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.

Nicky Hilton & Alka Tolani Just Made Me Imagine Having a Daughter

Nicky Hilton x Tolani Collab

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Super Cute Mommy & Me Collection

The days of having those barely there whispering thoughts about possibly having a third baby and delivering a girl ARE LONG GONE. My two boys and husband are far more than I can handle and I'm extremely happy with being a boymom... and that's the God honest truth.

But...

The other day, I took my sisters with me to meet Nicky Hilton at the Kitson Store on Roberston Blvd. I was invited to check out the Nicky Hilton x Tolani Mommy & Me Collection and I thought it would be fun to bring Irene and Frances along.

Being there with my sisters and seeing Nicky and Paris Hilton supporting each other made me remember how cool it is to be a girl and how cool it is to have sisters. Then I started looking through the Nicky Hilton x Tolani Collection pieces and I may have, for a moment, thought to myself... "awwww, if I only had a little girl...."

But then I saw a cupcake table next to me and...Sweet! Perfect excuse to reroute my thoughts.

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The Nicky Hilton x Tolani Collection features twenty pieces for Mom and Daughter. There are dresses, rompers, tops, shoes and other super cute, boho chic and floral pieces that are perfect for Spring and Summer!

Nicky Hilton was super friendly and sweet. Her mom, dad and sister were there in support of her collaboration!

Nicky Hilton was super friendly and sweet. Her mom, dad and sister were there in support of her collaboration!

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Clothing prices from the Nicky Hilton x Tolani collection range from $34 to $248 and can be purchased at a number of retail locations as well as online.

My favorite pieces from the collection are the Kate Abyss Dress and the Kimberly Feathers Top. The pom pom sandals are also too cute to be ignored!

Everything in this collection is appropriate for festival season, spring flings and summer parties.

If you have a daughter, you may fall in love with the collection and buy a few pieces.

If you don't have a daughter, you'll probably imagine the possibility but then remember you're fine with having boys only and you can still enjoy a Nicky Hilton x Tolani piece!

Peace, friends.

Thanks for reading!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Celebrating Toby's 2nd Birthday With an Outdoor Lunch

A Delicious Meal from Bristol Farms

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Toby's Backyard Birthday Lunch

This is a sponsored post. I received a Bristol Farms Gift card in order to prepare for this post. All opinions are my own.

Many of you may already know that my family suffered a loss recently. My dear grandmother Angelina is in heaven. She left us in the days leading up to Toby's second birthday so I knew we would skip on a big birthday celebration for my little boy. What I didn't imagine was how much joy and peace it would be to have a quiet and personal backyard birthday lunch for my son. Everything turned out perfect!

For one, Toby is a little foodie. He loves to eat–– from vegetables and meats to fruit and yummy starches. In planning his birthday lunch, I wanted Toby to enjoy a hearty & succulent meal that included a quality protein and yummy sides.

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I drove out to Bristol Farms in Woodland Hills (read all about my shopping trip here) and when I made it to the meat department, I knew I had to get a steak. I opted for a prime grade, USDA Ribeye from Cedar River, which has no hormones or antibiotics. I pan seared it to medium since I couldn't think of a better way to enjoy such a quality meat cut!

Then I picked up ready-to-eat mashed potatoes and gravy from their hot foods section and a batch of fresh asparagus, which I lightly drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled fresh garlic and a few dashes of salt before baking in the oven for a few minutes.

For dessert, I went with a simple swirl bundt cake, fresh strawberries and a can of whipped cream.

I decorated the cake with a few star-shaped Party Picks (also purchased at Bristol Farms).

I decorated the cake with a few star-shaped Party Picks (also purchased at Bristol Farms).

Needless to say, Toby was so happy! For one, I made it a point to decorate the table with a truck (he's currently obsessed with trucks). I turned the truck into a type of vase for the flowers I purchased at Bristol Farms. At one point, Toby decided to bring a vintage airplane from his room to accompany the truck.

He savored his tiny meal one toddler bite at a time and even asked for more. The Ribeye was exquisite and very tender (and it's on sale too).

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After we sang Happy Birthday, he took a slice of bundt cake and spread whipped cream on it with his little fingers. It was so cute!

