All posts by Monica G

Fabulous Make-up Artist

Fabulous Make-up Artist!

Well loves, I know you all have missed me, as I have been gone for awhile…well my mom had a stroke and my grandmother passed away. It has been a trying time, as I have missed you all terribly. Nevertheless, I met this fabulous young lady who is a great make-up artist!

She can transform you into a different person. I have posted a few pictures for your viewing pleasure. If you would like your make-up done for weddings, night on the town, prom, birthdays or you just want to look fabulous, contact Destinee!

before and after

destinee pictures

Destinee is also available for videos, fashion shows, and photo shoots. Destinee will travel, so what are you waiting for? Email her at

Until next time!

Monica G.


Latin Food Fest!

The fourth annual Latin food, wine and spirits fete, hits in 2016, Los Angeles March 18 to 21, and San Diego August 12 to 15. Last year’s festival drew over 20,000 attendees and the signature event, Grande Tasting, features an impressive lineup of culinary talent, restaurants, wineries, distillers, along with tastings, cooking demos, live music and exclusive chef-collaboration meals.

Here are highlights of Latin Food Fest! Los Angeles 2016

Spirits of the Americas Party (Friday March 18). Los Angeles Latin distilled spirits enthusiasts will kick off the 2016 Latin Food Fest by tasting tapas from the hottest restaurants and cocktails prepared by top mixologists from an exhilarating collection of international distilleries representing Bacanora, Cachaça, Mezcal, Pisco, Raicilla, Rum, Sotol and Tequila.

Grand Tasting Los Angeles (Saturday March 19)
The 4th annual ¡Latin Food Fest Grande Tasting is an all-inclusive Latin food, wine and spirits-tasting journey to the Caribbean, Central and South America, Mexico, Portugal and Spain. Wines from Argentina, California, Mexico, Spain and spirits such as Bacanora, Cachaça, Mezcal, Raicilla, Rum, Sotol and Tequila pair deliciously with the cuisine. VIP pass holders get in at 11am and into the VIP Lounge for Spanish tapas, cooking demos, oysters, a gift bag, organic tequila, sparkling wine, massages and music.

Grande Tasting Los Angeles (Sunday March 20)
Grande Tasting Sunday is an all-inclusive Latin culinary adventure for all ages. Guests will sample Latin food and beverages, the wine and beer garden, dance to live music, learn to make fun foods at the cooking demo tent from celeb chefs and bid on memorabilia at the silent auction. Kids could get a picture with a friendly Luchador by Jarritos and get their hands messy in the interactive Kids Kitchen to earn a “Kid Chef Diploma” and picture with the chefs.

Havana Supperclub (Monday March 21)
This spectacular six-course private chef’s dinner will feature a Cuban tasting trip. Rioja wine paired with the dinner courses and a dessert rum cocktail with the final course. Guests will learn the stories behind the food as chefs share the dishes, flavors and ingredients that inspire them, and share a cigar. Live music and dancing.

Latin Food Fest!’s brand partners includes The Lincoln Motor Company, Delta Air Lines, Jarritos, Northgate Markets, Anheuser-Busch, Grand Marnier, Bush Brothers & Company, KORBEL, Ibarra Chocolate, Mexico Lindo Hot Sauce, Camaronazo, Steuben Foods, Tepachito, Cupcake Vineyards, Las Palmas, Moët Hennessy USA, Hard Frescos, Mexico Tourism Board, Aveníu Wines, La Brea Bakery, Tito’s Vodka, and E.J. Gallo Wines.

See website for a full schedule and pricing. 858.461.1970.

The Queen Mary’s Scary Adventure


Boo! Did I scare you? Well I was definitely scared at the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Event! When you first arrive, you get an opportunity to take a picture with a monster. As you walk through the gates, wow… Monsters are everywhere waiting to frighten you. image

Although there were many interesting characters, I have plenty of pictures for you. When I went into my first maze “The Voodoo Village”-I wasn’t scared (at least this is what I thought). It was really dark inside. As I walked through “The Voodoo Village”, a monster jumped in front of me, however, I was to cool to scream-although I wanted too (I was in this maze alone and went to provide feedback for all of you). So I quickly, turned on the flashlight of my I-Phone and hurried to catch up with the people in front of me. Inside the maze, there was bridges, monsters, caskets, voodoo mannequins you name it. When I finally got to the end, I was excited that it was imageover-too scary for me. The next maze, “The Circus-Big Top Terror” wasn’t scary (at least this is what I thought).

