THINGS TO DO: LOS ANGELES (2ND EDITION)

2016-04-04 19.31.05

photo credit: Nickira King

I have time for a quick post today, just to give you guys a little update on what we’ve been up to around town. Just in case these are my final weeks of being a SAHM, I’m really trying to milk every second with my baby boy. From holding him super close to adventuring about town, I really don’t want it to end, but i’ll have lots of memories to show for it, and over 500 pictures! Which brings me to a good point, mamas, back those photos up. Dropbox recently added a feature that will automatically back up new photos every time you plug your phone into your computer. Do it! Or use another service. My phone feel this week and the screen is dead. I initially thought my whole phone was a goner, but I plugged it into my computer and it still connected so all was good. Luckily, I had just backed up all my photos because I kept getting the message that my storage was full. Why is it so hard to purge your phone of all your pictures once you’ve backed them up? If any of you have real scientific reasoning into this, i’d love to hear it. In the meantime, I’ll just conclude that I am a sentimental hoarder. I don’t keep a lot of big things, but i love a good memory, or reminder thereof. Photos, yearbooks, old report cards, birthday cards from grandma, I love it all. And the best part about it is going through these every now and then and feeling the joy all over again, and of course saving them to one day show RJ so he can see what a sap mommy was and probably still will be. Yes, I have a baby book that I update every month. But in all honesty, these are the things that are important to me. I don’t care about fancy brands or high tech gear, my heart feels full when I share experiences with my loved ones. It’s something my dad always instilled in us, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So with that, here are a few new places me and my little family have made some new memories, and hopefully you’ll get out there and enjoy some of these places, too. And if I didn’t mention it before, I’m always looking for a deal, or free fun, so most of my recommendations of things to do around town, will be under $20. Enjoy!

THE PARKS – So first up, if you guys read my Strollin’ With my Homies post, you’ll kow I love a good park. Not only are they free, but with our beautiful weather, the scenery can’t be beat. Plus, they are an easy place to meet with friends to catch up without feeling like your conversation or time is burdened by baby. (Sidenote: any friend that feels burdened by baby, is no friend of mine). Here are 3 new favorites to add to our park list:

1. Pan Pacific Park – This park is amazing, but I knew that before having baby tag along. There are basketball hoops, lush grass, pavilions that can be reserved for parties, a large playground, paths for walking or strolling, picnic tables, and lots of shade. It’s located in the Mid-Wilshire area so it’s close to lots of other fun stuff as well (La Brea Tar Pits, LACMA, Auto Museum, great restaurants, and food trucks)

We actually met up at this park for a fun little photoshoot through a mommy group I’m part of, with a wonderful mommy photographer, Nickira King . This was the first time I’ve had my photo taken with RJ since he was newborn, so it was really a special time and the photos that came out of it mean the world to me. You can see a few more in her portfolio, but this is one of my favorites.

photo credit: Nickira King

photo credit: Nickira King

2. Echo Park/ Lake – RJ and I met up with one of my good friends and old colleagues here one day for a little picnic. I visited this park years ago to run, but at that time it was still under construction, so I had no idea what to expect, but I was happily pleased. This park is gorgeous with all the renovations. The lake is the focal point, and you can expect to see ducks, lily pads with blossoming lotus flowers, and families enjoying themselves in paddle boats. I cannot wait for RJ to be old enough for us to go do this! Around the lake is plenty of lush grass, and a small cafe wher you can buy food/drinks, and sit and enjoy the peaceful scenery. We opted for the grass. One thing that has become very useful on these park dates is out Monkey Mat, which is a portable mat that you can use just about anywhere. We laid this out and put some blankets on top and you don’t have to worry about anything getting dirty. Once you’re finished, you just fold it back up and into the pouch that stays connected to one corner of the mat. It’s perfect!

The truly great thing about Echo Park is the number of other families that go out to enjoy it as well. Young, old, and of course, hip, you will find lots of other parents here with their kiddos. If you are prone to baby fever though, this might not be the park for you.