My Toby is a very special little dude. He's got a short-temper but a gentle soul. He's always happy at the dinner table and this backyard lunch was no exception.

It's going to be hard to match this lunch setting next weekend, unless of course, I make another trip out to Bristol Farms...which is actually not a bad idea considering there's currently an awesome steak sale happening:

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Bristol Farms

Now through March 21, enjoy 30% off choice, prime and dry aged steaks available as:

Choice & Prime Ribeye’s

Choice Porterhouse

T-Bones & New York Steaks

Prime New York Steaks

Choice & Prime Dry Aged New York Steaks

Choice Top Sirloin Steaks

I hope I inspire you to make a trip to Bristol Farms. It's a much-loved SoCal Grocery store that offers quality products.

Thanks for reading!

Xo,

Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
Bristol Farms Offers One of the Best Grocery Shopping Experiences in LA

Bristol Farms Makes Me Swoon

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New Woodland Hills Location is Awesome!

This is a sponsored post. I received a Bristol Farms Gift Card before the posting of this article.

The Bristol Farms store in Woodland Hills has only been open for a few months and already seems to be a preferred grocery shopping destination for San Fernando Valley residents.

Upon walking in the store, I was greeted by a wide selection of fresh flowers ranging from hydrangeas and sunflowers to rose bouquets and orchids. Next to the flowers, a Gelato stand offering $3 scoops of creamy cold dessert was another big reason to smile. (The Woodland Hills store is the only one with a Gelato department).

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Then I walked to the Beer & Wine section which had an incredible variety of reds, whites and everything in between...and before I could process the awesome selection of libations, I looked up and found an end shelf display of Sugarfina desserts across the way.  At that point, I hadn't even begun shopping for the things I was there to buy but I knew I was in for a treat!

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According to the company's corporate profile, Bristol Farms was named after a street in West LA, and the word “Farms” was added "to emphasize freshness, homemade quality and a warm glow of simple pleasures." The first Bristol Farms store opened in 1982 in Rolling Hills and has since expanded to a dozen other LA-area stores.

 
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Bristol Farms offers quality groceries. They have a deli, a ready-to-eat food section with fresh salads, entrees and pastas. The produce is top-notch, often organic and locally sourced and the meat department is very impressive.

The meat department has several butchers preparing customer orders. I had the opportunity to speak with one of them, a friendly guy named Javier who's worked for Bristol Farms for 16 years. He walked me through the process of ordering the perfect steak. Bristol Farms currently has a steak sale going through March 21 where customers can enjoy 30% off choice, prime and dry aged steaks available as:

  • Choice & Prime Ribeye’s
  • Choice Porterhouse
  • T-Bones & New York Steaks
  • Prime New York Steaks
  • Choice & Prime Dry Aged New York Steaks
  • Choice Top Sirloin Steaks

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Here's the best part of the whole experience, I bought steak, side dishes, wine, dessert, fruit, fresh flowers and even party decorations and kept the total under $100. Now I'm off to make a birthday lunch for my son Toby who's turning two. Stay tuned to see what I whip up in my kitchen!

Thanks for reading, friends!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
Care Bears Arrive at CREAM in Northridge and NoHo

Cute & Yummy

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A Beary Yummy Collaboration!

Care Bears and CREAM have partnered up this month for a super cute (and yummy) ice cream treat offer. Throughout the month of March, customers who stop at the CREAM ice cream shop in NoHo and/or Northridge will be able to order either a Lucky Bear Ice Cream Sandwich made with double chocolate chip cookies, mint chocolate chip ice cream and topping of choice (I suggest gummy bears!) or a Care Bear Berry Ice Cream Sandwich made with butter sugar cookies with shamrock confetti strawberry ice cream and sprinkles.

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Benny and I attended the kick-off event on Wednesday Night at the CREAM store in North Hollywood. There were giveaways, games, face painting and even a special celebrity appearance by Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, Teddy Mellencamp... who was lovely to talk to! Don't you think her first name alone combined with her cuteness makes her a perfect ambassador for Care Bears events!? Her kids are adorable too!

