This place is a winner, there are hundreds like them in LA, but none have the honest ownership, friendly staff, and creative venue that IN PLAY LA puts together. Call them, talk to the owners, tell them what you want and work out the price as you go, very flexible and affordable. This is the place stop looking.
Look this is simple, a lot of these in door play rooms are just that, rooms with stuff to play with and a couple paid adults to make sure little Sarah doesn’t choke down too much pizza or ask for another pre paid juice box. BUT THIS PLACE IS DIFFERENT!
In PLAY LA takes care of your whole experience. I’m a father of two boys (3) and (4). We have been patrons of these indoor play arenas for the last 2.5 years: birthdays, baptismals, or random Friday afternoon fun. So let me run down the essentials and then tell you why driving to the Valley for your toddlers next birthday party is worth it.
Is it safe?
Absolutely: Every corner padded and every child proof mishap accounted for.
Is it clean?
Check: 7 generation or whatever non scented non toxic pro hippy cleaner they use to spray it all down- works. The balls in the ball pit where fresh and brand new, the toys were picked up and prepared for 3 year old destruction, the bath room (one large restroom very family friendly) was sparkling and also had a changing table, a stool and age appropriate sinks/towels/and mirrors so every one there felt at ease while using the lavatory.
Is it fun?
Nailed it!: I have been to this place as a guest and I liked it so much I brought my son back for his third birthday. Both parties displayed the space’s capacity to hold you and all your guests. The front room was designed to host the cake cutting and offered seating for that one aunt who shows up late and doesn’t want to see any children. A quaint playroom with a large chalkboard for your smaller guests to play in is just past the main entrance and then it opens up into a pretty awesome play area with a jumper a playscape complete with slide that lands you in a ball pit. Pretty legit. From there kids can ride toy cars and play indoor basketball and run off all that energy. For hiding between store fronts in the middle of Lankershim this place is a true diamond in the rough. This place was so great I thought about what it would take to open up my own similar business, they made it seem so easy.
Here’s the cool part and what sets them apart from other indoor play rooms: Parents and adults have their own space to chill! That’s right I said it, you can literally let your son/daughter have a great afternoon while you hang out in the back yard set up with shade and lounge chairs and venue for serving food. You are allowed and I encourage it, to bring your own food for your guests to enjoy…and…now this next part I’m going to say in my dad whisper voice, so the kids can’t hear…(you can bring your own adult beverages and offer your 21+ crowd an afternoon drank). Talk about covering all your bases. Everyone is happy and no clean up, c’mon…
They can decorate the venue with any theme and custom fit your needs with any flexible package, just ask, they will work with you. Stop looking, this is it. You’re welcome!
When I first heard that my 5’ 12”, 280lb, wide frame, beer belly, “former athlete”, out of shape ass was now considered the new hot sexy summer look circa June 2015, I looked up to the heavens and just pointed, knowing that the great spirit in the sky was smiling down on me. All my hard work had paid off. A look that I didn’t have to aspire to, I was already there. I’m here to share with you exactly how I grew my self a Dad Bod and how you are already on your way to growing a killer Dad Bod, too.
Performance Enhancing Blessings
Follow these 3 tried and true steps to getting your Dad Bod.
Beer! Cervesa! Whatever The Germans Call It!
From freshman year in college until about age 35-just go for it- have at it. Drink an insane amount of alcohol. Beer, the cheaper the better. Cheap beer requires more cans and more cans means more calories, which are key to growing those front stomach muscles, and provide plenty of fat for the face and neck. Wine, this libation is important because it serves as your “break” from beer, and it allows you to appear classy. And of course liquor – never frowned upon in the a.m. -liquor’s weird because you don’t feel as full, so you think you’re not doing all you can to shape yourself into that Dad Bod, but liquor makes you mad hungry. You’re going to put in a lot of stupid Friday nights at a club drinking rum n cokes because you’re 23 and you don’t know what you’re doing yet, but every Friday night you’re going to stumble your ass into a Fat Burger at 1 a.m. and go “King burger on the char with cheese bacon and egg please” and go immediately to sleep, ensuring that every one of those calories turns into nothing but fat. Your twenties are a golden time for hydration, you really appreciate your weekends now that dorm life is over, you’re really good at all the drinking games because you’ve been on the beer pong circuit for 9 years now and, you can still wake up hung over on a Tuesday and go to work. If you missed your twenties, pop off that beer cap with your wedding ring and catch up, drinking alcohol is key to building a strong round gut.
