Saturday, December 22, 2007

Things I've Bought 2007 Best Of's

Well, it’s been a great year in buying.

For everyone, but especially for me. With all due respect to Angelina and Brad, who won “Couple of the Year” by US Weekly -

by the way, didn’t even know they were nominated, feel a little bit hurt, you two - I think I may have attained a greater honor, the honor of “Things I Bought That I Love’s” Consumer of the Year Award. I was not scared off by the financially crippling, no-end-in-sight Writers Strike, or the fact that I’ve had no income since November. Hell, I even bought contributor Ken Tremendous’ freaking house a week after we announced the strike. That’s right you guys. I bought The Tremendous Compound: a giant, Red Sox-shaped condo with Curt Schilling's bloody World Series sock entombed in the foundation. I live there now. It cost nearly $75k and is located in deep La Canada and I am very happy.

Close runner up for Consumer of the Year was Britney Spears, who always seemed to head straight from a court-appointed custody hearing to the Beverly Center. That is exactly what I would do.

Atta girl, Britney!

And what were my favorite of the favorites? Read on, readers. It's time for Things I've Bought that I Love 2007 Best Of's!

1. Zenergize Drink Tablets.

In my efforts to ween myself off of disgusting, stomach-lining-eroding diet soda, I've turned to healthful alternatives. For a while it was kombucha, but man, it is expensive, and also it kind of tastes like an alcoholic is peeing in your mouth. But yeah, I am try to keep a minimum to the chemicals and preservatives I ingest.

Remember those old ads as a kid where you'd see an elderly person happily plunking a tablet in water and then dropping their dentures in it? And even though it was kind of grotesque, it also looked really, well, fun? Zenergize tabs allow regular cool, healthy, young people drop tablets in water, but instead of cleaning dentures, they create a fun fizzy drink you can gulp down before you work out, or take a midterm, or have sex or something. I primarily use the "Burn" tablets because I am obsessed with any calorie burning booster. But if you're feeling sick or something, you can use "Immunity" which has a kind of citrusy taste and it really does feel like you're keeping yourself good and impenetrable to baddie cold germs. I love that they aren't too-too sweet or anything, and have only 2 calories for a whole tablet! Moreoever, if you lick a tablet, you get a super satisfying little fizzle on your tongue.

What's next? Zenergize cocktails? Zenergipolitans????

Price: 8.99 for ten tablets

2. The Savages

My writer friends revile most romantic comedies as dumb formulaic crap. I happen to defend them more than most people, because I just love romance in any form, even if it’s artlessly shoved in and ground up in the creaky old Hollywood machine that produces “Ghost Boyfriend on Little West 12th Street” or whatever.

Actually, what I truly believe is the most insidious burgeoning genre is the Quirky Dramedy About Suburban White Family where teenagers are annoyingly precocious and rude to their parents, elderly people are saucy but wise, and people are saying all kinds of inappropriate shit that makes them feel cathartic after. (Other yucky genres are Food As Metaphor For Sex In Repressed Family movie and These Inanimate Objects Will Have an Emotional Journey and Sing animated movie).

So, when one of the QDASWF’s is actually an Amazing Movie I Love, I’m super surprised and ecstatic. My favorite movie of the year (besides the universally loved “No Country for Old Men”) is this gorgeous, funny drama about how grownup siblings deal with their ailing, estranged elderly father.

"The Savages" was written with total compassion, and with enviably subtle jokes, Tamara Jenkins is just about my new favorite hyphenate. Having been one of the scores of people who marvel at how Phillip Seymour Hoffman “disappears” into roles: (charismatic gay icons or weird losers or dapper con men or whatever, it was fantastic to see him “disappear” into the role of a kind of a , well, frankly, normal person. A nuanced, sweet, complicated normal person you might actually know. Laura Linney is fantastic too. With “You can Count on Me”, she seems to have found the best “little” movies in the past ten years to be in. Hoorah. My one complaint is that I wish the name of the movie wasn’t “The Savages”., The unnecessary play on the last name of the main characters adds nothing, and in fact gives you the wrong idea about this movie (are they savage to their father? Do they eat the flesh of other humans?).

3. Flight of the Conchords

Great jokes, funny songs, cute and hilarious cast….ugh. You know something is actually good when you are kind of jealous of it. Oh!

And Kristen Schaal.

4. J.Crew

J.Crew totally went off its meds this year and I fucking loved it.

Zebra stripes. Book prints on textiles. Embroidered critters on ties, pants, even cashmere. Polka dot satin shoes. Platinum silver down parkas. And oh, the colors! It was like Mr. Magoriums Wonder Emporium meets Barbados in the J.Crew idea factory, and I am so psyched on it.

And the sales! Those famous J.Crew “take our merchandise for free” sales. As I’ve said, I’m not a big fan of preppy fashion, but this year, I was 100% on board. You’d see some J.Crew dress and think “ho-hum, simple empire waist dress, no big deal” and then find out it comes in, like canary yellow or fire engine read. Za-zow! And everything at J.Crew is totally affordable, returnable, and ego-boosting (I wear a size 4? Hot dog!) Way to go, old girl.

