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

August 4, 2015
Photo credit: Dan Steinberg

Photo credit: Dan Steinberg

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

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

Photo credit: Dan Steinberg

Photo credit: Dan Steinberg


Photo credit: Dan Steinberg

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

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


L.A.-Based Indie-Electro Duo Solar Heist Talks to Skyelyfe About Favorite Hangout Spots, Fellow Musician Pals and Making It in This ‘Scattered’ City

May 13, 2015

Photo credit: Rachel Ariel Photography /

From childhood neighbor pals rapping and playing guitar (what a combo!) in Northern California to becoming an indie-electronic music-making duo in Los Angeles – that sums up Solar Heist‘s relationship history in a nutshell.

Made up of Jason Powers (singer/guitarist/songwriter/producer) and Justin Karcich (DJ/producer/songwriter/mastermind), Solar Heist’s two members hail from Belmont, California, a small town south of San Francisco.

“L.A. is a big and scattered town, and hard to call home being huge SF enthusiasts,” Powers admits to skyelyfe, despite the success he’s found in the City of Angels. “[But] Los Angeles has something for everyone and pockets of awesomeness are all over if you are open to finding them.”

Although they’ve found their niche in the ever-present world of electronic music, they aren’t bringing you replicas of what you hear when you flip through your favorite Sirius stations.

“To us, it’s important to keep an open mind when creating music and not try to do something that has already been done,” Karcich says. “I think a lot of producers out there try to go after a certain generic sound or trend that is going on in music, rather than trying to create something fresh and unique to themselves.”


Photo credit: Taylor Martin Photography

As the guys excitedly gear up for Monday’s release of their latest single “Take You Home,” they filled skyelyfe in on how their unique name came to be, other rising musicians they call friends, why the music scene in L.A. undoubtedly trumps that of SF’s and what places in L.A. are just awesome.

Read on to learn all about Solar Heist and scroll to the bottom to hear their latest single “Wait for Love”:

skyelyfe: How did Solar Heist come together and how did you come up with the name?

Jason Powers: Justin was DJ’ing in San Francisco, doing really well as half of the Designer Deejays. I was a hired gun for various signed artists in LA, playing guitar and singing b/u vox, while still performing my own acoustic material. I took a trip up to SF and we sat in Justin’s tiny little studio in SF. We set out to make something weird, trippy and different, and out came our first song, “Searchin.’ ”

The song was picked up for a National Watch commercial and aired for about seven months or so. We didn’t have a project name at the time so we scrambled to find something, throwing out every option in the English language. We decided we were both night owls and space nerds. Someone blurted out Solar Heist and right away we knew that was it.

SL: How would you describe Solar Heist’s music and how did you decide to go with that sound?

JP: Solar Heist definitely has a very unique sound. Combing my songwriting and organic instrumentation with Justin’s electronic sound and vintage analogue gear has helped us shape this sound and give us a nice palette of sounds to choose from. We try not to force any song to fit with any specific genre. Instead, we try to focus on what each song needs to feel good.

SL: Aside from your own music, who are you hugely into at the moment?

Justin Karcich: We just had the pleasure of catching this band Jungle when we were out at Coachella. Their live set was something special and their album has been on rotation since then. We also are into The Knocks. Their new music is dope and we’re looking forward to their new album to drop. Also, there is this songwriter duo out of London called Oh Wonder. Their lyrics, melodies and harmonies are amazing. Other artists we also have on rotation are Sohn, Sylvan Esso, TV On The Radio, Big Data.

SL: How does Solar Heist’s music differ from what else is out there right now?


Photo credit: Taylor Martin Photography

JK: One thing that I think separates our sound is that we both come from completely different musical backgrounds and when we bring both of our worlds together, we create something organic and fresh. We just try to do us and hope people will dig it. If not, it’s all good.

SL: Do you feel like you’ve reached a point where you have a solid fan base now?

JK: Yes and we love them all.

JP: It’s great to have people from different parts of the globe reach out and be excited about your music. It gives us a purpose.

SL: What do you think about L.A.’s music scene? 

JK: L.A.’s music scene is great. Moving here from San Francisco more than two years ago, where the tech industry has unfortunately pushed a lot of creatives out the past five years, it was very refreshing to see such a strong artistic and creative community upon moving here. There is something for everyone at any given time and especially for electronic music, which is great for us. It seems more and more artists and musicians have been moving to L.A. recently from all over the world. It is super inspiring.

SL: What are your favorite venues to check out shows in LA?

Solar Heist: El Rey, The Wiltern, Echoplex, Hollywood Bowl, The Forum

SL: Are you friends with any fellow music artists?

