Category Archives: Review & Giveaways

Amana Washer & Dryer Review & Giveaway

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Amana Washer & Dryer Review

Amana recently reached out to Pure Natural Diva and asked if we wanted to host an Amana Washer & Dryer review and giveaway!  Of course we said yes, and they sent the Amana Washer (NTW 4750 YQ) and Amana Dryer (NED 4700 YQ) to check out!

I was so excited because for years I’ve had a dream of stealing space from our overly large garage to create a bonafide laundry room in our home.  The Amana washer and dryer set  is the first step towards making that dream real…

Amana Washer & Dryer Review

In our currently laundry area – more of a a hallway than a laundry room – we have a compact Miele Novatronic front load washer and an electric dryer.  Miele manufactures a super efficient and reliable laundry system, but buying this set today will set you back around $3500.  Not exactly approachable for everyone’s budget.  The Amana set prices in at a reasonable $1130 and for a top loader is surprisingly energy efficient.

The Amana Washer

A closer look at the Amana Washer reveals that it is Energy Star qualified.  Comparing this unit to most pre 2004 models and you’ll use 84% less energy and 73% less water doing your laundry – over 11 years that represents around $2000 in savings.  This unit will do a load of wash using as little as 13 gallons of water and for durability the washer features a stainless steel  wash basket.

The Amana Dryer

According to the Consumer Energy Center you’ll want to consider 3 things when looking for an energy efficient dryer:

  • Check for the highest energy factor number when comparing different models. Remember that there are two costs to an appliance – the initial purchase price, and the cost of operating that appliance over the many years you own it.
  • Know whether your laundry room has gas or electricity hookups. If you need to add a gas line and a vent to operate a gas dryer, you may spend more on adding the hookup than you’ll save with the cheaper operating cost of gas.
  •  Look for a clothes dryer with a moisture sensor that automatically shuts off the machine when your clothes are dry. Not only does this save energy; it reduces wear and tear on clothes caused by over-drying.

It’s estimated that operating costs for a gas dryer are about 50% less than an electric dryer, with this in mind we opted for a Gas Dryer.  The Amana also come with a key energy efficient feature – a moisture sensor.  This feature turns the dryer off once it detects the clothing is dry.  Not only is this good for efficiency – it’s also key in protecting fabrics, preventing shrinkage, and extending the life of your clothing.

Amana Washer & Dryer Review

Closing Thoughts:

If you are after more bells and whistles – this might not be the right set for you, but expect to pay more… a lot more.  What I like about this set is that at this price point the Amana offers a number of key features for function and energy efficiency.  It’s streamlined options have the features you need… without extras that just add to the price tag, but not the function.

I’m so excited that Pure Natural Diva is part of the giveaway that will find a new home for an Amana Washer and Dryer!  Happy New Year!!!  The contest runs from January 2, 2013 to January 16, 2013 @11:59 MST.  Check out the following link for all the details.  The contest is being run by Today’s Mama via Rafflecopter!

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter Amana Washer and Dryer Giveaway

Love letter to the FTC – Pure Natural Diva was sent the above units for the purpose of this review.  We were also paid an administration fee for hosting this giveaway.  As always our opinions remain our own and are not for sale.

 

Here Comes The Boom Movie Review

Here Comes The Boom – A Feel Good Movie

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Here Comes The Boom – A Feel Good Family Movie

Here Comes the Boom Movie Review

This Friday Dude’s (my husband) latest movie – Here Comes The Boom will be released nationwide. The movie stars Kevin James, Salma Hayek, Henry Winkler, Charice, Bas Rutten, a number of MMA superstars, and East Coast (my stepson) makes his big screen debut – look for him lugging the base in the opening sequence of the movie!

Donning my reviewers hat…

Critics are describing the movie as School Of Rock meets Rocky and I think if you liked those movies, you’ll love Here Comes the Boom. I loved the movie, but I recognize my objectivity might be a bit clouded.

Kevin James plays disenchanted school teacher – Scott Voss – who rediscovers his passion for teaching and life when he unwittingly volunteers to save his school’s music program, by becoming a losing MMA fighter.

