prosPECKting

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Dating 101, Dating 1, 2, 3, OMG I’m going on a date now what? OK – so you’ve got a date (or you’ve asked someone out on a date) now what? Let me guide you on the path to some easy and fun first date activities that (hopefully) will lead you on to a memorable first date.

Here are a few budget friendly 1st date ideas to get the (golf) ball rolling right on to date number two! Remember, it’s the first date so let’s keep it easy breezy and fun – let’s face it, we’re all a little nervous on the first date so relax and have a good time.

Either of you have a dog? How about an afternoon walk on the beach with your new friend and your four legged friend. If all goes well, find an outdoor café and continue the date.

Here are a few dog friendly beaches in Southern California:

Arroyo Burro Beach Santa Barbara

Long Beach Dog Beach

Huntington Beach Dog Beach

Newport Beach after 5pm

San Diego Mission Bay – After 6pm

Ocean Beach San Diego

Seal Beach Arbor Park Dog Park

You and your date adventurous and like the outdoors? How about a hike in Griffith Park? There’s a great trail that will take you from Mount Lee to the Hollywood sign – in total its 6.5 miles which could take up to three hours – a great opportunity to get to know each other and see some iconic landmarks of Los Angeles. The trail should be full of dog walkers, Moms pushing strollers, other hikers and people on horseback so if for some reason there’s a lack of conversation at least there will be other people on the trail!

Not much for hiking? How about a driving range? Could be fun if you are already an avid golfer to coach someone who’s new to the game or wants some help from a pro on the proper swing. If all goes well, grab a cocktail in the clubhouse or local pub after. Here are a few So Cal driving ranges to check out:

Griffith Park – www.laparks.com

Rancho Park – West Los Angeles www.laparks.com

The Lakes at El Segundo – www.golfthelakes.com

Westchester Golf Course & Driving Range www.americangolf.com/westchester-golf-course

Long Beach Golf Learning Center – www.longbeachgolflc.com

Brookside – Pasadena (not lighted at night so make sure to go during the day!) http://www.americangolf.com/brookside-golf-club

Looking for something more “artsy” and less “sporty”? How about a museum? Both the Getty in West Los Angeles and Getty Malibu are free with only a fee for parking (parking reservations are required for the Getty Malibu). Both have nice café’s with outdoor seating and both museums have incredible views of the city and beaches and are worthy of hours of conversation! http://www.getty.edu/visit/

Have a little more in the 1st date budget? How about these ideas?

Miniature Golf. All the entertainment and none of the pressure of an actual round of golf! Lots of room for an amusing wager, especially if you like your date and know you want to see them again or if you just want to continue the date over a cocktail or coffee – whoever wins (or loses?) buys the first round! Either way, lots of fun to be had. Check out these Southern California Mini Golf spots.

Putting Edge at Howard Hughes www.puttingedge.com

Sherman Oaks Castle Park www.laparks.org/shermanoaks_castlepk/index.htm

Golf n’ Stuff Norwalk www.golfnstuff.com

Want to kick back, relax, have a glass of wine and listen to live music? Try Malibu Wines. Located in the hills of Malibu on Mulholland, Malibu Wines is open 7 days a week 11-6pm with live music on the weekends. Get there early and pack a delicious gourmet picnic basket. Malibu Wines only requirement is that you purchase one bottle of wine. All the makings for an enjoyable afternoon! www.malibuwines.com

If you have no 1st date budget and really want to go all out yet still make it fun and memorable here’s a few suggestions:

Flight needed… Day trip to San Francisco or Las Vegas

Boat needed… Day trip to Catalina

Car needed… Day trip to Glen Ivy Hot Springs

Nerves of steel needed: Richard Petty Driving Experience in Fontana

In closing, my Mother once offered me this wise advice… “Remember, dating is too mysterious, don’t be so serious!” Words to live by. Have fun and let me know if you have a good first date!

