Walking

Dana Point IlluminOcean

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in News

Dana Point IlluminOcean

Dana Point IlluminOcean
This stunning holiday festival of lights makes its debut in Dana Point Wednesday night, November 26, 2014 and runs through January 4, 2015. Great news… it’s FREE to the public. Dana Point IlluminOcean Holiday imagination shines bright with larger-than-life sea sculptures and moving light tunnels dotting the Southern California coastline.

Dana Point IlluminOcean will electrify the Southern California shoreline with 40 nights of holiday lights. This wonderland by the sand — created and funded by The Resorts of Dana Point to become an annual winter tradition — features a brilliant spectacle of 18 oversized lighting sculptures with over 225,000 LED lights, and is free to the public for viewing nightly at sundown through January 4, 2015.
Dana Point IlluminOcean lights

As thousands gather to celebrate the season at New York’s Rockefeller Center or Chicago’s Millennium Park, Dana Point Harbor enchants and excites visitors of all ages with a vibrant exhibition for the whole family to enjoy.

As the whale watching capital of the world, and proud stewards of the coastal ecosystems which drives most of the destination’s tourism traffic, the sea-themed holiday lighting sculptures showcase the city’s devotion to ocean preservation.

From octopus and sharks, to starfish and surfers, the dazzling displays are highlighted by a towering glow-motion tree, light tunnels stretching longer than a football field and over a dozen gigantic lighting sculptures — so big visitors can walk through and inside the belly of a glowing 40-foot Blue whale!

As visitors stroll through the colorful collection of immersive attractions, every step is filled with vibrant sights and sounds while roaming street performers entertain crowds, glow merchandise shines and “Whale Eyes” 3D glasses give a must-see holographic look at this holiday spectacle.

See the lights. Explore the sights. This year and every year, only at Dana Point IlluminOcean. For additional information, visit myDanaPoint.com.

ABOUT DANA POINT, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Conveniently located in Orange County — halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles — Dana Point showcases a breathtaking collection of resort properties with an approachable elegance unique to the Southern California shoreline. Dana Point’s dramatic beauty is complemented by a distinct variety of year-round signature events, as well as boundless ocean experiences along its golden coast. Renowned as the whale watching capital of the world, Dana Point features an abundant marine life and legendary OC Dana Point Harbor that opens to an ocean of possibilities.

ABOUT DANA POINT ILLUMINOCEAN:
From November 26, 2014 through January 4, 2015, the lights come to life every night at Dana Point IlluminOcean and it is free to the public. This large-scale family holiday lighting attraction, backed by The Resorts of Dana Point with support from multiple community stakeholders, features 18 ocean-themed lighting attractions with over 225,000 LED bulbs situated along the one-mile harbor of the quintessential Southern California town of Dana Point. The oceanic holiday walking tour experience will be lit nightly at sundown, creating a festive tradition for all to enjoy for years to come.

ABOUT THE RESORTS OF DANA POINT
A collection of four luxury coastal properties—including the St. Regis Monarch Beach; The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel; Doubletree Suites by Hilton Doheny Beach – Dana Point; and Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa—joined together in 2010 to form a Tourism Business Improvement District. Collectively, their objectives include the development and execution of promotional activity to increase leisure and meetings travel to the destination.


Hollywood Christmas Parade and Hollywood Hotel

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Food

 

Hollywood Christmas Parade

Walk the world’s longest Red Carpet on Sunday, November 30, 2014 with The Hollywood Hotel.  For the first time in the hotel’s history, the team at Hollywood Hotel is inviting guests to walk with them on the world’s longest red carpet.  The 3.5 mile long red carpet takes you along the historic LA streets of Hollywood Blvd, Sunset Blvd, and Vine in the 86th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade.

Hollywood Hotel

In this exclusive package, this year the Hollywood Hotel team will be “wrangling” a giant The Elf on the Shelf balloon character accompanied by the beloved books’ co-creator Carole Aebersold.

Benefitting Toys for Tots, this year’s Grand Marshal is Stevie Wonder and guest co-hosts include Erik Estrada, Dean Cain, travel expert Laura McKenzie, and Montel Williams. Check out more details here http://thehollywoodchristmasparade.org/

The exclusive Hollywood Hotel’s Hollywood Christmas Parade Package: Reserve your room at the Hollywood Hotel over November 30, 2014 and guests can walk the parade route, help “wrangle” The Elf balloon, all while representing Hollywood Hotel. Room rates start at $154 per night/double occupancy (2 night minimum) and includes overnight stay, hot buffet breakfast, Wifi, Hollywood Hotel t-shirt and holiday hat to wear in the parade and, of course, walking in the parade.  PROMO CODE: XMAS.
Hollywood Hotel - Hollywood Christmas Parade - Official Photo

Hotel guests do not have to walk in the parade.  If you prefer to view the parade, the hotel is offering a 30% discount on Grand Stand seats for guests staying at the hotel.

For more information or reservations, call 1-800-800-9733 or local, (323) 315-1800. Or, visit hollywoodhotel.net or the Hollywood Hotel Facebook page.

