Getting Un-Bored: Los Angeles

SPONSORED: This post is presented by the Toyota Highlander. Because there is no room for boring. Learn more, here. 

And then they look at each other like, "would you look at this piece of work?"

Most weekends we take day trips. Mainly because I cannot sit still in a house or I go insane. (I write at a nearby coffee shop where I am currently typing away. What's up.) But there are days when leaving the house isn't an option so today I wanted to write about how we stay un-bored in LA, both inside the house and out around town.

Ten Places we Get Un-Bored in Los Angeles 

1. The Getty Villa & Center 
The Getty Villa is an incredible place for people of all ages. Just, please, remember to make a reservation. The Getty Center is equally incredible and requires no reservations. You can find out more about both the Center and The Villa, here. 

LACMA should be #1 on the list because we live around the corner from the museum and spend much of our time there. I take the twins to paint in the afternoon sometimes and we recently met friends for a dinner picnic/watch the sunset/lawn party where the kids were able to play in the "noodoos" until closing. The exhibits are incredible and all children (and their parents) are free thanks to NextGen. LACMA has always been one of my absolute favorite places in Los Angeles and will always feel like home to me. 

3. Huntington Library & Gardens
My Nana bought us a family membership for our birthdays last summer and we have since taken full advantage. If we lived closer, we'd be here every weekend. (We visit about once a month.) If you frequent this blog or follow me on Instagram you will see thousands of photos at Huntington because it's my favorite place to be as a family in Los Angeles. It is a magical place, man.  You can read more about Huntington Gardens here and here. 

We're also members of Descanso because HELLO, LOOK AT THIS PLACE!? Please become a member, too, and we can all hang in our white tunics and make flower crowns? (More on Descanso Gardens, here.)

5. Griffith Observatory 
The only "map of the stars" you'll ever need is on a hill overlooking the city. We don't go here nearly enough but The Griffith Observatory is hands down, THE PLACE to visit if you're passing through Los Angeles. This is my note to self to plan another day trip with the fam asap on the double. 

6. California Science Center &
Museum of Natural History 
This is a great double-header if the kids are into long days/spaceships and dinosaurs. (Gravity was great and all but seeing Hubble 3D on IMAX? Better.) 

7. Kidspace Children's Museum
We recently showed up to Kidspace with full-on picnic only to realize when we got there that it was closed for the day. Still love you, though, Kidspace. You're still our Boo. (P.S. Fable used to be small and wear rainbow sandals. Sigh.) 

8. Los Angeles Central Library
Libraries are always on our list of places to see/go/explore and although West Hollywood recently opened a fantastic library which we frequent regularly, there is nothing quite like Central. Not in Los Angeles, anyway.

9. Annenberg Community Beach House/The Beach
Malibu boasts the nicest beaches but Annenberg has it all: ocean, pool and cabana things you can rent on the beach with friends. More on that, here.

Underwood Farms is kind of a haul. HOWEVER. It is so rad there as long as it isn't a holiday when thousands of people swarm and everyone gets claustrophobic and irritable. Between the rides, the playground equipment, climbing areas, and pick-your-own-fruits and veggies action, Underwood is practically perfect in every way. (When it isn't crowded.) More on Underwood Family Farms, here.

Other beloved haunts include Noah's Ark at The Skirball, The Peterson Automotive Museum and La Brea Tarpits. 

Ten Ways we Un-bored Ourselves at Home

1. Fence painting:
This has been a really special (ongoing) family project for us that will never end because that's just the nature of its beast. For the last year, the kids (as well as Hal and I) have taken a paintbrush to our fence, painting, writing things, our names, painting over old (faded/washed away by sprinklers) paint and starting new... And every day I open the fence to leave the house or step into my front yard I am reminded of everything that is wild and wonderful in my life... and how everything is temporary but that doesn't mean we shouldn't keep painting. Life is so much more interesting with all of these different colors and ideas and human beings running around.  Before ALL OF THIS, the fence was just a fence... now it's something else entirely, subliminal advertising for staying creative and colorful and imperfect and collaborative...  a reminder that fences are contradictory in nature. (I keep a drawer full of Crayola washable paints and a jar full of brushes so whenever one of the kids feels like painting, I can hand it over and send them outside. This is something I want them to hang onto as they grow up and become adults. Art is empowerment. It's also quite un-boring.) 

