Kaijudo on Hub Network

Do your kids like martial arts – or possibly just lots and lots of cool monsters? If so, they should check out Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters, now airing on the Hub Network.

Kaijudo follows the adventures of a young hero, Ray, who possesses the rare ability to befriend and duel alongside fantastical creatures from a parallel dimension. Evil forces would have these creatures enslaved, so Ray and his two best friends must join the ranks of the mysterious Duel Masters to ensure the survival of both races before it’s too late. The cast features the vocal talents of well-known actors and voiceover artists including Scott Wolf (“Party of Five”), John DiMaggio (“Futurama”), and Phil LaMarr (“Futurama”).

We took some boys to see a special screening of the show last week, and on the ride home the car was filled with intense debate about the various creatures, and which ones were good or bad. There’s a companion trading card game that adds interest too (collect the rarest one, and you’ll be the coolest kid on the block!).

Thanks to Hub Network for giving us the opportunity to preview this show – Let the battling and card-trading begin!

Kaijudo airs Saturdays on the Hub Network at 11am PT/2pm ET.

Mother’s Day in the South Bay

Looking for a way to celebrate Mom on Mother’s Day? You don’t need to venture far in the South Bay to help make your mom’s day special.

Burke Williams: Three choices of spa packages are available through May 13: Moms can “Relax” with a Spa Pedicure and choice of a 50-minute Burke Williams Massage or a 50-minute Spa Style Facial with peel for only $145 ($180 value). A second choice is to “Escape” with a Spa Pedicure, a 50-minute Burke Williams Massage and a 50-minute Spa Style Facial with peel, all for $245 ($310 value). Mothers and daughters can share a relaxing experience “For Two” and each enjoy a Spa Pedicure with choice of a 50-minute Burke Williams Massage or a 50-minute Spa Style Facial with peel for just $275 ($360 value). 2733 Pacific Coast Highway, Torrance. 310-803-5550 (also at other Burke Williams locations in Southern California).

Elegance Boutique Spa: Champagne brunch and gardening workshop by Home Grown Edible Landscapes. This  informational workshop will uncover the health and beauty benefits of many of your favorite plants and their hidden aromatherapy qualities. Attendees also receive a spa goodie bag and 15 percent off on pre-paid spa treatments. Featuring brunch from Four Daughters Kitchen. 10:30 am to 1:00 pm. $30. Register online. Elegance Boutique Spa, 3516 Highland Avenue, Manhattan Beach. 310-546-5610.

Fleming’s Steakhouse & Wine Bar: Mother’s Day brunch. From 11:30 am to 3:00 pm, enjoy brunch for the whole family with a special three-course brunch menu (and additional kids’ brunch menu). Extra bonus: Mom gets a $25 gift card toward a future meal. $34.95 per guest. 2301 Rosecrans Avenue, El Segundo. 310-643-6911.

Paciugo Gelato: Free gelato for Mom. Bring your mom to Paciugo in Hermosa Beach on Mother’s Day and get a free Piccolo gelato for Mom – and pick up one of these cool Mom/gelato-spoon tattoos while you’re at it. 1034 Hermosa Avenue, Hermosa Beach. 310-379-2525.

Portofino Hotel: Mother’s Day Brunch at the Ocean.  Starting at 10:00 am, enjoy free-flowing sparkling wine, extensive brunch options, a “Bloody Mary Buffet,” and ocean views. $52/person for adults; $24/person for kids ages 5 to 12; kids under 5 eat free. 260 Portofino Way, Redondo Beach. Call for reservations: 310-798-5874.

South Coast Botanic Garden: Bring your own picnic and enjoy Mother’s Day at the South Coast Botanic Garden with the whole family. The upper and lower meadow areas will be open for picnicking just for the day. Tram tours are available at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm for $4/person. From 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm the Palos Verdes Symphonic Band will play a “big band” concert. Regular garden admission rates apply. 26300 Crenshaw Boulevard, Palos Verdes Peninsula. (310) 544-1948.

Shade Hotel: Shade presents “The Mother of All Brunches.” Seating from 9:00 am until 3:30 pm (last seating). $45 per person, includes free mimosa for Mom; $25 per person for kids 10 and under. 1221 N. Valley Drive, Manhattan Beach. Call Shaunna to reserve: 310-406-6801.

