We Are Now…South Bay Confidential!

We’re moving … up and out! If you’ve enjoyed reading South Bay Sparkle, please visit us over at our new home, South Bay Confidential. You’ll find all sorts of news and tidbits about the South Bay, plus the most extensive real estate search database in the entire area. Check it out, look around, let us know what you think. Thanks again for reading South Bay Sparkle!


“Sweet as Honey” Dining at Terranea Resort

When you think of Terranea Resort, you probably think of gorgeous views, golfing, swimming, and fine dining…not about bees. But in fact, honeybees at the nearby Catalina View Gardens are busy even as you read this making fine honey that will be used in Terranea’s amazing restaurants.

Terranea’s bees were the main focus at a recent “Sweet as Honey” dinner (part of the resort’s Chef’s Cooking Series) highlighting the contributions of bees to fine cuisine as well as the perpetuation of gardens and crops. The dinner fit in with Terranea’s ongoing focus on farm-to-table dining by incorporating produce from its own crops at Catalina View Gardens, as well as local ingredients such as figs from Rolling Hills and pink peppercorns from Ranchos Palos Verdes. Proceeds from the dinner benefited the California State Beekeepers Association.

“The Chef’s Cooking Series is a unique opportunity for us here at Terranea to highlight what we do well in terms of supporting the local community, but also bringing in the learning element and enabling us to grow together and learn new techniques – both the internal culinary team and the guests who attend the event,” says Gaye Vancans, Terranea’s community relations manager.

Ahi belly tartare served over hearts of palm "linguine"

Ahi belly tartare served over hearts of palm “linguine”

The dinner menu began with hors d’oeuvres prepared by Chef Elie Chow: slow-roasted garden beets with Rancho Palos Verdes pink peppercorn aioli and organic honey; squash blossom fritters with olive tapenade and crispy bee pollen; ahi belly tartare with heart of palm “linguini” and honey-mustard dressing; and jicama-wrapped ishibashi avocado mash with sea salt honey based pancetta lardons. Chef Alessandro Serni then served an appetizer of grilled and smoked local octopus with squid ink aioli, piperade, and peppered honeycomb.

Chef Charles Olalia prepares an organic duck breast

Chef Charles Olalia prepares an organic duck breast

The main course, prepared by Chef Charles Olalia, was a caramelized organic duck breast with Rolling Hills figs in bigarade sauce. Chef Pierino Jermonti wrapped up the meal with a honey-goat cheese lavender mousse with a walnut crisp and poached pears.

Diners enjoy a warm night under the stars on the patio at Terranea

Diners enjoy a warm night under the stars on the patio at Terranea

Tempted by the amazing food as well as the setting? We are too! The next cooking series event at Terranea will be an Autumn Coastal Harvest, benefiting the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, on November 7.

South Bay L.A. Kings Parade

kings champsThe Stanley Cup champion L.A. Kings will be parading through the South Bay this Wednesday, June 18. The team has released its official South Bay parade route, from the Redondo Beach Police Department to the base of the Manhattan Beach Pier (corner of Manhattan Ave. and Manhattan Beach Blvd.). It will begin at 3:00 p.m. and is expected to last about 90 minutes. Toyota is providing 15 Toyota Tundras and the Kings will ride in the back of the Toyotas throughout the parade. If you’re in the South Bay on Wednesday, come on out and cheer on your L.A. Kings!

Knott’s Berry Bloom

KBF Bloom Logo-page-001Spring has sprung at Knott’s Berry Farm, and with it comes the return of the annual Knott’s Berry Bloom celebration. Knott’s Berry Bloom – which runs from April 12 through April 27 –  features displays of beautiful spring colors, interactive family-friendly activities, expanded gourmet food and wine tasting opportunities, and more.

KBF Berry Bloom-6419New for 2014, the Ghost Town Boysenberry Festival will honor this delectable berry (our favorite!) by allowing guests to wine, dine, and buy boysenberry inspired products throughout the streets of the Old West. The founders of Knott’s Berry Farm will be honored through Walter & Cordelia Knott’s Original Roadside Boysenberry Stand, from which guests can purchase authentic boysenberry plants and preserves.

KBF Berry Bloom-5977Throughout Ghost Town, guests can watch demonstrations of canning homemade jam, blacksmithing, and cooking up homemade boysenberry glazes. On School House Road, guests can try their hand at Western-themed games with a boysenberry twist. Daily boysenberry pie-eating contests will take place in front of the Birdcage Theater. And when the sun sets on Ghost Town, the buildings and midways light up in (what else?) festive boysenberry purple hues.

KBF Berry Bloom-5645Live entertainment includes Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies (nighttime, outside Birdcage Theater), Peanuts Party in the Park (Charleston Circle), Bloomination! (nighttime, Charleston Fountain), Flower Power (Camp Snoopy Theater), and live salsa dancing in Fiesta Village. Other interactive fun includes the Easter Beagle’s Enormous Egg Hunt with prize locations for kids 3 to 11 years old, and Big Boardwalk Games (oversized shuffle board, tic-tac-toe, and bowling) near Xcelerator.

Knott’s is open extended hours from 10am to 10pm during Knott’s Berry Bloom, allowing guests extra time to take advantage of all of the limited-time offerings. To track the fun, follow the hashtag #KnottsSpring on Twitter and Instagram.

Knotts Berry Farm, 8039 Beach Boulevard, Buena Park CA 90620. (714) 220-5200

The opinions in this article are my own. I do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them.  I have a relationship with GigaSavvy, for whom I create original editorial content.

