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an oxnard weekend

Oxnard is a hidden gem close enough for an impromptu day trip, and certainly a relaxed weekend. Checking in at the Embassy Suites, I walked across the hotel's central court with its pool and water landscaping to my suite and was delighted to find that both the bedroom and the living room looked out on the beach with the ocean and the Channel Islands in the background. I stepped out to my own private patio from where I could continue walking over the paths through the rocks and the shrubbery to the expansive sands beyond. After the hot shower from a massaging shower head and the resort's avacado body lotion, the city grime was out as well. Ready for dinner, I was waylaid by the mariachi music from the manager's reception which was now in full swing. It featured a choice of two complimentary cocktails, and plenty of chips and dips and other munchies. We headed out to Waterside restaurant headed by Executive Chef Eric Cancino. He is big into local sourcing - produce from the farmers market as well as the sea bounty off the fishing boats, and tries to incorporate both the Mexican and the Italian sides of his heritage. The locals flock to his Sunday brunch. You can never find the menu listed menu in advance, because it is always whatever the Chef happened to have found that morning. Friday morning we took a cooking class with Michelle Kenney, cookbook author and third generation operator of her family restaurant La Dolce Vita. We began by making mimosas, mixing and matching ingredients to suit our individual preferences: champagne (or the sweeter Italian prosecco), OJ, ingredients, Limoncello, triple sec, and mint. That was enough to get us mellow, and definitely more willing to participate. Pretty soon, we had whipped up a Tomato and Leek Fitatta and Chicken Milanese with Tomato and Fennel Sauce. We took a leisurely stroll of Heritage Square, with its collection of homes from a century ago, many of which had been repurposed: one was a restaurant, another, The Rancho Ventavo Wine Cellers with a tasting room with oak barrel furniture, and pithy plaques: 'More wine, not whine'; 'Eat, drink and re-marry'. Continuing on to the Mullins Auto Museum we stepped back in time with its art deco era collection of classic vintage French autos and grand prix race cars, along with period furniture, paintings and ceramics from pre-war Europe. Dinner was at the Kitchen Restaurant which has a craft beer pub and a gift shop that carries locally made pestos, salsa, barbecue sauces and such. Chef Steven Stroh likes to cook everything with beer, which imparted a unique flavor to his family style meal of salmon, turkey, green beans, salad, bread and dessert. Next day, the waterfront Maritime Museum offered some unusual findings: a section of paintings celebrating Lord Nelson's victory at Trafalgar that you would expect to see in a London museum, and the sea chest belonging to the Spanish explorer who discovered San Francisco. Lunch was at the Moqueca Brazillian restaurant next door, where the traditional Brazillian claypot seafood stew was the right combination of hot and spicy. By that time, alas, the weekend was getting over, and it was time to head back home.  (Thursday Jul 24 | post #1)

