A week in New York City with KidsEmbrace and Franco Dreams – What I'm excited for and my plans so far!

The following blog may include affiliate links. Please see my affiliate disclosure page to understand what that means.

Paw Patrol Super Blanky by Franco Dreams

Back in October, two of my favorite companies joined forces in a competition to crown the best content creator for their brands. The winning prize was a weeklong trip to New York City to attend the NY Toy Fair as a paid social media consult for KidsEmbrace and Franco Dreams. So many of us captured adorable photos of our kids enjoying their products over the holidays and I sincerely enjoyed scrolling through the contest hashtag to see what new photos popped up every day. Andy and I had a blast creating each of our photos and ended up in the finals with five other mamas! I worked so hard to promote our content and get the votes we needed and we ended up winning the trip to New York! It’s at the end of February, and if you know me, you know I live for planning trips. From Disneyland weekends to short day trips to the coast, my favorite thing to do is plan outfits, events, food, you name it! So what do I have planned for NYC? Read ahead to find out!

Carseat by KidsEmbrace

1) Time to myself

In our house, Angelo and I never have time alone. It’s always a combination of Andy and I, Angelo and Andy, or the three of us together. We don’t have date nights unless there’s a new Star Wars movie, and Andy never leaves our side. This trip is a mom only trip, and as much as I’m gonna miss my family and wish they were there every time I see ANYTHING — I’m also so excited to get to go do something as Sarah. Not mom, not wife. Sarah. I haven’t given her enough attention over the last few years and my biggest “resolution” this year was to pay more attention to myself. This is the perfect opportunity!

2) A chance to get to do the things we didn’t do in 2013

Angelo and I went to New York in 2013 for literally one day, and even then, most of that day was spent in Brooklyn. We saw Times Square but hardly had the time to explore it. This trip, I really want to take the opportunity to do something in every pocket of free time I have! I’m not sure how much downtime I’ll have so I’m not making any solid plans, but I do have a few things I know I want to try to do! At the top of my list — taking cute photos in front of the Times Square Disney Store and the Gershwin theater – home of Wicked the Musical. Just strolling down Broadway in general. I was a big musical theater kid growing up and I wanna go see it all for that little girl inside of me. I’m sure that I won’t have the time to actually catch a show (I wish, but tickets are like $$$$), but seeing the outside of the theater is good enough for me. I would also absolutely love to visit Ground Zero. We didn’t get to in 2013, and it’s been heavy on my mind ever since. I want to see Radio City Music Hall, and also want to re-visit Herald Square. One of my favorite memories is sitting in Herald Square with Angelo eating Ben & Jerrys. I hope to check off at least some of these!

3) Food. All the food. Every single bite of food.

My collaboration nation team leader Nikki is going on this trip with me, and all we’ve been talking about is the food and how we’re both wearing stretchy pants. Hot dogs, Pizza, Steakhouses, more pizza, did I mention STEAK?! Oh, and coffee. I’m going to drown myself in coffee this trip. Definitely expect some food content from this trip because when in New York, eat like every meal is your last. Is that a saying? because it is now.

4) The NY Toy Fair 2020

Now, the entire reason I’m even going on this trip is to be a paid social media consult for KidsEmbrace and Franco Dreams at the NY Toy Fair. What does that mean you ask? If you’ve seen my @HoJoAnaheim takeovers at Disneyland, it’s going to be similar to that, but I’ll be showing you all around the toy fair and checking out all of the super cool exhibits that each toy brand have built (and getting PAID to do it! WHAT! Dream job!) I will be representing KidsEmbrace and Franco Dreams as part of their team, which is pretty cool because this Toy Fair is closed to the public so I’ll have a cool little exhibitor badge and everything. This event isn’t open like comic-con or a D23 expo. It’s closed only to exhibitors and retailers that want to buy from those exhibitors, kind of like NAMM – the musical instrument expo that comes to Anaheim every year. I’m excited to see what new toys are coming and hope there’s some cool insider things I can show you all!

5) Going out of my comfort zone with fashion

Now this one is totally uncomfortable for me. We all know I’m a leggings and baggy t-shirt mom. If I’m wearing jeans, it’s a good day. This trip, I’m really stepping it up and actually “trying” with my clothes. I’ve picked a color palette of mustards, wine reds, and creams/blacks. Why? I’m gonna be taking a bunch of photos this trip as well as actually having the time to get ready each morning, so I figured why not! This is an Amazon shopping list I compiled for myself to use as inspiration and so I can save the things I want to get for later when I can afford them!

Olaf hooded blanket and Pillow Buddy by Franco Dreams

I can’t wait to bring you all along on my New York adventure! Thank you to those of you who voted me through the finals. & thank you so much to KidsEmbrace and Franco Dreams for believing in me! I literally could not do any of this without any of you! Let me know in the comments below or over on my instagram of things I should add to my to do list! See you in NYC!

5 things I want to accomplish in 2020!

The following blog will include affiliate links. Please see my affiliate disclosure page to understand what that means.

