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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.

Beauty Music

Still Having Coachella 2016 Withdrawals? Revisit Weekend One Once More With Pics & Details from Skyelyfe’s Favorite Parties!

April 20, 2016
Photo credit: Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for A-OK Collective, LLC

Photo credit: Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for A-OK Collective, LLC

Between the heat, the tedious driving and the endless flow of activity, Coachella is guaranteed to wear a person out. But we wouldn’t have it any other way, right?

Whether it’s running into an old high school pal in the Ferris Wheel line at Neon Carnival or dancing to your favorite musical acts with your festival crew at the Empire Polo Fields, there’s never any shortage of excitement during weekend one of the 3-4 day music celebration.

Although I still feel slightly (understatement) sleep deprived with barely a single clean, wearable clothing article to my name, I had such a blast this past weekend being in the mix of some of the desert’s best bashes and liveliest crowds. Although frolicking around the festival was indeed amazing (check out my Coachella 2016 playlist here!), I certainly put a solid amount of time into the parties. Scroll below for details and photos from some of the hottest (literally and figuratively) events that accompanied the festival during weekend one!

The Music Lounge Presented by Las Vegas and #WHHSH

Guests were given the ultimate Las Vegas-like experience by way of Palm Springs in the company of G-Eazy, DNCE, Balthazar Getty and DJ Equal, who each took a hand behind the turntables over the course of the two-day event. Celebrity guests, which also included Kat Graham, Kellan Lutz and Amber Rose, swooped up a generous selection of swag, including colorful kicks by Diadora (my new purple ones are so much fun!) and matching men’s sock and underwear sets from Related GarmentsARIA Resort & Casino‘s mixologist was also on hand to provide specialty #WHHSH beer cocktails.

Photo credit: Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Kendallbrent, Inc

Photo credit: Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Kendallbrent, Inc

Photo credit: Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Kendallbrent, Inc

Photo credit: Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Kendallbrent, Inc

Photo credit: Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Kendallbrent, Inc

Photo credit: Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Kendallbrent, Inc

Neon Carnival

In typical yearly fashion, Neon Carnival was the most packed party of this weekend. A slew of celebrities and tastemakers came out in droves to the coveted nighttime event, presented by Re/Done Levi’s and hosted by Tequila Don Julio. Guests at the hotly hyped bash – which included Leonardo DiCaprio, Rihanna, Jared Leto, Joe Jonas, Scott Eastwood, The Weeknd, Derek Hough, Aaron Paul and Brody Jenner, to name a few – hopped on a variety of theme park rides, won game prizes and took in the sounds of DJ Rukus, DJ Politik and DJ Equal, while partying until 5:00 a.m.!

Photo credit: GETTY IMAGES FOR NEON CARNIVAL

Photo credit: GETTY IMAGES FOR NEON CARNIVAL

Photo credit: GETTY IMAGES FOR NEON CARNIVAL

Photo credit: GETTY IMAGES FOR NEON CARNIVAL

Photo credit: GETTY IMAGES FOR NEON CARNIVAL

Photo credit: GETTY IMAGES FOR NEON CARNIVAL

REVOLVE Desert House

There was no lack of pretty faces and swag-filled bags at Revolve clothing’s picturesque desert house, which had been the home to Lacoste‘s former years-long Coachella celebration. Joico was on hand to spray guests’ hair with its popular new temporary Insta Tint colors; Ciroc and Baileys made sure no hand was left empty in the scorching sun, while Bai provided vodka mixers; ColourPop cosmetics provided a slew of colorful take home “lippie sticks” (my favorite snag of the day!); and Cult Gaia provided gorgeous custom flower crowns for the stylish soiree, which hosted Shay Mitchell, Emma Roberts, Alessandra Ambrosio, Warren G. and A$AP Rocky, Peyton List and Zoe Kravitz, among other bold-faced names.

