It’s astronomically easy to amuse me.

It takes a conscious effort to inject cheer into a rainy day in LA.  Everything just seems to take longer and consume more energy, just by default –dressing defensively (for me, that means piling on every colorful and/or water-resistant accessory I own), driving defensively (this is huge and inexplicably stressful), and making an overall concerted effort to stay motivated to go about life as normal, without the typical steroidal dose of Vitamin D we Californians take for granted.

And it’s on these days(and nights) that I’ve realized the particular importance of sitting back and letting the little things surprise, delight, and a m u s e  me.  For me, tonight, it was turning my only errand of the night into an adventure.  Instead of filling up at the dinky, drab gas station on the corner, I decided to brave the 0.4 miles to the big, beautiful, shiny, {rocketship} Arco ‘Helios House’ gas station on the corner of Olympic&Robertson.  And that little turn made all the difference.

I actually filled up my car til my forearm hurt from squeezing the trigger…I had a definite case of shinythingsyndrome, and I liked it. {this from the perpetual half-tank-filler-upper, who quits around $30 for the sole reason that I get tired of standing there and pulling it} And voila – my dreary night was transformed into a sparkly neon realm of possibility.  Granted, I still chose Thai delivery for dinner and poo-poo’ed every activity that took me 5+ feet from the sofa, but I was perfectly content to do so, having inserted a little adventure into my night already.

So – Whynot make just a little effort to let the little things bring a little more sun into your life? make your own sunshine?  or is that pushing it?  you tell me.  I won’t forgo my yellow raincoat, or my galoshes, or the chance to stop in every puddle I pass, but I will take a little less ‘defensive action’ when the next rainy day rolls around, and let life be a little easier.

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dress to impress/transgress/make a mess

“why don’t you… wear violet velvet mittens with everything?”

{diana vreeland, harpers bazaar}

The truly random, truly inspired, completely unfiltered musings of the Harper’s Bazaar legend never cease to make me smile. In this instance, her thoughts on letting something seemingly absurd be a part of your ‘signature’ – a place where I personally think we could all stand to take the serious down a notch & crank the silly way up, it just makes life more entertaining.

But – in the case of violet velvet mittens (great alliteration aside), velvet reminds me of itchy Christmas dresses, so I’d stick with something less synthetic – and if Diana Vreeland spent 5 minutes with an iphone in hand, I’m pretty sure she’d go the fingerless route in a heartbeat too.  So, whynot make something silly signature….for the sole reason that it makes you smile? (how’s that for alliteration?)

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Venturing into the unknown….{corner of Main St, that is}

“Hidden”.  Could you possibly come up with a better name for a bar, somewhat tucked away into an eclectic/cozy nook on the corner of Santa Monica/Navy-ish?  I can’t.  Still can’t picture exactly what it looked like, because it morphed into a classier, bouchier, version called “Cache” several months ago.  This is all research, my friends.  All I wanted to do on a weeknight with good company in towe, was wander around and look for what had become of this cool spot that was once upon a time called ‘hidden’.  Wandering became a brisk walk, which only drove my appetite to ear-ringing levels, and we walked into the first dimly lit, ‘tucked away’ ish spot we set eyes on, 1330 main st, a hop/skip/jump from Chaya.  Turns out this is it, not hidden, not cache, but the newest iteration, 13 Ten Lounge.

Atmosphere: enticing.  romantic – almost a little much for my palate – wandering around for a good spot to relax isn’t uncommon, but having to shuffle between couple after couple spooning on chaise after chaise lounge got a little cumbersome.  opted for a bench seat with good lighting and backs to the wall, with a good space heater nearby, good for people watching.

Service: polite, prompt, in&out of your way.  couldn’t recommend.  i hate when that happens.

Chow&Chasers: I liked it.  The prosciutto e funghi pizza was inhaled, the smoked salmon I took a chance on fell in the unfortunate category of things I should probably know not to take chances on since I don’t like them in the first place.  That aside, my mojito was perfect, and felt right in the moment.

I did learn a cool melty trick for making candles look old & creepy in a modern, fancy way.  let one melt, stick another on top of it when its halfway melted, and it’ll take on a form of it’s own.  serve on a cool saucer with a bitty handle, and you’ll feel like you’re carrying it down a long hallway in the 1800s in your lace nightgown.

Best part about this wild venture on a Wednesday night?  Didn’t know the name of the new bar til we walked out and picked up the menu, and couldn’t find ANYTHING online until my handydandydaily Thrillist feed appeared in my inbox, and there she was.  complete with link to the site, menu, the works.

If you go, find a way to sit in the cabana booths to the left, go with a group, cause you might have to huddle (space heaters scarce), and be prepared for strong drinks to spike gregarious conversation.  then ask your server what the bar’s next name will be.

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doIdiddydiddydumdiddydozen

That, my friends, refers to the “diddy dozen” – a dozen hot, freshly baked cookies from a Westwood favorite – Diddy Riese Cookies.  The cookies here aren’t fancy, but at 35 cents a pop, you can f e a s t.  Granted, you don’t have to – you could dig some change out of your pocket for a cookie or two, but with the diddy dozen at a price tag of $3.45, the curious devil on my shoulder would never turn down the chance to sample each flavor (and 2 twice) for less than a combo meal at Taco Bell.

