Family Fun at Frato’s!

Summer is officially over for my kids and their friends. And with the end of summer comes the end of planning play dates at water parks & outdoor playgrounds. Some days when trying to make plans, I give up because indoor activities can get either played out (indoor bounce “zones” only last so long before someone gets sick or hurt) or expensive. And then I still have to find places for them to EAT – and let’s face it. Kids can get picky. And picky eaters get cranky way too quickly for the parents to truly relax and enjoy their meal.

Enter our saving grace: Frato’s Pizza & Catering in Schaumburg.


I used to think of Frato’s as just take-out/delivery pizza. Then one day I decided to take my family with me to just eat there (I’ll be honest: it’s so that I wouldn’t have to clean up after everyone. Which is A HUGE deal for a tired, over-worked mom). I realized this is a place I could make a regular outing.


And what a PERFECT opportunity this past weekend. My 1st grader & her friends all went separate ways for school this year, so the parents and I wanted to meet up for an “end of the year” lunch. So we decided to take the risk of bringing not 1-2 kids, but 6 KIDS AND A BABY with us, 4 poor old souls (3 moms & 1 dad) and eat at Frato’s.

[Drool-worthy pictures after the jump!]

Continue reading “Family Fun at Frato’s!”

Musings on the Getty Center and Museums in General,

Hello, everyone! Jaja the forever tourist is here again!  Today, I wanna share with you guys one of my favorite places to explore in the city, the Getty Center.

A quick history: The Getty Center is one of two campuses of the Getty Museum. The Center is located in Brentwood, Los Angeles, while the Getty Villa is in the neighborhood of Pacific Palisades. The art collection was started by Jean Paul Getty in his home in Palisades. As the collection grew, he added a wing to his home which became the museum area, displaying his extensive collection. As the collection grew in the now-dubbed Getty Villa, he extended his museum by building another campus. The Villa focuses more on the arts and culture of Greece, Rome, and Etruria, while the Center houses collections from pre-20th-century European paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts; and 19th- and 20th-century American, Asian, and European photographs.

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Tourist guide: It is free to get in both museums, but you do need to pay a parking fee. But here’s the good thing: If you want to visit both museums in one day, just keep your parking ticket as it is valid for both museums on a same-day visit. That’s a $15 parking ticket you pay once for a two-museum visit. On Saturdays, the Center closes later as well, so if you don’t want to rush from one place to another, I suggest visiting the Villa first, and then drive on over to the Center.

PS: Audio tours are free, and they loan you the listening device AND the headphones. Now, I’m sure they clean their headphones, but if you’re a tad germophobic like me, feel free to bring your own headset.


Now, I’ve been to the Center a handful of times, and to the Villa zero times. That’s something that needs to be changed. Haha. The reason why I haven’t visited the very beautiful Villa is because I want to view all the collections at the Center. Some exhibits do change which makes multiple trips reasonable.

Once you get out of the parking structure, a tram takes you to the top of the hill where the magnificent structure of the Getty Museum is located. Whenever I step out of that tram, the view never fails to take my breath away. Right in front of the building, you have a wide open area that lets you take in the view from atop that hill. Overlooking the terrace is the valley, the houses and the rolling hills. The facade of the building is simple yet magnanimous. Clear lines, white finish, and a spacious staircase that leads you at the front door. Even before you enter the Center, you are greeted by marvelous sculptures.

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To the right of the front door is the audio tour desk. All you have to do is leave a form of identification with them and they will hand you your free audio tour listening device. I highly recommend this audio tour. There is no set tour you have to follow, you just go to whatever exhibit you want to check out and enter the number you see next to the exhibit piece into the listening device.

Oh, and if you are visiting with children and have a lot of stuff, took public transportation, or just have a lot of belongings with you, don’t let that hinder you from exploring the Center comfortably. To the left of the open-air lobby, you can find a check-in counter for your coats, bags, etc.

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Whenever I visit the Center, I have a little pattern that I follow. Different exhibits are placed in different buildings, a couple are connected to each other by hallways and stairs. I work my way from the exhibits right out front and wok my way back (I follow the map they give out in front). And then I take a break out in the courtyard, have a snack, a drink, get some fresh air, and then resume my tour. I have NEVER completed the exhibits in one day, hence the multiple visits.

