Posts filed under family fun

Labor Day Party: Hot Dogs

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Hopefully you checked out the blog yesterday and saw our intro to the Westside Bestside/House on 8th collaboration.  In case you didn't, here's the recap: we are doing a series this week to get you inspired and ready for all your Labor Day parties this weekend! 

Today's hot topic is hot dogs!  

Now, some of you may turn up your nose at the mention of hot dogs--I'm well aware they're not the most glamorous food.  But, let it be known that I buy all beef, kosher, natural dogs, so at least there's that.  Plus, hot dogs don't have to be boring.  And we're here to show you a few ways to liven them up!

The Alley Dog

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The Alley Dog is an LA street cart staple, and we love to recreate them at home.  Not a health food, but mouth-watering.  


  • Beef hot dog
  • Hot dog bun
  • Bacon
  • Onions + green pepper


  • Wrap 1 strip of bacon around 1 hot dog.  Grill low and slow until both are cooked.  
  • Saute onions + green pepper in olive oil. 
  • Toast bun. 
  • Dress with a squeeze of ketchup, mustard, + mayo. 

The Brat


A classic bratwurst with finely diced, crunchy white onions + dijon mustard in a crusty sourdough roll.  Finish it off with a nice German brewski. 

The Californian

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This one is inspired by the California Dog at Dogtown Dogs, an LA food truck.  


  • Beef hot dog, toasted bun
  • Diced tomato
  • Chopped avocado
  • Arugula  
  • Basil aioli sauce (easy recipe found HERE)

*The Californian was our favorite!! 

The Classic...with a Twist

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Just elevate your classic beef frank with ketchup + mustard by grilling the dog in a curly-Q!   Poke a skewer through the center of the length of the hot dog, and then rotate it as you hold and cut with a knife, creating a spiral-shaped dog (hard to tell in the picture--watch THIS VIDEO).  

It gets exponentially more of that crunchy, caramelized texture + flavor since more surface area is touching the grill.  Genius!  And who said we'd never use high school math again later in life!?

Full disclosure, I'm not a food stylist, and we were chasing light so the ketchup and mustard above isn't perfectly glam.  So sue me--it tasted delicious!

These hot dog recipes (and whatever else your taste buds could dream up) are a fun, fresh spin on an old favorite.  You could even make a DIY hot dog bar and let guests choose which ingredients they want to throw together for their own unique creation!  Less work for you, and fun for them!

See you back here tomorrow for more fun inspiration! 

Tray is from Target and the paper hot dog liners were a random find at Joanns Fabric + Craft.  

Best of Ikea 2014 (according to moi)

Did anyone else get the new Ikea catalogue in the mail this week?!  I'm giddy about it!  And totally ready for a field trip...

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Now, I literally had a conversation with my friend about Ikea yesterday--about how we've finally [and gladly] graduated to the point in life where, piece by piece, we replace Ikea furniture with "real stuff."  But, I will say, that's mostly in reference to the janky birch-colored particle board stuff from college days (say hello to my current bedroom).  Not Ikea's best era.  They really have upped their game lately, and especially with 2014's newly released designs.  

You can check out the entire digital catalogue HERE, or you can order a hard copy to be mailed to you.  But it's a lot to sift through, so...

Here is a list of some of my favorite new Ikea items from the 2014 rollout!!

  • Bekvam stool: love how they staged it below with dipped legs.  You could easily paint any part of this to make it your own!  (obvi I swoon for bright orange!!)
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There are so many adorable new Children's department products too.  Not in the market for those yet, but just a mentally pin-now-read-later kinda thing: 

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A teeny tiny Expedit bookshelf?!  I mean...  All so cute.  Love it, Ikea! 

All photos from




Posted on August 5, 2013 and filed under family fun, home, pretty, style.

Westie Award: Best Children's Boutique

So I grew up with Fisher Price and plastic toys, so I'm totally not knocking them (I  still have THIS in my parents' basement and can't wait to use it again).  But, I do love the latest trend of back-to-basics, simple, wooden kid toys that don't just feel like clutter.  (Mom friends, I may eat my shorts on this once I have kids!  I know the last priority of baby + kid stuff is to be both functional and nice to look at!)  But, it's fun to know there are some great shops out there with kid toys that you wouldn't mind leaving out with your grown up decor!  

And the Westie for Best Children's Boutique goes to... 

Kid Firefly

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Even though I don't have kiddos yet, I still love perusing this adorable shop for modern "parents, babies, and kids" at 1405 Abbot Kinney in Venice.  See all their info and online shop HERE.  

The store space itself is so bright and airy, with exposed brick and pops of color from all the fun things for your littles.  


From Splendid toddler tees and stuffed knit dolls (I wanted a mermaid one for myself!), to a neon green wheelbarrow + garden tool set--it's all just so cute and unique.  I mean, they even have "Little Bert" chairs--mini-sized Henry Bertoia inspired mid-century chairs!

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It is on Abbot Kinney, and the price tags reflect that.  For a girl on a budget like me, it's more of a speciality gift shop for very special munchkin occasions.  But there are so many wonderful novelty items, it's worth stopping in to ooh and ahh over!  It's a must-go if you have kiddos--your little ones will love checking out all their brightly colored toys and books.  They can even go all Hunger Games on these precious wooden bow + arrows set!

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The owners and employees are so friendly and helpful, and you can swing over to the grown up Firefly shop just down the street while you're there!  

Be sure to let them know Westside Bestside sent ya!


Malibu Creek Rock Pools

Hey party people!   

We just spent Saturday afternoon with some friends who were camping up in Calabasas at Malibu Creek State Park.  The hubs was sicky, so we didn't spend the night.  But we did enjoy the afternoon at this new incredible hidden gem, ate fire-grilled hobo packets (I need to post about those!), and left them with some oranges to make this ole fave

Photo credit: Mr. Muddy Suitman on Flickr

Photo credit: Mr. Muddy Suitman on Flickr

The best part of Malibu Creek are the Rock Pools!!  If you hike about a mile in, there's a huge swimming hole surrounded by multi-level cliffs on all sides that you can climb up and jump off.  Now, I'm not much of a risk taker, so to me it looked like an accident waiting to happen--but I was happy to sit back, soak in the water, and watch everyone else cliff jump.  But if you like that kind of thing you would LOVE it here.  It's for real.  

If it looks familiar, it's because several things have been filmed there, including scenes from the Swiss Family Robinson and M*A*S*H and lots of other shows/movies listed HERE

Next time, our friends and I decided it would be wise to take rafts or tubes to relax in--Drive Me Crazy-style #throwback.   

We've already decided we're totally going back here soon.  It was only a 45 minute drive from the Westside, and felt like a much further away getaway.   I can't believe I didn't know it existed until now.  Who's up for going with us one more time before the end of summer?!

Like a total noob, I didn't take any photos (luckily I did get my one second  of a girl jumping off a super high rock and almost eating it), so these photos are from online.