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DESTINATION RELAXATION Website: Contact: 305-433-8394 Current Special Offer Up to 30% off rates!

Hopkins Bay Resort is located in Belize.

Apart of Central America

and the Caribbean, Belize is bordered by Guatemala, Mexico and the Caribbean Sea to the east. With an average annual temperature of 79degrees, Fahrenheit, rarely going below 60 degrees even in the winter time, makes Belize the perfect place any time of year but keep in mind their rainy season is June to August. We love Hopkins Bay Resort for its beauty, simplicity and style.

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Belize Hopkins Bay is a value-oriented, high. beach resort, aimed at the active end family and small groups. It’s got great spaces both in private and public areas. It offers a large array of activities and complements with a fun, familial, friendly attitude. 23

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(l  r)    high-waisted bandeau bikini. Bandeau top, ruched and boned at sides with  decorative gold buttons at front.   aqua bandeau bikini set consists of a ruched bandeau top with and a low waist bikini bottom, both with elegant v-shaped gold metallic hardware detailing.   

  bandeau swimsuit. Coral stretch-polyamide. Zigzag tiers, optional halterneck strap, moulded cups,  ruched centre with bead-tipped ties, low-cut back, fully lined. Basta Nosara tricot once piece. Two tone with deep V neckline. Adjustable tie below the bust, open back. Reversible 


     Summer 2012 24




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DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT: Designs by Shannon Jackson

Excentrix Swimwear Let’s face it, not everyone is fortunate enough to have that so-called perfect bikini body, but that does not mean you have to wear your grandmother’s swimsuit. Check out these stylish plus-size suits that provide coverage where you want it, while accentuating all of your delicious curves. Plus, every suit is made to order, ensuring just the right fit!

The Seychelle This colorful look (pink, black, yellow, and green) is a halter tankini with a tie back neck. can be worn with Excentrix signature black stringed boy short.

Contact Info: Info@

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The Rasta Girl With a black solid front, and a red, yellow, and green camouflagecups and backstraps can also be worn with our Excentrix signature stringed boy short

The Gye Nyami Sunset A custom two-piece shown with orange top with a red and burgundy colorvariation is a halter with front sheering and a removablestrap. Can also be worn with the Excentrix signature black stringed boy short. 26

Heating up‌ New additions to Rev Up Your Summer Closet! Style tips with Ashley Capps Summer has finally arrived! Barbecues, beach days and festivals are always among the top list of festivities. Now all you need is the perfect warm weather outfit. Summer fashion trends are heating up with bold colors, neutral accents and fun, flowy silhouettes. Printed scarfs & crossbody bags are paired with comfortable, chic wedge sandals or funky platform sneakers. Check out some of the awesome staples you can add to your wardrobe to bring your closet up-to-date with the hottest summer trends! Coral - Not quite red, not quite orange. This bold, ultra-feminine hue is not only flattering on all skin types; it is perfect for making a statement this summer. We are seeing this shade in all types of garments--from a maxi dress to a simple blouse. Coral will accentuate that beach glow.

Kain Summer Dress, $145,

Veda Matisse Jacket, $869,

Ginnifer Goodwin at MET Gala in NYC.

Denim Apparel - Denim is no longer just for jeans. Now available in lighter weight fabrics, denim is doable even in the summer heat. A cute denim vest thrown over a sundress, a denim shirtdress or modern Canadian tuxedos are great ways to think outside the box. 27

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Jessica Alba on the streets of LA

Tory Burch Bridgette Denim Dress, $295

2012 Canadian Tuxedo

High/Low - Party in the front, business in the back! We are seeing this trend all over the streets in tunics, skirts and dresses. This high/low concept is a great way to accentuate your great gams beyond the clichĂŠ mini. Front hems typically stop mid-thigh, revealing just the right amount of skin. This figure-flattering silhouette can be worn casually during the day with or without leggings. Just throw on a pair of killer heels to dress it up for evening.

Norma Kamali Racer Super High/ Low Dress, $195

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High low outfit for cocktails, 28

Platform sneaker - Who said sneakers are just for the gym and running errands? Make a statement by adding a little height to your pumped up kicks. Pair these funky numbers with skinny jeans or with a skirt if you are feeling extra edgy!

Guiseppe Zanotti, Double-Zip Wedge Sneaker, $595

Ash Bowie Wedge Sneaker $225, Urban Outfitters

Wedge Sandal - Not bold enough for the wedge sneaker? No problem, here is another option; the wedge sandal is sexy yet comfortable. It is extremely universal in prints, metallic’s and everything in between. Give your feet and back a rest from heels with this versatile option. DVF, Opal Metallic Leather Sculpted Wedge Sandals $295, Saks Fifth Ave 29

Winonna Wedge, $99, Steven Madden

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Vanessa Hudgens shopping in L.A.

Kyle Minogue sporting Lucite wedges on the red carpet

Crossbody bags - Our shoulders & backs will thank us for this handbag alternative! Crossbody bags allow us to downsize and free up our hands. Depending on what fabric or color you choose, you can really accentuate an outfit with this purse.

Cleobella Cantina Medium Bag, $165,

*Bonus tip-this bag features the neon trend! Pair this with a neutral canvas to make it pop!

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Marc by Marc Jacobs, Natasha Petal to the Metal, Leather shoulder bag, $440 30

Forget raindrops on rooftops and whiskers on kittens, these fantastic products are some of our favorite things for summer! Whether preparing for your nuptials or just looking to revamp your beauty regimen, you are sure to love these products as much as we do!

MICHAEL TODD’S TRUE ORGANIC SKINCARE LINE: The Honey and Oat facial cleanser is light and refreshing and leaves the skin feeling clean, without drying it out. Follow-up with the Blue-Algae Antibacterial toner for a deeper clean and finish off with my favorite part of the line--the Hydration Boost Facial Serum. Use the serum by itself or combine with your daily moisturizer to save time. Just one pump is enough. A little of this stuff goes a long way! Leaves your skin feeling supple and soft with no heaviness. And be sure to use the Pumpkin Nutrient Rich Facial Mask once a week to get rid of dead skin cells and refresh your face. Leaves your skin with a healthy glow that your friends are sure to notice. Careful though, the mask contains glycolic acid and is not for those of you with sensitive skin. On the bright side, it actually smells like pumpkin pie. Yum! 31

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ENVYDERM EYELASH GROWTH SERUM: With so many eyelash conditioning serums making their way onto the market, it can be hard to decide which to try. Our suggestion: Envyderm Eyelash Growth Serum. With an easy-to-use applicator, anyone can apply the serum with ease and accuracy. I saw longer lashes in just TWO WEEKS! You can expect an increase in length and thickness in only six weeks. Another plus, as opposed to some other eyelash conditioners, this one can be applied to bottom lashes and eyebrows. So in addition to long, thick lashes, you get incredible, full brows, too. Watch out, Camilla Belle! All Envyderm products are paraben free! MANNA KADAR COSMETICS: When it comes to make-up, your base is just as important as which shade of foundation you wear or which hues you choose to make those eyes sparkle –it is all about what goes on before the make-up. Manna Kadar cosmetics has you covered…literally. Apply the ‘Camera Ready’ make-up base for a silky smooth finish that will keep you looking gorgeous all day long and minimize pores and fine lines. I used the base before a long day of filming for a docu-series, where I had to work out for over an hour, sweating profusely. When I was asked to give an interview after the workout, all I had to do was blot the sweat away and I was good to go. Amazing! Even my eye shadow and lip gloss were still in place, bringing me to the second piece of the puzzle, ‘Prime Time’ eye and lip primer. Sure to make those awesome summer shadows pop and keep those lips looking totally kissable. Once you have finished applying your make-up, make sure you keep it looking fresh by applying the finishing touch, ‘HD Powder’. It is colorless, making it great for all skin tones and leaves you with a velvety, matte finish. In a word...flawless! Finally, there is ‘Sheer Glow,’ my absolute favorite of the four-some. It is an incandescent liquid that you can wear alone or add to your favorite foundation or moisturizer. It leaves my skin looking healthy and luminous without feeling heavy or oily. I add it to my daily spf 30 facial moisturizer and I’m set for the day. No make-up necessary. Your friends will swear you just had a facial. Use all over for a full body glow! Summer 2012 32

CURLS HAIR CARE: (For all curly hair types) ‘Pure Curls Clarifying Shampoo’ is a heavenly bubble bath for the tresses. After removing the build-up of gels, hair sprays and overconditioning my hair felt refreshed and full of body. Following the clarifying shampoo wash, I took full advantage of the ‘Curl Ecstasy Hair Tea Conditioner’, a heat activated deep conditioning treatment by immediately detangling my naturally curly hair with a wide tooth comb. This is usually a slow and painful chore as I am what you would call ‘tender headed’ but

surprisingly the process was pain free. The sweet mixture of chamomile, mango and shea butter scent made me feel as though I had just took a trip to the candy store without taking in the extra calories. After detangling, I wrapped my hair with a plastic cap as the directions state and set under the dryer for 20 minutes. Upon rinsing, I could immediately tell the difference. My natural curl pattern had returned and the shine was noticeable. I followed up my deep conditioning with the ‘Cashmere Curls Leave in Conditioner’ and the ‘Curls

Milkshake Light Curl Lotion.’ Both products are lightweight and provide moisture with a light hold without flaking or drying out the hair. I was pleasantly pleased with the Curls line; it is now a staple in my daily hair routine.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @picperfectmag & Facebook for contests, giveaways & fun interactive games. Share some of your favorite things with us. If we try it and we like it just might be a featured fav too right alongside your Tweet or Facebook post in the next issue. Don’t be shy, go for it! 33

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AROUND THE EDITORS TABLE: The Debate on Same Sex Marriage with Katasha Nelson & Khalilah Dubose

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I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors, [and] when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or Marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I have just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.� – President Barack Obama 35

Katasha Nelson Editor-In-Chief There was never a doubt in my mind that President Obama would endorse same sex marriage, it was not a matter of if he would, but when he would. Prior to his announcement, I was not thinking about the topic in a religious context, but the dilemma that has occurred since President Obama endorsed same sex marriage is one that has left me soul searching. Growing up, the discussion of same sex relationships generally revolved around a strong religious framework. My Christian beliefs have been a guiding force in my life since I can remember and for me to deny or dismiss my faith is about as likely as my cutting off my right hand. Even with my strong religious background, I am the first to admit that the relationship that exists between religion and sexuality is in the simplest of terms, contradictory. I was definitely taught that being gay was a sin and abomination. I was also taught that pre-

marital sex, divorce and living together before marriage were sins‌however; these were not abominations, JUST sins (adjust the moral compass much?). I was fortunate to travel the world from a young age and attend services in many different churches of varying cultures and denominations; however, there was little, if any, variation from this viewpoint. The fact of the matter is that my views on sex and sexuality are strongly rooted in my religious beliefs. The first time I saw 2 men kissing I was shocked. I did not know what to say, do or go. I had just moved to Los Angeles and I am walking down the street watching men hold hands and kiss and no one even looked twice or thought it unusual. I have never been one for PDA so no matter what I would have been uncomfortable but I would not have called my friends and family back home and proclaimed that I had entered into Sodom & Gomorrah if it were a straight couple.

