It’s time for Week #1 of our Holiday Gift Suggestions!

Love tacos? Love Rubio’s? This gift suggestion is for you and anyone on your shopping list that loves Rubio’s! For the first time this holiday season, Rubio’s Coastal Grill is offering a limited-editionTaco Tidings Gift Box. The unique gift is ideal for taco lovers, and just 1,000 gift boxes will be available at the Taco Tidings order page (http://rubiosholidaystore.myshopify.com/). For more information about Rubio’s Coastal Grill, visit Rubios.com. Guests can also join the conversation on Facebook and Instagram

Need to find a perfect gift for a teenager or adult who loves to listen to music?  Audio-Technica makes it easy to pick the perfect gift for everyone, with wireless headphones, turntables, gaming headsets and more. I love their ATH-ANC500BT QuietPoint® noise-cancelling over-ear headphones that provide exceptional wireless audio quality in comfortable over-ear designs. The ATH-M50xBT wireless over-ear headphones (US$199.00) bring Bluetooth technology to one of the world’s most acclaimed pro audio headphones, the ATH-M50x. The ATH-M50xBT’s 45 mm large-aperture driver, rare-earth magnets and other refinements provide studio-quality sonic accuracy, and the headphones are compatible with aptX and AAC codecs for the best-possible wireless audio reproduction. Controls mounted on the left earcup provide easy handling of phone calls and music listening. An internal battery provides up to 40 hours on a full charge, and the headphones can also be used in wired mode. The ATH-M50xBT is compatible with the Audio-Technica Connect smartphone app.

Looking for a gift for your teenager? The perfect holiday gifts for tween girls who love watching DIY makeup and craft channels on YouTube, these kits encourage girls to get creative and play with color as they mix and blend their own personalized makeup. This one is really cool! RoseArt/Mattel launched a new line of DIY makeup kits called BeYouTology. BeYouTology Luxe Cosmetic Bar Kit (MSRP $29.99) and the BeYouTology Lip Gloss Kit (MSRP $9.99) are available this holiday shopping season at participating retailers nationwide.

Here’s another great one for Tweens and Teens from RoseArt/Mattel. From YouTube star, Lauren Riihimaki, LaurDIY Craft Kits are inspired by craft tutorials, life hacks, and décor ideas. New this holiday season, give the LaurDIY Crystal Chandelier Kit. Crafters can have fun with paper and crystals to form an incredible, iridescent, chandelier.  SRP $19.99, for ages 8+ , Amazon.

‘Tis the season to bring the family together with the DreamWorks Ultimate Holiday Collection! Get into the holiday spirit with Shrek, Po, Hiccup, Toothless, Poppy and many more as they celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. Featuring 9 festive stories with your favorite characters, this collection is perfect for everyone looking to add a little magic to their holidays. This one is perfect to watch to start off the holiday season!

DreamWorks Ultimate Holiday Collection Blu-ray SRP: $39.98DVD SRP: $29.98
Featuring 9 DreamWorks holiday favorites together for the first time!

  • Trolls Holiday
  • Shrek the Halls
  • Donkey’s Caroling Christmas-tacular
  • Merry Madagascar
  • Penguins of Madagascar in a Christmas Caper
  • Dragons Holiday: Gift of the Night Fury
  • Home for the Holidays
  • Rise of the Guardians

I hope that you had a Happy Thanksgiving! Stay tuned for the next Gift Guide early next week! Happy Holidays!

Self Disclosure: I received free samples of the above items and images were also provided.

Violin, Nov. 28th Pet of the Week!

Violin plays the sweetest tunes you’ve ever heard on her little purr box! This 8-month-old girl is as graceful and adorable as an adagio and—shall we say it?—classically catlike curious. With her natural tuxedo and endearing half-mustachio, she’ll make beautiful music with you at your holiday parties and ever after! Meet Violin on the shelter side of the Companion Animal Village at 7700 East Spring St., (562) 570-PETS. Ask for ID #A630983.

(This rescue encouraged by the usual suspects.)

