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When Tara Met Blog
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Martinis Massages and Pink Tacos

Oh my!

W Los AngelesI was recently invited to a night of martinis and massages with Citysearch and bliss spa at the W Los Angeles in Westwood. The event was in the hotel's "the backyard" by their pool and cabanaarea, similar to Hotel Roosevelt in Hollywood. I had never been to this W and I'm always up for free drinks and massages, but it turns out the "massages" were only hand massages and the line was too long to bother. Oh well, bliss spa did give out some sample products like a travel size lotion and coupons. The cabanas were cute and my coworker and I were able to snag one and drink in two martinis each, they had cucumber mint flavored ones that were refreshing. The appetizers were $5 each so we ordered some coconut shrimp and hanger steak, both of which were very yum. As for swag they had a gift bag with a Citysearch pen and t-shirt (XL).

Pink TacoAs for the Pink Tacos part of my headline, I also tried out the newly opened Mexican restaurant/bar Pink Taco in Century City. We sat outside on their patio overlooking Santa Monica Boulevard in a nice big booth with orange umbrella overhead. The food was yummy, my salad  huge, but a bit too spicy for me. For drinks they had a pomegranate margarita, which I almost ordered but went with a glass of pink champagne to keep with the pink theme. Why is the place called Pink Taco though? Well they actually have pink colored tacos on the menu and the interior is very girly punk with pink and black colors and gothic print.

PS: My latest Film School Rejects post is up. "Are you tired of being single? Do you wish you had some one to snuggle up to each night, to dedicate your whole life to? Someone who will be with you ’til death do you part? Well, if you are thinking about tying the knot, we can help you resist temptation with our list of the Five Films that Make You Glad You’re Not Married, which contradict Meg Ryan's flicks."

PPS: My list above just got picked up by a paper in Minnesota, The Hutchinson Leader.

Posted by Tara at 6:16 PM PDT
Updated: Monday, August 13, 2007 8:58 PM PDT
Friday, August 10, 2007
A room without a view

Tuesday night I took the Amtrak train from downtown LA to San Diego to attend a big technology and visual effects conference (SIGGRAPH) the next morning. My client was exhibiting and I had booked them five media appointments that I needed to staff. As a result, even I appeared on a SIGGRAPH blog along with my client, check out the fourth photo down on this post at Thinking Animation Blog.

Anyway I digress, I was excited by the chance to get out of the office and glad I wasn't driving there. Budget was limited so I selected the cheapest hotel on the conference list, 500 West, which was only $59 a night. The catch though is that it is "European style" as the website uses to describe the shared bathrooms. The hotel site though looked artsy and charming, it also claimed a cafe and free wireless internet, so I was down. 

Turns out it was a former YMCA and originally housed the U.S. Armed Services, so despite the cute entrance way and awnings, the cement block rooms felt like a drug rehab center and the song Hotel California drifted into my mind, but oddly enough not YMCA.

When I exited the elevator at 11:00 that night, I felt transported back to my undergrad. I expected a Frisbee to go flying over my head and one of my friends exiting their room talking passionately into their phones. The only thing missing was flyers on the walls and name tags on the doors. 

When I entered my room, it looked like an army barrack with two cot-like twin beds, a simple bureau and desk all crowded in the same place. Nothing was on the walls, just hospital beige everywhere, not even a cheesy motel painting up. The lack of color gave the place the feeling of sleeping in your door room for the first night of the new school year or the last day when all your stuff is in boxes and you're waiting for your parents to come pick you up in the morning. It barely resembled the photos on their site (see below). I didn't even have comforters on the bed, not that I needed one though. To be fair though it did have a new age hanging light fixture--white too.



The room was also stuffy and there were no fans or AC and I couldn't open the heavy school-like window more than a few inches. So in order to stay cool I decided to brave the communal bathrooms to take a cold shower, despite the late hour. I had coed bathrooms (toilets and showers) in college so I wasn't intimidated by shared floor bathrooms, and unlike my college at least these were private once you shut the door. Just as I was about to enter the bathroom though, a younger man exited in nothing but a towel. He laughed when he saw me and as he walked by me he said with a smile "nice shirt" (it was pink and gold and tied in a bow at the back), I smiled back, "yours too." He looked down at his bare chest and chuckled. He began to say more with a wicked grin on his face and because I knew it was going to be crossing the line, I quickly entered the bathroom and locked the door.  

All in all it wasn't bad tho, just not the most luxurious place. It was more like the hostels that I stayed at abroad, but instead of being in Ireland or Italy, I was in San Diego. If money is sparse though this is a good alternative and I'm sure it wouldn't have felt as creepy if I was with a friend. 

As for the conference, it was held at the convention center and was HUGE. Note: if you ever need a confidence boost, just wear a black dress at a practically all male tech show. The event though meant a lot of standing and walking, which was a bit tiring due to my recovering and all, but not bad. I got a cool Google shirt and some trade magazines that I'll be researching for work. Plus, the interviews all went well.  So, alls well that ends well.