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Looking back, I was young and limited in my grasp of humanity and respect for my fellow man. At that time, my understanding of scripture translated into condemnation and passing judgment. When President Obama endorsed same sex marriage, I heard the response from some Christians, and I began to struggle with my beliefs, I soon realized I was not so much questioning my religious foundation, but I was perplexed at the constantly moving moral compass that adjusts right and wrong in relation to where its holder stands. Yes, I respect and believe in the institution and sanctity of marriage in a biblical sense. However, as I began to look beyond the four walls of my church I could not comprehend why I ever had the right to determine if two consenting adults should be able to marry. I do not believe a religious upbringing gives anyone license to be judgmental and it saddens me that most religious figures have dealt with a person being gay or lesbian in a manner that does not acknowledge the individual. Shoving

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scripture in someone’s face and deeming them a social ill is nowhere in the bible.

My assertion does not deny my religious beliefs, but takes into account another belief that was embedded in me since I can remember as well. That is the belief that we are all equal. If I have the right to do something, then we should all have the right to do it. This is not the case in many countries and cultures but this is the case here in the United States of America. Do we lay aside our Christian beliefs if we see a hate crime being committed against a gay person and we step in to help? Do we lay aside our Christian beliefs when we marry or support the marriage of those that engage in pre-marital sex, live together before marriage, divorce, commit adultery, etc? The point I

am trying to make is that I do not believe the right to marry is a religious matter, nor do I believe it should be a political one. Same sex marriage is a legal matter, based on the principle of equality. Whether you like it, or accept it, there is an inherent problem with restricting the rights of some fully given to others. As we focus on the changing definition of marriage, we are losing the true definition of love. We are forgetting our humanity. When the church and the White House become battlefields, we risk losing our freedom of religion and we blur the lines between church and state. Historically, we have learned that the ultimate result of war is far removed from the initial cause. What first starts as a desire, becomes a discussion that turns to fear and causes rejection, persecution, rebellion, and eventually leads to death and loss. In the end, no matter who wins, everybody loses. The root desire is not to change the definition of marriage but to remove a restriction that in my opinion should have never been there in the first place. I understand the biblical context in which the 36

restriction was included, but there is also a biblical argument of free will that cannot be diminished. The President of the United States of America is not just the President of Christians, or straight people. He is a representation of all of us, just as Christians should be a reflection of Christ. And Christ did not pick and choose who he accepted, he accepted everyone and still held His beliefs. He walked out his journey on this earth loving everyone he met and giving all free will. Knowing this, believing this, standing on this foundation, who am I to condone or condemn a person who endorses gay marriage and even more, who am I to tell someone they do not have the same rights as me. The fact of the matter is my religious beliefs are mine and they will not change, but my religious beliefs do not dictate that I have power over others freedoms. I am not suggesting that the church endorse same sex marriage but using religion to deny equality is the equivalent of the government deciding the doctrine of a religion. I believe the church should strive to be the moral compass but let me be 37

clear that this should be through deeds and actions, and less religious rhetoric, that extends exceptions to a privileged few. When it comes down to moral matters and the morality of a candidate, my religious beliefs definitely influence my voting decision but I do not believe this endorsement fits into that category. Simply put, President Obama has the right to evolve, he has the right move past tolerance to equality, we all have that right, and we should all exercise it.

Khalilah Dubose Executive Editor How the issue of gay marriage became an ‘issue’ at all still puzzles me. It has been my longstanding belief that a private citizen’s personal choices—whether pertaining to marriage, sexual orientation, or

religious practice—have no place in the political arena. These are the rights we enjoy as members of a democracy. And as such, they belong to EVERY citizen, not just those deemed worthy by a certain sect of our society. But, here we are, still discussing who should have the right to be married. Right-wing politicians have decided that since they are not winning votes with their actual politics, they will use gay marriage to rally their party by playing on one of humanity’s greatest sensitivities— religion. The Bible, for instance, speaks out against same sex interactions. It also condemns adultery, lying, divorce, theft, and murder. But for some reason, these other transgressions seem not to bear the same importance in politics as same-sex partnership. Ironic. (Why aren’t we voting on whether or not politicians who have committed adultery are able to hold office?) Of all these “unholy” acts, why is gay marriage at the forefront of political news? My theory—it is an easy way to manipulate voters and push the right-wing

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agenda. Same-sex marriage seems to be a pretty black and white issue for most voters. Unlike the economy or health care, most voters have a deep-rooted conviction one way or the other. So, if you are a Republican looking to garner votes, knowing that the majority of your party members are of a certain religious group, what do you do? Focus heavily on an issue that is in direct correlation with those voters’ beliefs and declare your support for their doctrine by means of political policy. Voila! Voter manipulation at its best. But let’s take my cynicism out of it. Let’s say that it really is about a commitment to one’s faith and upholding the mandates of one’s spiritual teachings. Fine. How do we then determine who has the authority and the right to define marriage? In the current political discourse, Christians have vehemently declared their opposition to the legalization of same-sex marriage, citing that marriage is defined in the Bible as being between a man and woman. But the institution of marriage predates Christianity. How can a religion define

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something that existed before it did? (I am not, nor is this piece intended to be anti-Christian. But based on the role Christianity plays in this political debate, I am focusing my historical references on that religion in particular. I haven’t heard of many Muslims, Jews or Buddhists in this country speaking out against same-sex marriage.) Dating as far back as Ancient Egyptian civilization, historians have identified “marriage contracts” outlining dowries and property rights. In Ancient Rome, marriage was a means by which social class was achieved and maintained, with couples marrying based on their status in society rather than as a means of declaring their love for one another in religious sacrament. (It is also worth noting here, that gay relationships were encouraged in ancient Roman society). And in ancient Israel, women were considered the property of their husbands, while men took multiple wives and concubines. So, if the institution of marriage existed, to such varying degrees, long before the religion itself, then what right do

Christians have to define what it is or is not? None, by my estimation. Who someone marries is his or her choice, (again, one of the freedoms of this democracy). So the answer is really quite simple, if you don’t believe in same-sex marriage, then don’t marry someone of the same sex. But no one should have the power or right to deny another the freedom of marrying the person they love and being recognized as any other married couple would. In the end, I do not believe that President Obama’s stance will negatively affect his reelection campaign. Fortunately, I think our society is in the midst of a spiritual, social, and cultural evolution—one in which we begin to see past the red herrings and political manipulations and recognize the truth of our similarities, rather than focusing on that which separates us. Regardless of one’s spiritual or religious doctrine, there are certain covenants that unite all believers—love your fellow man as God loves you and judge not. To do otherwise is to ignore the true intention and purpose of spirituality and is a disgrace to any god. 38

COACHELLA 2012: Two Weekends in Review By Matthew Lingo This year, Coachella raised eyebrows by announcing plans to present two consecutive weekends—identical in every way other than being, you know, two weekends instead of one. Many were skeptical about a move that seemed motivated by greed, but some, (myself included), realized that doing two weekends of Coachella presented a unique opportunity to see the festival from different vantage points. Below, I have compared the two festivals using a variety of arbitrary criteria, in order to determine the winner in the least scientific way possible.

THE WEATHER: Weekend 1: Weekend 1 represented a freak incident in the history of my attendance at Coachella--weather that was not blisteringly hot. It even rained on Friday night, a perfect accompaniment for the dusky noirish stylings of Mazzy Star. It was also surreal and somewhat amusing to see a giant umbrella being whipped across the Indio desert. All in all, a nice change of pace. Weekend 2: Talk about stark contrast. It was the hottest Coachella since 2004! This was my first year camping, so I found myself exposed to the intense heat waves from around 9am to sundown–exhausting and brutal. At times, it was so bad that I seriously questioned my decision to attend both weekends. 39

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WINNER: Weekend 1 THE PEOPLE: Weekend 1: I am only 24, but Coachella is one of the few places on earth that actually makes me feel old. Within 5 hours of entering the festival grounds, I witnessed a 13year-old girl bum a cigarette off a man who was far too old to be giving a cigarette to a 13-year-old girl. It was, as you might imagine, distressing. The weekend was also filled with shirtless frat guys prancing about–literally. They could often be seen skipping across the fields as they headed to the main stage to punch things while they listened to the Black Keys or whomever happened to be playing at the time. The aforementioned “bro” demographic did give me my quote of the weekend though, as a disappointed jock bellowed “If the waffle line is long, we are screwed!” Indeed, my friend. Weekend 2: This was one of those times that the heat was a benefit. The same basic personality types showed up to the second weekend, but this time the heat made them too tired to say inane things or move around too much. Everyone was much more relaxed, (or suffering from heat stroke), which made for a more peaceful festival weekend. Weekend 2 also seemed less crowded, perhaps because of the heat, or perhaps because the bloom had come off the fest in its second weekend. After all, who wants to see Snoop Dogg after other people already saw Snoop Dogg? It made for a more low key weekend, which was nice.

WINNER: Weekend 2 THE MUSIC Weekend 1: The exciting thing about weekend 1 is that it was the first Coachella, which meant that some of these bands were performing their first Californian, (or in some cases, American), shows in many years, if not ever. As Coachella 2012 was strong on reunion acts, this provided exciting opportunities for fans of such bands as Pulp, Mazzy Star, and Refused, (whose blistering punk ferocity may have been the most impressive spectacle of BOTH weekends). On the other hand, many of the bands played it safe in terms of their setlists, sticking to their hits. While there is nothing wrong with this, it made some sets less than exciting. That being said, there was still plenty of amazing music to be heard. Highlights included aging British punks the Buzzcocks, who still pack a lot of firepower, and upstart group Le Butcherettes, whose clinically insane frontwoman climbed up the scaffolding during one of their numbers and hung off of it to sing a song. Compelling stuff. Weekend 2: I have noticed that any time a band plays the same venue more than once in succession, the final show is always better. Bands seem to wait until their last performance to start digging deep in their sets and have more fun with it. This proved true in weekend 2 of Coachella. Of the handful of acts I saw both weekends, every single one of them played a better set the second time. Particularly improved were The Shins, who threw in a nice Neil Young cover on the second weekend, and famed hip-

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hop collective Company Flow, whose final reunion show added a dose of emotional energy to an already thrilling performance.

:LQQHUWeekend 2 RADIOHEAD: Weekend 1: One of the main draws for me at this year’s Coachella was Radiohead, one of my favorite bands and, in my opinion, one of the best bands anywhere. They have been on tour for their latest album, The King of Limbs, and while I had seen them multiple times, I was hoping they would save something special for Coachella. Unfortunately, that was not the case for Weekend 1. Professional but unmemorable, this was as close as I have ever seen that band come to being on autopilot. They played a bunch of new songs, and they played a few old songs, but nothing on the setlist was a meaningful deviation from your standard Radiohead show--nothing for the hardcore fans to savor. A few people I talked to who do not stalk the band as I do thought it was a great, but for me it was underwhelming. Weekend 2: While Weekend 2 was not an all-time classic Radiohead show, it was a distinct improvement over weekend 1. This time, Radiohead remembered that some of the people in the crowd have seen them more than once, and we were rewarded with deep cuts from such classic albums as Kid A and In Rainbows. The band also took time to give heartfelt tribute to all of their fans, something that was unexpectedly moving coming from a band known for being cryptic and morose. These small improvements were subtle but appreciated and made for a pleasant end to a sweltering Saturday.

