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PALM SPRINGS/VA/MT/VT: THE BEST ARTISANAL RESORT PRODUCTS AND THE BEST WAY TO SAY ADIEU TO A YEAR WELL DONE

By Nora Zelevansky / December 18th, 2009

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I know.  I know.  I keep apologizing and then being bad again, but I'm off on yet another jaunt and will not be LINTing Christmas week.  Actually, that's sort of not true.  I'll be LINTing in the sense that I'll be scouting new finds to share (though I still owe some Pittsburgh and NYC stuff), but I won't be posting regularly until January 2, 2010.

Anyway, I thought I'd leave you with a link to my latest little story in Travel & Leisure (see above) about resorts that farm or crush and create their own beauty and food products.  Short and sweet, just like me and my attention span.  And my patience.  And my fuse.  And my family.  And the time it takes me to devour french fries.  And the time it takes me to read a trashy detective novel.  And the time that will pass between now and my next post in 2010.

So, happy holidays of all kinds, folks.  Good tidings to all and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!  (I know I already have my sequined number picked out).  Well, I mean one only has so many sequin dresses from which to choose, right?

Love ya.  Mean it.

xo – N.

LA (HOLLYWOOD): THE BEST INEXPENSIVE INTUITION CLUTCH

By Nora Zelevansky / December 17th, 2009

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I'm not necessarily proud of this fact, but generally I like the majority of my accessories high-end and (sadly) pricey.  (That's also how I like my men, but that's a story for another time, right Andre?)  I'll wear what I like to call "disposable clothing" from H & M, Forever 21 and Top Shop all day long, but accessories–I dunno–I like real jewelry, non-synthetic scarves, non-plastic heels etc.   And, when it comes to bags, I love supple buttery leather, brushed suede, vintage Art Deco appointments (sourced from the 1920's), hand-sewn stitches, weaving and pleats.

So you can imagine my joy and surprise when, while perusing the goods at Targét, I happened upon the above inexpensive Belt clutch (for, yup, $19.99) and actually really liked it!  Some of the alarm dissipated when I realized that the bag was designed by Jaye Hersh, owner of trendoid (to use one of my father's expressions) LA boutique, Intuition.  In fact, she's created a whole line called Hollywood Intuition (okay, forgive the name).  Anyway, the bag at least feels like real leather (and if it walks like a duck, then who cares if it really is one), so I'm on board.

And that's what we call a clutch find.

Sorry.  You know I have no pun self-control.  Shame on you.  You've always known.

xo – N.

LA (THIRD STREET): THE BEST NEW TOTES

By Nora Zelevansky / December 16th, 2009

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Those off-the-reservation Erin Wasson cut-offs from the other day aren't the only noticeable item at the new Satine incarnation: When I wandered in the other night, R. & I were blown away by brand new totes (that literally just arrived) by burgeoning designer, Natsuko Panda.

The up-and-comer is selling via her Me & Arrow Etsy store too.  The bags have different length straps, which is one major bonus, and are made from vintage fabrics.  All of which reminds me, I have to catch up on my correspondence:

Dear Santa,

Please send me a Me & Arrow tote for Christmas, even though I'm Jewish.  I'll be the girl eating Hanukah gelt and looking pathetic.

Love,

PL.

Happy Holidays!

xo – N.

P.S. Does anyone think that CBS ad about getting your "woman" a pap smear for Christmas is a bit awk?  I mean, I think it's important for us women to stay ontop of our health, but if Andre got me a gift certificate to the gyno for the holidays, I'd be pissed.

LA TO TEXAS (CRUMPLED TWENTY): THE BEST SEARCH FOR LARRY MCMURTRY

By Nora Zelevansky / December 15th, 2009

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The Best Link Today:

It's been ages since I threw up a Crumpled Twenty, but, when I saw this travel project by my friend Lena Katz, I just had to share.  Lena is a travel writer, who also happens to be OBSESSED with Larry McMurtry (kinda like my hubby).  Anyway, she's decided to road trip–with her dog in tow–in search of the famed author and is now somewhere in Texas, blogging as she goes.  She's a great writer and the project is definitely amusing.  Plus, she already referenced eating jars of pickled garlic in her Best Western hotel room, so we LINTERS just have to love her.

No choice.

xo – N.

P.S. I heard that he sometimes hangs out in D.C.  We shall see . . .

