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Food

The Ultimate Whiskey and Beer Pairing Is Coming to a City Near You!

January 26, 2017

Angelenos recently took advantage of Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey‘s D.E.W. and a Brew Tour when it launched earlier this month, but in case you don’t live here, you may still be able to join in on the TimeOut-sponsored fun!

Seeking out 26 of the best breweries in the country, the spirit brand is on a 68-day mission to have people who enjoy drinking, experience the fun of pairing beer and whiskey.

I had a chance to experience the pairing for myself recently when the whole tour kicked off at Santa Monica Brew Works (monstrous tour bus and all!). Met with a live band and noshes galore, the pairing experience was definitely an enjoyable one—and something quite new to me, as I do love beer, but I’m not much of a whiskey drinker.

Some of the not-yet-visited cities included on the tour—which comes to an end on March 15 in Chicago—are Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Nashville.

For the entire list of participating cities, click HERE.

Food

How to Throw the Ultimate Post-Thanksgiving Detox Dinner

November 26, 2016

First came your Thanksgiving feast, then came your post-Thanksgiving leftovers feast, and chances are you’re currently in a state of seemingly eternal bloatedness—so now what?

Keep the special friends and family togetherness time continuing through the remainder of the holiday weekend with a delicious dinner menu of a different kind—the detox, debloat kind.

Below is everything you need to have an enjoyable feast that will do quite the opposite as your few meals prior. Bon apetit!

1. Beverages 

  • Detox Water Station – Obviously the most important ingredient to any detox plan is water, but kick things up a notch with a deliciously quenching selection of various flavors, made up of apples, ginger and other detox-enhancing items. Create several different bottles and leave them out for guests to select based on their preference. The Chalkboard offers a slew of delicious water combinations HERE.
detox-dinner-water-station

Photo Credit: TheChalkboardMag.com

  • Detox Cocktails – Okay, okay, it may sound like an oxymoron to list the word “detox” and “cocktail” in the same sentence, but let’s get real—a party ain’t a party without a libation or two, and the Cookie and Kate blog came up with the simple, sensible (and dare I say healthy-ish) idea to swap out a Moscow Mule’s ginger beer for none other than Kombucha (ginger or gingerberry flavor) to create quite the refreshing vodka-based cocktail. Get the easy breezy recipe HERE.
detox-dinner-kombucha-moscow-mules1

Photo Credit: CookieandKate.com

2. Appetizers

  • Vegan Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms – Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or carnivore to the max, chances are you’re a fan of stuffed ‘shrooms. There are so many versions of this popular appetizer dish, and the Detoxinista has a simple, yet oh-so-satisfying recipe that’s perfectly fitting for this healthy occasion. Get the light recipe HERE.
Photo Credit:

Photo Credit: Detoxinista.com

3. Main Dishes

  • Eat Yourself Skinny’s Signature Detox Salad – Kale, brussels sprouts and broccoli—oh, my! With some staple greens, alongside some of your favorite antioxidant-rich seeds and nuts, you’re about to give your guests a filling nosh. And the flavorful accompanying dressing recipe is sure to leave you with no leftovers after your guests devour this gem of a dish. Get the recipe HERE.
detox-dinner-detox-salad

Photo Credit: EatYourselfSkinny.com

  • Revitalizing & Raw Cauliflower-Tomato Detox Salad – This additional delight contains most of the same ingredients as the aforementioned, but focuses on cauliflower as its staple. It also calls for sun-dried tomatoes, which I cannot stand, so consider those optional. But everything else, including the dressing, sounds absolutely delightful. With the combination of this and the salad above, you’re sure sure to have enough vitamin-rich foods to go around for the night. Get the Blissful Basil blog’s recipe HERE.
detox-dinner-raw-cauliflower-tomato-salad

Photo Credit: BlissfulBasil.com

4. Dessert

  • Detoxinista’s Healthiest Cookies Ever – You read that correctly, these are considered (by Detoxinista’s standards) the healthiest cookies ever! And judging by the ingredients (walnuts, dates, flax seeds to name a few) we’re thinking this claim is not too far off. Get the recipe HERE.
Photo Credit: Detoxinista.com

Photo Credit: Detoxinista.com

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

Food Featured

Trejos Tacos Owner Danny Trejo Shares 5 Reasons to Celebrate Taco Tuesday Tonight!

September 13, 2016

I can’t think of one person who isn’t a fan of Taco Tuesday.

