Archives

Keeping it Crafty at CRAFTED!

What better way to celebrate the handmade goodness of all things Etsy, than by throwing a party? Especially if you are a SoCal Lady Blogger? 😉  The other week I was invited out to CRAFTED in San Pedro, CA, for their first ever ETSY party.  Friday, August 24th was National Etsy Day, and Etsy formed meetups across the US for artist’s to come and craft together. And boy, did the crafters come out in droves for this fine occasion!! There were well over 1,000 in attendance for this milestone event.

In case you are wondering, what exactly IS CRAFTED?? CRAFTED is Southern California’s largest permanent craft marketplace, so it was the perfect venue for an event of this kind. Crafted has a 35 year lease for this space so they are not going anywhere anytime soon and are in this for the long haul. Every few months they plan on expanding in phases to become the largest permanent CRAFT venue in the United States.

So how EXACTLY can you become a vendor for this crafting extravaganza? In order to be a vendor for  CRAFTED, your goods must be substantially made by hand in the Los Angeles area. Crafters/Artists are welcome to share a space with other artists, BUT they must be there 75%  of the time. The price artist’s pay for a 10 x 10 space for one month is what they would pay for one weekend at a Renegade Art Fair festival or Unique LA?? That’s a GREAT deal!!

They have EVERY kind of craft you can possibly imagine and it’s impossible to list all of these amazing artists in one post. Ranging from paintings, wood crafts, metal crafts, plant crafts, to jewelry, clothes, coffee, cookies, pies, jams & jellies, scrapbooking and other paper crafts, the list goes on and on of all the wonderful finds you will see at Crafted!! You are guaranteed to walk away with something unique that no one else will have.

One of our favorite booths we found is called It’s Me Mary. We got some really beautiful bracelets from her in our gifts bags. Of course our Mary had to get a pic with the other Mary!!! 😉 We also had a lot of fun over at Hydrangea Hippo, who does a lot of paper crafts and scrapbooking. Mary and I made a super cute mask craft.

Other events of the night that one could partake in included craft stations throughout CRAFTED in which you could make either for free or for a small fee. You could decorate a jar to put messages or ideas in, do your nails at the nail bar, make masks, pop-up cards, wood-crafts, and much more!  Can you tell what one of the 1st things us SoCal Lady Bloggers decided on doing by the picture below? YEP! We all did our nails in bright, sparkly, vibrant colors. Of course we also had to leave our mark that the SoCal Lady Bloggers had been there. 😉 Celebrity Crafter Mark Montano from “The Big ASS book of Crafts” was also in attendance.

FINAL THOUGHTS OF THE NIGHT: Crafted is a GREAT place to shop and to support local Los Angeles Artisans. It’s a great hang out spot to craft and meet other like-minded crafters. They have fun food trucks and drinks outside (they also had live music this night) that you can grab a tasty treat from. It truly was a fun way to spend a Friday evening.

WHEN can YOU go to CRAFTED??

CRAFTED is open every weekend of the year

DAYS/HOURS OF OPERATION:

*Fridays: 12pm to 8pm

*Saturdays and Sundays: 10am to 7pm.

LOCATION:

110 & 112 E. 22nd St.
San Pedro CA 90731

Disclosure: I was invited out to the Etsy party by the CRAFTED Etsy Team. I was given a whole lot of swag and we had a  marvolous night out of crafting fun. All opinions stated above are my own and  I will be back again in the near future. 

LA County Fair Food Preview and Four Pack of Fair Tickets–Giveaway Ends 09/08!

The LA County Fair officially started today at 3pm with rides, games, shows, concerts,  new animal exhibits and of course, a huge variety of food.  Every year, the food is a huge draw at the fair, and this year will not disappoint as they are more than prepared to appeal to every palette and appetite .  You will see the usual fried fare from longtime fair favorites such as Chicken Charlie, but the fair does have some Gluten-Free options, one of my personal favorites; Terri’s Berries and then there is the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Marketplace. The Fair will run through September 30th.  Fun events and concerts are planned throughout the entire month and are sure to thrill and wow us.  This past Tuesday I was invited out to a food preview, and oh boy, make sure to wear comfortable clothing to the fair so that you can fully enjoy all the food the fair has to offer.  I grew up going to this fair, and by the tastes of food and drink I’ve had the pleasure of indulging in, I am so excited to attend the fair again this year.

