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March 2018

America’s first successfully #crowdfunded #winery @SmithStory plans to expand California footprint with @springboardwine #travel #wine

O (3)Smith Story Wine Cellars has been winning over hearts and minds as ‘the little winery that did’ from the beginning, when it was established in 2013. Four harvests later (and a few thousand thousand cases sold) the husband/wife founders Eric Story and Alison (Ali) Smith Story, credit their growing success to the partner relationships they have formed over the years: with each other, their growers, their ardent consumer fans, and with the trade.

Today, they are excited to announce a new partner in Springboard Wine Company – their exclusive California Broker.


Smith Story Wine Cellars is based the Russian River Valley AVA, with a second tasting room in the Anderson Valley AVA. Bay Area born Eric and Fort Worth, Texas native Ali met while both working for K&L Wine Merchants in Northern California.

Pursuing their dream to make their own wine (but on a wine-industry budget), the newlyweds launched a Kickstarter campaign and Smith Story Wine Cellars became the very first US winery to be successfully crowd-funded. 2017 was the fourth harvest for Smith Story, and they are about to celebrate their five-year anniversary (both the winery and the couple) in May. Their aim with Smith Story is to represent the kind of wine that the “curious wine drinker” enjoys – true wines with purpose, wines of vibrancy and place, and wines with heart. Due to the momentous consumer requests, largely in part due to the Kickstarter launch and significant social media community of Smith Story fans, the wines are in strong demand in neighborhoods all over the state of California.

Says Ali, “never in my life of building brands and helping wineries have I witnessed such loyalty from wine consumers. It was time to take Smith Story to the next level and allow fans to order our wines at their favorite local restaurants, find them in their neighborhood retail stores and create access for Smith Story fans who travel to California and search for our wines.” When Ali and Eric decided to take Smith Story’s representation statewide in California, the leading domestic wine sales market, Springboard was the natural choice. Sister-owned and operated, Springboard is also a family business that works with select, family-owned wineries.

Effective immediately, Springboard will be responsible for the California sales of all Smith Story wines, which include grower-focused wines from the Anderson Valley, Sonoma County, and Rheingau Germany (via Eric Story Selections), with a variety of character profiles and price points that range from $20 to $80.

O (2)Says Eric of the partnership, “Ali & I are both really really excited to be part of the Springboard Board team. When I was at K&L, I always enjoyed and looked forward to working with Springboard. Not only because of the quality and cast of characters but the level of professionalism that came along as well. I think a simple way of saying it is, it's like putting cheese on a just feels right.”

Says Springboard Owner and Sales Manager Elizabeth Corsini, “We never really go out looking to add anything to the portfolio, because that is typically the equivalent of grocery shopping when you’re hungry. You come home with crap. However, when the right thing (ie. no brainer/hell yes) comes along, you do yourself the favor and say ‘yes please.’ Eric, Ali and Smith Story are that Hell Yes for us, and the kind of project that makes Springboard thrive as a company. A burgeoning brand with intelligence, grace and flexibility built into their program, plus two people I would love to sit down and have a beer with. Like, duh.”

Springboard Wine Company is a family-owned business with a mission to launch into prominence small, select, family owned wineries. Now celebrating their 12th year in business, the brokerage remains committed to the unique wineries they represent. Springboard aims to preserve winery diversity by promoting wineries that distinguish themselves as not only producers of exceptional quality wines, but are progressives in their field. The three sisters who founded Springboard Wine Company believe that good people make better wine, and the best way to support those you admire is by drinking the fruits of their labor. In short, they sell and promote on behalf of people they like. In the face of winery consolidation, Springboard assists burgeoning small, premium wineries to attain the attention they need to survive and prosper. Ranging from classic to extravagant, each wine in their portfolio tells a story of superior craftsmanship that Springboard is proud to display.

For the full portfolio, visit

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Tasting room

Founded by husband and wife team Eric Story and Alison Smith Story Wine Cellars on May 14, 2013, Sonoma County based Smith Story Wine Cellars produces wines from family-owned vineyard sites among Anderson Valley, Knights Valley, Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast and Sonoma Mountain AVAs of California and from the Rheingau region of Germany. In 2014 along with their (Instagram star) Goldendoodle, Lord Sandwich, Ali founded a non-profit Socks For Sandwich, which inspires others to give and also donates new socks to the needy.

The Smith Story Lord Sandwich Red Table Wine has been the number one selling red wine in the portfolio by volume over the last 12 months. Proceeds of the Lord Sandwich Red Table Wine go to Over 25,000 pairs of new socks have been donated and distributed so far to victims of domestic abuse, homeless communities, teenage-foster care programs, immigrant farm workers and to US neighborhoods that suffered damage from natural catastrophes.

