#justgotjingled

IMG_8530I was lucky to be selected by leading apparel retailer, JCPenney, to attend iHeart Radio’s Fiesta Latina at the Los Angeles Forum this past Saturday, November 22.

As a sponsor of the event, JCPenney hosted a style and beauty lounge for Hispanic Media at the legendary Sunset Marquis in West Hollywood. As part of their #justgotjingled Holiday campaign, Los Angeles bloggers and journalists were treated to a fabulous afternoon of glamour, fashion and fun with the makeup team from Sephora, hair styling provided by JCPenney Salon, and JCPenney stylists for wardrobe consultations.

IMG_8674

I was charmed by the beautiful accessory selection and trendy clothes featured on the upstairs floor of the villa. They had some awesome rocker looks from their private and designer labels.  There was a variety of styles to accommodate the diverse group of women.  We were all ages and sizes, but there was something for everyone.

I was also taken with the variety of beauty services offered at JCPenney.  Not only do they have a brilliant partnership with Sephora in-store,  they also have the JCPenney Salon.  Shameless Plug for my favorite shampoo and conditioner from Alterna.

In addition, the villa at the Sunset Marquis Hotel was accessorized with some gorgeous accent pieces, tableware and bedding from JCPenney’s Home department.  There was eye candy everywhere!

IMG_8467necklace

 

IMG_8508

IMG_8598

Everything was super chic and well within budget.  What’s not to love?  After the first class treatment I received, its safe to say I’m a fan.  Check out JustGotJingled.com, where you may find inspiration, weekly challenges and heartwarming videos demonstrating random acts of giving.

Black Friday: This year, JCPenney starts holiday shopping early at 5 pm on Thanksgiving Day. Early birds will be greeted with a free 2014 edition Disney snow globe and special Jingle Bell envelope containing a $10 coupon redeemable immediately in store. One out of every 100 coupons will be worth $100 off $100 or more for purchases made Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve.

After we got all dolled up- we were chauffeured to the show!! The iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina featured some of the biggest names in Latin Music.

IMG_5832

I almost cried when I heard Ricki Martin was opening. I’ve loved him with since his Menudo days! Who remembers when he was a telenovela star??  Anyway, besides Ricki, the line up included Prince Royce, Jesse Y Joy, Pit Bull, Daddy Yankee, Alejandra Guzman and several others.  Everyone was ah-mazing but I have to say I left with a huge crush on Colombian reggaeton artist J Balvin!  I think he stole the show 🙂  Enjoy this video and have a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving beloveds!

THANK YOU JCPenney from the bottom of my heart for the beautiful experience.  I will never forget it!

xoxo Dre

Take Me To The Poorhouse

This weekend you could go to a movie or spend less money and support the arts.  I’m pretty sure this is a no-brainer.  It’s time for the Hollywood Fringe Festival where for around $10 a ticket you get theater!  The Hollywood Fringe Festival is an annual celebration of the emerging arts, and this year I’m so proud of my very talented friend Sara Fenton, who is executive producer and assistant director of a one-woman show playing now during the Fringe.

fringe_2013

Performed by brilliant actress and writer Liz Femi and directed by Jane Morris, Take Me To The Poorhouse is a comedy about Lizzie, a middle-class Nigerian third grader who dreams of becoming poor to win the heart of her popular classmate.  I was lucky enough to see this funny yet emotive show in both its budding stages in Sara’s back yard last summer, and in full bloom at the press preview night held last week at the Lounge Theater.  The funny commentary and observations from this adorable little girl living in the rich Nigerian culture during the turbulent 80s reminded me of my own childhood, my own recollection of the 80s, and the often misled conclusions children draw about love, money, adults and life.  I love this show and highly recommend you check it out if you are able to make it out LA. The show is running this month from June 8 thru June 28.

mainart About the show from the website: Told through Lizzie’s perspective, we meet a charming 72 year old “African Matlock”, tackle Voltron (defender of the universe), experiment with Jerry curls, discover a local cook who serves “secret delights of a cow”, and reluctantly befriend a headstrong 7 year old suitor with an over-confident lisp.

Inspired by true events, this “upside-down Cinderella story” is a children’s story for adults – witty and wise, hilarious and heartfelt. Audiences are offered a fresh glimpse of African life as they are introduced to a girl eager to reject herself in to order to feel like she belongs.

