Category Archives: events

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LA HIGHLIGHT: LASA

I tend to try to make myself at home when I travel. As a former and current resident of tourist destinations, I quickly learned that sticking to the normal tourist trappy activities can leave me spending too much money on subpar experiences. I mean, NY residents, would you recommend a restaurant in Times Square? Unlikely.

Luckily, a very close friend of mine in Brooklyn, grew up in LA, so during my first (yea, took awhile) trip to La La Land, we were able to attend a very intimate pop-up dinner. A growing concept of her close friends, brothers, Chase and Chad Valencia, second generation Filipino-American, LASA, the pop-up restaurant, is inspired by Philippine Cuisine and influenced by Southern California’s seasonal farmers’ markets.

In Tagalog (Filipino), LASA means taste and flavor. Appropriately. Chad and Chase both come from impressive food and beverage backgrounds. Chase, co-owner and GM, developed a passion for food and memorable experiences working at a variety of places such as mom and pop shop, Owen’s Bakery, popular Silverlake spot, Sqirl, and taking care of huge events for the likes of SONY and Beats By Dre with Wolfgang Puck’s Catering in a variety of managerial roles. The other half, Chad has 12 years of restaurant experience. In the last five years he’s cooked under Chef Corine Weibel at Canele where he learned about seasonality in Southern CA. He then spent time creating seasonally driven, traditional Spanish dishes at Contigo in San Francisco before returning to LA and working at Sqirl with Chase and close friends, Chef Meadow Ramsey and Jessica Kosklow. It was then that LASA was born.

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Pictured, Chad and Chase Valencia. On inspiration for LASA, Chad says “In this time in America, where there is the highest concentration of second generation Filipino Americans, it only makes sense to represent my culture through what I do best, which is cook food. Otherwise aspects of our culture will be forgotten which is inevitable in a sense, but this is our effort and appreciation for our motherland. Also to learn more about my culture and its food history. There is more I don’t know than what I actually do know within Filipino food and to me this means this journey is life long and that I can be excited about learning throughout this journey.”

In 2013, before the LASA it has matured into, the brothers started with summer, backyard dinners, then moved to a bi-monthly pop-up dinner and now has become the quarterly, seasonal dinner that I attended last week. This winter, January’s edition sold out just under 100 available seats inside the event space Elysian, in less than two hours. Game killed.

Check the pics below (food from Jill Tuttle and others from their Facebook):

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Pictured, from top left, Pork Rilette, Soy-Vinegar Braised Octopus, Mung Bean Dip, Scallops Kinilaw, Red Grouper & Manila, Coconut Milk Champarrado. 

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lasa seating

So on top of an innovative, cohesive and delicious menu, everyone working at LASA was super welcoming and the music selection consisted of songs I need to know or have already written about (so I’m extra bias), creating a wonderfully warm  and comfortable atmosphere. When I asked Chase, “What is something I need to tell people about LASA?”, he offered a response perfectly in line with how I felt leaving that evening. He said “To us, LASA means food and community, eating and experiencing an honest meal with loved ones. We are thankful for the opportunities we have had to put ourselves out there and how receptive people have been with our concept.”

As for something, I believe you need to know about LASA. The next one is in March and a little birdie told me they are getting closer to the goal of opening their own brick and mortar in Los Angeles. Follow them on Facebook and keep track of them on their website so you do not miss the next one!

xo Rae

lasa pop up

 

view from the Fontainebleau

Going, Going, Back, Back to Basel

After departing over a year ago, I’m finally going back to visit Miami. My favorite week was always during Art Basel and the growing amount of satellite fairs in early December. Obviously, this is when I’ve planned my first visit. As a former resident and seasoned Baseler, I’ve combed through plenty of lists, guides and invites. Granted there are A LOT of events I’d like to make it to and just might, as there are definitely some that I’ll be attending that aren’t on this list, however, this is a short list of events/places/exhibits I am attending or highly recommend making it to.

Now is the best opportunity for visitors to get to Wynwood. There is so much more to Miami than South Beach. In addition to being home to a majority of Miami’s galleries, the Wynwood walls are amazing and there are plenty of events going on during Basel.

An installation that I need to make it a point to see is Andre 3000’s “i feel ya: SCAD + Andre 3000 Benjamin”. At Mana Wynwood from December 3-14, the mixed media exhibit will feature the 47 custom jumpsuits Andre 3k wore on Outkast’s reunion tour this past year.

