Thursday, October 16, 2014

Self-Care in The City of Angels

The other day I had a bit of a blow up, meltdown, implosion. It sucked. Lying in bed crying is a great thing to do when you're miserable... FOR A LITTLE WHILE... but it's nothing to make a habit of, especially when you live in one of the best cities in the world for those in need to recover from feeling rejected.
Pet Entwhistle
Peg Entwhistle
Unless I'm wrong, poor Peg Entwhistle was the first actress to take a leap off The Hollywood Sign. I'm not going to say if she went to Whole Foods, meditated at The Vedanta Temple and got a massage from Nikom at The Raven things would have been different...

But really, a little self-care goes a long way in a city that thrives on chewing you up and spitting you out.
Capital Records Building
Sometimes Hollywood feels downright depressing
Because as a writer, actress, director, musician -- you have to know rejection is a part of it. And you do develop a thick skin but that skin has to be immersed and infused with oils, scrubbed down with salts, moisturized with Nightingale poop, plumped up with fillers and kissed all over by the force of the universe to be fully appreciated no matter what, in order to deal with all that is putting its grubby little hands over it.

Yep, sounds like someone had a bad day. So my first stop in trying to feel better -- oh wait, my first stop was a cheeseburger at The Oaks Gourmet in Hollywood.

My little friend, Nancy, met me there. I didn't take any pictures. You wouldn't want to see what I did to this burger or what I looked like in this moment in time. Oh, the best is I say to the incredibly handsome guy at the checkout register (everyone there is incredibly handsome or super-chick-hot -- I kind of think it's a pre-req to getting a gig there) that I'd like a burger, medium rare, no this or that, etc. etc. And then I go, "You know what? I'm emotionally eating. Can I have the Greek Salad as well?" Their Greek Salad is SO good. It has mint and is light and not too onion-y and tastes fresh - really fresh. Like the tomatoes are tomatoes I'd choose. Anyway, he goes, "So, not the burger, just the salad?" And I go "No, I said, I'm emotionally eating. So both. Thank you!" He was too hot and skinny to have any idea what I meant but smiled like the good young optimistic sport he was.
Kristen Dunst
Kirsten Dunst at The Oaks Gourmet (kind of like me & Nancy)
Nancy's like my trudging bud. She knows my pain. She ALWAYS makes me laugh. And if every day I could meet her at The Oaks and eat a burger, one of the best in Hollywood, that would be heaven. No, come on. That would be disgusting. I'd have a major cholesterol problem. Okay. Moving on.

I went home, cried and lied around and listened to my meditation mp3. It's this woman, Micaela Boehm from Vienna (I decided that. I don't actually know where she's from). She's a hypnotist I saw years ago and I still listen to the recording she made for me.  I put on my eye mask, lie down, and press play. She goes So now to begin with I want you to make yourself very comfortable. And just allow your body to sink down, into the soft service, adjusting your body so that you can rest for a few moments, allowing your body to... rest... your mind to drift aimlessly... effortlessly... drifting from thought to thought... while your body begins to sink down... feeling all the stress and tension of your day... and letting yourself sink down... unwind...slow you... drift...float...flow... I don't know what else she says because I immediately fall asleep every time.

Then two of my closest friends checked in. I was "called to action" and met up with Else & Stephanie who let me cry like a colicky baby and got me to laugh at myself.
The Real Housewife
My Real Housewives Companions, Else & Stephanie
These are the guys I can say the straight dope to and they're kind enough to remind me I'm not always such a downer. They're pretty awesome and I started to feel like people did like me and my Stuart Smalley self was gonna be okay.
Stewart Smalley
Doggone it, people like me!
But the next morning when I woke up, with swollen eyelids, I was kind of like, Wow, people don't like me.

I knew I could just feel sorry for myself for endless pointless hours or I could get into action. Trust me, feeling sorry for myself can be like a super ugly default and a job unto itself. But I chose to do otherwise. First stop?

Meditation at the Vedanta Temple in The Hollywood Hills.
The Vedanta Society of Southern California
This is SUCH an unassuming place. It's tucked away on this teensy street right above Hollywood, off of Vine. It's located in one of the oldest, smallest, and most charming enclaves of LA, The Hollywood Dell, where all the houses look like craftsman cabins where magical elves live.
The Hollywoo Dell
I forgot to get good pictures of this area so here's someone's garage across from The Temple
So peaceful, unpopulated, beautiful, mellow. I went into the temple, pulled up a cushion, and started to meditate. It felt good. I was at ease. I felt so peaceful and quiet.

And then this lady walked in. 
Wasn't sure if it would be frowned upon to take pictures but sometimes being subversive makes me feel better.
She kept moving around. I don't know why. I was trying to think of nothing but sometimes would slightly open my left eyelid to peek over and make sure she wasn't doing something weird. She wasn't. She was just fidgety. I was like that on a plane once to Barcelona. I was sharing a bunch of seats with some woman and I couldn't get comfortable and I kept moving around and she goes, Settle down! and I was like paralyzed for the rest of the flight and didn't sleep one wink. I didn't say sharply Settle down! to this fidgety lady in the temple. I like to think of myself as evolved and she left before my meditation time was up. Oh, that was the other thing. I set my timer on my phone to meditate. Then when she came in, I felt completely like I should turn it off and couldn't stop obsessing over that. I was so relieved when she left. If that lady is reading this, Thank you, Lady!
Hug a tree at The Vedanta Center in Hollywood
Afterwards, I had to go to the dentist. Let's not get into that shit, although I will say, I have the best dentist EVER and he's super nice and travels all over the world and takes incredible pictures. If you need a dentist, look up Dr. Kurtz in Glendale. He rocks (and he likes rocks).