The break out star of Boom is Voss’ coach for this adventure – Bas Rutten. This mixed martial arts legend knocks it out of the park, playing a former MMA athlete who missed his shot at UFC greatness and is now coaching at a gym. I don’t want to give anything away here… but he checked his image at the door and comitted to this role, his comedic timing is impeccable, and I predict we’ll be seeing more of him in the future.

The movie soundtrack was another highlight of the movie – I’ve had the NSFW Remix of Neil Diamond’s song Holly Holy firmly lodged in my mind since screening the film – in a good way. Fan’s of Charice won’t be disappointed as she does a great job playing one of Mr. Voss’ students, and has a chance to show off her amazing vocal talent.

Is Here Comes The Boom A family Movie?

Here Comes The Boom is rated PG, and I think that this is a great movie for families with tweens. The message of determination and pursuing your passion is the perfect take away for a feel good family movie.

If your children are younger, and involved in martial arts and contact sports like football and boxing – this is  likely an indicator this movie will be a good fit.

The language is clean, their are no sex scenes, there is not gratuitous violence… aside from the fight training and fight scenes, it’s clean.

I’ve been watching MMA for years and I thought the fight scenes were a highlight of the movie, the contact looks very legit – which again, the tweens will love and some younger children will find to intense. As a parent – you know your children best.

If you decide to go with your kids and you’ll find yourself at a movie you’ll enjoy right along with them.

A Sneak Peak from the Red Carpet of the Here Comes the Boom Premiere

I was lucky to be in New York for the premiere of Here Comes the Boom… and took a ton of pictures to share a bit of the red carpet experience with you!

Here Comes The Boom Movie Review

Salma Hayek walks the crowded red carpet.

Bas Rutten steels the show with impeccable comedic timing.Here Comes The Boom Movie Review

Salma Hayek stops for a quick photo before we watch the premiere.

Go check it out this weekend, and let me know your thoughts! Here Comes The Boom – did it bring it?

Key West Images: A Romantic Getaway to the Reach Hotel

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Key West Images: A Romantic Getaway to the Reach Hotel

We recently left the lil’s with their grandparents in Florida and headed to Key West for some well deserved grown up time!  While our adventure began at The Reach Hotel that was only the beginning of a great getaway.

 

When visiting Key West, you can walk to almost anywhere on the island.  Be sure to pack your favorite walking shoes and sandals, the humidity will ensure that anything resembling an irritating spot on your shoes will surely a become blister… Fortunately island casual is the dress pretty much anywhere on Key West so comfy sandals will be perfect.

One thing we loved about The Reach was it’s location on the southern side of the island, a block off Duval Street – the epicenter of Key West Nightlife – yet The Reach’s location ensures that you are close to the action, but when you are ready to call it a night you have a peaceful home away from home, a short walk or a pedicab will get you back to your hotel in no time.

Duval street is home to a myriad or restaurants and bars, and restaurants and bars… and  bars, which was really fun, just walking the streets made you feel like you were right in the middle of the party.

It’s island tradition to watch the sunset at Mallory Square.  Vendor sell their wares, street performers of all sorts vie for your attention, applause, and tips… it’s the perfect spot to have a pre-dinner cocktail and watch day slip into night.

 Key West Images emblazoned in our memories

The sunset cruise on the Americas II – if you’re lucky they’ll let you drive for a while and as long as there is wind they will set sail and turn on off the engines.

Key West Images

We took a Jet Ski tour that completely circled the Island of Key West.  It was a great way to see the island and get a little adrenalin rush at the same time.  Don’t forget to put on a thick layer of sunscreen!

Key West Images

Inside Sloppy Joe's - Hemingway's Watering Hole

Key West is rich in history, it’s the oldest city in Southern Florida, Hemingway lived on the Island for 10 years and a many places still celebrate his former patronage – so you can walk a few miles in Hemingway’s shoes during your visit.

Hotel Information:

The Reach 

1435 Simonton Street
Key West, Florida 33040
888-318-4316

Where do you love to go for Romantic Getaways?  We barely touched the surface of what the southern tip of Florida has to offer, we spent 3 days capturing Key West Images and could have easily stayed longer.

