Friday, December 31, 2010

Some last ideas for tonight, for those of you who live on the edge (aka didn't get your act together's ok).

1) Detroit Bar, just named one of the top greatest music venues in the 21st Century by Flavorwire, will celebrate New Year’s Eve with Nytehype Productions Static Fridays presenting two rooms of great DJs, drink specials, champagne specials, and a complimentary toast at midnight. Visit Detroit Bar online for more details and to check out the new website that launched December 1!

2) Tin Lizzie will ring in the New Year with a complimentary champagne toast at midnight and party favors given out all night. The saloon is also open regular hours on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for when the family becomes too overwhelming.

There you have it! 6 great ideas for NYE! Go forth and party! ;)

Happy New Year's from all of us at The OC Gazette!

on my iTunes: Feist's "I Feel it All"

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Way to Celebrate New Year's Eve, Idea 4

Back again with another fun idea for NYE! On New Years Eve, Memphis Café (Costa Mesa) and Memphis at the Santora (Santa Ana) will be serving the staple dinner menu with the addition of a special holiday menu sampling created just for the evening by Executive Chef Diego Velasco. Reservations will be accepted until 9pm in Costa Mesa and 9:30 in Santa Ana.

Following dinner, the NYE “Wig Out” Countdown Party kicks off at 10pm at both venues. At Memphis Cafe, wear your favorite weird wig and dance the night away with DJs Cocoe, Hyder, and other special guests spinning soul, hip hop, disco, house, and hip hop. There is NO cover (!!) and $3 champagne and $5 Jameson will be flowing all night long into the New Year. At Memphis at the Santora, resident DJ’s The Downtown Collective, will be spinning funk, soul, 80’s and rock. Complimentary champagne toast will be passed at midnight!

Join Memphis Café and Memphis at the Santora for a little hair of the dog on New Years Day for a bottomless mimosa and bloody brunch beginning at 10am.

Check back tomorrow for a last minute idea #5!


on my iTunes: Fleet Foxes' "Sun It Will Rise"

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Way to Celebrate New Year's Eve, Idea 3

Today's NYE idea is another good one: How does live jazz sound to you? Splendid, no? Steamer's Jazz Cafe in Fullerton hosts live jazz almost every night of the year, and New Year's Eve is one such night!

I've personally attended Steamer's NYE bash two different years in the past, and it's a blast- and there's free champagne at midnight! This year, the Chris Williams Sextet will be performing, and you can wine and dine the night away to the smooth tunes they play!

It's $10/person to attend, and you are expected to order two or more items throughout the night, which- with their delicious menu- is no hard feat (I recommend the pita & hummus plate, the BBQ Chicken mini pizza, a glass of the house white wine, the hot chocolate, and one of the numerous cheesecake options). See the full menu here.

You are strongly urged to call and make reservations if you plan to attend: (714) 871-8800


on my iTunes: Animal Collective's "My Girls"

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Way to Celebrate New Year's Eve, Idea 2

Back with another great idea for New Year's Eve: On December 31, The St. Regis Monarch Beach will host an unforgettable evening of inspired dining at Stonehill Tavern, and music, dancing, and signature cocktails in The Lobby Lounge. 

The New Year’s Eve Prix Fixe Menu at Stonehill Tavern includes six-courses and an optional sommelier wine pairing. Guests of the Forbes Four-Star Stonehill Tavern will enjoy a one-of-a-kind dining experience, offered by Michael Mina and Executive Chef Rory Sandoval; $235 per person, $335 with wine pairing (includes entry to The Lobby Lounge and two drink tickets); reservations available from 6 – 9 p.m.

Combining chic style with incredible music by a guest DJ, dancing, party favors, signature cocktails and a champagne toast, the New Year’s Eve Celebration at The Lobby Lounge will be a night to remember.  Guests and locals are invited to arrive early and stay late; $75 per person, including two drinks; 9 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.