Hollywood is home to dozens of Los Angeles’ premiere theaters and clubs, making it the perfect spot for the festival. The neighborhood has always been a source of unapologetic opinion, underground mentality, and a deep passion for the cutting-edge. The Hollywood Fringe is an immersive festival worthy of the neighborhood’s reputation.*

The Festival takes place June 13 – June 30, 2013, although this show premieres earlier on June 8th.

Take Me To The Poorhouse is playing at the Lounge Theater located at 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., 90038.  Click here for tickets or more information.  Call up your friends and experience one of the many reasons I love LA.  Now hurry up and go see this show!!

*From Yelper Katie B.’s Fringe event invite.

Baby It’s Cold Outside

I hate it when people say there is no winter in Southern California.  Pretty sure I almost froze my balls off two nights ago in Anaheim when I met some friends for dinner and a little gift exchange fun at Downtown Disney. Today, I ventured out to do some Christmas shopping in Belmont Shore (2nd Street) and it was 40 degrees!!!  I had on a beanie, fingerless gloves, a scarf, boots- full on glacial mode.  Its totally Christmas in L.A. evident by the guy who looks like Cee Lo Green in a Santa Suit standing on the corner of Crenshaw and Venice, but I digress…

ghetto santa

If you are like me and still need to finish some shopping, here are some of my favorite malls for your best bet to find what you need:

The Grove where it snows nightly- (yes, “snow” in L.A.).  Plus they just opened Sprinkles there so check that out for sure 🙂

Century City Plaza (has been one of my favorite malls since the 90’s)

The Beverly Center (has the best Macy’s in Southern California in my opinion)

South Coast Plaza (Sak’s, Nordstrom and Bloomies in the same mall)

C

However, if you don’t want to battle the messy malls and ridiculous parking situation happening out there, here are my favorite boutique shopping suggestions found in neighborhoods around the city.  I like to shop independent stores whenever I can.  These business owners, artists, and entrepreneurs need us:

Silver Lake- East Sunset Blvd has some of the most eclectic and artsy stores in the city.  I love this area that includes Los Feliz, Echo Park and boarders DTLA.  If you can handle the hipster population, you wil love it too.  Find the collection of interesting boutiques, gift stores, and restaurants near the Sunset Junction (E. Sunset Blvd).

dont-feed-the-hipsters

Montana Ave. in Santa Monica- this row of lovely shops and boutiques is for you ballers not on a budget.  Find plenty of fabulous home stores, gift shops, stylish boutiques and salons.  Prepare to spend and possibly spot some celebs as well.  I’ve seen some A listers here for sure.  Makes for great people watching too.

Little Tokyo- DTLA has been evolving for years now.  It used to be all dangerous and littered with homeless vagrants.  Ok, I guess it still kind of is, but it has come a long way and I heart it!  Now its rocks a sort of Hipster/Hobo culture that I actually enjoy frequently.   Some of the dopest bars in the city are in DTLA as are many foodie approved restaurants. Art, culture and creativity are abound here.  There are lots of places to shop too but I especially enjoy Little Tokyo and the stores within and surrounding the Japanese Village on 2nd.  I got some great gifts here last week.

la_artsdistrict10textc

Long Beach- 2nd St. (Belmont Shore), 4th St (Vintage Row), Downtown, and Main St. off of PCH in Seal Beach are all great places to treasure hunt.  Find book stores, record shops, card/gift stores, vintage stuff, commercial stores, high end stuff, low end stuff.  Something for everyone in the LBC

long beach xmas

Some of my favorite gift shops: Espionage, Pergolina, Pulp (on S. La Brea), Popkiller, & Blue Windows, just to name a few.  Happy Shopping friends! xo Dre

Stroke Of Luck?

Last week I received this email:

Dear EV Applicant,

Thank you for applying for the 2012 Fellowship.  We regret we are unable to offer you a place in the 2012 Fellowship.

There were an overwhelming number of applicants and unfortunately, a very limited number of spots available for fellows.  We wish you the best of luck in the future.

