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September 29, 2009

October Hollywood Discounts

Thanks to ABC-7 for this tip.

If a vacation is out of your budget this year, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has the answer: It wants you to "staycation" in Hollywood.

The Hollywood Wax Museum, the Kodak Theater, and several spas are just some of the spots you can visit on the cheap.

To qualify for the discounts, you must live in Los Angeles, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino or Orange counties.

The following businesses are offering 50 percent off during October 2009:

  • Hollywood Wax Museum
  • Starline City Sightseeing Double Decker "Hop-on Hop-off" Tour
  • Hollywood Guinness Museum
  • Kodak Theatre Tours
  • Laserium Cyber Theater
  • Spa Luce at Renaissance Hotel: Any 80-minute face or body treatment
  • Dearly Departed Tours
  • Hollywood Museum at the Max Factor Building
  • Pantages Theater (Tickets to be purchased at Box Office for "Grinch" performances 11/10-11/25)
  • LA Active Adventure Tours
  • American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theater
  • Ripley's Believe it or Not! Museum

September 28, 2009

My Huge Indulgence....

So, I've done it. Something wildly out of my budget, that I've lusted after for years. A European vacation, you say? No, I bought a KitchenAid Stand Mixer. In Tangerine! The combination of free shipping, saved gift cards that I'd accumulated through returns and holidays, and a hefty rebate from the company was too tempting to pass up, adding up to about a hundred dollars off. And although I try to live a fairly non-consumer lifestyle, I don't feel guilty about this purchase, as I'll be using it for at least the next twenty years. To sweeten the pot, I bought through and got a thousand points in credit for the purchase.

Though it's been on my wish list for many moons, I timed my purchase not only to make the rebate, but because I plan to do a ton of holiday baking this year, and I've recently started selling dog cookies too. The Tangerine looks great in my sage and fall-orange kitchen. It meshes with the time period of my eighties Pyrex theme. Made in America, and packaged in recyclable cardboard. And, as if to endorse my decision, KitchenAid even made my favorite NPR radio show the week I made my purchase. Here's the transcript of the story from All Things Considered:

September 7, 2009 - NOAH ADAMS, host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Noah Adams.

Last Friday, you'll recall we heard about 216,000 jobs disappearing, that's what the Labor Department said. Some people were encouraged, saying the number could have been higher. We thought we'd take a look here, on Labor Day itself, at one product still being made in the U.S. in a factory still running three shifts. It is the KitchenAid stand mixer.

This is the big, heavy one, $200 and up, an investment both in money and in your counter space.

(Soundbite of mixer)

It may be surprising to learn that this mixer and all the KitchenAids all over the world, they all come from Greenville, Ohio. That's a small town in West Ohio, pretty close to Indiana. The KitchenAid factory has been open there since 1941. I went out to take a look, but I stopped first in downtown Greenville, where the company has a retail store. It's called the KitchenAid Experience Center. You'll see every model of mixer and blender in every color. People come for cooking demonstrations. Sometimes, customers arrive as if on a pilgrimage, walking through the front door in amazement.

Downstairs, there's a mixer museum, featuring, especially now, a cobalt blue K5A model that was owned and used and signed by Julia Child. Bon appetit, she inscribed on the bowl. Fifty or so other vintage mixers have been donated, and here's an example of the very first. Store manager Gloria Keller-Brinley shows me the 1919 Model H.

Ms. GLORIA KELLER-BRINLEY (Manager, KitchenAid Experience Center): It stands, oh, I would say, relatively 24, 26 inches high, and it weighs approximately 65 pounds, and they were made four per day, and the average cost was $189, which was equivalent to about $2,000 today.

ADAMS: That was 1919. Ten years before that, an engineer, Herbert Johnson, had invented the mixer idea for bakeries. He made the Hobart. It held 80 quarts, and then came the five-quart countertop concept.

Ms. KELLER-BRINLEY: They didn't know what to name it, so they took several of them home: the CEO and the vice president and the engineers, and one wife was particular on it by saying it was the best kitchen aid she's ever had — I don't care what you call it.

