the dreslyn

Screen Shot 2013-08-25 at 6.20.11 PMcoming from new york and still considering myself very much a new yorker (once a new yorker, always a new yorker, right? don’t answer that.) i adore delivery.

groceries, wine, chinese food, insomnia cookies…and designer duds.

yes, you read correctly – designer clothes that are delivered right to your door. (i mean…let’s talk about dream world.)

what once was reserved for the stylishly elite of manhattan, has finally made its way to la la land in the form of the dreslyn.

brainchild of fashion world veteran brooke taylor-corcia, the dreslyn is a west coast dream featuring a bevy of enviable brands, killer editorial and lust-worthy home goods (why, yes i would like a set of brandished tea lights thank you). i like to think of it as net-a-porter’s younger, spunkier little sister.

and did i mention they do delivery?

i mean, if that doesn’t have you then i just don’t know what will…

go. shop. do delivery.

twenty-seven

Image

to quote britney spears, “not a girl, not yet a woman.”

never did i think i would use britney spears’ timely lyrics to quote my current state of mind AGAIN (because let’s face it, at 16 she pegged my quasi-sexual teenage angst down to tee), but here she is poignantly coloring my emotion again…

to those that are younger, 27 seems old, mature, ripe with adulthood things like clean apartments, fiancees and a general together-ness. to those older, i am still young, naive in many ways and have oh-so-much to learn.

to me? 27 = freaking the fuck out.

putting the tragically glamorous 27 club aside, googling 27 is a digital, ego-deflating assault on what to expect in the coming year. the year, it apparently all changes.

you can read dollops such as “notice your life turning upside down (around age 27)” which refers to this delicate stage as the mystical saturn return (aka my orbital transition between youth and adulthood – duh).  or “old age begins at 27” which brightly shares that scientists have discovered that 27 is when your mental faculties really start to take a dip. yippee. depends here i come.

and if that wasn’t cheery enough, yet another article “is 27 the best age ever?” highlights the many triumphs others have achieved by this epochal age…hemingway, he wrote the sun also rises, ingrid bergman – well she was starring in casablanca, ben and jerry – yup – ice cream king pins at the age of 27.

and me.

completely, totally, entirely assured and completely, totally, entirely terrified. me. every saturday night planning on having “A NIGHT” and every saturday night, being home by 12am, undoubtedly deciding wine and my couch is far more appealing. my ears burn when i smoke pot. i am engaged (and supposed to be someone’s real-live wife). i am terrified of riding bikes. i hate my job. i love my job. i get overly emotionally during animated films.

and today i am 27. not a girl, not yet a woman.

and in this moment it hits me. 27 is a pregnant pause in one’s twenties – a year filled with expectation and transformation. the last year to be obscene, the last year when you can get away with it. all of it. it is the moment before the moment you really become an adult.

and with that i will go into 27 with wild ambition. a free heart and an open mind (forgive the hippie poetic crap, it IS my birthday).

away we go.

cycling is not good for my soul

Screen Shot 2013-05-21 at 1.29.03 PMi am a rare breed.

i am a los angeles born and raised denizen that HATES working out.

yup, I said it. i HATE it.

the formidable wheezing, the crimson shade of red that inevitably washes over my face, the rah-rah-rahness of instructors, the chants of supposed enthusiasm that ends up just sounding utterly absurd (“come on! i need you right now!” – really? do you need me?).

all of it. nope. no thank you.

it is one of the reasons i loved living in new york so much. no one is (or was) nearly as workout obsessed as they are in l.a. they understood that spinning furiously on a bike for two hours while contemplating if you are going to pass out is not an ideal friday night birthday party.

they were my people….or so i thought.

going back to nyc this past month i was rudely surprised. my beloved anti-gym, people-who-work-out-are-trying-too-hard city had succumbed to spin madness and barre mania.

what’s worse is that it was not just the city, but my best friends. hung over saturdays and bottomless brunches had turned into 9am yoga-spin-pilates class with instructors named arrow and pepper. (neat.)

