Sun Safety in Orange County

This is a sponsored of the reasons many of us choose to live in Orange County is because of the beautiful weather!!! we really are spoiled by the California sunshine. i would LOVE IT if we had warm sunny weather every day of the year here…and we almost do! but living in so much sunshine also has its risks. so i took the opportunity of speaking to Dr. Nathalie Nguyen M.D., a dermatologist of 15 years at the Mission Viejo Kaiser Permanente Orange County, and a SoCal native. she and i had a very informative talk about sun safety in Orange County.

first of all, did you know that since we live in Southern California, it’s recommended that you wear sunscreen every day of the year?!!!  Dr. Nathalie Nguyen reminded me that it’s almost always sunny enough to be wearing sunscreen all the time here in the OC. whenever we are outdoors, we should be wearing it. as a dermatologist practicing in Orange County, Dr. Nguyen sees a lot of skin issues caused by the sun, that is why she is so passionate about sunscreen use.

Sun Safety with Kids

although kids don’t get skin cancer during their adolescents, it is very important to start preventing it from the day they are born. hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen are important to use when outside.

we should be sending our kids to school EVERY DAY in sunscreen….especially if they have outdoor recess, or are outdoors at anytime. also if your children play outdoor sports – make sure to arm them with sunscreen. make sure to reapply every two hours….especially when playing water sports.

the sunscreen should contain zinc and titanium. Dr. Nguyen recommends Solbar sunscreen which she uses on her own children. for teenagers who worry about sunscreen leaving a coating of white, use a tinted sunscreen such as  EltaMD UV Physical sunscreen. don’t forget to apply sunscreen to the scalp, parts around pony tails, neck and ears if exposed. these are commonly neglected areas where sun damage is often found.

Sun Safety with Adults

you may not realize, but we parents who are constantly driving our kids all over town, are getting a ton of sun just sitting in our cars. yes…we should be wearing sunscreen all the time too, even when driving. plus we should also wear eyeglasses or sunglasses with UV coating or a wide-brimmed hat.

sunscreen can help prevent skin damage and skin cancers, plus fine lines on our faces. women should make sure their makeup has sunscreen in it, or apply sunscreen before applying. men need to make sure to coat their ears if exposed and any bald areas on their heads. wearing sunscreen is so important that Dr. Nguyen says that it doesn’t matter what kind you wear….just find something you like the feel and look of.

Checking Skin for Signs of Sun Damage

Dr. Nguyen sees lots of sun damage and sun spots on people – many and most are likely caused by the sun.

Melasma is a very common skin problem. it causes brown to gray-brown patches, usually on the face. most people tend get it on their cheeks, bridge of their nose, forehead, chin, and upper lip. it also can appear on other parts of the body that get lots of sun.

basal cell carcinoma is the most popular. she has found that patients are coming in with 5-6 positive results per week. when checking your skin for a basal cell carcinoma, it will most likely come in the form of  a small “pearly” bump that looks like a flesh-colored mole or a pimple…that doesn’t go away. these growths can also look dark, like shiny pink or red patches that are slightly scaly or a waxy, hard skin growth.

Squamous cell carcinomis an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells on the skin’s upper layers. they often look like scaly red patches, open sores, elevated growths with a central depression, or warts. these patches may crust or bleed.

the most serious type of skin cancer is Melonoma. it is directly related to sun exposure and occurs when the pigment-producing cells that give color to the skin become cancerous. symptoms might include a new, unusual growth or a change in an existing mole – a change in the size, shape, color, or feel of a mole. most have an uneven color, have a black or black-blue area, and are abnormal, or “ugly looking.” often the edges are ragged, blurred or irregular. Melanomas can occur anywhere on the body.

we Orange Countians…LOVE our sunshine.

we just need to take the proper precautions so that our skin is safe. i am so happy for information and reminders i received from Dr. Nguyen. i’m now on my way to stock up on sunscreen….she really couldn’t emphasize enough how important this is.

