Villa del Palmar Loreto – Best Resort in Mexico

Hotel Villa del Palmar Loreto is the best place to stay in Mexico. #VDPLFam #villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHere she is.  Villa del Palmar Loreto. The resort paid for my trip to come and check out the hotel and town.  All opinions are mine.  And in my opinion, this is the best place to stay in all of Mexico. 

In July I was invited to come stay at Villa del Palmar Loreto.  It was a press trip for myself and about 9 other bloggers/journalists and the trip was absolutely amazing. This hotel is perfection. From the grounds to the amenities.  All of it.  But mostly, the staff.  You can tell they are proud of the work they do and they do it well.  This hotel feels like luxury, but without any of the pretension or price. Which suits me perfectly. If you missed my post yesterday, go back to read all about what makes the town of Loreto so special. I used to vacation there as a child and it was really cool to see how it has changed since then. This resort, however, is only about 3 years old and has all the modern amenities you could dream of.

This post is extra long! Read on to find out all about the resort! [Read more...]

Loreto, Mexico – Your New Favorite Vacation Spot

The town of Loreto, Mexico. #VDPLFAM #VillaDelPalMarL // www.cupcakesandcutlery.com*I recently was invited to go on a press trip to a wonderful town in Baja, California called Loreto to learn all about the amazing resort called Villa Del Palmar Loreto. The trip was paid for by the resort but all opinions are my own. In my opinion, Loreto is the best town in Mexico and I can’t wait to tell you all about my visit.  Loreto is just a 2 hour plane ride from Los Angeles on Alaska Airlines and you seriously need to vacation here.

This post is full of great photos and info! Read on to find out all about my trip!  [Read more...]

The #FunnestSport with USA Swimming

Experiencing the top swimming talent in the US at USA Swimming Nationals! #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThis amazing opportunity for my son and I was made possible by MomTrends and USA Swimming.  On August 8th we were invited to the William Wollett, Jr. Aquatic Center to check out the USA Swimming National Championships.  The top .3% of all swimmers in the United States were here competing for a spot on the National team for the Pan Pacific games.  The level of talent in this one place, including a crazy amount of Olympians and those posed to be future Olympic stars, was insane.  We were fortunate to get an intimate look in what USA Swimming calls the #funnestsport. 

USA Swimming Nationals #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThe day started with us getting a tour of the competition.  I mean, we were literally on the “deck” where only coaches and swimmers are allowed.  We were right in the action and I’m not going to lie, I felt like I was in the way a little bit.  I also thought I might end up in the pool.  But it was awesome to be able to share this with my son so he could feel the excitement first hand.  We got to see the determination on each of the swimmer’s faces and also the camaraderie between the other athletes.  As we learned throughout the day, although swimming is based on your individual times, it feels very much like a team sport.  And the abs!  There were abs every where! 

Checking out USA Swimming National Championships. #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comOh did I mention we had a photographer following us around?  That wasn’t awkward at all.  Here’s me trying to look like a celebrity.  Or trying not to sweat to death.  Or looking at some abs.  You decide. 

Ready to sign autographs at the USA National Championships. #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comOur tour included a look at the pavilion that is available for both swimmers and spectators.  The pavilion was a place to find food, a full swim shop for any swim equipment needs and also a places for the athletes to sign autographs.  Remember this event featured a bunch  of swimming super stars.  O took his turn at the table…

Learning about swimming as a sport and how fantastic USA Swimming is. #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comOne of the coolest parts of the day was getting to chat with 12 time Olympic medalist, Dara Torres.  Not only is she freaking gorgeous, she’s crazy inspiring, amazing athlete and an all around nice person.  It was really special that she gave us some of her time to talk about her swimming experience.  She also told us a little bit more about SwimToday.org.  While my area is full of swim teams, other areas, especially in other parts of the country, they are not so easy to find.  SwimToday.org is the place to go to find one in your area.  Dara reinforced the idea of swimming being very similar to a team sport.  It’s also much easier on the body than sports like football.  And your kids don’t sit on a bench, they are always participating.  Dara has gotten involved in spreading the word about swimming as she feels that it is a a sport that often gets overlooked but teaches kids so many positive qualities.  We also got a chance to talk to Mary Gen Ledecky, mom to Katie Ledecky, swimming superstar.  At 17, Katie is an Olympic gold medalist and world record holder.  We got a chance to find out what it’s like to parent an Olympic athlete and again, she talked about how the swimmers really feel more like family than opponents. 

