Category Archives: Style

LA Needs to Stop Tearing Down Its History to Build Garbage


Dear Architecture Lovers,

When I moved to Los Angeles eight years ago, I lived in the area of Hollywood very close to West Hollywood. I remained in that neighborhood for the next seven years, until last year when I moved to Silver Lake to live in a condo overlooking the Silver Lake Reservoir with my boyfriend. Over the years I noticed West Hollywood started to explode with construction. That explosion has extended all over town, from the crazy expensive homes being built in Venice to the amazing (and insane) transformation of the Arts District downtown (which is literally nothing but bulldozers these days). Our city is transforming at an incredible speed, and I believe it’s on its way to finally being a world-class city and a worthy international destination (once we fix our terrible third-world airport).

All of this is great, but one thing I’ve been noticing over the years is how little regard city planners, developers, the general public, and even architects have for preserving any sense of the city’s rich architectural history. To drive around our city, you’d think that it was founded in the nineteen nineties (when in fact it’s officially been a city for over 160 years and obviously was populated way before that). We have a history as a city of tearing down buildings in favor of building something more contemporary. People here like “new.” And the problem with this is that it never allows our current architecture to gestate and become historic. With the danger of earthquakes present at all times here, it makes sense for people to be attracted to new construction (and thus buildings erected during stricter earthquake construction regulations), but there has to be a way to preserve buildings while renovating them to make them earthquake-safe.

To be honest, I kind of get it. My old building in Hollywood was from the nineteen fifties and I always felt like it would probably pancake me in an earthquake. Unfortunately, there is a huge incentive for the landlords that own many of the amazing mid-century apartment complexes scattered across the city to do as little as they possibly can to maintain them. To save money and do things cheaply, eventually leading the way to just tearing these buildings down and erecting something new and cheap, usually out of very inexpensive materials with a few bells and whistles (stainless steel, woohoo!) designed to trick buyers/renters into thinking the building is high end. A great example of this is the Dylan in West Hollywood, an apartment complex built from materials that are likely to age poorly in a style that was dated before construction ended.

If you ask people what their favorite cities are, most people will mention a city with a strong architectural history: Paris, San Francisco, New York, London, etcetera. I was lucky enough to visit Barcelona over the summer and the most amazing part of the whole trip was how well the city has preserved its amazing historic buildings. You can literally see history, decades and centuries, as you walk though the city and it’s an amazing feeling. It gives the city a sense of presence and importance. That people cared enough, over time, to preserve buildings and historic places. But for some reason people who love these historic cities have no problem tearing down fifty-year-old buildings in LA to make way for banal new constructions.

A great example of this disconnect comes with the new Gehry building being built on Sunset Boulevard (a block away from my old apartment):


No, they’re not building a Mickey’s Toontown next to my old apartment. But the first thing I thought of when I saw the Gehry design (on the left) was that crazy cartoon land at Disneyland. I actually really like the Gehry design but the reason I’m likening it to Mickey’s Toontown is that it is very much in the same vernacular, and that vernacular is strongly related to the architectural sensibility of the early nineties (Toontown was built in 1993, a few years before Gehry’s most famous curvaceous building was erected, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in 1997). That vernacular is dated. So basically my point is that this building quickly be dated once it’s built.

Which would be fine if developers weren’t tearing down a “dated” architectural gem to make way for the soon-to-be-dated Gehry erection. This is the building they will tear down for the Gehry development on Sunset:


I had a hard time finding a lot of current images, but the vintage images of it actually are better at showing what it would look like if it were restored:

lytton-savings-2 lytton-savings-3 lytton-savings-4 lytton-savings-1

I have a huge soft spot in my heart for zig-zag roofs (or really any distinctive architecture to be honest). So I might be a bit biased. But I believe this building is worth saving. Architectural styles can take a long time to come back, but I’m confident this building would (if allowed to stand) someday be cherished as an example of beautiful, archetypal mid-century architecture (it was built in 1960).

The site occupied by the zig-zag Chase Bank was previously the site of another lost piece of LA history, the Garden of Allah Hotel. I’m convinced if that hotel survived it would be as gorgeous as the much-treasured Chateau Marmont, which is just across the street and one of my favorite places to take out of towners to show them that, yes, Los Angeles does have some history. Maybe this site is cursed. Maybe Gehry will tear down this bank and then in twenty-five years another cocky architect will come along and tear down his Mickey’s Toontown. A better solution would be for Gehry to retool his design to include the bank (reports are they’ve already done this but haven’t released the renderings). My hope would be that in fifty years we can look at both buildings and see how they contrast with each other and showcase different periods of LA history.

