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downtown santa monica


downtown santa monica

As a new mom and recent Los Angeles transplant, I seek out stroller friendly areas where I can spend the day and explore. A walkable, beachside pocket of LA, Santa Monica is home to countless restaurants, stunning views of the Pacific and activities for every age group. This itinerary below is from a recent day trip with my toddler and covers a few favorite spots.




9:30 am — FARMER’S MARKET // If you are lucky enough to visit Santa Monica on a Wednesday or Saturday, start your day at the crown jewel of West Coast green markets. The Santa Monica Farmer’s market on Fourth Street and Ocean, has the biggest assortment of certified-organic growers in LA. This is a great place to load up on snacks for the day and local produce from California’s farmers. We picked up lemon flavored vegan donuts and coffee as we walked around. Open Wednesdays 8:30 am to 1:30 pm and Saturdays 8:00 am to 1:00 pm.


10:30 am — PIER AND BEACH WALK // Walk down Arizona towards the Ocean and make a right at the Palisades Park towards the Santa Monica Pier.  No visit to Santa Monica is complete without experiencing this Pier.  Check out the The Pacific Park amusement park, home to the famous solar-powered ferris wheel and take in panoramic seaside views.  Before heading in for lunch, put your feet in the sand, using the convenient stroller friendly paved walkways near the entrance of the pier. 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401


12:00 pm —  LUNCH AT FLOWER CHILD // From the Pier, walk up Colorado Avenue and left on Second Street to Flower Child.  This restaurant has a healthy kids menu, changing tables in the bathroom and crayon buckets to entertain the little ones. Parents will be taken care of too with matcha green lattes and build-your-own grain bowls. 1332 2nd St, Santa Monica, CA 90401 (310) 382-2901


1:00 PM —  THIRD STREET PROMENADE // Continue on Second Street towards Arizona, make a right on Arizona and left on Third Street.  Spanning three avenues from Wilshire to Broadway, Third Street Promenade is a walkable open air shopping area.  Dinosaur fountains mark the entrances and at the south end of the promenade you will find Santa Monica Place, with Samo's kids club and play area on the third floor. I usually plan on walking the Promenade around my baby’s nap time so I can sneak in a little shopping. 1351 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica, CA 90401


3:00 PM — COLOR ME MINE //  Located a short walk from the Promenade on Fourth Street between Arizona and Santa Monica Boulevard, this paint your own pottery studio caters to all ages.  Color Me Mine is the perfect place to hand-make family memorabilia while occupying the kids for a few hours. You can bring your infants to make hand or footprints while toddlers can “hand paint” plates and mugs. The studio has infinite choices of ceramics to choose from and its a wonderful way to spend a few hours. They will glaze and fire your masterpieces which will be ready for pick up in less than two weeks. Don’t worry if you are just visiting LA, they will ship for you. We made Grandpa a birthday gift and were particularly grateful that they took care of sending it! 1335 4th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401 tel. (310) 393-0069 


5:00 PM — SUNSET SUSHI // Walk south on Fourth Street and down Santa Monica Boulevard towards the Ocean. Finish your day and catch the sunset picking up Sugarfish to-go on Second Street on your way to the water. Just make sure to call 45 minutes in advance for your take-out order.  Sugarfish sushi has a West Coast cult following for a reason.  They will prepare their famous “trust-me” order to-go in the most beautiful takeout box you have ever seen. No detail is left out, the order is complete with chopsticks, hand wipes and visual instructions on how to replicate their addicting sushi experience on your own.  This is my secret to an epic early dinner complete with beach front views. 1345 2nd St, Santa Monica, CA 90401 tel. (310) 393-3338


For more ideas and a schedule of events for downtown Santa Monica, visit, follow their instagram @dtsantamonica and their blog


how to NOT have a to do list

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how to NOT have a to do list

"TO-DO" lists used to haunt my dreams.  I would always feel this constant nagging to cross just one more thing off my list in the hopes that I would reach a place of calm, serene, satisfying accomplishment.  

It. never. happened.

I now use a few different tools that not only replace this old archaic system, but makes me more efficient and proactive.  I learned most of these practices through an online course that I took on UDEMY called "The art of less doing," taught by Ari Meisel.  

