Tag Archives: Sherman Oaks

Sandbox Fitness: Come Exercise on the Beach in Sherman Oaks!

Just last week I was invited to attend classes at Sandbox Fitness in Sherman Oaks. This studio is located on Ventura Blvd, near Woodman Avenue. When you first walk inside the studio, you’ll notice right away the beach-like vibe. Instantly I felt calmer, as being near the ocean always makes me feel more relaxed & centered (even in a faux one such as this).  🙂



All of the classes are taught in the sandbox. The sand comes from Cal Silica & is non-toxic AND silica-free. You are allowed to go barefoot or you can purchase “sand socks” which they sell in the lobby area. As many of you know, I suffer from plantar fasciitis. I wasn’t sure how this was going to feel, so I made sure to tape up my foot really well with KT Tape.

The thing about going barefoot in the sand is that it cushions your feet really well. In fact when I took the classes at Sandbox, I noticed it actually felt better to do TRX barefoot in the sand than in my workout shoes at my local gym. The sand really conforms to your heels & feet, hugging it in such a way that I felt more stable than I had thought I would. I’m not a professional & who knows what my podiatrist would say about it. All I can say is that for me, it did not aggravate my foot or cause my heel pain to flare up.

Tidal Turbulence
The very first class that I took was called Tidal Turbulence. This class, taught by Tonni, combined a type of fitness class that I love (TRX) with Surfset, which is class that is done on a surfboard-type of equipment. It is unstable & you are meant to wobble at first (like I did) but then you will eventually get your balance & just flow with it.

After a light warm-up, Tonni took us through some TRX moves that I was familiar with. It was a really good workout. Then after a while, she had us hop onto the Surfset & do balancing exercises that really worked our core, legs & arms. Since it was my first time channeling my “inner surfer girl” it was a challenge for me to get the board steady. Tonni was really great about helping me balance, remembering to breathe & making modifications. There were several exercises that I had to modify & perform on top of the board with my knees & not full on in a plank position (with my toes). Tonni explained afterwards that these were all great modifications & that in time I would be able to do it in full plank without the wobble.


Minna, the co-owner of Sandbox Fitness, taught the TRX class that I took the very next day. I’m not sure what I was thinking about taking back to back classes, but I did just fine. I was sore while performing the TRX moves, but I made it through! One thing to note is that I am used to taking 30 minute TRX classes. The class at Sandbox Fitness is about 45 minutes long (not counting the cool down). I really enjoyed it, as I knew that I would. The longer session & being on the sand really made for a great TRX class.


Beach Yoga
This was the last class that I took at Sandbox & it was nice to save it for last. After all of the things that I put my poor muscles through, I really wanted to stretch my body & be mindful of how it felt. Stacey’s yoga class was exactly what I needed after a week of exercise. I had also driven a lot that week, attending various work functions. You know how you can sit in a car during a 45 minute to an hour traffic jam & just feel your shoulders & neck tense up? Taking a good yoga class will cure that.

Stacey’s voice was very calm & soothing. Her vibe & general presence was really nice, which helped because she came over several times to make tiny corrections & reposition my body. Btw, I like taking yoga, but I don’t take it often enough. So when I do take yoga classes, it always takes me a while to remember how to get into that stance or move my arms into a certain position. My favorite pose of the whole entire class was the pigeon pose. It really opened up my hips & legs. After the class, I had mentioned to Stacey that my sciatica flares up on occasion & that I was going to practice that stretch on a regular basis to help prevent the sciatica from coming back.

Here’s me doing one of my signature moves! Just kidding…it’s Stacey looking fab out on the sand.


I cannot say enough about Sandbox Fitness! This place is SO cool, I love their classes & best of all, it is in the Valley!! I could easily see this type of studio in West Hollywood or Santa Monica. The fact that it is in Sherman Oaks is awesome for me because I don’t have to take the dreaded 405 freeway to get there! However if there was one fitness studio that is worth the drive, it is definitely Sandbox Fitness!

Tell me, out of all the classes that I described in this review, which one would you like to take?

Disclosure: No monetary compensation was received for this post. I attended complimentary classes which helped facilitate this review. All images are mine unless otherwise noted. As always, my opinions are 100% my own.


Fun Girls Night Out at the Nail Garden

After a wonderful but busy Thanksgiving holiday with family, I was ready to have a fun girls night out! This past Sunday I met up with some of my fellow SoCal Lady Bloggers at the Nail Garden in Valencia.


When I first arrived, I was greeted warmly by the salon manager. I was pleasantly surprised when they offered me coffee, latte or tea – what a nice welcome! At my local salon, I’m lucky if I get a cup of water from their dispenser, lol!

Before heading over to the shelves to pick out my nail color, I deposited my new unwrapped puzzle in the Nail Garden’s Toy Drive box.


