Over The Top Mommy

I’m Doing It! I’m Making Time to Work Out at Curves®!

Thank you Curves International for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own. #CurvesStrong#25YearsStrong

 

It’s been a while since I’ve had a regular workout routine of any kind. I mean a LONG while. Life gets overwhelming. I teach school full time, I am a hands-on mom who tries to cater to every need of my 12 year-old, and I blog. It feels liek there’s no time in the day left to fit a workout in too. Well, up until recently.curves-receptionI was so lucky to be invited to work out at my local Curves® location. Curves® is a one-stop-shop for every woman’s fitness needs. When you’re enrolled in Curves’ Fitness® Program you’re able to participate in a 30 minute, total-body workout on strength training machines. The circuit classes are designed to burn fat, increase strength, and kick start weight loss. It’s exactly what I needed to do for me.curves-guide-to-trainingThis month, Curves is turning 25 this month and celebrating all month long with special offerings and happenings during the month of September. They’re even giving away a free annual membership for the first 25 new members at each location. curves-25thDuring my first visit to the Curves near my home, I did the registration prior to my workout First, I was given a tour to familiarize myself with the facility (where to get water and towels, where to change and use the restroom, where to leave my stuff while I work out.)curves-shirtI also got to meet with an instructor, on a one-on-one basis. She measured my height and took my weight and my measurements. Through an analysis, she determined where I am on the scale of health and also worked with me to set some personal goals and expectations for my working out this month at Curves.curves-celebration-wall

So…I completed my first workout! I felt so accomplished, too! My experience at Curves really felt like the opposite of intimidating. (and it was only first workout) It was the friendliest place I could have joined to begin a regular workout schedule again. During my training, I also watched as every woman who walked through the door was greeted not only by the instructors but by the others working out there. It’s such a great community to be a part of and I’m super excited for what’s to come in my workouts.curves-toteCurves® can really help any woman on their journey to get stronger and feel empowered No Makeup, No Men, No Mirrors. It’s just a supportive group of women who are there to meet their own, personal fitness goals and whatever those may entail. Stay tuned for more of my fitness journey at Curves.curves-exterior I’ll be working out over the next few weeks and sharing with you more all of it. Have you visited a  Curves® before? If not, you should do it, especially during their birthday month! To find the nearest Curves location, go here.

Connect with Curves on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

This post was sponsored by Curves International but the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

 

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{Giveaway} “Odysseo” by Cavalia to Premiere in Ventura County Starting November 11 + Enter to Win

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. 

 

After stunning one million California spectators in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego and Orange County with its original show Cavalia and its second theatrical adventure Odysseo, the internationally acclaimed entertainment company Cavalia Inc. is thrilled to announce the first visit of Odysseo to Ventura County. The world’s largest touring production will be presented under its signature White Big Top in Camarillo, cavalia-logo

cavalia-3Performances will start Saturday, November 11, and Odysseo will call Ventura County home through Thanksgiving with matinee and evening shows scheduled until November 26 and will be at Under the White Big Top in Ventura County * US 101 at Santa Rosa Rd (Exit 52) at 5230 Camino Ruiz, Camarillo, CA 93012. Tickets for matinee and evening performances of Odysseo in Ventura County are now on sale and can be purchased online. Please see below for ticket purchase info, discount code, and also to enter my ticket givwaway! cavalia-2The $30 million equestrian and acrobatic extravaganza expands the definition of performance into an epic, yet soulful theatrical experience. A show unlike any other on the planet, this awe-inspiring production features 65 magnificent horses and 50 talented riders, acrobats, aerialists, dancers and musicians. Odysseo is the masterpiece of Normand Latourelle, creator of Cavalia Inc. and renowned for combining different forms of artistic expression and reinventing the scenic space.cavalia-2Here’s a synopsis of this beautiful production:
Odysseo is a heart racing live performance, filled with mesmerizing visuals and live music. Through the magic of digital projection, audiences of all ages will be transported on an epic journey to some of nature’s greatest wonders including the Mongolian steppes to Monument Valley, the African savannah to Nordic glaciers, and from the Sahara Desert to Easter Island. Odysseo’s mindboggling theatrical effects are as spectacular as they are numerous: a state-of-the-art video screen three times the size of the world’s largest cinema screens; a three-story mountain for dazzling perspectives; décor both intricate and grandiose that seems to pull the audience onto the gigantic stage, and a real lake made of 40,000 gallons of recycled water which magically appears for a splashing finale. In sum, the show creates places no one has ever seen before – places where one can feel the deep connection between horse and man.
Odysseo’s horses play in complicity and with freedom, in a respectful relationship with their human counterparts, creating a moving artistic and emotive partnership. A liberty number, in which purebred Arabian horses are directed only by the soft murmurs of their trainer, and a fabulous caravan act that comprises people and horses too numerous to count, are amongst the breathtaking scenes that will leave every spectator captivated and touched.cavalia-4Buy tickets now and enjoy“PRESALE” prices! For a limited time only, up to a 15% discount is applied automatically for online and phone transactions for ticket purchases. Presale ticket prices range from $29.50 to $119.50 + applicable fees. For a memorable outing, The Rendez-Vous Package offers the best seats in the house, a full meal buffet dining before the show, open bar, desserts during intermission and an exclusive visit to the stables after the show. This unique VIP experience takes place in a tent alongside the White Big Top. The presale RendezVous package prices range from $129.50 to $234.50 + applicable fees. Special pricing and packages are also available for groups of 12 spectators and more. Tickets for Odysseo are available at http://www.cavalia.com or by calling 1.866.999.8111.