Photo: Vivien Best

Photo: Vivien Best

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Anyway, Benny's favorite Care Bear is Good Luck Bear (because his favorite color is green) and considering this campaign was perfectly planned in time for St. Patrick's Day, we had a lot of fun with Good Luck Bear-themed surprises at CREAM's kick-off event!

For one, he got a green leaf clover face painting by the lovely gal who owns Critterosity, then he won a Care Bears blanket. Then after ordering our Lucky Care Bear Ice Cream Sandwiches, we received the cutest Care Bears trading cards! A collection of eight different trading cards were created as part of this collaboration. Customers who purchase a Care Bears Ice Cream treat will receive one a checkout!

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Overall, we had a blast celebrating Care Bears and CREAM's Ice Cream partnership.

Make sure you stop by CREAM to get yours before the campaign ends on March 31!

Thanks for reading!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
Three Venues for Children's Parties in Los Angeles!

Sponsored Post

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Party Time!

 

Planning a children's birthday party in Los Angeles will leave you with tons of destinations to consider for the venue. Depending on the interests and age group of the kids who will be attending, you could have a difficult decision ahead of you trying to narrow down all of the selections! Here are three popular party venues that range from educational to adventurous. Keeping these spots in mind should make the decision a bit easier for you!

 

Rolling Robots

10955 W Pico Boulevard

Los Angeles CA 90064

(310) 474-0198

This spot offers an educational, interactive way to celebrate a birthday by building robots. It starts with a robot battle in their arena, followed with step by step assistance building a "Party Bot". Each party comes with two hours of activities, a private room and host, robot battles, and a shirt for the child celebrating their birthday. You can add food or drink or bring your own along. It's super easy to book your party online and get a custom cost based on how many kids will be attending.

 

Duff's Cakemix

8302 Melrose Avenue

Los Angeles CA 90069

(323) 650-5555

If you're familiar with the Food Network, you know Duff Goldman to be a champion of creative cakes. Here, you can host a cupcake decorating party with tons of colorful details. Their parties include 1.5 hours of time and four cupcakes for each guest to decorate. It includes help from the staff, beverages for the kids, balloons, all of the sugary decorations you could dream of, and an apron for the birthday kid. Packages start at $48 per child.

 

Rockreation

11866 La Grange Avenue

Los Angeles CA 90025

(310) 207-7199

If everybody attending is six years or older, this rock climbing destination is the perfect way to satisfy adventurous kids. Indoor rock climbing is a lot of fun for kids, and the staff at Rockreation do a great job at providing supervised fun. Party packages start at $300 and include two hours in a private party room, set up and clean up, gear for everybody and games like capture the flag.

 

How About Transporting the Kids on A Party Bus!?

A great way to introduce convenience and organization to a children's birthday party in Los Angeles is to reserve professional transportation. When you have a vehicle ready to transport kids, you don't have to worry about anybody showing up late to the celebration. Children love the neon lighting and interiors of vehicles offered by California Party Bus. If you're looking for a simpler transportation solution, a chauffeured car service is an affordable way to settle the mode of transportation for the day. With these tips and tricks in mind, you're well on your way to planning a party in Los Angeles.

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Party Bus Los Angeles

2530 W Olympic Blvd

Los Angeles, CA 90006

(323) 638-7180

The J Paul Getty Museum Gets $500k for Youth Art Programs!

Generous Genesis!

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Prepare for #Unshuttered!

The J Paul Getty Museum received $500,000 today, thanks to luxury car brand, Genesis. The grant donation made me really happy because my sons and I love The Getty!

As a matter of fact, today's announcement gave me a hilarious memory from a trip we made to The Getty in 2016, when I was trying to get Benny to appreciate art sculptures. As I recall, the moody and hungry toddler was in dire need of a nap and simply wouldn't give me the satisfaction of even pretending to be slightly interested in the marvelous art that surrounded him:

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But I digress.

I was at today's grant presentation ceremony at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades. Genesis representatives shared how much they believe in The Getty's efforts to expand art appreciation to school-aged children and teens.

