Q&A: Olympic Swimmer Natalie Coughlin
The most decorated female American Olympian talks training, DWTS, and her NoCal roots.
June 19, 2013
Olympian Natalie Coughlin is a Northern California native who puts health and fitness first.
Twelve-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin has her share of swimming accolades (three gold, four silver, and five bronze, to date). With the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in her sights, you can usually find the 30-year-old champion swimming five-six hours a day in a pool near her alma mater, UC Berkeley.
But between travel to Santa Clara for the USA Swimming Grand Prix and Barcelona for the Swimming World Championships, nutrition and the outdoors never take a backseat. The native Northern Californian, who always felt “most at home in the water,” makes sure to carve time for simple pleasures like cooking, gardening, surfing, running, hiking, and more. A passionate humanitarian and role model, she recently teamed up with LensCrafters to educate the public about vision care.
We caught up with the accomplished athlete to learn about her health and nutrition tips, how she’s perfecting her strokes for Rio, and at which restaurants in LA she likes to indulge.
Where are some of your favorite beaches and pools in California to swim?
NATALIE COUGHLIN: I do all my training in Berkeley, up north. Down here, I like Manhattan Beach a lot, and Venice Beach is an iconic LA beach. Up north, my favorite is probably Cowell’s, which is in the Santa Cruz area. I love surfing, so I like to go to the beaches where there’s some good people watching, but also some good surf.
Do you have a nutrition program that you follow?
NC: I don’t have a specific diet, per se. But I definitely try to get in as many fresh and organic fruits and vegetables as possible. So rather than stick to 3-4,000 calories a day, I just kind of listen to my body. I start every day with this green smoothie, which has kale and spinach and bananas and seaweed. Whenever I’m cooking, I try to use my ingredients wisely and get the most nutritional bang for my buck.
Are there certain products that you rely on for your performance?
NC: It’s the summertime, so everyone always thinks about staying out of the sun, and putting sunscreen on. But one of the things people forget is that you need to protect your eyes as well. I never leave the house without putting my sunglasses on. I have light blue eyes and I’m constantly outdoors, so I have to protect them from UV rays. I also wear eyeglasses, especially when I’m traveling. Hopefully I’ll be going to Barcelona this summer, and that’s a very long flight. So I won’t wear my contacts, I’ll wear my glasses to give my eyes a chance to breathe.
How are you getting ready for these upcoming competitions?
NC: I have Nationals coming up, which would then lead to Barcelona for World Championships. So right now it’s about just resting as much as possible, and making sure that I’m 100% ready to go. In heavy training periods, I swim up to five or six hours a day, and that’s a combination of weight training as well as swimming. I’m focusing more on sprinting and specializing than I ever have in the past, and I’ve added in more weight training sessions. I’m lifting weights four times a week, which is quite a lot. So I’m really focusing on my power and my strength, and hoping that that translates into speed in the pool.
What was your experience on Dancing with the Stars like?
NC: It was athletic in the sense that I was challenging my body every day with something so different than swimming. But it was fun just playing dress-up all the time, wearing over-the-top makeup that you can’t wear anywhere else, and these crazy costumes. I also got to meet people from all different backgrounds, from Kelly Osbourne to Chuck Liddell to Debi Mazar.
What are your favorite restaurants to visit when you’re in LA?
NC: This goes back to my Dancing with the Stars experience, but I loved Mozza (6602 Melrose Ave., Hollywood, 323-297-0100). Getting a pizza from Mozza became my Sunday routine. I love Italian cuisine, and it’s so fresh and flavorful, and just a very chill spot. Also along the Italian route, I loved Angelini Osteria (7313 Beverly Blvd., Mid-City, 323-297-0070). My husband and I would share that huge, caveman-style piece of steak. It’s definitely a good date-night restaurant.
A+D Museum's 'Never Built' Exhibit Preview
Through a display of discarded projects, the museum explores an LA that might have been.
June 19, 2013
Union Station, which will play host to a preview party for the A+D Museum’s “Never Built” exhibit, in an old photograph.
A special preview event at Union Station’s historic Harvey House this Thursday, June 20 (7-10 pm) will reveal the Architecture and Design Museum’s new exhibition, “Never Built: Los Angeles.” Running from July 28-September 29, this collection of projects that never came to fruition explores a “what if” version of Los Angeles, in hopes of inspiring and paving the way for future innovation.
