Friday, December 20, 2013

Holidays At Disneyland: Our Night Of 5 Firsts

How many times have you been to Disneyland? I don't have an exact count, but if I had to guess I'd say we've been there close to a hundred million times. It never, ever gets old – especially for my girls – but we do tend to do a lot of the same things whenever we visit, whether it's visiting the same attractions or eating the same foods. For example, I always clap loudly and embarrassingly whenever I get on my favorite ride.

Last weekend we were there for Holidays At Disneyland – where the entire resort gets transformed for the holidays – and we did some things we hadn't done before. Here they are – see if you can make it through the entire post without singing Foreigner's 'Feels Like The First Time' in your head.

1) We rode the first-ever holiday version of the Jungle Cruise – the Jingle Cruise!
For the first time, the Jungle Cruise gets transformed for the holidays! I'm not going to lie, this is one of my favorite rides and my girls', too, and I was ridiculously excited to ride this new version. The dock has been decked out in lights, and the skippers have added some holiday humor to their comedy routines – don't judge, but we actually love all of their slightly corny jokes. Which leads me to another first – for the first time ever I followed a Disneyland ride on Twitter. And you should, too because then you can read things like this:

2) For the first time, someone else besides me took the photos
We just bought Kiyomi a new camera, so she was happy to document our visit. She did an amazing job and took all the photos you see here (except for the pics accompanying item numbers 3 and 4. Those slightly blurry, over-filtered Instagram pics are all mine.)

She did a photo essay of Kira and her Santa hat throughout the park. Here are a few:

I highly suggest this idea of putting your kids to work documenting stuff so you don't have to. It helps you to see things through their eyes, and also frees you up to enjoy things, like bacon-wrapped asparagus. (See next item.)

3) I ate bacon-wrapped asparagus skewers at Bengal Barbecue
That's a big lie. This is the eightieth time I've eaten these, not the first. But I have to keep mentioning them because some of you out there haven't tried them yet, and I won't stop until every man, woman and child has tasted one of these amazing pairings of meat and vegetable. (However, in keeping with the spirit of the 'firsts' theme of this post, I will say it's the first time I left without wishing I had another one – this is the first time I ordered TWO skewers.)

4) I rode the Red Car Trolley in California Adventure
I'm used to having people yell at me to get out of the way as this thing comes at me while I'm texting in the middle of the street. So this was a much more pleasant experience. The trolley takes you for a short tour through the park – starting in Carthay Circle, up Buena Vista Street, through Hollywood Land and ending at the Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror. Along the way the nice conductors (that's one of them there) tell you stories about the the park and Hollywood, including the history of the Hollywood Tower Hotel, the basis for the Tower Of Terror ride. Want to hear the story? You'll have to ride the Trolley yourself. (See how I did that?)

5) For the first time, we did NOT ride 'It's A Small World'
One of our Disneyland mottos is, "No visit is complete without a ride on 'It's A Small World,' especially during the holidays when it's transformed into 'It's A Small World Holiday.' (Our other motto is, 'Don't eat the corn dog until after you ride the Teacups.') Usually our tactic is to wait until later in the evening when the line is shorter, but this time the wait was estimated at 90 minutes. After we were done cursing everyone who had stolen our tactic, we decided to move on. But not until we had stood in awe for a few minutes and snapped some pics of the gorgeous facade, of course.

Holidays At The Disneyland Resort runs through January 6, 2014.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A plea for help made of gifs from 'Fight Club' and one from 'Grease'

A few days ago I appealed for help for my daughters' school but apparently no one heard me. So now, you leave me no choice but to re-tell my story and plea for funds using jerky moving pictures and movie captions.

Apparently the first rule of fundraising is YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT FUNDRAISING.

Let me break it down for you.

A few months ago the kids had to watch their beloved performing arts department get wiped out. 

It hasn't been an easy year. Everyone is carrying on but we know how they feel inside.

Now, because of a lack of funding, it's looking like the Senior Class of 2014 will be the first class in the high school's history NOT to graduate at the Hollywood Bowl.


