Category Archives: Examiner

10 Things Long Distance Couples Can Do Right Now

Finding ways to be romantic and feel a connection in a long distance relationship is one of the greatest obstacles. While phone calls are enough most of the time, there are some days that call for a little extra effort. Here are 10 things long distance couples can do right now to amp up the romance in their relationship:

Start planning your next trip
Whether it’s next week, next month or next year, your relationship can benefit from having a reunion to look forward to.

Take a kissy-face selfie and text it
Show your partner you’re thinking of them when they’re not there with a cute or sexy picture depicting what you would be doing if you were in the same room.

Watch the same Netlfix show at the same time
Remember how fun it was to talk to your friend on the phone while watching your favorite show? This activity promotes that same feeling of giddy and playful connection, but with a romantic twist.

Jot down 5 things you love or miss about them and mail it
Even something as quick as scribbling down a few bullet points with your feelings will demonstrate intentionality in your relationship.

396283198_c59e996337_z

Make a romantic craft and send it to them
Imagine how loved and surprised your significant other will feel when they receive a package from you, especially one as thoughtful as a gift you made yourself.

Open up a Snap Chat account and use it regularly
We all know why people use Snap Chat; now it’s time to join them and have some fun. For tamer days, use it to give each other a step by step tour of your city.

Message them a link to your favorite song of the moment
Nothing feels as romantic as music sounds. Send your partner a love song to express how you feel about them.

Order cupcakes (or your partner’s favorite food) and have it delivered
It can be cupcakes, pizza, Chinese food or anything else that will brighten up your lover’s day.

Play a multi-player game
They say competition is healthy for a relationship. Put that theory to the test by spending an hour or two playing a multi-player game on the internet. Don’t forget to place bets for an even more rewarding outcome.

Buy a plane ticket
Long distance relationships don’t have to be as complicated or difficult as some make them out to be. All it takes is a plane ticket and a weekend together to reconnect and remind you of the reasons you chose each other in the first place.

Originally published on Examiner.com.

10 Worst Things About Long Distance Relationships

4623ff8b01bac8e41ba42c1159537660Anyone who has ever been in a long distance relationship can agree: sometimes they are just plain horrible. Of course, they have their amazing moments, the ones no one would ever trade, but at times they are also gut-wrenchingly painful. Same city relationships have their hardships too, but they are different from the ones that long distance couples have to deal with. Even though the positives far outweigh the negatives and the love and time spent together make it all worth it, these are still the 10 worst things about being in an LDR:

1. No makeup loving after arguments.

Those moments when couples get down and dirty in the middle of a heated argument are not a possibility for long distance couples. Even after a drawn-out squabble which may last numerous phone calls and span the course of a couple of days, the most satisfaction an LDR couple can get is a simple, “I love you,” after it’s over.

2. You can’t help your significant other through crises.

If your loved one is going to school or working in a different city, they may have to cope with the stresses of exams, grades, performance reviews, and presentations. All of these tests carry with them the possibility of failure. It hurts knowing that your partner is going through a rough time and there’s not much you can do for them.

3. No hugs at the end of a long and stressful day.

Studies show that hugging on a daily basis releases stress-reducing oxytocin, boosts the immune system and battles depression. But what are you to do when your main squeeze is hours away? If you go from being able to see and hug your significant other every day to being far away, this obstacle is one of the hardest to deal with. Until you two can be reunited, seek out meaningful physical contact with friends, but make sure you don’t cross any boundaries.

4. Visits and travel are all very expensive.

Every long distance relationship has a different level of expense. The most expensive are international relationships because plane tickets and phone calls are much more costly than same-country LDRs. Even if you are in the same state as your beloved, you should be prepared to spend hundreds of dollars on every trip. The best way to get through this hurdle is to split the cost. If the person travelling pays for their transportation, the one being visited can pay for meals and activities.

5. When your partner accidentally falls asleep before calling you and you call them a bunch of times, but they aren’t answering and don’t know where they are.

It’s very easy to get paranoid, worried, scared and distrustful in a long distance relationship. When you don’t hear from your partner for a day and don’t receive a good-night phone call before bed, your mind begins conjuring the worst possible scenario. Two of the biggest fears of people in long distance relationships are that their partner has been seriously injured and there’s no way to find out, and that their partner is cheating on them. Neither of these thoughts is comforting as you’re lying there, trying to fall asleep. The most probable explanations are that your boyfriend or girlfriend is busy hanging out with friends and they forgot to check their phone, something happened to their phone (maybe it ran out of battery) or they accidentally fell asleep while watching TV or a movie. The reality is usually not as bad as what you imagine.

