Friday, January 30, 2015

FabFitFun Winter 2014 Box for the Winter Warrior & the Snow-Bound.

By Laura Medina

For all those fitness fanatics out there, a blizzard isn't gonna hold you back.

For all you normal, average folks, nothing sounds better than cozying up in the home, pampering yourself with brand new beauty products to calm your skin and nerves against the harsh Winter chills.

Thank god, FabFitFun's biggest and heaviest subscription box is their Winter 2014 Edition Box, loaded with goodies that satisfy both the Winter Warrior and the cuddly Homebody.

Inside this care package is free 3-months Salted membership to Salted TV, Netflix for cooking, great for baking and roasting, building up that warmth inside the hearth of the home, the kitchen.

Daniel Stone COCO Candle of natural coconut wax for a very clean burn is great to sit next to your bathtub, yummy.

Suffering from cabin fever yet 3-ft. of snow doesn't encourage a run for you?  A Zumba 60-minutes DVD "Max" and $25 gift card get you grooving and moving in the safety and warmth of your own home.

For those Winter Warriors who just need to break out and breathe in that brisk, fresh air, FabFitFun's Winter 2015 Edition care package is loaded with stuff you need.

Organic Valley Organic Balance Milk Protein Shake, Special K Snack Bars, and Justin's Classic Almond Butter are hearty, healthy snack to keep you fuel conveniently.

Lather AHA Hand Creme with Evening Primrose is great to rub on wind-chill beaten hands and rough heels.

Recovering from your blizzard run/sking (good for you!) you deserve to naturally and gently erase the wrinkles and sun spots with Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive before slathering on much-needed lotion and moisturizer.

For extra tender, loving care around these peepers,  Passport to Beauty Tibetan Goji Berry Intense Anti-Aging Eye Serum with Retinol diminishes fine lines and wrinkles while stimulating collagen and elastin on the eyes.

To boost your confidence, a little smudge of YourMineral Assorted Eye Shadow Duo never hurts anyone.

Aren't you glad FabFitFun's Winter 2014 Box is the heaviest one yet?  Hefty enough to cover all your blizzard needs, both inside and outside.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ugg Grows Up. Boots for a Blizzard.

By Laura Medina

Women's Ophira

Since the rest of the country and the world are freezing and blizzard-bound..;and Vogue rehabilitated Uggs, what people don't know (and it took Vogue two years to catch up) is that Ugg has matured and grew out of the "beach bootie" that made them infamous 12 to 1o years ago.

What caught this scribe off-balance when she was in Manhattan, when Fall was transiting into Winter, watching how many real-life Manhattanites are clinging onto their beach booties that trendy Los Angelenos had discarded and disowned four years ago.

Then, this scribe realized Uggs' "beach booties" are the best thing to slog thru the snow, sleet, and slush in gritty Manhattan while their trademark inner sheep wool lining was best for cushioning and cozy warmth for freezing feet.

Sundance Film Festival only fueled the fire for the original beach booties but attendees, too, also want something with more variety with the same functionality, fashionable boots that keep your feet dry and warm without slipping or twisting on ice.

Uggs knew this along and what to do better and they did.

Ahead of Vogue refurbishing Uggs' image, South Coast Plaza was one of the first places to carry the new Uggs, the ones fashionable enough for Tom Brady to model,

At the upscale, fashion-forward Uggs boutique, they keep their wool shearling and retool it into more stylish but more practical heels with traction soles to prevent slipping on ice and snow like the Ophira.   

The Ophira is a stealthily seductive over the knee boot, crafted in oiled suede with a sumptuous sheepskin cuff. The Ophira's statement-making power belies its walkability, designed with an extra-cushioned Poron® footbed, luxurious, natural wool forefoot, and a stacked leather heel for signature UGG® comfort.

The Insole is a Plush Poron® foam-cushioned footbed, with leather lined heel and 7mm curly UGGPure® forefoot; heat-embossed logoon heel. 

Outsole is a 4" in. stacked leather wrapped heel with 3/4" platform; a new rubber outsole with leather finish for sleek design; antique brass UGG® logo plate on arch.
The Ophira is an Over the knee boot in rich oiled suede with a 10mm straight sheepskin fur cuff and straps with metal buckle at collar, a Medial zipper for easy access with UGG® logo Gardenia rivet on heel, and the over the knee boot has 18 " shaft height.  It contains real fur from Sheep or Lamb.

The Ophira is an example of Ugg pushing forward in fashion without losing its functional roots.

Women's Lesley

A little (or a lot of) precipitation is no reason to forego fashion. Seam-sealed construction fuses waterproof leather with a suede shaft and adjustable leather straps in this sophisticated 100% waterproof style. The Lesley is designed with a luxurious, natural wool sockliner for moisture-wicking warmth, while the 2 ½” Spider Rubber outsole delivers ultimate comfort and traction in slippery situations.

The Insole is a 7mm curly UGGpure™ sock liner that naturally wicks away moisture.

The Outsole is a 2 1/2 inch decorative molded Spider Rubber outsole for added comfort and traction in rainy conditions. Steel shank integrated for support, stability, and provides malleability at the foot’s natural flex points.

Lesley is a Waterproof Leather tall boot with Suede shaft with adjustable decorative Leather straps secured by metal posts with medial zipper for easier entry with 14 1/2" shaft height.

Women's Conchetta Weave

No longer just a suede beach bootie, Ugg now has Italian-crafted boots, merging the finest elements of European craftsmanship and attention to detail with modern styling. Rendered in rich Italian faux-weave leather, Conchetta is a vintage-inspired harness boot for the true arbiter of taste. Soft leather lining and a sumptuous sheepskin footbed add the signature UGG® element of luxurious comfort, fashionably executed in a slim, mid heel boot silhouette

The Outsole is a vintage rubber outsole with a 2" heel. 

