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Friday, December 30, 2011

Hit the Rewind Button - A look back into 2011

Each time we close out the year we immediately set our sights straight into the New Year.  We look forward to and even yearn for a clean slate, a fresh start, a New Year full of more excitement, love, money, success...we all do this, even me.  
This year, before zooming into your New Years Resolutions or as I like to call them, goals, take a moment to reflect on your life's events that occurred in 2011 (the good and yes, even the bad) and honor them, because without those events happening in your life, it wouldn't have brought you to this very point, right here right now.  

sooo...I'd like to share with you my 2011 moments that I want to cherish and reflect on before moving into the next amazing chapter (year) of my life.  

Here's to 2012!!!!! But first...

Kikey's 2011 Year In Review 

I moved into my very own flat! No, the wall did not remain orange lol! 

Had an amazing photo interview with famed photographer Araldo di Crollalanza

Started a Snowboarding Crew...and growing! Let me know if you want to join.

Celebrated my bday not Once...

...not Twice (at the famous Magic Castle in Hollywood)

but Three Times!! (at Backstage Bar & Grill doing some karaoke and dancing)

Joined a co-ed softball team.  I was a kickass second baseman!!

Became a Royal Wedding Watcher.  I loved it :) 

My beloved talk show 'Let's Talk' aired on TV!!... was seen in homes all over LA - That's me!

Won 2 Gold Medals at the LA International Wushu Tournament. Me and Master Hu.

'Livin' La Vida LA!' blog was born in July

Was named LA's Rising Talent...this was COOL!

As part of 'Let's Talk!' I got to grace the red carpet at the Alma Awards 

Hometown newspaper writes story on amazing! What a way to close out the year. 

Let's move into 2012 with gratitude and appreciation for all that happened to us in 2011  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hometown Girl Makes Good: Kikey Castillo's story "From Fields to Footlights"

I got my Christmas present early this year and it came wrapped in a pretty HUGE bow -- the front page of the lifestyle section of my hometown newspaper!  

That's right!!!  I couldn't believe when I got the call from writer, Kathy Aney, from the East Oregonian Newspaper from back home asking to interview me.  I was floored and flattered all at the same time, actually, I was feeling many different emotions.  She said that Cathy Minnick (the mother of my high school sweetheart - whom I had kept in touch with up until a few years ago) had wrote in telling them I would make a great story with all my accomplishments here in Hollywood.  

After a video Skye interview, many back and forth emails with Kathy, and interviews from my best friend, Amy Jewett Hoffert and cousin, Jose Navarro...Voila! 

I am so proud of this piece and I hope it inspires may others out there to follow their dreams. 

*Thank you to Kathy Aney for writing my story with such warmth and wit and to Cathy Minnick for making this possible* 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Give! Give! Give! this Holiday Season - Give the Gift of Volunteerism

Volunteering this holiday season can bring about some indescribable gifts back to us.  Most often when we think of volunteering or doing philanthropic endeavors we think we are changing the lives of those people in need.  Which in the big picture, we are and that's the whole beautiful point of doing this selfless work, but what we often fail to see is is they who give us the greatest gifts.  

The Gift of Perspective 'Are our lives really that difficult?'  The Gift of their Smile which can disarm our guarded hearts.  The Gift of their Laughter that we feel as warmth in center of our chests...our soul.  The Gift of their Hug that makes us feel helpless and empowered all at the same time.  The Gift of their Gratitude, how their eyes say thank you without a single word being spoken.  There is no greater gift than being someone's philanthropic angel. 

Don't know how to get started? Or who is taking volunteers?  
Well let me tell you!

Big Sunday 
Volunteer Calendar (Los Angeles)

Big Sunday has made it an easy one stop shop volunteer calendar. Scroll down on page to find out who is organizing events and accepting volunteers.

Great volunteer ideas for those who don't live in LA or even if you do!

- Donate blankets to a pet shelter for the cold winter months
- Volunteer at your local senior citizens center or nursing home
- Organize a clothing drive at your church and donate it to a woman's shelter
- Sever food at your local homeless/skid row shelter
- Drop off a toy at your local Toys for Tots donation center
- Contribute food to your local food drive
- Assemble your own brown bag lunches with toiletry items and pass out to the homeless who ask for money at the street corners or businesses you frequent

Here is what I did

Roy was a bright spot on my day. His fun and cheerful spirit is apparent by his holiday decoration

Culver City Senior Center Annual Holiday Party

I volunteered at the Culver City Senior Center Annual Holiday Party for the disabled elderly.  For four fun hours I got to blow up balloons, serve food and drinks, escort blind women to the restroom and mingle with the magnificent party goers and fellow volunteers.  I was full of holiday spirit and I was simply soaring with glee.

Now go out there and put yourself of this list!

