Saturday, June 18, 2011

Make Music Festival in Pasadena was a Hit

You could not have driven anywhere around the heart of Pasadena without hearing the sounds of music in the air. The Make Music Pasadena festival took place today, welcoming thousands of music fans, and about 100 musicians and bands on stages throughout the city. My family and I visited 4 of the stages and had a great time. We began the day at the Paseo Colorado stage where I'll admit the music was hit or miss for my taste, however, my four-year-old definitely thought differently because he danced the entire time we were there. We then crossed the street to the Pasadena Convention & Visitor's Center stage where we had a great time listening to the sounds of Dj Edwin Carrillo and Funkygraffish. Who doesn't love a DJ playing fun dance beats?

The shows here ended at 3, just a little after we arrived, so we traveled down Colorado Boulevard to Vroman's Bookstore. The stage was just outside the bookstore in the little courtyard between the movie theater and the store. We got there just in time to see Independent Music Award Nominee, Jamila Ford, who I had read about but had never heard before. She was amazing. Jazzy, but modern with a voice that could break hearts yet soothe at the same time. Just a wonderful surprise.

After purchasing way too many books (is there such a thing) for our son, we walked across the street to the Luckman World Stage, which was sponsored by the Luckman Fine Arts Center from California State University, Los Angeles. If you are not familiar with the Luckman Fine Arts Center, you are missing out. In fact, check out their 2011-2012 season. Upcoming artists include India.Arie, Jane Birkin, Simon Bolivar Brass Ensemble, Nikka Costa, Anoushka Shankar and Aaron Neville, to name a few. This was how we would end our day - and boy did we go out with a bang. Remember the Luckman name next year because each performer was truly unique and outstanding. Unique sounds, amazing voices, lots of energy and the widest range of talent that only a festival like this could bring together on one stage. The biggest highlight of the day was Ben L'Oncle Soul, a French performer who sang some songs in his native French and some in English. Part John Legend, part Stevie Wonder, the music was like something from the past, but with a fun, party atmosphere that was perfect for today. In just minutes, we went from a medium sized group to a packed street, full of people dancing and clapping. Needless to say, his CD's sold out in minutes. (We'll be downloading off iTunes tonight).

We started our day at noon and kept going until 6 p.m. With five hours to go, I'm sure we'll miss out on some truly amazing performances, but we had a great time today and can't wait until next year!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Land's End Polo Shirt Giveaway!

I am a very predictable dad when it comes to my wardrobe. I am usually looking for something quick and easy to wear that looks good. My regular wardrobe consists of Lacoste and Polo shirts of all different colors. I am happy to say that I have recently tried the Land's End Polo and it is fantastic! It is a very comfortable Polo that breathes. I like the fact that I can dress up with some Khaki pants and a Polo if we need to go to dinner. Or, I can just wear a Polo with some shorts and flip flops and be ready for a regular weekend day of activity.

Land's End has made "great mesh better" with this line. Features include:
-New "no curl" collar
-Softer, heftier fabric
-Resists shrinking, wrinkling, fading and pilling
-Smooth covered neck seam
-Banded short sleeves
The fabric is thicker and tighter, but softer. The collar won't curl, which is great becuase you can throw it in the dryer without worrying about having to iron it when it comes out. The Land's End folks have also created buttons that are nearly indestructible and stay on through lots of pulling by four-year-olds like mine. And the best news for a busy dad, the mesh resists fading, pilling, shrinkage and wrinkles. The Land's End Polo is a great gift for any occasion, but a great gift for Father's Day, so I am holding a giveaway for one of the Polo mesh shirts. In order to win one, please visit the Land's End site and come back and make a comment on my site about what you like about the shirts.

One winner who makes a comment will be chosen at random to win one of the shirts. The great thing is that if you don't win, the price is right around $20 and very affordable! Must follow my site to win. Please leave a comment and be sure to leave your email address and size of shirt!

