Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Fashionable Foodie with Chef Richard Blais & E!'s Ashlan Gore

By Laura Medina

This has been an unusual fabulous week for this fashion and beauty scribe.

As a daughter of a Classical French-train United States Navy chef, who has aunts and cousins as top-notch pasteries and entree chefs, this scribe knows that good taste and good style come in all different types of form and art.

Tasteful styles come from gourmet cuisine, historically, from the royal courts, where chefs and artisans transforms homely ingredients into a work of art...;and do not have to starve for your art or for fashion.  There are times when you have to grow up and learn how to sip champagne and nibble on quinoa.

It was fortuitous being pulled out in the last minute to be that day's last-minute guest judge for Bravo's Top Chef Tour stop at Hollywood and Highland.

Truth be told, they pulled out all the journalists that day to be judges.  Great to be acknowledged for one's education, experience, and wisedom.

That day's competitors were Chef Richard Blais, the winner of Bravo's Top Chef: All-Stars and "Top Chef: Las Vegas" contestant, Chef Hector Santiago; and they are both Atlanta restauranteurs.

That day's competition of quinoa with pork was interesting to see how Chef Richard from New York and Puerto Rican Chef Hector deal with a traditional Southern meat with a trendy but ancient grain.

As one of three judges, we picked Chef Hector for him barbequing pork tenderloin, making Middle Eastern quinoa into creamy grits then using pork lard into a barbecue base for crunchy, caramelize crab apples.

We journalists were startled at ourselves for calmly yet authoratively describing to the whole audience and the chefs why we pick Chef Hector because his complexity of flavors and texture: the smoky sweetness, the creaminess, and the crunch factor. 

Chef Hector explained switching from Puerto Rican cuisine to Southern cuisine is easy.  Same ingredients done up in a love for his adapted city and region.  He loves Atlanta.  His cuisine and this dish represents the "New South," where immigrants redo ingredients from their homeland in Southern ways and methods.  Chef Hector, "I can go to Atlanta today and get Thai Southern, Korean Southern.  Redoing traditional Latin pork into barbeque is easy."

We the judges agree that Chef Richard's pork tenderloin as filet mignon with quinoa salad was light and healthy as the man himself.

This one of Chef Richard's purpose, to go tour promoting gourmet cuisine as healthy and nutritious.  He incorporates his cooking into his alter ego as a marathon runner and an health nut.  Yes, pun intended.

You try speaking with a mic up one's nose with ease and calmness.  Not easy, my friends.

This fashionable foodie burnt Chef Hector's tasting, driving two hours south to Assouline's Vintage Modern Cocktail party, just for dessert.  How's that for exercise and patience?!

Lead Bartender Rob Floyd of The Bazaar by José Andrés at the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills, graciously drove down two hours south himself to demonstrate the "new" vintage cocktails.

He revamped the Margarita standby, made "Sex on the Beach" into the classier, "Between the Sheets," and the French 75, using liquid nitrogen and foam.

Proving the bartender-turned-mixologist is the evolution of chef, Patrick Castle of Refine Cocktail Mixers, wants to teach the world in concocting cocktails with fresh, seasonal fruits and the ease of his ready-made, low calorie, sugar-free, and all-natural cocktail mixers. 

Teaming up with E!'s Ashlan Gore and haircare brand, Joico, Refine Cocktail Mixer Class and Summer Party is on the mission to make cocktails classy again. Artisanal, not trashy.  Fresh fruit and natural flavors.  No more syrup and fake taste.  Refine's founder, Patrick Castle, wants to turn frat boy cocktails back into gentlemen.

He gave Bethenny Frankel's of "SkinnyGirl Cocktails" and "The Real Housewives of New York" fame credit for launching the health-conscious cocktail.

Now, Patrick wants to further the cause by making healthy cocktails available to both women and men, replacing the fake chemicals with real ingredients, and making his mixers flexible as "mocktails" for expecting moms and recovering alcholics or those who just want a taste without the hangover.

Alright, who's kidding who...not everyone can cook or draw or paint.  The same can be said for this bunch of writers.  We take our bartenders, wait a minute, mixologists for granted.  It is harder than it looks.  Patrick very patiently coach us in the art of "made-from-scratch" artisanal Morrison's Mojito (inspired by Jim Morrison), Venice Peach Bellini (in honor of that night's locale), Abbot's Margarita (also in honor of the neighborhood), and the very cherry Canal Side Cosmo (honoring Venice, California again).

