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LA Vegan Hotspots

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By Jessica Sepel – The Healthy Life
@jshealth

It seems like there are healthy food options everywhere you look in LA! I love trying out new dishes and getting kitchen inspiration, and I have been blown away by the vegan cuisine here. Vegan is hot! These are some of my favourite vegan must-eats:

Cafe Gratitude – everything about this cafe is fresh and healthy with a beautiful presentation. Love the ambiance!

Real Food Daily – gourmet, good-for-you dishes with multiple LA-area locations

Beaming Cafe – for smoothies and acai bowls. I also love their vegan protein bites and granola.

Backyard Bowls – delicious savoury and sweet bowls

Erewhon – a mecca for healthy vegan fare! They have an amazing hot bar, salad bar and a deli full of vegan meals.

Earth Bar – a must for smoothies and acai bowls

The Butcher’s Daughter – this Venice hot spot has a delicious kale salad

Moon Juice – divine smoothies and juices in Venice

Shima Sushi – incredible vegan options in a sushi restaurant! ˜

Top Tips To Keep Your Resolution On Track.

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By Jessica Sepel

You had the best intentions at the start of the year, but maybe it’s not going quite as smoothly as you hoped. When it comes to keeping said resolutions, it requires a bit more than excitement. It’s one thing to come up a list of goals, but practicing them requires just that – practice. Continue on with a positive but realistic attitude and you’ll manifest 2015 to be your most rewarding year yet!

 

  • One thing at a time. Start small – you don’t need to try and do it all, especially in the first week. It’s overwhelming, and you’ll likely become so exhausted you lose your motivation. So scale back that list of 15 resolutions, or try to focus on one for the month of January, then add the second in February. Much more realistic to manage!
  • Don’t follow what your family and friends are doing. They mean well, and they very well might have great ideas. But that’s what works for them. Remember that what they need is different from what you need. What they like may be very different than what you like! Focus on your unique body and nourish it accordingly.
  • Practice gratitude and positive affirmations daily. The power of positive thinking is truly amazing. If you are thankful for what you do have and conscious about the things you’d like to come in to your life, magic happens!
  • Be kind to yourself. No, you may not be able to twist yourself into Crow Pose in your yoga class, but give yourself credit for trying. Love and appreciate yourself for all the amazing things you do, and know that even those things took some time and practice.
  • Believe in yourself. You are powerful and can live the life you have always wanted – no doubts! By only putting out positive thoughts, you’re proving to the universe that you are confident in your abilities and worth. Thinking that way takes practice, but what have you got to lose?
  • Remember – your body is your temple. It works hard to keep you alive and well. Now it’s time to love it back. Listen to its needs, then act accordingly. Your body will thank you by thriving!

 

Website: jessicasepel.com

Instagram: @JSHealth

 

Experiences of a Mixed Male Model

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by Kai Braden 

Over the last seven years I have worked in Asia as a Eurasian-American male model. A California boy at heart, I have lived in Bangkok, Singapore, and Hong Kong, each on four-month modeling contracts. I have been blessed with the opportunities to travel, quite often, to these cities for photo-shoots, whether it be for months at a time or just a few hours. Because I model in these cities, I see a different side of things I never imagined before…

The “Land of Smiles” was the first Asian country to contract me as a model. My Thai modeling agency found me through my New York agency, and then offered a contract based on my body of work (modeling portfolio) and ‘stats’ (body type and measurements). Soon after, I applied for a working visa and got on a plane.

Within the first few weeks, I noticed that Thai people were so welcoming, between the smiles and bows, that it often led me to question their motives. Bangkok, particularly, was a mixed bag of smiles, roaches, tourists, tuk tuks, and spicy food. Every time I walked around a corner, I was surprised. It is a city that can be full of danger, yet good people at the same time… I just had to pay attention and choose my own direction. I will say, however, that because this was my first experience living in a different country, I often felt alone. The language barrier makes it especially lonesome, because English is not a prominent language in Bangkok, as it is in other Asian cities.

Working in Bangkok can be fruitful for commercial models. The super-campy cheese-ball advertisements are everywhere: on the BTS sky-trains, on the 7-Eleven registers, and on the television screens above the Siam Paragon escalators. I shot a commercial where I sang my heart out in Thai over a KFC burger. It aired incessantly and I was stopped in the street multiple times, by people singing that damn KFC jingle back to me, as if they wanted a live encore— a fond memory of how friendly and open the Thai community is. I learned how outgoing the Thai people can be through observing the way they expressed themselves when they saw me in person, after having seen me on television. Most of the time I just laughed it off, but if they were lucky, I’d give them my “Glee” moment. 

