Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Knott’s New Year’s Eve Celebration

knott's NYE 2Having kids has meant (most years) a low key family friendly way of celebrating. Which usually means me in my pajamas, wrapped in a blanket, on my couch, watching the ball drop in Times Square on TV. I was really intrigued to hear that Knott’s Berry Farm is hosting a family friendly New Year’s Eve Celebration. The celebrating starts during the day and goes until 1am. If you are pretty sure you aren’t going to make it to midnight, no worries, there is lots happening all day for all ages. In Camp Snoopy, the “Happy New Year Charlie Brown!” stage show will have several showings filled with song and dance. “Snoopy’s Magical Night of Lights” features thousands of beautiful lights and holiday music starting at dusk ‘til 1am.

All of the rides will be open and that is really the most fun for me. I feel like in as many trips as I’ve made to Knott’s, I still haven’t “done” everything. There is so much going on all day on the 31st: the ice show "It's Christmas, Snoopy" at the Charles Shulz Theater, Magician Dana Daniels will be performing his family friendly magic in the Boardwalk Ballroom and “Elton John – The Early Years” will be performed by Elton John impersonator, Kenny Metcalf. If someone in the family likes dancing, there are two options: Salsa and Country line dancing, including instruction if you are feeling a bit rusty.

knott's NYE

No doubt you will need to eat with all the running around you will be doing. My favorite restaurants are: Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant, Spurs Chop House in Ghost Town, Johnny Rockets on The Boardwalk and Grizzly Creek Lodge in Camp Snoopy. Click here for complete Knott’s dining info.

Calico Square is going to be the center of activities on New Year’s. The popular cover band, Clueless Remix Featuring DJ Resso will be playing hits from past and present. Next, Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang will ring in the New Year with song, dance and some fun audience participation! Then, starting at 11:50 There will be a countdown with aerial fireworks display, stilt walkers, party hats and horns at midnight to welcome 2013 at Calico Square!

All this comes with a regular admission ticket. Purchase ahead of time online and save money and avoid waiting in line to buy your tickets at the park. While you are at it, why not get season passes? For as little as 6 payments of $11.16 you can have access all next year plus one free visit in 2012 and lots of other benefits! Just make sure to take advantage of this offer before January 13. It is a really great deal and there are lots of new things coming in time for summer for family fun on The Boardwalk.

Well, that was easy planning…My family and I will be ringing in the New Year at Knott’s! Happy New Year to all my readers and an awesome 2013 to you!

Disclosure: Knott’s Berry Farm has invited my family and I to attend their New Year’s Eve celebration. No compensation has been received for this post.

Monday, December 24, 2012

CVS Pharmacy–last minute Christmas

cvs pharmacyIt’s a reality of life that even the most organized people will get hit with the need for a “last minute gift”. Then, there are the people who are always doing things last minute. Here is my recommendation: Go to CVS. They have something for everyone, are located all over the place, are open late on Christmas Eve, some are open on Christmas Day and some stores are 24hrs. A few of my suggestions for gifts are: scented candles, Nuance by Salma Hayek bath products, Whitman’s samplers, magazines, heated travel mugs, Essence of Beauty holiday sets, Norelco razors, and of course gift cards. Besides CVS gift cards, most CVS locations also carry hundreds of other types of gift cards like Amazon, iTunes and Starbucks.

You can easily fill stockings in the seasonal aisle. I always pick up Lifesavers gift packs because I remember getting them in my stocking when I was little. Then there are those people who realize last minute that they need something so they don’t show up empty handed at Aunt Eloise’s Christmas Eve Family Gift Swap. Some CVS locations carry alcohol, wine and beer (varies by local restrictions). I live in California and there is a large selection of wine and I even noticed some gift sets for the holidays. If alcohol isn’t your thing, you could grab candy or mixed nuts. The really great thing about last minute shopping at CVS is that you don’t have some huge store to make you feel overwhelmed. You can go on a low-stress treasure hunt and wander around for a few minutes—you will discover things you never would have thought to buy. Oh, and don’t forget to get some snacks for Santa! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Best of Made in LA - CBS Los Angeles