As I walked to the “Circus”, there were two workers that asked me “are you alone”? I said yeah, why? “You are sooo brave. Why don’t you wait for the other people that are behind you before you go inside”, they stated. In the back of my mind, I was like who’s afraid of clowns, I’m not. In order to appease the workers, I waited for the others. As we all walked through the maze, it was a bridge that was spinning. I’m clumsy, I’ll admit it, and keep falling over. Anyway, as you walk through the maze, you get confused as there is no exit. So I asked one of the clowns how do you get out? She pointed at the balls (you know the ones at Chuckie Cheese where the kids like to play and has many germs?). In the balls was this crazy looking clown waiting to get you. The clown that I asked said jump in, it’s super fun…yeah right lady, that other clown is going to get me. Whew…I made it out alive… I was glad that maze was over.  The next maze I decided to checkout was SoulMate.

The “Soul Mate” maze was on-board the Queen Mary. You have to climb up stairs-so if you don’t like stairs-this isn’t for you. Of course I had my flashlight on, and one of the monster’s jumped at me and stated, turn off the light, that takes the fun away, so I did, but I wasn’t

imagehappy.  Soulmate is where Graceful Gale lures potential suitors with her charm. There are plenty of monsters on board, and plenty of caskets. Toward the end of the maze, Graceful Gale will let you take pictures of her, while one of her suitors who you think is a mannequin jumps out at you! Be very afraid! Although there were other mazes, my last maze and favorite was Lullaby.

The new Lullaby maze takes the visitor on a spine-tingling trip through the story of little Scary Mary. The first Mary (there were many) is a little innocent child-but not that innocent, she will kill you. She interacts with patrons by asking questions, and wanting to play games. It’s fun to interact with her, until she tries to kill and follow you. As you go through the maze, there is another Mary that wants to play hide and seek, don’t hide with her-keep walking she will try to get you. In this maze patrons have the opportunity to interactive with Mary. I recommend this one before the others, as this one was fun!


Well loves….until my next blog…talk to you later, who knows where I will turn up next.

Monica G.

Win two free tickets to Brunch at the Races!

What: Breakfast and Brunch event
Where: Santa Anita Park
When: Sunday, October 18th 11am – 2pm
The races will be happening during the event!
A ticket includes access to Santa Anita Park for the day

L.A. Weekly is excited to confirm the final restaurant line up for our new signature event, Brunch at the Races! Taking place on Sunday October 18th, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Santa Anita Park, this event is sure to become one for the record books! Curated by LA Weekly’s own award-winning restaurant critic Besha Rodell and food editor Sarah Bennett, this event will feature signature brunch bites from 29 of Los Angeles’s most iconic breakfast and brunch spots. Guests will be able to take in a horse race while indulging in their favorite brunch dishes. As of press time, the following restaurants have confirmed attendance at this year’s event: 10e, Abigaile, Auntie Em’s Kitchen, Beachwood Café, Bierbeisl Imbiss, The Blue Owl, Cassell’s Hamburgers, Chago Ahogadas, Cindy’s Eaglerock Restaurant, Du-par’s, Flores + Sons, Fred 62, Goldie’s, Go Get Em Tiger, Chef Johnny Lee, Jones Coffee Roasters, Little Dom’s, McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams, Myke’s Café, Nickel Diner, Olive & Thyme, Poppy + Rose, Poppy Cake Baking Co., Semi Sweet Bakery, Sonny’s Hideaway, Status Kuo, Sticky Rice, Superba Food + Bread and Sweet Butter Kitchen. Presenting sponsor Stella Artois will be on site sampling to the 2000+ attendees alongside Hornitos, Knob Creek, Soleil Mimosa and Middlebar who will be serving up signature bloody mary’s, mint juleps and mimosas. Califia Farms, DIABOLO Beverages, and Dry Sparkling will have non-alcoholic options for guests to compliment their brunch bites while Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams will be scooping up sweet and delicious frozen treats.

