[The Audiofiles] A Rambunctious Chinese New Year with ill.Gates and The Good Vibe

All creation myths and stories aside, the Chinese Zodiac has always been one of my favorites.  There are many tales, some taller than others, about its origins, and the order of the animals but first lets delve into the Chinese Calendar itself.  Unlike our current Gregorian Calendar, a calendar that revolves around the Julian Calendar and breaks up the approximate 365 day year into twelve, somewhat irregular, slivers –  the Chinese Zodiac is based around the LuniSolar Calendar, which treks from one Winter Solstice to the next. Unlike most calendars, she’s a wonderful marriage of Geography and Astronomy through exploration and astute observation.  Currently, the Chinese Calendar has over 100 versions and is a beautiful consequence of evolution with deep roots in both science and folk lore. More often than not, the Chinese Calendar encompasses 12, if not 13 Lunar Cycles, Moon-ths – or as we know them now – Months.

Using the Summer Solstice and Winter Solstice as celestial markers, the year is then divided into 24 equal partitions. The first lunar month is dictated by the month with its first day closest to the “Beginning of Spring”, which ends up being around February 4th – 6 weeks before the Vernal Spring Equinox. With ornate costumes, boisterous music and vibrant life the week long Spring Festival for the Chinese New Years celebrates the coming of the New Year with enchanting style, grace and community.  Three years ago, I had the wonderful fortune of spending it in Shanghai with one of my best friends and let me tell you – it’s one festival not to miss.

As the fables go, one day – the Jade Emperor assembled the animals together in Heaven…for a race, or a banquet of sorts (FYI – there are a LOT of fables).  The first twelve to show up were the Rat, Ox, Pig, Ram, Monkey, Dog, Rabbit, Snake, Chicken, Dragon, Horse and the Tiger – and the Jade Emperor determined they were a perfect fit for the twelve calendar years. Over the course of their quest,typical shenanigans, mayhem and hijinks ensue – including the original prank of the Rat not passing on the invitation to the Cat. A cat lady through and through, I’ve always found it personally hilarious that I was born the Year of the Rat and was slightly dismayed – but now, I own it.  Rushing to the finish line, the Rat came in first place – the Ox next, but the Rat only won because he rode in on the Ox and jumped off at the last second, etc, etc; the Chinese Zodiac as we know it now is dictated by the order of the animals arrived in. An additional attribute from the Wu Xing, otherwise known as the Five Elements, governs over the universe and like the years of the Zodiac – each have their own unique characteristics. In the wake of the 2015’s New Lunar Year, we moved from the Year of the Wood Horse to the Year of the Wood Ram – and thanks to the Good Vibe, we did it in style. 

The upcoming year of 2015 will be rich in positive emotions and intoxicating amorous affairs; after all, its patron – the Wooden Ram – is exactly this way: it is kind, adventurous, easy to get carried away with something new and exciting, but similarly easy to lose interest…. Life is good and it is nice to have nice people around – this is the motto of this period’s patron; we should always keep this in mind. “

Living in Los Angeles, we don’t necessarily need an additional reason to celebrate – a Friday, Wednesday – or even a Sunday will suffice; but toss in an excellent festivity thrown by an impeccably run company, and the OG party people will come out to play.  Located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, 333 Live was a new venue for my party pants and dancing feet – be it the amazing company, variety of vendors, wonderful vibe or the fact that there was ample space to move and groove to some sick beats, but I’m already excited for the next event thrown there, whatever and whenever it it might be.  From start to finish, the human species was on prime display as the evening was engulfed in delightful sets from two different rooms on separate levels of the club, which also boasted a tightly packed outside area fully equipped with delicious Dim Sum eats for anyone with an empty stomach. The Solid Gold room upstairs got rowdy to the sounds of Oh Diggz, Paragon, Lou E. Bagels, Mihkal and the Smasheltooth Pirate, while the Main Stage partied to Winnebago, The Good Vibe’s own J*Labs, and Ruffhauser before the midnight Lion Parade, fully equipped with a mobile, larger than life Ram that seductive dancers and an intoxicating cast of characters, including dance troupes, Bijoulette, the GoGo Stars and the Vibe Tribe.

The crowd got straight rambunctious when ill.Gates took control of the decks, wooing partygoers with epic drops and freshly improvised productions.  We managed to capture a couple on video, in case you want to relive the moment like we do –

Up next was Colorado native VibeSquaD, a favorite of ours from the Gem & Jam festival – I appreciated that he brought a new feel to his set for the night, throwing in more industrial bass than the first time I saw him.  And oh man, when he dropped “Chocolates” – the floor lit up.