All of the Nail Garden salons are collecting toys for their annual Holiday Toy Drive benefiting Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. I think it’s a wonderful cause & a great way to give back to those in need. For those that participate, you will receive 15% off any service for your donation!


It took me a while to figure out what nail polish color to pick. They had SO many shades from my favorite brands!


I finally settled on a pinkish red color from OPI. What do you think?


Yes, that’s bling that you see on my ring fingers. My manicurist totally surprised me with it. I was so relaxed during the manicure, especially after receiving a mini hand massage that I didn’t realize the jewels until they were halfway applied.

I ended my girls night out with a yummy sweet treat provided by Velvet Cupcakes. Mmmm mmmm good! I enjoyed meeting up with friends, getting pampered & helping out a charity.


Valley Peeps take note, there are several Nail Garden salons in the SFV! The first one opened in Studio City back in 2005. There’s also one in Sherman Oaks at the Westfield Fashion Square Mall. For my friends in the North Valley, I’ve been told that a Nail Garden will open in Northridge early next year. Whoo hoo!!

With the holidays coming up & parties to attend, I know you’ll be wanting to get some holiday polish on your nails. So check out the Nail Garden for your next mani/pedi! NOTE: From now until the end of the year, if you mention “SoCal Lady Bloggers” at any Nail Garden salon, you’ll get a 15% discount off of your service. (Offer cannot be combined with the toy donation discount.) Think of it as a little holiday treat to my Real Mom of SFV readers! 😉

Disclosure: I was invited to an event where I received a complimentary manicure, which facilitated this review. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

Need A Sitter For the Holidays?

The following post is sponsored by UrbanSitter.

Blog27_UrbanSitter Logo

December is around the corner & as a busy mom I’ve got a lot on my to-do list. There are holiday parties, parent-teacher conferences and Christmas shopping, among many other things. While I do have family nearby that can watch my daughter, it’s not always possible. That’s why it’s so nice to utilize the services of UrbanSitter, an online resource that connects parents with babysitters.

UrbanSitter started out in San Francisco in 2011, but has quickly expanded to over a dozen cities throughout the United States, including Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Chicago and San Diego. I learned about UrbanSitter last month through a mom-friend & eagerly checked out the site. I found it to be very user-friendly. 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(image: UrbanSitter)

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 find a babysitter based on their rate, experience, education level , response time & other criteria. Another handy tool that they have is the UrbanSitter iPhone app. It’s so easy & convenient to search for sitters while you are on the go! You can also use the app on your iPad or iPod Touch.

After reading the bios of several babysitters & reviewing their video profiles, I sent a booking request to a sitter located in a town about 15 minutes from my home. She responded within 2 hours (messages are sent  through the UrbanSitter website) & we made arrangements for her to come to my home to watch my daughter later that week, who would be home all day due to a school holiday. The sitter arrived promptly & I chatted with her for about 10 minutes so that I could ask her some questions about her background & babysitting style. How did it go? My daughter loved playing with the sitter while I got to work in my home office, free from distractions. Win-win!!

Parents, are you in need of a babysitter this holiday season or for the new year? Do you live in the LA/San Fernando Valley area? If so, you are in luck! UrbanSitter and Real Mom of SFV invite you to attend a special event in Sherman Oaks. Join us on Friday, December 13th from 5-7pm at Lollipop Dream. You’ll have the opportunity to meet some of the Valley’s newest babysitters, mingle with other parents, enjoy light appetizers & drinks, plus do some holiday shopping!

Blog27_Lollipop Dream LOGO2Blog27_Lollipop Dream
Kids are welcome to attend, as we’ll have plenty of kid-friendly snacks & drinks, not to mention plenty of sitters to engage with your little one while you shop the store!

RSVP here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/babysitter-meet-greet-with-urbansitter-sherman-oaks-tickets-9451633089

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by UrbanSitter, but all opinions are my own.

Visiting Crème Caramel in Sherman Oaks


Earlier this month, I went to Crème Caramel with my daughter for an after school treat. It’s a tiny shop, filled to the brim with delicious sweet & savory treats!

If you’ve visited the various farmers markets in LA, then you may have seen Kristine de la Cruz’s handiwork. For the past 3 years, she has been showcasing her bread puddings & crème caramels at various places such as Atwater Village Farmers Market & Silverlake Farmers Market. This past September, Kristine opened her store on Burbank Blvd. in Sherman Oaks.

Blog26_OwnerKristine de la Cruz (left) with store manager, Liz Beeson

As soon as my daughter pushed through the door of shop, she immediately pressed her face against the display case to look at all of the shop’s goodies. The pumpkin white chocolate bread pudding (a rotating seasonal item) is really yummy! We also tried the Ube Upside Down Pie – wow, so good! For those who aren’t familiar with ube, it’s a purple yam used in many Filipino sweet treats.


The three items you see below are part of Crème Caramel’s signature desserts: crème caramel (it is similar to flan in texture), ube upside down pie &  vanilla bread pudding. The store offers a Farmers Market Deal: buy four signature desserts, you get $2 off.

