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Irvine Blog - Posts from Local Experts

Posts for November 2015

Destination Irvine sweepstakes winners will find their California adventure at the Rose Parade

Posted by: Laura Berthold Monteros
Posted on: Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015

Destination Irvine Sweepstakes winners, clockwise from top right: Ken and Pam Palke, Hope Munoz Stephens, Danielle Greco's daughter with the Grove City High School Band, Patty Daffurn

"What a fun adventure," sweepstakes winner Ken Palke told Destination Irvine.  "We can hardly wait."  Palke is one of 12 lucky winners of the Destination Irvine Rose Parade Sweepstakes, who will indeed "Find Your Adventure" at the 127th Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 2016.  The trip includes round-trip airfare for four, three nights at an Irvine hotel, and transportation and  grandstand seating at the 127th Tournament of Roses Parade.  Winners hail from Amory, Miss., Aurora, Colo., Grove City, Ohio, Keizer, Ore., Boise, Idaho, San Angelo and Brenham, Texas, San Jose and Sonoma, Calif., and Williamsville, Shandaken and Mastic Beach, N.Y.

Destination Irvine got to know four of the winners a bit better and they graciously shared their stories.  While all four are Rose Parade fans and watch the broadcast every year, only two have seen the parade in person before.  Palke, who lives in Keizer, Ore., was 8 years old when he saw the parade in 1956, but watching it on TV has been a tradition for decades. 

"For years as a kid growing up in Los Angeles and Torrance, we watched the Rose Parade on black and white television, with announcers such as KTTV's Bill Welsh busily describing all the different flowers, plants and colors on each float," he said.  "Later, we got a color TV and continued the family tradition of New Year's morning with breakfast trays and the parade, which really seemed to come alive in full color. I've lived in Oregon for the last 35 years and the Rose Parade is still an important part of every January 1st morning.

Roy Rogers and Dale Evans in the 1956 Rose Parade

"I haven't been to the Rose Parade since I was a young kid, but I've watched it on television nearly every year since. I've always been fascinated with float selection, construction and back story, Palke shared.  "We lived in Los Angeles and I went with my Mom, Dad and littlebrother, John.  It was very early in the morning, chilly but clear in Pasadena. As a kid it seemed like we waited forever in the crowd for those bands, horses and floats to come along. The excitement of the crowd swelled as the floats drew nearer.

"What a thrill for a kid-the sights, sounds, and smells.  My television heroes of the day, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, rode by on a float and Wild Bill Hickok (Guy Madison) and Jingles (Andy Devine) with buckskin fringe flying were on horseback. It felt like all those stars were waving at me. What a treat for a kid.  In the following year or two, we went to Pasadena after the parade to see the floats on display at a nearby park. My folks enjoyed the flowers and we kids loved the cool float designs."  Palke sent a photo of the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans float, with them sitting in a book and a stagecoach leaping out of a television set.

Palke is bringing his wife Pam and two grown and married sons, Darrel and Kevin.  "We drew straws among the children to see who could go, and the two boys won.  They are very enthused about the trip," he said.  "We're looking forward to spending some family time in Orange County, including lunch at In-N-Out Burger in Irvine (we don't have one in our part of Oregon) and a visit to the surf and sand at Seal Beach and Newport.

"I'm hoping for a bright, clear winter morning in Pasadena. Along with the parade, it'll be fun watching the spectators and background activities that aren't captured on television. Plus we're getting a ride to and from the parade and grandstand seats, so there's no worries about that. It will be fun to compare notes and observations with my wife and sons during the big event."

Patty Daffurn with her grandchildrenPatty Daffurn of Sonoma, Calif., went to the Rose Parade as a small child and again as a  teenager.  "Northern California has been my home for 50 years but my dad was stationed in the Air Force so we traveled a lot and were at March Field in Riverside when I was 7 years old," she said.  "I remember going to Pasadena to watch the Rose Parade and walking over to look at the floats afterward. I couldn't believe everything was made from flowers and plants." 

She added, "I have made it a tradition to watch the parade every New Year's Day whenever possible or would record it to watch later.  I am sure this opportunity will bring it alive for my grandchildren. They won't believe the floats either."