giveaway

I’m also hosting a giveaway for one of my lucky readers to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see Odysseo on November 11 at 2 p.m.Under the White Big Top in Ventura County. Winner must be able to attend and pick up tickets at Will Call prior to the performance on November 11. No substitutions will be available. To enter, complete the Rafflecopter below. Good luck everyone! Thanks for reading!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Images and logo are property of Cavalia Odysseo. 

 

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The Cigna Run Together Blogger Event for the Disneyland® Half Marathon Weekend

I was invited to a media event and received a park ticket in exchange for writing this post. All opinions are my own. 

 

A couple of weeks ago, you may have noticed a million tweets and Instagram posts being shared from Disneyland Resort showing all of the excitement during the 2017 Disneyland® Half Marathon Weekend. This RunDisney event is held annually and Cigna was the presenting sponsor of the weekend.cigna-run-together-starting-lineCigna provided some useful fitness and nutrition tips to participants in the weeks leading up to the marathon weekend. Whether a runner, walker, or cyclist, participants can utilize these tips as a way to help accomplish their race goals.cigna-run-together-2For me, someone who hasn’t had a lot of race training, I really appreciated some of the tips and insight I found on their Facebook page and the way they tied in with  Cigna’s “Go. Know. Take Control”., a campaign which reminds people how important it is get an annual check-up, know your vital numbers, and take control of your health for good.cigna-run-together-paradiseThe Cigna Blogger Meet-Up was held at Disney’s Grand California and began with a healthy lunch and a whole lot of photo taking. (because that’s what bloggers do.) cigna-run-together-group-selfie-1We were placed into character teams, (I got to be on Team Donald), to collaborate a little bit before we were released into Disney’s California Adventure Park to compete in the “Cigna Great Race”!cigna-run-together-donald-tsum-tsumDespite the fact that it was 99 degrees that day plus it was humid, our team really rallied through Disney’s California Adventure Park like a bunch of champs!99-degreesAs we continued to check off challenges and intersections, I really felt the support from my “Team Donald” teammates. Whether it was completing a challenge where we had to collaborate with another team in the race or just completing tasks and intersections within our own group, I always felt encouraged by the others. cigna-great-race-intersectionThe RunDisney community seems to be comprised of people who unconditionally support each other. It’s a great group to be hanging around with. cigna-run-together-team-donald-jumpingAlthough I wasn’t running the Disneyland Half Marathon that weekend, I admired those who did complete it, especially in the (almost) unbearable weather condition which didn’t let up through the weekend.cigna-run-together-challenge-7Team Donald didn’t “win” the Cigna Great Race, but I still came out feeling a sense of accomplishment and made some new friends along the way.cigna-run-together-paradiseAfter we were done, we headed back at The Grand for some afternoon treats while they tallied up who the winners would be. We also had a couple of surprise guests appear in the event room!cigna-run-together-mickey-and-minnieMickey and Minnie were wearing their best race outfits and were ready for photos with everyone! I even got to take my very own photo with them. How magical is that? The Cigna Blogger Meetup was so much fun and I feel lucky to have been invited!

I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the RunDisney Walt Disney World® Half Marathon, January 3-7, 2018, which is also presented by Cigna. Will you be participating in that one? I’ll be there!  For more information about Cigna’s Go. Know. Take Control. campaign, go here.

Some photos are property of Cigna. 

 

 

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This Is Us (Music From the Series) Available for Download September 15

I received a download of this soundtrack in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.

 

Confession: I was really late to the game for “This Is Us”!
I’d seen a couple of the series previews and knew it was coming last fall, but I rarely sit down to watch much on television. So, I watched my first episode on an airplane. Well, kind of. I loved the first part but it got cut short as we began landing and they shut it off. Ithis-is-us-deliveryt was still a couple of months before I found myself actually sitting down to really get into “This Is Us”. I binge watched it and WHOA! I was hooked!this-is-us-weddingIf you are one of the handful of people left who haven’t watched it yet, don’t worry! This Is Us: The Complete First Season is already available on DVD so you can catch all of the episodes before the second season starts.this-is-us-prestonDid you know?  
“This Is Us” was nominated for 10 Emmy Awards including Outstanding Drama Series?  The show chronicles the Pearson family across the decades: from Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) as young parents in the 1980s and 1990s to their now adult kids Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) searching for love, fulfillment and healing in the present day. This grounded, life-affirming dramedy reveals how the events in our lives – both big and small – impact who we become, and how the connections we share with each other can transcend time, distance and even death.this-is-us-siblingsIf you asked me to talk about my favorite character, favorite part, or favorite song from the show, I would have a hard time pinpointing those down. I am a fan of every single actor in this cast. They are all amazing in their own way and every storyline has me hooked. Did I mention how excited I am for the Season 2 premiere on Tuesday, September 26 at 9pm on NBC? this-is-us-castIt’s of the most addicting shows I’ve ever watched! When I was asked if I wanted to preview and share about the music for “This Is Us” I thought to myself, “HECK YEAH!”. this-is-us-music-coverThis Is Us (Music From the Series)  is a companion to the show everyone loves and will be available September 15 via UMe. With instantly recognizable hits and classics, an original song and a compelling score, the soundtrack features 20 songs curated by “This Is Us” Creator/Executive Producer Dan Fogelman and his team, music supervisor Jennifer Pyken and composer/musician Siddhartha Khosla. Each musical element is carefully woven throughout the series, with the songs clearly defining a moment or serving as a gentle guide through the complex emotional journey.this-is-us-williamI love the songs so much. I don’t know if it’s because they remind me of different moments in the series or if it’s because many of the songs remind me of my own childhood? For me, music is a way to record memories and hearing certain songs take me back to certain moments and snapshots in time. The entire first season was really special to me and now having the opportunity to download and listen to all of those songs, brings an extra big smile to my face!

