Welcome to Just Ask Molly

Thanks for stopping by. JustAskMolly.com is a free local resource for friends, family, clients and potential clients of The Hobin Company. It is meant to be a fun site with local resources, favorite hot spots, and a weekly blog featuring upcoming events, new restaurant openings, local real estate news, travel adventures and more. For some reason, while I was growing up in Northern California with my three younger brothers, and throughout high school, my years at UCLA and during my real estate career, my family and friends would always say "Just Ask Molly". I would constantly get calls and emails with questions like, "I am going to be in Santa Monica tonight and where should I go for dinner? " or "I am going to San Francisco where should I stay?" or "I need the name of a good plumber " ? So... after much urging from my three brothers, I launched JustAskMolly.com to create a database with local resources and fun places that I have been or that have come highly recommended to me by others. Check back frequently for updates and sign up for the blog. Thanks very much!


Pitfire Pizza Grand Opening and Community Day and You are Invited!

Great News !Pitfire Pizza is Opening in Manhattan Beach on Wednesday January 30th and they are having a special community Day. 100% of the net proceeds from the sales between 11:00 AM and 10:00 PM on their Opening Day will benefit one of my very favorite local charities, Walk with Sally. Walk with Sally is a wonderful charity providing mentoring support to children whose parents or siblings have cancer. www.walkwithsally.org .

So, Please come down to Pitfire Pizza located at 401 Manhattan Beach Blvd. (corner of Morningside ) on Wednesday January 30th and let’s pack the restaurant and Welcome Pitfire to Manhattan Beach and raise a lot of much needed funds for Walk with Sally. Hope to see you there ! Spread the word and Bring your friends. Thanks so much ! Molly

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Commit to get Fit in 2013 and Win an iPod Shuffle

As we kick off the New Year, I am sure that you like yours truly and many other people have made it a goal or a New Year’s resolution to “commit to get fit”. My favorite work out place is Fit-On Studios, a local boutique studio offering indoor cycling, Barre and TRX classes. It is located at 2709 N. Sepulveda Blvd. at the corner of Marine and Sepulveda and has lots of convenient parking in the back. The owners, local Manhattan Beach residents and friends of mine, Franca Stadvec and Angela Bennett along with their husbands, Michael and Taylor, have done an amazing job creating a really fun exercise studio with a great vibe and a real sense of community. They offer classes for every fitness level and at different times throughout the day so you are sure to find one that fits your busy schedule. My favorite is the 6:00 AM indoor cycling class on Tuesday and Thursdays. The music is always great and it is so nice to get my work-out over and done with and be back in my kitchen having my coffee by 7:15 AM. It is a fabulous start to the day! Check out www.fitonstudios.com for a complete schedule of classes and for more information.

If you prefer working out in your own home, check out this new amazing piece of exercise equipment, Core Stix, www.corestix.com invented by local Manhattan Beach resident Kregg Koch & his partner Mike Kadar, the strength and conditioning coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins. This light –weight, easy to use training device can be used for every muscle group in your body and provides an incredible low-impact full body work-out. For more information and to purchase your own core stix go to www.corestix.com. Be sure to tell them Just ask Molly sent you!

Finally, if you haven’t already signed up to receive our Just ask Molly Blog, Sign up now before January 31st and you will be entered into a drawing to win an iPod shuffle or a Just ask Molly tank top. Tell your friends.

Wishing you all a fabulous and Fit 2013!

Cheers ! Molly

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A Few Last Minute Local Shopping Ideas For The Holidays

If you haven’t finished your shopping just yet, don’t worry there is still time. Here are a few of my favorite local stores that have amazing gifts for everyone on your list.

Bella Beach/Bella Beach Kids – 227 Manhattan Beach Blvd.


From cute party dresses and festive tops to beach bags and shoes and jewelry and warm flannel pj’s, Bella Beach & Bella Beach Kids has it all. Great selections from your favorite designers including one of yours truly’s all -time favorites, Lilly Pulitzer. Stop in and visit Kris or Heather and they will help you find the ideal gift.