Thank you,

Libby Flores, Program Manager

So that happened.
Rejection stings even when you expect it and even when you know you are better off in the long run.  Still, my ego goes into defensive mode over how they could pass over my genius!  And I can’t help but wonder, did Libs over there even read my material? I mean she couldn’t even be bothered with using my name in the generic mass email she sent out!  Excuse me while I go and rock myself in the corner for a few minutes.
Ok, I’m back.  It is actually easy for me to channel my homie the Dalai Lama and remember that sometimes, not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.  Life has taught me that lesson many times, believe me.  Right now this graduate program takes up most of my time. If I were to be completely honest, its a good thing I was not accepted because I would have probably been a flakey fellow and a flakey student, which is not doing myself or either program service.  In addition, schoolwork takes up about 90% of my free time, leaving 10% to be divided between me-time, family, friends, and fun.  Being accepted would have really squeezed me…
** I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to my loved ones for my absence.  I promise I’ll see you after Dec. 5th!
It sucks, but this is what I’m doing right now, and even though I feel like this:

I know that nothing worth doing is easy, good things happen in their own time and in the words of Nelson Mandela, “it always seems impossible until it’s done.”  When I finish grad school in two years, maybe I will apply for the fellowship again.  By then my writing should have significantly improved and I’ll be better prepared in more ways than one.  For now I’m still proud of myself for putting it out there.  Getting turned down wasn’t so bad! Plus it solidifies my place as a struggling artist, putting me in some really great company.  Yay.

Despite my current circumstances, I have managed to fit in a little fun this month.  The Hollywood Bowl is one of my favorite music venues and I heart Florence and the Machine, so when my friend and fellow artist sent me a text the day before the concert asking me if I wanted to go, I blew off my school work and said hell yes!  What can I say? Old habits die hard.  It was awesome.  Florence Welch is beyond beautiful…

The music of Florence and the Machine has an ethereal quality to it, a sort of bravery that pulses through to the audience. Her songs are like a shot of courage and I believe this is why I find her music so healing.  Her band rocked it.  Songs were performed from both albums, Lungs and Ceremonials.  There were no costume changes, just her gorgeous art deco style dress that looked stunning on her.  She dazzled the crowd with her sprinting and spinning, her bright red hair dancing right along with her.  She was like poetry and that night, the entire Hollywood Bowl was under her spell.  At the end of the show I was left clutching my heart feeling high and valiant.  My friend and I both had tears in our eyes.  She said it best when she turned to me and said,  “That was epic.”

For you culture vultures, I have a VERY worthy recommendation.  Seminar is a hilarious and inspiring play showing now at the Ahmanson.  I have two friends (not related) who went to New York just to see this play earlier this year.  Luckily, it’s on tour now and is visiting LA until November 18th.  The play is about four young writers taking a seminar with a master writer who is actually a douche bag professor type, brilliantly played by Jeff Goldblum.  I can’t say enough good things about this show.  I love love loved it!  But then again, I’m a writer, and every writer will love this play.  But don’t get me wrong, it’s not just for writers! Everyone can appreciate the funny twists the story takes and relate to the struggles of finding affordable housing in New York, dealing with unemployment, facing fears, vulnerability, love, loneliness, mentorship, finding your self and following your dreams.  If you are in LA, go see this play.  Find discount tickets at Goldstar. You will love it.  Trust.

Ok, back to my mid-terms…  xo Dre

Los Fixie Riders

A trend for latino kids around LA are these brakeless bikes known as “fixes”.  If you didn’t know, now you know.  I find this fast bike trend among these inspired teens awesome and uniquely LA.   In Mid-city, Huntington Park and other heavy latino populated areas, fixies dominate the streets as a fun, fast way to get around town and are also used as a form of expression.  The culture and creativity of these young latinos has cultivated this trend that is catching fire around the US.  Perhaps initiated here in LA- where trends are often born, and soon coming to a city near you.  I gotta get me fixie… 🙂

LAist published a post called “Los Fixie Riders” written by Loren Loyd about these bikes.  I had to share it here on my own LA inspired blog.  Watch the 6 minutes video to hear their voices and get inspired.  The muse is always awake in LA.  xo Dre

Jorge Rivas, a Koreatown resident, has produced a video dedicated to fixed-gear bicycles. Hipsters, we know, you can barely contain yourselves.

Rivas’ curiosity surrounding the popular, often brakeless bikes sparked when he saw his 13-year-old neighbor saddle up on one, so he did the following: “I decided to go out with my camera and ask teens all over town why they prefer fixies,” Rivas writes to us in an email today.

With Latino teens ages 14 to 18 as his subjects, Rivas captures local fixie riders describing their active hobby via the following words: “fun,” “easier,” “adrenaline,” “faster,” “tricks,” “different style of riding,” “form of expression,” “creative,” “colors,” “save a lot of money,” “freedom,” “clears up my mind” and “flavor.”

