10 Valentine’s Day Date Ideas (& Giveaway ends 2-13!).

I know what you may possibly be thinking…Valentine’s Day?! The greeting card holiday?! Or, I am single! I can’t do this stuff! While, maybe, hopefully, some of you are eager to read about some Valentine’s Day ideas and my pretty sweet giveaway I have for you, I also hope you agree with some of these thoughts I had for super awesome and fun getaways, and places to wine and dine. All of these options would be excellent with your friends, too (Galentine’s Day, anyone??). Read on and good luck with the giveaway, too 🙂

GETAWAYS

Cruise on down the coast for Valentine’s Day in San Diego and stay at one of the best 5 diamond resorts in California, and the nation, for that matter, at Fairmont Grand Del Mar. Currently running a “Do Not Disturb” package through February 11th which includes a one night stay, a $50 food and beverage credit, complimentary bottle of champagne and strawberries amenity and in-room movie. Learn more HERE.

An often overlooked getaway destination, Sacramento is booming with culture, great food and wine, and some adorable boutique hotels and my favorite, The Amber House Bed and Breakfast. Minutes from the State Capitol, and convenient to walk to several activities, The Amber House is an amazing experience that includes a fresh breakfast brought to your room each morning. With several packages currently being offered, check out The Exquisite Dinner and Lodging package.

Gluten free French toast served in your room at The Amber House.

If leaving Fido home for Valentine’s Day is out of the question, consider a few nights at Carmel by-the-Sea’s pet friendly Hofsas House. A favorite here at Along Comes Mary, Hofsas is currently offering a “sweet” deal that when you  stay for at least two nights with them, you will receive a box of local Lula’s Chocolates and a Hofsas House logo tote bag to welcome you! Book HERE.

If you’re an Angelino looking for a local getaway, drive over Route 66 to Claremont, a hidden gem here in SoCal. The DoubleTree Resort is a gorgeous, newly renovated and modern home away from home that i’ve had the pleasure of staying with twice now and along with Downtown Claremont just a few miles away, you have The Piano Piano Bar, a Dinner and Theatre venue and a Trader Joe’s all within the hotel’s parking lot, making it perfect to simply park your car and hang out at the complex. With their Celebration package, get a bottle of sparkling wine, breakfast and a late check-out. Get all the details and book HERE.

WINE and DINE

Reserve a gorgeous table over looking the water and harbor at Cafe Del Rey in Marina Del Rey. Easily one of the best restaurants I’ve come across in LA as of late, Cafe’s Chef David Vilchez is a master in the kitchen and dedicated to ensuring each plate leaves you wanting more of his creations. With their Valentine’s Day dinner, choose from such decadent dishes like a 10 oz steak, salmon or lobster tail. Lets not even mention the strawberry panna cotta. Check out the menu HERE.

A cozy table for two at District Wine Bar.

Nothing like the custom build mac and cheese at Stacked.

If you do head for a Northern California getaway, do yourself a favor and spend the day in Cambria and dine at Linn’s Restaurant. Whether you stop in for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Aaron and his amazing staff are sure to treat you like family and their Olallieberry-centric desserts (many gluten-free) are the ideal sweet treat for Valentine’s Day!

A place to see a piece of history in the middle of Downtown LA is no other than San Antonio Winery. Always a fabulous time, San Antonio offers daily wine tasting, tours, delicious cuisine at Maddalena Restaurant, a coffee shop and bistro and, of course, their beautiful gift shop. San Antonio would be an ideal Valentine’s Day date.

Down in Long Beach, treat yourself to some beach time, stroll with your love on Belmont Shore’s 2nd Street, then drive down Ocean boulevard to Downtown and plan an afternoon at District Wine Bar. One of the first wine bars to ever invite Along Comes Mary to do a feature, District Wine is one of those places that feels like you’re with family. Mark and Angela Dunton launched District Wine in Long Beach’s funky Arts District in 2010, and have been hosting memories in the making ever since. From daily happy hours to Sunday mimosa brunch, make a reservation NOW to cozy up to your sweetie this Valentine’s Day!

