Family life on LA's Westside


Cool Stuff for a Hot Fun in the Summer Time

Schools’ out, the kids are bored already and it’s hotter than a firecracker.  It’s time to hang with the fam, invite friends over and while away the summer time.  Here are some seasonal essentials for staying cool and having fun in the sun.

Inflated We-go

Lounging around the pool is more fun with friends.  The AIRHEAD Designer Series Floating Couch, ($139) featuring a tall back and headrest, is a comfy ride for up to four sun bums at the pool or lake, or even on land.  For those who prefer a solo ride, the Designer Series Chaise Lounge,($89)  with a flexible mesh bottom to keep you cool, and a drink holder so you can sip and float, is designed for the ultimate R-n-R.  Both available in three designer colors: Aqua, Lime or Tangerine.  Pump up your floaties with ease with AIRHEAD AIR PIG, ($54) a 12v high-volume pump, shaped like a piggy bank, equipped with an assortment of air value adapters and a 10’ power cord with alligator clips that fit onto a car battery, that gets the job done in minutes.

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Toys of Summer

Pry the kids from video games and get them playing outdoors with clever toys that keep them active and engaged, like Batapult ($19.99), a hinged plastic baseball bat that pivots during the swing, sending the ball flying up 200 feet; or AeroZipp Disk ($19.99), a disk launcher that sends flying whistling disks gliding over 175 feet through the air.  Available at Wal-Mart, Amazon,

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Shot and Sticky

For a true summer blast kids can take aim with the BOOMco Farshot Blaster ($5.99) featuring BOOMco.’s Smart Stick darts that stick to Smart Stick targets and shields. Farshot’s single-fire action fires up to 70 feet.  BOOMCo’s newest blaster, Spin Sanity ($34.99), ups the fire power with three rotating barrels with 10-dart battery powered chambers for steady, rapid-fire blasting. Available at toy retailers nationwide.


Hot Dog Days of Summer

Spread something new on your hot dogs and burgers this summer with the fancy name in mustard that has the syruped-up competition seeing red.  French’s Tomato Ketchup (20 oz. bottle, $3.49) is au naturel, make from U.S. farm-grown tomatoes and no high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, artificial flavors and colors, or gluten. At grocery stores nationwide.


Just Relax

Get laid back like it’s the 1970s with the modern Coast New Zealand Marine Bean bag chair (approximately $408 USD) designed for the modern age, and outdoors. Made with marine-grade Sunbrella fabric that can withstand harsh sun (with a five-year guarantee), this extra-large and super comfy bean bag can take a tossing around and look great on any deck or patio. Available at  Beans not included.


It’s Greek for Me

I scream, you scream, we all scream for a tasty alternative to ice cream., and Oikos has answered with Dannon Oikos Greek Frozen Yogurt ($5.49/pint)   This half-the-fat frozen treat is rich and creamy-thick, and it’s a good source of protein.  Flavors include Strawberry, Chocolate, Black Cherry, Vanilla, Café Latte,  Salted Carmel, Mint Chocolate Chip and Cookies & Cream.  Available at grocery stories nationwide.


Super Smoothie

You may know it by the name Dragonfruit, but the bright pink/magenta superfruit exported from Nicaragua and otherwise known as pitaya is making a name for itself as the new it ingredient for summer smoothies, available in smoothie packs and frozen fruit cubes — all organic, raw and free of artificial sweeteners or preservatives. Besides its health benefits and delicious exotic flavor, pitaya in the US is supplied mainly by San Diego-based Pitaya Plus, a truly socially conscious company that not only operates a solar-powered facility but also nearly exclusively hires single mothers to process their fruit, enabling poverty-stricken Nicaraguan mothers to provide educations and food for their children.  Served at juice shops nationwide and sold at Whole Foods, Sprouts and Safeway stores. Order a kit of 16 smoothie packs for $39.99 direct from


 Break out the Bubbly

Everyone’s vegging by the pool and nobody wants to make a soda run, so make it yourself, with the Bonne O ($149.95), a gadget that lets you create your own sparkling concoctions.  Add syrups or fresh fruit and a carbonation tablet, and in four minutes the machine infuses your cold water with flavor and bubbles Sold online at Williams-Sonoma and in stores at Bed Bath & Beyond.


Good Cookies

Rarely do the words cookie and healthy go together, but Lenny & Larry’s has reinvented the crumbly treat that  kids of all ages crave with their vegan delights that are free of GMOs, cholesterol, eggs, dairy or artificial ingredients, and each cookie delivers a wholloping 16 grams of protein and six grams of fiber. Perfect for a summer picnic, the Seven Complete Cookies Sample Pack ($14.99) includes Chocolate Chip, Double Chocolate, White Chocolate Macadamia, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Raisin, Lemon Poppy and Pumpkin Spice. So good for you that gyms carry them, along with Kroger and Vitamin Shoppe stores.


Color-free is the New Black

Quench your summer thirst without artificial colors, with Zevia 17 color-free soda flavors, sweetened with plant-based stevia and monk fruit.  The leading Non-GMO zero calorie, naturally sweetened soda brand tested the waters and found consumers did not want caramel coloring in their drinks, so they took it out.  Available at Whole Foods Market, Sprouts Farmers Markets, Safeway, Kroger, Super Target and many other natural and grocery stores nationwide.

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