 

3. Lacy Park (Pasadena) – Now, even on a rainy day, this park couldn’t get anymore beautiful, and if you live in LA proper, it’s worth the drive to visit. I recommend going on a weekday to avoid paying to get in, which is $4 on weekends and holidays. Once inside, there is so much to explore, but as I mentioned, we went on a rainy day so we rushed to find a picnic table well covered by trees to avoid getting too wet. Admittedly, it was mostly a light mist during most of our visit. RJ and I met up with one of my best friends from high school for a rainy day picnic. She is also a new mom, and her babe is about 7 months now. We get together every so often to chat about pregnancy, and now motherhood. She is the one who recommended the amber necklace for teething. It was great to see her, as always, but what was even more exciting than our delicious salads and dark chocolate covered pretzels (balance!), was seeing our boys get to know each other. RJ hasn’t been around too many other babies at this point, so he is always fascinated by other kids, but he and baby J, as we’ll call him, seemingly hit it off. They smiled at each other, giggled, grabbed bibs, and hands, and got a kick out of seeing another tiny human. This is another one of those moments that i’ll cherish, and one day we’ll bust out the pictures when our boys are graduating from high school.

I will definitely be going back to this park. I’ve seen pictures of the other amenities, which include a pretty fun looking playground, and gorgeous rose gardens. Based on pictures alone, I’d recommend this one for any of your photoshoot needs as well.

 

LA ZOO – This visit came as a surprise to me. On Easter Sunday, I had originally planned for a little family outing to the Bunny Museum in Pasadena, which is essentially a home with lots of bunny collectibles (and 2 REAL, LIVE bunnies). Well, The Man was a little unimpressed by that, so he surprised us with a detour to the zoo, which is heading in the same direction. This was where we had one of our first dates so this mama got all sentimental. People really like the zoo on Easter, so I’d recommend this one on a regular day and not a holiday. Either way though, you’re in for a good time. This is one of those activities that will cost you. It’s normally $20/adult and $15 for children (2-12). It’s free for kids under 2. But, if you are a zoo lover, it could be worth it to purchase the pass for $99 to get unlimited free admission for you and a guest for the year. Once RJ is old enough to truly enjoy the animals, I think we shell out those pennies and we’ll always have something to do. You can bring your own food and drinks to the zoo, so that gives it bonus points in my book. But, let’s say you don’t pack a lunch, because you thought you were going to the Bunny Museum, the food at the zoo cafes, is actually really good (lots of healthy options), and not too bad on the price side (and they have beer and wine!). Compared to other amusement places, their food is worth it. Hubby was treating us to a family day so I guess I turned a little blind eye to the price. Now what they do mark up is those damn stuffed animals. If you have older kids, save the gift shop for last (and maybe they’ll be closed hehe). We got RJ a keepsake animal because he doesn’t have a tone of toys yet, and he is quite fond of his current selection of stuffed animals.

I think he enjoyed it as much as any 4 1/2 month baby would. Lots of walking meant lots of good napping time for him. He did get really excited looking at the pirrhanas, though. And of course The Man and I got our ticket’s worth. We’re a family of animal lovers so it’s always a day well spent when we can observe all sorts of them and make up funny conversations for them. Let’s just say, giraffes are freaky!

91.5 KUSC – Ok, this last one isn’t really a place or activity, but it is something unique to Los Angeles, nonetheless. RJ has taken a liking to classical music. It soothes him in the car and makes our car rides a little more bearable. I happened upon this station one night, drivng to the airport and I haven’t looked back. It helps, that I am a former violinist and flutist (ok, that probably made me sound a lot more skilled at either of those instruments than I actually am.) Let me clarify, I play violin in 4th and 5th grade, and flute from 6th to 8th grade. I still have a great appreciation for all kinds of music and classical is no exception, so I’m extremely happy and willing to expose RJ to it. You’ll also find 93.5 KDAY on our regular rotation as well as my CD collection, because my kid must have an appreciation and understanding of hip hop as well. If you have yet to find this station, do yourself a favor and add it to your rotation. When you’re tired of hearing the same crap or people’s voices, this is the best thing to help you get through rush hour traffic. I love trying to identify the various instruments and eventually that could turn into a game for our car rides.

Alright, stay tuned for the next edition, but in the meantime, get out and have some fun with your babes.

xo

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The Black Mama

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