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Seeing what The Getty did with the donation it received from Genesis last year, I was thrilled to share today's news. You see, the J Paul Getty Museum is getting ready to release the launch of Unshuttered, a unique art program that allows teens to share aspects of their lives through a camera lens. The Unshuttered website, www.Unshuttered.org, will be live on March 10 along with an app, and both will serve as a platform where teens from Los Angeles and beyond can participate by sharing images that define them.

"We chose photography as the medium for this challenge because it's a kind of art that teens make every day and it's a platform that they use to form connections to each other and to ideas across time and space," said Lisa Clemens, Assistant Director, Education, Public Programs and Interpretive Media at The Getty.

I'm really excited to see this project unfold and even more to see how The Getty's education program will continue expanding to reach under-served youth, thanks to generous sponsors like Genesis.

Here's to many new great programs for kids at The Getty!

Thanks for reading!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

 

Anabel Marquez
Toby's Excited about the Upcoming Sesame Street PopUp Tour!

F is for Friends!

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Coming to Northridge Mall on February 24

Toby can't wait to meet the real life Sesame Street characters!

Prediction: He'll probably get really excited from a distance. Then really scared as we get closer to Elmo and Abby Cadabby. It's possible he'll even cry a little. But then as we move away, he'll be intrigued and super happy because he loves Sesame Street!

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HBO and Sesame Workshop will be presenting "Sesame Street: F is for Friends," a free mall tour inspired by the 48th season of Sesame Street! This immersive, limited-engagement tour includes a 15-minute show starring costumed Elmo and Abby Cadabby characters as well as stories and songs about celebrating similarities and differences between friends. Pre-schoolers and their families will learn that while we may be different from one another, we're alike in so many ways, too!

These free shows will be coming to the Northridge Mall on Saturday, February 24

Northridge Fashion Center (Lower Level, Sears Court)

9301 Tampa Avenue, Northridge, CA

They'll repeat throughout the day from 11am-4pm. Families will also enjoy character meet-and-greets, digital activity stations, photos ops with Cookie Monster's new food truck and more!

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See you there!?

Thanks for reading!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
The Cutest Hello Kitty Shoes Ever!

PUMA x HELLO KITTY

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Shoes that are Hello Kitty Cute

It's times like these when I kinda' wonder what it would have been like to have a little girl. Would I be wanting to pull off the twinning deal with a daughter? Or was that only a thing I had with my Benny after years back? I guess I'll never know. What I do know is that PUMA and HELLO KITTY recently introduced an irresistibly adorable collaboration that features tees, hoodies, hats, backpacks, sweat pants and the shoe brand's signature awesome suedes (in red).

I was invited to a Popup at the Shoe Palace in Hollywood with a few dozen other Hello Kitty fans to see a preview of the new collection and enjoy some Hello Kitty-themed treats, including a photo with the Kitty herself.

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The PUMA x HELLO KITTY Collection will be available February 8 online and in stores. The shoes come in a wide range of sizes to fit adult women, juniors, preschoolers and infants. 

I guess you can say I'm in desperate need of a goddaughter!

Thanks for reading!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
Forever My Guy–– Why Date Nights With Hubby Are Better Than Ever

ME LOVE YOU LONG TIME

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Getting closer in 2018

(I will receive a date night gift in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own)

 

Do you ever wonder what it's going to take to have a happy, lasting relationship?

Paul and I have been married for nearly eleven years and we're still trying to figure it out. But one thing's for sure, after the arrival of our two boys, things got busier, more stressful, more complicated, we became distant and we almost contemplated time apart. 

Toward the middle of 2017, we decided to start going on dates regularly, which eased the tension of daily work life. But here's what I think has helped us most: We have a rule where we cannot be on our cell phones and/or engage in social media activity while on a date. Heck, I don't even get a chance to snap a photo of our yummy food and we're rarely photographed together because of this rule...but it has worked for us.

View of the Hollywood Roosevelt's poolside lounge area, which is open to the public.

View of the Hollywood Roosevelt's poolside lounge area, which is open to the public.

On a recent date, we stopped by the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel for lunch. It was daytime (because the kids were in daycare and we didn't have an evening babysitter). We toured the hotel and shared a few laughs about things we encountered. We also sat down for lunch at Public Kitchen & Bar inside the Roosevelt (they have an awesome Tandoori Chicken entree).