Deadline for submissions, is Thursday, June 23rd.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Dad Central Consulting on behalf of Land's End and received a Polo shirt to facilitate my review, one to giveaway, and a promotional item to thank me for my time to participate.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Serious Music Festival Takes Over Pasadena This Weekend Stages and Bands All Over Town

It's that time of year again. Time for Southern California's largest free music festival, Make Music Pasadena. The festival features more than 100 musical acts who perform on four main stages and nearly ten different stages throughout the city of Pasadena. Bands range from local favorites like Autolux, to Jazz star Jamila Ford, Mexican Singer-Songwriter Carla Morrison, KCRW DJ's Garth Trinidad and Jason Bentley and yes, even the Los Angeles Children's Choir. How is that for range?

If it's World Music you like head to the World Music Stage on El Molino, for Indie Rock head to 1 Colorado, for Affro Beat and Reggae head to the Levitt Pavilion, for Jazz head to Vroman's, for classical music head to City Hall - and believe it or not, that is only half of it so log on for a complete schedule and list of venues. Make Music Pasadena runs Saturday, June 18, from 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.

Kids Bowl Free all summer long

Wanted to flag a great opportunity for parents and kids...throughout the summer, most of the nation's bowling alley's are allowing kids to bowl two games for free before 5 p.m. You can either call your local bowling alley and ask about the program or log on to The program is actually a part of the President's Fitness Challenge, too, so get your kids moving, even if it's indoors to beat the heat! In Pasadena I can tell you 500 participates!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Pasadena Unified Hosts Free Battle of the Bands Tomorrow

Levitt Pavilion is hosting the first ever Battle of the Bands featuring student bands from local Pasadena Unified Schools. The event runs from 2-6 p.m. and will culminate with an exclusive prize for the winning school and of course, the right to say you band is the best school band in Pasadena. For details check out Levitt Pavilion.

Pasadena Celebrates 125 Years with Huge Party

My family loves Pasadena. We have access to a great big city like Los Angeles, but are nestled in this gorgeous, family friendly small town that we call home. What makes Pasadena great, aside form it's cultural institutions, world-renown universities, restaurants, and oh I could go on forever, is the community. Almost every week, the Pasadena museums, fire stations, police stations, you name it, have open houses for family and friends. This is a community that truly celebrates community. So today, it was the community that celebrated Pasadena's 125th birthday.

The event took place at the Pasadena Museum of History and featured activities for everyone up to 100 - especially centenarians, who were honored at the event. We parked in the Parsons parking lot and easily took the Arts Shuttle to the museum. Upon arrival, and the huge Happy Birthday Pasadena balloons, we were greeted by old fashioned fire trucks, a Wells Fargo Stage Coach and historical cars. We then moved to the vast children's area where kids designed hats for the "royal" occasion. The children's section included a police booth where fingerprinting was available, as well as lemonade and hot dogs, grilled by local Pasadena fire fighters, were available for a kid-friendly price. The area also featured a children's theater with regularly schedules performances, and a mini chalk festival. The artist, Jessica Edelstein, barely just spent two hours on her recreation of the famous Colorado bridge. (For those interested, she'll be at the Chalk Festival next week at Paseo Colorado). We then visited a Baskin-Robbins booth where we learned that the oldest Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop - opened since 1946 - is in Pasadena right on 561 S. Lake Avenue. It was the second Baskin-Robbins to ever open and remains open serving delicious ice cream to this day!

The actual celebration was presided over by Mayor Bogaard and the celebration began with Jazz musicians, who were eventually joined by trumpeters from the Pasadena Community College band, several members of the Rose Court and an amazing cake designed and created by student chefs from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Pasadena. I was told they spent nearly three weeks building the cake, which contained recreations of famous Pasadena landmarks like the Rose Bowl, the Colorado Bridge and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. They also made 15 additional sheet cakes, enough for everyone in attendance - well over 1,000 - to have a piece. The cakes were delicious. If you haven't had dinner at the local Le Cordon Bleu restaurant, you are missing out.