2. Tie-Dye
Hal got Fable a tie dye set for Hanukkah and we finally busted it out the other day. Archer, Fable and I made shirts, socks and tights (which turned out amazing, btw. I'll share pictures later) and had a blast doing it. Unfortunately, they looked VERY different after washing... which was disappointing... but also exciting? The npw set was awesome (and for some reason I can only find it for sale in UK?) Anyway, tie-dye. Always a good time. Even when it turns out... pink...er. (See before + after above.)

3. Make-a-Masking
My friend, Ashley introduced us to Mudpuppy's make-a-masks over the summer and now we're hooked. Such a great gift idea for kids of all ages. (Thanks, Ashley!) 

4. Board Games/Chess
I recently did a whole post on board (bored) games and some of our family favorites. (Archer has recently gotten really into chess and is incredible at it and Fable is getting close to holding her own on the board as well. GO TEAMS!) 

5. Dance Parties
Dance parties = the cure for the common, chaotic, sad, frustrated, depressing, angry, annoyed, exhausted... moment. We also have a WiiU in the closet and bust it out on special occasions and battle with our epic Just Dance 2014 moves. (COUGH, HAL, COUGH.) 

6. Urban Planning 
Archer has been collecting Tomica roadways and sets for the last four years and for Christmas my mom ordered him a set from Japan because they do not sell nearly enough sets here in the US. Not for builders like Archer, anyway. The best thing about Tomica is that every day invites a new city design. The kids have drawers of blocks in their room and build towns around the roadways and bridges and garages... stories and stories and stories for days and days and days. 

7. Sidewalk Chalk
Who am I, Captain Obvious? Yes. Yes I am. Our lungs are all rainbow colored now thanks to the amount of chalk we inhale on the daily. And yet? Almost every day someone draws something beautiful or offensive or a cool road that leads to another road that leads to a bench that is now a masterpiece. 
8. Costumes/Makeup/Shoes
Keeping a costume chest (or in our case plastic bin-pile-thing) is the best thing we ever accidentally did. And now that Bo and Revi are getting older, it's costume central around these parts. (My daughters wear my "fancy shoes" WAY more than I do.) They have also introduced me to the wonderful world of hot pink lipstick paired with pajamas. 
9. Magazine collage:
(This is the only reason I have kept my Vogue subscription.)

10.  Watercolors for Days
I buy watercolor paints in bulk and keep watercolor paper fully stocked because 1. it's easy 2. it's cheap and 3. the twins drift into a sort of zen-like state when they're painting... at least until they decide to paint on each other's paintings and steal each other's paint and poor water on each other's heads. 


And now for a preview of Toyota's Big Game ad, starring Terry Crews and the Muppets, coming to a Super Bowl Sunday near you: 


Please feel free to add some of your get un-bored ideas! Inside? Outside? Any great family friendly places I missed? 

Giusta by Giusta Personalized Cuffs (& Giveaway)

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I first met Kelsey in 7th grade where we became instant friends. We went to school dances together, bunked together at camp, went ice-blocking on private property, stuffed our bras with the same box of kleenex... We spent our weekends at Beads n More making jewelry (Kels made her own Fimo clay and knew how to attach the clasps with pliers) and our school days passing notes back and forth in class (hers always had waves on them) and when I think of Kelsey I literally LOL because that is who she quite literally is: A blue-eyed laugh out loud. Also, here are some photos I found of us shirt-sharing. (Remember those days?)
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Kelsey studied print-making and worked in Florence for several years, made clothes, sold clothes, made jewelry, sold jewelry, traveled, met an amazing man, married him, worked hard, and stayed consistently true to her heART.