2020. The beginning of a new year. The start of a new decade. Of course, that means the masses are adopting the “new year, new me” mentality for the first couple of months this year. It really made me think – do I really need or want to change physically? To answer in short, no. I don’t feel that a new year means I need to change myself if I’m happy where I’m at right now! I’m proud of showing the reality of being a tired Disney mom. A better approach for me is to make a list of 5 things I want to try to accomplish this year! Being an avid planner, I definitely have more than 5 plans for my future, but these are just ones that really stick out to me right now, or ones that feel the most attainable!

1) Take more trips with my little family!

You, of course, will see us take a few trips to the happiest place on earth. That is a yearly given that I would be sad without. I do, however, want to expand our travels this year! We already have a Valentine’s Day family trip planned to Reno, NV! I’m happy to say that we are working with Circus Circus and The ROW this February to show you how to make a not-so-family destination into a fun experience for all ages. I’m very excited for that trip. We also want to check out Knott’s Berry Farm, LEGOLAND, and Universal. Whether those happen this year or not, I’m not sure, but I do know they’re definite possibilities!

2) Clean or tidy one room a day

I like to keep it real on here, and I’ll be the first to say I SUCK at keeping my house clean. It’s not like, disgusting, but It’s very cluttered and there’s definitely more toys on the floor than, well, floor. I want to make it a constant goal to fight against the mess that is my house this year. This one is going to mentally be the hardest for me because having a toddler does not increase the chances that my house will stay clean for long! But again, I am definitely making it a constant battle.

3) Post consistently and realistically

This goes for both my blog and instagram. I want to stick to my roots. Too many times have I seen people stray from why they started to blog because they got caught in the influencer mindset. I found myself get caught in that this year and I really hate that, so I’m going back to my roots of posting the real, raw, square one version of us. I pride myself on showing the ugly side of taking kids on vacation. The sweat, tears, blood, tantrums, time outs, sweet smiles, giggles, and love. Being a toddler mom is hard enough at home where you can throw them a banana and slap their favorite ABCmouse game on the screen so you can escape to the bathroom to cry and breathe for a second. In Disneyland, in the middle of the Tomorrowland bottleneck, you can’t really take a mom cry break. I like showing those moments because EVERYONE WILL HAVE THEM. Disneyland is not just some place you go to pose in a cute skirt and toss your hair while your kid holds your hand next to you like an angel holding a churro and smiling. That’s cute, but 99.999999% of kids are hot, tired, overwhelmed, they wanna go on small world when you wanna go to the tiki room and MELT DOWN because you said no. Toddlers are monsters, y’all. Don’t let the model babies fool ya! Stick to my socials this year and I promise to keep my posts real.

4) Take better care of my hair!

This December, I started using Monat. (Moe-Nate, if you didn’t know how to pronounce it like me LOL) Before you run away screaming “NO, not another MLM”, Please hear me out! I don’t sell it, but a good friend of mine does! This is a real and truthful review that I am not being paid to post. I have a friend, Stacy, who sells Monat and over the last year she and I have become very good friends over instagram. She even has a disney instagram as well that is completely adorable! One day, before I even knew about her business, I was talking about how I wanted to take better care of my hair and how I had all sorts of issues with it. (Dandruff, Breakage, Thinning) She explained her business and had me take a little “hair quiz” to get to know my hair better and to suggest products that I should try. She mailed me a little care package and I was already hooked by how cute the sleek sample packages were! She even sent me a little printed up instruction sheet but invited me to ask her anything I needed and she’d help me. I tried the shampoo and conditioner she sent on Christmas Eve and LET ME TELL YOU. First off, the smell is great. You know when you go get your hair done at the salon and they use the really expensive shampoos that smell great but you’re like “man, I can’t afford these products” (No? Just me? LOL) This shampoo smelled even better! It rinsed out very easily and didn’t leave any residue and somehow my hair felt more stripped (in a good way, best word I could think of) and clean than it had with my regular every day shampoo! The build up of products was completely gone. I’ve had a dandruff problem ever since I had Andrew, and this left my scalp feeling moisturized but not greasy. I let my hair dry naturally to fully soak in the product, and then I styled it. It styled really easily for just being washed an hour prior. I was really impressed. Since using it, my hair has seen less breakage, less buildup, and more shine/volume than it ever has, and that’s not me overexaggerating for the blog. I actually swear. I plan on continuing use with the full sized products ASAP. Overall, I highly suggest the company, and Stacy as a retailer. She gave me some extras that I will be giving away on my instagram stories in the next couple of days, so keep an eye out for that! Monat also carries skincare and so many other products, so please check her out here! You will not regret it!

5) Get fully ready at least once a week

Thanks to anxiety, I’ve fallen into the habit of literally never getting ready for the day unless I absolutely have to. Even though I KNOW it makes me feel better to get ready and looking cute boosts my confidence, I can’t get myself to take the time to do it. I’m lucky to shower regularly and brush my hair these days. I cancel friend dates, rearrange plans, never instagram story, and avoid face to face contact with the outside world most days because I honestly just feel so gross and not put together and I really want to start making myself do it. I want to learn how to do things with my hair, I want to better my skills with makeup, and I want to dress a little more my age/body type. This one will be an uphill battle because it relies on the state of my mental health, but I’m determined to accomplish this one this year!

