MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)

COMMENTS: 11

travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)
travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)

We skipped town this past weekend and headed south to Los Angeles. (Thank you for your tips!) We had some business to attend to and decided at the last minute to extend our travel and bring everyone—except Sawyer, who had a mini-vacation of his own thanks to DogVacay. (More on that below.)

Even though we used to live in Los Angeles, we hardly know the west side at all, so we decided to restrict ourselves to the coast (with, okay, a small detour into Brentwood).

I took a bunch of photos and will share more about some of the highlights next week, but—in the meantime—one of our favorite stops from the weekend: Blue Plate Oysterette in Santa Monica.

travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)
travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)

We walked from our hotel to Blue Plate Oysterette—which sits right on Ocean Boulevard off Santa Monica overlooking the, well, overlook to the beach. It’s a popular spot (as are the other locations in the restaurant group: nearby Blue Plate and Blue Plate Taco), so because we didn’t have reservations, we just crossed our fingers and showed up early. The wait wasn’t too bad (about 45 minutes to sit outside), so they took our number and we walked down to the sand and played a bit before dinner. But even without that option, I loved that they had sidewalk chalk at the ready for antsy kids.

travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)
travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)
travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)

When we did sit down, I knew exactly what I wanted: a Lobster roll! While the scene was very Los Angeles, the menu was very East Coast, and I was offered a choice of a Lobster Salad roll or a plain, warm Lobster roll with drawn butter on the side. There are two camps on this, but I’m more a lobster salad gal—and this was a good one.

travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)
travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)
travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)
travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)

A sleeping baby, plenty of french fries, lobster and fresh tuni, beer and rosé, and a setting sun… could dinner be better?

Um, yes. Yes it could: Key Lime Pie. (And, frankly, the best non-homemade Key Lime Pie I’ve had since visiting the keys nearly 12 years ago. So good.)

travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)
travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)

Actually, there was more that made it great: while we were out, Hudson told the waiter all about his ”black doggy named Sawyer.” We always tell Hudson that Sawyer is having a playdate while we’re away—and this time we were able to give details with full sincerity because we were getting little updates on how Sawyer was enjoying his weekend!

Before our trip, DogVacay got in touch about trying their site and the timing was perfect! DogVacay is a website and app that helps you find great pet sitters. We searched for nearby sitters, booked our stay, and paid online. Sawyer’s host took care of him in her home, sent us cute little emails and photos of what he was up to while we were gone.

travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)

We learned that he spent the weekend with lovely Mia (in the photos on the left) and a pug named Auggie, as well as Charlie the kitten (on the right). He also got a bath!

A funny combination of topics, I know, but knowing that Sawyer was happy made the entire weekend better. If you’re looking to take a night or two away and need a good pet sitter, I’d recommend the site. New users can get $10 off their first DogVacay with the code HITHER!

P.S. Sawyer as a puppy! More from Los Angeles (and from our earlier Pacific Northwest road trip)  next week!

Thank you to DogVacay for putting Sawyer up for the night and for supporting Hither & Thither! All DogVacay reservations include free pet insurance, 24/7 customer support, and daily photo “pup”dates, so pet parents can rest easy knowing that their best friend is in great hands. We’ll definitely be using the site again!

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Living Clean: A Laundry Makeover (part 2)

COMMENTS: 15

home  Living Clean: A Laundry Makeover (part 2)
home  Living Clean: A Laundry Makeover (part 2)
home  Living Clean: A Laundry Makeover (part 2)

I can’t tell you how much happier I am doing laundry in a bright, organized room!

You might recall, I was prompted to give our laundry room a mini-makeover as part of my commitment to use good, clean, and more sustainable products from Made to Matter, Handpicked by TargetTM.

We cleared out the clutter—part purge, part redistribution (e.g. swim goggles and pool towels by the pool, dog’s travel crate in the garage); we painted those red cabinets a more soothing grey; and we added a variety of boxes and baskets to add more concealed storage and free up some wall space. It makes the room feel much bigger! There are actually two windows in there, so it gets plenty of natural light—you just wouldn’t have known it from all the stuff we’d crammed in!

Here’s the before again…

home  Living Clean: A Laundry Makeover (part 2)

…and the after.

We might add shelves to the wall over the washer/dryer eventually, but we freed up enough space to keep everything more spare for the time being.

Some favorite changes:

 

home  Living Clean: A Laundry Makeover (part 2)

We switched out the outdated hardware on the cabinet doors and painted the cabinets grey. An electrician moved the light to the wall above the door for us.

home  Living Clean: A Laundry Makeover (part 2)
home  Living Clean: A Laundry Makeover (part 2)
home  Living Clean: A Laundry Makeover (part 2)

I bought a set of matching Rubbermaid Bento Boxes (and added Room Essentials chalkboard labels) for storing things like sunscreens and bug repellants, lightbulbs and batteries, and supplies for sewing repairs.

home  Living Clean: A Laundry Makeover (part 2)

We installed shaker-style peg rails (for hanging towels, cleaning supplies, and market totes).

home  Living Clean: A Laundry Makeover (part 2)

We replaced some of our mismatched bathroom towels, and moved the old ones into a car-wash bin.

We added a valet bar behind the door for hanging shirts to dry. (Did I mention that I don’t own an ironing board?)

home  Living Clean: A Laundry Makeover (part 2)

I used canning jars to store clothes pins and dog treats—and kept an empty one handy for emptying pockets of things like loose bills and change… or chapstick (that I had a tendency to melt).

home  Living Clean: A Laundry Makeover (part 2)

We added a wall clock. We were on the fence about whether we needed a clock in the room, but I like glancing at the wall to remember when I started a load of wash.

home  Living Clean: A Laundry Makeover (part 2)

Finally, an update on restocking our shelves from the Made to Matter, Handpicked by TargetTM collection:

I feel good about replacing our bathroom tissue and paper towels with 100% recycled products. And I found that that making that switch made me more conscious about using reusable cloths where appropriate, too. The Seventh Generation laundry detergent does everything our old brand did, but with less packaging (it’s ultra concentrated)—which is nice, especially when you’re trying to maximize your storage. And while I like to use free & clear laundry soap for the kids, I found that I love the smell of Method’s pink grapefruit hand wash (smells so clean) and all-purpose surface cleaner. Finally, I love the clean look of everything in the cupboards—it’s, well… delightful!

P.S. This is the third part of a series about giving the Made to Matter, Handpicked by TargetTM  collection a try. See my interview with the founders of Method and my first post on cleaning up and making over our laundry room with “before” photos.

home  Living Clean: A Laundry Makeover (part 2)

home  Living Clean: A Laundry Makeover (part 2) This post is sponsored by TargetThe Made To Matter line has been handpicked by Target to bring you brands that make things better for your you, your family, and the place we all call home.

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