Current Obsessions Archives - 2 Dads with Baggage
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Trolling Melrose in WeHo

Trolling Melrose in WeHo

That’s how Sophia and Ava like to refer to our trip to visit Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood (WeHo, get it?) After all, when you hang with the cool kids, you pick up some lingo.

Last week we spent our long Thanksgiving weekend at the Beverly Hilton, mixing it up with the Angelenos for turkey day. One of our favorite outings was to Melrose Avenue to shop, see and be seen.

So Many Murals, So Little Time

On a quest to find the famous angel wings mural that Sophia insisted we visit, we found many others along the way. I guess murals are a thing on Melrose, and each of them were incredible works of art. As we drove along the street headed east from Beverly Hills, we spied literally dozens of artworks on walls in all shapes, sizes, colors and styles. My favorite looked like a cubist Goldie Hawn/Mr. Monopoly mashup from outer space, but here are some other family favs:

The famous angel wings mural did not disappoint. We must have tried 80 poses per girl. The famous angel wings mural did not disappoint. We must have tried 80 poses per girl.

The graffiti murals of Melrose are epic, and we found a whole parking lot filled to the brim. The graffiti murals of Melrose are epic, and we found a whole parking lot filled to the brim.

Triton was, quite literally, made in LA. Triton was, quite literally, made in LA.

Sidebar: It was hilarious to see the hoards of tourists gathered in front of some of these murals to take selfies, sometimes several people deep. #humanselfiemachines

Shopping High and Low

The collection of retailers on Melrose is pretty eclectic – everything from high end boutiques to the iconic Fred Segal on Melrose and Crescent Heights (I have a pair of Fred Segal sneakers that I totally love). There were stores like the K-trash Dash (no, there were no K’s in sight), and then down and dirty skate shoe emporiums catering to a grittier crowd. The girls really liked a new boutique called Sorella, which carried some pretty cool women’s fashions I would characterize as urban chic with an edge. Sophia must have tried on two dozen slutina outfits before settled on something more “age appropriate”.

Sidebar #2: Is it ironic that she paid $$$$ for a pair of cutoff Wrangler jeans from 1985 that I probably had in my closet at one time?

Somehow a photo of the girls with this mural seemed appropriate. Somehow a photo of the girls with this mural seemed appropriate.

Celeb Sightings

Last time we were in LA, we ate dinner at a great vegan/Mexican restaurant called Gracias Madre, which is also on Melrose. Don’t let the idea of vegan Mexican scare you off, because the food is de-licious. This time we opted for lunch there, and are so glad we did. As we walked in the door, a family was exiting and it turned out to be Tobey Maguire with his wife and kids. Just a regular schlub out for a bite in his tshirt and sweats. Shortly after we sat down, the table next to us was seated, and Sophia let out a squeal and said in a not-so-subtle stage whisper, “That girl is famous but I don’t know her name!” As I tried to look over my shoulder, VERY INCONSPICUOUSLY I MIGHT ADD, I realized it was Katie Holmes with Suri Cruise.

Sidebar #3: Have you seen the parody tumblr site called Suri’s Burn Book? Oh it’s goooooooood….

The stars shine bright at Gracias Madre Restaurant on Melrose Avenue The stars shine bright at Gracias Madre Restaurant on Melrose Avenue

All in all, a good Hollywood kind of day.


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Hairspray Adventures: Competitive Cheerleading Meet – How Gay!

Hairspray Adventures: Competitive Cheerleading Meet – How Gay!

Through the haze of Aqua Net, we braved five hours of girls screaming and jumping up and down to attend Ava’s first competitive cheerleading meet with her team from Cali Coast Elite this weekend. It was an experience beyond anything we could have imagined, like maybe we had died and gone to Gay Parent Heaven.

So proud of Ava and her team - they worked hard for this win.

So proud of Ava and her team – they worked hard for this win.

We knew these girls were peppy. We knew they had high spirits. We even knew they would jump up and down, and scream and yell at the top of their lungs. But nothing – NOTHING – prepared us for the hair. Tracy Turnblad would have been proud of these Hair Hoppers. (Insert highly gay references to other cult movies __here___).

