Hotel Review: The Seabird Resort in Oceanside is the perfect family-friendly escape!

Travel

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly like and think you will, too. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

This Mothers’ Day, my family and I felt so fortunate to visit The Seabird Resort in Oceanside, California, which is located in North San Diego County, a little more than a 2-hour drive from Los Angeles. I’m excited to give you the full review of the resort, but first, I have a confession…

I ALWAYS plan my own Mothers’ Day, Valentine’s Day and birthday… And, I like it that way! I usually have a vision for how I’d like to spend those holidays, so rather than getting disappointed when someone else’s plans don’t meet my expectations, I plan the holidays myself!

This year, my vision for a perfect Mothers’ Day was a nearby family beach vacation. Here were my requirements:

  • Great for the whole family
  • A beach resort that’s driving distance from Los Angeles (but not located in LA)
  • A room with a view
  • Quality hotel service

The destination needed to appeal to the whole family, because we’d be bringing my 2- and 4-year old, but I still wanted it to feel very adult. I’m not interested in doing a theme park for Mothers’ Day, okay? I wanted a beach destination that was driving distance from LA, but I was not interested any of the LA beaches that I’ve been to hundreds of times. I also desired a room with a beautiful view. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen that our home has a beautiful view of the San Gabriel Mountains. We’re so lucky that hanging out at our home’s pool with a mountain view already feels like a vacation, so I don’t want to go to a destination that’s less impressive than where we live. Lastly, the quality of hotel service is major to me for a couple reasons. First, I spent over 10 years working in public relations representing luxury hotels where I was spoiled with top-notch hospitality at some of the most prestigious hotels in the world. Once you experience that lifestyle, it’s really hard to bunk up at a motel, if ya know what I mean. Second, the increase in hotel room prices with inflation over the last couple of years has been insane, but I still expect the service to match the price we’re paying. As an experienced traveler, it pains me spending double the amount on a hotel room that I paid much less for pre-pandemic. If you’re going to charge a lot for a hotel room, make it worth it with exceptional personalized service, right?!

After a bit of research, The Seabird Resort in Oceanside, California fit all these requirements! I was thrilled to experience this new-ish resort that opened only a couple years ago with my family!

Pool at The Seabird Resort; Courtesy of The Seabird Resort, a Destination by Hyatt Hotel

Design

The Seabird Resort’s design was reminiscent of a quintessential California oceanfront estate. The aesthetic was timeless with its blue and white hues, but it felt fresh and modern with pops of yellow and contemporary art and furniture. The unique artwork was curated by the Oceanside Museum of Art, and it was fun perusing all the sea and beach inspired pieces. I loved that the lobby felt like an elevated yet cozy living room. It reminded me of a wealthy family’s seaside home, and I envisioned them sitting around the fireplace with cocktails after a day of surfing, sharing stories of their day on the water. What’s cool is that we got to live out this vision with our own family!

The Seabird Resort lobby; Courtesy of The Seabird Resort, a Destination by Hyatt Hotel

Check-In

We pulled up to the hotel where the bellmen were extremely friendly and helpful. They took our bags while we went to the registration desk. The resort was bustling but there was no wait at registration. The receptionist shared information about the resort, dining and activities for the weekend. She said, “please wait here while I grab something for the kids,” and came back with an adorable yellow wagon filled with toys! The children each chose a special toy to take with them. They were already won over on The Seabird!

Side note: If you take a road trip or any kind of vacation this summer, check out my Must-Have Travel Products for Kids! I shared my top 5 essential products on KTLA Morning News, from the best packing cubes to activities that keep you kiddos entertained on long car and plane rides!

Our Room

We stayed in a 2 Queen Beds with Ocean View Room on the 6th floor — the top floor of the resort. This was the way to go, as we had gorgeous views of the resort’s pool and ocean. If you have children, you know they can get stir crazy in a hotel room, but our kids loved sitting on the balcony watching the surfers — and, adults enjoyed this, too! Once we got the kids tucked into bed for the night, my husband and I enjoyed sitting on the balcony with a glass of wine watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.

Upon entering our room, we saw the Seabird staff once again surprised our children with gifts waiting for them on their bed – a seabird stuffy and a branded beach ball. The kids were thrilled! The room was about the average size for a typical hotel room, which can feel crowded for a family of four, but it was manageable since our kids are young. When they’re older, I’d love to come back and stay in one of The Seabird’s suites. Their Grand Estate Suite is the resort’s largest suite and like a true home away from home with one king bed, two queen beds, two spacious bathrooms, and an expansive furnished private balcony — with the iconic ocean views, of course!

The bathroom in our room was a good size and really modern, but it only had a large shower and no bathtub. Our kids are still very little and typically take baths, but the huge shower wasn’t too challenging. It was perfect for rinsing off after pool, beach and surfing.

See a full tour of our room on Instagram, below!

Dining

We ate at the resort’s restaurant, Piper, three times during our two-night visit — that’s how delicious and convenient it was! Piper had an elegant Mediterranean meets casual Californian vibe that made me feel fancy but also comfortable enough to bring my kids. Like everywhere else throughout this resort, Piper keeps kids in mind and brought out a coloring sheet and crayons to keep our children busy while waiting for food. We had an upscale dinner there on Friday night where I absolutely loved the Duck Confit A L’Orange made with sprouting cauliflower and celery root puree. As an avid at-home cook, I love ordering dishes I normally don’t make at home, and this meal knocked my socks off. My husband, however, sticks to the classics and got the Housemade Spaghetti and Meatball. I have to admit that I was a bit surprised he ordered that because I consider spaghetti a children’s dish, but let me tell you… that spaghetti was GOOD! And it was good for all ages! Not only did my husband and I enjoy the fresh housemade spaghetti pasta, but my 2-year-old-daughter ended up stealing a large portion of his meal! The kids enjoyed the flatbread with tomato sauce and cheese (basically a cheese pizza) and ordered a chocolate cake slice for dessert. We were on vacation, so, why not! They were in heaven. I also really loved Piper’s brunch buffet. It was filled with elevated classics, like avocado toast but with a variety of toppings you could add yourself, like salmon, a poached egg, capers, feta, and so many hot sauce options. Little known fact about me: I collect hot sauce! So the Piper hot sauce options were awesome! Our children loved the yogurt parfaits, bacon and chocolate croissants! We all agreed the brunch buffet deserved a 10/10 rating!

Get the dress I wore to Mother’s Day dinner at Piper here!

Duck Confit A L’Orange at Piper Restaurant at The Seabird Resort

On Saturday night, we ate at The Shore Room, the resort’s oceanfront cocktail bar that’s located just off the lobby. An upscale yet relaxed venue like The Shore Room is one of my favorite ways to dine on vacation. I loved that it felt like we were in a beautifully designed living room with views of the ocean; yet, we had a waiter taking care of our every need. Our family was able to sit back, relax and order as we felt like it. My husband and I ordered a bottle of Whispering Angel and talked while the kids drank milk and doodled in their Water Wow books (a must-have with kids on vacation!). We then shared the ahi stack, french fries, margarita flatbread and Seabird classic burger. Don’t let your stay at the Seabird go by without getting the Seabird classic burger made with two beef patties, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickle, thousand island, American cheese — so good!!

The Shore Room; Courtesy of The Seabird Resort, a Destination by Hyatt Hotel

We didn’t get a chance to order food from the resort’s third dining venue, The Shelter Club, which serves drinks and snacks poolside. We did get to enjoy the space for a Little Seabird activity (more on that below) and poolside wine, though! The Shelter Club is a nice place to hang out when you want reprieve from the sun, as the room hosts quite a few games, like a pool table, chess, checkers and other board games.

Resort Amenities & Activities

Beach Rentals: The Seabird Resort has everything you could want for a family vacation, so you really don’t have to leave the property except for walking across the street to access the beach! Speaking of which… If you want to spend a day at the beach, The Seabird has an adorable Beach Rambler located on The Strand where you can rent complimentary chairs and umbrellas, in addition to purchasing retail, sundries and locally-sourced snacks to ensure you’re family is prepared for a full day in the sun!

Beach Playground: While it’s not officially associated with the resort, an adorable beach playground is easily accessible right in front of the resort. This was a favorite activity of our kiddos and perfect for kids under the age of 5.