Between the champagne, Soho House/Harper’s Bazaar shopping and beauty pop-ups and the round the clock openings, receptions and exhibits a little something to do right by your body and break up the monotony will be required. Friday morning from 10am to noon may be ambitious but there’s free yoga at the Loews Hotel. I presume my partner in crime will not make this but I will need to get my zen in. Namaste bae baes.

Not one but two Friday night parties will undoubtedly have the best music of the week, IMO. FKA Twigz, James Blake, SBTRKT, A$AP Ferg and Kelala are having performances or shows but for parties, I recommend trying to get into these two. At Soho Studios, in Miami proper, Ketel One’s Friday night edition of the De Nolet event has Cashmere Cat (who headlined an epic Saturday this past summer at MoMA PS1) and NY DJ, GetLive. I’ve seen both and this event will be great. Also, Friday evening, but on the beach, during Le Baron’s 10 Year Anniversary and week long, pop-up take over, “Airball at the Delano“, Snarkiture vs. Alchemist features performances by Theophilus London and Travis Scott.

Contrary to my New Yorker’s belief, while Miamians may be very body conscious, they do eat. You’ll want to have a reservation and you’ll want it somewhere besides staple Prime 112 or Prime Italian. You must try Yardbird. Their speciality drink menu single handedly elevated my appreciation and ability to drink bourbon, like an adult, sort of. And, chicken and waffles, so there’s that.

Seemingly, my faves are music centric. Surprised or nah? You can follow along on Snapchat at knewyork. Although I’m Snapchatless, I’ll be sidekicking here all weekend.

Of course you can find me my own Twitter and IG, both @raewitte but I’ll also be contributing to Luxury Attache’s Twitter and IG @luxuryattache.

If you’re going or have any Miami questions a former resident can help you with, feel free to reach out to me at contactraewitte (at) gmail dot com.

Happy Baseling!

xo Rae

Might crash ya internet

New projects, new industries, I tried to tell everyone, cuffing season for what – it’s hustle season. So after attending #HashbrownsAndHashtags the panel of women entrepreneurs from all different industries discussing how they utilize digital and social, it only seemed right to continue to see how other successful lifestyle brands are leveraging digital in different ways.

Digital DUMBO, who puts together live events and experiences to connect brands and businesses, held the first panel in their DGTL_CLTR (digital culture) series. Racks on Racks on Racks: Streetwear Goes Digital featured a panel discussion with Scott Sasso of 10Deep, Mikhail Bortnik of Mischka, Erik Marino of Rocksmith and moderated by Been Trill’s Heron Preston.

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For those of you that aren’t as familiar with the culture, answers to Preston’s first question will offer a little clarity. Sasso defined Streetwear as “outsiders fashion” while Bortnik elaborated comparing it to indie rock, in that similarly, you just kind of know it when you see it.

Everyone indicated that using social media indeed offers an avenue to keep a pulse on the culture but does not solely inspire new product. Bortnik says he finds the most inspo offline seeing people in the streets in NY and Toyko while Sasso says being in the scene and at parties influenced a lot of releases in the past.

Conversely, between big brands like H&M, Topman and Zara and social media offering immediate exposure to a larger audience, Bortnik brought up the adjustment from a 4 season cycle to a 12 month cycle. Everyone agreed it brings new challenges but at the same time Preston and the Been Trill boys seem to continue to find different avenues leveraging the immediacy of the cycle and social media through #Been Trill#x U allowing consumers to apply their graphics (and others) to t-shirts.

Marino brought up a very interesting point that really swayed him from traditional print to maintaining digital – the ability to watch views on YouTube. Print ad buys offer an arbitrary number and you really can’t track a conversion. As someone that LIVES on Google Analytics (I see you all checking my blog), I can see how it’s no question these brands would create their own content, connecting music/artists, and put it out to build their brand.

All of them strongly urged staying true to yourself and your brand, as did the women of #HasbrownsAndHashtags, as well as the panel at the Agenda Emerge event I wrote about last winter. Now, I’m sure you all think I’m going to take shots at the fellas but there was a lot of similarities among both the all women panel and the all men. The biggest difference I found between them was a lot more presence of ego in last night’s Racks on Racks discussion but honestly it wasn’t even the group as a whole. Further, as someone hugely interested in most of Kanye’s projects I often equate ego as a form of passion for what you do, it isn’t always a bad thing.

