There’s nothing like a good weekday workout. Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to attend the Jamba Juice Fit Trends Expo at the Annenberg House in Santa Monica. The Fit Trends Expo is part of Jamba’s Team Up For a Healthy America campaign, aimed at combating obesity and encouraging healthy living. Venus Williams, professional tennis player, designer, and Jamba Juice franchise owner, was the keynote athlete at the event. Trainer, Samantha Monus, and nutritionist, Tara Gidus, also provided their insight on taking steps toward a healthier lifestyle. On a local level, the Expo’s goal was to encourage community fitness, health and nutrition, as well as to expose people to workout opportunities in their area.
Our day was jam-packed with great activities. From 9:30am-1:30pm, Jamba Juice held an array of fitness classes and nutritional samplings. Among the local fitness studios present were: Broadway Bodies LA, Piloxing, and LA Blast. Fitness guru Tony Horton of P90X even stopped by the event and took a lucky few through an impromptu exercise outside. I did my best to keep up with the routines, but as a girl who usually runs and lifts weights, I felt super uncoordinated! Despite this, the atmosphere was fun and relaxed. It was quite inspiring to be around a group of people dedicated to getting fit and staying healthy. In between each class, Jamba gave everyone the opportunity to try their array of juices, smoothies, and food products.
Overall, the energy at the event was extremely positive. Jamba Juice did a great service for the community by generating increased awareness of local health and fitness outlets. Venus Williams, Samantha Monus, and Tara Gidus had some extremely helpful information to share. For those of you seeking guidance on how to stay disciplined with your workouts, Williams insists that you keep it fun and not worry about perfection! I think I can abide by that! I hope everyone in attendance was activated to carry the spirit of the day beyond the event and incorporate what they learned into a healthier lifestyle.
If you’re interested in learning more about Jamba Juice’s commitment to healthy living, check out their health campaign website: MyHealthPledge.com. My Health Pledge encourages everyone to make a pledge to change their daily habits. It’s free to participate, and for each pledge, Jamba donates $1 to local schools and organizations to support their athletic and fitness programs.
On April 29, 1992, the city of Los Angeles caught on fire. I was only seven but I still have a few memories from that chaotic time. I remember the billowing smoke near my grandmother’s house in Compton, tanks rolling down Long Beach Boulevard, and receiving three silk shirts from an aunt who swiped them out of a department store. But the strongest memory I have from that time is the sense of fear that took over me and my family. I wasn’t old enough to totally understand what was happening, but I knew one thing for sure: a lot of folks were angry because four policemen were found innocent after they beat a black man – a beating that was captured on tape.
As I grew older, the details about what occurred were made clear. Rodney King became a household name and the charred buildings near my grandmother’s house were replaced with new ones. But the fear that I had as a child still lingers. Mostly because the racial tension and economic conditions that plagued parts of Los Angeles 20 years ago are similar to, if not worse than, what they are today.
While the 1992 riots were definitely about crime and police behavior, poor economic conditions, poor education, and years of frustration over unequal protection under the law were also contributing factors. Today, crime is down and the relationship between the LAPD and the community has improved, but other than that, many believe not much has changed.
“Are we producing a better group of students? No. Are there access to more jobs than in that era? Probably not. Are there higher paying jobs? Probably not,” former LAPD Police Chief Bernard Parks says in a new and gripping VH1 Rock Documentary, “Uprising: Hip-Hop and The LA Riots.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, Parks is right. The median income of blacks in South L.A. is lower than it was in 1992 and the unemployment rate is higher. As an educator who spent nearly five years working with teens in South Central, I can attest to the dire state of some schools in the area. Kids are frustrated and failing. And just as tragic, the recent shooting of Trayvon Martin, a black teen in Florida, is as heartbreaking as the 1991 shooting of 15-year-old Latasha Harlins, which many believe helped spark the six days of violence following the Rodney King verdict.
