19th Annual Reaching for the Cure Half Marathon, 10K, 5K & 1K

The 19th Annual Reaching for the Cure Half Marathon, 10K, 5K and Kids Run returns to Orange County this March 26th, 2017 at Irvine Valley College!

The event honors pediatric cancer warriors, patients, and survivors everywhere, and brings runners, walkers, fundraisers, sponsors, vendors and volunteers from all over Southern California together in an effort to Reach for the Cure!

After the race, there’s a finish line festival – fun for the whole family! The festival features exhibitors, food and musical entertainment, and the PCRF’s famous Kids Zone with petting zoo, bounce houses, obstacle courses, video trucks, face painting, attractions and more!

There’s still time to join in and help support the fight!

Adult Half Marathon – $80.00

Adult 10K Run – $40.00

Adult 5K Run – $39.00

Adult 5K Walk – $39.00

Child – 5K Run, 5K Walk (Untimed), 10K Run – $25.00

1K Kids Fun Run (Untimed) – $20.00

Virtual Participant – $20.00

Use Code MOMMYMANIA to receive 15% off all adult entries!

Click here to register!

Hope to see you there!

Have a High-tech Holiday with Santa HQ at Los Cerritos Center

Disclaimer: We were invited to check out the Santa HQ Welcome Party, a free event open to the public. We did receive a complimentary photo with the big guy as a thank you. No other compensation was received, and all thoughts and opinions are the author’s.

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Los Cerritos Center is bringing a special twist to your typical mall Santa. Everything is upgraded these days, why can’t Santa’s HQ be too? [Read more…]

How to Get the Most Fun for Your Money at the OC Fair! (Giveaway!)

The OC Fair is coming up in just a couple of weeks and it’s no secret that this is one of my absolute favorite things to do every Summer with my family. We haven’t missed a year since we started going when my oldest was little! I usually save up a little cash ahead of time so that we can thoroughly enjoy our visit without breaking the bank. You might be surprised at how much FREE and cheap fun the fair can offer! Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the post for an awesome giveaway too!

How to Save Money at the OC Fair! [Read more…]

A Regular Family Went to Au Fudge and This is What Happened

Earlier this week my family and I were invited to attend a special movie screening of the new Alvin and the Chipmunks movie in West Hollywood. Usually when someone invites me to drive to LA from South OC on weekday afternoon I have to give them a big nope. However, this screening was being held at the already infamous new Au Fudge restaurant. I had to go. (Disappointingly, we were not greeted at the door by chipmunks holding tiny muffins.)

Todd Williamson / Getty Images

What I knew about Au Fudge prior to going:
It is a restaurant.
It’s owned by Jessica Biel.
It may or may not serve fudge.
It is not for regular people like us.

Since this was a last-minute invite, my personal stylist was unavailable and I didn’t have time to book a driver. So, I dressed everyone in their one nice outfit, and we piled into the minivan. Luckily, it was recently cleaned inside and out, so when we pulled up to the (complimentary, thank god) valet, garbage didn’t fall out of the minivan when the doors were opened. (Yes that is a thing that actually happened to me once. Okay, more than once.)

We didn’t tell the kids where we were going, aside from the fact that it was in LA and it would be fun. So naturally, they thought of all kinds of way more fun places we could have been going. I just kept driving and let them set themselves up for eventual disappointment that was going to happen when we showed up at a restaurant and not a theme park.

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When we finally arrived, about 2 and a half hours from the time we left the house, my seven year old saw the sign out front and yelled “OH YEAH A FUDGE FACTORY.” Once again I had to lay down the disappointment and let him know that it was just a restaurant and that I wasn’t sure they even had any fudge.

The valet situation was a bit of a nightmare, and while we were stopped in the road, where the valet had signaled us to stop, two parking enforcement officers rushed over to ticket our crappy 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan, ignoring the rest of the cars that were also in the way. Thanks, WeHo Parking Enforcement, you’re real swell! Anyway, kudos to the valet who stepped in and took care of that.

Once we were inside, we pretended that we didn’t feel really out of place. We checked in for the event and the kids were herded into the “Creativity Room” which had been set up as a makeshift movie theater. Normally, for $15 an hour (less than most of the entrees on the menu) you can check your child in, and they can explore all kinds of creative outlets while you get a nice buzz going. Today, it was just a big room to watch a movie in.

