Running Again at L.A.'s Inaugural DC Wonder Woman Run

#IAMWONDERWOMAN

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Ready, Set, Go Wonder Women!

I had been planning to start running again after a failed attempt at completing my first marathon in Florida at the beginning of the year. But as many of you know, getting in a physically active state-of-mind is easier said than done.

Fortunately, I had the opportunity to join KidsEmbrace and Sun-Staches over the weekend for a badass Wonder Woman Run (the first of its kind in Los Angeles)!

Upon crossing the finish line, a shiny gold medal awaited, as did boxes of delicious donuts…but most important was the satisfaction of knowing I had pushed myself to run again!

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The Inaugural DC Wonder Woman Run

took place at L.A. Live. There was a 5K and a 10K option. I signed up for the 5K because even 3.1 miles seemed like a difficult task.

Runners had to pick up their race bibs in front of the Staples Center at L.A. Live the day before the race. Picking up the bib also meant an opportunity to get a fun picture with Wonder Woman herself!

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There was also a great selection

of Wonder Woman swag. I would have definitely bought stuff, except, race registration included a very cute Wonder Woman running tank top and wrist bands too! Sweet Tarts offered candy straws and all event sponsors had adorable things on sale like these Wonder Woman glasses from Sun-staches:

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The 5k race began promptly at 8am.

I started off slow and didn’t really pick up the pace until about mile two. At that point, I jogged a little faster, hoping to beat my personal time goal of 45 minutes.

Guess what friends? I did it! I finished three point one miles in under 39 minutes!

It was a great experience and I’m now motivated to continue my running journey. The goal? To complete my first marathon in the not-so-distant future!

 Moments before crossing the finish line!

Moments before crossing the finish line!

As for the companies that sponsored

the run and invited me to join them— KidsEmbrace is a unique child car seat company that focuses on “putting safety first”. Their Wonder Woman children’s car seat has proven to be tremendously popular.

 PHOTO: KidsEmbrace

PHOTO: KidsEmbrace

Sun-staches are a new, fun style of sunglasses, devoted to creating the most innovative and transformative novelty eyewear and party glasses on the market.

Both companies offer unique Wonder Woman designs that make you want to put away your fairy wand and bring out the Wonder Woman tiara!

Thanks so much KidsEmbrace and Sun-Staches… what a great way to kick-off year-end activities!

To learn more about the DC Wonder Woman Run, visit the website here.

Thanks for reading, friends and I hope to see you at the next run!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

I received a complimentary race registration from KidsEmbrace and Sun-Staches. All opinions are my own.

Fun and Inexepensive Halloween Costumes from Goodwill SoCal!

The Halloween Boo-Tique is still open

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At Goodwill Southern California You’ll Never Run out of Costume ideas

There’s still time head to Goodwill SoCal and find a costume that’s unique enough to impress all the generous candy-wielding neighbors!

Happy Halloween morning, friends!

I partnered up with Goodwill Southern California this year ahead of the Halloween season because it made perfect sense: Paul and I are trying to be conscious of our spending, our environment and the ways we choose to give our kids a memorable childhood experience.

And if there is a thrift store whose mission I support— it’s Goodwill SoCal:

  • For nearly a century, they’ve transformed the lives of individuals with disabilities, providing careers that transform lives.

  • At little or no cost, they help businesses hire & retain talent as well as provide e-waste recycling, among other services at highly competitive rates.

  • They enrich communities through donation drive fundraisers. Last year, they hosted 648 donation drives resulting in $924,252 to community partners.

  • Plus, they care for the earth by being “Green since 1916”. In 2017, they diverted more than 100 million pounds of reusable or recyclable goods from landfills.

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That’s why heading to a Goodwill SoCal store

in search for Halloween costumes seemed like a great idea— We’d get to re-purpose previously owned clothes and use our creativity to give Benny and Toby new material for make believe.

The Goodwill SoCal store at Fletcher Square is neatly organized, featuring a Halloween Boo-Tique with costumes and clothing items (by the way, there are over 80 Goodwill Southern California stores).

When I entered, I was envisioning costumes and accessories to create a fancy family of cats from the Roaring 20s. Later, I started finding pieces that would make for a great Wizard of Oz family costume ensemble or a DC Comics character family. Ultimately, I opted for creative cowboy costumes!

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As you may recall from my previous post,

I saved a ton of money, considering the huge expense that store-bought Halloween costumes can add up to!

Once home, I began preparing Toby’s costume to help him become a Cowboy Mouse, influenced by the Mexican children’s song of the same name. I grew up listening to Ratón Vaquero and my boys love the song too!

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His costume included:

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A pair of cowboy pants (I believe these are from another costume of Toy Story’s Cowgirl Jesse), a lovely red plaid shirt from Zara, a super fun tiny leather fringe vest, a black cowboy hat with a bandana and a toy gun.

By the way, the hat and bandana were brand new. Goodwill SoCal also carries new items to help complement the used clothing shopping experience.

In terms of the mouse ears, I ordered those online even though I could have probably made them with felt fabric and thin wire. The mouse ears were simply attached to Toby’s cowboy hat to appear as if they were sticking out. The result: A super cute Cowboy Mouse!

In the children’s song, the Cowboy Mouse is a blondie who speaks only English and has big feet— in other words, the Cowboy Mouse IS my son Tobias…lol!

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For Benny’s costume,

At first I thought about taking apart this unique fringe outfit and use it to create cowboy chaps. The idea was to have a family of cowboy mice. But as I started looking at the two-piece set, I started imagining the “King of the Wild Frontier”— Davy Crockett.

With this idea came the realization that Benny would ask MANY questions about Davy Crockett, which would actually serve as a mini-history lesson. My husband, who is a history major, was happy to answer Benny’s inquiries. In turn, my son was intrigued and happy to play the part in our backyard.

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In order to complete this costume,

I let him borrow a pair of moccasins and ordered a racoon hat. Once everything arrived, it was the most adorable thing to watch him “hunt and gather his next meal”.

Overall, shopping at Goodwill Southern California, was a lot of fun, friends.

I’m looking forward to working with this cool organization again to offer fun ideas on ways to reuse and recycle stuff.

In the meantime, hope you have a Happy Halloween.

Be safe out there!