Los Angeles, CA

The New iPhone 5s

Seasonal rumor had been swirling since the beginning of summer about a new upcoming iPhone - its arrival date, features, and even its name - whether it was going to be iPhone 5G (or S), signalling minor upgrades, or iPhone 6, signalling major upgrades. On Sept 10, the cat was out officially out of the bag, and it turned out to be - the iPhone 5s. The new iPhone 5s retains the designs and dimensions of last year's iPhone 5, but its overhaul begins at the core: a new A7 chip, with 64-bit desktop-class architecture, that gives it up to twice the CPU and graphics performance. This of course entailed that Apple also upgrade its operating system as well as all of its built-in apps to take advantage of the chip power, and Apple says it is "the most significant iOS update since the original iPhone". Keep in mind we are still within the existing number series, Hmm. These improvements, right off the bat, should translate into way improved performance, so that everything you do should be faster and better than before: launching apps, improved multitasking, editing photos, playing graphic-intensive games, downloading, you name it. And visual effects get richer, competing with Macs, PCs and gaming consoles. That, no doubt, gets you mobile gamers drooling. Additionally a new M7 motion coprocessor can continuously measure motion data for offline use in pedometer and other fitness apps to conserve battery life. Expect developers to take advantage of this feature to create more sophisticated fitness and activity apps. For all you photo enthusiasts, there's a new 8 megapixel iSight camera with a larger f/2.2 aperture as well as a larger sensor with 1.5μ pixels for better sensitivity and low-light performance. Working off the image signal processor in the A7 chip and the new Camera app in iOS 7, it adds up to two-times faster auto-focus, faster photo capture, automatic image and video stabilization, and better dynamic range. It's also got a new True Tone flash - the first for any camera - that adjusts color and intensity for more natural looking pictures taken with a flash. That's the first for any camera. Other enhancements include a new Burst Mode, Slo-Mo video with 120 fps, a new FaceTime® HD camera for better low-light performance, and audio-only FaceTime calls. The most anticipated feature of the new iPhone of course, is the Touch ID built into the home button that lets you unlock your iPhone simply with the touch of a finger. Besides doing away with the headaches of remembering (and even greater headaches of not remembering) passwords, the finger print ID will also authenticate purchases from the iTunes Store, App Store or iBooks Store. Apple allays privacy concerns by encrypting and storing all fingerprint information in a secure enclave inside the A7 chip on the iPhone 5s itself rather than on Apple servers or back-ups in iCloud. Apple promises that setting up Touch ID is easy, and that it will get better every time you use it. But that gets me wondering: what is it like before it `gets better', how long will it take for the phone to learn to do its job, and what happens in the meantime? Am I going to be locked out until it learns to recognize me? It's happened to me enough times involving passwords by rogue computers gone Hal. Of course, I've occasionally had finger print recognition problems at the gym, but there's always the friendly receptionists who already know me by face.  Endurance-wise, the official promise is 10 hours of talk time on 3G networks, up to 10 hours of web browsing on Wi-Fi and LTE networks and up to 8 hours on 3G networks, and up to 10 hours of video playback and up to 40 hours of audio playback. For all you fashionistas who want to start thinking wardrobe color coordination: you have a choice of three colors in metallic finishes: gold, silver and space gray. As for costs, the US suggested retail price is $199 for the 16GB model; $299 for the 32GB model; and $399 for a 64GB model.  (Sep 22, 2013 | post #2)

Los Angeles, CA

The New iPhone 5s

Seasonal rumor had been swirling since the beginning of summer about a new upcoming iPhone - its arrival date, features, and even its name - whether it was going to be iPhone 5G (or S), signalling minor upgrades, or iPhone 6, signalling major upgrades. On Sept 10, the cat was out officially out of the bag, and it turned out to be - the iPhone 5s. The new iPhone 5s retains the designs and dimensions of last year's iPhone 5, but its overhaul begins at the core: a new A7 chip, with 64-bit desktop-class architecture, that gives it up to twice the CPU and graphics performance. This of course entailed that Apple also upgrade its operating system as well as all of its built-in apps to take advantage of the chip power, and Apple says it is "the most significant iOS update since the original iPhone". Keep in mind we are still within the existing number series, Hmm. These improvements, right off the bat, should translate into way improved performance, so that everything you do should be faster and better than before: launching apps, improved multitasking, editing photos, playing graphic-intensive games, downloading, you name it. And visual effects get richer, competing with Macs, PCs and gaming consoles. That, no doubt, gets you mobile gamers drooling. Additionally a new M7 motion coprocessor can continuously measure your motion data for offline use in pedometer and other fitness apps. Expect developers to take advantage of this feature to create more sophisticated fitness and activity apps. For all you photo enthusiasts, there's a new 8 megapixel iSight camera with a larger f/2.2 aperture as well as a larger sensor with 1.5μ pixels for better sensitivity and low-light performance. Working off the image signal processor in the A7 chip and the new Camera app in iOS 7, it adds up to two-times faster auto-focus, faster photo capture, automatic image and video stabilization, and better dynamic range. It's also got a new True Tone flash - the first for any camera - that adjusts color and intensity for more natural looking pictures taken with a flash. That's the first for any camera. Other enhancements include a new Burst Mode, Slo-Mo video with 120 fps, a new FaceTime® HD camera for better low-light performance, and audio-only FaceTime calls. The most anticipated feature of the new iPhone of course, is the Touch ID built into the home button that lets you unlock your iPhone simply with the touch of a finger. Besides doing away with the headaches of remembering (and even greater headaches of not remembering) passwords, the finger print ID will also authenticate purchases from the iTunes Store, App Store or iBooks Store. Apple allays privacy concerns by encrypting and storing all fingerprint information in a secure enclave inside the A7 chip on the iPhone 5s itself rather than on Apple servers or back-ups in iCloud. Apple promises that setting up Touch ID is easy, and that it will get better every time you use it. But that gets me wondering: what is it like before it `gets better', how long will it take for the phone to learn to do its job, and what happens in the meantime? Am I going to be locked out until it learns to recognize me? It's happened to me enough times involving passwords by rogue computers gone Hal. Of course, I've occasionally had finger print recognition problems at the gym, but there's always the friendly receptionists who already know me by face. Endurance-wise, the official promise is 10 hours of talk time on 3G networks, up to 10 hours of web browsing on Wi-Fi and LTE networks and up to 8 hours on 3G networks, and up to 10 hours of video playback and up to 40 hours of audio playback. For all you fashionistas who want to start thinking wardrobe color coordination: you have a choice of three colors in metallic finishes: gold, silver and space gray. As for costs, the US suggested retail price is $199 for the 16GB model; $299 for the 32GB model; and $399 for a 64GB model.  (Sep 22, 2013 | post #1)

