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LA (BRENTWOOD): THE BEST MAKEUP APPLICATION SANS HARD SELL

By Nora Zelevansky / May 28th, 2010

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I'm not one to talk trash about Barneys.  In fact, when I hear someone else do it, I feel defensive.  Like someone has been talking about my mom.

Still, I must admit that when B.F. & I shopped the cosmetics floor last weekend, we met a pretty unfortunate salesperson.  She was like up our, well, you know, trying to sell us products that we actually were already prepared to buy.  I ended up making my purchase despite her, not because of her.

So, I guess that's partially why I think the introduction of Brentwood's Makeup & Go is a viable idea.  See, sometimes you need a little finesse.  At this spot, you can make an appointment for everything from a "touch up" to a full-fledged red carpet face (or even a blowout) without having to worry about the quality of makeup artist or having to endure some really irritating pitch entitled, "Why you can't live without iridescent eyeshadow brushes."

I've yet to go (yes, yes, I'm bad and have not yet hauled my bum to Brentwood).  But I did get a hold of the adorable above photo.

Looks pretty promising to me.

xo – N.

P.S.  Happy Memorial Day, Linters!

LA (AND BEYOND): THE BEST SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION 2

By Nora Zelevansky / May 27th, 2010

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Grooooan all you want.  It won't change the fact that today is yet another "Shameless Self Promotion" post.  Really they should be called "Shameful Self Promotion" posts, since I feel a bit silly doing this two days in a row, but … not too silly to do it apparently.

June's InStyle features a profile by moi on "High School Musical" actress and pop star Ashley Tisdale and her first grown up home (which is incidentally a lot more grown up than my home).

Check it out if you have sec.  Otherwise I'll be forced to torture you with more posts about granola.

Don't test me.

xo – N.

LA (AND BEYOND): THE BEST SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION

By Nora Zelevansky / May 26th, 2010

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"The Bachelorette" premiere and "The Biggest Loser" finale back to back?  That's an embarrassment of riches, if I ever experienced one.

In honor of the ultimate weight loss reveal, I wrote a story for Salon.com about "The Biggest Loser," making a case for it being the world's most American show.  It's also the ultimate makeover show, but that's another article.

Now, in honor of that finale being over (along with every other show I watch on TV–JEEZ), YOU can read my article.  Yay!

Fun for the whole family.

xo – N.

LA (STUDIO CITY): THE BEST WAY TO OMIT THE STRESS OF ORDERING

By Nora Zelevansky / May 25th, 2010

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I get a lot of shite for the way I order meals.  It's true.  More than one person in my life has teasingly called me "Sally" (like When Harry Met Sally) in response to my particular ways.

As you all know, I'm not a picky eater.  But I do know what I want and how I want it.  Okay, fine, and maybe I also think I know best how other people will like it too.  Whatever.

Some people might call that bossy.  I call it public service.

I mean, seriously, I could choose to be less opinionated and people might like it better, but I'd rather like my food than be liked because I was mellow about my food and let other people who care a lot less about food order for me and make me eat bland weird things with extra cilantro, mayonnaise and American cheese on them, for the love of  … sorry.

But this is not about Craft Singles.  Or my inner rage.

This is about Sushi Nozawa.  Because a lot of you have probably visited this little no frills sushi spot in the Valley and experienced the "sushi nazi's" unbelievable fish, I won't bore you with too much info.  Suffice it to say that the Omakase situation is pretty much the only option here.  You sit down and they just start handing you plates of the freshest fish you've ever tasted, pretty much until you say uncle.  Talk about taking the pressure off!

It had been a while since I'd eaten here, but Andre and I made a spur of the minute decision to treat ourselves and, whoa Nelly (Who is Nelly?), the toro–which apparently arrived from Fiji today–was literally the best tuna I think I have EVER tasted.  I have no idea why it was so incredible.  It just was.

I didn't get a lot of pics, as I forgot my camera and you're not allowed to use cell phones inside the restaurant.  I didn't want to get in trouble.

But suffice it to say that dinner was delicious.  Almost delicious enough to combat the trauma of potentially the last Law & Order ever and the different variety of trauma associated with the Bachelorette's 30 douche bag fete.

I'm just saying, they shouldn't have canceled the show.  But that's just one bossy girl's opinion.

xo – N.

LA (MALIBU/B.H./WEHO): THE BEST WAY TO RING IN SUMMER

By Nora Zelevansky / May 24th, 2010

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If I'm honest, I've been feeling pretty bah humbug about the whole summer thing.  In the last week or so, a few people have mentioned how excited they are for the coming warm weather and mostly I've smiled and nodded insincerely, visions of my un-air conditioned apartment dancing in my head.