The Insole is a 7mm curly sheepskin sock.

Conchetta Weave is an Equestrian inspired mid boot, Updated with a faux weave leather, Fully lined with Leather with a 7 1/2" shaft height.


 Women's Simmens

Since NY hipster girls did a run on L.L. Bean's water/snowproof boots (what took them so long to recognize the cool factor-pun intended), there is alternative, Ugg's Women's Simmens.

Maximize the fashion potential of your wardrobe with this trans-seasonal Simmens Boot (which translates into cross-country and bi-coastal), crafted from waterproof leather with a wool blend shaft and decorative double buckle detail. The Simmens is lined with luxurious, natural wool for moisture-wicking comfort and features a new outsole design, utilizing cork-infused White Spider rubber for optimum traction in slippery situations.  

The Insole is a 7mm UGGpure® sockliner that naturally wicks away moisture.

The Outsole is this new outsole design features the iconic UGG® sun pattern and utilizes clear spider rubber infused with cork for optimum traction and comfort in any condition.

The Simmens is a waterproof leather upper with textile shaft (50% Polyester, 50% Wool) with decorative buckles, Medial zipper for easier entry, shaft lined with 7mm curly UGGpure® with 6 3/4" shaft height.

The new Ugg has matured and evolved beyond its beach booties infancy and grew up into a fashion yet functional shoe brand that even Vogue took up and noticed.

Never let a snowstorm limited your shoe choices.









Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Blizzard 2015 Lotions & Moisturizers

By Laura Medina

Whether you're a nervous Award Show nominee who needs all the pampering to mentally soothe one's nerves or a snowed-in New Yorker who actually needs basic physical soothing from the dry cold,  you can always rely on the basics...or you tend to fall back on the basics.

Folks can't go wrong with the basic Curel Daily Moisture.  Believe it or not, it's not greasy and it doesn't clog pores and gentle enough to use on the face, meaning you can literally use from head to toe.  In a time pinch or a penny pinch, this scribe has used it as impromptu leave-in hair conditioner in drier, colder climates, such as Las Vegas Christmas, along side a big tub of classic Nivea cream, "The Classic, Nivea Cream & The New, EB5 and Phyto-C Moisturizing Serums for Winter Skin."

With all this dryness outside and inside, Curel Itch Defense can relieve and tackle sensitive skin matters to make your life more livable which means less scratching and fewer scars.
This scribe is thankful for the basic, classic Curel Daily Moisture but her feet, knees, and elbows sure like Curel Rough Skin Rescue better.  With a gentle yet effective formula working with your skin’s natural exfoliating process to safely remove flakes and relieve rough skin, this scribe slathers this on calluses of the heels and toes and fitness-weary knees and elbows.  The olive oil retains the moisture.

All important for wearing slinky gowns and open-toe heels for the Awards Season.  For the snow-bound, it's affordable extra perk after a long, hard day in a blizzard.

If you want to go beyond basics, keep your eyes out for this brand, Miracle Skin Transformer.  After falling in love with it's Miracle Skin Transformer Face SPF 20, it's creamy Miracle Balm (more like a lotion) has: Manuka Honey, Japanese Licorice Root Extract, Tamanu Oil, Evening Primrose and Blue Mountain Sage Oil to: 
  • Helps skin recover from sun-induced irritation.
  • Helps protect, soothe and moisturize dry skin.
  • Helps reduce redness and irritation after waxing or shaving.
  • Helps reduce stinging.
  • Helps the skin maintain its own natural defenses against environmental assaults.
  • Helps reduce skin redness caused by weather burns, abrasions, and minor irritations.
With it's smaller tube, this scribe dabs this as spot-treatment around the eyes for wrinkles and on the lips as a creamy alternative to waxy lip balms and slick lip glosses, subdue but soft.

This scribe dived deeper in creamy emollients that isn't your usually lotions or creams.

Fresh's Sugar Lip Serum is the creamy lip cream this scribe has been hunting for years, a soft, sweet, kissable "lip lotion" that isn't sticky or waxy, much less tinted or pigmented.

Once your parched puckers soak in this lip serum, your natural rosy lip color appears.  Now, that's true beauty.

Okay, once in awhile, this scribe also dabs this non-sticky lip serum around the eyes as a double-duty beauty aid.  Nifty while traveling.

Whether you're snow-bound essential or red-carpet ready wants, this is your current line-up of lotions and moisturizers.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Grammy Fitness, How to Party Like a Rockstar, The Rockstar Remedy and The Rockstar Remedy Personified, The Springs Los Angeles.

By Laura Medina &

In two weeks time, right in the middle of Awards Season, it's gonna be the Grammy Awards, one of the hardest-rocking party-ing time in Los Angeles, especially in the music business.

For the past couple of years, the Grammys are always held at the Staples Center, part of L.A. Live Media Complex and part of Downtown Los Angeles revitalization.

A few miles away is The Springs Los Angeles, the embodiment of The Rockstar Remedy.

What is The Rockstar Remedy?

Take it from this scribe, "party-ing like a rockstar, which this scribe is entirely grateful for, is an intense burst of an endurance race in the form of fun...;and that's all in one week.  One week of non-stop dancing and party-ing.

What happens when you make it your living to "bring it on" onstage every night in a different and strange city everyday?

It wears you out then you crash.

The Rockstar Remedy reveals what it really takes to be "a rockstar" and how touring rock musicians are like professional athletes...without the trainers or the dietians until they crash themselves.

This is when Dr. Gabrielle Francis, the author of "The Rockstar Remedy," steps in then heals and nourishes these hip but stressed souls on the road.

Her experience treating over-worked, non-stop musicians in strange places and less-than-ideal locations, gave her the insight in how to survive and train like "a rockstar" so they can "party like a rockstar."

