Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ice Cream Kids Craft

July was ice cream month! Was? Yeah, I'm a bit behind and summer is flying by, but ice cream is good anytime if you ask me. So here's a craft I put together last summer for the kids - an ice cream coloring page!

Color and create your own paper ice creams then go and really make some real ice cream! It's a fun family way to celebrate summer! Click HERE for a free PDF for you to download and make our own!

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fresh from the farm: tonight's dinner. Yes, that giant thing in the middle is an onion.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

comic-recipe cards

Comic-recipe cards are now available online!

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Swag and Purchases at Comic Con

Let's face it, when it comes to the goods, Comic Con is where it's at. I debuted my comic-recipe cards  (now available online!) and I also got a bunch of cool swag and found so many amazing things to buy. Here's what I picked up:
This is...my precious. I love Legos and I love female comics characters. Lego Phoenix is a limited edition free swag from Marvel and seriously the best thing EVER. This is how lady legos should always be. Awesome.
I got invited to Mark Waid's private Thrillbent party and how cool is this free swag bag, a Nerd Flu Prevention Kit! Filled with green tea, hand sanitzer - everything you need to combat ConSars.
My awesome table Small Press table neighbors the Beastlies brought these mini Nibblet Beastlies this year, a steal at 3 for $10, they sold out IMMEDIATELY. I didn't even get a chance to get any and I was sitting right next to them! I settled for two regular sized Beastlies for the kids. Put them on your first stop for next year!

Darlene is a fellow food blogger and she released her first book of foodie adventures: The Girl with the Donut Tattoo drawn by the very talented Paul Horn. At $5 it's another awesome deal in the wonderful world of SDCC Small Press.
Sawdust Bear is also in Small Press (yay us!) and was making her debut - it was her first Comic Con ever! She had these beautiful hand sculpted Monster Pins in fantastic packaging. I love me some good packaging. The creatures look lifelike, a little happy, a little sad and a whole lot of cute.
The Tokidoki booth was MADNESS and extremely far away from me, but I braved it to buy some con exclusives and my reward was a bonus with purchase gift - a Tokidoki Sharpie and in my fave color too!
Another too cute I couldn't pass it up must buy was from the Nickelodeon booth - Yo Gabba Gabba Star Wars mash up pins! Adorable!
Finally, this was my fave thing of all time. I was lucky enough to get a great first time table neighbor on my right, Genevieve Tsai. She is an amazing animator and this print Diablo Time! was super popular at the Con. A mash up of Adventure Time and Diablo it  was just too cool. Her work is already well known but her site is worth a visit. She does such beautiful line work and detail.You MUST check out her blog and her fantastic etsy store!

Lots of great stuff, I can't wait til next year!

Friday, July 20, 2012

outmywindow - share your view at the speed of life

I'm pretty paranoid. As much as I loving blogging and social media, when it comes to my kids I am extremely, happily, over protective. I never show their faces and if they are featured in a blog post, only their actions are pictured. My friend jokingly calls them Blanket and Comforter Jackson.

Social networks can potentially license your photos to third party advertisers. Photo sharing sites allow search engines to index your photos so that they can be downloaded by anyone and include metadata about where they are taken.

 Still, there are times when I'd like to share pictures with close friends and even family members who just aren't big into facebook or twitter. That's where outmywindow comes in. Outmywindow is a photo sharing service brought to you by Warner Bros., yes - the movie studio! It is designed with privacy in mind, it focuses on families who may not want to post pictures across social media. Basically it allows you to share the photos you want with the people you want.

With outmywindow you can take pictures and share them privately across multiple devices (smart phone, tablet, computer, TV and digital frame). The basic service is free with 5GB of storage and if you upgrade to the premium service for $3.99/month (or $26.99/year) you’ll get unlimited storage and it will be ad-free.

outmywindow is available now in the itunes app store and at outmywindow.com for non ios users.

You can keep up with all the latest outmywindow news on facebook and twitter.
*Warner Bros. gave me a tour of the studio and I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions are my own.*

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Behind the scenes of Comic Con

Whew, another year of Con is done. The week goes by so slowly...yet so quickly. It's like Vegas, no windows, no clocks - what. is. happening.

