Food

Long Beach Eats

Long Beach is full of great food and new places are popping up all the time. I feel like you can get just about any type of food you desire within minutes except for Ramen. For some reason LB just doesn’t do Ramen…yet. There is a goldmine to be had for the person who opens a legit Ramen noodle bar with craft beer. Your welcome for the idea. Ok, enough with my Ramen rant. Lets move onto what new things I have tried lately and loved…

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Americana Steak and Fries
This place is in my neighborhood and yet it took me years to actually try it and boy was I missing out. The Supreme Steak and Country Chicken hot sandwiches are sooooooo good, the rolls are super soft and fresh, its inexpensive, and the people who own it and work there are super nice. Its a win, win, win!

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Elephant Thai Kitchen
This place is in an area that we don’t usually think to go to to eat although it is super close to where we live. Everything we had was delicious, the staff was very friendly and accommodating offering recommendations, and it didn’t break the bank. It is legit. Its clean, casual and they have a little parking lot in the back.

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Photo by Anne Watson
Padre
This place opened up in a space on Broadway that used to be several different places that were just ok…until now. Padre did a great job with the decor, there is a ton of indoor and outdoor seating and the food and drinks are on point. My favorite things are the fried chicken tacos, brussel sprouts and for a cocktail, well they are all amazing but my go to is the Watermelon Fixx. I love Happy Hour and they do it 7 days a week! Woohoo! They have an interesting railing leading upstairs when you walk in the main entrance. I won’t spoil it for you, you have to just see it for yourself.

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Pizzanista
This spot has a location in DTLA and just opened in Long Beach. It was founded in 2011 by legendary professional skateboarder Salman Agah. I call it hipster pizza but I mean that in the best of ways. It is New York style which I love. We had the Meat Jesus (pictured above) which was drool worthy, the white pizza that was delicious with Sriracha, and the Spicy Chopped salad that was just fine. They sell a ton of pizza by the slice including vegan and veggie which are about $4 and a whole pizza runs close to $30, so its not cheap but everything is super fresh and locally sourced. If you are into cold pizza they sell day old slices in their fridge for $1, so thats a deal! We passed on the garlic knots but they smelled amazing. Everyone who worked there was really, really nice. It’s a great addition to Long Beach!

As delicious and eclectic as the LB eats scene is, it isn’t known for its health food so if anyone from Lemonade, Tender Greens or maybe Urban Plates is reading this we need you! Downtown Long Beach is on the up and up! Come on down, we would LOVE to have you!

There are so many new places to try and we always say we are not going to eat at the same place twice until we try all the new spots but we still end up at our old faves all the time like Long Beach Thai for the curry noodle soup, Pho Hong Phat for the Pho, and Los Compadres for their amazing Molcajete.

What restaurants have been on your radar lately?

 

Holiday Gift Guide

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Whats in your stocking? With the holidays right around the corner I have rounded up some of my favorite things to make your shopping a little easier!

Beauty
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* Mixologie Custom Blendable Perfume Create your own signature scent everyday with these 8 awesome oils or follow one of the fun recipe cards like With A Twist-“For when you are going to chop off all your hair”. This is the perfect gift for any woman in your life.

* Derma E Purifying 2 in 1 Charcoal Mask This is one of my favorite masks because it leaves pores feeling clean and my face feeling soft. Its quick and effective!

* Louvelle Shower Turban In this time of Blow Dry Bars and dry shampoo no one is washing their hair everyday and everyone needs a shower cap. This turban takes it to the next level and is so much chicer then a clear, plastic throw away.

* Nivea In-Shower Hydrating Body Lotion This is brilliant. I thought it couldn’t get any quicker or better then a spray on moisturizer but this takes the cake. Its so quick and easy and leaves me feeling silky soft all day.

* Radical Skincare Starter Kit I am a huge fan of Radical Skincare and this starter kit is the perfect gift for everyone because we all like to try new things! You won’t be disappointed in how this line makes your face look and feel.

* Heliocare Vitamins These anti-oxident vitamins protect you from free radicals and sun damage from the inside out and I feel like they have strengthened my nails too! A great stocking stuffer!

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* PUR Contour Stick Contouring is all the rage right now and this stick is compact and super easy to use if you follow their picture. It comes with a blender and goes on super light and natural. Its the best one I have tried and comes in 5 shades.