She compares them to professional athletes without the support network of touring trainers and nutritionists until something bad happens then they call, ask, and beg her to join them.  Based from the advance praise for Dr. Francis' book, these rock musicians are glad that she did.

You'll be amazed how many of these tattooed, big-haired, sultry "bad boys" are hard-core vegans, yoga-devotees, and all-around fitness and wellness fans.

Dave Navarro,  Michael Franti, David Ellefson, and Scott Ian attest to this.  If they feel like garbage and they're subsisting on garbage, they'll never be on top of their game; and they'll disappoint their fans, who paid hard-earned cash to see them.  

Touring on the road which is the only way musicians can make money...

Known as the “Rock ‘n’ Roll Doctor” to some of the most famous bands in the world, Dr. Gabrielle Francis shares her unique holistic prescription to achieving health and balance—even when you don’t live like a saint!

As an holistic doctor to the music industry’s elite, Dr. Francis has helped rock stars repair, recover, and refuel from the demanding schedules and occasional overindulgences that come along with the rock star lifestyle.

Being over scheduled, sleep-deprived, overeating, drinking and managing physical and mental stressors aren’t lifestyle habits unique to the music industry; they are the same challenges faced by all of us, every day.

In The Rockstar Remedy, Dr. Francis shares her unique strategies designed to be incorporated into your hectic lifestyle. Her programs are customized to meet you where you are at, whether an experienced health enthusiast or a beginner. Completing the 21 day detox will give you a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm for life, while looking and feeling your personal best. She explains how health is not a destination, but exists on a spectrum, and the simple act of making better choices every day—even if they’re not the best choices—helps us achieve balance in both mind and body.

With tips for improving energy levels, easy food guidelines and a simple no-starvation detox, Dr. Francis offers a simple, effective plan for staying healthy and happy amid the chaos of our daily lives. Her popular “Harm Reduction Techniques” and “90/10 Rule” make it easy to celebrate life with occasional indulgences while maintaining good health. This is not a temporary fix; this program brings long-lasting, life-changing results.

Returning home, after being on tour, these rock musicians need some major recharge and refresh before being back to normal.

In her book, "The Rockstar Remedy," Dr. Francis offers three, different types of detox regiments and the surprisingly mainstream, "middle-of-the road" sustainable, "90/10 Rule."

Dr. Francis breakdowns the Detox Regiments into 3 groups based on lifestyle and experience.

The Backstage Cleanse are best suited for people who will have  some downtime in the next three weeks.  They live a fairly  clean lifestyle and done a few detoxes in the past.  They're already fit yet they're searching to improve themselves.  

Dr. Francis said that the Backstage Cleanse is the strictest of the three.

This scribe qualifies for the "V.I.P. Cleanse."

In that, this scribe wants to be healthier but too busy to do it, especially during the hectic holidays and this Awards Season and the food and music festivals during the Summer.
Since this scribe covers and socializes with rock musicians (do admit, this is pretty cool),  doing a detox while eating out in restaurants is a reality.  Basically, the "V.I.P. Cleanse" is for  the busy professional with little downtime.  It's easier and more realistic to focus on eating smaller meals throughout the day.

The Groupie Cleanse is for the neophytes, the newbies.  Young, struggling musicians living out of vans and force to eat gas station snack food and think fast-food is a decent meal.

The people who fall under this, want to get better but end up under a doctor's care and taking medications and never detox or cleanse.

Dr. Francis said if this is your first detox and have a preexisting condition, talk to your doctor about trying  nutritional component of the cleanse only.  If the doctor gives the okay, follow the food recommendations to the best of your ability.  She said DO NOT take the RxStar Detox Shake until the doctor says it is okay!

Here's the "V.I.P. Cleanse"for the busy professionals, the talent manager/agent/publicist in all of us...

VIP RxStar Cleanse:

Breakfast: RxStar Detox Shake
2 scoops of Functional Food Powder (1 serving)
2 teaspoons Intestinal Repair Formula
1 scoop Green Food Powder
1 cup fresh-pressed green juice
1/2 teaspoon probiotic powder
1 scoop fiber powder
1 tablespoon flaxseed oil
1/4 cup yogurt, rice milk or almond milk
1/4 cup frozen organic berries or fruit.

Give this a whirl and sip for breakfast.

Lunch: Clean Meal (easily done with Tavern's DineLA Pre-Fixe Lunch of "Soup of the Day" then followed by healthy Omega-Oil Grilled Salmon,

Dinner: Clean Meal

Snacks: Optional two with lean protein and healthy carbs.

What the Grammy performers are doing to get prep for one night of intense performance is more intense detoxing and exercising.  They replace their lunch with a double dosage of the RxStar Detox Shake, one for breakfast then another one for lunch.   They save the clean meal for dinner, after all that rehearsing.

If you too want to get rip and rock like these rock stars but don't have the time and the ingredients for it, just go to The Springs Los Angeles, Wellness Center, also in Downtown Los Angeles, on 608 Mateo Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021.

The Springs,, is the living embodiment of Dr. Francis' "The Rockstar Remedy."

It maybe a holistic, raw vegan community center/cafe for vegan devotees but it is welcoming to anyone and it's a refueling oasis for those who need to "The Rockstar Remedy" in order to survive "living and rockin' like a rockstar." For rehearsing musicians a mile away at the Staples Center, The Springs is more like a "rockstar refuge."

There's a yoga studio.  They offer: massage, reiki, cranio-sacral, acupuncture, gravity colon hydrotherapy, infrared sauna sessions, and more. 

The free-flowing cafe/lounge/community performance space, with a grand piano, is the buzz and the hum of the place. &

Obviously, the big draw is the surprisingly delicious food and drinks at The Springs.

