It’s summer! Now what?(Plan B activities in Los Angeles)

We’ve just begun our summer break and I am already googling, “Things to do with Kids in Los Angeles.” This is a search I make anytime I’m with the kids for more than 24 hours. I told myself I wasn’t going to overschedule them. I told myself I don’t need a bunch of overpriced summer camps to entertain my kids; they can figure it out themselves. But after several full days of online gaming and wine thirty starting earlier and earlier, I realize I may have a problem on my hands. So I’ve got to have a Plan B.

Lucky for you, my problem is your gain! Take a look at some of the Plan B’s. This is a list of the not so obvious things you can do around Los Angeles. Some I have done, some my friends have done, and some need to be done by someone soon. Feel free to add your own suggestions or reviews in the comments!

  • The Skyspace and Sky Slide in DTLA. This just opened! It’s got killer views of the city and a glass slide that takes you from the 70th to the 69th floor on the outside of the building! 1000 feet in the air! You read that right. Tips: Splurge for the VIP Sky Slide combo ticket so you bypass lines! Check it out!
  • LACMA Friday jazz nights! It’s free! Grab a blanket, a cooler, and let the kids run free. The museum is free after 5 for Los Angeles residents on this nights. Here’s the lineup. Fridays from April to November.
  • Surf lessons! Yes you can go to the beach and not surf, but why not shake it up a bit and hang ten with some rad instructors. (That is surf lingo.)  Most recently we went with Go Surf. 2 instructors for 3 kids. Other friends have suggested LA Surf and Swim,  MalibuMakos, and Santa Monica Surf School.

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  • IFly! Ever wanted to skydive but that whole falling out of an airplane thing scared you off? IFly has you covered. Skydiving experience without the worry of falling to your death. It’s located in Universal City Walk which is an event all on it’s own.
  • Museum of Death. I don’t like museums. And truth be told I’m a big scaredy cat, so this might not be good for me, but finding things to entertain the older kids can be difficult. If you think they can handle it, why not go check out death up close and personal? Museum of Death.
  • The Museum of Jurassic Technology. Speaking of museums, this is not one. It is, but it isn’t. I was told that it was actually something for a movie, but then someone else said it was an art installation, but then someone else said ….you get the picture. It’s intriguing and there’s a Russian tea room. Something to think about….or is it? Museum of Jurassic Technology.
  • Grand Central Market food booths. In Downtown LA there is a national caliber eating experience. With booths like EggSlut, Sticky Rice, and Horse Thief BBQ there is something for everyone!  It’s an adventure in eating!Market
  • Chinatown Summer Nights. Every 3rd Sunday of the summer months, Chinatown opens up to bring you food trucks, food and cultural demonstrations, and hands on activities. Some have been known to leave with a turtle or two. Click here to get the 411.
  • Watts Towers. Take a tour of the artwork and get a bit of history and cultural in South Central. Definitely take the guided tour.
  • Santa Monica Trapeze School. Everyone goes to the pier for the amusement park and beach. Why not do something different? Fly through the air with the greatest of ease.  I took my 16 year old nephew and even he had blast. I honestly recommend this for the whole family. It’s a blast. Make reservations, the classes fill up! catch me
  • Horseback Riding. One day a few summers ago, I asked my kids what they would like to do for the day….for some reason, horseback riding was the answer.  I took them to Griffith Park. There are two options for you. For little kids there are pony rides. It’s an enclosed pen and the horses will walk or trot. My kids loved it when they were little. Pony Rides.  For older riders you can take a guided trail ride with Griffith Park Horse Rentals. INFO AND RESERVATIONS:(818) 840-8401 Another option for horseback riding is Sunset Ranch.
  • Movie nights at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. I didn’t realize that there were kid friendly movie options here, but it seems they do offer some. You can bring a picnic and beer/wine. A DJ spins music before and after the movie!  Check out the lineup here.
  • Greystone Mansion. This is a place to come and “stroll.” You can pretend it’s your lavish estate and you are walking the grounds, sitting on benches and admiring the gardens and fountains. Kids have lots of space to run off their summer energy. If the walls of the mansion could talk, you’d hear a tale of wealth and murder, but for now, you can only peek in the windows. The mansion itself is closed unless you are attending a special event. Here is the current calendar of eventsGuided tours are suspended for now, but are supposed to resume in December 2016.  Yay!
  • Escape Rooms! A great family bonding activity. You get locked in a room and have a limited amount of time to solve the clues, get the key and escape the room! A group of us did Trapped in a Room with a Zombie which was super fun, but not really best for kids. A few options for the younger crowd: 6 escape rooms for kids.

