Monday, March 31, 2014

march in review (another blogger meet up, an outfit post + weeklywishes)

is it just me, or did march TOTALLY fly by? i feel like we were SO busy ALL month i didnt even notice that it was almost april! since this month has been somewhat of a blur, im especially grateful that i had already to committed to this whole "month in review" thing to recap everything we did, otherwise i might have forgotten that march even happened!

seriously, SO much happened in march:

we got a really bad start to the month when we spent a whole week without hot water and i almost forgot to go to my friends bachelorette party. but then i remembered and everything was ok! 

plus, since my dear friend shannon got married, i got to do some embroidery:

which i really, really love doing but for some reason can only find the time when somebodys about to get married. (conveniently, about eight thousand people i know are getting married right now, so it looks like the future will hold a lot more embroidery! yay!). 

also, poverty luxe turned one year old! this is totally insane because i never thought id be doing this for a whole year. but still awesome. 

we took alice to the zoo for the very first time.

and we welcomed a new member to the meyers family. meet B:

(obviously alice is totally obsessed) remember that time my sister rescued a kitten and named it gaston? well, it turns out gaston is a lady, and one of my moms cats (a fat, lazy, potato of a cat named ronald) apparently CAN NOT handle sharing his litter box with a girl, and despite living in a one bedroom apartment, ive been getting antsy to have more cats. so B lives with us now. its great. 

and in big, exciting, life-changing news: i started college this week AND dove into a new business adventure as a consultant for jamberry nails

i really wish i had something more profound to say about starting college again after so many years, but, i dont know, im taking two one unit classes for eight weeks. it doesnt even really feel like im in college right now. come back in september and im sure ill have more to say about it. 

jamberry, on the other hand, i just cant keep my mouth shut about that. dont worry though, poverty luxe (the blog, or the etsy shop) isnt going anywhere. the only thing that might be going somewhere sometime soon though is my job at joanns. i wont say yet that im quitting, but i will say that my first week with jamberry had a rocky, underwhelming start and i still made about what id bring home on a good week at joanns. so...

oh! saturday i got to go to another awesome blogger meet up hosted by melyssa and the bloggers giving back crew! this event was called well boxed: 

 and we had pizza and wine and put together care packages for the troops stationed overseas:

it was an awesome time getting to do something nice for someone that probably really needs it, while also getting to spend some quality time getting to know some other blogger ladies better (AND even meeting some new friends!). 

now, i noticed that amidst all of the crazy busyness of march, i havent been doing much in the way of outfit posts. even though thats totally my favorite kind of post and i swore that id do more of them they just havent been happening. so as of right now, im stepping up my game. heres what i wore to the well boxed event:


outfit details:

top/bandeau: diy (tutorial coming next month!)
shoes: shoemint
bracelet: vintage (james bought it for me when he was a scrap gold buyer)
glasses: zenni optical
nails: jamberry in diamond dust and cup of tea

i dont really have a whole lot to say about this outfit, other than i did make most of it (and the shoes i won from another bloggers giveaway), so i didnt really pay for any of it, which i guess is neat. also, lately ive really been working on finding different ways to style my poverty luxe skirt, since, you know, actually wearing the things i make is basically the cheapest marketing there is. at the blogger meet up i got a lot of compliments on my top, which was actually a really simple diy project, so stay tuned, because in a couple weeks I'm going to show you how to make one too!

so there you have our highlights for the month of march. 

well, that and yesterday james did that thing we do now and again where we dress up as dr. who characters for no reason and it becomes glaringly obvious why exactly we dont have any adult friends:

(but, i mean, if i was someone else, id totally want to be friends with us)

now dont think i forgot about weekly wishes!

last week i wanted to get a good start on my classes and order my textbooks, and i did both! in fact, i was SO excited about having homework to do that i did ALL of my homework for both classes on thursday. plus i saved like $80 bucks by buying my textbooks used (and ill probably get almost as much as i paid for them when i sell them in a couple months, so stay tuned for a post about how to work the textbook system!)

whats up for this week? not much, really. obviously I want to keep doing my homework early, but my big projects for the week are finishing Aprils editorial calendar (and deciding if Friday posts are coming back or not....) and starting a big list of all the home projects that need done/things that need to be replaced (with James working full time and me NOT working three jobs, we totally have the time and money for projects for the first time in over a year so its already a long, overwhelming list...)

what was your favorite part of march?