Whether it’s the camaraderie, beer or tequila-filled cocktails that accompany the festive day of each week, who doesn’t enjoy kicking back after a long work day over popular lite Mexican bites?

If there’s anyone who can speak about tacos, it’s none other than Machete actor and Trejos Tacos owner Danny Trejo.

Skyelyfe recently caught up with Trejo at the V.I.P unveiling of his Miracle Mile restaurant’s taco truck.

In between noshing on cauliflower, grilled chicken and brisket tacos, while sipping on horchata, I asked the Echo Park native to provide his tips for the perfect taco, what he thinks of fast-food taco spots and much more! Scroll below for legitimately everything you need to know about everyone’s favorite Mexican food!

danny-trejo-trejos-tacos

1. What is your ultimate must-have taco ingredient?

Salsa, salsa! My mom had three different kinds of salsa: mild, hot and go to hell [laughs].  My dad would eat the go to hell. You get near it and you burn yourself!

2. What’s the craziest taco combination you’ve ever tried that most people wouldn’t think of?

I love meat, I love brisket. I love the brisket taco. Put anything you want in it. Put the sweet in it, put corn in it. That brisket is delicious.

3. Why do you think tacos are so popular among all cultures and generations?

I think they’re simple, they’re healthy. Even before we started this, tacos were actually healthy. I didn’t even know what gluten was, and I had a girlfriend who was allergic to gluten. So we went all over, eating tacos because tacos are gluten-free. They use a corn tortilla.

4. What’s your take on places like Taco Bell and Del Taco? Do those concepts upset you or are you guilty of indulging from time to time?

They’re killing our kids. When my kids were four and five and six, you couldn’t get them out of McDonald’s. Hey, now we’ve got this big play toy. The Happy Meal is the most unbelievable marketing tool ever. The Happy Meal that poisons your kids. Every parent in the United States is guilty of that. But now, we’ve got to start eating healthier as a nation … Taco Bell may as well be a phone company because I’ve got to say, it is the worst “healthy food” there is! It’s not good. I don’t even think that’s real meat, you know what I mean? It’s been proven that animals we eat that are dramatically killed are bad for us. That’s why we have kids who are obese.

5. What do you love most about tacos?

I love the salsa, I love the spice, I love the flavor. And then now, knowing that it’s healthy, it’s even better. I can eat all [the tacos] I want, and as long as I walk a little, I’m not going to put on any weight. And that’s what’s important—that there’s no weight going around my heart. I don’t have cholesterol because I’m eating healthy.

Keep your eyes peeled for the Trejos Tacos truck at a stop near you!

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!

bruger-princess-cruises

burger-love-and-salt

burger3

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

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.
Food Featured

Here’s the Final Addition Needed In Your Bar Cart (Trust Me, You’re Really Missing Out)!

February 2, 2016

pickle_juice_chaserLemon, lime, soda – what do these have in common? They are among the most popular cocktail accompaniments and chasers.

But when we think of our stocked bar musts, it’s doubtful that pickle juice comes to mind. Am I right? But this Potassium-filled liquid has been used with alcohol for years, and complements shots of whiskey (Picklebacks) and tequila (Tijuana Hookers) so well that a new brand is on the market in huge bottles known as the Pickle Juice Chaser.

The PJC is built on the functional properties of pickle brine. It has the added benefit of providing ten times more electrolytes, along with vitamins, potassium and zinc.

Given that I fully abstain from tequila, and whiskey is far from my go-to, I didn’t really ever have any use for the juice in the past. But when I was recently gifted whiskey on two occasions in the same week, I figured I may as well see if this pickle juice trick lived up to its reputation. Sure enough, between friends and I, we were flying through bottles, realizing that this magical little chaser worked with pretty much any type of alcohol (I mean, use at your own discretion, of course – it does taste like pickles). It really helps rid the burn and harsh taste of some of the more potent selections people tend to sip. And it can be used for specialty cocktails as well (scroll to the very bottom for recipes!).

After more research, I found that The Pickle Juice Company (which launched the aforementioned one-of-a-kind chaser) also has a line fully devoted to athletes, as apparently pickle juice helps prevent muscle cramps, and is sugar-free, caffeine-free, GMO-free and gluten-free, unlike so many of the sports drinks on the market.

It’s only Tuesday, but hopefully the below recipes will have you feeling a little adventurous come the weekend – Cheers!