We agreed to bring out my phone to snap a few photos for this post, but that was it.

Public Kitchen and Bar is an iconic restaurant inside the Roosevelt. It's rather calm during lunch hours.

Public Kitchen and Bar is an iconic restaurant inside the Roosevelt. It's rather calm during lunch hours.

When it was time to head home, we were happy and giddy (Paul is truly forever my guy) and neither one of us felt that leaving our phones behind had caused any major problems for anyone.

With that said, here's some advice for young people about courtship in the age of social media:

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Love In The Age of Technology

Put away the gadgets. talk to each other, look into each other's eyes.

 

Hold hands instead of holding phones

 

Write notes instead of writing text messages

 

Have love chats instead of Snapchats

 

If you simply can't get rid of the technology, make a date night movie, shop for an outfit, choose the soundtrack together and have fun without forgetting love is not an app.

For our next date night, I've convinced Paul to join me in watching Forever My Girl, which will be out in theaters on January 19. He needed convincing because he's an action and thriller movie type of guy but I think he'll really like this one.

Forever My Girl tells the story of music super-star Liam Page (Alex Roe) who left his bride, Josie (Jessica Rothe), at the altar choosing fame and fortune instead.

However, Liam never got over Josie, his one true love, nor did he ever forget his Southern roots in the small community where he was born and raised. When he unexpectedly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his high school best friend, Liam is suddenly faced with the consequences of all that he left behind.  Forever My Girl is an uplifting romantic film about second chances.  It releases in theaters on January 19.

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Watch the trailer here:

I hope you consider some of these tips and even watching this movie, especially as you start making your Valentine's Day plans.

Thanks for reading!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
Beauty Collection Stores- The Way to Look & Feel Beautiful in LA!

Get 20% Off Your Favorite Beauty Products!

Eyeliner: Pacifica Natural Eye Pencil -  JET  | Eyeshadow: theBalm Overshadow Shimmering All-Mineral Eyeshadow -  No Money, No Honey  | Lashes:  Battington Silk Lashes -  Kennedy  | Face Shimmer: BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Poured Creme -  Moonstone  | Lips: LIPSTICK QUEEN -  Sinner Bordeaux   ALL MAKEUP PRODUCTS AVAILABLE AT  www.BeautyCollection.com

Eyeliner: Pacifica Natural Eye Pencil - JET | Eyeshadow: theBalm Overshadow Shimmering All-Mineral Eyeshadow - No Money, No Honey | Lashes:  Battington Silk Lashes - Kennedy | Face Shimmer: BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Poured Creme - Moonstone | Lips: LIPSTICK QUEEN - Sinner Bordeaux ALL MAKEUP PRODUCTS AVAILABLE AT www.BeautyCollection.com

Shop at Beauty Collection Stores!

As you may know, I'm very loyal to businesses and concepts born in Los Angeles. I'm also loyal to good makeup products that make me feel good and refreshed. So when I discovered the Beauty Collection Store in West Hollywood a few weeks ago, I was in pure makeup & beauty heaven!

As you're getting ready for your New Year's Festivities, I wanted to share a little bit about Beauty Collection and hopefully encourage you to seek them out for all your makeup glam needs: www.BeautyCollection.com (get 20% off with promo code: mommyinla).

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Beauty Collection is a company owned by LA Native Shawn Tavakoli whose parents also worked in the beauty industry. He created a beauty concept where Angelenos can have a lavish in-person shopping and beauty experience at five different store locations (Calabasas, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Marina Del Rey & West Hollywood) or shop online at www.BeautyCollection.com . The best part is that either in person or online, customers will discover the most unique, luxurious hard-to-find, feel good beauty products in one place.

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So far, I've only had a chance to explore the Beauty Collection store in West Hollywood, which opened back in 2010. I was lucky to visit on a VIP Event night and was greeted by the store manager who was serving pink sparkling wine!

While walking through the aisles of the Beauty Collection store in WeHo, one thing was clear–– I wanted EVERYTHING. I found the Phillip B Hair care line, which includes a rich and hydrating white truffle shampoo; American English vegan luxury hair products, Clive Christian perfume and even a section dedicated to Mason Pearson brushes... wow!

