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Summer Fun in the LA Area

Summer is flying by, the days are full and filled with lots of fun. If you have kids going back to school soon, there’s still time to enjoy. One of the best parts of city- living are the plethora of events the whole family can enjoy.  I’m sure as many of you will be taking some time off, your days will be jam packed with tons of BBQs, Pool Parties, Family Outings and Fiestas.  While it’s great to do what you know, my family loves to try new things.

In a city of endless options, that is always a possibility, no matter what your budget. Here’s a list of Free (or super cheap) family activities for the family:

1. Jazz nights at LACMA

Every Friday and Saturday Night, LACMA hosts a free jazz concert in the courtyard behind this famous lampposts.  Grab a blanket, some snacks, and don’t forget your kids’ scooter! While adults lounge on the grass catching up with friends, the kids roam wild and free. Thsi is actually a multi purpose trip- kids are distracted by other kids while parents can have the evening off listening to great music. The result: a child who comes home so exhausted, he barely twitches while transferring from car to bed.

2. Go To The Beach

When your from LA, you forget that You actually live in a paradise of sorts. Perfect weather (except for the Winter of 2016) and a city surrounded by amazing Beaches. While your average Angeleno escapes south of the border. the rest of the country (and world) enjoys their R&R here.

The beach may seem like a world away when you sit in an hour plus of traffic. The Spitsin fam packs in the car by 8am, stops for an almond cap en route and we are ready to enjoy a quite morning on the beach. It’s the best time because there’s almost no traffic both ways and it’s easy to find street parking.

PS, your kids can’t tell the difference between the Caribbean and Santa Monica.

3. Shakespeare in The Park

Its so important to expose your kids to some culture that is not behind a screen. It’s also great when you can do that in a forum where they feel comfortable. Shakespeare in the Park at Griffith Park is hosted by Independent Shakespeare Co (http://www.iscla.org/griffith-park-festival) . They put on a great show and our kids love it. Don’t worry if your tot can’t sit still, there are a lot of kids, so pick a spot in the back where you can have some extra room. Don’t forget a blanket and some snacks.

4. Make a Picnic

The variety of landscapes in Los Angeles blows my mind. The city is spread out, separated by mountains and valleys, while oceans and deserts surround it. How glorious! Why not go out and enjoy Gods wonderful creation? Grab a lunch, pack the kids (and husband), invite some friends and ride off into the sunset.  When there’s nothing to do, create your own possibilities.

We prefer going to parks that don’t have an existing play yard. Although they’re easy, your left chasing your kids around instead of engaging them. Play some kick ball, or  in an open field. Those are the kind of moments your kids will remember.

5. Twilight Concerts at Santa Monica Pier

Till Thursday August 17 2017

A concert on the beach, no need to say anymore. See the lineup here: http://santamonicapier.org/twilightconcerts/

6. Whole Foods Freebies:

Although this isn’t an event, as a mom, it feels like I’m at the supermarket every other day. We usually go to Whole Foods once a week to Buy our grass fed Meats and organic poultry.  With 2 kids, it’s just not the easiest task, but you can lighten up the event.

Every time you bring your kids with you to the store, stop at Customer Service and pickup a Kids’ Club Coupon good for a complimentary organic apple, 100% Organic fruit leather, or natural animal crackers.  Also, ask about what events they have going on specific to your location.

7. Kids Club at The Grove on Thursday’s  10a-12p

Every Thursday from 10am to Noon, the Grove hosts a free Kids Club where they have a variety of activities for the Kiddos, from Magicians, face painting, to Music, and Dancing…. FUN!  If you are feeling a bit anti social at home all day every day, get out there and mingle with some other moms (and Nannies). It’s great for kids to meet one another and (learn how to) play together, but Momma needs some stimulation.

STK LA Introduces Chicken 

From LA to NYC, who doesn’t love STK. It’s a classic you know will be the perfect fit for any occasion. STK has just introduced a delicious new Chicken dish to their menu called Mary’s Free Range Chicken with Organic Farro, Baby Summer Squash and Grilled Lemon Jus. 

Just in case your not in the mood for going out, we were able to snag the recipe for this fresh summer dish. I love trying new recipes and this is a combination of everything my family needs on a daily basis.


Mary’s Free Range ChickenOrganic Farro/ Baby Summer Squash/ Grilled Lemon Jus

 

For the chicken:

1 ea whole organic free range chicken

1 ea garlic clove

1 ea thyme sprig

3 tsp kosher salt

1 ea lemon (sliced)

 

For the farro:

1 c farro

1 ea shallot

1 sprig thyme

1 bay leaf

1 ea clove garlic

 

Baby patty pan squash:

2 c of mix baby squash

1/2 ways shallot (diced)

1 ea garlic clove (chopped)

2 tsp Olive Oil

1/2 ea lemon

¼ c mint leaves

 

For the grilled lemon jus:

2 ea lemon (grilled)

2 c chicken stock

1 ea bay leaf

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp peppercorn

1 ea garlic clove

2 tsp unsalted butter

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F

Chicken:

Place Chicken in a roasting pan, with a food processor pulse/mix salt and garlic and herbs. Season chicken generously inside and out. Stuff the cavity with sliced lemons and more thyme. Tie the legs together with kitchen string.

