Saturday, July 26, 2014

Feels Like a Saturday

Sometime by early week, I was overbooked with three different events that were scheduled for today. I find it hard to say no to the people I love and overbooking myself tends to be a constant challenge in my life.

By yesterday evening, I had the choice to either drive up the California Coast for a family Baptism, or end-up at the oven the San Fernando Valley for a family BBQ. The third plans were canceled.

Today I was hoping my hubby would simply "pick" for us. He did: we're driving in this God-awful heat to partake in family togetherness at my brothers BBQ. 

I plan on explaining, for the 200th time that "yes I have to stay covered and indoors," because I have "sun allergies," while I peel like I lizard from my ViPeel (more to that later).

Yah me!

But enough about me, how about you: what does your Saturday look like?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Finding ME at Flywheel Fitness

From being pretty much inactive, to training for the marathon. To getting into a car accident that prevented me from walking, let alone running; to working out - religiously - with a trainer; to yet ANOTHER car accident...and then of course, two back-to-back surgeries. Not to mention my many issues with my thyroid.

This, in a nutshell, has been the reason I haven't worked out consistently for the last five years.

To be honest, I like working out. I love the rush. I love the feeling of being able to complete something physical; and, I love how my body-aches turn into muscles.

Unlike most people I know, I also like to try the latest and greatest workouts. Mostly because I don't want to tire of working out. And whats better than to mixing it up a bit to keep you motivated?

So although it had been a while since I had walked more than a couple of blocks, let alone engage in any high energy workout, I was enticed to try Flywheel Spin.

Touted as being more than your average spin class, Flywheel classes mix high-energy music and motivational pep talks between intense cycling routines.
Brett Hoebel, one of the most sought-after weight loss, nutrition and lifestyle coaches in the country, led the class I attended. His credentials include being a trainer on NBC's The Biggest Loser season 11. He is, in other words, a Superstar in the Fitness world.

The Flywheel Spin in Larchmont Village is a bit East of the Westside (where I live), but has its own parking lot, making the schlep worth it (Yah for convenience).

The modern lobby and general areas of Flywheel Spin is unlike the workout room, which seems a little staged, very dark, and the trainers are positioned as theater actors.

It was a wee-bit-wierd at first. But honestly? The darkness in the room, the loudness of the music, and Brett's position at the front of the class made it very easy to stay focused and ignore everything and everyone around me, except for Brett.

In typical American fashion, a couple of huge screens highlighted the fastest person in the class. I think you could see how many calories were being burned. Maybe thats motivation for others, but for me? I didn't care. What I did care about, was that I did it. My personal "torque," allowed me to slow-down or up the intensity of my workout.

In the end, I ended-up working-out for half of the class. First time in more than six months; and yes I was dripping in sweat and I felt a bit ridiculous walking out before the class ended.

But I didn't feel judged - not that I care. But my weakly body did. And it felt nice to know that I was in a space where the instructors and the staff were equally understanding and focused more on finding our inner strength than they did on being the fastest, or best, in the class.
The workout was definitely intense - and as much as anyone tells you that you can workout at your own level, the music and the mantra's said by the instructors in an almost chant-like voice, push you.

You can't stop - even when your crotch is aching from jumping up and down.
Too bad my body isn't quite ready for a workout this intense on a frequent basis. Otherwise I would be here every week - at the very least to listen to motivational mantra's that would help me believe in me.

For the rest of ya, if you are close to a Flywheel, do stop by and take at least one of their introductory classes. Trust me, it's all its cracked out to be.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Meet Ivanabitch

Ivanabitch in the original and peach flavors
My hubby and I like the occasional drink, or two. Although not highbrow drinkers, by no-means, we tend to stick to the more demure and frou-frou grown-up drinks when we go out.

But when we're home, we like to mix drinks that let us have a little fun; and Ivanabitch Vodka fits that mold perfectly!  