Terranea: Mother’s Day brunch. Terranea’s wide-ranging brunch menu includes omelets and eggs, pancakes, Asian selections, seafood, charcuterie, cheeses and meats. A special kids’ buffet features pasta, chicken fingers, mac and cheese, and an extensive sundae bar. 10:00 am, 10:30 am, 1:00 pm, 1:30 pm; Adults $85 inclusive (includes sparkling wine); kids ages 5 to 10 eat for $40; kids under age 5 eat for free. Register online. 100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes. 310-265-2800.

Whale & Ale: Mother’s Day Brunch in San Pedro. Enjoy selections from a wide-ranging British-themed brunch menu; every mother gets a complimentary glass of Champagne. 327 W. 7th Street, San Pedro. Call for reservations: 310-832-0363.

Last but not least, for those who have lost their mother but wish to honor her, Torrance Memorial Medical Center is hosting a “Memories of Mother” celebratory tea on Saturday, May 12, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. The event (for ages 14 and over) will include small group discussions, refreshments and musical performances. Guests are invited to bring photos and mementos; guests are also invited to wear a hat in the tradition of teatime. Donations are welcome, with proceeds to benefit Torrance Memorial Hospice. The event is free but reservations are required. 3330 Lomita Blvd., Torrance, CA. (310) 517-4694.

See Chimpanzee for Earth Day

Earth Day is coming up later this week, and what better way to celebrate than with the new movie Chimpanzee from Disney/Disneynature — in theaters on April 20.

Chimpanzee is a true-life adventure deep in the forests of Africa, featuring an adorable young chimpanzee named Oscar and his chimpanzee community. Oscar’s playful curiosity and zest for discovery showcase the intelligence and ingenuity of some of the most extraordinary personalities in the animal kingdom. When Oscar’s family is confronted by a rival band of chimpanzees, he is left to fend for himself — until a surprising ally steps in and changes his life forever.

Directed by Alastair Fothergill (African Cats and Earth) and Mark Linfield (Earth), the footage is both astonishing and heartwarming. Somehow the filmmakers managed to capture this incredible story as it unfolded in the jungle, and, as narrated by Tim Allen, it’s an engaging story for all ages.

Being one of those people who loves to read movie-making trivia, we were fascinated to learn more about the filming process. (While you’re watching it, you feel so much like you’re in the moment that you forget that there were filmmakers and cameras involved.) Some fun facts about the filming include:

  • Making Chimpanzee took more than 700 days of filming.
  • Getting to the forest where the chimpanzee tribe lived took two days, including a 14-hour drive along bumpy dirt roads where the car would frequently break down miles away from the nearest village. The crew would then carry all the equipment on an hour-long walk to camp.
  • Before filming, the crew had to spend eight days in quarantine to ensure that they did not bring diseases into the forest that could be transmitted to the chimpanzees. They wore masks while filming.
  • While filming, the crew had to stay at least 23 feet away from the chimpanzees.  If a chimpanzee looked at them, it meant they were too close.
  • During filming, the crew suffered bee stings, ant bites, a lightning strike, and the constant threat of snakes and predators.

One last reason to go and see the movie: For everyone who sees Chimpanzee during opening week (April 20-April 26), Disneynature will contribute $.20 per ticket to the Jane Goodall Institute for the Disneynature Tchimpounga Nature Reserve Project with a minimum of $100,000 pledged to this program.

In the meantime, go ahead and enjoy this fun little clip from the movie:

Green Day

Ready to get your green on? St. Patrick’s Day is this Saturday, and there’s no shortage of South bay activities and events to celebrate your Irish heritage (even if you’re not Irish):

UPDATED, 3/15: St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been postponed until March 23, on account of rain.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade: One of Hermosa Beach’s most popular events, the 18th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a lively community affair. You’ll see marching bands, dancers, local civic groups, fancy cars, and more. And if you’re lucky you might just catch a piece of candy from a leprechaun. Pier Ave., Hermosa Beach, starts at 11:00 am.

St. Patrick’s Day 5K/Fun Run: Come out and cheer your favorite runners at this popular local race, sponsored by the Village Runner, Proceeds benefit the St. Lawrence Martyr Education Foundation. Race starts at 8:00 am at Village Runner, 1811-A Catalina Ave. Redondo Beach. Kids’ dashes start at 9:30.

