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9 Tips to Save on Holiday ShoppingFeatured

Between navigating stores, searching for items at the top of wish lists and preparing for inevitable delays and last-minute requests, shopping for the holidays can make the most wonderful time of the year one of the most stressful times as well. Even though the holidays seem to creep up faster and faster every year, and inflation adds an additional worry, there is still hope for your budget this season. To help reduce stress and avoid overspending on gifts, consider these money-saving tips from Regina Conway, consumer expert for Slickdeals, a one-of-a-kind online community of shoppers working together to shop smarter and save more. Avoid procrastinating. Due to shifting shopping habits, there may be excess inventory in certain categories such as home goods. While it’s possible categories with extra inventory may see deep discounts later in the holiday season, don’t expect every item you want to be available at the last minute. Set your budget with hidden costs in mind. When setting budgets, many people stop at the number they think they’ll spend on gifts alone. Make sure to factor in additional costs such as child or pet care services, shipping fees and travel costs so there are no surprises. Tap…

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in Featured, Food & Drinks, SoCal Trends

Post-Thanksgiving Tips & TricksFeatured

We all know that Thanksgiving comes with all the yummy family-favorite recipes that include lots of sugar and carbohydrates. For some, this is more calories than you eat in a week you will consume in one day. While one day of overindulgence isn’t too disruptive if you get back on track the following day, but it can cause some digestion issues the night of and the morning after. Here are some tips and tricks that I often recommend following just prior to going to bed and first thing in the morning. 1.    Thanksgiving evening you might feel a little thirsty. This is due to the salt that is added to the food. In addition, it could also be related to any alcohol that you consumed. Your body is reacting to dehydration. So, drink some water before you go to bed. I would suggest lemon water. Lemon water has a natural acidity to it which helps remove fatty acids in the system and create balance during digestion. Also, continuing to drink water throughout the day, and reducing drinks that create dehydration (coffee, tea, or other energy drinks) will help. This brings us to my second tip.  2.    Let’s talk about why you might be…

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in Food & Drinks, Things To Do
Health Conscious Winter Recipe
March 22, 2020
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in Food & Drinks

Healthier Green Beans Almondine RecipeFeatured

Green Beans Almondine is simply green beans dressed in butter, almonds, and a squeeze of lemon. Sometimes I add garlic or shallots to the beans, but it’s also good without. This is a side dish at most Thanksgiving tables. Its quick and easy and I have a bit of a twist to keep it healthier and use the calories elsewhere. With Thanksgiving being one of the biggest meals of the year with lots of carbs and sweet treats, green beans are the perfect low carb side because, not only are they are low in carbohydrates, they are high in fiber. In fact, 1 cup of raw green beans (4 ounces) has 8 grams total carbs and 4 grams fiber for a net carb count of 4 grams. Prep Work Line a sheet pan with foil and spray with avocado oil.  Preheat oven to 400 F  Ingredients 1 pound trimmed green beans 2 tablespoons oil  1/2 cup flaked or slivered almonds (reserve half for just before serving)  1 tbsp lemon juice cracked pepper to taste sea salt to taste Optional (either, not both) 1 tbsp shallots, minced 1 clove garlic, minced Instructions Wash and trim the green beans, cutting on an angle for a cleaner look. If using garlic or shallots, mince. Roll the lemon…

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in Food & Drinks, Things To Do
Health Conscious Winter Recipe
March 22, 2020
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in Food & Drinks

Not Your Average Apple PieFeatured

When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of Apple Pie!!! What I found I like about the pie is the apples – so one year, an idea popped in my head.  What if I made extra apples for me and ate them separately?  I could still have some whip cream on top and by eliminating the crust, I would save the calories. That was nine years ago, and it’s still the way I prefer to eat my apple pie – without the crust!  So, if you want a healthy yet sweet way to use apples and if you don’t want to make an apple pie or applesauce… how about this Healthy Cinnamon Apple recipe!  I found this recipe years ago but have changed it over the years because I like more nutmeg and clove flavoring and I reduce the allspice. Ingredients 4-5 pounds apples cored and sliced (not too thin, or they will break up.  I like to cut each apple into 8 wedges) 2 tablespoons butter 1/4 cup unsweetened apple juice 1/4 cup sugar-free sweetener or honey 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon allspice 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 1/8 teaspoon clove (optional) 2-3 teaspoons arrowroot or organic cornstarch or…

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in Featured, Pets & Wildlife, Things To Do

Camping With Your KiddosFeatured

By Maria del Cisne Vital   Camping is a great way to teach your kids the importance of the outdoors and to spend some quality time together. Ditch the technology, take in your surroundings, and become one with nature at these kid-friendly SoCal camping spots:   Black Rock Campground in Joshua Tree National Park One of two camping sites that can be reserved at Joshua Tree, Black Rock is a great place for family camping because of its beauty and accessibility. It is located on the edge of the park, and it lies within one of the thickest Joshua tree forests. It is ideal for RV camping, but also has amenities (showers and laundry) within five miles. Keep your eyes peeled for the elusive desert tortoise and other desert creatures! Waking up for an early morning hike will be a truly breath-taking experience for the whole family as you watch the sun rise over the desert. https://www.recreation.gov/camping/black-rock-campground/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=70953   Crystal Cove State Park’s Moro Campground Who needs a white noise app when you can get the real thing at Moro Campground? Fall asleep and wake up to the beautiful sounds of the Pacific at this campground. You can enjoy the beauty…

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8 Steps to Get Your Mojo Back This Summer
July 21, 2022
in Pets & Wildlife, Things To Do, Uncategorized
The Best Hikes in Los Angeles
June 20, 2022
in Featured, Things To Do
Father’s Day Fun
June 14, 2018
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in Destinations & Landmarks, Family Fun, Things To Do

Stress Less on Your Next Family VacationFeatured

A vacation is all about getting away and taking a break from the pressures of daily life. Some smart planning and the use of handy travel apps can help ensure your next adventure is a stress-free success. Create a Travel Buffer When booking your trip, plan an extra day or two on the front and back ends of your travel itinerary. This provides you with optimal time to finalize preparations, organize your packing and avoid last-minute scrambles. On the return trip, the added day gives you some cushion so you don’t have to stress about getting back to work if there are travel delays. You’ll also have a chance to unpack, unwind and settle back into your home before diving back into your daily grind. Get Smart About Saving One easy way to take the stress out of vacation planning is to use digital resources to save time and money. An option like a sightseeing pass from Go City offers savings on attractions and activities. A single pass grants access to multiple iconic landmarks and unmissable experiences in more than 25 cities across four continents. For example, in San Antonio you can take advantage of a Natural Bridge Caverns discovery…

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in Food & Drinks

Host a Hall of Fame HomegateFeatured

From kickoff to the final whistle, taking your game day party to the next level starts with serving an all-star lineup of menu items. From starting-caliber appetizers to MVP-level main courses and a supporting cast of side dishes, dips like salsa and hummus can play the role of superstar when it comes to serving up game day grub. One of the benefits of cheering on your favorite teams from the couch and bringing the tailgate to your literal home field is the availability of appliances you may not otherwise have access to at the stadium like the oven or air fryer. However, that doesn’t mean missing out on the action and being sidelined in the kitchen all game or that these recipes won’t travel to a tailgate. With a flavor-packed, vibrant recipe, the lineup of Fresh Cravings Salsa offers a homemade-tasting alternative to softer, duller blends of jarred salsa. Made with high-quality ingredients like vine-ripened tomatoes, crisp vegetables, zesty peppers and spices, the salsas make a perfect addition to these recipes from celebrity chef and entertainer George Duran, author of “Take This Dish and Twist It” and host of Food Network’s “Ham on the Street” and TLC’s “Ultimate Cake Off.”…

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in Food & Drinks

Temecula Valley’s Second Annual CraftHop Celebrates Booming Craft Brewery SceneFeatured

Visit Temecula Valley will host the second annual CraftHop festival the weekend of Nov. 11-13, where guests can rub elbows with esteemed local brew masters and enjoy an innovative assortment of craft beers, mead, and spirits. Designed as a self-guided tour with no tickets required and a map available to download, CraftHop participants will receive a highly collectible, limited-edition logo glass at each stop. Long established as a premiere destination for wine lovers, Temecula Valley is also becoming a popular stop for craft beer lovers and currently boasts nearly 20 breweries, meaderies and distilleries. With more than 3 million visitors expected to the area this year, the Temecula Valley is poised for growth as a Southern California hub for beer aficionados. Participating CraftHop taprooms will offer guests a signature drink and, of course, a chance to taste a wide variety of brews including hazy IPAs, pale ales, malty stouts, and barrel-aged strong ales, just to name a few. Some will also offer complimentary food items. CraftHop visitors are encouraged to book an overnight stay for a safe and leisurely tasting experience and for extra time to enjoy Old Town Temecula, farm-to-table dining, and the Valley’s many outdoor recreational activities. For up-to-date activities, events, and lodging options, visit www.visittemeculavalley.com. “Temecula Valley is well-known for…

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in Food & Drinks

Terranea Resort Appoints Michelin-Starred Chef Fabio Ugoletti To Signature Dining Destination mar’selFeatured

Terranea Resort has named Michelin-starred Fabio Ugoletti as the new Chef de Cuisine of mar’sel, the resort’s signature restaurant. One of Southern California’s premier fine dining destinations, mar’sel offers an inventive twist on elevated California cuisine in a spectacular oceanfront setting located along the prestigious Palos Verdes Peninsula. “We are excited to welcome Chef Fabio to our flagship restaurant mar’sel,” says Terranea Resort Executive Chef Chef Andrew Vaughan. “He brings a wealth of culinary knowledge to our restaurant and a new level of culinary expertise to Terranea with more than a decade developing his talents in highly rated restaurants across the globe while learning from the most respected chefs of our generation. His keen eye and strong focus on fresh seafood and pasta are sure to continue mar’sel’s legacy as one of the area’s must-visit culinary destinations.” An Italian native, the Michelin-starred Chef Ugoletti has worked in luxury fine dining establishments all over the world. In the Chianti region of Tuscany, he served as an Executive Chef at Al Gallopapa, the prestigious one-star Michelin restaurant in Castellina. Ugoletti has also served a gastronomic consultant in countries including China, Poland, Sweden, Korea, United States, and Lithuania, and worked in partnership with the…

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in Family Fun, Featured, Food & Drinks

Head-Turning 20-Inch Pizza Slices Return to Mickey’s Deli in Hermosa Beach for National Pizza Month Featured

Mickey’s Italian Deli & Pizzeria, one of the most popular Italian restaurants in the Hermosa Beach area of Los Angeles, has officially announced that it will be bringing back one of its favorite deals this October in celebration of National Pizza Month.  From October 1 to October 30, Mickey’s will bring back its signature 20-inch pizza slices for just $17.75, which puts the “larger than a regular pizza” slices in the same general price range as most traditional pizzas. These eye-popping 20-inch slices of authentic Italian pizza promise to pack delicious taste in each bite, catch the attention of passersby, and fill even the most hungry, watering mouths. The classic slice is made with Mickey’s popular handmade pizza dough and topped with the deli’s homemade tomato sauce and fine mozzarella. Various other toppings are available for just $1.99 “Our pizza is truly authentic, and we are excited to bring back this deal everyone has come to love during National Pizza Month so they can enjoy a signature 20-inch pizza slice,” remarked Paul Mance, Mickey’s son and owner of Mickey’s Italian Deli & Pizzeria. “This was very popular last year, and we are grateful for everyone who turned out to get…

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in Food & Drinks

San Diego’s Not So Spooky SpiritsFeatured

Spooky season is just around the corner, so what better way to celebrate than with some spirits? And for those scared of ghosts and ghouls, there’s no need to fret because there’s nothing scary about these spirits. San Diego’s nickname “Capital of Craft” extends far past beer and cocktail programs to an array of liquors, including whiskey, gin, vodka, rum, agave spirits and more, brewed right here in San Diego. Whether curious travelers prefer a traditional tipple — dark or clear — or fancy an experimental liquor brewed with pomegranate or pumpkin, there’s a place to punch up everyone’s drinking agenda. Dancing with the Devil’s Share American Whiskey From the head brewer at one of San Diego’s famous breweries, Ballast Point Brewing, comes Cutwater Spirits with an award-winning portfolio of spirits that include whiskey, vodka, gin, rum, tequila and liqueurs that are incorporated into canned cocktails available nationwide. Visitors can get their drink on at Ballast Point’s 50,000-square-foot distillery, tasting room and restaurant combo in San Diego’s Miramar neighborhood. Whiskey lovers should be sure to try the distillery’s Devil’s Share American Whiskey, rich in woody caramel and vanilla notes backed by hints of cinnamon, cardamom and licorice.  A Cauldron of California Coastal Gin…

