Happy Leap Day! February 29th, a day that only comes once every four years. It’s like a bonus day. Think about it, a whole extra day out of the year that we don’t always get. Do something special today with this extra time…


Uncle Oscar


The Academy Awards are tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to watching them! Actually, I’m looking forward to watching the pre-show red carpet fashions. Ok, really, I’m looking forward to having an excuse to lie around all day watching TV. I haven’t even seen any of the nominated films. We don’t really go out to the movies that often. I prefer to watch in the comfort of my own home, where I can pause the movie if I have to take  a break, or want a snack or an adult beverage.

Anyhow, when I was younger, I used to love hosting Oscar parties. We’d get dressed up. I’d serve hors d’oeuvres and champagne.  I’d mail out an invitation with a ballot. It would cost like 10 bucks (maybe 20,) and the evening of the Awards, whoever got the most picks correct won the pot. Here’s a link to the official 88th Annual Academy Awards ballot if you want to print some out and play along at home.

And, if you need a tie breaker, or just want to throw out a bit of useless information, I learned something about the statuette, itself. The official name is The Academy Award of Merit, but everyone calls it the Oscar. Even the event is referred to as the Oscars. Well, the story is that, upon seeing the trophy for the first time (back in the late 1920’s or early 30’s,) the Academy Librarian (and eventual Executive Director) commented that it resembled her Uncle Oscar and the nickname just kind of stuck. So, whether you’re a die hard movie fan, or are just in it for the fashion, I hope you enjoy the show! And, the award goes to…



Swap It


One of the best things about living in a town like BS is the sense of community in the neighborhood. I walk down the streets, and people smile and say hello. I feel like it’s a safe place to live, and that people have each other’s backs. Thats’s an important thing, especially when you’re living in an area that is highly populated with apartments, and the buildings are so close together. Can you imagine if you just left a big pile of something out on the sidewalk, and asked people to only take a small selection, using the honor system? It actually happens here in BS.

Riley’s Red Wagon Book Swap does just that every day. It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It’s a red wagon, filled with books that you may take home with you. Take a book, leave a book. Or vice versa. Or take a book and bring it back. Or just leave books; you get where I’m going! It’s located at the corner of Corona Avenue and The Toledo, and is open from about 9:00 until dusk (unless it’s raining.) The wagon is supplied with books from all genres for both children and adults, plus current magazines, and even some DVDs. All of these items have been donated to the wagon by our friends in our community.  For neighbors to share. Such a simple concept. Why does it seem so novel? No pun intended.

So, keep your book collection fresh. Get rid of the ones you have already read. And – with the way this weather has been lately – start thinking about your Summer reading list…



On The Rocks


Hola! It’s National Margarita Day! I had this Jalapeño Margarita overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Pismo Beach a few years ago. I love a simple margarita: some good tequila, a dash of Cointreau, and some fresh lime juice. On the rocks. None of that pre-made mix; too many artificial flavors and sweeteners. Sometimes in the summer, we get fancy and throw it in the blender.

I (obviously) also enjoy a flavored margarita. Here are some great recipes for a few unique margaritas that you might want to try out at home. It’s Monday, but Monday doesn’t seem so harsh when it’s Margarita Monday…


Walk the Walk


Did you know February is Heart Health month? Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. Fortunately, it can be prevented by making healthy choices and maintaining your well-being. Simply eat wisely, get in some activity every day, and manage your stress. You say you don’t have the time/energy/money to do that? Here’s some info. from the American Heart Association that can help you live a longer, heart-healthy life.

There’s a free event tomorrow (Saturday) that aims to bring awareness to heart health while raising funds to benefit organizations in Long Beach. The Red High Heels Walk invites men, women and children to walk a mile in red shoes, and encourages them to carry signs or banners to promote heart health awareness. It’s free, but you have to register. The walk begins at noon, and traverses the sidewalks on 2nd Street in BS. Don’t worry! You don’t have to wear high heels, but they do have to be red.

