NYE

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Happy New Year! I know there’s a lot going on around LB tonight, with the big party downtown, fireworks, dinners, house parties, and more. I’m sure there will be lots of adult beverages consumed. Now, I don’t want to get too preachy, but please do not drink and drive, or let anyone drink and drive. And, I have some ways to help you out with that.

Long Beach Transit is offering FREE bus service starting at 5:00, with extended hours. We’re talking like 2 a.m. Uber and Lyft will probably have spiked prices (especially during those premium hours,) so why not go with an old-fashioned taxi? Yellow Cab says that 90% of their drivers are local. You can get a business card from them and call them directly for a faster pick up. Plus, there will be taxi stands located at Ocean and Pine Downtown, and one right here in BS on 2nd Street in front of the Chase Bank.

Get out there and enjoy! Whether it’s the big Party on Pine, or a romantic dinner by the water, I hope your celebration is safe and fun. See you in the New Year…

 

 

All in the Details

auto

I’ve had my car a little over 4 years. It’s been hit twice. In the parking lot of the same grocery store in two different locations. The first time, the guy backed into me and gave me fake information. The second time, I came out of the store and saw that someone had scraped my bumper. No note, of course. Oddly, it was the exact same part of my car that was hit the first time. That happened the day before Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas to me.

The first time, I actually got it repaired by Long Beach Auto Detail. No, it’s not a body shop; it’s exactly what it sounds like. They do interior and exterior detailing, window tinting, and stuff like that. On a whim, I had gone there to see if they could fix it, and I got an estimate. I’m hoping they can repair it again this time. Their service was fantastic, and they did a beautiful job. It’s great because it’s close enough so I can drop off my car and walk home while it’s being repaired. Everyone there is friendly and professional.

I’d recommend them for any of your car, truck, bike, boat detailing even if you haven’t been hit by some jerk who didn’t leave a note

 

R & R

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Whew! Christmas is over, and it sure took a lot out of me. I really don’t know why. I finished my shopping in a timely manner. Sure, I went grocery shopping the day before Christmas Eve (and got a lovely gift from someone who hit my car in the parking lot, and didn’t leave a note.) I had to cook on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It was just for Mr. and myself but, it seemed like kind of a lot.

I was kind of exhausted come Saturday.  I guess maybe because I was off schedule? Whatever it was, I had The. Best. Holiday Weekend. Ever!  I hibernated all weekend. Did not leave the house. Stayed in my jammies, curled up on the couch, and watched cheesy Rom Coms on TV.

The R & R helped. I felt rejuvenated going back to work today. No Monday Blues, or Holiday Hangover. I have a short week again this week. While most people are probably planning their NYE party plans and outfits, I’m planning another weekend of idleness…

 

Silent Night

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It’s Christmas Eve, and I am looking forward to enjoying a quiet holiday at home with Mr.  I remember as a child, we were running and running from one family member’s home to another all day on Christmas Day. But Christmas Eve was always my favorite. We’d have our family dinner with just the 4 of us. Drive around and look at the houses lit in all their splendor. Then, Midnight Mass. We’d come home, and sit by the tree, enjoying homemade chocolate chip cookies and eggnog.

The traditions may have changed, but the feeling is the same. There is a ham roasting in the oven. Warming our tiny apartment and spreading delicious smells throughout. We’ll enjoy a lovely dinner with just the two of us. Some football. And probably Christmas Vacation. The lights are twinkling on our tiny tree. We’ll probably round out the evening listening to some quiet carols, and a glass or three of spiked eggnog.

Whatever your tradition (Chinese food and a movie, anyone?!) I hope your Christmas Eve is peaceful. Or whatever you want it to be…

 

 

Longer

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Today is the first day of winter! The Winter Solstice actually started last night. But I guess you might have figured this out by all of the rain and wind we had today. You know how much I hate that stuff. So why am I excited? Because yesterday was the shortest day of the year. That means the days will be getting longer. More daylight, more sunshine = happy livingthebs…

Chill

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I’m not big on cold weather, it’s one of the reasons I live in SoCal. I had enough wintry exploits (both good and bad) growing up. But I feel like you have to experience Chill at the Queen Mary at least once in your life! For me, the highlight is the Ice Kingdom, an indoor ice sculpture installment. When we went a couple of years ago, the theme was The Nutcracker; this year, it’s Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. A 13,000 square foot winter wonderland filled with expertly carved ice that has been painted and stunningly lit. There’s over two million pounds of ice in there, so yeah, it does get very cold. They have parkas that you can borrow, but we dressed in our own snuggly layers.