Posted by Tara at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Monday, August 13, 2007 9:26 AM PDT
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Vanilla Bake Shop

Vanilla Bake Shop recently premiered in Santa Monica just near the Promenade.  I had been eagerly waiting for it to open its doors since I first noticed it during my commute to work. I had known that it was going to be a cupcake shop just by the name and cutesy design that read "coming soon." Since the shop opened it has been publicized in a New York Times article and featured on Daily Candy LA.

In regards to the decor, LA Cakecake MeetUp member Evan of said that the place "can be best described as the bastard lovechild of David Bowie from Labyrinth and Barbie." With cotton candy pink walls, damask wallpaper, white chandeliers, and dark wood floors, he had a point. I especially liked that they had shelves of old fashioned clear jars filled with fine baby blue, green and yellow sprinkles. 

It's trendy and their offering of baby cupcakes 3 for $5 are uber-cute and just the right size to allow you to try some of their many flavors. Using Belgian chocolates and farmers market ingredients; they make cupcakes like Meyer lemon raspberry and banana chocolate chip in regular and baby sizes (some even come stuffed with filling!). I had ordered six cupcake babies and a glass of low fat milk to wash them down with. The group consensus was the Old Fashioned, Red Velvet and Mocha were among the favorites.  

Baker/owner Amy Berman kindly and enthusiastically came out to speak with our group. She shared her story of how she went from catering to opening her own shop. Originally though she worked in entertainment as a PA on the hit show Will & Grace. Apparently she baked cupcakes for the cast and crew as a Christmas gift for everyone and later decided to quit her job and pursue what she loved—baking! It's a cute story and she seemed to charm the group as much as her shop did. 

For more photos from the event click here, otherwise we're off to try Dainties next and will report back.

PS: I was recently in my office's elevator with Bobby Brown and I had no idea, I even chatted with him in the elevator lobby. My coworker was the one to enlighten me, he also snapped a photo. My bad, call me Captain Oblivious. Meanwhile when I think of Bobby Brown I think of this.

Posted by Tara at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Friday, August 10, 2007 8:54 AM PDT
Sunday, August 5, 2007
The road to recovery...

is filled with flowers.

Well, I can't say I'm not loved. Between the flowers, calls and blog love, it feels good to be me, even if I’m a bit sore. 

I photographed the flowers I've so kindly received since my surgery. I have them throughout our place (on our coffee table, cupboard and dining table).

It looks and smells like I live in a nursery. I keep going by and smelling them and smiling at their bright presence. I also feel that they keep me positive, ah the power of bouquets.

Posted by Tara at 5:25 PM PDT
Updated: Sunday, August 5, 2007 9:18 PM PDT
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Hope continued

It's all behind me now, I hope. I went to the outpatient part of Cedars-Sinai hospital yesterday and had a LEEP performed to remove parts of my cervix that contained high pre-cancerous cells. You know you're in Beverly Hills when the outpatient center has a valet, though. Luckily, that's how I roll ;)

I couldn't eat or drink from midnight the night before and I was so thirsty, not even hungry just thirsty. I was a little freaked out by the idea of anesthesia, since I've never been under with it, even when I had my wisdom teeth pulled they just used gas. It didn't help that the day before the hospital called to ask if I had a living will or if I was allergic to anesthesia. I told them I didn't think so, but of course didn't know for sure having never had it.  

I had to go an hour and a half ahead of time. They led me in the back where i had to don a robe that opened in the back, put my hair up in one of those hair nets, remove my shoes and put on booties. I looked scary when I saw myself in the mirror. Oh and they had me remove even my toe ring since they would be using electricity inside me. Again, scary. 

Then it was time for the IV and luckily I didn't faint, but it did hurt and caused a heart throb like beat on my hand. They had nice warm blankets for me though which was nice.

Next the anesthesiologist came in followed by a resident who he said would be following him and asking me questions. It reminded me of Grey's Anatomy. The guy even looked like the character George and was awkward like him. Whenever I was more conversational in my responses he'd tense up and just say "yeah."  It was cute until I remembered that George didn't pass his exams and who knew about this George-wannabe. 

He asked if I was feeling woozy, but at the time the bed that I was on was being spun around a corner and oxygen was being put over my face, so it was hard to tell or answer. I then was awake enough to help them move myself to the gurney, I saw them put some sticky things under my robe and had enough time to look around the large surgery room to see tubes hanging from the ceiling, big lights, stirrups being put up and then I was out. 

When I woke I had thought I had fainted and started mumbling as such and then Raphael was there and my surgeon and then I was lucid again. Despite being weak, my hunger was more prevalent so we stopped at my favorite - Sizzler. They even had my fav chicken noodle soup available, which I'm going to take as a sign, lol. Now I'm on Percocet so everything is just peachy, I don't even care about the cramps and other inconveniences.

News: Cat predicts deaths at nursing home. Freaky!

Posted by Tara at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Saturday, August 4, 2007 10:29 AM PDT

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