We finished the night eating dinner at one of the many food trucks on site, then headed out where we signed a huge birthday card. My son, who just learned to write his name a few months ago in preschool, happily signed his name. To make it an even more exciting moment, we were told that the historical society is trying to get the card framed and posted permanently in City Hall. We could not get over how exciting it would be to have our son be a part of the city's official commemoration and history! We ended the day back on the Pasadena Arts bus to our car and felt so content with the place we have chosen to call our home.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sony 3D monitor - no longer split screen gaming

AT E3, Sony introduced a new 3D monitor that will allow competitive players the ability to play against someone else and yet have the whole screen to themselves. So, let's say you are playing a tennis match with your brother. You are player A and he is player B. Before you'd have a split screen on one monitor. You'd see player A's game on the left side of the screen and player B's game on the right side of the screen. Well, no more split screen. Now it's just one monitor. Player A puts on his or her glasses, player B puts on his or her glasses and looks at the screen where they will each see their own game filling the monitor - and in 3D. The monitor will be available later this year in a bundle - for $499 you get the 24 inch 3d monitor, two 3D glasses and a copy of the new video game Uncharted 3.

The Help is produced by Nate Berkus??

Hi everyone, I have taken over my husband's blog because I know most of you are family or friends. I loved the book The Help, and am so excited for the movie, which is coming out in August. Well, since I know many of you probably read this book, I thought I'd share this tidbit - Nate Berkus, as in design guru/Oprah friend - executive produced the movie. I found this so surprising. Who knew he did this sort of thing?

Cool Cake Pops and Delicious Food at Olive & Thyme

Cupcakes were cool a year ago, now cake pops are all the rage. Check out this one I got today for my son at Olive & Thyme. I don't know how the cake doesn't fall off the stick, but my son enjoyed it without having it fall on the floor. Speaking of Olive & Thyme....i went there for a lunch meeting in Burbank. It's incredible how much that area has changed and Olive &Thyme is leading the charge. It's this sophisticated, family owned restaurant and market that is the size of a small cafe that is reminiscent of a Santa Monica eatery, mixed in with a hip New York cafe with all the extras - oils, cookies, etc. The place was full of Burbank entertainment folks adding to the trendy atmosphere. The servers could be pretentious given the scene, but they were so nice - greeting everyone, attending to each of their guests. It was a very pleasant place with the understanding of the quick-in-and-out lunch crowd. I had a cobb salad - i never turn down items with bacon - and my colleague had a pulled pork sandwich. Both looked delicious. I wished I had ordered the pulled pork as soon as it arrived. it was stacked with meat on a delicious thick, barbecued bread. I'm going to have to find a reason to go back for the sandwich! In fact,

I can actually say that if I'm ever in the area, Olive & Thyme would be my place of choice.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pasadena's Turning 125 Years Old This Weekend

Hi everyone,

The city we live in and love with all our hearts is turning 125 years old!! On Saturday, June 11, from noon to 7 p.m. the Pasadena Museum of History will be hosting a celebration! There will be birthday cake with the Mayor, nonstop music and entertainment, children's activities, Pasadena's untold stories from local centenarians, fire trucks and more. There will even be food from local restaurants and signature drinks - hmm, think there will be an Old Town? A Pasadenan? An Arroyo Seco? You don't want to miss out! We'll be there for sure!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sony Playstation Unveils PS Vita at E3

Tonight kicks off the Oscars of the video game industry, E3, the Electonic Entertainment Expo. I was fortunate to attend the Sony Playstation Press Conference where they unveiled their latest games and gaming products. The show included an appearance by L.A. Laker Kobe Bryant who was on-hand to demonstrate the new motion sensor product while playing himself in the new 2K NBA basketball game. The star of the show was the brand's next generation portable device called PlayStation Vita which will go on sale this holiday season at $249 with Wi Fi or $299 for 3G Wifi. This device is amazing - touch screen playing, rear touch pad, front and rear cameras and analog mini "joysticks."