LOS ANGELES ADJACENT 😉

Here are a few options within 45-60 minutes outside of LA.

  • Royce’s Arcade Warehouse. You guys, they have free game day on Saturdays 10-3. This place rents and repairs old school video games and pinball machines. PacMan, Frogger, Donkey Kong! If it’s working and on the floor, it’s free! You do have to drive to Chatsworth, but who cares!? Check it out! 
  • Adventure Playground! This is in Huntington Beach, but man is it cool! Forget swing sets and slides, this place has do it yourself treehouses, wooden rafts, and a mudslide. A real outdoor play area for kids. Bring a change of clothes and shoes because your kids will get muddy! $3 entry fee for kids 16 and younger. adventure

 

  • Malibu Wine Safari. Yes a safari with wine! I want to do this with my girlfriends, but since we are talking about kid stuff, they have a Family Tour during the week that still involves wine but serves lemonade to the kids. Wine pairings and wild animals! what could go wrong! Here’s the info!
  • Paradise Cove Beach Cafe. This is a fun place to go have lunch in Malibu and then hang by the beach. They rent beach chairs, umbrellas etc and have tasty cocktails! If you really want to do it up, you can rent a beach terrace for the day! Paradise Cove.

WANT MORE IDEAS?

Check out these websites for current events and activities around Los Angeles.

We Like LA

Red Tricycle

 

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Ladies Who Lunch.

lunch ladies

The first rule of Ladies Who Lunch is you don’t talk about Ladies Who Lunch.

And if by chance you forget this rule, then don’t forget Rule Number Two:

If you fess up to lunching, always include a long list of all the errands you ran, tasks you completed, laundry you folded, etc. etc. before said lunch. It lessens the guilt.

Well guess what? Forget the rules. We don’t need them! I’m going to take away any guilt you may have for lunching, brunching, or cocktailing. It’s not lunch, ladies. It’s a business meeting. It’s a strategy session. A support group. It’s freaking therapy!

meeting in the ladies room

Think about it.

We are a company of women. We come together as moms, wives, friends and colleagues. Our business is family and these lunches are crucial to our work development. If you aren’t lunching(or brunching or cocktailing,) then you aren’t reaching your full potential!

These powwows empower us. They reboot our focus, inspire and energize us. The discussions we have at these lunches develop work and leadership skills. They are morale boosting. We solve problems, strategize and advise our colleagues. Damn! What are we waiting for?

Gather up those friends! Make a reservation! Plan a lunch in the park or drinks on the veranda (if you have a veranda, can I come?)  You owe it to your family! You owe it to yourself!

Let’s start lunching, ladies!

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Smells like Tween spirit

I am the parent of a tween girl. I had heard the term tween before, but I didn’t truly understand the term until now. I thought it was just referring to the age. Nope.

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It’s mental.

It’s emotional.

It’s crazy.

One minute she is asking for lip gloss and rolling her eyes, the next she wants to snuggle with me and watch cartoons. (Don’t tell her I told you that.)

She holes up in her room most of the day, “doing Instagram.” but when her brothers get all geared up to play Clash of the Clans, she’s the Queen fighting for her kingdom! (Don’t tell her I told you that!)  She wants a purse AND more stuffed animals!

4th of the July at the lake, it was all about the sun bathing and the hair, but in the blink of an eye, she was jumping off the boat doing flips and having water fights. I want to do flips off the dock! But I don’t want to get my hair wet. Do you know how long it takes me to dry this mane straight? And it’s dangerous! What if I crack my head open? People can get paralyzed you know. Stupid adult rationale.  I want to tell her to be young. Maturity isn’t all its cracked up to be.

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It sure is a confusing time….for me. Yes me. That’s my baby and she wants to be a grown up. But then she doesn’t.  I know the feeling, honey. I don’t think anyone ever wants to be a true grown up.  That’s why I sometimes wear a Turkey Suit!