This Is Us (Music from the Series) includes:

  • Death With Dignity – Sufjan Stevens
  • You Can Call Me Al – Paul Simon
  • Willin’ – Mandy Moore – Listen on YouTube here
  • Can’t Find My Way Home – Blind Faith
  • Uptight (Everything’s Alright) – Stevie Wonder
  • The Calvary Cross – Richard Thompson & Linda Thompson
  • Watch Me – Labi Siffre
  • The Wind – Cat Stevens
  • Come Talk To Me – Goldspot
  • Blues Run The Game – Jackson C. Frank
  • If Only – Maria Taylor (featuring Conor Oberst)
  • Northern Sky – Nick Drake
  • If I Ever Was A Child – Wilco
  • Because Of You – Gene Clark
  • Evergreen Cassette (Tape Mix) – Goldspot
  • Without You – Badfinger
  • The World’s Smiling Now – Jim James
  • Photograph – Ringo Starr
  • We Can Always Come Back To This – Brian Tyree Henry
  • This Is Us Score Suite – Siddhartha Khosla

Great News! You can preorder This Is Us (Music from the Series) by visiting here!  You can also join in the This Is Us Music – Facebook Listening Party on Sept. 15 at 10am PT/1pm ET on Facebook.

“This Is Us” Season 2 premieres Tuesday, September 26 at 9pm on NBC and I’ve been counting down the days! Will you be watching it too?

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Addicted to Americana: A New Charles Phoenix Book + LA Book Launch Party 10/8

I received a copy of this book in order to write this post. All opinions are my own. 

 

I am a huge fan of Charles Phoenix and stalk his Instagram from time to time! (not in a creepy way, I’m just a fangirl of his style)  He is just so much fun and I can never get enough of his nostalgic posts. When I heard that he had a new book out, Addicted to Americana, I just had to get my hands on a copy!addicted-to-americana-bookIf you don’t know who Charles Phoenix is, lean in. He’s a showman, tour guide, food crafter, and author known for his crowd rousing retro slide show performances, fun field trips, mad cap test kitchen videos, and colorful table books. He’s described on his site as “a walking celebration of classic and kitschy American life and style and the Ambassador of Americana.”charles-phoenixOn TV, Charles appears this season as a judge on Food Network’s Cake Wars: Christmas. He’s also guested on Storage Wars, Conan, Queen Latifah, and Martha Stewart, and is often heard on National Public Radio. Los Angeles Times says, “Call him the King of Retro,” and LA Weekly anointed him the “Kodachrome King.”

Phoenix’s latest book, Addicted to America is described as as “Colorful Kaleidoscope of Pop Cutlure”.  It’s another amazing addition to the ones he’s published in the past and here’s a brief synopsis:

Ambassador of Americana, Charles Phoenix, launches us into the stratosphere of space-age style, amazing attractions, roadside wonders, festive foods, crazy car culture, and futuristic transportation via his road trip discoveries and found vintage Kodachrome slides.

You’ll be able to sit back and enjoy the fabulous flight as he guides you through his action-packed, fun-filled, wondrous world of mid-century marvels. Your imagination will be inspired and your spirit will soar!

charles-phoenix-book-launch-partyIf you’re in the Southern California area, you’re to his Book Launch party Sunday, October 8th! A ticket purchase for the event includes a signed copy of his book “Addicted to Americana”! For more information or to purchase your tickets, go here.

Photos and cover art are property of Charles Phoenix and used with permission. 

 
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Exploring Anti-Aging Solutions with Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon Dr. Tenley Lawton

I received services in order to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own.

