Jody Robinson

Jody Robinson

Serving up some of the best Italian dishes this side of Venice

If you’re in the mood for delicious, authentic Italian fare served in a romantic atmosphere where the owners and staff make guests feel as welcome as a member of the family, experience Casanova Ristorante.

Literally everything I’ve tried on the menu here has been nothing short of superb. The service is excellent – attentive and unobtrusive – the ambiance is warm and friendly and its popular cocktail lounge featuring an extensive, specially selected wine list (and full bar) has a loyal following among locals and visitors alike.

Start with the Burrata Cheese platter which combines melt-in-your-mouth burrata with thin slices of Prosciutto di Parma, sliced tomatoes, arugula, olive oil and pepper. Another popular pick is the antipasto misto made up of a selection of cured meats and complementary cheeses or the Cozze Vongole alla Siciliana which arrives as fresh mussels and clams sauteed in white wine and garlic and a spicy marinara sauce.

Popular entrees include the “Pink Lady Fettuccine” made with chicken and sundried tomatoes tossed in a creamy Alfredo sauce and the Rigatoni Mama Rosa which combines Italian sausage and mushrooms in a tomato sauce with a touch of cream.

A seafood aficionado? Options abound – ranging from the Linguini Vongole Veraci (long, flat pasta with baby Manila clams sautéed in a white wine sauce) and Farfalle al Salmone (bowtie pasta with smoked salmon tossed in a cream and tomato sauce with a touch of vodka) to the Linguini alla Pescatora (long, flat pasta with fresh fish of the day, shrimp, calamari, mussels and clams in a light tomato sauce.

Portions are generous, but if you’ve saved room for a little something sweet … try the crème brulee with its perfectly carmelized top or the homemade tiramisu, a traditional favorite.

Take Charge of Your Health

A government task force is about to give insurance companies an excuse not to pay for mammograms. They are creating new guidelines that recommend women delay screening until age 50! They also recommend insurance companies only pay every other year for a mammogram and stop paying after the age of 74.

This is a tragedy. One in 5 breast cancers occur in women under age 50. These guidelines will cause diagnostic delays, force doctors to treat cancer with more aggressive treatments (chemotherapy, surgery and radiation), and cause young women to die needlessly. Young children will grow up without their mothers and families will be devastated. 

The irony is that these new guidelines come at a time when doctors are making incredible progress in the early detection of breast cancer. A recent study from Canada demonstrated that starting screening mammograms at age 40 reduces breast cancer mortality by 40 percent.

New technology such as 3-D mammography, screening breast ultrasounds for women with dense breasts and screening MRI for high-risk women gives us the potential for even more dramatic
reductions in breast cancer mortality for all women. 

If we do nothing to block the new guidelines, they will go into effect in 2017. We must fight back before the window of opportunity slams shut.

We have a petition for congress asking them to block these new guidelines. To have credibility, we need a million signatures, by the end of the year. We are rapidly running out of time and we need your help to convince congress to block these guidelines.

Please sign our petition and encourage your friends and relatives to do the same.

To sign the petition and to learn more about our campaign go to: 40not50.com


Every Woman’s Guide to Optimal Breast Care

I wrote the book Prevent Survive Thrive because of my growing frustration that women in America are not receiving optimal breast care. They’re confused by conflicting guidelines about what to do and when to do it. As a result, the diagnosis of breast cancer is often delayed and the chances for cured are greatly reduced.

A disturbing example is the story of Michelle Watson, who found a breast lump at age 22, when she was a college senior. Her doctor told her not to worry because she was too young to get breast cancer. When she told her parents about the lump, they were concerned. Arrangements were made for a second opinion, but she was again told she was “too young to get breast cancer”.

Two years later she became aware of increasing back pain. The pain became sever and eventually a bone scan was done. The scan showed evidence of metastatic cancer. Finally, a breast biopsy was done. The biopsy proved that she had breast cancer, which had spread to her bones.

Michelle underwent aggressive chemotherapy, but died at the age of 26. It never should have happened. If a directed ultrasound had been done when the lump was first detected the diagnosis would have been obvious. A needle biopsy would have made the diagnosis. Had this been done, Michelle would likely be alive today.

I wrote this book to educate women about optimal breast care. I wrote it to empower them to be advocates for their own health. I wrote it so they would know when to get a second opinion.

Finally, I wrote it to give women hope and inspire them to never give-up.

