Wednesday, April 27, 2011

SoCal Wildflower Fest and Hike-A-Thon



OC Parks is sponsoring a SoCal Wildflower Fest and Hike-A-Thon (presented by OC Hiking Club) this Saturday, April 30 from 9 am – 2 pm at Irvine Regional and Santiago Oaks Parks. The celebration will feature wildflower exploration, various levels of hiking, an Expo Fest, outdoor skills clinics, live music, and activities designed to raise money for OC Hiking Club and connect people to the wonders of nature.

Multiple nature hikes will be offered at the event for hikers of all skill levels and ages. The Vista Hike at 9 am is an 8-mile advanced level hike with a 1,000-foot elevation gain. The Exploration Hike at 9:15 am is an intermediate 4-mile hike with a 500-foot elevation gain. The Wildflower Hike at 9:30 a.m. is a moderate level 3-mile route with no elevation gain.

Various skill clinics will be available at the Fest after the hikes including introductions to Southern California Wildflowers, ultra light backpacking 101, how to get your kids on the trail, lessons in high altitude backpacking, tips for out of town day hikes, cooking on the trail, returning to the trail after an injury, water purification on the trail for backpackers, orienteering map and compass education and much more. Bring your dog and learn tips for keeping your pooch safe on the trails. Photographers will have a unique opportunity to capture the blooming wildflower season and awards will be presented for the Third Annual Wildflower Photo Contest. Take a relaxing break and enjoy a yoga class or invigorating massage in the great outdoors. A BBQ lunch will be available for purchase.

Registration begins at 8 am at Irvine Regional Park. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children under 18. Registration includes a t-shirt, all activities, parking, and goodies. Each hike acts as a fundraiser for OC Hiking Club, a non-profit organization, and donating $1 commits you to raise $100 to the cause. Prizes will be awarded to the top hike fundraisers and announced along with the winner of the OC Register/OC Hiking Club Wildflower Photo Contest at 1 p.m. at the event.

Location: Irvine Regional Park, 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA 92869
Contact and Registration: http://socalwildflowerfest.org

Happy hiking!

-Blythe
listening to: NPR's first listen of Fleet Foxes' "Helplessness Blues"

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Be a "Fearless Woman" ACTivist



Here is your chance to be a “Fearless Woman” ACTivist. This Mother’s Day, ACT Today! (Autism Care and Treatment Today) will be hosting its annual “Fearless Women, Mother’s & Daughters Moving Mountains” fundraising luncheon on Monday, May 2nd at 10:30am.

Located at the luxurious Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Coast, Calif., the Mother’s Day event brings together the philanthropic community of Orange County with the goal of celebrating mothers and daughters while supporting children with autism.

This year’s keynote speaker is 21-year-old Katherine Schwarzenegger, daughter of Maria Shriver and actor/politician Arnold Schwarzenegger. Her new book titled, Rock What You’ve Got, Secrets to Loving your Inner and Outer Beauty from Someone Who Has Been There and Back describes the difficulties women have in developing a healthy body image and the importance of accepting oneself for our unique gifts.
"I want women to read this book and feel that it's ok to be themselves and to understand that every woman can be beautiful no matter what size and shape she is,” said Schwarzenegger. “You don't have to look like you're on a billboard to feel beautiful.

The luncheon will open with a silent auction from 10:30am to noon, which will include a variety of health & beauty packages, trips, and one-of-a-kind experiences. Special guests will include actress/singer/author Gloria Loring, the Restless actress Kate Linder, Lisa Foxx (DJ from 104.3 MYfm radio), renowned Los Angeles photographer Mary Ann Halpin,  and special musical performance by country singer/songwriter, Stephanie Quayle. Additional guests include autism ACTivists: Doreen Granpeesheh (Founder of ACT-Today and CARD CEO) and Lisa Ackerman (Founder of Talk About Curing Autism – TACA).

During the event, ACT Today! will be honoring OC-resident Becky Estepp, a fearless mother and autism advocate. "It is important that women take time out of their busy lives to be refreshed and inspired,” said Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson, ACT Today!’s executive director. “This luncheon provides the opportunity for women to celebrate their fearlessness as mothers and daughters while raising funds for families struggling to access and afford services for their children with autism."

Tickets are $150 for adults and $100 for guests 18 and under. For sponsorship opportunities and/or to register for the event, please contact Laura Marroquin at laura@act-today.org. For more information about ACT Today!, visit www.act-today.org

-Blythe
on my iTunes: Regina Spektor's "Us"

Friday, April 15, 2011

Paper Crane Folding Event to Support Japan


To help raise hope and spread awareness for the victims of the recent Japanese earthquake and tsunami, Segerstrom Center for the Arts and the Philharmonic Society of Orange County are hosting an origami paper folding event on Tuesday, April 19 from 5 – 9 p.m. in the lobby of the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. The community is invited to learn to fold and make paper cranes, with the ambitious goal of creating 1,000 cranes. In Japanese culture, the crane is a symbol of hope, luck and prosperity and folklore says the act of folding 1,000 cranes grants a wish. The completed cranes, with our wish of health and recovery for the Japanese people, will be sent to cultural arts organizations in the affected areas of Japan.

The paper folding event coincides with a concert by the internationally acclaimed Tokyo String Quartet in Samueli Theater. Members of the Tokyo String Quartet and Japanese Consul General Junichi Ihara are expected to be on hand to participate in making cranes. The ensemble is performing as part of the Philharmonic Society’s JapanOC, a festival being held in partnership with Carnegie Hall to explore the fascinating diversity of Japanese and Japanese-American arts and culture. While by no means necessary, donations for Japanese relief efforts will also be accepted at the concert.

The public is invited, and origami paper will be provided.

-Blythe
on my iTunes: Chris Brown's "Yeah 3x"

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Grilled Cheese


As you may already know, April is National Grilled Cheese Month. What you may not know is that James Beard nominated chef, John Cuevas of the crow bar & kitchen, serves up daily renditions of a classic grilled cheese sandwich all day, every day! Just ask for ‘Today’s Grilled Cheese Sandwich’ to find twists on the favorite comfort food dish. 

