Friday, August 18, 2017

Jose Cuervo's Solar Eclipse Cocktails...

By Laura Medina
Total Especial Eclipse 
2 oz Jose Cuervo Especial 
2 oz orange juice  
1 tsp grenadine 
1/2 oz. charcoal lemonade 
Shake tequila and orange juice and pour into a rocks glass over ice. Mix charcoal lemonade and grenadine and slowly pour into the cocktail. Garnish with lime wedge. 

Any reason to chill, because the weekend wasn't enough.

Cheers to Monday's Solar Eclipse, an astrological excuse for a reset.  A good excuse to shake these eclipse cocktails up...

Dark Side of the Sun
2 oz Jose Cuervo Especial 
3/4 oz lime juice 
3/4 oz 1:1 simple syrup
1/2 oz Creme de Cassis 
Shake tequila, lime and simple and pour into a rocks glass over ice. Top ice with Creme de Cassis and garnish with a mint sprig and lime wheel. 




Tiki No is a Tiki Yes, Fun & Fancy Yet Down to Earth.

By Laura Medina
Tiki No's Toasted Marshmallow


If you want a "cool" drink, a cool drink that not only cools you down, it's really cool that it's hip, as in retro-hip.

If you ever get fatigued by the pretentious and the pompous and not refreshing and keeping up appearances, hide out at Tiki No because it's a yes.

One of the last remaining tiki bars in Los Angeles, the "No" stands for North Hollywood, the increasingly hipster suburb of North Hollywood where hipsters go for bigger space and cheaper rent.  This is where influencers, hipsters, and industry insiders go hide out, from the blazing Valley sun and paparazzi.

This is a place to let your hair hang down because the staff and patrons don't care, just be nice and cool like the cocktails.

What's fancy without the pretense? Fun.

The bartenders over at Tiki No, wouldn't call themselves "mixologists," but they sure know how to whip up the Mid-Century Modern cocktails that "Mad Men" would call home.

Immediately after World War II, your granddads left the Pacific and returned home with the taste for the South Pacific Tropics and their refreshingly sweet tropical fruit juices, mixed with strong rum, splashed over crushed ice.  That mentality is called "Tiki" after the South Pacific straw huts.  These Tiki drinks were the original smoothies before they were called smoothies.  Tiki drinks are nothing more than smoothies with alcohol.  Something that today's juicers are doing after work, taking  today's pressed juices topped with vodka or rum or tequila after a long hard day of pressing and squeezing.

Tiki drinks were all the range in the Fifties, especially Hawaii was annexed as a state then flamed out in the late Sixties, when Baby Boomers no longer call it their drinks or their mentality.

Thanks to "Mad Men," and the fatigue of "keeping up appearances," people who just want to relax, are returning to Tiki drinks and culture, where you can wear your Hawaiian Parrot shirt and nobody cares.

At Tiki No, they removed the tacky, overly-sweet pre-mix syrups and make everything from scratch, even the syrups are made from scratch.  Sneakily healthy...yum.

Since Tiki cocktails represent the South Pacific Islands...with volcanoes, it's super fun and entertaining to watch your bartender set your rum cocktail....on fire!!!

Toasted Marshmallow


They set the made-for-two date cocktail in a bowl, the Scorpion Bowl, on fire.

Don't worry.  The rum used will flame out then cool down, making it fun for you all to sip and guzzle or suck them dry.


What's even cooler...If you look closer, you'll notice their menu list the classic cocktails in chronological, history time line with the locations where the drinks were first invented.  Cool trivia.   They don't do that on their site, https://www.tikinola.com/menu.  You need to personally go there, yourself, to glaze.

Alrighty, knowing they're in hipster-ifying North Hollywood, Tiki No also invented their own cocktails.  That, they too, also list in chronological order and where, there at Tiki No.

