Top 10 Places for an Outdoor Cocktail

UnknownIt’s that time of year again—summer! And what goes best with surf, sunshine, sandals and sand? Cocktails! For Newport Beachers both old and new, here’s the 2013 list of the Top 10 spots for an outdoor cocktail. Cheers!

10) Muldoon’s Pub—What could be better than authentic fish and chips? Washing them down with a cool Guinness at this festive Irish bar.

9) The Alley—Brunch and bottomless Mimosa’s? Definitely a contender!

8) Avila’s El Ranchito—Taco Tuesday is not to missed, $10 entry gets you all you can eat.

7) The Lounge at Sam & Harry’s—A happy hour you can’t beat.

6) Tommy Bahama Island Grille—The back patio is like being on a tropical vacation.

5) Billy’s at the Beach—From tiki-themed Mai Tais to old fashioned Old Fashions, Billy’s has the best view of the yachts and people watching right off the highway.

4) The Rusty Pelican—Great atmosphere and to-die for seafood.

3) The Montage Hotel—Closer to Laguna than Newport Beach, The Montage has spectacular views of the ocean. It’s pricey, so plan accordingly.

2) The Bootlegger—Beachfront booze and nostalgic decor.

1) The Beachcomber—Located on idyllic Crystal Cove Beach, this kitchy restaurant raises and salutes the cocktail flag everyday. Great food, amazing ocean views and an extensive cocktail menu. Take a walk down the beach to see the historic waterfront homes of Crystal Cove. It may look familiar as Bette Middler’s Beaches was filmed here.

Bottoms up!

 

 

 

The Art of Parking in Newport Beach

UnknownMost people from beach communities know that parking space is as precious and rare as a black diamond come summer. Aside from a good space being a rarity, parking can also get costly with high-priced tickets and valet charges. Here’s a few tips to keep your costs—and your temper—low this year.

  • Find free parking—It’s easier said than done, sure, but if you don’t mind a short hike (or long—depending on where you’re coming from), the Newport Pier has free parking after 6.
  • Making the most a space—If you’re lucky enough to nab a spot on the street or you’re a suave parallel parker who can squeeze in the tightest of spaces, parking etiquette falls into play. Try to nudge yourself up against the car in front of you, tightening open spaces where, if put together, they could allow for another car to fit. You’d want someone to do the same for you, so just pay it forward now.
  • Metered parking—Most people don’t know this, but after 6 the meters are free and have no time limit. From the meters on E. Bay St. to Palm there are a good numbers of meters to choose from.
  • Parking permits—An Annual Permit for meters and lots and the Master Parking Permit which allows parking at any location in the city are available throughthe Cashier’s Office in City Hall located at 100 Civic Center Drive. You can also call 644-3121 for more information.
  • Parking lots—Newport boasts a few parking lots around town. While there is no overnight parking in Corona Del Mar, a few in Newport host 24 hour parking. Make sure to ask before leaving your car. Prices double on big beach holidays like Memorial and Labor Days, so plan ahead.

 

Farmer’s Market Finds

imagesShopping at local farmer’s markets is the best way to get healthy, organic produce. Not only are you supporting local farmers and their businesses, but you’re guaranteed pesticide-free fruits and veggies. Some farmer’s markets can be a little pricey while others can be a sparse in their offerings. Since farmer’s markets are a weekly event, here are some tricks to make the most for your money any time you go.

  • Start your grocery list at the farmer’s market. Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season: Strawberries, avocados and watermelon are great farmer’s market purchases. Organic fruit tastes so much better than conventionally grown, you’ll notice the difference immediately.
  • Buy any herbs and spices at the farmer’s market. They’re cheaper by the bulk than they are at the store.
  • Fresh cheese from local farms is tastier and healthier than something that’s been sitting on the shelf for who knows howlong.
  • You can purchase vegan-friendly honey at most farmer’s markets. Honey is a great sweetener to add to smoothies, fruit, or even tea and coffee.
  • Fresh flowers are less expensive and less chemically-treated at farmer’s markets. If you purchase a bouquet on a weekly basis, a farmer’s market buy will cost you significantly less.
  • Meats from a local butcher are leaner and a better cut. Stick to buying meat with a person, rather than with a cellophane wrapper.

If you do your food purchasing at the local farmer’s market you’ll notice a definite improvement in the quality of your meals. To save money, create a menu for your week’s meals so you won’t be purchasing food that you won’t be using or that will spoil quickly. This helps cut down on excessive spending and gives you something to look forward to for the rest of the week.