 

I want to begin this post by pointing out that I’m well aware of the fact that no matter how “pretty” you are on the outside, it’s what’s on the inside that truly matters most!whats-on-the-insideThis is exactly what I teach my own daughter and try to live by, placing other important things above vanity. With that being said, the clock isn’t slowing down and I’m here to talk about something I did for myself in attempt to reverse some of the aging on my face.aging-is-no-jokeI don’t know if life is more stressful nowadays or what exactly is going on but I felt like I was at a point where I dreaded looking at myself in the mirror. It honestly felt like every time I’d look in the mirror, all I would see was stress written all over my face…in the form of wrinkles! Do you ever feel that way? If the answer is “yes”, you aren’t alone.look-in-the-mirrorI couldn’t stand my wrinkles! It was as if motherhood, marriage, my job, financial stuff, current politics, and age, all got together for a collaboration..on my face! Once I hit my late 30’s, it became a race to keep up and fight the aging process. It’s the worst! stressors-on-my-faceLuckily for me, I connected with an amazing female board-certified  Orange County plastic surgeon Dr. Tenley Lawton. She’s a mom, too, so she gets it. She’s practiced cosmetic surgery for years now and I actually have a couple of friends who have gone to her for reconstructive surgery after battling Breast Cancer.dr-lawton-officeDuring my consultation, I felt like Dr. Lawton really listened to me explain my concerns and expectations for the visit. My biggest areas of concern included:

  • the crows feet by my eyes
  • the wrinkle between my brows
  • the wrinkles on my forehead
  • the wrinkles on both sides of my nose (at the top)

areas-that-bothered-meDr. Lawton gave a thorough analysis about what she could (and couldn’t) do to counter the wrinkles and other areas on my face that were bothering me. discussingShe suggested non-surgical options, which was fine with me because I’m not even close to ready for a face lift. Using Botox injections is very effective for the problem areas I mentioned above.botox-boxas-if-wrinkles-werent-bad-enoughDid you know that as you age, your face loses its fullness too? As if wrinkles weren’t bad enough, now my face was falling? There’s no way I’m willing to “age gracefully”! I fully intend to fight this process and not let it get the best of me! juvederm-voluma-boxIn addition to some of the areas on my face with Botox, Dr. Lawton also suggested using some Juvederm Voluma in my cheeks. in the areas formerly known as the “apples” of my cheeks. not-willing-to-age-gracefullyKnow before you go
If you’ve never had injections like these before, it’s usually a good idea to avoid drinking alcohol and taking Ibuprofen for the 2 weeks prior to your appointment. This is to help minimize bruising, which can happen regardless.inject-to-the-siteWhat does it feel like?
Both Botox and Juvederm Voluma are injected right into the areas you’re targeting. If you’re wondering whether it hurts or not, I don’t think it does. However, that’s just my opinion. The Botox just feels like a bunch of quick needle pokes. The Voluma is still a tiny poke but sits longer as the filler is injected to either build up an area or fill in a line. Again, it’s not bad at all and totally worth it! It’s obvious that Dr. Lawton has a lot of experience and knows that she’s doing, because I barely felt the injections.

How long does it take to see results?
Botox takes about 10 to 14 days to take full effect, so you won’t see immediate results from the Botox right after your visit. The Voluma is a different story though. It’s a filler so you can pretty much immediately see where it’s been injected. Voluma is great for filling in lines too, like the ones around your mouth and lips. I had some lines on my forehead too but those seemed to have gone away just with the Botox.thank-you-dr-lawtonI’m so grateful I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Tenley Lawton and that I had such a wonderful experience. She is passionate about her work and about her patients, regardless of what they’re in the office for. Her passion is even obvious on her social channels like her Instagram.


Having non-surgical options to help in this fight against the aging process made me feel like I could face the world again. In all seriousness though, I have more confidence now in talking to others and don’t feel the need to use so many filters on my photos. From time-to-time, we should all take the time to do something for ourselves, whatever it may be.

If you are considering taking a pro-active approach to the aging process, I highly suggest calling the office to schedule a consultation and an appointment with Dr. Lawton.

Dr. Tenley Lawton’s office is located at:

 361 Hospital Rd #329
Newport Beach, Ca. 92663
949. 640.0999

To learn more about the full range of services Dr. Lawton offers, including Mommy Makeovers please visit her site here. Connect with Lawton M.D. on Facebook  too.

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LEGO® Ninjago® Days at LEGOLAND California Resort 9/23-24 + Enter to Win 4 Park Hopper Tickets

I received media tickets for entry to Legoland California. All opinions are my own. 

 

In celebration of the new film, The LEGO® NINJAGO® Movie™    LEGOLAND® California Resort is having LEGO Ninjago Days on September 23rd & 24th! lego-ninjago-daysLEGO® NINJAGO® Days are new for this year and guests will be able to join their favorite ninjas – Lloyd, Jay, Kai, Cole, Zane and Nya – to experience LEGO NINJAGO attractions, meet LEGO NINJAGO characters, and celebrate the September 22 opening of Warner Bros. Pictures’ all-new big-screen animated adventure THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE!  With unique building activities, giveaways and more, you won’t want to miss out on the fun! Have you watched the trailer yet? Here it is:

Guests at LEGOLAND California Resort will have the opportunity to “become a ninja” with fun activities throughout the day! Here’s what you’ll find:

THE LEGO® NINJAGO® MOVIE Character Meet & Greets
Meet the stars of the movie in LEGO® NINJAGO® World!legoland-ninjago-ninjaMystery Mosaic LEGO® Build -Work together to build a LEGO mosaic and check out the LEGOLAND Calfiornia Facebook page to see it completed! Please note: This activity will be available on a first come, first serve basis. 

