Icelandic Magic

Icelandic Magic

Iceland is unquestionably the most breathtaking country I have laid eyes upon. Simply put, the natural landscape is otherworldly. Each corner of the country is more astounding than the last, with jaw-dropping waterfalls flanked by rainbows, turquoise blue glacial lagoons, lava fields, active geysers, and an abundance of natural hot springs. The added sheer luck of unusually warm, clear weather further accented the natural beauty of the land with crisp and sunny blue skies!     The recollection of unexpectedly stumbling upon Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is one of my most seizing and transcendent memories to date. The glacial icebergs are a radiant, luminous blue made all the more spectacular by the backdrop of a setting sun. Jökulsárlón serves as an incredible testament to the inexplicable, yet impermanent beauty of our planet. Moments following our arrival, a thunderous crack rang through the air as an iceberg broke cleanly apart and dropped into the icy waters below.     Iceland makes for the ultimate road trip despite a common travel trend to stay in Reykjavík and take daily excursions. The highlights of our journey were found far from the country’s capital, scattered all throughout the 800-mile loop encircling the country’s perimeter. We flew into Reykjavik and began our excursion counter clockwise around the Ring Road. With luck consistently lending a hand throughout our trip, the Northern Lights greeted us on our very first evening in the country. Watching the brilliant green lights dance across the night sky was a most enchanting introduction to the breadth of Iceland’s beauty.     Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss are among Iceland’s most remarkable waterfalls. Less than... read more
New Music Monday: July 2017 Playlist

New Music Monday: July 2017 Playlist

The steady stream of exceptional albums just keeps flowing this summer, with much anticipated releases from Arcade Fire and Lana Del Rey. Lana del Rey’s Lust for Life doesn’t disappoint, with her dreamy vocals and ethereal soundscape allowing for a brief reprieve in her whimsical universe. Perhaps my favorite album from start to finish to drop this month was Vera Blue’s Perennial. Vera Blue is an Australian-based singer-songwriter who first came into the spotlight several years ago following a second place spot on The Voice Australia. The tracks included on this playlist are her more upbeat, catchy rhythms, but her album is a brilliant showcase for the depth and sheer beauty of her voice.     1) Regular Touch- Vera Blue 2) Seeing All Red- Shakey Graves 3) Signs of Life- Arcade Fire 4) Gentle Storm (I Found Peace)- Elbow 5) helpline (feat. Tom Tripp)- Mura Masa 6) Don’t Delete The Kisses- Wolf Alice 7) Groupie Love (feat. A$AP Rocky)- Lana Del Rey 8) Labyrinth- Toro y Moi 9) Fuck They- Sofi Tukker 10) By Design- Kid Cudi 11) Lady Powers- Vera Blue 12) Bad Girls- NoMBe 13) Boys- Charli XCX 14) Midnight- Jessie Ware 15) The Glow- Echo Mountain Sessions- Sylvan Esso   Follow me on Spotify!... read more
New Music Monday: June 2017 Playlist

New Music Monday: June 2017 Playlist

The past several months have been a dizzying whirlwind of personal change. As the chaos begins to settle and we transition into the lazy days of summer, the most anticipated albums of the year begin to churn out just in time. Most surely to be played on repeat all season long is Poolside’s sophomoric album release, Heat. With it’s gorgeous, syrupy, summer vibes, uptempo tracks like “Tropical Heartache” are absolutely perfect for a day party. Much of the album is best enjoyed lounging on the beach, soaking up the sun. Alt-J dropped their new album, Relaxer, earlier this month with a noticeable shift in tone from their previous releases. With a more dramatic and melancholy sound, it has an introspective feel and is a welcome change to their work. SZA came out swinging with her debut full-length album, Ctrl. This sultry R&B album is contemplative and emotive, with heavy-hitters Kendrick Lamar and Travis $cott lending some assists. Perhaps my favorite album to drop this month was Portugal. The Man’s much anticipated Woodstock. The album is intended to be a periodic throwback to the civil and political unrest of the 60’s. Woodstock manages to retain much of the band’s signature rock sound but has an added layer of complexity, displaying the bands ability to constantly reinvent.   1) Girl Like You – Toro y Moi 2) Feel It Still – Ofenbach Remix – Portugal. The Man. 3) Come – Jain 4) Noise Pollution – Portugal. The Man. 5) Panther Like a Panther – Run the Jewels 6) Rodeo – Pssy Pwr 7) Freak Like Me – NoMBe 8) Number One – Portugal. The Man. 9) In Cold Blood – alt-J 10)... read more
Tulum Travel Guide

