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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Don’t we all need new interesting avatar shots? Yes, yes we do.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fun activities together are never a bad idea. Fun activities with phones…I’ll just plead guilty.
It was a dark and stormy night. Actually it was barely even drizzling but the thought of trekking to the beach fire pits for the annual jumping-over-fire event (aka Chaharshanbe Suri) seemed like way too much work for us pansy-ass Californians. Weather in general freaks us out. Hours of mindless traffic, whatever! But a slight drizzle is cause for alarm.
So we bought some coals and some Persian take-out from our local International market and called up Grandma Pedram. It had been one of those rough-around-the-edges kind of day and a little Tuesday night family visiting would do us some good. Of course the kids were bummed because a little drizzle (or wild horses) couldn’t keep them away from the beach. They sulked in the car and stuck their noses in their phones, playing data-free games while Payam and I cursed at the usual Tuesday night traffic.
When we got to Grandma’s, Uncle Ramin had already gotten a small barbecue ready for us. This was something new for everyone, making fires at home! Fire! Fire! It was novel and even the phone-addled girls started to catch on to the excitement while Grandma stayed inside nice and warm peering through the sliding glass door.
After the fire was going in the small barbecue, Payam took some tin foil and made seven small fires. It took a bit of coaxing to get them going. He worked on that while the rest of us chowed down on our Persian take-out inside. When the fires were good and lit, the kids came out and we started the “jumping festival”.
Jumping over fires is thought to be a way to say goodbye to the bad of last year and hello to the good of this year. I’m all for that! Uncle Ramin taught us how to say “Give me your beautiful red color and take back my sickly yellow pallor” in Farsi. Of course I cannot remember how to say it now but it’s relatively easy. The kids made up their own sayings as they jumped over. Bug wished for no allergies and Joon wished for happiness.
It didn’t really matter what we said or if we had the fire-jumping traditions down just right. We are not practicing Zoastrians and we probably didn’t even get the day right. Chaharshanbeh Soori* literally translates to the last Wednesday of the New Year so why are we doing it on a Tuesday night? We discussed that for quite a bit but no one really had a good answer. We were just there for the memories and the family time. I’m so glad we did it too.
Sometimes you have to push through those rough days when you’d really rather just check out on the couch and let the kids turn their brains into phone-addled mush and put out a little effort because it’s always worth it in the end. Always. Seeing Grandma Pedram smile through the sliding glass door as her grandkids jumped over fire like she probably did as a little girl is something I will always treasure.
*there are so many ways to spell Persian words in English (Pringlish) so forgive my many iterations.