There was just a handful of vendors on hand, but nevertheless it was a FANTASTIC sampling of all things fair food, so without further ado, here are the much anticipated  photos of the fair food we got to sample (Which is why you’re here I’m sure is for the fair food photos, not to hear me ramble on and on endlessly… 😉 You can find these food vendors while out and about at the fair this year.

1) Ten Pound Buns

Ten Pound Buns makes wonderful  freshly made sourdough bread topped with all sorts of delicious toppings.  They have a variety of options including BBQ chicken, the ultimate with everything on it,  pepperoni, bacon Nutella, meat lovers, jalapeno and cheese, to just their original with cheese. They have 7 different varieties to choose from. I decided on the BBQ Chicken, it was absolute perfection. The sauce was not too sweet, not too smoky.

The BBQ Chicken

I also had a sample of Jamie’s Bacon Nutella (be sure to check out her blog post about the food preview for more mouth-watering pics. 🙂  I was hesitant to try this, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well the sweet and salty mixed together.

2) Skinny Girl Bar and Food
Next stop was, “Skinny Bar,” as I needed something to wash down that amazing BBQ Chicken creation.  New to the fair this year, these fabulous and delicious cocktails are low-calorie, but still pleasantly flavorful.  These drinks are especially designed for women and come in margaritas, lemonades, and cosmos. My favorite was the margarita. Very refreshing on such a WARM summer’s night!!!

3) Tasti Chips

Tasti Chips with Bacon Cheddar Cheese

For all of you Gluten-Free fans out there, make sure to make a stop at Tasti Chips!! These crispy “Tasti Chips” are made in peanut oil and are completely gluten-free!  My advice to everyone out there is to ADD the Bacon Cheddar cheese to your order (NOTE TO SELF: the cheese isn’t gluten-free!) You can also get them topped with  numerous other toppings if you so desire.

4) Big Kona Huna Shaved Ice

Big Kona Huna Shaved Ice

Hawaiian Shaved Ice has always been a favorite, and this night was no different. The Shaved Ice was a big hit and  everyone loved their personal creations.  What makes it “Hawaiian” you may be asking yourself? Well, they take Sweet and Condensed Milk  and pour a very generous amount of it over your masterpiece of flavors for you.

One of the personal favorites of the evening ammong our group was their “Root Beer” Flavor. Here I tried their Bahama Mama and Pina Colada flavors. Very tropical and just want I wanted on such a WARM warm night!

5) Ice Cream and Funnel Cakes

Always a fair favorite, goodies abound of ice cream creations and funnel cakes that will be here for you to enjoy throughout the fair. You can never go wrong with a dipped cone or funnel cake with powdered sugar or a fruit topping!!

6) Monster Grill

Burgers, corn dogs, and fries, Oh my!! You can get your corn dog on a stick fix here as well as lots and lots of fries. Oh and did I mention you can get fries here?  😉

7) Harold & Belle’s to Geaux

Want to try something a little bit different from your typical fair food?  Love some good old Louisiana Creole food straight from New Orleans? Then you  need to stop by this booth.  They had samples of fried catfish, Crawfish Etouffe and for a  delicious dessert they were also dishing up some wonderful bread pudding. This booth was one of my favorites of the night. The Crawfish Etouffe and the bread pudding were both amazing and I will definitely be back for more of this exquisite yumminess!

Crawfish Etouffe

Bread Pudding

8) Chicken Charlie

A long time fair favorite for many who love deep-fried foods.  With deep-fried cookie dough, deep-fried cereal,  deep-fried kool aid ( I STILL want to try this), deep-fried Oreos, deep-fried avocados and for the more adventurous– deep-fried frog legs can you really go wrong?  They even had deep-fried Dodger Dogs! I truly enjoyed the deep-fried cereal! I WILL be back to try the deep-fried Kool Aide as this was not available to sample that night.

Deep Fried Cookie Dough

Deep Fried Cinnamon Toast Crunch

This year they will also be having a “Pineapple Express” location where they will only be serving their  “Naked Pineapple Bowl.” As I have been trying to eat healthier lately, this was one of my  genuine favorites of the entire night. This delectable bowl comes with rice, pineapple, and eight pieces of shrimp. I love anything with pineapple in it and shrimp, so you can’t go wrong with this one.