Swimming selfie! #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd then it was time for a selfie. 

Swimming with Olympic medalist Dara Torres. #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThe the kids were treated to a little time in the pool with Dara.  An absolute once in a lifetime moment to get to swim with an Olympic swimmer.  

Swimming lessons with olympic swimmer Dara Torres. #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI can’t say enough about Dara.  She was truly amazing.  She was funny and so kind with the kids.  She gave them little drills to do and then had them race.  The coolest. 

Pool time with olympic swimmer Dara Torres. #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd right on the other side of the practice pool where the kids were playing, the National Championships went on.  The entire experience was amazing.  It is not an event I will soon forget.  And although I am not sure my son fully grasped just how cool this experience was, even he commented about it feeling pretty special. 

Swimming with Olympic swimmer Dara Torres. #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThank you Dara, USA Swimming and MomTrends for showing us a really cool look at swimming.  To find a swim team near you, be sure to check out SwimToday.org.

*This post was sponsored by MomTrends and USA Swimming.  All opinions are mine. But the facts are real. And swimming just might be the #funnestsport.

Photos 1, 2, 6, 9 and 10 are mine

Photos 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8 are courtesy of Mike Lewis (check out his portfolio!! AMAZING!) for USA Swimming

Personal Style with JC Penney Back to School

Back to school shopping at JC Penney. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAh! My baby is totally growing up! He’s my first-born.  He’s who I figured everything out with.  He’s who made me a mother and who delights me every day.  It has been amazing to watch him grow and to figure out his own style.  I was pretty apprehensive about back to school shopping with him this year.  I can’t pick anything out for him anymore.  Everything requires his approval or he flat-out won’t wear it.  I am ok with him defining his style, but he’s a fan of licensed character shirts and I am just not.  I was worried about how we would compromise and if I could take a step back and let him create his look. We took a trip to JC Penney to pick out some back to school clothes. It went far better than expected, especially because JC Penney carries some of our favorite brands like DC Shoes, Nike, and Vans. We were excited to get to share his personal style with JC Penney for back to school shopping.  This kid is a true individual and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Here are a few things that make him special: This blue blanket is a trusted member of our family. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHis blue blanket still comforts him greatly.  But we are starting to try out being without it.  (Trust me, it’s not going far. My husband and I sleep with our own afghan every night). He’s a pretty brave little boy.  And has the sweetest heart.  When we started working on going without a pacifier, we told him it was time to pass it down to his baby brother.  He didn’t even flinch but wrapped it up in a cute little package for his brother and never looked back.  He was a child model. Very briefly. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHe had a very brief stint as a child model with a large display in our local department store. But he never turned in to a diva. I think it helps that he doesn’t even remember this… My boy has always been a music lover. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHe has always had a love a music and never hesitates to share his passion with us. He’s really not in to being a front man, though (this photo was taken in the privacy of our back yard for my eyes only).  He’d prefer to make the music and work alongside a band. My little Ghostbusters fan. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHe ain’t afraid of no ghosts.  He's always been so great dealing with his food allergies and asthma. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHe is an absolute trooper with his asthma and food allergies. From time to time he will voice his displeasure but for the most part he just handles it.  This kid is so dang cool.  Big brothers are the best. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHe’s the best older brother.  My little long haired Boy Scout. He sometimes gets flack for his hair but he doesn't let it bother him. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comStyle wise he keeps his hair long.  And it is his decision. He tells us it is his trademark and he wants to keep it that way. I totally stand behind his decision to wear it long. He understands that not everyone will like it and is gracious when people mistakenly call him a girl. He is my little Cub Scout and enjoys being part of the pack and earning badges. He’s a good friend and a great example of acceptable behavior (most of the time).  Selfie with mom. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHe will almost always indulge me in a selfie.  Back to school shopping at JC Penney with my stylish boy. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHe has definite opinions about how he wants to dress.  And lately he has been “dressing up” a bit. When he wants to look nice he will go and pick out a woven button up shirt. And I couldn’t say no when he picked out a clip on tie from JC Penney.  I mean what kid in elementary school doesn’t need a tie?  He also asked for a suit but I had to draw the line somewhere. Cool kicks for back to school. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comLike me, this kid does not shy away from color and enjoys the neon.  Plain black t-shirts will never go out of style. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHe picked out some great pieces from our shopping day at JC Penney.  These plain t-shirts were on sale for $6.  They will go with everything.  And he is great at posing for pictures.  Back to school shopping at JC Penney. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comPlease note that he is giving himself “rabbit ears.”  It is the newest form of photo bomb. We were able to agree up on a few character t-shirts.  I told him that he could pick out 2 character t’s and we ended up with only 1.  YES! We had only one minor stand off when he tried to pick out rolled up jean shorts.  NO.  Just no. But these camo shorts are totally his style. We ended up with a bunch of fantastic items from JC Penney, that he and I both agreed on, and still showcases his personal style. I can’t wait to see how he handles this next grade and all that comes with it! I am so looking forward to see how he handles all the things that maturing brings. I have no doubts that he will handle it all with class, style and maybe a few fart jokes.

