Freebie!

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Tomorrow is the last day of the year! How are you planning to ring in the New Year? A quiet dinner on 2nd Street? Joining the party Downtown? Maybe getting fancy on the Queen Mary? Whatever you do, I’m sure there are going to be plenty of adult beverages. I’m not going to lecture you on drinking and driving. Just don’t do it. Über, Lyft and taxis can get expensive, especially during those “prime” times. Ugh, and parking! Guess what? You can be responsible without spending a penny. LB Transit is offering FREE service tomorrow starting at 5:00 pm, with extended service through 2:30 am!  So you can have that extra glass of champagne or three. You’re welcome. Now, let’s see what 2017 will bring us…

 

 

Farewell

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It’s difficult to write about someone you don’t know, have never even met. But I have given a lot of thought to this post, and I felt I needed to mention the passing of a community member. Fred Khammar was Long Beach’s beach concessionaire and event promoter for more than two decades, founding Alfredo’s Beach Club. He had great plans to make our beachfront more active, bringing in visitors from outside of Long Beach. He hosted free events on the beach such as the Pirate Invasion, Moonlight Movies on the Beach, The Tiki Festival, The Long Beach Love Festival, just to name a few. Fun, family-friendly occasions that welcomed in all ages, races, religions, nationalities, and more. So if you, like me, have never met him, I’m sure he has touched your life if you have ever attended one of these festivities. And I’m sure his legacy will live on through them…

 

 

Happy Solstice!

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“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that in me, there lay an invincible summer.” ~Albert Camus

OK, that may be a little dramatic. IDK that we get the “depth” of winter here in SoCal. But you get the idea. I know we could have it much worse. I’ve been there. I’ll be the first to admit it: we are very lucky. It’s not the cold, though. It’s the dark. So, why am I excited that today is the first day of winter? It’s the shortest day of the year! That means the days start getting longer. No more getting into my jammies and hibernating at 5:00. No more going out to dinner and thinking we need to rush home because it’s almost bedtime (when really it’s only 8:00.) No more sealing up the apartment by closing the curtains and doors because it’s “so dark and cold out.” I revel in the sunlight, and I miss it during these months. One thing I’m certain of, though, is that Mother Nature makes up for the coldness and darkness of winter with her beautiful sunsets. I feel like these are the most dramatic skies. And although they are quite stunning, I’ll take sunshine at 8:00 pm any day…

 

 

 

Don’t Panic

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So, Christmas is next week. Everyone is hustling and bustling, getting last minute gifts, shipping packages, mailing cards, planning menus. But not you. You’re all squared away, right?! Or did you forget that you are hosting your friends for Christmas Eve? Or maybe that you promised your sister you’d bring an appetizer for Christmas Day? Never fear, cheese is here! IDK if you know about my passion for cheese, but I love cheese, even more so than beer (shocking, right?) Well, remember I told you about the best little cheese shop in BS? They have platters and gift baskets!

You can go by the shop and pick out all of your favorites, or just give them your budget and they will select a collection for you. They will assemble a decorated platter with cheese, cheese labels, fruits, charcuterie, and other assorted accroutrements. If you’re a procrastinator like me, you can place your order as late as December 23rd, and pick it up on Christmas Eve (they are open until 2:30.) hmmm, I think Mr. and I just might enjoy sitting by the tree on Christmas Eve with a bottle of champagne and a lovely array of cheeses. The best part is that, you can present this to your guests or give as a gift while Cheese Addiction does all of the work, and you get all of the credit…

 

 

 

 

 

Nostalgia

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I have this “hobby” of looking through food blogs and saving (I’m not a Pinner) recipes that I might make in the future. Most of them are savory, as you know I’m not that great of a baker. I’m not really “bad” per se;  I just don’t have the patience. Baking is too scientific for me. My mom, on the other hand, was a great baker. I remember as a child, around Christmastime, she would make dozens of cookies. 5-6 different varieties. There would always be a plate at the ready in case visitors dropped by, or my parents hosted a dinner party, or needed a quick gift. Lately, I have been seeing lots of recipes for baked goods, and it got me reminiscing to one of the kinds of cookies that she would only make at Christmas. They were these little buttery sandwich cookies. The outsides of the cookies were dipped in sugar. It gave them a crunchy texture and reminded me of the shimmer of new-fallen snow. They ensconced a luscious buttercream filling (always pink and green.)

I was scrolling through some recipes the other day and – lo and behold! – this recipe appeared. I knew immediately that these were the cookies. Now, no offense to the author of that post or her Granny, but I know for sure we never called these “Grease Cookies.” Upon further Googling, I found the more common name for these is either Cream Wafers or Swedish Cream Wafers. The memories of sitting in the kitchen with my mom watching her bake flooded in. I saved the recipe (ya’ never know) and then sent it to my brother. His simple response said it all, “I love these.” I just thought I’d share this recipe with you, in case it reminds you of a special moment in your childhood. Or, maybe you want to create your own Christmas tradition…

 

 

 

Done!

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Guys, I can’t believe this! My Christmas shopping is done. Done.  How did that happen?! I know exactly how it did not happen. I did not go to big box stores. I did not drag myself to the mall, drive around looking for parking, and battle hoards of people. Instead, I walked to 2nd Street. I wandered around and browsed charming boutique stores. I found unique, special gifts for my loved ones. I had lunch, some adult beverages, and actually enjoyed myself. Sounds good, right?

So, head out to BS this weekend to check out all of this holiday fun. First of all, there will be FREE 2-hour parking at the meters. There will be carolers strolling to add to the festive feeling, along with other live music. Oh yeah, The Big Guy will be there too! So while you are enjoying food, brews, and shopping, you might even get a chance to ask him for a little something special for yourself…

 

 

Nix It!

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Around 97 years ago (give or take,) someone decided that it would be a good idea to prohibit the consumption of alcohol. There were dark times in the US, and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union believed alcohol was the cause of many, if not all, social problems. So, on January 16th, 1919, Congress passed the 18th Amendment, outlawing alcohol and hopefully putting an end to drunkenness, crime, mental illness, and poverty. HA! It kind of backfired on them. Organized crime rose up to replace formerly legal methods of production and distribution. Respect for the law diminished, and drunkenness, crime and resentment towards the federal government ran rampant. You always want what you can’t have, right?!

So, 13 years later, the government finally figured their shit out, and on December 5th, 1933, Prohibition was repealed and the American right to a celebratory drink was restored. It’s a great day to commemorate, and it’s easy to celebrate. Head over to your favorite bar, tavern, saloon, gastropub or brew house for an adult beverage or three.  Swing by on your way home from work and pick up a 6-pack or a bottle of wine to share with your loved one. Buy a shot for a stranger. Don’t just do it because you can. Do it because it is your constitutional right…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Candy Land

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Christmas is in the air in BS. And, kicking off the holiday season is the 34th annual Belmont Shore Christmas Parade! The fun takes place tomorrow (Saturday) at 6 p.m. on 2nd Street. This year’s theme is A Candy Land Christmas. There will be plenty of festive floats and displays, but my favorite is always the marching bands. Here’s the thing: side streets in BS will be closed starting at 4:00 p.m. and 2nd Street will also be closed in both directions for the parade. The bus schedule will be limited too. So, you probably want to walk or bike over. If you must drive, free parking is available at the Marine Stadium parking lot and the Ocean Avenue beach lots from 3:00 p.m. to midnight. And another thing: get there early. Guys, this event draws like 30,000 people. It gets pretty crazy. But you don’t want to miss out on your chance of seeing the Big Guy. There’s still time to get on his Nice list…