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Angelenos

The Happy Place Just Launched as an Immersive Drive-Thru Experience in L.A.—Here’s What You Can Expect

November 20, 2020

With COVID-19 cases rising as we near the end of 2020, our activities are becoming more limited than ever. With all of the madness in mind, The Happy Place drive-thru launched as a way to temporarily distract us. In doing so, the pop-up provides a safe, interactive, family-friendly L.A. experience at the beloved outdoor Westfield Century City mall.

I was invited for a sneak peak of the attraction just before today’s official launch (Nov. 20). I invited Identify LA‘s Meagan Sargent to join me—we grabbed our masks and hit the road!

Keep reading for everything you can expect at The Happy Place drive-thru.

1. Getting Situated on Site Is a Seamless Process

As mentioned above, THP is located in Westfield Century City’s parking structure (on the third level, to be exact). Before arrival, you’re instructed to proceed through the Avenue of the Stars entrance. From there, you’ll see easy-to-follow signs that eventually lead you to the exact start of the attraction.

Prior to arrival, you purchase tickets on the website for $49.50 per car. Yes, you can have as many (fitting) attendees for just one fee. When you go to purchase your ticket, you’ll also see a calendar that lists open slots to attend. Your ticket includes two hours of free parking at the mall, encouraging you to shop and dine before or after if you want to make a full day of it. The experience is currently listed through Jan. 10, 2021.

2. The Experience Is 100% COVID-Compliant

Despite the multitude of stationary attractions that make for perfect photo opps, no one is allowed outside of their vehicle. Masks must be worn at all times, and any photos must be taken from inside the car. While this part is a bit of a bummer (the decor is just begging to be photographed with you in front of it), we appreciate the extreme safety precautions taken to ensure this lives up to its worry-free-zone message.

3. Kids Will Especially Love It

While my friend and I are definitely drawn to every Instagram photo opp, kids will be more than satisfied just cruising through each of the 18 (!) attractions (50,000 sq. ft.), which include everything from a simulated car wash, to a candy row and “Christmas tree” line. Additionally, upon arrival, we received a box with goodies that coincided with some of the stops. Kids will without question dig the freshly baked cookie, bag of Hershey’s kisses and other sweet treats packed to perfection.

4. It Won’t Take Much Time Out of Your Day

While I can’t speak for how the experience will go on a busy day, our drive-thru lasted all of 20 minutes. Granted, it was just us two, so perhaps if other people had been with us, it may have taken longer. But not being able to get out of the car certainly cut the time down a bit.

5. A Lot of Effort Went Into This Production

From the way we saw it, no expense was spared for this experience. From the lights to the intricate detail, to the variety of attractions, there really is something for everyone here—and it doesn’t appear cheap. You’re basically taken on a simulated road trip, hitting various points that include a beach, a camping area, the super bloom, San Francisco and plenty more.

The experience was conceptualized by Jared Paul, a live entertainment veteran, who has managed the careers of New Kids on the Block, Sabrina Carpenter and Lea Michele. He’s also responsible for America’s Got Talent Live! and GLEE! Live.

Curious about what else is going on in the City of Angels amid the pandemic? Click HERE for the best L.A. lifestyle newsletters to keep you afloat!

Angelenos

This Is What UCLA Sorority Recruitment Will Look Like Amid the Pandemic, According to the VP of Membership

September 5, 2020

Hitting the books again can be a major drag, but one of the perks of going back to school in college is rush week. Especially at an L.A. university, with so many students and so many things to do, Greek life reigns supreme. But as we’ve learned, coronavirus-tainted 2020 is making things quite different in all aspects of life—sorority recruitment included.

Because of the importance this plays at prominent L.A. schools, we just had to know how the process will go down this year. So we reached out to Ryley Holdridge, Vice President of Membership, UCLA Panhellenic Council.

Keep reading to learn about all the changes prospective (and current) Panhellenic sorority sisters will experience during rush this year.

skyelyfe: What is the present living situation with Panhellenic sororities? Given the pandemic, are people currently staying in houses together? 

Ryley Holdridge: The housing situation will differ depending on the sorority. Some have decreased the amount of women living there, so that less people share a room. Others have decided to close the chapter facility entirely, so that no members will be living there in the fall.

SL: Will 2020 recruitment still take place during the normally scheduled time of year?

RH: Fall 2020 recruitment will take place during the normally scheduled time, from Sept. 28 to Oct. 4.

SL: If so, what will that process look like now compared to “normal” years in the past?

RH: Clearly, the biggest difference is that recruitment will be virtual. Besides that we are mirroring the same four-round, multiple-theme structure, and emphasizing a values-based recruitment as in past years. The first round is the only significant departure from normal recruitment, and will consist of interview-style videos from both the chapters and the potential new members, answering the same five questions.

SL: What other changes will there be with Panhellenic sororities in general, given the present times?

RH: UCLA Panhellenic has prioritized creating a community of inclusivity. We want to hold ourselves accountable, continue to educate our members, and progress towards a more diverse and welcoming organization. For example, we created an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. Led by two of our Panhellenic Executive board members, they are working on a recruitment recommendations letter, in addition to having regular meetings to discuss crucial issues in our community. Furthermore, for recruitment this year we are providing implicit bias training for all chapters, potential new members, and recruitment counselors. These actions are only a small part of the long term change we are hoping to make in the UCLA Panhellenic community.

