Over The Top Mommy

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“You’re Free Now, Genie!” RIP Robin Williams

The world lost an incredible man yesterday, Mr. Robin Williams. I’m still in shock today and my heart hurts for the loss of this amazing actor, but it mostly hurts for his family. I cannot imagine what they’re going through. He truly must’ve been in so much pain and so tired to do something like that.

Mrs Doubtfire “She” rocked our world! (photo credit: @pj_campbell)

I grew up watching Robin Williams and truly admired his talents as an actor. He could take on pretty much about any role. Since I’m a huge Disney lover, his death infiltrates into my Disney Side as well, as he was Peter Pan and Genie. Recently, Emi somehow watched “Mrs. Doubtfire” for the first time and was just enamored by her (him). Although the storyline of the movie is pretty harsh and sad, I think a majority of that goes over her head. She’s just in awe over Mrs. Doubtfire and so I’ve recently found myself watching this old classic quite a bit because it’s on our DVR! We were JUST at Target the other day, looking for movies for our road trip, when Emi pointed at the Jumanji cover and said, “Look it’s Mrs. Doubtfire!” We didn’t buy Jumanji on that shopping trip but now I wish we had. I am so happy that Emi knows who he is and appreciates Mr. Williams as an actor as much as I do.

dining in disneyHe starred in so many great kids’ movies. I can’t wait to watch more of them with Emi! (photo credit: @diningindisney)

This loss hits so close to home for me. I, too, lost a very close friend to suicide. It’s been 2 1/2 years now and I think about her all the time. I don’t talk about her loss as much as I think about it because people start to think there’s something wrong with me and that I “need help”.  Her death left a hole in my heart and it’s something that never really gets better for me. It feels like a wound that gets reopened every time I hear about another suicide.  I cried for her last night as I cried for Robin Williams.

I don’t think that people who don’t suffer from the kind of depression that can lead to suicide, can really understand how and why it happens. How could they? It irritates me when people say things like “Stop feeling sorry for yourself” or “You need to get over it.” to someone who’s suffering. I also believe that using words  like “selfish” or “cowardly” when talking about suicide, or to describe someone who committed suicide, also demonstrates a lack of understanding.

be kind

I feel so fortunate to be able to say that I don’t suffer from depression, because it seems like such a tough struggle that a person has to battle for their entire life. I know a TON of friends who do suffer from it though. Just because a person suffers from depression doesn’t necessarily mean they’re suicidal, but I feel that there are times that we, as human beings, could be more aware of when others might need help or are having a hard time. Perhaps giving someone words of encouragement, asking them if they want to talk or just being a good listener to another, would be something that we could all go out of our way to do. Most times, people who are suffering the most, will be the ones who are talking about it the least and that’s why we need to keep an eye out for each other. If you see someone is suffering, do something. Be proactive. Even turn to available resources where you can find help for someone. Do what you can to take care of others, even if it’s just something small.

suicide prevention hotline I can’t tell you HOW many times I’ve tried to go back to the time before my friend’s death to question what I could’ve done to help or how I could have helped her know that she, too, was worth something and loved by so many of us here, including her own family. I spoke at her service, I told her that she was beautiful, she was loved, she was GOOD ENOUGH! I just wish I could’ve told her that more often before it was too late.

genieRobin William’s death is so heartbreaking. I only hope he’s at peace now.

He will be truly missed by his fans. RIP Mr. Williams!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the quote I live by. I find that as I get older, I even try to do it more.

Fresh Market Opens in Laguna Hills

Disclosure: We were invited for a preview tour of Fresh Market. No compensation was received. All opinions are my own. 

fresh market openThere’s a new Fresh Market in town in Laguna Hills! It’s one of the first businesses open in The Village at Nellie Gail Ranch, which is a retail center that’s been newly renovated.