Happy Holidays Everyone! And many thanks for being a fan of my blog.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Coca-Cola Tour: Adelante Los Angeles

What did I do with my Saturday?  

I joined more than 300 Southern California Latinas and attended the Coca Cola Tour: Adelante Los Angeles Forum. A wonderful event created to ignite a national movement to improve our lives.  

The Adelante Tour is created by Latina inspirational speaker and media entrepreneur Nely Galán (“The Swan”, “Celebrity Apprentice”), in association with Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence (CMI), the leading national not-for-profit provider of resources, business education, and community support for women entrepreneurs and Coca-Cola.  

Sounds fun right? Well it got better!

Bel, Elia and I arrived bright and early in the morning at the beautiful Casa del Mar Hotel in Santa Monica on the beach, overlooking the beautiful ocean.  Equally beautiful was the conference room - very luxurious.  

Casa del Mar Hotel on the beach

the conference room but not wedding decorated

Before the event even started we were treated to red carpet pictures, what a great way to kick off the day. At least for me it is :)

Elia Esparza, Kikey Castillo and Bel Hernandez 

Kikey Castillo

After a decaf cup of coffee and eyeballing the beautiful continental breakfast spread (can't have sugar right now) we found our seats and readied ourselves for whatever was to come.  

Naibe, Kikey, Bel and Elia

During the day we got to hear from very inspirational, wise and empowering women.  The three key speakers were:

Sandra Cisneros, acclaimed novelist, poet, educator and Latina advocate who has been awarded the MacArthur Genius Award, will lead the Begin (Empieza) segment of the Program. 

This mujer is COOL, she is very spiritual and metaphysical in a mother earth sort of way. She spoke my language. 

Nely Galán first generation Latina and self-made media mogul, who was the first Latina president of a U.S. TV network (Telemundo), Emmy Award-winning producer of over 600 episodes of television in Spanish and English, including the hit reality series “The Swan” and the only Latina to appear on Celebrity Apprentice with Donald Trump.  She will lead the Continue (Sigue) segment of the program.

Whoa, I love this woman! What a tour de force...what a life (good and bad).  She really made me feel like anybody can achieve greatness you just have to want it bad enough and do something about it to get it.  

Nely at the podium 

Nell Merlino, Founder and President of Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence and the creative force behind Take Our Daughters to Work Day, will lead the Arrive (Llega) portion of the Forum.  Merlino’s mantra is:  “Before you grow your business, you need to grow yourself.”  Her segment focused on building financial strength and discovering what you really want. 

I was in a bit of an awe to meet the woman behind 'Take Our Daughters to Work Day' 

The great day was topped off with a great treat for me!  I got interviewed by 2 media outlets: CNN en Espanol (thank you Naibe) but I totally feel like I butchered it as I got nervous speaking Spanish off-the-cuff and trying to sound intelligent LOL and for Coca-Cola Tour: Adelante (in English, went MUCH better!) 

Media interview for Coca-Cola Tour: Adelante

And that's how I spent my Saturday.  It was a nice change from my usual running errands or hanging out and I felt ALIVE, EMPOWERED and INSPIRED - I'd say, not a bad way to spend my Saturday!

And here is the CNN en Espanol interview, where I actually came off sounding not too shabby!

Join the Adelante community on Facebook:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Livin' Green: Farmers Market

This little chicky went to the organic farmers market and went mmmm mmmm mmmm all the way home.

One of my fun ‘green’ weekend traditions is to shop at the Organic Farmers' Market on Third Street at the Santa Monica Promenade for my fruits and veggies.  

No wisecracks about my melons :p

Buying the best quality fruits and veggies has become imperative in my diet now that I am blending/juicing with my Vitamix.  I LOVE my Vitamix - like LOVE IT - I’ll blog about this topic later because it deserves a blog of its own.  

Anyhow…my little weekend tradition has a way of bringing me joy – maybe it’s being outside in the nice weather near the ocean with palm trees surrounding me, maybe it’s the good people watching, the great deals on organic produce… or maybe because for a brief moment I feel as if I’m in Europe (which I’m totally enamored with).

But actually, I know it’s all of the above and the fact that I’m helping my local economy and the environment.  

Benefits of shopping at the Farmers Market
  • Benefits the local farmer

  • Strengthens the local economy

  • Fruits and vegetables are grown locally which means they are picked when perfectly ripened

  • Prices, especially for organic items, are often lower than at grocery stores
  • Environmental impact from food transportation is lessened

Have you ever shopped at a farmers market?  If so, YAY you – keep doing it, if not, make it a point to give it a try this year, you’ll be doing your wallet, body and planet good. 

