Browsing Tag

West Hollywood

Food Angelenos

6 Hidden Gems to Visit in the West Hollywood/Beverly Hills Area If You Want a Fancy Cocktail

December 13, 2018

Even the most hidden spots don’t stay under the radar for long in the bustling, social cities of West Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

I mean, how many dates have you gone on at places with nondescript entrances a la Roger Room?

But even so, we’ve still managed to dig up a few remaining gems in 90069 and 90210—ones that serve up libations to be remembered (well, that is, depending on how many you drink!).

Whether you’re feeling a quiet date spot, strive for the highest quality liquor, or are just a sucker for a dreamy patio, we rounded up the six best hidden gem spots in Beverly Hills and West Hollywood if you want a fancy cocktail.

Chamberlain Bistro at the Chamberlain Hotel – West Hollywood

Located just off Sunset Blvd. (yet tucked just far enough away), the beautiful outdoor patio at the newly renovated Chamberlain Hotel is beyond perfect for sipping a few cocktails day or night. And in addition to their Hollywood-inspired libations, you also can’t go wrong with their risotto fritters and hand-cut Fries, yum.

(The Chamberlain via Instagram)

THE Blvd at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel – Beverly Hills

With seriously lush sofas and a Plaza-style chandelier, THE Blvd at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel is definitely an underrated spot. Whether you want to feel like a Breakfast at Tiffany’s character or just want to people watch, you can do both these things in style by grabbing a drink at their 18-foot onyx bar. It’s casual.

(THE Blvd via Instagram)

Crescent Lounge – Beverly Hills

Warm summer nights are best spent at this airy villa-style terrace, located inside the boutiquey Crescent Hôtel. It’s the elegantly furnished patio we’ve only seen in our dreams. It’s a super versatile spot that can host anything from a birthday brunch or wedding shower to a classy and casual GNO. Tastebuds beware: Drinks are strong and pungent!

(Crescent Hotel via Instagram)

CITIZEN – Beverly Hills

Sandwiched between some of the stuffier spots in 90210, this beautifully decorated bar and restaurant is a much more laidback addition to the area, making it easy to overlook. But it’s absolutely worth checking out. Their extensive food menu will send you straight to heaven, and their Avocado Toast cocktail (so L.A.) is one of the best and unlike anything we’ve ever had before.

(CITIZEN via Instagram)

The Club Bar at the Peninsula – Beverly Hills

It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle when located on Santa Monica Blvd., but the Club Bar at the Peninsula shouldn’t be overlooked. If getting away from all the noise along the street isn’t already enough of a selling point, you should also stay for their impressive wine list.

(The Peninsula Beverly Hills via Instagram)

£10 (Ten Pound) at the Montage Beverly Hills – Beverly Hills

Tucked away on the Montage’s second floor, £10 is a go-to spot for any true whiskey lover. You’ll experience finely aged cocktails and old-style décor that’s reminiscent of the early 1920s. Who needs a speakeasy when you can get the same vibe at a sleek and modern hotel?

(The Montage Beverly Hills via Instagram)
Food

I Tried Everything on the Menu at The h.wood Group’s New Rooftop Lounge Harriet’s

October 8, 2018

Edit Post

Preview(opens in a new tab)Add titleI Tried Everything on the Menu at The h.wood Group’s New Rooftop Lounge Harriet’s

Harriet’s is West Hollywood’s fall gift.

Serving the public since Sept. 26, the John Sofio-designed rooftop lounge—which sits atop the upcoming 1 Hotel West Hollywood—boasts the best panoramic view of the city since Soho House opened years ago, just a few blocks West. But while you don’t need a membership at Harriet’s, unlike the aforementioned hotspot, you’ll still need to slip past a velvet rope in order to take in the picturesque scenery.

Yes, much like most of The h.wood Group‘s predecessors, including The Nice Guy and Delilah, you won’t get a glimpse of the ambiance without a hard-to-come-by reservation. That’s why I was absolutely thrilled to recently be invited to a chef’s tasting at the upscale establishment, where I had a chance to nibble and sip on literally the entire menu, created by Chef Lord Maynard Llera (bites) and Justin Campbell (beverages).

The menu is short, but very sweet (pun intended)—as the specialty cocktails are incredibly fruity and flavorful. The bites are light but filling—the perfect combo for the quintessential Angeleno seeking just enough fuel to make it through a boozy night out, without consuming food coma-inducing portions.

