Out and About: Spring Bloom in SoCal

If you din’t know from the crazy amount of butterflies migrating through the city last week, spring is in bloom. With such is the arrival of California’s Wild Flowers. A site to see for those from our visiting the sunnier side of Cali, the wild flowers are are experiencing a Super-Bloom this year.  An event not to be missed as this only occurs every 10-15 years. If you’re looking for the best way to really ring in the floral season, we have the City-Guide for you. Get some instagram-able photos and spend some time Out and About with Spring in SoCal.

From Arcata to San Diego the state flower is in full bloom and so is our guide of where to find them.

Death Valley National Park

Here is where you will find the full super bloom experience. The Mojave Desert is home to wildflower event, although this year scarce rains did not result in its usual bloom, it’s still a sight to see.

Joshua Tree National Park

While in Death Valley, you can make your way to Joshua Tree which happens to be part of the Mojave. Blooms have already started here near the park’s south entrance and are expected to last longer thanks to cool temperatures.

Channel Islands National Park

These five islands that make up the park 25 miles off the coast of Santa Barbara coastline have a bounty of unique wildflower offerings. On Anacapa, Santa Barbara, and San Miguel islands, yellow coreopsis began blooming in January and will last through the month. The flowers are endemic to the Channel Islands but only found now on Santa Rosa Island.

Figueroa Mountain Recreation Area

In late March, the flanks of this summit(50 miles northwest of Santa Barbara) and nearby Grass Mountain begin bursting with a range of wildflowers. Hyacinth, shooting stars, buttercups, milkmaids, Johnny-jump-ups and poppies are just a few of the many flowers found here.

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

At this nearly 1,800-acre reserve about 75 miles north of Los Angeles, are rolling hills blanketed in poppies. The season for these hillside foliage’s begins in April, lasting through early May. While the poppies are the showstopper here, keep your eye out for other wildflowers like California Aster and blue lupine. Since this area received several more inches of rain then usual in 2019, a super bloom is expected here too.

Pinnacles National Park

Around 8-miles south of San Jose is Pinnacles National Park. The wildflowers here can be seen in March, showing most in May. Depending on rainfall and temperature one would find a mix of milkmaids, shooting stars bush poppies and orchids.

10 Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Home

Now that spring is officially here the time to tidy up around the home has also arrived. As cliche as it sounds to “Spring Clean” there is no better time to clean house and spruce up in and around your abode. That’s why we have rounded up 10 of the best tips to clean your home for the Spring Equinox!

 Bye, Bye Dust Bunnies!

  • Use a sticky lint roller to clean dirt and pet fur off the lower parts of drapes. For a deeper clean, take the drapes down, remove the hooks and run them through an air-fluff cycle in the dryer with a damp towel for 15 minutes. Rehang immediately after.
  • Dust blinds often with a microfiber cloth, swiping left to right and blade by blade from top to bottom on each window.
  • Spring is allergy season so dust end tables and shelves in your home thoroughly to keep allergies at bay.

The Rinse Cycle

  • Wash out trash cans. To really clean garbage cans, spray them thoroughly with a hose and then dump the water out. Afterwards use a disinfectant spray on the inside, then scrub the trash can with a handled brush and rinse it out again. Leave the trash can upside down to thoroughly dry.

Kitchen Kleanse

  • To clean glass, chrome or steel appliances, fill a spray bottle with a mixture of 50 percent rubbing alcohol and 50 percent water. Then use a dry cloth to polish and clean the surfaces to remove spots and fingerprints.
  • The refrigerator can become an unexpectedly cluttered place. Organize it once it’s had a thorough cleaning. Keep highly perishable food front and center and sort the longer-lasting ingredients and toppings by category.

 Scrubba-Dub the Tub

  • Maintain the tile surfaces of your bathroom, especially the shower by spraying the surface with generous amounts of cleaner. Allow the cleaner to sit while cleaning the rest of the bathroom, then go back to start scrubbing. If the grout os dirty with mold pr mildew, make a paste of washing soda and peroxide to deep clean and disinfect.