Enjoying the beach playground with The Seabird’s Beach Rambler in the background

Little Seabirds: One of my favorite perks of staying at this resort was the Little Seabirds program, which offered curated activities for kids to explore, play and learn about the ocean every day. During our visit, my 4-year-old son and I participated in the Little Seabirds’ Mommy-and-Me Craft Hour, where we got to make some sweet artwork together that doubled as a nice little Mother’s Day gift. We did this while my youngest child and husband took a nap in the room, and I really loved this rare one-on-one time with him. At the time of our stay, Little Seabirds offered a Kids Club for ages 4-14 on Friday and Saturday nights where parents could enjoy a night out alone while the kids played and did crafts. We didn’t take advantage of the Kids Club this time, because our youngest daughter was too little, but we’ll definitely do this when she’s older! What a nice treat for parents AND kids!

Oceanfront Pool: We spent lots of time at the Seabird Resort’s heated pool, which was great for our stay with overcast weather, also known as “May Gray” to local Californians where the cold Pacific Ocean and lack of sun can make for too chilly beach days. The pool has a hot tub, poolside food and drink service from The Shelter Club, and cabana or daybed rentals. We loved lounging in the pool chairs with iconic ocean views while our kiddos splashed in the pool.

The Seabird Resort Pool; Courtesy of The Seabird Resort, a Destination by Hyatt Hotel

Surfing: The resort’s oceanfront location in front of the pier is perfect for surfers! If you want to learn to surf, the resort offers lessons through partnerships with North County Surf Academy and Whitlock Surf Experience. My husband is an experienced surfer, so we didn’t do lessons, but we found it very convenient that the resort could easily store his surfboard and equipment on site!

Fitness: There’s two types of people on vacation — those who workout and those who don’t. I’m the one who LOVES to workout on vacation. I always feel like I get better workouts in new environments, because I have to be creative with my movements in an unfamiliar space. The first morning we were at The Seabird, I went for a jog along the beach, which was very peaceful. I saw lots of security and police officers around the pier which was a nice change compared to LA beaches. I felt totally safe striking out on my own jogging up and down the beach path. On the second morning, I used the resort’s fitness center, which was awesome! Some hotels have small rinky-dink gyms, but not The Seabird! Tons of cardio machines were available including treadmills, stationary bikes and rowing machines, and the gym offered weight machines and free weights. Lots of space to spread out from your fellow resort guests, too!

Spa: Lastly, there’s Sunny Spa & Beauty Lounge, which I didn’t have an opportunity to check out this time, sadly. The space is so cute and cheerful with its bright yellow and blue hues, but it also feels calming with its ocean views. Did I mention this resort has amazing views yet? I can’t stop talking about it! Cool fact: the spa at Seabird was recently voted the No. 2 Best Hotel Spa in the country by USA Today! I definitely want to experience a treatment the next time we visit this resort — and there will be a next time!

Watch our family vacation vlog at The Seabird below!

Would you vacation with your family at The Seabird in Oceanside? What other great oceanfront resorts have you visited? Let me know in the comments below, and don’t hesitate to reach out with questions about our stay by following me on Instagram and TikTok!

XO Maggie

Advertisement

My Favorite Beauty Products for TV and Special Events

beauty

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly like and think you will, too. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

Hi beauties! I just wrapped another lifestyle TV segment on KTLA Morning News and I’m feeling great! I love getting dolled up when I do TV appearances! One of my mottos is, “when you look good, you feel good,” and it’s so true! Sometimes, I’ll be feeling blue, then take a look in the mirror and realize, oh, that’s why I feel like crap… My hair isn’t brushed, my eyes look tired, I’ve been wearing athleisure for too many days straight… Does this ever happen to you?

Currently, 75% percent of my life is being a stay-at-home mom, and the other 25% is as freelance TV host and journalist. Sometimes, I find myself spending waayyy too much time wearing sweats with a ponytail and ball cap when I’m mom-ing about town. Then, when I get dressed up for a TV segment or special event, I suddenly feel so much better! It’s like I’m my old pre-kid working-girl self again!

I know this could be an unpopular opinion, since there’s such a movement toward being “natural” and accepting yourself as you are. But, that’s not necessarily what I’m talking about here… Of course, I want women to love themselves with or without makeup! But, I also believe in respecting yourself, and for me, that means taking care of my appearance. It doesn’t even have to be full hair and makeup. I honestly feel better with only a simple swipe of mascara and concealer under my eyes!

There’s really something remarkable about the confidence boost you can get when you put yourself together… So, ladies, if it’s been a while since you’ve felt good in your own skin, take an extra couple minutes to respect yourself and feel beautiful today. Just do one thing! It could be adding a layer of lip gloss or forgoing the same pair of lulus you’ve worn for the last 2 days for a pair of real pants. Try it, I promise you’ll feel better! Let’s make a girls’ pact that we’ll do this at least half of the week… good? Deal!

Now, getting ready for the other 25% percent of my life that’s dedicated to TV appearances takes more than just a couple minutes. I always do my own hair and makeup (maybe one day I’ll be “big” enough to hire pro hair and makeup artists), and my get-ready routine takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour. I actually love the process of getting ready for TV or a special event. I put on some hype music and enjoy taking my time being creative with makeup products and making myself feel good. It’s like a self-care ritual!

Hair and makeup ready for my KTLA Morning News appearance!

Here are my tried-and-true products that I think you’ll love, too!

FACE MAKEUP:

Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Primer – Hydrating

I always use Laura Mercier’s Pure Canvas Primer – Hydrating before applying foundation to keep my skin hydrated and extend the wear of my makeup.

IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream Full Coverage Color Correcting Foundation with SPF 50+

I’ve been using IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream Full Coverage Color Correcting Foundation with SPF 50+ in Fair Light for about 3 years now, and it’s the best. I feel like it offers full coverage, but is so light on my skin. It doesn’t crease or dry me out like some foundations. They have so many shades available to match your skin tone.

tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer

I got introduced to tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer (my shade is 10N Fair) from a couple beauty influencers, and I’m obsessed. It doesn’t dry out my eye area, doesn’t clump in fine wrinkles and generously covers dark circles. A little goes a long way, so it lasts forever.

NARS Bronzer Powder

I love adding NARS Bronzer Powder in Laguna for a healthy, sun-kissed look. I swipe at my hairline, then make a sweeping C motion down to my cheekbones. I also add to the tip of my nose and chin – basically anywhere where sun would naturally hit my face.

NARS Blush

Ladies (including me) have been obsessed with NARS Blush‘s Orgasm shade for years, and it’s easy to see why. The shade’s peachy glow looks fabulous on all skin colors. I also put a small amount on my eyelids to make my blue eyes POP!

Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder

The final step of my makeup routine is brushing Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder over areas that I tend to get oily, like my forehead and chin. It helps my makeup stay in place longer, too.

Hair and makeup for TV appearance

EYE MAKEUP:

Too Faced Natural Eyes Eye Shadow Palette

This Too Faced Natural Eyes Eye Shadow Palette is the only eye shadow palette I’ve ever owned where I truly use every single shade depending on the day and the look I’m going for. For an easy daytime look, I’ll swipe the Heaven color across my entire lid and brow bone and use the Erotica color for my eyeshadow. If I’m doing a look for TV, I’ll use 6 shades: Heaven, Silk Teddy, Strip Poker, Chocolate Martini, Honey Pot and Push-Up. Let me know if I should do a tutorial? The Silk Teddy color is perfect for highlighting my face, too! I’ll add it to the tip of my nose, cheek bones and above my eyebrows.

KVD Beauty Tattoo Liquid Eyeliner

I’ve been using KVD Beauty Tattoo Liquid Eyeliner in Trooper Black for 8 years now, and I love how easy it is to apply. It’s my favorite to use to create a cat eye look. My only issue is that I feel like it sometimes dries out too fast, so I have to buy it often. Once it starts to dry, it’s challenging to apply.

ILIA Limitless Lash Lengthening Clean Mascara

I discovered ILIA Limitless Lash Lengthening Clean Mascara in 2021 when I took a poll on social media asking my followers their favorite mascara and so many people recommended it! I have been using it almost every day since, because it goes on so smooth, truly lengthens my lashes without clumping and doesn’t easily smudge to the top of my eyelids (I have deep set eyes, so this is a frequent problem with other mascaras). Bonus – it’s clean beauty!