 

A Natural Winter Dry Skin Solution: Yamerra 100% Shea Butters

A Winter Dry Skin Solution

Winter dry skin can best be protected with natural products, which can actually heal your skin, instead of offering temporary relief.  Ingredients found on most over-the-counter moisturizers, such as alcohols, only give a temporary relief of dry skin.  Your skin feels softer but for a moment, but has it healed?  Did you wonder why most over-the-counter moisturizers came in large pump bottles?  Because reapplying is what keeps us purchasing the product over and over again.  If our dry skin was healed, would we continually shop to find that one moisturizer that will solve the problem?  Before I turned to natural products, my winters were spent collecting bottles upon bottles of lotions and creams, each with their own claims of healing dry skin. There was a natural solution for my winter dry skin out there, I simply had to find it.

A Trio of Yamerra Hair and Body Butters, from L to R:  Ladies Night Lavender, Sultry Mango, Be Bodacious Tangeringe Grapefruit

SAVE YOUR WINTER DRY SKIN:  A Trio of Yamerra Hair and Body Butters, from L to R: Ladies Night Lavender, Sultry Mango, Be Bodacious Tangerine Grapefruit

Yamerra 100% All Natural Hair and Body Butter as a Winter Dry Skin Solution

Natural products for winter dry skin can actually heal your skin.  For example, Yamerra 100% All Natural Hair and Body Butter works amazing on dry skin as well as hair.  The ingredients are simple:  the Yamerra Ladies Night Lavender contains 100% Organic Shea butter, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, cocoa butter, essential oils of lavender, patchouli and vanilla,Vitamin E.  I use it on my hands and feet (before putting on socks) before bed and not only do I wake up to soft skin, but the smell is dreamy and relaxing.  The Sultry Mango, with its gorgeous orange color, contains 100% Organic Shea butter, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, mango butter, cocoa butter, essences of mango, orange and pineapple, a hint of patchouli, bergamot, vitamin E.  This too can be used in hair, and it gives your skin a natural glow from that amazing orange color.  The most refreshing is the Be Bodacious Tangerine Grapefruit.  I put it on my horrible dry legs after I shower and I am moisturized all day, until I wash it off.  The ingredients are luscious:  100% Organic Shea butter, sweet almond oil, nettle herb, essential oils of tangerine, grapefruit, magnolia, patchouli and vitamin E.

Bottom Line:  Read Your Ingredients

There is no reason to have to suffer from winter dry skin, for fall into the trap of purchasing inferior products that only give temporary relief.  Read and know your ingredients.  Products containing urea and/or alcohol are not going to soothe and heal your dry skin.  Use balms, butter, lotions and creams with minimal ingredients to help your winter dry skin.

JumpSport DoubleBounce Trampoline Review

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Yes.  I said DoubleBounce!

We stalked trampolines for a couple of years… researched… stalked some more… and when were in the final stages of shopping and  ready to move forward with a JumpSport trampoline.   I reached out to ask a few questions…If you are shopping and at all confused or overwhelmed call them.  They are great, they’ll tell you exactly which trampoline will work best for the needs of your family – and if you are on the wrong track – they’ll set you right.  During the process (might have helped that I reached out on twitter)  they offered to send us a trampoline for review.

Number for  JumpSport (888) 567-5867 they’ll respond to all your trampoline questions.

DoubleBounce

Love that the Big & Lil's Playing Together

Trampoline Safety

Before I discuss our trampoline experience.  Let’s address the controversy about the overall safety of trampolines.  Statistically there are a reported 100,000 trampoline injuries annually – initially this may sound like a lot.  But, consider for a moment that Bicycle figures are 3 times worse,  I’m confident that 99.9% of parents would never dream of not allowing their child to ride a bike.

Our family decided that the exercise & other benefits far outweigh the risks.  Having an activity that easily and readily encourages such a great physical activity.  Add to that my personal childhood memories and the joy I recall from going to my friends house to jump on their (non-enclosed) trampoline.  We all somehow survived.