Photo credit: Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for A-OK Collective, LLC

Photo credit: Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for A-OK Collective, LLC

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Photo credit: Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for A-OK Collective, LLC

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Photo credit: Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for A-OK Collective, LLC

Calvin Klein‘s packed CK Desert Sessions on Friday night was another fun hit of the weekend. Held in the middle of a Cathedral City strip mall warehouse, the celeb-heavy, beer-filled fete featured a set by Alesso, among other DJs. Meanwhile, one of Saturday afternoon’s biggest musts included Bootsy Bellows‘ Pool Party Presented by McDonalds, where Kendall and Kylie Jenner and their hot Hollywood crew (Hailey Baldwin, Bella Hadid, The Weeknd, Cody Simpson and even the sisters’ step bro Brody) were all in tow, where some of them munched on bites from the Mickey D’s food truck while lounging around. The lady Jenners and their party posse didn’t skip a beat all weekend. A day earlier, the gang made their way to the 1OAK and Up&Down-hosted pop-up event that included a DJ set by the Pizza Boys and an impromptu performance by Post Malone. Kendall and her friends passed out pizzas on the dance floor, while guests also munched on tacos, sipped on Budweiser and swooped up sunnies from Smoke x Mirrors and clothing from Aussie brand nANA jUDY.

Photo credit: Rick Williams

Photo credit: Rick Williams

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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

Chelsea Lately’s Fortune Feimster Joins the Venetian Las Vegas’ Lipshtick Comedy Crew, and Talks to Skyelyfe About Tina Fey, Famously Mocking Khloe Kardashian and Loving Those Classy Vegas Buffets!

March 3, 2015

FortuneFeimsterYou may recognize Fortune Feimster from Chelsea Lately, and you’re about to see a lot more of her!

The comedienne not only landed a stand-up comedy gig at The Venetian Las Vegas, but she also just shot a Tina Fey-produced ABC pilot based on her own life, called Family Fortune.

Fortune chatted with skyelyfe about her exciting new gigs, and also dished on insulting Here Comes Honey Boo Boo‘s “Mama” June Shannon, famously mocking Khloe Kardashian and learning firsthand that Tina is pretty much the most awesome woman on the planet (you don’t say!).

Read on to learn more about Fortune, who will hit the stage on April 25 for the second season of Lipshtick‘s all-female comedy show, which also features acts by fellow funny ladies Garfunkel & Oates and Cameron Esposito:

skyelyfe: Fortune is actually part of your real name, right? 

Fortune Feimster: Yes, it’s my middle name and it is also my grandmother’s maiden name. She wanted me to actually be named Fortune and my mom thought it was too big of a name, and so I grew up as Emily. When I started doing comedy after college, I was like, “I have this super cool middle name and no one else is named that.” I thought it would be a good name to use for comedy, but also, my grandmother had died a few years before that. She had such a huge influence on me, so it was kind of a way of paying homage to her. She saw something in me at a young age before everybody else, so I thought using her name was a great way to remember her.

SL: How did you end up coming on board at The Venetian?

FF: Some of my friends had done the show and recommended me and told me it was super fun. [The Venetian] reached out and I did a show a couple months ago for them. It was awesome. The crowd was fun. When they invited me back, I was like, “Heck yeah!”

SL: What can we expect from your act?

FF: I’m a storyteller, so I talk a lot about my family and growing up in the South and being gay and dating and being an adult. It’s stuff pretty much anyone can relate to. It’ll be silly and fun.

SL: Do you think you’ll be offensive at all?

FF: I’d say I’m more on the lighter side. I’m not a shock comic by any means.

SL: What’s the dynamic like between you and other the other females taking the stage? And what’s the dynamic like among female comedians in general?

FF: If there is cattiness and all that stuff, I don’t experience it. I think you kind of get that how you treat people is what you get back. I have a philosophy of just being nice to people and being a good person. Maybe it was how I was raised or where I’m from. I just try to be friendly and I feel like as a result, people are pretty friendly with me. The people I know are so supportive of each other and genuinely get thrilled when anybody accomplishes something. There’s enough out there for everybody.

SL: Since you’ll be spending a lot of time in Vegas, where would you say are some of your favorite places to go?