I like to get to the Hall early to set up and then stroll around and see all I can before the masses arrive. And when I saw masses, I mean thousands upon thousands of people.
I'm in the waaay back in Small Press so I never get to venture to the big booths during the day, but in the early morning, when all is quiet - this is my view. A totally empty, walkable exhibit hall:
Pre-con, some booths are still being built and stocked. One of my favorites is Archaia - their booth is clean, minimal and gorgeous. A subtle, captivating landmark amongst the sea of crazy, should you get lost in the crowd.

Archaia won three (!) Eisners for Jim Henson's Tale of Sand, a beautiful book I've written about before, and well deserved of all the praises. (you can buy it in stores or online)

When you think of the thousands of people that come to Con and TOUCH everything, it means displays have to be clean and in tip-top shape. So every morning Knight Rider's KITT got a complete rub down:
This life size Castle Grayskull from He-Man was impressive. If you look closely it looks like he's eating the cafe in the background. A He-Man cafe themed cafe would be pretty dope. Think about that next year, Comic Con.
The best thing about no one being around in the morning is the clear shots for photos of the popular displays. The Marvel booth was surrounded by hundreds of fans at all hours but on this morning, it was just me and the 7 Iron Man armored costumes. ~swoon~
It was widely tweeted that Lucasfilm was going to have live snakes at their booth and I had to see it for myself. When I got there it was so early in the morning that the snake wrangler was also in there. I mean IN there, in the pit, arranging the fake and the real snakes. Yikes.
Cosplayers are everywhere at Comic Con and most of the time they are adjusting their outfits or in this case - sneaking in a sandwich while standing up:

Sitting at my booth all day is actually a good thing because all my friends come to me and I can just sit in one place. It's a good meeting point.
Highlights included LadySteam13 as a Steampunk Dalek, Lady Vader by Arkhamasylumdoc and a very cool lady version of the Crusader from Love and Capes by Amy_Geek.
 Mark Waid came by to say hi and so I gave him a HULK cookie to go.

Grant Imahara came to visit so of course we made him take an "Unenthused Fashionistas" picture.

My bff table neighbors the Beastlies sold out per the usual and hit the road. (never fear, you can buy Beastlies online!) I always miss them when they are gone but I wasn't alone for long.
Mortal Kombat cosplayers swooped in and set up shop, sign and all: "Scorpion & Sub-Zero Accounting Services". People went nuts. It was like the paparazzi up in there, so many photos were taken as the two just sat there, never moved, never spoke, barely blinked. That didn't stop people from asking them about their W-2 or how to file a 1040ez. Always in character, they never moved.

And that's the fun of Comic Con - the little moments that you might miss when you get wrapped up standing in lines or going for swag. Watching KITT get windexed can be a calming, zen experience.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Disneyland, the suite life - part 3

part 3/3

Steakhouse 55 is truly a fine dining experience. It is located in the Disneyland Hotel, on the convention side. Park/hotel food has come a long way in recent years, and the service and the food here is excellent.

The theme is a throwback to 1955 when the park opened. The walls are adorned with vintage pictures of Walt as well as celebrities from the 50s like Lucille Ball.
If you're looking for a nice place for dinner instead of regular old Park food, this is the place. I've dismissed Steakhouse 55 in the past, mostly having to make my way to Goofy's Kitchen where we normally meet our friends with kids, but I'm sorry I did because Steakhouse 55 was one of the best meals that I've ever had at the Disney Hotels.