About Hollywood Hotel
The original Hollywood Hotel was established in 1903 on Hollywood Boulevard, owned by H.J. Whitley, the tycoon credited with establishing Hollywood. It was known as “the” Hollywood hotel as the city began to grow with the advent of the silent film era. Rudolph Valentino, who lived in room 264; met and married his first wife, Jean Acker, there, and spent their honeymoon in his room. In 1967 Hollywood Hotel, was reestablished on Vermont Avenue and since then has become an icon in its own right. International athletes and dignitaries have stayed, to American celebrities such as Kristen Wiig, Drew Barrymore, Aidan Quinn, Jessica Biel, to John Krasinski and BJ Novak and Jason Rittter, all of whom have attended or performed at the hotel’s comedy club open mic nights.

The 130-room Hollywood Hotel is “where all the action begins in Hollywood.” Located in the center of the entertainment capital, the vibe of this intimate hotel is a comfortable, cosmopolitan meets vintage Hollywood glamour and steps away from shopping, world-class dining and cutting edge culture.

Hollywood Hotel is one of the most reasonably priced hotels in the city and offers incredible value in a central location. Guests start their day with a complimentary hot breakfast buffet, can later bask by the pool surrounded by gardens and sip a cocktail in the stylish outdoor bar and lounge after a day of sightseeing or shopping.

Hollywood Hotel
1160 Vermont Ave
Hollywood, CA 90029
(800) 800-9733
(323) 315-1800


The Wild Blueberries of Maine

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Travel

Wild Blueberries in the barrens
The Wild Blueberries of MaineGeologists state that nearly one-third of the world was covered by ice. During the last ice age, roughly 20,000 years ago, much of North America was covered by glaciers creating a barren land of ice. As the glaciers moved when the ice receded, they carried huge rocks that were worn down creating smaller rocks, gravel, dirt, and sand leaving a very complex, layered, mineral rich soil combination. The melting ice gave birth to newly formed streams and rivers thereby nurturing a foundation for new vegetation, including wild blueberries.
In the wild blueberry fields of Maine

Recently, the Wild Blueberry Association of North America invited a group of registered dietitians and food bloggers, myself included, to visit the massive wild blueberry barrens of Maine. The beautiful state of Maine, in fact, is the largest producer of wild blueberries representing nearly 40 percent of the world’s total wild blueberry production.
David Yarborough, right, with one of the lead growers
It is here, in Maine, that I learned to admire the wild blueberry. Most of us have admired them for their vitamins and antioxidant properties. We’ve heard that eating blueberries helps fight cancer, many refer to them as a superfood, and of course, we all know they taste delicious. But what is it about the wild blueberries of Maine that sets them apart from the patch?
Layers of glacial soil

Native to North America, wild blueberries have been thriving in the glacial soil referred to above for thousands of years but it was the Native Americans who first encouraged the growth of the wild blueberry by burning the fields, called barrens. The burning process actually stimulates the growth of the wild blueberry which grows up from the ground through their natural roots called rhizomes. One single rhizome can produce an entire field of wild blueberries and it is natural for several varieties of rhizomes to rise up in the fields producing deep blue wild blueberries, some more red in color, or even lush purple colored wild blueberries. Not only does this naturally occurring variety of berries make for a savory product for you to enjoy, but it also makes the fields so inviting I chose to lie down in them – see photograph below taken by writer and public relations executive, Betta Stothart.
Absorbing blueberries in the field