If you’re looking to have a laid back Valentines Day (granted, it is on a Tuesday so getaways will probably have to be on a weekend), take your Valentine to STACKED: Food Well Built. With several California locations (Including Thousand Oaks and Huntington Beach), make it a fun evening by having you and your sweetie order for each other. At Stacked, you order and customize your meal on an iPad! (Psst, great gluten-free options, too).

A NIGHT IN

If you are more the type to have a cozy and romantic evening at home (or if it better fits your budget), why not try surprising your love with homemade chocolates? Or, better yet, make a recipe together or surprise each other with one each from Susie Norris’ decadent book, Chocolate Bliss. I had the pleasure of meeting Susie at The IFWTWA Conference and she was such a sweetheart that she  offered me an autographed copy of Chocolate Bliss for one of my readers! Simply use the form below to enter by February 13th, a winner will be selected at random, and make sure to check out my sweepstakes tab!

Let me know what your plans are for Valentine’s Day! xo

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My Word of the Year!

So, it is the final week of 2016. Where did the year go?! It feels like yesterday that I was scrambling to decide on a good word for the new year. And, well, friends, nothing has changed in that department and I only just chose my word for 2017 over the weekend!

This has been a great year for me, personally. Our country? Our society? Not so much. The voids we have felt throughout the year as we have seen several of the greats from the artistic world suddenly pass away, the slap in the face millions of us felt with the election results….definitely a lot of heavy moments. I feel extremely lucky that this was a good year for me and my family and I am still standing.

The beginning of 2016 found me searching, or following, more so, my Bliss. Bliss was my word of the year and it found me doing adventures, enjoying the everyday life, giggles and silly moments.

This year? I have so much I want to accomplish and excel at. I want to continue to build my social media services and blogging empire (Or, at-least, my blogging “life”), be a great employee and asset for my day jobs, help people learn the basics to dominating social media and get everything I set out to do, DONE.

Thus, my word for the new year is…..

FOCUS, folks. 2016 was incredible to me for learning more about the ever-changing, ever-evolving Social Media industry, as well as wonderful opportunities for Along Comes Mary and speaking engagements on the basics of Social Media. The time is NOW for me to be leaping as forward as I can to excel and grow in these fields. I am passionate about them both, and that is a really exciting feeling.

But, why FOCUS? Well, if you know me at all, it may not surprise you that I can be a little ADD. My mind is hardly ever at peace or if I am even sitting enjoying some TV or playing music, I am most likely still thinking and dreaming about posts I’ve not yet written, or places I want to go.

I am the Queen of to-do lists, and hope to utilize that good quirk of mine as I attempt to stay FOCUSED throughout my work week. My first focus goal? Working on my blog and/or something that benefits Along Comes Mary each day before I start working. Just an hour. I can do it.

So, 2017 will hopefully be all about my FOCUSING on my passions, as well as those I love. Do you have a word for the new year? What will yours be? xo

 

Spreading Some Holiday Cheer with Stationery Studio! #AVeryMaryChristmas

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I don’t know about you, but, I always think I am ready for December and the Holiday season, then, guess what? It becomes a week before Christmas and I am scrambling. This year has been no different. Where did this month go??

Something I always try to make time for, though, is sending out Christmas cards. I vividly remember being very little and helping my Grandma get hers ready; it usually included my ‘autographing’ the picture she would include of me with Santa Claus.

Fast forward some years later, and I was so excited to be offered personalized Christmas cards this year from my new favorite paper company, Stationery Studio. Having not heard of them, I could have spent all afternoon searching all of their cards and paper products. It was an extremely difficult decision, but, I at last decided on their “Lagoon Holiday Collage” photo….

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I am all about more than one photo on my cards. So much happens in a year, how can you possibly select A picture?! I tried to pick a fun, playful variety this year: Michael and I at the South Park exhibit, in Huntsville, Alabama, on a larger than life lawn chair, us arriving at the Memphis Zoo, our engagement day….which, yes, was last year, but, my cards had already been ordered by the time Mike proposed (How inconsiderate of him!) and, of course, a few precious moments with Hammy and Nova (since they run the house).