Xo,

-Anabel M

Anabel Marquez
Just Float & Chill -- How a Mommy Meet-Up Allowed me to Relax like Never Before

Just Float is a Unique Wellness Center in Pasadena

 Photo By   Daniela Rey

Photo By Daniela Rey

Fabulous Float Therapy!

A few days ago,

I spent the first half of my day floating on salty water, by myself, in the dark.

It was a little weird at first, then it got better and an hour later, I was in deep relaxation mode with nothing but meditative thoughts. My arms were raised above my head floating in the water and nothing else mattered…

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I was practicing float therapy

at Just Float in Pasadena, which promotes itself as the world’s most advanced float center. I was invited by a fellow mommy blogger, the lovely Rosie from the Hustling Mama blog, to join a few other mom bloggers and give ourselves a chance to connect and disconnect by experiencing this type of therapy.

 Photo By   Daniel Rey

Photo By Daniel Rey

So what is Float Therapy, you ask?

Float Therapy or “Floating” is simply an effortless way to relax. Customers step into a private, oversized tub filled with about 11 inches of warm water that’s saturated with 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt. The result is the same for everyone— you automatically float with no effort required.

Because the lights are turned off and outside noise is eliminated, you get to unplug and relax.

This kind of therapy was created in the United States in the mid-1950’s by a neuro-scientist named Jonh Lily. Back then, he called the water tubs “Sensory Deprivation Tanks” and through his research, he concluded that Floatation therapy allowed the central nervous system to reduce its workload by as much as 90 percent!

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How it works

is very simple. First you’re encouraged to shower and remove makeup, oils and any other products on your skin. There’s a shower adjacent to each tub, located in individual private rooms. From the shower, you can put on some ear plugs to avoid water entering your ears (plugs are provided) and simply enter the tub, close the door behind you and push the “Begin float” button once you’ve situated yourself in a comfortable floating position.

You will be provided with a swim cap that serves as a pillow of sorts. Once your 60 minute session is over, the lights turn back on and that’s your cue to exit the tub, take another shower to wash off the salt (the facility provides shampoo, conditioner and body wash) and head out to the styling station to blow dry your hair or to the relaxation room to enjoy a hot cup of tea.

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Since I’ve had a pretty stressful

past few months, this mommy blogger meet-up seemed like the perfect treat. And it was!

Not only did we get to know each other and bond over stories about our kids, careers and life journeys, we also bonded over how great Float Therapy made us feel.

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At Just Float in Pasadena,

each Float Therapy Session costs approximately $80 although first-time floaters are only charged $60. The session includes 60 minutes of floating, access to complimentary grooming and styling products and water and/or tea.

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The experience is TOTALLY worth the investment.

Once you try it, you’ll be glad you did.

Thanks again, Rosie! and thanks to the awesome staff at Just Float for hosting us!

Weightlessness Awaits, Friends…

www.JustFloat.com

I received a complimentary float session. All opinions are my own

Anabel Marquez
Benny's Fun Experience at The Industry Dance Academy in Sherman Oaks

A Cutting-Edge Dance Academy!

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Passion and commitment to the art of dance in a world-class dance facility

My five-year-old son Benny loves to dance. And he’s not embarrassed to bust a move!

When I heard about an amazing new dance academy opening its doors in the San Fernando Valley, I decided it was time for Benny take his first Hip Hop class.

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The INDUSTRY DANCE ACADEMY

launched its brand new, 10,000 Sq. Ft. state-of-the art dance studio this summer, promoting a series of themed dance camps for kiddos.

Benny is a cartoon buff and immediately gravitated toward the Trolls Hip Hop Dance Camp (for kids ages 6-9). Since Benny loved the hit movie and soundtrack, Trolls seemed like a perfect fit.

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We arrived at

the sprawling dance studio and were greeted by Benny’s instructor, a bubbly and sleek choreographer with Film, TV and Broadway credentials.

After a few fun, interactive and inclusive warm-up exercises, the kids jumped right into the fun!

Campers decorated colorful Troll hair (Benny opted for green-colored hair!) and began to learn choreography to their favorite Trolls songs. The classes were short and sweet, running from 8:45am-12:00pm and concluded with fresh organic popsicles, generously provided by the Academy owners, the lovely Maia Suckle and Rhonda Notary. Benny literally couldn’t wait for his next class!

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At the end of the week-long Trolls Hip Hop dance camp,

the kids performed their new dance moves with an intimate dance presentation. Watching Benny own the dance floor in his own quirky way made me a very proud mommy. I immediately started searching online for his next dance class.

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The INDUSTRY DANCE ACADEMY

offers a great roster of dance classes taught by top-notch choreographers and professional dancers. They offer everything from ballet and tap to ballroom dancing and even Hip Hop for parents.   

 This was Benny’s epic move that landed him on the floor…but he bounced right back up and let the audience know it was all part of his dance number. LOL

This was Benny’s epic move that landed him on the floor…but he bounced right back up and let the audience know it was all part of his dance number. LOL

If you’re looking for

an amazing, creative and high energy dance experience for your kids (or yourself), INDUSTRY DANCE ACADEMY is where it’s at!

For more information, check out TheIndustryDanceAcademy.com

Thanks for reading, friends!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

This is a sponsored post. We received a complimentary dance camp registration for a review on this blog. All opinions are my own.

Anabel Marquez
A Futuristic Circus Has Arrived in Downtown L.A. and We Love It!

Two Bit Circus is Awesome!

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Fun for play dates or date nights!

The new Two Bit Circus in Downtown L.A. is part retro arcade, part virtual reality center and part circus. It’s quite innovative and offers fun for kids, teens, adults and even senior citizens (we met Granny Potty Mouth there :).

It opened at the beginning of August and recently got the blessing from L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti who described Two Bit Circus as a place where “today's young Angelenos (can) create lasting memories of their own -- and glimpse the future of our city in the process."

Benny and I attended a private event this week and had the opportunity to explore 38,000 square feet of games and fun.

Here’s why we recommend it:

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Old School Fun Meets Modern Technology

Millions of dollars were invested to convert this massive warehouse into an “all ages” fun zone in the Arts District. It’s clear where much of the money went— there are numerous state-of-the-art virtual reality experiences available, from bird simulators where you actually lay on a machine belly down and extend your arms to fly — to virtual themed-escape rooms. Nonetheless, there’s also a lot of old-school elements, like pinball machines, a Pac-Man arcade and even Skee Ball stations. There aren’t many attractions for kids under 5, but the place is colorful, spacious and lively enough to entertain the little little ones.