So, ego and the fact that I’ve confirmed that there are literal business conversations being held regarding the impressions or activity within a hashtag like #sus or #thot only further solidifies digital is king and if you are running a brand, not only do you need to get on board but you need to find your own lane and kill the game.

xo Rae

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#HashbrownsAndHashtags

I recently got connected with Samantha Chin of the Myriad Group over Twitter. Interestingly enough, this isn’t a rarity for me. Anywho, she hit me about the event she was going to be co-hosting, #HashbrownsAndHashtags. Initiated by Sam, Scarlett Stack, Lee Tighlman, and Alexandra Machover and hosted at the latest restaurant from Matt Levine, Chalk Point Kitchen a group of digitally/socially savvy, super swaggy women assembled for an unreal brunch spread and for an even better panel.

Ok, first the food, to. die. for. I really incessantly recommend Chalk Point Kitchen as they never cease to outdo themselves but it was all phenom. See pics below (peep the menu and sponsors too, very real). IMG_2729 IMG_2734 IMG_2735

Now on to the goods, the girls, of course. The panel included Marlo Scott of Sweet Revenge, Cyndi Ramirez of Taste the Style, Stefanie Skinner of People’s Revolution and Socially Acclaimed and Bevy Smith of Bravo’s Fashion Queens and Dinner with Bevy.

Marlo discussed a string of what she called “bad bosses” which inevitably were individuals (probably men) too caught up in being ‘the boss’ to really utilize the mind of someone capable of seeing the bigger picture and running her own business. Bevy was non-stop one liners of advice so real and relevant, I think I could have filled a month’s work of blog content on her portion alone. I opted to live-tweet but you get it. She dropped knowledge like “find your unique value proposition”, “you got a college degree for a reason”, “you only eat what you kill”, “go through the fucking fear” – so much knowledge. Soft spoken Stefanie flourished in front of us when she broke down how she is THE strategy girl.  And I feel that. I may not be soft spoken but there is absolutely, always a method to my madness, business and personal. Cyndi Ramierez spoke on her progression from bringing together two seemingly unnatural topics thus creating her personal brand and focusing on what she was best at. Now, this week, she is releasing her own facial moisturizer, DAILE (make sure to check it out ASAP). HH4 HH5 HH6

pics by Raffi Asdourian 

Although each of the women have different backgrounds and are essentially in different industries (kudos to the selection hosts), there were plenty of similar themes around entrepreneurship. Each seemed very aware of the proverbial ‘big picture’ and how it applied to them and their strengths. If I can do them any justice, here are some important points I left with and can offer to you.

Be capable and unafraid of doing everything. If you don’t know something, learn it.

Find your lane, make sure it’s unique and murder it.

Going corporate won’t kill you if you utilize it and by utilize I mean learn from EVERY SINGLE minute you spend there and apply it accordingly. Don’t countdown the minutes until 5 pm, calculate the minutes you need to invest outside of work on your own thing until your own thing can be the only thing.

As I sat and soaked up every bit of knowledge (and ricotta toast), it really felt like listening to myself but their stories are so far beyond where I am at now. It was not only reassuring but terribly exciting, like finally being somewhere and having the feeling of, ‘yes, I fit here’. Further, (grab the tissues) this was so huge for me, one year into being self-employed, to attend and to bring my mom along.

If I may, on behalf of all in attendance, to the panel and the hosts – thank you so much girls.

xo Rae

 

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One Of A Kind Mom Jeans

“Debbie, do you own anything but mom jeans?”

“ew, no.”

Yes, that was a question directed at me. Recently, a friend mentioned I remind him of his childhood neighbor’s mom, Debbie Daddio. I’m not really sure my feelings on it yet, but I definitely only rock with mom jeans, so shout out to Debbie.

I read about The Vintage Twin a few weeks ago on Bedford & Bowery. Not only was the pop-up location close to where I was meeting a girlfriend for drinks, they were open until 10pm. Dangerously, convenient, I had to stop by. I walked into the mecca of vintage cutoffs, thankfully, as I was struggling to find some new ones well into June. Even more amazing, a lot of their stuff was “reworked” or custom. Check these one of a kind cutoffs I picked up for only $36.

