December Loves

mozza newport beachSorry for the terrible iPhone pic, but we tried out a new restaurant a few weeks ago and it was AMAZING!  If you are in Orange County and haven’t tried Pizzeria Mozza yet, you HAVE to.  It was phenomenal.  We tried a bunch of different things and all of it was perfection.  And this cocktail, the Holiday Garland I think it was called, was sensational!  A spiced cranberry reduction with bourbon and a cranberry gelee garnish.  FTW!  I had 3 of them!  3!! I never have three cocktails when I’m out.  And I was able to walk myself out so they may have been light on the liquor.  Or my belly was THAT full of delicious yumminess.  We also spotted a celeb chef eating there.  That is always a good sign.

k-and-i-at-microsoft-p.s.-i-made-this-partyKristin and I attended a party thrown by Microsoft hosted by Erica of P.S. I Made This to showcase holiday gift DIYS that can be done with their products.  We got to take home these awesome plastic ornaments that were printed on a 3D printer! (image via Getty Images for Microsoft)

fresh-paint-custom-wrapping-paperWe also got to create our own wrapping paper.  Using the Fresh Paint program, Kristin drew a Christmas tree pattern and then it was printed out for her!  SO cool!  I’m dying to play with Fresh Paint some more.

custom-thank-you-noteIt is rare that a company sends out a thank you note after working with you on a project.  It makes sense, you sometimes are working with a PR company and not the actual brand.  And some of their campaigns include a huge number of bloggers.  But I got this thank you note from Chinet (remember this post?) and thought it was super cool.  Not only was the message very nice but it was personalized with the name of my blog right on the front.  I thought it was a really nice touch.

abe-lincoln-sweatshirtYou all know that I love U.S. President’s right?  I saw a girl wearing this sweatshirt when we were at Disneyland and I almost stopped her to ask her where it was from.  I googled it once we got home and found out it was from Forever 21 (says no longer available but they have this version too)!  Sold!  It’s my fave.

hooray-cake-topperI can’t wait to use this cake topper from Little Cat Design Co. available at Sweet and Saucy Shop!  My youngest is turning 5 a few days after Christmas and this will be coolin’ out on top of his cake.  They come in a bunch of colors and phrases and if you live in Orange County, you can order over the phone/email and then pick it up in one of their stores (I went to the Newport Beach location).  That way you save on shipping AND since you are in the bakery, you might as well pick yourself up some delightful treats.

What did you love  this month?

I’m Hosting a Party at C. Wonder and You’re Invited!

#unwrapwonder Fashion Island*UPDATE 12/4/13:  C. Wonder has decided to increase the discount they are offering to 30% off your purchases and have added a raffle to win a $75 gift card to the store!!  So cool!  And if you aren’t in Orange County, click here to see where all the other events are being hosted so you can attend one in your area!

YOU GUYS!! I’m hosting a party at C. Wonder Fashion Island on Thursday, December 12, 2013 from 6 pm – 8 pm and I want to meet you!  If you are local, please come say hello!  C. Wonder is a great store for gifty items and cool clothes and accessories for your holiday party dressing.  Store stylists will be on hand to help you make your purchases.  C. Wonder will be offering 25% off of all purchases during the party and 10% of the total sold will be donated to a very special organization, Operation Shower.

Come for sweet treats and get some holiday shopping done at the same time!  The party is open to the public and kids and husbands are more than welcome (although the party will not be geared towards them :)).

RSVP here by December 9, 2013!

C. Wonder Fashion Island  .  347 Newport Center Dr.  .  Newport Beach  .  CA  92660

I hope to see you there!

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...]

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!

 

August 15 : Where to eat in Orange County, CA #IGTravelThursday

Where to eat in Orange County, CA You may remember from last Thursday that I started a new travel feature via a linky party with Skimbaco.  I never used to think of myself as a travel blogger but when I go through my year and my instagram feed, I get around.

Today I wanted to share my favorite spots to eat at in Orange County, CA.  If you are coming from out-of-town, I think these are some of the best places in my county.  And if you are from here, well, then you KNOW just how amazing these places are.

Starting from the top left, moving right:

Baskin Robbins : Yes it is a nationwide chain, but sometimes you just need a consistently good ice cream sundae.

Dave and Busters at the Outlets at Orange (previously The Block) : I recently got to eat a ton of their new menu and it is SO good!  Then go play the games with your adult friends and act like kids or take your kids and watch them play in pure joy.  Get the chocolate fondue for dessert.

Lucca Cafe : My new favorite restaurant.  Small plates for sharing allow you to try a number of dishes.  The food is great, the wine is delicious and the atmosphere is easy and relaxed.  I can’t wait to try their brunch!

Paul Martin’s at The Irvine Spectrum : A great place for a good burger and a yummy drink.  With the entrance being on the outside of the Spectrum, it seems like it is less crowded at peak times than some of the other restaurants.  Which is great for me since I really enjoy the food and the service is always great.

Sidecar Doughnuts : See my post on these delicious gourmet donuts and then go grab a few dozen for yourself.

Cucina Enoteca at The Irvine Spectrum : An absolute favorite.  I have had many a lunch on the patio with friends and date nights here.  My favorite is the Gorgonzola Walnut Mousse served with toast, the Giant Meatball and their Moscow Mules.

In-N-Out : This is the first place the locals take their out-of-town guests.  Good quality hamburgers and friendly service in the iconic red and white retro-ish buildings.

Mesa at The Camp : This is one of my all time favorite restaurants in Orange County.  I’ve been lucky enough to try most things on the menu and they are all spectacular.  My fave appetizer is the Tempura Green Beans, my fave salad is the Heirloom Apple Salad and you should totally get the Short Ribs for your main course.  The desserts are down played here but have been some of the best I’ve had in my life and change pretty frequently.  They favor artisanal cocktails and the atmosphere is truly something special.  With a retractable roof, video projection system and live music most nights of the week, this is something that must be experienced.

Five Crowns in Corona Del Mar : See my tasting menu experience and then go check it out for yourself.  I’m a huge fan of the chef, Greg Harrison, and General Manager, Jim Colombo, who have updated not only the menu but attitude of the restaurant and dining experience.  For sure try the Pimm’s Cup and let the staff guide your ordering for a truly memorable night.  Also check out their gastro-pub next door, Side Door.

Now, go follow my friends Lala and Nicole and see what their posting for #IGTravelThursday this week.  And follow along with some of the organziers :  House of Anais, Hines Sight, and Luxury Travel Mom.