Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Simply Summer from INC.

By Laura Medina

Kids may be gearing up for the new school year but it's still Summer and we're entering the Dog Days of Summer.

Here are some trendy but affordable pieces that you can wear now then switch out when days and nights get cooler as we move onto Fall.

You can find INC. at Macy's.

Making school shopping softer.

Monday, July 25, 2016

White Light White Night...in White Hot Heat...for Walk With Sally Foundation.

By Laura Medina

 White Light, White Night, Dr. Drew, Adam Gertler, & Heather McDonald.

Los Angeles' premiere White Party is also the most underground yet the most durable, going strong for ten years, "White Light White Night" White Party for the Walk with Sally charity.

Underneath the frivolous, fun froth is a fundraiser supporting a mentor ship program for children who needs a surrogate parent, whose parent(s) are dying for cancer or had already had died from cancer.  These lonely kids sure need someone who cares and sympathized with them.

Nick Arquette may appear successful on the outside, an entrepreneur in the film and healthcare, but he had a rough childhood.

His mom, Sally, passed away from cancer when he was only eleven years-old.  He and his brother had to move to Idaho to be with his dad.  All along Nick wished he had someone who understands and can help fill that void that his mom had left behind.

Once he became a successful adult, Nick started "Walk with Sally" Foundation.  As a fun-loving guy, he threw White Parties and slowly invited his friends and associates in the entertainment and healthcare industries to join him.

Walk With Sally, a 501©3 nonprofit organization, is dedicated to providing FREE mentoring support programs and services to children of parents, guardians or siblings who have cancer or have succumbed to cancer – one child at a time, one heart at a time.

Unlike most White Parties, where it's just hedonistic fun.  Nick picked the color white because his late mom, Sally, saw it as a color of positivity and strength, right before she died.

Since White Parties have the reputation for being loads of fun, Nick said "why not" and since then, "White Light White Night" has been going strong for the past ten years, growing into Southern California's premiere White Party/Charity Gala.


Dr. Drew Pinksy, "Chelsea Lately's Heather McDonald, and Food Network's Adam Gertler were the premiere celebrities at the fundraiser.

Since the fundraiser is in the South Bay, they highlight what is good...seafood and local restaurants in the area.

Venerable McCormick & Schmick's was one of many who baked cute, mini desserts.  They offered cups of Espresso Creme Brulee.

You can never get fat slurping oysters.  This is why The Strand House had the longest and most crowded lines.  They shucked four different types of oysters which this scribe happily slurped.

Salt Creek Grille had the most well-rounded.  They were surf & turf, bacon-wrapped stuffed shrimp and filet on a shish kabob. The people were cooling off on the watermelon salad dusted with feta cheese.

Nick Arquette was smart in throwing his White Party fundraiser during the hottest times of the year.

Southern Californians finally have the chance to wear white fashion in various forms, from blouses to cut-out crop tops to rompers.  Yes, even the most skimpiest of styles look classy in white.

Mind you, White Parties are known for their formality.

White Light White Night had a bag piper to herd guests to the auction, away from the restaurant booths.

Heather McDonald modeled a diamond necklace for auction.

Heather McDonald modeling the diamond necklace, "Jewel of the Sea," a French-designed pendant in 18 karat gold and 2.15 cut diamonds, designed by Pasha Jewelry.

After an hour of auctioning by Grant Synder, one of the premiere auctioneer, the real party started when The Spazzmatics hit the stage with Billy Idol's "White Wedding."

There is something to be said about nerds.  They really care about what they do.  The musicianship was tight, loud, and bright.  They're conscientious about getting on stage, on time, ready to rock.


You gotta hand it to The Spazzmatics, the rockin' New Wave Eighties band.  They're proud to be nerds and pay tribute to The Eighties' "Revenge of the Nerds" while blasting classic Eighties hits.

All the adults were brought back to their junior/high school dance but better.  The Spazzmatics got everyone rockin' and jumping on their feet, with Devo's "Whip It" and The Flock of Seagulls.

This White Party stuffy...it is not.

People were welcomed to jump on stage and join on the mic and as impromptu back-up dancers.

