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GREAT DATES / OLYMPIC FEVER / PARTY GIRLS / POT SHOTS


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Making it work

Seven could be the luckiest number for fashion designer Jesus Estrada. The 21-year-old San Diegan was selected from more than 10,000 hopefuls for the seventh season of Project Runway, airing Thursdays on Lifetime (10 p.m.). The Fashion Careers College grad is one of 16 contestants vying for a chance to show at New York Fashion Week this month (when the live finale is taped) and emerge as the season’s breakout designer. 

“It’s still so unreal to me,” says Estrada, who was born in Mazatlán and moved with his family to the States when he was 4. “I still think I’m living in a fantasy.” Designing high fashion (think Dolce & Gabbana and Alex­ander McQueen) for judges Heidi Klum, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia in New York City, where the show was taped, is a far cry from waiting tables at Old Venice in Point Loma, a job he returned to after the show wrapped.

“I design in the morning,” says Estrada about how he balances paying the bills with pursuing his passion. “I’m young, so I can go without sleep right now!”
—Julia Beeson Polloreno

Photo by Karen Morrison 

NATIVE GOLD

As of press time, the United States had yet to finalize its Winter Olympics team. Here’s the scoop on our three Olympic hopefuls—and some pre-Games Q&A with snowboarder Shaun White.

Shaun Palmer
Named “world’s greatest athlete” by USA Today in 1998, the snowboarding, mountain-biking and motocross legend is making a dedicated push for the Olympics in snowboard cross. The legendarily rowdy 41-year-old San Diego native says an Olympics gold would be the crowning achievement in his career.

Rachael Flatt
The 2008 World Junior Champion and 2008 and 2009 silver medalist in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships is aiming for her first Olympics. Although the 17-year-old Del Mar native now lives and trains in Colorado Springs, she and her family return to Southern California to visit each summer.

Shaun White
The 23-year-old Carlsbad native and snowboarding virtuoso (pictured below) looks to earn his second Olympic gold medal following his halfpipe win in 2006.

What are you most looking forward to this Olympics?
The best part about the Olympics is the feeling of competing on behalf of your country. It’s one of the few times that you feel like a part of something bigger. Also, meeting girls from all over the world is nice!

What are your thoughts right now, headed into Vancouver?
I just made the team, so now I’m focused on putting together my final run. I just want to be prepared for anything that comes my way. There are a couple more contests I need to do, and I’m going to use them as practice for the big event. I also need to get away from the events to clear my head. I’m going to try to hang out at home a little, see my dog Rambo, my family, and maybe eat some Mexican food.

What makes the Olympics different from other competitions for you?
The biggest difference is the amount of pressure. It’s weird to say, but the whole world is watching us compete. That kind of pressure takes this event to a whole different level.

What sorts of things go on at the Olympics that spectators/viewers might not know about?
There are a ton of weird little things that go on behind the scenes. During the games, the athletes are for the most part confined to small areas where they hang out, eat and sleep. It’s weird seeing all the countries and their rituals and habits. Some of the countries get super-competitive and don’t talk to anyone, and others are so social you can’t get away from them. It’s also nuts when the athletes finally compete; they just go crazy once they’re done, like Girls Gone Wild crazy!

How are you going to celebrate if you win again?
I’m going to hang glide around the world with Danny Glover and the entire cast of Friends!
–ADAM ELDER

VENTURE CAPITAL

Tell any parent of grown children about Kid Ventures in Clairemont, and the response is, invariably, “Why didn’t they have that when my kids were young?”

Debbie and Darren Solomon created a 6,000-square-foot, indoor play facility for kids, but parents will appreciate the unique space, too. While kids romp from room to room—a Play Village includes a grocery store, fire station (with a real, vintage fire truck), disco theater, nursery, ’50s-style diner, library, art studio and gas station—parents can sip organic coffee and eat a healthy meal (delivered fresh daily by Zanzibar) in a café setting equipped with wi-fi and large flat-screen televisions. Another perk for grown-ups: A sound system streams coffeehouse-type music.