While I usually order a photo card from the drug store, Stationery Studio is an amazing upgrade. The paper is sturdy and “Happy Holidays” is printed with real foil, adding to the sparkle and shine.

I didn’t get these cards without some delivering difficulty…thanks to my great postal service. Luckily, The Stationery Studio has a fabulous customer service team who were at the ready to assist me when the delivery service decided to return them to sender….with no note or alert to me. At all. It truly is the holiday season when there’s some postal confusion, no?!

When you’re not in need for holiday cards, The Stationery Studio is there year-round for any and all of your paper needs. From party supplies (like gorgeous napkins) to everyday stationery (perfect for my holiday thank you’s) and wedding invitations (Hmmmm….), Stationery Studio is a wonderful source and I was so happy to work with them to help put my holiday memories on paper!

Visit them HERE! xo

 

(*Disclosure: I received holiday cards from Stationery Studio in support for this feature. All opinions are my own.)

The Umami Burger’s Holiday Menu! #AVeryMaryChristmas (Guest Post)

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(Editor’s Note: I am so lucky that when Along Comes Mary is invited to a great event, I often am lucky enough to get one of my favorite bloggers, Melanie from LA Explorer, to cover for me. Today, she tells us about her experience at The Improv Comedy Club’s  Umami Burger. Take it away, Melanie! xo, Mary)

When I was a teenager the Irvine Spectrum opened and it was a big deal for us OC kids. It had a 21 screen movie theater! With IMAX! There was a Dave & Buster’s! And a Cheesecake Factory! Now, I don’t get quite as excited when a shopping center opens but the Irvine Spectrum continues to intrigue. While most center have highs and lows this one just gets bigger and bigger. There’s a Ferris Wheel! A Hello Kitty Cafe! And the Irvine Improv with an Umami Burger! In fact, I had no idea the center had an Umami Burger until I was invited to stop by and try their new holiday menu.

The Umami Burger at the Spectrum is located at the Improv. I like that. Comedy clubs have long been associated with greasy chicken fingers and cheap booze and it’s nice to see a spot where you can get a good meal and a show all in one. On my visit, I didn’t watch any comedy but I did manage to sample the menu.

There was a trio of small bites that included pot roast, grilled lemon chicken and tuna tartare.

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My favorite was the tuna. Served atop a bed of rice and drizzled with a tangy ginger sauce it was a delicious morsel.

Umami is know for their burgers and this night we tried the new Falafel Burger.

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I love falafels so I was eager to try it and it did not disappoint. The crunchy falafel was served on a brioche bun with lettuce, tomato, avocado, pickled onions and tzatziki sauce. I love it and would definitely order it the next time I’m at Umami.

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We finished the evening with a taste of the creme brulee cheesecake and it was a sweet end to the meal. Now I know that when I want a fun night out with a good meal I can just head to the Improv for some comedy and tasty treats from Umami Burger.

(Melanie Kaminski is the Editor of the blog, LA Explorer, where you’ll learn of her explorations around Southern California and beyond. Visit her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.)

Wearable Art by Miz Meliz and Giveaway ends 12-11! #AVeryMaryChristmas

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Sometimes, an opportunity too fun to pass up comes along. Even if it seems a bit zany, you just have to trust your gut and go for it. Lucky for me I did just that and met the fabulous (and now dear friend of mine), Melissa Reyes, back in 2013.

I had been blogging for just shy of a year, and whilst scrolling through one of my Facebook blogging groups, I noticed a post from Melissa looking for a road trip buddy to run up to San Francisco that coming weekend. I told her I would love to. I had met her….maybe, once, and barely. I was basically going on a 6 hour road trip with a total stranger. These thoughts went through my mind as I later found out, Melissa was getting a back up plan for what to do and where to stay if I turned out to be nuts.

As we all know, neither of us are crazy (Just crazy FUN when we get together!) and since our blogging venture almost 4 years ago, it has been amazing to see Melissa evolve and accomplish so much. She has published a book, launched her weekly live online series, Tinsel Town with Miz Meliz and, latest expertise to add to her never-ending resume of curiosity? Artist.