My personal favorite of the cocktails is the Garden Party, a refreshing Belvedere vodka-based beverage, that also includes St-Germain, cucumber and fresh lime juice. As for the bites, the Salmon Flatbread—with its heavenly whipped mascarpone— won me over overall, but the magical, Horseradish Crema that accompanies the shrimp in the Laughing Bird Shrimp Cocktail, is like nothing I’ve ever tried prior.

And although the location is technically a bar/lounge, this is no place to go if you’re looking for an order of chicken wings!

Harriet’s

8490 West Sunset Blvd.

West Hollywood, CA 90069

Open Daily 5 p.m. – close

Use this image:


Recommended size: 1200x630px

Use this description:

If this field is not filled, the description will be generated from the excerpt, if it exists, or from the content

Harriet’s is West Hollywood’s fall gift.

Serving the public since Sept. 26, the John Sofio-designed rooftop lounge—which sits atop the upcoming 1 Hotel West Hollywood—boasts the best panoramic view of the city since Soho House opened years ago, just a few blocks West. But while you don’t need a membership at Harriet’s, unlike the aforementioned hotspot, you’ll still need to slip past a velvet rope in order to take in the picturesque scenery.

Yes, much like most of The h.wood Group‘s predecessors, including The Nice Guy and Delilah, you won’t get a glimpse of the ambiance without a hard-to-come-by reservation. That’s why I was absolutely thrilled to recently be invited to a chef’s tasting at the upscale establishment, where I had a chance to nibble and sip on literally the entire menu, created by Chef Lord Maynard Llera (bites) and Justin Campbell (beverages).

The menu is short, but very sweet (pun intended)—as the specialty cocktails are incredibly fruity and flavorful. The bites are light but filling—the perfect combo for the quintessential Angeleno seeking just enough fuel to make it through a boozy night out, without consuming food coma-inducing portions.

My personal favorite of the cocktails is the Garden Party, a refreshing Belvedere vodka-based beverage, that also includes St-Germain, cucumber and fresh lime juice. As for the bites, the Salmon Flatbread—with its heavenly whipped mascarpone— won me over overall, but the magical, Horseradish Crema that accompanies the shrimp in the Laughing Bird Shrimp Cocktail, is like nothing I’ve ever tried prior.

And although the location is technically a bar/lounge, this is no place to go if you’re looking for an order of chicken wings!

Harriet’s

8490 West Sunset Blvd.

West Hollywood, CA 90069

Open Daily 5 p.m. – close

 

Angelenos

THIS Untraditional ‘Garage Sale’ Is About to Be Your New High-End L.A. Hotspot

May 23, 2018

Summer kicks off next month, which means there’s no time like the present to revamp your wardrobe with new items for the season.

For those who aren’t enthralled by the mass-produced, fast fashion staples readily available at your traditional shopping venues, we’ve got just the pop-up shops for you to check out—Luxury Garage Sale and Urban Air Market.

LGS is a leading online upscale consignment marketplace, specializing in luxury designer clothing, handbags, shoes and accessories. They’re opening two pop-up shops for 30-day runs in Los Angeles, specifically in West Hollywood (611 N La Cienega Blvd) from May 18 – June 18, and at the Glendale Galleria (100 W. Broadway) from June 1 – June 28.

girl carries handbags she purchased from luxury garage sale

Instagram / @LuxuryGarageSale

Not only do the LGS pop-ups offer shoppers a curated luxury shopping experience, it also gives consignors a trusted avenue for re-selling their goods at fair market price. So whether you’re looking for one-on-one personal styling consultations that’ll help you find exceptional, rare or transformative pieces, or if you’re hoping to sell some of your designer threads, LGS is the place to be.

While LGS offers more upscale items, Urban Air Market is open to those of you looking for more local and sustainable designs.

crystal/energy stone necklaces from Urban Air Market in Los Feliz

Instagram / @UrbanAirMarket

UAM’s free, one-day event will take place at Los Feliz Village on Hillhurst at Franklin and will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 3. We highly suggest getting there as soon as it opens, because UAM will feature 100 emerging, sustainable brands—including Amanda Sage Collection, Circuit King Classics, Daughters of Culture, Iron Lily and many more. Not to mention, there’ll be live musical performances from by MB3, Ipanema Lounge, Dani W., Jonny Sands, Irish Goodbye and Sylvia Bosco.

And if you get too tired of shopping or aren’t into the live performances, you can participate in activities such as hula hooping, tarot card readings or making DIY keychains, tassel necklaces or buttons. The choice is yours.

Mark your calendars and prepare to shop till you drop, because these are two pop-ups that no fashion savvy individual should miss out on.

