Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Top 10 Holiday Events for Families in Southern California

There is so much holiday fun to be had for families in Southern California during this wonderful season! Whether you head down to San Diego, Orange County, or hang out in Hollywood, you can meet Santa,  go ice skating, watch the snow fall, or walk through an igloo. Doesn't sound like your typical Sunny Southern California winter, does it? Well you'd be surprised at all of the "cool" entertainment going on in So Cal during the holidays. We truly do have it all!

Each year I gather a holiday bucket list of activities for my family and try to do as many of them as time allows. We may not always get to all of them, the holidays are BUSY - but we have a blast trying! I wanted to share with you the top 10 places my family wants to go this holiday season and your family will too! We've already done some of them and the rest I hope to cross off the list before the kids go back to school after winter break. Wish us luck!


1. Disney Holidays at the Disneyland Resort:
You all know I'm a Disney girl through and through. It just wouldn't be Christmas if I didn't go to the Disneyland Resort during the holidays. Whether you prefer Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure, you can't go wrong with all the festivities that each Park has to offer. They've got the best firework show in town and a parade that will warm your holiday heart. With holiday themed attractions, gorgeous decorations, and now a healthy dose of Frozen experiences, the happiest place on earth, just got merrier! From November 13, 2014 through January 6, 2015, the entire Disneyland Resort transforms into a incredible winter wonderland. For a list of some of my families' 13 favorite things to do during #DisneyHolidays, you can visit my other blog Disney Sisters.


2. L.A. Zoo Lights:
My family could really get in to the holiday spirit with the nighttime holiday light spectacular now offered at the Los Angeles Zoo called, L.A. Zoo Lights. It's new this year and we can't wait to see it. Some of our friend's have already gone and they loved it! Buy tickets ahead of time online, so it doesn't sell out. Time slots are 6pm, 7pm, 8pm, and 9pm. November 28 through January 4th see an all-new holiday light experience that combines spectacular sets and lighting design with the enchanting environment of the L.A. Zoo. Stroll through areas of the Zoo that are transformed into a fantastical wonderland populated by glowing light animals. Sounds magical doesn't it? You can also take your children to meet Santa's reindeer during regular Zoo hours during Reindeer Romp. If you're a Zoo member, there's an exclusive member event, Breakfast with Santa to check out.

3. Holiday Snow Days and Winter Nights at Legoland:
My daughter is a Lego super fan! One of the things on her bucket list is to go to Legoland any time during the year. But after checking out all that Legoland has to offer at Christmas, it's seems even more awesome! During Holiday Snow Days and Winter Nights, you can build a snowman with LEGOs and throw real snowballs. Go ice skating and ride snow tubes down a hill. Experience the magic of Winter Nights with shows, music, and twinkling lights, and nightly fireworks over Miniland USA, December 26 - 30. Witness the lighting of a 30-foot tall LEGO Christmas Tree and enjoy live entertainment with LEGO Friends Live. There’s even a food truck with yummy treats served by Santa’s Elves. To remember your trip take the perfect family photo with a life-sized LEGO Brick Santa and Reindeer. This would be a dream come true for my Lego obsessed daughter!

4. Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood:
One of our favorite stories to read as a family during the month of December is "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and going to Universal Studios puts us right in the middle of the storybook. This is the closest theme park to my family, so I have a special place in my heart for it. There's nothing like a 5 minute drive to and from a destination! We have enjoyed going to Grinchmas for years and it's always a highlight for our family. It's back again this year and we can't wait to see all of the Whos in Whoville singing their songs and spreading Wholiday Cheer! The Grinch and his dog Max are always there for the perfect photo opp while the Grinchmas Tree is lit and snow falls in Whoville. And don't forget to catch a Whoville Show on the Backlot. Merry Grinchmas and Happy Who-Year to all!


