Archive | July, 2012

The Metro is for Lovers

31 Jul

Get it?! This is L.A. and they’re referencing a Clint Eastwood move!
Pulled from celtisventures.com

Alright, L.A.  I can already see so many of your faces.  You’re giving me that look.  That, wait…what?  You take the SUBWAY?  The BUS??  My response being, “Yes!  You, don’t?!”

Public transportation is one of greatest perks of city living.  Albeit, we don’t have the best, or most efficient of services and no, they don’t hit all the areas of the city, but it is so amazing, I’m willing to let those things slide.  It’s a little tricky getting started, but after a ride or two, it’s smooth sailing, believe me.

If you haven’t already noticed, I’m a drinker.  I’m also a driver.  Just not at the same time.  Why not utilize the incredibly cheap alternative to a cab or DUI when going out for the night?  I would much rather risk my chances with the locals than cuddle with Bertha in the clink.  Typically, I take public transportation to my destination and grab a cab on the way home.  I’m a huge fan of this plan!  (I keep rhyming, what the hell?)  The city can be yours!

In fact, back in the day, Los Angeles used to have a major subway system that rivaled New York.  You can thank the dicks over at General Motors for the smack down on that.  They started taking it apart after WWII in hopes of selling more cars – well, it worked and now L.A. is made fun of for it’s glorious smog.  Also, did you know the term “road rage” was coined here in L.A. in the late 80s?  Shocker, right?  I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to conclude that General Motors ruined any chance we had at happiness.

Still not grabbing your interest?  How about this fact – riding public transportation is people watching at it’s BEST!  I’ve ridden the bus with Zorro, seen a 90-year-old lady profess her love to her new friend and seatmate, met this guy below – who immediately stole my heart with his Kennedy Space Center kitty-cat shirt, and so on and so forth.

What!? Your cats are astronauts?! Fine, you win.

I recommend starting off with a day trip somewhere, anywhere.  Just keep your eyes and ears open and you’ll be fine!  Think of it as an adventure!

It’s much easier than you think.  Let’s do a little role-playing to get you in the mood.  You pretend to be the stranded French Maid or Grown Man Dressed in a Diaper (your choice) with only enough money to drink and pay for a one-way taxi ride.  I’ll play the Sexy Kindergarten Teacher – get the condoms – here we go!

1.  Figure out where you want to go.   Go to Google maps and enter in your starting and ending addresses like you normally would, except, click the icon that looks like a bus (this is public transport)…see below.  It will show you options for the nearest subway station and/or bus route.  Click here for the link to the timetables in case you aren’t planning an immediate trip (Metro Local Service = Bus; Metro Rail Service = Subway).  There are two different kinds of buses – express and regular.  Most likely, you’ll want express.  They make far fewer stops and will take you less time to get wherever it is you’re going.

2.  Show up at your start destination.  If you are taking the subway, you will have to buy a paper ticket or a tap card.  They have kiosks for this.  It’s just like paying for parking at any garage in L.A. except it’s different, but regardless, you should be used to this.  Most hubs don’t check your ticket right off the bat like they do in other major cities, but you must keep it on your person.  I’ve witnessed ticket checkers going up and down the trains and if you get caught without one, it’s a nasty ticket.  I’m talking the getting-caught-running-the-red-light kind.  That will ruin your weekend.  When taking the bus, bring coins since they don’t make change.  The fares are something along the lines of $1.50 each way, $3.00 round trip and $5.00 day pass (same for both the subway and the bus).

3.  If you did the bus thing, good for you, you’ve made it.  Sit down if you can, and enjoy the ride – watch out, it can get bumpy (note: ladies, it doesn’t hurt to wear a sports bra.)  If you’re on the subway, once you pass the turnstiles you’ll have to figure out which train to get on.  There are a ton of maps down in the depths of the subway system; I feel confident you’ll be able to figure it out.  Know where you need to get off ahead of time and keep an eye on the maps located inside the cars to watch out for your stop.

