Take It Back to the 80s & 90s at the Gen X Room!

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Looking like the 80s/90s with the acid wash jacket.

How many of you remember the 80s and the 90’s jams? I’m sure a lot of you do – and those that don’t may have been exposed to that music era of enjoyment. I was able to experience it at The Gen X Room in downtown Los Angeles on Friday May 13th. Get ready to read about all the fun. You will wish you were there by the end of this. Ha!

It was a Friday night free of children, time to dress myself for the theme and then ride in style with the loaned Kia Optima SX T-GDI sporty sedan. I brought along my parent friend April. Her friend, Ana, was going to join us as well. It was a packed car ride but we all were comfortable. Our outfits were on point. I actually had time to blow dry my hair. Yay!

April was dressed the part with her side ponytail.

April was dressed the part with her side ponytail.

The skyline is shining bright.

The skyline is shining bright.

Now when I drove in to downtown the skyline was dark and the lights of the buildings lit the night sky like a glow bracelet or wand. Downtown Los Angeles was all aglow with the interior office lights and more. The lights were bright, the night was clear and my pulse was getting faster and faster with anticipation. I had the 80s/90s satellite radio station going. It was prep time. Get into the spirit. Time to make the floor burn. We all sang along to a few of the tunes too.

 

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Photo booth time with props and the vinyl record backdrop.

So we arrived. We parked a block away from the venue. Just a hop by the famed Orpheum Theater, then a skip down a block and bam! We were at The Gen X Room 80’s & 90’s Dance Flashback Celebration hosted at the Biergarten Downtown LA on Broadway. Yes it was an uber retro building with brick and concrete exposure. A large sized space with ample everything.

What greeted us was a wall full of vinyl records. A photo booth backdrop. Some glow bracelets, necklaces, blinking glasses, feather boas, hats, hair clips and wands. Even a guitar cutout! Just all the swag props to create a fun moment. Here is a photo of what that looked like. None of us were conservative about our accessories. We piled them on.

 

I was there on behalf of Angela Bishop. Thank you darling. What a great chance to have some VIP treatment too. Myself and my guests had some complimentary appetizers and a delicious cocktail. Oh the bar counter was this cool clear broken looking glass. Wow! The VIP mezzanine was nice and had various seating options too. The food was delicious! Veggie or pepperoni flatbread pizzas, crispy chicken tenders and freshly made potato chips. I REALLY loved the fresh potato chips! It was a snackers delight dinner if you will. I ate it up! HA!

A nice green cocktail. I don't remember the name the bartender said it was.

A nice green cocktail. I don’t remember the name the bartender said it was.

Now the music got us going. We danced the night away. So much so that we needed to ask for ice water. It got sweaty. There was freestyle, recognizable 80s and 90s jams. Now my friend April did request a lot of songs. Plus she knew a lot of the words. If my sweat drenched clothes of the night didn’t tell you I burned the floor then you need to get your eyes checked. Teehee!

All in all it was a cool hip fun funky fresh night. I did enjoy seeing some other guys out there on the dance floor moving and shaking. There was even some breakdancing. Seriously good too! I mean man those guys moved! Awesome. I did enjoy being able to take some of the props home to my children. Laser rings and glowing rings. Sunglasses too! Well I had a lot to take. Remember I wore it all, the opening pic of this blog shows that.

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Wearing all the free swag

 

I highly recommend going to the next one which is on June 11th. It will be at the same place, same time and lets make some more fun memories. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/events/550534238461512/ . There will be great drinks specials, 80s/90s inspired cocktails, raffle prizes this time around and VIP tables available. So who’s coming and theme-dressed in their best!

Shop, Craft, and…Cuddle Kittens?! Yes you can at BUST Craftacular!

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What are you doing this weekend? Hopefully you’re headed to the BUST Craftacular, the spring edition of BUST Magazine’s can’t-miss, all-day shopping party!

This one-day-only event will highlight 30+ trendsetting makers selling handmade and vintage treasures, accessories, clothing, beauty products, original art, delicious treats and offering tutorials at their booths. It’s also the perfect spot to snag that perfect, unique, gift for Mother’s Day!

Bust CraftacularFacebook/BUSTcraftacular

Shop Local!

The BUST Craftacular features hundreds of local craftspeople for an all-day shopping event full of truly unique handmade and vintage finds. The event will feature unique vendors including Rock + Pillar (handmade shoes), MNKR (LA streetwear), Clare Bare (lingerie), MSteves (bath & body) and more!