I mean, the girls were hardcore and so were some of the MOMS. Man, those women were living f-a-n-c-y – if they could have bedazzled one more inch of their workout sweats and pants, or had on just a little more bling, they would have qualified as bona fide drag queens. (I actually think one of them WAS a drag queen).

So of course, they see two dads with a daughter in the competition and draw immediate conclusions. Now Triton is pretty darn good at the hairdo stuff – and I did have to help Ava with her eyeliner so she could get the right line with a flourish – but that hardly qualifies as a gay stage dad. Right? Right??!?!?!

Hard to believe that hair could withstand all those cheerleading stunts, but it did!

Hard to believe that hair could withstand all those cheerleading stunts, but it did!

You see, for these competitions the teams gather from all over the Southwestern US to show off their amazing routines, vying for top honors and a first-place gold to bring back home. And they really bring the whole showbiz shebang along, complete with stage makeup of extraordinary color combinations, and gigantic, enormous, over-the-top hairdos that are teased to a frenzy that rivals any beehive of the ‘60s. My jaw dropped to the floor when I saw some of these girls.

The girls from Ava’s gym at Cali Coast are really sweet girls, and they are fantastic at what they do. Honestly, those coaches should be commended for teaching these girls such amazing teamwork and tricks. They are also not the over-the-top kind of girls, which is why we were so shocked to see some of these other teams. They were teasing and spraying each others ‘dos in the lobby, in the bathrooms, in the audience, in the backstage area, you name it.

The clouds of hairspray were choking the air, and it was inescapable!

The clouds of hairspray were choking the air, and it was inescapable!

**cough cough ** The air was oppressively lacking in any oxygen content, and I could see a hole forming in the ozone layer before my very eyes.

Lot of good all that hair did those girls though, since Ava’s team WON. Flat hair or not, we’ve got a CHAMPION in the house! When they announced her team as champions, Triton and I may or may not have squealed along with the rest of the cheer moms. Maybe.

WAY TO GO AVA AND THE CALI COAST ELITE EARTHQUAKES!


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Nine Screaming Girls – A Sleepover Story

Nine Screaming Girls – A Sleepover Story

Last weekend, Ava turned Lucky 13 and wanted to have a big “welcome to your teens” sleepover. In a moment of sheer stupidity, we agreed to invite eight of her girlfriends over to our house for a frenzy of food, fun and games – and maybe a little sleep.

It was hideous.

Individually, these girls are lovely. We know each of them, and even in twos or threes, they are polite, manageable kids – some of which we’ve known since the girls were four years old. But wow, put them in a group and add a little sugar? We could power the next spaceship to the moon on that giddy, girlie hyperactivity.

I think our first mistake was timing. We started the party at 4 pm, and pick up time was not scheduled until 1 pm the following day. What were we thinking?!?!? Ava gets a lot of credit, though, because she organized a vintage movieland party theme, and a bunch of elaborate games to keep the guests entertained. We even had an old-fashioned popcorn machine on wheels like they have at the Fair.

Ava was pretty ingenious really. One of her games was called “Ugly to Pretty,” and she collected a bunch of cast-off items from the thrift store and arranged them on a table. There was an old alarm clock, a candlestick, an antique cut-glass drinking goblet, one of those frightening porcelain dolls like from an old horror flick, and some other stuff. The girls were challenged to use their phones to take an artsy picture of one of the items, making it look pretty by using lighting or filters. The results were fairly impressive – these kids know how to use their phones for sure.

That doll from the Ugly to Pretty game still haunts me from the shadows. That doll from the Ugly to Pretty game still haunts me from the shadows.

So, that whole episode took a whopping 20 minutes of party time. Only 16 hours to go. Thank god for that popcorn machine. And pizza delivery. Twice.

A sampling of actual things I said over the course of the evening:

  • “Please don’t scream help into the canyon at 11 pm at night – the neighbors are trying to sleep.”
  • “Hey, can you not keep throwing rocks into the fish pond?”
  • “No, I’m sorry we are fresh out of strawberry/pineapple juice and I cannot run to the store and get some right now.”
  • “Yes, yes they really are trying to sleep. I know the neighbors would prefer you not screaming.”
  • And my personal favorite, “Who’s bra is this hanging from the popcorn machine?”

It was a loooooooong night.