So, have some fun with your friends and family and make a step in the right direction to keep your ticker going strong…




I gotta’ tell you about this great little restaurant called Panxa Cocina where Mr. and I celebrated Valentine’s Day. We’ve been there before, and it’s always a delightful experience. There’s a small bar on one side, and a smallish restaurant. Since it was a “special” occasion, we chose the restaurant side (for the first time.) We made reservations, because we thought it would be crazy crowded, but there was a a nice vibe going on.

The ambience is kind of a chic-eclectic with reclaimed wood and steel accents, hanging basket pendants, and a steer head skull that greets you at the door. It’s a modern take on Latin food with stiff creative drinks and mouth-watering food. They had a V-Day special, but we chose to order dinner and drinks off of the regular menu. And, they did not disappoint.

It’s located where the old Christy’s (Christy Bono) Restaurant used to be. I’d never been to Christy’s, but TBH, it looked a little stodgy to me. They must have given this place an entire gut job. At this point, you might be thinking, “Wait. That’s Belmont Heights, not BS.” Well, it’s close enough to walk to. And to walk home from after a few of those cocktails…



Love Bug


I (finally!) picked up my car yesterday from the dealership. As I was leaving, the mechanic wished me a Happy Valentine’s Day. Mr. and I were walking home from brunch yesterday, I mentioned this to him, and told him I thought it was kind of odd. I didn’t think people did that. I mean, maybe Merry Christmas or Happy Thanksgiving. But I don’t think I’ve heard Happy President’s Day, or Happy Arbor Day. He assured me, it’s a “thing.”

I thought about it, and I agreed that I might wish a good friend Happy Valentine’s Day, or my brother, for sure. But not, say the neighbor I could see up on his balcony across the street. Yet, as we crossed the street and neared our apartment, Neighbor greeted us with, “Hi! Happy Valentine’s Day!” And I said it right back.

So, however you are spending today – be it with a Valentine, Palentine, Galentine, family, or enjoying a day by yourself – have a Happy Valentine’s Day! And, spread the love…


Suck It Up


I’ve been really stressed the past few days. Crazy at work. Dealing with doctors, mechanics, the IRS, and more. But, I figured it’s been a while, and I should probably write something. I noticed it’s “Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day,” and thought that to be pretty appropriate. (Again, I have no idea who creates these “holidays,” but I just roll with it.)

I think everybody is pretty familiar with this phrase. Don’t waste time worrying over minor errors. Clean up the mess and concentrate on what you can do to make it better. Some of my stresses aren’t that minor, but they’re done and I just need to figure out the best way to handle them.

So – not just for today, but every day – forgive yourself for your past mistakes and look forward to the future. After all, tomorrow is FriYAY…



Monkey Business


Happy New Year! OK, its Chinese New Year or Spring Festival. Traditionally, the festival is a time to honor deities, as well as ancestors. It’s China’s biggest holiday, and it’s largely about family. And seeing red. No, not as in being angry. Red is considered to be a lucky color, and they hang red paper lanterns and cut-outs in their doors and windows. A common practice of the holiday is the giving of red envelopes, which contain cash. It should be an even number of dollars, but never 4, which is considered unlucky. Other activities include lighting firecrackers to frighten away mythical evil characters.

Each Chinese New Year is characterized by one of 12 animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac. The Chinese zodiac is divided into 12 blocks (or houses) just like its western counterpart, but with the major difference being that each house has a time-length of one year instead of one month. This year is the year of the monkey. People born under the monkey are said to be intelligent and clever, but also mischievous. They are skilled and smart, but have shortcomings like a quick temper and a touch of arrogance. If you don’t know your sign, you can look it up here by the year you were born.

The celebrations begin on New Years Eve, and continue on until the Lantern Festival, which is the 15th day of the New Year. There are both many traditions and taboos involved in this celebration, with regional customs varying. Themes such as good fortune, happiness, wealth and longevity are prominent. They say that however your day goes today, will be a sign of things to come for the rest of the year. So, I hope you’re having a fantastic day, and if you aren’t, it’s not too late to turn it around…

Superb Owl


The Super Bowl is today! As excited as I am to watch the big game (and the commercials,) it saddens me a bit. Today is the end of football season. What will I do with my Sundays?! I enjoyed having an excuse to sit on the sofa and watch TV all day. Now, I’m going to have to do something on Sundays…