After ringing in 2011, guests and locals are invited to enjoy a delectable New Year’s Day International Breakfast Buffet at Motif, complete with the St. Regis signature Bloody Mary Station; 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.; $35 per adult, $19 per child (ages 5-12), $10 per Bloody Mary.

Check back tomorrow for another NYE idea!


on my iTunes: "I'm Good I'm Gone" by Lykke Li

Monday, December 27, 2010

Way to Celebrate New Year's Eve, Idea 1

We're always eager to give you guys ideas for fun local things to do- whether it's a new restaurant to try out or an eco workshop to attend. New Year's Eve is no exception; we're here to help you find something fun to do, since- let's face it- most of us get caught up in the Christmas hubbub that NYE gets pushed to the back burner.

Over the next few days, we'll be throwing some ideas your way here on the blog (in no particular order [even though the ideas will be numbered]).

The first idea I'm going to send your way is the one that requires the most planning: New Year's in San Francisco. Sounds awesome, right?

W San Francisco’s WOW New Year’s Eve Party is arguably the most sophisticated and stylish New Year’s Eve soiree in all of San Francisco. For those of you who want to slip out of town for New Year’s Eve, W San Francisco (181 Third Street) is the place to be.

The exclusive fete features specialty cocktails from Bacardi and Grey Goose, and late-night dancing to beats from DJ Scotty Boy. Tickets start at just $65/person, and bottle service is available for an additional fee. For tickets, click here
Get ready for the bash with a five-course tasting menu at XYZ Restaurant prepared by Chef Paul Piscopo, which starts at $100 per person (get there at 6pm! 8:30pm seating bumps up to $150/person).

Best of all, plan on taking the lift home since hotel guests receive discounted admission to the bash.  Then, enjoy New Year’s Day with Bloody Mary Bottle Service at XYZ featuring an array of the finest condiments, Grey Goose vodka and Bloody Maria shooters.

on my pandora station: "Party Like it's 1999" by Prince

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wishing you a Merry Christmas

Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and the very happiest New Year!
Tune in next week for some fun ideas for how you can celebrate New Year's Eve!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Reign Poker Tournament Results

You might remember last week's post about the Reign Poker Tournament Fundraiser? Well, it happened and it was a success!

There was a whole slew of fighters in attendance, who signed autographs, including: Mark Munoz, Krzysztof Soszynski, Urijah Faber, Chad Mendes, Fabricio Werdum, Jason "Mayhem" Miller, Jay Silva, and Joe Henle. There was a group of professional dealers (many of which were fighters!): Joe Henle, Krzysztof Soszynski, Mark Munoz, King Mo Lawal, Brett Cooper, and Raphael Davis.

The event raised almost $2,000 to benefit Team Reign Kids! The winner of the tournament was Todd Norman, who won two tickets to UFC 125 in Las Vegas on January 1st. Over 40 people played in the tournament, and over 30 people donated baked goods for the bake sale. It was a great turn out with great return!

The proceeds from the event will be used to pay for Reign kids gear (shirts, shorts, hats, singlets, and coaches fees).

Thanks to all who made it out and made it a great success!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Gypsy Lounge Closing Soon

We all know it's raining harder than a cow peeing on a flat rock out there, and so, first and foremost, we want to say: PLEASE BE SAFE. Leave more than enough following and stopping distance, keep your hands on the wheel (hold steady if you fishtail), and turn your headlights on, even during the day! We want you all to stay safe out there! There's also a lot of flooding going on, so if you can, park on high ground if you're leaving your car for hours at a time.