Miniland Scavenger Hunt- Join in on the hunt to find the ninjas in Miniland U.S.A! . Complete an entry form for a chance to win a LEGO® NINJAGO® prize pack!

WB Family GameSpace featuring THE LEGO® NINJAGO® MOVIE Video Game – Master new skills and upgrade your weapons in your training to find your inner ninja in this brand new video game. The LEGO NINJAGO Movie Video Game will allow players to delve into the world of the new big-screen animated adventure The LEGO NINJAGO Movie. In the game, players battle their way through waves of enemies with honor and skill as their favorite ninjas Lloyd, Nya, Jay, Kai, Cole, Zane and Master Wu to defend their home island of Ninjago from the evil Lord Garmadon and his Shark Army. To do so, they must master the art of Ninjagility which allows them to traverse Ninjago by wall-running, high-jumping and battling the foes of Ninjago to rank up and upgrade the ninja’s combat skills. Players can harness the power of Spinjitzu combat to defend Ninjago together.legoland-ninjago-world-now-openAll of the activities available during  LEGO Ninjago Days  are included with the price of a regular park ticket. For more information or to purchase your tickets ahead of time, please go here.giveaway-enter-to-win

I’m also part of a great group giveaway right now. A few of my closest blogging friends and I put together this giveaway for one lucky reader to win a 4-pack of LEGOLAND Calfornia Park Hopper tickets. To enter, go to the Rafflecopter below. Good luck everyone! Thanks for reading!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway open to US residents only. No purchase necessary to enter. All readers have an equal chance to win, however, you must enter to win. A winner will be randomly selected via RaffleCopter and notified via email. I will attempt to contact the winner for 3 days. If the winner cannot be reached by email, a new winner will be selected the same way. There are several different ways to earn entries. One prize per household. The winner will receive, free of charge, the prize mentioned above. This prize has no cash value and is not available for exchanges. Prizes are not transferable or refundable and must be accepted as awarded. The winner is responsible for any and all other costs and expenses not listed above. Not liable for unclaimed prizes or fulfillment.

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Support the Let’s Play High School Makeover Challenge by Voting Today

This post is sponsored by Let’s Play, an initiative by Dr Pepper Snapple Group that provides kids and families with the tools, places and inspiration to make active play a daily priority by building and improving playgrounds and donating sports equipment to groups in need. Although I received compensation for this post, all opinions are my own.

 

As a mom of an active middle-school daughter who participates in many of the school sports on her school campus, I know the importance of supporting her active lifestyle. the-sockit-athletic-girlNowadays, students have such rigorous curriculum and the educational expectations are immense but necessary for this generation of 21st Century learners. Kids need an outlet for their energy and built up stress. They also need a place to play and interact with their peers. Having proper equipment and facilities on a school campus is crucial for this.playground-makeoverI am also a first-grade teacher in an extremely impoverished area and am all-too-familiar with the site of a playground that is lacking in every way. A couple of years ago, the playground at my school site had minimal “toys” (a.k.a. a tiny and very old play structure) for the students to play on and the free space to run around and play organized sports games was sad. Fortunately for the students at my school, we received a playground makeover and it was a true gift for them.playground-makeover-2Sadly, there are still so many school campuses throughout Southern California, actually nationwide, that lack necessities. I’m here today to talk to you about Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s Let’s Play initiative because it’s something I feel is so meaningful and important.
Let’s Play
Let’s Play is an initiative by Dr Pepper Snapple Group to provide kids and families with the tools, places and inspiration to make active play a daily priority. Through a partnership with Good Sports, Let’s Play has donated more than $4.5 million in brand-new sports equipment over the past three years as part of Dr Pepper Snapple’s $38.5 million commitment by 2020 to bring active play to kids in need. Just look at how much of a difference it made last year, in 2016:lets-play-2016-grantsThis past summer, Dr Pepper Snapple Group kicked off the “Let’s Play High School Makeover Challenge”, a video contest benefiting student-athletes at underfunded high schools across the U.S. The winning school will receive $100,000 in brand-new athletic equipment. The Let’s Play High School Makeover Challenge is the largest one-time donation Dr Pepper Snapple will make as part of the company’s Let’s Play initiative. How exciting is that?
“Let’s Play High School Makeover Challenge” Submissions
Student-athletes, under the supervision of a parent, legal guardian, or authorized adult, submitted videos to for the High School Makeover Challenge by Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s Let’s Play initiative to be eligible to win the equipment makeover. The top 20 submissions were selected and now it’s time for public voting to help crown the finalists and the winner.
You can help by voting
The voting period for the “Let’s Play High School Makeover Challenge” is September 8-17, 2017 and you can help by submitting your vote! The top 10 finalists will be chosen by the public through online voting, and Dr Pepper Snapple Group and Good Sports will select the winning high school, which will receive $100,000 in new athletic equipment. This is so exciting and will really make a difference for hundreds of high school athletes! Although the finalists are schools across the U.S., I have to be honest here and tell you that I’m really pulling for John R. Wooden High School in Reseda, California, because it’s the school closest to where I live and teach.
Won’t you consider taking a moment to help out by voting? To view a complete list of finalists and to participate in the vote, please click here and follow along with the contest using the hashtag #LetsPlayHSMakeover.
Connect with Dr Pepper Snapple Group on Facebook and Twitter.
You can also get the latest news about this initiative on Let’s Play’s Facebook and Twitter.

