A PJ Masks Supermoon Adventure!

Tons of fun with Catboy, Owlette & Gekko

IMG_9702.jpg

#PJMasks #SuperMoonParty

I just find it so hilarious when kids have an all-time favorite cartoon hero yet can’t get near it when they see it in person.

That’s exactly what happened when Toby saw Catboy, the leader of the PJ Masks Trio. The PJ Masks is a show about heroism and empowerment and its’ superheroes are children!

IMG_9698.jpg

We were recently invited to a PJ Masks Supermoon Adventure

It was held at The Coop Indoor playground in Studio City with an afternoon of action-packed and imagination-inspiring adventures, a hero dance party and even a meet-n-greet with the PJ Masks themselves!

IMG_9700.JPG
IMG_9699.JPG

During the #SuperMoon Party,

The children got a chance to watch an episode of PJ Masks as they played in The Coop’s ginormous ball pit. They also enjoyed pizza and a series of PJ Masks activities, including coloring,

IMG_9696.jpg

role-playing with masks, toys and an adorable dance party where the little ones got to hug, dance with and enjoy fun tunes with the PJ Masks. Toby insisted on showing Catboy that he too had a Catboy mask!

More about the PJ Masks characters:

Connor / Catboy is a blue-eyed boy with brown hair. When he transforms he wears a blue cat costume with cat ears and a thin tail. He has super-hearing using Cat Ears, can leap high and far using Super Cat Jump, and sprints fast using Super Cat Speed.

Amaya / Owlette is an auburn-eyed girl with brown hair who wears red glasses. When she transforms, she wears a red costume with wings. She has owl eyes which lets her see things that are far away up close, and she also has super owl wing wind.

Greg / Gekko is a green-eyed, blonde haired boy. When he transforms he wears a green costume with a thick reptilian tail and fins on top of his head. His powers are, Super Gekko Camouflage to go invisible or blend into his surroundings, Super Gekko Muscles to lift heavy things, Super Lizard Grip to climb walls or anchor himself to stop vehicles, and Super Lizard Water Run to walk on water.

IMG_9701.jpg

By the time we had to go home,

the kids had already enjoyed their fill of PJ Masks cupcakes and received some awesome PJ Masks gift buckets!

Then came the best moment! After having been too scared to even get in a photo with the PJ Masks at the beginning of our SuperMoon Party adventure, Toby was demanding that they stay longer when they said bye to all the kids. He gave Gekko a hug then, with watery eyes, said: “Don’t Leave!”

We love PJ Masks and we’re very grateful to have been invited to this awesome play date!

Thanks PJ Masks and thanks for reading, friends!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Winding Down the Evening: Tips to Make Bedtime Routine Fun & Bubbly!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GetJohnsonsBaby #ChooseGentle #CollectiveBias

For bath time, we Choose Gentle

As many of you know, my husband and I lead very busy lives. We’re working professionals managing several other projects simultaneously. We also have two boys under five and well, there’s never enough hours in the day to get everything done.

But one thing that we’ve finally got down is our boys’ bedtime routine.

This is particularly important for us because we get to spend quality afternoon time with our sons while teaching them about following instructions, engaging in thoughtful (often hilarious) conversations and ending the night with warm baths, book time and snuggles before we tuck them into bed and return to our projects.

Their baths always include JOHNSON’S® Baby Products (Hover over the image above to see more information about the products and how to purchase them at Target.)

IMG_6043 2.JPG

I visited the baby aisle because I needed to stock up on bath supplies for the kids and I noticed JOHNSON’S® Baby products had a different ‘look’.

IMG_6049 2.JPG

Turns out,

JOHNSON’S® recently reformulated its products to be more gentle.

The products are now more naturally derived with 50% fewer ingredients. They’re hypoallergenic with no parabens, no phthalates, no dyes and sulfates. The company also designed new packaging and gave the bottles a makeover with more easy-to-use pumps.

For a mom who’s been using JOHNSON’S® Baby products for nearly six years, discovering the new features was everything! I started loading my basket with some of our faves.

IMG_6050.jpg

Back at Home,

Weeknights are like a whirlwind. There is so much to do after work and everything happens so fast! In order to keep sane, my husband and I sat down last year and came up with an afternoon schedule which goes like this:

4:30pm — Pick up the boys from daycare

5:00pm-6:00pm — Homework. During this time, our little Toby who still has a long way to go before he starts Kinder, gets to do his “homework” too. His assignments usually involve scribbles on coloring pages or playing with flash cards. LOL.

6:00pm — Prepare dinner & Bath time! Whoever is not in the kitchen, takes care of giving the boys a bath. Lately, Paul’s been on a culinary quest to become the household’s next top chef so he opts to stay in the kitchen while I wrangle the boys to the bathtub.

IMG_6109.JPG

Before Bath Time

Benny and Toby have a basket with their bath time supplies, including bath sponges, a few toys and our favorite baby bath products, which include JOHNSON’S® Head-To-Toe Baby Wash; JOHNSON’S® Bedtime Bubble Bath; and JOHNSON’S® Bedtime Lotion. Like I mentioned earlier, we’ve been using JOHNSON’S® Baby products since the boys were born and I love that these products are even gentler now!

IMG_5091 2.JPG

Toby loves the water,

and he loves carrying the JOHNSON’S® bottles with him to the bathtub. He knows the blue bottle (JOHNSON’S® Bedtime Bubble Bath) is used to make a “simming pool with bubbles”. He knows the yellow bottle (JOHNSON’S® Head-To-Toe Baby Wash) is the most important because it removes all the yuckies from his body. And he knows the purple bottle (JOHNSON’S® Bedtime Lotion) helps moisturize his skin so he doesn’t get the itchies.

IMG_6046 4.JPG

By 7:00pm,

The kids have been bathed, dried, moisturized and changed into their pajamas, ready to have dinner. Toby takes a little longer to get to his high chair because he refuses to stay still when I’m putting on his diaper and applying lotion on his skin. I have to distract him with toys and books!

