Disneyland is Pure Magic

*My family and I were invited to preview the new holiday features at The Disneyland Resort on behalf of Savvy Sassy Moms.  All opinions are mine.  Be prepared, this post is long and features lots of reminiscing.

sleeping beauty's castleI grew up in Anaheim.  Which means I got to go to Disneyland a lot.  We had annual passes for many years and one of those years was the 30th year anniversary celebration in 1985.  Every time you went through the gate you got something.  It was usually a collectible pin, but you could also win tickets to Disneyland.  My mom would take us every day after school to see what we would win (I mean, there were also cars, etc. that were up for grabs).  I remember even going in the rain.  Clearly, that is not ideal.  You could say that Disneyland had lost its sparkle for me.  And getting to go so often, on off-peak times, makes you a little bit reluctant to deal with the crowds.  And then I had children.  You know that you will end up at Disneyland at some point (and oh yeah, now there is also California Adventure which is super new to me since that was not around during my kid years).  We waited until my oldest son was 4 before taking him the first time.  I wanted to make sure he could really experience all of it.  And, well, he wasn’t very expressive with his emotions and I felt like if I was going to spend the money, I need some high-pitched screaming or jazz hands at the very least.

disneylandSo my almost five-year old had never been.  When I was asked to cover the holiday preview at both parks for Savvy Sassy Moms (go read the full post over there where I give all the details on the holiday features) I started to get really excited.  He would give me the child-like wonder I wanted to see.  So I kept the trip a surprise and told them the morning of.  We would have two-day park hopper passes and get to stay a night at the Disneyland Hotel.  The only HUGE bummer was that my husband was in Australia on business so he couldn’t experience it with us!  I texted him pictures constantly though.  And my mom came with me which was huge.  Not only is she a HUGE help to me, it was also fun going back to a place I had been so many times with her.

outside-of-disneyland-hotelThe boys couldn’t have been more excited!  We stopped by the hotel to drop off our bags before heading to the parks.  I know that I have been to the hotel before (back in college I think?) but what I found was a really nicely done hotel.  While it had hidden Mickeys and character features, it didn’t feel child-like.  The colors were great, the materials were nice and I really liked it.  And we hadn’t even seen the room yet!  We decided to hit the parks and sneak back later to change in to pants for the evening.

disneylandWe headed straight to Cars Land and started riding the rides.  The boys were in heaven.  And since it was a Thursday, the crowds were not that bad.  We rode three rides and then made our way to Radiator Springs Racers.

the-boys-stuck-in-lineWhere the line was quite long.  The boys were really good for about 20 minutes but then I started hearing, “Mommy, I want to go home.”  What?  No.  But they persevered and when we finally got to ride it.  O loved it.  M said he really liked it but finally changed his mind to say it was scary.  But that was their first fast ride and it made me remember how much fun the rides at Disneyland are.  Evey where you look, whether you are waiting in line to actually on the ride, the details are just amazing. And the staff is incredible.  They are so friendly, full of amazing information and really do make your time in the parks enjoyable.

media-passes-for-ridesOh yeah and we might have gotten THE RADDEST THING EVER along with my “media” pass.  When we checked in for the blogger event we were given coupons for a few of the rides.  With these, we could walk in the exit and walk RIGHT ON THE RIDE!  Boom.

top-of-small-world-buildingsI was super excited to find out that one such pass could be used on It’s a Small World, my favorite ride.  You guys!  I just really love that ride!  From the way the building looks to the all the colors and happiness on the inside, I just really freaking love it.  I was excited to share it with the kids too.

o-in-small-worldThe coolest part is that they have given it a holiday make-over.  In almost every area, there are holiday decorations that go along with the country represented.  There are carols playing and everything seem even more joyous than usual.  It was so rad to watch the kid’s faces.  I suddenly realized that I had a smile on my face for the entire ride.  What a nerd.  [Read more...]