Tabula Rasa Essentials – 919 Manhattan Avenue


From the moment you walk through the door of Tabula Rasa Essentials, you are on sensory overload. The place smells amazing ! From beautifully scented candles and room diffusers to exotic body lotions and soaps, the selection is endless. You will also find an amazing selection of beachy home accessories and coffee table books and a great assortment of jewelry. You will have no problem finding fun stocking presents or a special gift for everyone on your list. Maureen and her amazing staff will be very happy to help you.

For the Wine Lovers or Beer Lovers on your list, you must stop in and visit with Kathy, Jeff & Gerry at Uncorked Hermosa located at 302 Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach. www.uncorkedhermosa.com . They have an incredible selection of wines and craft beers as well as a lot of really fun gifts. From gift baskets that are ready to go to wine charms and chardonnay scented candles to the very popular corksicles, you are sure to find the ideal gift. How about the gift that keeps on giving every month? A membership to the Uncorked Wine Club is perfect for your special wine lover.

If you are thinking that a Gift Card might be the way to go, Check out two of my amazing friend’s local companies, www.erincondren.com for a great selection of fun note cards, life planners, photos on canvas, calendars and gift boxes and www.Birdaria.comfor bright, happy & inspiring wall art for a home, baby’s room or office.

Good Luck finishing up your Holiday shopping. Remember to mention www.Justaskmolly.com sent you when you visit any of my local favorite businesses above.

I hope you take some time to enjoy your friends and family during this holiday season as that is what it is really all about. Cheers to a fabulous 2013 !!!


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Black & White Portrait Project

December 6th-12th

My friend, local Manhattan Beach Photographer and a Photographer for Southbay Magazine, Siri Berting is doing a black & white portrait project for kids starting Dec. 6th-12th. She is photographing kids being kids, from chaos to calm and is looking for willing and unwilling participants.

There is no obligation to purchase any of the photos but if you like them, you may purchase the high res files to take home with you that day or order prints. Siri is an amazing photographer. You will not be disappointed!  This is a great opportunity to get some updated photos of your children and of course, they make great Christmas presents for friends and family. For more info.and to book your child’s 45 minute photo session, check out www.siriberting.com/portrait_project .

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The Coffee Bean ​& Tea Leaf® Launches​ New Tea Bar Concept​ in Manhattan Beach ​| Opens Today

Today is the grand opening of The Coffee Bean’s newest store in Manhattan Beach featuring a new “Tea Bar” concept!

The new Tea Bar will allow customers to explore The Coffee Bean’s unique collection of 20 hand-plucked, premium whole leaf teas, harvested from the world’s most exclusive tea growing estates. This unique and exclusive collection of premium whole leaf teas has been hand selected, hand crafted, blended and labeled by the company’s Master Tea Buyer, David DeCandia to ensure that customers receive and enjoy the highest quality whole leaf teas. The Coffee Bean offers a diverse assortment of varieties and flavors to satisfy any tea drinker in three ways:

  • Hot Tea by the Cup
  • Tea Service at your Table
  • Tea to Take Home

Additionally, today from 12 – 4 p.m. the store will be serving hand-crafted beverages (any size) for only $1!

On Monday, November 19, 2012, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®—celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2013—is proud to announce the grand opening of its newest Southern California location in Manhattan Beach featuring a new “Tea Bar” concept, highlighting the company’s unique collection of hand-plucked, premium whole leaf teas which are harvested from the world’s most exclusive tea growing estates. On opening day, November 19, from 12 – 4 p.m., hand-crafted beverages (any size) will be available for $1 with proceeds benefiting Roundhouse Aquarium, a non-profit organization committed to educating visitors about the oceans, tidelands, and beaches of Southern California, the marine life therein, and the impact of human population on that environment. Offering distinctive store character, the Manhattan Beach location will proudly display artwork by local artist Sean Finocchio that captures the beach and street style of the neighborhood, including a one-of-a-kind mural and a map of California that reflects The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®’s Southern California heritage.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® Manhattan Beach Grand Opening will take place on Monday, November 19, 2012. Hand-crafted beverages will be available for $1 from 12 – 4 p.m.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®
1590 Rosecrans Ave., Suite T
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Blue Sky on Wood; Artist: Sean Finocchio

Born and brewed in Southern California since 1963, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® is the oldest and largest privately-held specialty coffee and tea retailer in the United States. Embodying a passion for connecting loyal customers to one another with carefully handcrafted products, the company is known for sourcing and providing the finest ingredients and flavors from around the world. For nearly 50 years, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® has demonstrated a passion for product innovation epitomized by The Original Ice Blended® beverage. The company has grown to be an international icon and currently has more than 850 stores in 24countries. For more information, please visit www.coffeebean.com or www.facebook.com/thecoffeebean.

The Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium is a non-profit organization committed to fostering and promoting the public study of, and interest in, the oceans, tidelands and beaches of Southern California, the marine life therein, and the impact of human population on that environment. For more information, please visit www.roundhouseaquarium.org.

Sean Finocchio is an artist who lives and works in Los Angeles. His creations start with photography and end up transformed into intense scenes that are printed on wood. His influences come from the buildings, signage and landscapes he sees driving around local Los Angeles neighborhoods. For more information, please visit www.33stewartavenue.com

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The Greatest Rivalry of All Time UCLA VS. USC

This Monday marks the start of “Rivalry Week” which is often described as “The Greatest Rivalry of all time”. You can’t live in the Southbay or in Southern California for that matter and not be aware of the big cross town rivalry. Even if you did not go to either UCLA or USC, you are usually either a fan of one school or the other. Flags fly freely in front of people’s homes proudly displaying the homeowner’s allegiance to their alma mater and often times you see a “House Divided” Banner where a Bruin and a Trojan live and happen to be married.

There are several exciting events during Rivalry Week leading up to the big game on Saturday at the Rose Bowl. The first one is on Monday, November 12th at Club Nokia at LA Live and is a fundraiser for “Rivals United for a Kure”. www.Rivalsunitedforakure.org . This is going to be a very special night with a red carpet film premiere and Gala featuring the premiere of “A City Divided” – A Documentary about the UCLA-USC Rivalry. All proceeds go to “Kure it” which raises money for cancer research. For more information and to buy tickets for this event, please go to www.Rivalsunitedforakure.org

Another exciting event during Rivalry week is the 5th Annual “Revelry before the Rivalry “ Party at the Bel Air Bay Club on Friday night November 16th at 7:00 PM. This is a really fun night with lots of UCLA legends and former Athletes and approximately 400 Bruins and friends of Bruins. The evening features a fabulous dinner buffet, open bar, a silent auction and dancing to the tunes of KROQ legendary DJ , Richard Blade. All proceeds from the ‘Revelry before the Rivalry “ directly support student athletes through the Wooden Athletic Fund at UCLA. To buy tickets for this very special evening, please go to www.giving.ucla.edu/revelry.

I hope to see you at these two great events during Rivalry Week and then of course, at the big game on Saturday at the Rose Bowl. I will, of course, be cheering on my favorite team, the UCLA Bruins.

Go Bruins! Beat SC !!

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Save the Date for 3 Great Manhattan Beach Holiday Events

Sunday October 28th 12:00-6:30 – World Famous Pumpkin Races

Head down to the pier at noon and watch the very competitive world famous pumpkin races. This is a hilarious event that started in Manhattan Beach in 1990 and has been happening every year since. It is fun for the whole family. Prizes are awarded for the most creative, best costume, best crash and of course the fastest. Watch out for cheaters, their pumpkins will be smashed by the Mallet O’ Justice. The finals start at 4:00. For a complete schedule of events check out www.pumpkinraces.com


November 14th 6:00-9:00- Manhattan Beach Holiday Open House & Pier Lighting

Join local restaurants, businesses and retail stores for a fun night of shopping and dining and strolling the streets of downtown Manhattan Beach. Christmas carolers and Santa and his helpers will be on hand to set the mood and officially kick-off the Holiday season. The stores will stay open until 9:00 and many will be offering special discounts and promotions. The Mayor will flip the switch at 7:00 pm and illuminate the pier with holiday lights. This is a great community event put on by the local restaurants and retail stores and businesses as a Thank You to the Manhattan Beach community for their patronage and support throughout the year.