Secondly, it is with sad, sad news that I write this post. Our beloved local venue, The Gypsy Lounge, which has been an established music hotspot for years and years in our own Lake Forest, will be closing its doors at the end of this month. It's rumored that the venue will be relocating to Los Alamitos, which is good news for the residents of Los Alamitos, but sad, sad news for OC locals. It seems there's a trend to new-ify OC- put in strip malls and Panera Breads and shiny new nail salons on every corner- which, in itself, isn't so terrible (who doesn't love Panera, after all?); but when it's at the expense of the businesses and venues that make OC unique and provide an outlet for art on all levels, I have to stop and wonder if we realize what sort of monster we're creating. Imagine, ten years from now, the streets of OC being nothing but pre-planned neighborhoods, Yogurtlands, Best Buys, Starbuck's, and Curves gyms. Again, there's nothing inherently wrong with those things (God bless the inventor of self-serve froyo!), but when every store and business is a nation-wide chain, we're robbing our county (the one our children will grow up in, and their children) and ourselves of culture. We're also wounding the entrepreneurial spirit of local residents and business owners. We're saying, "Entrepreneurs? Musicians? Artists? Mom and Pop Thai diners? No thanks!" We've got it all backward.

I didn't mean to get up on a soap box, and before I get off it, I should say that the views expressed are my personal views and The OC Gazette as a company cannot be held responsible for my opinions. Ok, now I'll get off it.

Would you consider joining Amy and I tonight at one of The Gypsy Lounge's last shows? It's going to be a good one, with a killer lineup of some rad local musicians:

9:15pm: Jay Buchanan
10:00pm: Chris Hanlin from The Dibs
11:00pm: Jameson
11:45pm: Chris Paul Overall
Don't miss one of your last chances to see great live music at one of OC's most loved music venues before it slips away from us!


on Grooveshark: "The Unicorn" by Dr. Dog

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Laid Back New Year's Eve

I know that everyone is under extreme duress over the swift approach of Christmas like the Headless Horseman galloping to lob off the head of his next victim. That being said, I hate to even remind everyone about New Year's Eve and pile on the stress about the plans you do or do not have, and accordingly the outfit you do or do not have (it's New Year's Eve, people - one of the most stressful outfit-prepping nights of the year in my book, seeing as it's one of the only holidays where you get to go ALL OUT). But I bring you good tidings, so relax and rest easy.

This December, my lovely co-worker Blythe and I have been participating in Dressember. Dressember is like Hannakuh, except instead of many days of gifts, you get 31 days of dresses! It's day 21, and I am not only running low on new dresses, but I'm looking forward to slipping on a pair of pants as soon as possible. After dressing up all December, I want my New Years Eve to be mellow this year, which is why I was so excited when I heard about the OC Fair's New Year's Eve Block Party.  Who doesn't love a block party? Friends, fun, potlucks, games, music... there is nothing not to love. The OC Fair is taking this to the next level for New Year's Eve: 50 gourmet food trucks to choose from; not one, but over four great cover bands spanning the decades [including Jumping Jack Flash (The Rolling Stones), Journey Unauthorized (Journey), Dead Man's Party (Oingo Boingo), and Stepping Feet (Dave Matthew's Band)]; DJ's and karaoke (what block party is complete without karaoke?); free carnival rides; and a demolition derby! There really is something for the whole family at this New Year's Eve party. 

So leave your sequins and fur in the closet this New Year's Eve, give yourself a much needed break after the hectic holidays, and head over to the Fair for some laid back fun. 

Click here for ticket info.

- Amy
Listening to: Gaslight Anthem's "Meet My By The River's Edge"

Monday, December 20, 2010

Moocher Monday Giveaway: Gift Certificates to Mr. Pickle's!

It's no secret that Monday is the least favored day of the week. After two glorious days off with Friday and Saturday (like two cool kids whose parents don't care how late you sleep in, or how much red licorice you eat), here comes Monday, like a Debbie Downer, forcing you out of bed against your will at an unseemly hour, and then urging you back to work. No matter how much you love your job, Monday morning brings out a bit of the blues in all of us.

Well, The OC Gazette is here to bring you good tidings of better Mondays! We've been offering weekly giveaways for a few months under the moniker "Moocher Mondays," in an effort to redeem the least-best day of the week. From concert tickets to restaurant gift cards to theater tickets to clothing to spa treatments, we've given away a whole boatload of goodies to our readers and Facebook fans as a way of saying, "Thank you, gentle reader. Here's lookin' at turning that foul Monday into the start of a prosperous week!"

