Westlake Village Inn

We recently spent a lovely weekend at the Westlake Village Inn and it was just the staycation our family needed. Although this boutique luxury hotel is centrally located halfway between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, you will feel like you have been transported to a quaint Mediterranean village.

The Inn is actually both a hotel with 156 well-appointed deluxe accommodations and a special event venue that caters to weddings, birthdays, meetings and other special occasions. The 17-acre property hosts various banquet and meeting rooms, outdoor weddings sites and a vineyard.

The Village at Westlake Village Inn™ is also home to three fantastic restaurants (which you don’t have to be a guest to enjoy). The Stonehaus offers a variety of European-inspired small plates as well as a wine bar. There are ample tables and seating for casual outdoor dining, though it does get busy on the weekends!  Vista Terrace is open for light bites and cocktails – you can enjoy beautiful views and great ambience in this cozy little space while staying warm around the many fire pits.  Mediterraneo is the Westlake Village Inn’s signature restaurant. Newly redesigned in 2019, this onsite eatery brings the culinary excellence and stylish atmosphere of a European bistro, encouraging guests to feel as though they have been transported to an open-air villa in the Mediterranean. Currently, reservations are required.

Luxury Accomodations

The Inn’s 156 individually-appointed guest rooms and suites are housed in nine freestanding two-story buildings. Each guest room is serene and well-appointed with soothing textures, natural materials, high-touch finishes and distinctive features. The suites, which comprise half the accommodations on property, also feature two person Roman Tubs and romantic fireplaces.

We stayed in a Mini Suite with two queen beds, which was perfect for our family. The room and the bathroom were both extremely spacious, and we loved the balcony overlooking the beautiful grounds. Our suite was also very close to the pool which was super convenient!

The balcony was wonderful for enjoying late afternoon sun and morning coffee.

Pool Time!

The Westlake Village Inn has a lovely outdoor pool that is heated year-round. The pool has plenty of lounge chairs for guests which are great whether you want to read a book or maybe take a little snooze under the warm sun. Our kids had a great time at the pool and hot tub during our stay.

Complimentary Bikes

One of the coolest things about the Westlake Village Inn is that you can check out one of their complimentary bikes (yes complimentary!) from the front desk at any time. Whether you want to further explore the property, the surrounding neighborhood, or just get outside for some fresh air, renting bikes is so much fun! We had a great time biking around the property and around the neighborhood.


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The Grounds

The Westlake Village Inn is HUGE and there is so much to explore on the property alone. Lush, green landscapes seem to be never-ending, there is a huge lake in the middle of the property, cobblestone paths all around, vineyards and beautiful gardens with lovely gazebos and charming arbors. You could take a nice leisurely stroll around the property without ever having to leave! While this hotel is great for a romantic couple’s getaway, we found it to be very family friendly as well, and our kids really enjoyed wandering around the grounds.

We loved the European feel to this hotel. The amount of photo opportunities were endless and we took full advantage! Every corner we turned was another beautiful spot.

We had the best staycation at the Westlake Village Inn. It truly did not feel like we were less than an hour from home; instead, it almost felt like we had traveled to Europe! It’s a wonderful place for both couples and families to unplug and unwind.

*Thank you to the Westlake Village Inn for hosting our family. As always, all opinions are my own.

Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa

We recently spent the most wonderful and relaxing weekend at Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa, in Pismo Beach, California. Located just a few short hours from Southern California, we didn’t have to travel far, but it sure felt like a world away. Dolphin Bay is conveniently located along the Central California coastline just south of San Luis Obispo and midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. But with five acres of beachfront property to explore and enjoy, it will feel like you have escaped to a tropical paradise. The luxury hotel offers stylish, contemporary accommodations, unparalleled service, and stunning ocean views. It was the perfect staycation for our family! 

One Bedroom Pool View Suite

Dolphin Bay is an all-suite resort. We stayed in a one bedroom pool view suite on the third floor, so it had a wonderful view of the pool and ocean. We loved watching the sunset each night from our balcony. The suite had all the comforts of home including a stylish living and dining area, a full gourmet kitchen, fireplace, and laundry equipment. There was a separated bedroom with a king size bed, walk-in closet, and luxurious bathroom. There was also a queen-sized sleeper sofa in the living room which was perfect for the kids. and fireplace and it had all the comforts of home. Having a full kitchen was extremely helpful, as we were able to bring groceries and cook some meals in our suite during our stay.

