This is the summer of moving around a lot… and chaos because at any moment I could be sent to a different city or location in LA. As such, we are focused on being open-minded and patient when it comes to travel. This also means we are doing a lot of last-minute planning and finding creative ways to keep things simple.
Week One: Hollywood
It’s not easy living with a kid on the strip. Let me tell you… the madness of all the tourists and sellers and superheroes and traffic and beggars makes for an interesting experience. But, unlike the tourists, we meander the streets early in the morning and know every back alley entrance in Hollywood. There are tons of locals who live in the area, you just don’t see them because they are very good at not being seen.
This week we have a tiny little room in the Roosevelt for a few days; it’s just big enough for two people to squish around each other. We don’t have a fridge. We don’t have a kitchenette. We don’t have laundry. We don’t even have a car. But, we’re making it work.
Food… Cheap and Easy
When eating in Hollywood the rule of thumb is to avoid eating at hotels and on the strip. It will cost you triple what you’d normally pay. Imagine paying $30 for an ok hamburger (with no fries). People do it. Don’t be that person.
Here are four of this week’s food discoveries:
Fresh & Easy. The joke in Hollywood is that Fresh & Easy is neither fresh nor easy. And, while the fruit/veggies are rather sad, the produce is suspicious, the bakery empty, the deli filled with strange things, and the aisles devoid of useful food… the pre-packaged snacks are actually pretty good/healthy (Whole Foods quality). So, this is where we got the summer camp snacks. And, we planned each day like it was a snack only day.
Ro-Ros Chicken. My kid will eat chicken and hummus all day, every day, until the cows come home. Ro-Ros makes it really easy to order food online and they’ll deliver to just about anywhere in Hollywood… including hotels.
Instacart. At some point, you’ll crave vegetables, fresh fruit, and pbj sandwiches. This is where Instacart comes in handy. Go to their site, fill your cart with food from places like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, and someone else will do the shopping and deliver it to you. I kid you not. You can even do this from your phone… there’s an Instacart app.
Lyfe Kitchen. Discovering Lyfe in Palo Alto was amazing. Finding it in Hollywood was a Godsend. Quality, healthy, delicious food. Order from their website and they’ll deliver anywhere in Hollywood.
Getting Around Without a Car
No one wants to drive in LA but the transit system is COMPLETELY terrible. So, everyone hires a car. And, you can’t get any cheaper and easier than hiring an Uber from your phone. There are thousands of new drivers bought on daily (in all the cities) and the wait for a ride in LA is less than 5-minutes.
All this said, cheap also means the drivers are treated poorly and this makes me angry. So, Lyft is our new trial best friend because the company compensates well and the drivers seem to be happy.
Summer Camp: Steve & Kate’s
We participated in Steve & Kate’s Camp before in Silicon Valley. The experience for us there was rather meh so we decided to pass when it came to planning the rest of our summers. That said, the camp is all over the US and experiences differ from city to city. In LA, you still have the same pay-as-you-go and no-commitment-on-when-where-to-go policy. They also happen to be rated very highly in the LA blogging mom community.
As it turns out, our one week at the LA camp was fantastic. It was really easy to organize and attend with little notice (remember: simple). For the kidlet, they had a constant stream of fun activities, the food was courtesy of Master Chef Junior, and she made friends with whom she enjoyed making bread and stop animation videos.
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From the Kidlet when asked what was different about this camp vs. SF:
“This one had air conditioning so I didn’t feel like I was dying every day at huddle (note: she bought a special hoodie in prep for the baking sun). Also, they have ice mist fans that you stand in front of when you get too hot.”
“There were more activities and more things to do at this camp. I especially liked baking and rock climbing.”
“The kids here seemed less snobby and more friendly. I made some friends.”