A few of Chef Cuevas’ unique grilled cheese sandwiches of the day include:

• Monterey Jack and Gorgonzola, Cremini Mushroom on Wheat Bread Grilled Cheese (pictured above)
• Smoked Mozzarella and Provolone with Selection of Cured Meats and Spicy Mustard on Wheat Bread
• Smoked Mozzarella and Grilled Zucchini, Heirloom Tomatoes and Olive Mayo on Country Bread
• Aged Cheddar and Braised Short Rib, Pickled Onion Aioli on Potato Bread
• Danish Havarti and Crispy Pork Belly, Haas Avocado, Caramelized Onion on Sourdough Bread

So, grilled cheese lovers looking for somewhere to celebrate the month of cheesy-gooey-goodness in Orange County, stop by the crow bar & kitchen.

the crow bar & kitchen
2325 East Coast Highway
Corona Del Mar, CA 92625
949.675.0070 | www.crowbarcdm.com

-Blythe
on my grooveshark: Fleetwood Mac's "Say You Will"

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Japan Benefit at Kona Gallery in SC

It's been a month since the devastating 9.0 earthquake and deadly tsunami hit Japan. The fallout is still being felt worldwide. International Medical Corps, ZUMA Press, DOUBLEtruck Magazine, plus over two dozen merchants in San Clemente area have teamed up with the KONA Gallery and Photojournalism Workshop Center to throw a benefit for the victims. The benefit will auction and raffle off over $100,000 worth of goods and services.

This Saturday, April 16th, Kona Gallery in San Clemente is hosting a silent auction and raffle to raise money for the victims of the Sendai area earthquake and tsunami. The event will be from 6p.m. until 9p.m. All are welcome to participate in this cause and to be apart of a silent auction/raffle and general event to remember and benefit the victims.


Scott Mc Kiernan, owner of The KONA Gallery and Photojournalism Center, has generously donated all of the Limited Edition DOUBLEtruck Magazine prints in the current exhibition of 29 Seeing Double Exhibition, the 20x30 prints are framed in museum frames, valued at $1,500 each, to be auctioned off, totaling over $43,000.

Some awesome San Clemente companies have contributed to the silent auction: Del Mar Beauty Supply/Salon Bamboo, Chin’s Acupuncture, 5 Elements Spa, Sonny’s Pizza, The Cellar, Peligroso, Pizza Port, Bliss Boutique, San Clemente Wine Co, Beachfire, Skullcandy, Rainbow, Casa Tropicana, Nick’s, Hobie, Asana Fit, First Team Real Estate, Runmore, OltreMare, OC Tykes, Beach City Florist and St. Roy at Vine.

100% of the proceeds will go to Japan, through International Medical Corps and ZUMA Press's Tokyo Bureau.

For more information about the silent auction and The KONA Gallery, contact Rebekah Colby at (949) 481-3747 or email Rebekah@TheKONAGallery.com.

-Blythe

on my grooveshark: The Shivers' "Beauty"

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

MONTAGE LAGUNA BEACH PARTNERS WITH SHARE OUR STRENGTH TO HOST TASTE OF THE NATION®


[ The 2009 Event.]

Executive Chef Craig Strong Joins Forces with Other Area Celebrity Chefs in Effort to End Childhood Hunger

On May 22nd, 2011, Montage Laguna Beach will host Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation®, one of America’s leading culinary benefits, in hopes of eliminating childhood hunger across the nation.

Seven celebrity chefs will share their passion and skills in preparing fresh farm-to-table delicacies to further Share Our Strength’s dream of ending childhood hunger by 2015. Attendees will enjoy an afternoon of delectable dishes, wine, signature cocktails, live music, and the picturesque panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean at Montage Laguna Beach. “In our ongoing commitment to the culinary focus at Montage Laguna Beach, we will be pairing each chef with local farms and wineries that will allow our guests to experience hyper-local food and wine for the ultimate farm-to-table experience,” said Todd Orlich, General Manager of Montage Laguna Beach.


Executive Chef Craig Strong of Studio, Montage Laguna Beach’s Signature Restaurant, will be joined by:
  • Chef Scott Conant –Scarpetta Beverly Hills & Food Network judge and host
  • Chef Richard Ruskell – Executive Pastry Chef at Montage Beverly Hills, Food Network “Challenge” winner and star of upcoming Food Network “Last Cake Standing”
  • Chef Mark Peel – Campanile, Los Angeles & Food Network “Top Chef Masters”
  • Chef Joachim Splichal – Patina, Los Angeles
  • Chef Alex Stratta – Alex, Las Vegas
  • Chef Alan Wong – Alan Wong’s Restaurant, Honolulu 
“Montage is proud to support such a wonderful cause and be a part of an amazing organization,” said Todd Orlich. “We are committed to Share Our Strength and that is why we have asked some of our closest friends in the industry to come together to help raise awareness for childhood hunger.”


As contributors to the charity’s cause, guests can choose between two of the following event packages:
  • Celebrity Chef Tasting 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased in advance for $150 per person or at the door for $175 per person.
  • VIP “Meet the Chefs” Reception 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Complete the night with VIP treatment and a sunset toast. Enjoy the Celebrity Chef Tasting followed by an after party to mingle with the chefs. Valet parking and post-event gifts are included. Tickets purchased in advance are $250 per person and $275 at the door.

The revenue from each ticket purchased for Taste of the Nation® goes to Share Our Strength’s “No Kid Hungry” campaign that advocates ending childhood hunger in America by increasing access to nutrition programs and investing in effective community organizations to fight hunger.

For more details regarding Taste of the Nation at Montage Laguna Beach and to purchase tickets, visit www.tasteofthenation.org or call (877) 26TASTE (82783).