Smith Story wines are allocated to Storyteller Wine Club members, sold online to mailing list supporters, sold in their tasting room and through national wholesalers. To learn more please visit and follow daily on Instagram at@smithstorywines. For future appointments to visit the Smith Story Wine Cellars tasting salon in Windsor, CA or the tasting room in Philo, CA, please email [email protected] or call (707) 494.5575.

.@didihirsch's 'Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards' honors @RickSpringfield @BTWFoundation @jbdale72 @oliverplatt

Actor Oliver Platt, Singer/Songwriter Rick Springfield, L.A. Chargers’
Joseph Barksdale, and Born This Way Foundation will be honored at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services'
2018 Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards
Culver City, Calif. (March 5, 2018) – Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Rick Springfield, Emmy, SAG, Tony and Golden Globe Award-nominated actor Oliver Platt, Los Angeles Chargers Offensive Tackle Joe Barksdale, and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation will be honored at the 22nd Anniversary Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards on Thursday, April 26, 2018.
Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, a nonprofit which has provided free mental health, substance use and suicide prevention services for over 75 years, will confer the honors at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
The event is expected to raise over half a million dollars for Didi Hirsch, which helps thousands of families each year from 11 locations and 100 schools throughout Southern California. Didi Hirsch is also home to the nation's first Suicide Prevention Center, and the only one that offers comprehensive services to people affected by suicide.
Oliver-plattOliver Platt is a multiple Emmy, SAG, Tony and Golden Globe Award-nominated actor. His sensitive and intelligent portrayal of an Emergency Room psychiatrist on NBC’s Chicago Med helps erase stigma and inspires people with mental illness to feel more comfortable seeking treatment. Mr. Platt will receive the 2018 Leadership Award for his efforts to raise awareness about mental illness.“Oliver’s sensitive and nuanced portrayal of a compassionate hospital psychiatrist encourages families and people in crisis to consider all resources, including hospital Emergency Departments. He’s not only playing a great part, he’s also helping to erase stigma,” Dr. Curry said.
Rick-springfield-1Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Rick Springfield is also an accomplished actor, writer and passionate metal health advocate who talks openly about his depression and suicide attempt as a teen. He will receive the 2018 Beatrice Stern Media Award for his use of media to raise awareness about suicide and to erase the stigma of mental illness. “Rick has used his memoir, songs and the media to spread the message that despair is temporary and mental illness can affect anyone. By sharing that light has always followed his darkest moments, he has offered hope to others who are struggling,” says Didi Hirsch's President/CEO Kita S. Curry, Phd
Joe Barksdale, who was named the Chargers “2015 Lineman of the Year,” is a star on and off the field. Over the last three seasons,  Joe-barksdale-1  he started 42 of 48 games. Off the field, Barksdale has been working to tackle the stigma of mental illness by talking honestly about his daily struggles with depression and frequent thoughts of suicide. Mr. Barksdale, who suffered in silence for 20 years, will receive the Mental Health Ambassador Award for sharing his experience with teammates and others to encourage men in need to reach out for help. “It’s hard for most men to talk about feeling depressed and suicidal. In reality, the strongest are those who do and who ask for help. Joe’s touchdown is using his story to save lives,” Dr. Curry said.
Cynthia-germanotta-1Together with daughter Lady Gaga, Cynthia Germanotta co-founded Born This Way Foundation to empower youth and advocate against bullying and teen suicide. To achieve these goals, Born This Way Foundation leverages rigorous academic research and authentic partnerships in order to provide young people with kinder communities, improved mental health resources, and more positive environments. Cynthia will accept the 2018 Leadership Award on behalf of Born This Way Foundation. “Didi Hirsch’s staff served as youth mental health counselors during Lady Gaga’s Born Brave Bus Tour in LA in 2014. Today, we are thrilled to honor the organization that Cynthia founded with her daughter Lady Gaga. Born This Way Foundation’s initiatives to empower youth, reduce prejudice and stereotypes and promote self-acceptance have helped create a healthier and kinder community,”Dr. Curry said.
For additional information or to purchase tickets, please go to or call (310) 659-5517. To see a highlight reel of past events, go to
About Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services:
Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services is the nation’s leading provider of community health and substance use services. Dedicated to serving communities where stigma or poverty limits access, the agency has been transforming lives for more than 75 years through our innovative and comprehensive approach to care. Today, Didi Hirsch helps 100,000 adults and children annually from 11 locations and 90 schools in Southern California. Our Suicide Prevention Center – the first in the United States – responds to more than 100,000 calls each year, providing crisis services, grief counseling, training and research nationwide. Learn more at
For more information, please go to  

