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