One of Melissa’s latest projects is her arts and crafts online store, Miz Meliz. Making “Wearable Art” (how catchy is that term?!), as well as jewellery and decorative artistry, Melissa pours her heart and soul into these pieces and I just cannot get enough of them.

Lucky for me, Melissa now has the perfect gift box set plan for art junkies like myself. Miz Meliz recently launched a monthly plan subscription enabling her community to purchase jewelry gift sets sent to your mailbox for $40 per month. (Psst, a single gift set is $45). I got to experience the introductory month and let me tell you: It did not disappoint! Check it out:

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And, we all know half of the fun when you get a package is opening up your treats, no?

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Since Melissa does know me, I could not wait to see what she had in store for my box. I ended up with an adorable rope-style chain necklace with one of her beautiful bauble glass designs (my favorite), a butterfly pendent perfect to make a pin or make a choker-chain style necklace, a bracelet and a pair of earrings. The coolest part? These pieces would go perfectly all paired together, or, pick and choose which to mix and match…or, share the love by sharing a piece, too 😉

That is just what I would like to do! Would you or someone you know like to win these gorgeous handmade earrings?

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Perfect for that holiday party, or even to glam up while out in the shopping bustle, I cannot wait to gift these to one lucky winner in part with my #AVeryMaryChristmas giveaways! See the form below to enter and, make sure to check out my sweepstakes tab. Enter by December 11th. Good luck and remember to check out Miz Meliz for all of your feminine and artistic holiday gifts. Bonus points? Melissa is donating 10% of her proceeds to St. Jude’s Hospital all December long! 🙂

Good luck! xo

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A Visit to Del’Oliva Olive Oil and Vinegar Shop & Giveaway ends 12-11! #AVeryMaryChristmas

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I am an avid olive oil user. Once favored by Chefs and considered ‘fancy’ if you used it regularly, olive oil has become a very common and “it” oil to use in the kitchen, and rightly so. Since I discovered the various uses for it, it has become my go-to. I also love when I stumble upon infused oils that enable me to enhance favorite dishes like  grilled salmon, drizzled not just with olive oil, but, lemon-infused. Heavenly!

You can imagine that I became a kid in a candy store when I headed to Del’Oliva on my IFWTWA tour of San Mateo County, California. Within the region is the adorable town of Birmingham. With a quaint downtown street lined with unique boutiques and eateries, one of the boulevard’s gems is  Del’Oliva; a gorgeous shop that steps you inside to the world of Italy with olive oil and vinegar’s….plus, perfect gifts for hosts and hostesses, and an intimate wine area in the back of the shop.

We soon met with Eddie Sohirad, Del’Oliva’s owner. From the moment you meet Sohirad, you can tell this is a man passionate about the correct ways of olive oils! Not knowing too much about the delicate process myself, it was fascinating to learn important facts such as:

  • Olive oil is very high in Polyphenols. This is a compound found in foods that has been scientifically proven to relieve pain and inflammation nearly the EXACT same way over the counter pain reliever drugs do. And, if that doesn’t sell you: Its been providing pain relief for over 5,000 years! Many people find that ingesting or even applying olive oil to the their temples if they feel a headache coming on, will relieve the pain.
  • While most food products require you to check an expiration date, olive oil actually depends more on the “Pressed Date”.  The sooner the date to when you’re purchasing, the better.  Once olive oil is pressed, those Polyphenols and its benefits goes significantly down. Rule of thumb? Check that Pressed On date, and buy one that was not too long ago.

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Wines to taste, too!

Wines to taste, too!

 

  • Extra Virgin is always the best. Another fun test to see about the oil’s freshness is: Take a small swig of the oil. If it gives you a slight burning sensation,  that usually indicates a fresh Extra Virgin olive oil.
  • Olive oil is best enjoyed, in the perfect world, within 4 hours of it being pressed. (I doubt that has yet to happen in my life yet).
  • You also may notice it should not be particularly, well, oil-y. Fresh olive oil should go down more like a juice.
  • While I’m a fan of infused olive oils, unless you are at a trusted source like Del’Oliva, many brands use infusion oils as a selling point to hide an older, inadequate olive oil.

