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Travel

Thrilled to share my experience at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017 with you today!
Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

The Disney Social Media Moms Celebration has been one of my favorite events since I attended my first in 2015. It’s no secret I’m a huge Disney fan, so being able to experience the fun with my family and friends is such a treat. If you haven’t heard much about this celebration, take a look at #DisneySMMC on social media. You’ll see pictures from our time at Walt Disney World and The Disney Wonder Cruise Ship.

Made a little video of our trip, hope you enjoy!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

This year my husband and I went together. We celebrated our early anniversary. We had family helping with the boys and we were ready for a great trip!

How adorable is the R2D2 American Tourister Spinner? My 11 year old has claimed it his 🙂

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

After we landed in Orlando, we made our way to the Magical Express. Disney has got this down to a science. So nice to pop on over after your flight.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

We spend the first portion of the trip at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort-Riverside. The grounds were absolutely beautiful. Stay tuned for a full review of the hotel on my Disney page coming soon.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Photo via DisneySMMC Photographer

We got our welcome bag and it was time to experience the fun!

Exploring Disney’s Epcot

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

We decided to arrive one day early so we could explore a couple Disney Parks before the events started. First up was Epcot. One of my favorites!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

We made our way to Via Napoli for lunch, in Epcot’s Italy of the World Showcase. I always try to get reservations here, some of my favorite pizza and appetizers anywhere!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

It wouldn’t be a trip to Epcot without some of our favorite treats from Germany and France!

Quick Trip to Disney’s Magic Kingdom

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

After lunch, we made our way over to Magic Kingdom Park. There’s nothing like walking down Main Street U.S.A and seeing the Cinderella Castle ahead. I love it here!!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

More goodies throughout the day. Just too fun!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Picture in front of the Castle, check!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

We caught the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade while we were heading to Splash Mountain. It was adorable!

First Event for Disney Social Media Moms Celebration

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Later that evening we had our first event dinner at Disney’s Animal Kingdom sponsored by GoGo Squeeze.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Lots of food, lots of fun seeing everyone with their families.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Photo via DisneySMMC Photographer

What a treat to be able to preview the Rivers of Light Nighttime Show after dinner.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

I’m telling you, it was stunning. A must see when visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

The next morning we had a lovely breakfast at Epcot.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Photo Via DisneySMMC Photographer

We heard from our amazing sponsors and even got to hear from 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist Dominique Dawes!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

We got to meet and mingle with our sponsors after breakfast and got a peek at this gorgeous Beauty and the Beast display.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

After breakfast we had a Disney Springs Social Media Challenge. I found all kinds of fun things to bring home. Disney Springs is such a great place for shopping and amazing restaurants.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Later that evening Cullen and I made our way over to Hollywood Studios before our event dinner to explore the park and ride some of our favorite rides. These Storm Troopers are the coolest marching down the street!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

We miss The Hollywood Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure so it was such a treat to ride it.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Yah, epic. Lol!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

My favorite Butterfinger Cupcake, couldn’t pass this one up!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

For dinner, we met up with our event at the new Pizzerizzo Restaurant.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Outside patio area.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

We had pizza, pasta and salad. Fun night!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Photo via Disney Parks Blog

After dinner we had reserved seating for  Star Wars: A Glactic Spectacular. This is one of my favorite nighttime shows. We loved it!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

After the fireworks show we had a dessert party with the cutest Star Wars themed cupcakes and cookies.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Always a treat with the Star Wars characters 🙂

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

The next morning we got all packed up then made our way to Disney Springs for an advanced screening of Disneynature’s Born In China plus a Q&A with the producer Roy Conli. Oh my goodness it was the cutest. Can’t wait to see it again with the boys.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

After the movie we were on our way to Port Canaveral to board the Disney Wonder!!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Time to check in! I’ll never forget the excitement I felt in that line anticipating the fun ahead.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Off we go. We were so excited for our first ever cruise let alone a Disney Cruise.

