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Date Night

We’ve Got Your Valentine’s Date Night Covered

Valentine's Day Dinner

Do you have a plan yet for you and your special someone for Valentine’s Day dinner?

How about get the kiddos down early, light a few candles and serve your Hubs this amazing dinner? If your guy is anything like mine, he’ll be stoked to not have to fight the Valentine’s Day crowds and not have to hire a sitter!

If a night at home sounds up your alley, this Valentine’s Day dinner recipe is sure to shoot cupid’s arrow straight through your man’s heartSlow Cooked Short Ribs & Celery Root Puree.

It’s easy to prepare and boasts a few layers of complementary flavors = definitely Valetine’s-date-night-worthy.  I mean, seriously, have you ever met a man who doesn’t like a short rib?


Any good chef will tell you, the most important component of executing a successful, elegant meal is where you start: the ingredients!  The fresher, higher quality ingredients, the better.

I love Whole Foods because they have the most beautiful meats, produce and spices to ensure the perfect finished product.

Oh and here’s the fun part – you can do your shopping for this special Valentine’s Day  meal, grab a girlfriend or your hubby, and meet up with Jennifer and I for a night out at Whole Foods Market Huntington Beach on Tuesday, February 11th for very special Valentine’s themed complimentary store-wide tasting called Ingredients: A Love Story.

We can’t wait!!

Ingredients: A Love Story

Tuesday, February 11th ~ 6-8pm

Whole Foods Huntington Beach

Some of the tasty treats to look forward to:

*Cheese & Chocolate*

*Mango, Pineapple & Habanero Guacamole*

*Fresh Shucked Oysters*

*Sweet & Hot Fruit Spreads with Tangy Goat Cheese*

*Chicken Wellingtons with Smokehouse Habanero Aioli*

*Chef Nick’s Roasted Asparagus with Lemon, Basil & Crisp Quinoa with a Fresh Green Goddess Dressing*

*Chocolate Covered Strawberries*

*Chantilly Fruit Cake with Sweet & Savory Butter Cream*

*Themed Beer & Wine- meet your Beer & Wine Specialist*

*Coffee Tastings*

AND there will be an in-store raffle to win tickets for a Valentine’s dinner for two!

(In which case if you win the raffle, stick this recipe in your back pocket for another at-home date night!)

Follow Whole Foods Market Huntington Beach on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you’re always in the know on their exciting and tasty events and happenings!

(Ie: Fridays in February they have live jazz in their 24 tap craft beer bar, Woody’s Surf City Grill, from 6-9pm.  How cool is that???)

We hope to see you Tuesday!


Your Sus Chef

(Disclosure:  Whole Foods is a beLOVED Tiny Oranges Sponsor)

Fall in Love This Valentine’s Day at Montage Laguna Beach

Valentine's Day at Montage Laguna Beach

I have yet to meet a woman that would not completely flip over any gift or experience involving a visit to Montage Laguna Beach. Guys, I am talking to you! Let me give you a tip. Ladies like feeling special, even if they say they don’t “want” or “need” anything. If you are looking for a way to celebrate the love of your life, please check out the Valentine’s Day at Montage Laguna Beach offers.

Valentine’s Day Dining at Montage Laguna Beach 

Montage Laguna Beach invites you to celebrate your special someone this Valentine’s Day with memorable dining experiences at both Studio and The Loft.

Their signature restaurant, Studio, welcomes sweethearts both on Valentine’s Day and throughout the month of February with a special Couples Tasting Menu by  Executive Chef Craig Strong.

The Couples Tasting Menu highlights modern French cuisine with California influences and artisanal ingredients, crafted especially for romantics with five courses available at $175 per person or $250 per person with wine pairings.

The Loft invites guests to enjoy Chef de Cuisine Casey Overton’s four course prix-fixe dinner on Valentine’s Day.  Chef Overton’s delectable menu will feature Carnaroli Rissoto, Braised Vintage Beef Short Rib, and Strawberry Frozen Soufflé to name only a few (click here to view the full Valentine’s Day menu). This exclusive four course prix-fixe menu is available on Valentine’s Day only from 5:00pm to 10:00pm.

For reservations at Studio or The Loft, please call 949.715.6420.

Let Montage Babysit While You Dine

For couples with families in tow, the Paintbox children’s program is hosting a special Valentine’s Day Children’s Night Out. The resort’s popular children’s program will host a night for kids to enjoy Valentine’s Day crafts and other kid-friendly activities while their parents delight in a romantic evening dining on property.  Beginning at $60 per child, Children’s Night Out takes place from 6pm to 10pm for ages 5-12 and includes dinner for the little ones.  Reservations are required.

