Staycation at Residence Inn LAX – Part 1 of 3

IMG_1202After a 1.5 hour slog through Sunday traffic, we finally arrived at Residence Inn LAX.

Over the summer I was invited by Residence Inn to stay at their LAX property. I finally accepted when it was clear that I need some quality time with my 10-year-old. The summer had been so busy that we didn’t get much time together, just me and him. Plus, he loves staying in hotels, and as I found out, he loves other key components of travel, so this turned out to be a perfect little excursion for us.

Normally I wouldn’t choose the airport area as a destination, but there are a few reasons that our night at Residence Inn LAX turned out to be wonderful: a comfortable, clean room to relax and snuggle in after spending time at a great restaurant and a picturesque local attraction that would otherwise take us over an hour to get to by car.

IMG_1205Part I: The Hotel

The Residence Inn LAX just opened this summer with a simple, elegant contemporary decor. The lobby is spacious and bright and there are some cool digital conveniences for guests, including an interactive map of local attractions (but curiously not local restaurants — there is nothing notable in walking distance of the hotel, if you ask the front desk they will send you to places that require a drive), and a live departures screen for flights leaving from LAX, as well as a luggage scale.







The pool area is small but has plenty of room, with comfortable seating and shade and even a cool fire pit for nighttime socializing. There is a special needs chair lift for the pool, and plenty of towels.



Our room was gloriously spic and span. I mean, you’d expect that from any hotel of Residence Inn’s fame, but I especially appreciated it because my own house has been such a sandy, dusty disaster due to neglect and beach visits. It was just so nice to get away from household duties for a night! And the goodies left for us were a lovely touch.





IMG_2253(FYI – no bathtub, just a sleek and clean shower)



Guests are given BOGO vouchers for use at the on-site fast casual restaurants, Z Pizza or Jersey Mike’s. We opted to go off-property for dinner, but we did use the free beverage at the also on-site Starbucks to get hot coffee and chocolate in the morning.

IMG_1269Residence Inn’s usually awesome continental breakfast hit a hiccup on the Monday morning when we were there, because an expected delivery hadn’t come in. Otherwise we would have eaten there. Instead we took our Starbucks drinks back up to our room and watched the rest of a movie we had started the night before. Cool thing: the rooms have Netflix on the TV’s, and you can log in with your own account. That was perfect for this mom and 10-year-old. We selected “Are We Done Yet?” which incidentally I recommend for helping you go to sleep. Watching the end of it in the morning wasn’t so bad.


IMG_1277 I enjoyed the view while I took notes

In separate posts I will talk more about how we passed the time. Once we arrived at the hotel Sunday evening, we spent about 20 minutes at the pool before it got too windy, and then considered what’s close by and set out from there. Parking for guests ($24 per night) is in a garage behind the building and coming and going is easy. Wifi is free in the room and works just fine. There is also an airport shuttle, so this is a great lower-cost place to stay the night before if you have a super early morning flight.

Residence Inn LAX
5933 West Century Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90045 USA
Rooms and Rates

Mother’s Day Gift: Portrait of Mom With Her Children – Sittings May 17

Los Angeles photographer and owner of Litetrap Studios, Michael Murphree, has offered Mother’s Day-themed mini sessions as a priceless gift for the moms in your life with all proceeds going to support Help a Mother Out’s efforts in Los Angeles.

mother and baby portrait

Portrait by Michael Murphree

For a donation of $100 or more, up to 20 mothers and their children will receive a 15-minute portrait session on May 17, two 5 x 7 prints, and a custom Facebook timeline photo.

Michael Murphree has 20 years of experience as a commercial and celebrity photographer, starting his career as apprentice to world-famous photographer Annie Leibovitz. It was when Michael had his own family that he fell in love with photographing his wife and twin babies. This led to the creation of Litetrap Studios, where Michael takes joy in capturing the special moments in other families’ lives with the goal of creating cherished heirlooms that pass on through generations.

litetrap studiosThe mini-sessions are available to up to 20 mothers and their children, and children of any age. Want a priceless memory of you with your own mother? This is a wonderful opportunity to have a true artist create a portrait of you, and help another mother out at the same time.

Studio space is generously provided by Books and Cookies, a bookstore and play space in Santa Monica.

books and cookies logo

To reserve your sitting appointment or to arrange for one as a gift to that special mom in your life for Mother’s Day, make your donation here.

Mother’s Day Mini-Sessions with Michael Murphree
May 17, 2015
Books and Cookies
2309 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405
To purchase click here

For more information please contact me at

What’s Your Story? Expressing Motherhood Accepting Submissions 2/16/15

exmo spring 15

Expressing Motherhood is a stage show in which people stand before you and tell – or perform – their stories about mothers. About being mothers, having mothers, loving or hating mothers, losing and remembering mothers.

I’ve seen the show more times than I can count now, over the years. The producers have staged it all over Los Angeles, and in New York, Chicago, and Boston. Last winter I was honored to be included in the show myself. My story was the mostly humorous tale of my long evolution from relatively cool person into a suburban PTA mom. My co-stars were 11 incredible storytellers. There were songs, laughter, tears, and wine flowing in the green room.

Expressing-Motherhood-Show-in-HollywoodPhoto by Desiree Eaglin

Submissions for the spring Los Angeles show will be accepted on Monday, February 16. All you need to do is share your story. You don’t have to be a writer or a performer. Just type up your story – one that takes you 5 minutes or less to read out loud, and send it in to the email address given on the website. The power of your story is what drives your submission. No in-person audition necessary.

Here are some tips and requirements:

*Pieces need to be NO longer than 5 minutes when read aloud. Please read them aloud and time yourself.

*Make sure it’s your story about motherhood, not someone else’s.

*Pieces about small portions of motherhood often make very interesting pieces versus a broad “Motherhood is hard” piece.

*I’m looking for stories about motherhood. That means you don’t have to be a mom. You can be a son, a woman who chooses to not have children. Etc.

I encourage you to submit if you have a great story that is bursting to come out of you. Keep your eye on for more information.