Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ivivva vs. Lululemon: Scuba Hoodie and Wunder Under Alternatives

Left: Size 4 White Tinted Canvas Lululemon Scuba Hoodie, Right: Size 14 Prosperous Purple / Grapealicious Ivivva Hoodie Stitch
 The Lululemon Scuba Hoodie and Wunder Unders are two of my favorite staple Lululemon items; I pretty much exclusively wear Wunder Under Pants and Crops for working out (except for running) and the Scuba Hoodie is so warm and cozy for lounging around my chilly house as well as for walking the dogs in the cool Santa Monica evenings. Ivivva is actually the girl's line from Lululemon, but I've found that I can fit into some of their larger sizes, and many of the styles and fabrics are identical between the two lines. The fabric for the hoodies are pretty much identical; the main design differences are no stretchy ribbing on the Ivivva Hoodie on the arms and the sides, so it's a little looser fitting, Ivivva pocket is mesh lined with an interior key / phone pocket, as opposed to fleecy, the Ivivva thumbholes are horizontal slits rather than vertical slits. The size 14 Ivivva Hoodie is longer in the body and wider in the sleeves and body than the size 4 Scuba Hoodie, but the sleeve cuffs are shorter. Hood size seems identical. Only caveat is that I haven't tried zipping up the Ivivva hoodie (since I'm 38 weeks pregnant), so I'm not sure how the fit across the chest / shoulders is. As for the Wunder Under comparison, the Warm'er Tights are actually made of running luon, which is stretchier, softer, and warmer than regular luon, which is what Wunder Unders are generally made of. I think the Ivivva Rhythmic Tights are more similar in terms of fabric and style to the Wunder Unders. The size 12 Ivivva Warm'er Tights are a little narrower and shorter than my size 4 camo Wunder Unders, but to me the fit is about the same, because running luon is a lot stretchier, and Wunder Unders are too long for me anyway. Also, running luon doesn't turn see through when it is too tight, unlike regular luon, so a slightly snugger fit is acceptable. I like the bright colors and fun details of the Ivivva line; I think workout gear should be colorful and bold, more inspiring that way. Best part is, Ivivva is a lot cheaper than Lululemon, both these pieces were 60-70% cheaper than the Lululemon version. I actually bought these pieces from Zulily, though I've also purchased directly from Ivivva's online store. In the US, Ivivva is currently available only online, but I hear that they are looking to open brick and mortar stores soon. Ivivva is definitely worth checking out if you love Lululemon!
Size 4 Scuba Hoodie on Top, Size 14 Ivivva Hoodie on the bottom
Left: Lululemon Size 4 Camo Wunder Under Pant, Right: Ivivva Size 12 Grapealicious Striped Warm'er Tight

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sotto: The Pizza

K. and I both love pizza, it's our go-to comfort food, so Sotto's been on our list to try as we've seen it around on some "Best Pizza in LA" lists. Sotto is in the old Test Kitchen space, downstairs from Picca. We didn't have a reservation, but they serve the full menu at the bar as well as a communal table by the bar. We were there on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend and seated without a wait. We just kept it simple and ordered two pizzas: a margherita pizza and a sausage, chili and rapini pizza. Sotto is also known for it's cocktail service and the menu looked tempting, but we passed.
I preferred the margherita pizza to the sausage pizza; I really liked the sauce and the simplicity of ingredients on the margherita. We almost always order a margherita pie when trying a new pizza place; K. believes it should be the hallmark of any good pizza place, and the standard by which he judges them. The sausage pizza was just a little too salty for my taste. Crust is good, very charred quite pillowy and thicker than say 800 degrees, and different from the more artisan bread-ish places like Mozza and Milo and Olive. Quite good, but I'm not sure it's quite up there yet with my favorite LA pizza places. I still prefer Mozza, 800 Degrees, Joe's and Stella Rosa for my pizza fix.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Steven Alan: The Classic Button-Down

