Visiting Candytopia in Santa Monica with Kids

if you haven’t been to Candytopia in Santa Monica, California, you don’t want to miss your chance. it’s a candy dreamland with each room having a different theme with creations made of colorful candy. it’s a picture perfect place to get cool photos and experience awesome artwork made of nothing more than candy…of course. Candytopia runs through July 22nd at Santa Monica Place. after you visit, there are plenty of places to have lunch or dinner at, so it makes the perfect outing for kids and grown-ups alike.

i had the chance to visit Candytopia with the kids and we had the perfect time. all of them had there favorite rooms, and there was a lot of interactive exhibits to explore. we also received candy in a lot of the rooms, so they all got their sugar rush before the adventure was over. and Candytopia is all about taking photos, so you will want to bring your phone or camera and get all the awesome shots in each room.

there first room you enter, has a steam punk vibe and the staff of Candytopia are in full costume and character. they explain the rules, get everyone excited and send you off to explore the world of candy in Candytopia.  you are allowed to stay in each room as long as you would like, but once you leave and move forward to the next, you are not allowed to go back. so make sure you get all the pictures you need in each room before leaving.

then we entered the Candytopia art gallery where we got to see lots of famous paintings and sculptures made out of candy. there were also glass chandeliers hanging all over the room. we got our first candy treat and plenty of time to view each artwork and take lots of photos.

the next room was an under the sea adventure and you felt like you were under water in a candy ocean. there were fish sea creatures, and divers made of gummy bears and jelly beans, and there were even sharks to take your photo with.

other rooms included a giant wall of clouds, giant beach balls and optical illusions. we had so much fun taking photos that made us look like we were falling down a hole, and walking a candy tiger.

if you ever wondered what it feels like to surf with a shark or swing from the vines of a jungle, you can try that too at Candytopia.

little miss Dani Kat had the most fun in the Trolli Confetti room where she could throw confetti to her hearts content. there was a spinning platform, confetti flying everywhere, and even flying pig the had “confetti toots” to put it nicely.

the finale at Candytopia is a giant pool of marshmallows where you can jump in and be a part of a marshmallow Tsunami. you can bury yourself in marshmallows, jump into them, throw them, and make them pour from the ceiling. of course, don’t forget to get your picture in them. they are so much fun!

Candytopia was fun and a great way to spend a long summer day. you only need about an hour and a half to experience it. don’t forget to bring your camera, and leave valuables at home. if you can do away with a purse, i highly suggest only bringing the necessities so you can do the photo opps without having to worry about bringing stuff. also, there is no bathroom inside, so don’t forget about that. once you leave, they don’t let you back in.

if you ever dreamed of nibbling your way through Candyland or scoring a Golden Ticket, then Candytopia is the right place to go. treat yourself to Candytopia, and let your tastebuds and your imagination soar!

{Disclosure: We were invited guests of Candytopia. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. }

A Weekend Road trip to Los Angeles with Chevy

This is a sponsored post.

last month, Chevy invited our family to take a road trip anywhere we wanted in Southern California. i immediately knew that i wanted to head up to Los Angeles for a weekend of exploring and enjoying the LA sights and sounds. because, although it is only 30 miles north from Orange County…it can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours+ to get there. it makes me sad that it isn’t easier to get to L.A. on a more regular basis. so spending a weekend in Los Angeles was the perfect solution for some bulk L.A. adventures. PLUS…Chevy outfitted our family with a brand new Chevy Traverse to enjoy during the weekend to make our road trip a lot more comfortable. it had all the latest gadgets and gizmos, plenty of room for our family of six AND all our luggage, a stroller and baby gear.

let me tell you…the road trip was so much, and i wanted to share some of the great spots we visited. next time you are in L.A….be sure to check some of these out.