Seeing the historical relevance of a building is more difficult the more recent it is. Such is the case with a building at 8500 Melrose Avenue. It’s one of the most hated buildings in LA and is one of my very favorites:


I know what you’re thinking. It’s hideous. A lot of people (most people) hate this building. It’s been maligned (in a rather bourgeois way) by Curbed and the discontent with the building can be tracked back to an early oughts LA Times Story. My theory is that it’s just too soon for people to appreciate this building. It’s too fresh in our collective memory to actually be able to see the historical importance of a building erected in 1985. But that doesn’t mean we should, as is planned, rip off its facade to turn it into something very NOW, which will be equally maligned in twenty years. This era of fast-fashion, and disposable interior design (think of all the inexpensive and, hence, disposable home decor products available at big box retailers these days) has led to an addiction to tearing down and starting over when light renovation (or even just a paint job) could be the better answer. This has deep ramifications for our environment and our cities’ architectural-cultural heritage.

One of the things that can make working with design clients difficult is that I often see what something could be, not what it is and explaining that can be challenging. So I’ll propose a  tattered vintage sofa, knowing that I’ll get it recovered in sumptuous indigo velvet. And the client will see a tattered sofa. I, however, have the burden of seeing the sumptuous indigo velvet sofa and the responsibility to show the client what that would look like. The end result is always way better than if we’d just gone to a big box store and bought a ready-made, run-of-the-mill indigo sofa. I feel the same way about 8500 Melrose Avenue. When I look at this INSANE black-and-white building, I don’t see a building with faded red window frames, clunky typography on the signage, and a hideous entrance. I see what it could be. I see this:


This is a render I made showing simple, quick edits that could be done to this building to preserve its eighties character while making it less offensive to our today-eyes. What I love about this building is that it is distinctive and that it uses a classic pattern in a way we never see. I love black-and-white stripes. How often do you see them used on architecture? It would save so much labor, material, and natural resources to do minor edits on this building. The upside is that in 50 years, when we’ve had the space to truly appreciate eighties design, we’ll have something to remember it (and our city’s history) by.


Like with the Gehry complex, I actually like the design of the planned overhaul for this building. I do think, however, that it screams NOW and will thus be hated in twenty years. This type of boxy architecture has roots in high-end architecture, but has unfortunately been coopted by the mansionizing that has run rampant all over the city, but most pervasively in West Hollywood.


This type of building is relatively cheap because of the materials involved and it doesn’t age well (over time stucco sags and cracks and unlike other materials that can look better with age, this really only looks good brand new). Also, because it’s become so readily-available and widespread, it’s destined to become something that is commonly hated for its ubiquity. Thus, it’s my belief that in twenty years, the public is going to look at the renovated 8500 Melrose and scream, yet again, for it to be torn down.

Another soon-to-be lost space in Los Angeles is the Ricardo Legorreta-designed Pershing Square, which has already chosen French architecture firm Agence Ter for an overhaul. I can see why people hate this park. Firstly, there aren’t plants and there’s little shade. Second, the actual design of the space, with its purple tower and nineties geometry, is very challenging to the contemporary brain. It’s too soon to see the coolness in this park’s retro design. The park opened in 1994.


When I see the current design of Pershing Square, I don’t see a dated place. I see the type of Magritte-inspired surrealism that had a popular moment in the nineties, typified in the colorful (and insane) Robin Williams movie Toys:


This was a wonderful, playful time for architecture that gave us architecture stars like Michael Graves (who I think is totally under appreciated and whose buildings for The Disney Company I love). Here, are some GIFs that show the playful aesthetic of Toys:



I’m sure Legorretta’s Pershing Square felt very contemporary when it opened, but now it feels dated. And dated in a way that’s too close for us to actually appreciate.


The main issue with this park is that it’s not green enough and there’s not enough shade. Ideally, they’d just rip out a lot of that stone and put some green space for people to relax. Additionally, the colors of the spire and surrounding architecture could be updated pretty easily (people forget the wonders of paint!) to reflect current color trends (primary and secondary colors were all the rage in 1994). Maybe the city could save some of the $50 million estimated budget for the overhaul and dedicate it to services for the homeless, whose presence in the park is the number one detractor for people who want to go there and hang out. I’ve been to the park numerous times and the design of the space has never bothered me. Being harassed and pestered by panhandlers while I’m trying to relax has. I know that sounds a bit insensitive, but seems weird to be spending so much money on a park makeover when the real issue with the area has to do with the fact that so many Angelenos don’t have anywhere to live and congregate in parks like this. It’s not comfortable to have a picnic in a place that is, essentially, somebody’s home. It is my belief that most of the current structures could be allowed to stand and they could be updated and greened up to make the park a much more lush, comfortable place to be.

