Wednesday, March 31, 2010

don't let the man hold you down

last week, while the teen was getting her hairs cut, the bean and i wandered up and down glendora avenue. i'd been meaning to take her to the blue chair, a cute-looking independent children's bookstore for ages, and i finally got my chance.



inside, it was just as cute as can be - colorful murals painted on the walls, a nice selection of books for all ages, fun toys, and even a store mascot.



the best part was the room in the back. i'd already seen signs that advertised birthday parties here, and this was obviously where they do them. there's a climbing wall on one side, a comfy chair in one corner, and some really cute melissa & doug toys. of course, the bean was drawn to them like a magnet.



she's too little yet for that climbing wall, but the rest of the goodies kept her busy for quite a while.



there were lots of silly, cheesy signs like this posted all around.



but this one, on our way out, made me think of "you've got mail," where meg ryan is fighting to keep her little indie bookstore alive despite the invasion of a big, bad corporate superstore. i decided right then and there that from now on, i'm going to forego the giant barnes & noble and buy all of the bean's books here. i'm all about supporting little mom & pop shops, and this is a good one.



yay for hidden gems! if you happen to be in the area and are so inclined, check it out. you'll dig it.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

my girls like food

in my neverending quest for fresh ideas for the teen's meals, i was stoked to find this recipe for creamy black bean burritos. cream cheese, black beans, a can of ro-tel, and seasonings all wrapped up in a soft flour tortilla - what's not to love?



of course, the search doesn't end with dinner. lunch ideas are always needed, too. and when i remembered her love of olives (especially as a little kid, when she'd wear them on the ends of her fingers and call them "la-lai"), i figured it would be a nice change of pace to try this recipe for kalamata olive tapenade. it was super easy to make, and really yummy.



i decided to bust out the easiest focaccia recipe again, so that she'd have something equally scrumptious to spread the tapenade on.



this bread actually got even better the second time around. i split a piece with her, and we both mmm'd and ooooh'd as we enjoyed it, still warm from the oven.



the bean went to the zoo with the ILs and the hub last weekend while i was a busy worker bee at the bodywise event. he took a shitload of pictures of their trip (her first to the zoo), and this is one of my favorites. look at that kool-aid smile, chillin' in a rented stroller:



when she has lunch with MIL over at the grandparents' house, she's often treated to a handful of yummy, neon-orange cheetos with her sandwich. and she can really plow through those things! at the zoo, she got to snack on a whole bag of 'em, all to herself.



ah, the joys of hanging out with grandma.

Monday, March 29, 2010

cliffs notes for a busy weekend

too much good stuff. don't want to bore. abbreviating what could otherwise be a super duper long post.

kicked off the weekend thursday afternoon with a hair chop for the teen, who decided to give herself a fresh start by cutting off all of the dry, split-end-y parts of her hair. she ended up lopping off about six inches:





friday afternoon was a frantic rush to get my shit together (frenzied last-minute shopping for tablecloths and all sorts of stuff, which wasn't easy since i'd managed to lose my effing debit card) and finally resulted in a lovely display at urban renewal salon's beauty bash:





the teen was a huge help to me, not to mention that it was nice to have her to talk to for the four hours we were there. she got to take advantage of the free perks during the bash, though - one of the girls curled and styled her hair for her. and, well, i might have sat down for a few minutes and got some waxing done. heh.





and look, cute cupcakes! they were really delicious, too. even the fondant dots - they were soft and chewy and yum.





i made zero sales. i think that because the beauty bash was a free event, people weren't thinking about spending any cash, but i did get a few good leads for possible trunk shows. and i got a lot of catalogs and business cards out there, so it was exposure, at the very least. oh, well - it was good practice for the setup/teardown process.



saturday saw us making a run to the mall, because i had absolutely nothing to wear. and i must say - h&m's new "garden collection" is fantastic. such cute stuff - i picked up about four tops plus a little dress for the bean for $75. score!



after another quick search for a tablecloth that was unsuccessful, i gave up and the teen and i arrived here about 45 minutes before the event time:





another frantic (and sweaty) rush to get my shit together, and we were ready:




it was a fairly quiet launch, although i was excited to have my mom drive down for it and my buddy kelley make an appearance, too. there were a few other folks who came in, and a group of women who appeared just as i had to start packing up. i think my best bet for sales is going to be actual trunk shows, so hopefully i can start booking more of them.

afterwards, i took the girls out for some ice cream. the bean really got into it (apologies to those of you who despise messy food faces):




the next morning, the hub (who'd been out for six long hours the night before at a volunteer gig) suggested a drive down to the beach to relax and enjoy the absolutely gorgeous day. he got no arguments from any of us.

the bean settled in with a DVD and her headphones in the back seat.




while strolling through malibu country mart, we walked right past jermaine dupri. i'm still amused at how short he is. but i didn't take a picture of him - it was kind of awkward. instead, when we realized we were driving right behind him, i snapped one of his car. heh.



we headed towards santa monica and 3rd street promenade, where we encountered this borat-wannabe. "very nice, how much?" didn't really apply, but it was still funny to me.



not really wanting to maneuver the bean's ginormous stroller through the crowds (and narrow shop aisles), i busted out our trusty ergo carrier. she likes to ride piggy-back style.



we ended up having dinner at trastevere trattoria italiana, where we watched the bean plow through half a plate of whole wheat penne pasta with their delish marinara sauce. it's always funny to watch her get her grub on.

afterwards, her usual request of "ice cream? ice cream, pweese?" sent us to milk, our favorite joint for dessert out on the west side. three words: nutella. ice. cream.



oh, so rich, but oh, so good. even the bean eschewed her scoop of chocolate ice cream in favor of sharing my scoop of hazelnutty-chocolatey goodness.

it was the perfect way to cap off a nice, long, fun-filled weekend.