Universal Studios

we started our road trip at Universal Studios Hollywood. it’s one of my favorite Southern California amusement parks. it’s very family-friendly if your kids are over 42″. a baby makes it hard, but you can still find it enjoyable if you have little ones.

since we went during December, Universal Studios was decorated for the holidays. Grinchmas is a favorite of ours, and visiting Who-ville, meeting the Grinch, and playing with the Whos is a tradition we have done every year. Universal does a great job of creating a real-life Whoville. there are shows, treats, photo opportunities, crafts and character meet-and-great happening all day long during Grinchmas.

then we headed over to the Studio Tour which takes you through the backlot where they make movies and television shows. this is the boys absolute favorite thing to do at Universal Studios Hollywood (besides the Jurassic Park ride). it’s very nostalgic and has some great attractions along the way such as King Kong, Earthquake, and the Fast and Furious. you even get to wear 3-D glasses.

and Dani got to meet Marilyn Monroe!

we spent time in the park checking out Simpson Land and some of the stage shows, then headed to our most anticipated land – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. if you are a Harry Potter fan, then you definitely need to make a visit. you feel like you have been transported into Hogsmeade. you can visit all the stores, taste some Butterbeer (we recommend the frozen Butterbeer), and use your wand around the village to cast some spells. during the holidays, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is decorated for Christmas.

check out Hogwarts castle during the day. pretty spectacular! but during the holidays, it gets even more spectacular at night with Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. the iconic Hogwarts castle is transformed into a dazzling light projection spectacular.as the sunsets, a light show is play on the Hogwarts castle with themed graphics and magical music. it plays multiple times every evening and lasts about 10-15 minutes. it was FANTASTIC!!!!!

after the show, everyone was tired after a full day of fun. we headed to our hotel. we stayed at the Boulevard Hotel which is conveniently located near Universal Studios.

apparently, there have been many stars who have stayed here!

The Griddle Cafe

the next morning, we wanted to have a breakfast experience, and check out a Hollywood breakfast hotspot. we decided on The Griddle Cafe on Sunset Boulevard. they are know for their giant pancakes and french toast….and boy are the BIG!

you know you’ve picked a popular breakfast spot when there is a long line at 8 am on a weekend morning.

check out this menu! wow…it was super hard to choose what to get.

so we ordered A LOT!!! we decided on Cap’n Crunch Pancakes, Banananana Pancakes, Cream cheese french toast, hot chocolate, cheesy omelet with avocado and pico de gallo. YUM YUM and while we waited for our food to arrive, the boys had so much fun watching the fancy cars race down Sunset. i think they saw about twenty Lamborghinis. i highly recommend sitting outside if it’s a nice day.

woahhhhhh!!!!! you think we ordered enough?

at the end of breakfast, we had only made a tiny dent in our food. our eyes were way bigger than our stomachs. we definitely ordered way too much, but still…it was so so good.

after breakfast, we hopped into our Chevy Traverse, and took a drive down Melrose. if you are looking for cool art our wall murals, you will find a bunch on Melrose Avenue. the “street art” is amazing in Los Angeles, and the boys love to get their pictures taken with it. as we drove down Melrose, if someone saw something they liked, we stopped to take a picture.

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Ideas for a Family Trip to Hollywood

Ideas for Planning a Family Day Trip to Hollywood

now that Halloween is over (which i am very happy about), i am ready to get organized and start planning for the holidays. by planning for the holidays, i also am including the fact that i have holiday guests to entertain…as well as my kiddies who will have THREE WEEKS off of school. we always fall in a rut of not being able to agree on daily activities to do each day during the winter break. so this year i really want to plan some great day trips for my boys.

one thing i haven’t done yet is take them to L.A. to explore the historical sites of old Hollywood. we have driven past these landmarks, but haven’t taken the time to really enjoy them. i love visiting Los Angeles and the exciting vibe it brings, and i am really looking forward to this family trip to Hollywood.  we are going to visit some of the main tourist attractions which are located along Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angels.

here is what i am planning to do with the kids on our day of family fun in Hollywood…

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The Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a public sidewalk with embedded stars along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. the official address is You can enjoy this world-famous sidewalk with no admission fee or operating hours. You can meet your favorite star any time of your visit day and night. There are no tickets to purchase.

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Disney Soda Fountain at the El Capitan
the El Capitan Theater is were you can see Disney movies at their best….but it also has a Disney Store and a Soda Fountain. we will be stopping by to have a frozen treat since we LOVE Disney, and it is located right on Hollywood Boulevard near all the main Hollywood attractions.