Dill Pickle Martini

  • 2 oz. dry gin
  • 1/4 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. Pickle Juice Chaser
  • 1 slice of a dill pickle (for garnish)

Put ice in a mixing glass and add the gin, vermouth and Pickle Juice Chaser. Stir for about one minute. Strain the liquid into a martini glass and garnish with a dill pickle slice.pickled_surfer_skyelyfe

The Pickled Surfer

  • 1 1/2 oz. whiskey
  • 1/2 oz. Pickle Juice Chaser
  • Juice of 1/2 of a lime
  • Old bay seasoning for garnish (optional)
  • A few pickle slices (optional)

In a glass with ice, mix together the whiskey, Pickle Juice Chaser and lime juice and stir. Garnish with a lime wedge and a pickle slice sprinkled with old bay seasoning.

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

Food Featured

Cheers! This New App Gets You One Cocktail Each Day, Compliments of the Bar!

January 20, 2016

Hooch_app_skyelyfeI’ll drink to this!

A brand new app called Hooch allows users (currently based in Los Angeles and New York – and soon in San Francisco, Miami and Hong Kong) a cocktail per day for a total cost of less than one drink per month (yes, you read that correctly).

The app download is free, and for a mere $9.99 a month or $99.99 a full year, partnering venues offer Hooch users a drink of the bar’s choice each day. Only one drink total can be redeemed each day, but with the quantity of hotspots onboard, you’re bound to start discovering fresh cocktail concoctions and different places to sip them.

Not since the Los Angeles Passport program have I heard of anything remotely similar in my part of town, but unlike with a purchase of that option, Hooch (which was created by nightlife veteran Aleksey Kernes, tech industry expert Lin Dai and digital marketing entrepreneur Jared Christopherson) is valid all year ’round and beverage costs are entirely eliminated, not just discounted.

So, where did I break in my newfound drinking privileges? Pump, of course! With just a quick app glance from the manager – voila – I was whipped up a fruity, very Pump-esque martini of the restaurant’s choice, hassle and cost-free.

Other L.A.-based options include Belmont, Rock and Reilly’s Irish Pub, The London West Hollywood, Bar Lubitsch, The LarchmontGolden Gopher and Shore Bar, to name a few – so get to sipping!

But as always, drink responsibly – and don’t forget to tip your bartender!

Beauty Food

These Three Ideas Are Sure to Keep You Healthy and Fit from 2016’s Start to Finish!

December 30, 2015
Fit young woman fighting off fast food

Photo courtesy: iwanttobefit.com

So much for prioritizing fitting into that skintight sexy number when the ball drops!

I’ve never met anybody who started a diet in December. In fact, most people I know excuse every bite and morsel during the holiday season with an “I’ll start up again in the new year.” We tear through cupcakes, multi-course dinners and booze-filled parties while we offer apologies under our breath and promise that come January 1st, everything will change.

Once the new year arrives, life happens and it becomes hard to keep up with our health resolutions. We’ve all seen the mad rush at the gym the first weeks in January only to witness numbers dwindle and only the regulars up on the machines come February. Luckily, new brands and services popped up in 2015 that can help us continue with our goals well into 2016.

Below, skyelyfe put together a list of ideas and programs that will make sticking to your goal easier than having that second (or third, or fourth…) glass of champagne this New Year’s eve.

Subscribe to a Food Delivery Service (Yes, you can find ones that don’t break the bank!) – Not all food delivery services are made the same. Most of them are also a bit out of budget after holiday season splurges settle in. A great alternative is a service that will deliver ingredients for you take make your own healthy meals. These remove the cost of food preparation and some offer values similar to what you would spend should you buy the groceries yourself. One of the originals, Blue Apron clocks in at only 500-700 calories per meal. Breakfast and lunch are easier to keep light (ideas include nonfat Greek yogurt and nuts for breakfast, salad with protein for lunch) when you are in a hurry. Services that provide you with premium, seasonal ingredients and calorie counts take the guess work (and not to mention temptation) out of dinnertime.

Should one of your goals be to consume more organic, non-GMO meals or to start a paleo or vegetarian diet in 2016, Sun Basket will be your ally. Most clock in under 700 calories, but be cognizant of the recipes (and reduce portion size) for those that go a bit over.