Friday, March 26, 2010

an interesting road trip

i am a cheap ass when it comes to the majority of things. we all know that. heh.

so when i went to place an online order for jewelry display supplies for you-know-what, i was pretty stoked to find that the company i was ordering from is local. i'd been debating heading downtown to the jewelry district to pick up stuff there, but i hate driving out there during the week and didn't have time to wait for a free weekend to go.

after asking around, i found out that a lot of fellow stylists turn to nile displays for their supplies. when i saw that their area code was the same as mine, i did a happy dance and called in to make sure they allowed pick-ups from local customers. and, as luck would have it, they did - and even reminded me to order online for an 8% discount. sah-weet!

processing my order took them a little longer than i'd expected. to their credit, they had quoted me three to five business days, but i was hoping it wouldn't take quite that long. of course, it did - and i found myself driving out to city of industry to pick up my order yesterday afternoon. talk about cutting it close, huh?

it was pretty easy to find, although i did drive through some fairly...colorful areas to get there.



except that for some reason, every single driveway into the damn parking lot was blocked off. i couldn't find an entrance anywhere, yet there were lots of cars parked in there. what the eff.



but i'm a crafty mofo. i drove past it, found an alley to turn into, and despite my misgivings, swung in and drove cautiously through. it was a super ghetto area, and i was (too late) having second thoughts about picking up my freaking shit.



i managed to find my way to the right area and found a parking spot right in front. after listening to a temp agency's rep apologize her ass off to what looked like the office manager for sending her undocumented folks to work in their warehouse, i got my order and happily made my way back out onto the street.

when i got back to the main drag, i was super amused to see this:



i wasn't really surprised - i'd seen spearmint rhino referenced on my google map when i pulled up directions to nile display. by the way, i'm so not putting a link in here to their site (because god knows what could come of that), but if you don't know, google is your friend. so, come on. you KNOW i had to pull in and at least check it out from the safety of the pri-YES. and maybe snap a few pictures. [snickering]

i paused in front of the "gentlemen's club" to take this and then had to hightail it outta there quick, because the bouncer poked his head around and shot me the stink eye when he saw my camera. oops.



if you need to pick up some discounted clear stripper heels, nipple tassels, crotchless underwear, etc. - i can totally hook you up now.



a few years ago, when i was job-hunting, i came across an ad for an executive assistant position, offering a pretty darn good salary, full benefits, and flexible schedule. when i called the number, i was startled to find that it was for spearmint rhino's corporate office. ha! i actually did consider applying, but the hub side-eyed me and said "yeah, and how would you explain your employment to people? like, my parents (you know they're quite conservative and religious), for instance?" this was not long before we got engaged, but i was already in that mindset. not wanting to upset the balance, i passed and kept looking. but can you imagine the interesting shit i'd likely have been dealing with on a daily basis?

anyway, i ended up having to drive behind rhino plaza to get back out to the traffic light and found this shady ass looking entrance into the superstore. i tried not to think of how gross that door handle must be. ewwww.



oh, and i must give props to wells fargo - pretty genius to station one of their ATMs right outside the store, which is next door to the club. as someone tweeted to me (because of course i was sharing this live), i wondered if it dispenses $1s.



i got the hell outta dodge and, instead of heading back the way i'd come, i decided it would be easier to head north and find my way home via surface streets. and while it wasn't necessarily faster, it was a more entertaining route. i found myself smack dab in the middle of pinoyville - west covina has a high concentration of folks from the homeland. when i saw this sign, i knew i was amongst my peeps.



since i hadn't had lunch yet, i decided to be adventurous and try something different. well, not really different, since i've had the food of my people tons of times. but this was the first time i'd actually seen a jollibee - the only fast-food chain i know that's based in the philippines.



i pulled into the drive-through and studied the menu. spaghetti? burgers? fried chicken? huh. so much for a taste of the homeland. there was palabok and lumpia and what looked like boba drinks, but none of it sounded good. i went into reverse mode and took off.



on my way back out to the street, i smiled at the signs written in tagalog at the market.



i considered stopping here to find something good to eat, but didn't.



on the sign for the next plaza, i was a little surprised to find that there's a ruby tuesday here. i'd seen lots of commercials for it, but had never seen one around before. but it's just another chain - nothing special. i don't even know why i bothered to take a picture of it. but i did, so here you go.



and after all that, i ended up hitting up the arby's drive-thru for a roast beef sandwich. ha! so much for being adventurous.
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