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz® Ultra-Slim Precision Brow Pencil 

I love Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz® Ultra-Slim Precision Brow Pencil  (my shade is Taupe) because it goes on so smooth and it’s the perfect amount of application. Before finding this brow pencil, I could never find a brow pencil that easily gave me the right amount of color. I was either pressing too hard to see color or trying to remove bold color. Anastasia is the BEST!

LIP MAKEUP:

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Lip Liner

Several years ago, I read about Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Lip Liner in Pillow Talk being one of the best, most universal shades, so I ordered it online immediately. To be honest, I didn’t think it worked for me then. I was so used to having very light pink lips (it was the the look of early to mid-2010s), and I thought it was too dark for me. Fast forward to now, and I’m obsessed!!!! I always over-line my lips to make them look fuller. I often fill in my lips with a bit of this liner, too, before adding lipstick and gloss. I do agree the Pillow Talk shade could work on all skin tones – give it a try!

Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G. Lipstick

This Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G. Lipstick has a bit of a matte finish, but it’s so very soft and hydrating. Sephora’s website describes it as a “cashmere” finish… dreamy! Charlotte Tilbury is a genius! I have this lipstick in shade Nude Kate. You can wear this lipstick alone, but it looks SO GOOD with my favorite lip gloss, below.

Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Lip Gloss

This Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Lip Gloss in shade Fenty Glow looks amazing on everyone and over every shade of lipstick or alone. My go-to makeup artist who I trust with my makeup life recommended this to me, and I’m eternally grateful. I also have this lip gloss in shade Fu$$y for when I want a bit of a pinker lip.

L’OrĂ©al Paris Colour Riche Collection Exclusive Lipstick – Jennifer’s Nude

This L’Oreal lipstick is the only drugstore brand makeup item on my list, but I haven’t been able to find it in drugstores the last couple of years, so I get it on Amazon. I hope they never stop making it, because the L’OrĂ©al Paris Colour Riche Collection Exclusive Lipstick in shade Jennifer’s Nude (inspired by Jennifer Lopez, yes, J-Lo!) is the perfect nude shade!! It’s perfect for every day but also looks dressed up under Fenty Gloss Bomb Lip Gloss mentioned above.

HAIR PRODUCTS AND TOOLS:

Olaplex Bond No. 7 Bonding Oil

I started using Olaplex Bond No. 7 Bonding Oil as a recommendation from my hairstylist. I had some major damage done to my hair, and this bonding oil has helped repair it. I’ll add about a dime size amount to wet hair and then add another pea size amount to dry hair before adding styling tools to it.

Ouai Wave Spray

I have stick straight hair naturally and need all the help I can get to keep a curl. I spray this Ouai Wave Spray on my hair before adding hot tools and it helps keep my waves from falling as fast. I also love the smell!

R+Co Sun Catcher Leave-In Conditioner

Living in Southern California, my hair is so dry, so I add a few pumps of R+Co Sun Catcher Leave-In Conditioner to my hair when I get out of the shower then brush through. It helps soften, seal and detangle my hair.

Hot Tools Pro Artist Nano Ceramic Tapered Curling Wand

This Hot Tools Pro Artist Nano Ceramic Tapered Curling Wand gives my hair soft beachy waves. What differentiates it from other curling irons is its tapered shape and it’s snag-free ceramic barrel for smooth curls. I love this wand because it heats up quickly. My hair will typically keep a curl for two days after using this product!

TRESemme Extra Hold Hairspray

I finish my hair with TRESemme Extra Hold Hairspray. I’ve been using this trusty hairspray since high school!

Do you use any of these products? Let me know your favorites in the comments section below! Or, if you have any questions about how I use these hair and makeup products, I’d love to answer them! Be sure to follow me on Instagram and TikTok for more! And, see my hair and makeup looks on TV!

XO Maggie

Must-Have Travel Products for Kids

Lifestyle, Travel

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly like and think you will, too. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

We have some fun travel plans coming up, and I’m so looking forward to exploring new destinations with my family! There’s something so magical about being able to share travel experiences with your children. I love seeing the world through their eyes… The way they light up when they see the ocean; how they get so enamored with nature on walks and hikes in new places; the big proud smiles on their faces when they get to try something new, like skiing or boogie boarding. It makes this mama’s heart so happy to see them enjoy our amazing, beautiful world!

You know what doesn’t make me happy, though? The actual traveling with kids. Let’s be honest, long plane and car rides are a bit more challenging with children in tow. Their little busy bodies don’t like sitting still for long periods of time, and it seems like they whine for a new snack, like, every 30 minutes. Oh, and they have so much stuff!! Strollers, car seats, changes of clothes, toys, books, ahhh!!

My husband and I have been determined to make traveling with our kids as simple as possible. Some parents will buy every hot travel gadget, toy or stroller they’ve been influenced on Instagram to feel prepared for long travel days, but take it from me (someone who’s experienced in traveling alone with two young children and also worked in the travel industry for 10+ years), you don’t need more STUFF to lug through the airport to make travel easy. What you need are the easy basics — items that will help keep your luggage at a minimum, things that are simple for kids to carry and will help keep them occupied. So, while I doesn’t necessarily look forward to the travel days with kids, I believe we’ve found ways to make it very tolerable… and sometimes even pleasurable! Heck, sometimes I actually get to take a nap or sip on a glass of champagne! And when that happens, I arrive to our destination cheerful and ready for our family adventure!

Want to know my essential travel items for kids? I shared 5 must-have products with KTLA Morning News, and you can watch by clicking play, below! I also linked all the products we use to make our flights and road trips with kids simple and painless below the video.

Essential Travel Products for Kids:

Portable Hanging Organizer

Packing and unpacking your family is so easy with this four-tier packing cube that acts as a carry-on closet to keep your belongings organized and in plain view. You will no longer have to dig in your suitcase to locate your 2-year-old’s tiny socks! What makes this luggage organizer stand out among other packing cubes out there is the fact that it has four compartments — three shelves to store folded clothes and one zip-up container at the bottom that’s great for stashing toiletries, shoes or dirty laundry — and two hooks so that it can hang, making it easy to unpack and repack at your destination. This packing cube is durable and lightweight, in addition to coming in two different sizes and multiple different colors. I purchased the large and extra large in grey earlier this year, and it has been such a game changer to keep mine and my children’s belongings organized. I typically put pajamas, socks and underwear in the top compartment, my son’s clothes in the middle compartment and my daughter’s clothes in the third compartment. I’ll put shoes in the bottom zip-up compartment. In the large size, I was able to pack 4 days worth of clothes for the kids, who are ages 4 and 2 as I’m writing this. I love that I simply hang it up in the closet when we arrive, so we’re no longer living out of disorganized suitcases or accidentally leaving a shirt or sock behind in a hotel drawer! Do yourself a favor and get this portable hanging organizer before your next trip!

RideSafer Travel Vest

Car seats are a huge pain to schlep through the airport, especially if you have more than one child, like me! I also dislike taking them with us to a destination where we’re not renting a car. Constantly installing the car seat in Ubers then carrying it into a restaurant or museum can be really annoying. Enter: The RideSafer Vest!!! This is a safe, legal and convenient device that makes it easy to travel in taxis or ride shares when you get to your family’s destination. The vest lightweight (less than 2 pounds) and comes with a small backpack that children can easily carry themselves. Most importantly, it’s crash tested and safety certified – it meets or exceeds Federal safety standards! The RideSafer Vest features a unique, 3-clip design that positions the car’s seat belt comfortably and correctly on your child. Just slip it on like an article of clothing, fasten in the front and place the seat belt through the metal belt guides. Most children can do all of that themselves if you teach them and practice a few times. It also comes with a shoulder tether for a consistent sitting position and increased security. The tether also makes it possible for kids to ride safely in the middle seat without a shoulder strap! RideSafer offers four different sizes of the Vest, so this device is an option for parents with children ages 2 and up.

TravelSmarter Booster Seat

The same company that makes the RideSafer Travel Vest also makes an extremely lightweight TravelSmarter Booster Seat. This seat can be used with the vest, and they both fit into a backpack weighing less than 3 pounds. My kids have no trouble carrying it! The TravelSmarter Booster Seat is great for smaller children who may enjoy looking out the window, but it is not required to use with the vest. You can use the booster alone or with the vest or you can use the vest without the booster. 