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

Lifestyle Angelenos

5 Reasons Why LA Pride Remains My Favorite Weekend of the Year

June 20, 2017

If you live in West Hollywood like me, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be out and about, wandering the good ol’ streets of Santa Monica Blvd. each year during the second weekend of June.

LA Pride (which just took took place June 9-11) is especially great for a Weho resident for the sake of being able to avoid traffic, but in general, it’s amazing overall and continues to be my favorite happening of the year.

Keep scrolling for 5 reasons why this culturally important, weekend-long event cannot be beat!

1. There Are a Handful of Events Leading Up to the Big Weekend

Obviously all of June is Pride month, so there are Pride-centric occurrences happening all over, during the course of four weeks, but in the week leading up to LA Pride, there’s a handful of local events that go down, including baseball games, charity events and more. Kicking things off the Sunday before Pride week began was GLSEN‘s Sunset Cocktails event, hosted by Lance Bass and Rosario Dawson, among other influential names in the community. I was invited to the Sunset Tower gathering, which raised money to ensure there are LGBTQ-inclusive K-12 schools across the country. Although the event has passed, you can still donate HERE.

2. The Weho Bars Are More Fun Than Any Other Time of Year

Ok, this is slightly debatable, as everyone who lives in 90069 knows that The Abbey and its neighbors are a complete blast during December, leading up to Christmas and NYE, but I must say they are most bustlin’ during Pride. Each bar has its own vibe, but one thing holds true: They all manage to bring out droves of people and there are always surprises. This year, for example, my fav Kesha put on a surprise performance at Pump. She’s just one of many fun folks you can expect to see roaming through the different spots during this weekend. Let’s just say if you’re a fan of any Bravo TV show, you are sure to get your “star”-studded fix this weekend.

3. The Festival Is an Experience in Itself

LA Pride can be quite the overwhelming experience (in a good way, of course!). The excitement of the bars is just one facet to the whole event. In addition, you have the actual festival, which over the years has booked a slew of memorable music acts. I’d be lying if I said this year’s selection was my favorite, but looking back, one of my favorite memories of all time was being with my closest friends, dancing the night away to Kesha in 2015. They’ve also had Fifth Harmony, Demi Lovato, Carly Rae Jepsen, Trina and so many others take the stage in the past. But that’s not all. There’s usually a roller rink, incredible decor, and now, more than ever, a growing number of entertaining booths. I started off my Saturday getting glitter eye makeup and a heart painted on my cheek from the MAC Cosmetics booth (a first for LA Pride!). As expected, their booth was booming with color and vibrant music. There was just so much excitement all around. And as you can see below, Gigi Gorgeous was one of the many familiar faces to make her way through the festival!

Photo Credit: Lindsey Best

Photo Credit: Lindsey Best

4. It’s an Excuse to Throw a Party

Celebrating equality and the idea of people coming together for the same reason is definitely an excuse to throw a party. Each year, I throw a Pride brunch for some of my closest friends, and it’s the perfect way to kick off the afternoon before heading down to the Blvd. Everyone is in the best mood and it’s a great feeling everyone just being together and supporting. And an added bonus? It’s a great excuse to put my brightly colored beauty products from NYX, Joico InstaTint, Salon Perfect and more to use by leaving them out for guests to use as touchups!

5. You Run Into Familiar Faces, While Also Encountering New Ones You’ll Stay in Touch With

If there’s one place to spot friends—both old and new—Pride festivities are it! Pride brings out all kinds of people, so whether its an old coworker, long lost pal or even a new person you just started chatting up at the bar, you are definitely bound to exchange hugs and walk away with some new numbers (or Instagram handles)!

Angelenos Featured

If You Live in West Hollywood, You’ll Agree With These 11 Truths

March 9, 2017

If there’s one thing most people learn about me right away, it’s that I love West Hollywood (90069 to be exact!).

Not only is it my favorite part of Los Angeles, it’s also one of my favorite parts of the country. From the beautiful, brisk walks down Holloway Drive, to the familiar faces at the Fairfax Whole Foods, seriously, this place is home and I can’t imagine living anywhere else in the City of Angels (I say that now and watch me move to a beautiful Brentwood mansion—ahh, dreams).

Photo Credit: @rozhatch

But whether you consider this spot your permanent residence or you’re simply in-between living spaces and this happens to be a stop on the way, you totally know that there are certain things about West Hollywood that stand apart from the other L.A. cities or sections out there.