With more than ten all-natural flavors, ranging from watermelon to whipped cream, traditional to tobacco, Ivanabitch clearly has something for those who embrace their uniqueness and live for conquering the moment, and doing so with an attitude that says, “This is who I am.
On the day that I received a pair of Ivanabitch vodka bottles, I also happened to have fresh I put two and two together, and whipped-up a drink infused with fresh berries.

Mixing Ivanabitch Vodka is perfect because its clean, fresh taste, is smooth-enough to bring-out the flavors of any fruit that is used for drink infusion.
First, I sliced fresh strawberries and filled a mason jar 3/4th of the way up. Then I added two tablespoons of raw sugar, and filled up the mason jar with Ivanabitch vodka. I stored the mason jar in the refrigerator overnight. 

The following evening, I pulled out the mason jar and poured it in my blender. I also added two mason-jars filled with ice and blended until smooth.

Once blended, I had almost three mason jars filled to the brim with yummy a strawberry vodka concoction, that was really quite simple, yet full of punch.

I topped the mason jars with fresh whipped cream and we sipped all night.
A few days later we realized that we still had a brand new peach-flavored Ivanabitch Vodka waiting for us to taste.  

The first thing I did when I opened the bottle was to smell it. And yes, it smelled absolutely peachy! But, what to do, what to do?

I opened up my fridge and whipped up something else that was a little bit more refreshing, and perfect for a hot summer night.
I used a beer glass and filled it 3/4 of the way up with ice. 

After the ice, I poured orange juice half-way up the glass, added one tablespoon of the maraschino cherry juice, two maraschino cherries and added the peach Ivanabitch vodka to taste. By taste, I mean, how much liquor you "need" to taste. (Sometimes I add one "shot" sometimes more ;-) )

I stirred gently, smoothly, and let the flavors blend together...when done, the party in my mouth was absolutely MAGIC. Magic I tell ya, MAGIC!

I've made this drink MANY times since receiving the bottle - and far and wide - it tastes so much better with the peach flavored vodka, than it does with the original. But you try it, and let me know what you think.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Los Angeles' Newest Lingerie Petite Salon: Sculpted Silhoutte

I met Lorne of Sculpted Silhouette (SS) about 6 years ago, when we were both members of various women business owners’ networks. 

Through the years we kept in touch, watching each other’s businesses grow and evolve. A few months back she called me to share the news that SS won a business pitch competition! Winning this competition allowed her to move her mobile business into a shared retail space on Pico Blvd, in Mid City, Los Angeles.
A few of Bra's available on-site at Sculpted Silhoutte
Seeing how far she had come made me incredibly proud and happy for her. To celebrate, she invited me to come by and see her “Petite Salon” as well as to get a bra fitting - something that I had avoided for some time.

After we caught up on what was new in each other’s lives, the bra fitting began. 

Let me tell you something, a bra fitting at SS is more than putting on bras till you find one that fits; SS engages each customer in a breast education session

Before I received a fitting, Lorne took the time to explain where bra straps, cups, and all the other parts of the bra were to fit.
And what is a breast education session you might ask? Well...First, I learned the proper way to do a self-breast exam. Then I learned how to care for my bras. Finally I learned why I needed the recommended 7 bras in my wardrobe. 

I thought I knew all there is to know about bras and proper breast exams. But I didn't know how much I did't know, until I sat down - yes you SIT DOWN - for my breast education session.

The last step in my appointment was my bra fitting. Yes, Lorne brought out the dreaded measuring tape - - which I avoided looking at.  But, it wasn't that bad. Really, it wasn't!
BEAUTIFUL Swarovski details - ON a PLUS SIZE bra!!
The bra strap details - LOVE THEM!!
Just a few of the Catalogs available to order from
By the end of my fitting, I found out that I'm a band size smaller and my cup is bigger than what I was buying!

With the correct bra size on I looked a little smaller and had more of a shape; and almost looked as if I had lost weight! 

Now who doesn’t want to lose a few pounds instantly? 

Finally, I looked through all the images of the bras I could order in my new size. Although SS has many bra's on-site, several more can be ordered from various catalogs. 