it’s important to check over you and your family’s skin on a regular basis and visit a dermotologist yearly. the great thing about Kaiser Permanente Orange County, is everything is under one roof. most Kaiser Permanente Orange County locations include pharmacy, lab, X-ray services and more. plus, there are locations throughout Orange County, as far north as Brea and as far south as San Juan Capistrano, including Tustin Ranch, Foothill Ranch and the new Radiation Oncology Center located at the Anaheim Medical Center. wow…this is the kind of service i look for in my healthcare.

if you have missed some of the other healthy living posts that  i have written, check them out here:

My Trip to the Kaiser Orange County Farmers Market
Tips for Having a Healthy Pregnancy
Our Family’s Visit Thrive Walk at the Orange County Great Park
Great Tips on Mens Health
Tips for Helping Families Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season
Remembering the Baby Milestones
Tips on Raising Boys

Update on my Curves Fitness Journey

Thank you Curves® International for sponsoring this post. Ready to get #CurvesStronglast month i wrote about how i started working out at Curves® gym for Women. i’d been in a rut due to work, moving and kids….mostly kids. mom life can be tough at times. i started going to Curves® so that i could finally start taking care of myself. it’s been ten months since the baby was born, and i was and still am ready to get my body back in shape once and for all. now that i have been working out for a few weeks, i wanted to pop-in and give you a little update on how things have been going.

i wish i could give you a miraculous story of how i lost 20 pounds and 4 sizes this past month,….but that is not the case. i actually don’t know if i have lost a lot of weight…probably not. but what i can tell you is that i am so much stronger! my balance has also improved and i am happier when i take the time to get a workout in. i feel like these improvements have made it possible to really start my fitness journey. i am ready to get this body started!!!

for me, getting to the gym is the biggest battle. once i am there…all my stress melts away, and i get to focus on myself. i have really enjoyed my time at the Curves®. the 30 minute workouts are perfect…they work great with my busy mom schedule. and if i have a little more time, i can add an extra rotation or two into the routine.

i have been enjoying the machines. like i mentioned in my initial post, Curves® is unlike any gym i’ve been to. the set 30-minute circuit training routine, and hydraulic workout machines make exercising the proper way really easy. you get really good workout doing this set routine, and as you get stronger, you can increase the intensity.

because of this, you can get a great workout at any level of fitness or age. if you are having an off day, you can go slower and the equipment is easier, if you want to have a hard workout, just go a little faster and the resistance increases. i can say i’ve gotten a good sweat every time i have gone….but so far, i have never gotten sore. the machines were designed to do this.

the photo is blurry….because i am working out! AND HAVING FUN.

it’s such a treat that you can get personal attention from fitness experts at no extra charge…anytime you need it. they’re there to help you reach your goals whether in weight-loss, strength training or balance. it really is a boutique gym…everyone is so sweet and nice. they remember your name, ask you if you need help, and give you pointers if needed. you feel like you belong and don’t have to worry about not fitting in.

i am definitely going to continue my fitness journey at Curves@. i have found it to be a great place to clear my mind and strengthen my body. i am going to take my workouts to the next level and add the meal plans that at Curves Complete provides. it’s a complete fitness plan – Fitness, with the 30-minute circuit that combines cardio and strength, meal plans that show you how to eat on any budget, and coaching that will help you keep on track. i gonna keep going and hopefully by this time next year, i will be a different me!

if you are interested in Curves, don’t forget that they are offering free month-long memberships to their gyms. for just $49 per month, you get access to all the equipment, the workouts, the fitness coaches…everything!


{This post was sponsored by Curves International but the content and opinions expressed here are all my own. }

100 Christmas and Holiday Family Events in Orange County

now that the Halloween season is over, i officially declare it holiday season here in Orange County. believe it or not, Christmas events are already beginning to pop up all around Southern California!  of course, i just had to compiled a list of over 100 Holiday Events in Orange County, including Christmas events, Hanukkah events and winter celebrations, it a tradition and a gift to all of my readers! i want you to be informed of all fun things happening this holiday season in the OC. all of the events on this list are family-friendly, and take place around the OC and Southern California this holiday season.

so it’s time to get your calendar out, pick the events that look the most fun for you and your family, and get ready to make this wonderful holiday season, one that your family will always remember! ( please be sure to check back here, as i will be adding more events to this list as they are announced. if you have an event you would like to include, please email or message me on Facebook.)