Click here to find your local California farmers market.  If not in California a simple Google search will provide you with a farmers market location near you.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Best Acting Classes at Margie Haber Studio

“If only I had only known then, what I know now…” want to avoid that pesky and unhappy thought?  Then I wholeheartedly recommend studying at Margie Haber Studio if you want to work more in TV and film. 

This is a little golden nugget of advice you are definitely 
going to want to heed

I know when I first moved to LA, to follow my path as an actor, I had heard of Margie Haber and I intended on taking the classes buttttt instead I ended up taking a circuitous route right back to where my gut told me to go all along -- Margie Haber Studio.  Follow your gut people…always a big lesson for me.

Ok, so you might be wondering why I am loving <3 on this class.  Well the best way I can break it down is like this; for years I have been frustrated with my acting process, my audition technique, etc, etc, and out of that frustration I would gripe to my friends and it would sound something like this:  

“I just wish someone would tell me what it is I’m doing wrong and tell me what it is I AM supposed to be doing”

And wouldn’t you know it, in my very first class at the studio this is the very thing they said they were going to teach us.  My jaw dropped and I was like whaaaat???  This is AWESOME!  I got what I was asking for.

And indeed it has been awesome.  I have seen myself improved since learning to use the Margie Haber Technique coupled with the use of the studio cameras and TV’s in each room.  It has been so enlightening to review my video in the classroom watching myself do things that could cause me to lose the role but more importantly watching me do things that could WIN me the role. Very eye opening.     

Courtney Burr reviewing my audition read from class

I’m entering my 3rd month of studying in the intermediate class with Courtney Burr (Margie Haber teaches the advance classes, which I definitely plan on taking).  Let me say, Courtney is wonderful and I am so happy to be studying with him.  One can definitely say, he’s an actor’s teacher -- he’s tireless, gives great feedback and really cares about seeing you improve.  He gives me the warm fuzzies and I love him for that! 

Margie Haber studio lobby during class. We all bonded and even created a Facebook group to keep in touch.

And the icing on the cake is to this wonderful class of mine…getting to know and bond with like minded, talented and nice actors at the studio.  Who, by the way, are a wealth of information!  I’m getting great info about photographers, showcases, workshops, blogs (shout out to fellow blogger Alex at  I have met nothing but great people at this studio. 
Courtney's September Intermediate Intensive Class
Back to front: Kwesio Jones, Rob Locke, Alexandra Choi, Eugena Peng, Rachael Sleek-Bañuelos, Dawn Davis, Christelle, Dex Bell, Daina Washington, Allan Merritt, Kikey Castillo, Courtney Burr and dog Frodo 

So, if you’re trying to figure out where to study your craft, I highly recommend Margie Haber Studio.   I bet you’ll be happy you did! 

Margie Haber Studio
971 N. La Cienega Blvd.
Ste. 207
Los Angeles, CA 90069
(310) 854-0870

Thursday, October 6, 2011

John Leguizamo’s one-man show “Ghetto Klown”

Am I funny to you? Am I your clown?!  How many times have you heard that?  Either as a jest or in a quarrel?  Or better yet, how many times have you said it to someone else…for dramatic effect of course.

Well, John takes that phrase to another level and say’s “Yes.  I am a clown, I am a Ghetto Klown” and his funny comes from pain.  There is a saying that the most funny comedians are the most wrought with pain.  And John is FUNNY!

John Leguizamo performing at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre

On Sunday, I went to see John’s 5th one-man show, “Ghetto Klown” at The Ricardo Montalban Theatre with some friends and myyyyy was I laughing as his tragedies!  It was laugh out loud HA’s and giggling and head nodding yes and definitely some knee slappings going on too.  

LtoR: Kikey Castillo, Naibe Reynoso, Karina Noelle, Lorena Alvarado

We relate to John in this show as he recounts his journey from ghetto boy in Queens to becoming a Hollywood movie star.  I mean, haven’t we all had a dream that we had to fight hard for, aren’t we all looking for love, we certainly have all lost love, who hasn’t had a difficult relationship with a parent, or at some point simply believed that we “just aren’t good enough”.  

John Leguizamo displays his life, the raw truth of it, on stage for the world to laugh AT him and WITH him...a “Ghetto Klown” for sure!  

Direct from Broadway

 John Leguizamo in
“Ghetto Klown”

15 performances only! Sept 30 to Oct 16
Tickets On Sale through
Performances at The Ricardo Montalban Theatre

Leguizamo explains, “Ghetto Klown” is all the things I say to my therapist and my manager, but would never want the general public to know.  It’s cheaper than a lawsuit and I get to take a bow at the end.  It’s like Wikileaks but with no international manhunt. Yet.”

Click play to see video of John's Show or go to

I’m more of a fan of John’s now! 

Funny guys are sexy...Muah!

