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Spring Break: Part 2 - Los Angeles

On Friday, April 18, we had a short drive from Manhattan Beach to Beverly Hills. Waze took us all local through many neighborhoods. Soon, we arrived at the Montage. As the whole trip was last minute, our main requirement was a decent pool. The Montage is located in the heart of BH and the entire property is stunning. This was a bit of a splurge, especially because Grace's parents have three houses in LA at which we could have stayed, but then it wouldn't have felt like getting away. Also, some things suddenly seem reasonable when you're not shelling out for ski school.

The room was one of the best yet, but lost some points for the trick motorized TV, which was cool but stuck in the open position the whole time. The shower was, however, the best ever. Apparently, they missed the memo on the drought. Another observation about the hotel was that they'll park your ride up top as long as it's a murdered-out, matte Aventador, Ducati, Range Rover or Panamera. I even saw a Model S on the road in this trim. LA cracks me up.

We went to our first movie together as a family - Rio 2 at Century City. I got in a solid nap. Afterwards, we went to dinner at Koi. Apparently it isn't really a family place, but that was okay. The kids missed out on Benihana after LEGOLAND and wanted some Japanese food. It was great.

Saturday morning, we had breakfast at the roof-top restaurant and the kids headed for the pool. I've been on a search for an occasional driver (i.e., a chance to cross another car off the automotive bucket list). I left the hotel for an hour or so to see a man about a horse. This particular late '80s horse looked good from about 15 feet, but not great from 2 and was a disaster inside. That said, it was thrilling (and loud) to drive. It was also my first time behind the wheel of one in close to 20 years. Alas, this was not the one for me. The search continues.

Meanwhile, back at the hotel, Grace and the kids set up camp in a cabana, hand-picked by Lucas for its comfortable seating arrangement. I was immediately summoned into the pool. Mid-April is warm, but not hot. I spent equal time in the pool as the hot tub, favoring the latter that day. Grace ran out to do some shopping before dinner while the kids and I cleaned up before heading out.

We met Ann, Jeremy, Emme, baby Elsen and Grace's parents at Lawry's for dinner. We celebrated Grace's mom's birthday together. Afterwards, we went over to their Westwood house for a bit to trouble-shoot some computer and TV issues. They're all set, until they're not again.

Sunday was Easter morning. We enjoyed a leisurely morning, but I was a little antsy to do something before brunch. Olivia, Lucas and I went for a walk around the block. It was a ghost town. We had Wilshire and Via Rodeo all to ourselves. By the time we got back, everyone was ready to eat. Grace tried to talk the kids into shopping before we left, but Lucas was belly-aching about walking two blocks, so I knew that wasn't going to happen. We scored some sweet seats at the pool and Grace got us all packed before heading out for a mani-pedi.

We cleaned up and cleared out just in time for the Easter egg hunt at the hotel. It was a lovely event, marshaled by the Easter Bunny himself. Over a bullhorn, they were trying to explain to all these eager hunters to count to 20 so the under-5 side could get a head start. They yelled go, a bunch of kids jumped the gun, and it was total anarchy. I told the kids to hold up for about 5 seconds and that was all it took to get boxed out. Lucas was not happy with me or his haul. Luckily, the Easter Bunny was handing out some more eggs afterwards and Lucas was pleased. I'm glad he gets the spirit of Easter.

We made a quick stop at the Bouchon Bakery across the lawn. My first and only celebrity sighting was Mindy Kaling. We grabbed some sandwiches, got into the car and started our journey home.

Despite the last-minute planning, we couldn't have had a better vacation together. We avoided the airport, had no set agenda, and neither the kids nor the adults were ever bored. I'm up for a drive to SoCal any time.

By jason · April 23, 2014 · 0 Comments ·

Spring Break: Part 1 - Manhattan Beach and LEGOLAND

Up until the Monday of Spring Break, we had planned to take the kids to Tahoe for one last ski trip. They had received some of the best snow of the season a couple weeks prior, so I was hopeful. I watched the conditions closely, as the base eroded by 3-5" daily. I had a very frank conversation with the ski school, who told me it was "mashed potatoes" by 11am, and that if we wanted the kids to improve, to wait until next year. I appreciated their honesty.