Need a little refresher? Check out the 11 truths below—I’m pretty sure you’ll agree!

1. Jesus Sightings Are Totally Normal

Yep, there’s such thing as West Hollywood Jesus, and he’s bound to pop up just about anywhere in the city, at any given time. He’s totally harmless—and so popular that he’s even landed a coveted Facebook fan page!

Photo Courtesy of Hollywood Jesus fanpage

2. The West Hollywood Public Library Is the Perfect Place to Go If You Want to Contract an Illness

This is no joke. My laptop had water damage a couple of years ago, and even though I was stressed as one can be, I looked forward to stepping into the then-newly redesigned West Hollywood Public Library across from the Pacific Design Center. What I encountered, however, was an endless string of sneezing, weird noises and funky odors for a week straight. Never. Again.

3. You May Be Approached to Purchase Roses on Any Given Outing on Santa Monica Blvd.

You’ve probably encountered a sweet Hispanic woman who nudged you to buy roses during a casual stroll on a night out anywhere near The Abbey. She’s been around for at least the 10 years I’ve lived in L.A., so she’s pretty much a staple. And in all that time, only one rose has been bought for me from her ::tear tear::

Photo Credit: @troy_david_5

4. There’s a 90% Chance You’ll Have a Vanderpump Rules Cast Member Sighting on Any Given Outing in Weho

About as likely as it is to be approached by “Roses Lady” is the likeliness you’ll spot James Kennedy (excuse me, DJ James Kennedy) flaunting his Beats headphones around his neck like a statement piece on Robertson or Santa Monica Blvd., waiting for Max Todd to get off work from Pump. But head a few doors down and you can get a glimpse of Jax putting his bartending skillz to use (yep, the gang actually works there!)

Photo Credit: @KatrinaWest

5. The Pavilions on Robertson and Santa Monica is an Around-the-Clock Hotspot—Don’t Come With a Hair Out of Place

The hype has died down a bit over the last few years, but it wasn’t too long ago that I would park my car, look in the mirror, and drive away without getting out. Couldn’t risk a run-in.

6. “Weho” Only Refers to the Area on Santa Monica Blvd., West of La Cienega and East of Doheny. Anywhere Else In the Area Is Simply “West Hollywood”

Word.

7. Enter the La Cienega-Holloway CVS at Your Own Risk (That’s All I Need to Say)

SCARY AF

8. The Sunset/La Brea Intersection Is Undoubtedly One of the Scariest in the City

Welp, aside from the endless supply of transients strollin’ the mean streets, there are also a slew of documented car accidents at these cross streets (here’s lookin’ at you, Shia LaBeouf!). But I will say, at least Mashti Malone’s ice cream and The Woods bar are two blocks away.

Photo Credit: @gurulamkin

9. The Walk Up La Cienega from Holloway May as Well Be Runyon

No time to drive to Runyon, park your car and hit the strenuous (<– for me, at least) climb? Oh, fear no more, for you have La Cienega as your fill-in hill, right? Nothing says workout quite like a “hike” up to Sunset Plaza. That trek is brutal!

10. L.A. Pride Is One of the Best Weekends of the Year

Well, that is, unless you don’t live in the “parameters” and are subjected to driving or Lyfting anywhere around the area during that time. Otherwise, Pride is the freaking best!

Photo Credit: @jemocrat

11. You’ve Entered the Black Hole of The Abbey on at Least One ‘Sunday Funday’

Enter with caution, my friends. I am most definitely guilty of one too many of these. Once you’re lured in, your day is doomed!

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!

la-decade-carmelita

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.

la-decade-kings-rd

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

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

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

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

They were also scammers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

la-decade-tanning-bed

Photo Credit: Dorian Rochowski/Pixabay

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

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

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

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

la-decade-tom-cruise

la-decade-golden-globes-micah-jesse

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

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

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

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

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

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

la-decade-shannen-doherty

la-decade-luke-perry-jpg

6. The Definition of “Sociopath”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

la-decade-the-abbey-blurry

la-decade-abbey-anniversary

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.

la-decade-lauren-conrad

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

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

September 18, 2016

Photo Credit: John Sciulli/Getty Images for Audi

Photo Credit: John Sciulli/Getty Images for Audi

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: John Sciulli/Getty Images for Audi

