502 Bad Gateway

It's the Cat's Meow

Give Fall the Cold Shoulder

Donna Karan, who designed the iconic “cold shoulder” dress in 1993, once said: “shoulders are the best part of a woman’s body because they don’t age or gain weight…no one ever says, “I have fat shoulders.” In other words, no Spanx required. DKNY’s signature silhouette was very popular in the 90s and it seemed like everyone owned a version of the look in either a dress or a top…most likely in matte black. The “cold shoulder” became popular again in 2002-2003 and hit the Fall 2009 AND 2010 runways for a whole new generation of sexy shoulders to discover—and this time I think it’s here to stay. Kim Kardashian recently wore the cutest “cold shoulder” dress and I became obsessed with finding (and buying) it for myself. Since the Kardashian’s are known to be (gasp) “mall shoppers”, I had high hopes that the dress was in my modest price range. Alas it was not to be. However, it did send me on a epic internet search to find other pieces that incorporate the trend. I still want Kim’s dress though.

Cold Shoulder Silk Wrap Dress by Zimmerman, $495

Film Foundation Little Black Dress by Blaque Label, $83

Marble-ous Dress, $40

Modal Cut-Out Sleeve Top, Victoria's Secret $39.50
(Available in Six Colors)

Leaping Leopards: Check Out These Feline Clutches

Without a doubt leopard print is hot for fall. Before you gag, please try to banish any images of tacky leopard-print sofas often found in Vegas lounges or, from what I hear, strip clubs. (Or that really annoying roommate from the 90s, who was wild for leopard, and loved to Pimp ‘n’ Ho.) Think Grace Kelly, Jackie-O, Audrey Hepburn: timeless, chic, classic. The Mad Men era when ladies wore gloves and hats. While I have no problem rocking a leopard-print coat most aren’t as inclined to bust into the wonderful world of leopard with such enthusiasm. That being said, head to toe leopard print is always a no-no unless your, well, a leopard. So unless you’re a leopard, it’s best to keep the look down to one simple statement piece. Might I suggest a clutch, for example?

This Christian Louboutin clutch has me purring, but at $1,795.00 can only serve as inspiration, thus I’ve also included some more realistic, wallet-friendly alternatives.

Louboutin's Kathena Leopard-Print Clutch

Apt 9 Leopard Clutch from Kohls: Regularly $32, On sale now for $19.99!

Steve Madden Clutch with Chain Strap: $48 at Zappos (Free Shipping!)

Melie Bianco Leopard Clutch (Detachable Strap): $28 at Target

New Music for $1: Twin Shadow’s Album “Forget”

Hailing from Brooklyn, New York is Twin Shadow—an awesome new indie/alternative band who is certain to attain much success soon. While I am hardly a qualified music critic, I do know what I like when I hear it and was immediately smitten by Twin Shadow’s synthesized beats and the dreamy voice of lead singer, George Lewis Jr. If your a fan of Radiohead or Block Party, and hold a soft spot in your heart for the 80s New Wave bands, then you will love Twin Shadow. While my favorite tracks on the album are “Tether Beat”, “When Were Dancing” and “Slow”,  all 11 tracks on “Forget” are anything but forgettable. Download the album now for only $1, Yes $1! And if you really like it, you are in luck because Twin Shadow is touring the U.S. with shows in September, including Los Angeles where they will be playing the Echoplex on September 30th.

Twin Shadow is AWESOME. Listen. Buy. Love.

Eat a Burger

Dear America, I’d like to personally thank you for the burger. It’s one of your greatest culinary creations and contributions to the food world. No outsourcing the burger. For the real deal, you must come to our homeland. China can’t touch it. India wouldn’t even think of going there. And, we’ve managed to create something that even the French could love! Now, I’m not going to get all Food Inc. on you. This isn’t about the Golden Arches, mass production, and garbage food that creates obesity. I’m talking about Good Food. Artisanal burgers, the kind made from and with only the finest of ingredients. The burger that is brought to us by the growers of fresh produce, the dairy farmers and cheese makers, the bakers, and the ranchers whose cows roam and graze. And, of course, the chefs, cooks, and grill masters that bring it all together and lovingly put it under a bun of pure goodness. God Bless You, America. And, God Bless the Burger!