Saturday, March 29, 2014

ok guys, im totally hooked on overnight oats.

so, ever since my stupid celiac diagnosis (yes, thats its official title. ive also taken the liberty of renaming celiac disease to stupid celiac disease) breakfast has been, shall we say... problematic. 

see, im not a morning person. at all. so cooking breakfast? yeah, not happening. for as long as i can remember ive been the cereal or granola bar for breakfast type. maybe if im feeling extra ambitious, ill make a smoothie. but thats pushing it. 

unfortunately i also have a variety of diseases that all work together to make me wake up STARVING, while also eliminating my ability to eat granola bars and almost every cereal except chex and cocoa pebbles and im also apparently allergic to bananas so smoothies are out of the question. 

so um... breakfast has been a MAJOR problem in my life. i mean, have you ever tried eating cocoa pebbles every morning for six months straight? it sucks. for a multitude of reasons, but mainly because immediately after youre done eating them, youre hungry again. and im about 9000% over being hungry all the time. 

well, things at the meyers house seem to have hit an unusually pleasant phase of problems being solved: james is working full time again, his three month battle with unemployment has been solved, im not currently working three jobs, and most importantly, IVE FINALLY FOUND SOMETHING TO EAT FOR BREAKFAST. 

chia seed overnight oats. 

which are probably the trendiest most pintrest-y breakfast i can imagine that the me from two years ago who was convinced that no good could ever come from pintrest is totally shaking her head at, BUT, you know what? its pretty decent. and cheap (even with my stupid expensive gluten free oats it costs less than $1 a day). and it keeps me full. FOR THREE OR FOUR WHOLE HOURS. which is basically unheard of since being gluten free and turning into a bottomless pit of starvation and despair. also (this part may just be a coincidence) since ive been eating my jar of overnight oats every morning, i seem to have stopped losing weight, which is very, VERY much appreciated. 

i literally can not stop singing the praises of the wonders of overnight oats to anyone and everyone that will listen to me. i got my mom making them. and james is even eating them sometimes (james has always been a eight eggs and bacon or no breakfast at all type of guy). and now im going to tell you how to make them. because theyre fantastic. 

heres how you do it:

chia seed overnight oats
(one serving)

1/2 cup rolled oats (gluten free if required)
1/2 cup yogurt (exact type is up to you, i use a full-fat vanilla)
1/2 cup milk (or milk substitute if dairy is an issue)
1 tsp chia seeds (these can be expensive because they usually come in a 1lb container, but you dont need much so if you can find a health food store that sells them in bulk 1/4 lb will last you a VERY long time)

start by taking a clean empty mason jar (laura scudders peanut butter jars are the EXACT right size and i happen to be swimming in them, so win for me), and add each ingredient in the following order: yogurt, oats, chia seeds, milk. then stir. now put it in the fridge and wait at least overnight. stir again. top with whatever toppings you fancy. eat. 

and thats it. 

ive been topping mine with strawberries and nutella, because, well, anything for an excuse to eat nutella every day:

and one more great thing about this whole overnight oats thing? it is SO easy to make them in bulk (provided that you have enough jars on hand), a quart size tub makes exactly seven jars (dont ask me why, because mathematically it SHOULD be eight), and in 10 minutes, i can make a WHOLE WEEK of breakfasts. its awesome. i love it. the end. 

thanks for sticking around with me while i rave about oatmeal. you are a true friend. 

what do you normally eat for breakfast? have you ever tried overnight oats? 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

5 money saving tips for already broke college students.

