Category: Arts

Jazz at Palm Court

Jazz at the Palm Court

Jazz at the Palm Court  is a unique collaboration between the Irvine Unified School District music programs and the City of Irvine. Ten middle and high school student jazz ensembles will be performing at the Great Park’s Palm Court Arts Complex.

The show will also feature special guest artists performing alongside student musicians. Bring your folding chairs, picnic blankets and don’t miss this one-of-a-kind music experience.

  • When: Saturday, May 9, 2015 from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Where: Great Park – Palm Court Arts Complex | Map & Directions
  • Cost: Free

Creativity Station

Imagine Celebration Creativity Station

The Child Creativity Lab offers an array of guided and self-directed creative development stations and exhibits. These hands-on activities emphasize problem-solving skills and innovation. Families with children of all ages are welcome.

Come create, experiment and learn as you design self-portraits out of reclaimed and repurposed materials in Creative Reuse Selfies. Develop imagination and problem solving skills with craft materials in Popping the Creativity Can, or upcycle wine corks into unique projects in Corks for Creativity. All workshops are available until supplies run out.

  • When: Saturday, May 9, 2015 from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Where: OC Great Park, Artists Studios | Map & Directions
  • Cost: Free

Drop Into Art

Palette Station

Drop Into Art at the Palette Station in Tustin today, Saturday, April 25th from 1:00 to 5:00pm. The Palette Station is offering FREE drop-in art activities for the kids.

Go in and let the kids have fun while creating masterpieces with gentle guidance from the Palette Stations professional artists. The Palette Station is truly a one-of-kind art studio for kids that allows them to experiment and express themselves artistically.

Take advantage of this opportunity to see how Palette Station is redefining art enrichment for children and their families.

The Palette Station is located at Larwin Square, 540 E. 1st Street, Tustin, CA 92780


3rd Annual Day of Art

Roger’s Garden is proud to present the 3rd Annual “Day of Art.” This Springtime event attracts 50 talented artists to paint and draw in the Gardens for the day. A painting by each of the participating artists will be on display and available to the public for purchase.

These paintings and drawings will represent their creative interpretation of Roger’s Gardens. This year we will be judging the 50 original artworks and presenting awards and recognition’s.

All visitors will have the opportunity to be an artist for the day with scheduled workshops and demonstrations! For the event schedule, click here. *In case of rain, this event will be cancelled until further notice.

  • Sunday, April 26, 2015 from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
  • Where: Rogers Gardens, 2301 San Joaquin Hills Rd., Corona del Mar, CA 92625
  • Cost: Free
For more information visit:

Festival of Books

LAFestivalofBooksLos Angeles TIme’s signature event, the Festival of Books is this weekend, April 18th & 19th at USC. The Festival of Books is a family-friendly celebration of Books, Art, Travel, Music and Food.


Artists’ Row showcases all types of artists such as: photographers, Illustrators, mixed media and more. The Travel Smart Stage will offer travling tips and tricks. Music will be provided on the L.A. Sound Stage with Castro, a post-punk/new wave band, reggae/ska artist Jackie Mendez, and Ethio Cali, featuring Ethiopian jazz. Some of amazing chefs on the Cooking Stage such as: Pauley Perrette, Food Network and Cooking Channel star; Zoe Nathan, Matthew Kenney and plenty of food trucks.

 Make sure to visit Natural History Museum’s booth and get your nature eyes on! Meet a live animal, hear author talks and get your books signed. Learn how to draw dinosaurs and Dinosaur Encounters.

For complete details and schedule of events visit the Festival of Books website.


First Thursdays Art Walk


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Come to Laguna Beach for First Thursdays Art Walk and celebrate the diverse cultural art scene of Laguna Beach. This FREE event is open to the public and held every first Thursday of  the month from 6:00 – 9:00 pm.

First Thursdays Art Walk is funded by member galleries, local art institutions, lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach.

The galleries of First Thursday Art Walk provide FREE trolley service during First Thursdays Art Walk. Click here for the shuttle map.


Artfully Planned Spring Camp

Do you have any Spring Break plans for the kids? My plan is to find different things to do everyday but nothing that comes with a full weeks commitment (there are far too many things I want to do).