For those Grammy-training performers, nothing beats a fresh brew from the tap but fresh, foamy kombucha from the tap comes close.  This scribe guzzled that sucker down like beer after an hour of power yoga.

The Strawberry Geranium Bars, at $6, made from almond-oat pastry with a strawberry-date filing tasted and felt more like the sesame-candy bar, Havlah, than raw vegan cuisine.

Proving clean living and a raw vegan regiment doesn't mean dull and boring...and tasteless,  The Springs does a S’More Smoothie, a blend of : banana, cacao powder, cacao nibs, maca, cinnamon, vanilla powder, thai chili, and maple syrup.  This is reminiscent of Local Table's Maca Chocolate Shake.

This is the current trend this scribe recognizes in the smoothie world, chocolate and maca for vitality in complexion and libido, two very important things for a rockstar.  

This helps for those who can't make it to Local Table or The Springs or Downtown LA for that matter.  Just pick up a bag of maca powder then blend it into your chocolate smoothie with regular banana, maple syrup or honey, cinnamon, and whatever milk you prefer or have available at an accessible price.

Back to "The Rockstar Remedy,"  after you detox, Dr. Francis recommend the 90/10 Percent Rule and you can use it any way you like.

You can be strict and be clean for 90% of the time then "cheat" 10% of the time.  This is how hard-core fitness fanatics and athletes maintain themselves.

If you can't go that route, you can do 90% normal because it's more attainable out in the real world; and you wouldn't go crazy with starvation and deprivation then go "healthy" 10% of the time so you can feel good about yourself.

Simply put, it's all about balance and enjoying life.

Remember, "The Rockstar Remedy" and The Springs is about taking the "craziness" out of your life so you can enjoy life at its ultimate peak.  This is when you "rock!"






Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Golden Globe Beauty Will Travel

By Laura Medina

One thing this scribe loves about attending Golden Globe Beauty Lounges and Gifting Suites, or any Awards Show Gifting Suite, is being among the first (among celebrities and their makeup artists and stylists) to try new, innovative stuff.

At a Golden Globe Gifting and Beauty Suite, this scribe laid her eyes and hands on what looks like an improved version of EOS Lip Balm, a tinted, colored one.

It's not EOS but Omorose's Rosey Glow Tinted Cheek Gel that you can glide on your cheeks...and lips.

This hydrating gel blush tints the cheeks with a lasting, natural glow. Promising easy application, this convenient cheek tint makes for an excellent touch-up tool for a healthy glow throughout the day.

This scribe immediately used this on a last-minute trip and it works excellently as a cute touch-up in seat, on the ferry, and in the bar.

It's a nifty thing to have in your pocket.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Catalina Island, The Birthday Island

By Laura Medina

Have you reached that point in life where you're way too old for Chuck E. Cheese yet you're burnt out on the popularity of the nightclub and seriously questioning where are your "friends?"

Catalina Island is here to the rescue.

Going strong for 4 years, Catalina Island is the only place that honors and truly celebrates your birthday as the "Birthday Island." As far as this scribe and most travel writers know, Catalina Island and it's main town, Avalon, are the only places that does this.  An elderly lady, from Chicago, flew just for this.

Get a "Free Ride on Your Birthday" on Catalina Express.  For the fourth consecutive year Catalina Express passengers can travel to Catalina for free on their birthdays, effective now through December 31, 2015. The offer is good for travel from all of Catalina Express’ mainland or island ports saving adult passengers up to $76.50 round trip.   Registration is now open for 2015 birthdays.  

This scribe enjoyed an airplane-quality lounge in the Commodore's Lounge but with way more leg room and a plushier, cleaner environment, free of being cramped and rushed.
Travel must begin on the passenger’s actual birthday, subject to availability, and return must be completed within 30 days. Interested passengers need to pre-register online at, make a reservation and then present their printed Free Pass at time of check-in, with valid ID. Visit for more details.   

Once you check in and show your driver's license or ID or passport, you'll be rewarded with the free round-trip tickets, a pair of free beverage vouchers, and an adorable "birthday" badge that entitles you to discounts and freebies on the island.

On the ride to Catalina, this scribe used the first beverage voucher for free champagne with a bag of Ruffles Potato Chips for breakfast.  Aaahhh, this birthday scribe soon discovered champagne goes well with crispy fried chips and fries, down-t0-earth decadence.  Very relaxing.

Greg Bombard, president of Catalina Express, notes, “Catalina Express is proud to have transported 25 million passengers since our inception more than 33 years ago, and this is just one way to thank the many who have supported us over the years. An average of 60,000 passengers annually travel on their birthday to the island; not only will passengers get to ride free on their birthday again this year, but we have expanded our birthday island offerings and savings.”  

Birthday Island has sprung up around the Free Ride offer. Catalina restaurants, attractions and hotels have joined in to celebrate the birthday with discounts and freebies. Passengers can download Birthday Island from the Catalina Express website while registering and are given updated information at their ticket window.

Like any airliner, the Catalina Express ferry crew do give a prompt safety instruction, just in case an accident happens, which is very, very rare.

While boarding for the luxurious, wide Catalina Express Ferry,  this scribe noticed the passengers ranged from hard-core nature photographers with high-end photo/video equipments and scuba tanks and gear to the casual day-trippers bringing their bikes with them.

This is one thing that this scribe has noticed.  Catalina Island is classy, not snotty.  They treat you very well but they wouldn't look down on you if you want to board with your bike.