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The circus concept

is always a winner in my book. I mean, honestly, who doesn’t love the big red top? There is a full-bar at the center of the venue where people can take a seat on carnival horse seats and enjoy a drink.

During our event, guests were able to create their own circus name tags. Then a Two Bit Circus employee would add a light using tiny bulbs and real batteries. Benny said his started to get “glitchy” after 10 minutes but that’s probably because he wouldn’t stop running from one experience to the next.

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There are six different zones

They include the Arcane Arcade, which is where Benny and I spent the most time. Just think new-age, multiplayer digital games, together with old arcade cabinets of yesteryear... too fun! Our second favorite zone was the Midway, a nostalgic carnival game area of chance and skill, re-imagined with modern technology. For example, there’s a balloon dart game, where players throw plastic balls, instead of darts, at a digital screen to pop balloon images (think Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney California Adventure).

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The Arena

This area is just amazine. It’s a zone showcasing the best in modern mixed reality. There is multiplayer seated Virtual Reality with haptic platforms, four-player standing Virtual Reality, and the world-renowned Birdly flying Virtual Reality attraction I mentioned earlier. There are several kid-friendly (non-violent) experiences too.

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The one thing I wish

I would have seen in action but didn’t, is a drink machine called Gearmo del Pouro. It’s apparently a giant robot bar that makes drinks and pours them for guests, without the help of a human bartender… Hopefully next time!

Two Bit Circus is open daily from 4pm to 11pm. Fridays and Saturdays close at 1am. If your kids are too young, you should plan a date night here. I couldn’t help but imagine how much fun I’ll have with Paul next time we go! Admission is free but you should budget about $40 per person if you want to maximize your Virtual Reality experience and have drinks and dinner.

You can probably get away with $25 if you eat before you arrive and stick to the more traditional games.

Website: https://twobitcircus.com/

Thanks for reading, friends.

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
How a Stop at The Oaks Mall Became the Funnest Day of the Week

The FUNBOX is a Colorful Pop-Up in Thousand Oaks!

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#FUNBOX Fever

Friends, we found this place by accident. It’s located inside the Thousand Oaks Mall, on the second floor. It’s called The FunBox and coming from someone who’s gone to many colorful Instagram emporiums and interactive Pop-Up museums in Los Angeles, I feel this one is certainly up there in terms of design, execution and overall happy vibes.

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It’s a Pop-Up exhibit

that will be open through October 31. Tickets are $17 for adults and $12 for kids ages 5 and over. Kids under 4 are free.

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The FUNBOX has 24 art installations,

where guests can take photos of such things as giant poop emojis, A Fort Nite screen, a flower hall, a noodle hallway, an Instagram rainbow wall, a mirror infinity room and everyone’s favorite— A MEGA sized Fruit Loop Swimming Pool, er, bowl, among other fun experiences.

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Here are a few more

pictures from our impromptu family night out. Benny and Toby had a blast and well, Paul did too.

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For more info. and to purchase tickets, visit: www.FUNBOX.com

Thanks for reading, friends!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
Great Food & Great Company at Our End-of-Summer Backyard BBQ

BBQ Highlight: Hatch Chile Recipes from Bristol Farms!

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#HowDoYouHatch

The long days of summer are coming to an end, friends!

Benny already started Kindergarten, the weather is cooling off a bit and we're settling into our new routine with work schedules, school drop-offs and homework nights.

Paul and I were hoping to join my best friend Sheryl and her husband in Vegas before the end of summer for a last-minute getaway, but we couldn't make it. Instead, we invited them over for a backyard BBQ once they returned. We wanted to catch up and enjoy good food, cold beverages and let the kids play.

 A picture with the grill master, my cute hubby.

A picture with the grill master, my cute hubby.

A day prior to our BBQ, I visited Bristol Farms in Woodland Hills. The L.A.-based grocery store, known for its quality products, is currently promoting the popular Hatch Chiles from New Mexico (available only 6 weeks each year) with fantastic Hatch Chile infused foods and items throughout the store. Customers can also request to have their chiles roasted on site.

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For our Backyard BBQ, I picked up some Hatch Chile Pork Kabobs, Hatch Chile beef burgers and cream cheese stuffed Hatch chiles wrapped in bacon...yum! I also purchased other items to serve as side dishes, including Hatch guacamole and Hatch salsa.

Paul started the grill while the rest of us talked, laughed and frequently turned our attention to the kids who had constant requests for things (hehe)! We also enjoyed a few adult beverages (By the way, there is such thing as Hatch Chile Red Wine. It's also available at Bristol Farms...just sayin').

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The kids had a blast doing cute kid things, like chase each other around the backyard with water toys and occasionally wander off on solo journeys that could have ended up not-so-fun:

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It was a perfect afternoon.

I was sad when my bestie and her family left because days like these are what memories are made of-- there was no particular occasion, no fancy decorations or dozens of people to entertain. Just a few of our best friends enjoying a summer day with a tasty lunch buffet featuring great Hatch Chile options from Bristol Farms.

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The Hatch Chile Celebration will continue at Bristol Farms through September 8, 2018 with several in-store events including Hatch roasting parties and Hatch tastings. Check out the calendar to see what's available at your nearest store!

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Friends, I see our kids growing so fast and I know it sounds cliché, but I realize life is too short. Let's enjoy our friendships as much as possible and make it a point to make good memories.  I know I'll never forget this impromptu end-of-summer Backyard BBQ.

Thanks for reading!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Click here for more information on Bristol Farms Mulholland (where I love to shop).

Bristol Farms is Your Hatch Headquarters!

This is a sponsored post. I received a gift card for grocery purchases at Bristol Farms in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Luigi's Real Italian Ice Arrived in Santa Monica to #GIVEANICEDAY

Yummy Frozen Treats!

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Enjoy Italian Ice with the Fam Bam!

The truth is, after a terribly hectic month of July, I hadn't given myself an opportunity to do things I love–– like hang out with the boys at Disneyland or check out a new museum exhibit or walk around the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

Luckily, I had the opportunity to partner with Philly-based Luigi's Real Italian Ice, who's currently in Santa Monica promoting their awesome flavors with a Pop-Up vending machine and super cool activation!