Now, I like games, but since having my son, we haven't had time to play anything. And, although I like graphics and design, I do not prefer shooter games since having my child. However, what makes this conference so amazing is the glimpse it provides into next generation technology. For example, more than two-thirds of the new video games were presented in 3D. Sony even launched a new 3D display at the press event. They also talked about how easily you can move from your PS Vita portable to your Play Station console, literally showing game continuation that was as simple as turning on a TV screen. The future of the well-connected home is here, and as usual, the gaming world is leading the charge.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Pasadena Police Provide Quite a Show

When I heard there would be an open house at the Pasadena Police Heliport, I assumed it would be like any other affair. Parked police cars, a helicopter, etc. Boy was I wrong. The Pasadena Police Airborne unit put on quite a show - in fact, it was an experience. Sure they had about % helicopters parked for viewing, but they also had police cars, police motorcycles, swat mobiles and their K9 unit. They also were barbecuing hot dogs free to the public. But the really amazing part of the day was the dramatized swat team reenactment. Two cop cars and a swat team of about 12 reenacted a typical felony traffic stop. Yes, the reenactment included the swat team telling two men in a car in front of them to put their hands out the window and give up. They, of course did not, so the swat team through a fake bomb-type thing. The driver of the car emerged from the car, but began to shoot back (fake bullets that appeared to be nerf-like). The swat team fired a few as well, then took the man into custody. At that time a helicopter pulled into the field and out popped the k9 unit! The dog ran behind the police cars and arrived just in time! The second criminal opened the car door and tried to run, but the police k9 unit caught him and brought him down. It was the most exciting reenactment I've ever seen and the most fascinating police open house that I've ever been to. What an amazing day. Pasadena Police, sign me up for more open houses in the future!

I miss the old El Cholo

My family's favorite Pasadena restaurant, El Cholo, moved from it's old location on Raymond to the El Paseo shopping center and I'm afraid that something was lost in the move - the chef. My family loves El Cholo, but we've been to the new restaurant and the food is just not the same. The guacamole and margaritas are still delicious as are their basic combos - the one taco, one enchilada types. But my wife loves their enchilada suizas. She's tried it twice in the new place and found the chicken is rubbery and the sauce resembles something closer to a frozen alfredo sauce you buy in the grocery store - not the creamy flavorful sauce of the past. This is just one example. I've tried other plates like carnitas and they don't taste the same either - as if they are using less quality meats. We're not sure what happened, but we're hoping they'll find their way back to the deliciousness of before!!

Lots of Fun to be had in Pasadena this weekend!

Hi everyone,

Wanted to hop online to share a couple cool things that are happening in Pasadena today and this week:

The 102nd Annual Dog Show sponsored by the Kennel Club of Pasadena, Sunday, June 5, 2010, at Brookside Park in Pasadena. There are 150 different breeds competing including several new breeds approved for admission to AKC this year. Take little ones and pet lovers - they'll love it!

Saturday, June 4 - the Pasadena Police Air Operations division are having an open house from 11-2. Complete with snacks and helicopters, SWAT and k9 demonstrations! Location is at the Benedict Heliport - 2175 Yucca Lane, Altadena 91001. Call 626-744-4606 with questions.

Okay, so after all of that activity, I bet you'll be hungry! Well, this week Old Pasadena is celebrating Old Pasadena Restaurant Week. More than 20 of Old Pasadena's finest restaurants have joined together to offer you several delicious options for three-course lunch and dinner menus at one great fixed price and the good news is that 10% of event proceeds will benefit Union Station Homeless Services, celebrating 37 years of helping those in need. Click here for information on participating restaurants - I bet your favorite is included.

Have a great weekend!