My favorite John Leguizamo movies:
To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar
Ice Age as the voice of Sid
Moulin Rouge
Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Livin' Green: 'Soaptopia'

It was a lazy Sunday morning on my way to my local farmers market when I stumbled upon this really cute store, ‘Soaptopia’.  Wait a minute, a whole store about soap?  Can soap really be all that?  Curious to find out, I strolled in to check it out.  

Whoa, Nelly! It was ALL THAT and a bag of “baked kale chips!”  Soaptopia wasn’t just a soap store -  it was so much more!  As I browsed the shop I realized, Eureka!  This store is for me.  It’s a mom and pop “junk free” all natural bath and body product store and I’m in heaven. 

In the past few years, I’ve been slowly moving towards a more “green” existence.  Now, I wouldn’t call myself a “granola” or “a tree huger” (not that there's anything wrong with that) but I am a believer in living and taking care of myself in a “green fashion” - -  as much as I possibly can at least.

Hi Jolie
make myself comfy, why don't I? - LOL!
Jolie, the owner of the shop, greeted me as I walked in. And in front of her were these two giant racks of natural handmade bars of soaps.  All made out of plant-based ingredients, essential oils and wild-crafted raw shea butter from Senegal in western Africa.  


All of the 40+ handmade soaps have really cute and fun names like “Chocolate Makes Me Thorny”, “El Jabon de Mi Corazon” and “Chai and Catch Me”.  And they all smell scrumptious to boot. 

I also found lotions!!  I need to live off of lotions for my dry skin type and I use tons of the stuff but have you seen how much icky ingredients store bought lotions have?  They are laden with man made chemicals and parabens (a known carcinogen).  But not here, everything in the store is made with pure and natural ingredients. 

Isabelle, a friendly staffer, helped me pick out a face lotion called “Lavender Like No One’s Watching” 50/50 Body Balm.  You heard right, body balm.  It’s a body lotion that can also be used on the face, Whaaaat? 

I was VERY skeptical of her claim asking her a dozen times “are you sure I can use this on my face?” she assured me it was and shared with me that she also uses it for that purpose.  Her face and skin is beautiful…so in went the 50/50 body balm into my recyclable shopping bag (am I gullible?).  Anyway, I justified it by telling myself it was only $15.00.

Along with the body balm, I also bought a Lemon Rosemary natural bar of soap for $6 or 5 for $25 and a Secret Agent face wash soap bar also $6.00.  {I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that since all bars of soap are all natural, they are all face friendly}

Me shopping but look - I blend into the walls! Not planned at all. Too funny!

I could have kept on shopping and spending $$ because all the great products and the prices are super reasonable.  But, I am a girl on a budget and besides, I can’t go crazy spending unless I know this stuff is worth it, Right?

"Kikey Castillo's Consumer Report"
So, I’ve been using the products for a month now and here’s what I say...

Lemon Rosemary natural bar soap: Made with essential oils of lemon and rosemary which smells terrific, the smell actually lasts as long as the bar of soap does (can you say power of nature?).   The essential oils leave my skin feeling soft and the smell invigorates me.  The bar has lasted a reasonable about of time and I’m left feeling clean and happy.  

Secret Agent Soap: This soap is made with tea tree, willow charcoal, oatmeal, rosewood and green clay.  All perfect ingredients for your face.  The oatmeal gives it just the right touch of exfoliant.  This face soap does the trick removing all my make up including mascara, leaves my face feeling soft and clean -- not dry or taut.  I like that!

Lavender Like No One’s Watching 50/50 Body Balm: Although called a body balm this can be used as a face lotion.  Crazy right?  So, that's what I did.  And I have to tell you, I really, really liked it!  It works great.  It keeps my face soft and moisturized without the feeling greasy or heavy.  There's a subtle smell of lavender which is nice.  No unusual breakouts and the lotion in the jar has lasted a super long time.  A little goes a long way with this one.  

Kikey’s Verdict...

Definitely shop at Soaptopia!  

This store gives fancy brands a run for their money as far as quality, price point and shopping experience.

All of Soaptopia's products are B.A.T.H. (Bathe in All Things Healthy) Certified Junk Free, animal friendly, vegan, synthetic-free and petroleum-free.

Soaptopia has so much more than handmade soaps and lotions they also make: natural perfumes, massage candles, oil slathers, bath salts, shea lip balm, bath accessories, liquid soap, shea butter, shaving soap, gifts and so much more.  

Soaptopia’s motto, aren't they awesome?
12228 1/2 Venice Blvd. | Mar Vista, CA  90066
310.398.8333 (phone) - 310.398.7949 (fax)
M-F 10am-6pm | Sat 10am-5pm | Sun 10am-4pm (PST)

for all my international readers, they do ship international as well as domestic
Shop Away :)

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