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The invitation was to visit the Third Street Promenade and bring awareness to their awesome Italian Ice!

By the way, Italian Ice was actually created in the U.S. (not Italy). It's known as "water ice" in Philadelphia and shares similarities with American sherbet since it has no dairy or egg ingredients.

On Friday, Luigi's Real Italian Ice offered complimentary refreshing ice cups in three different flavors: Strawberry, Mango and Lemon. They're currently available at your local Ralph's store. Benny and Toby couldn't get enough!

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The boys and I sampled all flavors, spun a prize wheel (which got us coupons for a free box of Luigi's Real Italian Ice cups currently available at your local Ralph's) and the little guys even got temporary tattoos.

Most importantly, we learned Luigi's Real Italian Ice is vegan, gluten-free, low sugar and it's also made with real fruit juice... which makes me happy.

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You wanna try it?

They'll be at Santa Monica Place (next to the Disney store) this entire weekend. If you can't make it out to Santa Monica Place and "Tweet for a Treat" to redeem a refreshing sample cup of Luigi's Italian Ice, I've got good news: they'll be in San Diego at the Gaslamp District next weekend!

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Enjoy Friends and Thanks for reading!

Xo,

-Anabel M

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

Anabel Marquez
How I Got to #PassThePizza to L.A.-Based Nonprofit, GenerationHer

Papa John's Pizza Partnership

 A photo with Dianna Smiley, founder of GenerationHer & Anabel M.

A photo with Dianna Smiley, founder of GenerationHer & Anabel M.

Papa John's Pizza is giving back by letting People #PassThePizza

When one of the country's largest pizza chains (and my favorite for that matter) wants to do something nice for your community, you know it's going to be a good month. Thanks Papa John's!

June 2018 is off to a great start, friends!

I had a productive weekend that began with a visit to the Coalition for Responsible Community Development Center, located at 28th street in Los Angeles. That's where a bi-monthly GenerationHer meeting was taking place and I was there to serve as the middle person between Papa John's Pizza (who's currently rewarding deserving people and organizations with free, delicious pizza) and GenerationHer, which supports teen moms.

 Teen moms at the GenerationHer Meeting in Los Angeles on June 3, 2018, were gifted baby clothes, diapers, formula and enjoyed free Papa John's Pizza.

Teen moms at the GenerationHer Meeting in Los Angeles on June 3, 2018, were gifted baby clothes, diapers, formula and enjoyed free Papa John's Pizza.

Here's how it all happened:

Papa John's Pizza reached out asked if I knew of an organization making an impact in my community to whom I'd want to #PassThePizza.

I know of many organizations but considering my work over at Mommy In Los Angeles® Magazine, I'm particularly enthusiastic about organizations that support moms in Los Angeles.

I contacted GenerationHer and asked if they would allow us to #PassThePizza over the weekend.

Dianna Smiley, the organization's founder graciously agreed to have us there on Saturday, June 2 and share a yummy Papa John's Pizza lunch with the LA-Chapter members of GenerationHer.

FYI, GenerationHer "seeks to empower teenage mothers, ages 13-23, and their children by connecting them to a supportive community of other teen mothers and adult mentors, impacting their future in a positive way."

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Pass The Pizza!

Overall, it was a great afternoon.

Not only was I able to listen to a round-table discussion about effective ways of disciplining a child (trust me, we can all use the tips), I also met some awesome teen parents that are making an effort to give their children the best life possible. They shared stories about life and raising babies, all while enjoying yummy pizza!

If you're interesting in helping GenerationHer with donations and opportunities for local teen moms to succeed in our city, visit www.GenerationHer.com.

 GenerationHer Member Tiffany Lopez enjoys Papa John's Pizza during the organization's bi-monthly meeting in Los Angeles on June, 2, 2018.

GenerationHer Member Tiffany Lopez enjoys Papa John's Pizza during the organization's bi-monthly meeting in Los Angeles on June, 2, 2018.

 GenerationHer Member Karol Gutierrez, 19, enjoys a warm cheesy slice of Papa John's Pizza on June 2, 2018.

GenerationHer Member Karol Gutierrez, 19, enjoys a warm cheesy slice of Papa John's Pizza on June 2, 2018.

Did You Know You can #PassThePizza Too?

You can request Papa John’s #PassThePizza to deserving friends, families, coworkers, communities, or charities.

Write to @PapaJohns and tell them who deserves some free pizza for all the good they’ve done this year.

Tag the person or organization and use #PassThePizza.

@PapaJohns will #PassThePizza on Twitter to up to 60,000 unsung community heroes. Selected recipients will get a direct message with a digital pizza code for a free large one-topping pizza. For more information, visit www.papajohns.com.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

I was contacted by Papa John's Pizza to participate in their campaign, #PassThePizza. I did not receive compensation for this post but the nonprofit organization I recommended received a generous amount of pizza from the company. All opinions are my own.

 

Paid Opportunity for Kids to Participate in UCLA Anxiety Study!

UCLA Study For Kids Ages 9-13

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Kids Can Learn About Scientific Research and Get Paid Too!

I recently connected with a fellow Los Angeles mom who's a total boss. Dr. Adriana Galvan is the Director of the Developmental Neuroscience at UCLA, whose focus is to understand the developing brain in children and adolescents.

She and a collaborator launched a five-year study funded by the National Institute of Health that's aimed at uncovering exactly why some children begin to struggle with anxiety as they become teenagers.

Now, I know what you're thinking... it's probably because of digital devices and social media, right?

Well, unless we have a dedicated group of researchers, like Dr. Galvan's team, to really dig deep and study all aspects of what's happening with kids and anxiety, we really won't know!

"Anxiety is the number one mental health issue affecting young people today and we aim to find workable solutions to it," Dr. Galvan said to me.

You can support Dr. Galvan's research efforts and give your kids an opportunity to learn about scientific research and get paid too! Each child accepted into the program will be paid $100 for their time and participation. They will also be invited to return the following year for follow-up research! Parents will learn more about their kids' daily habits and how to help them if they are struggling with anxiety. 

If you live in Los Angeles and have kids between the ages of 9-13 visit www.UCLADays.com or call 424-341-3809.

