King Tut now at the California Science Center in Los Angeles

King Tut visits Los Angeles for the third time. The first time was in 1978, and the second time was in 2005. This time, his exhibit offers Los Angelenos a peek at some of the most beautiful objects with 66 artifacts never seen before now. The exhibit brings “blurry history of the Boy King into sharp focus,” said Jeff Norman Managing Director CEO, California Science Center. “It begins with the discovery from a waterboy, said Dr. Zahi Hawass, Esteemed Egyptian Archaeologist.

Celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the discovery of King Tut’s tomb, the California Science Center is the first of the 10-city tour to host KING TUT: TREASURES OF THE GOLDEN PHARAOH. It’s the largest King Tut exhibition ever toured. “You learn about how Howard Carter, lacking the skills of an archaeologist, is appointed Inspector General of Monuments of Upper Egypt. On November 5, 1922 he made a wonderful discovery in the Valley of the Kings – a magnificent tomb of King Tutankhamun,” Hawass said.

Here are 10 things to look for in the exhibit:

1.The dramatic new presentation, begins 34,000 years ago in 1336 B.C. during the height of Egypt’s glory. Ticket holders watch a short film about the history of this exhibit and King Tut, before seeing the first of over 150 authentic artifacts in various rooms. There is a dazzling multimedia experience guiding guests on an immersive journey of the pharaoh’s quest for immortality.

2. Discover a culture immersed in magic in the Preparation area of the exhibit and learn that priests prepared Tutankhamun for his passage through the tomb with everything he would need on the journey, and later in the afterlife. Egyptians believed that the afterlife was just like Egypt, only even more perfect. To get there, the deceased first had to pass through 12 gates of the Netherworld, a place filled with danger and evil forces. This could only be controlled by magic. Magic was essential to Egyptian life as air, water and food.

3. Inside this painted calcite box researchers found two bundles of human hair that may have belonged to King Tutunkhamun and his half-sister and wife Ankhesenamun. He died at the age of 19.

4. Because Tutankhamun was only 9 years old when he became king, furniture and weapons were made smaller for him. He also had a collection of 130 walking sticks in the tomb. Researchers discovered Tutankhamun had a club foot and must have walked with some difficulty. Walking sticks may have aided his stride, and represented wisdom and status. The walking stick above has never been out of Egypt. This walking stick has a display of a submissive prisoner on the handle. Holding onto this stick was like choking the neck of the prisoner, demonstrating his control of his empire.

5. Look for blue items. The color blue represents the sky,  a symbol of rebirth that would occur in the afterlife. These “open mouth” water vessels were poured into one’s mouth.

6. Enter the Danger! room. Learn how each of the 12 gates of the Netherworld represent one of the 12 hours of the night. Images of lions, jackals and snakes ruled the treacherous place. The Book of Dead was a collection of almost 200 spells gathered from the earliest Egyptian civilization. It was a roadmap for the deceased to guide them through the Netherworld to the afterlife. Magic spells were written on papyrus rolls, on tomb walls in pyramids and on the walls of the royal burial chambers in the Valley of the Kings. The king’s ability to dominate the panther in this statue above is described as one who carries Tutankhamun to safety through the nocturnal darkness of the Netherworld.

7. Next is the Guardian room. As Tutankhamun reaches the end of his dangerous journey, the first ray of light begins to break through. See Gilded Wooden Statue of Ptah wearing a cobalt-blue glass skullcap. On his scepter are three hieroglyphs – life, stability and sovereignty.

8. One of the most dramatic artifacts is this Wooden Guardian Statue with piercing volcanic obsidian eyes. His sandals and forehead are made of bronze. Other metals include gold.

9. Venture into the Rebirth area of the collection when Tutankhamun is reborn. For the rest of eternity, he will join the other gods and sail across the sky each day. His nights are spent traveling through the Netherworld. He triumphed over death and attained immortality.There were 413 workers buried with Tutankhamun that included 365 small workers, one for each day of the year. Their were 36 larger overseers, roughly one per week (Egyptian week was 10 days long) and 12 foremen, one for each month.

