even that gross for a change. Just an all-around wonderful day to live in Southern California. I had invited Jodi to join us a couple of days ago, but hadn’t heard from her. “I wonder what she’s doing right now?” I thought, as I lazily munched another grape and rolled over to have a snooze.



Turns out Jodi was living one of the scariest times of her life. She had flown out to Memphis for a concert and then to New Orleans to spend one night, unaware that Katrina was headed there. She was one of the last planes to make it out of New Orleans before the hurricane hit. Everyone was being evacuated from the city and scampering to try to leave town, but freeways were at a stand-still and were getting closed off completely and airlines were canceling all their flights. She was lucky to get on a flight at all. Businesses and stores were shutting down and boarding up their windows hoping to avoid as much loss as possible, but the hurricane is going to actually touch down in New Orleans today. And this is the big one they've all anticipated like the SF earthquake of '89. If Jodi didn't get out yesterday, there was a good chance she would be stranded there for at least 3 or 4 days. They are expecting the entire city to be flooded in feet of water and the power to be out for days and it will probably take at least three or four months to restore everything. So many people are preparing for the worst and believe there is a good chance they will die.

When I saw Jodi and gave her a hug after hearing the news, she got tears in her eyes talking about how the people she saw and talked to there could end up dead.

And here we were, on the beach, the luckiest people in the world having a great time. Kinda makes me feel fortunate? Yes. Kinda makes me feel like a total jerkface for complaining about anything, ever? Absolutely. I lost a toenail surfing. I have a giant zit on my chin. My shower faucet doesn't work right. Wah, wah, wah! My God, I hear myself sometimes and want to kick myself. Life is so good here. I pray for our friends in those areas affected by Katrina and hope their tragedy and loss is not too great, and they are given strength to pick up the pieces and carry on. Your west coast friends, though spoiled rotten and easy to forget how good we have it, are thinking about you with love and concern.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

El Pollo Grosso

Is it just me, or does that greasy, smarmy guy in the El Pollo Loco commercials make anybody else want to throw up? And as if it isn’t it bad enough that I have to be exposed to his smarmy ass during my limited TV viewing, now I have to hear his slippery voice and that dumb cheesy jingle in their radio ads as well? Listen up El Pollo Grosso Marketing People: This is a terrible campaign and doesn’t make anyone even slightly interested in your marginal at best flame-grilled chicken and tortillas. Word to your muthah. I'm out.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Who Would Jesus Bomb?

Now don’t get your panties in a twist, this is not going to turn into a political blog. And I am definitely NOT a bumper sticker kind of person. In fact, I have never in my life had a bumper sticker on my car, though I do enjoy looking at those on other people’s cars. But on the way home last night, I saw what has to be the most brilliant bumper stick ever invented and I immediately ordered five today.

WHO WOULD JESUS BOMB?

Exactly. Enough said. Isn’t it time for change yet?

http://www.stickergiant.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=b5642

Monday, August 22, 2005

Birthday Diva Continued

So Saturday night was the big Girls Night Out shindig and it was way more fun than humans should be allowed to have. I swear, in all my life, I have never felt like such a star. I have said it before and I will say it again: I have the most awesome girlfriends in the entire world. And the great thing is, they were all saying that to me about each other as well! So you know it's true! I made a pitcher of margaritas at the casa and made some of the girls pose with me on my bitchin’ new bike (who is still awaiting a name, people).


Shannon made cupcakes and you know what that means – mouthfuls of unbelievable bliss with every bite. Yes, as I said that night, I should be a Cupcake Designer, but obviously all the credit goes to Shannon for her superb baking skills and generosity with said baking skills in bringing to life the Cupcakes Of My Dreams: Fluffy yellow cake, filled with caramel crème, topped with milk chocolate frosting. I mean!! Honestly, for the love of Betty Crocker, does it get any better than that? An eery silence fell over the crowd as everyone’s eyes rolled in back of their heads with the sheer ecstasy of consuming these cupcakes. You think I’m exaggerating, but if you were there, you know EXACTLY what I’m talkin’ about. As per the advice given me that night, I did have one for breakfast the next day, by the way. Heh. Yeah, it’s good to be the Birthday Girl.