Todd Williamson / Getty Images

Todd Williamson / Getty Images

I tried to get my kids settled down on the floor with their popcorn that was served in a fancy pink Au Fudge paper bag, but I was in the way as usual and one of the au pairs kindly suggested that I just leave the room and let her do her job. Okay, she didn’t say those exact words but I think it was implied. But, I wasn’t in the mood to argue, so I headed to the bar because I love free drinks.

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The bar menu is exactly what I expected. A lot of thought was put into the names and descriptions of each $14 drink. You can order the low-calorie, MILF cocktail, with the tagline, “This yummy mummy needs her juice.” Or grab a “Jessica Rabbit’s Rabbit,” or an “Old Fashioned Fawn.” I went for “Claude’s Tonic,” which is described only as “Beefeater Gin. Mixwell Dandelion Tonic. Magic.” I think the “magic” is the fact that it is so strong that you only need a couple of drinks to forget about how ridiculously out of place you feel.

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Two drinks in and I was feeling fantastic. I was brushing shoulders with some of the event’s celebrity guests. We talked about things like, where the bathroom was, and yes you can have that chair, and no I did not order that grilled cheese and soup, I’m not sure why the waiter placed it on the table next to me. I was fitting right in.

Whose grilled cheese is this anyway?!

Whose $16 grilled cheese is this anyway?!

Every so often, one of my kids would sneak out of the movie screening, or be walked out by an au pair when they wouldn’t sit still for five seconds. My kids not sitting still? Imagine that. Since the only way to get my kids to behave in public is to bribe them, we bought them all gum balls (they’re all natural!) and sent them back into the screening. I did peek in on them once or twice and it turns out they were getting talked to an awful lot.

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While the kids were getting scolded once again, the adults were enjoying passed apps. My expectations of the food were a bit low. I heard it was overpriced and mediocre. Perhaps they were just showing off for the event, but everything we tried was delicious. Tiny cheeseburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches cut into bars caprese salad on a toothpick, and the juiciest little chicken nuggets I’ve ever tasted. My husband said the sweet potato fries were the best he’s had in a long time. Suffice to say, we weren’t disappointed in the food we ate, but we also didn’t pay for it, so take that with a grain of salt.

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If you have older kids, they probably wouldn’t care about this place much at all. But, someone on the design team thought about that, and so they put some awesome arcade games in the back of the restaurant. In fact, my husband, the biggest kid of them all, spent most of the evening back there. There’s also a fortune telling game and a photo booth. Basically, if you are currently a teenager in the 1980’s, this is where you’d hang out when you visit Au Fudge.

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Au Fudge really loves itself. You’ll find the name of the restaurant all over the place. In the little market at the front of the restaurant, they sell Au Fudge tote bags, and even a book with the title.

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And guess what else I found in that little shop. A variety of actually reasonably priced treats including? Fudge. Now I had to tell my kid that I lied about them not even having it. Or, I could say nothing and hope he doesn’t notice. Spoiler alert: He didn’t notice.

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Aside from baked goods and refrigerated drinks, the little gift shop carried a random variety of other stuff. Products from celebrity BFF Jessica Alba’s Honest Company, candy, packaged snacks, Easter baskets, art kits, hats, dresses, and even jewelry that you can order off of the “Jewelry Menu.” That is a real thing that I did not make up.

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What is a “Dessert Necklace?”

Even the bathroom was thoughtfully decorated. Like a chic farmer’s market bathroom or something.

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Since we weren’t actual paying customers, I suppose we didn’t get the full Au Fudge experience. But here’s what I learned while we were there:

It is a restaurant.
It’s owned by Jessica Biel.
It does serve fudge.
It is not for regular people like us.

If you’re into having a whimsical restaurant experience where you can leave your kids unattended for a little while and escape the perils of being rich and slightly famous, OR you want to pay too much for lunch while possibly running into rich and slightly famous people, Au Fudge is the place to go. If you’re a regular mom like me, it’s a fun experience to try once. If you just want to drink and let your kids run around, go to Chuck-e-cheese. It’s cheaper.

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The 14th Annual Aquarium of the Pacific African-American Festival

The African-American Festival at Aquarium of the Pacific is back for it’s 14th year running. The weekend-long event celebrates the richness and diversity of African-American and African cultures. Guests will get to experience the sights and sounds of amazing African-American dance groups, musicians, drummers, and more.