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  • And, as far as balsamic vinegar, did you know unless it has a European certification, that all balsamic vinegar you’re buying in the supermarket are most likely imposters? Think of it like Champagne; only the real deal comes from France. When I grab a bottle at the pharmacy, it’s a “California Sparkling Wine”. 😉

Along with their gorgeous store, Del’Oliva ships throughout the USA, too. What a great place to shop for the foodies on your list, no?!

I am also excited that Del’Oliva is my kick off for my annual #AVeryMaryChristmas series of posts this month! The series this year will include holiday gift ideas, things to do to celebrate the season…ansd, maybe a giveaway…or afew 😉 Kicking off today, I have a mini bottle of Del’Oliva’s Red Apple Balsamic Vinegar to send to one lucky winner. Make sure to check out my sweepstakes tabs for all rules, and enter using the form below by December 11th. Good luck!

And, in the meantime, visit Del’Oliva at their website HERE.

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Support Friends of Griffith Park at Nordic Noir LA!

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On September 25th, join me at The Greek Theatre for Nordic Noir LA, a one-of-a-kind benefit for Friends of Griffith Park, a non-profit charitable group, at the Greek Theatre here in LA! This world-class concert is hosted by internationally recognized film composer Jacob Groth and the Danish Film Harmonics as they offer the LA community an opportunity to experience the acclaimed soundtrack for the film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Come and take part in the effort to conserve our beloved city’s environment and urban wildlife. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. Concert begins at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are selling fast HERE.

I’m so honored to have had the opportunity to interview Groth, and learn a bit more about himself and his incredible music career.

Can you tell me a bit about life growing up in Denmark? Whereabouts do you hail from?

I was born in Copenhagen,grew up with 2 younger brothers, and 3 kids from my fathers first marriage.

So, A lot of noise and …sometimes a little fighting too! I was a teenager before I found an interest in music, but, when I found music,I knew that that was the right thing for me.

2) I think any artist will agree that performing at The Greek is always a ‘bucket list’ venue. What makes The Greek a special place for you?

The Greek is special to me because its in that very same park that I am supporting with my concert,and because its an iconic venue where the greatest artist have performed.
Me  and my orchestra “The Danish Film harmonics” cannot wait to go on
stage this weekend!
Do you have any particular influences for your music, when writing for a film score?
Its always the story that inspires me,the mood ,the acting,the pictures…

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 What can your audience expect at this performance?
The Audience is coming with me on a journey into 9 different  Groth scores performed as one symphony.Its both action,thriller,love and everything in between. We also have a back screen showing scenes from feature-film like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo mixed with more abstract images.
Whats next for you and your music?
I am gonna stay in LA for a while doing the score for an amazing new TV-Show called Midnight Texas and also write the score for Flatliners,a very cool remake of that film from the 90’s.
Hope to see you this Sunday at The Greek! Mange Tak! 😉 (That means Much Thanks in Danish and is about how much Danish I can speak. I try to practice, but, have yet to learn it better. ) xo

Exploring The Oroville Dam and Fish Hatchery!

Feather River Fish Hatchery in Oroville, California.

Feather River Fish Hatchery in Oroville, California.

My trip to Sacramento County, Chico and Mount Shasta County  is in the record books! My visit  was absolutely awesome, and reminded me just how important it is to get away from it all, unplug a bit and have some FUN adventures with great friends. I have so much I want to share about my time in the “530 area code” and thought for my first of a “mini series” of articles, I would tell you something I think is a pretty interesting fact, and, as a Los Angeles native, was not aware:

Did you know a lot of LA’s water comes from Sacramento County?! How did I not know this?! I admit, I did not even realize the city of Oroville (70 miles outside of Sacramento) even had a dam. One of my sweetest (and longest) friends, Ariel, took me on out to Oroville to see the historical, city land marks. It was a little adventure, a lot field trip, and right up my alley.

