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Summertime!

You’re feeling it too, aren’t you?  Summer’s here!

1)  Swinging Good Time ($$)

Fly through the air with the greatest of ease . . . just like the man on the flying trapeze.  Fly high above the Santa Monica Pier with the Trapeze School NY.  Ropes, silks and trampolines provide a challenging workout with beautiful ocean views + Swing over to the The Lobster after for some great seafood ocean side.  Kristin tip:  This joint’s been jumping since 1923, so make reservations or you’ll be clawing your way to a table.

2) Beaching Like Bourgeois? ($)

Instead, roll in like Rockefeller for your day in the sun at the Annenberg Community Beach House, Santa Monica, home of the once palatial oceanfront estate of silent film star and Hearst mistress Marion Davies.  All that remains is the guest house, but thanks to a 21st-century transformation, the now sleek and modernized beachfront property features a spectacular pool, as well as a host of other activities for your enjoyment.  Swim, yoga, beach tennis, volleyball, workout . . . this is living!  Daily fee is a drop in the bucket at $10 ($1 on Mondays) and the house tour is FREE!

3) Shop in the AC in the OC ($-$$$)

If you’re skipping the beach for cooler quarters, shop at the “oh so cool” OC Mart Mix, Costa Mesa.  Fashioned after San Francisco’s Ferry Building Marketplace, this brand new, eco-friendly shopping mecca features an array of home goods and high-quality vendors.  Food trucks add to the festive environment.  More shops to open so keep watch of the website.

Not-To-Miss Event:  Calling all country music fans, multi-Grammy winner Randy Travis is singing and conversing for “An Evening with Randy Travis” at The Grammy Museum June 16th.  Tickets are only $20.  His appearance coincides with the release of his newest album Randy Travis – 25th Anniversary Celebration.  Randy teams up with a who’s who of country for a must-have album of duets (Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood, Willie Nelson, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, etc.).

Enjoy the sunshine this week and don’t forget to tell ’em “Kristin sent me.”

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Hungry?

Personally, I stay away from natural foods.  At my age I need all the preservatives I can get.  -George Burns

1)  Fishing for Japan ($$)

Spend the day reeling in big fish with the big fish of the foodie industry.  Join host Michael Cimarusti (Providence) and his celebrity chef pals for Go Fish – a charity fishing event benefiting the relief effort in Japan (June 5).  Boat leaves bright and early (6:30am) from San Pedro, but you won’t go hungry.  They’re hooking you up with breakfast provided by the star chefs on-board.  Cast off with Alain Giraud (soon-to-open Maison Giraud), Andrea Cavaliere (Cecconi’s), Brian Moyers (BLT), and Dave Dahni (Grilled Cheese Truck), along with Cimarusti.   Tix $100.

2)  Missed the Boat? ($$$)

If the boat set sail June 5th without you, don’t despair.  There’s more food events to choose from.  For a mere $250 (I know, cha-ching, but no rods required) you’ll only need to show up to enjoy the bounty laid out for you at KCET’s Uncorked! held June 12 at french sensation Bouchon Bistro, Beverly Hills.  Join acclaimed chef Thomas Keller for a behind-the-scenes kitchen tour, cooking demonstrations and lots of “bon” food and wine – all in celebration of KCET newest designation as the largest public television station in the country.   Not only will your taste buds thank you, but so will KCET for your support.

3)  Malibu Meal ($$)

Beverly Hills isn’t the only “hills” hosting a food event June 12. Head for Agoura Hills for Summer Feast at the popular wedding site Malibou Lake Mountain Club (yes, spelled “Malibou”).  It isn’t as swank as Bouchon (or as pricey – tix only $90), but the victuals are just as good. Think 18 hour roasted Berkshire Cross pig, strawberry agua frescas and a cornucopia of locally grown food set along the lake to the bluegrass sounds of Ethan Wiley’s Mean Bunny.  Sounds like fun and all for a good cause – portion of the proceeds goes to SOS Malibu, an outreach for the poor and homeless.

4)  More Food ($$)

There’s one more food event June 12 worth serving up –  Taste the Nation.   This one’s all Hollywood with every restaurant on-hand you’ve been dying to try.  Will Farrell and Ben Ford (Harrison’s son – a celeb in his own right, albeit chef celeb of Ford’s Filling Station) will mix and mingle at this food fundraiser for childhood hunger.   Setting is Media Park, Culver City and the tix are within reason ($100 pre-sale).  Event details here.

So eat, drink and be merry and don’t forget to tell ’em “Kristin sent me.”

Aloha!

Heard the rapture was imminent, so I got a head start and headed to paradise.  I’m writing from the beautiful island of Kauai.

Kauai Island

Kauai was (and still is) the spectacular setting for many movies including South Pacific, Jurassic Park and Raiders of a Lost Ark.


Swinging Over Huleia River

Yesterday I swung out over the Huleia River just like Indiana Jones.  Unfortunately, there was no biplane waiting for me.  Not to leave you hanging, here’s a list of new and exciting Los Angeles restaurants worthy of a “last supper.”

