Monday, May 28, 2012

And Where Do You “Where To?”: Fashion Designer Luka Prado

For a brief moment, let’s go back to February’s 2012 Pre-Oscar Gala Presented by Chivas & Styling the Modern Man that I attended with my good friend Tulani. While moseying along one of the pampering stations, we ran into boots. Beautiful, drop-dead gorgeous, one-of-a-kind boots.

As we stared with our mouths wide open, touching them, holding them, pinching them, the owner – and creator – of these boots walked up to us, with a big, friendly smile.

He goes by the name Luka Prado, and he was about as captivating and original as his collection. There was a quiet, almost shy aura to him, but once he began talking, he radiated such contagious charm and energetic excitement that we couldn’t help but want to learn more and more and more about his unique past and his promising future.

T. and I probably took up entirely way too much of his time, badgering him with gazillions of questions. After about 20 minutes of asking him everything that we could think of (How long have you been a designer? What’s in store for the spring? Where can we buy your shoes? I love your accent – where are you from? You speak how many languages? What do the tattoos on your arm mean?), it dawned on me that I should really feature an exclusive interview with him on my blog...

 And thus this post was born!

Read on to find out more about exactly who Mr. Prado is, his style and just why you should cop a pair of his boots, too!

Miss Wilson: Let’s start with where you are from?
Mr. Prado: Brazil until age 7, Leon Mexico until 17, moved to Los Angeles at 17.

Miss Wilson: From our previous conversation, I know you still travel to Mexico and Brazil a lot. How do the fashions there differ from in the United States, if at all?
Mr. Prado: Yes I love traveling to Brazil and Mexico. Brazil is not so much focused on brands - they have their own sense of style and comfort. Mexico, I like a lot. It is more focused on color and art, which I'm focused on bringing these two influences into my collections and into the U.S.

Miss Wilson: In your opinion, which city has the best fashion sense, and why?
Mr. Prado: New York, the fashion capital of the world. I like how everyone dresses from head-to-toe chic, showing independent style and high fashion into every day life.

Miss Wilson: What’s your take on the state of fashion today?
Mr. Prado: I love every style, I don't want to limit anyone to just one type of style or look. I want to keep everyone as a true individual. Fashion is a cycle but I want to do something new that has never been seen before.

Miss Wilson: And who is Luka Prado the designer?
Mr. Prado: Luka Prado is a young designer who is trying to make his dreams come true and bring his culture into his designs.

Miss Wilson: What is the Luka brand?
Mr. Prado: The Luka brand is an accessory collection, with a focus on leathers mixed with unique materials such as metals and studs.

Miss Wilson: What is the signature Luka brand’s look?
Mr. Prado: Right now it is a little more urban and edgy mixed with a lot of leathers and colors. But that could expand to become more classic and elegant also.

Miss Wilson: How did you get the brand off the ground?
Mr. Prado: I first created everything in my garage and started giving some stuff to my friends and then I began making guitar straps which turned into me making more and more accessories. Then I met Owen [de Vries] who wanted to fund mass production and launch the brand into online sales.

Miss Wilson: Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
Mr. Prado: Everywhere I go there is inspiration, sitting at the coffee shop or just walking around with my dog and camera capturing moments that lend to inspiration for designing.

Miss Wilson: Will there be expansion into other types of clothes/materials, i.e., shirts, denim, etc. in the near future? 
Mr. Prado: Yes definitely, I'm looking to combine leather with fabrics. Jackets, hats, and wallets – expanding into much more.

Miss Wilson: What would be the biggest accomplishment you would like to achieve for Luka in your lifetime?
Mr. Prado: I would love my brand to be in many stores worldwide and to be part of the most recognized Fashion names in the world.

Miss Wilson: Who would you like to work with in the future?
Mr. Prado: I would love to work with new upcoming designers, combining new and different ideas of fashion, bringing it into today's world. I want to discover people the way I was discovered.

Miss Wilson: What’s your favorite piece for this season – from your brand?
Mr. Prado: Leather Jackets and Bags, but I love everything in my new collection. My favorite boot is the California studded boot.

Miss Wilson: If you weren’t a fashion designer, you would be a…?
Mr. Prado: Secret Agent, working for the government.

Miss Wilson: In Los Angeles, where do you go for the best drinks?
Mr. Prado: Village Idiot

Miss Wilson: Go for the best nightlife scene?
Mr. Prado: Cobras and Matadors

Miss Wilson: Find the best late night food?
Mr. Prado: Toi on Sunset Blvd.

Miss Wilson: Have the best brunch?
Mr. Prado: Toast on 3rd

Miss Wilson: Go to be inspired?
Mr. Prado: Coffee shops, museums, walking around the city with my dog

Miss Wilson: Have as an all-time favorite place to hang?
Mr. Prado: Chateau Marmont

A BIG THANKS to Mr. Prado for answering all of my questions - I enjoyed the interview!

