My sister was coming to visit and I was a little nervous. She’s the type who has constant activities planned out whenever she travels. I definitely wanted my little sis to have a whale of a time here in Los Angeles, so I got busy early on, compiling lists of things we could do during her stay. 

I wasn’t sure exactly what would tickle her fancy, so I made long lists filled with an assortment of activities of several types. This way I could present her with choices. There was one thing, however, I didn’t count on. 

My sister is not the insisting type. 

For each time slot, most of my suggestions were met with, “Whichever one you like. They all sound good.” For a consistently indecisive person like me, this was pretty tough. However, there was one option on my list that turn out to be…. 


Yep. Turns out little sis had always wanted to ride on a pedal boat! So naturally, that is just what we did. “Where do I sign up?” you might ask. Well, here’s the skinny: 

  •    The action is at Echo Park Lake (although it seems like more of a pond)
  •    The deal is $10 per adult for an hour of fun and good exercise.
  •    A life vest is provided. Gotta wear it in case you’re clumsy and you fall in.
  •    Sunscreen is not; so, bring it.
  •    It’s two people per boat – great for a date or just good ole fun with a family member. 

We had a lot of fun getting as close as we could to the fountain in the center of the lake before making a sharp turn so we could take a selfie with the fountain in the background. 

When we were there, a local arts organization had a “floating library” out on the lake. It took a few times for us to maneuver our craft into a position where we could grab hold of some of the plastic enclosed “books” they had on offer, but we did manage to pull it off. Unfortunately, the floating library is gone now but it will no doubt be back again. Keep a look out here and follow me on Twitter @checkingthegate to hear about it first! 

Guided canoe rides and gondola rides are also available for those who want to sit back and leave the driving to someone else. At the end of the day, the pedal boats were truly a memorable experience. Check it out. Maybe a trip to Echo Park will help you put a check þ next to something on your bucket list. 



Echo Park Pedal Boats Concession

751 N. Echo Park Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90026

Phone: (213) 481-8577

Facility E-mail: S44CAPTAIN@YAHOO.COM 

Facility Hours of Operation:

9 am to 1/2 hour before sunset 7 days a week

(Jennifer Caldwell is a an actress and an active member of SAG-AFTRA, serving on several committees. She is a published author of short stories and news articles and is a featured contributor to CityWatch. Her column at is dishing up good deals, recipes and food for thought. Jennifer can be reached at  Facebook: - Twitter: @checkingthegate) 


Let’s face it; living in Southern California is hectic. Between constant traffic, the cost of living, and trying to stay afloat, stress takes a toll on your nerves. Sometimes you just need a few minutes for yourself to re-charge your inner peace battery. I have just the thing and it won’t cost you a penny. Spend an hour at the Lake Shrine at the Self Realization Fellowship in Pacific Palisades. You will ommmmmmm a sigh of serenity. 

Let’s face it. Doggy peeps can get plenty stressed when it comes to the well being of our furry/hairy friends. One challenge every working person faces is making sure our friends can relieve themselves when nature calls without making a mess in our homes. The day I became less of an unemployed actor and more of a day job-ee, I found myself in quite a pickle. Although my little Mo was never going to pee on the floor, I hated to think of him in a painful position for any amount of time. WHEN YA GOTTA GO, YA GOTTA GO! 

Close your eyes, click the heels of those shiny red shoes together and imagine a place where you can confidently shop for your dog or cat at a colorful, friendly shop that gives you all of these assurances: 

  • No need to stress over crazy ingredients, wondering how to pronounce them, what they are or if they are harmful to your animal
  • No searching endlessly for a shop that has a wide variety of healthy alternatives at all price points
  • Knowing your buying power is supporting local business and pet brands that grow their contents local to the area where they are made.
  • The convenience of a schedule of events to ensure your friend is healthy and happy, like monthly low-cost vaccinations days, adoption days, non-anesthetic teeth cleaning appointments and yes, even doggie parades!
  • Significant deals every day. 

Sound like you got dropped down from a towering tornado and found yourself in Emerald City? Well, you’re in luck, Dorothy, and your little dog too - because such a place really does exist, right over in Wilshire Vista. It’s called the Hound Dog and Cat. 

Each month, HD+C offers different deals on great products.Last month, I got this deal. Wow, 8 pounds of high quality kibble for less than $15! Hint: I think it might still be on 

On any given day, you will find Karena, Gerald or Martin at the shop on the corner. They know their products and they are genuine dog and cat savvy. 

Here’s Gerald: 

His favorite thing about the store is the customers and their animal friends. When you talk to him, it shows! 

Owners Karena Martin and Josh Dragotta consider themselves an integral part of the community and are super excited to be a part of the thriving Pico neighborhood on the edge of Wilshire Vista. They even made a cool video about it that you watch here.  

Any day is a good day to visit the HD+C; but if you do just happen to find yourself there during Third Thursdays On Pico, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy shopping, art, music, wine tastings and food trucks as well. As the name suggests, all the fun takes place on the third Thursday of each month, from 5 to 9 pm. Come on down and you’ll discover just how much the Boulevard has come to offer. 


  1. HD+C delivers! Look at this handy map to see if your area is included in free delivery for orders over $40! 
  2. Gift baskets: CHECK! Give the gift of health and happiness to a friend for their special pet
  3. Join the FREE Membership Awards Club and get a 5% discount just for joining! What? Yes, Mom and Pop can do this too!



5450 W. Pico Blvd.

Los Angeles, California 

Parking lot and street parking 

Hours: Mon - Sat: 9:00 am - 7:00 pm

Sun: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm 



(Jennifer Caldwell is a an actress and an active member of SAG-AFTRA, serving on several committees. She is a published author of short stories and news articles and is a featured contributor to CityWatch. Her column at is dishing up good deals, recipes and food for thought. Jennifer can be reached at Facebook: - Twitter: @Jennifersdeals)

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