Candytopia and the Great Instagrammable Adventure

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I wrote this whole post about my conflicted reasoning for letting my kids use instagram before they are thirteen and it was pathetic. It was definitely a trying-too-hard-to-justify-my actions sort of post. So I’m deleting it and I’m just going to talk about the fun of hanging out with your kids in this crazy whacky place called Candytopia. Thankfully this blog is not really on anybody’s radar anymore so I’ll probably squeak by without anyone noticing! Phew!SAJ-and-kids-go-to-Candytopia-2

Candytopia is a fun little pop-up museum dedicated to all things candy. They had some trouble getting it off the ground in the beginning. Some compliance issues with the city etc.. so they moved locations and things are a little worn around the edges because of that but it’s still well worth a trip if you are in the neighborhood.  It’s located in the Santa Monica mall, sort of like one of those seasonal Halloween costume shops but a whole lot more interesting and pretty big. I’d say there are just enough rooms and things to look at to justify the twenty-six dollar ticket price. Just barely.SAJ-and-kids-go-to-Candytopia-3

We mugged and we posed. We acted like instagram fools. Payam rolled his eyes and held our stuff so we could “have a moment” and then another moment and then fifty more moments just like that one to make sure we smiled just right.

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I’m probably the first one to roll my eyes when I see another picture of someone rolling around in a pool full of sprinkles on Instagram but you know what? It IS fun! You should go and you will have fun too! Candytopia is a blast. It’s a super fun museum of rooms to take whacky pictures in. Nobody shames you because the rooms were built for that sole purpose. The staff even encourages you to take photos and will even help you get a better shot.

Photography is such a wonderful medium to express yourself. Like any medium, it will be different from person to person. You can all take pictures in the same exact rooms of the same exact weird candy sculpture but nobody’s picture will be exactly the same.

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I say embrace it. Stop worrying about being a lemming. Sometimes things become weirdly popular because they really are fun.SAJ-and-kids-go-to-Candytopia-6

If your kids are into it, then maybe this is something you can do together. You could hike to Zion and stand in line to see the Narrows behind three troops of boy scouts. That’s the sad thing about social media these days, you find something cool, you share it and then everyone mobs it until it’s not fun anymore.SAJ-and-kids-go-to-Candytopia-7

The nice thing about Candytopia is that it wasn’t too mobbed. I think the millennials have already been there, done that and discarded it. Which makes it perfect for me. Still cool. Still super fun and hey, something fun to do with your kids.

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Don’t we all need new interesting avatar shots? Yes, yes we do.

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We had a blast.  I just spent several hours with my kids laughing and nobody was whining or complaining or checking out. They were very much checked in. We all were! I mean, Free candy! Whacky things to walk around and interact with! What’s not to love?

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We grabbed the ribbon wands and stood in front of the wind machine like real models surfing on rainbow covered surfboards. It was all those photo shoots I’ve wondered about within easy access.SAJ-goes-to-Candytopia-11

The piece de resistance was the marshmallow pit!!! I would pay thirty bucks just to do that again easily. It was hilarious!! I don’t think I remember the last time I fell into a ball pit and worked my core muscles so much. It was so hard! Then add not wanting to lose your phone or jewelry to the bottom of the pit and that made it even more challenging. We laughed, we jumped, we swam, we filmed instagram stories…. It was amazing.

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You might be wondering if they are real marshmallows. They are not. Thankfully, because that would be a bit of a sticky situation. The marshmallows were actually a stiff but squishy foam and I totally wanted to steal some. I didn’t. But I have been thinking on it and wondering if I could come up with some kind of similar material because how fun would that be for a craft? I’ll be perking on that idea for a while.

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After Candytopia we hit Third Street Promenade. We had lunch at the best taco place ever (BP Tacos which totally stands for Brenda Ponnay, wink wink) and then walked down the pier.

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It was a cold, windy day but still beautiful. The skies were so blue. I’ve been to Santa Monica many times but never taken my kids there. We didn’t ride any rides but we walked and walked and thoroughly enjoyed our day out. It definitely made the hour-and-a-half drive more worth it.

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What else can I say? I’ll leave the kids and instagram debate for another time. I think we had a great time and that’s enough reason to post these pictures.

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Fun activities together are never a bad idea. Fun activities with phones…I’ll just plead guilty.

The Crazy Big Pink Wall

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I’m up to my usual hijinks and I’m planning another event. This one is for Bug’s school. I’m kind of a passive PTA member who doesn’t go to meetings but if called upon to create some kind of fun graphic design project, my ego won’t let me say no. This gets me into all kinds of trouble. Most of the time I love this trouble.

This event is no exception.

A little back-story: Once upon a time there used to be this program with the school district called a “mother daughter tea” and it was a fun little event where a speaker came in and talked to fifth grade girls about puberty and the big P-word. Well, the year Bug was in fifth grade they didn’t do it because nobody knew what it was.  The PTA was completely clueless and when it came up in a budget meeting they decided to pass on some such foo-foo social event because who has time and money to just spend on girls and their mothers? They had no idea it was the big P-talk. Poor nurses and teachers of fifth grade girls be damned.

You know what I had to say about that. I made a big fuss. Well, amongst my friends of course. I would never go to a PTA meeting and make an actual fuss. I’m way too passive aggressive and nice to do that. I made many small fusses with my friends and decided to take it on with my best pal, Maria (the mother who never says no to any of my hair-brained ideas). And by take it on I should mention that we are going to host the fifth AND sixth grade girls because the sixth grade girls got shafted last year. This means it’s basically the size of a wedding. Budget smudget.

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Instead of hosting a “tea” (because that’s way too tame for me) I decided to one-up that idea and host an *instagrammable event* (think mini color factory) and call it “Memories with Mom” because I love the idea of taking selfies with your daughter. I have been doing it will Bug after all before we even called it a “selfie.” I wanted to call the event “Selfies with Mom” and capitalize on the craze but Bug nixed that with a hard eye roll.

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You know what all that means: time to make some backgrounds! I’ve made cardboard backgrounds and butcher paper backgrounds and vinyl backgrounds that we tied to pipes on the wall in the big multi-purpose room because the walls are brick and you can’t really nail or attach anything to them and tape is always out  because of their big “NO TAPE” rule, that I hate. Anyway all those backgrounds were miserable failures so I stepped it up big time and hired Payam (except without paying him) to create actual wood constructed backgrounds. Go big or go home, right? Thankfully he loves me enough to pretty much take on any wild whim I might pull out of my butt. And believe me I pull out a lot of them.

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I drew up some schematics (Never underestimate a graphic artist with a vision!) and he built them exactly to spec. He is awesome. And also sore from head to toe and pretty much boycotting my project today to spend it on the couch watching soccer instead. I am completely understanding. Well, for the most part.

There is one problem with my specs. I failed to realize how big eight feet really is. It’s a big mo-fo! Like way too big. How am I going to get this in and out of my house let alone staple flowers to and transport to the school where they have given me a small 8-inch (by who knows how high) storage area next to the piano in the MPR.  I may have had a small mini panic attack this morning over this problem. Thankfully my best mom pals have come to my texting rescue and consoled me. We will figure it out, they say.

It is an awesome wall and it will be used.

But we are not done. I have to decorate this mofo (In a pink floral theme, swoon!) and I am also tasking Payam to build one more wall. Why? Because we need more than one instagrammable station at this mother-daughter event. I’m requesting the next wall will only be six feet high and hopefully it will be much more manageable. I plan to paint that one with a rainbow vortex. I’ll keep you posted.