Green Beer and More: If you’re ready to drink green beer this weekend, you’re not alone. Check this South Bay Events listing of offerings at popular bars and pubs, including Patrick Malloy’s, Sharkeez, and Hennessey’s.

Rocking the Green: Want some music to go with your green beer? Check out Hollywood U2 (a U2 cover band, Abrakadabra, and Hoist the Colors at Saint Rocke. Saint Rocke, 142 Pacific Coast Highway Hermosa Beach, $10 to $15/person, 7 pm and 9 pm. Or head down to the Queen Mary in Long Beach for Shamrock N Roll, featuring Hollywood Stones, Oxalis, and Sligo Rags. Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach, $15/person, 6 pm.

Staying at home this year? You can still celebrate with something sweet. Cupcakes Couture of Manhattan Beach is offering some special Guinness or Bailey’s Cream cupcakes. And Cake Bakeshop will feature Irish Car Bomb cupcakes and Irish coffee bars.

If you’d like to make your own tasty green treats (without food coloring), check out this green frosting, green cake, green eggs and ham, and other green St. Patrick’s day food ideas from the Jolly Tomato.


Three Kings’ Day

Did you think the Christmas season was over already?

Not so fast. We’re still counting down to the 12th day of Christmas, also known as the Epiphany, also known as Three Kings’ Day or El Dia de los Reyes Magos (the day that the three kings arrived in Bethlehem at the scene of the Nativity). Traditionally celebrated in Spanish and Latin cultures, Three Kings’ Day celebrations are all over Los Angeles. Check out our article on CBS Local Online to see the list of celebrations and suggestions for where to buy a rosca de reyes, a traditional Three Kings’ Day cake.

Want to buy your rosca locally? We’ve got a few great South Bay Mexican-style bakeries for you:

El Molino Bakery – 15120 Hawthorne Blvd, Lawndale (310) 355-3000

Panaderia La Esperanza- 22836 S Western Ave, Torrance (310) 539-3690

Panaderia Mi Lupita – 1640 W Carson St, Torrance (310) 533-1884

Old Mexico Bakery – 235 S Pacific Ave, San Pedro (310) 833-9453

Pan Y Leche Bakery-Panaderia – 713 W Anaheim St, Wilmington (310) 518-9224

Fall Weekend Festivals

Looking for something to do in the South Bay this weekend? There are so many different festivals coming up we’ve lost count. Let’s do a rundown:

Taste of the Pier: The 2nd annual Taste of the Pier festival runs on Saturday and Sunday (October 8-9) from 12 to 4pm at the Redondo Beach Pier. It’s free to attend; tasting tickets are $1 each. If you buy 10 tickets you get 2 bonus tickets, plus an opportunity to win prizes. You can buy tickets ahead of time at Brixton South Bay, 100 Fisherman’s Wharf, Redondo Pier. There’s also live music and kids’ activities like face painting. Proceeds benefit Cancer Support Community/Redondo Beach and the Redondo Beach Educational Foundation.

Fall Block Party: Plaza El Segundo is hosting a Community Block Party on Saturday, October 8, from 1pm to 5pm. This free event includes hay rides, live music, face painting, and a chance to win prizes and gift cards from the Plaza El Segundo merchants. Featured attractions also include a free art lesson from ArtLife Gallery and a dog show at PetSmart.

Oktoberfest: The Alpine Village in Torrance is hosting its (ongoing) Oktoberfest celebration, the oldest and largest in Southern California. On Friday, October 7, and Saturday, October 8 the (adult) celebration runs from 6pm until midnight. On Sunday, October 9, the festivities run from 1pm until 6pm and are geared toward a family audience. Every day offers Oom-pah-pah music, contests, beer tasting, traditional German fare, and sing-alongs. General admission is $20 for Fridays and Saturdays; $5 for Sundays (kids under 12 are free). Also worth noting: Anyone who arrives dressed in a dirndl, beer wench or lederhosen outfit gets half off admission (or free admission on Sundays).

Water Harvest Festival: Learn about water and conservation while enjoying free food, games and treats at the Water Basin’s annual Water Harvest Festival on Saturday, October 8, from 10 am to 2 pm. The festival is held at the Edward C. Little Water Recycling Facility at 1935 S. Hughes Way in El Segundo; free parking and free shuttle service is available. Participants age 7 and over can also take a tour of the water recycling facility; you must wear closed-toe shoes. New this year: Bring an old pair of shoes to donate to SOLES FOR LIFE; get a free conservation device.

