Sunday, February 28, 2010

Event for Silicon Valley Moms Blog SoCal Style

This has been one crazy week!  It all began last weekend when I attended the Silicon Valley Moms Blog LA/OC Event at the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel.  We were treated to wonderful and informative roundtables then got to meet a number of great family oriented companies.  I'm working on individual posts about some of my favorite products I've been able to sample (one of which I've already got sponsoring a giveaway, stay tuned later this week because seriously this is a must have product for the busy mom).  Above is a picture of Jen0r.com and I taken at the event.

Some of the wonderful companies and products we got to learn about (& sample) at the event were:

  • Cinnabon
  • Stride-Rite
  • Tassimo (by Bosch)
  • Sketchers
  • Pop-Cap games (you know- Bedazzled that we are all addicted to on Facebook...)
  • Pretend City
  • Ju Ju Be
  • Whole Foods
  • StonyField Farm
  • litl
  • BitDefender
  • Ebates
  • iGo  
  • and more! 
Photos are courteous of Carla Duharte Razura www.babyjidesign.com


It was truly an amazing night full of fun and surprises.  Stay tuned for some exciting news...



Here's the Whrrl story from the event...

More check-ins at Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel
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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Easy Kids Birthday Party Favor Idea

Party favorites are another tough challenge for hosting a children's birthday party.  This year I hoped on board a trend and decided to simplify the party favors.  We got $5 gift cards from a local Frozen Yogurt store called Swirlz.  It's a hit with the kids and the parents love it because you don't go home with all the junky toys.  The last couple of years I had used the plastic popcorn buckets from Disneyland and really found myself struggling to figure out how to fill them cool items that weren't going to end up in the landfill by the end of the week.  You can read about that here.

We put $5 on each card, but $3 would also be fine.  Let's just say if it had been up to me... I would have done $3, but I delegated the task this year so I won't complain about the end result.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Well... Because I just can't get enough of Disneyland...




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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Where on Earth Do You Find a Space Cake in OC?

Birthday cakes are tough for kids.  Do you go the cupcake route?  Or the character theme cake?  It's always stressful for me to decide!  After last year's complete and total failure for a cake (let's just say that deep army green doesn't make for a nice backdrop of cake decorating when you are trying to make planets out of icing...).  This year I was a bit panicked for what to do for Brett's cake until I happened to be invited to a Mom Blogger event at Divine Desserts in Laguna Niguel a couple weeks ago.


After tasting the wonderful cupcakes I knew I was in the right place and immediately placed my order for Brett's Space themed cake. 

I wasn't really sure what to expect but when I picked up the cake the afternoon of the party  was completly floored.  The best part?  It tasted as amazing as it looked!  I know we'll be getting all our cakes there from now on!

Take a peek at how it turned out...

Whether you're looking for a sweet snack, planning a get together or need a cake, pop in to meet the crew at Divine Desserts - they'll be able to design a work of art that is sure to please the toughest critics.  They are located at the Plaza de la Paz Center, 27261 La Paz Road, Suite G, Laguna Niguel, CA. (Between Henry's & CVS).  Click here to check out their website. Follow them on Twitter of become a fan on Facebook.

Here's the Whrrl story of the Mom Blogger event that shows some of the scrumptious snacks and behind the scenes peek!

More check-ins at Divine Desserts etc.
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Monday, February 22, 2010

It's Bare Escentuals Lip Gloss Giveaway Time!

Ok girls, I know you love Bare Escentuals products, so here's your chance to win a free lip gloss!  It's not available in stores yet (it will be available May 2010 at Bare Escentuals Boutiques, Sephora, Ulta, select Nordstrom & Macy’s).

Mandatory first entry: In a comment below, tell me which lip gloss color you'd want from the list.
  • Cassis (Golden Rose)
  • Chiffon (Nude Sand)
  • Cupcake (Rose Pink)
  • Iced Coffee (Java Cream)
  • Sugar Plum (Purple Plum)
  • Sugar Cookie (Pink Peach)
  • Wild Honey (Golden Peach
Additional entries:
This giveaway is only open to the US residents and will end March 5th at Midnight Pacific Time.  If you don't include your email in your comment, make sure I have a way to reach you to get your mailing address (i.e. Twitter, etc.) or be prepared to check back on the 6th to find out if you're a winner.


