Friday, September 30, 2011

Razorbombing is the new Planking

I never got into the planking phase, but it looks like it has been quickly replaced with Razorbombing. Check out this article from The Sun. I don't think I'll go out and do it, but it is cool to look at the pic's.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Brother P-Touch Might Make Organization a Snap

I recently received a Brother P-Touch kit as part of the P-Touch Ambassador program. I have to admit, I was hoping to receive an actual P-Touch as part of the kit, as memories of my first label maker came rushing back to me - you remember the one your mom had??...the one with the handle and wheel that you turned to punch out letters onto that thin sticker-like strip? Well, I've been told that an actual P-Touch is on it's way and you can rest assured that I will label everything in my house and hopefully live to tell about it (that is, if my wife doesn't kill me for labeling everything). An additional post will be coming soon where I highlight all the places I've stuck the labels and tested their durability, and hopefully better news about how they've helped organize my family photos, bills, work folders, and more.

In the meantime, what did come in the mail was a kit for me to use in the P-Touch Tough Test-It Challenge. Inside the kit were several pre-made labels, a plexi-glass block, nail polish remover, travel size bleach with palm brush, and sponge. My challenge, was to affix one of the pre-made labels to the plexi-glass block and to use the included tools to test the label's strength and durability. To tell you the truth, I was skeptical. I thought the label would easily come off and that I'd have to decline to write the blog post. However, that was not the case. My son and I scrubbed as hard as could, my wife used the nail polish remover on the label and then on her own nails, but nothing happened. These are professional labels that are not coming off anything. In fact, I'll need to ask the P-Touch folks what the secret is, in case I actually do need to remove one in the future.

What I can tell you after taking the challenge is that although we’re all familiar with label makers and their ability to help keep us organized, not all labels are created equal. Brother™ P-touch® labelers create durable, laminated labels that appear to be able to stand up to some of the toughest of conditions including rough handling, sunlight, water, and spills.

As I mentioned, I should be getting an actual P-Touch soon and boy do I have plans for it, including my tool kit and garage shelves. We'll see if it can survive inches of dust! And I have some packages to ship to my sister in Washington D.C. We'll see if the labels can survive UPS! In the meantime, if you are interested in a Brother P-Touch, you can order off the company site or head to your local office retailer including Best Buy, OfficeMax,, CDW, and more.

I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Brother P-Touch and received a product and gift card to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Grocery U Scan Makes Shopping Fun

Our four year old has never minded grocery shopping. He likes driving the carts that look like cars and he's usually pretty anxious to help get items off the shelves for us. However, grocery shopping has taken a whole new level of excitement with the new U-Scan machines at our local Vons, which allow you to ring up your own groceries. Our son loves it. The computer screen full of buttons to touch, the beep that sounds when he scans the product and even the bagging. And I have to admit, I kind of enjoy doing something with my son that makes him so happy. (Apologies to anyone who waits behind us in line -although we do speed it up once we see someone is waiting).

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Parachute Express Is Coming to Town

For anyone who attended Gymboree classes in South Pasadena or Monrovia, you probably know every Parachute Express song by heart. Well, tomorrow night, Wednesday, August 17th, they'll be at the Levitt Pavilion in Pasadena as part of its free summer concert series. We'll be there...hope to see other Gymboree families, too. Teacher Jenny, you listening?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Paying off the Carnival Manager for an Angry Bird

On our way back from the Long Beach Sand Castle Competition, we stopped off an old fashioned beach-like carousel complete with random carnival games. One such random game was a new Angry Birds game where you have to push a plus Angry Bird doll off it's perch with a stick that I swear is too big for the hole in which it is supposed to go in, making people like me, who played about 10 times, suckers. We'll for the past 4 months, my four year old has been asking for an Angry Bird plush doll and when he saw the possibility of finally getting one, he insisted on using all remaining tokens on this game.