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in Things To Do

4 Fall Activities to Explore in and Around LompocFeatured

Fall is an ideal time to tour Southern California. The temperatures drop a bit and the humidity backs off, making outdoor adventures more enjoyable. If you’re looking for fun weekend activities, look no further than Lompoc.  Whether you spend the day in historic Old Town or venture just outside the city borders into the sprawling hills of wine country, you have a variety of activities to choose from.  Consider these fall activities: Take a self-guided mural tour Head to Old Town, the historic heart of the city, to see 30+ murals that dot the roadsides. Some larger-than-life murals stretch across buildings while others liven up narrow alleyways.  Download the mural map before you go and park at the Lompoc Chamber of Commerce to kick off your tour. You’ll find about 20 murals near Art Alley, which is right near the parking lot.  Explore the murals, snap some photos, and then grab a drink and a quick bite at South Side Coffee Co. before you go.  Explore La Purisima Mission An estimated 200,000 visitors tour La Purisima Mission each year and with good reason. It is the most extensively restored mission in the state of California! With restored buildings, picnic facilities,…

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in Food & Drinks, Things To Do

Westside Food, Wine & Spirits FestivalFeatured

Sunday October 23rd the Westside Food, Wine & Spirits Festival benefiting the Westside Food Bank returns to the Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo. Festivities will take place both inside the museum providing you an opportunity for photos with many of the classic autos along with more activities and attractions outside. There will be a tasty fun blend of food, alcoholic & non-alcoholic drinks, and more. This 7th edition of the festival will showcase a variety of Southern California’s best culinary talent, finest wines, and spirit makers. A variety of 25+ Restaurants, Caterers, Wine, Craft Spirits and Breweries, and Non-alcoholic drink exhibitors will be serving delectable samples. Gates open early for VIP entry at 1pm, 2pm for GA entry until 5pm. Your ticket also includes live music outside and DJ inside the ballroom, Complimentary Photo Booth & Caricature Drawings. Strolling Magic by Paul – the Psychic magician who reached the Semi-Finals of America’s Got Talent, Silent Auction, and Sponsors showcasing their products. Tickets: westsidefestivals.ticketsauce.com Use promo code “solcal” for discounted tickets! Follow our instagram and facebook pages for announcements on this years participating exhibitors and more @wfwinefestival

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in Destinations & Landmarks, Featured

5 Best Southland Beaches to Visit in the FallFeatured

Summer in SoCal is the best time to go to the beach, which is why most are so crowded. But the fall is even better because the beaches are just as spectacular, but much less crowded. If you’re looking for a little piece of peace, be sure to visit these secluded pockets of heaven. Trestles beach, or just Trestles, is a mystery beach for sunbathers but a home to surfers. It’s divided into sections; Church, Middles, Lowers, Uppers and Cottons; depending on surfer skill level. Located in San Clemente, the beach is known for taking a while to get to but being one of the most gorgeous in the area. After parking, take a hike through brush and trees, under Interstate 5, over a small hill and a straight trail walk before reaching the beach. During the hike, you’re likely to run into beautiful views and some wildlife, so have your camera ready. Since Laguna is a hotspot for beachgoers, weekends are often overcrowded. With Wood’s Cove, skip the hordes of people all together. The rocks on the shore make the beach less popular because surfing is too dangerous, but the water is more turquoise and the beach is perfect…

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in Destinations & Landmarks, Featured

Camping in CatalinaFeatured

Catalina —  a fabulous Southern California spot with land and water adventures that can be enjoyed on every budget. A less expensive, romantic and often overlooked way to explore the magical island with family or a significant other is at one of the five camping sites. The Two Harbors Campground offers both tent camping and cabins which sleep up to six people. This site features 42 individual sites and three group-camping areas. For campground facilities, rangers rent equipment. The Parsons’ Landing Campground is a bring-your-own supplies locale with eight campsites which can accommodate up to six people. It is accessible only via a hike or kayak trip. The Black Jack Campground offers select camping equipment rentals for their 11-site facility which is accessible only by hiking, taking the Airport Shuttle or by Safari Bus. Little Harbor Campground is on the backside of Catalina, right on the beach, accessible by Safari Bus, biking or a somewhat strenuous hike. Select equipment is available for rent. Hermit Gulch Campground is the only campground within Avalon’s city limits, so it is close to the many things town has offer such as groceries, shopping and nightlife. This locale offers a tent cabin rental that sleeps…

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in Food & Drinks

The Power Of The Playlist – How Restaurants Aim To Satisfy All The SensesFeatured

When Carlos Alzaola dips in and out of the various indoor and outdoor zones of the Cloverfield in Santa Monica and surveys the scene, a sixth sense tells the assistant general manager what sounds the crowd needs to subliminally enhance their dining experience.  Restaurants still struggle post-pandemic and are constantly coming up with strategies to bring in new and returning customers. Because dining out is a multi-sensory experience, a huge amount of time, money and consideration is put into restaurant playlists. Many say that it makes the difference between one mimosa and a bottomless brunch. In addition to his regular managerial duties, Alzaola spends almost an hour daily on compiling the lists made up of different artists and styles, relative to the vibe of the day or night.   “Depending on if people are enjoying the moment, it tells me if I should switch over to another list or not,” the former Patina chef, who spent years absorbing the sounds of the Walt Disney Hall and Hollywood Bowl, tells L.A. Weekly. “It really depends on the flow of the day. On Fridays, I love to play acid jazz, Herbie Hancock and John Scofield. People come in at the end of the…

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in Family Fun, SoCal Trends, Things To Do

OC’s Bucket List ChallengeFeatured

Immerse yourself in the ultimate Orange County vacation by exploring hot spots that the locals don’t want you to know about. Our bucket list has something for everyone from cruising scenic harbors, hiking to breath-taking vistas and getting sworn in as a pirate to discovering hidden restaurants and splashing around one of the longest water park lazy rivers.  1.)Drop 96 Degrees on California’s First Dive Coaster, HangTimeEnjoy over 30 exhilarating rides including the famous Timber Mountain Log Ride, visit the loveable Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang at Camp Snoopy and pan for gold at the only authentic 1880’s Ghost Town at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park. 2.)Be a VIP at the West Coast’s Largest Shopping CenterSouth Coast Plaza is Southern California’s premier shopping destination and home to over 250 boutiques, personal shopping services and upscale amenities.  3.) Hike Past Ancient Oak GrovesIrvine Open Space Preserve invites visitors to hike past ancient oak and sycamore groves and rough rock outcrops in Bommer Canyon; conquer the three-mile Orchard Hills loop for a breath-taking vista from Loma Ridge that consumes the coastal ridge; and explore Irvine’s southern wilderness via the Quail Hill Trail, the only trail that allows dogs. 4.) Cheer on Your Favorite KnightAt Medieval…

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in Pets & Wildlife, SoCal Trends, Sports & Adventures, Things To Do

GlampingFeatured

Gotta be honest: We’re not campers. Two small Jewish women from the city go camping sounds like the start of a joke or the end of a serial killing spree. I know, I know, stereotypes. But in this instance, they’re true. We don’t own a tent, or camp stove, or camping, well, anything, unless sleeping bags and hiking boots count. That said, one of us is otherwise a fan of waking up surrounded by nature and the other is a fan of comfortable accommodations that don’t require set up or clean up and allow the dog. In other words, glamping – glamorous + camping – was invented for semi-outdoorsy families like ours. Especially when it’s less than two hours from home, in southern California wine country, and surrounded by cute towns filled with shops we can meander during some seriously hot afternoons. We – that’s me, my 18-year-old daughter and our 12-pound pup – found our way easily from Los Angeles to Eco-Camps’ glampsite in Warner Springs, maybe 30 minutes southeast of Temecula, entered the combination to the lock on the gate to the property, parked the car, and hauled our luggage (I won’t embarrass myself by using the word…

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in Family Fun, Things To Do

10 Intriguing Stops for your next Southern California Road TripFeatured

A southern California road trip is the perfect escape because road trips are often more than the destinations. Hop in the car, hit the open road, and holler the lyrics to California Dreamin’. Satiate your curiosity with a stop at one of these Golden State wonders on your next automotive adventure.  Santa Barbara Bird Sanctuary  This unusual haven in Summerland rescues unwanted and displaced birds. Learn about the recovery stories of over 30 abused, abandoned, injured, and orphaned birds with a 45-minute tour from a caring docent. It’s impossible to not want to donate to these feathered friends who might even talk back or sing to you.  Ojai Olive Oil Ranch Sample olive oil at the oldest and largest extra virgin olive oil producer in the Ojai valley. The farm boasts 150-year old olive trees, including French, Italian, and Spanish varieties with some trees over 200 years old. Today 2,500 trees plus neighboring olive groves are handpicked. After learning about the growing, harvest, and production, taste infused varieties such as basil, garlic, Ojai Pixie, lemon, rosemary, and Tuscan herbs. Bring home gifts of Ojai Olive Oil known for its polyphenols and brain health ingredients.  Oxnard’s Gondola Paradiso  Cruise around the…

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in Destinations & Landmarks, Featured

Restful Reset in Pismo BeachFeatured

Pismo Beach – all things to all people — couples, families and even dogs — elegant and rustic, relaxing and adventurous, beaches and trails, romantic and just sheer fun.  Sun yourself or surf at the beach, bike or hike on the trails and bring your pup along as long as he’s on a leash, dinner for two or lots of kid-friendly things to do. It’s all there and just a three-hour car ride from Los Angeles. “What’s unique about Pismo is we’re a beach community with oceanfront hotels and affordable vacation rentals and one of our unique selling points is we have a wine region with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay just about 10 minutes away,” says resident John Sorgenfrei.  “With the gasoline prices, it’s just about a tank of gas to get up here from Southern California and once you’re here, you really don’t have to go very far to enjoy yourself,” Sorgenfrei continues. “There’s the wine region and there are tasting rooms within the town itself, and a variety of different kinds of dining.” There is also an assortment of places to stay that offer different price points including many oceanfront hotels like the magnificent Cliffs Hotel and Spa,…

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in Family Fun, Featured, Things To Do

Seas The Day in Mission BayFeatured

As summer heats up in SoCal, many residents are looking to cool off and head to the coast. While California offers an abundance of beach towns, Southern California shores provide flawless weather and warmer water (for California) year-round. From Santa Barbara to San Diego, a quick beach escape is just a car (or train) ride away.  For a diverse land and sea vacation, check out Mission Bay in San Diego. A hidden gem filled with more than just beautiful beaches and amusement parks, Mission Bay is ideal for family vacations, solo trips, romantic getaways or whatever may send you miles away from your home.  Mission Bay offers 27 miles of picturesque coastline and 12 miles of a paved path perfect for all explorers on foot or wheels. Pass through miles of oceanfront theme parks, resorts, playgrounds, restaurants and the boardwalk. Home to the iconic Giant Dipper Roller Coaster, beachgoers can visit the Belmont Park while exploring the boardwalk.  From the popular Pacific Beach to Mission Beach to Ocean Beach, sunbathers have a plethora of seaside shoreline to decompress and unwind. Want to bring your fido friend? Check out Fiesta Island for one of the best dog-friendly beaches in the area….