Pool

The number one thing our kids value the most when it comes to staying at hotels is the pool! Dolphin Bay has a huge infinity pool that is heated year-round and our kids had the best time swimming in it. With lounge chairs lining the pool, you can kick back and relax while enjoying the beautiful ocean view.

Ocean Front Location

We rarely had to (nor did we want to) leave the resort, as the location is just superb. The ocean views are just breathtaking, and there is a lovely coastal walking path along the front of the hotel. The hotel offers board games and lawn games in the lobby that you can check out including corn hole and bocce ball. There are also barbeques available for guest use next to the pool. And the resort also has beach chairs and bikes that you can use anytime!

Beach Access

Shell Beach is accessible via staircase just north of the property if you follow the walking path. The beach is secluded and not crowded at all, yet it is so fun to explore. There are all kinds of tidepools filled with sea anemones and crabs, which the kids loved checking out.

Pet Friendly

Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa welcomes your four-legged friends as part of the family. In order to accommodate all guests, Dolphin Bay offers specific pet-friendly suites. You can inform the hotel when booking your reservation that you will be traveling with your pet. There is a $65 Pet Fee which will be applied per night. When we arrived, our pup was greeted with his own dog bed, water bowl, ball and doggy treats! He made himself right at home in the suite and also enjoyed his walks along the ocean-view paths right in front of the resort. Since we’ve been traveling more these days with our senior (and sometimes senile) dog, it’s so important to us to find lodging where he’ll feel safe and comfortable. The resort believe that your pet should receive the same exceptional experience of service and amenities that they offer to all of their guests.

Lido Restaurant & Lounge at Dolphin Bay welcomes leashed pets on their oceanside patio. Dogs are also welcome to enjoy the lawn areas on a leash. Pets are not permitted at the pool area unless they are Service Animals. Pet waste bags are available on the walking path or at the front desk.

Lido Restaurant & Lounge

Offering unique and flavorful dishes that complement the one-of-a-kind oceanfront setting, Lido Restaurant & Lounge is an ideal destination for a casual yet elegant dining experience. The onsite restaurant is open for both outdoor patio and indoor dining. Lido Restaurant & Lounge offers locally sourced California coastal cuisine along with breathtaking ocean views.

We enjoyed the Champagne Brunch during our stay, and it was the best meal we’ve had in a long time! The champagne was flowing, the food was delicious and the service was exceptional. Champagne brunch comes with a starter,  entrée and dessert plus bottomless mimosas and is offered daily! 

Lido Restaurant & Lounge is also open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reservations are strongly recommended.

Our entire family thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa and we hope to come back soon! We love the Central Coast and Pismo Beach area, and would highly recommend this resort to couples or families looking for a relaxing getaway.

*Many thanks to Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa for hosting our family. As always, all opinions are my own.

Homewood Suites by Hilton Moab

Our first time to Moab, Utah and we had the BEST time!!

With all of us working and schooling from home, we decided to seize the opportunity and hit the road! We spent a week at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Moab and it was the perfect home base to explore all that Moab has to offer.

This hotel is part of the Hilton group, but as soon as you step into the lobby, you immediately feel that there is something unique and special about this particular property.

This smoke-free hotel features an indoor pool, a fitness center, and a spa tub. There is also free on-the-go breakfast, free WiFi, and free self parking. Other amenities include a 24-hour business center, coffee/tea in a common area, and laundry facilities. All 96 rooms feature kitchenettes with refrigerators, stovetops, microwaves, and dishwashers.

