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!

BJ’s Restaurants and Big Poppa’s Smokers Make BBQ Heaven

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group and BJ’s Restaurants but all my opinions are my own. #PMedia #BJsrestaurants

BJ's Tustin MarketplaceLast week I had a dear friend staying with my family.  As a teacher she has summers off and decided to leave her home in Texas and spend the summer with her parents in Arizona and friends in California.  She’s been away from the Lone Star State for a few weeks already.  So of course, we had to track down some barbecue to make her feel a little more at home.  BJ’s restaurants just announced their collaboration with Big Poppa’s Smokers on their Blue Ribbon Barbecue menu so you know we had to go check it out.

Bj's waiting areaThere wasn’t a wait when we arrived, but you know my boys had to check out every inch of the restaurant.

BJ's Pizza and BreweryI have had so many amazing BJ’s Restaurants.  In college, my friends and I spent many a late night happy hour enjoying their ciders and handcrafted beers.  Good times.  BJ’s makes the only lemonade I like (I’m VERY picky about my lemonade) and of course they are home to the Pizookie.  If you haven’t had one I suggest you march yourself to your nearest location and order.  Life changing.


Looking over the new Big Poppa's BBQ menuK and I perused the barbecue menu which has everything from ribs and sandwiches, to sides and salads and even suggests beer pairings.

Iced tea and bbqSince I had the kids with me, I decided to stick with an iced tea but my heart really wanted some beer to go with my barbecue.  I guess that just means I’ll have to go back and sample the menu again…

Kid's menu at BJ'sI love any restaurant that tries to keep my kids entertained and was truly grateful for the coloring page and crayons.  And both my boys sucked down their strawberry lemonade immediately.

hugs with auntie kMy boys love their auntie K and she ended up with both of them on her side of the table.  Ha ha.  That meant I got to actually use my fork without someone leaning on my arm the way they usually do.  For some reason my boys can’t sit upright in a booth and they often pin my elbow to my side with their body weight.  I imagine that I look like a T-Rex trying to eat with a fork.  Clothes get stained.  But auntie K didn’t mind it.

Pulled pork sandwich at BJ'sSo then the food came.  Mmmmmm.  We ordered the Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwich with fries and coleslaw.  BJ’s Restaurants offers three different BBQ sauces with their Blue Ribbon Barbecue entrees.  I went with a sweet, mild version.  The meat was super tender and the crunchy fried onions were a match made in heaven.  And fries dipped in barbecue sauce…yum.

Big Poppa Smokers BBQ at BJ'sAnd I totally went out on a limb with the Baby Back Pork Ribs.  I have never ordered ribs out in a restaurant before.  I don’t like to get messy and sometimes they are super fatty.  These were phenomenal.  Not only were they absolutely delicious, but the meat totally fell right off the bone.  I could use my fork and get every piece of meat without getting messy.  The flavor was smokey and sweet and I would totally order these again!  Hooray for having a new go-to dish at BJ’s!  Up until the barbecue menu came out I only ever ordered an individual Great White pizza with added broccoli.  Which is crazy since BJ’s has a really well-rounded menu.  But when you love something, sometimes you don’t want to leave it.

Delicious pork ribs at BJsI’m so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone with the ribs!  K and I ordered the dishes to share but we each gravitated to one dish more.  She ended up finishing off the sandwich and I attacked the ribs.  We had the half order but next time I just may order the bigger portion!  So yummy!

Corn Fritters at BJsAnd then there were these Corn Fritters with Bacon Aioli.  Do it.  They were sweet and soft with a hint of heat from the jalapeno.  Crazy good.

photo bombOn a side note, who taught my youngest son how to “photo bomb”?  As always, the customer service at BJ’s Restaurants was awesome.  This is the first time I have taken my oldest son.  When I mentioned he had food allergies the chef came out to speak with me about his needs and then came back to check on us later in the meal as well.  It made me feel well taken care of.  Big thumbs up on the food allergy front.

Great BBQ at BJsBJ’s Restaurants Blue Ribbon Barbecue menu is available at most locations through September 2 so hurry in to try it today.  I will definitely be heading back for more ribs and the corn bread which I didn’t get to try on this visit.  Oh and something called Jallelujah-spiced fries.  I’ll probably take my husband back with me for a date night.  There is no chance that men won’t love this menu.   And as for Auntie K, she got her barbecue fix and was again a happy girl.