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in Things To Do

Bring Your Pals And Confidants To The Golden Girls Kitchen In Beverly HillsFeatured

In celebration of National Golden Girls Day, a six-month pop-up Golden Girls Kitchen opens in Beverly Hills on Saturday, July 30, as the start of a countrywide tour that will include New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Miami, where the Emmy Award-winning show was set. The sitcom, created by Susan Harris, ran from 1985 to 1992, and starred Rue McClanahan, Bea Arthur, Estelle Getty and Betty White, the last surviving member who died this past December. The four older women shared a home, spending many days and nights discussing life’s ups and downs over cheesecake in the kitchen. Nostalgic pop-up meister Derek Berry, who brought Saved by the Max, Good Burger and The Peach Pit dining experiences to life, teamed up with the Bucket Listers events site for a fully immersive restaurant experience. They recreated the famous kitchen, character Blanche’s notorious bedroom, and designed an original menu that includes the roommates’ iconic dessert provided by L.A.’s own East Side Cheesecakes, in chocolate, strawberry, pumpkin and Oreo flavors. Also on the menu are Sophia’s lasagna al forno, made by L.A. chef Royce Burke, as well as Miami-style Cuban sandwiches and a selection of St. Olaf sweets like Sperheoven Krispies, Genurkenflurgen Cake and Blanche’s…

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in Things To Do

Eco-Friendly Ways to Experience the Hollywood SignFeatured

In its mission to protect and preserve the Hollywood Sign for generations to come, the Hollywood Sign Trust shares fun and eco-friendly ways to enjoy The Hollywood Sign. From stunning hiking trails to picnic spots in Griffith Park, the Trust urges residents and visitors to enjoy the Sign without taxing the environment. And while there, explore the native plants and animals that call the Hollywood Sign home. “The Hollywood Sign is the entertainment industry’s biggest star. We want people to embrace its vibrant history while helping to preserve its future,” said Jeff Zarrinnam, chair of the Hollywood Sign Trust. “As the Sign approaches its 100 anniversary in 2023, it’s a perfect time to commit to protecting the urban wilderness that surrounds this beloved monument representing the hopes and dreams of people worldwide.” Eight Eco-Friendly Ways to Experience The Hollywood Sign This Summer 1) Stunning views of the Hollywood Sign unfold on Griffith Park’s hiking trails Making a pledge to go green? Always stick to approved hiking trails, never litter, and be sure to bring water in reusable bottles. It’s also important to remember that no open flames are permitted in the Park. The Trust’s top three trails — Mt. Hollywood,…

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in Featured, Things To Do

8 Steps to Get Your Mojo Back This SummerFeatured

By Dr. Sherrie Campbell New beginnings are the most exciting and energizing times in life. Summer is always a new beginning because it’s a new season. Now is a great time to get fired up, motivated, and start making changes to get to your next level of YOU. Mojo is that magical charisma you carry that makes you feel good and infectious to others. Most of you are great starters but not all are great finishers. If you have lost your mojo and want to be a better you for summer, commit to a new beginning right now. Here are 7 ways to get your mojo back and keep it flourishing: 1. Change your environment: Change the environments in your life which are now grey and uninspiring.  Do some of your work out of the office, redecorate your house and add more color, spend time on your patio, leave your cubical and go out for lunch. If you are getting tired, get up and move to another room. Add music or white noise to create something soothing. Changing the appearance and location of your differing environments helps you to think in more different and innovative ways. The more innovative you…

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Featured
in Destinations & Landmarks, Featured, Things To Do

Enticing EscondidoFeatured

Escondido may not be the first thing that strikes you as you consider vacation destinations, but don’t write off this Northern San Diego town too quickly. Just 30 miles northeast of downtown San Diego, 15 miles from the Ocean and 40 miles from the Mexican border, this town with population 150,000 offers more than meets the eye.  WHERE TO STAY Welk Resorts San Diego ‘welkomes you home’ to 450 acres of luxurious resort style living complete with 2 golf courses and lighted tennis courts. The 5 different recreation centers offer a host of activities for the whole family. You can plan to spend the entire day at either Mountain Springs or Boulder Springs pools, both of which have waterslides, snack shacks which serve sandwiches and mixed cocktails. Cabanas are available to rent for the day which provide a welcome respite from the blazing sun in the height of summer. The 1-3-bedroom villas (think little apartments, complete with full kitchen and living room depending on the size and location you pick) are tastefully scattered throughout the property and many offer golf course views. Barbeque grills are sprinkled around the premises, so if you’d rather cook than dine out, you’re covered. The…

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Keep the Fun AfloatFeatured

5 tips to make watersport adventures safe this summer For those who enjoy outdoor and active summer lifestyles, water entertainment may be the way to go. Racing the waves with the wind flowing through your hair can be a fun and exhilarating way to enjoy fresh air; a dip in a cool lake can also help keep the heat at bay on hot summer days. Despite world events over the past year, the watersports lifestyle is thriving – potentially due to the nature of personal watercraft riding and ability to practice social distancing. In fact, powerboat sales reached record highs, and while that momentum has slowed some in 2021, personal watercraft sales are still surging – up 77% over 2020, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. This growth means there are lots of new riders on the water, and that can affect the safety of riders both experienced and new. Respecting riding etiquette, wearing protective gear and being conscious of the environment can help ensure riders have fun and continue to enjoy access to watersports. The team at Sea-Doo, a global leader in personal watercrafts, shares this advice to help keep everyone safe while having fun on the water: Know…

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Family Comes First at These SoCal WineriesFeatured

By Maria del Cisne Vital Whether you prefer crisp Pinot Grigio, dry Chianti, or summer Rosé, California is the destination for any and every type of wine. The iconic Napa and Sonoma Valleys of NorCal are the titans of tannins. Meanwhile, SoCal can take pride in Temecula, Malibu and more growing wineries and vineyards. One feat that is hard to beat is the inviting and warm energy provided at SoCal’s family-owned wineries. With intimate settings and exclusive wines, check out these spots to feel right at home with a glass in hand. Carhartt Vineyard For three generations, the Carhartt family has grown with Rancho Santa Ynez and transformed it into what it is today— 22 acres of land meant for farming grapes and creating craft wines. Their “ground to glass” approach is what allows this Santa Barbara spot to distribute high quality and sustainable products. Stop by the Carhartt Cabin, a tasting room that has 20 different wines to try throughout the year (they only close on Christmas Day). The Carhartt family insists on keeping their business and customers close, so their wines are only distributed online or in their tasting room. 2939 Grand Ave., Los Olivos, 805-693-5100, carharttvineyard.com. Wilson…

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Sunny Summertime Safety TipsFeatured

A bright, sunny day offers opportunities for warm-weather fun. To make the most of your summer, you’ll need to take a few steps to enhance the experience and ensure you’re ready for whatever the day may bring. When it’s time to head outside, consider these tips from the experts at CURAD® to protect your body (and skin) from the elements this summer: Protect Skin from UV Rays Any time you’ll be outdoors for more than 15 minutes, you should wear protective sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, even if it’s partly cloudy or overcast. One mistake many people make is applying sunscreen before they leave the house then not reapplying throughout the day. To help protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, reapply sunscreen at least every two hours and more frequently if you’re swimming or sweating. Also be sure to cover all exposed areas, including often overlooked spots like the tops of your ears, neck and tops of your feet, if they’re exposed by sandals or other open shoes. Stay Hydrated One of the most important ways to protect your health when you’re spending the day outdoors is staying hydrated, especially on warm days when you’re…

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in Pets & Wildlife, Things To Do, Uncategorized

The Best Hikes in Los AngelesFeatured

By Benny Haddad   As spring moves into summer, hiking season gears up into full swing. People come from around to enjoy our famed Mediterranean climate, and what better way to decompress and enjoy the sun than to hit the trails. Surrounding the bustling Los Angeles metropolitan area are a plethora of canyons, woodlands, and tall peaks with stunning vistas, and following this winter’s El Niño rains, they promise to be extra lush. Here are three of our favorite hikes that are sure to please locals and visitors alike.   Malibu Creek State Park: Easy – 3.3 Miles – 580 Feet elevation gain With more than 8,000 acres of rolling tallgrass plains, rugged peaks, and oak savannahs, Malibu Creek State Park is a beautiful and diverse hiking destination. This hike is an easy, family friendly trek following the Grasslands Trail to the Rock Pool. The trail starts from an unmarked parking area on Mulhulland Highway, just West of Las Virgenes Road and provides a gentle and scenic stroll over rolling hills and the eponymous grasslands. After rounding a hill it connects to the High Road. Overhung with shade-providing oak trees and following beside Malibu Creek, the High Road’s level trail…

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Best Places to Drink With a View in L.A. This SummerFeatured

With warmer weather on the horizon, we are sharing some of the best places to drink outdoors in and around L.A. this summer. Each spot offers a variety of refreshing summertime cocktails and mocktails, paired perfectly with unparalleled views of the city or water and prime outdoor patio seating for soaking in the sunshine. CASTAWAY | Burbank, CA ABOUT: Castaway has curated a whole new dining experience where everyone feels like a star, and every seat is magic. From the meat dry-aging room, floor-to-ceiling wine cellar and charcuterie station, to the breath-taking views of the valley and Los Angeles Skyline, Castaway is ready to serve Angelenos. SUMMER DRINK HIGHLIGHTS: Gin Membership – Monkey 47, Prosecco, Fever Tree Tonic with Juniper Berries, Dehydrated Citrus, Mint, Sage, Rosemary Paid Vacation ­– Ketel One, Passion Fruit, Purple Basil, Tarragon, Szechuan Flower THE GREEN ROOM | Burbank, CA ABOUT: Hidden within Castaway and inspired by the glamour of the entertainment industry’s talent suites, The Green Room has once again emerged onto Los Angeles’ cocktail scene, boasting an immersive hospitality experience and stunning, panoramic views of the city. SUMMER DRINK HIGHLIGHTS: Summer Nights – Grey Goose La Poire, Prickly Pear, Lemon, Champagne, Topped with Cotton Candy ODYSSEY | Granada Hills, CA ABOUT: Nestled…

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Miguel Andrade Brings A Taste Of Portugal To An Evening At Caldo VerdeFeatured

What looks to become a regular community event at Caldo Verde in the Proper Downton Los Angeles, Suzanne Goin and partner Caroline Styne welcomed Celebrating Portugal: The Cookbook contributor Miguel Andrade to the restaurant for a culinary discussion among chefs, and a multi-course meal made up of recipes from the book. Moderated by Goin and followed by a sitdown dinner, Andrade passionately discussed the history and evolution of Portuguese cuisine and origins of the book’s recipes that are heavily composed of soups, greens, beans, shellfish and pork, as well as the travels and discoveries the Portuguese chef shared with Goin and Styne in anticipation of opening Caldo Verde. “Everyone seems to connect Portugal with the Mediterranean countries,” Andrade told the rapt crowd as they sipped Portuguese Highballs and wines. “But, in fact, Portugal isn’t on the Mediterranean Sea, we are on the Atlantic, and our cuisine reflects that and makes it different from Spain, Italy or Greece. The waters of the Atlantic are much colder and rougher, which makes our seafood even better. On the other hand, because we were on the edge of Europe in the shadow of Spain, we didn’t have connections with other countries and originally there…

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La Jolla: The Jewel of San DiegoFeatured

There are many treasures of this Mediterranean-style village that make La Jolla one of the most sought-after vacation destinations in Southern California: luxurious and historic hotels and resorts; fine dining with breathtaking ocean views; retail shopping that rivals northern neighbors Rodeo Drive and South Coast Plaza; sophisticated, world-class arts and culture, and a strikingly beautiful setting complemented by endless outdoor recreational activities. Add to this extraordinary mix a rich history with numerous famous residents, from Gregory Peck to Ted Giesel (aka Dr. Seuss), and some of the nation’s leading scientific research centers, including the internationally renowned Salk Institute and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, and visitors can experience an unparalleled leisure holiday. The following are just some of the diverse offerings of La Jolla (pronounced “La Hoya”; translated from Spanish as “the jewel”) that guests can experience throughout the year. BEACHES AND WATER ACTIVITIES La Jolla’s beaches and coastline are considered to be some of the most beautiful settings in the world; its aqua waters provide endless options for fun and relaxation. Lifeguards watch over families splashing in the rocky shallows off La Jolla Cove, a small patch of sand tucked between weather-sculpted sandstone cliffs. This area’s breathtaking views are a favorite…

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Santa Catalina IslandFeatured

SoCal’s Favorite Island for Land and Sea Adventures An island vacation can bring to mind long flights and expensive accommodations, but just 22 miles off the coast of Southern California, Santa Catalina can satisfy that island urge with surprising convenience. As the southern-most region in Los Angeles County, Catalina Island is a lush 2.9 square miles of quaint shops, hotels, restaurants, a spa, and a variety of scenic tours that spotlight the area’s culture and history. Catalina has evolved into an active destination that offers water sports, camping, and programs that educate visitors about sustainability and environmental preservation. Think of it as an escape to a charming town on a remote island — except it’s not as remote as you may think. It’s a quick boat trip from SoCal, and with approximately 4,000 people who call it home, Catalina Island is particularly ideal for those who seek an uncongested getaway. Tourists can visit the island’s two primary communities: the city of Avalon at the east end and the unincorporated region of Two Harbors near the west. The small town of Avalon consists of a picturesque harbor, green hillsides dotted with homes and hotels, and narrow streets lined with shops and…

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Blaze your LA Taco TrailFeatured

One taco, two tacos, three tacos, four. Impossible to eat just one, especially when you live in Los Angeles and blistering tortillas stuffed with seafood or meat can be found on street carts, temporary set-ups, taquerias, and restaurants creating their own spin on this fast food staple. Tacos are ingrained in Southern California culture. Have you thought about where the fun sounding word “taco” came from? Miners in the late 1800’s brought tin lunch pails into the mines and sometimes used them to smuggle out high-grade ore while other miners brought their lunches wrapped in cloth bundles. It is said that Mexican miners were the first to describe rolled, filled tortillas as “tacos,” which originally meant a cigar-style explosive. The nickname ‘taco’ for the small charges of gunpowder wrapped in paper caught on.  Searching out tacos is a love language or a way of life in LA. Blaze your own Taco Trail. SOCALO in Santa Monica LA chef legends Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken opened this California Mexican restaurant, pouring out a sizeable taco menu with stand-outs like slow roasted Lamb Birria and Socal Dobladita concocted with roasted corn, kale, veggies, and chipotle aioli. Come for all-day Taco Tuesdays…

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Support Small BusinessFeatured