and their current workout du jour? flywheel.

an overly-energetic spin class that makes you heave in a corner, while also pitting you against fellow riders by putting your stats up on a GIANT board for everyone to see. (double neat.)

so imagine my delight and surprise when my nyc friend came to visit l.a. and told me she signed us up for flywheel’s newest west hollywood studio.

racing anywhere after work is a pain, but racing to a class where you know you are going to suffer and inevitably look like a radish…well that holds a certain irony not to be dismissed.

macklemore and ryan lewis kicked off the class (points for them). the instructor wasn’t totally terribly (even though her arms were bigger than my thighs).  it took me a minute when our light pedal turned into a full tilt speed assault, but after i fell off the bike for the second time i really began to get the swing of things.

as the class continued and the music was pumping, i got wrapped up in pedaling to the track. i even forgot to care that my pathetic attempt at an “uphill climb” was broadcast for the entire class to see or that dropping  your weights mid-class can be viewed as mildly embarrassing.

before the hour was over, i would even venture to say i enjoyed myself (gasp!!).

while i didn’t buy a package, i did seriously contemplate the thought of coming back. and well that pretty much makes me the next jillian michaels in my book.

now if only the red puffiness didn’t come with spinning. then i would REALLY be sold.

flywheel, 8599 santa monica blvd, west Hollywood, ca 90069

 

i want to be a chow

arss-michael-chow-empire-02-hi need to be a chow.

they have single-handedly mastered the art of inconspicuous conspicuous consumption.

since the birth of mr.chow’s in the swanky london district of knightsbridge in 1968, michael chow and his growing clan have seamlessly permeated every aspect of popular culture, collecting restaurants, art and films as one would a set of stamps.

papa chow – the industrious ring leader, rich playground purveyor, preeminent art collector, and interior designer savant.

mama chow – aka eva chun – illustrious counterpart, tiger-mom, cfda designer, and muse to some of the best regarded artists in contemporary culture. she is a well-styled, more ebullient version of morticia adams, nimbly floating from industry to industry brokering some of the biggest cultural introductions of the 21st century.

the kids – a formidable trio of well-coifed elegance. clones of their designer-clad parents with agendas and cultural ambitions as thick as an encyclopedia britannica.  (you’re beginning to see why i belong, yes?)

chows

the chows have managed to carve out a unique space between notoriety and anonymity – surreptitiously adding their midas touch to many a gala, store, restaurant, and foundation without the added paparazzi flashbulbs.

they walk the streets (and by streets i mean rodeo drive) with us, yet don’t be fooled. their matching emerald gucci suits bely the truth – last night they had dinner with jeffery dietch, a night cap with sean penn and the youngest chow played a cello concerto for andre balzas and hockney. (p.s. totally what my tuesday night looks like too.)

they are luxury personified. elegance in caricature form. and i would fit in divinely.

i recognize i may be a bit late on the whole adoption thing, and marrying for culture/money unfortunately still has a negative tinge in society (sigh), so this is my public plea to the chows – take me in. 

i am fully-house trained, occasionally witty, make a mean pork chop, and play the trombone. granted it is not quite as elegant as the cello, but we all must do with what we’ve got.

look forward to your call.

sincerely,

tj

true grit: the hart and the hunter

welcome the hart and the hunter. no, it’s not a revival play of aesop’s fable (because i am SURE that’s what you were thinking), but rather the clever moniker of brian dunsmoor and kris tominaga’s first permanent eatery.

gaining true acclaim with their venice pop-up sensation wolf in sheep’s clothing (clearly these guys have a real knack for titles), the two decided to take the show off the road and hang up their aprons within the swanky hipsterness of the palihotel.

with a clear southern flair, the space is bright, very turquoise, very tiled, and boasts a 1950’s-style countertop perfect for a slice of pie and some fresh brewed handsome coffee. the equally southern hipster staff mills about in casual conversation, which intended or not, only adds to the space’s incredibly “down-home” aesthetic.