Photo Credit: John Sciulli/Getty Images for Audi

Photo Credit: Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Audi

Photo Credit: Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Audi

Photo Credit: John Sciulli/Getty Images for Audi

Photo Credit: John Sciulli/Getty Images for Audi

Photo Credit: Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Audi

Photo Credit: Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Audi

Photo Credit: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Audi

Photo Credit: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Audi

Photo Credit: John Sciulli/Getty Images for Audi

Photo Credit: John Sciulli/Getty Images for Audi

Lifestyle Angelenos

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

June 8, 2016

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Own Your Pride Campaign

Photo Credit: Own Your Pride Campaign

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo credit: Jon Viscott

Photo credit: Jon Viscott

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

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

[divider_flat]

Music Angelenos

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

June 7, 2016

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

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

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

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

[divider_flat]

Angelenos

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

May 26, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

Candis

Abbeygroup

image2

Abbeynails

Abbeycake

AbbeyFood

Food Angelenos Featured

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

January 28, 2016


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

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

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

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

The_Abbey_Effen_Relaxed_skyelyfe

The_Abbey_LGBTA_Sandwich_skyelyfe

The_Abbey_Crab_Cakes_skyelyfe

The_Abbey_Jalapeno_Lime_Margarita_with_Barrel_Aged_Patron_skyelyfe

[divider_flat]

Lifestyle Music Angelenos

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

January 7, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

#PLAYMASTE

Music Angelenos

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

November 20, 2015

Photo credit: Vivien Best / WireImage

Photo credit: Vivien Best / WireImage

The Viper Room is back!

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

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

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

Photo credit: Vivien Best / WireImage

Photo credit: Vivien Best / WireImage

Photo credit: Vivien Best / WireImage

Photo credit: Vivien Best / WireImage

Photo credit: Vivien Best / WireImage

Photo credit: Vivien Best / WireImage

Photo credit: Vivien Best / WireImage

Photo credit: Vivien Best / WireImage

[divider_flat]

Beauty Angelenos

Obagi Celebrates Louise Roe at West Hollywood’s Newest Fashion Concept Space

November 11, 2015

front_roe_skyelyfe_2‘Tis the season for endless holiday parties, and new fashion concept space theCURATORLA brought out quite the crowd this week on one of L.A.’s chilliest nights!

Celebrity fashion blogger Louise Roe and Obagi Skin Health Institute hosted an intimate cocktail party with some of the most stylish influencers in the city.

Tucked behind the Balenciaga store on Melrose Ave. in West Hollywood, the party took place in what was previously somewhat of a hidden secret. The space transformed into an art gallery for the night, and artisan furniture and installations filled the shop.

Petals LA adorned the room with winter whites, and copies of Roe’s new book Front Roe were placed throughout. In a season where gluttony runs amuck, theCURATORLA opted for healthy elixirs. Organic lemon and ginger cocktails from Moon Juice were served, and dermatologist to the stars, Dr. Zein Obagi, was on hand to teach guests how to save their skin from the harsh dry of winter. Guests filed into the space and patiently waited their turn at receiving one of Obagi’s renowned treatments. ZO Skin Health products filled the shelves, and attendees went home with the brand’s newest sunblock.

front_row_skyelyfe

[divider_flat]

Music Food

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

October 7, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out Moras’ EP below:

[divider_flat]

Music Food

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

September 22, 2015

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

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

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

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

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

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

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

1. The Setup Is Wild

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

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

2. Here’s How the Headliners Came to Be

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

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

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

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

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

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

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

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

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

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

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

Beauty Angelenos

Emmy Awards 2015: From Beauty Treatments to Bashes, Here’s How L.A. Prepped for TV’s Biggest Night!

September 19, 2015

The middle of September is a busy time in Tinseltown!

With the Emmy Awards on Sept. 20, TVs biggest stars started getting into high gear days before for their most important night.

But awards shows prove to be exciting for more than just celebrities. Tastemakers, bloggers and other media bask in the fun of the gifting suites and lavish parties that lead up to these big nights.

As I pointed out during the time of the Golden Globes, Audi hosts two top-tier fetes at Cecconi’s in West Hollywood each year, including one for the Emmys. This year’s bash brought out a slew of stars, including Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Cat Deeley, Joel McHale, Tony Goldwyn, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ashley Madekwe, Kat Graham and Karina Smirnoff.

Photo credit: John Sciulli/Getty Images for Audi)

Photo credit: John Sciulli/Getty Images for Audi)

Photo credit: John Sciulli/Getty Images for Audi

Photo credit: John Sciulli/Getty Images for Audi

Guests and I sipped wine and took in tunes by Mr. Best, while sneaking a peek at the luxury car brand’s new A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid.