The video reinforces how greatly neighborhood trends can affect—in this case positively—youths. One thing per the video is certain: Latino teens like to get places fast.
“Everybody’s riding ’em, especially Mexican, well, Latino kids,” says Roger, 17, of Mid City

Adieu Foie Gras

Foie Gras is a pricey delicacy often featured at elegant high-end restaurants.  This fatty goose or duck liver, savored for its buttery richness and often enjoyed as a starter with toasted bread and jelly will be banned in California starting July 1st,  sending many foodies around L.A. into a frenzy. Not this foodie, but others…

As a self-described foodie and wine enthusiast myself, I am a regular at many fabulous restaurants around the city. I love any trendy spot with a scene and reputation for expensive extravagant food.  Although I wish my could align my diet with my higher conscience, it is a constant struggle. I often joke I have the heart of a vegan with the palate of a carnivore.  I find that if I really consider where my food comes from and how it is treated and handled before entering the giant farm heaven in the sky, well, it would ruin my dinner party.  So I go on and order while ignoring my conscience on most days.  I shamefully admit that ignorance is bliss where food is concerned and I choose to not seek too many details about what happened to my dinner prior to it being basted, roasted, fried, grilled or braised, then delivered to my table in perfect presentation.

   foie gras rice pudding

Hence my reluctant but complete support for the ban on foie gras, originally signed into law by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2004. Given a seven and a half year delay before enforcement this July 1, 2012, the law will fine a restaurant up to $1,000 for violation.  I used to absolutely LOVE foie gras pâté and actually went to Animal just to order the foie gras loco moco.

Foie gras used to be my idea of the perfect pre-meal treat paired with a lovely crisp French wine (red or white), until I was having lunch with my friend James last year.  We were at a business meeting at The Lobster in Santa Monica on a gorgeous April afternoon when he told me that this was the cruelest and most inhumane practice in factory animal farming.  He explained in horrifying detail how a tube is crammed down the birds throat so that it can be force-fed via this funnel to speed up the process of fatty liver disease.  The bird is force-fed until it is so sick from liver disease it dies or is killed.  Sometimes their tiny little duck liver can weigh up to four pounds.  Once dead, the liver is extracted to make the silky smooth foie gras pâté I used to crave.

See how that puts a damper on my enjoyment of said delicacy?  I recall being equal parts annoyed with James and the food industry.  Annoyed with James for sharing this information with me because now I could never eat it again, and annoyed with the food industry and chefs everywhere who insist on using foie gras and feeding it to ignorant consumers like me! Why isn’t everyone outraged by this practice?  I was ashamed to be a part of the demand that has kept this torturous practice in place.  There are many other delicious things to create and order that do not include torturing a duck or any animal for that matter…

Foie gras production is banned in such countries as Italy, Argentina, Germany and the United Kingdom.  Germany is more humane on this issue than the U.S.?!  Seriously America, we have to do better.  Once again I am a proud Californian, happy to be in state where the collective conscience agrees that this practice is not ok.  It’s cruel and masochistic and disgusting.

If you are not convinced, I’m going to repeat what my mom always warns when she thinks I’m about to sin- which is all the time by the way: “Remember- God is watching you.”   Perhaps you will remember that warning next time you’re about to order. You have a few days left to find diseased duck liver, AKA foie gras in LA.  Some of the places I’ve been to for my culinary sin are:
This homie says “Thanks California!”

When L.A. is a man…

An Ode to the City of Angels…

Los Angeles is the featured city and second installment in a series of short films created by French filmmaker Jean-Claude Thribaut together with Louis Vuitton, featuring various world cities as gender.  Sarah St. Lifer of Refiner 29 humorously and truthfully says, “Leave it to a foreigner to accurately define our city.”  In this two minute film, he essentially defines LA in a way only someone who has lived here, loves it, and really gets it, could.

The writing is poetic with lines like “L.A. has a vague, cool restlessness–a mystery running through its veins.”, and “LA is a loner, stretched under the sun, its luxuries are time and water.”  Images of film lots, the LA river, Melrose Ave., DTLA, LAX, and the Sunset Strip just to name a few, flash as you watch and hear the most accurate and beautifully written piece about LA I’ve seen in a while.  Its a love letter to my city and frankly, I’m flattered.   Enjoy… xo