An easy classic button-down shirt is essential for all wardrobes, and Steven Alan makes a pretty darn good version of it. I bought my first Steven Alan shirt this week, at the Steven Alan Outpost in Los Feliz. His clothes definitely aren't cheap; I was in the Abbott Kinney store earlier this week and they suggested that I check out the Outpost if I was on the lookout for some sale goods. Still not cheap, but I picked up this reverse seam women's shirt for about 70% off at the Outpost. Originally, I went to the store in search of their classic shirtdress, but selection was quite limited, so I went with a shirt instead, where selection was more plentiful. I decided to size up a size for a slouchier, more comfortable look; I found their shirts to be a little tight across the shoulders and chest. I'm happy about my purchase, the shirt is well-made; I like the textured detail on the stripes and the signature Steven Alan details like the reverse seam on the edges and sleeves and twisted placket, and it'll be great with jeans in cooler weather and shorts in the summer. The store is small, but definitely worth a visit if you are on the eastside in the neighborhood.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Casa Ado: Handmade Pasta by the Beach

Last Saturday, K. and I had dinner at the new-ish Casa Ado on Washington, right next to the Venice Boardwalk. We had been to the original Ado on Main Street for the first time a few weeks ago and fell in love with their pasta, so we wanted to give Casa Ado a shot. Like last time, we focused on the pasta, which is really the star. We liked both the handmade pastas, the beet tagliolini and the mushroom papardelle the best by a long shot. The orechiette, ricotta gnocchi, and proscuitto caprese salad were pretty average (have had much better elsewhere), we know what to stick with the next time. Still, it's nice to know there's somewhere to get our pasta fix on the Westside whenever we want. Service was fine, it was pretty easy to get a table on a Saturday night, and it definitely has a louder, more beachy vibe than the more cozy and dimly lit Ado.
Proscuitto, mozzerella, tomatoes and arugula. I've had better proscuitto and mozzarella at plenty of places, but this is a dish that always hits the spot if you are craving these flavors
Ricotta gnocchi with arugula, tomatoes and almonds. The best ricotta gnocchi are made purely with ricotta and should be light and fluffy. These clearly were made with some additional ingredients, probably potato, and therefore were dense and heavy, and not as good
Pappardelle with wild mushroom alfredo sauce. Love the texture of the large flat homemade pappardelle noodles, which went well with the creamy rich mushroom sauce
Red beet tagliolini with chicken marsala ragu over parmesan fondue. Casa Ado's version of my favorite dish at Ado. Love the chewy fresh homemade tagliolini noodles. The sauce is great, may sound weird, but it's like an awesome version of hamburger helper with the cheesy creamy ground meat sauce. I could eat many bowls of this. There's no real discernable beet flavor to the tagliolini, I think it's mainly just used for coloring purposes
Orechiette with sausage, broccoli rabe, ricotta salata. I've had many amazing versions of this dish, especially at Babbo and Lupa. I even make a decent version at home. This one unfortunately did not match up. Perhaps because of the ricotta salata, but it was quite dry and just didn't quite have enough flavor. Plus I am spoiled because at Babbo and Lupa they handmake the orechiette, which has a delightful chewy texture. This tasted like out of the box orechiette that you can buy at Whole Foods

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Pumped Up Kicks: River Island White Wedge Sneakers