Our First Disney Cruise Line Experience

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

I’ll never forget walking into the Disney Wonder, the cast members welcome each family over a microphone for everyone to hear. “Welcome the FLAKE FAMILY!” It was awesome.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Our adorable Stateroom. See the full review of our room on my Disney page.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Having a little patio to sit outside with this view was the BEST.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Right after we checked in, we had our first lunch on the ship. Animator’s Palate was the cutest restaurant I’ve ever seen.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Photo via DisneySMMC Photographer

We were asked to draw a picture of ourselves and by the end of our lunch, our pictures came to life on the picture frames around the restaurant. Adorable!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

I met up with Cullen and we went to the deck party to celebrate setting sail! It was so much fun.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Later that evening we saw our first live show called The Golden Mickeys.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

I loved it. So much fun. Depending on your dinner schedule, you either go to the early or later showtime.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Our first dinner rotation was at Tiana’s Place. An absolute blast!! Live music, amazing food and great staff.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

The next day was our Conference sessions. We heard from amazing Disney speakers. Loved each and every one of them. I’m certain each one them had the whole room in tears with their heartfelt stories and videos.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Photo via DisneySMMC Photographer

In our afternoon session, we heard from Alex Ruiz, Disney Parks, Digital Marketing Director and Ginger Zee, Meteorologist of Good Morning America. She was amazing, down to earth and I loved how relatable she was.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Photo via DisneySMMC Photographer

Our group was even featured on Good Morning America with Ginger Zee!

Unlimited Ice Cream on The Disney Wonder

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Met back up with Cullen that afternoon and ice cream seemed to happen numerous times a day, lol!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

It was time for our next show! Tonight’s show was Disney Dreams. Adorable. I was so impressed with how great the Broadway-like shows were.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Our next dinner rotation was at Tritons. Another great experience with amazing food.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Later that evening we had the Pirates of the Caribbean Party! The guests are invited to dress up in their best Pirate costumes and join the fun on the deck. We loved it.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Look who joined the party! Adorable.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

We even had fireworks!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

One of my favorite experiences was arriving to Disney’s Private Island Castaway Cay. Stay tuned for a full review of Castaway Cay on my Disney page coming soon.

Disney’s Castaway Cay, Private Island

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

The water was crystal blue and sand was soft and white. This was such a great day.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

How cute are these Disney cuties that lined the walkway?

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

We spent the day at the adult beach, had a great BBQ lunch, rented some bikes and had a perfect relaxing day.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Ice cream cones on the beach also happened 🙂

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

We boarded back onto the ship by 4pm. Got ready for our last live show “Frozen.”

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

 It was phenomenal. Felt like I was watching a real Broadway show. Everyone was fantastic!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Photo via DisneySMMC Photographer

The conference guests and family could also see the costumes and “Frozen” Door up close and personal. How cool!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

Our last diner rotation was at Animator’s Palate. My favorite restaurant of the three. I love the whimsical interactive frames on the wall that change throughout your dining experience. We had the best servers, Anthony and James. It’s so great having the same servers at every dinner. Loved getting to know everyone at our table.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

The last night of the cruise they had a “Goodbye Party” with the Disney Characters. Mickey is too cute in his sailing suit.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017

…and just like that our time had come to an end. So many incredible memories made. I’ll never forget this experience. Can’t wait to take my boys in the near future!

 Huge thanks to the Disney Moms Team who made this all possible. I know there were countless hours put in to making every detail so special. I’m sincerely grateful to be a part of the fun.

Disclosure: This post is in partnership with Disney Social Media Moms Celebration however thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2017


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Travel

Sharing The North Pole Experience, Flagstaff Arizona from our trip last week!

The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona

The North Pole Experience, Flagstaff Arizona has been on my list to do for quite a few years. So glad I finally prepared early enough to get my family tickets. It’s one of those events where you need to know what dates you can go in advance because tickets sell out pretty quick. I got our tickets in September this year for December 23rd tickets.

Your bus departs from the Little America Hotel in Flagstaff. I highly recommend staying overnight if you can. The Hotel is adorable, they decorate with tens of thousands of lights for Christmas and have Breakfast With Santa that we scheduled on our way out the next morning. It was really great. I’ll talk more about the hotel at the end.

The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona

All of the guests meet inside the Little America Hotel to line up for the busses 15 minutes before their designated time.

The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona

It appears that the North Pole busses are new. I believe it used to be a trolley that took you to the “North Pole.”

They reminded me of the Walt Disney World Magical Express busses. There are TV Monitors throughout where you watch a little video that takes you through a portal to the North Pole with one of Santa’s Elves chatting with the group. The kids loved it. My 4 year old was on my lap, my older two boys were great sports. I would definitely say this experience is geared for ages 8 and under however my older boys agreed they still had a great time especially watching their younger brother enjoy the magic of the experience.

The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona

The Elves that guide you through each room are completely in character and entertain the kids perfectly.

The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona

Pax enjoying the fun toys in one of the first rooms we were invited in to.

The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona

The kids got to help dress teddy bears in this adorable room.

The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona

The kids got to choose their outfit for the bear and these bears go to children in need.