Sun Basket's Coconut Braised Pacific Cod

Sun Basket’s Coconut Braised Pacific Cod

Blue Apron's Boxed Deliver

Blue Apron’s Boxed Delivery

Don’t Let Hunger Strike! – One of the easiest ways to fall off your diet wagon is failing to prepare. Life gets busy and it’s easy to find ourselves skipping a meal in order to finish a presentation or squeeze in a couple more emails at work. Keep healthy snacks near you, in your desk drawer, purse or gym bag. This way you are less likely to bite into the first chocolate bar that makes eye contact with you at the office vending machine. Sakara Life is a new company based in New York that sells everything from watermelon jerky to probiotic chocolate. One of their best options is their Empower Bar Collection. For $29, you receive convenient, nutrient-dense, whole-food nourishment with a side of holistic healing. The “flavors” include clarity, manifestation and beauty.

Sakara Life's Manifestation Bar

Sakara Life’s Manifestation Bar

Start a Workout Club – We’ve all heard about the fatty version of this – a dinner or wine club. The concept is the same, but instead of somebody hosting dinner at their home or inviting everybody over for a great bottle of red each week, you explore new workouts in your area and invite your “club” to partake. Similar to the more common clubs, you are held accountable for providing an activity for the group on your set date. You can try that new aerial yoga class you were too embarrassed to sign up for alone, make accommodations for the group at a gym or prepare hiking routes, cycle paths, etc… for everyone.  This will help keep workouts fun and fresh well into the new year. It will also guarantee that you continue seeing your friends once the mad rush back to real life starts after the holidays.

Workout Club Activities

Workout Club Activities

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Music Food

Synth-Pop Artist Genesee Discusses How His A.D.D. Struggles and ‘Chaotic Mind’ Helped Form His Debut EP

October 7, 2015

Genesee_skyelyfeIt wouldn’t be a real song if it didn’t tell a story, right? Well, TonyGeneseeMoras has experienced alcohol abuse, Attention Deficit Disorder struggles, and falling in love – which has led him to 1.5 years of current sobriety and a three-song, just-released ’80s synth-pop-sounding EP Always (scroll to the very bottom), which explores his journey to the present.

“The first year of getting sober is very inspirational and very openminded,” Moras tells skyelyfe of divulging his personal life on the EP. “You’re open to expressing yourself and talking about a lot of things. The next few songs on the album are going to be about my sobriety. I feel great. I could be drunk and doing drugs and write an album, but it would probably be a different kind of album. I can’t wait to listen to this like five years from now and be like, wow, that’s when I first got sober.”

But even at his very best, Moras admits his “brain is still chaotic.” And his hectic mindset is something he addresses in the song “1993.”

He explains of the track: “For some reason, I’m going through the same thing today that I was in 1993. I still have the same people talking in my head, the problems that I had in 1993. So I was ten years old in 1993 … that song is about how nothing’s really changed for me. My looks have changed, but the mental stuff is still there. Can I deal with pressure? I’m still under the same pressure. Do I get nervous? I still get nervous.”

Part of what’s kept him going during this sometimes tedious journey is his girlfriend of 2.5 years, Samantha Atkin.

“The song ‘Always’ is about my girlfriend,” Moras, who lives with his significant other, says with a smile. “She has a tattoo underneath her left boob that says ‘always.’ She’s a very cool inspiration for me with lyrics and stuff. She’s always there – literally. Any time I write a song, she’s always critiquing it or always giving me words to use in the verses to the chorus.”

Genesee_logo_skyelyfeMoras combines his love for electronic music with his self-proclaimed “emo voice,” to create a style he says is similar to that of Owl City or The Postal Service.

“This specific EP is electronic music,” he explained. “I really got into listening to Axwell, Avicii. I don’t want to take that tropical house route. Everybody’s going that tropical house route. I still want to go back to the basics of trance and house.”

But above all else, the influence behind his brand as a musician comes from living in L.A., a place the Ohio native has proudly called home for 15 years.

“I made the EP in my place on Genesee,” Moras says of his West Hollywood dwellings. “I’m on Melrose [Ave.]. I’m a huge Melrose hoodrat. I’ve lived there about seven years. I love L.A., and that’s why I wanted to name [myself] after this street called Genesee. Basically, my studio is on Genesee. I have a great mixer in New York and a great mixer in Indiana, and they do all the final mastering, but at the end of the day, I [make the songs] on Genesee.”

