Wedding Vendor Review – Wish Wonder Dream

Day Of Wedding PlannersFor many brides-to-be wedding planning is both dreaded and enjoyed. For those on a budget, hiring a wedding planner is out of the question. While wedding planners can relieve some of the stress of planning, they can be quite costly. Enter the day-of planner.

Booking a Day Of Wedding Coordinator

When booking my wedding venue for my wedding this past year, the hotel informed me that they required each couple have a “day-of” planner. I had never heard of that before, and was stressed by the idea of adding on an additional expense.

As I did research I felt more comfortable with the idea, and was actually relieved the venue had suggested it. Day of wedding planners are great for brides who want to plan their own wedding, but that need help with things like crowd control and vendor management on the day of the wedding.

Through my research I came across Wish, Wonder, Dream a Los Angeles based wedding planning company. They had earned great reviews on The Knot and Wedding Wire and so I began the booking process. I was very pleased by my communications with them, and excited by their planning packet.

In order to book a day-of planner, you’ll need to put down a deposit. Most will ask for half of the payment up front and half closer to your wedding date. Wish, Wonder, Dream allowed me to pay by credit card which was a huge relief. Others may require a cash or check deposit.

Wedding Checklists

What was so great about Wish, Wonder, Dream was that they provided me with guidance from the very beginning of the process, not just the day or month of the wedding. They provided me with a very useful checklist which outlined when things should be booked and taken care of in order to avoid any fire alarms or missed deadlines.

When we were about 60 days from the wedding we had our first meeting with our coordinator. I loved the Pasadena office. It was pretty and full of all things bridal. I felt like a bride, not just a client. Our coordinator was very friendly and helpful. As the wedding got closer our coordinator worked with us to establish timelines and go over things like our guest list. She came with us to our tasting, which ended up being a great run through.

While we enjoyed our tasting, our day-of coordinator discussed details I hadn’t thought of with the venue, making sure we knew things like the color of the table cloths for the cocktail hour and whether or not we would be getting candles and signage.

Day Of Wedding Planning – What You Need to Know

The day of the wedding came, and that was pretty stressful. You don’t know how busy you will be and how quickly time will fly that morning. One thing to note about day of wedding planners, is that they aren’t you. If they haven’t worked with you to plan your wedding, they won’t know the ins-and-outs of every detail you have planned.

There were things that went wrong at my wedding, like the programs not being folded or placed in a location where guests could find them and no management of the photographer. Our grand “first dance” entrance was muddled by the bar making the last call for drinks, and things of that nature, but for the most part our wedding went smoothly and everything was executed beautifully.

To avoid minor issues try to do the following:

  1. Make an inventory list: I provided my coordinator with an excel sheet outlining every item I was bringing into the wedding. That way the coordinators can make sure your items are returned to you at the end of the night, and also that you don’t forget to bring anything to the venue.
  2. Make a photo list for the photographer and you: I provided my day-of planner with a list of all the photos I wanted before, after and during the wedding. She provided the photographer with this list, but with no one there to manage him many of the shots were missed. Keep a list and give it to your Maid of Honor. She can keep the photographer on track when you’re trying to enjoy the moment.
  3. Go over everything with your planner before the day-of: I had planned to go over instructions with my planner the morning of the wedding. She was busy managing other things, and came in to pick up all the decor while I was getting ready. There was no time to explain and go over instructions for where I wanted things placed, where they needed to go, etc.
  4. Don’t make assumptions: Don’t assume your planner will do anything. Make sure to go over your expectations and what services the planner will provide. They can’t read your mind, as much as you wished they could.

The great thing about day-of coordinators, and Wish, Wonder, Dream in particular, is that they are affordable. Our coordinator provided me with a lot of useful advice and took a lot of stress off our shoulders by managing vendors and guests. It was definitely worth the cost.

Will you book a day-of coordinator? Let us know why or why not.

 

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Let it Go: Things He’s Just NOT Going to Do

Smiling-Man-Doing-DishesAs I walk through the battle ground that is my apartment after my fiance has gotten ready for work, I see the unfixed bed and think to myself, “let it go.”