Comforts of Home in a Prime Location

Homewood Suites by Hilton Moab is the only all-suites hotel in Moab. We stayed in a Studio 1 King 2 Twin Bunk Bed Suite, which suited our family of four perfectly. The suite was clean and spacious with a functional and thoughtful layout. The dining area off the kitchen doubled as workspace for our kids to do their remote schooling. And the living area featured a full-sized sofa bed, so technically, our room could have slept 6. The kitchenette (twin burner stove, microwave, full-sized refrigerator, dishwasher, and of course pots and pans, dishware, and utensils) was great for us, especially since we were staying for longer than just one night. It is always so helpful to be able to cook when traveling with kids since you can still make their favorite foods and also save money by not eating out all the time.

Homewood is located right in the heart of downtown Moab, walking distance from restaurants, souvenir shops, and local vendors. It is also conveniently located just 5 minutes to the entrance of Arches National Park and a 35 minute drive from Canyonlands National Park. It was amazing to be this close the national parks, as we were able to get out the door after the kids were done with school (we even went to Arches one morning before school!) and hit the trails.

When you have finished hiking and exploring the parks, the hotel has a wonderful indoor heated pool and spa to enjoy! During COVID-19, the pool is limited to 20 people at a time, and the spa is limited to 4, but during our stay it was rare when we didn’t have the entire pool/spa area to ourselves. Our kids had a blast swimming in the mornings and afternoons. Indoor pool means you can swim year round!

Hilton CleanStay Program

We were a little wary about traveling during COVID-19, but as a member of the Hilton group, Homewood Suites Moab participates in the Hilton CleanStay program, and this put our minds at ease.

Hilton has partnered with RB, makers of Lysol® & Dettol®, to help deliver an even cleaner stay for their guests with the creation of the Hilton CleanStay program. Using the same quality brands you trust in your home, Hilton CleanStay builds on their already rigorous cleaning standards to provide complete peace of mind when you stay with any of Hilton’s 18 brands. Hilton has promised to deliver the same level of reliable and friendly service you’d expect from Hilton, but with the added confidence of industry-leading hygiene practices created to keep their guests safe. In addition to social distancing and mask requirements in all public spaces, each guest room is thoroughly cleaned and a housekeeping inspector verifies the room meets the CleanStay standards before placing the Hilton CleanStay Room Seal over the door.  That’s how you know it’s super duper clean!

One of the things I loved was the way Homewood Suites Moab has modified their free breakfast to comply with safety protocols. Face masks and gloves (provided) are required to enter the breakfast area, and of course social distancing measures are in place. From there, you can choose from a variety of breakfast foods including pre-packaged breakfast burritos and breakfast sandwiches that you can heat up in your room. There’s also plenty of pastries, breads, cereals (hot and cold), yogurt, fresh fruit and granola bars. And a 24/7 coffee station that offers coffee, tea, apple cider, and hot chocolate.

Pet Friendly, Kid Friendly

Homewood Suites by Hilton Moab is pet-friendly, so you don’t have to worry about leaving Fido behind. It was a relief to find a place that would allow us to bring our dog since many hotels don’t have that option.

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When we asked our kids what their favorite part of the trip was, their honest response was the Kids Club activities they did at Homewood Suites Moab! Every week day from 4-6, different activities are offered for kids of all ages to enjoy ranging from making crafts, bingo, movie night, and more. Their favorite activity was pie making! I LOVE that this property offers Kids Club activities – it truly makes the trip so much more memorable and fun.

Winter in Moab

Winter is a great time to explore Moab! Even though international travel may be off the table for a while, now is a great opportunity to discover America’s best national parks. Because all of us are under the same restrictions, Arches and Canyonlands can get super crowded in the summer, spring and fall months. By going during off peak months, you will basically have the parks all to yourself. Make sure to sign up for a free membership to Winter in Moab and you can stay updated on local events, explore what their partners have to offer, and enjoy 10% year round discounts with Homewood Suites by Hilton Moab!

We are so happy we decided to spend the week in Moab and the Homewood Suites was the perfect home away from home for our entire family. We cannot recommend this hotel highly enough for all types of travelers!

*Many thanks to Homewood Suites by Hilton Moab for hosting our family. As always, all opinions are my own.

Cliffrose: The Ultimate Zion Lodging

I have been to Zion National Park several times, but the beauty of this place never ceases to amaze. An easy six and a half hour drive from Los Angeles makes it the perfect weekend escape any time of year.

