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About the author  ⁄ Christina Montoya Fiedler

Christina Montoya Fiedler is a Los Angeles native - born and raised. Before becoming a mom, and writing for various parenting sites so she could be home full time with her son, she was a publicist representing environmentally progressive architects and contractors - one of whom just finished building a home completely out of parts from a Boeing 747. Now that's cool!

Los Angeles is a pretty magical place. I was born and raised in this fine city, and now I’m raising a family of my own here. So, it’s been great visiting places that I went as a kid, now with two of my own. Of course we’ve found some new favorites along the way, so narrowing this list down to just 10 places to take kids in Los Angeles was quite the chore. Whether you live here already or are thinking of visiting, here are my top picks on where to take the kids in Los Angeles.

10 Places to take kids in LA: Descanso Gardens1. Descano Gardens

We found Descanso Gardens  by accident after visiting some college friends in Montrose. It’s literally an oasis in the middle of the city where kids are allowed to run free and smell the roses — literally and figuratively. The park is divided into different types of California native foliage: Walk under the shade of the Redwood Grove, stroll amongst the roses in the Rose Garden and visit the bonsai in the Japanese Tea Garden. Don’t forget to visit the turtles and the gigantic koi fish in the main pond. If you’re lucky you see dragonflies too.

10 Places to take kids in LA: Farmer's Market
2. Original Farmer’s Market at 3rd and Fairfax

Every time we go out to dinner with the boys, we’re kind of sorry that we just didn’t head to the Farmer’s Market instead. The Farmer’s Market is like an oasis of food — all the foods from every region of this great wide world. And truthfully, it’s very representative of the city’s vast heritage. And it’s that cultural diversity that I love so much. You can literally get a bowl of gumbo, a plate of sushi, a shwarma sandwich and wash it all down with a Belgian beer, all in one stop. The kids can be as loud and as messy as they want because you’re outside. We like bringing board games. Friday nights bring live music and you can stay as long as you want. Be sure to hit Bennett’s ice cream after dinner, or else you’ll really be missing out.

10 Places to take kids in LA: Churro Borough Ice Cream Parlor
4. Churro Borough Ice Cream Parlor

Two of my favorite things combined into one at Churro Borough Ice Cream Parlor – churros and ice cream. The line is usually out the door at this place, so be sure to go at off hours. Round, crunchy, sugar coated churro disks sandwich artisan ice cream for the best treat ever. We can’t get enough. Seriously, it’s kind of becoming a problem. My favorite flavor ice cream is the spicy Mexican hot chocolate and the kids love the creamy vanilla. They’re purists, what can I say.

10 Places to take kids in LA: The Last Bookstore
5. The Last Bookstore Downtown Los Angeles

Stepping into the Last Bookstore in downtown LA is kind of like walking onto a movie set. There are books as far as they eyes can see, and art everywhere. Plus the people watching is fantastic. You can literally get lost in there for hours. There’s dollar book section, a color coordinate book wall, a tunnel made completely of books, and an upstairs artisan gallery. We’ve picked up a few good art prints there, some of which are currently hanging in our living room. And it’s great to show our kids, that books are still relevant, that there’s nothing quite like holding a book as apposed to reading it on a kindle. How old school right? Tip: One of the best taco joints in town is right around the corner – Guisados. Check them out. You won’t be disappointed.

10 Places to take kids in LA: The Hollywood Bowl
6. The Hollywood Bowl

Okay, here’s a super well kept secret. Ready? During the summer months, you can go and watch the Hollywood Bowl orchestra practice for FREE on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Practices run from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Settle in and get ready for a treat. It’s a truly unique experience as is going to an actual show where you can pack a picnic dinner complete with wine (for you) and juice boxes (for the kids).

7. LACMA Concert Series

Nothing says summer more than chilling out at a Latin Jazz concert at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It’s a great way to expose the kids to music, and you can let them run and be crazy, and they crash before you even get home from the outing meaning that you have the rest of the night free! If you’re not into the concert scene, you can always visit the museum. Kids 18 and under, plus one adult can get in for free if you sign up for the LACMA NexGen program. Now, that’s a good deal.