The design of Pershing Square is kooky, but it’s not unsaveable.

I guess my main overarching point here is that appreciating design and architecture from previous generations can be a challenge, but it’s worth the effort to create a city that will feel more dynamic and atmospheric. You have to separate yourself from so many parts of your own personal history to be able to truly see the beauty and history behind an old building or object. I’ve seen this even in dealing with my parents, who are much less interested in anything mid-century than I am because it reminds them of the stuff their parents thought was cool. Their relationship to that period of design is completely different than mine.

But that also shows that even a difference of 30 years can change someone’s perspective on a certain building, piece of furniture, etc. So instead of defaulting to tearing down buildings and replacing them with ones that feel “contemporary” and “now,”  I’d advocate for always erring on the side of giving buildings a chance to become classics. To restoring rather than ripping down. You might not understand the beauty and importance of a more-recent older building, but in 30 years you may regret living in a city that continuously tears down its history, a city that did nothing preserve buildings from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s because they didn’t seem historic at the time. In 50 years they could be a window into our history.

We seem to be in a cycle of mediocrity, where older buildings are being town down to build cheap new buildings that will not stand the test of time or durability. All this is doing is erasing any possibility we have of being a city with any sense of architectural history. Los Angeles, stop tearing down your history to erect buildings to erect buildings that will be torn down.


If you’d like to learn more about preservation in Los Angeles, check out the Los Angeles Conservancy, which has a listing of current historic buildings in danger and ways you can help.

Images via: Curbed, Disney Pal, Skyscraper, LA Conservancy, Curbed, Ivan EstradaLA Weekly, Happening in DTLA, Screen Junkies, Shea Wong, Burrells, MishkaNYC.


Filed under Life, Style

Epic Everyday: Dinner and Movie at Home


Dear Urban Apartment Dwellers,

Having people over for dinner is one of my favorite things on earth. I’m becoming a crochety old man you can’t take anywhere. Every new restaurant I try out seems to be louder and more sceney than the last. Also, if I go to one more tapas or shared plate restaurant I’m going to scream. If I wanted to serve things myself or try to split one meatball seven ways I would just do that at home. Thank you.

As you may have seen on my Instagram, I’ve teamed up with American Express to share ideas on how you can take the normal stuff you do regularly and make it more fun and exciting, adding a bit more epic to your everyday. So for this post, I thought to myself, “How could I make a dinner party even more fun?”

Continue reading


Filed under Decor, Style

A Midsummer Night’s Color Scheme

Homepolish Julie Crosby
Source: Homepolish

Dear Summer,

I always kind of think of summer as June, July, and August, but over my years in LA I’ve come to understand that summer starts in May and ends in October. For this reason, I’ve realized there’s still time to up my outdoor hosting game before the season ends. IT’S NOT TOO LATE YOU GUYS! So I’ve decided to share some of my favorite summer hosting items with you.


Three of my favorite trends of the year are blush pink, metallic finishes, and indigo blue. I know what you’re thinking, trends are stupid and lame and people who talk about trends are desperate and obnoxious, trying their hardest to cling to some sense that they have any understanding of what is going on in the world when really everything is just spinning out of control. HOWEVER, when scrolling through summer wares from my favorite retailers, it was impossible not to notice these three themes coming from every retailer. Metallics have been in forever, and they’re not going away. For this reason I think it’s not a bad idea to invest in that set of brass-finish cutlery you’ve been eyeing, or to install copper pulls in your kitchen. Indigo blue is big, partially because everyone finally woke up to the fact that shibori is awesome. And blush pink is hot, because why not? Pink is just an overall enthralling, warm color that should be splashed all over everything.