Of course, then the addiction began....and $20 later, we still had not won the Angry Bird plush that I swear cost .25 to make elsewhere. Seeing how sad my son was when he went to turn in 20 tickets for a plastic army soldier and plastic ball, I pulled a guy who worked there aside and said "you've seen us playing for over an hour, can I just buy one of these birds off you?" It didn't take long until the manager was opening the game and handing my a red angry bird, for a little bit of cash. Although I would not normally do this, the best part was that my son didn't see any of it, so he assumes we won it fair and square!! I know there is something bad in this story, but at the same time, I was able to talk to him about being persistent and not giving up....Ugh!!

Ice Princess Time!

Each year we look forward to having the Ice Princess drive around the neighborhood bringing delicious ice cream to all of us - along with cheerful music and ice princess kindness. We had not seen her all summer and thought that perhaps she had moved on, but that was not the case. The city had delayed her permit, so she was unable to start until July, half way through the summer! Although we wish we had more time with her, we'll take advantage of the time we've got. If you're in the neighborhood, she drives by around 5:30 - 6 p.m.

79th Long Beach Sand Castle Sulpture Contest

Today we drove down to Long Beach to check out the 79th Grand Sand Sculpture Contest, located on Granada Beach in the Belmont Shore area of Long Beach. It's a signature event of the Long Beach Sea Festival and has been covered by the news for years.

In the past, it has been full of professional sand sculptors, the kind you see on "Sand Masters" on the Travel Channel. However, that was not the case this year. Don't get me wrong, many were still far more impressive than anything I could ever do myself, it was just noticeably different than in years past. The fun part is that anyone can enter, which makes me think we'll enter one day when my son is old enough to do it with me. In addition to sign up stations, there were a couple food vendors, a beer garden, a kid’s zone, and various attractions for all ages. Teams began sculpting at 9am and were supposed to create the sculpture that best embodies “The Spirit of Long Beach”, which is this year’s theme. The contest and the prize ceremony took place today between 2pm and 4pm, but the sculptures will still be up tomorrow for anyone in the area looking for something fun to do.

After viewing the competition, we played a little in the water, avoiding random pitbulls running on the sand (yes, this ain't Santa Monica), but enjoying dolphins swimming in the water! (Not sure if you can see it from this photo - it's the little black dot in the water.

To learn more about the competition log on here:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Forget Cupcakes...Macarons are the new IT Treat

We've blogged about our favorite little hole in the wall restauraunts before, we've shared our adoration of Bulgarini Gelato in Altadena (where the Italian owners are as dedicated to authenticity as the $75 a bottle olive oil they pour over their delicious desserts), yes we do appreciate the finer things in life. Today we discovered huge flavor in the tiny elegance of a carefully and divinely crafted macaron in Old Town Pasadena. Barely open one month, 'lette opened its second shop in our community meaning we'll no longer have to make the trek to the original store in Beverly Hills to enjoy their signature violet, pistacio, caramel, vanilla and chocolate macarons my family devours - and that serve as divinely sophisticated gifts!

Each day fan favorites and new delicacies - 13 in all - are created in the Beverly Hills location by Christophe Michalak, French pastry chef extraordinaire and winner of the 2005 Coupe du Monde de la P√Ętisserie. With deliveries arriving early in the morning, each day is a new conbimation of select flavors. Make sure you know which day they serve your favorite so that you don't miss out, although if you have to eat a different flavor, consider it a favor - they're all delish!

Without knowing where the chef is from, you can sense that you are being transported somewhere unique with each bite. You think you know what vanilla should taste like, but you don't until you try one of these! Stop by and treat yourself to my family's new favorite spot! And if you are our friend or family member, you'll probably get a special treat the next time we see you!

For a complete list of flavors, log on to: To purchase online and ship overnight, log on to:

In the meantime, stop by their new Pasadena location at 14 South Fair Oaks Avenue.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Family Movie Night - "Who is Simon Miller?"

It's time for the latest installment of Family Movie Night on NBC. The upcoming movie, called "Who is Simon Miller?" is on this Saturday, August 6th at 8/7 central. Check out the Facebook page. It is the story of a family of 4 who finds out that the husband/father is not who they think he is. The movie was a great family movie that brings the family together and gives you a chance to talk as a family about how you would deal with certain difficult situations.
The cast features Loren Dean (Simon Miller), Robyn Lively (Meredith Miller), Skyler Day (Sarah Miller), Drew Koles (Kevin Miller), and Christine Baranskui (Amanda).

