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10 Things I’ve Learned from Living in L.A. for a Decade

November 29, 2016

It’s still a little shocking that this Thanksgiving marked 10 years since that fateful date I packed my bags and slightly-post-college room decor and headed to Los Angeles.

What followed that rainy 2006 evening was a decade of pretty much everything you can expect in the City of Angels. Most importantly, many lessons and interesting observations.

With that, below I am sharing 10 things I’ve learned (for better or worse) from 10 years of living in L.A., a place in which I am very happy to be living!

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Photo Credit: John Waco/Pixabay

1. Don’t Dive Right Into Your First L.A. Living Situation Without Serious Thought

I refuse to call my first L.A. living situation a regret, because I do believe that everything you do leads up to where you are presently, and I am overall in more of a good place than a bad one. But that said, I was basically an idiot when I moved here. I mean I guess that can be expected. I was only 23 years old and with no real life experience. I looked my very best, I was motivated, excited and I wasn’t thinking in terms of reality.

I found a girl on Craigslist, and we planned to live together. She seemed nice, normal… all the things you want in a living mate. And emphasis on her being a girl. Yes, moving to a city with no friends, it probably makes sense that I should have an equally lost girl to accompany me as I roam the streets. Well, just as we agreed via email that we’d share an apartment, I received a Craigslist response from three seemingly well-mannered, educated boys. Two were on full-ride UCLA athletic scholarships and one was a regular UCLA student. They could not have been more charming (and handsome from the pics). One of the boys was a Jew from Long Island and I really liked that. I chatted with the guys on the phone, they chatted with my mom—and like that, I was oh-so-easily swayed from living with the girl to moving in with three guys. My mom had her doubts, but my aunt convinced her to let me do as I please. So without even meeting them first or seeing the Brentwood-adjacent condo, I was sold.

The first month was a little chaotic (just a lot of going out, spending money, etc…), but regardless, I was having a blast. I loved everything: the drives to and from OC to move my stuff, the endless MySpace dates, the walks to Brentwood Village, the cute boys my roommates brought over, everything. It was truly a magical time. Nothing has ever felt the way that moving to L.A. felt.

But all of the months in that apartment that followed…were quite the contrary. The roommates went out every night. Reality hadn’t previously hit that they probably wouldn’t want to take their random female roommate out with them every time they hit the club to meet chicks. The Long Island roommate (who at one point claimed I was like family to him) turned out to be a money-hungry schmuck, who may have been great at tennis, but was horrible as a human. Shortly after I moved in, he got a girlfriend, started smoking weed 24/7, broke a glass window during a fight with her and pretty much sucked. He would do the most douchey things, like encourage me to leave a $25 tip on a $6 drink at a dive bar just so I looked like I had money. The regular “UCLA student” had actually only taken one class during one semester there and was currently not working, not going to school. He lived way out of his means, had horrible health (we had to share a bathroom) and manipulated his way into getting people to pay for him or borrow things he couldn’t afford. The third roommate was actually a class act. We stayed in touch after we moved out, but he wasn’t home much when we lived together.

Needless to say, the nine months that lied ahead consisted of basically no friends, no serious job, no excitement. Thank goodness I had a friend from high school who was a go-go dancer at Area. That was my occasional golden ticket.

Lesson. Learned.

2. Just Because Your Apartment Is in a Great Location Doesn’t Mean it Won’t Be the Residence from Hell

And in other apartment tales… After landing a job at People.com in 2010, I figured it was time to upgrade living spaces as well. I was currently in a charming Miracle Mile 1BR, and as much as I really did love it (I still think about that place to this day), I was no longer working across the street at the E! building and I also wanted a little more space—something I was then able to afford with the new job.

I found a 1BR in a glorious area (Kings & Melrose, to be exact). The world was at my fingertips. This apartment was not only in a prime location, but it was huge and only $1250 a month (WHAT?!). Sure, the building was a little old, the unit kind of had a weird smell and there wasn’t a whole lot of natural light, but overall, this was a freaking steal.

My 65-year-old next door neighbors greeted me seemingly with open arms. They told me their life story (they were two friends living together, but not sleeping together, in case you are curious), they offered me all-natural energy pills, left me a congratulatory card because of my new job. Okay, so they were a little eccentric, but totally harmless, right? Wrong!

Within just a few weeks, it was very clear to me that they were in agony over their boring lives. They did not have friends aside from each other. They were home at all times. And what started off as a friendly neighbor relationship quickly turned into a jealousy-ridden despise. I found them peering through their blinds to see what I was doing, they’d come out and scream at my friends who were enjoying a casual 7pm visit on a Friday night, they’d chase down my friends who accidentally parked in their space. Never has a man in a bathrobe grossed me out more! They’d leave novels of angry notes taped to my door. Most people thought I was exaggerating (I mean, it couldn’t be that bad) … that is, until they witnessed the madness firsthand! And here’s the kicker: I couldn’t even complain because the male’s 91-year-old mom was the landlord!

As if that doesn’t sound bad enough, let’s just say the neighbors only made up 50% of the apartment from hell. There was a huge cockroach infestation and I noticed it just a week after I moved in. I kept telling myself they’d go away, but no. And oddly enough, I’d always find them in the cleanest of places (my bathtub, the kitchen, the living room). They were everywhere! It was so bad that when friends came over, they’d automatically know they were on cockroach-killing duty. Gross.

There was one particular instance in which I had just come home from the American Music Awards and was rushing to get some mandatory work done before I went to bed. Mid-writing, I heard a rustling noise. It was indeed a windy fall evening, so I didn’t think about it too much. But the noise kept sounding closer and closer, and next thing I knew, there was a giant cockroach crawling up my wall. What started as my wall soon became the ceiling above my bed. Holy s–t! Mind you, I was so exhausted by this point. I’d spent a whole day on a red carpet, I hadn’t eaten, I was trying to get work done, all I wanted to do was sleep. What proceeded was an hour of basically just me staring at the ceiling. Next thing I knew, it was morning. I had literally fallen asleep mid-stare. The cockroach had then migrated to a little corner on my wall.

I told the landlord this was an issue, and she had the place sprayed three times. But here’s the thing: Spraying doesn’t get rid of them. It only kills them. This leads me to the moment I put in my 30-days notice.

I just came back from a horrible 7-day “vacation” for a wedding, and normally I’d keep the air conditioning on at all times because it tends to keep those guys at bay. Well, upon leaving, I turned the air off for safety purposes. And upon returning? Well, that is a vision I’d like to unsee. There was a huge stack of dead roaches piled on top of each other right when I walked into the apt. After almost vomiting, I made a beeline for my pad and paper to let the landlord know I’m bidding adieu to these dwellings.

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3. Shady Job Experiences Aren’t Limited to the Entertainment Industry

I was maybe a month into living in L.A. when the sweet woman at my local upscale tanning spot (**NOTE: This was not Sunset Tan) basically scouted me to work at her salon. “You seem like the perfect fit,” she said, adding that there is a rigorous training process and I can potentially make lots of money (hourly wage + commission) at this “high-end” location.

I don’t think most people are honored to be pegged as tanning specialists, but based on the woman’s demeanor and her portrayal of the place, I started thinking that this wasn’t your average salon. And boy was I right…

What followed was a three-day training session with approximately seven additional guys and girls, who, based on how they performed, would be issued accordingly to one of the company’s various salons. At the time, there were I think seven salons spread out all over L.A. The salons were incredibly clean and sanitary, and their employees were friendly, attractive and knowledgeable.

They were also scammers.

It still blows me away to this day, but these seemingly wonderful store managers who welcomed me with open arms and made such “genuine conversation” with me when I would come to tan prior to employment, were nothing more than scammers who were openly training my fellow coworkers and me to indeed be low-key con-artists as well.

Part of the intensive training (which included a handful of tests you had to pass on the first try) focused on how to approach various “clients,” as they called them.