Every song was a solid, classic hit, ending with Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody."

The Spazzmatics were polite enough to end at 11pm like they promised.

White Light White Night isn't the only fundraiser for Walk With Sally.

They also do Bowl-a-thon where the kids can bowl with their Big Sisters and Brothers.

Walking with Sally is an on-going endeavor.  


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Right Timing, Right Place, Right Season, Right Now, Hot Swimwear at Miami Swim 2016.

By Laura Medina

 Getty Photos by Frazier Harrison.

If the venerable New York Fashion Week caters to the billion-dollar "Forgotten Women with Cold, Hard Cash" market, if Los Angeles and Las Vegas MAGIC caters to the trendiest of the trendiest, then Miami Swim Week is the right place at the right time, hot, sultry, and sweaty Miami in the middle of Summer.  Which means, folks are in the mood for the freshest of bikinis, tankinis, swimsuits, trunks, and briefs during the hottest months of the year.

These are the freshest swimwear, last week from Miami Swim, with a few cover-ups when you want to hit the sidewalk cafes and boutiques or clubs.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Smell Like Candy with Ariana Grande's "Sweet Like Candy."

By Laura Medina


Global superstar and recording artist, Ariana Grande reveals a new seductively irresistible scent, SWEET LIKE CANDY by Ariana Grande. The newest pillar of her top selling fragrance collection in creation with LUXE Brands launches exclusively at UTLA in July 2016.

As a force to be reckoned with, Grande shows no sign of slowing down. In the past year, the beloved artist has more than doubled her loyal Instagram following to over 79 million globally, making her one of TIME’s Most Influential People of 2016. Her critically acclaimed third studio album, Dangerous Woman, reached number one on iTunes in over 70 countries and was the number 1 selling album in the world for the week of its release. Grande’s growing list of successes includes a double-platinum album, two Grammy nominations, and following her latest album, she is the first artist in Billboard Hot 100 history to have the lead single of each of her first three albums debut in the top 10.

For her next beauty venture, Grande shares a delightful daydream sure to consume her growing family of fans around the world.  SWEET LIKE CANDY by Ariana Grande is a tempting twist on the original debut fragrance that captures a new sexy wink of the popstar’s ever evolving confidence and style. An extension of her personal expression, every element of the decadent scent carries Grande’s seductively flirtatious character with hints of sugary playfulness throughout the fragrance story. With the launch of SWEET LIKE CANDY by Ariana Grande, the starlet could not be more excited to treat fans to her newest fragrance passion.

Jessica, the Master Manicurist, and her new The Clinic, Jessica 2.0.

By Laura Medina

Jessica, the Master Manicurist who made manicures, and to a lesser extent, pedicures, de rigueur grooming, has witnessed a lot of changes in the grooming and salon industry.

When she started her manicuring salon business, it was just the established A-list actresses; the socialites viewed it as a treat; and powerful business men, the metrosexual forefathers, treated a polished set of nails as a emblems of power.  Back in Jessica's days, having a weekly "mani & pedi" was strictly an A-List affair among the entertainment industry subset.

Soon after, with the emergence of "Power Women," the women development executives, the women studio heads, and the women agents, Jessica's high-end customers grew. 

Jessica, "Women executives now view professional, polished manicures, with nail polishes matching their suits, as a sign of power."  In other words, "Girl Power."

Jessica, also lives on the other side of the Hills, the Valley where it is more down-to-earth.  This is where she sees the real major transformations in the nail business.

The same time she catered to Hollywood's Elite in West Hollywood/Beverly Hills in Sunset Plaza, Jessica also sensed and sees the small-time, mom & pop nail salons offering quick and cheap manicures to the everyday citizens, at cut-rate prices, in her backyard in The Valley.

Ironically, it was among Hollywood's Establishment, Tippi Hedren, who unintentionally ignited the "fast-food-ization" of the nail grooming industry. As a kind-hearted lady who wanted to help Vietnamese War refugees in making a new life in America in the mid-Seventies, Tippi offered them lesson on typing and other clerical skills to help them get an head start.  However, those women refugees didn't pay attention.  All they cared about and asked, "Where did you get your nails?"

