Wednesday, December 31, 2014

So Long, 2014!

CC and Will with Santa Claus
I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

It's always a little jarring when the year -- any year -- comes to an end. While thinking about resolutions for 2015 -- spending more time with family, more time with friends, more time going for much-needed walks -- I also want to take in the wonderful year that was 2014.

We did some amazing things, and I know you did, too. Today's a good day to appreciate those amazing times before we forge ahead to make more memories.

Here are a few of our adventures this year:

Chilling out at The Queen Mary

Greeking Out at The Wallis

Heading to Bob Baker's Marionette Theater (Rest in Peace, Bob Baker, who passed away this year.)

A Day the Huntington

Visiting the Big Apple with the Kiddos

Disneyland for the Holidays

And while we had more than our fair share of fun times, we also had to deal with the heartbreak of losing Sassy, our more-than-patient, loving tuxedo cat. She will always be missed.

One last thing I wanted to share was CC's letter to Santa. When I saw it, it made me tear up and remember that it's the meaningful things -- not the presents -- that make Christmas and the holidays so special.

CC's letter to Santa
Hope your 2015 is amazing!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The 55th Annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration Kicks Off Today!

Merry Christmas Eve!

The amazing L.A. County Holiday Celebration -- a free Los Angeles tradition -- kicks off this afternoon at 3 p.m. at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

It's first come, first served, so grab some lunch and head downtown in order to get your free tickets. Entertainment in the Music Center plaza begins at noon.

CC and I usually catch rehearsals, which are amazing, although sadly we didn't make it this year. Check out previous years' rehearsals here!

If you can't make it downtown, be sure to tune in to the more than 20 music groups, choirs and dance companies on PBS SoCal! You can watch it live or during repeat broadcasts at 9 p.m. tonight and tomorrow at midnight and noon.

Happy holidays!

55th Annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration 
Wednesday, Dec. 24 (3 p.m.-6 p.m.)

Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Music Center
135 N. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Tickets: Free

Monday, December 22, 2014

Grinchmas Arrives at Universal Studios Hollywood

Ian's mom joins us at Universal Studios Hollywood for the "Grinchmas" kick-off!
Universal Studios Hollywood kicked off its annual "Grinchmas" shenanigans earlier this month, complete with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Whos from Whoville and the green Grinch himself.

The celebration continues daily at the park daily through January 4 and features live musical sets from Martha May Who-vier and the Who Dolls, as well as boy band the Wholiday Singers.

Mayor Eric Garcetti joins the Grinch and friends at Grinchmas.
Grinchmas visitors can also decorate their own ornaments and gingerbread cookies, and participate in the "Grow Your Hearts 3 Sizes" campaign by filling out a postcard listing their good deeds and mailing it to the Grinch. In return, Random House Children's Books, the publishers of Dr. Seuss's "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" will pay it forward by donating a book to a child in need through First Book on behalf of the sender.

How amazing is that?!

And don't forget about the amazing 60-foot tree!

Grinchmas Tree
With a backdrop of sparkling fireworks and a snow-capped Whoville scene, the Grinchmas tree literally lit up the night as the celebration got off to a colorfully animated start.

New Year's Eve News

And if you and the fam are looking for something to do on New Year's Eve, Universal CityWalk will be hosting "New Year's Eve Movie Night" at CityWalk AMC Theatres. The event will feature five iconic Universal Pictures films: "Jurassic Park," "Back to the Future," "E.T. The Extra Terrestrial" and a double feature of "Dracula" and "Frankenstein." There will also be a DJ dance party and all the popcorn you can eat. (Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for kids. More info here!)

Universal Studios Hollywood Grinchmas
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608
Through January 4
Tickets: $92 for ages 3+ (see more options here)

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!


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