Stories by: Charli

Dining & Nightlife, Los AngelesMangia at Pellicola Pizzeria

pellicola

I just made what I’m sure will be my best food discovery of the year (and it’s only January!) — Pellicola Pizzeria in Downtown Los Angeles . A film aficionado’s pizza paradise, the Neopolitan-meets-NYC-style pizzeria serves up gourmet pies whole or by the slice from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. (Rumor has it they will be open for lunch soon!)

The brainchild of L.A. bar czar Cedd Moses (Seven Grand, Cole’s, Caña Rum Bar) and N.Y.C. “pizza master” Giulio Adriani (Forcella), Pellicola blends New York-style pizza with Neopolitan flavors for the perfect — and I do mean perfect — pizza. The crust is indescribably light, crunchy and sturdy; the sauces are to die for; and the shape is perfectly foldable. It’s the best pizza I’ve ever had in Los Angeles, even better than Village Pizzeria and Xlixe (sorry, guys). I’ve only tried the Nonna Maria (San Marzano tomato sauce, house-made mozzarella, basil, olive oil, parmesan), the Tricolore (San Marzano tomato sauce, truffle oil, house-made pesto) and the Nutella (double pizza crust, nutella, sliced almonds, powdered sugar), but I’ll be trying every flavor before Spring; I guarantee it. Check out the full menu here. READ MORE

Gift GuidesLast Minute Holiday Gifts for All Budgets

last-minute-gift-guide

Still shopping for the holidays? Me too. In fact, I just ordered another box of these last night! Sure, it’s the 11th hour, but there are still plenty of gems out there just waiting to be gift-wrapped and rushed to your friends, family and co-workers. In case you’re at a loss, here are my top picks for crowd-pleasing gifts (counter-clockwise from top left):

1) WILT Slub Jersey Slouchy BF, $105 — One of the most comfortable brands in my closet this season, WILT makes these versatile hi-low tops in many different fabrics and shades — all of which look and feel different! Take your pick, or just spring for this little black number. (They’re roomy so you can just ballpark the size.) It will be a lifetime staple in your favorite fashion lover’s closet, promise!

2) Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint Germain Candle, $80 — Ask any candle or fragrance fanatic; you can’t go wrong with Diptyque. Named after the brand’s first boutique location, this unique, gender-neutral scent is at once fresh, spicy, calming and oddly addictive. Available online (or check your local Bloomingdale’s).

3) Piper-Heidsieck Brut Champagne, $29.99 — With New Year’s Eve coming soon, a bottle of champagne is on every party lover’s subconscious wish list. However, if a highly rated Cristal or an ever-popular Veuve Clicquot are out of your price range, go for this solid pick. Not only is its red label festive around the holidays, it’s widely available and consistently tastes good, if not better, than several more expensive brands I’ve tried.

4) Head Massager, $4.50 — These are super cheap stocking stuffers, and while they might seem tacky at first glance, believe me — the person you give them to will hunt you down and thank you later. They are instant stress reducers. Don’t believe me? Have someone else run one over your head; you’ll be amazed!

5) Bodum Pavina Cups, starting at $7.50 — Inspired by the chamomile mint tea I recently ordered at Alma, Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurant in America 2013, these double-walled, temperature- and scratch-resistant cups are pure genius when it comes to holding hot beverages. I prefer the tiny 2.5-ounce espresso cups but they also come in 12- and 16-ounce sizes, as well as this handy tea version with an infuser.

Beauty, SkincareDermalogica PreCleanse Wipes

precleanse-wipes

Well, the cat’s out of the bag, people! Dermalogica’s new PreCleanse Wipes are now available, and my lazy alter ego couldn’t be happier. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Dermalogica PreCleanse, see my previous post on the Dermalogica Double Cleanse.

PreCleanse Wipes are basically a travel-friendly, biodegradable version of PreCleanse. Loaded with oil-based cleanser, they help break down waterproof makeup and all the gunk that collects on your face throughout the day. And while they have a slight botanical scent to them, they are free of artificial fragrances, colors and parabens.