Realizing they aren't paying attention because these refugee women are mesmerized by the most perfect set of nails they ever seen, Tippi gave up then brought her manicurist to explain to them what they are and how to do them because that's where the focus was on.

Tippi...then Jessica, before they knew it, Vietnamese-immigrant mom & pop nail salons doing quick and cheap manicures and pedicures for the masses multiplied like rabbits, to Tippi Hedren's astonishment and Jessica's dismay.

What used to be elite that the masses can only dream about in tabloid glossies, are now literally available to their fingertips in their own neighborhoods.

As Jessica wisely knew, the sudden saturation and spread, dilutes the craft and skills of a proper manicure.  With sudden saturation, comes taking of granted or advantage of the manicurist which leads to exploitation of the manicurists and disrespect towards the craft. 

On her Sunset Plaza corner, Jessica has also seen, what used to exclusively industry, become available to the masses who want something nice, the makeup/makeover salon, Blushington, and exclusively hairstyling salon, Dry Bar, on the same Sunset Plaza corner.

Jessica is glad that the younger generation is much more accepting having manicures and pedicures as daily grooming but is dismayed by the declining quality, the gaudy glue-0n decorations and the faux talons that sure aren't classy or natural.

Jessica felt it was a time for a revamp and teach these kids what a true manicure is...with additional services they had come to expect...with quality, Jessica the Clinic.

The Master Manicurist, Jessica herself, doing these scribe's nails.

At the Grand Re-Opening of "Jessica the Clinic," the woman herself proved there is "natural" and there is "raw."  This scribe's nails were "raw."

Jessica called them "upside-down."  She mentioned the nails' health overall, were in good condition but they need to be properly shaped.

To properly shape the nails for a "real manicure," the tips of the nails need to follow the natural curve of the cuticle, no claws, no ovals, or squares.

There's a qualifying reason why Jessica the Clinic's fees are above-average.  Her care and services aren't quick & dirty "wham-bam, thank you madam" for cut-rate prices.  Jessica and the technicians, she personally trains and oversees (some of them has been with her for twenty-years) analyze the client's natural curvatures of the nail bed and the health of the nail, soft or hard.

She and her staff file along the nail's natural curve determined by the cuticle, not going against according to what's trendy.

The woman herself, used her time shaping this scribe's nails, as a classroom session demonstrating you should file, in one-straight way, not filing back & forth at angle or against the nail grain.  File on top, one-way straight.

When it comes to taming the cuticle, Jessica taught her staff, you gently trim the cuticles, not cut them or aggressively push them back with surgical tools, but with a gentle but quick cuticle buffer.

The Classic Manicure by Jessica, the Master Manicurist.

At Jessica the Clinic, don't come in expecting to get glue-on, faux anything, no acrylic talons or claws or geegaw decorations.

What you will get, and this is what her loyal clients expect, is a classic, nothing-weird, manicures and pedicures.  The nail polish selection is timeless.

The way Jessica and her staff do manicures is the same way a good hairdresser studies a client's scalp, head shape, and the hair's natural body then cuts, trims, and shapes accordingly.  The manicure you get at Jessica the Clinic will grow with you naturally, the same way a good, decent haircut grows with you over weeks, even months.  A Jessica manicure is a wise investment.

Jessica is insightful enough to know, that to grow and evolve in the beauty/grooming industry, she has to reset and start anew.

There's more to Jessica, than just classically polished finger nails.  She offers pedicures, that this scribe may want to or need to get.

Knowing that quality has to match speed and well-roundness, Jessica the Clinic now offers a makeover salon where you can also shop the makeup they used on you during your makeover.

They a facial room, aahhh.

They also a very discreet waxing room.

But for Jessica, her focus is on the emerging Gen-X establishment and the Millennials young professionals re-discovering the classic manicure, sans the geegaws.

A Jessica manicure and pedicure is the Chanel of nails.

Sunset Plaza still has two-hours free parking on both sides of the intersection.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

NARS You Can Buy Now then the Approaching Nars for Fall 2016.