FF: I’m kind of boring. I’m not a big gambler, so I don’t do that. Last time, I went to the Divas drag show and that was super fun. I’m a big fan of the eating, so the buffets. I just wander into hotels. I’m not sophisticated enough to know the names of the different buffets. And of course I [enjoy] the Hooters hotel every now and then.

SL: What’s your advice for fellow comediennes or women trying to break into comedy?

FF: It takes time for anybody. I’ve been in L.A. for 12 years and everybody thinks I just kind of came out of nowhere a few years ago when I got on Chelsea. But I’d been plugging away at it for years and years just training and trying to get better. You work really hard at it and do a lot of shows for free and spend money taking classes so that when the opportunity does come, you’re prepared for it and you’ve done everything you can to make the most of it. It’s about perseverance and hard work. If you say that you’re doing a lot, you’re not doing enough.

SL: You were known for some of your impersonations on Chelsea. Which one was your favorite and which got the most acknowledgement?

FF: Definitely Honey Boo Boo got the most attention because we were the first people to really do that with them. We hit it before SNL and other people. Khloe [Kardashian] was a fun one just because I don’t look anything like Khloe and I totally did my own take on her where I just yelled at everyone, which is not her at all. But it was super fun and I still have people coming up to me, yelling, “Get in the basement!” So that makes me smile. The one I got the most feedback on was this original character Earl Tidwell, who was this conservative preacher. It was kind of our take on Pat Robertson, where I just said the most awful, offensive things about every person imaginable, and everyone loves it still.

SL: Are you going to be taking any of those signature impersonations to the Venetian with you?

FF: Probably not. It’s weird because I started in sketch comedy and then started standup a few years after that, and I’ve never really joined the two. I have so many characters that I do, but I guess because my standup is so much based on real life, it’s weird to just all-of-a-sudden just do this fake person. I haven’t quite figured out how to intertwine the two, but maybe one day I’ll do a one-woman show or something.

SL: Did you ever receive feedback from Khloe or Honey Boo Boo’s family?

FF: [laughs] Well, I do know that about a month after those sketches, I found out [Honey Boo Boo and her family] were in town promoting stuff and we had invited them to be on the show and they declined because they did not appreciate my impression of Honey Boo Boo’s mom. They did not care for that, but that’s fine, I understand. And for Khloe, I never heard if she watched it or not. I imagine somebody told her, because our E! worlds were very similar. A couple of months after that aired, the Kardashians ended up hosting our show and being on the panels together, so we had all of them in the writers’ room and it was hard for me to make eye contact with Khloe. I was nervous. But she’s actually super cool. Of all of them, she was the one who was the most carefree and fun, and genuinely funny. She didn’t take herself too seriously.

SL: Let’s talk about Family Fortune. It’s semi-autobiographical, right?

FF: It is. It’s based on my family life. I have an interesting family and I came out late in life and I grew up in the South and my parents are divorced. So I thought, there’s got to be something here. So I pitched this idea to Matt [Hubbard] and he loved it and really took to it and then we pitched it to Tina [Fey] and she was like, “Yeah, I love it, let’s do it!” They have been so amazing ever since. Tina is super involved, she gives amazing notes and she’s not just putting her name on this project. She’s on every casting call and notes call. I’m in the best hands possible. Matt and I wrote some scripts and he made it genius. It’s authentic and funny and I’m proud of it. I just hope and pray that ABC gives us the opportunity to do more with it.

SL: What’s the biggest thing you’ve taken away from working with Tina?

FF: She truly is one of the hardest working women I’ve ever seen. She is at a place in her career where she’s already proven herself ten times over. She never stops. She’s constantly working on projects and she gives them her 100 percent. She’s so responsible. It’s almost like she’s a robot, but in a good way. She can do like one hundred things at one time and do them well. I’m in awe of that. She’s also a mom and a wife and we’ll have calls and her kids will be playing in the background and she just laughs and then gives notes and takes it all in stride. I’m like, “How do you do that?” I would be pulling my hair out. In this business, you tend to meet people you look up to and they don’t live up to that idea that you have of them. She’s everything you’d want her to be.