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The Hollywood Sign
i really want a family picture in front of the Hollywood sign. since it is fenced off, you really can’t go and stand in front of it. i have been told that the best place to get a picture with it in the background is to drive up to the corner of Durand Drive and Mulholland Highway.

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The Hollywood Wax Museum
this is going to be our big attraction of the day. Hollywood Wax Museum is the longest-running wax museum in the United States and has been the most visited indoor attraction in Hollywood since 1965. it was the first wax museum to dedicate its entire show to Hollywood, celebrities and pop culture. i am excited to take the boys, they are going to love seeing how real the wax figures look. i also love that the Hollywood Wax Museum is designed for interaction. rather than walking by and just looking, we will be able to walk into the open sets and take photos with the figures. i was reading up on the museums latest exhibits on Facebook, and i am excited to check it out. it will be my first time going which is surprising since i have lived near L.A. my entire life.

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TCL Chinese Theatre
formerly known as Mann’s Chinese Theatre or Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is one of the most iconic movie theaters in the world. although we probably won’t have time to view a movie, we will be having fun checking out the famous handprints and footprint of old and present Hollywood stars. it has been quite a long time since the last time i have been there, so it will be exciting to be back.

lastly, for dinner, we are going to go to my favorite restaurant.

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TOI on Sunset.
its an eclectic little restaurant that serves delicious Thai food among fun and weird decor inspired by the history of Hollywood’s rock bands, movie stars and hit films. it is not located on Hollywood Boulevard like the rest of the places we will be checking out, but it’s on Sunset Boulevard which is really close. TOI’s unique and fascinating collection of artifacts captures an untold version of cultural art and culinary tradition with an atmosphere that honors the diverse combination of influences in the menu. the ambiance is rare and funky and reminds me of the days when i used to be an actor in L.A. it’s a place i try to go to whenever i am near it. i also love that TOI serves LA’s healthiest Thai food using all fresh veggies, no MSG or preservatives and the dishes are cooked fresh to order. my mouth is already watering, i can’t wait.

 

and those are my plans for our Hollywood day trip. i really hope that we will be able to fit all these attractions into our day, and hope my boys enjoy them as much as i do. this will be just one of the few fantastic day trips i hope to take during the next two months. i am especially excited for this one though.

{I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.}

 

 

Los Angeles Boat Show and Giveaway!

all aboard for family fun at the 2013 Los Angeles Boat Show! on shore and in-water, the 2013 Progressive Insurance Los Angeles Boat Show goes full throttle as it returns to the LA Convention Center.  it will debut its new in-water location at Burton W. Chace Park in Marina del Rey, February 7-10th, 2013. a perfect family outing, the West Coast’s premier boat show will showcase hundreds of boats, from entry-level family cruisers to million dollar yachts, plus thousands of the newest marine accessories and gear, daily educational seminars and fun for new and experienced boaters of all ages. Bring the kids, there’s something for everyone throughout the weekend!

at the Los Angeles Boat Show you can:
try stand up paddleboarding – an indoor pool inside the LA Convention Center will be set up for you to try it out.
• meet Nickelodeon’s “Dora the Explorer” – Special meet and greet Saturday and Sunday 12pm to 4pm with everyone’s favorite bilingual kid adventurer, Dora!
• celebrity appearances by Phil & Bob Soven – from MTV’s WakeBrothers
• visit the welcome to the Water Center — resources to help get started in boating
• take the Powerboat Docking Challenge — test you docking skills, steering a mini water-craft down a 20-ft. “lake” to the marina and into a slip.
• play with Radio Disney and the California Department of Boating and Waterways – learning to boat safely and responsibly with an interactive exhibit hosted by Radio Disney. lots of fun and games for the whole family!

wanna go? here’s the info….
Los Angeles Boat Show
LA Convention Center
1201 South Figueroa Street Los Angeles, CA 90015
tickets
$12 for adults
youth 15 and younger accompanied by an adult and active military with ID are FREE.
Visit www.LosAngelesBoatShow.com to purchase tickets and more information.