Where: J.Crew stores of course, and really great deals online at

5.Jimmy Choo Patent Ramona bag

When I first met my friend Busy, she was telling me some story and this bag was kind of flying around the crook of her pretty arm as she was gesticulating. I quickly tuned out. Busy is a great storyteller and funny and everything but Jesus Christ, this bag. This motherfucking bag.

Let’s see how the Ramona fares on my checklist of Why I Am An Awesome Bag. Oversized? The best kind of oversized, big enough to hold a hairbrush, a book, an ipod and a swimsuit. Check. Patent? The richest, most saturated color in patent that I have seen on a designer bag. Check. Unusual Detailing? This is the bag the others knocked off. The woven leather horizontal straps make this a bag for the ages. Check plus-plus. I don’t even own this bag, I just love it so much when Busy wears it. I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to be posting about something I haven’t strictly bought but I am hoping by sending this desire out into the inter-nether that someone will take pity on me and give me this bag.

Price: $1895.00 at

6. Prosciutto di Parma sandwich, Joans on Third

Sometimes when I’m at Joans on Third, I turn into that version of my mom that totally embarrassed me when I was six. I stare at the receipt and I’m like “you are charging me twenty two dollars for a sandwich and a soda?” and then I harumph a lot, look around for some empathy/consensus from other patrons, and then sign my receipt all bent out of shape. So yeah, Joan’s is totally expensive. However, I find myself “Joansing” (amazing pun) for their proscuitto di parma sandwich like crazy.

Let’s describe it: First - salty, smoky, dark pink prosciutto is stacked along long strips of crunchy French bread which have already been brushed with extra virgin olive oil. Then they layer sweet and slimy strips of pickled red pepper. This serves as a wonderful nest for the hunks of mozzarella cheese, all spongy and cold and delicious. The whole thing comes with pickled cucumbers, and washed down with one of the fancy Joans fizzy drinks, you will think, if this is highway robbery, let me always travel by highway at night, and let me always get burgled.

Price: $11.75 at Joans on Third, 8350 West Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048 (323) 655-2285

7. Betsey Johnson jewelry

Chunky old-lady bling was fantastically present in ’07.

The best, most consistent purveyor was Betsey Johnson. Large beads and charms and rhinestoney goodness debuted month after month. Betsey Johnson rocked my socks this year with some of the best, most unusual costume jewelry ever.

Dolling up boring outfits never got so easy and so fun with her inexpensive line of bling. I shop at their Melrose location, and playing with the jewelry feels like you’re in Dylan’s Candy Bar, you just want to pop the earrings in your mouth cuz you’re certain they taste crunchy and sweet.

Prices: from around $50 to $175, or department stores like Macy’s and Bloomingdales.

Those are my favorites of this year.

There is more greatness, to be sure:

Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann in “Knocked Up”, Canter’s sticky coffee cake with walnuts,

Amazing Cosmetics oil-free, skin-perfecting foundation powder, Loehmann’s mens section,

the bathhouse scene in Eastern Promises, Mozza’s pizza where a cooked egg is a pizza topping, John Krasinski’s performance in my episode “Branch Wars”, and Korean barbecue at Shik Do Rak.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Dwell Studio bedding

When I feel guilty about spending money, it's mostly on shoes.

"This could be 30 yogilates classes." I say, or "This could be a year long membership to MOCA" or "This could be vaccinations for Third World children." (I live a very glamorous, artsy, altruistic life).

Sadly, I think that's the case for most of us. In Family Feud, they would come up #1 on the list of "Things Women spend their Rent Money On That Isn't Rent". But designer bedding is the silent killer of women's checkbooks. It really is.

I love bedding for several reasons. Making ones bed is such a chore that at least when it is made, it should be pleasing to look at. Also, I have a king sized bed, and it takes up so much room it has to serve as it's own kinda cool-looking art piece or it's a waste.

But finding cool, comfy, unusual bedding is totally difficult. Until Dwell Studio!

Dwell Studio bedding is the simplest, most easy way of procuring instant style. I don't have the kind of Martha Stewart eye where I know how to turn vintage drapes into flat sheets and pair them with some cool pillow from the Fairfax flea market or whatever and voila I have the coolest bed ever. I'm jealous of, and hate those people.

But Dwell Studio's stuff is so nice, it looks like you did go out and dig through one-of-a-kind linens at an antique store. I mean, check out these unbelievable chinoiserie sheets:

Birds, you guys. Fucking adorable BIRDS perched on branches on your motherfucking BED that you can gaze at when you fall asleep. I love waking up looking at my bluejay, and telling it my nightmares.

Dwell Studio is also great because they're modern but not that antiseptic American Psycho ultra-mod, so you don't feel like you live in some bachelor pad. Also, when girly, it's like gorgeous eerie birds, and not huge dense Laura Ashley flower patches or whatever, so guys won't feel weird using these sheets.

Also, and this is the most important: this stuff is amazingly comfortable.

There's also cool stuff for babies, if having a cool baby is important to you.

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