The Palette Station in Tustin makes it easy for you to keep the planning simple. You can sign up for Spring Camp on a daily basis, no full weeks requirement here!

Daily Camps are $40.00 per day and run from April 6 – 10th, times are from 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm every day.

I can not say enough good things about this establishment. Ray, the owner and his staff take pride in providing an inspiring place for kids to let their inner Picasso shine.

The Palette Station is located at Larwin Square Shopping Center,  540 E. First St., Tustin, CA 92780

Call 714-730-4979 to reserve your spot!



Orange County Guitar Orchestra

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The Orange County Guitar Orchestra was founded in 2012 by former members of the renowned Fullerton Guitar Orchestra, who wanted to continue their guitar orchestra experience at a fully professional level. Under the direction of David Grimes, the Orchestra has already developed a reputation of unique and colorful repertoire.

Upcoming performance schedule:

  • Rancho Santa Margarita Library
    Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 7:00pm
    30902 La Promesa, Rancho Santa Margarita, Ca 92688
    For more info please call 949.459.6094
  • Corona Public Library
    Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.
    650 S. Main St., Corona, CA 92882
    for more info call (951)736-2381
  • St. Joseph Episcopal Church
    Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 6:30 p.m.
    8300 Valley View Street, Buena Park, CA 90620
  • Alondra Community Center/Library
    Saturday, June 27, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.
    11949 Alondra Boulevard, Norwalk, CA 90650
    for more info call (562) 868-7771
  • Whittier Whittwood Branch Library
    Monday, July 20, 2015 at 6:30 p.m.
    10537 Santa Getrudes Ave. Whittier 90603
    for more info call (562) 567-9950
  • Arcadia Library
    Saturday, August 1, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.
    20 West Duarte Road, Arcadia, CA 91006
    for more info call (626) 821-5567

Experience a Journey with Jesus

Experience Jesus’ Journey through art at Sadlleback Church Rancho Capistano Campus. 

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A Journey with Jesus, is a reflective outdoor art display and trail portraying a visual story of Christ’s journey to the cross.The trail showcases 15 breathtaking, original, hand-cast mosaics made by artist Lance Jost.

Each station depicts key events during Jesus’ final days on earth. Bring the family and experience this extraordinary portrayal of the Easter story together.

Lance Jost’s work can be seen throughout South Orange County. Some of his work can be seen In Dana Point as you cross under the Doheny Pedestrian Bridge and the panels which display local sea life and surfers in the Mary Ellen Thomas Memorial Fountain at La Plaza Park in Dana Point, he is also the creator of a 100-foot long mural of Jimi Hendrix in his Electric Lady Recording Studios in NYC in 1970/71.

Dates and Times for this event are as follows: 

  • March 28 from 9:00 am – 7:00 pm 
  • March 29 from 1:30 pm – 5:00 pm 
  • April 2 from 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
  • April 3 from 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • April 4 from 9:00 am – 7:00 pm

Saddleback Rancho Capistrano is located at 29251 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675


Comic Book Creation Workshop

In this Comic Book Creation Workshop, kids ages 7 – 12 will learn how to write, draw, and express your stories in comics form. All levels of experience and draftsmanship welcome. Sign up for materials at the information desk, or bring your own drawing tools to this free workshop.

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  • When: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 from 4:00 -5:00 pm

  • Where: OC Public Libraries – Rancho Santa Margarita Branch,30902 La Promesa Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688 

  • Cost: FREE 

Call 1-949-459-6094  for more information


Kid’s Art Studio

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Kids’ Art Studio is a hands-on art-making program offered by Laguna Art Museum on a drop-in basis on the third Sunday of every month between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m.

Children and their families create a piece of art from start to finish, inspired by one of the exhibitions on view in the museum. Art projects are designed for all ages and are supervised by members of the Laguna Art Museum Arts Council. All materials are provided.

  • When: The third Sunday of every month from 2:00-4:00 p.m.
  • Where: Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Drive at North Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, CA 92651 (949) 494-8971
  • Cost: Free admission for children and accompanying adults.

Reservations are not required.


Seussical the Musical


Last night, we were invited guests for a special viewing of Seussical the Musical, presented by 3D Theatricals at Plummer Auditorium in Fullerton. Seussical the Musical begins tonight and stars none other than CATHY RIGBY as THE CAT IN THE HAT!