When it comes to L.A. lifestyle, the former nightlife connoisseur reminisces of fun times at iconic then-hotspot Les Deux, a la the days of The Hills, a show he enthusiastically calls “great!”

But as for present times, Moras says the Houston brothers (Mark and Jonnie Houston) are really the face of the social scene right now in Hollywood.

From Harvard & Stone and Pour Vous, to No Vacancy, Good Times at Davey Wayne’s – and most recently Break Room 86, these guys have really changed the game of L.A. nightlife.

“I love that place,” Moras says of The Line hotel’s ’80s-themed, Koreatown-based hotspot. “I think the Houston brothers are doing a great job. When I first moved to L.A. – before there was Facebook and MySpace, the only way you really knew what was cool was by way of a text message. Back then, you’d go to these little hole-in-the-wall dive places. You wouldn’t go to the mega Lures and the giant clubs SBE does. People went to the really cool places like El Centro. The Houston brothers gave Break Room 86 a theme. It’s making people feel not so commercialized and jammed into a room.”

But as someone who now lays low when it comes to hitting the town, Moras is more likely to keep up with what’s being served fresh out of the oven.

Plan Check is a great burger place,” he says of one of his favorite dining spots in the city. “I love Bagel Broker. My favorite Italian in the world is Dan Tana’s. It’s the best Italian in L.A., I think. Prime Pizzas the bomb. It’s on Fairfax right by Rosewood Tavern.”

And when he’s not eating or making music, he makes time for a little shopping.

“I like Zara,” Moras says, adding that he’s a big fan of The Grove. “Urban Outfitters is always a go-to. Also, the shop of my buddy’s clothing line Sol Angeles. I actually went to high school with this guy. His stuff is in Kitson. It’s kind of like the old Hollister look, but it has an L.A. vibe to it, too.” 

Check out Moras’ EP below:

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Music Food

Life Is Beautiful Festival: All the Behind-the-Scenes Secrets, from Co-Owner Ryan Doherty

September 22, 2015
Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

With fall underway, most of the year’s biggest music festivals are a thing of the past.

But Life Is Beautiful gives people a chance at one final big festival hurrah until 2016 Coachella.

Taking place this weekend in Downtown Las Vegas, the music and arts festival features huge talent, including Stevie Wonder, Kendrick Lamar, Imagine Dragons, Brandon Flowers, Snoop Dogg, Duran Duran, Kygo – and a slew of my favorites (Porter Robinson, Death Cab for Cutie, Madeon, Future IslandsGlass Animals, Peking Duk, Audien and What So Not).

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

Skyelyfe sat down at Soho House in West Hollywood with the festival’s co-owner, WENDOH Media‘s Ryan Doherty. Doherty discussed the headliner selection process, the things that set this festival greatly apart from the others and some of the year-long challenges that were faced in pulling this incredible experience together. 

Read on to learn six behind-the-scenes things to know about Life Is Beautiful festival:

1. The Setup Is Wild

“At a music festival, you’re usually in a venue. In this case, the entire downtown is turned into a venue,” Doherty said. “We fence off 17 blocks, we have stages and parking lots in the middle of the streets. There are casinos, bars, restaurants that become parts of the venue. It has this ever-evolving footprint that changes every year.”

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

2. Here’s How the Headliners Came to Be

“We had a lot of artists we went after for headliners,” Doherty said. “The festival scene has gotten so broad now. There’s a festival every weekend, and we’re all fighting over the same talent. We got lucky. We did end up getting who we wanted. Stevie Wonder was a big get for us. He’s not going to be playing for a [much longer] time. You never know when he’s going to hang it up, so for us to get him for a festival is a good get. We had hoped to get Imagine Dragons because we don’t have a local sports team. We have very few hometown heroes. So, the Killers and Imagine Dragons are like our two hometown heroes. and Kendrick, we kind of bet on that horse, so we got him a long time ago and hoped he would catch on fire. And so far, it’s paid off. He’s turned in some great festival performances already this year. His music is smart and conscious. One of the goals was to make the lineup diverse, and I think that was accomplished.” 

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

3. The Challenges of Putting Together L.I.B Differ from Other Festivals

“There are a million moving parts to a music festival,” Doherty explained. “There are tons of speed bumps, but no obstacles. It just takes a long time to get things done. Most of you go to a music festival and you have to deal with the personalities of rockstars. We have to deal with the personalities of chefs and rockstars. We have an entire speaker series, so we have all these speakers. It’s a lot of stars who have all different personalities and are all coming in from different places from all over the world. Just booking their travel is a full-time job.”