The Toasted Marshmallow is their own cocktail creation...
Toasted Marshmallow
Overproof Rum-St. Croix, Fluffed Vodka, Licor 43, Falernum, Fresh Apple and Lemon Juice, Cinnamon.
In the dark setting, shielded from the sun, the heat, the social pressure, and the camera glare, people can't help but relax and chill, letting their hair down.  This is where influencers in the know, get off the grid and recharge on alcoholic smoothies.

Tiki No takes the tacky out of Tiki, making it hip again!







Thursday, August 17, 2017

Twice New is Really Is Nice...https://www.twicenew.org/

By Laura Medina

Twice New founders – Crystal Ortiz and Christina Rosenberg

If you're lucky to hit the high-society and industry circuit as a living and as an hobby, you might be tempted; or you might had "picked up" a bodacious floral bouquet or a whimsical porcelain vase or an one of a kind, gorgeous party backdrop prop decoration...that will be dumped into the dumpster at the end of the night because no one has any idea of what to do with it;..unlike you.

Or, you know that these chefs busted their butts cooking and chopping endless rounds of food and hors d'oeuvres, only have tons of these food they slave over, also dumped into the dumpster, once the party-ing stops.

You'll surprised, startled, and relieved that you're not the only one.

The magic event producers behind enviable big-deal productions, corporate parties at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and South by Southwest and celebrity weddings, Crystal Ortiz and Christina Rosenberg are always stuck with too much boxes of much needed necessaries that their celebrity clients and guests always take for granted, yet is much more needed for those in need.

They're following in the footsteps of the Oscars Awards, where they donate those beautiful florals and furniture to nursing homes and food to shelters.

To add insult to injury, corporate events charge disposal fees to simply throw away and waste.

That was an epiphany for Crystal Ortiz and Christina Rosenberg. They started Twice Nice,  https://www.twicenew.org/, after an event is done and over, multitude of this stuff is still brand new or still nice and good enough to give need and dignity to those who really deserve it.


Because their new endeavor is a charity, it never means they abandon or leave their party-throwing skills behind.  Again and again, this is where superb services and quality are gone to those who need them the most.

Tito's Vodka sling yummy cocktails.  Urban Oven served endless rounds of the best pizza in the city. Elan Artists sang and danced their hearts out in launching this glam charity.

For all you event planners who want to join up, please go to https://www.twicenew.org/ to make sure that those who need this the most, will get it, in the best quality with dignity and nothing goes to waste.  Saving the planet and society once the party is done.








Wednesday, August 16, 2017

BeautyCon LA 2017, Growing by Leaps & Bounds, A Butterfly Growing Out of It's Cocoon.


Beauty Con Los Angeles 2017 edition has grown by leaps and bounds, landing and taking over the Los Angeles Convention Center, an outfit that properly fits it now.

It did had its growing pains when it first landed in Hollywood at Siren Studios, on Sunset Blvd. and Vine St., in 2013.  Crowds of majority nine-years olds swarm the cramped professional studio. Beleaguered upscale beauty were startled by the very young demographics.  UTA agents were lecturing to a blank wall of indifferent tweens.  Rival publicity were duking it out.

Through the past four years, BeautyCon LA went through its awkward stage, represented in very cheap, very spacious but mawky venues in equally mawky neighborhoods.

But BeautyCon LA and it's legion of loyal "beauty-istas" have the tenacity to continue and grow into a well-oiled machine in a venue that is worthy to it's commitment of beauty for all.

BeautyCon LA 2017 fills in the gap where Michelle Phan's Ipsy has lapsed.

This recent BeautyCon LA 2017 weekend did not discriminate.  It welcomed the more mature but just as beauty-intensive Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers, as it welcomed it's core audience of Millennials and Gen-Zers.

Remember, BeautyCon LA 2017 happened over the same weekend as the Charlottesville "Heritage" Riots.  If Charlottesville represents being left behind and clinging onto a dying past, BeautyCon LA 2017 represents the opposite end of the spectrum, diversity leading society into the future where heart and merit matters, not resting on shriveled laurels that serves no one.