We had the opportunity to grab a sneak peek inside of the newest Fresh Market location, the night before it opened to the public. It was so exciting to watch all that was going on behind the scenes for their grand opening. Everywhere we turned there were people stocking the shelves and aisles for the big day!

stocking the shelves

tomatoes lemons plums Right when you walk through the front door of Fresh Market your eyes are drawn towards all of the color in their produce section and you’re soothed by the classical music playing. Their produce sections seems to make up about 1/3 of the store and offers fruits and veggies that are fresh, locally grown and ready to serve at your table. When I say “local” I mean grown within 100 miles if it’s labeled “local” and within 300 miles if it’s labeled “regional”.  I like having fruit that is ready to be eaten and not something sitting on the counter for a few days to ripen. I also like that they offer a variety of fruit and veggies that are cut and freshly packed on site. They’re perfect as after school grab n’ go snacks for my daughter.

packaged fruit

watermelonThe bakery department in Fresh Market appeared to have many empty baskets because they were all waiting to be filled with freshly baked goods.

baskets  We learned that many items are baked on a daily basis for the next morning, with the bakers coming in at 9pm to bake for the next morning. It’s an around-the-clock effort over there to provide the freshest for the customers. There are lots of other yummy items to choose from in the bakery department, aside from just bread.

more bakery baked goods

We got to enjoy samples of a delicious Blackened Steak recipe prepared by one of the chefs from Chefs USA.

recipes steaks IMG_4213Did you know that Fresh Market features an extensive collection of recipes on their website . They also hosts in-store chef-led demos of some of their recipes for customers to watch and be able to taste. I can’t wait for the next one!

unbelievable cheese IMG_4234They have an unbelievable selection of cheeses!  

more cheese she loved sampling She’s a girl after my own heart…she loves cheese too! 

As we got to browse the store on our own, I felt like a kid in a candy store. Ok literally on the candy aisle I did! How can you NOT be mesmerized by a rainbow of colored candies?

candy

coffee for day

Their aisles had so many wonderful products on the shelves, as did the refrigerated section. Fresh Market carries their own brand, as well as some other hand-picked brands.

beers You can even “build your own 6-pack” at Fresh Market. Just choose any 6 beers and make one! 

The concept behind Fresh Market is similar to that of a European market, where you are stopping by 3-4 times per week to shop for that day’s meals. I especially love that idea because often times I am a day-by-day planner. I also get a little weird about my food being in my fridge for too long, so knowing that what I’m stopping by to pick up is fresh, gives me that peace of mind. If you don’t have time to stop by the actual store, they also offer home delivery through their site with online ordering!

If you haven’t stopped by a Fresh Market, you should do so soon. Click here for a location near you.

Connect with Fresh Market on Facebook and Twitter!

 

 

 

Help Me Find This Couple from Disney’s 24-Hour Event! They Got Engaged! #RockYourDisneySide

I was just going through my pictures from Disney’s Rock Your Disney Side 24-hour event back in May, when I came across some that I totally forgot about.  As Emi and I were walking around that day, I had my camera out and ready to snap pics. Just as we approached Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, there were a bunch of people standing around and I witnessed the end of an engagement! This adorable couple, dressed as Belle and Beast, was in the center of the crowd. I knew something special was happening so I started snapping pics. Emi totally missed it but I got a few. They seemed very shy and although the PhotoPass people took some pics, I think it was just really quick and then they were done. I never got to chase after them to tell them I caught a few of the pics because I felt like I’d be interrupting their moment. I know that no one else caught these other pictures of them though and looking at them again, I see that it was “Belle’s” birthday! (her name is Yela) I’m guessing he arranged Photopass to snap a castle pic for them, letting her believe it was just for her birthday and then broke out a ring! That’s my best guess, but I’m a total fantasizer! I believe in fairytales! Regardless of the real details, I know that they’d want these pictures, because I know I would if it were me, so I’m determined to find them, so I can give them the pictures! I was tearing up adding these to this post. I think you’ll tear up too! Just look….

Beast proposing to BelleBeast and Belle engaged! Beast and Belle 1 Beast and Belle 2Beast and Belle hugging

Belle can't believe itThis one chokes me up BIG TIME! I think the shock and excitement just settled in here! 

Blushing BelleBlushing Belle 2Belle and Beast walking awayLook at her backpack! I love her backpack! It’s him! 

Belle and Beast goneAs I stood there in shock, they just walked away. I was too frozen to bother them in the middle of their moment! 