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My hair stays dry, and although somewhat dangerous,

 no one’s head is getting cracked.

So just like with every stage in my kids’ lives, I am trying to figure out how to help her.  How to guide her through the tween spirit. It’s a balancing act. Encouraging childlike qualities but expecting adult like behavior.

Actually the more I think about it, we are all tweens. Right? I am still trying to hang on to that childlike carefree attitude. I like hugs. I like lipgloss. Life is hard as an adult. You can get too serious. You forget how to play. You walk on the sidewalk instead of tightrope walking the curb.

I know how I’m going to handle it. This tween spirit.

I’m going to embrace it.

Whatever side my daughter is on. Lip gloss – check!  Crying for no reason- I’m there, girl. More stuffed animals- ummm. I may try to guide her in a different direction.

It’s actually not a balancing act. It’s about having both feet completely in that one moment.   Yep. That’s what I will do.

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What’s in a name?

~It’s 2015 and even though I don’t like to make resolutions, I do like to put some intention into the new year. Energy flows where attention goes, so the least I can do is point the year in the right direction, right?

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I LIKE TO NAME THE YEAR.  It helps me stay focused.  Plus I can shout it out randomly when I need to be inspired. It’s fun and empowering to declare things.

I declare this year, the year 2015……

THE YEAR OF ASKING!

You see, I don’t ask for things.  I wait around and hope that someone will think of it on their own. Sure, I’ll give hints. Try to “lay the groundwork.” But ask for it? Out right? No no no.

It’s not polite.

It’s selfish.

It’s downright unladylike!

or so I thought. I am more comfortable with being uncomfortable than with you being uncomfortable. (Did you get that?) So I push my needs to the back. That hasn’t worked out too well for me. How can I get what I need if noone knows what I need? Duh, Whitney. So now,  I’ve got a plan.

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Here’s my plan, people: 

~I will accept my needs as valuable.

~I will be clear and direct on what my ask is.

~I will not take a no personally.

~I will not let fear of rejection or judgement keep me from asking for what I want.

I’m not gonna lie. Those are exactly the things I am afraid of. And what if I get what I ask for and blow it? Well then……

oh wells

 

Wish me luck!

What’s the name of your 2015?

Forget Stranger Danger- I’m scared of the Good Samaritans!

marge jail

The situation is out of control. Did you read the story about the mom who was arrested because her daughter was at the park alone? Cliff notes:

Mom works at McDonald’s. 9 year old kid sits at Mcdonald’s while mom works. Kid begs mom to go to the park nearby. Mom gives kid a cell phone. Kid goes to park. “Good Samaritan” sees kid alone and calls the cops. Mom gets arrested.  Kid goes into foster care. And they all live happily…wait, nope that’s not right.

Or what about the parents who were investigated for allowing their daughter to walk to the post office? These are just two examples out of many.

Are we so far removed from the days when kids left on their bikes in the morning and didn’t come home til the streetlamps came on that we call the cops on parents before knowing the full story?  Most of these stories are not about neglected children. The kids are well taken care of, given a cell phone and allowed to head to a neighborhood park for an hour or two.

Listen, I don’t know if I would trust my 9 yr old to go to the park alone, but not because of stranger danger. I would worry about the other people at the park….and the park itself. My 9 yr old is a bit mischievous.

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I don’t know the kids in these stories. I don’t know the parents. I also don’t know the area in which they were “left.” All of those things are factors in how I would handle the situation. What I do know is that kids from the 70’s and 80’s were left to their own devices ALL DAY and we not only survived; we thrived.  We had street smarts. We gained self confidence and independence. We knew how to entertain ourselves.  And yes, we also all have a story or two about the “strange man down the street.”

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I worry that the kids today, my kids, are too supervised, too protected, and don’t get the opportunity to explore and use their instincts.  I’m trying to find a balance.  I don’t want fear to raise my kids. And now while I’m attempting to find that balance, I have to worry about police showing up at my door.

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 Is it more dangerous today than when I was growing up?  It seems all the 24/7 “bad news” is having quite an impact on us but is the threat real? I don’t think so. I think now we are so afraid of the 10% chance that we forget to focus on the 90% chance that it won’t happen.