6. Seeing people in happy relationships all around you, holding hands and doing couple-related activities, making you miss your significant other even more.

This also happens to single people who want to be in a relationship, but it’s more difficult for people who are in a relationship because they can’t do these activities with the person they love. The best way to combat the feelings of jealousy, yearning and loneliness is to call your significant other and tell them how you feel. Talking to your loved one about how much you missed them today when you saw a couple playing air hockey will make you feel closer than if you keep your feelings pent up and as a result, resent the fact that they’re not around.

7. Not having someone with whom to go to certain events.

Your favorite band is coming to town or there’s a chocolate festival on Saturday, but all of your friends are busy or not interested. (If you can’t find a friend interested in a chocolate festival, you have a whole new set of problems on your hands). For many people, their significant other is their go-to person for many fun-filled events. When you are in a long distance relationship, you should either have a lot of friends with varied interests, become comfortable with going to events alone, or plan an action-packed weekend of activities you have always wanted to try for when your partner comes to visit.

8. You can’t just stop by their place after work or between classes or meet up at happy hour.

In same city relationships, it’s so much easier to see each other. This may be an unnecessarily obvious observation, but not being able to hang out for an hour or two when you have time may be one of the most difficult aspects of being in a long distance relationship. The spontaneous visits and excursions comprise a major part of same city relationships and help you reconnect throughout the week before date night. You can create a similar effect by calling each other at lunch or Skyping with a glass of wine while you watch the same TV show.

9. Romance means getting an unexpected phone call first thing in the morning.

It goes without saying that same city romance is easier than long distance romance. For LDRs, there is a lot more planning involved to execute a large romantic gesture, like a surprise visit. For the most part, romance in a long distance relationship means an unexpected phone call when you wake up or a sweet text message you receive on your way to work. That is the simplest way to be romantic. If you want to get more creative, you can have flowers sent to your significant other or mail them a hand-written letter. For extra points, make them a video they can watch when you can’t be together.

10. Having an argument over what was said in a text message, online chat or email because tone is impossible to convey through writing and sometimes causes misunderstandings.

At some point in a long distance relationship, couples will decide to refrain from using Facebook chat or text messages to communicate unless it’s absolutely necessary. That’s because, after the umpteenth argument that occurs because someone didn’t know you were joking, takes your joke seriously and gets offended, you learn your lesson. It’s nearly impossible to convey tone through a quick written exchange. You may read something and take it in a completely different way than was intended. This is a natural and common situation in this day and age when sentences are typed at lightning speed and rarely proofread before getting sent. Even smiley faces and punctuation are open to interpretation. Save yourself the trouble and call instead.

Originally published on Examiner.com.

Justin Willman’s Show Gets “Tricked Out”

Examiner.com | July 2013

JustinWillman_Tricked_Out

Part comedian, part miracle-worker, Justin Willman fantastically blends the worlds of social media, pop culture, humor and magic into one unbelievable bundle. You won’t find any hats or animals in this magic show; Willman’s Tricked Out, now touring across the country, puts a modern twist on classic favorites like big box tricks and disappearing acts, with a few originals thrown into the mix.

If you’re attending Willman’s show expecting a night of magic reminiscent of smoky dark rooms in Las Vegas, you’re in for quite the surprise. Willman’s fresh and invigorating approach to his art form excites his audience, while his quick wit and clever sense of humor induce more laughter than the biggest comedy acts on Sunset Blvd. Utilizing unconventional tools like his Iphone’s Siri app, soda cans, and colorful markers, the show is as hilarious as it is spectacular.

While the props and tricks are outstandingly placed and executed, the audience participation can be hit or miss. Some of the picks are outgoing, adding to the entertainment, while others were uncomfortable in the spotlight, thus creating a bit of awkward tension. Regardless of the situation, Willman had no problem recovering and livening up the mood.

The astounding tricks performed by Willman will make you repeatedly ask your neighbor, “How did he do that? What’s his secret?” Most of the time, the tricks seem impossible, especially the ones where audience participation leads to an outcome that seems to have been predicted by the magician hours before the show. Once audience member even admitted, “At times, I was stunned into silence. I couldn’t even clap.”

Rather than straining your brain trying to figure out the tricks of the trade, just sit back, enjoy the show and feel like a kid again, just like Willman intended. The show is the kick-off event for three weeks of Cirque-A-Palooza at the Pasadena Playhouse. Following Willman’s performances, the playhouse will host an evening with Groucho, a two-week street fair with Cirque de Soleil acts, and other bizarre talent. Whether it’s by the circus acts or the magical feats of Justin Willman, your mind will be blown and you’ll never look at life, or magic, the same way again.

