Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Olde Fashioned Christmas in Los Olivos!

Los Olivos is one of those special places that feels like it's your own little secret.  It's nestled in the hills of the San Ynez Valley among Santa Barbara's 50 wineries and horse ranches.  There are only 1,000 residents in beautiful Los Olivos, many of whom are artists.  The downtown and residential buildings date back over 100 years and give this small Victorian town it's quaint charm.  You'll love spending the day here wine tasting with friends, shopping in the various galleries and antique shops then dining in one of the epicurean restaurants.  There are very few opportunities to spend the day like this, be sure to take time out from your busy life and visit if you get the chance - you are sure to enjoy it!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Style!

Over 150 of the finest Indie-craft talents will be setting up shop at the 1st ever Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Sale in Los Angeles!  This event takes place on December 11 and 12th from 10am-5pm at Los Angeles State Historic park.  You are sure to find something at this DIY spectacular and it's FREE to attend.   There will be workshops for the kiddies by Super Duper Arts Camp, workshops for you by Silver Lake's ReForm School and Santa Monica's Urban Craft Center, DJ's from KXLU spinning your favorite tunes, yummy food and beverages for purchase as well as delicious Wintertime libations!  I'm a HUGE fan of Renegade Handmade - you will be too after this event!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Elf On The Shelf Showed Up!

Well, well, well, look who finally showed up!  Elf On The Shelf!  My kids wait all year for their Elf to visit and he's arrived!  If you are not familiar with this adorable tradition, let me give you some background.  Each year around Thanksgiving, Santa sends out a Scout Elf to be his eyes and ears.  Each night, while the kids are sleeping, our little Scout Elf will fly back to the North Pole and report to St. Nick all that he has seen, when he returns he chooses a new spot to sit and watch.  The kids wake up each morning and have the greatest time running around trying to find their Elf.  They talk tirelessly to him about what they would like from Santa and really try hard to behave so they will get a good report (are you seeing why this is a win-win situation?!).  On Christmas Eve, the Elf will make his final flight of the year back to Santa, not to be seen again until next Thanksgiving.  You can order your own Elf On The Shelf here or find him in your local bookstore!  Happy Holidays!

Westside Ballet's The Nutcracker

The magical tree
Waltz of the Flowers
 This is finally the year to  take my daughter to The Nutcracker.  I feel she is old enough to not only sit still through it, but enjoy it as well.  We have tickets to the Westside Ballet's production at the Wadsworth Theatre in Brentwood.  Not only is this the longest running Nutcracker production in Los Angeles history, it's the closest to George Balanchine's original version in quality, integrity and musicality.  You see, although I love trying out new things, I also adore tradition.   There are only 8 productions, beginning December 4th - you can order your tickets online from Ticketmaster.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Being away from home during the holidays is difficult to say the least.  Luckily, we are fortunate enough to have beautiful friends that made Thanksgiving magical this year.  The Cherry's live in Paso Robles and own Villa Creek Restaurant and Winery.  There are lovely, lovely people with the most fantastic children, friends, family and home.  This year they invited us to Paso to share the Holiday with them and it was WONDERFUL!  We pulled into their house among the vines and walnut trees hot off the heels of their last guest Kevin West.  Kevin is the former Editor of  Europe's W magazine and author of the amazing blog  Saving The Season. He and JoAnn (mama Cherry) made fresh quince paste, quince jam, grape  jam and other goodies (all from her personal garden) just days before we arrived.  In addition,  Kevin left behind some of his Scotch Marmalade (delicious!!!!) from his West Sweet Preserves line (you can purchase a jar exclusively via his site - believe me, you won't be disappointed!).
The morning began with a tour of the grounds - greeting all the animals and taking a ride on the ATV's - Daddy and son had a BLAST!  They saw wild turkeys and deer among the vines, not to mention a HUGE snake on the trail that was unfortunate enough to get run over (thankfully he was fine!).
Next, we settled in for the Lions game!  When halftime arrived and the bloody Marys were finished, it was time to take the kids to the winery and put them to work!  After all, the wine doesn't make itself!  During this fermentation phase, Chris (papa Cherry) must press the grapes to extract the luscious juice and wine 3 times a day!  The kids were more than happy to help out!