This scribe stayed at the Italian Islands-themed Hotel Villa Portofino, at the western end of Avalon, Catalina Island's one and only town/village, directly across from Island Spa, Catalina Island Casino, and Descanso Beach, the western border before you venture into the preserved wilderness of Catalina Island.
Descanco Beach Club Restaurant,
Descanso Beach Club

Built and styled like a Italian Island inn, Hotel Portofino has two levels of hidden courtyards, the second floor where you can dine outside, enjoying the island breeze and sunshine within the privacy of the hotel or go downstairs to the main inner courtyard where the main fire pit makes this scribe wished she brought a bag of marshmallows, a box of graham crackers and a bar of chocolate to roast some s'mores.

The cozy and warm ambiance continues into The Villa Portofino's hotel room where, again, a blazing fireplace greets you.

Thank god everything in Avalon, Catalina Island's one and only town/village, is within walking distance.

As soon as you walk out of your hotel, there's the Casino, Island Spa, and Descanso Beach and the beach and the restaurant to the west.

Ambling around, this scribe stumble across the island's hidden gem, the Lobster Trap.

Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, Catalina Island can't help but have the best seafood around.

The Lobster Trap,, must be one of the best because this laid-back, down-home restaurant is booked crazy on weekend nights.  45 minutes wait just for one person.  Best to book a reservation for dinner!

The best time is daytime where the vibe is casual and well-paced yet the seafood remains fresh.

How fresh?  One of the servers, Omar, told this scribe the owner goes out every morning collecting lobster traps out of the water, along with fresh catches of the day then serves them all day (when it's calmer) then all night (where both native Catalina Islanders compete against visitors, such as this scribe, for seats at the tables and bar!).

The island's specialty, the stuffed Catalina Local Lobster wasn't just creamy in the shrimp cream sauce encrusted in bread crumbs (forget stuffed turkey, hello stuffed lobster for Thanksgiving) but the lobster meat itself was creamy because it was caught this morning for lunch.  

No wonder, again, native Islanders battle it out against birthday visitors for gourmet, fresh seafood in a down-to-earth setting.  This is fresh seafood free from attitude.  

This scribe has agenda, next time, for trying their fish (pick any type of fish: salmon - $19,  mahi mahi - $21, ahi tuna - $25,   swordfish - $25, white sea bass - $25, and halibut - $26) then having it prepared and encrusted any way you want: crisp macadamia nut breading, blackened, fresh tropical mango salsa, lemon caper sauce, garlic mushroom, rosie’s special marinade, or sautéed in a tomato basil cream sauce.  Catalina Dreaming.

So glad this scribe enjoyed the Lobster Trap's stuffed Catalina Local Lobster for a decedent birthday lunch because this scribe had to walk a few mere steps to Steve's Steakhouse for a birthday dinner.  It's located on prime Catalina real estate, right on the Avalon's main drag, Crescent Avenue, right on the beach, overlooking the harbor, a beautiful nighttime view.

Steve's Steakhouse,, has its own take on the classic Oyster Rockefeller.  Instead of creamed spinach, it's Bearnaise sauce with paprika dashed on top.  

Steve's Steakhouse is also where the island's wheelers and dealers dine for dinner.   Muriel of the island's best breakfast stop, The Pancake Cottage, wished this scribe "Happy Birthday" then gave her business card.  Prime networking spot.

Pinning your Catalina Express Birthday Badge helps out a lot in immediate service and discount on your birthday.

Both The Lobster Trap and Steve's Steakhouse offer free birthday cakes and sundaes on your birthday.  The Lobster Trap gives you a molten chocolate lava cake then Steve's Steakhouse gives you a birthday sundae.

Left, & right,

As an Avalon/Catalina Island newbie,  this scribe used the various birthday discounts among shops and restaurants as excuse to explore the island.

In between shopping for cute cocktail jewelry, ranging from 10% to 15% discounts to a free gift with a $10 minimum purchase.  This is only good on your birthday!  This scribe discovered you can bowl for free at the brand new Three Palms Avalon Arcade.

For the gourmand birthday babies, there's CC Gallagher.  A chic art gallery/wine, tapas & sushi bar/gourmet bakery/high-end gift & beauty shop, all under one roof,

Once you're acquainted with Catalina Island, you'll discover there's more to it than just Avalon, the chic but quaint village with some really great seafood and cool cocktail jewelry at reasonable prices.

The majority of the island is dependent on environmental tourism which it has built a great reputation for camping and adventure and ecology tours.

This scribe wished she had another day to explore the interior wildlife, the Western End,  and the aquatic wildlife under the sea.  The majority of the land safari tours can be booked and boarded at Avalon's central Tour Plaza,, ...across from The Lobster Trap.  How convenient! Doing tours does work up an appetite! 

If touring the island wears you out, Catalina the Birthday Island has a multitude of massage specials on your birthday.

When planning for a trip, you usually freak out wondering if the destination doesn't have the facial products that you need.

Don't fret!  The island's premiere and brand new spa, Island Spa, has curated the best of the best skincare from the California mainland.  They carry both the full-sized versions of Coola Suncare and Osea Skincare and also the travel-sized pumps, sprays, and bottles at reasonable prices.  You can just stock them as souvenirs while you replenish your supply, as soon as you literally step off the boat then check right into the hotel.  No sweat.

For such a tiny island, "The Birthday Island," Catalina and it's main town, Avalon, sure pack in a lot of activities without the push and pull of the mainland's rat race.  

With the Birthday specials and Catalina Express' "Free Ride on Your Birthday," you'll have plenty of free and discounted birthday specials and opportunities to fully enjoy the island on multiple trips on your upcoming birthdays for years to come.  Your "Catalina Birthday" is your own get-away.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

SoCal Special, Celebrity Cruises Specials

By Laura Medina

Sure, it seems you got everything here in Southern California, enough to be make others envious: well-tempered sunny weather, bountiful fresh produce, and the freshest and the most innovative fitness abound.

Real Southern Californians are curious about other regions, other countries, cultures, and climates.  A change in weather provides a pleasant jolt to the system.

