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October 26, 2008

Ask the Stylist: Halloween Costumes

Filed under: Expert Opinions,Play,Shop — StyleGuide @ 6:49 pm

Alexandra Haines, Fashion Stylist, photo provided by A. Haines

Expert Opinions are tips from L.A.’s ultimate insiders.  In honor of the upcoming holiday, today I’m re-posting contributor and fashion stylist Alexandra Haines’ Halloween post!

Halloween is the one time of year where you can wear whatever you want — forget appropriateness and decency!  For a fashionista, it is THE national holiday.  I start early — real early — and cast a wide net. 

Hidden Treasures
A destination in and of itself, this hideaway earns regular mentions in the pages of Vogue and stocks an amazing collection of vintage clothes.  But come Halloween, they load up extras like masks and tutus in a rainbow of colors.  In Topanga Canyon right off the main drag, this is a great stop for retro costumes for men and women. 

Robinson Beautilities
Whether I’m pulling together a costume for a man or woman, this is my mecca for costume extras.  Yes, it is a fully functioning costume shop that has not (blessedly) be remodeled since the 60′s.  But it also offers a huge supply of wigs and Venetian masks, a wall of fake eyelashes, all types of glitter spray, and my new wardrobe standard — Vegas-style feather headdresses (really, once you buy one you’ll find there are all sorts of occasions to wear it).

Squaresville
I’d say Squaresville is a hipper, cleaner version of Aardvarks, where the buyers really care about what they’re stocking.  Some of my greatest regrets come from not buying beautiful pieces I found there, like a sequined butterfly top, trashy white fur coat or an original prairie dress.  These wouldn’t have made it into my everyday wardrobe, but could make fantastic retro costumes.  Find costumes for men and women.

Hollywood Blvd.
Got no time and are just going to dress in a skimpy outfit with some sort of animal ears?  Try walking Hollywood Boulevard for their cheap costume/lingerie shops and amazing wig shops.

About Alexandra: 

I am a stylist who has been designing clothes and accessories and styling photo shoots.  That wouldn’t mean anything if I wasn’t intrinsically interested in how individuals can express themselves uniquely in their dress.  Expect no cookie cutter advice here.

Call:  310-908-7605 (Alexandra)

alexandra@amorphiastyle.com

August 31, 2008

Book Learning: L.A.-area Extension – Continuing – Community Education

Filed under: Play — StyleGuide @ 4:38 pm

An unsung benefit of L.A.’s density is that the place is crawling with extension courses, and all offer cheap instruction, convenient hours and minimal commitment.  Over the years I’ve matriculated at a half a dozen public adult schools — here’s a round-up: 

  • The Beverly Hills Adult School at Beverly Hills High School is a central location for a random assortment of courses (like the classes I’ve taken on import/export, skin care, organizing and negotiation). 
  • At L.A. City College Community Services Extension at Vermont and Sunset, good times abound in courses ranging from bartending, private investigating and framing/matting to judo and ballet.
  • I’ve sampled real estate, Spanish and a great meditation class from Santa Monica College Continuing and Community Education’s massive buffet of programs.
  • There was another Spanish class at East L.A. College Extension Courses in Monterey Park, and an enlightening Chinese brush painting class at Rio Hondo College Community Service Classes in Whitter.
  • Of course, UCLA Extension is the granddaddy of community education, and while pricey, I’ve found the quality of instruction to be much higher.  After trying writing classes elsewhere on the cheap, the extra money to take the class at UCLA was well worth it.
  • For computer training, I’ve had the best luck with online courses that let me go at my own pace.  Otherwise “power users” wait hours for their classmates to figure out how to turn on their computers, and neophytes feel like problem children.  Santa Monica College offers a ton of options.

Three reasons I love community education: 

  1. The unexpected.  It’s a real crap-shoot the day you walk into class.  My dad says you’ll always learn something, even if it is just the instructor’s name.  Often that’s true.  Other times you just might find brilliance. 
  2. Low commitment.  It is a cheap way to get an introduction to something completely new — whether hobby, career or Ikebana.
  3. Interesting people.  The characters of all ages who populate these classes are part of the allure.  On more than one occasion, walking through the door has felt like stumbling into a retirement home.  But no class is more friendly or encouraging than a bunch of seniors. 

When my life gets a little stale, I turn to community education classes.  They always seem to work like steaming cups of brain caffeine.

This is a partial list of community education in L.A., where do you go?  What was your craziest class?  Tell us. 

 Related links  |  dining near schools

Tang’s Donuts near L.A. City College

Bella Pita near UCLA Extension

February 5, 2008

Dixie Longate: Not Your Mother’s Tupperware Party

Filed under: Play,Shop — StyleGuide @ 8:20 pm

Tupperware’s Bag Girl, Dixie Longate

If you think that Tupperware parties went out in the 80′s, and that you have to be a Stepford Wife to appreciate shopping high quality plastics from your living room, you’ve never met Dixie Longate.

Leave it to a 6-foot-tall drag queen in a Dorothy-from-the-Wizard-of-Oz dress to bring Tupperware back. 