I hope this blog has inspired you to make your own list! What are some of your to-do’s this year? Is there something really important to you that you want to do this year? This decade? Let me know in the comments below or over on my instagram! I’ll talk to you guys soon!

Disney Gift Guide 2019: a pixie-dusted guide to the holidays!

**This post contains affiliate links! If you click some of the links here and make a purchase, I may get a small commission at no additional cost to you! As always, I only support and recommend products I love and/or have tried myself. Thank you for supporting them, too!**

We all have that friend who gets way too deeply into Disney movies, goes to Disneyland way too much, always has the new hot spirit jersey or Loungefly bag, and can sing every single line in the newest soundtrack – including the instrumental parts. Hi, I’m that friend. I wanted to give some love to those of us that would choose Disney items over a bunch of electronics. I feel like most “grown up” gift guides show the hottest new Apple Watch or the best 4k tv and that’s definitely not my speed. Here is a compilation of gift ideas for that Disney lover in your life!

“Into the Unknown” Long Sleeve Tee from Core Memories Co.

I’ve been SO obsessed with Frozen 2 since I saw it the first time, and I’ve been eyeing so many shirts that reference the movie. This shirt really caught my eye and it’s actually on it’s way to me as we speak! I CAN’T WAIT! My good friend Carolyn and her friends own this wonderful Disney inspired small shop called Core Memories Co. and I love their shirts because not only are they incredible quality and professionally printed, they’re not always so obviously Disney. Sometimes shirts can get pretty cringe worthy now a days, but Core Memories Co. really knows how to avoid that. They have a wide selection of clothing and most designs are very unisex which makes this shop a definite must-stop for any Disney fan on your list.

Custom Handmade Minnie Ears from LittleMissWonderland

LittleMissWonderland is by far the most elaborate ear artist I’ve ever worked with and her ears are literally masterpieces. She can make beautiful creations from almost anything you suggest, and she’s one of the only ear makers I know that uses vinyl on her ears! These ears are sturdy, don’t slip, and don’t pinch – three things that are a MUST if you’re going to be wearing them in the parks all day. I highly recommend her if you’re looking for something truly special. She never disappoints!

Fabric and Glitter Tumblers by CraftyyTwist

CraftyyTwist is one of my favorite small shops of all time. Her love for what she does really shows in her work and she has the best taste in fabric choices! If you’ve never owned one of these, the fabric and glitter is encased in epoxy resin which makes it super simple to wash these as opposed to other tumblers that just have vinyl or glitter on the surface layer! There is so much variety and she has specific prints for both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, so your drink can represent whatever coast your heart lies on! I actually have a discount code for her Etsy shop! Use code DisneyFam at checkout to save 10% off of your purchase!

Disney+ and Chill sweatshirt by Champagne Rain Studio

This sweatshirt is one of my favorite pieces of clothing I own. Not only is it super comfy (size up for ultra comfiness!) but its really cute. It comes in a bunch of colors and is screen printed so you don’t have to worry about the design getting messed up. Since Disney+ came out, I can’t count the amount of chill movie days we’ve had and from what I’ve read online, many other Disney fans can relate. This sweatshirt is a great gift idea, and this shop is 100% worth supporting. She preaches kindness, has the most positive outlook, and is so sweet.

Park Inspired Coffees and Cocoa by Expedition Roasters

I don’t know about you, but I’m a different person if I don’t have my coffee. Thanks to Expedition Roasters, I can add my love for Disney into my daily coffee routine! Their coffees are so delicious and smell incredible. There are many flavors to choose from and each one has a different ride or character theme. These are definitely at the top of my list and would make a great stocking stuffer or gift for someone at the office!

Minnie Coffee Cozies by TeilormadeDesigns

On the subject of coffee, no drink hot or cold is complete without a cozy! This is another shop that, just as much as I love her products, I love her as a shop owner. Her life is so busy as it is and she still puts her heart and soul into crocheting these beautiful coffee cozies! These are the only crochet cozies that I’ve used that don’t stretch out over time. They maintain their shape and the appliqué doesn’t fall off or even really wear at all. I have a million of her cozies and they’re so cute for any occasion. They’re not just for hot coffee either! I use these for iced drinks as well to keep the condensation off of my hands. She comes out with new designs all the time so this is definitely a shop that’s worth checking out every few weeks. I have a coupon code for her Etsy as well! Use code Sarah10 at checkout for 10% off!

Magically Inspired Headbands by NikkiMouseCreations

This wonderful shop owner makes a wide variety of things! From Minnie ears to insulated cozies to earrings, she’s very creative in everything she makes, and she cross-uses fabrics so you can sometimes get a matching cozy and pair of Minnie ears! I specifically love her knotted headbands. They’re so cute and most are sewn over an actual headband so if you have thin hair like me, you can show the illusion of having a wrapped headband on without having to have the hair to hold it in place. These are super cute and comfy. I love using them on my lazy days and when I’m doing my makeup to pull my hair out of my face. She makes Disney and non-disney so whatever the occasion, there’s something in her shop for you!