Bedhead

  • On average we spend about 3,00 hours year in our beds, almost the equivalent of four months to be exact! With that in mine, keeping our mattresses clean is as easy a flip of a coin. Rotate your mattress a few times a year and vacuum the surface. Afterwards sprinkle a mixture of baking soda and a few drops of essential oil. Let the mixture sit for a couple hours then vacuum the mixture away.

Office Space

  • Spend the day getting your files organized and space decluttered. Aside from going through papers on your desk, you should also take the time to back-up files on external or cloud devices so they’re secured. Have a lot of documents to toss? Make sure to shred anything personal before throwing it in the bin!

Outside and over Yonder

  • Cleaning your outdoor furniture is incredibly simple, but easily forgotten. While the rain can wash away some dirt and pollen, a thorough wipe down with a mild detergent goes a long way. Make sure to check your furnitures manufacture guidelines if a special care routine is required.

 

 

 

 

Out and About: St. Patricks Day Edition

If there is one thing to be said about St. Patrick’s Day, it is that here in the U.S. our celebration of the holiday is pure art. Well…maybe not art but we do know how to make some pretty cool green colored drinks. So if your out and about on St. Patty’s day discover your inner Angeleno with the luck of the Irish and LA’s best events to ring in the day of green and gold!

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Location: Los Angeles

It’s no emerald seaside, but Hermosa Beach injects a bit of Irish spirit into the coastal city for the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. Bagpipers, marching bands, cars decked out in green and festive pups from the Irish Setters Club of Southern California all make their way across the seven-block route. The parade kicks off near City Hall on Valley Drive, heads west on Pier Avenue and ends at the corner of Hermosa Avenue and 10th Street.

St. Patrick’s Day 5k in Redondo Beach

Location: Los Angeles

It’s no jig, but this St. Paddy’s Day tradition in Redondo Beach is a lively way to spend the Irish holiday. The 5K run/walk (8am) is followed by the Little Leprechaun Dash for the Gold (9:30am); both races start near the intersection of Catalina and Elena Avenues. All participants earn a festive T-shirt.

Casey’s St. Patrick’s Day Street Festival

Location: Casey’s Irish Pub, DTLA

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day Downtown at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Street Festival, hosted by Casey’s Irish Pub. Early admission to the bar begins at 6am—yeah, it’s never too early for an Irish coffee—and the street festival begins at 11am. Expect a whopping 450 kegs of beer, 1,200 bottles of Jameson, more than 30 bartenders, and of course all the traditional Irish fare straight from Casey’s kitchen. Enjoy musical entertainment from a few local DJs and bands, and plenty of festive drinks all day and night long—both the pub and the festival run until 2am. Blimey.

St. Patrick’s Day Eve Pub Stroll

Location: Queen Mary, Long Beach

Hit up a slew of one-night-only Irish pubs as the Queen Mary transforms its salons into festive drinking dens. Fill up on Irish fare while listing to traditional tunes from a trio of bands.

Rock and Reilly’s Annual St. Paddy’s Day Block Party

Location: Rock and Reilly’s, West Hollywood

Stock your St. Patrick’s Day festivities with an afternoon equal parts pretty faces and green beer at Rock and Reilly’s annual bash, held in the lot behind the Sunset Strip pub. The fest promises more booze and less morals with each installment thanks to eight full bars and more than 100 kegs of Bud Light and Guinness—sorry brew snobs, but let’s be real, you’re not coming here for the Celtic culture. Stay fed with the bar’s own delicious drinking fuel—corned beef sliders and Irish nachos—or from food trucks and a pizza, sandwich and salad station. This year, a portion of the proceeds from will benefit the Animal Rescue Mission.

St. Patrick’s Day at The Original Farmers Market

Location: The Original Farmers Market, Los Angeles

Stop by the Original Farmers Market on St. Patrick’s Day for corned beef, cabbage and green beer at Magee’s Kitchen. Glen “the strolling bagpiper” will be playing Celtic tunes in the afternoon, while other bands will park themselves on the east patio during lunch and the west patio during dinner.