Co-curated by Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin, and designed by Clive Wilkinson Architects, “Never Built” will utilize words, drawings, models, videos, and other media to examine works that might have monumentally impacted the city. This includes structures imagined by legends like Frank Lloyd Wright, John Lautner, Rudolph Schindler, Frank Gehry, and Thom Mayne, in addition to ideas for amusement parks, public transportation, and more that can be studied in artistic terms. By exploring why many of these still-relevant projects were never built, the initiative aims to promote urban innovation, encourage artistry, and break down creative barriers imposed by the city’s institutions and infrastructure.
The preview party will be held inside the architecturally rich Harvey House, and will feature models, drawings, animations, and a presentation from the upcoming “Never Built” show. Backed by an array of local sponsors, the evening will feature fare from Downtown LA restaurants like Church & State and Traxx, drinks courtesy of Angel City Brewery, and music by KCRW DJ Raul Campos. Tickets are $75, and can be purchased at aplusd.org. 800 Alameda St., Downtown Los Angeles, 323-932-9393
The Ceviche Project Pops Up in Hollywood
The Writer's Room and Hot Lemon Productions present a one-night ceviche pop-up dinner.
June 18, 2013
The Writer’s Room mixologist Daniel Nelson and The Ceviche Project founder Octavio Olivas join forces this week.
This Wednesday, June 19, Ceviche Project’s Octavio Olivas and The Writer’s Room’s house mixologist Daniel Nelson will join forces at The Writer’s Room for a special dinner pairing an elaborate seafood menu with handcrafted cocktails. Dubbed A Celebration of Ceviche and Cocktails, this one-night-only event is an opportunity to experience the Ceviche Project, a recurring LA-based pop-up restaurant concept focused on fresh marinated fish.
With two seatings at 6:30 and 9 pm, the food served will showcase Olivas’ signature seafood dishes, like oysters on the half-shell with bespoke mignonettes and citrus-kissed ceviche. Four courses of seafood and shellfish, plus a tasty side treat, will be paired with libations mixed by Nelson that feature Casamigos tequila, Cruzan rum, and Mionetto wine. The dinner will conclude with a creative dessert course by Supperclub executive chef Guus Wickenhagen.
The Ceviche Project’s first pop-up event took place at Bar Covell in 2011, and the popular series has gone on to host events at Dominick’s, Soho House, L&E Oyster Bar, Speranza, and Palate Food & Wine. Inspired by a childhood of fishing and marinating fresh catches in Mexico City, Olivas founded the concept to bring people together to experience new fare in a group setting. This Ceviche Project event marks a collaboration between Hot Lemon Productions, run by former Food Network executive and Iron Chef creator Bruce Seidel, and The Writer’s Room, an intimate haunt tucked behind the Walk of Fame, which boasts a long literary lineage and history of catering to Hollywood’s elite.
Disrupting Slavery Benefit Gala
Stars join the Somaly Mam Foundation's fight against human trafficking at 41 Ocean.
June 17, 2013
On June 13, 2013, the Somaly Mam Foundation presented the Disrupting Slavery charity benefit at 41 Ocean in Santa Monica. Co-founder, human rights activist, and slavery survivor Somaly Mam was joined by a host committee of stars including AnnaLynne McCord, Serinda Swan, Pia Toscano, and Eva Amurri Martino to help stop the trafficking of women and children.
McCord, a longtime supporter of the cause, led the crowd at 41 Ocean—a new private members club from Jeremy Umland and Max Russo—in a live auction. Items up for bid included a membership to 41 Ocean, an on-set experience at Nickelodeon’s hit show See Dad Run, 2014 PGA Masters Golf Tournament badges, piano lessons at Babyface’s studio, and NY Fashion Week and South Beach excursions. The event also included a three-song acoustic performance by Knocked Up Kids, specialty cocktails courtesy of Don Benito Tequila and Akvinta Vodka, and a selection of canapés prepared by 41 Ocean’s executive chef Jimmy Martinez.
The Somaly Mam Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to abolishing modern slavery. About two million woman and children are sold into sexual slavery annually, making human trafficking a multi-billion dollar industry and the world’s fastest growing criminal enterprise. The foundation supports rescue programs in Southeast Asia, raises awareness of human trafficking by spotlighting its brave survivors, and engages the public and governments in the fight to eradicate modern slavery. Over $50,000 was raised in support of the cause.
LA Stationery Brand Bliss & Bone Launches
The customizable bridal stationary line offers countless creative possibilities.
June 17, 2013
Bliss & Bone’s luxe wedding collections pass up traditional paper materials to use elegant chiffons, tulle, foil, vellum, wax paper, acrylic, and more.