that cozy sensation is equally matched in the food. especially the biscuits.

mmmm, the biscuits.

melted butter, pastry dough and pure magic (yup, magic) come together in fluffy, this-is-my-one-island-food-of-choice awesomeness. while the accompaniments are nice (persimmon jam, honey butter, etc.), the biscuit alone has you at hello (and by hello, i mean scent…that i would like to bottle). the fact that there were only 4 to a serving was perhaps the biggest issue… so we had to order another helping…and then another. gluttony is clearly lost on us.

reading the menu, one quickly comes to imagine the dishes are inspired by a taste-fueled civil war. true southern fare is deliciously muddled with experimental yankee panache – fried green tomatoes with chow chow, collared green marmalade, and fried chicken livers with apple/onion jam and hazelnut.  ya know, just like what the soldiers munched on in 1862.

with our forked bayonets at the ready, my party and i attacked the menu with valor and determination: venison carpaccio with horseradish crème fraiche, chopped steak with bone marrow, melted raclette with butterball potatoes and cornichon, hanger steak with snail and herb butter, cheddar and chive grits, and roasted brussel sprouts to seal the deal. dessert was slightly more humble (for us) in the form of chocolate and peanut crunch cake, apple dumpling with hooks cheddar and a polenta pound cake of sorts.

the fact that we were able to walk out without waddling came as a surprise to not only us, but the watchful staff.

delicious, scrumptious and truly comforting, the hart and the hunter was a perfect treat, and the best news of all? their weekend brunch is coming soon.

(photos by palihotel)

here.we.go.

nyc refresh participants

“i am too much of a new yorker to be motivated,” i implored my friend.

i’ve never been one for motivational speeches, speakers, etc. i prefer my motivation to come in the quiet forms of etsy text art and quoted memes. more palatable and less yelling i find.

however, against my begrudging judgment i attended an event called “refresh” this past monday. what i expected to be trust circles with we-have-so-much-to-be-thankful-for chants was anything but. in fact i might even say it was…refreshing.

under the dewy lights of the roosevelt’s tropicana bar, surrounded by mostly strangers and firelight, we met jared matthew weiss, chief inspiration officer of spring and arrow, “life-coach” wunderkind (although he hates the title), and refresh incubator.

the concept is simple: once a week he gathers friends, friends of friends, and more friends, to refocus, reenergize and regroup. what started with 8 people in new york, has since grown to 60+ people, and landed in la this week.

completely free of charge, jared kicks of the evening by walking the group through his life story (think of a real-life hitch), and his coined mantra: Here.We.Go. he breaks those three small words down into three teachable moments, ultimately concluding that when people are doing what they love, they’re better for the world.

fairly simple in theory, but also easier said than done. jared clearly recognizes the heaviness attached to his motto, so he asks each person to make one small commitment for the week. something that will ultimately…make you happy.

you do. (to FINALLY finish the book i started oh like 4 months ago.). you e-mail it to him (so he can gently check in to see if you’ve actually followed through) and then a musician performs – the expected kumbaya moment, but cultured and relevant– and it’s over.

it ended, i smiled, something about it made me feel happy, even excited (shock). partially because as someone in the throws of her quarter-life crisis i am the perfect audience, but also because the evening happily lacked the motivational hyperbole/laden guilt so often associated with such events. plus you find some pretty neat “parallels” (another jared term) between other attendees.

if you have the chance to attend, go. if nothing else it’s a great way to spend a week night, meet new folks who might be going through the same third-round quarter life crisis as you (ahem), and a little motivated self-love never hurt anyone.

more info: refresh – spring and arrow 

(photo: spring and arrow)

a vote for beijing

while 4 weeks ago i may have written about a frat party, 14 hours ago i was at a friend’s house celebrating the election process.

