OCCUPATION: Writer/on-air host. Author of Perfectly Disheveld and regular contributor for Lifetime
MY STYLE: Layered, preppy, chic. At home, it’s kind of the same thing; I’m drawn to bold patterns and clean lines. Everything has a place, but nothing is too precious. If J.Crew and West Elm had a baby, they’d have me.
I LOVE LOS ANGELES BECAUSE: I’m 20 minutes away from everything—the beach, the mountains, even the desert. There are a ton of amusement park-type attractions, but also wonderful farms and open areas for hiking, biking, and exploring. The weather is pretty much always perfect, too.
Paradise Cove Beach
Even if you’ve never been to Paradise Cove, you probably feel like you know it—from Baywatch, Gidget, The O.C. and countless other filmings that have taken place on the Malibu beache’s golden sands. Take a break from swimming or sunbathing to grab a snack at the Beach Café, which offers huge salads, crispy seafood baskets, and daiquiris served in watermelons! For an even more luxurious—not to mention shadier—treat, rent one of Paradise Cove’s spacious, beachside cabanas.
Artisan Cheese Gallery
This community cheese shop prides itself on offering hard-to-find varieties, thanks largely to its network of small producers. “Have to mention this Studio City spot,” says Jennifer Brandt, who goes for the cheeses, breads, and sandwiches. Cheese lovers will also adore such specialties as vintage gouda and Dunbarton blue, in addition to wines, lambic beer, oils, jams, and even Mexico-imported Coca-Cola!
Close to the civic center and even closer to the beach, convenience is key at this Santa Monica hotel. The management goes to great lengths to ensure eco-conscious amenities, and in every room you’ll find local listings for eco-friendly restaurants. If dining in is more your speed, not to worry—the Viceroy’s two on-site restaurants, Whist and Cameo, can rival any L.A. hotspot.
Joan’s on Third
Joan’s on Third is loved not only for its food, but its unbeatable people-watching. A marketplace that offers salads, sandwiches, charcuterie, baked goods, and other specialty food items (Jennifer Brandt is obsessed with the Chinese chicken salad), Joan’s is also one of L.A.’s most beloved caterers. During summer months you can custom-order a picnic box, perfect for that daytrip to the beach.
Sweet Butter Kitchen
When husband and wife team Leslie Danelian and Rick Berge first opened Sweet Butter Kitchen, the muffins, soups, layer cakes (and everything in between!) became an instant success. It’s likely that drop in customers will choose to stay, upon walking through the eatery’s wrought iron gates, to enjoy their treats on the outdoor banquette seating in the herb garden. Jennifer Brandt also comes for the delicious all-day breakfast.
La Brea Tar Pits
These naturally occurring tar pits have been trapping animals, plants, and insects for 40,000 years, thus generating preserved fossils as far back as the Ice Age. The permanent outdoor exhibit, part of the Page Museum, shows excavations in progress. You might even see some actively bubbling tar!
The Four Seasons Los Angeles
Laidback luxury, with several California twists (for one, the gym is on an open-air terrace). Kids can kick back in miniature bathrobes, while the concierge arranges visits to family-friendly destinations like the Skirball Cultural Center or Legoland. As for the spa, it too is worth a visit. As Candace Nelson puts it, “it may not be the most elaborate in the city, but I think it’s the best,” she says. “Book an appointment with Genia, manicurist to the stars! Her mani/pedis last three weeks and she loves hearing stories about your kids.”