Posted in beach, dating, dogs, golf, hiking, mini golf, Pets, wine tasting, Working Out | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MultisPECKtral

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Latest finds, loves and obsessions…

Ray-Ban Aviator Sunglasses

I’ve been chasing down the perfect pair of these sunglasses for years and I believe I finally found the one. A little history for you – Aviator sunglasses, or “pilot’s glasses”, were originally developed in 1936 by Ray-Ban for pilots to protect their eyes while flying. Aviators were given their name due to their original intention of protecting aviator‘s eyes. Ray-Ban began selling the glasses to the public a year after they were developed and the style has remained popular ever since. Depending on what you’re comfortable spending and which pair best suits your face shape there are many different options and brands that have created this same iconic style. You can easily find the aviator style from major sunglass brands like Chanel, Gucci, Dior, and Tom Ford but you will also be able to find a more budget friendly aviator style at a sunglass kiosk in the mall or at the beach. Or, you can always take a chance with an iconic brand like Ray-Ban! For me it’s the Aviator Large Metal II.

http://www.ray-ban.com/usa/sunglasses/rb3026/l2846

Stores with nothing you need and everything you want to buy…

Most of this type of stores you find on side streets nowhere near a mall, in a more artsy and independent part of town like these two stores I came across on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice Beach.

First stop, A+R and it was love at first site. A+R is full of smartly designed items for every budget. Again, nothing I really needed but everything I wanted! I managed to keep myself in-check but couldn’t resist the Window-Mounted Bird Feeder at $19.50. A+R is also a great shop for unique gifts for those that are hard to buy for. I’m fairly certain all items are available on their website but stop in if you’re in the area – you’ll love it!

http://www.aplusrstore.com/

If you plan on making a visit to A+R when you leave, keep walking down the boulevard to a store (which quite honestly, my senses were on overload and didn’t event catch the store name until I walked out) by the name of Bountiful. Either you’re going to thinks it’s a mixed bag of nuts or your just going to dive right in. Wonderful vintage chandeliers (and a few chairs) hang from the ceiling. The smell of French soaps fill the air and if you were ever in need of a colored glass cake stand look no further. Truly an amazing store.

Love Sangria but really only need Sangria for one?

I gave this Sangria (I know… it’s not traditional Sangria but hear me out) a try when I saw it on the 5 cent sale at BevMo and guess what… it was great! Perfect summer, over ice, delicious Bodega de San Antonio Sangria. Comes in both white and red. Give it a try!

www.bevmo.com

High Low Shopping. Fast Fashion. Quick Fix. Junk Jewelry…

Whatever you call it I love picking up fashionable costume jewelry at Forever 21. Maybe I still need the quick fix that buying a $5 Victoria’s Secret lip gloss used to provide. Or maybe one might need a little retail therapy on a day that’s full of the blues?!?! Well, as you can see from the picture, these little fashionable pick-me-ups do the trick for me every time! Plus mix it up with your good stuff and voila! No one will be the wiser and it sells out (always but 3 of whatever you like – trust me on this) so fast no one will have the same jewelry on!

www.forever21.com

 Sparkle in your step?

Next time you go to pick up a new shade of nail polish add in a bottle of sparkly glitter top coat. It looks super sweet and your toes and your open toed sandals will love you for it.

www.sephora.com

Need a new bag? How about a clutch?

I won’t lie, I’m obsessed with Clare Vivier’s bags and I couldn’t love my bright blue pebbled foldover clutch more. While her bags come in many different styles, the foldover clutch is one of my favorites. (Hello, who doesn’t need this in their closet!!?) The clutches come in four sizes and over 20 color options including leopard and gold metallic you will not be disappointed! If you’re in the Silverlake area, stop by her newly opened storefront at 3339 Sunset Blvd., Tues – Sat 11-6pm

www.clarevivier.com

Sweets for my Sweets

Dots & Red Licorice. Done. Enjoy!

