Speed Tasting at FIGat7th – Downtown Los Angeles

TASTE at FIGat7th

When I was a little girl living in southeastern Pennsylvania, the mall was the place for suburbanite kids like me to blow my allowance at. Check out the latest My Little Pony’s, smell all of the scented candles at the funky fantasy and New Age store, try to score a free ball on the Elvira pinball machine, and bum around the food court, enjoying my 10 year old metabolism as I gorge out on Boardwalk Fries, a slice of cheese pizza and an Orange Julius. However, ever since my childhood mall took consumerism to a whole new level of grotesque, I’ve put considerable distance between myself and my old mallrat ways. I prefer simpler, toned down shopping areas to the mass corralling of consumers.

In the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, the newly minted FIGat7th stands as a shopping and dining destination with a decidedly Southern California flavor. Enhanced with Brookfield’s $40 million makeover, this open-air destination offers a contemporary urban retail experience for Downtown’s professional, visitor and growing residential populace. Anchored by one of the nation’s first City Target stores, FIGat7th boasts more than 330,000 square feet of retail and public space, including the TASTE FIGat7th culinary collection.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a big “Speed Tasting” event hosted by FIGat7th to introduce the new fast-casual options patrons can select from while on-the go in Downtown, taking a break from shopping or grabbing a quick bite on their lunch break. I guess the term “food court” is passé, harkening back to those Fast Times at Ridgemont High days of greasy junk food nobody wants to associate with anymore?

Before I dive into my run down, I’d like to offer major kudos to the management of FIGat7th and especially the delightful servers, who busted their butts to deliver hundreds of dishes to a substantially sized crowd.

Below are the highlights from the “best, worst, and middle of the road” samplings.

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Sunday Social

I’d been on top of this post for a while, and I had this all typed up but with no images until this morning. Whoops. This week was up and down and all over the place, with a rollin’ 5.something earthquake centralized in La Habra, roughly 25 minutes away. Like a fool, I was a lot closer to the action when I visited Whittier yesterday and got to experience the plethora of aftershocks, including a 4.1 shaker centralized in Rowland Heights. Earthquakes are certainly not my jam, but I’ll take them over tornados, hurricanes, volcanoes and typhoons any day of the week. At least none of my Monster High dolls fell from their shelf. Whew.

OK, onto the Sunday Social hosted as always by Neely and Ashley.

What is your ideal way to relax?


Massages (even if they are few and far between), napping on the beach, and most commonly, listening to ASMR videos on YouTube every night to wind down.

Where is your favorite place to be?

St. Patrick's Street
St. Patrick’s Street, Cork, Ireland

Cork, Ireland and at the childhood home of my best friend, KD. Many happy memories were created in both spots.

Who do you consider your biggest role model?

Jim Henson with Bert

Ah, this is difficult to narrow down. My 6th grade teacher, Judy, is a mentor and I look up to her a lot (we still keep in touch, after 20 years!), my friend Evin is a role model for me on just how to be a better human being overall, and my famous people role models are Josephine Baker, Susan Powter, RuPaul and Jim Henson.

What does your life look like in 3 years?

If it’s one thing I’ve learned from life, and life with a chronic illness, it is not to project or hope for anything other than to healthy and happy.

If you could go back and change one decision what would it be?

The Rubberbandits

I wish I would have stayed extra long time during my stay in Cork and just rescheduled my doctor appointments. I would have stayed over my 30th birthday and seen The Rubberbandits. It would have been amazing.

What is your biggest accomplishment in life thus far?

Writing stories that entertain and make people happy.

How was your week? High’s and low’s?

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Cast & Plow – Marina del Rey Ritz Carlton

Cast & Plow

I can count on one hand how many times I’ve stepped inside a Ritz-Carlton hotel, most notably in 1997 when my friend Amy absconded me for a quick road trip up to San Francisco to see Phantom of the Opera. Like most of my memories from Junior High, my brain protects me from remembering too much, so I only recall fuzzy edged remnants of my mini vacation. For me, Jr. High was the apex of social drama: lots of flannel and fishnets, an emotionally taut atmosphere, train wreck friends, and other trite cliches of teenage-hood. Now imagine that backdrop with the soundtrack of Marilyn Manson, Stone Temple Pilots Smashing Pumpkins, and No Doubt. Yeah, I was in serious need of a glam injection, thank you, Amy, wherever you are.

That impromptu getaway up north was magical. I was able to take a three day Time Out from my so-called life and spend time in two of the most majestic hotels I’ve ever stayed at to this day: The Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, and The Ritz-Carlton of San Francisco. I still have my blue goblet and my bathrobe from the latter, two treasures from my whirlwind adventure that I’ll cherish forever.

Suffice to say, when Ritz-Carlton knocks on my inbox, I answer!

Cast & Plow, a farm-to-table restaurant situated inside the Ritz Carlton of Marina del Rey, specializes in community-made, locally sustainable cuisine. Inspired by Southern California’s small plate communal dining experience, Cast & Plow’s menu offers familiar and international dishes set apart by an approachable style of artisan cooking, and by a special array of signature dishes, most of which I was lucky enough to sample!

Let’s boogie.

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Quickie Review: Maybelline Gel Eyeliner

Long time no vlog, am I right? Not because I didn’t want to – trust me, I have a growing pile of items I want to reserve specifically for the Quickie Reviews – but because I’m just lazy about putting on makeup. I don’t like to put it on unless I’m going out, and sometimes I don’t go out until the evening, which of course I will never film during because I like natural lighting. Whatever! Excuses, excuses.