After an assignment in Madrid, her father was reassigned to March Field and she stayed in Southern California from 10th grade through two years of college.  "I consider those years to be some of the best-beach life, great music and Disneyland with A to E tickets! And of course, there was the Rose Parade.  My friends and I would go over on our own and many  times we went the night before and just wandered around the floats and then stayed up all night sitting on the sidewalk along the parade route. It never rained that I remember and we always had a great time."

Daffurn is bringing her daughter Lauren, son-in-law Steve Simpson, and grandchildren Mia, 8 and Preston, 5.  One of her sons lives in Venice Beach and will meet them and perhaps come down on New Year's Eve.  The family has extra activities planned for their stay.  "We have reservations for the Newport Beach Christmas boat parade and have dinner reservations at Enoteca on Fashion Island.  We may go over to look at the floats being built or may go over to Downtown Disney, or who knows. We have rented a minivan so we can explore the beach areas if the weather is good."

Grove City HS Band awards

For Danielle Greco and her younger daughter, the trip will be a chance to scope out the parade for 2017, when her daughter will travel with the Grove City, Ohio High School band.  The 230-member band has won numerous awards, including the National championship and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl in 2012.  Her older daughter has been in it for four years.  She said, "This is my daughter's first year to be a part of this awesome band.  So far she enjoys it very much. She knows its hard work but well worth it."  The young lady is part of the color guard and is also in winter guard. 

"We normally watch the parade every year," she continued.  "Actually being there to see it live is going to be so exciting and since I have never been to California it will all be a great experience. I don't even know what we are going to do. We are thinking just to have a relaxing few days on the beach."

Paul and Virginia DI sweepsHope Munoz Stephens, from San Angelo, Texas, will celebrate her birthday on New Year's Eve with a friend and her brother and sister-in-law.  "I always watch the New Year's Parade.  Even as a child, my dad would wake us up to watch it.  I have never seen it live.  I'm so excited!  I'm going to be in California, so I'm sure there is lots to do for my birthday.  It is an awesome gift.  We plan to visit family and friends while we are down there.  I've been to other parts of California, but not there."

Stephens is bringing along her brother Paul and his wife Virginia, in the photo at left.  Her friend Yolanda will join them.

When they found out that they were winners, each of the four had pretty similar reactions: surprise, disbelief, and whoop-dee-do! 

Stephens said, "I was so excited, at first I thought it was bogus, but then, I kept talking to the lady on the phone, and found out it was a legit trip, and was so surprised.  It was hard to believe that I was one of 12 out of 900 entries that won the trip.  I can't wait to see all the people, the floats, the city itself, I'm at awe about the whole thing. Thank you so much, it will be so much fun!"

Daffurn also thought there might be a catch.  "I could not believe that I had actually won the trip and of course, the first thought was that we would be doing some timeshare program to go with it. We are delighted to spend time in the Irvine/Orange county area instead.  We are all very excited and can't wait! I never win contests so I was totally blown away."

"I honestly did not think it was true," Greco said. "I emailed Wendy [Haase, Director of Tourism Marketing for Destination Irvine] asking many, many questions. Nothing this wonderful ever happens to me. Both of my daughters were very excited they also didn't believe it. But when we got the confirmation for the hotel and air flight we were all dumbfounded and very excited."

Palke said, "I was pleased at being one of the dozen persons selected at random. It took a minute to sink in when I got the announcement, but then I broke out in a smile and let out a big ‘Yippee.' It was just like being that kid again. I've never won a drawing before, and to receive an expense-paid trip to Irvine and the Rose Parade-that's wonderful! A New Year's Day Rose Parade visit has been on my bucket list for years, so this is special, a dream come true, you might say." 

Filed In: History

Irvine Ranch Celebrates its Heritage

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Monday, Nov 23, 2015

Irvine has a wealth of history to share and now it has a new place to share it.

Well, it's not exactly a new place....but that's the best part of the story.

Long before it was a master planned community of more than 200,00 residents, Irvine was home to a massive ranch which, in 1910, The Los Angeles Times called "one of the greatest cultivated farms in the world."

The Irvine Ranch covered one-fifth of Orange County.  All activity on the ranch was directed from a collection of buildings and barns known as the Agricultural Headquarters.