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Meet Rad Artists!

This year’s event is hosted at Superchief Gallery, which offers a great place for fans to interact with popular female artists. There will be opportunities for meet and greets with Local artist, Hellen Jo, known for her Frontier and Jin & Jam comics and with Robin Eisenberg, an illustrator known for her pop-culture pins & gifs.

The gallery will also be extending their Bi-Coastal Super-Mega Group Show exhibition, featuring the work of Swoon, Kristin Liu-Wong, Penelope Gazin and many more incredible female artists!

Superchief Gallery LAFacebook/SuperchiefGalleryLA

Kittens!

Did we mention there will be kittens? Kitty Bungalow is hosting a “Cuddle Cabana” full of adorable (and we’re assuming adoptable) kittens!

Important Stuff!

The BUST Craftacular will be open from 11:00am to 7:00pm on Saturday, May 7th. Superchief Gallery L.A. is located at 739 Kohler St, Los Angeles, CA 90021. Admission to the event is $3, parking is free across the street. The first 200 attendees get a swag bag. Food trucks will be onsite. Get more details here.

Newport Beach Film Festival is Back!

The Newport Beach Film Festival attracts over 55,000 to the normally quiet beach-front town, but it’s more than just a collection of films. This year is the Newport Beach Film Festival’s 17th year running. Since 1999, the festival has become a premier destination for many of the major film titles on the festival circuit, and has grown exponentially, emerging as one of the largest film festivals on the West Coast and gaining top status on lists from influential magazines such as Variety and MovieMaker.

Photo Credit: Newport Beach Film Festival

Photo Credit: Newport Beach Film Festival

It may sound out of reach for most locals, but the Newport Beach Film Festival prides itself on being accessible to the entire community. Anyone who loves movies is welcome to attend screenings, panels, and even the opening night gala.

Opening night at the Newport Beach Film Festival brings the absolute best in film, food, and fashion together in the center of one of Southern California’s most iconic outdoor shopping destinations – and home of Style Week Orange County – Fashion Island. Featuring dishes from 25 of the top local restaurants, a bar with top shelf brands – such as Tito’s Vodka, Remy Cointreau, and Stella Artois, Opening Night is one that locals look forward to all year long.

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Photo Credit: Newport Beach Film Festival

This year’s lineup includes showcases in the categories of Action Sports; Art, Architecture & Design; Collegiate; Documentaries; Family; Environmental; Music; and Shorts. There are a number of films features from the UK, Europe, and Pacific Rim, as well as a Latino showcase. There is truly something for everyone.

Photo Credit: Newport Beach Film Festival

Photo Credit: Newport Beach Film Festival

For the complete schedule and to purchase tickets to your screening of choice, visit http://www.newportbeachfilmfest.com/.

5th Annual West Coast BBQ Classic Returns to The Queen Mary

On May 14th, 2016 from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, the Queen Mary will be ripe with the smell of delicious barbecue. The 5th Annual West Coast BBQ Classic (WCBC) is returning to Long Beach and bringing some of California’s most accomplished Champion Pitmasters together to compete for a $10,500 cash prize and the coveted title of West Coast BBQ Pitmaster Champion.

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In addition to an exciting BBQ Battle, the WCBC will feature BBQ styles from across the country including slow-cooked hickory barbeque from Texas and southern Memphis-style barbeque. Attendees can taste delicious BBQ samples for only $2 each while enjoying a beautiful ocean view.

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The festival offers something for everyone! Join in the fun and participate in the watermelon or cobbler eating contests. Live entertainment will be provided by country music sensation, Scotty Mac Band. Children will love hanging out in Kids Country, which will offer games, a bounce house, face painters and potato sack races just for little BBQ fans. With the live music, backyard games, contests, and a merchant market, there will be more to do than just eat – although that will be a big part of it!

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The West Coast BBQ Classic is a one day only event, not to be missed. General value pack tickets are $20 each through April 30 and include event admission plus five tasting tickets and access to the Queen Mary ship. After April 30 tickets increase to $25. VIP value pack tickets are $35 through May and include one-hour early event admission plus five tasting tickets and access to the Queen Mary ship. After May 1 tickets increase to $40. Event parking is $15.

Ready for some great BBQ? Get your tickets here!