This was a very good movie that has some good action scenes and good clean fun that you can watch with your family. This is my first Family Movie Night and after this, it is a tradition that my family and I will continue to do. Next time, we'll get some microwaveable popcorn!

Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalof of P&G and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

BlogHer for a Newbie

Today was the first full day of the BlogHer Conference. Now in it's 11th year, the leading conference for bloggers and the brands that want to work with them, all converged on the San Diego Convention Center. That's where I was, too. Half party, half educational sessions, I was a little overwhelmed at first. I started the day walking the expo hall where I saw the Pringles mascot - the mascot of my cupboard since I was a kid.

I then passed through the P&G booth, which was the recreation of a home, complete with giant toilet! I then hit the Egglands Best booth, where I played a slot machine and won a plush "egg" for my 4 year old. Other booth visits included Glad, where they unveiled plastic containers with a built in compartment for dressing, dips or sauces! This had to be one of the best take- home tchotkes of all! Look for them in stores this fall. The Post-It company gave away purses that held post-its, which I knew my wife would like.

Hallmark had a special suite where you could pick a greeting card and they'd mail it off for you - complete with postage. They also raffled off a library of their recorded-book library - all 17! Skinny Cow handed out ice cream and chocolate candy. There was a Hot Wheels suite that was showing their new hot tracks, Hot Wheels tracks that actually mount on the wall! Kids will get a kick out of seeing their cars to loop-de-loops and more practically in the air!

Hershey's had a cozy suite that allowed people to actually make s'mores onsite!

And the Jimmy Dean Sun was on hand to great bloggers as well.

ChapStick handed out my wife's favorite item from the conference - apple flavored chap stick. My wife immediately applied it and began kissing our entire family! She kept saying how it reminded her of Bonnie Bell from her childhood, but that it had the thickness of the Chap Stick that she is addicted to. Aside from the brands, as blogger newbies (can't you tell we're new from the photographs?? - I actually forgot left my iphone and camera at home!) we attended several of the conferences that spoke about the business of blogging, the fun and personal side of blogging, content creation and more. There were also sessions hosted by leading brands whose marketing executives talked about how bloggers - even the smallest - could partner with brands on product reviews, though leadership and more. There were also several sessions that featured leading media folks, including one panel that included reporters from the Huffington Post and The Hollywood Reporter. The conference runs through Saturday and apparently there are a lot of "celebrities" coming on Saturday as brand spokespeople. My wife was excited about celebrity trainer Bob Harper, but we returned home today so she'll miss out. Anyway, it was quite an adventure.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Little Jessie James??

Anywhere we go with my four year old, they have kid-friendly tattoos. The library, tattoos featuring dogs reading books, birthday parties, super heroes or trains, school, books or food. Every weekend finds us putting tattoos on my son's arms and by Monday, they've faded just enough that they look the same color as a 80 year old sailor's 80 year old tattoos - you know, that faded blueish gray color. So I wonder...are all these tattoos creating little Jessie James'?

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Advice for A Reluctant 4-year-old Swimmer

Okay, we're taking our son to swim class. We have him going 4 times a week for 25 minute sessions. (I should note that this is how they schedule the classes - we are not Type A parents). However, my son hates it. He cries and screams and is sooo sad. It breaks our heart. However, we are around the pool all the time, our relatives have pools at their homes and more and more we get invited to his classmates birthday parties - and many of them have pools. So, while I hate to see him cry, I do feel like he needs to learn to swim. Not sure if any of you have experience with this and recommendations for calming/soothing a child before a swim class? Popsicles seem to work every now and then....

Mystery of the Half Eaten Watermelon Triangles

It was my birthday on Friday and over the weekend we invited relatives over for brunch. My wife cut watermelon - perhaps my son's most favorite food ever - into triangles and left them in a bowl. Before we left, my wife called me in the kitchen to show me that the tops of all of the triangles had been eaten, but the bottoms had been untouched. It was slightly frustrating because we obviously could not serve the watermelon, but it was hysterical, too, when we realized our four year old had been the eater! So funny.

