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February 26, 2010

New Snack Find: Dark Chocolate Cocoa Almonds

It's been a whirl of a year since Christmas, and I really need to get back to finding one positive thing to talk or think about each day.

I know I'm tired tonight because the television's off and I'm enjoing the quiet of my house rather than the fake company of the voices on Law and Order. So as I sit here facebooking, I'm snacking on Dark Chocolate Cocoa Roasted Almonds from Emerald.

My sister sent a couple packages of these to me in my Valentine this month, and calls them her "new find." They come in 100 calorie packs (oh the packaging waste) or an 11oz can, available at Target. And though they're not cheap, at a little under $5 a can, they are SO good! I am an admitted chocaholic, so these were made just for me.

Have you tried these? What's your favorite snack splurge? Leave me a comment on the blog with your diet suggestions--mine certainly needs help!

February 19, 2010

Free Pretzel Day at Auntie Anne's

Auntie Anne's is giving out a free original or cinnamon sugar pretzel on Saturday Feb. 20th from 10A-3P! They'll even send a reminder text on the day to your cel phone if you register on their website. Here's a store locator to find one near you.

Please let me know if you take advantage of any of the free offers I've mentioned on the blog by leaving me a comment.

February 16, 2010

Ira Glass Radio Stories & Other Stories

Once again, spreading the word about an event that looks like great fun. I'm an avid fan of This American Life, and would love the chance to see or meet host Ira Glass in person. Tickets for the event are pricey, but if you can afford it, what an opportunity....
Two shows: 7pm & a special late night edition at 10pm!

Tickets on Sale

For one night only on Saturday, March 27th, Ira Glass, host and producer of This American Life, brings his story-telling genius to UCLA's Royce Hall for two shows. KCRW Presents "A Night with Ira Glass: Radio Stories and Other Stories" at 7pm and a special late-night edition at 10pm.

"Radio Stories and Other Stories" offers a look behind the scenes of This American Life and goes farther. Ira talks personally about the show, its origins, his influences and the elements that make a good story.

It's a night not to be missed and you'll have the chance to ask your own questions to the creator of one of the most original radio programs in America.

This American Life was considered so utterly unique that in its first year on air, the program won broadcasting's most prestigious honor, The Peabody Award. Unlike public radio's renowned news magazines, This American Life is not the voice of record, but a record of the voices around us. The stories are as fully strange and hopeful and funny and harsh and romantic as America itself...and occasionally all at the same time. They sprawl outside the usual standard-issue broadcast confines, telling about the way it actually was, what it felt like, what really happened.

This American Life broadcasts fiction and non-fiction, monologues and documentaries. What makes its stories different are their strong narratives about characters, thrown into situations that shed light on larger issues, presenting life as drama, with characters who emerge transformed.

UCLA’s Royce Hall, 340 Royce Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90095
Parking is located in Structure 5 off of Royce Drive. Price is $10, cash only.

First show:
Doors at 6pm
Show at 7pm

Second show
Doors at 9pm
Show at 10pm

Let me know if you go (and if you heard about this event here) by leaving a comment on the blog. Hope you have a great time!

February 15, 2010

Stained Glass Sunday: Glass of FLW's Hollyhock House Tour


The Stained Glass of Hollyhock House Tour and Lecture with David Judson
Saturday, February 27, 2010, 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Donation: $20.00 (cash or checks only made out to FOHH)

The Judson Studios have produced stained glass windows, screens and glass tile artwork for architectural settings since 1897. In April, 1920, they were engaged by Frank Lloyd Wright to manufacture art glass for Hollyhock House.

David Judson, current president and grandson of the original creators of the Judson Studios, will discuss the history of Judson Studios as it relates to Frank Lloyd Wright art glass designs in Hollyhock House and guide viewers to several of the works the studio produced for the house.

This 1.5 hr. lecture/tour will acquaint viewers with the technique and design artistry of the combined talents of Frank Lloyd Wright and the artisans of the Judson Studios.