So… I’m going to rely on social media to help me find Belle and Beast…because I know how powerful social media can be!  I also know that if I had gotten engaged like this, I’d want these pictures for my own keepsakes. Sorry guys but I think this guy just set the bar really high!

Do you know them? If not, please help spread the word!

Now let’s sing it….”Tale as old as time...”

Summer Fun at the Sizzix 1950s Sock Hop! #Sizzix1950s

I was so excited to receive an invitation for a an evening of Sizzix fun with some of my bloggy friends at the Ellison Headquarters. The event was a 1950s Sock Hop and they requested we come dressed for the occasions. I love any excuse to dress up in a costume. Normally I’m a poodle skirt kind of girl, but for this occasion I chose petal pushers and a t-shirt/sweater combo. I also felt it was necessary to pick out some faux cat eye glasses to wear.

pre-party 1950s selfieI know they didn’t take selfies in the 1950s before going to a Sock Hop, but I decided to! 

When I arrived at the Sock Hop there were a couple of classic cars on site and everyone was dressed so cute! They made adorable name tags for each of us using Sizzix.  There was a root beer tasting table set up with 4 different kinds of root beers for guests to try. I just love 1950s nostalgia.

name tags made with Sizzix

I love the name tags they made using Sizzix! Can you spot mine?

rootbeer tasting tableThe guys from Burger Monster were on hand, grilling up BBQ’d burgers for dinner. They made each burger to order. I was adventurous with the avocado. In 1950s terms, their food was “swell”! Their burgers are actually WAY yummier than just swell though!

Burger Monster guy

monster burger dinnerNOM NOM NOM! 

A little while later we got to head inside the Sizzix studio. They gave us time to browse the studio and there was SO MUCH to see in there! The Sizzix team had transformed an entire corner of the room to look like a 1950s Soda Fountain, using Sizzix collections. There were also centerpieces and place settings for a 1950s party that actually made me want to throw a Sock Hop party just because!

sizzix 1950s decorations Such adorable creations make me want to throw a party NOW! 

We got to meet Jen Long, the designer of the Sizzix 1950s line and listen to her speak about her inspiration for these designs and how she created them. It was so exciting to hear about how she developed this collection.

Jen Long Sizzix DesignerSeriously, how adorable is she? 

Jen Long sketchbookShe also showed us her actual sketchbook, which was a collection of sketches that she has done over the years. Jen is an amazing artist and I was wow-ed by her talent!

Each of the tables we were seated at had Big Shots to work with and supplies for a “Make and Take”. We got to make an adorable retro camera card that looks like this one!

Sizzix Big Shot

I loved all of the papers they chose for the project and it was fun to get to emboss a couple of the pieces, using the Big Shot! If you’ve never made a Sizzix Sandwich, you need to. That’s what they call it when you’re prepping paper to go into the Big Shot machine. Watch this video of ME making one!

me and my girls at SizzixAt the end of the night, the Sizzix team sent each one of us home with a TON of swag which included some retro candy! I couldn’t believe it when they said we’d each get our own Big Shot to take home! They also gave us some of the die cuts and embossing folders from the collection to use with it! It felt like Christmas for a crafter like me!

saltwater taffy

sizzix swag

Sizzix friendsHanging with @Munchies_Mama, @jmdenouden & @LifeWithLovebug

What a fun night getting to hang out with  some of my crafty blogger friends and meeting the rockstars behind Sizzix. I couldn’t wait to get home to play with my new crafty toys! I knew Emi would be excited to try out the Big Shot too!

To learn more about Sizzix and see all of their awesome products, click here!

 

Make Your Own Photo Booth With the Help of Oriental Trading Company

Disclosure: I was provided with products by Oriental Trading Company, in order to conduct this review.  No other type of compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own. 

In our family, we love to throw parties for every occasion. Parties for holidays, birthday parties, parties for award shows, even season premiere nights of our favorite TV shows! We’ll throw a party for any occasion! We also love to have fun with photo booth, which is a highlight at our parties. It’s really pretty simple to create your own photo booth corner to capture some unique photo memories. We had fun creating a photo booth for a “Surf’s Up” party we recently threw, using items we found on the Oriental Trading Company site. I’m going to show you how easy it is to make your own photo booth.