(note: this post was originally posted as a guest post on call me sassafras, but since i just started school this week and have a ton on my plate, i thought id use today to share this extremely relevant information)

spring is in full swing, which means time for college acceptance letters and time to start freaking out about how expensive EVERYTHING even remotely college related is. well lucky for you, i have LOTS of experience in being a broke college student (actually, i just started the fashion program at my local community college), and while i dont have any advice on how to make the college itself any cheaper,  i  do have a few (five, to be exact) tips to make all those little expenses a LOT more manageable. 

lets get started, shall we?

1. skip the school bookstore at the beginning of the semester. 

basically, your school bookstore is THE MOST EXPENSIVE PLACE ON EARTH to buy textbooks and you should avoid it at all costs. as SOON as you get your syllabi (yes, thats the proper plural of syllabus), head over to, and search the isbn numbers of the books you need to find the best price (actually, you may need to make a stop at the bookstore to get those numbers). the great thing about is that it not only gives you price comparisons on the book youre looking for, but it ALSO FIGURES IN SALES TAX AND SHIPPING so that you know that youre getting the absolute best price on all of the internet. 

2. talk to your professors about what books/supplies youre actually going to use. 

i know professors are sometimes scary (especially if youre at a new school), but if you really want to save yourself from buying a $100 textbook that wasnt even necessary (which, im pretty sure you do), ask them about the booklist. sometimes the book isnt very important and theres a reserve copy in the library, sometimes an old (and therefore MUCH cheaper) edition is ok, sometimes the book is on the syllabus but its not even really part of the class. any one of these things could end up saving you some money (and all of these have happened multiple times in my college career), but youll never know if you have other options book-wise unless you ask. 

3. bring your own lunch/snacks/water. 

i really shouldn't have to tell you that fast food/convenience food is way expensive (and way unhealthy) and that buying bottled water (or soda) every day adds up to a LOT of money. this gets even worse when you get onto a college campus. fun fact: i briefly attended usc (one of the most expensive colleges in america) and you know how much a bean burrito and small soda at the campus food court cost? $9. simple things like packing yourself a sandwich or an apple and investing in a reusable water bottle can save you TONS of money over the course of a semester, with the added bonus of helping you to eat healthier and avoid the dreaded freshman 15. 

4. actually, skip the school bookstore at the end of the semester, too. 

so, you know how at the end of the semester you can sell your books back to the school for about .5 percent of what you paid for them and it makes you want to cry? well, selling your books yourself on (selling used books on amazon requires a merchant account, doesnt) will get you a LOT more money (actually, there were times that i made a profit flipping my used textbooks). pro tip: look at the current selling price of your book and price yours one cent lower, chances are your book will be the first to sell. 

5. buy your supplies at office stores. 

at back-to-school time, the big office stores have ALL the basic supplies (pens, pencils, notebooks, index cards, etc) on sale for SO CHEAP (sometimes even just pennies). it may not be the cutest stuff, but hey, why spend $5 on a notebook when you could get one for 50 cents? 

i hope that youve found these tips useful, they helped me immensely while i was in school, so i can personally attest to their effectiveness (and i plan on using every. single. one. this time around). 

do you have any tips for saving money at school? 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

my jamberry business launch party ( + a giveaway!)

remember last week when i announced my new business adventure (a term i just coined that you are more than welcome to start using and make a thing) as a consultant for jamberry nails. and i didnt really say much more than that because my official business launch was for another day. 

well today is that day! my facebook business launch party has been going for a couple days now (thats how jamberry does things, real life parties and facebook parties), BUT the lame thing about facebook events, is well, i can only reach the folks that im friends with on Facebook and its really, really difficult to reach a wider audience (which is truly a shame because as far as im concerned, jamberry is the second best thing ever, after cheese, obviously). so, im inventing something right now: blog parties for jamberry nails

as far as i know, this is the first one thats ever happened (jamberry is still a baby company, only about three or four years old), so im kind of making this up as i go, BUT i think its going to be really fun. heres how its going to work:

first, im going to take a few minutes to tell you about what jamberry nails are, what makes them so awesome, and why i love them so much. second, im going to talk about all the ways that YOU can get in on the jamberry action (more options than you think). and last but not least, im giving away a FULL SHEET of jamberry wraps to one lucky winner!!!! so stay tuned to the end because you definitely dont want to miss that. 

alright, so lets get started: 

what are jamberry nails? well heres a handy little graphic that has everything you need to know:

now, let me reiterate a few of my favorite key points:

1. theyre heat and pressure activated vinyl nail wraps that cause NO damage to the natural nail. unlike acrylic and gel nails, you DONT have to sand the nail bed in order to get them to stick. 

