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.

Rainbows and Blocks

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It’s been a fun few days making rainbows and blocks. I got this idea of modge-podging quotes on wooden blocks and putting them on the tables of this fun mother-daughter event. Really, it was a quote that I saw first that inspired this whole theme. Let me explain.

The quote was, “Life is tough my darling, but so are you.” It really resonated with me. I thought about all these girls getting their periods and being shocked (like I was way back when I was 14) that we have to put up with such an annoying inconvenience of menstruating every month. Really, grossness every single month?!! Who came up with this idea and why haven’t women called unfair? Over the years I learned to deal with the grossness and became an expert at it. I want these girls to not be shocked but amazed at what our bodies do. Maybe one of them will invent a new way of dealing with it. I have seen those ads on facebook… Anyway I really like the idea of taking something difficult and making it your strength and I thought that these quotes could inspire girls and their mothers to embrace their womanhood and be proud of it instead of feeling embarrassed or overwhelmed. That’s my thing really: Spin all the bad into good. Because how else are we going to get through difficult things?

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So blocks. Why? Because they are cool and heavy and cheap and fun to paint and decoupage paper onto. I picked a color palette similar to the big pink wall colors and away we went! Payam cutting and sanding them of course because he is the Super Boyfriend woodworker guy.

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It was fun to scour the internet for good quotes. I had to think of how people would interpret them. I don’t want anyone to be offended by me pushing my silly self-healing doctrine down their throat but I think most of these are positive messages and hopefully can’t be misunderstood.

One thing I am worried about is the girls who don’t have mothers to bring with them. They’ll be bringing aunts or an older sister or maybe a close friend or neighbor and I’m hoping that that person loves them enough (I’m pretty sure they do since they are making the effort to attend) to use these quotes as teachable moments and it’s not too hard or too sad. I think everyone will band together to help and protect those girls, I know I will. My heart goes out to those girls.

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It has been brought up that mothers of boys who don’t have daughters and the fathers of daughters who don’t have mothers might be feeling left out and I am feeling pretty bad about that. I think I’m going to volunteer to throw a father-daughter dance or maybe just spread my graphic designer love in anyway the PTA needs me. I’m not sure how to help but my only real defense is that this is a subject that usually is neglected and I think it’s a cool thing that we are throwing some energy at it. I want to throw my energy at all the kids equally but sometimes you can only do what comes your way.

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Next up was the rainbow vortex wall! As the week went on I came down with a cold and another wall was starting to seem more and more daunting. Should I just skip it and be happy that at least I had the giant pink wall? I seriously thought about it but my heart was set on that rainbow wall and thankfully my faithful companion, Payam, knows what makes me tick.

When Saturday finally rolled around the girls and I went to go get doughnuts (so Payam could sleep in a little bit as a reward) and then started into work.

blocks-and-rainbows-5Working together it went pretty quickly and then I spent the rest of the day painting it. Payam helped me tape.

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Painting takes forever! But it was worth all that work. As you can see I referred to the color factory’s elevator doors for inspiration. I love all these colors. They kind of remind me of Kate Spade colors.  Two of them are leftover paint from the girl’s rooms and another is an oops paint I picked up at the hardware store. I got lucky on that one.

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Pulling the tape is so satisfying. The girls were definitely around to help for that step.

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We finished the wall in the nick of time before sunset! Then I took Sunday off and today (Monday) I touched up some of the little blip mistakes. I don’t have a final photo but don’t worry I’ll have plenty to share from the event itself that happens this Wednesday.

I can’t wait!