It doesn't feel good. It fact it hurts like a mutha.

Now everyone is stressing out trying to figure out how to come up with the down payment.

All of our appeals are falling on deaf ears. It's like we're the Amway salesman of high schools.

If we don't come up with the balance of the down payment, the kids won't get to graduate at the Hollywood Bowl, something they've been looking forward to for FOUR YEARS.


But these kids have been through a lot this year, and man, you don't know how happy they would be with a great sendoff on their last day of school. 

If you or someone you know would like to help sponsor the Hollywood High Class of 2013, please leave your contact info here or email me at

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Help us get to the Hollywood Bowl

I'm about to ask for money for my kids' school. If this type of thing upsets you, you might want to look away, turn off your computer, block me or erase me from your contacts list. (But don't un-invite me to your holiday party – I promise not to ask for money there, only for your rum ball recipe.)

As you know, my girls go to Hollywood High School. Like most public schools in the inner city, they are constantly strapped for funds. Adding to their woes this year was the decimation of the Performing Arts Department, when another school (with much deeper pockets) swooped in and hired away the musical director, the technical director and took many of the top-performing kids with them. It was brutal, like that scene from Kill Bill, only worse. (Okay, not worse. but it felt like it.)

One of the things Kira's looked forward to from the day she started at Hollywood High was to graduate at the Hollywood Bowl. It's a time-honored tradition with the school, and they are one of only two schools in the city who have the honor. The Bowl only charges one-dollar for the event, but a staggering $22,000 is needed to cover additional costs like staff and security.

In years past they've had corporate sponsors who helped cover the Bowl cost, but no sponsor has materialized this year. The kids have been doing fundraising, but a majority of the families at the school have limited means. Many of them are struggling to meet the basic graduation costs of their cap and gown, senior dues, etc. 

Right now there's the possibility that they may be the first Hollywood High senior class ever not to graduate at the Bowl. As of now they have only raised $8,500 towards this goal, and a deposit of $15,000 is needed by next week, December 20 in order to secure the location for their graduation in June 2014.

I know, it doesn't rank with some of the other more dire needs of the school district as a whole. But these kids saw their senior year – one of the most significant periods in their educational journey – get yanked out from under them. They go without what a lot of other affluent schools have throughout the year, and it would be great to be able to give them this one last sendoff, and to let them have the opportunity to perform from the Hollywood Bowl stage. They would be so grateful.

So, we're appealing to friends, family, and associates and asking: Are you, or do you know, work for, associate with, drink cocktails with, are married to, have BFF status with, or are owed a favor from, any corporate sponsors or big-hearted supporters of public education who could come through for us and help us meet this deadline? Right now we're only looking to raise the additional $6,500 needed to meet our deposit amount – that will give the kids a few more months to raise the final balance.

What will they get in return? A private performance by Kira and some of these talented kids. A big shout-out at the graduation. A prominent mention in the program. And most of all a deep, heartfelt THANK YOU from a bunch of grateful teens.

Thank you for listening.

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If you would like to share this to get the the word out, please use the hashtag #HollywoodBowlGrads
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Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Live, On Stage: Your Awesome Memories

My girls still remember going to a production of Sleeping Beauty when they were probably only around four and six-years-old. The play was at a tiny theater around the corner from where we lived at the time, didn't star any big names or feature any elaborate sets and I think tickets were only around ten dollars each. They loved seeing one of their favorite stories brought to life on the stage, and we waited after the show so the girls could meet the actors. This is probably why Kira has to linger after every show she goes to in order to meet the performers – thus a groupie was born.

Fast forward over ten years to last weekend, when we took them to see Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty at the Ahmanson Theater. They had been asking to see this for weeks (Kiyomi had already seen it on a school field trip and wanted to see it again) so we bought some last-minute tickets and headed downtown. The show was spectacular, and once again we were reminded how powerful and moving a live performance can be – and how happy we were that we could share it with our girls. (I should add that these tickets were a bit more than ten dollars, though.)