2. there are something like 300 different jamberry wraps so there is literally something for everyone. also, new designs are added with every catalog AND if youre the artsy type, you can design your own jamberries in the nail art studio

3. they last for-freaking-ever. the "lasts up to two weeks on fingers" statement? thats actually a very conservative estimate. let me show you. heres a picture of my nails right after i did them:

and here they are yesterday (ELEVEN days later!), still perfect (this is an especially big deal for me because regular nail polish lasts literally one day on my nails):

4. they are super simple to apply and in about 15 minutes you can have total pinterest nails (with the added bonus of no mess or risk of wrecking them before they dry). heres the official video of the application process:

5. they are way, way cheaper than getting your nails done at a salon. each jamberry sheet cost roughly what you would pay for ONE very basic manicure at a salon. but heres the thing, each sheet gives you AT LEAST two pedicures AND 2-3 manicures. CRAZY. it gets even better though, jamberries are ALWAYS buy three, get one free. meaning for less than $50, you get EIGHT pedicures and EIGHT TO TWELVE manicures. im serious. what does this come out to per application? thankfully somebody else already did the math for me:

(and thats totally not counting all of the leftover bits you can save to mix and match later)

so youre totally stoked on jamberry now, right? and youre all like "tell me how i can get them!"? of course you are. and the answer is simple, just place an order through my jamberry page, and it will be shipped directly to you, none of the usual direct-sales middleman nonsense. its fantastic. (oh, and if youre feeling skeptical and want to give jamberry a try before committing to an order, just shoot me an email at and ill get you some samples). 

but wait, you want more? you want to tell everyone you know about jamberry and score some FREE jamberries? host a party! just hit me up and we can make arrangements to do your party on facebook, on your blog, OR (if you happen to be in the la/oc area) in real life. its really up to you!

oh, is that not good enough for you? are you (like me) totally obsessed with jamberry and want your own piece of the action, making money AND earning free product by selling a ridiculously awesome product (that honestly, basically sells itself)? become a consultant! like i said earlier, jamberry is a little, baby company, and there really arent a whole lot of consultants (especially on the west coast, there are currently about 50 reps in all of southern california), so now is DEFINITELY the time to get involved. 

so lets do a quick review here:

1. jamberry nails are the awesomest.

2. $45 gets you four whole sheets (basically a lifetime supply of adorable nails). 

and 3. if you want even MORE, its totally easy to host a party or become a consultant

oh, and one more thing, to celebrate my business launch with all of blogland, im giving away a FULL SHEET (two manis and two pedis worth) of my favorite black and white chevron design

a Rafflecopter giveaway
have you heard of jamberry nails before? what do you think? do you have any questions? ask away in the comments!

Monday, March 24, 2014

sometimes i forget that im sick (a nice morning at disneyland + weekly wishes)

last week we had a pretty full week. james was home most of the week (but since hes worked full time basically the whole month, i wasnt worried about it), and tuesday, he was so kind as to take alice to the beach so i could work. this was especially awesome because, drumroll please.... i was able to FINISH a little batch of scarves for the shop. this one with the bow print is my favorite: 

then, the rest of the week was fairly uneventful, i dont think we did anything notable except driving across town to the running shoe store because i found a fantastic deal on the nike frees that i had decided on getting (there was another shoe that was even lighter and more supportive, but really, i couldnt handle feeling like my feet were in an iron maiden). 

obviously why thursday night we were getting bored, and alice has been asking for the jungle cruise just about every day. so friday we decided to spend the morning at disneyland. normally id pack a lunch for us, but james was extremely antsy to get there quickly since big thunder mountain railroad just re-opened (its been closed for like, two years. this was a big deal), so we decided that it was our special family date for the week and wed also go out for lunch (ultimately, this was a fantastic call on jamess part because i had an incredible gluten free pizza that im still fantasizing about). 