SH: Yes we are. I think that comes naturally when working in music. It’s great to have friends in the industry to bounce ideas off and even collaborate. Quick shout out to some of our friends’ bands – Heaps N Heaps, Milo Greene, The New Peter Gabrielz and The Public Trust.

Also, thank you to our friends and musicians who helped out in one way or another on our Day Trip EP – Joe Berry, Maggie Szabo, Marcus Brown, Marcello De Angelis (DJ Birdee), Gray Bashew, Erik Groysman, Greg Martin.

SL: Where are your favorite places in L.A. to eat/drink/shop/be merry?

SH: When we aren’t in the studio or taking day trips outside of L.A., we enjoy hanging out at Steam Punk, Baby Blues BBQ (shout out to Beau), Hyperion Public (for Giants World Series victories), M Street Coffee (hello to our favorite baristas if you’re reading this), The Hudson, Sadie Lounge, Egg Slut, Cheebo, Rose Bowl flea marketGriffith Park, Venice, Malibu and so much more.

SL: What’s Solar Heist’s goal for 2015?

SH: We want to debut our live set, start touring major US cities and keep releasing more awesome music.

**In addition to the Monday release of their new single, you can also pre-order their upcoming EP Day Trip on iTunes on the 19th before it officially hits sound waves on June 2nd.


Music Uncategorized Featured

Singer-Songwriter Odessa Explains Why Social Media Is ‘Killing Our Generation’ and Why Los Feliz Is Amazing

January 29, 2015

odessaWith a bit of a folky sound, tied in with some pop and blues, Odessa rose to recent musical fame with her debut single “I Will Be There,” which is featured in Subaru’s “Flat Tire” commercial and on the soundtrack for If I Stay, starring Chloe Grace Moretz. She also performed with Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes as a full-time violinist.

The Sonoma County-bred singer-songwriter, who released her four-track self-titled EP in September, will embark on month-long east coast tour next month. But before hitting the road, the musician performed an intimate acoustic showcase earlier this month at the Pasadena home of Chop Shop Records owner Alex Patsavas.

“Of course there are people who inspire certain emotions that produce music, but a lot of my music ends up being written about several different people and situations,” she told skyelyfe during an exclusive chat after her performance, in between sips of specialty Stillhouse Original Moonshine punch. “Like it might start out inspired by one person, but it usually changes.”

Perhaps its her laid-back Northern California roots, but Odessa still doesn’t see herself as a star.

“There really hasn’t been a moment so far where I’ve been like, ‘I’ve made it!’ ” she says. “I think after I’m dead and I go onto the next life, I think that’s when I’ll say I think I’ve made it and I’ve done everything I think I can do up until this point.”

OdessaAlbumAnother likely contributing factor to what keeps the natural beauty grounded is her refusal to get caught up in what goes on in cyberspace.

“I understand the value of social media, but I’m not a fan of all and I don’t buy into it at all,” Odessa says. “It’s this other world we’ve created outside of reality where people suddenly think that they have something to say that’s worth everybody in the fucking world listening to. And I think it’s a waste of our time and I think it’s literally killing our generation.”

And while she understands that spreading music these days is “all functioning” via internet, she is “able to draw lines,” explaining, “I personally don’t want to expose my entire existence to the world. I don’t think it’s actually worthy of peoples’ time. When I listen to music, that is something that’s helped me through struggles in life and it’s very real when the music that’s being written is real. But if it’s what you fucking wore today – what designer or what lipstick shade you’re endorsing – I don’t have any interest in that.”

With the belief that social media is “cluttering our minds,” Odessa says, “There’s only so much room in the brain and you have a choice what to fill it with. When you’re inundating yourself with useless information that famous people are sharing with you all day long, it makes you feel empty at the end of the day, I think.”

Comparing the social media “tool” to income, she says, “You can look at money and say money is disgusting. But it’s what people do with money that’s fowl.”

One topic Odessa has a much lighter outlook upon is her life in Los Angeles.

“I prefer Northern California, but there are many things I love about Southern California,” she says. “I personally know some great people here. I’ve made great friends. There are great things about both places, but Northern California’s a little bit more my style, as far as day-to-day.”

Avoiding the party circuit, Odessa sticks to places like Little Dom’s in Los Feliz if she feels like grabbing a cocktail. But otherwise, she’ll trek all the way to Venice for a sip of what she considers “the best coffee in Los Angeles” at Gjelina.

And forget the phrase “nobody walks in L.A.,” because this girl gets plenty of exercise on foot.

