Archives for January 2018


A New View for Young Cedars-Sinai Patients

No one likes lying in a hospital bed, staring up at the ceiling. At Cedars-Sinai, kids now have a better view. The medical center commissioned the nonprofit RxArt ( to redo the ceilings and walls of 16 pediatric rooms. L.A.-based artists Urs Fischer, Sam Falls and Laura Owens completed the work, which includes images of trees, birds, animals and clouds as well as abstract art. Pictured at top is 12-year-old patient Sarah Apple in a room with painted foliage by Falls. Below is a room featuring art by Fischer.   Diane Brown, the founder and president of RxArt, said the idea...

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6 Top Doughnut Shops

The greater Los Angeles area has an abundance of doughnut shops, and doughnuts make a great treat for the whole family. Check out one of these quirky and popular shops next time a doughnut craving hits.

kids and chores

Can the Kids Pitch In? Kids and Chores

’Tis the season for ambitious resolutions, fresh starts – and perhaps a bit more help around the house. But where to start? Are your children old enough for chores? Should you pay them? Are you sick of nagging – and re-doing their efforts? When polling my friends with 5-year-olds about the topic, the responses were entertaining. A creative Eagle Rock mom had some success convincing her son that Tom Petty is “table-setting music,” while a Mt. Washington mama was in the thick of it. “I just told my kids if they clean up the LEGOs and the couch pillows they...

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Aladdin at the Pantages: A Magical Visit to Agrabah

As I waited for the curtain to go up on opening night of “Aladdin” at the Pantages Theater, I couldn’t help but wonder how the story would fare without the magic of Gilbert Gottfried, the late Robin Williams and Disney animation. I didn’t even have to wait until intermission for my answer: Delightfully. I’ve never seen a standing ovation before the end of a performance, but Michael James Scott’s Genie had us on our feet as he paused to catch his breath after the dance-and-magic marathon that is “Friend Like Me.” That and all your other favorite songs from the...

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family mental health

A Mental-Health Checkup for Los Angeles Families

Now that the holidays are behind us, it is time to think of New Year’s resolutions. In January, people contemplate their physical health, making goals to exercise regularly, eat healthier, sleep more, get physicals and take better care of themselves. But how often do families consider the state of their mental health? The truism, “Prevention is better than cure,” applies to mental well-being as well as physical.   Here’s some wisdom from Mental Health America, a national nonprofit founded in 1909 to address the needs of those living with mental illness:   When we think about cancer, heart disease or diabetes, we...

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Tween Time: A Day of Service for Los Angeles Teens

Some kids might think of Martin Luther Day Jr. Day, which this year falls on Jan. 15, as just another day off from school. Others, however, consider it a “day on” for volunteering. MLK Day, which became a federal holiday in 1983, also was designated a National Day of Service in 1994. While people of all ages can participate, the holiday presents a particularly good opportunity for tweens and teens to develop an interest in volunteering and community service that they can continue into adulthood.     Good deeds combine with fresh air when you spend MLK morning at the Alta Vicente...

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7 Great Spots to Get Hot Chocolate

The temperature never drops below freezing in L.A., but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy winter treats. These places all offer a great cup of hot chocolate that’s sure to warm you up.

sibling rivalry

Survival of the Fittest: Nurturing Positive Sibling Relationships

Sibling rivalry is one of the oldest forms of conflict known to mankind. Its drama has been played out in folkore, literature and film. In the animal kingdom, many newborns shun their siblings as a form of survival. I’ve read about how some baby birds push their siblings out of nests to ensure their own food supply. In a less dramatic way, we see some form of this played out in our homes. I have two daughters, and my dream is for them to develop a close relationship, to always help and protect each other. But how do we, as...

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kids movies

Bears, Rabbits and Neanderthals are Coming to SoCal Cinemas

The holiday-movie season is over, but that doesn’t mean you have to hibernate and wait for fresh family movies to come out in the spring. There are several kid-friendly movies scheduled for release before then.  The first arrival of the New Year will be “Paddington 2” Jan. 12. The PG-rated sequel to the “beary” popular 2014 live-action/CGI animated comedy picks up where the first film left off, with Paddington bear living with the Brown family. The story finds the cute bear on a quest for the thief who stole a special book that Paddington picked out as a present for Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday. This StudioCanal release (distributed through Warner Brothers) reunites many of...

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family fitness

Family Fitness: Making the First Move

Phil and Michelle Dozois of South Pasadena have been in the fitness game for decades. Michelle got hooked with her first gymnastics and dance classes at age 5, and went on to win gold medals in the National and World Aerobic Championships and create top-selling fitness DVDs. Her husband, Phil, has been a personal trainer for 25 years, and together he and Michelle opened their own health club – Breakthru Fitness – in 1998.  They are also parents of a 14-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son, who, of course, are natural athletes. Right? Not exactly. “We struggle like every other parent that is trying to get their kids to stay active and put their devices down,”...

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