SL: Has interest in joining a house decreased due to the present circumstances?

RH: The number of women registered for recruitment is lower this year, likely due to the lack of in-person events and UCLA closing the dorms. However, a virtual format makes it accessible for more women to go through the process and has allowed us to significantly lower the registration fee, which may help spike interest. 

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it’s ALPHA PHIcial ♥️🌹

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SL: How are houses ensuring safety at this time?

RH: As mentioned above, some chapter facilities are completely closing, but even ones that are staying open are limiting who can enter the house, only allowing members living in to eat meals, and other safety measures. For events, chapters are abiding by UCLA and L.A. County regulations, and will hold mostly or entirely virtual events this upcoming fall.

SL: Is there anything else you’d like readers or perspective pledges to know about this matter?

RH: Although the Panhellenic community looks drastically different this year, there’s a reason we’re still operating and engaging our members. This organization is much more than our in-person social events—we strive to empower our women, providing them with a support system as they navigate the challenges of college life, in addition to academic, and professional opportunities. Especially in these uncertain times, I believe Panhellenic will continue to impact the lives of our members and the larger Bruin community.

For more coronavirus-related content, THESE are the five stores we’re most devastated about closing permanently due to the pandemic.

Angelenos Featured

4 TikTokers to Follow If You Want a Glimpse Into Daily Life in L.A.

August 11, 2020

We’ve grown incredibly attached to TikTok during quarantine. Specifically, we’ve developed a close bond with some Los Angeles TikTokers.

Their content covers everything we love and loathe about the city we call home. From their personal adventures to the most scene-y L.A. destinations to the inside scoop on the people who live here, these local TikTokers do not hold back.

So, if you’ve ever wanted a real glimpse into L.A. life, the three TikTokers below are who you need to follow.

Girl getting her photo taken at a restaurant
via Unsplash

1. @itsmetinx

Tinx is the whole reason we even got the idea for this roundup, so we have to give a huge shoutout to her. As the self-proclaimed “oldest girl on TikTok” who lives in Los Angeles, she may be our favorite of all the TikTokers in our town. We love watching her daily trips to Erewhon and fancy dinners at the trendiest L.A. hotspots—all through her microvlogs, which we absolutely need more of. Tinx also dishes on the latest celebrity gossip in a way that’s refreshingly insightful. So follow her ASAP, because she’s about as real as it gets in L.A. (for better or worse!).

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masking for a friend

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2. @blazedandglazed

Macy Eleni is here to be “your digital hype woman” through her L.A. TikToks. Though her encouraging words of wisdom aren’t specific to Angelenos, she offers other content that is. Other than pulling you out of a slump with her positivity, she also shares the best thrift store stores, finds, and more in the L.A. area. If you’re into thrifting at all, she’s the girl to follow. Your next vintage shopping experience will be the best one yet after you follow her tips.

3. @taliatalksalot

This is arguably one of the most accurate @’s out there. Talia talks a lot, it’s true, but it’s so worth it. She isn’t afraid to share her unbiased opinions about the most popular L.A. restaurants and roast some iconic L.A. Instagram spots. You don’t really know anything about The City of Angels until you hear Talia’s take on it. Her accuracy about the city’s locations (*cough* The Valley) will give you insight you didn’t know you needed. L.A. isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but Talia could tell you that.

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Abroad has yet to change me

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4. @misohungry

Whether you’re a self-proclaimed L.A. foodie or you just really like drooling over well-shot food videos, this is the account you need to follow. These TikToks will take your tastebuds (and eyes) on a digital journey everywhere from Echo Park (and all of the Eastside), to Koreatown, The Valley and even Long Beach and more. Misohungry provides the inside scoop on the best foodie deals, secret date spot ideas and truly the best visuals we’ve never seen when it comes to cuisine. She also doesn’t hold back when it comes to what she’s willing to try. One day it’s vegan, the next day it’s Korean BBQ. You just never know what you’ll get when you follow!

These aren’t the only TikTokers we’re obsessed with. Need some more to follow? We recommended checking out THESE TikTokers over 25 who are totally nailing the app!

Angelenos Featured

5 Ways to Show Support for L.A.’s Black Community If You Don’t Feel Comfortable Protesting

June 3, 2020

We’re living in unprecedented times of uncertainty, but more importantly, times of beautiful and powerful change

Although we at skyelyfe never condone violence, we see this as a time for the world to truly usher in greater levels of awareness, social justice, peace and harmony on this earth. It’s difficult to see the light when it feels like darkness is closely around us, but we’re here to tell you to keep the faith. Darker energies what’s been hidden in the shadows are now being brought to the surface for healing as the planet is flooded with light. Transformation is uncomfortable and it’s easy to get pulled into pessimism, but now it’s more important than ever to remember where we’re going. 

The black community of Los Angeles is facing major challenges, but if you don’t feel comfortable protesting, there are still ways for you to champion this cause. Scroll through below for a few fun and easy ways to provide assistance.

(via Unsplash)

Participate in Los Angeles Brand Valfré‘s NAACP Fundraiser

Rebellious and fiery L.A.-based clothing and accessory brand Valfré is standing in solidarity with the black community by donating 100% of the proceeds from orders placed within the next 24 hours to NAACP Legal Defense. This civil rights organization provides assistance to people of color that can’t otherwise afford legal counsel. Valfré has plenty of adorable items to choose from and you’ll be backing movements for change and social justice in the process.