The basic concept is to eliminate your "TO-DO" list entirely by using your email inbox as a daily guide for reminders and actions. By using this system, I now have a clear understanding of what I need to do each day. Better yet, I don't feel pulled in a million directions. Trying to prioritize what to do next, when you are already overwhelmed with a million tasks, is not a good strategy. 

There are a few things you have to do in order to start using this process. (OK, I am is a little more than a few things...)  It will take you some time to set up, but in the long run, it is worth it!


  • Make sure you have separate e-mailboxes for work, personal and subscriptions 

    • Note - a separate e-mailboxes for subscriptions saves time by allowing you to control distractions ( i.e. spam and shoe shopping ) from clogging up your personal and work e-mailboxes. You can comfortably navigate through your day, not checking your subscription inbox, unless you have time. I use my subscription email to sign up for blogs, newsletters, e-commerce stores etc. -- Anything that is not specifically personal or work related.

    • Sometimes, signing up for specific newsletters or websites is impossible to avoid.  It's even harder to avoid distraction by these emails during your work day.  In this case, set up a smart mailbox through MacMail (directions here) that filters out anything with the word  "unsubscribe." Or, use the new feature on google mail that sorts your emails by PRIMARY, PROMOTIONS AND UPDATES - (directions here)

  • Unsubscribe from anything you don't read, don't want or don't care about etc.

    • Use a tool like that helps make the process of unsubscribing easier and more efficient. This tool can even combine certain subscriptions into one email summary. 


  • is a free email reminder tool that I didn't even realize I needed until I started using it. You can use it to send yourself reminders, follow up with someone and -- most importantly-- schedule your "TO-DO" items. 

    • by scheduling your "TO-DO" items, you are forced to prioritize when a new task is added to your list. It allows you to effectively separate urgent, non-urgent and important reminders effectively.  A calendar-based scheduling system, does not work nearly as well because you end up wasting time re-scheduling the task on the calendar -- or worse -- missing it entirely. With if you don't have time to complete the task on that day, you can hit one of the convenient "snooze buttons" in the reminder email.

    • Once your email(s) address is registered with, you schedule your emails by sending it to "(day)"  For example, if I have a task that I need to finish on Friday, I would email and I would get an email Friday. You can set up times, dates and even recurring reminders.  You can find a detailed list of how to use this service here

    • Some of the ways I use followupthen include:

      • sending myself boarding passes or flight info a few hours before my flight

      • setting up monthly recurring reminders to stay on top of financial work

      • BCCing followupthen when I am emailing a lead and want to make sure I email them again in a month. 

      • automatically resending an email to someone (or myself!) if they don't respond within a few days


  • Your inbox should ONLY contain actionable emails in it that you can respond to or do within that day

    • hen you get a new email, it needs to be deleted, archived/filed, scheduled for the appropriate day (through a tool like followupthen) or kept in your inbox to complete THAT DAY.

    • Adopting this practice allows your inbox to stay focused on your daily priorities.

STEP 4: IDONETHIS.COM (optional, but recommended) 

  • If you are like me, crossing something off your "TO-DO" list is rewarding, even if only for a few seconds. (remember, it is the small joys in life that count here, people!) By adopting this new system, you won't have a list to cross off, however you can still get the same joy by using a tool called This is also a free tool that tracks your "DONE" list instead of your "TO-DO" list.  

  • Every day, you'll get an email asking you what you did that day, along with a list of the previous days accomplishments.  It takes about 30 seconds to complete this email, over time you'll get to see how much you are accomplishing. The tasks are searchable if you ever need to lookup when you did a particular task.

SIDE NOTE: Given all of the above, sometimes there is a need for a list.  Grocery shopping or short-term reminders don't need a complicated system. I call these types of lists "temporary lists." For this, I use wunderlist, a cloud-based application you can install on mobile and desktop devices. The beauty of using a separate application for temporary lists, is that they can be accessed easily and live independently of your other notes and files.  Wunderlist can also be shared easily with friends and family.

I hope this system improves your daily routine as much as it has improved mine. Looking forward to hearing any feedback.


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