So come on in and let’s chat about the hosting items I’m coveting this summer.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Decor, Life, Style

Hosting An Oscarparty The Lazy Way

Photographs by Daniel Collopy

In.Soria.Oscars.020615-0033You Guys,

It’s that time of year again. You know. That time of year when traffic is super bad because Hollywood Boulevard is shut down because they’re setting up for the Oscars and it’s super annoying but also kind of exciting because it’s so glamorous to be stuck in traffic thinking about all those fancy ladies wearing fancy dresses and all those dudes wearing totally boring suits (sidenote: formalwear for guys is snoozeville, will someone please do something about this? In my dreamworld every man would show up to the Oscars wearing this amazing Mr Turk Suit:


Isn’t that awesome? Like I want my whole life to be made out of that fabric. Also, did you notice we’re still inside a perenthesis? We are. I doubt this is grammatically acceptable but you know what, I WANT TO LIVE!).

I live in a town that loves an awards show, about 10 blocks away from the Dolby theater where, each year they hold the Oscars and, each year, they change the name of the building based on whatever industry happens to be dying. The lovely people of Los Angeles use awards shows as an excuse to get together and drink and laugh and talk about their feelings. In LA, we do this for pretty much anything that’s on television. We throw huge Super Bowl parties even if we don’t care about the Super Bowl. We have decadent Grammy parties even if we hate music. It’s not uncommon for people to be like “WHAT ARE YOU WEARING TO THE ‘PETER PAN LIVE’ VIEWING PARTY?” or “DID YOU MAKE YOUR PLANS FOR THE SEASON 2 PREMIERE OF ‘GIRLS’ YET?”

Yes, girl. We love watching things and we love doing it together. Because what’s the point of watching an awards show if there’s no one to make fun of Kate Hudson’s dress with or no one to exclaim “DOES MERYL EVER DO ANYTHING WRONG!?!” This year, I’m going to be in New York for Oscars. Which I have to be totally honest and say I’m kind of bummed about. I was there for Oscars last year and I kept being like “What are you guys doing for Oscars?” and everyone just looked at me like I’d just asked them whether they were using HR Block or TurboTax this year. I GET IT. IT’S WEIRD. I COME FROM A PLACE WHERE WE GET EXCITED ABOUT STUPID INANE STUFF. I’M SORRY.

Going to New York didn’t stop me from writing a totally preachy and annoying post about what I think you should do for Oscar. I have a few caveats, obviously. Firstly, if someone invites you to watch the Oscars at their glamourmansion, watch the Oscars at their glamourmansion. I’ve spent many a year watching a the Oscars at glamourmansions and it’s always better. Mostly because there’s more space but also because glamour mansions tend to be owned by rich people and rich people love catering. Catering means you won’t have to worry about what you’re going to eat because it’s obviously going to be delicious. And you’ll never have to make your own drink because they’ll have a bartender there to make your drinks and validate you even if you’re a horrible person.

So yeah, if a rich person invites you over to partake in their ridiculous wealth, do that. But if, like me, you’re left to your own defenses to create a lovely and meaningful Oscar experience, follow these simple instructions.

In.Soria.Oscars.0206150226 R* copy

Serve Punch.

Things get tricky (and expensive) when you try to buy a ton of alcohol to suit the needs of everyone you know. Vodka for your super gay friends, tequila for your friends that are doing Crossfit/doing the Paleo diet, or just trying to act cool, whiskey for your friends that wish they lived in The Mission, beer for your gay friends trying to act straight, sparkling cider for your friends trying not to be raging alcoholics, etc. This year, I went simple. Just a simple punch, which can be served with or without alcohol. I know what you’re thinking, WHAT IF PEOPLE WANNA DRINK SOMETHING ELSE!?! If you write in your invite “I’ll be serving punch, please bring a drink to share.” People know that really means “If you’re going to be crazy picky about what you want to drink and can’t just get wasted on whatever I give you like a normal person then bring your own stupid alcohol.”

In.Soria.Oscars.0206150241 R* copy

Super Simple Punch Recipe

 33 fl oz Blood Orange Italian Soda (I use Villa Italia Italian Blood Orange Soda)

 12 fl oz vodka (I like Ketel One or Absolute)

 Juice of 1 Lemon

Mix Italian Blood Orange Soda and Vodka, add lemon juice. Make 8 generous drinks. Try not to drink all of them yourself.

In.Soria.Oscars.0206150259 copy

Do the Oscar ballot thing it’s dorky but more fun than you’d expect.

Download a simple Oscar ballot and make enough copies to share with your guests. I found mine here. Whoever guesses the most wins is better than everyone else.

In.Soria.Oscars.0206150273 copy

Serve popcorn.

No one is going to be like “CAN YOU PLEASE HAVE POPCORN?” but you have to do it anyway. It sets the mood and also people will eat their faces off. But not in a gross way that makes them feel badly about themselves. Like in a way where they’re like “I’m happy with myself for eating that!”

