[Doing it Right] Armin Van Buuren’s Post-Grammy Award Show

Being a California native, it takes me a little more than the average bear to get ‘starstruck‘; but, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.   Back when I was working in El Segundo for Internet Brands, I saw Gary Payton at the local dive bar and started shaking in my boots I was so excited!  It’s not everyday that you’re standing in front of a childhood idol, and there I was – jaw to the floor in front of ‘The Glove’ and I couldn’t even muster enough syllables to form a coherent sentence. When I worked at Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week in Los Angeles, I hugged and interviewed Christian Audigier of the infamous Ed Hardy clothing brand. Now, no – I don’t ‘love‘ his clothes, and you might have to pay me to wear about a third of what they produce – but absolutely nothing can compare to meeting an idol, fashion mogul and exceptional business brain.  A year ago this weekend, I started writing for The DJ List’ – an internationally respected, EDM webzine, and the number of opportunities I’ve had that take my breath away are simply magnificent.  What started as me wanting a ‘hand in the EDM cookie jar’ has catapulted to me with a foot in the door in the EDM world.  I’ve had the privilege of rubbing shoulders with the best and brightest, and have amazing memories to show for it.

Last Spring, my boyfriend and I met Markus Schulz and covered the details of his Scream 2 Album and Bus Tour.  Then, to throw a cherry on top of my musical ice cream sundae – this past December as a little belated birthday present from the world at large: I got to meet, touch and hug the #1 Trance DJ in the world, Armin van Buuren at an exclusive Press and Fan meet and greet opportunity at the House of Blues in Hollywood where he dished about his latest one man tour, Armin Only: Intense, as well as his first Grammy nomination for the smash single ‘This Is What It Feels Like’ featuring vocalist Trevor Guthrie. Fast forward to last week and I’m churning through my emails, trying to find a ray of sunlight in my bleak inbox – and stumbled across an email from his PR agent who I simply adore: Sound Nightclub was pairing up with Armin and Trevor to celebrate their Grammy nomination for ‘This Is What It Feels Like’ and they wanted me there.  What?!  This is one of the first, and only moments, that’s left me laughing historically, wondering who in the world I am and exactly how I’ve gotten so lucky?  Granted, hard work and dedication have paid off – I’ve penned almost 60 articles for The DJ List, which isn’t anything to sneeze at – especially when you consider my full time job, and penchant for wild and crazy fun, and inherent need to basically do everything under the sun.  I want it all, and somehow, I’ve managed to get it.

Last night, three of my favorite people in the world – my wonderful boyfriend, one of my best gals that I started Beatnet EDM with and my friend who pioneered the amazing EDM Event site ‘Music Alerts’ – strutted into one of the hottest, and newest Hollywood clubs for our first time to see the man, the myth, the Trance Legend – AVB!  The venue was small enough that it’s an intimate setting, and the party was small enough that there was room to shake your groove thing and get down with your trance arms wherever you felt necessary.  Most parties at Sound pack the place to the brim, but since this was Armin’s party – no real tickets were sold; the show was invite only and the crowd, as plastic as 80% of them looked, was having the time of their lives.  Unfortunately, Armin didn’t take home the Grammy for ‘Best Dance Recording’ but the category was chalk full of amazing singles, and could’ve easily been anyone’s ball game. The rest of the category played out like this –  This Is What It Feels Like was up against Clarity from Zedd and Foxes, Kaskade’s Atmosphere, Calvin Harris and Florence Welch for Sweet Nothings, and last but certainly not least, breakthrough smash ‘Need You (100%)’ by Duke Dumont, MNEK and A*M*E.  At the end of the night, the award was much deservingly given to Zedd and Foxes – and I couldn’t be happier with the choice.  As much as I was rooting for Armin, if I had to pick a single of his to be nominated – that would not have been it.  In and Out Of LoveFine Without YouVirual Friend – they each have an immense depth, heavy layers and ethereal vocals that build throughout the track and IMO, were much more deserving of a Grammy nod; but that was a different world back then.  I’m more than interested how EDM effects other, more mainstream genres and infiltrates both Pop Music, and our Pop Culture;  Dance Music has been on the rise over the last ten years, and I can’t wait to see how EDM pushes the musical boundaries next.