LA (SANTA MONICA): THE BEST SWEET CORN AGNOLOTTI (AND THE BEST REASON TO REMOVE YOUR BUM FROM THE COUCH AND HAUL IT ACROSS THE CITY FOR DINNER)

By Nora Zelevansky / December 15th, 2009

RUSTIC CANYON

I don't want to burst anyone's bubble, but sometimes even I make mistakes.  Occasionally, I end up getting sidetracked and never post a story that I'm actually dying to tell.  Yup.  Even THE LINT ain't perfect.

I don't know why I'm talking like that.  Like, who am I?  Who are YOU?

But ANYWAY the above image is of the most AMAZING Sweet Corn Agnolotti with caramelized corn ever created on this earth (I'm convinced).  I ate every delectable bite of the dish (despite its unlactard-friendly mildly creamy sauce).  Normally, I'm not a fan of creamy rich sauces anyway, but this entire creation was this amazing combination of salty and sweet (but not too sweet) and simple, so that the flavors of the homemade pasta and fresh corn just seeped through like little pillowy dumplings full of goodness.

I inhaled said dish during an extraordinary meal at Santa Monica's Rustic Canyon, which specializes in a sort of farm-to-table Italian cuisine–very modern, but delicious and unpretentious.  I admit that I do have a special love of Italian food, but I eat a lot of elaborate meals and this one (especially the above dish) really stayed with me.  By now, fall ingredients like corn have given way to more wintery local offerings like pickled chilis, chestnuts, braised beef cheeks, sea urchin and persimmons (some of which are paired with homemade pastas too).

So, I can only show you pictures of the unbelievable meal I had that evening (though most of these options are not available this season), but I can also just tell you that you MUST stop in and try this restaurant.  The beer and wine options are really fantastic (especially the beer, which I always love best).  The menu may have changed, but the dishes are sure to be just as delicious and full of heart.

Seriously, if home is where the heart is then I'm moving into this corn pasta creation and cuddling up with the parmesan on top.

Is anyone else hungry?

xo – N.

RC4RC2RC3
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[CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE: Roasted Artichokes, Lamb Meatballs with Pickled Chilis, Olives in Olive Oil & Lemon, Salad, Chicken, French Fries, Pork Chop]

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[CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE: Desserts!  Cookies and Pastries and Dulce de Leche Bar, Donuts with Hot Chocolate]

LA (THIRD STREET): THE BEST MATE FOR UGG FLIP-FLOPS

By Nora Zelevansky / December 14th, 2009

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Is it just me or should these Erin Wasson shorts be set-up on a date with those furry Ugg flip-flops that I featured a while back?  These remind me of a slutty Santa or elf costume, but like for a goth chick or something.  If Pam Anderson was into The Cure, she would totally rock these mofos during the holidays.

I spotted them on Thursday night at Satine's new Third Street location.  They were upstairs on sale floor (because, yes, now the previously tiny shop has an entire second story as well as TONS of open space).  The store is amazing and holiday cheer did abound all up and down the boutique row until late into the evening.

A goth holiday to all and to all a good night.

xo – N.

LA (BEVERLY): THE BEST VEGGIE DUMPLINGS, PEPPER SALT TOFU & BEAN CURD SHEETS WITH SESAME OIL

By Nora Zelevansky / December 11th, 2009

MANDARETTE

Sometimes (because I'm clearly under-stimulated), I think about what a terrible vegan I would make.

I'm just gonna say the "blasphemous," but true thing: I kind of hate Real Food Daily (probably because I almost always order the wrong things like brown rice sushi, which I actually think should be illegal).  No, seriously.  I'm gonna start a campaign like Mayor Bloomberg did with transfat and those people in New Jersey are doing to fight Brazilian waxing.  I'll totally lobby congress to make it illegal to use that mushy beige crappola (that actually taste like paper maché) within twenty feet of soy sauce and wasabi.  Then, I'm going to file a restraining order and, if brown rice won't stay away from the sushi counter, I'll shoot it with a rifle and yell, "Get off my property!"

ANYWAY . . . the point is that, while I would make a sort of violent vegan apparently, I accidentally eat that way often at my favorite neighborhood Chinese joint, Mandarette.  This isn't New York Chinese food.  I'll just say that straight out.  For hardcore sesame noodles and real egg rolls, you need to go down to Yang Chow in Chinatown.

BUT for good tasting, more refined Chinese chow, Mandarette is cozy and great.  Also, I always see Peter Bogdaoavich there.  Which is just weird.