Some images and logos are property of Let’s Play and used with permission.

 

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Disney Social Media Moms Celebration “On-the-Road” at Disneyland Resort

I was invited to attend a conference and provided with entrance to the Disneyland Resort. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

Pixie Dust landed in my inbox a few weeks ago, in the form of a magical invite to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration On-the-Road at the Disneyland Resort. Just the mention of anything Disney, brings a smile to my face and warms my heart so I was giddy to share this news with anyone and everyone who would listen!


After I shared about my wonderful invite on my social channels, I received a few questions asking what exactly Disney Social Media Moms Celebration is? So let’s just start there.what-is-dsmmcDisney Social Media Moms Celebration is a multi-day conference that began over 7 years ago at the Walt Disney World Resort. This annual event put on by the Walt Disney World Events Team, is by invitation only and is extended to a couple hundred social media moms (and dads) and their families each year. Attendees participate in a conference and also get to spend to time in the Parks with their families during their stay. Last year, I had several friends attend and have the opportunity to experience the very first “Land and Sea Celebration” where they sailed aboard the Disney Wonder! (Read about my friend Gayle’s experience here.) How magical does that sound? A Disney cruise is definitely on my family’s travel bucket list! Have you been on one before?
disney-cruise-line-logoThe Walt Disney World Events Team took the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration out “On-The-Road” a few years ago, creating a half-day “mini” conference, making several stops across the country, and even in Canada. I was lucky enough to attend the “On-The-Road” conference last year, when it was held at Paradise Pier at Disneyland Resort.disney-social-media-moms-on-the-road-2016Whether you’re invited to the regular Disney Social Media Moms Celebration conference or one of the “On-The-Road” locations, you’ll have the chance to learn about the latest Disney news, including the happenings at the parks, with Disney Cruise Line, at Disney Aulani, with the Disney Parks Moms Panel Search, and with Disney Vacation Club. You’ll also receive social media tips and tools and gain valuable insight from speakers at the conferencesdisney-social-media-moms-celebration-signthis-yearDisney Social Media Moms “On-The-Road” at Disneyland Resort was held this year in Disney California Park, inside Stage 17. It was a jam-packed morning and I want to share all about my experience with you. (To read what I did to get ready for this big day, go here.)
disney-social-media-moms-celebration-minnie-pinUpon arrival at the conference, we were each given a Disney pin so we could participate in some pin trading with the other attendees as we enjoyed a delicious buffet breakfast. disney-social-media-moms-breakfastHave you ever done pin trading in the Parks? It’s so much fun. I LOVE my new Minnie Mouse pin! She’s adorable! It was fun to pin trade and get to know some of the other Disney Moms in the room.
disney-social-media-moms-friends-2some-of-the-speakersWhat followed was a lineup of wonderful speakers, each one sharing either exciting news about Disney or an inspirational story. Lisa Mendillo, Managing Editor at Walt Disney World Resort, grabbed our attention immediately as she began with one of the most magical giveaways you might know of right now: a raffle to win a pair of (highly sought after) Disney Rose Gold EARs! disney-social-media-moms-on-the-road-rose-gold-earsI don’t think I’ve ever heard a room get that quiet in such a short time! We were all crossing our fingers and hoping to be chosen! Although I wasn’t one of them, I was excited to know one of the winners, Tania of Latina Mom TV.! It’s always exciting to see your friends win something! disney-social-media-moms-celebration-rivers-of-lightLisa also touched on some of the latest happenings at the Disney Parks, Disney Cruise Line, Aulani, and the Disney Parks Moms Panel Search.. Here are just a few of those updates:

  • The World of Pandora – New to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the World of Pandora brought a whole new element to the Park and features.
  • Rivers of Light – Also new to Animal Kingdom, this past February was the nighttime show “Rivers of Light” which combines live performance, floating set pieces, a soaring musical score, fountains and more in a celebration of animals and nature.
  • “Happily Ever After'” Fireworks Show – Catch this nightly show in the sky above Cinderella Castle is the most spectacular fireworks showcase in Magic Kingdom history. It starts with a dream…and takes you on an unforgettable journey that captures the heart, humor and heroism.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! opened at the end of May inside Disney California Adventure Park at Disneyland Resort. This thrilling attraction takes guests. New for this year at Halloween Time, read about the nightly transformation this attraction will undergo just for Halloween!
  • Disney Junior Dance Party –  This summer, an all-new Disney Junior Dance Party debuted at Disney California Adventure Park. This high-energy, live show experience that takes its inspiration from the most popular Disney Junior shows on TV, including the new series “Mickey and the Roadster Racers,” as well as “Doc McStuffins,” “Sofia the First” and “The Lion Guard.” The show is set to include live appearances from some of your favorite characters, fun music from Disney Junior and much more.
  • Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America Attractions – The Disneyland Railroad and the attractions along the Rivers of America (the Mark Twain Riverboat, the Sailing Ship Columbia, and the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes) reopened at the end of July, after a complete refurbishment, which made room for the upcoming Star Wars area. The scenes along the Rivers of America, which are backdrop for Disneyland Railroad’s route, portray scenes that were inspired by Walt Disney’s true-life adventure movies,
  • Disney Cruise Line –  Marvel Day at Sea features exclusive character interactions where you’ll have a chance to meet astounding Super Heroes and a very extraordinary Villain.
  • Disney Parks Moms Panel – The 2018 Disney Parks Moms Panel search will begin this year on September 6 as the application period for Round 1 will open.

