Rock On

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We live in a fantastic community. But, I think sometimes, we can forget how wonderful it is, or how special we – as individuals who make up the greater whole – are. Or maybe, we just go about our everyday business not expecting anything exceptional to happen. But what if that were different? What if you were having a bad day, and stumbled across a token in the grocery store parking lot that made you smile? What if you were out at the park, and found a trinket that reminded you just how beautiful Long Beach is? Groups are forming across the US to be able to inspire other people with something simple: rocks.  Justin Rudd, the founder of the Community Action Team (and general Mr. Long Beach,) created the Long Beach Rocks Facebook Page so people can connect and get inspired. What can you do to be a part of this motion? It’s simple; paint rocks with fun or inspiring images or sayings, and leave them around town for others to find. If you find one, take a photo of yourself with it and share it on that page’s wall. Visit the page to find tips and inspo. Get your children involved, or school or church or work friends. Better yet, have a rock-painting-wine-tasting party! Have fun with it and take pride in knowing #LongBeachRocks…

 

Hoppiness Is

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Hoppiness is an IPA. Happy IPA Day! There’s nothing quite like that hoppy, citrus-ey bite you get from IPAs; by far, these are my beer of choice. Some great establishments in BS serve an assortment of them. You can sit on the 2nd floor balcony of Murphy’s and enjoy a bottle. Or, head over to Rance’s where they have like 30 beers on tap; and, I think Simmzy’s has even more. One of my go-to places on 2nd Street is Tavern on 2. While their draught selection may be smaller, they do have an extensive bottle collection, and they always have one of my favorites (Ballast Point Sculpin) on tap. Now, I could get into the origins of IPAs; how they were created for British sailors making the long voyage to India. We could have a discussion about the complex flavors of IPAs; what “hoppiness” means, why people like “bitter” beers. Or, I could just tell you to get out there and have a few…

 

 

 

 

 

Rajun Cajun!

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Ooooh-wee! Long Beach is about to get down with some Cajun partying this weekend! The Long Beach Crawfish Festival begins this evening, and runs through Sunday. This is one of my favorite events in LB (even though it’s not in BS.) Literally tons of crawfish are brought in, along with many other delicious New Orleans-inspired delicacies. Here’s a hint: if two of you are going, get only one of the crawfish feasts and split it, so you can sample all of the other tasty treats! But the food and booze aren’t the only reasons this is so fun, it’s the music! When you hear that Zydeco beat, there is no way you’ll stay off of the dance floor. You can’t help but smile when the parade of traditionally-costumed characters snakes its way through the crowds: umbrellas twirling, beads swinging, trombones, trumpets, and tubas joyfully proclaiming “let the good times roll!” Don’t worry, it’s not adults-only. This is a family-friendly event with a kids zone, and kids activities. So, the whole family can come and enjoy the festivities. Now, where did I put my stretchy pants…?

 

Juicy Couture

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Y’all know how much I love Summer: beach days, free festivals, late evening sunsets. But one of the best things about Summer is the produce. Being in SoCal, we can pretty much get “Summer” produce all year long. But you can definitely taste the difference in the Summer months. Watermelon is juicer, berries are sweeter, tomatoes are more luscious. I could just eat a big bowl of berries for breakfast; no yogurt, no whipped cream, just berries. Or tomatoes. Just slice one up, and sprinkle with a little salt & pepper. Makes the best lunch. Sometimes, I like to get fancy and throw on a blob of burrata, some fresh torn basil, and chili flakes. My favorite place to get my fruits and veggies are farmers markets.  We are so fortunate that we have so many to chose from. There are multiple farmers markets throughout Long Beach 6 days of the week! My favorite one is the Long Beach Southeast Farmers Market on Sundays from 9-2. That’s the official name. I just call it the Farmers Market by The Marina. IDK why it’s my favorite. It’s smaller. It’s larger. It’s more organized. I think really it’s just because it’s on the water. Now, please excuse me while I go scarf down slice up a tomato…

 

 

 

Spiked

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Probably the first thing people think about when they think of California is surfing. As we all know, Long Beach doesn’t have the best surfing. OK, we have no surfing. But we do have beach volleyball! (Did you know that SoCal is the birthplace of beach volleyball?!) And we are lucky enough once again to be hosting the World Series of Beach Volleyball this weekend (starting tomorrow.) No, it’s not happening in BS, but just hop on your bike and ride down the beach bike path, and you’re there! Top beach volleyball players from all over the world compete for huge prize money in an FIVB Grand Slam event.  This year’s event will showcase the best athletes in the world in an exciting new USA vs. The World style format. The tournament will feature top USA and International Olympic athletes competing head to head. Fans are invited to come out and watch, as well as compete in open 4s and 6s tournaments. The WSOBV also features live performances by amazing bands throughout the week as well as food & drink, celebrity appearances, shopping and more. Whether you want to compete, or just watch, it’s a great excuse to hang out at the beach. Like you need an excuse…

