Monday, June 30, 2014

if you live in l.a., you'll want to read this.

last week, i somehow stumbled upon an opportunity to attend a launch party for a new transportation app called opoli.  much like uber and lyft, with a few clicks on the app you can have a car pick you up and take you pretty much anywhere in the l.a. area.  the difference here is that the drivers/service providers aren't actually opoli employees.  they're all independently owned, and don't have to pay a commission (i was curious about how opoli actually makes money on this deal, and i guess the drivers pay a fee to be part of the service provider lineup).

the teen and i actually got to check out the service for ourselves.  i mean, hey - you offer me a driver to take me somewhere for a shindig and bring me back home, i'm not gonna say no.  and he was super prompt and very courteous.




there wasn't too much traffic, and it was nice to just relax and enjoy the ride.  in what seemed like no time at all, we pulled up to the venue - tanzy restaurant, located in the iPic theater.




there was a photo op, but the teen wasn't feeling in the mood and i didn't want to do a solo, so we skipped it and went right inside.  the restaurant looked like it was part of the "maleficent" set, heh.


we went up the escalator and found ourselves in a lounge area just outside the entrance to the movie theater.  there were tray passed hors d'oeuvres and a bright green, super sweet sprite/lemonade concoction.



we sat there and chatted while we munched on our potato knishes and salmon tartare, and i pulled out my phone to peruse the app.  since it had just launched that day, we hadn't been able to use it to reserve our car and so it was kind of fun to check it out and test it for user friendliness.


once you register and add a credit card to your account, you're good to go.  all you have to do is plug in your pick-up and drop-off location information, enter an offer (there's a suggested dollar amount in there, and you can adjust it or leave it as is), and hit the button.  the app alerts the service providers, who can then submit a bid which pops right up on your phone.  you just pick one, your card gets charged, and you're good to go.  super easy.  you can either be picked up immediately or reserve a time, and that's it.  i'm told that the price includes gratuity, but that an option to add more will be available soon.

as we waited for the event to start, we were joined by a fellow l.a.-area blogger, jessica gottlieb.  she'd also gotten to test out the service, and i realized i'd brought zero business cards.  oops.  probably would've helped to have a few on hand, for the handful of people who asked me for my blog address. oh, well.


we entered the theater and found seats near the front to watch the presentation.  iPic is one of those fancy schmancy theaters with comfy lounge chairs and dinner service, which i've always wanted to try but never have.  maybe i'll drag the hub to the one in pasadena for a date night sometime soon.  and it was a little chilly in there, so we totally took advantage of the fluffy blankets placed at every seat.


sam rubin, who's the entertainment reporter for ktla, one of our local tv stations, was there acting as the host of the launch party and whose recognizable voice provided the narration for the promo video we were shown.



along with founders rattan joea and bobby gibson, he gave us a bit of background on how the app came to be and how easy it is to use.


can you see us?  we cracked up when we saw this picture, all snuggled in our blankies as we listened.


lunch time!  the food was good, yo.  kale salad and grilled steak and salmon and fingerling potatoes, oh my.



hey there, sam rubin.  nice to meet you.


as we made our way out, we were each handed a little thank-you gift.  we didn't open them till we got in the car, and were super excited when we opened the boxes to find opoli-branded external phone battery chargers.  sweet!


oh, and i did get her to take a picture with me after all.


okay, so check it out - if you got to the end of this post AND you live in the l.a. area or plan to come out for a visit anytime soon, i've got something for you.  if you're one of the first 20 people who leave a comment on this post and an e-mail address, i'll give you a promo code that'll get you a $50 credit with opoli.  you can use it for date night, a ride home after some drunken debauchery, maybe you'll want to take me out to dinner.  i don't know.  it's totally up to you.

dinner is fun, though.  i like food.  and freebies.  don't you?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

tots fix everything

you know what's delicious?  IKEA meatballs.  that's either not news to you or you're gasping in horror at the very idea.  heh.  and although i have an IKEA not too far from me, where you can scoop up a package of frozen meatballs and a couple of packets of gravy mix for about $10, i don't always feel like tackling the maze that always ends up with a full cart of stuff i HAVE TO HAVE.

so i turned to my friend google, who gave me a plethora of recipes to choose from.  but because i am lazy like that, i went with the easiest possible option.  and instead of mashed potatoes, i cooked up some buttered egg noodles.  pretty damn yummy, if i do say so myself.


i've also been having some fun playing with my the hub's new toy, that george foreman grill.  i'd forgotten how awesome that thing is, and google also gifted me with an entire website dedicated to recipes of stuff you can make on it.  while the picture i took doesn't look appetizing - like at all - these brown sugar glazed pork chops are pretty stinking tasty.