Reservations and payment are to be made in advance, and limited to 25 people. No reservation will be taken after Feb. 20. For information and reservations please call or email:

Sara L. Cannon, Director of Education of Hollyhock House

I'm so going to this event! I'd love to have anyone join me. We could carpool from the valley, if you're in my area. Be sure to drop me an email or leave a comment on the blog if you're interested!

February 14, 2010

Squirrel and Nut Valentine

I made this at Christmas, during a card-making craft fest with my mom, but I thought it made a great valentine for a guy--simple, kinda retro 1950's, and in keeping with the blog (love the squirrel!) so I thought I'd use it as my valentine to you. Hope you're having a great holiday with the one you love.

I think I'll be sending this card to my dad. How are you celebrating? Tell me about it in a comment on the blog.

February 13, 2010

Golden Dragon Parade and Festival

Celebrate the Lunar New Year

with the

Golden Dragon Parade

Saturday, February 20, 2010
And Festival
Saturday and Sunday, February
20 and 21, 2010

In celebrating over one hundred years of tradition, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles presents the 111th Annual Golden Dragon Parade. With over 110,000 individuals lining the parade route and thousands viewing the telecast each year, this colorful celebration along North Broadway in Chinatown has become the premiere cultural event in the Southern California Asian-American Community.

Since the mid-1980’s, the Golden Dragon Parade has expanded to include almost two dozen floats, multiple marching bands, government officials, various dignitaries, entertainers, local business leaders and cultural groups. The parade’s theme emphasizes ethnic diversity, Chinese Culture and exposure to Chinese-American businesses. The parade continues to be a rich and diverse experience for Angelenos of all ages and ethnicities.

The day of the Lunar New Year is the most celebrated holiday of the year for nearly 1.5 million persons of Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese decent in Southern California. It is celebrated with colorful festivals, parades, and most importantly, large family gatherings. It is also a time when ancestors are fondly remembered and families give thanks for their blessings. Red packets of money (“Lai See” or “Hung Bao”) and firecrackers add fun and excitement to the Chinese New Year celebration.

More History....

Over one hundred years ago, the Chinese community began to participate in the parade of the City of Los Angeles. In 1898, the Chinese lion and dragon procession were regarded as one of the most beautiful unit in the City’s Annual La Fiesta Parade. With this initial participation in the parade, the Chinese community was applauded for its contribution to the celebration. The Fiesta committee immediately requested that the Chinese community permanently join in this annual event. During these early years, the Chinese Merchants Association organized and sponsored the lion dance procession, in addition to one or two parade floats. At one point the organization also arranged for the use of a dragon from the Chinese community in Marysville, California. Eventually, they raised $1,500 to acquire a dragon that required 25 men to maneuver. Their units were always considered the main attraction of the Fiesta Parade and had always drawn a very enthusiastic and excited crowd.

In 1956, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles (formerly Chinatown Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles) joined in the celebration. New dragonheads were imported from Hong Kong and local family association members were hired to perform the cultural dances. In the early 1960’s, the lion and dragon dancers would visit every Chinese business along the parade route. Financial support for the parade included fundraising dinners and door-to-door solicitations to gather support from the Chinatown business community.

After the Vietnam War in 1975, Indo-Chinese refugees poured into the United States and soon became active in our community. Local family associations, Buddhist temples, and community-based organizations mushroomed and the parade became a focal point for community participation.

In the 1970’s, actor and martial arts master Bruce Lee was the Grand Marshal of our parade. Since then other Grand Marshall’s have included David Carradine and Keye Luke from the television series “Kung Fu”, Hugh Hefner of Playboy Magazine, Lindsay Wagner from “Bionic Woman”, Dr. Haing S. Ngor from the motion picture “The Killing Fields”, Kieu Chinh from “Joy Luck Club”, and Garrett Wang from television’s “Star Trek Voyagers”. Over the years, many other celebrities have also participated in our Golden Dragon Parade.

The parade originally took place on Friday nights but was changed to Saturday afternoons to allow for greater community participation. We now draw over 110,000 anxious spectators each year along North Broadway in Los Angeles’ Chinatown!