If a person hadn’t been in for at least a year, you told them their tans were expired (even though there was no word about an expiration at the time of sale). Then you’d take whatever tans they technically had left and would “unexpire” them if they agreed to buy a new (expensive) package.

If a person who had tans left implied they had zero, you would automatically go along with it and tell them if they bought a $450+ package today, you’d throw in a few freebies (aka the ones they forgot they already paid for).

If a person ever questioned how many tans they had left, you’d automatically say zero. If they insisted they have more than that, you would say something like, “Oh, wait, I see you have [one third of the amount] actually. It’s just now popping up. If you reup today, I’ll throw in [a few of what they already had].”

If a person said “I think I have 20 tans left, but I’m not sure. Will you check?” you would deduct however many you want so that they can be set aside for later when they eventually run out and you want to give them “free” tans with their next package.

It was absolutely crazy, and some of these girls were essentially paying for their mortgages with this money. I was totally miserable. The girls were catty, and you were only “popular” there if you were a top seller. I would drive home from work in tears because here I was, working in the heart of Sunset Blvd., one of the most coveted streets in the state, only to be at a tiny little tanning salon where I’m not even that great at my job.

I did, however, make a friend there named Ryan. He ended up becoming my very first real L.A. friend, so I guess the place served its purpose. Needless to say, most of the salons (including my “beloved” Sunset location) went out of business. Good riddance!

la-decade-tanning-bed

Photo Credit: Dorian Rochowski/Pixabay

4. Work in L.A. Can Be a Lot of Fun

Without question, the best days of my life were during my employment at E!—but even after working there, my experiences and observations proved that there are so many opportunities to enjoy the workplace and be creative in L.A.

I had a couple positions at E! before landing my Editorial Assistant job, and once I scored that coveted spot (which required me to write and report), I went from transcribing someone else’s interviews to suddenly transcribing my own! And there were a lot! It was so surreal. I was working for a well-known TV media personality, interviewing stars I’d looked up to for years, going to boutique openings, hotel openings, awards shows, free dinners, everything! I was being sent bizarre sex toys, free bottles of top shelf liquor, a year’s supply of various snacks and soft drinks … just ’cause! It was so crazy. And although it was tough to be broken-into the already-acclimated group of non-E! red carpet reporters at all of the events I covered (a handful definitely were not nice at first), people in general were very kind and respectful. I was so inexperienced at this whole thing, and looking back, I had some really cheesy moments—but somehow I felt accepted throughout the whole process.

But even when I moved onto future jobs, each that followed (whether full-time, freelance or my blog), had/has a fun and creative element. Sure, work is work, and at any job, there are going to be tedious aspects or plain and simple things we don’t want to do, but I think L.A. gives people the opportunity to have more fun at their jobs than many other parts of the country. And so many people are in the creative space. It’s a very comforting feeling to be surrounded by so many fellow writers, for example.

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la-decade-golden-globes-micah-jesse

5. Regardless of Who You Are Or What You Do, We All Get Starstruck Over Someone

Given the nature of my career and the span of which I’ve been working, I’ve definitely had my share of celebrity and “celebrity” sightings, interviews and so forth. Although there will always be particular individuals whose very presence makes a reporter starstruck, for the most part, it doesn’t take long to get used to these encounters and spottings. In fact, many of these folks begin to recognize you over time, to the point where you’ve crossed over from being strangers to being somewhat of acquaintances and perhaps more. That said, there have been some standout experiences that certainly differed from just another “casual” red carpet interaction or party run-in. But my most monumental celebrity encounter, by far, has been with my forever-favorite, Shannen Doherty.

Shannen is not only the OG badass bitch of Hollywood, but she’s also my favorite actress of all time and has pretty much been ever since I saw my all-time favorite show, Beverly Hills, 90210 for the first time at eight years old. That said, you can only imagine a dream coming true when I got to interview her in a very intimate setting at her Malibu beach house five years ago. OMG!

I had met her a couple times prior and she was a pure delight. That very first time, I got super starstruck, which truthfully didn’t happen much. I even shed a tear. We took a photo (I told her I needed to move to be on my good side) and I was super nervous. And then, a couple years later, I was shocked when my then-editor at People.com told me I could go interview her at her home. She had been out of the news for a while, so I was incredibly grateful that he encouraged me to go, knowing my intense fandom.

On this day, Shannen was promoting a charity, and was giving away a bunch of old clothing. When I showed up to her home, she totally remembered me from the previous times. I was kind of embarrassed, but I could tell she appreciated my enthusiasm. I seriously cannot express how delightful she was. It was by far one of my career highs—probably the top (and on the same note, Luke Perry was an absolute dream to interview as well).

As for presently, I commend Shannen’s brave cancer fight, and I know that she is one tough cookie. If anyone can get through this, it’s her.

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la-decade-luke-perry-jpg

6. The Definition of “Sociopath”

I’m fortunate to say that in L.A. I think I’ve met more people on the good side than on the bad. But even so, one term I’ve become incredibly familiar with in this town is “sociopath.” Until moving to this city, I had no idea what that meant. The term “psychopath” was tossed around incredibly freely since I was a kid, but sociopath? I really hadn’t heard it—and with the exception of one person I encountered during high school and one during college, I can’t think of anyone growing up who really defines that word.

Well, in L.A., there are sociopaths left and right. Charming, emotionless, cruel and full of lies are the characteristics that typically make up this breed. There are so many, but once you spot a couple, you can quickly spot ’em all. And once you do, you learn not to be bothered by their actions because they come from a very empty place. The sociopath predicament is an interesting one. I don’t know from exactly where such behavior stems. It’s really bizarre how many people are like this. Some can be incredibly boisterous and over-the-top, while others are fairly quiet and passive aggressive. But they each have similar distinct qualities that put them into a category of their own.

7. There Is a Black Hole in the Middle of West Hollywood

There’s a legendary black hole in the middle of West Hollywood known as The Abbey Food & Bar. Ah yes, the black hole that takes your dignity, dollars—and in my oh-so-fortunate case—many a cell phone. Yes, The Abbey is a spot that so many of us swear we’re taking a break from, but we always keep coming back to immediately. It’s the home to laughter, tears, new friends, old friends, awkward run-ins and so much more.

I don’t have any tattoos, but the tiny little incision-looking scar on the right side of my right elbow will forever remind me of this establishment. Ah, memories of when I was attacked with cocktail glasses for saving my friends’ seats and not letting these creepy guys sit at our table. Oh, to Saturday nights…

But with the bad clearly comes the good, because otherwise, why would I frequent this place so much? Is it because 85% of my friends are lesbians? Well, I guess that doesn’t stray me, but seriously though, this spot is a staple of my L.A. existence. There’s nowhere I’d rather be during Pride Weekend, New Year’s Day, the night before Thanksgiving, pretty much any night during wintertime, etc. Over the years, ever since making my very first L.A. friend (see: tanning salon), The Abbey has been a regular go-to regardless of friend group.

I’ve been to their monumental 25th anniversary extravaganza, I’ve been to a tasting for their new menu—I think it’s safe to say that black hole and all, The Abbey is in my West Hollywood life to stay.

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8. When in Doubt, Become a Blogger … and If All Else Fails, Become an Escort

Not only do I have some major passions, I’m also a professional writer who also has a journalism degree—so it’s not too shocking that I have a blog. But when I think about all of the people I meet in L.A. on a whim, who doesn’t have a blog? Obviously most people are fashion bloggers (clearly I’m not one of them), but either way, blogging has changed the way we view careers, journalism and everything in between. It doesn’t take a skilled reporter or the wittiest mind to create what is nowadays considered “quality” content.

Having a blog has not only essentially replaced having a portfolio, but it gives anyone with consistency access to publicists, cool events and a platform to share their life with the world. Whether or not you monetize your blog, having one has proved to be essential in this town.