the bean liked the bacon cheeseburgers i made last week so much that she requested them again.  i wasn't feeling in the mood to bust out the mickey equipment again, but she was okay with that.  except that since i used the buns without any reshaping or cutting or anything, i ended up with that same old problem homemade burgers always have.  WHERE'S THE BEEF?


it's okay though.  i just surrounded it with tots and all was well.  tots are always the solution.

you know what else is delicious?  those crappy pillsbury cinnamon buns that scare the shit out of you when that poppin' fresh dough explodes out of the can.  once i recovered from the heart attack, this happened.


ah, it's always such a delightful culinary experience here at the house of wan.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

reading is FUNdamental

it took a little extra effort to find a 5K for the month of june that wouldn't have us driving 30 miles at a crazy early time on a weekend morning.  not to mention, i was searching for a run with a finisher's medal, heh.  it wasn't easy, but i finally found one - the villa park library 5K, starting at villa park high school.


we arrived with plenty of time to check in and pick up our bibs - i could've picked them up the day before, but didn't feel like doing the drive.  and i figured a smallish run like this wouldn't be horribly crowded anyway.  i was right.


we didn't even bother to pick up goody bags or t-shirts for this run.  it's not like either of us really wear those shirts anyway - i'm just creating another stack to make another t-shirt quilt this winter.  the stack has grown and i'm pretty close to having enough to tackle that monster project again.  the bean wants one, too, and has a nice little stack of her own built up.

as we stood near the start and listened to the national anthem, i happened to notice this:


can you see it?  this lady totally bedazzled her running shoes with some major bling on the nike swoosh and around the back.  pretty snazzy.  i debated doing it with a pair of mine - maybe those fun minnie mouse run disney ones? - but quickly decided it'd be too much effort and they'd likely fall off anyway.  still, they were purty.

it was already a bright, sunny day, so i was grateful for the tree-lined streets that the route took us on.


not too long after that mile marker, we scampered down another residential street and made a u-turn at the halfway mark.  i was just a little bit ahead of the hub and waved happily at him on the other side.


yay, almost there!


i'm not a fan of slogans like this.  i think it's pretty assholish to ridicule someone else's workout - after all, any exercise takes effort.  i mean, do you really think yours is better than mine?  girl, please.


one of my favorite sights during any 5K.


fini.



i was still standing there catching my breath when the hub crossed the finish line.


it had gotten pretty hot under the already-blazing sun (at 8am!), so he wasn't in the mood for a fun picture until we made it back to the car and turned on the a/c.


i love that our medals say "reading."  haha!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

living vicariously through the bean

with her daddy having been an eagle scout back in the day, the bean has been clamoring for a chance to learn all about being a girl scout.  i'd explored a little on their website, looking for a troop that meets near the house, but i found their site a bit...less than helpful.  i realize that troops probably meet all sorts of places, including the leaders' homes, so i wasn't looking for exact addresses or anything.  but it would've been nice to see - oh! there's one at this church!  or this school.  or hey, in this general vicinity.  but nope.  nothing particularly informative.  huh.

and then one day when i was looking at the city's online recreational guide for the summer, an activity caught my eye:  a 2-hour long "intro to girl scouts" gathering for girls and their parents to come and get information about what girl scouts do.  it was only $5, so i signed up and put it on the calendar.

the meeting was at a local park.  looks like this is a possible venue for regular meetings, huh?


she was greeted by the girl scout rep and wrote her name on a colorful sticker to wear.


first friendship circle!


parents sat separately from the girls, and we got a couple of handouts to peruse as the girls listened and worked on some little activities.


then we headed outside to prepare for a little scavenger hunt.  she found her envelope quickly, but had no idea what to do next.  it's okay, neither did any of the others.


next up:  plant a seed to take home and care for.  i sure hope this kid has a better green thumb than her mother.  otherwise, that plant is doomed.



snack time!  i may or may not have inhaled a giant handful of these.


back inside, the girls sat down to decorate capes with fabric markers.  an art activity - right up the bean's alley.



meanwhile, i sat on a chair with a little paperwork.  although she has a busy schedule already, i learned that most girl scouts do.  this means meetings are more of a biweekly or even monthly basis.  now see, that i can work with.  i was afraid the meetings happened every week, which might have been a little difficult, but i think we'll be able to handle this.  and she was so excited to get into it that i couldn't say no.


i mean...could you say no to this face?


last friendship circle of the day.


okay, i admit it.  i always wanted to be a girl scout too.  i just remember uniforms being too expensive or something, so i never got to participate.  but it looks like it's never too late.

campouts and s'mores, here we come!
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