This book can save your life or the life of a loved one. It is a must-read for any woman who wants clear explanations about what they can do to insure they receive the best care possible.

For more information on Prevent Survive Thrive go to: BreastCare.com

Winter Fest at the OC Fair & Event Center is Southern California’s largest winter experience. Features include ice tubing, a two million light walk-through show, ice skating, Snow Play with real snow blown in daily, nightly Christmas tree lighting ceremony, carnival rides, festive entertainment, seasonal eateries, visits with Santa and so much more.

“From high-speed sliding thrills to a special toddler-sized snow hill to craft cocktails and local bands, there’s truly something for everyone,” said Brad Billington of Mirage Entertainment. “Winter Fest is the place to make memories and this year you can even ring in the New Year under the sparkle of a snow and light-filled sky.”

Winter Fest is a giant wonderland of immersive wintry fun including a full outdoor ice rink, 130-foot, six lane Snowflake Summit ice slide, a play park featuring real snow for snow angels or snowman building, the world’s largest rocking horse, strolling carolers, personal visits in the cabin home of Mr. and Mrs. Claus and a walk-through holiday light show featuring two million sparkling lights.

Every admission ticket includes:

  • Unlimited ice tubing at Snowflake Summit
  • Two million light sparking stroll through holiday light display
  • Tree lighting ceremony with snow flurries and fireworks
  • Bounce houses for kids
  • The world’s largest walk-through ornament
  • Snow Play Area with daily snow blowing
  • Craft making and games
  • Daily entertainment including live bands and strolling carolers
  • Character meet and greets
  • Toddler Play Area

For more information on Winter Fest visit www.WinterFestOC.com and for the latest updates on entertainment, food and fun follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or with #WinterFestOC.

Cheryl Turner, owner of Paris in a Cup, shares her personal vision and inspiration behind her immensely popular tea salon and boutique based in historic Old Town Orange ... in her own words and just in time for the holidays.

Visitors to my Tea Salon frequently ask me why I chose a French theme for my restaurant, my answer is always the same. I love all things French, especially the beautiful city of Paris. Due to an inner-ear problem, I have never been to the city of love, so I decided to bring it stateside.

I’m a fan of old movies, so I incorporated elements from the silver screen era while designing and planning my restaurant. You’ll see touches from movies like “An American In Paris,” “Weekend At The Waldorf,” “Gigi” and more. My plan was to give my guest an escape, to be transported to another era, if only for an hour or two. Even the clock on the wall reads Paris time and you’ll find the daily Paris forecast displayed in the gift shop. If I had to describe my decorating style, I would have to say “Vintage Parisian Glamour.”

We offer our guest two experiences, shopping and dining. When you first enter, you’ll discover a little French souvenir shop filled with much of the same merchandise you find when you visit Paris, France. I have worked very carefully with several French Importers to assure my customer they are getting an authentic souvenir. We actually have shoppers who purchase our souvenirs, travel to Paris and upon returning give them to their family and friends.

Our Tea Market offers our guest a sample “sniff” of every tea we carry, so you can make your tea selection before enjoying it in the salon or purchasing it to take home. In addition to carrying several French tea lines, we also proudly serve and sell our own Paris In A Cup signature brand. Our teas are imported and blended by a master tea blender here in the US. You’ll find French gourmet goods, tea towels, candies, chocolates, watches and of course Eiffel Towers. French themed jewelry adorned with Eiffel Towers and fleur di lis are abundant and quite reasonably priced. We’re a great spot to find a gift for your favorite Francophile, or that hard to buy for person.

After browsing you enter our Tea Salon, deliberately separated from the shop. Once seated in the salon you’ll forget you’re in the US. Our guests are soon transported to another place and time as they sit back in our cushy, European style banquettes or on one of our oversized chairs. Enjoy our French café music while dining. Close your eyes, you’re in Paris. You’ll be offered a menu featuring tea fare, luncheon and tempting desserts, along with our vast tea selections menu containing 130 teas.

You’ll find Paris In A Cup at 119 S Glassell Street in Old Towne Orange. Hours are Wednesday through Sunday serving from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM and the boutique stays open for shopping until 5:00 PM. For the tea salon, please call for reservations (714) 538-9411. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., visit www.parisinacup.com. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

Na Leo Holiday Concert
Saturday, December 17, 8 pm

NA LEO PILIMEHANA, which in Hawaiian means the voices blending together in warmth, is the most popular, award winning and biggest selling female Hawaiian group in the World. Na Leo consists of three childhood friends, Nalani Choy, Lehua Kalima Heine and Angela Morales. This concert will feature Na Leo performing their contemporary hits and holiday classics.