And now, to the point! Today is, as you know, Monday. Go ahead, let out a long sigh. Now suck it back in, because your luck is about to change! Today, we're giving away goodies to not one, not two, but THREE lucky readers! We've got three $10 gift certificates to Mr. Pickle's Sandwich Shop to give away today! Mr. Pickle's is a fun and fresh local eatery where you can find such scrumptious sandwiches as the "Hang Loose," with hot pastrami, bacon, cream cheese and avocado (!), or how about "The Hot 'T'" - hot turkey, melted pepper jack cheese, baja and cranberry sauce? These are just two of the TWENTY specialty sandwiches available at Mr. Pickle's, not counting the seven classic sandwich choices available! You certainly have options at Mr. Pickle's, which is more than most Mondays can offer you. 

Mr. Pickle's Sandwich Shop is located in Lake Forest, at:
23591 Rockfield Blvd.
Lake Forest, CA 92630
Phone: 949.770.2685

To enter, simply peruse Mr. Pickle's menu and leave a comment on this post with the sandwich(es) you'd buy with your gift certificate! Please also include your email address, or we won't have a way to let you know you've won! Your information will not be used by us for any other purpose than to contact you regarding your prize. **** For an extra entry, become a follower of this blog! Scroll down until you see the "Followers" section on the right hand side of this blog. Click "Follow," and then leave a second comment letting us know that you're now a follower!

Three winners will be selected using tomorrow morning at 11am, so leave your comment before then to be eligible! 

Good luck and hope this helps turn your Monday around. ;)


on my iTunes: George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord"

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Things to do this weekend in OC: 12/16-19

Just wanted to drop you a quick note with some fun activities you can add to your weekend plans! Let's get to it, then:

Tonight, Thursday 12/16 through Saturday, 12/18: Andy Williams at Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa. Still thrilling audiences more than 40 years after his debut, Andy Williams has crooned his way into the hearts of multiple generations. His quintessential interpretation of "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" highlights our Pops Christmas special, which also features other Williams' hits including "Moon River," "Music to Watch Girls By," "Can't Get Used To Losing You" and "Days of Wine and Roses." Shows start at 8pm each night. Tickets start at $25. Call (714)755-5799 for more info.

Tomorrow, Friday, 12/17 & Saturday, 12/18: 36th Annual Boat Parade of Lights in Dana Point. Shows start at 7:30 both nights. Call (949) 923-2255 for more information. FREE.

Saturday, 12/18: Christmas at the Zoo at OC Zoo inside Irvine Regional Park from 10am-3pm. Santa, crafts, the holiday train, and more! $2/child. $5 to park. Call (714) 973-6847 for more info.

Saturday, December 18th at 2pm: Poker Fundraiser at Reign Training Center in Lake Forest. Complete with pro fighters as dealers, autographed shirts, shorts, hats, and boxing gloves (by Mark Munoz, Krzysztof Soszynski, Urijah Faber, Chad Mendes, Joseph Benavidez, Mayhem Miller, Kand many more) as raffle prizes, and delicious sandwiches catered by Mr. Pickles!  $25 pre-registered, $40 at the door. Call 949-916-9898 for more info.

Saturday, 12/18 at 2pm & 7pm: Maple Youth Ballet presents The Nutcracker at Northwood Performing Arts Theatre in Irvine. Tickets start at $20. Call (949) 660-9930 for more info. If you can't make it on Saturday, there are also shows on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


on my iTunes: "Let Me Go" by Cake

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pro Poker, Ragin' Raffles, and Raja's Famous Bake Sale!