You Can’t Go Wrong with a Montage Gift Card 

Montage Laguna Beach is one of my favorite places on earth. Spa Montage Laguna Beach is a mom’s paradise. Completely elegant, but understated with service second to none. So guys, if you are looking for a gift for your beautiful wife who bore your children and works 24/7 for her family, consider a Montage Gift Card.

Yes, an amount good for a facial or massage would be lovely. But if your budget is more limited, they also offer monthly $65 Yoga Workshops, a part of their Mind-Body Wellness Series, and $75 Surfset Fitness Class, both of which include access to the spa amenities and spa pool for the day.  I recently reviewed the Surfset class here – completely innovative workout.

Writing this post was tough, makes me want to make a dinner reservation and book a fitness class. Hopefully my husband is reading this post today! Ohhhhhh, this makes me excited for Valentine’s Day.

Our Pacific Edge Getaway: 24 Hours to Recharge

Where to stay in Laguna Beach

Where to Stay in Laguna Beach

Recently my husband and I were invited to sneak away for a little 24 hour getaway to the beautiful Pacific Edge Hotel on the sand in Laguna Beach.

As I was relaxing on a lounge chair their onsite beach attendant set up for us, looking out at the Pacific, I thought, “How lucky are we to LIVE in a place where Laguna Beach is only a short drive away?!”

Pacific Edge Hotel has special meaning to us because we got married there in 2001. I could look up to what is now The Deck restaurant and see the exact spot where we said, “I do.”  And, there we were, 11 years and 2 kids later. A lot of changes have happened since that Fall day.

Pacific Edge Accommodations 

And speaking of changes, the property, now owned by boutique hotel company, Joie de Vivre Hospitality, has gone through many recent renovations, including a complete make-over of the Surf Wing rooms where we were lucky enough to stay.

The oceanfront rooms in the Surf Wing all have balconies overlooking the ocean, and many have adjoining non-oceanfront rooms that can be opened up to make it a family suite.

With a beach front balcony to watch the crashing waves, quintessential beach decor, and an ultra-plush, comfortable bed where we were lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves, it was in a word, paradise.

The Bungalows on Laguna Beach 

On the bottom floor of the newly renovated Surf Wing are five beachfront Bungalows available to rent by the day. These indoor/outdoor living spaces are like having your own mini beach house, stocked with everything you need for the perfect day at the beach.

The five Bungalows are all uniquely decorated with stunning interior decor by local companies.

Here is one of my favorites, the Gorjana & Griffin Bungalow, contemporary and nautical, with even a little kid sized art table for pint sized guests. For more information on renting one of the Bungalows on Laguna Beach, visit

Save Money with the Edge Card 

One of the best things about staying at Pacific Edge is the location, as it is a short walk from Main Beach and all the shops and restaurants.

When you stay at Pacific Edge, you can save money on dining and shopping with their exclusive Edge Card, which saves you between 10 – 15% off at participating businesses.  A complete list is given upon check-in and can be found here on their website.

On this list is The Beach House Restaurant, located next door to Pacific Edge, where guests save 10% off food. My husband and I had an amazing oceanfront dinner there after spending a day at the beach.

It was also the place where we had our rehearsal dinner, again, another walk down memory lane.

Be a Tourist in Your Own Backyard

The next morning we woke up, had a cup of fresh Keurig coffee I made in our room (thank you very much Pacific Edge ~ it really is the little things that mean so much), then took a walk all around Laguna and went out to breakfast.

It is really fun playing tourist in your own backyard!

It is amazing how 24 hours away with your husband can recharge your soul.

To be able to sit on the beach, read, talk, go out to dinner, stroll around Laguna and just enjoy each other’s company with NO distractions is an amazing and also necessary gift!

When getting away for just one night, a local spot in Orange County can be just what the doctor ordered.  And if you are looking for where to stay in Laguna Beach, it doesn’t get much better than Pacific Edge.

Pacific Edge Amenities at a Glance

~ On property restaurant, The Deck, is open daily (but was closed for renovations when we stayed. Call for updated info.)

~ Complimentary beach towels, lounge chairs, and umbrellas

~ Two heated pools and a hot tub

~ Complimentary access to Art of Fitness, a few blocks away from the hotel

~ On-site valet parking for $24/night

~ Complimentary Wifi throughout the hotel, pool and beach
647 South Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

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[Pacific Edge provided my husband and I with a complimentary one night stay and dinner to facilitate this review. We were very grateful for the 24 blissful hours and I am thrilled to share this property with you!] 