On our most recent visit to Zion, we had the pleasure of staying at the Cliffrose Lodge in Springdale, Utah for two nights. The Cliffrose is situated on the edge of the Virgin River and just a short 5 minute walk from the main entrance to Zion National Park. Yes – a 5 minute WALK!! A paved pathway parallel to the Virgin River right from the hotel will lead you directly to the park. The location is ideal for park and shuttle access, so you can enjoy your time without having to worry about waiting in line to enter the park or finding parking at the Visitor Center’s lot.

Though we have been nervous about travel during the pandemic, the Cliffrose is a member of the Curio Collection by Hilton and participating in the Hilton CleanStay program, so we felt safe from the moment we checked in until the moment we checked out. Under this program, you can rest assured that all rooms and public spaces are cleaned and disinfected with the highest quality, and there are physical distancing measures maintained throughout the property.

We were fortunate to stay in a Riverside Two Bedroom Suite, which was perfect for our family. Tucked away at the far end of the resort, it felt more like our own private cottage.

Our two bedroom, two bathroom suite was extremely spacious and had more than enough room for us to spread out and feel at home. There was a great room with a very large dining room table, a full kitchen, and a living room area. One bedroom had two queen beds and the other a king sized bed. We love to stay in a suite when we can so we don’t have to sit in a dark room after the kids go to sleep 🙂 The full kitchen was so convenient, as we were able to save a little money and not worry about eating out with social distance by making meals in the room.

Perhaps the best part of the suite though was the balcony, which had an outdoor dining set and barbecue grill AND the most amazing view!!

We enjoyed eating out on the balcony, and waking up to this view was magical.

The property grounds were just lovely and very well maintained. We frequently saw mule deer everywhere we went, including just outside our room, which was such a fun treat for the kids.

Another fun feature of the property for kids is the playground! They loved having it all to themselves.

The Virgin River borders the property on the backside — complete with a sandy “beach” and chairs to enjoy a peaceful view any time of day.

Last but not least, the Cliffrose offers not one but two pool and hot tub areas. These fabulous pools are heated and open year-round along with the waterfall hot tub located in the main pool area. Such a perfect way to relax and unwind after a long day of hiking in the park!

If you are planning a trip to Zion, we can’t think of a better place to stay than the Cliffrose. The accommodations are wonderful, the staff are friendly and helpful, and you cannot beat the location. We can’t wait to come back one day!

*Many thanks to the Cliffrose for hosting our family. As always, all opinions are my own.

Dana Point Parasail: The Ultimate Family Adventure!

To say that we have missed traveling the world the last several months is an understatement. But, we are fortunate to live in beautiful Southern California, where there is so much to do and see. We have enjoyed exploring and trying new things locally and our most recent adventure was parasailing!! And we didn’t even have to go somewhere far or exotic like the Bahamas or the Caribbean to do it. Just an hour south of Los Angeles, Dana Point Parasail in Orange County offers this fun activity for the whole family to enjoy!

Dana Point Parasail operates year round (with flights on weekends only October-February). The best time for a flight is in the morning, when the winds are calmer. We went at 10 am on a Sunday and the weather was PERFECT.

Anyone 5 years and older can parasail and there is no maximum age restriction 🙂 No prior parasailing experience is needed – the Captain and crew at Dana Point Parasail do ALL the work for you! This was the first time parasailing for our entire family and it couldn’t have been easier. After getting outfitted with a life vest and harness, you’re seated on the flight deck of the boat. Once seated, the crew clips your harness to the parachute.

The Captain releases the winch line and you’re off!

The whole experience is nice and smooth, just like sitting on a swing set that slowly elevates you into the air, 800 feet above water. All take offs and landings are done straight from the boat and it’s all very slow and gradual, not scary at all!

It’s incredible and peaceful being up in the air and getting to take in the beautiful coastal views while parasailing. The parasailing flights last about 10 minutes each. Single, tandem and triple flights (2 or 3 people in the same chute) are offered. All multi-passenger flights are side-by-side offering great views and comfortable flights.