[click to enlarge flier]

This Saturday, December 18th, Reign Training Center in Lake Forest is hosting a Poker fundraiser, complete with pro fighters as dealers, autographed shirts, shorts, hats, and boxing gloves (by Mark Munoz, Krzysztof Soszynski, Urijah Faber, Chad Mendes, Joseph Benavidez, Mayhem Miller, Kand many more) as raffle prizes, and delicious sandwiches catered by Mr. Pickles

Here's all the info:

Why:  To raise money for Reign Kids' Program
When: Saturday, December 18
Time:  2 pm
Where: Reign Training Center (22600 Lambert St, Ste #1201, Lake Forest)
Cost:  $25 pre-registered, $40 at the door
What to bring:  Baked goods for Raja to sell
Dealers will be pro athletes

Winner of the tournament will win two tickets to UFC 125 on January 1st, 2011 in Las Vegas! 
Raffle Items:
-Android Phone from Boost Mobile
-Autographed Shirts, Shorts, Hats, & Boxing Gloves by Mark Munoz, Krzysztof Soszynski, Urijah Faber, Chad Mendes, Joseph Benavidez, Mayhem Miller, Kand many more!
And if you're worried because you don't know how to play poker, don't be! They will teach you how! 

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Shameless Endorsement for Pura Vida Day Spa's Facials

[The lovely Pura Vida staff]

My friend asked me the other day who she should go to for a great facial. Without hesitation I replied, Marilee Miller at Pura Vida Day Spa. Now, I know what half of you are thinking out there: spas are for prissy, rich girls with money to blow. Or, at least that's what I used to think. I didn't even consider going to get a facial at a day spa, because 1) I assumed it would be way out of my budget, 2) I didn't think it was worth the money, and 3) I thought the atmosphere would be snobby.
I'm willing to accept when I'm wrong, and Pura Vida proved my day spa stereotype WAY wrong.

I discovered Pura Vida Day Spa because they are conveniently located in the same business complex as The OC Gazette office. I would run into the Pura Vida girls in the parking lot and was always amazed at how friendly and nice they all were. One day, they invited our whole office over to their Grand Opening party where they were giving out free mini facials, massages, microdermabrasion samples, food, wine, and more. We gladly accepted, and thus my love affair with facials began.

My skin isn't perfect. It used to be really awful when I was in middle school. (Think the zitty faced teenager with the cracking voice in The Simpsons - see above.) Thank God I grew out of that stage, but nonetheless, my face is a highly volatile place that can be agitated at the slightest provocation, so I still have to actively take care of it to keep it clear. After getting a mini facial from Marilee Miller at the Grand Opening party, I noticed my skin was significantly smoother and more evenly toned. After seeing such significant improvements in my skin after just a 5 minute mini-facial, I scheduled a full on 60-minute session with the lovely Marilee. I don't know how to stress it enough (without sounding like an infomercial) how much my skin improved. Between the Clarisonic, the peels and scrubs, and the Jan Marini face wash she used, my skin was smooth and even, with hardly a blemish in sight.

Besides the obvious joy of having great skin, my whole experience at Pura Vida is always enjoyable. I am always greeted with a smile and a joke from the wonderfully fun and hilarious spa manager, Anita. No one was hoity toity or snooty, and yet the environment was still relaxing and indulgent. Best of all? The price was so reasonable. Only $90 for a facial. And the time I went, I used a coupon in The OC Gazette for new clients, so I only had to pay $69! I go to see Marilee every month or so now to have her work her magic on me. If you think about it in those terms, you're only spending 2 dollars a day for amazing skin. For any of you that have had uneven or "problem skin," you know that is so worth it.

Check out Pura Vida Day Spa for yourself. Say hi to the ladies for me! 

If you tell them Amy Hood from The OC Gazette sent you you'll get the amazing one-hour Facial PLUS a one-hour Massage for only $99. That's 2 whole hours of relaxation! With all the stress and strain of the holiday season, I think we could all use a little more R&R.

Don't forget that they offer Student, Teach and Military Discounts!