Blog26_signature dish

We ended up taking several items home to share: two vanilla custards, an ube pie, vanilla bread pudding & a chocolate chip cookie. Sadly the chocolate chip cookie never made it into our take away box, as a large group of customers came in & things got a little busy behind the counter. Note to self: Always check your items before leaving the store!

Crème Caramel also offers lunch items, but I didn’t try any during this visit. There’s always next time!


Crème Caramel is located on 14849 Burbank Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91411. There’s free parking behind the building, but I was able to score parking out in front. On nice weather days, there is a table out front for noshing & even a bowl of water for Fido! Visit their website for their holiday menu & store hours.

Blog26_TableOnFront***Crème Caramel will be participating in the Charity Bake Sale to benefit the Philippine Red Cross & victims of Typhoon Haiyan. It’s being held this Saturday, November 23rd at Coolhaus Pasadena, from 10am-1pm. Additional event details can be found here, along with a listing of bakeries/restaurants that are participating.***


Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are my own.

Mendocino Farms Giveaway

Blog21_EatHappyMendocino Farms recently hosted a Family Fun Day at their Sherman Oaks location. It was a fun afternoon of eating, music and arts & crafts.

There were several types of sandwiches, a pasta salad, sweet treats & drinks for everyone.



While noshing on all of the great food, we rocked out to Rhythm Child, a family friendly band.


Each kid got to decorate their own picture frame.


They had a photographer on-site so you could take a picture with Mendocino Farms’ iconic blue cow. Check out the finished product!


Readers of my blog know how much I love the food here, which is why I am offering a giveaway to Mendocino Farms.

One lucky winner will receive a gift certificate good for 2 sandwiches, 2 fountain sodas AND 2 kids meals!

The voucher is good for the Sherman Oaks location only, so you must live in the Los Angeles area or be willing to drive to the San Fernando Valley.

All you have to do to be entered to win is:

  • Follow Mendocino Farms on Twitter & leave a comment below saying that you did.
  • For an extra entry, “like me” on Facebook & let me know you did so in the comments below.
  • For a third entry, share this post on Twitter & leave a comment with the link below.

The contest runs until Thursday, November 14th at 5pm PST. Winner will be chosen at random & contacted on November 15th. Open to Los Angeles area residents only. The winner will have 24 hours to respond with a mailing address or the next winner will be chosen.

*** Update: The winner has been chosen & notified. Thank you for entering!***

Mendocino Farms is located at 14141 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423. Free parking garage located in the back. Visit their website for more information & to see what’s on the menu.

Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. I was invited to a free community event. The giveaway was supplied by Mendocino Farms.

Mendocino Farms – New Restaurant Opening in Sherman Oaks!


I am always on the hunt for a good sandwich & salad place. So when I found out that Mendocino Farms was opening up a restaurant in the Valley, I was thrilled. I’ve always wanted to try their food, but just hadn’t made it out to their downtown Los Angeles or Fairfax locations. They are all about using farm fresh produce, sourced locally & you’ll be happy to note that their prices are comparable to other sandwich & salad cafes.

This past weekend I attended their Friends & Family Pre-Grand Opening Party. After parking our car, we waited outside in line for the doors to open & this is what my daughter noticed right away. Isn’t it cute?!


Once inside, we were greeted by an employee who walked us through the menu. My husband & I had a hard time deciding which sandwich to get as there were many options to choose from. For my vegan friends, take note that they do have several great choices for you!

My hubby picked the Farm Club. It was tasty & I especially loved the applewood bacon.


However I couldn’t decide between the Spicy Lemongrass Steak Banh Mi or the interestingly named A Sandwich Study of Heat (AKA Turkey Avocado). The turkey sandwich won out because I was intrigued by the flavor combination of chili aioli & jalapeno relish that is used in the sandwich. I also liked that you could request the sandwich to be “completely cool” or “daringly hot.” I decided to play it safe & just got the regular “medium” heat. This sandwich did not disappoint, as it was very flavorful.


Mendocino Farms is very kid-friendly. We were seated across from the chalkboard wall, where kids are encouraged to draw on while they wait. They also have a game table & a small kids-only table, perfect for those get-togethers after a play date!



The kids menu has several options. My daughter got a grilled cheese sandwich with a side of apple slices & a drink. Tip: the kid size portion is a half-sandwich, so if your child is a hearty eater, you may want to pick from the regular menu. Needless to say, a half-sandwich, side & drink for only $3.95 is a good deal.

Mendocino Farms opens this Thursday, October 10th. They are located on 14141 Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks. For a peak at their menu, click here. What sandwich or salad would you order? If you have been to a Mendocino Farms, did you eat happy? I’d love to read your comments in the section below!


Disclosure: I attended a pre-grand opening party where we received complimentary food & drinks. No compensation was received for this post & all opinions are my own.