Category Archives: Mommy Stuff

Free Children’s Performances at The Madrid Theatre

The Madrid Theatre in Canoga Park hosts a Monday Morning Performance Series for children during the summer. It occurs every Monday morning at 10am. The performance is recommended for children 6 to 9 years old. On the day that my daughter & I attended, I noticed that there was a big group of summer camp children with their group leaders, as well as mothers with their kids.

(Photo credit: The Madrid Theatre)
(Photo credit: The Madrid Theatre)

The concert that we saw on this particular day, July 7th, featured the Teenage Drama Workshop (TADW) from Cal State Northridge. This one hour concert was a little preview of the TADW’s Beauty and the Beast and Cirque des Pirates. The songs were lovely & the acting was entertaining. At one point they even brought kids from the audience up on stage to interact with the performers.

MadridTheatre_Stage

My daughter, as well as the rest of the kids in the audience, was thoroughly entertained. After the concert, the cast members were happy to pose for photos! My daughter was being camera shy that day, so unfortunately I don’t have a photo of her with the cast.

MadridTheatre_Performers

I meet with Doug Kaback, who is the Executive Director of TADW.  He is also the professor of theatre in the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media and Communications at CSUN. He explained that the productions that Teenage Drama Workshop (TADW) puts on at Cal State Northridge are geared for young audiences. There is a limited run for both Cirque des Pirates & Disney’s Beauty and the Beast during the month of July.

If you’d like more information about the Teenage Drama Workshop (TADW), including dates & times for their two plays (as well as pricing), then check out their website here.

For info on Madrid Theatre in Canoga Park, including instructions on how to obtain free tickets for their Monday Morning Children’s Performances, click on over to their website.

Disclosure: No monetary compensation was received for this post. I attended a free community event. All images are mine unless otherwise noted. As always, my opinions are 100% my own.

My 5 Essentials for Travel

Now that summer is in full swing, I know that many of you will be traveling during the summer break. Last month I was in Park City, Utah – which I hope to recap for you later this month. As I was packing for our vacation, it got me thinking, what are my 5 essentials for traveling?

Cute Carry-on Luggage
I love me some Hello Kitty! Someone saw me wheeling this in the airport once & asked me if it was my daughter’s. Nope, it’s all mine! 🙂  As much as I had hoped to pass on this love of Hello Kitty to my daughter, unfortunately she grew out of it by the age of 6. On the other hand, I am hoping to attend Hello Kitty Con later this year!

HelloKittyCarryOn

Good Books
I love to read books while on the airplane or at the hotel before I go to sleep at night. I brought two books with me to Utah – a fun, fiction novel called Scared Scriptless that I received at a recent book signing event. The other book is non-fiction & written by Tony Horton. It’s called The Big Picture: 11 Laws That Will Change Your Life. I should have a review of this book on the blog later in the month.

TravelEssentials_Books

Magazines
It is imperative that I have at least 1-3 magazines with me on the plane. No matter how long or short the flight, I just have to get one of the latest pop culture magazines that you often find at a nail salon. You know what I’m talking about…US Weekly, In Touch or OK magazines – these weekly mags are the equivalent of the online TMZ or E! websites. Yes, I do recognize that these are gossip-filled rags. However, when you want to zone out on a flight, then these magazines filled with photos of celebrities taking out the trash, walking their dog or going on a Starbucks run is just plain ole amusing to me.

This time around though I brought a few magazines that I had stacked by my nightstand at home. I’m one of those people who read People, as well as The Oprah Magazine. In fact, it was that issue of the O magazine that inspired one of my latest blog posts where I asked myself “What do I really want to do all day?” You can read about it here.

TravelEssentials_Magazines

A Set of Extra Clothes
We’ve all heard the horror stories of airlines losing someone’s luggage. So I’ve gotten in the habit of always packing an extra set of clothes for me & my daughter in my carry-on luggage. Hubby does the same with his carry-on as well.