Aquarium Dancers

Aside from the live performances, the festival will also feature cultural displays, handmade crafts, ethnic foods and storytelling. All the activities are included with festival admission. In between performances, take a stroll around the aquarium and enjoy the wonders of the Pacific Ocean.

Save on festival admission by using the coupon found on the flyer below! Or click here to show it from your phone!
Aquarium Flyer Click

For program times, head over to the Aquarium of the Pacific website.

The 14th Annual African-American Festival is open Saturday through Sunday, February 27-28, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and is included in regular admission prices. Admission is $28.95 for adults (12+), $25.95 for seniors (62+), and $14.95 for children (3-11). Admission is free for children under 3 and aquarium members.

Don’t forget to show THIS FLYER for $10 off regular adult admission!

For more information, directions, and tickets, visit the Aquarium of the Pacific website.

(All photos courtesy of the Aquarium of the Pacific)

Youth Theatre – The Hundred Dresses in Santa Monica

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Theatre is a great way to give children life lessons and experiences in a way that keeps them interested and captivated. Santa Monica’s Morgan-Wixson Theatre does this through their Youth Education/Entertainment Series. Also called Y.E.S., the series offers four youth productions each year and one full-length Youth Musical each November/ December; performances are on Saturdays and Sundays. Most Y.E.S. shows are selected to support national and local school reading lists.

Next in the series is The Hundred Dresses, a timeless tale about the power of words and finding the courage to stand up to others. Wanda Petronski just wants to join the fun of having friends like everyone else. But in 1930’s small town America, a Polish immigrant doesn’t easily fit in. When Maddie’s best friend Peggy starts to tease Wanda, Maddie knows it isn’t right. When the teasing doesn’t stop and the Petronskis move to get away from the town’s prejudices, Maddie is wracked with guilt. She soon realizes that allowing her friend to be a bully can be just as bad as acting that way herself. Determined not to let her fear get the best of her again, Maddie braves the scorn of her classmates and stands up to them, making an unlikely friend in the process.
The Hundred Dresses is showing Saturdays and Sundays at 11:00 am, January 30th through February 14th, 2016. Tickets are $12 for adults, and $10 for children 12 and under. For more information, visit www.morgan-wixson.org.

Deal alert: Print this coupon before you go for a FREE snack from the concession stand! Valid until 2/14/2016. 

Everything You Need to Know About Winter Fest 2015

(Disclosure: My family was offered free admission to this event to check it out. We were not required to share our thoughts, but I thought it might be helpful to share our experience with those who are on the fence about going.)

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Winter Fest opened last night, Friday December 18th with mixed reviews. I attended with my family and though at first I wasn’t sure what to expect, as the night unfolded we ended up having a really amazing time. If you’re still on the fence about going, here’s everything you need to know before you decide.

Admission

Tickets are priced different. Monday through Friday adults are $20 and children are $10, when bought online. On Saturday and Sunday the tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children. At the gate all tickets are $5 more.

Save more money by buying your tickets online in advance and use the promo code “REINDEER” for an extra $5 off each ticket.

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Activities

Here is what you get just for the price of admission:

  • Coupon for 1 free ride and 1 free carnival game
  • Unlimited ice tubing at Snow Summit (must be 42″ or taller)
  • Entry to one of two bounce house for kids
  • Reindeer viewing and feeding
  • Nightly Christmas tree lighting (5:30pm)
  • Intermittent snowfall (Check with a staff member for times)
  • A few simple Christmas themed crafts
  • Model train display
  • Photo opps (walk-through ornament, Christmas tree, cut-out photo stands, great decorations)
  • Daily and nightly entertainment throughout the event

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Here is what you have to pay extra for:

  • Unlimited ride wristband ($20 when purchased online)
  • Ride tickets (if you don’t do the wristband)
  • Carnival Games
  • Pictures with Santa
  • Face Painting
  • Caricatures
  • Ice Skating ($15 per person, plus $5 for skate assistance if needed)
  • Snow Summit fast pass ($10)
  • Food and drink

Food

There are limited food options at the event. I counted eight food (not dessert) stands, five or six dessert/snack places and one sit-down restaurant. I am not sure their stance on bringing in your own food and drink, but it might be worth looking into if you’d like to keep the cost down. You can also show your same-day Winter Fest tickets at The Triangle for some awesome freebies, so you might want to consider eating there. More info on that here.