Aburiya Toranoko (Downtown) – Japanese pub fare.  Next door to (and by the same owner of) Lazy Ox Canteen.

The Royce (Pasadena) – Six months young.  Spring menu recently rolled out.

Rosewood Tavern (Mid-City) – Steakhouse.  Lots of wood in a hip, communal setting.

Beer Belly (Koreatown) – Craft beer joint.  Worthy of a few last swigs.

If nothing else, all this apocalyptic talk reminds us to live today as though it were our last.  Oh yeah, and at the pearly gates, if ya think of it, tell ’em “Kristin sent me.”


Mind, Body, Soul

How about blowing your mind, feeding your soul and cleansing your body?

1)  Smarty Party ($)

A monthly intellectual storm has been brewing downtown, a cultural salon for the 21st-century that you’ll want to experience at least once.  Mindshare, an event of “enlightened debauchery,” gathers forward thinkers for a thought-provoking exchange of topics and drink.  KCET (LA PBS affiliate) says, “This is what it would be like if the internet jumped out of the box and grabbed your arm for a trip into Alice’s Wonderland of ideas and madmen.”  This month (May 18th) there’s an eclectic group of presenters including a Caltech Professor of Planetary Science, a veteran porn journalist and the tv producer of Modern Family.  Add to the experience programmed interactive activities, techno demonstrations, musical performances and food trucks.  All and all, it’s a no-brainer.

2)  Hailing Over Hollywood ($)

Often overlooked, Olive Hill, aka Barnsdall Art Park (11 acres), rises above the cacophony of East Hollywood’s urban sprawl.   Roll your windows down as you wind your way to the top.  Music, art and architecture spill into your soul (home of The Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Hollyhock House).  Add to the fun some good eats when Olive Hill hosts the Taste of the Eastside (May 15th).  The inaugural event includes food tastings from some of the best eastside restaurants:  Forage, Little Dom’s, Delilah Bakery, Auntie Em’s, Silver Lake Wines and many more.  Tix $25, but consider VIP $65 for all kinds of extras.  Kristin suggests:  Fans of Frank Lloyd Wright or the scandals surrounding him might want to pick up T.C. Boyle’s book  The Women (a historical novel based on Wright’s two wives and mistress).  To hear an excerpt from the book read by Boyle, listen to NPR’s podcast Book Tour.  A bit of trivia:  Boyle resides in a Wright designed home in Santa Barbara.

3)  Summer’s Coming ($$$$)

So how do the celebs do it – squeezing into their swimsuits post winter hibernation?  It’s called luxury boot camp at The Ranch at Live Oak, Malibu.  Close to home, nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains, sits a heavenly historic ranch complete with organic garden, Spanish hacienda, white-washed cottages and soothing massages for all.  But don’t let this luxe fool you, they have a “take no prisoners” attitude when it comes to getting in shape.  With their professionally detailed game plan, tasty vegetarian meals and 9+ hours of daily exercise, you’ll see results.  It may cost bucks for this kind of “off the grid” fitness spa, but you’ll see the payoff in pounds.

Not-To-Miss Event (2nd Chance):  In case you missed the Royal Wedding, here’s a two-minute version you won’t lose sleep over.

Enjoy the warm weather and don’t forget to tell ’em “Kristin sent me.”

Now You See It…..

The greatest escape I ever made was when I left Appleton, Wisconsin. – Harry Houdini

1)  Abracadabra! ($)

See Houdini:  Art and Magic before “Poof! It’s gone” at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles (thru Sept. 4).  The extensive exhibit includes some of Houdini’s favorite props including a straitjacket, milk can and Metamorphosis Trunk.  His life wasn’t all smoke and mirrors, though.  Listen to the podcast Harry Houdini, Master Mystifier (No. 148) from Stuff You Missed in History.  While you’re on the site, scroll thru their other history lessons – almost makes me wish I was still in school!

2)  You Can Do Magic ($$$)

Yes, you still need to know a card-carrying, rabbit-producing magician for a reservation at The Magic Castle, Hollywood, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  Perched high in the hills over Hollywood, this private club for professional magicians is still old school – dress code, secret handshakes and lots of “Pick a card, any card,” but now The Magic Castle is offering Magic Class for Adult Beginners.  Voila – you’re in!  Learn to saw your wife in half, make your husband disappear and turn water into wine (oh…not so sure about that last one), but the best trick is students become temporary club members.   If you like magic, then this tops your bucket list.  Mind-blowing shows, elbow-rubbing with infamous illusionists and of course, “Irma” – I won’t tell you too much about her, just be sure to include “Irma” in your visit.

3)  The Magic of Disney ($$$)

Think Disneyland now that the swell of spring breakers are gone.  Take your family or go yourself to discover what’s new and revel in childhood nostalgia.  Be sure to stay late when visiting California Adventure cuz you won’t want to miss World of Color.  Disney’s newest show lights up the night in a spectrum of color and water high above Paradise Bay.  Marvel at the complexity and beauty of over 1200 shooting fountains, lasers, lights, fog, fire and memorable Disney film clips projected in high-def.  Want to know everything going on behind the Disney magic?  Checkout the Disney Parks Blog and read articles posted by Disney execs on all the goings on.