One great clothing item that I recently discovered is Hipknoties®! What I LOVE about this item is that it’s one garment that you can style in 30 different combinations! It’s something that you can dress up for dinner, wear it by the pool like I did in Park City & also in Scottsdale and then throw over some leggings when you need to go run an errand.

(Photo credit: HIP Multi Way Clothing. Photo permission granted by Hipknoties®.)
(Photo credit: HIP Multi Way Clothing. Photo permission granted by Hipknoties®.)

What I also like about this item is that it takes up very little room in your carry-on. Not only that, but it doesn’t wrinkle! I could literally throw my pretty blue Hipknoties® in my handbag, take it out when I arrive at my destination & put it on. Whoo hoo…no wrinkles on this outfit!

TravelEssentials_BlueHipknoties

I met Sarah Yonover, the owner & creator of Hipknoties® last month at a children’s event. She is so engaging, has a great product & I just want to help promote this woman owned business as much as possible. Sarah has many YouTube videos that demonstrate how to style your Hipknoties®. Just check out the website for ideas. How cool is that?!

Neosporin
During our travels in Park City, my daughter got a scrape on her arm. In fact, while I was wheeling my luggage in the LAX airport, I scratched my hand on a broken part of my suitcase (not the Hello Kitty one). So before we even got on our flight to Park City, I was washing my hand in the restroom & applying a band-aid to it. However, before I put that band-aid on, I applied some NEOSPORIN® Neo to Go! Spray on my hand. Fortunately I had packed band-aids & the small Neo to Go! Spray in my purse. Of course since it is a liquid spray, I had to put it in the plastic baggie to show the TSA Agent while going through security check-in.

TravelEssentials_Neo2GoSpray

I have to say that this handy dandy antiseptic spray was used several times during our trip. We were very active in Park City – horseback riding, hiking, zip-lining & my favorite activity…shopping (lol!). Since we were outdoors a lot, I knew that NEOSPORIN® Neo to Go! Spray was an essential item for our vacation.

So those are MY five essential items for travel. Tell me, what are your must-have items for vacation travel?

Disclosure: No monetary compensation was received for this post. I purchased the Hello Kitty luggage & magazines on my own. I received complimentary copies of both books for review purposes. I purchased the Hipknoties® at a discounted price. I received a complimentary sample of the NEOSPORIN® Neo to Go! Spray from Influenster Inc. as part of their #TLCVoxBox program. All images/photos are mine unless otherwise stated. My thoughts & opinions are 100% mine.

Snackeez!™ – Product Review

My daughter is on the go as much as me. Between summer camp, ice skating lessons, trips to see her cousins down in Orange County, there is just a lot of go, go, go! She loves the latest item that I got for her, which is the Snackeez™. This is the perfect item to take in the car with her for road trips or shuttling back & forth to ice skating practice, which is about 30 minutes away from our home.

RealMom_Snackeez Box

Snackeez™ is a 2 in 1 Snack & Drink Cup. First you fill the Snackeez™ with 16 oz. of your favorite drink. I like to fill it with water or organic white grape juice from Trader Joe’s.

RealMom_PourJuice-Snackeez

Then you add the straw & snack bowl on top of the Snackeez™ cup. Tip: Make sure to screw the snack bowl on securely. I have to double check that my kid did it correctly, otherwise if it is not on tight, there could be some spillage or leaking in the car.

RealMom_Snackeez Empty

Once the lid is on & you’ve double checked that it is secure, fill the snack bowl with about 4 oz. of your favorite snack. Sometimes I put grapes & crackers inside but today I used vanilla yogurt covered pretzels & Hello Panda cookies.

RealMom_Snackeez Filled

Then you just close the lid & your kid can go to town while you are at home or driving through traffic on the way to your next play date!

Happy smiles for everyone!

RealMom_Snackeez Happy

I’m actually considering buying one for me so that I can put my post-workout smoothies & seaweed chips or dried apple chips inside. Mmmmm…

Do you have a Snackeez™? If you don’t, what would you put inside of it if you DID have one?

Disclosure: No monetary compensation was received for this post. I received a complimentary Snackeez!™ which helped facilitate this review. All images & opinions are 100% my own.