Pura Vida Day Spa
(949) 582-3551
Located in Three Flags Center
27601 Forbes Road, Suite 5
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677

Thursday, December 9, 2010

This Weekend in OC: 12/10-12

Hey guys! I know you've probably been on the edge of your seat, waiting for this week's edition of "Things to Do This Weekend in Orange County," right? You're probably looking at your blank planner or iCal, just itching to fill in this weekend's time slots with fun and festive things to do locally, yes? Ah, good. You're in luck! There's fun-o-plenty this weekend! See for yourself:

Thursday, 12/9 at 10:15pm: Rocco Deluca at The Gypsy Lounge. Call (949) 206-9990 for more info.

Friday, 12/10 at 8:30 pm: Benefit for Orangewood Children's Home at The Gypsy Lounge, with performances by Honeypie, Jameson, Melanoid, and The Trade. Call (949) 206-9990 for more info.

Friday, 12/10, from 6-8pm: Tustin Tree Lighting at Tustin Civic Center/Library Plaza. Special Guests: Santa, Mayor, the ELF, Grinch, and Frosty the Snowman. Free photos with Santa, and  performances by local non-profits: Kids Corner, Foothill Carolers, Pioneer Middle School, Guin Foss Junior Girl Scout Troop 194, Guin Foss Brownie Troop 1584, Loma Vista Girl Scout Troop 122, Ballet Folklorico, Tesoros de Mexico, Academy of Dance and HBP Dance Extreme. There will also be a holiday boutique at the Community Center from 4-8pm. FREE.

Friday, 12/10 from 7-9:30pm: Soka University Student Music Recital at Soka's Founder's Hall (3rd floor Meeting Room) in Aliso Viejo. An evening of musical performances by students. Call (949) 480-4000 for more info. FREE.

Saturday, 12/11 at 10am: Laguna Niguel Holiday Parade. On Crown Valley between Nueva Vista and Crown Valley Community Park. The theme for this year's parade is "Celebrate America." Come watch the largest and most creative display of community in the City’s history! The parade will be filled with beautiful equestrian units, patriotic and inspirational military tributes, spirit filled youth groups, classic auto clubs, talented marching bands, and more! FREE. Call (949) 425-5100 for more info.

Saturday, 12/11 at 10 & 11:30am: Hot Chocolate with Santa & Friends at Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. Free with museum admission. Call (714) 567-3600 for more info.

Saturday, 12/11 at 12:30-4pm: Nutcracker for Kids at Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa. A condensed version of a Christmas classic for children. Tickets are $24 and up. Call (714) 755-5799 for more info.

Saturday, 12/11 at 2pm: Winds and Brass at Chapman University's Salmon Recital Hall, in Bertea Hall. FREE. Call (714) 997-6815 for more info.

Saturday, 12/11 from 5-7pm: Holiday Music Celebration, at Mason Regional Park in Irvine. Sing along, Santa, and more. Come and see performances by our local high school’s performing arts department. Bring a thick blanket to sit on. Dress warmly. If it rains, event is canceled. A special story will be read with audience involvement. FREE. Call (949) 923-2220 for more info.

Saturday, 12/11 at 5pm: Strings and Piano at Chapman University's Salmon Recital Hall, in Bertea Hall. FREE. Call (714) 997-6815 for more info.

 Saturday, 12/11 at 8:30 pm: Live Music at The Gypsy Lounge, with performances by Plastick, Sean Murphy and the Rubber Band, Hell and Half of Georgia, and The New York Ninjas. Call (949) 206-9990 for more info.

 Saturday 12/11 and Sunday, 12/12 from 5:30-8:30pm: Candlelight Tour at Heritage Hill park in Lake Forest. Stroll through restored 19th century buildings adorned in period decor and listen to Victorian carolers, live entertainment and storytellers in each building. Refreshments and Santa will also be around! 1,000 luminaries, entertainment, snacks, and more. Call (949) 923-2230 for more info. $3 for kids, $4 for adults.