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Perfect for this road trip, I wore them with this not so mom-ish, very 90s inspired, snap up, crop from Urban Outfitters. You can follow @TheVintageTwin on their social outlets and see where they will pop-up next.

xo Debbie

 

brugal bar set up

60 minutes

Last week I attended an incredibly well executed event for FREE and definitely feel inclined to share.

Over two weeks ago, NYNightlife tweeted about a Brugal Rum event. Upon clicking through, there were maybe eight days worth of hour long slots to sign up for and they were RAPIDLY filling up. I forwarded the link along to my girl friend and signed up.

Let me tell you about this 60 minute experiential marketing adventure Brugal Rum took me on. So I sign up for this thing. It’s an hour long and is at the Dream Downtown. Upon arrival, they request I pull up my confirmation email and scan my QR code. I am given a number and directed to enter the first room. There are some photo op, instagrammable backdrops on either side of the bar where we pick up our first drink and enjoy a variety of passed hors d’vours. As the room begins to fill, they lead our ‘group’ to the second room, where there are places set at round tables that include samples of the three types of Brugal rum and some complimenting treats like almonds, apricots and dark chocolate.

We watch a short video about the production of Brugal rum in DR and continue on to the tasting portion led by a brand ambassador. We move on to the final room where they have mini bartenders stations for everyone. There, two local mixologists lead us through crafting a REAL daiquiri. It was fun, an hour long, we left buzzy and I definitely learned a lot about rum.

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I’m not positive if I was more interested in the rum as a consumer or the brand and their strategy but regardless, I’m here telling you about it and definitely recommend trying to attend their events, look to them for sponsorship for your own events or simply try Brugal.

xo Rae

Champagne and Blind Trust

On arguably the most lovely day in recent weeks, I was texting my fellow Miami to New York transplant trying to fulfill the need to do something (ANYTHING) with the pure perfection that was Saturday. She sent a screen shot of an email and explained, “I think they’re having a sale and serving champagne and someone is speaking. I am going to RSVP for us.” Sale. Champagne. Perfect Saturday. YES. I am truly grateful to have girlfriends I blindly trust for weekend afternoon adventures.

We took our sweet time to enjoy the weather, walk, catch up and look further into The Little Black Box‘s, Let’s Talk About Sex, private shopping event featuring Ampere lingerie and sex educator and writer, Kate McCombs. Upon arrival, a group of impressive female entrepreneurs, owners of both Ampere lingerie and The Little Black Box, greeted us. Ampere’s philosophy is based on a customized shopping experience boasting an unheard of range of sizes. Co-founder and Harvard Law grad (who was recently featured in Forbes, smart babe) Jaibei Chen told my girlfriend and I about their beautiful 100% silk lingerie and discussed their recent successful kickstarter campaign. Another articulate and stunning young woman, Natalie, one of LBB’s founders, schooled us on their company, the products they carry and their line of intimate accessories (READ: classy sex toys). Talk about whole in the market. How trashy are most “sex shops” and how disheartening has the sex toy party realistically become? It’s like middle America got a stack of Cosmos and cracked a hard cover edition of 50 Shades of Gray while simultaneously watching through every season of SATC. Just shoot me. My Human Sex class in college for my Health Ed minor offered hosting a party and writing about it AS AN ASSIGNMENT, a solid indication of becoming… outdated, minimally.

Natalie, the girls of LBB and Ampere get it. Take your pleasure seriously, drop all the smutty lingo and put it in impeccable, discreet, very sexy packaging. One of their products is rechargeable on any USB port (MIND BLOWN). It’s 2014 and there’s a new breed of women out here. Finally, these ladies brought in Kate McCombs for a discussion on pleasure, anatomy and pretty much whatever we damn well pleased after a few glasses of champagne. Following a brief anonymous Q&A session, she was available for some one on one discussions too. Free education. The more you know… ya know?

Around 4:30, with the sunshine still beaming, my  girlfriend and I poured a final glass of champagne and toasted to a perfectly celebrated International Woman’s Day. I highly recommend doing your research on these women, their brands and most importantly – how it applies to you.

xo Rae

“Take your pleasure seriously.” – Charles Eames

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Capsule NY Women’s AW14 Show

Last week I attended the Capsule NY Women’s Show.  Amongst the women in Pharrell hats and beautiful boys bundled in fur coats, there was a wide variety of interesting and inspiring work. I need to share my top 5 favorites of Capsule NY.