They also have Ice Skating and Ice Tubing, Claus Cottage, live entertainment, rides, and much more merriment. Of course there’s food and beverages (including bars!,) and a Vodka Bar with tastings inside the Ice Kingdom. Your Chill ticket also gets you access on the Queen Mary. So when you’re sick of the children you’ve had your fill of coldness, you can wander around the ship.

Chill is open daily through New Year’s weekend, then one more weekend after that. There’s still plenty of time to go. But, I think I’m content sitting on my sofa with my slippers on…

 

The Haps

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Santa is coming next week! There’s still lots of holiday fun going on in and around BS this weekend. The BSBA is hosting events on 2nd Street again starting today (don’t forget about the free parking Saturday and Sunday.) If you want to do something to make you feel good about yourself, Operation Santa Paws is looking for volunteers to help drop off donations to the animal shelters on Saturday. Or, help the environment at the monthly 30-minute Beach Clean Up. The 33rd Annual Parade of 1000 Lights takes place at Shoreline Marina starting at 5:30 on Saturday. The best viewing areas are Shoreline Village, the Queen Mary and Pine Avenue Pier. Take the kids to Who Village in Shoreline for some family fun before the parade. And, if you want to sample some yummy foods, and mingle with entertaining people, visit Brix at The Shore on Sunday for their Customer Appreciation Holiday Party featuring a free buffet from 2:00 – 4:00.

whew! It’s gonna’ be busy here in BS. There are a lot more holiday events going on around Long Beach, but I’ll leave you to Google your own devices on those…

Santa Paws

dog

I’m pretty sure most of you are animal lovers, like me. During the holiday season, extra help is needed for animals in the shelters. Operation Santa Paws collects supplies for shelters and rescues in need. They are accepting donations for abused and neglected animals. Donations are being taken through December 18th. You can give gift cards, toys, treats, towels, leashes, etc. Or, cold hard cash. I know, this can be a tough time of the year, financially. They also need volunteers this Saturday, December 19th to help deliver the donations.

So, while you’re out doing your Christmas shopping, pick up a little something special for a fluffy friend, who will hopefully receive a forever home soon…

Baked Rigatoni

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Mr. and I usually try to eat relatively healthy. But, sometimes, you just need some good, old fashioned, meaty, saucey, cheesey goodness. Especially on a chilly, rainy Sunday night.

I posted this picture on my personal FB page (yeah, I’m one of those people,) and my friends asked for the recipe. So, I thought I would share it with you, too. I don’t write recipes, so I’m just going to tell you what I did:

Season 1 lb. ground beef and 1 lb. ground hot sausage with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and a little black pepper. Brown in a skillet. Drain.

Spread a small amount of marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking pan.

Pour the rest of the sauce (from a 24 oz. jar) into the skillet, and add a can of diced tomatoes (including their juice.) Add dried oregano, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper. Add the meat back to that pan. None of this gets cooked.

Cook 16 oz. rigatoni until al dente (I did about 3-4 minutes less than the directions on the box.) Drain.

Beat two eggs in a large bowl. Add 15oz. ricotta cheese, 2 C. shredded mozzarella, 1/2 C. shredded parmesan, and dried parsley. Stir until well combined. Add in the pasta and combine. Then add in the meat/sauce mixture and combine.

Pour it all into the baking dish, and top with some more shredded mozzarella (I told you this was not healthy!) Bake uncovered in a pre-heated 350 oven for about 30 minutes (longer, if you need to get the cheese browned.) Let rest about 5 minutes before digging into it.

And, in full disclosure, I got my idea from this recipe.

Comfort food, for sure. I hope you like it…