Watch @NYCFC take on @OurAbuDhabi in 24 hours courtesy @EtihadAirways or Boys have all the fun.:) #soccer #football #travel

EY_5starFive rising international football stars from New York City FC’s first team squad teamed up with Etihad Airways to complete a whirlwind 24 hours in Abu Dhabi challenge. Makes you wish you were a soccer player now, doesn't it? Can you imagine flying to Abu Dhabi for 24 hours and doing everything these players did? I can't.:)

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In their first visit to the UAE, NYCFC players Ronald Matarrita, Rodney Wallace, Sean Johnson, Ben Sweat and Jonathan Lewis took in the sights and sounds of the vibrant capital city during a jam-packed itinerary which they completed in just 24 hours.


Their itinerary included speeding along the race track at Yas Marina Circuit, home of the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, visiting the newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi and the iconic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, kicking the ball around on the sand at Saadiyat Beach Club, teeing off at Yas Links Golf Club, and enjoying a gourmet meal at the Jumeirah at Etihad Towers. They also experienced a traditional safari under the stars in the Liwa Desert.

Picture_1NYCFC forward, Rodney Wallace, who successfully helped Costa Rica earn a bid to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, said: “It was my first time in Abu Dhabi and it's a spectacular place. We managed to see a lot of sights in the short time we were there, and it was exciting to see how many activities you can do on a short trip, whether that be chilling out on the beach, getting behind the wheel of a race car and enjoying a cultural experience. There were even more places we didn’t visit this time around that are on the list for when we return!”


Etihad Airways Senior Vice President Sales (UAE, GCC, Levant and Africa) Hareb Al Muhairy, said: “It was our honour as the national airline of the UAE to host NYCFC in Abu Dhabi for the first time. The players were able to experience many of our capital city’s exciting attractions and see first-hand why it has become such a popular destination with all types of travellers.

“Etihad and NYCFC undertook the 24 hours in Abu Dhabi challenge as part of our global partnerships. Sports, and football in particular, are a unifying language that bonds diverse communities around the world in much the same way travel does.”

If you care to visit, here' s a link to the best times to travel there:

#NewYorkTimes Best Seller & @TheBiggestLoserNBC's" #Celebrity @ChefDevin's 'You Can Have it!' Cookbook launch sexy fun.

UnnamedBy Joy A. Kennelly

So when this invite pops into your email inbox, you kinda have to attend, don't you agree?! They had me at heavy apps...Or maybe it was the VIP gift bag?

No seriously, it was the chance to support New York Times Best Seller & "The Biggest Loser's" Celebrity Chef Devin Alexander and meet Host of NBC's Emmy Nominated "American Ninja Warrior" Akbar Gbajabiamila at the WEST COAST RED CARPET LAUNCH of Devin's new cookbook "You Can Have It!"

I've watched her career grow ever since hearing her speak at an IWOSC meeting where she sat on a panel discussing her career trajectory years back. She was driven back then, is driven now and I am excited and happy for her success. And congratulations to her on her new baby. 

It was a fun, albeit cold, evening in the open and inviting Cambria Gallery which overlooks the ocean in Manhattan Beach, CA. Always wondered what those stairs lead up to, and now I know. All kinds of goodness...

Chef Devin Alexander
Chef Devin Alexander showing off her latest cookbook

All the Manhattan Beach regulars were there in full force and enjoyed the specialty drinks, waffle fry BBQ bites, Harissa Chicken Skewers, Brussels Salmon Sliders, Parmesan Garlic Squash Fries, and Patron cocktails, as did I, despite the coldness of the food that I wish had been served hot.  I'm much more enticed to try recipes when the food tastes great and serving it cold didn't do the food or recipes justice.  I never understand why catering companies think heating up food is better than trying to cook it hot on the premises, but that's just me.:) 

Chicken SkewersHowever, the cold, refreshing cocktails more than made up for it and set the mood  which you can replicate at home following these recipes. Patron drinks
The amazing jazz trio who performed the entire time were grand and you can hear them perform via the link below.

Jazz trio Download Jazz trio - (working on a restricted computer so download their performance to hear them live, or go to my Instagram to hear and see more. It's worth it...)  Despite the bitter cold (for Los Angeles), locals wore their best cocktail attire and were jealous of my long winter coat because I dressed for the weather, not the occasion. AttendeesIn partnership with the American Diabetes Association, this private event was filled with food and drinks sponsored by CAMBRIA and PATRON and was sexy fun. 