My Best Burger List (So far…)

The Foundry on Melrose, Los Angeles
7463 Melrose Avenue, LA, CA 90046

The Foundry is a posh little spot located in the heart of LA on Melrose. I recently came here to try the famed “Patio Burger.” Served on and under a group of four King’s Hawaiian small rolls, it is quite possibly the best burger patty that I’ve ever tasted. Grilled to perfection at medium rare, this slice of heaven had me singing the yum hum. The burger is served with cheddar cheese and the following accruements: house made mayo, oven dried tomatoes, arugula, and bacon-pineapple relish. I enjoyed a few bites with and without all of the additions. It’s so good plain too! This is a big bigger, and I only ate half so it’s definitely large enough for two to share. The next time we go, we’re thinking of just ordering one as an appetizer and splitting them up like little sliders which is so easy to do since they are essentially under four buns of bread. There are tons of great items on their menu so we’d like to save room to try some more. Another must have, that we did try, are their homemade tots.

Dukes, Huntington Beach
317 Pacific Coast Highway, HB, CA 92648

Forget the main dining room, and head on over the the Barefoot Bar for the best burger in Orange County. This great pleasure is served on a King’s Hawaiian bun topped with either blue cheese or white cheddar, thousand island dressing, and your standard lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles on the side. If you’re lucky enough to be able to make it there during the week, the burger is 1/2 off from 3:30-6:30. And, on Friday night (all night), the Mai Tais are only $4. However, we seem to go most often on Saturday afternoons, for the best people watching and to get our vacation vibe on.

Balboa Cafe, San Francisco

3199 Fillmore St., San Francisco, CA 94123

The legendary Balboa Cafe (Est. 1913) is a true San Francisco gem. This neighborhood saloon is always packed full of people in jovial moods, who come to enjoy Balboa’s tasty libations or dine. We usually do both. The first time I had one of their burgers it was fantastic! The second time, New Year’s Day, not as good. But I will blame that on the fact that it was a major holiday and the place was slammed full of drunks and drunk diners. (Yes, New Year’s Day, not hung over people but drunk people.) They offer two versions of the American classic. The Balboa Burger is served up on a baguette and comes with house made pickles. The Old Fashioned Bar Burger comes on a round bun and you can add on your choice of cheese, bacon, grilled onions, and avocado for an additional $1. If you’re making your way to SF anytime soon, check it out.

Burger Joint, Le Parker Meridian, New York
119 W. 56th St. New York, NY 10019

I did a lot of burger research before a trip to New York City a few year’s ago, and this joint seemed to have the most raves. And, it also seemed like it would be an adventure to find! Hidden in the lobby of the swank Le Parker Meridian hotel is a curtain. Behind that curtain is a tiny little nook of a restaurant, with just a few tables, that serves up grilled burgers, shakes, sodas, fries, and beer on draft. If you want anything else, well you’re out of luck. During a weekday lunch hour, it was packed full of New Yorkers who were pretty surprised that we’d found the place. There are other “Burger Joints” in the city, but this is the one! Cash only.

I’ve yet to try a burger in Chicago, but on my next visit, definitely want to try one at the Rosebud Steakhouse. Have a favorite in your city? Do tell!

, Eat | | #

Raise Your Glasses: Champagne Cocktail Recipes

It’s almost Easter! So there’s no better time for a champagne cocktail accompanied by a toast to good health and joy. While we all know and love a Mimosa, why not try something new? I’ve compiled a selection of some of my favorite champagne cocktails and a couple of Apertifs. All of them are fantastic to serve on any number of special occasions such as Easter, Passover, Mother’s Day, at a graduation party, a bridal shower, or anytime you’re in the mood for celebration with family, friends, or that special someone.

Citrus Sparkler
1 Shot of Orange Juice, 1 Shot of Pineapple Juice, top off with Champagne (or sparkling wine).

French 75
1 shot of Bombay or Tanqueray Gin, 1/2 shot lime juice, 1 tsp Sugar, top off with Champagne.

1 Shot of Vodka, 1 Shot of Pineapple Juice, top off with Champagne.

Kir Royale
1/2 Shot of Creme de Cassis and top off with Champagne. Creme de Cassis is a delightful, centuries old black currant essence liqueur created by French Monks.

Italian 88
1 Shot of Vodka, 1 Shot of Pink Grapefruit Juice, top off with Prosecco. Drop in One Sugar Cube (If your grapefruit juice is not sweetened).

Morning Glory
2 Shots of OJ, 1/2 Shot of Cointreau, top off with Champagne.

Venetian Spritz
1-1/2 Shots of Aperol, fill class almost to the top with Champagne, Top with just a splash of Club Soda. LOVELY when garnished with a slice of a Blood Red Orange. Aperol is an Italian apertif comparable to Campari, but much less bitter and not medicinal. A great apertivo that is very popular in Italy, but not very well known in the U.S.

Orange Pom
1 Shot Grand Marnier, 1 Shot Pomegranate Juice, top off with Champagne.