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The types of food I noticed were pizza, chicken wings, chicken fingers, corn dogs, BBQ, tacos/nachos, and rice bowls.

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The sit-down restaurant is a fun ski lodge theme, and a great choice for a family meal.

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Desserts were ice cream, candied nuts, various cookies, cupcakes and cake pops, cotton candy, kettle corn and more.

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Nightly Snowfall

The nightly snowfall is to the left of The Hangar building as you’re facing it, and to the right of the Rice Bowls stand. The snow comes on intermittently throughout the night, and also during the Christmas Tree lighting. Be sure to stand on that side of the tree during the ceremony to be close to the snow.

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Time and Money Spent

I’ve had a lot of people ask me if it’s “worth it” to go. Here’s my time and money breakdown, and I’ll leave it to you to decide the value of a nice night out. Parking is $7 – cash only. For the average-sized family, I would give yourself around four hours to experience the event. It was not crowded on the night we went, but between the carnival rides and games, Snow Summit, reindeer feeding, bounce houses, model trains, crafts, and eating dinner, it took around that much time to experience everything. We could have kept on riding down Snow Summit, but it was getting late. If you buy the discounted online admission for a weeknight, it’s only $40 for two adults and two children over the age of 4. I recommend the unlimited ride wristbands for the kids ($20 each), and if you have a few snacks and drinks there, expect to pay around $120 total for a fun evening with your family. If you decide to ice skate, have some beers, or get a pic with Santa, you’ll have to add a little more to your budget.

Personally, we had the most fun tubing and riding the carnival rides. It felt like a smaller and more intimate version of the fair to me, and I really liked that it wasn’t crowded. For families with very small children I am not sure it would be the best event for you, but if you have kids between 5 and 10 years old, I think you would really enjoy a night (or day) at Winter Fest OC. The biggest complaint I’ve heard was the cost, but I think it’s possible to enjoy the event without spending too much as long as you’re prepared!

 

Does Winter Fest OC sound like something your family will experience this year? Did you already visit? What did you think?

 

 

Winter Fest Freebies at The Triangle in Costa Mesa!

Are you planning on going to Winter Fest? The Triangle has some fun freebies to make an exciting day out even more fun!

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Before or after your visit to the snowy fun, show your same-day Winter Fest tickets at the following spots in The Triangle for your freebies!

  • Creamistry: ticket holders can receive 10% off an ice cream order, or one free topping.
  • H2O Sushi & Izakaya: one complimentary appetizer per party, with a purchase of $20 or more.
  • La Vida Cantina: enjoy one complimentary appetizer or dessert per table, excluding seafood appetizers.
  • Saddle Ranch Chop House: ticket holders can receive one complimentary Cotton Candy Tower dessert and a complimentary bull ride with any purchase (one each per table)
  • Tavern + Bowl: receive a free shoe rental and/or a complimentary appetizer with the purchase of an entrée when you show same-day Winter Fest tickets

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The Triangle is located in the heart of Costa Mesa, just moments from the OC Fair & Events Center. The 200,000 square foot lifestyle center offers popular dining, entertainment and services, including a convenient car wash on the first level of the parking structure. The Triangle is conveniently located at the end of the 55 Freeway, where Newport Blvd., Harbor Blvd. and 19th Street intersect. The center offers seven levels of free parking, as well as a Valet on the first level near Tavern + Bowl. For more information on The Triangle, follow them on Facebook or visit their website!

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Winter Fest is Coming to the OC Fair & Event Center

Winter is coming to the OC Fair & Event Center! Absolute Event Solutions (AES) is bringing something new and different to the OC with an all-new holiday spectacular, Winter Fest. The inaugural event will be a whimsical winter wonderland for Southern California residents that features unlimited ice tubing, the world’s largest walk-through ornament, festive entertainment, ice skating, VIP rink-side cabanas, live reindeer, a nightly Christmas tree lighting ceremony with snowfall, seasonal-themed eateries, libations, a carnival and much more.

Winter Fest will begin each morning with a snow-capped opening moment led by resident master magician, Jimmy H.  The fun and entertaining Chainsaw Chicks will also be at Winter Fest, carving out fantastic ice sculptures while engaging the crowd with their unbridled charm. Additional live entertainment includes local bands, strolling carolers, and performances by community organizations from around Orange County.