Santa Events
Breakfast with Santa
December 2 & 3, 2017  |  8:30 – 11:00 a.m.  | The Children’s Museum at La Habra
A time honored classic for Christmas, this morning at the Museum includes a continental breakfast of yummy treats, a colorful craft for each child, a classic photo with Santa Claus and free admission into the Museum! Don’t miss your chance to spend some quality family time together and greet Santa before he starts his busy schedule. Reservations are required for this event. For more information please call 562-383-4240 or email the Museum. Breakfast with Santa is an annual fundraising event sponsored by the Museum Guild. All proceeds benefit The Children’s Museum at La Habra. No refunds.

Pictures with Santa in the Gazebo
Weekends starting December 10-11, 2017 | 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.  | Rogers Gardens
Bring your children and take a professional photo with Santa Claus. Santa will be waiting to hear every child’s wish for this Christmas season. FREE

Milk and Cookies with Santa at Irvine Spectrum
Fridays in December  | 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  | Irvine Spectrum
Enjoy Cookies & Milk with Santa on Fridays in December from 11am – 12pm! Courtesy of Corner Bakery, while supplies last.

Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Train to Santa
December 1st – 23rd, 2017  | Irvine Park Railroad
take this enchanting night ride through historic Irvine Regional Park to meet Santa Claus. Christmas train will depart from the twinkling train station and drop passengers off at the North Pole. children can share their wishlist with Santa and have a photo taken with him.

Santa Arrival Parade in Anaheim
TBD  | 12:00 – 3:00 p.m.  | Anaheim Town Square
Real snow play area, photos with Santa, Kids Craft Activity, Face Painting, Balloon Artist, Train Rides and more! FREE

Visit & Photos with Santa
December 5, 12 & 21, 2017  |  9:30 – 11:30 a.m.  |  Pretend City
You better watch out, you better not cry…Santa Claus is coming to Pretend City! Join us as we meet jolly ‘ol Saint Nick, tell him our holiday wishes, and sit on his lap for a photo! You don’t want to miss out on this exclusive holiday happening at our museum! Don’t forget to bring a camera!

Operation Santa Event
December 16, 2017  |  9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  |  La Habra Community Center
Food and gift items collected for pre-qualified families in need are distributed. Kids and families can visit with Santa and play carnival-style games.

Yappy Howl-iday 2017
December 2, 2017  |  11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.  |  Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel
Santa Claus will make a special appearance for the Yappy Howl-iday Celebration. This festive gathering of canines and their companions provides Fido with the opportunity to be photographed with the “Big Dog” himself – Santa Claus. In keeping with the resort’s Season of Giving, guests are asked to bring unopened canned or dry dog food, treats or dog toys to be donated to an animal rescue organization. Proceeds support The Canine Companions Veterans Initiative. FREE

Yuletide Tea with Santa
November 25 – December 25, 2017 • Fri. Sat. Sun.  | 2 – 5:00 p.m.  | Pelican Hill Resort
The holidays are Santa’s cup of tea, and Pellican Hill would like you to join them in the Great Room Social Lounge for a modern twist on the time-honored tradition of gathering for afternoon tea. Sip contemporary blends featuring classic selections while you nosh on savory and sweet small bites. Tea-based cocktails and sparkling wines available à la carte.

Kris Kringle Story Time Mingle
November 25 – December 25, 2017 • Fri. Sat. Sun.  | 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.  | Pelican Hill Resort
Santa’s parking his sleigh and setting up shop in the Main Estate Lobby, where he’ll be reading stories, taking photos and delighting kids of all ages. Gather ‘round the gingerbread display for three story times at 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., and be sure to stick around during intermission to take photos and visit with jolly old St. Nick.

