Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Howlin' Ray's.

Being a huge follower of the Food Network, recently I've been seeing a lot of craze over Nashville style hot chicken and I started to wonder what it was. Is it like chicken buffalo sauce? How spicy is it? What makes it special to Tennessee? Apparently, it's a type of chicken different than any type of chicken I've ever had. It's a type of fried chicken that is marinated in a water based blend of spicy seasoning, floured, and fried. It is finally sauced with a paste that is spiced with cayenne pepper. It is usually served on bread as a sandwich, but can also be eaten on its own. And pickles are the perfect thing to combine the flavor of the chicken with. It has been served in Nashville for generations since the 1930s and has recently been gaining more popularity.

A lot of the notoriety of hot chicken came from a restaurant in Nashville called Hattie B's Hot Chicken, and seeing as though I'm not going there any time soon, I made it my mission to find a hot chicken spot in LA. Even KFC has introduced a hot chicken special, but I knew I could get more authentic than that.

That's when I found Howlin' Ray's in LA's Chinatown. Howlin' Ray's is owned and operated by a husband and wife team, Johnny and Amanda, who are passionate about getting the best blend of spices to make top tier hot chicken. When I went to the restaurant, Amanda was there taking customer orders and Johnny was in the kitchen leading a team of chefs to make the chicken. I really enjoyed that they were a part of my experience, it made it seem more personal and authentic.

Howlin' Ray's has 6 different types of sauces for the chicken, each at a different level of spiciness. I'm usually a person who can handle her spicy foods, but when I asked Amanda which sauce she would recommend to me, she said to go with the Medium sauce. I was worried it wouldn't be that spicy, but let me tell you guys, my mouth was on fire eating it! In a totally good way. I ordered the sandwich, which had the chicken, slaw, comeback sauce, and pickles. The comeback sauce was another great accompaniment to the chicken and I used it to dip my crinkle cut fries in too. It didn't hurt also that they kept giving me as many pickle chips as I wanted.

It was to die for! The chicken was perfectly crispy, the slaw gave it the perfect element of crunch, and the sauce and pickles just brought it all home. The portions are also really large. I feel really bad about this, but I couldn't finish my sandwich. Sometimes I sit and think about the parts I left and hate myself for not finishing it haha.

The line can get pretty long at Howlin' Ray's, even on a weekday, which is when I went. I waited in line for about 30 minutes, but I've heard this is actually a short time. So if you're going to give it a try, try to go before or after the lunch rush. It's totally worth any wait you have though!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Spanish Style Vibes.

As a lot of you know from my Summer Vacation Essentials post, I took a trip to Spain last month and of course, I kept my eye out for street styles and different trends people wore there. Everyone knows that fashion trends start in Europe and migrate over to the states so I was pretty excited to see and buy up and coming pieces.

If you're looking to go to Spain and want to take advantage of the shopping, go towards the end of June because the sales are ridiculous! I had no idea my trip would overlap with the biggest sales of the year, but it did and I'm not complaining! Pieces I found that were normally 60 I found for 20€ and that roughly rounds out to about $22.50. Anyway, I was really inspired by some of the really cool things the locals were wearing and I searched high and low for similar pieces in both local stores and chain stores like Zara and Mango.

I didn't know this until recently but some chain stores like Zara sell different items of clothing in different cities, even locally! So you wouldn't necessarily find the same stuff at a Zara in Costa Mesa that you would in Beverly Hills. The clothing is tailored to the area; you'd find more beachy styles in a Zara in Orange County and more flashy and metropolitan styles in Hollywood. The same is with those in Barcelona.

I found a lot of neat things but this dress has to be my favorite. Its sequins are so meticulously sewn and have a ton of movement so you aren't constantly itchy. You can move the sequins around with your hands and it creates a nice two dimensional look. Best part is I got it for a steal at 20!