But this weekend may have actually convinced me that the coming season, even in dusty dry desert L.A., may be a good thing.  So, if you've been feeling similar trepidation about the coming summer or just want to get into the groove, here are some activities I can recommend:

1. GO BLOND: You'll see above that I threw brunette caution to the wind and lightened my hair up (compliments, of course, of Sheri at Roman Salon), thereby lightening my attitude.  Also, now I look less like a drowned rat.  I was REALLY behind in my grooming.  Next week, Brazilian blowout with Lien, so that I don't have to worry so much about blow drying or frizz when it gets super hot.

2. GO TO REEL INN: Also pictured above, I headed with B.F. and new pal P.C. to everyone's favorite Malibu seafood shack for some fried shrimp and steamed clams and the works!  Just the smell of the ocean and the drive up PCH started to get me excited for beach days!

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3. STOP BY BARNEYS: B.F. & I checked out new summer makeup colors, shoes and clothes (specifically for her upcoming trip to Spain) and stocked up on some of my favorite T. LeClerc concealer.  I fell in love with these Jil Sander mesh shoes. I want them so bad!  Is anyone listening?  Andre??

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4. LIE BY THE FOUR SEASONS B.H. POOL: B.F. was staying at the Four Seasons, so we headed there to lie around slathered in sunblock, drinking peach smoothie samples and wading in the squishy padded bottomed pool.  The whole pool area was recently overhauled.  I think you can also use the pool, if you get a spa treatment.  Now THAT sounds like a good afternoon.

5. DRINK EARLY EVENING BEERS AT SURLY GOAT'S NEW OUTDOOR PICNIC TABLES: I mean, as if trying sour beers (SO GOOD!) and new IPAs for the first time wasn't enough, R.S.'s bar has now introduced a hardcore bratwurst and pretzel cart dude.  I mean, what could be better?  I could be biased since the owner R.S. is my friend, but I don't even need to be!

Just five steps and I'm practically ready for summer.  Now where to find that perfect new one piece … anyone?  Anyone?  Where are my mesh shoes?

xo – N.

NYC/LA (AND BEYOND): THE BEST WAY TO TRY MULTIPLE HAIR COLORS AND STYLES WITHOUT LEAVING HOME

By Nora Zelevansky / May 21st, 2010

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Okay, I apologize in advance if this seems like the most random thing in the world to you, but I am OBSESSED.  The truth is this is really more of a "Crumpled Twenty" best link, but I mean what could be more perfect for wasting time on a slowly disappearing Friday?

So, I was messing around on InStyle's website, trying to see if I could locate an online version of my Ashley Tisdale "Living" profile in the June issue (yeah, you read that right).  Anyway, I came across this beauty tool, which allows you to upload a photo of yourself and then try on various different celebrity haircuts, colors and styles from a Beyonce blonde to a Heidi Klum, well, blonde too.

I mean, what could be more fun and time sucking than something like this???

I totally recommend it.  And, in the meantime, know that I will be wasting valuable time this weekend trying to fit Meg Ryan's hair on my oval head.

Happy Friday!

xo – N.

CHI TOWN (WICKER PARK): THE BEST WAY TO SHOP A NEW CHICAGO DESIGNER FROM AFAR

By Nora Zelevansky / May 20th, 2010

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You can't do everything.  At least, that's what they tell me.  I think maybe I could actually, if I drank enough caffeinated iced tea.  But we'll never know because, before I got a never ending burst of energy, I'd probably have a massive panic attack and have to hide in my closet.

Anyway, I didn't do the experiment while in Chicago, so, though T. wanted to take us to a new shop called Eskell, our day of shopping got too busy and we never made it over there.  Luckily, there's this little thing called the Internetsss, which allowed me to check out the shop online.

And, lo and behold, not only is the clothing really pretty cute, but there's an e-commerce shop, so I can still shop the store!  Me likey.

Oh and I suppose you can shop the store too.  It'll be like you came on the imaginary part of our trip to Chicago, even while you were really somewhere else.  See?  Everywhere at once!  I think we're onto something.

xo – N.

LA (WESTWOOD): THE BEST FREE LUNCH!

By Nora Zelevansky / May 19th, 2010

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Do I really need to utter words beyond "free lunch"?  FREE LUNCH.  Now stampede!!!

Oh, yeah, I guess some information about where and when would help.  You people are so damn anal.

Anyway … Do you think I'm capable of writing a post without the word "anyway" in it?  Probably not. 

ANYWAY … Hotel Palomar's BLVD 16 restaurant is launching an inaugural speedy 'Wich Way To Go lunch menu tomorrow, Thursday, May 20th.  The first 100 people who arrive at the restaurant from 11:30am on will receive free "grab-and-go" lunches from Chef Simon Dolinky.  (Isn't "Dolinky" just a happy word?)