The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona

This was one of my favorite rooms. How gorgeous is this tree? This is where the kids helped make teddy bears with the elves.

The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona

The decorations are really beautiful. The Christmas details were some of my favorite things throughout the entire experience.

The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona

One of our favorite rooms was the hot cocoa and cookies with Mrs. Clause and her elves. They sang and danced with the kids while they enjoyed their treats.

The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona

This is where the Elves had our hot chocolate and cookies.

The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona

Cute decorations in Mrs. Clause’s room.

The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona

More pretty details of the rooms. I’d say we would switch rooms about every 10 minutes with our group. About 8 room changes with each room just as beautifully decorated as the next.

The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona

The kids got to learn some fun songs with the Elves in Elf school. Pax loved this.

 

The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona

This was taken in the room where the kids got to write a letter to Santa then hand it to him when we met him at the end of the visit.

The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona

The kids getting ready to write their letters.

The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona

Beautifully decorated Christmas Trees everywhere you looked.

The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona

Pax was first to run to Santa at the end of the visit. Santa was awesome.

The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona

Family shot 🙂 Santa hands each child a teddy bear to take home with a North Pole Experience t-shirt on. Pax still holds that teddy bear throughout the day.

If you are ever planning on visiting Flagstaff during Christmas I highly recommend The North Pole Experience with your family. Our experience started at 4:10pm and we were back at the hotel right before 5:30pm. From the Phoenix area, it’s only a 2 1/2 hour drive which is nice if you don’t want to spend the night at the hotel. You could easily drive back home if needed.

For our family of 5, tickets were just under $300 to give you an idea of what to plan on. To stay at the hotel, rooms start close to $300 per night. If you plan in advance, it’s really fun to stay and enjoy the festive hotel.

The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona

Breakfast With Santa is a beautiful buffet breakfast set up in one of the ballrooms at the hotel. For our family of 5, Breakfast With Santa reservations were about $115. We loved it. Santa is available for pictures and even walks around to each table to say hello.

The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona

Our favorite is always the made to order omelet bar 🙂

The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona

Lots of ingredients to choose from to make your omelet.

The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona

They had a “make your own” waffle bar as well. They were delicious!

The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona

Pax visited Santa again telling him he wanted 5 toy quads for Christmas, lol!

The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona

Still chatting about it, ha!

The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona

Love this one.

   Love the memories we make these few days with the boys.

Review:  Plan your trip at least 2-3 months in advance. I enjoyed budgeting a night at the hotel along with the Santa Breakfast to make a few more special memories. A really fun event for the whole family. Although geared for young children, my older boys still had a great time.

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The North Pole Experience Flagstaff Arizona


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Chit Chat

Sharing The Best Girl’s Weekend in Chicago with you today!
The Best Girl's Weekend in Chicago

Weekend in Chicago? Yes please!

Had the best time in Chicago a few weeks ago with two of my besties. Can’t wait to share a little bit of our trip with you! The food, the shopping, scoring Hamilton tickets….what a fantastic few days I’ll never forget.

The Best Girl's Weekend in Chicago

Spent my time in Chicago with Shelly and Amanda. Love these girls to pieces. Shelly had to work part of the time, but we made the best of our time for sure! It was freezing and so fun! Chicago is such a great city to visit. I enjoy it pretty darn close to as much as I enjoy NYC. So many great things to do. The detail of the old buildings downtown are so beautiful.

The Best Girl's Weekend in Chicago

Took a late flight out of Phoenix and made my way to Chicago! Was going from 80 degrees F. in Phoenix to about 25 degrees F. in Chicago, crazy!! When I landed in Chicago, Amanda and Shelly told me they found us tickets to see Hamilton. We were dying!!

The Best Girl's Weekend in Chicago

Still can’t believe we got to see the show. Had to take a picture out front!

The Best Girl's Weekend in Chicago

Right before they opened the doors to get to our seats! What a night!

The Best Girl's Weekend to Chicago

The show could not have been more fun and entertaining. Loved it so much. We listen to the soundtrack on repeat most days. My boys are fans now too 🙂 Already trying to figure out when I can see it again! Saw that the show is going on tour in 2017, so excited!

The Best Girl's Weekend in Chicago

….and we got matching show shirts, lol!

The Best Girl's Weekend in Chicago

We found the best food in the city. Be sure to see my post HERE for my Favorite Places To Eat in Chicago.

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The Best Girl's Weekend In Chicago


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Chit Chat

Sharing my Favorite Places To Eat In Chicago with you today from my last couple trips to Chicago!! Love this city so much.