When I first moved to L.A., I was so inspired by the Perez Hiltons, Harvey Levins and Michael Ks (Dlisted) of the world. Having a truly successful blog was a rarity. If you were even remotely known, you were huge. It started a whole new realm of publishing, and I thought it was awesome and much more free-spirited than traditional editorial. I had no idea blogging would turn into such a game-changing phenomenon. I am definitely in favor of this world because it allows everything I create to be solely from my own standpoint and preference.

But if a 9-5 career isn’t on your horizon and you don’t have the passion or commitment to become a blogger, I’ve learned you can join the legions of escorts in this town. I personally do not know a thing about this avenue, but I know it is very common and far more casual and socially acceptable than how you’d traditionally view it. Strange to me, normal to many.

9. It’s Perfectly Fine to Mock Some of the City’s Ridiculousness

What started out for me as a guilty pleasure that I didn’t take at all seriously, turned into a full-blown obsession. I was totally consumed with The Hills—and I still am! Why? Because it delivered a pretty accurate depiction of this city. When I first moved to L.A., where you were on a Wednesday night determined everything about your social status. Heaven forbid you weren’t at Area!

From the ridiculously staged iced coffee meetups at Joan’s on Third, to drama-filled birthday parties at Les Deux, it was impossible not to find humor in these predictable occurrences. Heck, the show’s comical villain Spencer Pratt sure made a lucrative mockery of the whole thing, so who’s to stop anyone else?

The Hills not only allowed any average Joe to get a glimpse into the fabulous existences of beautiful 20-somethings living the good life in the City of Angels, but it definitely provided us with plenty of fodder for a good laugh, because so much of what was portrayed (especially in the show’s first few seasons) truly was reflective of how things went down in this town. And I think as the show grew, the lifestyle in the city kind of melded to fit what was portrayed on TV.

I think this town has calmed down a lot since the hit show’s heydey, but it really was once all that ridiculous.

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10. Some of the Best L.A. Memories Don’t Actually Happen in L.A.

Okay, so technically some of my best L.A. memories didn’t actually occur here. They happened in Vegas and Palm Springs. Prior to L.A., I think I’d only been to Vegas once, and needless to say, it wasn’t a memorable experience because clearly I don’t remember it (and not for the right reasons). Because of this, I never had any desire to go there. But when I moved to L.A. and found people who showed me Vegas done right, I was totally sold. Words cannot describe some of my grandiose experiences coming out to the 702. From all-expenses-paid stays at a slew of top-tier hotels, to sharing a table with LC on New Year’s Eve at Hyde Bellagio, to a weekend full of Kaskade, Avicii and Above & Beyond, so many experiences have been nothing short of amazing.

I’ve frequented Palm Springs more than Vegas. It’s a lot easier to get to and doesn’t require too much effort or planning. This luxurious desert space is pure perfection. From many-a-Palm Springs International Film Festival weekend, to my 30th birthday during 4th of July weekend, to Coachella and various holiday weekends, Palm Springs is without question home to some of my all-time favorite memories.

Angelenos

9 Struggles You’ll Only Relate to If You Live in the Hills

November 21, 2016

Being a hills resident is a total breath of fresh air.

We come home to indescribable views every day, we’re saved from transients trolling the local CVS and we avoid the glorious sounds of fire engines racing through main streets during every hour of the night—but let’s face it: No living situation is perfect, and the beautiful hills are no exception.

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So to those who have ever lived up these windy roads, take a moment and relate to these nine struggles:

1. Two words: House Centipedes

They luckily disappeared after the first week I moved to the hills, but what are technically called House Centipedes circled my bedroom ceilings at night for the first week or so. Surprisingly according to online research, they are actually more helpful than harmful—But that said, I don’t think anyone wants insects of any sort lingering above where they sleep!

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2. There’s no such thing as “casually” dropping off your car

If you’re coming from work or somewhere else and want to drop off your car before going out for the night, you better factor in at least 30 minutes. You’ve got to go up the hill, park your car, order your car service (I prefer Lyft), wait the 8-10 minutes it takes for your service to arrive and then head back down the hill. No simple (or cheap) process!

3. Either the person driving ahead of you is so incredibly slow and won’t pull over to let you pass (despite many brights-flashes and even honks) or they pull over to let you pass when it’s really not necessary and you feel obligated to drive faster than you planned

This one coincides with No. 4 below. Basically, any time there’s someone else on the road with you, you’re damned.

4. When there’s a really fast vehicle driving behind you and there really isn’t anywhere to pull over, you are stuck feeling obligated to zoom so that the other driver doesn’t honk

Nothing is worse than having a Porsche tailing behind you and you have nowhere to go! Help! Now you suddenly feel like you need to drive 15 mph faster than your safety allows—otherwise you’re going to be that annoying person on the road!

5. Friends love your pad, but they don’t love the windy distance to visit you up the hill

Consider the pre-party at anyone’s place but yours! And there’s no such thing as picking you up on the way to something, because no one is on the way to or from you. And on a rainy day? Don’t even think about getting visitors.

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6. Your Lyft drivers always comment on how they don’t get service in your area and “boy, this is far” (it’s the hills—don’t they know what they signed up for?!)

Lyft drivers, as nice as they are, feel compelled to express their agony about that glowing ride up to get you. I get their frustration, but come on! If they took a look at their Lyft map, they’d see that, yes, this is a few minutes up a hill. I’m sorry you don’t have reception, but a few minutes down and we’ll be back on track!

7. Your credit card bill racks up more Seamless charges each month than pretty much anything else

From the expensive Lyfts to the Seamless food delivery charges, you’ve pretty much summed up your entire credit card statement from month to month. It’s not like you can walk anywhere in the hills, so delivery is your best option. I mean, after a long day’s work, the last thing you want to do is stop at Trader Joe’s, pick up groceries and hop in the kitchen.

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8. You’ve gained at least five pounds since making the move

With nowhere to walk and your gym so. far. away, chances are if you’re anything like me, you’ve slacked a bit in your personal upkeep. Who needs to hit the gym/shop for groceries/live a civilized existence when you can nestle yourself far up the hill, have everyone deliver to you and call it a day?

9. You have at least three near-death experiences per week

It’s hard to say what people in nice cars gain from zooming down the hill, jeopardizing not only their life, but also putting their showy vehicles at risk. But yes, there’s never a dull moment when it comes to cars and hills. You just never know when something is going to jet out your way!

Beauty Angelenos

4 Things Every Health-Conscious Consumer Will Wish They Experienced at Do Good. Be Green’s L.A. Convention

November 15, 2016

The vegan, health-conscious and eco-friendly community was in for a recent treat at the DO GOOD. BE GREEN convention inside Downtown L.A.’s The Collection.

From morning to late-afternoon, guests were treated to pampering, snacks, libations, product-testing and motivational panel discussions.

In case you missed the event (hosted by Katie Bogue Miller and Justine Lassoff, founders of Love Goodly‘s non-toxic, vegan subscription boxes), skyelyfe is here to round up its highlights!

Photo Credit: AVM Photography /Alvin Manuel

Photo Credit: AVM Photography /Alvin Manuel

1. Vendors Galore

This convention had rooms full of makeup, beauty and wellness vendors from all over the country. I had a blast chatting with Paige Padgett, celebrity makeup artist and author of The Green Beauty RulesI also learned a lot about Zen Yoga Straps, which are three-loop straps designed to help you stretch longer and more comfortably than traditional yoga straps. The Den Meditation was also on hand to talk about healing and easing the mind. You also had Hipsters for Sisters, an environmentally conscious hands-free handbag line with the sole purpose to “liberate women from their baggage.” Lippy Girl, Blissoma and Rawxies (which allowed guests to fill plastic bags with customized heapings of their healthy snacks) were also among the lengthy list of brands to come on board for the event and share their products.

