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Tweens in Los Angeles

September 1st, 2014 · US Travel

This summer I decided to take my tweens to Honolulu.  We decided to break up our trip by spending 48 hours in LA.   I hadn’t been to Los Angeles Since 2001 and had some vague memories of hellacious traffice.  Initially, I toyed with the idea of going without a car.  Luckily for me, my Facebook friends quickly posted to tell me this would be a very, very bad idea.

Armed with 26,000 Starwood Amex points – I booked  a free stay at the Westin Bonaventure - for free!!!!   We had a great (but small) room with city views and plush, comfy beds.  The kids loved the outdoor pool.  Although the Westin is known as a business hotel we loved the downtown location for quick meals and easy shopping.  In addition, the Westin was a 10 minute walk to one of our favorite attractions – The Grammy Museum.

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Unfortunately, the Grammy Museum does not allow  pictures or video – so you’ll have to take my word for it that it was a blast.   Plenty of interactive exhibits for music lovers of all ages.  My favorite was the soundbooth where my kids taped a hip hop song under the video guidance of Jermaine Dupri.

Next up on our list was a visit to Hollywood.  We dodged a myriad number of street vendors and “superheros” and managed to find a few stars along the Hollywood Walk of Fame   honoring some of our favorite celebrities.

Elvis' star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Elvis’ star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Cheesy, goofy but a lot of fun was Madame Tussauds Hollywood Wax Museum.

Kissing up to "Jamie Foxx"

Kissing up to “Jamie Foxx”

Santa Monica Pier is also a lovely place to visit to LA.  We  rented bikes and helmets at Santa Monica Bike Center at a very affordable $20 for 2 hours. (I also scored an additional discount for tweeting about our ride!)

Bike riding at Santa Monica Pier

Bike riding along the Santa Monica Pier

Bike riding along the Santa Monica Pier

The view from Venice Beach

The view from Venice Beach

We managed to avoid eating at any fast food restaurants during our stay in LA.  Here are a few restaurant picks that you and your kids should both enjoy.

1.  Maria’s Italian Kitchen - Huge portions. Inexpensive. Located in downtown LA

2. Redwood Grille – located over the 3rd street Promenade at Santa Monica Place. Spacious, chic with indoor and outdoor dining areas. Don’t leave without trying their frozen mojito.

3.  City Tavern – also located in downtown LA, this restaurant and craft beer bar features a menu with charcuterie and fried chicken nuggets.  Momma also scored a glass of Napa Valley merlot.

Do you have any favorite things to see and do in LA?  Please share in the comments section below.

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Nothing Says Summer Like Sangria

July 6th, 2014 · Wine

Yesterday, we did a day trip to the North Fork of Long Island to attend a friend’s pool party.  Gorgeous weather, beautiful landscapes and we passed vineyard after vineyard on our way there.  In addition to a strictly vegetarian feast, my friends served a delicious sangria. Feeling inspired, I  decided to make Rachel Ray’s white sangria today.   I used a spanish white wine, Rioja Muga 2013 and a Calvados (an apple brandy from lower Normandy in France).

Rioja Muga 2013

Rioja Muga 2013

Calvados

Calvados

White Sangria is served

White Sangria is served

Super easy to make. I chilled the sangria for a few hours. When it was ready to serve, I placed some raspberries and cut fruit from the pitcher in a glass and topped it off with a splash of sparkling water.  Even Big P gave it the thumbs up!  Nothing says summer like sangria. Please share your recipes in the comments section below. Cheers!

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Bottoms Up – A Sweet Gift for Your Summer House Host

July 3rd, 2014 · Random Things That Make Me Smile

Hello summer!  You may be heading to the Jersey Shore, the Hamptons, Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard  for a relaxing weekend with family or friends. Don’t arrive empty handed (or with two hands swinging – as my mom used to say).  I stumbled upon these textured, enormous beer mugs at Crate and Barrel.  I bought a set of four for Big P for $30.  I keep one or two in the freezer so he can enjoy his favorite frosty brew.  It’s also great for water, ice cold summer drinks and ice cream.

littala Krouvi beer mugs

littala Krouvi beer mugs

Cheers!

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