Wednesday, September 30, 2009

L.A. Story hops on board Trekaroo's KidsMobile

This week, L.A. Story along with two other mom bloggers played host to tyke travel Web site Trekaroo's KidsMobile blog carnival.

KidsMobile is making a virtual trip across America and inviting moms from major family destinations to weigh in on exciting things to do with the kiddos.

Please check out my tips, in the below link, along with other L.A.-based moms who let readers in on fashion and beauty stops as well as nature adventures in and around Los Angeles.

Enjoy!

Our first host – Tammy Gibson – knows mom and girls all love to feel beautiful. She lets us in on 10 Fashion and Beauty Stops to Make With Your Tween or Teen Girl in Los Angeles. Tammy is the stylin’ mom behind her blog A Mom in Red High Heels that is filled with fashion and beauty tips to encourage moms to make themselves a priority so that they can be at the best for their family.

Next, Laura Clark, an adventurous mom of a toddler has discovered 5 Places You Never Thought to Bring Your Toddler in Los Angeles. That's right! Theatre, art, museums, movies …? Moms and dads, you don’t have to miss out any longer! Check out more of Laura’s discoveries through her lighthearted and well-written blog: LA Story.

There is a another side of Los Angeles that Debi Huang does not want eclipsed by the glamour of Hollywood. Her list of 10 Nature Inspired Adventures for Families in Los Angeles is fresh and delightful. If this is any indication of the kind of places she’ll be exploring in her brand new blog Go Explore Nature, you’ll want to bookmark it today.



Next week, we’ll be heading to chica-chica Chicago.

The Trekaroo KidsMobile is a blog carnival with a twist. It’s designed to provide a unique opportunity for mom and dad bloggers to be featured on Trekaroo while

1) expressing their unique point of view
2) getting a web of link exchanges.
Join us for one of our next stopovers.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

CC makes Los Angeles play date with KaBoom!


When KaBoom!, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to building playgrounds for kids and providing grants to enrich community areas, announces an official play day in L.A., we're there.

And CC definitely got her playground groove on.

The Washington, D.C.-based organization kicked off its National Week of Play Sept. 19-27, and Trinity Unlimited Child Care Center in Compton hosted an event, which included: DJs leading games of Red Light, Green Light, Simon Says and Musical Chairs; arts and crafts for the kiddies; free play on its spacious and well-equipped playground; and a fund-raising bake sale complete with hot dogs and cupcakes.

And the biggest project of the day: a playful mural that stretched the entire length of the play area painted by parents and friends.

A KaBoom! representative named Maria was on hand to lead the event. She chatted with parents, helped paint the mural and engaged the kids in fun games.

Maria told me that Trinity Unlimited was one of several organizations receiving a grant and that the mural was part of that effort. Turns out more than 1,000 places all over the world (even Antarctica!) were hosting days of play.

While she was talking with the kiddos, Maria said she had the best job in the world: building playgrounds.

"We build about 200 playgrounds a year," she said.

What CC enjoyed most was the free play. (And pouring water into various approved containers.) There was a plastic train and hippo for her to climb on, slides, see-saws and enough room to run laps if she wanted.

Besides watching CC play with the other kids, I also enjoyed talking to the owner of Trinity Unlimited, Mary Nelson.

She was a gracious hostess and said the child-care center is family-owned and has been at its current location for the past nine years. Before that, they ran the business out of her home.

As CC and I explore Los Angeles and the greater area, it's nice to discover places around the city that encourage kids to thrive. At Trinity Unlimited, I could see the enormous care on display, and it was heartening.

Good luck with your mural and thanks again, Mary, for inviting us back anytime!

Monday, September 28, 2009

'Disney Live! Rockin' Road Show' brings bounce center stage

Mickey, Minnie and the gang loaded up the Disney bus and made their way to the Nokia Theatre this weekend for "Disney Live! Rockin' Road Show."

And on Saturday afternoon, CC and I definitely rocked ... but we mostly bounced. And by "we," I mean "she" -- we have our friend Tigger to thank for that one.

Yep, it wasn't just the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse crew that sang, danced and joked on stage. (What does rain wear under its clothes? ... Thunderwear! Thanks, Goofy.) The familiar quartet, which also included CC fave Donald Duck, ran into a few other Disney characters on their search for acts to star in a talent show.