By Laura Medina

The first items up is a sweet simple Summer Collection that this scribe covets, inspired by the Fran├žois Nars' first flagship address in New York City's West Village neighborhood, the 413 BLKR Cheek & Lip Palette is the latest piece to join the NARS-exclusive 413 BLKR Collection. The new palette features a glowing gradient of three limited edition sheer, blendable blushes, iconic Laguna Bronzer paired with the essential fuchsia 413 BLKR Velvet Matte Lip Pencil. 
With it's Dual-Intensity formula where used dry, it's a sheer wash then used wet, it's a intense flush or rush of color, The #NARSissist Dual-Intensity Cheek Palette is an all-in-one cheek palette that boasts four new shades, including a highlights, blush, and two contouring tones in NARS’ signature Dual-Intensity formula. 

For the true #NARSissist in your life or for yourself, NARS Cult Survival Kit is a little bit of everything made for the vanity table or dresser.  It includes 11 NARS cult-classics: Pandora Duo Eyeshadow, Exhibit A and Orgasm Blush, Laguna Bronzing Powder, Schiap Lipstick, Cruella Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, Turkish Delight Lip Gloss, Via Veneto Larger Than Life Eyeliner, Black Moon Audacious Mascara, Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder, and Monoi Body Glow II.

NARS Survival Kit 1, for those who desire a rosier palette, includes an essential palette of rich neutral Naiad and Kalahari II Eyeshadows, Off Limits and Mata Hari Blush, a mini Party Girl Lip Gloss, and a mini Black Moon Audacious Mascara.

NARS Survival Kit 2, for the classic red lips and softer blush, includes an essential palette of smoldering Tokyo II and Galapagos Eyeshadow, Modesty and Day Dream Blush, a mini Phantasia Lip Gloss, and mini Black Moon Audacious Mascara.  

NARS'  iconic Sculpting Multiple Duo and Hardwired Eyeshadow Collection multi-tasker works two places at once. The darker shades of the Sculpting Multiple Duo blend effortlessly to create a contour enhancing the face’s natural features, while the illuminating shades provide a sheer color that illuminates the high points of the face.
The Multiple Duo comes in three shades:
·         Copacabana / Sidari Beach
o    Shimmering pink silver, rose bronze
·         Hot Sand / Laguna
o    Peach champagne, bronzed brown
·         Playa Flamenco / Oahu
o    Sparkling soft gold, deep bronze 
Sculpting Multiple Duos will be available at Sephora and Sephora.com on July 21, 2016. 

The Hardwired Eyeshadow Collection features six rich and radiant precious metals (shown left to right): Earthshine, Lunar, Outer Limits, Parallax, Pygar, and Stud.

The Hardwired Eyeshadow Collection will be available at Sephora and Sephora.com on August 1, 2016.

The Fall 2016 Collection is mahogany-based, better coordinate with Autumn's falling leaves.

Created by NARS Founder and Creative Director, Fran├žois Nars, the Fall 2016 Color Collection debuts a refined combination of seasonal shades, signature colors and state-of-the-art textures for eyes, cheeks and lips.

The collection features:
·         Three new Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow shades in iridescent white, rose gold, and deep indigo
·         Two new Velvet Matte Lip Pencils in statured tones of garnet and bordeaux
·         Two new Contour Blushes with complexion-enhancing hues from light caramel to espresso
·         Nine new Velvet Eyeliners with rich pigments that glide on smooth and blend evenly 

The Fall 2016 Color Collection is available exclusively at NARS Boutiques and NARS Cosmetics on July 15, 2016, then August 1 at Sephora, department, and specialty stores.


Friday, July 15, 2016

Get Your Hearty, Healthy Munchie On, with Your Boyfriend or Girlfriend and Your Buddies, at Federal Bar in "NoHo" during DineLA Week, Summer 2016 Edition.

By Laura Medina

MCO (Moo-Cluck-Oink) Burger with Sweet Potato Teeter Tots glazed in Maple Syrup.

After spending some time at North Hollywood's The Federal Bar (North Hollywood or "NoHo" where the majority of junior film executives or young, budding yuppies are getting their feet wet), this Gen-X noticed this is a "Cheers" for Millennials.