Naked Pineapple Bowl

9) Fresh Frys

Fresh Frys is a two-time winner of the O.C. Fair’s Outstanding Fair Food award and serves freshly baked French Fries for your enjoyment. They are also well known for their famous Blooming Onions.  However, one thing I was told upon entering the food preview was that I just HAD to try these marshmallow yammies! Sweet potato fries with fluffy, gooey, marshmallow cream goodness drizzled all over them.  The sweet was just what I needed after having the saltier Tasti Chips. Here is a pic of their marshmallow yammies. YUM or should I say YAM?? 😉

10) Pink’s Hot Dogs

The oh so famous Pink’s Hot Dogs are back at the fair for another year. Home of the world’s best chili dog, among other favorites doused in ketchup, mustard, onions and relish. That evening they were sampling their Matt Kenseth hot dog with jalapenos, onions, guacamole, spicy mustard and ketchup.

11) C’est La Vie/Flavors of France

Last, but certainly not least, for the first time at the LA County Fair is “Flavors of France” from C’est La Vie.  These amazing artisans have some great restaurants right here in our own backyard in SoCal; as they are located in Laguna Beach and are here at the fair to bring Paris to us.  Their booth is all about delectable combinations like strawberries and Nutella swirled together into a freshly made crepe and other tasty french pastries, they have some spectacular talent with the endless creations they came up with. Admittedly, being the sweet tooth that I am, this was the first vendor I stopped at and I just had to have a piece of their cheesecake before having anything else. It did not disappoint, and I am pretty picky about my cheesecake! 😉 Chocolate Mousse, Fruit Tarts, Napoleons, Cheesecakes, and many more dazzling options await you from these fine folks.  You must make it one of your stops at the fair, I know I will.  You will not be disappointed. Shown below is the Chocolate Bomb, Fruit Tart, and Chocolate Mousse. Above are their fruit tarts and Napoleons.

A beautiful sunset at the LA County Fair.

The Fair is here just in time for the long Labor Day weekend, at the Fairplex in Pomona, 1101 W. McKinley Avenue, and runs through Sept. 30. This is the earliest opening date ever for the fair, now going on its 90th year.

NOW, what you have ALL been waiting for!!! ONE lucky reader has a chance to win a 4 Pack of Tickets to the LA County Fair!

Retail Value: Max retail value $68 Dollars

Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment letting me know what fair food item has your mouth watering and eager to try!

Optional Entries: Leave an additional comment for each entry you’ve done below.

Like “Horsing Around In LA” on Facebook

Follow “Horsing Around In LA” on Twitter

Follow “Horsing Around In LA’s” Blog (Leave your e-mail or/Blog Name in your comment that you followed with)

Like LA County Fair on Facebook

Follow LA County Fair on Twitter

No purchase necessary, void where prohibited.  Must be a California Resident and be 18 years of age or older.  Winner will be chosen through the use of random.org and will be notified via email.  Giveaway ends at 9pm PST on 09/08/2012.  All other rules can be found here.

Disclosure: I was invited out to the Media Food Preview Night at the LA County Fair.  All food and drinks were provided to me for free, and I was provided with a 4 pack of tickets and a parking pass to the LA County Fair. All opinions stated above are my own.

Stay tuned for more Fair Fun!! 😉

Got Strawberries?

Oh Strawberries! You are luscious, sweet, soft and juicy. There’s NOTHING that can keep us away from you! Not even an over heated car beeping for us to pull over…

This past Friday evening, Mary & I had the pleasure of attending an event put on by the California Strawberry Commission that was held in Newport Beach at TrueFood Kitchen, a restaurant I have long wanted to check out since I heard rave reviews about this place when it first opened from a friend. Mary and I both agreed, that we cannot WAIT to return to one of their locations (in Santa Monica, Newport, San Diego or in Arizona). There is something for everyone on the menu; whether you’re Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Vegan or carnivore they are sure to have something that will tickle your fancy. BUT before we could enjoy all this strawberry and fresh amazing food fun, we had to get there first!!