About Share Our Strength
Share Our Strength®, a national nonprofit, is ending childhood hunger in America by connecting children with the nutritious food they need to lead healthy, active lives. Through its No Kid Hungry(tm) campaign-a national effort to end childhood hunger in America by 2015-Share Our Strength ensures children in need are enrolled in effective federal nutrition programs, invests in community organizations fighting hunger, teaches families how to cook healthy meals on a budget, and builds public-private partnerships to end hunger, both nationally and at the state level. Working closely with the culinary industry and relying on the strength of its volunteers, Share Our Strength hosts innovative culinary fundraising events and develops pioneering cause marketing campaigns that support No Kid Hungry. Visit Strength.org to get involved in the No Kid Hungry campaign.

About Montage Laguna Beach
Montage, set on a coastal bluff overlooking the Pacific in the heart of the vibrant arts community of Laguna Beach, offers 30 acres of oceanfront luxury.  The 250-room craftsman-style resort features beachfront accommodations; a 20,000-square-foot spa; destination dining at Studio; a wealth of outdoor recreation, including three pools, beach and water sports; a fine art collection; and more than 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space. For information and reservations, please contact Montage, toll-free, at 1-888-715-6700; or visit the Web site at www.montagelagunabeach.com.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Chef Fabio Helps Olive Crest Raise Money for OC Children!

[Left to Right:  Casey Reinhardt of Casey’s Cupcakes, Darrel Anderson, Olive Crest Chairman of the Board and President, Retired, Knott Anderson Enterprises, Marsha Anderson, Darrel’s wife and Orange County philanthropist, and Chef Fabio Viviani]


OCG: You recently participated in a fundraiser here in Orange County with Olive Crest called “Harvesting Hope.” Did you have a good time?
CF: I did! I had a great time!  Raising money for a good cause and sharing my recipes is what I love to do.

OCG: What was your favorite part of the night?
CF: The auction was a lot of fun and I look forward to cooking for several of the generous donors to Olive Crest.  Casey’s Cupcakes were delicious too!

OCG: Why was this cause close to your heart?
CF:I love kids and any time I have the chance to give a child a better life, I will do anything to help. 

OCG: How did you like Orange County/Newport Beach?
CF:It’s beautiful! How can you go wrong with the ocean at your doorstep? I live in LA and it’s much more peaceful down here.

OCG: Apparently your cooking demonstration of the Mediterranean Style Pan Roasted Chicken was very entertaining and quite the crowd pleaser. Where does your sense of humor come from? 
CF: My grandma taught me to have fun in the kitchen and that is what I try to do.  To me, cooking is spending time with family and friends and enjoying the company, wherever you are.  

OCG: What’s your favorite dish to prepare?
CF:I love risotto.  It’s easy and delicious and you can make it a thousand ways.  I dream of new ways to make risotto. 

OCG: What’s next for you? Any events or projects in the works?
CF:This May, I’m coming out with an iPad application with Bertolli Olive Oil.  Download it and you’ll get 16 of my exclusive step-by-step videos of some of my all-time favorite recipes.  It’s going to be a lot of fun.

OCG: To help raise money, you auctioned off a four-course meal prepared by you for the winner at their house. Are you excited for that very private cooking gig? Have you already thought of the menu you’ll prepare?
CF: Definitely. It will probably be something light and delicious for the spring using fresh herbs and vegetables. I love grilling vegetables and even fruit.  

OCG: If you had to give our readers the number one secret to being a great chef, what would it be?
CF: I can’t tell you my secrets!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Olive Crest's Annual Harvesting Hope Event

I had the opportunity to attend Olive Crest's annual gala on March 19th- the Harvesting Hope for Kids event at Newport's Big Canyon Country Club. I went last year just before we printed a spotlight on Olive Crest. The Olive Crest Foundation has transformed the lives of over 50,000 abused, neglected, and at-risk children and their families in Orange County. Olive Crest is truly one of the most inspiring nonprofits in OC. 


At this year's Harvesting Hope For Kids event (which is an annual gala and fundraiser), we had the pleasure of watching Chef Fabio of Top Chef give a cooking demonstration. I got the chance to meet Chef Fabio personally (and have him sign a copy of his cookbook for me!), and he is so nice (and hilarious) in person. 







He was a great addition to the night's events, which also included a silent auction, a live auction, an opportunity drawing, more food and wine than you could imagine, and a cupcake bar!



Casey's Cupcakes provided the goods- from cupcakes to cake pops- that got us all salivating. Casey's Cupcakes just opened a location in Laguna Beach, by the way! Here I am with my friend Samira, enjoying a cupcake (or two) from Casey's Cupcakes:


Check out Olive Crest on their website (one simple way to help is by registering your Ralph's card- it's free!)
and read our article on Olive Crest here.

-Blythe

on my iTunes: Bon Iver's "Brackett, WI"

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Vonda Shepard Returns To The Coach House


Vonda Shepard has a career that most artists only dream of - one that successfully spans decades. Beginning in the 80's, Vonda hit it big with "Don't Cry Ilene" and her duet with Dan Hill, "Can't We Try." Then she took the 90's and 2000's by storm with her 5 year stint on the incredibly popular TV show "Ally McBeal" (who's theme song she wrote and performed) where she played the sexy lounge singer onscreen, and music producer for the show offscreen. Vonda hasn't slowed down since. She's put out four albums since 2002 and is still touring worldwide as we enter 2011. We were able to chat with Vonda about how she balances touring with being a mom, her latest studio album of new songs "From The Sun," and why she loves Orange County. Check it out:



OCG: Is it hard balancing your touring schedule and being a mom? 
VS: In general it's very tough balancing work with having a child, as so many parents understand.  The kind of work I do often requires self motivation, as in sitting down at the piano to practice, or to write.  Because I write at home, if my son comes home from preschool and I see his adorable face, it's going to be very tough to force myself to stay at that piano when I could be playing baseball with him, or chasing him around the house!

OCG: You shared the stage with My Chemical Romance this Christmas for KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Christmas show. Did it feel like you were back in your days singing backup for Jackson Browne or Rickie Lee Jones? 
VS: I did sing with My Chemical Romance on that show, as well as Conan and Jimmy Kimmel Live.  It was a blast singing back-ups again, especially for a rock band, which is really a first for me.  My good friend Carmen Carter got me the gig.  I often call her when I'm producing music for T.V., so she returned the gesture.   It really was like the old days, only I needed earplugs in this case!  (They were lovely, very respectful guys, by the way).