Cinderella, her stepsisters and fairy godmother all made appearances, along with "Toy Story's" Woody, Buzz Lightyear and Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl. And, of course, there was Mr. Bounce House himself -- T-I-double g-ERRRRRR!

CC was seriously like a wind-up toy when Tigger invited all the kids to bounce. She grabbed on to the seat in front of her and started to turbo hop. I almost got whiplash just watching her.

She also danced, clapped, sang and got her first taste of cotton candy (Meh. She can definitely live without it.) She also scored her first set of Mickey Mouse ears. A rite of passage in my book.

But before she hit the snooze button on her internal sleepy clock, CC still had the energy to tell me her favorite part of the show.

"Had fun jumping!"

And I had fun just watching her.

Friday, September 25, 2009

And 'The Zula Patrol' DVDs go to ...

Go Pokie! You won the two-DVD set of "The Zula Patrol." Congrats! (Have to give a shout-out to Random.org and its coin flipper.)

Thanks to my "Zula" contestants, who shared their fave alien characters. Both were hilarious! Totally forgot about Alf, and Piiiiiiiigs in Spaaaaaace totally rocks, too.

Allison wins the VIP membership to ZulaWorld.com! Yay!

Thanks again for playing!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

LA Moms Blog: Is every parent this terrified?

Please check out my latest L.A. Moms Blog post, "Is every parent this terrified?"

This topic has been on my mind a lot this summer, as I've read news story upon news story about young girls/women -- all from California -- being accosted or worse. I usually avoid subjects like this, but this time it struck a nerve.

I find that fear is something I've had to come to terms with as a parent. I think it must be something you just learn to live with the moment you realize you're responsible for another human being.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Coming Attraction: KaBOOM! Play Day in L.A.

To help celebrate KaBOOM!'s National Week of Play, Los Angeles is getting into the fitter than fit spirit by hosting a play day of its own on Sept. 25 at Trinity Unlimited Child Care Center in Compton.

KaBOOM!, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing play back into the lives of kids, is encouraging all of us to get out and run, jump, skip, turn, twist and shout Sept. 19-27.

Trinity Unlimited is hosting the L.A. event, from 3 p.m.-5 p.m., and the entire community is invited to test out its playground and help paint a mural.

Earlier this summer, First Lady Michelle Obama joined KaBOOM! among others to help build a playground at an elementary school in San Francisco.

KaBOOM! and other organizations such as the American Heart Association recommend that kids play for at least an hour every day.

If only just one hour would tire out my child for bedtime.

KaBOOM! L.A. Play Day

Trinity Unlimited Child Care Center

825 S. Chester Ave.

Compton, CA 90221

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Baby's first Dodgers game!


It was root, root, root for the home team last week, when I took CC to her first L.A. Dodgers game with a group of journo friends.

CC kept saying "Baseball! Baseball!" and at one point insisted it was her turn to take the field.

Unfortunately, she didn't get her chance to score a home run (though not for lack of trying), but Manny Ramirez did against the San Francisco Giants, sending fans to their feet early in the game. Too bad the homer high didn't last. The Giants beat the Dodgers 8-4. Boo.

CC did, however, get to try out her 7th inning stretch, munch on some Cracker Jack and clap and howl when things were going the Dodgers' way -- and even when they weren't.

Don't tell Ian or my dad, though. Their blood runs N.Y. Yankee blue, in pinstripes at that.

In the meantime, for great Dodgers updates, check out my friend Jon Weisman's blog Dodger Thoughts over at the L.A. Times!

Monday, September 21, 2009

L.A. County Fair: How many Angeleno tykes can say they've milked a goat?

There might not be a bevy of Los Angeles-born kids who can claim to know their way around a goat -- but now, thanks to the L.A. County Fair, my child has been spared the indignity of being the laughing stock of the, well, livestock.

This weekend, Ian, CC and I took the 10 to the Fairplex in Pomona, where the sprawling L.A. County Fair offered not only a barnyard full of animals at FairView Farms but also fun rides and games for the little ones.

And don't forget the Fried Twinkies!