Without a doubt, the Golden Dragon Parade is the highlight of the Chinese New Year in Southern California.
For the full events schedule over the entire month of February, go here. To purchase Grandstand Seats for the Parade, call the CCCLA Office at (213) 617-0396. And come back to leave a comment on the blog if you attend and enjoy the weekend!

February 12, 2010

Free Chai Latte Today

You are invited!
Join Coffee Bean for a complimentary 12oz Chai beverage! Choose from Chai Mate, Chai Rooibos, or Chai Tea Latte.

When: Friday, February 12th, 4pm-7pm
Where: Participating The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® store locations*

*Only valid at participating The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® store locations in CA, AZ, TX, NV. Excludes San Francisco, HI, all Ralphs stores, casinos, military base, campus or airport locations. Valid only on February 12, 2010, from 4pm to 7pm. Offer applies to 12oz. Chai Mate, Chai Rooibos or Chai Tea Latte only. No substitutions. Limit one complimentary drink per customer. Check your local store for details.

February 8, 2010

Infused Olive Oil

My friend came over today to show me how to make infused olive oil: sooo easy, and super-fancy for gift giving. Turns out, all you need is a candy thermometer to heat the oil and herbal infusion to 180 degrees. My friend had already made rosemary oil, and says she uses it to prepare fish and chicken. So today we tried lemon olive oil. We used one large (costco-sized) bottle of olive oil, with the zest of about ten lemons.

Tip: make sure the candy thermometer is submerged in the oil, withOUT touching the bottom of the pan, so you get an accurate reading of the liquid rather than the cooking pot.

Afterwards, cool and bottle into airtight jars (like my thrift store liquor bottle find which I first cleaned then sterilized by boiling), then store just as you would with unopened oil, in a dark cabinet at room temp. The sediment sank in the pot, so was a bit of a challenge to get into the bottle. The resulting product has a slight lemon-y tang that should increase with time. Can't wait to dip a great ciabatta roll into this!

February 7, 2010

BlackboardEats Los Angeles

Earlier this week, I posted about the website Restaurant.Com. I've just learned about another web membership that can save you up to 30% on upscale dining in Los Angeles.

On Blackboard Eats, subscribe for free to get delicious deals (30% off your meal, free appetizers, etc.) at LA or NY's best restaurants e-mailed to you every week. When you are interested in a deal you have 24 hours to click on the "Get this special!" button to get your unique BlackboardEats discount passcode. You must use your passcode at the restaurant within 30 days of getting the code. The passcode is good for one-time use only and can be applied to your entire bill. Mention your passcode to the host at the restaurant when you arrive. Reservations are suggested unless the restaurant has a walk-in-only policy. And remember, be kind to your server...please tip on the bill before the discount. Enjoy your meal and the deal! offers up to 80% off via a physical printed coupon, but you must put out a small amount of cash to the site in exchange. Blackboard Eats is a lesser discount, but completely free, though less tangible, since you're only given a code which you must write down and bring. is national, while Blackboard Eats operates only in New York or Los Angeles.

I've yet to try Blackboard Eats--I just signed up with them. Do you have any experience to relate? Please leave a comment on the blog.

February 6, 2010

Disaster Preparedness for Pets

I came across a website today which gives great information to pet owners on preparing for emergencies. Hurricane Katrina pointed starkly to the need to be prepared for all family members, including pets. Check out all the advice on It provides questions to think about in advance when preparing an emergency kit and evacuation plan. I know it pointed out my deficiencies. Now I can work towards being ready, whatever the circumstances.

Do you have an emergency preparedness kit for your home? Did you remember to include your pets? What questions on the above website were useful to you? Please leave a comment on the blog with your experiences.

LA Street Food Festival

Treat your taste buds while supporting local food vendors (and the local economy), discover great goods from LA’s best designers and artists, sip a drink to support the LA Regional Foodbank, and spend the day outdoors with friends and family at the 1st Annual LA Street Food Fest, coming up Saturday, February 13th, from 11am – 5pm.