IMG_6045 2.JPG

At 8:00pm,

it’s time to brush teeth and tuck in bed for story time. Benny usually picks out three books and Toby chooses two. After we’re done with books, we say our bedtime prayer and the lights go out.

On week nights, they’re asleep by 8:30pm but I’m typically a little more flexible on weekends.

The next morning, the boys wake up looking snuggly and smelling clean thanks to JOHNSON’S® Baby Products… it makes me feel like hugging them for hours!

I’m sure you feel the same about your kids… and if you haven’t tried the new JOHNSON’S Baby Products, I encourage you to try them soon, friends :)

I promise you’ll love every item!

Thanks for reading.

Xo,

-Anabel M.

IMG_6051.JPG
Celebrating Batman Day for a Good Cause

September 15, 2018 was Batman Day!

IMG_6804.JPG

#BatmanDay2018

Comic book heroes take a whole new level of importance in your life when you’re a boy mom.

IMG_6802.JPG

So when we got invited

to an epic team-up between Buckle Down products, Bumkids, Kids Embrace, Silver Buffalo and Sun-Staches for an official Batman Day Family Fun Celebration, we knew we had to be there!

IMG_6798.JPG

The event was held

at Hazeltine Park in Sherman Oaks. There were several Batman & Dark Knight-themed play areas for kids but the element that caught our attention the most was the Batmobile ‘Tumbler’ from the Dark Knight Film Trilogy. Did you know this vehicle was built with two forward-firing machine guns? Annnnnnd…did you know both front wheels can eject when the vehicle is damaged? That’s when the Tumbler becomes a Batpod!

 Batman Glasses, courtesy of Sun-Staches.

Batman Glasses, courtesy of Sun-Staches.

We received some awesome

Batman swag, including the boys’ sunglasses which were worn by them alllllll day.

I share about our fun Batman Day outing because it’s great to know that the previously-mentioned companies collaborated to bring families together and give back.

IMG_6801.JPG

Batman Day at Hazeltine Park

was a benefit event for two non-profit organizations that I support— Raise a Child and Vanderpump Dogs.

There were also several sponsors who donated snacks, treats and drinks for all guests.

Families who wanted to get their hands on the new KidsEmbrace Batman strollers were able to purchase one there— at the Batman Day Family Fun Day.

IMG_6800.JPG
IMG_6799.JPG

It was lovely morning

spent with my boys.

My hubby who loves to be a Joker (no pun intended) had fun too. He wouldn’t pose for a picture but he took several of us!

Thanks Kids Embrace for the awesome invitation!

And thanks for reading, friends!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Playtime with "Dr. Toby" and Koloreenies!

A New Generation of Neonate Babies Has Arrived!

IMG_5230.jpg

Toby Loves "Lazukie"

Earlier this summer, we received an adorable Generation X-Clusive Koloreenies baby. It's a toy called a Nerlie, from the Neonate Babies line. His actual name is Lazukie and upon welcoming Lazukie home, Toby took control, donning a doctor's coat, and making sure this Neonate baby (from the region of Neotopia) was happy and healthy.

After giving him a few shots and checking his temperature, Toby jotted down Lazukie's height & weight. You see, Nerlie measurements must apparently be recorded by way of scribbles and squiggly lines...hehe.

IMG_5231.jpg

The sweet little Lazukie arrived with 1 Umbilical cord, 1 diaper, 1 pacifier, complete Neonate baby documentation (including: 1 birth certificate, 1 neo-immunization schedule, 1 Neonate baby picture and 1 nursery card) plus 1 Dripity Drop (baby bottle). If you're lucky, your Nenonate baby may arrive with a dirty diaper too, however, Lazukie's diaper was poop-free (whew)!

We wanted to make sure he enjoyed a comfortable sleep so we made a tiny little bed out of a Jewelry box lid and a hand towel.

IMG_5233.JPG

Legend has it that in northeast Neonatopia a Neonate species never seen before lived in the Kolorado Mountain Range born without color. However, one day, on their way back to Neo-kindergarten, these babies found the most brilliant rainbow and took its color and splashed it all over themselves! From that moment, they transformed into Koloreenies–– super extra kolorful and bright, staying that way forever.

The Koloreenies have four different categories of babies: Zygoties, Espongies, Preemies and the newest line, Nerlies:

IMG_5236.jpg

Toby is a bit young to understand the concept behind the umbilical cord... so he simply focused on tube-feeding Lazukie his bottle. When you remove the little pacifier that comes attached to its mouth, the Dripity Drop fits perfectly for a warm milk feeding.

IMG_5232.jpg

Overall, we love playing with our Koloreenies' Neonate Baby, the Nerlie named Lazukie. Toby is Lazukie's doctor and overall caretaker and I must say, he's done quite well.

Even though the toys generally come in orange, pink and purple colors, which may be seen as toys intended for girls, I think little boys love to act as care-giving figures too. And Lazukie comes in green and blue which immediately caught Toby's attention.

IMG_5229.JPG

It's so very cute to see a toddler boy acting so sweetly toward a toy. It made my heart melt!

The Koloreenies are currently sold out, however, you can "adopt" another one of Distroller's adorable toys by visiting www.Distroller.com.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

This is a sponsored post. I received a free Koloreenies toy in exchange for a review.

Ten Reasons Why We Love LEGOLAND and the New LEGOLAND Castle Hotel

A Knight & Shining Legos!

IMG_0578.JPG

This Summer: LEGOLAND for the Win!

It's been a little over a month since the new LEGOLAND Castle Hotel opened its royal doors for all to visit but Benny and Toby have already asked several times if I can take them back!

The truth is, I'm considering returning for a little summer getaway with the boys because for one, my husband Paul didn't get to join us for the grand opening. Second, we absolutely loved it! The LEGOLAND Resort has truly transformed into a multi-day vacation destination.

I mean, I still remember the days when families would go to the LEGOLAND theme park, stay at a nearby hotel for a night and venture into San Diego for the rest of their vacation amusement.

Not anymore, friends. Families can now enjoy their visit to the LEGOLAND Resort without having to leave Carlsbad. In my opinion, three nights is ideal for a Brick-tastic experience.

