Hotel Review: Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel

Grand, but Used to Be Grander

Grizzly PeakAs an avid Disney fan, I take vacations to the Disneyland resort often. For the past couple of years I began booking my stays exclusively at the Disneyland Hotel, because I love their newly renovated pool area. This year I decided to give my once favorite hotel another try. Growing up, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa was the place we visited when we were celebrating something really special. It’s the more expensive resort out of the three on the Disney property, the third being Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel.

The Grand Californian is a beautiful hotel, with a woodsy northern Californian feel. The lobby is a sight to be scene with high ceilings, a large stone fireplace, and cozy furniture. The pool area features three different large pools, a child’s play pool, and water slide. Restaurants on the property include the Napa Rose (award winning), Storyteller Cafe, and a casual fast service restaurant by the pool area. The Mandara Spa located on the hotel property is the only spa within the Disneyland resort. It is a full service spa offering massages, facials, nail treatments, and beauty services (hair and makeup).

For years we looked forward to our stays at the hotel. The concierge service offered free snacks, small dishes, alcoholic beverages, and sodas. It was a concierge service well worth the money. We also enjoyed the proximity to the parks. The Grand Californian is the only hotel located right next to the parks. You can enter CA Adventure Park and Downtown Disney from the hotel. Disneyland is also just a few feet away. The hotel offers rooms with premium views, those being of Downtown Disney, CA Adventure park, or the pool area. A non premium view is a view of the courtyards, featuring some very tall pine trees.

While the Grand Californian was once my favorite Disneyland Resort hotel, it’s lost some of the magic it once held. This past March I planned a trip to the hotel, booking my stay way in advance and requesting a premium view. In my notes to the Disney booking agent I requested a park view. For those who don’t know the hotel well, there is a part of the hotel which faces Grizzly Peak, a key feature of the CA Adventure Park. I had always wanted to stay in one of these rooms, and made my request to the booking agent. When it came time to check in, I reminded the front desk person that we had requested this room type, and paid for a premium room. We also paid the $250 a day upgrade charge for concierge service. Instead of the room I requested we were provided with a partial view of the pool, no Grizzly Peak or park view for that matter. I called down to the front desk, and we were shown another room, but this room was located farther from Grizzly Peak with a partial view of the attraction.

At this point I gave up trying, and accepted that for this trip my Disney dreams wouldn’t come true. I did however go down to the lobby, and spoke with a front desk staff member. I asked what I needed to do in order to secure a premium view, he told me the following:

1) Book in advance

2) Do not upgrade to concierge service

3) Specifically request the view you want

4) Accept that they can’t please everyone, and there are very few rooms with close up views of the park

It sounds strange that upgrading and paying an additional fee for concierge service would prevent you from securing a great view, but he assured me this was the case. They only have a few rooms that are designated for the concierge service, and these do not feature the amazing views you might want. Later, after experiencing what had happened to the concierge service, I regretted my decision to upgrade even more. What was once a great deal, free food and beverages, was now cut back to a tea service. You can still enjoy some snacks and tea sandwiches, but the Disneyland Hotel now offers the better Concierge service.

Besides the downgrading of the concierge service, the pool area also requires a remodel. With the newly renovated pool area of the Disneyland hotel, the Grand Californian’s pool area now looks far from “grand”. The water slide has lost it’s magic, requiring riders to use their hands and bodies to help guide them to the bottom. It may be the hotel’s way of conserving water, but the thrill of the ride has been lost. If you’re looking for a great pool experience stay at The Disneyland Hotel instead. Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel also offers a great water slide, although the pool area is quite smaller.

During our stay we dined at the Napa Rose restaurant. Our waiter was very pleasant, and the service was great. The food was delicious, but do expect to pay more. The interesting moment of the night came when we were evacuated from the restaurant due to a fire alarm. We were escorted out of the resort into the CA Adventure park as we waited for the hotel to be checked out for flames. Once the issue was resolved we were allowed back into the restaurant. Our waiter served us two desserts of our choice for free to apologize for the escapade. It was an overall enjoyable experience, even with our own California adventure.