Shortly thereafter, we went all up in da’ club, Coda. Okay, I really have to give such a plug to this place. It’s true, it’s a little hidden, but we were greeted by such a nice staff who had reserved a special VIP section right off the dance floor for us. It was like a big huge private booth with tables and curtains and everything. And I’m not even P. Diddy, shoooooo! Our server Erica took really good care of us, and we started gettin’ down. The DJ was kind enough to take my requests (Beyonce and Nine Inch Nails, thank you) and gave a very nice little shout-out for my birthday. That was so sweet! As promised, I did do my stripper hair flip. Probably a few too many times.
But to sum it up, I had such an incredible time. I was never without a sippie in my hand, or without a smiling, happy face saying or doing something to make me laugh. By the end of the evening, driving home with Jimmy and Amy, my voice completely gone from all the laughing, all I could say over and over again in my hoarse, scratchy, margarita-induced mushiness was “Damn, I have the greatest girlfriends in the world.”
To Bunnie (and her bud Erin), Catherine, Miata, Keisha, Shannon, Jodi, Amy, Brenda, Rhonda (and her bud Angela), Patty, Deb From Next Door – YOU ARE MY GIRLS AND I LOVE YOU!!! And my girls that had to miss it due to other obligations, you were missed and I LOVE YOU GUYS TOO. Mwah! XOXOXO!

Coda
5248 Van Nuys Blvd. (just north of Magnolia)
Sherman Oaks, CA 91401
(818) 783-7518

Cutest, Pinkest, Girliest Bike EVAR

Imagine my surprise and my delight waking up to this adorable, sensational, pinkalicious piece of machinery Saturday morning:



Of course, the photos don’t do it justice. It is such a sweet shade of pink, with cute Hawaiian type flowers all over it. And you can’t tell by the photo, but even the tire treads are covered with flowers. The back story on it is that a few months ago, Derek’s sister received the exact same bike for her birthday. I was SUPER jealous. It is just so choice, and I wished I had one just like it. Little did I know, Homeboy was taking notes. Do I have an awesome man or what? He totally surprised me! I have wanted a cruiser for a long time, and now I have the cutest one ever made, and when me and his sis go riding around, we will be the envy of chicks everywhere. Thank you, Baby! You rule!

Girlies, help me come up with a name for the bike. Please post comments and give me ideas. She needs a name worthy of her supreme beauty!

Birthday Diva at the Beaurivage

So my birthday hasn’t even happened yet, and already it’s been just about the best EVAR. On Friday, Derek took me to Beaurivage in Malibu (you have to say Beaurivage through clenched teeth, ala Mr. Howell from Gilligan’s Island – yes, it IS that high falutin’).

This place is so pretty – just like a villa on the coast of Italy. The service is wonderful, but the food is really special. We had the baked brie appetizer with peach chutney, and I ordered the linguini with lobster and drank champagne. Can you say diva? Can you say fancy schmancy? Derek had the orange roughy. As a bonus, because we had to wait awhile for our food due to a large wedding party diverting our server’s attention away from my birthday fabulousness, he gave us a crème brulee on the house, and hello, it was brought to the table ON FIRE. Very high drama! But delicious!

On the way out, we had to view the musical act that had been playing in the bar area throughout our dinner. I can’t quite explain what was going on there. Picture the Duff Sisters, only, like, Italian, with matching shiny dresses, one pink and one blue, playing live Persian top-40 music and singing. It wasn’t good. But it was strangely enticing, strangely exotic. We couldn’t quite pinpoint what language they were singing in, but it didn’t matter. I found it difficult to look away and drag myself out the door. But I did nonetheless.

Needless to say, it was a wonderful time and we went home stuffed and feeling quite luxurious. For your next romantic fete, I highly recommend a visit.

Beaurivage Restaurant
26025 Pacific Coast Hwy
Malibu, CA
(310) 456-5733
www.beaurivagerestaurant.com

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Deep Birthday Thoughts

So I have a birthday coming up on August 23, which has prompted the usual dumb birthday thoughts to rattle around my brain. The thoughts go something like this, usually in an echoey, dream-like sort of voice: “Damn, I’m old. I mean my ass is really getting up there. Dude! I’ve been around since before the internet! Since before CDs! Since before Brangelina! By this ripe old age, I always thought I would have done more, like won an Oscar for Best Screenplay, visited the Grand Canyon, learned how to yodel, and perhaps worked as a professional go-go dancer. Shit, I’m old. I may as well lie down on the couch and play with the remote. Forget about being hot. People my age are no longer hot.”