Favorite Places To Eat In Chicago

Public House literally knocked our socks off. These cake milkshakes were about the cutest things ever. Had to try one of each. All amazing. Don’t miss this place!

Favorite Places To Eat In Chicago

Nonnina’s has a little to go coffee/bakery connected to the restaurant and that’s where you can find these gorgeous cookies! Ask them to warm them up and this happens. Magic!

Favorite Places To Eat In Chicago

The Doughnut Vault has some of the best doughnuts around!

Favorite Places To Eat In Chicago

The Bongo Room for breakfast….a must! How gorgeous is this French Toast?!

Favorite Places To Eat In Chicago

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream is literally that. Amazing!!

Favorite Places To Eat In Chicago

Run don’t walk to Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co. Literally the best thing ever…Pizza Pot Pie. You’ve just got to try this.

Favorite Places To Eat In Chicago

Kanela Breakfast Club was a fun place we recently tried for breakfast. Had these Loukoumades, a greek doughnut with lemon honey syrup and toasted walnut. Delicious. Next time I’ll get a side of warm honey on the side for dipping 🙂

Favorite Places To Eat In Chicago

Also at Kanela Breakfast Club is this Monkey Bread Skillet. That drizzled caramel!!!

Favorite Places To Eat In Chicago

Here’s the Crunchy French Toast from Kanela Breakfast Club, challah bread rolled in crunchy corn flakes, topped with fresh berries, crème anglaise.

Favorite Places To Eat In Chicago

The Nutella S’mores Waffle, layered nutella, crushed graham crackers, caramelized marshmallows and chocolate sauce.

Favorite Places To Eat In Chicago

We then made our way to Molly’s Cupcakes. Not kidding, we LOVED every single one of their cupcakes. Definitely worth visiting! Order one of everything, lol!

Favorite Places To Eat In Chicago

How adorable is this Apple Pie Cupcake?

Favorite Places To Eat In Chicago

The Chocolate Peanut Butter was to die for!

Favorite Places To Eat In Chicago

This Cookie Dough was not messing around.

Favorite Places To Eat In Chicago

Hello cookie dough center!!

Favorite Places To Eat In Chicago

The S’mores cupcake…fantastic!

Favorite Places To Eat In Chicago

The center of the Birthday Cake Cupcake. Mmmm! Thank you Molly’s Cupcakes for the best cupcakes I’ve had in ages.

Favorite Places To Eat In Chicago

Later that night we made our way to Giordano’s for that gorgeous deep dish Chicago Style Pizza. We had an appetizer platter since it takes 45 minutes for the pizza to bake. Look at that cheese!!!

Favorite Places To Eat In Chicago

I mean, come on. That cheese is out of control fantastic!!

Favorite Places To Eat In Chicago

We also tried Chicago Waffles. This was the Cinnamon Roll Waffle. Unbelievable! Our favorite thing ordered.

Favorite Places To Eat In Chicago

Small Cakes was too fun! Check out these cupcake sundaes, LOVE!

Favorite Places To Eat In Chicago

Whisk for breakfast had these gorgeous Raspberry Oreo Pancakes. They were amazing!!

 

Favorite Places To Eat In Chicago

We also tried the Fries with dipping sauces at Public House. These were also so so good. Next time I can’t wait to try the other food items on the menu.

Favorite Places To Eat In Chicago

Found this gorgeous rainbow layered cake at Goddess and the Baker. Not even kidding, one of the best cakes I’ve had.

Chicago is one of the best cities to visit if you ask me. Amazing food and fun to be had. Can’t wait to plan my next visit!

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Favorite Places To Eat In Chicago


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Travel

Reasons To Visit Disneyland Resort During Christmas!

Reasons To Visit Disneyland Resort during Christmas

We LOVE visiting Disneyland Resort during Christmas. Just spent a few magical days there for my birthday and anniversary weekend…without the kids, lol! I love taking the kids, but I also love visiting with just my husband, total Disneyland nerd over here! This is truly one of the BEST times of the year to visit. If you’ve got a trip planned between now and January 8th, let me show you our favorites!

Reasons To Visit Disneyland Resort during Christmas

When you enter the park there is a gorgeous giant Christmas Tree in the middle of the start of Main Street U.S.A. It’s a perfect place to take some pictures. There’s a photographer there to help or you can snap your own pics 🙂

Reasons To Visit Disneyland Resort during Christmas

The Christmas treats and food are the cutest! Ok, they’re delicious too, but seriously this is a big part of why I visit, so I can enjoy all of the fun Christmas treats. These apples are from Pooh Corner in Critter Country, one of my favorite places to get my baked goods. I did a full review on The BEST Christmas Treats at Disneyland right now, check it out HERE.