disneyland-resort-celebrate-summer-mickeyIt seems like there’s always something new and exciting coming soon at either one of the Disney Parks or with Disney, in general. disney-parks-moms-panel-screenDid you know that the Disney Parks Moms Panel search will begin this year on September 6? The application period for Round 1 of applicants is only open through September 13. If you aren’t familiar with the panel or are still on the fence about applying, here are 3 reasons why I think you should apply this year. Although I’ve never been chosen for the panel, I have applied for it twice before and can tell you what it’s like to apply.  It’s a great opportunity for any Disney Mom (or Dad) to pursue. disney-social-media-moms-with-julie-and-leslieSince I am a huge fan of the Disney Parks Blog, I was really excited when we heard from Erin Glover who is the Editorial Content Director of Disney Parks Blog! She is so knowledgeable about all things Disney and shared some great tips with us about the best ways to share our content from our blogs to social channels.

disney-social-media-moms-erin-glover-1Just as soon as Erin was finished speaking, a familiar tune started to play in the room. It was “Baroque Hoedown” and if the name still doesn’t ring a bell, that’s the theme song for Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade. We had our own personal performance at the conference that day as 2 royal couples danced in the front of the darkened room, wearing their beautifully lit-up costumes from the actual parade.
disney-social-media-moms-on-the-road-main-street-electrical-parade The Main Street Electrical Parade originated inside Disneyland Park in 1972 and just recently returned to the Disneyland Resort this past January for an encore performance which ended on August 19. I’d have to say that this was my most favorite parade of all time, mainly because of how much it reminds me of my childhood. main-street-electrical-parade-signThe conference attendees were delighted to be introduced to.Stacia Martin, a Disney Artist and Historian. Ms. Martin has been with the Company for 39 years and as she stood in front of the crowd, up on the stage, she talked to us about so many interesting topics and facts she knew and had come to learn all of these years, while she sketched away, making it look like it was effortless.disney-social-media-moms-on-the-road-stacia-martin-1 She first sketched Tink as she talked. Next, she called up my friend Caryn (from Rockin’ Mama) to the stage to sketch her favorite character. What an exciting thing to be called up for! We all watched in awe and as Ms. Martin finished the sketch of Winnie the Pooh. disney-social-media-moms-on-the-road-stacia-martin-sketching-poohWe then learned that Ms. Martin had also sketched a personalized rendering for each of us and that we’d be taking ours home that day! Here’s the one I got to take home. I will treasure it forever!disney-social-media-moms-minnie-sketchwe-got-a-sneak-peekAs soon as we were asked to turn off our cell phones and put away any device at the conference, I knew something good was coming next. Sure enough, we got to see a never-before-seen clip from “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” which is a 22 minute animated short from Disney Animation Studios. The short will be shown in theaters this holiday season when it precedes the full length animated feature “Coco”, due to release nationwide on November 22. I don’t want to spoil anything but I am happy that the original (voice) cast is returning for this holiday adventure. Here’s the official trailer:

After the sneak peek we also got to have a Q & A with the directors of this featurette, Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers. Can Thanksgiving hurry up and get here already?
disney-social-media-moms-on-the-road-leanneLeanne O’ Regan, Director of Content Relations for Disney Parks, introduced the surprise keynote speaker, Amy Robach of CBS’ Good Morning America. Amy is an amazing journalist and news anchor and sat down on stage with Leanne to share about her journey and her battle with breast cancer.disney-spcial-media-moms-amy-robachAmy featured a live mammogram on her show, Good Morning America, as a way to encourage viewers to get their own mammograms done. Shockingly, she received devastating results of her mammogram afterwards, as she was told she had breast cancer., Amy shared that it was one of the most eye-opening and shocking events of her lifetime!

“I started surviving the day I got the diagnosis.” – Amy Robach.