Credit: Courtesy of the Companion Animal Village.

Kobe, Nov. 21st Pet of the Week!

Pumpkin spice, pumpkin pie, pumpkin room spray—it’s all seasonal. Unless, of course, it’s a pumpkin-color cat! That’s Kobe, a 2-year-old pumpkin-and-white girl with a mustache that looks as if she’s been lapping up a pumpkin latte! Kobe’s unbelievably friendly and of course, absolutely adorable, and she’ll be so all year round! Make Kobe’s Thanksgiving happen—meet her on the shelter side of the Companion Animal Village at 7700 East Spring St., (562) 570-PETS. Ask for ID#A632809.

(This rescue encouraged by the usual suspects.)

Credit: Courtesy of the Companion Animal Village.

Disney On Ice presents Mickey’s Search Party is Coming to SoCal Bringing the Magic Closer to Fans than Ever Before! **Highlighted By Full Performance Debut of Disney-Pixar’s Coco**

Create unforgettable memories and become part of the story when Disney On Ice presents Mickey’s Search Partycomes to Southern California this holiday season!  This brand-new immersive ice skating experience brings the magic closer to fans than ever before through engaging elements that take place on the ice, in the air and in the seats, as performer athleticism mixes with acrobatic and aerial stunts to bring skating skills to new heights.  An exciting participatory adventure told through multi-leveled performances that immerse fans into the fantastic worlds of Disney-Pixar’s Coco, Frozen, Moana, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Toy Story and The Little Mermaid, this all-new show will be skating into the Southland playing L.A, Anaheim, Long Beach and Ontario from December 12th – January 5th!

Embark on a quest with Mickey Mouse and pals as they follow Captain Hook’s treasure map for clues to find Tinker Bell after he attempts to capture her magic.  Journey across the Marigold Bridge with Miguel from Disney-Pixar’s Coco into the magnificent and mystical Land of the Dead and discover a vibrantly colorful performance with skeletons atop sway poles dancing over the audience in a beautiful cultural celebration of family.  Travel to the wintry world of Arendelle and sing along with Elsa as video projection creates a kaleidoscope of crystals to help build her ice palace.  Witness Belle lift into the sky as the enchanted chandelier comes to life high over the ice for onlookers seated above and below.  Board the Jolly Roger and laugh hysterically as the hilarious pirates flip, tumble, and twist on air tracks, stilts and more in an effort to showcase their talents for Captain Hook.  Sail away with Moana on her daring voyage across the ocean and bravely encounter the fiery wrath of Te Ka.   And make memories with your whole family during Aladdin, Toy Story and The Little Mermaid as the search party becomes an all-out magical celebration!

Join this magical search and help look for clues to unlock an epic journey when Disney On Ice presents Mickey’s Search Party delivers an unforgettable experience with your family!

L O S   A N G E L E S

WHEN:           Thursday, December 12 – Sunday, December 15

  • Thursday, December 12   7:30 PM
    • Friday, December 13                          7:30 PM
    • Saturday, December 14    11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
    • Sunday, December 15                        11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM

WHERE:         STAPLES Center – 1111 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015

TICKETS:         Ticket prices start at $15!

                                Discount Opening Night tickets available for as low as $16 each on select seating (not valid for premium VIP/Front Row seating) 

Tickets available for purchase online at AXS.com, charge by phone at 888-9AXS-TIX or in-person at the venue Box Office.             *prices subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply

A N A H E I M

WHEN:           Thursday, December 19 – Monday, December 23

  • Thursday, December 19   7:00 PM
    • Friday, December 20                          11:00 AM & 7:00 PM    
    • Saturday, December 21    11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
    • Sunday, December 22                        11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
    • Monday, December 23                      11:00 AM & 7:00 PM

WHERE:         Honda Center – 2695 E. Katella Avenue, Anaheim, CA 92806

TICKETS:         Ticket prices start at $15!

