California Dreamin'

We asked our friend, Rachel Balestro, to tell us what’s inspiring her in LA, and she did not disappoint. In a city buzzing with creative energy, here’s Rachel’s list of LA’s chicest and most delicious.  Thank you Rachel for sharing your passion, talent and eye for style.  You’re an excellent contributing editor!  We want to book the next flight!   (Please see more about Rachel below and follow her on Instagram)

Basically Beautiful is interested in hearing about your travels.  Please tell us what’s inspiring you.  We would love to share your ideas and experiences with our readers.  Please contact us: [email protected]

The Tower Bar

Everyone who’s anyone…

Perhaps the chicest and most nostalgic restaurant and night spot in Hollywood, The Tower Bar is located in the Sunset Tower Hotel, an art deco landmarc built in 1929.  The restaurant was meticulously renovated in the former apartment of notorious American mobster Bugsy Siegel and maintains a distinct aura of old Hollywood glamour; the walls are wood paneled, the lighting is dim, the waiters are uniform-clad and a pianist entertains guests with jazz favorites.  The menu which includes Oysters Rockefeller, Deviled Eggs Á La Russe and Caviar Service is equally representative of a bygone era.  This is a dining experience not to be missed!

Chateau Marmont

Mingle with Hollywood royalty…

For anyone looking to envelope themselves into the heart of Tinseltown glamour and scandal, this iconic hideaway nestling into the hills that hover over the Sunset Strip is worth a visit.  Chateau Marmont was modeled after France’s Château d’Amboise and for the past 90 years has hosted a myriad of movie stars, some of which have taken up full-time residence in hotel’s private bungalows.  Enjoy meandering amongst the lush landscape, cuddling up in the tudor-style library or dining in one of the hotels two restaurants – both of which are excellent.  Looking for a real immersive experience?  Book Bungalow No. 3, a spectacular and very private two bedroom retreat where John Belushi spent his last night – it’s worth the splurge!

Stacey Todd

Hipster Chic…

With the distinct feel of a rock star’s closet, Stacey Todd’s eponymous boutique is the epitome of casual cool.  With racks of monochromatic pieces by some of today’s hottest designers – Nili Lotan, Isabel Marant and Philip Lim, and a plethora of the most sought after denim labels – Current/Elliot, J. Brand, Dsquared2.  Stacey Todd is an oasis for any Angelista in search of ultra-chic, yet very wearable finds.  Plus, her beautifully curated shoes and accessories are not to be missed…our favorites include Golden Goose’s perfectly distressed cowboy boots and Jack Vartanian’s chunky link chockers.

Irene Neuwirth

Statement Jewels…

Boho meets bourgeoisie at Irene Neuwirth’s flagship jewelry boutique on the iconic Melrose Place.  The 2000 sq. ft space is quite literally a cozy jewel box unto itself, and the perfect ambiance for Neuwirth’s spectacularly colorful and whimsical treasures.  Inspired by her love of the ocean, Neuwirth incorporates both precious and semi-precious stones to create each unique and unmanufactured piece of jewelry.  The result: bold, colorful statement pieces that feel raw and organic, yet entirely decadent and stunning.  Please see our exquisite Irene Neuwirth selections freatured in our “Jewels of the World” category.

Heath Ceramics

Back to Basics…

Heath Ceramics was established 1948 in Sausalito by artist and pioneer Edith Heath.  Heath combined her knowledge of the scientific properties of clay with her artistic sensibilities to create ceramics that find beauty in their simplicity, form, and distinctly modern proportions.  The original workshop and store still exist in Sausalito, but in 2008 the company collaborated with Commune Design to create an outpost in Los Angeles.  This community space is part gallery, part workshop and part store with an emphatically mid-century modern aesthetic.  Showcased are Heath’s many lines of stoneware – everything from dinner plates to wall tiles, as well as, gorgeous table linens, sleek flatware, utilitarian tote bags, and a line of jewelry featuring ceramic beads with unique glazes.

Ashley Dawn/Ramirez Tran Salon

Blondes have more fun…

Ashley Dawn is the ultimate California girl and the master at making surfer-girl, beach-blond dreams come true.  Truly an artist, Ashley creates highlights that are bright, multidimensional, transformative and the epitome of low maintenance chic.  Ashley can be found at the gorgeous, celebrity touted Ramirez Tran Salon in Beverly Hills.  In addition to her masterful highlights, Ashley also specializes in color corrections, extensions and Brazilian Keratin Treatments.  Prices begin at $275.