OCG: That was a different genre for you. Do you enjoy branching out musically like that and collaborating with various musicians? 
VS: I do enjoy branching out, and mostly, I love to sing, so when I got the call I said "sure, why not... sounds fun!"  Also, I got to hang backstage and be onstage with two of my favorite people, Carmen Carter and Lorraine Perry!  Singing with them really pushes me to be strong... I wish I could bring them on tour with me!

OCG: Who would you love to collaborate with in the future? 
VS: I'd love to do a song with Seal.  I adore his husky, loose, beautiful voice, as well as his unique chord changes.  Would love to write something with him... and tour with him.  (Seal, are you out there?  Maybe you're having a coffee in some cafe in Orange County this very moment and reading this!  Woo hoo!)

OCG: Any other music genres you’d like to try? 
VS: I had the wonderful opportunity when I was on Ally McBeal to do a few songs with horns, which we often doubled or tripled in the studio, giving the effect of a big band.  I loved having that powerful horn section behind me, and have had visions of doing a big band style album (but one needs a budget for this!)  I also love African music, specifically Habib Koite and Oumou Sangare.  To somehow collaborate with them would be absolute heaven for me.  A friend who knows Habib pulled me up on stage with her and a few other friends to dance while he played and sang to us... my dream night.

OCG: You’ll be back home playing some shows here in LA and Orange County at the Coach House. What’s the best thing about playing “home town” shows?
VS: Home shows can actually be a bit stressful.  It's sort of like being the host of a party where you want everyone to enjoy themselves, so there can be a bit of pressure.  However, it's also fun to look out in the audience and see my best friend singing all of the lyrics to the songs, or to see my sister smiling and giving me encouragement.

OCG: You’ve played the Coach House a few times now. Are you excited to come back? 
VS: I'm so excited to come back.  I've been playing there since my first album came out in 1989, so I have some history there.  I have a fantastic band, with tremendous talent and energy, so the show should really be a lot of fun.  James Ralston on guitar (Tina Turner for 22 years!), Jim Hanson (Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash, etc...), and Michael Urbano (Sheryl Crow, Smash Mouth, etc..).

OCG: You’ll be playing songs from your most recent album, From The Sun. How was this album different from your past albums? 
VS: From The Sun leans on the soulful side of my voice, and has tight, stacked background vocal parts that really add another dimension to this album and to the live performance.  Most of the guys on the album will be with me, so it will sound like the real deal.  I feel that From The Sun is my most focused album since It's Good Eve, which came out in 96'.  We will also do songs from Eve, Chinatown, By 7:30, as well as some favs from my former day job!

OCG: What is your favorite song on the record? 
VS: My favorites are "I Know Better" and "Another January."  For those who do not have the record yet, you can pick it up on my website vondashepard.com
.  We sell the CDs through CD Baby.

OCG: You play a lot of great covers at your shows too. What’s your favorite cover to play?
VS: My favorite cover to play is "Sweet Inspiration."  I remember the day I first heard that song, driving down Pacific Coast Highway;  I got the chills and became quite thrilled at the prospect of recording the song.  It's one of those that I will probably play forever- it really gets people on their feet!

OCG: Where do you see yourself five years from now? 
VS: Well, I'm not having any more children, so I'll have a 10 year old in school.  I will probably only tour in the summer and on weekends, but I don't think I will ever give up touring, as long as people are in those seats!   I have a dream of writing songs for movies, which is not far off, possibly (I sang in the movie "Love and Other Drugs" recently for James Newton Howard).   Perhaps another T.V. show is on the horizon...in town work is always good!   But wandering the streets of Prague, Bucharest, Paris, Hamburg, knowing I have a show that night at a lovely theater ... well, in the words of Ina Garten, "how bad could THAT be?!"

OCG: Since you’re a Southern California girl, what’s your favorite thing about Orange County?
VS: I know it's a cliche, but the weather and the beaches.  I love walking north, toward Malibu, and seeing the magenta Bouganvillia blooming on the mountainside and watching the marine layer roll in off the ocean.  Throw in a Mojito, and this is really shaping up to be a good day.  



Don't miss Vonda Shepard at The Coach House in San Juan on Friday April 29th! You can get your tickets here. You can also listen to her album From The Sun here. Check out her video for "I Know Better" below.




Friday, March 25, 2011

The Weir


Last night, I spent the evening in an old pub nestled deep in the Irish countryside, well off the beaten path. There was a biting wind that was howling outside and seeping into the cracks of the old building. Inside, the coal-burning stove gave the room a welcoming glow and provided just enough heat. In front of it was an old rug so worn that its pattern was unrecognizable, and a chair with tattered upholstery. The stools and chairs in the pub were all mismatched. The bar itself was covered in knick-knacks and had an old broken TV. You could tell the walls housed a lot of memories and conversations and had seen a lot of laughter, definitely some brawls, and maybe some tears, too.

Last night, I spent the evening with four Irishmen and an Irishwoman—Jack, Brendan, Jim, Finbar, and Valerie. Brendan, the bartender, was quiet but polite, and a good listener. Jack, a mechanic, was downing pints impressively fast, and although he seemed jovial enough, I wouldn’t want to cross him. Jim was the most quiet of everyone, but as the night progressed, he opened up a bit. Finbar, in a white suit and pink dress shirt, stood apart from his simply-clothed friends, and his slickness made him a little more suspect than the rest of the lot. And Valerie…Valerie was a plainly pretty woman who just moved from Dublin to rent a house in the country, and the men took it upon themselves to put on airs and impress her with their ales and anecdotes.

Last night, profanity and fantastical ghost stories flowed freely, and as the evening went on, the men’s tales grew more exaggerated…and scary. Ireland is renowned for its ghost tales and folklore, and these men, like any respectable Irishmen, knew how to tell a story (the alcohol undoubtedly encouraged and inspired their dramatics). With their stories about fairies, ghosts, and unexplainable happenings, they each tried to top each other's tales, entertaining and frightening each other. I questioned their superstitions and honesty, not knowing what to believe. But it was quiet, unassuming Valerie, whose story about why she really left Dublin--a true ghost story--ended the unsettling evening and allowed the men to let their guard down.