Dr. Galvan says they are eager to recruit Hispanic children for a well-rounded group of participants.

I hope you consider this, friends.

Thanks for reading!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Bristol Farms in Woodland Hills Has a New Gelato Sandwich and We're In Love!

Croissants & Ice Cream? Yesss!

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House-Made Gelato for the Win!

Our family loves cold dessert– shaved ice, fruit bars, ice cream, gelato, you name it!

However, we hadn't come across too many quality gelato establishments in the San Fernando Valley... until we discovered Bristol Farms' Gelato Bar a few months ago. The local grocery chain operates several stores throughout Los Angeles County, but only the store located in Woodland Hills, which opened last November as a beautiful 25,000 sq ft food hall concept store, offers a gelato bar.

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So let's talk about the gelato bar at Bristol Farms in Woodland Hills aka Mulholland Bristol Farms

Every time I visit the store, I notice the gelato bar because it's located near the checkout registers and features an amazing wall display of 15 antique ice cream hand churners... so, so aesthetically appealing:

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The Bristol Farms in Woodland Hills is the only location with a gelato bar so of course I knew I had to eventually give myself an opportunity to indulge in their frozen deliciousness.

Well the day came last week. After a busy work day and long commute home, I rallied up the boys and suggested we visit Bristol Farms after Friday night dinner.

I explained to my husband that we wouldn't be grocery shopping, as anyone with small children knows how hard it is to keep focused on the shopping list when the kids are constantly trying to jump out of the cart or grab and eat grapes from the fruit section, among other bratty distractions! With the disclaimer, he quickly agreed.

Off we went to a family gelato outing!

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We tried their mango, chocolate and vanilla flavors stuffed in a croissant and drizzled with chocolate and caramel sauces.

OMG... so good! Even Toby was overjoyed with the yummy-ness!

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And Benny kept looking at me like: "Don't mess with my gelato stuffed croissant sandwich, Mama!"

Personally, I was obessesed with his chocolate moustache...hehe

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Now let's talk about the gelato bar at the Mulholland Bristol Farms Store

For starters, gelato is Italian style ice cream which is generally denser than American ice cream because less air is whipped into the mixture and it's churned at a slower speed, which in turn makes it contain less air and taste creamier....yum!

At Bristol Farms in Woodland Hills, the gelato bar offers artisanal flavors made with fresh ingredients.

The gelato croissant sandwiches are conveniently priced and if you make it a family outing, there's a fun dining area next to the bakery where kids can engage in activities like coloring and wooden toy games.

My husband and I never looked and felt so happy leaving the grocery store with our two rascally boys!

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I suggest all parents leave their grocery shopping responsibilities aside and either pause for a gelato break at Bristol Farms or consider visiting the store for nothing other than to enjoy dessert and happy smiles from their kids!

We certainly hit the lotto with their gelato!

Bristol Farms in Woodland Hills is located at 23379 Mulholland Drive. | Woodland Hills, CA 91364

Thanks for reading, friends!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

Universal Kids' Summer Kickoff Event Was Camp-Tastic!

Camp Universal Kids!

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Must-See TV!

 Universal Kids had a summer kickoff event last Sunday which was full of energy, fun activities, yummy food and impressive attention to detail... pretty much a reflection of the network's awesome show lineup which includes the likes of Top Chef Junior, Beat the Clock and the Big Fun Crafty Show. #CampUniversalKids at Universal Studio's Globe Theater was a wonderfully organized themed event to promote the network's summer show line-up.

It was a reminder that Universal delivers quality productions, both as live activations and network show programming for the entire family!

Giant tents served as lounge areas for guests and food offerings included delicious beef skewers, a S'mores bar, a liquid nitrogen ice cream table, a mac & cheese buffet, a hot dog station and enough appetizers, including delicious bites created by the network's popular and talented junior chefs to make me break my summer body diet!

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There was an awesome DJ spinning kids' favorite jams and did I mention my husband and I enjoyed tasty adult beverages? It was really a bash to let the world know that Universal Kids knows how to throw a good party. But most importantly, it was a reminder that Universal Kids delivers quality productions, both as live activations and network show programming for the entire family!

Carly Ciarocchi, host of the Big Fun Crafty Show spent some time with Toby trying to understand what my 2-year old was doing with a pair of scissors and a marker...lol!

Sitting at a table set-up with a generous supply of crafting items, Toby was too busy (or shy) to meet eyes with Carly and answer questions about his intentions with scissors and markers!

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In the Tie-Die shirt activation, Benny made his first attempt at creating a colorful shirt. He came out with a black smudged t-shirt because he was a bit too generous with the black-colored dye but I'm sure he'll still wear it proudly!

Next to the tie-dye tables Toby and I enjoyed big wigs and colored glasses for a photo opp inside a camping trailer!

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We made several trips to enjoy delightful food bites created by the kids from Top Chef Junior... OMG! Can I just say they put this mama's cooking skills to shame! Every thing prepared by the young chefs was delicious!

Outside the Globe Theater, Toby nearly ruined someone's perfect tower of mega-sized wooden Jenga pieces while Benny delved into the unique sport of archery.

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And who can forget the moments we spent trying to take a family picture with the boys in front of a Universal Kids' backdrop!?

I'll just say it didn't work out too well but we still got some fun shots.

They lesson here was simply to avoid an attempt at a family photo.

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Experiences like this one really make us want to continue supporting an awesome network dedicated to fun, healthy and enjoyable entertainment for children.

Thanks Universal Kids... we can't wait to watch more awesome show episodes.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Xo,

Anabel M.

How we Spent a Day Making LA a Better Place and Ways You Can #DooGood Too (Plus an Awesome Giveaway)

#DooGood

Thank you to Warner Bros. for sponsoring this post.  Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. Gang have teamed up with generationOn, the youth family division of Points of Light, to inspire, equip and mobilize kids, parents and Scooby-Doo fans to create meaningful change in their communities.

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Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. Gang, along with generationOn, are on a mission to get kids, parents and fans to #DooGood!

Benny and I spent an entire day in the garden recently.

We pulled weeds. We picked up trash. We added compost to garden beds, planted a variety of food favorites, such as tomatoes, and even helped dig a hole to welcome a new citrus fruit tree. Plus, we tasted leafy plants and broccoli flowers. 