Proof that BeautyCon LA 2017 is maturing and evolving, it did a fit and health event, "BeautyCon, Beauty + Balance," where what you put into your body is as equally as what you put on your face, "BeautyCon Grows Up & Evolves, BeautyCon's Beauty + Balance Weekend at Westfield Topanga Mall, Lucky Mall."  http://luxurist.blogspot.com/2017/03/beautycon-grows-up-evolves-beautycons.html

This is a sign that BeautyCon is growing up...and out, to BeautyCon NY in Brooklyn and London.

What used to be exclusively insider YouTuber Makeup tutors getting together to making them the only celebrities to attracting bonafide A-listers, that even non-makeup person will instantaneously recognized.

BeautyCon LA served the A-Listers for Saturday:

Laverne Cox sat down with fashion expert Joe Zee
"Laverne Cox Speaks Out for Transgender Rights at Beautycon"

"Chrissy Teigen Discusses Beauty Expectations in the Digital Age"


Destiny Child's Kelly Rowland joined in a panel discussion with Gold Medalist, gymnast Simone Biles.


Across the convention hall, fellow Olympian, Laurie Hernandez, was speaking inside Nike's Air Lounge.  This latest edition of BeautyCon LA is increasingly incorporating health, fitness, and all-natural but quick makeup for the all-natural, fitness Millennials, Gen-Zers, and Gen-Xers.  This scribe got all worked up for the sneaker monogramming and athleisure attire inside the Nike Air Society Lounge.

This scribe can't vouch for the Brooklyn or the London edition, but BeautyCon LA made quite an impression on this trend-spotting Gen-X scribe.

This is true diversity, including all ages, done on a glam level.  Celebrating it, through fun for all.

Curious about the next BeautyCon LA 2018.




Thursday, August 10, 2017

Color Camp is a Classy, Whimsical Fanasty Land of a Nail Salon-Magical Manicures Only.

By Laura Medina
Real Flower Buds Gel Manicure, http://www.color-camp.com/

In the shadow of The Grove, outdoor mall, is an hidden gem of an hip and healthy manicure salon, Color Camp, http://www.color-camp.com/ 7607 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

From a mind of a Disney executive and Havard Business School graduate, Color Camp is cute but quality nail salon, with attention to details.  That is the lesson Lauren Caruso learned, working for Disney, conjuring ideas for their theme parks.

They know they're a nail salon for those who want cool but durable manicures, with nail art to be subtly hip.  Yet, Lauren Caruso wants people to know that her gel manicures and nail polishes have vitamins to nourish and nurture the nail bed while decorating it.  Healthy manicure can be durable, getting your money's worth.  Gel manicure aren't always destructive.


Color Camp's online menu doesn't do it justice.

You need to actually drop their 7607 Beverly Blvd. salon to expose yourself to their multitude of creative nail art.  This is where Lauren conjure her manicure magic.

It's The Extras that really converted this all-natural simple scribe.  The #03 pearlized ivory manicure base, decorated with real flower buds, enameled and lacquered inside the manicure really made this scribe a gel convert.


The base is your basic nail polish.  The normal nail polish lasts all of 3 to 5 days, easiest on, easiest off and the cheapest.  But for those fashionistas on the run, you need to move onto the more durable but just as healthy Gel and Super Gel manicures.  Gel manicure lasts 1 to 2 weeks.  This super busy scribe opted for the Super Gel manicure.  It lasts for 2 to 3 weeks.

It's that "Disney-ified" attention to details that impressed this scribe.  Plus, they respect their nail manicurists.  They are true artisans.

Here, after painting a basic white Super Gel nail polish base, the nail artisan (Lauren's business partner) patted a thick coating for pearlized dust for an opalesce optical finish.

This is a true beginning of a Color Camp Super Gel Manicure.


Yes, those are real flowers...tiny, real flowers that are used for any level manicure you want.  Color Camp proves that nail art doesn't have to be fake or aggressive or outlandish.  You have the option to be as dainty and sly;..and the real tiny flower buds can make your manicure appear "natural."


Here, the nail artisan applying and gluing the tiny real flower petals and buds onto fresh, wet clear gel polish.