Puro Sound Labs Volume Limiting Kids Headphones

There’s a growing concern over the rise of noise-induced hearing loss from headphones and earphones, leaving parents alarmed and looking for solutions to protect their children’s ears. Thankfully, I found Puro Sound Labs Junior Jams bluetooth headphones, which help keep little ones entertained on long flights while limiting volume to 85 decibels (the recommended listening level). What sets these volume-limiting headphones apart is their 22 hours of battery life, superior sound quality and fold-up feature, making them easy to store in little kids backpacks. These headphones also boast a sophisticated design, bright color options and durability. We have gone through a couple of headphones in the last 3 years that simply couldn’t hold up to travel or stopped working shortly after purchasing, but Puro Sound Labs creates quality headphones with a 1-year warranty! These headphones are perfect for children ages 3 to tween.

Puro Sound Labs also has developed PuroQuiet, which features active noise cancelling for little ones to tune out the loud world around them without having to increase their headphones volume. PuroQuiet bluetooth headphones have a volume limit of 85 decibels, 35 hours of battery life without the active noise canceling on, and 23 hours with it, and blocks out 78% of background noise. The PuroQuiets cost a bit more than the Junior Jams, but they’re so worth it for the active noise cancelling feature!

Melissa & Doug Take Along Activities

Our favorite toy brand Melissa & Doug is fantastic at developing toys and activities to keep babies and toddlers engaged through screen-free open-ended play. The Water Wow! reusable travel painting sets have been a staple in our house since my firstborn was around 18 months old. I love to throw these in my diaper bag and surprise the kids with them once we get on the plane or when they need to keep busy at a restaurant. Simply fill the pen with water, and your kids can paint the pages in the book to reveal colorful, educational scenes. The color disappears when the pages dry, so kids can paint them again and again. The best is that there’s no mess (besides maybe a little bit of water)!

For babies under 1 year old, Melissa & Doug just launched the Take Along Ice Cream Toy that clips to strollers, diaper bags, high chairs, car seats, and more to keep the fun close to little hands. Babies love pulling the cone to reveal four adorable ice cream scoops with friendly faces. When expanded, the toy vibrates and plays chiming sounds as it shrinks again. This toy helps kids develop fine motor and sensory skills with its multi-textured features, vibration and sounds. If I had a baby again, I’d definitely bring this cute little toy with me! Make sure you check out all of Melissa & Doug’s awesome travel-friendly toys on their website!

The North Face Kids Backpacks

Mini Explorer by The North Face

One of the best things a family can do when traveling together is have each person responsible for their own stuff! Traveling got so much easier once my toddlers were able to wear a backpack filled with their favorite snacks and toys. Plus, it’s fun for them! They love the sense of purpose and responsibility, and my kids enjoy packing their own backpack, too! The North Face has been a trusted brand for family adventures for years and makes three different sized backpacks to fit your child’s travel needs at every age. The Mini Explorer is perfect for preschoolers, the Youth Mini Recon is great for elementary school age children and the Youth Court Jester is a solid choice for tweens and high schoolers. I love The North Face, you get a lifetime guarantee with free returns, durability and high functionality. These are high quality backpacks that your kids can use for everything!

Youth Mini Recon by The North Face
Youth Court Jester by The North Face

I’m always on the lookout for great products, so let me know if you have any favorite travel items we should try in the comments below!

For more family product recommendations, be sure to follow me on Instagram and TikTok, and shop my favorite fashion and products on http://www.shopLTK.com/explore/maggiehjackson.

Fave Women’s Spring Workout Sets + Honest SolidCore Review!

fashion, Health & Wellness

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly like and recommend. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

I recently started doing reformer pilates again, and I’m feeling amazing! Not only is it a great workout, but I’m feeling like myself again. You see, I stopped doing reformer pilates when I got pregnant with my first baby – almost 5 years ago! – and haven’t gotten back into a regular pilates routine until now.

Belonging to pilates studios can be really tough for new parents, because they don’t offer childcare and they’re usually pretty expensive. It hasn’t made sense for me to hire a babysitter to go to a pricey pilates class and my husband’s work schedule leaves few opportunities to sneak away. But, a couple months ago, we started our youngest child in preschool 3 days a week, so I could get things done around the house and work on my freelance projects sans kiddos. At the exact same time, a new pilates studio, SolidCore, opened locally and offered me free trial classes. I’ll sheepishly admit that I abandoned all the things I was “supposed” to be doing (errands, cleaning, work) to test the studio. Oh em freakin geeeeee…. After only one class, I was hooked on this place! And it’s been TOTALLY worth putting everything else aside to go here!

After a killer workout at SolidCore in my new hot pink workout set

If you’re into reformer pilates like me, you know that not all studios are the same. Some pilates studios’ classes can be so easy and boring. Like, why did I just pay $35 to just stretch?! No, I want to get results, not have some leisurely movement! That is NOT SolidCore! This studio puts a huge focus on building muscle, which is one of the best things you can do for your body. My husband, who is an orthopedic surgeon that treats athletes of all ages, tells me all the time that his healthiest and youngest looking patients prioritize weightlifting in their workouts. Knowing that, I really think women have been done a disservice with media, celebrities and men persuading them not to lift weights out of fear that they’ll get “bulky,” gain weight, or won’t be able to achieve the slim, toned look they desire. So not true! Okay, I’ll step off my weightlifting soapbox and return to why I love SolidCore…

SolidCore is the best pilates studio I’ve ever been to, so if you have a location close to you, try it out! I now go to SolidCore once or twice a week and pepper in running and lifting weights on the days I don’t go. I’ve been going for almost 3 months and have noticed a major positive difference in my body. My abs are poppin’ and my arms and booty are getting so toned. I’m so happy to have found this studio to be my new workout home! I’ll be able to go for a long time, too, because it never gets easier. I’m slowly increasing weight every class, so I’ll be able to get a great workout no matter how many times I go!

For me, going to pilates is more than a workout. It’s a whole vibe. It’s the time for ME to feel my very best, so I love putting on cute workout sets (like this one that I’m wearing in the picture above), brushing on a layer of mascara and throwing my hair into a cute ponytail. I usually go to pilates late-morning, so I drink a super healthy, nutrient-dense smoothie (like my easy avocado smoothie) for breakfast and then have a delicious healthy soup or salad right when I get home from the studio. On the days I go to pilates, I feel amazing. And, that’s how working out should be, you know? Otherwise, why would we do it?!

If you need help creating a boss-girl vibe around your workouts, I’ve compiled a list of my fave new workout sets for spring, below. Pick one (or two) of these sets to wear to your next workout, and tell me you don’t feel fabulous and ready to have the best workout of your life. When you look good, you feel good! So, no matter where you are on your workout journey, if you feel confident in what you’re wearing, you’re more likely to gain confidence in working out, too!

All these pieces are from Gilly Hicks, which is a sub-brand of Hollister. Yes, that’s what I said… Hollister! Do not hate, y’all! I haven’t shopped at Hollister since I was in high school (I’m now in my 30’s), so I was shocked to learn that Gilly Hicks was associated with the beachy teenaged brand, too. My mother and I were shopping at our local mall, and I mentioned to her that I’ve wanted a hot pink workout set for over a year but haven’t found one that fits well and made sense for my budget. As we were boppin’ along the mall halls, there I saw it — the cutest hot pink workout set (that came with other mix and match pieces!!) front-and-center in a Gilly Hicks store. I honestly had never heard of Gilly Hicks, but seeing all their athleisure in-store looked way cute with on-trend cuts and colors for EVERY body type. Plus, it was quality fabric and affordable! I’m so tired of paying over $100 for workout pants, ya know? These are half the cost! We had a blast trying on different fits and styles, and I walked away with several pieces. I cannot wait to go back to get more!

Below is a mix of pieces that I purchased and what’s on my wishlist for future shopping! All these pieces come in different color options and are perfect for mixing and matching! You can shop products linked under graphic or visit my LTK page here.

White Zip Hoodie – This comes in a crop style and is lightweight enough to wear throughout summer with LA’s cool mornings and evenings

Lime Green Tank – This color will look so good with a spring/summer tan!

Lime Green Flutter Skortie – On my list for my upcoming tennis lessons!

Hot Pink Tank – Loving this! It has sewed-in cups, so you don’t have to worry about embarrassing headlights (IFKYK) or bother with replacing them after washing.