Then off to Whole Foods. My friend, Dina, who is an integrative nutritionist and has a company called Well Is Good reminded me that good food makes me feel better. She's ALWAYS right and besides, I wanted to spend money but spend it productively in a safe atmosphere. So I went to adult Disneyland, otherwise known as Whole Foods, The Happiest Place on Earth (including Bed, Bath & Beyond).
Wole Foods
Whole Foods on Arroyo Parkway
Either you hate or love Whole Foods. I get it. I've been there. But right now, I wish I lived in this place. And the one on Arroyo Parkway, which is like award winning and everyone knows it's super nice, is filled with magic beans and good vibes. I mean look at this guy...
Best Sandwhiches LA
Pat, The Sandwich King
I am not kidding. This kid is like a freakin genius. He knows sandwiches and I'm a sandwich maven/snob. If you're at Whole Foods and need a sammy, I pray for you that Pat's working. That's all I can say.

And this lady? I live for this lady. She is SO nice to me. Every time. I will wait in line so I can see her. She always has a nice thing to say and anyway, she's like one of those people that reminds me people are good and nice and nothing really matters. And she always has a nice extra touch, like super fantastic earrings. She's like Flor at Von's in Eagle Rock who usually has a flower in her hair and Dorothy at Gelson's in Hollywood who ALWAYS remembers you.
Add caption

But Whole Foods, there's just something special about really good food.
Just found out the Salmon is on sale this Friday for $8.99 per lb.
I don't drink and I don't smoke.
foot bar

Food is what I got. So trust me, I am going to make the most of it.
Save a cow, eat a pumpkin!
And as good as all that was, no journey towards feeling better about yourself is complete, in my humble opinion, without a massage. LA has a billion choices from excellent super cheap (like Pho Siam on the edge of downtown) to uber dripping in indulgence shmance (like The Spa in Beverly Hills at The Four Seasons). For me though, when I'm really in need, when I don't want to compromise, but I can't justify spending a car payment (or worse) on a massage, I go visit Nikom at The Raven in Silverlake: My all-time favorite massage maybe on the planet.
This guy is a master.  A true master. The guy who owns the place, Barry, took extra care when he hired his staff. Some people are just healers and Nikom is one of those men. I got The Custom (where you discuss what ails you and the masseuse tailors his/her massage to fit your needs). I scheduled an hour, which is $100.00. Now that's not the most expensive massage you'll get but it's not really cheap either. I was splurging. I was going all out. And I'm SO glad I did. Because I noticed he was going over an hour. I was surprised. Now I had called just an hour before to schedule this and might have miscommunicated how long I wanted my massage. That's what I thought had happened until I went to the receptionist to settle up. She said he went over because he felt I needed it! Can you imagine? They still charged me $100.00 but he was generous because HE IS A HEALER!

But first, let me tell you, you walk in and it's like you're suddenly in Bali or something.
The Ravens
And the whole place reeks of sage, and I love this smell. I know to some people it's pot-adjacent but I love love love...
Sage s
Native Sage, 10 bucks, at The Raven in Silverlake
It's the whole place that heals you. Every little thing...
Massage Beds at The Raven
The Main Area
Inside my massage room
You know, I can't remember how I first came across Nikom. Was it through my friend, Amanda, or did we both find him around the same time? I can't remember. All I know is when the going gets tough, the tough, battered, bruised, sad and emo -- if they're smart -- go to Nikom.

And that's it! That's what it took to feel okay, ready to take on the world, cease the self-pity party. I should say, that's what it took this time. Trust me, I have a lot in my quiver to nurse a bruised ego. Because I live here. I like it here. I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to keep trying, persevering and I have to know that rolling with the punches requires some extra TLC.

But man, I wish I had chosen some profession in the self-care industry instead of wanting to be a writer.

I would be really rich right now, right?

The Vedanta Society (Hollywood Temple) which also offers classes, lectures, meditations and private meetings with their head swami is located at 1946 Vedanta Place, Hollywood, CA 90068. It's open from 6 AM to 7 PM Every Day.  Park on Vine for free but always check the signs.

My favorite Whole Foods is at 465 South Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena, CA 91105. Parking underneath the market.

The Raven Spa of Silverlake is located at 2910 Rowena Avenue, Silverlake, CA 90039. 323.644.0240. Street Parking Available. Always feed your meter extra since you want to relax after! They also have a yoga studio you should check out. In addition, they have a Raven in Santa Monica (I don't know it that well) as well as El Leon in WeHo which I haven't visited for a long time but when I did I absolutely LOVED it.



  1. Why Nancy and not me. Give me one reason. Otherwise, lovely relatable inspiring and yum.

    1. You're like a billion miles away. That being said, wherever you are, you are my trudge bud and you ALWAYS make me laugh. xoxo, Bunny