Courtesy of: Time Out LA

The Benefits of Solar Panels for your Home

Here in California, we lead the forefront in the nation for our clean energy initiatives and green living. It should come as no surprise then, that so many people are switching over to Solar Power for their homes. Sunny California is home to the top two solar installers(Telsa/SolarCity) as well as the world’s most efficient solar pane manufacturer(SunPower). Factor that in with the state’s high cost of electricity  and notably lower solar prices and its a no brainer. Read below for our tips on switching over to Solar Power and save your energy of searching the web on your own!

 

1. Compare all your options: get as many quotes as possible

If you are considering installing solar, research and consider every option that you can. Various resources such as the National Renewable Energy Laboratorythe California Solar Initiative and others can offer pricing data. Additionally, there is a long list of companies in the state that can provide free PV quotes.

2. The largest installers will not necessarily offer the best price

Although large companies will often bring out superlatives like ‘biggest installer’ in their sales pitches, this does not mean that they offer the best value. The premise is simple: massive installers already have market share and brand awareness and thus do not need to offer the best prices and value. When small installers compete in a price auction, on the other hand, the result is some of the lowest bids you can find in the U.S. for a PV installation. Make sure you price compare to ensure your getting the best value!

3. Different products for different people

Just as a Lamborghini might not be the right choice for everyone in the market for a car, the same concept applies with solar. Not everyone needs to shop for the most expensive solar PV equipment. There are many different types of solar panels and inverters for different needs and preferences. For the price-oriented, value-focused consumer, it is easy to save thousands simply by choosing standard solar panels instead of a premium top-of-the-line brand.

There is a hefty list of solar panel brands that offer a wide range of features and prices.

How much could I save?

Solar panels offer homeowners a wide range of financial benefits. This is largely based on the sizes of the rooftop solar systems, average electricity rates, and local incentives.

As an example, let’s assume that you live in Los Angeles and fit the average profile for an L.A. homeowner:

  • You are paying 20.3 cents per kWh (48.2% more than the national average)
  • You’ll purchase 7,200 kWh of electricity each year
  • You pay an average of $92 per month for your power bill (but that’s climbing)

If you were to install a 2.4 kW solar power system on your home, you could see the following savings over the course of the system’s 25- to 30-year lifetime:

  • Monthly Savings: $80-$145 (more over time depending on rate hikes)
  • Lifetime Savings: $25,000-$43,000 (more over time depending on rate hikes)

Investing in your home

Saving on power bills isn’t the only financial benefit to going solar. A commonly overlooked personal benefit is how it affects your property value.

While some expect rooftop solar to devalue a home, it actually increases your home’s value. Most homebuyers save on electric bills with a solar home and are willing to pay more for it.

The National Bureau of Economic Research found that solar panels add, on average, between 3% and 4% to a home’s value. In fact, it’s one of the smartest investments you can make on your home.

In the San Diego area, the price premium added from 3.1 kW of solar panels reached $22,554. This is roughly the cost of installing those panels. That means you could easily recoup your solar panel expenses if you needed to sell your house.

10 Simple Curb Appeal Secrets

Boost your home’s curb appeal without draining your wallet. These simple, budget-friendly fixes—like adding a wreath, painting the front door, or tending to the landscape—will make your home look like a million bucks.

Refresh a Planter

Pay attention to your planters. Add character and interest to your home by planting flowers in salvaged or repurposed containers, like barrels, birdbaths, and wheelbarrows. Look for inspiration in items you already own and at flea markets.

Have a Seat

Seating can add major curb appeal without much cash. Look for something simple and eye-catching, like a pair of chairs found on Craigslist or a repurposed wooden bench. Add color with cushions and bright pillows—just be sure to use durable, weather-resistant fabrics.

Lantern Light

 

Flea market finds—like these majestic lanterns—add rustic beauty at little cost. Keep your eyes open at thrift stores, flea markets, and garage sales for statement pieces that can flank a front porch.