Choose a great spot to set up your photo booth

When you look for a spot to set up your photo booth area, remember to always pick somewhere with plenty of room for guests to be silly when they’re posing for pictures. Also, choose a location with good lighting. We usually set up our photo booth area outside because, for me, the natural lighting is much easier to work with than inside the house and you don’t usually need to worry about a flash.

Choose a photo booth background. Designate an area. 

It’s really important that you choose a background for your photo booth area and designate an area at your party for your fun. We have used our wooden fence as a background for ours before. If you want a patterned background it’s easy to create by purchasing 1-2 yards of fabric and stapling it around a giant piece of cardboard or wood for guests to pose in front of. For this particular occasion, we ordered a stand-up surfboard from Oriental Trading Company that matched our theme. For some of the photos we stood it in front of a textured wall outside in our driveway. For other photos, I used a hot pink shower curtain that was hanging on a garment rack. Whatever background you choose, just make sure it’s a little taller than your tallest guest.

surfboard stand up prop 1

chloe and emi

chloe and emi 1Designate a photographer

It’s much easier to designate someone as the official photo booth photographer for your party. It’s also better if YOU, the hostess, are not that person. I love that my BFFs step up to help me with this every time we have a party. They know how important photos are to me and they also know that I’m always so busy running around.  Taking over this duty for me is something HUGE and I’m always appreciative of them. By the way, you’ll also have guests taking selfies in your photo booth with their own phones.

Have Photo Booth Props for guests 

Having fun photo booth props is a NECESSITY for your photo booth! It’s actually THE most important part. You can sometimes find things around your house to use like hats, parts of old Halloween costumes, feather boas, glasses, etc., but there are also other important props that you should always have available. I found awesome photo props on sticks on the Oriental Trading Company site. I chose some lips, glasses and mustaches. Mustaches look great on everyone and they seem to be a popular choice with everyone! I like to stick all of the props into a mason jar so guests can just grab one or two that they like. In addition to photo props on sticks, I also found these oversized luau picture frame cutouts on their site. So cute!

Oriental Trading Company mustache photo props

chloe glassesgirls with glasses

emi in framephoto frameNow that our party is over, we like to keep the jar of photo booth props on the counter so we can grab them whenever we need them to strike a pose and snap a pic! It’s just what we do around here!

And seriously, how cute are my models in these pics?

 

Now You Can Stay in Your Robe ALL DAY With Winder Farms Home Delivery!

Disclosure: I received products to conduct a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting on the couch in my robe one morning with my cat (I do that a lot) and I tweeted something about having no milk or bread in the house and jokingly asked if someone could deliver some to my house so I could feed my kid.

this is meThat very same day, I received an email asking if I’d be interested in trying out Winder Farms Home Delivery for a review! What are the chances? I visited their website to check them out a little bit more. There, I came across a list of 20 Reasons Why Winder Farms? and there I was…#19: You can get groceries in your pajamas!  OF COURSE I said “yes” to the delivery after that! It was totally meant to be!

On their website, Winder Farms states:

We are passionate about finding and delivering fresh, delicious food. Whether it’s been freshly picked, baked or squeezed, we are committed to delivering our customers the freshest food available.

As a company with a proud 130-year legacy, we understand the importance of long-term sustainability. We source locally whenever possible. We take cars off the road by having one truck do the job of 100 separate family vehicles. We are an active partner with local food banks, non-profit organizations, and community events.”

On the morning of my scheduled delivery, even though I knew it was coming, I was still surprised when I opened my front door and found this:

side of bagWow, the giant cooler bags were filled with so many great products!  There was a Winder Farms Organic Produce Box, a loaf of Winder Farms Fresh-Baked Honey Whole Wheat Bread, an assortment of Winder Farms Juices, a bottle of Green Unsweetened Honest Tea, a half-gallon of Silk coconut milk, some Winder Farms Lemonade and Strawberry Lemonade, a variety of Stonyfield Organic Yogurt Smoothies, a dozen farm-fresh eggs,  some Winder Farms honey-cured bacon and sirloin steaks, a Kale Chopped Salad, and a Winder Farms Chicken Teriyaki Meal Solutions, and a container of Chocolate Chip Cookies to try! There were so many good things, I wasn’t sure which to try first?

label on box

organic box

stonyfield smoothies

more stonyfield smoothis

lemonadeObviously it’s convenient to have a home delivery service like this so that you have food in the house, but for me, it’s MORE important to have products delivered that are fresh and high quality! I also like the fact that Winder Farms supports local farms and makes quality a priority.  In addition, I feel it’s important that the products you order be something kids will like.