Going a little further afield? Check these out:

CicLAvia: The CicLAvia street festival, to be held on Sunday, October 9 from 10 am to 3 pm, features 10 miles of L.A. city streets that are closed to traffic. The event is designed to attract bicyclists, pedestrians, skaters, and strollers out into the streets, where they will encounter musicians, dancers, costumed characters, rallies, and rest stops with water. Participants can start wherever they want, and do as much or as little as they like. Participation is free.

Feria de los Moles: What’s your favorite mole sauce?  The 4th Annual Feria de los Moles features more than 13 varieties of Mexican moles ranging from sweet and savory to hot and spicy. There will be plenty of live music and folk dancing too. It takes place on Olvera Street in Los Angeles on Sunday, October 9 from 10 am to 7 pm. Admission is free.

California Avocado Festival: If you’re really willing to travel out of the South Bay, the California Avocado Festival is a great bet. The festival, celebrating California’s “favorite fruit” runs from Friday, October 7 through Sunday, October 9 in Carpinteria. The festival features avocado ice cream, fried avocado, the world’s largest vat of guacamole, 40 arts and crafts vendors, more than 60 bands, and lots of prizes. Admission is free.

Happy weekend to all!

Coastal Cleanup Day

Photo credit: Heal the Bay

On Saturday, September 17th, from 9am until noon, over 14,000 Southern Californians will head down to their local beaches and inland waterways on a mission to clear the sand and water of harmful and unsightly pollution. Will you be one of them?

Coastal Cleanup Day is an annual event that aims to curb ocean pollution while bringing the community together. Last year, over 80,000 volunteers from California removed a record 1 million pounds of trash. This year there are over 60 cleanup sites throughout L.A. County (with the majority in the immediate South Bay area), and the organizers are looking to break new records for participation and trash cleaned.

If you decide to participate, here’s an extra bonus: On the morning of the coastal cleanup, you can test drive a Ford at Dockweiler State Beach at Imperial Hwy and be entered in a drawing to win a new Ford. For every test drive completed by 9:59 am. Ford will also donate $50 to Heal the Bay to keep L.A.’s beaches clean.

California Coastal Cleanup Day is coordinated in Los Angeles County by Heal the Bay in conjunction with the California Coastal Commission and the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors. To volunteer for the cleanup, visit Heal The Bay, or go directly to the registration page here.

LEGOs for GrownUps

Admit it, when you help your kid build enormous LEGO® creations, you’re having fun too. So have you ever thought about taking your own LEGO® class? Now you can, at South Bay Adult School.

South Bay Adult School is introducing a new class for adult fans of LEGO®, called Building Big. With a LEGO® library of over 100,000 pieces from Star Wars, Castle and other theme sets — as well as DACTA Educational LEGO® Robotics that interface with computers — you’ll enhance your basic building techniques by improving organizational skills for free-builds.

The class runs for 3 Mondays, from 6 to 8 pm, beginning on September 19 at Mira Costa High School (701 South Peck Ave in Manhattan Beach), room 102. Register online at www.southbayadult.org .

Weekend Escape: Glamping

Looking for a rustic family getaway from the South Bay that’s not too rustic? Look no further than El Capitan Canyon, just north of Santa Barbara, to try your hand at “glamping” (glamour camping).

At El Cap Canyon, you can rent well-appointed tents that come complete with beds, linens, bath towels and toiletries, electrical outlets, housekeeping service, and free wi-fi. Outside each tent, you have your own picnic bench and fire pit – plus there’s a playground, heated pool, and well-stocked general store for anything you might have forgotten. Oh, and the bathroom facilities are super-clean and well-maintained, so you’ll actually feel refreshed at the end of a long day of hiking when you take that nice warm shower. 

Some camping purists may scoff at this pampered approach, but for busy families these amenities can mean the difference between camping or not camping at all. We were grateful for the electrical outlets that supported a small lamp and space heater for those cool nights. And instead of worrying about pitching the tent and getting sleeping bags organized, we were able to dive right into exploring the canyon. Note: If you want something even more substantial than a tent, you can also rent cabins at the campground that have their own baths and kitchenettes; or even an “adventure yurt.”