Seussical the Musical is based on the on many of the much-loved books of Dr. Seuss. The Tony-nominated musical takes you through a journey of such books as: The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, Horton Hears a Who, Horton Hatches an Egg, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Oh the Thinks you can Think and more.


The musical was colorful and spirited, my favorite number of the musical was “Havin’ a Hunch”….it was simply amazing! I must say how much I loved “Horton” played by Matthew Downs, Jojo, played by Grant Westcott was outstanding and Cathy Rigby is absolutely stunning in this role.

The musical started at 8:00 pm which is normally my girls bedtime but they loved it. I loved the uplifting and encouraging message of the musical. The message of being true to yourself and daring to think beyond the box was very well put together. If you’re looking for a fun family evening – take the kids, they and you will love it!


The musical starts tonight, February 7, 2015 and runs through February 22 , 2015 at PLUMMER AUDITORIUM, the musical then moves on to the REDONDO BEACH PERFORMING ARTS CENTER for a run from February 28 , 2015 through March 8 , 2015.


Party on the Plaza

Off Center Festival - Logo

Segerstrom Center for the performing Arts will host 2 separate FREE “Party on the Plaza” events as part the 2015 OFF CENTER FESTIVAL! Come for free live music as you enjoy delicious food trucks right on the Arts Plaza!

Saturday, January 24, 2015 – 7:00pm – Party on the Plaza featuring Nick Waterhouse

Huntington Beach native Nick Waterhouse takes the stage with a sound that falls somewhere between neo-soul and a Raymond Chandler novel, Waterhouse is vintage cool, a throwback without being retro. On his current release, Holly, Sam Cooke meets Meyer Hawthorne and the stunning result is the perfect soundtrack to an Off-Center night on the Plaza.

Food Trucks Scheduled (subject to change): WaffNRoll, Mustache Mike’s & Frijolitos Coffee.

Nick Waterhouse’s Official Website:

Friday, January 30, 2015 – 6:00pm – Party on the Plaza featuring Orgone & Jungle Fire

L.A. bands Orgone and Jungle Fire are on hand for the second weekend of our #OffCenterFest with a free show on our plaza, where they’ll drop gobs of locally-spun funk and soul. First, Jungle Fire will dig deep into Afro/Latin funk and showcase cuts off their debut album, ‘Tropicoso’. Orgone follows with Southern California premiere of new tracks from their upcoming seventh record, a cold-blooded blend of raw soul, rare funk and afro-disco that grabs you by the collar, pulls you to your feet and shoves you onto the dance floor.

Food Trucks Scheduled (subject to change): Adobo Express, The Burnt Truck & Bakery Truck.

Orgone Official Website:
Jungle Fire Official Website:


  • When: January 24 & 30, 2015
  • Where: Segerstrom Center for the Arts – 600 Town Center Dr, Costa Mesa, California 92626
  • Cost: FREE

Join the #OffCenterFest conversation:

INSTAGRAM: @SegerstromArts


Explore on a Budget


Explore_on_budgetYes, like many other families – we are on a tight budget but even on a budget you can find ways to have fun, explore and present your children with opportunities to learn while having fun as a family.

Many of the events I blog about are held at our beautiful O.C. Parks, local museums and science centers. One of the ways we save money on parking and admission to these events is by investing in memberships and passes to our favorite places. As a member, you get discounts on food (but we always pack a lunch – one more way to save money), gift shops, special workshops and member only events.

We’ve had a pass to the Magic Kingdom (and yes, we packed our lunch to go here too) and it was great but within just 3.5 months of paying for a deluxe passport for a family of 4 to the Magic Kingdom – I can buy all of the memberships mentioned on this post.

By simply putting some money aside each month, you can easily buy your memberships one by one throughout the year. Another benefit of spacing out the purchases of your memberships is that you always have at least one you can utilize.

Another way of saving money is taking advantage of FREE events and FREE days by sponsors such as Target. If you bank with Bank of America, they have some great free day offers nationwide. We’ve had many great afternoons visiting Bowers Museum, Children’s Museum at La Habra and Orange County Museum of Art during Target’s sponsored programs.