a group of 20-somethings huddled around a big-screen flipping back and forth between nbc, john stewart and fox (for a good laugh). we all came together, first through the pregnant silence of what might happen, then to the could-it-be-true gasps and finally cheering in welcome relief. it felt incredibly adult, not only because the hostess cooked killer homemade mac n’ cheese, but because we debated on key points – the partisan nature of government, the statues at hand, the future of government – not just from a place of impassioned youth, but one of informed caring.

i left full on democracy, camaraderie and cheesy goodness.

cut to this morning, my drive to work, flipping to npr for some post-election coverage. the u.s. embassy in beijing held a mock election. ex-pats as well as a handful of chinese nationals were invited to get their first taste of democracy.

the girls the reporter interviewed were giddy – partially because of obama’s “cuteness” as one girl professed, but also by the act of voting…something they don’t normally have the luxury of doing.

i am far from what some might call a patriot, but in that moment, hearing those girls – ecstatic by simply MOCK voting, it stirred something. as the reporter continued, most of the chinese republic has little idea who runs their district, let alone their country as a whole.

my first thought? holy shit, i am lucky. while i know it is a communist nation, i guess the weight of the public’s involvement, or lack thereof, never really entered my consciousness.

again, i think how lucky i am. cheesy as it may be – our right to vote – it’s what makes america america (duh, i know, give me a minute). regardless of partisanship, taxes, health care, etc. – we have the right to disagree and question and celebrate our political process.  it makes me think of all the “get out there & vote” campaign slogans that have been streaming through the media. i get it now. not only can you make a difference, but more importantly, to NOT vote is to demean those girls in china and everyone else whose voice is restricted.

realizing this painfully obvious thought for the first time has made me more of patriot, more impassioned about this country, than i think i have ever been.

as obama said last night, “more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward.” beyond an epic opener, it’s the underlying goal beneath the political rhetoric of bipartisanship. it’s what we as a country need to remember. because we have the right to vote, we have the ability to determine our own destiny.

and well, i think that’s pretty neat.

 

a collection: poor man’s art

it can be hard for a broke girl in the city. while my paychecks may have gotten bigger, so has my taste. and so goes the cycle of my life: crossing my fingers, toes and eyes every time i sign into my bank account.

sadly, my plight leaves little room to invest in the important things such as modiglianis, picassos and other great works of art and culture…until now.

as it turns out many share my cultural affliction and several companies have popped up to answer our aesthetically hedonistic pleas.

buy some damn art – having been featured on daily candy, apartment therapy and design sponge, this site has already earned its apartment decorating chops. each week they provide new work, from different artists – with some even creating originals for the site. the work remains listed for up to six weeks and boasts a range of prices ($100 – $500). from modern to portraits to spin art, every fledgling art collector can find something for their walls.

the tappan collective – started by two girls from l.a. who quickly realized there are some truly great artists out there, but few have a place to call home (read: gallery). the result: the tappan collective, an online-only gallery showcasing a select assortment of emerging artists. with some seriously iconic-l.a. art, i have already lost hours of my life (happily) musing on how to clothe my barren walls. #cultureproblems

20 x 200 – a.k.a. the grandfather to the democratic art movement. launched in 2007 (ok, so i am clearly late on this on, but hey i was still living in a dorm and making jello shots in 2007 – no judgment please). a simple formula, as the site says – limited editions x low prices + the internet = art for everyone. slightly more advanced than it’s sister sites, one can search by category, price, color, and artists. currently hosting over 904 works, 20 x 200 remains the most comprehensive in both art and style.

society 6 – think etsy, but with an entirely art focus. with thousands of contributors around the world, the site carries more than just art for your wall, but iphone cases, t-shirts, totes and cards. as a fellow art enthusiast stated, it’s kind of like art facebook…it’s so easy to get lost floating from one artist to the next with decorating daydreams abounding.

ok, so they might not be manets quite yet, but a girl’s got to start somewhere.

true grit: gjelina – a love letter


guest blogger: l.d.