Breakfast with Santa at Downtown Disney
December 9, 10, 16, 17, 21, 22 & 23, 2017  |  8:00 – 11:00 a.m.  | Catal Restaurant in Downtown Disney
Join Santa and his elves at Catal Restaurant in Downtown Disney for a fun-filled, family event including a delectable family-style breakfast, activities for the children, carolers, elves, ice skating and the best part, Santa! The holidays come to life as soon as you walk through the door. Guests are greeted by Charles Dickens’ carolers and escorted to their tables by Santa’s helpers. Families will enjoy Catal’s customized breakfast menu and the children are entertained with tableside activities including building their own ornaments. Santa will make a grand entrance and his elves will take each table to visit him to share their “Christmas Wish List”.

Harley-Davidson CHOC Toy Drive Pick-Up
December 8, 2017  |  12:30 – 1:30 p.m.  |  Pretend City
Santa traded in his sleigh for a Harley! Stop by the museum today and watch the fleet of Harleys, including Santa, pick up new toys from Pretend City Children’s Museum! All the toys we collect in our toy drive will be taken to CHOC by Santa and the Harley crew! Help us collect toys through December 23! Bring a child’s toy valued at $5 or greater to receive 25% off general admission on the day of your visit.

Cookies and Stories with Mrs. Claus
December 2, 2017  |  10:30 – 11:30 a.m.  | The Children’s Museum at La Habra
Enjoy the magic of the season! Sweet Mrs. Claus is coming for a visit to read stories and share cookies with all of our visitors. Please call 562-383-4236 to reserve your spot.

Pet Photos with Santa
November 12 & December 10, 2017  | 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.  | Brea Mall
Bring your pet to pose with Santa. Find Santa in Center Court.

Pet Photos with Santa
December 10, 2017  | 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.  | Shops at Mission Viejo
Bring your pet to pose with Santa. Find Santa on the Lower Level near Nordstrom.

Pet Photos with Santa
December 2, 2017  | 9:00 – 12:00 p.m.  | Irvine Spectrum
Bring your fur babies to pose with Santa

• Fashion Island Santa Hours.
• MainPlace Mall Santa Hours
• Brea Mall Santa Hours
• The Shops at Mission Viejo Santa Hours
• Laguna Hills Mall Santa Hours
• Irvine Spectrum Santa Hours
Outlets of San Clemente Santa Hours

Holiday Light Displays in the OC
60+ Christmas Light Displays
• Nellie Gail Road in Laguna Hills
• Candy Cane Lane | El Corzo Street in Rancho Santa Margarita
• Birch Street in Brea
• Belquest Drive in Lake Forest

Read More…

Fall Cleaning Checklist and Free Printable

it’s Fall!!!!  and what does that mean? the weather is changing and the holidays are coming up. it’s time to get the house ready for the holidays. there are sure to be visitors and you want the house to be nice and tidy. plus, with winter on it’s way, there are ways to make your home be it’s best during this time of year. so i have partnered with some great companies to share a Fall Cleaning Checklist along with their products that will help you best complete your Fall Cleaning Checklist.

this Fall Cleaning Checklist has a bit of deep cleaning, bit of weather proofing and your normal daily tasks. use this free printable Fall Cleaning Checklist to keep you on task!  Click here for FREE Printable Fall Cleaning Checklist.

with all this cleaning, your fall should be sparkly clean and you will be ready for the holidays without all the hassle!

you are going to want to start your cleaning with these happy little Scrub Daddy Scour Daddy pads. aren’t they cute! unlike traditional scour pads, these happy little Scour Daddy pads maintain their shape under pressure. they also have a convenient loop for storage and drying, multiple colors for organizing, won’t cause scratching or odors.

keep your sponges tucked away in the sink with the Scrub Daddy Caddy. it’s dual suction cups adhere securely to any clean smooth surface in your home, it’s dishwasher safe and drains into your sink. you can even use him in your shower!