Photo Credit: AVM Photography /Alvin Manuel

Photo Credit: AVM Photography /Alvin Manuel

2. Motivational Guest Speakers

It was truly inspiring listening to the journey these exceptional women speakers have taken to start their own company and build their own products or brand. From the two hosting ladies themselves, to model-activist Angela Lindvall, to My Beauty Bunny‘s Jen Mathews and Reformation clothing’s VP of design, the day was filled with more than a dozen successful, independent female panelists.

Photo Credit: AVM Photography /Alvin Manuel

Photo Credit: AVM Photography /Alvin Manuel

3. Pampering and Wellness

Not a finger was left without a dainty touch, having nail technicians from LVX polish and L.A.’s Can Can Parleur on hand to provide manicure services. I opted for an LVX mani, with the Crimson shade as my main, with a line of Oasis down the middle of each nail. In between manis, guests had the opportunity to take in a mini-yoga session, courtesy of YAS Fitness.

Photo Credit: AVM Photography /Alvin Manuel

Photo Credit: AVM Photography /Alvin Manuel

4. Gift Bags

Now let’s get to the obvious best part of the extravaganza: the hefty reusable gift bag chock full of approximately $150-worth of beauty and wellness goodies from each of the sponsors, along with the latest edition of the Love Goodly box. Needless to say, I left with my hands full!

Photo Credit: AVM Photography /Alvin Manuel

Photo Credit: AVM Photography /Alvin Manuel

Food Angelenos

Top L.A. Bartenders Battle It Out at 4th Annual All-Star Mixology Competition at Roosevelt Hotel

October 19, 2016

It was a battle of the bartenders recently at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel—but all in good fun (and for a good cause).

Photo Credit: Luka Olex

Photo Credit: Luka Olex

Photo Credit: Luka Olex

Photo Credit: Luka Olex

Top L.A. and Las Vegas mixologists from spots including Culver City’s The Corner Door and DTLA’s The Varnish came out with their finest handcrafted cocktails, all for the sake of raising money for the Covenant House of California, an organization that keeps homeless and trafficked youth off the streets.

Photo Credit: Luka Olex

Photo Credit: Luka Olex

Photo Credit: Luka Olex

Photo Credit: Luka Olex

Guests purchased tickets to try a wide variety of (very strong) cocktails, while noshing on burgers and mac ‘n’ cheese. Ultimately, it was Zach Patterson of Melrose Umbrella Co. who won the coveted honor of top mixologist, thanks to his Casa Noble Tequila with ginger creation. Being the anti-tequila drinker I am, I can’t say I indulged in this winning concoction (but I’m sure it was plenty divine!).

But Palazzo Resort and Casino‘s Wendy Verdel-Hodges won me over with her unique Warhol cocktail (2.5 oz. Black Moth vodka, 1 oz. tomato basil shrub, 1 drop truffle oil).

Either way, regardless of guests’ sips of choice, everyone left a winner, walking out with a fancy Tumi mini-travel kit from event sponsor Delta.

Cheers!

Photo Credit: Luka Olex

Photo Credit: Luka Olex

Angelenos

PHOTOS: Audi Hosts Annual Star-Studded Pre-Emmys Bash at Stunning New Restaurant Catch

September 18, 2016
Photo Credit: John Sciulli/Getty Images for Audi

Photo Credit: John Sciulli/Getty Images for Audi

The Emmys are officially tonight, but it has been a non-stop party for TVs biggest and brightest all week long.

Over time, my favorite event during this part of the year has always been Audi‘s pre-Emmys bash, and once again, I was not disappointed.

From Ariel Winter and Sarah Hyland, to Sofia Richie, Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Foxx, Cuba Gooding, Jr. and many, many more, the luxury car brand once again hosted the ultimate who’s-who of Hollywood happenings on Thursday night. This is one of two awards season bashes Audi throws each year—the other being for the Golden Globes.

The 2017 Audi R8 made a special red carpet appearance, in addition to the 2017 Audi Q7, which chauffeured VIPs to the big night.

Thursday’s pre-Emmys bash took a detour from its typical Cecconi’s digs and ventured across the street to brand new West Hollywood restaurant Catch. The huge dining spot boasts a jaw-dropping patio and stunning rooftop eating space. Originally based in New York, this Asian Fusion eatery will no doubt be an instant hot spot.

Guests, which also included publicists, reporters and tastemakers galore, had a chance to view the space before it officially opens later this month. It was truly a treat. Hannah Bronfman took over the turntables, while partygoers sipped endless pours of champagne and wine, and nibbled on the venue’s specialty bites.

Photo Credit: John Sciulli/Getty Images for Audi

Photo Credit: John Sciulli/Getty Images for Audi

Photo Credit: Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Audi

Photo Credit: Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Audi

Photo Credit: John Sciulli/Getty Images for Audi

Photo Credit: John Sciulli/Getty Images for Audi

Photo Credit: Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Audi

Photo Credit: Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Audi

Photo Credit: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Audi

Photo Credit: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Audi

Photo Credit: John Sciulli/Getty Images for Audi

Photo Credit: John Sciulli/Getty Images for Audi

Food Angelenos

Foodies! Here’s What You Missed at the Taste LA

September 8, 2016

Ithe-taste-skyelyfef you stayed in L.A. for Labor Day weekend, then you know the place to be was The Taste LA.

The annual three-day foodie event, put on by the LA Times, boasted more than 100 food, wine and spirits vendors from all over L.A., Long Beach and other surrounding areas.

I had the pleasure of attending on Friday and Sunday evening, and indulged in decadent meal samplings from Estrella, Faith & Flower, Little Pine, Napa Valley Grille, Mr. Chow, ROKU, Scratch Bar & Kitchen, Circa 55, The Guild and so many more hotspots. Of course at the time, I was full by probably my fifth serving or so, but as I sit here reliving the experience, I find myself starving, wishing I could still take advantage of the endless supply of bites.

little-pine

The event, which took place at Paramount Pictures Studios, was presented by Citibank–and luckily for me (and the people who accompanied me on these nights out) I got to reap the benefits of my cardholding. Citibank members had access to a special VIP lounge, where we sipped Stella Artois and walked away with several new chalice glasses. Not too shabby!

But perhaps the best part (most Insta-worthy part, I should say) of the occasion was the eye-catching art in the form of sandwiches (namely, burgers). Manhattan Beach’s Love & Salt, Long Beach’s The Social List and Princess CruisesThe Salty Dog each brought out the big guns when it came to these foods.

And below I invite you to join me in the torture of being able to look but not touch. Excuse me while I make a run for the kitchen, as I officially need to eat now! Bon appétit!

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burger-love-and-salt

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Food Angelenos

PHOTOS: Gwyneth Paltrow Helped Svedka Launch Cucumber Lime Vodka with Mansion Party in L.A.

June 16, 2016
Photo Credit: Michael Simon/ StartTraksPhoto.com

Photo Credit: Michael Simon/ StartTraksPhoto.com

Svedka is keeping you “cool for the summer,” with its refreshing new cucumber lime-flavored vodka.

The spirits brand made its latest addition official on Tuesday night, among hundreds of guests, including Gwyneth Paltrow.

All eyes were on the svelte starlet at the Svedka Country Club, held at a beautiful estate in a gated community in L.A.’s Hancock Park, where guests sipped from vodka-filled water jugs and cocktails from several bars until late in the evening.

Partygoers also played miniature golf, noshed on tray-passed hors d’oeuvres and took advantage of the incredible spacious outside area, while taking in the versatile selection of amazing tunes by the DJ, who was placed way up high above the event (party pics below!).

Create the vodka brand’s signature Waterfeller cocktail on your own:

Ingredients:

1 ½ parts SVEDKA Cucumber Lime

1 part watermelon juice

¾ part fresh lemon juice

¾ part simple syrup

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in a blender, adding ½ cup of ice last. Blend until smooth and pour into a hurricane glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel and slice of watermelon.