10. Jewelry fans will enjoy examining the exquisite rings found on King Tut’s fingers, opulent jewelry that adorned his body, and the gold sandals placed on his feet upon burial.

Discover how the scientific analysis of King Tut’s 3,300-year-old mummy has revealed new information about his health and lineage, and how cutting-edge technologies have played a role in discovering new tombs and analyzing existing ones in ways never before imagined.
Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition! Click here to purchase a ticket today –

10 Reasons why to Visit Carlsbad

During the months of March through May, the seaside community of Carlsbad in Southern California celebrates with their famous blooming ranuculus. Near the center of town is a field ablaze with a kaleidoscope of flowers. Restaurants, hotels and spas incorporate flowers into their wellness programs, cocktails and special dining menus.

Here are 10  Petal to Plate experiences that will bedazzle your senses:

1. Omni La Costa Resort & Spa gardeners have planted thousands of flowers around the grounds of the classic Spanish Colonial design resort. Known for The Chopra Center and La Costa Spa, the spa is the jewel of the resort. In 2018, the staff is taking the Spa experience to a new level offering weekly and complimentary floral and herb Art of Aromatherapy classes. Guests will learn how essential oils offer a multitude of positive and therapeutic affects in mood and health. Jasmine oil is soothing, relaxing and uplifting, while sweet orange oil calms ones nerves and stimulates lymph flow and digestion.

2. There is a new Petal to Plate facial at the Omni La Costa Spa Day offering the unique Rose and Neroli treatment and shoulder massage featuring all-natural skin care oils and products that will reduce inflammation and the appearance of fine lines. IMG_9838.jpg
3. Guests can also enjoy floral-infused craft cocktails at the Omni La Costa VUE overlooking the golf course. Mixologists create a cocktail made with flavorful delights of flowers like hibiscus, pansy, chamomile, rose and elderflower. While at The Spa, there is a Spa Day Menu offering healthy and light fare for guests before and after their treatments. They also make Signature Spa Bellinis and a Blood Orange margarita to help one relax, unwind and enjoy their spa moment.IMG_9781
4.  Located between LEGOLAND and the Pacific Ocean, The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch are filled with colors of merlot, purple, salmon, pink, gold, yellow and white can be seen from the highway. Thousands of visitors stop to take a tour of the largest argritourism destination in Southern California, with acres of land in full bloom starting March 1 until May 13. Some of the flowers are cut, while others stay in the field for farmers to collect the seeds and replant in the same field for the next season. Flowers and bulbs are harvested and packaged to sell at the onsite Armstrong Garden store for the public to plant at take home.IMG_9763

Guests visiting the Flower Fields can ride in a wagon pulled by an antique tractor while listening to an audio commentary sharing the history of this one-of-a-kind farm. Even though ranunculus are the stars, another beautiful sight is a large American flag made with rows of red, white and blue petunias. There is an interactive flower maze made with blooming, colorful and fragrant sweet peas. Other exhibits include the history of the poinsettia plant, and a large greenhouse showcasing cymbidium orchids in a multitude of colors.

During April and May there are a variety of fun, special events that include live-music performances, flower arranging classes, photo workshops, tea in the gardens and sunset wine tastings with food at tables in the fields.IMG_9880

5. Attend a floral cocktail class at the nearby Sheraton Carlsbad Resort. At sunset, before dinner at Twenty/20, guests can arrange to take a cocktail class or sit back and have one of the creative mixologists make a pretty champagne cocktail named Fizz Blossom. It’s a refreshing lavender and lemon spritz made with vodka, lemon juice, lavender flower syrup, sparkling wine and purple lavender floral sprigs.IMG_9895

6. Dine at Twenty/20 restaurant for a “Petal to Plate” menu by Chef Eddie. Named for its picture-perfect views, Twenty/20 brings farm-fresh ingredients with a coastal California flair. Each dish is embellished with flowers to intensfy flavors and provide pleasing color. The hamachi crudo is decorated with cilantro flowers, citrus flowers and radish flowers. The Hibiscus Coconut Shrimp Ceviche has tangerine and chive flowers. His fennel arugula salad is brightened with fennel flowers and pansies. The mustard flower crusted lamb has beautiful arugula blossoms, and the rooibos-orange blossom cake is sprinkled in a mosaic of pretty flower petals.IMG_9963