This mixology class was a hoot, think of it as a sophisicated gourmand's idea of a crafting class...with all the klutzy kaos.  Remember, we are writers, not culinary professionals. Some are. Most are not.

Ashlan squirted, squashed, and squished and "borrowed" berries like the rest of us.  She even warned us of  the shooting champagne corks.

But, this was all worth the effort.  This fashionable foodie happily quaffed her Venice Peach Bellini and slurped her cherry Canal Side Cosmo, paired with beet and avocado salad, the grain-of-the year Quinoa Salad, and farro sald, all catered by the reowned Gjelina in Venice restaurant.

This wasn't the only way to celebrate Summer's bounties.

Joico's George twisted Ashlan Gore's tresses into a braided headband and tamed this fashionable foodie's rumple locks into curvy beach waves, all in an effort not have food in our hair. Cool, stylish, and neat.  It was a good time to check Joico's K-Pak Line to protect the hair from the Summer elements.

Here's to Summer!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ne-Yo, Wendy Williams, Bill & Giuliana Rancic, Touched by Nivea's Summer PDA Campaign

By Laura Medina

Ne-Yo celebrating the first night of Summer with Nivea.

Nivea may had launched their "Touch and Be Touched" Campaign on Valentine's Day but it doesn't end there or then.

Truth be told, their Public Display of Affection or PDA mission is still going strong.

Based on research, people go out more, date more, and obviously, display more skin once Summer hits.

Since June the 20th is the Summer Solstice, the first day of Summer and the longest day of the year, Nivea proclaims it, "National PDA Day."

With their Nivea ambassadors, Wendy Williams, Bill and Giuliana Rancic, and Ne-Yo, Nivea is here to reclaim dating and courting. 

Whether they were in Herald Square in Manhattan or at The Grove in Hollywood, WendyWilliams and Ne-Yo told folks there is a proper way to show Public Displays of Affection.

June 20th started at Herald Square where Bill and Giuliana, with Wendy's and Ne-Yo's help, kicked the National PDA Tour.

Ne-Yo is one heck of a trooper.  He performed a concert, promoting his newest release, first thing in the morning in the East Coast then do the same thing again later that same night in Hollywood.

Even before Ne-Yo did his second concert of the day at The Grove, the Nivea Summer Solstice Carnival was well on its way.

It took over the entire outdoor mall park with a kissing booth, a roulette wheel, a prize give-away tent, and a photo booth.  There were kiosks bursting to the brim with free tins of Nivea Cream.

The carnival was dotted with dating facts, such as more Americans go on dates during the Summer.

If you go to Nivea's Facebook page, you can enter to win their "Touch and Be Touched" contest where the lucky couple can win a free date, on Nivea's tab for, one night.  They'll even toss in a babysitter.  Mentioned earlier, this may had started on Valentine's Day but this contest will last until the end of this year.  You have  6 months to take your chance.

Shoot, it was more about East Coasters, Wendy Williams and Ne-Yo enjoying the sun and the fun on a perfect sunny, warm LA day with a cool breeze.

Wendy Williams had a hoot riding The Grove trolley while warming up the crowd.

As a Nivea ambassador, Wendy regales the crowd about the time she discovered Nivea as a teen and has been a loyal Nivea user ever since.

MCing the crowd before the concert, Wendy and Bill and Giuliana Rancic remind people about the importance of slowing down during the Summer to reconnect and reinforce a proper way.  With Nivea's skincare products, people will have the confidence to go out, socialize and date, taking a break away from the smartphones and the internet and have real face-to-face encounters.

What a trooper and what a gentleman, Ne-Yo treated everyone with a free concert...again, performing tracks from his upcoming release in September.

During his concert, ever the gentleman, he reminds folks that there are proper ways to show Public Displays of Affection and just don't "PDA" with a stranger, get to know her or him first.

This is his way of returing "the love" to his loyal fans.  They were "touched" by his performance.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The newest Dry Bar in Westlake Village

By Laura Medina

Dry Bar is set on taking over the world.  Alli Webb's newest blowout salon opens today in the upscale suburb of Malibu, 3825 E Thousand Oaks Blvd, Westlake Village, CA 91361.

This is the 15th Dry Bar to open. Manhattan will have its third one opening up soon, just in time for New York Fashion Week.

The founder and owner, Alli Webb, christening her salon by doing blow outs.

Now, don't go around thinking this is all frivilous frippery.

There is certainly a need for all these grooming because...not everyone has the twist in wrist for twirling curls out of knots and frizz.