                                Discount Opening Night tickets available for as low as $16 each on select seating (not valid for premium VIP/Front Row seating) 

Tickets available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com or in-person at the venue Box Office.                                                                  *prices subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply

L O N G   B E A C H

WHEN:           Thursday, December 26 – Monday, December 30

  • Thursday, December 26            7:00 PM
    • Friday, December 27                   3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
    • Saturday, December 28    11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
    • Sunday, December 29                 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
    • Monday, December 30                               7:00 PM              

WHERE:         Long Beach Arena – 300 E. Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90802

TICKETS:         Ticket prices start at $15!

                                Discount Opening Night tickets available for as low as $16 each on select seating (not valid for premium VIP/Front Row seating) 

Tickets available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com or in-person at the venue Box Office.                                                                   *prices subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply

O N T A R I O

WHEN:           Wednesday, January 1 – Sunday, January 5

  • Wednesday, January 1                                7:00 PM
    • Thursday, January 2                    7:00 PM
    • Friday, January 3                          7:00 PM
    • Saturday, January 4                            11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
    • Sunday, January 5                                11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM

WHERE:         Toyota Arena4000 Ontario Center Parkway, Ontario, CA 91764

(formerly Citizens Business Bank Arena)

TICKETS:         Ticket prices start at $15!

                                Discount Opening Night tickets available for as low as $16 each on select seating (not valid for premium VIP/Front Row seating) 

                                Tickets available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com or in-person at the venue Box Office.                                                       *prices subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply

Don’t miss this exciting show!

Credit: Feld Entertainment. Self Disclosure: I have received some form of compensation for posting.

Enchanted Forest of Light Returns Nov. 17, 2019

DESCANSO GARDENS’ POPULAR LIGHT SHOW, ENCHANTED FOREST OF LIGHT

Get ready for another year of sparkling lights and special surprises when everyone’s favorite light show, Enchanted Forest of Light returns to Descanso Gardens from November 17, 2019 to January 5, 2020. Tickets to Enchanted have timed entry and must be purchased in advance at enchantedLA.com.

Enchanted is a gentle one-mile walk through Descanso highlighting some of the most beloved areas of the Gardens. There are a variety of large-scale light displays, many of which are interactive, allowing visitors to manipulate the lights and sounds. The popular “Celestial Shadows” by HYBYCOZO—spinning polyhedral installations that explore geometry through light, shadow, and perception—will have new shapes and designs to discover. And also new this year is contemporary sculptor Tom Fruin’s magical “stained glass” creation which will grace Descanso’s Mulberry Pond. The “Lightwave Lake” light show will return to Descanso’s lake, as will Jen Lewin’s popular flowing and glowing interactive landscape of meandering pathways, “Aqueous.”

Other new additions this year include special Enchanted with Entertainment nights. On December 6, 7, 13 & 14, visitors can enjoy performances by students from California School of the Arts in its Van de Kamp Hall, along with DJs playing ambient music on the Main Lawn. And in response to popular demand, Descanso has added special “Members Only” nights when only members can purchase tickets (totally worth joining!

Important Information at a Glance:

  • General admission (adults, seniors, children 2–18): $28 & up (depending on date and time selected)
  • Descanso Gardens members pay $23 & up (depending on date and time selected)
  • Children under 2 are free, but still require a ticket
  • Member-Only Nights: December 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28. $25
  • Enchanted with Entertainment Nights: December 6, 7, 13, 14. $27-32

Credit: Descanso Gardens

Founded as a public garden in 1953, Descanso Gardens is located at 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011. Descanso Gardens is open daily (closed Christmas) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $9 for adults; $6 for seniors and students with a school I.D.; $4 for children 5 to 12, and free for ages 4 and younger.

Descanso Gardens is a member-supported garden accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Join Descanso Gardens and enjoy free admission and early entry year-round. Information: (818) 949-4200 or descansogardens.org.

“BOO AT THE L.A. ZOO” Begins October 5th with New Shows, Animal Activities and VIP Experiences, every weekend in October!