4.  When you’ve reached your destination, get off.  You will most likely have to walk the remaining bit, but otherwise, you’re there!  Yay!  You did it!

This could possibly be the most liberating thing you’ve done while living in L.A.!  Unless, however, you like the 405 and sitting in your car, or maybe you love going 20 mph on a two lane street when the speed limit is 35 mph, or perhaps you love jail.  If so, you’re right, public transpo just ain’t for you!

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Top Five: Easy Exercise DVDs To Get the Ol’ Body Moving

30 Jul

From butlerwebs.com

In the spirit of starting the week off with a bang, let’s work out!  I make this pledge every Monday, but this, this week will be different.  My motivation won’t falter come Wednesday!  I will look like an Olympian (by the next Olympics)!  I will…stop eating ice cream at 11:30pm…oh jeez, I’ve got a long road ahead of me. But Monday!  Here I come!

I’m what you might call an exercise DVD aficionado.  I’ve been doing these embarrassing little suckers since I was 10 or 11 when my Dad (that’s right) brought home my first Jazzercise VHS tape from the class he was taking.  He liked to workout with the ladies; I think he got a kick out of being fawned over since he was the only guy there.  Anyhoo – I must have done that video 5,000+ times in my life.  I still have it.

Exercise DVDs have always been cheesy.  Jane Fonda, the original legend, Tamilee Webb with her damn “Buns of Steel” and Suzanne Somers’ Thigh Master – which is still for sale, by the way.  There’s just no getting around it, but hey, it’s OK since I love to workout in privacy and actually get a good workout while doing it.  I’ve never been a fan of machines and I hate fighting over the treadmills/ellipticals.  I hate showering at the gym and hate having to spend extra time driving somewhere to workout when I can do it at home.  These are the facts of life.

There are strict rules in my household.  My darling boyfriend knows NOT to interrupt me whilst exercise videos are running – it’s for his own good really, that’s something you can’t unsee.  Which is another perk to working out at home; you don’t have to look good.  You don’t even have to look somewhat OK.  You can look down right horrid and it doesn’t matter because no one will see you (in theory).  Side note:  make sure all blinds, windows and doors are shut to both the outside world and the rest of your house.  I do and it makes all the difference.

Now I would like to share with you my Top Five Easy Exercise Videos.  These are the videos I do when I haven’t worked out in a month, or if I’m just feeling lazy.  They tend to be on the shorter side and are relatively easy.  After a week or two of having these in rotation, I’m going to move on to my stockpile of intermediate level DVDs…I’ll share those as soon as I make it there.   These will burn you anywhere from 250-300 calories.  Check out trailers for them on www. Collagevideo.com (awesome website to find new DVDs) – links below…

1.  PICK YOUR LEVEL: FAT TO FIRM FAST – It has 3 levels of difficulty.  I usually do level 3 most of the time, but I like the option.  It’s like, hey, we know you can do level 3, but just in caaaaase you didn’t sleep much last night, here’s level 2.  I like the instructor, I think there’s something to be said for someone who can just get the job done.  I’ve had some of her DVDs in the past and she’s always solid.  Instructor: Michelle Dozois.  Running time:  Approx. 35min.

2.  THE FIRM: ULTIMATE FAT BURNING WORKOUT– I’m not typically a fan of The Firm franchise, but this one has a little more going for it.  There’s not a lot of downtime and I like the fact it keeps moving.  Instructor:  Alison Davis-McLain.  Running time:  Approx. 40min.

3.  TRACY ANDERSON’S METHOD: MAT WORKOUT– This chick is annoying.  I mean, really really really annoying.  I wish I could sugar coat that for you, but I can’t.  She was definitely the prettiest and most special little 5 year old in her recital of “Singing in the Rain” and has carried that with her to this day.  She has that air of superiority that makes you want to punch her in the face.  You will feel stupid doing many of her exercises, no matter how much Gwyneth Paltrow promotes them.  That all being said, her workout does utilize a lot of muscles that I don’t usually work, in ways I don’t usually work them.  That, I can appreciate.  So after having done her DVD a few times, I mute that bitch, check my jazz hands at the door and rock out to my own playlist.  Turns out she’s far less irritating when she’s not talking.  Instructor: Tracy Anderson.  Running time:  Approx. 55min.