restaurants are my boyfriends. we embark upon a whirlwind love affair; the first flush of the unfamiliar dishes that delight and surprise, honeymoon phase of frequent visits and declarations of eternal love, until inevitably the intoxication of the new fades and another fresher establishment captures my affections. however there is one place, the prototypical bad boy of dining establishments who remains trenchant and aloof, and although i know it just isn’t that into me, i just can’t quite keep myself away.

everything is difficult about this place. you can barely find it if not for the pseudo-bohemians that crowd its entrance, much like clubbers awaiting the leniency of a bouncer. an impromptu visit garners a bitchslap of a waiting time. the clientele seem to be poignantly selected to make you feel bad about yourself. they are better dressed, fitter and thinner than you, just accept it.

the lighting is dim, the brass walls cold to the touch, the clamor of other patrons making it hard to even hear. however with that rebelliousness comes a certain innate badassery that is lacking in most other aim-to-please establishments. this is the place that doesn’t give a shit if you want dressing on the side, victoria beckham, you’re going to eat it the way we make it.

even the name is hard to figure out at first- gjelina. i’ll bet you three of their butterscotch pot de la crèmes that you can’t find someone who can pronounce it right the first time.

although i was wary, i knew my bearded guest with a penchant for quality cocktails and french press coffee would appreciate the haughtiness that tends to ward off plebian gourmands. armed with the reassurance of a reservation, our gangly hipster host escorted us past the communal table where the artfully disheveled crowd nibbled on kale salads, to the cozy back patio. we cracked our knuckles and dove head first into brussel sprouts with caramelized onions and bacon, grilled pears with buratta and bacon vinaigrette, miyake mushroom toast with truffle oil, squash blossom and buratta pizza, and pillowy gnocchi with mushrooms.

the intriguing irony of gjelina is that as carefully crafted as the ambiance and ongoings may be, the food is beautifully, effortlessly simple. the fruits and the vegetables are so fresh, you’d think the chef personally picked each individual cherry tomato himself. dishes that play on the fine line of taste and texture, desserts that verge on caramel nirvana, light rose that washes everything down with the slightest of punches. it all lures me in, crawling back, needing more.

oh gjelina, i just can’t quit you.

the ugly stepsister: los angeles fashion week

l.a. fashion week logo

last night whilst the rest of the world watched the wwf match between the barack “the comeack kid” obama and mitt “the binder” romney, i found myself begrudgingly submerged in the fledging world of los angeles fashion week.

i never really understood why fashion hasn’t taken off here. we are a desert oasis with tons of space, sunshine and creative fodder to last a life time.

then i went to my first los angeles fashion week event…and there was my answer.

wet seal didn’t only throw up at this place, but had montezuma’s revenge. tweeny, teeny bloggers running around in hyper-sequined dresses mixed with too-tight (and bright) for even-the-kardashians-dresses made for a who’s who and what-the *#@& is-that of what not to wear.

no wonder we are new york fashion week’s ugly stepsister. i, an adoring angeleno and lover of all things style was even forced to dip my head in disappointment for this expression of our industry.  the whole night i ached to pat the proverbial head of la fashion. “nice try darling, but if you really want to up your game, you need to stop endorsing the past-prime girls of toddlers and tiaras.”

the truth is fashion won’t start to take l.a. seriously, until los angeles actually takes fashion seriously. with hollywood around the corner, stylists on the boom, and luxury companies such as rodarte and halston popping up, the bend toward designer fashion is beginning to take shape, but then l.a. fashion week comes along, trouncing about with barely-there dresses, gaudy lipstick and silver-lame leggings and botches everything up.

what our industry needs is a bitch-slap from miranda priestly. the it’s not-blue-it’s-cerulean (duh) kind. one that will force us to glamorously gussie up our currently unpedicured toes and strut the runway like we mean it.

i know we have it in us…we just need a little help.

mister mayor…you’re welcome, and by the way, i’m available.