The Real Housewife of Santa Monica
Week 1 – South Street & Smith Memorial Park

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Week 1 – South Street & Smith Memorial Park

We started out at my sister’s house. My niece had a day off of work so we grabbed her and headed to South Street. The last time I’d been there was probably 20+ years ago and it wasn’t the same but we had fun.

We happened upon the Magic Gardens:

Outside The Magic Gardens

M was pretty grumpy as we’d just flown in the night before and it was pretty hot. Ok forget the excuses – that’s her default mood.

We had lunch at this largely empty pub. Free air hockey and a local cider, what more could you ask for?

Rachel and me at a pub

After lunch we headed to Smith Memorial Playground. Acres of playground

When I was a kid we at times sprayed furniture polish on the wooden floor, put socks on and slid back & forth. Some genius translated this to a slide!

You grab a gunny sack, run around the walkway and WHEEEEEEEEEEEEeeee down you go!

This little fellow helped us up at the bottom.

Texting & sliding.

No texts were harmed in the filming of this slide.

Not a bad “Intro to Summer Vacation.”

Jazz on the Lawn

This Sunday and next are the last two Jazz on the Lawn’s in Stewart Park!

You can take a picnic, lawn chairs and drinks to Stewart Park from 5-7 to hear live music. It’s REALLY fun and takes care of Sunday dinner/entertainment if you have little ones. This year they have added food trucks too in case you want to take it easy re: shopping, cooking & lugging dinner that inevitably no one will eat anyway.

WHERE: Stewart Park (where 28th turns into Stewart by 10 FWY in Santa Monica.
WHEN: Sundays in August 5-7PM
WHAT: Live music (This week: Cats with Class) & food trucks (This week: Dogtown Dogs & Sweet Lucie’s Organic Ice Cream.)
BRING: Picnic blanket, chairs & beverages (Both discrete & non-discrete types…)

There is a play structure just next to the stage so kids will be doubly or triply entertained!

Malibu…with kids

A few months ago a friend of mine suggested my kids & I join her one Friday morning at Malibu Country Mart. If I’d been drinking coffee it would’ve come out of my nose I laffed so hard. Not only do I hate driving & try to do as much as possible without getting into my car but I also don’t own any Lululemon yoga wear. I totally blew that off thinking, “Malibu? That’s like me going to the Valley!”

Anyway, a few weeks ago I found myself driving G’s truck to Malibu Feed Bin for some haystacks. We were having a little barnyard animal themed joint birthday party for the girls and I thought they would make up for what we lack in patio furniture, plus they’re cute!

Malibu Feed Bin
Photo from:

This place is easy to find – right on the side of the PCH. I pulled in ready to get in & out in no time but it’s way too much fun so we ended up looking around! Inside (I couldn’t take pix as I was trying to keep Bea from gettingherfingersbittenoffbyaratbreakingglassesswipingdogtoysandpocketingtinyplasticfarmanimals.), they have cages of bunnies, rats, chinchillas, hamsters & I *think* a cockatiel? WOW! The girls were fascinated!

After admiring the caged animals we paid for our hay. Incidentally, I keep calling it “hay” but it was actually “straw” – a distinction that matters to people who allergic to one but not both of those! We got 4 strawstacks for $10 each. They are about 3′x1.5′ and about 1′ high if my memory serves me. Anyway, it was lots of fun for the kids to see the animals – then I drove around back to pick up the stacks.

After that I decided to finally check out Malibu Country Mart and let the girls burn off some steam. I didn’t know exactly WHERE the park was so I just found the shadiest parking spot I could and decided to explore. Next time I’ll explore with a stroller instead of a sweaty kid who gets out of a Teva sandal quicker than I can say “heat rash.”

When you drive in off of the PCH, park in a lot on the NORTH side. That’s where the playground/main food area is.

It’s basically a playground surrounded by shops (expensive shops) & restaurants. Lucky for us there are a couple of casual places to eat. And a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

There are some cheaper counter service places too. And plenty of tables under umbrellas.

After eating, we headed to the playground.

It was HOT.