A blow out from Dry Bar can last for a good two to four days, bouncy as waves and as smooth as glass.

This scribe's first Dry Bar blow out lasted through a rain storm, 4 fashion and beauty events and a near car crash...and that "Cos Mai Tai"...smooth on top, full and curly on the bottom, was still there for a week.

Her voluptuous "Southern Comfort", lush and full all-over, survived three beauty events, a drive to the Valley, and a last-minute guest judge appearance on Bravo's "Top Chef" tour.

A Dry Bar blow out is worth the investment when you're a klutz with the hot rollers and the curling iron, not to mention the water, the shampoo, the conditioner, and the styling cream.

Leave it to the professionals, they'll save you the time, the money, and the frustation to look like a celebrity for a week.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

BCBG, Red Carpet Mainstay

By Laura Medina

Not spotting the upscale contemporary brand, BCBG Max Azria, on the red carpet is unheard of...this fashion-forward brand for the people has been a consistent favorite among stars and starlets.

"Bones" star, Emily Deschanel, tied it all together by juxapositioning a draped blazer over her flowing dress earlier this year in March.

Just recently, she appeared in BCBG Max Azria Black Luciana Dress from 2012 Resort Collection at the Broadcast Television Journalists Association Second Annual Critics' Choice Awards.  A few nights later, she wore the pleated, color-blocked Olive Rumi Dress from 2012 Fall Collection at the Farm Sanctuary Benefit.

Fashion's latest darling, Kristen Stewart, was outfitted by BCBG Max Azria on her European tour for "Snow White and the Huntsman."

She started the tour, sporting Pre-Fall 2012 BCBGMAXAZRIA Runway jacket, in the United Kingdom.  She was runway model chic in  Pre-Fall 2012 BCBGMAXAZRIA “Marieke” Runway dress and harness during her Madrid stop. 

Amy Pohler, Sophia Bush, and January Jones cracked the cocktail dress ceiling in these festive numbers.

Amy Pohler modeled the BCBGMAXAZRIA Lenis Dress in Blue Sapphire on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon."

At the 2012 Young Hollywood Awards in Los Angeles, Sophia Bush and January Jones donned the higher-end Hervé Léger by Max Azria.  Sophia Bush looked flawless walking the red carpet in a printed Fall 2012 Hervé Léger by Max Azria dress, while January opted for a fresh and feminine frock from the Resort 2013 BCBGMAXAZRIA Runway collection.

On St. Patrick's Day, Fergie was appropriately green, launching the low-calorie Voli Light Vodka at Confidential Night Club in Beverly Hills.

Kendall Jenner added a color punch in the BCBG's junior line, BCBG Generation in a simple pullover skirt to her New York monochromatic attire.

Heidi Klum, Michelle Williams, and Florence Welch keep the gowns and maxi dress trend strong.

Out on an outing with her kids, Heidi Klum sports how real Los Angeleno women rock the maxi dress trend, striped Sara Maxi Dress, topped with a tough but classic black motorcycle jacket...a closet classic that will never disappear.

Michelle Williams propel the godess look with her one-shoulder Grecian Gown in this Summer's sizzling neon lemon. 

Florence Welch of "Florence and the Machine," maintains the retro glamour of a tea gown from BCBG Max Azria Runway Atelier line, befitting this timeless beauty.

So far, this is the round-up of BCBG Max Azria on the red carpet year-around.

What's even better, BCBG is available to the everyday smart woman who can rock these idential creations for her own daily life running errands or a night on the town without being a celebrity or busting her bank account.

Fashion for the people.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Soothing & Calming Daddy's nerves...and his skin

By Laura Medina

Skincare and skin health is no longer a woman's domain anymore.

With frayed nerves and a face and skin to match, men are turning to basic skincare to ease physical pain and to boost self-esteem.

In this youth-oriented market, men are learning they need an edge in order to stay revelant in this competitive market.  Refreshing and renewing an experienced appearance with a matching experienced mind is reassurance and insurance against those cute but inexperienced whipper-snippers.

Besides, at this stage in life, a man deserves to be treated like a king.

Now, shows him who's king by royally treating him to this skin maintaining and enchancing products, packed with high skincare technology to keep him vital for a long time.

Since men's skin are thicker and oiler and rougher, these skincare products pack twice the amount of peptides, acids, and antioxidants than women's skincare.  Women with sensitive skin can't handle the concentrated amounts but women with oily skin and breakouts or women with skin so dry that their skincells are mistaken for scales, should give guys' products a try.  For half the amount and half the price, a woman gets double the amount and twice the concentration from guys' super-charged stuff.

