los angeles

Zephy Photography: A Celebration of LA Culture with a Classic, Colorful Touch

By Elise Gray

Stephanie Monroe, otherwise known as Zeph by her friends, is a SoCal native who has always been a lover of photography. When you live in a city as cool as Los Angeles, it's easy to find your fair share of abandoned buildings, clear beaches, and makeshift sets. Stephanie creates work that is immersive.

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The overall aesthetic of each image she creates is as unique as it is vivacious. With poised portfolio of images portraying gleaming diner signs and her Sphynx cats—Michael and Clovis—one can see things the way she does. Whether she's capturing all the colorful tones of the Amalfi Coast or the Santa Monica Pier, she always manages to portray her photos with a blend of bright hues and a classic touch.

Stephanie finds inspiration all around her, which is evident as there's no shortage of vintage pieces in her home. Her cats are wandering on the table behind her as she talks, "I can build an entire idea for a shoot around a single object—that's what I love about photography; the possibilities are endless."

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What influences your work?

"So many things—it's hard to put it into words. Colorful things and time periods are big ones for me. I will always have mad love for vintage eras; my automatic instinct is to want to recreate that old-timey feel starting anywhere from the early 1900's to present. It's just so beautifully aesthetic in my opinion."

She sits in the middle of her Culver City apartment with her Sphynx Clovis in hand as she explains the process of begging her parents for disposable cameras. "...that was my thing as a kid. It wasn't until later in my life when I discovered the power of editing that I really started showing a true passion for photography and editing; I equally love doing both."

Stephanie shoots a lot of sceneries and objects on her iPhone, but when she wants a real crisp, professional photo, she busts out either the Sony a5100 or the Nikon d3100. 

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"I'm simplistic with the cameras I use. It also depends on the subject your photographing everyone has their own style of shooting," says Monroe. When you photograph things that make you feel good, you can't always prepare for the moment—that's how art is born.

When asked what editing tools she uses, she mentions that she bounces back and forth between Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and occasionally VSCO.

You’ve mentioned that you do not focus on subjects specifically, but more on how the image makes you feel. It is an unusual concept; what did you mean by that?

Well, it's clear that there is a strong connection between human memory and the photographs we take. I think so much of our lives are visual. Why wouldn't you want to capture that feeling forever? The similarities between our eyes and a camera aren't that different, and when you look at something it sparks an emotion, a memory, that is the effect I want to give in my photos.

What is something you want people to take away from your images?

I want them to feel something even if it's for 1 second. To also look at life with an open mind and to always have fun. I put my heart and soul into every photo I take—even if it's a picture of a burrito. 

You can find Stephanie Monroe's photography by following her @zephy_photography on Instagram. Feel free to DM her or check out her portfolio, zephyphotography.com, for any shoot requests. You can also follow her personal account, @zephaniemonroe for daily shenanigans. Be sure to follow her for any updates about collaborations or future gallery shows.

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#LunchWithLainney: Andrea Aguilar, Founder of Très Stacks at Sweet Chick

#LunchWithLainney is a weekly series inspired by Keith Ferrazzi's Never Eat Alone, This series will highlight upcoming brands and entrepreneurs in Los Angeles, while featuring the best restaurants and happy hours Los Angeles has to offer. #LunchWithLainney was created to inspire Los Angeles creatives to connect and learn with one other more often while experiencing the best that the L.A. food scene can offer. 

Name: Andrea Aguilar
Hustle: Founder of Très Stacks
Websitetresstacks.com
Follow: @andrea3stacks, @tresstacksbrand

Our first interview features Andrea Aguilar of Très Stacks, a hip-hop clothing brand dedicating to embodying the culture. What better way to celebrate an upcoming hip-hop brand than to dine at Nas's recently opened restaurant Sweet Chick on Fairfax Ave? Read more to learn about Andrea's creative hustle, her most important lesson as a budding entrepreneur and the best dishes to try at Sweet Chick: 

What's your hustle? 

