Thursday, December 11, 2014

Moms' Night Out, Eppa Sangria Style!

Yvonne Condes (center), Jamie Lynne Grumet (right) and I toast to Eppa Sangria! (Photo credit: Lori Yohe/The Purple Tree Photography)
Several moms and I had the opportunity to indulge in a little Moms' Night Out a few weeks ago, when the always lovely Romy Schorr of Romy Raves hosted a fun night in West Hollywood to spotlight the tasty Eppa Sangria.

Moms and other fashionable ladies from around L.A. met on the rooftop of the boutique Petit Ermitage hotel and sipped the seriously delicious beverage, which is packed with superfruits, organically grown grapes and boasts more antioxidants than regular wine. (If that isn't reason enough to raise a glass, then I don't know what is!)

Eppa Sangria (Photo credit: Lori Yohe/The Purple Tree Photography)
While we had the opportunity to sample the red and white varieties, Manly Handz mobile spa was also on hand to give hand and foot massages to guests. Honestly, I almost felt guilty leaving Ian at home with the kiddos for the night. It was so great! (#SorryNotSorry)

We also made all-natural facial masks and had a pair of wine glasses personalized with special messages.

Nothing like catching up with friends over sips and snacks -- while getting a massage at that! -- to rejuvenate you during the sometimes stressful holidays.

However, we'll definitely be adding Eppa to our grocery lists when we shop for Christmas, New Year's or just a Friday night celebration!

Thanks, Romy! Cheers!

Romy Raves about Eppa Sangria at the Petit Ermitage hotel in West Hollywood! (Photo credit: Lori Yohe/The Purple Tree Photography) 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Disneyland Just Got Merrier for Our Family

Disneyland Just Got Merrier!
While we love visiting Disneyland any time of year, going during the Christmas holidays is particularly special!

We had the opportunity to head down to Disneyland Resort just before Thanksgiving to check out the park's transformation into a winter wonderland. Not only did the theme park just get merrier, its sister park Disney California Adventure got in on the holiday action, too.

And it was magical! (And that's not only because we ran into Gwen Stefani and her family ... but more on that later.)

We kicked off our busy day with a trip on the always charming It's a Small World ride. We loved how the attraction had been transformed for the season. The singing global community inside boasted twinkly lights, snowmen and "Season's Greetings" wishes.

CC and Will embark on the It's a Small World ride at Disneyland.
In fact, according to Disneyland Resort, the park installed about 150,000 lights inside the ride. So pretty!

The decorations all around Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are so festive. We loved the 60-foot tree that greeted us on Main Street, U.S.A, along with its 1,800 ornaments.

Photo courtesy of Disneyland Resort
After we caught the It's a Small World ride, we also had a chance to ride the hilarious and "punny" Jungle, er, Jingle Cruise ride, which had its own holiday theme this year, with the animals donning Santa hats and even a few ornaments. Very silly, indeed! We also caught the "Christmas Fantasy" parade, with 16 floats, including Santa Claus and Woody from "Toy Story," as well as classic Disney characters.

We even caught a glimpse of rock star and mom Gwen Stefani taking her boys to the park. I definitely had a "Just Like Us" moment, when I saw her balancing water bottles, bags and a stroller. Ian got a great snap by the Main Street Christmas tree.

CC, Gwen Stefani, her son Apollo and me.
We moved on to Disney California Adventure, which was Will's and my first time at the Disneyland-adjacent park. (Ian had taken CC with friends several years ago.)

It was magical, and the Cars Land section is amazing! It's as if you're walking through a rugged landscape with Monument Valley-like rock formations in the background. CC and Ian rode the Cars ride, which I'll have to check out another time, but they said it was so fun. Meanwhile, Will and I caught the actual "Cars" characters driving through Radiator Springs.

Cars Land is decked with holiday cheer.
We took a break for dinner and then joined several bloggers at the Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa for some kid-friendly dancing and delicious desserts. CC even got the chance to meet Anna and Elsa from "Frozen."

Queen Elsa and Anna from "Frozen" join CC for a snap.
One of the most amazing features of Disney California Adventure has got to be the "World of Color -- Winter Dreams" attraction. The gorgeous water display, which creates a 19,000 square-foot projection screen all from fountains, features amazing colors but also projections from films such as the newly added "Frozen." They've even thrown in a bit of snow.

"World of Color -- Winter Dreams" (Photo courtesy of Disneyland Resort)
All in all, we had an amazing time. And if I had a couple more hours with you, I'd make you sit through our rows and rows of photos. We took so many! It was such a great treat, and the kids went crazy.

I feel so lucky that we live so close to Disneyland, but even though we've been to the park several times, it's always magical. Every time. There's something especially wonderful about each trip, and this one was no different. I would definitely recommend taking a day trip or a weekend down in Anaheim during the holidays. What a super-cool staycation that would be!

Besides, you never know what rock star you might run into!

Disneyland Resort "Just Got Merrier" (through January 6)
1313 Disneyland Drive
Anaheim, Calif. 92802
Tickets: $96 (ages 10+); $90 (ages 3-9); $54 (additional fee for each Park Hopper ticket)

(Note: Media passes were provided for this event.)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Happy Birthday, CC! You're 8!

CC at Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood
Happy birthday, my darling CC! I can't believe you're already 8. How does that happen? Suddenly you're such a big kid. You're saying lots of big, mature words like mannequin, sarcastic and exaggerate. I love it!

You are so smart, so beautiful and so confident ... something I hope you know to carry with you throughout your life.

We had such a magical time yesterday at the Grinchmas kickoff at Universal Studios Hollywood! (More on that later!) Loved that the whole family was there and that Nattie was able to come just for you!

The amazing Whoville tree lighting at Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood.
I love you so much! Enjoy!