Now, tip time: Dermalogica recommends using PreCleanse Wipes prior to a Dermalogica cleanser for ultra-cleaning action, but I know some people who just use the PreCleanse Wipes by themselves, then rinse really well after. I’ve done both, and they’re both effective, but I prefer the results of the complete, double-step approach. (Keep in mind, skin care experts generally advise not to use makeup remover wipes too frequently because they still leave chemical residue on your face, which can be irritating over time.) READ MORE

Accessories, JewelryNik Stone Jewelry

nik-stone

If you’re looking for unique, artisan jewelry with an industrial twist this holiday season, look no further than Los Angeles native Jelena Nik’s collection, Nik Stone. I’ve been racking up compliments with her Nailed It Rings this season (pictured), which layer well for a delicate-yet-dangerous rocker vibe.

The unisex collection of sterling silver pieces are definitely eye-catching, featuring rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces themed around nails, wrenches, hammers and nuts. Embedded within each piece are small signature black diamonds, a symbol of strength. READ MORE

Fitness & Health, Los Angeles, TravelPost-Thanksgiving Fitness at the Ranch 4.0

4SeasonRanch019

As the leftover turkey wanes and your waistline waxes, remember this: There’s still hope — and discounted gym memberships — come New Year’s Day. But if you can’t wait until then, consider dipping into your savings and booking a quickie at The Ranch at Live Oak/Malibu‘s Ranch 4.0 (aka R4.0) program. According to the founders, it’s “life-changing.”

A shortened version of the Ranch’s original 7-day program, the R4.0 program is held Thursday through Monday for those who can’t get away from their lives for a full week but still want a “jump start” to their fitness, weight loss and wellness goals. It features up to 10 hours a day of rigorous activity, including four hours of morning mountain hiking, an afternoon of exercise classes, daily group yoga sessions, a daily massage, a diagnostic fitness test and a VO2 metabolic test. (Whew! I got a workout just typing that.)

While it may seem intense, this mind-body retreat/boot camp is far from rustic. Held at the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village with the California Health & Longevity Institute (CHLI), it includes a daily 1400-calorie diet of gourmet vegetarian fare, a healthy nutrition class and cooking demo led by a registered dietitian/chef in what they call the “Wellness Kitchen,” plus lodging at the Four Seasons and access to The Spa at Four Seasons.

And, unlike the 7-day program, you can stay plugged in (meaning you can actually get Wi-Fi). The catch? It’s $3,800 per person. (I know, I know … but think of it this way: It’s a steal compared to the 7-day $6,200 price tag!)

We had a chance to interview Ranch founders Alex and Sue Glasscock about the 4.0 concept, and here’s what they had to say: READ MORE

Food, Gift Guides, Los AngelesThe Sweetest Gift: Sugarfina Beverly Hills

sugarfina beverly hills

I don’t know about you but I seem to have outgrown the candy emporiums of my youth — where color-coded M&Ms graced the walls, waiting to be dispensed into a plastic bag for my movie-snacking pleasure. But what I haven’t outgrown is really good candy. And that’s where gourmet candy curators and founders of Sugarfina, Rosie O’Neill and Josh Resnick, found their sweet spot.

Recently engaged, Rosie and Josh met on Match.com four years ago and dreamed up the idea for Sugarfina, a gourmet candy haven for grown-ups, after watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on their third date. A combination of marketing savvy (she used to be a marketing director for Barbie) and entrepreneurial success (Josh sold the now-defunct Pandemic Studios, a video-game design firm, to Electronic Arts in a deal valued at $860 million), they had great potential for success.

Sugarfina launched in August 2012 online, and just this weekend, these lovebirds opened the first-ever Sugarfina candy boutique for grown-ups in Beverly Hills. I stopped by during their fourth hour of operation, got a tour from Rosie and sampled as much candy as I could. (Tough job, I know.) Here are the highlights: READ MORE

Food, Los AngelesThe Best American Wines for Thanksgiving

thanksgiving wines

Bird, check. Veggies, check. This year’s “It” pie, check. Wine … Marijke?

Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year or being a gracious guest, you may find yourself staring blankly at a wall of wines, trying to decide which (affordable) bottle will be most delicious with a turkey dinner. Well, stare no more. I’ve enlisted my dear friend and sommelier Marijke van Niekerk @lawinegal to provide her top recommendations for Thanksgiving.