In.Soria.Oscars.0206150316 copy

Make everything look better by plating it well.

For snacks, I went full-on cheap. But like, not in a depressing way where people would feel deprived. In a tricky, deceitful way aimed at making them think they were getting much fancier food than they actually were. I spent about $80 on snacks which could be cooked easily and plated without a bunch of fuss. I bought a lot, but figured we could just order out if we got super hungry later.

In.Soria.Oscars.0206150392 copy In.Soria.Oscars.0206150484 R* copy

Make it festive by adding flowers. 

I didn’t go all out streamers and confetti and little gold Oscar statues everywhere. Instead, I opted to cover my apartment in beautiful flowers I ordered from, a super streamlined service that allows you to order flower and have them delivered to your home (or office, if you’re trying to impress your coworkers and make them think you’re popular). If I hadn’t have had flowers I may have gone crazier with Oscar themed decor, but they added such a simple sophisticated party look that I didn’t want to distract.

In.Soria.Oscars.0206150521 R* copy

Incorporate an Oscar-y element into your decor.

I decided I was going to hone in on red, which is normally a color I hate in design. I don’t know why, it just always seems too garish to me. I’m like, SHUT UP, RED! But I took inspiration from the red carpet and added some scarlet to the viewing space, to match the Scarlet Johanssen we’d be watching later on the screen.

In.Soria.Oscars.0206150551 copy

I put popcorn in this ultra glamorous bowl and provided happy little red cups for consumption.

In.Soria.Oscars.0206150619 R* copy

I swapped out my Erika Gragg paintings for some new Erika Gragg paintings. The new ones, in beautiful blue and coral pink, tie in the red color story and my navy sofa. THANKS, PAINTINGS! (These paintings are for sale BTW, contact me or Erika through her website to buy).

In.Soria.Oscars.0206150632 copy

If people get bored, cook a pizza!

When the show starts to drag and people start wiggling around and getting antsy, keep them engaged by bringing out a piping hot pizza. This will make them think “Hey! This night’s not over yet! There’s pizza!” Nothing gives assures people that all is right quite like pizza does. I love handmade pizzas with homemade dough, but I was too busy so I picked up some ready made that just needed to be plopped in the oven and they were delicious. In an ideal world, we’d all eat handmade things all the time. But sometimes, togetherness and eating junkfood are more important than perfection.

In.Soria.Oscars.0206150636 copy

If it weren’t for these rainbow carrots I’d totally be dead right now. I’ve roasted them, I’ve made them into soup, I’ve made them into Paleo smoothies. They’re literally 90% of my diet. So why not include them in my Oscar party? They go great with guacamole for a healthier viewing snack.

In.Soria.Oscars.0206150668 copy

My French boyfriend loves cheese, so I made sure to have a few different types to impress him. What I learned: It’s impossible to impress a French person with cheese bought in America.

In.Soria.Oscars.0206150678 copy In.Soria.Oscars.0206150688 copy In.Soria.Oscars.0206150739 R* copy

Shut up and listen to Jared Leto’s hair.

I have a lot of performer friends, so watching awards shows with them is like watching a sing-along childrens program with a bunch of children with blabbing syndrome. I’m not a SHHHHusher (you know, people who are like “SHHHHHH!” all the time like old-school librarians), but I do enjoy watching the show so I try to lead by example and keep my mouth shut, no matter how ridiculous the speeches are or how ugly the dress is. There’s always time to share your thoughts with your friends after the show. Or you can just be a normal person and sit there sharing them on the internet the whole time you’re watching.

In.Soria.Oscars.0206150753 R* copy

I hate to leave off my tips by telling you to shut up, but I bet you agree. Sometimes it’s nice just to watch something together with your friends. In silence. While eating carbs.

Now hurry, there’s only a few days to go until you A) Find a glamourmansion or B) Plan your own simple (yet glam) get together. If you hate the Oscars, I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe throw a fun party and just call it “brunch.” Or just give in, live a little, and host a lazy Oscarparty like an honest, hardworking American.


Sources: The Bouqs, Ben Medansky, Crate & Barrel, Erika Gragg.


Filed under Decor, Life, Style

A Fizzy Glamourdrink to Ring in The New Year!

