Category: Los Angeles


Lunch With The Blender Girl

May 17th, 2014 — 9:51pm

One of the many wonderful things about my job at The Westin New York Grand Central is it connects me with amazing people I wouldn’t get to know otherwise. That serendipitous occurrence happened once again – during a delightful lunch with wildly popular blogger/cookbook author Tess Masters a.k.a The Blender Girl.

Tess and me

Tess and me

Tess and I met while she was staying at the Westin as part of a multi-city tour promoting her fabulous new cookbook. Named for her blog, The Blender Girl features 100 gluten-free, vegan recipes that excite even an unabashed carnivore like me. The cookbook is generating plenty of media buzz and with good reason.

Tess and I were introduced via email via a mutual acquaintance a few months ago, and we clicked immediately. Like everyone else I know from Australia, Tess is charming, fun and down to earth. During lunch, we bonded effortlessly over our shared background in TV, love of Westin’s wellness programs and appreciation for the differing attributes of L.A. (where Tess lives now) and NYC.

My first experience of L.A. was 20 years ago with then-boyfriend and CA native Mark (a.k.a Sparky). I saw so much of it during the year that we dated that its charms were somewhat lost on me. Over time, though, I’ve come to enjoy it as a very welcome respite from the relentless hustle and bustle of my hometown. Coastal, beachside living and a more laidback attitude are very alluring when you reside in the concrete jungle of Manhattan.

Thankfully, NYC is finally enjoying one of LA’s best attributes – beautiful weather. After our long winter, I’m slowly emerging from a seasonal dating hibernation. It feels good to get back out there. To realize that each time I take a crack at meeting someone special, I am growing and evolving in the process.

A new season indeed.

Comment » | dating, Los Angeles, Westin New York Grand Central

By The Numbers: California Dreamin’ Edition

November 14th, 2012 — 7:07pm

Tomorrow night, I am off to Los Angeles for the weekend. It’s been more than two and a half years since my last visit — during my Great Dating Blitz so I can’t help thinking of the many memorable times I’ve had in California’s number one city.

All smiles in Santa Monica, my favorite part of L.A. (April 2010)

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed everything from star-crossed romance and reunions with old friends to celebrity sightings and TV show tapings. Here are some of the standout moments – By The Numbers:

Number of L.A. Trips: 14
Number of L.A. Trips Precipitated By Romance: 6
Number of Reunions With Old Friends: 8
Number of Visits to Santa Monica Pier: 6
Number of TV Show Tapings Attended: 3
Number of Celebrity Sightings: 2

The best celebrity sighting happened during my 2010 visit – hunky and charming Nathan Fillion, star of ABC’s hit Castle. Castle is far and away my favorite show, so I’m beyond excited to be attending the Second Annual Castle Convention in L.A. this weekend. Stay tuned for a full report.

California here I come!

Comment » | By The Numbers, Los Angeles, travel

London: Day Two

September 1st, 2010 — 5:04pm

Last Wednesday, I headed over to London’s Hampstead Heath to meet up with single gal Kimberly, 35.

Single Gals In London: Kimberly and me at The Flask

I knew Kimberly was someone I wanted to talk to when she sent me an email including this wry observation–

“ In Paris guys want to tell you how to live your life…in London they want to know how you live your life.”

Over lunch at cozy pub The Flask, Kimberly — a Canada native who’s lived in L.A. and Paris and now London — gave me her take on dating in Europe.

Parisians are very forward, she says, with a kiss being interpreted as wanting to have sex.

“So much in Paris is about sex,” she said. “It’s a romantic looking city, but there are tons of drageurs, pick up artists. It’s not uncommon to meet in the street.”

Kim found the culture of Paris to be restrictive, with men and women dressing a certain way and people often telling her to look or behave a certain way to attract a man.

“In London, people make their own style, and are more interested in what makes you you than trying to fit you into a certain persona,” she said.

Another big difference — being able to go out in London alone without being judged as lonely because you’re on your own.

Kim has no complaints about local bachelors when it comes to taking initiative.

“People say British men are shy, but I find they’re very direct. I guess asking me ‘where are you from?’ is a good icebreaker.”

Not for the first time on this European adventure, I couldn’t help thinking how different the dating experience for expats seems to be from what it is for native locals. A foreign accent really seems to be the ultimate icebreaker. It’s far from the only one, though. The challenge is getting singles — male and female — to see that and make the first move with people who aren’t from somewhere else.

Coming up…how Match.com’s UK site produced the best and worst online dating experiences I’ve had in ages.

Comment » | living abroad, London, Los Angeles, Match.com, Paris, The European Dating Blitz

Opening The Vault: Part Twenty Four

January 30th, 2009 — 11:08pm

When it comes to Shakespeare’s observation about the course of true love not running smoothly, I can’t help wondering if The Bard had long-distance relationships in mind. My bicoastal romance with California native Mark (a.k.a Sparky) hit more than a few bumps along the way – especially on my third visit to L.A.