7. Park Hyatt Aviara was built seven years after the first Arnold Palmer designed golf course was built 27 years ago in Carlsbad. This elegant property features 327 rooms with 43 suites. The lobby welcomes guests with a stunning floral display. While checking in, guests can sip a complimentary floral and fruit enhanced water or Arnold Palmer at a self service beverage station. Take the drink to the magnet window to appreciate the views of the property’s Palm Courtyard filled with flowers and gardens. Beyond is the Pacific Ocean.IMG_9982

8. Inside the Park Hyatt Aviara Spa guests receive a warm hand towel with the essence of eucalyptus, tea tree, pine and peppermint oil upon check-in. Marble steam showers have bottle of eucalyptus spray for spa guests to gain health benefits. In the lounge area are dispensers filled with plum, cocoonut and persimmon body lotion to soften skin and provide aromatherapy. Healthy snacks and fruit enhanced waters are available. This Spa also offers a two-room Couples Suite with a private whirlpool patio, and a 24 hour fitness center that is larger than a typical resort gym.IMG_0071

9. Enjoy lunch of dinner at The Argyle Steakhouse, next to the Park Hyatt Aviara Arnold Palmer Golf Course. It’s a fine dining restaurant offering an array of grass fed steaks and fresh fish. When ordering a steak, a knife concierge approaches the table to guide guests on the best steak knife for different cuts of beef. Executive Chef Pierre Albaladejo, Chef de Cuisine William Griggs and Pastry Chef Christopher Rull prepare a Petal to Plate menu that includes a Baja striped bass on a bed of local mixed greens with Valdivia Farm peas, grilled asparagus, Meyer Lemon marmalade, sliced Carlsbad strawberries and a honey-pollen vinaigrette. Rull makes an elegant Lemon Strawberry Shortbread dessert with Violette infused strawberry jam and fresh strawberry sorbet. Known as the Surfin’ Chefs, they have been known to teach guests how to surf, when arranged with front desk staff and concierge.IMG_0055

10. Guests will want to sip the Petal to Glass cocktail while overlooking the Aviara Golf Course. The mixologists make a delightful and colorful drink with Don Julio Blanco tequila, lemon juice, strawberry puree infused with honey syrup, champagne and delicate fennel flowers. Sit back, and take in the beauty of this Park Hyatt resort.

Click here for a list of other Carlsbad Petal to Plate offerings.


7 Fun Pi Day Facts & Specials on Delicious Pies

Each year on March 14 in National Pi Day. Here are some fun facts and some great spots offering pie deals.

  1. Pi Day is celebrated each year on March 14, to commemorate the irrational number of 3.141592653.IMG_9718
  2. Marie Callender’s is offering a free slice of pie today, March 14 in honor of Pi Day. Download the coupon the Marie Callender’s website, and choose from over 20 different varieties of their famous, freshly baked pies. Marie Callender’s is also baking a Celebration Cake Pie, brought back by popular demand, available now through March 31st.
  3.  March 14 is also Einstein’s birthday. He was born in Germany in 1879.
  4. Celebrate your love for the mathematical constant π and/or pies at Winston Pies on Tuesday, March 14, with a flaky, buttery circular hand pie for just $3.14 Available all day while supplies last, they come in a variety of flavors, including Harvest Apple,  Blue Ridge Blueberry, Dixie Classic Cherry and Chocolate Cowgirl. Winston Pies will have a Golden Ticket tucked away into the packaging for one pie, any shape or size, sold that day. The lucky winner gets one free mini pie, so don’t forget to look inside the wrapping before you toss it. 11678 San Vicente Blvd. Check out their website Photo credit Winston Pies. IMG_9719
  5. In 2009 the US government recognized March 14 as National Pi Day
    Pi, or π, is defined as the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It’s an irrational number, meaning it cannot be written as a simple fraction.
  6. The first organized Pi Day was in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium. Physicist Larry Shaw had the idea to celebrate the day  and then eating some pies.IMG_9720.JPG
  7.  Pi Day, March 14 at Blaze Pizza, the LeBron James-backed fast casual pizza concept which has more than 240 restaurants across the country, celebrates by offering $3.14 whole pizzas all day across it’s multiple Southern California locations on March 14, including Irvine, Los Angeles, Rancho Cucamonga, Pasadena, Torrance, Santa Ana, Brea, Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, and Newport Beach Click here to see locations.