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The Madeline Backpacks ❤️🖤💛 #valfre

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Donate to the People’s City Council Freedom Fund

The People’s City Council has a top priority of voicing the concerns of the people of L.A. They’ll aid with bail fines, medical fees, and legal assistance for protestors and community medics during this time through a GoFundMe that you can contribute to HERE. Excitingly enough, the fund has reached almost two million dollars! Help them further reach their goal by donating and sharing on social media.

Donate to Black Lives Matter Los Angeles

Show your support for the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter, who has dedicated themselves to organizing non-violent protests and compiling demands to help the black community, which has been severely impacted by coronavirus. Their vision, drive and passion for building a just and free society is something we deeply resonate with and admire. Donate to their chapter and cause HERE.

Order Food from L.A. Businesses Supporting Black Causes

Provide even more support for NAACP, Black Lives Matter and the ACLU by hitting some of your favorite local food joints. Many restaurants are giving a portion of their current proceeds (others donating 100 percent of them) to these causes, making it easier than ever for you to indirectly be of service to these organizations. To name a few, Highland Park’s Block Party, vegan Cuban pop-up Señoreata and Offshore Tea will dynamically contribute to these valiant causes.

Order From and Support Black-Owned Businesses Directly

Indirect support is always great, but make even more of an impact by ordering from black-owned businesses directly. Shoutout to incredible food writer Kat Hong for putting together and sharing a Google spreadsheet of restaurants owned by people of color in L.A. The list is broken down by area, Instagram, website and phone number, and can be shared on all social platforms. Grab some takeout from these places, be sure to tip generously and share the spreadsheet with friends and fam!

Angelenos

The Best L.A. Lifestyle Newsletters to Keep You Busy During Quarantine

March 29, 2020

Under normal circumstances, newsletters are a welcome, yet fleeting addition to our inbox every day.

But now that the hustle and bustle of daily life has shifted drastically for most of us, there’s quite a bit more time to dig into these little gems. Below, you’ll find the best L.A. lifestyle reads to keep you busy during quarantine.

(via Unsplash)

Fitt Los Angeles

Fitt’s weekly rundown has been a total life saver to us lately. With everything from home workout recommendations to “social distancing dance parties,” their A+ content is bound to perk you up.

We Like L.A.

We don’t just like, we love this newsletter for featuring restaurants that are now also acting as grocery stores—an immensely smart move for the food service industry. They support local businesses and even feature chefs who offer recipes and free online cooking classes at the moment.

Love & Loathing L.A.

Love & Loathing L.A. blogger Caroline Juen spoke to our soul this week with her at-home cocktails feature in her newsletter. She also completely gets that we’re trying to avoid the #Corona20 and made sure to include only low-cal options.

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*TAP OPEN IN IGTV TO BE ABLE TO SEE DIRECTIONS 🤗* . Desperate times friends! But the good news is cocktails – really good ones – do not have to be complicated to make on your own. In your favorite “Quarantine Chic” look might I add 💁🏼‍♀️. These are a few of my absolute favorite: . *3-4 ingredient *low calorie *accessible ingredients *and f*!%ing delicious cocktails. . Which include: . SKINNY MEZCAL MARGARITA (which you can obviously sub for Tequila) – I love @delmagueymezcal – but also Montelobos/El Silencio/Dos Hombres 🍈 (is that a lime?) . APEROL SPRITZ (great for helping mentally transport yourself to a vacation, @aperolusa) – Prosecco is always pretty affordable too 🙌🍹 . GOLD RUSH-ISH (because I have a secret add on) – I love @EagleRareBourbon and that’s about it for me 😂 kidding kind of 🥃 . LEMON DROP (not the tacky overly sweet kind, like the one me and @celestethomas made a few months back!!) – I love @BelvedereVodka and I have my giant bottle to prove it 🍸🍋 . All of these ingredients *should* be available at your grocery store, but don’t forget @postmates and @sauceyapp deliver alcohol and other accoutrements too! . Thank you for watching my Sunday afternoon project, 🤣🙏🍹 NOW GO FORTH! CHEERS!! . #cocktailsathome #cocktailvideo #howtovideo #easycocktails #imbibe #cheers #drinkstagram #happyhourathome #mixology #mezcal #aperolspritz #vodka #bourbon #funathome

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Buzzbands L.A.

Buzzbands, who kills it on the regular anyway, has started a series in their newsletter called “Quarantunes,” which sees L.A. artists sharing what they’re doing to preserve their sanity during this time, along with a playlist of their current favorite jams. It also includes a daily roundup series of concerts you can livestream, aptly called “Notes on a Pandemic.”

Do L.A.

This wouldn’t be a “best” list without our most beloved newsletter, Do L.A. They’ve now shifted their focus to illuminating ways to help the community, donations for musicians and more. We were saddened to hear this week that they’re struggling to stay afloat through all this. If you can support them in any way, be sure to do so HERE.

Angelenos Featured

15 Truths Every South Bay Resident Will Find Too Relatable

June 5, 2018

Living in the South Bay can sometimes be a dream.