Los Angeles, CA

DORIS BERGMAN’S 4th ANNUAL EMMY® STYLE LOUNGE & PARTY

Then they were showered with gifts. There was Art By Dano, fashion clothing from Art Lewin Bespoke Executive Clothiers, Single Dress, Purple Girl Clothing, Deborah Lindquist Designs, chic footwear from Telic Footwear, and jewelry from Twisted Silver and Perch Jewelry. There were pre-soaped sponges from Spongelle to prepare them for the beauty products from Slash Salon, Model In A Bottle, Classy Sachet, Nitrocream, LLC, Cattiva Cosmetics, La Curcio Skin Care Collection, Whitening Lightning, Nature’s Flavors, and the Whirl-A-Style advertised on TV. Author Judi Mason gifted her book 'The Relationship Chronicles' and RunSafety.com a pepper spray hand bracelet. There were food gifts from KIND Snacks, Clif Bar, Luna Bar, PK’s Chocolates, and Bon Bon Home. Beverage gifts included Tequila Azul Imperial, Veved Ice Vodka, Begley’s & Bill’s Natural Soda, and Honest Tea. Guests included primetime Emmy Nominees Dan Bucatinsky (Outstanding Guest Actor “Scandal”), Dot Marie Jones (Outstanding Guest Actress “Glee”), Chelsie Hightower, Sharna Burgess & Gleb Savchenko (“Dancing With The Stars”), Kate Flannery (“The Office”), Ian Patrick (“The Neighbors”), Mary Murphy (“So You Think You Can Dance”), Rich Sommer (“Madmen”), RJ Mitte (“Breaking Bad”), joined Robert ‘RJ” Wagner & his lovely daughter Katie, Dylan Neal (“Cedar Cove”), Ed Begley Jr. & Rachelle Carson, Eric & Eliza Roberts, Illeana Douglas, Tracy Tweed, Obba Babbatunde, Chase Masterson (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”), Estella Warren, Katrina Norman (“Hit The Floor”), Nicholas Guest (“Sons of Anarchy”), Sofia Milos, Michael Grant (“Secret Life of the American Teenager”), Adrienne Janic (“Fit, Famous & Fabulous”), Sean Kanan ("General Hospital"), Alicia Lagano (‘The Client List”), Joelle Carter (“Justified”). In the spirit of giving back, guests donated new and unwrapped gifts for children ages 13-18 for a Pre-Holiday Gift Drive benefiting ‘Wednesday’s Child’ -- a weekly segment airing on KTTV FOX 11 News, Los Angeles, with Anchor Christine Devine. Additionally, Bergman invited two foster children to join in on the festivities and experience what it felt like to be treated as a VIP.  (Sep 17, 2013 | post #1)