People ask me complicated questions like "why are you in LA?" This may not seem like a complicated question, but we live in a world where people like to put things in tiny boxes. Is it a vacation? Well, it's pleasurable and fun and I hopefully will get to see lots of people I love. And of course "work" for me is such a complicated and fraught word because sometimes it means giving myself a facial, and sometimes it just means walking around and talking to people and waiting for divine energy to infuse me with something interesting to write about.

So this week in LA was kind of like a self-constructed "make a wish" weekend. I wanted to give myself a treat - by trying as many of those Instagram things I was intrigued by, but with a budget of a reasonable person. And of course, I was going to write about it, thereby making it work.

Via the magically transparent world of the modern internet, I had the option to see what things were out there, and then pick the ones most interesting to me!

So here is a short selection of the awesome things I did this week, all with price tags ranging from free to $40, that still made me feel like I was a Hollywood ingenue. Totes worth it.

Skin Laundry (First Facial is Free)
This article magically appeared in front of me last week as I was trying to figure out how to round out my LA trip. Lo & behold the idea of a (free) 15-minute laser facial that would have immediate brightening, tightening, and acne fighting benefits was impossible to resist. It was also super easy to book online (and then reschedule twice as my plans changed.)

The adorable, clean studio in WeHo is next to a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (so LA!)  But walking in you feel clean and safe, especially after the detailed walkthrough, medical review, waivers, and an exercise where they send pictures of your face to the boss to sign off on your skin safety before beginning. 15 minutes later, the gentle, satisfying crackle of clean skin and indulgent sunscreen application was complete. See pictures below.

This tiny hood boasts a Blue Mercury, a Rite Aid, a Diptyque, and a hidden treasure called Larchmont Beauty Supply - which is basically like walking into a magic world where every product you've ever read about in a magazine, or seen on an it-girl Instagram lives at irresistibly affordable prices. I didn't even take pictures, I was too awestruck and overwhelmed by the shelves around me. You're just going to have to check it out for yourselves and trust me.

Violet Grey
This boutique is a pilgrimage for me. I can go in and talk beauty and play with products and learn new things. And it's free - if you're a stronger person than me who can resist all that majesty and wonder.

Serious brow goals... 

The sun-washed boutique slash full-service salon is where Gwenyth Paltrow gets her brows done. And Mandy Moore. The list goes on and on. But of course, they are stunning movie stars. After the required 8 weeks of uncontrolled, untouched growth I was deeply skeptical about what was possible. They looked scraggly and sad and unruly. Lo and behold, I now understand why the stunningly gorgeous and talented Kristie has achieved celebrity status as the most sought after brow artist to the LA beautiful. She did magic. I can't tell you what she did (there was some tint, some trimming, some rapid fire plucking) but I left feeling transformed. Two days (and the aforementioned facial) later, I have yet to put any makeup on my face except lip balm or gloss. The brow pencil she recommended is still waiting to emerge into my routine (more on that later!)

And of course...

My fully documented playdate with makeup artist Jamie Keller.