To celebrate Miss A’s performance at her gymnastics meet in Las Vegas last weekend, we hit Gordon Ramsay’s BurGR on the Vegas Strip (the “GR” in the name is chef’s initials that fit conveniently into the word, sans the “e” of course)! GReat BurGRs and even GReater all-around weekend! (See what I did there? Using the word “all-around”
saluting the gymnastic theme of the weekend!)
Stepping out onto the balcony, I surveyed the rectangular main gardens below and thought how awesome it was to be back in Rome. But wait, it was actually Malibu and my first visit to the Getty Villa (*EDITORS NOTE: this was a family outing with the kiddies and their cousins; the real Rome was pre-children!)
Adjacent to the Getty Museum, The Getty Villa is modeled after a first-century Roman country house in Herculaneum, Italy. The building was constructed in the early 1970s by architects who worked closely with J. Paul Getty to develop the interior and exterior details. Inside on two floors are antiquities collections and changing exhibitions as well as outdoor herb gardens and fountains. The cousins particularly enjoyed the Family Forum room for a little hands-on discovery: role-playing with foam swords, shields and headgear in front of a projection screen, and using dry erase markers to decorate replica urns and bowls.
Also worth noting is the indoor/outdoor Café that serves casual Mediterranean-inspired fare (beer & wine are also available). I was compelled to relay my compliments to the kitchen after lunch: my Villa Burger ($14.95) with crispy onions, Emmental Swiss, sherry gastrique, arugula, roasted garlic & pepper aioli on a Brioche Bun (with a side of shoestring garlic fries) was one of the best gourmet burgers I have ever had.
To reserve a time and arrange for your complimentary tickets, go to http://www.getty.edu/visit/cal/index.html (parking is $15).
Irene took these photos of the Watts Towers on her iPhone during a recent school field trip with Xander’s third-grade class and I tinkered with the colors for a mini Warhol side-by-side presentation. In lieu of an accompanying explanation to the question What-the-Heck-Are-the-Watts-Towers? for those not in the know, check out this link.
By Athena Lippman
I wanted to go to the Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park resort for as long as I can remember. On my birthday, my family and I finally went to the one in Garden Grove near Disneyland. I loved how the hotel was made of wood and bricks and when you check in, the staff gave each person a free wolf ears headband. It was so cool that they made you feel like you were in an actual lodge.
There were a few stores, such as a bakery, a souvenir shop, an arcade and a bathing suit shop that you actually had to enter to get into Bear Track Landing – the name of the water park. There was even a kid spa called Scoops.
We immediately went to the water park area. There were many different waterslides. There were two big slides and many other smaller ones. There was also a racing waterslide where you used a flat foam mat and it would track your time. There weren’t only waterslides but also a lazy river with floating tubes, great for relaxing! We also went into the wave pool and tried a surfing simulator, played basketball in a pool, ran an obstacle course and enjoyed a water structure with some mini waterslides.
At the top of the water structure, there was a huge bucket that gets filled with water and when the bell would ring every few minutes, that means the bucket was about to tip over and the water would fall on anybody on the ground underneath it. It was so much fun!
But my favorite waterslide was Tornado. First you curved and then a big drop, followed by a flat part that zig-zagged you side to side. I was having the best time. I also loved all the other waterslides. One of the things I loved most about Great Wolf Lodge was that there were no lines; you would just walk up to the waterslide and there would be like 2-5 people in front of you, but mostly there were no lines at all because Great Wolf Lodge water park is for hotel guests only.
I was having the best time with my family. I love water-related activities. The water is always so much fun. I definitely hope I can go to Great Wolf Lodge again!
Paired with a full-service butcher shop where guests can order custom cuts or choose from a variety of grab-n-go fare next door, Belcampo Restaurant features rustic, meat-centric California cuisine and farm-inspired craft cocktails. On this “dating anniversary” occasion, Irene and I shared a grilled beef heart app, a lamb burger, a French dip “éclair” with bone broth jus, and the roasted brussels sprouts – all umami to the max.
The Genwa dinner date was arranged by our good friends who love to “park” themselves at a good Korean BBQ place. Seated at a table with a state-of-the-art, smokeless gas grill set in the middle, we cooked up a selection of thinly sliced cuts of meat, the bulgogi being my personal favorite.
I’ve been to a handful of Korean BBQ spots but never have I seen such an array of the small accompaniments that are placed around the circular grill as here (more than two dozen) – from kimchi (fermented Napa cabbage) to lotus root and Japchae (stir-fried glass noodles). The Bibimbap (sizzling rice) was also the best I’ve had thus far. Then there’s a unique touch when the check arrives: lollipops on long sticks for each guest (that we brought home for T, A & X).