Poncho Baby’s Bandana Bib

We’ve had a baby boom of sorts in our extended family. My brother-in-law’s son is about to turn 1 year’s old. My husband’s cousin just had a baby girl & another cousin is about to have twins in October.

Although my daughter just turned 8 years old, I am always on the lookout for new baby/toddler products to purchase for my relative’s kids! Enter the Bandana Bib by Poncho Baby!

Poncho Baby Bag

This reversible AND stylish bib comes in an assortment of colors. I love that you can flip it over & use the reverse side – it’s two bibs in one!

PonchoBaby_Reversible

Look how cute the bib looks on this baby!

PonchoBaby_Infant

There are two types of bandana bibs designed by Poncho Baby – an organic one & a non-organic one. Both versions are reversible & made with FOUR layers of soft muslin fabric! The bandana bib was created by a mom & you can definitely see the thoughtful design touches incorporated by her. Not only is it stylish, but it is very absorbent & there are two adjustable snaps so that it can grow with your baby!

Nowadays, many moms are making a conscious choice to use organic products. That’s why it’s so great that Poncho Baby has developed an organic Bandana Bib! It comes in two colors – olive & beige. As in all of their bandana bibs, both organic colors are reversible.

PonchoBaby_Organic

If you are looking for a stylish, yet practical bib for your baby, then give Poncho Baby a try!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary bib, which helped facilitate this review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for this review. All images & opinions are 100% my own.

Peanut Butter & Jane – Children’s Resale Boutique on Wheels

For those who follow my blog, you know that I’m into the food truck craze. I also believe in repurposing your clothes and/or your children’s clothes. Well friends, here is a company that combines BOTH of those concepts! Meet Peanut Butter & Jane, a Los Angeles children’s resale boutique on wheels & also now an eCommerce website.

The Peanut Butter & Jane fashion truck started in January of this year & is the creation of a Mother/Daughter duo Mariya Hamilton & Kelly Snyder. The website, www.PBandJaneLA.com, was launched in May & features great finds to share with moms across the country who appreciate quality name-brand clothing at a fraction of the cost.

(photo credit: Peanut Butter & Jane)
(photo credit: Peanut Butter & Jane)

Peanut Butter & Jane features gently used clothing with brand names like Tea, Diesel, Mini Boden, Crewcuts, Janie & Jack, Juicy Couture as well as Nike, just to name a few. Each item is selected carefully & the owners make sure that the items show hardly any signs of wear or are still new with original tags.

Look at this cute swim cover-up that was on the Peanut Butter & Jane website!

PBJ_Dress

I even got a pretty cream colored hair bow to go with it.

PBJ_HairBow

The website is user-friendly & accepts PayPal & major credit cards. At the events where the fashion truck is present, they accept cash & credit cards.

Peanut Butter & Jane sets up shop every 2nd Sunday at the Pasadena Rose Bowl Market & also at the Orange County Market Place every other Sunday.  More locations are planned.

For more information, check out their website and don’t forget to follow them on Twitter or Facebook!

Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. I received a complimentary product & fashion accessory, which helped facilitate this review. All images are mine unless otherwise noted. All opinions are 100% my own.

Club MomMe Baby Registry Basics Workshop

The following post is sponsored by UrbanSitter and Club MomMe. All opinions are 100% my own.

Calling All SFV Parents & Moms-To-Be! Club MomMe is hosting a Baby Registry Basics workshop this Tuesday, May 27th at the Sherman Oaks Right Start.

Club MomMe Baby Registry SFV

UrbanSitter will offer free babysitting at the event! For more info & to purchase tickets to the event, check out the Club MomMe website here.

Hope to see you there!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post from UrbanSitter and Club MomMe. Although I work as a Parent Rep for UrbanSitter, all opinions remain 100% my own.

 

Eating & Shopping My Way Through Unique LA!

A couple of weekends ago, I attended the 6th Annual Unique LA Spring Show in downtown Los Angeles. This genuinely unique event takes place on both Saturday & Sunday at the California Market Center. What I especially love about this event is that it is the largest Made-in-America shopping event in the country!