* Itiba Lotion in Crucian Spice This lotion is special. It is super hydrating and is hand crafted in St.Croix. The Crucian Spice scent is a warm exotic spice blend that smells like the holidays!

Devices
devices
*Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4X Why pay someone else to torture you when you can do it yourself? This laser hair removal system really works!

* Spiralizer Wow your friends by making fancy spiralized veggies! Works great with zucchini to use in place of pasta noodles for a healthy take on spagetti!

* reVive Light Therapy Anti-Aging System I am a sucker for any thing that is anti-aging and this little device helps stimulate collagen production to keep the skin plump and youthful. Perfect for the device lover on your list that has everything!

BOOKS
books
* Chapter and Verse: New Order, Joy Divison and Me I am a huge music lover and Joy Divison/New Order fan and found it quite intriguing to get inside the mind of Bernard Sumner and the songwriting process.

* The Modern Girls Guide to Life. Revised Edition This revised book is perfect for the modern woman. With information on entertaining, etiquette, housekeeping, basic home repair, decorating, sex, and beauty, this indispensable book has everything today’s young woman should know-but may not!

* The Fire Driven Life: How to Ignite the Fire Of Self-Worth, Health, and Happiness with a Plant-Based Diet I am not currently a vegetarian but found this book to be an extremely well written and informative guide to a heathly lifestyle. You can’t help but fall in love with Vanessa Chamberlin and want to follow in her footsteps to a healthier you. Its the perfect book to inspire you in the new year!

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* Bow Tie Bottle Opener How slick will your man look pulling out a bow tie bottle opener? So James Bond.

* The Carry On Cocktail Set Because every classy guy needs to create his own in-flight cocktail.

* Luxurious Italian Cashmere Socks You won’t know the magic of cashmere socks until you own a pair.

* Sriracha Key Chain Sriracha has long been called “the new ranch” and this key chain size is perfect for the hot sauce addict in your life!

* Kikkerland Classic Survival Tool Cheap and fascinating!

* Arcona Toner Tea Bar This smells earthy and amazing and is perfect for any man who cares about his skin.

ART
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* Weavings by Farron My talented friend Farron makes these gorgeous weavings in all shapes, sizes and colors. Check them out!

* Pins & Nail Stickers by Sara Lyons My friend Sara is so cool and creative and makes super cute pins, patches and nail stickers!

 

Villa del Palmar Loreto Mexico Day 3

Ahhh…day 3 in paradise at the Villa del Palmar. This day was so much fun and jam packed with activities! The beauty of this resort is that they have so many things you can do if you want to or you can just relax! Relaxing always sounds good to me but then I end up doing something. I love to explore and try new things!

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The perfect way to start this beautiful morning was with a guided hike. Carlos was so knowledgable about the geography, ecology and vegetation. He even taught us some survival skills!

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Photo by James Tiffany Photography
After the hike we met with Ivan, the Villa del Palmar Healer who is part of the Wellness Program. We did a sun salutation with him on the beach and he blessed each of us. It was a really beautiful and spiritual moment and one of my favorite parts of the trip. Ivan had great energy and the whole experience was really grounding.

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The afternoon was spent boating and snorkling around the gorgeous islands of Loreto. The landscape was unlike anything I had ever seen with cactus growing on mountains beside crystal blue water. Again, I felt like I was dreaming.

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Photo by James Tiffany Photography
Those 2 little snorkel heads are me and my friend Luci!

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After boating I took a very educational class on tequila, taught by the in house sommelier, and even got certified! I learned that Jose Cuervo is only good for cleaning toilets ­čśë and I do like the taste of tequila, I just had to taste a bunch to find the right one!

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Our final evening included a “Fiesta Mexicana” dinner buffet at The Market Restaurant and a cultural show. I think my girl Kitty can totally rock a sombrero!

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The next morning I paddle boarded at 7am and absorbed all of the peace and beauty of the early morning on the Sea of Cortez before packing my bags to head home.

The town of Loreto and the Villa del Palmar dazzled me with its beauty and warm hospitality. This trip will forever fuel my spirit and warm my heart. I will definitely be back one day but in the meantime I will continue to be inspired by my experiences and the memories created there!

The Villa del Palmar Islands of Loreto is offering my readers a rate of $119 USD per night in a Deluxe Studio suite, plus taxes & gratuities. You can book your getaway now for travel through April 30, 2016. Terms & conditions apply. Blackout dates apply. Book your stay through reservaciones.vdpl@vgloreto.com. Please reference code FAMNOV15 to receive this special rate.

 

Villa del Palmar Loreto Mexico Day 2

I woke up with the sun on my first morning at Villa del Palmar and still thought I was dreaming. The only thing missing was my husband who I will definitely bring next time! I felt well rested and refreshed, ready for a fun day filled with adventures!

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The morning began with this decadent breakfast spread!

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After breakfast we took a tour of the property. This is the Danzante Bungalow. It is at Danzante Bay on the outer edge of the resorts property and is an 800 square foot yurt! It is totally private with its own jacuzzi on the deck right on the sand! How romantic! I would love to stay there and sip champagne in the jacuzzi under the stars!

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This was an interesting and important part of the tour because it is part of the desalinization system which is the process of removing dissolved salts from water, thus producing fresh water from seawater. A big concern when traveling to Mexico is always the water. At Villa del Palmar all the water is drinkable because of this system! It was impressive. They really care about the environment and do a lot to give back to their local community.

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I loved spending time at the Sabila Spa. It was absolutely gorgeous and soooo relaxing. I had a wonderful mini massage and then spent time hopping around from the jacuzzi to sauna to steam to cold water plunge. They also offer yoga, meditation, juice therapy and have a new wellness program.

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The afternoon was spent taking a scenic 50 min. shuttle ride along the coast into the quaint little downtown area of Loreto. There is shopping in Handcraft Alley, great food/drinks and historic buildings like the church and Mission. Carlos from Villa del Palmar was our guide and really gave us a lot of historical information about the town as well as the best spot for chocolate clams and jalape├▒o margaritas!

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When we returned from town we had a magical meal at Danzante, the fine dining restaurant at Villa del Palmar. My photos don’t do it justice because of the soft, dim lighting but trust me, it was delicious!

More adventures from this trip coming soon!

 

Villa del Palmar Loreto Mexico Day 1

Sunny beaches, snorkeling, hiking, yoga on the beach, paddle boarding, kayaking, amazing food and drinks, an award winning spa and much, much more all nestled into a beautiful cove on the Sea of Cortez? YES PLEASE!!!

Last month I had the pleasure of spending a few days at the fabulous Villa del Palmar resort in Loreto, Mexico. Just a quick 2 hour flight from LAX on Alaska Airlines, Loreto is on the Baja Peninsula and is a sister city to Hermosa Beach, California. Upon arrival I was greeted by a friendly staff member from Villa del Palmar who was ready to shuttle me 30 minutes away to paradise. My group grabbed margaritas to go and we hit the road. Between the gorgeous drive along the rustic coastline and the drink, I was in full relaxation mode when we arrived at the resort. Set on hundreds of acres, the Villa del Palmar is called the only “Million Star Resort” because at night the sky comes alive with millions of stars. It is spectacular!

From the moment I arrived I felt like I was dreaming. The beautifully groomed grounds, friendly smiles from all of the staff members, warm salty air, spacious room, gorgeous pools and fabulous food…could it get any better? Every moment of everyday spent at Villa del Palmar was magical!

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The Villa del Palmar Loreto

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The little bar in the airport makes legit margaritas (no need to worry about the ice!) and you can take them on the shuttle to the resort!

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Check-in was a breeze and my room was gorgeous. I had a giant jacuzzi tub and a  huge balcony that faced the ocean. I was seriously ready to move in! They pulled out all the stops to make me feel special and right at home.

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After checking in I headed straight to lunch which was absolutely fabulous. Everything was super fresh and delicious. I was in foodie heaven! I just want to note that someone in my group was vegan and the resort staff never missed a beat. They completely catered to her dietary restrictions and made her delicious alternatives to suit her needs.

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The room key was a resort wrist band which I thought was really cool and convenient. I never had to worry about losing it. Brilliant!

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The sunsets from my balcony were spectacular!

Evenings at Villa del Palmar can be as quiet or as lively as you want. If dinner and a show is your thing they’ve got you covered. If you want to sing karaoke till your hearts content, you can. Is dancing the night away your jam? There is a disco up on the hill with a shuttle to take there. Want to sit around a fire pit with a glass of wine, no problem. Take an evening soak in the giant jacuzzi, a romantic walk on the beach under the stars, or just have a quiet night in… whatever your heart desires, there is something for everyone at Villa del Palmar Loreto.

More adventures from this trip coming soon!

 

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