Lette Macarons at Fashion Island

*Lette Macarons provided me with macarons to sample.  All opinions are mine.

lette-luxury macarons-at-fashion-islandYou all know that macarons are all kinds of awesome and yummy.  I’m about to do a few projects with Lette so when they invited me down to their Fashion Island location to taste their seasonal praline flavor I said, “HECK YES!”

choosing-macarons-at-lette-macaronsI took my youngest with me on a day when he didn’t have preschool.  I had told him we were going to eat some cookies and immediately felt really bad for disrespecting the macarons like that.  Because these are not just cookies.  But he’s 4 so he doesn’t really know how special these French treats are yet.

lette-macarons-at-fashion-islandI think there are a few reasons that I love macarons.  First, they usually come in the most amazing flavors.  On this day in particular, Lette had some in salted caramel and chocolate but then also more unusual flavors like violet and earl grey.  And then the colors are so amazing!  I mean, how gorgeous are these!  For someone who likes to plan parties and entertain, finding things that look beautiful and taste delicious are a dream come true!

packaging-at-lette-macaronsI love the simple, modern logo of Lette.  This is how they package the cookies when you purchase them individually from the store.  Classic and totally lovely.

violet-macarons-from-lette-fashion-islandI was able to meet the store manager, Roni, at the store that day.  I really enjoyed hearing about the company and how they are growing.  Look for a store near you soon San Diego!  I’m so grateful that she let me come in and sample some of these amazing sweets and I got to see all the ways you can use macarons at a party.

macaron-tasting-at-lette-fashion-islandIf you are near Fashion Island, or one of their Los Angeles stores, you must pop in!  The stores are light and bright and just plain happy.  And of course you need to try as many as your stomach can handle.  I can’t wait to go back and try out some more flavors!  I wasn’t sure how my son would like the more unusual flavors but he really enjoyed them all.  Passion Fruit was probably my favorite – so tart and flavorful!

macaron-tower-for-parties-from-lette-macaronsI totally died over this display!  How rad is this!  This would be so amazing at a party, right?!  Weddings, of course, but I think this would be so perfect for a little girl’s tea party!  They also can provide them in cool little favor boxes.  Have you had the opportunity to try a Lette Macaron?

Lette Macarons Fashion Island

1131 Newport Center Dr.

Newport Beach, CA  92660

(949) 706-8299

Follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

Thank you for having us in, Lette!  My son and I enjoyed it immensely!

Fashionable Kids in Orange Coast Magazine


orange-coast-1It’s not everyday that your kids get asked to be in a photo shoot for a magazine.  So when Orange Coast Magazine asked if our boys could be in their “cool kids” article we were pretty excited.  They shot it a few months ago at the St. Regis Monarch Beach.  My boys and I got there a bit early so we hung out in the lobby until it was time to get started.

orange coast mag shoot st. regisThe boys were all kinds of interested with the huge fireplace.  The St. Regis is a REALLY nice place and I was so grateful that my littles didn’t run amok.

st. regis hotelThe staff at Orange Coast Magazine provided snacks for the kids and made sure that everything ran really smoothly.  There were something like 30 kids so you can imagine that that could have gone sideways pretty dang easily.

orange coast magazineThe kids made a new friend.  They instantly bonded over her cool shades and rad shoes.

What the boys wore (none of these items are sponsored):

On my youngest (in the middle) : T-shirt by Mini and Maximus (old collection, sold out I think), DC Shoes Jeans, Nike SB P Rod Black and Gold Sneakers, Neon Orange Schwings!

On my oldest (on the right) : Sunglasses from The Children’s Place (similar on sale for $1.99!), Lego Black Flag T-shirt by Hatch For Kids, blue pants from H & M, Vans (similar here).

photographer for orange coast magazineThis is the photographer that was able to get all of the kids to cooperate and get a GREAT picture out of it.  Color me impressed.

orange coast magazine shootI mean…

stylish kidsThe parents also worked really hard to get all the kids to smile, look in one direction and not run away (the littlest kids…and my youngest son.  I’m pretty sure he knew I had Skittles as a bribe in my bag and he was intent on getting them).

magazine photo shootSee that fake sad face on him?  He never once shed a tear but “cried” almost the whole time. Exhausting.

stylish boys And then we grabbed a quick family photo before heading home.  Look who is happy now?  Ain’t no future in yo frontin’, M.

Cover-of-Orange-Coast-MagazineSo if you see this cover, in a store near you, go ahead and thumb through it.

Thank you for having us Orange Coast Magazine!!  It was a really fun experience!