But the setting of this outdoor project was not in our own home garden (even though our backyard could certainly use a makeover).

We actually participated in a Scooby-Doo “Doo Good Mystery Service Project!” at Mid City’s Prescott School of Enriched Sciences in Los Angeles, a Title I elementary school near Downtown.

Together with a group of other parents and children, we set out to clean, revitalize and add new vegetation to the school’s edible garden.

By the end of the day it was clear that together, there’s no issue we can’t solve. Team work makes the dream work, friends. And you can get involved with a service project too!

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So here’s a little background—

Warner Bros. Consumer Products teamed up with generationOn, the youth family division of Points of Light, which is the world’s largest volunteer service organization.

The partnership was created to inspire, equip and mobilize kids and families to create meaningful change in their communities on issues that range from the environment to animal welfare, poverty, hunger and more.

When Benny and I learned about this opportunity we got really excited! Benny was happy because he loves Scooby-Doo and I had been wanting to DOO something Paws-ative for a while…LOL

In all seriousness, I’ve been so consumed with work that I haven’t given volunteer service enough of my time. But I recognize the importance of being active in my community and show my boys that by acting now, their city will be a better place when they grow up. That is why participating in this project— which will help elementary school students learn and appreciate gardening and improve the quality of the environment, was such an eye-opener and one that filled me with satisfaction at the end of the day.

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How to get involved and #DooGood Too—

If you’re not sure how to get started on a service project, Scooby-Doo is making it easy for you to get involved:

1.     Visit the Scooby-Doo Good Website and download the Environment Toolkit. This toolkit offers a number of project ideas, including instructions on how to turn plastic bottles into gardens and ways to form a Scooby-Doo Cleanup Crew!

2.    After you’ve read through the Environment Toolkit, recruit fellow parents and kids in your community. Take the ‘mystery’ out of helping your environment by coordinating something as simple as picking up trash in your neighborhood or building a birdhouse out of repurposed materials! Depending on what you choose to do, you can motivate your volunteers by hosting a BBQ afterwards and rewarding the kids (and adults!) with ice cream.

3.    Spread the word! Let other people know about the Scooby-Doo “Doo Good Mystery Service Project! Suggest they download the Environment Toolkit and create their own activities to make our city a better place. The important thing is getting started, no matter how small.

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Over at Mid-City Prescott School of Enriched Sciences, Benny and I learned so much about gardening, thanks to the guidance and direction of the friendly folks at EnrichLA. We learned how plant Basil inside a wooden box. We found out which tools are necessary to plant fruit trees. Most importantly, we learned that families and kids love getting down and dirty, especially if they’re encouraged by a good cause.

Here’s a video wrap-up of our amazing day. I should mention that Warner Bros. started us off with a delightful breakfast at Olive and Thyme in Burbank. From that point on, we knew we were in for a special day! Thanks, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, generationOn & EnrichLA!

Check out more photos & Memories from our Scooby-Doo Doo Good Service Mystery Project Adventure:

Friends, will you commit to Doo Good in your communities? Comment below and share any plans you’re making to make your community a better place!

I was selected by Warner Bros. to participate in the Doo Good Campaign. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

GIVEAWAY!

Thank you to Warner Bros. and Boomerang for providing these products. Giveaway open to adults 18+ based in the United States. Limited to one submission per person.

I’m giving away a year-long Boomerang Subscription to five lucky readers!

In case you’re not familiar with Boomerang, it’s an awesome cartoon internet streaming service where you (and your kids) can watch Scooby-Doo, among other awesome shows!

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TO ENTER

1. Please comment below and share what type of activity you wish to organize in your community to Doo Good.

2. Copy your comment in an email to: mommyinlosangeles@gmail.com

All entries will be submitted to a random selection app.

Winners will be notified on May 8, 2018.

Good Luck and thanks for reading, friends,

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Register Your Kids for LA Clippers Youth Basketball Summer Camps!

LA Clippers Basketball Camp for Kids!

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Save $50 on Registration with Promo Code: MommyInLA

Friends, Benny is not six-years-old yet... But if he was, I know where I'd be dropping him off for a week this summer!

The LA Clippers Youth Basketball Summer Camps are back for another year with 18 locations to choose from in and around Los Angeles!

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The scoop

The LA Clippers Youth Basketball Summer Camps is an inclusive, high-energy camp used to focus on the fundamentals of basketball and to help children of ALL skill levels improve their game.  The goal is to improve each participant’s basketball skill level in a fun environment! 

 

The Age Requirements

LA Clippers Youth Basketball Summer Camps are for boys & girls, ages 6-14

 

The Fun Stuff

The 5-day camps will feature a brand-new curriculum, coaching staff, prizes & camp awards to all participants! Kids will get top level instruction from former Clippers players!

 

The Freebies

Each camper gets a reversible jersey, custom Spalding basketball, socks a FREE Clippers ticket and other gifts.

 

The Fee

Parents can count on paying an average of only $10 per hour. The camp experience is approximately $395

However,

You can save $50 on registration using Promo Code: MommyInLA

 

Check out the 2018 LA Clippers Youth Basketball Summer Camp Dates & Locations:

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How to Register your Kids for an LA Clippers Youth Basketball Summer Camp:

1. Visit www.clippers.com/camps

2. Register your child, ages 6-14. You will be required to provide contact information.

3. Select your camp location of choice and enter promo code: MommyInLA to save $50

4. Get ready to watch your kids develop their skills on the court! Parents are allowed to stay and watch practice!

Let's help our kids engage with other children in a fun basketball setting, fellow parents!

Like I said earlier, Benny is too young to participate but I hope we show our very own LA Clippers enough support to return next year with more summer camps!

Thanks for reading!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Mommy In Los Angeles® Magazine and The LA Clippers Youth Basketball Summer Camp Program. All opinions are my own.

Bloom Art Show, a Flower-themed Pop-Up is Coming to Griffith Park!

Pretty Flowers Everywhere

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#BLOOMLA

I took the boys (all three of them) to Griffith Park last weekend to check out a scaled down version of an interactive Pop-Up art show arriving in June.

The Bloom Art show, a flower-themed installation is the creation of two besties who met in high school and wanted to create an experience to delight Angelenos.