Reasons To Visit Disneyland Resort at Christmas

One of the highlights was the Candy Cane Beignets that we ordered from Cafe Orleans in New Orleans Square. They come with a vanilla dipping sauce if you order from the restaurant. Too good! You can also purchase these “to go” style from French Market Restaurant, Mint Julep Bar and Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen.

Reasons To Visit Disneyland during Christmas

So many fun Candy Cane goodies. Loved this marshmallow wand too. You’ve got until January 8th to eat yourself silly with all of these Christmas treats.

Reasons To Visit Disneyland Resort during Christmas

A Christmas Fantasy Parade is perfectly adorable! Don’t miss this one, find days times of the parade on your Disneyland Guide Map when you enter the park!

Reasons To Visit Disneyland Resort during Christmas

Who can resist a picture by the Sleeping Beauty Castle decorated so beautiful for Christmas?! Keepsake !

Reasons to Visit Disneyland During Christmas

Another fun reason to visit Disneyland during Christmas is the Christmas merchandise for sale. Yikes, it’s adorable! I wanted to take home one of everything! Stroll through the shops down Main Street U.S.A. and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Reasons To Visit Disneyland Resort during Christmas

Sleeping Beauty Castle at night is stunning. You don’t want to miss Believe…In Holiday Magic Firework show. Again, check online or your Disneyland Guide Map for times of the show. Plus it snows on Main Street U.S.A., it’s just fantastic!!

Reasons to Visit Disneyland During Christmas

“it’s a small world” Holiday is about the cutest ever. It is decorated with beautiful Christmas lights and every 15 minutes after dark, you’ll see a projection like show for all of the guests to see. You’ve got to see it.

Reasons To Visit Disneyland Resort during Christmas

Jingle Cruise is another fun ride to check out. Jungle Cruise gets a Christmas make-over that is worth the wait in line!

Reasons to Visit Disneyland During Christmas

Photo via Disney Parks Blog

Haunted Mansion Holiday has been one of our favorites for years. The Nightmare Before Christmas “take-over” is so much fun. The Gingerbread House scene is perfection too.

Reasons To Visit Disneyland Resort during Christmas

You can take the kids to visit Santa Clause in both parks. Disneyland has a precious little set up in Critter Country at the exit area of The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh Ride and exit area of Splash Mountain. You won’t miss it. It is decorated so great.

Reasons to Visit Disneyland During Christmas

You can visit Santa Clause in Disney California Adventure Park in the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail area, Grizzly Peak, right across from Grizzly River Run. Check it out!

Reasons to Visit Disneyland During Christmas

Disney California Adventure has Festival of Holidays going on until January 8th 2017. It is such a treat. I did a full review of each Marketplace and things to do and see. Check it out HERE.

Hope you’ve enjoyed our many favorites of visiting Disneyland Resort during Christmas. Thanks for stopping by!

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Reasons To Visit Disneyland Resort During Christmas

 

 


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Travel

Sharing our Weekend in Carlsbad California with you today! What a gorgeous place to vacation in the California sunshine.

Weekend in Carlsbad California

We had the pleasure of staying at Cape Rey Carlsbad Hilton last weekend for the end of our Fall Break vacation. I have to say we had such a lovely stay. The location, views, friendly staff, room….you name it, it was all such a treat.

We had just come from 3 days at Disneyland for our Fall Break annual vacation. It was a breath of fresh air staying right across from the beach at Cape Rey.

Weekend in Carlsbad California

My boys put their things in our room and raced straight to the pool. It was fantastic.

Weekend in Carlsbad California

The lobby entrance area was clean and inviting. Check-in was quick. Great experience.

Weekend in Carlsbad California

Love the decor throughout the lobby. Great lighting, nice white beachy furniture. Cape Rey offers many outdoor activities should you be interested. You can reserve a Picnic on the Beach basket, lounge poolside with an ocean view, rent bikes, reserve a beach pack with everything you need for a day at the beach and there’s even live music playing outside by the pool when the sun goes down.

Clean Bright Rooms

Weekend in Carlsbad California

We walked into our room with comfortable cozy beds and a view that overlooked the ocean and pool. It was really a great first impression.

Weekend in Carlsbad California

Nice clean bathroom with great bath and body products.

Beautiful Pool

Weekend in Carlsbad California

The view outside our window as the sun was setting. How lovely is this?!