Bliss & Bone is a new LA-based online bridal stationery platform that addresses the discerning bride’s paper needs from start to finish. Launched June 10 by Hollywood Hills husband-and-wife team Cindy and Carl Skanderup, Bliss & Bone features chic, modern design suites that cover everything from save-the-dates and invitations, to custom cocktail napkins and rubber stamps.
The brand aims to take the stress out of the planning process by creating a one-stop-shop for all wedding-related accessories. Brides begin by purchasing a foundation package which includes a save-the-date, wedding invitation, thank-you cards, wedding website, inspiration board, and style guide. These packages come in six varying styles, from the rustic Prana collection, which features a neutral color palette and uses non-traditional raw materials like burlap, to the elegant-yet-edgy Lucent line with its shimmery blush tones and luxe papers.
Once settled on their foundation, brides have the opportunity to enhance their wedding day with accessories like menus, programs, and seating cards, as well as stamps, coasters, kraft tags, and other themed elements. Foundations start at $3,830 and range based on the designs and add-ons selected. Visit blissandbone.com for additional information or to purchase samples.
The 24 Hour Plays at The Broad Stage
Montblanc presents the third-annual charity theater event in LA on Saturday, June 22.
June 17, 2013
Charity Wakefield, Joshua Jackson, Gillian Jacobs, Leigh Kilton Smith, and Ramon Rodriguez attend The 24 Hour Plays in 2012.
For one night only on Saturday, June 22, some of Los Angeles' most talented actors and writers will team up for the The 24 Hour Plays—a charity theater event that takes a series of six one-act plays from conception to live performance in the span of 24 hours. Presented by Montblanc and benefiting the Los Angeles chapter of Urban Arts Partnership, this year’s performances will include 24 acclaimed actors like Melanie Griffith, Seth Green, Diane Neal, Justin Long, Rosie Perez, and many more. They will join six writers from the likes of The Daily Show, Modern Family, and Arrested Development, as well as six talented directors, a production team, and musical talent to complete the performance.
The creative process starts at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica the evening of June 21. There, each writer will conceive a ten-minute play overnight based on the talents of their cast; directors and actors will then rehearse the pieces throughout the day of the performances. At 8 pm on June 22, the curtain rises and LA theater fans can see the end results of the six plays.
The official afterparty (10 pm) will take place at The Shore Hotel in Santa Monica. Tickets for The 24 Hour Plays range from $100-$200 and are available at urbanarts.tix.com. 1310 11th St., Santa Monica, 212-966-5881
Photography by Michael Bezjian/Getty Images For Montblanc
What We're Reading
Father's Day gifts for foodies, much ado about a cinematic Shakespeare revival, and more.
June 14, 2013
Joss Whedon’s contemporary take on Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, premiered in LA this week.
If you’re in the market for a home with historical merit, Walt Disney’s former 8-bedroom, 17-bathroom Carolwood Estate in Holmby Hills is up for grabs. The mansion’s $90 million price tag includes the miniature steam railroad system built by Disney himself, which served as the inspiration for his first theme park, Disneyland. [Vanity Fair]
Hollywood actor and restaurateur Harry Lewis, most famous for founding the Hamburger Hamlet chain, passed away on Sunday. Los Angeles Magazine pays homage to his celebrity patronage and 24-location legacy. [Los Angeles Magazine]
Kinky Boots the musical might have clean-swept this past Sunday’s Tonys, but A-listers like Scarlett Johansson, Sienna Miller, and Cicely Tyson stole the show on the red carpet. The Huffington Post names best-dressed stars on theater’s biggest night. [Huffington Post]
If food is the way to your father’s heart, forgo a tie this year in favor of these culinary-themed treats. From Godiva truffles to Craftsman Grill barbecue tools, LA Weekly has a list of Father’s Day gifts any foodie will love. [LA Weekly]
With Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing reigniting our love for Shakespeare, the LA Times takes a look at how the Bard has been translated cinematically over the years. [LA Times]
Photography by Elsa Guillet Chapuis
Dinner Plans: Cho Oishi
Father/son duo bring authentic shabu shabu to Los Angeles.
June 14, 2013
Cho Oishi’s interior combines ancient Japanese décor with more modern pieces.
For last-minute Father’s Day dinner plans, consider new Japanese venture Cho Oishi from father-son team Charlie and Nat Sukitjavanich. Housed in the lively entertainment complex Hollywood & Highland, Cho Oishi brings the Sukitjavanich’s 13 years of culinary experience to one of the city’s busiest intersections.