the weather is nice an crisp right now…it doesn’t get too cold during the winter. but you can help make your home even more comfortable, while saving money on energy bills with Duck® brand Roll-On® Window Kits. these window insulation kits are so simple to install…with a pre-taped edge for simple roll-on application, that requires no measuring and fits snugly to indoor window frames to provide an airtight seal that keep drafts away. to learn more about Duck® brand Roll-On® Window Kits and how to install, click here.

now onto the laundry. besides the mounds of laundry every parent deals with, you also got to get those beds ready for visitors. why not clean the drapes and couch blankets while you’re at it. Molly’s Suds Laundry Products are formulated with a “no compromise” attitude and only use the purest of ingredients. their products and suppliers meet stringent guidelines which allow us to be Certified Cruelty Free by Leaping Bunny. i am happy to say that their products and ingredients are Certified Vegan. something that you can feel great about using in your home. use this promo code for Molly’s Suds – SANDYBABBLE for  25% OFF ORDER (EXP 10/31/17) *cannot be combined w/ any other offers.

 I love sparkling clean floors. once the kids go to bed, you will find me in the kitchen. i like to clean up all the footprints and food left behind from the day.

with a baby that is crawling all over the place, it’s important to keep them free of dirt and grime. but wood is not always easy to clean. the O-Cedar ProMist Max Spray Mop helps with this. its double-sided mop head flips 180° and has a reusable microfiber mop head that is washable up to 100 times! i love that it is co-friendly and that you can use your own cleaning solution. i am very picky when it comes to my cleaners.  and since its mop head can cover 2.5x more surface area….it is definitely a quick and efficient cleaning tool. click here for some special offers.

if you have pets or even smelly kids LOL, you’re going to want to check out the next product. there is nothing more embarrassing than a stinky home. PowerOE – Odor Eliminating Spray and Cleaner + Odor Eliminators work almost immediately. they can be sprayed on sports equipment, lockers, bathrooms, garbage cans, pet areas…and also be used to pre-treat smelly clothes

what i love most about these odor eliminators are that they are dye-free and available in scents using natural essential oils or fragrance-free. they smell FRESH not perfumy like other odor eliminators i have uses. the PowerOE Cleaner + Odor Eliminator is powered by Thymol, nature’s defender and an alternative to bleach. free of harsh chemicals and solvents. use them as odor eliminators…can you believe they can also get ride of skunk smell AND smoke smell?!!!  they can! use promo code STP17 to receive 25% off PowerOE products.

finally, the last thing you want guest to see is a dirty shower with moldy grout. after a summer of fun, a shower has seen a lot of grime. if you have tile, then a Grout Gator can help you get clean grout again. it can cleans 2 to 8 grout lines at once with adjustable brush heads. each one can fit over tile from sizes from 2″ to 13″. plus the brush heads can be replaced. use promo code BB17 for 15% off of your purchase of a Grout Gator. pretty cool huh?!

it’s always fun getting ready for the holidays…even f it does involve cleaning. i love a clean home. it makes the stress fade away and give me a piece-of-mind to relax with my family and enjoy the evenings cuddled up together. i also don’t have to scramble when those unexpected guest drop in during the holidays. i hope this Fall Cleaning Checklist come in handy for you as much as it has for me!

Why We Love Knott’s Berry Farm Season Passes and GIVEAWAY!!!!!

knotts-season-passes-benefits if you have been a reader of Sandy Toes and Popsicles over the past ten years, then you know how much our family LOVES Knott’s Berry Farm. we love the convenience of easy parking and access to the parks, the. the main reason we are able to spend so much time at Knott’s are the Knott’s Berry Farm season passes. with them, we can go to all the events that are happen at Knott’s year round. we enjoy Knott’s so much, that i am trying to convince you that you also need to get annual passes for your family. did you know a Season Pass not only provides admission to Knott’s Berry Farm all year long, but ALSO include some cool perks? it’s true….there are even more perks to having a Season Pass beyond its great value (and no blackout dates)!!!! here are some of the reason you need a Knott’s Season Pass.

(continue reading to find an AWESOME giveaway!!!!)