Add a Wreath

Wreaths aren’t just for the holidays. Dress up your front door year-round with wreaths in a variety of fun textures and designs. Snag decor at a discount by planning ahead and buying items well in advance. Fall wreaths, for example, go on sale in November and December, so buy at a reduced price, then store until September rolls around.

Keep It Bright

 

Make a statement with a colorful front door. A fresh coat of paint can work wonders on any surface, and a bright hue ensures that your home will stand out in a sea of neutral colors. Simple materials you likely already have on hand—paint, primer, and brushes—keep costs low.

Light It Up

Warm lights and lanterns give off a homey vibe without much effort. You likely already have some sort of porch lighting, but consider adding a spotlight on a favorite tree or lanterns along a walkway.

Simple Symmetry

Symmetry is pleasing to the eye, but it can be difficult to obtain in home design—especially if your home wasn’t built with balance in mind. Capture the effect without a remodel by creating a symmetrical front porch or walkway. Matching potted plants flanking a set of stairs or identical rocking chairs on each side of your front door will do the trick.

Build Character

High-end curb appeal lets your home stand out—in a good way. The key is to play to your home’s strengths and architecture. If you’re on a budget, pick one feature to home in on—like shrubbery, lighting, or the front door—and make it the focal point of your exterior.

Courtesy of: Better Homes & Gardens

Home Security Tips and Tricks

Your home is your sanctuary. It is a place where fond memories are made and relaxing evenings are spent after a busy day. Your home is a safe haven where you and your family most feel at ease. If your home is under-protected this may compromise the security you feel in your own home.

Using a few simple home security tips and tricks, you can protect your belongings, thwart would-be thieves and increase your feeling of security while home and away.

Prevention begins outside your home from the minute it comes into view. Take a walk around your property with a critical eye to see what changes it needs.

Consider these tips to help keep you and your family, and your possessions, safe and secure:

Icon of fenced yard.

  • Landscape with safety in mind. As you walk around your property, look for areas that could be potential hiding spots for thieves, who prize the privacy they provide. Try and clear away any overgrown areas.

Icon of shield.

  • Talk with your local police department. It can offer insight on past break-in trends in your area.

Icon of home with shrubs out front.

  • Get to know your neighbors. Take the time to meet and engage with people on your street and encourage them to watch out for any suspicious activity when you’re not home.

  • Lighting matters. Lighting can set the right ambiance inside your home, but outdoor lighting can be the difference between your home being targeted – or not – by thieves. Motion-sensitive fixtures can help add security and provide light when needed.Also consider using automatic timers or smart lightbulbs that can be controlled remotely to turn lights on and off in various parts of the house to help make it seem like you are home.

  • Avoid advertising that shopping spree. Thieves look for and steal newly delivered boxes on your front porch, a method called porch pirating, so consider having them delivered elsewhere or requiring a signature for delivery. Thieves may also look at clues provided by your trash or recycling, which may indicate the new computer or flat-screen television inside.

Icon of padlock.

  • Set a safety routine. Make sure you establish a routine where you regularly lock all doors, shut windows and turn on your alarm system every time you leave your home. Avoid leaving spare keys outside, under a planter or under a welcome mat, as thieves know most of the potential hiding places.

  • Manage visibility. Make sure you can see who is at your front door without opening it. Avoid placing valuables where they will be visible from the street, and do not place your home alarm panel in a place where people can see you arming it from the outside.

  • Protect your outdoor valuables. Burglars also target sheds, garages and other outdoor buildings. Secure your grill, lawn mower, bicycles and other outdoor gear.

Icon of watchful eye.

  • Create a plan for when you are away. Hold your mail, stop your papers and ask a friend or neighbor to remove flyers from your property. Arrange for snow removal and lawn mowing so you do not advertise when you are away from home.

  • Install a home alarm system: While an alarm may not keep burglars from getting inside your home, it will deter some and bring the police to your home quickly, limiting what a thief is able to take. Home security systems will only work if you always remember to engage the alarm. You should have your alarm engaged while you are away or while you are at home as many thieves will attempt to break into one part of your home while you are busy in another. Also, some insurance companies may lower your home insurance premiums for having a home alarm system installed.