Many of us are in the thick of the holiday shopping season. Why not consider gifts made in the USA? I'm on CBS Los Angeles with Best of Made in LA.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Shaun White Supply Co. Table Top Ramp

rampI started skateboarding when I was a bit older than Chip. It was sort of the dawn of skateboarding…For the Boston area. Surfer Guy grew up on the beach in LA which was the epicenter of skateboarding. It think it has been officially driven into his DNA. In fact, where we live, I see skateboarding legends all over. Just yesterday we were at a surf/skate/board shop and skateboarding legend, Kevin “The Worm” Anderson was there. Surfer Guy knows him from when he got his first skateboard and introduced him to Chip. There is a short film, Skaterdater, that was shot around our neck of the woods and won at Cannes. Several of the kids in it (who are now older than I am as it was shot in 1965) still live around here. I recently attended a screening and met oneDSC05105 of the “kids”. So, it’s only natural that Chip and Lulu have already started skateboarding. I’ve been quite happy with them staying on straight flat surfaces…Mostly the walkway in our backyard. But I also realized that was getting a little boring when they started pulling planks out of the garage and making their own ramps. I had been thinking of buying them some sort of a skate ramp when I was contacted by Shaun White Supply Co. (I’m pretty sure most people have heard of Shaun, aka The Flying Tomato.) They wanted to know if I’d be interested in reviewing any of their products. What great timing, I thought! They kindly sent me the Shaun White Table Top Ramp, msrp $49.99.
First thing to know is that it comes in a box with three pieces. The pieces are easy to assemble and have screws/wingnuts that fasten on the underside. I was somewhat surprised that the box contained no DSC05104paperwork/instructions/warranty information. I didn’t need instructions—it’s really self explanatory. Subsequent conversation with the company has confirmed that there is no paperwork in the box. Their customer service is quite responsive so if you need to contact them, they offer good product support. The second thing to know is that the ramp isn’t that big. See the videos for reference. I would say it is good for up to about 8 years of age. This is the size ramp I wanted and it is very portable, I have brought it to the park. I think that some people might assume it is bigger than it is. The material feels sturdy and is described as being “high impact”. It also has a textured surface to aid with traction. The base doesn’t slip, but I’ve only used it on concrete and grass, nothing super smooth. The ramps can be used alone and have a decent

radius for doing what I would describe as “kiddie jumps”. My kids really like it and also use their bikes on it. Lulu just got her training wheels off and loves doing her first “stunt” moves on the table top. All in all, it is a good little kid/beginner ramp and tabletop. I’m looking forward to my kids trying out the ramp with the latest retro-skateboarding trend—small skateboards. These are the skateboards that are like the ones I learned on. Shaun White makes the
Retro Dart, msrp $49.99 which just debuted on Black Friday.
Disclosure: I received one Shaun White Supply Co Table Top ramp for review purposes. All content and opinions are my own.

Monday, December 17, 2012

It’s a Wrap with Disney Princess

On Friday, I wrote about my shopping adventures in pursuit of Disney princess items. Cinderella has been re-released on Blu-Ray/DVD and there are a number of Cinderella items available at Walmart this season. Today, I embarked on an adventure to figure out how I would wrap them. You may recall I said I am donating the Mattel Cinderella Transforming Carriage and the Mattel Cinderella Magiclip Castle to a local charity that provides Christmas presents to local families in need. I really wanted to wrap the gifts up to make them special and to reflect the Cinderella theme. I started with the Transforming Carriage.


When I was at Walmart, I grabbed a bunch of things from the Fabric and Party departments as a plan started to form in my head. Below, clockwise from top: Cinderella Party Plates, Cinderella Table Cover, Cinderella Birthday Princess Ribbon Pin, Cinderella Ribbon (3 feet), shimmer ribbon.


When I was in the Fabric department, I got 2 yards of semi-sheer fabric, along with the Cinderella and shimmer ribbons. Walmart also has Disney Princess dresses, shoes and accessories. I decided to make a “Cinderella Suitcase” wrapping presentation. I wrapped the carriage box in two layers of the sheer fabric. I think it is fine that you can see Cinderella through the sheer fabric…You can’t see what the toy is and the wrapping is a pretty big clue as it is. I used the three yards of Cinderella ribbon and wrapped it around the box three times to make it look like luggage straps. In the center top I attached a Cinderella tiara and behind it a white beaded headband for the “handle”. I hung a white beaded princess necklace with crystal pendant around the tiara and another longer one around that. I pinned the Cinderella birthday princess pin on the left “strap” and removed the ribbons that say “birthday”. On the right “strap”, I tucked a fairy godmother wand and tied it with a sheer ribbon bow. I used two costume jewelry bangles on the lower right and left straps to complete the suitcase. Any princess needs good traveling shoes and we know Cinderella has shoe issues…So I put an extra pair for the little princess to slip on.


