Posted in The Happy

Cousins Rule

Cousins will remind you of the dumb stuff you did as a kid. Cousins will be there for you when you need them. Cousins can be somebody you consider to be a friend and not just because you’re related. And cousins can also grow up to be family that you want to go on vacation with every year, no matter how near or far you are. For Curls and Red, I hope it is the latter. For a second year, the hubby and I took the kids on vacation with his sister (who is also my BFF) and her family. They live on the East Coast so we don’t get to see them as much as we would like. We met up in Seattle for a week and then they came down to Southern California for another five days. The kids got along like no time has passed and had a blast.

Seattle

The Seattle Center is where the Space Needle, Museum of Pop Culture, Pacific Science Center, and Chihuly Garden & Glass are all located. We used our CityPass that we had purchased beforehand to help us save on the cost.

Space Needle:

Seattle Center’s “Artists at Play” (A really cool play area that all the kids loved):

Museum of Pop Culture (a place we could have spent hours in and it wouldn’t have been enough):

Pike Market (a Seattle staple):

img_4424

Pioneer Square (We did a lot of walking in Seattle-35 miles-and this was one of the coolest areas we walked around after we did the Underground Tour):

img_0827

Cruise (A very informative and relaxing cruise but I suspect most of the kids were more interested in the snacks and Italian sodas that were made for them):

img_0873

First ever Starbucks (Long line, same drinks, nice employees, and added to my growing cold drink cup collection):

img_0911

Seattle Great Wheel (I can boast that I was the only adult in our group brave enough to go on with the kiddos):

Pop Funko Headquarters (a 45 minute bus ride to the town of Everett where the kids ran from section to section which included DC, Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, etc. They also made their own custom Pop Funko):

 

Stay Tuned until Friday where we show them our favorite places in Orange County!

Posted in Bookworm

Friday Favorite: Turtles All the Way Down

I have a soft spot for John Green.  The Fault in Our Stars exposed me to a new type of young adult novels where before I was only reading dystopian (The Hunger Games) and fantasy (Harry Potter).  He does YouTube videos with his brother Hank called the vlogbrothers and he is open about his mental struggles.  His newest release is called Turtles All the Way Down and even though it doesn’t beat The Fault in Our Stars as my favorite, I enjoyed reading it and the story managed to surprise me.

The story is about Aza Holmes, a high schooler who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Her best friend is Daisy and she lives with her mom, a teacher.  She misses her deceased dad every day and drives his car to school.  Aza has obsessive compulsive disorder.  She is constantly worried about the bacteria that could be infecting her body.  And when she decides to investigate the disappearance of a local billionaire with Daisy, her mental health starts to spiral out of control.

Green has used the missing person angle before.  Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns both deal with boys going after girls that they are fascinated/infatuated with.  When I began Turtles I thought I was getting more of the same.  Aza’s singular focus on what is going on in her body irritated me as the story of the eccentric billionaire didn’t hold my interest.  But as I kept reading, I began to empathize with Aza.  I don’t know if it is because sometimes I wish I could get out of my own head because of the destructive thoughts or if I could relate to her feelings of almost drowning.  The mystery became secondary to her getting worse and those around trying to help.

If you like young adult novels (and you really should because there are so many great ones out there), I recommend Turtles All the Way Down.  John Green obviously cares about the younger generation and it is reflected in these characters he creates with attention.

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend.  Thanks for reading!

 

Posted in California Livin'

The OC

My first year of college found me moving to the OC in Southern California. As soon as I saw the Nutwood exit to CSUF, I felt at home. The OC has many wonderful things about it: the beach, Disneyland, awesome food, and numerous others. But for me, I finally felt that I belonged somewhere after 18 years. I met my husband there and we lived in the OC until our daughter was a month old. And even though we don’t live there anymore, we try to go back as often as possible. This month we checked a couple of items off our Summer Bucket List by going to the fair and a professional baseball game.

We arrived at the OC fair in Costa Mesa, where it is right up the street from the beach and the weather was a breezy 80 degrees. After paying for our fair admission at ½ off because we got there early (Bargain alert!), we were greeted by these Steam Punk clowns that looked like they were on hiatus from Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story:

We spent the expected but overpriced money so the kids could ride some rides (Bargain alert: rides were ½ off for the first two hours. Score!) and play some games:

We sampled as much fair food as we could. That included tacos, deep fried Oreos and pecan pie, cherry pop rocks doughnuts (you will never try a better doughnut), and $11 beers for my hubby and I.

