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Janice’s Blog

Check here often for the latest news about the “Sandcastle,” Newport Beach, & beyond!

Upcoming Local Events in Newport Beach

 

sand & starfishPlanning a trip to Newport Beach in the next several months?  There’s always so much to do while visiting our local area, and here are some great local events – from April through August – that you should know about…

Danny Kusz, Saxophonist Extraordinaire

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Had the opportunity to have Danny Kusz and his family stay at our “Sandcastle” recently, while out here from Minneapolis to play at Spaghettini Grill and Jazz Club in Seal Beach.  Not only is he the nicest guy, but boy, he plays a mean saxophone! We actually went to see him in concert there, and the show was fantastic!  He owned that room like nobody’s business! Who is Danny Kusz?  Check out this link and read about him yourself!  If you’re into high energy, dynamic, funk-infused jazz, check out Danny’s website. You should know about him and his music!

Don’t just take my word for it.  Here’s one of many reviews of Danny music: If “Reanimation,” the energetic lead single from saxophonist Danny Kusz’s upcoming album ERUPTION, is any indication of how the rest of the album will stack up, Smooth Jazz fans are in for a wild ride. Featuring the electric guitar crackle of Nils, it’s a high octane blast of funk, sizzle and glorious horn fire – showcasing a fresh, youthful approach to urban jazz/funk. Named “one of the hippest cats in Minneapolis” by Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine, Kusz – whose versatility has led him to perform with Eric Leeds, Joey DeFrancesco, Root City and Marcus Miller’s saxman Alex Han – creates an explosive hybrid of his major alto influence, David Sanborn and favorite funk-rocker, fellow Minneapolis native Prince. Now that we’ve kicked off the year with some “Reanimation,” Smooth Jazz better get ready for the big ERUPTION!     – Smoothjazz.com

Doheny Blues Festival – May 21 & 22

 

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Home to the Best Blues Festival in Southern California, the Doheny Blues Festival has welcomed numerous legends of the genre including: B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Bonnie Raitt, Etta James, Charlie Musselwhite, Derek Trucks, Dr. John, Little Richard, John Lee Hocker and many more. Hosted on the iconic Orange County landmark of Doheny State Beach every May, the festival boasts an eclectic food court, the intimate Backporch stage with microbrew tastings, and a stellar line up year after year.  Plus you can’t beat the ocean air, being right there!

This year, headliners include Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Edgar Winter Band, Aaron Neville, Brian Setzer & Walter Trout.

We’ve been ourselves in past years – and it’s alway’s a great day (or two) of music!  This coming year marks the 19th anniversary of the celebrated Doheny Blues Festival! The 2016 Doheny Blues Festival will take place May 21 & 22 at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point.Here’s a link to a great site (Eventbrite.com) that will answer all your questions about the festival: Hours, Ticket Prices, Ticket & Event FAQs.

SURF CITY NIGHTS – every Tuesday

HBlogoSURF CITY NIGHTS STREET FAIR & FARMERS MARKET
Surf City Nights: Every Tuesday, 5-9 p.m.
Location: Downtown Huntington Beach on Main Street between Orange and Pacific Coast
Events: Farmers Market, Artisan Crafts, Food Vendors, Street Performers
Age: All ages, family-friendly! No cost!

Welcome to Surf City Nights! This weekly special event closes Main Street for a funky street fair with musical acts ranging from Spanish guitar to hip-hop dancers and other musical artists. The event is right in the vicinity of the pier that juts into the ocean. The stroll is just a few blocks long, and very casual.

The event has grown and packs the downtown streets each Tuesday night, especially during the summer. Winter time is more mellow, slower, and much more enjoyable for the middle age and older crowd, plus families with kids, who can keep better eye on their tiny tots as they romp in the bouncy houses, ride the kiddie train and toddle down Main, taking their first steps on HB’s Main Street that overlooks the Huntington Beach Pier.

Cool breezes blow from the beach (which is just across the street), and everyone who attends has a fantastic evening getting fresh air, listening and watching the entertainment, buying gifts, jewelry, art, clothing, food, and sampling a variety of tasty fresh items.

HBDOWNTOWN.com is the official web site for this event and lots of other events in nearby Huntington Beach!