4.  PERSONAL TRAINING WITH JACKIE: POWER CIRCUIT TRAINING – After doing Jackie’s DVDs, I usually feel stronger.  They are challenging without making me want to curl up in a little ball on the floor and watch the remainder of the DVD from there.  There are a few different menus so your workout can be as long or short as you’d like.  Instructor:  Jackie Warner.  Running time: Approx. 40min (it varies pending the menu you decide on.)

5.  JILLIAN MICHAELS’ YOGA MELTDOWN – Everybody has an opinion on Jillian Michaels.  I certainly do.  A couple of them, in fact.  However, she will WORK. YOU. OUT.  We’ll get into her more challenging DVDs in another post. But here, I’m going to discuss a little known yoga DVD she released.  It’s mellow, but still has the Jillian touch and you will feel it the next day no matter how simple it feels when you’re doing it.   There are two programs, one a beginner and one that’s slightly more advanced.  Instructor:  Jillian Michaels.  Running time:  Approx. 30min/workout.

Again, none of these are particularly taxing, but if you give yourself a week or two, you won’t want to kill yourself when you try to do Jillian Michaels real DVDs.  I’ll leave you with this blast from the past –

Grand Park Indeed

29 Jul

Yesterday some friends and I happened to be Downtown and we stumbled upon the newly opened, 12-acre Grand Park in Downtown Los Angeles.  It’s greatest attraction, to me anyhow, being the huge water fountain and wading pool for both adults and kids (mostly kids) to splash around in.  Well, I’ll tell you something, whoever landed on that design is marvelous, simply marvelous (said in my best Billy Crystal)!  They also have a Performance Lawn, a Starbucks for those of you who can’t enter a park without your fix (and I have a strong feeling that won’t be the hardest drug sold in this park in future years) and a clear and sensational view of City Hall.

There were a slew of opening events, including many National Dance Day performances.  Anyone else out there that watches “So You Think You Can Dance” will have an understanding of what that is.  I missed any SYTYCD alums, but was lucky enough to catch the tween dancers dressed up with enough red lipstick to paint Madonna’s lips three lifetimes over.  We walked through and thoroughly enjoyed everything about the park and festivities.  With food trucks, pink benches and the aforementioned water fountain, this shiny new park is doing all the right things.

Who knew walking around in 2-inches of water in a public setting would be so enjoyable?  I felt like a little kid on a Slip and Slide – damn, I loved those things.  My two girlfriends and I held our own against the littluns with equivalent antics of jumping, dancing and general silliness while we played.   It’s amazing what a little bit of water on your feet will do for your sense of happiness.  It makes you wonder why it’s illegal to frolic in nearly all city fountains.  Well…Ok.  I get why it’s illegal, but this is just soooo much fun!  Especially if you’ve been drinking and traipsing around downtown prior to peeling of your socks and shoes!

There has been a lot of excitement surrounding the park’s opening and general existence.  For those of you who are poopooing it because you feel it’s acting as the new Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton in the homeless community – well aren’t you just the pessimist?!  Downtown has been on an epic journey to transform itself and I think this is flipping fantastic.

Pulled from grandpark.lacounty.gov

Before you go, I’d check out the park’s website, since some of the regions weren’t officially open yet.  Go check it out and you’ll be glad you did.