Photographs by Daniel Collopy

A.Soria_SodaStream.121714 046 R*f

Dear New Years Resolvers,

I have to admit it, I’m not a huge New Years fan. I don’t know if it’s the reminder that another year has passed, that super depressing Auld Lang Syne song that makes me want to shove wrapping paper in my ears whilst sobbing, or just the fact that I’m usually over the holidays by the time it happens. Whatever the reason, New Years has never been my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t totally hate it. But if I was on the Titanic with New Years and all the other holidays, I’d probably reach out to save Christmas and Halloween first, allowing New Years to sink into the freezing depths of the ocean. No, New Years, you can’t get on my floaty piece of wood so that we can both drift to safety!

This year I’m looking forward to trying on some new New Years traditions. Mainly, I’m going low-key. Instead or going to Palm Springs with all the other LA Gays, or getting a limo to take me to EVERY PARTY IN TOWN, I’m going t0 sit in a house in Sonoma County, drinking and laughing with a small group of people I hold dear. For this momentous, albeit much tamer New Years, I’ve concocted my very own signature cocktail using my brand new SodaStream Play Machine.

A.Soria_SodaStream.1217143881 R*f

To test out drink recipes, I created a cocktail workshop fit for a cocktail maniac. I went crazy buying fruit and garnishes for the drinks, but I wanted to experiment. Something I’ve learned over my 10+ years as a legal drinker is that citrus makes everything taste fresher, better. So I wanted to make sure I added citrus to whatever drink I concocted. Another must: bubbles! I used the SodaStream Play, along with some of their classic syrups, to create effervescent, refreshing drinks. I just got this machine, so I have to admit it was kind of exciting for me to use. Being able to make your own bubbly water makes you feel kind of like a superhuman (as an aside, this machine also has the ability to be covered in adorable interchangeable Play Skins, which you can buy online and change by the season, which makes you feel even more like a superhuman).

A.Soria_SodaStream.121714 070

A.Soria_SodaStream.121714 081 R*f

A.Soria_SodaStream.121714 090 R*f

A.Soria_SodaStream.121714 149 R*f

A.Soria_SodaStream.121714 122 R*f

Now, onto the recipes…

A.Soria_SodaStream.1217143903 R*f

Cranberry Citrus Refresher

1 liter SodaStream Sparkling Water

2 ounces SodaStream Ocean Spray Diet Cranberry Flavor Syrup

1 1/2 cups Vodka (I used Barr Hill Vodka)

1 cup Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice

1/2 cup Lemon Juice

Fresh Rosemary and Cranberry for garnish

Instructions: To make sparkling water, fill a one liter SodaStream container with filtered (or just regular  tap) water. Screw onto SodaStream Play machine and add two carbonation pumps. Add SodaStream Ocean Spray Diet Cranberry Flavor Syrup. In a serving carafe, add vodka, orange, and lemon juice to the sparkling cranberry juice and garnish in individual glasses with rosemary and cranberries.

A.Soria_SodaStream.1217143934 R*f

A.Soria_SodaStream.1217143935 R*f

Since this post is about New Years beverages, I thought it was only right to include a beverage to drink New Years Day, when you have a mega-hangover and spend the entire day yearning to be placed in a sensory depravation chamber, forever. Because you’ll be braindead, this drink is simpler. It’s good old classic ginger ale. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can infuse it with actual ginger root, which I did. This aids in digestion, soothes the stomach, and makes you feel slightly less like you want to stab yourself in the face with a sword.


Infused Sparkling Ginger Ale

1 liter SodaStream Sparkling Water

2 ounces SodaStream Ginger Ale Flavor Syrup

Fresh ginger root, sliced into rounds for steeping, sticks for garnish

Instructions: Add SodaStream Ginger Ale Flavor Syrup to carbonated water in a serving carafe. Add sliced ginger root rounds and garnish individual drinks with pre-cut ginger sticks.

A.Soria_SodaStream.1217143929 R*f

 There you have it. All you need to get drunk on New Years Eve and to recover on New Years Day. Have fun!


PS: Special thanks to my beautiful friend Alexis, who allowed me to use her lovely house for the shoot.

This is a sponsored post, made possible by the generosity of SodaStream


Filed under Style

My Friends Made This So Now You Have To Watch It: ‘Paragon School for Girls’

Film Stills Courtesty Paragon School for Girls

paragon-7Dear Anyone Who Is Listening,

Hello? Are you still there? It’s me, Orlando, calling you from inside the “Internet.” Anyway, a long time ago my friend Jim showed me this web series he was developing called Paragon School for Girls and I was like YOU HAVE TO PUT THIS ON THE INTERNET IMMEDIATELY. So he finally did. JUST IN TIME FOR HALLOWEEN! And now you can enjoy it.

