Category Archives: check it out

Artisinal LA: A Fun Way to Shop

Artisanal LA Spring Show 2011 at Santa Monica Place

This past weekend was the Artisinal LA show in Santa Monica.  I wasn’t lucky enough to attend their previous events (sometimes I feel like I live under a rock).  This year the event was held at the Santa Monica Place.

This was my first time at the recently remodeled Santa Monica Place and I have to say, I was impressed.  I loved the open air, beach breezes quality (completely different feel and vibe than the Century City mall).  And of course, the views were amazing.  Now if we could just do something about that traffic and the parking situation all would be good.

The event itself was awesome.  I went late on Saturday so the place was pretty empty (and crazy hot).  It was easy to move around and taste all the great foods and drinks.  Looking over the photos in the Artisinal LA Flickr pool, I obviously missed out on quite a few vendors.  That might have explained some of the empty booth spaces or I could have just made a wrong turn and missed out on something awesome.  It happens.

Some of my favorite products were (in no particular order):

  • Cookie Good – Wow, these were some amazing handmade cookies.  My favorite was the Peanut Butter Candy Bar cookie (it didn’t make it out of the parking lot before my husband and I devoured it!).  And I must say, I loved chatting with them (and am considering contacting them for an interview on my podcast series…when I get that up and running – LOL).
  • Gotta Have S’more – I’ll admit, I’ve known of Carmen for a while now as we’re both in the Crave LA book.  If you haven’t yet tasted her version of s’mores (and I typically don’t like s’mores at all), you will be in head-over-heels, can’t put it down, love!  They’re that good.
  • Sugar Bird Teas – I love tea.  A lot.  So I was thrilled to be able to sample some new tea blends.  Their Earl Grey with Vanilla sounds divine.  But I was impressed with their English Breakfast, a long time favorite of mine.
  • Brandt Beef – You hear about how much better corn-fed, hormone-free, sustainably farmed meat could be, but I wasn’t ready for just how amazingly good it was.  With how infrequently we eat beef in our home I just might be able to convince my husband that this is the way to go.
  • VeeV Açai Spirit – Vodka is my alcohol of choice, but to be honest, depending on my mood, I’ll pretty much drink any spirit (as long as it’s not beer, I’m good).  This was my first time trying VeeV and it had a very smooth, vodka-like taste to it – so I would basically use it in any sort of cocktail that called for vodka.  The Spa Cooler they were sampling was so very, very good.
  • Global Gardens – These guys had some great olive oils and vinegars on hand.  Their olive oil was nice and fruity, but it was their walnut oil that wowed me.  Made me wish I was a bit more confident in my cooking to play around with quality oils.  Both their fig and their pomegranate vinegars were beyond good.
  • Imaculate Confections’ Liquor Cakes – I mentioned that I’m a fan of liquor, right?  Well, it goes without saying that this gal also loves cake.  So combine the two and I am ALL OVER IT!  No really, I make a mean rum cake!  While I was tempted by all their awesomely, boozy cakes, I figured the hubs needed a treat, so I picked up the Dark Chocolate Stout (Guinness) Cake with Vanilla Tinted Glaze.  Um…I don’t like beer, but I loved this cake. Yes, I could taste the Guinness, but I could also taste the chocolatey goodness.  Plus I served it with sliced strawberries so that helped mellow the stout-ness.

I’ll say that I bought a gift for a friend at one of these booths mentioned above, but since she follows along I don’t want to ruin the surprise.  There were many other yummies to partake of, but these guys were by far my favorites.

The cool thing about all of this…in late May (5/21), many of these artisinal food purveyors will be setting up shop in a more permanent way at the Santa Monica Place’s new Market Place.  And my favorite cooking school, The Gourmandise School will also be setting up shop there.  I can’t wait (bet you can’t guess what’s on my birthday wish list?).

I didn’t think to bring my own camera (and my lemon of an iPhone takes horrible photos and has even more horrible connection capabilities) so I borrowed a few photos to share below.  But I do encourage you to check out the pool of photos on Flickr to see everyone that was there.

The KleanSpa table

I do love my Klean Spa products!!

p.o.p. candy

P.O.P. makes some awesome toffee!

Pork nuts aren't what u think @CastIronGourmet heh @ArtisanalLA

Pork Nuts...not quite what you might be thinking 😉

Photo Credits via Flickr: greenlagirl, marco1019 & Caroline on Crack

Who Doesn’t Love a Good Bargain?