COMING IN JANUARY 2017

Eric Tingstad & Nancy Rumbel
Wednesday, January 18, 2017, 8 pm

Grammy Award winners Eric Tingstad and Nancy Rumbel have performed, recorded and touring together for more than 24 years with 19 albums to their credit. Traveling to as many as 50 concert venues a year, they are friends who enjoy each other’s company and truly love making music.

Liz Story, Lisa Downing and Kori Carothers
Saturday, January 21, 2017, 8 pm

Solo piano artists Liz Story, Lisa Downing and Kori Linae Carothers will each perform individually for an evening of inspiring acoustic piano.

James Garner Cash TributeJames Garner’s Tribute to Johnny Cash
Sunday, January 22, 2017, 3pm

James Garner’s Tribute to Johnny Cash celebrates the life and music of the legendary ‘Man in Black’ with strong conviction and stunning accuracy. Garner and his band faithfully recreate Cash’s biggest hits and present historical accounts and personal anecdotes about America’s most beloved singing storyteller in this not-to-be-missed musical event. This is the closest experience to seeing Johnny Cash in person today. Don’t miss it!  

Sarah Chang, violinPrague Philharmonic
Thursday, January 26, 2017, 8pm

Sarah Chang, violin
Emmanuel Villaume, Music Director and Chief Conductor

Emmanuel Villaume leads PKF – Prague Philharmonia as their newest Music Director and Chief Conductor, highlighting the vigour, energy, and perfectionism, as well as a tremendous love for the music, with which the orchestra imbues each and every concert. Violin soloist Sarah Chang will be featured in this performance.

Muriel Anderson
Saturday, January 28, 2017, 8pm

Muriel Anderson’s new audio-visual show, Wonderlust, is a must-see as well as a must-hear! Her world-renowned guitar and harp guitar playing is highlighted by a backdrop of stunning visuals by celebrated photo-artist Bryan Allen.


Come early for Dinner! Soka Bistro is open for dinner M-F 5:30-7:30 pm, Sat/Sun 5:00-7:00 pm.
Only $11.25 for an all-you-can-eat buffet. Box Office: (949) 480-4ART (4278); This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Box Office Hours Mon-Fri: 10am to 2pm.
Box Office will be open 1 hour prior to scheduled performance times on performance days.

Pacific Symphony Pops
THE TEN TENORS

Friday–Saturday, Dec. 16–17, 8 p.m.

“Home for the Holidays” is a magical experience for the whole family that will dazzle, delight and captivate audiences. Join Australia’s rockstars of the opera as they amaze and enthrall with their unique selection of traditional and contemporary seasonal favorites. With soaring versions of “Joy to the World,” “Sleigh Ride,” “White Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland” and many more, “Home for the Holidays” is the perfect way to celebrate the spirit of the season. As an added bonus, Nancy Cartwright, voice actor for “The Simpsons,” makes a special appearance to narrate “The Night Before Christmas.”


Pedals and Pipes
HOLIDAY ORGAN SPECTACULAR

Tuesday, Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m. | Tickets $30-$75

Celebrate the season with the king of instruments! Enjoy a magnitude of musical splendors with a world-class organist and members of Pacific Symphony performing a delightful mix of sacred and holiday music. Favorite Christmas carols share the bill with traditional organ works that highlight the $3.1 million William J. Gillespie Concert Organ.


Performances at the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Hall, 615 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. For information or to purchase tickets, contact the box office at (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org.

In 1519, a man named William Horma coined a phrase that many of us use in conversation still today. Horma, the headmaster of two colleges in England: Winchester, which was founded in 1382 by William of Wykeham, and Eton - educating boys 13 to 18, whose former pupils include 19 Prime Ministers, wrote the words “Mater artium necessitas”, in his book Vulgaria.

In 1545, a similar English version was used (convenient for those of us who don’t read Latin): “Necessitie, the inventor of all goodnesse.” We know it now as an English-language proverb: meaning roughly that the driving force behind all invention is a need. Any need. 

Three years ago, Charlie Lott traveled to Fresno to visit his mother; “she’d fallen, broken a hip, and had some other age-related issues. I wanted to make sure she was getting the care she needed.” Charlie found that his mother wasn’t really able to move around at all, and in fact, was so drugged up she could barely carry on a conversation. “I called my wife and told her I was bringing her home with me”. They took her to a Kaiser and weaned her from most of the medication she was on - finding the real sweet spot between managing her pain, and keeping her alert enough to get her moving again. 