 

 

 

 

Big Bang

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The beaches have been crowded since 8 am. There hasn’t been parking all weekend. People on bikes with American flags trailing behind them are everywhere. Revelers are wandering the streets in red-white-and-blue romp-hims (yes, I seriously saw a guy walking down the street in one.) The smell of lighter fluid, charcoal, burgers, and who knows what else is wafting through the air. The music from outdoor radios is creating some unique rhythmic smash-ups. And for the past few evenings, the bangs of fireworks have been reverberating off of the buildings. Happy Independence Day, everyone! Whether you are celebrating with a gang of people at a picnic, hanging at the beach, or laying low with your loved one(s,) I hope you are enjoying your day…

 

 

 

Aaargh!

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I logged onto Facebook today, and  – as always – it reminded me of my memories “on this day.” Lots of photos of the Pirate Invasion of Belmont Pier were popping up. I thought to myself, “oh. I wonder if the Pirate Invasion is this weekend?” It is. It’s this Saturday and Sunday. But, it’s not at Belmont Pier! IDK if it’s because of the structural issues the Pier is still having from those storms back in February, or if there is another reason, but I’m kinda’ bummed. It’s going to be at ShoreLine Aquatic Park (on the island where the lighthouse is in Shoreline Village.) I’m sure it will still be fun. Live music, yummy food, sword fights, pirates, mermaids; you can check out the full schedule and map here. But there is just something to be said about being able to stumble walk right home after enjoying some tasty rum drinks overlooking the water…

 

 

 

Summer Lovin’

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I don’t mean to sound old, but where is the time going?! The other day, Mr. and I were talking about Independence Day. I was like, “Psssht! That’s next month. We’ll figure something out later.” ummm, it’s in two weeks, dummy! July 4th. That’s like the middle of summer already! I guess technically, summer doesn’t start until tomorrow (Tuesday) night. Really, it starts on June 21st at 12:24 am. But because of the time difference, it’s the 20th at 9:24 pm for PST. There. Have I thoroughly confused you? It doesn’t matter. All you need to know is that it’s time to mark your calendar for fun, free outdoor events, and say hello to sunny skies (goodbye June Gloom,!) and longer days.

PS: Can we talk about the movie Grease? I loved that movie growing up. After seeing it a hundred times, I recall The Girls and I sitting around, listening to the double-album on our turntables. We knew every word to every song. Yes. Records, people. And if that doesn’t make me sound old enough, I just Googled that Grease was released in June, 1978. That means it was released almost 40 years ago. I don’t mean to sound old, but…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cinema Paradiso

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Y’all know I love to hang out on the beach. Whether it’s walking along the shore, riding on the bike path, playing lawn darts in the sand, or just chilling in my beach chair. But, I like to hang out on the beach in the evening, sometimes, too. And that’s where Moonlight Movies on The Beach comes in! It kicks off this Thursday on Granada Beach with the action-packed Rogue One Star Wars. Movies are FREE and there is plenty of free parking. What more could you ask for on a lovely summer night than cozying up to a great movie?! Maybe a little picnic dinner on the sand. Smuggle in some adult beverages (you didn’t hear that from me!) Or, keep it simple and pick up something from the snack booth there. So get your sweetie, gather up your family, or round up some friends, as they have another great line-up this year! BYOC (chair) and get there early if you want a good spot…

 

 

 

 

Good Will Hunting

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I know it’s only Thursday, but I have plans for you for the weekend already! This Saturday, City Grace is coming to BS! What’s City Grace? Think The Amazing Race, but local, and for charity. It’s a scavenger hunt kind of event that starts at the Belmont Pier, and it will take you all over Long Beach, but you’ll have to get clues to find out where you’ll be going. You get your clues by completing challenges. Here’s the cool part: each challenge requires you (and your team) to complete a task that provides direct benefit to our community. Think helping out in a food kitchen, picking up trash from the beach, or even assisting in a community garden. City Grace is founded on the simple premise that having fun and doing good are not mutually exclusive, but best achieved when performed together. What better way to spend a Saturday than enjoying the outdoors, getting in some exercise, having fun and benefitting our community?! Heck, you might even learn a little something about our city or yourself…