Just a handful of ways to make it a great weekend! Have fun, folks!
See a whole month-full of great local events on our December calendar page!


on my Pandora: "Maps" by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Gypsy Lounge

The Gypsy Lounge is one of Orange County's musical gems. In a county overflowing with shopping and dining venues is an unfortunate 'underflowing' of music venues. The Gypsy Lounge is like a small bright light in an otherwise dark, semi-deserted 'musicscape.' It would be a sad, sad day indeed for local bands and music lovers alike, should the Gypsy Lounge ever close its doors.

We give the GL plenty o' blog lovin', but it's been awhile since we've done so; so, we thought we'd give you a healthy dosage right now:
"One of the greatest venues in Orange County, in our humble opinions, is the Gypsy Lounge in Lake Forest. It's personal with a bohemian feel, and there is no shortage of great OC bands on the monthly bill." 
[That quote is from us, btw, about a year and a half ago, on this blog]

Now's the part in this post when you're halfway out the door with your reignited enthusiasm about the Gypsy Lounge, right? But slow down turbo, you'll need to know what's going on there in the next few days before jumping on board- otherwise, how will you know whether to wear your studded wristlets for a metal show or your plaid shirt + suede vest for an acoustic show?

Coming this weekend:
Thurs, 12/9 - Rocco Deluca
Fri, 12/10 - Honeypie, Jameson, Melanoid, and The Trade
Sat, 12/11 - Plastick, Sean Murphy and the Rubber Band, Hell and Half of Georgia, The New York Ninjas
Tues, 12/14 - AJ DeGrasse

There you have it- more than a couple reasons to get out of your house, drive down the street (or what, one exit down the 5?), and see some fine local (and not-so-local) talent. The Gypsy Lounge hosts local, growing talent as well as traveling acts from across the country. Local bands The Union Line and Local Natives, along with non-natives Dr. Dog and Golden Animals have all graced the Gypsy Lounge's stage. Additionally, the Gypsy Lounge has hosted shows for the OC Music Awards' showcase nights for years, bringing in a healthy serving of some of the best of local talent. They'll be hosting one such showcase next month (find out more info here).

If you've never been yet (or even if you have), I strongly encourage you to check out the Gypsy Lounge for a great night of live music, drinks, and friends. Say hi to owner Mike Concepcion for us!

Go with the suede vest.


on my iTunes: Golden Animals' "Try on Me"

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Phantoms Phorever: Art + Language at MCAS El Toro

The OC Great Park has got a great event coming up this Thursday, Dec. 9. At 8:00 in the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, the "Phantoms Phorever: Art + Language at MCAS El Toro" exhibit will commence. A group of photographers, known as the Legacy Group, who were documenting the base closure found scads of old paintings and drawings left behind on walls and other blank surfaces by artistically inclined Marines looking for a way to express themselves. The buildings themselves are already mostly gone, but the artwork still remains thanks to The Legacy Group. You might remember the Legacy Group from their work on "The Great Picture," the world's largest photo made by the world's largest camera at El Toro's historic hangars. We featured Legacy Group member Jacques Garnier a few months ago within the pages of The OC Gazette. 

The exhibit is kind of like Inception, except instead of a dream within a dream, you get artwork within artwork. And unlike Inception, you won't leave questioning your existence, but rather enriched with Orange County history and culture from a bygone era. The show features oversized photographs from all 6 members of the Legacy Group documenting the artwork made by marines who served at El Toro between the 1943 and 1999. Head over to The OC Great Park webiste for more details here

- Amy
Listening to: Jarrod Gorbel's "I'll Do Better"

Monday, December 6, 2010

Gifts That Keep Giving

What do you do when you want to help those less fortunate than you, but you don't have the spare time to volunteer or the extra cash to donate? At Christmas time, the need for help is as present as ever, but time is scarce and, after we check off all the names on our gift lists, so is money. Have you thought about buying gifts with purpose? These are gifts that are not only great gifts, but they help others.