Photo Credit: Michael Simon/ StartTraksPhoto.com

Photo Credit: Michael Simon/ StartTraksPhoto.com

Photo Credit: Michael Simon/ StartTraksPhoto.com

Photo Credit: Michael Simon/ StartTraksPhoto.com

Photo Credit: Michael Simon/ StartTraksPhoto.com

Photo Credit: Michael Simon/ StartTraksPhoto.com

Photo Credit: Michael Simon/ StartTraksPhoto.com

Photo Credit: Michael Simon/ StartTraksPhoto.com

Photo Credit: Michael Simon/ StartTraksPhoto.com

Photo Credit: Michael Simon/ StartTraksPhoto.com

Lifestyle Angelenos

5 Awesome Things to Know About L.A.! Pride 2016, Straight from the Festival’s President Chris Classen!

June 8, 2016
Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

LA! Pride has come a long way since its inception in the year 2000, when it was known as LA/Valley Pride (LAVP).

But even in really recent years, the festival that celebrates the LGBT community has majorly stepped up its game, bringing on top-tier musical acts (can we reminisce about last year with Kesha for a moment?!) and attracting a majorly diverse crowd.

This year (my seventh!), which kicks off this Friday (!), is expected to bring an even bigger crowd, especially by boasting performances by big acts, including Carly Rae JepsenCharli XCXKrewella and dozens of others.

But a musical upgrade isn’t the only big change you can expect this year. Skyelyfe caught up with Chris Classen, president of the festival and also president of Christopher Street West, which produces the three-day event. He dished on everything we all need to know leading up to (at least what I consider) the most fun weekend of the year!

Photo Credit: Own Your Pride Campaign

Photo Credit: Own Your Pride Campaign

From what went into selecting this year’s artists, to flashier decor and better food options, read below for five things to know about LA! Pride 2016:

1. Keep Your Phone Charged, Because There Will Be Far Too Many Photo Opps!

“World class musical acts, more inclusive programming, and interactive art experiences will be all over the festival,” Classen says. “I mean, wait until you see this thing. There are so many social media moments, you’ll have serious FOMO if you stay home.”

2. Much More Thought Went Into This Year’s Musical Lineup, But the Weekend Is Still Affordable

“This year we sat down and said, ‘Ok, let’s curate a lineup that’s diverse, cool, and broad,” Classen explains. “We wanted a mix of acts we love, but haven’t been ‘discovered’ yet, and some names people already love. We also added acts to the schedule, so it’s a really packed weekend of talent. The best part? It’s only $35 per day.”

3. Each Musical Act Has a Special Tie to the LGBT Community

“All of our acts are allies,” Classen says. “Many are openly LGBTQ, but the coolest change this year isn’t the headliners – it’s the entire lineup. Never before have we had a talent list that is as diverse as our own community.”

4. Classen Loves Being Behind the Scenes of West Hollywood’s Biggest Annual Event 

“Putting together the nations largest, ticketed LGBT event takes a year of preparation with a tight-knit team of dedicated people who become a second family to me,” he says. “But during the event, few of the attendees know who I am, and my favorite part of the weekend is being able to watch the joy and sense of wonder on people’s faces as they experience what we have put together for them.”

Photo credit: Jon Viscott

Photo credit: Jon Viscott

5. Kesha Left Her Mark on the Festival, Following Last Year’s Incredible Headlining Performance

“Being backstage with Kesha last year was one of my favorite memories of Pride,” Classen says. “She was lovely, and so genuinely excited to be a part of the event.”

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Music Angelenos

This L.A. Pride 2016 Playlist Will Get You Stoked for the Festival!

June 7, 2016

Carly_Rae_LA_Pride_skyelyfeL.A. Pride Music Festival & Parade kicks off its three-day celebration on Friday, and this year’s lineup boasts some seriously impressive talent!

As I noted in April, Carly Rae Jepsen, Charli XCX and Krewella are headlining West Hollywood’s hotly anticipated event, which also features live performances by Trina, Timeflies, Da BratGavin Turek, Gallant, EC Twins, Hailee Steinfeld, Timeflies, Daya, Bebe Rexha and a slew of others.

Can’t wait until the weekend to catch all of the acts? Check out the playlist below to get an earful of each one!

And come back tomorrow for my interview with L.A. Pride president Chris Classen!

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Angelenos

PHOTOS: The Abbey Food & Bar Celebrated Its 25th Anniversary with a Formal, Champagne-Filled Fete!

May 26, 2016

AbbeyRossThe Abbey Food & Bar celebrated its 25th anniversary on Tuesday night, and as one would expect, it was no shabby affair.

The West Hollywood hotspot brought in TV personalities – including Ross Mathews, Candis Cayne and Carlton Gebbia – to fete the momentous occasion and honor the club’s founder David Cooley.

V.I.P. guests were invited to an intimate pre-party, and were treated to many of the venue’s delicious specialties (lobster rolls, burgers, Philly cheesesteaks ::drool::), an array of vodka cocktails, champagne and a full orchestra (this was no joke!).

Once the private, two-hour extravaganza was finished, the general public was invited to take photos on the red carpet and make their way into the packed space.

Cheers to an icon of Los Angeles, and here’s to 25 more great years! See you in a couple of weeks for L.A. Pride!

Candis

Abbeygroup

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Abbeynails

Abbeycake

AbbeyFood

Food Angelenos

These 5 Mexican L.A. Staples Will Give You the Best Cinco de Mayo Experience Without the Hollywood Scene

May 5, 2016
Photo courtesy of ilovemole.com

Photo courtesy of ilovemole.com

To most people, the thought of Mexican food goes hand-in-hand with margaritas and Mariachi bands – but to a resident of Los Angeles, the way your Carne Asada is cooked for your fajitas takes a backseat to the possibility of who you might end up standing next to on the smoking patio of the trendy, South-of-the-Border-themed eatery cooking up that hot plate.

Mexican restaurants in L.A. are no joke, and when it comes to Cinco de Mayo, you can bet on the most scene-y individuals making it out to one of the city’s many sit-down hotspots (El Compadre, El Coyote, El Cholo, Gracias Madre, Don Antonio’s, Mercado, Toca Madera, Mexicali, Casa Vega, to name a few) known to provide quite the wholesome Hollywood crowd.

Not to say there’s anything wrong with wanting a vibrant ambiance, but if you’re looking to avoid obscene lines and save hours on getting overly glam for the night – yet still have a swell time with super cool folks – there are several under-the-radar mainstays in the City of Angels that are a must for events like these.

Keep scrolling to read about five consistent Mexican hotspots that you can visit today to avoid “the scene,” but still keep the festive fun!

  • Guelaguetza – If it’s crickets (AKA chapulines) you fancy, then you’ve come to the right place! Jk (well, not really – they do serve these as an automatic appetizer) – this Koreatown-based hotspot is also known for its Oaxacan-style cooking, particularly its mole.
  • El Condor – When I think Mexican food on Sunset Blvd., El Compadre is obviously the first thing that comes to mind – but head 20 minutes east and you’ll approach Silverlake’s laid-back, but lively El Condor. I can tell you firsthand that their various queso dips, mini tacos and cool vibe make the visit very worthwhile.
  • Sol Y Luna – Tarzana’s highly touted festive space boasts decorative folk art and a mural of Mexican icons. Added bonus? Their tableside guac is Zagat and Yelp-acclaimed! This restaurant has been referred to as the best Mexican food in the Valley.
  • La Serenata de Garibaldi – If authenticity is what you’re after, this is it. Located in the heart of East L.A., this cozy little spot offers a selection of specialty seafood dishes unlike any other, in a colorful atmoshphere.
  • Candela – Located just south of La Brea and Wilshire in a humble setting, this sit-down taco bar draws crowd of all kinds for its laid-back, social atmosphere and yummy, inexpensive offerings.
Music Angelenos

Carly Rae Jepsen & Charli XCX Are Headlining L.A. Pride 2016!

April 26, 2016

Carly_Rae_LA_Pride_skyelyfeL.A. Pride‘s headlining act last year will forever be a tough one to follow (I mean, come on, it was Kesha!) – but – I will say I can’t complain about this year’s selection.