Singapore, on the contrary, seemed initially unwelcoming and bureaucratic, and was especially upon my arrival. I would best describe this country as if it were a steam room at a very fancy spa. Firstly, it is unbelievably hot and humid. Secondly, it is crowded with different types of people… and different smells that linger in the air. In a steam room, there is usually a sign with very strict spa rules. Here, you get fined for having more than one open pack of cigarettes, flogged for spitting on the street, and executed for drug abuse.

I can’t help but laugh when remember the moment I felt the need to flush my pack of gum – that I found in the bottom of my bag – down the toilet, after exiting the plane and walking toward Customs. I was so nervous after seeing the immigration forms with the image of a skull and crossbones for drug possession, that I didn’t want to know the punishment for the possession of chewing gum… I’d heard rumors.

I soon learned however, that Singaporeans show a strong sense of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. Well, at least in terms of working in the fashion industry. When I was booked for a New Balance advertisement, I thought it would be ‘easy breezy’. Little did I know that I would be covered, head-to-toe, in Nutella mixed with crushed coco-puffs, while I ran around a small studio like a hamster on a wheel. The purpose of this madness was to mimic an upcoming mud run at the Changi Exhibition Centre, sponsored by New Balance. It took me ages to scrub that sweet deliciousness off my skin, along with ridding myself of the sugar-related headache that came with it. This experience changed my initial impression of Singapore as a country controlled by endless rules, where the greater good weighs more than the individual. Now, I am surprised at how creatively free certain individuals are in their way of thinking— such a liberal state of mind within the Singaporean culture. 

What brought me to Hong Kong, however, was fashion. This Chinese metropolis is a major fashion hub, and for an Asian city, Hong Kong is expensive due to its cost of living. I think many Americans, who haven’t traveled to Hong Kong, imagine it to be a cheap place to go on holiday, but are proved wrong upon arrival. Between the interior design for space efficiency and the fact that the water heater had to be turned on manually anytime I wanted to take a hot shower, I initially felt so out-of-place within this Chinese-influenced lifestyle.

My first impression was that apartments are shockingly small in this city. If I recall correctly, my first three words were “Oh, hell no!” Trust me, I have lived in closet-sized apartments in Brooklyn but my Hong Kong model’s apartment was an airplane bathroom turned downtown Chinese-style. I am not at all exaggerating when I say that there was no separation between the toilet and the shower, whatsoever. To be blunt, I could very easily take a dump, while simultaneously washing my hair (and in cold water if I forgot to turn on the water heater switch). The bathroom was so small that I had to sit diagonally on the toilet seat in order to place my knees together in front of me. To top it all off, I paid more for that shower/toilet, or “shoilet,” if you will, than I would have in New York City.

But fortunately for me, the opportunities that continuously bring me to Hong Kong keep me busy and out of the apartment. In one week, I even had three “wives” to juggle. Of course, these “wives” were only mine for a half-day editorial shoot. Since bridal magazines flood the newsstands outside every MRT station, it is common to book a wedding editorial.

I’ve noticed that the magazine and advertising clients like to pair me up with a Caucasian “bride,” more often than other races… I wonder if it’s because I have a mixed ethnicity. From this perspective, it is apparent how ‘White’ culture has influenced Hong Kong’s media to a great extent. Media shapes culture, and vice-versa. So, the more time I spend in this city, the more I notice how prevalent and influential the White culture is within the Chinese culture.  

My experiences in Asia continue to entice me because these situations shed a new and different light on these places, whether it be singing on the street with strangers, running in circles, covered in food, or “marrying” multiple women. I find it funny that each time I get on a plane at LAX for yet another job in Asia, I have no idea what I am getting myself into. Oh, and did I mention I just recently flew to the jungles of West Sumatra, Indonesia, to race bulls in rice patties for a commercial shoot? I’ll save that for my next article, coming soon! In the meantime, keep updated with my blog.

Kai Braden, author of “Picture (Not) Perfect: A Male Model Memoir,” is currently based in Los Angeles. He is pursuing an acting career in Hollywood while simultaneously traveling back-and-forth to Asia for modeling jobs. Keep tabs on what he is doing via social media!