This area, which included the Irvine Family home, was located near present day Jamboree Road and Irvine Boulevard. Most of the 24 ranch buildings still stood in their original location but, due to years of inactivity, many had fallen into disrepair.

Fortunately for the people of Orange County, the 16.5-acre agricultural headquarters was deeded to the OCParks in 1996, who renovated the historic ranch buildings to use for their headquarters.

After years of restoration, The Irvine Ranch Historical Park held a Heritage Day on Saturday, November 21 to celebrate the completion of the project.

Members of the Irvine Family were on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony which was held on the steps of the little, white building where James H. Irvine had his first office in 1891.

His grandson, James Irvine III addressed the attendees and thanked the OC Parks for their preservation efforts. It was only fitting that Irvine and his family be part of the celebration. After all, this is not just an historic park to them. It was the place that they called home.


Today, visitors can walk through the park and read information placards that describe the history of each restored building. They can also visit the Katie Wheeler Public Library, which is an exact replica of the original Irvine Family home.


And even though most of the ranch buildings are now used as offices and are not open to the public, a walk through the Irvine Ranch Historical Park offers a rare glimpse into the city's rich agricultural past.


Irvine Ranch Historic Park

13042 Old Myford Rd, Irvine, CA 92602 

At the Corner of Irvine Blvd and Jamboree Road.

‘Find Your Adventure’ in a National Park with Ken Burns or in a chemistry lab at UCI

Posted by: Laura Berthold Monteros
Posted on: Wednesday, Nov 18, 2015

 2016 Rose Parade Grand Marshal Ken Burns.  Photo courtesy Pasadena Tournament of Roses.

Tournament of Roses Pres. Mike Matthiessen made an inspired choice for the 2016 Rose Parade Grand Marshal when he chose award-winning documentarian Ken Burns.  Burns, who won an Emmy for his PBS series The National Parks: America's Best Idea, is a great choice for this parade.  Themed "Find Your Adventure," it is a collaboration between the Tournament and the National Parks Service in celebration of the NPS' centennial.  Burns accepted the honor via video.  "I would never have imagined getting to watch the Rose Bowl Game as Grand Marshal," he said. "I'll see you in Pasadena and in one of our parks."

Here iGreg Weiss credit UCIn Irvine, Greg Weiss finds his adventure in the Weiss Lab at UCI, but he also is a Rose Parade fan and watches the event every New Year's Day with his family.  He understands, as Burns said, "The Rose Parade is an annual tradition woven into the fabric of America."  Weiss spends the day making waffles and watching the parade start to finish.  He's only gone to the parade once, as a kid in Palos Verdes.  The city provided a bus and grandstand seating, but as a grown-up, his research has kept him busy.  "I should see it this year," he said.

 As a professor in chemistry, Weiss likes the idea of "Innovation Rocks!" with its blocks from the periodic chart and Erlenmeyer flasks.  And Peter the Anteater, of course.  "Everyone loves anteaters," he said.  An anteater mascot is approachable and not intimidating.  "Anteaters are extremely appropriate for Irvine.  I don't know if you know, we live on a big anthill." He added, "I'm really excited about the float being about chemistry this year." 

What Weiss is working on is a rather amazing process that will aid in diagnosing cancer through untangling proteins so their structures can be studied and diagnostics created.  He tests the process using hard-boiled egg whites processed in a machine called a vortex fluid device, as demonstrated in this YouTube video.  He says this research is "right at the interface of physics, chemistry and engineering.

"Proteins are kind of like origami," he explains.  The paper can be folded and unfolded, but the unfolded paper doesn't have the same beauty.  "Unfolded proteins still have the ‘creases' in them.  They can figure out how to get back into shape if they are given the right conditions."  The raw egg white is like the folded origami, and the boiled white tangles up the protein strands with each other, like crumpled origami paper.  The device pulls them apart and then refolds them by applying the pulling action of shear stress. 

Just as it takes energy to refold origami paper, it takes energy to refold the proteins.  "We apply a kind of energy, called mechanical energy," Weiss explained.  "It drives the proteins to refold.  When the protein is unfolded, it still has enough information to refold, like creases in origami paper.  The mechanical energy and shear stress can drive the refolding."  The practical application of unfolding and refolding proteins is to develop diagnostic tools.  "It's something I'm passionate about," he said.  "My father died of cancer, my wife fought off breast cancer last year."