we were at the park for maybe four, four and a half hours, and it was great. alice got her jungle cruise:

hung out with the goats:

got to meet robin hood (seriously, in my whole life ive NEVER seen robin hood):

we had forgotten to bring alices autograph book. obviously since robin hood was there (a favorite of both james AND alice) we had to get a new one. 

then after lunch alice had a special request. she wanted to ride the "space rockets" (astro orbiters or whatever, its basically dumbo but in tomorrow land). since shes asked to go on this ride probably the last three times weve been at disneyland right as were about to leave so weve always said no. we made sure she got to try the space rockets:

and i dont think ive ever seen her so excited about anything in her whole life. as soon as we got in the little rocket (which was WAY smaller than i remember it being), alice yelled "are you ready guys! lets blast off!" before we could even get the seatbelt on her. i just about died. 

then after that, james and i used our big thunder mountain fast passes (which we miraculously got right after they re-opened the fast pass distribution after closing it for some technical difficulties so we only had to wait about an hour), and then we went home for alices nap time. 

at which point i did all of the days chores that id neglected by playing hooky at disneyland, then cooked an elaborate dinner, and then went to bed thinking i could just pop right out of bed and make it to my friends bridal shower at 10:30. you know, like a normal person.

well, turns out i was wrong. so, so, so wrong. i did wake up on time, but i was still so groggy and in so much pain that getting dressed and putting on makeup and shoes felt like wrestling a bear. by time i had done those three small things (that I'm sure most people do every day without even thinking about it), i was so tired, so sore, and so emotional, that i just couldnt do anything else. i spent most of the day in bed, crying. wearing my fancy bridal shower dress. because all we did was spend four hours at disneyland and i SHOULD be able to do something as simple as go to a party. 

but i couldnt. and really, i should have expected that. because, im not a normal person. im sick. and sometimes (well, a lot of the time, lately) i forget about that. while having fibromyalgia doesnt really stop me from doing anything, it most certainly keeps me from being able to do everything. and lately, ive been too hard to be wonder woman. to say yes to everyone and to do all the things and go all the places and do all the work and have all the fun.

i feel like this would be draining enough for a healthy person, but for me, each seemingly small activity brings its own little baggage of pain and fatigue, and unless i take lots and lots of breaks (more than even i think i need), to deal with each thing one at a time, it all rolls together and compounds until i spend an entire day sobbing in the fetal position because i tried to do two big busy weekends in a row (remember, last weekend, we went to the zoo). and i really have to stop doing this. 

over the past eight (ish) years, ive learned to get used to living with fibromyalgia. to be happy with a slower, quieter, less busy life than what most people are used to. and most of the time, its not bad at all. yes i get tired easily, yes it takes me a very long time to recover from something as simple as a bike ride, and yes i am usually in a medium to severe amount of pain that no medicine really fixes. but as long as i take things slow, as long as i get plenty of rest, i can do whats important. i just, cant expect stressing over getting to a morning bridal shower immediately after letting myself get way too busy too many weekends in a row to result in anything other than panic attacks. 

i guess thats my life lesson for the week. 

on a much less somber note, my first fashion class starts tonight! 

AND, as i mentioned earlier, i bought running shoes and attempted to get my student id (turns out the day i went was during spring break so no one was there, next week ill try again) so last weeks weekly wishes went well. 

whats up for this week? mainly i just want to get a good start on my classes and get my textbooks taken care of. 

what are your goals for this week?

