How to Celebrate This Father’s Day the Santa Cruz Way

Yet another Father’s Day is upon us and Santa Cruz is gearing up for some great local events for the dad’s in the community. For dad’s who love music, beer, sports, or the outdoors, I’ve put together a great collection of fun events that he will love.



Bands on the Boardwalk (6:30 & 8:30pm) – Tonight, take a stroll down to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, where the 1980’s band Starship starring Micky Thomas (“We Built This City”) will be kicking of the summer series of Friday Night Bands at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. The event is FREE, so pack some snacks, pull out the blankets and join other music lovers for either the 6:30pm or 8:30pm concert. Click HERE for the 2011 summer season lineup.


Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing’s 4th Annual Wing Ding Cookoff (4pm to 8pm) – Does he enjoy a beer and some hot wings? Be the judge of “the best wing in Santa Cruz” where over 20 chefs will be competing at the 4th Annual Wing Ding Cookoff. For $20, you can listen to live music and enjoy 2 organic beers in your souvenir glass, plus all the wings you can eat! Located at the Westside Farmer’s Market. Visit their Facebook page by clicking HERE.


Jerry’s Sports of Santa Cruz is hosting the Bat for Brian Stow Fundraiser from June 17th to the 21st in which all batting cage proceeds will be donated to the Brian Stow Fund. Brian Stow, a Santa Cruzian, was physically assaulted at a Giants/Dodgers game on March 31st. Click HERE for an update on Stow’s condition. You can also visit Jerry’s Sports webpage for more details about the fundraiser.

Father’s Day Celebration at Big Basin Redwoods State Park (1pm to 2:30pm) – Take a half-mile hike with dad amongst the redwoods on a journey back in time to learn about “The Men of Big Basin”. This 1 ½ hour living history re-enactment will tell stories of “the remarkable men who lived in, worked in, and fought for Big Basin”. For more details about the event, visit the Santa Cruz State Parks website by clicking HERE.

For those of you with Dads across the country, may we suggest some cookies? We are still offering a 15% off coupon for online orders placed on or before Monday, June 20th. Visit our website at, and enter PAPALOVE at checkout to receive your discount!

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there! 🙂

Mama’s Night Out

In Southern California, the opportunity to get “dressed to the nines” and strut around town in a classy pair of heels presented itself more often than not. Even a simple summer night strolling Victoria Gardens (the local outdoor mall where I grew up) called for a matching clutch and cute pumps. But my move to Santa Cruz sharply contrasted the consumer driven bubble I grew up in. Here I was met face to face with comfort in the form of anything and everything hemp, organic cotton, O’Neill, yoga attire, or Birkenstocks. With this in mind, when the idea arose for Pacific Cookie Company to be the primary sponsor of Mama’s Night Out, a “shabby chic” benefit event for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, you can imagine my slight uncertainty of the intended attire.

My father’s words of wisdom cut through as I remembered him always telling me it was better to be overdressed than under-dressed. So, I left the house that evening in my matching satin blue heels and two-tone aquamarine feather earrings, ready to join the throngs of other women who gathered at this special occasion to help raise money in the name of Liam Witt and Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. As I fed a few dollar bills into the parking meter, I heard the once familiar clicking of heels on concrete and was shocked to see a small group of women in slim-fitting black dresses with shiny clutches tucked under their arms. I approached the Rittenhouse building in downtown Santa Cruz where the event was being held, and checked in.

I was directed to a large elevator around the corner, and amidst a collage of floral perfumes and the distinct smell of Chanel No. 5 I ascended towards the soft rhythms of a jazzy beat. As I turned the corner towards the mingling cliques of women, I was overwhelmed by the exquisite nature of the space:  beautiful drop chandeliers hanging above simple white tables and decorated with pink and orange satin runners, an illuminating pink and orange glow radiating from the tabletop candles, colorful floor lighting that highlighted black and white photographs of various families who donated to the event, and small twinkling white lights that seemed to draw one’s eye back to the vast array of locally donated sweet treats so artfully arranged on long banquet tables framed with pink and orange Gerbera daisies.

It was at that moment that I realized the significance of the event. Mama’s Night Out wasn’t just another night on the town; it wasn’t about socializing with friends or with other mothers; it wasn’t about showing off your new shoes, or winning a few raffle prizes; it was about family. It was about solidarity. It was about creating awareness. It was to teach how to Love Like Liam.