Winner: WEEKEND 2 HOLOGRAMS: Weekend 1: Tupac lives! Weekend 2: Tupac lives again!

Winner: TIE

FINAL DECISION: I hate to be a cop-out, but I am going to call it a draw. While it was technically the same festival, the experiences were so different that it is hard to ultimately choose one. Coachella 1 was packed with good weather, tons of friends, and band after band after band. It was exhausting, but exciting, and seeing bands like Pulp after waiting for years was truly a joy. Weekend 2, on the other hand, was a more subdued affair. Since I had already seen the stuff I really cared about, I was able to relax a little, wander around, and enjoy the spirit and energy of the festival. Two very different experiences, both worth having. 41

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Notable Album Releases:

May: Carrie Underwood, “Blown Away” Country music’s sweetheart continues to blow away the competition. With her first single from the album already certified platinum, Underwood now has 10 platinum singles under her belt since winning “American Idol”.

B.o.B., “Strange Clouds” B.O.B. aka Bobby Ray is back with his second studio album. While his first single, “Strange Clouds,” featuring Lil Wayne didn’t have the cross-over appeal of his previous hits, his second single, “So Good,” is climbing the pop charts and burning up the airwaves.

John Mayer, “Born and Raised” Having undergone surgery to remove a granuloma near his vocal cords, Mayer hasn’t been able to sing during the promotional tour for his latest album. But that didn’t bother his fans one bit. The album debuted at No.1 on the Billboard 200!

K’naan, “Country, God, or the Girl” After the enormous success of his global smash, “Wavin’ Flag,” K’naan went back into the studio with an enhanced perspective and heightened confidence. Explaining the direction of his latest album he says, “love is harder than war”.

Rebecca Ferguson, “Heaven” The U.K. singer and “X Factor” runner-up released her US debut album last month and made her first appearance on “The Today Show”. One of her biggest fans: mega-star and Grammy winner, Adele.

June: Linkin Park, “Living Things With the album slated for release on June 26th, the blogosphere is abuzz with anticipation. The band’s first single, “Burn it Down,” is already in heavy rotation and driving fans into an eager frenzy.

Usher, “Lookin’ 4 Myself” He’s baaack! June 12th marked the release of Usher’s seventh studio album. After a tumultuous three years in his personal life, Usher channels all the emotion, tragedy and triumph into his latest work, and the critics seem to agree that it’s one his best yet.

Maroon 5, “Overexposed” Whether they’re overexposed or not, the first single from the band’s album, “Pay Phone,” had them back on the charts after debuting the song on NBC’s “The Voice”. The album will hit stores on June 26th.

The Offspring, “Days Go By” It’s the punk rock band’s first album in four years! Out on June 26 th, “Days Go By” is also the first of the band’s nine recordings to feature the drum work of Pete Parada.

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 Under The Radar: John West 

Take a dash of Carole King, throw in an ounce of D’Angelo and a hint of Jon B. for nostalgia sake. Meet Mercury/Def Jam artist, John West. I came across this soulful, R&B singer at Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade. The Promenade is always filled with a variety of hopeful young artists, many of whom get a polite glance or nod as shoppers go about their business. But when I heard that pitchperfect tone and silky falsetto, I had to stop. Armed only with charm and an acoustic guitar, the Louisiana native drew in passersby and held their attention for longer than most “street” artists I’ve seen. No gimmicky tricks, corny jokes or studio-assisted vocals–just good music. Although West has already released a selftitled EP, (2010), and a video for his single “Already There,” featuring rapper Big Sean, (viewable on Vevo), he has yet to garner the type of attention he deserves. So, do yourself a favor, and check out a hot up-and-coming artist who breaks away from the oversaturated, dance beat, auto-tune nightmare that has become the norm in current pop music. Treat you ears to musicianship, lyrics and good vocals, with or without Pro Tools. Twitter: @johnwest Music:

BONUS: Emeli Sande Raised in Scotland, this former med student always knew she wanted to be a musician, writing her first song at age 11. Having achieved notable success as a songwriter in the U.K., Sande made her singing debut in 2009, appearing on a track she wrote for the British artist, Chipmunk, which became her first Top 10 hit. After signing with EMI in 2011, Sande began working on her debut album, with its first single dropping in August of last year and making it to No. 2 on the UK charts. Since then, she’s been named Brit Awards Critics’ Choice for 2012 and was nominated for British Breakthrough Act. The complete album, “Our Version of Events,” dropped in February of 2012 and is getting major airplay in the U.S. Keep your ears open for this star-in-themaking!


Summer 2012


CURTAIN CALL “Box” the Stage Play Written by Khalilah J. Dubose

What must it be like to wait for death when there is literally no other option? Playwright, Fred Shahadi explores this question and much more in his powerful stage play, “Box,” the story of four Haitian men so desperate for a better way of life that they seal themselves inside a cargo container bound for the U.S. in 1988. With the realization that their oxygen supply will not last through the duration of the voyage comes the weight of their impending demise and the reemergence of long-buried demons that must be confronted. They are ushered through their transition by an unexpected shepherd–the spirit of Henry “Box” Brown, a slave who literally mailed himself to freedom in 1848. Photographer: David Charles

A Lebanese-Italian, Philadelphia native, Shahadi speaks candidly about his decision to take on a subject matter that is seemingly so distant from who he is personally. “It’s funny, usually when people interview me, they ask around the question they really want to ask which is, ‘why did a white guy write a play with five black actors?’ But I’ve always been fascinated with the spirit, history and story of the Haitian culture. It’s not a black play. It’s a play about freedom and what you’re willing to do for a chance at something better.” After a successful run at the New York Fringe Festival in 2003, the play’s rights were purchased for two years. Last year, the play was reinvigorated through a chance encounter with a colleague. Out of a seemingly run-of-the-mill conversation emerged another opportunity for Shahadi to share his story with new audiences. “A friend of mine told me he was working with a producer…who was looking for material. I sent it over, and almost 18 months to the day, we were off Broadway.” The highly successful 6-week run garnered critical acclaim and was attended by notable public figures like Rev. Al Sharpton and Melke Jean, (sister of Haitian-born rapper and producer, Wyclef Jean). “There’s a very active Haitian population in New York,” says Shahadi, “and many of them would tell me how there’s so much art out there, but not much of it speaks to them and their culture. They felt that this piece did, and that meant a lot to me.” Up next for Shahadi and his groundbreaking show, “We’ve had some very interested theaters in Atlanta and Miami. We’re also working on getting a west coast run of the play produced.” There have also been rumblings of a possible screen adaptation of the play. Shahadi’s “wishlist” for the cast: Jeffrey Wright, Harry Lennix, Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle and Idris Elba. (Here’s hoping that wish comes true!) Be sure to keep abreast of this show’s movement at Playwright, Fred Shahadi

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Theater Review

CURTAIN CALL Playwright, Fred Thomas, Jr., is raising eyebrows and the bar for Los Angeles theater with an insightful, honest look at the politics and pitfalls of our prison system. The stage play, “12x9,” delves into the seedy underbelly of a Philadelphia correctional facility as through the eyes of three very different inmates–Townsend, (Maurice G. Smith), Jasper, (Damien D. Smith), and Train, (played by Thomas). While the audience is entertained by the varying personalities and intricately woven back-stories of these three characters, we are also given a much-needed lesson on the inner-workings and gross misappropriations within the nation’s prison system. Thomas’ writing is heavy with literary technique, compelling content and quick, witty dialogue. In an industry where musicals and comedies reign supreme, “12x9” provides something more profound, leaving its audiences still thinking about the piece long after they have left the theater. It is gripping, raw and brilliant.

For more information contact: 45

Summer 2012



Brace yourself, kiddies - this is not your mother's Snow White. Snow White and the Huntsman is the dark and twisty version of the classic fairytale. Yes, there is Snow White, the Evil Queen, the Huntsman, and some dwarves. But, there is also way more dark magic, more mysticism, and awesome girl fights. It is mom's version on steroids. Everything is bigger and badder. The update opens with an exposition, revealing Snow White's (Kristen Stewart) origin and how her father comes to wed Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron). The Queen quickly usurps power and decimates the kingdom with all her wickedness. After years of ruling with iron fingernails and doing unspeakable things to perpetuate her power and beauty, Mirror Mirror declares that imprisoned Snow White is fairest of all and will bring an end to the Queen’s tyranny. After her escape, Snow White is pursued by the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) and the Queen's brother (Sam Spruell). The Huntsman must then decide whether to reap the rewards promised by the Queen or aide Snow White in her quest to dethrone her villainous stepmother. Let me be clear right off the bat, the undeniable star of this movie is badass Charlize Theron. What a royal bitch! I loved every second of it. I wanted more of her; I could not wait to see her on screen. Theron so masterfully crafts the character of Ravenna that I actually wanted her to be saved. Why? Because as malevolent as Revenna is, she is also relatable. I bet you a basket of apples that people you know will pop into your head as you watch. Ravenna is a person, not just a character. Though evil as the day is long, she is rich with humanity, obscured as it may be. I understand why she’s evil. I get why she's Idi-Amin-paranoid. Underneath it all, she is a scared little girl with mommy issues. It is almost not her fault. I found myself wishing that she would just go to therapy and work through her issues so she could stick around. Alas, that is not how the story goes. Veteran screenwriter John Lee Hancock and newcomer Evan Daugherty can go only so far with creative liberties. Too bad Ravenna did not live in modern times when beauty can be maintained with nips, tucks, and injections. Perhaps she would have been more pleasant. Everything else stacks up nicely against Theron's powerful performance. First time director, Rupert Sanders, did a wicked and lovely job of Summer 2012

creating this dark and twisty world. Play on light and shadow was a little predictable, but well done–lots of red, white, opaque grays and black. But there was also the gloriousness of happier times. Showing the audience what existed before Revenna's reign, provides insight as to what our heroes are fighting for. New characters are introduced, (William, the Duke, the Queen's brother, a tribe of women), giving the old tale new life and dimension. It makes for a more thoughtful, sophisticated narrative. The end is intriguing as well. Things are not tied up in the traditional “and they all lived happily ever after” bow. Some questions are left unanswered, possibly leaving the door open for a sequel…or two? Still, I was left satisfied. There are only two things with which I take issue. The first is a script concern. I never did understand why Ravenna kept Snow alive as a prisoner in the first place. Why didn't she just kill her instead of letting her grow up? There seemed to be no reason for that, other than, had she not, there would have been no story. The other is a casting matter, Kristen Stewart as Snow White. I am not a fan of her work, and I thought she might end up ruining the whole film for me. As a person, that awkward thing she does is fine... it is cool, I can take it. I even like her a little bit. As an actress, it is exhausting and annoying. I really do not know any other way to say it. Her acting irritates me. Granted, she has an innocent quality that works for the role of Snow White, but that is not enough to carry a lead role in a film. Thank goodness, Charlize is so striking as the Evil Queen. Thank goodness the Queen's brother is a worthy opponent for the Huntsman and the dwarves are interesting. And thank goodness the CGI is great. Job well done for Sanders and his cast and crew. Snow White and the Huntsman is an engaging and entertaining take on a classic, and that is not easy to do. Rating Scale: 4 out of 5 stars 1.) Leave Early 2.) Throw popcorn at the screen 3.) Turn off your phone and pay attention 4.) Stay and watch the credits 5.) Grab the DVD on release day. 46

performed her poetry all over the world and opened for such notables as Les Nubians, Sonia Sanchez and Amiri Baraka. Watkins was commissioned to write original poetry for TV One's "Verses and Flow" campaign for Lexus and competed at the National Poetry Slam in Cambridge, Massachusetts in August of 2011, representing the Los Angeles Damn Slam Poetry Team.