IMG_0581.JPG

Here's How I recommend you do it:

Day One: LEGOLAND Castle Hotel Check-In.

Explore the hotel, enjoy the pool, let the kids run and play in the courtyard. Have a nice dinner meal and relax in your super fun castle themed-room.

Day Two: Visit the Sea Life Aquarium and the LEGOLAND Water Park

Day Three: Visit LEGOLAND Theme Park

We were fortunate enough to get invited to the LEGOLAND Castle Hotel grand opening. Here are five reasons why we're kind of obsessed:

 

Accommodations Built for a Queen (or King or Prince or Princess)

1. The Lobby

IMG_0584.JPG

 

2. Themed Rooms

IMG_0273.JPG

 

3. The Outdoor Playground

 Photo: LEGOLAND

Photo: LEGOLAND

 

4. The Royal Dining Room

IMG_0586.JPG

 

5. The Outdoor King & Queen LEGO Display

IMG_8465.JPG

 

A Brick-Tastic LEGOLAND Park Experience!

6. The Attractions

IMG_0580.JPG

 

7. The Desserts

IMG_0050.JPG

 

8. LEGO Friends Heartlake City

IMG_0579.JPG

 

9. The Shopping

DSC_1634.JPG

 

10. The New LEGO City Deep Sea Adventure Ride (Coming This Summer!)

IMG_0582.JPG

Take it from me, if you haven't made it a point to spend a weekend at the LEGOLAND Resort, now is the time to do it!

Thanks for reading friends.

Xo,

-Anabel M.

I received a hotel accommodation and other awesome perks in exchange for a review. More information about the LEGOLAND Castle Hotel will be published in the premiere edition of Mommy In Los Angeles® Magazine launching in late July. All opinions are my own.

MINIMONO Launched an LA-Based Kids Clothing Line and We Love It!

#BornToBeCool

IMG_0241.JPG

Support This LA-Based Kids Clothing Line by Visiting their IndieGogo Site and contributing!

This is not a paid post. I was gifted a few boys tees and decided to bring awareness about the brand because I love what it stands for!

I always appreciate an LA-Based kids brand that manufactures its products locally, offers cute items that kids will be able to use for longer than a year and gives back to the local community. When I came across MINIMONO, I knew I had to share about this newly launched clothing line because it does all three of the above. Their signature product is the Elysian Linen Jacket, which looks like a darling kimono made up of denim-colored blocks:

 Photo: MINIMONO.com

Photo: MINIMONO.com

MINIMONO also has awesome t-shirts for kids, sizes 2T-5T, which Benny and Toby proudly rocked recently in Hollywood!

 

All in all, here's why I think you should support MINIMONO:

1. Unisex

Every product is easily shared between boys and girls.

2. Versatility

You can dress their jackets up or down to rock any occasion. They even did an extensive design process to make sure that kids wouldn't outgrow their jackets too soon.

IMG_6991.jpg

3. Comfort

Their jackets are made of high quality 100% linen that continues to get softer with wear and is machine washable.

4. Ethical Production 

They make their jackets right here in Los Angeles and make sure their standards are met.

IMG_6995.JPG

5. Charity 

A percentage of every sale is donated directly to Free Arts LA!

6. MATCH YOUR MINI

They’ve also designed the adult versions of 5 of their favorite jackets so that parents can have the option of picking up a matching jacket! I can't wait for this since as many of you know, I love twinning with my little guys!

IMG_3417 2.JPG

Check out MINIMONO here, friends!

Thanks for reading.

Xo,

-Anabel M.

 

Castle Park in Riverside Gives us All the Carnival Feels!

Games, Golf & Grub!

IMG_0110.JPG

A fun family destination in Riverside, CA

This is a Sponsored Post. I received tickets to visit Castle Park in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

*

Considering I have a lot of relatives who live in Riverside, including some very beloved aunts and cousins, I'm actually surprised I had never made a trip to Castle Park. As a little girl, I remember my cousins Viviana and Wendy frequently asking their parents: "Can you take us to Castle Park!?"

A few decades later, Castle Park is still going strong.

During a recent visit, we got to appreciate the theme park's clean and quaint environment.

Castle Park gives off a timeless royal carnival vibe featuring outdoor games, 26 different thrill rides (including a carousel), a miniature golf course, a vibrant arcade, a water park and a magic show under The Big Red Top Restaurant, the park's only table service eatery that serves All-American favorites like burgers, salads and chicken wings.

IMG_0111.JPG

We recently spent an afternoon with the boys at Castle Park and enjoyed every minute with the little rascals. Check out some of our faves:

 

The Food

Aside from the Big Red Top Restaurant, Castle Park offers three additional dining locations. They have Duke's Frying Factory where guests can indulge in deep fried Oreos, PB&J Sandwiches, Corn Dogs and Funnel Cakes. We decided to enjoy lunch at the Plaza Café which offers Pizza Hut fare. Duke the purple dragon is the park's mascot and and we fell in love with the shiny purple Duke souvenir cups!

IMG_9880.JPG

 

Outdoor Carnival Games

Merchandise carts with trinkets, toys and bubbles are located near the Carnival game area. Kids and adults alike can give their best shot at winning a supersized plush toy if they land a ping-pong ball on a plate or throw darts directly at a target. Toby just wanted to chase after bubbles!

IMG_9881.JPG

 

The Arcade

This was Benny's Favorite part of the experience. In order to play Castle Park arcade games, guests much purchase play cards. We found that most arcade games cost 4 points or more per play. The $10 play card arrives with 40 points. Some arcade games issue prize tickets and kids can exchange those for gifts and candy. Since Benny just wanted to spend hours shooting at Jurassic Park dinosaurs and riding the Ghost Blasters ride, located inside the arcade, we only collected enough tickets to get a few candies...hehe!

IMG_9876.JPG
IMG_0108.JPG

 

The Rides

Given our brief visit, we only got to ride a few rides. We got on the Crazy Plane and flirted with the idea of waiting in line for the Log Ride but it was getting late and we needed to drive back home before it got too late.