Today’s Quickie Review is all about the gel eyeliner that finally got me not only interested in eyeliner, but confident about using it. I think eyeliner only comes second to false eyelashes in intimidating makeup, so I’m glad to have stumbled across the specific eyeliner newb recommendation for Maybelline Gel Eyeliner. As always, my Quickie Reviews are just under 5 minutes and more info can be garnered in the description box on Youtube.

Enjoy and thanks for watching!

Example of use:

Look, Ma, I can apply eyeliner!

Do you use eyeliner? What is your preferred brand?

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Sunday Social

This week was riddled with topsy-turvy health and blessed with some nifty media previews, so you have more delicious food porn to look forward to next week. Yesterday, the most glorious of miracles happened: I cleaned my room.

Foolish younger me assumed I would suddenly have this magical “clean ALL the things!” gene that kicked in and made me motivated to pick up and put away all of my clean clothes, file my paperwork and organize my work space. Hahahaha. Yeah, wasn’t I adorable? I think foolish younger me also could not grasp the concept of depression or debilitating fatigue spells that plague my mind and body. Or the fact that I would possess the two most evil cats in the known history of domestic cats.

Lurking in soda boxes, waiting for unsuspecting victims

Regardless, I’m proud of myself for the pick up of my work space – namely because it makes me feel mentally de-cluttered as well. Let’s hope I can maintain it! Now, on with the questions in this week’s Sunday Social hosted by Neely and Ashley.

1. Top 3 things you cant go a day without doing:

snuggle my cats – chat with a friend – write in some capacity

snuggle attack as punishment for chewing my phone charger.

2. 3 things that scare you the most:

steep slopes – the grave – every living thing in the ocean

I legit can’t even look at this gif without breaking into a cold sweat.

3. 3 places you want to see before you kick the bucket:

Japan – Luxembourg – England

4. 3 movies you will always love:

The Goonies – Labyrinth – Pete’s Dragon

It’s a brazzle dazzle day, damn it.

5. 3 favorite current songs:

Venus by Lady GaGa – Guren no Yumiya by Linked Horizon – Offering by Black City Lights

And with that, I bid you a good week!

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Hornblower Cruises Champagne Brunch

Hornblower Champagne Brunch Cruise - Newport Beach

Hornblower Cruises

This post was a year in the making and for the good people of Hornblower Cruises, I apologize. Shortly after I completed this assignment for my former place of employment, I wound up in the hospital. Directly after my discharge, the company was sold, making most of us lowly writers redundant. As this was one of my last assignments with the company, I had to get beyond the point of feeling a touch bitter before I could blog about it. You know what I mean, unless you don’t. It’s that one job you just can’t help but wrinkle your nose in dismay whenever you think about it because things went so horribly wrong. OK, I know, take it to the therapist not my blog. Anyway. Time drags on, yadda yadda, here we are eleven months later.

Hornblower Cruises and Events offers up several kinds of waterfront activities: The Dinner Cruise, Champagne Brunch Cruise and holiday cruises like their upcoming Easter and Mother’s Day Cruises. Their fleet is offered for corporate and other private events for Marina del Rey, Newport Beach, San Diego and plethora of other ports around the U.S.A.

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Sunday Social

This is a week I would like to definitely put behind me. My health issues are far from over, but this bumpy beginning can at least seep into the ether of the past where it belongs. Time for a little fun and blogging basics, back to the Sunday Social hosted by Ashley and Neely.

1. How much time do you spend on Social Media a day?…be honest

Does tumblr count as social media? I suppose it does. In that case, too much time. I’ve quite a bit of time on my hands and a knack for social media, though, so if anyone out there wants to fit me into their business budget, drop me a line. *insert shameless eyebrow wiggle here*

2. How long were you reading blogs before you started a blog?

Define blog. If we’re talking about personal websites, about real people and not fictional ones…I uhm. Look. I operated my first Geocities website in 1998, and I’d been active on the web since 1997, but it was all mostly fandom based websites I trolled way back when. I started my first Livejournal in 2000 and followed my friends. I think this counts. So I guess the answer is not long…? Kind of around the same time.

3. What is your favorite kind of cupcake?

Pumpkin and a really moist, rich chocolate based cupcake from My Sweet Cupcake.

Nutella Cupcake

4. Do you eat fast food? If so what’s your favorite?

I’ve eliminated most fast food from my diet, but I still indulge in a little El Pollo Loco once in a while and on the rarest of blue moons, an egg mcMuffin.

5. What is the most random thing someone would find in your purse?

Disabled parking placard. I don’t use it often, but on the days when my ticker is giving me trouble, it comes in handy.

6. What is the weirdest TV show you watch?

Weird is relative; what is considered weird for most people easily seems normal for me. Out of the history of TV shows I’ve watched the “weirdest” would be Sex and the City, maybe? Since it was so popular and normal and seemingly not my thing. I love it and own all of it. Now, the traditional weirdest TV shows I’m into, but once you know me they are not weird but actually quite fitting to my personality and character? Easily:

The above image is from a New Zealand TV show called The Tribe that my friend Jen got me sucked into circa 2006, well after it stopped airing. I own all five series in region 2 and managed to spread the virus to my friend Jimi, who is as equally nuts for The Tribe as I am.

Have a fabulous Sunday!

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