The long road driving away from The Oroville Dam

The long road driving away from The Oroville Dam

While the dam has certainly seen better days, I was pleasantly surprised that our drought had not completely wiped out the water supply. With a capacity of 3.5 million acre-feet. (One acre-foot equals 325,900 gallons.), the lake goes on for endless miles, and its long road down to the vista point makes it a scenic spot to take a jog, take a break and look on out into the horizon…or, maybe do some Pokemon hunting 😉

Several plaques are placed at the point, with some paying tribute to the incredible workers lost during their ordeal of building this reservoir (hence the term, “man-made”.). Quotes state that these un-sung heroes simply asked to have their name put on a wall, should they not survive to see its completion, and their wish was granted.

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Feeling free in Oroville!

Feeling free in Oroville!

Moving just further down, back in the town of Oroville (which boasts some gorgeous Victorian era homes, and architecture), we got to the Feather River Fish Hatchery! Did you know wild salmon swim through there?! I literally was learning something (or a few things) each day.

While I could easily see Oroville may get a little….repetitive? Simple? if you have, say, lived there forever. But, on a road trip up California, it is well worth it to make a pit stop to The Oroville Dam, as well as the fish hatchery. There is so much history to be discovered and learned in Northern California. You often forget there’s a whole world out there beyond precious SoCal!

Learn more about Oroville HERE.

 

The 6th Annual LA Food and Wine Festival Pulls Out All the Stops..

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While there are so many subjects that come to mind when you hear “Los Angeles”, I feel like “Food and Wine” may not be the first thing that you think of. LA became famous for its Hollywood glam, the rich and famous, beaches and its diversity. Yet, in the more recent years? Hands down some of the most beloved weekends are all about the food festivals. Not to mention popular attractions like Disneyland, Eat-See-Hear, The Dodgers and more are now offering an array of top notch wines, beers and dishes.

One of those anticipated weekends is The LA Food and Wine Festival. Having just wrapped its 6th year this past weekend, I was thrilled to once again cover this fabulous festival. With its Night Market at 1st and Grand Street in beautiful Downtown LA, this 3 night event is just whistling distance from The Music Center and makes for the ideal backdrop for a night of delicious foods (I was treated to everything from crab legs courtesy of Mr. Chow, to Earl Grey sorbet from Sweet Lucy’s), schmoozing and free flowing wines.

Don't forget, I Snap chat from events! Check me out at GreenEyedMary.

Don’t forget, I Snap chat from events! Check me out at GreenEyedMary.

Along with the Night Market, LA Food and Wine has expanded immensely over its years establishing itself as the hottest food and wine event to attend. Thursday night found the one and only Emeril Lagasse hosting their opening celebration of “Eat the World” while Saturday found foodies enjoying The Sunset Chill ‘n Grill event hosted by Rick Bayless at The Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica.

What makes The LA Food and Wine Festival’s Night Market so eclectic and fun is the variety of dishes and varietals you get to try while also getting the opportunity to chat with the wine makers and the famous chef’s behind your plate. The slew of world renowned Chef’s in attendance is something to marvel at, and, if you’re lucky, you may even get a photo op or autograph from them!

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Tonet Tibay

Favorite wines of mine including J. Lohr and Justin were there pouring some of their consumer’s faves, while I got to sip phenomenal Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir’s from new friends like Priest Ranch (Out of Yountville, CA) and Paso Robles’ Tablas Creek. I will be visiting the Paso wine region later this year, and love the fact that I have already connected with some great wineries to visit there.

Unlike last year, I was extremely pleased that at-least half of the cuisine offering were “Mary Friendly” (Gluten free and Vegetarian or seafood)! Aside from the decadent crab legs at Mr. Chow’s (Which were indeed battered, but in corn flour), I was treated to spicy salmon hand rolls from The Grove’s Blue Ribbon, Lavender truffles from Tonet Tibay (Chocolatier and Founder of Marti Chocolatt here in town), gluten free and vegetarian tostada chip appetizers from Chef Nicole Votano and more over the course of this three hour soiree.

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Something else to keep in mind when attending LAFW is that, all are welcome. Whether you are a wine connoisseur or just love a great slider, it doesn’t matter what your level of food and wine is. I love talking wine, yet, am in no way near being a Sommelier. I love to eat, but don’t often eat meat and am somewhat picky. I was surrounded by both like-minded attendees as well as very educated Chefs and wine makers. Everyone is family at LA Food and Wine Festival. It’s a great, eclectic mix all coming together.