Photo Credit: Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association
Jamie Pham, Photographer
Halloween Month Brings New Interactive Activities, Animal Feedings, Kids Shows, Festive Fall Photo Ops, Trick-or-Treating and Other Fang-tastic Fun at the L.A. Zoo, Weekends in October

“Boo at the L.A. Zoo” kicks off October 5 with frightfully fun – and free! – celebrations involving some of the Zoo’s creepiest and most fearsome residents. Every weekend in October, Zoo guests will enjoy Halloween animal encounters and pumpkin feedings, along with spine-tingling interactive kids shows, a spirited pumpkin patch and hay maze, spooky crafts for kids, plenty of fall photo ops, and more.  Costumes are encouraged all month long.

“Boo at the L.A. Zoo” is free with paid admission and runs weekends-only in October.
Dates: Oct 5 and 6, 12 and 13, 19 and 20, 26 and 27.  Halloween activities, shows and animal feedings take place on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

On the last two weekends in October, additional trick-or-treat candy stations will be added throughout the grounds. Trick-or-Treating Dates: October 19 and 20 and October 26 and 27.  Sponsored by 99 Cents Only Stores, “Boo at the L.A. Zoo” trick-or-treating is free with paid Zoo admission.

Admission to the Los Angeles Zoo is $22 for general admission (ages 13 to 61), $19 for seniors (ages 62+), and $17 for children (ages 2 to 12). No ticket is required for children under 2. Admission for Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA) members is free.

“Boo at the L.A. Zoo” 2019 Event Details
Weekend-Only Dates: Oct 5 and 6, 12 and 13, 19 and 20, 26 and 27
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (unless otherwise noted)

  • Spooky Stroll – Enter, if you dare, and discover Halloween games, a mini pumpkin patch, frightfully Boo-tiful photo ops, and more. Visit the Endangered Animal Graveyard to honor dearly departed species and learn how you can help save at-risk wildlife today.
  • Mystery Maze – Find your way through this cool hay-bale labyrinth and try to avoid “dead” ends.
  • Boo Bird Show – Witness fascinating behaviors of some of nature’s most mysterious and misunderstood flying fauna – owls and vultures – at a special Halloween edition of our popular World of Birds Show at 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. every day but Tuesday. Schedule subject to change due to weather.
  • Animals & Boo – Get up close to creepy critters – so close, in fact, you may even get to touch them at 10: 45, 11:45 a.m., with an additional show at 12:45 p.m. on weekend days.
  • The LAIR – Come face-to-face with rare snakes, poisonous frogs, and venomous lizards. No decorations required for this goose bump-inducing excursion! Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Wild, Weird, and Wonderful Tour – Explore the Zoo to find wacky, creepy, or funny facts about some of your favorite animals and those that might be new to you.

“Boo at the L.A. Zoo” Shows, Activities and Animal Feeding Schedule

  • 11:30am and 1:30pm – Swazzle’s Monster Menagerie Puppet Show – Help a lonely mad scientist create the ultimate trick-or-treating buddy by combining animal “superpowers.” Performances in Adventure Theater at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
  • 3pm – “Spooktacular Science” Show – Discover bubbling potions, a hovercraft-powered ghost, and more fun surprises in a mad scientist’s bustling lab. Performances in Adventure Theater at 3 p.m.
  • Green-Screen Photo Booth – Get a snap of yourself among some of our most Halloween-y critters.
  • Creature Craft – Bring a toilet paper roll from home to create your own cute-and-creepy bat. (Toilet paper roll suggested, not required, for participation.)
  • Fearsome Feedings & Creature Treats – Watch as our animal residents enjoy seasonal treats all their own. See animal feeding schedule here, details subject to change. Warning: Includes carcass feedings; parental discretion is advised.