You can visit museums like California Science Center and The Getty Center & The Getty Villa for free, you just have to cover the parking fee.

I’m always on the lookout for FREE days and events that are reasonably priced and will share whatever fits within “Project Refined Life’s” criteria.

Be sure not to miss out my posts like FREE Days at our National ParksFREE days at Autry National Center of the American West and Museums Free-For-All Day.

Here’s a list of the local membership opportunities and discounts for some of the places we love to visit.

 OC Parks Parking Passes

OC Parks offers parking passes that are good for one year from date of purchase. I broke down and bought one mid year last year and I absolutely love it. This parking pass has made it possible for me and my family to experience FREE events such as guided hiking events, Prehistoric OC, Irvine Railroad Pumpkin Patch & Christmas Events and on and on. I love this pass.

2015-01-02_00.13.11The newly revised OC Parks parking passes allow visitors to use a single card to park at all County regional and wilderness parks and/or beaches. The new “smart cards” replace last years entry cards and stickers that were previously used for annual parking. These smart cards are valid for 12 months from issue date and can be renewed annually. Moreover, for wilderness and beach locations which previously required a sticker affixed to a visitor’s windshield, these passes can be used with any vehicle. The price for the new cards remains the same as 2014.


Three types of cards are available:

  • County Regional and Wilderness Parks Parking Pass for $55 ($35 for seniors/disabled)
  • County Beach Parking Pass with Pay and Display Machines for $55 ($35 for seniors, disabled park free)
  • All County Parks and Beaches Parking Pass for $80 ($50 for seniors)

Distinguished Veterans (per California State Parks) are eligible for a no-fee pass. This applies to veterans with a 50% or higher service-connected disability, or who were held as prisoners of war, or who are recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

OC Parks Parking Passes are available for purchase at an OC Parks facility near you. Visit OC Parks online at our Annual Parking Pass page for more information and a list of convenient locations.

If your visiting Irvine Regional park be sure to use these coupons.

State of California Parks & Beaches

CrystalCoveTidePoolsOne of my favorite places in the O.C. is Crystal Cove State Beach but with parking at $15.00 a day – a pass is definitely the way to go. There is currently a fantastic introductory offer good for 4 days worth parking passes and all state beaches and parks for the low price of $25.00. The “sampler” pass also includes 5% off camping reservations and a one year subscription to Sunset Magazine. For a complete list of parks click here or visit to get your parking pass.

 Discovery Cube

They are currently offering a fantastic deal on their membership. You can purchase a 1 year Family membership for $99.00…..and you can purchase the second year for just $25.00 more!  This membership will get you and your family into Discovery Cube OC and Discovery Cube LA for just $124.00 for 2 years!!!

Discovery_cubeThe Family membership  is good for 1 or 2 named adults, plus up to 4 named children living in the same household (age 17 and under). Up to (2) additional named siblings living in the same household (ages 3-17) for $20 each.

They do offer movies at the Discovery Theater and hold several special exhibits each year that do require an additional fee however members get special pricing. Click here for membership options and details.

Benefits of membership include:

  • Unlimited admission* for one full year! No blackout dates!
  • Get two Cubes for the price of one – your membership works at both the OC and LA location.
  • Invitations to members-only events & previews
  • Priority registration and discounts on Camp Discovery and other fun activities
  • FREE or discounted admission to over 300 other ASTC Science Centers around the world
  • Subscription to our monthly e-newsletter and Discoveries Magazine
  • 10% off Science Store & Taco Bell purchases**
  • $10 discounted admission tickets for your guests (4 per visit)
  • Discounts on Discovery Theater tickets

Santa Ana residents receive up to 4 free admissions per address with valid ID (proof of residency) on the first Tuesday of every month. Cannot be combined with any other discount or offer. Excludes special events and ticketed exhibitions or shows.

Bank of America Free Day – Bank of America cardholders receive free admission on the first Sunday of each month. Photo ID and any valid Bank of America/Merrill Lynch credit or debit card must be presented. One free general admission limited to cardholder only. Cannot be combined with any other discount or offer. Excludes special events and ticketed exhibitions or shows.

Here’s a coupon for a free child’s admission with a paying adult.