Why We Love Knott’s

at Knott’s Berry Farm they call it Seasons of Fun because the offerings always change based on the season.

in spring, you can head to the Knott’s Boysenberry Festival, the best time for food at Knott’s! it’s ALL THINGS BOYSENBERRY – a salute to the birthplace of the Boysenberry. it’s a month-long food festival featuring boysenberry-inspired dishes that are both sweet and savory, plus lots of fun family-friendly entertainment.

summertime means a whole lot more fun at Knott’s!

first of all, the town of Calico comes to life with Knott’s Ghost Town Alive! and if you haven’t experienced it, you need to. you can make friends with the citizens, taking part in cowboy shenanigans, solve mysteries, capture the bad guys, play games and attend the Hoe Down at sun down. my kids love it so much we went over and over.

PLUS, don’t forget about Soak City. there is more fun in the sun for Gold Season Passholders at Knott’s. this year was the debut of seven new waterslides and a great restaurant….all a big hit. so you are going to want to upgrade to enjoy this side of the park. it’s the only waterpark of this size in Orange County and is a blast!!!! 

other happenings during summer is the 4th of July celebration fireworks on the Fourth of July, and Snoopy Show at the Charles Shultz Theater….and who knows what else Knott’s has planned!

fall is the season of Knott’s Spooky Farm, the park-wide, family friendly Halloween celebration that is not-so-scary.  kids can wear costumes, and the entire family can enjoy the Halloween happenings around the park – 

PLUS, Knott’s Scary Farm….which is not part of the Knott’s Season Pass, but can be purchased

as winter approaches, Santa Snoopy and dancing lights fill the park for Knott’s Merry Farm. this is my absolute favorite time of year at Knott’s. there are nightly snow falls, festive holiday shows, Snoopy on Ice show, carolers, the Christmas Village, Santa’s Christmas Cabin and more. Christmastime at Knott’s is quite charming and special. it has become a family tradition for ours each year.
Vann with Santa at Knott'sKnott's Berry Farm CarolersKnott's Berry Farm Snow and Glow

finally, you can countdown the final moments of the year and ring in the New Year At Knott’s Berry Farm with a spectacular midnight fireworks celebration.

Knott's New Years Eve Celebration

all this plus hundreds of special memories are included with your Knott’s Berry Farm season pass!

Discounts, Add-Ons and Benefits of Knott’s Season Passes

Season Passholders receive Season Pass Benefits. that means discounts on select merchandise and food and dining throughout the park…that includes the signature Knott’s jams and preserves. you also get discounts on hotel stays and Scary farm. one of the best things about being a Season Passholder is that you will receive exclusive opportunities to attend previews of the Seasons of Fun events.

you can also add a parking pass for only $65. i highly recommend also adding the All-Day Dining pass for $99 – this allows you lunch and dinner every time you visit during the year. and for just $29.99, you can get a Season Pass Drink Plan and refresh every visit in 2018 with unlimited drink refills for one low price.knotts-pass-discounts

don’t forget about early entry. during the summer and select days throughout the year, Season Passholders receive early entry into Knott’s Berry Farm – where the park is open exclusively to Passholders. you can be one of the first in line for your favorite rides! Gold Season Passholders also receive early entry to Knott’s Soak City on select days in the summer. pony-express-at-knottsso head over to the Knott’s website and check out the Knott’s Berry Farm season pass options. if you buy now, you can visit the park once in 2017, or if you renew, you get a bring-a-friend-ticket! there are a million reasons why our family LOVES our Knott’s passes, and we hope that your family also has a chance to enjoy Knott’s Season Passes. as much as my family does. maybe you will even see us at the park one day. make sure to say “hi” if you do!

Knott’s Season Pass Giveaway!!!!

Here is your chance to win (2) Knott’s Regular Season Passes. i will be picking two winners for this giveaway! yep, that is two winners that will be chosen at random. please enter below via rafflecopter. Contest ends November 30th at midnight. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

{ This is not a sponsored post. Knott’s has provided season passes for the giveaway. All thoughts and opinions are my own. }