Then I had a revelation and I decided to incorporate this into my mental repertoire, and I hope you, Dear Reader, will do so as well along with me. Are you ready? It goes like this:

YOU ARE EXACTLY AS OLD AS YOU DECIDE YOU’RE GOING TO BE.

That’s it. It’s brilliant, isn’t it? What you decide goes both ways, good or bad, and goes for both genders. But I’m thinking of women in particular here since women have a good deal more aesthetic, pursuit-of-youth pressures that society dumps on them. But it really doesn’t matter. You can decide to play into it or not.

And I have this on good authority too, see. Let me introduce you to Derek’s 100-year-old Grammy. Yes, she is 100. When you think of someone who is 100, you think nursing home, IV-drip and 100 types of meds with every (liquid) meal, right? Think again. Picture spunky, sassy, rarely not smiling or laughing, rarely not saying something positive, frequently playing her beloved golf and taking no meds whatsoever (except for a necessary blood-thinner). Picture someone still so in love with life that she grips it by the short-and-curlies every single day and is more energetic than a lot of 21-year-olds I have known. I want that to be me. And that will be me.

I also have to remind myself of the women in my age category who have accomplished so much – the hotties who are smart, talented, spiritual, and obviously loving every minute of their 30s. Let’s just run down the list: Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Aniston, Shirley Manson, Sophie Marceau, Pamela Anderson (yes, Pammy – read her articles in Jane Magazine…. Girlfriend has something to say), Uma Thurman, Nicole Kidman, Halle Berry, Guinevere Turner, shoot, the list goes on and on. The point is, sexy and sexuality has no number and is not something to be shut off at a certain age. I believe this is important for myself and women everywhere to remember.

So I’m going to shake my ass at da’ club and be proud this birthday. I think I’m a scandalous babe, therefore I am. Woot!

Wake up!

Since I am a total makeup 'ho, I have to give a shout out about this. If you are a heterosexual male, you may want to just cruise right past this post since it will be so boring for you it will make your eyes bleed. Girlies, read on. This is for those mornings when your face just doesn't pop into shape for a couple hours, your undereye area is puffy, dark, and generally sad-looking. Here's what you do: Go to your local Rite Aid and get this concealer in a tube called Almay Wake Up! (and sing System of a Down along with me: Wake up! Grab a brush and put a little makeup! Hide the scars and fadeaway the shake-up! Why'd you leave the keys up on the table! etc.) Anyway, Wake Up! is concealer meant for under the eye area (note: a little goes a LONG way). Then schlep over to your local Benefit counter (usually found in Macy's or Bloomies, or order from sephora.com) and get you some of that Oooh La Lift (pink stuff in a tube also meant to brighten undereye area). Mix these two things together on the back of your hand and apply liberally to undereye area with your finger. Bam! You look 5 years younger. Doesn't cake up, doesn't get crusty, and you look well-rested, even if you were doing percodan jello shots with Courtney Love the night before. It's a miracle.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Casa De Carlos

So we got one of those coupon mailer thingies with local restaurants and junk in there, and lo and behold, there is a coupon for Casa de Carlos in Woodland Hills. My parents used to take me and my brother there when we were little and we thought it was the absolute bomb since eating out was considered a special treat, so even if it was some dinky little local Mexican restaurant where they bring you chips and salsa as soon as you sit down, just for showing up, it just flat-out ruled. Well I hadn’t eaten there in years, so I wasn’t really sure if it was still good, or even good at all since a kid palate memory is hardly reliable. But there was the coupon, and I had a particular craving for beef, which I NEVER eat, but have been having some female issues and needed some iron, dammit.