Hot Pink High Rise Bike Shorts – Love that bike shorts are back! And perfect for those warmer days!

White Logo Crew Cut Socks – Love that these come in different colors to match you ‘fit!

White Fanny Pack – Perfect for stashing your phone, cards and keys while working out. I love bringing fanny packs along on my walks, running errands and doing activities with the kids.

Blue Strappy Tank – Loving the straps on this top and this color is gorge!

Blue Flare Pants – So happy that flares are back! Perfect for feeling cute while lifting weights or running errands.

Let me know which of these spring workout sets’ spring colors is your favorite in the comments below! I’m between the pink and blue! And, be sure to follow me on Instagram and TikTok for more health and wellness and fashion inspo!

XO Maggie

Easy Avocado Smoothie Recipe

Cooking, Health & Wellness

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly like and recommend. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

I recently had my wisdom teeth extracted, so smoothies have been my morning go-to to get optimal nutrition while avoiding chewing. I was getting bored of my usual fruit smoothies so started testing out different recipes, and I believe I have perfected the best avocado smoothie! Scroll down to get the recipe, and be sure to read to the bottom to get my comfy morning smoothie essentials!

Are avocados good in smoothies?

It might sound a bit odd to add an avocado to your smoothie, especially if you’re used to the typical smoothies with a banana base. But, let me assure you that the texture of avocado makes them perfect for creamy, rich smoothies – almost like a milkshake! The taste of avocado is super mild and we add fruit for sweetness, so you don’t end up with a smoothie that tastes like a raw avocado with this recipe. If you like your smoothies extra sweet, I recommend adding 1 tsp. of pure maple syrup to the recipe.

Are avocado smoothies good for you?

In addition to this avocado smoothie tasting great, it’s also jam-packed with health and beauty benefits! According to Medical News Today, avocados are a source of vitamins C, E, K, and B6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium. They also provide lutein, beta carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids, which is great for eye and brain health and improves bone and joint function. Avocados contain high levels of healthy, beneficial fats, which can help a person feel fuller between meals. I drink this smoothie in the morning, and it keeps me full until lunchtime! Omega-3’s are also known to regulate your skin’s oil production and boost hair growth, so this is truly a beauty-boosting smoothie!

What do I need to make an avocado smoothie?

My avocado smoothie recipe is made with only 4 ingredients! Or, 5 ingredients if you are adding protein powder, which I recommend! Some people like their smoothies on the sweeter side, so if that’s you, I also recommend adding 1 tsp. of pure maple syrup. Of course, you’ll need one ripe avocado – our star ingredient! You can tell its ripe by gently squeezing the avocado. If it’s soft, but not mushy, it’s ready to eat! You also need your preferred milk (I like Almond MALK), vanilla extract and frozen fruit. My favorite frozen fruit for this recipe is pineapple, mango or strawberries, because they give the smoothie that extra bit of sweetness that avocado is lacking. If you’re using protein powder, I recommend Tone It Up Plant-Based Protein + Greens Powder, because it has everything you want in one scoop:15 grams of protein, 14 leaves of kale, 4 leaves of spinach and a floret of broccoli with a creamy texture and delicious vanilla flavor. Plus, it’s plant-based protein, non-GMO, gluten free and kosher with nothing artificial! As mentioned before, avocados are quite bland, so if you want to kick up this smoothie’s flavor, add a dash of salt before blending.

You’ll also need a powerhouse blender, like my Ninja Professional Plus Blender, to make your smoothie, well, smooth. This blender has a powerful motor and extra sharp blades designed for superior crushing, so it’s perfect for creating your smoothies, frozen drinks or even ice cream! I personally love how easy it is to clean. And, it’s dishwasher safe!

Ninja Professional Plus Blender

After my smoothie is done, I like to pour it into a nice glass and drink with a fancy gold straw. It feels so much better than those yucky paper cups and straws you get at smoothie shops, ya know? Try it — I think you’ll love it served that way, too!

Stainless Steel Gold Straws

Easy Avocado Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 1/2 cups milk of choice (my favorite is Almond MALK)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup frozen fruit (I recommend mago, pineapple or strawberry)
  • 1 scoop protein powder (optional, but I love to use Tone It Up Plant-Based Protein + Greens Powder)
  • 1 tsp. pure maple syrup (optional for added sweetness)
  • A dash of salt (optional)

Directions:

Peel the avocado, discard the pit and add into the blender. Add remaining ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Enjoy this easy, yummy avocado smoothie, beauties! Let me know what you think in the comments below, and be sure to follow me on Instagram and TikTok for more easy recipes!

Check out my comfy and beautiful morning essentials for the best smoothies:

  1. Good American Sweater
  2. Abercrombie & Fitch Joggers
  3. SLIP Scrunchies
  4. Fuzzy Slippers
  5. Gold Hoops
  6. NINJA Professional Blender
  7. Tone It Up Protein + Greens
  8. Pretty Glassware
  9. Gold Stainless Steel Straws

Healthier Red Velvet Cupcakes

Cooking, Health & Wellness, Holidays

These healthier red velvet cupcakes are everything you love about the original – sweet, chocolatey, moist cake with cream cheese frosting! We made these cupcakes for Valentine’s Day and topped with pink, red and heart-shaped sprinkles to make them festive! These cupcakes are so easy – only takes 30 minutes to make! – and they’re reduced sugar and protein packed! We reduced sugar with Truvia Sweet Complete Monk Fruit Sweetener but still used regular powdered sugar in the frosting. We upped the protein in these yummy cupcakes with King Arthur Keto Wheat Flour.

Ever since becoming a mom, what I eat and feed my family means so much more to me. I want overall good health and energy to care for my family, and I want my kids interested in eating more than just junk food. But, I never want to keep my family from enjoying celebrations and “party food” like cupcakes, so, recently, I’ve started looking into healthier swaps for refined sugar and flour.

A swap for sugar I’ve discovered is Truvia Sweet Complete Monk Fruit Sweetener, which is an easy 1:1 swap. Monk Fruit Extract is a calorie-free sweetener that comes from monk fruit, which is native to the mountains of China and Northern Thailand. This sweetener is zero calories and replaces sugar anywhere you’d normally use it – coffee, teas, baking, etc.

For an alternative to flour, I’ve enjoyed exploring King Arthur brand’s Keto Wheat Flour and Gluten-Free Flour, because they’re also an easy 1:1 swap in recipes. The Keto Wheat Flour is an awesome way to boost my kids protein intake with 17g of protein per serving. My family isn’t gluten-free, but I uncovered the health benefits of removing gluten from my diet when I did the Kroma Wellness 5-day reset (I’ll write a blog post about that later), so King Arthur Gluten-Free is also a great option.

Below is my recipe that I updated from the original Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes recipe found on Peanut Butter and Jilly. My recipe is not vegan, but it’s delicious!

Healthier Red Velvet Cupcakes

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cooking Time: 25 minutes | Yields: 12-14 cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

  • 1 ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk (My favorite is MALK)
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 cup monk fruit sweetener (We used Truvia brand)
  • ÂĽ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cup King Arthur Keto Wheat Flour (or King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour)
  • 5 teaspoon red food coloring

Frosting:

  • 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoon butter, softened
  • option to top with sprinkles of your choice

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350
  • Mix together the almond milk, melted butter, monk fruit sweetener, cocoa powder, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and food coloring until well combined.
  • Add the flour to the bowl and mix until a thick batter forms. Spoon the batter into 12-14 lined cupcake molds and bake in the oven to 25 minutes.
  • While the cupcakes are baking, use an electric hand mixer to mix together the powdered sugar, cream cheese, and butter. If you desire a thicker frosting, add ÂĽ or more powdered sugar to the mixture until desired consistency is reached. Allow cupcakes to cool, then spread the frosting onto the cupcakes. Enjoy!

Let me know if you try these and what you think! Be sure to follow me on Instagram and TikTok for more easy recipes, healthy lifestyle and ideas for your family!

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

5 Kid-Friendly Spring Break Ideas for Los Angeles Families

Holidays, Lifestyle, Travel

Hello, fellow LA families! I don’t know about you, but I’m already over our SoCal’s so-called “winter” and daydreaming about all the fun to be had when the temperatures warm up this 2023 Spring Break! I’m so excited about Spring Break that I’m sharing these 5 kid-friendly Spring Break ideas live on CBS-LA (KCAL; Channel 9) on Saturday, Jan. 28 during the Weekend Morning Show! If you miss it live, check back here after it airs to see the recorded version of the segment!