That, my dears, is paying attention to details.  This is witnessing quality in action.


After each and every layer and step, they cure the enamel in a gel curing light to seal and enhance the manicure's durability.  Better to seal in those delicate real flowers.


The true test of anything is standing...or withstanding the test of time.

Two weeks later, after running around, yoga, pilates, SoulCycle spinning, dicing, chopping, typing, editing, shooting photos, filming videos, and scrubbing household chores, this scribe stills inspires awes and wows over Color Camp's tiny flower Super Gel manicure.  Still awe-inspiring folks, after two weeks of work.

A Color Camp is a good nail investment.  Delicate can be tough.  Dainty can be subversive. 

Get your "Flower Punk" on, with real flowers, at Color Camp, http://www.color-camp.com/ 7607 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036, 










Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Wonder Woman is Now Officially Part of the Continuing History of Warner Brothers' Studio Tour at the Steven J. Ross Theater, Real Positive Girl Power on Display.

By Laura Medina

This scribes swears that Warner Brothers Studio is becoming a premiere museum, each and everyday.

The museum tour grows by adding Wonder Woman to their DC Universe exhibit in their Steven J. Ross Theater, https://www.wbstudiotour.com/dc-universe-exhibit 


The supporting character actors, Lucy Davis who plays Etta, Steve Treavors' British secretary and Chief, played by real Native American actor, Eugene Brave Rock, and the stunt doubles: Samantha Jo (Euboea) Caitlin Dechelle (Stunt Double to Gal Gadot), and Michaela Facchinello (Stunt Double to Robin Wright).

Characters, not caricature...


What the stunt doubles say is that the Tiara/Handband is no longer a damsel-in-distress symbol but a strength and practical symbol of a handband for a warrior. As Gal Gadot's stunt double, it was an honor to wear it then see it proudly displayed as a permanent museum piece with strong cultural significance. 

Through-out the whole movie and this exhibit, Warner Brothers try to show and maintain respect towards Wonder Woman and the characters who support her.

Not only did Director, Patty Jenkins respected Wonder Woman's Grecian/Spartan/Roman Warrior culture through the use of heavy duty alligator hide for protective thickness and flexibility (The Wonder Woman Effect, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/01/fashion/wonder-woman-leather-armor-whitaker-malem.html), but she showed respect towards Chief, by designing his gun with his Native American Black Foot engraving of the Four Seasons on his rifle.

It's the attentions to details that can make or break anything.




Amanda Weaver, Wonder Woman's costume designer, said first and foremost, Wonder Woman and the Amazons are warriors, first and foremost, then athletes second.  The looks and the attractiveness or sex appeal come dead last.  She was very aware the tv Wonder Woman played by Lynda Carter was sexualized because that costume was based on vintage sexy lingerie.

Not this revamped Wonder Woman.  Nope.  Amanda paid respect by returning to history, studying whatever is left of real Roman and Grecian soldier armor.

Most were constructed from leather and hides of the toughest and meanest reptilians, such as crocodiles.   The Amazons' boots weren't sexy thigh boots but armor for the legs.

Warner Brothers even hired avant-garde fashion designers to build leather corsets for the Amazon's armor and Diana's everyday clothes, since they're warriors who happened to be females, The Wonder Woman Effect, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/01/fashion/wonder-woman-leather-armor-whitaker-malem.html

Their shields and swords were Spartan and Doric in design, not frilly decorative.  For the Amazons, it's all about utilitarian, functional, "take no prisioners" mentality.


The costume, props, and production set teams all worked together to transfer Diana, from the vibrant, idyllic but sheltered life on the Amazonian island, to the nitty-gritty, harsh, drabness of the real world.

It's reflected in the drab, dreary, heavy, and restricted clothes signaling one's freedom and privilege, and where one comes from.

Very anti-Amazonian.


Sir Patrick on the left.  Etta on the right.


Chief is in the middle.