My stay wasn’t overall a bad experience. The hotel is still wonderfully imaginative. The pool area is still luxurious. You will enjoy the very comfortable lounge chairs where you can relax, and take a dip in the salt water pool. The rooms are very clean, and the amazing attention to detail transports you to Northern California. The proximity to the park is a definite bonus, with the ability to enter the park early on certain days.

Here are some pictures from our trip:

Have you stayed at Disney’s Grand Californian hotel? Tell us what you thought of the resort. Was this review helpful? Let us know int he comment section below.

Get Sexy Beach Hair Now

beach sexy hairGrowing up as a California girl, I hit the beach hard and often. With fine/thin hair, it was always hard to achieve a full bodied look, but not after hitting the waves. My hair always looked it’s best after being washed with the salt of the sea and air drying. Whats a girl to do when she can’t hit the beach? You can’t exactly be expected to take a dunk in the ocean before an event or date night.

I’ve tried many different products to add volume to and thicken my hair, but none have ever worked. Teasing works to a degree, but it can leave your hair looking frizzy and/or uneven. Then one day when I was using my H2O Sea Salt Body Gloss I thought, “Hey there’s sea salt in this, I wonder if it will have the same effect as ocean water on hair.”

I sprayed my hands with the sea salt body gloss, rubbed my hands together then ran them through my hair. The gloss gave my hair shine, and the sea salt gave my hair body. What’s better than a spray that has one good use? A spray that has two great uses. If you read my blog Summer Hot Buys you know that the H2O Sea Salt Body Gloss works great, moisturizing the skin and providing a sexy sheen.

At just $15 this product  is totally worth the cost. Get yours here today! Let us know your secrets to beach sexy hair in the comment section below.

Positive or Positively Jealous

jealousyAs a girl chances are you have a variety of friends. There is the friend who’s more like a sister, the one who inspires you, the one who’s fun to party with, and unfortunately one who’s competitive. Sometimes a little competition is good for us. It motivates us to workout, eat healthier, work harder, and/or live better. Other times a competitive friendship is unhealthy.

When a Competitive Friendship Turns Unhealthy

If the competition is one-sided it’s often due to jealousy. One friend becomes jealous of the other for one reason or another. Unfortunately anything can spark jealousy: a new job, a good relationship, a beautiful home, success, beauty, the list goes on. Normally we’re happy when positive things happen for our friends, but a jealous friend only sees a list of things they can be envious of. Instead of looking for ways to congratulate you, they’ll think of ways to undermine, get what you have, or one up you.

How do I fix a friendship with a jealous friend?

If you have been friends with someone for years, ending a friendship can be heart breaking. Before ending a friendship, try to figure out how you can mend what has been broken. Consider why your friend may be acting jealous. Has she been struggling to find employment for months, while you just scored an amazing opportunity without even looking? Is she struggling with weight problems, while you are able to eat whatever you want and stay thin?

There are certain things we can change in live, but others like metabolism, we can’t. You should be able to enjoy your successes and your joy with your closest friends, not be afraid they’ll turn it into a competition. If a friend can no longer be supportive it’s time to reconsider the terms of your friendship.

How to Restructure a Friendship

Sometimes you just need to distance yourself while your friend works out their issues. If you’ve been there for your friend, but the jealousy and negativity remain, there’s nothing left for you to do but take some time away. If you used to speak every day, try only talking once or twice a week. If you hung out every week, try seeing them once a month or at special occasions.

Try letting your friend know how you feel, let them know that you’ve reached a point where you’re considering ending your friendship. This might not go over well at first, but over time a good friend will be able to recognize their mistakes. Be patient with your friend, especially if their jealousy has been sparked by hard times.

If your friend is just jealous by nature, and has never been able to happy for you, it’s time to say goodbye. The older we get the less time and patience we have for people who can’t contribute positivity to our lives.

We never want to end a friendship, but sometimes it’s what has to be done. Let us know how you’ve dealt with jealous friends in the past.

Fashionably Charming At The Office

A girl’s got to look professional at the office, but that doesn’t mean she can’t also look stylish or even cute. While work can be stressful, fashion is fun. The right outfit can give you a reason to get excited about heading to the office. Whether you call them button ups or collared shirts, I fell in love with them this season.