On our first day at the canyon, we took a guided hike up to a llama farm to feed some llamas and goats; on the second day we hiked about 20 minutes down the hill to the beach. Our nature sightings included hawks, partridges, gophers, frogs, and mice.

Food-wise, we came well-prepared with camp-style treats for our breakfasts and lunches. For dinners, we took part in the canyon barbecue on one night and we bought provisions from the general store and grilled out at our tents on the second night.

The campsite is especially welcoming for families with young children; kids are just about everywhere riding bikes and scooters. If you’re a couple looking for a more private getaway, request a secluded spot higher on the hill. However, kids or no, we were grateful for the strictly enforced “quiet time” beginning at 10 pm. After a long day, we were glad for the chance to relax and listen to the sounds of the canyon under the stars.

At El Capitan Canyon, tent rates range from $135-$185 per night; cabins begin at $185 per night and go up to $795 per night for the most deluxe two-bedroom cabin. A two-night minimum stay is required on weekends; some holiday weekends have three-night minimums. For reservations, call 866-352-2729.

Manhattan Village Shopper Challenge

When Manhattan Village invited me to be a part of their first-ever Back-to-School Shopper Challenge, I jumped at the chance. The challenge called for me and two other South Bay bloggers (Manhattan Beach Momma and Thoughts of a Mommy) to find two back-to-school outfits from shops at Manhattan Village for a total of $100 or under. Now our outfits are posted on Facebook, where you can vote on which one you like the best (see the button on the right of the page)!

In our family, back-to-school clothes have to meet two main criteria: They have to look good (for Mom) and they have to be super-comfortable (for the boys). The boys also want to be able to express their personalities with clothes that they can wear while doing their favorite activities. Having set those parameters, the boys and I picked out two outfits – and then we headed to our favorite spot at the beach for some pictures.

Outfit # 1: The Karate Kid

The Karate Kid wants to stay cool and comfortable so that he can practice his moves wherever he goes. So when we built his outfit we started with these super-cool slouchy cuffed jeans (currently on sale for $23.96) from the Gap. Then we topped it off with these two classic Epic Threads pieces: a t-shirt ($5.99) and button-down ($17.99) from Macy’s. For a fun way to carry library cards and ice cream money, we added this camo/pirate wallet, also from the Gap (currently on sale for $5.97). Note: it comes with a nice little clip and chain to link to your belt loops.

The Karate Kid gave the outfit two thumbs up, and even though it was hot out by the time we finished taking the pictures, he never complained and didn’t even take off the long-sleeved shirt. Now that’s saying something.

Outfit #2: The Explorer

The Explorer has busy days at preschool that can involve anything from writing the alphabet to jumping in a bouncy house, and when he’s not at school, he’s scouring the beach for shells and creatures. He needs clothes that are super-comfortable and sturdy enough to hold up to long days and many washes. To get him suited up for the school year, we started with this adorable scorpion shirt from Gymboree (currently on sale for $10.99) and these well-made shorts by the German company Kanz  and sold at Joli Bebe (currently on sale for $19.60). Then we finished it off with a super-cool (and PVC/phthalate/BPA-free) lunch bag from Crocodile Creek ($18.50), also from Joli Bebe.

The Explorer was so comfortable in his new outfit, it was as if he’d owned it forever. Plus, he didn’t want to put the lunch bag down even after the picture-taking was over. Altogether, it added up to another big score.

Throughout the whole shopping experience, Manhattan Village staff and merchants treated us like royalty, honoring us with gifts from Harry and David, Godiva, Williams-Sonoma, Tommy Bahama, Corner Bakery, Lady Foot Locker, Aerosoles, Armani 55, Diane’s Beachwear, Pacific Theaters, Viki Cafe, and Open Sesame. (Fact: We might not have made it through the photo shoot if it hadn’t been for those Godiva chocolates.) Here are the boys enjoying a post-shopping lemonade just outside Viki Cafe.

Many, many thanks to Manhattan Village staff and merchants for the opportunity. We look forward to shopping there again soon! And if you like the outfits we picked, please vote – Thanks!

* Disclosure note: I was not compensated for this post. Manhattan Village gave me a $100.00 gift card to shop for the outfits, and also a goodie bag from Manhattan Village merchants.

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