The reason the Dad Bod works is because you can surprisingly pull off grown and sexy while you’re literally fat and sloppy, onlookers still see the skeleton of the athlete you used to be and that doesn’t happen unless you know how to work out. Step 2 will really make or break your Dad Bod look. I spent the majority of my twenties working out just to stay fit. Lots of sit ups and push-ups and meaningless hours in the weight room and on the tread mill, you see the trick is in understanding that the food we eat is so bad for us that all this time working out is pointless to losing weight but vital to sculpting the perfect Dad Bod. The six pack is still there, you just have to lean back real far and flex to see it. Curls for the girls, squats, your bench press max, all this makes for a great base and never leaves you as you grow the torso. All these pseudo muscles come in handy when you’re at the beach with your shirt off and you get tired of sucking it in, you can walk around with your arms in the air pretending to stretch- this display will shrink your love handles tremendously. When you catch on that you’re getting fat no matter what you do in the gym, start to change up your workout routine to include more reps less weight, this won’t do anything but make your workout easier and you can still tell yourself you worked out. Again if you’re late to the game, don’t panic you can still achieve the dream Dads, join your local expensive gym and don’t forget to drink beer after your workout to replenish the carbs you burned off flailing the empty dumbbell in the air 100 times with no weight.
This is the best part and the easiest. To achieve and maintain that Dad Bod, eat as many times a day as possible without cooking. You want processed food as much as you can stomach, bag of chips at 11:00pm – check, gas station sushi for breakfast – check, microwave popcorn for lunch – yes, please. The point is in America there is processed fake food at your fingertips every minute of the day and a true Dad Bod stud is going to grab it all. Fast food burgers for $.99, 50 chicken nuggets for $2.99, large diet Coke for $1.49 – YES YES Yes to all of that, its economical and it shows up big time in your waist and man boobs. Who wants to splurge and spend all that hard earned cash on a $3.00 bottle of water and an organic apple for $2.99/lb? Make the switch from fresh food to fake food and in no time you’ll be looking like a true Dad Bod God.
So now you have your Dad Bod- a true SitCom Dad- under six feet tall and over 200lbs- you’ve truly let yourself go. Starting in 2001 I put in major work, like you, I grew a Dad Bod before I was ever a dad, basically it should be called a ‘Merican Bod. If you eat whatever you want and fake a couple workouts a week you’ll be securely on a course for Dad Bod greatness. No need to chase girls at the club anymore, you’ve found a spouse, she still kisses you in the morning so you must be doing something right, you’ve managed to convince her to have sex and procreate (at least as many times as you have kids) so why worry about looking like Magic Mike anymore. The problem is a funny thing happened to me when I became a dad; I suddenly had this deep unwavering desire to… live!
SO I STARTED WITH THE MAN IN THE MIRROR.
My fat ass started thinking about heart attacks, and if I’ll be around to see my kids graduate college, will I ever see my grandkids; you know real life shit like that. I woke up one day and I looked in the mirror and I came to the realization that it’s all a lie. Fat isn’t cool- its normal- and when was normal ever cool. In the eighties there was 1 fat kid in class and you all knew his or her name, today the whole dam schoolyard is full of obese children. They’re running, they’re playing, but they eat so much fake food, there is no way they won’t end up with heart disease and type II diabetes by the age of 20.
Being the hefty dad is no model for health you should pass on to your children. I don’t want my sons to see me and think rocking a Dad Bod is inevitable. I did that; I saw my dad’s massive beer belly and thought yup, if I’m lucky one day I’ll be a man with a beer belly too. Fuck that! Live Dads! Shift the paradigm. They tell you “Eat whatever you want as long as you work out” bullshit, what should be said is “Eat correctly and work out whenever you want”.
The norm suggests that it is all on you, you ate the double quarter pounder with cheese, large fries and a large diet Coke “as part of a balanced meal” and you’re rocking’ a fat Dad Bod because you don’t work out. That’s a false narrative. Obesity and gym membership are both on the rise, because your workout is pointless if you keep eating animal products, sugar, and processed fake food. You cannot run the fake food off, you cannot jog long enough in a day to sweat out that Hot Pocket you had for lunch.
Realizing that our food as I know it and consume it was killing me with or without a trip to the gym, on July 1st, 2015 I woke up and told myself, I’m going to live the next 30 days like the healthiest guy I know, Hashim Mteuzi, vegan body builder/personal trainer/brother from another mother. I spent the next 30 days only eating a plant based diet –yup- I went vegan, and before you trip and tell yourself it’s too hard or too crazy or I need my meat or the most popular response “WHAT ABOUT MY PROTEIN!!!