Have a magical week and don’t forget to tell ’em “Kristin sent me.”

What a Day!

Here’s a few Not-To-Miss Events for the day (and tomorrow):

1)  Royal Wedding Coverage (FREE)

KCET-TV is simulcasting with the BBC so tune in at home to see what the Brits see or watch streaming live on The Royal Channel (youtube).  I’ve been watching since 1am and it’s been all cheerio, fantastic and splendid.  Forget people watching – it’s about the hats (and fascinators too)!

2)  NASA Shuttle Launch (FREE)

President Obama and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords will be in attendance for the second to last shuttle launch today at 3:47pm (EST).  Giffords’ husband, Mark Kelly, commands Space Shuttle Endeavor.   The last shuttle launch – Atlantis – is scheduled for June 28, 3:48pm.  Today’s launch streams live online at NASA TV.

3)  White House Correspondents’ Dinner (FREE)

Attention political junkies, tomorrow, April 30 at 6:45pm (EST) C-Span will stream live the White House Correspondents’ Assoc. Dinner.  The President and First Lady join host Seth Myers (SNL) for the annual send-up to the press (Guests of Honor).  Hollywood types attend in droves (celebrity guest list).  Should make for an interesting night – I wonder if anyone will sport a fascinator….the Donald, maybe?

Enjoy all the wonderful pomp and circumstance this weekend and if you venture out, don’t forget to tell ’em “Kristin Sent Me.”

Gone to Heaven

Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.  – Henry Miller

Big Sur

Today is Earth Day and I’ve Gone to Heaven to Celebrate!

Today’s blog finds me perched on a rugged cliff over the ocean with miles of mountains and coast in every direction.  It’s awesome (truly worthy of this word that is so overused)I’ve featured Big Sur before, but it bears repeating, so bear with me as I dedicate this week’s entire post to a slice of God’s Heaven.  There’s so much to love here.

Getting There

Five hours north of LA, you’ll find California’s jaw-dropping Central Coast.  Just recently, Hwy 1 washed out north of Hearst Castle and Cambria, so stay on 101 from San Luis Obispo until Jolon.  Exit here for the mountain pass detour across Fort Hunter Liggett (US Army’s 8th largest installation) – a rare treat.  165,000+ acres of streams, meadows, rivers and towering oaks lead to a mountain-hugging, treacherously winding, palm-sweating, ocean bound road that makes the view of Big Sur even sweeter. Kristin suggests:  Be sure to fill up in Jolon and tell your friends where you are, cuz cell service and gas stations are left back in civilization.

Lodging ($$-$$$$)

After that drive, you’ll want to put your nerves to bed.  Here’s a few great places to choose from:  Mongolian-style yurts at Treebones Resort (waffle breakfast with a side of ocean view), luxurious Ventana Inn & Spa (hammocks & hot tubs ensconced in cedar laden serenity) or private houses with plunging vistas (here’s a few bank-breaking favorites Jewel Box in the Clouds, 6 Acre Oceanfront Estate (checkout Flikr pics) and Anderson Canyon (home to 20th-century American novelist author Henry Miller).   Don’t overlook these rustic beauties either Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn, Big Sur River Inn and Glen Oaks.

Eating ($-$$)

Ask anyone who’s been here and they’ll tell you that all roads lead to Nepenthe.  Once a gift from Orson Welles to Rita Hayworth, this “outdoor living room” of rocks and wood careen over the ocean.  The steaks are hearty and the drinks plentiful.  It’s a must as the sun sets. Another favorite is bbq ribs & beer at Big Sur River Inn Restaurant.  Wade knee-deep through the river to the willow chairs midstream and let your troubles wash away.

Things to Do (FREE – $)

Explore Point Sur Lighthouse Tour (closed until Hwy 1 repairs complete in May), Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park & Beach, and the historic Henry Miller Library (pick-up one of his many books like Tropic of Cancer or Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus for lazy afternoon reading) or you can always do nothing at all.

Not-To-Miss Event Update:  Last Saturday Kristin Sent Me’s 1st Anniversary Celebration was held at The Brewery Art Colony.  Thank you to all who came and made the night an adventure never to be forgotten.  We had a great time winding through the labyrinth of turn-of-the-century industrial repurposed buildings, each destination as exciting as the last.  A big thank you to the artists for inviting us into their live/work spaces and sharing their art with us.   Here’s a time-lapse video (shot by Deadliest Catch cameraman John Moody) of jeweler Claudia Endler’s loft transformed just days prior to the event.  Below are a few pics from our party.

Rafael Gevorkian Glass Studio

Maison Catering for KSM Party

Claudia Endler Jewelry Studio

Wherever your heaven is, enjoy the journey….and if you heard about it here, don’t forget to tell ’em “Kristin sent me.”