4. Just Dealing with Venue Matters Alone Took a Whole Year

“We have to shut down city blocks, rearrange traffic,” Doherty said. “When you have a venue you can walk into, like a Coachella, where it’s a big field, it’s a lot easier. We have residents that we move to hotels for a weekend, we have perimeter fences that we have to put up around 17 blocks. People are surprised it takes a whole year to put this together, but it’s 100,000 people across four pillars. We have the speaker series, we have the culinary program, then we have the musicians and then we have art.”

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

5. The Festival’s Learning Project Is Something That Doesn’t Exist Elsewhere

“It’s essentially built around the platform of small, 200-300-person theater-style engagements going on during the festival,” Doherty explained. “It’s short-form content. These are 20-minute sessions. The idea of it is so that if you’re in groups, you can divide off and two of you can catch a session while the others catch a music set and then you can meet up and get some food together. The learning project is really meant to inspire everyone. You’re not getting that at any other music festival – whether it’s an inspirational culinary experience or little pop-up demonstrations.”

6. Despite Its Las Vegas Location, L.I.B. Doesn’t Typically Bring Out the Party Animals

“It’s really not that kind of festival,” Doherty said. “It’s not that crazy type of environment.”

Beauty Food Angelenos

Naked Princess Boutique Hosts Abs + Apps, the Ultimate Fitness Cocktail Party

August 13, 2015

absandapps_entrance_skyelyfeTalk about a workout event done right!

Naked Princess lingerie and beauty boutique in West Hollywood was the home on Tuesday to Abs + Apps, a celebration to launch fitness and nutrition blogger Whitney English‘s To Live & Diet in L.A. iPhone app.

absandapps_group_skyelyfeLet me preface by saying any invite that starts off by asking me my size and activewear outfit preference, courtesy of Fabletics, clearly has the event going in the right direction before it even begins.

The actual event itself started out with an incredible 45-minute workout with energetic beauty Kodi Kitchen of Best U Studio, who guided us through a U Barre routine (see photos) with an intimate group of 25 ladies in a private, tucked-away room in the boutique. After, Whitney served up some of her favorite (and healthiest) homemade small bites and decadent chocolate desserts (see recipes here and here). Topped off with Health-Ade Kombucha pomegranate sangria made with One Hope Wine, my taste buds were beyond satisfied!Absandapps_dahvi_skyelyfe

And icing on the cake [pun intended]? Each guest walked out with a gift bag full of goodies, including the boutique’s signature scent candle Midnight Bloom, which has quickly taken control of my apartment’s aroma.

Congratulations, Whitney!

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Beauty Food Angelenos

Tone It Up!’s Karena and Katrina Host Day of Glutes & Glam in Malibu!

August 4, 2015
Photo credit: Dan Steinberg

Photo credit: Dan Steinberg

Not a body was left without feeling soreness recently at Malibu‘s Kia Beach House, where the gorgeous Tone It Up! founders Katrina Hodgson and Karena Dawn of former Bravo show Toned Up took over for the day, giving about 40 ladies one heck of a workout on the sand.

Overlooking the ocean and beautiful homes in our view definitely softened the blow of the intense approximate 30-minute routine.

Photo credit: Dan Steinberg

Photo credit: Dan Steinberg

KiaInMalibu_food_skyelyfe

Photo credit: Dan Steinberg

Luckily, post-sweat session, we were able to decompress with massages, manis and braids by Priv on-the-go beauty, the most delicious smoothies and wraps by Chef Alex Williams (I couldn’t keep my hands off the chicken avocado bites) – and even a gifting by JustFab, where I scored a pair of adorable beige booties and these fun neon shorts! Guests also left with gift bags full of Priv gift cards, Joico hair products and Murad cleansing wipes.

And of course, my lavish layout day was not complete without a little bit of red sangria! Cheers to fun Friday memories!

Food Angelenos

Top Food & Spirits Vendors Visit Sony Pictures Studios with Rocco DiSpirito for a Good Cause!

July 29, 2015

CalSpirit30_steak_skyelyfeEven the rain couldn’t keep the droves of foodies and celebrity chefs from making their way to Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City recently for a tasteful – and tasty – evening that benefitted the American Cancer Society.