Carly Rae Jepsen will take center stage as the main act during the annual West Hollywood festival (which happens to be my favorite event of the year) from June 10-12, the organization announced on its website today. Charli XCX and Krewella are also among the headlining acts.

A slew of additional talent is slated to perform over the course of the weekend, including, Gavin Turek, Gallant, EC Twins, Hailee Steinfeld, Timeflies, Daya, Bebe Rexha and two throwback favs: Da Brat and Trina!

L.A. Pride, which celebrates love and equality for the LGBTQ community, has been home to other additional big performers in the past, including Tinashe, Demi Lovato and Jennifer Hudson.

If you’re feeling nostalgic over last year’s festival with the “Your Love Is My Drug” singer, fear not because just two hours south, you can catch my favorite pop star performing her hits at San Diego Pride on Sat., July 16 (you just might see me there!).

Music Angelenos

Indie New Wave Band Pompeya Announces L.A. Residency, Tells Skyelyfe About ‘Love’ for City of Angels

March 1, 2016

Pompeya_promo_skyelyfeFans of Moscow-based band Pompeya are in for a big treat!

The indie new wave act just announced its five-stop L.A. residency, kicking off its selection of entirely free shows on Mon., March 7 at Hi Hat in Highland Park. See the flier below for a list of the remaining shows, which also includes a secret Sofar Sounds performance.

Pompeya_residency_skyelyfe“This is first time we have done any kind of residency in our career,” the group tells skyelyfe. “We love L.A. and are really excited to play these shows. We decided to not lock ourselves inside one venue, but booked all different venues instead. We called it L.A. Residency and the shows will take parts in all the hippest LA locations: DTLA, Highland Park, Echo Park, Silverlake.”

The foursome, who are still promoting their latest LP Real, say show attendees can “expect to hear the new songs,” but also a “number of good songs from 2013’s Tropical LP, such as “90” and “YAHTBMF.”

In case you still haven’t had a chance to hear the magic that is Pompeya (seriously, their sound is truly awesome), check out “Slow,” my favorite track by them, below:

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Music Angelenos

PHOTOS: HAIM, Mark Ronson, The Knocks, Miguel and More Party and Perform During Grammy Weekend!

February 16, 2016

Yesterday concluded a four-day Grammy Awards weekend, and as one can expect, Los Angeles had no lack of activity throughout the celebration’s entirety. The prestigious weekend fell not only on Valentine’s Day, but also on Presidents’ Day, so bottle popping among industry elite was at an abundance. Aside from the Oscars, more parties and events are centered around this awards show than any other.

Each year, without question, music’s biggest names flock to the MusiCares and Clive Davis pre-Grammy events (and this year, a surprise Friday night concert by Adele at the Wiltern saw some incredibly famous faces). And record label after parties are where you can expect to spot many award winners. But with each Grammy weekend, there are also slew of more under-the-radar events that don’t fail to draw impressive crowds of celebrities and influencers.

Scroll below to see photos and read about everything from Mark Ronson and Jamie xx‘s intimate V-Day bash, to Miguel‘s first-ever DJ set at a party in Hollywood, and much more!

  • The dFm Presents: A Grammy Celebration at the Hollywood Roosevelt

This event – hosted by dFm founder Jesse Lee, Roc Nation manager Jon Lieberberg, Windish Agency founder Tom Windish and KCRW music director Jason Bentley – had all eyes on Miguel. The crooner treated guests at the Hollywood Roosevelt-held bash to a live, swoon-worthy singing performance and his first-ever DJ set. But that wasn’t to take away from the HAIM sisters, who performed a DJ set as well, for the second consecutive year at this particular party. Kesha and Rashida Jones were among the famous faces who took in tunes by these industry heavyweights.

Photo credit: Tibrina Hobson for WireImage

Photo credit: Tibrina Hobson for WireImage

Photo credit: Tibrina Hobson for WireImage

Photo credit: Tibrina Hobson for WireImage

Photo credit: Tibrina Hobson for WireImage

Photo credit: Tibrina Hobson for WireImage

  • Jamie xx and Mark Ronson’s Valentine Special at Club James

What says pre-V-Day quite like a night in the company of some of music’s most handsome heartthrobs? This ultra-exclusive intimate bash, held at the newly opened Club James at the Goldstein Residence, featured a special performance by D.R.A.M, along with DJ sets by the two hosts Jamie xx and Mark Ronson. Guests at the sexy soiree also included Diplo, Florence Welch, Lorde, Danielle and Alana Haim, Rashida Jones, Rita Ora and Lily Allen. MasterCard provided a Priceless Moments photo booth for guests to capture their special date (or friends) night.

Photo credit: David Crotty for Patrick McMullan

Photo credit: David Crotty for Patrick McMullan

Photo credit: David Crotty for Patrick McMullan

Photo credit: David Crotty for Patrick McMullan

Photo credit: David Crotty for Patrick McMullan

Photo credit: David Crotty for Patrick McMullan

  • Amplify Your Life Launch Party // The Knocks Wrap Party 

The El Rey Theatre was home to The Knocks‘ highly anticipated show in the earlier portion of Saturday night, but Mack Sennett Studios hosted a much more intimate gathering later in the evening to celebrate the NY-based duo’s performance, with a special DJ set that kicked off with their hit “Dancing with the DJ.” One of my favorite hip-hop producers Nic Nac popped up out of nowhere on stage mid-set, and the trio bopped heads and posed for photos. The night, hosted by Jack Daniels, also had another familiar face in the crowd: Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson, who recently interviewed The Knocks for Interview magazine.

Amplify_Your_Life_JPatt_NicNac

Amplify_Your_Life_crowd

Amplify_your_life_decor

  • Colgate Optic White Beauty Bar 2016

Who can’t use a little touching up over the course of a long awards season weekend? Colgate hosted its fourth annual weekend of pampering for celebrities, bloggers and tastemakers on Saturday and Sunday afternoon at the Hudson Loft in Downtown L.A., just minutes from where all of the Grammy rehearsals took place. One of my favorite electronic artists JES was in tow, swooping up some beauty products from Jouve. Guests also received complimentary nail, hair and beauty services from PRIV‘s on-the-go stylists, they noshed on a handful of salad and sandwich options and sipped on specialty cocktails, along with beverages from Lipton Sparking Iced Tea and Essentia alkaline water. And a photo booth is one thing – but this event also had a selfie mirror and an Instagram cut-out photo station.

Photo credit: Araya Diaz for Getty Images

Photo credit: Araya Diaz for Getty Images

Photo credit: Araya Diaz for Getty Images

Photo credit: Araya Diaz for Getty Images

Lifestyle Angelenos Featured

Peace Out, Gym! These L.A. Workout Deals Are Going to Blow Your Mind, Not Your Bank Account!

February 4, 2016

yoga_fitness_skyelyfeYou may recall my post from about a year ago, in which I compiled some of the best fitness deals in Los Angeles. Well, I’m back for round two. And let’s just say, you may morph into an overnight yogi (a la me!) after reading some of these over-the-top steals!

Going off of the above statement, let’s get into the yoga deals first, because there are a handful, and they are each from highly recommended places.

And then keep reading for additional deals in everything from Martial Arts to Pilates and more. There’s no excuse not to extend those 2016 resolutions through the rest of the year!

YOGA

  • YOGAWORKS – Studio offering traditional yoga classes, integrated yoga/dance/circuit training classes and tranquil sessions.

INTRO SPECIAL: TWO WEEKS UNLIMITED = $25 (all locations apply!)

1057 N. Fairfax Ave.

West Hollywood, CA 90046

323.654.2125

(with additional locations in Hollywood, Studio City, Brentwood, Koreatown, Larchmont, Pasadena, Playa Del Rey, Santa Monica, El Segundo, Westlake Village, Tarzana, Valencia and Woodland Hills)

  • MODO YOGA – This hot yoga studio offers classes that stretch, strengthen and tone the muscles while helping to detoxify the body and calm the mind.  