I know it’s only January, but as a classic Type A personality, I’ve already been planning our family’s activities and road trips for this year’s Spring Break for weeks. I’ve been researching across the internet and chatting with local event and travel experts to find the very best Spring Break ideas in March and April for Los Angeles area families. When planning my family’s Spring Break, I’m always on the lookout for the four E’s — Engaging, Entertaining, Enriching and Educational — and I’ve pulled together a list of five fabulous ideas that meet all of these! From local camps and theme parks to memorable nearby hotel stays, be sure to book one of these adventures for an unforgettable Spring Break!

5 Spring Break Ideas for Los Angeles Families:

1. Super Nintendo World Opening at Universal Studios Hollywood

The newest attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood is Super Nintendo World, opening February 17, just in time for families to explore during their Spring Break! What makes this SUPER (pun intended) exciting is that this is Super Nintendo World’s United States debut! The original is located at Universal Studios Japan, so it’s pretty rad that the first U.S. location is here in our backyard at Universal Studios Hollywood!

The new Mario Kart™: Bowser’s Challenge ride at Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood

According to Universal Studios’ press release, this all-new, dynamic land will be a visual spectacle of vibrant colors and architectural ingenuity located within a newly expanded area of Universal Studios Hollywood. Super Nintendo World will feature the groundbreaking “Mario Kart™: Bowser’s Challenge” ride complete with augmented reality (AR) goggles, as well as many thrilling and interactive activities designed to engage the entire family within the captivating Mushroom Kingdom. Along with themed dining at the Toadstool Cafe™ and shopping at the 1-UP Factory™ retail store, Super Nintendo World will be an inspiring, game-changing addition to the world-famous theme park.

Sneak Peek at Super Nintendo World!

When I read about the new Super Nintendo World, I got instantly excited while reminiscing on the old days of playing Super Mario Bros. and Mario Kart with my brothers and friends! The whole family will love exploring this new land within Universal Studios Hollywood!

Super Nintendo World is included with regular admission to Universal Studios. Visit universalstudioshollywood.com to purchase tickets.

2. Spring Break Camps: Kidspace Children’s Museum and YMCA of the Foothills

Camps are perfect for families whose children’s caregivers can’t take off work while their children are out of school or who want their children staying physically and socially active during Spring Break, and I have two outstanding options that will keep your children engaged and learning with their community!

Camp fun at Kidspace Children’s Museum

First, Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena is hosting a garden themed Spring Break Camp, April 3-7 from 8:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily, for ages 5-8. Children will explore the world of soil, plants, and the worms, bugs, and other creatures who love them. Price is $575/week for general audiences, $550/week for members (members receive $25 discount plus 2 weeks of priority registration – camps tend to sell out!). Visit kidspacemuseum.org to register and follow @KidspaceMuseum on social media to keep up to date with registration openings.

Playing in the Arroyo Stream at Kidspace Children’s Museum Spring Camp

March and April are also Kidspace’s annual Butterfly Season where families enjoy exploring the lifecycle of butterflies. You can adopt a caterpillar, help nurture the museum’s community garden, go on a bug safari, and costume play with beautiful butterfly wings. There’s so much to explore at Kidspace in the springtime! My kids love Kidspace’s current Muddy Boots Farm exhibit where they pretend to garden with mini hoes and wheelbarrows, then weigh and sell their bounty at the farm stand. We’ve also made lots of great memories in the museum’s Arroyo stream where the kids splash, play and get messy! Don’t forget to bring a spare pair of clothes!

Kidspace’s annual Butterfly Season

Another wonderful camp option is the YMCA of the Foothills, which is hosting two Spring Break Camps: the first for Glendale Unified School District, March 13-17, plus a one-day camp on Monday, March 20, and the second camp for LAUSD, April 3-7. Camp is from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. You do not have to be a YMCA member to participate! Campers will be swimming, playing organized games, creating arts and crafts projects, participating in STEM activities and sports such as soccer, dodgeball, basketball and so forth on daily basis. New to camp this year is on-site adventures, like a reptile party, magic show and canvas painting. Camp is held at the Verdugo Hills campus in Tujunga, located at 6840 Foothill Blvd., for grades K-8. Price for Family Memberships is $270 and non-member program participants pay $300. Go to YMCAFoothills.org to register. What I love about the YMCA is that they will never turn away a family because of their circumstances. Financial assistance available, please contact Aazizian@ymcafoothills.org to apply.

3. The Seabird Resort in Oceanside

For me, there’s nothing more relaxing than a beach escape, and I love a destination that caters to families like The Seabird Resort in Oceanside. Newly opened in North County San Diego, The Seabird Resort was designed with families in mind, with grand coastal architecture, breezy living spaces, private balconies and stunning Pacific views that give off the vibe of a family beach house. The resort boasts an expansive pool deck, multiple dining options to watch the sunset, Sunny’s Spa for parents to relax and rejuvenate, and the famous Top Gun House right across the street (which my husband is stoked about!).

Surf lessons at The Seabird Resort

The Seabird Resort is ideal for kids with its Little Seabirds programming, offering year-round activities for your smallest travelers to enjoy during their stay, from building stuffed animals to craft hour and an art scavenger hunt, as well as surf lessons. The resort also offers a Little Seabirds Eat Free package that’s ideal for families, including a meal at Piper and a Seabird stuffed animal (for children 12 and under, limit two meals per child). Call the resort 855-413-7573 and mention that you saw this CBS LA segment and they’ll also throw in free parking!

The Seabird Resort Pool

The Seabird Resort is perfect for my beach-loving family, as its set directly on Oceanside Beach – close enough to see the surfers paddling out in the morning and hear the crash of the waves as you sip cocktails with the setting sun. The Seabird also has a vintage Beach Rambler set up right on the Oceanside strand, offering complimentary beach chairs, towels and umbrellas for a relaxing day soaking up the sun.

Making family memories at The Seabird Resort

Oceanside is easily accessible from Los Angeles by both car and train, with rail service from Los Angeles available on Amtrak and Metrolink. The Seabird Resort is conveniently located near the Oceanside Transit Center.  From The Seabird, Spring Breakers can also enjoy accessible attractions across the region, including Disneyland, SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo, LEGOLAND, Knott’s Berry Farm and more.

Nightly rates start at $299. Visit theseabirdresort.com for more information.

4. Mar Monte Hotel in Santa Barbara

Our family adores the quaint city of Santa Barbara, just a short drive north of LA. My husband and I were actually married there, so it’s a wonderful nearby escape to reminisce on our wedding and create new family memories with our children! I love the beautifully reimagined Mar Monte Hotel because of it’s Spanish-Colonial inspired decor blended with forward design and cutting-edge amenities. But, I think the hotel’s top selling point is it’s location, location, location!! Mar Monte Hotel is a short walk from the award-winning Santa Barbara Zoo, where families can enjoy hundreds of exotic animals, play areas for children, exciting exhibits and more. The hotel also is just steps from East Beach, which offers a beach playground for your little ones to let out their wiggles! If you’re looking for more to explore from Mar Monte, take a short drive or bike ride to the famed Stearns Wharf and Downtown Santa Barbara, where you’ll find the interactive MOXI Museum, dozens of restaurants, diverse shopping options and more.

Mar Monte Hotel’s fabulous location in Santa Barbara

The hotel’s ocean view rooms with balconies are perfect for families, and you’ll enjoy dining at the two on-site restaurants – costa Kitchen & Bar and Café Lido – and spending time in the heated outdoor pool. Families can enjoy the complimentary beach cruiser bikes and resort games, such as backgammon, checkers, chess, tic-tac-toe, bocce ball courts and a giant Jenga. You can also rent beach equipment and toys for an awesome day at the beach.

An ocean view room with balcony at Mar Monte Hotel

For Spring Break, I recommend booking Mar Monte’s Day at the Zoo Package on their website – MarMonteHotel.com – under their special offers page. Book by March 31 to get (4) free zoo admission, train rides, and giraffe feeding which equals a $150.00 value! The hotel’s average nightly rates start at around $350. For booking and more information on Mar Monte Hotel, visit MarMonteHotel.com.

