New Red Robin Allergy Friendly Interactive Menu

*The Red Robin information and gift cards have been provided by Red Robin.  I was sent a gift card to Red Robin to try out their new Interactive Allergen Friendly Menu Builder portion of their website.  I jumped at the chance because Red Robin was one of the first restaurants that I let my food allergic son eat out at because the staff and management ALWAYS went out of their way to ensure his safety.  With the creation and launch of this new meal planning feature, making allergen free dining even easier and safer, I wanted to share my experience with you all.  All opinions are mine.Whiskey River BBQ wrap at Red Robin.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.com #sponsoredI LOVE Red Robin.  And always have.  From their high octane cocktails that I discovered in college (Sand in Your Shorts was always my go-to but I probably haven’t had that in about 10 years!) to their fries (I’m obsessed with their fries!) and on to my current favorite the Whiskey River BBQ wrap, I could eat at Red Robin daily.  But I don’t.  We really don’t eat out all that much.  I prefer to save money and make dinner at home.  But it wasn’t always like that.  I pretty much unconsciously set out to NOT learn how to cook from my mom growing up.  So when I got married, and even after I had my first child, I was getting some homemade meals on the table but they were NOT nutritious, particularly tasty or frequent.  All of that changed when I found out my son had tons of food allergies at one year old.  He had had continual, severe eczema for 6 months and I was desperate to get to the root of the problem.  I will never forget one Monday night, however, when the phone rang and it was his doctor.  After months of trying crazy harsh creams and steroids, we finally did a blood test to see if it was food allergies.  It was after 5 pm when the call came and she said, “He’s allergic to milk, eggs, soy, peanut, probably shellfish and other tree nuts.  You can give him Rice Milk.  They sell it at Whole Foods.”  And with that, I was left to navigate his food allergies on my own.  We changed pediatricians and I got to work trying to figure out what would be safe to feed him.  I did my research online and in books and by wandering Sprouts and Whole Foods.  I immediately had teach myself to cook and made pretty much all of his food.  I didn’t feel confidant with reading labels to know if I was going to give him something that would harm him.  And I certainly didn’t feel comfortable taking him out to restaurants and having to rely on someone else’s knowledge, or lack thereof, of food allergies to keep him safe.

Red Robin has a new allergen free meal builder to create your perfect, and safe meal.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.com #sponsoredI brought all of his food with me wherever we went.  If he did come to a restaurant with us I carefully wiped down the table and made sure he wasn’t sitting by anyone that had one of the food’s he couldn’t have.  But finally, when he was about 4, I decided that if I wanted to give him more of a normal childhood experience in terms of dining out, that I should take the next step of trying to navigate restaurant menus.  One of the first places I went was Red Robin.  I did some research on line and felt that there was at least some conversation about allergies on their site.  I called a manager and inquired about food allergies and decided to try it out.  Even back then they handled food allergies with ease.  And it was a place he could eat where I felt he was safe with fries no less!  So when I got an email asking if I would like to check out the new Red Robin allergy friendly interactive menu builder, I jumped at the chance.  A few Saturdays ago, the family and I headed to Red Robin for lunch.

Dining out with food allergies.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.com #sponsoredWhile it is possible to pull up the website on your own phone (and of course from your home computer), the manager at our Red Robin location brought us out an iPad to view the menu builder on.  Of course my son had to try it out first.  I think he really just wanted to see if they had Minecraft on the iPad.  Red Robin trains all team members on how to deal with dietary restrictions and modifications to their menus.  The use special allergy alerts in different type so it is clear on every order.  The alert notifies the kitchen that a special allergen kit is required for the order.  The kit includes tools that are to be used on allergen orders only and are purple to clearly distinguish them from other kitchen tools.  Awesome! [Read more...]

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!