Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Haunted Heats!

In my opinion, the Ocean is haunted enough as it is but this weekend it'll be extra scary!  ZJ Boarding House is at it again - the Haunted Heats will take place at Tower 27 in Santa Monica on Saturday, October 30th at 9am.   It's too late to sign up to compete but spooky spectators are always welcome.  There will be amazing prizes from Billabong, Element, Surftech, Prolite and more!  Every contestant gets a special prize bag and gets to try out surfboards from Surftech all morning!  We're planning on taking the kids there to cheer on all the ghosts and ghouls - see you there!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Playing Hooky

My daughter and I played hooky from school and had craft day.  She painted her pumpkin - bloody and scary (of course!) and I did needlefelting for the first time (a small pumpkin)!  Fun!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oh, The Horror! Rocky Horror Picture Show That Is!

When I was a youngster, going to the midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show was out of the question (according to my parents).  But there were ways around that...... "In the velvet darkness of the blackest night, burning bright there's a guiding star"....and that star was the glowing headlights on our friends car as we snuck out of the house to make our way to the "late night, double feature, picture show"!  What a rush!  People dressed up, dancing in the isles, screaming at the screen and singing - my young mind was "spaced out on sensation, like you're under sedation" - I was hooked and have been a BIG fan ever since.  This Thursday is Big Daddy and I's Anniversary - it also happens to be The Rocky Horror Picture Show's 35th Anniversary Tribute Show!  We will be celebrating with Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Evan Rachel Wood, Lea Michele and others because they are all starring in the one-night-only, star-studded Tribute and Costume Ball taking place at the Wiltern.   You see, the legendary Lou Adler, who is one of the original producers of the film is presenting a live performance of the original film to benefit the Painted Turtle!  Since opening in 2004, The Painted Turtle (one of Paul Newman's Hole in the Wall Camps) has provided children throughout California who suffer from chronic and life-threatening illnesses the opportunity to rediscover the ordinary joys of being a child through a year-round camp and hospital outreach programs.  No child or family pays to attend the camp - that's a beautiful thing!  Tickets are still available here!  "Give yourself over to absolute pleasure, swim the warm waters of sins of the flesh, erotic nightmares beyond any measure and sensual daydreams to treasure forever.  Can't you just see it?  Don't dream it - be it!"  Let's do the time warp again!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Nightmare Before Christmas At El Capitan

The 3D with 4D sensory effects showing of Tim Burtons Nightmare Before Christmas at the legendary El Capitan Theatre was worth EVERY penny.  The kids were thrilled.  There weren't a lot of sensory effects but the ones they chose were brilliant!  Loved EVERY minute!  It's only showing through October 31st so be sure to get your tickets now!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Artisanal LA: A MUST See!!

Well, we made it to the Cooper Building Downtown today and all I have to say is Artisanal LA is special and spectacular and an event that is not to be missed.  There is one day left to see over 75 vendors, each with their own highly designed pop-up store.  Incredible.  The space is lovely, clean, bright and roomy - simply put, perfect.  There was a DJ spinning tunes in one corner, a Wollypocket workshop happening in another, Backwards Beekeepers had a panel in a 3rd corner, and there were magnificent grilled cheese for sale from Market in a 4th.  While the kids kept themselves busy making crafts and hand sewn egg cozies I was able to stroll the grounds getting an eye full, belly full and ear full from some of the most interesting people I've met since moving to LA.  These people are truly passionate about what they do and love to educate you about their talent.  I had a wonderful time talking to Lindy & Grundy who are getting ready to open their butcher shop of locally produced, sustainable meat on Fairfax, Chef Zarate from Mo-chica talking about his wonderful Peruvian salsas, and Out of the Box Collective, who are delivering boxes straight to your doorstep overflowing with local produce and artisan-made products, just to name a few.  Sincerely, you must check this out.  If I can convince Big Daddy to watch the kids tomorrow I just may go again - meet you there?  Check out Sunday's Schedule:

 Sunday, October 24th ·


12p: Chef Joseph Gillard, Napa Valley Grille
Biodynamic Wine Pairings (Demo and Tasting)
1pGeri Miller, LA Master Gardener, mar’selTerranea Eco Resort
& Mixologist Blake Edwards, TheDrinkChefmar’selTerranea Eco Resort
Garden Cocktail Infusions (Demo and Tasting) 
2p: Melkon Khosrovian, Greenbar Collective
The Importance of Organic & Sustainable Spirits Practices (Speaker)
2p: Suzanne Griswold & Rachael Narins, Chicks with Knives‘ 
Perishable Pickle Shop: Pickling 101 (Demo and Tasting)
3p: Craft Beer Panel
Moderated by The Beer Chicks (Panel and Tasting)
4pLindy & Grundy, Heritage Meats and Home Butchering
(Demo, Tasting, Raffle)
5p: Josh Simon, Co-Founder & President, Function Drinks
Growing a Local Food Biz in LA (Speaker)
Hand Sewn Egg Cozies  (Workshop 12-2p & 2-5p)
All Day: Pumpkin Paper Crafts for Kids (Craft)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Jewtopia: Not My Utopia