Once again, CC proved to be the fearless toddler we know, love and suffer panic attacks over. (OK, maybe the last one is just for yours truly.) She wanted to ride on every single ride -- including a set of flying swings that lifts you more than 100 feet in the air.

Yeah, no.

My savior from an assured heart attack came in those beloved height requirements. CC just squeaked by the 36-inch line -- which allowed her on most of the kiddie rides -- but she has to wait for the 42-inch and above rides, thank God!

At one point, when I had her standing next to the height board to measure, one set of parents noticed my hesitancy and laughed. (Parents seem to sense the sweaty fear in other parents with unerring accuracy.)

"She's good to go, Mom," the dad said to me. He pointed to the speedy, spinning ride and said they just let their 3-year-old hop on board.

I laughed nervously, pointed to CC and said, "This one's only 2!"

We all had a good chuckle, which served as the perfect distraction for us to whisk her away to something a little less terrifying.

Hello, goats!

Here are some pics from our outing:

L.A. County Fair!

CC wins a fish in a game of quarters (No, not that quarters.)

CC goes pirate on us!

CC didn't get to ride the swings, but Ian did!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Giveaway: 'The Zula Patrol' DVDs and ZulaWorld.com passes

If anyone still thinks the moon is made of cheese, the wacky aliens from "The Zula Patrol" will set them straight -- complete with an Elvis impersonation from a moon rock itself.

"The Zula Patrol" is an animated series airing on both NBC (as part of qubo) and public television stations that features a menagerie of curious creatures who explore the universe and explain to kids such space-related questions as what the moon is made of, why moons orbit planets and just how many are in our solar system.

And that's just on one DVD -- "The Zula Patrol: Moons Mayhem," which hit shelves Aug. 25.

There's even an online site, ZulaWorld.com, featuring a virtual Zula world and games. (Note: This site is geared more toward kids ages 6-10, whereas the DVDs are for children ages 4 and older.)

The cast of characters includes Capt. Bula, Professor Multo (who has his own Multo Moment minisode), space pilot Zeeter, space pet Gorga (who shoots unexpected yet helpful objects out of his nose -- apparently you can teach space dogs new tricks) and twin flying explorers Wizzy and Wigg.

What adds to the fun, probably more for grown-ups, is the show's tip of the hat to vintage space shows with an Announcer Voice Guy and the jaunty jingle-style theme song.

The episodes are wonderfully animated and make science fun and kinda goofy. I mean, who's ever heard of a Were-Mouse? But the characters offer real scientific information in an entertaining way -- meaning you don't snooze while they're telling you why some animals such as frogs or butterflies change completely from babyhood to adulthood. (Those episodes show up in "The Zula Patrol: Animal Adventures in Space," which arrived in stores in June.)

In fact, the episode "Larva or Leave Me" even inspired CC to shout out "Metamorphosis!" and "Cocoon!"

That beats a grasshopper shedding its skin any day of the week.

*** GIVEAWAY ***

* I'm giving away a two-DVD set of "Moons Mayhem" and "Animal Adventures in Space."

* I'm also giving away 10 one-month VIP memberships to ZulaWorld.com.

To enter, just leave a comment below telling me your favorite space character from film, live-action TV or animated TV.

I'll choose 1 DVD set winner and 10 ZulaWorld.com winners on Friday, Sept. 25.

Good luck, and may the force be with you! (Yeah, I went there.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

L.A. Zoo: Gorillas and the mist

See that glass in the above photo? However many inches thick it is -- and it can't be more than a few -- it was the only thing last week standing between CC and a charging Silverback gorilla.

Talk about a freak out -- on my part, that is.

All the other surrounding parents apparently had made peace with being among temperamental wild animals. Me? Not so much.

When CC and I visited the L.A. Zoo over Labor Day weekend, we were excited to see whatever animals were rousing themselves despite the scorching Southern California heat. Some animals rallied -- yay giraffes! -- while others shamelessly gave into laziness -- *cough* lion *cough*.

The gorillas -- one male named Kelly, in particular -- were not letting the heat get in the way of a good rumble in the faux jungle.

While CC and I were walking over to the Campo Gorilla Reserve, we heard a ruckus as the male of the pack galloped over to the other end of its area. Onlookers practically knocked each other over to get a better view.