Last night, I saw a play called The Weir at
South Coast Repertory, and felt like I was in a pub experiencing an evening with real people. Never once did I not feel like I was really there with them, in the dark Irish countryside. And never did I fully believe any of their drunken ghost stories…until the end of the play.


[Daniel Reichert, Richard Doyle, Tony Ward, Kirsten Potter, and James Lancaster 
in The Weir by Conor McPherson. Photo by Henry DiRocco/SCR]

The Weir runs through April 3rd. Get your tickets
here, if you dare...

-Guest blogger and OCG writer Lisa Birle

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Reign Anniversary Bash This Saturday



This Saturday, March 26th, Reign Training Center in Lake Forest is throwing a 1 Year Anniversary Bash, and you're invited! Join in on the fun: Enjoy dinner served by Boneheads (now I'm craving their Piri Piri chicken!) and
check out UFC Fight Night 24: Little Nog vs Phil Davis Live!

From 12-3pm, catch autograph signings, demos, raffles, and giveaways.
From 4-7pm: Celebrity Poker Tournament (come play with the pros: $30 Pre-Registered, $50 at the door click here to register!)
From 7-10pm: Watch UFC Fight Night 24 With The Pros catered by Boneheads

Dinner Menu:
Boneheads Shrimp (probably the best shrimp you will ever have): $5.00
Kids Chicken Meal: $5.00
Chicken Breast Dinner: $8.00
Grilled Salmon Dinner: $9.00
All meals include rice, zucchini, and side salad

You won't want to miss it!

-Blythe

on my iTunes: Andrew Bird's "Fitz and Dizzyspells"

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Japan




Donate to the Red Cross by clicking here.
David John posted 3 ways to help Japan, including purchasing the poster above.
The Huffington Post has with many ways to help here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Boot Camp for the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation

Need a little extra motivation to get fit? Maybe just a fun way to burn off those Girl Scout cookies of late (darn you, Thin Mints!)? Good news!! This Saturday, March 19th, Total Training by Tammy will be hosting a Boot Camp for Charity event with all proceeds benefiting the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF).

There will be a 60 Minute Boot Camp Class with a $15 minimum donation benefiting PCRF, followed by snacks and beverages at Road Runner Sports, a prize raffle for all participants (iPod, free shoes, and more), and 10% of Total Training by Tammy sales at event will be donated to PCRF. Also, all participants will get a $10 OFF Coupon to Road Runner Sports, an extra 10% Off Tammy’s Boot Camp on day of event, and up to a 20% discount for Road Runner Sports VIP members, a FREE 1 on 1 Shoe Dog foot analysis.

Now that's a good reason to get your rear in gear!

This great event will be held at 9am at Lions Park in Costa Mesa (570 West 18th St., Costa Mesa 92627)

For more info:
Total Training by Tammy
H: 949-340-6330
C: 949-244-0622
www.totaltrainingbytammy.com

-Blythe
on my iTunes: St. Vincent's "Paris is Burning"

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

iSanctuary Shop open this Saturday

March 11 drop in and shop

This saturday, check out iSanctuary's shop in Irvine. You can also shop online (but then you don't get the free gift!).


International Sanctuary offers the world an opportunity to purchase with purpose- to buy unique, progressively-styled handcrafted products, and in so doing, help trafficked survivors earn an income with which they can sustain themselves. By creating and selling handmade items, survivors are able to earn a life-giving income. Furthermore, when survivors are equipped with the skills to make various products, they often develop a deep sense of pride in their creations and a satisfaction in knowing that the works of their hands are valued and admired. Every creation that iSanctuary sells, has significance and meaning, while it also affirms a survivors self-confidence.


The iSanctuary showroom is located at:
17777 Main St. C-2
Irvine, CA 92614

Call 949.752.7788 for more information.

-Blythe
on my iTunes: Beirut's "Mimizan"

Friday, February 25, 2011

The March issue is here!


The March issue is here! Just in time for the Academy Awards this coming Sunday. Now, we're not ones to openly express biases, so our disclaimer about the above photo is: we did not pay Jeff Bridges to hold that OCG. Nor did we financially back his campaign for a two-peat victory as Best Actor this year. What can we say- with or without our monetary or emotional support, the guy just loves The OC Gazette. The picture speaks for itself.

You know what else speaks for itself? The March issue. It's true. Speaking for itself this month will be stories on Cal Elite Kids (a local academic preschool, offering full and half day programs, gymnastics, swimming, dance, and more!), the history of Harbor House Cafe, an artist spotlight on local young filmmaker Oakley Anderson-Moore, an interview with Pilar Wayne, wife of the Duke himself, a Q&A with local Everest summiteers, a spotlight on local nonprofit Art & Creativity For Healing, and much, much more!

To get your own copy, click here.
To flip through a digital issue, click here.

Happy reading!

-Blythe

on my iTunes: "Keep the Car Running" by The Arcade Fire

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rock of Ages Free Mini Concert Tomorrow!


"Any way you want it
That's the way you need it
Any way you want it..."


Cast members from the hit musical Rock of Ages will perform a free mini-concert of ‘80s music on Thursday, Feb. 24 at 1 p.m. at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa.

The public is  invited to a free lunchtime mini-concert by the cast of Rock of Ages at South Coast Plaza on the ground level of Jewel Court. Rock of Ages cast members will sing a selection of songs from its rocking score which includes tunes by Journey, Styx, Pat Benatar, Poison, REO Speedwagon, Foreigner, Bon Jovi and many more. Following the performance, cast members will be available to sign autographs and meet audience members. There will also be ticket giveaways to see ROCK OF AGES during its engagement at Segerstrom Center for the Arts March 1 – 6.

 Rock of Ages is set in 1987 on the Sunset Strip, where a small-town girl met a big-city dreamer – and in L.A.’s most legendary rock club, they fall in love to the greatest songs of the ‘80s.  Rock of Ages is a hilarious, feel-good love story told through the hit songs of iconic rockers. It’s when big hair meets big dreams and the result totally wails.