You’re just a hop, skip and a jump away from the beach, traffic (for the most part) is nonexistent and you’re about a 15-minute Uber ride to the airport. But the grass is always greener.

Though the South Bay has its perks, there are also plenty of struggles that accompany being a permanent resident of the area. If you happen to live in this part of town, you’ll find the 15 truths below all too relatable—for better or worse!

Hermosa Beach lifeguard towers

Unsplash / @ryanwaring

1. Being so close to the airport, everyone expects you to either pick them up or drop them off. Uber and Lyft exist for a reason, guys.

2. Living within walking distance to the beach is so nice, except you never have any time to go. And when you finally decide to venture out there, it’s always way too crowded or the temperature is at either end of the extreme.

3. Forcing yourself to leave the bubble is a difficult task. While you’d love to hit up a bar in West Hollywood or a ramen spot in Silver Lake, the thought of having to drive all the way out there is a nightmare.

4. Instead, you decide to go out on your side of town. Which is fun, except it’s not. All the bars are filled with the annoying bros and middle-aged women trying to find their second husband. You get over the nightlife real fast.

5. If you don’t play beach volleyball or know how to surf, good luck making friends. That’s all anyone does in the South Bay.

Guys playing beach volleyball

Unsplash / @jacobrepko

6. You see the same people everywhere. Everyone in the South Bay knows everyone.

7. It feels like it’s always summer, which means your productivity levels don’t exist. When the beach is your backyard, you suddenly become the most laid-back person on the planet.

8. Just about everyone and their grandma is constantly rocking boardshorts and bathing suits all year round.

9. Once you discover your favorite bar, it’s yours forever and no one can take it away from you. You will be there every weekend, till death do you part.

10. There are at least three bartenders who not only know your go-to drink order and how to make it the right way, but also your entire life story. They know every last detail, so keep ’em close.

Bartender making a drink

Unsplash / @ivancortez14

11. The food options are… interesting, to say the least. Why there’s such an obsession with El Burrito Jr. (aka El BJs), you’ll never understand. But you still go as often as you can.

12. Whenever you hang out with your friends who don’t live in the South Bay, you make sure they come to you. You’re not about to venture anywhere outside of your comfort zone. Plus, your friends always want to hit up the beach anyway, so it works out for everyone.

13. Dating is awful. Every guy is a total bro who only owns Hawaiian shirts and army-print shorts. Fantastic.

14. Those who were born and bred in the South Bay are quick to defend it. Talk a lick of smack about it and you better be prepared to fight—yikes.

15. You might not fully appreciate all the South Bay has to offer, but you couldn’t see yourself living anywhere else. Once you make it your home, you’re stuck there forever. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is on you to figure out.

Girl sitting on the beach looking at the ocean

Unsplash / @smyeste

Food Featured

This Is the L.A. Restaurant You Should Eat at, Based on Your Zodiac Sign

May 15, 2018

Photo Credit: unsplash.com / @brookelark

Deciding where and what to eat in L.A. is tough, especially because there’s a plethora of unique restaurants to check out, with new ones opening up every single day.

We don’t know about you, but we always find it difficult to keep up. With so many options in such a wonderful city, we can’t help but turn to the stars (literal ones, not celebs) for constant guidance regarding all of our major and minor life decisions—food included!

After careful consideration, we’ve found the perfect L.A.-based joint for you, based on your zodiac sign. Dive in and whet your appetite below!

Aries (March 21 – April 19): Eataly

You live the most fast-paced lifestyle, Aries. You always have a million and one things to do, so you’re always on the go. Rarely will you ever be seen doing nothing of importance, which is why you spend what little free time you have wisely. As far as restaurants go, you need something quick. You generally always order your same, go-to dish, because you know what you want. For you, Eataly is the place to be. This Italian-themed food hall offers up everything from pizza and pasta to gelato and coffee. You can load up on carbs and caffeine, which are pretty much the only things someone like you needs.

Instagram / @eatalyla

Taurus (April 20 – May 20): La Boucherie

Oh, you fancy, huh, Taurus? Your life is basically bad and boujee without the bad. You treat yourself whenever you can, because you work ridiculously hard to support your lavish lifestyle. You do you! Obviously, you need to visit a restaurant that lives up to your high standards. That would be none other than five-star steakhouse La Boucherie. You’ll have a grand ol’ time feasting like royalty on steak, seafood or whatever lavish dish your little heart desires. Just be sure to save room for dessert.

Instagram / @drvahe

Gemini (May 21 – June 20): Rose Cafe

Curious and adaptable Gemini, you’re always ready to accept all life has to offer. You know there’s so much out there, which is why you’re always exploring and have a long list of things you love. The same goes for food. While you’re willing to try new things, you’ve got a laundry list of favorite dishes that instantly come to mind. A place like Rose Cafe is perfect for you. It has quite the extensive menu with a variety of items to choose from. You’ll want to try one of everything, but always remember that you can visit as many times as you’d like. Not to mention, the scenery is more than perfect for someone as creative as you.

Instagram / @therosevenice

Cancer (June 21 – July 22): HomeState

Comfort is what you crave most in life, Cancer. Though you have a tough exterior, you’re more sensitive than you’d like to admit. At any given moment, there’s always something that’s bothering you. This is why you seek solace in things that make you feel at ease. Comfort foods is just one of those things, so HomeState is right up your alley. A Texas-style kitchen in L.A., you’ll feel right at home with the Tex-Mex menu. Be sure to wear your stretchiest sweats on your visit.