INTRO SPECIAL: 30 DAYS UNLIMITED = $40!

340 S. La Brea Ave.

Los Angeles, CA 90036

323.938.5000

  • LIBERATION YOGA – Studio offering varying classes based on experience levels, along with all-ages family classes.

INTRO SPECIAL: 30 DAYS UNLIMITED = $45!

124 S. La Brea Ave.

Los Angeles, CA 90036

323.964.5222

  • HOT 8 YOGA – Studio offering more than 200 classes per week at varying levels of intensity, including hot yoga, hot power fusion, hot power yoga, hot yoga sculpt (with weights) and hot yoga barre.

INTRO SPECIAL: 30 DAYS UNLIMITED = $45 (all locations apply!)

8383 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 75

Beverly Hills, CA 90211

310.986.6420

(with additional locations in Santa Monica, Manhattan Beach and Pasadena)

  • BIKRAM YOGA SILVERLAKE – Hot yoga studio offering 90-minute sessions with 26 postures and two breathing exercises.

INTRO SPECIAL: 30 DAYS UNLIMITED = $45!

3223 Glendale Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90039

323.668.2500

  • NAMASTE HIGHLAND PARK – An all-inclusive urban oasis that offers everything from Hatha Flow and vigorous Vinyasa, to Yoga Sculpt, Yin Yoga and meditation.

INTRO SPECIAL: 3 WEEKS UNLIMITED = $30!

5118 York Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90042

pilates_fitness_skyelyfePILATES

  • STUDIO MDR Sebastien Lagree‘s total-body program melds together elements of Pilates, cardio training and weight-bearing activities.

INTRO SPECIAL: ONE WEEK UNLIMITED = $30 (all locations apply!)

13357 Washington Blvd.

Culver City, CA 90066

310.881.9467

(with additional studios in Marina Del Rey and Playa Vista)

MISCELLANEOUS WORKOUTS

  • BASECAMP FITNESS – This high-intensity workout consists of 30 one-minute workouts that include Air Assault bike movements, body weight exercises and weight lifting. This is one of the quickest workouts in town!

INTRO SPECIAL: ONE WEEK UNLIMITED = FREE!

8714 Santa Monica Blvd.

West Hollywood, CA 90069

424.323.0555

  • THE PHOENIX EFFECT – Studio offering community-driven, full-body, group fitness sessions.

INTRO SPECIAL: ONE WEEK UNLIMITED = $5!

7264 Melrose Ave.

West Hollywood, CA 90046

323.380.5528

  • NOVO BODY FITNESS – Studio offering weight-lifting workouts that target the fat-burning zone and sculpt lean muscle, while increasing metabolism.

INTRO PACKAGE: 3 SESSIONS = $33!

15928 Ventura Blvd. Ste. 108

Sherman Oaks, CA 91436

818.501.2639

  • STUDIO CITY MARTIAL ARTS  – Studio teaching best practical applications of self-defense, as well as movement for development of strength, flexibility and balance for a strong, hard body, and mediation techniques for a strong, clear mind.

INTRO SPECIAL: TWO WEEKS UNLIMITED = FREE!

12418 Ventura Blvd.

Studio City, CA 91604

818.769.5866

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Food Angelenos Featured

PHOTOS: The Abbey Just Upgraded Its Food & Drink Menu in a Major Way – and Skyelyfe Tried All the New Items First!

January 28, 2016


The_Abbey_Hot_Mule_SkyelyfeThe Abbey Food & Bar
has never had a problem drawing a crowd, but their upgraded gourmet food and drink menu is sure to make the iconic West Hollywood hotspot a go-to for more than just its incredibly strong cocktails and half-naked go-go dancers.

In celebration of its upcoming 25th anniversary in May, the venue has enlisted the help of mixologist Armando Conway (Pour Vous, La Descarga, Harvard and Stone, Hakkasan) to create a selection of new sips that feature fresh herbs and house-made juices and syrups, while Chef Andrew Smith has kept busy in the kitchen with new shared plates and comfort food.

I got a firsthand taste of the latest additions last week with a delicious eight-course food and drink pairing, presented by famed owner David Cooley. My mouth is watering just thinking about the turkey meatloaf, warm quinoa salad and crab cakes, in particular. And even in wintertime, the cocktails were so light and fresh, I felt like I was lounging on an island during summer vacation. I could definitely go for one of their spicy Mules right now (ok, maybe in a few hours).

The Abbey, a two-time winner of Logo/MTV’s Best Gay Bar in the World award, doesn’t just serve up dinner. Daily lunch and weekend brunch are also big hits among consumers!

The_Abbey_Effen_Relaxed_skyelyfe

The_Abbey_LGBTA_Sandwich_skyelyfe

The_Abbey_Crab_Cakes_skyelyfe

The_Abbey_Jalapeno_Lime_Margarita_with_Barrel_Aged_Patron_skyelyfe

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Food Angelenos

PHOTOS: Tabanero and Fireball Host Hottest (Really!) Party in Hollywood!

January 27, 2016
Photo Credit: Amanda C. Edwards

Photo Credit: Amanda C. Edwards

It was National Hot Sauce Day, and not a taste bud was left untouched among the guests at Tabanero and Fireball‘s spicy Hollywood soirée at Le Jardin to honor the occasion!

Fire dancers twirled their flamed hoops, guests took Fireball shots out of ice sculptures in between noshing on some of the hottest peppers and sauces in existence (you had to sign a waiver to try them – that’s how spicy they were!), and Burger Lounge served up their finest jalapeño-accompanied beef bites.

Following the bash, VIP guests walked out with the ultimate gift bag full of Tabanero sauces, Fireball shots and glasses, Poke Bar and Burger Lounge gift cards and flaming popcorn and chocolate bars.

There will be no lack of spice in my 2016 – that’s for sure!

Photo Credit: Amanda C. Edwards

Photo Credit: Amanda C. Edwards

Photo Credit: Amanda C. Edwards

Photo Credit: Amanda C. Edwards

Photo Credit: Amanda C. Edwards

Photo Credit: Amanda C. Edwards

Photo Credit: Amanda C. Edwards

Photo Credit: Amanda C. Edwards

Photo Credit: Amanda C. Edwards

Photo Credit: Amanda C. Edwards

Music Angelenos

PHOTOS: Sofar Sounds Celebrates Five-Year L.A. Anniversary with Extra Special Show in Chinatown Warehouse

January 19, 2016
Photo credit: Elli Lauren

Photo credit: Elli Lauren

Since launching sessions in Los Angeles, Sofar Sounds‘ waiting list, donation-only experiences have boasted some of the first live performances by once-unknown radio acts including Saint Motel, Family of the Year and Meg Myers – along with a couple of personal favorites Gardens & Villa and Pompeya.

Just last week, the music organization (which stands for Songs from a Room, and originally launched in London in 2009) embarked on its five-year L.A. anniversary with an extra special four-act celebratory show in a spacious, colorful warehouse in Downtown’s Chinatown, where photographer Elli Lauren was on hand to capture the magic of the intimate evening.

Photo credit: Elli Lauren

Photo credit: Elli Lauren

With walls covered in colorful promotional posters from shows past, beer and wine-sipping guests took in the diverse sounds of four different acts: Eagle Rock Gospel Singers, Lime Orchard, Pell, (whose voice resembles John Legend) and Jake McMullen (whose melody resembles that of Bon Iver‘s music).

To learn more about Sofar Sounds and to sign up for a hopeful shot at attending one of their exclusive sessions, click here!

