Sunday, October 30, 2011

Brick-or-Treat Fun at @LEGOLAND_CA

What could be better than spending a day at LEGOLAND California? Why going dressed in your Halloween costume and walking down Brick-or-Treat Trail of course!

This is one of our newest Halloween traditions and quickly became our favorite. The park is decked out in all it's LEGO glory - with a Halloween twist led by the good witch Hubble Bubble.

From an over-sized LEGO Pumpkin and a Giant Ghost to the Candy Corn Scavenger Hunt and Brick-or-Treat Trails, this annual Halloween event has something for everyone.

LEGOLAND looks at Halloween from a child's perspective and brings all the creations of the tiny pieces of plastic to life. Great family fun at an unbeatable price ... only $25! Annual pass members are free as long as you are in the park before 5 p.m.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween #Zootacular at the OC Zoo

Did you know that animals like jack-o-lanterns as much as people do? Maybe even more since the animals' pumpkins are filled with special treats.

Wondering what I am talking about? Well, the Orange County Zoo is hosting the annual Halloween Zoo-tacular this Saturday, Oct. 29th.
Dylan and I recently had the opportunity to preview Zoo-tacular and you can find out all the details in the article I wrote for OC Moms.

Will you be attending Halloween Zoo-tacular this year?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Is the American Dream Still Alive?

What is the American Dream? Many would say it is the promise of the possibility of prosperity and success. I would tend to agree with that.

Being your own boss. Working from home. Owning your own business. This is another version of the American Dream. Many people have this and many more make the attempt to achieve this.

I spent 11 years as a Makeup Artist specializing in Bridal makeup. I helped brides look and feel beautiful on their special day. In 2008, I branded my own line of cosmetics and ran Shel Cosmetics for almost 4 years. This was my American Dream.

While I worked full time, I spent my off hours trying to get Shel Cosmetics off the ground. I managed to keep the business going while I worked full time and went to school full time. I am by no means trying to justify anything. Well, at least not to you - maybe a little to myself.

The past few months have been difficult and I have had some tough decisions to make. The weight I have felt looming over me is not good for me or my family. Not all businesses survive in this economy and I am wise enough to read the writing on the financial statements before it's too late.

Today I announced that Shel Cosmetics will be going out of business. This was a very difficult decision to make and one that comes with a heavy heart, yet at the same time I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I am proud of the businesses I have owned.

I will always be a Makeup Artist because I can create masterpieces with a little makeup and a makeup brush. I do not have to have a business card to tell me this.

There is no way to know unless you try ... I tried ... therefore, I did not fail. I succeeded.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Finding the Perfect Pumpkin

It's October so that means lots of visits to pumpkin patches. We are on a quest to find the perfect pumpkin.

Recently Dylan and I went to the ENC Fall Faire and Pumpkin Patch with a friend and her son. Walking through the trails of the ENC with the leaves crunching beneath our feet definitely put us in the mood for Fall. (Even though it was a warm day outside in Southern California)

First stop was the petting zoo so Dylan could get up close and personal with some furry friends. I think he has a magnet inside of him that draws him to animals no matter where we are.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Tough Decisions

Sometimes in life we come to a fork in the road. We may only have to choose to go right or left, but sometimes we have another option - to continue going straight ahead. The hard part is deciding which way to go.

(C) by

I have come to yet another fork in the road and something is telling me to go right instead of continuing on the path I have been going. The path that I have known. The path that is straight in front of me. This path is comfortable, I know it ... but I'm not getting what I want or need.

Letting things go that we love can be difficult. Sometimes downright painful. Letting go of something that I have put so much time and energy into is not an easy decision to make. However, other paths have presented themselves to me and I want to see what lies beyond the bend in the road. I want to see the forest through the trees and all the beauty it has to offer. For so long I have only seen the trees.

I have not failed, because to fail at something means that I didn't try. Didn't try to do my best. My focus needs to change now and that scares me, but as with everything I have done in my life, I have no regrets.