Monday, July 25, 2011

My Son Finally Dressed Himself Correctly

Tonight is a special night. My four year old son actually dressed himself for bed, all alone, and managed to get everything in the right place! It was such a surprise to see him take the initiative and to do it so well! The strange thing is that although I know this is a great moment, there was a part of me that was a little bummed that it's another thing he doesn't need me to help with. Every day he does more and more by himself and I feel pride with a little bittersweet on the side.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Amazing Dinosaur Exhibit in LA

Grandpa came to town and mentioned the new dinosaur exhibit hall at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum. Is that bad that I had not suggested it even though I live here? That's for another time. Let's chat about this exhibit because it rocks. Not only is it 14,000 square feet of fossils and amazing dinosaurs, but it is also the world's only Tyrannosaurus rex "growth series," which includes different T Rex's in different "ages and stages" - a 30-foot, 18-year-old; a 20-foot juvenile and an 11-foot baby. Apparently the museum is only half-way through a renovation that is going to see it nearly double in size. I wanted to read everything in the exhibit, but my four year old wanted to "ride the elevator." I'll have to go back by myself or with my wife so that I can read everything. Also, the exhibit is home to the Dinosaur Encounters, which is a "performance-based interpretive program that lets visitors get up close and personal with a realistic, life-sized juvenile T. rex." Working with paleontologists, engineers, artists, and puppeteers, the museum commissioned these huge dinosaur "puppets" that bring these prehistoric animals to life. "Terror and laughter exist side by side as the puppet roars, stalks, and bellows through our halls." Definitely worth checking out.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Our Son's First In-Theater Movie Experience

After weeks of discussion, my wife and I took our son to see his first movie yesterday. We saw Winnie the Pooh, a good first movie option! We arrived at the ArcLight in Pasadena, which is an amazing theater, armed with stuffed Winnie, Eeyore, Tigger, Kanga and Piglet. We bought a child's snack pack which comes with a little drink (water with a touch of lemonade) and popcorn in a happy-meal type of packaging. We then went into the movie where my wife sat on one side while I sat on the other. He was fine until the lights went dark, then he reached for my hand, which I held really tight. When the light from the screen came up on he looked at me and my wife to make sure we were still there. Then the movie started and he sat holding his stuffed animals with big open eyes. At the end of the movie, we were sent to the lobby where they had created a little Winnie the Pooh experience, which Winnie the Pooh "ear" hats, face painting, coloring books and a give-away. Our son actually won a little Winnie the Pooh blanket and after he grabbed his prize, he turned to us and said "I want to do this again! I want to see the movie again!" We were thrilled with our successful outing and happy that we now have all new ways to share entertainment with our little guy. Just hope he doesn't expect the face painting and give-aways the next time we go to the movies!

Dog Walkers with Poop, I See You

Tuesday is garbage pick-up day and inevitably it takes me about a day or two before I wheel them back in mainly because I don't get home from work until a little late and we have a straight in driveway, which means, for me to pull in the cans, I have to move my wife's car and my car. And after working a long day, I'll admit that I am lazy to do this. (For the record, I do wheel them in the next morning). That said, that leaves my bins on the street two mornings each week. I live in a great neighborhood of friendly faces, moms and nannies stroll with kids and of course, people walking dogs. I love and appreciate it all. What I don't appreciate is the right that some dog walkers feel, to use my garbage bin for their dog's poop. I don't have a dog, even though my family really likes dogs, because we don't want to pick up poop. I am sacrificing many fun times my family could have with a dog because I don't want to pick up poop. So, my friendly neighbors, what makes you think I'd want your poop in my trash? I know who you are, I've seen you opening my bin and disposing of your blue or white or green bags, smelling up my bin. So, starting Tuesday, I will be posting a sign that says "Do not dispose of your dog's poop in my bin!" Wish me luck that our neighbors actually respect the sign.