For the uninitiated, the term “batterymates” in baseball means the pitcher-catcher duo in a game; while Troy and Xander are at different age levels during the more competitive
Spring season in Santa Monica Little League, they are teammates/batterymates on their
Fall Ball Avispas (Spanish for “wasp”) team. These photos show the sibling tandem in
action during last Sunday’s game vs. Culver City.
Yankees vs. Angels
By Xander Lippman
It was interesting because Angel Stadium of Anaheim was not like other ball parks (I’ve been to Dodger Stadium twice). There was a waterfall in center field, and there were empty seats in front of us so Troy and I sat there.
It was probably the 4th inning and we were all hungry so Troy and my dad went to get some hot dogs. We also bought snow cones and peanuts. We brought our own boxes of Cracker Jacks from home.
In the 8th inning people were leaving so I sat in a seat where a few foul balls were being hit, but I didn’t catch any. Even though the Yankees lost 2-0, it was cool to see them play. Overall it was a fantastic outing.
By Athena Lippman
While I was walking into the SeaWorld San Diego entrance, I got so excited about all the animals I would see and the rides we would ride.
There are all kinds of animals such as penguins, fish, mantas, sharks, turtles, dolphins, whales, flamingos, sea lions and more (and the pigs, cats and dogs that performed at the “Pets Rule” show were so cute!).
There are plenty of shows including the Blue Horizons Dolphin Show — one of my favorites of the day! The dolphins did flips, jumps and other tricks! There was also a Shamu show which was also really cool (we were lucky to see him because the giant killer whale is retiring this year). At the sea lions show one sea lion held a ball on its nose and then jumped in the water with the ball still on the nose.
There were also some rides: Manta is a rollercoaster where, after you exited the ride, you could touch baby mantas in a petting pool. Journey to Atlantis is a combination flume ride and rollercoaster that takes the boat up an elevator and goes on a wild ride! The Wild Arctic is a motion ride that takes you on a helicopter flight; afterwards, you can see beluga whales, a giant walrus, and polar bears in their natural habitat. It was amazing!
I also liked Shipwreck Rapids — a circular raft ride where you get super wet because you are heading down a path of flowing water. The Sky Tower is a rotating elevator ride that goes up into the sky with 360-degree views of San Diego, and the Sky Ride is a cable car that brings you over the bay (it is a good ride to relax on!).
We also walked through some aquariums. I thought that SeaWorld was a very awesome and a really fun amusement park!
Six Flags Magic Mountain
By Athena and Xander
(Athena) My favorite rides at Six Flags Magic Mountain were Jet Stream and Goliath. Jetstream is a calm, relaxing boat ride at first but then there is a 6-story drop at the end and you get soaked. My dad’s Yankees baseball cap flew off while we were going down the drop.
(*EDITOR’S NOTE: After following “park procedure” by filling out a Lost & Found form online, my cap was never retrieved, even though we all spotted it on a concrete landing in a restricted area after exiting the ride. Thanks for losing my cap MM).
Goliath is a whole different story. This rollercoaster reaches a top speed of 85 miles per hour. It was so fast that it blew back your cheeks and the wind was so strong that it literally held you down. Then there is a 260-foot drop, which was crazy! There were lots of twists and turns. By the end of the ride my heart was beating so fast. Goliath was really fun. If you go to Magic Mountain I would definitely recommend this rollercoaster!
(Xander) I had 3 favorite rides: Twisted Colossus, Green Lantern and Full Throttle. Twisted Colossus was a really fast rollercoaster; first it was all bumpy with a huge drop. Then you go under another train. Then you attach to a different track and it’s the ride all over again.
Green Lantern was a very weird ride. First you go up. Then you go backwards. Then down, spinning around throughout. The whole ride is over in about 30 seconds.
Full Throttle was my favorite. A girl says, “3, 2, 1, go!” and you blast off super fast to start. Then you go upside down. Then you keep going super fast. Then an announcement says, “Enjoy the ride!” and you go backwards. You keep going fast and there is a huge drop. Then the ride is over.
Spotted this banner in front of Gersten Pavilion at Loyola Marymount University after picking up the kiddies from tennis camp one recent July afternoon. Not sure if the campus was serving as a “Detour” or “Road Block” and was perhaps even more curious what the Chinese Phil Keoghan looks like! Minutes later, we passed by a black SUV with one of the teams and camera crew. TAR is one of our favorite reality TV shows so you can imagine our excitement over this brush with TAR China!
The little quips started in 2012 at five-years-old and ran through 2014; then the classic “Xanderism” made its triumphant return in 2015. Now that he’s 8, I’m inclined to give Mr. X’s humorous wordplay a more age-appropriate title: X-Claims? Yep, that works for me.
So we’re heading to summer camp one recent morning when he begins contemplating the rules of the carpool lane.
What if there’s only one person in the car?
You can get a ticket and pay a fine.
Introducing the “X-Claims”: Do dogs count?