As I paw through fashion magazines, oftentimes the clothes I am attracted to have a common denominator: Miuccia Prada. This navy blue dress carries a price tag of over $6,000 and it can’t even live in my imagination. But what I love about it is that it’s chic and sexy without being revealing, with enough embellishments to make it festive without screaming “party central”. And just when I thought I could never love crochet, this little number comes along in the Miu Miu collection to brighten any outfit. I even found a knock-off at some outlet store in Palm Springs for the princely sum of $10. Serendipity at work.
A little bit of daring
Between the proliferation of stylists and actresses not trusting their fashion instincts anymore, I am starting to miss Cher. What fun is it to watch an award show when the clothes all look vaguely the same? And what is it with grown women and their fascination for princess and mermaid dresses? Why would Jessica Chastain, a beautiful woman with an uncommon mane of red hair that would lend itself to striking combinations, choose to look like Gilda? I much preferred Emma Stone who looked like…well, Emma Stone, in a much fresher outfit. With the Golden Globes done, I am hoping the Oscars will not disappoint.
Reading in LA
It’s called The Last Bookstore and, at the rate things are going for book retailers, it might as well end up being the last one standing. The cavernous two-story bookstore mostly carries used books, in great condition. Not rarities but books you would want to read, priced, mostly, between $1 and $10, with the majority in between. Whimsical, with a labyrinth, a vault, an art gallery and random piles upstairs, it’s the perfect place to: 1) get lost; 2) take a literary date; 3) feel good about spending money; 4) while away the time on their sofas; 5) finally get that Heston Blumenthal tome on English food through the ages (spotted for $60 vs $200 if you were to buy it new). What you will not find are gourmet coffees and frappuccinos (453 S. Spring St., Los Angeles).
From downtown LA to the beach: once a week, I try to keep the lunchtime appointment with my friend Marie. I pick her up from work and we head to Temescal beach, for a brisk walk on the sand. For an hour, we take ourselves, not just out of our routines, but mostly out of our heads. Which reminds me it’s much easier to change our perspective than we give ourselves credit for: distancing ourselves from our everyday and our sources of stress, even for 30 minutes, can do wonders. And, in our case, there is always the possibility of a random chat with an otter or a pelican. And if you live in LA, don’t forget it’s January and you are very likely to spot whales on their journey south.
The hardest test on earth
Not the Oxbridge entrance exams, nor the memorization required for med school. It’s the test to become a licensed London cabbie. Known as the Knowledge, this monster exam, which is taken in stages, can take years to complete. A brilliant candidate will do it in three. Most take longer. It’s not just the routes of an intricate city that need to be memorized, but any point of interest, from a hospital, or an office down to some tiny statue on top of a church door. This in-depth article follows a would be cabbie through his travails and tribulations while trying to get his license. If nothing else, it will make you feel good next time you pay those hefty fares.