Of all the times for a radiator hose to decide to pop off & cause Mary’s car to overheat & throw poor Mary into a huge scare, it HAD to be on our way to the strawberry fun?! Apparently, it did! But, we kept our cool and tried to make light of the situation and hope for the best that we would make it (since we had a scare that the radiator had either blown or the hose was leaking, which meant we would have had to been towed somewhere!) Luckily all it took was some coolant, water and a hose to be put back on and then we were on our way again an hour later! Thank goodness for social media, I was able to notify through my iPhone on Facebook, e-mail and twitter to a few who were attending and in charge of the event our whereabouts and dilemma. Everyone was so welcoming & gracious to us despite our major delay.

As we arrived we were greeted with food & drinks galore, opting for the Strawberry Mojito as it WAS a strawberry event!! It was delicious. I love any fruity drink, so this one was right up my alley. The appetizers were all amazing as well, with many strawberry goodies. Besides strawberries galore, there were several items from the TrueFood starter menu we got to enjoy including the; Shitake & Tofu Lettuce Cups (very light, crisp and refreshing with a zangy sauce that I loved), Thai Spicy Shrimp Dumplings (which we could have eaten all day given the chance), a Kale Salad that was marinated in lemon juice and wasn’t overcooked and soggy nor was it too hard and chewy. It was just right! There was also pizza that was fresh right out of the oven that really hit the spot. My favorite though has to be the steak tacos! Freshly baked tortillas with tender steak and topped with a generous amount of avocado (another favorite of mine!), tomato, cabbage, with spices and sauce. They were breath-taking. I loved every morsel of those things!

While we were munching & mingling, we had the pleasure to listen to a great lecture on the health benefits of strawberries from Illinois-based Nutrition Expert & Author, Mr. David Grotto. He explained the many benefits of a healthy diet in a fun and humorous way as he mentioned the 2 most important staples: Alcohol & Dessert! (In moderation of course). He then went on to explain the true meaning of “WTF?” for us: Where’s The Fiber? With year-round availability, California strawberries are a healthy and versatile fruit to enjoy every day that are PACKED with fiber.

Being a total book nerd I was excited that in our “swag bags” we were all given copies of his book, 101 Optimal Life Foods, which covers many of the ailments we deal with day in & day out; many of which can be reversed by simple changes in your diet and/or lifestyle. Diets that can help us treat each of these troubles as well as recipes to go with them are discussed in great detail. Here is a picture of me with David Grotto, the author of this life-changing book.

Here are some fun facts I learned about Strawberries!!

*A serving of strawberries is equal to about eight whole strawberries.

* A serving of strawberries has more vitamin C than an orange and is packed with beneficial antioxidants and nutrients including potassium, folate and fiber.

*Are naturally low in sugar- one serving has only eight grams

*Strwaberries may help reduce the risk of heart disease, fight some types of cancer and lower blood pressure!

That’s one powerful super fruit if you ask me!! 😉

;

What about DESSERT?? You may be thinking? Of COURSE! What kind of strawberry event would that be without some strawberry desserts? 😉 They had strawberry cupcakes, strawberry rhubarb a la mode (my favorite!), and a choclate pudding with strawberries.

So to put it lightly, Strawberries have it going on! Along with David’s book, we were also treated to a yummy recipe book with beautiful photos of each dish. I never knew that there were so many amazing things you could make with the strawberry, but this book will give you countless ideas that will make your mouth water just looking at the pictures. What are some of your favorite recipes that call for strawberries as one of the main ingredients? I’d love for you to share them here! 🙂

Even my cat MOE approves of strawberries!! He gives them 2 paws up!!! 😉

*Disclosure: I was invited to be a guest at this event hosted by CA Strawberries. All food & drink I had the pleasure of sampling was complimentary, as well as the gift bag provided to me. All opinions are my own & I had a wonderful time!

“Home Sweet Home” at the Orange County Fair

The rides, the food, the exhibits, the animals, the shows! There is something for everyone at the fair and it is one of my favorite summertime hang-out spots to enjoy some good food, good company of friends and family, and some top-notch entertainment or a lazy summer afternoon of wandering around the exhibits, rides, games, or just sitting back and taking it all in.  This is the last week of the fair, so if you have not already had the chance to go, then make sure you head down there by Sunday August 12th!!