Operation: Rethink Happy Hour Hours

27 Jul

I didn’t create this image, but I surely approve of it

OK Team, let’s get together on this.  I think – again, I think (or, more accurately, I’d like to think) that Happy Hours started back in the day because people would get off work at 5pm and need to relax.  Let loose.  The day was hard, and they’d want to go out, not spend a lot of money and still be rewarded for their workday, if you will.  The issue I’m taking up here is the fact that most Happy Hours last from 4-6pm or 5-7pm.  Now, I don’t know about you, but in the world I’m living in, I GET OUT of work at 7pm, if I’m lucky!  There has clearly been a shift in regards to the standard work hours in the United States of America since the 1960’s, or whenever Happy Hours were first enacted.

Eh eh ahem…I hereby proclaim that the Happy Hours of America be adjusted to reflect the later working hours of our culture!  We need to rise up and boycott and hold court and occupy to fix the heinousness that is the behind the times “Happy Hour”.   And I’m not talking these late night Happy Hours; that’s a whole other animal altogether.  I’m talking – get out of work and go there sorts of establishments.

Fine, you want to get serious about it?  According to the internets (whose information I find suspect in general), the history of Happy Hours has nothing to do with the workday and everything to do with pre-dinner drinks.  Even if that’s accurate, the swing, the shift, the trend of Happy Hours has evolved into less of a pre-dinner-drinks thing into more of a let’s-go-out-and-get-shit-faced-after-work thing and by golly, I think it’s high time we start acting like it!

Who are the current Happy Hours really happy for, anyway?!  (Alright, they’re always happy.)  BUT, I maintain, that people who can go to them from 5-7pm, can ALSO go to them from 7-9pm!  Let’s make this a movement!  You want to play devil’s advocate?  Bars make money with Happy Hours being set at “off” times, you say?  They wouldn’t succumb to the new Happy Hour laws since 7-9pm is when people tend to go to bars anyway?  Hogwash!  People who are drinking from 7-9pm will likely still be there drinking from 9pm-12am!  Mark my words – Fill thy patrons with cheap alcohol and they will continue to imbibe!  We all want to play nice together so let’s give those hard workers a carrot as thanks for greasing the wheels of society with their long hours and hard work!

Operation:  Rethink Happy Hour Hours unite!!!!

…Here are just a few awesome bars in L.A. that are already hip to the cause:

Bigfoot Lounge (Culver City) – 5-9pm

R Bar (Koreatown) – 7-9pm

Thirsty Crow (Silverlake) – 5-8pm

Bar One (North Hollywood) – 6-9pm DAILY (nice touch Bar One).

Starfish and BBQ = Long Beach

25 Jul

I took this picture last year at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.  I always love going to the Aquarium; I like it even better when I can get a discounted or free ticket – the normal price will usually run you about $25 for an adult.  Here are some perks:  It’s air-conditioned.  If that doesn’t sell you, I don’t know what will.  It also has playful sea otters, a shark petting pool, a cool collection of  jellyfish and sea anemone, and numerous other interesting fish and exhibits.  Some pictures of some of my favorites are down below.

In fact, why don’t you make a day of it by hitting up one of two Johnny Rebs’ in the area if you are a BBQ fan.  Which you should be.  I think eating BBQ enhances your quality of life and makes you live longer.  I’m going to say a few things to you:  Texas Toast, grilled cheese, pulled pork – combine, enjoy.  It’s amazing.  Go there.

A Realists Top 4 Ways to De-Stress from Work

24 Jul

Found imagine online. I’m not that creative.

We’ve all heard about the optimum ways to De-Stress.  Meditate, go for a walk, drink more water, smile…and I’m sure they work for a lot of people. But, then there are people who actually want to remove tension, anxiety and worry from their immediate world.  When I tell someone I had a stressful day at work and they suggest I should have taken a 5-minute walk, I want to do a combo move of laughing in their face and kicking them in the shin.  I’m not saying the following suggestions are healthy, or even responsible, but they work.  I’d love to think the normal clichés work for me, but sometimes, just sometimes, things suck so badly that a little walk around the block won’t cut it.  After a particularly bad day at work, follow my free and very logical advice on what to do when you finally make it out of the dragon’s lair.  None of these are innovative, but every now and then in moments of desperation we need things spelled out for us…

1.  HAVE A CONCERT/MINI DANCE PARTY IN YOUR CAR – On your way home put on some music that you can either sing to or dance to.  Turn it up extremely loud and sing and/or dance your way home.  You can also yell at your boss without fear of being terminated, vent to your rear view mirror about how you don’t need this kind of shit in your life, and cry a little, you know, let it all out.  This is the time to do that.  It’s good to do all this in the semi-privacy of your car so by the time you get home, you have finished Phase One of de-stress mode.  Most of your outward erratic behavior will be gone and you can begin Phase Two.