I was a theatre major in college until my father refused to pay another red cent toward my education if that persisted - to which I promptly switched to a Film Major (so much more stable, right?).  Any-whoo, I LOVE the theatre.  My husband, not so much.  I've been biding my time, waiting for my lovely children to get older so I would have someone to accompany me but once in awhile, something comes along that I must see and Big Daddy gets dragged along.  Last night was one of those nights.  With reviews like this:

"Outrageously Funny"   Los Angeles Times
"Unstoppable" The New York Times
"Fogel deserves to take center stage" - Variety

I figured, how could we go wrong?  The New York Times declared that Jewtopia was one of the 3 most successful off-Broadway productions of the decade!  It was the longest running original comedy in the history of Los Angeles theatre for god's sake!  Knowing the play was written by two good Bat Mitzvahed  boychicks, I figured it would all be in good fun.  Now, given, I am not Jewish, but most of my friends are and back in the day I was even considered somewhat of an honorary member of the tribe so I expected to find a lot to enjoy here.  Oy vey iz mir, wong.  Dead wrong.  If you need your jokes spelled out for you and shoved in your face, raunchy and offensive, then Jewtopia will be spot on. If you're looking for any kind of intelligence, wit, charm or depth, run, Jewtopia does not deliver.  Usually, I can endure a play that is less than desirable because I love the theatre so much, however, even with all those college theatre classes under my belt, I couldn't act like I enjoyed this one.  Jewtopia sent us walking at the intermission.  In my opinion, you'd have to be meshuge to love Jewtopia.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Artisanal LA: Have You Gone Local?

Think Local - Buy Local - Be Local

We are extremely lucky to be part of such a diverse entrepreneurial city!  Los Angeles is teeming with countless, unique, local purveyors.  It's so important to take advantage of this remarkable resource. When you purchase local products you're helping out in more ways than you can imagine:  you're strengthening the economic base of the community, preserving the character of our community by fostering one-of-a-kind businesses, reducing environmental impact, helping to provide more jobs to residents and most importantly you are encouraging local prosperity.  It just plain feels good to buy local.   Many Angelenos don't know the myriad of genius local products that are available to them - this is where Shawna Dawson comes in!  She is the creator of the first annual Artisanal LA , a 2 day extravaganza taking place this weekend October 23 & 24, 11am-6pm, dedicated to shopping, tasting and learning all there is to celebrate local, handmade goods.  There will be workshops with independents like Wollypocket,  Demo's on Pickling 101 with our famous local ladies Chicks with Knives, Panels on Local Beekeeping with Backwards Beekeepers, a book signing with Primal Cuts: Cooking With America's Best Butchers author Marissa Guggiana, just to name a few.  The list goes on and on - there will be over 75 vendors showcasing their local products.  Artisanal LA takes place Downtown at The Cooper Design Space Penthouse.  Tickets are $10 (if purchased ahead of time through Eventbrite) and $15 at the door - cost of admission pays for both days! Children 12 and under are free (yes, it's a family friendly event - lots of crafts for the kids to do throughout the day!).   Remember:  Think Local - Buy Local - Be Local!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Time For The Nightmare Before Christmas!

When Halloween rolls around my 5 year old daughter likes to do it up spooky style.  She's not your typical run-of-the-mill princess or cheerleader, she likes to go for the scare factor - so, it stands to reason that her favorite movie of all time is Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas.  When visiting Disneyland for her first (and only) time, she left with 3 dolls:  Jack Skellington, the King of Halloweentown, his dog Zero, who has a glowing pumpkin for a nose and Sally, a ragdoll brought to life by a mad scientist in Halloweentown.  She slept with them every night for months and talked about Jack incessantly (I believe, Jack was her first crush!).  Every year, when Halloween rolls around our daughter gets a big treat - a viewing of The Nightmare Before Christmas at the legendary El Capitan Theatre.  Last year was amazing because the movie was in 3-D but this year it will be double, triple, quadruple with a cherry on top amazing because it's in 3-D WITH 4-D SENSORY EFFECTS!!  She's going to go WILD!  Not only will Jack practically be sitting in her lap, but she'll be able to feel the wind in her face, snow falling from the sky and see fog rolling into the theatre!  Now THAT is an experience worth paying the VIP fee of 25 bucks at El Capitan Theatre!!