The theme is “classic gourmet” with a deep Southern twist, based on the menu I curated from the growing stack of Bon Appétit magazines under my coffee table and a borderline obsessive recipe-search habit. Marijke has decided on an all-American wine selection because, “Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to explore the United States’ fantastic, world-class wines.” Very well, then! Here’s the lineup:

READ MORE

Beauty, Gift Guides, Makeup, ShoppingTarte Bow & Go 3-in-1 Holiday Gift Collection: One-Day Sale

Tarte QVC One-Day Sale

Yes, this is happening! I’ll make this quick …

For those of you who have never been in my bathroom, I have an entire drawer full of Tarte Cosmetics — and I wear their eye shadows almost every day. So you can imagine how delighted I was to receive a sample of their Bow & Go 3-in-1 Holiday Gift Collection, three gorgeous gift boxes filled with full-size, vegan-friendly, cruelty free products. The set includes a box of Amazonian clay eyeliners and Lights, Camera, LASHES mascaras (two each), a box of four LipSurgence Lip Cremes and a box of 16 Amazonian clay eye shadows.

And get this, for today only, they’re available at QVC for only $49.98. That’s, like, almost a $200 savings. (What?!? Is the world ending?!?) I suggest you get over there and buy at least one before the price goes up. They make great gifts — and since there are three boxes, you can keep one for yourself. (The hard part is choosing which one!)

Food, Gift Guides, Los AngelesGet in the Spirit with Twice the Vice

Twice the Vice Chocolates

Is it too early to talk about holiday gifts? My mind is already racing with ideas! It started at a truffle-making class I took recently at Caffe Luxxe, one of the best coffee shops in Los Angeles (well, Santa Monica, to be specific). There, Craig Boreth, founder of Twice the Vice chocolates and author of The Hemingway Cookbook, plied us with his amazing artisan spirited truffles.

Made with Callebaut Belgian chocolate, Twice the Vice chocolates are filled with top-shelf liquors such as The Glenlivet 15-year Scotch, crowd-pleasers such as Bombay Sapphire gin and cocktails such as the Woodford Reserve Mint Julep or The Big Lebowski lovers’ favorite, the White Russian. Each piece is packed with 1/8th to 1/10th of a shot, giving you a much richer, more sophisticated flavor than you’d get with those funny little bottle-shaped chocolates. Still, while select boxes are still illegal to ship in many states, the chocolates aren’t overwhelmingly potent — which is a good thing. Of course, if you choose to eat a whole box yourself, I can’t guarantee you won’t get a buzz!

Twice the Vice spirited chocolates are available online and totally worth the price. I highly recommend ordering them this year for the drinking men and women in your life — naughty and nice!

Beauty, Fashion, Insider's ObsessionsInsider’s Obsessions: Ashley Wagner

Insider's Obsessions: Ashley Wagner

The torch is off to its first spacewalk and we are three months away from the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi! To ramp up for the big event, let’s see what Olympic figure skater and brand new COVERGIRL Ashley Wagner is obsessed with right now:

ONE. Lorde — “She’s only 16 years old and she looks wise beyond her years. Her look is almost like a fortune-teller and her music is the perfect combination of moody and edgy.” (Lorde’s 17th birthday was yesterday, just after this interview.)

TWO. Finding the perfect big chunky turtleneck — “I need to get this staple into my wardrobe. Even though I live in California, I’ll be in Boston for Nationals and I want to be prepared.” Our budget-friendly recommendation: H&M’s Knit Turtleneck Sweater.

THREE. Olay Fresh Effects (S’Wipe Out!) Refreshing Make-up Removal Cloths — “I need to make sure that I keep my skin nice and clean. I take so much pride in my skin and even when I’m wearing lots of makeup for competitions, these take it right off.”

FOUR. All Saints winter line — “It is super comfy casual, but at the same time it’s nice and edgy and can be dressed up or dressed down. I should probably look for a turtleneck from them.” Oh hey, here’s one!

FIVE. COVERGIRL Flamed Out Mascara — “I love how it goes on so thick, which gives me a ton of volume and fullness.” Tip: COVERGIRL recommends applying more of this curling mascara on your outer lashes for a winged look.

The Daily Obsession draws from the expertise of a coast-to-coast editorial team offering dedicated readers reports of the most luxurious products and trends. We provide sophisticated and relevant angles on the latest fashion trends, must-have beauty products, insider interviews, travel destinations and of course, our current obsessions.

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