I believe I will take the path to the right and free up some space. Remove some of the trees that are keeping me from seeing the forest.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fill In The Blank Friday

So Happy Fall Has Arrived!
  1. Nothing says Fall like... a fresh baked pumpkin pie, butternut squash soup, and Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte!
  2. My favorite autumnal tradition is... The pumpkin patch of course!  And lighting the fall scented candles like pumpkin spice and spiced apple. The house smells amazing during the months of October and November.
  3. My favorite Fall treat is... hot apple cider and fresh baked pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.
  4. Fall makes me think of...changes because... as I watch the leaves change colors and the weather become cooler I change my wardrobe and my way of thinking. I tend to spend more time at home reflecting on what I have done over the year and what I will change for next year. 
  5. Autumn free form word association, GO!... gold, brown, merlot, falling leaves, crunchy, apple, pumpkin, turkey, costumes, brisk, boots, sweaters.
  6. My go-to outfit in the fall is... jeans, big sweater and my boots. 
  7. My favorite Fall holiday is (Halloween or Thanksgiving)... Definitely Halloween because I love decorating - and dressing up - and going to the pumpkin patch - and carving pumpkins with my son. I could go on forever. I'm not a huge Thanksgiving person because I really don't like turkey. I know weird. However, this year I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving too because Dylan and I will be spending it with my Dad in Northern California.
Share your random thoughts in the comments below 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Time to Reflect

The other day I was going through a box of old letters and pictures from high school.
Reflecting on lots of things and deciding what path I want my life to take next. I found this and thought I would share because I like it so much. Can't for the life of me remember where I got it from.

A woman should have ...

one old love she can imagine going back to ... and one who reminds her how far she has come.

 enough money within her control to move out and rent a place of her own even id she never wants to.

something perfect to wear if the employer or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour.

a youth she's content to leave behind ... a past juicy enough that she's looking forward to retelling it in her old age.

a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra ... one friend who always makes her laugh ... and one who lets her cry.

a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family ... eight matching plates, wineglasses with stems, and a recipe for a meal that will make her guests feel honored.

a feeling of control over her destiny.

Every woman should know ...

how to fall in love without losing herself ... how to quit a job, break up with a lover, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.

when to try harder ... and when to walk away.

that she can't change the length of her calves, the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents.

that her childhood may not have been perfect ... but it's over.

what she would and wouldn't do for love or more.

how to live alone ... even if she doesn't like it ... whom she can trust, whom she can't, and why she shouldn't take it personally.

where to go ... be it to her best friends kitchen table ... or a charming inn in the woods ... when her soul needs soothing.

what she can and can't accomplish in a day ... a month ... a year ...

So how did you do? I have 14 out of the 16 and I know 12 out the 19. Guess I need to work on knowing.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Our Day at Centennial Farm

This past weekend I decided to not work and spend some quality time with Dylan. Since funds are tight, I was looking for something fun to do that wouldn't cost a lot of money. The Orange County Register has a great listing on Saturdays called Cheap and Fun Things To Do Today in the OC so I took a look and saw Centennial Farm. We haven't been there in a long time, so I thought this would be the perfect thing for us to do. Dylan thought so too. We spent almost 2 hours here and spent no money. The perfect Saturday!

Centennial Farm is part of the Orange County Fairgrounds and many people don't know it's even there. This is a real working farm. School groups can come here and learn about what products come from the animals, watch and learn how to milk a cow, and see an amazing garden! The farm is open to the public at no cost, of course donations are always appreciated.

No farm is complete without a red barn!

Inside the barn we learned all about pigs and cows. What type of food we get from the animals and what kinds of products are made from the the animals. Did you know that crayons are made with byproducts from pigs? I sure didn't!
Everyone knows that dairy products come from cows, but Dylan found it interesting to see what parts of the cow different meat came from. He also learned about the various types of cows and how only certain cows are used for milk. I didn't have the heart to tell him where veal came from.
I don't like veal, so I  figured it was ok - since we won't be having veal anytime soon.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fill In The Blank Friday

Better Late Then Never, Right?
  1. The most selfless thing I've ever done was ... become a Mother. I don't think I ever understood just how selfless being a Mother was until I became one myself. Knowing that I am completely responsible for everything from feeding to clothing to tucking in at night. For the rest of my life, whatever I do will affect my child's life. 
  2. When it comes to working out ... I don't. Sorry, but it's just not a priority right now. I know it should be, but it's not. Yes, I could find the time if I really wanted to, but I would rather spend my spare moments doing something else.
  3. A woman should always ... have self-respect and know her self-worth.
  4. I wish I could from home and then I would ... be able to spend more time with my son. 
  5. A best friend is ... someone who will tell you look beautiful even though your eyes are puffy from crying all night, who will sit with you and eat ice cream from the container, who will answer your call at 2 a.m., and who will be there through thick and thin.
  6. I can't get enough of ... the ocean. I could sit and watch the waves crash all day long and the sound of waves crashing at night is pure bliss for me. 
  7. This weekend I am ... spending time with my son. Going to the ENC Fall Faire and Pumpkin Patch and catching up on reading my friends blogs.
Share your random thoughts in the comments below 

Handmade Treasures by @Roxannima

I'm a girl who likes pretty things. Shiny things. Unique things. A girl who loves jewelry. Everything from my hand-carved wooden ring to my diamond princess cut earrings.