While LAFW Festival may be in the books for 2016, I cannot wait to see what they unveil for us dedicated foodies and wino’s next year. See you there?! xo

We Are LA Festival with Lisa Loeb & Giveaway Through August 21st!

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There was always something so cool, nerd chic, about Lisa Loeb. The singer/guitarist who rose to fame with her song, “Stay (I Missed You)” on the Reality Bites soundtrack made her a radio and Mtv favorite. Stellar albums like Firecracker, successful Food Network series, Dweezil & Lisa, as well as several children’s ecords, Loeb certainly has stayed on the radar with her diverse ventures.

On September 17th, Lisa Loeb will be one of the stars gracing the stage at The We Are LA Festival, coming to The StubHub Center in Carson, California. Her co-headliners include Ozomatli, YouTube personality DJ Flula and the magician/comedian, Justin Willman, host of Cupcake Wars as well as family friendly interactive and educational activities, all day long!

“We want to create an environment where the Los Angeles community can enjoy a day of great music and get to know the incredible children’s charities that make a positive impact where we live, work and play,” said Charissa Gonzales, We Are LA Co-founder. “Those who come are familiar with the rock stars who will perform on stage, the goal is to get them to know about the rock stars working behind the scenes for at-risk and low-income children and families,” added Gonzales.

 

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Lisa Loeb.

All net proceeds will benefit the following local Los Angeles children’s charities: 826LA, Amer-I-Can, CASA of Los Angeles, Happy Trails for Kids, Junior Achievement of Southern California, Richstone Family Center and LA Galaxy Foundation.

“The LA Galaxy Foundation is honored to be included in the inaugural We Are LA Festival. A special thank you to the Lucido’s for their generous support to make this event possible; the concept of bringing together multiple non-profit groups to benefit and support the work each does in the community is a wonderful opportunity”, said Lauren Nowinski, Director, Community Relations of the LA Galaxy Foundation.

The daylong celebration begins at 11am and runs through 11 p.m. with family friendly daytime activities and an adult contemporary music lineup for the evening. Families will also be able to enjoy interactive activities, including a songwriting booth, guitar lessons, jam sessions and arts and crafts.

Ozomatli

Ozomatli

Receiving a tremendous out pour of philanthropic support, additional Festival musical acts will continue to be announced. You can visit wearela.org for more information and to purchase tickets…..

But, how would you like to WIN a pair of tickets?! I have a pair to give away, thanks to We Are LA! Please use the form below to enter by August 22nd. The festival will be on September 17th in Carson, California, so please make sure the location and day works for you! Open to USA residents over 18. Good luck! 😉 xo

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Troop Beverly Hills Gets The Rockwell Treatment in Los Feliz!

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The 1980’s were filled with some of the best cult films conceived. From The Never Ending Story to The Goonies, and E.T. or Ferris Bueller, I think we all have our 80’s favorites. One for me has always been 1989’s Troop Beverly Hills.

Troop Beverly Hills wasn’t a huge success at the time, but, fast forward some years and there are now many fans like myself out there who first fell in-love with the movie on Los Angeles’ KTLA Channel 5, or rented it from The Warehouse (Be kind, rewind!).

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It is currently receiving the ultimate royal, cult status treatment as the un-authorized musical parody is being performed at Los Feliz’s Rockwell Table and Stage, through September 10th. I was so excited to see one of my favorite films done “Rockwell” style, along with my friend, Melanie. At Rockwell, you cannot get much more hipster meets flamboyant than their stage performances of some of our favorite films, told with countless tongue in cheek snarks and musical numbers that has the diners howling for more.

With the script nearly identical to the film, the talent team has managed to weave in several lines and remarks that we all know we are thinking as we watch Troop Beverly Hills. Right down to Hannah and Chica’s bi-curious feelings!

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One of the highlights to seeing a parody at Rockwell is the cross-dressing roles of beloved characters. We were in for a real treat seeing Christopher Youngsman as micro managing, power-hungry, Wilderness Girls leader, Velda (sharing the role with Rockwell favorite, Drew Droege, respectively). Youngsman had Betty Thomas’ Velda down pat, as did Kat Tokarz in the role of Annie, Velda’s reluctant side kick.