I recently tried the cheesy lasagna roll ups recipe at home and it was quite delicious. Very easy to make and healthy too. For a finished pic of the final product, I'll have to refer you to my Instagram again. And that's your healthy cooking minute. 

Raw kale
Ricotta  Final


.@Lufthansa begins #biometric boarding @LAX, paving the way for nationwide usage at airports #Flying #wheelsup

Csm_2382_03_0002short_3efab77970Fascinating to learn the following biometric boarding courtesy the Lufthansa publicity group:

 Biometric technologies simplify, de-stress and significantly speed up airplane boarding
During the initial trial, Lufthansa boarded an A380 in about 20 minutes
Following Lufthansa’s successful LAX trial, the Airline will introduce biometrics boarding at other U.S. airports nationwide

Lufthansa Group, as part of its ongoing efforts to digitalize the travel world, has launched hassle-free, one-step biometric boarding utilizing facial recognition. This innovative pilot, enabled through a collaboration with Lufthansa Group’s longstanding IT partner, Amadeus, as well as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Los Angeles World Airports Authority (LAWA), and Vision Box, is now available at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). During initial trials, Lufthansa received very positive feedback from guests and boarded approximately 350 passengers onto an A380 in about 20 minutes.

Here is how it works:
• Self-boarding gates with sophisticated facial recognition cameras capture passengers’ facial images as they approach the device
• This image is securely sent to the CBP database for real-time matching and verification
• After a successful, instantaneous match within a few seconds, the system recognizes the passenger as “boarded”
• The passenger no longer needs to show a boarding pass or passport at the gate

“The increasing need for airlines, airports and authorities to offer faster and more convenient processes for guests to move through the airport creates a unique opportunity for the use of biometrics,” said Bjoern Becker, Senior Director, Product Management Ground and Digital Services for Lufthansa. “Lufthansa strives to enhance the customer experience by applying advanced technologies and innovative solutions. This is a further step towards achieving that goal.”

With ever-increasing passenger volumes and airport infrastructure limitations, biometrics are becoming a key element to speed up the airport process while ensuring passenger safety and security.In the U.S., airlines will not need to create and maintain their own biometric database as it can rely on data provided from a central source – the CBP – for exceptional efficiency and accuracy.

“CBP is excited to work with air travel industry partners like Lufthansa to demonstrate how facial biometrics can provide a range of traveler benefits for a secure and seamless passenger experience,” said John Wagner, Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Amadeus, the provider of Lufthansa’s Passenger Service System (Altéa) which includes the Altéa Departure Control solution, developed the biometric enhancement together with Lufthansa. Following a successful trial in Los Angeles, Lufthansa intends to expand the pilot program to additional U.S. gateways and other passenger touchpoints. The trial’s completion will also pave the way for other airlines using Amadeus’s Altéa technology to rapidly deploy biometrics boarding for their own passengers.

“Biometric boarding has enormous potential to make the travel experience easier and less stressful,” said Guido Haarmann, Managing Director, Central & Eastern Europe, Airlines, Amadeus. “Last year, over 1.6bn passengers boarded planes using Amadeus Altéa technology. Amadeus’ mission is to develop technology that creates better journeys for travelers worldwide, and it is a pleasure to be working with our established partner Lufthansa to bring this innovative technology to market.”

“We anticipate that in near time, biometric boarding, as well as other aspects of the air travel experience, will be widely utilized across the U.S. and beyond,” concluded Lufthansa’s Bjoern Becker.

About The Lufthansa Group
The Lufthansa Group is the world’s biggest airline group in in terms of revenue, and is also the market leader in Europe’s airline sector. The Group strives to be the “First Choice in Aviation” for its customers, employees, shareholders and partners. And safety, quality, reliability and innovation are the prime credentials and priorities of all its business activities. The Lufthansa Group is divided into the three strategic areas of Hub Airlines, Point-to-Point Business and Service Companies. The Group’s network carriers, with their premium brands of Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian Airlines, serve its home market from their Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich and Vienna hubs. With its Eurowings brand, the Group also offers short- and long-haul point-to-point services in the growing private travel market. And with its service companies, which are all global market leaders in their individual industries, the Lufthansa Group has found success in further areas of the aviation business.

The Lufthansa Group’s airlines currently (Summer Schedule) serve 343 destinations in 103 countries on four continents and offer 15,415 weekly frequencies. The Group’s total fleet comprises some 728 aircraft and its member airlines will be taking delivery of 174 new aircraft between now and 2025. In 2017, the Lufthansa Group employed around 130,000 personnel, welcomed 130 million passengers aboard its flights and generated sales of around EUR 35.6 billion.