Icon of broken glass.

  • Take precautions to protect windows: If you are purchasing new windows for your home, it might be worth the upgrade to buy shatterproof glass. This would prevent anyone from breaking a window to gain access to your home. If new windows aren’t in the budget, consider adding a security film to windows. This will prevent the glass from shattering upon breaking and may deter thieves from continuing their attempt to break in.

Icon of open sliding glass door.

  •  Secure sliding glass doors: Sliding glass doors have incredibly flimsy locks. A thief can easily pop them in an instant, giving quick access to your home. Installing a security bar for sliding doors would make gaining access to your home more difficult. This measure of protection is a must-have for all sliding doors and windows.

Icon of key.

  • Change the locks as necessary: If you’ve just purchased a home from someone, your first order of business should be to meet the locksmith at your new home. You have no idea who is out there with a key just waiting for the moment to use it. In addition, if you’ve had a breakup recently, it is time to change the locks. The person may give you the key back, but you have no idea how many copies are out there. Having the locks changed is good for the peace of mind.

Keeping your family, your belongings and your home safe and secure does not involve a lot of money. A few simple changes such as the home security tips mentioned above can protect everyone and everything for years to come.

Your Mardi Gras in LA Guide

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Let the good times roll this Mardi Gras!! While we can’t all hop a plane to Rio or New Orleans for a real celebration, we can have come close here in LA. With a bounty of Carnaval celebrations happening this weekend, grab your king cake and paint the town yellow,  purple and green!

 

Mardi Gras at Santa Anita Park

When: Saturday, March 2nd

Long Beach Mardi Gras

When: Saturday, March 2nd

  • Join thousands of people for the Long Beach Mardi Gras happening at Shoreline Village and Rainbow Harbor. The afternoon will feature music, art, festivities, dancing, a parade and more.

The Original Farmers Market’s Annual Mardi Gras

When: Saturday March 2nd-Sunday March 3rd

  • The Original Farmers Market’s Annual Mardi Gras Celebration will bring a taste of NOLA right to Los Angeles. A family-friendly celebration the day includes New Orleans’ food, a musical line-up of Cajun and Zydeco music and Mardi Gras activities. The Dog Bakery’s Annual Mutti Gras Pet Parade will also take place. The celebration commences on Saturday, March 2, running through Sunday, March 3 and ending on Fat Tuesday, March 5.

5th Annual Venice Brazilian Carnival Parade

When: Saturday, March 2nd

 

Your Award-Winning Golden Globes Party Guide

If you are like the rest of us, awards season means one thing…watch parties! Unless you happen to be invited to one of these star-studded events, then lucky you. If you don’t happen to be so lucky to snag an invite, our guide below will surely make you an award winning host. So grab your left over NYE confetti and a bounty of Jiffy-Pop for your Golden Globes watch party 2019!!

Food

A few great suggestions are Chicken Meatballs with Cumin and OrangeGolden Rosemary Garlic Mixed Nuts, and Moroccan Shrimp with Pomegranate Sauce. For an easy treat, try dipping the tops of donuts in a simple icing, and then adding gold sugar or sparkles. Use store-bought glazed donuts (easy!), mix together some confectioners’ sugar and milk to make a thin glaze (also easy), and dip the tops of the donuts in the glaze then into gold sprinkles.

Cocktails

If you’re looking for some signature drinks to spice up the evening, look no further than the Golden Night Cocktail from Salt & Wind or a Sparkling Golden Globes Cocktail. Or if you don’t want to mix up a cocktail, a little champagne, sparkling wine or cider is just as chic in a golden sparkled rimmed glass.

Red Carpet

The entrance sets the tone for the entire party, so why not wow your guests and welcome them in style? You can never steer wrong with a red carpet. If you don’t have an actual red carpet, you can use a roll of red paper, fabric, or a long red plastic tablecloth. You can even go a more simple route and just decorate your entrance with gold stars and helium balloons.