But as quickly as she began achieving mobility, Charlie was realizing that their home was impossibly outfitted to accommodate someone with a walker. A licensed contractor since 1981, Lott found himself fortunately equipped to start taking the necessary steps to modify their house: removing doors from their hinges, installing grab bars in the shower, raising the toilet seat. “I just started guessing at what I thought would help her to get around. We did what was needed when she needed it.” Eventually, Charlie went so far as to install motion-sensor lighting in her bedroom, the hallway, and the bathroom. 

“She lived with us for nearly nine months before the illness and some other issues caught up to her, and it became necessary to place her in board care where they could keep an eye on her 24/7,” he says. “The real defining moment was when I came home and she was standing over the stove, with her robe caught in the burner about to catch flame. She didn’t even know the gas was on.” 

Those nine months were a game-changer for Charlie, who suddenly had a very clear picture of the struggles and frustration that senior family members must face when dealing with mobility and/or cognitive issues. 

“It also made me realize how great it felt to help someone make it through a difficult time,” says Charlie. “And how a few minor changes made a world of difference.” 

With his background in construction and realty, Charlie found he was set in an extremely unique place to make a difference for those struggling as his mother had. Researching what he could do to expand upon his 36 years experience in general contracting, Charlie found that an entire movement towards Aging in Place had already begun. Giving clients a Home Safety Assessment and providing them a written plan based off of their performance including detailed specifications, services and products based on their needs and budget became the final goal: and Charlie began checking boxes off on his list. 

“I went through the CAPS (Certified Aging in Place) training and became a SRES (Senior Real Estate Specialist) as well, to really set me apart from other contractors who dabble in Universal Design on the sidelines of their other business.” 

Additional certifications in hand, Charlie partnered up with Jane and Dan Zanini to found The Lott Group, LLC. A company that provides specialty plans for clients currently or potentially experiencing mobility issues who would rather age in place than move into an assisted living facility, the Lott Group determines exactly what products and services will best support their ability to carry out everyday activities safely, efficiently, and with dignity.

In 2000, there were 35 million Americans over the age of 65. By 2030, census estimates project that there will be over 71.5 million. The Lott Group is thrilled that they have found a place from which to help, as the number of seniors continues to increase, and folks face the enormous decision of staying in place or heading into a new chapter away from home. 

“When my mom passed away, I realized that the nine months that she spent with our family were priceless,” says Charlie. “She really was part of the tribe: and a huge addition to all of our activities. Dinners, discussions, time with our grown kids. It really was life-changing. And that’s what I want to bring to the table - this priceless gift of freedom to those from whom it has been taken away.”


DSC 0188To connect with Charlie directly, please call (949) 541-1226. The Lott Group is located at 23811 Aliso Creek Rd., Ste. 181 in Laguna Niguel. BRE #01878857. www.AgingSafeAtHome.com

To kick off the holiday season, thousands of community members will countdown to the Huntington Beach giant snowflake lighting during the 20th annual "Light a Light of Love" holiday celebration and fundraiser to benefit nonprofit Community Service Programs (CSP) Huntington Beach Youth Shelter, a “safe haven” for homeless, runaway, abused and at-risk youth.

The festivities, including a children’s holiday parade, will take place along Main Street in downtown Huntington Beach and at Huntington Beach Pier Plaza. The main event highlight is a beautiful pier lighting ceremony of more than 80 giant snowflakes throughout Main Street and down the pier. An opportunity for children to have their picture taken with Mr. and Mrs. Claus at Pier Plaza following the children’s parade will also be available. Additionally, performances from local organizations and high school groups will be held on stage at Pier Plaza, throughout the celebration.

Huntington Beach Pier Plaza located at Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway. Festivities take place on Sunday, December 4, 2016, from 3:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.cspinc.org

For a solid month after my kids watched the beloved New Line Cinema movie ELF, whenever either of them would pick up a phone call, they’d answer, (with as much pep and holiday cheer as possible) “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?”  If you haven’t seen the movie, I’d ask you to just put this magazine down, brew some hot cocoa, pop a batch of peppermint Tollhouse cookies in the oven, and immediately find a copy to put on.