The outdoor California Spirit 30 gala, hosted by famed chef Rocco DiSpirito, went for a whopping $350 a ticket, and featured decadent bites and delicious sips from a slew of popular L.A. vendors, including chi SPACCA, Art of Tea, Bouchon, Tavern, Knuckle + Claw, Lemonade, Impulsion Trade wine, and renown mixologist Julian Cox, who created specialty cocktails.CalSpirit30_Rocco_DiSpirito_skyelyfe

I had a major food field day, even noshing on Redbird‘s grilled pork chop with apricot mostardo & hazelnuts. Pork Chop isn’t normally my number one pick, but this was delicious, and I figured given where I was, if I was going to go for something outside of the box (for me), this would be the time and place to do it.

Although there were a wide range of wine and spirits served, if it were up to Cox on just a normal day, his motto is the lighter, the better.

CalSpirit30_donuts_skyelyfe“I think most of the light spirits are a really, really safe bet,” Cox told reporters. “Vodka, gin, rum, and tequila mixed with a neutral mixer is the healthiest and the lightest. I know that’s not very interesting but that’s probably the healthiest. But in that spirit, if you add something like fresh herbs or peppers, either spicy or not spicy peppers, or even like cucumbers, something like that, that’s really nice and light keep it really fresh. Also there are great sweeteners out there like Stevia and agave nectar that are really low on the bicimix index, natural and healthy.”CalSpirit30_Liqueur_skyelyfe

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Food

3 Cocktails (and Accompanying Bites) You Must Try in L.A. This Summer

July 22, 2015

I usually stray from specialty cocktails and opt for wine or vodka-soda because of the headache-causing overload of syrup and sugar in many drinks. But, at three incredible L.A. restaurants, I recently had the pleasure of trying several different beverages that were refreshing and flavorful, without weighing me down.

After much thought, here are the three cocktails (paired with equally delicious bites) that I insist you must try this summer:

TheSpringsCocktail1. The Strawberry Sake-Tini at The Springs in downtown L.A. is one of the most refreshing beverages I have had in a while. Made from natural ingredients, this sake cocktail tastes everything like the most delicious vodka-based libation. If you recall, I first tried the wellness oasis’ sake cocktails back in April – and with the change of season, they are still nailing their concoctions.  The vegan restaurant just launched its new summer menu, courtesy of Executive Chef Michael Falso. And my beverage of choice went delightfully alongside the samosas, which tasted straight out of my favorite Indian restaurant, sans the grease and heavy taste. Other highlights from the summer menu include, squash blossoms, “cheese” plate and beet tartare.

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The Springs

608 Mateo St.

Los Angeles, CA 90021

213.223.6226

DistrictCocktail2. The Hot Asian at The District by Hannah An has the perfect kick of spice and dash of sweetness without being overbearing on either end. This satisfying sip is made from lemongrass-infused Loft and Bear vodka, organic Vietnamese chili agave and fresh squeezed lime juice, garnished with lime zest and Vietnamese chili. I enjoyed my beverage with a chicken satay starter (the accompanying peanut sauce is out of this world!), a side of flavorful Chinese broccoli and a main course of District Wok Lobster. The upscale Vietnamese eatery serves portions that are every bit as filling as they are delicious!

The District by Hannah An

8722 W. 3rd St.

Los Angeles, CA 90048

310.278.2345

Esterel_Cocktail_Skyelyfe3. The Myrtille Smash at Sofitel Los Angeles hotel’s Esterel is my favorite beverage to sip on outside in the beautiful garden terrace of the newly renovated restaurant. Made with Bulleit Rye whiskey, blueberry jam, lemon, simple syrup and black walnut bitters, this unique concoction by mixologist Ferrari Watts pairs wonderfully with the menu’s highly touted zucchini beignets, grass-fed ribeye with summer vegetable succotash and Anson Mills grits.

Esterel at Sofitel L.A.

8555 Beverly Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90048

310.358.3979

Music Food

Mean Girls Is Coming to West Hollywood!

June 26, 2015

MeanGirlsIf you’ve had the pleasure of seeing one of your beloved cult classics as part of an outdoor movie screening series, then you know how much fun it is to laugh under the stars to your favorite lines with hundreds of other filmgoers.

Well in case you haven’t already experienced Street Food Cinema, July 25th’s Mean Girls showing at Poinsettia Park should get you into the whole experience. An added bonus? A little birdie tells me a certain someone from the cast will be making a surprise appearance!