December 9th 4:00-8:00 Manhattan Beach Holiday Fireworks Festival

This is hands down one of the best nights of the year in Manhattan Beach. Head down to the pier with your whole family starting at 4:00 for the opening of the Skecher’s Snow Park. Bring blankets, beach chairs and coolers to secure your spot on the beach or on the Strand or on Manhattan Beach Blvd. for the fireworks viewing. Santa arrives at 5:00 and the John Brown Band as well as several other local bands lead a sing a-long of your favorite Christmas carolers. The incredible fireworks show which is choreographed to holiday music starts at 7:00 and seriously is always one of the best fireworks shows you have ever seen. This very special night in Manhattan Beach is guaranteed to get you in the holiday spirit. Looking forward to seeing you at all 3 of these great holiday events! Cheers !!

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Save the Date for the 40th Annual Manhattan Beach Hometown Fair

The weekend of October 6th& 7th is one of the best weekends of the year in Manhattan Beach. It kicks off with the Annual 10K run through the streets of downtown MB and the tree section and ends at the finish line at the pier. 4,000 + runners, joggers, walkers of all ages come out to attempt to complete the 6.2 mile challenging course. The run is always fun with lots of people lining the course cheering on the runners and several very entertaining bands playing along the route.

After the run, everyone heads to the Fair where there are all kinds of food booths, (Don’t miss the Pepper Belly’s) an arts & crafts fair, a battle of the bands, game booths, the diaper derby and of course the Beer garden, otherwise known as liquor prison. The Rotary Club of Manhattan Beach also sponsors a wine garden with great live music and winetasting.  I am pretty sure that this is the most civilized area of the entire fair.

Check out www.mbfair.org for a complete schedule of events and I hope to see you on Sunday afternoon in the wine garden!

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Breaking Restaurant News!! Pitfire Pizza is coming to Manhattan Beach.

Paul Hibler’s very successful family friendly, Pitfire Pizza will be opening in the space that is currently occupied by Pomodoro at 401 Manhattan Beach Blvd. This will be Pitfire’s 7th Southern California location. Paul told me “He strongly believes in Manhattan Beach”. The success of Pitfire has been based on two main factors.

1)    The philosophy behind each location is to create a sense of Community and to bring people together. No store is the same and each consists of a combination of rustic communal tables, individual tables, booths, and outdoor dining.

2)    All of the food is affordable, hand-crafted cuisine made with local fresh ingredients. There are several seasonal specialties as well as many gluten-free menu items.

The pizzas’ are grilled in their wood-fired ovens, hence the name. The heirloom tomato pizza with ricotta is out of this world and so is the salad with gorgonzola, fresh peaches and roasted hazelnuts.  Also, the cucumber-mint lemonade is not to be missed! There is a great selection of micro-beers on tap as well as lots of fabulous California wines that go well with pizza by the bottle or the glass.

Downtown Manhattan Beach is definitely in need of a new fun restaurant that serves great pizza, salads, pasta, sandwiches and desert.  Look for the D.J. who will be providing tunes several nights a week, the family bingo nights, the pizza making parties and the employee contests. Check out www.pitfirepizza.com and get ready to welcome them to Manhattan Beach as they plan to be open in time for the Holiday Fireworks in December.

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Lemonade is coming to Manhattan Beach

If you have not been to a Lemonade yet, you are in for a big treat as Lemonade is opening in the Metlox Plaza in Manhattan Beach in the next two weeks.  I can’t wait!  With 7 other locations in Southern California, Lemonade is a great place to go for fresh, healthy salads, unique sandwiches, fabulous soups & stews and decadent desserts. It is truly the best comfort food around. The biggest issue is deciding what to order, as everything looks and tastes amazing.

Lemonade caters to people looking for a quick lunch or a healthy “Grab and Go” Dinner. They also do an incredible catering business. They serve 5 different kinds of Lemonade daily. The fresh squeezed peach ginger lemonade and the tiny red velvet cupcakes are not to be missed. Check out www.lemonadela.com and stop in and welcome them to Manhattan Beach once they open in the next two weeks.

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