8. Olvera Street

Olvera Street is one of Los Angeles’ oldest historic locations, and is often referred to as the birthplace of the city. Walk up and down the storefronts, and grab some Mexican candy or a hand-stitched purse and maracas for the kids. There are a handful of sit down restaurants but grabbing tacos or taquitos from one of the take out joints is where it’s at. You really can’t beat the price – or the taste. You’ll be back for more. Check the event’s calendar for a chance to watch traditional Spanish dancers. Halloween brings the famous Day of the Dead parade, which is a unique experience in and of itself.

9. Chinatown

Have a craving for dim sum? Thinking of taking the family out for a fun night of karaoke? Chinatown is the place to visit. And if you have a karate fan in the house, paying homage to the Bruce Lee statue is a must. If you’ve never seen a Chinese Dragon Dance, then add that of your list of things to do – now! The self-guided walking tours are also great for first timers. The kids can partake in a scavenger hunt!

10. Griffith Park Merry Go Round

We’ve been to the Griffith Park Merry Go Round more times than we can count. It gives off a pretty nostalgic vibe, of what Los Angeles used to be many years ago. It runs every weekend and during the weekdays as well during the summer. We even had a friend have a circus themed birthday party at the park, with free rides for the kids, but that’s the kind of over the top birthday party you’d come to expect from living in Los Angeles.
10 Places to take kids in LA: The Los Angeles Zoo
11. LA Zoo

Okay we could not leave this one off the list – so there is actually 11.

Are your little monkeys driving you batty? You see where I’m going here? Yeah, the LA Zoo has all the animals. Every one that your little one wants to see. Plus there’s a new reptile exhibit (that gives me the creeps but keeps the kids coming back for more). There’s also a petting zoo and a pretty expansive play ground with misters for hot days – and there are plenty of them in Los Angeles. I recommend grabbing a frozen lemonade at the stand near the giraffe exhibit and watching them for while because those guys are awesome.


Moms, where are your favorite Los Angeles places to take your kids?
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I take way too many pictures on my phone. You probably have the same problem. Snap a few here. Snap a few there and then forget about them. Them there they sit on your phone for weeks (or more), until one day you scroll through and find a keeper. It’s then that you realize it’s pretty much the best photo you’ll ever get of your kids, and you want to print it. That in itself is a big endeavor, one that moms who are crazy busy like me can forget about as quickly as the original idea came. And getting said printed photo into a frame? Forget about it!

In comes Pictli, a new app that does all the work for you. It’s totally simple and absolutely foolproof, which is exactly what we all need.

Getting starting with Pictli

Start by downloading the app. It’s free and available for on iTunes or you can do it online via the Pictli website.

How to use the Pictli app

But let’s be realistic. You’re gonna do it on your phone, because your phone is basically attached to your arm already, right? From the app, click on the “Let’s Go” button to get started. Next, pick an image that you want to print. You can choose it from your phone’s camera roll, Facebook, or Instagram. Then you choose the size you want. Right now they just offer 7×5 vertically or horizontally, but really a larger picture might be too big.

After that you choose a frame. Right now they have 15 frames and most are very simple – think unfinished wood, different metals, and standard black and white. Like I said, simple, but it allows for your photo to really pop.

I ended up choosing a photo of my boys that was taken on Mother’s Day at Descanso Gardens in La Canada, CA. I had it on my phone for weeks, and was waiting (er, procrastinating) on when to get it printed. I knew I wanted it framed for the mantel, but again, when would I have time to do that (never)!

Pictli Picture Printing and Framing App

So much to love

Pictli made it easy for me to get the job done. I could even edit the photo inside the app to make sure the lighting and color was just right. You also have the option of cropping and changing the print style (black and white, sepia, etc.) but I decided to let the bright colors speak for themselves.

The end result was great and it cost me no more than $25, which when you think about it is pretty great for convenience and the quality of the pic and frame.

Pictli app for printing and framing picturesIt came in the cutest box, wrapped and ready to go. In fact the wrapping was so perfect, that I immediately ordered another for my mother. It makes the perfect gift for grandparents. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see those smiling faces every day!

