Olvera Street


LA has many neighborhoods that make you feel like you are in a different country when you visit them. One of them is Olvera Street.

Before the Holidays, we took our kids here to immerse ourselves into some Latin flavor, and to get the children out of the house, because having your kids inside a 900 sq. feet dwelling all day can be a nightmare, literally.

Ideally, you will take the train to Union Station to get to Olvera Street, but, for us, the train is not the most convenient way of transportation because it takes so long, more than 45 minutes.

We went on a Saturday for the Virgen Guadalupe Celebration. There was dancing and a vigil, but the most fun part of going to Olvera Street is just walking around and having dinner in one of the many restaurants. The Street has old houses and tries to recreate a romantic idea of “Old Los Angeles”.

It also has a one-block market of  handcrafted items vendors that have been there for generations. Our children loved all the little shops and wanted to get into everything. There were so many colors and noises to spark their imagination, so it was very fun for them.

After walking around and buying some children’s guitars for $10, we had dinner at one of the restaurants. There are plenty of places to choose from. We ordered some guacamole, a couple of beers, some burritos, and we were set.

After a two-hour outing, we were ready to go back home, and felt very happy to have had this little adventure. Going to Olvera Street is a nice option for a short weekend family activity in Los Angeles.

Here is a calendar with the different community events they have at Olvera Street. As of today, they haven’t updated it with the events for 2016, but I am sure they will soon.

Here are some pictures, if you want to see:
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Central Library, DTLA


The Central Library in DTLA is a treasure. The building was constructed in 1926 and renovated from 1988 to 1993. It has 538,000 square feet (HUGE!) and capacity for 1,400 people. It is a wonderful landmark in downtown, LA. A couple of weeks ago, I didn’t send Víctor to school so we could have a little adventure and we went there instead. Read more

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The Huntington Library and Gardens


The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, near Pasadena,  is one of the most beautiful places in LA. If you live here and haven’t been, you need to go. If you don’t live here but will visit soon, you need to go. If you don’t live here and won’t visit LA soon, well, you can look at these pictures to enjoy the place from afar, because it is magic.

LA is a metropolis, and, like all metropolis, the motion of people and energy is constant. It is also true that LA is more laidback than other big urban areas. I think the cause of this casual motion is the weather and proximity to the beach, which demands the use of flip-flops and shorts at least once a week, no matter the month of the year.

In the middle of this chaos, The Huntington is a sanctuary. The moment you step in, you are transported to peace (because peace is a physical place, people!). So, after you pay your pricey $23 ticket (children are free) you can start your trip into art, nature, and fun. By the way, the first Thursday of the month is free, so take advantage of it! You can get your free tickets here, and here is a map of the grounds.

The Huntington has 14 different gardens, the lily pond and Conservatory. To start, I always go down the Desert Garden. This is my (and my dad’s) favorite place at the Huntington because of the big variety of shapes and flowers that are so unusual and pretty. I would recommend visiting this specific garden around February, when a lot of cactuses are blooming. Here are some pictures.

Where is Wally?


My sister and I took all the kids to the Huntington back in September for a little adventure, and we all had a very nice time. The lily pond is always a hit for the children, with its koi fishes and ducks. I am sorry Max missed it this time, as you can see, but that was a nap needed by all.


After that, we made our way through the Japanese Garden and the Garden of Flowing Fragrance (Chinese Garden), which have gorgeous details and “secret” corners. It is impressive how much care has been placed into building these gardens; there are so many subtleties that you really need to stop and observe to not miss anything.

I would also recommend visiting the rose garden, that will enchant you with its fragrance and colors, or eating at the tea room if you need a break. The Huntington has 6 cafes scattered throughout the gardens (and entrance), but the tea room is my favorite. Also, bringing a picnic to share is a great idea for the kids.

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Finally, we went to the Conservatory and, most importantly, to the Children’s Garden, the best place for kids at The Huntington. This smaller (and beautiful) garden introduces children to the natural world through “interactive sculptural elements based on the themes of the earth, air, fire and water.” I would recommend bringing extra clothes (and towels) so your kids can explore freely. Be warned, if you don’t like your children to get dirty or wet, steer them away from this garden, though I would encourage you to not do so.

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Be careful during summer days, it can get hot out there.

Also, you won’t be able to take advantage all the things this place has to offer in one visit, as it is pretty massive. I still haven’t been able to go to all the galleries and garden areas, but that gives me a great excuse to go back again soon. I love this place, and you will too!