IMG_0112.JPG

 

A few things we missed:

The Bucanneer Cove, a water park with five water slides and four levels of water play was actually open but we hadn't planned to stay long and didn't bring extra clothes and towels for the kiddos.

IMG_9883.JPG

Also, we didn't have enough time to play miniature golf, although we enjoyed spending time looking at the lush landscape from the nearby water fountain. Castle Park has four 18-hole golf courses offer varying levels of play for the beginner or pro. Each course has its own unique theme.

 
IMG_9874 2.JPG

Tickets

Tickets for Castle Park start at $9.99 per person for Unlimited Mini Golf to $29.99 per person for Unlimited Rides, Mini Golf, including Arcade game credits. Parking is $10 and I would recommend you budget anywhere between $50-$75 for food, drinks and snacks for a family of four.

I can't wait for the summer to arrive to visit Buccaneer Cove! If you're in the Riverside area with your kids, I would recommend you check out Castle Park. The kids will love it!

Castle Park

3500 Polk Street

Riverside, California 92505 (right off the 91 Fwy)

(951) 785-3000

Thanks for reading!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

 

 

 

 

Anabel Marquez
Clownin' Around for A Good Cause

Red Nose Day 2018!

IMG_0098.JPG

It's Red Nose Day!

My husband picked up a set of red clown noses from Walgreens this morning.

I opened one of them, put it on, then surprised Benny and Toby while they were enjoying a slice of pizza in the dining room.

Their reaction? Contagiously loud laughter!

Today is Red Nose Day, a fundraising campaign run by the non-profit organization Comic Relief Inc., intended to bring people together to have fun, raise money and change the lives of kids who live in poverty and need our help the most.

The campaign has only been around in the U.S. for three years but it encourages families to host fundraisers and donate the proceeds to one of many organizations that help end child poverty in the US and in some of the poorest communities in the world.

Globally, Red Nose Day has raised over $1 billion!

For every red nose purchased at Walgreens, you're helping Comic Relief Inc., help children in our country and abroad.

IMG_0099.jpg

It's really neat! Going forth, it's a cause I definitely hope to be more involved with.

In the meantime friends, make sure you tune in to NBC tonight for all the Red Nose Festivities including:

  • At 8/7c with Celebrity Ninja Warrior for Red Nose Day, which will bring together stars like Derek Hough, Ne-Yo, Nikki Bella, and so many more. For the very first time ever, beloved Ninja Warrior host Akbar Gbajabiamila will attempt the course. You won’t want to miss it.
  • At 10/9c the Red Nose Day celebration on NBC culminates with The Red Nose Day Special, a star-studded hour hosted by the charming friend we all wish we had, Chris Hardwick.

While we get ready for Red Nose Programming on NBC, I'll retreat to my living room where we're taking turns imitating Ronald McDonald, Krusty the Clown and Cepillin... hehe

Thanks for reading!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
A 'Toy Auction' to Teach My Sons About Saving Money

It's National Financial Literacy Month!

IMG_7990.JPG

The Temptationless Bank Helps Kids Save up to $40,000!

Thank you Temptationless Bank for giving us an opportunity to try your product. This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

It's often hard to figure out a way to teach kids about saving money. Heck, I'm not that good at it myself!

But I know one thing's for sure, I don't want Benny and Toby to make the same financial mistakes I've made throughout the years, like incurring credit card debt and taking part in unnecessary spending. I want my sons to learn about savings so that when it's time to make big purchases that matter, like buying a car, paying for college or even buying a home, they're well prepared.

Well, there's an awesome product called the Temptationless Bank that allows kids to save up to $40,000. Yes, that's right... $40,000!

 Photo of the Temptationless Bank inside Toby's room.

Photo of the Temptationless Bank inside Toby's room.

The Temptationless Bank is a sturdy, colorful coin bank in the shape of a box that looks like a small safe. It's available in three different colors and has an slot for kids to deposit bills or coins and it's practically impossible to open. As a matter of fact, in order to retrieve the money inside, parents would actually have to saw it open... isn't that great?

Here's the breakdown of how much you can save (approximately) with the Temptationless Bank:

  • $200 in pennies
  • $500 in nickels
  • $2,700 in dimes
  • $3,00 in quarters
  • $8,000 in one dollar bills
  • $40,000 in five dollar bills

So how did I get my sons to start saving?

We used the Temptationless Bank and held a "toy auction" in Benny's Room!

IMG_8001.JPG

The idea here was to remind Benny about the importance of cleaning out his closet and getting rid of toys he no longer uses. Also, to encourage him to make money out of his old toys and save proceeds from his toy sales to allow his savings to grow!

Since our Temptationless Bank is still far from being filled, we used it to play and save by hosting Benny's toy auction inside his bedroom. My younger son Toby was the sole bidder.

A toy auction seemed perfect in order to start clearing Benny's room from old toys. Toby "placed bids" on his favorite toys, which included plastic cars, board games with missing pieces and an old a burger-eating Piggy.

Benny accepted all of Toby's offers and deposited the payments inside his Temptationless Bank  (Mom made sure that once the toys were "purchased" by Toby, they were removed from Benny's bedroom...for good).

IMG_7993.JPG

Prior to the auction, Benny had been depositing a combination of bills and coins but he still has a long way to go before it reaches cash capacity... lol.

Generally, it's recommended that parents find a stable location to place the Temptationless Bank, like a table (away from the edges) or better yet, the floor since it can weigh up to 150 lbs. when filled.

 Benny holds his microphone to announce that bidding will begin soon!

Benny holds his microphone to announce that bidding will begin soon!

 Moments after the first purchase.

Moments after the first purchase.

It was so fun and quite hilarious to watch this toy auction take place. Most importantly, Benny added a few more dollars to his savings. He later asked that I carefully place his Temptationless Bank on the right side of the floor, next to his bed. The left side of the bed has a smaller coin bank which is where he places extra coins and bills in case he needs cash for dollar store purchases or ice cream treats!

 Notice Benny's Temptationless Bank on one side of his bed...hehe!

Notice Benny's Temptationless Bank on one side of his bed...hehe!

