los angeles & santa monica: for kiddos

The Santa Monica/LA  area is amazing for a quick getaway, even with little ones in tow. Here’s our itinerary:

Day One

arrival: If you are flying in, skip the chaos of LAX and catch an early morning flight into Burbank’s Bob Hope airport.  Deplaning on the tarmac is fun for the kids and will instantly put you in SoCal vacation mode. Pick up your rental car; anything topless (convertible, Jeep, etc.) is well worth the added expense when you are driving along the coast. Just make sure it has the trunk space you need for all that kiddo luggage, and (if you don’t have one on your smart phone) a navigation system.

breakfast: From the airport, head straight away to Hollywood. Open at 7:30am, The Waffle has a mile-long menu that reads like a kid’s breakfast wish list: chocolate waffles with whip cream, sticky bun waffles, red velvet waffles with cream cheese frosting, etc. The menu also includes plenty non-waffle breakfast fare. The cool retro vibe, outdoor seating, and local dogs lounging on the patio with their breakfasting owners make it fun.

activity: Griffith Park. There’s a lot happening here and it’s all on the cheap; the amazing observatory (free admission; kids under 5 can only go to the first planetarium show of the day at 10:45am on weekends); train rides, merry-go-round, and lots of park help burn energy. Plus, you’ll love the stellar views from the observatory rooftop over LA all the way out to the ocean. With older kids you might consider parking the car along the street at the lower level of the park and hiking the steep dirt trail up to the observatory.

lunch: If you want to stay around the park, try the Trails Café for lemonade and the hot dog on a stick wrapped in flakey dough (vegetarian dogs available too!). Beware that the wait for food can be on the long side. Seating is at outdoor picnic tables.  If you are ready to leave the park, head back to Hollywood for Tender Greens – cafeteria-style seasonal salads, soups, sandwiches, carved meat, and best-ever mashed potatoes. There’s valet parking in the back (afterall, this is Hollywood) and the restaurant is within walking distance to your next activity (just make sure you OK it with valet – a good tip helps – to leave your rental there for a couple hours after you lunch).

activity: Catch a movie at Arclight Hollywood. The historic location, reserved plush seating, gourmet popcorn, cafe, bar, and premium technology make this the best movie-going experience you will ever have (even if you are watching another kiddie pick). If there isn’t a family-friendly movie playing at Arclight, head over to El Capitan – the lavish and old-timey Hollywood theater rotates Disney films and boasts a Disney-themed soda fountain next door.

hotel: After the movie, the kids can nap in the car as you drive to Oceana Hotel Santa Monica. This hotel is perfect for families – large upgraded suites, eager staff, in-room babysitting, and a boutique hotel vibe.  Check-in is a breeze (call ahead to make sure your correct room is ready); valet up front and your bags will be whisked to your room. Reserve hotel babysitting for the evening in advance – you’ll need it to head out for an adults-only dinner. The kids can swim while you relax by the pool with a refreshing drink (and maybe a bite to eat? try the mushroom tempura…), or you can all head across the street to the miles-long park with ocean views.

dinner: Order up some dinner poolside or in-room for the kids. Once the babysitter arrives you’re off to nearby Via Veneto ($$$) or Hosteria del Piccolo ($$) for a superb Italian supper.

Day Two

breakfast: If it’s Sunday head to the Santa Monica Farmers Market. Local vendors serve up fresh pressed juices and memorable hot breakfast plates that you can eat at outdoor tables while listening to live music. After, little ones will love the pony rides and petting zoo. Grab SoCal’s greatest espresso/hot chocolate down the street at Intelligentsia.

activity: Take a walk from Intelligentsia to Firefly + Kid Firefly for some shopping. Then, drive to Santa Monica Pier. Grab a phosphate, egg cream, or malt from Soda Jerk and enjoy the rides. arcade, and shops.

lunch: Take a drive up the coast to John’s Garden – a sandwich/smoothie shack that serves healthy fare (plus requisite pb&j) at picnic tables in a park setting.  The kids can mingle at the playground while you wait for your food to arrive.

activity: Head back to the hotel for swimming/napping, or to Third Street Promenade (pedestrian-only outdoor shopping district) for more shopping. Kids will delight in the animal topiaries, whimsical fountains, and street performers. The whole family will enjoy a turn through the eccentric SoCal offerings at Kitson.

dinner: Enjoy ocean views and fresh seafood at Duke’s, where kids will love the housemade chicken tenders and Hula Pie.