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Among the things we enjoyed: Giant dandelions, a flower petal bed, a bee maze where kids are able to run with bee wings and antennas included, an edible flower station, a lavender-filled bathtub, paper flower walls, a paint station to decorate your own paper lantern flowers, a weeping willow installation and a flower crown and bracelet station.

This preview, however, was promoted as a fraction of what guests should expect when the art show opens to the general public on June 22, 23 & 24.

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Tickets are currently on sale.

The Bloom Art Show is the perfect setting for family portraits and selfies. You'll find countless pretty backgrounds and the kids will love the freedom of running around and engaging in fun activities!

Hope you make it out, friends.

Thanks for reading!

Xo,

-Anabel

Lake Balboa Park Has it All

LA Park Adventures

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Play, Fish, Cycle, Shop & Eat at Lake Balboa

I'm not sure if it's the pop-up toy stands, the giant swan-shaped pedal boats or the Mexican elote (corn) carts but I'm really digging the vibe at Lake Balboa Park in the San Fernando Valley.

We visited on a Saturday recently and it was almost more entertaining to walk around the park and see the different activities, vendors and experiences available, than it was to push my sons in the massive playground boat that gets kids screaming with joy.

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Speaking of the playground, there's a toddlers area that looks like an undersea adventure with the cutest fish-designed slide and a beautifully adorned separation wall that I want to have in my own backyard!

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Surrounding the play area, vendors set-up table booths and sell a bunch of toys– from inflatable sharks and plastic balls to toy guns, sandbox buckets and dolls. The children of course, always run to the toy tables and quickly find something they want. The toys are cheapish, which is probably why they're so affordable. Five dollars gets you enough toys for two kids to smile... you can always get mad at yourself later for caving and buying more unnecessary junk!

A stroll around the park means you will generally see people fishing.

The park surrounds Lake Balboa, a 27-acre lake filled with reclaimed water. The lake is stocked with Catfish during the Summer/Fall and Rainbow Trout in the Winter/Spring. Anyone 16 and older who wishes to fish must obtain a permit from the California Department of Fish and Game (I hear they're not expensive and I'm not quite sure exactly how many people actually honor this rule).

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You will also find people racing remote controlled boats, folks cycling on tandem bikes or double surreys and paddle boating on giant swans, which cost an affordable $6 for kids and $11 for adults, per hour. The fitness enthusiasts are always running, jogging or stretching along the park trail.

Resting on a park bench means observing visitors walking their dogs, others feeding the ducks (which actually isn't allowed) and more toy vendors and tempting ice cream carts walk past you.

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Benny and Toby spent hours in the playground. They had lunch there and after walking around the entire park, we all sat down to take a break. Fortunately, as Benny so convincingly told us, it was time for an ice cream treat.

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Overall a day well spent! #OnlyInLosAngeles

Lake Balboa Park is located at:  6300 Balboa Blvd. | Encino, CA 91316

Thanks for reading, friends!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Want a Fun Shopping Experience? Get to The Point!

Spring Shopping in South Bay

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A Hip & Cali Cool Place to Spend Time (and Money)

This is a sponsored post. I received a few gifts from shops at The Point in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own.

In case you haven't checked out The Point in El Segundo, you should probably make it a point to do so.

We visited The Point during its Spring Fling event last month. Before that, I had never been to the outdoor shopping center, located on the corner of Rosecrans and Sepulveda.

The first thing that caught my attention was the Mendocino Farms Sandwich Market. I love Mendocino Farms but I've never enjoyed it outside of Downtown LA!

On a busy weekend day, especially if there's a special event taking place, it's best to arrive early in order to give yourself enough time to find parking.

When we got there, we had a chance to visit with the Easter Bunny for a photo (Toby was too scared to get near Mr. Bunny). The picture was taken in front of a big water fountain in the center plaza at The Point. Following the photo sesh, we walked over to the fountain and Benny and Toby nearly leaped in!

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Fortunately, I distracted them by taking them over to the bright yellow lifeguard tower structure in a different area of the plaza. Did I mention The Point has a Cali cool beach vibe?

In terms of the shopping, The Point offers a variety of active, fashion-fueled shops like Athleta, prAna and SIX:02, among others.

You can find hot street style looks from top brands such as No Rest For Bridget, Lucky Brand and Madewell.

If you're in for a sweet treat, Sugarfina will satisfy all cravings (including my own obsession with their signature champagne gummy bears).

And if you want to shop for your little ones,  you'll find Rabbit Ladders to be an incredibly cute shop. This store is exclusive to The Point and features clothing, toys, accessories and books for children. My sons loved it because they felt comfortable letting me know what they wanted, meaning, they saw the store was for kids and figured mom wasn't going to leave without buying something for them, duh!

Rabbit Ladders is beautifully organized with lovely whimsical touches. Benny and Toby played in the back of the store in a small activity area while I contemplated buying a darling kids-themed cuckoo clock.

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I'm hoping to return to The Point soon but without the kids! We all know it's impossible to try on a few outfits, enjoy a quiet lunch (and glass of wine) and take time to explore when you're in charge of running after two very active boys, ages five and under.

The good news is, The Point is hosting another fun activation in honor of Mother's Day! Mom's Day Out at The Point will be held on Saturday, May 12 from 12pm-3pm.

See you there, friends...?

Thanks for Reading and make sure you always #GetToThePoint (smiles)

-Anabel M.

IMAX Documentary, Pandas Opening in Theaters April 6

Get Ready for a Heartwarming Documentary!

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An IMAX Original Film

Spring Break for Benny is almost coming to an end but if there's one cool thing he got to experience during his mini vacay, it had to be a private advanced screening of the IMAX Documentary Adventure, Pandas.

We got an invitation to watch the film before it opens in select IMAX Theaters on April 6. I was really bummed because as much as I wanted to spend time with Benny during his brief time off, I have been swamped at work. Fortunately, my husband Paul was available and he took Benny to watch the movie at the IMAX theater at Universal City Walk.

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 I just love how Benny's Panda Hat looks against the big screen!

I just love how Benny's Panda Hat looks against the big screen!

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Narrated by Kristen Bell, Pandas takes viewers to the Chengdu Panda Base in China, where scientists are taking the captive breeding program to the next level and preparing captive-born cubs for the wild.