There were options to fly somewhere, but we just wanted to go somewhere warm enough for the kids to swim and be outside. We've been meaning to stay in Manhattan Beach for a week (or a month) and see what it's like to be there, so this was our opportunity. We looked into a house, but staying at Shade right downtown was just as good and allowed us to break up our trip.

On Wednesday morning, we packed and were on the road by about 9:30am. After a couple short stops, we were in Manhattan Beach by mid afternoon, with time to head to the beach before dinner at our usual spot, Rock'n Fish. We had dessert at Manahttan Beach Creamery, and got a call from Theresa and Matt that they were at Shade to meet us. It had been too long since we saw them, and they just happened to be on the way back from LAX so the timing was perfect. Bear was also along for the ride, so we sat outside where only about 10-15 people asked to pet him (Olivia and Lucas were not among them). That dog is a celebrity wherever he goes.

On Thursday, we lazily made our way down to LEGOLAND in Carlsbad. It was a efficient trip and now the kids are old enough to go on many rides by themselves. Olivia has ridden Coastersaurus a couple of times, but for some reason was freaked out by it this time. I somehow convinced her to give the Dragon coaster a try, but by the time we were creeping up the first hill, she was more scared than thrilled. The rest of the visit was less traumatic and we stayed almost until close. We ended up at a nice restaurant in Carlsbad, but Lucas fell asleep at the table before his food arrived. They were both wiped out from a fun day.

On Friday morning, they tried out the hot tub time machine in the room and we headed to the beach while Grace slept in. There's a particular shot I'm trying to get of the kids, but our timing and the sun weren't optimal during our times at the beach. We'll have to wait until next time. We all met up before lunch at Pitfire Pizza. Afterwards, we loaded up the car for the next part of our mini spring break.

By jason · April 22, 2014 · 0 Comments ·

Amazing Spider-Man 2 Cast at POPSUGAR #‎PSlovesSpidey‬

Had fun shooting this event on April 21, 2014. The director and cast were all gracious and engaging, especially Jamie Foxx, who stayed a little longer to finish a personality test for two of our editors.

By jason · April 21, 2014 · 0 Comments ·

Anniversary Dinner at Quince

On Wednesday, April 9th, Grace and I celebrated nine years together at Quince. It was my first time dining there. We're thankful for all that we have, especially each other.

By jason · April 10, 2014 · 0 Comments ·

Brunch with Becca and Andrew

On April 5th, 2014, Becca and Andrew came over for brunch. They were some of our first visitors to the new house and this was our first time seeing them since their return from London. We're very happy they're back.

By jason · April 10, 2014 · 0 Comments ·

Annual Carey School Auction

March 29, 2014 - Peninsula Country Club.

By jason · April 10, 2014 · 0 Comments ·

Birthday Dinner

On March 27, 2014, Grace had just walked in the door from a work trip to London. We had dinner at our usual spot with the kids. It turned out to be a late dinner and the kids were fried, so we ended up taking our entrees to go. This is what birthdays are now, which is okay. Happy to be together on our birthdays.

By jason · April 10, 2014 · 0 Comments ·

Golf at Olympic Club

Marty was in town with his family for a wedding. His friend Kirk invited us to play golf at Olympic Club on the Lake Course. Another unnamed participant joined us, who is coincidentally also a member. This took place on an undisclosed day to protect the working.

The last time I walked that course it was to watch the US Open. I have played the Ocean Course before, but the Lake Course is something special. After a par on the first hole, it was a rocky front 9. I shot 11 strokes better on the back and hit the last four greens in regulation, so that's what I'm going to remember. It was an awesome experience.

By jason · April 8, 2014 · 0 Comments ·

Brunch with Moons

March 16, 2014 - Yank Sing at Rincon Center.

By jason · April 8, 2014 · 0 Comments ·

Kids' First Piano Recital

On March 15, 2014, Olivia and Lucas had their first piano recital.  The piano in our house was just furniture for a year or two.  The kids started lessons last year and rarely practiced.  However, with their first recital approaching, something clicked, and both of them practiced often to perfect their pieces.  Lucas has a flair for the dramatic, particularly with his pauses and his bow.  Olivia seemed most happy when it was over.  They both did a great job, along with all of the other students.

The other students included Olivia L. and Ellie, who came over with their families later that afternoon.  Julie and Albert were super thoughtful and brought over dessert to celebrate our birthdays early.

[EDIT]: Video Added.

By jason · April 6, 2014 · 0 Comments ·