Photo credit: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Audi

Photo credit: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Audi

Earlier in the week, L.A. Confidential hosted Pretty for the Party, an Emmys-week beauty suite at Sofitel Los Angeles‘ Riviera 31.

Guests sipped on specialty Midori cocktails and KeVita health drinks, while making their way through treatment after treatment.

LA_Confidential_Emmys_skyelyfe

Attendees (mostly women) like myself received massages, manicures by Jessica nails and hair stylings by my favorite folks at Sally Hershberger salon. Guests also left with complimentary nail polish, hair products, skincare products and Yoke holistic fragrances.

la_confidential_emmys_hair_skyelyfe

LA_confidential_emmys_skyelyfe_2

Best of luck to all the nominees!

Beauty Music Featured

6 Things to Know About the Magic of Energy Stones, from Collector & Jewelry Designer Calypso Wilde

August 19, 2015

Calypso_self_skyelyfeEliseCalypsoWilde sat down with me at West Hollywood’s Dialog Cafe in the midst of one of her personal journeys. The singer (check out her Soundcloud) and artist, who very recently moved here from New York, was in the process of a multi-week cleanse a la Ramadan (though she is not Muslim).

Going down this road has allowed her to tap deeper into her spiritual side – something she doesn’t stray from regularly though. But eating only a few hours a day has given her more time to focus on yoga and meditation, which keeps her mind from focusing on thoughts of food and other temptations that are banned from much of this period.

“It’s crazy how just not eating parallels to everything else in your life,” Calypso, who had already lost 15 pounds at the time of our conversation, told skyelyfe. “Your main bodily craving is to eat. You’re hungry. To withstand that, you can really withstand anything else. It’s really crazy. I feel a lot more in control and a lot more clear, that’s for sure. I’m more aware of the people I have around me. There are just different things to focus on, because you’re not focused on the simple things.”

She added: “When I first started, it was an affirmation of just, like, I’m doing this for you. I’m going to incorporate discipline back in your life and rebalancing yourself and being content with just you, as opposed to relying on other things.”

Around 7:30 p.m. is when she starts cooking. Sunset is around 8:00 p.m. Then she eats (generally a vegetarian meal with potatoes or rice, then fruit throughout the night). If she wakes up between 4:30 – 5:00 a.m., she’ll pull herself out of bed and eat fruit so that she has something in her stomach. Then she goes back to bed until 9:00 or 10:00 a.m. and goes about her day. She does a lot of meditation and yoga throughout the day to help “remove the focus from your daily needs to keep you grounded and centered.”Calypso_jewelry_skyelyfe

Part of what falls into her realm of yoga and meditation practices are working with energy stones, which have been a part of Calypso’s life for quite some time. She doesn’t just pop into various shops and swoop up the latest shiny gem on the table. She really analyzes these earth forms and figures out how they can play a role in her life and in her everyday healing process. 

“My entire aesthetic is I inspire a lot from the sun or from calypso, which means conceal, or to hide,” she said. “When it comes to stones, they hide a lot of energy. There’s their outlying border, but when you really tap in, they’ve got all these super magical healing powers and all this other stuff.”

To those unfamiliar with the healing power of stones, Calypso explains, “I don’t just try to sell people stones, you know? I’m not like, ‘Oh, here’s this rock. I know that you like it. It looks cool.’ Each one has its one specific chakra that it aligns to and its own healing power. I go about it in a way where I get to know who you are first. I ask people a bunch of questions about themselves. ‘Tell me what you’re into, what are some things that are troubling you right now? When’s your birthday? I can align all these things with people.’ It’s a whole body healing specifically for them.”

Calypso – who says the amethyst stone is among the most beneficial in her life – provided six important things to know about the use of stones. And if you are interested in more information on her beautiful jewelry (out of curiosity or for purchasing purposes), she says her Instagram account is the best way to contact her. Check out her six things to know below:

Calypso_long_skyelyfe1. Be Mindful of Who Touches Your Stones

“I believe you should limit who touches your stones,” she says. “People kind of come up to me all the time and they comment on my necklaces. For the most part, I’m fine about it. I cleanse my stones almost every day.”

2. Cleanse Your Stones Properly and Frequently

“I cleanse them by either rinsing them under cool water, or if it’s a full moon, I do a full recharge,” she explains. “I sit them out in the sun for the most part, if I’m not using them. Stones are so easy and simple. The biggest thing you should do is get to know your stones. Meditate with them. Get a pendulum, kind of work with it. Let it work with you. Really be open to it. Be open to the idea that this thing does have energies in it that can help you and renew you.”   