Why We Choose JumpSport DoubleBounce from the AlleyOOP Line

  • JumpSport makes the safest trampolines.  From impact reducing DoubleBounce technology to enclosures.  They are the industry leader.
  • JumpSport was the first to market trampoline enclosures – and one way their enclosures are better than the competition is that they have an overlapping net entry instead of a zipper.  Zippers tend to get broken and left open, leaving windows for accidents to happen.
  • The BEST warranty in the trampoline industry.
  • We really wanted a trampoline that would grow with us and work for our multi-aged & staged family.  The JumpSport team thought  the best trampoline for our family would be the 14′ DoubleBounce and if the lil’s take to gymnastics and need a firmer bounce we can always add more springs!

The DoubleBounce Difference

With a number of trampoline injuries occurring when the bouncer lands on the bed, JumpSport created the DoubleBounce & AirShock – these two technologies result in jumping that is 50% more forgiving on the joints then a traditional trampoline bed, so there is less pressure on joints – for young and old alike!

DoubleBounce Competition

The only other brand I considered was the SpringFree.  I didn’t choose the Springfree option after watching a video of the flexible rods – on the trampoline’s exterior – easily cut carrots in half as someone bounced on the trampoline (Watch Video Here).

JumpSport Warranty

Jumpsport offers the best warranty in the trampoline industry.  With a lifetime warranty on the frame & poles and 5 years on all the other parts including the enclosure net.  This is compared to other manufacturers offering 3 months and SpringFree trampolines at 10 years on the Frame and 2 years on the net and mat.

JumpSport Trampoline Accessories

In addition to having the safest trampolines – JumpSport has some great accessories.

  • Mister – We live in the Valley of Los Angeles and the addition of the Misting unit that JumpSport offers for the DoubleBounce and all their models is priced at $99 and enabled us to jump straight through the peak of summer our HOT LA summers.  Of course we were running back and forth between the pool, but without the misting unit the bed  is SUPER hot… turn on the misters for a few minutes and you can happily bounce through the high temps.
  • Basketball Hoop – My teen loved the basketball hoop – and he spent a lot of time playing ball with his brother and sister.  Anything that encourages that is a huge plus in my eyes.  Note – the hoop and ball are not full size, but no one seemed bothered by it’s smaller diameter.
  • Video of Teens Shooting Hoops
  • Ladder – I can’t imagine how tricky it would be to get in and out of the trampoline without a ladder – $60.  I would consider this a must have accessory – so much so I’m surprised it is an add on and not standard equipment.
  • Tent – One accessory we are considering adding is the tent – they sell two variations priced from $99 to $169.  During the summer the lil’s had a campout… and if they continue to enjoy sleeping outside – the tent would be a fun addition.

Installation

If you aren’t handy, many shops offer installation.  The pros can have you set up and jumping in just a couple of short hours!  If you are in the Los Angeles or Mission Viejo  area our DoubleBounce was installed by Swings n’ Things and they did an excellent job!  Not only that… it was magic, they knocked on the door, I told them were we wanted the trampoline, less than 2 hours later we were jumping on our DoubleBounce!

DoubleBounce

Trampoline Magic

Los Angeles (818) 222-4967
Mission Viejo (949) 770-7799

It’s  worth noting that JumpSport is a family business based in California.  Thinking of getting a trampoline of your own – not sure which one is best for your family – give them a call the DoubleBounce was right for us, but you perfect bouncer may be another model.

Love letter to the FTC – all opinions stated in this post are my own – JumpSport sent PND the DoubleBounce for an honest review. 

PND Approved Daily Moisturizer with SPF

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Daily Moisturizer with SPF an Essential Element of Every Anti Aging Toolbox

 


 

Every beauty routine needs a good daily moisturizer, adding SPF helps protect the skin from the aging caused by the sun. The two products featured, both the Juice Beauty and 100% Pure are very safe & pure options – they even score in the coveted 0-3 range in the Skin Deep Database.

The product from Juice Beauty  is very rich and moisturizing, a good choice for dry skin – it does need to be worked into the skin. The 100% Pure is very light, absorbs quickly and  is a good choice for those with normal skin.

Be sure to Subscribe to the Pure Natural Diva – PND Living Channel on YouTube – and while you are there add us as a friend too!

Protect Your Skin Image Courtesy of Sergiu Baciouiu

What is your favorite Daily Moisturizer?

Zookeeper: Fun Movie for the Whole Family


 
 
 
 
 

Plan For a Little Zookeeper Fun

I am excited to FINALLY share the trailer for the movie Zookeeper.  Some of you may know… Dude (aka my  husband) is a writer.