I recently discovered etsy and I think I may soon become addicted to the Pretty. Shiny. Unique. jewelry I have found. One of my newest finds arrived in the mail today and I am already wearing it ... even though I'm not going anyplace tonight. I have had my eye on this necklace for about a month and finally broke down. I just had to have it for Halloween. Well, for the entire Fall season!

Roxanne is a talented artist who makes the most beautiful and unique necklaces. They are delicate and rustic at the same time. The necklace is so light that I forget I am even wearing it.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Family Halloween Traditions

Every now and then I find myself lost in time as I look through old pictures of my son. Where did the time go and how did he get so big, so fast? Holidays are one of the best times to reminisce for me because we have some family traditions that are fun to see in pictures.

During the month of October we visit Disneyland and pumpkin patches. And on Halloween we always take a picture of Dylan in front of the pumpkin statue at Grandma's house. It's fun to see how he has grown.

We also have many family Halloween traditions that we do at home. Decorating, baking, making crafts, and of course carving a pumpkin! Be sure to read about our family traditions over at OC Moms in my recent article and leave a comment after the article sharing your family Halloween traditions!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Do Your Kids Play?

A new school year has begun and we are finally getting back in the swing of things. Homework, packing lunches, nightly reading, and so on. And as this school year begins, I once again find myself contemplating how I can make this year better than last year.

The emails and papers coming home from Dylan's school about various after-school clubs and sports are well ... to be honest, a little overwhelming.

They all sound wonderful, but come with a price. Yes, the clubs and sports programs will cost me money - money that isn't really in my budget - but the other cost is much greater in my opinion.

The cost of my son's childhood.

He loves Cub Scouts and the after-school science program. He joined the science program last year and really got something out of it. I don't mind paying for this. The program meets right after school one day a week and lasts only one hour. It ends just in time for me to pick him up after I get off work.

So what about soccer, tennis, Spanish, keyboard, chess, art, music, and swimming? These are all excellent programs for children, but do children really need to participate in all of them? Many parents will sign their children up for multiple after-school programs. Who makes this decision?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - How Does This Make You Feel?

These pictures use to make me smile, but now they make me sad.
Stay tuned for the blog post explaining why my feelings have changed.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

ENC's Fall Faire and Pumpkin Patch

Are you looking for another way to spend some quality time with the family? Why not spend the day at the Environmental Nature Center Fall Faire and Pumpkin Patch?

Halloween is just the beginning of what I call the best time of the year ... the holidays! Everyone seems to be happier and I love the fall weather. Baking, decorating, and finding that perfect pumpkin with my son are what Halloween is all about.  Well, yes ... the candy too! but it's not as fun as it use to be because now when I tell Dylan he doesn't like a certain kind of candy he responds with YES I  DO!!
Oh well, it lasted a few years. :)

Read all about the Fall Faire & Pumpkin Patch in the article I wrote over at OCMoms.

I will be there this Sunday ... will you?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Blue Whale Trip with Aquarium of the Pacific aboard Harbor Breeze Cruises

Dylan and I recently had the opportunity to join Aquarium of the Pacific on a special Blue Whale Trip with world-renowned Blue Whale expert, John Calambokidis aboard Harbor Breeze Cruises. This was not an ordinary whale watching trip. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that required me missing work and Dylan missing school.

Anyone who knows Dylan, or reads this blog, knows how much he loves animals and learning about how to save the planet - one animal at a time.
Me, well I'm partial to marine animals. Specifically dolphins and whales. Many people don't know this, but many moons ago I majored in Marine Biology. Yes, this was my first choice of study ... until I realized how much math and science were involved, which have never been my strong point.

So tell me, how many people can say that they have seen a Blue Whale, the world's largest animal, up close and in person ... swimming wild and free in the ocean?

Photo courtesy of Aquarium of the Pacific, Kera Mathes
Well, you can add two more people to whatever that number may be because Dylan and I saw not one Blue Whale, but four Blue Whales!

The weather wasn't looking good - it was pouring down rain! By the time we arrived the rain and slowed to a light mist and things were looking good. Nothing was going to stop us from this adventure.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Little Mathematician

Sometimes Dylan just leaves me speechless because I don't remember being so excited about getting a "real" textbook, or about being able to bring the textbook home for homework. Seriously, sometimes I wonder where he gets it from ... everyone knows Math is not my favorite subject!


I really worry about what I'm going to do when he asks me for help with his math homework one day - and I won't be able to explain it to him because I will have no clue as to what he is doing!

Wordless Wednesday - Blue Whale Sighting

Seeing a Blue Whale for the very first time ...