I think one of my favorite things about living in Los Angeles has to be the access to all the various sample sales around town. And not just sample sales, but whole, full-on events devoted to shopping the samples.

We have Shecky’s (though I’ve yet to go), Sassy City Chicks (love them), Pretty City (really looking forward to the next on coming soon) and the premiere Lucky Shops. But I must say, I’m most looking forward to Kurvee. An entire shopping event for the plus-sized gal. Awesome!

If you’re not up for a sample sale event, then be sure to check out Bargains LA and their killer sample sale app (available on iTunes). With the Bargains LA gang and their handy app, you’ll never be far from a sample sale.

Happy Shopping!!!

Win FREE Tickets to the Sassy City Chicks Spring Fashion Bash


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WHO: Sassy City Chicks Los Angeles Fashion Bash

WHAT: A highly-anticipated Shopping Event for women in Los Angeles, hosted at The Petersen Automotive Museum on Wilshire Blvd.- the opportunity to shop spring fashions at prices up to 80% off retail and a raffle to include select media to promote the event. Find deep discounts from labels like Kova & T, Genetic Denim, Ella Moss, BB Dakota, LNA, and more! Featuring fab swag bags, complimentary spa services, and FREE Svedka martinis.

WHEN: Thursday, March 24th 2011 from 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

WHERE: The Petersen Automotive Museum, 6060 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

WIN FREE TICKETS! The first 25 shoppers to enter ‘BLOGGER GAL’ at checkout will receive a FREE Sassy Tote Ticket!

Don’t want to risk not winning? Then enter ‘LA12’ at checkout for 50% OFF a Sassy Tote Ticket or ‘GEN AD’ for free general admission (gift bag not included).

I was lucky enough to attend last year and had a blast!  I left with a new necklace, two new rings and was *this* close to leaving with a hot new purse.  They’ve got some great deals and it’s in a great and fun venue.

Would love to see you there!

Calling All You Crazy Cat Ladies

I normally don’t post stuff like this (in fact, it came through as a comment and I marked it as Spam).  But hey, this is LA where anything happens…including new reality shows.

Good luck to you and your cat(s)!

Casting SINGLE Ladies that LOVE their pet CAT(s) for a New refreshing Makeover/Dating TV Pilot!!!

Emmy-award winning Television Production Company is looking for single women with pet cats who want to get back into the dating scene as soon as possible and receive a free makeover!

Do you know someone that…
•       Prefers to stay home with her pet cat(s) instead of hanging out with her girlfriends on a weekend night?
•       Is worried about leaving her cats at home alone at night?
•       Rejects a date if her pet doesn’t like them?
•       Has more pictures of her pets in her purse, and no one else?
•       Owns a sweater or hat that features a cat (or cat hair)?
•       Dresses up her cat for any holiday?

We want to hear from you!  This is a light-hearted show that will give someone a fresh start in the dating world and offer a few pointers along the way about how to balance pet-care with heavy petting!  We want to give your friend a New Look and a New Attitude on life! We are here to help!

We are looking for women who:
•       Are located in the greater Los Angeles area
•       Are at least 18 years old and over
•       Have at least one pet cat or more

The show will provide her a FREE STYLE and LIFESTYLE makeover!

ACT NOW!!! Email us ASAP! We’re only casting for a couple of weeks, so hurry!

•       Your name (Nominator)
•       Your contact info
•       Nominee’s Name (Cat Lady)
•       Her contact info
•       City the Nominee lives
•       Pictures of the Nominee with her cat(s)
•       Picture of the Nominator
•       A short paragraph that describes her lifestyle and why she would make a great candidate for this show.
•       If this describes YOU, please send all pertinent information above

ChickChat LA: There’s a New Women’s Networking Group in Town

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Ladies, there’s a new networking group in town for professional, savvy women and I’m honored to be a part of their “Let Them Eat Cake” ChickChat LA launch party on Wednesday, February 23rd.

It’s sure to be a decadent, French-themed soiree. And instead of feeling guilty for letting those New Year resolutions fall to the wayside, we’ll all be toasting the remainder of the year with wine, martinis, champagne, and of course…cake.