If you want to show your sons and daughters, what real "girl empowerment" is, use this last remaining days and weeks of Summer, to take them on the Warner Brothers' DC Universe exhibit at the Steven J. Ross Theater.  It's part of Warner Brothers' Studio Tour and there's sale on entrance tickets, https://www.wbstudiotour.com/dc-universe-exhibit

Harry Potter is also included in the tour, as well as "Friends" Central Perk set for us grown-ups.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Microsoft's Visual Special Effects for Washed Out, the Musician, and DJ Alison Wonderland Riffs Off Brion Gysin's Dream Machine.

By Laura Medina



Way before any of today Electronic Music Artists were even conceived, The Beats, the precursors to Hippies, like Brion Gysin invented the "Dream Machine."  Basically, it's a very primitive flashlight shining inside a cylinder with slats, spinning on a turn table.  The spinning cylinder can be insert with animation cells or film.  The images projecting out of the slanted cylinder was meant for the viewer to experience "out of body" experience, that was further enchanted by psychedelic drugs.  Yes, LSD.

Well those days are over. 

Microsoft's emerging music visual special effects has put the end to that.

You don't need to fry your brain cells, to experience the visualization of music.

This is no mere music videos, even though they're a cool way to chill and relax.

Nope.  Microsoft's improved old-fashioned painted-on film cells of rotoscoping through advanced rotoscoping, applying all sorts of textiles and patterns on Washed Out himself, the musician, in his music videos.


To get the crowd more riled up, Microsoft did interactive rotoscoping for former cellist/DJ Alison Wonderland.

The Microsoft guests oh and awed when the motion-capture rotoscoping match Alison move by move.  The same special effect flames, from "Game of Thrones," was used on Alison, motion capturing every arm move and head banging.

Microsoft's interactive, motion-capture special effects and animation is the grandchild from Brion Gysin's Dream Machine.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Danielle Chang's Lucky Rice Food Fete in TV Form, Lucky Chow...

By Laura Medina


After The New York Times and later founded and published the lifestyle magazine Simplycity and being the CEO of Vivienne Tam, a fashion company and, prior to that, the Managing Director of Assouline, a French creative advertising agency, Danielle Chang was brave and smart enough to collect her journalistic insight and commercial contacts to found the roving Asian-anything cuisine food festival, Lucky Rice.

Knowing the history of how prevalent Chinese-American cuisine is, from small-town America to the Big Apple, Lucky Rice Food Festival highlights the best Asian restaurants that the festival is in, whether it be Houston or Dallas or Las Vegas.

Well, Lucky Chow is the television form of Lucky Rice, on PBS's Create Channel.

Danielle Chang rejects the macho-snarkiness of Anthony Bourdain's "Parts Unknown" and Andrew Zimmerman's stunt-eating and unfamiliar cuisine is "freak food" of his Travel Channel show, "Bizarre Food."  She, of course, imparts a more feminine, humane, empathetic approach to the subject matters making the food.  They're not freaks.  They're people.

Being human, of course, she doesn't like everything that crosses her plate.  In one Los Angeles-based episode, she was so taken by the hospitality and the generosity from a temple that it helps her overcame her distaste of their cooking.

This is what makes her "Lucky Chow" tv show differentiate from an increasingly-crowded travel/food/culture shows proliferating the airwaves.

Danielle dives deep, not in depth of a specific cuisine where culture, climate, and religion do impact dietary laws but in width, in how wide spread Asian has become, that it is becomes an cuisine unto itself, Asian-American.

This recent Lucky Rice Los Angele Food Festival represents the best of what California has to offer in Asian-American cuisine...and culture.  The acceptance of Asian food and flavor represents the progress of multiple generation of a culture that morphs and being accepted into American society....

Sure, there is good ole reliable ramen noodle in pork, a college and twenty-something mainstay...

But really highlight of the food fete is something so normal that you can easily incorporate it into your life without any resistance, Asian-flavored popcorn, in sugar-glazed matcha tea powder, Mexican-American Fiesta Pop, and All-American Cinna-Pop, http://poppaspopcorn.com/.  


The most revolutionary is sometimes the most simple.