IMDB: Kai Braden

Facebook: Kai Braden Fanpage 

Instagram: @kaibraden

Twitter: Kaibraden

Storeroom Vintage

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Sydney fashion has always had its own unique style, found between a mesh of relaxed beach culture infused with both European and American influences. At the forefront of Sydney’s tattered hipster fashion movement sits Storeroom Vintage. Found neatly hidden away just off Oxford Street, Storeroom Vintage is flourishing where so many others have failed. The vintage movement, as the title suggests, is very old, however eccentric owners Lee Bob and Wade Osborn have found a way to keep it fresh and interesting. From Harley Davidson tee shirts to denim dungarees, Storeroom Vintage has it all – from my own personal experience, every item in their store is a winner. The hardest part about shopping there is narrowing down your options to stay within your budget. My suggestion to you would be to fuck your budget and just buy it! Chances are if you don’t snatch up the opportunity, someone else will and remember, there are no duplicates when it comes to such rare vintage pieces. While AMFAM was down in Sydney, we were lucky enough to get the opportunity to interview the Storeroom Vintage boys.  So here you go.


Iconic Storeroom Vintage in front of the Iconic Storeroom Vintage USA Flag

What was the inspiration behind opening a vintage clothing store? We’ve always been passionate about vintage, and felt stores in Sydney were getting stale and lacking cool unique shit. 

Where do you source your clothes and is there anything in particular you look for when buying vintage?

All our clothes are sourced from the USA. Our style is a blend of 90s Hip Hop, Rock N Roll, 90s sports clothes and 90s Surf wear, so we tend to look for that kind of stuff. We have trashed denim, the sickest Harley Tshirts and rad, old school cartoon tees as well. We look for as rare and unique pieces as we can get our hands on.  

What is your favorite era for vintage clothing and why?

Early 90s is definitely our favourite era. We look back at old photos and we were literally wearing the same shit we wear now. Oversized surf tees, short abstract print boardies, 2pac tees and ripped denim. The 90s rule.

What kind of music do you like to play in your store and do you think this has an impact on your customers’ shopping behavior?

In the store you can expect to hear stuff like Neil Young, The Doors, Tom Petty, Pink Floyd, The Stones, Johnny Cash, Mac Demarco, The Smiths. Anything Rock from the 60s through to the 90s. And of course Hip Hop and Rap from the 90s. We like to provide easy listening and create a good vibe for the shoppers. We recently did a stall at Splendor In The Grass and played pretty loud Hip Hop for most of the weekend. We had people shopping as well as dancing. It was pretty rad.


Yeah Elvis!

Do you look to old movies and older pop culture for vintage style inspiration?  

Wayne and Garth are definitely an inspiration [Wayne’s World… party on!]. They are fashion Gods. Even in TV shows like Saved By The Bell they wore the sickest clothes. Alex Mack was rocking overalls and snapbacks before anyone. Also early Tarantino movies, which are obvious. Most 90s movies consist of epic clothes and in most of them we find inspiration.  

If you could style one famous celebrity in Storeroom Vintage gear, who would it be and what would you have them wear?

Can they be a supposedly dead celebrity, but still actually alive [in our minds]? Okay, cool… We’d love to get Tupac into our store, have him wearing a vintage rap tee with Tommy Hilfiger overalls and a Ralph Lauren bucket hat and get a picture in front of our giant American flag for our Instagram. Imagine how many likes that would get!  #instafamous Who is your target market and how do you go about marketing to them?  

Our target market is anyone who appreciates the importance of being an individual. Instagram has been such a great marketing tool for us and has been a vital part of growing our business.  

What is your vision for the future of Storeroom Vintage? We don’t like to think too far ahead but we will continue to provide epic vintage and expand our vintage empire. We won’t stop until ya Mum and Dad are rocking Store Room Vintage Threads.

Pin Up Girls. And boys?

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In the fashion world its rare to find something new and exciting that hasnt really been done before, now in steps a close friend of mine who also happens to be devilishly handsom, my mate Luke Flynn who has just announced the launch of its debut collection, paying homage to life in New York City.

Founded by friends Kym Naimo and Luke Flynn, Prize Pins references the history of vintage pins and their craftsmanship.

“New York is a special beast, we’re constantly inspired by the nuances that make up its identity, from the people to the art and architectire” says co-founder Luke Flynn. “We sought to design a collection of pins that would subtly enhance personal style, we like to call it garment spice.”

New York City-based Prize is a new take on a classic object through art, humor, and design. The debut collection, comprised of 12 distinctive lapel pins, is designed and manufactured entirely in the U.S.

Each pin in the debut collection is a thoughtful yet irreverent take on a classic object, with designs resembling a gold tooth, rare steak, one-eyed panther, “Do No Disturb” gravestone, “Applause” sign, and more. As a tribute to all things rare and coveted, Prize Pins are produced in limited runs of 100 or less.

Website: prizepins.com
Sales: kym@prizepins.com
Instagram: @prizepins