 Friends and Family arrived from Santa Monica, Half Moon Bay, and Thousand Oaks ready to get their hands dirty preparing the Thanksgiving meal.  The ladies got glitter painted on their eyes, JoAnn picked pomegranates from their trees, brought out some of her fresh quince paste, fantastic cheeses, just-pressed Olive Oil from Pasolivo, fresh bread and amazing wines and the festivities began!

First up was the cracking of the fresh crabs brought down by Laura and Eric from Half Moon Bay - they were a fantastic beginning to what was going to be one of the best meals I've ever had.

The Turkeys came courtesy of a local farm, fresh and alive (but not for long!).  They were phenomenal - Chris prepared one on the rotisserie slathered in an herb butter and Joanne prepared another in the oven basted with her homemade grape and quince syrup!  They were sooooo juicy and delicious - not like the frozen butterballs of Thanksgiving past!  
Pumpkins were roasted for pumpkin pie, a scrumptious pecan pie was made by Joanne and Chris's daughter, their son prepared the most amazing creamed corn bread pudding, Joanne's mother brought her famous cranberry orange relish, salads, I could go on and on...... the outcome?  One of the most delightful dinners of my life!

As I said, this Thanksgiving was magical.  We made new friends, saw old friends, and made memories that will last a lifetime.  Thank you to the Cherry's - they are a truly wonderful family with such warmth and charm - they made us feel like we were home for the holidays!  "Cheers!"

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pop Up-Pickle-Shop

If you're not careful, life could pass you buy without ever trying BACON JAM...... DON'T LET THIS BE YOU!  Some of my favorite ladies, Chicks with Knives, are at it again with  PERISHABLE: A Pop-Up Pickle Shop on Dec 2nd from 7:30 to 9pm at 8500 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90069.  This is your chance to experience their famous BACON JAM along with 12 varieties of their organic pickles.  There will be samples, drinks and door prizes too - sounds like a PARTY to me!  Whew, now you can cross that one off your bucket list!

Tiny Bandit at Molla Space

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tinsel Time!

It's Tinsel Time folks!  The Holidays are all about getting your sparkle on and my daughter is no stranger to showing off her holiday locks.  Grace Nicole at Auburn Salon on 10th Street in Santa Monica is the one to make the bling happen - she keeps everyone in town shining by putting tinsel in our hair.  Give her a call and book your appointment now - you don't want to be the last one on the block to get it done - do you?

Mummies Of The World

"Mommy, when I die, I want everyone to see me too."  These are the words coming from my daughter as she is staring at a deceased female's body, well preserved, encased in glass.  Every bit the attention seeker, even after death apparently, she wants to insure that she too will be on display for everyone to enjoy.  I'm sure you're wondering "Where in the world ARE they?"  We were at The California Science Center for the Mummies Of The World Exhibit!  Honestly, bringing my children here was a bit of a selfish act - I REALLY wanted to see the mummies.  They are extraordinary!  It's the largest exhibition of mummies ever assembled and contains both naturally and intentionally preserved mummies.  This exhibit is in it's final days - it closes on November 28th.  Be sure to make your reservations in advance to insure your spot - DON'T MISS IT - you won't be sorry.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bakelab - Holiday Baking Time!

Homemade marshmallows, cookies, gingerbread men, cakes, pies...... ahhhhhh, the Holidays are here and it's time to dive into some delicious baked goods!  When I was at Artisanal LA this year at their fall inaugural show, I stepped into the wonderland that is Bakelab.  Bakelab is an online and wholesale bakeshop that that makes EVERYTHING in-house - they also offer classes and private parties.  Currently they are offering 2 amazing classes:  Holiday Classics on December 4th, and Cupcake Decorating on December 11th.  What is special about Bakelab classes is that they have their own teaching philosophy.  They believe that focusing on the science (and it IS a science) of baking, the whys and hows, ingredient function and good technique you will gain an understanding of how a technique or ingredient works and from there you will be able to translate your knowledge to any recipe with confidence.  I LOVE this!  Giving the gift of something homemade during the holiday season is special.  Taking the time to prepare a delicious confection shows you care!  You're so sweet!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Winterlit Santa Monica