Here are some of my favorite things about the OC County Fair:

1. The FOOD!! You cannot go to the fair and NOT have any of the spectacular food options they have. Ranging from the healthy to the not-so healthy, whatever you fancy, I can guarantee you will find something delicious! Fresh Berries. Roasted Corn on the Cob. Deep-fried. Wrapped in Bacon. On-a-stick. Battered. Breaded. Dipped in chocolate. Eating at the Fair is a unique experience. 😉

Two of my favorite things!! Chocolate and STRAWBERRIES!!

I ended up getting a basket of  nice ripe, juicy berries and a chocolate covered strawberry!! YUM!

Bacon Wrapped… everything… I just love this sign.

Fresh Roasted Corn

OMG this was amazing!! Pulled-Pork Waffle Sandwich!! Totally curbed my craving for a funnel cake for dessert! So I ended up getting a chocolate dipped vanilla cone instead. I WILL get my funnel cake fix at the LA County Fair next month! 😉

My Dipped Cone… notice I still managed to get my funnel cake in the picture as well…. 😉

2. The ANIMALS! I’m sure you all know by now that I am a HUGE animal lover. I’m a sucker for a cute critter. The Centennial Farm and Petting Zoos are both great places to make some new four-legged friends.

3. The ENTERTAINMENT! As if the super adorable animals were not enough, since I could easily stay all day just visiting and making friends with them, the fair has endless opportunities for some breath-taking, action packed entertainment. One of my favorites since I was a young child, is the Peking Acrobats. I have to watch them whenever I make it out to the OC Fair!

4. The RIDES! What’s the fair without some exhilarating rides with some of the best views around of Orange County?

Some of the amazing views you will find when you catch a ride on the Sky Ride at night! Just DON’T look down below if you are afraid of heights! 😉

The La Grand Farris Wheel

View from atop the Ferris Wheel

5. FACE PAINTING!! If you didn’t notice already, my friends and I all got our faces painted. Being a kid at heart, the fair is the place to be a kid again and you can get away with doing silly, fun stuff like that. So it is NOT just for kids. Best part was, it was only $5 and we kept hearing comments from others on how cute our Hello Kitty’s were. 🙂

Mary, from Along Comes Mary getting her face painted!

Group Pic!

Close-Up of how my Hello Kitty turned out. I loved it.

6. All of the EXHIBITS & SHOPPING!! I didn’t have time to get pictures of all the Exhibits. I will have to cover that this weekend when I go again. 😉 There are TONS of awesome and unique items at the fair that you won’t find anywhere else. The fair truly is a one of a kind experience that everyone can enjoy.

Have YOU gone to the fair yet? If you’re not in SoCal, have you been to the fair this summer near you? What’s your favorite things about the fair? I’d LOVE to hear all about it! 🙂

The Suite Life at Dodger Stadium #DodgerDigitalSeries

Growing up in Southern California, I have gotten to go to many ball games since I was a young girl. The food, the sounds, the excitement. I love it all. The moving battle of nerves. When it comes down to three balls and two strikes, the guy at bat has the world on his shoulders. If he takes another strike, his head hangs low. If he knocks it out of the park, he stands among the gods. The rules are simple in baseball and any confusion is easily cleared up with more beer.

Earlier this week I was invited to Dodger Stadium for the Dodgers’ Digital Series for a night tailored to Los Angeles’ bloggers and influencers. We received a behind-the-scenes and VIP United Club Suites experience at Dodger Stadium that was like no other. The Dodgers’ Digital series is a social media experience that aims to engage fans online, in-stadium and at home. Fans can apply for the Dodgers’ Digital Series by visiting http://bitly.com/dodgerds. In this series they take the time to create a social media experience that will not be soon forgotten as they connect you with like-minded individuals in the social media world. You are taken right to where all the action is; right behind home plate where you can watch batting practice, get your picture taken with a team member of the Dodgers if you so desire or at least chat with them, see who’s singing the national anthem, who’s throwing the opening pitch as well as other guests/professional teams in the Southern California area that are being featured that night, and talk with local fox sports newscasters.  You may even get taken into the Vin Scully press box if you’re lucky like we were. 😉

Here’s the Play by Play of our night:

Photo Credit: Jamie Gall

Upon first entering the walkway to our seats there was a ton of Dodger’s memorabilia to look at and admire. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

How cute is this LA Dodgers Baseball cart? Later, Mary from Along Comes Mary & I took a picture in this cart!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Photo Credit: Jamie Gall

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking past the Dodger’s Locker Room…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our tickets to get on the field and in the suite!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our final destination until game time was to a little section behind home plate in which we could stand and watch the batting practice happen around us.  That evening they were playing against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Shown below is Andre Ethier and A.J. Ellis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The classic LA logo.  🙂 We also were able to get pics with this famous icon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jamie, from Minnesota Girl in LA, Myself, & Mary.