*I was given a sample product to facilitate this giveaway.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

How to Save a TON on Hair Cair Products - Fabulous yet Frugal Friday

Fabulous yet Frugal Fridays!

I admit it.  I am a product snob.  If you can't buy it at the beauty store or hair salon, I never thought it was "good".  A couple weeks ago I was invited to a Suave Hair product home party at Rockin' Mama's house and I admit it, my thought was that I would at least have a great time visiting with some of my favorite Mom Bloggers.  Boy was I wrong... and NOT about the just hanging out with friends part.  The new Professional Hair Product line is ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC.  Can I quadruple underline that?  I mean it!

When we arrived at Rockin' Mama's house I immediately saw the take-home bags and what is the first thing women ALWAYS do when checking out shampoo & conditioner?  Pop the top and smell them of course!  Instantly we were in love.  DayTrippingMom's first response when smelling this bottle was that it smelled just like Aveda.  After looking over the product we all started laughing because it clearly stated on the bottle that it works just like Aveda!

I've now tried it and LOVED all of the products they sent us home with that night.  For the record, I love the line so much I have now gone out and purchased some of the ones they didn't send with us.  I'm hooked and in love with all of them. They have ones that emulate Biolage, Matrix and other very well known and popular products for a fraction of the cost.  Literally.  The bottles sell at $1.79 for the normal size and just under $4.00/bottle for the supersized ones.  I've found my absolute favorite orange Sleek Line product from Matrix and am thrilled at the cost savings.  I will never pay the outrageous costs for shampoo and conditioner again. 

I've found that Wal-Mart has the best selection of the products as compared to Target, but the prices are equal.  Suave is also getting ready to launch a Professional Styling product line that we sampled that night that also emulates salon quality products.  I can't wait to be able to purchase those and promise to let you know as soon as they are available.  I seriously think these products are the find of the century for those looking to have the same quality of products and save money at the same time.

If you haven't yet, run out, buy some then come back and let us know what you think of them!  I know I'm not imagining how awesome these products are. 

Below is the Whirrl story about the home party created by Rockin Mama that showcases the talents of the celebrity stylist Suave brought in for us.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday...

Because I can't get enough beach pictures in...




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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Live Frog Display at the Muzeo in Anaheim

Last week I was invited to take the boys to an exhibit I KNEW would be a smash hit in their books... A LIVE frog exhibit at the Muzeo in Anaheim.  Frogs: A Chorus of Colors will be running at Muzeo now through September 5, 2010.  Over 150 LIVE exotic frogs are on exhibit.

My kids really enjoyed seeing all the different varieties of frogs, and watching the movie about the race to preserve the frogs species with Jeff Corwin.  I am very appreciative for the "virtual" frog dissection station (thank you for not making me re-visit high school Biology class...).  There are 15 live frog habitats, 12 interactive stations and it's just plain cool!  My two favorites were the Jabba (the Hut) frog and the colorful vibrant blue frogs.


Fun Frog Facts:
  • The world's largest frog is the Goliath frog of West Africa.  It can get up to 7 pounds.  You can see the skeleton of one on display at the exhibit.
  • There is evidence that frogs pre-date the dinosaurs!
  • There are more than 4, 900 species of frogs worldwide and they estimate that there are an estimated 1,000 more to be discovered.
So if you're in Anaheim and looking for a way to spend a couple of hours on a fun but still educational adventure... pop over to the Muzeo.  it is located at 241 South Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, CA.  Admission is $13 for adults, $9 for children 12 & under, and free for children under 3.  It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m..  For more information call them at (714) 956-8936 or visit their website.

For more pictures, here's the Whrrl story we created about the event.  Including photos of my boys getting to feed the frogs!

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Moshi Monsters at the LA Zoo?

Recently we attended a fantastic event up at the LA Zoo to showcase and introduce a few bloggers to the World of the Moshi Monsters.  My boys got the chance to explore and play around with the Moshi Monster who resides in Monstro City online world while I asked some questions about how it all works.