Instagram / @homestate

Leo (July 23 – Aug. 22): Yami Yaki

Being the center of attention isn’t for everyone, but it certainly suits you quite nicely, Leo. The second you waltz into a room, everyone’s eyes drift in your direction. It’s safe to say you know a thing or two about being popular. But when you don’t get your way, you’re not the happiest camper. Control is something you so desperately need in your life, and you’ll do anything to have it. You like things a certain way, and naturally, the same goes with your food choices. This is why you should check out Yami Yaki. You’ll have all the control you want, when it comes to throwing together your teriyaki bowl, that is. Pick your meat, veggies and more, then the kind employees will mix it all together for you and serve it to you on a silver platter. No, they won’t, but you get it.

Instagram / @cookwithcourt

Virgo (Aug. 23 – Sept. 22): Matsuhisa

Simplicity is your middle name, Virgo. While some may shake their tail feathers for anyone who’s willing to watch, you prefer to stay secluded in the background. You don’t need attention or praise to live a happy life, because you know better than anyone that there’s excess in moderation. Sushi is a food you tend to opt for more often than not, so Matsuhisa is perfect for you. Though the restaurant is innovative and sleek, the chefs let their food do the talking. While they tend to get creative, they also stick with what they know. You’re bound to find a new hand roll to love at this classy establishment.

Instagram / @matsuhisabeverlyhills

Libra (Sept. 23 – Oct. 22): Ramen Hood

You’re what many would refer to as a “people-pleaser,” Libra. Some are quick to scoff at your ways, but there’s really no harm in you wanting to be a friend to all. You’re simply doing your part to make the world a better place, so disregard those haters. With your food choices, you also like things to appease not only you, but whoever you’re with. Ramen is one of those dishes everyone likes, including yourself. Vegan spot Ramen Hood is the next joint you should hit up. Both your vegan and non-vegan friends will find something to devour on the menu, giving you the ability to make sure everyone gets what they want.

Instagram / @ramenhood

Scorpio (Oct. 23 – Nov. 21): Howlin’ Ray’s

You’re a tough one to figure out, but you sure as heck enjoy leaving people guessing. It’s more than thrilling watching others try to uncover all that lies beneath you, mysterious Scorpio. To say you’re fiery would be an understatement. That’s probably why you’re a fan of spicy foods, and Howlin’ Ray’s makes for your best restaurant. This Nashville-style hot chicken joint speaks to your soul. There are some pretty spicy meats on their menu, but someone like you is sure to enjoy the heat without so much as breaking a sweat.

Instagram / @howlinrays

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 21): E.P. & L.P.

The most adventurous spirit in the zodiac, you always have your passport and a packed overnight bag ready to go. If one of your friends wants to go on an adventure, you’re more than ready to leave at a moment’s notice. You constantly need to feel like you’re traveling somewhere new, even when you’re not actually leaving the comfort of your own home. For you, E.P. & L.P. is right up your alley. A restaurant and rooftop bar, you’ll be transported to Asia with their blend of Chinese, Fijian and Vietnamese food. And you can take in the stunning sites of West Hollywood from their scenic rooftop. The best of both worlds!

Instagram / @eplosangeles

Capricorn (Dec. 22 – Jan. 19): Pirolo’s Panino

You’re hardworking as they come, never letting anything or anyone get in the way of achieving the mountain of goals you’ve set for yourself. Fun has its place in your life, but it’s very minimal. What you’re more concerned with is convenience—same goes for food. You’re a busy person with a lot on your plate… metaphorically, of course. You’re a huge fan of sandwiches for this reason. Clearly, sub shop Priolo’s Panino was made for you. With a menu full of delicious and savory sammies, you’re sure to find something you like.

Instagram / @pirolos

Aquarius (Jan. 20 – Feb. 18): Scratch Bar & Kitchen

There’s no one else out there quite like you, Aquarius. You march to the beat of a far different drum than everyone else, always standing out loud and proud from the crowd. Try saying that three times fast. Your uniqueness translates to the foods you eat, as well. Scratch Bar & Kitchen is the only restaurant that can provide such a fun and different dining experience for someone as eclectic as yourself. Everything on their menu is made from, well, scratch. No two dishes are ever the same.

Instagram / @scratchbarkitchen

Pisces (Feb. 19 – March 20): Firefly

You’re someone who simply loves love. Everything about it leaves you feeling all sorts of giddy inside and out, so it’s no surprise that you’re known as the hopeless romantic of the zodiac. When it comes to your dining experience, you want things to be as amorous as possible. It’s not about the food, so much as it’s about the atmosphere. Firefly’s intimate location will provide you with the perfect backdrop for all of your date nights to come. Book your reservation now.

Instagram / @fireflystudiocity

Angelenos Featured

11 Struggles You’ll Relate to If You’ve Ever Been to Runyon

January 5, 2018

Photo Credit: Unsplash / Roberto Nickson

There are people like me who actually find Runyon incredibly challenging (short legs, hate cardio)—and then there’s the rest of L.A., who considers it a slight add-on to their daily workout routine.

Well, regardless of whether you resonate with the former or the latter, we can all come together and agree upon one thing: Runyon is a pain in the ass.