LA Dodger “Andre Ethier” came over to talk with all of us LA Bloggers.  We talked a bit with him about the time he ran his own food blog, and that one of his favorite places to eat at in LA is Mozza. When  one of the other bloggers, Mona, asked if he ever cooked for his wife, he joking replied ;”No, that’s why I got married!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That evening happened to be the inaugural LA Galaxy Night at Dodger Stadium celebrating the reigning MLS champion Los Angeles Galaxy.   13 of the players were there with their championship trophy including: Sean Franklin, A.J. De La Garza, Bryan Jordan, Hector Jimenez, David Junior Lopes, Rafael Garcia, Dan Keat, Juninho, Marcelo Sarvas, Mike Stephens and Kenny Walker.  We even got a picture surrounding the trophy and one lucky LA Blogger got to hold it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Here we are holding the LA Galaxy MLS Championship Cup. 

Photo Credit: Ben Platt

 

 

 

 

Jim Hill then came over and gave us some sound advice about work: “Go to bed late, get up early, and work like H-E-double L.”  Work hard, it will be noticed.  It is your reputation  that is the most important.

Nickelodeon star Max Schneider sang the national anthem and “God Bless America.” Here he is practicing before the game. They did an amazing job.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curt Menefee was throwing the first pitch that night. He took this job very seriously and was practicing to get ready for his big pitch to get the game started.

Sadly, it was time to leave the field and head toward our suite, but not without getting a close up view of the Dodger’s dugout first. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To our great surprise though, we had a detour on the way to our suite to the Vin Scully Press Box!! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And look who was there…. of course, none other than Vin Scully himself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, NOW we were taken up to our suite…. 😉

Photo Credit: Jamie Gall

Their suites are pretty incredible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our view for the game.  A pretty nice upgrade from the usual nose bleed seats, I’d have to say! 😀

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course then you have the food! I was sooo excited about the game, I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of my crazy nachos or dodger dog! Oh well… I’m sure you all know what baseball stadium food looks like for the most part… .but what you might not know about are the DESSERT CARTS that go by the United Club Suites. They offer delights from caramel apples to amazing cakes to candy filled popcorn; you have a lot of options.  You’d NEVER guess who we met out by the dessert cart since we missed it when it right by our suite, so we had to go next door to the next suite…. it was Reese Witherspoon! She is just as beautiful and sweet in person as she is on TV.

Photo Credit: Jamie Gall

 

 

 

 

 

Mary and I got this HUGE Carmel M&M Candied Apple to share for dessert. Kerry, who was manning the dessert cart said our apple “was a little brown inside” when she cut it up for us and Mary had mentioned that this was her first game. So she offered to just give us the apple! How nice of her! Thanks Kerry, it tasted just fine! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reese Witherspoon with her friends and family in the next suite over from us! She’s the one in the lower left with the blue shirt & blonde hair…

A heartfelt THANK YOU goes to the Los Angeles Dodgers and their Social Media guy Josh Tucker that showed us around, for a wonderful evening of baseball.  It was great to see all the hard work that goes on behind the game from the social media aspect of it, to planning out the evening’s entertainment to the press room.  Thanks to one and all for everything that you do, to make these games and opportunites happen for fans like myself. If any fans out there are thinking of going to a game, it is well worth it! Especially if you get an opportunity like this, GO FOR IT!! Don’t be afraid to apply. You just never know what might happen. 😉

Ummmm wait a minute you must be asking yourself?? So WHO won the game? Well my friends, that was the only bummer of the night. The Arizona Diamondbacks won that evening a big 7 to 2 with a 3 run homer and a grand slam. >:-/ 

Disclosure: The LA Dodgers provided me with a VIP experience at the Dodgers Game from behind home plate to meeting a few of the players to a ticket in a suite.  This story is my view of this experience. 

