Thursday, January 22, 2015

Top 5 Cocktails Named After Celebrities

We've all heard of the Shirley Temple, Roy Rogers and Arnold Palmer (I'm a HUGE fan of the first two!), but what about when the grown-ups wanna get their drink on? Here's a list of the Top 5 Cocktails Named After Celebrities:

5. The Meryl Streep.

This true talent has taken home Oscar gold 3 times and is nominated this year for "Into the Woods", her 19th nomination!!! So, it only makes sense that the cocktail bearing her name contains flakes of gold and classy Champagne for the class act that she is. Cheers!

From Gourmet.com -

1 tsp. Goldschl├Ąger, including some gold flecks
1 tsp. Benedictine
Well-chilled demi-sec Champagne or Prosecco

Combine Goldschl├Ąger and Benedictine in a Champagne flute, then top off with Champagne.

4. The Mary Pickford.

This silent film star has been called Hollywood's first female movie mogul. She won an Oscar in 1930 for her leading role in "Coquette", but perhaps even more impressive is that she was one of the 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. You may have heard of the 18 acre Pickfair estate in Beverly Hills (now demolished) - it's named after Pickford and her husband in the 20s and 30s, actor Douglas Fairbanks.

From Liquor.com -

1.5 oz. White rum
1.5 oz. Pineapple juice
1 tsp. Grenadine
6 drops Maraschino liqueur

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

3. The David Bowie.

From "Changes", "Young Americans" and "Suffragette City" to "Let's Dance", "Modern Love" and "China Girl", I loooooooove David Bowie! But will The David Bowie drink concocted by Ziggy Stardust himself be something to sing about? I'm not too sure, but try it!

From Cocktails.about.com -

2 1/2 oz. New Deal Mud Puddle chocolate liquor
1/2 oz. Bourbon (choose a sweeter bourbon like Four Roses)
Orange wedge (some websites show it as lemon instead), for garnish

In an old fashioned glass, pour first two ingredients.
Add ice, stir. Garnish with orange wedge and serve.

2. The Mel Gibson: A Bipolar Cocktail.

This Oscar winner, who wrote, produced and directed the epic, "Braveheart", used to be a mega superstar. He was funny, charming, sexy, talented, a great interview on late night talk shows... and then one day back in 2006, people started to see him in a totally different light. That's when he got arrested in Malibu for driving under the influence. He called the female officer some unbelievable things... and it was all down hill from there. Soonafter, a New York City bar came up with a drink to "honor" his unsavory behavior. Drink up!

From People.com -

1 oz. Van Gogh Vodka
1 oz. Bols V.O. Genever Gin
¾ oz. vermouth
3 oz. club soda
Splash of cocktail onion juice

1. The Murricane.

Hurricane cocktails fill the streets of New Orleans, but this is The Murricane, named after funnyman Bill Murray. Dan Aykroyd apparently gave him this nickname due to his mood swings, but the drink didn't start out with this name. It used to be called "Love and Trust", but Murray ordered the drink so often at one his New York haunts that the bartenders at The Anchor agreed to officially change the name in his honor. Down the hatch!

From Dujour.com -

4 or 5 basil leaves
1 nice-sized chunk of fresh watermelon
1.5 oz. Bulliet bourbon
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz. St. Germain elderflower liqueur
Freshly ground black pepper and watermelon wedge, for garnish

Combine the watermelon and basil leaves in a mixing glass or shaker and muddle until the watermelon is crushed and juicy. Add the bourbon, lemon juice and St. Germain, along with ice, and shake vigorously. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish, if desired, with a sprinkling of black pepper and a wedge of watermelon.

Awards season may be the perfect time to try these out, but always remember to drink responsibly and arrange a safe ride home.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Avoiding Coyote Chaos

Whether you live in Laguna Beach or Chicago, coyotes have been causing quite a raucous lately. There have been many sightings where I live in recent weeks, not only in the canyon, but in neighborhoods. Here are some helpful tips to help keep you, your family and your pets safe.

-Always keep your dog on a leash and avoid retractable leashes.
-Keep your dogs close to you. If you spot a coyote, pick up your dog if it's small. If it's a bigger dog, bring it closer and put it behind you.
-Carry a big stick on walks and hikes.
-Officers advise not to leave food and water outside for our pets, especially during the drought.
-Barking attracts coyotes during the December to March breeding season, so try to keep your dogs from barking and bring them in at night.
-If you encounter a coyote, back slowly away while hazing it - yell, wave your arms, use a whistle or other noisemaker, use a squirt gun, throw rocks at it.
-If you often see a coyote on your regular walking route, avoid that path for a few months. You may be passing a den with pups or a mate.
-And lastly, pay attention while you're out walking. Be on the lookout. If you notice a coyote in the distance, as opposed to right in front of you, you have more time to figure out what to do and options to avoid it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Top 5 FREE Things to Do in Laguna This Weekend

People keep saying how boring January is - after all the holiday hubbub in December. I say... "You're bored? Then, quit complaining and get outside!" Here's a list of the top 5 FREE things you can do in Laguna Beach this long holiday weekend (and pretty much all year round).