As much as the sales at the chain stores were too good to pass up, I really wanted to steer away from them and shop at local stores. I wanted unique pieces that would be quintessential to Spain and nowhere else. The first thing I noticed was that everyone and their mothers...and I'm not joking about this...were wearing these leather sandals...

When I say everyone, I mean that literally. I even saw a ton of men wearing them. It's a really good sandal for summer and its made with real Spanish leather. Interestingly, the bottom sole is made of rubber and it kind of looks like it was made from old tires. I actually kind of like the recycling aspect of these shoes. But anyway, with these shoes it was easy to blend in with the locals, in fact, it was like step 1. All for a grand total of 12€, which is such a good price for real leather.

When I was in Madrid, a big aspect of their shopping was vintage stores. There were a ton of them all over the city with clothing and accessories ranging from the 60s to the 90s. It was so awesome! I trekked into a few of them and found this super cool Spice Girls concert tee that immediately brought me to nostalgia of my childhood.

I also got these platform metallic shoes in Madrid, which I noticed a lot of locals wearing too. The platforms make the shoes so comfortable and they also remind me of the 90s. I've paired the tee and the shoes together to complete a 90s look!

My absolute favorite thing I got was an amazingly adorable mini backpack from Barcelona! I actually saw this backpack in the window of a local purse store on my way to meet up with my brother. I knew I was going to be late if I stopped to buy it so I just took a picture of the store and figured I'd go back to buy it after meeting up with my brother. I did just that, but by the time I got there and asked for the bag, the owner told me it was their last one and they had sold it! I really couldn't believe my luck. With a little talking in my broken Spanish, the owner told me they were going to get a new shipment of them but I was going to be in Madrid when it did. He graciously agreed to put one on hold for me until I returned to Barcelona to catch my flight back home. Amazing! The struggle was real to get this backpack but it was totally and completely worth it, especially at its cost of 20€.

Me channeling my inner gangster watching Ice Cube at Hard Summer Music Festival.

I had so much fun people watching and finding cool new street styles in Spain and I'm really excited to bring some of those styles back with me and share them with you. I can't wait until some of these styles start appearing in our local stores.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Healing Rituals.

Stress is something that plagues a lot of people in the world and dealing with it can be tricky. There are so many ways to tackle stress and other health issues, but alternative, Traditional Chinese Medicine was something I never considered to deal with mine. I had heard a lot about Traditional Chinese Medicine techniques like acupuncture, acupressure, cupping, and moxa but never tried it until I found Healing Rituals in La Crescenta/Montrose.

Just walking up to the office is a calming experience. There is a really cute zen garden in the front that was a perfect place for me to sit and unwind in before my appointment.

Entering the office had an extremely relaxing effect on me. The waiting room is so tranquil with the aroma of lavender in the air, peaceful music playing and hot herbal tea awaiting clients to drink it.

The energy in the rooms alone were enough to change my mood and put my mind and body at peace. I couldn't wait to get in and see what kinds of treatments the owner/practitioner, Melina, was going to give me.

Melina has a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Health Science, a Master of Science in Acupcunture, is a licensed Massage Therapist, a certified Clean Needle Technique Instructor, a certified Reiki Practitioner, and a certified Primordial Sound Meditation Healer.

Just to preface, I had been dealing with a lot of stress from my career and a few other things and it was affecting my sleep. I wasn't able to fall asleep most nights until 6-7AM and the other nights, I couldn't stay asleep throughout the night. I also have a bout of anxiety caused by my stress. Melina was super supportive and listened to my issues and took note of every single one of them before creating a plan to help me overcome them.

The first session I had with Melina was a guided meditation. I have always tried to meditate on my own, especially in the yoga classes I've taken, but I was never able to do it. Melina guided me through it and taught me some breathing and relaxation techniques, and I was finally able to! I felt very calm and at peace with myself through her guidance. I've practiced what she taught me at home for 10 minutes a day and it has really helped me with being able to fall asleep and stay asleep. The meditation also really helped me be mindful of my surroundings and the important people in my life and why they are part of my journey. This personal growth allowed me to let energy flow freely in my heart and mind. I guess this is what it means to open up your third eye!