But here in Orange County, we can go one better as we are lucky enough to be able to experience the live action version of the hilarious tale of Buddy the Elf’s journey to New York to discover his true identity at its exclusive premiere at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

After its record-breaking run at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre during the 2010-2011 holiday season, ELF The Musical lands with a jingle of sleigh bells at Segerstrom Hall on December 20. In this modern day Christmas classic, Buddy, a young orphan child, mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. Most of us might cringe when imagining a grown-up human man in tights self-actualizing on stage, but the critics are raving. The New York Times called ELF “A splashy, peppy, sugar-sprinkled holiday entertainment” and Variety proclaimed that ELF is “happy enough for families, savvy enough for city kids, and plenty smart for adults!”

The Segerstrom Center production of ELF The Musical features songs by Tony Award winning nominees Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer), with a book created by Tony Award winners Thomas Meehan (Annie, The Producers, Hairspray), and Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone). The production will feature direction by Sam Scalamoni and choreography by Connor Gallagher - bringing Buddy’s endless charm, innocence and magical holiday cheer to audiences young and old.

Segerstrom Center presents a broad range of programming each season for audiences of all ages, including international ballet and dance, national tours of top Broadway show, intimate performances of jazz and cabaret, contemporary artists, classical music performed by renowned chamber orchestras and ensembles, free performances open to the public from outdoor movie screenings to dancing on the plaza and many other special events. Visit scfta.org to find out more.

Tickets to ELF The Musical start at $29 and are available online at SCFTA.org, by calling (714) 556-2787 and at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. For inquiries about group ticket savings for 10 or more, please call the Group Services office at (714) 755-0236.

Diane Silverstein had never heard of the show “Absolutely Fabulous” when she named her aptly-titled gifts and décor boutique in central Huntington Beach. But the fun-loving, irreverent, blonde, champagne-promoting show does give a glimpse into what makes Absolutely Fabulous such a treasure. Absolutely Fabulous is not your run-of-the-mill, Hallmark-style gift shop; they are as fun and irreverent as the show they share a name with. “We’re like family here,” glows Diane. “I give my regulars a 10% discount on everything, and we often know what they’re looking for before they do.”

The nature of gift purchasing has changed greatly since the advent of the internet. How has Absolutely Fabulous stayed above the fray and blossomed while the rest of the gift industry flounders? “That’s easy,” responds Diane Silverstein, “quality, selection, price range, and ease of shopping.” After many visits to her “absolutely fabulous” gift and décor shop, I would have to agree. “Plus – we ship world-wide, so you can mail your stuff right from here!”

While the internet excels at making home shopping the easiest experience when you know exactly what you’re looking for, much of holiday gift-giving starts with “who is this for, and how much do I want to spend on them?” Absolutely Fabulous makes this type of shopping easy with their “you know the personality, we know the product” approach to holiday gift-giving. “You see,” Diane explains in her charming English accent, “we spend hours and hours searching for the best new products offered in the gift industry. When our customers come in with their lists, we walk them around and point out options that our customers would never have found in an internet search.”

Diane is not kidding on that last point. The variety and uniqueness of products at Absolutely Fabulous is astounding: hand-made jewelry, Miche Bag purses (the ones where you just drop the “insides” of your purse into a new shell, rather than having to dump all of your stuff out!), $10 silk scarves, old-school shaving kits for men, a “Daddy’s Tool Bag” that includes diaper changing equipment, and instructional DVD, face mask and other funny items, rare paintings by successful artists, large crystal chandeliers, crystal perfume bottles, stuffed animal baby bottle covers, piggy banks for kids, “dorm survival kits” for new students, wedding party gifts, rare Disney art and collectibles, Christmas decorations that range from very inexpensive bottle stoppers and tree decorations to 6-foot high collectible Santa dolls. Absolutely really does cover the gamut of gifts for anyone: “from birth to death and everything in-between is our moniker” Diane proudly states. I tend to agree.

Let’s see what other people have had to say about Absolutely Fabulous (we checked their reviews): “nicest ladies who took terrific care of me,” “Love this store. It’s amazing and wonderful to shop in.” The raves go on and on. Absolutely Fabulous is not only a local treasure, however, they have been awarded multiple national awards for her visual merchandising (did I mention that they have the best windows in the country – an honor repeatedly bestowed upon them by leading industry publications, including Gifts and Decorative Accessories Magazine.

Connect with Diane and the crew at Absolutely Fabulous located at 6026 Warner Avenue in Huntington Beach, call (714) 842-1608 or visit www.absolutelyfabulous1.com

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