“I live in Los Feliz and I really like just walking the streets there,” she says. “I like Old Hollywood. I like Vermont Avenue. I generally walk Los Feliz to Vermont. It’s one of my favorite streets to walk. It’s been that and Franklin. That little area is beautiful to me. Los Angeles to me feels kind of like a timeless place. There’s so much history here and certain places that are really preserved. California is a dream. It’s like the most beautiful place on earth. I drive to Malibu a lot. There’s a hike called Solstice Canyon and it’s one of my favorite spots.”

But now Odessa is preparing to spend time on the other side of the country, something she addresses with a big smile.

“My brother is tour managing me, which I’m very stoked about,” she says. “He’s never done it before, but he’s well-equipped and he’s 6’8. He’s going to be perfect. It’s going to be an all-girl band, which is going to be new.”

Can’t make it out to see Odessa live? Listen to her melodic EP below:


Beauty Food Featured

Pamper, Shop & Eat in Malibu During 2015 at Three Brand New Hotspots!

December 17, 2014

Even if you live on the westside, Malibu is still a trek. So coming from where I hail in West Hollywood is no hop, skip and a jump from the sunny skies that rest over L.A.’s most upscale beach city. But I recently headed that direction (twice in one week!) to check out some new spots that just opened.

Here’s the thing: During the fall and winter, you don’t get the traffic you would during those hellish summer trips, so aside from the distance itself, the drive is pretty much smooth sailing. And add in the fact that many people are away on holiday break, you kind of get the city to yourself! I love Malibu during holiday season. Everything is lit up and the town is chillier than usual. There are so many adorable shops filled with fun, friendly people bundled up and frolicking along with their families. Quite cozy! So when I checked out a new salon, boutique and restaurant in the area recently, I had such an enjoyable experience.

So grab a pal, take a little road trip west and experience the city the same way I did!


Located at the trendy Malibu Country Mart, Cie Sparks salon recently opened its doors, courtesy of stylist Michael Sparks and colorist Heather Cie, proteges of Jennifer Aniston‘s stylist Chris McMillan. Formerly McMillan Canale Salon, the renovated space is located next door to Mr. Chow.


Earlier this month, the salon hosted a VIP styling day to celebrate its October launch. With an endless flow of champagne and an assortment of sweet treats to nosh on, guests were offered cuts, blowouts and other lavish treatments. I opted for a wavy blowout from stylist Ricky Reyes, who had my hair looking good as new! I even walked away with a little gift – a set of their Inphenom superior treatment shampoo + conditioner. No lie, this is the first shampoo and conditioner combo that has worked for me from home in a long time!




Cie Sparks Salon

3835 Cross Creek Road #22

Malibu, CA 90265

(310) 456-2300


With your hair in check, head a little more west to the continuously expanding Trancas Country Market, which just opened this past summer.

Already home to Drill Surf & Skate, Sea Lily and Pritchett-Rapf realty, the space recently welcomed a new addition: Malibu Beach House boutique. The homey spot, owned by married couple Doug and Laura Burdge, carries everything from Bed Head PJs, to Nest fragrances.


The location also boasts its own signature line of Bloody Mary mix and candles – two things I so graciously walked away with as gifts when I attended an intimate launch event earlier this month at the shop. The Bloody Mary mix went perfectly with my tomato-flavored Belvedere vodka I’d been trying to use for months. And the candles are a must! They come in eight different ocean-themed aromas, including Point Dume, Zuma and Malibu’s 90265 zip code. I like the candles so much that I included them in skyelyfe’s holiday gift guide.


Doug designed not only this store, but also the entire market as a part of Burdge & Associates Architects. Known as Malibu’s signature architect, Doug is recognized for his Spanish Mediterranean, “Rustic-Modern” and cutting-edge contemporary styles.

Malibu Beach House

30745 Pacific Coast Highway

Building R, Suite #3

Malibu, CA 90265



After a long day of pampering and shopping, a relaxing meal (and a glass of wine!) seems the next logical step. Located directly next door to Malibu Beach House is Mangia, another new addition to Trancas Country Market. I had the luxury of indulging in a decadent tasting of some of the eatery’s finest wines and dishes, including a rich Tartufo risotto, simmering meat lasagna, carbonara pasta and various pizzas (I’m stuffed just thinking about it). The restaurant, which includes a full bar and patio overlooking the hills of Malibu, was founded by Antonio Alessi and Tarcisio Mosconi, the owners of local Tra di Noi.





Mangia Italian Countryside Eatery

30745 Pacific Coast Highway

Building R, Suite #4