6 ways to help businesses in your community thrive Small business owners faced the challenges of the past couple of years head-on. Nearly all re-evaluated their operations to accommodate new ways of doing business amid changing safety standards and local protocols, and many plan to make these changes permanent. Choose to Shop Local and Small Small businesses are ingrained in many local communities. When you choose to purchase from a small business, you’re directly supporting neighbors, friends and the people in your community. This support isn’t taken for granted by entrepreneurs; small business owners noted the importance of community support amid the pandemic. Also consider leaving a generous tip when you receive exceptional service – it can make a big difference for small business staff. Gift Local Keep the impact that your support could have on local community businesses in mind when shopping for gifts, whether they’re for loved ones near or far. For locals, a gift card to a nearby eatery or business such as a spa, salon or recreation center makes for a welcome gift that keeps your money local. When gifting those who live farther away, you can still benefit small businesses in your community by purchasing…

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The Guide To O’sideFeatured

Oceanside is known for perfect weather, beautiful beaches and laidback vibes. Known as O’side by locals, and now SoCal Life readers, this cool Cali town is located in the heart of SoCal. This popular surf spot offers a beachy escape, with activities ranging from relaxing to heart racing. Whether you enjoy lounging on the beach, diving deep into history, eating amazing food or exploring someplace new, this eclectic area is filled with hidden gems only found in O’side. A fun way to explore Oceanside while getting a taste of history, culture and local favorites is with Carla and Linda’s Food Tour. These awesome ladies know the ins and outs of the best O’side eateries, and you’ll hear some fun facts along the way. They offer a variety of tours and often change things up to incorporate their new favorites. Come hungry and leave full! Oceanside can definitely be walked, but to cover ground fast, pick up an electric scooter or bike.  While riding around, check out the vibrant street murals. Get in touch with your creative side as you browse the beautiful artwork during a self-guided tour. O’side has around 30 murals with nine more on the way … more…

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Travel California with The Outlets at TejonFeatured

The Outlets at Tejon offers shoppers more than just great deals this year. Shop,  eat, refuel, and refresh at the Outlets at Tejon and the Oasis on I-5, and submit your receipts to the Travel Tejon sweepstakes for monthly opportunities to win luxury California getaways throughout the State.  Ojai, Napa, Disneyland, and San Diego are just a few of the many breathtaking vacations that could be yours when you participate in the Outlets’ monthly Travel Tejon sweepstakes. Most of the prizes include a two-night stay at famous 5-star hotels, and some even include gas cards, dinner and other perks as well. Participation is easy, all you have to do is pick up a Travel Tejon passport at the Outlets at Tejon’s Guest Services office in suite 170 and submit your receipts from any retailer located within the Outlets and the Oasis at I-5. Submissions can also be submitted online at www.tejonoutlets.com/travel-tejon. Each individual receipt equals one entry with no minimum amount required to qualify. The Travel Tejon sweepstakes will offer monthly getaways now through December 31, 2022 with amazing vacations throughout the State. “We are happy to promote California travel to help boost our economy and thank our guests for…

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Lake Life in Lake ArrowheadFeatured

Lake Arrowhead offers a nature-inspired vacation tucked away in the San Bernardino Mountains. Located just 90 miles from Los Angeles, 70 miles from Orange County and 90 miles from Palm Springs, Lake Arrowhead offers the ideal weekend escape for SoCal natives that don’t want to travel (too) far. From hotels to vacation rentals, there are plenty of places to lodge in Lake Arrowhead. While renting a cabin with friends and family may be fun, sometimes a quiet getaway is a must. One of our favorite spots to stay is Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa. The resort is centrally located in the heart of Lake Arrowhead village and walking distance to quaint shops and local eateries. From their rooms, guests are able to enjoy lavish lake and mountain views. The rustic retreat is furnished like a cabin would be, making it warm and inviting. It feels just like home. The resort also offers private balconies in select rooms. No need to change out of your jammies to take in the fresh air and gorgeous scenery from your own private patio. Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa hosts numerous events, with weddings being a hot commodity. The Lakeside Dock makes for one incredible…

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Santa Clara River Estuary: A Hidden Beach Bird PartyFeatured

At the Ventura Harbor Village, flocks of tourists pick through shops selling clunking bamboo chimes and fish-shaped ice cream cones. On the opposite side of Spinnaker Drive, surfers bob on the ocean’s surface waiting for the perfect set. However, a third unseen group gathers along Spinnaker – floating, eating and soaking up this seaside retreat. Just 400 yards from popular beach Surfer’s Knoll sits the Santa Clara River Estuary, a nature preserve where almost 280 species of birds have been observed.  The Santa Clara River Estuary is tucked along the Ventura coastline — less than three miles from Highway 101. Unknown to most spreading out their beach blankets, sits one of the richest bird watching environments in Southern California. And perhaps that is a good thing. An easy five-minute walk away is the protected habitat of the Western Snowy Plover, a small shorebird who nests in the sand above the high tide line. Once parked, follow the beach to the left at the shoreline (so as not to accidentally roam through a plover nest), past the signs and the dunes scraggly with invasive ice plants. The coastal playground evolves into habitat as bits of dried reeds and lost feathers litter…

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Find your Zen in one of these Southern California GardensFeatured

Wildfires, the pandemic lingering, nonstop traffic…the overall state of the world can feel anxiety producing. Take back your mental sanity by unplugging and spending time enjoying the benefits of one of these healing garden refuges. Breathe in the surroundings and exhale out blissful sentiments for your overall health and peace of mind.   Lotusland in Montecito This 37-acre botanical paradise in Montecito boasts 25 different gardens with rare cycads, cacti, palms, and euphorbias. Waltz around this horticulture nirvana through a Japanese garden, a rose garden, an insectary garden, and a shade palm garden where you can immerse yourself in bromeliads, succulents, and silvery blue-grey foliage. Tropical exotic blooms overhead, brightly colored seed explosions down below, pools with massive clam shells as water features, odd-looking worn statues from France, and symmetrical carved leaves are all part of the fantastical plot of land. Madame Ganna Walska and her sixth husband purchased the estate in 1941. She spent 43 years cultivating the plant utopia until her death at age 97. Book in advance for two hours of exploration.  Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage The former Annenberg estate welcomed presidents and royalty since the 1960’s thanks to publisher billionaire magnate Walter Annenberg, who created TV Guide,…

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Surf and Rescue: George Freeth and the Waterwoman Tradition in California Beach CultureFeatured

George Freeth (1883-1919) created the foundation of California beach culture by pioneering its two major activities: surfing and lifeguarding. His Native Hawaiian heritage and upbringing made him more progressive than most in the Progressive Era. At a time when women were not encouraged to compete seriously in sporting events, George Freeth taught them how to swim, row, dive, and surf. He entered them in state and regional tournaments even though their accomplishments were not officially recognized because the Amateur Athletic Union didn’t sanction women’s events until 1914. Freeth’s sense of beach culture always included women. He trained them hard and promoted their achievements. Although Freeth taught writer Jack London how to surf at Waikīkī in the summer of 1907, his work with women in many ways represents a counter-narrative to London’s hypermasculine stories of mastery and dominance in the surf. With some exceptions, Freeth’s egalitarian sense of wave riding — traditionally practiced by both sexes in Hawai‘I — was not the path that California surfers chose to follow in the decades after Freeth’s death. But it could have been. Freeth started coaching women soon after arriving in Venice in 1907. On Labor Day, 1908, two young swimmers known as the…

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Alisal Guest Ranch & ResortFeatured

Celebrating its 76th anniversary this year, The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort is one of more than 300 hotels and resorts throughout the country that is recognized for maintaining its history and distinguished architecture. “The Alisal,” in the Chumash language means “grove of the Sycamores,” which describes the backdrop of the celebrated ranch, located in the Santa Ynez Valley. The 10,500-acre property was once known as Rancho Nojoqui and is still a working ranch today.  The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort boasts 73 private guest cottages and suites, a 6,500-sq.ft. spa, swimming pool and fitness center. With an array of amenities and activities from which to choose, this renowned luxury dude ranch is the ideal destination for a fabulous family vacation, given the multitude of activities suitable for all ages and interests. This full-service, Western-themed ranch has been enjoyed by guests from around the world since it opened in 1946.  The resort features a weekly schedule of events that list daily happenings and special activities. Some are scheduled, such as classes and cultural events, and others are self-guided.  Hikers will enjoy the Deer Canyon Trail, a 2.5-mile loop that begins at the gated entrance. There are plenty of signs to keep…

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Rediscover Wide Open SpacesFeatured

Outdoor Experiences in Palm Springs Post card-worthy landscapes. Endless sunshine. Fresh air and room to breathe! Palm Springs is home to some of the best outdoor experiences in Southern California. Luckily, this haven for outdoor enthusiasts is only a short drive from Los Angeles. Yes, you read that right! Hike, bike or take a tour; whatever your activity preference is, it’s bound to be more enjoyable when done Palm Springs style. Shift your adventure into high gear by exploring Palm Springs on two wheels Predominantly level streets, 13 miles of marked bike lanes, vast mountain trails and notorious neighborhoods filled with colorful doors makes Palm Springs a true bicycler’s paradise. To kick-start your adventure, check out Bike Palm Springs for all your cycling needs. Whether you’re an avid mountain bicyclist, a road bike junkie or you’re simply looking to take a cruise through the neighborhoods, Bike Palm Springs can bring your ideal biking adventure to life. Does all this bike talk seem like too much exercise? Don’t worry, we know just the fix! Check out Pedego Palm Springs and rent an electric bike to power you through town instead! (Cue Fleetwood Mac ‘Dreams’). Moun-tain your distance by hitting the trailsSoak in…

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A Hall of Fame Feast for Homegating FansFeatured

Gathering your team to plan for a truly memorable game day at home starts with almost everyone’s favorite part of the festivities: the food. From meaty meals and zesty appetizers to sweet, long-lasting snacks, fuel your crowd with recipes that keep them coming back from kickoff to overtime. One superstar of the menu at many homegating parties is salsa, whether it’s used as a finishing touch in recipes or as a standalone snack to enjoy with chips, veggies or other pairings. In fact, according to the Game Day Eats Report from Fresh Cravings, 22% of guests would insist on running out to pick up salsa if it wasn’t available for the feast; 18% would even be devastated and consider leaving. Chef Anthony Serrano recommends these all-American recipes he makes for his family on game day. Pulled Beef and Slaw Sliders are perfect for piling high with delicious toppings before hitting the couch just in time for kickoff. Snacking throughout the action is a preferred approach for many fans, making Cast-Iron Smoked Queso Dip and Hummus Deviled Eggs go-to options for armchair quarterbacks. These crowd-pleasers make game day worth celebrating, especially if you use a salsa with high-quality ingredients like vine-ripened…

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Solace and SustainabilityFeatured

Cuyama Buckhorn There’s a lot of chatter among SoCal travelers seeking “off the grid” destinations that are within driving range. Loosely defined, these are getaways that offer solitude and serenity—hotels and resorts that are far enough away from civilization but close enough to access when the urge to escape suddenly hits. In Southern California, one of these idyllic locations is the tiny town of New Cuyama, known as “The Hidden Valley of Enchantment,” approximately 2.5 hours from Los Angeles. The first hint of how remote this area truly is, can be detected early into the drive as travelers realize that the road to New Cuyama, regardless of one’s starting point, is no doubt off the beaten path. Highway 33, one of the few course options, leads drivers through a lonesome mountain path. The road, which at some points is green and lush and at other points brown and dry, seems to last hours beyond the GPS’s ETA. The scenic commute leads to an alluring valley that is set at the junction of Ventura, San Luis Obispo, Kern, and Santa Barbara counties. And at this point, the Cuyama Buckhorn, a charming mid-century gem that is worth every bit of the drive…

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Managing Cold and Flu SeasonFeatured

As temperatures drop, the risk of illness – including cold and flu – rises. It can be easy to mistake the flu for a common cold since many of the symptoms are the same, but muscle aches, cough, fever, headaches and sore throat are some of the more common signs you may be suffering from the flu, which tends to come on quicker than a cold. In fact, a random, double-opt-in OnePoll survey of 2,005 Americans commissioned by Mucinex found sore throat pain to be one of the top three most debilitating symptoms along with fever and migraine. While there’s no way to ensure you and your family members won’t get sick, there are steps you can take to reduce the chances. Get a Flu Shot The flu spreads differently than colds and can be transmitted before symptoms even arise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all people older than 6 months of age get the influenza vaccine, or flu shot, annually to help protect against the strains of flu expected to be the most common during the current flu season. The injection, which does not contain a live virus, goes into the arm muscle to generate antibodies…

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Shifting Wellness Attitudes Shape 2022 Fitness TrendsFeatured