Photo credit: Elli Lauren

Photo credit: Elli Lauren

Photo credit: Elli Lauren

Photo credit: Elli Lauren

Photo credit: Elli Lauren

Photo credit: Elli Lauren

Photo credit: Elli Lauren

Photo credit: Elli Lauren

Photo credit: Elli Lauren

Photo credit: Elli Lauren

Lifestyle Music Angelenos

West Hollywood’s Playlist Yoga Doesn’t Miss a Beat (Literally) with Its Brand New Music-Inspired Studio

January 7, 2016

playlist_yoga_parking_skyelyfeIf you like your yoga the way West Hollywood folks like their coffee (hot, fresh and expensive), then you just might be a fan of Playlist Yoga, La Cienega Blvd.’s latest fitness studio.

Why the coffee analogy, you may ask? Well, the sleek new sweat spot is located within walking distance of the two locations of Alfred Coffee {+ Kitchen}, arguably the trendiest place to grab a caffeine kick in town.

Not only has Alfred extended a warm welcome to its neighbor on social media, but new yogis can receive a friendly discount thru Jan. 15 if they bring in a receipt or cup from an Alfred order.

playlist_yoga_lockers_skyelyfeThanks to a friend, I had the opportunity to try Playlist’s signature Vinyasa Flow class earlier this week before the location opens to the general public, and I must say, with so many studios that provide similar workouts, I can see why this will be a standout. Everything is musically themed. From the quotes on the walls, to the lockers listed by the names of the most famous musicians of our time, this is a place for a music lover to take deep breaths and take in deep beats.

The hour-long classes provide users with a playlist (hence the studio name) of dance, hip-hop and Top 40, so that even though guests are relaxed during their session, they are still feeling upbeat in the process.

#PLAYMASTE

Beauty Angelenos

(PHOTOS) We Are Fitness: L.A. Convention Brings Influencers & Brand Ambassadors Together for Fun Night with Healthy Purpose!

December 8, 2015

we_are_fitness_balance_skyelyfeWe Are Fitness reminds people that maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be a lot of fun!

Last week’s convention included a who’s who of digital influencers, along with top activewear and health brand ambassadors, who made an overall powerful statement about the importance of taking care of your body.

Co-coordinated by Honestly Jamie blogger Jamie Stone, the four-hour event (formerly called FITfluence, if you recall from when I attended last year) took place at L.A.’s SmogShoppe, and gave the small selection of invited guests a chance to connect with some of their favorite companies and familiar online faces, while also learning about new brands and trying out their products (who wouldn’t want to hit the gym after scoring a pair of hot new leggings?).

we_are_fitness_muscles_skyelyfeWhen guests weren’t taking in upbeat sounds by Lauren FitDJ, browsing the vendor tables (more on that later) or swinging by one of two 50 Bleu Ultra Premium Vodka-hosted bars (yes, even fitness fanatics need their occasional cocktail), they were listening in on the Q+A panels with a handful of cyber sensations: Casey Ho of Blogilates, Michael Morelli of Hit Max, Keaira Lashae of If You Can Move, body-building YouTuber Brendan Meyers, Caitlin Turner of @gypsetgoddess‘ Instagram, Natalie Jill of NatalieJillFitness, P90X founder Tony Horton, popular Snapchatting surfer Danny Berk and the ultimate body-building YouTuber Rich Piana.

we_are_fitness_bonneo_skyelyfeLike last year, vendors gave attendees a chance to try (and sometimes walk away with) some of the best new products in the business.

Bonne O sparking beverage system reps were on hand to give guests samples of carbonated vodka-fruit drinks that were made with just a quick click on these handy little machines. The Neutrogena table was impossible to go unnoticed, as the brand’s rep creatively dressed to coincide exactly with the colors of the the products (CoolDry Sport sunscreen) she was sharing with guests. And for everyone’s multivitamin-dosing needs, Smarty Pants folks were present to provide endless samples of what I consider the most delicious gummy health bites you can imagine (these are too tasty to possibly be real vitamins, right?!). As delicious as they are, they can’t satisfy one’s appetite, so that’s what My Fit Foods was there to do, providing their pre-made gumbo and ground turkey dishes for people to nibble on as their made their way through the venue.

we_are_fitness_teeki_skyelyfeTeeki had their newest styles of leggings on display, and a few VIPs (me included) snagged a pair on their way out! Speaking of leggings, Liquido also participated by providing all guests with a special new pair in their stuffed gift bags at the end of the night. The generous selection of swag also included a headband from Manduka, a Murad clarifying face mask tube, a box of Organic India Tulsi teabags, Vega One nutritional shake powder packets, Bai antioxidant juices, all-natural, vegan, cucumber-lime-scented hand soap from Stop the Water While Using Me, a certificate for a free waxing service from Miss Wax Los Angeles (who were giving people eyebrow waxes during the event) and a certificate for a free pair of espadrilles from Otz . And as if all that wasn’t enough, guests also left with a separate bag filled entirely with treats from Quest Nutrition.

Thanks again, We Are Fitness! Another successful event for the books!

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Beauty Angelenos

UrbanDaddy & The Palazzo Bring Vegas Style Revelry To West Hollywood’s Chicest New Hotel Rooftop

December 4, 2015

Urban_Daddy_showgirls_skyelyfeIf you’re itching for a glimpse into the new Vivienne Westwood penthouse suite at The London West Hollywood, it won’t come cheap!

But thanks to UrbanDaddy, VIP guests at this week’s Unlock the Party event had the luxury of getting a firsthand look at the lavish location, which goes for around $25,000 per night.

Urban_Daddy_Malery_Vinal_skyelyfeThe lifestyle media brand gave partygoers the ultimate Vegas -like getaway from The Palazzo Las Vegas, complete with showgirl dancers, mind-blowing magic tricks by magician Paul Green, tray-passed bites by executive chef, Anthony Keene, seasonal cocktails and sweeping views of Sunset Blvd. and the L.A. skyline.

The party, hosted by UrbanDaddy CEO, Lance Broumand, unfolded between two floors. One was a rooftop deck with an open design that seemed perfect for the occasion. The open terrace boasted an outdoor bar, tunes from Andrea Shapiro (DJ Big Drop) and a relaxing fire pit. The lower floor provided large sitting areas and a place for guests to mingle away from the cold. The showgirls swarmed the rooftop and looked like they were plucked straight out of a Vegas scene with their sequined dresses and feather accessories. Urban_Daddy_cocktail_menu_skyelyfe

Before the end of the night, The Palazzo Las Vegas was to award a lucky attendee with a trip complete with airfare, show tickets, dinners and Palazzo hotel accommodations. Guests took turns trying their luck and in hopes of winning this ultimate getaway by receiving a unique key at the concierge station. The person able to unlock the door would be greeted with a balloon and champagne-filled room on the other side.

We’ll bet on it that this is the penthouse you’ll want for your next bash!

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Music Angelenos

PHOTOS: Sunset Blvd.’s Iconic Viper Room Reopens Its Doors with Exclusive Performance by X Ambassadors

November 20, 2015
Photo credit: Vivien Best / WireImage

Photo credit: Vivien Best / WireImage

The Viper Room is back!

The legendary West Hollywood landmark reopened its doors this week to a completely packed crowd and an exclusive performance by X Ambassadors, who played several songs, including their chart-topping “Renegades.”

The private reopening event was hosted by 50 Bleu vodka and Casamigos tequila, and had a slew of celebrities in attendance, including Vanessa Hudgens and beau Austin Butler, Alessandra Ambrosio, Kelsey Grammer and Cheryl Burke.

Located across the street from fellow famed Sunset Blvd. musical hotspots including The Roxy and Whiskey a Go Go, the Viper Room, which opened in 1993 by Johnny Depp, has been home to some of rock ‘n roll’s most legendary acts and historical moments.

Photo credit: Vivien Best / WireImage

Photo credit: Vivien Best / WireImage

Photo credit: Vivien Best / WireImage

Photo credit: Vivien Best / WireImage

Photo credit: Vivien Best / WireImage

Photo credit: Vivien Best / WireImage

Photo credit: Vivien Best / WireImage

Photo credit: Vivien Best / WireImage

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