And after reading the 11 reasons below, there’s a good chance you’ll be thinking about this list the next time you brave that Hollywood staple:

1. You’re forced to come up with nicknames for every person you know, because you just never know what familiar face will come strolling by as you’re gossipping to your hiking partner

2. The hike just to get to the Runyon entrance can sometimes be as challenging as the hike itself

3. The water supply is scarce up there and you find your water bottle empty (and you panting for hydration) within only a few minutes of your hike

Instagram / @DahviShira

4. You’ve Ubered to Runyon before, because the $10 out of your paycheck is worth the hour of driving around in circles

5. And if you did drive, you’ve ended up having to pay for valet (which does exist at Runyon, #onlyinLA!)

Instagram / @DahviShira

6. The uphill hike itself is obviously more strenuous, but the long tippy-toe way down is straight-up tedious

7. There’s always someone skinnier and speedier dashing up those hills. As you struggle up those humps, you wonder how they make it look so simple

8. One of the only things getting you through this trek is Spotify. So when you start going in and out of service, you’re about ready to quit

9. Dogs are running wild, and while plenty are cute and all, you just never know if you might get attacked

10. You always plan on taking a cute selfie once you finally make it to the top, but you end up looking too sweaty by the time you end up getting there

Instagram / @DahviShira

11. But as it is, you’ve taken so many Instas of the view anyway that it’s a struggle to constantly come up with a new caption and new pose.

Angelenos Featured

29 Signs You’re a Basic Bitch in L.A.

November 28, 2017

It’s universally common to make a quick Starbucks pitstop on the way to work each day, or feel out of sorts if you don’t get at least three days of fitness into your weekly routine—but there are certain activities, interests and habits that pertain particularly to Angelenos.

Are you just like everyone else in this town? Or do you stray from the city’s beaten path?

Keep reading for 29 signs you’re a basic bitch in L.A.

Photo Credit: Unsplash / @ocvisual

1. You’re the first to request “Bad & Boujee” at the club

2. ” ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ is your go-to karaoke jam

3. You go to The Bungalow at least once a week

4. You’ve celebrated your birthday at The Bungalow at least once

5. You’ve made out with at least three people at The Bungalow over time

6. You or someone close to you has had their bachelorette at The Abbey

7. The only gay bar you’ve been to is The Abbey

8. You can’t imagine living anywhere but Santa Monica (Venice, if you’re feeling slightly more on the spendy-trendy side)

Photo Credit: Unsplash / @shannacamilleri

9. 75% of your Instagrams involve a gaggle of 4-6 gal pals toasting with either champagne or rosé

10. “Rosé All Day” is your motto—obvi

11. Your social media userpic is either a headshot, you at Runyon, you at Coachella or you in front of a mural wall (bonus points if it’s taken in Venice. Extra bonus points if it’s taken in front of wings!)

Photo Credit: Unsplash / @marianorossi

12. A day in hell for you is one in which you’ve missed Pilates

13. You think Silverlake is too far away and full of way too many hipsters

14. But… all the cool kids are going to Tenants of the Trees, so you’ll make an Eastside exception this once… or twice

15. Alfred Coffee lattes are worth every overpriced penny, in your opinion

Photo Credit: Unsplash / @thecupandtheroad

16. Alfred Coffee is your go-to when you have a day to take your laptop and roam free

17. The baristas at Alfred Coffee (whichever location) know you by name

18. You sign on to buy your Coachella tickets the second they go on sale and will stop at NOTHING to get them

Photo Credit: Unsplash / @ericjamesward

19. Coachella isn’t enough for you. You also go to Stagecoach, ’cause, you know, the more time on those Empire Polo Fields, the better.

20. You don’t usually bother with breakfast, because a Pressed Juicery is right around the corner

21. Halloween is the most important weekend in your L.A. life (besides Coachella, of course!)

22. You’re a ride-or-die Rams and Lakers fan, but you’ve never been to a Dodger game

23. The second Saturday of October is booked from now until eternity (aka when you move out of L.A.)! You’ll obvi be at the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic (because polo is your fav sport and all)

Photo Credit: Pixabay

24. Your weekend morning routine goes as follows: work out, grab juice, head to flea market

25. You drive a Mercedes, BMW or Prius

26. You love going to brunch (usually in Venice), mainly so you can pack your Insta feed with photos like this:

Photo Credit: Unsplash / @brookelark

27. You consider yourself an “influencer” and can actually explain to someone in-depth what the term means

28. You refuse to tag any brand or product on social media unless you’re being paid to do so

29. When you’re not downing bottles of rosé, vodka soda is the only alcoholic beverage you’d dare consume

WHAT DOES YOUR SCORE REVEAL??

  • If only 1-9 signs pertain to you, you’ve managed to live in a metropolitan area without succumbing to everyone else’s norm. It’s hard not to be influenced by everyone else around you, but you’ve proved it’s possible. You live your most authentic life and have figured out what works for you. You’re pretty independent and don’t care about being “seen.”
  • If 10-19 signs pertain to you, you like doing your own thing, but you also love being in big crowds and running into people you know. You love to have fun, and even if it means following the norm, it’s cool with you as long as it keeps you busy.
  • If 20-29 signs pertain to you, you have a bad case of FOMO. You don’t like being apart from your group, and if you’re stuck being somewhere or doing something different from them even for a night, you’ll go crazy. It’s hard for you to adapt to new surroundings and get out of your comfort zone, but at least you have a routine that keeps you motivated and content, and people know what to expect from you.