Haven’t had the pleasure of watching Fortune in action? Check out some of her Chelsea Lately highlights here:

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Beauty Food Angelenos

From Yellowtail Sunset’s Opening, to FabFitFun’s Fall Launch Event, Here Are 5 Hip October Happenings That Didn’t Involve the Lead-Up to Halloween

October 30, 2014

It’s hard to believe Halloween is already here! With everything that goes on leading up to one of (almost) everyone’s favorite holidays, it can be easy to forget that other things do happen during October that don’t involve costumes or pumpkins. That’s why right before the big day, I am taking a moment to acknowledge some entertaining experiences I had the pleasure of taking in part in that weren’t in anticipation of Oct. 31.

Zico Chilled Juices’ Bangin’ Body Bootcamp 

Don’t you want to know how Jessica Alba maintains her stellar physique? Well, with just a little help from her trainer Jennifer “JJ Dancer” Johnson. And if anyone experienced firsthand just how hard JJ works the starlet, I did this month. I had the exciting opportunity to attend an intimate training session on the rooftop of the Montalban in Hollywood, where I was treated to sounds by a live DJ, and I spent an hour sweating and booty-shaking before a relaxing post-workout morning that included Zico-filled shakes and complimentary manis and massages.

Here’s a little sampling of what I got to sip on after my workout (create it yourself!):

ZICO Top of the Morning

1/2 cup Zico chilled coconut water

1 banana, frozen, peeled

2 dates, pits removed

3 Tbs almond butter

1 tsp. cacao

1/4 cup ice

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon (opt.)

Combine ingredients in blender on high speed for 45 seconds or until completely smooth

Enjoy!

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FabFitFun’s Fall Launch Party

When I showed up to FabFitFun’s fall launch party at The Library inside of the Redbury hotel, I expected a handful of health and fitness bloggers to be standing around, sipping on juices and discussing their workout routines. To my surprise, the event’s bar was sponsored by Svedka vodka, and inside there was wine provided by Chloe. That in itself already set the tone for a fun outing. The place was filled with table after table of fun vendors with unique health products and snacks – and services, including makeup touch-ups by Blushington and manis by Nail Garden. From Skintimate shaving gel to FitFusion gift cards, there was no shortage of goodies in my VIP product bag that were for the fab, fit, and (obviously) fun.

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Yellowtail Sunset Finally Opened!

I don’t remember most of my experiences in Vegas (I mean, who does?), but one of the few things I recall is the way Yellowtail’s Big Eye Tuna pizza (tuna with truffle oil) from the Bellagio hotel tasted when it touched my taste buds for the first time two years ago. The thought of having executive chef Akira Back’s mouthwatering dish a mere .5 miles away from me at its new West Hollywood location on Sunset Blvd. is just thrilling. I attended the VIP opening of the sexy, dim-lit Japanese eatery last week, and – for lack of eloquent wording – I stuffed my face with sushi and sashimi galore, while sipping on endless glasses of red wine.

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Vegas Meets L.A. with a Night Featuring Sin City Performer Matt Goss

Speaking of Vegas, the Sin City vibe was most definitely in the air this month, as just nights before the Yellowtail opening, I took in an extravagant performance by Caesars Palace headliner Matt Goss  (he performed a few of his own hits, along with classics including, “Luck Be a Lady,” “Hotel California” and “Lovely Las Vegas”) at the W Hollywood, where guests were treated to a fashion show and a casino-like experience that benefitted the Both Ends Burning charity. Complete with roulette and shuffleboard tables, the Sinatra-sounding star’s production brought a taste of Vegas to LA for the night.

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Restoration Hardware’s Melrose Gallery Opening

I’m not sure what was more impressive about West Hollywood’s new Restoration Hardware launch: the beautiful, multitiered layout, or the hundreds and hundreds of guests it drew to the location at its grand opening event! This was one of the most packed gatherings I’d been to in a while. I literally almost got lost in the spacious establishment, in between munching on bites from Bouchon and sipping on beverages from the bellini bar. This upscale home furnishings fantasyland is a must-see, regardless of whether for an extravagant event or for just a bit of browsing.

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