This month's issue of The OC Gazette includes a gift guide filled with gifts that keep on giving. We found a host of local nonprofits who offer some really cool products- from t-shirts to beanies to bracelets- and listed a handful of them in this guide. When you buy from these organizations, all (or a large portion of) the proceeds go to help others.

One such organization that we included is International Sanctuary, an Irvine based nonprofit that offers beautiful and unique jewelry made by young women in India who were rescued from sex trafficking The girls are paid 100% above fair trade wage.

Here is a sneak peek at some of the jewelry iSanctuary offers:

Beautiful, no? All these items are $20 or less. !!

You can browse these items and more by visiting International Sanctuary's online shop or by visiting their store in Irvine at:

17777 Main St. C-2
Irvine, CA 92614

(Store open Thursdays 10am-8pm & Saturdays 11am-2pm
December 12/2, 12/4, 12/9, 12/11,12/16, Last Shopping Day 12/18)

For more info, call 949.752.7788 or email

Be sure to check out the December issue and the full gift guide on page 18, which includes gifts from other great local organizations like Krochet Kids, Kauzbots, 31 Bits, OneHope Wine, and more!

Happy shopping!


on my iTunes: Radiohead's "Nice Dream"

Friday, December 3, 2010

Winter Cactus & Succulent Sale

Any green thumbed readers out there? Big news!  The Orange County Cactus and Succulent Society is hosting its annual Winter Cactus and Succulent Sale this weekend at the Fullerton Arboretum! From 10 am to 4pm starting today through Sunday, you can visit the Arboretum and find dozens of vendors with thousands of various cactus and succulent plants on sale. This is the largest sale of its kind in the region and it's only held twice a year. Don't wait till July- go today! Parking and entrance are free, but visitors are encouraged to make a voluntary contribution at the Arboretum entrance. 

Even if you don't have much of a green thumb, succulents make a fabulous introduction to gardening as they require very little water and attention. In other words: this is a great intro to gardening for anyone! Cacti and succulents also make great gifts, seeing as how they are growing in popularity and, arguably, in chic-ness.

Visit the Fullerton Arboretum's website for further info.

Happy shopping!


on my iTunes: The Shins' "So Says I"

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Holiday Lights and Where to Find Them in OC

[Bob Seger, anyone?]

It's beginning to look an awful lot like Christmas, friends. Indeed, the holidays are upon us, and nothing says holidays like the holidazzle of Christmas lights. Residents across the county (and, turns out, the nation) are popping holiday lights up onto the edges of theirs houses, and some even put up those moving lit up reindeer on their lawns and roofs! It's a site to see, indeed.

Which leads me to my main point of today's blog: Christmas lights. Wondering where the tradition began? Wondering where you can find the best ones? You're in luck: both questions are answered in the December issue of The OC Gazette magazine! Our long time contributing writer Jordan Carver went out in the field for us to research the history of Christmas lights, as well as to compile a list of the best places to see light displays across the county (and even some just a little outside of it that will be well worth your drive)!

Click [here] to read the article online, or click [here] to find out how to score a hard copy of the issue.

Happy light viewing!


on my iTunes: Local Natives' "World News"

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Boutiquing Blowout Sale

If you missed Black Friday this year, don't worry, because is holding a sale to end all sales! 

Here are the event details:
Sunday, Dec. 5th 
10am - 5pm
1500 Adams Ave., Costa Mesa
(In the recently vacated Paul Mitchell School Bldg.)

Shop 40 Boutiques & Designers Under 1 Roof!
Up to 75% OFF
Men's, Women's & Children's - Clothing, Jewelry, Denim, Accessories, Gifts & More
Swag Bags, Giveaways, DJ, Fitting Rooms, Food & Fabulous Fun!
Food Trucks will be serving lunch (Piaggio Gourmet on Wheels and Seabirds)

There are also giveaways every hour and a grand prize raffle! For a full list of designers visit Happy Shopping!

- Amy
Listening to: Pedro The Lion's "Secret of The Easy Yoke"

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