Thursday, September 29, 2016

Coming Attraction: Boo at the L.A. Zoo

A gorilla checks out a pumpkin during Boo at the L.A. Zoo.
We've been looking forward to Halloween for quite a while now. Actually, my kids have been looking forward to it since last November, planning out Halloween costumes before they even took off the ones they were wearing!

That's why we're so excited about the annual Boo at the L.A. Zoo event, which kicks off October 1 and runs through Halloween.

Featuring spooky caves filled with projections of creepy-crawly spiders and snakes (projections being the key word here!) as well as a cornstalk maze, pumpkin-carving demos and a "Mad Science Fire and Ice" show, this year's Boo at the L.A. Zoo looks just as amazing as years before.

And we haven't even mentioned the animals yet!

Gorillas, hippos and other zoo residents will be dining on pumpkins, while the carnivores will dine on ... well, what carnivores dine on best ... so parental discretion is advised.

This year, the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens also offers up:

On the weekends of October 22-23 and 29-30, the Zoo partners with Disney to add activities and giveaways previewing the upcoming release of the animated film Moana. Stations from KIND Healthy Snacks, the LA Federal Credit Union, and ScholarShare add to the Halloween happenings throughout the month.  BOO AT THE L.A. ZOO's Halloween bash concludes October 29-30, with traditional trick-or-treat stations throughout the grounds and special costume character meet-and-greets with PJ Masks and Peppa Pig.  

Be sure to scare up some fun!

"Boo at the L.A. Zoo"
The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
5333 Zoo Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Tickets: Adults ($20); Children 2-12 ($15); Children Under 2 (Free)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

That Time I Got Obsessed With 'Fixer Upper' and Traveled to Magnolia Market, aka the Silos, in Waco, Texas

More than 1,000 miles from Los Angeles.
It's almost as if I've been living under a rock, apparently, but I finally discovered the incredible phenomenon that is "Fixer Upper" earlier this year. And I've been hooked ever since.

Like, seriously hooked.

I have Pinterest to thank, actually. It all started when the ultimate vision board/social-media site recommended a photo of something called a "Barndominium," which turned out to be a renovated Texas barn given new life by the uber-talented construction-design duo Chip and Joanna Gaines.

Joanna and Chip Gaines (Photo credit: HGTV)

That's when my TV-viewing life as I knew it completely changed — and when I became even more obsessed with HGTV. (Who knew that was possible?) Not to mention, when I suddenly wanted to pack up and move to Waco. (There were real tears when I compared those home prices to the Los Angeles market.)

I quickly binge-watched the first two seasons of "Fixer Upper" on Netflix and then bought the third season on iTunes. Who was this charming, down-to-earth couple from Waco, Texas, with the hilarious husband, super-stylish wife and adorable kids? And those goats?! They kind of had me at the baby goats.

(Apparently, you can take the girl out of Oklahoma, send her to Massachusetts, Germany, New York and Los Angeles, but ...)

So when it came time to make our annual summer visit to Oklahoma, I decided to fly into Dallas, as I had done earlier this year when my mom passed away. Not only could I visit my BFF Barbara, I could also drive down to Waco and visit the Silos, aka Magnolia Market, the downtown Waco oasis that is the creative brainchild of my new TV BFFs, Chip and Jo.

The Silos at Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas.
Once we arrived, I have to admit I was stunned. What Chip and Jo (yes, I call them that even though we've never met) have built in this smallish Texas town is gorgeous and homey, aspirational and huge. It's simply stunning — a field of dreams come true before your very eyes.

That sounds like a lot of embellishment, but honestly it's not. Watching this adorable married couple renovate home after home while still trying to grow their dreams — and to see that come to fruition — it's pretty amazing.

There's a large green space that faces stage area (pictured above with the white tables) that is so inviting. There are swings and baskets of balls and frisbees for the kids. You might hear Harry Connick Jr. or Michael Buble on the overhead speakers. CC and Will could have stayed there for hours. And we practically did. But that was after we took a very special tour, shopped and indulged in a couple of decadent Magnolia cupcakes.

We even got the chance to check out Chip's office — and his oversized heads!