Tulum Travel Guide

A recent trip to the bohemian coastal town of Tulum served as the ultimate girls getaway. Nestled along the white sandy shores of the Caribbean in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, this hip mecca ranked high on my travel list. With Tulum’s reputation for an abundance of street tacos, mezcal, and yoga, I booked my trip without a second thought. A recent influx of upscale boutique shops and craft cocktail bars to the town has done little to deter from its rustic, laid-back charm. Five days was the perfect amount of time for relaxing alongside the jade-green waters of Tulum’s beautiful beaches, embarking on a quest to find the best street tacos in town, and trekking out to the nearby cenotes and Mayan ruins. Utterly devoid of the typical megaresorts found throughout other coastal cities of Mexico, Tulum felt quite similar to the sleepy backpackers’ haven of Lonely Beach in Koh Chang, Thailand. Below are my highlights for where to eat, play, and stay in the free-spirited enclave of Tulum. Where to Stay The El Pez boutique hotel is an idyllic collection of beachside bungalows situated in a secluded cove along the main strip of beaches. The complimentary breakfast is simply fantastic, with fresh fruit plates, pan-seared panela cheese, and chillaquiles served with fire-roasted salsa, as just a few of the delicious daily offerings. A major perk of a stay at El Pez are the complimentary cocktail tickets provided to all four of their sister, boutique hotels scattered throughout town. Served with high-quality mezcal, fresh-squeezed fruit juices, and herb-infused simple syrups, the free drink tickets are as good as gold. Where... read more
Caribbean Coasts of Colombia

Caribbean Coasts of Colombia

This past summer I had the unique opportunity to combine a couple of my favorite things- traveling solo and practicing yoga. Colombia has been on my travel list for some time now as I heard countless stories about the warmth and kindness of the people and the breathtaking beauty of the country. When my Colombian-born, Los Angeles-based yoga instructor, Andres Salcedo of Power Soul Yoga announced a yoga retreat alongside the Caribbean coast of Colombia, I signed right up!     The beautiful, historic port city of Cartagena is less than 200 miles outside of Tayrona, a lush, coastal National Park along the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range. I tacked on four extra days to my trip for some solo exploration of the old Spanish colonial city. Cartagena de Indias is a true gem, bursting with vibrant colors, pulsating with live music, and lined with romantic cobble-stoned streets with balconies spilling over with bougainvillea.     I stayed in the lively, bohemian neighborhood of Getsemaní despite some outdated safety warnings on travel sites. I could not have been happier with my decision to stay in this hip, art-filled part of town rather than within the walls of the Old City. The cobble-stoned alleys teemed with friendly locals. Old men sitting outside playing a game of chess, young boys kicking around a soccer ball, and women hanging out laundry to dry.     The seafood in Cartagena is simply fantastic. Ceviche reigns supreme with an abundance of access to local seafood, tropical fruits, and fresh herbs. La Cevicheria located within the San Diego district of Cartagena quickly became... read more
Best Reads of 2016

Best Reads of 2016

Winter is coming! Actually it’s already here, and there is really no better time to curl up by the fire and plow through some great books. Not all of these books were released this year but they have all been incredibly well received, with a winner of the Man Booker Prize, a National Book Award for Nonfiction, and two National Book Award Finalists among them. It’s a good mix of fiction and non-fiction, comedy and drama, historical and present-day. If you’re inclined to read these books, please purchase via my links below (yay, Amazon affiliate income). Get reading!   A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara “…things get broken, and sometimes they get repaired, and in most cases, you realize that no matter what gets damaged, life rearranges itself to compensate for your loss, sometimes wonderfully.” This was the most engrossing piece of fiction I read all year. 720 pages deep, it’s no quick read, but the depth and complexity of Yanagihara’s characters is simply breathtaking. It’s a heavy novel, filled with abuse, suffering, and pain, and without any real sense of redemption. However, the glimmers of beauty and sustenance seen in the friendships throughout the novel provide a compelling reminder that the company we choose is perhaps our best hope for salvation.   The Sellout by Paul Beatty “Sometimes I wish Darth Vader had been my father. I’d have been better off. I wouldn’t have a right hand, but I definitely wouldn’t have the burden of being black and constantly having to decide when and if I gave a shit about it. Plus, I’m left-handed.” If A Little Life was the most... read more
America the Great

America the Great

The 2016 presidential election has shaken me to my very core. To begin to express the magnitude of my personal grief, the last time I have felt an even remotely comparable range of shock reverberate throughout every fiber of my being was upon the discovery of my best friend’s homicide. The initial feeling was of utter denial. A complete inability to process the finality and reality of a horrific situation. Then followed a seemingly bottomless, gut-wrenching despair – sadness and grief. A heart so heavy and full of sorrow that it felt it could never be mended; returned to its original wholeness. This grief was soon transformed to anger – a fury so singular it could hope for nothing less than a complete karmic retribution for the cruelty and utter lack of empathy, humanity, and compassion of one senseless decision. Finally, the cycle resolved itself with an unwavering personal commitment to fight for a life filled with meaning, intention, and discovery. Before I get into the basis of my disbelief, sorrow, anger (however you may wish to categorize the collective grief) over the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America, I feel obligated to explain how my personal belief system aligns with the current American political system. For starters, one of my favorite lines to explain away my experience growing up is “I had an unconventional childhood.” It has proved to be quite simply the easiest way to dismiss the reality of being the highly unlikely ‘successful’ offspring of a schizophrenic, absentee father and a borderline mother. I have no origin... read more
New Music Monday: October 2016 Playlist