We've been taking them to live shows for years – concerts, plays, ballets, musicals, circuses – and good or bad, the experience is always memorable.  Movies are fun, but chances are they're going to remember the live pre-show way more than what happens next on a flat screen. (But I will admit movies have better snacks. Get with the popcorn and nachos, live show planners!)

People often cite the high cost of tickets for live shows, but with a little big of digging you can often find tickets for less than the price of a movie ticket, and sometimes free (hello, Goldstar!) My girls belong to the CTG Student Scene, a network sponsored by L.A.'s Center Theater Group that offers them deeply discounted tickets (students only) to events at the Ahmanson Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, and the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Last year they got floor seats to Anything Goes, and I had a nice dinner and a cocktail at Pinot while I waited for them. See, live theater has many benefits.

And speaking of live theater and FREE tickets, I have tickets to give away to a holiday family show: Aladdin And His Winter Wish at the Pasadena Playhouse. Great casting: Ben Vereen as the Genie, and Bruce Vilance as Widow Twanky. And your tweens/teens will love this, too – it stars Teen Beach Movie's Jordan Fisher as Aladdin.

So get out and see some live theater –  Frozen will still be there next month. 

What: 'Family PacK' of 4 tickets to Aladdin And His Winter Wish for either December 14 or 15 at 11:00am.

How: Leave a comment here no later than 11:30pm Sunday night (December 8) telling me your favorite live performance you've seen. I'll use to draw a winner from the entries. One comment per person, but you can share on Facebook or Twitter for additional entries. Please don't forget to leave a valid email address.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Cirque Du Soleil's TOTEM: The Best Cirque Yet

On Wednesday night we were treated to an evening at Cirque du Soleil's newest show, TOTEM. We've been to quite a few Cirque productions over the years and I know I say this every time, but this version of their show was even better than the last one. And yes, I'll probably say that the next one is better than this one. Because unlike that milk in your refrigerator or those Die Hard movies, Cirque du Soleil really does get better with age.

TOTEM loosely tells the story of evolution, but don't expect just cave dwellers and ancient rituals – in a way this version of the show felt like the most contemporary yet. From the wry references to man's reliance on technology to the parody of beach culture, my teens related to this show more than before. Of course, it had nothing to do with the abundance of six-pack abs in those beach scenes.

The show felt more intimate, too. I'm not sure if it was actually a smaller stage and arena, but it was easier to see all of the performers and to follow along with all of the stories they tell using just their bodies, facial expressions and gestures. One of our favorites was a scene involving a fisherman on a lake, and it's hard to imagine being able to pick up on all of the subtle visual humor in a larger venue. (Another bonus: It was a much quicker trip to the top of the stairs to exit the arena to get to the bathrooms.)

Here's a short preview of the show. It will blow your mind, as it should:

After the show we got a huge treat – we were able to go backstage, talk to a few of the performers and see the inside workings of a Cirque production. The artists talked about their various backgrounds (they come from all over the world) how they came to join the Cirque family and their daily routines while traveling with the show. When they got to the part about having an on-site chef that kept them fed throughout the day and filled up with snacks, we were all ready to sign up.

Being backstage gave us such a broader appreciation for what a huge undertaking the show is, and how disciplined the performers are. Their costuming area is not that big, considering the huge amount of activity that must take place there. I imagine it's what I feel like having to share a bathroom with my teenage daughter, only fifty times more crowded.

I wish that everyone, especially kids, could have the chance to see a Cirque show, and especially TOTEM. The artistry and skill are awe-inspiring, and the shows have such a magical and inspirational effect on audiences – it gives you the desire to create art, to look beyond your own environment and to seek out and pursue your dreams.  Does it make one want to "run off and join the circus"? I think it might – especially if that circus comes with an on-site chef and endless snacks.

