Frightful fun this Halloween season

Fall is upon us and so is the Halloween season – my favorite time of year!

There are so many seasonal things to do in the area, it’s scary! Take a look at some of the more unique experiences, ranging from silly fun to frightfully silly and everything in between.




October 25, 26, 27 & 31

Back by popular demand, the Pageant of the Monsters returns with “Triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13)” in Laguna Beach on October 25, 26, 27 and 31 at the Festival of Arts from 6 – 9:30 p.m. The backstage of the Pageant of the Masters will be transformed into a family-friendly haunted house with a sinking luxury liner. Plus art activities, live music, wandering zombies and other “spook-tacular” surprises!

ADMISSION: Adults $15, children 12 and under $10 (not recommended for children under 5). Tickets available online or by phone at 800-487-3378.

More info:



Aliso Viejo Town Center
October 19, 2013
10:00 a.m. – noon

Festival will have Family Games, Pony Rides, Arts & Crafts, Balloon Twisters and DJ Entertainment. Wear your costume to walk through the costume parade! Parade begins at 10:30 am.

CANNED FOOD DRIVE – Bring THREE canned food items and be entered in an opportunity drawing to win a prize. Canned food will be collected and distributed to those in need here in Orange County.

Grand Park – at Aliso Viejo Town Center, near Aliso Creek Road & Pacific Park Drive
Aliso Viejo

More info: For more information, please call 949-243-7750



Saturday, October 26
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Center Street Promenade, Downtown Anaheim

The Anaheim Fall Festival has a 76 year tradition of presenting an annual community-wide Fall Festival event. The Fall Festival recognizes the Harvest Season and brings children and families together to educate and celebrate the history and cultural diversity of the City of Anaheim and the surrounding cities.

All proceeds benefit the non-profit Anaheim Fall Festival and its mission to continue the tradition of an annual community-wide Fall Festival and Halloween Parade.


More info:



Saturday, October 26
10 and 11:30 a.m.
Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall

Pacific Symphony spooky favorites like “Harry Potter” and “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” are paired with Latin American symphonic hits for a cross-cultural celebration! Enjoy music and traditions from “Dia de los Muertos” alongside Halloween tunes and spine-chilling fun. Don’t forget to wear your costume and mask! Designed especially for children 5-11

Pacific Symphony’s Family Musical Mornings are fun and fascinating 45-minute concerts designed especially for children 5-11. Enjoy family fun time together while enhancing your child’s (or grandchild’s) love of music.

During the Musical Carnival, enjoy free hands-on activities for children, who can meet Symphony musicians, sing, dance, play, color, try musical instruments and enjoy themselves in thematic activities related to the concert. 9 a.m. for 10 a.m. concertgoers; 12:15 p.m. for 11:30 a.m. concertgoers.

More info and tickets:




Saturday, October 26
11 p.m.
Art Theatre Long Beach
tickets $11

More info:




My Day as a Hollywood Extra

My friends Xyzyx wrote a song called Kirk Cameron which has gained a lot of popularity in the past few years. A little while ago they shot a music video for the song, and they invited me to participate as a background actor. The catch: the video takes place in the ’80s.

At first I was baffled; what did we wear back then that wasn’t totally hideous? I spent the week shopping, browsing and trying to develop an appropriate outfit.

Turns out, I didn’t need to go much further than my own closet. I purchased a neon yellow t-shirt from Michaels but other than that, the ensemble was made from clothing in my closet.

On Saturday morning, my willing accomplice Jessie and I started our journey toward Van Nuys. The spitting rain was a bit worrisome, but as they say in Hollywood, “The show must go on!”

At first we were a little nervous because we saw no other background people in neon. Most of the ladies looked like spitting images of Madonna or typical ’80s partygoers… did we choose the wrong outfits?

Fortunately, others started trickling in wearing even more outrageous ensembles than us!

They even had a Kirk Cameron look-alike…

Despite the rain, we got started. First they had us assemble in a cone shape fanning out from the direction of the camera (to make the crowd look larger.) They rolled film and started playback and we were off. We had to rock out, dance along and have a good time while 1) keeping quiet so that others could hear the playback and 2) avoiding eye contact with the camera.

We did a few takes, then had a small break while they set up for the next shot. We got back into place and continued our fake concert. The rain eventually stopped coming down and we took full advantage of it. However, as the day wore on the dirt below us got kicked up into a large cloud of dust when we all started dancing. It was less than tasty.

At one point, they sped up the track and camera and we all had to dance in triple-speed. They said it would sync up on the video to look like we were moving in slow motion.

Ultimately, we had a TON of fun and I’m glad we made it up for the shoot. It was definitely hard work, though. Imagine taking your favorite song or a good dance tune and cutting it into thirds. Ditch the first segment then put the second part of the song on repeat. Dance to it like you’re at a concert, but don’t bump the cameraman in the crowd and don’t look at the camera. Despite the people bumping into you and the dust getting in your mouth, keep dancing! Keep smiling! Do about 15 takes of that song, while having the same level of energy and enthusiasm as the very first take. Make sure your appearance remains consistent throughout the shoot, and try to keep the sweat from ruining your makeup.

