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 Carin McGrath, who lives in Studio City with her husband Mark McGrath (TV personality, entrepreneur and lead singer of Sugar Ray) and their twins Hartley and Lydon. Originally from Rancho Cucamonga, Carin lived on the Westside of Los Angeles for 20 year until moving to Studio City.
Tell me a little about why you love living in your neighborhood, and what drew you to live here?
Carin McGrath: I love that the city and neighborhood feels comfortable and familiar, like its own city in the city. There is always parking and you don’t always have to valet. We moved here because of what you can get for your money. The prices are more affordable for what you get; we bought here when we had the twins and we wanted be more conscious of our spending.
What are the best ways to keep your kids active in the neighborhood?
CM: I prefer taking the kids to the parks, with my favorite being Moorpark Park. It feels safe because it’s enclosed and it’s within walking distance to our house. Actually, we live within walking distance to several parks. We love going to the Studio City Farmers Market. It is super kid-friendly with their bouncies, horse rides and petting zoo. Also they have the best breakfast burritos and pizza. I love getting my fresh flowers here every week.
During the summer, I love taking the kids to Pint Size Kids to get them out of the heat. They have great classes, and they are super clean and strict with their sick policies. They even have a deal with the restaurant a couple doors down, Nesmon Cafe, to deliver food, including a special kids’ menu only available there. We also love the COOP. They have great coffee for the adults and the chic decor keeps us moms feeling cool.
Would you say you live in a kid-friendly area, and what makes it kid friendly to you?
CM: Yes very kid-friendly. To me, kid-friendly means that kids can ride their bikes down the sidewalk and feel safe, and most of all, there are other kids around their same age that they can grow up together with. We go to Casa Vega at least once a week. The food is always great and the energy is alive. Plus, the kids can make a mess because it’s not such a formal place. It’s just fun and easy! We go to to breakfast at the Four ‘n 20 on Laurel Canyon. The people that work there have known the kids since they were little, and they let us take over and are super sweet to the kids.
Where are your favorite places to go without the kids?
CM: Without the kids, we like to go catch a movie at the ArcLight. They have adult theaters there so I can have a glass of wine and unwind! Mark and I tend to do more day dates. We love lunching together and shopping. We love the original Katsu-ya on the corner of Colfax and Ventura. With my girlfriends, I love trying new restaurants that pop up. I always have an amazing lunch at Charlie’s Pantry. Their salads are amazing — actually everything is amazing there! I’m super excited for Lemonade to open up too! For dinner, I love The Village, Black Market Liquor Bar, and Michelle, you keep promising to take me to the new Top Chef restaurant, Girasol!
Tell us about any rare gems or best-kept secrets in the area that make your life a bit easier.
CM: I love going to Frok for clothes for myself. It’s great and cheap and easy to wear with kids. And I love Mimi and Hy – they are my go-to for great gifts! I get all my gifts from there. Soto is also an easy, fun go-to shop!
What are your easy and quick go-to shopping places for the kids, from clothes to gifts.
Be sure to follow Carin on Twitter (@CarinKinglands) and find out where Mark McGrath and Sugar Ray are on tour here. Also, be sure to watch Mark’s show Killer Karaoke, which he’ll be hosting on TruTV.