For a very limited engagement (Oct. 21-31) Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas will be returning to Disney’s El Capitan Theater with a new twist…4D What’s 4D?  I thought the...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

From The Vine

Strolling around with the masses, fighting the crowds on Abbot Kinney not your cup of tea?  How about spending the day nestled deep in the Santa Monica Mountains, relaxing under shade trees amongst rolling hills and ponds, gazing upon acres and acres of vineyards just past the llamas and zebras?  Is this more your speed?  Then skip Taste of Abbot Kinney this year and instead head to The Food Event: From the Vine.  Yes, sadly, you must choose because these two events fall on the same day this year.  Los Angeles Magazine's 5th annual culinary extravaganza, The Food Event:  From the Vine, takes place Sunday, October 24, 1-4pm at Saddlerock Ranch, Vineyard home to Malibu Family Wines. For one price, you can enjoy unlimited chef tastings from several Los Angeles top restaurants and wine tastings from over 30 local vineyards.  There will be lessons from a Master sommelier in wine pairings, celebrity chefs perform cooking demonstrations and a Conversation Lounge where you can listen to the panels like the Top Chef Masters.  This is a delicious way to spend a lazy Sunday and hey, don't you deserve an escape from the city?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Want A Taste?


So, you missed the Abbot Kinney Festival, did you?  So did I.  Don't despair my foodie friends - put it behind you because there is a new festival stepping up to the plate and it's earned itself the title "A walking tour-de-force de food"- from LA Weekly.  It's the 2nd Annual Taste of Abbot Kinney and it's planned for Sunday, October 24th, 3-7pm.  You won't want to miss this one!  Pounding the pavement on this unique walking adventure is an incredible way to get a taste of Venice's eclectic bohemian/chic culture.  Here's the deal:  You purchase tickets in $30, $50, $75 or $100 packages then start your adventure strolling along Abbot Kinney.  Exchange your tickets along the way, in different quantities for delicious food and beverage samples, live music performances, art installations, photographs, mystical readings or other experiences from the countless stores and gourmet food trucks.  Keep this in mind: while you're noshing on samples from the Tasking Kitchen or getting your nail polish changed at Nite spa, your ticket purchases are benefiting the nationally recognized, award winning Inside Out Community Arts!  That's right!  Just by attending this special event you'll be helping this Venice based non -profit to change the lives of of Los Angeles' disadvantaged and under-served youth through arts and media education.  See?  Even when you're out having fun, you can't help but make a positive impact!  Good for you!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sugar Skull Decorating!

While visiting the beautiful Great Lakes State of Michigan we were lucky enough to be able to attend a Sugar Skull Workshop hosted by the DIA (Detroit Institute of Arts).   There is nothing better than being around friends and family during the holidays!  This was the perfect opportunity for the kids to hang with their Papa and talk about our relatives that have passed while decorating beautiful sugar skulls to honor their memory.  The kids had a blast and so did we!  Have you decorated your skulls yet?  Send me your pictures!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

You Stylish Do-Gooder, You!

Eliminate the Horror of world hunger this Halloween with this adorable FEED bag ($13.20)!  In honor of  it's 60th anniversary of Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, UNICEF and FEED have united to create their first ever Trick-or-Treat bag.  Now your kids can collect their goods in style (there is even reflective webbing for their safety!) and you can feel good knowing that 100% of the proceeds went to providing a child in the developing world with an entire year's worth of micro nutrient powders.  In addition, HSN will donate an additional $3.50 to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF for each tote purchased through  

Thursday, October 14, 2010

She's Crafty....She's Just My Type

When I had children, I promised myself I would never turn in to your typical "soccer mom".  I swore I would stay hip, maybe even borderline cool.  This meant no weekend soccer games, no mini van, no frumpy clothes and certainly NO crafting.  Crafters have always scared me.  You see, it begins innocently year you decide to make handmade Christmas cards from Martha Stewart Magazine, next thing you'll find yourself knitting a scarf for your son, then, before you know it, you'll have a room specifically set up for scrapbooking and soon you'll be inviting friends over for a pot luck crocheting pow wow.  Whew - SO. NOT. COOL. But then it happened - I walked right into a trap.  What looked like a super cool indie retail store was really a crafters paradise in disguise!! 

