Today was opening day for this new location so my coworkers and I went there for lunch. Oh boy do they have some first-day kinks to work out! It took forever for our server to come to our table to get our drink orders. Then she gave us incorrect information about the lunch specials (she said we got both soup AND salad, however we learned at the end that it was a choice between the two and soup is extra). The wait to get our soup was very long ... the wait for our entrees was even longer. Finally some servers came by with food, but turns out it was not what we had ordered (not remotely close). Then our server popped by again to ask what our orders were. That's always great to hear when you've been sitting in a restaurant for 45+ minutes!
Finally, our food arrived but by this point we had been there for over an hour and weren't even hungry anymore. I took a few bites of my chicken but had to stop - the texture was strange, as if it had been frozen right before it was cooked. It even tasted minty at times. I really hope I don't end up with food poisoning later today! I was thinking of mentioning it to our server, but I honestly just wanted to get out of there.
I probably won't come back here, which is a shame because I do love the downtown and Burbank locations!
I remember when I used to avoid J Crew like the plague. With its pastel twin sets and plaid skirts (not to mention argyle socks), it looked like prep school overload, a style I haven't been into since the 10th grade when Cher Horowitz from "Clueless" rocked my world and introduced sexy school girl into my life.
Lately however, J Crew has been showing up more often in my credit card statement. Do I credit Jenna Lyons, J Crew's creative director since 2007, for introducing feminine flair to their pieces? The carefully placed ruffles, the chiffon tiered layers, the Blair Waldorf-esque headbands adorned with feathers and satin ribbons... they all scream J Crew now, but I swear they didn't back then. In fact, I was in this Americana location tonight with a close friend, who upon entering the shop proclaimed "Remember when J Crew wasn't this cool?"
J Crew has now become a style staple once again ... a proven expert in classic pieces that are basic, but still hold up to a high standard of design and detail. Unlike the Gap, which designs their "basics" at the most basic level, J Crew basics appear delicately crafted, with rich fabrics like fine merino wool. In my opinion, always worth the investment.
1) Best pieces are their cardigans, sweaters, and jewelry/accessories
2) Their sale section always has a good selection, with pieces that aren't too past-season
3) J Crew Outlet will often take the popular J Crew items and "re-design" them in different fabrics so it's a good place to look for pieces you didn't get around to buying
4) For those who have been fans of J Crew from the beginning... the argyle socks are still there! :)
Today's Black Friday experience brought me to the Westfield Topanga, not the small one, but the BIG one. I feel kind of bad for the small one because when you exit the 101, you pass by it first, think its the big one, get excited, realize its not, continue to drive for another couple of blocks, see the REAL big one and immediately feel relieved that you didn't stop by the first one. Sorry, little Westfield Promenade.
I digress. This review isn't about the battle of the Westfields, but instead about a new shop my friend and I stumbled upon. Love Culture. We were both a bit stunned when we saw it. It's a huge store with big glass windows and a LOT of decor in flashes of white and hot pink. Like a Forever 21, but tackier. More in your face TWEEN. In fact, we were hesitant to go in ... would the clothes fit us? Are we too tall? Are we too mature? Would entering Love Culture damage our reputation?
Perhaps it was the holiday shopping spirit ... or the dark chocolate peppermint mocha high we both had ... or the fact that we had already spent way too much money and needed a cheap store to feel better about ourselves. Whatever the reason, we decided to go in.
VERDICT: Love Culture is the rebellious younger sister of Forever 21. The sister who is only 11 but wants to date 16 year old boys and go to Lady Gaga concerts. In fact, a good chunk of the store's collection looks like it escaped from Lady Gaga's dressing room.
THE CLOTHES: Aside from Lady Gaga inspired looks, Love Culture captures a lot of the current teen trends and divides the store into little 'nooks" for every teen personality, from the prepster to the sophisticate to the jock. There's also a lot of clothes scattered throughout that fit the most profitable personality: the "I'm in my 20s but on a budget" girl. Cardigans, vests, sweater dresses, pencil skirts. Items that are both "on trend" and basic, without breaking the bank. Be careful where you wander though ... I got lost and accidentally wandered into the "I love Ed Hardy but I'm broke" section and became very frightened.
PRICES: Since it's a fairly new chain (I think they only have locales in South Bay and Thousand Oaks from what I've seen on Yelp) the prices are great. Very cheap, the way Forever 21 used to be before they needed more funds to take over the world. The quality is what you'd expect in teen/fast fashion stores. Don't expect too much and you might be pleasantly surprised by how long certain pieces last.
FINAL IMPRESSION: It's a good chain to keep an eye on. Forever 21 didn't have the best stuff when they first started and look at them now. Love Culture could very well be the next big thing. In the end, I bought a basic black fitted skirt for only $8. None of the other purchases I made that day were part of a Black Friday sale, so I HAD to walk away with SOMETHING cheap!
Ribbons and baskets and bows, oh my!!!
One of the best things about downtown LA is that you never know when you're going to discover a hidden gem. Today I ventured to the Flower District to pick up some ribbons for a work event and a coworker recommended Floral Supply Syndicate. Although its name is far from catchy, one step inside and it's a crafts-lover's dream!!! It shares a building with Moskatels, an arts & crafts store that was overflowing with colorful Halloween decor (like signs that say Beware of Bling) and Christmas wreaths. Imagine Michaels on steroids!
I am in love. The staff was extremely friendly and knew where everything was located, saving time from aimless wandering. The selection is intimidating but also exciting. Aisles upon aisles of ribbons, all shapes and colors. Gift boxes. Gift bags. Baskets. I think I've found my new lunch break guilty pleasure!
1) Make sure to not get lost while driving here. To quote my coworker, "When coming from the Financial District, make sure to make a RIGHT on San Julian. Making a left will lead you to Skid Row."
2) Parking is very convenient. They have their own in-door garage with security guards. Very safe. You also get 2 hours of free parking if you spend over $25! (Trust me, thats very easy to do at this store!)
3) If you work for a company and have your company ID with you, you are eligible for wholesale prices. A very nice discount.