Not looking worse for the wear, these teens are actually sugar fiends. Not looking worse for the wear, these teens are actually sugar fiends.

In the morning, it’s not like they slept in either. Crack of dawn, and I heard the clomp clomp clomp of heavy feet on the hardwood floors. Creeping downstairs for my coffee, I saw them bunched together in groups, whispering.

Turns out they were wondering what was for breakfast. Man, those teens can EAT.

It’s all good though. Ava had a blast celebrating her entry into the teenage years, and it didn’t take me too long to pick that pepperoni pizza out of the family room carpet. The dogs helped.

 


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Sophia Loves Jack – Part Two

Sophia Loves Jack – Part Two

Earlier this year, Sophia had a “moment” with her teen boy band idol, Jack Johnson of Jack and Jack. (To hear more about that, read the earlier post here). So when Jack and Jack announced they were returning to San Diego as part of local radio station 93.3’s Summer Kickoff Concert, the begging began.

As parents, we’ve learned to use these moments, dangling them like carrots above our teen girls’ heads in order to extract good behavior and extra chores from them. Believe me, these opportunities come few and far between – so don’t judge!

Hanging with the teen idols at the 93.3 Summer Kickoff Concert Hanging with the teen idols at the 93.3 Summer Kickoff Concert

We did finally agree to go as guests of I Heart Radio, and settled into our pretty decent seats. Ever the schemer, Sophia had made pre-arrangements to sit with a friend whose seats were even closer to the stage. Since that girl’s mom was along, we knew it was okay to let Sophia sit up in front – in fact, we could easily see her from our seats 20 rows back.

While Ava, Triton and I bopped to the music, Sophia and her friend stealthed out of the venue under our noses. We figured they had to visit the bathroom.

But no. Come to find out, they had gone looking for Jack and tried to sneak backstage before being stopped by security. Ever resourceful, they stood just outside the backstage gate to peer inside like the stalker teens they are. And sure enough, Jack walked by so the called out to get his attention. “I remember you!” he said to Sophia. “You’re the one with the wifi sign! Come on in!”

And just like that, those girls were backstage groupies. They took photos with both Jacks, hung out and chatted with them and the crew, met a few other performers, and expressed their giggly thanks before returning to their seats.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been backstage at a concert or three. I know what goes on back there, and it’s not meant for teen girls. Luckily, this was a family-friendly event with a high degree of oversight, but still. I was more than a little freaked out. (And maybe a tiny bit proud of my little hustler for being so resourceful).

We are so screwed.


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Sophia Loves Jack – Concert Meet and Greet

Sophia Loves Jack – Concert Meet and Greet

Ever heard of the boy band called Jack and Jack? Yeah, me neither. But Sophia and her friends certainly have, and as the parents of a teen girl we’re getting an education on crushes.

Sophia insists she will one day marry Jack Johnson, to the point where she sometimes refers to herself as Sophia Johnson. He’s almost 20, and she is 14 – so this would be happening over my dead body. Nonetheless, this is a real thing we are currently living. She even has an Instagram fan account dedicated to him: day.dream.johnson96.

Recently she announced they were coming to San Diego, and Sophia informed Triton and me that she was desperate to see them. For a surprise, we bought her tickets to their show at the House of Blues, and meet-and-greet passes so she and a friend could actually meet them. The screams could be heard at the North Pole.

Behind the scenes at the Jack and Jack concert Sophia met her heart throb Jack Johnson of Jack and Jack boy band fame

Since this was her first big concert experience, I wanted to go and chaperone – and I’m glad I did!

Sophia wanted to make a memorable impression on Jack, so she devised a plan. She created a sign to bring with her to the concert, decorated in hot pink with giant letters stating “JACK J, I LOVE YOU MORE THAN WIFI.” (Now any of you with teens will immediately know that this is a HUGE statement – teens wither into mere shadows without their wifi connection.) She worked hard to plan a way to get noticed, and I have to say I was more than a little proud of her ingenuity.

And if she wanted to make an impression, she certainly succeeded. Not only did Jack love the sign, but he and Jack G posed for multiple photos with Sophia when all the other kids only got one. He even posted the photo of her with him and the sign to his Instagram account, which to Sophia was akin to dying and going to heaven. Insta-celebrity by association! Game over.

She floated on air for a full month.