Liam was the son of Gretchen and Larry Witt, a couple devoted to raising money for pediatric cancer research by way of their non-profit organization, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. Their dream to “support the development of new and better treatments” began with just a few bake sales and 96,000 cookies. Just 3 years later, they have facilitated in the hosting of thousands of bake sales across the country and raised millions of dollars in the process. Liam would have been 7 years old this past May. To commemorate his life, a call to action was made to host 700 bake sales in his honor and to continue the fight against pediatric cancer. In association with these bake sales, The Glad Products agreed to match all proceeds in May up to $225,000.

With this goal in mind, Michelle Riddle of Michelle Riddle Photography and our own Cara Pearson put their heads together to plan what became Mama’s Night Out. Their goal was to attract 200 women looking to spend time with their girlfriends while raising $10,000 for pediatric cancer. The event was a smashing success – from the fantastic wines complimentary of Epic Wines to music by DJ Sparkle to various vendors including personalized perfume creations (Studio Parfum) and bra fitting (Essential Body Wear), Mama’s Night Out attracted 275 women, and raised $18,000 which, after matched by The Glad Products, came to a grand total of $36,000!! Needless to say, we’ve already had MANY inquiries as to whether or not there will be a 2nd annual Mama’s Night Out (of which the answer is hands down “YES!”).

I now wear a simple bracelet decorated with three beads: one pink for my sister’s June birthday, one brown for my husband’s November birthday, and one orange for Liam. And although I never met this strong young man, the stories of his innocent smiles and contagious laughter are embodied in the plain orange bead that sits between the pink and the brown. To me, my bracelet represents the simplicity of life, how fragile it is, and how quickly it can all be taken away. It represents strength and the power that we have when working together towards a larger goal. But most of all it represents Love, and reminds me to Love Like Liam. Everyday. I feel proud to be part of a community that respects and strives towards these same values, and cannot wait to be a part of the 2nd Annual Mama’s Night Out.

Thank you to all who volunteered, and an equally appreciative thank you to all those who attended! Your donations and support are furthering a cause that will one day lead to major cancer treatment breakthroughs. Remember to Love Like Liam, and in the words of Cookies for Kids Cancer, thank you for Being a Good Cookie!

The Significance of Memorial Day

Memorial Day is this Sunday, May 30th. With a little patriotic spirit we introduced the Stars and Stripes Cookie Gift Box (see below) and for every box sold, we will donate $1  towards the Santa Cruz County Veterans Center.

Although we Americans tend to celebrate Memorial Day these days with great shopping deals, beach trips, and barbecues, the significance of this day runs far deeper than the superficial media-run holiday it has become. So I thought I’d put together a few fun facts to enlighten you on the purpose of this day, and the significance it has, or at least SHOULD have, for the American people…

As I’m sure you’re all aware, Memorial Day is a celebration of those who have, and continue to fight for our country– the men and women who have fought for our freedom and democracy since the American Civil War that ended in 1865. The traditional day of honoring this holiday was on May 30th, either because it was NOT the day of any battle, or because flowers would be in bloom all over the country. Either way, the first celebration took place on May 30th, 1868, and was known as “Decoration Day” – a day that the people of America could, with beautiful flowers (namely the red poppy), decorate the graves of those soldiers who gave their lives in war. Businesses closed, and residents flew their flags at half staff. Even today, flags will be flown at half staff until noon to honor the deaths of each soldier; after noon, those same flags are to be raised to full staff to commemorate those soldiers who are still with us.

Whether you pop a cold one and watch the Indy 500 with family, or take to the outdoors for a hike over your 3-day weekend, take a moment during the day to reflect on the real reason for Memorial Day. Your chance to do so will happen at 3 p.m., when our nation is called upon to take a moment of silence for the brave men and women who have fought to uphold our freedoms.

The National Moment of Remembrance was signed into Congress in December 2000 to “encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity” (see So take it upon yourself to recognize this time – turn off the T.V., put down the video game controls, pause your game of tag football, and close your eyes, put your hand over your heart, and thank our brave soldiers for the sacrifices they have made.

This is our history. Be proud. Show your American spirit. I hope you all have a fun and safe Memorial Weekend.   I know I will! 🙂