As Friday the 13th evolved into Valentine’s Day morning, our night ended in the most perfect way – a wonderful set from Pumpkin that left us dancing until we were ushered out venue at 4AM. 

Photos shot by Daniel Leist Photography | For the full photo album head to The DJ List.

For more on The Good Vibe and the night’s headliners, head to their socials:

ill.Gates: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

VibeSquaD: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

Pumpkin: Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

The Good Vibe: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

[The Kitchen Kitten] Walnut + Blue Cheese Salad

I almost fell off the bed this morning when I saw that it was December 17th; no, time did not stop for me on my 29th birthday and yes, I’ve been paying attention as the days pass – but the month is halfway over and I can almost count the day to 2014 on my fingers.  Man, oh man – it’ almost that time of year.  At the office, it means the first quarter of the fiscal year and the directors are making sure that all of our ducks are in a row, crossing their t’s and dotting their i’s.

But, on a more personal level – it’s almost the holidays, meaning whatever free time I thought I had will be gloriously overrun by family, friends and festive celebrations – three of my favorite F words, believe you me! However, since there are only 24 hour in a day and I’m always trying to cram three too many things into it, the one area of my life that I almost ignore when I’m busy is my appetite.   And take it from a Pro, that can throw your whole day in a downward spiral if you don’t tackle it in time.

Good new is that I’ve found the perfect, quick and easy fix – in the form of a salad!  I know what you’re thinking – silly rabbit, tricks are for kids!  True – but this tried and true meal can range anywhere from an appetizer salad to a full meal depending on how stacked you’re willing to make it.  One of the best things about salads – minimal prep-time.  Simply stock the fridge with your favorite dressing, fresh veggies and  then toss some arugula, red leaf lettuce or one of those convenient pounce of mixed green and your kitchen will always be prepared.

Before we go to the next step, expand your mind a bit about what can go into a salad.  Since cucumber, tomato and avocado are all fruits, why not toss in some slices of mandarin for a splash of citrus? Why not shred some of your favorite meats and cheeses for a boost of added protein, or add some nuts?  The possibilities are endless if you put your mind to it! The salad below is what I like to think of as a ‘next level’-salad – you have the incredible, savory flavor of the blue cheese melding with the sweet, smokiness of the candied walnuts, then the complementary cold and refreshing flavors of cucumber and beets leaves the pallet wanting more.  And trust me on that last part – I make this salad at least twice a week now! Now, onto the good stuff.


  • 2 bowls – 1 large, 1 medium / small
  • cutting board
  • sharp knife
  • cucumber peeler 
  • muddler (or, object with a blunt end)
  • salad tongs (optional)

Ingredients for 2:

  • 1 cup Baby Arugula (or greenery of choice)
  • 4 oz Blue Cheese Crumbles (If the taste is a little much, try Goat Cheese or Feta)
  • 6 oz Candied Walnuts (chopped or smashed)
  • 1/3 Cucumber
  • Trader Joe’s Goddess Dressing (or whatever your pleasure may be)
  • 6 oz cold Beets
  • Last, but not least – beats: I’ve really been digging on Emancipator lately – it’ perfect  stop-and-smell-those-roses type of music.

Optional: Upgrade yo’self, because you’re a boss like that:

  • Fresh Baby Shrimp ( .5 lb)
  • Granny Smith Apples (1 diced)
  • Prosciutto (4 slices)
  • Ground Pepper + salt (Tsp each)
  • Cherry Tomatoes (10-15)
  • Scallion slices (enough for flavor; to each their own)

The Basics: Mixed greens, beet, cucumber, blue cheese, candied walnut and Goddess dressing


Now, let’s get down to brass tax – and it’s incredibly simple:

  1. Wash your lettuce / arugula / whatever greens you selected and tear them into edible morsels, toss into large bowl and set aside
  2. Peel and chop the cucumber and beets (and other juicy veggies), throw into large bowl with greens and mix well
  3. In a small bowl, take your candied walnuts and your muddler and get your smash on until the pieces have become about a quarter the original size
  4. separate the blue cheese crumbles in your hand a bit and toss in with the walnuts
  5. Load the large bowl with dressing, toss for a bit then throw in the content of the small bowl

Voila – your ten minute meal is le served!