Archive for the ‘Retail’Category

Custom made in L.A. at den.m bar

den.m bar's style options

den.m bar’s style options

If you wear denim — which, let’s face it, is most of us — then you’ve probably been on a life-long quest to find the perfect-fitting pair of jeans. And you may have thought about getting a pair custom made, but that just seems cost-prohibitive.

Well, maybe not.

Downtown Los Angeles’ den.m bar, which opened earlier this year, is offering custom-made jeans at a fraction of normal costs. For about $300, you get to choose your own denim (sourced from the United States, Japan and Europe), pocket lining, thread and hardware (buttons, zippers, rivets, etc.) to be fashioned into the style of your choice cut to the exact dimensions that fit you — all within the span of two weeks. I’d say that’s a pretty good deal, especially for a pair of pants you’ll probably wear a lot for years to come.

Denim choices

Denim choices

Thread, lining and hardware choices

Thread, lining and hardware choices

Once your measurements have been taken, den.m bar will keep that pattern on hand for future purchases. And if you have a pair of old jeans that you love but they’ve just worn out, bring it in and the folks at den.m bar will use it as a pattern to make you a new pair.



While the store obviously fits both men and women, as evidenced by my first photo, it turns out that most of den.m bar’s customers are men. Why am I not surprised? Ah, to be a single man with disposable income!


10 2012

Live good with Live Good organic cotton

Lion baby pillow

Lion baby pillow. Photo from Les Violettes.

You care about a lot of things.

You care about what you eat and how your food was grown and prepared. You care about who makes your clothes and how they were made. You care about how companies treat their employees and their stance on the environment.

You care about living good.

So does Jennifer Chi, who founded Live Good, Inc., which makes fully certified organic cotton products. Not only that, but Live Good manufactures in the United States (Orange County, Calif.) using sustainably sourced materials, including organic cotton fabric and thread, organic and renewable kapok fibers, unfinished wood buttons, and formaldehyde-free water-based inks.

“There are just so many reasons why I felt a need to start Live Good, Inc.,” said Chi, who has spent time working as an international investigator examining factory production. “At the heart of it all was the challenge to prove to myself, as well as the corporate community, that it could be done. I wanted to see what it takes to build a company that creates quality products while complying with environmental and ethical standards. I want Live Good, Inc. to set an example for other businesses.”

As a factory investigator, Chi witnessed factory workers getting sick from dealing with toxic materials and unsanitary working conditions, in addition to them working long hours and being paid low wages. That’s why she wanted to manufacture in the United States — to maintain the highest standards of hygiene, fair labor practices and respect for the surrounding community. And that’s why all Live Good’s products are free of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and irradiation.

The results are soft-to-the-touch sateen sheets, terry blankets and decorative canvas pillows. The Live Good ethos is especially important when it comes to children’s products, and you can rest easy knowing the company’s baby items won’t be harmful to your little one. The pillows, which come in five cute animal designs that depict endangered species, come as an organic kapok insert that’s moisture-resistant, quick-drying, lightweight, hypo-allergenic, mold resistant and odorless wrapped in a sateen cover printed with water-based ink. Sounds pretty good when you think about how babies always put things in their mouths!

I would like to see Live Good succeed in its corporate social responsibility. Hopefully we’ll see more socially and environmentally friendly products from this company soon.

Note: Live Good provided a complimentary baby pillow.


08 2012

Personal pick: Keds by American Rag

I’ve never been a big fan of Keds shoes, but its collaboration with American Rag at Macy’s has yielded some pretty cool results: two limited-edition laceless sneakers in purple leopard and grey geometric prints. While the grey triangle print looks very early 90s, as is the style these days, the purple leopard print is just plain fun.

Purple Leopard Keds by American Rag

Purple Leopard Keds by American Rag

Grey Geometric Print by Keds by American Rag

Grey Geometric Print by Keds by American Rag

There is also a zebra print and a more traditional leopard print available, but the two newer prints are more my style. Also, I love purple! But maybe the best part is these collaboration shoes are totally affordable at $45 a pair.