Now, you can really be jealous of Southern California residents.  They qualify for Celebrity Cruises of savings up to $1000 per a stateroom.

This offer is good through now, January 2014 to July 2015.
Cruises start at $299 per person for inside staterooms, plus port fees and taxes for a 4-night Caribbean cruise

If you want to experience the other "sunny side of life," you can't go wrong with...

  4-night Caribbean cruise aboard Celebrity Silhouette with ports of call in: Cozumel and Ft. Lauderdale
                           7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise aboard Celebrity Summit with ports of call in: Bridgetown, Barbados; Castries, St. Lucia; St. John’s, Antigua; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

In the fifteen years qualifying as a "South Carolinian-turned-So Cal,"  I learned that the real rite of passage for a young Southern Californian coming of age is a month-long tour of Europe and where in Europe you fit in.

Here's a fun way to find yourself in Europe...
14-night Italy and Croatia cruise about Celebrity Constellation with ports of call in Koper, Slovenia; Zader, Croatia; Split, Croatia; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; Naples, Italy; Catania, Sicily, Italy; Ravenna, Italy and Venice, Italy.

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Downton Abbey's Lady Edith & Peter Pan at the Golden Globe Awards, Laura Carmichael Wears NARS. Allison Williams Wear St. Tropez.

By Laura Medina

You wonder what happen if your favorite "Downton Abbey" characters were alive today and what would they be wearing, especially if they were invited to today's idea of a fancy ball?

Today's red carpet is the perfect confluence of where the hottest trends in clothes and makeup meet.

Last night's Golden Globe Awards are here to help you visualize and guide you.

Above, this is what Lady Edith Crawley would be wearing if she was invited to the Golden Globes.  Here, the actress who plays her, Laura Carmichael, was wearing a vintage James Galanos gown; it’s a one-shoulder, black, floor length dress with a sequin starfish at her hip. Because the look was so vintage, we went with a smoky charcoal gray to play up her almond, doe-shape eyes and added a light blush and nude lip.”

NARS worked with celebrity makeup artist Fabiola to create the red carpet makeup look for Laura Carmichael at the 2015 Golden Globe Awards.

The Golden Globes is the first and ideal time to test-run a brand new invention and see how it works under the glare of flash bulbs and high-definition television close-ups.

Laura Carmichael was the lucky first to wear yet to be launched...

All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation (New for Spring 2015; for now try Sheer Matte Foundation) | Lysithea Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow | Adoration Dual-Intensity Blush (New for Spring 2015; for now try Bouthan Duo Eyeshadow...

Notably, the double-duty Dual-Intensity Blush.

There are already double-duty high-performance eyeshadows that can be used dry for a soft, sheer look then wet the same eyeshadows then they safely darkens and thickens for a deeper look.  Keep your eyes out for NARS Dual-Intensity Blush.

If Carrie Mathison, in the Showtime series Homeland, what would she wear?

Claire Danes' hand-beaded Valentino gown made the decision factor in what NARS makeup to wear.

Celebrity makeup artist Matin,...
“When I saw Claire’s hand-beaded Valentino gown, I was immediately struck with inspiration. We agreed that her eyes should be the focus so I matched her eyeshadow to the gorgeous peacock blue of her dress to create a brighter, edgier smoky look.”
All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation (New for Spring 2015; for now try Sheer Matte Foundation) | Fervor Dual-Intensity Blush (New for Spring 2015; for now try Unlawful and Taos Blush) | Giove Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow | Kalisté Eyeliner Pencil
What if "Orange Is The New Black" was paroled for the Golden Globes?
Makeup artist Tina Turnbow based the makeup selection on Taylor Schilling dressed up as
a younger, modern Grace Kelly in a red Ralph Lauren gown...
 “The inspiration for Taylor’s look was a younger, modern take on Grace Kelly. I wanted to play up her bone structure, her skin and her natural beauty so we went with a clean eye, bold brow and a crisp orange red lip to clash with the scarlet shade of her Ralph Lauren gown.” 

All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation (New for Spring 2015; for now try Sheer Matte Foundation) | Porto Venere Eye Paint (New for Spring 2015; for now try Abyssinia Matte Eyeshadow) | Red Square Velvet Matte Lip Pencil
What if you're a woman director?

"Selma" director, Ava DuVernay set the bar in her Zac Posen gown.

NARS International Lead Makeup Stylist Uzo,...
 “The look was about a woman in a position of power. Ava’s statement-making makeup was kept soft and ethereal to balance her bold hairstyle and architectural Zac Posen gown. I created a velvety, smoky chocolate eye and soft neutral shades for her cheeks and lips.”
All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation (New for Spring 2015; for now try Sheer Matte Foundation) | Fez Shimmer Eyeshadow | Raquel Audacious Lipstick

for a polished look that umped the ante from the everyday, all-natural look.  This is the evening look for the woman executive who needs to break out of her office-day makeup look.
For "Peter Pan/Girls" Allison Williams wearing Armani Prive, her makeup artist, Gianpaolo Ceciliato went for  "Glamour with a Rock and Roll Edge. We achieved this look with a glowing complexion, bold smoky eye and nude lip.”

TIPS/TECHNIQUE: “For an instant, evenly bronzed glow, I swept St. Tropez One Night Only Instant Glow Body Lotion onto exposed skin using the Applicator Mitt to create luminous, dewy skin that just reflects the flashing lights of the camera. It dries in seconds and is waterproof and transfer resistant so we did not have to worry about Allison’s dress. For a smoky eye effect, I rimmed the entire
eye very close to lash line with black pencil and covered the lid with Armani Eye Tint #1 (black) and #7 (gunmetal) to create shimmery dimension. I chose a beige lipstick with subtle shine to complete Allison’s look. The hue added enough color to her lips without competing with her bold red gown.”