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Cirque du Soleil's TOTEM runs for a limited engagement through November 10, 2013 at the Port of Los Angeles – San Pedro, first stop of the production’s 2013-2014 Southern California tour. Following this limited engagement, TOTEM will be visiting Irvine (opens November 21, 2013 at the Orange County Great Park Festival Site) and Santa Monica (opens January 17, 2013 at the Santa Monica Pier). Tickets for all TOTEM performances are now available online at

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Halloween Time At Disneyland: Calling All Parents of Teens

It's Halloween Time at Disneyland! Definitely not for the gourd-phobic.
Last weekend we were treated to a day at Disneyland Resort to enjoy their special Halloween Time event. This is where the parks are transformed for Halloween and some of the rides get a scary makeover – Space Mountain becomes Ghost Galaxy, The Haunted Mansion turns into Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas hosted by Jack Skellington and The Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror gets a few additional dead souls checking in. And of course no one does Halloween decorations better than Disneyland. (Sorry, Pinterest.)

Lately when I've mentioned to friends with older kids that we're heading to Disneyland I get the same response. Usually it's "Why?," followed by "What are you on?" Let's face it – our kids are getting older and we're – gasp – getting older too, and the prospect of a 14-hour day at Disneyland seems daunting. Crazypants, even.

But I've got some strategies for parents that can make your day at Disneyland and California Adventure just as fun for you as it is for your teens while fitting in some family time, too. Can you say guilt-free date night? And it doesn't involve any illegal substances, either.

Don't cry – you can now get your double-tall-extra-dry cappuccino on Main Street
1. Load up on coffee.
There is a Starbucks on Main Street, people. I think when I first saw this I took off my mouse ears, dropped to my knees and kissed the feet of the barista dressed in old-timey garb. No more waiting for an hour for your cappuccino at the lone coffee cart! (There's a Starbucks in California Adventure, too, but it tends to get mobbed.)

2. Make sure your phone is charged. 
You're going to need your phone for those "I'll give you more cash but twelve churros is enough," calls. Also, how else would you know to meet up at Cafe Orleans for the 9:00 Fantasmic Show, or Instagram your entire day? There are now phone charging lockers on Main Street ($2 per hour – you can see a how-to video here.) I always have spare power with me – I take along 2 Mophie juice packs to get me through the entire day.

3. Go see a movie.
That's right, you have the time to see a movie while your kids are blissfully unaware that you're indulging in 'me' time. Tell them you'll meet them after their tenth spin on the Indiana Jones Adventure, and head off for a cinematic interlude in a dark, air conditioned theater. The AMC theaters in Downtown Disney are really nice, and usually not crowded. We saw Gravity there on opening weekend and the theater was practically empty.

It doesn't have to be all chicken fingers and Cokes.
4. Have a grownup meal. And an adult beverage.
There are so many places within the parks and in Downtown Disney where you can sit down and have a nice meal and a cocktail. California Adventure's Wine Country Trattoria has a great patio where you can dine on Italian food and sip a nice glass of wine, and we never leave without having drinks and appetizers at the outdoor Uva Bar in Downtown Disney. We also love hanging out at the Hearthstone Lounge in the Grand Californian Hotel or on one of the big couches in the lobby. (Also – and not necessarily a grownup, sitdown meal – but I'm a huge fan of the bacon-wrapped asparagus at Bengal BBQ in Adventureland.)

They should rename this the Peace Train because it's the best place to get some peace and quiet.
4. Ride the train. Over and over.
I'm not kidding – if you want a truly peaceful, meditative experience at Disneyland, grab a coffee (see Starbucks revelation above), sit in the back row of the Disneyland Railroad and ride that sucker for at least two trips around the park. You'll disembark refreshed, renewed, and the with the entire script of the dinosaur experience memorized.

If you don't enjoy a good fireworks show you might just be dead inside.
5. Don't miss the fireworks or you'll hate yourself.
Whatever crazy, grownup thing you're doing at around 8:30, make sure you stop and head to Main Street to catch the fireworks. It really is one of the best fireworks displays you'll ever see, and might be one of the few things your teenagers will want to do together with you. Well, that and get coffee. (Did I mention there is now STARBUCKS ON MAIN STREET?)

