Sunday, December 30, 2012

Friday, December 28, 2012

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Red Lipstick...

I have always been intrigued by red lips a la Marilyn Monroe, but never thought I could pull the look off myself.  But lately, for some reason, I had been feeling aesthetically adventurous and went on a lipstick shopping spree.  I'm talking various shades of purple, pink, nude and red- all of which I'll be sharing here but first we'll start with red.

If there's one thing I know about this bold hue, it's that liner is an absolute must and so I started with a lip liner by NYX in Cabaret.  It's kind of a brick red color, far deeper than the red hue I was going for but that's perfectly fine as I ended up blending it towards my inner lip.  Next I coated my lips entirely in Sephora's Cream Lip Stain in Always Red.  The finish with this product is matte which was fine but for a little extra pizazz I finished the look with Urban Decay Stardust lip gloss in Andromeda.

Wish a lip this bold I kept the rest of my make up fairly toned down.  Eye shadow was Bare Minerals Glimmer in True Gold (sheer but shimmery and pretty), a little liner and mascara and highlighter under the eyes.  I wore this look out to my best friend's birthday/bowling party and kind of fell in love with it.  So much so that I found myself in a one woman late night photo shoot after.   Et voila...

So, the verdict is yes, I love it!  Will red lips be in heavy rotation?  Probably not any time soon but no longer will I be intimidated by the intensity of the vampy red lip.  It absolutely has a time and a place.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

"Dare to Dream" coming June 2013...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Miss Jessie's BOGO Extended!

In case you missed it, Miss Jessie's BOGO offer is back through December 31st! I loooove their products for my curly hair and they smell amazing. If you haven't tried them yet, what are you waiting for?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Holidays on Olvera Street

Now through Christmas Eve, Angelenos and visitors to the city can experience Las Posadas on Olvera Street.  Each night from 5:30-6:30, join as the nine day journey to Bethlehem is celebrated along with songs and entertainment.  Enjoy complimentary pan dulce, champurrado, and pinata-breaking after the processional.  This Los Angeles tradition is a can't miss event!  (And it's free)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Prayers for Newtown, CT

I just want to take a moment to speak about the heinous act that took place this morning. As a mother, I cannot imagine what the families of those children (and adults) must be going through at this time. My heart goes out to each and every one of them.

My initial thought was, My God, what a truly sick world we live in! Anger and disgust consumed me. As one mother said, it made me want to shelter my children away from the world. How can you not feel like that? But that isn't the reality we live in and after witnessing the outpouring of emotion from around the world in response to this tragedy, I'm reminded that there is far more good in this world than there is evil.
Please, please, please be good to one another.

Tonight I will be hugging my children extra tightly as we say a prayer for those in CT.

Deal Alert!

Stock up on winter clothing for kuds and get 30% off and free shipping at The Children's Place now through Sunday! Can be used in stores as well. Go!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Giveaway: Downtown on Ice!

As is if weren't any more obvious from my posts, my family and I are always on the go.  What better place to go than Los Angeles?  Whether you're a local or just visiting, L.A. has so much to offer in terms of family fun.  One of the things I love about living here is that you can swim in the ocean, trek through the desert, visit the mountains and play in the snow all in the same day.  I'm not.  But you can.  Frankly, I didn't have to last Saturday because Pershing Square in Downtown L.A. brought the snow to us lucky Angelenos for their annual Winter Holiday Festival.

Just off of Olive and 6th, surrounded by tall city buildings, we found ourselves in the square with all sorts of wintery fun at every turn.  Ice skating to our left, snow to our right, Santa ahead and so much more.  It was a challenge keeping the kiddos from running in three separate directions at once.  But I was able to wrangle them and get everyone on the same page.  Our first stop was  a visit to the Univision booth where the Helpful Honda Dealers led a game of hot potato for a chance to win passes to the ice skating rink.  Spoiler: The kids did not win.  But that's okay because there was so much more fun in store.

We wandered past food trucks and various vendors selling all sorts of goodies like unique handmade jewelry.  I didn't buy anything but there were some really beautiful necklaces that I spotted for just around $5.  This particular part of the festival didn't hold my kids attention so I was quickly whisked away to more kid-friendly attractions.  It didn't take long because there was literally something fun to do at every turn.  In fact,  just around the corner we ran into some celebrities!  The the minions from Despicable Me and the upcoming Despicable Me 2 (can't wait for that one).

Next up,  we caught the Funny Eddie show- an interactive comedy and magic show that kept kids young and old entertained the entire time.  Even me and I'm a tough sell!  But this guy is no amateur.  "Funny" Eddie Medrano is a former Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus clown and you can tell he really loves what he does which makes him great at it.  He didn't miss a beat when the hecklers from the audience (including my 7-year-old son) got in on the act.  He had a clever comeback for everything that  only kept us laughing that much more.

