Perfect Persian: Dinner Out w/ The Mentor

Every few months, I meet with my mentor to trade war stories, professional/personal observations and advice, and generally laugh until we cry all of our makeup off. It’s always a great time, and I always leave our dinners feeling full of life and grateful for all of its blessings.

Our latest dinner took place at a Mediterranean Restaurant called Raffi’s Place.

We got to this place through a series of reviews about ‘another’ restaurant (which shall go unnamed). An increasing number of reviewers kept recommending this place so I went to check it out. I’m no stranger to Middle Eastern cooking (I’m a demon in the kitchen and been whipping up my own dishes since the tender age of… well, never mind that). We even did a Persian/Continental menu at our wedding (to accommodate our very mixed up/eclectic families). And it’s always interesting to hear folks go on and on about ‘perfect’ Persian food… only to be let down when I experience it first hand. How hard is it to get shriazi right… seriously?

Anyway, we headed over there and parked with the cheapest valet ever (2.50) and experienced what turned out to be a very impressive experience.

I had a kabob with shirazi (instead of rice) and Persian (Rosewater) Ice Cream. Delicious! The ambiance was lovely (a low humm of conversation on a balmy night) the service was impeccable, and the food was perfect. The price wasn’t too shabby either.

I pulled together a ‘warmed up’ makeup look for the occasion:

FACE

Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation (Banana)

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer (NC 42)

Burberry Blush in Russet

EYES

Burberry Quad in Dark Spice:

Gold on the lids

Warm Chestnut in the crease

Dark brown under waterline

MAC Eye Kohl in Smolder on waterline

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

LIPS

Burberry Lipstick in Brown Sugar

Dress for the place I think is casual/dressy for dinner. I noticed some dresses and pantsuits out and about. I popped on my All Saints (SpitalFields) blazer over a (faux) leather shirt and plain pants. I dusted off an extremely old pair of Prada platform sandals that I haven’t worn in 100 years and grabbed a cheap clutch (from some hole in the wall store. Might have paid $10 for it). Those earrings were $5 from somewhere on Melrose, and I stole hubby’s silver Tuareg shield pendant necklace for the occasion.

My mentor and I stayed until way too late (I had a 5am call this morning, and REALLY should have had my butt to bed at a decent hour), but it was worth every second. I had the BEST time, and I’m definitely going back.

Sweet!

Okay, here’s the deal: I’m a pretty  healthy girl. I eat whole foods, work out regularly, and keep an overall active lifestyle.

But I’d be lying if I told you that I wasn’t a sucker for an awesome piece of candy. Some people have that ‘sweet tooth’ that translates into cookies, cakes, pies and the like. Not the kid. Give me a good old fashioned rope of licorice and I’m a 6 year old kid again… playing in the sun without a care about SPF or melanoma or premature wrinkles. I just want to make sure that the bee eying my sticky rope of candy won’t come for it, and sting me in the process.

The first time I discovered Sweet! I was over the moon. Who knew that there was one place where a whole bunch of processed sugary goodness came together under one roof?!!! This store is huge and ridiculous in its coverage and scope. Every sugary concoction you can think of is here… and a few that you never imagined.

I don’t go often (moderation and all that jazz), but I definitely ‘treat’ myself from time to time. In addition to satisfying one hell of a sweet tooth, Sweet! reminds us to keep our perspectives young… fresh… and full of wonder.

Take a trip back in time. You can find out more about Sweet! Hollywood & Highland HERE.

Score! All Saints Masson Blazer

shopping girls

There’s nothing like a good score! I’m ever on the hunt for the best … stuff, for the least amount of money. One of my favorite places to browse is a thrift/consignment shop called Wasteland. Amid the piles and piles and PILES of stuff that – at first glance – appears to be another one’s trash… there are genuine treasures to be had.

wasteland store

My latest trip to Wasteland nearly seemed like a total waste of time, until about five minutes before I was leaving. It’s hot as Hades right now, but I’m ever looking ahead to the next season. I wanted a  classic blazer/jacket that I could do more than a few things with (like toss over dresses, or slacks, or skirts… or whatever).

I was nearly ready to give up… and then I found this smashed between two nondescript sweaters:

All Saints Blazer

UK8 (US 2)…  perfect condition… $50! I tried it on (All Saints can be a bit narrow in the shoulders for me) to be sure it fit… then I took it right up to the cashier.

I love a good fashion find at a great price! The good news is, Wasteland isn’t just scattered about cities in Southern California. They’re also online!

You can check them out at http://www.shopwasteland.com

Mind + Body Beauty: Changing My Perspective with UP Flying Yoga

I should probably start with a bit of history. I’m not new to yoga. I practiced actively for a decade or so… then left my mat for another decade {I see you trying to do the math and figure out my age :-). Cut that out.}

Last year, I went back to my mat with purpose. While I spent my youth practicing for exercise (and vanity), I began this time and set the purpose seek balance and acceptance.