Personal note: You also might want to tone it down a notch at traffic lights.  Unless, of course, you really feel like giving the world a big “Fuck You!”, then of course you just keep on signing!  You give a good show to that homeless guy staring at you from the side of the road.

I had nothing to do with creating anything to do with this imagine…some awesome person odysseyroc did –

2.  HAVE A DRINK – Now you’re home.  Call up a friend(s) and go to anywhere that serves alcohol.  OR, stay at home and drink by yourself.  Now, some of you may think that if you turn to alcohol while you’re stressed, that makes you an alcoholic.  Well, let me assure you, I’ve taken a poll consisting of me, myself and myself and we all concur that isn’t true.  However, if you are stressed at work and have a drink during work hours, that’s a different story, but still something we can talk about.  We’ll take that one on a case by case basis.

3.  WATCH TV – Spend the rest of the evening watching TV or movies.  Once you’re focused on anything other than work, you will forget – obvious, right?  Anything will do, reality, sit-coms, the excellent cable programming they have on these days,  anything but sad movies/shows.  This will do nothing but snap you back into reality.  Seriously, stick with “Project Runway” or “Top Chef” (and yes, I do consider “Dance Moms” and “Keeping up with the Kardashians” sad TV).  Make sure to stay up as late as possible to prove to yourself that work doesn’t own you and you still have your own life and can make your own decisions like staying up late like a child to watch TV and NOT getting a good night’s sleep.  When you wake up on the couch and wonder if the time on clock is displaying 3:00 a.m. or p.m., it’s time to head to bed.

4.  SLEEP – Finally.  You will be tired since you stayed up entirely too late watching TV.  I know that many people who are experts in depression view this as just another symptom, but let me make my case.  When you are sleeping you can’t be stressed!  Simple as that.  There’s nothing to think about.  There’s nothing to worry about.  There’s nothing to [insert anything here].  See, you get it!  So I suggest sleeping off the rest of your night until that little asshole of an alarm starts-a-buzzing at the crack of dawn.

This list may seem silly, maybe even stupid, but I followed these guidelines just last night and here I am – STRESS-FREE.  I may be tired, hungover and hoarse, but stress-free nonetheless.  Success.

I had nothing to do with creating this quote/image/color/layout.

Brew at the Zoo? Don’t mind if I do!

23 Jul

Let me start by saying, I’ve never been to this event – however, I think it sounds awesome.  I am a big fan of combining two activities that would normally be pretty cool on their own.  Double the pleasure, double the fun.  I’m not saying I’m the biggest zoo fan (because I’m not), but since there is beer involved, I’m willing to give it a pass.  Apparently, many zoos across the country have a “Brew at the Zoo” day, turns out people really like rhymes.

So with that introduction – it’s about that time of year for the Brew in L.A. Zoo 2012.  There’s a handful of local breweries to sample and they have a DJ and Comedians from the Laugh Factory for entertainment.  They even have discounted tickets for designated drivers – which is fun perk for the nice guy/girl willing to drive their annoyingly drunken friends around.  It’s on Friday, August 10th from 6-10pm –  Click here for the info…

It’s a lovely day for a street fair!

22 Jul

Who doesn’t love a street fair?!  Especially, when one doesn’t have to park (for me anyway, we walked!)  Fun things that don’t involve parking are a rare and precious commodity in the City of Angels, so let’s appreciate them when we can, shall we?