So we show up to the place, and honestly, the décor is just as Mexi-cheesy as I remember. I love that. The place has been there since 1961 and they may have redecorated since then, but I doubt it. As soon as we sat down, we were greeted with not only fresh chips and salsa, but a side of delicious bean dip as well! Warning: you will want to consume 3 baskets of chips with 3 bean dips before the meal because it is just so darn good, but TRY to control yourself for chrissakes even though they happily bring you more after each Homer Simpson eating donuts-like consumption. Oh but we didn’t really consume three baskets. Heh heh… nooooo no no, I’m just saying that as a warning, I swear. No, seriously, really. I swear. What?

Anyway, it took us forever to decide what to get, during which time I got myself the first of two margaritas (on the rocks, with salt, in case you’re wondering). Now, a margarita is always how I judge the quality of a Mexican place, and the marg here was especially good. Not watered down, decent tequila, nice flavor to it. Just all around well-played. But back to deciding. There is so much good stuff on the menu, it is really difficult to point and choose. But in the end, I decided on the carne asada plate and Derek got the chicken tostada.

So they bring out our food. Okay, folks? Remember the opening credits of the Flintstones? Where the little drive-thru waitress comes up to the car and tosses this huge rack of animal flesh onto the car and the car tips over? Well, this is what happened with my carne asada plate. The waiter sets it on the table and I swear there were audible gasps in the dining room amongst other diners and the table shifted slightly under the weight of this thing. It was a gigantic side of pounded, tasty beef. Even the waiter said “Man, that looks like half a cow!” My dirty look notwithstanding, he left us alone and I proceeded to try to tackle this thing, which was quite delicious, but between the tortillas, the rice and beans, the three er, I mean one basket of chips and dip, and the enchilada that came with it, I only managed a small portion of it and had to take the rest home, which was quite yummy the next day.

Casa De Carlos Restaurant
22901 Ventura Blvd. (west of Fallbrook)
Woodland Hills CA 91364
(818) 225-8182

Friday, August 12, 2005

Dr. Seuss -- up in flames

Do you have any kids books to donate? Do you know someone who does? Jen's kid's school had a devastating incident recently: the school's administrative building went up in flames and took the library and all the kids' books with it. Here is an article about it: http://lafd.blogspot.com/2005/07/fire-damages-woodland-hills-charter.html

If anyone has a lead on books for kids, these guys could sure use 'em. Please see their website for information about the school and how to donate books: http://www.chimeinstitute.org/CharterElementarySchool.html

Thanks, Vals. Have a great weekend!

Love,
Valley Girl

Japanese Garden



Have you ever wanted to visit Japan? Have you ever looked at some of those gorgeous Asian silkscreen thingies that have some awesome landscape with water and flowers and junk on there and think “Man, I want to jump into that place and hang out for awhile and just chill” --?? Do you? Well, now you can jump into that serene, otherwordly-looking place for the low, low price of $3 (much cheaper than a plane ticket), and experience cascading waterfalls, a lake with real live creatures floating on it, an explosion of botanicum, and learn the Japanese symbolism behind each water, plant, and bridge formation.

We took Derek’s parents and his Grammy here when they came to town to visit. This is a wonderful place to bring out-of-towners to show them that the valley is more than just the Porn Capital of the World. It’s also a lovely place to just sit and reflect and be thankful we have these little escapes available to us. Check out the authentic Japanese teahouse, and don’t forget the gift shop. I found a super cute little paper umbrella in there (like the kind that comes in frou-frou drinks, only much bigger) that now serves as a lampshade to cover up this ugly-ass lamp in my writing/massage room.

The Japanese Garden
6100 Woodley Ave.
Van Nuys, CA 91406
Tel 818 756 8166

Check out their site: http://www.lacity.org/san/japanesegarden/gardenindex.htm

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Crystal's

I have to tell you guys about this awesome place that my awesome sis-in-law took me to last weekend. I feel like I'm about to share a delicious secret here, so listen up. It's called Crystal's. You'll be driving along this crappy-ass, industrial type street, when suddenly there appears this beautiful, ivy-covered little house-like building. Inside, it is crammed wall-to-wall with adorable, vintage type furniture, wrought iron decorations, really cool switchplates, drawer pulls, and other accents that make a place look beautiful and unique. You won't find any of this stuff at Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware. They also carry this line of candles that come in glass jars, and there must be a jillion different scents -- each one more delicious than the last one you sniffed. I bought Snickerdoodle, and when I burned it later, my whole house smelled like baking cookies. I also purchased a lovely planter for the cool African Mask plant my mom gave me. This thing is solid wrought iron, weighs a ton, and is absolutely beautiful. Guess what? It was only $30. If you're into shabby chic, you will love this place, but that certainly isn't the only crowd they cater to here. Check it out, and allow yourself a good two hours or so to peruse the goods. You'll want to kiss me later.

