March 2014 / Carmen Varner // Lifestyle Blogger & Social Media + Blogging Coach


Q&A with Lizzie Armanto

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A couple years back I did a Q&A with Lizzie Armanto. She was 19 and several years into her skating career. She's one of those girls you want to be. She chose a career and she's blowing the competition away. Skateboarding is normally a male-oriented sport, but that's rapidly evolving. Gender roles are not so defined. There's a whole hub for ladies in sports, especially skating. The good news: she's still aiming for success in the skate world. The bad news: she's sporting a knee injury which has kept her from practicing and competing. What has she been up to?
Photo by: Ken Hada

Name: Lizzie Armanto
Age: 21
Hometown: Santa Monica, CA
Location: Santa Monica, CA

Since our last chat, what has been the biggest change for you? Since our last chat, I've traveled to many more places and acquired more knowledge. I visited Japan last year and that was one of the top places I've wanted to go.

How often do you skate? Recently I have been injured so I haven't been able to skate. Before that I wast skating 4/5 days a weeks, not sure how many hours.

Where can your fans see you skate? I hope to be skating in the next Exposure event around the end of this year in San Diego. 

What was the hardest trick for you to master? It took me a while to learn how to do airs properly but that was a few years ago.  

What's been the proudest moment in your skate career? Last year, I won my first X Games in Barcelona, Spain. I was really proud to be there with my mom and my best friend at the event.

What goals do you have in 2014? Right now my main priority is to continue rehabbing my knee so I can get back to skating.

What's your all time favorite food? My mom's chicken adobo with rice is my favorite, I could go for that anytime.

What's the coolest thing to do in Santa Monica? The coolest thing to do in Santa Monica would be to check out some of their restaurants and hang out at the beach.  

Where's one place you'd love to visit? I want to visit Finland, preferably when its warm out.

What hand do you write with? I write with my left hand. 

The last few months have not been the same for Armanto, but she's working hard to grind the grip tape once more. "Recovery always seems to go super slow, but I'm really looking forward to getting back!" Armanto said.

Check her out:

10 Ways to Liven Up Your Salad

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I've said it once, I'll say it again: if you're tired of salad, you're doing it wrong. There are a plethora of methods to concoct a scrumptious salad. Healthy vegetarian recipes shouldn't be boring. Add one, two, three or more of these items and your blah batch of lettuce will be revamped into the most magnificent creation you've ever tasted. If you want easy vegetarian dinner recipes, salad is great way to start your meal. I have some of the best vegetarian recipes out there. Have fun with it. Making your healthy vegetarian recipes/meals should be a complete experience, a journey. Enjoy your salad! And then share it with friends, family or neighbors. Show off what an excellent chef you are. Okay, so here we go...

1. Sunflower seeds - You've probably got some in the cabinet. If not, you can get them at the gas station or your local health food store. I would go for shelled, raw, unsalted sunflower seeds because you can add them to several recipes (not just salads).

#1 & #7 Sunflower seeds & Flaxseeds
2. Dried apricots - Can you say "yummmmm?" Snip the dried apricots into tiny pieces or keep them at a good-sized chunk. It's up to you, chef. Chuck 'em in with your salad. They add a pop of sugary goodness to your greens, which can be very pleasant.

3. Grapefruit - Bet you never thought to add grapefruit to your vegetarian salad recipe. Well, now's the time to try it. Grapefruit creates a wonderful mixture of tartness or sweetness, depending on which one you want. Add grapefruit + dried apricots for a sweet salad.

4. Pistachios - If you want healthy vegetarian recipes, don't forget about pistachios. They contain B-6, copper, fiber and manganese. Plus, they're a powerhouse of antioxidants. Pop a handful onto your salad as a garnish or add 1/4 cup and mix well.

5. Sweet potatoes - Sweet potatoes aren't just for Thanksgiving. Enjoy them all year long as part of your the best vegetarian recipes. Cook or bake your sweet potato. Cut into large pieces and then toss them into your salad for some diversity.

6. Flax seeds - They're cute. They're little. They add a great nutty flavor to any healthy vegetarian recipe. Flax seeds are ridiculously high in omega-3 fats and fiber, which are super fabulous for you. In addition to that, flax seeds can help your cardiovascular system and reduce inflammation.

7. Strawberries - Strawberries are vibrant in both flavor and color. Perfect for a vegetarian salad recipe.  They're beloved by most, if not all. Maybe you could make Strawberry Summer Salad with Key Lime Vinaigrette? It's excellent, I promise.

#7 Sweet strawberries 
8. Garbanzo beans - Garbanzo beans are considerably high in fiber, protein, iron, folate, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese. Phew. What a list. Basically, garbanzo beans are an ideal superfood.

9. Couscous - This wonder food automatically makes a dish more exotic. Couscous is popular in many North African and Middle Eastern easy vegetarian dinner recipes. Since couscous is a semolina, it's pretty starch-heavy. Add 1/4 to 1/2 a cup to an entire salad. Stir thoroughly and serve.

10. Agave nectar - Did you know tequila is made from agave (pronounced ah-GAH-vay)? Agave is a natural sweetener you may use in place of refined sugars which contain a high-glycemic index. You can use agave in all of the best vegetarian recipes you can find. Drizzle some aromatic nectar over your salad to give it a yummy kick without the regret.

Thanks for reading. Hopefully you have a little bit of inspiration to create an easy vegetarian dinner recipe masterpiece of your own! Stay happy! Stay healthy! Stay smiling!