The film follows one such researcher, whose passion leads her to initiate a new technique with a special panda named Qian Qian. The film, captured with IMAX® cameras, follows Qian Qian on an an adventure into the mountains of Sichuan as she experiences nature for the first time and discovers her wild side.

My husband tells me Benny really enjoyed the film (he even wore his panda hat that Abuelo brought him from China). Plus, he got to put on 3D glasses which I'm sure made him happy!

Pandas will be showing at the California Science Center beginning April 6. The film is rated G and its total running time is 40 minutes... meaning, it's definitely possible to sit through the film and watch it in its entirety with small kids!

Hope you get a chance to watch Pandas.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
Bubble Fest Arrives at Discovery Cube OC

Now through April 8

 Bubblefest Sign view from I-5 freeway

Bubblefest Sign view from I-5 freeway

Bubble Fun For Everyone!

For families looking to spend an evening feeling happy and bubbly, the Discovery Cube in Orange County just launched its Bubblefest Exhibit which is happening now through April 8.

My sons and I visited the exhibit on Saturday morning and now I'm wondering when I'll be able to squeeze in another trip before Bubblefest is gone. It was tons of fun!

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Bubblefest features everything from Bubble Walls and giant Bubble Spheres you can ride over a pool of water (you'll suddenly think of your kids as hamsters inside a wheel). There are also bubble art discovery stations and a bubble lab plus a fantastic Mega Bubblefest Laser Show to end your experience with a bang!

The Bubblefest takes place mostly inside a designated Bubble Zone where littles can also jump their way through inflatable obstacle courses and take a picture inside a Bubble Wall.

In general, I think allowing 2-3 hours for your kids to enjoy Bubblefest is a good time.

I hated to burst their bubble but after spending several fun hours inside the Bubble zone, I told my sons it was time to go home. They got sooooo upset. Benny began complaining about having to leave "so early" and Toby was crying because he wanted to stay inside the bouncy obstacle course longer. I promised them a small gift shop souvenir, which made things better.

Over at the Discovery Cube's gift shop, there is an entire section of bubbles and bubble-themed gifts including giant bottles of bubble solution and a number of bubble toys. They wanted everything there (but Benny ended up choosing an freeze-dried ice cream bar and Toby went with a miniature hand-crafted glass cow...lol).

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Bubblefest Tickets

Tickets for Discovery Cube are  $17.95 for adults and $12.95 for kids.

Tickets for Bubblefest are $10.00 (for guests ages 3 and older).

Keep in mind a separate ticket is required for Bubblefest (in addition to your regular Discovery Cube Admission ticket).

Passes to watch the Mega Bubblefest Laser show are $3.00 per person.

I hope you enjoy your Bubblefest Experience.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
Planning a Visit to the LA Zoo? Consider a Membership!

Donate and Save

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Our 4-hour $120 Zoo Trip

After weeks of asking to visit the zoo, my son Benny finally convinced me to make the trip. I'm still not sure what sparked his eagerness but he sure insisted on going!

I decided to make the trip on a Saturday. The boys woke up and had breakfast at home. Then I packed some sandwiches, snacks, drinks and bottled water. I also made sure to bring sunscreen lotion and hats for the boys since it was going to be a very hot winter day....yes, we have those in Los Angeles.

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While we really enjoyed our outing and I got my workout for the day (the zoo was built on a hill and there's plenty of leg work waiting for all stroller-pushing parents), I must say I probably won't return without a zoo membership.

I say this because even though we packed our lunches and went as prepared as possible, the zoo is an all-day outing and after exploring for a couple of hours, it's likely you'll want to buy some snacks, a few trinkets for the kids and let them ride the zoo carousel. The costs quickly start adding up but with a membership, you'd at least skip paying for admission.

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Here's the breakdown of our day (in terms of cost):

Admission: $53 ($21 for adults, $16 for kids ages 2-12)

Preferred Parking: $10 (These days I'd rather pay a little extra for convenience. Regular parking is free).

Double Stroller Rental: $14 (Zoo strollers are very easy to maneuver. Benny outgrew his stroller phase and I couldn't have possibly expected him to walk the entire time).

Food: $22 Pizza slices for the boys and a cold beer for Mama (I needed it).

Churro: $5 The zoo churros are actually really good.

Gifts: $17 I told the boys they'd get to pick a gift on our way out if they behaved. 

Total trip cost: $121

Now, I know I could have saved money by avoiding the gift-buying option at the end of the day and skipping on the churro and pizza slices... but these boys get hungry very often and the sandwiches were gone after the first hour there. The pizza was definitely NOT great. As a matter of fact, the crust was burnt but my cold beer made up for the annoyance I felt over that. The boys had apple juice and to them, pizza is always good, so they didn't complain.

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In terms of seeing the animals, we weren't too lucky that day. The Chimpanzees never came around. The Lions never got up from their afternoon nap. Toby was deathly afraid of the giraffes so we couldn't get near them. The same happened with the Silverback gorillas... Halfway through our visit, it was very clear a membership is necessary, especially if I want Toby to become a little more acquainted with the animals he loves to see in picture books!

At the end of our outing, upon returning the double stroller, I asked Benny and Toby if they had enjoyed their trip to the zoo. We hadn't even exited the zoo main gates when Benny asked: "When are we coming back, Mama?"

To which I responded: "Whenever Papa can join us" because honestly, it was soooo exhausting to go with the boys on my own! On top of that, I really don't think we'll return without first buying a zoo membership. For one, supporting the LA Zoo's animal conservation efforts is a good cause in my book. Also, we live close enough where a zoo outing on days we have no other plans is a good option.

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So here's the deal on zoo memberships:

Family $146

  • FREE daytime admission for 2 adults named on card
  • Your own children or grandchildren (ages 2-17) *restrictions apply
  • 4 FREE Safari Shuttle Tickets
  • 2 membership cards

 

Family Deluxe $186

  • FREE daytime admission for 3 adults names on card
  • Your own children or grandchildren (ages 2-17) *restrictions apply
  • 2 one-time guest passes worth $42
  • 6 FREE Safari Shuttle tickets
  • EXCLUSIVE early access to Big Bunny’s Spring Fling and Boo at the Zoo
  • 3 membership cards

There are also individual zoo memberships available.

I'll keep you posted next time we visit.

Thanks for reading!

Xo,

Anabel M.