Saturday, August 13, 2011

Recent randomness

Sorry for the radio blog silence around here these days. I feel like we've been busy but couldn't really tell you with what. Certainly nothing interesting or blog-able, that's for sure and I've pretty much forgotten how to take a photo in the last few weeks. But here are some of the random bits and pieces that we've been up to.

On my birthday, we went to the Glendale Americana in search of some cheesecake. I spied a sign for the L.A. Creamery and amended my plans to include small batch artisanal ice cream instead. Jon and I both had the salted caramel; he paired his with tiramisu and I chose the honeycomb - luxurious honey with addictive little crunches of sweet comb. I had inappropriate dreams about both flavors for days after, until I could arrange for an encore visit later the same week. I got the salted caramel again (because I really, really love salted caramel) with brown butter pecan. So good. It was especially sweet because of the two friends I was with, former officemates who have moved on to grander adventures.

I also tasted their beer ice cream, made with Newcastle, but didn't think the beer flavor was strong enough. I tasted the basil/feta but thought that too salty a cheese for a sweet cream base. The basil was very interesting though, I would have liked to try it with a lighter flavor. Maybe cucumber? Or watermelon, or cantaloupe! Anyway, I was super excited to find such an interesting, high-quality, high-value treat within the radius I'm willing to travel. It's a nice reward (within my price range) for when I force myself to brave the parking lots and crowds for clothes that are also within my price range (which always makes me think of this awesome music video about Glendale - not for the easily offended).

Jon's parents came up to visit last weekend so they could get some baby time. They ordered us out of the house so we could have some adult time. And what super romantic, super exciting plans did we make? We test drove a Subaru and various umbrella strollers, and then walked to our favorite neighborhood watering hole for some beer and board games. We are the most exciting people I know. Everyone says that having children will change your life, but I have good news for childless people everywhere: we were this boring before we had a kid, it's definitely not her fault. I am sure that you will be able to maintain your life of fabulousness when you have kids...

We're in the beginning stages of research gathering and budgeting for a new car. Our plan is to sell Jon's car and transition into a one-car family. Then, when we've figured out what we want and how to afford it, we'll sell my car and upgrade to something newer and safer. It's been about eleven years since I've been car shopping and it's a much different experience this time. Not entirely unfun, but more of a hassle and less of a thrill than one hopes. We're zeroing in on our top choice and on our finances, so it might start to get exciting soon!

Alice's first plane trip is coming up soon so we're working on our strategy for traveling with a one-year old. We decided we needed a cheapie umbrella stroller for this and future trips, especially since we'll be renting a car and I like our Baby Trend jogger too well to risk damaging it on an airplane. Although Jon just admitted that he wouldn't buy our stroller again, I've been really happy with it. I think it's a great value but I think he'd probably be happier with a pricier, designer rig. If we ever need a double stroller, I think we might splurge on some nicer wheels.

Anyway, I'd done a little research on umbrella strollers and narrowed my sights on three options: the Kolcraft Countours Lite, the Chicco Capri, and the Kolcraft Tour Sport Umbrella - all under $65. On our super romantic date, we headed to Babies "R" Us to see if they had any of these models in the store that we could take for a spin. I also wanted to see if they had any secret options to discover. Of the three I was interested in, they only had the Chicco and we pretty much hated it right off the bat. Luckily, there were a few good secret options. The BRU model was decent for under $30 but the Lamaze LS50 Lightweight was better made so we tried it out instead. I'd heard good things about the Maclaren Triumph but had ruled it out at $170+. I couldn't stop Jon before he pulled it off the shelf, though, and neither of us could resist it's charm. It was seriously dreamy.

We glided around with that Maclaren, turning it with a mere flick of the wrist, our feet nowhere near the wheels (why is this such a problem with umbrellas??), folded and unfolded it with ease in seconds flat. It reclined, like, really far. We were smitten. We were seriously considering paying $100 more than planned for this slick and smooth ride. Then, Jon tried to unbuckle it and just like that, the love affair was over. I tried it for myself and couldn't believe they blew it so bad on the buckle. It was bad. Like you may never get your kid out of that stroller. You'll have to take them to college in that thing.

