Visiting the Phoenix Art Museum

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

When I finalized my trip to attend Phoenix Fashion Week, I connected with my friends Marissa and Aggie to plan time to see each-other during my short stay in Arizona. Thankfully, these ladies are absolutely amazing and planned a YUMMY South West Breakfast, where I got to meet the LOVELY Sophie Kay and nuzzle with the cuteness that she is.

After breakfast, Marissa took me to the Phoenix Art Museum to meet her horse (You'll see what I mean later on), touch my first Palo Verde, walk in the middle of the sky (video at end of post), and see the Frida Kahlo commissioned painting "The Suicide of Dorothy Kay." As a huge museum nerd and art fan, it made me so happy to be surrounded by so many beautiful works of art, at what happens to be the largest museum in the South West.

Some of the exhibits that I saw included the permanent Contemporary Collection, which is the most active and growing area in the museum.

We were also given a tour of the "From New York to New Mexico, Masterworks of American Modernism from the Vilcek Foundation Collection," which is on display until September 7, 2015.

It was there that I was introduced to the works of American modernist painter Marsden Hartley and saw my first Georgia O'Keefe sculpture.

We also saw the "One-of-Kind, Unique Photographic Objects from the Center for Creative Photography," which unfortunately I couldn't document with photos. But I do want to share the names, quotes and/or a quick overview from the photographers that spoke to me:

I was trained as a painter and was drawing with photographic detail and large scale before picking up a camera for the first time. As this body of work evolved, I got to envision the making of the negatives as drawing with light. - Patricia White  

The negative is like the composites score and the print is like the performance. Not only is each print (even from the same negative) a necessarily distinctive object, but that variation between orients was a desirable reflection of the changing mood and experience of the artist. - Ansel Adams 

Betty Hahn - Used her photographs as a canvas, and decorated each picture with her paintings or drawings to create a unique visual perspective on simple panoramas.

These are just some of the highlights from my visit to the Phoenix Art Museum, that also included a stop at the Museum Store - and of course I picked-up some goodies. My favorite? I GORGOUS summer scarf that I promise to share picture of very soon!

It goes without saying that I'm looking forward to visiting the museum again and spending time at the sculpture garden and viewing the fashion collection - which I didn't get to see this time around.

Learn more about the Phoenix Art Museum and their current exhibits here:

Ana Lydia

P.S. Marissa and I walked in the sky!


Lunch at Hermosa Beach Fish Shop

Monday, August 24, 2015

One of the many things I wanted to do during my summer break was to drive to the South Bay and hang-out with my hubby at one of the many beach towns we tend to ignore the rest of the year. So on a recent Sunday morning we drove to Hermosa Beach, AKA "The Best Little Beach City," located just south of us.

True to its tagline, Hermosa Beach is really one of the cutest beach towns in Southern California and only a short 30-minute drive from the Westside (with moderate traffic).

But because of the cuteness element of it, it's hard to find after a quick cruise down the main drag, hubby and I drove east a few blocks and found our lunch spot: Hermosa Beach Fish Shop (HBFS).

Unlike the restaurants in the Hermosa Beach main drag that seem to appeal to a tourist crowd - IF you find parking - Hermosa Beach Fish Shop has ample parking because it's located in the same shopping center as a grocery store and coffee house.

THIS in itself, was a huge deal for us, so of course we said yes to the restaurants invitation to stop by for lunch.

The restaurant is a casual locals hangout with both indoor and dog-friendly outdoor seating, that has a walk-up-to-order and seat yourself-fast-casual-theme that has become commonplace in the So Cal restaurant scene.

The menu is extensive yet heavily focused on its namesake: fresh Seafood delivered daily. But the best part about it? Fish, shrimp, scallops, or lobster, can be prepared any way you like, and seasoned with any one or any two (or three!) marinades or rubs of your choosing, and either grilled or pan fried.

But it gets better!

The seafood can either be prepared and served in tacos, over a salad or as a plate. Everything, and I mean, everything including the tacos, are large servings and can be shared.

You can complement your dishes with their house green salsa (OMG - SO good!), red salsa, and some dishes are served with a tropical mango salsa.

The sides, from the rice, to the steamed vegetables, are prepared and seasoned perfectly; while the seaweed side salad was a refreshing and tangy.

We tried the clam chowder, which was a light yet creamy chowder that was the perfect start to our meal.  We then had the blackened-shrimp appetizer that was served with their spicy aioli - it was a perfect "blackened" rub that was so good, we're still talking about it.

For our main course, hubby had a grilled sea bass prepared with "garlic butter," while I ordered the pan-fried scallops seasoned with a chipotle glaze. The scallops were very good, but the sea bass was outstanding. An absolute must try!

As for drinks, while my hubby and I didn't drink adult drinks this time around, we were pleasantly surprised at the Hermosa Beach Fish Shop's selection of local beer on tap and finding out that the restaurant doesn't have a corkage fee!

While we don't live a short driving distance to the Hermosa Beach Fish Shop, we will definitely come back and spend a weekend afternoon with Princess Maya.

I also invite you to check-out Hermosa Beach Fish Shop on Faceook to stay updated on their specials and events:

Do let me know when you stop by!

Ana Lydia

Introducing Totah Designs Jewelry

Thursday, August 20, 2015

This is a Sponsored Post. All photography my own Unless Otherwise Noted.

Model wearing Totah Designs Jewelry and Michi Knitwear

Last weekend I was invited to attend Phoenix Fashion Week's Shop Garment District event, by Yolibeth Totah, the Arizona-based jewelry designer and owner of the award-winning Totah Designs.

Totah Designs began as a hobby ten years ago, and has now become one of the most coveted accessory brands in the Southwest.