So!  Since we are celebrating all things Los Feliz, I thought I would share some of my favorite things in the neighborhood.

Some of my favorites, in no particular order:

1.  SPITFIRE GIRL – There are two, one in Los Feliz and one in Silverlake.  It is a sweet little shop consisting of miscellaneous knick-knacks, ranging from cool and innovative jewelry to household items to chachkies for the kidies.  It’s very awesome and I’ve bought all sorts of lovely pieces from this establishment…

2.  PARADIS – Specialty ice cream.  What the what, you say?!  Yes.  Exactly as wonderful and fantastic as it sounds.  Whenever a shop closes in my area, I get VERY excited dreaming about what the next place to open will be – in this case, a very bland pinkberry closed and opened into an ice cream wonderland of happiness…for me.  It’s fresh, clean, and lovely to eat –

3.  MUSTARD SEED CAFÉ – This is my favorite brunch spot.  The food is great and they have a slew of choices.  My favorites are the Greek Scramble and BBQ Chicken Quesadilla.

4.  CO-OP 28 HANDMADE – This store sells jewelry and other handmade items made by local artists.   It’s interior design is fantastic and makes me want the delightful woman who owns it to come and fix up my apartment.

5.  COVELL – I have nothing but positive things to say about this wine bar (they usually have a handful of fantastic beer on tap as well).  The bartenders are always smiling, friendly and wanting to make your experience better.  Since I know next to nothing about wine, except it comes in different colors and I like it, I appreciate the fact that they don’t speak condescendingly to me.  When you get up to the bar they ask what kind of wine you like, pour you a taste and if you like it, they finish pouring the glass, if not, they ask you additional questions to help fine tune what they should pour you next…

6.  MOTHER DOUGH – I love this Neapolitan pizza joint.  Their pizzas are amazing and a little out of the ordinary.  I will always order the Zucchini Pizza and Burrata Salad – wonderful.

7.  SKYLIGHT BOOKS – A splendid independent bookstore that even comes with it’s own store cat.   I continuously go here to buy gifts, books and whatever else they happen to be peddling.

8.  DRAWING ROOM – I finish with Drawing Room, because this is usually where we finish the night.  We always always always always end up at Drawing Room.  This could possibly be my most favorite shitty bar that has ever existed.  It’s dark, cheap, has a great jukebox and a man that sells Trunk Tamales out of his (you guessed it) trunk in the parking lot.  I’ll tell you what – when 2 a.m. strolls around and you can’t remember the last time you ate, that Trunk Tamales man seems like a little Mexican angel sent from the heavens to help you with tomorrow’s hangover.  The jukebox is genius – David Bowie, Prince, Otis Redding, Thin Lizzy – and everything else you could imagine…this bar is holding some prime real estate in my heart.

If you’re familiar with the Los Feliz area at all, you may notice (or believe) that I’ve left off a number of local “favorites”.  I probably did.  OR maybe they just aren’t as cool or good as you think they are  🙂

I haven’t even touched on many bars that I love in this neighborhood – but that’s another day –

Image

What did you say your name was?

21 Jul

Hello Stranger –

Ahhh…introductions.  So awkward, where do we start?

Let’s start by getting a drink.  That usually helps loosen things up a little bit.  So now that I have a beer and you have [whatever your drink of choice is] we can ease ourselves into this.

I wanted to start a blog simply because I have enjoyed so many other people’s blogs. Especially the ones that show daily pictures (about all my attention span can handle and a welcome escape from my work day), fun and interesting things to do (in LA and elsewhere) and any other general bullshit that would come up in random conversation.   I guess you could say I’m writing this for my parallel universe self – and damn does that girl love a good top ten list…

Now that three minutes have passed and since we have SO MUCH in common (we’ve made plans to go hiking, you’re going to email me the name of that jewelry-maker friend of yours and have been drunkenly expressing our new love for each other) we embrace, look into each others eyes and in a sea of laughter – we cheers to our new friendship!

Welcome and enjoy!!

Red Velour

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