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JC Penney had everything we needed to head back to school in style.  From skate brands to cool basics, we had plenty of choices to foster his individual style.  And I love that JC Penney wants to celebrate kid’s individuality and self-expression through fashion.  And you can celebrate your own child’s super star qualities.  Use the hashtag #ThatsMyKid on your photos and they might be shared on the JC Penney Facebook page.  Find out all the info here.

When It Fits, You Feel It. http://www.jcpenney.com/backtoschool

*Disclosure: Compensation was provided by JC Penney via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not indicative of the opinions or positions of JC Penney.

Parmesan Zucchini Recipe and the Pompeian Pledge

Parmesan Zucchini.  Makes a great side dish.  Super tasty! // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThis is one of my favorite vegetable side dishes ever.  I remember my mom calling me a few years ago and telling me I had to make this Parmesan Zucchini recipe.  So I did and it has become a staple in our diet.  It is super easy and it is total comfort food and I think you need to have this in your recipe box too. This post is sponsored by Pompeian.  August is National Olive Oil month and Pompeian is encouraging you all to take the Pompeian Pledge, where you swap butter for olive oil in your everyday recipes.  At first I didn’t get it.  I couldn’t figure out why this would be a campaign.  But then I realized that I basically took that pledge 7 years ago.  When my oldest son was diagnosed with food allergies, I had to teach myself how to cook in an entirely new way.  Because of the milk protein allergy, butter was out.  So I only used olive oil in my cooking and other oils in my baking. Olive oil is the only thing I saute with and I even use it to finish a sauce with, in place of butter. I am glad to share a favorite recipe with you and have you maybe learn a different way to do things in the kitchen. 
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Parmesan Zucchini recipe.  It is super simple and a great side dish! // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThis recipe uses only a few ingredients but they are flavorful. Zucchini and sweet onion, some garlic, and of course some (a lot) of parmesan cheese.  I was excited to try out this OlivExtra blend from Pompeian which is expeller pressed safflower Oil infused with extra virgin olive oil. This oil is really great for sauteing due to its high smoke point.  The expeller pressed method means that the oil is extracted without the use of chemicals (yeah!) and it is naturally gluten-free and non allergenic (yeah!).

Prepare your veggies so they are all ready to cook. That way I don't get distracted and burn something while I am chopping something else.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI like to get all my ingredients ready before I start any cooking.  I’m not suggesting that you too may be easily distracted, but one too many times I have tried to start cooking the onions, only to find them burning while I am trying to slice my zucchinis.  Trust me, it’s better this way.