You won't want to miss this free lunchtime fun! Look for Amy while you're there!

-Blythe

on my iTunes: Florence and the Machine's "Dog Days Are Over"

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A few fun ideas for the weekend

Hershey Felderr: Monsieur Chopin - Starts tonight and runs through 2/27 at Laguna Playhouse's Moulton Theater. Created by the same team that brought George Gershwin Alone to life, Monsieur Chopin begins at Fryderyk Chopin’s salon at 9 Square d’Orléans in Paris. Monsieur Chopin will teach a piano lesson that actually took place on March 4, 1848, just days after the February 1848 revolution. As the piano lesson unfolds, he reveals secrets about the art of the piano and composition, as well as secrets about himself. Considered by his contemporaries, and now by history, as the true “Poet of the Piano,” Monsieur Chopin features some of the pianist-composer’s most beautiful and enduring music. Tickets start at $30. Call (949) 497-2787 for more info.

Second Year MFA Art Review - Starts tonight and goes through 3/4 at UCI's Art Gallery and Room Gallery. Grad students exhibit original works. FREE admittance! Call (949) 824-9854 for more info.

Macbeth - Begins tonight and runs through 2/26 at Chapman University's Waltmar Theatre. Not recommended for kids (which makes it a bit more appealing, does it not?) Tickets $15-20. Call (714)744-7087 for more info.

Love 'em and Leash 'em - This Saturday! See our post below (or by clicking here)

There's a few ideas to keep you preoccupied and happy this weekend!

-Blythe

on my iTunes: St. Vincent's "Actor"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Love 'em and Leash 'em

OC Parks, Irvine Ranch Conservancy, OC Animal Care and OC Hiking Club present “Love ‘Em and Leash ‘Em," coming to Irvine Regional Park this Saturday, February 19th from 9 am-12 pm. This is a special event for dogs and dog-lovers.



OC Hiking Club will host a series of guided specialty pooch hikes customized to accommodate every breed, size and age of dog. The Pokey Pooch Walk will lead small and older dogs on an easy-paced, short-distance flat land walk. The Moderate Mutt Hike invites the intermediate pup on a mid-level, mild-incline hike. The Hardy Hound Hike will take the tougher pups on an advanced fast-paced, semi-steep climb through Irvine Regional Park. Registration for the three hikes will open at 8:30 a.m.

OC Animal Care will have an adoption pop-up tent at the park. Staff will be on-site to talk about the animals currently available for adoption at the center. Three special dogs will be at the event and available for immediate adoption and same-day take-home. Southern California Dachshund Relief will also be on-site with several Dachshund dogs ready for adoption and new loving homes.

United Pet Care, Pooch Sitters, Ugly Dog Adventure, OC Doggie Dinners and other pet friendly local organizations will be at the event with educational information about keeping dogs on leashes in public and in nature and provide special treats and canine activities for all pups in attendance.

Bring your pooch for a day of fun or adopt a dog that needs a home at Irvine Regional Park’s “Love ‘Em and Leash ‘Em.”

Address: 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA 92869
Website:http://www.ocparks.com/irvinepark
Cost: Free
Parking: $5 per vehicle
Public Contact: (714) 973-6835 or (714) 973-3173

-Blythe

on my iTunes: Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here"

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day from The OCG!


Hope you spend it curled up with the February issue, some Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and your someone special!

-Blythe

on my iTunes: Bon Iver's "Re: Stacks"

Friday, February 11, 2011

ABC Pilates Open House

Tomorrow, Saturday 2/12, drop by ABC Pilates in Laguna Niguel (off Crown Valley & Forbes Rd) for their Open House. There will be wine, chocolate, specials, and a FREE 50 minute work out class that incorporates TRX, Ballet Barre, Mat Pilates, Zumba, and Yoga. Call 949-305-3310 to sign up for the class - space is limited!

What's more, Lynne Curtin from The Real Housewives of Orange County will be giving a trunk show of her jewelry, purse, and bedding line at ABC Pilates! You'll also have a chance to meet and mingle with the owners of Fitness Inside Out, Loredana Yoga, OC Skincare, and Lashes.

Stop by tomorrow for some food, fitness, and fun!

ABC Pilates
27601 Forbes Road, #21
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
949-305-331

-Blythe
on my pandora: Justin Timberlake's "Senorita"

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Things to do this weekend in OC: 2/10-13

I don't want to hear any complaining that there's nothing fun to do in Orange County - not this weekend, of all weekends! There's so much happening! I've put together an abridged list of some fun things happening starting tonight through Sunday night- from live music to theater to kids' events! Check it out:

Feb. 7th-13th: the Laguna Beach Music Festival
Laguna Beach Music Festival is a week-long event in scenic Laguna Beach, California, presented by Laguna Beach Live! and the Philharmonic Society of Orange County. Dedicated to artistic excellence and innovation, each Festival stars prominent and promising musicians in a variety of activities to attract both the casual listener and the aficionado, who share space in the Festival’s intimate, human-scale venues.

Through Feb. 20th: A Midsummer Night's Dream at South Coast Repertory
>Led by the wildly inventive director Mark Rucker, off go four young lovers into The Woods on a midsummer evening—when strange and wonderful things are likely to happen.  This shimmering Shakespearean fantasy features the antics of supernatural creatures—the fairies led by Oberon and Titania and, of course, the impish Puck, who creates chaos in the night.  But what fun to join in the dream, knowing that by daylight all will be well in a mystical, moon-drenched masterpiece. Read our review of it here!

Thurs, 2/10: Valentine's Day with Natalie Cole
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, an “Unforgettable” concert featuring the incredible Natalie Cole, backed by a full symphony orchestra. Warm, tender and heartfelt, her singing preserves the treasured standards made famous by her father, while adding her own touches of jazz, swing, soul and pop.