The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens

1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA 91108

(626) 405-2100


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Craft & Folk Art Museum – Shop

One of my favorite things about a museum is the gift store. There, I said it. Consider me shallow, or just honest, but I love browsing through the beautiful things they carry, almost as much as I like looking at the art or bones. In these stores I find things that are different, beautiful, and interesting. Also, I enjoy buying books about the exhibitions I just saw, this helps me remember the exhibition like a hoola girl souvenir helps me remember Hawaii and enjoy it again later on.

Short detour: After two kids my memory has taken a turn for the worst, and I am afraid I will soon lose my mind. It seems that just forgetting my keys and cell phones is not enough nowadays; my brain now wants to punish me by making me forget names and stories I used to know and that made me feel smart. I blame the sleep deprivation. Is there anybody else out there losing his or her neurons? Or is it just me? Is my brain going to come back? Or, am I going to have dulled thinking abilities for the rest of my life? Please, let me know if you have the same issues. –End of the detour

In any case, buying books or beautiful things that remind me later of that particular visit to the museum, which otherwise blends and disappears into all the other visits to the museums, helping me stay engaged and connected with the art – or bones, I suppose, long after the visit.

A month ago, I went to the Craft & Folk Art Museum to see the Chris Francis shoe exhibition, which was amazing. Sadly, it has ended already so, if you didn’t make it, you missed your window of opportunity. In any case, after seeing the exhibition, I made my way to the shop, my happy place, and discovered one of the most beautifully curated museum shops in LA, and believe me, I know, as I have been in almost all of them several times.

It is a small shop, but it has handpicked items that go hand-in-hand with its mission of showcasing hand-made designs. They are beautiful, simple and a pleasure to look at.

Here are some of them, and, as you can see, they are not terribly expensive. What do you think? Do you have a favorite item?

Mt. Washington Blue Bell – $110jestcafe.com---museum-store Mt. Washington Pottery White Bell – $110jestcafe.com--museum-store-2 Brass Salad Servers – $45jestcafe.com--museum-store-3 Iringa Basket – $58jestcafe.com--museum-store-4 Telephone Wire Woven Basket – $190jestcafe.com--museum-store-5 Dani Ban Lotus Earrings – $76jestcafe.com--museum-store-6 WV Craftworks Indigo Stripe Coffee Mug – $30jestcafe.com--museum-store-7 Chan Natural Dyed Scarf – $58jestcafe.com--museum-store-8 Fait La Force Whale – $25jestcafe.com--museum-store-9 Wooldbuddy Neddle Felting Kit – $20jestcafe.com--museum-store-10 Tagua Nut Necklace – $80jestcafe.com--museum-store-11

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Visiting Atwater Village

I had been hearing about the cool stores in Atwater Village for a while, so when a couple of friends wanted to go there for brunch and check out the stores, I jumped right in. Eating and shopping – awesome combination.

Talking to girlfriends is the best. It is well-known science that women are excellent communicators who enjoy sharing absolutely everything there is to share….well, at least my friends do, and I love that, so brunch with friends is always a delight. We ate at the Village & Bakery Cafe, which is really good. It has a relaxed atmosphere and great pastries. Perfect place for family brunch; really bad place if you are in a party mood that requires mimosas… because they don’t sell alcohol. Yes, not the best for girls brunch out, but at least the food was great.


Altwater Village is surrounded by super trendy neighborhoods like Silver Lake and Glendale so a lot of hip stores are popping up there. After eating, we crossed to Potted, a gorgeous store specializing in outdoor living items. It was simply amazing! I wanted to buy everything they had for my own house. No filter. Everything. Lots of planters, plants, as well as some furniture and vintage décor.


After visiting this store, we drove straight to Glendale Blvd., in the heart of Atwater Village. The Atwater “downtown” is not longer than 2 or 3 blocks, and it is not crowded. It feels like a small village in the countryside instead of some intersection in the middle of LA. It has easy access, available parking, and a few amazing independent stores. My favorites were: Grain, Treehaus, and Individual Medley.



Also, for those of us that are obsessed with thrift stores, there is an “Out of the Closet” branch right in the middle. It has clothes mainly, which is not my thing. I prefer looking for cool vintage decorations for my house, so I was done browsing really quickly and decided to go to Proof Bakery, right next door, because when does Sunday bruch officially end, right? Proof Bakery was amazing. The peach galette I ate was perfection, so buttery, sweet and crispy. I am planning to go back there just to eat it again. It is worth a trip. Coffee was great too.



All in all, Atwater Village is a perfect place for a weekend outing to eat good food and find inspiration in all the cool, eclectic stores. Go now, before more stores open up and it becomes the next Beverly Blvd. Simplicity doesn’t last in Los Angeles.

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