Tickets for Brunch at the Races are on sale now at

Feeling lucky? Leave your name, email address and a comment and you may win free tickets!




The Second Annual Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival with Title Sponsor American & Southern Wine & Spirits releases the final schedule of events, boasting a savory lineup of culinary delights and tasting opportunities. From Friday, October 2, through Sunday, October 4, food and wine lovers will experience a weekend celebrating Orange County’s best cuisine and chefs, while showcasing world-renowned culinary masters, award-winning wines, acclaimed wine experts and more. Starting with the Launch Party on Friday night, journey through a weekend full of tasting, sipping and learning at the weekend’s main event, the Daytime Festival on Saturday and Sunday, and an interactive Riedel wine glass tasting event on Sunday morning.

The weekend kicks off with the Launch Party benefitting Festival charity partner Project Hope Alliance on Friday, October 2, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Island Hotel’s Oak Grill & Aqua Lounge. Celebrity chefs, Festival participants, gourmands and VIP’s will enjoy fine wines, cocktails and live music. Hand-passed hors d’oeuvres will be prepared by Oak Grill Executive Chef Marc Johnson, who is creating a seasonal menu unique to this event. The event will offer once-in-a-lifetime food, wine and travel experiences to bid on during the evening’s silent auction. Net proceeds from the auction items and donations will benefit Project Hope Alliance. Tickets to the Launch Party are priced at $125 and sold separately from Daytime Festival tickets.

On Saturday, October 3, and Sunday, October 4, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. each day, the Daytime Festival will be held on the outdoor grounds of the stunning, mod-chic Newport Beach Civic Center. One ticket to the Daytime Festival grants guests unlimited access to all event programming and tastings including live cooking demos with Bravo TV “Top Chef Masters” and “Top Chef” stars, tastings from 32 Orange County restaurants, wineries pouring over 200 fine wines, wine tasting panels led by master sommeliers, mixology courses, handcrafted cocktails, imported beers and live jazz. General Admission Daytime Festival Tickets are $150 per day; Weekend Passes for Saturday and Sunday are $250; VIP Daytime Tickets are $225 per day; All-Inclusive VIP Weekend Pass includes Launch Party and priced at $425.

Saturday’s Daytime Festival begins with critically acclaimed wine tasting panels led by some of the country’s most notable master sommeliers. These panels are informative and interactive for both connoisseur and novice wine drinkers as they’re guided through educational tastings. There are only 142 master sommeliers in the country; the Festival is proud to have five of them including, Fred Dame and Michael Jordan (as seen in the hit movie Somm), as well as California Masters Steven Poe, Thomas Price and Sur Lucero. Learn “How to Taste like a Master Sommelier with the Secrets of Blind Tasting” from 1:15 to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday.
During Saturday’s live cooking demonstrations, Bravo TV’s “Top Chef Masters” will once again be duking it out as world-famous chefs Rick Bayless and Hubert Keller showcase their culinary mastery on the grand Sub-Zero Wolf outdoor kitchen stage. Both of these chefs went head-to-head on “Top Chef Masters” Season 1. Rick Bayless ultimately won the season and at this year’s Festival, guests will have the opportunity to see them live on stage. From 2:45 to 3:30 p.m. Hubert Keller will be preparing French cuisine live with local chef Pascal Olhats; from 3:45 to 4:30 p.m. Rick Bayless will show guests how to create upscale Mexican cuisine.
Two Grand Tasting Pavilions will delight all senses as they bring together some of the best restaurants in Orange County with world-renowned, boutique and “cult” wineries pouring unlimited tastings. These white peaked tents adorned with crystal chandeliers, include savory bites prepared and served by 16 restaurants and each of their executive chefs. Saturday’s restaurants include: RED O, Twenty Eight, The Winery, The Loft, Oak Grill, Pelican Grill, Mastro’s Steakhouse, Mastro’s Ocean Club, Canaletto Ristorante Veneto, Driftwood Kitchen, Tamarind of London, Tommy Bahama Island Grille, True Food Kitchen, Filomena’s Italian Kitchen, Honda Center, Waterline and B Candy. Grand Tasting Pavilions are open from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
The Festival also entices spirits, beer and jazz aficionados, in addition to food and wine. Guests will enjoy mixology courses led by Southern California Southern Wine & Spirits Director of Mixology, Tricia Carr, as she takes the mixology stage to educate the crowd on how to become the ultimate at-home bartenders. Handcrafted cocktails from Absolut Elyx, Cruzan Rum, Duke Spirits, Laphroaig and Roca Patrón will be served throughout the Festival grounds. Stella Artois is back for year two, offering tastings of a variety of their most popular imported brews. Everything will be enjoyed over sounds of Lauren & The Mike Frost Band playing at the jazz lounge, designed by Z Gallerie. Mixology courses are from 1:30-1:40 p.m., 2:30-2:40 p.m. and 3:45-3:55 p.m.; Stella Artois and cocktails offered all day; jazz music live all day.