My only complaint: I only found 1 single bathroom. THere was a line for it, of course. There probably is a bigger bathroom somewhere but I didn’t have time to research that! I don’t believe there was a changing table in there either (not the end of the world if your child can stand on her/his own but if you have a newborn it might be challenging.)

After eating, we went to the baby swings since they were in the much-coveted shade.

The fancy people were eating behind the swings.

Sometimes when we’re out we’re having such a nice time that I keep on STAYING out past that sweet spot. Past the time of goodness. This was one of those times. M lost her s— on the swing & tried to kick me.

Time to go!

Mediterranean Salad

Back from vakay with a longggg to do list. What the heck! Let me get you this yummy salad how-to – still good for those end of summer picnics & BBQ’s. I’m making it tomorrow for the last “Jazz on the Lawn” concert.

I ate something like this in July when I was up at Three Rivers swooning over the hard won success of my dear friend Chris Lynch & her writing partner Meg Howrey. You see, they not only sold their international thriller City of Dark Magic to Penguin Publishing, but they also got the thumbs up for the sequel! Go Lynchie & Meg!!! Two smart broads!

We ate this at a dinner party up there. I couldn’t get enough of this. Neen and I had been wandering aimlessly around Sequoia National Park all day and arrived late & ravenous. How polite of us. With Nina’s help, I tried to replicate it when I got home and I’m please with the result! This salad is so satisfying, tasty & hearty. It’s REALLY easy to make. The most time-consuming part is boiling the grain which takes about 45 mins.

Here’s all you need:

1 1/2 c uncooked wheat berries or barley (barley is cheaper & easier to find but I was out)
8 oz feta (depending how much you like)
1/3 c sliced sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 c sliced kalamata olives
parsley to taste
1 avocado

1/4 c olive oil
2-3 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1/4 c fresh squeezed orange juice (about half an orange)

First, cook your grain according to package directions. You can do this a day ahead and chill in the fridge. Just be sure to drain thoroughly first.

Now drain & chill the barley. You don’t want it hot when you combine your ingredients.

NOTE: I didn’t really measure anything. I just added ingredients and tasted. That’s partly why this is such a simple salad – you can add more of things you like or have.

Combine ingredients in a large bowl.

Stir to combine and add dressing ingredients.

Here’s a rough approximation of the dressing amounts:

1/4 c olive oil
juice of half an orange
2-3 TBSP balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

Whisk together dressing ingredients. Drizzle about half that on salad & stir to coat thoroughly. Taste & adjust, adding more dressing if needed. I don’t like a puddle of dressing at the bottom of my salad so I start light & add more. The barley will absorb the dressing but I liked this as leftovers for up to 3 days.

Don’t let Maddie’s excitement fool you. She didn’t dig this.

Jazz on the Lawn
Rogelio Mitchell & Friends
Sunday, August 26
Bring a picnic/blanket and/or low chairs!



5.0 from 1 reviews

Mediterranean Barley Salad
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4-6

Savory, satisfying salad. Perfect for cookouts & side dishes or as a main with some leafy greens!
  • Salad:
  • 1-1/2 c uncooked barley
  • 8 oz feta (depending how much you like)
  • ⅓ c sliced sun-dried tomatoes
  • ¼ c sliced kalamata olives
  • parsley to taste
  • 1 avocado
  • Dressing:
  • ¼ c olive oil
  • 2-3 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ¼ c fresh squeezed orange juice (about half an orange)

  1. Cook barley according to package directions. Drain & chill in refrigerator.
  2. Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  4. Drizzle about half the dressing over the salad & stir to coat ingredients.
  5. Taste salad & adjust to your tastes including adding more dressing as needed.
  6. Serve with sliced avocado.

Salad will keep in refrigerator for 2-3 days. Wheat berries or faro make great substitutions for the barley!

Pumpkin Patch

A quick trip to Marina del Rey Garden Center this morning to pick up a pumpkin. I am NOT getting paid to say this but they were SO friendly! They took our picture, gave our kids candy (thanks a LOT) and let us loose to find the bunnies (who were, unfortunately, napping.)

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