Character Slippers for the Whole Family by BuyHappyFeet

I saved the best for last. Hands down these are my favorite Disney clothing items I own and I can’t get enough of them. Happy Feet is a company who makes your classic character head slippers in toddler to adult sizes and it’s the greatest thing I’ve found to date. Not only are they super cute, silly, and unique, they’re MEMORY FOAM and so comfortable! They come in almost any character you can think of. I was recently in a wedding where we all wore them in the morning while we got ready and it was so much fun and gave our morning outfits a little Disney twist! I originally gave them to all of the girls at the Disneyland bachelorette a couple weeks before the wedding and we had so much fun walking around the grounds of Hojo Anaheim in them and taking silly photos. I’m always down to conga line in the hallway with these on. The Donald Duck ones are the next on my list to get for Andy, Angelo, and I for Christmas morning. Which ones would you pick? Let me know on my instagram!

I hope this list gave you a head start on your Disney lover’s Christmas list! Let me know down in the comments below which ones you got, and what you would add to yours! Keep an eye out later this week for a couple more gift guides. This holiday season is going by so fast! I can’t even believe how close we are to Christmas! Thanks for visiting my blog! I appreciate every single one of you!

2019 Toddler Gift Guide: 5 unique gifts with a Disney twist!

**This post contains affiliate links! If you click some of the links here and make a purchase, I may get a small commission at no additional cost to you! As always, I only support and recommend products I love and/or have tried myself. Thank you for supporting them, too!**

Am I the only mom who gets totally stumped at holiday time on what to buy my kid, husband, parents, SELF!? Andy’s my one and only child so he tends to get a lot of the things he wants throughout the year already, Angelo buys what he wants when he wants it because he’s a grown adult, and I feel like if I buy my parents one more piece of technology, they’re going to sell me to the circus. Thankfully, I found the holiday blogging masterpiece of GIFT GUIDES! Bloggers from around the world have compiled their own lists of hot items to gift each holiday season, and I figured I would hop on the bandwagon but put a little bit of a Disney spin on mine while also keeping my gifts practical and not just a bunch of breakable nonsense. Without further ado, here’s my 2019 TODDLER gift guide! More will come in the next few days, so hang tight if this one doesn’t apply to you!

KidsEmbrace Combination Harness Booster Car Seat: $149.99

These awesome car seats are a life saver, LITERALLY! Andy was always the kid to fight with us the whole way to the car and never wanted to buckle into his seat. Once we installed his Buzz Lightyear seat, he gets into it all by himself! This makes a great gift that can be used over and over and doesn’t just break and sit in the toy pile. They come in a variety of characters and fit in almost every type of vehicle. Keep in mind that these are front-facing only seats and your child must be at least 22lbs and 29″ in height to start using these seats! Also look out for coupon codes on their website and socials! They’re known to discount their products frequently!

Sunstaches: $7.99+

These fun sunglasses are great if your little ones like to dress up! They’re very versatile and can be used for photo booths as well! Sunstaches has licenses from many of your favorite movies and characters and they’re adding new ones every few days. They also have party packs, mommy and me, and daddy and me bundles so you can match your littles as well! If anything too, they’re functional sunglasses and your kids will love wearing them. I’m a big fan of Sunstaches and definitely want to stock up on some for stocking stuffers this year!

Frozen 2 Bedding by Franco Dreams: $39.99 at Target

Your little ones can dream Into the Unknown in this cute Frozen 2 bedding by Franco Dreams! I remember how much I loved giving my room a makeover with my favorite characters when I was a kid. Franco Dreams is such high quality bedding and keeps Andy’s little toes warm all night. They’ve got many different character licenses as well so there’s something for every one of your babies! The best part? You can find these right now at your local Target!

Luggage by Bixbee: $49.99+

Now, these aren’t necessarily Disney licensed, but they can be USED for Disney trips! I personally love the Bixbee brand of luggage and backpacks because for every bag purchased, they donate one to kids in need! They’re incredible quality and can really take a beating without showing signs of wear (Think of your toddler rolling their own luggage up to the room….yikes. LOL) There’s a good variety of prints, too. I personally want the sparkly gold set for myself….*cough cough hi bixbee* hahaha. They’re decently priced for luggage and fit carry-on travel requirements. Definitely a must have for your next Disney trip! This would even be cute if you’re surprising your kids with a trip for Christmas!

Snacking Essentials from Bumkins: $9.95+

We all know that toddlers are the messiest humans alive, and if yours isn’t, put them in a museum now because they’re a modern marvel. Bumkins has the cutest accessories for snacking and eating from newborn to big kids. I especially love their Disney line, of course. Their reusable snack bags are PERFECT for Disneyland snacks. Just fill them with your favorite dry snacks and toss them in your bag. Pull it out whenever your kiddos need a refresher and toss it back in when they’re done. Their bibs are also amazing because they realize that messiness doesn’t stop at the baby stage. Snacking has never been easier (or cleaner! Let’s be real instamoms, that’s important when you’re at the park and they’re dressed all cute.)