In adjusting to the constraints of the pandemic, many Americans had to improvise where and how they work out. After months of adapting to a “gym anywhere” mentality and learning to accommodate more flexible workout schedules, this new fitness mindset is inspiring some larger trends for healthier living. “We’ve learned that wellness is not one-size fits all, and that it’s achieved by small habits like regular hydration that can really impact how you feel throughout the day,” said celebrity fitness trainer Harley Pasternak, MsC. “Collectively, nourishing both body and mind together as one makes holistic health a sustainable lifestyle.” Pasternak and the experts at Propel Fitness Water are forecasting five fitness and wellness trends to watch for in 2022: Accountability Buddies When gym closures ran rampant, folks leaned on others for inspiration to get moving, so it’s no surprise working out in pairs (or more) is a continued way to focus on fitness. Feelings of burnout may be common heading into 2022, so having a partner who gives you a healthy sense of camaraderie and competition can help push you to show up on days when you’d rather rest and stay committed to your goals. It also provides a sounding board when you need suggestions for…

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What to Expect in Travel in 2022Featured

After a couple abnormal years, many families are eager and ready to travel together again, and there are indications some pandemic-influenced travel behaviors will persist in 2022. For example, remote work and virtual school allowed families to travel and combine work and vacation time into “flexcation” getaways, a trend that will continue, according to the 2022 Vrbo Trend Report. In addition to the 44% of families that said they’re more likely to work remotely from a place that’s not their home, extended stays are also on the rise. The vacation home site and app has seen a 68% increase in demand for 3-4-week stays over the past year. Consider these 2022 trends spotted by the travel experts at Vrbo: Up-and-Coming Destinations Spots in Ohio, New York and Alaska saw double vacation rental demand over the past year. Within driving distance of major Midwest metros like Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville, Cincinnati was the year’s top emerging destination. Other up-and-comers include Niagara Falls, a popular choice for those who wanted to experience life at the border. Yorktown, Virginia, the location of the last Revolutionary War battle, allows history buffs to witness a battle reenactment. Adventurous travelers trekked to Matanuska-Susitna, Alaska, to enjoy…

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Delightful Dishes to Dazzle Holiday GuestsFeatured

Entertaining guests during the holidays isn’t just about a main course that calls all to the table. What often makes a festive gathering more fruitful is a spread of delicious appetizers, delightful drinks and divine desserts that keep loved ones coming back to the kitchen for more. For appetizing dishes from the first guest at the house to the last out the door, you can heighten the flavor and appearance of favorite recipes with one simple ingredient: apples. Ranging from tart to sugary sweet, finding the right balance for your palate is key. Scent can also influence taste, especially when you have a balanced sweetness with an uplifting, fresh aroma. Turn to an option like Envy Apples this holiday season for satisfying texture and taste with a consistently balanced, refreshing sweetness coupled with a crisp, elegant crunch. They make for an easy snack when eaten fresh out of hand but are also perfect for holding over pre-dinner appetites in small plates like this Bell-Issimo Brie Melt or Apple Stuffing Bites with Rosemary Gravy. The versatile flavor of apples isn’t just limited to foods, however. For the adults in the room, Pumpkin Spice Apple Cider with a splash of bourbon is…

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Holiday Travels In CaliforniaFeatured

On this episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson learns about a few jolly ways to enjoy the h On this episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson learns about a few jolly ways to enjoy the holidays in the Golden State, from embracing the snowy vibes of the High Sierra to taking in the sparkling lights—and sparkling wines—of Sonoma County. First, Johnson talks to Sonoma Magazine Dining Editor Heather Irwin, who highlights four distinctive towns that boast all sorts of holiday fun. In Santa Rosa, for instance, visitors can skate on Snoopy’s Home Ice and then nosh on a seasonal favorite: tamales. Healdsburg, on the other hand, is a fantastic place to shop for hard-to-please people on your list and Petaluma is a Mayberry-like city that features abundant craft fairs and festive decorations. Next, Johnson connects with Vincenzo Giammanco, who is bringing actual snow—and more than one million twinkling lights—to Ventura and Del Mar. The producer of the Snow n Glow Holiday Festival says 70-degree temps and sunshine won’t melt the fun, so visitors can enjoy traditional winter activities like snow tubing and sledding, and they can even reserve a private igloo. Finally, Johnson chats with Brendan…

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Winter Wine Walk & Holiday Street FairFeatured

Winter Wine Walk & Holiday Street Fair Returns to Ventura on Saturday, December 11 “Social Event of the Year” scheduled after a year’s hiatus After celebrating its Tenth Anniversary in 2019, Ventura’s famous Winter Wine Walk & Holiday Street Fair hit pause as a result of the pandemic.  Now back, and bigger and better than ever, Ventura Winter Wine Walk & Holiday Street Fair once again returns to Downtown Ventura, on Saturday, December 11. The event kicks off with a Holiday Street Fair from 12pm-8pm on historic Main Street, featuring a tremendous array of artists, crafters, vendors, non-profit organizations, and food and drink purveyors.  Live entertainment and snowfall begins at 6:45pm and runs until 8pm. The Street Fair and entertainment is free to attend and open to the public. The much-anticipated Winter Wine Walk begins at 4:00pm and runs until 7:00pm. With over 80 tasting locations and two VIP lounges, the event sells out every year and draws attendees from across California. Showcasing world-class wines and breweries, tasting locations are located in boutiques, galleries and restaurants throughout the Ventura downtown district. Upon check-in, each participant receives a souvenir tasting cup and map of the tasting locations. For those who want to kick back…

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An Immersive Holiday Musical ExperienceFeatured

This holiday season, hospitality and Hollywood align at L’Ermitage Beverly Hills courtesy of an enchanting and exclusive partnership with LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE, the critically acclaimed multimedia theatrical experience that celebrates the beloved holiday film in a uniquely Los Angeles fashion. Debuting in tandem with LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE’s triumphant return to the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, guests of L’Ermitage and theatregoers alike can enjoy this immersive holiday experience from stage to suite, including a festive overnight package, culinary creations inspired by the film, thematic, showstopping holiday décor, and more.  “Following a year when many have not been able to spend the holidays with loved ones, we were inspired to create something truly special that can only be unwrapped and experienced at L’Ermitage Beverly Hills. In collaborating with the team at FOR THE RECORD LIVE, we are celebrating not just the spirit of the season but also the return of live entertainment and the joy that their best-selling show brings to people during the holidays. To quote the film, ‘Christmas is the time to be with the people you love’ and we look forward to bringing people together to make new holiday memories at L’Ermitage,” says Scott Berger, General…

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The Old Towns of SoCalFeatured

Southern California is historic for many things — the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, the gnarly surf culture, and the iconic Route 66 just to name a few. Tourists may venture here for the wonderful world of Disney or to experience the beauty of a SoCal beach. But older cities with plenty of history are definitely the way to go for a more immersive trip. Rich in history and fun, these old towns of SoCal will give you a glimpse into the past.

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Plan Ahead for This Year’s Holiday VacationFeatured

Whether your family counts a holiday vacation among your treasured traditions or you’re anticipating a holiday getaway for the first time, getting an early start on your planning can help ensure your trip is filled with good tidings and joy. Know what you want to spend. If you’re planning to open your wallet a little wider for this trip than you have in the past, you’re not alone. A survey by American Express Travel found more than 60% of travelers are planning to spend more on trips in 2021 since they missed out on travel in 2020. Setting your budget now can help you make choices about things like accommodations and activities while giving you some extra time to save. Working off a budget from the start can also help you take advantage of book now, pay later options that may give you added savings or incentives. Be conscious of high-demand destinations. Popular travel spots tend to fill up fast, so if you’re considering visiting a high-demand location, be aware of how crowds might affect your plans for everything from wait times at attractions to rental cars and more. According to vacation rental company Vrbo, prime warm-weather destinations where families…

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3 Ways to Make a Positive Impact in Your CommunityFeatured

Acts of kindness, big and small, have the ability to change the world, one community at a time. After more than a year of isolation for many people across the country, now is the perfect time to do good and build unity in your area. According to a national survey from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, more than 1 in 3 Americans (36%) faced “serious loneliness” during the pandemic, including more than 60% of young adults. You can help those craving a sense of connection with a few tips from SECU Maryland. The largest chartered credit union in the state continues to strengthen and enrich the lives of neighbors and communities, in this case aiming to inspire 70,000 acts of kindness nationwide. Use Your Voice Words have power, and you can leverage yours to uplift, support and offer love. Thank a teacher for making a difference in your life or your children’s. Send a “thank you” card to your local fire station or police department. Decorate your children’s bedroom doors with paper leaves, each featuring a reason you love them. Leave a positive online review for a company, business or organization in your community. Write an uplifting text message…

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Viking Announces Newest Ocean Ship and Three New ItinerariesFeatured

Viking® (www.viking.com) today announced its newest ocean ship, Viking Saturn®, will join the company’s award-winning fleet in early 2023. The 930-guest sister ship will spend her maiden season sailing three new itineraries in Scandinavian and Nordic countries, including two 15-day journeys, Iconic Iceland, Greenland & Canada and Iceland & Norway’s Arctic Explorer, and the 29-day Greenland, Iceland, Norway & Beyond voyage. In addition to the three new itineraries, Viking also announced today that the company will bring back the popular 8-day Iceland’s Natural Beauty itinerary starting in August 2023. “The thousands of guests who sailed our Welcome Back voyage in Iceland this past summer enjoyed the experience so much they provided record-level ratings,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “These new itineraries are ideal for curious travelers and trace routes of the early Viking explorers to Iceland and other North Atlantic destinations known for their natural beauty. We look forward to welcoming Viking Saturn to our fleet and to offering guests even more ways to explore this unique part of the world in comfort.” New and Returning 2023 Nordic Itineraries: Iconic Iceland, Greenland & Canada (NEW) – This 15-day itinerary spans Iceland, Greenland and the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. Sailing between New York City and Reykjavik, guests will admire the volcanic landscape of the…

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Add Meaning to Halloween and Support a Good CauseFeatured

As the world faces multiple crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, families may have to adjust traditional trick-or-treating plans again this year. However, there are still ways to help make a difference and celebrate Halloween virtually. One way to add more meaning to Halloween is to Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund. Celebrating more than 70 years of fundraising, this annual tradition is America’s longest running youth engagement campaign and has raised more than $180 million to help support children’s health care, education, nutrition, safe water, emergency relief and more. Last year, the beloved program was launched as a virtual experience in an effort to celebrate Halloween responsibly while social distancing. This Halloween, it is evolving into a fully digital experience. Getting involved virtually can prove just as rewarding.  Funds raised will help support lifesaving work to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to communities, health care workers and families around the world that need them most. As the largest purchaser of vaccines each year, UNICEF is helping lead procurement and distribution in the largest and fastest immunization effort of its kind, and you can be a part of that effort by aiding the organization in raising lifesaving funds and safely celebrating Halloween….

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in Featured, SoCal Trends

Say “I Do!” to the Ultimate California Wedding and HoneymoonFeatured

No matter what backdrop you envision for your dream wedding and honeymoon, California delivers! From the snow-capped High Sierra mountains and coastal bluffs to dramatic desert landscapes and lush vineyards, no state offers such a sheer abundance of inspiring vistas. Magical and Whimsical Weddings Disneyland Park, AnaheimThinking about getting married and want to ace your marriage proposal? Give your beloved a magical story she’ll share with your grandkids by proposing in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle with Minnie and Mickey at Disneyland Park. Winchester Mystery House, San JoseTie the knot with an air of mystery at Winchester Mystery House, a purportedly haunted Victorian mansion with lavish rooms and gardens. Bodie Ghost Town, Mono CountyThose who say “I do” in Bodie Ghost Town might have some unexpected spectral guests! Enjoy spectacular mountain views while holding your ceremony in one of the state’s best-preserved Gold Rush towns. Santa Monica Pier, Los Angeles CountyFor those who want to let their inner child play at their wedding, the Carousel on the Santa Monica Pier is a great location, offering semi-private to private options. Presidio of San FranciscoThis national park offers two hotels for nuptials and honeymoons. The Lodge and Inn at the Presidio offer idyllic trails, including the historic Lover’s Lane—once traveled…

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Let Tea Take You for an AdventureFeatured

Visiting a new or favorite destination is one way to travel, but that’s not always possible. If you can’t escape to a new location, consider taking a mental break in the comfort of your own home with tea as your companion. With many different varieties of tea to choose from, you can infuse your journey with flavor while enjoying wellness and relaxation benefits. Enjoy virtual travels – wherever you are – with these tips from the experts at Buddha Teas.  Rejuvenating Getaway Even when you can’t get to a spa, tea can help you focus on wellness and refresh your body and mind. While yoga, meditation and massages can aid in recharging you physically and mentally, teas like chaga, detox dharma or mushroom wellness can further help you unwind. Chaga, a medium-bodied mushroom tea, can be enjoyed with honey or milk for a nurturing, peaceful escape. It can also help reset your center and give you a boost of healing energy without any caffeine. Mushroom teas blending flavorful herbs and spices can bring power and pleasure to your cup with remarkable immune boosting, wellness potential – no honey or milk is needed. If you’re seeking a total recharge, look for…

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Santa Monica Businesses ‘Doing Good’ Deeds While Coming Out Of Bad TimesFeatured

