Southern California

March
19

We booked a family vacation to California way back in January. We had been snowed in our neighborhood for a couple weeks and decided it was time to crack open the laptop and plan a much needed sunny getaway. While I personally wanted to get up and go that minute (chains on car and all) we planned it for March to make sure that the weather would be ideal. Going from a 50 degree rainy morning to a 90 degree sunny afternoon after a mere 2 hours in the air was pretty incredible for the kids. I think they forgot what sunshine was like! We all wore Winter Jackets to the airport with Summer clothes on underneath then promptly crumpled them into our luggage upon arrival. Kind of hilarious really! Here are a few highlights and some family friendly destination recommendations.

We stayed at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs and I could not recommend it more. It was Paradise really. If you are there with kids I would suggest swimming a ton, eating a ton, checking out the Cabazon Dinosaurs, doing a little shopping on the downtown strip, driving through the amazing mid-century neighborhoods (Elvis' Honeymoon House is there), and taking a hike through Joshua Tree National Park.

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Man it was nice to be warm again.

Man it was nice to be warm again.

Ryan and the kids walking along the shallow steps of the pool.

Ryan and the kids walking along the shallow steps of the pool.

Th Ace Hotel has amazing food at reasonable prices.

Th Ace Hotel has amazing food at reasonable prices.

I love these pink flowers. There was a really aggressive hummingbird that actually ended up chasing us away though. It must of had eggs nearby. I had never been chased by a hummingbird. It was literally after us!

We drove by Elvis' Honeymoon House. You can take a scheduled tour if you want to.

We drove by Elvis' Honeymoon House. You can take a scheduled tour if you want to.

The architecture in Palm Springs is so amazing.

The architecture in Palm Springs is so amazing.

We also spent 3 nights in Santa Monica. It was nice to be next to the beach and pier with the kids. We could easily walk to the Promenade and do some shopping, grab some dinner or just play at the beach.

When you travel with kids there is a limit to the number of things you can do per day without everyone getting too tired. We planned about 3 activities a day which was perfect. They force you to relax and have a little more downtime which is probably a good thing to have on vacation anyway. 

One of the major highlights of the trip was having tea service at the Huntington Library Tea room and then letting the kids run around the gardens. The Gardens there are huge and breathtaking. We met up with some East Coast cousins who just moved to the LA area. It was a great day.

First time meeting but these cousins were instant friends.

First time meeting but these cousins were instant friends.

We never leave LA without paying a visit to Canters Deli. It's just a classic place that makes you feel like you are walking into the 1950's. It's a great place for late night people watching (celebs tend to visit too).

The last leg of the trip included a day at Venice Beach. 

Here was my running list of family friendly things I wanted to do on this vacation. We only made it through a portion of this list though. Hopefully you can get through more! It's also important to note that this was the first trip to LA that we did not spot a celebrity! In the past we have seen a random mix. The mom from Everybody Loves Raymond shopping at the Grove, Nicholas Cage at LAX, The lead singer of Counting Crows on Sunset, and David Arquette at a Jenny Lewis concert.. haha. It's never who you'd really expect. What are your favorite things to do in LA? Have you ever seen a random celebrity?

The Grove

Getty Center

Griffith Observatory

Santa Monica Pier

Sunset Blvd

Olvera Streeet

Los Angeles Zoo

Runyun Canyon

Robertson BLVD

Melrose Ave

Venice Beach

Silver Lake

Huntington Gardens: Afternoon Tea/Kid friendly 

Canters

Lawry's

Grand Central Market

Pacific Hwy Roadside Seafood

Mulholland Drive

Stroll Malibu Pier and Eat Here

Pasadena Flea Market 

Classroom Gifting: Shopping Guide

Feb
01

Are you ready for Valentine's Day? If not, then make sure to take advantage of a few great sales that will have your kids covered at this year's classroom party. Right now, Tinyprints.com is offering up to 30% off select Valentine's Day cards with code: 30FEBVDAY. If you are looking for a few extra gifting ideas to add to your cards then visit the OrientalTradingCompany.com. They are offering up to 60% off their Valentine's Day must-haves! I've put together a list of all my favorites below. Enjoy, and have a great Valentine's Day.

I love these adorable fans!

I love these adorable fans!

These desktop plaques make the sweetest gifts

These desktop plaques make the sweetest gifts

We spent an hour stuffing little goodie bags for School and Pre School. Phew. The kids loved every second though!

We spent an hour stuffing little goodie bags for School and Pre School. Phew. The kids loved every second though!

Shop Classroom Gifts:

Shop Paper and Stationery Favorites:

A Pokémon Party

Jan
31

Clark turned 7 over the weekend and we decided to celebrate the day with a Pokémon inspired birthday! Planning a party in January can be a challenge since the weather limits us a bit. I never hesitate to have Allie's birthday at home since it's in July and we always have the backyard to double our space for guests (See Here). Luckily, after weeks of January snow we actually landed on a dry sunny day so guests were able to run around outside a bit (good thing too since Clark invited his entire class ). Here is a snapshot of all the party details in case you are looking for a few ideas of your own!