I think this is a great starter list for your shopping this month. I like to keep holiday gifts practical and useful since he gets so many filler toys throughout the year. All of these can be purchased online, most will be on sale at random times this month. I also tried to keep these items gender neutral – or I chose things that offer multiple color choices and character options.  I hope you found this guide useful – if you choose to purchase anything from this post for your little one (or someone else’s), I’d love to hear about/see it! Stay tuned this week for a husband/spouse gift guide, and even a self gift guide! Keep up with me on instagram to see daily deals, coupon codes, and more!

Necessities I must pack for my Disney trips!

I like to think I’ve got the whole packing thing down with the amount of times I’ve gone down to Disneyland, but I always find myself forgetting at least one thing whether it be sunscreen, eyeliner, or even (yes, seriously) UNDERWEAR. You’d figure after all of the planning and preparation that I put into these trips, I wouldn’t forget underwear but here we are. Thank god for Target.

Outfits

I’m very particular when it comes to my Disneyland trips. I must have outfits that are equal parts comfortable and cute. Comfortable for the hot or cold weather and 10-12 miles of walking per day, and cute for the memory cards full of photos for content. I start usually with a theme. For example, for 4th of July this year we picked the very appropriate Captain America as our theme, so I found Andy and I some cute matching leggings! LuLaRoe is great for mommy and me leggings for all color schemes, sizes, and holidays, and there are tons of buy and sell groups on Facebook to find them for cheap! Once we had the leggings, we moved onto my FAVORITE part – the shirts. I have many friends with Disney based small shops as well as a Cricut and Easypress myself, so the design ideas for shirts are almost endless. My favorite park inspired shirt shop is Core Memories Co. Their shirts are screen printed and are made SO well. I love all of the little Disney channel references they use too. A shop after my 90s kid heart. As for making my own shirts, I’m a big fan of the Ava and Viv blank tees at Target and they’re great for heat transfer vinyl. This particular trip I went with the stereotypical “Mom” shirt, but with a Captain America shield twist. For Andy, I prefer embroidered shirts just because they last longer and are harder for him to ruin. My friend Allie runs an amazing embroidery shop! Click here to check it out! His birthday is August 3rd, so we made our 4th of July trip into his birthday trip as well, so we picked a Captain America/Mickey themed birthday shirt. Accessories are always a must. My heart shaped glasses are from amazon, and my coffee cozy is from TeilorMadeDesigns on Etsy. Andy’s Captain America glasses are from Sunstaches. A good outfit really does make a day at Disneyland the BEST DAY EVER!

Stroller fans and portable chargers!

In summer, Disneyland can get completely miserable when it comes to the heat. A lot of the time, I’ll head back to the Howard Johnson across the street and cool off for a few hours and come back when the sun starts to go down; it really does get that bad sometimes. I’ve found a couple of portable fans that I can’t do Disneyland without! They make the heat less miserable and saves my makeup from being completely ruined by hour two of being there. For a stroller fan, I recommend this one. It has smaller openings so curious little fingers won’t get hurt, and multiple speeds so you can get a really nice airflow going. This is a lifesaver for Andy and the clamp makes it super easy to place it anywhere on the stroller. Great for stroller naps too if you have a little radiator of a kid like I do!

We all know if I’m at the parks, I’m all about the photos. The downside of being a mamarazzi is that my phone battery is constantly running low. Recently, the Fuel Rod locations at Disneyland have changed from having unlimited free swaps to having $3 swaps (on TOP of the $30 initial purchase) and that’s just not a good deal at all. I got this awesome portable charger from Best Buy that can fully charge two devices at once for $45. It’s a must have! I use this probably more than anything else when I go to Disneyland and if I forget it at home, its probably the only thing I would actually go out and buy another in Anaheim.

Ears

I feel like every day there’s a new pair of Minnie ears at Disneyland causing the next craze. Though I love some park ears, they’re honestly not that comfortable! They’re too tight and the sequins get itchy and I’m just not really a fan of wearing them for 12+ hours straight. A quick search on Etsy or Instagram will dive you into the world of handmade ears. You can get a pair themed after almost anything nowadays. I currently have three favorite ear shops: Liana’s Dazzling Designs, NikkiMouseCreations, and Lil Miss Wonderland. They each have their own spark of creativity. Nikki has mastered the art of dainty whimsical ears. Lil Miss Wonderland makes the most elaborate ears, including a LIGHT UP WREATH pair. (Look out for my Christmas posts to see more of those!) and finally, Liana has the best selection and most well made ears I’ve ever worn! I’d say hers are the best bang for your buck that I’ve tried thus far and I own a LOT of custom ears!

What are some of your park essentials? I’d love to hear in the comments below or over on my Instagram!

Beech-Nut®️ Naturals: Healthy, yummy, and safe for your tummy!

The following post is sponsored by Beech-Nut®️ Naturals. All opinions and stories remain my own.

Ever since he was born, Andy’s safety and health have been the most important factor to us in every aspect — especially in food. We went for a good few months there where we made our own baby food, bought unnecessarily expensive baby food, and finally one day we discovered Beech-Nut®️ Naturals! For a fraction of the price of  similar baby foods, we could have some peace of mind that he was eating right while also having the convenience and price of buying it from our local Target.