A Lovely Lunch at Stonefire Grill

Looking for a new place to try out for lunch or dinner? Don’t feel like cooking on these toasty 95 plus degree dog days of summer? Want to try some new healthy options? Want a unique, fast-casual dining experience with a distinct and innovative style? Well then Stonefire Grill  is the place for you!! After hearing some great things about this place,  last month I had the chance to give  Stonefire Grill a try for the first time and it did not disappoint.  I really loved everything about this place.  Everything on the menu we had was delicious! Seriously, you could close your eyes and point to a random place on the menu and order. It will taste amazing.

Stonefire Grill first opened in Valencia in 2000 by sisters, Mary and Maureen Harrigan.  They wanted to move away from lengthy dining and thus created a fast-casual eating establishment. The focus of Stonefire Grill is on fresh ingredients to create dishes that are freshly prepared and simply delicious. Diners can enjoy Stonefire Grill in one of 7 locations, at home, or catered for a party.

When you first walk in you would order your food at the front, find your own seating, and they bring the food to you. Everything, from plates to soda fountain drinks to BBQ sauces, are left in one section of the dining area so you can get up and get whatever you need whenever you needed it.

Stonefire Grill recently added some refreshing Quinoa salads to their menu, which were the first items we tried. Quinoa is the seed that is high in protein and contains all 9 essential amino acids, making it a “super food” as it is a complete protein. Furthermore, for all of you health nuts out there, it is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus, and is high in magnesium and iron. It is also a great source of calcium, and thus useful for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. Quinoa is gluten-free, easy to digest,  and contains no wheat and,when heated, is fluffy and creamy with an al dente texture that takes on the flavor of other ingredients in the dish. Quinoa has taken center stage on Stonefire Grills’ menu with the introduction of 3 new dishes. My favorite of the three was the Healthy Hybrid; so light and refreshing, just PERFECT for lunch on a summer’s afternoon!

Stonefire Grill offers 3 variations:

Keen Green: A blend of fresh spinach, pesto and quinoa with artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, avocado and Parmesan cheese for $8.99.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Hybrid: Quinoa with garbanzo beans, red onion, green bell peppers, Kalamata olives, cucumber, tomato and artichoke hearts tossed with Dijon mustard vinaigrette and topped with feta cheese for$7.99.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quinoa (side):  Simply prepared in vegetable broth with a dash of fresh lemon, mint and green onions; single $1.59,small $2.99, medium $4.99 and large $8.99.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The entire lunch was amazing, I kept saying the same thing after the first bite, “This is sooo good!!”  The rest of our table agreed, there wasn’t anything we tried that we didn’t like. Everything was so fresh and tasty. We tasted the new quinoa salads; Keen Green and Healthy Hybrid, Tri Tip (both the Pepper Garlic & BBQ), Fresh Lemon Garlic Salmon, BBQ Chicken, Garlic Bread, followed by their famous homemade Carrot Cake, Fudge Brownie, and Cheese Cake for dessert. The food is primarily served family style as the portions are great for sharing. We had the petite salads, and as you can see, they are definitely big enough to share with others, or enough for you to take an extra meal home with you. The bread sticks were amazingly flavorful and buttery.

As for the meat, I am in love with the Pepper Garlic Tri-Tip with Gorgonzola butter. It was sooo tender, cooked to perfection, melt in your mouth good. The BBQ Tri-Tip was also delicious, but I love pepper garlic and gorgonzola butter!!! The salmon was simply prepared, very flavorful, light and flaky and grilled to perfection. The chicken was also very tender and had a nice Mesquite BBQ flavor to it. Next time, I can’t wait to try their ribs!! I have heard the meat is just fall off the bone delicious. Each item was cooked well, not overdone. All creations were very pleasing to the palate as well as to your wallet as the  food is priced affordably. You get a lot for your money as the portions are very generous. We had plenty of left overs at the end as we all took a box home with us for dinner! The Tri Tip is $13.99, The 1/2 Chicken is $6.99, and the 1/2 pound Salmon is $9.99. My favorites from the afternoon were the Healthy Hybrid, Pepper Garlic Tri-Tip, and the Carrot Cake!