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Halloween Time at Disneyland Resort runs through October 31, 2013. Click here for more information and details.

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Thursday, September 05, 2013

Something awful has happened that could be wonderful

If you've seen me ranting on Facebook or Twitter over the past couple of days you know that something unfortunate has happened at the girls' high school. In a nutshell, our beloved musical director has left to go elsewhere, leaving the performing arts department – the reason we went to the school in the first place – in shambles. As with most problems in this school district it had to do with money, or I should say a lack of it. And as with most things having to do with performing and the arts, there is lots of drama, some ego and hurt feelings involved, too. Throw in some sex and booze and you'd swear you were watching a miniseries on Showtime!

I'm not exactly sure what went down – I'm still trying to find out details but they seem to be hard to come by. There is secrecy and rumors and finger pointing, and lots of things being said that are prefaced with, "You didn't hear this from me, but..." (For some reason everyone has mistaken me for someone that can keep a secret, but I'm doing good so far.)

(And I'm not going to get into the main issue here, how THE ARTS ARE SO UNDERFUNDED, UNAPPRECIATED AND DEVALUED in this school district. How in education in general, sports are lauded and showered with money while ARTS PROGRAMS ARE ALLOWED TO WITHER AND DIE. No, I'm not going to get into it here, that's what ALL CAPS are for.)

But the bottom line is, the real victims here are the kids. This performing arts department is a shining beacon for a lot of students – many of them from the inner city – and to see it dying before our eyes is truly heartbreaking. And that is just what they are doing – destroying a program that has brought joy to many, won awards and inspired kids to pursue the arts. We even had Morrissey play our auditorium for crying out loud! Little did we know that when he sang, "You Have Killed Me" it would prove to be prophetic.

This has such personal implications for us, too. It's Kira's senior year, and this has put a damper on things to say the least. She tried for two years to get a spot in the glee club and she finally got in – as did Kiyomi – only to see the whole group crumble before they've even had their first performance.

And it was going to be a good one, too. They were set to perform at the opening of the newly remodeled Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. I wished the music director had stayed on just long enough to give the kids this opportunity, but it's not going to happen. Honestly, if I could carry a tune and had any idea how to coach a high school choir, I would do it myself. *cue telepathic waves to Will Schuester, who is a fictional TV character but would be perfect nonetheless*

Many of the kids are being enticed to follow the music director to his new position at the other school. And it was tempting at first – the school is new, shiny, and has a gorgeous campus. But we let the girls make their own decision, and Kira decided she didn't want to disrupt her senior year, especially since we are already a month into the new semester. Kiyomi is only slightly toying with the idea of going to a new school altogether, one that has a film department (and a greater abundance of hot guys.)

And luckily, there are teachers – excellent teachers – that have decided to stay on and are vowing to try and keep the program alive. They deserve our faith and support, now, and I hope that everyone remaining will stand by them. It will be an uphill battle for sure, as the drumbeat of, "We have no money," is loud and constant.

Who knows – maybe the person that comes in to run the department will be amazing (or hot, even!) Maybe the change up will create new, better opportunities for the kids that decide to stay. Maybe the absence of the musicals will allow the other productions to shine. Maybe some celebrity or benefactor will realize that the legacy of the legendary Hollywood High School is in jeopardy and will write a huge check that'll solve all of our problems. Hey, a girl can dream.

But here's what we're working on now: Trying to give our girls some optimism that sometimes change is good. That there is strength through adversity. That nothing ever stays the same, and when life gives you lemons you get your bad self busy making lemonade. (And for the adults, that a little vodka in that lemonade might take your mind off of school issues for a minute or so.)

What we are hoping is that the kids will band together and carry on the legacy of the school that has given them so much. That they'll realize they can thrive in spite of this setback, and get inspired to create something that shows just how resilient they are. It could be magical. Wonderful, even.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Homage To The Teenagers Over At

Yes, that's right, even though they may not see it that way I'm actually honoring my teens with my stories about their addiction to technology and parents dancing at parties wearing inappropriate clothing. They'll thank me someday, really they will. Here are my latest posts over at

7 Things Never To Say To A Teenager

It's inevitable. No matter how diligent you are, or how carefully you choose your words, at some point you're going to say something that will make your teen wish she was from another family. In fact, sometimes even a benign question like, "Are these your pants?" will make her want to stab you. But here are a few things you should never say, if you want to avoid ruining your kid's life forever. Read more...