Never heard of Beech-Nut®️ Naturals? Let me give you a quick run down! Beech-Nut®️ Naturals is baby food made with REAL ingredients — gently cooked over indirect heat to preserve color, flavor, and nutrients! By real, I’m talking natural fruits and veggies that are Non-GMO Project Verified, never artificial, and it doesn’t stop there; it also comes in Organic! Talk about a first time mom’s dream!

Andy has grown out of the baby food stage, but Beech-Nut®️ Naturals didn’t stop at the infant age! Toddlers everywhere can continue enjoying Beech-Nut®️ Naturals with their snack bars! They come in a variety of flavors, but I think the banana and pumpkin flavor is Andy’s favorite. He always has followed his mama when it comes to tastes! These snack bars are worry free and carry all of the same healthy traits that Beech-Nut®️ Naturals promises with their baby food. As a toddler mom, I’m always super appreciative of any yummy snack that can disguise nutrients and veggies. For those of you who follow me specifically for Disney tips, these also make a really nice Disneyland backpack snack! They keep in the heat surprisingly well!

In my opinion (and maybe this is just because I’m a mom), babies are the truest influencers on the planet. They’re the most opinionated, strong willed beings and have us all wrapped around their fingers! Believe me, when Andy loves something, you’ll know it. If he hates something, you won’t FORGET it! Beech-Nut®️ Naturals also noticed the genuine influence of a baby and has started their own campaign called #Infantfluencers. By going to this link and telling your own #Infantfluencers story, you can enter to win some pretty amazing prizes!

Let me know in the comments below if you end up trying these yummy snacks! You can find them at Walmart and Target in the baby food section; just look for their signature honeypot shape and bright green lid!

Halloween time at Disneyland! My must do’s.

Being an October baby, Halloween is my JAM. From the decor to the scents, everything about fall and halloween is magical to me. Throw Disney into the mix? It’s my ultimate.

Photo: Disney Parks Blog

I have two trips coming up this season so The Beardless Coffee and I are going HARD on the planning. To kick off this awesome season of blogs and magic, I wanted to come on here and talk about my must do’s when it comes to visiting Disneyland during halloween!

Mickey Pumpkin photos!

It’s not halloween at Disneyland without our good ol’ friend Winky Blinky. He’s the center of the Main Street Pumpkin festival, and is the epitome of Disneyland halloween fun. Stacked high up on a pile of pixie dusted pumpkins, Mickey glows happily to greet you coming in, and winks at you on your way out. This is one of the best spot to get photos at during this time, and the line to be front a center gets LENGTHY. My advice? Stand over to the side away from the pumpkin and model your little heart out with it in the background. Camera angles are everything when it comes to crowds and snagging a good picture.

Snacks, Snacks, Snacks.

One of my absolute favorite parts of Disneyland in any season is the snacks. I’m shamelessly the girl that counts down the entire year until the release of pumpkin spice, and let me tell you, Disneyland DELIVERS.

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Photo: Disney Tourist Blog

A few honorable mentions: Pumpkin Spice Beignets from the Mint Julep bar in New Orleans Square, The pumpkin spice churro with optional cream cheese dipping sauce at the cart near Haunted Mansion, and the pumpkin spice funnel cake fries at Award Wieners in Disney’s California Adventure. There’s also an array of cute caramel apples and cake pops in each bakery at the park! Whatever your personal tastes may be, Disneyland will always have something for you during the holidays!

Haunted Mansion Holiday!

Jack’s back, y’all, and I’m HERE FOR IT. This is my favorite ride, hands down year round.

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Photo: Disney Parks Blog

Every Halloween season, Jack Skellington arrives and gives the entire Haunted Mansion a makeover and leaves it up all the way until January! With Nightmare Before Christmas being my favorite movie, this ride is meant to be my favorite. I’ve recently gotten Andy into it so much that he can sing some of the songs better than I can and I’m not even mad about it. If you’re in Disneyland at any point from September to December, definitely head over to the mansion. If you hear eerie jewelry box music, you’re getting warmer. Also, you can meet the man himself over at the Port Royal store in New Orleans Square!

Halloween Screams Fireworks

Photo: WDWNT.com

Normally, these fireworks only happened at Mickey’s Halloween Party, but since Oogie Boogie decided to take over California Adventure this year, these fireworks will be shown to the public every night over at Disneyland! Hosted by Jack Skellington himself, this show contains all of your favorite creepies and crawlies, has an homage to almost every villain, and even have a “scream” along at the end! These have been a favorite of mine since the first Mickey’s Halloween Party I went to and I’m so excited to see them again.

I can’t wait to go on these next two trips and enjoy all of the spooky fun that’s ahead! What’s your favorite holiday at the Disney Parks and why do you love it so much? Go find me over on instagram and tell me! Happy Hauntings!

A tired Disney mom’s review of the Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel and Water Playground!

The following blog will include affiliate links. Please see my affiliate disclosure page to understand what that means. I am not paid to write this blog, say these things, and all opinions and statements are my own and any vital questions should be directed to the hotel. Their front desk number is 714-776-6120. All photos are mine unless otherwise stated.

My stay at the Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel and Water Playground was undeniably the best Disneyland Resort good neighbor hotel experience I’ve ever had. Bold way to start a review right? That’s exactly how I feel about this hotel and in this blog I’ll tell you why I’ll never stay anywhere else again!

Photo: @adam_claudia_photography on instagram

Upon entering the lobby, you walk into this beautiful oceanic tiled mosaic floor that fits perfectly with their pirate theme. Andy loved looking at the fish. They also offer “If I Am Lost” temporary tattoos and candy at the front desk, free to all guests! They sometimes even have balloon pirate swords, and also have signs offering free face painting for guests on Saturday mornings!

On top of our gorgeous surroundings, we were greeted with warm customer service at the desk while checking in. Once all of the necessary financials and paperwork were taken care of, they handed me a convenient little folder full of all of our documents we would need for our stay, along with room keys, a parking pass (FREE parking within walking distance! $$ saver!), and one wristband per guest for Castaway Cove, their on-site water playground!

We stayed in Building 1, which contains the premium level rooms, some which have a beautiful park view! Imagine waking up every morning to the Matterhorn right outside your window! This picture doesn’t even do the view justice. When you’re there, it’s SO much closer. You also get a view of the monorail as it goes by, a fantastic firework view at night, and you can hear the whistle of the Disneyland Railroad as it pulls into Tomorrowland station.

Howard Johnson Anaheim’s premium rooms are not only the cleanest hotel rooms I’ve ever stayed in, they’re absolutely beautiful inside. Between their famous blue wallpaper and orange headboards, mid century modern decor, Mickey Mouse artwork, and their top floor skylights – I can’t tell you enough how fancy we felt staying here! It honestly felt more “Disney” to me than an actual on site hotel! Some honorable mentions about the room – There’s an Amazon Alexa in all of the premium rooms that allow you to not only play music, but you can order towels and amenities just by asking Alexa! There’s also a mini fridge, microwave, Keurig coffee maker, and valuables safe in every premium room. A key feature of our room that I loved was that it came with a collectible Howard Johnson Anaheim rubber ducky in the bathroom! It gave us a little souvenir to remember our stay here. There’s also a little market on the bottom floor of building 1 that has /literally/ everything you could want, on top of having Hojo Anaheim t-shirts, mugs, and other little Disney trinkets for purchase. Check out their website for more details on what amenities each room has!

Let’s talk beds. For those of you who expect to be completely relaxed and comfortable on your stay, look no further. The beds at Hojo Anaheim are the most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept in – INCLUDING my own. Angelo and I constantly joke with each other that we want to call into the front desk and ask how much it would cost to take one of the beds home. Our room had two queens so Angelo and I could both stretch out and have our own bed because the last thing you want to do after a long, sweaty, sore day in Disneyland is snuggle up to your sweaty husband LOL. It was fantastic! Andy could decide every night of our stay who he wanted to crash with and there was still plenty of room in each bed. The beds face a large tv that is set up with cable, Netflix, Hulu, and more! You know how much I enjoyed laying there after a long day in Disneyland, getting to rest my feet and watch the Office at 1 am? That was probably one of the highlights of my entire trip! LOL. I laid there and felt like I was staying in my own studio apartment, rather than a hotel. I feel like that’s what pushed me over the edge of never wanting to stay somewhere else. I’ve never felt like I was “home” while staying at a hotel, and at Howard Johnson Anaheim, I felt home.

Photos taken from the Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel and Water Playground facebook page.

I feel like before I stayed at the Howard Johnson Anaheim, I already knew they were the coolest hotel in the area for the sole fact that they have an on site water playground, free to all guests. This area includes a shallow kiddie pool, a dump bucket, slides, and a hot tub for parents to relax in while their kiddos run wild. I know SO many parents who’s kids have asked to play here instead of Disneyland, and I can’t really blame them. Castaway Cove is the name, and pirate mischief is their game. With water cannons and pirate ship slides, I can almost guarantee that your kids will love this area. Just remember your orange wristbands and your room key! You’ll need them to have access to this gated area.

Photo taken from the Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel and Water Playground facebook page.

Waterslides aren’t your thing? There’s a full sized regular pool over in the garden area out in front of building 2! Please take note that between November 1, 2019 – April 15, 2020, the garden pool and Building 2 (seen pictured in the background) will be closed for a complete modernization! This is super exciting since the remodel of building 1 has been such a hit! I’m excited to see how everything looks come mid-April! If you’ll be visiting in September, make sure to pencil in that Talk Like A Pirate Day will be happening on September 19th, 2019! There will be a fun event from 4-7 PM at Castaway Cove featuring facepainting, ice cream, and a ton of fun surprises! This is open to guests only, so use the information below to book now!

I hope this review has given you a little more insight to what’s its like staying just 8 minutes walking distance from the happiest place on earth. This quiet and beautiful hotel has become a second home to me, and I’d love to spread that joy to you! If you click this link and use either of the corporate promo codes below, you’ll get a discount on your rate! Thanks for reading!

  • Corp code: 1000022077 for 15% off!
  • Corp code: 1000025935 for 20% off if you have an Annual Passholder in your party!

So I ghosted my blog for a while – Here’s why.

Some people really underestimate what it takes to be a content creator on social media. It looks as easy as just slapping a filter on a cute Disney pic and choosing a couple of hashtags to caption it with, but it goes /MUCH/ deeper than that. For those of us who really commit to growing our social media presence into more of an influencer platform, its long nights of pitching to brands with long emails, setting up the next month of posts in a layout app to make sure your feed looks cohesive and flows well, all on top of making sure you stay on a consistent schedule and ENGAGE, ENGAGE, ENGAGE!

Still doesn’t sound like much? Add that to being a toddler mom, failing small shop owner, and retail manager wife. I stretch myself so thin without realizing it. It’s hard for me to slow down and just cherish what’s in the moment while I’m always thinking of the next 6 moments ahead of time.

By all means, I’m not complaining. I willingly choose this life and could delete all social media right now if I wanted to. I do this ultimately for my future self. I love looking back at where I was 2, 4, and 6 years later and watching how much I’ve grown as a person, a mom, and now as a content creator. It’s crazy to me to look back at posts from 2015 and what I thought was /good/ content back then. Have you ever cringed at something you posted years ago and think, “Why would I ever think that was a good idea to post for the world to see?”. Welcome to my everyday life. This helps me appreciate my current content even more. I’m constantly on a quest to better my content while still keeping the real life, unfiltered element that my followers have grown to love about me. I may post cute post photos in all of the popular picture spots in Batuu, but I’ll also post the 16 sweaty, crying, tantrum fueled photos that led up to that one half smiling photo I THANKFULLY captured.

I know what you’re thinking: Sarah, this is such a first world problem of a post. Honestly, to me it’s not. This is my life and my story to tell and I understand it can sound like so little of a problem, but its much deeper than that TO ME. To get to the bottom of this post, and the reason for the title; I ghosted my blog months ago. Why? Because emotionally and mentally I couldn’t keep up with it. The thought of logging in and taking the time to write a mini-essay made me want to curl up in a ball and cry. My husband and I have had the roughest year of our lives this far, and it’s all happened in the last three months. He recently switched jobs unexpectedly which has been a financial nightmare and we’ve been living every day just praying for good news. Today, he finally started his new job and I’m seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. In turn, my consistency in my content creating has plummeted. I’m missing deadlines, my orders in my small shop are INCREDIBLY late (luckily I have amazing customers who understand that life happens and love my products enough to wait for them.), and I completely deserted this blog. I was so excited to start my new series about how to successfully plan a Disneyland trip step by step, but that quickly took a cold spot on the back burner for a while.

I’m feeling better and finally getting back to business. No more putting things off, no more giving into depression. I’m back, I’m here, and just in time for three back to back Disneyland trips. Two for business, and one for a really fun bachelorette. I can’t wait to bring you guys along! Let me know what you’d like to see on here!

If you’d like to keep up with me on a more day to day basis, please follow me over on instagram! @thatdisneylandfamily

❤ Sarah

So I booked a Disneyland trip; Now what? A series.

I’ve been on around 150 Disneyland trips in my life. Some were planned, some were with school, others were a result of us not being able to control the urge to not turn around when we drive south on the freeway. Living so close, we have the privilege of going more than most people and I have to remind myself that Disneyland is a once a year, or once in a lifetime thing for a lot of families. With that being said, starting next week I’m going to be posting a series on my blog appropriately titled, “So I booked a Disneyland trip; Now what?” diving into the different things we do to plan for a more thought out Disneyland trip.

We’ve been annual passholders since our honeymoon in early 2015. Angelo and I quickly got used to the free parking, discounts, and perks. It made Disneyland extremely affordable for us and just worked flawlessly. It was so nice to look in my wallet at my AP and know that at any second, I could go to Disneyland and they’d let me in. We made it our mission to go every month or two, and even after Andy was born, we still made it happen. We didn’t renew this year with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening, just because we know it’s going to be miserably crowded for months and everything will be unbearable. Living 6 hours away, it just wasn’t going to be worth the monthly payment if we didn’t go as often as we did before and that really tore me apart inside. I’ve lived the last 4 years of my life going to Disneyland every few weeks, and now we’re having to revert back to being standard ticket holders. I know it’s such a first world problem and I’m blessed to go at all, but it really does make me sad that our monthly trips have turned back into yearly trips. We’re going one last time this May for our anniversary before Galaxy’s Edge opens in the summer, and that’ll be it for the unforeseen future. I figured since this is our first longer, ticket based Disney trip, I could post our processes of planning, ordering stuff, and show how we get prepared pre-trip.

This is where I leave it to you guys; what topics are you most interested in when it comes to planning? Is it the methods of travel? Dining reservations? Outfits? How to get those cute matching family shirts? Custom ears? You name it, I have advice for it. Let me know in the comments below where I should dig in!