When I feel like I’ve satisfied my museum craving, I walk around the expansive and beautiful garden of the Center. After all that, I usually find a shaded area in their grassy area and join the other visitors just chilling on the grass, laying out, doing their think out in the Center garden. Yes, the garden is open to the visitors, even if they visit the Center specifically just to have a picnic there. Outside in the courtyard/garden, you can marvel at the impressive architecture of the Center. Not only that, it offers a wonderful view of the city. I would take this time to just muse on the art pieces that I’ve seen that day. Sometimes, I’d bring my journal or a book with me and just chill the rest of my visit there.

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I’m one of those people that cherish my solitude from time to time. I’m also part of that group who lavishes on alone time in museums. Whenever I go by myself, I really REALLY take my time and check out each art piece. I stand there and admire the art works, ponder on what the artist had in mind, how it makes me feel, what the impact is in today’s society. It’s an experience of the mind and soul that I feel like I cannot undertake if I’m with another person who does not see museums the way that I do. But hey, don’t get me wrong. I enjoy visiting museums with friends because it is also a shared experience. You and your companions get to share your views with each other, discuss about the art work, and simply just share that experience with each other.

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Jaja (IG:@theforevertourist)

Jolibee – Chicago

Happy National Fried Chicken Day everyone!

I’ll admit, I was taken surprise by this day. I was totally off the ball and haven’t been keeping up with the ever important “Foodie Days”. You may think I’m being sarcastic, but I’m actually kind of disappointed in myself! These random days are so light-hearted and fun, they make for decent potluck days, and they sometimes make me think outside the box.

And by outside the box, I mean this time I’m referencing a Filipino CHAIN to celebrate.

20161008_150844Enter…. JOLIBEE. For Filipinos, specifically in the Chicagoland area, this was a huge freaking deal when the ‘bee first arrived. I’m talking, Six Flags-style lines, Black Friday-esque impatience… ya’ll really wanted your Chickenjoy.

And if you didn’t catch what I said, this is a CHAIN. With that said, I will drive the 30 minutes, passing yellow archs, crowns, and ivory towers to get my fix. At first, I was such a hater – mainly because I hate crowds and for the first several months, that’s all I saw when passing by. But now that the hype has died down, I managed to finally get my order in. Let’s focus on the chicken – I love fried chicken, and they’re doing it and doing it and doing it well.

And in case you haven’t gone in yourself, make sure to pick up their *peach mango pie* too. Better yet, get yourself like, 5. And hide that stash from your kids because they WILL steal them. And you will regret the things you say & do to your kids for being innocently drawn to sweet, sugary, beautiful things.

TAZO Passion Fruit Lemonade

Thursdays will be dedicated to the better half of food – drinks. Tasty, pretty concoctions to share with friends or family, or to just hoard to yourself.

This week I’ll be featuring a family favorite: the Tazo Passionfruit Lemonade (made famous at Starbucks).

My husband was the one who got me hooked on these.  But even at less than $5 for a venti, it was still costing me way too much for my own good.  So I started making them at home, and now I make it at every small or large get together, or even just on bright sunshiney days with the kids.  It’s caffeine-free so I don’t have to worry about my kids bouncing off the walls after lunch.  I mean, more so than usual.

You could definitely shortcut some of these steps by just getting premade lemonade or getting the powder type & just add water. But I prefer the taste of fresh lemonade.

So to start, I measure out all ingredients I need:

2 TBSP sugar

2 TBSP water

2 TBSP lemon juice

2 bags Tazo Passionfruit Tea

4 cups water

2 cups of ice

First up, I make the Passionfruit Tea. You should be able to find this at your local grocery store, but if not, you can find it here.  This part is easy.  Steep 2 tea bags in 2 cups of hot water.  I usually let this sit for about 20 minutes.

While waiting for the tea to steep, I make the lemonade.

I make a simple syrup by mixing 2 tablespoons of sugar in 2 tablespoons of water over medium heat.  Once fully dissolved, I then add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 2 cups ice cold water.