 

 

Trip of a Lifetime: Incredible Botswana

WOW!  What an experience! Our trip to the Okavango Delta in Botswana was magical!  We saw animals in the wild up close and personal. LOTS of animals, REALLY CLOSE up!  An amateur photographer’s dream!  And we got a great taste of Cape Town, South Africa also.  Too bad it’s so far away…But we do want to go back another time!

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Janice & Bill in Capetown

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King of the Jungle

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This Leopard was magnificent

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My favorite animal to photograph

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He can really glide

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Making a stop to drink

Chinese New Year 2015 in Manila & Hong Kong

CHNYCollage2015Welcome to the YEAR of the SHEEP (though different Asian cultures celebrate it as the Year of the Sheep or Goat or Ram (all in the same family tho))! While traveling in Asia recently, we were lucky enough to experience Chinese New Year on New Year’s Day in Manila’s Chinatown neighborhood, and watch the ceremonial Parade and Dragon dances amidst the crowds.  Always an experience seeing this first hand in another country!  Very festive and interesting!  Then we moved on to Hong Kong, and saw even more Dragon celebrations; the New Year’s dragon dances are done outside – and then inside – businesses to bring good luck and prosperity to them in the coming year).  Janice was born in a year of the Sheep coincidentally…so she’s looking to have an especially great year herself too!

 

Philippine Islands vacation for Janice & Bill

PHBeachCollage2015While you’re thinking about a stay at our lovely Newport Beach beach vacation home, the “Sandcastle” (or have already stayed with us – and are just checking in!), we’re taking a very different – and far away – vacation ourselves, exploring the Philippines: Manila and a few of their 7000+ islands.  The weather is warm and humid tho, but the water is spectacular!  So clear, a diver’s paradise…and for us snorkelers, it’s pretty amazing too! It’s a good adventure, eating lots of lapu lapu (local fish), shrimp and pork, drinking their local rum and San Miguel beer; It’s a real relaxing time for us!  Be home soon!

 

Rose Bowl Parade, up close and personal

If you haven’t seen the Rose Bowl Parade floats in person, it’s quite an experience!  Seeing all those individual flowers, stems, bark and fruit on the floats is amazing.  From afar the floats look good, but close up, they are remarkable feats of creativity and labor!  We were lucky enough to visit our friends in Pasadena again this New Year’s day…and go to the Parade.  Reason enough to consider visiting Southern California over New Year’s!  You can Tournament of Roses parade – website link, during the actual parade, or you can see them afterwards, January 1-3…but if you’re in town, you shouldn’t miss seeing them, close up and personal!

Bill & Janice view the 2015 Rose Bowl Parade floats

Bill & Janice at the 2015 Rose Bowl Parade

New Laundry Room look

3410LndryRmFlr4website 3410LndryRmShr4website 3410LndryRm4websiteDoing the laundry is not my favorite thing to do either…but with the new look of the laundry room, it is a nicer experience!  Check out the pebble floor of the hot/cold shower in the laundry room, and the new shower and floor tile; it looks great!  Doing the laundry in our newly remodeled laundry room might just make it a little better experience…

 

53rd annual Newport Beach sandcastle contest

Newport Beach annual sandcastle contest

pics from last year’s Newport Beach sandcastle contest

Into building sandcastles?  Or anything else in the sand?  C’mon down to the 53rd annual event at Corona Del Mar October 5th.  Come and see sandcastle building taken to a new level at the annual Newport Beach/Corona del Mar Sandcastle Contest, where “seashore sculptors” have turned grains of wet sand into elaborate works of art for over 50 years.  This year’s theme is “It’s a Beach Party” (original, huh)!

For as little as $30 per team entry, have a chance to be recognized, win cash prizes and have a great day at the beach!   Thousands of sightseers descend on Corona del Mar State Beach to watch participants – ranging from novice to expert – construct more than 30 entries. View these creations for free as a spectator, or consider making your own for a minimal entrance fee. This long-running event is presented by Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce and attracts spectators and contest participants ranging from seasoned professionals to first–timers.  Get your team together to show your best work, or just come out to the beach to check it out and have a good time!

Here’s a link for more information about the day OR how to register your Team: https://www.newportbeach.com/events/53rd-annual-sandcastle-contest