General admission is just five dollars, which includes one food ticket. There are extra special VIP packages available if you're willing to invest more--check out the website for details. Families welcome but no dogs are allowed.


Enjoy sampling and try as much as you want! All of the food vendors are offering specially priced $1-$5 tasting menus and day-of-event-only items, just for you!

Participating food vendors include:

Komodo Food
Antojitos Abuelita
Antojitos Carmen
Flying Pig Truck
India Jones Truck
The Sweets Truck
Slice Truck
Piaggio on Wheels
Nina's Foods
Rudolfo's Barbacoa
Hello Lupe Sweet Crepes
Buttermilk Truck
Nom Nom Truck
Kabob N' Roll
Dell's Lemonade
Fresser's Pastrami
Sabor de Bahia
Uncle Lao's Hawaiian BBQ
Don Chow Tacos
Mama Koh's Korean Chicken
Monsieur Egg
Tasty Meat
Grilled Cheese Truck
The Franken Stand
King Kone
Get Shaved
Yum Yum Bowls
the popshop
Surprise Chef Pop-Up Truck (TBA!)

....There will also be a host of design and craft vendors--check the website here for details if you're interested.

If You Go:
LA Center Studios
500 S. Beaudry Ave
(bike entrance on Bixel Ave)
Los Angeles, CA 90017

....And be sure to look for me!

Park/Ride/Bike: Attendees are encouraged to take the METRO, bike, skate and skip to the festival. The venue is a close walk from the 7th & Fig METRO stop. (You can plan your trip here). They are offering FREE BIKE VALET at the festival (yay!), with a separate entrance on Bixel Ave. For those driving, there is plenty of parking available both on surrounding streets and in neighboring parking lots.

What's your favorite food truck? Tell me about it in a comment on the blog.

February 5, 2010

Picturing Food

I attended a Zocalo lecture in January featuring the editors of Gourmet Magazine. Zocalo's next foodie event looks equally fascinating. It will also be moderated by Evan Kleiman, host of public radio's Good Food. And again this event requires preregistration online, so I am posting it far in advance of the actual date. The last event I attended was held at the Skirball, but this will be at the Getty Museum, in conjunction with an exhibit opening.

THURSDAY, APRIL 08, 2010, 7:00 PM

From the event listing:
Photographers have turned their lenses on food since the invention of their art. Early images captured simple, soft arrangements that showcased seasonal bounties — fruits and vegetables in vases and bowls, like still-life paintings. Photographed table settings — whether elaborate or bare — evoked not only taste and appetite, but the experience of a meal, the process, the drama, the company. Shots of markets captured commerce and abundance. Decades later, technological and aesthetic advances transformed the food photograph into its own art that set off all the senses: images seemed soaked in color, close-ups clarified individual grains, and the food — even as it was coated in chemicals — seemed more palatable than ever.

As the Getty opens its exhibit, "Tasteful Pictures,” featuring food photographs from the Getty collection, Zócalo invites a panel of experts — including Artbites’ Maite Gomez-Rejón, photographer Charlie Grosso, and Gastronomica founding editor Darra Goldstein — to explore the origins of food photography and why we like to look at what we can’t eat.
If you go:
The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA

Parking is $15 per car, free after 5:00 p.m.

I didn't have enough guests last time to warrant doing a pot luck, but that still sounds like fun to me, so let me know if you want to get together before the event by leaving a comment on the blog.

February 4, 2010

Mutti Gras Pet Parade

Attention all pet lovers! Bring your four legged friends to the annual Mutti Gras Pet Parade at the Original Farmer's Market at 3rd & Fairfax Saturday, February 13 from 1-2PM on the Market Plaza. Dress your pooch in festive Mardi Gras attire and win great prizes. Your pup will even get a special treat just for entering. To register, please call Three Dog Bakery at 323-935-7512. For a sample of the Mutti Gras experience go here.