Floral Art

Pink Peiones. Ugh… I just love these flowers. Just so sweet. Buy some for someone you love, like, want to love, sort of like but are not sure where it’s going, for your mother, for your boyfriend, girlfriend or for the most important person… yourself

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insPECKtor Ginger

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Welcome to Ginger’s corner! I am Ginger’s person and couldn’t possibly be more in love with my little furry friend… that being said, we’ve found many a groomer, boarder, doggie day care, toys, beds, travel bags and yes, dog sweaters! Here’s a little bit of what Ginger loves…

Since we live in Los Angeles, that’s what we’ve insPECKted

Daycare, Grooming and Boarding.. OH MY! If Ginger isn’t fortunate to spend my time away with a dear friend, the next best place is the K9 Loft www.k9loft.com

K9 Loft, which offers three locations within the Los Angeles area, can meet all your dog’s needs. Gingers favorite… Daycare – yes, that’s right – I take my dog to doggie daycare at least once a week. I mean seriously, she’s been so depressed since Oprah went off the air I needed to give her something to look forward to and furry friends to socialize with. K9 Loft offers a Dog Drama 101 class on perfecting the … “I’m so sad only a cookie will cheer me up” look (KIDDING!). Anyway, K9 loft is a clean facility with excellent supervision for the dogs at all times. The big dogs are separated from the little dogs but from time to time there’s either a bigger dog mixed in with the small of visa versa. If you want to check in while you’re at work (not recommend as you’ll spend 30 minutes watching your dog and then make your co-workers watch your dog which may make you seem a little ,well, crazy). Additionally, they offer full service grooming and boarding options. A bonus to boarding your dog at K9 Loft is the dogs get to play all day and in the evening retire to their private space to eat and sleep. A special bonus for new clients, your first time at daycare is free – just make sure to bring your current vet paperwork so they know your dog is up to date on their shots.

Another place we like for food, products and grooming is Healthy Spot which has two locations in Los Angeles. www.healthyspotonline.com

Ginger’s insPECKted travel bag: LOVE this bag. The Sleepypod pet carrier. Now I like it as its plain and works on a plane. Check it out:

http://www.amazon.com/Sleepypod-Air-In-Cabin-Carrier-Black/dp/B002Z6005M/ref=sr_1_1?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1335938919&sr=1-1

For dog sweaters I love the store George in San Francisco – great selection of simple sweaters and coats for dogs that make sense (meaning not frou frou or looks like it belongs on a baby dressed for Halloween) Check them out online as well:

www.georgesf.com

For small dogs this site is cute: www.trixiandpeanut.com

For all dogs: www.inthecompanyofdogs.com or even www.llbean.com

So these are just a few of Ginger’s loves and while I know there are many more options for everything your furry friend needs (or doesn’t but, hey, it’s cute!) we hope you check out what we’ve shared!

Cheers and Bow Wow!

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insPECKted…

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Bootcamp, Pilates, Zumba, Spinning, Yoga, Walking, Running, Run-Walking, Yoga Booty Ballet, Heated Yoga… no, no, no I’m not referring to all of the classes at my gym that I never seem to make it to but the gym worthy activewear you need for your workouts.

Now I’ve seen it all at the gym (jeans, wearing a parka, black socks with shower shoes, thong leotards with nude hose – thank you Jamie Lee Curtis) but I prefer to keep it simple. I do believe that good utilitarian workout wear is key and I‘m going to share some options that should fit into any budget.

Let’s start with Old Navy Activewear. At Old Navy www.oldnavy.gap.com you have a variety of support bras, tanks and bottoms in a range of sizes with bottoms starting at $22.00. While you’re there, be sure to pick up a few of the ribbed tank tops – they’re a great fit and are long in the body, which I love. These tanks are also a great deal at $8.50 each (I’m usually able to find an in-store special purchase on these tanks of two for $15 – check them out!)