Saving for a rainy day is always important!

Temptationless Bank.png

The awesome mompreneur who developed this product also offered a great suggestion: keep a Temptationless Bank inside the laundry room since that's where a lot of loose change ends up!

If you notice above, buying more than one of these actually saves you money (go figure!). They go for $29.97 for one bank, $25.97 each if you purchase two banks and $22.97 each if you purchase three or more. Now let's order some Temptationless Banks and save some cash money...yesssssss!

Thanks for reading friends and Happy National Financial Literacy Month to all!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

A Visit to Great Grandma's House
IMG_5972.jpg

Written on June 1, 2016

Beautiful Memories with Mama Gela

On Sunday, March 11, at 8:04 am, my great grandmother, Angelina Zavala Pineda, passed away. While processing this loss, I came across this blog post from two years ago that I decided to repost in her memory.

During my last few weeks of maternity leave, I started getting out of the house more often with Toby and eventually made my way out to Oxnard, where a big part of my family lives, including my parents and grandparents. 
One day while we were out there, the boys and I cancelled our beach plans because it was too cold and decided instead to spend a day at my grandmother's house, located in the "La Colonia" area of Oxnard.
It was so nice to relax at her house. Her and my grandpa, Papá Migue were so welcoming and sweet!
One thing I have to share is that my grandmother is the queen of "Kitsch". 

She owns hundreds of dolls and toys and collectibles, most of which were probably produced decades ago but somehow withstood the test of time to decorate the many dressers, cabinets and ledges around her house.

Her home is a humble place that's only had a few upgrades since I can remember but that's what keeps it comfortable and nostalgic!
For kids, a house like my grandma's represents an adventure at every corner since she has many fun things to keep them entertained.

But as you get to know this fierce and outspoken 90 year old woman, you begin to understand the meaning behind her toy collection.

Every little trinket in her home tells a story of a life full of sacrifices. She's certainly not a hoarder. The collectibles and dolls she has gathered over the years represent her innocence from an impoverished childhood in Mexico, where she grew up dreaming that one day she'd own a doll. She takes very good care of her dolls and we love to see her smile.

MamaGela2.JPG
IMG_5971.jpg
IMG_5973.jpg
MamaGela9.JPG


This was such a worthwhile trip. So many lessons to be learned from our elders... If only my paternal grandparents would've been around to meet Benny and Toby too (sigh)....

RIP Dear Mamá Gela

-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
The Perfect Pant for a Boy Mom!

Comfy & Practical

IMG_4153.JPG

The Perfect Pant Provides a Perfectly Comfortable Option!

This is a sponsored post. I received compensation for a review of the Perfect Pant. All opinions are my own.

In a loud, rowdy house full of boys, there are few things that bring me peace on a busy week night. Those include having no dishes in the sink, enjoying a glass of wine when the boys go to sleep and wearing comfortable clothes around the home.

IMG_4154.JPG

Being that I usually wear khakis, skirts and suits to work, there's nothing like coming home and changing into lounge wear or some soft, comfy sweats.

Lucky for me, I found a clothing item that's both loungey and soft. It's a pair of pants called The Perfect Pant, developed by Yvette and her husband, a California couple who believes that all women should own "that one perfect pant that stretches to their body shape, soft on their skin and machine washable."

The pants don't have a waistband. They don't have hardware like waist fasteners, buttons or zippers. They simply wrap around your waist comfortably and have wide legs, providing ample leg room.

I found them to be perfect for sleeping. Perfect for hanging around the house and they're also quite versatile. I say this because I actually wore them to work the other day... (Shhhhhh, that's a little secret). It was one of those mornings when I was running late. Considering I have multiple pairs, I grabbed a pair of Perfect Pants and put together a Boho-looking ensemble:

IMG_4155.JPG

On another occasion, I went shopping, threw on a peasant top with neon details, a bunch of neon-colored accessories and a denim jacket...so fun! Nobody would have ever guessed that the pants are also used as a pajama bottom:

IMG_4152.JPG

The Perfect Pant got it right. They know women tend to wear many hats daily with housework, carpooling, going to work, fitness, travel and just lounging at home.

"This pant fits all those categories. The fabric I designed, doesn’t pull or stretch out at the knees," says Yvette. "It can be washed & dried everyday without fading."

And I totally agree.

You can learn more about the Perfect Pant here.

Thanks for reading!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

 

Anabel Marquez
Hativity Sun Hat to Keep Kids Busy!

Hativity to the Rescue!

IMG_4882 2.jpg

Hats Off to This Fun New Child's Accessory

I received a free Hativity in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I was recently introduced to a very cool product developed by a SoCal Mom. It's a sun hat for kids called Hativity. It comes with embellishments in the form of velcro patches that stick to six different spaces around the hat.

During this weekend's trip to Oxnard, we visited the Channel Islands Harbor with our Hativity in tow. I really wanted Toby to try it. We rented a Surrey bike and Toby sat upfront so he definitely needed a nice hat to protect him from the sun.

When I showed him the patches, he got super excited! His three favorite patches were an acorn, an angel emoji and a ghost.

IMG_4874.JPG

The Hativity patches are categorized in six different themes: 1. Emojis 2. Safari 3. Fall 4. Spring 5. Under the Sea 6. Winter.  The hats are available in blue and yellow colors.

Dr. Shannon Davis is the mom behind this invention. She says she came up with Hativity as a way to entertain her daughters, ages 4 and 8, at the grocery store.

"Initially I brought a tablet so they could play games while I shopped, but then I realized I was carrying even more in my mom bag! I needed a way to make life easier and happier for my children and I," she said.

IMG_4877.JPG
IMG_4878.JPG

When Toby started getting bored during our ride around the marina, I would simply pull off the patches and ask him to re-attach them. By the time our surrey rental expired, the penguin patch had taken center stage! When his cousins met up with us at the harbor, the older boys were curious and tried to pull off the patches from Toby's hat. Given that only the center of the patches has velcro, the outer edges stick out a bit on some of the designs, making it tempting for other kids to try to remove them, which is precisely why kids love this hat! But Toby defended his Hativity so his patch placement would remain intact...lol!