February 3, 2010

Laundry Greywater System

Last week, a friend set up my clothes washer so that the greywater can be filtered into any of my garden beds or backyard. I was so excited about this project! It's good for the environment; reduces need to water plants; and is cheap, fast and easy to do. I'm so happy I'm green! Here's how it works:

The black pipe on the left above is the existing drain that goes into the sewer system, and previously the only outlet I had. My friend hooked up a parallel piece of PVC, so that I can manually switch from the sewer to a line hooked to a hose, that I can then point to a garden bed.

All I have to do to switch from one to the other is lift the tubing out, and place it in the alternate line.

There's even a coupling so that if the tube ever gets clogged, when it hits a certain level the water will overflow into the sewer line.

The white PVC line is simply connected to a garden hose

Which then drains wherever it is placed--like my tufty grassed yard.

Since we used hose I already had, the total cost for the materials was around $15. I think it took my friend under an hour, including shopping. I'm counting on this to save my yard and lessen my water bills!

What quick solutions for home improvements have you tested and found useful? Please leave a comment on the blog.

February 2, 2010

French Toast & Hugs Downtown 2--Follow Up

Just this month, I posted an event notification for my friend's group, who gave away french toast on skid row in downtown LA last Sunday morning. I finally got my pictures uploaded to my computer, so here's the follow up on the event. We had great weather, a huge crew, and an even bigger line of customers! The line stretched down the sidewalk for a block or more. I arrived in the middle of the event, about two hours after it started, and it was still totally busy. I was really impressed with the organization and how smoothly everything was run. Even the trash was collected as it went--I think we left Towne St cleaner than when we arrived!

Trying to fit the entire FTX gang into frame from across the table--the line wouldn't break long enough to widen out!

My friend Shyam, the founder of FTX, manned one grill. If you've never checked out his site, it's great. It includes slideshows and video clips of past events as well as a mailing list to be notified of the next one. He even puts together a soundtrack for each event, and hands out copies of them as well.

Shyam's dog Daisy, who inspired the endeavor from the start. Find Daisy's story here.

Some of the great volunteers working the line. Stations included handing out the toast, syrup, whipped cream, powdered sugar, fruit, and a bottle of water. At the end of the line were the prep stations where fruit was peeled and cut.

Near the beginning of the line, embellishing your plate with toppings.

Manning a grill....

A satisfied customer, and his plate full of fruit and whipped cream.

Even the volunteers got a slice!

Some cute kids joined the party.

The best part: could hardly keep the food around long enough to photograph....What a spectacular day!

February 1, 2010

A Prairie Home Companion in the Movie Theater

The radio show "A Prairie Home Companion" is being filmed and broadcast to area theaters all over the country in February. It'll play live on Febrary 4th, and be re-broadcast on Feb. 9th.

I rely on public radio to keep me company in the car, especially on long drives. This is a rare chance to see physically how they do it all.

From the event page:
For more than 35 years, legions of fans have tuned in to Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion to be entertained by his low-key reflections, sharp insights, and trademark humor. Each week, A Prairie Home Companion is heard by more than 4 million listeners of every age, on more than 600 public radio stations across the country. This show is performed live on stage in front of an audience. There has been plenty of adventure in the past 30-plus years, including broadcasts from Canada, Ireland, Scotland, England, Germany, Iceland, and almost every one of the 50 states. And there have been wonderful guest performers, little-known and world renowned, who've brought the audience to their feet.

A Prairie Home Companion - Live! in HD will feature special guests as well as regular show performers such as actors Sue Scott and Tim Russell, sound-effects wizards Tom Keith and Fred NEwman, and the Guy's All-Star Shoe Band led by keyboardist, composer, and arranger Richard Dworsky, with Pat Donohue (guitar), Peter Johnson (percussion), and Gary Raynor (bass).

Keillor recalls, "When the show started, it was something funny to do with my friends, and then it became an achievement that I hoped would be successful, and now it's a good way of life."
For a location finder, tickets, or more info, click on the image above. And let me know if this event appeals to you by leaving a comment on the blog!
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