(c) Totah Designs

Necklaces, earrings and bracelets highlight precious gemstones. Some pieces also use silver or other metals, while other pieces were created with a more budget-conscious woman in mind.

So it makes perfect sense that Totah Designs has been nominated as an Emerging Jewelry Designer by Phoenix Fashion Week!

One of the many reasons that I love Totah Designs is because Yolibeth understands the need to create beautiful accessories for any budget, and for all of the special moments in a woman's life. 

Some of her many fans at the event mentioned how a pair of Totah Design earrings or necklace can easily transition from day, to work, to evening, and look perfect for each of the three separate occasions.

With that in mind, Yolibeth priced her pieces from $10 for a pair of silver and crystal drop earrings, to a timeless double-strand freshwater pearl necklace for only $120, while most pieces are priced at $50.

It seems unfathomable to find hand-made jewelry made with precious gemstones at this price, but Yolibeth has partnered with industry professionals to source the best stones for the lowest possible prices - and passes on the savings to her customers. 

Yolibeth shared with me that "all women deserve to feel beautiful," and "at any occasion," and with that mantra behind everything she makes, it makes perfect sense that we do - feel beautiful when wearing Totah Designs.

For my readers in Arizona, I invite you to meet Yolibeth at her solo fashion show, this Saturday, August 22 at Saturday, at Dressbarn Anthem Outlets, located at 4250 W Anthem Way, Phoenix, AZ, from 7 - 9 p.m.

You will be able to preview Phoenix Fashion Week 2015 jewelry designs upcoming, enjoy yummy refreshments and enter to win one of the many door prizes raffled that evening. Admission is $25 for the VIP Seating and free for standing-room admission. Proceeds benefit St. Jude Children’s Hospital. For more information, contact or buy your tickets here.

If you can't attend the show and absolutely MUST HAVE one of Yolibeth's beautiful pieces from Totah Designs, you can also use the code "2015DC20" for 20% off your online order when you enter this code at checkout.

Ana Lydia

On the Record with Mick Rock

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

This is a Sponsored Post. Photography Provided by Ovation TV and Used with Permission.

Photographers are a different breed of people.

They, we, chase the light and see the most mundane of objects in a different way than everyone else.

But when a photographer works with some of the world's most recognized names in the music and fashion industry, well, you don't just chase the sun, you reach for the stars.

Mick Rock has done just that.

With a career that spans more than forty years, Mick Rock is often referred to as "The Man Who Shot the Seventies." 

His work is both iconic and has been instrumental in documenting the history of modern music. From record covers, to some of the most recognized images in rock history, Mick is someone that is idolized by music fans across the globe.

Today Mick is largely recognized for photographing contemporary acts such as Daft Punk, The Killers, Cee Lo Green, and the Black Keys, among many others; and is now the host of Ovation TV's "On the Record with Mick Rock."

And yet Mick Rock continues to stay inspired...

"The constant flow of great innovative artists from Syd Barrett to Skrillex keeps my photographic instincts primed. Plus a daily dose of kundalini yoga and massage to keep my third eye wide open!!”  - MICK ROCK

Recognizing his talent, not just as a photographer, but as someone that can offer a unique spin on profile series, Mick Rock was brought on by Ovation TV to embark on musical journeys to each of the featured artists hometowns.

The show's raw style and Mick's unapologetic rapport with his guests produces candid conversations and musical performances not usually seen on television.

View highlights from some of the episodes here:

You can also get a sneak peek of On the Record with Mick Rock on VOD and as of July 26, and all episodes will also be available on those platforms the next day after each episode. VOD viewers will also get three extra, exclusive clips per episode. 
I also invite you to visit Ovation TV's Facebook page to get updated information about On the Record with Mick Rock: 

On the Record with Mick Rock airs Sundays at 8pm ET on Ovation TV. 

Ana Lydia

Uplifters Kitchen & Cafe Perfection

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

There's nothing that tastes more like summer than a cool ocean breeze kissing your face while dining al fresco on freshly-made foods that use all the beautiful colors of the season.

It was that charming image in mind, that my hubby and I ventured to Santa Monica to pick-up our morning coffee and a lunch basket on our way to Marina del Rey to spend our Saturday afternoon.

Uplifters Kitchen & Cafe had kindly invited us to try-out their food to-go, but instead turned our wrapped breakfast into a leisurely morning savoring artisan scones, enjoying each bite of the breakfast biscuits, and indulging in the delight of finding something so uniquely Uplifters, that we still revel in the flavor explosions that the breakfast porridge was.

To those unfamiliar with Uplifters Kitchen & Cafe, a Hispanic woman-owned restaurant in the Ocean Park district of Santa Monica, it's a year old restaurant and coffee house, that prides itself in making everything using only the finest local ingredients.

Their lunch and breakfast menu has a range of baked goods, sandwiches, salads, frittatas, flat breads and daily specials.

Chef and Owner Elisabet Spaulding

True to form, as most Ocean Park restaurants tend to be, this is a small establishment with only a few seats overlooking the window and a couple of tables outside. But insiders shared with me, that Uplifters will be growing soon (stayed tuned!).

While everything is made in house, fresh bottled juices and drinks are sourced from local (Los Angeles-based) indie producers and brands.

Coffee lovers can rejoice! Stumpton Coffee is offered on TAP (Uplifters happens to be one of a handful of restaurants in the Westside that sells this coffee fan favorite - on TAP).

Uplifters also has a full coffee bar that creates your favorite espresso drinks and most menu items are vegetarian or vegan friendly, and everything can be prepared to-go or delivered to local businesses. In addition, coffee beans are sold to take home and brew yourself, while many of the art pieces displayed can also be purchased.

For now, you can enjoy breakfast and lunch every day (except for Sunday) at the restaurant or order to-go.

View Uplifters Kitchen menu and hours here: (

Ana Lydia
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