07 2012

Last-minute holiday shopping guide for LA foodies

Valerie Confections SUPER CHOC-O-FOOD

Valerie Confections SUPER CHOC-O-FOOD

Still scrambling for holiday gifts? If you’re shopping for people who like food, or should like good food, then look no further than these L.A. options:

Valerie Confections: While Valerie Gordon is know for her toffees and cute-as-a-button petit fours, an interesting gift would be the SUPER CHOCO-O-FOOD, a huge block of milk chocolate with a hint of caramel loaded with dried pears, apricots, golden raisins, macadamia nuts, cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds and peanuts. The packaging comes from Commune Design, and each color (pink, violet, aqua) corresponds to part of a triptych image found under the label. Valerie now also has teas blended by the American Tea Room just for the shop, including the Black & Blue, which was inspired by her Black & Blue jam and contains black tea from Nilgiri, blackberries, black currants, blueberries and blackberry leaves.

Kiss My Bundt Baking Academy: Chef Chrysta Wilson of Kiss My Bundt, formerly on West Third Street, is now teaching baking classes at Surfas in Culver City. The first class will be on January 15 and will focus on baking with winter citrus. And if you purchase a spot in this class before December 24, you’ll get 20 percent off. If you’ve ever had Wilson’s bundt cakes, you know they’re a treat.

Monsieur Marcel at the Original Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax: This gourmet foods store has all kinds of delicious treats, including European chocolates, fancy vinegars and oils, flavored salts, cheeses, wine and all kinds of fun stuff. This place will have lots of variety, so you’re sure to find something for the gourmand on your lift.


12 2011

Beauty product review: HANAair Professional Hair Dryer

HANA hair dryer

HANAair Professional Hair Dryer

I hate drying my hair.

Actually, I used to hate drying my hair. Then I got the HANAair Professional Hair Dryer, and my blow dry-hating days were over. This blow dryer is hands-down the best I have ever used, mostly because it dries my thick hair in about half the time it takes with my old dryer and dries it well. I can actually dry my hair before work now because it takes just minutes! Using this HANA hair dryer is kind of like walking through a wind tunnel (in a good way); the sheer power — 2300 watts — is amazing. There are also two heat settings and two dryer strengths, as well as a cool button, so you have lots of options. The dryer also leaves my hair smooth, which can be tough since I have a lot of hair. Even my husband likes it. Another good use? The HANA dryer dries my dogs after a bath much more quickly than my old dryer, too.

My only complaint is the dyer costs more than $300. Yes, it’s professional grade, but $300 is a lot of money. Though when I asked my hubby if he would pay that much for that hair dryer, he said he would. So there — a heterosexual man said he would pay hundreds of dollars for a hair dryer. That’s a pretty good endorsement in my book.

I got the dryer from Misikko, a beauty store that specializes in hair care, especially hair dryers and flat irons.

Note: The hair dryer was complimentary.


12 2011

Personal pick: Hayden Harnett Barnard Crossbody

Hayden Harnett Barnard Crossbody

Hayden Harnett Barnard Crossbody

I’m currently coveting this pretty, pretty bag — Hayden Harnett‘s Barnard Crossbody. It’s a nice size (oftentimes crossbody bags are too small to be practical), the strap is adjustable so it can be worn as a shoulder bag or as a crossbody, and the navy color is pretty. Even the lining is cool! Oh, and the materials are locally sourced. One bad thing — it costs $450. Why?! Why do the purse gods hate me so?? Oh, well. I guess you can’t have every pretty, perfectly sized bag. SIGH.


10 2011

Personal pick: Simone Wang jewelry

Simone Wang Squared Swirl Rings

Simone Wang Squared Swirl Rings. Photo courtesy of Simone Wang.

