Sipping in the Suburbs at Sipurbia

Last weekend was reserved for two things: unpacking my living room and going to Sipurbia. My living room has been in boxes since we had our floors redone last year and I needed to get it unpacked and put back together once and for all. (Yes, I said last year, but it was December. And I’m a busy person. So shut up.)

sunday funday at wine and beer tasting event sipurbia
Sunday Funday at #Sipurbia

 

But we were hit with an unexpected flood (I guess all floods are unexpected) due to a home plumbing repair gone wrong. So instead of returning my living room to its former glory, I spent most of the weekend mitigating the damage of the flood. Which included (but was definitely not limited to) emptying all of the books off five floor to ceiling book shelves. And then re-shelving them. (Thank you, Mom and Aunt Debbie – I couldn’t have done it without you.)

But this is not a story about the flood, or the brand new floorboards that need to be replaced (not all of them – just a few), or my disaster living room that keeps me from having company over to my house.

It’s a story about an unlimited wine and beer tasting event called Sipurbia.

Because who says no to that? (Not me!)

So, on Sunday afternoon when we finished our damage control (with the help of my mom and step-dad – again, THANK YOU!), instead of tackling the living room or (you know,) resting, we decided to go to Sipurbia as we had originally planned.

Because as my mom said to me Sunday morning, “You like to do everything.” And she is not wrong. (I like to have fun.)

Sipurbia was held just a few miles away from my house at Paramount Ranch, a national park where they have filmed literally hundreds of movies and TV shows including American Sniper (which must be why my friend Karin saw Bradley Cooper in Westlake Village a few years ago, because why the hell else would he be in Westlake Village?) and HBO’s Westworld. Plus the event benefited an awesome charity called the BumbleBee Foundation, so the beer and wine weren’t the only things there to make you feel good!

Westworld Church Paramount Ranch
Selfie time in front of the Westworld church.

Because I am a nice wife I acquiesced volunteered to drive, so my wine drinking was limited, but my lucky husband’s beer drinking was unlimited. (Very unlimited – everyone was extremely generous with their pours.) My favorite wine was Cielo (so good) and Dave’s favorite beer was Santa Monica Brew Works (he thinks – remember his beer tasting was unlimited).

In addition to taking selfies, we stopped by the cutest photo booth in the world, Shutter Bus Co. and posed for some fun photo booth photos.

VW Bus Shutter Bus Co Photo Booth
Seriously, how cute is this photo booth?

 

I drank a little more wine. Dave drank a lot more beer. We shopped at the stalls and danced to the Spazmatics, which everyone knows is the best 80’s cover band on the planet.

Spazmatics best 80's cover band in the world
Day drinking meets day dancing – what could be better?

 

And we ran into a bunch of our friends. Including my friend Kim (AKA Agoura Hills Mom) and her husband Stewart.

suburban friends at sipurbia
One of these days we’ll learn to take selfies without cutting half of someone’s face off. (Sorry, Kim!)

 

Who knew life in the suburbs could be so fun. (Actually, I totally knew that.)

When we were talking about our weekends at the office on Monday a twenty-two year old said to me, “You have the most fun life.” (I don’t know if that’s true, but I’m trying.)

A co-worker (much) closer to my age said, “You are always doing something. You have really embraced this age.” (I don’t know if that’s true either. But I’m trying.)

And while my house (and quite possibly my life) might be a total disaster, one thing is for sure: I’m definitely having fun.

 

 

Get Ready for Some Grown-up Fun in the Suburbs at Sipurbia

So, there’s this young woman in my office named Angela who is super chill. (My seventeen-year-old daughter will never read this, but if she did, she’d roll her eyes all the way to the back of her head and say, “Mom! Don’t talk like that.” Anyway.) Angela said to me, “I saw this thing that looks really fun and made me think of you, but I don’t know if you’ll be offended by it.”

“Uh oh,” I said. “What is it?”

“It’s this wine and beer tasting event called Sipurbia,” she said.

sipburbia-wine-and-beer-tasting

“I know what that is!” I told her. “What would offend me about it? The fact that is sounds awesome?”

She giggled and shrugged.

“Or that it sounds like something a suburban mom would do?”

“Yeah, maybe that,” she said coyly.

“Well, that’s what I am,” I told her. “At this point, I sort of have to own it. Plus, it sounds like a lot of fun.”

“It does,” she agreed.

And you know when a fifty-year-old suburban mom (I know, I turned fifty two-and-a-half years ago, be quiet!) and a super chill twenty-five-year-old think something sounds fun, you know it’s going to be fun!

So, you’re asking, what in the heck is Sipurbia? It’s a wine and beer festival happening right here in Agoura Hills at Paramount Ranch. And when I say wine and beer festival I mean there will be unlimited (yes, unlimited) wine and beer tastings from local wineries and breweries. So please. Leave your car at home and make sure that Lyft app is downloaded on your phone.