It seems like years ago that he started work on a project called “Zookeeper”…. then there was editing… screenings… effects… voiceover sessions… and at long last the wait is almost over. Zookeeper is being released this summer!

Zookeeper

Kevin James stars in Zookeeper

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

So… gather the kids and make a plan… and hopefully you’ll be entertained (I know you will be), laugh. a little .. and when you laugh…. it just might be one of Dude’s jokes!

Zookeeper, starring Kevin James, Rosario Dawson, Leslie Bibb, Ken Jeong, Donnie Wahlberg, Jim Breuer, Brandon Keener, Joe Regan and Thomas Gottchalk.

With voices by Adam Sandler, Sylvester Stallone, Cher, Jadd Apatow, Jon Favreau, Mark Linn-Baker, Jim Breuer, Mark Linn-Baker, Faizon Love, Bas Rutten, Maya Rudolph,
Billy Crystal, Don Rickles, Kiefer Sutherland, David Spade and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

I have yet to see the movie myself, but am looking forward to the Premiere at the end of June.   The “inside scoop” is that it is a fun movie that the kids will love – that will be fun for Mom & Dad too!

The movie will be released this Summer on July 8.

 

 

So… Do You Plan to See Zookeeper this Summer…. ?

The Montage Beverly Hills Paintbox Experience

The Montage Beverly Hills Embraces Family

Lil Diva and I were recently invited to the Montage Beverly Hills to experience the hotel and their Paintbox Program.  I love the Montage, and was easily sold with the promise of massages and afternoon tea with Lil Diva, but Paintbox?  Whats that I wondered?

Happily, on this stay, I found out! Now I keep trying to find Montage Hotels in cities where they don’t yet exist!

Before sharing, let me ask a few travel-with-kids related questions:

  • Did you enjoy luxury hotels before you had your children?
  • Do you want to travel with you children, and enjoy a relaxing child-free dinner?
  • Have you tried to revisit some of your favorite pre-baby spots, only to feel like you had chosen the wrong spot?
  • Do you really need a break, but don’t have anyone that you feel comfortable leaving the lil’s with overnight?

The Montage Beverly Hills offer’s visiting lil’s Paintbox

Paintbox is an exclusive childrens’s program that ensures your next visit is just the right mix of family time and mommy & daddy downtime.  Paintbox at the Montage Beverly Hills is run by the AMAZING Stacy.  She is highly experienced and has extensive child development training, not only did my lil diva love the staff, but all the lil’s in the group wanted to go back at the earliest opportunity.

I’ve seen a number of hotels offer children’s activities that typically wrap by 4PM. which doesn’t really give mom & dad a chance to have quiet time.  Paintbox is open Friday and Saturday from 6-10.

The space is located in the lower level of the hotel and don’t be taken aback by it’s compact size – they use the Paintbox room as their operations base, roving around the hotel for games on the terrace, swimming and  even meals!

Paintbox Beverly Hills is open from 9 am to 4 pm daily.  Rates are $90 per day per child and half days are available.  Evenings are $60 per child.


The Montage Beverly HIlls

A Greeting Sure To Make The Lil' Smile!

 

The Montage Beverly Hills has a few other ways to let their pint sized guests feel welcome!  Upon check-in younger guests are treated to a mini-Mercedes stuffed with plush animals.  Lil’ Diva  happily chose her favorite brown bear.  I loved that they’ve chosen to offer one nicer quality gift offer their younger guests as opposed to something that would get used once and thrown away.

Montage Beverly Hills

Monogrammed Neck Roll

 

Once in our room I was impressed with the hotel’s personal touches, from the monogrammed neck roll to the pint sized robe and slippers set on the bed… and while not nearly as elegant, I can’t think of a mom  who wouldn’t be completely charmed the personalized greeting awaiting expected paintbox visitor,  Lil’s will be excited too!

 

Montage Beverly Hills

Lil Diva Welcome to Paintbox!

 

If you are looking for a relaxing, luxurious getaway, the Montage knows how to pamper their guests!  Quality and attention to detail encompassed every aspect of our visit.  I was surprised by the Spa – it was more spacious then expected (not sure why I thought it would be smaller!).  I loved afternoon tea –  the hand painted china it was served on was delightful.  The open kitchen at Scarpetta is GORGEOUS, did I mention that Scarpetta just launched a brand new brunch that is laid out in this fantastic kitchen!

 

Montage Beverly Hills

Good Company

 

One of the highlights of the grown up portion of the visit was a rooftop dinner, served poolside in a private cabana.  The company was amazing, Kimberley, The Go To Mom, Jennifer from Modern Mom, Katie from La Jolla Mom, Julie Taylor from Family Finds and Alexandra from The Beverly Hills Mom – the conversation flowed with the food & wine!  I think we all shared how we met our spouses.  It was delightful… all the while the kids were having a blast at Paintbox.

 

Montage Beverly Hills

Matching Grown Up & Lil Robes. Fun.

Back in the room we enjoyed a nice bubble bath and it was time for some much welcomed sleep!

One last note about Paintbox, you don’t have to be a guest of the hotel.  Dining and Spa guests are also welcome to take advantage of the paintbox program.

The Montage Beverly Hills Paintbox  Spa Offer

Through 2011 the Montage is offering an amazing promotion, book a treatment and your lil’s will enjoy 2 hours at paintbox – complimentary – while you are pampered!  LA Mama’s…  it doesn’t get any better than this!

Love letter to the FDA – I was invited to visit The Montage Beverly Hills, Lil Diva and I dined, slept, and played as the Hotel’s guests.  Even though the beds were sumptuously comfortable, and the massage at the spa melted away my stress, the organic eggs were cooked to perfection… all the opinions expressed remain my own.

The Montage Beverly Hills

225 North Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 860-7800

www.montagebeverlyhills.com

The Montage Beverly Hills is Family Friendly Luxury, What is Favorite Family Friendly Destinations?

Our Visit to Park Hyatt Aviara Resort

Park Hyatt Aviara Review

We discovered the Park Hyatt Aviara while we were planning a family  trip to Legoland in Carlsbad, CA.  Carlsbad is just north of San Diego and just over an hours drive from Los Angeles, making it a perfect local getaway.

Park Hyatt Aviara

The Quiet Pool

One of the ways you can make keep your travel eco savvy is to go on local adventures.  I also think local trips are easier on the family in many other ways  too.  For our family, the children are out of diapers, bottles, pack n plays and our world is beginning to open up again!  We are starting to enjoy traveling together as a family!

Those who know me well know that I haven’t been a great a traveling with the lil’s.  Frankly, it exhausted me, but now that they are a little older, it’s actually becoming fun. Especially when you find destinations that truly make it a priority to cater to families like the Park Hyatt Aviara.

Back in the day, we’d escape to one of the many Southern California luxury destinations, but once we had children, it wasn’t quite the same.  We just didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of imposing our children on others – regardless of how delightful they are.  For this trip we were connecting with friends at Legoland, they chose the Park Hyatt Aviara (formerly the Four Seasons Aviara), we decided to go for it.  I’m not going to lie, I was a little  nervous.  Would we REALLY be comfortable with the children at a luxury hotel? Would I be so worried about the lil’s behavior that the trip would be exhausting?

I called the Resort directly to discuss which room might best meet the needs of our family for this trip, I have to share, from my very first contact with the hotel they were very welcoming and made a point of sharing their family friendly amenities.  While they do offer one bedroom suites, we decided to go with 2 adjoining rooms, this ended up working well for us.

Park Hyatt Aviara

Our Room

From the minute you arrive at the Park Hyatt Aviara they let you know that they welcome you and your lil’s. The front desk staff wheels out a wagon full of toys and the children get to pick one – now of course the eco savvy in me wished the toys weren’t made in china 2 days toys – but the message they are sending is clear.  Bring the family.

Family Friendly Amenities at the Park Hyatt Aviara

  • Toy wagon greeting from the front desk
  • Toys & DVD’s available for check out from the Concierge
  • A separate pool area, spa & wading pool dedicated for families
  • A super cool large family room style game room with shuffleboard, pool tables, air hockey and video games (It’s actually 3 rooms)
  • Restaurants with children’s menu’s that go beyond mac n cheese
  • Step stools in the public restrooms for easier hand washing for the lil’s
  • Camp Hyatt.  A free day camp for  children to enjoy during your visit.  Yes… you read that right free.