Friday, November 28, 2014

'Yo Gabba Gabba!', 'Octonauts' (and More) DVDs Celebrate the Holidays! *Giveaway*

UPDATE: Congrats to Erin Murphy, who won the NCircle DVD 4-pack! Erin, please email me at with your shipping address. Thanks to everyone who participated, and stay tuned for more giveaways!

With Thanksgiving now behind us and Christmas now officially on our radar, I wanted to share a few DVDs that will put your kiddos in the holiday spirit.

CC and Will went bananas when we received a quartet of DVDs from NCircle Entertainment. "Yo Gabba Gabba!" is one of Will's fave shows. (He calls it "Gabba Gabba," minus the "yo.") And my animal-obsessed daughter loves the "Octonauts."

These super kid-friendly DVDs are all about the holidays, so they're especially nice for lazy weekends like this one, when you'd like to indulge a bit with yummy leftover food and family time. So check out info below on how you can win these DVDs for your kiddos!

In "A Very Awesome Yo Gabba Gabba! Live! Holiday Show!" (SRP: $12.99), kids can join DJ Lance Rock, Brobee, Foofa, Muno, Plex and Toodee as they dance, sing and decorate the tree to prepare for the arrival of Santa Claus. Filmed live at New York City's Beacon Theatre, the colorful cast of characters sing their hits, including "It's Wintertime," "Every Snowflake's Different, Just Like You" and a holiday version of "Party in My Tummy."

In "Octonauts: The Very Vegimal Christmas" (SRP: $9.99), the Vegimals' plans for a Christmas feast are interrupted when the Octonauts become entangled in a gigantic blob of sea snot. Yuck! The holiday excitement continues when the Octonauts travel to Professor Inkling's childhood home, an undersea mountain, but soon discover that a rockslide has endangered the local creatures.

In "The Snowman" (SRP: $9.99), based on Raymond Briggs' book, a young boy wakes up one winter morning to find that a thick blanket of snow has covered the ground as far as the eye can see. Filled with excitement, the boy decides to build a snowman. Later that night, at the stroke of midnight, the snowman comes to life! The boy and the snowman then embark on a magical adventure that even takes them to the North Pole.

In "Caillou's Holiday Movie" (SRP: $9.99), the curious 4-year-old tackles all kinds of big-boy winter activities, like helping Daddy shovel snow, making holiday presents for his family and even discovering how little boys and girls all over the world celebrate the season!

*** GIVEAWAY ***

I'm giving away all 4 of the above NCircle Entertainment DVDs for a fun family prize pack!

To enter, please:

1. Visit NCircle Entertainment and leave a comment below with your favorite DVD or franchise.

2. "Like" the NCircle Entertainment Facebook page.

For more chances to win, follow me on Twitter and retweet this giveaway. I'm at @la_story. Or you can "Like" the L.A. Story Facebook page and share the giveaway.

Just be sure to leave extra comments telling me you did so. 

Good luck, and I will announce the winner on Monday, December 8!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Will's first homemade turkey.
Hope everyone has a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Coming Attraction: L.A. Zoo Lights Shine for Holidays

Photo courtesy of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association
I love, love, love Christmas lights! When I was younger, I used to beg my parents to drive through countless neighborhoods on the seemingly countless days that led up to Christmas, just to look at the sometimes over-the-top light displays in people's yards.

Something about it -- like Christmas trees, hot chocolate and ice skating -- stirred up that otherwise dormant holiday spirit, and I was ready for Santa, presents and desserts (well, actually, that's every day of the year for me).

So I was excited to hear that the Los Angeles Zoo would be kicking off its inaugural light display, LA Zoo Lights, which will feature lasers, 3D projections and interactive sets in addition to the lights themselves.

From November 28-January 4, with the exception of December 24 and 25, these fabulous lights will be on display.

Grab the kiddos and head over! I know we will.

It's especially exciting because LADWP hosted an amazing light show for years in Griffith Park that unfortunately ended in 2009. Luckily, Ian and I got to take CC to see it, but I'm happy that Griffith Park will have lights to showcase once again. This time, Will can see them, too!

LA Zoo Lights
November 28-January 4 (except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day)
Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
5333 Zoo Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Tickets: Adults ($13); Kids 2-12 ($11)
Early Bird Discount: Purchase tickets online to attend during the first two weeks (November 28-December 11) for the online-only Early Bird Rate of $8 each.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

'Sofia the First: The Curse of Princess Ivy' Airs Tonight on Disney Junior

CC is a big fan of "Sofia the First" on Disney Junior -- and Will is a big fan of the storybook app! -- so they were more than excited to celebrate the premiere of "Sofia the First: The Curse of Princess Ivy," airing tonight at 7 p.m. ET/PT on Disney Junior.

With a specially themed party kit courtesy of Disney Junior, CC and Will donned paper crowns and made sticker scenes from the show. We're also inviting neighbors over for more "Sofia" fun!

CC adjusts Will's crown while he plays with stickers from "Sofia the First."
Be sure to tune in tonight. Here's the what the special episode is all about, according to Disney Junior:

In "The Curse of Princess Ivy," Amber discovers Sofia's amulet is magical and takes it without asking. By accident, she summons the evil Princess Ivy, who wants to take over the kingdom of Enchancia and turn everything black and white. No color!

There's even a special (animated) appearance by Rapunzel from Disney's "Tangled" (voiced by Mandy Moore). Anna Camp and John Michael Higgins -- both of whom starred in the must-watch "Pitch Perfect" -- join the "Sofia" cast, too.

Will and CC have fun with "Sofia the First" goodies!
Click on the video above for a sneak peek of the show!

Have fun with the kiddos!

"Sofia the First: The Curse of Princess Ivy"
Sunday, November 23 (7 p.m. ET/PT)
Disney Junior


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