Good Luck to Both the USA and Japan

As an avid soccer fan, it's great to see the US Women's Soccer Team in the final today. Good luck! And Kudos to the Japanese team who have overcome incredibly adverse conditions to make it to the final in The Women's World Cup, one of the world's biggest sports.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Make Music Festival in Pasadena was a Hit

You could not have driven anywhere around the heart of Pasadena without hearing the sounds of music in the air. The Make Music Pasadena festival took place today, welcoming thousands of music fans, and about 100 musicians and bands on stages throughout the city. My family and I visited 4 of the stages and had a great time. We began the day at the Paseo Colorado stage where I'll admit the music was hit or miss for my taste, however, my four-year-old definitely thought differently because he danced the entire time we were there. We then crossed the street to the Pasadena Convention & Visitor's Center stage where we had a great time listening to the sounds of Dj Edwin Carrillo and Funkygraffish. Who doesn't love a DJ playing fun dance beats?

The shows here ended at 3, just a little after we arrived, so we traveled down Colorado Boulevard to Vroman's Bookstore. The stage was just outside the bookstore in the little courtyard between the movie theater and the store. We got there just in time to see Independent Music Award Nominee, Jamila Ford, who I had read about but had never heard before. She was amazing. Jazzy, but modern with a voice that could break hearts yet soothe at the same time. Just a wonderful surprise.

After purchasing way too many books (is there such a thing) for our son, we walked across the street to the Luckman World Stage, which was sponsored by the Luckman Fine Arts Center from California State University, Los Angeles. If you are not familiar with the Luckman Fine Arts Center, you are missing out. In fact, check out their 2011-2012 season. Upcoming artists include India.Arie, Jane Birkin, Simon Bolivar Brass Ensemble, Nikka Costa, Anoushka Shankar and Aaron Neville, to name a few. This was how we would end our day - and boy did we go out with a bang. Remember the Luckman name next year because each performer was truly unique and outstanding. Unique sounds, amazing voices, lots of energy and the widest range of talent that only a festival like this could bring together on one stage. The biggest highlight of the day was Ben L'Oncle Soul, a French performer who sang some songs in his native French and some in English. Part John Legend, part Stevie Wonder, the music was like something from the past, but with a fun, party atmosphere that was perfect for today. In just minutes, we went from a medium sized group to a packed street, full of people dancing and clapping. Needless to say, his CD's sold out in minutes. (We'll be downloading off iTunes tonight).

We started our day at noon and kept going until 6 p.m. With five hours to go, I'm sure we'll miss out on some truly amazing performances, but we had a great time today and can't wait until next year!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Land's End Polo Shirt Giveaway!

I am a very predictable dad when it comes to my wardrobe. I am usually looking for something quick and easy to wear that looks good. My regular wardrobe consists of Lacoste and Polo shirts of all different colors. I am happy to say that I have recently tried the Land's End Polo and it is fantastic! It is a very comfortable Polo that breathes. I like the fact that I can dress up with some Khaki pants and a Polo if we need to go to dinner. Or, I can just wear a Polo with some shorts and flip flops and be ready for a regular weekend day of activity.

Land's End has made "great mesh better" with this line. Features include:
-New "no curl" collar
-Softer, heftier fabric
-Resists shrinking, wrinkling, fading and pilling
-Smooth covered neck seam
-Banded short sleeves
The fabric is thicker and tighter, but softer. The collar won't curl, which is great becuase you can throw it in the dryer without worrying about having to iron it when it comes out. The Land's End folks have also created buttons that are nearly indestructible and stay on through lots of pulling by four-year-olds like mine. And the best news for a busy dad, the mesh resists fading, pilling, shrinkage and wrinkles. The Land's End Polo is a great gift for any occasion, but a great gift for Father's Day, so I am holding a giveaway for one of the Polo mesh shirts. In order to win one, please visit the Land's End site and come back and make a comment on my site about what you like about the shirts.

One winner who makes a comment will be chosen at random to win one of the shirts. The great thing is that if you don't win, the price is right around $20 and very affordable! Must follow my site to win. Please leave a comment and be sure to leave your email address and size of shirt!