Capsule KYE

I really dig Korean brand KYE’s luxe sportswear with the heavy chain link detail over fur, sheer and bold color blocking.

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Erica M’s bodysuit and hosiery – sex. That is all.

love shirtBecause I’m a sucker for all word games or words in general (got the dictionary.com app push notifications on at all times), this Christine Alcalay print of sickeningly adorable forms of the word ‘love’ had to make my list.

Capsule Janessa Leone hats

Relocation and winter has me hat OBSESSED. Janessa Leone’s gray with the camel band is flawless.

Capsules stutterheim rain coats

Although Stutterheim’s raincoats are beautiful, it was the words on this tag which made me visit the website, allowing me to read the ‘Our Story’ section and essentially develop a severe high school crush on Alexander Stutterheim’s story telling and brand. Oh man, melancholy at it’s finest.

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xo Rae

All images were taken by Celine of Cup of Rahman.

#BrooklynBound

Monday night The Fader and Converse Rubber Tracks hosted their latest Brooklyn Bound event headlined by New York’s World’s Fair. Bad Rabbits, out of Boston, opened and Brooklyn’s own, Kitty Cash DJed.

Huge props to whoever is handling Brooklyn’s Bound’s booking because both Bad Rabbits and World’s Fair put on a SHOW and to anyone the RSVPed but didn’t come through – sincerely, your loss. I’ve been to a few events Kitty Cash played, she kills no matter what. I’m talking the current turn up tracks, Danny Glover to OG Bobby Johnson to classic Ginuwine and TAMIA (CAPITAL LETTERS because I almost dropped my drink and tripped over my own Chucks) to close the night. I hadn’t listened to much of World’s Fair or even been aware of Bad Rabbits prior to Monday. We arrived while Bad Rabbits was on stage. These boys have soul… AND moves (I see you very Boston, bass player). I will undoubtedly feature them very soon. World’s Fair has that classic New York production and wild showmanship. What could be better? Bad Rabbits came back out to offer World’s Fair a band behind the first half of their performance. I love hip hop over a live band (someone tell Wale to bring it back the go-go, just saying).

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Bad Rabbits, lead singer, Fredua “Dua” BoakyeIMG_0120

Nigel Rubirosa of World’s FairIMG_0140

World’s Fair and Bad Rabbits

Monday night, live music in Brooklyn from the Fader and Converse? Chucks, duh. No questions asked. Conveniently, they keep a super reasonable price point, but my secret to fulfill the constant desire for a fresh pair? DSW stores and online always have them for a little cheaper and regularly mark them down to around $35.  I mean, two please? Really.

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All images were taken by Celine of Cup of Rahman and check her video below.

xo Rae

Bae of the Day: Boy/Friend

I’ve mentioned him before, last summer. I came across Boy/Friend on The Fader’s twitter and recommended downloading his freshman LP. I think I hit all my low key HBK’s over text and put them on to Leather Weather ASAP.

A lot can change in 6 months though. Not only did Shan Poo, aka the Asian Gosling, put out a Leather Weather, The Remixes (featuring BK-local favorite of mine, Melo-X, among other notables), release club single, Adam, and have a mix featured on SSENSE, but he performed at CMJ’s Fader Fort before TDE’s first lady SZA. Check some footage below.

But the real reason the twitter lover boy is my bae of the day is needing to acknowledge how he has really turned on the heat, despite this Polar Vortex life (which btw is the realest thing I’ve ever encountered), for Valentine’s Day and for everyone that disregarded proper cuffing etiquette. Him and his team, MNTN, Mel DeBarge and Jason ‘BetterYet’ Scott may just be the saviors of the cuffing season slackers with their latest two songs, Never Not Looking and Theme Song.

And the video for Theme Song… I cried candy coated teardrops of joy and watched my awkwardest years flash before my eyes. It’s. So. Good. I made my mom watch it. To put it in perspective, my favorite vinyl at 3 was Paula Abdul’s, Forever Your Girl. Basically, prepare to resurface every preteen emotion you ever confusedly felt for NKOTB.

 

Finally, most importantly, he’s opening for Kid Sister Wednesday night at The Glasslands in Brooklyn. You can get your tickets here.

You (yes you, no you, yes you) wanna go? (circle one)

Yes or No

xo Rae