River Island Wedge / Hidden Heel Hi Tops in White
I've been looking for a comfortable pair of high top sneakers for awhile now, preferably with a wedge for some additional height, but without spending too much. Since I'm avoiding wobbly heels these days, I'm in sneakers a lot more, so a fun pair would be a nice update to the wardrobe. Of course, I love the Isabel Marant Willow / Beckett / Bobby / Wila versions, but they are always sold out, plus at $750+, they are quite the splurge for something that is relatively trendy. I finally settled on these River Island Wedge High Tops, in neutral white / beige, perfect for summer shorts and dresses. I dislike ordering things from the UK because it just takes so long to get here and I'm into instant gratification, but I couldn't find any satisfying alternatives in the US, so I went ahead and ordered them last week. At about $80 USD including shipping, taxes and all that, they were a pretty good value and arrived today, about 9 days after I ordered them online, which isn't bad. They are quite comfortable; the hidden heel wedge height  is about 2 inches measured from the top of the sole, which is perfect for a little boost without sacrificing comfort. I could definitely see myself running around town in these. Quality seems fine; they are made in Italy, stitching is pretty even, though I'm not sure how much of the shoe, if any is actual leather. I am normally a US size 6.5 - 7 and Euro size 37, but I ordered the the Euro 38 / UK 5 to be safe; better too big than too small, especially with the hassle of returning them back to the UK. They are just a touch big, but not too bad, plus I plan on wearing them with socks and always can add an insole. K is not a huge fan of them, he said they reminded him of something Kanye would wear and finds them a little bulky, but I think he's slowly getting used to them.
Comfortable summer outfit: really old Polo Ralph Lauren striped dress, BCBG denim jacket, Marni x H&M sunglasses and bracelet, and River Island wedge sneakers
I have to say, I've been also intrigued by the Nike x Liberty of London Dunk Sky Hi versions, but I think the print might be too much for everyday wear. Might be a cool collector's item though.
.Nike Dunk Sky Hi. Image from ~$130
These Topshop silver versions are pretty awesome, but perhaps too flashy for everyday. They make me think of astronauts and a spacesuit. They weren't available when I was shopping around, or else I very well may have gone with this pair. Go big or go home.
Topshop Aerobic Wedge Trainers. Image from ~$100

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I haven't been able to stop thinking about Milk's macaron ice cream sandwiches since first trying them Saturday night, so I had to make a stop on my way home from the eastside of town on Wednesday to check out some more flavors. We tried the strawberry and vanilla ice cream sandwich as well as the coffee toffee ice cream sandwich. Loved the strawberry ice cream, tasted like fresh strawberries, and also really liked the crunchy bits of toffee in the coffee toffee crunch. I think my favorite is still the grasshopper, with the half chocolate dipped chocolate shell and little bits of chocolate in the ice cream, but they are all good! I really should try some of their other offerings, but I really do love the ice cream sandwiches so it's hard to find room...
Milk is known for their "Blue Velvet Cake" in the lower left corner, made with blueberries
How cute are those cupcake ice cream cones on the left?

I've been told to try the Ooey Gooey Cookies

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Silverlake Snacks

I had a business meeting in Silverlake this afternoon and stopped by a couple of Silverlake places for some snacks on my way back to the Westside, since I'm unfortunately not in the neighborhood nearly enough. It was a beautiful day in the mid-70's, perfect for some neighborhood exploration. Days like this make me truly love and appreciate living in LA with the different character of various neighborhoods around the city. You can never get bored in LA! We first stopped at the charming Broome Street General Store for a refreshing iced coffee and oreo cookie on the lovely flowering patio. Next, we stopped by Cafe Tropical for a cuban sandwich and took home some guava empanadas that our friends M&M first introduced us to for a snack for later.
Iced coffee and oreo cookie
Nice, hot pressed cuban sandwich from Cafe Tropical
Love these guava empanadas; perfect combination of tart, sweet, and flaky
Some baked goods from Cafe Tropical
Getting close...which is good because I'm running out of clothes. H&M Mama dress, Prada sunglasses, Balenciaga bag and Toms shoes (anything with a heel is too dangerous since I was never that coordinated to begin with)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Ice Cream Sandwiches at Milk

We were on the east side of town for a cocktail party so we stopped at Milk on Beverly for a nightcap on our way home. Macaron ice cream sandwiches, genius! Grasshopper (mint chocolate chip) and salted caramel. Expensive at $5 bucks a pop, but delicious. I particularly liked the grasshopper and the combo between the smooth chewy macaron, crunchy chocolate coating and baby chocolate chips and rich creamy ice cream.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Met Ball 2012 Cont'd: Model Favorites