Pokemon Birthday

Since the kids love all the individual card characters I thought it would be cute to turn a variety of them into cupcakes. I uploaded this stock photo to customize this wrapping paper, these trays, and the majority of the tableware. Propping the trays on empty wrapped boxes made for perfect little cake stands.
The "Catch it!" art I used on these plates can be found HERE. Shutterfly plates are the best. They are light weight, easy to clean and fun for kids to customize.

If you're like me and wondering how to entertain 28+ kids without hiring a magician or clown then I would highly recommend this cotton candy machine. The cotton candy is so good but making it is the best part! 

I found this super easy Pokémon Candied Apple Tutorial HERE

We were excited to add this popcorn cart to our Nostalgia Electrics party collection. Just as fun as our Cotton Candy Machine and Chocolate Fountain. The kids loved having fresh movie theater style popcorn right in the living room. It made the whole house smell amazing and was the first snack guests grabbed when they arrived.

These personalized canvas goodie bags were the biggest hit of all. The kids absolutely loved finding their names on their own Pokemon Bag. Everything inside the bag matched the party since it was customized with the same stock art I used on the table. I felt really good about gifting items that the kids will use for years. The bags are so durable and the blankets are amazing! Shutterfly carries so many fun items for kids (SEE MORE HERE).

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I hope you enjoyed this little party snapshot. Feel free to leave any Pokémon Party links or ideas in the comments below for future readers!

SOURCES:

Tableware and Pokemon Bags: Shutterfly
Cotton Candy and Popcorn Machine: Nostalgia Electrics
Cake and Cupcakes: Papa Haydn 
Table, Chairs and Linens: West Coast Event Productions

Christmas Around the Corner

Dec
08

Well it's that time of year again and our house is all set. We spent last weekend cutting down our tree and getting most of our decorations out. I can't believe it's already December. On a personal level, we had a pretty great year.  Moving into a new house and starting the kid's at new schools brought about a good amount of change that kept things interesting. I am always happiest when I am busy and feeling inspired or creative in some way. Lucky for me, this was a busy year.
I hope everyone is enjoying their December. Here is a round up of a few Holiday Favorites.

Right now Shutterfly is offering up to 50% off orders of their personalized gifts. Our tree is full of these Pewter Gallery Ornaments this year and we love them!

Tinyprints.com is my go to for all our gift wrap. There are so many beautiful customizable designs to choose from and they all look great together! 

Right now Tinyprints is offering amazing deals off their personal gift wrap. Check it out HERE.

SHOP OUR FAVORITE CHRISTMAS ALBUMS:

SHOP MUSIC ACCESSORY FAVORITES:

Allie is loving her Frozen Blanket via Shutterfly. It makes the perfect Christmas Gift. We customized this Elsa blanket with a picture from her FROZEN party seen HERE. If you are looking for more gift ideas then check out even more favorites below. Happy Holidays!

SHOP MY KIDS GIFT IDEAS:

P.S. The Land of Nod is offering up to 50% off their Christmas Decor HERE:

Cheers to the Holidays

Nov
16

Every time I entertain I always find there are a few extra items I need to replace or stock up on. Maybe a couple of fresh vibrant guests towels for the downstairs bathroom, an extra set of wine glasses, or a new board for cheese and appetizers. My list varies from event to event.
If you happen to be like me and are in search of helpful entertaining essentials then you have landed in the right place. Shutterfly is a great resource for that next impressive hostess gift and is a one stop shop for many of the necessities you'll need at your own event!

Make an elegant gift or express unique style at your next event with personalized Wine or Pilsner Glasses. "Dinner is Poured" happens to be my favorite selection. With so many charming and fun glasses to choose from it is easy to find one you'll want to say Cheers with!

These Customizable Hand-Blown Decanters are great for wine at dinner or juice at brunch. Mason Jars are also the perfect multi-use item since they can be used for both hot and cold beverages. Such a fun cup for hot chocolate or a peppermint milkshake this Season!

Shop My Favorite Glass and Drinkware:

One of the most appreciated gifts I've given lately was a cheeseboard. Not just any board, I stopped on our way to a dinner party and picked up a selection of cheeses, fruit, olives and dip too.  I put it all together a few minutes after arriving to the event and it was a huge hit with both the host and all the guests. These new Customizable Boards are the perfect gift! They are an entertaining basic without being basic. Personalizing them is what makes them so special!

Maybe you'd prefer to gift a bundle of fresh flowers! A stylish Glass Vase etched with your own sentiment adds a touch of beauty to any space. Perfect for displaying your favorite flowers or as an elegant gift for weddings, housewarmings, birthdays, holidays and more!

Shop More Entertaining Essentials: 

Keep beer fresh with a Stainless Steel Growler etched with your signature touch. 

    Dress up a bottle of wine with a Festive Gift Bag embroidered with a message or icon. After all, a well-dressed bottle is always appreciated as a housewarming, hostess or holiday gift.

    I wish you and your family a safe, memorable and happy holiday season. Have fun entertaining and/or preparing to be entertained! XOXO.