UniqueLA Signage

I had attended a couple of these shopping events in the past – both Spring & Winter shows, but that was before I was a blogger. You know what they say, if it isn’t on Instagram or some other social media, then did you really attend it? Lol… 🙂

My husband & I made the trek on a Saturday morning to DTLA. Fortunately my hubby works down there & we’d been to the CA Market Center before, so the commute wasn’t so bad from the Valley. Disclaimer: The day before the event I had entered a contest sponsored by Agapantha Jewelry, who happened to be giving away a ticket to Unique LA. Guess who won?! Yep, that would be me – score! So all we had to pay for was my hubby’s ticket since kids 12 and under are FREE.

As soon as we got there, one of the first booths I looked at was Eco Apothecary. I was admiring (i.e. smelling & using) the custom bath & body products when the owner (Danielle) came up to me. We started talking & within a few minutes quickly realized that we had worked with each other back in the day at a catalog company! Small world…  She is a fellow Valley girl & I love that her products are organic & vegan as well as paraben AND sulfate-free. Check out her website peeps!

Danielle_EcoApothecary

One of the first booths that my daughter set her sights on was the Mallow Mallow S’more Shop. These folks are based in San Diego & it’s probably a good thing because I know I’d probably hit up the store every other week if it was in LA. This place won my “best booth” award because it was decorated to look like a camp. I mean, look at it…

S'moreShop

Check out this blender! Just gold…

Blender

My daughter ended up eating The Scout (naturally since it had her favorite peppermint flavor) & hubby got a The Classic.

MallowMallow_sign

I opted to get my sweet treat from The Square Treat booth. These are the ladies who run The Square Treat which is based in the Valley.

Square Treat Ladies

These sweet treats are made with a mixture of graham cracker crumbs, marshmallows & coconut. I mention the coconut because my daughter is allergic to it, so when I asked, they said they could do special orders without the coconut. The Square Treat also makes a gluten-free version & when I sampled it, the GF version tastes equally good! Apologies for the slightly blurry photo, but I was so busy sample tasting to take a better photo. Take note Valley peeps, they make FREE deliveries to Valley residents!

SquareTreat

One of my weaknesses when I go to street fairs or these types of shopping expos is to buy specialty stationery. So when I came upon the iLoot Paperie booth, I just had to purchase a couple of cards! I actually bought my Mother’s Day card from them – it’s the flower one in the bottom middle.

ilootpaperie

My daughter & I spent considerable time at the Bloom Honey booth, where we sampled different flavors of honey. We both decided that White Clover was our favorite; however, I couldn’t resist purchasing 4 small jars of various flavors for the deal of $16! I gave one small jar to my mom for Mother’s Day.

BloomHoney

One of the very last booths that I checked out was Agapantha Jewelry. I had wanted to take a photo with owner/designer Dani Paquin, but her booth was just so darn crowded! That’s a good problem though right?! You’ll want to check out her jewelry site. I mean, look at these pretty & delicate pieces.

AGAPANTHA_heart_ring_1

AGAPANTHA_heart_studs

Lastly, I wouldn’t be a good blogger if I didn’t mention Freut Camp’s blogging workshop. These cards (see below) were ALL over the place at Unique LA! I have no affiliation with them, but I have a lot of blogging buddies who might want to check out their boot camp in June. Sadly I won’t be able to attend due to a prior obligation. However if you do go, let me know how it went because it looks fab!

FreutCamp_BloggingWorkshop

I took a lot more pictures & ate/shopped at a lot of other booths. These were just a few of my favorite things! (Nope, I’m not Oprah & honestly this was my short list of faves at Unique LA!) I do want to give a few shout outs to Bon Bliss Beauty, The Awesome Candle & I Heart Pies. You guys have awesome products!

Disclosure: I won a contest that provided a free ticket to Unique LA. Though a post was not required, I wanted to share my experience. All images are mine unless otherwise noted. My thoughts & opinions are 100% my own.