It is important to note that most people visualize blueberries as growing way above ground on a tall bush. These tall bushes are called the “high bush” blueberries and although all blueberries are derived from the wild blueberry, the high bush blueberries are cultivated. They do not grow wild and were thereby given the official name of “tame” by the US Department of Agriculture.
Wyman's Wild Blueberry processing plant
It’s pretty remarkable that the wild blueberry began growing naturally through the incredibly dense glacial soil, right? These must be some pretty strong plants. This strength just may prove my theory as to why the wild blueberry claims 2x’s the antioxidants as their tame cousins. The wild blueberry is also a bit smaller and more concentrated than the tame cultivated berries, however, this year’s harvest showcased some of the most plump, lush, and flavorful wild blueberries ever. According to David Yarborough, wild blueberry specialist with the Cooperative Extension and professor of horticulture in the School of Food and Agriculture at the University of Maine, good buds in the winter, the high amount of pollination by honey bees and bumblebees, adequate rainfall, and good weather during the harvest season have led to the success of this year’s crop and helped the blueberries thrive in their wild environment.
hand-raking the wild blueberries on Merrill Farms
Hand-raked wild blueberries
When the wild blueberries are ready for harvest, usually in late July or early August, 500 growers, of which 50 are certified organic, pick the berries by either hand-raking or mechanical harvestings. Our group had the opportunity to view both harvest techniques and actually experience hand-raking “first hand” at Merrill Blueberry Farms. Owner, Todd Merrill was kind enough to teach us the process which uses a fairly large metal rake that you hold by hand and scoop and shake the blueberries off the vines. Then you politely dump them into a bin and repeat the process for about 8 hours. What a workout! And, Merrill Farms is one of the top organic wild blueberry producers in the region. However, another important aspect to point out is that even non-organic farmed wild blueberries are grown with limited pesticides due to their emphasis on natural pests and insect control.
Merrill Blueberry Farms of Maine
After the field harvest, whether mechanical or hand-raking, blueberries are taken to the processing plants where they are handled with kid gloves and processed from fresh to individually quick frozen in 24 hours. A triple washing and air drying process that is so proprietary we were not allowed to photograph, the blueberries are then individually frozen. True! The IQF (individually quick frozen) process is so specialized that the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and flavor of each blueberry is locked in providing you with the highest quality for your family. As Thomas Gardner, VP of Wyman & Son, a family owned company since 1874, says, “the IQF process is nature’s pause button.” Wyman & Son, a proven leader in the wild blueberry market, processes on average 1 million pounds of wild blueberries per day. WOW!
Mechanical harvesting of wild blueberries
Giving a new perspective to fresh frozen fruits, fresh cultivated berries found it most grocery stores are often picked early and travel long distances thereby depleting vital nutrients and flavor. The IQF wild blueberries which, in my opinion, fought their way out of the ground to produce the antioxidant rich blueberry, provide you and your family with the highest quality fruit year round. Locally, in Maine, fresh wild blueberries can be purchased at Farmer’s Markets, shops and grocers. As for the rest of us, buy these specially frozen flavor dense berries in the freezer section of your grocery store. Your grocery retailer does not carry them? Don’t be shy! Request they bring them in. Most of the time, store managers are thrilled to do so. Chances are if you are looking for them, others are too.
Chef Lou Keifer in his restaurant garden at the Bar Harbor Inn
A few more reasons to love Maine Wild Blueberries… chefs love them! Bar Harbor Inn Executive Chef Louis Kiefer grows them in his own backyard. He brings in what he calls this “versatile ingredient” to serve with dishes like Wild Blueberry & Tomato Salsa, Taste of Brie with Pear, Wild Blueberry and Basil, and Wild Blueberry Sorbet.
Wild blueberry cocktail at Havana

Maine Diver Scallops with Wild Blueberry Sauce
At Havana Restaurant, where we dined “with” Martha Stewart – she just happened to dine at the table adjacent to us, wild blueberries were the feature of the evening with selections of Wild Blueberry cocktails, Seared Scallops with wild Maine blueberry vinaigrette, Beef Tenderloin Skewers with a wild Maine blueberry chimichurri, and Goat Cheese Cheesecake with wild Maine blueberry compote.
Captain Dan
Dining didn’t stop there. The next night we were whisked away in a power boat steered by Captain Dan which took us across waters filled with lobster pots to the quaint island of Little Cranberry Island where we dined at Islesford Dock Restaurant “with” again, Martha Stewart! Yep, who would have believed but the Queen of culinary walked in again – for the second night in a row – while we were dining. We dine in good taste, wouldn’t you say, Martha? Our Islesford Dock dining experience had most of us diving in to the truly fresh Maine lobsters. Lobster so tender the butter didn’t stand a chance. And, Little Cranberry Island couldn’t keep the wild blueberries away. We finished dinner with one of the best Wild Blueberry Crisps ever to touch my lips.
Islesford Dock on Little Cranberry Island
A few antics in the kitchen at Islesford Lobster Pot
As the chefs will agree, wild blueberries are a versatile ingredient. From savory dishes to sweet, nearly every recipe can be made with blueberries year round. Look for fresh frozen wild blueberries in your grocer’s freezer section. You won’t be disappointed.
Bar Harbor Inn Housemade Moon Pies with Wild Blueberries
A final note, I am a Certified Food Healer. My trip to the Wild Blueberry barrens supports the food healing properties of the berries in that they are filled with vital phytochemicals like anthocyanins which help repair cell damage (ie, help you age better), decrease inflammation in the brain (ie, help you think better), slow memory loss in adults (ie, help you remember better), and are linked to increasing memory and attention in both adults and kids. Bottom line for your top of the line superfood wild blueberry – eat up!
Eating wild blueberries directly from the field
Wild blueberries for your skin? Wild blueberries are abundantly found in everything from soaps,
Wild Blueberry soap
to jams and syrups,
Wild blueberry syrup and jam
to pancake mix,
Wild blueberry pancake mix
and honored on coffee mugs, ceramics, and all kinds of gifts.

Wild blueberry soaps and mugs
Walking in Bar Harbor, you’ll find wild blueberries on every menu.
Wild blueberry pie and tea
Even the local lobster loves wild blueberry ice cream. 🙂 There are an abundance of ways to celebrate the wild blueberry…

There's a lobster loose in Bar Harbor

A few links for your enjoyment:

Wild Blueberry Association of North America

MerrillWildBlueberries.com

Wymans.com

BarHarborInn.com

IslesfordDock.com

HavanaRestaurant

Wild Blueberries everywhere!