The menu is extensive and there are options for non-meat eaters as well as a children's menu. There were so many things I wanted to try but I felt that the best way to get a feel of every course was through the prix fixe.
The prix fixe menu consisted of a Caesar Salad, Flat Iron with frites and a creme brulee to end. I have to say, I love salad - so much so that I often forgo meat and just have salad for most meals and this Caesar didn't disappoint. Something about the combination of  the romaine, the dressing, the parmesan crisp - it all was perfectly savory.
But there was more. The flat iron looked small for sure, but it packed a punch. It was delicately cooked and so flavorful! For me it was just the right amount of meat mostly because of the large fries that came with it. They were fantastic, but I barely made a dent. I did eat all the beans first, I have to say. I'm adore haricot verts.
When you order a prix fixe meal you assume you get *tiny* portions of everything. Not so, here! When dessert arrived my mom was shocked to see a rather large (larger than most) creme brulee. The portion was generous which is a nice way to end a meal, especially a prix fixe one. While the rest of my family ate about half of theirs, I can tell you I polished mine off completely. It was made with precision, which believe me - I've had my share of BAD creme brulees. This one nailed it as far as flavor, texture and basic sheer happiness.

My family is always looking for a place on the Hotel property - away from the tourists, with great food and great service and it's wonderful to have found such a nice spot that we will be returning to over and over again.

People ask me how I can spend so much time at Disneyland and the answer is simple. The amazing service and care that the cast members give to every hotel guest. They go above and beyond to make the experience magical whether it's your first stay or your...fiftieth. *ahem*

Not to mention, I love spending vacation days locally at the hotel and the park simply due to the complete and utter joy of this picture:
read Disneyland - the suite life Part 1 and Disneyland - the suite life Part 2

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hello Kitty at Yogurtland

Yogurtland officially kicks off it's partnership with Hello Kitty tomorrow, July 10 - but look what I got today! So excited! I love Little Twin Stars so I picked up the keychain immediately! Now I have to eat yogurt for the next month to collect all the spoons...yikes.

Disneyland, the suite life - part 2

Part 2/3

So here's a Disneyland Hotel perk you might not know about: Disney daycare! Well, not really but it does provide a quite night out for adults, should you need a break while on vacation.
Right inside the Grand Californian is a place called Pinocchio's Workshop. It opens at night from 5pm to midnight and you can drop your kids off at any time. Much like a regular daycare you check in and they take all the kid's info as far as allergies, preferences, etc.

Since it is in the evening they suggest you buy a meal for the kids. It's an extra $6 which is a deal by Disney standards and it's from room service. Talk about living the 'Suite Life' dream. They also provide healthy snacks like fruit and yogurt if the kids want it.
When you drop off the kids you can come back anytime before midnight but you must stay on the Disney premises. That means you can go to any of the parks or Downtown Disney, you just need to stay on Disney Property. My cousin and I decided to go shopping and to a movie at Downtown Disney. When we checked the kids in they gave me a cell phone to carry with me should there be an emergency. This is nice so there's never any privacy issues or fumbling around looking for phone numbers. Possibly a tracking device? Hm...

And if you have even more paranoia (like me) don't worry because they take a picture of you when you drop off the kids. Whoever is in that picture is the ONLY person allowed to pick them up. Smart.

The price for this child care is $13 and when you think about a night out sans kids, it's a pretty good deal and let me tell you why...
Typical Disney they have TONS of cool things for the kids to do. There's a game area, an art room, computers with games, Round the clock Disney movies and a Playstation Move full of Disney games (which is pretty awesome!).
Not only that, the staff is engaging and friendly - of course, it's Disney! And they bring in storytellers for the kids which breaks up the night.

Now here's the cherry on top, at 9:30 they take all the kids up to a private balcony to watch the fireworks at the Grand Californian. How cool is that? Put me in daycare too!

Everyone got to take home goodie bags filled with coloring pages, crayons and stickers. The kids had a fantastic time and I got to relax and enjoy the Disney nightlife. A little break from the kids was nice on our four day trip.
The day we returned home from our trip I opened the mailbox to find personalized thank you notes to the kids from the staff at Pinocchio's Workshop. Disney thinks of everything!

Tomorrow - a nice dinner! (to be continued...)

Disneyland, the suite life - part 1
Disneyland, the suite life - part 3

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Monday, July 09, 2012

Disneyland, the suite life - part 1

Part 1/3

A few weeks ago the kids and I went to Disneyland for four days...like ya do. I know four days sounds like a lot especially when we just live up the freeway, but there really are a lot of things to do that aren't even park related! Disneyland is like a second home to my family. I've gone several times a year ever since I was a born and we stay at the hotel quite often. Speaking of the hotel...

