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November 28, 2007

Ask the Beauty Editor: Hair Repair

Filed under: Expert Opinions — StyleGuide @ 8:28 pm

Brooke Eastburn (seated), photo provided by B. Eastburn

Expert Opinions are tips from L.A.’s ultimate insiders.  Today’s contributor is Brooke Eastburn, former beauty editor for a major magazine. 

Sometimes a great deal can go horribly wrong.  This is a particular risk when you’re searching for a cheap haircut.  We turn to Brooke for guidance on what to do when a ham-handed stylist really butchers you up.  It may cost a little more, but it’s a bargain when you’re in dire need of hair repair.

In full disclosure, this is something of an ode to a certain hair salon.  My love affair began with the most colossal beauty disaster of my life, and miraculously concluded with me stumbling into an incredible L.A. beauty find, Chop Chop.

In brief, my hair hell occurred at a MAJOR celeb salon (think laughable prices and frightening egos).  I exited with a fierce mullet.  And the color? Frito Lay’s most vibrant “cheese” powder comes to mind.

A sage friend directed me to Chop Chop, and though they were fully booked for the next day (Saturday, of course), when they heard I was considering a baseball hat and a staple gun, they invited me to come in as soon as they opened.

And here is why I fell in love: Chop Chop has every single thing you could desire in a salon: amazingly skilled stylists and colorists with absolutely zero attitude in a sun-flooded architecturally gorgeous space (with new art installations every six weeks), all at reasonable prices. (Cuts are $80 and up; color is $120 and up.)

Chop Chop could flaunt some attitude — they’ve scored press coverage in Allure, Lucky and People, but all you’ll sense is that the staff is really interested in you loving your hair. 

When I first hurled myself into Troy Trusciante’s chair (as soon as he’d pried the Yankees cap from my head), he took a long look at me, asked what I do for a living and some other key “get to know you questions” — all in an effort to figure out what style and color would make sense for my life.

I left blotting away tears of gratitude, and to trump all, received a call from the salon two days later to make sure I was happy with my style and cut.  I almost wondered if it was a trick question.

Price: $$$$

Where:  830 North La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, Ca 90038 

Call:  323-464-8100

About Brooke:  Brooke is a freelance writer in Los Angeles. She previously was a beauty editor at Mademoiselle Magazine and has writen for Glamour, Prevention and More.

November 26, 2007

Bob Baker: The Puppet Master (Holiday Style)

Filed under: Play — StyleGuide @ 8:38 pm

Bob Baker Marionette Theater

Part of living in L.A. is seeing your friends in bad plays.

It doesn’t all have to be so dismal.  Try Bob Baker Marionette Theater.  Since 1961, the theater has been entertaining audiences young and old with technically difficult and creatively executed marionette shows.

Now playing is The Nutcracker.  It’s the perfect time to beg or borrow a kid to take along as cover.  Or just come by yourself  — the performance I attended this weekend included a tribute to a 60-year-old man’s birthday.

This L.A. institution transports you to a simpler time, where wood and strings come to life and everything else fades into the dark.  

Plus there’s free ice cream and cookies after the show!

The best thing is you won’t have to search for nice things to say afterward. 

Price: $$ (tickets are $15)

Where:  1345 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, Ca 90026 

Call:  213-250-9995 (reservations required)

November 22, 2007

Gifts for people you don’t know very well: Diddy Riese

Filed under: Eat,Shop,Westside — StyleGuide @ 7:03 am

Diddy Riese Cookies

There are always those people you don’t know very well, but around this time of year, a holiday gift “expectation” seems to surface.  Maybe it’s your neighbor.  Or the postal worker.  Or that creepy guy at work whose name you don’t know but whom you don’t want to risk alienating by getting everyone else a gift but him.

For a personable “impersonal” gift, try Diddy Riese in Westwood.  Those same big, fresh, rich, soft, cheap cookies (a buck for three) that have customers lining up around the block also make affordable gifts.

For $4.75 they’ll pack a dozen in a bright red bag — ready to be handed over to a lucky recipient.  If you want something bigger, try a tin with 18 cookies for $10.50 (cash only).

I know, I know, parking in Westwood can be rough.  You can find two hours free parking before 6 p.m. at the public garage at 1036 Broxton (Broxton is southbound only at that point, so come from Le Conte or Weyburn).  Walk about a block north and you’re there.

Unlike all those bath product gift sets that probably never get used and just make the rounds each year, Diddy Riese’s cookies won’t get re-gifted — and will probably even be shared.  Now that’s a gift.

