Daily Pilot, September 30 “Special ingredient: food”

From the Daily Pilot, “Special ingredient: food“.

Erin Whitcomb had just returned from a friend’s 30th birthday celebration when she heard the news.

She’d been laid off.

Having dedicated 11 years to the PBS station in Seattle, she was devastated. In the throes of an identity crisis, Whitcomb packed her bags and moved to Orange County to be nearer to her fiance, Adam, a new graduate student at Chapman University.

Accustomed to working long hours, she suddenly found herself filling her days by cooking, reading and maintaining a sparkling clean house.

“I was going stir-crazy and there were simply no jobs to be had,” she recalled. ” I wanted to do something nostalgic and fun that would bring happiness into the world — sounds cheesy, but it’s true.”

That was when inspiration hit.

The longtime frozen treat enthusiast began experimenting with recipes and traipsing around to student film sets and wrap parties with her concoctions, so Adam’s classmates could try them. When they “freak[ed] out” and lauded her efforts, she took the next step — toward one blender and a pop cart.

Since early 2011, Whitcomb’s project has grown from a sole cart in the American Legion Hall in Placentia to a wildly popular brick-and-mortar shop in Old Towne Orange called Front Porch Pops. Her seven carts and 12-person staff sell seasonally inspired ice pops, ice cream bars and pies and will soon unveil a pretzel line.

Whitcomb, 33, of Orange, is one of about 120 food artisans poised to participate in Costa Mesa’s first-ever Patchwork: Edible Edition on Saturday and Sunday.

Brimming with enthusiasm over the imminent opportunity to attend Evan Kleiman’s pressure-cooking demonstration, Whitcomb said she also wants to learn about pickling and making lattes.

“I’m so excited to be participating in an event that not only encourages people to come and taste stuff, but to go home afterward and cook,” she said.


‘Sense of community’

Creators Delilah Snell and Nicole Stevenson envision a summit featuring chefs, bloggers and vendors. Attendees can partake in a weekend’s worth of eating, learning and shopping at SoCo Collection, where the playbill includes food-inspired jewelry and apparel, panel discussions and hands-on workshops.

Patchwork debuted in 2007 as a festival that provides artists, craftspeople and vendors a venue to sell their goods — a service they felt was lacking in some parts of California.

Brainstorming over margaritas, chips and salsa, the women began with one word, “make,” on a sheet of paper and added others that came to mind. It wasn’t long before they combined “patch” and “work” from the collection of terms.

“Patchwork insinuates the making of something but also brings to mind the sense of community,” Stevenson said.

Stevenson, a do-it-yourself workshop instructor and founder of the clothing and accessories line Random Nicole, and Snell, an environmental education and food sustainability expert, decided to run with the idea.

Occupying a parking lot for about 25 cars behind Snell’s Road Less Traveled store in Santa Ana, they drew more than two dozen vendors and close to 500 guests. Since then, the biannual event has also reached Long Beach and Oakland, where several city streets are cordoned off to accommodate it. The growing turnout is also graced by live entertainers, photo booths and perhaps even a bike valet, hair dresser or pet sitter.

To the aunt-and-niece team, both 37, there is no greater pleasure than helping people do what they love. And not just as a hobby or downtime activity, but as something they can make a living from.

Greer’s OC, September 25 | Fall in Love With Fall at SOCO

From Greer’s OC Fall in Love With Fall at SOCO

The first official day of fall was Sunday and we are still trying to figure out how it’s almost October! Come get your house up to speed with the season at SOCO. Home to TPT Home, Rolling Greens, Wildflower Linen and more – SOCO has everything you need to transition from summer to fall.

Fall is in the air, but probably hasn’t arrived – decor-wise – at your house yet. Come to SOCO this weekend and find the best fall items to adorn your home this season.

TPT Home has everything you need for Autumn, Halloween and even Thanksgiving. Cute cake plates, BOO glass canisters, large apothecary jars to hold all your Halloween treats, cupcake flags, spooky plates and so much more. You can also find all your tablescape needs including votives, serving dishes, and drink dispensers to make your Halloween parties a breeze! We always know we can count on TPT to have the most adorable and affordable items to make our house a festive home – during any season.

Wildflower Linens has the finest, high-quality linens to dress your fall table. Celebrate the season with golds, maroons, and chocolate brown linens that will completely transform any table. Did you know you can also rent napkins, chair backs, and runners, too? Fall party planning is snap, especially with the talented team at Wildflower Linens who will help you select the just-right colors and items for your special occasion.

Rolling Greens is bringing the outside in this fall. Come shop all the latest succulents (live and artificial) and then have the talented floral baristas create a seasonal arrangement for your home! You can even bring in your own container, shop at SOCO, then come back and pick up the finished product – it’s that easy! Rolling Greens also has amazing hostess gifts for any Halloween party – candles, barware, cookbooks, journals, gift cards – the list goes on!

October is known as Indian Summer in SoCal, so why not eat dinner outside this weekend? Nowhere to sit? Come check out Brown Jordan at SOCO for outdoor furniture that has stood the test of time! Brown Jordan’s chic designs will turn your backyard into a outdoor oasis and their iconic collections are a must-see.

Uni Home Store has every accessory to transition your house from summer to fall. Maybe it’s a new pillow or a new piece of wall art, UNI’s talented team will help you find the perfect piece to freshen your home this season! Inside tip – don’t forget to check out the jewelry at UNI, too. Treat the house – and yourself.

SOCO (South Coast Collection) is Southern California’s destination for inspiration, and a premier interior design, culinary, event and boutique shopping destination. SOCO also offers an award-winning weekly Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from 9am-2pm, and a robust schedule of monthly events to appeal to a variety of interests. To learn more about SOCO, vistsouthcoastcollection.com and shoptheocmix.com

SOCO is at 3313 Hyland Ave. in Costa Mesa.

OC Register, September 18 “Recession spurs new retail experiences at SOCO”

Image courtesy of OCRegister.com

Planned during boom times, the 300,000-square-foot South Coast Home Furnishings Centre in Costa Mesa seemed like a good bet for a group of local investors, who eagerly sank $100 million into the shopping center in 2007. The center sits a mere 1.5 miles from South Coast Plaza, one of the busiest malls in the world, and is visible from the I-405, where 400,000 cars pass by every day.

Then came the recession. Shoppers stopped shopping, and many retailers shuttered their doors… Read More on the OCRegister.com