A friendly place to wet your whistle with gallons of cool, foamy beer on tap.  Remember, it's a friendly bar (with an historical lineage) catering to a mostly Gen-X and Millennials crowd, meaning The Federal Bar is also a relaxing, down-to-earth yet gourmand gastropub that matches its cool beers with equally cool meals that fits young professionals' wallets.

Forget Nineties' "Friends" Central Perk, sipping over-priced coffee.

Today's Gen-Xers had moved onto real meals with better ingredients; and Millennials demand more out of their neighborhood hang-out, munchies worth spending money on, yet young adult financially-friendly.

Dinner will become more exquisite, more varied, and more affordable with The Federal Bar's Dine LA Summer 2016 Edition Restaurant Week.  Actually, it stretches into two weeks.  So, you'll have two weeks to enjoy The Federal Bar's three-course dinner, starting this Monday, July 18th until Sunday, July 31st.  This hip three-course dinner menu will be served at 5pm until 11pm, between Monday to Sunday.  That's being fair and both Gen-X and Millennials like fair.

Bell Amber Beer

Did this scribe mention the beer?  Did this scribe mention cool and foamy, during July's Heat Wave?

Part of The Federal Bar's DineLA deal is your free choice between 8oz. Draught Beer or Foundation Soda.

For the DineLA Dinner Feast, this scribe was pleasantly surprised Bells Amber pairs well with the candied Smoked Wings, the Beef Short Rib, and sweet but light Red Sangria Poached White Fish...and the MCO Burger...and the Sweet Potato Teeter Tots.
Smoked Wings, candied.

Bar food standard, The Federal Bar's Smoke Wings were house-smoked jumbo chicken wings, encased in a candied sweet whiskey sauce, catering to Millennial taste buds and Gen-X's value for the money.

 Quinoa & Kale

Of course, since it's Summer, the sun-parched and the diet-conscious will pick the Quinoa & Kale, assuming it's a light salad.

Remember, The Federal Bar is a gastropub, quality food in good prices for hearty appetites.  The Quinoa & Kale is another version of a rice pilaf.  Healthy ingredients piled up for hearty cravings.

 House Bacon Mac & Cheese

This scribe must had worked up an appetite, anticipating for DineLA Week.

The classic House Bacon Mac & Cheese, shell pasta drenched in three-cheese sauce, topped with a crunchy panko bread crust and dusted with house-made bacon, sure hits the spot.

Again, classic Americana pub food that should not fail and doesn't.

MCO (Moo-Cluck-Oink) Burger with Sweet Potato Teeter Tots glazed in Maple Syrup.

It ain't a gastropub; and it ain't Gen-X or Millennial unless you take the basic All-American Burger then soup it up.  That's the pleasure of gastropub fare.  It's simple comfort food done exceedingly well to qualify as "gourmet" in a not-so-snotty atmosphere. Ain't nothing wrong about that.

Since gastropub is an egalitarian place, The Federal Bar caters to both the boyfriend and the girlfriend...and their mates.

In other words, The Federal Bar's MCO (Moo-Cluck-Oink) Burger will please everyone, actually any time.

It may be part of their DineLA Dinner Menu but their MCO Burger, with fried egg topping a beef patty, bacon, lettuce, tomato, garlic aioli on a milk bun, served with an hearty side of Sweet Potato Teeter Tots is going to join those Late Night/Early Morning classics, such as Fried Chicken & Waffles and Ca'Brea's Broken Calzone.  Those necessary In-Between Meals that soak up last night's booze while nourishing the body with protein and carbs and fat to absorb the toxins, first thing in the morning.

The MCO Burger with Sweet Potato Teeter Tots can double as breakfast.  This scribe was somewhat shocked that most fast food franchises don't do this.

Yes, this is what your boyfriend really desires, after slamming a couple of beers and shots...and for your own hang0ver, the morning-after.

The Federal Bar's idea of nourishment.

 Classic, Can't Go Wrong Beef Short Rib

The classic, can't-go-wrong Beef Short Rib in it's purest form, a real complete meal, not in its current sandwich mode that you see everywhere now-a-days.