Pompeian OlivExtra - blend of Safflower and Olive Oil.  Take the Pompeian Pledge and use olive oil in place of butter in your dishes!  #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comEven though I use olive oil instead of butter in all my cooking, I was excited to learn that there might be better oils for me to use based on what I am preparing.  I’ve never had safflower oil in my kitchen before and really liked it. It is high in Omega 9 monounsaturated fats (I’ll be honest, I don’t really know what that is but it sounds super important) and is a good source of Vitamin E.  Pompeian also sells a grapeseed oil which I totally have to get and try now too.

Pompeian OlivExtra, a blend of Safflower and Olive Oil is perfect for sauteeing veggies thanks to its high smoke point.  #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI make this parmesan zucchini recipe as a side dish on nights when I am making a pretty simple protein.  During the school year, I tend to bake a lot of chicken.  It can get boring so the side dishes really need to shine.  The whole family loves this one and I know your family will too.  Start by adding the safflower/olive oil blend to the pan.

Sautee onions in a blend of Safflower oil and Olive Oil for a really high smoke point. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSoften the onions, stirring often to prevent browning. When almost cooked through, add the minced garlic and give it a quick stir.

Sautee zucchini with onions and garlics to create a delicious side dish! // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAdd your sliced zucchini to the pan and give it all a stir so the zucchini can get coated in the oil.  Then try to spread the zucchini out in to a single layer as much as you can to try to ensure even cooking.  Just do your best here, some always cook way faster than the others. Total overachievers. 

Top sauteed zucchini with shredded parmesan cheese.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWhen the zucchini is just about ready, top with large amounts of parmesan cheese. 

Cover you pan to help the parmesan cheese melt faster.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comToss a lid on your pan to help in the melting of said cheese.  And plate when melted through. 

Easy Sauteed zucchini recipe.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSo yum!  The garlic and onion add so much flavor to the otherwise pretty boring zucchini (Sorry zucchini.  No hard feelings right?) FYI, this is also really great reheated for lunch the next day.  Or breakfast.  

pompeian logoSo go take the pledge! Visit the Pompeian Facebook page to pledge!  1,000 fans who sign up will be randomly selected to win free movie redemption codes or bottles of olive oil.  Plus every week, 5 other fans will win a Pompeian prize package.  Throughout the month of August, Pompeian is partnering with movie theaters across the country to swap the butter on the popcorn with olive oil! Not sure what the conversion between butter and olive oil is?  Check out this handy chart

Sauteed zucchini with onions and garlic and finished with parmesan cheese.  #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI just know you are going to love this recipe.  The idea for this recipe is not one I came up with.  I did however come up with my own measurements as this recipe was told to me over the phone in a very vague way.  It is never my intention to not give credit where credit is due. If you know the creator of this recipe I will gladly add their info, so please pass it along to me!

Parmesan Zucchini Recipe and the Pompeian Pledge

Ingredients

  • 1 TBSP plus 1 tsp (reserved) Pompeian OlivExtra Safflower Oil infused with Olive Oil
  • 1/2 sweet white onion, chopped
  • 3 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded parmesan cheese (or more, or less - the choice is yours)
  • Maldon sea salt, to finsh

Instructions

  1. Prepare your veggies first, chop your onion, slice your zucchini (trying to make the slices a similar size so they cook evenly) and crush your garlic.
  2. In a large skillet, add 1 TBSP Safflower Oil infused with Olive Oil and heat.
  3. Add onion and cook until softened.
  4. Add crushed garlic and cook, stirring often, for about 30 seconds.
  5. Add zucchini and stir to coat. If needed, add an additional 1 tsp of oil.
  6. Spread zucchini out to as close to a single layer as you can.
  7. Stir often to prevent the onions and garlic from burning and to rotate the zucchini.
  8. When zucchini are cooked through but not soggy, add parmesan cheese.
  9. Cover the pan with a lid to help the cheese to melt through.
  10. Once cheese is melted, serve immediately.
  11. Sprinkle with Maldon sea salt to finish.
  12. Serves about 4. (or 1 - don't judge me)
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/parmesan-zucchini-recipe-pompeian-pledge/

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pompeian.