Sunday begins with another tasting panel led by Master Sommeliers Michael Jordan, Steven Poe, Thomas Price and Sur Lucero, which takes place on the outdoor Sub-Zero Wolf stage. An all-new panel will guide guests through an educational tasting journey with premier Pinot Noir wines. The “Pinot Noir 101” seminar will teach guests the in’s and out’s of enjoying the most seductive of all red wines, exploring four famous wine regions on the California Coast. Sunday’s tasting panel is from 1:15 to 2:00 p.m.
Sunday’s first cooking demo will feature “Top Chef Masters” Season 1 Alum Chef Rick Moonen joined by long-time friend and local OC chef, Chef Alan Greeley of The Golden Truffle. “Top Chef” Season 11 Finalist Shirley Chung will lead the Festival’s first Top Chef Home Cook Challenge with “Top Chef” star coaches and judges, Brian Huskey, Brooke Williamson and Louis Maldonado. Four guests from the audience will be chosen to be coached by each celebrity chef and then compete on stage. One winner will be crowned as the Festival’s very first “Home Cook Top Chef” while winning up to $1,000 in high-end culinary prizes. Demo with Rick Moonen and Alan Greeley is from 2:45 to 3:30 p.m.; Top Chef Home Cook Challenge is from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.
The Grand Tasting Pavilions will present an entirely new lineup of 16 restaurants with executive chefs serving gourmet tastings of their signature cuisine. Wineries from Saturday will be returning Sunday, giving weekend guests the chance to taste as many wines as possible. Sunday’s restaurants include: Selanne Steak Tavern, Studio, Fig & Olive, Montage Laguna Beach, Oak Grill, Aqua Lounge, Slapfish, Boathouse Collective, Del Frisco’s Grille, AnQi, Andrea Pelican Hill, Roy’s, Stonehill Tavern, Honda Center, A&O Kitchen + Bar and B Candy. Grand Tasting Pavilions are open from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.; for VIP ticket holders, they open at 12:00 p.m.
Mixologist Tricia Carr returns on Sunday to showcase her cocktail concocting skills with new mixology courses. Guests will also enjoy handcrafted cocktails from Absolut Elyx, Cruzan Rum, Duke Spirits, Laphroaig and Roca Patrón, as well as Stella’s selection of imported brews. On Sunday, Cooper Phillip will take the jazz lounge stage to delight guests with her smooth, sensual vocals and band. Mixology courses are from 1:30-1:40 p.m., 2:30-2:40 p.m. and 3:45-3:55 p.m.; Stella Artois and cocktails offered all day; jazz music live all day.

