Tag Archives: rant

LA Weekly’s Best of L.A. 2017 — West Hollywood Re-Deux

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LA Weekly just came out with their annual Best of L.A. issue, which I picked up by happenstance on Friday night. As a native of this awesomely diverse and sprawling city,  I can’t wait to flip through even more, as there are some really interesting places profiled: a Romanian restaurant in Highland Park, a body-positive gym in Mount Washington, late-night Thai food in East Hollywood (as well as a magic-themed bar), veggie soul food in Leimert Park, a history museum in the west Valley, and countless others.

I was, however, quite thrown off when I reached the section for West Hollywood — a literal half-page-and-a-column about the following: a boxing gym, a marijuana dispensary, a new restaurant, and The Chapel aka The Abbey lite. Also included was a brief note from an expert that mentioned the aquatic center and mural on the back of the library, but nothing that really stood out.

West Hollywood featured in LA Weekly’s “Best of LA 2017”.

Hmm.

Like… really? That’s all that LA Weekly could come up with?

Thanks to the Sunset Strip, I’ve never really been a stranger to Weho — any time between 2006 and 2010, you could find me taking the 218 over the long and windy Laurel Canyon pass then the 2 west, just to get lost in a show at the Viper Room or the Roxy. My diminutive, reserved Lake Balboan self was eyeballs deep in dreamland every time, and I just loved it.

After making the move in 2012, I can truly say that it’s one of those unique cities where everyone can be who they want to be. It’s also very walkable– it isn’t out of the ordinary for me to park my car after work on  Friday evening and not get back into until Monday morning. It’s a small town in a big city, a real community of people from all walks and income brackets — real folks who work, live, volunteer, and create here.

It really is a special place, full of culture, color, flavor, life, and pride, with something most always going on, and someone most always glad to see or get to know you.

So I’ve decided to do my own “Best of West Hollywood” feature –not from the perspective from a trust-fund hipster, but from a former Valley girl and aspiring writer who works a 9:30-to-7 near LAX.

Best Ramen Place: Daikokuya
Not that I’m complaining, but I used to have to drive all the way to Little Tokyo, then Little Osaka on Sawtelle to get my spicy miso ramen fix. So now having Daikokuya available within walking distance just makes life all sorts of shiny (especially following a night of 2-for-1 drink specials on Santa Monica Blvd). Not only ramen, but they serve up some awesome rice bowls — shredded pork with ginger, teriyaki chicken, eel, oh my — with miso soup and cabbage salad with a dressing worth the caloric indiscretion. Every time.

Best Sit-Down Pizzeria: Dough
The name says it all — the dough makes the pizza. There really is something that just makes it taste so damned good. Do they fly in cases of Poland Spring water from New York, or utilize a water filtration process similar to Brooklyn Water Bagel Co.? I don’t know but what I do know is that it is so delicious every single time. Single slices are priced from $2.50 (cheese) to $3.99 (BLT), and there are innovative menu selections and  specials every day of the week. My personal favorite special is Monday’s buy one get one pizza special, and $0.99 pizza slices with the purchase of a drink on Wednesdays.

Best Happy Hour: Cecconi’s (Tuesday to Saturday from 4 to 7pm, enjoy food and cocktails priced from $4 to $7!) and St. Felix (daily from 4 to 8pm; Sundays start at 2! Just. So. Good. Just go. Go.)

Best Frozen Yogurt: Yogurt Stop
The prospect if dessert is worthy of a smile in itself, but throw in flavor names such as Bottoms Up Banana, Salted Caramel Booty, Milk My Harvey Chocolate, and Original Weho Tart John Duran, and you’ll be guaranteed at least a yelp of amusement. Plus, their vegan flavors — including coconut, almond; watermelon sorbet — actually taste like and have a non-imitation consistency.

Best Car Wash: Santa Palm Car Wash
I could go to the gas station closer to my office, or anywhere on the way home from wherever I may be headed — but I always end up at the local car wash on the corner of Palm and Santa Monica Blvd. You just feel where your dollar is going — into local business versus dime-a-dozen machinery. Newly remodeled and located across the street from Yogurt Stop and sharing geographical real estate with LA Buns hot dog and hamburger stand, its service with a smile is in actuality.

Best Disco FriesKitchen 24
Somewhere in between poutine and heaven falls an order of disco fries. Fun story: one night I was attempting to make my way back home after a liquor-ish maiden voyage to FUBAR and I had the drunken munchies. I walked by Kitchen 24 and dropped in to request the K24 Breakfast Sandwich and disco fries, the former of which I devoured on the rest of the walk home. The latter, however, my boyfriend ate the following morning as I slept off the booze. I forgave him eventually.

Best Gay Bar: Flaming Saddles 
Now, I personally can get into regular old country, but this isn’t regular old country. It is West Hollywood country, honey — a.k.a. attractive men in tight denim, boots, and hats, sometimes dancing on tables. Not that there’s anything wrong with a posh, scene-y vibe, but if you’re going for hella fun, go for the cowboy. Always the cowboy. (Runner-up: Micky’s.)

Honorable mentions —
Best Bottomless Mimosa Brunch: Jack n’ Jill’s Too, Marco’s Trattoria
Best New Place for Alternative Tacos: Tocaya Organica
Best Pet Supply Store: Collar & Leash
Best Tucked-Away Hotels:  Le Montrose, Le Petit Ermitage
Best Restaurants (That I’ve Been To): The Granville, Sandbox on Melrose
And finally, Restaurants/Shops/Places That I Hope to Visit Soon: Pono Kitchen + Bar, The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker, Salt & Straw

Ah… see? Much better.