PRODUCTS: St. Tropez One Night Only Instant Glow Body Lotion ($18) Applicator Mitt ($6.50) at or Ulta stores.

Yes, it rained on Golden Globes Weekend.  Well, it's in the middle of "L.A. Winter"; and that is to be expected so smart stylists are prepared to do the best in the middle of bad weather.  Besides, L.A. needs moisture too.

For Allison's glossy tresses...

Despite the rainy and cold weather in Los Angeles this weekend, sleek and smooth hairstyles were all the rage on the red carpet. Actresses who worry about frizz can rely on dpHUE's signature oil therapy to fight stray hairs and achieve silky beautiful strands. 

Celebrity hair colorist and dpHUE creative director Justin Anderson, who has colored some of the beauties for Golden Globes night including Kelly Osbourne and Miley Cyrus, offered some of his tips on how to achieve red carpet glamour every day!

1. Oil is a must for colored hair. Color in general strips the natural oils from hair so when coloring hair you have to add oils back in with your routine.  Add in a dime size of dpHUE Oil Therapy to your hair a few times a week as a treatment or daily for an extra boost.

2. Don't over wash colored hair. Unless you have an overly active oily scalp you should never suds up every day. Use the dpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar rinse in place of a shampoo a few days a week, it cleans hair without stripping color and adds a lot of shine.

3.  Don’t shampoo with hot water. If you have a rich shiny brunette hue or a bold red shade, washing your hair with hot water opens the cuticle immediately and releases the color. Save the warm water for your body (even though cold water is the way to go when trying to save our skin from drying out, but let your dermatologist convince you of that!) and wash your hair with slightly cooler water.

If Allison Williams' hair can be glossy, wavy, and sleek in the rain on the fanciest of day and night, imagine how we all look on a normal, rainy using dpHUE's signature oil therapy.

Another frizz-fighter on a rainy day when you need to look glamorous...

John Legend may have won the Golden Globe last night for Best Original Song but its Chrissy Teigen who stole the Red Carpet spotlight with her blush pink sheath gown and super chic, tousled pony.

Celebrity Hairstylist and International Creative Director for Macadamia Professional, Giannandrea  (pictured above with the happy couple), was inspired to create an effortless style that pulled her hair up and away from the face and neck, allowing the detailed dress to really shine. It was a modern, elegant take on the playful pony, which perfectly accented the rest of her look.
Step 1: Apply Macadamia Professional Foaming Volumizer on wet hair before blow drying the whole head with a large round brush, to create ample volume at the roots and length
·         Step 2: Use a 1-inch curling iron and curl the whole head in waves
·         Step 3: Once the hair is set in waves, apply a generous dollop of Macadamia Professional Whipped Detailing Cream and run hands throughout the hair, using fingers to create supple separation and texture all the way through the ends
·         Step 4: Gather hair into a high pony tail, slightly below the crown. Tie the pony into an elastic band and take a small section of hair from the ponytail and wrap it around the elastic band covering it. Keep the pony playful by using your fingers to open it up and make it wide, textured and volumized
·         Step 5: Make sure it’s not too tight around the face by creating volume at the front with separation. Leave some fly aways and small pieces on the sides for an effortless look
·         Step 6:  Spray in place with Macadamia Control Working Spray to protect against humidity and set for a night out
Macadamia Professional Foaming Volumizer is a whipped, airy mousse that gives hair ̶of all textures long lasting, feather light body, lift and exceptional shine. With a Control Factor of 1, Foaming Volumizer helps condition and detangle hair prior to styling with no residue build-up and heat protection.
Price: $25
Macadamia Professional Whipped Detailing Cream is an airy, lightweight detailer with a whipped cream like consistency which defines, separates and forms hair for pieciness and texture. With a Control Factor of 2, Whipped Detailing Cream provides light definition and textural control without weigh down.  Ideal for detailing a finished look and taming fly aways with workable style.
Price: $26
Macadamia Control Working Spray ensures long lasting control that still allows for restyling throughout the day. Resistant to humidity and free from nasty build-up, Control Working Spray contains Omega 3, 5, and 7 and renews and rejuvenates dry, damaged and color-treated hair by imparting healthy shine, bounce and manageability.
Price: $23

Kate Hudson appear not her usual youthful, wholesome self.  She was sleek and elegant in the rain thanks to David Babaii, Brand Ambassador for ghd, North America.

INSPIRATION:“I wanted to create a modern day chignon. It’s a look that works well on everyone, no matter if you have straight or curly hair. It’s clean and chic, and is the perfect classic style.”

TIPS/TECHNIQUE: To create this look, I used the ghd eclipse™. I love this flat iron because it features ghd’s patented tri-zone™ technology with three heat sensors that keep the temperature at 365 degrees - optimal for styling. The ghd eclipse™ leaves hair looking incredibly shiny, sleek and smooth. First, blow dry hair using the ghd air™ hairdryer and a round brush. Part hair down the middle, then divide into 3 sections: two in the front and one in the back. Starting at the back of the head and working forward, take 1 – 1 1/2 inch sections and straighten the hair with the ghd eclipse™. Pull hair into a tight bun on the back of your head. Use bobby pins to secure.”

PRODUCTS: ghd air™ hairdryer ($225); ghd eclipse™ ($245)

DRESS: Versace

RETAILER: Sephora,, 

Katherine Heigl

HAIR BY: David Babaii, Brand Ambassador for ghd, North America

INSPIRATION: “I call this hairstyle ‘California Chic.’ I wanted the look to be soft and smooth, but with a hint of naughtiness.”