For more information: World of Luka, Facebook & Twitter  

Photos by: Tulani Watkins

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Where to Eat: Four for $24 @ WP24 Restaurant & Lounge

The Eats: Contemporary Asian 

The Vibes: Conservatively Upscale 

When-to-Go: Lounge opens at 5pm; the restaurant opens at 5:30pm 

With-Whom-to-Go: Business partners, dates, groups of friends, alone 

The $ Factor: Up there ($100+), but also with a fabulous new summer promotion that’s easy on the pocketbook

The 4-1-1: Valet parking and WP24 entrance is on George St. (runs perpendicular to Olympic Blvd.)

I’ll Be Back…: For Chef Sally’s decadent Dessert Kuruma (Trolley)

The Ritz-Carlton. 

The name alone conjures up images of distinguished wealth, lavish luxury, opulent decadence. 

Recently I watched Taraji P. Henson’s character Lauren in Think Like a Man roll her high-end luxury car to The Ritz-Carlton in downtown’s L.A. Live and retreat inside to her modernly urban, high-rise apartment. As she ran on the treadmill with the backdrop of downtown peeking through her ceiling-to-floor windows, I absent-mindedly thought to myself,

So that’s what it’s like to visit The Ritz-Carlton?

Because I’m not a big baller *yet*, I always presumed that I wouldn’t set foot into this five-star hotel until I got a few raises and/or someone took pity on me and decided they’d like to sponsor a weekend getaway for me (I’m still taking offers).

Yet little did I know that a mere three weeks after vicariously living through Henson’s scenes, I’d be pulling my humble bucket car up to that same driveway that she did to experience WP24 Restaurant & Lounge.

WP24 is Wolfgang Puck’s creation on the 24th floor of The Ritz-Carlton, offering splendid Asian cuisine and pristine, sweeping views of northern downtown LA. As to be expected with such an exclusive address and origins from an internationally renowned chef, WP24 oozes a sort of conservative, humble yet knowingly sophisticated air of refinement.

Do expect to find the elite clientele clad in expensive business suits discussing international affairs, impeccable culinary creations with out-of-this-world ingredients, and unparalleled customer service. 

Don’t be surprised at WP24’s latest attempt to appeal to budget-conscious folks like myself through its new summer promotion, “Four for $24.”

Every day from 5-7 p.m., four premium Chef’s selection appetizers are available for only $24, an incredible price considering that any other time, $100 might cover dinner, and we’re not even talking about including tip. As you can see from the photo below, presentation is on point; what you can’t see is that my shrimp & lobster spring rolls, pork belly bao buns, tamarind glazed pork ribs and chicken dan dan dumplings were really, really good.

No discounts on the $16 cocktails, like the new summertime Verbena Lemonade, Cucumber Martini and Pineapple Mojito, pictured below, however, an $8 wine is available. I haven’t tried the wine, but I did try the three cocktails, which reminded me a lot of an earthy garden. That probably has something to do with all of the fresh herbs and fruits muddled into the drinks. 

Also noteworthy to mention is Chef Sally’s dessert cart, pictured below. It’s the adult version of being a kid in the candy store. Pick and choose, mix and match, but whatever you do, don’t skip it! I can’t even begin to elaborate on how amazing it feels when the passionfruit marshmallow melts in your mouth, or how delightfully pleasant it is to dig through the four layers in the Cashew Crunch Chocolate Cremeux Verrine. Some things in life you simply just have to personally experience. 

Also, since one picture is worth a thousand words, I took a ton of photos from a recent trip here. Thanks to the launch of my #WilsonsGuide Facebook Page, they are available for your viewing pleasure on a Facebook album. Just click here or on the photo below to check them out. 

So the next time you're looking to impress or want a top-notch experience without shelling out too many of the big bucks, you know where to turn. See you there soon!

For more information: 

Monday, May 14, 2012

And Where Do You “Where To?”: FREE Giveaway/Contest Winner

This past week, I announced the 6th Wilson’s Guide giveaway/contest/competition/drawing for a fabulous Passport to Prana gift card, which entitles the winner to try out tons of yoga studios throughout a city of choice FOR FREE for one year.

To enter, all you had to do was answer the following question: 

With congested freeways and hectic schedules, it can be easy to get stressed out and worked up in the city...where do you go to unwind and relax? Perhaps it’s a particular park, a neighborhood bar or a calming spa. Whatever – and wherever – it is, I want to know why you find it so calming! Be as descriptive as you’d like, and photos, although optional, are always welcomed. 

Well, ladies and gents, we have a winner: 

@WilsonsGuide To my kitchen! Cooking is my meditation {w/ a glass of wine of course!” 


There’s nothing like good food and good wine…
you’re inviting all of us over for dinner sometime soon, right, @Mary2Sense? 

Thanks to all who entered, and look out for the next giveaway, coming soon! 

Miss Wilson

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Where to Drink: Endless Mimosas (and really good food) @ Sunday Brunches

(This officially marks the 1st post in a series that will highlight notable brunches in LA!)

What makes a Sunday brunch memorable? 

Is it the food? The ambiance? The crowd? The entire experience? 

For this first post in a series of “Where To Brunch” posts, I’ve narrowed it down to one simple response: endless mimosas.