“Boo at the L.A. Zoo” VIP Experiences

  • Trick-or-Treating Weekends are October 19-20 and 26-27 Only – Free with admission. Costumes are encouraged. Families will find treat stations throughout the Zoo, with candy, treats and bags courtesy of 99 Cents Only Stores. Available while supplies last.
  • “Boo” Creature Camp Out, Oct 26 – 27 – Back by popular demand, this spine-tingling overnight adventure includes Griffith Park ghost stories, meals, themed activities, and animal fun; plus Sunday daytime admission to the Zoo, so families can enjoy trick-or-treating on October 28. Additional fee and advance registration required. Space is limited. Click here to buy tickets here.
  • Boo at the L.A. Zoo Upper-Level Members Preview, Oct 26 (Saturday), 8:30 – 10 a.m. – Zoo members at the Family Deluxe level and above have the opportunity to experience Boo at the L.A. Zoo before the Zoo opens to the public, with exclusive shows and animal experiences. To RSVP for this exclusive morning event or upgrade your support in order to attend, please phone 323-644-4770.

Learn more at LAZoo.org/Boo

Credit: The Los Angeles Zoo.



Del Amo Fashion Center: Fun September Events that you don’t want to miss!

Looking for a couple of things to do this month? Here are two events at the local Del Amo Fashion Center that are sure to be fun for the family!

Summer Music Series

Outdoor Village

Saturday, Sept. 14

2 to 4 p.m.

Del Amo Fashion Center’s Summer Music Series is back for the third time this summer. Visit the Outdoor Village for a free concert, lawn games, food sampling, giveaways and more. This month’s featured artist is Amy May.

Panana Night Market

Parking lot across from AMC

Friday, Sept. 13 – Sunday, Sept. 15

4 to 11 p.m.

Sample Asian street foods at Panana Night Market. This will be the first Night Market held in Torrance. In addition to a wide variety (over 100 to be exact) of food vendors, attendees will be able to enjoy live performances, games and more. A $5 entry fee is required for this event.

Credit: Del Amo Fashion Center.

New Pacific Visions Wing at the Aquarium of the Pacific is a Must-Visit this Summer!

The Aquarium of the Pacific expansion Pacific Visions, opened up this past May with inaugural exhibitions and programming. Pacific Visions, a 29,000-square-foot, two-story, sustainable structure designed by the San Francisco-based architecture and design firm EHDD, has a state-of-the-art immersive theater, exhibition space, an art gallery, and several new live animal exhibits. As the new focal point of the Aquarium, Pacific Visions provides a platform to integrate the arts and sciences and will offer visitors innovative ways to explore their impact on planet Earth and the ocean and how to reduce it.

Visitors enter Pacific Visions through a 2,800-square-foot art gallery. The inaugural art installation designed by Germany-based design company Convivial Studio immerses the visitor in sea life through a multi-channel video installation, spatial soundscapes, and sculptural relief walls enhanced with lighting.

I had the opportunity to visit and was quite impressed! This really is something every family should see this Summer!

The gallery also includes a large-scale relief walls made of silicon and polymer materials that imitate the different textures found on coral reefs, overlain with video projections. Through touch combined with an oceanic soundscape recorded by Tim Gordon and Dr. Stephen Simpson in the Coral Triangle Region, visitors are virtually immersed in a variety of underwater environments.

After passing through the art gallery, visitors move into a 2,600-square-foot gallery, which showcases an 18-foot-wide virtual waterfall with interactive elements that respond to movement. A 26-foot-wide by 8-foot-tall media wall features a film that introduces visitors to the history of life on Earth, the effects of humans on the planet’s biodiversity, and opportunities to turn the tide as the world’s population approaches 10 billion people in 2050. These resources will be further explored when visitors enter the two-story, 300-seat Honda Pacific Visions Theater.  

The state-of-the-art theater houses a 130-foot-wide by 32-foot-tall screen that curves in a 180-degree arc. The theater also features a 30-foot-diameter floor projection disc, which will further immerse visitors in a virtual ocean environment in a space designed to host media-rich performances, panel discussions, community meetings, and educational seminars. The Honda Pacific Visions Theater content is being developed by the Aquarium and Cortina Productions in partnership with leading scientists, filmmakers, storytellers, and digital artists. The inaugural film will bring the ocean planet to life with stunning high-resolution imagery, and a variety of special effects. The film will investigate human production and use of food, energy, and water as resources that are essential to life and help viewers imagine what creative innovations will help manage these resources for the world’s growing population in the future. The film presents opportunities for positive change and invites viewers to design a sustainable future for both humans and nature through personal and collective choices.