Express came out with a wide variety of prints, just enough to empty my bank account.  My favorite of the large batch of shirts I purchased,  is this white and black one. I paired it with a bell shaped skirt I also purchased at Express, and shoes from Aldo.

Looking to purchase a similar look? Sign up to receive offers from They’re always sending great offers like 60% off site and store-wide. You can also sign up for their membership program, Express Next, which allows you to earn points redeemable for coupons worth up to $25 off a single purchase.


How do you like to dress for the office?

express skirtexpress skirt

My Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s day is what you make of it. Whether you are single or in a relationship, you can enjoy February 14th, instead of dreading it. Some of my best Valentine’s Days were spent with my best girl friends. Now that I’m in the right relationship, the special holiday provides us with a way to show each other how much we appreciate having one another.

This year we spent the night having dinner at the Smoke House in Burbank, then watching Robo Cop of all things. A romantic movie? Not necessarily, but fun nonetheless. We watched the remake of the 80’s classic at the MGN Five Star Cinema in Glendale. The new luxury theater is one of our favorite spots, due in part to the reclining chairs, and clear picture quality. Wait staff also serve both drinks and food. I will warn that the food isn’t exactly up to par with theaters like Ipic, but the menu beats out AMC dine in theaters.

Looking to give MGN Five Star Cinemas a try? Click here to search movie times, and/or purchase your tickets.

Here are some pictures from my Valentine’s Day 2014

Here at we hope that you enjoyed your Valentine’s Day, and want to hear from you. Let us know how you spent your Valentine’s Day below.

How to Get a 5 Star Hotel Stay for Less

Hyatt Regency Palm DesertFriends always ask me how I’m able to travel so much.  Last year I took 15 vacations, and stayed at hotels like the Miramonte in Palm Desert, and the Encore in Las Vegas.  I’ve always loved to travel, but also have always been on a budget.  I use a variety of tips and tricks to get the best room for the least amount of money, but recently my favorite tools has been Priceline.

Priceline’s “Name Your Own Price” tool has allowed me to get great rooms for less.  It’s simple, easy to use, and the process takes no longer than booking a trip the normal way.  The “Name Your Own Price” tool isn’t for everyone.  If you have your heart set on staying at a certain resort, this tool isn’t for you.  However, if you are simply looking for a certain star rating or amenities, you’re set.

Pro                                                                                                             Con

You get a great room for a lower price.                                       You don’t find out where you will stay until after payment has been made.

I stayed at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells pictured below for just $90 a night.  That price was a %54 savings over what other travelers paid even with the help of travel sites.

How does it work?

It’s simple.  Visit, and fill out your travel information as normal.  Include your destination, check in and check out dates, number of rooms, click submit, and let the negotiator do his thing.  A results page will be generated listing deals on hotels in the area.  Two additional tabs appear.  You can choose the “Name Your Own Price” tool or the “Express Deals” page.  I prefer to name my own price, because you can often get better deals by going lower than the average rate.

Once your on the right page, you will be asked to select a specific region in the location you selected.  For example, if you are looking for a room in Las Vegas, it will ask you to select if you are interested in hotels located North of the Strip, South, near the convention center, etc.  This helps Priceline get you closer to the attractions you want to be near.  After selected the exact region, you will be asked to pick a star rating.  By selected a star rating, you are choosing to be shown only hotels with that rating or higher. Once you’ve completed those details, you will be asked to name your own price.  Priceline will provide you with the median price for that star rating.  When naming my price I always choose an amount well below the median price.  Remember the median price is generated by taking the highest price and subtracting the lowest price.  It doesn’t mean that a hotel won’t go lower.

When you have a price in mind, click “preview offer” and continue. You will be asked to enter your credit card information.  Once you have confirmed everything, you will be redirected to the confirmation page.  It is on this page where you will find out the name of the hotel.

Worried about the type of room you’ll get? You can always upgrade at check in.  Often times there are empty rooms when you check in.  When checking in ask the agent if there are any free upgrades available.  If there are any rooms with a view, and so on.  If not they will always allow you to upgrade for a certain amount.  You can also use the name your own price tool for rental cars and flights.

