Into Africa with luxury or economy

I love to travel and have always wanted to go to Africa. I was concerned about being in Africa without booking anything beforehand as I received warnings from friends that I should be extremely careful. With these thoughts in the back of my mind, I still just booked the airfare and went to Africa. I was enchanted by the beauty of the country,... Read more →

DVD Releases

Foreign Oscar hopefuls play in Santa Monica

Running each Sunday now through January, Laemmle’s Monica Fourplex is presenting a wide range of movies from all over the world, each vying to be nominated for the coveted Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards to be held on Feb. 26 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. Local foreign film buffs, tourists and motion... Read more →


Catch the new cocktails at Casa

Those looking to escape the crowds can head down Pico Boulevard to Casa del Mar, a classic hotel featuring classic cocktails by expert mixologist Gaston Martinez. He has worked with the bartender’s at Casa’s restaurant Catch to create some fresh beverages featuring ingredients like fog, prosecco, ginger beer and jalapeno. It... Read more →


The Kennedy family through rose-colored glasses

For those of us who have lived much of our lives in the Kennedy Century, “The Color of Rose” is a poignant revisit with the fabled family that always seemed an extension of our own. Kathrine Bates' fascinating play, told through the eyes of the matriarch, Rose, is a no-holds-barred exposition of the triumphs and the tragedies that... Read more →


Drink and be merry

With the holiday season underway the Third Street Promenade gets even more crazy with a flurry of shopping madness. Locanda del Lago, which is situated in the middle of the mayhem, is offering some pretty enticing drink specials that are certain to appeal to weary shoppers looking for a little break in the action. The deal is, come into the... Read more →


How to get Tiger purring

Dear New Shrink, I am an avid golfer and golf follower and I just cannot understand what has happened to Tiger Woods. He was the No. 1 golfer in the world and now he can’t seem to get a grip. There are all kinds of ideas and gossip on the golf course but I am wondering if it doesn’t all come down to psychology in some way. He... Read more →


The wait is finally over

After months of anticipation and delays from contractors and inspectors, the well loved but old-fashioned Dante’s in Pacific Palisades has morphed into the new, modern Maison Giraud. The space, designed by local architect Cosimo Pizulli, is sparse, but warm and inviting, with lots of light and a high ceiling. The focus is on the bakery... Read more →


Fiddling around with fiddleheads

During a recent visit to Pennsylvania, my mom and I visited Cabela’s, a huge sporting goods store about an hour west of Allentown, my home town. Cabela’s is like a play ground for hunters and fishermen, but they also have great outdoor wear for active individuals. When you first walk into Cabela’s, you will either be... Read more →


Handling the tough questions

Dear New Shrink, I have an interview coming up and I have no idea how to prepare. I have had several interviews in the past, some have gone really well and others have been a complete failure. I seem to struggle with broad questions and have no idea where to go with my answer. Can you share some common interview questions and ideas about what... Read more →


Providing warmth through the holidays

OCEAN AVE — Keith Roberts, the executive chef at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, is someone whom I have been following over the last year or so as he has added his own flavor and strict standards to the hotel’s kitchen and restaurant, Ocean & Vine. He has a real passion for food that always seems to come through when we chat.... Read more →


Wolf sighting on Abbott Kinney

With a kaleidoscopic arrangement of food trucks, trendy clubs, and upstart restaurants, Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, just outside of Santa Monica, is a great place to venture and try something new. Catching wind of a restaurant opening was enough to ride the bike over to see what was going down. The name of the restaurant, in a total... Read more →


Let someone else slave over a hot stove

CITYWIDE — The weather outside is far from frightful in Santa Monica where beachfront hotels, world-class restaurants and award-winning Farmers’ Markets make it an ideal place to celebrate the holiday season. With farm-to-table cuisine and cocktails, it’s no wonder Zagat has named Santa Monica the best place for dining in... Read more →


In some cases, it’s OK to talk to a stranger

Dear New Shrink, I am in my early 20s and have been seeing a psychotherapist for about five months now. At first, I wasn’t even sure why I was going; I just wanted someone to talk to. I didn’t know if or why I needed it. But it has already helped me a lot. I am discovering who and what I am and what I want from life without... Read more →


Standing up for preemies

I have been missing from the pages of this paper for a little over a year now, ever since I had my second son, Eli. The last Mommie Brain column I wrote chronicled Eli’s arrival and the scare he gave us all by being a little over five weeks early. And so as I am about to return to writing my column (look for it soon!) it seemed only... Read more →


Playing tennis in the Garden of Eden

If you are looking for a combination of tennis and the Garden of Eden, you need look no further than Rancho Santa Fe. Nestled on 40 rolling acres, less than two hours from Santa Monica, is a gem of a resort called Rancho Valencia. As we approached this splendid hacienda-style haven, we immediately knew that it was a cut above any resort we... Read more →