Manhattan Beach Yuletide 5K

RunnersPierBGRunning at night on the beach, surrounded by colorful lights? Sounds like a great Manhattan Beach tradition! The Manhattan Beach Yuletide 5K is by far the coolest race in town.

The Yuletide 5K takes place at 5:30 pm on December 21, the Winter Solstice, also known as the longest and darkest day of the year. But you don’t need to worry about darkness: The course is lit by luminarias, and all pre-registered runners (and same-day registrants while supplies last) receive glow necklaces.

LitPierThe race starts and finishes under the Christmas lights of the Manhattan Beach Pier. Runners heat out north to the jetty at 45th Street, and then back. The super-low tide creates a perfect running surface of hard packed sand like a dirt road so running with or without shoes is an option (track spike are OK too!), as are baby joggers.

Kids are welcome to participate in the 5K, or else they can take part in age-specific kid runs: The Elves Dash 1K starts at 6:30pm (age 7-12); the Little Elves run 400 meters at 6:40pm (age 3-6); and Crawlers race 50 meters at 6:50pm (age 2 and under).

Registration is now open, so get in early and get ready to run (and glow!) on the 21st.

Nightmare Before Christmas – Second Screen Live

You love playing games on your iPad, and you love going to the movies – What if you could do both at the same time? That’s the idea behind “Nightmare Before Christmas – Second Screen Live” – a crazy/fun family movie experience showing in select theaters around the country right now.

Many Tim Burton fans know the general premise behind Nightmare Before Christmas – Jack Skellington, king of Halloweentown, discovers Christmas but doesn’t quite understand the concept. There’s plenty of song, hidden jokes, detailed animation, and visual fascination throughout the movie. And that’s why it makes for the perfect movie to combine with puzzles and games.

second screen liveTo see “Second Screen Live” you’ll need an iPad or iPad mini running iOS 5.0 or higher (it won’t work on the iPhone) and you’ll need to download the Nightmare Before Christmas Second Screen Live app (it’s free) before you get to the theater. Once you’re sitting in the theater, you’ll get instructions on how to get started.

As the movie plays, there’s a running commentary on the bottom of the screen that gives you instructions for puzzles and games to play on your iPad (your “tombstone”). You’ll play several rounds of “bones” (xylophone), winning points for how well you memorize the pattern. There are multiple choice quiz questions, several “find what’s different in this picture” puzzles, and opportunities to earn points in the “casino.” Of course the favorite game for our younger kids were the quick-touch games such as touching as many snowflakes as you can during a snowstorm to earn points.

At the end of the movie, your points are tallied and you can find out who’s the winner on your “team.” It’s fun to do with the whole family, and it’s a great opportunity to make the big-screen experience more engaging and interactive.

To find where the movie is playing near you, click on the Second Screen Live page.

Blogger disclosure: Disney gave us passes to preview the movie. We did not receive compensation; all opinions expressed are our own.

Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk

Are you ready to go the extra mile for South Bay kids? Check out the SKECHERS Pier to Pier Friendship Walk, coming up on Sunday, October 27. The annual walk, produced by SKECHERS USA and co-produced by The Friendship Circle, raises money for local schools and programs for kids with special needs. The Friendship Walk has become one of the largest walks of its kind in the nation.

To take part in the walk, all you have to do is register for a $25 fee. You can make it more fun by joining a team and raising more money. Best of all, you can choose whether you want your dollars to go to the Friendship Circle or to one of your local education foundations. This year, the goal is to raise $1 million dollars.

The event starts at 9:00 am at the Manhattan Beach Pier (get there at 8:30 for early fun). When the walk is over at noon, you can stick around for the world-famous Manhattan Beach Pumpkin Races. So lace up those shoes and get ready to walk!

Terranea Social Media Weekend

Proposal at the beach at Terranea

Proposal at the beach at Terranea

A weekend at one of my favorite places in the world? Perfect!

I am very proud to announce that I am one of ten social media influencer finalists for Terranea’s Brand Ambassador contest. I will be spending this weekend (in great company with the other finalists) at Terranea learning even more about the beautiful resort and all it has to offer. I can’t wait to share what I learn – Watch this space for more!

TEDx Manhattan Beach

As parents, we often wonder: How we can support our children in finding that “thing” that inspires and excites them? How do we help them find their passion and purpose? The TEDx Manhattan Beach conference, titled “Journey to Purpose: Dream, Educate, Thrive,” will explore these topics and more on October 13.


The full-day conference aims to bring dynamic, leading-edge thought leaders and educators together to share their ideas and expressions about purpose – how to define and find purpose, and its effect on the human mind, spirit and well being. Speakers include John Hall, the autistic CEO of a multimillion-dollar company, and Emma Doyle, a sixth-grader with a passion for cake decorating.

Early bird tickets are on sale for $115 from now through October 7. After that, ticket prices go up to $125.

TED is a nonprofit devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading” that began as a conference bringing people together from technology, entertainment, and design. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. TEDx Manhattan Beach is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that was founded as part of Leadership Manhattan Beach and is now a volunteer-run, stand-alone, not-for-profit organization.

The TEDx Manhattan Beach conference will take place on October 13 from 9am to 5pm at Manhattan Beach Middle School, 1501 North Redondo Avenue, Manhattan Beach.

The First Spark

Welcome! Why South Bay Sparkle? We live in a place that has so many amazing sights, opportunities, destinations, and characters. I want to highlight as many as I can to share the excitement of the South Bay. Know of something that sparkles in the South Bay? Let me know so I can share it here. It’s gonna be fun!