Saturday, March 22, 2014

GAWTBASS. Remember the name. Graham Gawthorpe, more commonly known as GAWTBASS, is an up-and-comer in the trap and electronic music scene. "For the last 10 months, I have been in my apartment almost 9 out of 12 hours in the day working on music and perfecting a style that has always interested me: hip hop and trap."

Although he's 22, GAWTBASS has done his fair share of moving around. Chicago. Utah. England. Florida. Colorado. He just wanted a change of scenery; he wanted to experience more than one place. After all, the world doesn't end in Chicago. But what's it like to move around so often? "It's depressing sometimes starting over so much, but at the same time exciting to meet new people," he said. "I look at life as having only myself to rely on." Who is he? Where is he going from here? Get to know GAWTBASS.

Name: Graham Gawthorpe
Age: 22
Hometown: Chicago
Location: Boulder, CO

Where do you gather inspiration? I usually gain inspiration by taking a walk outside to the gas station to buy myself some cigs. I just listen to some of my favorite artists or some classical piano and by the time I get home I'm ready to knock out another banger. :) 

What's the process for starting a new song? Listen to some tunes, brew some coffee, and sit there until I finish my first draft.

How have you evolved since you first started? 2 followers at the start to about 6,250 followers, features, I think almost 1 million total views.

What can we expect from GAWTBASS in 2014? Always on the grind for my music, so probably within the next week... new music wise. Shows... not for another half a year to year. I'm still working on a few aspects to my production before I play shows. But I've had offers to play some decent sized shows so I'm sure that won't be an issue when I want to make it happen. 

Where can your fans see you perform live? Not yet ;) 

As an artist, how do you define success? Making goals, planning every angle (aka the pros and cons) and just making the first step to do it. Then from there all it is, is consistincy and staying inspired and motivated. It's hard but if you look at my progress I had no idea this was possible with just those things.

Where's one place you'd love to visit? Sweden. I have no idea why, it just seems like a nice place and the accent is beautiful to me.

What do you do when you're not making music? Think about making music.

What's your all time favorite food? I love all food! 

Who are some of your favorite musicians? Luminox, Beethoven, Yo-Yo-Ma, Tincup, Kai Wachi, Ulrich Schnauss and a lot of acoustic bands.

GAWTBASS, aka Graham Gawthorpe, is a kind soul whose passion for his craft is evident, even through a computer screen. "Comfort is what holds everyone back," he said. "Once you make the step to go and do something, that's when things start happening." Things are happening.

Mini bio:

GAWTBASS started playing the cello at age 7, performing around the world with orchestras as well as solo and group concerts around Chicago. By age 13 he switched gears and picked up the guitar. He was self-taught but eventually took lessons until age 19. 

He instructed guitar for a year then moved to England to pursue a career in computer programming. One year later, he traveled back to the U.S. to attend Florida's Full Sail University in order to focus fully on music. "This didn't go too well, since I've always had a hard time in school and focusing in class, so I dropped out," said GAWTBASS.

"Life got really hard at that point, meeting some bad people and leading me down paths with bad decisions and I had to pull myself out of it and I moved again," he said. Before he moved, he went to popular clubs in Florida, Roxy and Firestone, and "would just spend hours watching the DJs wishing it was me, while everyone would get drunk and dance."

Eventually, he made the final decision to venture to a little peaceful town in Colorado called Boulder. He cleaned himself up and went hard into music. He's been there the last 10 months cranking out songs. Listen to his work and let your ears be your guide.

Check him out:

Art of the Streets: Oceanside Edition

Monday, March 10, 2014

Rainbow Dino

Street art is awesome. Art is on walls, the back of signs, the ground. It's all public, like an enormous free museum. Someone took the time out of their day to make it and display it anonymously. Some are stickers, some are stencils, some are drawn by hand, but all are rad. Kick back and take a look. Enjoy the art of the streets.

I do a lot of walking, so I am able to see the little things. I see the empty beer bottles tossed in bushes and in the gutters. I see the cigarette butts, the abandoned dog poops, the abundance of litter, the occasional nickel or penny. I see it all. Sometimes, if I'm really lucky, I spot some art. Street art is its own little world. Look at the characters and the penmanship and the words. Some may call it graffiti, but I call it a masterpiece of modern art.

These particular works of art all come from one city. This city is an arm reach away from the beach. You can go eastbound or westbound. You can ride the train, enjoy the sun, and the warmth of California almost any month of the year. This is Oceanside.

Please leave a comment with the title of the art you like the most. :]
Tide Rises
Naked Lady

Let It Go

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

I said I 'd never do this again
But I did now & did it then.
Let it go, let it go, let it go.
Let it go, let it go, let it go.
I should let it go.
Turns out we are all just lost.
Yearning success at any cost.
Find a penny pick it up;
maybe you'll get good luck.
But you really never know.
You should let it go.
Let it go, let it go, let it go.
Let it go, let it go, let it go.
I think you should let it go.
We're bickering daily it seems, baby.
I was thinking, I dunno maybe.
Maybe it's you, maybe it's me.
Maybe it's us and that makes we.
Who's right? Well I dunno.
I think we should let it go.
Let it go, let it go, let it go.
Let it go, let it go, let it go.
We should just let it go.
Time for the world to see some change.
Peace shouldn't seem all that strange.
Enough with the wars and the hate.
Two words: mortality rate.
Something for something, quid pro quo.
We really should let it go.
Let it go, let it go, let it go.
Let it go, let it go, let it go.
Let's all let it go.

By Carmen Varner


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