Malibu Farm Restaurant

No nonsense dining perfection…

Heading to the beach?  Leave your picnic blankets behind and be sure to hit the Malibu Pier for a bite at Helene Henderson’s white-washed and beachy-chic Malibu Farm Restaurant.  Enjoy sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean while dining on simply prepared, locally harvested eats, or pop in for a sunset cocktail (whiskey or wheatgrass depending on your mood).  The fish tacos are perfect: a crisp fillet of branzino served with homemade tortillas, cucumber and tomato pico, pepper jack cheese and cilantro crema.  The restaurant also hosts special events like their Thanksgiving Feast and a Gingerbread House Decorating workshop which are listed on the restaurant’s website.

Book Soup

Don’t ever leave us…

With independent book shops quickly becoming dying breed, Book Soup is a refreshingly rare dinosaur in the age of Amazon and audiobooks.  This corner shop which opened in 1975 is lined with over 60,000 titles and maintains its commitment to university, international and small press publications.  The store boasts an impressive collection of art books, literary fiction, as well as, limited editions, autographed copies and even vinyl records.  Check out Book Soup’s monthly calendar on their website for a wide range of author events including signings, readings and discussions.

Casa Perfect

The soul of an artist…

This gallery/showroom is located  in the sprawling ranch home with panoramic views where Elvis Presley resided from 1967 to 1973.  Casa Perfect uses this opulent residential setting to showcase the works of international artists and designers all of which can be purchased on The Future Perfect’s website.  Each room displays a menagerie of unique, contemporary pieces that blur the line between fine art and furnishing, including Blowing Chairs by Seungjin Yang, sofas by Arflex and horsehair adorned mirrors by Ben & Aja Blanc.

Visits are by appointment only and can be made on The Future Perfect’s website.

Kai Ramen

Good for the soul…

This hole-in-the-wall ramen joint tucked into a nondescript strip mall in the San Fernando Valley is entirely worthy of a journey over the hill.  Come early, put your name on a list and prepare to be transported into Japanese noodle soup heaven.  The broths are steamy and complex with several options of broth (pork, chicken or soy) and two choices of noodles (skinny or jumbo).  Each bowl is an entire meal unto itself, more of a stew than a soup.  The White Ramen is particularly outstanding: a creamy garlic butter broth with spoon-tender, thick cuts of pork belly, soy boiled egg, seasoned scallions, black mushrooms, and crispy onions.

Mohawk General Store

Curatorial geniuses…

Mohawk General Store is known for its beautifully curated collection of multi-brand clothing, accessories, apothecary and home goods and has become an LA staple with several locations throughout the city.  Founded by husband and wife team, Kevin and Bo Carney, Mohawk is the ultimate shopping experience for fashion foward Angelistas. The inventory is both eclectic and refined; minamalist duds by lables like Lemiare and Jil Sander juxtapose boho chic dresses by Ulla Johnson and Rachel Comey, while Scandanavian sleek tablewear is displayed alongside Crescioni’s leather adorned jewelry.  The Carney’s also created, SMOCK, their own line of utilitarian modern separates with a distinctly Japanese flair.

Wally’s Beverly Hills

Any day of the week…

This shop and dine concept combines a restaurant, bar, wine shop and gourmet market into one spectacular bottle-lined space.  Wally’s extensive wine list with 120 wines by the glass and an ever-changing menu of shared plates, pizzetas, pastas and California-French inspired entrees, Wally’s is the perfect place for both after work grazing or late-night dining (they are open until 2am).  Beside the enormous selection of wines for sale, the market also boasts an impressive selection of more than 300 types of cheese and charcuterie, as well as other delicacies like wild Scottish salmon and Oscietra caviar.  Wally’s is located in the heart of Beverly Hills glamorous shopping district and is truly a Shangri-la  for foodies and oenophiles alike.

Rachel Kilberg

Rachel Kilberg is a writer, interior designer and aficionado of all things beautiful and delicious.

She lives in Los Angeles with her two beautiful children and their perfectly mannered cockapoo. 



BB:  Do you have a favorite quote?  

Rachel:  “There is beauty in everything, just not everybody sees it” — Andy Warhol


BB:  What is your favorite flower? 

Rachel:  Peonies


BB:  Favorite playlist?

Rachel:  Anything yacht rock


BB:  Favorite ice cream?

Rachel:  Black olive brittle & goat cheese (from Salt & Straw)


BB:  If you could have one superpower…?

Rachel:  Time travel (both forwards & backwards)


BB:  What is the best way to contact you?

Rachel:  You can reach me at [email protected] or through Instagram

(posted: October 2019)

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