The 14th Annual Aquarium of the Pacific African-American Festival

The African-American Festival at Aquarium of the Pacific is back for it’s 14th year running. The weekend-long event celebrates the richness and diversity of African-American and African cultures. Guests will get to experience the sights and sounds of amazing African-American dance groups, musicians, drummers, and more.

Aquarium Dancers

Aside from the live performances, the festival will also feature cultural displays, handmade crafts, ethnic foods and storytelling. All the activities are included with festival admission. In between performances, take a stroll around the aquarium and enjoy the wonders of the Pacific Ocean.

Save on festival admission by using the coupon found on the flyer below! Or click here to show it from your phone!
Aquarium Flyer Click

For program times, head over to the Aquarium of the Pacific website.

The 14th Annual African-American Festival is open Saturday through Sunday, February 27-28, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and is included in regular admission prices. Admission is $28.95 for adults (12+), $25.95 for seniors (62+), and $14.95 for children (3-11). Admission is free for children under 3 and aquarium members.

Don’t forget to show THIS FLYER for $10 off regular adult admission!

For more information, directions, and tickets, visit the Aquarium of the Pacific website.

(All photos courtesy of the Aquarium of the Pacific)

Youth Theatre – The Hundred Dresses in Santa Monica

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Theatre is a great way to give children life lessons and experiences in a way that keeps them interested and captivated. Santa Monica’s Morgan-Wixson Theatre does this through their Youth Education/Entertainment Series. Also called Y.E.S., the series offers four youth productions each year and one full-length Youth Musical each November/ December; performances are on Saturdays and Sundays. Most Y.E.S. shows are selected to support national and local school reading lists.

Next in the series is The Hundred Dresses, a timeless tale about the power of words and finding the courage to stand up to others. Wanda Petronski just wants to join the fun of having friends like everyone else. But in 1930’s small town America, a Polish immigrant doesn’t easily fit in. When Maddie’s best friend Peggy starts to tease Wanda, Maddie knows it isn’t right. When the teasing doesn’t stop and the Petronskis move to get away from the town’s prejudices, Maddie is wracked with guilt. She soon realizes that allowing her friend to be a bully can be just as bad as acting that way herself. Determined not to let her fear get the best of her again, Maddie braves the scorn of her classmates and stands up to them, making an unlikely friend in the process.
The Hundred Dresses is showing Saturdays and Sundays at 11:00 am, January 30th through February 14th, 2016. Tickets are $12 for adults, and $10 for children 12 and under. For more information, visit www.morgan-wixson.org.

Deal alert: Print this coupon before you go for a FREE snack from the concession stand! Valid until 2/14/2016. 

Everything You Need to Know About Winter Fest 2015

(Disclosure: My family was offered free admission to this event to check it out. We were not required to share our thoughts, but I thought it might be helpful to share our experience with those who are on the fence about going.)

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Winter Fest opened last night, Friday December 18th with mixed reviews. I attended with my family and though at first I wasn’t sure what to expect, as the night unfolded we ended up having a really amazing time. If you’re still on the fence about going, here’s everything you need to know before you decide.

Admission

Tickets are priced different. Monday through Friday adults are $20 and children are $10, when bought online. On Saturday and Sunday the tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children. At the gate all tickets are $5 more.

Save more money by buying your tickets online in advance and use the promo code “REINDEER” for an extra $5 off each ticket.

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Activities

Here is what you get just for the price of admission:

  • Coupon for 1 free ride and 1 free carnival game
  • Unlimited ice tubing at Snow Summit (must be 42″ or taller)
  • Entry to one of two bounce house for kids
  • Reindeer viewing and feeding
  • Nightly Christmas tree lighting (5:30pm)
  • Intermittent snowfall (Check with a staff member for times)
  • A few simple Christmas themed crafts
  • Model train display
  • Photo opps (walk-through ornament, Christmas tree, cut-out photo stands, great decorations)
  • Daily and nightly entertainment throughout the event

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Here is what you have to pay extra for:

  • Unlimited ride wristband ($20 when purchased online)
  • Ride tickets (if you don’t do the wristband)
  • Carnival Games
  • Pictures with Santa
  • Face Painting
  • Caricatures
  • Ice Skating ($15 per person, plus $5 for skate assistance if needed)
  • Snow Summit fast pass ($10)
  • Food and drink

Food

There are limited food options at the event. I counted eight food (not dessert) stands, five or six dessert/snack places and one sit-down restaurant. I am not sure their stance on bringing in your own food and drink, but it might be worth looking into if you’d like to keep the cost down. You can also show your same-day Winter Fest tickets at The Triangle for some awesome freebies, so you might want to consider eating there. More info on that here.

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The types of food I noticed were pizza, chicken wings, chicken fingers, corn dogs, BBQ, tacos/nachos, and rice bowls.

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The sit-down restaurant is a fun ski lodge theme, and a great choice for a family meal.

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Desserts were ice cream, candied nuts, various cookies, cupcakes and cake pops, cotton candy, kettle corn and more.

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Nightly Snowfall

The nightly snowfall is to the left of The Hangar building as you’re facing it, and to the right of the Rice Bowls stand. The snow comes on intermittently throughout the night, and also during the Christmas Tree lighting. Be sure to stand on that side of the tree during the ceremony to be close to the snow.

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Time and Money Spent

I’ve had a lot of people ask me if it’s “worth it” to go. Here’s my time and money breakdown, and I’ll leave it to you to decide the value of a nice night out. Parking is $7 – cash only. For the average-sized family, I would give yourself around four hours to experience the event. It was not crowded on the night we went, but between the carnival rides and games, Snow Summit, reindeer feeding, bounce houses, model trains, crafts, and eating dinner, it took around that much time to experience everything. We could have kept on riding down Snow Summit, but it was getting late. If you buy the discounted online admission for a weeknight, it’s only $40 for two adults and two children over the age of 4. I recommend the unlimited ride wristbands for the kids ($20 each), and if you have a few snacks and drinks there, expect to pay around $120 total for a fun evening with your family. If you decide to ice skate, have some beers, or get a pic with Santa, you’ll have to add a little more to your budget.

Personally, we had the most fun tubing and riding the carnival rides. It felt like a smaller and more intimate version of the fair to me, and I really liked that it wasn’t crowded. For families with very small children I am not sure it would be the best event for you, but if you have kids between 5 and 10 years old, I think you would really enjoy a night (or day) at Winter Fest OC. The biggest complaint I’ve heard was the cost, but I think it’s possible to enjoy the event without spending too much as long as you’re prepared!

 

Does Winter Fest OC sound like something your family will experience this year? Did you already visit? What did you think?

 

 

Winter Fest Freebies at The Triangle in Costa Mesa!

Are you planning on going to Winter Fest? The Triangle has some fun freebies to make an exciting day out even more fun!

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Before or after your visit to the snowy fun, show your same-day Winter Fest tickets at the following spots in The Triangle for your freebies!

  • Creamistry: ticket holders can receive 10% off an ice cream order, or one free topping.
  • H2O Sushi & Izakaya: one complimentary appetizer per party, with a purchase of $20 or more.
  • La Vida Cantina: enjoy one complimentary appetizer or dessert per table, excluding seafood appetizers.
  • Saddle Ranch Chop House: ticket holders can receive one complimentary Cotton Candy Tower dessert and a complimentary bull ride with any purchase (one each per table)
  • Tavern + Bowl: receive a free shoe rental and/or a complimentary appetizer with the purchase of an entrée when you show same-day Winter Fest tickets

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The Triangle is located in the heart of Costa Mesa, just moments from the OC Fair & Events Center. The 200,000 square foot lifestyle center offers popular dining, entertainment and services, including a convenient car wash on the first level of the parking structure. The Triangle is conveniently located at the end of the 55 Freeway, where Newport Blvd., Harbor Blvd. and 19th Street intersect. The center offers seven levels of free parking, as well as a Valet on the first level near Tavern + Bowl. For more information on The Triangle, follow them on Facebook or visit their website!

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Winter Fest is Coming to the OC Fair & Event Center

Winter is coming to the OC Fair & Event Center! Absolute Event Solutions (AES) is bringing something new and different to the OC with an all-new holiday spectacular, Winter Fest. The inaugural event will be a whimsical winter wonderland for Southern California residents that features unlimited ice tubing, the world’s largest walk-through ornament, festive entertainment, ice skating, VIP rink-side cabanas, live reindeer, a nightly Christmas tree lighting ceremony with snowfall, seasonal-themed eateries, libations, a carnival and much more.

Winter Fest will begin each morning with a snow-capped opening moment led by resident master magician, Jimmy H.  The fun and entertaining Chainsaw Chicks will also be at Winter Fest, carving out fantastic ice sculptures while engaging the crowd with their unbridled charm. Additional live entertainment includes local bands, strolling carolers, and performances by community organizations from around Orange County.