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Savvy Sassy Moms was at the red carpet premiere of The Book of Life, a new animated movie starring the voices of Zoe Saldana, Diego Luna, Ice Cube, Rob Pearlman and more. The stars were out in full force, as were mariachi bands, churro carts, taco trucks and a larger than life cake courtesy of Charm City Cakes master mind Duff Goldman. bookoflifeposterBottom line, if you’re going to take your kids to see any movie during the Halloween season, this should be it. It’s beautiful. It’s funny. It’s just mesmerizing. In fact so amazing my son asked if they could pause it while he ran to the bathroom. Ah, six year olds. Diego LunaThe Book of Life tells the legend of Manolo (Diego Luna), a conflicted hero and dreamer who sets off on an epic quest through magical, mythical and wondrous worlds in order to rescue his one true love Maria (Zoe Saldana) and defend his village. Manolo’s antagonist is Joaquin (Channing Tatum), a dashing solider who’s also vying for Maria’s heart. And sorry ladies, Mr. Tatum was not at the premiere. Diego Luna Everything is done in the style of Dia de Los Muertos. If you’re unfamiliar with the Day of the Dead, it’s a Mexican holiday that celebrates life after death and the remembrance of loved ones that have passed. This movie captures the essence of the day perfectly. And the soundtrack is a must. Diego Luna sings! Our favorite was his ranchero version of Radiohead’s Creep. Really, you have to hear it to believe it. And his romantic numbers had us swooning. Zoe SaldanaHe hopes that his kids, six and four, enjoy the film as much as he did making it. “I don’t care what people will write tomorrow but if my daughter doesn’t like it, I might quit acting, you know? If my kid says, “Well, dad, you know what? Ah, I’m not sure. I mean, I loved Joaquin, but Manolo was kind of weak,” that’s it. It’s over. So, I have to make sure I have the right popcorn, they have a good night of sleep, you know?” Zoe Saldana wowed in a ruffled maxi dress. We’d totally wear it, preggers or not. Although she wasn’t taking questions about her impending child, she was totally glowing. IMG_2206The Book of Life premieres Friday October 17 in 3D. It’s rated PG. Can’t wait until then? Download some fun Book of Life Activity sheets here.

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Searching for the right bra ranks right up with there with bathing suit and jean shopping. You can only avoid it for only so long, but the joy that you get from finding the right fit is undeniable. Count me in that category. After baby number two, my girls needed some help. The bras I had before just weren’t fitting and, well, I needed a little more support and lift.

So, I joined the Vanity Fair LiftTOUR. Currently, they’re traveling around the U.S., fitting women, just like us, for more shape and support than they ever knew possible. Really, a new bra makes everything fit better.

Bonus. For every fitting they do, they donate a fabulous new bra to Dress for Success – a group that helps women in need prepare for job interviews. And that’s totally something we can all get behind.

Vanity Fair LiftTOUR

I met up with Vanity Fair and the LiftTOUR bus at my local Kohl’s and stepped for a personalized fitting. Turns out I was wearing a size too small around and too big in the cup. Everything was wrong. They put me in the Vanity Fair Women’s Beautifully Smooth Breathable Comfort Full Figure Underwire Bra. One wear, and it was obvious why this is one of their top sellers. I now own one in black and beige.

vanityfairbraseditedWhen I was done with my fitting, I was able to pick a bra of my choice to donate to Dress for Success and write a personalized message to the woman who would be receiving the bra. I can’t lie. I got a bit teary eyed. While it felt good to give back, I also thought about what it means to feel like a woman, and how most of us take for granted even the smallest things – like having a brand new bra.

Want to give and receive too? You can catch the bus at your local Kohl’s, JC Penny, or Sears, just check the website for times and dates.

Vanity Fair_LiftTOUR_Poster

Moms, when was the last time you purchased a new bra?


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Back to school. It’s the words we’ve been waiting to hear. But it also means it’s time to hit the store and pick up some much needed school supplies for the kiddos. And if you’re as tired of ho hum pencils, notebooks and folders as we are, you’re going to love Yoobi. They’re products are anything but ordinary and a whole lot of fun. Yoobi Fun Day At The Grove!We hit up Yoobi Fun Day at the Grove in Los Angeles, and got to sneak a peek at their new line of back to school supplies. Bonus? We spied some celeb moms and dads who were joining in on the fun as well. Check out Soleil Moon Frye, Busy Philipps, and Peter Facinelli below. They certainly make the whole end of summer thing look good. Yoobi Fun Day At The Grove!Cool games, giveaways and crafts were all a part of the fun. Check out Peter and his girls taking their turn at the beanbag toss. So what are our favorite products? First off, we’re crushing on the vibrant colors and out of the box designs. But the oversized highlighter, bendy erasers, and super soft pencil bags were at the top of our list. yoobisupplies Buy them online or in your local store. For every product you buy, they’ll donate one to a classroom in need. Now that’s a back to school purchase you can feel good about. Moms, what was a must have on your back to school shopping list this year?

