Tuesday, April 25, 2006

blonde quote of the day

Only God, my dear,
Could love you for yourself alone
And not your yellow hair.

~W.B. Yeats

Friday, April 21, 2006

Olympic Spa

I’ve been having a rough go of it recently. Someone stole the dill plant off of my front porch. A woman called me the “c-word” over a parking spot. I had to give a vendor a verbal beat-down, follow it up with an ultimatum and then threaten his job. After that, a suspected murderer was tackled and handcuffed by a dozen armed police officers at my place of business during opening hours. There’s more, but reliving those events in words is almost as stressful as doing it all over again.

It’s my belief that when disappointment, frustration and exhaustion all make play-dates for the same day/same week/same month, its time to take action. The human spirit can only take so much before collapsing in on top of itself.

So last Saturday I went to Olympic Spa in Koreatown, where I (quite literally) washed that job/that mess in the kitchen/that man, right out of my hair.

I always get the traditional Akasuri scrub ($35) and 30 minute mini-massage ($35) when I visit this spa. A friend turned me on to it, and although I’ve had other treatments, nothing else provides the same value for the price. And as I’m sure you can imagine, for that price, Olympic Spa is what you might call “no frills.”

It’s also no clothes.

So there I was: tired, frustrated, exhausted and naked at the Korean spa, surrounded by dozens of other tired, frustrated, naked women, waiting to be scrubbed and beaten. Beaten.

After sweating in both the jade-lined sauna and the Finnish dry sauna, soaking in the mugwort tea and a brief stint in the (very!) cold pool, I was called for my treatment. The Akasuri scrub is a vigorous rub-down with silk mitts. The silk sounds nice, but it’s more akin to a Brillo pad than soft sheets. And the massage isn't one of those "little to the left - right there - no there! - ahhh, yeahhhh" kind of places. You get what you get, and its good. And I'm not about to argue with a woman who wears a black bra and panty for a uniform.

I thoroughly enjoyed it – especially since the woman only broke the skin once, reinforcing my belief that this is truly the only place in LA where you can really be clean.

Olympic Spa
3915 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90019
Phone 323.857.0666
Fax 323.857.0535

Monday, April 17, 2006

I'm not moving to New York

I’ve been telling everyone I know for the past several months that I’m moving, and I planned and rescheduled my last trip to the Big Apple numerous times. I called headhunters and corporations asking for interviews. I got few replies, but I went to New York anyway, intent upon proving to myself that a move is what I need.

However, this last trip was different. This move was supposed to be the final installment of my “better bitter blonde” self-improvement plan; a new city would force me out of my comfort zone and into the life I’ve always wanted for myself. So on this trip, instead of wandering the city and imagining myself shopping in Soho or dining in chic establishments, I walked into bars and restaurants and thought to myself, “If I lived here, this is where I would go. These people would be my friends. It really would be that $#%@ing cold outside.” And for the very first time, I started to doubt my decision.

At first I thought it was PMS. And then I thought it was the miserable weather. And after that, I thought it was the not-entirely-successful-yet-not-unsuccessful interviews that were clouding my views of a city that I absolutely adore. And then a friend (whom I dearly love and still do!) said, “LA is so fake.”

And I was honestly offended. People are fake, dammit. Not cities.

So I thought about what the City of Angels has to offer and shifted the focus from why I didn’t want to move to New York to why I did want to stay in Los Angeles. And even though Lady Luck seems to have stood me up this month, I was still able to come up with a couple (well, 93) reasons why I love LA.