10th Annual Newport Beach Wine Festival

The Newport Beach Wine Festival 2013 will be held at the beautiful Balboa Bay Resort this Memorial Day weekend and I wanted to share the details of the extraordinary food and wine events to be celebrated over three days.

Raise your hand if you like wine [I do!]

Raise your hand if you love culinary delights [I do!]

For all my moms out there with hands raised in the air, this event is for you [high five sisters!]

Newport Beach Wine Festival 2013 

Schedule of Events

Friday May 24th

Master Sommeliers wine Dinner & Reception with Guest Chefs – The Commodore Room: 6:30pm

Six exquisite courses prepared by Executive Chef Ladeger and four guest Chefs with a parallel pairing of old and new world wines for each course.

Saturday May 25th

Whites wines from France – The Mariner Room: 2pm

Bordeaux From Around the World – The Quarterdeck Room: 4pm

The “Grand Tasting” Gala Event – The Grand Ballroom: 7-10:30pm

The reception will be held in the Grand Ballroom with over 50 vineyards and top-notch cuisine ranging from fine cheeses to scrumptious barbeque.

Sunday May 26th

Beer for Breakfast – Duke’s Place: 9:30am – 1:00pm

Rustic breakfast faire paired with delicious beers from Europe and other renowned parts of the world.

Australian Shiraz vs. French Rhone Syrah – The Quarterdeck Room: 2pm

Seafood on the Bay – The Lawn & Beach: 4 – 7pm

BBQ Seafood, Sushi Station, Paella Station will be accompanied by a variety of wonderful seafood pairing wines from over 20 wineries.

Cigars, Cognac, Spirits & Sweets – The Commodore Room Patio: 6-8pm

The Newport Beach Wine Festival is a proud sponsor of the 1221 Club Scholarship Fund, which raises funds throughout the year for exemplary local high school students who are college bound.

To book one or more of the Newport Beach Wine Festival events, please call 949-630-4146 or visit for more information.

This would be such a fun date activity to take your hubby to ~ click here to download a brochure with more information and pricing for each event!

Fun Family Date Ideas for Summer

I love family date nights…but when all of our schedules are so crazy busy during the school year, we typically have to end up bonding in the car on the way to soccer or talking about our day over dinner dishes.

But summer…ahhhh summer.  Summer means longer days, (more) relaxed mornings, play time at the pool and sandcastles at the beach. It also means more time to plan fun family dates.

Here are a few family date ideas for summer. Do you have some favorites? Please share below!

Beach Picnics

Pack up some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and fruit…or get as fancy as you want…bring a blanket, juice boxes, napkins, and a handful of cookies for a treat. Then, head on down to your favorite beach and enjoy a simple picnic with a beautiful view. My favorite beach we frequent is Aliso Creek in South Laguna Beach.  It has a fun playground that is manageable with little ones and is rarely overcrowded…plus a small grassy area if you prefer to eat on the grass versus the sand. (Note…the playground will be under renovations the next couple of weeks…right in time to be ready for summer!)

The Irvine Spectrum

There are SO many places to eat that are kid friendly at the Irvine Spectrum. Plus, let your kiddos take a spin on the carousel, ride the Giant Wheel for a great view of Orange County, or play at the splash pad. Lots to see, shop, wander, people watch and sometimes even listen to live music.  A fun way to enjoy the last hours of daylight with your family…because there’s something for everyone!

Pajama Day!

Snuggle up and wear your jammies ALL day for a day date!  Let your kiddos pick a favorite movie, spread a big blanket on the floor and have a lunch “picnic” inside, set up a make-your-own-popcorn bar for snack time (pop a bowl and everyone can mix in their favorite flavors and treats!), have a book reading party, a teddy bear picnic, tea parties, a family dance off…for a comfy day together!

Homemade Pizza Party

Put a spin on typical pizza Fridays, and instead of dialing your favorite pizza delivery joint, go to the store for some fresh pizza dough (Trader Joe’s has one I love) and some fresh sauce. Let your kids wear their dress-up aprons and chef hats, roll up your sleeves and roll out the pizza dough. Let the kids make shapes, pick their favorite toppings and then watch the pizza cook through the oven window.  Maybe throw in some homemade cookies to sweeten the deal…

Camp Out

Organize a family camp out – inside or outside – at home!  Camping is always so fun, but it can be hard to sneak away for an entire weekend as a family.  Break out the tents, the sleeping bags, extra sheets, flashlights, smores fixings, and settle in (or out!) for a technology-free evening together.  Tell stories, make-up silly games, make sticky smores, sing songs, and have some old-fashioned fun!

What is your favorite family date?
Share your ideas in the comments below so we can all enjoy some great family date ideas for this summer!