Deadline for submissions, is Thursday, June 23rd.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Dad Central Consulting on behalf of Land's End and received a Polo shirt to facilitate my review, one to giveaway, and a promotional item to thank me for my time to participate.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Serious Music Festival Takes Over Pasadena This Weekend Stages and Bands All Over Town

It's that time of year again. Time for Southern California's largest free music festival, Make Music Pasadena. The festival features more than 100 musical acts who perform on four main stages and nearly ten different stages throughout the city of Pasadena. Bands range from local favorites like Autolux, to Jazz star Jamila Ford, Mexican Singer-Songwriter Carla Morrison, KCRW DJ's Garth Trinidad and Jason Bentley and yes, even the Los Angeles Children's Choir. How is that for range?

If it's World Music you like head to the World Music Stage on El Molino, for Indie Rock head to 1 Colorado, for Affro Beat and Reggae head to the Levitt Pavilion, for Jazz head to Vroman's, for classical music head to City Hall - and believe it or not, that is only half of it so log on for a complete schedule and list of venues. Make Music Pasadena runs Saturday, June 18, from 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.

Kids Bowl Free all summer long

Wanted to flag a great opportunity for parents and kids...throughout the summer, most of the nation's bowling alley's are allowing kids to bowl two games for free before 5 p.m. You can either call your local bowling alley and ask about the program or log on to The program is actually a part of the President's Fitness Challenge, too, so get your kids moving, even if it's indoors to beat the heat! In Pasadena I can tell you 500 participates!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Pasadena Unified Hosts Free Battle of the Bands Tomorrow

Levitt Pavilion is hosting the first ever Battle of the Bands featuring student bands from local Pasadena Unified Schools. The event runs from 2-6 p.m. and will culminate with an exclusive prize for the winning school and of course, the right to say you band is the best school band in Pasadena. For details check out Levitt Pavilion.

Pasadena Celebrates 125 Years with Huge Party

My family loves Pasadena. We have access to a great big city like Los Angeles, but are nestled in this gorgeous, family friendly small town that we call home. What makes Pasadena great, aside form it's cultural institutions, world-renown universities, restaurants, and oh I could go on forever, is the community. Almost every week, the Pasadena museums, fire stations, police stations, you name it, have open houses for family and friends. This is a community that truly celebrates community. So today, it was the community that celebrated Pasadena's 125th birthday.

The event took place at the Pasadena Museum of History and featured activities for everyone up to 100 - especially centenarians, who were honored at the event. We parked in the Parsons parking lot and easily took the Arts Shuttle to the museum. Upon arrival, and the huge Happy Birthday Pasadena balloons, we were greeted by old fashioned fire trucks, a Wells Fargo Stage Coach and historical cars. We then moved to the vast children's area where kids designed hats for the "royal" occasion. The children's section included a police booth where fingerprinting was available, as well as lemonade and hot dogs, grilled by local Pasadena fire fighters, were available for a kid-friendly price. The area also featured a children's theater with regularly schedules performances, and a mini chalk festival. The artist, Jessica Edelstein, barely just spent two hours on her recreation of the famous Colorado bridge. (For those interested, she'll be at the Chalk Festival next week at Paseo Colorado). We then visited a Baskin-Robbins booth where we learned that the oldest Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop - opened since 1946 - is in Pasadena right on 561 S. Lake Avenue. It was the second Baskin-Robbins to ever open and remains open serving delicious ice cream to this day!

The actual celebration was presided over by Mayor Bogaard and the celebration began with Jazz musicians, who were eventually joined by trumpeters from the Pasadena Community College band, several members of the Rose Court and an amazing cake designed and created by student chefs from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Pasadena. I was told they spent nearly three weeks building the cake, which contained recreations of famous Pasadena landmarks like the Rose Bowl, the Colorado Bridge and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. They also made 15 additional sheet cakes, enough for everyone in attendance - well over 1,000 - to have a piece. The cakes were delicious. If you haven't had dinner at the local Le Cordon Bleu restaurant, you are missing out.

We finished the night eating dinner at one of the many food trucks on site, then headed out where we signed a huge birthday card. My son, who just learned to write his name a few months ago in preschool, happily signed his name. To make it an even more exciting moment, we were told that the historical society is trying to get the card framed and posted permanently in City Hall. We could not get over how exciting it would be to have our son be a part of the city's official commemoration and history! We ended the day back on the Pasadena Arts bus to our car and felt so content with the place we have chosen to call our home.