Photography Credit: Scott Gawlick

SPOTLIGHT Yazmin Monet Watkins (Actress, Poet, Author) by Khalilah Joi Dubose Spoken word artist, actress and author, Yazmin Monet Watkins, is bringing her broadened ideas of love and romance to the mainstream through her “queerinspired” book of poetry, Love Without Limits: The Bi-Laws of Love, (available on her website, The native Californian and Dickinson College grad refers to her artistic expression as poetography, combining both poetry and photography as a means of giving voice and vision to her own ideas. The eco-conscious artist, who has also worked as an environmental steward for the Disney Corporation, has 47

While Watkins’ heart will undoubtedly always be in the literary arts, she is expanding her interests to include television and film. The actress has already appeared in a number of indie films, including, “Kill Katie Malone” and “Call Me Guilty”. Most recently, she had the privilege of working with veteran director/actor, Mario van Peebles on his latest film project. Monet looks forward to the next phase of her career and to aligning herself with “quality projects that make a difference”. When asked what she wants Picture Perfect Magazine readers to know about her, she responds, “I am just a human being trying to document this experience of being human. I believe in peace, love, laughter, freedom and empowering others through art.” Spoken like a true poet.

Connect with Yazmin on Facebook at and Twitter at and watch as this young, new talent shares her artistic journey with the world.

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Café Gratitude: “Organically Splendid” Written by Peppur Chambers With a new summer menu, this vegan and 100% organic eatery anchored on Larchmont Blvd. near Melrose Ave., is a haven for all things healthy…and this my friends, is a very, very good thing! Besides the delicious dishes developed by Executive Chef, Dreux Ellis, who insists on using only organic ingredients, Café Gratitude has a fantastic concept that keeps you consciously in the moment so that you can BE grateful and focus on the nourishing food before you. Sound novel? It is. With Starters named, “I Am Adventurous” and “I Am Fulfilled,” raw specialties referred to as “I Am Pure” and “I Am Liberated,” cooked specialties sprightly christened, “I Am Magical” and “I Am Awesome,” and breakfast beauties like, “I Am Bright Eyed” and “I Am Peace”, what else can you do but be fully aware and filled with positivity. This is the Café Gratitude mission: be aware, be thankful, be loving and adoring of yourself, be generous, be provided for. Just be. This is a notion often applied to a clothing line or a real estate tagline used to entice young, eager buyers. But at Café Gratitude, it is a way of life that the family-run establishment wants you to employ while within their midst and after you have ventured back into your daily life. Luckily, Café Gratitude’s menu boasts over thirty contributions to your well-being, not including their hearty juices, smoothies, organic teas and coffee and even organic wine and beer! Now, there’s something to really be grateful for. When I arrived, I was greeted by a lovely woman who stood behind the diner-styled counter and was wearing an amazing shade of copper-infused, ruby red lipstick that I would call “I Am Fantabulous”. Her genuine smile was warm and welcoming–in

perfect alignment with the restaurant’s atmosphere. My tasting guide and the General Manager of Café Gratitude, Anna Grace, quickly whisked me off to a four-top on their beautiful covered patio, (always a good idea in LA), and before I can could say, “Holy Sunflower Sprouts, Batman,” there was a sea of enticing food laid before me. I sat slowly, wondering how I would manage such a feast. Anna laughed as I gulped, “I should have invited a friend!” We began with three new signature dishes: two raw – “I Am Celebrating” and “I Am Happy”, and one cooked specialty, “I Am Guapa”. What an empowering feeling to know that I embodied all of those “I Am’s”! I unwrapped our cloth roll-up and began the thrilling journey. Anna, with 13 years of experience in the field is quite literally a raw foods expert. Health and vitality radiated from her as she rattled off information effortlessly. I knew she was someone who not only talked the talk, but also walked the walk in regards to eating well. Personally and professionally, it is her mission to spread love through food. More specifically, she is an active part of a movement that encourages our microwave-food generation to move toward a plant-based diet. Seeking to literally “serve the children a better tomorrow,” Grace is committed to teaching children and adults alike about the long-lasting benefits of a healthful eating plan. Grace recognized that her contribution is through education and providing accessibility, and Café Gratitude gives her the opportunity to do just that. The restaurant was first opened in Northern California and will be adding another locale to its chain in the coming months–this one to be located on Rose Ave in Venice, CA. “I used to be radical [in my quest to get people to be vegan,] but people don’t feel invited when you do that,” Grace told me. These days, she is very happy with people like me who have not necessarily made vegan a first choice, but who are open to trying the cuisine and enjoy the food once they have been introduced to it. She refers to this as “eating worthy”. As I dipped into “I Am Celebrating”, which is a young coconut and zucchini ceviche marinated with tomato, red onion,

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avocado, cilantro, jalapeno and dulse, (sea weed), served on mixed greens with goji-chipotle vinaigrette and flax crackers, I was shocked at how tasty it was. It actually tasted like it had crab in it and was delicious. While I’m not someone who can only eat vegan if a dish is “just like real cheese,” Grace did express that part of what they do at Café Gratitude is mimic what’s out there… pizza, enchiladas, etc. Mimicked or not, in all its beauty, I was so thrilled to be consuming colorful, fresh, organic foods. I felt worthy; I felt good. I felt properly nourished. Incidentally “I Am Celebrating” is the last meal in a cleanse program that Café Gratitude offers, aptly named in celebration of your hard work!

us with a smoothie. As she did so, she commented to Grace, “You are Strong,” (the name of the drink), and Anna replied back to her with total sincerity, “YOU are Strong”. This kind of service and absolution are the norm at Café Gratitude; you become one with your food, your server, your self and your experience. I could not help but think to myself, “hey guys, me too. I wanna be strong”. And strong I was as I took my first explosive sip. “I Am Strong” is a hearty smoothie with bananas, hempseeds, chia (yes, the “Ch-ch-ch-chia! Chia), dates, vanilla, coconut milk and protein Maca malt, (Grace informed me that Maca is good for “stamina” with a sly wink. I winked back and took another BIG sip).

As the menu is still very new, Grace and I were blissfully tasting together. She explained that because all of the food is handmade, even down to items like coconut milk, one dish is never going to look or taste like another from one day to the next. My jalapeno on Tuesday may be a tad hotter than my jalapeno on Wednesday because, in nature, no two jalapenos are alike. Made perfect sense to me. We dug into “I Am Happy” with gusto, (a Mediterranean wrap with live falafels, zucchini cilantro, hummus, spinach, red onion, tomato, cucumber, red chili pepper sauce and garlic tahini dressing on live sun-dried tomato bread), which is so jammed with fulfilling texture, your mouth really doesn’t know what hit it.

When Grace left me to tend to the restaurant, I moved inside to the long “Community Table” to ponder my experience and be at one with the rest of my expertly crafted dishes. (I did call in reinforcements to help me finish!) Café Gratitude has become a celebrity hangout; Diana Ross has become a recent friend of The CG, (my moniker), among many others. What is more important is the value behind what Café Gratitude has to offer its patrons, no matter who they might be. Each and every staff member I came into contact with looked me in the eye, smiled and was genuinely happy we were sharing the same space. Even when packed with lunch-time patrons both seated and waiting outside, the atmosphere was calm, patient and somewhat serene–(i.e., no angry, snide hostesses, no pretentious managers yelling at bus staff; no abrasive clanging of dishes). Café Gratitude is ‘serenity now’. And isn’t that how a worthy meal should be enjoyed?

We were charging on to the “I Am Guapa” sandwich, (Mexican torta on grilled Panini bread with pureed black beans, cashew nacho cheese, spicy red pepper sauce, crispy chipotle-maple coconut, romaine lettuce, tomato and avocado), when a server presented

Café Gratitude: 630 N. Larchmont Blvd at Melrose Ave. Phone: 323.580.6383 Website: From the menu: “Café Gratitude is our expression of a world of plenty. Our food and people are a celebration of our aliveness. We select the finest organic ingredients to honor the earth and ourselves, as we are the same. We support local farmers, sustainable agriculture, and environmentally friendly products. Our food is prepared with love.” 49

Summer 2012

Page TurnerBook Review

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY Written by Khalilah J. Dubose Before I begin, let me first say that “Fifty Shades of Grey” was not our original choice for this issue’s

Turner book review.


However, to ignore the undeniable phenomena that this book has become would be akin to the Emperor walking through the streets of his kingdom completely naked. Lunacy. The book has either been discussed, referenced or alluded to on just about every news and entertainment program for the past couple of months. In the end, I had to see for myself what all the commotion was about. So, without further preface, my thoughts on “Fifty Shades of Grey”. First, let’s get the nuts and bolts out of the way. The novel, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” written by Londonbased author and mother of two, E.L. James, is rooted in the classic tale of boy meets girl woven through a tapestry of lust, angst, and just

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maybe…love--exploring how far outside our personal boundaries we’re willing to venture in the name of an all-consuming infatuation.

After naïve college co-ed and literary intellectual, Anastasia Steel is coaxed into interviewing the ineffably handsome, 27year-old billionaire, Christian Gray, the two find themselves enamored with one another, driven by an intense chemistry that can only be described as raw and guttural. A brief, (very brief), game of cat and mouse ensues, in which

Anastasia is overcome by her growing feelings for the mysterious tycoon whose own obsession with the young Miss Steele drives him to begin his own unique form of courtship. The breadth of his concupiscent intentions however, remains shrouded until she agrees to play by his rules. Other than the all-toocommon story of two people falling for one another, what does “Fifty Shades…” offer that has women all over the country in a frenzy? Sex. Lots and lots-o-sex! Not just “vanilla sex,” a term that the novel’s leading man uses to refer to traditional forms of copulation, but BDSM. After a quick Google search, I learned that this acronym combines bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism. A-ha! So that is what has everyone’s panties in a bunch, (the submissive’s panties, of 50

course, likely in the pocket of her dominant if the book is true to life.) In terms of literary critique, it almost seems silly. The book is not masterfully written, nor does it expertly employ literary technique in a way that lends itself to analysis. (That is not the purpose of this type of book.) It is an effortless read that most people over the age of 14 could manage with no problem. (I shudder to think that any 14-year-old has gotten hold of this book.) One problem I did have with the writing, though, were the constant childish declarations of “holy crap,” “jeez” and “oh my” from James’ heroine.