Find out more about Big Poppa’s Smokers here

BJ’s Restaurant is totally social:  Follow on TwitterFacebook

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group and BJ’s Restaurants but all my opinions are my own. #PMedia #BJsrestaurants

BFF Playdate at Knott’s Berry Farm

*I’d like to disclose that Knott’s gave me two tickets to the park and early admission.  The opinions and fun times are all mine.  It’s ok to be jealous.

knotts boardwalk roller coastersLast weekend I was invited by Knott’s Berry Farm to come and see their expanded Boardwalk area and the newly refurbished Log Ride.  While I usually bring my family to these events, this time I decided to change it up a bit.  I barely get to see my best friend with all our kids (7 between us!), activities, family obligations, etc.  So I thought that she and I could use a day of fun at an amusement park.  No kids.  Just us.  How rad is that?!

t on log ride at knottsT and I got up early and headed to Knott’s.  We ate a quick breakfast and then headed straight to the Log Ride.

updated log ride at knotts berry farmThe Log Ride opened in 1969 and helped to cement Knott’s as America’s first theme park.  The multi million dollar refurbishment kept all the old charm but just freshened it up.  It looks brand new while looking pretty much the same as before.  Does that make sense to anyone but me?  This has always been one of my favorite rides.

xcelerator at knotts berry farmWe decided that we would try to ride as many of the 5 rated attractions (5= an aggressive thrill ride) as we could before we had to get back to real life.  I was pretty devastated when Knott’s took out the Soap Box Racers and replaced it with the Xcelerator.  But I decided to give it a ride anyway.  While the Log Ride is certainly a thrill ride, this was our first legit roller coaster of the day.  This thing was FAST!  And tall and it goes upside down.  It was crazy awesome.  I had tears running out of my eyes (I wasn’t crying it was just cold I swear!) and was a little afraid that one of my contacts was going to blow out of my eyes.  It was THAT fast.  And so fun!  We both screamed like little girls.  I totally want to go on this again.  Sooner rather than later.

having fun at knotts berry frams boardwalkNext we checked out the Boardwalk area.  We rode the new Coast Rider.  After the Xcelerator we pretty much scoffed at this ride.  We were really snide and made comments like, “how cute.”  But it showed us.  It starts out all nice and then whips you around the first turn high above Western Ave.  T and I both may have let out a very loud “SH*T!” at the exact same time.  It was a pretty fun little ride and perfect for those who are tall enough to ride but are not very experienced roller coaster riders.  Then we headed over to Riptide, another level 5er.  The Boardwalk area is a great place for kids who are too big for Camp Snoopy or need a bigger thrill.  There are still height requirements (like 44″ to ride alone or 36″ plus an accompanying responsible person for the Surfside Gliders) but older kids would LOVE this area I think!

safety signs on roller coastersGrowing up I don’t remember seeing all these warning signs before riding each ride.  You look at things a little differently as a grown up.  I guarantee you that all of these rules were followed.  We held on all right.  There was no chance we were going to raise our hands in the air like we just didn’t care.  Once the park opened to the public it got a little crowded and we had to wait in some lines.  This was the perfect opportunity for T and I to chat and catch up.  There were no distraction, except some ill-chosen fashions and we were able to really enjoy each other’s company.  I had missed that!

cowboy fries at knotts berry farmAfter riding the Silver Bullet (OMG!  LOVE THIS ONE TOO! Except I irrationally felt like my feet were going to get chopped off because they just kind of dangle as you fly through the park) and Ghost Rider (which I hated.  It should be called Brain Dislodger.) we decided to grab some food.  There are tons of choices throughout the park.  And as two girlfriends do when out to lunch without their children we contemplated having some day wine.  But Spurs Chop house wasn’t open so we settled on some cowboy fries.  Totally going to make these at home.  So delicious!

funnel cake at knotts berry farmWe wrapped lunch up with a funnel cake.  Duh.  After those amazing fries we really weren’t able to get through much of the funnel cake.  A fella that looked like he was in high school saw that we were about to throw a large portion of funnel cake away and asked if he could have it.  Even though I had already put our paper trash on top of it.  T and I were so close to mom-ing him, but we caught ourselves.  That is some other mother’s problem.

la revolucion at knotts berry farmAfter lunch we headed to Fiesta Village because I had seen La Revolucion from our ride on the Supreme Scream (I have never heard myself scream that loud before).  T was nervous since we had just stuffed ourselves but I was pretty confident that we wouldn’t barf.  I was right.  And it was awesome!

fun day for adults at knotts berry farmIn the early afternoon we had to call it a day and head back to our families.  I know that there are tons of family attractions at Knott’s but I have to say that being there with a grown up friend was so fun.  I’ve also talked to my husband about heading back at the end of summer with some other adult friends for a fun afternoon of coaster riding.  Who’s with me?

Sorry for the iphone photos.  I decided it was unwise to take my legit camera on roller coasters.

*I received two tickets to Knott’s Berry Farm.  Now is the perfect time to head to Knott’s to check out the new Log  Ride and the expanded Boardwalk area.  All opinions are my own.