Simone Wang has some of the coolest jewelry — it’s geometric with an updated throwback flair that’s so in right now. Whether your look is more 80s or more 60s, Wang’s necklaces, rings, earrings and bracelets will complement your outfit with style. One of my personal favorites is the Squared Swirl Ring, which comes in a bunch of different colors so you have lots of options. Wang uses a variety of metals and stones, including silver, gold, jade and diamonds, adding to the versatility of her line. And now you can purchase Wang’s jewelry from Max & Chloe!

Wang comes from a family of artists, so this craft is in her blood. She honed her talent at Stephen Dweck in New York for five years, which gave her the training she needed to launch her own line this year. I can’t wait to see more.

Note: Designer Simone Wang is married to my cousin.


08 2011

Personal pick: Lodis

I have been meaning to write about Spanish leather-goods maker LODIS for some time now. Ever since my mother-in-law gave me a LODIS messenger bag as a journalism-school graduation present, I have been hooked. The classic, clean designs coupled with extraordinary craftsmanship (I’ve had a LODIS wallet for about five years and it has yet to crack or come apart in any way) has made me a huge fan. It’s also pretty reasonably priced, which makes LODIS one of the best values out there for bags, wallets and the like.

I’m currently coveting a few LODIS products, including one of its brand-new belts, the Audrey Metal Buckle High Waist Belt. At only $34, it’s a steal!

LODIS Audrey Metal Buckle High Waist Belt

I’m also loving the Alegra Sabrina Satchel. I can’t decide which color I like better, though. I really like the blue, but I’m not crazy about the yellow piping, and I like the brown, but I’m not sure about the shade. But the shape and size are perfect for what I need.

LODIS Alegra Sabrina Satchel

The Odyssey Lexy Crossbody is another bag I would love to have. I’ve been looking for a good cross body for a while. This one might be it!

LODIS Odyssey Lexy Crossbody


07 2011

Giant Robot wants to see you this Carmageddon weekend

From -Clearlight- (Flickr)

Darlings of Sawtelle Giant Robot and its artier sister store GR2 are having a big sale this weekend. Yes, it’s Carmageddon weekend. Yes, these stores are on the Westside near the dreaded closed stretch of the 405 freeway. All the more reason to drop by on July 16 and 17 for some 40 percent savings on nearly everything in both stores (art from the current Yukinori Dehara exhibit at GR2 will not be discounted, sorry) and an extra 10 percent on sale items. Get T-shirts (Gama-Go!), comics (Fox Bunny Funny!), toys (Uglydolls!), books (Laura Ling and Lisa Ling!) and much more.

And if you get hungry, stop by gr/eats, Giant Robot’s uber-cute and tasty cafe next to GR2, for $5 Chicken Teriyaki or Chicken Katsu Curry bowls. Pair these with some mixed fries (which includes fried banana strips!) or tofu balls for extra yumminess. (This deal offered July 15 and 16 as the cafe is closed on Sundays.)

Giant Robot (AKA GR1)
2015 Sawtelle Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 478-1819

2062 Sawtelle Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 445-9276

Saturday, July 16, 11:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 17, 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

2050 Sawtelle Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 478-3242

Friday, July 15
Saturday, July 16
12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Note: I used to write and copyedit for Giant Robot magazine.


07 2011

St. Barths getaway giveaway by ASSOULINE Publishing

Courtesy of ASSOULINE Publishing

To promote its new book, “In the Spirit of St. Barths” by Pamela Fiori, ASSOULINE Publishing, which specializes in fancy coffee table books focused on fashion, travel, lifestyle and art, is holding an online contest via its Facebook page by answering the question, “What are your three essential getaway pieces?” The first-prize winner will receive a trip to St. Barths with round-trip airfare and ferry travel from St. Maarten for two; a three-night stay at Le Sereno (featured in the book), including breakfast for the duration of the stay and dinner for two guests; and a complimentary Mini Cooper for use throughout the vacation. The second-prize winner will be awarded The Ultimate Getaway Bag, packed by luxury goods from retailer The third-prize winner will be given a collection of ASSOULINE’s “In the Spirit of” series. The contest will run through Monday, April 4, 2011, at 12:00 p.m., and all winners will be announced on Monday, April 11, 2011.

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03 2011