Thursday, July 25, 2013

I Got Crafty Again...Disney Character Name Letters :)


I made these "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse character letters" for my boyfriend's nephews 1st birthday. He is a big "fan" of the television show so I thought it would be a great addition to his cake table. These are the standard characters but if you have a longer name, you could always switch it up. There are also many variations of each character letter, these were just the ones I liked the best from all of the research I did.

First things first, you will need to gather some of the things you will be using for this craft:

  • hot glue gun
  • variety pack of paint brushes that include all sizes and foam brushes as well
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • acrylic paint--the ones I got were $0.69 cents each and worked wonderfully
  • ruler
  • 8" paper mache letters --only craft store that had these by me was "Joanns"
  • various colors of card-stock--choose the colors you will need based on the character styles you are choosing. They will be used to cut out the ears, bows, bones and hats.
Start out by drawing lines with your pencil on the letters to separate where the different colors of paint should go, think of this as a guide. I used a ruler to give me clean lines. Once this preparation is done, its on to the fun stuff, the painting!

Before painting, I suggest throwing down a plastic table cloth that can be thrown out or some newspaper to avoid mess. Grab your cup of water to clean each brush, paper towel and foam/plastic/etc. disposable plate for mixing and prepping colors. Each color shown aside from the red and black had to be custom mixed--it is so easy so don't worry :)

I find that the foam brushes worked best for covering large areas. I used the smaller brushes for crevices and detail work.

After your letters are painted (this took me a few days as I let them dry on one side first etc.), now begin decorating them. For this I went online and found outlines of a Minnie Mouse bow, a Donald Duck hat and being that I couldn't find a goofy hat, my boyfriend free-handed it :) Print these out and use them to trace on to your card-stock.

Once they are cut out just glue them onto the completely dried painted letters with your hot glue gun to make your characters come to life :) For any details on the card-stock cutouts, ex: the letters "pluto" on the bone, I just used my very fine tipped paint brush and some black paint. Also, I couldn't find the perfect (did I mention I'm quite the perfectionist when it comes to things like this?) blue for Donald's hat so I painted over the card-stock color I did find and it worked out quite well !

When I took on this craft, I thought it would be way more overwhelming than it actually was, painting and crafts for me in general are rather therapeutic. This could be why I enjoy paint by numbers so much :)

Here is how it turned out on the table. From this angle it looks blocked a little but it looked quite swell--send praises my boyfriend's sisters way, she pulled off a pretty awesome Mickey table ;)


To the Disney in all of us,


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Highlights From Day 8 Of My Vacation: LA Local

We didn't do anything really superb today--just some shopping off of Melrose and pretty much stayed local after that. We were winding down in preparation for our departure tomorrow. We grabbed lunch at Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles today. From the photo above you can probably tell that it was a food coma waiting to happen. Cornbread, Mac & Cheese, Fried Chicken, Waffles...soul food at its finest. I have never felt so"heavy" in my life. My stomach literally grew as I took each bite, that's how heavy and delicious the food was! lol I don't particularly like chicken and waffles together but I did enjoy them separately (I'm  an odd woman I know) ;) 

Tonight we ended up catching a movie at a local theater. This particular theater is 21+ only which was awesome because they had a full bar and full dining menu, not to mention ridiculously comfortable CLEAN theaters. It felt very sophisticated inside, and for a movie theater, I loved it =D The movie we chose was Ryan Gosling's "Only God Forgives" movie. Of course I wanted to see it just for RG, but being that it was connected to the movie Drive, which I have stated many times is one of my favorite movies ever, I knew it was a must see. If you like "artsy" movies that leave a lot to be interpreted, you will love this. I saw many similarities between the character he plays in this movie "Julian" and the character he played in Drive. 

I'm all packed up and ready to go for the morning. Sad that this is my last night here :( I will definitely be visiting again and recommend all of you do as well if you have never been. California has been so good to us! 

Thank you for coming on this journey with me, 


Friday, July 19, 2013

Highlights From Day 7 Of My Vacation: Santa Monica/Malibu/Venice Beach

This morning we had a reservation with the Paramount Studios for a tour--money very well spent! It could have been that our tour guide was very reminiscent of Melissa McCarthy, but that's besides the point lol We got to see sets of currently shooting shows, sound stages, famous buildings and places that some of our favorite shows were shot. Lady Gaga was also apparently there shooting a music video! There is so much history behind Paramount Pictures---I felt like I had a history lesson and a tour all wrapped in one :) Overall, I really enjoyed this tour and would highly recommend it. In the photo above I am making a wish while "holding the famous Bronson gate"--this is a tradition and apparently your wishes come true! Let's see... :)
Next up was a trip to Venice Beach. I always hear how eclectic and interesting Venice Beach is so I was excited to see what it was all about. If I could sum up Venice Beach in one word I would say interesting haha It is a place filled with hippies, skaters, canibus shops galore, artists and beach cruisers. On the other hand I also realized how many homeless people there are here--the most I have ever seen in all of the locations I've been to in California. It saddened me because I think--what is their story and why are so many in such a concentrated area? I guess that exists everywhere but it just made me sad :( Not pictured were all the street performers, the skate park (so cool!) and Muscle Beach, the outdoor gym area that is often featured in movies :)
Driving down the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) is so stunning! We drove from Malibu and then back to Santa Monica on the way back. Malibu was filled with cool things like beaches, ginormous homes, fancy ocean front eateries and the most awesome in my opinion, horses on farms! Malibu seemed to be a little of everything--the perfect town :) In Santa Monica we visited the Santa Monica Pier where we saw the rides and famous Ferris wheel--I also snacked on some ice cream like a child (2 scoops for me!) and really enjoyed the panoramic views =D  