Weekend in Carlsbad California

We spent our second day at the pool with the kids. This is my happy place!

The Poolside Food is a MUST!

Weekend in Carlsbad California

We ordered some poolside food including this hummus plate. It was delicious.

Weekend in Carlsbad California

The Margherita Pizza was as good as it looks.

Weekend in Carlsbad California

The boys split this gorgeous burger. What a fun afternoon!

Weekend in Carlsbad California

We had dinner reservations at Chandler’s right inside the hotel.

Weekend in Carlsbad California

There were so many great options on the dinner menu. Hard to choose!

Weekend in Carlsbad California

The bread basket was warm and delicious. Pax went nuts for all of it 🙂

Weekend in Carlsbad California

We started with the Berkshire Pork Dumplings and Butternut Squash Gratin. Cullen ordered the Lobster and Shrimp Tacos that were unbelievable. I ordered the Chef Teri “Yaki” Chicken that I LOVED!

Weekend in Carlsbad California

For dessert we shared this gorgeous Pear Galette. Oh my goodness it was amazing.

Weekend in Carlsbad California

We also shared the Churros and Hot Chocolate. No words needed. Lol!

Weekend in Carlsbad California

Cape Rey Carlsbad is a perfect family vacation destination. It is right across from Carlsbad State Beach and close to Legoland, San Diego Zoo and Sea World if you are looking for a great place to stay for those activities.

We enjoyed our stay and look forward to visiting again in the near future.

Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Cape Rey Carlsbad Hilton. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Picky Palate possible.


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Chit Chat

Thrilled to share the fun I had on my Las Vegas Girl’s Weekend! From beautiful hotels to amazing food, Las Vegas is the perfect place for a Girl’s Weekend!
Las Vegas Girl's Weekend

Amanda, Shelly and I got to stay at the lovely Delano Hotel above Mandalay Bay. There’s no casino or smoky lobby. It’s amazing for those who aren’t big gamblers and have a hard time dealing with smoky hotels. So nice! The rooms were spacious, clean and the bed was soft and cozy. Will definitely stay at Delano again. Be sure to check them out!

The Best Las Vegas Food

Las Vegas Girl's Weekend

Our first morning, we ventured off of the strip to breakfast at Skinnyfats. They have a healthy side menu and a “happy” side, lol! I loved this place. We might have ordered everything off of the “happy” side. Oops. The Churro Nutella French toast, top left photo was amazing. Actually everything we ordered was great. Fun place to try if you are visiting. It was only about 10 minutes from the strip at the most.

Las Vegas Girl's Weekend

After some fun shopping we ventured off of the strip again to this SoHo Sushi Burrito shop. Look at all of that sushi!! So colorful and pretty.

Las Vegas Girl's Weekend

Another off of the strip MUST visit is “Perfect Scoop.” Homemade Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches. Not kidding, this was amazing! This is the cookie monster macaron and ice cream. Mmmm 🙂

Las Vegas Girl's Weekend

*Serendipity is no longer in Las Vegas**  Later that evening we were back on the strip to Serendipity 3. Most of you know Serendipity in NYC, the location in Las Vegas is huge compared to the NYC one. I enjoy both, but it’s nice having some walk space here in Vegas. Their menus are different as well. Look at all of these goodies!!

Las Vegas Shows

Las Vegas Girl's Weekend

Got tickets to see Michael Jackson One at Mandalay Bay Friday night. We loved it! Great music, dancing and Cirque acts.

Las Vegas Girl's Weekend

Saturday morning we took off to downtown Las Vegas where the original best US casinos started out. Super cute area. The Donut Bar….AMAZING. Make sure you stop here while visiting. About a 15 minute Taxi or Uber drive and you get these gorgeous donuts 🙂  The Churro Donut Ice Cream Cone is unbelievable.

Las Vegas Girl's Weekend

After some shopping we had lunch later that afternoon at a gorgeous restaurant in Bellagio Hotel that overlooks the fountains called LAGO. Everything was stunning. The bright restaurant, tables by the windows to enjoy the water show and the beautifully prepared food.

Las Vegas Spa Day

Las Vegas Girl's Weekend

A girl’s weekend isn’t complete without a spa afternoon right? We made our way to Mandalay Bays beautiful spa for some much needed massages. Loved this!!

Las Vegas Girl's Weekend

A lovely dinner with a view! Dinner at Rivea was so much fun overlooking the strip. We had drinks at Skyfall Lounge with the same gorgeous views. My Raspberry Basil Lemonade was fantastic for those of you who don’t drink.