(p.s. stay tuned for tomorrow because ive got a REALLY exciting giveaway coming up!)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

roasted brussels sprout recipe.

hey folks! today im going to share my recipe for roasted brussels sprouts. while james is a big fan of my glazed carrots, i think id go so far as to say that these are my favorite roasted vegetable. 

which is actually kind of ironic because growing up i hated brussels sprouts. though as i got older i realized that was because when i was growing up, the only way my mom knew how to make them was by steaming them. which is horrible. thankfully shes learned her lesson and she doesnt do that anymore. and now i love brussels sprouts. 

heres how i like to make them:

roasted shaved brussels sprouts

(serves 2-4 as a side dish)


about 1 pound of brussels sprouts 
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
olive oil
garlic powder
lemon pepper
black pepper

start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees, and while youre waiting prep your brussels sprouts by chopping off the stems and removing any yucky outer leaves. next, use the slicing attachment of your food processor to cut them into thin shreds, and pile them onto a foil lined baking sheet. toss the shredded sprouts with a drizzle of olive oil and add the salt, pepper, garlic, and lemon pepper to your preference. bake for about 10 minutes, remove the pan from the oven to thoroughly toss the sprouts and add in the parmesan. bake for about ten more minutes until lightly browned and crispy on the edges. 

and thats it! to make an already simple recipe even simpler, i like to buy two pounds of brussels sprouts, shred them all, and then save half for the next week. 

hope youre having a great weekend!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

spices. they dont have to be expensive.

spices. theyre pretty dang important if you want your food to not taste like crap. i mean really, have you ever tried cooking without spices (or eaten dinner at someones house that for some reason doesnt season anything)? without spices, EVERYTHING tastes like sadness and disappointment. this gets even worse when, like us, youre really poor and basically just eating rice and beans and eggs and potatoes all the time. thanks to the magic of spices, its actually pretty easy to take simple ingredients and turn them into a delicious meal. 

but heres the problem: if youve ever been down the spice aisle of the grocery store, you know that for some stupid, stupid reason, spices cost millions of dollars (ok, like, 4-6 dollars for each little bottle). any time one of my friends is getting ready to get married/move out i ALWAYS tell them "get ready for those first few grocery trips to be CRAZY expensive, because until you collect ALL THE SPICES, every new recipe is an automatic $20". 

but really, it doesnt have to be like that. there are actually quite a few ways that you can get around spending all your money on spices (while still, you know, having them so your food isnt terrible). basically, stay as far away from the spice aisle at the grocery store as you possibly can. but more specifically:

1. invest in an already-filled spice rack. 

heres a good one from target. now i know what youre thinking, its almost $50, and do you really need all of those spices. the answer is yes, eventually you probably will (though i think there are a couple of weird ones on our spice rack that i havent opened yet), and $50 for 20 bottles really isnt that bad when you consider that the average grocery store price is $5 each and buying each one individually would cost about $100. plus, now you have a handy little storage solution for all your little spice bottles. now, even the best spice rack wont have everything and you will have to buy spices sometimes, BUT its a good starting point. 

2. dollar stores. 

dollar stores really have a lot more to offer than we usually give them credit for, and most of them have a fairly decent selection of spices. theyre not always the best quality, but they work. since we have a dollar tree within walking distance of our apartment, a lot of our spices come from there. 

3. the bulk bins at sprouts. 

this is something i just found out about. im really not a big fan of buying new containers of things that im just going to use to refill the containers i already have (it just feels way too wasteful), so when our pepper mill ran out, i was really happy to find that at sprouts i could get just a bag of enough peppercorns to refill my grinder instead of buying a whole new grinder. also, since youre buying by the ounce, you only have to pay for what youre actually going to use. 

4. ethnic grocery stores.

if you live in an area that has them, and you have a little extra time on your hands, this is SO worth it. right after james and i got married i found out that the only curry powder available was $5 for a small jar that made lentil stew exactly twice. on our first visit back to california i made sure we went to the local indian grocery store by my old house and we got a HALF POUND bag of curry powder for $3.50. we still havent used it up. 

5. trader joes. 

ok, so trader joes doesnt have everything (actually their selection of spices is pretty small), BUT everything they do have is $1.99. which, yeah, its twice as much as the dollar store, but the quality is fantastic (and its still less than half of what youd pay at the "regular" store)

and last but not least, 

6. the "ethnic aisle" of the regular grocery store. 