Now this step is important – taste it. Does it taste like a good lemonade? If it seems too tart or sweet, add a little bit more water. If it tastes too watery, add more lemon juice & sugar. Everyone seems to like their lemonade different so at this point, customize to your liking =)
Then I just put everything except the ice together! If I’m serving it right away, then I add the ice in and give it a good, gentle stir – because otherwise I spill. And the super red-pink liquid is NOT fun to drop on nice light-colored clothing. Or the counter.

Actually, here’s an *official disclaimer*

If I’m not serving it until later in the day, however, I just pop it in the fridge BEFORE putting in the ice. I tend to make a big batch of this because measurement wise, it just makes sense. It gets too fancy to attempt making ¼ of a batch.  Plus it is so popular with my family that we go through the big batch in no time!  Hope you are able to try it out and enjoy it as much as we do!

Special Feature: CreamBar (Schaumburg IL)

We’ve been pretty busy the past week.  We’ve visited some amazing places around California and eaten at so many different restaurants in the Chicagoland area!  In case you missed them, make sure to stop by our IG page @eatplaychicagola

This week we thought to try something special though. Amongst the roundup, we’ll talk about one specific stop along the way that stood out the most.  So today, I want to focus on a new kid in town (Chicago):

Cream Bar

The Streets of Woodfield – 601 N. Martingale Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173

CreamBar officially opened on Thursday, September 15.  I have to admit, as soon as a co-worker told me about it, I knew I wanted to be one of the first customers.  And, so I was!  I even beat my coworker to it – he went 3 hours later.  Now, because I pretty much just wanted to get a decent sample of what they had to offer, Maeven and I ordered 3 sandwiches amongst ourselves.  Don’t judge – we don’t regret a thing.

L-R:Chocolate Chip cookies w/ cookies and cream & sprinkles, Brownie w/ mint chip, Snickerdoodle w/ blueberry muffin & fruity pebbles


Let’s focus on my personal favorite first: that blueberry muffin ice cream.  According to Brett, the owner, the ice cream they serve is actually made with blueberry muffin TOPS – the BEST part of the muffin (or at least, in my world it has always been).  No wonder it tasted exactly like a blueberry muffin!  I decided on using a snickerdoodle because I went with a breakfast “theme” – the snickerdoodle cookie became a makeshift pancake for me, and the fruity pebbles are obviously the cereal portion of the morning routine. 


There is actually a decent variety of “buns” that are available – and you could even get them on their own instead of making a sandwich (they make some pretty awesome brownies if you ask me. Which, you kind of are asking me since you’re checking out my review of the place).  They even have an option for those that are gluten-sensitive or gluten-intolerant!  The fruity pebbles used to garnish my sweet-not-savory breakfast sandwich are also used along with some marshmallows to make a colorful version of a rice crispy treat!  I considered using their Superman ice cream for a color explosion, but the salted caramel was just calling my name:

I have kids, but I’m also a kid at heart.  Trust me, I can probably pass (not ACE, but pass) any Disney quiz you throw at me, and I can probably play make believe with just about any toddler that begs me to have a tea party.  Stopping in at Cream Bar makes me feel like a kid.  I can use my imagination and be as creative as I want to be with the cookie, ice cream, and topping combinations.

I have always said, that no matter what diet I am on, no matter how much I’ve actually EATEN for lunch/dinner, no matter how cold it is outside – there is always room and a time for dessert. And my favorite dessert is, HANDS DOWN, ice cream.  And this place has been a blessing and a curse for me because it is so close to home & work.  I’m definitely going to be a regular so if you ever find yourself walking in, I MIGHT just be there.  Feel free to judge me and ask me how many times I’ve gone in at that point 😆

❤ Justine

*Disclaimer: Eat Play Chicago LA did not receive compensation for this post.  All opinions are solely ours (well, mine anyway) and is not in any form biased.

Dupage Children’s Museum

Every Friday we’ll be posting family fun days. This could go from assorted adventures with little kids in tow to a day of bonding with siblings and parents of all ages.

Located on the outskirts of the lovely Downtown Naperville grounds is a very, very fuchsia wall.

And on the other side of that wall are very, very colorful letters spelling out the name of a very, very enthusiastic domain. DCM is jam packed with things to do.

Continue reading “Dupage Children’s Museum”