Candytopia is Santa Monica’s Sweetest Spot

Don’t suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), get your ticket to one of the the most colorful and sweetest experiences in Los Angeles.

Photo of Tyra Banks Courtesy of Candytopia

The night I toured Candytopia, Tyra Banks and Josh Duhamel followed right behind me. Banks stopped in the candy art gallery and admired the Prince portrait made with 1.5k pieces of candy.

Prince – Photo by Jill Weinlein

The best Josh Duhamel moment was when he and his son jumped and played in the marshmallow tsunami pit.

Photo by Jill Weinlein

Located in the Santa Monica Place for only a limited four-month run. Attendees may nibble on samples in each room as they make their way through Candyland and explore an imaginative confectionary wonderland.


Colossal candy creations, arts and flying unicorn pigs provide fun photo opportunities.  At the end is a candy boutique filled with retro and popular candy, clothing, stuffed animals and tumblers.


Tickets are selling fast, especially Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are $30 per person, $23 for children 4 to 12 years old, and free for children under 3. Hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. 305 Santa Monica Place, #142. Click here to get your ticket Candytopia

My Governors Ball Red Carpet Experience

Excitedly I walked on the 90th Oscars red carpet before the Academy Awards and the Oscars Governors Ball preview. Event producer Cheryl Cecchetto of Sequoia Productions and her team created an elegant white and gold room that “transports those who have won before, those who may win and those who will win in the future, an experience that lingers long after the last dance,” Cecchetto said. “This is the 24th consecutive year, that Puck and the Wolfgang Puck Catering team set the menu featuring 60 imaginative dishes.”IMG_8900

Trays of Master Chef Wolfgang Puck’s amuse bouche, hors d’oeuvres and small plates were passed around the room. It’s the exact same culinary delights that 1,500 Oscar winners and nominees, show presenters and participants will enjoy after exiting the televised Hollywood award show.


Passed trays included spicy tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, crab stuffed hibiscusn smoked salmon Oscars and black truffle chicken pot pies. Every year, Puck and his team present an enormous seafood raw bar and exquisite pastries and chocolates that include caramel-passion fruit Oscars lollipops, cocktail inspired macarons and a few sweet vegan delights. The highlight of the evening was a Callebaut Ruby chocolate filled with strawberry-hibiscus mousse.


Servers offered flutes filled with bubbly limited edition Piper-Heidsieck champagne. One was an Oscars Art-Deco limited edition, others included a rare 1998 and 2002 vintage champagne.


Globally acclaimed mixologist Charles Joly’s presented three specialty drinks – The Protagonist, The Epilogue and The Trilogy. For those looking for a non-alcoholic beverage, The Sidekick is made with cold hibiscus tea, fresh lemon juice, tonic water, simple syrup and sliced cucumber and borage flowers for garnish.


Glasses of Coppola’s Director’s Cut Oscars 90th Edition 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2016 Chardonnay, and a 2016 Pinot Noir were poured throughout the evening. Corey Beck, Francis Ford Coppola Winery’s CEO said “The Academy Award is a ceremony that honors daring fearless, innovative storytelling, and in that tradition, we have developed two exquisite Director’s Cut wines that reflect innovative excellence.”


Tables and the room are enhanced by 5000 succulents with thousands of roses and ranunculus by celebrity floral designer Mark Held of Mark’s Garden. These flowers are from South America, Holland, and California. Following the Governors Ball, the succulent plants displayed will be planted at the Motion Picture Television Fund for the residents to enjoy.