And because they believe that a woman can have her cake and eat it too, you’ll have the opportunity to Speed Network with Coaches (like avec moi!) who will help you create a plan for moving forward with your goals in 2011…or maybe they’ll help you find some better and more exciting goals 😉

Included in your ($40 door) ticket price are:

  • Wine Tasting
  • Moet Hennessy Champagne
  • French Martinis, sponsored by Tito’s Handmade Vodka
  • Dry Soda
  • And of course…French nibbles

A portion of the proceeds from the evening will benefit Dress For Success. And anyone who brings a business/work appropriate belt to donate to Dress For Success will be entered into a raffle to win a Zune MP3 Player.

For more information About ChickChat LA and the Let Them Eat Cake launch party, click here.

Hope to see you there!!

Soup is On at Soup-a-Palooza!


I first heard about Soup-a-Palooza about a week ago.  Since then, I’ve been anxiously awaiting the time to share my own recipe.  One of my very simple, right out of the pantry, go to soups.

I discovered this recipe back in about 2004 or so when I first stumbled upon Karen Duffy’s (of MTV|Reality Bites|Dumb & Dumber fame) A Slob in the Kitchen cookbook at Book Soup while waiting on my husband after work one day.  Since then, I have made a version of her White Bean and Pesto soup many, many times.

And please, keep in mind that I am  in no way, shape or form a food or recipe blogger.  So there’s no fancy photo to accompany this recipe.  Which makes sense as it’s really too simple to even worry about anything else.

Karen Duffy’s White Bean and Pesto Soup

2 cups chicken broth or stock
2 19-ounce  cans of white beans (drained & rinsed)
2 tablespoons pesto sauce
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the white beans and simmer for about 2 minutes, then stir in the pesto.  Once you’ve plated the soup, top with grated parmesan cheese.

That’s it.  Super simple.  If you keep frozen cubes or a tube of pesto on hand, you’ll be able to put this soup together in under 5 minutes.  Serve with a crusty bread and a side salad and you’re good to go.

One word of advice…do NOT add any extra salt.  Depending on the pesto and the broth, this soup can sometimes get a little too salty.

For access to more soup recipes, I invite you to Come join Soup-a-Palooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by Bush’s Beans, Hip Hostess, Pillsbury and Westminster Crackers and share your favorite soup recipe.  You never know, you could win some fun prizes.

How to change the world. Ten (not so) easy steps.

I read this piece by Heather Plett and over at Sophia Leadership and it touched me.  Enough so,  I thought I’d share it with you.

In honour of the courageous people in Egypt, who are putting themselves at great personal risk to impact change, I’ve been thinking about what it takes to change the world. This list is as much a reminder for me as anything. There are so many of these things I need to work on – so much courage I need to muster before I’d be ready to join them in Tahrir Square.

1. Shut up and listen. Listen deeply. To the wisdom of God. To the wisdom of others. Just listen.

2. When it’s time to speak, get the cotton out of your mouth and SPEAK, damn it. Speak truth to power. Speak kindness to the hurting. Speak justice to the oppressors.

4. Put your work boots on. Don’t be afraid to get dirty. Get grease on your hands. Pick things up that need to be moved. Go the square. March. Get busy.

5. Put your paint clothes on. Make art. Beautiful art, challenging art, scary art. Just make it. And then share it. The world needs more art.

6. Pay it forward. Kindness is contagious. Spread it.

7. Get down on your knees. Or down on your mat. Pray. Meditate. Even if you don’t believe prayer will change the world, it will change YOU, and that’s a good start.

8. Don’t just tweet it, DO IT! Sometimes talking makes us complacent and we forget to act. Get out there and ACT. Listen to the wisdom of Jen Louden for your inspiration.

9. Don’t let the bastards win. Some people, who’ve let power and riches get to their heads, would prefer that you roll over and play dead. Don’t do it. There’s enough apathy in the world without you adding to it.

10. Give something away. Stop listening to the marketers who want you to believe you’re nothing but a consumer. Let your primary energy be your GIVING energy instead of your consuming energy. Shift the balance. Give until we’ve ALL got enough.

And a bonus one:

11. Dare to dream. Dream BIG. Dream of a world where there is justice for all, food for all, freedom for all, peace for all, water for all. Dream of a world where there is less garbage (both literally and figuratively) and more beauty. Let your dreams drive you.

Original Source

It’s National Coffee Day!!!