When did Wally and the Beave show up? She is written as a bright, 21year-old college graduate with a penchant for classic British literature. I expected more in the way of inner monologue than “golly-gee-willickers’. Then there was the inclusion of fodder from Anastasia’s subconscious and inner goddess. I am certain there was a more skillful, less obvious way of examining the protagonist’s internal struggle, but James chose to let her inner goddess “…do the samba” while her subconscious “…hid behind the sofa”--an

attempt at humor and light-heartedness, I imagine. My point, E.L James is a far cry from James Joyce. But, for goodness sake, it is adult erotica. Truly, that is the only expectation that anyone should have when picking up this novel. In regard to the story, I found myself vacillating as to whether or not I was actually enjoying the book. I was most engaged during the first half of the novel as the two main characters became acquainted with one another and all the sordid details of Christian Gray’s alternative coital preferences are revealed. And since I am not one to be coy, I can admit that some of those sex scenes were hot--very hot! After a while, however, I actually found myself bored-bored of the back and forth between the two lovers, bored of her crying and indecisiveness, bored of the incessant descriptions of his “steely gray eyes,” (Yes, we got the pun!), and even bored-dare I say it--of the sex; the endless mind-blowing, core-shaking, earth shattering sex. Listen, I get it. I am a grown woman and I know how great lust can be in the early stages of a relationship. However, I have never, in 51

my limited experience, known or heard tale of a man whose sexual prowess essentially debilitates a woman at EVERY encounter. (Really, Ms. James?!) Sorry, but my suspension of disbelief was worn thin on that one. I also found it a bit farfetched that a woman who had chosen to maintain her virginity until age 21 would so readily give it up to a man she’d known for a week and then engage in all manners of kinky sex, the likes of which she “had never heard of” until she was asked to participate. Nevertheless, I suppose, when the man asking is Christian Gray, it becomes easier to reconcile. This takes me to our leading man. In my opinion, James’ clever crafting of Gray is, in fact, the prime reason that women have been so drawn to this series. He is the quintessential male archetype. He is powerful, handsome and sexy, (there is a distinction), rich, protective, cultured, assertive, dark and disturbed yet romantic and sensitive. He is possessive in a way that becomes a turn on and his desire to control sets the stage for a constant struggle between the two that only serves to fuel their desire for one another. Christian Gray is

Summer 2012

the man that most women want but are afraid to admit they want. We are

modern-day independents after all. We do not want to be possessed or controlled. Unfortunately, ladies, millions of book sales say we do, at least in certain areas of our lives. The question occurred to me while reading this book, why now? There must be hundreds of novels that have been written in the past that explore BDSM in some form or another. Why is it, then, that this book has struck such a resounding chord? One possible explanation, technology. With countless ways to communicate long distance, people are starved for real interpersonal connections and it is manifesting in the need for extreme physical contact. Could be. Or maybe nowadays women are just more open about sex in general and willing to try out different ideas, even if it includes a flogger, leather hand restraints and blindfold. A feasible theory. Or perhaps after decades of

Summer 2012

bringing home the bacon, frying it, washing the dishes, and putting the babies to bed, women just want to sit back and be told what to do…a little. My bets are on the latter notion. What if, after getting to the point where we have control over our whole lives, what we want most is to lose it? Interestingly, some women’s groups have expressed serious concern over James’ work, asserting that it demeans women and bolsters the idea of male dominance. As a moderate feminist, I wholly disagree. Repeatedly, the author makes a point of emphasizing the woman’s choice in the matter. She is never forced into anything and always given an out should she so desire. All characters involved are consenting, intelligent adults, fully sentient and able to make clear-headed decisions. What a woman chooses to do in her bedroom does not negate her commitment to the necessity of women’s freedoms and equality. In my opinion, one thing has

nothing to do with another. All that said, here is the bottom line. The book does exactly what it is intended to do. It wraps you up in a salacious, complicated, dark love story. You get some hot sex, tender moments, and the fantasy of a man who can fly you to a gallery opening on his private helicopter, massage your feet in a sensual bubble bath and ensure that you have an orgasm every time he touches you. (REALLY?!) That is what “Fifty Shades of Grey” is good for. If you are looking for more than that, keep browsing. However, know that you will likely be the only one in your circle of female friends who was not, at least briefly, swept away in the allure of Christian Gray. (Rhyme intended. -) Ratings Scale: Fifty Shades Rating *** * Leave it on the Shelf ** Get an Online Summary *** Worth the Read ****Buy the Hardback *****Page Turner 52


Attention all you hair care, DIY’ers, this is the book you’ve been waiting                               


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DESTINATION The Oaks at Ojai Nestled in northern Ventura County, a 90-minute drive from Los Angeles, The Oaks at Ojai offers a serene, yet upbeat atmosphere to get fit and focus on healthy weight loss, overall wellness and conscious eating. CULINARY PROGRAM: The Oaks is an American Plan spa so included in a guest’s stay is a wellrounded, 1,000-calorie a day food plan that consists of three meals, snacks and beverages. The varied menus feature natural foods, fresh fish and poultry, locally-grown fruits and vegetables, homemade salad dressings, salsas and soups – all without a touch of additional salt or refined sugar used in the preparation. Many meals feature freshly-grown herbs from The Oaks’ gardens. The Oaks also offers options such as a High Fiber Salad, High Protein Salad, Athlete’s Portion and vegetarian menus. Many of The Oaks menu items are gluten-free, including its popular muffins, which are available in carrot raisin, blueberry and orange bran flavors.

The Oaks at Ojai fitness program rates begin at $199 per person, double occupancy, per night. The healthy weight-loss program includes 15 optional fitness classes daily; hikes; three delicious calorie-conscious meals per day, plus snacks and beverages; on-site health advisor; evening activities and wellness lectures; and complete use of all resort facilities. 55

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122 E. Ojai Avenue Ojai, CA 93023 Fitness Spa Days also are available for $129 per person per day for visitors to the area who wish to “spa� for just a day. Guests can arrive as early as 6 a.m. to partake in all fitness activities and meals then stay through the evening entertainment and seminars.


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DESTINATION Green Mountain at Fox Run

262 Fox Lane Ludlow, VT 05149 800.448.8106 Lisa Christie of Green Mountain at Fox Run shares with us that the resort is a healthy weight retreat that helps women stop dieting and start living. “We have been helping women transform their lives for almost 40 years with our pioneering non-diet approach that shifts the way women think and act to achieve long-term success. Diets do not work; Green Mountain helps women learn to listen to and trust their bodies through mindful eating and mindful movement. With real and meaningful change as our goal, we take a holistic approach that considers the entire woman through our program that addresses mindful eating, emotional eating, nutrition basics, intrinsic movement, stress management and body positivity.� 57

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DESTINATION New Life Hiking Spa




For more than 30 years, New Life has maintained a natural approach to diet and health. The cuisine at New Life emphasizes cleansing of the body to get rid of impurities and toxins by using the freshest most wholesome foods available. The menu focuses on weight loss or maintenance by providing a nutritional balance of complex carbohydrates for the energy and fuel of an active vacation and enough protein and fat to meet individual needs.

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Hometown: DMV, (D.C., Maryland, Virginia) Lives in: West Hollywood, CA Occupation: Publicist and Actor -Marc is currently starring in a new web series called “The Gaye Family,” winner of Best Webisode at the 2012 LA Film Festival. Why We Love Him: Who could resist those gorgeous eyes? They are sure to melt you heart.

Kevin Michael Martin

Hometown: Downers Grove, IL Lives In: Beverly Hills, CA Occupation: Actor -Growing up, classmates made fun of Kevin’s red hair, and he wished he could change it. Now, as a performer, he would not switch it for anything in the world. Why We Love Him: He has an Nicholas Sagar incredible sense of humor. Every girl wants a man who can make her laugh. (And those freckles are all kinds of awesome!)

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Nicholas Sagar

Hometown: Forest Gate, London Lives In: Los Angeles, CA Occupation: Actor/Dancer -More than a talented actor and break-dancer, Nick is also a certified bad-ass! He trains in Tae Kwon Do at the competition and exhibition level. Why We Love Him: We American girls are suckers for a sexy accent. And to be honest, those abs do not hurt either.

Sam Adegoke

Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria Lives In: Los Angeles, CA Occupation: Clothing Designer and Business Partner at Fox Studios -Sam has been riding motorcycles since he was 15. This year he is taking a ride from Turkey to Greece. Why We Love Him: Aside from the James Dean sex appeal, he is a modern-day renaissance man. He paints, plays guitar, and even cooks. Ladies, does it get any better than that? 67

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Daane Griffith

Hometown: Grand Rapids, MI Lives in: Hermosa Beach, CA Occupation: Leader in the Lexus Diversity and Inclusion Committee/ Operations Director for Monarch Media Productions -Daane is committed to producing culturally diverse film and television projects that are more reflective a global society. played sports is great Why We Lovecollege Him: He is aand true guys at thingshikes, ‘dude’played Masculinity guy. Heallsurfs, is always sports and is great at all things masculine. Masculinity is always hot!

Keith Yackley

Hometown: Livonia, MI (Lives there currently) Occupation: Promotional Model -This former hockey star snagged the cover of a national sports magazine and gets to travel all over the country for work. Why We Love Him: Keith puts his athleticism to use on the dance floor, too. We have seen him in action and he definitely has rhythm.

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Gabriel Praddo

Hometown: Garland, TX Lives In: Dallas, TX Occupation: Entrepreneur/Actor/Host -In addition to a successful television career, Gabriel has taken on the business world as President of RDS Trucking. Creative and business-minded-the best of both worlds! Why We Love Him: He can whisper sweet nothings in your ear in English and Spanish. And after appearing in Telenovelas for years, we’re sure he knows all the right things to say.