My daughter LOVED the Stonyfield Organic Yogurt Smoothies and would grab one to take with her to swim practice.  She also gobbled up the toast I made for her, using the Winder Farms Honey Whole Wheat bread in my order.

poolside smoothie

toastMy husband added the Silk Coconut Milk to his regular protein shakes. He made me a fruit and spinach smoothie with the Stonyfield Organic Vanilla Yogurt Smoothie.

fruit smoothieI loved making pancakes with Emi and watching her be so proud when she cracked BOTH eggs without dropping one single eggshell into the pancake batter!

eggs and pancakesOne night I even went so far as to tip toe downstairs when everyone was asleep to eat one of the delicious plums from the Organic Produce Box…right before I broke open these cookies!

chocolate chip cookies The Winder Farms fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies were sealed with a label that said “Warning: Studies have shown that once seal is broken, cookies vanish!” I now know WHY they put that label on there! The cookies were so soft and fresh! I may have eaten more than one in a sitting but I’ll never tell!

If you live in California, Nevada, or Utah you can get Winder Farms delivered to your door too! You’ll get great quality farm fresh foods on your doorstep once a week AND if you sign up through this link, you’ll get a free $30 credit. (As with any subscription service, please read the Terms & Conditions before deciding if it’s right for you!) If you have any questions, check out their Frequently Asked Questions Page or give them a call at 1-800-WINDER1!

I’m already planning my next order from Winder Farms. I’ve been told that I MUST try the chocolate milk! It’s fresh and cold, all-natural, and comes in a glass milk bottle! Well, I know what’s first on my order list! You don’t have to twist my arm!

S’mores, Slides & a Scavenger Hunt at The Hyatt Regency Mission Bay: A Review by Over the Top Kid

This is a guest post by Over the Top Kid! ( Emily, age 9)

A few days ago, I had the chance to take a quick trip with my family down to San Diego. It’s a short drive and I was excited to stay at The Hyatt Regency Mission Bay because it’s right on the water.

When we were checking in, I relaxed by the lobby fireplace with some of my stuffed animal friends. In the lobby there was a coloring table and right next to it is where I picked up one of the Scavenger Hunt pages that they have for kids to do during their stay. If you answer all of the questions, you can win a prize!

lobby friendskids table

scavenger hunt

On our first day there, it was too late to go on the waterslides but we did go and look at the pool. There were 3 different pools all in the same area and one had a small waterside, while another one had 2 big waterslides. I couldn’t wait to go on them the next day!

from up above

Next to the pool area there’s a restaurant called “Swim” and they sell S’mores Kits there that you can roast at one of the hotel’s 3 fire pits. (hint: That’s actually one of the answers to one of the Scavenger hunt questions)

smores kit

Each kit comes with a bunch of marshmallows, 2 big Hershey’s chocolate bars, a bunch of packs of Honeymaid graham crackers and 4 wooden dowels that you roast your marshmallows on.

roastingmmm smores

It was so fun to make the s’mores by the fire with my parents. We also got to watch the Sea World fireworks when we were out there because Sea World is really close by.

photo-218

The next day, I think we were at the pool all day long. It’s kind of cool that they give the kids a refillable purple cup to use. I got to have as much lemonade as I wanted.  The smaller waterslide was fun because you could ride it with 2 people. I liked the bigger waterslides the best though. It was fun to make my mom go on them too!

standing

almost

weeeeeee

At 3:00 there were races by the pool for all of the kids. They actually have different activities for kids by the pool each day, even on the weekends!

swim sign

I had a fun time staying at The Hyatt Regency Mission Bay! I hope I get to back there sometime soon!