3. Be Aware of Some Excellent Stone Shops from Coast to Coast

Spellbound Sky was the first stop I made when I got to Los Angeles,” Calypso says of the East Hollywood establishment. “I touched down, picked up my luggage, dropped it off and went straight out to the stone shop. It’s a beautiful, small shop. It’s super calm in there. It’s owned by a gay couple who are super, super sweet. They do palm readings, tarot readings. They have meditation on fridays. In New York, I used to go to Rock Star Crystals. It was in Midtown. They’re a small shop, but they have a huge selection. They have everything there.”Calypso_jacket_skyelyfe

4. Receiving a Stone Should Be an Experience

“My price point is generally anywhere between $35 for smaller scale stones and $75 for really, really large pieces,” she says. “It takes time, and I’m really diligent about it. I’m not just giving you anything. I want to know about you and your situation. It’s almost like you’re getting a reading with it. The first girl who ordered a stone from me, I also gifted her a smaller stone with it, just because she was telling me things and I was like, ‘This is the one you should be wearing, and this is the one you should keep in your pocket.’ I try to make each interaction very special.”

5. Be Sure to Mix Stones Properly

“I do it all the time,” Calypso says of placing certain stones together. “I have a quartz and a green calcite around my waist. It’s important to know which stones are best for mixing. I have a stone bible, basically. It’s actually called that. It tells me which stones go well with each other and which is for what. Reading something like that helps guide you which way to go with those.”

6. You Can Use Stones to Welcome Happy Thoughts Into Your Sleep

“If you get a chance, try to find an angel or aura quartz,” she says of keeping negative subconscious thoughts at bay. “They’ll help with your crazy dreams. Cleanse them by putting them in your window sill at night for a lunar cleanse and meditate with them before bed with a mantra that tells negative spirits that they are not welcome in your thoughts, awake or asleep. And sleep with them under your pillow.”

[divider_flat]

Beauty Food Angelenos

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

August 13, 2015

absandapps_entrance_skyelyfeTalk about a workout event done right!

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

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

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

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

Congratulations, Whitney!

absandapps_chicken_skyelyfe

[divider_flat]

Beauty

Heidi & Spencer Make Rare Public Appearance at West Hollywood Jewelry Event

July 29, 2015

Photo credit: @Parisa/Splash News

Photo credit: @Parisa/Splash News

Jewels, sweets … and Speidi?

That was my reaction when I walked into MeMe London‘s U.S. preview event at DiLAscia in West Hollywood, where the former professional spotlight-stealers held court next to a pink table filled with stacks of bracelets and earrings, and the most decadent donuts I have ever seen!MeMe_London_Stephanie_Pratt_skyelyfe

But, I guess it made sense, as Spencer Pratt‘s no longer estranged sister Stephanie hosted the event – she’s the face of the jewelry line – as part of her Made in Chelsea show (which was filming at the time). And don’t think for a second that the married former Hills stars didn’t jump in on the videotaping action. Spencer – who was interestingly accessorized with a walking cane – was all smiles with his partner in crime, as the two chatted with one of Stephanie’s costars.

Guests at the intimate, VEEV-hosted gathering walked out with a sample bracelet from the incredibly colorful collection. As for me, I also walked out with a satisfactory smile seeing my favorite reality-TV couple looking happy as can be!

Music

‘Pixels’ Soundtrack Artist RAS Dishes on Working with Some of Today’s Biggest Musicians

July 24, 2015

RAS_skyelyfeNicholas “RAS” Furlong‘s name may not ring a bell right off the bat, but trust me, if you’ve ever turned on the radio, went to a nightclub, or pretty much ever listened to music, then you’re definitely familiar with his work.

He most recently co-wrote and sang on Avicii‘s “The Nights,” you’re about to hear his production efforts on “Game On” from the Pixels soundtrack with Good Charlotte and Waka Flocka (scroll to bottom), he’s currently in the studio with Kygo, Good Charlotte and Krewella (separately) and he’s already been sought out by Nick Jonas‘ label and management to work on his next album. Whew, that’s a lot!

Skyelyfe recently caught up with this behind-the-scenes megastar poolside at Sunset Marquis hotel in West Hollywood, and he dished on his whirlwind career, working with such a diverse spectrum of artists – and – of course, what we’d like to know about some of the famous folks he works with.

