As a neighborhood resource for parents and soon-to-be parents in and around Los Angeles, The Agency’s Michelle Schwartz is interviewing dynamic moms and dads and asking for their valuable insights on the neighborhoods they live in. Today, Michelle talks with Jennifer Berson, founder and president of Jeneration PR. A native of Southern California, Jennifer lives in Sherman Oaks with her husband Kevin and two sons, ages 3 and 1.
Where are you originally from and where do you live now? Tell me a little about why you love living in your neighborhood?
Jennifer Berson: I’m originally from Tarzana, and am now living in Sherman Oaks. We really love living in the hills because it’s very peaceful and much cooler up there. We live on a very crazy, windy narrow hillside street, but it’s worth it for our gorgeous view. We enjoy being right off of Valley Vista, where my husband runs several times a week, and we take long walks with our children. There are so many different kinds of homes to look at, which makes driving and walking through our neighborhood very enjoyable.
What are the best ways to keep your kids active in the neighborhood?
JB: We often take our kids to Van Nuys Park off Hazeltine. It’s our favorite outdoor park, and there’s a nice new play set there with lots of slides and two infant/toddler swings so our boys can swing side-by-side. It’s the perfect spot just next to Trader Joe’s. Our favorite indoor playgrounds are Pint Size Kids, The Coop (photo, at right) and The Playroom. My son loves the different areas to explore at Pint Size, and the ball pit & “roller coaster” at the Playroom. There’s fun stuff for both my 1-year-old, as well as my 3-year-old.
Would you say you live in a kid-friendly area? Are most nearby restaurants kid-friendly?
JB: There are a lot of families in Sherman Oaks and Studio City, so it is a very kid-friendly area. Restaurants always have high-chairs, and seem welcoming of families. Servers never seem to mind if your kids make a mess, however I always try to clean up after my children. Even the Local Peasant (photo, at left), a very cool gastropub in Sherman Oaks, seems unfazed when families roll up to dine.
There’s a Farmer’s Market off Laurel & Ventura on Sundays. We love the guy that makes the breakfast burritos, and there are fun things for kids to do, like pony rides, a train and a slide. We love Sammy’s Pizza, Loteria Grill, and The Counter for their selection of tasty menu items, and kid-friendly attitude. We even enjoy The Six at the Curve Shops at Coldwater. Their patio is a nice place to have an early family dinner, where we can enjoy some wine and share a bunch of yummy dishes our kids like, too.
Where are you and your husband’s favorite places to go without the kids?
JB: When we get a rare night out, we enjoy dinner at La Cava, and catching a movie at ArcLight. We love how you get to pick a seat when you buy your ticket online, so you are never rushing to get to the theatre early to find a seat. Enjoy hiking Runyon Canyon or Fryman, yoga classes with Trevor at 24 Hour Fitness on Saturdays, Bar Method in Encino on weekday mornings for great toning exercises, Gel Manis with ViVi at US Nails on Ventura at Stearn.
What are your easy and quick go-to shopping places for the kids, from clothes to haircuts.
JB: The stretch of Ventura from Laurel Canyon to about Laurel Terrace is filled with great places to shop. Soto Lifestyle has inexpensive & trendy apparel, accessories and gifts. There’s also Paper Source and Urban Outfitters — both great places to score some gifts. We get haircuts at The Yellow Balloon, which is also in this same area at Ventura and Whitsett. The Right Start in Sherman Oaks also has great gifts and gear for kids of all ages.
Jennifer serves on the committee for LoveLiv, a fundraising event in which proceeds go to research projects for Nemaline Myopathy, a rare disease that affects the skeletal muscles. Liv is the daughter of Jennifer’s friend and was born with this disease after her mom battled aggressive breast cancer. To support and learn more about LoveLiv, visit www.loveliv.org.