Tomorrow is our last full day here---we are going to head out for some shopping. The mister has been jotting down all the shops we want to return to. 

Sad to be leaving soon :( , 


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Highlights From Day 6 Of My Vacation: Beverly Hills/Anaheim/LA

Last night after I posted my highlights for the day, we decided to venture out to see a movie at the famous Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd. There were tons of tourists, including ourselves, roaming the Blvd. to see street performers, the stars of fame and the famous celebrity hand/footprints  at the Chinese Theater. The movie we saw was "White House Down"-I absolutely loved this movie! I cried, laughed and had my jaw down for almost the whole movie--I definitely recommend it.
First thing this morning we headed over to Beverly Hills. I always like people watching and what the perfect place to do so. We saw a bunch of flashy people with their flashy clothes and cars haha it was honestly like nothing else I've ever seen--and was quite fun for that matter :) Rodeo Drive is such a pretty place to see!
This was my FAVORITE part of the entire day. I got to meet one of my favorite actresses ever! (Second to Eva Longoria ;) If you don't watch Devious Maids, get on that ASAP--excellent show. We visited The Grove today for lunch and just so happen to run into a taping of the show Extra!--Maria Menounos was there recording her segments and it was so interesting to see how "live" television is made. She is absolutely stunning in person, even more than on tv! After having lunch I read on a sign that Roselyn Sanchez was set to make an appearance at 330pm! What!?!?!?! Could it be?!? my favorite actress was going to be right there!!! I was so excited and proceeded to center stage (can you spot me in the photo above behind the ladies?) for her interview. The cameras were right on me--I could touch her if I wanted to, that's how close I was! lol Needless to say, my day was made--she is such a sweet women, she even brought Sebella, her daughter, on "set". Ahhh....I will definitely never ever forget today!
   Last but not least we headed over to Anaheim to visit Downtown Disney. I love everything about Disney--it's so magical and whimsical. The guys got to play some games at ESPN Zone and I dabbled in some shopping at World of Disney =D What a wonderful way to end the day. 

I have realized, most of the parking decks we have visited have a "first 3 hours of parking are free" policy---this is unheard of in Jersey so I was pleasantly surprised :) Does California get any better?

Off to a really cool experience in the morning, cant wait to share that :)

Beauty and the Legos!, 


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Highlights From Day 5 Of My Vacation: Huntington Beach

We didn't do much today as this was our designated beach day, but Huntington was a great spot to see for sure! Surfers, gorgeous homes, great shopping and food, Huntington has it all and I was glad to be a part of the Tuesday madness today :) The beach is very clean and there are people of all walks. People playing beach volleyball, mini lifeguards in training, families and couples alike--everyone was there for the same reason, to have fun and soak up the sun! I definitely want to return to Huntington some day--even the High School was GORGEOUS! Now we are home and making some brownies--nothing like Tuesday night baking :) 

Tomorrow our plans are still tentative but I'm sure we will end up doing something fun--maybe another beach day--Venice or Santa Monica maybe? I think the SM Pier is calling our names ;) 

 The only thing I hate about California so far is the occasional traffic and the gas prices---


Monday, July 15, 2013

Highlights From Days 3 & 4 Of My Vacation: Las Vegas/Calico

We took the drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas yesterday. It was about 4 hours and the scenery was so beautiful! Driving through the desert was something I have never experienced before and I thoroughly enjoyed really soaking in the view. I took so many photos :) Once we arrived in Las Vegas at our hotel (The Cosmopolitan--Great Hotel!) we explored the strip, ate at Gordon Ramsay's BURGR restaurant in Planet Hollywood and ended the evening with some gambling and night time photography.
On our drive back from Vegas, today, we stopped at a mid-way point to break up the monotonous 4 hour desert drive. This mid-way point was Calico Ghost Town. I recommend stopping by here to anyone doing this drive. It was really cool and the scenery was breathtaking yet again! It was an old mining town that became abandoned when the value of silver depreciated long ago. Very interesting and informative. It was 109 degrees in the desert today with a real feel of way over 110 degrees F. We almost melted, but it was very worth it :)

I love these photos--how could you not enjoy the mountains and desert--gorgeous. 

