Author Archives: James Mayes

Hot Pick: Do you know another hotel as family-friendly as THIS one? (It’s in L.A.)


A lot of hotels tout the “family-friendly” label with little more than a ho-hum water slide and a kiddie menu to back it up.

But who says family-friendly shouldn’t also be fabulous? To us, “family-friendly” means we’re offered a litany of ways to have fun WITH our kids — and at least a couple solid options for kids and parents having fun separately (and safely) as well.

Enter the Terranea, a beach resort in Palos Verdes (technically in L.A., but feels like a world away). Consider it if you’re passing through town with kiddos in tow — and definitely consider it if you live in L.A.

Here’s how the Terranea is stepping up what it means to be family-friendly:

  • Kids can spend the day at the Tide Pool Kids Club — and it’s actually fun and cool. We’re talking basic stuff like learning about marine life from cooky characters like “Suzy Blue” and scavenger hunts, as well as more elaborate challenges — like scripting and staging a talent show, building a city of forts, or inventing a superhero (and becoming him/her) and facing off against another newly born superhero. There’s a whole area of the hotel devoted to the kids’ camp with bright colors and tiny furniture; it’s not an afterthought.
  • Kids having fun at camp frees you up to enjoy golf, spa treatments, live music, great food, etc. You don’t have to be an overnight guest, but you must be on property if you’re leaving your kids at camp. No dropping them off on your way to work or a day of shopping. The idea is more “organized fun” than “high-end daycare.”
  • The water slide is 140 feet long. And there’s a splash pad and pools with TVs and stuff. But the water slide is 140 feet long.
  • Yes, there’s also an adults-only pool. And plenty of other kid-free areas as well. The resort is big with plenty of private-feeling pockets — it doesn’t feel like it’s playland everywhere.
  • If you can’t get your kids into golf (yet), you’re bound to have better luck with croquet or bocce ball — the court is competition-grade, and they’ve got glow-in-the-dark bocce balls for after sundown.
  • If you can get your kids into golf (yay!), the course is a good one for families — 9 holes, par 3. The instructors are used to working with kids, and the views are amazing if you’re into unobstructed, pristine ocean views.
  • If you’re into family time, they have great organized family fun nights with hermit crab races or beach blanket bingo. Or you can grab a board game from their sizable collection and take it right up to your room.
  • There’s an outdoor fire pit every night — great for roasting marshmallows with or without the kids. (Marshmallow-roasting is probably the real reason man invented fire.)
  • If your kids are too old for scavenger hunts and too cool for talent shows, they’ve got an array or activities to appeal to the teen scene as well — surf lessons at Redondo, horseback trail riding, SUP boarding, ocean kayak tours. These can be booked as a family, or just for your teenager while you hit up a yoga class.
  • Some of those last activities we mentioned are weather-permitting, but pretty much everything is available year-round. Nice.

As you can tell, we’re big fans of the Terranea. So, Tastemakers. We started the conversation, and now we’re curious… what hotels have you found ’round the globe that are great for families?

Hot Pick: Yoga-inspired iPhone cases (with bonus insight on motherhood + creativity)


art asana iphone case4  art asana phone2 art asana phone1art asana ipad skin1

We’re loving these feminine, yoga-inspired iPhone cases and iPad skins from yoga teacher, artist and mom-to-be Eliza Lynn Tobin.

In addition to ordering the phone case on the upper left — which Eliza calls ‘Violet Swirl’ — we caught up with her to ask how her pregnancy is going and how it’s impacting her creative process.

“Once I hit the second trimester (especially towards the middle of it… I’m almost at the end of it now), I had a huge surge of creative energy and ideas. Like, keep-me-up-at-night kind of creative energy,” she shared.

“I think partly it’s due to the fact that all of a sudden I’m aware of the fact that my time and how I spend it is about to change dramatically. And I am trying to do my best to savor the time I have to create now, while I can.”

True that.

The other part, she continued, is that “the process of creating a person has opened up this huge understanding of what it is to be creative and my belief that it really is a limitless field.”

That’s a great little nugget of insight, isn’t it?

Though time may become very, very scarce (as it does for mothers the world over), creativity remains limitless. 

But Eliza isn’t just on the giving end of wisdom. She added that there’s a token she’s been hanging onto from a fellow artist/mother/yogi:

“When she had her child,” Eliza said of her friend, “it was like everything that was important became incredibly clear to her. It crystalized her work and what was most meaningful to her — and that when she did get to down to work, down to her creative practices, her time was much more focused and directive.”

Maybe that’s the result of limited time but unlimited creativity: supercharged clarity, direction and power in one’s work.

Well. That, and some really cool iPhone cases.

80+ Creative Halloween ideas — costumes, edibles & decor

We love Halloween because it’s an inherently creative holiday.

We create costumes for ourselves and our kiddos. Even if we purchase those costumes instead of carving out the time for a DIY version — it’s fun to ruminate and let an idea inspire us.

Same goes for decorating — we’re essentially costuming little bits of the homestead, and the food — which might even include dressing up healthy options. (Amazingly, celery is more likely to be eaten when empowered to scare the eater.)

That said, we’ve got three Halloween-flavored Pinterest boards cooking — all with Tastemaker Moms in mind. (So you won’t have to sift through the over-sexy Halloween costumes to find the perfect idea for you and your wee one.)

Have a peek and get your creative juices brewing…

Creative Halloween Costume Ideas

Baby lobster and mommy chef Halloween costume

Scary-Good Decor & Party Ideas for Halloween

Dry ice inside a pumpkin for Halloween

Tasty Treats for Halloween

Clementine pumpkins -- a healthy treat for Halloween

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