Tie One On: How to Wear a Scarf

A scarf is a chic accessory, I own a lot of them, but am lacking in different ways to wear one. A friend of mine likes to wear a scarf as a belt, which definitely adds some unexpected flair to her work attire. I am usually more traditional with my scarf usage, draped or tied around my neck in one of maybe four knots. Most of us know how to tie a knitted scarf during the winter, but what about all those cotton and silk scarves that are waiting to be seen? I’m sure I am not alone, and that you also own a cool scarf you picked up on vacation or inherited from your mom that you’d love to wear but are at a loss on how to tie. Fret no more, I have come upon a very useful scarf tying guide which features 45, yes 45, different ways to tie a scarf! Click here and experience the joy of scarves!

Faye Dunaway's "Neck Wrap" Knot in "Bonnie and Clyde"

Where Winter Meets Summer: The Moscow Mule!

Meet the Moscow Mule, my new favorite drink that has been around since the 1940s. It’s a tasty mix of vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice served on ice. The drink was created in Los Angeles, and is starting to show up on a lot of cocktail menus again. Surprisingly vodka was relatively unknown in the United States until 1942 when the owner of Smirnoff Vodka got together with his friend who was the owner of the Cock ‘n’ Bull British Pub in Los Angeles. It just so happened that the Cock ‘n’ Bull brewed their own ginger beer. Together they created the Moscow Mule. Traditionally served in a copper cup, the drink became all the rage at LA bars and across the country. In 1948, a New York food critic gave the Moscow Mule the following review: “the nicest thing about the mule is that it doesn’t make you noisy or argumentative, or quiet and sullen, but congenial and in love with the world.” I’ll drink to that!

Authentic Moscow Mule

The Moscow Mule
2 shots Vodka.
Juice from 1/2 a fresh lime.
Ginger Beer (to taste).
Squeeze the lime into a glass filled with ice, and then add the Vodka; finally, add Ginger Beer to taste.

Since the recipe is so easy, I’ve started making them at home too. Be sure to use a good quality vodka. I usually drink Ketel One or Effen, but was recently introduced to Tito’s Vodka. Trader Joe’s sells it for $16.99! It’s award-winning, and made in Austin, Texas of all places. Trust me, I know vodka, and it’s smooth. You’ll also need ginger beer which is priced at around $5.99 for a four-pack. The most readily available is Reed’s Jamaican Ginger Beer. Fever Tree also makes ginger beer and it’s my favorite. And, there is the original, from Cock ‘n’ bull. All three are available at BevMo in the soda/mixer section or can be ordered online. If you are hooked on details and authenticity, like myself, you can also buy copper cups from Ebay. Otherwise, you can serve the drink in an old fashioned glass. Cheers!

$5.99 at BevMo

Update the Casual Chic “Going Out” Look for Spring!

A friend recently asked me for some ideas on how to revive the “going out uniform” consisting of jeans, a black top, and strappy sandals. While I would definitely recommend the addition of a few dresses into your wardrobe (see previous post on dresses), nothing beats the comfort and style of a great pair of jeans for a girl’s night out or a Saturday night date.
Many of us can’t afford to (or want to) spend $200 on a new pair of jeans, but a fresh pair of denim will definitely aide in updating the look. There are many new cuts available, and one of the most popular is the “Boyfriend.” I really like the playfulness of a boyfriend cut, and the way the rolled up cuff showcases your shoes. But I don’t like how many of them take away from a woman’s shape. With that in mind, I found the perfect pair of jeans that aren’t too slouchy and compliment almost any figure! The jeans shown in all of the looks are the “Easy Straight Patched Jeans” from The Gap. Super cute, and flattering, and only $79.50. I’ve created three great looks based around these jeans:

Look #1: The Grecian Goddess

Victoria’s Secret One Shoulder Tank Top: I love the asymmetrical trend. It’s a sexy silhouette and allows for an elegant departure from the mounds of cleavage we’re so accustomed to seeing in Southern California. A women’s shoulders are so seductive and the look is very sophisticated. This top is from Victoria’s Secret and features a built in bra as well, and it’s a “Level 2″ bra which means it actually will support the naturally blessed AND keep the headlights in check. This top is on sale right now for $29.50 at Victoriassecret.com, and is available in a variety of colors. I’ve shown it in “Ultra Indigo” which is gorgeous, and judging by all the blue dresses at this year’s Oscars, blue might very well be the new black.

Accessories: The shoes are from BCBG and were on sale at Nordstrom.com but are only available in limited sizing. However, Marshall’s has a lot of shoes, featuring the caged trend, for less then $50 (that retailed for much more.) The bangles and earrings from Forever 21 complete the look, and are available for less then $15 for both! You can shop Forever 21′s jewelry online here.