5. Winter Holiday Festival at Pershing Square:
You can celebrate the holidays with a local escape to downtown LA where tons of snow, sledding, Santa, live entertainment and ice skating get underway at the Winter Holiday Festival Saturday and Sunday, December 13, 14 from 12:00pm to 7:00pm at Pershing Square. Happenings include free pictures with Santa, a train ride, sledding on tons of snow, and the new Elf Olympics with interactive games and prizes. The park will be bustling with an array of exhibitor booths, free “make ‘n’ take” arts & crafts, and an outdoor stage with non-stop performances by local community groups. As a special surprise, event sponsor UNIQLO, the global clothing retailer, will be on hand Saturday giving away free skating admission and skate rental to the first 1,000 enthusiasts from 11:30am to 6:30pm. The winter frolic continues throughout the weekend with outdoor skating at Holiday Ice Rink Pershing Square, LA's largest holiday rink with the lowest admission of $9 and $3 for skate rental.

6. Holiday in the Park at Six Flags Magic Mountain:
This is the very first year of Holiday in the Park and we want to experience it! The big kids probably prefer Magic Mountain because of all the thrill rides, but I am a big chicken who doesn't go on anything. But twinkle lights, that's my jam! And on select days during November 28 through January 4 you the park is transformed into a winter wonderland with millions of twinkling lights. Millions! Now that's a lot of lights! Holiday in the Park is filled with enchanting experiences to create special family fun during this magical time of the year. Enjoy a million dazzling lights, heartwarming shows, thrilling rides, special holiday activities and a wide variety of unique food and seasonal treats. Sounds fantastic!

7. SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration
This year, SeaWorld has a flurry of new festivities that include special holiday-themed animal shows, real snow, reindeer and more. New this year is the nighttime show Shamu’s Christmas Miracles starring none other than Shamu. Also new this year is Dolphin Island Christmas, a daytime Christmas-themed dolphin show with a tropical twist. Returning this year are the Pets Rule Christmas show, featuring animals adopted from shelters and Clyde & Seamore’s Christmas Special starring in this Christmas-themed sea lion and otter show. Santa’s Christmas Village is new this year where guests can mingle with Santa’s elves and Mrs. Claus, enjoy a sweet treat such as a waffle-on-a-stick and every day before Christmas get a photo with Santa. maybe even a Santa Selfie? Plus, Mrs. Claus invites everyone to join her in a sing-along to help her and the elves light a festive 40-foot animated tree. The marine park will be decked out more than ever before with over one million holiday lights and up to 35 inches of snow at SnowWorld. SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration runs Nov. 15th through Jan. 4th. 

8. Knott's Merry Farm:
My favorite holiday song has to be "Christmastime is Here"as sung by the whole peanuts gang. LOVE. I grew up watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas" as a child and there is one place that I know to experience Snoopy and the Gang, that's at Knott's Berry Farm. This theme park's old-fashioned charm gets even more delightful during the holiday season when it transforms into Knott's Merry Farm. With shows like, "Merry Christmas Snoopy, Ice Spectacular" and shopping at Christmas Crafts Village there's so much to do for everyone! Your children can also visit Santa at his Christmas Cabin and watch the snow fall to a melody of "Let It Snow" in Ghost Town. We especially like to hang out in Camp Snoopy for the kiddie rides and lots of festive lights all around! Knott's Merry Farm goes from from November 22 through January 4, 2015.


9. Chill at The Queen Mary:
The Queen Mary has once again been overtaken by a deep freeze for the third annual CHILL in Long Beach. Experience the frozen magic that will bring holiday celebration, wonderment and North Pole temperatures to families across sunny Southern California. Is it cold in here or is it just me? My family has yet to attend this incredible winter wonderland, but we have high hopes for this year! It looks like the not-to-miss activities are Ice skating, Ice tubing, and Breakfast with Santa. If you're really looking to cool off, step inside the frozen igloo and immerse yourself in an enchanting world of ice for a California Christmas - handmade entirely out of ice! Brrrr! In addition to all of those things, there's also lots of entertainment including North Pole Village, The Claus Cabin, Blizzard Boulevard, Rides and Stage Shows! CHILL will be open Dec. 4-7, Dec. 9 - Jan. 4 & Jan. 8-11.

10. Ice Skating at L.A. Live:
L.A. LIVE is known for its sports and music entertainment, but did you know it's also the best place to be during the holidays?! This holiday season come down to L.A. LIVE for fun and entertaining activities! The annual LA Kings Holiday Ice Rink brings outdoor ice skating to Nokia Plaza L.A. LIVE in Downtown L.A.! The rink is open now through December 31. Make the most out of the holiday season and enjoy outdoor ice skating at L.A. LIVE! Here's a guide to the other holiday events that are happening at L.A. Live this season including concerts and more - Holiday Guide to L.A. Live.