Sipurbia wineries

Sipurbia breweries

There will also be food trucks, lawn games, cool vendors, and music. And when I say music, I mean the The Spazmatics (which everyone knows is the best 80’s cover band in the world!), 3 Strange Dayz (for those of you who prefer 90’s music), and a DJ to keep things going when the bands are taking a break.

Plus, if that weren’t enough the event benefits The Bumblebee Foundation, which gives financial and emotional support to families affected by pediatric cancer. So by going, you will not only be doing something good for yourself. You will be doing something good for others.

Here is all the info you need:
Website:  www.sipurbia.com
When:  Sunday, May 6th 2018 from 3-7 p.m (last call at 6:30)
Why: Benefiting Bumblebee Foundation (www.bumblebeefoundation.org)
Where:  Paramount Ranch 2903 Cornell Rd, Agoura Hills, CA 91301 (just off Kanan)
What:  Beer. Wine. Music. Food. Charity. Memories.

sipurbia-wine-and-beer-festival-supporting-bumblebee-foundation

Look, Dave and I are actually going to be in Napa that weekend for a wedding on May 5th, but we’re hauling ourselves back home early Sunday morning so we can go to this thing. It sounds that fun.

Tickets: $40 (GA) & $100 (VIP) per person until 2/28. (And then they go up, so get them NOW!)
But because I’m so nice (and I want to hang out with you) if you click here to purchase tickets you will get 25% off if you use coupon code ROSS25

Hope to see you there.

 

 

Rent at the Saban Theater (Go See It!)

I love a good musical – Les Miserables, A Chorus Line, Wicked, Spamalot. Hey, (dirty little secret) I even liked Starlight Express. (But I saw it in London where everything is awesome.)

But my all-time favorite musical is Rent. So when I saw that it was playing at the Saban Theater and Marley asked if we could go I had to say yes.

Rent at Saban Theater

 

I have to admit I was a little worried. Rent is a tough production and I’ve seen more than one play mangled by a regional cast. It turns out I didn’t need to worry at all – the cast was excellent. Everyone had a great voice and the acting was superb. Marley found Roger quite dreamy. (She’s not wrong.) Carmen Jackson from the ensemble who sings the solo in Seasons of Love was especially amazing. That girl needs to get herself on The Voice. The audience was cheering throughout the play and the cast received an enthusiastic standing ovation at the end.

Rent is playing at The Saban Theater in Beverly Hills, a beautiful Art Deco theater on Wilshire Boulevard that opened in 1930 as the Fox Theater. These days the Saban usually houses concerts, but it’s the perfect place to see a play. The theater is gorgeous, there is a large lobby area with a bar and the seats are comfortable with plenty of legroom. Seeing a play in a majestic old theater really adds to the performance and the production company (Plan-B Entertainment) did a great job with the set design.

 

rent-the-musical
Yeah, my cellphone photo not so great. Trust me the theater is beautiful and the stage looked great.

The only problem with the show is there are only a few performances left: Friday, July 24 at 8:00PM, Saturday, July 25 at 2:00PM, Saturday, July 25 at 8:00 PM, and Sunday, July 26 at 2:00PM. So if you are in Los Angeles and love Rent or have always wanted to see Rent or are just looking for something awesome to do this weekend I highly suggest you go see it. There are still tickets available. You can buy them here.

I’m going to go searching for my Rent CD now. I can’t get Glory out of my head. I know I’ll be singing it all day long.

 

*I was given a pair of complimentary tickets to facilitate this review. But trust me when I tell you this cast and production is fantastic. Get your tickets now! Seriously what are you waiting for?

 

 

Suburban Moms Go Acoustic with Mikey Wax

This was originally posted on skirt.com on January 31, 2011. It’s been edited. Heavily. (Though, probably still not nearly enough.)

I’m reposting because my friend Mikey Wax is performing at Hotel Café on Tuesday, July 1. You should go see him. Here’s why…

Hearing live music is one of my greatest loves in life. Innocently flirting with cute young boys is another. Last Monday night I hit the jackpot and go to do both.

My daughter’s elementary school held a fundraiser that was a little bit outside the box. It was the brainstorm of super cool mom who’s really into new music and an artist named Mikey Wax caught her attention.

And for good reason – he’s incredibly talented. (And super cute…in case you were wondering.)

Anyway, Mikey performs concerts at people’s houses. For free. All you have to do is guarantee 25 people and he will make it out to your house to perform for you and your closest friends in the hopes of building a fan base and selling his CDs. (And trust me once you hear him perform you’ll be buying a CD!)

Debbie saw that he was planning a trip from his home state of New York out to California for some shows, booked a date with him, and created a Mom’s Acoustic Night Out fundraiser. Tickets were only $10 and seating was limited to 50 people.  We held the show in the school library and Debbie turned our library into a funky coffee house by ditching the fluorescent bulbs and bringing lamps and candles and twinkly lights. There was tea and bubbly water and baked goods. (Oh, if only we weren’t on school property and could have had wine!) She even made laminated passes for everyone.

