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Gift Ideas

The Fairy Birds Teach About Giving

Teaching children the joy of giving

Last weekend I was invited to attend an event and book signing by the authors of a new book teaching children the joy of giving called Fairy Birds.

I checked out their website, and was so taken with the cute video and storyline of the book I couldn’t wait to take my girls.

Have you ever wondered where Fairy Godmothers came from?

The story follows a group of Fairy Birds who go to school to learn the secrets of becoming a Fairy Godmother.

In the Fairy Birds series, they learn how to grow each of six different colorful feathers needed to become a Fairy Godmother.

This first book teaches them how to earn their pink “Givie” feather by giving to others.

The story is based on giving, and teaching children the joy of giving, not only in big ways, but small ways too.

The ideas alone are just priceless.  That night after we got home from going out to dinner, my 7-year-old gave us this card.

Seriously? You can’t make this stuff up. The joy almost exploded out of my heart.

fairy birds note Follow Fairy Birds on Facebook for special offers and events, and put this book in your back pocket of awesome birthday gift ideas.

Include some little balloons with Givie Notes inside of them or a set of Fairy Godmother wings and you might just have the best present EVER.

Splat Saver!

Practical Baby Gifts - The Splat Mat

My sister Suzanne wanted to share one of her favorite baby products today. Here is what she writes…

Struggling with what to get a mom on the arrival of her 2nd, 3rd, etc. baby?? We received the Sugarbooger Jumbo Floor Splat Mat (affiliate link) from a friend after birth of our second boy and it is simply the best invention. Ever.

I am a big fan of practical baby gifts people can really use, and this product fits in that category perfectly.

The Splat Mat is a multi-functional product. First and most importantly, it really helps me attempt to keep the floors clean when feeding messy kids.

It’s also great for messy art products. I especially love it for Play Doh time - just throw it on the table and let the kids go crazy. All you have to do when they are done is fold it up, shake it outside and wipe it down. Genius.

We even used this for pumpkin carving last Halloween and it was perfect. Great price point for an item that will get literally years of use.

At the advice of my friend, I now use the zippered case it comes in as my travel make-up and hair brush bag. See, I was not kidding about multi-use!

Click here to see all the cute patterns on Amazon!

You Melt My Heart

Melted Heart Crayon Valentines

A friend of mine posted this idea for a melted heart crayon valentine on Facebook and I loved it so much I asked her if she would mind sending me a how to. It’s such a SWEET (and useful) idea. Not to mention, I love any and all non-candy Valentine ideas.

Melted Heart Crayon Valentines

1. Take any used, broken, otherwise “done” crayons and peel off the paper.

2. Put a mixture of tiny crayon pieces in the colors of your choice into a heart shaped baking mold similar to this one.


3. Put baking mold into a 225° oven for approximately 10 minutes, or until crayons are melted and mixed.


4. Let crayons thoroughly cool before removing, then “pop” them out of molds.


5. Take your cute melted heart crayon valentines, put in a cellophane bag and tie with a cute note that says something like, “Valentine ~ You Melt My Heart“!  Also, if giving to preschoolers, you might want to write a note that specifies that the hearts are CRAYONS, not candy!

Happy Weekend everyone! I hope you have a great one!

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.

Surf’s Up


Let’s go surfin’ now, everybody’s learning how…at the new SURFSET Fitness classes at Spa Montage! Cowabunga dude!

Ok, enough with the surf phrases. But seriously, the new fitness craze, first seen on Shark Tank has officially launched this month with Spa Montage serving as the exclusive destination to experience SURFSET Fitness classes in Orange County.

Susanne and I had the opportunity to take a class recently and I had NO idea what to expect. But fitness is a passion of mine, so I love mixing up my workouts and trying new things.

The SURFSET fitness classes take place on a custom kinetic surfboard balanced on exercise balls and tethered down, so, when standing on it, you have to pretty much use every muscle to stabilize, especially in your core. When I took my first step up, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to stay on the board! But after we got into the hang (10) of it, balancing got “easier” so we could focus on the moves while grooving to surf tunes.

A single session can burn anywhere from 500 – 900 calories in only 45 minutes. By using your core to balance on the board, you are able to build core strength, burn fat and build lean muscle. Just imagine planking on the board. Takes planking to a whole new level.

The following packages and offers are available now through February 28th at special introductory prices. Final pricing for the remainder of 2014 is still to be determined. If you know anyone who loves doing different fitness classes, this would make a great Christmas gift!

SURFSET Private Training Sessions: 

Single Sessions: $100
Weekend Warrior (3 sessions): $260
Hang 10 (10 sessions): $650

**The above can be private sessions or you may combine your sessions with any of the SURFSET group classes offered.  Each session/class comes with spa access for the day that includes spa facilities, additional wellness classes, spa pool, and fitness center.

SURFSET Group Classes:

“Drop Ins”: $20 (for those guests who would like to take a class only.  No locker or amenity usage.  Parking not included.)

Single Group Class with Spa Access: $75 (includes parking validation and all day spa access)

Let me tell you what an amazing deal the single group price is at $75! You see, once you step foot into Spa Montage Laguna Beach, you are not going to want to leave. Trust me.

The $75 includes access to the spa for the ENTIRE DAY. This means you can take advantage of the oceanfront spa pool, steam, jacquzzi, sauna, cold plunge, relaxation room, the works.  People would pay $75 for that ALONE, so to get to do one of the SURFSET fitness classes is like a super cool bonus! Like I said, amazing holiday gift. Click here to purchase a Montage Gift Card.

Or, plan a spa day with a bunch of girlfriends to do one of the SURFSET Fitness Classes at Spa Montage. You will get such a kick out of it, and a great workout at the same time!

[Disclosure: We received a complimentary class.]