The Lufthansa Group is headed by its five-member Executive Board. Carsten Spohr is Chairman & CEO; Thorsten Dirks is in charge of Eurowings and aviation services; Harry Hohmeister bears responsibility for the commercial management of the Group’s hub airlines and airports; Ulrik Svensson is head of finance and IT; and Dr. Bettina Volkens is in charge of HR and legal affairs.

.@DREAM Hotel and @DeltaAirlines hosted 'An Evening of Dreams' for Covenant House #Hollywood #charity #fundraiser

Excitement filled the air on Wednesday, January 17th, 2018 as Hollywood came together for ‘An Evening for DREAMS’ hosted by Covenant House California at the DREAM Hotel in Los Angeles, atn an event presented by Delta Air Lines. Signage
The evening celebrated the dreams of Covenant House of California’s youth and featured live musical performances by performance by Tyson Ritter along with several other members from The All-American Rejects, who performed a few songs including a cover of ‘Where is My Mind’

 Photo credit Eva Napp

All American Rejects performed during Covenant House Fundraiser at Dream Hotel  Sponsored by Delta Airlines  Photo Credit Eva Napp

by The Pixies, as well as a performance from Morgxn.

Also in attendance were Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent, stars of the soon-to-premiere Nate & Jeremiah by Design on TLC, as well as some of TNT’s Major Crimes cast including Graham Patrick Martin, Kearran Giovanni, Ransford Doherty, and Rene Rosado. 


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Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent, stars of  Nate & Jeremiah by Design on TLC    Photo Credit Eva Napp
TNT’s Major Crimes Actor Graham Patrick Martin (far right) Photo Credit Eva Napp

  Eva Napp_covenanthouse-0936_preview

TNT’s Major Crimes Actress Kearran Giovanni and CEO Covenant House, Bill Bedrossian Photo Credit Eva Napp
President & CEO of Covenant House California, Bill Bedrossian spoke about the landscape of homeless youth in Los Angeles, with at least 4,000 youths that are homeless in Hollywood at any given time, and how people can get involved in helping these youths get off the streets. The evening’s celebration shined a light on the talents and dreams of the youth that call Covenant House California’s Hollywood campus “home.”



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Guests enjoying the photobooth


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Covenant House of California is a non-profit organization with locations in Hollywood, CA and Oakland, CA whose mission is to help homeless and trafficked youth by providing shelter and sanctuary for those who have nowhere to go. CHC believes that no young person deserves to be homeless; that every young person in California deserves shelter, food, clothing, education … and most importantly, to be loved.Signage2

Now serving over 1,800 youth a year, CHC has served nearly 190,000 homeless youth since we’ve opened our doors. CHC provides a full continuum of services to meet the physical, emotional, educational, vocational, and spiritual well-being of young people, in order to provide them with the best chance for success in independence. 

In the last 12 months, nearly 4,000 volunteers donated their time, talent, and a piece of their heart to serve our young people at Covenant House California. These amazing individuals and groups show our young people that there are adults in this world that truly do care for them. By assisting the professional staff and offering essential services to our young people, volunteers play a critical role in Covenant House California’s success. It is only with the support of our community that we can offer so many opportunities for healing and growth to our young people.
What do you love to do? Do you write, cook, dance, play an instrument or sports? Do you have administrative, design or organizational skills? Come share that passion with our young people. They need your help at Covenant House. Please contact them today!
Kirsten Awalt or (323) 461-3131, ext. 274
Randi Reed or (510) 379-1010, ext. 1008
Your faith community will see lives transformed and, in the process, see change in your own lives. If you’d like to serve our young people, there are multiple ways to get involved. Organize a service project, or supply drive, raise funds for a specific need! Help CHC love all of God’s children with absolute respect and unconditional love! Please contact us today!
Kirsten Awalt or (323)-461-3131, ext. 274
Randi Reed or (510) 379-1010, ext. 1008
At CHC, we recognize that successful partnerships don’t generally fit a one size fits all model. We’d love to learn about the needs of your organization, and create a partnership that is meaningful, rewarding and sustainable for all involved. We can work with you to engage your employees in multiple ways including (but not limited to): volunteerism, service projects, supply drives, in-kind donations, cause-related marketing, employee giving, job creation, special event participation, sponsorship and programmatic investments.
Please reach out to Amanda at [email protected] to start a dialogue on how your company can partner with CHC, while dramatically improving the lives of homeless and trafficked young people.