As "Matte for Men" founder and husband, Lee Jacobs, said, "She'll steal it."

For this scribe, it is more like couple-sharing and couple-economizing.

Now, here are some stuff that the wife or girlfriend can "share" from her man.

Murad Man specifically targets needs or problems unique for men:  ingrown hairs, irritation from shaving and dry, chaffed skin can build up. Shaving is the age-old way for men to exfoliate dead skin cells and opening up pores.  For those who don’t shave, excess oil and dirt can often build up near the beard line.

Since men's skincare is all about problem-solving, the emphasis is on quick, efficient, effective results that aims to the source.  The stuff or the stuffs have to useable in daily routine and habits.  In other words, great mommy-on-the go products, direct and to the point...stuff you and your husband or dad "borrow" from each other.

Murad's 3-Piece Men Regimen tackles the basic men's problems:  Cleansing Shave, an effective skin cleanser that doubles as a soothing base for daily shaving. Also included is Razor Burn Rescue®, which is an essential skin care product for any man who shaves regularly. Razor Burn Rescue effectively reduces ingrown hairs, bumps and irritation from shaving to help skin look its best. Finally, sun protection and hydration are combined into one men’s skin care product with Face Defense® SPF 15, a daily moisturizer for men with sunscreen that provides lightweight, healthy hydration.

Here's another product that the whole family can share with dad, Jack Black's yummy, flavored Lip Balms.  Not too coy, not too sweet but gourmand flavors of: Mango & Mandarin, Black Tea & Blackberry, Grapefruit & Ginger, Lemon & Chamomile, Mint & Shea Butter, and Vanilla & Lavender, these lip balms offer everything for everyone in the family for $7.50 a pop.

For the dad on the go, Jack Black gives him a choice of travel kits to keep him fresh.  What's really great, each complete kit is under $60.  Dad will love that!....

Jack Black: NEW Dry Erase Ultra Calming Face Cream

A powerful, non-greasy moisturizer, the Dry Erase Ultra-Calming Face Cream fights fine lines, flakiness and tightness, leaving skin deeply hydrated, visibly firmer and radiant. The unique formula mimics the structure of skin lipids, trapping in moisture and aiding in the repair and replenishment of the skin’s natural protective barrier. Fortified with skin comforters from nature and science, it calms irritated skin and helps reduce redness.

Price: $38.00 (2.5 oz)

Availability: Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue or at

The Classic Dad: First Class Five

The ultimate mini travel companion. Five skin care essentials keep any man well-groomed on-the-go. Containing bestsellers, Beard Lube Conditioning Shave for the ultimate close shave, Double-Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20 to keep skin smooth and protected, Eye Balm Age Minimizing Gel to revive the travel-tired eye area, Intense Therapy Lip Balm Natural Mint & Shea Butter to soften lips and freshen breath, and All-Over Wash to cleanse hair, face and body. This compact set offers generous travel sizes to keep you looking good on the fly.

Price: $49.00

Availability: Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue or at

The On-The-Go Dad: Jet Set Traveler

Perfect for the travelin’ man, Jack Black has the answer for travel-proof skin care. This four piece set houses the brands most popular skin care products in a signature mesh bag. The carry-on friendly sized set meets every man’s face, body and shave needs, all in airline-approved 1.5oz sizes. Contains; Pure Clean Daily Facial Cleanser, Face Buff Energizing Scrub, Supreme Cream Triple Cushion Shave Lather and the Double-Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20.

Price: $25.00
The Polished Dad: Core Collection

The new Core Collection delivers immediate and noticeable results. Perfect take on vacation, use at home, or even leave in the gym locker room, this essential kit keeps guy’s looking and feeling great. The set includes three must-have shaving necessities; Pure Face Daily Cleanser, Beard Lube and Double-Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20 that lead to one simple solution - clean, healthy skin in five minutes or less.

Price: $52.00

Availability: Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue or at

Matte for Men has a romantic notion...and inspiration behind it.

While getting married in Santa Barbara, California, under the hot and burning sun then getting continued to be burnt underneath the Arizona sun where he is based, Lee Jacobs finally wants to resolve this burning problem for bald men, such as himself, with fair, sensitive skin.

He quench the burning problem, using his years of experience in working with consumer products, Lee started off with this oil-soaking, refreshing Complete Face and Head Care Lotion SPF 25 Sunscreen.  This sunscreen reduces the "oil slick," hence, "Matte for Men" which his wife and her girlfriends later stole from him and his pals.