Anyway, my favorite items there include the veggie dumplings served with vinegar and shredded fresh ginger (pictured above) and the bean curd sheets in sesame oil (also pictured above–off the "special menu" on the tabletop), which is served cold and is just subtle and tangy and delicious.  For main courses, I LOVE the Pepper Salt Tofu.  Literally, I think it's one of my favorite foods in the world.  Yup.  I said it.  The fried little breaded cubes are like warm pockets of heaven that burst in your mouth, offset by spicy and mild green and red peppers and lots of garlic.  I also absolutely adore the string beans, sauteed with a sort of pickled ginger situation.  SO GOOD.

I admit that I also kind of love their chicken dumplings and shrimp with asparagus in black bean sauce, but I could live without them.  At Mandarette, I could be a great vegan.

As long as they never served me brown rice.

xo – N.

P.S.  Okay, okay.  The juices at Real Food Daily are kind of good.  FINE.

MD (AND BEYOND): THE BEST POMEGRANATE ICED TEA

By Nora Zelevansky / December 10th, 2009

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I like an antioxidant as much as the next girl, but I often feel like most pomegranate drinks are like so many cranberry or grapefruit "juice" options: overly sweetened and almost thick.  So, while I know this might fall under the category of: "How the hell can someone get excited about BLANK?", I just have to rave about my new favorite beverage of the moment: Honest Tea's Pomegranate White Tea.

Yup.  It even eclipsed cherry coke zero.  First of all, it's not super sweet at all and it doesn't taste all diet-y either.  It has a little caffeine in it, but not enough to offend my delicate sensibilities (and by "delicate sensibilities" I mean that it doesn't make me all cracked out like a meth addict in withdrawal).

Also, I feel all virtuous drinking it because of the acai and stuff.  I just love it.  Honestly.  Honest Tea.  Honest Abe.  Honest to goodness.  Okay.  I'll stop.

xo – N.

LA (BEVERLY HILLS): THE BEST EYE CREAM

By Nora Zelevansky / December 9th, 2009

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Maybe I'm getting old (has anyone seen my cane?  Maybe House stole it . . . Seriously, where is Wilson when you need him?), but eye cream has become the product I most hate to live without (next to Kate Somerville's anti-bac lotion, which will actually change your life and stop blemishes from ever coming to fruition like some kind of miracle cream).  Of course, that's partially the case because finding the right eye cream has been an arduous process, to say the least.

If you're anything like me, one cream or gel is too gloppy and heavy (and actually creates puffiness), while the next is too drying or thin and makeup doesn't go on smoothly.  The eyes are clearly a sensitive part of the face too, so people tend to react allergically too.

This is all by way of validating my obsession with Kinara's eye cream, which ain't cheap, but is amazing.  The Beverly Hills spa/clinic–which is beloved by all manner of red carpet regulars including Halle Berry (and who doesn't want to look like her, whether she hit someone with her car or not?  Oops.)–makes a whole product line, but it's the eye cream that's become my must-have product.  And, as a frequent beauty writer, you better believe that I sample A LOT of products.  It's just perfect: application is smooth, it's not too heavy, it's not too light, it moisturizes and it fights dark circles.

And you know when I appreciate it most?  When I run out and have to use another brand.  Then I realize how key that eye cream really can be.

And that is all one person should EVER say about an eye cream.  Now, seriously, where is my cane?

xo – N.

DC (AND BEYOND): THE BEST MARY JANES EVER!!!

By Nora Zelevansky / December 8th, 2009

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Until Michelle Obama showed up with all her forward gowns by the likes of Jason Wu and Naeem Khan, most people hardly considered Washington, D.C. the land of fashion plates (at least since Jackie O's time).

In fact, the pundit parades can be sort of frightening in the style department, especially when it comes to hair.  By the way, has anyone noticed how incredibly hard on Obama the media has been lately?  Like, literally, it's like the press turned a corner last week and completely forgot that he inherited this disasterous sitch–that is hardly going to be solved quickly–from someone else.

But I digress . . . ahem.  This is about mary janes, not politics.  I was in DC over Thanksgiving and found myself happily perusing a Georgetown Barneys Coop (my temple) with my family.  There, I discovered the above amazing "mary janes" (though they're hardly the traditional interpretation), which look even better on my feets.  Yup.  FeetSSSS.

Anyway, just thought I'd spread the joy, as they do truly make me feel very cheerful.  They're even comfortable, which is basically miraculous.  In fact, it must be this year's first holiday miracle.

Next up: Cure Hunger and settle World Peace.

xo – N.