Armin 2


ARMIN2

[Food Porn] San Francisco v1

To me, there’s nothing quite  refreshing as going back home and visiting family; it gets my head right and puts my heart in check.  From roaming the streets of Chinatown to watching the Mountain Dew Skateboarding Tour  to going out and dancing the night away at Ruby Skye with my favorites, San Francisco has a little something to do – and eat – for everyone.  One of my dad’s favorite things to do while I’m home is find new and exciting places to eat. According to him, I used to have quite the adventurous appetite but somehow as I grew older I started getting picky – it’s gotten to the point that most of my favorite restaurants in Los Angeles know what my usual‘ is.  So, much to my father’s delight I let him make most, if not all, of the food decisions over the weekend and my stomach couldn’t be happier.

Friday was the first full day I was in the city – granted, it was a little tainted by the fact I had to do some work from the apartment, but no matter – the simple fact that I essentially can work from anywhere is fabulous!  For lunch, I visited him at work in the Symantec headquarters so I could finally meet his lovely coworkers, and then we ventured off to find our lunch!  We bounced a few ideas around, but once we walked past Osha Thai our decision was made.  The best part about Osha, besides how amazing the food is, is there are a few different locations in the city – so wherever you happen to be, you won’t have to venture far to get that yummy Thai food in your belly.

We started off with some delicious drinks – my dad got a Thai Iced Coffee while I sipped on a Green Tea Mojito, super refreshing – and appetizers.  There are a few Thai places in LA that pride themselves on their Duck Spring Rolls so it’s a good point of comparison – and oh my wow, they were amazing! I would’ve taken a picture but we ate them too damn fast.  For our main course we split a steak salad and dug into some of the best massumun lamb curry ever.

Massumun Lamb Curry from Osha Thai

Bummer and Lazarus: Tequila, Ginger Beer, Cucumber, Chilies

There’s a bit of a food tradition my dad and I have when we visit each other; it’s 5 letters long and is the best thing ever…if you guessed sushi, you’d be correct!  Literally every time we get together, we collectively crave it.  So this time, I let him to the picking and choosing of where to go – there are so many good sushi places in SF that you really can’t go wrong.  This time, the choice was Ame at the St. Regis Hotel.  Now, we’d gone under the premise that this fusion Japanese food was going to be sushi – well, (a) wrong and (b) I’ve never been so happy about my dad being wrong, ever!  First of all, Ame is one of the only Asian influenced Michelin rated restaurants in San Francisco – and their modern American take on cultural Japanese food is mouthwatering.

I started off with a Bummer and Lazarus, a signature drink from their incredibly extensive cocktail menu; they literally have a drink for everyone – beer, sake, wine, mocktails – you name it and they have it. We split a few appetizers but they were a little on the small side and between all of our appetites they went very fast.  Next up was the main course – I was pretty overwhelmed by the menu and there wasn’t any sushi per-say, so thank goodness they have a ‘Taste of Ame’ sashimi plate that comes with lots of delectable goodies like a sunomono salad with uni.  I’m not exactly a sashimi fan, but after eating here I might become one!

Taste of Ame Sashimi Plate

I was beyond stuffed after my entree, but I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to try their beer donuts, if the establishment wasn’t so damn posh I’d suggest calling it the Homer Simpson because it essentially combines his two favorite things.  The donuts came with some of the richest chocolate sauce I’ve ever had covering the entire plate and a healthy chunk of Stout Ice Cream in the center. Omnom…

Beer Donuts with Chocolate Sauce and Stout Ice Cream

When we woke up Saturday morning we were all still full from dinner the night before so my step-mother and I took an adventure out to Chinatown during the day to get our walk and talk on.  After a few hours strolling around, I got a huge craving for BBQ Pork Buns – and I was definitely in the perfect location to fulfill it.  We walked for literally a minute and stumbled into Gourmet Kitchen to snag a few and I basically devoured them like it was my job.

BBQ Pork Buns

It’s always bittersweet to say goodbye to my family and the city that I love, but doing it over a great brunch at Prospect makes it so much easier. I usually go for the Eggs Benedict, but I was in the mood for something different and hearty – making the Prospector a shoe-in.  Bacon, eggs, potatoes, sausage and corncakes – such the well rounded American breakfast, but get anything at Prospect and you literally can’t go wrong.  Beyond making a great breakfast, it was also delicious as leftovers when I got back to Los Angeles that night.

The Prospector