Learning that his and his friends' significant others have been "borrowing" from him,  Lee Jacobs started another market category, "She'll Steal It," Matte for Men products that are so effective that both couple and family can share and share alike, like his peptide-rich Fixx Advanced Repair Moisturizer.  The Tetrapeptide Complex targets at improving skin cell activity and rejuvenation...also helps to boost the production of collagen in the skin.  EPS, derived from the ecosystem of French Polynesia, this key ingredient stimulates skin hydration and helps limit moisture loss.  Panthenol improves hydration and reduces inflammation of the skin.  Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes damaging free radicals.

Another stuff you can "steal" is Menaji's 911 Eye Gel and CAMO Magnum Concealer.  This cost-effective couple...for the 911 Eye Gel to reduce puffiness and the CAMO Magnum Concealer to cover up the long hours at work.

Yes, what appears to be luxurious and indulgent at first, is actually, matter to the heart, cost-effective skincare that both couple...and the kids can use to soothe everyone's nerves.

Happy Dad's Day!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Rad Stuff & Brit Cool for Dad's Day

By Laura Medina

This scribble-scriber is going to deviate away from the trite and tried combo of socks and ties...and give what dads truly stuff that they can wear with their suits, khakis, and jeans; so they can bring out their inner rock god.

When one thinks or assumes traditional British fashion, she or he either conjures up the timeless Savile Row's razor-sharp suits or rough & tough & wacky Vivien Westwood wacky punk rock get-ups.  For one who had or going to or in the midst of Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubliee/London Olympics, they know what's really happening in London currently now-trainers...sneakers actually.

Barker Black of Great Britain, took the All-American sneaker and injected 180 years of English craftsmanship into it.  It is where traditional loafer construction meets the sneaker modernity.

They don't skimp on materials here. Calf skin leather trimmed in silk.  Now, these are trainers you can dress up your staid suit or liven up your denim.

Ok, let's face it, very few people dream of being a professional golfer; but millions worldwide dream of being a rock star.

Give dad what he truly heart's desire...if you have the cash, rock camp to unleash his inner Jimmy Page.

For a slightly more affordable gift, The Guitar Collection delves into the history, the construction, and some really cool, insider rock musician trivia, such as the deep divots in the fingerboards of Eric Clapton’s “Brownie,” as well as the reasons Clapton, who had previously been a staunch Gibson man, decided to use the Strat at all.

This history/coffee table book is packed wtih lush photography and detailed stories behind the profiled guitars, such as the wear on the left-handed Competition Mustang Kurt Cobain played for the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video and the the scratch marks from the Gibson L-5 Maybelle Carter used for five decades.

Now, break the cycle of the same ole socks and ties then give him what he really stuff he always wish for since Junior High but at much nicer quality.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Trina Turk splashes into the pool with Banana Republic

Remember in "Mad Men," when Don Draper run away to Palm Springs with a sexy stranger?

The flowing caftans and halter neck, jersey knit dresses in psychedelic swirls in juicy colors, predates the Mod Sixties by three years. What she wore was Southern California's idea of upper-class resort wear, the Leisure Class.

Today's purveyor is Trina Turk. For this Summer, she is carrying on the Modernistic Sixties torch for Banana Republic.

She's reworking the resort stand-bys, the caftan and the tunic, into work wear easing into evening wear.

Her 60 piece collection for Banana Republic embodies the aspirational Palm Springs lifestyle, combining flirty prints and must-have summer styles for effortless transition from deskside to poolside and everywhere in-between.

Banana Republic uses patterns that are exclusive to Ms. Turk.

Key Pieces:
o Breezy daytime silk tops, including tunic, tie-shoulder and cowl-neck styles
o Tie-waist, twist-strap, strapless and maxi dresses in bright, airy silks and cottons. These are the most expensive at $150.
o Chic sateen shorts in sharp solids and bright prints
o Desert floral patterned bikini separates in halter and bandeau style tops, at $68, with coordinating bottoms at $58.
o Floral and zebra print scarves, structured pinking sheer totes and summer clutches in bright colors.
o Printed wide-brimmed sun hat.
o Bright and bold enamel jewelry, including stackable bangles, statement necklaces and earrings in limited edition printed jewelry pouches.
o Printed makeup bag, pencil case and plush beach towels.

Now, you can continue living the "Mad Men" style, without the need of a costume designer or a crashing into a film set's wardrobe department.