What are your favorite things to do in So Cal with your family during the holidays? 
Share with me in the comments! 


Saturday, December 06, 2014

"Grinchmas" Returns to Universal Studios Hollywood This Season #Grinchmas

"Grinchmas" returns to Universal Studios Hollywood and it's a real Wholiday Wholibration! 
Hip Hip Who-ray!



The Who's Who of Hollywood, (including yours truly) came out Thursday night to Universal Studios Hollywood with one thing in mind ~ to celebrate Grinchmas of course! With First-Ever “Grinchmas” Mayoral Proclamation from the Mayor of Whoville Augustus MayWho, and the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti coming together to signal the start of the festive Wholiday season at Universal Studios.




What Wholibration would be complete without the Grinch himself (and his dog Max) coming together with the whole town of Whoville to light up the giant topsy, turvy, swervy Grinchmas Tree. While festive music played, snow gently fell on us all, then we all counted down 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...  The tree was lit as fireworks blazed the sky of Hollywood. It was a spectacular sight to see, one that definitely put me and my little Who in fine holiday spirits.




The night ended with all of the children, (including 200 very happy LAUSD students) making ornaments and hanging them on the trees in Whoville, and gingerbread cookie decorating ~ what a way to spend a school night! Shhhh, don't tell teacher!



With the Holidays Wholidays upon us it's the perfect time of the year for spending a little extra time with your family, enjoying what this season is all about. Magic, hope, wonder, and love. There's real magic in the air at Universal Studios Hollywood all month long, while Cindy Lou-Who, and the rest of Whoville have taken over. Not even the Grinch can stop this party!



Fresh Tips:

* Don't miss Photo Ops with the Grinch and his dog Max.
* Cookie and Ornament Decorating in Universal Square.
* Standing Beneath the 60-foot Grichmas Tree.
* Story Time with Cindy Lou-Who.
* The Whobilation show at the original Whoville movie sets aboard the world famous Studio Tour.


“Grinchmas” will resonate throughout the theme park and runs weekends on December 6-7 and 13-14, then continues daily from December 19, 2014 through January 3, 2015. “Grinchmas” is included in the price of theme park admission. More information available at www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com.

Celebrate the Festive Wholiday Season with your Loved Ones! 
Merry Grinchmas and a Happy Who-Year!

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. I was invited as a member of the media to this event, which inspired this article. The opinions shared on this blog are 100% mine and 100% fresh.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Knott's Merry Farm: Celebrate the Holidays with Family #MerryFarm

The memories from childhood come rushing back to me when I think of Knott’s Berry Farm. From my dad taking us there to dine at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant or going to Knott's with classmates on a school field trip. I have lots of good memories from this So Cal icon.
I have my own family now and have started the tradition of going to Knott’s on a yearly basis. Whether it’s during summer vacation, at Halloween during Camp Spooky, getting into the holiday spirit during Knott's Merry Farm, or ringing in the New Year together. We know that we can count on a day filled with lots of fun and laughter.

My husband and I want to give our children have as many fun experiences as possible, as they are growing up far too fast. We are happy that visiting Knott’s Berry Farm is one of them. Plus being able to celebrate the holidays with each other inside a 'Winter Wonderland' is what the true spirit of the season is all about for us. Living in the moment, and making memories that will last a lifetime.

If you’re looking for a great way to kick-off the holidays, spending a day at Knott’s Merry Farm is a great choice. A Southern California Holiday Tradition since 1985, (who knew?) this seasonal event celebrates the Christmas season in all of it's glory from November 22 through January 4, 2015. This special holiday event includes park-wide delightful decorations, live entertainment, festive food, and a shopping wonderland filled with local artisans.