Roast uncovered for 1hr and 15min in the preheated oven. Minimum internal temperature 175F. let rest for 15 min before cutting.

Jus:

In a sauce pot sauté garlic and spices with butter add stock and reduce to ½, add grilled or roasted lemons and reduce for 10 more min, set aside.

Farro:

In a sauce pot cook farro (rinsed) to brand specifications with the added aromatics.

Veggies:

While roasting, quarter summer baby squash, toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set Aside.

 

To serve, sauté summer squash to desire tenderness, add farro, season to taste and fold in mint to finish. Slice the chicken onto a plate on top of summer squash and farro, finish with jus and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Refresh Your Look 2016

The season of spending time with your family and loved ones, as well as people you don’t see very often, forces you to take some trips down memory lane, looking at old photos albums.  The one desire of each woman out there is to look better today then you did a year or even a decade ago.  The key to this is refreshing your look constantly, try something new, go out of your comfort zone, experiment.  You don’t have to get too crazy and dye your hair pink, but you should explore new trends.  Our go-to expert, Zena Shteysel spilled some of her tips for the New Year to help you refresh your look.
1.  Switch Foundations – one of the easiest ways to breathe new life into your beauty routine is to switch to a new foundation.  Your base is such a major part of your look, something as simple as switching your foundation’s finish, or trying a new formulation, can make you feel like you’ve got a completely updated look – in the most subtle way!  Right now I’m really loving Marc Jacobs Genius Gel foundationss1511104-main-hero-300-1
2.  Contour with Self Tanner – It might sound a bit odd, but hear me out.  We all know the magical powers of contouring, well imagine a contour that lasts an entire week.  Wake up with a subtly sculpted face and you’d be surprised how much time and product you’ll shave off your beauty routine.  The trick is, of course, less is more.  Apply self-tanner, 1 shade darker than your face, with a beauty sponge (buff it in as you would your cream contour) along your hair line, the hollows of your cheeks, and jaw line for the perfect contour that will last all week.  A really great one is Bare Minerals Faux Tan Face s1497163-main-hero-300
3.  The one thing we can all do right now to get out of a beauty rut is to clean out your makeup bag!  Take stock of what you have, think about what you really need, and get rid of last year’s products that you weren’t in love with.  Organizing your kit will leave you feeling like you’ve really got it together, and we all love the ‘new year, new you’ feeling!  I like to de-pot all of my eye shadows, blushes and powders into a Z Palette, a universal, empty magnetic makeup palette, to keep all my essentials in one easy place.Zena_Large_Palette2
4.  Start the year off with a new skin care routine and you’ll set the stage for great makeup.  You can use all the best makeup in the world, but if you’re not taking good care of your skin, you’ll be stuck in a beauty rut that you can’t get out of.  With so many amazing new products out there, the new year is the perfect time to say good bye to last year’s regime and start up with something fresh and new.  Not using an exfoliating brush?  Get one. (There’s a ton of affordable options on the market now, try the Olay cleansing brush)  Haven’t used a charcoal mask yet? Start today, in 2016.  Boscia Charcoal Mask is amazing.
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Seasons Best Tips

When we are talking beauty, we need to make sure we are putting our face in the right hands. Just another sales person at your local beauty depot is not going to cut it. Thats why we went to Emmy Award Winning Make Up Artist and founder of Z Palette, Zena Shteysel for the seasons must-know tips.  Here what she told us:

1.  I love to use my eye shadows wet, to create a more dramatic look with intense color pay-off, or to transform any eye shadow into an eye liner.  I just spritz the eye shadow pan directly with water, I use Evian Facial Water Spray, it lets out just the right amount of moisture without drowning the shadow. The result is a vivid, more pigmented look.  Right now, I’m loving the Unum Makeup eye shadow range, they’re deeply saturated with color and blend like a dream. unumEyes by Unum Makeup www.unummakeup.com8007_bigger57e2fb80276d5f13c4de715a90e50677
2.  Full brows aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon.  To fake a fuller brow, I like to use a tinted brow pomade, like Anastasia dipbrow, and an angled brush, in short light strokes.  A great trick to repurpose a product you may already have: brown gel eyeliner can actually double as a great brow pomade, the finish is almost identical.  Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Eyeliner in ‘Brown’.
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3.  Ombre lips are dramatic, but totally wearable and give the appearance of a sexy, fuller lip.  To get the look, I like to use two distinct shades – one for the liner and one for the lips.  Start with the liner and fill in most of the lip, then blend the lipstick color starting in the center then feathering out. My favorite combo is lining the lips with Loreal’s Lip Le Matte #108 and filling in with Tarte’s LipSurgence Lucky in the middle.
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4.  The “Baking” method for setting makeup has recently become a craze, but we’ve been baking on set for ages.  The trick to a good bake is to pick up a generous amount of your setting powder (Currently loving IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores HD micro-powder in ‘Translucent’)  with one of those inexpensive, disposable wedge sponges (it creates those perfect sharp lines!)and lightly “drag” the powder onto the face, wherever you laid down your highlight (under the eyes, below the cheek bones, center of forehead, chin, bridge of nose, etc.)  You don’t want to leave the powder on too long – basically by the time you’ve applied the powder everywhere you need to, it’s time to go back and lightly dust it off.  The result is a crease-less and flaw-less face.
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