Las Vegas Girl's Weekend

We had a few places to squeeze in before heading to the airport. First up was Salted Malted off of the strip. This was about a 30 minute drive from the strip, but oh my goodness definitely worth it. A cute retired couple own the shop and make delicious breakfast sandwiches on homemade biscuits not to mention their array of desserts. This churro ice cream sandwich was a favorite of the morning 🙂  They even have a “Dole Whip” machine. I sampled it and it tastes EXACTLY like the ones from Disneyland. Pretty cool.

Las Vegas Girl's Weekend


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Sharing the Best Places To Eat in Arizona with you today! So many favorites, so hold on tight and get ready to make your list of places to try!

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Just recently found this breakfast spot a few weeks ago, it’s called Butters Pancakes and Cafe located in Scottsdale. I’m telling you, some of the best pancakes I’ve had. This particular one is the Wildberry Pancake stack and it has a vanilla cream layered between the cakes. One of my favorite pancakes to date. Can’t wait to go back.

Butters Pancakes and Cafe

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Another fun pancake from Butters called the Oreo S’mores. Hello!

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Their Cinnamon Roll pancake is stunning and worth an order too.

Shake Shack

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

I know that Shake Shack technically started in NYC, however I absolutely feel like this is a favorite spot in Arizona now that it is here! Some of the best tasting burgers around if you ask me. We visit the Scottsdale Fashion Square location. The one in the photograph is the Smoke Shack *double* with bacon!

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Not only does Shake Shack have amazing burgers, their Chicken Sandwich is one of my all-time favorites as well. Perfectly tender fried chicken in their signature soft buns. The pickle, lettuce and mayo….it just works. Yessss!!

Fatty Daddy’s

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Fatty Daddy’s is a newer ice cream shop that specializes in unique homemade ice cream flavors such as fruit loops, lucky charms, chocolate birthday cake and so many more. Not only that, but they make these awesome Macaron Cookie Cups. So much fun, this is a great place to visit. Also located in Scottsdale.

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Another Fatty Daddy’s creation with Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream and Coconut Macaron. Whoa.

 

Snooze AM

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Another great breakfast spot is Snooze AM. We usually go to their downtown Gilbert location. This is their Blueberry Danish Pancake which is by far my absolute favorite! Their egg scrambles and eggs benedict dishes are amazing as well.

Sauce

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Sauce in Gilbert, Dana Park is a casual spot that makes an unforgettable pizza. Their salads are out of this world too. Awesome for lunch!

Sassy’s

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Sassy’s in Mesa is such a cute cafe in Mesa, not only do they have breakfast and lunch options, their bakery case is to die for. This peanut butter cookie with chocolate and peanut butter cup topping is my favorite!

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Another favorite from Sassy’s is this giant chocolate dipped chocolate sandwich cookie. Fantastic!

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

How beautiful is this Sassy’s Belgium Waffle?! That caramel-like buttermilk syrup should be illegal it’s so good!!

Four Seasons Resort, Troon North

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Four Seasons Resort in Scottsdale is one of my favorite places to visit. Not only are their grounds beautiful, their restaurants never fail to impress me. Proof is so great for weekend brunch, lunch or dinner…and look at that view?!

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

We’ve visited on a number of occasions, here’s one of the plates I put together during a weekend brunch. Swoon! Fresh fruit, fresh juices, pastries, waffles, pancakes, eggs….you name it, they’ve got it.

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Fabulous!

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

For lunch or dinner, Proof’s signature burger is out of control. Top it with an egg and watch the magic happen.

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Their tomato soup and grilled cheese starter might be one of my favorite things ever. You’ve got to try it.

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Their pretzel rolls with spicy cheese sauce…Amanda and I couldn’t stop eating these. We decided they tasted like buttery croissant pretzels. So soft and buttery. Out of control 🙂

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Their BBQ rib bites. An absolute must order.

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Their banana split….strawberry cake batter ice cream included. Amazing!

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Their cereal milkshake…favorite!!!

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

On a number of occasions, we spend the day at the Four Seasons pool under their cabanas. Not even kidding that these Carne Asada Nachos top the charts with some of the best nachos around.

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Not to be missed is Four Seasons restaurant Talavera. These buttery soft rolls in a cast iron skillet make everything ok in the world.

Federal Pizza

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Federal Pizza in Phoenix has some of the best pizza in the Valley. Wood fired ovens make for the tastiest pizza crust around!

The Mission

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

The Mission in Scottsdale is one of our favorite restaurants to visit when looking for a nice date night. Their food is always spot on. Their tableside guacamole can’t be beat!

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Hello!!