As school fundraisers go, it was pretty awesome. Mostly because Mikey was awesome.

 

mikey-wax-house-concert
Photo of Mikey Wax courtesy of Laura Starks Photography

 

His voice was amazing and his songs were just fantastic. He’s young and adorable and has a really great presence about him. Hello suburban cougar moms – having this guy serenade you and your mommy friends in an intimate setting is even better than flirting with a hot waiter. (And everyone knows how much I love to do that!)

Before the show he was chatting with my friend Laura and me and telling us about his house tours and how he usually stays at hotels, but sometimes ends up crashing at the house where he plays.

“Where are you staying tonight?” Laura asked him. “You know Charlene’s happily married but she really likes young guys. Do you want to stay at her house?”

Yeah I love it when my friends whore me out.

 “Oh, and my husband is out of town. Hmmm, how could we explain it to the kids?” I said.

I think he might have blushed.

“Don’t worry, I’m kidding,” I said. Then I turned to Laura, “You know you’re kind of embarrassing me. I usually like to have these conversations after a few cocktails, not at the school library.”

After the show a few of us took him out for a drink and bought him some dinner. (Oh, shut up!)

He was pretty enamored with Southern California. Of course every east coaster who visits in January is enamored with Southern California. What’s not to love – it’s sunny and 75 degrees outside. Sunny and 75 in January is the reason why tiny little houses with ugly backyards and no closet space cost over a half a million dollars.

He talked about his musical influences and growing up in Long Island listening to Billy Joel.

When I was 25 or 26 I went to a wedding in Long Island that was next door to Billy Joel’s house and at one point Billy Joel just came over, uninvited, and started wandering around the pool area where everyone was having cocktails.

“Wow,” he said, “when was that? In the 90’s or something?”

I thought back, “Yeah, I guess it was in 1991.”

You know, back when Mikey was six!

That’s when I realized my time flirting with a cute musician was over and it was officially time to go home.

Watch this video of Mikey and become an instant fan.

Then go see him next Tuesday night at Hotel Café. Tickets are only $10 and can be purchased here.

Or if that’s not possible contact Mikey for a house show. You’ll be the coolest mom in your ‘hood and get to hang out with a cute musician.

That, my friend, is what I call a win!

 

 

 

 

 

Why Small Business Saturday Is Better than Black Friday

Forget about Black Friday (please)! It’s all about Small Business Saturday. What is Small Business Saturday? It’s a brilliant marketing campaign by American Express encouraging people to shop local.

And while it is a marketing campaign, I really do like and agree with the message of it – let’s spend our money in our own town and with the small businesses that support it. Instead of heading off to Target or Walmart or Macy’s, why not look around your city at the little shops owned by locals and see what wonderful and unique things they have to offer?

Another great way to support small businesses is to shop online. It’s not quite the same thing as shopping local, but it is a great way to support a small-sized business with unique products and not pour even more money into mass merchandisers.

Here are a couple of small businesses I love that offer their products online:

Tomboy Vintage

I’ve already written about my friend Jeanne’s awesome new tee shirt company Tomboy Vintage. Her shirts are adorable and perfect for the tomboy in your life. She has six different styles for women and two styles for little girls. The only problem is picking out just one. (So go ahead and buy two or three!)

Here I am (as requested by Kim) in Jeanne’s latest design. (Is it me or is this picture really big?)

Tomboy Girl Power Tee Shirt
Girl Power!

Please note if you do buy a Tomboy Vintage tee shirt that they are sized for juniors and run a bit small – you may want to order a size up. (I usually wear a medium and am wearing a size large.)

Betty Belts

Betty Belts is another great company owned by a really cool woman named Donna von Hoesslin. I met Donna when I wrote this article about her for skirt.com. Talk about an incredibly interesting person – Donna went surfing for the first time at age 31 and it literally changed her life. So much so that the California native, who was living in Berlin, ended up moving back to California so she could surf all the time.

Donna is not only passionate about the environment, but about the people on our planet and treating them fairly. Donna creates environmentally friendly jewelry – her sea glass jewelry is her most popular- and has her jewelry made in Bali by artisans who are paid a fair, living wage.

sea-glass-necklaces
Sea glass necklaces designed and photographed by Donna von Hoesslin

Donna’s store, Betty Belts, is located in the Main Street area of Ventura, CA, but you can also buy her products online. In addition to the sea glass jewelry Donna also sells really cute earrings made from the leftover resin from making surfboards, silver jewelry, and super-cute belts.

surfboard resin earrings and necklace
Surfboard Resin Earrings and Necklace photographed by David Pu’u

Why buy costume jewelry made in China when you can buy something truly unique designed by a cool chick and made by a Balinese artisan who was paid a fair, living wage?

So that’s my Small Business Saturday plug. This holiday season why not shop small? (It’s so good for the soul!)

BTW – I was not compensated in any way for this post. These are just two really great companies (that happened to be owned by two amazing women) with fantastic products.

What small businesses do you plan on shopping at this holiday season?