New Music Monday: October 2016 Playlist

The month of September marked the release of some of the most highly anticipated albums of the year. Bon Iver dropped his first album in five years, marking a dramatically experimental shift in his original sound. Gone are the folksy, ethereal overtones of his first two albums, replaced instead by juxtapositions of electronics and altered instrumentals. The emotional weight of Vernon’s voice remains, allowing 22, A Million to serve as a beautiful, reinvented expression of the everlasting talent of Bon Iver. Banks’ sophomoric release, The Altar, is easily one of my favorite albums of the year. With a noticeable shift to a more upbeat, sundry tone, her powerful voice and lyrics remain the focal point. Finally, one of my all-time favorite songstresses, Regina Spektor dropped a wonderful gem of a new album, Remember Us To Life. In her whimsical, conversational, poetic manner, she continues to explore the sometimes painful beauty of human existence, calling forth the fleeting joys of youth and the impermanence of our time here. Get listening to some of the best new music of the year!     1) Mood Ring (Blue Motel Tropical Remix)- Cannons, Blue Motel 2) Take It Slow (feat. JcK & Grace Kelly)- Smiles Davis 3) Stockholm- Conner Youngblood 4) Best to You- Blood Orange 5) Operator (DJ Koze’s Disco Edit)- Låpsley 6) Crazy Conscious- Compass: Mexican Institute of Sound 7) 33 “GOD”- Bon Iver 8) High and Low- Empire of the Sun 9) Underwater- Goldroom 10) She’s a Lady- LION BABE 11) Drowning (feat. BADBADNOTGOOD)- Mick Jenkins 12) Trainwreck- Banks 13) So Good- Warpaint 14) The Trapper and the Furrier- Regina... read more
New Music Monday: August 2016 Playlist

New Music Monday: August 2016 Playlist

This month’s playlist is filled with singles from some of my favorite artists – Glass Animals, Banks, Warpaint, and Father John Misty to name a few. Banks’ releases have lent to much anticipation for her sure to be spectacular album, scheduled to debut on September 30th. Father John Misty on the other hand, is not planning for an album release any time soon. He appears to have simply taken a brief stint from satirizing popular culture to drop this dreamy single, “Real Love Baby.” By far, the best full-length album to drop in recent weeks has been GENERATIONWHY by ZHU. The LA-local and USC grad, ZHU chose to remain anonymous while releasing his critically-acclaimed electronic, dance tracks until mid-2014. With gorgeous underlying lyrics highlighting the resilience of the human spirit, this debut album of ZHU is filled with sultry, smooth beats and is the perfect soundtrack to a warm, summer night.     1) Past Lives- Local Natives 2) It’s Strange- Louis the Child, K.Flay 3) Life Itself- Glass Animals 4) Waves(s)- Lewis del Mar 5) Fuck With Myself- Banks 6) Hope (feat. BR/\VE) – Tim Legend 7) Augustine – Blood Orange 8) Sunday Love- Bat for Lashes 9) Wish I Knew You- The Revivalists 10) Real Love Baby- Father John Misty 11) New Song- Warpaint 12) Waking Up- Mr. Little Jeans 13) Echo of Tomorrow- Jake Meadows, Daniel Johns 14) Cold Blooded- ZHU   Follow me on Spotify!... read more
New Music Monday: June 2016 Playlist

New Music Monday: June 2016 Playlist

Summer is all about the music. Warm nights at the Hollywood Bowl, backyard barbecues, laid-back music festivals, and an endless collection of beach days and bike rides. It’s a season of anticipation, followed by a stripping away of all that fails to contribute to a single-pointed focus of leisure. Summer is a time of pure authenticity- a quest to fill your precious, sun-soaked days with the utmost pleasure. The best tracks of summer are drenched in warmth, the lyrics are unabashedly unapologetic, and not a single second is put to waste. Classixx was among the latest addition to LA’s very own music festival, FYF Fest. The LA-based DJ duo recently released a very summer-friendly album, Faraway Reach, loaded with guest collaborators, including T-Pain, Passion Pit, and De Lux. However, Nice as Fuck single-handedly takes the cake for my favorite new album. Jenny Lewis fronts this new band which surprise released their debut album just two days ago. The album is lean, mean, and quite simply put- nice as fuck. Get listening!     1) Flowers – Yeek 2) Hey Lion- Sofi Tukker 3) Wow – Beck 4) Do It, Try It – M83 5) Chasing Shadows- Santigold 6) Time Moves Slow (feat. Sam Herring) – BadBadNotGood 7) Fire- Barns Courtney 8) Whatever I Want- Classixx, T.Pain 9) Door- Nice as Fuck 10) Phua Kao- Khun Narin 11) I’m in Control- AlunaGeorge, Popcaan 12) Homerun- Nice as Fuck Follow me on... read more