Be still my heart at Mi Corazon

After finding success with their first location of Mi Corazon (“my heart” in Spanish) in Glendale, husband-and-wife duo Jeremy and Vanessa Swan have continued to spread their love of food with a new location in Silver Lake. Situated in the former Maré space on Hyperion, Mi Corazon offers up delicious homemade Mexican cooking with a health-conconscious focus.

The focal point of Mi Corazon, is of course, a beautiful stained glass red heart in a wood frame surrounded by tequila bottles. However, much of the restaurant’s décor, with its ornate frames, carved crucifixes and flickering lanterns, is dark and slightly gothic – clearly inspired by Jeremy Swan’s nearby Broken Art Tattoo shop, where he serves as owner and talented artist, as well as where he has appeared on TLC America’s Worst Tattoos covering up other artists’ mistakes.


We started the meal off with a drink. The restaurant’s beverage program includes over 60 tequilas and mezcals, Mexican-style boilermakers, classic margaritas, and specialty craft libations, including a margarita with sliced pears and an exciting flaming blue cocktail. They also offer an array of beers that include Tecate, Modelo, Negra Modelo and Ocho Reales Pilsner. For nonalcoholic drinks, they offer horchata, Jarritos, Mexican cola and agua frescas.


While sipping an el clasico margarita made with silver tequila, agave and lime juice, our server brought a basket of yellow and blue corn tortilla chips, along with four different salsas. The choices included serrano, smooth chipotle cream, Pancho Villa and a chunky pico de gallo with chopped tomatoes, onions, peppers and cilantro.

My favorite starter was the queso fundido – a Mexican fondue made with melted Monterey Jack cheese and pico de gallo. It’s served in a black skillet on top of a flame to stay smooth and warm.


I also thoroughly enjoyed a generous portion of elote, served in a bowl rather than on the cob so as to avoid a mess. What makes this street corn so tasty is the salsa aioli, lavish sprinkling of Mexican chili powder and Mexican cheese on top. Thinly sliced radished decorated the dish and offered a peppery bite.

Before moving on to tacos, steaming bowls of pozole verde were delivered to our table. Made with organic chicken stewed in a mild green chile broth, the classic soup also featured hominy, avocado and cabbage, which enhanced the soup’s base.


My eyes really widened, however, when a large platter of beer-battered fish tacos arrived with an artful drizzle of white cream on top of shredded cabbage, and a chopped mango and tomatillo chutney. To follow up, we munched on grilled wild-caught jumbo shrimp tacos. Both were very delicious and as I learned, healthier than just your typical tacos. To ensure their tacos and platters are non-GMO and hormone-free, the Swans work with only certain vendors who supply grass-fed beef, organic chicken and wild-caught seafood.

Continuing our meal, we tried two hard-shell tacos – the potato with hominy corn, green onion, chipotle and Monterey Jack cheese, as well as the ground beef and pickle taco. Both were good, but the Mexican spices and pickle brought a pleasing kick of flavor to the beef taco.


Mi Corizon also serves a variety of platters, including sizzling fajitas, red snapper with chopped peanuts, Mexican spices, and grilled vegetables with vegan rice and beans. The wild-caught jumbo shrimp is topped with a spicy red chili cream sauce, and the chicken mole is made with chicken thighs smothered with their house-made, 20-ingredient sauce that includes peanuts and sesame seeds. If you’re in the mood for something simpler, the restaurant also offers burritos and enchiladas stuffed with a vegetable medley, chicken, beef or cheese. The dishes can be topped with a choice of either salsa roja, mole or chile verde sauce for a bit of spice.

As a pastry chef, Vanessa proved her worth with her plates of flan, choco flan and gooey Mexican chocolate cake. I especially enjoyed the flan, with the flavors of cinnamon, cayenne pepper and burnt sugar caramel blending perfectly together.


Beyond just the food, Mi Corizon offers a variety of specials to keep people coming back. On Tuesdays, they offer their two tacos and a shot of tequila or margarita special for $14. On Wednesdays, they serve a mezcal margarita for $8 and two vegan tostadas for $8. And Thursdays, customers pay happy hour prices all night long.