RAS_skyelyfe_2“A lot of songwriters get boxed into one particular sort of genre, and that’s their niche,” the Lake Tahoe native-turned-Topanga Canyon resident says. “For me, I find that a good song is a good song. The way it’s presented and produced is pretty much the most important part. It’s ensuring that it’s true to not only that artist’s brand, but also to the genre itself. I’ve been a lover of music since I was a kid. I was a lover of hip-hop, which transcended into being really into rock.”

Furlong, who started out only wanting to write pop music, credits One Republic’s frontman with helping him think outside of the box.

“Being signed to Ryan Tedder, he was singing hooks for rappers, but also doing One Republic,” the AttaBoy record label owner says. “But then he’d turn around and write a song for Demi Lovato. When I first started working on dance music, Diplo was the first opportunity that I got. I was like, ‘Who is this guy?’ I started looking him up and I was like, ‘Yeah, he’s cool.’ I kept getting introduced to different people. I would say no to some things, but on a lot of things, I just liked the challenge of, can I do this?”

RAS_Pixels_Game_On_skyelyfeOf everything Furlong has done throughout his career, filling a slot on the Pixels soundtrack is among his most boast-worthy achievements.

Adam Sandler is one of my favorite actors, so to hear that my song had to be approved by him to be in the film, I felt like, cool, I’ve got some clout with Adam Sandler,” the producer said with a smile. “[I was told the film] needed a song with some anthemic-rock theme. I was like, ‘Dude, the only way we can pull this off is with Waka. He is that.’ “

And from there, I just had to ask what it’s like hanging out with Waka, who happens to be one of my favorite rappers of the moment. Read on to hear all about working with him, along with a handful of other artists. You may be in for some surprises!

Waka Flocka: “He’s amazing. I’ve never met a man or an artist who can just be in one place, but be everywhere at the same time, and lend himself in so many different ways. He’s just a really approachable, nice, warm guy – which is funny, because from his physical appearance, he seems very intimidating. His energy is unmatchable. He has this crazy energy about him that you love. And he’s such a nice person and so kind. He’s the kind of guy who has fans scurrying around backstage at his shows, running up to him with their phones.

Backstage in his green room one time, we’d be in the middle of a conversation and fans would be walking up and standing right next to him, and I’d be like, ‘This doesn’t bother you?’ and he’d be like, ‘Nah, man, I love my fans.’ And I was like, ‘That’s so cool you do that.’ He doesn’t care. He’s like a dude hanging out at a party.”

Kygo: “He recognizes what I did with ‘The Nights,’ but he recognizes I have this niche for finding different inspiration from different genres. We’ve just been trying to figure out the direction we want to do. We have one song that’s really good, but I think we might try to beat it. We’ve just been kind of figuring out if this is the best thing we can do together. He’s really great and on fire right now. He’s about to do this big thing with Apple Music, and I’m also on a bit of a hot streak, and we just want whatever we put out to be like, holy shit.”   

Nick Jonas: “He and I haven’t actually been in the same room yet, which is really funny. It’s just been me working with the label and the management. They pretty much were like, ‘Go crazy. Do whatever you want. Try different stuff.’ It’s kind of experimental. With [any artists I work with], I try to think of what the next thing is, not what’s out now. With Nick, it’s been a cool challenge. Instead of listening to ‘Jealous’ or ‘Chains’ or whatever, I’m like, what’s the evolution of Nick Jonas? Where does it go from here? And I think I have a pretty good idea of where I’d like to take it. Hopefully the music comes out and everybody’s stoked on it.”

Five Seconds of Summer: “They surprised me the most. Usually when someone says, ‘Hey, there’s this band,’ you show up, and it’s always the most predictable thing. You know what it’s going to be. Who cares? It’s the same thing – just a bunch of auto-tune and a bunch of crappy pop songs with big hooks. That’s it. In this case, I showed up, and all four of them play their instruments. And they all four have incredible voices, they all four can write songs well, and they all four have become, in the last year, just like perfect at playing their instruments.

It’s just been really cool to like see them from the beginning when I first started working with them, to now. They’ve just grown into superstars, and they know it. Even now, they’re finishing their new record, and it sounds incredible. It shows so much evolution from them, and I think that’s the biggest thing you look for in an artist.”

All Time Low: “I’ve definitely connected really well with Alex [Gaskarth] and Jack [Barakat]. I bond with those guys.”

Furlong had so much fascinating insight into the business that I didn’t want to cram everything into one post. Check back next week for his three effective (and gutsy) tips on getting your foot into the music industry door with zero connections (he tried them firsthand, and look at him now)!

And, of course, check out the “Pixels” track below, along with his own recent single “Doesn’t Get Better Than This.”

[divider_flat]