...And today, I'm proud to present some of her work. Behold the beautiful:
il_570xN._d40t glass beads with gold tube bracelet(s) - $15
il_570xN._m9ij gold-fill wire-earrings, $21
il_570xN._fbka 14k gold plated necklace with turquoise - $39 

My favorite, though, are Kelsey's custom-made cuff bracelets, the perfect gift for those of you who want to share a message with a loved one:
il_570xN._24d2 custom etched cuffs - $60 

Kels will write anything from names to vows, song lyrics, poems, personal notes of love, inside jokes, words of wisdom, inspiration, healing for friends dealing with loss or unwanted change... 
(My aunt gave me a Kelsey bracelet for Christmas that is etched with inside jokes. So good.)
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Not only are the cuffs genius, they are made with love by this amazingly wonderful (hilarious) woman:
Who used to be an amazingly wonderful  (hilarious) girl.
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Who has always been an amazingly wonderful  (hilarious) friend.
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Kelsey is giving away a custom handmade-cuff for one lucky commenter. To win, post a few words about a beloved friend. I'll pick a (random) winner next Wednesday, Feb 5th. In the meantime, you can shop Kelsey's etsy store, here. 15% discount with code GGClove15.


"If you sing for children, you can't really say there's no hope." - Pete Seeger

My mom used to sing this one to us when we were little. She'd bust out her guitar and lead our Brownie Troop in song alllllllllll over this lannnnnnd...

RIP Pete Seeger. Thank you for your voice.

"Here's a song I think you know and if you sing it, well... we'll make a good sound." 



194. If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song) by: Pete Seeger & Lee Hays


"And out you stepped onto new ground..."

My mother sent me the following John O'Donohue piece/peace this morning and I'm reposting it here because YES. (My mom's friend Lois sent it to her first and I've now sent it to several friends as well because it's too good not to share with every man, woman and child who exists.)

Let's all put this in our pipes and smoke it, wanna?

For a New Beginning

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life's desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

- John O'Donohue 

It's an extremely liberating feeling knowing that the only way to GET where we're going is to wander and wait and pace and ponder and sketch and rewrite and take notes and start over and keep going. That we must breathe and think and be quiet in order to be loud. That we must rest in order to run. Sleep in order to wake. Listen in order to speak. Feel first a growing emptiness in order to find fulfillment, in order to unfurl... 
Thanks, John O'Donohue. Thanks, Lois. Thanks, mom.


Portrait of a Family as a Young(ish) Family & Giveaway!

This, right up there, is us. Pretty amazing, right? I know. I am freaking out I'm so in love (the next best thing to buying your dream dress is wearing said dress in perpetuity as an illustrated person) and thanks to Lisa & My Little Buffalo, this portrait will soon hang in my rat-infested gravelly old house that I love/want to punch a little bit.

(On Wednesday we had the plumber come to the house to investigate a leak the exterminator found in the basement and it turns out our shower is leaking through the tile AND floor below the tile AKA we need to have our shower/tile/floor underneath the floor completely redone which will cost... I mean... I can't even... I might as well just put every dollar I make into the walls of this house and call it a day. TALK ABOUT THE GIFT OF POTTERY! Broken 100 year old tiles made out of ceramic!!? INDEED IT IS A SIGN THAT THE GODS ARE GIGGLING DOWN ON US! LOL, Gods! EL. OH. EL OMG.)


Lisa's illustrations are all made-to-order custom orders and make incredible gifts for all of the people that you love and/or like. (She creates and sells the digital files for you to print at home.) Here are some examples that make me feel happy when I look at them: 

I also LOVE these for a child's bedroom because I'm obsessed with personalization:

My Little Buffalo also offers iPhone covers.  (I just ordered one because, come on! The best!)

...And, because love is in the air, Lisa is generously giving away one custom Valentine's Day order to a lucky winner. (If you don't have a Valentine, whatever. In fact, how rad would it be to order a portrait holding hands with yourself, BFF necklace style? In your two favorite dresses/t-shirts/jumpsuits!) To win, tell me what love means to you. Winner will be chosen at random next Friday, January 31st. (In the meantime, you can use code GIRLSGONE10 and receive 10% off your My Little Buffalo order.)
Love to all and happy weekend-ing!

Note: Old website