On the other side of the square near the fountain, fresh snow was being made (yes, made) in the snow zone for guests to go sledding on.  This was pretty awesome to watch and from the looks of it, even more fun to sled on but unfortunately we weren't able to get in on the fun this time around.  There was so much to do and so little time...

Craft tables like Christmas ornament-decorating stations were set up all around, as well as educational information booths on public safety (we learned about the potential dangers of electricity and to steer clear of fallen wires and such).  Pillsbury was on hand serving up complimentary cookies and cinnamon rolls.  Visitors got to take a ride through Pershing Square in holiday style on the Downtown on Ice Train Ride.  And what holiday festival would be complete without Santa to be on hand for photos and last minute wish list revisions?

In my opinion, though, the main attraction here is easily Downtown on Ice, an outdoor ice skating rink reminiscent of the rink at Rockafeller Center in New York.  There is something so surreal about skating around on the ice while being surrounded by these big, old downtown buildings.  My only regret is that we weren't able to stay until dark to experience skating with all of the Christmas light glowing around the rink.  That only means we will have to go back because although the festival has passed, Downtown on Ice is open until January 21st.  If you're in the L.A. area or will be before then, you really must experience this rink.  There are several throughout the County but this one is both beautiful and a bargain at just $6 per session + $2 skate rental.

I'm giving my readers an opportunity to win a family four-pack of discount passes to Downtown on Ice.  Enter below for your chance to get four $3 off coupons.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 10, 2012

Snowfall in L.A.

One of my favorite places to hang out in the Valley is the Americana at Brand in Glendale. The fountain and the soft music playing in the outdoor shopping center create such a beautiful atmosphere any time of year, but especially during the holidays! Kids can visit Santa in his cottage on the green in front of Tiffany's or marvel at the beautifully decorated 100-foot Christmas tree in front of the Pacific theatre.

But the highlight of my visit on winter evenings is the snow! Watching my kids play in front of Barnes & Noble bookstore as faux snow falls from the sky and Bing Crosby sings White Christmas... can you say warm fuzzies!? Give me a cup of Coffee Bean's Red Velvet Hot Chocolate and I am in the zone!

Catch the snowfall nightly at the Americana in Glendale at 7:00 and 8:00.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Wish List

Dear Santa,

I've been mostly good this year and what I would love to see under my tree is this super cute Victoria's Secret Pink Army set so I can represent! Hooah!!

(pssstt... It's on sale!!)

Party Time @ Scooter's Jungle

Back in September my youngest turned seven and was insistent that we had his party at Scooter's Jungle in Valencia.  We had been to two other parties there and had a blast on the larger than life inflatable slide and different obstacle courses each time.  We had become fans.  My children love the nonstop fun and I was really impressed with how clean and organized everything was considering the traffic that must go through there.  That alone scored major points with me so I was all in.  The added bonus is how well everyone slept after a day of play there. 

So, we booked the Ultimate Party Room which included a huge inflatable slide, a ball bounce room, ping pong table, air hockey, obstacle courses, and bounce house.  There truly was something for everyone and I was happy to see so many of the parents get in on the fun.  Note: there are optional mats that you can ride down the slide on that will send you flying down.  I don't recommend it for grownups unless you're okay with crashing and burning.  You know the old saying, the bigger they are they harder they fall?  Yeah, well that kind of applies to this scenario as well.  

But the party didn't stop at the play room.  After successfully burning everyone out we were escorted to the party room for pizza and cake.  I suggest bringing your own cake but ordering pizza from the location because if you want to bring in your own, they charge a fee similar to a cake-cutting fee that brings the price up significantly.  They also offer corn dog bites that we did not order but had at other parties. Both are actually pretty good.  You are also allowed to bring in dry snacks like chips or pretzels, fresh fruit and juice boxes- check with the location for details. 

And the staff?  The staff was amazing!  They took care of everything from play time to serving the food so we were able to relax and enjoy the party . They even handled cleanup and gathered all of our presents and leftovers and took them to our car when the party was over.  Shout out to LJ, our party host with the most. He was so awesome. He kept the kids entertained the whole time!

Aside from Valencia, there are Scooter's Jungle locations in Aliso Viejo, El Segundo, Placentia, and Simi Valley, California.  I have only been to the one but I can only imagine the others are equally thorough in providing an awesome birthday or open play experience.  I would absolutely recommend a visit to Scooter's Jungle anytime you feel like monkeying around!  

Foodie Chronicles

Up until my birthday last month I had been so good about my diet and exercise regimen. Up until I got my first (second, third and fourth) taste of a Fely's cake pop. It was then that I remembered how much I love food. So much. So very, very much.

Since then I have been heavily indulging in whatever my greedy little heart desires, vowing to do better and get back on my grind after the first of the year. Last night after we left the Winter Holiday Festival at Pershing Square, the craving for Filipino food hit me like a ton of bricks. Luckily I knew a spot on the way home in Silverlake- United Bread & Pastry!

