This tucked-away LA oasis is a place for quiet contemplation

I’m very much aware of my feet. The quiet lift of the heel, the bend of the knee, the extension of the toes and the clackety tap of shoe against ground. Following the serpentine path of the stone labyrinth, I take one step in front of the other, watching and listening to my feet. Tap,…

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From Cairo to Hollywood: The Academy Awards is a family tradition

By the time the first celebrity descended on the red carpet, it was around 2 a.m. in Cairo, where I lived with my mom for the better part of my life. I was already tucked away in bed in my sleepwear, but I was wide awake. We were waiting for the decade’s “it” celebrity to…

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Can you virtually tour Ireland? I am — and here’s how it’s going

In southwest Ireland, there’s a circular scenic drive that contours the Iveragh Peninsula, weaving through lush coastal landscapes and itty bitty rural seaside villages. It’s called the Ring of Kerry, and it’s an iconic trek in Ireland — an open secret boasting some incredible vistas and glimpses of diverse wildlife. Tourists from around the world…

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Pasadena, CA: University or park? Caltech’s campus offers a much-needed escape

The desire to come to America ran river-deep into my soul. My sight was fixated on it like Neil Armstrong’s on the moon, and just like space, it was alien territory. Marvelous, but alien, harboring some familiarity but equal strangeness. The United States was something I saw all the time — in movies, music and…

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Bakersfield, CA: Almond tree blossoms bring in spring

This is the first part of a three-part series on wildflowers and blooms in Southern California that focuses on almond tree blossoms in Kern County. Next up? The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. Every spring, the celebration starts. You can call it an annual gathering, with an invite date set to the final days of…

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Roundup: 7 ways to play with the asymmetry trend this spring

Just a few weeks ago, I was prowling the vegetable bins at a local grocery, carrying an assortment of products with one arm and trying to pry open a plastic produce bag with two dry fingers. (If you have ever tried to do this while wearing a mask and without licking your thumb first, you…

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Roundup: How to wear opera gloves

A few weeks ago, I hunkered down on the couch, with a plate of washed and destemmed grapes and the remote control within reach. By my feet, my fluffball of a poodle sighed, perched like a cute little cherry on top of a swirl of blanket. In other words, it was an evening of endless…

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Bakersfield, CA: Breaking pie on Galentine’s Day

I remember the first time we met. It was the second day of fashion week in Los Angeles, and we’d been called over to stand in line and wait for our turn to interview one of the designers post-show. The hall of the automotive museum was buzzing with people discussing the looks they’d just seen…

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Roundup: How to wear art prints

If you’ve ever read any of my blog posts or thumbed through my Instagram feed, you probably already know this: I love art. That’s partially because I grew up fully immersed in the works of the old masters (but that’s another topic for another post), but also because art — if you don’t let it…

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48 hours in a pandemic-era Las Vegas

*Writer’s note: My trip to Vegas happened back in November of 2020, before the recent travel restrictions and dramatic surges in COVID-19 cases. We don’t run into anyone. No hapless tourists in baggy cargo shorts leaving their rooms to test their luck with the slot machines. No boisterous laughter echoing off the walls. Just the…

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