Additionally, I purchased a bottle of lavender aromatherapy essential oil, which I spray over my bed every night and that has also helped me fall and stay asleep tremendously, without having to take any medication!

She has some really cool merchandise you can purchase that are related to her treatments. Along with her hand made essential oil, you can buy her hand made candles, herbal teas, and crystal healing jewelry.

Melina has also given me cupping treatments both on my back and on my face, and I have to say I felt so pampered by this treatment! Fire Cupping is an ancient treatment where heated glass cups are applied to your skin creating suction. Its a way to stimulate the flow of Qi or energy in your body. It feels like a deep tissue massage and is so amazing. Chinese treatment where heated glass cups are applied to your skin creating suction. Recently, Michael Phelps has been seen doing cupping before he competes in the pool during the Rio Olympics.

I've tried cupping before, but Melina has by far been the best experience I've had. The cupping on my back was a great massage treatment that helped me with some back pain, and it also helped me feel more revived as it released some of the toxins from my body and redistributed my energy flow. The facial cupping also helped me with some headaches and sinus issues I had. Its a great beauty treatment too! Its a good Eastern alternative to Botox since it helps regenerate natural collagen, firms up muscles and releases tension in your face.

In one of my sessions, I did acupressure treatments to tackle my issues with anxiety. I've avoided taking medication for my anxiety and just practiced breathing techniques to overcome it, but I knew I needed something more, so Melina suggested acupressure. I was a very hesitant at first because I have a really big fear of needles. I can't stand looking at them and thinking of them being on different places on my body for a long period of time is enough to heighten my anxiety even more, but Melina was really understanding of my phobia and helped me relax with breathing and meditating techniques. Because of her, I was able to calm down as she placed acupressure seeds on me and it made me feel at ease. She continued to be reassuring throughout the treatment. She knew the exact trigger points to use on my body to help me deal with my anxiety.

I also had some Reiki Energy Healing secession in order to balance my chi or Ki. Reiki is a rediscovered ancient root system by Mikao Usui in the 1800s. The curative qualities of Reiki has two principles: the cleansing of meridians where energy flows and balancing of the chakras to achieve a harmonious energy flow. Reiki is a Japanese medicinal technique where the therapist channels energy into the patient, sometimes using healing crystals to release negative energy. It activates the healing process in the body and restores physical and emotional well being. Usually when energies are low, you are more susceptible to stress and feeling sick. Melina also used crystals, light therapy, and Tibetan singing bowls to guide me through meditation at the same time, and I have to say, I have never felt more calm and happy than I did during that session.

After every session she conducts with a client, Melina does sage cleansing ritual to get rid of all the negative energy that is released from the clients body so that it does not linger in the office and create a stagnant environment that will affect the next client. The sage changes the ionic composition of the air and has a direct effect on reducing stress and is linked to creating a positive mood. Burning sage is one of the oldest and purest methods of cleansing a person or space. This practice has been shared in many cultures among thousands of years. When she taught me about this, I burned sage at my work and after doing it, 4 customers immediately walked in. It really works!

Healing Rituals also holds wellness workshops a few times a month where different teachers and speakers present different topics of alternative medicine. Previous workshops have included sessions on guided meditation, sufi dance classes, pranic healing, essential oil treatments, art therapy, and natural solutions. There is an upcoming workshop for a full moon drum circle coming soon and a tarot card reading workshop during Halloween time! I'm definitely going to try to make it to one of these, they seem really fun! The workshops are a really great way for those interested in learning about alternative medicine to get educated on it and it brings the community together.