Will you try the “Name Your Own Price” tool? Let us know!

5 New Year’s Resolutions You CAN Keep


Every year we make resolutions we can’t keep, then punish ourselves with weeks of guilt for failing at our new year’s goals.  Avoid the guilt this year by making resolutions you CAN actually keep.

Make these easy to follow resolutions that will improve your health, and the way you feel every day.

1) Sleep More

Did you know that those who sleep more also weigh less? It’s not that far-fetched of an idea if you think about it.  The more time you spend sleeping, the less time you spend eating! Also, those who sleep more have lower levels of stress.  Sleeping also helps reduce bags under your eyes.

2) Eat More Peppers

Peppers, specifically pickled peppers, burn fat.  Eating spicy foods twice a day can help you burn more calories every day.  By resolving to make dietary changes, instead of straight losing weight, you won’t feel guilty if you don’t reach a particular number.

3) Incorporate Activity

Making a resolution to exercise or hit the gym can be hard to accomplish when you work full time, have children, or both.  While doing an hour of cardio or getting a personal trainer may be out of the question, you can resolve to incorporate some activity into your daily routine.  Whether you go far a short walk when you get home each night or during your lunch break, or do a short workout video at home, getting active will give you more energy and counter some of the calories you intake each day.

4) Eat Less Sodium

We aren’t really aware of how much sodium we really do eat, and how incredibly bad it is for us.  Many Americans will turn to processed bars, snack bags, and frozen meals to help them reach their weight loss goals this year.  Unfortunately these diet side kicks offer up way more sodium than recommended. You can lose weight without the added sodium.  Instead of a frozen meal try a tasty salad, mixed vegetables, fresh protein, or a fruit salad.

5) Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself

Finally, don’t spend your year feeling bad about yourself.  Women spend too much time wishing for better bodies, punishing themselves for not having it, and worrying about how others see them.  It’s your life, and you only get to live it once.  This year resolve to enjoy your year.  Eat the foods you love in moderation.  Resolve to travel, see, and experience new things.  Take the time you would spend envying other people for their looks, and become someone others can envy for being you.

Happy New Year to all my readers!

Mini Reindeer Cakes

Looking for a festive sweet treat to bake for your Christmas guests? Look no further then this blog entry!


Cake pops will be the death of me, I am sure of it.  Every year at Christmas time my mom asks me to bake something for her office party.  She hates/can’t cook, and she’ll be the first to admit it.  I have been obsessed with mastering the cake pop, so I thought I would try again.  I used a different recipe this time, and still they didn’t come out like the perfect pops I see at stores.

I couldn’t send my mom to work with those disasters, so I had to think on my feet.  I used the batter to create these cookie shaped cakes, and decorated them with this awesome kit.  Making the cakes takes no time at all, and is much simpler than attempted those damn cake pops!


Any Cake Mix (I used devil’s food cake)

Pudding Mix (Match the flavor of the mix to the flavor of the cake. I used chocolate cake mix, and chocolate pudding mix)

3 Large Eggs


Vegetable Oil

Baking Spray

Cake Decorating Kit


Your cake mix box will provide you with instructions.  It will tell you to use water.  Replace the water with half the amount of milk.  If the box instructs you to use 2 cups of water, you would use 1 cup of milk instead.  Once the wet ingredients have been whisked together, add the cake mix.  Do not over stir the cake batter, simply make sure that all ingredients are wet.  Next, add the pudding mix and stir together until wet.

Take a wide cup, and place a plastic ziplock bag inside of the cup.  Make sure the top bag covers the edges of the cup.  Using your mixing spoon, spoon in the cake mixture into the ziplock baggy.  Once filled, cut the tip off of the bottom corner of the bag.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray your baking sheet with baking spray, so that the cakes to do not stick to the pan.  Pipe your cake mix onto a baking sheet in a circular motion, creating a circle the size of a medium cookie.  Let the cakes bake for 15 minutes, or until cooked through.  Let sit, and cool.

Once cooled, take chocolate frosting and cover the top of the cakes only.  Add your candy ears, eyes, noses, and bows.  You’re all done, and ready to enjoy with your guests.

Have a question about the recipe? Leave a comment below.