On this summer road to recovery, Santa Monica is recognizing and celebrating some of the businesses that are shining bright with the best of intentions and putting “good work” into their reopening efforts. While maneuvering the road to recovery, visitors are encouraged to vacation responsibly by planning ahead, traveling safely, setting expectations and taking appropriate precautions as they explore Santa Monica and beyond by using these helpful hints https://www.santamonica.com/travel-responsibly/. Santa Monica businesses shine with the best of intentions for locals and visitors alike with these examples: Shutters on the Beach – This summer, Shutters on the Beach has created Chrysalis kites to raise money and awareness for Chrysalis and the great things they do to create job skills and opportunities. Chrysalis is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a pathway to self-sufficiency for homeless and low-income individuals by providing the resources and support needed to find and retain employment. Chrysalis has five centers and locations in Southern California, including a Santa Monica center. Shutters on the Beach and Hotel Casa del Mar have been long time hiring partners with Chrysalis. Shutters on the Beach guests and locals can support Chrysalis by purchasing a kite for $25 and all proceeds will go to…

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Romance in the Newport Beach HarborFeatured

Nothing says romance quite like an evening stroll along a Southland Beach as the sun slowly sinks into the sea. The air is crisp, and the warm summer breeze feels refreshing and soothing. These are the moments that make milestones. The ones where couples find themselves away from the everyday, in surroundings that feel new, yet comfortable. So much of those experiences hinge on the ambiance. A perfect setting with ideal surroundings. For starry-eyed lovers seeking that romantic getaway, Newport Beach is where those memories are made. Couples seeking a magnificent waterfront experience in Newport Beach will want to visit Balboa Bay Resort, where long strolls along the harbor, great food, and boatloads of fun are at every turn. Located over the Balboa Bay harbor, the hotel is ranked the Number One Resort in Newport Beach by U.S. News & World Report.  There are 159 luxurious guestrooms and suites, and the Bayview rooms offer stunning panoramas of grand yachts and luxurious sailboats against a backdrop of people of all ages enjoying a variety of water sports. Balboa Bay Resort features everything an active traveler wants from a luxury hotel: A full-service 10,000-sq. foot spa, a fitness studio, a heated outdoor…

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Family Fun MonthFeatured

August is Family Fun Month, and Alpine Slide Big Bear (Alpine Slide) is the premier spot in Big Bear that gives families an opportunity to soak up the joys of summertime fun together. Alpine Slide provides guests of all ages, from toddlers to grandparents, a variety of family-fun offerings, which includes a double waterslide, a mountain coaster thrill ride, a zipline-style flight, the Alpine Slide bobsled experience, go-karts and miniature golf.  “The great thing about having a variety of attractions is it gives families a chance to pick and choose what best appeals to them,” said Alpine Slide Big Bear General Manager Julie Eubanks. Family Fun Month occurs every August, and undoubtedly August happens to be one of the hottest months that many Southern California communities have to face each year. However, Big Bear is a great place to escape the daunting heat. Not only is Big Bear 20 to 30 degrees cooler than most of Southern California’s hot zones, but Alpine Slide’s double waterslide gives families who seek refuge from the heat an extra bonus to cool off. Kids can splash all day on two flumes of cascading water, turning and banking on the way to a 3 ½ – ft….

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Happiness Comes In WavesFeatured

“Smell the sea, and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly” – Van Morrison The Endless Summer takes on new meaning with more and more travelers re-discovering iconic Highway 101/1 and the idyllic sun-kissed playground that is uniquely Ventura Harbor Village.  With a stunning backdrop of majestic yachts, stunning sunsets, blissful weather with gentle ocean breezes paired to casual open-air and sit down dining and unique one-of-a kind boutiques, galleries, and specialty stores, this seaside enclave is the picture-perfect midweek getaway for couples, friends and families. What’s more, admission and parking are FREE at Ventura Harbor Village all summer long! Located on a spectacular stretch of prime Pacific coastline, this California “go to” spot is definitely worth the drive.  Below are top picks (some new) of how to celebrate summer at its best: Sea-sational Experiences Set sail into the weekend with harborside entertainment at Ventura Harbor Village where a menagerie of summer seaside vibes is in the air on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.  Revel in genres that include Blues, Pop, Rock Soul, Caribbean and Reggae. A roster of top-notch local DJs set the stage and take turns showcasing an ongoing musical variety (made possible Party Proper!) as part of NEW Friday Nite Seaside DJ…

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Making a Case for Advanced Cancer Care Close to HomeFeatured

A generation ago, it was widely accepted that if you had cancer, your best bet was seeking care at a large cancer center that was typically far from home. That center was usually an expansive building, high on a hill, and almost always difficult to access. How times have changed.  Today, City of Hope Orange County is making advanced cancer care close to home for the people of Orange County. We’re building a network of care and a cancer campus of the future in Irvine that will make advanced treatments more convenient for the 20 percent of patients who still travel out of the area for care – and for every new patient who will need City of Hope’s lifesaving care and pioneering research. This is a bold initiative that makes sense right now. Here’s why: Cancer incidence – With one-in-three Americans receiving a cancer diagnosis, we must make highly specialized care more accessible. Even in Orange County, where we’re known for our healthy lifestyle, we are not immune to this jarring statistic. What’s more, our population is aging, and we’re more at risk for cancer as we age. Also, certain cancers, such as breast cancer, are unfortunately on the…

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Set Your Sights on Earth-Shattering Science in LompocFeatured

By Kellie Searle From L.A.’s California Science Center to MOXI in Santa Barbara and all the way up to the STEAM-focused San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum, Southern California is home to dozens of fun, fan­tastic science-related activities and opportunities. But there’s another place where you can actually see and feel true scientific exploration happening, in about the most exciting way possible: Vandenberg Space Force Base. Where visitors can experience the power, ingenuity, and magnificence of a rocket launch, up-close and personal. Located near the city of Lompoc in Santa Barbara County, Vandenberg Space Force Base (or Vandenberg, as the locals call it) is one of the country’s most important military and space installa­tions, overseeing several unmanned test missiles and satellite launches each year. Because it’s the closest city to the base, Lompoc is the best vantage point for viewing rocket launches on the West Coast. Consider this friendly city as your front-row seat to see an Atlas rocket light up the morning sky — and feel the thunderous rumbling through the ground, for miles around. Vandenberg is host to many public and private aerospace entities, including NASA, SpaceX, United Launch Alliance, and others. In fact, it’s the only military base…

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Buena Park: Summer Starts HereFeatured

The grand summer-long celebration, Knott’s 100th Anniversary: A Knott’s Family Reunion, has been in the works since 2018, according to Cherie Whyte, direc­tor of communication for the park. The park’s Grand Opening was May 21, marked with a special appearance by Steve Knott, grandson of Walter Knott, the park’s original owner. The festivities, which conclude September 6, pay homage to the park’s storied history and bring back some of the guest favorites in different configurations. For instance, the popular ‘80s ride Soap Box Racer returns in the form of a 3D photo op with a newly built car from that beloved attraction. While guests sit in the car, the moving backdrop gives the appearance that the car is being driven. Guests often inquire about the Haunted Shack which had its debut in 1954. A photo op has been created from that attraction, as well as the beloved Kingdom of the Dinosaurs.  The oldest piece of nostalgia returning is Cordelia’s Tea Room.  “In the 1920’s Cordelia started serving chicken dinner out of her own kitchen,” Whyte says of the Knott matriarch. “With that, she created this tea menu with little ham sandwich­es because they saw that Beach Blvd., the only thoroughfare…

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Getty Center and Getty Villa Reopens to PublicFeatured

The Getty Center and the Getty Villa museum and gardens will reopen to a limited number of visitors with free reservations on Tuesday, May 25, with specific one-way routes and other measures in place to ensure the safety of visitors and staff. Getty Center “We are delighted to welcome visitors back to the iconic Getty Center, one of Los Angeles’ most visited cultural destinations,” said Timothy Potts, Maria Hummer-Tuttle and Robert Tuttle Director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “As well as all the familiar highlights of the Museum’s collections, gardens, architecture, and vistas, we will be featuring our newly acquired painting of Lucretia by Artemisia Gentileschi, and special exhibits of photography and other media. With both the Villa and Center opening, the staff are excited to welcome visitors back to their Getty.” In addition to Lucretia, by the most celebrated woman painter of 17th-century Italy, also on view are new exhibitions Photo Flux: Unshuttering L.A.; Power, Justice and Tyranny in the Middle Ages; Artist as Collectors; and Silk & Swan Feathers: A Luxurious 18th-Century Armchair.  “We are grateful for the support of the community, and glad that people have continued to engage with us online throughout this long year….

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Huntington Beach Pier Festival Will Kick off Fourth of July Weekend Surf City Dreamin’Featured

Family-friendly festival will be staged on the iconic Huntington Beach Pier and includes entertainment, amusements, vendors, and gourmet food trucks The City of Huntington Beach will kick off its Surf City Dreamin’ 4th of July Celebration with the Huntington Beach Pier Plaza Festival from July 2-4, 2021! This outdoor Festival will offer nonstop activities for visitors of every age – all from the vantage point of the renowned Huntington Beach Pier. The Festival will run 9:30AM-10:00PM daily July 2nd, 3rd and 4th, and will play host to more than fifty local vendors and food trucks, games, and a 12,000 square-foot beer and wine garden that offers the best seat in the house during the July 4 fireworks show.   The City’s Pier Plaza, as well as the Beach Parking Lot at 6th Street and Pacific Coast Highway will host various vendor booths showcasing a mix of retail offerings including high end surfboards from the iconicHuntington Surf and Sport, island home décor, modern swimwear, children’s toys, pet products, handmade jewelry, and crafts. The area will also feature gourmet food trucks and carts, making this event a one-stop shop for all your weekend needs. Lastly, all vendors will be staged twelve feet apart in…

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Not Your Average BearFeatured

Big Bear is a beautiful and beloved vacation spot for SoCal residents looking to get away from it all. The Bear’s “keepers” want to keep it that way. Yogi, America’s favorite cartoon bear, is “smarter than the average bear.” He says so himself. So “hey, hey, hey,” it has to be true, right? Unfortunately, his human friends are not always so smart — at least when it comes to the “leave no trace” ethos that should be deeply engrained in every traveler’s mindset.  “We’ve Got a Bear Disturbance Here.” – Ranger Smith (Yogi’s pal) Lately, there’s been a disturbing trend at popular nature-centered vacation spots, including iconic Big Bear. It appears that “Leave No Trace” has been supplanted by “Trash This Place” —marking a new low in responsible environmentalism. Call it a fallout from COVID-19, where restless urbanites seeking relief from their cloistered, masked existence have been descending in even greater numbers upon Big Bear. And who can blame them? A 6-feet-apart-while-wearing-a-mask mandate, job and business losses, and a feeling of constant uncertainty is no way to live months on end. We all feel that urge. We need space. We need a place away from the cloud of COVID hanging…

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Secrets of Downtown LA’s Underbelly HistoryFeatured

By Melissa Curtin Carefully climbing down into the bowels of a famous watering hole that still exists today on the outskirts of Skid Row, I wonder if I should turn back. The smell of rodents or maybe dead air from 100 years ago wafts into my nostrils, suffocating my senses. I try not to breathe too hard. Are those rat droppings? A cockroach skitters. Ducking below an old cobweb, I wonder what life was like down here in the 1920s. Images quickly come to mind from the HBO show Boardwalk Empire of gangster life in Atlantic City. But here we are in the recesses of Wild West Los Angeles. Once a fake piano shop above the bar, a mural of kegs painted on the wall are still present under the city streets next to a false wall made of light wood and sideboards for food and drink. Evidence of what was once a Prohibition-era tunnel is slathered and sealed off with concrete – apparently just cemented in the last 20 years. A crumpling dusty room nearby in the cellar exposes old metal bank vaults where booze money was kept – exchanged and transported underground from banks. Once upon a time,…

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BMW Driving Experience – The Ultimate SoCal AdventureFeatured

By Matthew Goldberg While many of us dream of racing professionally, few of us will likely ever get to. We can, however, participate in the BMW Performance Center’s BMW One Day M-School in Thermal, California. Equipped with an ID badge, lanyard, and lunch, drivers can spend an exciting day learning the ins and outs of professional racing and walk away with a certificate of completion at the end of the day.  School begins at 8:30 a.m. when students gather in an outdoor seating area for a classroom session. Instructors greet drivers, introduce themselves and outline their respective backgrounds in professional racing. Their expertise ranges from Indy 500 races to winning the Long Beach Grand Prix and they had decades of teaching experience between them.  Students are given a detailed course with key points for driving a vehicle efficiently with a presentation and discussion. The first few slides detail the importance of proper seating, including correct seat height and seatbelt fit, allowing for the most comfortable and effective handling of the steering wheel and gas/brake pedals. Drivers must have maximum steering control and the precision of turning corners is underscored. Proper technique and keeping eyes far in the distance allows the…

