Archive for July, 2011

Dog Days of Summer

sara, sophia & mica with puppies

This summer, Lulu is obsessed with stopping to pet every dog whose owner will allow it. If she sees one coming towards us (and this happens plenty in our neighborhood), she will excitedly say, “Be nice. Be nice, doggy,” hundreds of feet before her future four-legged friend is within arm’s reach. When the owner and dog near, I ask if the dog is friendly and if they wouldn’t mind if we pet him or her.

Dog owners in our neighborhood are very patient and friendly. About 95% of the time, the owner is gracious enough to stop, tighten the leash on their pup, and stoop while Lulu squats with her hands out. Depending on the dog, she squeals with joy or  runs behind me to protect her. She has fun petting each animal and I enjoy meeting my neighbors (who like parents, love to hear how cute or good their pet is). The only time Lulu doesn’t get to pet a puppy is when the dog is really young or really old (kids are too skittish for them). [read more]

Art Smart (Five of Our Favorite Eco-Friendly Art Supplies)

You can never doodle, glue, or create too much art. I’m currently obsessed with eco-friendly art supplies for kids and want to share a few of my favorites with you:

Crazy Crayon Eco Stars – $10 – These twenty non-toxic, 100% recycled and recyclable, star-shaped crayons come in each box.  Measuring two inches in length, each point is great for precision illustrations or for coloring outside the lines. Psst. If you’ve got a few, useless, nubby crayons at home, consider sending them in to Crazy Crayon’s National Crayon Recycle Program.

Eco-Kids Eco Dough – $24 – Made from plant, fruit and vegetable bases, your kids are going to love punching, pulling, twisting and pinching this eco-friendly play dough to form their favorite object. Completely compostable and without chemicals, artificial dyes or metals, this product is 100% natural.

Pro tip: Unlike the other brands, this dough doesn’t dry out. If accidentally left out overnight, add a few drops of olive oil and its as good as new.

[read more]

Beautify Bus Stops

Hammock Coffee Table in the City from Distortion Productions on Vimeo.
 

My pal Alissa wrote, “What Happens When You Put a Coffee Table at a Bus Stop?” for Good, a thoughtful piece exploring how strangers interact with a nice environment at a mundane bus stop. As a one car family with a daily bus rider in our household, the article inspired me to think more about our boring old public transit spaces.

Placing a coffee table, newspaper and flowers at a bus stop in Koreatown, designer Julie Kim filmed passerbys and bus patrons interact with her decorative installation. The result? A 1.5-minute video that made me smile for much longer than 1.5 minutes. The young girls seen sitting at the table are really enjoying the set up and the sideways glances from everyone else appear more curious than critical. [read more]

Swing Into Summer

334/365  Tire Swing Bench Monday!

334/365 Tire Swing Bench Monday!

Summer’s here! Which means airport runs for some families. Instead of packing for a stressful flight elsewhere, why not save money, enjoy a staycation and let your kids “fly” at home?!

I’ve spun myself silly for hours on end with this favorite childhood past time — the tire swing. And the best part aside from it being pretty easy to set up, is it really brings the neighborhood kids together. All you need is a strong and willing tree, a tire (save one from the junk yard), nylon rope or metal chain, and simple hardware. [read more]

Dance Like Nobody’s Watching!

We host an impromptu dance party in our home on a daily basis. It’s fun for everyone and a great way to shake off the day’s stresses, not to mention, a fun way to exercise too. I’ve been cracking up over a few dance videos I recently shot of Lulu — she is dancing with such unbridled joy and vigor and it’s clear, dancing makes her very happy.

The following dance-related videos make me happy too:

[read more]

S/he’s Crafty!

When I was a teenager growing up in the late 80s and early 90s, a lot of DIY and craft trends hit my community by storm. Both girls and boys were tie dying clothes, weaving friendship bracelets and carefully constructing beaded safety pins for sneakers. We even made our own buttons to decorate the strap of our favorite Le Sport Sac.

Observing my young cousins today, they’re all really good at being on trend, but none of them seem to actually make anything to share with their peers anymore. Their time is spent virtually hanging out with their buddies and ordering things versus actually hanging out in real time together, making things. Since summer’s about more  friends and family togetherness, I thought you might enjoy doing the following activities with your young roommates:

The Purl Bee: Molly’s Sketchbook: Friendship Bracelets – I spent hours after school weaving friendship bracelets for anyone who wanted to trade them with me. They were bright and colorful and pretty easy to make. They lasted a long time and were easy to replace. Best of all, the bracelets were very affordable jewelry and I always had something to match my favorite JAMS shorts and Rugby shirt! [read more]

So Sweet: Lemonade Stands!

School’s out! It’s the time of year for smores, campfires, and swimming (and a much needed break for parents everywhere). According to NPR, studies show that students lose months of reading and math skills over summer vacation. Apart from enrolling your kids in summer school or camp, how will you keep your kids engaged this summer?

I’m a big fan of lemonade stands as they teach children the basic rules of commerce (making and saving money) and entrepreneurship and are a fun and easy way to practice math. My 11 year old cousin, Ari pays for his summer purchases by operating his lemonade stand every couple of weeks and enjoys the outdoor activity tremendously.

[read more]

Independence Day Weekend Roundup

I hope everyone had a lovely Fourth of July weekend! It was absolutely gorgeous in sunny Santa Monica. We ate non-stop barbecue and lazily lounged with family and friends. It was especially exciting to experience a few new milestones with Lulu too including her first fireworks (she was scared), Santa Monica’s Main Street Parade (pictured below), and her first popsicle (what a mess)!

[read more]

What Inspired Me This Week: SASAKI Heartbeat Japan

SASAKI

Earlier this week, I attended Dwell on Design, the home and design expo in downtown Los Angeles. While there was a lot to see,  feel, and sit on, I was surprised that a sound-related event would grab my attention. In the far corner of the LA Convention Center’s West Hall, I could hear a steady and loud heart beat. A confidant thump, thump, thump, thump. What is that?

I followed the sound and stumbled upon, Japanese artist SASAKI performing live, “Heartbeat Drawing Project” an installation where he listens to and paints conference attendee’s heartbeats. I watched the artist attach different donors to a sensor and while they sat peacefully, he airbrush painted the real-time rhythm of a participant’s heartbeat.

The performance raised money for Architecture for Humanity‘s relief and rebuilding efforts for the tsunami victims in Japan. What a great touchy-feely project! Be still our beating hearts!