And we're talking BEAUTIFUL bras, with amazing lace and Swarovski details - for plus size gals too...all the way up to a "K" cup! I also found out that Lorne has specialized training in measuring breast cancer patients and women with mastectomies, in addition to women that breast feed.

I chose a bra that was not in stock, but the idea of ordering was fine with me.  I received the bra I ordered only a few days later...and it was even more beautiful in person than it was in the catalog!
The Bra brand that I picked was Conturelle - SO VERY HAPPY with my beautiful new bra!
Lorne's Petite Salon is truly inspired on the European Lingerie Salons she spoke so highly of.  But what makes SS even more fab, is that my experience isn't unique; rather, anyone that makes an appointment with Lorne and her dedicated staff receives the same luxe individualized treatment. 

Your appointment will be dedicated TO the Petite Salon or in the comfort of your own home when you schedule a house call. 
Trust me ladies, if you are in Los Angeles or thinking of coming out here any time soon, you MUST make an appointment to visit Lorne at Sculpted Silhoutte and receive the best bra fitting you have ever received.

To schedule your own appointment, go here and mention that you found out about Sculpted Silhoutte through Coco-Blog to receive your initial fitting for FREE with a minimum purchase of $40 (instead of the listed $50).

Enjoy ladies - and do let me know if you stop by.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Discover the Ocean-to-Fork Trend

Top Chef Janine Falvo, Executive Chef at SIP Lounge
One foodie trend that is fitting of my Southern California life, is the ocean-to-fork movement that Janine Falvo, executive chef at SIP Lounge is spearheading, in where else? But Long Beach.
Largely ignored as being Los Angeles less attractive sister, Long Beach is really a hidden gem an hour south of LAX. Maybe because of this, Long Beach never feels like it reaches LA status with its food, entertainment, or shopping. But things are turning around, and Long Beach is stepping-up to the plate (pun intended), and dishing out some pretty incredible things-to-do, places to dine at, and shopping. But one thing that has lacked is an upscale lounge close to the City Center, until SIP came around.
Touted as Long Beach’s newest hotspot: SIP, is a modern lounge that celebrates the local flavor in both its food and drinks modernizing the laid back vibe Long Beach is known for.  While the lounge decor elevates the Renaissance Long Beach Hotel, which is going through major renovations.
Sitting in the ultra-plush booth felt relaxing; the lighting perfectly complimenting the modern, intimate atmosphere. Other guests nibbled on yummy eats while sitting in the beautifully appointed chaise lounges, leather couches and plush chairs. Although I didn't venture outside, guests mentioned the beauty of SIPs outdoor patio, which has daybed style seating, a fire pit and radiant heated floor. 
With the Pacific Ocean and its countless fresh fish options just a few blocks away, SIPs menu has been revamped with a major focus on seafood. In addition to fresh caught seafood, Chef Falvo’s kitchen also features the finest organic meats, artisanal cheeses and local produce.

SIPs also offers hand-crafted cocktails from the finest spirits, fine wines by the glass, craft beers and other bold flavorful food options that "evoke energy and connectivity," according to their restaurants website. 
Together with other bloggers, including Michael, I was able to sample this new menu, which I would describe anywhere from inventive to surprising. 

From a poached quail appetizer, to a simple shrimp bruschetta, Chef Janine Falvo didn't skimp on flavors while presenting beautifully plated appetizers that complimented our drinks beautifully.

All-in-all, SIP Lounge made the trip from Los Angeles well worth it, and  gave me a reason to spend a beautiful evening, possibly even a future weekend, in Long Beach.

SIP Lounge
111 East Ocean Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90802
(562) 437-5900
(Located in the first level of the Renaissance Long Beach Hotel on the corner of Pine Avenue and Ocean Boulevard)

Reservations: Not Necessary

11:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.
Happy Hour: 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Parking: Valet or Hotel self-paring

Price: Happy Hour $1-$6 per drink and/or small "tapas-style" appetizer

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