Whew. Tiring, right? (But fun, nonetheless)

I have to hand it to Xyzyx – after hearing the song a million times that day, I wasn’t sick of it. That’s an impressive feat. In fact, we were so jazzed after the shoot that we listened to the Xyzyx EP on the drive back to South OC.

Ready to see the finished product?

Check out Xyzyx on:

Hearty Fall Soups

Now that the weather is getting cooler, give these three ‘comfort food’ soups a try. Enjoy!


Italian Sausage Soup

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, ground
1 cup white rice
1 cup chopped tomatoes in puree (1 10-3/4 oz.can)
1/2 lb. chopped frozen spinach (1 10 oz. box), thawed and drained
6 cups beef broth
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground
Pecorino Romano cheese, for garnish

1.  Cook ground sausage in a soup pot and break the meat up with a fork as it cooks.  Add in rice, beef broth, tomatoes and black pepper and bring to a simmer.
2.  Cook 12-15 minutes or until rice is tender.  Stir in chopped spinach and let simmer for a few minutes.
3.  Ladle soup into soup bowls and garnish with freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese.



Pot Roast Soup

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
2 tablespoons sherry
4 cups canned low sodium beef broth (or homemade)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1-1/2 cups leftover pot roast, shredded into large chunks plus any leftover gravy
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish

Heat oil and butter in a large soup pot over moderate heat. Add onions, celery, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic and saute until tender and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add thyme and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add sherry and stir up any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Stir in broth, tomato paste, and meat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add Worcestershire and salt and pepper. Serve in a warmed soup bowl sprinkled with chopped parsley.



Cream of Tomato and Basil Soup

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes

4 tablespoons butter
1 small red onion
2 cups dry white wine
3 cups canned diced tomatoes (or 1 – 12 oz can)
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
Salt to taste; black pepper to taste

1.  Melt butter in a heavy sauce pan. Add red onions and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add white wine and reduce by 3/4. Add tomatoes and heavy cream, bring to a simmer and reduce by 1/2.
2.  Puree soup in a food processor. Stir in 2 tablespoons chopped basil, salt and pepper.
3. Garnish with remaining fresh basil and tomatoes and serve.

Weekly Yoga in the Park for Staff and Faculty!

Written by Zabie Khorakiwala

It’s 3:00 p.m. The day is almost through.

You realize you’ve been plugging away at the computer all day long with no glimpse of sunshine. You probably didn’t take a break and definitely weren’t thinking about the snacks you were having throughout the day. 

You need a break.
Time to re-energize!

Staff wellness is so important especially as we think of how it may impact our ability to serve the needs of the students we work with on a daily basis. This is why I created a free weekly yoga class in the park for faculty and staff.

Yoga allows us to consistently cultivate gratitude towards our own body – which is something we often neglect in the craziness of life. We’re always thinking about giving to others and we consciously choose to prioritize our own needs last.

In November 2011, I became a certified yoga instructor through Core Power Yoga because of my passion for the practice and its ability to heal the mind, body, and spirit.

Yoga in the Park is a way for faculty and staff on campus to take one hour out of their day every Friday to actually take their lunch break and give back to themselves; to take an hour to be present, breathe, and de-stress.

I hope you’ll consider joining us for this beginner’s level yoga class.

Meets every Friday12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
on the lawn behind the Career Center
(diagonal to the Dr. White Room of the Cross Cultural Center)

First-time attendees just need to sign a waiver and bring their own yoga mat*
*If you don’t have a yoga mat and need one, let me know by the Thursday prior to the class

For anyone who would like to be added to the yoga list for updates and inspirational weekly quotes, please e-mail me at

Massage Therapy at the ARC

Yes, you heard right, you can get a massage at the ARC. Now, we realize that getting a massage at the school gym might not sound appealing, but what you might not know is that there are private massage rooms and personal locker rooms in the ARC’s wellness suite, far away from the gyms and workout areas.

So who’s giving those massages? Well, you might be surprised to find out that all of Campus Recreation’s massage therapists are professionals, not students, and they certified with at least 500 hours of massage training from an AMTA accredited/approved massage school. This is the same certification requirement of all businesses that provide massage services. Here at the ARC, we offer the same relaxing and luxurious experience you would expect from a private massage studio.

Do you have to be an ARC member to sign up for massage therapy at the ARC? No! Anyone can enjoy a massage at the ARC. If you’re not an ARC member, you’ll just need to buy an ARC day pass to enter the building.

So why should you get a massage at the ARC? Well, first off, you’re at UCI, a trustworthy organization where you can be confident that you will be cared for by trained professionals. Also, the ARC Wellness suite provides the same private facilities that you’d find at typical day spa without the extra overhead costs.

For an accurate portrayal of the ARC massage experience, please see the video below.



To sign up for massage therapy, please contact the Campus Recreation Services Desk at 949.824.3738