If Old Navy was a little PECKed over, head on over to the Gap (you know there’s one close by) or www.gap.com for their Gap Body line. Gap Body also has a range of styles (capris, leggings, dance, cross training) in pants and start at $49.95 and also carries many tanks, sports bras and jackets.

Taking it up a notch, let’s head on over to Lucy. I’ve always loved the Lucy brand www.lucy.com . I find the Lucy shops very organized in their presentation with simple styles, helpful sales professionals and easy to shop.  I’ve worn their Lucy Hatha Power Pant for years and they’ve really held up in numerous workouts and washings. Lucy also carries great workout bra’s (please don’t forget to take care of the ladies!) tanks and coordinating jackets.

For the more hip, fit and no budget set there’s lululemon  www.lululemon.com. With a wide variety of top notch pants, tops and jackets you should feel ready to conquer the fashion, I mean sports world! Get ready to pony up some cash as their pants start at $88.00.

For the top of the line 100% splurge worthy must have, check out the workout pants from Style Firm. Truth be told, I own a pair and never have I felt so good in a workout pant. Style Firm’s pants are very flattering, provide a smooth fit and overall, have great style. Their pants are made with  compression mesh, which lines each piece, slims the thighs, lifts the butt, and flattens the tummy and ladies, trust me, these pants do the trick! Not only do I want to wear them at the gym I don’t mind running (well, not really running) around town in them pre or post gym either. Style Firm is a smaller line therefore can only be found in a limited number of stores but you can also check them out online. Trust me, this line is imPECKable and you will not be disappointed!  www.stylefirmclothing.com

So walk, maybe runwalk, skip, or ride a bike to your nearest activewear shop or do some internet shopping and pick up some new workout duds!

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retrosPECKting…

Just thought I would share a few things I’m loving right now…

Blonde Ambition…

My hair colorist, Brittney McMaster, is the perfector of blonde. Her services are well priced and she is also an expert with her blowouts (which is included in the price by the way). Honestly, I’ve been to one to many salons in LA on the a la carte system – a charge for your color and a charge for the blow-dry – heck – I’ve even been charged for the hair conditioner – listen, I get it but that doesn’t mean I want to pay it! Trust me on this ladies, I’ve done all the blonde leg work, if you want to get your hair colored by a very talented and kind individual, make an appointment with Brittney at Fred Segal Beauty. 310.907.4022

 Blow Out Perfection…

While we’re on the subject of blowouts…and I know this isn’t news to 99% of you… I’m all about the Drybar – it’s a little slice of perfection! Where else in LA could you go for a 5 star blowout, watch a chick flick while your hair is expertly dried all the while sipping a glass of champagne?!?!?! I’ve spent many an hour here and while everyone is an expert, I want to give honorable mention to two of my favorite stylists at DB Brentwood, Joe Alvarez and Shirin. I love them both because while I’m there, not only do I get an amazing blowout, I catch up with these two and laugh like crazy – so again, here’s the combo, great hair, glass of champagne, laughs – leave feeling like a million bucks! ImPECKable!

www.thedrybar.com

THE Perfect Dress for Spring

This BCBG dress is everything… hits all the trends, ladylike, color blocked, pleated, and the perfect length, what’s not to love? It’s available in BCBG stores or check out this link:

http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/bcbgmaxazria-pleated-colorblock-dress/3243209?origin=category&resultback=3102

(I would have linked to BCBG but it appears they are sold out online!)

 Skin…

Lancôme Visionnaire. It’s an “advanced skin corrector” Well, whatever it is, it’s working on my skin. Check it out:

http://www.lancome-usa.com/Visionnaire/3605532713144,default,pd.html

Lashes…

One more for today… I’ve tried all mascaras from cheap drug store to expensive department store and my latest love is L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes. I happened to pick this mascara up at Target and it did not disappoint. When I purchased this mascara, it was a 2 for the price of 1 but it usually runs $7 a tube.