Designed by LA-based firm Spacecraft, the Cho Oishi interior combines modern minimalism with ancient Japanese elements via touches like artfully styled Japanese text. With wraparound views of the bustling Hollywood strip below, the space provides the ideal starting point for an evening at the Arclight, the Hollywood Bowl, or the Dolby Theatre underneath it.
Similarly, the debut menu comprises twists on traditional Japanese appetizers and salads. Innovative sushi rolls also play a starring role, with options like the Snow White—a spicy combination of snow crab, avocado, smelt roe, and asparagus topped with white tuna and spicy masago—on offer. The restaurant’s true specialty, though, is shabu shabu, and any guest would be remiss to miss out on the ultra-tender kobe wagyu rib-eye beef. Additional beef and pork options are also available, and all of Cho Oishi’s shabu shabu dishes are served with fresh vegetables, noodles, tofu, Japanese mushrooms, and seaweed. 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 323-464-0500
Weekend Recommender: June 13-16
Lisa Zane performs, Andy Warhol works come to L'Ermitage, a jet lands on Rodeo Drive....
June 13, 2013
A full-scale model of the Learjet 85 aircraft will “land” on Rodeo Drive this Father’s Day.
Lisa Zane Performs at Caulfield’s Bar & Dining Room
Thursday, June 13, 7 and 9 pm
LA-based singer/songwriter Lisa Zane (sister to actor Billy Zane) performs twice at Caulfield’s Bar & Dining Room this Thursday. Expect selections from her vast repertoire, which combines folk music, opera, and rock. Call the resto at 310-388-6860 to reserve a table. 9360 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-388-6860
Andy Warhol Exhibit Debuts at L'Ermitage
Starts Friday, June 14
Beginning this Friday, the lobby of L’Ermitage hotel will be transformed into a gallery showcasing “Icons & Symbols,” a curated exhibit that comprises original Andy Warhol prints compiled by the newly-opened ЯEVOLVER gallery in Beverly Hills. Among the 12 pieces featured are iconic images of Marilyn Monroe, Campbell’s Soup, and Elizabeth Taylor. The exhibit will be on display through August 31. 9291 Burton Way, Beverly Hills, 310-278-3344
Vitamin A Trunk Show at Everything But Water
Saturday, June 15, 12-5 pm
The upscale swim boutique will showcase Laguna-based swimwear brand Vitamin A, along with personal fittings and advice by designer Amahlia Stevens. Each guest will receive a headband with purchase, and can enter for a chance to score a swimsuit and cover-up of their choice. 555 Shops at Mission Viejo, Mission Viejo, 949-347-7056
Rodeo Drive’s Concours d’Elegance
Sunday, June 16, 10 am-4 pm
For dads who love all modes of luxury transportation, check out Rodeo Drive on Father’s Day for the 50th anniversary celebration of Learjet. Hosted by Rodeo’s Concours d’Elegance, the event will feature a full-scale mock-up of the ground-breaking Learjet 85 aircraft in the center of the street, surrounded by vintage and racing cars and motorcycles from world-renowned brands. 200 Rodeo Dr.
Photography by Jason Tinacci on behalf of Flexjet
The Cosmo Comes to Hollywood
The new nightspot offers a dramatic design and takes on the traditional Cosmopolitan drink.
June 13, 2013
The Cosmo nightclub debuted on Hollywood Boulevard May 29, offering a more exclusive alternative to the nearby club scene. Created by Boulevard Nightlife Group founder Suk Sung (also known for LA’s Supperclub, Lure, and Roxbury), The Cosmo combines a dramatic design scheme with a lineup of impressive DJ talent to create an intimate yet exciting nightlife environment.
Designed by Kris Keith of LA-based Spacecraft, the interior has a gothic feel with ribbed vaulting and high archways that accent the custom crystal chandeliers dangling above the dance floor. Tufted booths surround the dance area on both sides, while a mezzanine level boasts a VIP suite and private DJ booth. Club connoisseurs will be pleased by the state-of-the-art EAW sound system and lighting by Fyxx Entertainment, which includes three LED walls.
The initial cocktail menu features several riffs on the classic Cosmopolitan, including The Cherry Cosmo with Grey Goose Cherry Noir, orange liqueur, white cranberry juice, and a splash of lemon juice. Martinis are also prominent, with selections like The Cucumber Martini, which mixes Grey Goose, Grand Marnier, simple syrup, and cucumber and lime juices. Currently open only on Wednesday nights, The Cosmo has plans to expand to Friday and Saturday evenings soon. For more information or table reservations, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. 6364 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 323-957-1925
Fashion shoot: December 2013 issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine.