happy Mother’s Day movie

It’s a very rare Tuesday night when two moms can escape the to the movies for a girl’s night out… but that’s exactly what happened this week! I had the opportunity to see a screening of the new film, Mother’s Day, and decided that a girl date was definitely in order!

So, my friend C and I escaped from our houses at 5:30pm, went out to enjoy some Mongolian BBQ (yum!) and snuck into the theater just in time for the screening to start! It certainly didn’t hurt that Tuesday is some magical ½-price popcorn day at Regal Theaters… a fact that my popcorn-obsessed self REALLY didn’t need to know… so we got some of that and some Junior Mints and settled down in the back row of the theater to watch.

And over the next two hours, we laughed/cried/tried not to cry/smiled and genuinely enjoyed watching some of our favorites (Jennifer Aniston and Julia Roberts will never do me wrong) portray Moms in all shapes and sizes on the big screen. And when I walked out, I definitely felt proud to be labeled “Mom” and included in the crazy mess that is life.

When I got home later that night (you know… after Miss L’s bedtime!), I found a big green ProFlowers box on my doorstep. And when I opened it up, I found this gorgeous Mother’s Day movie bouquet flower arrangement and vase based on the film. So I guess I get the opportunity to celebrate our special Mom’s Day from now all the way up until the real day on May 8th!

Needless to say, I had quite a lovely Tuesday night with a movie night out with a friend and fresh flowers to share in my house! It made me realize just how it is truly the little things that lift you up and change the normal humdrum Monday-Friday work week into something special… and that I should probably schedule those in more often on the calendar!

Why don’t you look in your calendar and see what little escape you can make this next week to treat yourself (especially Moms!)… or if that isn’t in the cards, maybe just grab an extra bouquet of flowers at your Farmers Market or grocery store to treat yourself. I swear you’ll instantly feel special and it’s definitely going to get a big smile out of you!

Happy (early) Mother’s Day everyone!


Spring Break 2016: Palmetto Bluff

Now that Miss L is in Kindergarten, our opportunities for vacations only fall into four categories: long holiday weekends, Christmas break, Spring break and summer. Suddenly the options aren’t so limitless, and the airfare rates are just plain diabolical! But we decided that we’d kick off her first official school year with a Spring Break full of memories… so we headed to the east coast for quite the excursion!

We started our trip near Bluffton, South Carolina (via Savannnah/Hilton Head International airport) to spend a weekend with friends who’d left Sacramento for the slow and easy Southern resort life.


After a LONG redeye flight (with zero Z’s thanks to a St. Patrick’s Day reveler in the row in front of us) from the west coast, we left the airport and headed straight out for some true Southern comfort: BBQ! Our friends wasted no time in showing off their favorite barbeque spot in town, “Choo Choo BBQ Xpress” which we soon realized was worth every ounce of their praise.


We called in an order of 3 racks of ribs, and what we started devouring after we arrived was barely short of rib perfection. Sure, we’ve got all kinds of farmers market delights in California, but we just don’t have any sort of rib perfection like that. And this family loves us some pig.


Miss L went to town and almost finished her full portion as well… along with cornbread and hush puppies and lemonade.


I’m pretty certain that meal served as the perfect post-redeye hangover cure… because after that we were ready to go and play and see everything that we had in store for us!


We headed back to their house in Palmetto Bluff, which is a beautiful resort community south of Hilton Head, and changed into our swim suits for an afternoon out on the water. We took out the South Carolina versions of our tandem kayak into the May River and floated around for a couple of hours.

That’s when we also got the chance to beach our kayaks on the May River Sandbar and magically watch it disappear before our eyes as high tide rolled in! (See the video that someone else made of this magical little treat!)

We finished up the afternoon with some time swimming in the beautiful riverside pool, and then lazily made our way back to the house to fully collapse at the end of our first day of vacation!


Our next full day was all about exploring! We borrowed bikes from the resort (they’ve got just about everything available to guests for the low price of free!) and headed for a grand circle tour of all of Palmetto Bluff.


We took a break to watch some croquet…


… and also to play in this epic treehouse and zip down the zipline!


After our adventure, we (I mean Miss L) snacked on dozens of Bluffton oysters and pounds of fresh shrimp that we picked up from the Bluffton Oyster Company earlier in the morning… then it was off to dinner at the Canoe Club!


The weather had been threatening all day with thunderstorms, but luckily for us they just never seemed to show up where we were. So while we were a little hesitant to sit out on the porch for dinner, it ended up being the perfect place to end our short but very sweet trip to South Carolina.


I mean… sitting out over that nice view, enjoying martini named, “The Grace” while looking out on its namesake (The Grace is that pretty wooden boat)… not too shabby of a night at all!



We finished up a delicious dinner, then watched the sunset before heading over to the Montage Palmetto Bluff Inn for some s’mores.  Because who doesn’t want to end the night with an epic bonfire and melty marshmallows?!?


And there it was! Not just one… but TWO huge bonfires out in front of the Inn. And inside… all of the accoutrements needed for a perfect s’mores night: long bamboo sticks, unlimited marshmallows, graham crackers and Hershey bars!


And with that… our two very full days in South Carolina came to a close… and we were off to drive 500 hours the following day to our next destination: Williamsburg, Virginia!


still more to migraine than meets the eye

I created this post as part of a campaign by Teva Pharmaceuticals. I received an American Express gift card for participating.

Two weeks ago, I took a sick day in the middle of the week. And as I was writing an email to my boss to explain my absence, I felt myself hesitate when I typed out “I’m suffering from a migraine…” because I didn’t know if that would be seen as a legitimate excuse. You never really know what people think when they hear the word “migraine,” but my assumption is usually that they play it off as just a bad headache and a weak excuse for calling in sick. But as I’ve explained before, a sick day with a migraine really is so much more than just a headache.

Here’s just how that morning went:


I woke up and got out of bed, but was walking through those first few minutes in a complete haze.

Maybe I just need to hop in the shower?

Ten minutes later, after barely remembering to wash out the conditioner, I realize that something might be up.

Walk into the closet. The urge to select the softest shirt and the comfiest skirt overwhelm me.


Is it allergies? Walk downstairs and try treating that.

Get breakfast for Miss L. Get breakfast for Lincoln. Have zero urge for any coffee and definitely no interest in food.



Look in the mirror at my scrunched up face. Realize that it’s not scrunched up at all. But I look tired. And it’s hard to focus.

Write the “I’m sick” email to my boss.  And go get out my migraine bag of tricks and cross my fingers that you can keep the light and noise sensitivity and nausea at bay.

Each time that an unexpected migraine hits, I have a little set of motions I go through and definitely my bag of tricks. I think about what might have caused it, and then, based on that, what I can do to keep its effects at a minimum. If you don’t have a set routine down, here are some tips for you to keep in mind the next time you suffer from a migraine:

  • Keep a migraine diary to record your daily activities and identify patterns
    in what preceded a migraine.

  • Make note of what potentially triggers your migraine; avoiding these things
    may lessen the frequency and/or severity of your migraine.

  • In addition to your doctor-prescribed treatment create a migraine “kit” to
    prepare for a sudden attack. For example, sunglasses can help with light
    sensitivity, and a plastic bag or basin may be necessary if any nausea or
    vomiting occurs.

For more information and to find out how there’s #MoreToMigraine that everyone should know, visit


How to throw a movie theater birthday party

Miss L turned 6 last week (what?!?!) and had a pretty mature request for her birthday party: she wanted to take all of her friends to the movie theater! Well, it just so happened that the latest Walt Disney Animation Studios picture, Zootopia, was debuting the weekend after her birthday… what luck! So we decided to honor her wish and throw her a movie theater birthday party!



Step #1: Create a movie-themed invitation

What’s the easiest way to get everyone excited about going to see a movie? The invitations! Unfortunately, since it’s a newly released film, there weren’t any invitations in the store that we could buy and use. Instead, I hopped over to to grab a design and then printed them as 4×6 photos at Target in an hour! Total cost = $12

Step #2:  Buy your movie tickets!

These days you can rent a movie theater for yourself during the early morning hours for birthdays or private screenings. We looked into the prices for a private showing at Cinemark, which required a minimum of 50 tickets ($7.25) and 50 concession packages ($9.25/each) and a $100 fee ($925 minimum). Cinemark and Regal also had kid birthday party packages were available and started at $420 for 20 people.

We decided to simply go to the movies with a group, got out the movie times the week before and scheduled our party during the earliest showing of Zootopia. We arrived at the opening of the box office (9:25am) and bought our tickets that day. It actually turned out great since we didn’t need a guest count finalized until that morning, so we didn’t end up paying for guests that cancelled at the last moment. Some theaters allow you to buy group tickets at a discounted rate, which might be a good idea if you’re seeing a very popular movie on opening weekend!

Step #3: Buy favors and plastic cups (for popcorn)

Again, since the movie is so new there weren’t a lot of “favors” available to choose from, but we went with the simple and useful choice: Zootopia plastic cups!

These cups served three purposes: they allowed us to save seats for everyone by placing them in the cupholders in the theater, they were popcorn containers for the kids, and they were the Zootopia take-away for the event!

I bought 2 large popcorns for the day and filled up each of the cups with popcorn. Then I left the popcorn in the row with the kids for refills, which they handled perfectly! (p.s. you’ll never want to order a large popcorn again after you fill up 14 cups of popcorn from it and still have some left over…)

Step #4: Get everyone in and enjoy the movie

Mr. M stayed outside with Miss L to pass out the tickets as the guests arrived. They dropped off the presents and he was able to take them to the car that was parked nearby (another advantage to getting to the movie theater when it opens). I went inside, set up popcorn, saved the seats, grabbed booster seats and directed the guests to them as they arrived. The kids all ended up sitting in one row together with their parents behind them. Our start time for the party was 10:00am, and since the movie started at 10:15am, everyone got seated on time when the previews started up!

Step #5: Celebrate the birthday outside the theater with cupcakes and a rousing round of “Happy Birthday”

At the end of the movie, we asked everyone to meet outside in the lobby. We sang a rousing version of “Happy Birthday” to Miss L and then went and grabbed the cupcakes and favor bags to distribute to everyone as they left the theater.

Step #6: Say THANK YOU with movie-themed Thank You cards

End where you started… with another themed card! This time, I created a Thank You card using a Zootopia font andZootopia coloring book pages. Miss L wrote them all out on Sunday afternoon, and they were in her backpack for delivery to her classroom on Monday morning!

And with that… I can honestly say we pulled off a great birthday party for Miss L! I’m so glad that she’ll have this wonderful memory of seeing Zootopia with all of her friends for  her sixth birthday! And checking out the upcoming slate of Disney movie releases… it looks like we can do it again when she turns 8 for GIGANTIC!


introducing a2 Milk®

“This post was sponsored by a2 Milk® as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.” 

So you know by now that I’m pretty much a bona fide “next cool food” geek, especially when it comes to supermarket/store products. Well, today I’m happy to announce that I’ve found a new product to get excited about: a2 Milk®
a2 Milk® is real pure farm fresh milk that’s designed to alleviate the tummy troubles caused by ‘post-dairy digestive discomfort.’ It turns out that the cause of that trouble is the A1 milk protein, which is pretty much in all the milk available for purchase at the store.
Well, since I’m one of those people that can get a crazy mean stomachache ache after a morning bowl of cereal, I’m pretty excited to learn that there might be hope for me yet! A recent study showed that 1 out of 4 Americans experience similar discomfort, but only 3-4% of the population actually have a clinical lactose intolerance. And what if it’s really just a product of our dairy cow selection process way back when? And that a2 Milk® can fix most of those issues?
In fact, what’s even more exciting is that I get to be an ambassador on behalf of a2 Milk® throughout the year! We’ve stocked up on a2 Milk® in our house and can’t wait to share how it fits into our food life at home! We’ve been drinking it all week: Miss L said it was great in her cereal, and I’ve enjoyed a glass or two on my own with no tummy issues to speak of!

You may not have noticed a2 Milk® in your store, but I bet you can find it nearby! I found ours in our local Safeway, and our local Whole Foods carries it as well. The a2 Milk Company™ has partnered with U.S. family dairy farmers in upstate New York and the Midwest to expand the heirloom a2 herd, so hopefully it’ll be available in more and more stores as time goes on.

So this is just the first time you’ll be hearing about this exciting new product from me… and I can’t wait to share more goodness about a2 Milk® in the future!