Mar Monte Hotel Pool

5. Ojai Valley Inn

It’s amazing to think that Angelenos have been escaping to the iconic Ojai Valley Inn, located 70 miles north of LA in the secluded and scenic Ojai Valley, for 100 years! That’s right, the world-class luxury resort is celebrating its centennial in 2023, commemorating all the multi-generations who have enjoyed the idyllic retreat! 

Scenic Ojai Valley Inn

I love that Ojai Valley Inn has something for all ages to enjoy. The resort recently reopened Camp Oak, its fabulous kids’ camp that invites young guests (ages 4-12) to participate in outdoor adventure, arts & crafts, and learn about the region’s rich history through storytelling and science projects. Available for full days (9am-4pm), half days (9am-12pm), and night camp (5pm-10pm) Camp Oak kiddos enjoy immersive themed programming curated to the Ojai experience, such as science experiments, scavenger hunts throughout the resort grounds, and daily themed lessons such as Space Camp, Color Wars, Critter Connection, Around the World, and themes surrounding the Chumash Native American traditions and culture that define the region. Lunch, snacks, and dinner are included based on the camp package selected, so parents can sneak away to the spa or enjoy a romantic dinner while the kids are having fun! That’s my kind of vacation!!

Camp Oak at Ojai Valley Inn

The resort has additional family-friendly programming for a memorable Spring Break: Family craft hour at the Artist Cottage, moderate group hikes that are fit for most ages, in-room game night baskets for the whole family to enjoy, including popcorn, a picnic pack, Jacks, a classic card game, charades, Connect 4, Sorry, an in-room movie, and more. There’s also golf and tennis for a day of family sports, or for when mom and dad want to improve their game while the kids have a blast at Camp Oak!

Family s’mores at Ojai Valley Inn

For Spring Break, Ojai Valley Inn is offering a Spring Family Fun package that includes breakfast at The Oak, a picnic lunch from Libbey’s Market, and DIY s’mores roasting around a communal fire table. This package is available during select dates in March, April and May, and book soon before they sell out!

Family pool day at Ojai Valley Inn

Average nightly rates start at $689. For booking and more information visit ojaivalleyinn.com.

…………………………………

Which of these Spring Break activities and/or trips would you like to do with your family? Any guesses what our family will be doing? I’d love to hear what your plans are for Spring Break in the comments below. Follow me on Instagram and TikTok for more family and lifestyle ideas!

xo Maggie

DIY Ugly Christmas Sweater Ideas

Holidays, Lifestyle

‘Tis the season for festive parties! And, if you have an “Ugly Christmas Sweater” party coming up, I’ll be on CBS-LA today sharing 5 easy do-it-yourself ideas! Here’s a sneak peek at the tacky sweaters I’ll be sharing!

It seems that the “Ugly Christmas Sweater” theme gets more popular every year! I love that its a bit of a comedic relief from a season that can sometimes come with a lot of stress and buttoned-up holiday attire. Plus, if you decide to create one yourself, there’s no pressure to make it perfectly cute… It’s called UGLY for a reason! Another bonus to ugly sweaters? They’re inexpensive to make! You can use a lot of holiday decor and materials that are already found around your home. Or, check out your local dollar store or Michaels for affordable craft supplies!

Check out this fun holiday stocking sweater I shared on Instagram using all materials from Michaels craft stores:

Below are instructions for creating five easy ugly holiday sweaters – I even included a kids’ sweater and Hanukkah sweater! Feel free to adapt these sweaters to what’s easiest for you and what materials you may already have at home!

5 UGLY HOLIDAY SWEATER IDEAS:

Kids Christmas Tree Sweater

Your children will have lots of fun creating an ugly Christmas sweater with you, and this simple Christmas tree sweater idea is so easy for little crafters!

Materials Needed:

  • Red sweater/sweatshirt
  • Felt – green and yellow
  • Tacky Christmas decor, like mini jingle bells, bows, mini ornaments, etc.
  • Old craft supplies like mini pom poms, glitter, beads and buttons
  • Needle and thread – the thread should preferably contrast with red sweater and tree, like a bright yellow!
  • Black fabric paint
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks

DIY Steps:

  1. Cut a large Christmas tree shape out of the green felt and a star out of the yellow felt. Sew onto red sweater with needle and thread. It doesn’t have to be perfect – remember, this is an “ugly” sweater!
  2. Let your child take it away with Elmer’s glue and décor items! Add glitter, bows, buttons and pom poms to the tree! Parents can help with hot glue gun for the heavier décor, like jingle bells and ornaments
  3. Use black fabric paint down the arms to create a “string” and add colorful pom poms to resemble Christmas lights.
  4. Allow to dry for 6-12 hours before wearing.

“Christmas Vacation” Tree Sweater

This sweater is perfect for fans of classic Christmas movies! Friends will get a hoot out of the fake squirrel climbing the Christmas tree, just as it terrorized the cast in National Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation” movie.

Materials Needed:

DIY Steps:

  1. Wrap tacky tinsel garland around green sweater and hot glue into place.
  2. Wrap LED lights around garland and secure light bulbs to sweater with hot glue. Make sure your string of lights is long enough to wrap around the sweater and the battery pack can fit into your back pocket.
  3. Hot glue mini ornaments around the sweater to make it look like a Christmas tree.
  4. Hot glue a toy stuffed squirrel on the sweater. I preferred to glue it on the sweater’s shoulder.

Tacky Hanukkah Sweater

Not everyone celebrates Christmas, so this tacky Hanukkah sweater is perfect for our Jewish friends!

Materials Needed:

DIY Steps:

  • Cut a menorah out of silver glitter iron-on vinyl paper. Iron the menorah onto the sweater.
  • Cut 9 candles out of white felt and 9 flames out of yellow felt. Hot glue onto the sweater.
  • Hot glue gold sequins to the flames.
  • Stick or hot glue foam letters to spell “Happy Hanukkah” on the sweater.

Festive “Stranger Things” Sweater

Great for a Hollywood Christmas party filled with Netflix binge-watchers, this “Stranger Things” sweater feels festive with its LED lights while celebrating a favorite TV show.

Materials Needed:

DIY Steps:

  • Iron on the alphabet in three rows, as seen on the wall in “Stranger Things,” onto the shirt
  • Hot glue mini colorful LED lights above the letters to resemble the wall in “Stranger Things.”

Easy Stocking Sweater

This easy DIY sweater also makes a convenient pocket to hold your wallet, phone, keys, or better – a bottle of wine!

Materials Needed:

  • Green or red sweater
  • Sturdy stocking
  • Tacky flair, like bells, pom poms, bows, glitter
  • Elmers glue
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks

DIY Steps:

  1. Hot glue a sturdy Christmas stocking to the center of the sweatshirt
  2. Use Elmers glue and hot glue to add tacky flair to the sweater, like glitter, bows and bells

Let me know if you go to an Ugly Sweater Party and what you plan to wear in the comments below! Or, connect with me on Instagram and TikTok where I share more lifestyle and family tips. Merry Christmas!

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

Holiday Must-Haves Featured on San Antonio Living

Holidays, Lifestyle

I’m wrapping up my second year doing lifestyle product TV segments, and I couldn’t be happier to finally be featured on a show in my home state of Texas!

I partnered with some fabulous brands to share several “holiday must-haves” on San Antonio Living which airs on San Antonio’s local NBC News affiliate (WOAI, channel 4). Watch the two segments below for ideas to make your season bright!

Holiday Must-Haves on San Antonio Living

December 14, 2022

World Vision’s Celebrity Ambassadors’ Handcrafted Gifts

By giving a handcrafted gift from the World Vision Gift Catalog, you’ll be helping vulnerable communities worldwide create lasting change for themselves and empowering artisans who receive fair-trade wages to support their families. Products featured in this segment include:

Santa Clausthaler

Santa Clausthaler will make your holidays merry and bright. Clausthaler is the pioneer in non-alcoholic beer, going back more than 40 years and this limited-edition holiday beer features Clausthaler original with cranberry and cinnamon. Serve ice cold, just as it’d be at Santa’s home at the North Pole.

I Love Ice Cream Cakes

Need the easiest, best dessert idea for the holidays? Surprise your family and friends with an Ice Cream Cake! Just go to ILoveIceCreamCakes.com to see all the cakes you can find at your local grocery store.