According to a zoo official who was on the scene, this hefty guy was just asserting his gorilla manhood around town. It was amazing to see just how huge he was -- and how powerful.

CC and I then walked around to the area with the glass wall. The male was over at the other end, so we were just observing the females and the grassy surroundings.

Just then, I heard that familiar galloping and saw Kelly bounding for the glass -- and CC was the only one standing inches away from it.

My reaction might have looked ridiculous to everyone around me, but I scooped her up and held her close. It was totally instinctive. And I'm sure Mama Gorilla would have done the same thing.

Kelly didn't seem to mean any harm. In fact, he didn't seem to notice the 20 or so people watching him mere feet away. He sat back, took a load off, probably enjoying some down time after taking the necessary steps on Labor Day to show everyone who's boss.

And for those of us on the other side of the fence who were trying to beat the heat ourselves -- the zoo was kind enough to provide misting fans.

And, boy, did we enjoy that. No chest-pounding required.

Monday, September 14, 2009

CC dances the hula at The Grove




On Saturday, The Grove said "Aloha" to the islands of Hawaii and the hula lifestyle we all know and love.

CC didn't hesitate to join in the fun. We made leis, ate shave ice, and my little keiki decided she would show the audience just how 2-year-olds can rock it.

After she finished swinging her hips to the island beat, we made our way over to Barnes & Noble, where Muno from "Yo Gabba Gabba" was entertaining the kiddies.

I was waiting for CC to bust out with: "There's a party in my tummy! So yummy! So yummy!" or "Snackie, snack, snack, snack, snack."

No such luck. Then again, I was happy just to see her show off her smooth moves.

Friday, September 11, 2009

'Pirates' on deck at D23 Expo


When looking to introduce your upcoming movie slate -- even to your biggest fans -- it always helps to have a pirate on your side. Especially if that pirate is Johnny Depp.

Walt Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook announced today at the D23 Expo in Anaheim that "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" is on track to be the fourth film in the "Pirates" franchise and will open in the summer of 2011.

But, in this case, it wasn't what he said. (In fact, his exact words were: "And ... am I forgetting something?") It's how he said it.

At the close of the presentation "Disney Movie Magic: Inside the Disney Studios," the triptych of screens above Cook flashed the movie's title as the silhouette of Capt. Jack Sparrow sitting on a wrecked ship slowly revealed arguably the world's favorite pirate. (Capt. Hook was knocked off his perch once Johnny sauntered on deck.)

"Pirates of the Caribbean?" Cook asked Depp, who remained in character.

"I remember it," Depp quipped.

With the audience on its feet, at turns screaming and clapping, Cook continued, "Probably time for some rum."

"OK," Depp answered, eyes gleaming. "That's why I'm here."

Cook unveiled a glittering roster of stars during the presentation, held in the Anaheim Convention Center's arena. And we're not talking just one or two.
Those who made their way on stage included Robert Zemeckis, Tim Burton, John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Jerry Bruckheimer (photo, left), Nicolas Cage (photo, right), the Muppet menagerie and Miley Cyrus (photo, center), who belted out her latest song, "The Climb."

Depp actually made an earlier appearance in the presentation, if only on screen, when Burton introduced his upcoming movie "Alice in Wonderland," which also stars Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter.

When Cook asked Burton about the actors involved, Burton said that he was happy to have great actors -- "great actors who don't mind looking ridiculous."

Referring to Depp, who plays the Mad Hatter, Burton continued, "He likes dressing up. But this will be the first movie where he looks exactly the way he really does."

Zemeckis arrived to tout his upcoming movie "A Christmas Carol," a 3D motion-capture movie starring Jim Carrey. (CC and I caught the film's train exhibit, which I posted about in May.)

"It's a timeless story," said the "Back to the Future" director. "It's a timely story, and a time-travel story. And you know how much I love time-travel stories."

In a poignant public return, John Travolta, Kelly Preston and their daughter Ella Bleu made a family-style appearance to chat about "Old Dogs," which stars all three of them (Ella Bleu's movie debut) alongside Robin Williams.

Travolta expressed his happiness about the movie and that it was a family affair.