 Santa Ana Zoo

Santa Ana Zoo is a great little zoo and if you like Monkey – you’ll love this zoo. Joseph Prentice, the founder of the Santa Ana Zoo at Prentice Park, stated that in order for the Zoo to exist, Mr. Prentice required that there be 50 monkeys on the grounds at all times.

This charming Zoo features over 80 species of animals, including the smallest monkeys in the world, the Pygmy Marmosets. The Zoo is a place to play, a place to learn and a place to spend time with your family.When visiting the Zoo, children and adults can share time together learning about animals, plants and the environment. There is also a children’s farm, train ride and carousel featuring endangered species.


Membership benefits include:

  • Unlimited FREE admission for 12 full months!
  • 10% discount on the “Treetop Toys” Gift Shop and Snack Bar, 20% discount for birthday parties.
  • Newsletter filled with animal facts, event schedules, and other interesting Zoo stories.
  • Member Appreciation Days with free train rides, and discounts for other events and programs, such as Sunset at the Zoo and Boo at the Zoo.
  • Visit over 50 Zoo’s – Los Angeles, The Living Desert Zoo, Santa Barbara, Fresno Chaffee and Sacramento Zoo, as well as over 150 zoos around the United States are FREE or discounted to our members. 

A Family Club membership is $70.00this includes unlimited admission for 2 adults (named on the card) and their children and/or grandchildren (under the age of 18) for 12 months, maximum of 4 children per visit.

On Resident Free Day, the third Sunday of each month, residents of Santa Ana may visit the Zoo for free. Proof of residency (driver’s license, utility bill) will be required upon arrival. Not valid to schools or business addresses.

Although the OC Zoo doesn’t advertise it, you can use your Santa Ana at the OC Zoo for free admission to the OC Zoo as well.

 Aquarium of the Pacific 

2014-08-20_12.07.20Membership at the Aquarium of the Pacific for a family of four can be quickly covered by your second visit. They have a great learning opportunities, family friendly festivals, member only events and discounts. Your membership also helps protect the Pacific Ocean, its inhabitants, and ecosystems.

Benefits of membership:

  • 50% of prepaid parking
  • 10% off at the Gift Shop
  • Member Appreciation events and Special Event Festivals
  • Discounts on private birthday parties, animal encounters, behind the scene tours, day camps, Junior Biologist , Aqua tots and more.

You can get a family membership for $125.00, for more details click here. if a membership here is out of the question at this time, take advantage of their FREE Shark Lagoon Nights.

For a limited time only, you can get discounts from:

  • Gelson’s Markets in Los Angeles and Orange Counties are now offering a coupon valid for $8 off adult admission—that’s just $20.95! Offer available in stores through 1/31/15 or while supplies last.
  • Southern California Smart & Final locations are now offering a coupon valid for $8 off adult admission and $2 off child admission (ages 3-11). Offer available in participating stores through 2/24/15 or while supplies last.

For annual Discounts use your AAA Discount to receive 10 percent off adult, child, and senior admission when you present your AAA member card at Aquarium ticket windows. Valid for up to four discounts. Or, save up to 25% when you purchase tickets at any Southern California Auto Club branch.

Natural History Museum, Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits & William S. Hart Museum

This is an awesome deal!!! Your interest can range from dinosaurs, nature lovers, gardens, Los Angeles history, Gems and minerals, mammals, birds, shells, art….these museums have you covered!

NHMMembership benefits include:

Family membership costs $89 – what a deal! The membership is good for two adults and up to four children (age 17 and under).

If you have a AAA membership, use that card! You can get admission discounts, wejust recently used it for discount on admission to Columbia Memorial Space Center. In addition to admission discounts, they offer discounts to at museum gift shops and restaurants. Wherever your at – ask them if they offer AAA discounts.

Bank of America has a program called Museums on Us, I’m considering a opening up an account at Bank of America for this benefit alone. They offer just FREE admission to museums throughout the county. In the Southern California area some the museums include: .

  • Discovery Cube
  • Orange County Museum of Art
  • Riverside Art Museum
  • San Diego Art Museum
  • The Living Desert Zoo
  • The Autry
  • Skirball Cultral Center



What are your families favorite places that offer some great membership options?