5. Farmers Market in the Lumberyard Parking Lot. Every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. Rain or shine. This is a CERTIFIED California Farmers Market, which means it's “The Real Thing” - California grown and certified by the state of California. Farmers are selling their crops directly to the public, so the farmers and consumers are saving money – no packing, shipping and wholesale costs. Buy delicious fruits and vegetables, then go home and either invent your own recipe or find something online that incorporates what you bought. If you're trying to eat well as you begin 2015, this is a fabulous place to start! Bring sturdy bags or a cart/baby stroller and clear out some room in your fridge before you leave.

4. Laughing Yoga. Yes, that's right! LAUGHING YOGA! I did it once for a documentary-style t.v. show I was on once called “This is Why You’re Single”... and it was freakin’ hilarious!!! Meet at the northernmost end of Main Beach. Sunday through Friday, 8 a.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. The instructor uses the practice of laughter as a form of exercise.

3. Hike Laguna! Top of the World, Alta Laguna Park, Laguna Canyon, Crystal Cove - the list goes on and on. BRING YOUR CAMERA OR CELL PHONE and capture some amazing, scenic shots! And prove to your friends that you did it! A few specific things this weekend – Keep It Wild Volunteer Day. Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park and Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. Saturday morning. Help restore the wild lands. Great lesson for the kids. Edible and Useful Plant Hike – Saturday morning at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.

2. Gallery tour. Art Walk is fabulous, but that’s only once a month. Check out the galleries when they’re less crowded and even make your own map based on what kind of art you’re interested in. LagunaArt.com is a fabulous website that has over 60 Laguna galleries listed with a map to see how close they all are to each other. You can search art based on your taste – abstract, landscape, pop art, realism, etc. Make your own set schedule or just wander in and out.

1. Coast Highway Walk. Park around Bluebird Canyon near Surf and Sand Resort and just stroll. Go in every single store, restaurant, you name it – just to see what they sell. Check out merchandise, prices, etc. Stay for 2 seconds, stay for a half an hour. We locals drive by these businesses every single day, but are we really that familiar with every business on PCH? BE A TOURIST IN YOUR OWN TOWN. People travel from all over the world to spend time in Laguna and we GET to be here every day. This is an awesome way to spend the day. You can even get to know some of the merchants.

YOU CAN DO ALL THESE THINGS ENTIRELY FOR FREE, BUT IF YOU WANT TO SPEND A LITTLE DOUGH, TAKE YOUR TIME, GRAB A COFFEE AND ENJOY THE OCEAN VIEW WHILE SITTING ON A PICNIC TABLE OR GRAB LUNCH AT ANY OF THE SPOTS ALONG THE WAY. The weather is supposed to be in the low 70s through Monday, so the conditions should be just about perfect. Wear comfy shoes and enjoy a little leisurely exercise.

The Visitors Center Downtown is a great resource for all things happening in Laguna – NOT JUST FOR VISITORS. 381 Forest Avenue. Pamphlets, brochures. Website too. Visitlagunabeach.com.

Have a blast and be sure to tell me about your experience.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

TOP 5 NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS YOU SHOULD THROW OUT THE WINDOW!!!

I took a look at the most popular New Year’s resolutions for 2015 and chose the top 5 you should cross off your list. Here's a peek.

5. Get Organized – If you’re not organized to begin with, you probably don’t know how to GET organized... and if you’re lucky enough for someone to help you get organized, it doesn’t really matter, because you’re the one who has to KEEP everything organized. Not an easy task for a lot of people. That said, clean up your act!

4. Spend More Time with Family – We tend to make time for things we want to do. If you don’t see your family much now, do you really want to? Let’s face it – Uncle George is a bit weird, Grandma Bertha tends to get on your nerves after about 3 minutes and little Sally Sue ALWAYS breaks your latest gadget. If you want to see your family, call them and make a plan… TODAY! Don’t wait until next January to realize you haven’t seen much of them.

3. Fall in Love – If you say “I’m going to fall in love this year”, chances are you will not. OR you will make yourself BELIEVE that you’ve fallen in love just so you can feel like you accomplished one of your goals and end up with the wrong person. And that leads to the big D – DIVORCE! The best way to fall in love is to just give up, throw in the towel, legitimately acknowledge that it’s just not going to happen… and then all of a sudden, poof! He or she shows up when you least expect it. On this one, I’m speaking from experience. That’s what happened to me. So, STOP TRYING SO HARD. Just be happy, focus on other things and you just may be surprised about what happens.

2. Spend Less, Save More – As soon as you say you’re going to spend less and save more, you probably go out and buy some ridiculously expensive end tables, plan a trip to the Congo and test-drive your future new car. Just be smart about money all the time, live within your means and don’t max out your credit cards. There are so many things you can do inexpensively and so many bargains to be found. Splurge on things that are truly worth it and care about the price on other things.

1. Workout, Lose Weight, Get in Shape, Eat Healthier – Forget it! Why do you wait until January to make this resolution? You should do it as soon as you realize your pants are getting snug. Gyms wait for this time of year to get all those new members to sign up and make a long-term commitment, so they can make tons of money. They KNOW you’re going to quit before February starts IF you ever start at all. Eat what you want, enjoy it and live an active lifestyle. Take a walk along the beach or hike in the hills – it doesn’t really feel like exercise, but it is! Live an enjoyable life and you just may find that you slim down and feel great!

Now, I'm sure many of you won't agree with my list... and that's o.k. GO OUT THERE AND PROVE ME WRONG!!! Oh, and Happy New Year!