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The Rhythm of a Short Week

Never underestimate amount of bliss contained within the four-day workweek that follows a three-day weekend. Who doesn’t love Faux Monday falling on Tuesday, and a Friday that takes no time to arrive? It’s all such a carefree flurry breezing through humdrum life, not unlike bygone days of early dismissal in grade school. 

But mind thy calendar, for as quickly as you wished for it, we’re now back to your regularly scheduled two-day weekend. And once its over, what’s left is the five-day workweek of weeks past — complete with Real Monday, and perhaps a sour gut feeling as if nothing noteworthy ever happened, nor will happen again. 

C’est la vie. Such is life. Every day is, in fact, a gift, and yet:

“Time keeps on slipping into the future.” — Fly Like an Eagle, Steve Miller Band

Just like that. 

The Solar Eclipse Doesn’t Care What You Think

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I’d been looking forward to today’s total solar eclipse for weeks. Between the Perseid meteor shower last weekend and the Sturgeon moon the weekend prior, this was to be the marzipan frosting on top of a delectable month of visibly galactic activity.

From my vantage point in Los Angeles, I knew going in that it was going to be partial, but that was more than enough for me. To take part in a major event in the universe was all that was necessary.

What took me by surprise was some of the remarks about the eclipse — that it was a bit anti-climatic, or only okay. Fair enough if the hype surpassed reality. It happens.

Guess what? It’s a total solar eclipse. It doesn’t care what you think. It’s not here for you, humans. It went on without you whether or not you were there to watch it.

If you really want excitement, watch Game of Thrones, if you can continue to stomach the subpar writing of the past two seasons.  If that doesn’t do it for you, scroll through your favorite tag on tumblr. Still nothing? Tweet at your favorite podcaster and momentarily lose it when they “at” you back.

It’s to be expected, as a good amount of people have conditioned themselves to be so entertained or moved by something or someone that it seems to be forgotten that existing is enough. Meanwhile, the universe could collapse on itself and our planet wouldn’t even register on its list of worries.

My puny human advice? Be like the universe. Be brilliant, be bold; evolve and be limitless. Always be the bigger entity. Attract endless crowds just by existing. Illegitimi non carborundum and all that jazz. After all, aren’t we made of stardust?

See you again in 2024.

Strength Training for the Zombie Apocalypse, Ep. 3

I’ve been working out every day. I promise I have.

I just don’t like pretending to be something I’m not. Like, how many more fitness personalities does the internet actually need?

About two or three years ago I came across an Instagram profile of one Sophie Gray (@wayofgray) and I was ultra inspired by her. Then came the folks at Bodyrock.tv with their 12-minute workouts, Jen Selter, Freelee the Banana Girl’s high carb low fat lifestyle (and through her, Kayla Itsines), and so on.

But in an attempt to be my best, most healthy self, I thoroughly screwed myself up.

I named these individuals as an example of how I personally viewed the rise of the Instagram and then YouTube health and wellness persona that has truly taken ideals of health and fitness by storm. One of my childhood friends is one of these #fitgirls, which is still super inspiring to me.

That isn’t the life I want to lead, though. Unless a support system is involved, and one is using their body and lifestyle as part of a brand or business (inclusive of the entertainment industry), I am not a huge fan of this hardcore, buzzword/hashtag-driven, pics-or-it-didn’t-happen sort of advertising. And yet here I am. Trying to have fun, trying to strengthen my body, attempting to offer discourse within all the clutter of what one “should” do and what is actually possible.

Last year, I took a Cancun vacation in August. From the moment I booked the trip that February, I worked to come up with the perfect diet and workout in order to have The Instagram-Worthy Beach Body™.

Well, I never got that body. I kid you not — I stayed the same size for the whole damn year. No matter how little I ate or how much time I spent in the gym, my body stayed the exact same size. The measuring tape did not budge one damn inch. I had a great time in Cancun, but I wasn’t at all pleased with how things turned out.

In contrast: this year, I formally exercise around 45 to 60 minutes, 4 to 6 times a week. I am actively working to cut that down to 30 to 45 minutes, 5 days a week. I am also a lot more relaxed on diet, but make sure to drink as close to three liters of water a day.

I don’t drink that much — maybe once every two weeks, but I’m considering lessening even that.

My sleep quality could improve, but I average six hours a night.

I also get really stressed sometimes, to the point that it physically manifests itself as edema or a rash of some kind, sometimes eye twitching (always fun).

I cry when I’m happy, sad, and angry. I let things get to me. I keep things inside. Sometimes I’m a hermit and don’t want to come out.

I’m not perfect, and will never advertise myself to be as such. “Do not be like me” would be my slogan of choice. That said, since I’ve just gone along with life instead of trying to control every move, I’ve lost eight to ten pounds. I feel more comfortable in my skin. I don’t count calories. I eyeball portions instead of measuring. I just try to exist at this point, and my body seems to like that a lot better than what it had previously been subjected to.

If I had to recommend anything, it would be that — stop trying so hard. Set your own standard and don’t feel badly for eating more than your macros, for sleeping in, for taking a leisurely walk around the block instead of lifting heavy weights. Work within the limits of your body. Push them a little if you can, because, I mean, the zombies are coming.

Function and strength is awesome — remember that.

But more importantly, remember that no one is going to give two shits whether you’re swole af or your thighs jiggle when the zpocalypse hits.

Check out previous episodes here:

Episode 2
Episode 1

And find me on Twitter — I’d love to hear from you!