Last year, we saw the floats post Rose Bowl. This year, because I am much better organized, I thought it would be grand to catch as much pre Rose Bowl activities as possible. Mishy was game so I bought tickets over the phone and picked them up in person. Our first entry into Rose Bowl 2010 – EquestFest.  Located at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank, CA, EquestFest features horses which will be marching in the parade along with the floats. EquestFest is their time to shine.

Twenty-four EquestFest units participated including a group of prize winning Peruvian horses, Southern California Peruvian Paso Horse Club, All American Cowgirl Chicks – who rode into the field full speed, carrying a flag and sometimes not holding on to the reins!,  The Hermanos Banuelos – who provided several moments of fabulous lasso twirling. Their message is to show respect to children, parents, teachers, siblings, and animals.

Right before intermission, children aged 12 and under are invited inside the stable to dig for sliver dollars – actual Sacagawea dollars. Parents need to sign a waiver and it’s a good idea to sign this waiver prior to the event. We ran to participate and when we got on the field, I started digging. I really wanted to find a dollar for Mishy. I told Mishy to dig and she looked horrified. She told me to get up – why am I getting my hands dirty? – how can I carry her with my dirty hands? – I need to wash my hands right away. I told her, we’re digging for dollars. And she asked me why. I told her so we can keep them as souvenirs. When we were told to stop digging and Mishy looked all around her – seeing who got dollars and who didn’t, she asked if I found any. I told her no. She told me to dig! I told her I couldn’t anymore and we all had to leave the field. Tractors were coming and the tractors came to prepare the field for after the intermission.

During intermission, audience members could walk around the center and meet some of the horses. They could also do a fair amount of shopping for horse related products – hand designed horseshoes, stuffed animals in the shape of horses, marionette horses, etc. We bought a Cowgirl Calendar and got it signed by Mandee – who is on the month of November page. Children 46 inches and taller could ride a stimulated horse and watch a video trail ride – which there was a long line for and Mishy is not tall enough yet to ride the stimulated horse. A real horse yes, but not a pretend one – or at least not this one.

After the intermission, the Calvary came to participate in the show and we left. The Calvary came with their guns to shoot balloons and it was too loud and scary.

I would suggest earplugs for sensitive ears and being prepared to exit when it gets too loud or violent. (The Medieval Times Unit was too violent in my opinion for my daughter .) We arrived about half an hour after the show began and were able to get front row seats because the seats reserved for Wells Fargo guests had been opened up for regular audience members by the time we arrived.


Here is the link of EquestFest 2010

Looking for frogs and fishes

We love the Skirball Cultural Center. It is conveniently located off the 405 freeway in Los Angeles, parking is free and there is plenty of it – with two huge lots. There is a plethora of year round activities and exhibitions – including the Hanukah Festival. (In the summer, they have an excellent family music concert series which many musicians clamour to be a part of.) The Skirball Cultural Center is our place of choice to celebrate the Jewish Holidays since it’s an incredibly inclusive organization.

The Hanukah Festival featured some extraordinary entertainment at a variety of locations throughout the center – including an amazing jazz ensemble right in the cafeteria which had Mishy mesmerized. She also had her first taste of potato latkas. She loved them and we were given much more than the standard portion because the woman who was plating them loved how Mishy was eating them in line. There were many activities to choose from – including doll making, candle making and having timed entry to Noah’s Ark. Noah’s Ark is a fantastic permanent exhibition at the Skirball Cultural Center. It occupies 8000 square feet or exploration, play and make believe. We are members of the Skirball Cultural Center and it has been one of our best investments.

Mishy with her newly made candles


Skirball Cultural Center

Mishy walking to the Arctic Lights at America's Teaching Zoo in the storm

It was one of the worst rain storms in the history of Los Angeles on  the weekend of this year’s Arctic Lights at America’s Teaching Zoo and we still made it out because we were pretty certain there wasn’t going to be any crowds. Most importantly, snow was advertised. They were going to bring tons of snow rain or shine and the event was not going to be cancelled. One of the many childhood pastimes we want to share with our daughter is the pleasure of snow – snowmen, snowballs, riding down a hill of ice and snow. We were lucky we found all three at this year’s Arctic Lights.

America’s Teaching Zoo is part of the four year course – Exotic Animal Training and Management Program at Moorpark College. If you would like to learn how to work with animals in zoo, on set for film, television, and commercials, or in theme parks where they have animal shows, this program is one of the most recognized and highly sought after in America. Every weekend, they open their doors to the public for a small fee – $5/person. Children under the age of 2 are free. For the public, they have animal shows where they introduce to you various animals they have trained. You are also able to visit the animals on site. Animals include a female lion, two mountain lions, a bald eagle, maccaws, several types of monkeys, among others. All of the animals are rescued animals – either given by U.S. Fish and Wildlife when people have illegally had these animals as pets or by the zoo – when they no longer have room for them. Some of the animals on site are loaned from studios.