2/10: The Who's Tommy
The Who’s Tommy is a roof-raising musical explosion based on The Who’s 1969 concept album. This exhilarating story of hope, healing and the human spirit is filled with iconic hit songs like "Pinball Wizard," "See Me, Feel Me," "Acid Queen" and more. Pete Townshend’s Tony Award-winning tale of a young boy’s journey from pain to triumph is the most electrifying evening of rock and roll ever to play in a theatre!

2/10: Fitness Hike in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
8:30am to 10:45am
Raise your heart rate and your spirits on this difficult, strenuous and fast-paced, 6.82-mile hike (700-ft. elevation gain) over very steep, uneven terrain with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteers. $2 donation per person. Ages 15 and up.
Reservations required: 949-923-2235.
Ridge Park Staging Area (Newport Coast Drive to Ridge Park Rd east to end; meet at the gate.)

2/10: Tideland Tykes
10:30-11:30am at Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center in Newport. Join Preserve staff for a fun-filled parent and child experience that may include arts and crafts, story telling, hands-on activities or outdoor nature walks. Come prepared for an exciting outdoor experience! $5 per child, parking is free. Please call (949)923-2275 or email unbic@ocparks.com to register (required).

2/11 through 2/27: Lucky Duck at SCR
The Ugly Duckling meets “American Idol,” with music by the composer of Dreamgirls! This rollicking riff on a favorite fairy tale begins in the barnyard, where things aren’t going so well for a waterfowl named Serena. She’s got great pipes but is lacking in the looks department, so off she goes to the big city where she lands a wolf agent and gets a fabulous make-over.  But as her journey toward superstardom progresses—with help from her animal friends (including a few that step in from other fairy tales)—Serena discovers that fame is only feather deep.

2/12 Caspers Campfire Program
7-8pm at Caspers Wilderness Park in San Juan Capistrano. Come join a Ranger for an hour of fun and learning about Caspers Wilderness Park. Their Campfire Program may include a slide presentation, wilderness safety, games, and activities for children, animal adaptations, skins and skulls, a live animal demonstration, and a chance to visit the Nature Center. Ages 12 and up with adult supervision. Free to attend, $5 to park. Call (949) 923-2210 for more info. All ages welcome.

2/12: ABC Pilates Open House
Lynne Curtin from the Real Housewives of OC with be giving a trunk show of her jewelry, purse, and bedding line at ABC Pilates. Come visit for wine, choclate, specials, and meet the owners of Fitness Inside Out, Loredana Yoga, OC Skincare, and Lashes. During the open house, ABC Pilates will be offering a FREE 50 minute work out class that incorporates TRX, Ballet Barre, Mat Pilates, Zumba, and Yoga. Sign up for your spot in the class- space is limited! Email info@abcpilates or call 949-305-3310 for more info.

2/12: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago at the Irvine Barclay
8pm. Hubbard Street Dance Chicago has been invited back to the Barclay nearly 20 years to the day after its first performance here during the theatre’s first season. Since then, the company has evolved into one of the "cultural treasures” of its dynamic home town. In addition to the skilled proficiency of its two-dozen dancers and its first-class production values, HSDC possesses one of the finest and most extensive repertoires of any American company. Tickets $25 and up.

2/12 & 13th: Villa Rockledge Valentine's Celebration
1-5pm both days. Spend Valentine's in style at the historic Villa Rockledge in Laguna Beach. Stroll the terraced grounds of the oceanfront estate as you sip a signature cocktail and indulge in gourmet appetizers. Guests are invited to explore the estate on a private tour and see the exquisite architectural details while learning the history of this beautiful home. $35/person, $75/couple. For tickets call (949)715-6950 or buy online at villarockledge.com.


2/13: Caspers Nature Hike
9-10am at Caspers Wilderness Park in SJC. Join Park Rangers for an easy 1-mile hike on their nature trail. The trail takes visitors through grassland, oak woodland, riparian, and sandy cactus scrub communities. A wide variety of plant and animal life is found in these areas. Free to attend, $5 to park. All ages welcome. Call (949)923-2210 for more info.

2/13: Music For Lovers
Goldenwest College's Chamber Singers and Early Music Ensemble present Music For Lovers. Performance will be held in Forum II: Room 101. Admission $10-12. Call (714) 895-8150

Happy weekending! :)



-Blythe


on my iTunes: The Arcade Fire's "Keep the Car Running"

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday Nights at Forest Lanes

Forest Lanes in Lake Forest has a reputation for offering all sorts of fun- from their karaoke nights to beer pong nights to cosmic bowling to Friday nights with a live DJ. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, their Quartermania Special (after 8 pm) involves a $7 entrance fee and then each game is only 75 cents. Not only that, but pizza slices are 75 cents, and beer is $2.

Also, every Tuesday night, from 5pm to 9pm, various food trucks gather at the Forest Lanes parking lot.

"On the night I went the following trucks were present: Calbi, Seabirds, Crepes Bonaparte, Barcelona on the Go, Taco Dawg and a few others I can't remember off the top of my head," says Riche of Laguna Beach. "The great thing about this event are the short lines, the ability to bring your food into the bowling alley to dine on their tables (even in the bar where they have drink specials), the overall choice of various trucks and the fact that there's plenty of free parking."

Enjoy this veritible rolling food court while it lasts!

Also, visit this link to fill out a short form to receive two free bowling passes!

Forest Lanes is located at
22771 Centre Drive
Lake Forest 92630

Call (949) 770-0055 for more information.

-Blythe
on my iTunes: Death Cab's "Different Names For the Same Thing"

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Midsummer Night's Dream at South Coast Repertory



Lovers in the woods, the mischief of fairies, a royal wedding, and the tragicomic play of labor workers. All this and more is bundled up in South Coast Repertory's production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

"Led by the wildly inventive director Mark Rucker, off go four young lovers into The Woods on a midsummer evening—when strange and wonderful things are likely to happen.  This shimmering Shakespearean fantasy features the antics of supernatural creatures—the fairies led by Oberon and Titania and, of course, the impish Puck, who creates chaos in the night.  But what fun to join in the dream, knowing that by daylight all will be well in a mystical, moon-drenched masterpiece."


