She SAID: Get Your Hair Did

Shahada Karim

Do you know what good hair looks like? Kazumi Morton does. Dubbed ‘The Brunette Master’, Morton is known for treating tresses on the likes of Kristen Stewart and Zooey Deschanel. She’s also the mastermind behind the cult-status hair fixer Root Vanish.

Morton got her start at Vidal Sassoon and firmly established roots in Beverly Hills, San Francisco and New York. Now she’s found a permanent home at Kazumi Salon in Beverly Hills. The cozy loft is saturated with light, and embraces her philosophy of taking care of the hair simply and effectively, without gimmicks or potentially damaging products. Instead of obvious highlights and tricky styling, Morton focuses on rich nuanced hues to enhance each person’s unique complexion.

Services run between $75 and $600.

Kazumi Salon is located on Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills.

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She SAID: Find Dining

Terri Kennerson

Anyone who eats beyond the usual suspects knows the best restaurants are typically the places no one knows about. Some of the best dishes I’ve ever tasted were at restaurants that were barely held together with flour and water. In Southern California, a new  restaurant opens its doors to celebrity crowds and rave reviews every five minutes. But some of the best finds in dining might never warrant more than a yelp review from one of its loyal patrons.

North Hollywood: Hayat’s Kitchen

find dining 2This Lebanese Restaurant is tucked away so securely, that  you have to actually get out of your car to find it. Nestled in the back of a sometimes questionable strip mall on Vineland and Burbank, this restaurant is a regular hot spot for connoisseurs of Lebanese and general Mediterranean Cuisine. The food is fresh, light, and spiced perfectly. Each dish is prepared by a competent team who often yell at each other in several languages. Sometimes you can detect a bit of English, and occasionally they’ll make eye contact and smile at you as you wait for your food. The portion sizes are huge, and include meat, rice, salad and baklava. If you’re a fan, your biggest challenge will be not eating here every single day. Must Try: Shish Tawok with Rice

 

North Hollywood: Rustic Spoon

Drive too fast past Rustic Spoon, blink, and you might miss it. This cozy little restaurant makes some of the best Pho you’ve ever tasted. The broth is clear (a very good sign) and savory, and sets the perfect base for fresh veggies and your meat of choice. The staff is warm and friendly, and you’ll never find yourself waiting too long for your meal whether you dine in or take out. Must Try: Pho Ga

Larchmont: Village Pizzeria

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If you’re not actually in New York, finding an authentic New York slice is like the quest for the Holy Grail. Amateurs often mistake a good pie for the amount of cheese or a thicker crust. But the sauce sets the base for the perfect harmony of crust and cheese. Without the perfect sauce, it’s all dough and goo, and no amount of ‘toppings’ is going to change that. Well, the owners of Larchmont Pizzeria are from Brooklyn (their other location is there) and they know what pizza is supposed to taste like. From the first bite, you know you’re enjoying the real deal. The crust is thin and holds just enough sauce to support the perfect amount of cheese. If you’re a rookie, you’ll go for the toppings (and there are plenty), and that’s fine. But when you’re ready to enjoy a proper New York slice, just ask for the plain, take a bite, and enjoy. Must Try: Cheese Pizza

Hollywood: Cafe Gratitude

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Being a vegan is not a rare thing in Los Angeles. Enjoying a truly delicious vegan meal can be. Cafe Gratitude took note, and designed an organic plant-based menu with actual ‘taste’ in mind. When you can’t tell the difference between traditional Indian Curry and Gratitude’s Vegan offering, you know you’ve struck gold. The staff is patient and educated about the menu, which can be overwhelming for a novice. It’s also fun to order, since each dish features a buzzword like ‘serene’ or ‘humble.’ And although the portion sizes trend small, many dishes are deceptively filling. It’s easy to whittle away the day at this cafe, tasting unusual combinations and enjoying the ambiance. Must Try: Humble

Beverly Hills: Sayuri

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Think you know sushi? Think sushi has to be an expensive excursion to truly enjoy the freshest catch? Sayuri humbly asks you to think again. The tiny restaurant is often packed, so prepare to wait for seating in one of the unsteady chairs and tables. But when you get your meal, you’ll understand why a little discomfort really pays off. The fish is fresh, and each dish is made and served to keep your chopsticks moving. The staff works hard to make sure there isn’t a lull between dishes. The most notable thing about Sayuri is the simplicity. Some restaurants will complicate sashimi so much that you feel like you’re eating a stew. But Sayuri understands that less is more, and it’s evident in every single bite. Must Try: Yellowtail Jalepeno

We SAID: Smells like History

Staff Writer

We’ve all caught a whiff of … something… that’s transported us back to a particular time (hopefully pleasant) in our past. Scent is inexplicably tied to memory; some more significant than others. The same is true for music ( you know that song that reminds you of that time). The folks at Histoires de Parfums have capitalized on this notion with a remarkable collection of perfumes that celebrate significant moments in music history.

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From 1821 to 1936, each perfume in the Opera Collection comes encased in a music box, to pay homage to the title roles of five great spectacles. The scents evoke a certain feeling for the wearer, like the forbidden sensuality of Carmen or the delicate innocence of Madame Butterfly.