Both Martin and Harlins were unarmed when they were killed and both cases sparked national outrage. Thankfully, one glaring difference between the Harlins and Martin case is that while people rioted and looted in 1992, the protests surrounding Martin’s death have been mostly peaceful. All kinds of people rallied together to vent their frustrations in communities throughout the country. The images of folks donning hoodies are remarkably different than the images of four men pummeling Reginald Denny on the corner of Florence and Normandie.
While the protests are peaceful these days, the fact that there is still a need – 20 years later – to march, sing and hold signs for the same issues causes great concern. If the Martin’s shooter doesn’t go to jail like Harlins’s shooter didn’t go to jail 20 years ago, will people forget the costly aftermath of the riots and set the city on fire one more time? I hope not, but only time will tell. If conditions don’t improve for struggling communities, tensions can certainly boil over, again.
It’s Friday night and you are ready for a little bit of nightlife. You know once you stride into the room with your fierce stilettos, fly outfit and subtle hint of dreamy perfume, you’re sure to turn heads, necks and chairs—so why should you settle on sauntering into a deserted dump or waste your time in line at the “hottest” new Hollywood nightclub with the “douchiest,” rudest bouncers?
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of some of the sexiest LA lounges and restaurants, where everything – the décor, ambiance, service, cocktails and design – makes bold, sizzling statements that are bound to give you a memorable, sensual experience. Whether it’s a smokin’ hot date or a just fun night with friends, the next time you’re in the mood to feel grown and sexy, make sure to check out one of these highly recommended destinations:
Nic’s Martini Lounge
The sexiest thing about Nic’s is the expansive variety of devilish martinis. The bartenders here know how to perfect every type of martini under the sun–from the standard dirty martinis to the fruity Lemondrop Blush–all with fresh ingredients and heavy doses of spirits. Grab a seat at the swanky bar and a few of these potent martinis for a long evening of conversation in ritzy Beverly Hills.
Beverly Hills, www.nicsbeverlyhills.com
Perch is a sensually captivating rooftop bistros 15 stories above the ground in the downtown district of the city. Here, the toughest decision is where to sit: on the balcony, amidst the sparkling, lit-up skyscrapers…or under the soaring ceilings of the main lounge area while lounging on plush, oversized couches. Regardless where you end up, you’ll be able to experience a good dose of Perch’s mesmerizing French charm, with its roaring fireplaces, live Parisian music and decadent cocktails.
Set in the quiet, sleepy foothills of South Pasadena, this drinking parlor serves artistic old-fashioned cocktails that are guaranteed to please just as much as its rustic, earthy setting will. It’s an adorable place to snuggle, whether it’s on the shaded outdoor patio or in the main area. With only about 22 seats and barstools, this former caretaker’s cottage is intimate and quiet—the perfect destination to sip and savor finely crafted artisan cocktails within a rugged, historic setting.
The best seat in the house is on the café’s killer patio. Smack in the middle is a soaring oak tree, with leafy arms that shade the entire length of the patio. The main source of lighting comes from the strings lights dangling from the tree branches and the candles strategically placed by the base of the tree and on table tops, creating a natural yet sultry vibe. The ambiance at Cliff’s Edge is still worth the trip alone, but this Silverlake restaurant also has amazing European/Middle Eastern-inspired food.
Walking through Tagine’s nondescript doors and into this one-room restaurant, you’re miraculously transported from Los Angeles to a splendid Moroccan retreat. It’s a world where massive mirrors delicately hang on dark walls–where black-and-white photos of distant lands and lustrous tiled floors intertwine with one another to create a seductive, romantic getaway. Underneath the faint flicker of candles placed on worn wooden tables and hanging from ornate ceiling fixtures, feast upon traditional Moroccan dishes and sip sweet mint tea. With its serene atmosphere and Tasting Menu for two, Tagine is a spectacular date option.
Los Angeles, www.taginebeverlyhills.com