Look #2: Jewel Toned or Bright-Colored Tops
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, color is the way to go for any Spring update! This top from Fredflare.com is a gorgeous shade of orange and I like the short cap sleeves. It’s work appropriate and the light knit is great for Spring. There are lots of tops like this available in the stores right now for great prices.

The Perfect Khaki Blazer Since the nights are still chilly, a great blazer is a wonderful addition. This khaki blazer from The Gap is nicely fitted and will coordinate well with these outfits as well as existing attire. It’s a great wardrobe staple that will take you from day to night. Get it online or in the store for $88.00.

The jewelry, is once again, all from Forever 21. Now to even better part: shoes! I love Michael by Michael Kors shoes! They are probably my favorite shoe brand that aren’t over-the-top expensive, but feel like they are. I own several pairs of “Michael” shoes and all of them are sexy AND comfortable. Who doesn’t like a killer heel that doesn’t kill? Shown here in Teal, the Michael Kors Gansevoort Platform Sandal will have you pounding the pavement or the dance floor in high style. These shoes are $165 and well worth the investment. Click here to buy online at Nordstrom.com or for store pick-up.(Sometimes his shoes end up at Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and Loemann’s so it’s worth checking out. Last year’s styles were very similar and very much still in style.)

Look #3: Flutter Sleeves/Ruffles Nothing signals the arrival of Spring more then a butterfly, and this top looks just like one. Flutter sleeves are a big trend for Spring 2010. This one incorporates the trend in a subtle way, and is feminine without being fussy. A top like this can be found for under $30 at Forever 21. This particular top is sold out, but I found something similar that I really like. Click here to view and shop F21′s tops. I love ordering from F21 online, because if it doesn’t fit or you don’t like it, you can return to the store for credit.

Accessories Of course the jewelry is all from Forever 21. I’ve also found a lot of higher quality costume jewelry at Macy’s (on sale) and Loemann’s. There are some great deals to be found in this economy so be sure to check out the accessories next time you’re in these stores. As for the shoes, If you want a more versatile shoe that can be worn to work, I recommend these Michael by Michael Kors platform pumps. The “Pressley” platform is available at Nordstrom or your nearest Michael Kors store for $140. There are a lot of great shoes in the collection, so check them out.

Fresh Dressing from LuLus.com

A flirty and fun dress is a must have for any girl’s closet. I recently discovered a great online store, lulus.com. The site was founded by a stylish mother and daughter team, and features trendy clothes, shoes, and accessories fit for any fashionista’s closet. The prices are great, and perfect for today’s budget-consious shopper who still wants to look cute and stylish. The dresses featured here, would be great on any blonde this Spring. (And brunettes, too. But, this goes out to my fair-haired friends.) Stay tuned for for my next post, which will feature a fresh update of the “going out” uniform.

Dress #1: I love the sleek and chic look of the this dress.  It’s sexy, but not too short.  And, the perfect choice for a night out with the girls or dinner date. And at $52, the price can’t be beat.

Ferngully Dress

Dress #2: Some of this seasons’s biggest trends are color, graphic prints, and draping. This dress takes care of all three. Very versatile as well, and can definitely go from day to night pretty easily. This vibrant little number is $52 as well.

Life Aquatic Dress

Dress #3: Floral prints are big for spring. It might be the biggest trend of the season, however, floral prints are best for day dresses. I really like this dress because it incorporates the trend but works for evening as well. This fantastic find is only $48!

Botticelli Dress

Dress #4: While color is huge for Spring, black and white is big as well. I love the sweetness of this dress and the modern abstract take on the floral trend. This too, is very versatile and can be worn with tights for work and bare legged, with some strappy sandals, for a more sophisticated evening look. At $37, the price can’t be beat!

Laws of Attraction Dress

Everybody loves a Terrier!

While it would be a ton of fun to be at any number of the shows during New York Fashion Week, I’d be equally delighted to snag a ticket to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. For now,  I’ll have to settle for watching the parade of breeds and competition from my living room. Held every year at Madison Square Garden, the 134th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, is the event of the year for show dogs, and a must see for dog lovers! Favored to win this year’s event is a 4-year old Scottish Terrier named Sadie.

Sadie The Scottie-Favored to Win 2010 "Best in Show."

Terriers happen to have won 44 “Best in Show” titles during the history of  Westminster. While I love dogs of all breeds and sizes, I have a particular affinity for terriers, having owned several West Highland White Terriers, AKA “Westies”. I’d love to see a Westie win, but I’m also thrilled that a Scottie is favored. So go get ‘em Sadie! The show will be televised on the USA Network, February 15-16.