Another Trip to LA: Minefaire and Chinatown

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It seems like ages ago we went to LA for Minefaire. It was snoresville but we did have a great time in Los Angeles afterwards. I always love a day in LA for adventure. Traffic not so much but adventure, yes. Everything there is charmingly different from Orange County and it always feels like an infusion of much needed variety.

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We don’t have graffiti where we live. If so much as the tiniest tag goes up on a wall or a fence it is gone the next day, no questions asked. I guess that is a good thing but I do love street art, especially really good street art. Sometimes I just want to paint my house purple in rebellion but I’m all hot air.

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Minefair and Minecon are not the same thing at all. Payam bought these tickets for the girls a long time ago before we even knew there was a difference. I’m sure to die-hard gamers it was pretty cool but to me it was just a giant conference room  filled with computers where kids were zoning out. We can do that at home. The store was pretty cool I guess. If you need another stuffed creeper, which we don’t. I did find a reason to have a pumpkin headed snowman of course. Gotta throw that in for seasonal decorations.

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The funny part was that we went to Minefair ON Payam’s birthday. Driving to LA in horrible traffic and then hanging out with gamers is not exactly his favorite thing to do but I guess he loves his girls. I add myself into that group because of how much I love adventure in LA, even if it does include a lame convention for a game that I’m not that into.

Bug is into Minecraft and she’s really good at creating these really cool houses and buildings. She’s thinking she might want to be an architect when she grows up and I am heartily encouraging that. I wanted to be an architect too way back in the day but I got discouraged by all the math.

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The best part of Minefair was going outside and eating street food. I love fresh tacos made on an industrial-sized cookie sheet over a propane tank. I am ever amazed at how ingenious street vendors are. And to think I wouldn’t rent an apartment because it had a hot plate and not a real stove! I should have taken some lessons from these guys.

I especially love the fresh fruit in cups. Coconut, mangos, cantaloupe, cucumbers…a squeeze of lime and some chili powder–yum! I always worry about getting food poisoning because surely things can’t be that clean but we never do. Street germs are good I guess.

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After our lunch in the street we decided we weren’t ready to go home yet so we took a quick trip to Chinatown. We love ducking into the little shops and discovering new things.

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I feel privileged that I get to follow Bug and Joon around and take pictures. They are getting prettier and prettier every day. I feel like I have my own models constantly walking around with me just asking me to take their picture. I need to take my real camera out more often. Whenever I do I always have such a good time with it.

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After Chinatown we rushed home to go to a violin concert that Bug’s new violin teacher was starring in. Her teacher is really really good. Like ripping up the violin in a floor-length red velvet dress good. The girls sat there mesmerized, not even bored at all.  Sadly I have no photos of that. I wish I could have but I was shy to take my camera into the theatre.

I didn’t even tell you that we hired a private tutor for violin lessons for Bug. She’s getting serious about violin and unfortunately her class at school is kinda stuck and not progressing so she’s forging on ahead with private lessons. I’m really proud of her. Of course getting her to practice regularly is a challenge but that’s really what this whole thing is about anyway. I’m really happy that she is not giving up on something that she is good at.

After the concert the girls and I stopped by a grocery store and bought Payam a cake. He didn’t go to the concert so it was our little surprise.

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Which he wholeheartedly deserved.

Bug’s Great Limo Ride Birthday Party

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Every year we joke that we’ve set the bar so high for parties that we will never be able to top it.  Whatever are we going to do next year, Paris? Hah!   I don’t know about Paris next year but we are really going to have to be creative to top this year’s limo party.

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Everybody arrived at 3pm and Victor the limo driver and his stretch showed up at 3:30. Eight girls and I piled in.

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First stop boba, of course.

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You know what’s awesome about tweens? They love group shots. No more cajoling everyone to squeeze in, they were more than happy to oblige with their squad poses.

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Next stop the mall! We didn’t really shop (I didn’t really budget for that.). A few girls brought spending money but not everyone did so we stuck to fun interactive things. Thankfully this mall is full of them.

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Like riding down the escalator as a crew, posing on the shoe shine chairs and of course throwing pennies into the fountain in the food court.

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We did make a stop at Lush to smell all the pretty soaps.

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And of course the candy shop that sells Pusheen merchandise.

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And lastly macarons for everyone!

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Then down the escalator to catch the limo for the next stop. Victor was so patient with us. (We tipped him well to make sure he knew how much we appreciated him.)

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We cruised by the beach and stopped for a special Pusheen wedding as the sun set. These girls, man. I have to say I really like Bug’s group of friends. They are so smart and well-read and when one of them officiates the wedding with all the right words and a few well-timed jokes that crack everyone up, you have to just sigh…They really impressed me.

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Then we headed back home for a green dinner! I should have taken a photo of the long table in the daytime but you get the idea. The ice shard milk-carton flowers came in handy. Who cooked this dinner you might wonder? Payam did! Actually I made green enchiladas the day before so Payam could pop them in the oven a half hour before we got there. Then Payam made green quesadillas (by hand in a pan!) and we had green chips and guacamole of course. Bug looooooves guacamole.

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I have such a soft spot for long-table dinner parties. They are my favorite!

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We sang happy birthday and served the birthday girl with a tree of lime cupcakes. You can tell she’s fading a little bit in this picture. Poor girl had a sore throat all day but she powered through. Did you know kids don’t like cupcakes anymore? I had no idea. I also served them green tea and mint chocolate chip mochi and they all reached for the mochi over the cupcakes.

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Oh yeah, I was there too! In a new green dress that makes me look like a flight attendant. I love it. We found it on a whim last minute at one of those big box discount stores.

Happy Big Green Twelfth Birthday, Bug! Whatever are we going to do next year?