No, I’m not singing that hit Disney song to myself as a joyfully clean up after my man, but instead coming to terms with the fact that there are just some things he’s not going to do. Although these are things that drive me crazy, as they are simple tasks that should come naturally, he’s just not going to do them, and I’ve come to terms with that.

It’s not that we haven’t had this conversation before, or that I haven’t explained why these are simple things he could get in the habit of doing, but he simply refuses to acknowledge their importance. My friends and family have suggested leaving the house as it is, leaving him no choice but to act, but after two straight weeks of dishes in the sink I drove myself crazy. No, I’ve come to the conclusion that if you want something done right, do it yourself.

With that being said, here is my annoying list of things he’s just not going to do:

1) Wash his utensils, or anything else in the sink other than the dish he just ate off of.

My fiance is a great guy, loved by many including my friends and family. I’m often told he’s a great catch. However, he believes he has done me a great service when he washes his plate after dinner. Every night other than Saturday and Sunday I cook dinner. I don’t tend to eat dinner, so I cook entirely just for him. I do the grocery shopping, and put the groceries away. I also clean the kitchen afterwards, and all the dishes used to cook the meal. So when I walk over to that sink, and see that he’s just washed a single dish it drives me nuts! It’s a fork! I mean c’mon.

2) Socks by the bed.

My fiance has explained to me that this is just a habit. That he does it unconsciously, and that if I left them there he’d get to them. But as the socks piled up, I was not inclined to believe him. Every night he takes off his socks by the bed side, and then leaves them there. I will note that the hamper is located within throwing distance of the bed. He could literally role them up and toss them in. Why God, whyyyyyyy?

3) Gel in the living room.

Every morning he has to gel his hair before work. He takes extremely hot showers steaming up the bathroom, so he uses the mirror in the living room to gel his hair. Then he leaves the bottle of gel on the antique table. Every day I go and pick it up and put it back in the bathroom. It’s a few steps, is that so hard?

4) Making the bed.

Just not going to happen.

All kidding aside, he is a great guy in many other ways. In speaking with friends and family it’s apparent that there always little things that are going to drive you nuts about your partner. Living with someone you learn to accept certain things, and pick your battles.

What did you think about my list? Does your partner have any annoying habits that drive you crazy? Share your annoyances with us below.

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.

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.

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 Priceline.com, 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

skinny-girl-diet-plan

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!

When Mileage is a Good Thing

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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.

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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!

5 Beauty Items You DON’T Need

meesh me make upI will admit, I am a sucker for a beauty product. I love make up, and have so much of it that I forget what items I actually have.  I am a “beauty insider” at Sephora, and get my make up done professionally often.  One side effect of that is that I have bought tons of items I don’t actually need.  According to a recent article posted to Yahoo Shine there are an arsenal of beauty products we shouldn’t be spending our money on. Here are some items I was shocked to find that I don’t actually need.

1) Primer

If you have had your make up done professionally you can tell the difference.  When I would apply make up at home the shadow never looked as dark, or lasted as long, as it did when I got it done professionally.  Then I was turned onto primer.  I was told that this product would keep my make up on my face longer, keep it from smudging, and reduce the amount of eye shadow I needed to use.  While primer does it’s job, it’s a necessary addition to your make up collection.  If you have foundation and/or concealer you can create the same effect.  Foundation and concealer both keep make up on your face, and created a bolder look.

2) Lip Balm

Excuse me? I don’t need lip balm? That’s just absurd. Not according to beauty expert Dr. Sejal K. Shah. All you need is moisturizer. Well most women don’t use lip balm just for moisture, but color as well. If you’re not looking for color or tint, you can forego the balm and use your moisturizer.

3) Lip Liner

According to the experts lip liner actually dries out your lips, and your lips look plumpest when moisturized. However, this is only true for younger girls.  As you age lipstick begins to feather out.  If you’re not wearing a bold color you can get away without lip liner, but always use lip liner when applying red lipstick. You’ll end up looking like a clown without it.

Other Products the Experts Say You Don’t Need Include:

1) Scrubs: Apparently scrubs can do more harm than good, drying out your skin.

2) Toner: Not necessary unless you have very oily skin, and even then it’s not mandatory.

