Over The Top Mommy

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!

 

 

 

The Day We Personally Welcomed Fresh Brothers Pizza to Orange County!

Disclosure: We were invited to Fresh Brothers to sample menu items in exchange for a review. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are my own. 

When I heard that Fresh Brothers was coming to Orange County, I immediately did a Happy Dance and couldn’t wait for the grand opening celebration!

fresh brothers mascotOur family enjoyed a sampling of some of their most popular menu items. I think it should be mandatory  for every guest to start out with an order of Fresh Knots! Their menu describes Fresh Knots as “garlic bread tied in tasty knots, dusted with parmesan and served with a side of pizza sauce“.  These were so amazing. Seriously!

Fresh KnotsWe tried The Greek Town Special Salad  next which is made with romaine, feta cheese, Kalamata olives, cucumber, pepperoncini, red onions and tomatoes.

fresh brothers greek saladI can never get enough feta cheese. I loved the light dressing on this salad too. All of the salads on their menu are handmade, hand chopped and hand tossed. They offer a ton of different ones on the menu and  also give guests the option of creating their own salad.

Fresh Brothers Meatball SlidersAn order of the Meatball Sliders arrived at our table next. They’re served on King’s Hawaiian rolls and topped with mozzarella cheese and pizza sauce. Emi especially LOVED these. If a kid likes something, you know it’s great!

Fresh Brothers sliderDid I mention that all of the appetizers on their menu are baked and never fried?  I like that. I especially liked knowing that the entire order of buffalo wings I devoured, weren’t fried. The sauce was Roasted Garlic BBQ and SO tasty! They have 6 different kinds of sauces to choose from for their buffalo wings, including traditional hot sauce.

Fresh Brothers wingswing with blue cheeseI couldn’t stop dipping mine in the blue cheese dressing.

The grand finale of our meal was our delicious pizza! It was a delicious thin crust cheese and pepperoni pizza and it was beautiful. I say WAS because we ate the entire thing! By the way, they have gluten-free and vegan options!

our fresh brothers pizza more pizzaThe grand opening celebration of Fresh Brothers’ first Orange County location in Newport Beach had a bunch of fun activities for kids to do. There was face painting, temporary tattoos, pizza dough and cookie cutters to play with, and kids could even make their own pizzas!

grand opening funIt’s also fun just to play with pizza dough and cookie cutters! 

Emi was so excited to make her own pizza. Being the artist that she is, she chose to make a perfectly symmetrical pizza with cheese, olives, and pineapple! She was so excited to see her pizza when it came out of the oven!

making her own pizzamaking her pizzadecorating her pizzaher finished pizzaWhat a fun thing for kids to do!

Not only is the food at Fresh Brothers delicious, but I love the feeling you get when you’re there. It’s a family run business and you can chat with any of the family members that happen to be at the location and hear about the story of how Fresh Brothers came to be. I think the entire family was present at the grand opening celebration and just watching the way they worked together and reached out to every guest was heartwarming.

enjoying Fresh BrothersI’m so happy we have a Fresh Brothers Pizza near us now! If you haven’t checked them out yet, you need to.

To find a Fresh Brothers location, click here.

Connect with them on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram too!

 

 

 

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...”

Blaze Pizza is Now Open in The Shops at Mission Viejo!

I think I’ll start off this post with the dessert first! I like to do that!

s'more pie

This is the s’more pie at Blaze Pizza! It’s the perfect beginning (or ending if you’re traditional) to any meal! We have been waiting months for Blaze Pizza to open in our mall and had already previewed their menu online. That’s when I knew I was destined for this dessert. It’s quite a yummy s’more pie and they stick it next to the pizza oven so that it warms up just right, to where the marshmallow melts.

Blaze Pizza is a great addition to The Shops at Mission Viejo food court area. They label themselves as “Fast Fire’d” pizza but by no means are they a “traditional” fast food, food court option! So fresh and so yum!

Check out the crowd that came out to celebrate their grand opening!

Blaze Pizza Grand Opening Did I also mention that all of these people were waiting in line for their free pizza to celebrate the grand opening? 

 

Their menu has quite a few salads and numerous options for pizzas. Each pizza is made-to-order as you let them know what you’d like. I like that they offer options for people with dietary restrictions. It’s sometimes difficult for families to find a restaurant to dine at together, when they have one or more family members with special dietary needs and/or food allergies. Check out their menu allergen Info here.  No matter what your dietary needs, they’ve got your covered. 

I am so happy that Blaze Pizza has finally opened up in “my mall”!

Welcome to The Shops at Mission Viejo, Blaze!

Connect with them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter too!

Blue C Sushi in Newport Beach! Get There!

When my friend Melodi from Eat Drink OC called and invited me out for a night of fun at the newest location of Blue C Sushi in Newport Beach, I was quick to accept the invite! I LOVE sushi and I’d heard from a couple of other friends that I needed to check out Blue C.  They offer kaiten sushi which translates as “go around sushi”. There’s  a conveyor belt set up within reach of guests so they can then grab food to eatndirectly off of it at any time.