Speaking of Dessert, I hope you left some room for some!!! Here are some pictures of the sugary, sinful delights. As you can see, they are plenty big enough to share with everyone at your table! We had a full size of the Heavenly Cheesecake (ONLY $5.49) and look how HUGE it is!! I only wish we had gotten a full size carrot cake piece too, as we only ordered a 1/2 portion ($3.29) I am usually a cheesecake girl, but the Incredible Carrot Cake is just that, INCREDIBLE!  It won me over. We also had their famous fudge brownie too ($2.79), which I would order again as well. It was very chocolatey, fudgey, and oh so good!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stonefire Grill is truly a restaurant that I will be going to again and again. Perfect to go out to with friends or family or if I’m just tired and had a long day and want take-out. If you live in or are visiting in LA, Orange County, or Valencia, then Stonefire Grill is a must try.

Locations:

Valencia, West Hills, Fountain Valley, Irvine, Chatsworth,
Pasadena, Thousand Oaks

Social Networks:  Blog, Facebook, Twitter

Disclaimer: I was not financially compensated for this post.
The brand/PR representative invited me to taste the new menu. The opinions
expressed in this post are solely mine and I was under no obligation to provide
a positive review. I received permission to post company trademarked logo and
images on my blog.

LA Girl In Minnesota… Guest Post from Jamie–> Minnesota Girl In LA

I had also asked Jamie, over at Minnesota Girl in LA  to write-up a post for me since I am visiting her home state of Minnesota right now! Here is her wonderful post about fun things to do and see if you are ever in the state of 10,000 lakes… Minnesota!! 🙂

Erin asked me to write about my favorite Minnesota places since she’s out visiting there right now.  Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve had to sit down and think about some of my favorite places from the state I grew up in.

I grew up in the Twin Cities area, to be more specific, the southern suburbs.  Think Lakeville, Apple Valley, Eagan, Burnsville area, or south of St. Paul.  
Some of my all-time favorite places in Minnesota were:

  1. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Just being able to walk along these gardens during the winter or even the spring time to see what artists would create, or more so, try to pin point what they were thinking was enjoyable for me.  And of course, the iconic Cherry in the Spoon Picture.

 

 

 

 

 

Cherry and the Spoon

  1. Lake Calhoun

I loved to rollerblade, and often, during the summer I would go to one of the popular Minnesota lakes to rollerblade around.  Lake Calhoun became my favorite the year before I decided to move away, but Lake Nokomis was another favorite of mine.

 

  1. Cosetta’s Italian Deli

I love Italian, and one of my favorite restaurants to visit in Downtown St. Paul was Cosetta’s.  It was a very well-known restaurant and deli, and no matter what time of the day it was there was line for their food.  They also had a shop where you could take home some of your favorites.  

 

  1. My favorite museums included the St. Paul History museum, The Science Museum, and The Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

 

 

  1. Mall of America

The biggest mall in the United States was the Mall of America.  This mall even had an indoor amusement park inside, what isn’t there to love about it?  I use to take the bus after school to just hang out at the mall.  Most likely I was a huge part of the reason why a curfew time of 7pm was given to children under 16 years old of age every Friday and Saturday evening.  

 

  1. St. Anthony Falls

It was just a truly beautiful area along Minneapolis to walk along, and of course see the hydraulic falls in action.

 

  1. Minnehaha Falls and Fort Snelling Area

These places were pretty close to one another although they were usually different visits.  The Minnehaha Falls area is a very beautiful area, and of course I loved driving around the houses in the area because they were a sign of the times, and the houses had a ton of character.  

 

 

 

 

 

Fort Snelling Area

  1. Grand Ave.

This place had some pretty great shops and boutiques to walk through with some great eateries.   You can’t go there without stopping in the Grand Ole Creamery.  Amazing ice cream served up for you.

 

  1. Uptown

Another fun little area with shops and boutiques to walk and browse through.  

   10. The North Shore

During the weekends, if I could, I would love taking the 3 hour drive up north to head to Duluth, MN.  I loved looking out at Lake Superior, and of course driving even further north along the north shore.  This was truly my zen place of Minnesota.  I didn’t get up there often, but anytime I did I was instantly relaxed, and my stress disappeared.  These were just some of my favorite things to do in Minnesota, the place I grew up in.

 

 

 

 

 

North Shore