Constance Jablonski in Haider Ackermann, Amber Valletta in Prada and Joan Smalls in a straight off the FW '12 runway Balmain (with Balmain's designer). Images via
Not surprisingly, the best dressed and most impeccably styled of the evening (and clear designer favorites) are usually the models. Constance Jablonski's Haider Ackermann is probably my favorite dress of the night, although Karlie Kloss looks amazing in Jason Wu as well.
Karlie Kloss in Jason Wu (with Wu), Arizona Muse in Erdem, Mia Wasikowska (I know, actress, not model) in Prada. Images via
Carolyn Murphy in Alexander Wang, Natalia Vodianova in Louis Vuitton, Liu Wen in Michael Kors. Images via

Monday, May 7, 2012

Met Ball 2012: Fashion Event of the Year

I always love the annual Costume Institute Gala, otherwise known at the Met Ball, held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. It's the one night where fashion, celebrities, designers and models collide. No surprise, since the event is sponsored by Vogue, that it is the fashion event of the year. The clothes are amazing, from straight off the runway looks to custom designed dresses for the stars by the designers. The fashion is so much more couture and adventurous than say the typical awards show, like this years Oscars, which was so safe and predictable. This year's theme was "Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations," so not surprisingly, there were a lot of great looks from Prada, including on queen Anna Wintour herself. For me, Givenchy was the other standout on the red carpet, loved Rooney Mara's dress and Beyonce definitely wins for most dramatic. A couple of my favorite / most striking looks of the evening.
Carey Mulligan in Prada, Gwyneth Paltrow in Prada, Florence Welch in Alexander McQueen. Images from
Renee Zellweger in Pucci, Rihanna in Tom Ford and Rooney Mara in Givenchy. Images from
Anna Wintour in Prada, Lily Collins in Valentino, Elizabeth Banks in Mary Katrantzou (not my favorite Mary look ever, but I'm just happy that she's represented on the red carpet). Images from,
Beyonce in Givenchy. If this isn't rocking haute couture, I don't know what is. Images from

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Wolf in Sheep's Clothing Review: A Southern Food Pop-Up in Venice

Chicken cracklins, hot pepper vinegar. Can't go wrong with fried chicken skin!
 Wednesday night, we had a really nice meal at Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, a pop-up restaurant on Abbott Kinney in the Capri space close to Venice Blvd. The food is Southern-inspired small plates, with such classics such as fried green tomatoes, black eyed peas, biscuits, fried oysters etc. Since we don't get Southern food pretty much at all in Los Angeles, it was definitely a refreshing and fun change of pace. Favorites were the cavatelli pasta with lamb bolognese, butter biscuit with pimento cheese and soft shell crab with almonds and brown butter. Everything was good though. I didn't look at the wine list, but they have a nice selection of beers, which the guys ordered. Service was friendly and we waited about 40 minutes for a table of 3 on a Wednesday night at 8pm. I highly recommend going before the pop-up ends at the end of June.
Kale salad, sheep cheese, pink lady apple, date, walnut vinaigrette. Refreshing salad, I should try this at home
Fried green tomatoes, buttermilk dressing, chow chow
Butter biscuit, pimento cheese, honey butter, black berry. Such an awesome flaky, buttery biscuit. Loved all the toppings for the biscuits too
Yum, pimento cheese
Cavatelli pasta, lamb bolognese, parmesan, bread crumbs
Quail, corn bread, smoked maple, arugula. Loved the crispy bottom on the corn bread from the cast iron dish
Soft shell crab, almonds, brown butter. Really loved this dish; perfectly fried crab, with crunchy almonds, some pickled onions, over soft buttery polenta / grits (?)
Hanger steak, fried oysters, oyster mushrooms, onion jam, cress
Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
1616 Abbott Kinney Blvd (in the Capri space)
Venice, CA


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