I’ll say this though…there’s a definite love/hate relationship with said curious devil – and standing in line for hours (7ish minutes) in the frigid night (sub-55 degrees), I drew the line – I decided that I couldn’t bring myself to dive facefirst into one of Diddy’s equally famous Makeyourown ice cream sandwiches.  So the curious was capped, and I settled for digging into the bag of warm cookies until I was satisfied that I’d tried each and every flavor at least once, and some accidently twice, or thrice.  Takeaways?  Other than a bag of crumbs?  Snickerdoodle rules all.   Double chocolate with nuts is the browniest cookie I’ve ever had, and the only thing that beats a ‘candy chips’ cookie is one with actual M&Ms, but then again, you’ll pay more than 35 cents for a handful of those.

And so, a night out with some friends in Westwood became one big guilty pleasure, starting with a few authentically greasy slices of pizza at Enzo’s and culminating around the corner in a deliciouslydiddy end.  So, when given the chance to satisfy your sweet tooth in oh so many ways, without completely blowing your allowance, “whynot do a dozen?!”

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deepsea d i v e for your dinner.

It’s week 2 of DineLA’s restaurant week, a foodie favorite that lures the masses out of the comfort of their homes and into fancypants eateries with reasonable prices and enticing prix fixe menus.

Which is nice.  And a pretty great way to get in the door of a place you’ve been dying to try.  But it also means crowds, and hullaballoo.  So DineLA dinner plans were shunned, and Sushi Masu was the eatery of choice for an adventurous and truly authentic sushi dinner.

Tucked away in West LA, it hit me as an intimate, happy, honest place to head if you’re hungry for real(ly good) sushi served up by skillful chefs who know their fish – be prepared to enjoy hearty plates amidst lighthearted chatter, and don’t come with a chip on your shoulder.  You will eat what’s on your plate, and you will smile the whole time.

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I wish I could tell you what I had, but my mind was too busy keeping up with my mouth to take many mental notes.  Seated at the sushi bar under the watchfull eyes and skilled hands of Masu himself, dinner was ‘give us anything you recommend’ – a dizzying whirlwind deep sea dishes – tuna, salmon, albacore, yellowtail, mackerel, sea eel, blue crab hand roll, followed by ‘sail away’ boat crafted carefully from an assortment of fresh fruit.

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Perfect, succulent end to a perfectly succulent dinner away from the DineLA madness.  And it was fun to check out the posters on the walls and identify all the sea creatures that had found their way onto my plate in one night alone.  Made be sit back and think about retiring my boat shoes –

“whynot” dive right in, no questions asked? you can always dry off.

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strip me of my wisdom, but don’t take my bendy straws.

At 7am this morning, knowing I had a lunchdate with an oral surgeon to see if I needed to have my wisdom teeth yanked, the thought of turning what would be the most major surgery I’ve ever had into a ‘whynot’ decision, was mildly entertaining. Now that I see my molars in widescreen, HD display, it’s a little less funny. 2 thoughts- 1. I’m hungry, and I hate jello 2. The X-ray proves that I am, in fact, a chimp. I wonder if they’ll let me take it home for my ‘record keeping’ (framing)

In all seriousness, whynot take care of serious health concerns? A few days of chipmunk cheeks and vicodin vision, and I’ll be good as new – word on the street is that bendy straws are still poohpooh’ed.

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“why”

Because I now have the mantra, the mission, and the means to put into practice and finally to (paper), what I’ve been yearning to do for years.
  • the mantra – “why not?” seriously, why ask why…when you can ask why not? Why not try something new every day, wake up and think about life from a different angle, discover as many of the delicacies and disillusionments that one can devour in an lifetime? Why not? If you won’t do it, I will. And if you will, do it with me.
  • which leads me to the mission – to try something new – eat somewhere new – go somewhere new – as much as I literally can. Starting on this day, 1-23-11, I solemnly swear to subject myself (and those around me) to as much adventure/misadventure as I possibly can as I meet every challenge and cross every bridge the ‘whynot-way’ and I will record it as it happens, right here, for the next 365 days.
  • so that would be the means. this (b)log is for keeping track of me, making this tangible, something I can look back on, a way to relive memories, and as an outlet for expressing the nuances of each one that leave me tonguetied – words are my best bet.

And the fine print. Because I feel like I should have some. 1. Most of this will take place in the general vicinity of where I’ve made my home for the past year, a quiet little oasis in Southern California I like to call lalaland. I have a feeling that by the time this wraps (in its official form), that nickname may take a backseat to something more meaningful, as I search out the nooks,crannies&nuances that will make this place more like h o m e. 2. Don’tjudgeme, but feel free to challengeme. Load me up with ideas, tell me where you’ve gone that’s changed your life, I dare you. 3. My minimum for posting is once a week. Just so I have a minimum. I’ll likely post more, but I won’t post less.


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