Your Handy Guide To Teen Pop Stars
If you have a teen, chances are you’ve heard plenty about Harry Styles, Selena Gomez and Cody Simpson. You may have read about who Taylor Swift is dating, or listened to your girls sing along to Ariana Grande, but how much do you really know about these pop stars who occupy 78.5 percent* of your teen’s daily thoughts?

You may not think this is important knowledge to possess, but someday you’re going to be at a dinner party and the talk will turn from foreign affairs and mutual funds to the Teen Choice Awards, and trust me—you don’t want to be the only one asking if Justin Bieber is the lead singer of One Direction. Read more...

In Defense Of Skipping Extracurriculars
When our girls were younger, we were always careful not to overschedule them. We didn’t care that our kids were the only ones in the neighborhood who didn’t play soccer, or who weren’t on a rigorous schedule of dance/art/music lessons. Our girls were limited to one extracurricular activity each, making sure to keep our schedules free for other impromptu outings and, more importantly, time to just chill at home. We liked to think of it as “unstructured creative time,” but deep down inside we knew it was just slacking. Read more...

Baby You Can Drive My Car (Please.)
I remember how excited I was to get my driver’s licence. On my 16th birthday my dad drove me to the DMV to take my test. I passed with flying colors, of course, because I’d been practicing every chance I got. That same night, brand new licence in hand, I picked up my friends, and we drove around until the wee hours. No one—not even the parents of my passengers on this maiden voyage—seemed concerned in the least bit. “Oh, you’ve only been driving legally for three hours? Here, let me put my kids, the most precious things in the world, right into that car with you.” Read more...

It's Hip To Be Square
There are so many negative things said about teenagers these days. With all of the horror stories you hear from friends plus all of the bad hype in the media, you’re probably convinced that right this minute every teenager in the world is binge drinking at a party naked, getting pregnant and about to smash in your mailbox with a baseball bat.

So here’s a story that might show you another side of these mysterious creatures. Teenagers can be beautiful beings if you give them a chance. And hey, maybe your mailbox was really taken out by a car. Read more...
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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Villa Metro: Dream A Little Dream

Last week I got the chance to check out a brand new housing development called Villa Metro in Valencia. I'm not looking to buy a house at the moment – we're pretty much consumed with figuring out how to pay for college for my oldest daughter who will be graduating high school next year – but that doesn't mean we don't dream about making a move in the future, maybe after the kids have moved out. It's sort of like trying on a pair of Louboutins even though you know you're going to keep wearing your Chucks because they're easier to drive carpool in.

And Villa Metro is pretty dreamy, for sure. Consisting of 315 gorgeous contemporary Mediterranean-style homes, their goal is to create a small-town vibe and foster a community atmosphere. The most intriguing feature and the one that caught my attention are the live/work lofts – units that would allow you to live upstairs and have a retail space downstairs. I immediately starting dreaming of the coffee house I wanted to open someday, or a recording studio that our kids could run. Uh, after college, of course.

The units are all beautifully laid out and designed, with light playing an important factor. I took one look at this kitchen and immediately texted my husband to tell him to free up some funds – maybe college wasn't so important after all. Would it be so bad if my daughter became a barista? Free coffee!

There are currently three neighborhoods in Villa Metro: Aqua, Terra and Sol, and all reasonably priced from the low $300,000s. Even the largest home – plan 3 in the Sol development (and featuring the kitchen above) starts in the high $300,000. Pretty reasonable when you consider they are all detached houses, not condos, and all feature at least one backyard/patio area and two-car garages. Another big bonus: the Metrolink station is right across the street.