ADAMS: The KitchenAid factory is on the outskirts of town, a modern building, long and low and vast. You can't see it all at once. About 700 people work here, making the mixers and the KitchenAid blenders, as well. It is largely an assembly process: Parts come in from all over and leave together in boxes ready for the stores. KitchenAid's Sarah Erisman walks me through the factory.

Ms. SARAH ERISMAN: You can see that they're loading parts onto the line. They're getting ready to go into the paint room. The parts that they're loading right now are called pedestals. They're going to be going through a wash, a rinse and a dry before it actually goes into the paint booth to get painted, and we're going to go in and see a little bit more of that.

ADAMS: You recognize some of the glossy enamel colors: empire red, onyx black, pearl metallic, licorice. White is the one I can name; it's just the white; And you recognize the parts: the pedestals we saw getting set to ride through the paint room and especially the part that KitchenAid refers to as the wire whip. I call it a whisk. They're being made here by Sherry Wopplehorse(ph).

Ms. ERISMAN: What you see Sherry doing here, looks like that's the five-quart wire whip. She is putting the wires in her shank, pressing on her pedal there, and it actually crimps that wire into the shank and locks it in there.

ADAMS: You did that in less than a minute.

Ms. SHERRY WOPPLEHORSE (Worker, KitchenAid): We have to do 600 in eight hours. So yeah, we have to do them pretty quick.

Mr. TONY MIKESELL(ph) (Worker, KitchenAid): I've been doing this job for almost 17 years.

ADAMS: Tony Mikesell, local guy, four years in the Army, back home to KitchenAid. He has a couple of lathes at his work station. And during his shift each day, Tony will process 5,000 parts.

Mr. MIKESELL: I machine down the hub gear that's in the nose of the mixer for all the attachments and stuff to go into and also face off the back of a couple gears so they mesh correctly in the transmission housing.

ADAMS: The KitchenAid factory seems to run without effort. A worker will pick up a part that has just arrived, and where it makes sense, robotic machines do even faster and more precise work. The question comes up: how many stand mixers does the company make here? KitchenAid won't say, really, but Sarah Erisman offers an estimate.

Ms. ERISMAN: During our busy season, we have been known to build around 7,000 units a day, mixers a day, but that's during our really high-peak, busy season. I'm not sure where our schedule is right now. It just depends on demand, you know? With the economy being like it is, you know, it could be a little lower than that.

ADAMS: Late summertime brings the Great Darke County Fair, permanent fairgrounds right there in Greenville.

(Soundbite of county fair)

ADAMS: KitchenAid is a big company now owned by Whirlpool. Whirlpool has annual sales of $20 billion. A tiny portion goes to help out the local county fair. KitchenAid sponsors the 4-H Club Teen Bake-a-Rama.

(Soundbite of mixer)

ADAMS: Four young people are in the competition, using hand mixers to whip up brownie butter, hoping for the judges' delight.

Unidentified Woman: This one looks great. This one looks great. This one fell apart. Either he underbaked it, or he tried to pull it out of the pan too soon.

(Soundbite of county fair)

Ms. ALEX NEIKAMP (4-H Club Teen Bake-a-Rama): Our first place goes to Sara Carroll(ph).

(Soundbite of applause)

Mr. NEIKAMP: Thank you all contestants for competing, and we ask that you stay after for pictures. Thank you.

(Soundbite of applause)

ADAMS: Alex Neikamp hands out the prizes. Neikamp is 17. Usually, he enters the contest. This year, he's helping run it. He has been baking since grade school, growing up with a KitchenAid mixer on the counter in his family's kitchen.

Mr. NEIKAMP: That's probably my favorite utensil in my kitchen. I especially like to make lemon meringue pie on it because you can make your crust, your filling and your meringue all in one.

ADAMS: So in the years to come, when you're out on your own with your own kitchen, what's going to happen to that mixer? You're not going to get to take it with you.

Mr. NEIKAMP: Well, I'm hoping when I get married that I'll get one for a wedding present.

ADAMS: Alex Neikamp, talking with us at the Great Darke County Fair. He's a 4-H Club member, a home baker who will someday own a KitchenAid stand mixer, made in his home county, the small town of Greenville, Ohio.

(Soundbite of music)

I'm Noah Adams. You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

What's your most valued home or kitchen tool? Please tell me about it in a comment on the blog.