Culture Collide 2012 Rocks the Streets of LA

ofverona

“We are young, we are united,” sang Of Verona at Taix Restaurant on October 4th, the first night of the Culture Collide music festival that electrified the streets of Los Angeles for four days. The powerful words of this Canadian rock band encapsulated the atmosphere and mission of this game-changing music festival: to unite the world through music.

Bands from all over the world, from Thailand, Europe, Australia and South America, took over the clubs and restaurants of Echo Park. The intimate venues of the festival created environments where music lovers could feel the bass bumping in their chest and the thumps of the drums vibrating their bodies. All within 322 meters of one another, the seven stages of the festival included 826LA, the writing and tutoring center, the Origami Vinyl store front, The Echo and Echoplex, the Taix Lounge and Champagne Room, and The Church on North Alvarado Street.

The five day music festival kicked-off with a party on October 3rd at Taix with DJ sets by Kevin Barnes, School of Seven Bells, and Penguin Prison. For the rest of the week, attendees club-hopped from venue to venue to discover and rock out to the beats of their new favorite bands. Over 25 countries were represented at the festival and attendees flocked from around the world and from all over the country to take part in this monumental festival to bring the nations under one roof.

And the Sunday Block Party would be no different. This closing party is the first night of the festival that is open to all ages, further unifying us in the quest for good music. The block party will include LA’s best food trucks, art activities, and live performances from bands such as Niki and the DoveBonde do Role, and Colorfeels. The night is free and takes place from 2 pm to midnight on Reservoir Street.

For the third year in a row, Filter Magazine has achieved the impossible. This band of article-writing, artist-interviewing audiophiles has managed to unite worlds that are rarely exposed to one another, to bring together countries and people who would otherwise have never met, and to succeed in their mission of bringing good music to the streets of LA, because “good music will prevail.”

For the original story, visit Examiner.com.

Field to Fork: First Event of The Taste

SEPTEMBER 1, 2012 | BY: CHRISTINA KHARBERTYAN

ff2“I only know two things to be true: wine is fun. And free wine tastes better than wine that you pay for,” said Fred Dame, a Master Sommelier, in his wine seminar entitled “How to Taste Wine like a Master Sommelier.” In the seminar held on the first day of The Taste food and drink festival, we learned about wines from visual, olfactory, and taste perspectives.

The first leg of the festival centered on farm-to-table cuisine, and the beverages that accompany them. A treat for all the senses, with mountains of food samples such as fried avocado wedges with Thai chile sauce from Avalon Grille (located a hop, skip, and jump across the Pacific to Catalina Island), The Taste truly gifted attendees an extravagant tasting experience. Creative pairings of flavors were abundant at each booth; one of the more memorable dishes emerged from Crème Caramel LA with its emerald plum and almond crème caramel which had delicate flavors of plum and almond extract.

To accompany the sweets and savories were wines, beers and spirits from all over the California, ranging from the dry, acidic Chardonnay of Bernardus Winery to the sweet, rosy Moscato of Rose ‘N’ Blum. In addition to the food and wine, the organic spirits were a breath of fresh air. The most notable were Farmer’s botanical organic gin and Crop organic vodka which made refreshing cocktails.

ff1Organic ingredients were prevalent throughout the entire event, such as the dishes at Blvd 16 like chilled Piquillo pepper and strawberry soup, all of which were made with organic produce from the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. The panel “State of the Farmer’s Market” included three speakers: Tara Kolla, Diana Rodgers, and Jordan Toft. Kolla is an independent grower, Rodgers serves as the manager of the Sunset Strip Farmer’s Market, and Toft is the executive chef of Eveleigh. The three speakers discussed the role of local and organic ingredients in restaurants and the future of farmers markets in Los Angeles.

In the panel, Rodgers revealed the reason why farmers markets are in such high demand in Los Angeles at the moment. “They are real community builders,” she said. “Every little town wants one. The food is there and the food brings people together.” This idea rang even truer being spoken in the center of one of the largest gatherings of food enthusiasts in California.

So much of what humans consume on a daily basis pleases and utilizes every one of our senses. Food festivals give us a chance to fuel and exercise these senses and make them more attuned to nuances in flavor. By tasting foods we have never heard of, such as a salad made with Freekeh grain, or partaking in this essential community of food enthusiasm, we get back in touch with a basic instinct in being human, the instinct to connect with one another through what we eat.