I really enjoyed watching the short and very educational film! It is great for all ages!

In Pacific Vision’s final 5,000-square-foot culmination gallery designed by Bowman Change Inc. with Cortina Productions, visitors will have an opportunity to envision the steps we can take to create a better planet through interactive game tables, displays, and live animal exhibits. Three interactive tables exploring food, energy, and water will be set throughout the space. These large multiplayer interactive tables highlight California’s ongoing efforts to create resource sustainability. A fast-paced cooperative game challenges visitors through a series of personal consumer choices and civic choices to make the resources supply sustainable and provide enough food, water, and energy for California’s growing population. As time advances, players must work together to manage the resources to meet society’s needs while protecting the environment.

In addition to the tables, the gallery features a 50-foot interactive wall, where an array of ocean imagery transports visitors beneath the waves. Marine life swims through the current of the oceanscape. Visitors engage with the content of the wall by gesturing, activating content to learn about stewardship of the ocean, climate change, and sustainability. The culmination gallery will also feature a tall population tower that shows the projected growth of California’s population, records the global population in real time, and shows the projected population out to 2050. It also explores ways to stabilize and then reduce the global population.

Pacific Visions forms a natural extension of the Aquarium of the Pacific’s existing facilities. Visitors move from Pacific Visions to the second floor of the main Aquarium building to continue to the educational exhibits and experiences well-known to Aquarium visitors since 1998. A Pacific Visions app designed by Artifact Technologies will enable visitors to remain connected and share the experience with friends and family.

So, what are you waiting for? Check out the New Pacific Visions at the Aquarium of the Pacific this Summer!

About the Pacific Visions Building

The Pacific Visions building is designed as a biomorphic structure that evokes the size, depth, variability, luminosity, and biological diversity of the Pacific Ocean. Complementing the Aquarium’s existing building, also designed by EHDD, Pacific Visions has a façade with over 800 individually shaped panels that respond to changing light and weather conditions throughout the day with varying colors to mirror the effect of sunlight rippling on the ocean’s surface. Having recently earned the distinctive Two Green Globes certification from the Green Globes® building rating system for demonstrating leadership in best practices regarding environmental efficiency, Pacific Visions’ sustainable design priorities include water and energy conservation, use of environmentally friendly materials, and greenhouse gas minimization.

About the Aquarium of the Pacific

The Aquarium of the Pacific Board of Directors adopted the institution’s Campus Master Plan in 2005. In 2008 the Aquarium opened its watershed exhibit, Premier Watershed classroom, and native garden area, now known as Our Water Future. In 2011 the Aquarium opened the Ocean Science Center, featuring the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Science on a Sphere® (SOS)—a 6-foot-diameter sphere representing Earth that displays animated images of the atmosphere, ocean, and continents using satellite and real-time NOAA and NASA system datasets for storytelling.

The nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific is a community gathering place where diverse cultures and the arts are celebrated and where important challenges facing our planet are explored by scientists, policymakers, and stakeholders in search of sustainable solutions. The Aquarium is dedicated to conserving and building nature and nature’s services by building the interactions between and among peoples. Home to more than 11,000 animals, Aquarium exhibits include the Tentacles and Ink and FROGS: Dazzling & Disappearing exhibits. Beyond its animal exhibits, the Aquarium offers educational programs for people of all ages, from hands-on activities to lectures by leading scientists. The Aquarium has won a 2015 Travelers’ Choice Award for Aquariums, as awarded by TripAdvisor® travelers The Aquarium won a 2015 Travelers’ Choice Award for Aquariums, as awarded by TripAdvisor® travelers, and the 2016 TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence. To learn more about Pacific Visions, visit aquariumofpacific.org.

Self Disclosure: I had the opportunity to tour the Aquarium of the Pacific to facilitate this feature. Information was also provided. Photo Credit: SoCal City Kids.