This starving scribe was relieved by the classic Beef Short Rib, expertly roasted piled on classic mashed potatoes with grilled vegetables, drizzled in gravy, where sides aren't extras but essentially part of the meal. 

 Grilled Veggie Bowl with Cracked Wheat

Fearing you're not getting your above-average vegetables and fiber, you'll be surprised that the Grilled Veggie Bowl isn't a funky salad with faddish ingredients but old-fashion grain and vegetable meant to compliment the Beef Short Rib.

Another twist on a classic rice pilaf.  This time, they replaced the rice with an even more traditional Cracked Wheat that goes deliciously well with Beef Short Ribs and Gravy.  The roasted asparagus, peppers, carrots, and brussels with a lemon-basil vinaigrette, has a striking Fifties taste and texture when paired with the Beef Short Rib.  Tastes and sounds like a retro Fifties Sunday Dinner.  Again, remember, this Dine LA Dinner will and can be served on Sunday at The Federal Bar.

 Light yet Pleasantly Sweet Red Sangria Poached White Fish

If all this hearty, beef and two sides are getting you heavy, take this chance during Dine LA and give The Federal Bar's once-in-a lifetime lighter fare of the Red Sangria Poached White Fish resting on a bed of creamy saffron quinoa risotto with English Peas and Carrots.

The sweetness of the Red Sangria Poached White Fish, is different from the candied Smoked Wings.  The Red Sangria serves as a light coating of a glaze whereas the sweet whiskey sauce can afford to "candied" the heavier, richer meat of the house-smoked jumbo chicken wings.

Dealing with White Fish, the Red Sangria is a delicate glaze that doesn't drown or weigh down the delicate fish filet.  Why Red Sangria?  It probably more has to do with the Summer Season when fruits and fruit products are bountiful and doing something with them.  Waste not, want not.

Glazing fish, without frying it, is a difficult technicality but this scribe was surprisingly delighted with light fruit glaze on top and flaky yet moist fish meat underneath.

Equally pleasantly surprised was the quinoa replacing rice in the peas and carrot risotto.  Not one ounce of cream or milk in it.  It's the quinoa that makes the risotto creamy.

The Red Sangria Poached White Fish on a quinoa risotto bed is the most unique and lightest dish during Dine LA Week at The Federal Bar. 

 Warm Rocky Road Skillet with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Unfortunately yet to be fair, folks can only order one of each appetizer, entree, and dessert during Dine LA.  Darn.

The Federal Bar has two choices to pair with the heavy and the light fares.

Obviously, Warm Rocky Road Skillet with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is an hearty finish for the: House Bacon Mac & Cheese, Smoked Wings, MCO Burger, and Beef Short Rib. 

Basically, it's an Americana camp-fire dessert to top off an All-American feast. 

Again, it's an improvement over the graham cracker s'mores.

It's a homey but very comforting brownie dotted with marshmallows then baked in a cast-iron skillet then topped with a dollop of Vanilla Ice Cream.

Camp-fire treat but better.

 Caramel Budino with Almond Biscotti

You need to fulfill your sweet tooth but you picked the lighter course of: Quinoa & Kale, Grilled Veggie Bowl, and Red Sangria Poached White Fish. 

What to do?

The Caramel Budino with Almond Biscotti is when whipped cream meets vanilla pudding.

Looks are deceiving.  Once you dig in, you'll discover the mason jar is full of Almond Biscottis in the budino pudding and topped with another biscotti.

Basically, The Federal Bar's Dine LA Dinner Summer Series is evenly split between hearty and light but they make sure that you'll wouldn't leave starving while making sure your wallet is still intact.

That's the glory of a gastropub.  It's not a dive bar reeking of stinking drunks nor is it a snotty restaurant where they serve hors d'oeuvres, charging at full-meal prices.  They're well-balanced enough to be fair. 

The Federal Bar is fair.  They care about pouring good quality beer, foaming out of the tap and quality meals to soak up the booze, in a unpretentious atmosphere, where nobody is a jerk.

Remember, Dine LA Restaurant Week is a two-weeks affair for both lunch and dinner with participating restaurants, on http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/dinela-los-angeles-restaurant-week/