September 26, 2009

Herb-themed Ornaments

Thought I'd share an ongoing current project with you. These are supposed to be "plant pokes," staked into the ground to mark your herbs. I'm not willing to stick anything handmade into dirt, so I hang these as ornaments in my country kitchen, with several on my pot rack. They're easy, quick, and add a personal touch to my home environment. They're also teaching me to identify my kitchen garden herbs. Stitched on plastic canvas, I finish the back with felt and a "handmade by" tag. I'll let you know when I've finished the basil one!

I like small projects that give me a sense of immediate gratification. What's your favorite stitching project? Let me know in a comment on the blog.

Underwood Family Farms at Halloween

Underwood Family Farms is holding their Fall Harvest Festival in Moorpark from September 26th-October 31st. I went with a friend less than a month after adopting my second dog, and took the two on the outdoor adventure. Some of my favorite photos were taken on this day.

The Farms' Fall Festival features a slew of special events each weekend, like an Oktoberfest, Craft Fair, Folk Festival, Antique tractor Weekend, and a Western Heritage Weekend. Check out their website above for schedule details.

The 2009 festival will be open from 9:00 am until 6:00 pm. Admission to the festival is $10.00 on Saturdays and Sundays and $3.00 per person Monday through Friday. Children under 2 are free! On the weekends, each person will receive a tractor-drawn wagon ride with their paid admission. Free parking. On Halloween, October 31st, kids dressed in a full costume (not just a mask or face painted) will receive FREE admission!

my two kids, Claire and Chance, in their first portrait

Claire serene as usual, and Chance climbing out of the wheelbarrow....

A new friend that Claire just loved!

Where do you go for Halloween fun? Do you enjoy carving pumpkins? Do you roast the seeds? Leave me a comment with your traditions on the blog.

September 25, 2009

Book Recommends?

(my cookbooks--just cleared off one whole shelf!)

I have a ton of credits right now at PaperBackSwap. I'm proud of myself for cleaning out my bookshelf--I hate to part with books, so this is a major effort for me.

Now I have the room to expand my selections. What are you reading right now? Anything to recommend to me? I love Fiction, Cookbooks, and many non-fiction subjects. Leave me a comment on the blog with your suggestions.

Valley Produce Co-op

Do you have a garden or fruit tree in your yard? Does it yield more produce than you can consume yourself? Would you like to exchange some of that excess produce for a wider variety of produce? If so the Valley Produce Co-op might be right for you. They are San Fernando Valley residents who meet once a month to exchange excess produce with each other.

Upcoming Valley Exchanges:
October 17th 12 noon
November 14th 12 noon
December 12th 12 noon

Email "" to get on the newsletter for upcoming exchanges if you live in the San Fernando Valley.

Want to start a chapter in your own neighborhood? Contact "" or check their website here to get going.

Have you participated in or spearheaded this type of exchange before? What about other neighborhood exchanges, like a clothing swap? Leave a comment on the blog to let me know about your successes and failures.

September 24, 2009

The Big Picture: Rogers & Hammerstein at the Bowl

My last bowl concert of the summer was great fun! I took a friend to see The Big Picture, a yearly event with a chosen theme where they air a ton of clips while playing the movie score. This one was dedicated to Rogers & Hammerstein's movie musicals.

Host of the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) network Robert Osborne was our moderator for the evening, and did a great job introducing each piece, giving back story and history on Rogers & Hammersteins working relationship.

The evening started off with a bang, jumping right into Oklahoma! including "Surrey with a Fringe On Top."

My favorite part of the evening was a tribute to The King & I--my private secret: I was in the chorus of this musical in high school. I tried not to sing along too loudly at the Bowl.

Another familiar musical, from my brother's days in community theater: South Pacific. I so love the movie much better than any stage version.

Though the evening featured a bunch of my personal favorites, there was one I'd never seen--Flower Drum Song.

The Piece de Resistance was the finale--The Sound of Music, complete with the opening crane shot coming over the hill, and the family making their final ascent to freedom at the end of the film.

Do you prefer seeing contemporary vocal artists at venues like this, or do you enjoy a symphonic performance? Leave me a comment on the blog with your thoughts.
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