"I've got my baby in it," he said, referring to his daughter. "And my other baby," he said while looking at Preston.

"It's a dream come true for me," said Preston, "because this is Ella Bleu's first movie, and I get to be with my beautiful husband."

Even Ella Bleu said this acting thing "is so much fun."

So, speaking of family, you might be wondering where the rest of my brood was while I was watching Hollywood A-listers walk on stage, one after the other.

Well, Ian and CC decided a two-hour-plus presentation wasn't for them and instead hit the convention center floor, where they danced to Radio Disney tunes, took pictures with Donald Duck, had a tea party inside one of the seven dwarfs' houses and generally rocked out to all that Disney had to offer, including the Baby Einstein playroom on the second floor.

All in all, it was an exciting day. I also got to hang out with a former colleague, Diane Garrett, who's been chronicling the four-day D23 Expo here.

D23 Expo (The number 23 represents 1923, when Disney got started)
Sept. 10-13
9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

The Anaheim Convention Center
800 W. Katella Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92802
Tickets can be purchased here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Coming Attraction: Disney's D23 Expo


Disney fans have something incredible to look forward to starting today -- the company's first-ever D23 Expo, to be held at the Anaheim Convention Center until Sept. 13.

You know it must be promising something huge when the Expo boasts "The Ultimate Disney Fan Experience."

In addition to catching glimpses of upcoming movie "Tron: Legacy" and new fall series "FlashForward," fans also will be able to go behind the scenes with "Inside the Disney Studios" presentation as well as see props and costumes from past pics such as "Pirates of the Caribbean." There will even be a "Lost" element, featuring costumes and set pieces from the show -- a nice jolt to keep me going until the final season arrives early next year!

Disney president-CEO Bob Iger will kick things off today, and other special guests during the Expo will include Tim Burton, Robert Zemeckis, Courteney Cox, the cast of "Wizards of Waverly Place" and Nicolas Cage.

Ian, CC and I will be heading down there on Friday, and I'll be tweeting any presentations we attend. Stay tuned!

Can't wait to see what the kiddo thinks of all Disney, all the time!

D23 Expo (The number 23 represents 1923, when Disney got started)
Sept. 10-13
9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

The Anaheim Convention Center
800 W. Katella Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92802
Tickets can be purchased here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Blog-iversary!


Today marks L.A. Story's first "blog-iversary," and I couldn't be more excited.

When I started this blog last year, with this post, I wasn't sure where it would go. I had hopes and dreams, of course, but direction was something I hadn't yet pinned down.

With the help and support of family, friends, readers, fellow bloggers and the star of this show, CC, I've been able to chronicle our adventures around the city, as well as provide kid-friendly (and wallet-friendly) options for parents in Los Angeles.

We've had adventures at museums, outdoor kid extravaganzas, water parks, concerts and even at home. And, as they say, it's more about the journey than the destination -- whatever that will be.

And, oh, what a journey.

Let's just hope this blog doesn't get into its own terrible two's!

Cheers, and thanks for reading!

Coming Attraction: Boone Children's Gallery (mini) re-opening

Photo credit: Howard Pasamanick, courtesy of LACMA

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art will be offering a slimmed-down version of its interactive Boone Children's Gallery beginning Sept. 13.

The kid-friendly Mecca of hands-on art has been closed for renovation for nearly a year and is scheduled to return to full form in late 2010. (In the above photo, children were able to create model buildings or cities at its "Construct" exhibit.)

According to the LACMA Web site:

"We are excited to reopen a mini-version of the Boone Children's Gallery inside of the Korean art galleries in the Hammer Building. Kids will learn about brush painting used in Korean art."

CC and I just missed it last year before they whipped out the paper mache rope, but I'm looking forward to any version -- mini or otherwise.

Hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday-noon to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday-11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Closed Wednesdays

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hello block party, goodbye summer


You know it's summer when makeshift blockades are erected on a long stretch of road, neighbors spill out of homes to linger on someone else's lawn, and the food options come in three flavors: fat, fatty and fattiest.

Oh, yeah. And there's beer. Lots of it.