Photo Booth

The paparazzi may not be hanging out around your house, but if you give your guests a selfie stick, you can pretend like they are. If you still have gold or silver Christmas wrapping paper and New Years photo booth props laying around the house, then you’re halfway to the finish line on this one. Put the wrapping paper on the wall and set out the props and selfie stick. It’s as simple as that. Trust me, your guests will have no problem taking it from there.

Print out our Golden Globes ballot below for even more party fun for you and your guest!!


Courtesy of: TaraTeaspoon.com

Weekend Events: January 4-6, 2019

It’s a new year, it’s a new you. Whether or not you followed through on your resolutions so far in 2019, you deserve to treat yourself to a weekend of fun in LA. In the city of stars there is no shortage of thrills. We rounded-up the best “Angeleno” approved events to spruce up your first weekend of the year!

Read below for events happening in and round LA January 4-6.

Discover your inner Angeleno!

Friday, January 4th

First-Time Fridays at LACMA

You haven’t been to LACMA you say? Well luckily for you, LA’s Contemporary Museum of Modern Art accepts this and offers First Time Fridays. This monthly event invites guest to explore the museum from 3:00pm-8:00pm for LA residents. If you let the ticket office know it is your first visit to LACMA, you will receive a free poster and discounts at the LACMA store, LACMA Cafe and C+M.

Click here for more details.

Abbot Kinney First Fridays

AK’s neighborhood block party returns this Friday on the “coolest block in America”. Whatever your craving, you’ll be sure to find something with new and old food trucks joining the event and merchant discounts plus late hours.

Click here for more details.

LA Lakers vs. New York Knicks

NBA tickets to see the Los Angeles Lakers play the New York Knicks are sure to be selling quickly! Fans from both sides of the nation won’t want to miss this exciting regular season game! If you want to be there to catch all of the action you’d better act now. Secure your seats so you can cheer on your favorite team!

Click here for more details

Saturday, January 5th

Watson Adventures’ Thrilla at the Getty Villa

Roam for Romans on a unique scavenger hunt that transports you to ancient Greece and Rome via the Getty Villa. You’ll follow a trail of clues and answer fun, tricky questions. Discover facts you never knew about the odd aspects of gods, goddesses, and the inventors of the toga party.

Click here for more details

Golden Globes Foreign Language Nominee Symposium

Discover the best foreign language films of 2018. This year’s five nominees include Capernaum from Lebanon, Girl from Belgium, Never Look Away from Germany, Roma from Mexico, and Shoplifters from Japan. The symposium will also include a free roundtable with the Directors for each of the nominated films. The panel will be moderated by Mike Goodridge, former HFPA member and VP turned festival director and programmer. Advance sale tickers are available until 5:00pm January 4 but will still be available for standby the day of.

Click here for more details

Bricks LA 2019

Come share your love of Lego and discover hundreds of fan created models at the Pasadena Convention Center ! Enjoy their vendor area with new, used, and unique brick accessories as well as building techniques and panel discussions. It will be a weekend of fun for all ages.

Click here for more details

Sunday, January 6

Annual Carroll Shelby Cruise-In

Come see some of the fastest, rarest and most beloved Shelby’s of all time. The Petersen will celebrate Carroll Shelby’s birthday by having a cruise-in on the third floor parking structure of the museum. All car enthusiasts are invited to participate in the car show and contest. Coffee and snacks will be provided.

Click here for more details

A Faery Hunt Magical Adventure

Named by Nickelodeon the “Best Children’s Theater” in Los Angeles, A Faery Hunt delights as a magical adventure. Auntie Angelica leads the audience on a gentle journey to help the Faery royalty! With the help of the audience and the Faeries, it’s a musical filled afternoon with fun, laughs and surprises.

Click here for more details

LA Kings Holiday ICE at L.A. Live Final Day

Just because the holidays are over, doesn’t mean the fun has to be. Don’t miss out on the last day of the LA Kings Holiday Ice at L.A. Live. Skate your way through the weekend as a family fun activity or date night.

Click here fore more details