Crystal's -- 18217 Parthenia St, Northridge, CA 91325
Phone: (818) 701-0168

Keeping the Streets Safe From Wankers

So my friend Tirza and I take the dogs for a walk the other night around my neighborhood. It was after dark, but still early, like 8:30ish. We're having a nice time, enjoying the cool evening air after a hot valley day, gabbing up a storm as girls will do. The streets were pretty empty except for the occasional neighborly wave from someone's yard. When we were just about four blocks away from my house on the way back home, I realize someone has been following us. I look back a few times to make this person aware that I'm aware he's following us, and have the usual comfort that comes with holding the leash that is attached to a ginormous, vicious, snarling beast named Rufus. We quickened our pace, but still the man followed.

Finally, when the man was about 1/3 of a block from us, he called out to us "Hey Lady, I have to ask you a question." Tirza was nervous and said just ignore him, but I felt that the only way to make the guy go away was to answer his question and move along. I turned around and said "What?" He mumbled something incoherently and I again said "what?" By now he was standing at the corner, directly under a street light, mumbling something. Yes, folks, as you may have guessed, he slowly whipped it out and started playing with it, while asking me if my dog was a pit bull or some other mumbling nonsense. Tirza was literally pulling my arm and dragging me down the street by now, but I was pissed. I've had this very situation happen to me several times in my life (a couple of those times when I was a little kid), and it now brings up a severe anger reaction in me. I contemplated turning Rufus loose and letting him go discover a new chew toy for himself. This guy was so eager to share his bone, why not let him share it with the working end of my dog's razor-sharp teeth? I usually give the dogs a biscuit at the end of a walk. Perhaps they would like some perv-sausage instead?

But Tirza dragged me along, and we walked at a brisk pace back to my house, making sure he didn't follow us there. I called the police on the non-emergency number and told them what had happened, where the guy was, and gave a description. Not 10 minutes later, I received a call from the dispatcher (who was female, and very sympathetic), saying they had found a guy in that area and needed a more detailed description, which I gave her -- what he was wearing, facial hair, etc. She confirmed it with the officers, who "rogered" that it was the same guy and they were "holding him, pending a more thorough investigation" and thanked me for my call. Apparently, they don't take kindly to pervs walking the streets of Encino.

Derek said if this had been Venice, where we used to live, the cops would have been like "Yes, AND? Was there a shooting? Are the Crips and Bloods about to throw down? No? Then please don't waste our time."

Let this be a lesson to public wankers everywhere: Public wanking in Encino doesn't pay. Put that shit away and do it at home with your copy of Juggs Magazine.

Best. Sushi. EVAR.

I went to Enshino with Jennifer on a Friday night. We had read good things about the place, and it is right in my neighborhood, so we said what the heck. We walked in and immediately were greeted by the most adorable woman who treated us like old friends. Then when I ordered some sake, she earned even more points by asking to see my ID. I LOVE this woman!!! As a sushi snob, I have to say that the food here is nothing short of miraculous. Very creative and delicious rolls, fresh, succulent pieces of albacore that melt in your mouth, excellent service, reasonable prices, and a nice menu of non-sushi items as well for your friends who are NSPs (non-sushi people). I couldn’t possibly say enough good things about this place. I even came back the very next Friday and brought Derek with me so that he would also know the joy that is Enshino. And Sweet Hostess Lady even recognized me from the week before. I asked her if she would please card me again, and she kindly indulged me.

Be sure and try the #2 Roll, the Love Roll, and the spicy rock shrimp hand roll. Yum! I’m getting hungry just thinking about it! Go there, quick!

Enshino Restaurant, 17047 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA 91316 (1 block west of Balboa)
Phone: (818) 783-4621

Wednesday, August 10, 2005