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What do you get when you mix a super swank hotel like the London West Hollywood, and a long awaited toy launch from a popular kids show? One heck of a party with tons of celeb moms and dads turning up for the big day. JuliusJrToyLaunch

Fischer Price rolled out their new preschool toys, plus a few really cool books from Random House, for the hit Nick Jr. Show, Julius Jr. If that little monkey looks familiar to you, it’s because he’s related to Julius, the mascot of super cool Paul Frank Industries. Aside from getting a first glimpse at the new products, guests got to decorate cupcakes, pose for silly pics at the Julius photo booth, and create some colorful keepsakes.

Who Did We See?

Hit Preschool Series Julius Jr. Launches All-New Fisher-Price Toy LineSavvy Sassy Moms spied Kyle Richards, James Van Der Beek, Samantha Harris, Melissa Rycroft, Bree Turner and rapper Shwayze checking out all the new toys with their kids in tow. We loved Samantha Harris’ pretty blue frock with a honeycomb print. And can we say that James Van Der Beek has come a long way since Dawson’s Creek. Talk about hot dad.

230764742,D622A0E162187B540D4The Scoop on the Toys

Hit Preschool Series Julius Jr. Launches All-New Fisher-Price Toy LineThe toys are as bright and colorful as the show itself and feature all the character including my favorites Clancy the Giraffe and Julius Jr. They are all totally hands for the ultimate in play experience. I can see my toddler playing with these things for a while. And his older brother just might want to get on the act as well. The pop up book Welcome to the Hall of Doors is now making its rotation in our nightly bedtime routine. And because it’s a board book, it’s extra sturdy. My favorite? The super cool Julius Jr. Box Top Guitar which retails for just $22. It’s a small price to pay for all that awesomeness. I can see the living room concerts now. Rock on.

Moms, which celeb mom or dad would you want to have a play date with?
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Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 11.17.29 AMSo summer is on its way. In Los Angeles (where I live), we’ve already had a week of 90+ temps. Hard to believe for some parts of the country that were in a deep freeze not too long ago, but believe you me we’ve totally skipped spring and headed right on in to summer. So, when I heard about these new Ban Total Refresh Cooling Cloths, I had to try them.

Ban_GroupBan Total Refresh Cooling Cloths come in convenient purse ready packs and three different scents. My favorite is Refresh, which has a nice baby powder scent. There’s also Enliven (springtime fresh) and Invigorate (clean and crisp).

The cloths cool on contact leaving skin refreshed, moisturized, and silky thanks to Ban’s powder silk technology. Think that fresh out of the shower feeling or the way your skin feels after using one of those oil blotting papers.

Skeptical? I was at first. It seemed like something a woman would use mid hot flash (and I’m no where near that stage in life). But I took these in my gym bag and gave my face and neck a good wipe down post Pilates. Pretty sure I found my new gym bag staple.

Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 11.17.43 AMSide note: Where were these last summer when I was gigantically pregnant and constantly hot? I could have used a pack or two in my purse to freshen up on the go.

Should you try them? Yes. As busy moms, we could all use a mid day pick me up.

Moms, when would you use these cooling cloths?
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Thinking about throwing a circus-themed party for your big top loving tot? Check out these applause-worthy treats that will leave your crowd wanting more.

Walking the tight rope

This easy DIY cake topper is perfect for any circus themed party — whether it’s for kids or adults. Let the colors pop against the backdrop of vanilla bean frosting. It’s all in the details with this one. Yum!
Photo courtesy of


Clown cupcakes

Gummy worm smiles, fruit cereal hair and licorice eyes. You can’t get any more sweet (or cute) than that. These clown cupcakes are the perfect treat for any circus-loving kid.
Photo courtesy of

Circus peanuts

Peanuts! Get your peanuts here! With all the food allergies out there, it’s probably best to stay away from actual peanuts, so these candy substitutes are just the right choice.
Photo courtesy of

Dumb bell pops

Chocolate-dipped marshmallows and candy straws make up these strongman dumbbells. Use piped frosting to mark each one with its weight.
Photo courtesy of