TIPS/TECHNIQUE: "First blow dry hair using the ghd air™ hairdryer and a round brush. Then part the hair down the middle and divide into 3 sections: two in the front and one in the back. Starting at the back and working forward, take different sized sections and curl hair using the ghd curve™ creative curl wand, the size of the barrel creates the looser shape needed for this look. After each piece, release the curl and stretch it out for 2-3 seconds. Continue all the way to the top alternating the direction of the curl.  ghd’s patented tri-zone™ technology styles the hair in less time and creates long lasting curls without having to use a bunch of styling products. For the top sections, don’t curl the hair all the way to the root, only the bottom half of the shaft - this prevents the Shirley Temple tendrils. Finish the look by pulling front sections of hair behind the ear.” 

PRODUCTS: ghd air™ hairdryer ($225); ghd creative curl wand ($245)

Zac Posen

RETAILER: Sephora,,


Celebrity Makeup Artist, Melanie Inglessis, created a sultry burgundy smoky eye to complement Rosamund Pike’s romantic Vera Wang gown at the 2015 Golden Globes.

“The inspiration for any red carpet look begins with the dress. Rosamund’s dress is classic with ethereal, Greek goddess elements. The cream color of the dress allows me to play with color. I wanted the makeup to be a little rock and roll and accentuate her gorgeous eyes with a soft, smokey Grey and plum color.”

“I began by prepping with a mist of Sisley Floral Spray Mist to instantly refresh the skin. I then used a drop of the Black Rose Precious Face Oil and the Hydra Global Intense Anti-Aging Hydration for perfectly moisturized skin. I warmed the products with my hands and massaged them into the face” said Inglessis.

“To ensure bright eyes I applied a thick layer of the Sisley Eye Contour Mask. I wiped it off a few minutes later for a radiant appearance. I keep it in my fridge overnight which helps to invigorate the skin and reduce puffiness. Under the eyes I used Sisley’s Phyto-Cernes Eclat concealer. The metal applicator is cooling and helps to further reduce puffiness.”

“To create Rosamund's soft, smokey eyes I began with eyeliner in a taupe grey and applied it along the top and bottom lashes in a thick line. I blended Illusion D’Ombre in Mirifique over the line and feathered it up to the crease and Ombre Essentielle in Ebony into the outer corner of the crease to add depth the smokey eye. I used Chanel Intense Mascara on the bottom lashes for a sultry look.” 

“For the lips, I then applied a thick layer of Sisley’s Nutritive Lip Balm. This is wiped off just before the lipstick is applied to keep lips moisturized. I finished the lip with Chanel Rouge Coco Shine.” 

SISLEY Floral Spray Mist, $100
SISLEY Black Rose Precious Face Oil, $235 
SISLEY Hydra-Global Intense Anti-Aging Hydration, $255
SISLEY Eye Contour Mask, $145
SISLEY Phyto-Cernes Eclat Concealer, Shade 1, $107
CHANEL Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronzing Makeup Base, $48.00
CHANEL Vitalumière Aqua Ultra-Light Skin Perfecting Sunscreen Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 15, $45.00

CHANEL Illusion D'Ombre Long Wear Luminous Eyeshadow in Mirage, $36.00
CHANEL Soft Touch Eyeshadow in Infini, $29.50
CHANEL Inimitable Mascara in Noir, $30.00

SISLEY Nutritive Lip Balm, $74
CHANEL Rouge Coco Shine Hydrating Sheer Lipshine in Ingénue, $35.00


"Lorde's sleek low ponytail is a classic style that works on the red carpet and in everyday life.  Even if you have long very curly hair, you can still achieve this look with a little know how."

"Sienna's hair is a fantastic version of a short bob – it's perfectly disheveled and textured haircut."  

If you're looking for Sienna's style, start with your hair cut into a mid-length bob to allow movement (if it's cut too short it won't have enough versatility).  If you choose to create waves as did Sienna Miller did:
  • Start by blow drying with volume throughout, using a medium sized curling iron to create a bend from the mid-length to the ends of the hair
  • Finish by using Redken fashion waves 07 sea salt spray to create the perfectly disheveled edge.  Mist all over whilst running your hands throughout.

You even do a romantic bun, with side entrails framing your face, in the rain....

Achieve your favorite Golden Globes look, like Ellie Kemper’s romantic bun with Schwarzkopf ULTIME and celebrity hairstylist, Richard Collins! Please find below the step-by-step on how he created her look for last night’s awards...

Step 2: For additional blow dry protection, apply Schwarzkopf styliste ULTIME Satin Frizz Control & Protect Straightening Style Cream. Blow dry hair straight with a large boar bristle brush.

$6.97 each; Walmart

Step 3: Once the hair is dry, take a 1 ½ curling iron, starting at the nape of the neck.  Lightly spray the Schwarzkopf styliste ULTIME Crystal Shine & Hold Heat Protection Shine Spray in 2 inch sections starting at the nape of the neck to hold hair in place without weighing it down. Be sure to keep your bangs out to frame your face.

$6.97; Walmart

Step 4: Next, gather your hair from the front and loosely twist to the back of the hair, below the crown, and secure with bobby pins. With the remaining hair, gather and twist into a loose bun and finish with the Schwarzkopf styliste ULTIME Crystal Shine & Hold Laminating Shine Hair Spray.

$6.97; Walmart

Television personality Giuliana Rancic was classic Hollywood glamour in a winter white column gown by designer Jad Ghandour during the E! News Golden Globes Preshow.  The E! News host dazzled on the red carpet in a white  gown with nude mesh inserts from Jad Ghandour's 2015 Couture Collection.

Jad Ghandour is a Lebanon born fashion designer who's ornate yet sleek styles have been worn by the likes of Fergie, Camilla Alves, and Rihanna.  Jad Ghandour draws inspiration from architectures, artistic expression, and French influence.
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