Vortex Fluid Device UCIHe said, "Cancer results from proteins run amok. Those proteins become like pirates that take over the cancer cell," Weiss stated.  "When we study these pirate proteins, we often get a thing like a rumpled mess.  We need to produce the actual folded protein that is causing cancer, so we can study them and produce diagnostics.  Cancer is a disease that results from an assault on the DNA itself, like spending time in the sun or some chemicals. When DNA gets changed, its code gets changed and that means proteins do, too.  Sometimes such changes cause cancer, which makes them good targets for diagnostics and research."

Vortex Fluid Device, courtesy UCI  

Whether or not Weiss can get away from the lab long enough to take a trek to Pasadena, he's enthusiastic about "Innovation Rocks!" and raising the profile of UCI, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary.  "Many people don't know what a world-class university they have in their midst," he said, which includes the arts, humanities and social sciences as well as hard science.  The float, he said, celebrates the university and the accomplishments of both the school and the city of Irvine.  He said he is extremely honored that it's part of the Rose Parade.  "I'm excited to have UCI and my research presented."

 See the Rose Parade floats before and after the parade

Rose Parade pre and post parade viewing If the Rose Parade is impressive, the events surrounding it are pretty exciting, too.  The most popular are Decorating Places, Dec. 27-31, where the floats can be seen in their final stages of flowering, and Showcase of Floats, Jan. 1-3, the post-parade display of all the creations.  Food and beverages are sold at one of the decorating locations and all throughout the post-parade viewing area.  Free parking is available both places, but most parking is in paid lots that benefit schools or scouts for Showcase of Floats. 

Bandfest presents all the Rose Parade bands in field shows, Dec. 29 and 30, and Equestfest, Dec. 29, is an opportunity to see the parade horses perform in an arena.  Tickets to all these events and shuttle tickets to the Showcase are available through Sharp Seating or at the venues, but both Bandfest and Equestfest often sell out so advance purchase is recommended.  A new event, Live on Green, takes place Dec. 29 and 30, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Dec. 31, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Pasadena Convention Center. Admission is free.  It includes activities for the family, exhibits and displays, food and music.

Next Week: A special issue of the "Innovation Rocks!" blog with stories of the winners of the Destination Irvine Sweepstakes!

The Ride 7D at the Irvine Spectrum

Posted by: Sharlene Earnshaw
Posted on: Monday, Nov 16, 2015

The Irvine Spectrum Center has been known as a great shopping, dining, and entertainment destination for years and with the recent opening of The Ride 7D, it has now become a destination for thrills as well. Recently, my family had the chance to experience the "Los Banditos", "Gigamon", and "Zombies!" 7D rides and they had a blast experiencing these immersive and interactive attractions. After a brief tutorial the fun begins, and if you haven't experienced 7D you're in for a treat.  The 3D glasses bring the screen to life, while the motion, wind, interactivity, and scoring allow you to completely immerse yourself in the story.  Since I am weak-stomached individual who gets nauseated on carousels, I had to sit this one out but thankfully my husband, Paul,  provided the inside scoop on each of these attractions.

Los Banditos

Probably the most kid-friendly experience, "Los Banditos" is a story about an evil genius who has created an army of robots to rob a train.  You're in the Old West, and start your experience by hopping on a stagecoach and immediately shooting at the robots.  From there you jump on the train and continue to battle the robots while moving through different carriages and eventually to the top of the train.  During the chaos, the train flies off the rails and off a bridge into a fast moving river, but those robots are everywhere and you continue to fight while flowing down the river and going over waterfalls until you find yourself in an underground lair where you battle the boss.  The drops off the bridge and waterfalls were pretty intense and a lot of fun to experience, and knowing we would be getting the final scores at the end brought out our kid's competitive natures. 



Who doesn't love a good monster battle in a major metropolitan city?  We start out in the subway when suddenly there's a huge crash.  Wanting to be the hero, you run up the stairs to street level where you immediately enter a world of chaos.  The Gigamon is a Godzilla-like creature who wreaks havoc on everything in sight, but he's not alone.  Everywhere you look there are mini-Gigamons both on the ground and flying who you continually battle while trying not to be crushed by crashing buildings, cars, or giants lizards.  Making your way from the back of a truck to a helicopter, you find yourself constantly moving across the city while fighting these seemingly innumerable monsters.  Things are going okay until your helicopter loses control, slides off the top of a building, and crashes to the ground where you're completely surrounded.  Fortunately with the help of your cohorts you eventually kill the Gigamon and all is well.