Angelenos

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!

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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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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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6. The Definition of “Sociopath”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Angelenos

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

November 21, 2016

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

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

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

1. Two words: House Centipedes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lifestyle Featured

5 Ways to Improve the Work Day That Have Nothing to Do with Your Job

September 29, 2016

Angelenos are blessed with good weather and an endless agenda of fun things to do.

But, we also have to deal with the delights (ha!) of impossible parking, around-the-clock traffic, entitled people who think they’re famous and so on and so on.

That said, it’s easy to get caught up in the crazy energy that is Los Angeles, and sometimes even the slightest annoyance can send our day into a frenzy—and that’s not even considering what stems from our actual job!

After much thought over the years, I’ve learned how to put a positive spin on my day from beginning to end. That is, if I’m willing to put in the effort (ie. sacrificing a few extra Zzzs). Positive energy doesn’t just come with the snap of a finger—but again, if you take the time to follow these easy steps, you can have a grade-A work day that has nothing to do with your actual job.

day-improvement

See what I mean below!

1. Put Effort Into Your Appearance

This is in no way meant to sound shallow—the truth of the matter is, when we do our hair, throw on a little makeup (if that’s our thing) and dress ourselves in an ensemble we adore, we feel entirely different throughout the day. Who doesn’t love walking out of the house feeling fresh, and into the office to the sound of compliments?

day-improvement-makeup

2. COFFEE!!!!

This may seem like a given, because, duh, who doesn’t love coffee? But aside from the AM energy boost that it provides, along with that calming, close-to-home aroma, use coffee as an excuse to have some public interaction prior to hitting the computer, phone and whatever else you’ll need to use at work. This tip is especially recommended if you follow No. 1 on this list. Looking your best, leave your place a few minutes early and jet on over to the nearest coffee shop with the most fun early-morning crowd. There’s nothing like an 8:00 a.m. people-watching sesh to get your day going. And that caffeine kick to top it off? Sounds like the perfect starter to me!

day-improvement-coffee-shop

3. Take a Desirable Route to and from the Workplace

This one can easily be overlooked, but it’s proved to be a game-changer for me. Most of the office jobs I’ve held have been quite the commute from my quaint West Hollywood digs, and it’s taken a great deal of energy out of me over time. My latest full-time job is based approximately 80 minutes away (depending on traffic) and when I first started working there, it (aka good ol’ Waze) took me on a disastrous journey through the grimiest parts of some of my least favorite areas of L.A. I found that I’d come home feeling worn out, energy zapped. Not good. So after much trial and error, I finally navigated my way through a dream route. Don’t get me wrong, I still get massive traffic, and the distance has made it so there’s no such thing as “happy hour” in my schedule, but at least my drive is slightly (well, greatly) more scenic. In fact, it’s also cut out 10-20 minutes out of the commute. So I’d say the new drive is a win all around. Bottom line: Don’t let Waze determine your level of happiness! Don’t do it!

day-improvement-driving

4.  Give Yourself Something to Look Forward to Each Day

I don’t know about you, but even the slightest things can bring me joy. Whether it’s the release of a favorite artist’s new album, a fun open bar event, a home-cooked dinner from a friend, a cool interview I’m conducting for work, or—best of all—a rainy forecast, I always try to give myself something somewhat exciting to anticipate at some point during the day. It definitely helps me tackle some of the otherwise tedious tasks that come my way.

day-improvement-wine

5. Do Something Productive Outside of Your Job Duties

We always feel a sense of relief when we’ve completed a lengthy work project or made it through a meeting we’ve been dreading, but there’s such a sense of fulfillment that comes from doing something productive outside of the direct workplace. For instance, completing this blog post when I technically don’t have to, makes me feel like I’ve done something positive for the day. These can be minor things, they can be bigger things. Sometimes I give myself a pat on the back just for making a doctor or dentist appointment that I’ve been putting off for months (sometimes years—shh…). We’re always in need of a good room-cleaning, a trip to the grocery store, a call to a close, but distant relative, and the list goes on. Obviously starting or ending your day with a workout (regardless of the intensity) is the best way to go. But waking up super early can be rough, and sometimes all we want to do after the office is collapse on top of our comforter. So, yeah, it’s not always possible, but either way, taking care of something you’ve been putting off will enhance your day tremendously!

day-improvement-running

Music

Neon Hitch Tells Skyelyfe She Hopes ‘Vulnerable’ New Music Will Shake ‘Party Girl’ Image

July 20, 2016

Photo credit: Sequoia Emmanuelle (@sequoiaemmanuelle)

Photo credit: Sequoia Emmanuelle (@sequoiaemmanuelle)

Neon Hitch is back and more raw than ever.

This time around, as she embarks on the July 22 release of her new album Anarchy, the foulmouthed singer, most commonly known for her 2012 dance track “Fuck U Betta,” is ready to show the world she’s more than “just a party girl.”

“You can expect a very honest Neon–from my favorite food (fried chicken at night), to the things I used to get up to when I was a wild child back in London,” she tells skyelyfe. “And you really get to hear the more vulnerable side of me. This album came together very naturally and most of the songs are actually freestyles so they were written by my subliminal mind.”