This past Mother’s Day (what…being mommy to three dogs and a cat COUNTS), my amazing Husband asked me what I wanted… and I told him that I wanted Aerial Yoga lessons.

Say what?

I wanted to go ‘up’ in the air… invert…  let go… and really change my perspective. Aerial yoga seems like the perfect place to help achieve my purpose.

Today, I drove over to the UP Flying Yoga studio — declared myself an intermediate yogi — and dared Kimberly Simonetti to challenge me.

She did.

These swaths of silk suspended from the ceiling are the hammocks, and I soon learned… my best friend. Used properly, that fabric is as stable as the ground beneath your feet (well, maybe not MY feet… I live in earthquake prone California). I went from being skeptical (even after Kimberly told me the hammocks can hold 1,000 pounds), to being a massive fan. I felt like a kid again! I had to learn to really listen to Kimberly’s instructions so that I wouldn’t accidentally unravel. But eventually, I feel like I got the ‘hang’ of it…

I had the BEST time! Kimberly is very encouraging… and I found that I did best if I just closed my eyes and listened. Placement is everything. You don’t want to get up there and realize you haven’t secured yourself properly. I am so jazzed about this… I can’t wait to do it again!

Must Do: The Sweat Shop LA

Okay, I’m not really sure where to begin with this. I got a random email about a place called ‘Sweat Shop LA’ and I’m thinking to myself: “I live in LA. It’s hot as HADES here. Why in the WORLD would I go somewhere to sweat?”

LA can be very ‘trendy’ that way, and I’m not a trendy girl at all, so I tend to shy away from such things. I’m not a fan of the new ‘hot spots’ and what not… because believe me, as soon as you start to get used to them they either fade away or fall out of favor with the ‘in’ crowd… and you just wasted a whole bunch of money and time. And, I’ve found that a lot of places are heavy on hype and light on substance, so I’ve learned over time to be very discriminate with where I spend my time and money.

I think this means I’m getting old.

But back to the story…

So I start doing a little research on this place and two things stick out to me: These ‘infrared’ heat saunas that the Sweat Shop features is worlds apart from your average sauna at the gym. And the other thing I notice is, IT’S AFFORDABLE!

Seriously, an hour session in one of these saunas is $35! Then I really start reading about it, and I realize that you can get massages, acupuncture, and injections (B-Complex, ect) to further enhance your experience. Plus it’s next door to a little eatery…

Total day spa experience, without the average day spa price tag.

And suddenly, I’m REALLY interested in this detoxifying experience. So I book an appointment.

I meet the owners, Mina and Julian…

…and they are just the kindest, most attentive people. Mina broke down the ‘why’ of The Sweat Shop LA… and talked about the benefits of detox and sweating out the ‘stresses’ of life. The more she talked, the more I fell in love. Julian (the architect) explained to me that the ENTIRE setup of The Sweat Shop is eco-sustainable. From the ‘air plants’ on the walls, to the filtered water from the showers… everything is designed to minimize (if not completely erase) the company’s carbon footprint.

This space is so impressive. In Los Angeles, where real estate is scarce (and expensive), this couple took a narrow space and built it ‘deep’ — setting up individual ‘suites’ with a private sauna, private shower, and everything that you need to quietly detox without necessarily interacting with another soul.

I first got my ‘shots’ (Lipotropic (fat burning/metabolic booster) and Glutathione (detox)) in this room. And then I went into my ‘sauna suite’ to sweat…

In case you get too hot in the sauna, you can always dip out and cool off in the filtered water shower. You’re also provided with water, and you’re welcome to use your phones or listen to music while you sweat (the noise factor is kept to a minimum though, so use your ‘indoor voice.’)

I just vegged out. I put on some ear plugs, closed my eyes, turned out the lights and let the sweat come. I have to say, I’ve never done anything for myself like this… and I take pretty good care of myself. I run, I regularly practice yoga, and I try to ‘rest’ as much a possible. But THIS.. this was a completely different experience, and it was AMAZING.

When I was done with my ‘sweat’ session, I was given a ‘mineral shot’ (which tastes completely awful), and I left two pounds lighter (no really. I checked), an inch smaller… and I GLOWED. Seriously, I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize the flushed, golden girl staring back at me.

This is such a ‘red carpet’ secret. I’m laughing at myself for not discovering it sooner (I’m normally up on these kinds of things). And although lots of folks pay lots of money to do this (or have this done)… it’s absolutely REFRESHING to find a place that is accessible to everyone… and totally affordable. What’s also wonderful is that the Sweat Shop is not just staying in LA… Mina and Julian have plans to expand to the East Coast as well! I’m completely impressed. I feel refreshed, and healthy, happy…

…and I’ve already booked my next appointment.

You can find out more about The Sweat Shop LA HERE.