Let me start out by saying I love zombies, so choosing this ride was a "no brainer".

By far the scariest and most intense of the rides, "Zombies!" does a great job of setting the mood from the start.  It's dark, it's raining, there's creepy music, you're in the woods, and with the darkness in the theater and mist of cold air being blown on you, it feels very real.  From about thirty seconds in until the end of the experience you're surrounded by zombies.  These are not your slow moving, "Walking Dead", zombies, these guys are angry and will stop at nothing to make you their next meal.  You initially try escaping in your car, but after flying down a hill and into a tree you find yourself in a cemetery where you have to fight your way out while trying not to shoot the innocent civilians who are running for their lives.  This ride is a lot of fun and was my favorite of the three, but if you experience motion sickness think twice as I found it to be the most intense.

Tips:  If you plan on riding all three rides, we suggest riding "Los Banditos" first, then "Gigamon", and finally "Zombies!" as they will get progressively more intense.   There is a discount in pricing when three rides are chosen. If you have a young child who is intimidated by "Zombies!", a second ride on "Los Banditos" or "Gigamon" can be substituted. My husband found that being towards the center seat seemed to help with his aim.

Disclosure: My family received a complimentary 7D experience for the purposes of this feature. All opinions are my own.

poqetDONUTS - Customizable Doughnuts in Orange County!

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Wednesday, Nov 11, 2015

This Saturday November 14th at 9am, Orange County's first customizable doughnut shop, poqetDONUTS based in Irvine will grand open its doors to the public. poqetDONUTS also features a variety of unique, signature doughnuts, including vegan options. On grand opening day, the first 100 guests in line will receive a FREE doughnut, and 10% of sales for the day (from 9am -4pm) will benefit the Irvine Public Schools Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides financial support and enrichment programs for the students of the 33 schools in the Irvine Unified School District.

poqetDONUTS owner Fenny Yan, an Irvine resident, wanted to offer the public the option to customize doughnuts since there's a variety of other customizable food options such as tacos and pizza. Yan along with a team combining more than 30 years of doughnut-making experience uses great ingredients to create custards, fillings, glazes and batter, ensuring the highest quality of gourmet doughnuts.

Signature doughnuts will change seasonally and currently include:

Avocado - Green is the new black.
Maple Bacon - The main reason we are not vegetarians.
Campfire - Let's roast some marshmallows and party S'more!
PB & noJ - Peanut Butter makes everything Peanut Better.
Cookies & Cream - These are like people - the good stuff is on the inside.
Strawberry Fields Forever - If you are what you eat, get ready to be delicious.
Pumpkin Spice - One more excuse to have pumpkin-flavored everything.
Nutella - Spread love as thick as you would Nutella.
Tiramisu - This authentic Italian inspired recipe will have you saying, "Ciao Bella!"
Burnt Pistachio - The reason everyone should own a blow torch.
Lemon Meringue - When life hands you lemons, make lemon meringue.
Cherry Red Velvet - Life is too short to say no to Red Velvet, especially if it's glazed with cherries!
Blueberry - You can't buy love but, you can buy doughnuts, and that's kind of the same thing.
Black & White - I want someone to look at me the way I look at black & white cake.
Vanilla Latte - Life is better buzzed.
Green Tea - I love you so Matcha!
Butter Salt - Abs are cool, but have you had our butter salt doughnuts?
Vegan - Strawberry, Blueberry, and other options available select days

The name poqet, pronounced "pocket," is derived from a folklore story of two best friends who met on a park bench daily to share doughnuts, which were kept in their pockets. The story of these "pocket donut" friends is placed on the wall inside the shop to provide a simple explanation of the name's origins to guests.


17655 Harvard Avenue, Unit B, in Irvine (at Main) or call 949-932-0800

Sunday-Thursday: 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Friday-Saturday 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Grand Opening Day, November 14th, the store will open at 9 a.m.