I'm sure youve seen those little baggies of spices hanging on the wall over by the tortillas and stuff, right? well those are the exact same spices that are over in the spice aisle and there usually about $1 or so each (and usually theres more in the bag than in the little jars). the only thing though is that once the bags are open, theyre open. and you need to have some kind of container to offload them into (like, the empty spice jars youre replacing or baby food jars or small tupperware or really anything you can imagine so really there isnt much of a problem. 

so thats all i have to say about spices today. is there anything i missed? do you have any super secret tips for getting cheap spices? if so, id love to hear them!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

the time we went to the zoo.

on saturday we took alice to the zoo for the very first time. honestly, im a little embarrassed that it took us almost two and a half years to get her to the zoo, but for one reason or another weve just never been able to make it happen. but lately alice has been asking almost every day if we could go to the zoo. so last weekend I MADE IT HAPPEN. even if it meant going the morning after a night wedding on a weekend where james was playing on the worship team at church and i inadvertently made james miss dorks and dragons night. 

none of that really matters, because what matters is that we finally went to the zoo. 

and alice loved it:

now, i havent been to the la zoo in a long time. probably six or seven or maybe even more years (i remember my family had a membership when i was 15-16 and im pretty sure we went at least once after that but im not sure when that was), and apparently theyve done a LOT of work to the old zoo that i do NOT remember from the last time i was there. 

for instance, one of the first things you see when you get past the gift shops is this giant sea world status tank for the seals where you can actually see them swimming and playing instead of the old, sad concrete enclosure they used to live in. alice really liked watching the seals swim:

the next thing we checked out was the brand new reptile house, which despite being a little crowded and claustrophobic (it was saturday, after all, i imagine its not nearly as bad on a weekday), was really, really cool. especially because most of the exhibits have perfectly kid-height windows:

alice really liked all the snakes, she was particularly enamored with this one:

 (though she kept calling them "giant snails", i guess we need to work on that)

my favorite part of the reptile house was these cute cuddling lizards:

after that we headed outside to look at some more animals before lunch, with such highlights as this komodo dragon eating from the HUGEST bone ive ever seen:

and alice asking me to drop her in the kangaroo cage. im not kidding. she just really, really wanted to hang out with the kangaroos i guess. 

then we took a short break for lunch (where i noticed that i accidentally bought tuna pouches with soy sauce in them and almost had a panic attack because i only had snacks for the whole day but then we got ice cream and everything was better), and looked for some more animals. the gorilla exhibit also has some really great kid-friendly windows so alice got to get really close to the gorilla:

then something funny happened. i was trying to take a picture of james and alice together, and she would not look directly at the camera lens. shed look at my face, or at my hands, or at james or anything else but not the camera. so i pointed to the camera lens and as im trying to explain to alice where she needs to look james says "the camera has an eyestalk, just like a dalek. look at the eyestalk"

and then boom:

perfect picture. because apparently "dalek" and "eyestalk" are more relatable to alice than "camera" and "lens". not sure if this is a parenting win or fail...

now alice had two requests as far as animals were concerned: lions and elephants. well when we finally found the lions, they were closed. no lions, just a sign reading "this exhibit is closed for the day". so while alice didnt get to see the lions, she did have fun with the telescope thats supposed to be for looking at lions:

so much fun, in fact, that i had to physical pry her away from it kicking and screaming in order to go look at the giraffes. its a rough life when your mom makes you look at giraffes:

(this is alice upset because not only am i a mean bossy pants that made her look at giraffes, i am also a big fun sucker for not letting her get into the cage to play with them)

then came my favorite part of the day, when we sat on the shaded amphitheater thing to watch the chimpanzees do chimpanzee stuff:

normally im not a big fan of chimpanzees but there were SO. MANY. BABIES. it was adorable.

after that, we looked at some more animals, took a little break at the playground (i totally forgot the zoo had a playground), and then we saw the black bear get a snack and that was cute:

now my one chief complaint about the la zoo is that the layout is really confusing and even with a map its difficult to see where things are in relationship to each other and the twisty paths that connect them. so the elephants that alice specifically requested to see? we didnt even find those until the very end of the day after she had fallen asleep. 

but we did end up getting a membership for the year, so well be back. and alice will finally get her lions and elephants.