Just stop and take a breath and think about it. Your ass is fat you could miss some protein, don’t rest on the food pyramid as your reason for not changing your diet. When you were in second grade the food pyramid was a legit way to sell the idea of including dairy and meat in every meal- things change- you should consume way less animal products than you currently do. Sorry if that upsets the inner child in you who loves carne asada or baby back ribs, but get over it – they lied about the food pyramid in second grade and they lied about the planet Pluto, too.
It isn’t that humans shouldn’t eat meat, it’s just we eat too much meat and the manner in which it is produced is “grounded” in a profit based model. If you have a Dad Bod you’ve been eating and drinking AND working out most of your adult life and you have very little positive results to show for it except you look like a normal fatty American. So stop and hear me out. The food you are eating right now is probably not real and definitely not good for you and if you want to change the way you look and feel you have to eat more plants. Period. Eat food that will eventually rot- that’s proof it was real, eat food that never had eye balls- mass produced animal products just aren’t good for you, drink less milk –because no other animal drinks another animal’s milk, it’s weird. Plant based diets work. Not because you care about the animal’s feelings and not because you care about the environment, but because you care about playing with your grandkids one day and if you’re too fat or too dead, that ain’t happening homie.
Now, I’m not saying we should change the name of this website from BIGBrownDad.com to PapaFlaco.com but if we do not open our eyes and realize that the food industry is mostly about feeding poor people fake food full of sugar and preservatives, well…you’ll be a big brown dead dad way before your time.
After my 30 day Hashim Vegan Challenge ( look up #TheHashimChallenge via Instragram) I lost 15 pounds in four weeks, had the energy of an out of shape 20 year old, stopped snoring so load that I woke myself up, and didn’t recognize my pantry or refrigerator (because all the crap disappeared). It is important to note that I incorporated a small stretching and push up routine but in no way would I consider what I was doing a workout. My results came from one source, eating a solely plant based diet and drinking expensive craft beers aka I chose conscience over ease.It has changed my life; I still drink like a champ but that intervention is for a different blog. I haven’t gone back to meat or dairy, I’ve been plant based for 8 weeks now and have lost a total of 26 lbs as of August 22th.
There are a few things I think about that culturally I have clung to as habitual eating behaviors that I still miss, but whenever I crave food from my status quo days, I just look in the mirror, suck in my now smaller gut, and smile. I no longer have a “dicky-do” (*a dicky-do is when your gut sticks out more than your dicky-do), I can see all my toes, and I don’t have to walk around with a permanent ab flex to mask my spare tire.
I bought some coconut oil and pan fried my tofu, bought a legit blender from Costco for smoothies, used a dab of sesame seed oil for my vegetable stir fry, and copped a large rice cooker. I looked up local vegan spots to eat at, these chefs are professionals, the food will be delicious and they are a great resource for recipe ideas. Planning out your meals always helps, but if you’re too busy just stop and think about each meal before you eat it and pay attention to what you put in your body. If nothing plant based was available, I waited, you can afford to miss a few fake food meals-you’re fat remember. Start slow and if you slip up try again next meal.
Going vegan isn’t a cult or a religion, actually it’s both, but you won’t get kicked out for food adultery. Good luck dads, and remember, you’re children are watching you – they want to be just like you- give them something healthy to look at. #BeBetter
Eddie Gorton is the lucky dad of Xavier and Lorenzo, the last two years have been filed with tears of joy and pain as his life is an array of endless daddy duties and sleepless nights. Eddie, a two time “#1 Dad” award winner, is an Instructional Coach for LA unified, rocks a psychology degree from Occidental College and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Cal State L.A. He looks forward to the day when his two sons are old enough to wash the cars.
If you’ve ever driven on the 5 South to San Diego I’m sure you have seen these signs from the freeway.
Who knew that about 5 minutes up the street from here there would be an amazing park for the whole family? Cedar Grove Park in Tustin Ranch is just 10 minutes from Santa Ana and is full of nature, trails, open space and distinct play areas for kids!
Cedar Grove Park 11385 Pioneer Rd Tustin, CA 92782
Run kids, run!
My daughter is a ball of energy; this park has so much to do and see that when we strategically plan a visit before bedtime it’s the earliest and easiest bedtime of the week!
There are three main play areas for the kids, a basketball court, huge cedar grove trail, an amphitheater, and a covered entertaining space (with tables and benches, we see people host baby showers and bday parties here every weekend). You and your family can spend all day here.