Overall, it's a really neat product. You can buy it online for $16 and the patches are $2 each. While buying all six patches will drive the total price to nearly $30, there's currently a promotion offering a 20% discount off your purchase. 

Now I'm hoping for a red-colored hat in time to match the winter patches which include Christmas Trees and Santa Claus... That way Toby will be covered with Hativity fun all year long in sunny Southern California!

Check out Hativity: www.Hativityco.com

Thanks for reading!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

How to Turn a Dude's BBQ Into a Cute & Festive Occasion

It's all in the desserts!

IMG_4492.JPG

Valentine's Weekend 2018

Before I started making weekend plans with Benny and Toby, my husband let me know he would be having his Jiu-Jitsu friends over for a Backyard BBQ on Sunday. My first question was-- but are they bringing their wives though!?

We all know a bunch of dudes wrestling, grappling and sweating on mats can be a source of intrigue, yes... but after a while, a woman needs to have someone to talk to about makeup and celebrity gossip and annoying husband facts, etc. Right?

The weekend arrived and Paul went to pick up meat, beer and chips. I called my parents over and they agreed to join us and bring salsa and all the ingredients required make chorizo tortas...yum!

 Carne Asada-- not too visually appealing if you ask me!

Carne Asada-- not too visually appealing if you ask me!

 Here's my husband holding a tray of Chorizo tortas made by my dad!

Here's my husband holding a tray of Chorizo tortas made by my dad!

Then it donned on me that it was the weekend right before Valentine's Day. So I went over to my laundry room where I store party and craft supplies and found an entire bin full of Valentines Day decorations!

On Sunday, when the guys arrived, they brought their wives! I was happy and decided to start making Valentine's Day-themed desserts: Chocolate covered strawberries, cupcakes, and fruit skewers with heart-shaped strawberries (yes I know, strawberries already look like hearts but there's a way to make them really look like hearts). By the way, I actually delegated the strawberry and cupcake decoration duties to my friend Ashley, wife of Paul's friend AJ!

IMG_4486.JPG

Sweets

Cupcakes are easy to make & everyone loves them!

IMG_4487.JPG

Fruit

Because something healthy(ish) should always be included!

IMG_4483.JPG

Once the guys were done with their Jiu-Jitsu roll, I put out my little dessert table and suddenly the backyard BBQ looked like a mini pre-Valentine's Day gathering... Awwww.

All this to say, the way to turn a dudes' BBQ into a cute and festive occasion is by way of sweet treats and small details like flowers, drinks served on champagne glasses and pretty serving trays.

 The drink stirrers served no purpose other than to make a the sparkling wine glasses look more Valentiney!

The drink stirrers served no purpose other than to make a the sparkling wine glasses look more Valentiney!

IMG_4255.JPG

We had a lot of fun and the desserts were actually quite a hit!

Thanks for reading!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
Hollywood and Highland With My Cuties!

Happy in Hollywood!

IMG_3416.JPG

An LA Outing with the Traviesos

Given Benny's recent obsession with arcades, I decided to take my boys to Dave & Busters in Hollywood for some food and games. It was a normal Saturday for us–– Paul was away at work and I needed to get the boys out of the house!

Off we drove to Hollywood. We parked underground at Hollywood and Highland (enter structure through Highland as if you're going to the Lowe's Hotel). If you dine at one of the restaurants within the facility, you get 2 hour parking validation for $2!

We had lunch at Dave & Busters which included a unique and refreshing icy grape soda beverage with gummy worms and later, a churro for dessert (from Street Churros outside on Level 1). Yes, I know...tons of sugar. Happy boys. Bad Mom. But believe me, I'm pretty good about healthy eating and snacking on weekdays, maybe.

IMG_3417.JPG

The boys can't see a ground-level water fountain without feeling an urge to run through it and get soaked. I allowed them to do so because, seeing their enthusiastic faces and happy smiles is priceless in a life that's so fast-paced and short.

IMG_3415.JPG
IMG_3414.JPG
IMG_3413.JPG
IMG_3419.JPG

Hollywood with my boys was pure happiness!

Thanks for reading!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
Benny's Juicy 5th Birthday Party!

MY #BENNYBOYJOY IS GROWING TOO FAST!

IMG_2141.JPG

Blending In The Good for my Chiquito's Birthday!

I received a free supply of Jamba Juice products. All opinions are my own. #IJamba

 

2017 was such a busy year that I simply didn't have a chance to plan ahead for Benny's 5th birthday celebration.

December 7 (his birth date) started approaching and I already knew I was going to be traveling to D.C. for work around that time. I also knew Paul wasn't going to be available a single weekend in December due to his job. So time passed and Benny's birthday week arrived with news that Paul's schedule would suddenly be changing in order to allow for mandatory training. Next thing I knew, Paul was going to be free on the Saturday immediately following Benny's birthday! 

I imagined a fun outing to Bob Baker's Marionette Theater in Downtown or a magical visit to Disneyland but my hubby had other plans. On the night my sisters and I took Benny out for his birthday to see George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, I learned Paul had graciously invited his family to celebrate Benny's birthday. I was very excited about the prospect of decorating the house and throwing a party for the sweetest 5-year-old in the world but I literally had ONE DAY (Friday) to pull it off.

IMG_2102.JPG

So we rushed to our nearest party store and Benny went for an Emoji-theme which I thought was appropriate given this kid's love for technology and self-expression!

Then I stopped by an ice cream shop, ordered Benny's Favorite cookies n' cream cake and upon arriving home, I dug deep in my garage bins for table cloths, streamers and balloons. I ordered pizza & lasagna for delivery and my mother-in-law and parents brought plenty of side dishes to share.

IMG_1756.JPG

On the day of the party, our guests had a very special surprise–– a Jamba Juice delivery that included vegetable and fruit juices and smoothies in three popular flavors. They were the highlight of the event!

I set up the Jamba Juice cups on the favor table and dressed them with smiley face party hats. The kids were so, so excited to pick their healthy liquid treat!