Visiting Quenelle in Burbank

Last month I visited my old stomping grounds (Burbank, CA) for a media event. I took my daughter with me to watch a family-friendly movie, which was educational & fun. We later visited one of my old haunts for lunch & then tried a new dessert place for sweet treats!

Here’s a little tidbit that most of my blog readers probably don’t know – I used to work for the Mouse House. What feels like 100 years ago (but is actually more like a decade ago), I used to work for Disney Consumer Products. This in no way influences what I write about Disney (on this blog or any others that I guest post on). I’ve always been a fan of Disney, but if you knew me back then, then you know that working there is another story… 😉

Anyhoo…my daughter & I ate at Mo’s for lunch. Mo’s!! I used to go here all the time with my coworkers since the food is good & it was within walking distance to our office tower (at the time DCP used to be in Burbank).

I had a banh mi sandwich with sweet potato fries & my daughter had grilled cheese with curly fries. It was yummy!

Banh Mi Mo's

Mo's Burbank

Then we drove a short distance to Quenelle. I had heard about this place on social media & was dying to try it. Since it was a warm day it made perfect sense to have ice cream. We all “scream” for ice cream, right?!

Some background on the owner/chef John Park – he used to work at some high-end gourmet restaurants in LA, like Water Grill & Providence. The shop is almost a year old.

We found the place relatively easy. It’s located on popular Magnolia Blvd. just down the street from Porto’s & Yummy Cupcakes. There’s free parking in front of the store & it wasn’t hard at all to find a spot. The inside of Quenelle is cute! There is a small kids-sized table inside to eat your treat as well as a bench to sit on outside.

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The flavors of the ice cream are very unique & delicious. As you can see from some of the words on the menu boards: yuzu, mochi, kalamansi – there is an Asian influence to the flavor profiles.

QuenelleFlavors Burbank

I opted for a scoop of chocolate & also strawberry shortcake, while my kiddo had the Thin Mint Ice Cream Bar. For $3.50 (which is the regular size) you get TWO scoops of ice cream! That’s a good deal in my book.

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Doesn’t it look delicious? It tasted really good too! If you are ever in the neighborhood, you’ll want to give Quenelle a try. NOTE: They only accept cash, so make sure to hit up the ATM machine before you go.

So what was that movie that I took my daughter to see? Disneynature’s Bears. Here’s a photo of singer Olivia Holt (her song “Carry On” is featured in the film). We ran into her in the parking lot! She was so sweet & was gracious enough to pose for a picture with my daughter. Want to know my thoughts on the movie? Check out my review on Surf & Sunshine by clicking here!

Chloe with Olivia Holt - Singer/Actress
Chloe with Olivia Holt – Singer/Actress

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I happily paid for my meals & treats at both restaurants. As for the movie, that was a media event, as stated over on my guest post. All opinions are my own.

Attending the Peace Love Swap in Burbank

Last Thursday I attended the Peace Love Swap event in Burbank. For those who are not familiar with it, their mission at Peace Love Swap is to keep gently used baby, kid & maternity items out of landfills by providing communities with a place to meet, play  & swap their gently used items. Any clothing or items that are left will be donated to a local children’s charity.

I arrived at La La Land Indoor Playground in Burbank around 10:15am & dropped off my bag of clothes & children’s books.

La La Land Peace Love Swap

Each person received a raffle ticket & a name tag. If you were one of the first 25 people to purchase a ticket online to the event, then you received a goodie bag that contained wonderful products donated by companies such as Glam Natural, Waxelene, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Planet Inc. & many more!

Goodie Bag from Peace Love Swap
Goodie Bag from Peace Love Swap

There were several volunteers on-hand to help sort through the bags of items that people dropped off.

PeaceLoveSwapRealMomSFV1

Around 11am, they had a dance demonstration by Dancemama Fitness. This is a fun Mommy & Me dance fitness class based in North Hollywood. The moms & babies looked like they were having a blast!

DanceMamaFitness1

DanceMamaFitness2

Dancemama Fitness of North Hollywood
Dancemama Fitness of North Hollywood

After the dance demo, they raffled off some cool prizes, like organic tees from Colette Kids & a free class from A Kitchen Story, where you could learn to create your own natural soaps & lotions. After the raffle it was time to swap!