Follow the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay on Facebook , Twitter, and Instagram.

Keep Children at Play Safe with Summer Road Safety Tips from Waste Management

Long summer days mean more time playing outside for children in Orange County. Waste Management of Orange County is encouraging parents to talk with their kids about being safe while playing outside and to watch for the company’s waste and recycling trucks from a safe distance.

This is Jesus Santos, a driver for Waste Management of Orange County.  As a worker in the community, he is genuinely concerned about the safety of children playing outside during the day when he’s working.

waste management

“Children can be especially curious about our trucks and are always tempted to take a closer look when the trucks are stopped. But, the trucks have many moving parts that could begin moving again at any moment so we encourage everyone to watch from a distance.”

The drivers at Waste Management of Southern California have created a list of recommendations for staying safe around service vehicles:

  • Garbage trucks, recycling vehicles, postal vehicles and other package delivery services keep regular schedules within each neighborhood so learn which days these vehicles will be in your area.
  • It takes service vehicles about twice as long to stop as a passenger car, so never cut in front of or stop suddenly in front of one. Always keep a safe distance from a truck.
  • Vehicles like Waste Management trucks make frequent stops and often back up, so don’t follow the truck closely on a bike, skateboard, rollerskates or rollerblades.
  • Every Waste Management truck is equipped with a back-up alarm. Whether you are walking or driving near one of our trucks, be sure to move out of the way if you hear this sound or see the white back-up lights.
  • Keep children and pets at a safe distance from the truck. Never get near or climb on the truck and do not play or stand in trash bins or cans, since you may not know when the truck is coming to empty them. Always keep portable basketball hoops away from trash bins or cans, and never on the street.
  • Do not attempt or allow children to help with loading any garbage into the truck. In addition to moving truck parts, debris can fall out of the truck when its contents are being compressed.
  • Be mindful of smartphone use. Don’t text or use earplugs while crossing streets.

Have a fun and safe summer!

ABOUT WASTE MANAGEMENT
Waste Management Inc., based in Houston, Texas, is the leading provider of comprehensive waste management services in North America. Through its subsidiaries, the company provides collection, transfer, recycling and resource recovery and disposal services. It is also a leading developer, operator and owner of waste-to-energy and landfill gas-to-energy facilities in the United States. The company’s customers include residential, commercial, industrial and municipal customers throughout North America. To learn more about Waste Management, visit http://www.wm.com or http://www.thinkgreen.com.

Let’s Talk About Pool Safety 101

With school out and the summer break in full swing, families everywhere are often looking for a fun place to spend the day cooling down from the summer heat. With pool safety being a top priority for parents, it’s important to visit a facility that’s trusted in the community and is equally committed to keeping your children’s safety a top priority.

Here are some quick pool safety tips brought to you by Renaissance Club Sport Aliso Viejo:

· Implement a ‘safety break’– Kids can play in the pool for hours on end, which can cause them to become very fatigued. For this reason, experts recommend giving any children under 12 years of age a 10-minute break every hour on the hour. These breaks are a perfect opportunity for children to use the restroom, reapply sunscreen, hydrate, fuel up, and recollect their strength in preparation for re-entry into the pool.

· Invest in swim lessons – According to the CDC, children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates. If your child could use a bit of instruction in the water, the summer is the perfect time to have a professional train them to become accomplished, technically-sound swimmers. By making this investment, it will give your child the tools needed to be a strong swimmer and allow parents an extra piece of mind while at the pool.

· Make a day at the pool fun – By creating engaging activities for kids to participate in while they’re in the pool, it makes swimming a fun and rewarding experience. Various activities like diving and racing allow children to build on their skills, which ultimately creates a safer experience for everyone involved.

Whether you’re looking to enroll your child in a swim class, enjoy a relaxing day poolside, or just to socialize, the pool season has a bit of everything you are looking for this summer. It is important to find a facility that is committed to the safety and enjoyment of all of its patrons and offers all of these amenities and more. Feel free to swing by and enjoy the summer sun with us at Renaissance Club Sport Aliso Viejo! To find out more about aquatics and swimming programs offered by Renaissance Club Sport, click here.

Be safe and remember to live life to discover!