Day Three

breakfast: Pick up some pastries at Huckleberry before driving to the Santa Monica Municipal Airport; kids can eat their breakfast at the fun outdoor public viewing decks.

activity: Spend the morning on the beach.

lunch: Drive to Beverly Hills and picnic 90210-style. Pick up supplies at Joan’s on Third. Little ones can split the huge grilled cheese or crustless pbj. Take your bags of gourmet food to nearby Beverly Hills Garden Park (where kids can climb on the iconic sign) or  Will Rogers Memorial Park (where kids will enjoy the fountain filled with turtles and fish; you’ll love gawking at the surrounding real estate) before hopping back in the car to the airport!

 

cold weather, hot italian

Today I’m sharing my favorite places to tuck into a big plate of warm house-made pasta! (hint: if you want to dine at any of these places for Valentine’s day best to reserve now; most are nearly booked) Buon appetito! P.S. haha

San Francisco: flour + water // farina // delfina (great casual option)

Sacramento: biba // spataro // lucca (great casual option)

Santa Barbara: trattoria mollie

Santa Monica: via veneto // giorgio baldi // la vechia // la botte // hostaria del piccolo (great casual option)

Los Angeles: gusto // angelina osteria // osteria la buca (great casual option)

San Diego: bencotto

Palm Springs: kalura trattoria (great casual option)

meatless monday

Meatless Monday at bungalowc. — super delicious vegetarian recipes. 

Brie & Green Bean Casserole Grilled Cheese Sliders

happy weekend

Canadian in space snaps LA, SF, San Diego
Bay Bridge lights installation tested
guide to the best winter citrus, plus four citrus salads
this year’s winner at Mavericks
best. quiche. ever.
better sleep, plus yesterday’s how to create the perfect bed

bedtime

Get your bed just right and it will reward you with rejuvenating sleep night after night.  Here’s how + favorite bed linens:

  1. Upgrade your mattress. No need to buy a new one if your mattress is under 8 years old; try adding a pillowtop with memory foam for extra comfort.
  2. Use a mattress cover.
  3. Rotate your mattress every three months. Even pillowtop mattresses should be rotated (though not flipped). Try this tip.
  4. Ditch down. While it can feel luxurious, down pillows and blankets are a haven for dust mites, mold infestation, leaking feathers and other nasty problems. Plus, eek.
  5. Use a machine washable duvet cover rather than a big comforter. It can be washed each time you wash the sheets (also, wash bedding at least once a week).
  6. Don’t over-pillow. More than six will overwhelm the bed (and you). All pillows on the bed should be useable — no “for decoration only.”
  7. Keep it neutral. Take a cue from some of California’s best hotels: all-white or neutral-colored bedding will look luxurious and inviting whatever your room decor.

ORGANIC

 1. California-based Coyuchi organic sateen collection ($27-$682)  // 2. Target organic blanket ($29.99-$49.99)  //  3. West Elm organic pintuck collection ($24-$139)  //  4. Target organic 325 count sheet set ($27.99-$53.99)

LUXURY

 1. Frette Hotel Classic bed set ($350-$395)  // 2. Restoration Hardware cashmere throw ($185-$249)  //  3. Judy White Studio for DWR bedding collection ($115-$850)  //  4. Sferra 1020 thread count sateen bedding ($139-$1395)

lighten up

If you constantly feel sluggish and have a tummy pooch that won’t quit, you might have sensitivity to gluten. Ditch foods with wheat or gluten and you could feel much better. Careful though; like “fat-free” substitutes, processed products labeled “gluten-free” aren’t free of calories! Better to stick with whole unprocessed foods (healthy salads!) and eat yummy gluten free desserts and other processed foods sparingly. Tough to do given the new wave of gluten-free treats that taste exactly like those with gluten (Sprinkles’ glutenless red velvet is spot on), but we’ll try.