I'm a team of one. I handle all of the shirt designs in Photoshop, ship merch, coordinate photoshoots, book models with the help of my sister and contact vendors as needed. I have been blessed with opportunities to do pop-up shops at Stones Throw Superfest, Delicious Vinyl and Laced.  I run all of Très Stacks' social media accounts, update the site and am constantly networking. I also set up shop monthly at the best early 2000s Hip Hop party in LA, The Drop, thanks to you. I have SO much fun every time!

What inspired you to create Très Stacks?

I'm a huge fan of Hip-Hop and used to buy a lot of artist merch on eBay, but they didn't always have what I was looking for. I like clean, minimalist shirts, and some designs were way too overdone for my taste or weren't referencing the artist's work I particularly wanted, so I decided to create pieces I wish existed.

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What's your biggest lesson in having your own business?

Rely on yourself. When I first began Très Stacks, friends reached out to help, but didn't come through or meet deadlines, and it got frustrating. I just kept it moving and stuck to the original script of planning and executing everything on my own. 

What's your favorite spot in LA that's underrated?

My cousin put me on to Guisados tacos last year, and they are so fire and inexpensive. Chichen Itza in this random plaza by USC also has great Mexican food.

What did you order at Sweet Chick?

The fried chicken biscuits, and they were pretty legit.

What's your favorite Nas lyric?

"Much success to ya even if you wish me the opposite" from "Nas Is Like." It's actually in my IG bio. That line has always resonated with me because I really do wish people the best in their endeavors whether they show support or not.  We all deserve to shine, and there's enough success to go around for everybody. 

Check out Tres Stacks merch at TresStacks.com and stay tuned for the next pop-up coming to The Drop Party May 20th at Grand Star Jazz Club. 

Exclusive Interview: Trish Ignacio, Personal Trainer

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Why do you do what you do? What motivates you to do your work passionately? For personal trainer, Trish Ignacio, she admits, "I train because I love helping people. I believe in helping to create effective change in people's lives. Everyone is capable of doing great things and all they need is that extra little push." Wherever you are in your journey, your hard work and early mornings all count for something. 

On Sunday, February 26, LA Pulse had the pleasure to join Trish's #Athlethick Booty Camp in Los Angeles. The intense workout series celebrates the importance of getting your fitness on and community-building. From the challenging fitness drills to the team-like atmosphere, we were inspired to push through and have fun at the same time. We spoke with Trish to talk about creating a career you love, the inspiration behind the #Athethick movement, and the best hidden locations of Los Angeles: 

How did you get into your current career? 

Three major turning points happened in my life: I got out of a 4 year relationship, my aunt who was like a mom to me died of cancer, and I had a knee injury. The stress along with my injury lead me to gain 30 lbs, so gaining all this weight really put a toll on me. I turned to working out and I loved it. I had a trainer and I loved it, I love helping people.

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We love the #Athlethick movement and message of empowerment. What inspired you to create this movement? 

#Athlethick is a community based on team. Because I was such an athlete growing up I understood that having a team atmosphere (like my bootycamp classes) we are naturally inclined to work harder and push harder. It's also a social gathering, a place where you belong.

What was the most exciting projects you worked on? 

I love putting together booty camps all over LA, I did one in NYC. Most exciting project is called #CaliLove women empowerment series featuring well-known female social influencers and put them through an intense workout, all while filming in some of the most beautiful and remote spots of Los Angeles. The Cali Love Series aims to influence women to embrace their flaws and strengths, mentally and physically, motivating them to go out and be their own boss ladies.

Watch the inspiring series below and catch a glimpse of the Los Angeles' most remote and hidden location gems:

What advice would those who are looking to be #Athlethick? 

Have fun. Love yourself. Enjoy the fitness process.

What's your next hustle?

My next hustle is growing the brand. This is a building year for me, I want to continue to work to bring the #Athlethick movement to different city. My end goal is to travel and train all over the world and be sponsored by Nike, Adidas. 

Thanks Trish for the invitation to #Athlethick Booty Camp and EatNaked LA for a nutritious post-workout meal.

For upcoming tour dates for #Athethick Booty Camp visit TrishTheIsh.com