BAM!  On a typical shopping excursion I found myself standing smack in the middle of The Urban Craft Center in Santa Monica and you know what?  I COULDN'T LEAVE!!  This place is sooooo cool - sooooo hip and sooooo fun. 

I spent 2 hours there that day, looking over tons of kits, fabrics, books, etc.  I found myself circling what classes I would take on their calendar - and believe me, there are too many to choose from: Soap making, Yudu, Chocolate, Hand Sewn Animals, etc, and I even planned a fundraiser for my school to take place there!  The best part, now that I'm instantly addicted, is I don't have to design my own scrapbooking room - I can become a member of The Urban Craft Center.  Membership allows you to use the studio space as a home base.  You can drop in at will, store your supplies in their lockers and have access to all the studio equipment (sewing machines, Yudo screen printing machines, Book press - the list goes on and on).  Membership is not a requirement, however.  You can drop in for classes, pay by the hour to use all the equipment or swing in for a free open studio night - they have one once a month (this month it's Friday, October 29th).   But hey folks, let's not get carried away, I'm still not slipping on those mom jeans anytime soon, I have some dignity left.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Be Heard!

Your Vote. Your Voice.
Be sure to take an active role in deciding California's future - make your voice heard!!  The last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot from your county elections office is October 26.  For a wealth of  easy to ingest information about how and where to vote and descriptions of candidates and propositions visit the online Easy Voter Guide.  I'm making my voice heard - are you?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dead Head

In the Halloween festivities I took part in as a child, death was something to be feared.  In Dia de los Muertos, death, or at least the memories of those who have died, is something to be celebrated - now THAT'S more like it!  One way of honoring the deceased is to make a sugar skull as a gift to place on an altar for the departed.  If you haven't started your sugar skulls you better get on it - there's no time to waste, Dia de los Muertos is coming up fast!  My daughter is obsessed with my late grandma Sylvia.  Sylvia passed away 20 years ago, therefore, she never got the chance to meet her and feels gypped as a result.  She thinks Sylvia is a soul mate of hers - it's adorable but disheartening when she cries because she can't see her - so, this year, I'm going to try something new.... we are going to make a sugar skull for Sylvia!  While we decorate our skulls, we'll reflect on all the happy memories I had with my grandma, I'll pull out pictures to show her and when we are finished we'll place our lovely confection on a small altar as an honorary gift to all our lost loved ones.  Sugar Skulls are loads of  fun for kids because they aren't morbid, they are fantastical and comical, colorful and cheerful.  You can order all the sugar skull supplies you will need from our local expert Angela at  The picture above was borrowed from her site - she has a mountain of information about sugar skull making, Mexico, Dia de los Muertos, etc.  Check her out, then start getting wickedly crafty!

Monday, October 11, 2010

"Painting Is The Grandchild Of Nature" - Rembrandt

PAINT:LAB at nightNeed a creative idea for a date?  Stuck in a rut and want be get inspired?  Looking for a unique girls night out?  Thinking of hosting a party for a fundraiser and need a venue that is exciting and new?  Or perhaps you're searching for a fun and educational way for your children to spend their afternoon..... I have just the place for you!!!  Paint: Lab.  Genius.  This is the perfect place to get those creative juices flowing and have a blast while doing it!  The choices of classes are endless:  Weekend Kids Art Workshops, Intro To Drawing, Oil Painting, Landscape Painting, Wearable Art.... the list goes on and on.  My kids favorite is the Weekend Workshop - they learn how to mix colors, create compositions and tap into their endless spring of creative energy.  They had a blast Sunday creating Halloween themed art.  I always love to see what they will dream up!  My all time favorite is Paint, Wine and Cheese on Friday nights.  You can pick your canvas, sit on their lovely patio, gab with your friends, create, drink and laugh - what a fantastic evening!  The next time you are in Santa Monica on a Friday night, meet me there - we'll paint the town red!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

In A Dark, Dark Pavillion.....

The children clung together, flashlights gripped in their chubby hands as they made their way into the dark the doors creaked and closed behind them, they found themselves enveloped in blackness.  Each child turned on their flashlight, only to discover that they were surrounded by hundreds (yes, hundreds!!) of SPIDERS.  With no barriers between them and the arachnids, their screams could be heard from hundreds of yards away!  But wait, these were screeches of joy!  Why?  Because spiders are actually harmless and gentle creatures!  With Halloween just around the corner, it's a perfect time to take your family and friends to this creepy, crawly exhibit.  The Natural History Museum is in it's 6th year presenting the Spider Pavilion to the public.  The exhibit is open through November 7th just outside the main Museum building on their south lawn.  Tickets are sold in half-hour intervals throughout the day but for a really special experience you should consider going on their flashlight tour!  There is only 1 night left:  Friday, October 29, 5-9pm.  The Pavilion Patio will be transformed into an outdoor theatre and they'll be showing a fun and spooky movie for the little ones.  Don't miss out - this is truly a fun, unique event to get into the Halloween spirit!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pure Bliss