The following three restaurants all have great endless mimosa options, in addition to lively atmospheres and of course, stellar brunch picks. Check them out! 

Endless “Fun” Mimosas @ Overland Café: I don’t know what it is about this tiny Culver City café on Overland Ave., but it's always soooo much fun. The line is always long and it’s always packed, but it always has a jovial, festive ambiance. Everyone’s in a good mood, and it’s easy to see why, when we’re talking about the café’s fantastic American-style comfort food and endless mimosas, always quickly refilled. Bottle after bottle after bottle of champagne is dropped at your table once you finish one off – no questions asked – so you never have to wait too long to pour another round. The only slight drawback is that there is a two-hour maximum limit for sitting at a table. But quite honestly, I don’t know how much the rule is enforced because when I’ve visited, I’ve brunched at my own pace and left when I wanted to, never feeling pressured to go. But then again, I’ve never kept track of time either, so perhaps my stays have been under two hours. Either way, just something to be aware of. 

Endless Flavored Mimosas @ Lola's: green apple, pear, mango, blueberry, strawberry…these aren’t seasonal fruits that you’ll find in a breakfast fruit bowl at this West Hollywood’s café; these are flavored mimosas. We all know Lola’s for its killer martinis, but it also offers an endless mimosa brunch, with nine different mimosa flavors to pick and choose from. Some, like the mango, are subdued. While others, such as the blueberry and green apple, are more distinct and truly stand out. Needless to say, it’s fun to figure out which one you like the best, especially when you can get all the mimosas your heart desires for $16 (single glass = $6). 


Endless Cheap Mimosas @ El Torito, Manhattan Beach: Crazy to believe that all El Torito restaurants don’t serve Sunday brunches, but that’s OK because the Manhattan Beach location does! $15.99 gets you access to a Mexican buffet of favorites like enchiladas, a taco station, an omelet station…and of course, servers who pour champagne upon request at no additional cost. Make your own extraordinary mimosa by selecting which juice to mix with your champagne from the juice station – standard O.J., the tropical Jamaica Juice (which I do recommend) or horchata (haven’t tried that one yet. Maybe on the next visit). Now here’s the deal: there might *technically* be a limit on how much champagne you can order (two glasses? three glasses?), but if you just smile at your server and make small talk here and there, then those refills tend to keep coming. At such a low price for all that’s included – endless food, endless champagne – it’s really a steal. 

Enjoy these “endless mimosa” brunches, and look out for another post 
on brunch spots in Los Angeles soon! 

For More Information 

(Photo from Lola's) 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

And Where Do You “Where To?”: Giveaway #6

It's the 6th Wilson’s Guide giveaway/contest/competition/drawing! 

This time around, I’m giving away a fabulous Passport to Prana gift card, which entitles the winner to try out tons of yoga studios throughout a city of choice FOR FREE for one year. Whether you already practice yoga, are thinking about trying it or know someone who loves yoga, it’s definitely a great little card that comes in handy for trying out multiple studios.

And, participating cities include: Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa; Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottowa, Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria, so if you're in any of these cities, feel free to participate, too!
Simply answer the following question:

With congested freeways and hectic schedules, it can be easy to get stressed out and worked up in the city. So where do you go to unwind and relax? Perhaps it’s a particular park, a neighborhood bar or a rejuvenating spa. Whatever – and wherever – it is, I want to know why you find it so calming! Be as descriptive as you’d like, and photos, although optional, are always welcomed. 

The person with the BEST destination (picked by yours truly) wins.

Don’t forget to include your first name and your location. All answers can be submitted in the comment box below, to or tweeted to @WilsonsGuide on Twitter.

Contest goes until next Sunday, May 13th, 11:59pm PST. Winner will be announced on Wilson’s Guide on Monday, May 14th.

A big THANKS to Nicole Wool of The Dossier PR for donating the gift card! I’ve been using one and signing up for classes at all the different yoga studios. To read about my adventures in yoga with the Passport to Prana card, click here.

Good luck!

Miss Wilson


· This giveaway/contest/drawing/competition is free and open to anyone over 18 years of age.

· Please note: all entries received may be potentially retweeted and/or posted on at a later date. If an entry is posted and/or retweeted, only the entrant’s first name or Twitter username will be posted in conjunction with the entry.

· The gift card voucher is valid for one calendar year, upon manual activation. Please note: participating yoga studios are subject to change without notice. No substitutions, cash equivalents, or transfers for any part is permitted. Not for resale. Not responsible for replacing lost or stolen card. For more information about how the Passport to Prana card works, please visit here.

· Winner will be given specific instructions on receiving the gift card via Twitter and/or email, depending on how the winner submitted his/her entry.

· By accepting the Passport to Prana gift card, winner releases Passport to Prana, Wilson’s “Where To” Guide and Miss Wilson and all of their respective officers, agents and employees from any responsibility or liability in connection with the awarded gift card. Winner also agrees to release Passport to Prana, Wilson’s “Where To” Guide and Miss Wilson of any injuries, losses, or damages of any kind resulting from acceptance, use, misuse, possession, or loss of the gift card.

· By entering this giveaway, entrants accept and agree to these rules.