The basics: 
  • Moshi Monsters can be adopted (for free) on the website, but you can upgrade your membership for a small cost and that allows you additional features.
  • Your Moshi Monster needs food & entertainment.  To gain Rox (money in the Moshi World) you need to complete online challenges and puzzles.  You are only allowed to do each puzzle/challenge once a day to discourage children from playing all day long on the site.
  • Moshi Monsters.com is 100% monitored by a diligent (yes, I met one of them!) team of people to ensure there is no inappropriate creation of monster names, or posting of personal information on the message board.  If you name your monster something inappropriate... I hear it will get changed to something over the top cutesy.
  • Parents you will need to help your children set up their Moshi Monster account and I highly recommend having the emails sent to your account.  Then you are able to monitor everything that comes in (but honestly, my sons have been exploring the site for several weeks on their own and I have yet to see any other emails than the set-up ones because my boys don't go on the message boards).
  • Your children's contact information is completely hidden to any other children on the site.  One thing that is clear to me is that the team behind the scenes is as passionate as making it a safe social networking site for children as it can be.
  • Moshi Monsters.com is great for children ages 6 and up, depending on how computer savvy they are.  Both my boys adore the site and are eager to log in and "level-up" the allotted once a day.
Take a look at some of the very educational yet still fun games the kids can participate in to gain more "Rox"...



I asked Brett to report back to me about what he likes about the site and this is what I got, word for word (he hand wrote it on a sheet of paper for me and I have made zero grammatical/spelling changes...  :)

"Moshi Monsters are cool because at the new market place has clothes get them and you will be able to dress up your monster.  I like gift Island because you can send gifts to other monsters.  And I like the post because you get to shake rox trees and color your monster.  And I also like the underground disco.  And the Entire Moshi Monster Island too!"
-Brett

* Information was provided to us at the event and I received 1 month upgrades to VIP on the Moshi Monster site plus other small themed goodies, but even without those, my sons were requesting to upgrade and we will be renewing those on our own dime because the boys enjoy the site so much!

 Here's the Whrrl story about the event. (There were too many pictures to include in the post!)


More check-ins at LA Zoo
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Friday, February 12, 2010

Free Chai Lattes!


This is technically the 2nd edition of Fabulous yet Frugal Fridays!

If you live near a CoffeeBean and Tea Leaf, be sure to pop on over TODAY between 4-7pm to get a complimentary 12oz. Chai Tea Latte!

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Vancouver Olympics are Here!

It's time for the Winter Olympics again!  Most years I honestly don't know if I am more excited to watch the actual sporting events or learn more about the host country! 

As a child I did a tremendous amount of world traveling with my Mom.  I feel so blessed to have experienced as many cultures as I have.  My experiences abroad have forever affected who I am as a person and how I approach every aspect of life.  I have felt & seen the obvious oppression of the citizens of Leningrad (yes, I was there before it went back to being St. Petersburg.  Beat that Sarah!), participated in a tribal ceremony on Fiji, sailed through the Panama Canal, fed real Reindeer in Lapland, watched & heard real glaciers fall in to the ocean in Alaska, been to New Zealand and can really testify that it sure looks like there are more sheep than human residents.  Those experiences are ones I will most likely not be able to give to my children by any other way than sharing the story with them.

I find the human interest stories about the host country to be enlightening and a great teaching opportunity to share with my children.  I hope you will do the same to learn more about the city of Vancouver and Canada itself.  You see, I have this special bond with Canada.  My husband was born in Canada (I actually lived in Canada for a couple years!).  One thing that strikes me about Canadians is what polite people they are.  Canada is next door to us, but sadly many Americans know far less about Canada that many other countries, even though Canadians know a great deal about our countries' history.

So as the Winter Olympics of 2010 begin, take a few minutes to note who the Prime Minister of Canada is (Stephen Harper), that the Capital is in Ottawa and it is only a short drive from the United States (most Canadians only live within a couple hours drive of the Northern States!), the national language is English & French and no you don't have to hunt your own dinner or live in an Igloo.  There are Starbucks & Safeway Grocery Stores on just about every corner just like we have here in the US.  One of my favorite tidbits of information that has my sons laughing endlessly is that there really is such a thing as Polar Bear jail in Churchill, MB!  The polar bears roam the streets raiding garbage cans much like raccoons or bears do here, so they have special rangers who humanely trap them and release them far away from the towns.