2014 MERRY FARM HIGHLIGHTS
  • Santa's Christmas Cabin
  • New Snoopy Ice Show
  • Snow in Ghost Town
  • Christmas Crafts Village
  • Snoopy's Merriest Tree Lighting
  • Christmas on Engine 41
If you are looking for gift ideas even after you go shopping at the park, maybe getting your loved ones a Season Pass to enjoy the park all year long is the way to go! More quality time with family seems like the perfect gift to me!

What's your favorite part of Knott's Merry Farm?

Happy Holidays!



Disclosure: I was not paid for this post. I will be attending Knott's Merry Farm as media, tickets will be given to me and my family. The opinions on this blog are 100% mine and 100% fresh!

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Elf On The Shelf - A Holiday and Birthday Tradition #ElfBirthday


A new tradition is here to help make your child's Birthday even more magical. From the creators of Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition, comes a new family tradition for your child's Birthday - Elf on the Shelf: A Birthday Tradition! There is a new book and a new story with instructions on how to invite your family elf back to help you celebrate.


If you are already have an Elf of your very own, won't your kids be surprised when he or she shows up for a very special 24 hours during their birthday dressed up in a cupcake outfit and party hat? Check out all of the new products on the Elf on the Shelf website. My daughter's birthday is at the end of this month and we can't wait to start up this new tradition to make her day even more special. I mean who likes Birthdays better than Santa? He's so busy at the North Pole to come and visit during your child's special day, but he's happy to send an Elf! We have hung the Birthday Countdown Calendar up and are going to decorate her chair on August 28th (her 7th Birthday) with the Birthday Chair Decoration Kit. It looks like this tradition is going to stay with my family for a long time.


Added bonus: As if you needed another reason to feel good about purchasing the "Birthday" book. I think it is important to mention out that $1.00 of each sale goes to help get clean water to those who need it. They have partnered with Charity Water, such an amazing cause. 800 million people in the world are without clean water, many of those people are children. Birthdays can be a time of giving and receiving.


When I attended the Elf on the Shelf Birthday Party in Studio City at The Coop this Saturday I had no idea that I was going to meet Carol Aebersold, the co-creator of the brand. Sometimes you end up in the right place at the right time where you encounter someone who inspires you, or shares an encouraging story. Often that meeting is unexpected and serendipitous, but they can deliver a message that was just what you needed to hear in your life. I'm at a cross roads in my career right now and I appreciated hearing Carol speak candidly about her journey building The Elf on the Shelf brand. How she was an empty nester with extra time on her hands. How she joined forces with her daughter to write a book, and how no one would publish the book in the beginning. They had many obstacles and were faced with plenty of adversity during their journey, but in case you haven't heard "Elf on the Shelf" is a household name! I can't tell you how many pictures of these Elves I see on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest every December. Not to mention they have their own TV special and even have a balloon in the Macy's Thanksgivings Day Parade! It just shows you that an idea that you truly believe in can become something great, if have the right team beside you. With hard work, and determination, you can become successful beyond your wildest dreams.



Disclosure: I was invited to a blogger bash and given a swag bag filled with Elf on the Shelf products. All thoughts and opinions are 100% mine and 100% fresh.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

What's New at Knott's Berry Farm This Summer #KnottsSummer


As you know, we recently went to Knott's Berry Farm, to spend a family fun day with Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang.


We all agree that it was probably our most fun trip that we've ever had to the classic So Cal theme park. The weather was hot, yet beautiful - hello summer! We actually rode on some rides together as a family, which is rare because I never like to get on anything. (True mom confession.) But this time was different, this time I faced my fears and rode on the water rides - Timber Mountain Log Ride (TWICE) and Bigfoot Rapids. I've even got the video to prove it!


Knott's has a lot of new things that your family can experience, plus some classics that never get old. Camp Snoopy has three new rides, Calico Mine Train got a makeover and the snacks just keep getting better over there. (My family really loves those gourmet fries!) So sit back and enjoy these videos from our day at Knott's Berry Farm, then get out your calendar because you're going to want to schedule a trip before summer is over!


Knott's has their own video telling all about the three new Camp Snoopy rides in detail, you can check that out HERE. Make sure to visit their Youtube page.


Full Disclosure: I was not paid for this post. The opinions in this article are my own. I do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them.  I have a relationship with GigaSavvy, for whom I create original editorial content. These opinions are 100% mine and 100% fresh.