    Park Hyatt Avaira

    Welcoming Families

Our “unofficial” Aviara Itinerary

Everyone practiced their best manners at afternoon tea in the Lobby Lounge – TIP – book early or you won’t get a reservation!

Park Hyatt Aviara

Clotted Cream & Scones

While the lil’s played in the pool, we took advantage of the poolside lounge.

Park Hyatt Aviara Child Friendly

Pool Time

While the lil’s slept, we took advantage of the games room (we had a sitter!).  Turns out I am clueless when it comes to shuffleboard, but have fun regardless.  I might have become a little addicted during our Aviara stay.

Park Hyatt Aviara Game Room

Great Games!

Dined at Vivace, a wonderful on site Italian Restaurant – they brought carrot sticks with dip out as a starter for the lil’s!  Love that.

Dined at the California Bistro where it’s worth noting children 12 and under dine FREE.  Yes, free.

Park Hyatt Aviara Breakfast Buffet

Breakfast Noms

We had an amazing time.  We took full advantage of the amenities, although I didn’t get a chance to visit the spa… hmmm…. perhaps we’ll have to go back.  SOON!

Park Hyatt Aviara Grounds

The Grounds

Love Letter to the FDA:  After booking our reservation with the Park Hyatt Aviara I was contacted by their PR firm and accepted the discounted media rate during our stay they extended.  As always my opinion remain my own.

Our latest family adventure took us to the Park Hyatt Aviara, where was your last family getaway?

Contact the Park Hyatt Aviara: 760 448 1234

Napa Valley Grille

Napa Valley Grille Review

The Napa Valley Grille has always been a special place for Dude and I.  It was the restaurant we went to on our second date, THE date where we really connected, after dinner we walked on the beach till 4AM.  Life before children!

Every now and then we go back and reminisce.

Napa Valley Grille

Street View

The Napa Valley Grille is located in the heart of Westwood Village, the perfect location for a pre or post dinner stroll.

Everytime we go, we wonder why it’s been so long since our last visit.  The atmosphere of the restaurant is great.  High ceilings, lit marble bar, and floor to ceiling wine racks.  Not to mention a fantastic outdoor patio.

Napa Valley Grille

Napa in LA

Our Selections from the Napa Valley Grille Menu

We sat down to the menu… My husband I were both intrigued by the Scallops “Chowda” Style, so we decide to get that with the Alaska Halibut.

We started with a harvest platter – which we liked, but didn’t love. It had American prosciutto, salami, house pickles, marinated tomatoes, mozzarella, hearth nuts, with crispy parmesan toast and might have been the highlight of the dinner.  This could explain why we don’t end up going back too often.

Scallops

We were both pretty disappointed with our entrees.  The wild Scallops “chowda” style were served with fingerling potatoes, thumbelina carrots, crispy pancetta… the scallops were a little chewy and the “Chowda” was thin on flavor and more of a broth.  The wild Alaskan Halibut summer vegetable bake, tomato fondue, basil emulsion… the halibut was dry and the whole dish just looked like a mess – which would have been fine if it was delish – but it wasn’t.


Wild Alaska Halibut


There was nothing “wrong” with the dishes, they just weren’t yummy.  I ended up ordering fries just so I would feel like I had ONE yummy with our dinner.


Garlic Fries - Served in a mini "fry basket"


Dude suggested that perhaps our palettes weren’t sophisticated enough. looking around the half full restaurant on a Saturday night – I wasn’t convinced that we were the problem in this equation.

The meal wasn’t even redeemed by the White Peach Pie, which was fine, but not really worth the calories.  The filling was actually pretty yummy, but there wasn’t much of it and the crust was missing that extra touch of butter and could have benefited from an extra touch of sweetness.


Very Rustic Peach Pie


I loved seeing organic options on their menu, their support of Community Supported Agriculture , the service is solid, and the memories are perfect.  Now, I remember without a doubt the reason we don’t go back more often… they need to focus on the flavor of the food they are serving.

Napa Valley Grille Has History for Us, What Restaurant Brings Back Memories For You?