You are free to take as many photos and videos as you like (you can even take your camera up with you on your flight, though we chose no to). However, you can purchase a super affordable digital photo package which includes 30+ photos of your adventure. The crew uses a high quality digital camera to document your entire flight and at the end of the trip you get the SD memory card with all your photos on it.

You don’t have to get wet at all if you don’t want to, but towards the end of the ride the Captain will give you the option to dip your feet in the water, again this optional but we highly recommend!

And speaking of the Captain, Chris (plus crew) is fantastic! Friendly, professional, and made us feel safe and in good hands the entire time (even during Covid-19 times).

We had such an amazing experience with Dana Point Parasail and can’t wait to get back out there soon! Whether you are a local looking for a fun activity or on vacation, you should definitely book a parasail flight! Use our code “beachseakers” when you book and you will get $20 off per flyer.

*This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.

Thousand Trails: Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort

We spent a wonderful weekend at Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort.  Bordered by the Los Padres National Forest and the Santa Ynez River, just a scenic 30-minute drive from Santa Barbara or Solvang, Rancho Oso offers 310 acres of beautiful scenery and endless opportunities for horseback riding, hiking, and photography.

Rancho Oso is one of many Thousand Trails campgrounds. Thousand Trails is a network of 81 campgrounds located in popular camping destinations throughout the United States and British Columbia, Canada. Thousand Trails offers customers the best value in camping with a variety of membership options. However, each Thousand Trails campground caters to members and non-members alike, so you do not need to be a member to enjoy these campgrounds. Thousand Trails campgrounds are packed with varying amenities and activities such as swimming pools, basketball, bocce ball, boating, fishing, clubhouses, hiking and biking trails, tennis, volleyball, pickleball, mini golf, playgrounds and more.

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We stayed in one of the “Getaway” cabins, which was perfect for our family.  There was a bedroom with a queen bed, a loft upstairs with two twin beds for the kids, and a full-sized bathroom.  Linens are provided at no additional charge and include bedding and towels for the number of beds in the cabin.

There was also a full kitchen and dinette, and a living room with a full sleeper sofa and fireplace.

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Outside on the deck was a convenient gas BBQ grill and patio table with umbrella. 

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Rancho Oso is pet friendly, so it was nice that we were able to bring our dog along with us without having to worry about making arrangements for him.

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Though staying in a cabin was definitely more “glamping” than camping, Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort features several types of campsites. In addition to many RV sites with full hook-ups, there are also tent campsites, various types of cabins and cottages, and you can even stay in a covered wagon!

There is so much to do at Rancho Oso! Rancho Oso offers the following activities:

  • Activities Center
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Children’s Playground
  • Pool and Spa
  • Church Service
  • Kids Activities
  • Mini Golf
  • Activities Coordinator
  • Bingo/Card Playing
  • Children’s Program
  • Live Entertainment
  • Planned Activities
  • Volleyball Court and Sand Badminton
  • Horseback Riding
  • Guided Horseback Rides (not available on Mondays and Tuesdays). Hand-led rides are available for kids ages 5-7.
  • Western Village
  • Horse Boarding

*Please note that not due to COVID-19, not all of the activities are currently available.  The property has put in place enhanced health and safety measures intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19. All guests must adhere to all property rules, as well as all health advisories issued by relevant governmental and health authorities, relating to COVID-19 social distancing and hygiene practices during their stay.  However, we enjoyed time at the pool, a hike to a beautiful waterfall, scootering around the property, and bingo.

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Whether you’re planning a retreat for the whole family, a group of friends or a getaway for two, there’s no shortage of unique activities to explore at Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort.

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We hope to make it back to Rancho Oso again soon! We highly recommend checking it and any of the other Thousand Trails campgrounds out when planning your next getaway.

*This post is sponsored, but all opinions are my own.

The Gondola Getaway Long Beach

Once upon a time, my husband and I enjoyed a romantic gondola ride in Venice, Italy, during our honeymoon. It was touristy and cheesy and overpriced and TOTALLY WORTH IT.

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We would love to return to Venice one day and take our kids with us.  But you don’t have to travel all the way to Italy to go on a wonderful gondola cruise!