Price:  $-$$ (cash only)

Where:  926 Broxton Avenue, Los Angeles, Ca 90024

Call:  (310) 208-0448

November 19, 2007

Stylish Six: Home & Garden Deals

Filed under: Best Of,House + Garden — StyleGuide @ 9:00 pm

Tiles from B&W Tile

Here are enough bargain home and garden sources to transform a former crack den into a family-friendly space.  (Trust me — I’ve done it.) 

1.  B&W Tile: This factory outlet mini-chain (locations in Gardena, Lake Elsinore and Riverside), sells hundred of tile styles.  Discontinued or seconds from their factory are dirt cheap.

2.  Fernando’s Lumber:  “Bare-bones basic” custom kitchen and bath cabinets at prices so low you can splurge on high-end appliances — learn more here.

3.  Santa Fe Wrecking Company:  Check here for tips on shopping this grungy 50,000 square foot salvage yard, overflowing with old building materials like solid wood doors, near-new toilets, antique lighting and vintage tubs.

4.  Linoleum City:  Authentic Linoleum Marmoleum is wonder flooring.  Environmentally friendly!  Durable!  Lots of colors!  Available nearby!  Learn more about how much I love Marmoleum here

5.  7 Oaks Nursery:  Their twice-yearly sales are worth the drive to Corona.  Thousands of plants, from mini to mammoth, all half-off.  See my tips on getting the most out of the sales here.

6.  Pottery Manufacturing & Distibution:  Browse pallet after pallet of heavily discounted decorative pots at this factory outlet.  See what this pottery mecca looks like here.

Honorable Mention

Sears Appliance OutletsAs a mega chain with three appliance outlets outside L.A. County (Santa Ana, Corona and Ontario), this can’t qualify as an “L.A. Original.”  Nevertheless, they carry the latest home appliances, flat-screen TVs, mattresses and BBQs, slightly damaged or reconditioned and at deep discounts.  Example 1:  A recent tag had the original price of $899 marked down to $449.  Example 2:  I’ve picked through their huge inventory and saved a bundle on a high-end, top-brand stove with barely noticeable dents on the side that faces the cupboard.  Don’t worry about things breaking down — everything comes with the Sears guarantee. 

November 15, 2007

Ask the Expert: Finding Stylish Gifts for your Favorite Pet (or Pet-Lover)

Filed under: Expert Opinions,Shop — StyleGuide @ 8:31 pm

Rachel Paap, owner of RP Worx, photo provided by R. Paap

Expert Opinions are tips from L.A.’s ultimate insiders.  Today’s contributor is animal activist Rachel Paap.

Now that the holidays are upon us, where can you find gear for your best four-legger that’s stylish, top-quality and cheap?

For Proud Parents of Big Dogs:  Why do small dogs get the cutest gear and accessories?  For dogs over 40 pounds, there are few choices for fashionable, appropriately sized collars.  In this size-conscious city, why should our dogs be ashamed to be big and beautiful?

That’s why L.A. local Karen Klopfenstein started Big Boned Dogs, offering handcrafted durable collars that reflect the unique personalities of dogs who don’t fit under the crook of your arm.  Dozens of designs — think Izod alligators, cute owls, French toile, fun bees and elegant paisley — come in multiple colors and styles like martingale choker or traditional slide buckle.

These collars are so well-made and adorable, they could easily sell at boutiques for as much as the “little dog stuff.”  They don’t!  Depending on size and style, they average $25-$35.  These are machine washable and long-lasting, so even if your dog plays rough with friends at the park, you won’t have to buy new collars every year (and that saves money, too).  Better yet, they’re one of a kind — just like your pups!

For Kitties Too:  Most cat owners know the importance of collars and tags.  For those multi-cat families (I can’t recommend multiples of cats enough!  Two is better than one, and what’s one more with two?  Or four . . . six?), tags can often look plain, or fade over time. 

Lucky Pet is a great company (they give back to humane organizations) with a fabulous selection of lightweight and small tags in stylish colors for smaller kitties or dogs.  And if you’re sick of hearing that cling clang of your pet’s tag against the collar, there are options-a-plenty.

We’re talking quality here — these tags last a long long time.  Why not get a few in every color (to go with your cat’s every mood)?

About Rachel:

Rachel Paap is the owner of RP Worx, a public relations and marketing boutique agency serving charity organizations, with a focus in the animal welfare field.  She is also a highly competitive kareoke singer.