Happy Holidays!

When Mileage is a Good Thing


In speaking with a single guy friend the other day about his love life, the topic of “mileage” came up.  Mileage, unlike baggage is not necessarily a bad thing.  In dating terms having mileage means that you have had experience in relationships/dating.  Baggage is often an attempt to say someone is undesirable, because they have yet to move on from a past experience.  Unlike people with baggage, people with mileage aren’t bitter with the world.  They don’t hate all men/women.  They’re just living life, wracking up knowledge and experiences that are valuable.

My friend discussed his difficulties with finding the right woman.  He’s ready to settle down, but having trouble finding the right girl.  Unlike many men who refer to life experiences as “baggage,” he wanted a woman who has lived and experienced both highs and lows.  He understood what many don’t, that you have to go through the bad in order to ever really appreciate the good.

In my opinion a person shouldn’t get married until they have had experiences with other partners.  That may seem “slutty” to some, but I’m not saying you should go ahead and sleep with everyone.  However, I do think that dating helps you determine what you need from a partner, and what you don’t need.  It helps you understand behaviors, understand where people are coming from, be less selfish, and more independent.  The more people you encounter, the better you understand people. It’s a simple fact.

When I was young, and my mother told me that she married my dad at 17 I thought she was crazy.  I was only around 11 years old, but I remember thinking that there was no way I would marry someone right out of high school.  My dad was only the second guy she had dated, and the first person she slept with.  While I’m thankful for that (due to the fact I would not exist otherwise) I thought it was crazy.  My parents are still married by the way, so I will say it does work for some people.  Not for me though.  I knew in order for me to be 100% committed, I would have to know for certain he was the one for me.

My dating life was crazy, but I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything.  With each jerk I grew increasingly able to spot out the wrong behavior, and more in tune with what I deemed was what I needed from a man.  I turned down relationships I knew weren’t right for me, and that’s hard for a lot of people.  Many women I know would rather settle, then wait for the right guy.  Cereal monogamists don’t necessarily get ahead in life.  Staying single allowed me to have an amazing life, filled with fun and heart ache.  But for all of it I am grateful, and without it I wouldn’t be in the amazing relationship I am today.

While many of my friends hate their exes or the guys who did them wrong, I have no ill will.  I’m able to be friendly with everyone I’ve dated, because they were a means to an end. Educational experiences, I’m better for having.  If you’re single, don’t turn away someone because they’re experienced.  If they have some baggage they know what it’s like to be done wrong, so they’ll be grateful when you get it right.  Don’t get involved with someone unstable, or someone who hasn’t sorted out their life.  However, don’t discard someone for having had a bad brake up, or wanting to be single for a while.

That’s my humble opinion for the day.

Santa Baby. My Top 3 Christmas Costume Choices.


I am a LITTLE Christmas obsessed, I will admit.  Been in love with Christmas from a very young age.  My parents love decorations, but not in love with decorating.  From the age of 7 I was in charge of all the home decor.  I love Christmas trees, and lights.  My grandparents used to drive me around different neighborhoods at night, so that I could see all the different Christmas light displays.  My mom complains I would sing Jingle Bells in July, and my boyfriend complains that I make him listen to Kost 103.5 starting in November, because they play nothing but Christmas music.

Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” is my absolute favorite song.  I remember watching the music video, and being jealous of her costume.  I always wanted a cute Mrs. Claus costume, but never had an excuse to buy one. This year I finally had a reason, and found the perfect Mrs. Claus dress.  I had to have it.  

If you’re about to host a Christmas party, you have to consider dressing up in costume. Your guests will appreciate your dedication to theme, and there are so many options to choose from. 

Here are my top 3 Christmas costume choices:

1. The Good: Pair this cute Santa coat with leggings for a festive look.  It provides enough sex appeal to get you noticed, but not enough to get you on the naughty list.

2. The Naughty: Frederick’s of Hollywood offers this velvet cutout, hooded chemise.  Perfect for a holiday celebration just for two.

3. The Nice: Wear this halter top dress (also pictured above) with opaque tights or leggings, and some boots to complete your cute Mrs. Claus look.

Hope you’re enjoying the holiday season as much as I am!