Have you ever fantasized about living in a dollhouse? If so, you’re going to be obsessed wit this. If not, there is something wrong with you. The whole thing takes place in the dollhouse where everything is miniature. My friend Emily freaks out every time she sees something mini, so I have the feeling she is going to totally die when she sees this.

It’s super playful and fun to watch. Check out these ridiculous stills:






The cast is pretty amazing, especially considering they were all shot separately in front of a green screen, alone, by themselves. Lots of my friends are in it: Jeffery Self, Drew Droege, Sam Pancake, Seth Canterbury, Jack Plotnick, Bryan Safi, and Jim Hanson (who also wrote, directed, and edited the whole thing). If you watched United States of Tara or GBF you’ll also recognize Michael Willet, who is awesome and who I am now obsessed with. (Full cast here).

The series is THE must-watch web series of the fall, so put down your Gardenburger Breakfast Sliders, go into a dark room, and watch the whole series from beginning to end.




Filed under Decor, Style

Interior Design Magazine’s Designers to Follow on Instagram

5cjx9VPUnI4TxdimjJPpGtplCH5nuJ9FIElPgI4F8DQDear Instangrandmas,

I’ve had a lot of luck in with my Instagram account lately. I’ve been added to a few fun “Design Instagramers to Watch” lists, including Buzzfeed and DesignSponge. The latest of these lists I’ve magically been included on is Interior Design Magazine’s list of 15 Inspiring Designers to Follow on Instagram. They created their list in collaboration with a mobile mood board creation app called Morpholio, so each designer was tasked with creating a mood board representing their brand (see mine above). Below is the list of Interior Design Magazine’s list, along with each designer’s mood board:


Kemble Interiors


Miles Redd

zMzDaIgOIB6Ez3wSZysL8_y9W3Ir4pb9LpI9DVzXiv0Frances Loom


Vicente Wolf

5MVhH-nV8hnQY5gWpnMEHB2AzkkVwnimc4OSvJO1qjwJersey Ice Cream Co.


Angela Kounnas


Kyla Bidgood

gbtytRCw2DPNRiaWsAwP2qJF0jmLJ6LeLeQgnjdpnEMEddie Ross


Knibb Design

U1997Mpb6oHZIqZsexFxmdquBDyVj2rsPTsWDoMwOasIndia Hicks


Martyn Lawrence Bullard



Bonni Whyte Interiors


Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

Go check out all these Insta accounts immediately. Also, check out the @homepolish account, which is obviously another one of my faves.



Filed under Decor, Life, Style

Fashiontimez: Eliran Nargassi’s Cool Clothes You Need to Covet


Dear Fashion Diary,

I was sitting at home alone the other night, minding my own business and fantasizing about the future, when I came across this exciting fashion designer on Etsy. His name is Eliran Nargassi and his work excites me because it’s interesting and unique and for dudes. Have you ever noticed how fashion for guys is always boring and disappointing? Meanwhile, women’s fashion is filled with creativity and fun. Don’t get me wrong, I love a classic suit and tie combo. But it’s always refreshing to see something kind of cool/weird out there in guys fashion.

Also, I kind of love that this guy comes from Israel and is making an effort to revitalize its fashion scene. I have been so frustrated lately with what’s going on over there. I can’t even listen to any news about it without getting outraged by how sad and destructive and pointless this conflict is. Like watching Israel and Palestine go at it just makes you realize how stupid and irrational war is and how it doesn’t make any sense and you just want to go over there and be like “DUDE. STOP.” Also, for some reason no one seems to be able to talk about it without citing some sort of biased information (either pro-Israel or pro-Palestine, always one-sided) so it’s impossible to feel like you’re ever getting the real story of what’s going on. All of this has nothing to do with this guy’s amazing fashion line or his credibility as a designer but my point is that I’m happy to see something positive coming out of this region since our perception is that it’s crazy and war torn and filled with conflict (which it obviously is but people are still living their lives, creating and that is reassuring).

I’ve sifted through the (amazingly priced) Eliran Nargassi Etsy Shop and here are my favorite pieces from his collection:




I just want to buy all these clothes and go to a party and stand in a corner looking aloof and scary and misunderstood.





If you are part of a couple, you definitely need to buy these matching outfits and wear them all over town, terrifying everyone.


Oh, and he also designed totally cool sandals and they’re $45. And this is important because I’ve been needing sandals lately but don’t feel like spending $200 on something I might hate in a month. You can see more of his stuff on the Eliran Nargassi Etsy Shop or check out his website. Have fun! Buy something!