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Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau Kicks Off National Travel and Tourism Week With Town Hall and Volunteer OpportunitiesFeatured

‘Drive to Change Lives’ encourages Greater Palm Springs tourism community to give back Prior to the pandemic, tourism supported over 53,000 jobs in Greater Palm Springs and contributed $7.5 billion to the local economy. While the past year has presented extraordinary challenges, Greater Palm Springs and the tourism industry are turning the page to a new chapter with the start of National Travel and Tourism Week, May 2-8, an annual tradition that spotlights the collective strength of the U.S. travel industry. May is also Visit California’s California Tourism Month, which celebrates tourism and hospitality across the Golden State.  To showcase how the power of travel will drive recovery, the Greater Palm Springs CVB will host a virtual town hall meeting, led by President & CEO Scott White, on May 4 at 10 a.m. to provide updates on consumer sentiment, highlights of state and regional destination marketing plans, and updates on the CVB’s newest programs. Other town hall speakers include Lynn Carpenter, Vice President of Marketing of Visit California, Erin Francis Cummings, President & CEO of Destination Analysts and Nick Forro, President of AHL Palm Springs and SVP of the Seattle Kraken. Guests can RSVP to attend the virtual town hall meeting here.  Additionally, during the…

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Sylmar Earthquake 50 Years LaterFeatured

Destructive temblor marked turning point in the science of quakes This year marks 50 years since the 1971 Sylmar-San Fernando earthquake unleashed its fury on Los Angeles just after 6 a.m. The seismic waves began their destructive path seven miles beneath the earth’s surface, then traveled up at an angle and burst through the ground along a 12.5 mile stretch of the northern San Fernando Valley. “The 1971 quake woke California up to the real earthquake hazard that it had in its own backyard,” says Brian Olson of the California Geological Survey . “It exposed a lot of problems, it exposed a lot of weaknesses.” Renowned seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones tells Eyewitness News the Sylmar quake was the first time a major fault ruptured to the surface through homes in the Los Angeles area. “We saw all of these houses ripped apart,” says Dr. Jones. “It helped change the focus and made us realize that this is a big risk for Los Angeles in particular.” It left a mark on the Southern California landscape, pushing the Santa Susana Mountains up by about 6 feet. “The reason Southern California is a wonderful place to live is because of the earthquakes,” says Dr….

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Get Away Without Going AwayFeatured

5 Family Staycation Ideas That Won’t Break Your Budget Family vacations are a great way to bond and take a step back from the hectic schedules that accompany everyday life, but sometimes time or money (or both) make planning an elaborate trip a non-starter. However, a staycation – a vacation you take right in your hometown (or nearby) – can be much less expensive and fit into nearly any amount of available time with the added bonus of skipping out on potentially stressful travel. Consider these staycation ideas to take advantage of your local area’s attractions and prove you don’t have to go far to spend quality time together. Visit local landmarks. Just because it’s not a traditional vacation doesn’t mean you can’t pretend to be tourists. Start by visiting the places you recommend to friends and family from out of town or pick up a city guidebook to uncover hidden spots you may not even know exist. Make a plan to seek out historic sites, visit local landmarks like museums or try an out-of-the-way restaurant (or two) you’ve never eaten at before. Camp out in the backyard. Camping doesn’t have to be done far from home. In fact, it…

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Spring-Time Group Bike ToursFeatured

By Dustin Clendenen Our weather is the envy of the world year-round, but even SoCal blooms in the spring. Now’s the time to venture out of your car and experience all the Golden State has to offer. Our roundup of group bike tours are the perfect excuse to explore the great outdoors and work up a sweat while you’re at it. Having such an eco-friendly hobby won’t hurt either! If you want to experience Los Angeles, you’re in for one of the most diverse urban landscapes in the entire world, from a bustling downtown metropolis, to sun-soaked beaches, to beautiful hiking trails and national forests, not to mention all the celebrities, world-class food and an art scene getting attention across the globe. LA Cycle Tours offers a number of group bike adventures in all these areas, every single day. Focusing mostly on the diversity of downtown, the company’s tours take riders on a sightseeing expedition of the areas brightest street art and murals, the city’s best taco stands or pastry shops and a 40-mile ride from the urban core to the beach. Tours start at $65 and up. Check out the event calendar for more details and specific pricing at…

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An International Culture Tour Through Los AngelesFeatured

If you are fortunate to be in Los Angeles and are inclined to explore, you have a variety of different cultures right at your fingertips. The diverse Los Angeles culture is vibrant and inclusive and SoCal visitors can get a taste of its international flavor just by walking the bustling streets. Never been to China? No problem. We’ll bring China to you. Chinatown is located in downtown Los Angeles and has been since the 1800s. With the shops, the language, the smells and the sights, it is easy to believe you’ve flown thousands of miles, rather than a driven a short distance.

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Discovering Channel Islands National ParkFeatured

Just off the coast of Ventura is Channel Islands National Park, one of our richest, rarest national treasures.  Known as America’s Galapagos, the park’s five islands — Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara — are treasure troves of history and recreation. It also includes some 2,000 diverse animal and plant species, 145 of which exist nowhere else in the world.

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Savoring San Juan CapistranoFeatured

San Juan Capistrano is blessed with ideal Southern California weather year-round. Originally tribal land occupied by the peace-loving Acjachemen Indians, the Capistrano Valley in Orange County has long been home to communities that love to celebrate the land, its culture and heritage. Hardly a month passes without one event or another marking the calendars of its residents and visitors near and far. As a historic destination and a charming community, a visit to San Juan Capistrano is a day of enrichment on many levels.

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The Los Angeles ColiseumFeatured

As the only venue to host two Summer Olympics (and soon a third in 2028), two Super Bowls, home to numerous professional teams, appearances by six U.S. Presidents — Franklin D Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan — and such dignitaries as Martin Luther King, Pope John Paul II, the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela and such performers as Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stones, the Los Angeles Coliseum has deservedly earned its title – The Greatest Stadium in the World. One hundred fourteen billion people have come through the stadium in 96 years. Originally commissioned in 1921 as a memorial to Los Angeles veterans of World War I (and rededicated to all U.S. veterans of WWI in 1968, it is the largest memorial outside of the one in Washington, D.C. The official ground breaking of the Coliseum took place in December, 1921. The construction of the then largest stadium in Los Angeles was completed on May 1,1923. Its capacity was 75,144, but in 1930, with the Olympics due in two years, the stadium seating capacity was expanded to 101,574 and the Olympic torch was added. The inaugural game at the Coliseum took…

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2ND & PCHFeatured

2ND & PCH, Long Beach’s premier coastal retail, dining, and lifestyle center welcomes the community back safely to stay, shop, dine, and relax. The open-air center offers a diverse selection of retailers, dining, boutique fitness, lifestyle services and outdoor promenade experiences. “We are thrilled to invite the community back for outdoor dining and to enjoy our common area amenities responsibly,” said Samantha Lopez, General Manager of 2ND & PCH. “Our priority continues to be providing a safe and welcoming environment for the community, our businesses and all visitors to enjoy.”  Restaurants currently open for outdoor dining include: Hungry Angelina, Noble Bird Rotisserie, Ola Mexican Kitchen, Otosan Sushi, Shake Shack, The Italian Homemade Company, and Urban Plates. Ample Hills Creamery, Boba Guys, Caffe Luxxe, Tuesday’s Sweet Shoppe, and Whole Foods Market are also open and serving the community. Boutique fitness studios BeFit Modern Pilates and BoxHaus continue to host outdoor classes providing the community with safe open-air options to meet their active wellness goals. For a high-intensity workout at home, Barry’s Bootcamp is providing 45-minute virtual workout classes, Hawt Yoga is offering Zoom streaming classes and Peloton offers online classes for members.  Seaport Way remains closed to vehicular traffic to offer…

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in Featured, Sports & Adventures

Greater Palm Springs CVB Launches Trailicious Pass For Hiking & DiningFeatured

The Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), the official destination marketing organization for the Coachella Valley, has launched the new Trailicious Pass, a free program that all visitors and locals can sign up for.  With the Trailicious Pass, locals and visitors can enjoy hikes and bites and win prizes throughout Greater Palm Springs. Users can choose from 30 trails via the Trailicious pass, filtered by experience level or location, as well as receive suggestions for nearby things to do like outdoor art. Additionally, the pass features discounts and specials from a variety of Greater Palm Springs restaurants for take-out and alfresco dining. Users can check in while on their hike or redeem one of the special restaurant deals featured on the pass for a chance to win a $50 gift card from a Greater Palm Springs eatery. With hundreds of miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding paths, Greater Palm Springs is a haven for hungry thrill-seekers who can pick up a snack, pack a takeout picnic or refuel after hiking by dining alfresco on one of our perfect patios.  “We are thrilled to be launching the Trailicious Pass to encourage visitors to experience our wide open spaces…

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in Uncategorized

Downtown Santa Monica Celebrates Black History Month on Third Street PromenadeFeatured

WHAT:This February, Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. (DTSM) will recognize and celebrate Black History Month on Third Street Promenade with art installations by local Black artists and a banner program to honor historic Santa Monica Trailblazers for their significant achievements and contributions to the community. DTSM will present three public art displays in storefront windows beginning Wednesday, February 10 through March 15, 2021, from A Brilliant Dummy, Shplinton, and Mira Gandy. Each art installation celebrates the Black experience as part of a greater effort in the City of Santa Monica to deepen the community’s knowledge and foster understanding of other cultures and experiences that have been marginalized or overlooked due to a legacy of slavery and institutional racism. DTSM worked closely with Black Santa Monica Tours and Concierge, Robbie Jones, and the Quinn Research Center, whose mission is to empower community members by being an educational resource that promotes the study and research of Black Family History and Culture in the Santa Monica Bay Area, to feature Black Santa Monica Trailblazers on decorative banners along the Third Street Promenade. DTSM encourages everyone to visit DowntownSM.com to read more about their contributions in our community and to find a full calendar of Black History Month events produced…

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in Featured, Pets & Wildlife, Sports & Adventures, Things To Do

Take To The Great Outdoors With Winter Whale Watching and Excursions To Channel Islands National ParkFeatured

Island Packers, the official boat concessionaire to Channel Islands National Park, with daily departures to the Channel Islands from Ventura Harbor Village, has now re-opened!  www.islandpackers.com.  A winter Whale Watch is a perfect way to gather with family and friends to view Pacific Gray whales migrating through the Santa Barbara Channel from their feeding grounds in Alaska to their breeding grounds in Baja. Pacific Gray Whales are normally sighted in the National Marine Sanctuary near Anacapa and Santa Cruz Island beginning in late December and extending through middle of April 14, 2021. This mammoth migration of over 20,000 whales and 6,000 miles twice a year remains a major attraction in Southern California.  Sightings of the southern migration began in December for Pacific Gray Whales. Island Packers has also witnessed humpback whales, fin whales, and occasionally orcas. Common dolphin that frolic with the boat and ride the bow can be enjoyed by passengers year-round. For our most recent sightings visit www.islandpackers.com or find us on Twitter. The half-day Winter Whale Watch Cruise provides stunning views of the Ventura coastline or the Channel Islands; depending on where the whales may be sighted.  Winter Whale Watch excursions are available now thru mid-April from Ventura and/ or Channel Islands Harbor departing at 9:30 a.m. and/or 1:30 p.m.  Rates for half-day trips are $40 for adults, $36 for…

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in Featured, Sports & Adventures

It’s a New Day for Downtown L.A.Featured

Most tourists head to cities to enjoy their fine hotels, restaurants, shopping, and activities. Not so with Downtown Los Angeles … until recently. It was a place where people worked and left it pretty much shuttered at 5 pm.  Happy Hours, movie nights and home were in the valleys, Inland Empire, Westside and coastal cities. And then the renaissance began. Los Angeles was founded in September 1781 when 44 settlers established El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles—The Town of the Queen of Angels, which a century later, had grown into the largest town in California. With the arrival of the railroads and land boom of the 1880s, the population of 11,000 exploded to 97,000.  Los Angeles was here to stay. Growth of Downtown continued until 1957 when the building boom moved to outlying areas creating masses of shopping malls, business centers, entertainment complexes, and residential neighborhoods.  The city went into decline, and it wasn’t until the 1990s that the renaissance began. A vibrant new energy in economic and social environments created by millennials and other professionals began building a new social and economic dynamic in the heart of the city. With the resurgence came an influx of new…

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in Destinations & Landmarks, Things To Do

