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Thanks to LA’s ever-growing appetite for all things plant-based, there’s no shortage of vegan establishments sprouting across the city. Case in point: RING Baked Tofu Donuts in Woodland Hills, meat-free deli Counterpart in Echo Park, and plant-based American fusion concept O’Cado Restaurant, among handfuls of other options.
But there’s one standout shop in East Hollywood that’s making its mark by reinventing everything you thought you knew about your neighborhood convenience store. Say hello to BESTIES Vegan Paradise, the hip iteration of 7-Eleven dedicated to selling and serving hyper-local, sans-meat products.
What was once an unassuming corner market is now what can only be described as a vegan’s dream come true. A plant-based eater herself, that’s exactly how co-founder Alison Shead characterizes BESTIES, a bodega that she and her two best friends opened to make vegan goods easily accessible by bringing your everyday essentials together under one roof.
Their motto “All Vegan Everything” says it all. When you walk into the specialty store, you don’t need to question whether the ingredients are plant-based or scrutinize food labels. BESTIES has taken the guesswork out of living a veggie-only lifestyle by exclusively carrying 100% cruelty-free and vegan brands.
The refrigerators that once housed dairy and meats now showcase entirely plant-based products from mainstream and local names alike. Most importantly, though, Alison and her partners strive to be a platform for fellow LA-based vegan companies. Which is why they are committed to cultivating personal relationships with their vendors to ensure BESTIES can stock as many fresh goods from area purveyors as possible.
Not convinced? Just peruse the aisles and you’ll find a slew of products made in and around LA. Reach for The Beyond Burger, the beloved plant-based burger that looks, cooks, and satisfies like the real deal. Or, if you’re on the go, grab some Nodoh Mock ‘Tuna’ Salad, Rabbit Hole Foods Un-Chicken Curry Salad, or Mort and Betty’s Carrot Lox that is sure to fool your taste buds.
In addition, you can pick up the usual suspects you’d find at a run-of-the-mill convenience store, just in the form of a healthier, plant-based version. Think jerky, cereal, crackers, Ramen, milk alternatives, and juice, as well as protein powder, deodorant, and toothpaste.
Craving a hot meal? Every Saturday from 12 pm to 4 pm, BESTIES hosts various local vendors dishing out delicious eats. Dig into bites like Heart Attack Rolls from Jade Vegan Sushi, Philly Cheesesteaks from Enjoying Earth, and Unreal NY Reubens from Original Herbivore, to name a few.
Then there’s Vrank’s, a permanent vegan pop-up serving classic franks, Beyond sausages, chili and cheese add-ons from The Vegan Hooligans, and Nodoh Nozzarella sticks. Need we say more?
Open every day from 8 am to 8 pm, BESTIES truly is a vegan paradise. But don’t take our word for it — sling your reusable tote over your shoulder and go check them out for yourself.
Things are weird. Times are changing. It seems like just when we’re starting to get a grip, there’s another surprise. When it comes to beauty, we've had to adapt on our own due to salon closures, keep an eye on preparations and protocol changes during those closures, try to know what we’re doing before booking an appointment once they reopened, and maybe even brave the journey back to the salon. Whether you live in a place where salons are open, you’ve experienced a second shutdown, or you straight up haven’t had a haircut since March, we can all probably agree that we’re expecting some differences in the salon and spa world thanks to COVID.
We wanted to gauge how everyone is thinking and feeling about all this, so we put out a poll on our Instagram, asking you all what you expect from beauty salons right now.
Here’s what you had to say...
53% of you have returned to the hair salon by now, while 47% of you have not. This makes sense, because every area of the country is different when it comes to cases, closures, and mandates, and every person is different when it comes to risk and safety.
While many hair salons have begun operating outdoors due to government regulations, 58% of you said you’re fine with getting your haircut indoors, while the other 42% are more comfortable keeping it outside.
58% of you said you’d rather go to your hair salon than have your stylist come to you. I get it, home is a safe space, probably shouldn’t let any outsiders in.
69% of you said you’re “totally!” going to tip more for services once you start receiving them again. During this time without our stylists and aestheticians, I think we all realized how much we need them and appreciate them, and many of us are willing to show them a little extra gratitude to make up for the time we spent apart.
But, most of you aren’t. 56% of you said you have not cut or colored your own or a friend’s hair, because it was too risky, while the other 44% just “had to!”
Only 29% of you have returned to nail salons, while the rest are sticking to at-home manicures. Maybe we’re all just getting really good at it? But probably, it’s because a lot of them are still closed down, or because it’s a little more difficult to get a pedicure outdoors (we need our massage chairs!).
Our last poll question asked about what differences you’ve all noticed when heading back to the salon, and you all had a lot to say...
It’s a beautiful thing to see how the salon and spa community has come together, taken precautions, and adjustments, all so they can continue to help us look and feel our best. If you haven’t spoken to your stylist lately (or even if you have), don’t forget to shoot them a thank you and let them know you appreciate them.