The first kid’s area is the covered play structure where they can be heard planning their latest pirate ship attack:
This area is really well thought out and is beyond safe. All the kids seem to be drawn to the reptile and amphibian residents who (I’m not gonna lie) are a little creepy but inspire great adventures.
The second area is over a troll’s bridge and has some modern art looking climbing structures and two baby and toddler swings.
This park makes me wish I was a kid again!
Play area #3 has been taken over by the kids but is an exercise space for everyone. Maybe one day I will be bold enough to work out with my 4 yr old…hmmm…on second thought let the kids have it!
At the back of the park is a trail that leads to an 8 mile hike called the Peters Canyon Hiking Trail. You can explore aquatic animals all year from this underground spring-fed creek. The park and the surrounding canyon areas are so expansive it’s easy for one to find some zen and a nice escape from the city here.
Before Maverick and Goose were slapping together uncoordinated high-fives, the San Gabriel Valley had squadrons of Mexican-American kids strafing imaginary flight towers from the grounds of Palm View Park in West Covina.
You might be surprised to learn that the plane at Palm View is an actual F-86D Sabre Jet, the backbone of American mainland defense in the 50s. During the Korean conflict, the F-86D made the MiG 15 its yeoja.
The Palm View Park Plane in service circa 1955
In the early 60’s, enterprising civic organizations from West Covina coordinated the relocation of the plane to Palm View. They’ll be happy to know, kids from far and wide have been pissing in it, on it and around it for decades.
But sunlight and time are disinfectants, so I let Joaquin have at it.
Dad is my Co-Pilot
Eject! Eject! Eject!
The park is good insofar as it has 2 distinct play areas for kids of varying dexterity.
Play Area #1
Play Area #2
it’s empty bc Joaquin doesn’t play that baby shit.
While the park provided plenty of options for fun, we were appalled by the amount of trash littering the playground. I took pictures.
Empty Bag of Weed
Picnic @ Palm View
I started to see a story emerge in the trash. Someone got faded, ate lunch then dessert and then bounced.
As concerned as I was by the litter, I wasn’t bout to pick that shit up.
The Lord knows I wasn’t bout to touch this:
But this? Wait, what is…that…
Presidents found dead at Palm View Park
Now that’s some trash I CAN pick up. I asked Joaquin if we should take the money to the park office or blow it on ice cream and he asked what time Baskin Robbins opened.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m as disgusted with the millennials’ addiction to technology as you are.
But before there was this:
There was this:
As a youngster, I devoured the back of cereal boxes with as much enthusiasm as when I plowed through their sugary deliverances. I loved the games: serpentine mazes, simple word searches, even the confusing games of tic-tac-toe with Cheerios.
At the time I wasn’t aware the back of the cereal boxes were primarily a way for marketers to keep consumers engaged kids enslaved to their brand. And for this reason, cereal boxes are great cultural artifacts; they provide a snapshot of what advertisers of a given age think children of a given age want to see.
So, as I’m sitting in the kitchen waiting for my children to bum-rush the set, I thought I’d take a closer look at the cereal boxes in my house.
Let’s start with Posts’ Honeycomb.
The front of the box is straight-forward. While shopping, though, I noticed nearly half of the cereal boxes are yellow. And that’s definitely no accident.
The font takes its cues from the rounded letters of old school street art, with COMB looking a lot like BOMB. I can’t front, I like the idea of a honey bomb. I wonder why, though, they felt bound by grammar conventions and included a hyphen between honey-comb (which is one word, Honeycomb), when they felt free to flout the rules of capitalization?
Now, let’s turn to the back of the box.
RU Honeycomb 2 UR Core? Again, I’m confounded by their arbitrary adherence to grammar conventions. IDK about U, but I never conjoin RU. Who does that? And if RU means “Are You” then doesn’t UR mean “You are?” By attempting to speak in a youthful vernacular, they’ve confused the shit out of us all.
IT’S NOT WHAT YOU DO, IT’S HOW YOU MAKE IT YOURS. Solid. I can live with this tag line.
MAD ABOUT MUSIC? I think they’re using “MAD” as slang for “CRAZY” which is slang for “DEEPLY INTERESTED” which is “GROOVY” if not 20 years outdated.
ARE YOU A GAMING GURU?No, I’m 8 years old and I don’t know what a GURU is but I do know what a desperate attempt at alliteration looks like!
LIVE TO SKATE? You know it. Why do you ask? Seriously. What does my interest in skating have to do with the taste of your cereal? If you’d provided a maze on the back of the box, at least I could’ve pretended to be skating my way through the labyrinth. But this here reeks of pandering, as does the picture of the skater who needs a haircut, badly.