The Arctic Lights is an annual event which features a raffle, silent auction, several types of craft projects – card making, ornament decorating, and most importantly, snow!

Preparing to slide down


Welcome to Candy Cane Lane

Every year in the beginning of December, a block in El Segundo opens up their front lawns to their spectacular holiday season decorations. This year, Santa showed up from Dec. 8th-23rd in the 1200 block of E. Acacia Avenue. Here are some of the highlights from our basic point and shoot camera.

A Tree Santa - from the 12 Days of Christmas Theme Decoration

Trains! - Mishy's Favorite.

Planes! - Mishy's second favorite

Watching the trains from a different angle.

We went last year after we landed from our trip around the world. Most of the lights were down. It was closer to New Years than Christmas. We still enjoyed it and of course we enjoyed the lights even more this year because we saw the full deal. Parking is relatively easy if you park on a side road or park on Imperial Highway – an amazingly close and secret parking place. (The block is closed down for car traffic.) If you need to use the facilities, there is an Embassy Hotel on Imperial Highway which also has free popcorn and red delicious apples at the check in counter.


Once a year, L.A. County celebrates the holiday season by organizing an annual holiday music and dance celebration at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion in downtown Los Angeles. This is where all of L.A. comes to enjoy the holiday spirit. Tickets and parking are free. Wristbands are given out during the day – starting at 11:30AM until they run out. The doors open at 2:30PM and the show runs from 3-6PM. The wristbands are color coded which indicated where you will generally be sitting inside. If you don’t have a wristband, you may wait in line to be let in first come first serve. There are also chairs and a large screen set up outside to watch among the sunset and celestial stars.

We got there at 12:30PM and there was a long line up to be given wristbands. While I waited in line, my husband and Mishy enjoyed the entertainment which was provided – students drumming, two Chinese dragons dancing, and an extremely charming and talented group of carolers called the National In Choir. They have a bird as a mascot and healing dog they bring to their shows. Every year, The National In Choir sing sings for people in hospitals to spread the holiday spirit. We stayed and enjoyed their entire set and wish they could have sang more.

This year, the L.A. County Holiday Celebration was hosted by Tia Carriere and Fred Willard. They provided as much banter as needed to host a mostly seamless show of different choirs, dancers – including and amazing hip hop group , and two marchiachi bands. This is an amazing tradition which I know we would not have gone to if we didn’t have Mishy. This year, we have been enjoying the holiday spirit and taking in as much as we can.

What did we do for the remaining two hours before the show started? We headed over to MOCA Grand to see their current exhibition, ate at their restaurant – Lemonade, and shopped at their book shop. They have a terrific selection of beautiful children’s books.


You may view this year’s celebration online through this link:

Machu Picchu, Peru

November 29, 2010

We recently went to Machu Picchu, Peru. I’m going to let the pictures and captions speak for themselves.

Playing with Baby at lunch

On the bus ride to Machu Picchu

Where everyone takes the money shot

About to jump off the ancient stone

Seeing the view with Baby

Watching the llamas escape

Petting the escapees who went to greener pastures at the ruins

The clouds beginning to roll in. Rain was coming.

A rest stop on a wall.

Enjoying some water after the hike.

Train ride to Sacred Valley

Mishy fishing for good luck.

We joined in a Chinese New Year’s celebration at a local children’s store that recently opened up in Marina Del Ray – Innovative Baby.

Feeding the dragon puppet

There was some light puppet play.

Learning how to make a paper lantern

Then arts and crafts with sparkles which followed us home.

Playing on their in-store horsey

Afterwards, Mishy played with all of the displayed toys. The store has a great selection of beautiful everyday clothes from fantastic designers – Kicky Pants, Tea Collection – to name a few. We picked up a few long sleeve shirts from their sale rack – 70% off! Their toys are beautiful. Mishy wanted to take all of them home. Luckily, she is okay with us playing with them in the store.  The owners are super friendly, warm, and laid back. It is located right by the beach and the Venice Canals. Get a sandwich from Cow’s End or Island Burgers and have a picnic at the beach after your shopping adventure!


Innovative Baby
114 Washington Blvd #B
Marina del Rey, CA 90292

(310) 338-9908

Bonus photo: Mishy hanging out in the car.