As I exited the 101, visions of pancit, lumpia, and empenadas danced in my head. My mouth watered as I drove down Sunset. And when I arrived, well I circled the block twice and waited as patiently as possible because parking is atrocious here. But do not be deterred because the food is so very worth it.

What I learned that night is that you kind of want to order ahead because some items are not readily available. Like the lumpia of the meat variety. And while they offered to make up a fresh batch for us, we opted for the vegetable lumpia (50¢ each) in the window instead. The empenadas here are just $9/dozen and are my absolute favorite. Already having ordered plenty of fried and bready items, I passed on the pancit (noodles) this time but please know that I will be back soon. Hey, when I fall off the wagon I fall hard.

Deal Alert!

Hey curly girls- If you haven't already, get on this! The BOGO deal at ends soon!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

2012 Toluca Lake Open House

Last night in Toluca Lake, the busy stretch of Riverside Drive between Rose and Forman was transformed into a virtual holiday lane as merchants opened their doors and welcomed strolling neighbors and patrons in for hot chocolate and treats.  We are fortunate to be within walking distance of the festivities- we never have to worry about parking! 

NBC weatherman, Fritz Coleman was on had once again to countdown the annual lighting of the Christmas Tree at the Toluca Lake Village Square.  During his 6:00 news broadcast he took a moment to honor war veteran and grand marshall, Ken Vick, who had survived capture during World War II.  As the wife of a service member, I thought that was pretty awesome!  It's so important to remember those who have fought and risked or given their lives for our freedom this and every time of year.  

Just inside the entryway of Village Square, visitors were treated to a complimentary photo with Santa Claus.  This is probably the one thing my children look forward to most every year at this event.  The big guy and tree lighting usually set up shop in front of the Falcon Theater down the street off of Rose, but I think this location has a nicer vibe for this particular affair.  

Behind the Village Square/Ramsey Shilling office building, Pink's was serving up their legendary hot dogs and chili dogs as they do every year.  This year we were lucky enough to get our hands on some because we usually miss out (yay us!).  A block away Timmy Nolan's was serving up samples of their delicious irish stew.  And up and down the street some seriously yummy pumpkin bread was being passed around.  Other goodies included warm, salted edamame, Mo's chowder, apple cider at Trader Joe's and more cookies than you can shake a stick at in various shops in between.  

The highlight of my pre-teen daughter's night had little to do with Christmas goodies at all- the neon green and glitter manicure she received at Tamara Dahill salon.  In addition to gratis manicures, they provided face painting and a self-serve "haute" chocolate bar.  

I can't say enough about the strong sense of community this event spreads throughout the neighborhood, whether you're a local or a visitor.  All were welcomed with warmth and open hearts. I only wish it happened more often than once a year...

Today: Pershing Square Free Holiday Festival

Come on down to Pershing Square in downtown L.A. For ice skating, snow, magic shows, crafts and so much more!

Admission and most activities are free (skating is $6 +$2 skate rental). The fun doesn't stop til 7pm! Be there or be square. (See what I did there?)

Friday, December 7, 2012


The Toluca Lake Holiday Open a house is a great time to bundle up (as much as you need to in L.A.) and enjoy the Christmas lights, holiday decorations, carolers and more. Trade traffic and road rage for that warm and fuzzy feeling as you greet your neighbors and local business owners.

Come on out for some holiday family fun!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Happy Holidays!

I've been a Picture People customer for over 14 years (since my oldest was born).  My schedule is crazy so I love that they take great photos and you're in and out of there with you prints in hand in under an hour.  You really cannot beat that!
My family and I recently took advantage of an awesome Groupon offer- $16 for 8 portrait sheets, plus the option to get a high resolution photo CD and trilogy frame for $100.  
I'm only sorry to say that the deal is now closed.  Right now what they offering is 30% off portraits and photo cards Monday through Thursday.  Not too shabby.

Wishing you all the happiest of holidays, from our family to your's!

Surviving Puberty

I was warned that this day would come.  My once sweet and often silly little boy would become a brooding, moody teenager seemingly overnight.  Not my baby.  I ignored the warnings and took comfort in knowing that my husband and I had done such a great parenting job that there was no way our son would ever roll his eyes at us or slam his bedroom door in protest of one of our life-affirming lectures.  Not our baby. 

And yet here I sit scratching my head, wondering where my baby boy went.  These days it seems he's always got a comeback for anything we say.  He's forever arguing with his younger siblings.  And don't get me started on the homework!!  The first year of high school has been nothing short of  brutal.

I come to you, fellow mothers of teenagers, in hopes of some reassurance that this phase will pass quickly.  Please share your survival stories and send tips for getting through these years.  It will be much appreciated.  xoxo