Already challenged by the 16-year and geographical distance between us, I faced the added stress during this particular encounter of lying to my parents about it. A sudden earthquake that weekend added to the unfolding drama. I now Open The Vault and take you back to December of 1994…

New York, NY
December 6th, 1994

Dear Diary,

Yesterday, after going to see “The Santa Clause,” we both agreed that it had been a disappointment. We were unable to agree, though, about what to do for dinner.

The tension between Sparky and I escalated during this silly movie when I suggested we walk out
It was around 8 already and we had to be up early the next morning [because of my flight]. And I had no desire to sit in a restaurant with him in silence, which is probably what would have happened given the tensions between us.

While we were in the car, Mark said randomly–

“All it would take is one phone call to [your parents] and you could stay here for 40 or 50 years.”

Though I melted at this, I was unable to appreciate the sentiment without getting mired in the implications behind it. Mark became annoyed and another protracted silence ensued.

Later, we were standing in Mark’s living room when all of a sudden, the house started shaking. Mark guided us into the wall jamb and supported me with his arms as he said–

“Hold on Baby!”

The quake measured 4.5 on the Richter scale. Though it only lasted for about a minute, I literally felt the impact go right through me. I understood why when Mark pointed to a flashing red signal on TV showing the epicenter that had caused the quake.

“That’s about a block from here,” he informed me.

Taking my hand, he led me around the house and we examined the damage — cracks in the walls, the lid on his aquarium precariously shifted, dishes on the floor.

Not surprisingly, the quake’s impact eventually affected Mark’s mood. There I was laying on the couch while he chose to sit on the floor in front of the TV. How could he be so distant and act like I wasn’t even in the room?

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I put aside my pride and slid down next to him. He didn’t budge — no embrace, nothing.

I had a miserable look on my face as we were heading upstairs to bed. Mark got angry and I took his hand in an attempt to open up the lines of communication. He pulled away and went into his room. And that’s when the growing conflict between us really began to erupt.

* * *
The argument that followed would make me question whether my relationship with Mark was worth continuing – and force me to realize he was having the same doubts himself.

Comment » | earthquakes, fighting with your significant other, long-distance relationships, Los Angeles, Shakespeare, The Bard, The Santa Clause

Opening The Vault: Part Twenty Three

January 25th, 2009 — 9:51pm

In every relationship, there comes a time when you move out of the initial honeymoon period and into real coupledom — when you begin to explore whether love really does conquer all.

That transition was an especially bumpy one for me and my California-based love Mark (a.k.a Sparky). About eight months into our complicated romance, I made my third consecutive visit out to L.A. to see him.

I felt strongly that it was Mark’s turn to do the traveling, but pleading phone calls from him led me to book a last-minute weekend trip. Just before end of semester final exams my senior year — and without my parents’ knowledge.

I now Open The Vault and take you back to December of ‘94…

New York, NY
Tuesday Dec. 7th, 1994

Dear Diary,

Our reunion Friday night was sublime…Like Friday, Saturday was great.

We woke up early and clad in our robes, went downstairs to the living room, where we had one of our most magical mornings ever.

Phantom of the Opera: The euphoria that Sparky and I enjoyed during a song from this haunting musical was short-lived during my third visit to see him in L.A.

Cueing up the ballad “All I Ask of You” from “Phantom of The Opera,” Sparky and I melted into one another’s arms and began to dance. As we held each other close, I rested my head on his shoulder. Then, feeling Sparky’s eyes on me, I turned to look at him.

“We were meant for each other,” he said. “You know that, don’t you?”

Right then and there, for one fleeting moment, I did know it.

* * *

Later, after a relatively serene afternoon, things between us began to take a turn for the worse. I became unhappy as Mark reverted to his distant mode.

When we woke up on Sunday, Mark sensed my hostility and asked me about it. I told him that I felt he wasn’t being affectionate enough.

“Well, I’m sorry,” he said coldly. “But I think that’s bullsh*t.”

I immediately stood up, furious that he could be so tactless. Another argument ensued.

Afterward, while I was in the bathroom putting on my makeup, he suddenly appeared and said —

“I’m sorry. I guess I’m not used to having such a sensitive, beautiful young woman in my life.”

The rest of the day was up and down. There were a lot of silent moments and I found myself unsuccessfully fighting back tears for the duration of the afternoon.

Over brunch at Marina del Rey, Mark said he was concerned that our relationship was becoming more than I could handle.

* * *

That night, we finally got around to discussing what had prompted me to make the trip — the difficulties surrounding our situation. Mark admitted he needs more. I said I don’t want our circumstances to ruin what we have.

“What this relationship needs,” he observed, “is the test of time.”

* * *

Our rocky weekend together was the first of many tests for Sparky and I as a couple. I had no idea when he uttered those predictive words the worst of that particular encounter was yet to come.

2 comments » | final exams, honeymoon period, long-distance relationships, Los Angeles, Marina del Rey, Phantom of The Opera

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