Yes, my friends, that is the quintessential neighborhood block party, and Ian, CC and I drove down to Long Beach this weekend to visit some friends and partake of Labor Day libations. There was also a bouncy house, toys for anyone who wanted them and an ongoing golf game that gave you extra points if you landed the ball in balloon cleavage. Nice.

After one round, though, it was time for the pool.

CC wasted no time in disrobing and asking for her swimsuit. She did, however, allow me just enough time to put a swim diaper on her before she leaped into the blue basin as if it were her own.

I would have insisted anyway. I mean, imagine the embarrassment. Heck, we didn't even know whose pool we were letting our daughter splash in.

That was the great part -- everything belonged to everybody. And everybody was happy just to enjoy what was left of a particularly scorching season.

Monday, September 7, 2009

CC hearts Matisyahu





You never know what kind of music your child is going to dig.

Case in point: Mama of all mom bloggers Dooce posted a video of her daughter rocking out to Coldplay's "Viva la Vida."

CC's song du jour? "One Day," by Hasidic reggae rapper Matisyahu!

Oh yeah, my baby has range! Rockin' range!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

'Dinosaur Train' is right on track for kids

"Dinosaur Train," from The Jim Henson Company, pulls into the PBS Kids station tomorrow, Sept. 7, and the animated show invites kids to get down with their Cretaceous Period selves.

And CC did just that when we watched a couple episodes ahead of tomorrow's premiere.

Never in my life did I think I would hear my 2-year-old sing "Quadruped, quadruped, quadruped" to her own dino tune while dancing around the living room as if she had been weened on "Jurassic Park."

A good sign for the new series.

"Dinosaur Train" centers on a family of Pteranodons (te-RAN-o-dons) -- Mr. & Mrs. P, Tiny, Shiny, Don ... and an adopted dino tyke named Buddy (left, in photo) who doesn't seem to look at all like the rest of the long-beaked, flying pack.

The family goes on adventures by hopping aboard the titular train, which can take them through a "Time Tunnel" that transports them between the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. A convenient touch, which allows dinosaurs from vastly different time periods to interact with each other.

The train itself is equipped with cars that fit every dino's needs, particularly an Observation Car that allows the especially large ones plenty of head room. The Troodon conductor offers quick facts for the passengers as well as viewers.

"Dinosaur Train" creator Craig Bartlett said he wanted to combine the two things young kids love the most -- dinosaurs and trains. This, while encouraging preschoolers to learn more about natural science, natural history and paleontology.

In the pilot episode, "The Call of the Wild Corythosaurus; Triceratops for Lunch," the family surprises Mrs. P with a trip to a Corythosaurus (cor-ITH-o-saurus) concert, where the kids learn how this species of dinosaur plays music through their crests -- a large ridge on top of their heads.

"Do you have a crest?" I asked CC.

"No," she said with complete seriousness. "No crest."

"Duh, Mom. Do I look like I have a large pink musical ridge on top of my head?" I imagined her thinking. "And don't you think I'd be rocking out with it if I did?"

The second half of the episode has the family dining with their friends the Triceratops. They discover that these guys are plant-eaters, aka herbivores. The kids learn the difference between those and what they are -- carnivores.

These animated segments are then followed by some live-action time with Dr. Scott the Paleontologist, who explains various features of the episode's dinosaurs and then relates them to modern animals. For example, he compares the triceratops to a rhino, something kids can better understand.

What could be overwhelming and dry is presented in an entertaining and visually charming show that encourages kids to ask questions, and shows other children (in the form of dinosaurs) discovering more about themselves, all while navigating siblings and family life.

It's adorable, and I hope we can catch more of the show -- if only to hear CC sing another Cretaceous-themed dino ditty.

Oh, yeah, and we find out what species Buddy really is. But I don't want to spoil that for you.

Friday, September 4, 2009

And the L.A. County Fair family fun pack goes to ...

photo credit: nextrecord - Fotolia.com

In the L.A. County Fair Food contest, you guys gave enthusiastic shout-outs to corn dogs, candy apples, funnel cakes, fried candy bars, fried Oreos, fried avocados (notice the "fried" theme here), with kettle corn thrown in for good measure. I felt as though I'd gained 10 pounds just reading all of your comments and tweets.