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Worried about the weather? Many of the Winter Fest attractions are inside buildings throughout the fairgrounds, so they can be enjoyed even in the rain!

In the Winter Fest Promenade, enjoy a variety of food and beverage options in a holiday atmosphere. Family-friendly dining will also be available in the Slippery Slope Ski Lodge (known as Baja Blues Restaurant during the OC Fair), featuring a ski-lodge vibe with holiday-themed cuisine and drinks, mountain décor, nightly live entertainment, and staff decked out in ski gear.

At the end of the Winter Fest Promenade stands a 30-foot Christmas tree, where you can gather around sundown at 5:30 p.m. for a heartwarming tree lighting ceremony with snowfall. Near the beautiful Christmas tree will be two of Santa’s reindeer, available for viewing and feeding!

Adults will love the Mistletoe Lounge, which will be offering holiday-themed cocktails, international craft beers, and comfortable seating amid the holiday décor and entertainment of the Winter Fest Promenade.

Tickets for Winter Fest for Monday through Friday start at only $10 online, $15 onsite for children age 4 – 11, and $20 online, $25 onsite for adults. Ticket Prices Saturday and Sunday are $15 online, $20 onsite for children age 4 – 11, and $25 online, $30 onsite for adults.  Children 3 and under are free.  Purchasing tickets online is highly encouraged to not only save money but also ensure the desired event date is not sold out.

Ticket prices include admission to event, plus the following activities:

  • Unlimited ice tubing down Snowflake Summit
  • One complimentary carnival ride
  • One complimentary carnival game
  • Entry to bounce houses for kids
  • Reindeer viewing and feeding
  • Access to the world’s largest walk-through ornament
  • Nightly Christmas tree lighting ceremony with snowfall
  • Craft making and games for kids
  • Daily & nightly entertainment

Not included in admission, but available to purchase onsite for $15 per person, is access to the 6,000 square foot ice skating rink inside the Hangar building! Beloved holiday films will be projected onto a theater-sized screen in the background of the rink for skaters to enjoy as they glide across the ice. Santa has even transported several sleighs from his collection to the Hangar building, and they will be on display for the first time ever at Winter Fest.

Elegant rink-side VIP cabanas will also be available for only $99 per session while they last, and accommodate 2 – 10 people but can adapt to fit parties of up to 100. The VIP cabanas offer exclusive menus with seasonally inspired food, cocktails, a private ice rink entrance and private servers. VIP cabanas are perfect for groups, parties, or a date with a loved one.

Can’t get enough winter fun? Adult season passes for unlimited admission into to all 17 days and nights of Winter Fest are available for $45 advance and online (limited supply); children’s season passes (ages 4-11) are available for $25 advance and online (limited supply).

For more information on Winter Fest and to purchase tickets, visit www.WinterFestOC.com.

 

Holidays are Jolly at Aquarium of the Pacific Holiday Treats Festival

The Aquarium of the Pacific has another great event coming up this weekend! The animals at the aquarium get to celebrate Christmas early as Santa dons a SCUBA suit to drop off treats for everyone! Santa will be visiting penguins, sea otters, seals, sea lions, birds, fish, and even swimming with sharks this weekend, December 5th and 6th at the Holiday Treats festival!

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The animals are not the only ones celebrating, though! Families in attendance can meet and greet penguins up close, see Santa Diver in action, and take photos with Santa in his traditional attire as well as with some holiday costumed characters.

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The festival will also feature Hanukkah storytelling and dreidel activities, holiday music, crafts, shopping, gingerbread house displays and more! To top it all off, snow will fall in the Aquarium’s Great Hall and guests can enjoy a snow play area on the front lawn (weather dependent).

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The Aquarium Holidays celebration will continue through December 24 with snow falls in the Great Hall, Santa Diver, and character appearances daily and music, penguin walks, visits from Santa, and the snow play area on weekends

For program times, head over to the Aquarium Holidays website.

The Holiday Treats Festival is open Saturday through Sunday, December 5th and 6th, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and is included in regular admission prices. Admission is $28.95 for adults (12+), $25.95 for seniors (62+), and $14.95 for children (3-11). Admission is free for children under 3 and aquarium members.

Don’t forget to show THIS FLYER for a free child admission with a paid adult!

For more information, directions, and tickets, visit the Aquarium of the Pacific website.

(All photos courtesy of the Aquarium of the Pacific)