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

The Mission’s Street Corn. A must order. They’ll cut it off of the cob if you prefer to just enjoy it from a bowl.

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Their pumpkin bread pudding is so surprising. Doesn’t sound like much, but wait until you try it with the hot caramel and homemade vanilla ice cream with the soft pudding. One of my favorite desserts to enjoy.

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

The Mission’s tacos are mind blowing. Here are the chicken tacos….so perfectly flavorful.

Le Grande Orange

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Another favorite dessert spot is Le Grand Orange aka “LGO.” The largest part of the location serves pizza however their bakery case is so beautiful with layered cakes, their signature salted chocolate chip cookie, cupcakes, bars, gelato and so much more. They also offer homemade English Muffins that will change the way you think about English Muffins forever. Their breakfast is pretty fantastic too. Not a whole lot of seating, so plan accordingly.

The Phoenician

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

We had a lovely stay at The Phonecian last summer in Scottsdale. Their brunch was stunning and delicious.

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Can you even handle their burger? Pretty amazing! Relish Burger Bistro is a must!

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

We had this do it yourself S’mores brought to the table. So incredibly fun with the kids!

 

 

Nordstrom Cafe, Fashion Square

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

The Nordstrom Cafe in Scottsdale Fashion Square has always been one of my favorite places to get lunch and sometimes dinner! Amazing service, with some of the best soup and salads around…..the cookie is pretty unforgettable too 🙂  All of their baked goods actually.

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Nordstrom Cafe Tomato Soup….could eat this every single day. Don’t even talk about that cookie!

St. Francis

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Another favorite we enjoy for dinner for date night is St. Francis in Phoenix. Gorgeous farm to table food, super cool restaurant vibe. Their signature burger is my favorite!

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Their appetizers are so lovely. This hummus, pickled cauliflower and quinoa salad trio with pita bread is so great.

1 Arizona 12

An inside shot of their burger. Yum!!

Sweet Republic

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Sweet Republic in Scottsdale is an absolute favorite for ice cream. Look at this sundae! The Ultimate Sweet R Sundae. Look at that toasted marshmallow!!

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Their Toffee Banofi Sundae is to die for!

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Their cookie ice cream sandwich makes my heart sing. I always get the peanut butter chip inside my cookies. Oh baby it’s good.

Liberty Market

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Liberty Market located in Old Town Gilbert is such a great place for dinner and dessert. Look at these loaded Fingerling Potatoes!

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Now, this was a “special” burger of the week…the “Mac and Cheese Burger.” I have no words. It was as good as it looks.

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Liberty Market’s 6 Alarm Burger. Fiery hot and amazing!!!

 

Worth Takeaway

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Worth Takeaway in downtown Mesa is a gem! A small but quaint little cafe that serves up a great breakfast menu and beyond tasty lunch options including this Spicy Chicken Sandwich on Ciabatta! You’ll also find homemade pickles and some of the best caramels made from goat’s milk right by the register. Try them!!

 

Sweet Tooth Fairy

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

The Sweet Tooth Fairy in Gilbert has some of the most beautiful and delicious desserts around the Valley. I mean, look at this Cookie Dough Chocolate Dipped Cookie?!

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Another Sweet Tooth Fairy adorable sugar cookie. Love this one! Their cake bites and cupcakes are equally as great!

Postino’s

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Postino’s has a few locations around the Valley. It’s worth going just for their Bruschetta Board alone. They’re all amazing! Love this place.

Smashburger

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Smashburger and their Smash Fries! Had to add them to my list because of these crazy good fries. We love their burgers and shakes too 🙂

 

Churn

The Best Places To Eat In Arizona

Churn in Phoenix for some of our favorite homemade ice cream. Their cookies and mint is one of my favorites on the planet 🙂  Amanda and I recently had their salted caramel cookie sandwiched with their madagascar vanilla ice cream. Crazy amazing!!

Other favorites coming soon not photographed!

The Henry in Phoenix

The Baked Bear in Scottsdale for extreme Ice Cream Sandwiches with cookies, brownies and doughnuts!

Gadzooks for made to order enchiladas in Phoenix.

Zinburger in Gilbert and Scottsdale for gourmet burgers, salads and creative milkshakes

Our list is always growing, would love to hear your favorites around the Valley! 

Pin For Later 🙂
The Best Places To Eat In Arizona


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Jenny Flake

Welcome to Picky Palate, my online kitchen! You'll usually find me with a cookie in one hand and a salad in the other. It's all about the balance :) The recipes you'll see are my creations. The Picky Palate Cookbook is now available. Enjoy!