The main action of the play revolves around four lovers who suffer, in various way, from the perils of I love him, but he loves her, and she loves another him, and he loves me. We've all been there before. Things get really murky (and hilariously so) when the fairies of the forest (here portrayed as a band of gypsy-like pajama party-ers looking to cause mischief and steal clothing off the lovers one article at a time) meddle in the humans' affairs with potent love potion from a flower struck by Cupid's arrow. This results in a scantily clad group of befuddled young people trying to make sense of the sudden changes in affections. What fickle lovers we mortals be!

[Nick Gabriel, Kathleen Early, Dana Green and Tobie Windham in South Coast Repertory's 2011 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare.  Photo by Henry DiRocco/SCR.]


Meanwhile, the fairy king and queen, Oberon & Titania, are experiencing a relational dilemma of their own. Oberon is angry with Titania for taking possession of an Indian boy whom she refuses to give up to be Oberon's henchman. Queen or not, to defy the king is not kosher in this fairy kingdom. To get back at her, Oberon has his assistant, Puck, put the aforementioned love potion into Titania's eyes, setting her up to fall in love with the first beast or animal she sees when she wakes.

[Elijah Alexander and Susannah Schulman in South Coast Repertory's 2011 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare. Photo by Henry DiRocco/SCR.]

While all this heavy love and fairy action is taking place, a group of common laboring men are rehearsing a play to present to the Athenian king and queen- Theseus and Hippolyta- at their upcoming wedding reception. This ragtag group of dudes provides much (but certainly not all) of the comedic relief of the play. Keep your eyes out for Hal Landon, Jr., who you should recognize as Scrooge from SCR's annual production of A Christmas Carol.

[(l. to r.) Hal Landon Jr., Richard Doyle, Patrick Kerr, William Francis McGuire, Michael Manuel and John-David Keller in South Coast Repertory's 2011 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare. Photo by Henry DiRocco/SCR.]

[(l. to r.) John-David Keller, Patrick Kerr, Michael Manuel, Richard Doyle, Hal Landon Jr., and William Francis McGuire in South Coast Repertory's 2011 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare. Photo by Henry DiRocco/SCR.]

Back to the fairy king and queen's marital tiff: Puck comes upon the rehearsing laborers and transforms the central actor, Bottom, into a donkey. Well, he turns his head into the head of a donkey. Many jokes regarding asses ensue. Titania awakes and falls for Bottom, who has the head of an ass, and Oberon's plan to humiliate her is well underway.

[(clockwise from bottom left) Dylan DoVale, Ryan Jones, Jaycob Hunter, Jordan Bellow, Rudy Martinez, Emmett Lee Stang, Susannah Schulman, Jennifer Stang and Patrick Kerr in South Coast Repertory's 2011 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare. Photo by Henry DiRocco/SCR.]


Without giving away much more of the story, I'll simply say that what follows is nothing short of hilarious and well-played by all involved. At the end of the play, when most play-goers settle into a comfortable lethargy at the story's resolution, this story stirs its viewers into fits of laughter for the funniest scene of all.

[Richard Doyle and Patrick Kerr in South Coast Repertory's 2011 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare. Photo by Henry DiRocco/SCR.]

Also, in this unique and intriguing production of the classic play, the fairies at times burst into dance and song set to psychedelic soul music. And why shouldn't they? I'd do the same thing if I were a fairy, methinks.

[Susannah Schulman in South Coast Repertory's 2011 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare. Photo by Henry DiRocco/SCR.]



All that to say, you simply won't want to miss this one. Each actor shines in his/her own right, and the individual charms and quirks of each fit swimmingly into the play's action, making it a stunning production overall.

For tickets or further info, visit SCR's website.

-Blythe

on my iTunes: Feist's "1 2 3 4"

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The February issue is here!


The time is finally here! The February issue of The OC Gazette is out! Another bonus of this week is the Super Bowl XLV on Sunday. A double whammy, as they say! Turns out the Steelers are fans of The OCG (see photo of enthusiastic Steeler toting the new issue*)!

This issue contains all kinds of nuggets, like: Dr. Marangu's Age Management Medicine (Lose weight and feel great, safely and effectively with the Metabolic HCG Diet!), Off the record with Debbie Reynolds, the Art of Cake Making at Cinderella Cakes Bakery, Spotlight on Soroptimst International, the History of Lake Forest, our 3rd Annual Why We Love OC editorial, and more!

Click here to find out how to nab your own copy, or click here to flip through a virtual issue online.

Happy February and happy reading!

-Blythe
on my iTunes: St. Vincent's "Marrow"

*The OCG makes no official claim as to the validity of this photo, or loyalty to the Steelers.

Little Red Dress Cocktail Party


The only thing better than a great night out with girlfriends or your main squeeze is a great night out in honor of an incredible cause. Tomorrow, February 4th, The St. Regis Monarch Beach is celebrating with a Little Red Dress Cocktail Party at Michael Mina's Stonehill Tavern featuring a selection of delicious and heart-healthy menu items and the newly unveiled, exclusive Rose Petal Martini. A portion of proceeds from the signature Go Red For Women items will benefit the American Heart Association (AHA). And the best part is that all attendees who wear any piece of red clothing in honor of National Wear Red Day will receive a complimentary Rose Petal Martini!

Guests and locals are invited to continue the celebration in the Lobby Lounge and to make a night of it with A Time for Pleasure, offering 20% off stays. Rate code: PLEASURE.

When:             Friday, February 4, 2011
                        6 – 10pm
                       
Where:            STONEHILL TAVERN
                        The St. Regis Monarch Beach
                        One Monarch Beach Resort
                        Dana Point, CA  92629

Admission to the Little Red Dress Cocktail Party is complimentary.  For dinner or resort reservations, please call 1.800.722.1543 or visit www.stregismb.com.

For more information about the Little Red Dress Cocktail Party, Jenn Myres, Amie Rubenstein or Courtney Geesey at Glodow Nead Communications, 415.394.6500 or jenn@glodownead.com

-Blythe

on my blip: Jenny Lewis & the Watson Twins' "Happy"
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