Cheers!

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sPECKtrum….

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Most people wouldn’t normally associate food with jeans unless you need to stop eating in order to fit your favorite pair, but when I see all the brightly colored denim that’s on trend right now my (sugar filled) brain visualizes candy in all the colors of the rainbow. Think jelly beans, life savers and Easter peeps! (Ummmm… P.S., I’m not really sure when peeps expanded to cover all the colors of the rainbow but that’s another story) For those of you who don’t have a sweet tooth just think of all the fun colors that come in a Crayola crayons box. You know – the 64 pack? Sharpener on the side? Anyway, let’s talk jeans!

If you really don’t want to spend too much money but still want to be in on the colored denim trend have a look in Old Navy with colored jeans starting at $19. Not the right fit or what you were looking for? Throw some more cash into your denim fund and head on over to the GAP – a rainbow of colors and styles await you. Still looking to step up your jean game? Head in to your local department store where brands, styles and colors abound and denim specialists are at the ready to help you find your perfect pair.

Unless you have a brand your loyal to, (hello, Joe’s!) be prepared to spend a little time in the fitting room. Based on my own research (trying on 100’s of pairs) and body type (junk in the trunk!) Joe’s Jeans, Paige, and Seven for all Mankind are the brands that work best for me. The trick is also finding the best style for your shape. Personally, I find that a straight jean with a slight boot cut is a universally flattering style but a few different styles on as you never know!

So to colorize… I mean summarize… If you’re not ready to jump into the brightly colored jean pool but still want some denim eye candy, stick with the original eight colors that came in the Crayola box: red, blue, yellow, green, violet, orange, black and brown. Have some fun with it and celebrate color!

For a little pre shopping:

www.joesjeans.com

www.paigeusa.com

www.7forallmankind.com

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Cherry PECKed

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Loving the colorblocking trend? Well, to simplify things, I’ve PECKed out some options for you. Let’s start with my favorites… shoes! Naturally, I’m lusting (yes, one can lust after shoes) for the most fabulous pair of Giuseppe Zanottis  – honestly, if there were ever a shoe with my name on it this is the one. It’s a happy, fun, bright shoe with a mega shot of style and a dose of sass – I mean look at it! Ok, moving on. Truth be told, you don’t have to head straight for the sky high Zanotti’s! Honestly, it’s much easier to get in on this trend while not breaking the bank, or your ankle so hang in there with me.

While conducting “research” (shoe research is seriously business and, P.S. I don’t mess around!) I found that this trend seems to lean towards the brights but if brights are not for you, not to fear you’ve got plenty of options in both price and heel height. Let’s start from the high to the low in both price and heel height…

High – The Zanotti’s and Boutique 9 – if you like this look but you don’t want to break the bank with the Zanotti @ $1150 this Boutique 9 “Nickeya” shoe comes in at $150. Look! You’re saving money already! Isn’t shoe shopping fun?

Mid Heel – Rebecca Minkoff “Nella” @ $295and Sam Edleman “Yelena” @ $140– the Rebecca Minkoff shoe is a beautiful sandal in suede with a trio of colors – not to bright – lots of style. The Sam Edleman shoe is a tad higher but still very wearable. It’s made in leather and a more neutral take with only one color but you still get the colorblocking effect – both great summer options.

Flats (are you cheering now?) tons of options here! We’ll start with Sam Edleman “Gigi” sandal @ $65 – a darling flat in a trio of bright colors – really fun shoe you could pair back with jeans or khakis. Second this Boutique 9 “Piraya” sandal @ $79 just as cute, bright and a true summer flat packed with style!

While I’ve only touched on two styles for each height and am sure I could find a wider price range to accommodate all budgets I hope you get where I’m going here. Remember, you can easily be on trend yet not “trendy” Ummmmm… P.S. Happy Shopping!

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