Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Old Town Pasadena with a Non-fat Latte, Please.

Since I’m a Pasadenian (alongside being a diehard Los Angelena) you can frequently find me roaming the streets of Old Town located on the famous Colorado Boulevard (think Rose Parade and Rose Bowl). If you’re ever looking to spend some time in the ‘burbs, Pasadena is a great location to discover outside of Downtown.

And the city’s got it all: shopping (Tiffany’s, Urban Outfitters, Zara, and my favorite, Forever 21) for all you shopaholics, exquisite dining options (il Fornaio, Mi Piace, The Melting Pot, Sushi Roku and a zillion more! #YUM) and one of my favorite coffee spots, Intelligentsia.

Although I admit I can get a bit nerdy when it comes to schoolwork, being at home while in the process of writing an essay or studying for an exam is quite bland. I need a vibrant space with a non-fat latte to get my creative juices flowing. With this in mind, there is nothing like being in a coffee shop with an awesome atmosphere, contemporary music and scrumptious food. I know this describes about 80 percent of the coffee shops in L.A., but if you are a coffee-connoisseur like me, you should definitely stumble upon Intelligentsia. It’s got my seal of approval.

With locations all over L.A., Intelligenstia’s mission is to provide “customers, staff, and community with an unparalleled and complete coffee and tea experience in an environment steeped in understanding, knowledge, skill, service and mutual respect.” Pretty stellar description for a coffee shop – seems like they certainly mean business!

Along with their impressive selection of African and South American single origin beans and reviving espressos, Intelligentsia will leave you with a supreme experience. This company is extremely immersed in the bean production as well. A great example: Their “Extraordinary Coffee Workshop” brings together coffee growers who “have made a serious commitment to quality and create a forum where they are able to share knowledge.” Communication + coffee in the same sentence, I’m already swooning.

And the Intelligentsia in Pasadena is different than other Intelligentsia locations because of its unique cafe. Its novel addition, a “brewbar” -- an espresso machine that’s built into the bartop—is a place where delicious caffeinated-delicacies are prepared atop a counter that is over a 100 years old. Talk about being aged to serve perfection.

But what if coffee isn’t your cup of tea? Intelligentsia Pasadena can fulfill your beer and wine needs with a side of scrumptious small plates, themed dinners and charcuterie. During my visit, I enjoyed their organic granola topped with fresh berries and yogurt – a perfect dish to compliment my non-fat latte.

So, whether you a morning person looking for a place to get a head start on your day or a night prowler in search of a contemporary hang out, Intelligentsia Pasadena will cater to your lifestyle. Take your books and unwind with a delicious cup of South American coffee. Or take a date for a one-of-a-kind experience. I bet you’ll fall in madly LA-ve.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bringing Casual Back: Brandy Melville

Any native Los Angeleno would know that your fashion speaks louder than words in this city.

But, one thing I appreciate is every Los Angeleno can have a style of their own. Just like all the beautiful cultures that make up this city, the concept of fashion has created a melting pot of its own. Whether you fall under the hipster category and are a devoted "Urban Outfitter" or side with the preppies and rock your designer dreads, L.A. is definitely the city to experiment and find your fashion-calling.

With all this in mind, I stumbled across an Italian label that'll strike a chord in the hearts of all Los Angelenas (Sorry boys, this one's not for you). Brandy <3 Melville's the name and uber-cute, casual street wear is their game. Their motto, "From Italy with Love," is displayed all throughout the store and this brand surely sticks to it. Also, it's sure to satisfy a broad range of tastes because of the simplicity and utility of their clothing. Talk about getting a true bang for your buck.

Think of it this way...take chic European fashion and throw in a little bit of L.A. into the mix and VOILA, you get a super-cute, oversized Brandy <3 Melvillle tank top, off-the-shoulder tee, or loose-fitting summer dress. Sounds like these products would be right up a Los Angelena's alley, right? It's so boho meets NoHo. My recent indulgences: A striped, off-the-shoulder tee and a crochet sweater-dress that I'm uber-excited to wear. And, for all my frugalistas out there....don't fear. Brandy <3 Melville's got your wallet in mind. Expect to shell out $15-$20 for your average tank top or tee. Not to shabby for an Italian label. Plus, the quality you get for the price you pay is spectacular.

Aside from selling clothing, expect to find a great variety of jewelry to choose from. Bracelets, necklaces, earrings, rings; Brandy <3 Melville's got it all. To top it all off, they also have an array of original artwork and signs with inspirational mantras to purchase. This store's your one-stop-shop to jazz up your style and your digs. Pretty hard to find in a huge city like L.A. The next time you find yourself near the Santa Monica Promenade, make sure you check this store out. It'll have all you need to embrace your outer-Los Angelena and a little more...there's no denying it!