Established in 1982 in Naples Island, Long Beach, Gondola Getaway Long Beach brings old world charm and an authentic Venetian gondola experience right to Southern California.  Our family had the best time cruising around the canals of Naples Island and Alamitos Bay with our personable and friendly gondolier.

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This is such a fun and unique area to explore in Long Beach, and even better to explore by gondola! The waterways are calm and the views are beautiful.

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The Gondola Getaway offers traditional gondola cruises, for up to 6 people in one gondola.  The traditional gondola cruise is great for romantic or small party cruises.  It comes with:

  • Professional Gondolier
  • Free Corkage
  • Completely Private Boat
  • Complementary photo
  • Ice buckets and cups
  • Cozy blankets provided

We brought some champagne for ourselves and snacks for the kids.  It was perfect!

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You can choose from many special options to add on to your gondola cruise, such as roses or an appetizer.  The most popular add-on is a message in a bottle!  If you choose this option, you can send Gondola Getaway the message you would like to share with your guest ahead of time. They will print it up on a special parchment paper, roll it up and insert it into a custom corked bottle sprinkled with a layer of seashells inside.  During your cruise, your Gondolier will guide you to the discreetly placed floating bottle where your guest will be able to reach over and gently retrieve it.  To their astonishment they will find a “message in the bottle” written to them.  The message in a bottle can be performed for so many occasions – first dates, anniversaries, birthdays, Mother’s Day, and of course – proposals!

We were celebrating my husband’s birthday, so I arranged to have a birthday message placed in a bottle for him.  It was great fun for the whole family to retrieve the message in a bottle.  And I think my husband loved his special birthday surprise!

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In addition to the traditional gondola cruises, there are also Large “Caorlina” Cruises available for larger parties, up to 14 people.  And you can also book a pizza or brunch cruise on these larger gondolas.

The cruises last for about an hour, which is the perfect amount of time to sit back and relax, and enjoy the views.

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We highly recommend the gondola ride for couples or families.  It is a fun twist on a Venetian gondola ride and I’m glad we took the kids! I’m sure they will remember this ride if we ever take them to Venice 🙂

If you are looking for a unique and memorable activity in Southern California, you will not regret booking a gondola cruise with The Gondola Getaway!

*This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.

Abba Patio Cantilever Umbrella Review

Summertime is the perfect time to relax outdoors.  We love our front patio, but without a patio umbrella to provide shade coverage, it can’t get pretty hot when it’s sunny.

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We were searching for the perfect patio umbrella for this space and we could not be happier with the 8 x 10 Feet Rectangular Offset Cantilever Umbrella with Cross Base from Abba Patio.

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This rectangular Offset Cantilever Umbrella provides maximum multi-position shade with vertical tilt function by push button. With the crank lift function, this patio umbrella sets up easily and opens quickly, so your outdoor living space will be cooled down in no time.

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This cantilever umbrella is well-designed and will be long-lasting due to its quality construction.  It has a TIGER Drylac powder coated aluminum pole which features eight sturdy ribs that support the canopy, which is crafted of fade-resistant, solution-dyed polyester with superior color locking.

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We absolutely love how well our Abba Patio cantilever umbrella complements our front patio.  It is such a great addition to the space and our family is looking forward to spending many days outdoors enjoying the shade provided by the umbrella.

*This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.

Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa: The Perfect Southern California Staycation

We spent the weekend at the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa – it was a wonderful staycation for our entire family, a much needed summer getaway.  Located in the beautiful coastal community of Carlsbad, California in North San Diego County, the resort offers unparalleled views of the Pacific Ocean and 169 exquisitely appointed guest rooms and suites.

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*Note: the resort is closely following Marriott’s Commitment to Clean Standards in all guest rooms and public spaces.  New guest services and safety protocol ensure that guests can enjoy their stay while comfortably adhering to recommended guidelines. Face coverings are required in all indoor public spaces.

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The grounds are beautiful, well-maintained and  very spacious, so lots of room for guests to maintain social distance during their stay.