Like I said, I’m working on a balance. I’m going to squash that lump in my throat when I say yes, you can walk to the neighbor’s house without me watching you. I’m not going to sit out front when I agree to let the kids play in their own front yard. Hell, I may even get crazy and let them ride their bike around the block by themselves! Try not to judge me too harshly.

And if you happen to see my kid, alone but happy, please don’t call the cops. (Unless that cop comes to my house with his own boombox.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s an elephant in the room and she has swollen lips….

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Here’s a confession that is hard to admit:

I had work done.

I admit it. I’ll also admit that it’s taking everything I have not to type a million little disclaimers like “I don’t do it regularly” and “it’s only because my friend gives me a discount”…blah blah blah.  Why is it that those of us who get a little “freshen up” seem to feel like we have to hide it? For me, I think I feel like by admitting that, it takes away any credit for “natural beauty” I may have. But who is taking away that credit? Probably other women. Other women also getting work done. 😉

I got some botox and filler put in my face/lips two days ago. No one would ever know about the botox, but due to the filler, my lips swelled up to the size of Mushmouth from Fat Albert. I could barely talk.

This morning I had traffic duty for my kids’ school. Trying not to talk, for me, is already an almost impossible feat….throw in the intoxication of authority (Traffic Duty,) and I’m a goner. I had actually made it through the entire carpool process with barely a face to face interaction…and then 2 moms had questions. For me! What’s crazy is that these are two moms I am friends with. We’ve shared wine together and war stories of parenthood. I know that at least one of them also gets work done. At least one of them also does that Brazilian hair straightening thing. And yet, I admitted nothing.  Nothing when every word I said regardless of how it was spelled, seemed to start with the letter B. Nothing when their eyes dropped to my lips multiple times.  The entire time, my head is screaming:

“For the love of God, just say something! Just get it out there! They see it! This elephant cannot be hidden!”

I didn’t though.  Instead I never looked them in the eye and tried to keep my head to one side as if only seeing half of my face would somehow hide the truth.

I HAD WORK DONE!

I walked away from that encounter with a need to scream it from the roof tops. I HAD WORK DONE! (of course everyone already knows. I’m not fooling anyone when my lips get to the destination a good 2 minutes before the rest of me.)  That’s why I wanted to shout it. It’s no big deal!

Don’t worry. The swelling will go down. It’s already starting to, see?

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And in two more days no one will even notice that I did anything at all. Except for the fact that I am writing about it here. But when the swelling goes down, I hope the lesson I’ve learned will remain. What’s the lesson?

Don’t have traffic duty the day after you have work done.

No, that’s not right. The lesson is:

Don’t feel shame for doing things that make you feel better about yourself.

And definitely don’t ignore the massive swollen elephant in the room because you aren’t actually “saving face.”  Embrace it.

Disclaimer: I am not consistent with my botox etc. I only get the filler to decrease mouth lines. My good friend gives me a discount. I still have natural beauty. I’m not that old.

Disclaimer #2: The first disclaimer shouldn’t even matter. And yet I still want to have it in here. Damn.

Word to your mother

There are certain words I don’t like to hear people say …..like pantyhose and moist. (even worse when they are in the same sentence) And then there are words that I don’t like to hear from my children. Like shut up, butt, fart, and suck. I say two of those words myself (maybe 3), but an adult mouth is different than a kid mouth. Right?

My kids are good kids. They are polite and respectful (not to me of course….. but others tell me it’s true.) So who cares if a few iffy words are said? I do!  IT DRIVES ME CRAZY! I have tried to ban them, but like Mike, my “bad boy” boyfriend from 8th grade —- banning only makes it more appealing.

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When I was growing up, we were not allowed to say butt or crap. I can’t really remember what happened to us if we said it but I remember that it was bad. Good kids had clean mouths. lol Or maybe I should say bad kids had clean mouths because they were constantly washed out with soap.  Ironic Disclaimer: My mom now takes great joy in saying words considered far worse than butt.

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That’s it, isn’t it?  Taboo things are fun.  Maybe my kids get the same euphoria and power from butt and suck that I do with my own 4 letter friends. I don’t know.

Crap.  How will this tie into underage drinking and sex? Parenting through the teenage years is going to suck. Suck ass. (Shut up.)