Here's the thing, it's always difficult to get in the holiday mood in Santa Monica.  Since we moved here my kids have asked me the same question around this time each year "WHEN is it going to snow here???"  Well, we may have to keep waiting for that one, but there is no shortage of things to do to put us in the holiday mood.  This year it's 6th anniversary of Winterlit, a Holiday Celebration in Santa Monica.  The Kickoff is Black Friday - be on the lookout for Santa's Little Savers!  Santa and one of his elves roaming around the promenade just may cover the cost of your purchase - up to $100!!  Each night during Hanukkah (December 1-8), celebrate the lighting of the Menorah on the 1200 block, Third Street Promenade.  On Sunday, December 5th, the day will be filled with family activities and the evening will culminate with the lighting of the Menorah and Christmas Tree along with a performance by recording artist Jared Lee.   Lastly, don't forget to have your picture taken with Santa.  There are photo opportunities December 11-12, 18-19 Noon-4pm!  Happy Holidays!!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ahoy! The Story Pirates have landed in Los Angeles!!

We had THE MOST AMAZING day today with the kids at Story Pirates!!   Here's who they are:  a group of fantastic adult actors, that take stories written by elementary kids and turn them into delightful works of art to be performed on stage!!  Our son's friend wrote a story and it was accepted and we were invited by his lovely parents to see the play today - I think the adults had more fun than the kids - it was nothing short of fabulous!  Laughter all around!  They must of acted out 20 stories and there wasn't one moment of boredom.  Story Pirates was founded in 2003 to celebrate the words and ideas of young people while promoting literacy - I can't think of a better confidence builder than to be a child and see YOUR story acted out onstage and see and hear people enjoying it!  Brilliant!  The award winning show has been described as "Monty Python meets Schoolhouse Rock."  It's a must see!  You can get involved as well!  You can see a show, submit a story, donate items, adopt-a-school program, bring them to your school, volunteer..... the list goes on and on!  They are a NYC based company and their website reflects that - but keep checking it for more info about their events in Los Angeles!  For now, you can see them at the Geffen - show times are here.  Enjoy!

Harvest Day in the Kinder Garden!!

Friday was harvest day in the Kinder Garden!!  The kids then made beautiful salads with their lettuces for the Thanksgiving Feast which took place in the Kinder yard!  We are so lucky to be part of such a wonderful, caring community of people!  Now THAT'S something to be thankful for!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Making A Difference Is Easy As Pie!

Come on, be an Angel this year  - buy your Thanksgiving pie from Project Angel Food!  Every purchase will fund a free nutritious meal to five of their most vulnerable neighbors struggling with HIV/AIDS, cancer or other life-threatening illnesses.  Apple, chocolate and pumpkin  - the choice is yours!  Each comes in a travel safe box with enclosed tent cards noting that you're helping someone in need.  Order today HERE or call 323-845-1800 ext 255.  It's as easy as pie!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Patchwork Indie Arts & Crafts Festival

Oooooohhhh.... another craft fair is in our mist!!  That one little word makes it cool, EVEN for you - "Indie"!  So off you go to Long Beach where you will put your hard earned money to use purchasing independent, non-conformist and high-quality goods at the Patchwork Indie Arts and Crafts Festival - you're such a rebel!  Among the crafters, delicious food and music will be me!!  See you there!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hot Chocolate Nutcracker

It's the Nutcracker like you've never seen it!  Debbie Allen (famous choreographer, Tony Award Nominee and Emmy Award winner) has revamped the holiday classic and given it a new, multicultural look, fantastic modernized music, dance numbers and a fresh new context.  This show is sure to be amazing!  Set in 1950's Harlem, the story takes us on a journey around the world in a dream.  You'll go from Harlem to Egypt to West Africa; from "The Rain Forest" to "The Land of Funk" and "Jazz Land".  Debbie Allen, along with her co-chairs (Quincy Jones, Will & Jada Pinkett Smith and Denzel & Pauletta Washington) are throwing a Gala  performance December 9th.  There will be an additional public performance December 11th at 2pm and 7pm at UCLA Royce Hall.  All ticket information can be found here.  Feel good knowing that 100% of the proceeds will go to benefit the children of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, a nonprofit organization committed to expanding the reach of dance and theatre arts to enrich, inspire and transform the lives of thousands of people in the Greater Los Angeles Area, across America and around the world.  Shake ya tailfeather and get your tickets now - time is running out!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dream Big!