A Quick Guide To Eating Healthy While Dining Out

article-new-ehow-images-a06-ab-gb-make-business-menu-800x800For those busy travelers, late workers and those who just don’t like to be bothered cooking at home, eating out all the time can cost you your waistline. Restaurants don’t list all the ingredients on their menus, so while sautéed veggies seems healthy, that spinach is probably doused in butter. Here’s an easy guide to follow when dining out and staying trim:

  • Order from the top and from the bottom of the menu only. Appetizers are at the top and side orders are at the bottom. These usually include salads, a side of steamed vegetables or brown rice. If you pick a few items from both top and bottom, you can create your own healthy meal the restaurant doesn’t offer in it’s own ‘entree’ portion of the menu.
  • Get a bottle of sparkling water. Flat water often sits, ice melting, throughout a meal. Not only does carbonated water assist with digestion, but ifyou order it, it usually means you’ll end up drinking it. And you should always have a few glasses of water with a meal. Throw in a lime for taste.
  • If dessert must be ordered, get fresh fruit Most restaurants have a dessert fruit plate. But if they don’t they definitely have fruit. Ask before you order your meal so you can let the waitstaff know in advance.

Creating your own healthy menu at a restaurant isn’t difficult. Ask if foods are prepared with butter or olive oil so you can make decisions on what to order. Salads can get boring, so ask for a roasted veggie platter instead. All restaurants have roasted veggies of some sort. Tell them to throw one together for you and stick to that diet!

The ‘Day Vegan’ Diet

fruits_and_vegetablesIf your recent exercise routine isn’t helping you shed those excess pounds and your diet has you so restricted that you’re not far off from starving yourself, a simple way to stay healthy, eat right and lose an inch or two is by going vegan—even if it’s only for the day. Vegans cut out all animal products from their diet, from dairy to meat to even honey (since it’s produced by bees).

Being a “day vegan” means you’re cutting out all milks, cheeses, poultries, beefs, and fish during the morning and afternoon, concentrating on meals loaded with fresh vegetables and fruit, nuts and whole grains instead. The point being that by the time you’re ready for your dinner meal you’ll a) Already be full from a day of cruciferous, leafy green veggies and b) It will cut down on you over-indulging in steaks and sweets.

Being vegan doesn’t mean you can’t eat tasty foods. On the contrary, some of nature’s most delicious and enjoyable morsels are vegan. A sample day vegan menu for the day could be something as simple as this:

BREAKFAST

A spinach, frozen banana, cinnamon, almond milk smoothie. Add a tablespoon of protein powder for an extra boost.

SNACK

A green apple with almond butter.

LUNCH

Roasted beets, carrots, brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes will fill you for the day. Add some quinoa as a healthy grain.

SNACK

A handful of raw cashews.

DINNER

Can be whatever you choose, but a day of filling veggies and fruit will hinder any giant meal plans.

The first step to a healthy body, is eating healthy. If you follow the day vegan menu you’ll notice a definite change in your physique and in your health.

 

A Quick and Easy Renter’s Guide

If you’re in the search of a new apartment-1-520x347place to rent, there are a few must-dos to always keep in mind. Sure, you may want floor to ceiling windows, but how much will that cost to your renter’s insurance? Carpet may be cushy for your feet, but what about the constant upkeep for regular cleanings? Here’s an easy guide for what to look for when renting a place:

  • Talk to your potential new neighbors. Find out how they like the building and how long they’ve been living there. They’ll appreciate you asking for their input and will see you as a friendly person as well. Also, if they complain about a lot of problems with the property, it might be best for you to steer clear as well.
  • Check out the place during the day AND at night. You may be an early riser and the apartment is on the loudest street in town. Or there could be issues with safety that you don’t want to be subjected to. It’s always a good idea to get an idea of what your life will be like before you move in. If you can attack an issue before it arises, the more prepared you’ll be.
  • Google search sex offenders and arrests in the area. If the neighborhood is teaming with sex predators and has a history of violent crime—no matter the low rent—look elsewhere!
  • Find out how much the landlord can legally raise the rent after a year. You don’t want to be slapped with a 20% markup once you’re nice and settled. Find out all the small print before you sign anything.

Moving into a new place is exciting, but if you don’t take your time and ask all the right questions before moving in, you may just get stuck with a lemon. Make sure to do all the research necessary before signing a lease.

Finding the Right Gym For You

gymGetting a new gym membership is more than paying a couple of fees and monthly dues. Many facilities offer different benefits and programs than one another and some even focus on certain aspects of fitness that may or may not interest you in the long run. Here’s the best way to find the right gym for you:

  • Ask to see a class listing. Some classes are free at certain gyms, while others charge extra. If you know you want a spin class, make sure you don’t have to bring your wallet each time you want your cardio blast. 
  • Take a tour of the locker room. Though you might not shower or sauna there, you tell a lot about a gym’s cleanliness by it’s locker room. If there’s mold, mildew or soppy wet sinks, you may want to keep searching for a new workout locale.
  • Talk to other members. Find out what the regulars think of the instructors and the equipment. Most people don’t mind giving their opinion on things they know all too well. If they look like a gym rat, ask for their unbiased opinion of the place.
  • See if the membership fee can be waived. Most times the sign-on fees can be taken off the bill. If you show interest, but are still on the fence, tell the  salesperson that you’ll sign on if they waive the fee. If they won’t give you a reduced rate or some other perk for signing on, they may not be the right place for you.