While I’m not an addict by any means, I do enjoy a good cup of coffee.  Even better when I’m able to toast to a fun national holiday like National Coffee Day.

In the spirit of this fantastic national holiday, many local and national coffee shops are giving away free and selling discounted coffee. Participating Dunkin Donuts are offering a free cup of coffee and they’re donating a portion of their sales to Special Olympics.

While I hear great things about Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, sadly, we don’t have any here in the greater LA area, so I opted to celebrate by enjoying an iced coffee at my local McDonald’s (no, it wasn’t free, but it was yummy!)

For more coffee antics, check out the Facebook event dedicated to the day.  And if you can’t make it out in this heat for a cup of joe, try brewing your own cold-brewed iced coffee – it takes a good 24 hours for great brew, but so very worth it!

What’s your favorite thing about coffee?

Wanderlust and Honest Tea…Sounds Like a Plan to Me

A little known secret about me…I love, love, love to enter contests and sweepstakes (which is probably why I enjoy arranging for the contests on ConstantChatter too).  I haven’t done it much here, but in my not so distant past, it wasn’t uncommon for me to create massive lists of various contests.  And lucky me, I’ve even won one or two – sadly, no cars or awesome vacations, but some fun things like a necklace and some bath and body products.

Well, I recently heard about the Wanderlust Festival. To be honest, I’ve never heard of the Wanderlust Festival before.  But, then again, I’ve only recently started trying yoga.  Basically, we’re talking about a lifestyle festival combining music, the world’s top yoga teachers, organics, and sustainability in the breathtaking Tahoe, CA.  Music artists and yoga instructors such as Shiva Rae, Seane Corn, Baron Baptiste, Moby, Thievery Corporation and many others will be featured.

Seems the folks behind Wanderlust are  teaming up with Honest Tea (some yummy bottled tea!!) and Whole Foods and giving away a pair of tickets, with full-access to the festival, three yoga classes and access to the stage INCLUDING a two night stay at Squaw Valley Lodge and a $500 American Express Gift Card.   And on top of all that, the winner will also receive a one year supply of Honest Tea & Honest Ade.

They’re also doing some first and second prize winners as well, but you’ll have to check out the official rules and whatnot for the details.  It’s pretty much a text-to-win kind of contest, so head on over to the nearest Whole Foods before 5/31 for the correct key word that you can find on their specially-marked displays.

Me, I’d be happy just to visit beautiful Lake Tahoe, work on my savasana and drink my iced tea!

Best of luck!

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Sassy City Chicks Spring LA Fashion Bash Ticket Giveaway

Did Someone Say Shopping?

Well what about major designers such as Nanette Lepore, Diane von Furstenburg, Marc Jacobs, Dior, Chanel, Prada, Gucci, Juicy Couture, D&G, Norma Kamali, Tory Burch, and so much more at massive discounts?  They’ve got it all from designer name-brand jeans, jewelry, clothing, handbags, makeup and much more and we’re talking up to 80% off here!

Did I mention that they also have complimentary spa services, cocktails and goody bags for the VIPs (and anyone can purchase a VIP ticket)?

And of course, there’s the “Chevy Lounge,” which will include a designer trunk show, hot cars and the opportunity to participate in a Chevy “Ride & Drive” preview test drive or stylish ride-alongs before and during the event.  I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of that Equinox!

What: The Sassy City Chicks LA Fashion Bash will bring casual weekend “Sample Sale” shopping to a hip weeknight happening. In addition to offering an always stunning array of designer duds at reduced prices, Sassy City Chicks will introduce a special shopping bonus to this event with the Chevy Lounge, a shopper’s sanctuary featuring a designer trunk show, hot cars and the opportunity to participate in a Chevy “Ride & Drive” preview test drive or stylish ride-along before and during the event. With great cars, and 30-80% off stylish spring looks, this is a bash you won’t want to miss!

When: Thursday, April 22nd from 5:30-10 p.m

Where: Petersen Automotive Museum 6060 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036

How to get your hands on tickets: Click here to buy tickets directly OR better yet, enter to win one of 10 pairs of VIP tickets directly from Sassy City Chicks.

To Enter: send an email directly to the Sassy City Chicks with the subject “LA BLogger Gal” to enter for your chance to win.

Good luck and maybe I’ll see you there!

For More Information about the Sassy City Chicks Spring Fashion Bash, visit their website.

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Disclosure Policy