Each Saturday from now through Halloween, some of the most universally memorable movies (ie. Cruel IntentionsHeathersClueless, Sixteen CandlesHocus PocusFast Times at Ridgemont High, etc…) will be showing at open-air locations all over the city. From Westchester Park in Playa Vista, to Exposition Park in DTLA, each screening in the series also incorporates a musical act and a slew of food trucks (Cousin’s Maine Lobster, Frach’s Fried Ice Cream, Street Kitchen LA., Joe’s Pizza and The Grilled Cheese Truck – just to name a few!).

Food Featured

Chopped Judge Chris Santos Just Joined Chef’d Delivery Service – and I Cooked Up One of His Decadent Dishes!

June 25, 2015

ChrisSantosChefdYou may recall that mouthwatering turkey concoction I posted about in February. Well, that decadent burger was courtesy of a Chris Santos recipe, and I have once again put my skills to the test, thanks to the Chopped judge, who also owns Manhattan’s Beauty & Essex.

Santos recently teamed up with Chef’d home delivery service to give his fans the opportunity to make some of his signature dishes on their own. For under $40, you now have the option to create his Ancho Caramel Glazed Pork Tenderloin, BBQ Sushi Tuna Satays, Pan-Roasted Hanger Steak or Wasabi Pea-Crusted Salmon – which is what I opted for!

Each order comes with very precise instructions and every single ingredient you need to feed two people. The salmon I made was delicious! It came with most incredible wasabi pesto recipe. It took about two hours, but the wait was worth it. I got to treat my dad to a home-cooked meal for Father’s Day!

But regardless of the occasion, I highly recommend teaming up with a friend, roommate or significant other and using Chef’d as a tool to have some kitchen fun! There are a slew of other renowned cooking stars also featured on the site, including Food Network’s Rahm FamaTop Chef‘s Fabio Viviani, healthy living expert Keri Glassman and the bloggers from Spoon Fork Bacon.

Chris_Santos_Headshot

Beauty Food Angelenos

San Francisco-Based BloomThat Blossomed in L.A. with Flower-Filled Mimosa Brunch at Goldie’s

June 23, 2015

bloomthat-goldies-skyelyfe“Blooms, brunch + besties” was the tagline for BloomThat‘s event at Goldie’s in L.A. last week, and it was the ultimate feminine affair.

I brought my good friend Natalie along with me, and we were greeted with mini mimosas topped with varying edible flowers. After we grabbed our beverages, we made our way to the food table, where we piled mini french toast triangles, kale salad and avocado toast bites onto our plates, before sitting down at our flower-filled table. Following our meal, we were able to create our very own personalized bouquets, with options ranging from basil and mint, to roses, sunflowers, lilacs, you name it!

bloomthat-mimosas-skyelyfeThe objective of the brunch was to spread the word to Angelenos about the San Francisco-based flower delivery service. BloomThat’s online operation offers day-of delivery with a plethora of colorful options right here in Southern California.

When we departed the adorable dining experience, we not only walked away with our self-made bouquets, but we were also gifted an additional bouquet of beautiful yellow flowers, a perfect summer centerpiece to brighten up my living room!

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Beauty Food

20th Century Art Inspires Menu at Sofitel’s Riviera 31 Lounge Thru End of Month

June 23, 2015

Riviera31-skyelyfe-2There’s about a week left to get a taste of Riviera 31‘s Revealed, Collection D’Art menu at the Sofitel Los Angeles hotel – a three-part dining experience inspired by 20th Century art.

The limited time opportunity kicked off in the middle of April with Cubism, followed by Surrealism, which ended earlier this month. Fauvism is the final of the three art movements explored, and its menu, created by Executive Chef Victor Boroda, is available through June 30. Bruschetta, tuna carpaccio and a unique spring garden salad are included courses, and they are paired with a rum and fresh raspberry cocktail named after the famous Dutch painter Kees von Dongen.

Riviera31-skyelyfe-1I was fortunate enough to reward my taste buds with nibbles from Surrealism, so I cannot wait to sink my teeth into this last option.

The menu coincides with an actual exhibit taking place in the hotel’s restaurant, bar and lobby – curated by Olivier Widmaier Picasso, Pablo Picasso‘s grandson – demonstrating the work of famous painters whose intimacy and daily life are, indeed, revealed.

Riviera 31

8555 Beverly Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90048

(310) 278-5444