Information and Images provided by Moxxe PR

Filed In: Events

Fallen of California Exhibit at Civic Center

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Monday, Nov 09, 2015

November is the month of gratitude and remembrance.

It is the time when we focus on our blessings; we honor those we love and give thanks for the comfort of family and friends. 

But it also the time when we pause as a nation to thank those who have served our country, many giving the ultimate sacrifice to insure our freedom and security.

The Fallen of California exhibit, which is open to the public at the Irvine Civic Center through Friday, November 20th,  is a vivid testament to the lives of fellow Callifornians who lost their lives  in Iraq, Afganistan, Kuwait or another location supporting The War on Terror (since 9/11/01).


Most war memorials feature a list of names engraved in stone, like Irvine's own Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial.


But the Fallen of California exhibit is even more personal than that.

Along with name and rank, each soldier is represented by a picture, many times shown with family members. Seeing their faces make this memorial more personal and powerful. Instead of a long list of names, these images introduce us to real people, who left real loved ones behind. And on each display, the cost of lives ended too soon is painfully apparent.

Next to the pictures are personal notes, from parents and sometimes children, expressing love and pride; the kind of human, heart-felt connection that these soldiers sought to defend.

A few blocks from the Civic Center is Mark Daily Athletic Park, where Irvine children meet to play sports.

Many of those kids playing soccer or softball don't realize that their park is named for another former Irvine boy who, as a young man of 23, wanted to preserve their freedom to play safely and securely, just as he did. 

The Irvine Civic Center is open Monday-Friday
7:30am - 5:30pm
1 Civic Center Plaza ,
at the corner of Alton and Harvard 

Innovation Rocks! whether it’s building new companies or creating a designer gown

Posted by: Laura Berthold Monteros
Posted on: Wednesday, Nov 04, 2015

Rose Queen Erika Winter, center, is flanked by Rose Princesses Sarah Shaklan, Rachelle Liu, Bryce Bakewell, Regina Pullens, Natalie Hernandez-Barber, Donaly Marquez (left to right).

 Picking a winner, whether a company that will be successful in the long term or the young woman who will reign as Rose Queen for a year, can be a process of elimination.  In the case of the Rose Queen, the selection starts with about 900 girls, mostly seniors in high school, and through various rounds narrows the number to about 350, then to around 75, then three dozen.  At last, seven are chosen to serve on the Tournament of Roses Royal Court, and after a weekend in Irvine's neighboring city, Newport Beach, one young lady emerges as Rose Queen. 

 2016 Rose QueenTwo weeks ago, the Royal Court was formally presented and Erika Karen Winter, 17, was announced as Rose Queen. The princesses appeared in emerald green formal gowns designed for the 2016 Royal Court by Tadashi Shoji and tailored for each girl. Each wore a pearl necklace by Mikimoto.  After the queen was announced, the Court went backstage and reappeared in pearl tiaras, each princess on her father's arm. Queen Erika came in last in a sparkling white gown, and Tournament of Roses Pres. Mike Matthiessen placed the crown on her head.

Bill Carpou, President & CEO of OCTANe, an Irvine company that helps new businesses get a foothold, said OCTANe also has to narrow a field of 200 prospective clients each year down to 25 that go through the year-long process to be OCTANe Certified.  The process is data driven, he told Destination Irvine.

"We have a very rigorous vetting process, thus a very high success rate on the ones that come through and are OCTANe Certified," he stated.  Success is based on the new company being able to get funding for its work.  OCTANe focuses on businesses doing life science or technology, either in the end product or upfront research needs.  "All these businesses are started by either scientists or engineers," Carpou said.  The influx of "deep research" at universities such as UC Irvine and Chapman can create companies.

Bill Carpou"We're a business accelerator, so we take early stage companies and start-ups in life sciences and technology.  We help companies get formed and funded, operationalize and grow," Carpou said.  Though OCTANe sees all of Southern California as a market, it is Orange County-centric.  "It's difficult to be Orange County centered and not Irvine centered," he said, adding that Irvine itself is a hub of innovation with a great business climate and office space that the Irvine Company has made available.  OCTANe and Irvine in general are seeking to create an infrastructure and a business ecosystem that will support new, innovative businesses. 