Dream big and don't ever give up - now those are rules to live by!  Dallas Clayton, a California native and author of An Awesome Book does just that.  Originally a book written for his son, it immediately found a much larger audience.  You see, Dallas put the book online and it kept selling out!  It sold out ALL OVER THE WORLD - so, he took the book on tour, reading to children all over the United States.   Inspired by the kids he met, this LA author decided to go one step further and set up The Awesome World Foundation.  For every book he sells, he gives one away delivering them to schools, hospitals, libraries, camps and shelters, domestically and worldwide.  All this is done to promote children's literacy and encourage them to dream big and dream often.  What a grand idea!  Dallas Clayton is so thankful for the opportunity to do this with his life that he wrote a second book titled An Awesome Book Of Thanks - it's about being thankful for everything you have.  You can buy these awesome books here.  They make great gifts and you can feel good about giving back as well!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Small Gift Los Angeles: Celebrating 50 yrs of Sanrio!

Oh boy, this is too cute for words.  It's positively delightful and we must be part of it!!  We have the chance to immerse ourselves in the playful world of Sanrio for the Small Gift Los Angeles event at Barker Hanger in Santa Monica today, November 12-21st.  To celebrate 50 years of Sanrio's fantastical characters such as Hello Kitty, Little Twin Stars, My Melody, Chococat and more, the Hanger, inspired by Sanrio's "small gift, big smile" philosophy will transform itself into a wonderful whimsical wonderland.  There will be a Midway Carnival with interactive games and rides, a ferris wheel, two 9-hole miniature golf courses, dress up photo booths, Japanese activity corner; There will also be an extensive Art Exhibition curated by Jamie Rivadeneira, owner of JapanLA that will showcase 50 top artists original works along with eleven unique installation rooms that transform Sanrio characters into original works.  Adding to the fun are scores of workshops to participate in such as: Sushi Bento Box making, Japanese sand art, cupcake decorating, jewelry and craft making with participating artists - tickets are available for purchase for these prior to the event here.  Fans will be able to view various models of the newly launched Hello Kitty Smart Cars and get a peek at Sephora's soon-to-launch "Hello Kitty Beauty" collection.  If all this isn't enough, take a stroll through the Pop Up Shop where you will have the opportunity to purchase specially created collectible pieces including iPhone cases, laptop cases, t-shirts, tin lunch boxes, tote bags, etc.  I'm sure you will have worked up an appetite after all the activities of the day - don't fear, there will be a mobile food court of food trucks on hand!!  What a great event!!!  Be sure to join the Cute Culture Community for this 10 day carnival-style event!!  It's open to the public Friday November 12th through Sunday November 21st and entry to the venue is free of charge - tickets for games and activities will be available for purchase.  Check out their schedule of events and I'll see you there!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Thankful Tree

This is our Thankful Tree.  It's a new tradition we've started in our family and I'm crazy about it!  Each year, on Veterans Day we will go for a hike and talk about all the things we are thankful for.  This year I took the kids to Malibu Lagoon State Beach where we hiked all over the preserve collecting sticks and leaves.  When we got home we put the sticks in a vase and traced the leaves onto construction paper.  Each day, until thanksgiving, the kids will write down something they are thankful for on a leaf and tie it to the tree.  On Thanksgiving day, we'll take down the leaves and read them to one another, giving us time to share all the things that are important to us.  Today's leaves say "Family", "Soldiers", and "The American Flag".  I think that is a great beginning. 

New Mural Installation by Art Of Chase


The Art of Chase is at it again! This time he has just completed a new mural installation in Long Beach's East Village - I can't wait to see it - I LOVE his work - so full of positive energy!  The man himself is an amazing individual as well - while he was painting his mural he arranged for various groups of school kids to visit him for an artist's talk and customization session.  He spoke with them about the importance of staying in school and following your passion then customized anything they brought: T-shirts, backpacks, notebooks, etc!!


If you are in the Long Beach area this Saturday evening, November 13th, be sure to check out his artist's reception at Gallery AD+D from 7-10pm - you'll be able to see his new mural as well which is painted on the side of the gallery!