Thanks to everyone who participated, either by posting a comment, sending me a tweet or both. The most popular fair food turned out to be a three-way tie between candy apples, corn on the cob and funnel cakes. I'm sure all of the four food groups are in there somewhere!

Now for the winner of the L.A. County Fair Family Fun Pack, courtesy of Random.org!

Drum roll, please!

And the winner is ... @GoodCompany, whose fave fair food was deep-fried Oreos! Yum! If I can find one, I'll have one in your honor!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"The Hills'" Lo Bosworth goes on the record about reading to kids


Jumpstart's Chris Padula introduces Lo Bosworth at American Eagle

Lo Bosworth, star of MTV series "The Hills," wants you to read to your kids. And maybe some other kids, too. After all, that's what she's doing.

The BFF of "Hills" alpha femme Lauren Conrad is once again joining Jumpstart in promoting its Read for the Record campaign after a successful run last year. The early literacy organization is hoping to break a record by having 1 million children read the same book on the same day. The book? A CC fave, Eric Carle's "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." The date: Oct. 8, 2009.

Lo was on hand today to chat with me at Hollywood and Highland's American Eagle store before signing copies of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar."

She talked with me about how involved her parents were with reading to her and how it has positively affected every part of her life. Having a mom who was a teacher herself also might have given her a head start.

"Growing up, my mom would take me to the library every week," she said. "And I loved the library. There was no kicking and screaming on the way there."

That, she added, helped encourage her love of reading, which in turn helped her to excel in school.

"It has helped me throughout my life, and there's no reason for me not to want to give that gift back to children in my own community."

Part of that giving back involves her going into Kindergarten through third-grade classes to read to kids.

"The funniest thing is the patterns that you see (with the kids)," Lo said. "They know the story themselves. You read it to them, and they'll read along with you, or they'll scream the word at the end of the page because they know it's coming. So it's really interesting to see those kinds of patterns the more time you spend with children."

Sounds like she knows her stuff. That's exactly how kids are.

So will MTV be airing her good works on upcoming episodes of "The Hills"?

"No, it's not on the show. I wish," Lo said. "They love, you know, drama and boys and fights and stuff. More than calm reading to children."

"No, this is the organization that I feel most strongly about," she added. "It's really close to my heart. But everybody on the show has something that they're passionate about."

Some of Lo's favorite children's books:

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wine tasting, and kids are allowed too? Awesome!

photo credit: Jessica Ritz/LA Weekly

Ever since Barnsdall Art Park kicked off its weekly wine-tasting event in partnership with Silverlake Wine earlier this summer, I've been totally jealous.

Jealous because I was convinced it was an adults-only affair, one where kids were strictly verboten. After all, there is alcohol and a large hill involved. Who knows what can happen when you put those two things together? And that's just with the adults.

Luckily, while I was feeding my Twitter addiction, I stumbled across an article in LA Weekly about this very subject.

Turns out kids are invited -- and encouraged. To some degree.

I figured it would be a waste of time -- particularly one involving Los Feliz and Silver Lake hipsters turning up their noses at us and our clunky stroller accoutrements. And I was not prepared to hear the intentionally loud whispers of people saying how annoying my child is. Especially when she's had all that wine. Kidding! Kidding! Just checking to see if you're still with me.

According to LA Weekly, Silverlake Wine co-owner Randy Clement "is thrilled." Parents looking for adult activities that don't involve hiring a babysitter are also thrilled. Some sassy singletons ... not so much.

Unfortunately, we'll have to check out the wine portion next summer.

This Saturday, Barnsdall and Silverlake Wine are doing something a little different. On Sept. 5, they'll turn the park into a beer garden and present an outdoor screening of "Swingers." (I posted a clip of the movie here.) You can just come for the beer tasting -- and ice cream sandwiches from the Coolhaus truck (Guinness Chip!) and the Let's Be Frank hot dog truck -- and skip the pic.

Tickets are $25 for the whole event and can be purchased here. The tasting is from 5:30-7:30 p.m., with the movie starting at 8 p.m.

That's so money!

And, by the way, I had to do a double-take when I saw the above photo on the LA Weekly site. From behind, the little girl in the green dress looks just like CC.

Barnsdall Art Park/Hollyhock House

4800 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
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