Riiiiiip...... Riiiiiip...... OUCH!  Getting waxed in the past has been far from pleasant, however my girlfriend and I have found a way to turn all that around. The best way to attack this loathsome spa treatment is to succumb to it, make the best of and make a day of it.  So, after a morning of working out, we head to W Hotel in Westwood and make our way up the elevator to Bliss Spa.  First, let me say, I LOVE hotels.  They make me feel like I'm on vacation and I always feel pampered in them.  After check in, we get our robes and flip flops and make our way to the ladies locker room.  From there, it's Pure Bliss.  Rain/Steam shower, a counter over flowing with Bliss products and a lounge at our disposal.  The Lounge is stocked with goodies like blonde and chocolate brownies (great to layer!), cheese, crackers, fruit, cucumber/lemon water, tea etc.  We sit back, enjoy the refreshments, read a magazine, gossip and wait to be summoned for our treatments.
The treatment rooms are by far the cleanest I have ever seen!  Sanitation is key - there is no double dipping of sticks or re-using of wax (you would assume this is a given, however, you would be surprised how many high end spas don't adhere to these guidelines). Bliss uses their own product called Wax Poetic.  It's a blue hard wax (though not actually hard) that can be removed with or without linen strips. I'm not sure if it's the wax or the experienced technicians, but the pain level is kept at bay providing the least grueling wax experience I've ever had.  Once our treatment is complete, we dress and retreat to The Backyard:
The Backyard is a restaurant and poolside lounge at the Hotel where we complete our spa experience.  Sitting by the lush gardens, listening to the waterfalls, noshing on mediterranean fare, we let the rest of the day slip by..... ahhhhhhh.... Pure Bliss!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Find Your Center At The Edge

When I was a freshman in High School, my older brother left a book by Charles Bukowski laying around. When I picked it up, I was enthralled.  If was filled with debauchery, sex, booze and screwing - a cornucopia of free verse to quench my teen angst.  This was someone who was truly living on the edge, a destination that every teenager I knew was shooting for.  I fell in love with that dirty old man.  It's been a long time since I read anything by Bukowski, but now I find myself  awarded with the opportunity of reigniting my love affair with the legend.  The Huntington Library is having an exhibition on the life and works of Bukowski (October 9th - February 14th), drawn from the archive of his papers donated to The Huntington by his widow.  This will include first additions of his works, original drawings by the man himself, correspondence and fan mail, etc.  Bukowski, to this day, remains a favorite amongst younger readers because he understood, just like my teenage self understood "the place to find the center is at the edge."
For old time's sake.......Meet you there?  

Monday, October 4, 2010

Underwood Family Farms

It's that time of year again, the Halloween festivities have begun!  Since we moved to California, we've had a standing tradition of going to Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark for their Fall Harvest Festival.  Each weekend brings about a different theme:  Antique tractor, Western Heritage, etc. (the schedule will give you all the information).  There are face painters, music, food vendors, tractor rides, corn maze, hay pyramids for climbing, pig races, an animal center... the list goes on and on.  Also, you can feel good about all the money you spend on  pumpkins, rides, fresh produce and pies because Underwood donates a portion of it's proceeds to non-profit organizations like Boy Scouts of America, California All Stars, Various 4-H, Mom's and School Groups, etc.  

Friday, October 1, 2010

On A Mission

Would you believe me if I said you were looking at a hotel in California??!!  I couldn't believe my eyes - it felt as if I had been transported to Europe!  My husband travels a bit for work and when he does, the family likes to tag along. Whenever he has a show at San Manuel Amphitheater, we park our behinds at The Mission Inn Hotel & Spaaaaah in Riverside.  While the boys are busy getting grimy at shows like Mayhem, Stella and I are sunning ourselves by the pool, lounging in the spa, exploring the gardens, and dining in one of the many restaurants on site.  This place is LOVELY!  I haven't visited during the Holidays but I'm anxious to take the kids to their festival of lights - it's November 26th to January 2.  Not only will there be more than 3.5 million lights, there will also be horse-drawn carriage rides through downtown Riverside, live entertainment, and a special appearance from Santa Clause himself!  I'm on a mission this holiday season to get the kids to The Mission - how 'bout you?