Dixie’s a fast-talking, hyperactive single mom with a shock of red hair and a raging libido, fresh from a Mobile, Alabama trailer park.  She started selling Tupperware to make her parole officer proud. 

Today she’s one of the top salespeople in the country, spreading her deliciously shocking and devilishly hilarious version of the Tupperware gospel, one houseparty at a time. 

Dixie’s X-rated show demonstrating Tupperware use (and abuse) has won over young and old, male and female, gay and straight.  (If you can believe it, Orange County Republican women are her best customers.) 

I came for the show, but in the end, the Tupperware won me over.  It appeals on a health level (Tupperware is made with the highest grade food-safe plastic — much better for you than other plastic products), on an environmental level (reusable Tupperware means less disposable packaging from leftovers and snacks), and on a fiscal level (aside from staying out of a landfill, a lifetime guarantee it means I won’t have to buy new containers to replace worn ones).

To schedule your own 45 minutes in heaven with Dixie, work with her to find a time for a no-charge houseparty.  Dixie’s so popular she’s turned her show into an off-Broadway play, and she’s planning to take it on a two-year nationwide tour.  So if you can’t get a date, search for “Dixie Longate” on YouTube.com.  Wet your beak with snippets of her show, then order Tupperware products through her site: www.dixielongate.com

Just be prepared for a Tupperware party that pushes the boundaries of taste. 

January 15, 2008

This Weekend: Pets in the Park

Filed under: Play — StyleGuide @ 8:23 pm

Save the date and Save a life at “Pets in the Park”

Finding the perfect dog or cat, plus helping to control the pet population — what’s not to love about adopting from animal shelters? 

And now is a good time of year to meet your match.  The winter holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for shelters and rescue organizations. 

It’s sad, but pets purchased as gifts frequently fail to last with new owners — mostly because the person who gets the pet isn’t prepared for the responsibilities of the pet.  Discarded animals will flood shelters and rescue facilities throughout January and February.

The good news?  Pet adoption couldn’t be easier.  This Saturday, January 19, 2008, “Pets in the Park” in Hollywood is like match.com for aspiring pet owners seeking adoptable animals. 

The free event also features a children’s show on pet safety, information on free sterilization for feral cats through a “Trap-Neuter-Return” program, and a veterinarian and a canine coach to answer your questions.

Should be a great day — regardless of whether you have two legs or four.

When:  Saturday, January 19, 2008, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where:  De Longpre Park in Hollywood, at the corner of Cherokee and De Longpre 

Related links  |  more pets:

Stylish duds for dogs and cats

Low-cost pet vaccines at The Barking Lot

January 10, 2008

Feed Ducks in L.A.? Try Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area

Filed under: Play — StyleGuide @ 10:14 pm

Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, Photo from http://www.lacountyparks.org/Parkinfo.asp?URL=cms1_033276.asp&Title=Kenneth%20Hahn%20Recreation

When the librarian mentioned that there was a place to feed ducks in the middle of L.A., I didn’t realize how odd it was until I tried to remember the last time I fed ducks in L.A.  It was never.

I checked it out, and indeed you can feed ducks in L.A. 

Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area is along my favorite (secret) airport shortcut — La Cienega between the 10 and the 405.  If you are like me and know this route, you’ve seen the park on the hill mainly as a blur at 60 mph, and maybe devoted an idle moment to wondering what it was.  

Turns out, aside from duck feeding, the 300+ acre park in Baldwin Hills offers fishing, playgrounds, picnic areas, a lotus pond, a stream, sport courts and lots and lots of hiking. 

Me and my loaf of stale bread swung by one weekday, and it was a slice of rural summer, impossibly located just seconds from the madness of La Cienega.

Where:  4100 S. La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles 90056

When:  Sunrise to sunset

Price: $ (Free parking weekdays, $4 fee weekends) 

Call:  323.298.3660

www.lacountyparks.org/Parkinfo.asp?URL=cms1_033276.asp&Title=Kenneth%20Hahn%20Recreation

Where do you feed ducks in L.A.?

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)

http://www.bobbakermarionettes.com/

November 8, 2007

Happy Hour at The Well in Hollywood

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

Well

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

October 30, 2007

Ask the Comedian: Cheap Laughs — Comedy Death Ray

Filed under: Expert Opinions,Play — StyleGuide @ 8:39 am

Stuart Paap, photo provided by S. Paap

Expert Opinions are tips from L.A.’s ultimate insiders.  Today’s contributor is Stuart Paap:

Cheap laughs.  Get it?  It’s a double entendre — ah, the French have such a way with words, passive aggression and mimes.

Step one: Hello! I am your host, Stuart Paap, a local comedian, auteur, television host, bon-vivant (and Francophile apparently), BUT most importantly, I am your comedy maitre’d (arret), ready to make all the right recommendations for your comedy palette here at StylishGuide.com.

*Cautionary note: Before you take any of my suggestions, let me quote clause number 1 of the ICSA (International Comedy Suggestion Agreement), which states that: “Humor is subjective, and unlike the self-congratulating gourmand who will suffer indignance if you don’t take his/her/its recommendations for the best croissants in town (incidentally – they’re at Susina Bakery and Café on Beverly and La Brea), as a comedian, I can only nudge you in the general direction of humorous situations, people and venues while YOU, future satisfied audience member, must do the parking, ticket buying, drinking and, of course, laughing.”