Everyone lined up outside & was handed one paper bag to fill up with clothes. Everyone gets the same size bag so as to prevent people from bringing in larger bags & “overshopping.” If you brought in a large sized item, then you get first dips on one of the larger sized items.

PeaceLoveSwapRealMomSFV2

When you go inside, they have large rolling racks with the sizes labeled so that it’s easy to find what you are looking for.

KidsSwap1

KidsSwap2

They had tons of infant/toddler clothing, which is great since a lot of moms were looking for those sizes. I was able to pick-up a few things for my daughter to use.

I have to give props to Noellyn Phillips, the organizer of the event. It can be chaotic during the Kids Clothing Swap & hosting one of these things is no easy task. She relies on some volunteers (who receive a goodie bag as well), but other than that, she does all of the work & she does it with a smile. I was amazed because honestly I would have been tired & a bit grumpy halfway through (the scene can be a bit like Christmas shopping on Black Friday), but she remained happy & upbeat the whole time.  🙂

Noellyn Phillips - Swap Organizer
Noellyn Phillips – Swap Organizer

If you would like to attend a kids swap, you’re in luck! They are having one this June in Pasadena. Click here for more info.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary ticket to this event, as well as a goodie bag. Though a post was not required, I wanted to share my experience. All opinions are my own.

Need Childcare? Spring Into Action with UrbanSitter

The following post is sponsored by UrbanSitter. All opinions are 100% my own.

Have you ever had one of those moments where you needed a babysitter ASAP & all of your resources were tapped out? Last month I found myself in that position. As most of you know, I had the amazing opportunity to chat with the cast of the Single Moms Club. The interviews took place on a Friday morning. The day before the junket, at around 1pm, I received a robocall from my daughter’s school stating that school was canceled on Friday due to an emergency plumbing situation. Aaack!!

With less than 24 hours notice, I had to scramble to get a sitter for my daughter. My parents were busy, so I turned to my “go to” resource – UrbanSitter. Using the UrbanSitter app on my iPad, I searched through & contacted 3 sitters with my job request. One sitter answered back within the hour & arrangements were made. I was able to go to my interview, my daughter got to sleep in & when I returned home 4.5 hours later at noon, she was happily playing with the sitter.

urbansitter_appMy daughter, as well as countless other children in the LA area, will be off on Spring Break soon. If you are one of the many moms out there who are in need of childcare help during this time, you may want to consider UrbanSitter. The steps are simple: sign into the UrbanSitter website using your Facebook account, create a parent profile, then with a few clicks of the mouse you’ve got a list of babysitters to choose from.

Blog27_How It Works

The great thing about UrbanSitter is that you can look for sitters based on recommendations from friends and parenting networks such as your local YMCA or mommy group. UrbanSitter also has search functions so that you can find a sitter based on their rate, experience, education level , response time & other variables.

Do you live in the LA/San Fernando Valley area? If so, you are in luck! In conjunction with Urbansitter, we are happy to offer readers of Real Mom of SFV $15 off your first booking* on UrbanSitter. Simply enter code “REALMOM15” on the My Account – Credits page.

Already an UrbanSitter member? Use code “REALMOM20” and get 20% off one UrbanSitter fee (does not apply to babysitting fees).

*Subject to UrbanSitter, Inc.’s Terms of Service. First-time customers receive $15 credit to be used toward Sitter Introduction fee or Premium membership purchase. Returning customers receive 20% discount on one transaction fee (Sitter Introduction fee or Premium membership fee). Offers not valid for babysitting fees. Recipient must become a registered user of UrbanSitter with valid credit card on file to redeem offer. Restrictions include sitter availability and service to requested location (not all areas served). UrbanSitter reserves the right to modify these terms. Must redeem by 12/31/2014.

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Feel free to spring into action & use these codes for Spring vacation or any other time of the year that you need a sitter or nanny!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for UrbanSitter. Images courtesy of UrbanSitter. All opinions remain my own.