Holiday Must-Haves on San Antonio Living

November 23, 2022

Quilling Card Greeting Cards

Quilling Card offers Verified Fair Trade quilled greeting cards handcrafted by highly skilled artisans using the intricate paper art form of quilling.

DAX Hair Wax & Pomades, USA Made

DAX hair products have been proudly made in the USA since the 1950’s, a fitting era to introduce their wax pomades.

Current promotion: code TEX2022 will score you 20% off your order + free shipping

Jergens Shea Butter Body Lotion

Give your skin the moisture it needs with Jergens Shea Butter Lotion! It refreshes, conditions and revives dry skin, leaving radiant skin! Infused with Shea butter, this formula conditions and soothes skin, leaving a pleasant and comforting scent.

Be on the lookout for more fun lifestyle TV segments from me in a city near you in 2023!

Follow me on Instagram and TikTok for more lifestyle and family tips and to see where I’ll appear on TV next!

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

Kid-Friendly Thanksgiving Recipes

Cooking, Holidays

I’ll never forget the year I slaved over creating a gourmet Thanksgiving feast for my family and my 2-year-old son only ate a crescent roll. The audacity! Didn’t he know that I had been Pinning recipes for weeks, woke up at the crack of dawn to properly season and dress the turkey, and my cherry chorizo stuffing is the best ever?! Of course not — he was only 2!

Despite being a bit miffed at my son’s lack of interest in our Turkey Day meal, it made me rethink how I should prepare Thanksgiving moving forward. I realized he had no idea the amount of preparation that went into Thanksgiving. He didn’t yet know the traditional foods. How could I expect him to love green bean casserole when he doesn’t even like regular green beans? Right then and there, I decided I would involve my children in preparing our Thanksgiving meal next year, and I’d introduce more kid-friendly recipes!

Below are six kid-friendly Thanksgiving recipes that the whole family will love! These recipes give kids confidence in the kitchen and encourage picky eaters to enjoy their Thanksgiving meal. These delicious recipes are so easy that both kids and parents have stress-free fun in the kitchen, plus they have the joy of indulging in their scrumptious Thanksgiving meal together.

Be sure to scroll to the end for additional Thanksgiving meal preparation tips!

6 Kid-Friendly Thanksgiving Recipes The Whole Family Will Love:

Veggie Turkey Plate with Healthy Veggie Dip

The best way to get my kids to eat veggies is to introduce them first and make it fun! A veggie plate appetizer shaped like a turkey is sure to get your kids interested! Arrange cucumbers, carrots and celery for the turkey feathers and use bell peppers to create turkey wings and face. I like to pair veggies with my favorite Healthy Veggie Dip, which is so easy to make! Go to Favorite Family Recipes for tips on how to create the veggie turkey here.

Make Ahead Creamy Mashed Potatoes

What kid doesn’t love mashed potatoes? Make this elevated version of mashed potatoes using Cacique Oaxaca Cheese, Crema Mexicana, Pork Chorizo and bacon for a side dish that the whole family will love! Cacique brand makes my favorite hispanic foods, including their high-quality, authentic Oaxaca Cheese which has a mellow, earthy flavor with a superior melt. It’s the perfect cheese to add a special spark to your favorite dishes like classic mashed potatoes. My children love helping sprinkle the shredded Cacique Oaxaca Cheese as the final touch on the casserole, and my 4-year-old is great at mashing potatoes! Another thing that’s fabulous about this mashed potatoes recipe is that you can assemble it the day before Thanksgiving, then pop it in the oven for 30 minutes when you’re ready to serve. This makes the day easier to enjoy relaxing and visiting with family instead of stressing out in the kitchen. For more information about Cacique, including mouth-watering recipes made with authentic ingredients, head to www.CaciqueFoods.com. You can find this Make Ahead Creamy Mashed Potatoes recipe here.

Stuffins

Stuffins = stuffing muffins!! My kids always love making muffins with me, so why not make stuffing muffins! These are easy for little hands to eat and perfect for dipping in gravy or topping with mashed potatoes. I also love that stuffing in muffin form makes sending home leftovers easier. Just pop one of these in a to-go bag! Now you can eat one of everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving side dishes on-the-go! These stuffins are sure to be a big hit with the whole family! Find the full recipe from Forkly here.

Cranberry Crescent Rolls

This is the easiest recipe that combines two traditional Thanksgiving sides – Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and cranberry sauce! Simply add a spoonful of cranberry sauce to your crescent roll dough and roll up as usual. Your kids will love helping you assemble these Cranberry Crescent Rolls! Our family always looks forward to a night when we serve Pillsbury Crescent Rolls with dinner, and the cranberry sauce makes this dish feel more festive. You can even serve these as an appetizer! Find the full recipe from Beauty From Imperfection blog here.

Healthier Pumpkin Pie

I have two priorities when cooking for my family: make it easy and make it healthy-ish. I’m not a dictator about removing sugar from our house, but I do try to cut back where ever I can. That’s why I love Truvia Sweet Complete Monk Fruit Sweetener to replace sugar in baking. It’s a 1:1 replacement, so no additional measuring when following your favorite recipes for cookies, cakes, brownies and pies. Speaking of pie, Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie recipe is our go-to because, well, it’s easy as pie! My children help combine and stir the ingredients in a big bowl, then I pour it the filling into a pie crust and place in the oven. Voila! Traditional pumpkin pie without all the sugar!

Turkey Handprint Cookies

How adorable are these handprint cookies? Trace your child’s hand on card stock and cut out the handprint. Use it as a stencil as you cut handprint cookies out of sugar cookie dough. Your children will love decorating the turkey feathers with colorful chocolate covered sunflower seeds. These cookies are perfect to give to our dinner guests! Set them at each place setting for a thoughtful take-home treat! I got the idea for these Turkey Handprint Cookies from Stephanie over at Somewhat Simple. Find the full recipe here.

My Thanksgiving Meal Prep Tips:

Use the best cookware! As someone who loves to cook, I’ve learned that the quality of your cookware makes a huge difference! Le Creuset has been my favorite cookware brand for years because of its superior quality, versatility, and its beautiful! Their dishes are crafted from the fineest quality stoneware to ensure excellent heat distribution for uniform browning and even cooking with no hot spots. The dishes are finished with a beautiful glaze that is virtually nonstick for easy cleanup. This Thanksgiving, I’m using the Heritage Rectangular Casserole to make the Make Ahead Creamy Mashed Potatoes, but the dish also is perfect for making comforting casseroles, marinating meats, broiling fish and more. I love that it comes with a stoneware lid that locks in moisture and heat while baking and makes it easy to transport and serve dishes at a holiday buffet or potluck. For my pumpkin pie, I’m using Le Creuset’s Pumpkin Casserole to create a perfectly even-cooked pie, plus its so festive with its pumpkin shaped lid! My favorite Le Creuset glaze color meringue, and you’ll be happy to know the glaze is non-porous, non-reactive, scratch-resistant, and resists stains and flavor absorption! Le Creuset really is the best with its unmatched thermal resistance for temperatures ranging from -9°F to 500°F, and it’s safe for the freezer, over, microwavem broiler, dishwasher and metal utensils. These are dishes that you will use and treasure for a lifetime! Check out all their fabulous products at http://www.lecreuset.com.

Cook the day before Thanksgiving. Don’t wait until Thanksgiving Day to make your meal or else you’ll be miserable trying to balance cooking and entertaining guests. I always make my stuffing, potatoes and dessert a day or two before Thanksgiving, and save the vegetables and turkey for the actual holiday.

Enlist help! If you can get a guest to bring a dish, do it! I usually have family visiting from out-of-state for our Thanksgiving, so it can be challenging to ask them to bring a dish when they can’t cook in their hotel rooms. However, I solicit them to bring easy items, like wine or a pre-made appetizer or dessert from a gourmet grocer like Bristol Farms.

Set your table the night before. One less thing to do on Thanksgiving Day! The worst is when all the food is ready and you’re rushing to get the table settings out. I like to do a full tablescape with florals, poppers, formal napkins and china. It makes for a beautiful space for guests to take photos throughout the day, too!

What are your best recipes and tips for hosting Thanksgiving? Let me know in the comments below! For more recipe ideas, parenting and lifestyle tips, follow me on Instagram and TikTok!

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE:  This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors. Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.