Learn how to taste wine the “right” way out of the “right” type of wine glass with Riedel’s very own Chris Dillon. This highly interactive and entertaining course will guide guests through tastings of three different wine varietals including Pinot Noir, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, while tasting them out of three different Riedel glasses. Guests will not only come away with a whole new outlook on tasting and drinking wine, but will also take home a three-piece Riedel wine glass set, a $125 value. This event takes place on Sunday morning, October 4, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Newport Beach Civic Center. Tickets are priced at $75 and sold separately from Daytime Festival tickets.
Proceeds from the weekend of events benefit charity partner, Project Hope Alliance, ending the cycle of homelessness one child at a time. The Orange County nonprofit provides children with the tools and opportunities that they need to learn their way to a better tomorrow. Currently, Project Hope Alliance supports over 300 children attending 39 different schools in 21 cities, throughout Orange County. The Festival has the sponsorship support of local and national corporations, many of which will be having luxurious lounges and special activations during the Daytime Festival.
More information on the Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival is at or call (888) 511-FEST. For ongoing updates, follow the Festival on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

My trip to Jamaica 2015

Vacationing in Ocho Rios Jamaicaimage

I had another opportunity to go on vacation which was to Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The vacation started off bad, as my American Airlines red eye flight was delayed by an hour and I was stuck at LAX. When I finally reached Miami, I had to run to my connecting flight to catch the plane to Jamaica. I literally had fifteen minutes, but I made it. When I reached Jamaica, of course my luggage wasn’t there, but the customer service representative (at Montego Bay Airport) was very helpful and stated that my luggage will arrive at my hotel that evening. The drive from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios seemed like it took a century, but it was only two and a half hours. The scenery from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios was shocking. One corner, there were these amazing mansions, the next corner there were these small one bedroom un-keep houses and they all surrounded the beach. During my long ride (on a two lane highway) to the resort, I saw goats and chickens in the road; I was wondering is this the country? Nevertheless, I reached my resort, Jewel Duns River and the bellman was like where’s your luggage? Good question (I said sarcastically; hey I just go off of a long bus ride and was in need of an adult beverage-don’t hold it against me).

Jewel Duns River Pool

Jewel Duns River was a beautiful resort, as I entered the facility (which had no doors by the way); I was greeted with cold towels, and a drink, which was just what I needed-considering the circumstances. My room was ready and I had an ocean view. The receptionist also said my room came with the concierge and they would check on my luggage and bring it to my room. My concierge was Trent Lee, a handsome and helpful young man. It was at least 100 degrees and I desperately wanted to get in the pool. Well I couldn’t, so I settled for food and drinks. I noticed in Jamaica that everyone lets it hang out-big, small, short and tall- the swimsuits and trunks left little to the imagination, but  after a few drinks, you really don’t notice at all. The food at the resort was decent, they had five restaurants (Pizza, Bar and Grill, Italian, Japanese, and a Buffet) plus two swim up bars and three regular bars. The Japanese restaurant was like Benihannas- which I enjoyed the food and ambiance (you have to make reservations-and Trent-lee fulfilled my request). The beach (water was warm) was amazing, workers graciously fixed you chair so you can lie down and relax and would bring you a drink (well maybe it was just me-because other resort goers had to get up and get their own). I spent the majority of my five (5) days at the beach or at the pool, where I got terribly sunburned and had to go to the spa for relief (an Aloe Cooler). The therapist that helped me get relief on my back was Charmelon, she was nice and had compassion toward my pain-so if you ever go to Jewel Duns River and get sunburn-the Aloe Cooler works magic.

View from my room

Well- its back to reality and back to work-here are a few tips when traveling to Jamaica (1) tip the service workers (they don’t make a lot of money), plus tipping you will get better service (2) if you don’t have kids, stay at an adult only resort-more relaxing, (3) don’t take it personally when the security from your resort ask where you are going, and when will you return-you have to check back in (it’s a safety issue) and (4) get the hotel to get you a cab when you go off the resort, and always get a round trip.

Well my darlings…Stay tuned until my next vacation… Any suggestions?

Monica G.