I've talked about my love of the Paradise Pier Hotel before, but this time we were staying there because my mom (who booked the room) was on a business trip in Anaheim. Paradise Pier is much more reasonably priced then the other hotels and you still get access to all the special Disney perks.
When I checked in I was thrilled to find out that they gave me a complimentary upgrade! We weren't 'family of the day' like last time but it still felt like it. Suddenly we had two beds, a living room, a pull out couch, a fridge, second tv and second bathroom. Second bathroom - always a plus when you have kids, just sayin'. Hm. That pic looks just like last time. I wear that jacket a lot...
The obvious plus of staying at a Disneyland Hotel are the magic mornings where you get in early to the park. Not only that, Disney's Grand Californian has a secret 'guest only' entrance into the park and since it's just a walk across the street from the Pier Hotel, it makes things a whole lot easier.

Where else are you going to see this in the morning:
No line on Star Tours and we were the only ones in the ride. Glorious.

The other plus is being able to go back to the hotel to rest. My personal fave. We went to the pool everyday and swam, took naps - then watched World of Color from our room. Sure it's not the same but the music is piped in through the tv in synchronicity to the show and really - the show (the crowds) is not that high on my list of things to do anyway. Relaxation? Always high on my list!
Lastly, the BEST reason for staying at a Disney owned hotel - they treat you like royalty. Thoughtful in every way, Disney knows how to keep you happy.

We came back from a day out to find the beds made up and the rooms cleaned per the usual, but the staff had arranged the kid's stuffed animals, added balloons and chocolates and even gave them an autograph book - all courtesy of the hotel. So much love! The kids were thrilled and couldn't contain their excitement! Disney certainly knows how to make you feel special!

Tomorrow - Disney daycare! What? (to be continued...)

Disneyland, the Suite Life - part 2
Disneyland, the Suite Life - part 3

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Thursday, July 05, 2012

Sprinkles Ice Cream

You know Sprinkles as a cupcake bakery but now offer sweets of a different kind: Sprinkles Ice Cream.

That was my heart singing right there. I love ice cream even more than cupcakes and it makes perfect sense to combo the two.

The ice cream shop is located right next door to the original cupcake location in Beverly Hills. While the cupcakes stop at around 9pm (except for the all night cupcake ATM) the ice cream shop is open until midnight! 
I love this because if you're out and about at night in LA this is a great late night stop. There's always a line, even right up until midnight but it's a nice place to see people you know in line and sit and chat for a bit while you wait for your late night treat.
Like the Sprinkles stores the Ice Cream shop is of minimal design, clean whites and reds - the ideal backdrop for colorful ice cream scoops. The large open window wall lets in the summer air but also allows a peek at the extensive menu.

Scoops, shakes, sundaes...red velvet cones! The flavors are change daily and you can tell what is available by the red dots next to the names.

But when you think of Sprinkles you think of cupcakes, right? So why not pair the two in a cupcake sundae? Oh. Yes. They. Did. My cousin who came along with me loves cupcakes and I love ice cream and this was the ideal choice for both of us. They split a cupcake in half, fill the middle with ice cream, then place the frosted top back on. Decadent for sure, almost to a fault, then again I was eating this at midnight.
I went for the vanilla chocolate cupcake and paired that with coffee ice cream. I can never pass up coffee anything, however I did get to taste the Captain Crunch ice cream, something I wasn't sure would work but I liked it so much that might be my choice next time.

For cupcake lovers, other items that incorporate cupcakes is a topping of crumbled cupcakes or a cupcake ice cream sandwich: just what it says, ice cream sandwiched between two cupcake tops.
Sprinkles Ice Cream is a sweet concept with a ton of fans. Keep in mind it's pricey, no doubt but you're paying for the name and novelty. It's just a matter of time before Sprinkles Ice Cream goes global just like the cupcakes. I'm all set to go back, a red velvet cone at midnight sounds about right to me...

Sprinkles Ice Cream
9631 S Santa Monica Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

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