Here are two different views – one of the pool area, and one of wide open space and blue skies. (According to the developers, there will be no building on those hills to obstruct this view.) Along with the pool, there is also a gym and a large communal recreation center perfect for parties and gatherings. I'm not gonna lie – as I gazed out these windows I was putting together a guest list and a menu for our first party in our new Villa Metro home. (Shrimp skewers and sangria, in case you were wondering.)

This is a kitchen from the smallest home in the Aqua neighborhood. These units (around 1,081 square feet) are perfect 'starter' homes for new families. Gorgeous, isn't it? This is considered a 'bachelor' unit, although I can honestly say no bachelor I've ever met has a kitchen this elegant. (Also, the place didn't smell like old socks and Axe so it really threw me off.)

Each home can be customized to your liking, with different choices of cabinets, flooring and options like this built-in desk. By this point in our tour, I was already figuring out where my computer and printer would go, and how I would need to buy a new set of pots and pans to go in this kitchen. Suddenly we had a lot of free cash since we talked the girl out of going to college.

By the end of the tour I'd come to my senses and knew we wouldn't be buying one of these homes anytime soon, but I do know a few people who are in the market and I'm going to encourage them to have a look at Villa Metro. The good news is, I didn't touch the college fund. Although, my daughter did swoon pretty heavily over this bedroom and I told her maybe someday, it would be hers. A girl can dream, after all.

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Villa Metro is located at 21853 Soledad Canyon Rd. Santa Clarita, CA 9135, on the north side of Soledad Canyon Road at the intersection of Gladding Way, just across from the Santa Clarita Metrolink station.

Check out these other reviews of Villa Metro:
SoCal Mom
Agoura Hills Mom
Retro Modern Mom
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Disclosure: I was compensated for this post but all opinions and off-color remarks are my own. 
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Monday, July 01, 2013

Lunch at Farmer's Market, in Short Order

This is not a sponsored post. We paid for our own food, damnit.

Last Sunday was another CicLAvia event, where they close off long stretches of roads in L.A. exclusively for bicyclists and pedestrians. The girls and I participated in our usual way – by figuring out what nice restaurant is at the end of the route and then meeting Rigel – who bikes from start to finish – there for lunch. We had the ridiculous thought of actually riding with him, but you know – tired. And hungry. The only way we might consider it is if we could hook up with this genius crew:

Luckily CicLAvia always seems to end at a nice dining spot – last time it was the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, and this year it was in the Miracle Mile district. The girls and I decided to meet Rigel at The Original Farmer's Market adjacent to The Grove. That way we could eat and shop while while waiting to meet up – in other words, while Rigel was working for ways to reduce his carbon footprint, we were working on ways to increase it tenfold.

We love the Farmer's Market for its old-fashioned stalls and variety of foods, but on this day we opted for a new sit-down spot we hadn't tried before, Short Order. I'm not gonna lie, the reasons we picked this place were not because of some glowing Yelp review or on the recommendation of one of my foodie friends. We picked it because:

1) We found a parking spot right in front.
2) We didn't feel like looking for a place to eat because – tired.
3) The girls spotted a couple of cute waiters and so the food must be awesome.

But we made the right choice. I found out that Nancy Silverton (La Brea Bakery, Campanile, Mozza) is one of the people behind it and menu items are all made with with locally raised and organic ingredients.

I started with their Fresh Ginger Ale. So good.

Then I had their Cobb Salad. Note that I had no intention whatsoever of ordering a salad when there were so many awesome burgers on their menu, but this one came with a FRIED EGG ON TOP. Yes, those all-caps were to symbolize my love for anything with a FRIED EGG ON TOP. I even have an entire Pinterest page dedicated to it. Go ahead, behold Things That Are Better With A Fried Egg On Top.

It was the best Cobb Salad ever. And not just because it had a FRIED EGG ON TOP.

The service was great, prices are reasonable (my Cobb was $12) and they have two nice patios (upstairs and downstairs) for dining al fresco. Oh, and the waiters were pretty cute. We can't wait to go back – maybe next time we'll ride our bikes there.

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