Personalized animal crackers

Animal crackers. These perfectly portable packs of cookies are too cute not to include in a circus-themed spread. What could make them better? Personalizing them with the name of the birthday boy or girl.
Photo courtesy of

Colorful cotton candy

What circus would be complete without cotton candy? Cute striped boxes are filled with colorful spun sugar. Finish each one off with an “admit one” ticket for the full affect.
Photo courtesy of

Pretty pachyderms

The big top wouldn’t be the same without elephants. Bring these majestic animals — only smaller — to life at your party. Chocolate molds, melting chocolate and lollipop sticks are all you need.
Photo courtesy of Rosebud Chocolates on

Polka dot cookies

While we’re on the elephant tip, let’s get a little crazy with the polka dot kind. These bite-sized cookies are so pretty, they serve as great decorations as well.
Photo courtesy of  Sugar Me Desserterie on

SocialCircus LeaderboardThis is a sponsored post in conjunction with the online #SocialCircus Event

Moms, what treats would you serve up at a circus party?
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Bagels, eggs, champagne, bacon. We’ve all seen these staples at Easter morning brunch. But where’s the punch? Where’s the fun? These recipes are sure to amp up appetites and kick Easter brunch up a notch — from fun to fantastic.

Banana Almond Croissant Bread Pudding

I love all these words. Love them. How could you go wrong? The only way it could be better, maybe, is with chocolate. But why mess with perfection. This recipe is easy to follow, but it will look like you spent hours in the kitchen.

Photo courtesy of

Updated Eggs in a Basket

Eggs in a hole are so old school, but this recipe takes them to a new place. Whether you wrap your eggs in philo dough or in a popover, these savory treats will go fast.

Photo courtesy of


It’s the Bees Knees

Tired of mimosas? Looking for something a little…stronger? Yep, us too. This cocktail is full of springtime flavor with fresh juices, honey and gold rum. Who’s ready for another round?

Photo and recipe courtesy of
Bunny Bottom Pancakes Recipe

And Something for the Kids

These bunny bottom pancakes will make kids squeal with delight. The added dollop of whipped cream and fresh berries may have them asking for seconds.

Photo courtesy of


French Toast Shots

French toast can be messy, especially when you are serving things up family style. These cute French toast sticks are nestled in their own shot glass of syrup. They’re dunkable and totally delicious.

Photo courtesy of


Bacon Pancakes

Everything is better with bacon. That includes these pancakes. You can make these ahead of schedule and warm in the oven right before serving time. Once you have one, you’ll want another so make plenty.

Photo courtesy of


Moms, what are you serving for Sunday brunch?
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Another holiday, another craft. Amiright, moms? But these easy Easter crafts are going to make you rethink your love hate relationship with the glue gun. These six ideas are fast, and fun. Plus your kids are going to have blast. Check them out!


Potato Stamps

Chances are you already have everything you need for this easy craft. Parents, you wash and cut the potatoes. Kids, you dip the potatoes into the paint and go crazy on some construction paper. The design ideas are endless. Grandma’s gonna love this one hanging on her refrigerator.

Photo and craft courtesy of


Carrot Place Settings

Look, you’re gonna need help dressing up the table for Easter. Might as well put the kids to work. Grab some orange napkins, green pipe cleaners, and green plastic silverware. Wrap it all together to look like a carrot. Easy, peasy.

Photo and craft courtesy of

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 8.59.52 PM

Minion Easter Eggs

Can we just say that 2013 was officially the year of the minion? These Despicable Me 2 Easter Eggs are a cinch to make and are a great way to keep small hands busy.

Photo and craft courtesy of


A Little Something for Your Peeps

Wondering what to do with all those peeps laying around your house? Give them away! This craft makes for colorful giveaways either for your child’s classmates or your guests.

Photo and craft courtesy of


Bunny Prints

Small hands make for cute art. Try your luck at these smile-worthy bunny prints. White and pink paint is really all you need. You can do it on construction paper, or if you really want to get fancy you can make it into an ornament with felt.

Photo and craft courtesy of


Rabbit Rolls

Upcycle those toilet paper rolls and use them to make this cute bunny craft. Construction paper, google eyes, and a sense of humor required.
Photo and craft courtesy of

Moms, what are your favorite springtime crafts?
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