I've been a Jamba Juice customer for a long time. I love it because Jamba Juice started out as a little juice shop with a big idea: that healthy living starts locally.

Further, their products are awesome (they carry 13 different kinds of fruits and veggies) and they do great things for the community, like participate in securing garden grants for schools, help community fundraising efforts and promote childhood health through Team Up for a Healthy America. Plus, their smoothies and juices are refreshing and delicious.

IMG_2104.JPG
IMG_2100.JPG

On the day of Benny's birthday celebration, we enjoyed Peach Pleasure Smoothies, Strawberries Wild Smoothies and Tropical Greens Fresh Squeezed Juice cups.

It was a very quaint and small party. I didn't get to invite the rest of my extended family since things were so rushed, but one thing's for sure, we'll be having Jamba Juice again at the next one!

IMG_2101.JPG

For now, I'll be thinking of my smiley boy who has certainly made mama go through each one of the many emoji expressions during the last five years of his life–– from kissy faces and eyes with hearts, to crying of laughter, angry teeth clinching, dreadful face and proud smiles with blushing cheeks. Love you, my Benny boy.

Thanks for reading!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
Meeting the Real Ferdinand!

Ferdinand Opens in Theaters Nationwide on December 15!

IMG_1762.jpg

Built to Fight. Born to Love.

There was something about Ferdinand the Movie that made it especially endearing for me, a mom of boys, to watch with my sons last weekend.

We were lucky to get invited to an early screening of the movie. The film is based on The Story of Ferdinand, a book written in 1936 by American author Munro Leaf, that tells the story of a strong and robust bull who prefers to smell flowers than fight against matadors in arenas.

This was Toby's first movie theater experience which didn't go exactly as planned but we managed to stay indoors for most of the movie!

Overall, it was an adorable film that touched on several current day subjects including...wait for it.... bullying (lol), peer pressure and the idea that it's okay to look a certain way and not fit the role society expects of you. Actor John Cena is the voice behind Ferdinand!

 Much to my embarrassment, Toby was skeptical about meeting actor John Cena, who voices Ferdinand. Cena was at the Gentle Barn following an early screening of Ferdinand the movie.

Much to my embarrassment, Toby was skeptical about meeting actor John Cena, who voices Ferdinand. Cena was at the Gentle Barn following an early screening of Ferdinand the movie.

As a mom of two little guys, I loved the idea that a strong, valiant bull was also gentle, loving and caring. The characters, the soundtrack and the overall message definitely make this a movie worth a holiday trip to the movie theater. It has hilarious scenes, including one where Ferdinand escapes from captivity by entering a home with delicate and intricate china. The bull manages to finagle his way through the room without breaking a single dish, until the old lady who's dusting the plates mistakes Ferdinand's tale for a duster!

 My two little boys are possibly like Ferdinand in the sense that they may seem a little rough and but they're also sweethearts!

My two little boys are possibly like Ferdinand in the sense that they may seem a little rough and but they're also sweethearts!

Further, and much to my delight, Twentieth Century Fox Animation Studios partnered with The Gentle Barn, a Santa Clarita based animal sanctuary where farm animals are rescued and cared for.

The Gentle Barn rescued Ferdinand from what would have eventually become a trip to a slaughter house, as explained by one of the barn's volunteers. Now the young bull can enjoy a safe home at The Gentle Barn, where, the founder says Ferdinand will always have the freedom to be happy and smell the flowers!

 We had the opportunity of meeting the real Ferdinand at the Gentle Barn!

We had the opportunity of meeting the real Ferdinand at the Gentle Barn!

DSC_1537.JPG

I hope you make it out to the theater and watch the movie! Most importantly, try to visit the Gentle Barn and get involved with organizations that advocate animal rights. We all deserve a chance to be happy and smell the flowers!

Xoxo,

-Anabel

Anabel Marquez
Denim Mother's Day Inspo from 'Kut from the Kloth'

How a mommy date with my son turned into a Mother's Day outfit idea!

AF1.JPG

Kut From The Kloth

A funny thing happened when I took my son to Au Fudge last weekend for a special “MommyAndMe—Create Salon” hosted by LA-based clothing company Kut from the Kloth.

During the week leading to the event, I shared with Benny that he would be having an opportunity to design a denim jacket for mama. Benny said he was going to decorate my jacket with glitter and purple colors and butterflies and sprinkles— basically everything he figured I’d like to hear.

  Details from the "MommyAndMe-- Create Salon" hosted by Kut from the Kloth at Au Fudge.

Details from the "MommyAndMe-- Create Salon" hosted by Kut from the Kloth at Au Fudge.

Then on the day of the event, as we sat down to begin decorating my cool denim jacket, Benny turned into a total minimalist! He placed only three patches on the top left corner above the jacket's pocket. The back was a little more elaborate with three sequin hearts. It was adorable, although I'll be honest-- I'm the type of mom that loves a lot of color and patterns and ornate things (go figure). It turns out, Benny was more interested in visiting the restaurant’s backroom arcade than embellishing my jacket! He basically squeezed a few globs of glue on some patches and was quickly "done" and ready for the next adventure. This was too funny. All I could think of was a phrase I've been repeating since Benny's younger brother was born: “boys will be boys!”

AF4.JPG

The unique Kut from the Kloth event was an opportunity for kids to interact with one another and spend a lovely afternoon designing a gift for mom. There were goodies and desserts and a book reading by Sara Aspinall. There were also several jackets for moms to choose from, something which opened my eyes to the company, whose clothing items I’ve often seen at large department stores like Nordstrom and Macy’s but never tried.

AF5.JPG

Kut from the Kloth offers a unique reward program called "Your Style Rewards". It's how the company rewards its customers for shopping and sharing their Kut from the Kloth items on social media. The way it works is, you become a member by creating an account on the company's website. You refer friends, post product reviews and share on your social media channels in order to gain points. For every 2,500 points earned, you get a $15 discount on your next order! They have adorable dresses and tops and their jeans come in all different cuts and styles.