“We love watching all the children play and develop while parents enjoy a quaint café setting and get to catch up with friends,” says Darren, who also placed a castle, pirate ship and rock wall in the facility. “As new parents, we imagined spend­ing time in a space like this, and saw a need in the local market.”

All kids—the target age range is 8 and younger—must be accompanied by an adult (it’s not a daycare service, says Solomon). The drop-in rate is $12 for the day, with added discounts and benefits when you purchase a membership package. 858-272-2266; sdkidventures.com.
—Julia Beeson Polloreno

STYLE GUIDES

Combine two local label mavens, add several hundred rare retail finds, mix in a few beauty treatments, and top it off with a glass of champagne. The result: BE Styled private shopping events (bestyledstudio.com). Barbara Burton and Elena Hayley (the “B” and “E” of BE Styled) were real estate agents turned stay-at-home moms when they realized a shared passion for fashion.  The Coronado duo soon found themselves scouring the wholesale marketplace for an array of desirable brands, unique items and current trends in preparation for their first BE Styled shopping event last spring.

The two have since hosted shopping parties at homes, hotels and other venues around the county. And they’re the quintessential hostesses, coordinating every detail—from invites to flowers to arranging for in-house beauty treatments for guests. In addition to shopping events, the two specialize in private appointment shopping at their studio, where they have an inventory of 500 pieces—clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories. The best part of the BE Styled shopping experience? Items are often 50 percent off retail value.
—Andrea Ebbing

Here, the style-savvy ladies share some of their must-haves, from baubles to
bubble bath. All items available through BE Styled www.bestyledstudio.com.

Photo by: Tara Luz
Product shots by: Karen Morrison

Nicole Lee clutch, $39
Geneva watch, $39
Single dress, $99
Gold cocktail ring, $19
Sweet Season candle, $19
Knayton Hill bubble bath, $16

THE INSIDER

WSWJW (What Suspenders Would Jesus Wear?): During an event at the San Diego Jewish Book Fair, presenter Larry King took questions from audience members, one of whom asked, “Who would you really love to interview but have never had the chance?” King replied, “God. And I would have only one question: ‘Do you have a son?’”

Clueless no more: Actress and one-time World’s Sexiest Vegetarian Alicia Silverstone appeared at Isabel’s Cantina in Pacific Beach to promote her new book, The Kind Diet. Lucky attendees were treated to vegan cocktails and a “green-inspired” meal prepared by chef Isabel Cruz, followed by a dessert of organic cupcakes.

Fore! Who says health spas are just for women? Vista’s Cal-a-Vie spa, known for hosting leading ladies like Kirstie Alley, was all about the Y chromosome during a man-centric retreat for athletes that included fitness classes, therapeutic spa treatments and spa cuisine—not to mention a few rounds of golf with ex-footballer Marshall Faulk and one-time Yankee David Justice, who dropped by to tee off with the spa campers.

The caged bird sings: American Idol runner-up and fellatio-simulating American Music Awards performer Adam Lambert dedicated his costume from the Idol finale to the memorabilia collection at downtown’s Hard Rock Hotel. The KISS-inspired getup, replete with caged wings, joins clothing from Madonna, Elvis and the Beatles in the hotel’s collection. “It’s obviously quite an honor,” Lambert said. “I’m a new kid on the block, so I’m just excited to be asked. I hope people get a kick out of seeing it.”

TV in S.D.: O.B. gets another turn in the spotlight as the backdrop for a new show set to premiere on the FX Network. Terriers, starring Donal Logue (Grounded for Life, The Tao of Steve), recently began filming 12 episodes in the hippie haven, which last year was the setting for the short-lived comedy The Ex List, featuring Twilight star Elizabeth Reaser. Also filming in S.D.: an NBC reality show called Breakthrough with Tony Robbins, in which the motivational speaker helps participants with personal life changes. Watch for an upcoming episode set in Pacific Beach.

Better living through sandwiches: Day-campers at SeaWorld were treated to a visit by Jared Fogle, better known as “The Subway Guy,” who coached the youngsters on the importance of healthy diet choices at the park’s Dine with Shamu facility. Fogle lost close to 250 pounds by eating two Subway sandwiches daily until his waist was just a sliver of its former 60-inch self.
–RACHEL ZENN SACHS

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