We walked through the exhibits, which takes me back to my childhood when my sister and I would follow my mom around them. There were amazing cakes and my girl found a Harry Potter quilt that she had to take a picture with:

After we left the fair we headed back up the freeway to Angel stadium in Anaheim. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were playing against the Tampa Bay Rays and it was Disney night. This was the kids first MLB game and I was so excited for them to experience the game and all it has to offer. There was a Disney’s California Adventure Guardians of the Galaxy area where they could hula hoop and dance to music, play games for prizes, and take pictures:

Guardians of the Galaxy

When we actually stayed at our seats, the kids shocked me by enjoying the game. And Wesley stole my heart when he kissed me and said, “Let’s get on the kiss cam Mom!”:

Kiss Cam

We were rewarded at the end of the game with amazing fireworks where I watched the kids’ expressions more than the actual show. And when we arrived back at our car after the game, we were treated with more fireworks from Disneyland.

The fair and an Angel game made for a fun day for the family and I. The OC will always feel like home so continuing to show the kids where mom and dad met and lived before they came will always be of importance to me.

Posted in Pop Culture

Friday Favorite (aka Where I blabber about what I love): WonderCon

WonderCon is Comic Con’s little brother. It doesn’t have Hall H panels of epic proportions. It doesn’t have celebrities walking the floor in Iron Man masks. WonderCon doesn’t have 130,000 attendees. You can get a hotel before it comes to Anaheim at a discounted rate, no problem. There are an abundance of cosplayers to admire and take pictures of. Artists come out to showcase their work and sell you stuff. There are smaller panels that have casts from upcoming shows and tributes to a certain princess. These are some of the reasons that my family and I attend WonderCon.

Cosplaying at WonderCon means Scarlet is poking me three days straight because of all the people dressed up as Harry Potter characters. It annoys and delights me at the same time. One, being poked. Two, it’s because she LOVES HARRY POTTER. The amount of effort they put into their costumes shows how much love they have for the character and how creative they are. We as a family spend the whole weekend pointing out all the different superheroes, Disney characters, and the Marios, Luigis, Princess Peaches, and Creepers. Scarlet even participated by wearing her Rey costume:

When we first went to WonderCon four years ago, we were treated to movie panels like The Maze Runner. Director Wes Ball, author James Dashner, and the cast all gifted us a sneak of the movie, ancedotes from being on set, and answered questions from audience members. This year we got a clip from Annabelle 2 presented by director David Sandberg (Lights Out) and footage and a chat from Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins (Monster). After sitting in WonderCon’s version of Hall H, the arena, for six plus hours hoping to get a glimpse of Gal Gadot; it was disappointing at best. We walked out feeling like an afterthought of the movie studios.  They had films coming out before Comic Con in July but didn’t care enough to promote it. Sadness aside, we did go to a panel for the CW show Riverdale. My favorite part was seeing Dylan McKay himself, Luke Perry, discussing his part:

Luke Perry

On Sunday we went to a Princess Leia tribute that was put on by the 501st Region (a super awesome organization). It consisted of fans talking about encounters they’ve had with Carrie Fisher and how she affected their lives. Everyone was heartfelt and I may have shed a few tears. Wesley said it was his favorite part of the weekend.

Leia Tribute

Walking the floor at WonderCon was Scarlet’s favorite part. Walking the floor to her means spending money (we seriously spent $22 on buttons at one booth). I love seeing all of the artists’ interpretations of pop culture. There are the usual Disney, Marvel and DC pictures. This year we found Hamilton pictures and postcards. Scarlet tried to convince me to buy a six foot tall picture of Lafayette riding into battle (nice try kid). Brian Kesinger is a Disney story artist who created the Star Wars/Calvin and Hobbes mashup last year. We have a couple of his prints and were able to tell him at WonderCon how much we loved his work. He was incredibly nice, humble, and took pictures with us.

Brian Kesinger

In addition to what all WonderCon has to offer, we love staying at a hotel for a couple of days. My kids would live in the pool if we let them so as soon as we check in they are asking to get in their bathing suits. Eating out, not having to make beds, and looking out the window where we had a Superman’s view of the cosplayers and food trucks make it a mini vacation that prepares us for summer.

WonderCon 2017 was fun. We got what we have come to expect (cosplay, good food, smaller but still entertaining panels). The best part for me is hanging out with my favorite people. We yell, Wesley’s allergies gave him the worst case of sniffles we all had to endure at night, and we sometimes let negativity drag us down (Never figured out what the hell the red stain was on our hotel room wall). But I love them with everything I have and it is always a blast, no matter what.

WonderCon Family

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend. Thanks for reading!