Mason Pearson's rubber-cushion hairbrush is considered one of the best brushes in the world. The retail price for a large-size brush is around $350.

Mason Pearson's rubber-cushion hairbrush is considered one of the best brushes in the world. The retail price for a large-size brush is around $350.

The Little Black Box

Beauty Collection also carries some of my favorite makeup brands and other fantastic accessories like GoldSin Jewels (real 24k body appliqués),  Combinal eye lash dyes (change your natural lashes to blue or green!), Billion Dollar Brow kits and Cake Satin Sugar dry shampoo.

Needless to say, I walked out with a bag full of goodies, including my favorite–– a little black box that contained unique skin products!

I learned that Beauty collection has a member program where, customers can earn money back on their beauty purchases! All you have to do is visit a store in person, request and fill out an application and you can become a member and earn Beauty Bonus Dollars! The little black box (pictured below) is called Beauty Concierge. It's a monthly gift with four new products. Members who spend above a certain threshold amount receive this gift as part of the program.

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Beauty Collection Discount Promo Code!

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TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE DISCOUNT:

I've partnered up with Beauty Collection through January 10th and customers who shop online can enter the code mommyinla for a 20% discount!

This means you have several days to get your favorite beauty products and start off the year looking and feeling beautiful in LA.

Take it from me, you deserve it!

www.Beautycollection.com 

Promo Code: mommyinla

Thanks for reading and have a beautiful new year.

May 2018 be your most glam yet!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

 

Anabel Marquez
A Holiday Visit to Olvera Plaza

Feliz Navidad in Downtown LA

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Cultural & Festive!

Here’s a fun, free and festive thing to do this holiday season: Visit Olvera Plaza in Downtown L.A! I walked over yesterday during my lunch break and the first thing that caught my eye was the beautiful life-sized nativity scene. It takes up the entire bandstand area with hanging aluminum stars that illuminate it at night.

The shopping is simply fantastic with everything and anything Christmas-y that bears a touch of Mexico: There is a Christmas tree standing in front of rows of colorful papel picado (Mexican tissue paper banners). There are shops with varieties of nativity scenes and Mexican-themed ornaments. There are also piñatas, wreaths and streamers to celebrate the holidays, con gusto.

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If you visit Olvera Plaza, don’t forget to stop by the oldest house in Los Angeles. The Avila Adobe Home is a free admission museum and even some of its antique furnishings have been decorated with a touch of Christmas Spirit.

And happening nightly at Olvera Plaza through December 24— Posadas! Posadas are like a presentation of the journey Mary and Joseph experienced on their way to Bethlehem. Every night the Posadas feature ballet folklorico presentations, a candlelight procession and the breaking of a piñata, beginning at 7:00pm.

For more information, call (213) 485-8372

Feliz Navidad!

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En Español

Aquí les va una idea sobre algo que pueden hacer esta temporada de fiestas: Visitar la Placita Olvera en el centro de Los Ángeles. Ayer fui durante mi hora de almuerzo y la primera cosa que me llamó la atención fue el hermoso nacimiento que ocupa todo el espacio del kiosko. Hay estrellas de aluminio picado que cuelgan e iluminan las estatuas de Jesús, María y José.

El mercado de la placita está divino y surtido con todo tipo de decoraciones y artículos navideños que por supuesto tienen su toque mexicano.

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Hay un árbol de Navidad ubicado en frente de hileras colgantes de papel picado y tiendas con una variedad de nacimientos y esferas con temática del folklor Mexicano. También puede encontrar piñatas, serpentinas y se pueden apreciar bellas coronas navideñas.

Si usted visita la Placita Olvera, no se olvide de pasar por la casa más antigua de Los Ángeles. La residencia Avila Adobe es un museo con entrada gratis. Ahí el personal se dio la tarea de decorar algunos de los muebles y accesorios antiguos con un toque navideño.

¿Y que sucederá cada noche en la placita Olvera hasta el 24 de Diciembre? ¡Las Posadas! Habrá ballet folklórico, canto aguinaldos y piñata todas las noches, a partir de las 7:00pm.

!Feliz Navidad!

Para mas informes llame al (213) 485-8372

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez