One of my favorite places to take out of town guests to is Pacific Edge Hotel in Laguna Beach. It’s located right on the beach and has this low key, relaxed vibe, which to me, says to my guests – “You’re in SoCal now, babyyy!” Last year, I had the pleasure of experiencing the Surf Cabanas – it’s like having all the hotel amenities without actually having to stay overnight. It’s essentially a living room with a bathroom just steps from the sand, where you can spend the day with your family or a group of friends (up to 10 people, I believe).
Recently, the Surf Cabanas have been remodeled and renamed the Bungalows! And guess what? They rock even more now. Basically, the Bungalows are five rooms, reserved for day use from 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., allowing guests a base of operations for fun in the sun and letting them make the most of their time at the Pacific Edge Hotel. What’s interesting about the renovation is the involvement of the community and friends of the hotel. The five Bungalows were given to local companies and groups to sponsor, and then each of those sponsors was given free reign to completely redecorate their Bungalow in their company’s own sense of style.
Take a look:
I think, the Billabong Bungalow is surf shack chic.
The Fox Head Bungalow feels like a sophisticated man cave.
Gorjana and Griffin, an online accessories brand, adds the feminine touch, in my opinion.
See what happens when surf brand Hobie collaborates with Laguna Beach home furnishing store Tuvalu – a cozy beach retreat.
Last but not least, the Sleepy Hollow Group’s bungalow has a fresh and clean feel.
I do enjoy me some mash-ups. And I’m not talking about the kind Mr. Shue assigns on ‘Glee.’ Instead, I like when two genres come together. So you can imagine my excitement about the first ever Wavelength Festival this summer – it is a concert series that will blend contemporary and Pacific Symphony musicians. Collaboration, that’s what it’s all about.
Performances Include Bonnie Raitt, The Airborne Toxic Event with Pacific Symphony, KCRW’s Jason Bentley and The Music of Pink Floyd – “The Dark Side of the Moon” played in its entirety with Pacific Symphony.
Wavelength Festival of Music is part of the Pacific Symphony’s 35th Anniversary Season initiatives, and will be held this summer at the OC Fair & Event Center at Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa on Aug. 22, 23, 24 and 25.
According to Music Director Carl St.Clair: “Pop music has a long history of linking up with classical musicians. From The Beatles to Motown to contemporary indie bands, artists have recognized the sonic power unique to an orchestra. Our goal with Wavelength is to present diverse genres of high-quality music, often in direct collaboration with musicians from the orchestra. I hope audiences will spend the entire weekend with us to open their ears to worlds previously unknown to them. I like the diversity of the offerings, which I hope will be the ongoing appeal of Wavelength over the years.”
Maestro Carl St. Clair conducts. Photo from Pacific Symphony.
I am most excited for “indie night,” Friday, Aug. 23 when my favorite band, ‘The Airborne Toxic Event’ performs with Pacific Symphony. It isn’t the first time they’ve performed with a symphony. Here’s a look at a recent performance of The Airborne Toxic Event (TATE) with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.
The Delta Spirit will open for TATE. And on Saturday, Aug. 24 KCRW’s Jason Bentley will feature a special DJ set. The final concert of the weekend on Aug. 25 presents The Music of Pink Floyd – “The Dark Side of the Moon” played in its entirety with Pacific Symphony in celebration of the album’s 40th anniversary.
“The idea for Wavelength sprang from a desire to serve Orange County and the region with a new and distinct popular music experience which demonstrates the versatility of the musicians to collaborate with a wide range of artists,” said John Forsyte, president of Pacific Symphony. “Through a long-standing relationship with Steve Beazley, former CEO of the Fair, I have come to learn about the exciting developments at the OC Fair and Pacific Amphitheatre. It’s a great venue for live music. Over a million people attend the OC Fair every summer and many attend popular music concerts at the Amphitheatre. Steve and I saw a great opportunity for Pacific Symphony’s name to get in front of a wider audience base.”
Another cool feature of the festival is that it will have two stages: the all-new Mercedes Benz CLA Mainstage in the Amphitheatre and Concourse stage. The Concourse stage will showcase various 2013 OC Music Awards-affiliated bands, local up-and-coming indie artists as well as individual Pacific Symphony musicians starting at 5:30 p.m. each evening. Main stage performances begin at 7:00pm
But wait, there’s more! Interested Wavelength attendees should buy tickets early and use their Wavelength ticket to “Bounce Forward” into the 2013 OC Fair, July 12-August 11. Wavelength ticket holders can attend one of the 23 days of the OC Fair for FREE by showing their Wavelength ticket.
Tickets for Aug. 22, 23 and 25 range in price from $25 to $95 and are on sale at 10 a.m. May 15 through Ticketmaster.com. VIP Packages are also available through Ticketmaster.com. Aug. 24 ticket prices and on-sale details will be announced in the coming days. For more information, visit wavelengthfestival.org.
I was between event at LA Live on Saturday when I decided to check out the Grammy Museum in Downtown LA. And let me tell you, the $12.95 admission price was well-worth it, especially if you are a music lover, or if you are a tourist looking for things to do in Los Angeles. I am not a tourist but I might as well be, coming from Orange County. Navigating freeway traffic from our close counties makes me sometimes wish I could hop on plane, after all! But I definitely am a music lover.
Photo below taken from http://instagram.com/thegrammymuseum/
The Grammy Museum explores and celebrates all forms of American music. Start at the fourth floor and work your way down the engaging and educational exhibits. I really enjoyed the large interactive Crossroads table. Put on the headphones and experience the history of a musical genre, literally with the touch of a finger. I liked how it showed how connected one genre was to another. Punk to rock to emo. Folk to alternative folk etc.
I also enjoyed the audio-visual clips of memorable performances through history. My favorites? Billie Holiday and Miles Davis, and a cool clip of Bob Dylan in a duet with Johnny Cash!
Note: This song was featured in the movie ‘Silver Linings Playbook.’
But the real fun began on the third floor with the immersive Roland Live experience, which featured a full electronic band setup with keyboards, guitars, and drums, which you could touch and pretend to play. It’s one thing to play a video game like RockBand or Guitar Hero and quite another feeling to actually touch a real instrument!
The second floor of the Grammy Museum houses the 200-seat Clive Davis Theater and the special exhibits. This month it was all about Whitney Houston. I felt that I already knew way too much about Whitney, so I skipped this one but the exhibits on this floor change regularly so perhaps another exhibit will be more my cup of tea. I would’ve loved to have seen the John Lennon exhibit they had in 2011.
Another thing that I hope to experience at the Grammy Museum in the future is a musical program. They have an eclectic mix ranging from “An Evening With” featuring legendary contemporary musicians to “The Drop,” which features artists with a new release. I would also have loved to watch my favorite band during the “Homegrown” program.
Two things I love: Good Books and Good Food. That is why I love supporting the Taste of Huntington Beach organized by the Friends of the Children’s Library (FOTCL). I myself have been a volunteer and one-time correspondence secretary of the FOTCL.
Since 2002, the Friends of the Children’s Library (FOTCL), in partnership with the Huntington Beach Restaurant Association (HBRA), has donated more than $300,000 from Taste proceeds to the HB Children’s Library.
This Sunday, I will be at the HB Sports Complex, with my camera and my taste buds ready to sample the wine and craft beers and the tastiest food. I look forward to seeing familiar faces and making new friends. It’s going to be a great time!
To view photos I took from the 2010 Taste of Huntington Beach, click here.
Here are some I took from last year’s Taste of Huntington Beach event.
Champagne served at the VIP Tent of the Taste of HB last year.
Some of my favorite local Huntington Beach restaurants are there every year to support the Children’s Library.
Like Duke’s Huntington Beach
Sandy’s Beach Grill
Sandy’s Beach Grill made its debut at the Taste 3 years ago!
And TomGirl Baking Company
Former Taste of HB Committee Volunteer leader has joined the TomGirl Baking Company actually. What a sweet group of gals! (pun intended)
I really love discovering new tastes and new restaurants at the Taste of Huntington Beach. Here are two of the most delicious samples I’ve had.
Tasty tacos with a twist from Red Table Restaurant
Pork Belly skewers from last year’s first timer The Corner HB.
So if you are looking for a fun springtime event, I do hope you can make it to the Taste of Huntington Beach on Sunday, April 28, from noon to 4pm at the Huntington Beach Sports Complex. Where else can you get a wide array of culinary tastes and sips with one inclusive ticket price?
Support a great cause too!
The Friends of the Children’s Library is an all volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting children’s interest in literature, reading, and the use of library resources and services. ALL the money raised is used to support a variety of educational and entertaining programs and activities for the children in our community through the Children’s Department of the Huntington Beach Public Library.
People are often surprised that my position exists in a dental company. I am the Social Media Strategist for a company with over 300 supported dental offices. That’s right dentists! Why on earth do dentists need social media? How does a large company use social media? The obvious answer would be for marketing. But the truth is, we use it for much more than that. Research shows that 94% of corporations use social media. Companies use it for customer service, public relations, and even recruiting. Unlike traditional media, social media is a living breathing evolving set of tools that allow people to communicate with each other and with the world.
You know the stats – Facebook has over 1 billion active users, Twitter has 500 million users and Google+ 343 million active users. LinkedIn has 200 million users. There are more channels than that and the numbers are staggering.
So even if you aren’t active on social media, someone close to you is…
When another person rants on Facebook about a horrible experience with your company, social media can amplify that message. When one person tweets about a great experience with your company, social media can amplify that message too! That is the power of Social Media.
Social media touches nearly every part of our lives these days. People use it daily whether using their desktops or laptops, or their mobile devices. People use it anytime and everywhere. That is why, some employers worried about productivity, simply block access to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, on computers on the company network. This, however, does not stop workers from accessing social media through their smartphones.
What’s a company to do?
THE ANSWER: CREATE A SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY
There is very little you can do to stop people from using social on their phones or in their personal time, so rather than coming up with a 50 page handbook, it would be best to come up with a one to two page summary that gives your organization a view of what they should and could be doing online.
Your social media policy should:
Be tailored for your organization. No one size fits all because each organization has different needs, uses and risks.
Apply Common Sense. Don’t restrict your employees’ social media activity. Stress that the use of social media at work is a PRIVILEGE, and with that privilege comes responsibility.
Be specific about what is or is not permitted. List consequences if policy is violated. Note: Policy should not be TOO BROAD (you cannot, for example, prohibit employees from posting pictures of the company, store brand or product. You cannot say, you are prohibited from depicting the brand in any way etc)
The policy should comply with and be implemented in accordance with local requirements, including privacy laws (Understand the law – like copyright, privacy, slander, libel, provisions of NLRA (national labor relations act)
Remember, having a dedicated and well communicated social media policy will help guide employees in their use of social media in the workplace. Set expectations from the get go; communicate that social media should not affect their overall productivity.
Anaheim Wondercon 2013 was a super fan-friendly convention, where comic book and sci-fi fans could dress in costume, purchase merchandise, attend panel sessions, and watch movie previews, short films, and even try out new video games. Unlike other bigger conventions, this con was geared towards fans coming together rather than being focused on swag and marketing.
The real comic book nerd in the family was my brother but I read comics too. I can still remember how my mom, in an effort to organize things, bound together my brother’s comic book collection into a leather bound book. It seemed cool at the time, but we realized that binding them together made the comics lose their (resale) value. My brother would later lovingly collect each comic book in those plastic cover protectors, and keep them in specially designed comic book storage boxes. We started out reading the funny comics – The Archies, Huey, Dewey and Louie etc before graduating into the Marvel and DC worlds of comic book heroes. But the real comic book turning point for me was Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Series.
I can go on and tell you about my love for comics and graphic novels, but what I really want to tell you about right now is Wondercon. On the last weekend of March, I attended Wondercon at the Anaheim Convention Center, the annual comic book, science fiction and movie convention. I like to describe it as a mini Comic-Con (San Diego). Considering the last comic convention I attended was a decade ago in Philadelphia (Wizard East), I was a bit overwhelmed by Wondercon. There were so many cosplayers from Dr. Whos to Super Mario and various anime characters, I felt really under dressed in my jeans and t-shirt.
Take a look at some scenes from WonderCon 2013.
The Highlights of Wondercon for Me were:
COSPLAY in full force. People of all ages dressed in costume and it wasn’t even Halloween! Also, at the entrance there was a table where cosplayers were asked to have their “weapons” inspected. It was really interesting because among the weapons were Ghostbusters Proton Packs, light sabers, swords and all sorts of sci-fi firearms.
Homestuck Cosplay at Wondercon. Bumped into these ladies in the restroom. Homestuck is a popular web comic.
Seeing my old friend Whilce Portacio, Filipino-American comic book writer and artist, at Artist’s Alley. Last time I saw Whilce was at Wizard East, a decade ago! He is known for Noted for his work on such titles as The Punisher, X-factor, Uncanny X-Men, Iron Man, Wetworks and Spawn.
Whilce and I at Wondercon 2013.
And last but not least, a highlight of Wondercon 2013 for me was the session with Director Guillermo del Toro, who debuted an exclusive trailer for the robots vs. monsters movie, Pacific Rim. I’ve been a fan of his since “Pan’s Labyrinth,” and let me just say the dude is a comic book nerd superhero himself. He reminded me of Kevin Smith with a Latino accent.
The first Pacific Rim trailer was revealed at last year’s San Diego Comic Con, and so it was only fitting that this special trailer was shown at Wondercon. The trailer was interesting, but even more interesting was the conversation with Del Toro, who answered questions from the audience too.
Guillermo Del Toro shared an exclusive trailer for the upcoming Pacific Rim Movie.
Knott’s Berry Farm is one of my favorite family amusement parks. I love all the Americana, the food choices, rides and a host of other things that truly cater to every member of the family.
This spring, Knott’s has made some fun seasonal additions to the park including a new interactive live show at Charleston Circle called “Peanuts Party in the Park,” Big Boardwalk Board games like checkers and Connect Four, a 3-D art show at Silver Bullet Midway, and a nice Wine Tasting (for the grown ups) and Lemonade Tasting (for the kids – yum, try Boysenberry) event at Knott’s Towering Topiary Gardens located in Wilderness Dance Hall. What did I tell you — it’s fun for the whole family!
On the occasion of Twitter’s 7th birthday, I thought I’d share with you a plea from one of the first people I met on Twitter – the awesome Kim Masoner @beachcleanup, who with her husband Steve, organizes beach clean ups under the non-profit they established, Save Our Beach. Here’s Kim’s message:
We would love to have your help next month on Saturday April 13th to collect trash and recycling at Run Seal Beach, but we need to ask for strong volunteers (can lift 50lbs or more) and happen to be early risers. If you’re interested, or you know someone that can help us for a couple hours, please email email@example.com
Kim & Steve Masoner Save Our Beach Founders
And in the spirit of Throwback Thursday, here’s a throwback to one of the first videos I ever shot, edited and uploaded to YouTube.
I do love to support a good charity. So when the opportunity to help Team Kids came along, I was all over it. The mission of Team Kids is to inspire and empower young people to become resilient and responsible citizens with a passion for community service. The Irvine-based non profit organization encourages innovative community collaborations. It’s helping kids help others in their communities.
On March 24th, Team Kids will present its 7th Annual Imagine Celebration at Il Fornaio Restaurant. Attendees will enjoy a delicious Italian buffet, entertainment, and a gathering of families, and leaders from education, government, and the police and fire departments. The Team Kids Spirit Award will be presented to Oakley CEO Colin Baden and to Edwards Lifesciences CEO Mike Mussallem for their leadership and support of the Team Kids Mission. The Team Kids Youth Council will be hosting hands-on service projects for young guests! The celebration also marks 50th Birthday of the TEAM KIDS BUS! You can get tickets for the event at TeamKids.org