Brown Butter Almond Brittle Ice Cream

1954 Hillhurst Avenue

Last night, after a casual dinner in Silver Lake, my friend Bill and I drove over to Jeni's for ice cream. (Getting ice cream after dinner is such a nice thing to do with friends.) Bill is the one who introduced me to Jeni's and it's the best I've had.

I admire the integrity of their ingredients. They don't use emulsifiers or stabilizers in their products, so it never tastes too sweet or artificial. To boot, they have the most creative array of flavors: Juniper & Lemon Curd, Genmaicha & Marshmallows, Cocoa Curry Coco... And they debut a new collection of flavors every season. A small order at Jeni's ($5) gives you two scoops of any flavor. You also have your choice of a cup, a sugar cone, a cake cone or–for an extra dollar–a waffle cone.

I almost always stick to my favorite one: Brown Butter Almond Brittle, a buttercream base laden with crunchy chunks of almond brittle. The honeyed, buttery, nutty notes of the brittle go so well with the creamy tang of buttercream. It's for us "plain vanilla" fans who want to take a walk on the wild side. My usual order is the small–with both scoops being the same flavor–in a cake cone, which I then eat with a spoon. (The only other flavor I've considered is the Goat Cheese with Red Cherries but haven't pulled the trigger on it yet.)

"I'm surprised they even offer cake cones," I noted, as we happily ate our ice cream on the drive back to his place. "They're a dying breed of ice cream vessels."

"Children like them," Bill replied, as he crunched down on his sugar cone.

"I love them," I said, scraping my spoon around the scoop of ice cream, "They're my favorite. I like their plainness. And the compartments around the top... Such a good design feature! Every bite of cone has ice cream encased inside."

"I've never seen someone order an ice cream cone and eat it with a spoon before," he pointed out, glancing over at me as he switched lanes, "But, of course, you'd do that. That doesn't surprise me."

"My teeth are sensitive," I explained, "And I use the back of the spoon to pack the ice cream into the cone compartments as I go."

Ice cream. It's serious business. I bet Jeni's would tell you that.



Clark's Botanicals Ultra Rich Lip Balm

I think that I may have just found the Holy Grail of lip balms: Clark's Botanicals Ultra Rich Lip Balm ($19). It's not sticky, glossy or waxy. It has a gel-like consistency that glides on smoothly and enrobes your lips in a cushiony, healthy sheen. Jasmine extract in the formula emits the most beautiful smell.

Move over Chapstick, this is what I'd call an all-around classic lip balm. My lips go from feeling like raisins to plump juicy grapes after one swipe. And that packaging! Looks like a lucky charm, dontcha think?

Haircuts with Calista Sanderson at Andy LeCompte Salon

616 N Almont Drive

Anyone who knows me knows about my history with bad haircuts. I can't tell you how many times I've wailed to my best friend: "My hair is holding me back!!!" And her replying: "Agree." I have fallen victim to the news anchor haircut so much so that every picture of me in my twenties is essentially the same haircut.

Behold Exhibit A:

Because my hair is so thick, most stylists feel the need to "take out some weight" by adding a million layers or straight-up taking a razor to it. This style ends up being top heavy with stringy ends and results in what my friend Preston has once dubbed "octopus head" because the bottom layers kick out like octopus tentacles. (At one point, he suggested that I look into getting a weave as I grow out the layers. Yes, he was being completely serious.)

Having layers has been such a traumatizing experience that I now play it safe by asking for one-length chops. However, this proves to be problem too because my hair ends up feeling like there's a 20-pound cape on top of head. I need shape, but not layers. OK... How???

Finding a hair stylist you can trust is no easy task. As I was researching salons and stylists in L.A. on Instagram, I kept coming across the same trendy, choppy, ombré "beachwaves" look. I actually tried beachwaves in my hair for about a minute last summer and decided it was far too much work to achieve.

Needless to say, I'm an anti-trendy person. I'd rather subscribe to the style school of Christy Turlington and Stephanie Seymour than, say, Emily Ratajkowski. (I still wear Manolo Blahnik kitten-heeled mules, for example.) At the same time, I want to look "now" yet also "timeless." 

Googling "best hair salon l.a." led me to the Andy LeCompte Salon. I clicked on each stylist's profile and Calista Sanderson's instantly resonated with me. First of all, I was captivated by her slate-blue CÉLINE eyeglasses and chin-length bob. Secondly, this line is everything: "Her women's short haircuts are modern and youthful, and her long layered cuts grow out beautifully, maintaining lasting shape." The hitch? Her haircuts start at $300, which I mentally prepared myself to pay because I've learned the hard way that, especially with haircuts, you get what you pay for. (Believe me, you could easily spend this on a bad haircut because you'd need to get another one to fix it.)

Calista is a total maestro with her scissors. After an in-depth consultation and listening to my laundry list of hair woes, she suggested using Olivia Palermo's long bob as inspiration. She carefully snipped away the chunky length in the back and brought it up to my collarbone, which is right where the last of my old layers hit. Then, she cleaned up the ends and blow-dried my hair. She combed through to check the haircut and finished by combing my hair upwards and lightly snipping through, as it, fell to give it movement. My hair felt swingy and fresh when she was done. Calista also gave me some styling suggestions, like twisting the front pieces with a curling iron for some bend or trying a messy half-bun and creating wisps with my baby hairs. 

I finally feel like I'm getting somewhere with my hair. Finally.