Jason Kelley

Hometown: Northern VA/DC Lives In: Los Angeles, CA Occupation: Actor/Entrepreneur -In pursuit of his passions, Jason left the safety of a successful corporate career and relocated to LA. In five years, JK has landed roles on Criminal Minds, Parks & Recreation, Bones, Jimmy Kimmel Live & the list goes on! Why We Love Him: Besides the obvious -- because he has agreed to do an in depth interview and spread for an upcoming issue of the Magazine! And we plan on getting all in his business! 69

Photographer Credit: Ricardo Mamood-Vega

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by: Hassan Dubose

Turn back the calendar 3 weeks and the NBA world was abuzz with how the Miami Heat were hopelessly lost with Bosh having gone down due to an injury, while the 76’ers were showing Boston what a team with good coaching and an incredible stroke of favorable misfortune, (see Derrick Rose), could do. Meanwhile on the west coast, L.A. was the toast of the sports nation. The Lakers welcomed back Metta World Peace and were looking to crush the dreams of the young and trending Thunder. The Clippers, (que the track) “Lob city chick/lob, lob city chick/CP3 to B/ Griff, all the dunks are sick,” were going to show the aging Spurs that the league’s new youth movement was here to stay. Ah, the memories. But present day offers retrospective clarity. What’s the worst movie in Hollywood? The one about the cleaning guy in a storm…aka the Clippers being swept and the Lakers getting Thunder-clapped. (…nothing?…ok.) Even with Iverson making a cameo for game 6 in Philly, the Sixers couldn’t close that perpetually shrinking window on Boston’s Big 3. And the demise of the Heat was greatly exaggerated. Fast forward to the Conference Finals. After the first 2 games, Wade & Lebron were showing that 2 is greater than 3, while the original Big 3, (Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics), looked ready for the final curtain call. Popovich and San Antonio had the sports world chanting “I WANT SOME NASTY!”–(is there an Summer 2012

autotune ringtone yet?)–while folks at the River Walk envisioned a championship parade with confetti made of Geritol and AARP cards. Then came games 3 & 4. Home cooking was the recipe for success for the Thunder to tie the series at 2, while the Celtics returned to Boston, with a brief dip in Ponce de Leon’s fountain, to knot the ECF (Eastern Conference Finals) series at 2-2. But as the saying goes, “It’s not a series until someone wins on the road.” Then came Game 5. The invincible Spurs, winners of 20 straight regular season and playoff games, had now lost 3 in row and home court advantage. In South Beach, sports casters and writers were united in calling for the scrapping of the Big 3 project in Miami, while critics demanded Lebron’s, Spoelstra’s, and Wade’s heads thanks to K.J. and Hando! (“Uh, spell check?” Nope. Watch the You-tube video of Boston’s mayor butchering the Celtic stars’ names.) Game 6 in the WCF saw the Thunder close out the Spurs at home, in dramatic fashion, 107-99 , to move on to the NBA Finals for the first time as the OKC and for the first time in the franchise since 70

the ‘95-‘96 season with Payton, Kemp, and Schrempf. With a performance for the NBA annals in Game 6, Lebron and the Heat pushed the series to a decisive Game 7, in which the Southern Big 3 proved to be too much for their northern counterparts, with the Heat returning to the NBA Finals for a second straight year. (“Trade who, breakup what?”) And so, here we are in the midst of the The NBA Finals. They say good things come in 3’s, and the Finals are proof, times 2. Durant, Westbrook, & Harden matched up against Lebron, Wade, & Bosh. The young, hungry Heat against the barely legal, famished Thunder. Star power, check. Intrigue, check. Scoring champ vs. MVP, check. Great arenas, check. What more could you ask for? A prediction? Let’s look at the teams first. Both teams can play tenacious defense at times and have amazing athletes. They both love to get out and run and are exciting to watch. OKC has two strengths that the Heat lack. Their bench is phenomenal with James Harden, while Miami’s bench is one of their glaring weaknesses. OKC is also a very good shooting team, from the stars to the supporting cast, especially from the free throw line. Miami, meanwhile, is a streaky shooting team, from their stars to their supporting cast, especially from the line. In the playoffs, OKC is shooting 84% from the line, while Miami is shooting 72%. Although, Ibaka’s 11 for 11 game against the Spurs in game 4 was an anomaly, it does speak to the ability of the OKC front court to make shots. OKC

is also averaging 7.4 blocks per game, to Miami’s 5.2, which speaks to OKC’s defensive prowess. Miami will have the services of Bosh, whom Spoelstra called “…the most important player on the team,” and that was proven in games 6 &7 of the ECF. This series will come down to 3 key points; D. Wade’s ability to return to the consistent playoff performer he has been throughout his career, James Harden’s ability to continue to put up starter-caliber production coming off the bench, and Lebron’s ability to continue to be dominant in these playoffs. As for a prediction, one moment…(opening my new magic 8 Ball, give it a quick test question. “Will the Charlotte Bobcats draft well?”…shaking….All signs point to yes...tossing 8 Ball out of the window!) I will not ride the fence. I will make my prediction and stand by it. As good as OKC is, and they are extremely good and deserving, I think we will witness the return of D. Wade. Couple that with a highly determined Lebron James and I have the Heat winning the series in 6 games!! This 2012 Finals series has all the makings of one of the best since the Lakers vs. Bulls or as recent as Lakers vs. Celtics. I have not been this excited for the Finals in quite a while, because I am partial to both teams. I want both teams to win and do not want either to lose. Basketball fans everywhere should take the time to really enjoy this series. It has LEGENDARY potential all over it. One can only hope it not only lives up to that potential, but serves as the prelude to a run of amazing NBA Finals to come. Enjoy.

* As of Sunday, June 17, the series stands at Miami-2, OKC-1 * 71

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George Wilson is easy‌easy to talk to, easy to listen to, easy to believe and it goes without saying, but I will say it anyway, he is easy on the eyes. What makes this man so effortless? Maybe it is his direct, yet calm tone or his unforced, obvious charm. As shy as he seems, you can tell there is more to this man than just his looks and athletic ability. There is no sense of entitlement despite that fact that he is an NFL athlete with model good looks. George Wilson is fully aware of who he is in the present moment and conscious of the man he is becoming. He is a hard worker, dedicated to his beliefs and his goals. Whether on or off the field, Wilson plays to win. The first step in Wilson’s journey to victory is always to plan. “First I figure out what I want my end result to be, and I try to set some short term goals that show my progress to that ultimate goal. I always tell myself to try to get better at something every day. That way I don’t let time pass without taking full advantage of it,â€? he says.   "   Wilson is on a mission–a mission to give back! As we talk, it becomes evident that he is not concerned with accolades. What is important to him is that the world feel the impact of his good deeds, and he has no intentions of slowing down on giving back. In the midst of pre-season training and traveling, the Buffalo Bills Safety took part in a charity blood drive and made sure he was personally involved in the shipment of all the giveaways for his foundation’s Family Bowling Night and Sports Fest Football and Cheer night, which took place in his hometown of Paducah, Kentucky.

I did not have to ask George what drives his desire, in talking about his weekend activities hosted by the George Wilson S.A.F.E.T.Y. foundation, he opened up about those that had a part in making him the man he is today. “My whole reason for getting involved and trying to be active in my respective communities is because of the investments that others made into me for me to be where I am today–not just my family and friends but my school teachers, my church members, my coaches and everybody that has been there to support me every

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step of the way.� He adds, “I am just paying it forward for the next generation.� As the conversation continues, George shares that for the last 3 years, his foundation has organized a leadership retreat in which he buses 40-plus kids from his hometown of Paducah to Nashville, Tennessee to take part in activities over the course of a weekend on a YMCA campground. During this time, he says his purpose it to expose the kids to different environments. “My experiences have taught me that your environment does a lot to impact you and how you see life and even your expectations of yourself, sometimes you can feel handcuffed or handicapped. I wanted to get the kids away, as many have never been out of their hometown.� In speaking about his interactions with the kids, it becomes clear that Wilson is personally connected to each of them and genuinely invested in their well-being. He holds a special place for them in his heart. He says, “After those weekends I often shed a tear because I know what they are going back into after leaving; I know the struggles they have to endure on a daily basis and I just hope and pray that they are able to apply some of the lessons we teach them.� With no plan to slow down and a desire to do more, I had to ask how he manages his NFL career, his philanthropic endeavors and his personal life. His answer is simple, “balance�. “With football, I can be out there and be very competitive and aggressive, then the [S.A.F.E.T.Y] foundation keeps me grounded because the kids hold you true. In my personal life I like to get away from it all, spend some time with myself; do some traveling.� Yes, ladies, he said spend some time with himself. Is he implying he is single, you ask? Slow down, I am going to get to that later. Wilson jokes he has to find time to let his hair down, (despite   being bald,) 74

in order to “stay focused and on the right path.” As we continue, Wilson’s playful side emerges and we get a little personal. Yep, I found out what he eats for breakfast. He says, “each morning, I get my egg whites scrambled or in an omelet. I believe in fresh vegetables so I like sweet peppers, ham, spinach and a little cheddar cheese…and I eat a lot of fruit, so anything from pineapple to oranges to blueberries to watermelon. I am a milk fanatic, so that is how I start my day off.” And who, you ask might prepare this breakfast fit for a king? Wilson says, “right now I’m training with the team so they pretty much spoil us, all I have to do is go in and order what I want within my meal plan.” Not exactly what you wanted to hear, right? Hearing that he takes such care to eat a clean diet, I wondered about his workout regimen. As expected, the team keeps him quite busy. ”We do some type of conditioning or agility work every day, some type of cardio every day, and we target either the upper or lower body twice a week.” Wilson explains that he is consistent with his diet, disciplined in his training and that allows him to see, “optimal results,” but also asserts that diet and exercise are not the only factors in the health equation. “Far too often people just focus on those two Photographer: Bo Cole things but there is a third component…rest.” He goes on to say that nutrition, exercise and quality rest are all equally important in achieving your optimal results. “If you take any one of those three out of the equation, you are still not going to see your desired results.” Certainly, he is not always training with the team. So, what does he do to stay in shape on his own? Wilson says his favorite work out is, “the sand pits.” Not quite what I expected, but I was intrigued. I thought I would ask him if he had ever encountered the L.A. sand dunes, a workout that brought yours truly to her breaking point on more than one occasion. For those not familiar with the sand dunes in Los Angeles, it is quite literally a mountain of sand with a vertical incline to rival the most advanced hiking trails. Wilson stated, ”It’s one of my favorite things to do, don’t ask me why…it doesn’t feel good in the moment at all but when I brush the sand off my feet and wipe the sweat off my brow, then I really feel like I have gotten a great

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workout in. It is just as tough mentally as it is physically.” Though he has not yet tried the LA sand dunes, he assures me that he will make the trip to Redondo Beach next time he is in the area. I wished him the best with that. “So you won’t do it with me,” he asks. I hesitate in my response, recalling the intense soreness in the days following my last attempt. He immediately calls me out, “pause, pause, you hesitated, I know what that means. Don’t try and sell me a dream.” We both laugh. There is not much that would motivate me to try the sand dunes, again, but I have to say, if George Wilson were waiting at the top, I am sure I would set a new personal best. So what keeps Wilson motivated? He tells me his college coach used to tell him, “everyday you are either getting better or your are getting worse, you don’t stand still.” With that in mind, Wilson shares the motto he lives by, “the past is gone and the future may never come but now is a gift…that’s why we call it the present.” One thing is for sure, Wilson is consistent. He is determined to take advantage of each and every day. Wilson says he is big on time management, so I figured I better hurry and ask the one question the staff insisted I ask. What is your guilty pleasure? Now, I have to tell you Wilson is equally shy as he is confident. I laugh at his hesitation and he tells me, “that’s not cool, that’s not cool at all.” I offer to let him take a pass and he takes a few seconds to think of something but ultimately decides not to answer. It is almost time for Wilson to go when I ask him to share one thing people would be surprised to know. He says, “most people don’t know I Photographer: Craig Melvin learned at a very young age about having a sense of accountability and responsibility by working on my grandfathers tobacco farm.” Wilson says he worked on the farm from about the age of 6 through his sophomore year in college. He adds, “I have done everything, worked in every process of tobacco--all the way from planting it in the fields to delivering it to the market.” He humbly admits that he is good with his hands. “I have built sheds, roofs on houses and learned how to drive a tractor before I learned how to drive a car.” Wilson is well rounded and an all around good person. 74.2 75

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#  #$

Katasha training with Roxie Beckles and adhering to a healthy meal plan 77

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One of the hardest parts of this journey has been conquering my own thoughts and fears. Somewhere along the way I realized the one thing no one can beat me at, is being me. It is an exciting transition accepting who you are while at the same making a conscious effort to be a better you. For the past three months, I have dedicated myself to Core Conditioning Cross Fit training with Joy Di Palma, weekly spin classes at Cycle House, and regular workouts at my gym. I went from spinning once a year to spinning a minimum of once a week and sometimes up to 3 times a week when I was able to fit it in. I have done my best to eat clean and healthy. I indulged a few times with birthday parties, red carpet events, traveling and meetings over lunch, but 95% of the time I have managed to stay on track. It took an entire month for the to

Katasha & friends hiking Griffith Park/LA

budge. I have always considered myself a fighter but I have to admit there are moments when I just feel like throwing in the towel. Three months ago, when I took Joy up on her offer to go spinning at the Cycle House, I had no idea what was in store for me.