The decor of this place is so fun. The atmosphere is even more fun! When we walked in, I immediately spotted the magnetic wall. I KNEW it was somewhere I’d need to return with my daughter so she could draw pictures to put them on the magnetic wall. I’m guessing she’ll also probably end up playing with the wall magnets.

blue c sushi magnetic board How fun do these giant magnets look ? 

You can’t help but become almost instantly mesmerized by the conveyor belt and the colors of the plates! Each one has a description of what’s on the plate and its ingredients. There are even some plates with gluten-free and vegan options. The plates are color coded to tell you how each one is priced, which makes it very simple.

There’s also an extensive menu of drinks, appetizers, and other items, such as hand-rolled sushi made to order and some of the chef’s favorites. If you’re curious about the freshness of the items on the conveyor belt, Blue C Sushi actually uses an electronic sensor system on the revolving plates to monitor how long they’ve been rotating. They take pride in serving the freshest sushi, so you’ll never be served sushi that’s been on there longer than 45 minutes.

about as fresh as you can get! This is about as fresh as you can get for sushi! (We named him Sebastian the Shrimp!)

The chefs’ area in the center of the restaurant allows for the sushi chefs to monitor every table and interact with guests.  If you’d like them to walk you through the chef’s offerings and specialty items, you can press the blue button. They’ll also address any of your ordering needs at that time.

We had the best time chatting with “Joe” that night. He’s one of Blue C’s main sushi chefs and I loved that he greeted each of us with a little gift, our own personal blue ninja. Joe likes to keep these ninjas on hand for the younger visitors, but on this particular occasion we were the exception to the rule.

blue ninjaHe might be tiny but my ninja means business! 

When we sat down at our table, I was immediately mesmerized by the conveyor belt and all of the food going by on it. Not only is there sushi on the conveyor belt, but I also spotted some fresh fruit, edamame and other appetizers, and even desserts pass by us!

Desserts passing me by on the conveyor belt! Come back, cupcake!  

Our server, Matt, was so much fun! I think you HAVE TO BE fun to work at Blue C! He got each of us started with a cocktail.

my blue martiniMine was a beautiful blue one in a martini glass! 

Before I knew it, the eating began! All I know is we started with some Spicy Edamame and the rest was history!

IMG_4106

We were so lucky to be able to try quite a few of Joe’s own personal creations. He took so much time to describe each one that he’d made for us and even whipped up a few of his own personal favorites. The sushi was so fresh and I felt like I couldn’t stop myself from gorging! I’m pretty sure I ate my weight in fish!

seared sushiBLT sushiIMG_4114Joe came out and actually sat with us at our table for a little while. We chatted with him about his background in the food industry and he gave us a deeper insight into the history of Blue C Sushi. Not only is he great at what he does, he also seems very passionate about it. I think that’s really important.

oysters These clams were so delicious! Chef Joe made them especially for us! 

As if we weren’t already stuffed, Joe insisted we also have dessert! Good thing I have a “dessert compartment” from when I was younger that always allows me to have room for it! Dessert arrived at our table, an incredible tempura brownie with ice cream and some shaved! Whoa! We were ready to eat it but first I stopped to take a selfie with Chef Joe!

chef joe

IMG_4118This tempura brownie was to die for! Seriously, you NEED to try one when you go there! 

coconut shave ice The shaved ice was served with fresh fruit and topped with coconut milk! It was really yummy! 

We had such a great experience at Blue C Sushi! It was a lot of fun to really get to know the staff working that night and it felt like we had our own personal chef.  I would highly recommend it to anyone, especially families with kids.

If you end up going soon, could you please call and invite me though?  I’m totally ready to go back!

To locate a Blue C Sushi near you, click here! Connect with Blue C Sushi on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

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?

 

Meet Fish, Shoe, Oilcan and Sparky from THE BOXTROLLS!

As September gets closer, I am getting more excited about the upcoming movie “THE BOXTROLLS”! It’s being made by the creators of “Coraline” and “ParaNorman” and Emi and I loved both of those movies.  Have you taken a peek at the trailer for the movie yet?

THE BOXTROLLS ​tells the story of a community of quirky, mischievous creatures who have lovingly raised an orphaned human boy , Eggs. THE BOXTROLLS featur​es​ the voices of Elle Fanning, Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead-Wright and Tracy Morgan.

Check out THE BOXTROLLS’ new character posters! Aren’t they adorable?

The Box Trolls

You can download your own set of their character posters here.

I think I’m partial to “Shoe”! Which one of these do YOU think is cutest?

THE BOXTROLLS releases  in theaters September 26. 

Visit: http://www.theboxtrolls.com/
Like: https://www.facebook.com/theboxtrolls
Follow: https://www.facebook.com/theboxtrolls
Follow: http://instagram.com/theboxtrolls#

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!