Having a float in the Rose Parade, especially one themed "Innovation Rocks!" speaks to the climate for innovation in the city, Carpou said.  "I think something that's featured in the Rose Parade is going to get a lot of attention, both nationally and in the marketplace," he said.  "To me, as we look to build out Irvine and the ecosystem, it basically puts in the forefront that Irvine is here as an innovative hub." 

Don't forget to sign up to volunteer on "Innovation Rocks!"

Readers can help get that innovative float on the road by signing up for a shift to decorate the masterpiece.  Dry decoration-seeds, crushed flowers, coconut and other dry materials-is done on the first three Saturdays in December, and decoration with fresh materials begins the day after Christmas and goes through Dec. 30.  Sign up at  Information can also be found on  

Tips for those who are getting in on the excitement of creating a Rose Parade float:

  • Decoration will take place at Rosemont Pavilion at 700 Seco St., which is in the Arroyo Seco/Brookside Park just south of the Rose Bowl.  There is plenty of free parking in Lot I to the west of the float barn.
  • Decorating a float is dirty work and can ruin clothing, so make sure to wear clothes and shoes that can be tossed out or used for gardening after the work is done.  It can also be quite cold in the float barn in December, so dressing in layers is recommended. 
  • Food is not provided by Phoenix Decorating Company, but there is a food truck on site or decorators can bring their own food.  During Deco Week, Dec. 27-30, Expo Village in Lot I provides a variety of vendors for food, beverages, and Tournament of Roses souvenirs.
  • Storage for personal items and refrigeration is not provided. 
  • A goody bag with decorating tools is provided by Phoenix, but an item that can be really useful for volunteers who find themselves cutting statice or trimming petals off mums is a pair of spring-loaded scissors. 
  • No smoking or use of electronics, including cell phones, is allowed inside the float barn.  People with physical limitations should check on accessibility before volunteering.

Filed In: Events, Insider Scoop

STYLECON, OC's Biggest Beauty & Fashion Event this Saturday 11/7

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Monday, Nov 02, 2015

StyleCon kicks off its inaugural Beauty and Fashion event at the OC Fairground's Hangar this upcoming Saturday November 7th from 10am-4pm. Guests can enjoy a variety of beauty services and demonstrations, numerous pop-up shops, and social influencer (bloggers, Instagrammers, public personalities and youtubers) meet & greets and panels on the Style Stage, hosted by Alyssa of Living in Style OC. is hosting a huge POP-UP shop showcasing their soon to be unveiled concept storefront at their headquarters, here's what you can expect at their booth:

Complimentary Beauty Bar Includes:

  • Braids by Schwarzkopf
  • Dry Styling by Blow Pro
  • Eye Shimmers by Eye Kandy Cosmetics
  • Nail Art & Mini Manis by Jaunt Beauty Co.
  • Lashes by Ardell
  • Lips by Manna Kadar Cosmetics
  • Polynesian Hand Reflexology by Kohana Skin

Discover New Brands + Shop Your Faves at Access Show Deals

  • Morphebrushes
  • Sigma Beauty
  • LA Splash
  • Bh Cosmetics
  • 100% Pure
  • Vanity Girl Hollywood
  • and more!

Other Brands on the Roster

Sleekhair | TopShop | Blushington | Mother Trucker & Co. | Lebrisa Designs | Cambrie Shroder

GoldInk Tattoo | Blowtini | Flowery | Alth Skincare | Heaven + Urth | NFL |  and many more!

Check out the ticket break down here, and use my code AMANDAN at check out for $5 off a $29 ticket. Each ticket also includes an amazing swag bag! Parking is $7 cash! There will also be a DJ for music vibes and food trucks to feed your appetite. 

I'll (Feast.Fashion.Faves) also be taking the Style Stage from 3pm-3:15pm with other influencers to chat about beauty brands and contouring! Then come meet me at the Lebrisa Designs booth between 3:20-3:50pm to shop, chat, and take a selfie!

The Hangar at the OC Fairgrounds is only a few minutes from Irvine! The event is great for all ages (ages 13 and under require a guardian); get together with friends, family or fellow beauty and fashion enthusiasts to experience THE event of the year, STYLECON!

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36 Executive Park, Suite 100 · Irvine, CA 92614
Phone: 949-660-9112
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