And while I can’t help ease your parking, drinking and lack-of-humor situation, then maybe I can help alleviate your bank card of unnecessary trips inside another anonymous ATM by giving you the lowdown on good laughs — cheap!

Brought to you at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre on the hip part of Franklin Avenue where Hollywood sleaze meets East Side cheese, Comedy Death Ray is a tossed salad of humor, featuring stand-up comedy, characters and sketch that would happily live in the “alternative comedy” section of Amoeba Records.

If you’re unfamiliar with “alternative comedy,” don’t worry — it’s just like regular funny comedy with a dash of comic book nerds, thick-set glasses and cheese-fries guts thrown in for good measure.  Some of it is pure genius, some off-putting, but regardless, you’ll get the sense that somewhere in this crazy town, comedy is alive and not-so-well and that ultimately, that is just fine.  (Hey, it’s usually better than some dink in a cheap suit talking about how his crazy spouse just doesn’t understand football.  You dig?)

Experimentation is the motivation here, and for five bucks, you can be entertained and possibly even emotionally scarred!

NOTE: keep your eyes peeled for drop-ins from celeb-beauties like Bob Odenkirk, Patton Oswalt, David Cross, Fred Armisen, and more.

Price:  $ (reservations recommended)

When:  Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m.

Where:  UCB THEATRE LA, 5919 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles, Ca 90028 

Call:  323-908-8702

www.comedydeathray.com

Stuart Paap is a comedian in Los Angeles who hosts a live interactive comedy talk show every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. at TheStream.TV!  He also loves his dogs, likes his cats and tolerates his neighbors.

October 2, 2007

Ask the Stylist: Halloween Costumes

Filed under: Expert Opinions,Play,Shop — StyleGuide @ 6:16 am

Alexandra Haines, Fashion Stylist, photo provided by A. Haines

Expert Opinions are tips from L.A.’s ultimate insiders.  Today’s contributor is fashion stylist Alexandra Haines. 

Halloween is the one time of year where you can wear whatever you want — forget appropriateness and decency!  For a fashionista, it is THE national holiday.  I start early — real early — and cast a wide net. 

Hidden Treasures
A destination in and of itself, this hideaway earns regular mentions in the pages of Vogue and stocks an amazing collection of vintage clothes.  But come Halloween, they load up extras like masks and tutus in a rainbow of colors.  In Topanga Canyon right off the main drag, this is a great stop for retro costumes for men and women. 

Robinson Beautilities
Whether I’m pulling together a costume for a man or woman, this is my mecca for costume extras.  Yes, it is a fully functioning costume shop that has not (blessedly) be remodeled since the 60′s.  But it also offers a huge supply of wigs and Venetian masks, a wall of fake eyelashes, all types of glitter spray, and my new wardrobe standard — Vegas-style feather headdresses (really, once you buy one you’ll find there are all sorts of occasions to wear it).

Squaresville
I’d say Squaresville is a hipper, cleaner version of Aardvarks, where the buyers really care about what they’re stocking.  Some of my greatest regrets come from not buying beautiful pieces I found there, like a sequined butterfly top, trashy white fur coat or an original prairie dress.  These wouldn’t have made it into my everyday wardrobe, but could make fantastic retro costumes.  Find costumes for men and women.

Hollywood Blvd.
Got no time and are just going to dress in a skimpy outfit with some sort of animal ears?  Try walking Hollywood Boulevard for their cheap costume/lingerie shops and amazing wig shops.

About Alexandra: 

I am a stylist who has been designing clothes and accessories and styling photo shoots.  That wouldn’t mean anything if I wasn’t intrinsically interested in how individuals can express themselves uniquely in their dress.  Expect no cookie cutter advice here.

Call:  310-908-7605 (Alexandra)

alexandra@amorphiastyle.com

September 20, 2007

Check this out! L.A. Public Library’s Online Catalog

Filed under: Play — StyleGuide @ 6:19 am

http://www.lapl.org

It helps to be well-read in L.A., even if it’s only to know what movies will be coming out.  But keeping up with the bestsellers can get pricey. 

My all-time best secret?  Los Angeles Public Library’s online book reservations.  Search the catalog at www.lapl.org.  A few clicks and the book of your choice is sent from any one of their 70+ branch libraries to your local branch — all for free. 

It’s even easier than hitting the bookstore.  I’ll hear about a book, then quickly log on to the library’s site and reserve it (or the audio book to ease the commute).  Within days, it’s waiting for me at the front desk. 

There’s a $1 fee if you don’t pick the book up within a week of its arrival to your branch.  But their email system helps out on this one.  I get an email when it arrives, and after checking my book out, I’ll get an email four days before it’s due.  I can even renew my book online when I’m too slammed to return it.

No searching through the stacks.  No Dewey Decimal system.  No late fees.  Easy as pie.

www.lapl.org 

Are you a library booster?  Tell us.

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