When searching for a new gym, keep in mind that this is a place of zen for you. If it’s too far or dingy, you may not be going as often as you should. And when looking for the right fit, remember a good workout shouldn’t have to break the bank either.

Single and Looking

alg-dating-jpgIf you keep wondering why you’re single after all these days, weeks, months, years, decades—the time has come to stop asking and starting doing! Newport Beach has some of the sexiest, happiest most fun singles around. If you’re looking to be in a relationship but keep hitting a wall of rejection, you’re doing it wrong. Here’s how to get it back in gear:

  • Join a MeetUp group. Whether it’d be a book club, swim crew, biker gang or fellow barflies for a pub crawl, meeting new people is what’s going to work in the ways of love. You might not immediately be introduced to Mr. or Miss Right, but you will meet friends of new friends, be invited to more functions and, eventually, be set up on blind dates. Someone always has a single friend waiting to be set up on a date. Let people know you’re looking once you’re comfortable in the group and your chances for love will increase ten-fold.
  • Go out by yourself. Hit a happy hour after work alone. Sometimes your crew can make you seem unapproachable. When you fly solo people want to know your story and feel less threatened of rejection. Sure, it seems uncomfortable at first so start small. Just one drink to start off the experiment and see how it goes from there. If you don’t leave having talked to one new person, try another spot. Just remember to call a cab home.
  • Try online dating. Looking for love online isn’t as scary or dorky as it was over 10 years ago. In fact 1 in 4 new relationships start online. Write a short, witty profile, post three good pictures of yourself (cropping out all others) and check your progress often. Online dating requires work, but at least you’ll know other like-minded people are there for the same reasons you are.

In this day and age, if you’re looking for love there’s no reason you shouldn’t find it. Newport Beach has all the makings of romance—sunsets, delicious food, great atmosphere, healthy —there’s no excuse for not being social. If you’re looking to break your single streak just go out there and get it!

A Guide to Choosing Wine

imagesYou’re out to dinner, you know you want red wine, you know how you want it to taste, but you just don’t know which one will taste that way. Malbec, Pinot Noir, Cabernet—so many choices, but which one is the one you’re thinking of? Here’s an easy way to remember different wines by the words you’d use to describe what you want:

If you’re looking for red wine with a strong, bold taste, head for a Zinfandel. It’s dry and has a strong tannis. Working backwards from there are the also dry and bold Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangivoese,  Shiraz and Syrah. You’re getting closer to a fruiter type wine with the Merlot and a  Pinot Noir is just a few shades closer to being sweet.

The sweet red wines consist of sherry and Port (from Portugal). Both of these are considered dessert wines, so steer clear of stake and sherry unless that’s what you’re looking for.

For white wines, the drier, crisp Pinot Gris is a nice balance of sweet and dry. Then Rosé, sparkling wine or champagne (which has many choices within itself, from Brut (dry) to demi-sec (sweet). A Savignon Blanc and Chardonnay are the strongest, boldest of the whites, while Rieslings and White Zinfandels are the sweetest and fruitiest of them all.

You don’t have to be confused at dinner any longer. Using this easy guide to wines will help you order the perfect bottle and make you look like a true wine connoisseur.

The Fear of Hoarding

 

-closet-organizers

With the recent success of reality shows such as “Hoarders” and “Extreme Hoarders,” a lot of people are looking to their own closets and drawers in fear that they may be becoming those clutter collectors that they see on TV. With this new worry professional closet organizers and shredding companies have experienced a huge increase to their industry.

Closet organizers are just what the name infers. For a hefty hourly fee they come into your home and assess your organizational skills. While some will actually do the work for you, most closet organizers merely point out what needs to be done, sometimes urging clients to hire additional construction to their homes to allow for more space, shelving or other expensive process that could be done merely by tossing a few items instead of making room for more.

Paper shredding companies are definitely the best option when it comes to throwing away your personal paperwork. These are the days of identity theft and hackers, so old tax forms, credit card bills and bank statements are fair game to those seeking a way to make quick money on your dime. While shredding companies aren’t cheap, the alternative of losing your savings to bank fraud makes the price worth it. Plus, it’s less clean up for you. Taking the time to shred all your documents personally would takes days. Shredding companies cut that time down to mere seconds.

So while hoarders and animal hoarders and coupon hoarders might have a real disorder behind their collecting problem, you are more than likely to just need a little help getting things done. Shredding companies and personal organizers can be found in almost every town now. Get some professional help before you end up on TV.

 

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