This sums up how I spent my last two days--I was up late last night so didn't get a chance to post, hint as to why I combined two days in one :) Tomorrow we are off to Huntington Beach for some famous fish tacos and fun :)
Deserts and Mountains, 


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Highlights From California Day 2: San Diego

Day two, we headed on down to San Diego to visit a friend of the boys. A two hour TRAFFIC FREE drive later, we arrived. This is what we accomplished---not mentioned is the fact that we ran over a HUGE rolled up piece of carpeting on the highway--yep we were two wheeling it for about 1.5 seconds, Lord take the wheel for the rest of the time here! Apparently in California, littering household items (we also spotted mattresses!) on the highway is really not a problem haha my goodness...anyway onto the post :)

Visiting the Naval Base --the ships were huge!--you know it's only right I listen to my favorite--Kendrick Lamar, while in Cali ;)
Next stop, San Diego Zoo--I have been dying to come here since they just opened the "Australian Outback" last month. You know what that means, they have KOALAS!!!! I was truly in heaven--love my koala babies <3
Visited Pacific Beach---the surfers we East Coast folks see on television--yep they are allll here lol amongst other places I'm sure. Check out that awesome sand castle display a man made, I was in awe! The view off the pier, not to mention the incredible breeze, was INCREDIBLE. Ahhhh I want to go back now.
Finally, after a long day, we ended up at Lucho Libre for dinner. This authentic Mexican taco spot was featured on Man vs. Food. It was absolutely amazing--my mouth is watering as I type this. If you are ever in the San Diego area, you must visit!

We also, visited the Stone Brewery Company--but took no photos. It's safe to say that we conquered pretty much all of San Diego. I was driving home (Los Angeles) at around 12am last night and everyone was SO tired, the yawns were nonstop. Glad to be home safe :)
Off to Vegas as we speak, 


Friday, July 12, 2013

Highlights From California Vacation Day 1

LA Collage one
Some photos I took with my phone while flying over the Grand Canyon--this whole flight had some seriously breathtaking views, this being one of them. 

LA collage two
Enjoyed some "In n Out Burger" for lunch. My burger of choice is the cheeseburger protein style (no bun just two lettuce leaves!) ;) While driving back to our place, we had to stop in the middle of the road in order to not hit a ....coyote! Not going to lie, I have never seen one up close and personal and although this one appeared to be small and emaciated, it was very intimidating to a Jersey girl like myself lol Yiikes! 

LA Collage 3
  This is a glimpse of our place. We rented from a wonderful man who is so accommodating, we are very lucky to have found a place this nice with such a truly amazing location--underneath the Hollywood sign in the Hollywood Hills. I wish we never had to leave, the property is that nice! lol

This briefly sums up day 1 of my California vacation---7 more full days to go :) Tomorrow morning we are off to San Diego. Let's see if I can keep up with this whole posting every day thing lol 

Living a California Dream, 


My Beach/Pool Bag Essentials!


 As a Nanny, I am constantly at the pool with the kids. Along with packing individual bags for all of them, I like to pack a bag for myself that will assure nothing is left behind and my hot trip to the pool will happen with ease :) Above are some of my "pool/beach bag essentials". These are what work for me and these are what I always try to make sure I have in my handy dandy bag.

What's Listed Above:
  1. A peek at my insulated lunch bag--this comes in handy to keep things like my snacks and my water bottle/tumbler cold for the duration of my day. 
  2. My tumbler--I fill this entirely with ice and only an inch or so of actual water. I add two slices of lemon, personal preference, and it lasts me the whole day and the water is always cold!
  3. Sunscreen--For these, I alternate between my Alba Botanica Natural Hawaiian Sunscreen SPF 45 which can be found here or my Yes to Cucumbers which can be found here I love that they both offer great protection without the harsh chemicals. They're paraben and cruelty free ;) Along with this I always use an SPF lip balm--your lips can easily burn too ya know :)--the one I am using now is the Yes to Carrots Sweet Fig Lip Butter with SPF 15, you can read about it here.
  4. Paul Mitchell Moisture Mist Hydrating Spray--can be found here --this stuff is awesome because it sprays on your skin and has hydrating properties to keep dry (which can happen in the sun) skin, moist. It is super refreshing after laying out to just spray some on your skin and hair!
  5. A hair tie or clip to keep your hair away from your face is always a good idea!
  6. I normally wear a fedora to the pool/beach. I also stay under the shaded umbrella whenever available. At 25, I am more aware now of the damage that comes with sun exposure in long periods. I have been to the pool over 15 times this summer and I have no tan lines---because the sun doesn't stand a chance with me lol Protection now will lead to beauty later =D
  7. A fun patterned large beach towel (this one in the photo I bought years ago from Kohl's).
  8. Your favorite sunnies for protection for those beautiful eyes of yours! (these are Tom Ford-I never wear them, EVER lol but my favorites were in the car at the moment)
  9. A healthy little snack (I bring these Fiber One granola bars or one of my "100 Calorie Packs" of guacamole and some tortillas)
  10. Last but not least, bring something to keep you occupied in down time. I like bringing magazines or a good book. I refrain from bringing any of my electronic readers because pool water and beach sand don't mix well with those ;)
What are your beach essentials?

Fun in the Sun,