Sunday, April 27, 2008

A bed, a sofa, an iMac and one more margarita...

Lulu's Cafe on Beverly BlvdApologies for the lateness of blog entries this weekend my loyal readers, but we've been a tad busy!

As I mentioned before, Friday night we had dinner at O-Bar in West Hollywood with our friends Mike and Richard, which was great, but wasn't a late one as everyone (!) had been hard at work all week and we knew we had mucho shopping to do this weekend.

Our mission, should we choose to accept it, was to find a new bed and sofa for our new WEHO pad. At first it sounds simple, but when you don't know where any of the retailers are and are not familiar with the brands available it becomes a little harder.

So with some helpful hints from Charlie's workmates (and some prior internet research) we ventured out shopping on Saturday morning. It's been soooooo hot this weekend and in the high 90's (those Santa Ana winds blowing in from the desert) - so basically like walking through a wall of heat. We're finally understanding why no one walks in L.A. and why they all drive around in their air conditioned, climate controlled cars!

Before we got really stuck in we met with an old work colleague of Charlie's at Lulu's Cafe on Beverly Blvd. We sat outside (we're getting used to it in California) and had some tasty salads, then with some more furniture store tips we headed off sofa and bed hunting!

I know it all sounds like a lovely day floating around the shops, but when you've looked in your third or fourth shop and you can't find any style you like, or the sofa's are too big or the wrong shape, or the beds have no storage space underneath them or the price is too expensive or not practical for a new puppy, it's not so fun. By around 4pm we were feeling a bit demoralised, especially as we weren't that sure about the dimensions of our new apartment and whether furniture would fit, as we're not living there yet.Shopping in Beverly Hills

Anyway, we had another special chore to do on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, so almost defeated we headed there. As fate would have it there's a nice size Crate & Barrel store on North Beverly Hills Drive and by about 5.30pm we were ready to do some serious furniture shopping.

We'd seen some things last weekend at The Grove, so it wasn't out of total desperation, and we do like the brand and products they have. So we finally found our new Steele sofa, queen size Elan oak bed and two matching bed-side cabinets (or nightstands), all in stock and to be delivered in our first week at the new condo.

To say we were relieved was an understatement and I know other people may be a bit more relaxed about the whole process, but we live spending time at home and want it to be as comfortable (and stylish as possible), hence all the worry and effort. Now we have the basics (plus we've already bought some garden furniture for the roof terrace, sofa for the upstairs area and other bedroom storage form our new landlords, so the rest can come when we get settled in and more familiar with L.A. furniture stores.

So that was Saturday and after a trip to do some grocery shopping we were happy to stay in and watch another Harry Potter film with some 'light' Ben & Jerry's ice-cream (36% less fat apparently) and some more Californian 'I can't believe it's not champagne'.

Sunday has been another shopping day extravaganza, hence the late blog entry! Our friend Richard was also busy yesterday, this time buying a shiny new BMW car (I'm not sure about makes or models, but it's a nice Californian white - in that you can really get away with white cars here when it's so sunny, whereas in the UK they don't look as cool. I actually zoned out over breakfast at Aroma Cafe in Studio City when everyone else got very animated about the joys of BMWs, Mercedes and even engine types...all very exciting I'm sure, but I'll stick to what looks good!) My new snickers, I mean...sneakers
So chauffeur driven in a gleaming white BMW convertible, we sped over to the Galleria shopping centre in Sherman Oaks to look at a shoe shop to see if we could grab any bargains. Result! A new pair of New Balance trainers (or to use the American vernacular, 'sneakers' - isn't that a chocolate bar?). Now hopefully I won't get huge blisters walking over to Burbank anymore.

Then after stopping at another trainer store to no avail (it seemed to be having a refurb even though it was open), we zoomed down to Santa Monica to look at new TVs. Amongst all the massive screens, we think we've seen a Sony Bravia 40 inch that we like and maybe another smaller TV too. But today was a fact finding mission, so then it was off to The Grove to look at a lovely new computer.

The joy of being driven around all day shopping is that:

  • one - you don't have to drive

  • two - you're being driven by someone who knows where they are going (therefore taking all the stress out of the situation)

  • three - it's more fun when there's four of you

  • and four - we have friends who work with TVs and Macs all day (and night for their sins) long and so we get an expert opinion of a superuser, without the hard sell of a salesperson on commission.

Before The Grove we made a pit-stop at Starbucks (there really is one on every corner, along with the Psychics and nailbars), where I discovered my newest favourite drink - a green tea frappuccino. I'm not a fan of coffee (which is a shame as I love the fact there are so many varieties and it's such a nice coffee culture), and it's way too hot in the day for a British cuppa, so I thought I'd try something new! The frappuccino basically seems to have a gazillion calories (although I forewent the whipped cream on top), but is iced, cool and refreshing and is lime green - yum!!Jason in Hollywood's new car!

Anyway, our next stop on our shopping marathon was the Apple store at The Grove. We love our little laptop, but it's not great to spend so much time looking at such a small screen, so we've decided to super-size it and go all out for a 24 inch screen iMac. It's super sleek and stylish and just like a big new toy to play with.

We've opted for the wireless keyboard and mouse, plus an all-in-one printer, scanner & copier and god knows what other software and trimmings - it's much more fun computer shopping! We're not even going to try and take it out of its box until we get to our new home and can get our friendly neighbourhood expert to hook it all up for us, then let the magic begin!

After the excitement of giving Apple lots of money I had a minor sunglasses malfunction outside, so one little screw and over $10 later I was utterly glamorous and operational again.

So to celebrate our successful shopping spree we took ourselves off to another gay institution in West Hollywood, and conveniently just round the corner from our new condo, Marix. It's a tex-mex restaurant and bar (don't let the images on their website fool you, it's not as sedate as those pictures imply) with a buzzy atmosphere and filled to the rafters with gym buff bunnies and their admirers (so basically your local WEHO crowd).

Anyway, after our friend Richard spotting the guy who played Ted Schmidt in theJack Mackenroth from Project Runway Season 4 American series of Queer as Folk in Aroma this morning, we had our second confirmed celebrity sighting (we have to officially see them ourselves for them to count!). This won't mean much to non-Bravo TV viewers, but we saw Jack Mackenroth from Project Runway season 4. Even though he had to dramatically leave the series mid-way, he's lucked out with a cameo appearance in the new Sex and the City movie and more importantly, he's much more pumped in person.

How much excitement can you take in one day I hear you ask. Well, just to make sure that I'd not suddenly developed an allergy to tequila I bravely sampled another margarita (following a trusty vodka and coke) and I now know the difference between a small (wine glass size) and large (pint glass size) drink. And I've still managed to write this blog entry (so apologies for any spelling mistakes - although I do have the U.S. version of spell check on, so I'm sure before long I'll be losing a 'u' here or there soon).

Check back for more exciting adventures every day (when you're lucky)...

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