The restaurant also features a new bottomless brunch menu featuring Mexican classics such as the omelet de rajas, French toast made with Mexican bolillo bread dipped in a creamy cinnamon batter, huevos rancheros and chilaquiles. And besides serving micheladas and bloody marias, they also offer bottomless mimosas.

Next time you seek authentic and healthy Mexican cuisine, head over to Mi Corazon for both your taste buds and your heart. $$. 2609 Hyperion Ave., (323)522-3320 and 402 W Kenneth Road, (818)500-8100.

This review was also featured in the March 8, 2018 issue of the Beverly Press.

Gloria Steinem Roars at LACC

I was invited to interview Gloria Steinem while she was a featured speaker at “A Conversation on DACA” at Los Angeles City College with Samantha Ramirez-Herrera. Hours before she arrived in California, this elegant 80+ year old was campaigning for Marie Newman, Congressional candidate in the city of Chicago, against Dan Lipinski who inherited his seat. Steinem tweeted out “Lipinski pretends to be a Democrat, but votes with Trump against healthcare, minimum wage, reproduction rights, and LGBTQ rights,” She urged everyone to get our and support Newman. “It’s crucial,” said Steinem.

Inside the Herb Alpert Music Center, the lecture hall was filled with students, facility and community members eager to hear the wisdom of Steinem. She started out by saying – ‘Trump is not my president. We have all the powers we had [before Trump was elected] of lobbying and pressuring and making clear that the political consequences are great. We may look up and feel powerless and think there’s nothing we can do, but it’s not true. There are things we can do at each level.”

As a writer, lecturer, political activist, and feminist organizer, this media spokesperson now in her 80s, travels around the world discussing issues about equality, sex and race, gender roles and child abuse. Through non-violent conflict resolution, she aims to teach peace and motivate others to rise up for justice.IMG_7827

Here’s 10 Fun Facts I learned while interviewing and listening to Ms. Steinem talk to students and faculty members at LACC:

  1. Gloria graduated from Smith College in 1956.
  2. As a brilliant writer, she was a political columnist and wrote feature articles for New York Magazine in the 1960s. Also during this time period, she wrote a two-part series titled A Bunny Tale, about going undercover as a bunny at the Playboy Club for Show magazine. The articles proved the injustice women receive in these Men Only Clubs.
  3. She co-founded Ms. magazine in 1972, and remained one of its editors for fifteen years. She continues to serve as a consulting editor for Ms., and was instrumental in the magazine’s move to join and be published by the Feminist Majority Foundation.
  4. As Steinem discussed the repercussions from the recent decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, initiated under President Barack Obama in 2012, she told the audience “People should not be bargaining chips.”
  5. She earned a Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree in 2013.
  6. Steinem told her audience, she is more comfortable speaking at Los Angeles City College than Harvard or Yale. “It’s far more interesting, because we all look like the people in our country and can instruct one another.”
  7. After marching in the second Women’s March, she voiced how there is more unification right now, than last year at the first National Women’s March. Many of these empowered women found a sense of unity and purpose in the #MeToo movement.
  8. In the 70s, Steinem educated women by saying, “Remember I’m not crazy, the system is crazy,” reflecting how women in the 70s were made to feel crazy if they worked outside their home. They were made to feel like second class citizens. “In the 70s, if you were a feminist, you were labeled a lesbian,” said Steinem. “There were all kinds of myths that are gone now. We are the majority.”
  9. She strongly believes black women were a huge part of the civil rights, and the heart of feminist activism. She gave examples of how black women voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US presidential election, while white women voted more for Trump. “Black women are more feminists than white women. Look at what they did for Doug Jones in Alabama,” Steinem said.
  10. Now that Dreamers are rising up with allies and pushing forward, Steinem believes “We need Dreamers in this country. They are more motivated, hard working and have lower arrests,” Steinem said. “Don’t say what should I do today, say what can I do today. There are people all around who will listen to you and ask what can they do,” Steinem said. “I’ve been around a long time and have never seen such social activism to have a voice and make a change. The Dream Act bill shouldn’t be included with border wall funding or increasing border security. It’s not about politics, it’s about people.”
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