1. seat covers in public restrooms
2. 36 days of rain (on average). A year.
3. At least when you’re trapped in traffic, no one is touching you
4. $2 freeway off-ramp oranges
5. Only an idiot would take a $20K paycut to move to a city that costs twice as much
6. Track homes make me laugh
7. Everyone is good-looking. Everyone.
8. Blondes really do have more fun
9. Don Antonio’s dollar taco Wednesdays
10. Nancy Silverton and her crazy love of cheese nights at both Campanile and Jar
11. right turn on red (stolen from Woody Allen, I know)
12. You can grow (or kill) most anything in Plant Hardiness Zone 9
13. It's extremely difficult to "accidentally" run into someone in this city. Which is good when you don't want to ever see your ex again.
14. A parade doesn’t shut down the city. A 26 mile marathon doesn’t even inconvenience my commute.
15. Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. And I don’t even drink coffee anymore
16. In-N-Out
17. Wilshire Blvd. takes you everywhere worth going
18. Ports O’Call live lobsters and crabs
19. Celebrity-stalking is way more fun in this city. And easier.
20. Recycling
21. Smog = Beautiful sunsets
22. Sweatpants ARE stylish
23. Sunglasses prevent crow’s feet
24. “Tacos el Jerezano” on Hazeltine & Burbank in Van Nuys
25. $15 mani-pedis
26. Trader Joe’s
27. The abundance of cheap wine that doesn’t taste cheap
28. Long (is there any other kind?) walks on the beach
29. the Pacific Palisades Sunday farmer’s market
30. shopping outdoors, year-round
31. Venice canals
32. Friends in “the biz” means never paying to rent a movie again. (Take THAT Blockbuster!)
33. Catalina. (I’ve never been, but I think I should)
34. Spanglish spoken here
35. Dodger baseball (Gagne kicks ass, or so my brothers tell me)
36. Dodger dogs
37. Public tennis courts
38. movies in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery
39. Nordstrom
40. Even better: Nordstrom Rack
41. Montana Avenue Holiday Open House each December
42. supermarkets that sell booze
43. Father’s Office burgers, medium rare
44. Wearing heels without ever worrying how far I’ll have to walk. Because nobody walks in L.A.
45. Olympic Spa in K-town
46. Al Fresco dining in January
47. Polite homeless people (at least in Santa Monica)
48. Picnics & Parties & PiƱatas at Rustic Canyon Park
49. Sunday jazz brunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel
50. If tourists bother me, I need only to roll up the window.
51. The Hollywood sign on a clear day
52. Picnicking at the Hollywood Bowl and not getting stuck in stacked parking
53. Being mistaken for someone famous (OK, it happened once)
54. Judging potential dates strictly based on their area code.
55. Karaoke at the Gaslite
56. Toi Thai on Wilshire – open till 4am
57. Taste of Santa Monica food festival
58. Taste of Santa Monica all-you-can-drink $15 pass into the wine garden
59. UCLA Extension courses
60. Walking to the Promenade
61. Easy access to Home Depot
62. Rent control
63. 3 hospitals in a 10 mile radius. You never know…
64. Hairdressers that pluck your eyebrows free of charge
65. Inexpensive bikini waxes
66. Wasting a beautiful day indoors, knowing that tomorrow will be just as nice
67. Palm trees with Christmas lights
68. Random celebrity sightings
69. Bike riding down the boardwalk
70. Staying in because you don’t want to “deal with” Hollywood
71. Getting good deals on furniture from people moving to NYC
72. Driving through Beverly Hills at Christmas just to see the lights along Sunset Blvd
73. Apartments big enough to have parties in
74. Bay Cities deli sandwiches
75. Enjoying the rare rainy day
76. 99 cent daffodil days
77. I’ll admit it. I like my car.
78. Pico Bowl birthday parties
79. Getting silly drunk in Manhattan Beach and pretending we’re still in college
80. People always want to visit you in the winter
81. Vegas is only an hour flight, and costs just $100 (well, getting there at least)
82. Driving on the PCH at sunset
83. Fireworks at Pali High on the 4th of July
84. Camarillo Premium Outlets
85. Cabazon is just two hours away
86. See’s Candy is so much better than Godiva
87. Dame on Broadway and Lincoln
88. $1.99 corkage fee at Fritto Misto
89. the chicken car on Lincoln Blvd
90. beach picnics at sunset
91. “Car-flirting” in traffic
92. Earthquakes really aren’t that scary.
93. Seasons are for suckers.

I know I didn’t list my family or my friends, and that was on purpose. This decision is my own and I don’t think I’d be content with it if I chose a city based upon the people in it. That’s what planes are for. Besides, Los Angeles would win every time and we’re trying to make this a fair fight.

Just because I don’t want to move right now doesn’t mean that I heart NY any less. I love it. And I may still move there some day. But for right now, you may call it “Hollyweird” or “LA-LA land,” but I’m going to keep on calling Los Angeles my home.