Given the nature of her past work, the electropop artist–whose birth name is, in fact, Neon Hitch–acknowledges why she may have a certain reputation, but she notes that she’s widely misunderstood.

Photo credit: Sequoia Emmanuelle (@sequoiaemmanuelle)

Photo credit: Sequoia Emmanuelle (@sequoiaemmanuelle)

“I actually am a very sensitive and caring person who has been a lone warrior for a long time and my way of survival has been to have this tough emotional armor on that some people misinterpret as unapproachable,” she explains. “That’s something I plan on changing with this album.”

The artist, who collaborates with Liam Horne, Calix and Collie Buddz on this latest compilation of tracks, describes it as “lots more urban than my other work,” adding with a laugh, “My alter ego right now is ‘Tracy Trapman.’ ”

As for what she generally wants to get across in her music, regardless of genre, she says, “My message is always freedom and standing for what you believe in.”

Hitch, who has in the past collaborated with Tyga and written for Kesha, says she would “love to do a song with” the Spice Girls. And hey, now that three of them have decided to reunite (albeit under a different moniker), she may have a shot!

Collabs or not, the British singer, who recently gave a surprise performance at L.A.’s No Name bar, is thrilled about her upcoming 14-track album, and thrives off of having music as a platform “to make a change,” she says. “I would love to hear more lyrics that inspire people instead of singing about how much money they have or how many bitches they fuck.”
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Music

Pop Artist Shayna Leigh: ‘Romantic Love’ Isn’t the Only Thing That Should Matter In Music

November 3, 2015

They say New York is for the toughest hustlers in the game, but not too tough for acoustic pop artist Shayna Leigh.

Although she hasn’t found love in the Big Apple yet, Leigh is completely content focusing on her career in the city that never sleeps.

“In my music, I don’t want to rely on the notion that romantic love is all that matters,” Leigh tells skyelyfe. “I remember growing up when I didn’t have a lot going on. I wasn’t the girl with the boyfriend, and I used to listen to music and think, ‘Is my life incomplete if nobody loves me?’ I feel pretty strongly that I don’t want to contribute to someone feeling that way ’cause it sucks.”

Starting off acting and singing as a child, Leigh decided to pursue theater in college, but something was missing. She knew that wouldn’t be enough.

“I just felt like I had something to say as myself so I started writing again and recording, and now I’m doing this whole thing,” she says.

What emerged is a set of upbeat pop songs that has a similar vibe as Michelle Branch‘s Hotel Paper. Leigh’s relatable and fresh lyrics are an honest look at growing into your own and moving forward in what she describes as the “thick of the muck.”

Her album is a diary about “finding my place in the world,” she says. “You know, I think you go to school and you fit in that world, but it’s very different than when you set out into the real world and figure out who you are and what you want and how to exist in that way. [It’s] a challenge.”

Her music video for the song “Typhoon” (scroll to the bottom) debuted on September 16th, and is what she describes as the “closest thing I have to a love song.”

Her down to earth attitude and approach to songwriting stems from her belief that “there is so much more to life than one type of anything,” she says. “There are tons of types of love, so I guess that’s what I wanted to be in touch with.”

When it comes to her musical influences, Leigh has diverse taste.

Shayna_leigh_skyelyfe“I had like a really solid Queen phase, I had a really solid Pat Benatar phase,” she says. “Simultaneously, I listen to pop music that’s out there now. You can’t help but listen to Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson, Adele, and be like, ‘Oh wow they’re really great.’ ”

Her inspiration from artists like Adele comes from her unparalleled storytelling ability.

“It’s kind of like magic, the way she translates everything,” she explains. “They’re stories I’ve heard but that I’ve never quite heard this way. Nothing feels cliché but it’s all really universal.”

Her debut album Drive, full of acoustic guitar driven ballads, comes from a very personal place. Leigh even says, “Some of the songs have lines directly from my journals that were not intended for songs [but] I decided to do that.”

The song “Drive,” to Leigh, is about “moving forward in the face of a pretty tough time,” she says.

She was inspired by the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. which she jokingly says she “butchered.” The words she’s describing are one of his most famous quotes: “If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”

Like a true social media maven, Leigh says, “I read it on someone’s Facebook and I was like, ‘This is a song!’ ”

Leigh also uses Twitter as a way to reach out to her fans.

“I think it’s about getting to people, so if you’re trying to get to people and you’re not engaging with them, then what are you doing this for?” she says.

When she’s not shooting or going to meetings here in L.A., Leigh likes to hang out in Santa Monica and brave the trails of Runyon Canyon.

“My sister and I almost died on Runyon Canyon,” she says. “We ended up somehow coming down the wrong way and it was like a mini avalanche of little stones, it was a mess. We were a mess.”

Even though she calls New York home, she admits she gets jealous of the California sunshine and breezy lifestyle, saying, “I hear you guys are way more laid back than us.”

When it comes to travel is general, she says not doing more of it when she was younger is “one of my regrets,” but as for anything else in life that lacked (or happened unplanned, for that matter), she’s grateful, because otherwise, “I wouldn’t have anything to write about.”

Follow Shayna on Twitter @heyshaynaleigh

and check out her music video below!

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