Filed under Style

Fashion Felicitations: 80s Ralph Lauren

Photographs by Sean Gin


Dear Fashion Diary,

A while ago while snooping through my father’s closet, I found this amazing vintage Ralph Lauren shirt. I fell in love with its crazy 80s plaid pattern and it’s lovely purple undertones (side note: for the past few years everyone has been saying purple is a thing, and I keep waiting for it to be a thing, and it’s never a thing. WHAT IS HAPPENING???). Because this shirt is so crazy I decided to pair it with an awesome New Era hat I bought for Coachella last year (yes I am one of those douchebags who buys stuff to go to Coachella. Actually I buy stuff every time I go to the desert. I hate myself). In real life, the shirt actually looks a lot better open with a white tank underneath. However, I also love it buttoned up like it is here.



Below I’ve outlined how you too can get a similarly graphic/crazy/casual look just by using your eyes, fingers, and the internet. Happy shopping!


1. New Era Palm Frond Hat, $35 from Ebay
2. Graphic Button-Down, $240 from ASOS
3. Needle Narrow Jeans, $215 from Levi’s
4. Chuck Taylor Classics, $50 from Converse

No go enjoy your weekend. And BUY EVERYTHING!



Filed under Style

Throwing a Glamourous Birthday Party with Kitchensurfing

Photographs by Sean Gin


Dear Gorgeous Interior Designer Matthew Lanphier,
You had a birthday recently and you didn’t know what to do about it. Birthdays are fun when you’re little because your mom throws you a huge party and invites all your friends and everyone gets candy. But once you hit your 30s birthdays start to get annoying. You can either get one of your friends to throw you a giant party at their glamour mansion, or you can force your friends to go out to fancy dinner somewhere and then everyone will secretly resent you while pretending they want to pay $250 to have the privilege of singing happy birthday in public, which, coincidentally, you also resent.

A few weeks ago, we ran into each other at the gym and we were going over birthday party plans [because I am *such* a good friend] and I had the genius idea to call Kitchensurfing. I’ve become familiar with Kitchensurfing through working with Homepolish because Kitchensurfing basically does the same thing we do but for personal chefs. Just as Homepolish is revolutionizing the interior design industry by making everything more streamlined and accessible, Kitchensurfing is doing the same thing for the personal chef/private catering industry.


Kitchensurfing‘s Kyly, Matthew, and me.


Being a designer, Matthew naturally has a beautiful home, so we decided to host the event there.


Because most normal people living in urban apartments don’t have 16 chairs lying around, we mixed my 8 dining chairs with Matthew‘s 8 for an eclectic mix. We also mixed up the placemats and napkins so the whole setting felt playful and sophisticated.



At some point in his life, Matthew figured out how to fold a napkin restaurant-style. This is probably the reason I can never stop being friends with him (what if I have a party and I need fancy napkins?).


When setting up for a party, it’s very important to stop and take a minute to pose for a completely natural LOL shot. This will ensure you have happy memories of your party. You’re welcome.


Kitchensurfing really impressed me with the chef they sent. Our chef, Laurent Katgely, specializes in French cuisine. Being that Matthew is a totally insane francophile who is learning to speak French and loves all things French and pines daily to move to Paris, we knew we needed a French chef.


We had a lively group of gay guys (and two lovely ladies) at our party. Just a bunch of designers, models, actors,  entertainment executives, etc. You know, the kind of people who make you feel totally inadequate and scared.



One of our lovely appetizers. Asparagus with truffle sauce and a tomato garnish. It was delicious, as was all the other food.



A few of Matthew‘s Gay sculptures and some of his Gay wine. I don’t know why I think they’re so Gay, I just do.


On top of the incredibly gifted chef, Kitchensurfing also provides servers and assistants to make sure you don’t lift a finger. They pretty much allow you to be the laziest possible human while you enjoy your delicious food.


Our experience with Kitchensurfing  was amazing and I would recommend it highly to anyone who is looking to host a large dinner party and doesn’t want to deal with cooking or wants to provide their guests with a type of food they aren’t adept at cooking (which is, for me, most things). And it’s perfect for something like a birthday, where you don’t want to force your friends to spend a million dollars to eat with you but you also don’t want to pay a huge dinner bill.


Full Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. Kitchensurfing provided their services at a discount in exchange for an honest review. I truly recommend the service for anyone looking for a personal chef or event catering. 


Filed under Life, Style