Comparing online between Amazon and BRU it looks like the Amazon photo is a different model with a different buckle so maybe the BRU is selling an older model (don't tell Jon). In any case, we eventually decided to go with the Lamaze. At $50, it fit what we were wanting to spend and seems like a good value. It doesn't recline as far as the Maclaren but it DOES come with a nifty soft-sided cup holder/zipper compartment accessory. It folds up easily and will be easy to take in the airport and on the plane and throw in the trunk of a rental car. The whole point was to get something we weren't emotionally and financially attached to, and I'm afraid we'd be heartbroken if we had to buy that Maclaren again. 
the winner - secret option C: Lamaze LS 50 Lightweight 
We needed a drink after all that station wagon and stroller shopping. I think Tony's Darts Away would still be our favorite bar in town even if there were more bars in town to choose from. It's definitely the best we can walk to, and according to their website, has the best beer selection in LA, was voted in the USA top 100 beer bars and #23 of 50 in the world. Not too shabby. They are a no bottle, low-waste bar, pouring only California craft beers and have a tasty selection of vegan and non-vegan morsels. Plus, it's pretty family friendly and there are BOARD GAMES! I mean, what's not to love? We probably shared one too many glasses, but we were having too much fun playing Brew Master and making up our own clever beer names. Naming your creations isn't officially part of the game but it was our favorite part, especially with all the educational info on the different varieties of yeast, malt, and hops. 

The next day, we ventured out of our neighborhood for a social engagement in Los Feliz/Silverlake. We were going to bid bon voyage to one of my best friends heading off on the trip of a lifetime. We were headed just a block from the brand-new Broome Street General Store which has the blogosphere all ablaze, so I definitely wanted to stop in. I had wanted to go down there early, check out the goods, get a coffee and a treat and explore the nearby Rowena Resevoir but Alice foiled that plan with an extended afternoon nap. She left us just enough time to pop in, take a look around, ask Eric behind the counter to move the store to Burbank, and leave. I'd like to go back for the picturesque outing I imagined, but I'd love even more to just walk around the corner whenever I need to pick up a thoughtful and unique gift or linger over a cup of legendary coffee. 

Clearly, I've had about all the excitement I could handle lately and almost keeled over when the Lake Street Creamery truck pulled up to my office on Wednesday. I tried to pretend it wasn't happening, but when I heard about the flavors (Donut? Aztec Sacrifice? Pancake Breakfast?!?), I couldn't resist. I stood in an intimidating line for my very own lick of Don Draper and oh my word, it was SO worth it. Vanilla, bourbon and smoke topped with caramel accompanied with a scoop of "Cup of Joe" made me weak in the knees. And I don't even like bourbon. But man alive, I love Don Draper and I love ice cream. And I love videos of kittens. If the rumors are true and these folks open shop in my town, I will face quite the dilemma when choosing where to get my ice cream fix.

In yard news, Jon finally bested and buried the stump. He's out back now, making some good progress on the next steps with a good friend of ours he enlisted for help. He is thrilled to finally be moving on to the next phases, with the prospect of planting a lawn in the fall looking more and more likely. 

And in Alice news, she is finally cutting her last molar and FINALLY walking on her own accord. It's still not her primary mode of transportation but I don't have to coax her any more! 
A is for Alice.
What have YOU been up to lately? Bought any good cars? Or strollers? Been on any good dates? 


  1. Just bought our first (used) minivan. LOVE it.

    We got a double BOB before Lucy was born and swear by it. We even bring a bike lock with us to lock it up at amusement parks, zoo's, etc.

    Our last date was great, we went to Disneyland for my husband's birthday, the kids stayed the night at my sister's after leaving the park so Kyle and I could go back without them. We had a delicious date at the Blue Bayou, both our first time. And rode big kid rides since we were kid-less :)

  2. Tony's Darts Away?! My husband's favorite place in Burbank. I'm happy to hear that LA Creamery was good. I've been meaning to try it when I go to the Americana. It's hard for me to resist ice cream!

  3. Lisa, don't resist LA Creamery! What's YOUR favorite place in Burbank??

    Leah, BOBs make me drool a little bit. I'm secretly hoping we'll need a double stroller someday, and kind of hoping I can talk Jon into something fancy! Sounds like you guys had a great Disneyland Date, with and without the kiddies! I love the Blue Bayou, I hope you had the Flying Dutchman cookie boat!!

  4. okay, i must go to la creamery. like today.
    and that broome st? yes.
    i lived in echo park for four years...really wish that place would have been there then.

  5. Krista - go to there! Today!!

    Broome St. is such a great little neighborhood place. I haven't explored Loz Feliz/Silverlake/Echo Park all that much, but I am always jealous of these kinds of little places that I've seen there.

    Tony's is about as close as Burbank gets to that kind of charm. And I love it, but sometimes you need coffee and a treat instead a beer and a sausage. And I don't really want to be that mom who brings her kid to the bar all the time, even if they DO have board games...

  6. I realized I never chimed in on my favorite Burbank place! I don't drink beer so I don't love Tony's. But I do love frozen yogurt so I love Memchies. And Bea Bea's has the best brunch in Burbank. :)

  7. Oooh, we haven't been to Bea Bea's yet. I hadn't heard anything about it since it opened! Glad to know it's worth checking out though, we'll have to look for an excuse to try it!


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