Joy & Katasha at the Santa Monica Farmers Market

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I cannot lie, I barely made it through the first class, there was very little tension on my bike, I could not do any jumps, and it took almost 10 minutes to get my shoes in the clip. I stared in awe at those around me that just hopped on their bike and took off. It was a distant hope to think I would one day be that girl. The first class, Joy was so worried about me and rightly so. The look on my face must have been a dead giveaway that my chest was burning and my heart was beating so hard, I thought it might tear out of my chest. I kept going but I was not ready to push past my comfort zone. I was embarrassed about being the biggest girl in the class; I was disappointed that I was not as strong as everyone else was.

For 50 minutes in a candle lit studio, the instructors at Cycle House have the ability to make you forget about the cares of the outside world. They create a space of security that allows you to get outside of your comfort zone and ride. Just like Nichelle, Maranda and Jason were not the least bit concerned with how I showed up, be it over weight and slower than the other riders. And the support continued at boot camp. Miriam, Sue, Michael, Miquel, and others in the class are always there with a high five


ED Joy and Nichelle Hines of the Cycle House made me believe I could do it again, and so I went back repeatedly. When I was hesitant to try another instructor other than Nichelle, Joy reminded me to keep my eyes on my goal. At eight months pregnant, Joy was still teaching boot camp and spinning right next to me whenever our schedules allowed. That meant no excuses for me and soon I had two more favorite instructors in Maranda Barskey and Jason Wimberly. 79

and an encouraging word and even waking up early on the weekend to film for the documentary. Nowhere in my expectations did I ever imagine this outpouring of support and encouragement. I was worried about choosing my first challenge for the documentary, I wanted something challenging but I did not want to let everybody down. I finally decided that I needed to stop doubting myself and I made the decision to take part in the Cycle House 1000-calorie ride as my first official Weight of the World challenge. What this meant is

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that one person in the room wears a heart rate watch and we ride until we hit 1000 calories. Two days before the challenge, I got the absolute worst calf cramps during a spin Khalilah & Katasha class. They lasted a couple of minutes, slowed me down a little, but I was able to jump right back in and keep going. Since that had never happened before I was a little concerned. I decided I would not work out the day before the challenge and I made sure to stretch and drink lots of water. I arrived with the production team with time to spare. Of course, Joy (one of the most inspiring people I have ever met and the proud mother of a 4week baby boy) and Khaliliah, Picture Perfect " 86    importantly, my friend, right by my side. As the class started, I blocked out the camera. I knew this was not about trying to pace myself; I wanted to push myself; I

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needed to push myself. I literally needed to push past my doubts, climb over my fears, jump over my hurdles and leave it all behind me. I told myself I was as ready as I could be and I made up my mind I was not going to quit. The internal and emotional struggle that journey manifests itself at the most inopportune moments. As soon as the music came on, the doubts rushed to my head. Five minutes into class, as I did my best to block out the negative thoughts, I felt an excruciating pain in my left calf. The pain was so bad that when I tried to get up off the seat of the bike I had to put all of my weight on one side. On the inside, I was panicking but I was determined to keep going, I could Nichelle Hines encouraging Katasha not let the during a class team down, I could not let Joy, Nichelle and Khalilah down. I made up my mind I was not getting off that bike unless my leg fell off on its own. Another ten minutes in and the cramp still had not gone away and suddenly it got worse. I had no choice. I had to get off, but I told myself, I just have to stretch it 80

for a second and it will be fine. I ran outside to stretch and James, a member of the Cycle House team immediately ran out to ask if I was okay. I told him my leg was cramping. He handed me a banana and told me to eat it. I HATE BANANAS. I had not eaten a banana in my entire adult life, until that day. I was willing to try anything to make that pain go away. All of this happened in a matter of 2 minutes, and I ran in to get back on my bike. I rode for another 5 minutes and the cramp came back.

Cycle House Court Yard Entrance

I decided there was nothing I could do about the cramps except ignore it, just as I had to ignore the still present negative thoughts in my head. So, I rode! I rode through the pain, I rode uphill, I jumped, *  *      sprinted, no holds barred, through the pain and past the point of where my legs could take me. In that moment, my mind told me to stop, my legs were weak

Trainer Joy DiPalma

but my heart took over and carried me the rest of the way. I was in pain the entire class; I could not overcome the negativity but in my heart, I wanted to make it to the end; I needed to make it to the end and through it all I could feel the love and support. I could hear Joy and Khalilah cheering me on as they were doing their own sprints. Nichelle stood in front of my bike and refused to let me quit; they each refused to let me give up on myself. I could hear the entire class cheering me on, drowning out the impossibility. On that day I learned, sometimes the pain just does not go away, and no matter how hard you try you cannot block out the negativity but keep going anyway because you have everything within you if you just

Nichelle Hines of Cycle House LA 81

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Delicious, Sweet and Tangy

Lemon Bars

by Erin Holloway

Lemon bars are the perfect summer dessert - especially if they are low in fat and calories. Traditional lemon squares are loaded with butter, eggs and sugar, resulting in a high calorie, high fat treat. With a few easy changes I reduced the calories by nearly 50 percent and the fat by two-thirds! But don’t worry, they are still deliciously tangy and sweet, with a rich “buttery” crust! Traditional lemon bars have 197 calories, 8 g total fat, and 5 g saturated fat. For the same sized serving, the “Sugar Sugar” Lemon Bar has only 66 calories, 2 g total fat, and less than 1 g saturated fat!! No guilt here. Just the perfect treat for all of your summer festivities.

INGREDIENTS: 1/4 C powdered sugar

1/3 C fresh lemon juice

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)

3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3 eggs

1/8 teaspoon salt

approx. 3/4 C granulated sugar

additional powdered sugar for dusting

2 Tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray the bottom of an 8 inch square baking pan with nonstick spray. Beat the 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and butter on medium speed until creamy. Gradually add the 1/2 cup of pastry flour and mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake until just golden brown (about 10 to 12 minutes). Cool on a wire rack and lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees. While the oven temperature reduces, whisk the eggs on medium speed until foamy. Add the granulated sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of all purpose flour, baking powder and salt and whisk until combined. Pour the mixture over the baked crust and return to the oven until “set� (about 20 to 25 minutes – do not touch the filling with your fingers or it will stick to them and you will have a big dent in your bars!) Cool completely on a wire rack, then cut into 12 squares and dust with powdered sugar. Makes 12 servings (squares). Per Square: 66 calories, 2 g total fat, less than 1 g saturated fat! 83

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Perfect for your Summer Wedding‌

Add a little more fun and decadence to your reception with a Sugar,Sugar! Candy Buffet. It is the final touch that will have all your guests talking!

For more information, contact Erin Holloway at:

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A Love-Leigh Summer ,AQA+`&QUIM Every now and then we just need a by lowering blood pressure in those with break. mildly elevated levels. Chocolate has Whether also recently been found to reduce the   levels of LDL cholesterol, (the bad a bad day kind), improve blood flow and at work, a circulation, and lower the risk of fight with    , a friend, chocolate makes you feel better! Studies or the have shown that dark chocolate causes stress of the brain to release endorphins, which trying to improve our mood, and may increase stick to a serotonin productionanother chemical diet (again), sometimes we need a little that works to elevate mood and help us joy to keep us going. Rather than feel more relaxed. sp             

  Instead of diving into an entire bag of why not keep things simple and sweet? cookies or pint of ice cream, which may do more harm than good, a few pieces Love-Leigh of high-quality Chocolates provides candy will provide just that kind comfort. all those positive Made from the highest benefits with fewer quality dark chocolate, calories. (Callebaut or Valrhona), Love-Leigh Love-Leigh candies uses only the Chocolates offers finest natural an array of dark ingredients, and each chocolate options in a various, mouthpiece is hand-crafted upon order. Diving watering flavors. Founder and owner, into a box of chocolates may sound Meredith Killian, has spent years overly indulgent, but in addition to being perfecting her candies, and the patience easy on the pocketbook, comforting and dedication is apparent in each bite. ourselves with dark chocolate provides The pure chocolate pieces actually melt several additional benefits. in your mouth. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, They reflect the pure essence of which act as antioxidants. Antioxidants chocolate, without being too rich or too help to slow down the aging process in a bitter. Molded with an artistic flair, they number of ways. The antioxidants found are almost, almost, too beautiful to eat. in dark chocolate have been shown to keep the cardiovascular system healthy 85

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For those who like an extra dose of sweetness, the hazelnut flavor, made with milk and gianduja chocolates, will surely do the trick. The peanut butter and jelly pieces are a creative delight. Made with organic peanut butter and strawberry preserves, these pieces make chocolate candy more fun than ever imagined.

We would be remiss not to mention Love-L   signature piece--a delectable little treat filled with caramelhazelnut-coconut-ganache. It is all of your favorite fillings in one delicious piece--an enchanting mix that will satisfy even the most insistent sweet tooth. So the next time you are feeling a bit overwhelmed, go ahead...indulge. And have a Love-Leigh summer!


Love-Leigh Chocolates    "#"$%$  &' 


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It is happening! June weddings are already in full force. In the happening, make sure you are prepared for all the things that come with getting ready for that special day.


LATONYA WASHINGTON CEO of LW Event Planning 8950 W Olympic Blvd. # Suite 599 Beverly Hills, Ca 90211 Phone: 323-445-9431 .

You have been dating this person for years and finally they have popped the question, “will you marry me?” Without any hesitation, you say “YES, YES I’LL MARRY YOU!” You jump up and down, you hug, you kiss. That night as you sleep, you are full of joy. Then you wake up the next morning thinking… “I have to prepare for a wedding, SOMEBODY HELP ME!” Of course, you call that best friend, your mother, your cousin because everyone knows what to do, right? Not necessarily. And that is why you need a wedding planner. An experienced wedding planner knows the ins and outs of weddings from potential venues to caterers to florists to DJs. You name it, they know it! A great wedding planner will listen to you – ensure your wedding is a reflection of you. I pay attention to seasons and the latter part of this year moving into the next will be filled with engagements and marriages.

