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in SoCal Trends

The Lowdown on “Tainted Love” in L.A.

Imagine a roaring heat rising through your body, up to your neckline and above. Your face, now colored with a red tint, is burning, and you can’t help but tug at your collar. But this is not an unwelcome or painful episode; it is the elusive rush of passionate attraction, an animal magnetism pushing you to overcome the inhibition of convention, and leap into the lips of your soul mate sitting across the café table. Sadly, many Southern California residents are growing cynical to the idea that they could ever find their true love, let alone be able to sustain eye contact long enough to ignite any impassioned flame. No, not because they are necessarily becoming more bashful; instead, it is presumed to be the lethal combination of mobile phones and the narcissistic allure of the Hollywood backdrop. The relationships that do form are perceived to be for convenience, economics, and/or boisterous undulations of only the bodily kind. Somehow the age-old stereotypes about dating in Southern California have taken on gospel-like meaning, though they haven’t, at the very least, favored one sex over the other. The guys and gals of So-Cal have equally faulted each other, the former being reduced to musclehead, techie, surfer, or…

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in Destinations & Landmarks

Ojai, California — The Perfect Escape

After completing a seriously demanding nightmare of a project, I realized it was time for some much-needed respite. Yet with only a few days before my next project began, I needed to find a place where I could recharge and rejuvenate in the quickest, dirtiest way possible. Luckily, I picked the perfect locale — the charming town of Ojai, California. It was exactly what I needed — in just two days, I felt like a completely new woman. I stayed at The Oaks at Ojai (www.oaksspa.com), which I chose because of its reputation for being comfortable and unassuming. It was a great pick — the staff was legitimately friendly and there was absolutely no attitude — I leave Los Angeles for a reason. The newly renovated rooms were nice and relaxing, and as a whole, the place has a casual yet welcoming feel, perfect for a woman traveling by herself (did I mention I also needed some alone time?). The minute I got there, I felt like I was in an entirely different world — it was hard to believe I was only an hour and a half away from Los Angeles. The food at The Oaks was outstanding and amounted to…

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in Sports & Adventures

Brande Roderick’s Recipe for Healthy Living

Brande Roderick, quintessential California girl — known for her role in “Baywatch” in 2000 and as a former Playboy Playmate of the month and Playmate of the Year in 2001 — says she’s had to work hard all her life to fight against the dumb blonde image. “You have to work extra hard to prove yourself,” Roderick says. “There’s always that expectation. Being blonde, for example, going into ‘Celebrity Apprentice,’ people thought I would not be a threat. I love shocking people and proving them wrong.” Roderick says “Celebrity Apprentice” and subsequent “All-Stars” was enriching. “I learned that you can do anything in a short amount of time. We would do campaigns in two days that would normally take a company two months to do. I learned that if you need to get something done, you can do it. I learned there are no limits.” Most of Roderick’s work matched her looks and fortunately she embraced that sort of typecasting. “That is something I learned from my acting coach,” she says. “I tried to fight it for a while and she said, ‘Why are you fighting it? Just own it.’ That really helped me. Now being older and being a…

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in Food & Drinks

Sidecar Doughnuts: The Hipster’s Answer To An Old-Fashioned Treat

The doughnut. It’s a simply sweet, and utterly delicious treat that seemingly melts in your mouth with each bite. They come in all shapes and sizes – some crème filled, some glazed, and some sprinkled with sugar, with everyone from young to old enjoying this classic. Then there is Sidecar Doughnuts and Coffee Shop, a place that prides itself on taking an old-fashioned treat and infusing it with a modern-day hipster twist. Set in an ordinary strip mall at the 17th street corridor in Costa Mesa lays this gem of an eatery. Brooke Desprez, Executive Chef and Co-Owner, watches over her shop with a careful eye as the doughnuts are made fresh everyday with simple recipes and fresh ingredients. Even though Sidecar starts off making their doughnuts the same way you make any doughnut, Chef Desprez talks about the very unique ingredients she uses in each doughnut to make her creations come out a work of art, “Starting with the yeast dough, which takes the bulk of the day to rise, and ending with our fresh fruit jams, compotes, flowers and herbs, which are sourced from farmers markets and friends back yards.” Sidecar’s secret isn’t just that they make great doughnuts,…

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in Destinations & Landmarks, Featured

Muscle Beach Venice : Beach Next to the Santa Monica Pier Put LA’s Beautiful People on the Map

During the Great Depression, in an effort to improve the health and welfare of its citizens, the Works Progress Administration would install numbered playgrounds on many the beaches throughout Los Angeles. The program, which was part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “New Deal” aimed to provide the “3 Rs”—relief, recovery and reform—for Angelenos faced with the many hardships of the time. New schools, parks, bridges and playgrounds went up in record numbers around the city, providing paid jobs for scads of unemployed men and women, and in turn, boosting the morale of people who’d lost all hope. Beach Playground #4 was located right next to the Santa Monica Pier. In addition to swings and slides, it included a plethora of athletic equipment. Within a short time, Hollywood stunt men, circus performers and variety acts began congregating there to train and stay limber. The beach would really gain a reputation for good-looking athletes and perfect physiques, when the UCLA men’s gymnastics team began training there regularly. It’s been said that the section of beach just north of the Pier was such a popular spot for students to study, that it was nicknamed “Brain Beach.” The many strongmen posing and flexing in the…

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in Destinations & Landmarks

Enjoy The Warmth of the Sun in Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach: Drive down Pacific Coast Highway and as you come around the rocky bend of the shoreline to your right, you may feel as if you are entering a small beach town in South America, not in the heart of Orange County. That is the vibe Laguna Beach can give a first time visitor or someone who has been coming to this laid-back, artsy coastal hang out for years. Husband and wife writing team, Jeff and Shannah Game took a couple days to fall off the electronic grid and got lost in one of the coolest cities in the OC. Peaceful Easy Feeling Tucked away on the east edge of Laguna sits Casa Laguna, a B&B Inn reminiscent of an Old Spanish villa. Casa Laguna’s 22 rooms offer luxurious and tranquil accommodations, but this B&B’s best-kept secret is their gourmet food. Grab a box lunch for only $10 per person; choose from delicious options like Casa Bahn Mi or the Veggie Sammy, and head across the street to Victoria Beach. In the Waves Laguna Beach has about 27 beaches and coves in seven miles of coastline. One of the most majestic and pristine looking beaches, Victoria Beach, is well off the beaten path…

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