hard truth

We’ve all spent gobs of money and pinned our hopes on little jars that promise a shortcut to beautiful skin.  The bad news is that there is no shortcut; the good news is that with a little discipline anyone can get beautiful skin:

  1. Face your food: You simply can’t have beautiful skin without eating right. Sugar and alcohol will age your skin. A green salad with healthy oils, protein, and veggies should almost always be your main dish!
  2. Moisturize: Drink water! Creams treat only superficial dryness. Girls with gorgeous skin drink water constantly throughout the day to keep skin looking healthy. Make it your rule to never refuse an offered glass of water (hint: your pee will tell you if you are dehydrated — a clear to light yellow color means you are properly hydrating!)
  3. Sleep: If you wake up feeling tired your skin will look tired. Most people need 8 hours of sleep; models make sure to get up to 12 hours!
  4. Sweat: Learn to love sweating. Exercise daily and throw in a sauna from time to time. Sweat pushes out toxins, increases circulation, and keeps skin glowing. Be sure to wash skin after sweating.
  5. Simplify: You need just three products to prevent aging: a sunscreen, an antioxidant, and a retinoid. Your sunscreen should contain at least 5% zinc and should be applied daily, religiously. See a dermatologist for recommendations on the antioxident and retinoid products that are right for you.
  6. Find a dermatologist: Spend some time researching your dermatologist; make sure to read reviews.  She should have a reputation for accurately describing the results you can expect under her care and delivering those results at lowest cost. You don’t want to end up at an office with very little dermatologist oversight where associates push products for the sake of commission.
  7. Skip the facial: California girls know that hotel luxury facials are for tourists and those seeking a little pampering — not part of a serious day-to-day beauty routine. Facials worth getting occur at your dermatologist’s office and include treatments that are specifically prescribed for your skin.
  8. Lose hope: if your dermatologist didn’t prescribe or recommend it for your skin, don’t buy it — most over the counter products at drugstores and department stores will cost you a bundle without delivering results.

Rethink your skincare routine

 

happy weekend

weekend breakfast (we’d serve it with a green salad and a bit of aioli on the plate)
we’re finally seeing sunshine! get outside in SF, SacLA
are you living your best life?
she could have used this refresher course
yum-o indeed
does your interior design look just like you?



photo via. we ♥ DG's retro travel spring looks.

pajama party

Which would you choose for a little hotel getaway? Shutters // BHH

For Shutters:

  1. Liberty for J. Crew pajama ($198)
  2. C. Wonder small dopp kit ($48)
  3. Guerlain Super Aqua Mask Intensive Sheets ($117)
  4. Preserve Recycled toothbrush ($4)
  5. Marvis Aquatic Mint toothpaste ($6)

For BHH:

  1. Olivia Von Halle silk pajama ($500)
  2. Aerin Essentials Makeup Bag ($48)
  3. Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask ($32)
  4. Supersmile toothbrush ($9)
  5. Euthymol toothpaste – it’s pink! ($9.95)

california winter sunrise sandwich

This sandwich is perfect for chilly mornings — pretty dang scrumptious and kiddos LOVE it.  Makes 1 serving(190 calories). You’ll need:

  • 1 fresh organic free range egg white
  • 1 slice organic American pasteurized cheese product
  • 1 sourdough muffin (such as Trader Joe’s Extra Sour Sourdough English Muffins)

Place an egg ring on a small nonstick pan over medium heat.  Pour egg white into the ring. Add a small amount of hot water to the pan, just to coat. Cover with lid, cooking until egg is set approx. 5 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly toast sourdough.  Place egg on sourdough, add cheese.  Serve with winter greens.

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