With an 80’s soundtrack of such faves like Material Girl and I Will Always Love You, Marla Mindelle as Phyllis (Shelley Long’s infamous role in the film), has the ideal powerhouse chops needed to sing such songs. She also has an un-canny resemblance to Long’s Phyllis, which made it even more fun to experience!

The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Troop Beverly Hills is currently playing in repertory at Rockwell Table and Stage. Reservations are recommended and do remember: This is an interactive show! 😉 Learn more here. xo

6 Tips for Getting Healthier and 88 Alkaline Water Giveaway Ends 8-11!

Lets face it….not all of are made of steel and feel thrilled at the thought of hitting the gym, eating healthy and doing squats. But, you know what? Ever since my friend, Cary, posted a quote on her Facebook (that I am regretting not saving….so I can actually remember it verbatim) that basically said either way you go, being inactive and facing the consequences of that, or getting up and moving, either path is hard. You just need to choose yours, I have felt extremely inspired to make more of an effort to work out and stay more active.

While some days (even weeks) I don’t get in my elliptical or crunch time, I know it’s a never-ending process. We just need to decide what works for us. What are some of your incentives to leading a healthier life? I got to thinking about it myself ad definitely think these tips keep me motivated:

    1. HAVE A SUPPORT TEAM

      You gotta love the power of the “Blogsphere” and the friendships formed. I have been following Natalie-Patalie for a while now and she recently started The Powerpuff Bloggers group (Check out our fancy button below!). We’re a group of like-minded female bloggers that enjoy keeping one another motivated (And maybe talking how beneficial Pokemon Go is to meet our FitBit step goals!)

Powerpuff Bloggers

2.  ALLOW YOURSELF A TREAT

The hardest thing for me? Is when I start denying myself certain foods. Yes, it’s a good idea to watch your intake of sweets, carbs and sugars, you will drive yourself crazy if you get too strict. I’ve found what works for me is to go ahead and enjoy a margarita if we go out, or, say, ice cream, yet, watch what you eat the rest of the day and the next day. I’m a big believer in tomorrow is a new day, and, it also makes me more inclined to hit the gym if I have that treat.

3.  STAY HYDRATED!

Theres a lot of talk about WATER lately. Where it is sourced from, if its acidic, alkaline….it can be overwhelming. I actually am a strong supporter in buying Alkaline Water, with a pH level of 8.0 or higher. What the heck does alkaline water even mean? Well, an acidic body cannot support your immune system and rid its self of toxins. Many waters have a pH level of 5.0 or lower. Since I enjoy acidic things like coffee and wine, I make an effort to get 88 Alkaline Water any chance I get.

water

Want to try 88 Alkaline Water for yourself? They have generously offered a $25 voucher to use on their web-site to one of my readers. Check out the form below to enter! 😉

4. EVEN IF YOU SIT ALL DAY, YOU CAN MAKE IT WORK….

If exercising more is your jam, yet, you’re stuck sitting most of the day, there are still hacks. Simple things include parking as far as you can from the store, walking a mile to the coffee shop, play Pokemon Go (I’m serious!) or make a workout happen in your house. No excuses! 🙂

workout

5.  DON’T BE AFRAID OF SETTING SMALL GOALS

Do you ever get burned out or discouraged when you don’t feel like you’re making fast progress on a goal?  Try not focusing on the big picture and maybe try working on a little bit at a time.

6. AVOID SODAS (SORRY….)

This gets back to keeping your body in an alkaline state. We all know soda is nasty for you, and diet soda containing aspartame is as bad as smoking tobacco, in my opinion. I have met so many people who have lost weight by doing one simple thing: No soda. Regular, diet, nada. While I am no angel and definitely enjoy a Coke every now and then, I purposely don’t buy more than one at a time. I don’t want access to many in my home! Read more about the benefits of not drinking sodas HERE.

What are your health goals? What ideas did I miss that you would include? Let me know and remember to enter my giveaway! Open through August 11th, and make sure to read my Sweepstakes tab above! Good luck 🙂 xo

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