3) Face Blotting Sheets: Expensive and unnecessary according to experts. Try using a mask with tea tree oil instead.

Hope you’ve found this blog useful. Write us with your feedback!

Best Places for Holiday Magic in LA

disneyland christmas castleAnyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with Christmas.  While many of my friends complain about  the early holiday decor, I revel in it.  I love the bright lights, wreaths, and garland. I love baking, and the smell of candles burning in the house. It warms my heart and lightens my soul. It comes as no shock then that I make sure to visit locations where the holiday cheer is high.

In Los Angeles there are plenty of places that put up special decor during the holidays. With plenty of shopping malls near by, there is no shortage of places to see Santa Clause.  The Beverly Center is famous for their “Hunky Santa.”  What women wouldn’t want a hot guy who gives gifts? Visit hunky Santa at the Beverly Center, sit on his lap, and get your picture taken.  Don’t worry guys, there’s something for you as well.  The Candy Cane girls perform acrobatic stunts when Santa makes his grand entrance. Want to view pics or learn more? Visit here to see what Hunky Santa is all about. The newly renovated Glendale Galleria has a Santa station right outside the Macy’s, and walk across the street to the Americana to visit Santa’s workshop.

If you’re looking for family friendly holiday cheer this season, you will want to make sure to visit the following merry destinations:

Disneyland holidays1) Disneyland

No one does Christmas magic like Disney.  At Disneyland they pull out all the stops making sure you see Christmas decor everywhere you go. Sleeping Beauty’s castle is covered in twinkling lights, giving it a look as if Tinkerbell herself sprinkled pixie dust all over it. Above the pavement on Mainstreet USA hang Christmas wreaths with hundreds of lights.  Mainstreet is also the location of the falling snow during the fireworks show.  The Haunted Mansion is transformed into a Nightmare before Christmas.  This year the movie celebrated it’s 25th anniversary, so even more changes have been made to the experience.  New to Disneyland this holiday season is the “Jingle Cruise.” The Jungle Cruise ride has a special holiday theme this year.  Over at CA Adventure the new Car’s Land has been decorated for the holidays.  Instead of wreaths, tires are decorated and hang above the main street. Enjoy special holiday treats at any number of bakeries located at the park. Also new this year to CA Adventure is the holiday World of Color show. Expect to see Ana and her sister Elsa from Disney’s newest animated feature “Frozen”. Can’t pay the price of admission? You can still enjoy Disney magic by visiting the Downtown Disney District.  The streets are decorated for the holidays, and you can ice skate with your little ones at the pixie themed skating rink.  Admission is free, and parking is free for 3 hours.

the grove christmas2) The Americana/Grove

Looking for things to do during the weekend? You can shop, dine, catch a movie, and see Santa at the Americana and the Grove.  The Grove was a Rick J. Caruso project. A little known fact is that one of the original Disney Imagineers worked on the design.  The Grove opened in 2002, and The Americana followed.  Both destinations set up huge Christmas trees, lights, and Santa’s workshop.  At The Grove it actually “snows” once a night.  There are a variety of restaurants and shops to choose from at both locations.  You can get your shopping done, have a cup of cocoa, and enjoy the lights. Right next to The Grove is the famous Farmer’s Market.  Enjoy fresh produce, and home cooked meals hometown and ethnic. Across from the Americana is the newly renovated Glendale Galleria with even more shopping and dining options.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA3) Universal Studios/City Walk

If you don’t feel like making the drive out to Anaheim, Universal Studios is close by and cheaper.  Visit Grinchmas, Universal’s Grinch themed holiday area where it “snows” in Los Angeles.  Fans of the holiday movie will love this area.  Universal has recreated the set of the hit movie staring Jim Carey.  You can visit all of your favorite characters from the Dr. Suess book.  Located next to the theme park is Universal City Walk.  You can shop, dine, see a movie, play in an arcade, or dance the night away at a nightclub. Universal City Walk offers something for everyone. To purchase your theme park tickets or to learn more about the holiday festivities at Universal Studios Hollywood visit their website here.

Take some time to enjoy the holidays this year.

-Love Meesh