Trying these guys on for size!
Speaking of shopping, there is a lot of stuff to buy — I snagged this gorgeous bracelet + of course a #shiplap T-shirt — and there are a lot of people who want to buy it. Basically, it was packed.

We learned that there are, on average, about 25,000 visitors to the silos each week. Week! Sometimes that number climbs to 30,000. And they're from all over the world.

More cupcakes, please. Do you see that icing?!

Watching "Fixer Upper," which is about to kick off its fourth season, you feel as if you're growing alongside Chip and Jo, watching them take risks and succeed at every turn. It's truly inspiring.

Not only have they built this amazing downtown attraction — making Waco a destination city to people around the globe — they also have a book and a magazine coming out this fall. (Of course, I've already pre-ordered. Don't be ridiculous.) You also might know that Joanna now has a furniture line, rugs, a paint line and a wallpaper line.

And this woman has four kids! (That's one way to feel super lazy.)

So, as I not-so-patiently await season four, the book and the magazine, I really revel in our trip down to Waco — and hope to go again.

Because there's nothing like seeing a dream come true that makes you want to fulfill your own even faster.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Happy First Day of 4th Grade ... a Little Late

Ready for 4th grade!
Ok, so this is definitely a #laterpost. CC officially started 4th grade in late August, but it's been such a whirlwind I can barely keep up!

In fact, how is October just around the corner? Like days away!

CC had a fantastic summer, by the way. She went to Minecraft camp, soccer camp, Star Eco Station camp and her fave, Steve & Kate's camp. Wow — I got tired just writing all of that. Yes, summer is a juggle for us since both Ian and I work, but CC really was living the dream. Heck, I wanted to go to camp!

It was funny, though. CC was definitely ready to get back to her usual routine once summer had wound down. She was especially excited about school when she saw that her new teacher had decorated the classroom in all things Dory. (The kiddos loved "Finding Dory!") It's amazing what blue tang decor can do for your child's #BTS enthusiasm.

So far, so good!

I do have some fun news, which I'll post more about tomorrow. CC, Will and I visited the Magnolia Market Silos (of "Fixer Upper" fame) in Waco when we visited family and friends in Oklahoma and Texas this year.

We went for Labor Day weekend, and the Magnolia empire did not disappoint. You guys. I'm obsessed!

Stay tuned for more details about our trip tomorrow! (We actually got to tour Chip Gaines' office!)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

'Turtle Vision 3D' Now Playing at Discovery Cube Los Angeles

'Turtle Vision 3D' is now playing at Discovery Cube LA's 4D theater.
If you want to give your kiddos an entertaining and eco-friendly taste of 3D fun, check out "Turtle Vision," now playing at Discovery Cube Los Angeles.

The 3D tale follows a sea turtle named Sammy and his adventures swimming all over the globe. Not only does he make new friends on his journey through places like Antarctica and the Amazon, but he also discovers what can happen when our oceans become polluted.

CC and Will check out what's on offer in DCLA's 4D theater.
Playing in Discovery Cube's 4D theater — which I learned means that the space is capable of offering extra effects like flashing lights and changes in temperature — "Turtle Vision" is such a perfect film to offer in 3D. First off, it's short — less than 30 minutes — so kiddos can get back to engaging in hands-on fun at the museum. Next, the visuals are so rich and colorful, both CC and Will were reaching out, trying to grab the on-screen fish.

"I'm touching him! I'm touching him!" Will yelled out a few times.

Not only that, but the theater is super kid-friendly, so you won't get any grumpy stares. All of the parents seem to get it. Shout-outs will happen!

3D glasses time!

"Turtle Vision" is also a positive film. While it does touch on issues such as devastating oil spills, it's also quick to point out just how helpful humans can be when they rescue animals like Sammy.

And on these hot SoCal days, the theater's air conditioning isn't bad, either!

11800 Foothill Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 91342
Tickets: $17.95 for adults; $12.95 for kids. Kids ages 2 and under are free. 4D movie: $3 for adults and children; $2 for Discovery Cube members

(Disclosure: I am being compensated for this post in my position as a #DiscoveryCubeMoms LA Ambassador. All opinions, however, are my own.)


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