The Opera Collection is the extravagant branch of the brand’s regular line. Now easily accessible online at Sephora, the standard lineup features fragrances that pay homage to historic figures like the Marquis de Sade and Mata Hari. If you’re not up for a scent or history lesson, there’s Noir Patchouli: a sensuous blend that gives its counterparts a serious run for their money. And the best of the bunch may be Ambre 114, which contains the same number of ingredients all centered around the aroma of amber.

Some of the fragrances are distinctly masculine or feminine in the traditional sense, but most of them can easily be experienced across the board. And they can also be layered to create a distinct fragrance so you can make a little history of your own.

 

We SAID: Ready… Set… SHOP!

Staff Writer

It seems like the Holiday Shopping Season comes earlier every year. No sooner do Halloween decorations come down… Christmas lights go up. Thanksgiving is passed over as little more than the ultimate sit down dinner; and long before Black Friday, holidayshoppingshoppers are already out and about scouring for the best holiday bargains.

What you need to know this year is that there is no overstock. Retailers ordered less than in previous years, so there’s less of a chance for blowout sales so stores can dump overstock. Instead, sales will focus more on promotions, gifts with purchase, free shipping and limited edition items.

If you’re looking for toys… take your time. Experts say that most toys (including electronics) don’t really hit the sale section until after Black Friday. That’s the best time to get all of the holiday shopping done for the kids or kids-at-heart in your life.

Ditto for clothing. The longer you wait, the cheaper clothing is likely to get. Right now, retailers are rolling out specialty holiday apparel, suited to the office party or night out on the holidayshopping2town. While there are some promotional sales, clothing won’t really get cheap until mid to late December. So if you want to score the perfect NYE party get-up at the last minute… remember that fabulous deals come to those who wait.

Free shipping is a big deal this time of year, and online retailers are jostling for the best strategy to capture the most sales. If you’re not a fan of holiday shopping crowds and prefer to most of your business online, now is the time to score hefty (both in weight and price) items and take advantage of getting it delivered at no additional charge.

No matter what you do, set a budget. Sales and bargains aside, nothing quite says ‘Happy Holidays’ like a few extra dollars to carry into the New Year.

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We SAID: Hot Commodity

Staff Writer

When it comes to perfume, some of us like to spray and go. And some of us want to mix, mingle, and blend all manner of scents for a bespoke result that speaks to our true selves. For the mixologist in all of us, there is Commodity.

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The fragrance house combines unusual notes to create blends names like Gold, Paper, Whiskey, and Book (which literally smells like… a book). You’re invited to wear these scents alone or mix them to your hearts desire and make something totally new. And although the scents seem to be separated by gender, it’s hardly more than a suggestion. The fragrances easily translate across gender and occasion lines with the additional spritz of one scent or another.

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What sets Commodity apart are the singular scents themselves. There is some particular pleasure in wearing a scent that literally mimics the starchy clean scent of a blank sheet of paper. It reminds us of the film Perfume, where the protagonist tries his best to capture the scent of everything around him.

If you’re not ready to commit to this unusual journey into fragrance, no problem. Commodity offers sample kits to try before you seriously buy. So settle in and take a whiff. You’ll be glad you did.

We SAID: Fitness 2015

Staff Writer

Every year, millions of people make the resolution to get into better shape. The year usually starts with a bang: gym memberships, fancy workout clothes, the latest fitness gadgets…

It all adds up to a very expensive plan that fewfitness manage to see through to the end.  According to AARP,  Americans spent $22 billion dollars on health and fitness in 2013. What’s worse, many people likely didn’t get their money’s worth, because they didn’t take full advantage of the thing they were paying for. Reaching your fitness goals doesn’t have to wreak havoc on your budget.

DON’T GO ALL IN

For many people it’s ‘Perfect Body or Bust!’ That often means too much… too soon. Instead, start slow. Try out a ‘trial’ gym membership before tethering yourself to a fitness center indefinitely. See if you can stick to a routine before committing to a place that may cost you more than you bargained for in the long run.

-USE APPS

fitness1There are plenty of lower cost phone apps that can deliver even more effective results. Like the gym, the app is only as good as you are committed. But at a fraction of the price, you’re less likely to break the budget while trying to get in shape. Plus using an app means you can workout just about anywhere… from home to the local park or beach. Changing the scenery each time may also help motivate you to keep it up. If you’re not a fan of seeing the same gym/people/equipment with every workout, there’s likely an app for that.fitness3

-PERSONALIZE IT

Identify your personal workout style. Every workout isn’t for every body. You might like the results of HIIT but not the actual exercises. You may not have the patience for yoga. You might find a quick run outdoors more enjoyable than any amount of time on a stair-master or in a weight training class. If you aren’t crazy about an exercise, you’re less likely to stick with it.

-BUILD IT IN

It’s always a good idea to build your workout ‘into’ your daily routine, instead of treating it like an optional addition. Set aside specific times to work out, and mfitenss2ake those times non-negotiable. You don’t negotiate whether you go into work everyday. Treat workouts the same way. The more you ‘normalize’ the idea of getting in physical exercise, the less likely you are to quit the activity. Keep workout times realistic. If you don’t have 2 hours to spend at the gym, find a workout that is just as effective in 30 to 45 minutes.

Working out doesn’t have to be a chore. If you enjoy the activity and consistently build it into your day, you’ll be that much closer to reaching your fitness goals for 2015, and beyond.