The Hollywood Press Corps at LA Food and Wine 2015

The 2015 Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival was another successful event! I was able to attend the first night of the event, Thursday August 27 where over fifty chefs’ prepared delicious bites for patrons to taste. Additionally there were plenty of wineries and other spirits for patrons to enjoy an adult beverage. This year Curtis Stone was the host of this event; he took many pictures, and was gracious enough to be interviewed by many media outlets. Curtis Stone is the owner and chef of Maude, Beverly Hills, he prepared a Pork Pie (see picture). It was delicious, I really enjoyed it. I noticed at a lot of the food stations, the chefs’ had smoked cheese that they placed on top of the dish. The cheese looked like coal, but it was delicious. Chef Ian Gresik prepared a Corn and Truffle Agnolotti which taste like a stuffed ravioli, it was good. Chef Mark Mollica prepared pasta with braised lamb; I not a fan of lamb; however this bite was pretty

All photos courtesy Monica G/Hollywood Press Corps
All photos courtesy Monica G/Hollywood Press Corps

My favorite Chef of the night was Bree Miller! She prepared a savory mac and cheese with cornbread (which would disappear as soon as she served them), cookies and milk (OMG, I had four-don’t tell anyone), cheesecake stuffed strawberries and coconut cupcakes. Chef Miller was gracious and took plenty of pictures, spoke to patrons and didn’t judge me for returning many times. Another favorite Chef was Robert Liberato who is from STK who prepared a Charred Angus NY Steak. The steak was rare, but very delicious and flavorful. The funniest Chef of the night was from Badmaashi LA (I do not remember his name). He spoke to everyone, while patrons stood in line (which was very long) he entertained patrons by engaging everyone in a conversation. He prepared a lamb burger (I don’t particularly care for lamb)-but this was pretty good, it was spiced to perfection!

All photos courtesy Monica G/Hollywood Press Corps
All photos courtesy Monica G/Hollywood Press Corps

I think LA Food and Wine gets better each year. I wonder how they will outdo themselves next year. I am hoping that one of these years Gordon Ramsey will host the event. Maybe one day he will invite me to his restaurant? Who knows one can only dream…Until next time loves….

Monica G.

Monica Covers Burgers and Beer 2015

Hawkins burger at Burgers and Beer. Photo courtesy Hollywood Press Corps
Hawkins burger at Burgers and Beer. Photo courtesy Hollywood Press Corps

This past weekend, LA Weekly produced a stellar event! Patrons had the opportunity to taste all types of burgers and beers. My favorite vendor was Hawkins Burgers-as their burger was “top notch”. I admit I have had these juicy burgers in my high school days and occasionally sneak back to South Los Angeles to eat them. The bacon burger was delicious; it had bacon, cheese, ground beef patty, lettuce, tomato, onions, mustard and mayonnaise on a bun. The burger they provided was bigger than a slider and was really good. Another favorite was Pink’s. Now, I’ll admit I only go to Pinks’ for the hot dogs. Never again-it’s all about the burger. Pinks provided a chili cheese burger with onions and sausage on a slider. Yummy! Pinks is famous for their hot dogs-but from now on, I may just be ordering the burgers!
Other vendors that provided yummy burgers were Slaters 50/50, Vaka Burgers, Barrel and Ashes just to name a few. I had so many burgers; I need to go on a diet. The restaurant: Animal line was too long, so I didn’t get to taste their burger, but it must have been amazing because there were so many people waiting for that slider.

Pinks Burger at Burgers and Beer. Photo courtesy Hollywood Press Corps
Pinks Burger at Burgers and Beer. Photo courtesy Hollywood Press Corps

Although I didn’t drink the beer, there were several companies that offered tasting such as Budweiser, El Segundo Brewing Company and Ladyface Ale Companie just to name a few. Barefoot Wines was also present and I had the opportunity to taste their Rose which was sweet and tasty.
Although Burgers and Beers was a success, there was one con- no chairs or bar tables to enjoy the burger. It’s hard to walk and eat-but as in Rome- do what you have to do! Let’s get moving and support these small businesses as their food is delicious. Until next time loves… Live, Love and Enjoy!
Monica G.