November 13, 2007

My Friend, Fernando: Bargain Kitchen and Bath Cabinets at Fernando’s Lumber

Filed under: House + Garden — StyleGuide @ 9:17 am

Cabinet from Fernando’s

When hunting for our first house, we fell in love with a once-abandoned shack in a so-so neighborhood a few blocks from gangland.  Clearly love is blind — we made an offer on it right away.

Everything had to be fixed — most importantly the kitchen, where nearly all of the cabinets were missing (sold to pay drug debts, perhaps?).  We needed simple cabinets, for a bargain price, that wouldn’t leave our house “over-improved” for our neighborhood.

Fernando’s Lumber came to our rescue.  They custom-build all-wood kitchen and bath cabinets — no MDFs or other weird wood-like materials.  You can get any configuration you want, as long as you choose pine fronts and plywood shelves.  Don’t expect a ton of options for door styles, either.  Just bare-bones basic wood cabinets at an insanely low price.

We upped the quality by skipping Fernando’s standard knobs and hinges in favor of our own hardware.  And here’s an important tip:  When you order, say you’re planning to stain them (even if you end up painting instead) — they’ll do a better job on the finish. 

New cabinets at a low price — a great way to make your own outdated-drug dealer-70′s style kitchen just a little more homey.

Price:  $$$$

Where:  Three locations: 

1920 S. Central Ave., Los Angeles, Ca 90011, 213-747-3766

750 E. Manchester Ave., Los Angeles, Ca 90001, 323-789-6576

5836 S. Los Angeles St., Los Angeles, Ca 90003, 323-234-7993

November 8, 2007

Happy Hour at The Well in Hollywood

Filed under: Eat,Midtown,Play — StyleGuide @ 9:37 am


When it comes to bars, I rely on a key bellwether: a happy hour that never ends.

I was shocked to find my dream bar in Hollywood — right off Sunset and Vine, no less!  The Well has one crazy long happy hour, running daily from 5-9 p.m. 

That’s right:  Happy Hour.  Five to 9 p.m.  Every day.  And “every day” means Friday and Saturday nights, too. 

Flavored martinis, well drinks and house beer come in at a paltry $3 to $4 apiece.  Appetizers (available during happy hour only) range from two-buck edamame to an $8 half-pound cheeseburger. 

The Well tops it off with a well-stocked jukebox played low enough you can actually have a conversation, a sleek decor with comfortable banquettes, and a crowd that won’t look askance whether you’re wearing jeans or hipster gear. 

Happy, happy, happy hour!

Price: $

When:  Open daily 5 p.m.-2 a.m., happy hour from 5 p.m.-9 p.m.

Where:  6255 W Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, Ca 90028 (find the door on Argyle just north of Sunset)

Call:  323-467-9355

November 6, 2007

10 Ways to Find Love in the Salvage Yard: Santa Fe Wrecking

Filed under: House + Garden — StyleGuide @ 7:54 am

Santa Fe Wrecking

When you want to add expensive touches to your home at a bargain price, try buying used at a salvage yard.  Santa Fe Wrecking Company, a 50,000 square-foot salvage yard near downtown L.A., is a great place to start.

It may seem intimidating, so here are 10 ways to make it easier to, as they say, find “the items you need for restoring the original beauty of antique architecture, hardware and building materials”: 

1.  Expect to get dirty.  This place is filthy.

2.  See past the dirt.  Check for permanent stains, but you can wash dirt off. 

3.  Think big… or small.  Replace your hollow-core doors with old solid wood ones.  Change out standard door knobs with vintage crystal ones.  Even add columns around your front door! 

4.  Bring measurements.  That way you’ll know whether the fabulous old built-in will work in your dining room, or that hand-painted fireplace mantle will fit.

5.  Get to know a refinisher.  Old pedestal sinks or claw-foot tubs can be recoated; ask staff for a recommendation.

6.  Go for newer items, too.  I picked up a plumber-recommended Toto toilet for a third of the cost of new.  

7.  Light it up and get cooking!  They carry an extensive selection of antique lighting and stoves.

8.  Be patient.  Block off a good hour or two to navigate the enormous inventory.  New items arrive regularly, so come back if you didn’t find what you were looking for.

9.  Expect to work alone.  Staff can help load, but I would never consider this place full-service.

10.  Bargaining is OK.

Where:  1600 South Santa Fe Ave., Los Angeles, 90021

Call:  213-632-3119

Have you been?  Tell us all about it.