Below is a great video I found on YouTube showcasing some of the sites and culture of Canada.


Come back and share neat insights you have learned about Canada from watching the Olympics!

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday Aliso Creek Beach







My boys showing off the coconut they found at the beach earlier this week.

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

What Refreshes You?

Today we stopped by Aliso Creek Beach in South Laguna Beach and took these videos.  Not sure if the large waves were from the storm we just had or from the storm coming in later this week, but they were definitely mesmerizing!  I could watch/listen to the videos over and over again.  :)




There's just something soothing to me about listening to the ocean. All I need is a few short minutes at the beach to feel rejeuvenated. What rejeuvenates you?

Please share!

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Easy and Inexpensive Home Spa Treatments

Recently, I've been on the lookout for quick & easy, yet totally indulgent home spa treatments.  Recently at the Pacific Waters Spa Mom Blogger event (at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach) we were shown how to make these wonderful home treatments... Enjoy!

Mocha Latte Wrap
(deep moisturizing skin treatment)
2 Tbsp ground coffee
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
3 Tbsp coconut butter (find at health food stores)
Plastic wrap (this step can be skipped)

Mix the food ingredients in a small bowl.  Apply in light circular motion on desired area.  Wrap area lightly in plastic wrap for approximately 10 minutes.  Remove plastic wrap and rinse treated area thoroughly in warm shower.

*The coffee is stimulating, an anti-oxidant, cleansing, deodorant & detoxifying.  The Coconut butter melts at body temperature.  It smooths skin, is an excellent emollient and lowers evaporation for the skin.


Peppy Feet Foot Treatment

3/4 cup Aloe gel (you can find this at Trader Joe's)
1 cup organic sugar crystals
1/2 tsp crushed fresh mint leaves
(optional 4 drops peppermint oil)

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Apply to feet in light circular motion to exfoliate and soften calloused areas.  You may wrap feet lightly in plastic wrap and warm towels for 3-4 minutes.  Unwrap feet and rinse feet with cool or warm water.

*The Aloe gel is soothing and healing.  The Peppermint/mint improves energy, calms nerves, clears/stimulates mind, aides in concentration, helps with motion sickness, headache and nausea.  The Sugar assists with exfoliation.

Want to read more about my recent visit to the Pacific Waters Spa? Go here

As moms, don't we all need a few minutes to take care of ourselves?  These in-expensive and easy to do at home treatments are a great way to pamper yourself when you don't have the time or resources to book a Spa Day at the Pacific Waters Spa!  Come back and let me know if you try one of them!

** Please note I am not a doctor and none of the above are meant to diagnose or treat anything.  But the information is relatively commonly known. 

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Cost Saving Make at Home Specialty Coffee Recipes

I don't know of a single person these days that isn't evaluating all of their spending habits and looking for ways to cut back without feeling like they are cutting back.  If you're one of those people, I've got some great ideas coming your way, be sure to email subscribe to OCMomActivities so you don't miss them.  Trust me, I still can't believe how amazing some of these cost-saving ideas are.  Stay tuned!


Last week I was invited to the wonderful Got Milk? event in downtown San Diego where Heather Perry (two time United States Barista Champion) showed us some wonderful make at home specialty coffees.  Here are the wonderful recipes:

First up is the make at home Mocha.  You may or may not know that I am obsessed with Mochas.  I love them and can't get enough, but lately I've decided to cut back on purchasing them (i.e. I did the math and was horrified when I saw the total cost... $3.75 x 30 = well, let's just not go there again...). 

Classic Mocha
Hot Latte Recipe
This recipe mixes three ingredients resulting in a chocolatey treat for $.90!