Next, I tackled the Cinderella Magiclip Castle.


When I was in the Party Supplies department at Walmart, I was keeping my eyes open for things that I could use for gift wrap. I saw the Cinderella Table Cover and immediately picked it up. I really liked the idea that it could be reused. I used the whole table cover even though it was much larger than needed for the present. I just folded it in half and in half again and folded the extra length in towards the box and taped it. I wrapped the sheer ribbon around the box in both directions and put a silver shimmer bow on. As a final glimmery touch, I attached a Disney Princess tiara onto the upper front corner.


I had a lot of fun shopping for and wrapping the Disney Princess items. I hope the little princess who receives these toys loves them as much as we do. I also hope that my wrapping post gave you some ideas for your holiday season wrapping challenges. I don’t consider myself to be particularly crafty. You don’t have to be crafty for this, you just have to look around the store and even your house with a different perspective. You will start to see the possibilities…And sometimes if you just start…It all comes together in a magical way.

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Disney Consumer Products, Inc #CBias #SocialFabric #DisneyPrincessWMT. All opinions and content are my own.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Shopping for a Princess–Disney & Walmart

DVDAs my readers well know, I love Disney. Having kids makes Disney stuff all the more fun. Lulu is a true fan of Disney Princesses. She loves to dress up and play with a wide variety of Disney Princess toys. This past week I’ve been very involved in the world of Disney Princess products…Perfect timing for Christmas. The Disney Princess Augmented Reality App is available for Android and iPhone/iPad (free). I installed it on both my iPad and my Droid and checked it out with Lulu. There are three areas in the game: The Princess Boutique where you select your princess attire, The Carriage Shop where you design your carriage and The Royal Palace, your final destination for the Royal Ball. You can “unlock” additional features in the app at Walmart by scanning the QR code on the Disney PrincessIMAG0644 Displays and/or completing the full Royal Ball Dance in the app. Lulu has loved playing with the app. Her favorite feature is designing her Royal Ball outfit and then taking her picture—the app superimposes the dress, jewels and tiara on you. So cute. The app was released along with the re-release of Cinderella on Blu-Ray/DVD in October.

I headed out to Walmart to look for Disney Princess items and to buy some of them. I was looking for: Mattel Disney Princess Ultimate Dream Castle, Mattel Cinderella Transforming Carriage, Mattel Cinderella Magiclip Castle, Fisher-Price Little People Princess Palace, 16” Huffy Cinderella bike, 12” Huffy Princess bike, 12V Disney FJ Cruiser, 6V Disney Quad. I ended up visiting 3 Walmarts looking for the items. I highly recommend using the Walmart website to order and

choosing the “site to store” option which allows you to pick up your items without having to hunt around for them. has a really well done Disney page that is a great jumping off point for getting a grip on what Disney products are available in all departments. I had difficulty finding everything on my list. I eventually managed to find 6 of the 8 items. I decided to buy the Mattel Cinderella Magiclip Castle and the Mattel Cinderella Transforming Carriage. I really liked the castle because it has a lot of versatility. The age range is open ended (3+). The castle has 5 sections that allow for lots of imaginary play. To be honest, the Cinderella Transforming Carriage is something I would want, so that’s why I chose it. The ability to transform from a pumpkin to a carriage for Cinderella is so straight out of the story. I also think it pairs perfectly with the Magiclip Castle to create even more storylines.

I will be donating both of them to a local charity that provides Christmas gifts to local families in need. I have worked with this charity over the past several years and they do so much great work. One of their annual events is having a holiday party for children undergoing cancer treatment at our local county hospital. This party is really special as the kids’ parents and siblings are invited and everyone receives presents from Santa. Of course Lulu was intrigued by the Cinderella toys and “wanted” them. But when she heard who we were donating them to, she was totally on board. She and Chip have gone with me every year to volunteer and put together “santa sacks” of toys for the needy families. The whole family talked about the “little princess” who will receive the gifts. Of course, Santa knows Lulu loves the toys as well. He may very well come down the chimney with something from the above list…We’ll have to wait a couple of weeks to see! I put together a Google+ Album of my Disney Princess Shopping Trip to the Walmarts.

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Disney Consumer Products, Inc #CBias #SocialFabric #DisneyPrincessWMT. All opinions and content are my own.