And what would heavy handed marketing material be without a call-to-action?
SHARE YOUR VIDEOS, PHOTOS AND IDEAS SHOWING US WHAT MAKES YOU AN ORIGINAL LIKE HONEYCOMB.
Take walking, for example. Straight up and down, I’m one of the best to ever do it.
Eating? All day, err day..and night….and late-night.
So when I heard aboutSix Taste’sFood Tour of Downtown LA, I knew I’d have the chance to showcase my prowess– not unlike Tiger Woods receiving word of a new Hooters golf course in his neighborhood.
DTLA is experiencing a major revitalization, with residential lofts, art galleries, skyscrapers and marijuana dispensaries displacing the homeless dotting the district. The increased foot stomach traffic has prompted the emergence of new eateries, from high-end bistros to mom and pop, pop-up spots. Having conducted hundreds of tours in the area, Six Taste has an inside track on what’s cooking downtown.
Six Taste operates public and private food tours year round throughout Southern California, including Thai Town, Lil Tokyo, Santa Monica and Arcadia. The name suggests adventure as participants are enlisted in the pursuit of finding the 6th taste (to accompany sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami). You can read Six Taste’s rave reviews on Yelp and Trip Advisor.
My tour took place on a Saturday afternoon. We met our tour guide, Brian, in front of the Biltmore Hotel, across the street from Pershing Square. There was plenty of available parking nearby.
perfect meeting point as it offers a public restroom.
I participated in a public tour and was joined by a group of 12 other hungry pedestrians. One person was from Boston, another from Chicago and still another from Florida. The other half of the crew was from Southern California but it was everyone’s first time walking and eating in DTLA. We were excited.
We traipsed through downtown, taking in history (e.g., Which movie used this building as a police precinct?) and mystery (e.g., Why did that hot dog stand smell like weed?). We tasted food at 6 different establishments. I won’t mention them all by name here, as they are subject to change and it’s fun to be surprised, but I will highlight two treats that remain heavy on my mind.
First, the Early Gray macaroon from Bottega Louie. I don’t know who Earl is, nor which shade of gray he reps, but this gold-dusted cookie was all that! My problem was deciding how to dig into it.
Should I open it up, like an oreo, and lick the center…in front of all these strangers?
Nah, that would’ve been undignified. Licking my fingers after the fact, an examplar of refinement.
During the latter half of our trip, we stopped by at Gelataria Uli and sampled gelato and sorbetto. I decided on the Jamaica and Mint sorbetto and was swept back to my days as a street performer in Mexico City. Uli, the store’s namesake, is regularly flipping the script with new flavors. So you have to pop in to see what’s popping…and when you do, scoop me up.
mexico in a cup
This tour gave me a new appreciation for DTLA and I’d wholeheartedly recommend a Six Taste tour, but only under one condition: come hella’ hungry.
I’ve had my eye on Kelby Park for sometime. It offers a vast expanse of green space, perfect for picnics, soccer, football, racing, freeze-tag, three-flies-up, volleyball and indelible grass stains.
The distance from parking lot to playground is 91 furloughs.
Kelby’s playground, though, can be a source of worry for parents with kids under 5 years old.
And the Devil said, “This play area has been designed for children 5-12 years of age.”
According to the signage, the playground is rated for kids up to 12 years old. First, If your 12 year old is still having fun with swings and slides, consider yourself very lucky…or very unlucky, I can’t call it.
On my view, parks in Covina would be better utilized if they included kids ages 3 and up in their design plans and let the 10-12 year olds commence with drug use and snap chat. Really tho.
Of course, since Jocko can’t read, and because I have unreasonable expectations of my kid(s), I allowed him to rush the playground unencumbered by the shackles of fear…and reason.
“Dad, do you have the Kaiser card on you?”
Now, as far as I can tell, Kelby Park has the best slides in Covina. Take a look at Big Red and Lil’ Red Rivers. Jocko rode both of them till the paint started to rub off on his clothes.
Big Red: high velocity, difficult dismount.
Lil Red Rivers: slippery but scalable.
But their swing set is wack. It lacks child seats for heaven’s sake!
Swingle and ready to Mingle.
But what disturbs me most about the park is the lackluster signage–as in, it can’t be read from the street because it lacks an adequate amount of luster. This must change…now!
mas luster, por favor.
Please, if you love your children, send your donations to the Mas Luster Foundation and help us fight the blight.