Ingredients:
1 tbsp. of your favorite chocolate syrup or powder
2 oz. espresso or choice of strong coffee
10 oz. steamed milk

Begin by brewing your 2 shots or 2 oz. of espresso using either an espresso machine or strong brewing method, such as a moka pot.  Take a 12 oz. cup and place your espresso at the bottom.  Then add your favorite chocolate and mix well.  Heat your milk by steaming it using your espresso machine, or heat the milk separately and use a hand frother until the desired amount of froth is created.  Fill cup with the heathed milk and top with whipped cream, if desired.

Spiced Latte
Hot Latte Recipe
A unique beverage with a zing for $1

Ingredients:
1 Star Anise
3 Cloves
1/2 Cinnamon Stick
1/2 Vanilla Bean
8 oz. Milk
2 oz. Espresso or Strong Coffee

Begin by brewing your 2 shots or 2 oz. of espresso using either an espresso machine or a strong brewing method, such as a moka pot. Combine spices and milk and heat together by either steaming or by slowly heating it up on the stove over medium heat, and then whipping it using an electric hand frother until the desired amount of forth is created.  This will not only heat the milk but also gently infuse the flavors of the spices into the milk.  Place your espresso at the bottom of the cup and top with spiced milk.

Classic Cappuccino
Hot Latte Recipe
A very Italian, traditional, and classic hot beverage for only $.35

Ingredients:
1 oz. of espresso or strong brewed coffee
4 oz. of milk

Begin by brewing your shot of espresso using either an espresso machine or a strong brewing method, such as a moka pot.  Heat your milk by steaming it using your espresso machine, or by slowly heating it up on the stove over medium heat, and then whipping it using an electric hand frother until the desired amount of froth is created.  Put espresso in the bottomw of the cup and fill cup with heated milk.

Breve Blast
Cold Latte Recipe
A refreshingly delicious "morning-pick-me-up" that alerts the senses for $.60

Ingredients:
2 oz. espresso or choice of strong coffee
1 oz. vanilla syrup
4 oz. milk

Begin by brewing your 2 shots or 2 oz. of espresso using either an espresso machine or a strong brewing methos, such as a moka pot.  Place at the bottom of a 16 oz. cup and add your syrup.  Top with 8 oz. cold milk.  Gulp down for a quick jumpstart.

Creme Brulee Latte
Sweet Latte Recipe
This decadent drink is a hit with dessert lovers at $.97

Ingredients:
2 oz. espresso or choice of strong coffee
8 oz. steamed milk
1 oz. vanilla bean syrup
2 tbsp. caramel topping

Begin by brewing your 2 shots or 2 oz. of espresso using either and espresso machine or a strong brewing method, such as a moka pot.  Take a 10 oz. cup and lace the sides with 1 tbsp. of caramel topping.  Then place the syrup at the bottom of the cup and top with the espresso.  Heat your milk by steaming it using your espresso machine, or by slowly heating it up on the stove over medium heat, and then whipping it using an electric hand frother until the desired amount of froth is created.  Fill cup with heated milk and top with remaining caramel.

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Important Free Teleconference Call for All Bloggers

If you're like me, you've heard about the New FTC regulations regarding what bloggers do and don't need to disclose about gifts and other forms of compensation in relation to blog posts.  Do I really need to mention little items I recieved as "take-aways" at an event even if they have zero impact on what I am posting about?  I think it is just plain silly because I'm from the PR world and it's common practice to give journalists comp'd items to help facilitate reviews.  That is nothing new.

Well, I'm so excited that my friend Peter Sahin of South County Law Group decided to facilitate a free teleconference this upcoming Thursday Feb. 4th at 10 am pacific to address those very questions!  If you're a blogger, you absolutely need to listen in on this call!  Click here to register right now!  Here's more information about the call...

How To Avoid Having To Pay Fines Up To $16,000
During the teleseminar you will learn:

  • Will bloggers really be the targets of the Federal Trade Commission?
  • Can I still accept samples and freebies from companies who want me to promote for them?
  • Who is responsible for complying with the new guide – the company who provides the goods or services or myself as an affiliate?
  • What is the deal with testimonials? Can I still use them?

We know that there are a lot of so-called experts who are giving you their interpretation of the FTC guidelines but the question is…who is right?!

 

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