Inside Modernism WeekFeatured

Modernism Week is the largest celebration of mid-century and modern architecture, design and culture and is held annually in Palm Springs, California. What started as a modest series of programs held over a weekend has now grown into an internationally acclaimed annual event that spans 11 days in February. Increased demand for Modernism Week events prompted the creation of a shorter October version called “Modernism Week Fall Preview.” Both events include home tours, lectures, films, double-decker bus architectural tours, vintage themed parties and more. More than 10,000 attendees participated in Fall Preview in 2019 and the 2020 Modernism Week attendance was estimated at 162,000 with more than 375 events during the festival. In 2020, Modernism Week attendees came from all 50 States and the District of Columbia, with California accounting for the majority of attendees. In addition to many California visitors, the event was popular with attendees from Washington, Illinois, Minnesota, and New York. Attendees also came from all across the globe with 25 countries represented including Canada, Australia, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain, France and many more. Community Impact The annual festival has a significant community impact. Last year, it generated an estimated economic impact of $65 million for area hotels,…

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in Featured, Sports & Adventures, Things To Do

Best Places to Do Water SportsFeatured

Flowers are blooming, trees are filled with new leaves, and the days are longer and warm which means summer is almost here. It’s time to find stop binge-watching the latest series and make more space for outdoor activities. Southern California is known for its blue skies and golden sands, but there’s nothing more exciting than doing water sports on its emerald waters. Water sports are the perfect way to be active and stay cool. If you love being in the water but are tired of your backyard swimming pool, SoCal has limitless options. These water activities are for beginners, experts and those just looking to have a fun, memorable time. So put on your swimsuits and grab your friends and families. Huntington Beach Surf Lessons 19881 Brookurst St., Suite C156 Huntington Beach 92646 949.558.2075 huntingtonbeachsurfinglessons.com If you’ve always wanted to surf but never learned how, Huntington Beach offers a wide range of lessons. Not only do they encourage children to get involved; they have something for all ages. Huntington Beach Surfing Lessons include private, semi-private, mini groups of three,  groups of four people, and larger groups for birthday parties. Expert surf instructors make it their mission to have everyone stand…

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in Featured, Sports & Adventures, Things To Do

Flying Over Southern CaliforniaFeatured

The Gold Coast’s Best Zip Lines By Dustin Clendenen Once upon a time, ziplining was an actual mode of transportation in countries such as Australia and China, but here in America, soaring through the air on a rope is just a really cool and fun way to spend an afternoon. With year-round 72 degree and sunny weather, Southern California is replete with lots of options for ziplining, granting riders the ability to enjoy mountain, ocean, forest and valley views all within a radius of several hundred miles. If you want to have one of these pseudo-hang-gliding experiences yourself, here are the best places in SoCal to hop on a zipline: The Catalina Zipline Eco-Tour 1 Descanso Canyon Rd., Avalon, CA 90704(310) 510-7422www.visitcatalinaisland.com Catalina Island is a world away from the hustle and bustle of Southern California, and perhaps the best way to really see it in all its glory is by a two-hour zipline tour. The course is intense but perfect for beginners, with friendly guides talking you through each progressively steeper incline. The final even runs a seemingly endless 1,100 lineal feet from platform to platform. As you soar through the air, you’re probably going to see some of…

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in Destinations & Landmarks, Featured

La Jolla: the Jewel of San DiegoFeatured

With a winding coastline of stunning views and unique microclimate rarely dropping below 50 or exceeding 90 degrees, it’s not surprising that La Jolla is one of the most desirable coastal cities in California. Surrounded on three sides by the ocean and backed by the steep slopes of Mt. Soledad, La Jolla’s classic Mediterranean village ambience suggests a casual, upscale lifestyle in keeping with its nickname, “the jewel” of San Diego. Just 15 minutes north of downtown, La Jolla’s seven-mile stretch of picturesque coastline may be officially within the San Diego city limits, but it has shaped an esteemed identity as a city in its own right.  It is also one of the country’s most affluent communities with fine dining, shopping, art galleries, events and renowned research centers including the Salk Institute and Scripps Institute of Oceanography, now a part of the University of California at San Diego.   In 1913, the original Colonial Apartments and Hotel made big news when it opened, charging a nightly rate of $1 and has since watched a century of storied growth. Following its first renovation in 1928, the property reopened boasting the first sprinkler system in the western U.S., reinforced cement stairways and…

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in Uncategorized

Staycations Are The New VacationsFeatured

Are staycations the new vacations? After all, Americans are staying close to home and taking shorter vacations. They did it this summer, and they’ll do it again this Thanksgiving and Christmas, the other two most popular vacation periods. You could blame the pandemic or the recession for the abbreviation of your vacation, but that only begins to explain what’s happening. The way we take time off is changing — has been changing for years — and this is only the latest stage in the evolution of the American vacation. Jamie Simpson, who is in constant communication with hotel operators in Los Angeles, sums up the staycation trend succinctly: “People are staying closer to home.” But terms like nearcation, homecation or staycation don’t adequately describe this shift. Simpson, the vice president of communications at the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, says Los Angeles residents are checking into hotels in their own neighborhoods, often filling a void left by travelers from out of state. At the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, for example, 85% of current business originates in California, and most of it is local. Properties such as the 1 Hotel West Hollywood are seeing a surge in business from people who walk — yes, walk — to the hotel. That’s called microlocal business…

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in Destinations & Landmarks, Featured

The Fantastic-Four “Castles” in Southern CaliforniaFeatured

When you hear the word “castle,” you might immediately think of stone-spiraling relics of antiquity that serve as reminders of a bygone era of humanity when vassals, lords, and fiefs ruled the land. But “castle” can also be used to describe postmodern architectural phenomena that are as relevant today as they were when they were first erected. There are four prime examples of “castles,” re-imagined with class, dignity, and prestige for the contemporary Southern California resident. The Desert Castle in Palm Desert desertcastle.com The Desert Castle in Palm Desert is one of the foremost vacation retreats in the area. The 7-bedroom, 7.5-bath mansion is what opulent and lavish dreams are made of.  The castle is situated rather unexpectedly on the 18th fairway of the Desert Springs Golf Course. The main house is beige in color and wonderfully rustic in design, with plenty of palm trees and welcoming archways for visitors. At night, the castle lights up with an attractive orange incandescence that infuses the observer with inspiration. Inside the Great Hall of the property is a particularly classic overhead mural on the vaulted ceiling featuring women (of possibly the Baroque era) playing instruments and dancing, in addition to a loving…

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in Destinations & Landmarks, Featured, People & Personalities

Camarillo Ranch HouseFeatured

The Home that Remains a Jewel in the Seaside City’s Crown for More than a Century Known for picturesque scenery that ranges from agricultural-rich land to Spanish architecture, Camarillo, California, is a lively mix of modern amenities, lush, century-old vegetation and plenty of early California charm; and a pristine, 18th century ranch house is its anchor. Juan Adolfo Camarillo first ventured to California in the early 1800s during the Hijar Padres Expedition There, he would purchase a 10,000-acre ranch. Camarillo’s land, which would become the site of his home, was one of the last remaining Rancho Calleguas (Mexican land grants) of the era. Development and Public Relations Director for the Camarillo Ranch House, Niki Chopra Richardson, says, “The ranch house was the original home of the Camarillo family. It was a working ranch, but it was also very much a family home. When Juan Adolfo passed away in 1880, his eldest son, 16-year-old Adolfo, took over the ranch.” Camarillo would not only run the day-to-day operations of his father’s ranch, he would take it from having only cattle and mules, to a booming agricultural business, including barley, corn, alfalfa and lima beans, as well as Citrus and Eucalyptus trees. Camarillo…

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in Destinations & Landmarks, Featured, People & Personalities

Frank Gehry: Constructing the ExtraordinaryFeatured

The corner of Sunset & Havenhurst in Los Angeles is about to go down in history. 8150 Sunset is already across the street from the legendary Chateau Marmont on the most famous stretch of boulevard in the world, but now the southeast side of this intersection is being “utterly transformed” by a $300 million mixed-use project designed by architect Frank Gehry. Whether you’re familiar with his name or not, you’ve seen Gehry’s work, and you know his curvy, reality-bending aesthetic. He’s the visionaire behind such world-famous attractions such as The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, the Experience Music Project in Seattle and Prague’s surreal Dancing House. In 2010, the World Architecture Survey cited his contemporary works as among the most important in architecture, and Vanity Fair named him “the most important architect of our age.” It’s no surprise that when Gehry’s name is on something, people pay attention. And the kind of clout he brings also eases minds. He was actually hired onto 8150 Sunset after an outcry from the neighborhood’s residents over the original designs for the lot. When Gehry was brought on board, the project was elevated to a…

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in Destinations & Landmarks, Featured

Southern California’s Prettiest Coastal CitiesFeatured

By Eric Plante No need to fly across the globe to experience glitz and glamour in a seaside setting. Here are 5 of our own Southern California coastal towns that can hang with the world’s best. Dana Point is a boater’s playground. The city was named for Richard Henry Dana, author of Two Years Before the Mast, which included a description of the picturesque area. Dana described the coastal town as “the only romantic spot on the coast.” For the best view of Dana Point Harbor, drive the Street of Green Lantern to the top and look east. If you’ve not yet seen the largest animal to have ever inhabited the Earth, Dana Point is the place to try your luck. Blue whales pass closer to the coast here than any other California shoreline. Blue whale tours run May – October; gray whales cruise this coast during the winter. Sink your toes into the off-white sand at Salt Creek Beach, one of the city’s finest. Every Saturday evening during the summer, curious adults and children gather on the lobby terrace at the St. Regis Monarch Beach to witness a flicker of orange and yellow, as a staff member releases a…

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in Things To Do

Walking Tours in Southern CaliforniaFeatured

Every city has its own persona, its own feeling, and its own story.  Besides the exercise, walking tours offer another dimension to your visit.  A walking tour gives visitors the chance to connect with the character of a city and get a first-hand understanding of what the area is really about. By taking a step into a new place, tourists and locals alike can get a feel for the energy of the city they are in.  And in Southern California, energy is everything.  Vintage Venice Tours Voted “Best Walking Tour” of 2012 and 2013 by Los Angeles Magazine, the Vintage Venice Tour is one of the best ways to experience this iconic boardwalk.  The Vintage Venice Tour allows you to indulge in the modern attractions that the beach has to offer, while also showing you the rich history of the town through film clips that span the past 105 years.  See the past come to life and witness the development of the culture of Venice Beach with stops at Muscle Beach, the Venice Canals, the Ocean Front Walk, and more. www.vintagevenicetours.com Santa Barbara Walking Tour While on your visit to Santa Barbara, be sure to sign up for the Santa…

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in Featured, People & Personalities, SoCal Trends

A Year in LA: How to Stay Alive in the Biz—Five Survival Tips To Make Things HappenFeatured

Once upon a time, I was that girl: I picked up everything and moved to LA to pursue a career in acting. To offer a little back-story, I had a tumultuous breakup with my teenage love and ran to Chicago after college three years prior. After a few years in the city, I was burnt out—holding down a restaurant job and temping to make ends meet. I was garnering theatre gigs consistently—I just wasn’t getting paid. Unfortunately, that is the reality in the theatre world and I thought the time was right to make my move to LA. I had a deep, gnawing pit in my stomach that LA was beckoning me and I couldn’t let it go. It was 1998—I was 25, doe eyed, and full of ambition.  It was then or never. LA was a different place than it is now. The Internet was only about to boom, the bag phone was being replaced by a first generation flip phone (that resembled a miniature tank), and social media didn’t exist. There was no such thing as You Tube, bloggers, Twitter, or Facebook. The oversaturated business of reality TV had not yet happened. The creation of the Internet has made auditions more accessible…

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Stay at Home Orders Cramping Your Style?Featured

We’re into our sixth week of stay-at-home orders and even the stellar homebodies among us are getting antsy at this point. It’s been awhile since we’ve met friends at a restaurant or cycled ourselves into a dreadful sweat at the gym. And unless we’re actively walking or jogging outdoors or have found wellness apps that offer virtual workout options, we may be starting to feel a bit flabby and unmotivated. Since conducting business is prohibited unless it’s deemed “essential” (and that’s a pretty subjective definition – just ask the millions of women whose acrylic nails have fallen off), we’ve had to figure out how to function on our own instead of relying on our routine services. But we’ve begun to sort out solutions to help fight the ho-hums, since as they say, necessity is the mother of invention. Here are some alternatives we’ve found to help solve our most common requirements from home.

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in Things To Do

STUCK AT HOME? TAKE VIRTUAL TOURSFeatured

“Stay at Home” orders have been instituted across our nation, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re feeling like climbing the walls right about now, you might enjoy this activity. You’ll get to travel without actually getting out of your seat. Many local and distant points of interest offer free and easy virtual tours and here are a few to get you started.

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SoCal’s Seductive SunsetsFeatured

When it comes to sunsets, Southern California boasts some of the best, especially this time of the year From the peaks of the Palisades to the dunes of Dana Point, there are countless places to catch the last bits of a spectacular SoCal Sunset. But what’s better than gazing at the glow of the setting sun than doing it with your special someone? Here, we’ve curated a list of locations that we not only consider fantastic for sunset viewing, but some of the most romantic, too. So as we inch closer to Valentine’s Day, pick your destination and dash out with your darling to one of these top spots.

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