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Remember these rules:

Give yourself at least a year to plan. Do not allow yourself to get so caught up in planning that you forget to take care of you. Do not jeopardize or allow the relationship between you and your future spouse to take the back seat to the wedding because when all the hoopla and fanfare are gone, it is just you and him.

But before you say ‘I do,’ make sure you consult with a wedding or event planner. Referrals are the best way to get honest testimonials. Consultations are generally free of charge and typically do not last longer than an hour. 104


%&     &   ' (  & )    &  )' * + +  + $+ #- (  &   '*"  $  #- %$ &  '  ( & )  )'

They will pay close attention to your expressions with certain other questions during that first meet up. Make sure you have prepared the answers to the questions above so that no time is wasted. Depending on the venue and number of attendees, a nice wedding will run you between $5000.00 up to the sky being your limit. Never go beyond your budget!

take away the stress. So I say it is time for facials, massages, hair consultations, wardrobe consultations, makeup consultations, and mini get aways (a night’s stay at a hotel will suffice for your me time). Because I only work with experienced personnel, you have nothing to fear. They have done this before. As seasons come with different color palettes, I always let people know what the official colors are for the season. In most cases, the client knows what they want, and I am there to enhance or bring out what you envision. This spring and summer is bringing in the BOLD colors like pink, orange, blue, lime green and yellow. Play with colors, grays are also in but know how to mix and match. I always bring swatches of material during my second meet up with a bride. If you would like to get a jump-start on the process, go to any fabric store and ask, “May I have a swatch of material?� They will gladly give it to you. Pay attention to the type of material you choose as well; it all depends on the time of year you get married and where you marry. I am always checking in with my Celebrity Wardrobe Stylist, Bynoskia Sams, on the latest styles and colors. " " 

I have a great group of people that I work with and the first group begins with the bride. Weddings can bring on stress and we 105

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There is so much to a wedding–from floral arrangements to reception décor to the menu and wedding cake. It is necessary to have the right team on deck for you. Most importantly, as a bride, remember that mental and spiritual fulfillment is the key to survival. Stay positive, communicate well with your husband-to-be and if you need to get something off your chest, do it. Hire an event planner to take most of the stress off you. At the end of the day, when that special day is over, it is just you and he…..the two who have become one.” Latonya Washington

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DAVIDA BUGGS PH: 818.808.9476 Flowers by Lady Buggs floral designs blends creativity and elegance to make each event a one of a kind celebration. Founder, Davida Buggs was inspired after planning and designing the florals for her own wedding. Turning what was a hobby, and an undeniable gift into a flourishing career, Flowers by Lady Buggs also became a family affair. Her sister Crystal Schachter joined the team as a partner and brings a keen eye for design, an inherent love of flowers and a unique design sense. Together they are able to conjure up something memorable and uniquely special for weddings, showers, birthdays, corporate events and so much more!

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What Is Your Flower Style?

by Davida Buggs

Whether your tastes are rustic, traditional, minimalist or shabby chic there are a few things that will help you determine your flower style. Before a consultation even begins we ask our future brides to bring as many magazine clippings and samples so we can get a sense of the direction they are going in when we do finally meet. Since most brides run out and load up on as many wedding magazines they can get their hands on the minute they are engaged, that is never a tough request. We also ask they think outside of wedding magazine box. Inspiration is found everywhere. So, a favorite fashion or travel magazine or even a favorite book is used to inspire. We do not typically stop at the samples and clippings though, since there are some brides that can look at contemporary dĂŠcor and absolutely 109

love it and on the other side have very traditional examples as well. Another helpful way to determine your flower style is the bridal party fashion. What does the bride’s dress look like? Is it all lace with a full train or very clean lined, minimal and simple? What color are the attendants wearing? Is the groom and groomsmen wearing tuxedos or linen suits? All these types of questions in terms of attire can narrow down which flower style to choose. For example, a lacy gown, you may want to pair with peonies, roses-something more traditional. Linen

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suits, perhaps a single calla lily boutonniere for a simple look. Venue also plays a huge factor in floral décor so determining where the ceremony and reception will taking place is one of the main questions we ask when piecing together a floral scheme. Some spaces may require more florals than others may. A botanic garden may not require as many forals since the surroundings speaks for itself, whereas a stark

reception hall may require more attention and decor. There may be a space that is more modern in design so finding flowers to complicate the clean aesthetic is what we strive to take into consideration. One of the most important factors in floral design and choosing florals for a wedding is the season in which a wedding is taking place. A bride may have her heart set on Café au Lait Dahlia’s but let’s hope that the

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wedding is taking place in late July thru the fall or else there is a real chance they will not be available for her special day. Florists are known to perform miracles especially when we are fortunate to work great vendors, but sometimes blooms have a mind of their own. Another question we like to ask our brides is where the couple met. Again, thinking outside the realm of the bridal magazines for inspiration in order to

create a floral design concept that is meaningful. If for example, they were backpacking in Thailand, orchids and tropical décor may be appropriate to celebrate this special time in their lives. These types of details not only make for a unique and personalized wedding but tell a wonderful story. Lastly, your flower style is just as unique and special as you are. Make sure that what you choose is a reflection of that individuality. 110 111

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Keisha’s Kreations is a full service design and event production company. From weddings, corporate events, and photo shoots to baby showers, celebrity events and foundation fundraisers, they provide a seamless beginning to end, one of a kind experience that incorporates your unique vision, personal style and overall concepts that will bring every attention to your event. Specializing in event styling & production, floral and event décor and uniquely designed rentals, they work with you on any event to create an ambiance that is stunning and breathtaking to include all styles, colors, coordination services, table linens, chair covers, up lighting, stage, lounge furniture and prop design. Keisha’s Kreations specializes in Fresh Floral Art and Decor. And although they do not offer wedding packages specifically, pricing is custom created depending on each individual event, presented only after a consultation. Location, theme, plant materials, color scheme and budget are details that are considered. Your flowers are specifically selected and custom designed to reflect your style and personality. A budget is approached one of two ways: 112

First, If you have an overall budget established for your wedding, a client should plan on spending about 15%-20% on flowers. Many bridal guides suggest 10%, most brides choose Keisha’s Kreations because flowers are high on their priority list. Of course budgets vary from couple to couple depending on overall wedding budget, size of wedding and the priority that you place on flowers. Keisha’s Kreations recommends the following to generate a moderate floral budget by following this guideline:

Simple florals - $15 per guest Eelegant florals- $25 per guest Decadent (over the top) florals$35 per guest The above prices include all personal flowers for an average sized wedding party including families, floral decorations for your ceremony, reception flowers and it also includes tax, delivery and installation charges.

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TEJANI Jewelry 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

Spread Cover Earrings B0931P 2nd Page Necklace B0952 3rd Page Necklace B0970 3rd Page Middle Left Earrings B031 3rd Page Middle Right Earrings B117 3rd Page Bottom Middle Stud Earrings B121 4th Page Top Right Earrings B106 4th Page Middle Left Necklace B0650 4th Page Middle Right Clutch BHB07_195 4th Page Bottom Left Earrings B119 5th Page Pearl Necklace B0917 6th page Pearl Clutch BHB03295 6th Page Hair accessory pins BP101 6th Page Necklace B0984 7th Page Top Left Pearl comb BC04 7th Page Top Right Clutch BHB0 7th Page Necklace B133 7th Page Middle Right B170_145 7th Page Bottom Right Headband BH04 Last page of spread Necklace B137

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This delightful four course menu is filled with flavor highs. The culinary team of Swank Event Solutions is constantly seeking ways to juxtapose the delicate world of dessert with the boldness of spice and fresh herbs, as is evident in this aromatic Panna Cotta.

7KH'LQQHU0HQX As honey is a golden pairing for Dungeness Lump Crab, try serving this first course with Stella Rosa Bianco. This proprietary blend, produced primarily from the moscato grape easily captures the aromatic honey notes found locally.

)LUVW&RXUVH Jumbo Dungeness Lump crab Ravioli with butter poached prawns and shitake mushroom cream 

ES^SV5agdeW Organic Green Salad with shaved vegetables, champagne vinaigrette and olive dust 

?S[`5agdeWAbf[a`e Seared Filet Mignon with Leek Butter, green pepper corn sauce, petite fingerlings and sautĂŠed pea tendrils Pan seared barramundi with citrus pan jus and buttered Brussels sprout leaves

6WeeWdf5agdeW Wedding Cake Citrus Thyme Panna Cotta with petite edible flowers and a quenelle of thyme infused whipped cream

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The best of male bonding can happen easily over a side of beef and our team has discovered the secret to a perfect burger that wins every time.

While a bridesmaid might scoff at the idea of burgers leading up to a wedding day, groomsmen welcome an opportunity to relax and indulge in this American Classic.

We’ve included a personal touch and an array of toppings and interesting condiments to compliment the evening. Your guests will not be disappointed.

BEEF, BISON & BACON THE MENU BURGERS Apple wood Smoked Bacon Prime Burger

While beer might be an easy go-to, we’ve paired this masculine outing with a great bottle of Stella Rosa Rosso. This complex varietal is perfectly balanced with notes of strawberries to compliment this tailored menu.

Grilled Bison Burger Angus Beef with Aged Cheddar

TOPPINGS Candied Jalapeno Peppers Marinated Manchego Caramelized Red Onions Roasted Tomato

CONDIMENTS Chipotle Aioli Curry Ketchup Jalapeno Ketchup Pesto Mayo 175

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Prosecco macerated berries topped with Amaretto whipped cream

We paired the delicate notes of Stella Rosa Prosecco with Tayberry puree to end on a high. This elegant menu is enough to ease the stress of any bride to be and her wedding party.

Pink Peppercorn Scones with clotted cream and boysenberry curd

Brioche immersed in a Grand Marnier custard finished with toasted pecans and local maple syrup

Topped with a blend of fresh herbs, shaved parmesan and sundried tomatoes then baked to perfection

Atlantic Salmon poached in herb fortified ghee served with a savory green peppercorn hollandaise sauce

Made to order and dusted with Cheyenne spiced sugar

Sparkling Tayberry Cocktail

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Announcing the Engagement of

Tiffany & Brendan Ǧ —‡ʹͲͳʹǦ


TOMATO TAR-TAR | Served with garlic pap and a soft fried quails egg

DUCK ROULADE | Served with black truffle cream and a blueberry demi-glace

SURF & TURF | Seared Diver Scallops with Beef tenderloin

TRADITIONAL BANANAS FOSTER | served with black peppercorn infused ice cream

 RED VELVET CAKE | finished with Madagascar vanilla bean Crème Anglaise

 The attribute that people most want in their wine is “approachable”. A perfect acquisition for this ideology and menu is Stella Rossa Impiriale Brachetto D’ Acqui Docg. The floral scents of rose petals will pair perfectly with the Red Velvet Cake accompanying this menu. 177

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Picture Perfect Magazine Summer Edition  

Charity Shea of Vh-1's, Single Ladies, graces our Summer editon. Find out more about this breakout star and join us as we journey off the f...

Picture Perfect Magazine Summer Edition  

Charity Shea of Vh-1's, Single Ladies, graces our Summer editon. Find out more about this breakout star and join us as we journey off the f...