(now playing in your head: Randy Newman's “I Love LA”)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

blonde quote of the day

I'm not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I'm not dumb... and I also know that I'm not blonde.

-Dolly Parton

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Have you met Lou?

Tucked in the corner of a strip center between a Laundromat and what is (most likely) a “den of sin” advertising Thai Massage for $35, is Lou. It took me 15 minutes and three laps around the block to find it, but once I did I definitely felt as if I’d stumbled upon something extraordinary. Lou feels like a secret club for people who like wine, cheese and salami.

Lou’s website claims that they have 25 wines by the glass, but I only counted 24. I’ll forgive them, because every wine they offer by the glass, they also offer by the bottle. (And vice versa.) In addition, they have $12 flights and an almond and olives appetizer that rendered my gastronomically-minded dining partner speechless.

We ordered most everything available and were mostly pleased with both the well-edited menu and the quality of the items. In addition to the almonds and olives, we also had a selection of crostini, the mixed cheese and salami plate, macaroni and cheese and the newest sensation in gluttony: pig candy.

Pig candy is amazing. I don’t understand why no one ever thought of maple-glazing bacon before. It’s like candy…but made from pigs…its pig candy.

Our only disappointment was the macaroni and cheese. It was dry, flavorless and an utter waste of elbow pasta. However, the staff was very accommodating and sent it back for us without even attempting to defend the kitchen. The replacement mac & cheese was not much better, but I do appreciate the effort.

Grand Total: $90.93 for two, but that included SIX glasses of wine.

In summary, if you can find it, you’re more than welcome to have dinner with Lou.

724 N. Vine St. (one block north of Melrose)
Los Angeles, CA 90038

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Money? What money?

Every once in awhile, mostly when I’m stressed out at work (or at home, or on the freeway, or really anywhere other than the farmer’s market) I have this very bizarre moment in which my world stops, and a Talking Heads song starts playing, like background music to the movie that is my life.
And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself-well...how did I get here?

Today is one of those days. I received a call at 10:30am from some colleagues in another office across town. They’re checking up on me, since I’m operating a 32 acre property that does over $300M a year with a skeleton crew. The exchange went something like this:

Them: $1.6 million
Me: $1.6 million what?
Them: You have $1.6 million in outstanding AR.

(I think to myself…I’m missing $1.6 million? I probably should have known that.)

Me: Oh, it’s all in unapplied cash. I have it – it’s just not in the correct accounts.

(I’m a liar. I have no idea where it is. They laugh.)

Me: Besides, who cares? We don’t have an accountant, so there’s no one to bonus anyways!
(They laugh again. I am soooo funny.)

Them: Don’t you remember? They changed the bonus structure to include us.
(The laughing continues)

Them: I guess you’ll just take the free donuts.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

March Re-cap

Traveling makes resolution-keeping so easy! When you’re in a different city it’s impossible not to go to go to new restaurants or take in culturally-enriching events. I’ll have to keep that in mind for future months…

Restaurant(s): Piccolo, Pastis, Pipa, Babbo, Waverly Restaurant…among many other NYC dining establishments

Culturally-Enriching Event: NYC! More specifically, the Museum of Natural History. (where, incidentally, I was lost for several hours. All I wanted to see was the stegosaurus…but it was a long trek through the Mollusks of New York State exhibit…)

Recipe: uhhh… I forgot.

Book: Lonely Planet’s guide to New York City? I did read it several, several times.

I know that doesn’t count. In fact, I’ve been carrying “The Alchemist” in my briefcase for the past few weeks now – it’s even been back and forth to New York. But for some reason, I get anywhere from 60-80 pages into it and I stop. I’ve tried reading it from the beginning twice now. I just can’t finish it. I don’t know…maybe I’m not ready for inner peace. Maybe I’m not ready to admit to myself that I’m leading a life that isn’t (or at least doesn’t feel like) my own. But then again, that’s a lot to project onto a book. Maybe I shouldn’t think about it as hard as I do? Maybe it’s not even that good of a book and my subconscious is telling me to quit reading? Maybe self-realization is for suckers?

Or maybe I’m just making excuses. My punishment (which really isn’t punishment at all): two books in April.