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Worried about the weather? Many of the Winter Fest attractions are inside buildings throughout the fairgrounds, so they can be enjoyed even in the rain!

In the Winter Fest Promenade, enjoy a variety of food and beverage options in a holiday atmosphere. Family-friendly dining will also be available in the Slippery Slope Ski Lodge (known as Baja Blues Restaurant during the OC Fair), featuring a ski-lodge vibe with holiday-themed cuisine and drinks, mountain décor, nightly live entertainment, and staff decked out in ski gear.

At the end of the Winter Fest Promenade stands a 30-foot Christmas tree, where you can gather around sundown at 5:30 p.m. for a heartwarming tree lighting ceremony with snowfall. Near the beautiful Christmas tree will be two of Santa’s reindeer, available for viewing and feeding!

Adults will love the Mistletoe Lounge, which will be offering holiday-themed cocktails, international craft beers, and comfortable seating amid the holiday décor and entertainment of the Winter Fest Promenade.

Tickets for Winter Fest for Monday through Friday start at only $10 online, $15 onsite for children age 4 – 11, and $20 online, $25 onsite for adults. Ticket Prices Saturday and Sunday are $15 online, $20 onsite for children age 4 – 11, and $25 online, $30 onsite for adults.  Children 3 and under are free.  Purchasing tickets online is highly encouraged to not only save money but also ensure the desired event date is not sold out.

Ticket prices include admission to event, plus the following activities:

  • Unlimited ice tubing down Snowflake Summit
  • One complimentary carnival ride
  • One complimentary carnival game
  • Entry to bounce houses for kids
  • Reindeer viewing and feeding
  • Access to the world’s largest walk-through ornament
  • Nightly Christmas tree lighting ceremony with snowfall
  • Craft making and games for kids
  • Daily & nightly entertainment

Not included in admission, but available to purchase onsite for $15 per person, is access to the 6,000 square foot ice skating rink inside the Hangar building! Beloved holiday films will be projected onto a theater-sized screen in the background of the rink for skaters to enjoy as they glide across the ice. Santa has even transported several sleighs from his collection to the Hangar building, and they will be on display for the first time ever at Winter Fest.

Elegant rink-side VIP cabanas will also be available for only $99 per session while they last, and accommodate 2 – 10 people but can adapt to fit parties of up to 100. The VIP cabanas offer exclusive menus with seasonally inspired food, cocktails, a private ice rink entrance and private servers. VIP cabanas are perfect for groups, parties, or a date with a loved one.

Can’t get enough winter fun? Adult season passes for unlimited admission into to all 17 days and nights of Winter Fest are available for $45 advance and online (limited supply); children’s season passes (ages 4-11) are available for $25 advance and online (limited supply).

For more information on Winter Fest and to purchase tickets, visit www.WinterFestOC.com.

 

Holidays are Jolly at Aquarium of the Pacific Holiday Treats Festival

The Aquarium of the Pacific has another great event coming up this weekend! The animals at the aquarium get to celebrate Christmas early as Santa dons a SCUBA suit to drop off treats for everyone! Santa will be visiting penguins, sea otters, seals, sea lions, birds, fish, and even swimming with sharks this weekend, December 5th and 6th at the Holiday Treats festival!

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The animals are not the only ones celebrating, though! Families in attendance can meet and greet penguins up close, see Santa Diver in action, and take photos with Santa in his traditional attire as well as with some holiday costumed characters.

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The festival will also feature Hanukkah storytelling and dreidel activities, holiday music, crafts, shopping, gingerbread house displays and more! To top it all off, snow will fall in the Aquarium’s Great Hall and guests can enjoy a snow play area on the front lawn (weather dependent).

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The Aquarium Holidays celebration will continue through December 24 with snow falls in the Great Hall, Santa Diver, and character appearances daily and music, penguin walks, visits from Santa, and the snow play area on weekends

For program times, head over to the Aquarium Holidays website.

The Holiday Treats Festival is open Saturday through Sunday, December 5th and 6th, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and is included in regular admission prices. Admission is $28.95 for adults (12+), $25.95 for seniors (62+), and $14.95 for children (3-11). Admission is free for children under 3 and aquarium members.

Don’t forget to show THIS FLYER for a free child admission with a paid adult!

For more information, directions, and tickets, visit the Aquarium of the Pacific website.

(All photos courtesy of the Aquarium of the Pacific)