All I could do was sit and listen to her story and quietly wipe tears from my own eyes. She is amazing and positive and inspiring and reminds me of a very good friend of mine who is currently battling cancer. today-is-a-giftAttitude is everything in situations like theirs. It seems like the more positive energy you exude, the more positive outcome you will get!time-to-connectDisney Social Media Moms Celebration “On-The-Road” included such a wonderful collection of presentations and speakers and Disney magic and was nothing short of a memorable experience for the attendees.
disney-spcial-media-moms-on-the-road-daytripping-momI got to connect with influencer friends, many of which I usually only “see” online. There’s really nothing like the community of Disney Moms and how much they support each other and to be in a room filled with many of them that day, was definitely My Happy Place. disney-social-media-moms-celebration-on-the-road-lanyardThe conference portion of the day ended at noon but the day was far from over because we were then hosted to play in both Parks until closing time. We were also lucky to be given a pre-loaded FASTPASS to experience the all-new Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!  and  enjoyed the perks of having MaxPass on our Park Hopper tickets that day, which included PhotoPass.(The park photographers are amazing!)  I highly recommend trying out MaxPass on your next visit! It is so convenient! disney-social-media-moms-photo-passthank-youIt was such a wonderful day and I was so grateful to have been invited this year’s Disney Social Media Moms Celebration “On-The-Road”.  A special thank you to Leanne, Courtnee, Lisa, and the entire Walt Disney World Resort Events Team for including me. disney-social-media-moms-business-cardsYou can join in on the conversation by following the hashtag #DisneySMMC on Twitter and Instagram. I also recommend you follow @DisneyMoms on Twitter, too, so you can keep up with the latest announcements regarding the Disney Parks Moms Panel and other exciting events up and coming with Disney Parks.

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27th Annual CHOC Walk in the Park at Disneyland Resort Raises over $2.3 Million

I was invited to participate in the CHOC Walk in the Park and share about my experience on my blog. All opinions are my own. 

 

On August  27, 2017, CHOC Walk in the Park, presented by the Disneyland Resort, brought more than 12,000 walkers together to raise funds for CHOC Children’s. This year’s super heroes-themed walk raised more than $2.3 million in support of health care programs, education and research for Southern California’s kids which is absolutely amazing!choc-walk-emi-and-iI was so honored to be able to be there with my daughter and be a part of CHOC Walk in the Park. It was our 3rd time participating and this year was, by far, the best one yet! It’s such a thrill to be inside Disneyland Park in the wee hours of the morning, before the sun is even up. choc-walk-before-main-streetEach year, an ambassador is chosen for CHOC Walk. Each ambassador has a special and amazing story, relating to CHOC Children’s. This year’s ambassador was nine-year-old stood up on the stage in front of the entire crowd to talk a little bit about her story and helped kick off this year’s CHOC Walk!Jordin Jackson. choc-walk-ambassador-jordinJordin was invited to the stage along with her family where she spoke to the crowd and shared a little bit about her own condition. She is an amazing little girl! You could feel the love there on Main Street, U.S.A., as thousands of CHOC Walkers watched and listened to her story.
choc-walk-walkersJordin has sickle cell disease, a disorder that means her red blood cells are misshapen, leading to reduced blood flow to parts of her body and frequent hospital stays for pain management. But with her control, it’s become an opportunity to raise awareness of sickle cell disease and fundraise for CHOC. Jordin’s history with CHOC Children’s Hospital runs deep and began when she was just 3 years old. Watch her story: 

After a few of everyone’s favorite Disney characters joined Jordin and her family on stage, the CHOC Walk kicked off with a bang of confetti and the walkers were off! choc-walk-disney-friends

It’s so heartwarming to be there walking among so many groups of people, many even on “teams” who are walking for someone. Some of the teams have matching gear and/or carry custom signs. You can just feel the energy and support as you proceed through both parks at Disneyland Resort and end your walk in Downtown Disney.choc-walk-pinocchio-and-gepettochoc-walk-incrediblesOne of the fun parts about participating in CHOC Walk is that you get to see a bunch of characters all along the route. choc-walk-carsland-2Some of the characters might even be ones that aren’t normally out in the Parks during most days. You are welcome to stop and take photos all along the way if you choose. It’s just a wonderful experience,overall, and all for a great cause.choc-walk-poppinschoc-walk-finish-lineHere are some fun facts I learned about CHOC,during the walk, from signs that were posted along the route:

  • CHOC is partnering with primary and specialty care pediatricians to improve health outcomes for kids.
  • CHOC’s new neonatal intensive care unit, which opened this past July, features 36 private rooms and enhanced family amenities.
  • CHOC has the only trauma center in Orange County exclusively dedicated to children.
  • CHOC is a Leapfrog Top Hospital for safe, quality care.
  • CHOC’s Small Baby Unit is improving outcomes for the tiniest and sickest of preemies.
  • CHOC is a Magnet facility for nursing excellence.
  • The CHOC Children’s Mental Health Center, opening next year, will offer Orange County’s first inpatient program for children under 12.
  • Since its inception, the CHOC Walk has raised more than $30 million.

choc-walk-carslandIf you didn’t have the opportunity to participate in this year’s CHOC Walk in the Park, I highly encourage you to do so next year. It was a lot of fun and an experience that had me leaving the event with a full heart afterwards. choc-walk-sleeping-bearAlso, if you aren’t able to make the event at all, you always have the option of registering as a “Sleeping Bear”, which means that you are a registered walker but are virtually walking on the day of the event, from the comfort of your own bed.
choc-walk-pinWon’t YOU consider joining in and walking with us next year? I sure hope so! Every participant makes a difference for these kids! choc-walk-make-a-differenceFor more information about CHOC Walk in the Park, please visit here. Connect with CHOC Walk on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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