Until next time, stay FABULOUS Los Angelenos.... XOXO

P.S. To all my O.C. readers, Fashion Island just opened a Brandy <3 Melville too!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Let the Sunshine in!

Happy New Year to my Fabulous Followers....Yes, I'm celebrating the new year on my blog since I literally have not written since last year. I know, excuses, excuses! But I'm sure we all understand that time is not our friend, especially within Los Angeles (thank you for your sympathy)....Just to get the year started, I'm going to keep this post short and sweet....

How thankful are you to be a Los Angeleno on absolutely beautiful days like this? The feeling of the sun's warm rays on your skin, the scent of blooming flowers and fruits in the air, bringing out flips flops and sunscreen -- Yes folks, summer is finally making a comeback. And, how I've missed it! To kick us off on the right foot, here's a treat to get your summer checklist going...and the coolest part, all of these fantastic destinations are L.A. based...thanks to some amazing researchers who are obsessed with summer, (500) Days of Summer, that is!

Click here for a list of all the must-see locations featured in the hit movie, (500) Days of Summer

Until next time, remember, life's a beach...especially when you're a Los Angeleno!


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Walk it Out!

My Fellow Los Angelenos,

I'm back.

YES! After a long period of silence, I've decided to brush the dust off my keyboard and get back to blogging. Oh, how I've missed it!

Since I have a short break, I promise that I will spend more time writing about my experiences/thoughts/feelings about our wonderful hometown. In the meanwhile, I'd like to share one thing I've discovered about being a true Los we ever get any down time?! My never-ending mental checklist gets overwhelming. I don't think you can be a true Los Angeleno if you don't have's all the rage!

To drift away from my incessant ranting, I thought I'd discuss the importance of walking with you all.

..."Walking," you say? This activity might be a little foreign to all us L.A. natives since we call our vehicles our "home away from home." I feel like I drive more than I walk! But my friends, there is a solution....

Imagine this.....

You come home from work/school/a long day or you wake up to a bright, sunshiny (typical) Los Angeles morning. Instead of sitting in front of the TV with your favorite snack, grab your camera and head straight for the door! There's a world out there waiting to be discovered.

I decided to take a walk with my family just this afternoon and it turned out to be a wonderful experience. I had no idea that my own backyard held one of the most beautiful landscapes ever. We walked towards the hills, took a couple of stellar photos, discovered a lot of citrus trees, and had many interesting conversations that enabled us to bond on a new level. All we had to do was walk. What an amazing, novel concept for Los Angelenos! Some of the photos I've posted above are from our lovely "mini-vacation." Plus, it's good for your health! Did you know...a daily walk would decrease your chances of developing breast cancer by 20%, heart disease by 30%, and diabetes by 50%? Live a healthy and long life by simply walking. It sounds easy enough, right?!

With that folks, I hope this post has encouraged you to drop those car keys, save yourself some gas and release some of that L.A. tension by taking a step into the unknown...local streets, the beach, or any place you've always wanted to visit. Just don't forget your camera! You don't want to miss out on capturing some pretty cool memories.

AND...If you need some inspiration, feel free to browse through ....The website will give you a list of some popular L.A. walking trails (consider it the Yelp for walkers). I found it just for you, enjoy!

Until next time, cheers to the good health + awesome pictures we'll get from walking!


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Be a Hero This Week...TALK!

Hello to all you Los Angelenos,

I thought I'd give you something to think about as this week comes to an end....maybe you can give me your 2 cents? You know that it's always appreciated.

Here we go.....

This semester, I'm taking a class where I have to make a presentation, something I've done a million and a half times already. Woo hoo, surprise surprise, I know. But this one happens to be very different. Main point: it's about getting a grant for a charity that's near and dear to my heart. This, my friends, is not your average class presentation with a rinky-dink PowerPoint presentation; it's about contributing to the greater-good.

I was confused when I received this assignment. With so many organizations out there, which one would I choose? And being a Los Angelena myself, it's easy to get in a war with my infinite list of to-do's. I decided to do some soul searching, which lead me to research an issue that I was a part of not too long ago.

It is estimated that just last year in 2009, 20,000+ women and girls were raped by militant forces. This number disgusts me and should disgust all women and men across borders. I'm still shocked. Here I am in this beautiful city and 9, 399 miles away, 50+ women and girls are getting raped on the daily. Although there are a zillion issues that have taken over this planet, this one has become personal for me.

