Michelle Alvarado is a genuine Valley Girl. Raised in North Hollywood from the age of 2, she currently lives in Granada Hills, works in Encino, and attended school at CSU Northridge.
For Valley Girl Apothecary, her line of small-batch soy candles, she opened her senses to the sights and smells of her surroundings for inspiration.
No. 01 Northridge (orange blossom and neroli; citrusy and light floral notes), for instance, was inspired by the orange grove on the college campus. No. 04 Ventura Blvd. (double-shot vanilla latte; coffee and vanilla notes) was inspired by her commute to work.
“I work in entertainment insurance and the office I work from is located on Ventura Boulevard in Encino,” Alvarado says. “When school is out and the holidays come around, I can get to work in about 14 minutes but as soon as people’s regular schedules start back up, I’m sitting in 50 minutes of traffic to travel eight miles. The scent for this candle is inspired by the endless amounts of coffee that are consumed in this hectic area.”https://www.instagram.com/p/B4IfGPthq6x/
Other candles in the collection—which Alvarado sells on Etsy and at local makers markets—include No. 02 Topanga Canyon (patchouli, lavender, vanilla, herbs and mountain flowers notes), No. 05 Pacoima (vanilla, bread, and cinnamon notes), and No. 06 Valley Nights (fig, olive orchards, magnolia blossoms, and warm musk notes).
As a fervent Valley booster, naturally she has some recommendations for people less versed in the massive swath of L.A. on the other side of the hill, like the gringo-style burritos at Las Fuentes in Reseda, taking a hike in O’Melveny Park in Granada Hills, and the Japanese Garden in Van Nuys: “I don’t think many people actually know this! It is such a peaceful space.”
Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.