AF6.JPG

The jacket Benny decorated for me is so comfortable! It's a Kut from the Kloth Amelia Denim Jacket (Sweet Wash) and now that I look at it again, I'm actually happy and very endeared with how it turned out. As a matter of fact, I plan on styling it with a fun dress on Sunday. I'll make sure to post some pictures...

Thanks for reading and Happy Mother's Day!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
Beauty & The Beast-Themed Lunch

We're bringing our excitement of the live-action film to the table!
 

IMG_2577-2.JPG

Be Our Guest!

We love the tale as old as time and since we're days away from the box office opening of the live-action film starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, we're feeling excited and inspired!
When I found out my cousin would Be Our Guest this weekend (she's in town from Mexico), I felt inclined to make our lunch date at my house extra enchanting.
A few years ago, I had a Beauty and the Beast-inspired breakfast with Benny but this weekend's warm and lovely weather called for an outdoor soireé. 
I have plenty of antiques and Disney collectible items, plus, Benny has a Beast costume. Even better, one of my nieces made her own Belle dress for Halloween last year so I asked her to bring it over!

IMG_2582-2.JPG

Our lunch didn't include French delicacies such as "beef ragout, cheese souffle, pie and pudding em flambé!". It was much more simple than that but tasty and a worthwile experience.
 Our menu included Cogsworth croissant sandwiches, enchanted rose strawberries and even vanilla pudding "gray stuff"!
Benny as the Beast was playful and informal... He never waited for Belle to be served before taking the first bite out of his sandwich...
Here are more pictures of our Beauty and the Beast-inspired lunch.

IMG_2573-2.JPG
IMG_2579-2.JPG

 

En español

Nos encanta la película de la Bella y la Bestia. Y es que estamos a unos días de la apertura de la fabula ancestral de acción en vivo protagonizada por Emma Watson y Dan Stevens. Con motivo de la nueva cinta y al enterarme que mi prima estaría de visita este fin de semana (vino de Querétaro con su hija), decidí hacer algo asi como un festín.

Tengo antigüedades y artículos de colección de Disney, además, Benny tiene un traje de la bestia. Incluso una de mis sobrinas hizo su propio vestido de Bella para Halloween el año pasado así que le pedí que lo trajera!

Nuestro almuerzo no incluyó delicias francesas como ragu, soufflé tarta y pudín em flambé. Fue muy sencillo pero agradable y memorable.

Tuvimos sándwiches de croissants a la Cogsworth, fresas picadas para aparentar rosas encantadas e incluso pudín de vainilla que pareciera higado de pato, como en la película original!

Benny en su papel de la Bestia se portó muy informal ... ¡No esperó a que Bella se le sirviera antes de dar la primera mordida de su sándwich!

Pasamos un rato verdaderamente encantador.

IMG_2586-2.JPG
IMG_2583-2.JPG

Will you be watching the movie on opening night?
Feel free to share any small or beastly plans you may have!
Thanks for reading! ¡Gracias por leer!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Anabel MarquezComment
Ways to Repurpose Halloween Costumes!

Costumes shouldn't be limited to a single day use!

BZ1.jpg

Buzz Lightyear Should Return Year-Round!


Halloween is so much fun, isn't it? But it's over in a blink of an eye!
In 2016, it was reported by the National Retail Federation that people spent over $8 billion dollars on Halloween, with the most amount of money ($3.5 Billion) going to Halloween costumes.
I know I'm guilty of buying my boys more than one costume...
How could I not?
With so many adorable options and the boys growing so fast, I couldn't help myself.
But then I started thinking--
Is it possible that their costumes will only be good for one month of the year?
What can I do to maximize their costume fun outside of trick-or-treating?
And, what's a creative way to justify the expense that will almost certainly be acquired again next year?
So I decided it was time to get creative and schedule some play dates.

BZ4.jpg


I bought a few large, neon project boards at the dollar store and created planets and stars and dizzy circles out of them. This was done to make a planet scene and get the boys and their guests in full Space Ranger mode...

BZ3.jpg

It all took place in a planet far, far away named...my backyard!  And all the space heroes going around made this morning too fun for us mommies who were standing by in case of a meteor meltdown! I placed all the Buzz Lightyears from around the house in different areas of the yard and their mission, among others was to escape the "asteroid ghosts".

BZ5.jpg

The pretend spaceship skeleton was from Benny's 2nd birthday and was made out of PVC pipe.
I also turned a regular dart board into a space target, trying to mimic scenes from the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters ride at Disneyland.

BZ2.jpg
BZ6.jpg

You should definitely try this at home... It's not too complicated and it's the kind of stuff memories are made of!
The Buzz Lightyear costumes will probably come out of the box a few more times...and they'll be transported to Infinity and Beyond!
Thanks for reading!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
The Waypoint Cafe in Camarillo

A Fun Place to Brunch with your Airplane-Lovin' Kids!

WP1.JPG

Fabulous Father's Day!

The Waypoint Cafe in Camarillo is a place where you can fly-in for breakfast (I'm not kidding-- there are even pilot instructions on the restaurant's website).
It's located adjacent to the small Camarillo Airport in Ventura County, CA.
The place is close enough to LA to make a morning trip and enjoy good food and drinks, while your kids run on a pretend runway and watch real Cessna Jets land and takeoff! 
We spent Father's Day morning at the Waypoint Cafe with my husband, my dad and my dear uncle Rafael.

WP2.JPG

We hung out in the cafe's backyard overlooking the planes as Benny ran with new buddies whose parents were also waiting to be buzzed to their tables.
The ladies enjoyed pineapple mimosas while the men had 805 Beer, which was pretty appropriate considering Camarillo's area code is *805*.
Once inside I went with the Berry French Toast, because...why not!
My sister ordered a veggie omelet with fruit and we shared-- both plates were awesome!
Benny colored on airplane-themed placemats waiting for his small order of pancakes.
The mood was very chill, reminiscent of a beach restaurant. Oh wait, the Oxnard beach is only a few miles away...fun.
But honestly, The Waypoint Cafe nice little place to spend a weekend morning. 
If you don't believe me, just ask Benny.

WP6.JPG
WP7.JPG
WP8.JPG
Anabel Marquez