V-Day was able to break ground in the building of their City of Joy, a transformational community and rehabilitation center within the region of Bukavu, just south of the main area of sexual violence, Kivu. Although this center is a brilliant idea, it can only treat 180 women a year, only .04% of the estimated rape victims. There's an effort being made, but people united work greater than a single individual can. Can you imagine 20 or 30 of these centers for rape victims in the DRC? A little bit of optimism/idealism never hurt anyone...I hope and pray this will be accomplished one day.

Living in Los Angeles, it's so easy to get caught up with traffic, work, school, family among an infinite list of things. But think how good you'll feel if you save at least one woman's/girl's life in the DRC. That extra hour in traffic won't matter anymore. I'm not asking you to buy a ticket to the Congo and save the world; I'm asking you to be a hometown hero in Los Angeles. Research an issue that's prevalent in society and to find at least one way to help out by the end of this week. Being a humanitarian, if only for an hour, is like chicken soup; It'll be good for your soul.

If you can't contribute financially, don't worry, just talk about it. There is nothing like enlightening a friend or family member with some startling information about a globally detrimental issue. The word will spread people, trust me, this is Los Angeles...We hate to be silent here.....

This week, ask yourself what you will shout out loud and stand for. The answer might surprise you.

Until next time Los Angelenos, stay classy and educate yourselves!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ich Liebe Wurstküche!

Little Tokyo, the last place you'd consider finding an exotic German sausage grill...

Well folks, past the copious sushi and noodle houses, between 3rd and 4th st., you'll find an extraordinary restaurant called Wurstküche.

Thanks to a recommendation from a good friend, I decided to take my cousins from the East Coast on a field trip Downtown, so they could see what the real Los Angeles looked like. Rest assured, they were totally pleased. We reminisced of SoHo and the cobblestone buildings as we roamed the Art's District to find Wurstküche.

It wasn't difficult to find the restaurant because of the long line filled with excited beer/sausage lovers. We soon joined them and asked around for some recommendations. I decided to get the Green Chilies sausage with spicy peppers and grilled onions on top. I soon found out that I had made a "safe" decision. Among the chicken, turkey, and pork links, Wurstküche features some pretty exotic sausages...ones filled with duck, buffalo, alligator, and rabbit. Because I am a pretty picky eater, I was hesitant to try. But, by all means, if you have a broad palette, try the "exotic" sandwiches out, I've heard they're really good!

The menu also features 42 types of beer on tap/bottled, from Germany to Belgium, England, and North America. Ask the host up front and he'll give you a great one to try out with the sausage you choose. You also have to try out their amazing Belgian fries with the array of dipping sauces. My mouth is watering just writing about this!! This place gets a zillion thumbs up from me, my boyfriend, and my two East Coast cousins that tried Wurstküche out.

After ordering, take a trip down the hallway to enter their "communal" dining room with tables that'll get you chatting with strangers. It's an experience that's definitely worth it. If eating on this "shared" table is not your cup of tea, you can sit outside and view an amazing panorama of Downtown L.A.'s buildings.

With it's warm and hip environment, exotic foods/drinks, and chic architecture, Wurstküche is bringing contemporary and modern vibes back into L.A. Go there with a group of friends to celebrate, on a date, or by yourself for a good time. You won't regret it, Los Angelenos!

Until next time, Auf Wiedersehen!


P.S. Here's the Wurstküche website for more info:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

To Die For: TAKAMI

The streets of Los Angeles, filled with sushi restaurants, some more glamorous or grittier than others....but, have you every thought of looking above those streets for one of the best Japanese restaurants in town?

You're probably thinking I have lost it, folks...But, let me reassure you, I'm serious....

Advice: Go stand on the corner of Wilshire and Flower in Downtown and tilt your head towards the sky. On top of that majestic building you're standing beside is Takami Sushi & Robata.

Take the elevator to the 21st floor of the building and enter one of the most hippest locations in Los Angeles, smack-dab in the middle of the Financial District. The interior of Takami is uber-woodsy, modern, and chic. Take a seat on a tree stump and sip on a Gin & Tonic, or step outside to the balcony to see a glittering panorama of Downtown Los Angeles. It's quite mesmerizing.....

The prices are pretty affordable; the menu's stocked with delicious sushi, robata, special plates, and more. Whether you want to take your lady on a date or celebrate a birthday, Takami will definitely provide a wonderful and cozy atmosphere. So, friends...strap on those heels and button up those shirts, Takami's waiting! absolutely cannot leave the restaurant without trying their Lemon Albacore Roll....It's the most refreshing thing you'll ever eat! If you're visiting L.A...put Takami on your to-see list. It's, like, totally worth it! (spoken like a true Los Angeleno, haha)

Takami is located on 811 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 2100, Los Angeles, CA 90071, (213) 236-9600...visit‎ for more!