I had the pleasure of dining at the restaurant for dinner many months ago and I can attest to the quality of the food and also of the chef himself.  He's lovely and when I met him he was creating his own hydroponic herb and vegetable garden on the hotel's roof.  How cool is that?

Case and point, this picture I took during the meal:

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I mean, how beautiful?

So, that's pretty much the deal.  Show up, eat free gourmet sandwiches, leave happy and then go on with your life.

I already have.

Anyway …

xo – N.

CHI TOWN (WICKER PARK): THE BEST SWEET POTATO OMELETTE & MINI-BANANA CHOCOLATE MUFFIN (POSSIBLY IN THE WORLD)

By Nora Zelevansky / May 18th, 2010

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Previously, the words "banana muffin" made me think of this.  I could watch these all day.

OMG!  In searching this link, I found the first new "Muffin Film" in years and years–watch it here.  (I realize that you are probably wondering what the hell I'm talking about, but just go see for yourself.)

ANYWAY, although I am clearly still preoccupied with Muffin Films, I now have a new frame of reference for banana muffins: Jam in Wicker Park.

We knew in advance that we might have to wait, but when R, T, M & I headed to brunch at the sweet little restaurant we actually got seated in like 20 minutes.  Once we ordered (and choosing was difficult because the menu options were all so potentially tasty), we got an "amuse bouche" mini banana muffin with chocolate chips with some kind of mascarpone cream on top (note the Lactaid also featured above).  It was warm; it was moist; it was the most flavorful muffin that I have ever ever eaten.  For real.

Our respective breakfast dishes were unusual and incredibly delicious too.  I'll let the pictures tell the story:

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[My Egg White Omelette with Glazed Sweet Potato, Aged Goat Cheese, Watercress, Crushed Macadamia]

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[Eggs Benedict, English muffins, poached eggs, crisped pork belly, beet Hollandaise]

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[Spanish Omelet, chorizo, roasted peppers, melted onions, Garrotxa cheese, fingerling potatoes]

And, yes, it was all as good as it looks.  The craziest part was that the bill came and was for about $40.  For four of us.  I mean, can you beat that?

The only problem?  A growing muffin top.  Ruh Roh.

xo – N.

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LA (AND BEYOND): ODE TO THE BEST PAIR OF EVERYDAY JEANS. PERIOD. AND A SHOPPING EVENT!

By Nora Zelevansky / May 13th, 2010

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LADIES & GENTLEMAN, I have in my possession the PERFECT pair of everyday jeans.  At least, I did last week.

See, although I suspected that my favorite pair of 7 For All Mankind Straight Leg blues were in a hospice situation, I was still stunned and disoriented when they finally ripped their way into oblivion.

What does one do when their favorite pair of jeans–the perfectly worn and comfy, but still somehow flattering ones rocked each and everyday for everything from dinners to Sunday lounging–give out?  This was sadly not a Denim Doctors kind of situation either.  They ripped in the tush, but even if I fixed that, they'd rip any day in both knees and thighs.  That's how much I loved them.  That's how thin they got.

They were perfectly because they were narrow and straight-legged, but not skinny, so not trendy, just ideal.

I wore them in Scotland (see above and disregard the awkward wink or twitch going on).  Just look how beautiful they are and innocent of their eventual fate!  They look so young and carefree then.

I wore them while getting ready on my wedding day … apparently with crazy eyes …

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I wore them on my honeymoon …

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And even on hikes …

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Okay, you can barely see them, I realize.  But I know they're there and that's what's important!  See?  I don't even have enough pictures of them!

ANYWAY, I wore them nonstop for YEARS.  And they lasted beautifully.

Luckily, 7FAM still makes the same cut and I think the wash is the same, but I'm not sure?

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I'm not gonna lie.  In person, they look darker than I remember.  But then again, I'm used to a version that's several years old.

I'm already wearing my new pair around town, because favorite everyday, everything jeans are not something I can live as successfully without.  And I'm trying to keep the faith that the dark color will soon fade and that the slightly longer length will shrink in the wash.

I just feel fortunate that the style still exists because otherwise I might have had to cry.

You can check out versions of my new pair and also the launch of a new Jonathon Adler for 7FAM collection for men & women at in-store shopping events–think sweets and champagne–from 3pm to 6pm this Saturday on Robertson in L.A., Dallas' Northpark Center and Miami's Aventura Mall.  The S.F. event is on next Saturday, May 22nd.  (Preview pics below!)

Let's all poor out a little champagne this weekend for my fallen jeans.  May these new ones conform as well as the old.

xo – N.

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P.S. Does anyone else think I need to dye my hair back to red?  It looks so much better in these pictures!