Spring Looks at The Children’s Place

lake lindero spring flowers

It’s spring for real, and here are some flowers to prove it, if you don’t believe it based on my recent garden updates! These flowers were spotted around the Lake Lindero neighborhood in Agoura Hills.

childrens place spring 2014

It is the perfect time to stock up on kids’ clothes for spring, too. I checked out the newest looks for spring at The Children’s Place last week, and aside from leaving there wishing I had a little girl to dress (and also that they made floral jeggings for adult women) I was so happy with the fashions I found.



Durability is the most important quality to me when I am shopping for clothes for my boys. If you asked them directly, though, they would say comfort and “coolness” are also very important. So I stick with elastic waistbands for pants, and “cool” prints and styles for shirts. The Children’s Place is where I often shop for them, because the durability to affordability ratio is right up my alley.

I snatched up adorable plaid shorts, polo shirts, and khaki’s for my boys and I couldn’t resist this adorable outfit for my niece.


There’s always a great sale at The Children’s Place, so it’s one of my first stops  at the Oaks mall, and now there is a store on Ventura Blvd. in Tarzana, too!

Happy spring! Here’s to not putting holes in the knees of the pants the first time they wear them…

I received store credit at The Children’s Place to facilitate this feature.


Come To The Bubble For New Apple Products

Last Friday I went to the Apple store at The Oaks mall in Thousand Oaks.  It was kind of a dumb move, on paper, because that was the day that the new iPad was released.  In typical disgusting capitalist excess fashion, people had lined up at Apple stores all over the country for 30 hours in advance of the release.  I heard – and this is hearsay, so don’t quote ME – that someone in New York was trying to sell his/her place in line for $1,500.  FOR A PLACE IN LINE.

Hello, this isn’t a Cher concert.

I had to visit the Genius Bar because My Precious is dying.  My Precious is my iPhone 3GS, without which I cannot do my thing on the go.  My thing = checking email, consulting Google maps, texting, posting photos to Facebook and Posterous, etc.  Oh, and making phone calls.  Actually it is that last function that is failing – without warning and with no obvious pattern, during a call the phone will make a ghastly static sound that seems unrelated to my location or its battery level or any other factor.   There are client calls and loved ones to be heard, so I couldn’t wait any longer.  So, to the Genius Bar I went.  An Apple employee assured me that since I had an appointment, I would be able to simply go check in and be seen right away, iPad junkies be damned.

My appointment was for 2:30 PM, and I needn’t have worried about the crowds.  I got to the store around 2:15, and saw this:

More Apple Store employees than customers.

Sigh.  I love it here.  Good old suburbia, where people have shit to do so they aren’t camping out in line to get a freaking iPad.

There were signs of a morning rush, however.  When I got to the store I did see a special cart outside that had coffee urns and water bottles and stacks of cups, as if they doled out refreshments to die-hards and the squads of extra employees on hand.  Also, there were several black-clad gentlemen about who were intently staring at everyone.  I caught one’s eye a couple of times, especially after I took photos.

In case you don’t know what the Genius Bar is, allow me:  if you have an Apple product you can make an appointment with a specialist at the Apple store by going online and entering your Apple ID – which you must have if you have an iPhone or an iPad or a Mac computer.  Then you show up at said Apple store and a lovely young gentleman – or woman – will dedicate some time to help you fix your problem.  On this occasion, that help consisted of resetting my iPhone and hoping that fixed it.  Of course, I could have done this by myself at home, but I thought the Genius might have some other solution.

While I waited for my iPhone to reset I got to play a little bit with the new iPad.  (Oh, what, my friend’s website is loaded on there?  What a coincidence!!!)

In the end, my phone was not fixed.  At all.  If you call me, a few minutes into the call your eardrums will start bleeding because of the ghastly static noise that is so loud it can wake the dead.

So I ordered a new one.  It comes on Tuesday.  It’s no iPad, but at least I’ll be able to make some phone calls!

The moral of the story is that if you’re jonesing for a hot new Apple product, get your ass to Thousand Oaks or any other Apple store located at a suburban mall.  Nobody else cares out here.  We have kids to get to school and jobs to get to and spin class to get a ticket for.  We don’t have time for your hipster bullshit, so there will only be one of you in line.

Get In Buddha’s Belly

Buddha's Belly Salmon

Contrary to one of my earlier posts, there doesn’t seem to be a recession in the Conejo Valley, not if you use the number of available parking spaces at The Oaks Mall in Thousand Oaks on a Saturday afternoon as a reverse indicator of economic stability. I ventured to said mall last month for a VIP preview meal at the brand-spanking-new location of Buddha’s Belly, an Asian-fusion restaurant that has already won over the hearts and stomachs of people in West Hollywood and Santa Monica.

Now open right next to the Cheesecake Factory at the Oaks, Buddha’s Belly is spacious and calming without being stuffy. You can have a lively conversation there but the din never gets too loud that the waitress can’t hear your order for an additional Zen Garden, the fragrant cocktail that looks like a garden in a glass.

I got to sample many dishes from Buddha’s Belly’s menu over two visits, so I can tell you this restaurant is no one-trick pony. Although I did only have the one kind of cocktail, so if Zen Garden is their best pony, then you’re fine with that.

I am a meat eater, and I love little packets of food wrapped in thin rice wrappers or spring rolls. I like them fried or steamed, so I’m easily pleased. I tried the albacore spring roll, and I don’t normally eat fish but I really enjoyed these. I also tried chicken and beef shao bing, which are like little Asian hamburgers, but not really. The miso soup is pleasing and tastes just like it should, and the edamame is fine but came in a small portion, so it’s not something I overindulged in, which is totally possible.

Buddha's Belly Shao Bing


Buddha's Belly Veggie egg roll

Being a fusion restaurant, BB features cuisine from Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, and China. And maybe more. Fusion leaves a lot of room. The peanut coconut chicken noodle dish is robust and just a tiny bit too spicy for me, but I ate plenty of it anyway. The Korean beef (yep, there’s another country, I knew it!) simply melted in my mouth, and made for mouth-watering leftovers the next day for lunch.

Buddha's Belly Korean Beef

Buddha's Belly Mint Chicken


Buddha's Belly scallops

I had the scallops and asparagus on my second night, which comes with mound of mashed purple sweet potatoes. They are rich and delicious, and they actually taste purple. You’ll have to try it to see what I mean. And remember, I said I don’t usually eat fish, but scallops don’t really count as fish and the menu description was so appealing. The scallops themselves did not disappoint.

Dessert, when visiting a restaurant for the purpose of writing about it on a blog or similar, is mandatory. So it was great that I had companions at both meals, so that we could sample several desserts and pretend it was anyone else’s fault.

Buddha's Belly Green Tea Tiramisu

Turns out I don’t like green tea…anything. It’s not green tea’s fault, and if you like green tea, you’ll probably like the green tea tiramisu or the mochi ice cream. As it was, my favorite BB desserts are the red bean sorbet and the chocolate fondue. The chocolate comes in a mug that you might as well just drink and forget the dipping things, but if you must dip, that is fine too.

Buddha's Belly Fondue

Prices at BB are reasonable, and the location is perfect. Buddha’s Belly gives me a reason to go to the mall, and I guess it’s fine that I have to park so far away, what with all the eating.