Buccaneer Cove opens at Boomers in Irvine

*My family was treated to an afternoon of water-ific fun at the new Buccaneer Cove at Boomers in Irvine.  All opinions are mine.

Welcome-to-Buccaneer-Cove-at-Boomers-IrvineTo say the boys were excited about getting to try out the new Buccaneer Cove area at Boomers in Irvine was an understatement.  They couldn’t wait to get there.  We first heard about the new water slide area when we were playing miniature golf at Boomers right after school ended for summer.  And, of course, you can see the brightly colored slides right from the 405 freeway.  They couldn’t wait to see what it was all about.

shark-statue-at-buccaneer-coveBut first we made a new friend.

water-play-area-at-Buccaneer-CoveBuccaneer Cove has a huge water play area in the center of the enclosed park which is surrounded on one side by cabanas and chairs and on the other side by the water slide tower.  The cabanas need to be reserved ahead of time but are a really great idea for those of you who want or need to be in a bit of shade.  It was easy to watch little kids play in this area, but be warned it is very easy to get wet here and if you need to chase after your kids for any reason, you most certainly will have to go directly through this area. So wear a suit!  Even if you aren’t planning to get wet.  You will.

yellow-water-slide-at-Buccaneer-Cove-IrvineThere are 5 water slides, one of which is perfect for toddlers and smaller kids.  You must be 36″ tall to ride the other four slides.  3 are covered and 1 is open air.  There are no “pool” at the bottom of the slides so being a strong swimmer is not necessary.  There are also several workers operating the slides and they are really great about safety and getting kids out of the way of the next rider.  I was pretty impressed with them.  [Read more...]

Sidecar Doughnuts in Costa Mesa

sidecar doughnuts in costa mesaIt seems like all I have been doing lately is eating.  First I went out-of-town and had to try all those new-to-me places (and you know I am going to share ALL of that with you).  And then I had a house guest, in full vacation mode, that needs to try new things too.  What is great about her visit is that it has allowed me to try a bunch of places, in my area, that I have been wanting to try but hadn’t made time for.  Like Sidecar Doughnuts in Costa Mesa.  It’s all over Instagram and I knew I would end up there at some point.  As is our tradition when K stays with my family, we head down to Corona Del Mar for a breakfast picnic.  So we grabbed the kids, headed to Sidecar and then ate donuts overlooking the ocean.  Not a bad little morning.

breakfast picnic with donuts in corona del marIt was a chilly morning so the boys wrapped themselves up in a blanket.  I just love those faces.  And yes, that is a box of store-bought donuts you see.  My oldest can’t eat donut store donuts on account of the devil peanuts that are usually around so I got him his own box of waxy chocolate goodness.

cinnamon crumb donut from sidecarThis right here, is where it’s at.  Sidecar’s cinnamon crumb donut.  Sensational.

monte cristo donut from sidecar And the Monte Cristo donut? FTW!  Ham, jam and glazed perfection.  I will totally be going back for this again.  And they also have a super adorable truck that you can rent for events serving their hot donuts.

milk with donutsReason 7788 that I love K – she usually orders a glass of milk with her dinner.  How cute is that?!  But she was a bit cranky with me on this particular morning because I only ordered myself a coffee.  And let’s talk for a minute about the coffee.  Sidecar serves Stumptown Coffee.  I’m not sure if you have heard about but all I knew about it is that is all hipster-y and super cool.  I’m not kidding, I think that was the best cup of coffee I have ever had!  Which made me feel even worse for not getting one for K.  And I’m totally going back to get the Stumptown Cold Brew.

exercise-next-to-donut-eatingIt was not lost on us that there was a woman doing exercises right next to us as we ate a bajillion donuts.  We tried the strawberry, huckleberry, vanilla bean, salted chocolate, and maple bacon along with my two favorites that I noted above.  The flavors were subtle and not super sweet.  So if you are looking for that rich, sweet glazed donut from your local donut shop, you will not find something like that here.

corona del mar breakfast picnic

The boys ended their picnic with a little Gangnam Style on a bench.  Have you tried Sidecar Doughnuts yet?

Not sponsored but boy do I wish it would have been.  I think I’ll take out an ad for the blog:  Now accepting donut sponsors!