My favorite part of my whole experience at Healing Rituals was that Melina was so open and knowledgeable and she explained every aspect of her treatments to me as she was doing them. She answered all my questions and taught me a lot about what the treatments were and what they do, and that is extremely important to me. I like to know exactly what is being done and what the treatments entail. I had five sessions with her and I began feeling effects after the very first one! Overall, my experience with Melina at Healing Rituals was so amazing and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone with any physical or mental issues who wants to treat them with alternative, Eastern medicine.

Healing Rituals is located at 2305 Florencita Ave. Montrose, CA 91020 and the phone number is (818) 636-1266. You can find more information and list of workshop schedules on their website, www.myhealingrituals.comFacebook and Yelp pages.

Monday, August 1, 2016


RThis time of year is one of my favorite times because of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale! This is the one time a year I splurge a little on myself because you can find things up to 50%...yes, I said 50! I've gathered some pieces that I think are to most deal worthy, meaning you'd probably never find it at that price again. Everything from clothes to shoes to beauty has an amazing find that you can't miss out on.

This is my favorite find at the N Sale, this gorgeous 70's inspired jumpsuit by ASTR.

I got this for a steal at $58.90 and its regularly priced at $88.

When the N Sale started, I went on the first day and roamed in the store for longer than I'd like to admit haha. And after that, I went back 2 more times and not to mention, I browsed the Nordstrom website too. From all that, I found the most awesome deals in my opinion and here they are!

Click on the photos below to shop the looks...

1. Tory Burch Heidi Ballet Flat: Everyone and their mom has the typical classic black style Tory Burch flats, but these ones are a little more unique, and that is what I'm all about when I shop...getting unique, eye catching pieces. These flats have a a really cool metallic/pewter snake print with a silver Tory Burch embellishment. This shoe, and even the classic black version, is normally $250-300, but during the N Sale you can cop these for $164.90.

2. Phase 3 Double Banded Wool Fedora: I've wanted a wool fedora like this for a long time, but I was never able to find one that I thought had a proper sized brim...I know, I can be really picky! But this one was the perfect size and I loved the color. It's a really great accessory to have for the upcoming fall. On sale, this hat is $19.90, but after the sale ends it will go back up to $38.

3. Movado Bold Crystal Accent Watch: Leather strap bands on watches are really in's time to retire you Michael Kors watches. This Movado watch is really modern and the rose gold makes it also really chic. My favorite part is the crystal accent on the face! Movados usually have a high price range, this watch is normally $550, but during the N Sale you can get it for $329.90.

4. Kate Spade Forever Stud Earrings: These earrings are simple but really elegant. It adds a really great pop of bling to literally any outfit. Before the sale, these earrings are $38, but get them before the sale is over for $24.90.

5. Alice + Olivia Katt Print V Neck Caftan Minidress: Alice + Olivia is one of my favorite designers, but most of their stuff is a little out of my price range, so I was so thrilled when I saw this super cute dress on sale. It's the perfect dress for upcoming Labor Day parties. This dress is on sale for $265.90, and after the sale ends it will go back up to $398.

6. Foreo Luna Mini Compact Facial Cleansing Device: There's only so deep your hands can clean your face and that's what electronic face cleaning devices are for. This one is compact and really great for travelling. For the low price of $74, you can't miss out on it. After sale price: $99.

7. Louise et Cie Jael Suede and Leather Bag: This two toned bag is so perfect for a fall look. The juxtaposition of suede next to leather is so beautiful and so is the geometric shape of it. It's on sale for $169.90, regular price $258.

8. Tom Ford Makeup Set: This is probably my favorite find, because Tom Ford anything is usually through the roof expensive so I was so shocked to see a full makeup set on sale. And you'll be happy to know...they are all full sized! No mini lipsticks or tiny mascaras. This is the real thing people! It comes with a full sized lipstick, full sized mascara, and illuminating primer. It's on sale for $98.

There are 2 weeks left of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, so get out there and shop! Don't miss out on these amazing deals and more. Happy shopping!