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Location, Location, Location

The Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa makes for an easy getaway from anywhere in Southern California, as it is just 2 miles from the Carlsbad Pointsettia SD Coaster Station.  It is conveniently located near the area’s top activities and points of interest, so guests are positioned to explore an array of things to do in Carlsbad and San Diego county, including seven miles of pristine Carlsbad beaches, active water sports at the Carlsbad lagoon, golfing at the Crossings at Carlsbad, and upscale shopping at the Carlsbad Premium Outlets.  The resort also has its own private walkway which will get you to the back entrance of LEGOLAND California and is just a short drive from the Flower Fields.

All guests can enjoy complimentary shuttle service within a 5 mile radius of the resort and take advantage of the Ride The Tide open-air beach trolley with shuttle service to nearby Tamarack Beach.

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Suite Life

We stayed in a Ponto Studio Suite, which was extremely spacious with a king sized bed in one room and a separate room with two beds for the kids, plus a seating area – plenty of room for everyone to spread out.

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All guest rooms and suites feature enhanced in-room technology with access to personal streaming accounts like Netflix and Hulu directly from hotel TVs, work desks with built-in data ports, complimentary Wi-Fi and the Sheraton’s signature Sweet Sleeper Beds.

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The Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa is also dog friendly so you can book your vacation or staycation without worrying about making arrangements for your pup!

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Our suite had a wonderful view of the pool as well as the Carlsbad lagoon and Pacific Ocean coastline.  We enjoyed watching a beautiful sunset right from the balcony of our room!

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Splish Splash

If you asked our kids, they would definitely say the highlight of our stay at the Sheraton Carlsbad Spa & Resort was the pool!  The resort has a huge free form pool area with a waterslide that was fun for the whole family.

During COVID-19, the resort does maintain a maximum capacity of guests at the pool so that everyone can safely enjoy the pool while maintaining social distance.  Just make sure to plan your stay accordingly and check with the pool attendant during peak times to see if there will be a wait.  If the pool is at maximum capacity, you can put your name on a wait list.

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7 Mile Kitchen

We had an amazing lunch at the resort’s on-site restaurant 7 Mile Kitchen.  The restaurant offers elevated California comfort cuisine with lots of great options such as pizzas, pastas, burgers, salads and more. The food was so delicious and the service was fantastic!

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We ordered the Carbonara pizza and the Chicken Paillard pasta – both were fantastic!  There is a great kids menu with offerings like chicken tenders, pizza, burgers, spaghetti, and mac and cheese.

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There is ample and airy outdoor poolside seating overlooking the Pacific coastline, or guests can safely enjoy grab and go options.

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After your meal, you can order some yummy fresh gelato from the grab and go counter.

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Why Book a Staycation?

Even if we couldn’t travel far this summer, we fully enjoyed our staycation which felt very much like a vacation.  It was exactly what our family needed – a chance to relax and unwind and spend some quality time together outside of our home. Thank you Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa for the fabulous getaway!

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*This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.

New from Osmo: Genius Starter Kit + Family Game Night AND Coding Starter Kit

This summer, Osmo launched some new games and products, and we were thrilled to try them out and experience more Osmo magic.

Genius Starter Kit + Family Game Night

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First, Osmo has revamped its award-winning Genius Starter Kit and come up with something even better – the Genius Starter Kit + Family Game Night!  This new kit is great for kids ages 6 to 10 to play on their own or with family members.  A deeper dive into STEAM learning, the kit includes 5 bestselling classic Osmo games (Words, Numbers, Masterpiece, Tangram, Newton) which together foster a love of engineering, art, math and reading, and 2 BRAND NEW games (Lettertopia and Math Buzz).  These new games are great for collaborative game play so kids or families can play together.

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NEW Math Buzz game

Math Buzz can be played solo or with a team, where players buzz around a garden to pick up honey, and must outsmart bugs protecting the honey, using problem solving, creativity, and teamwork. There are so many educational benefits included in this game, including math concepts (addition, subtraction, multiplication); counting; collaborative learning; creative problem-solving.  The game features 20 levels, with many strategies for each level, and the best part is it is for 1 to 4 players, so our whole family can play together.

NEW Lettertopia game

Lettertopia allows families to team up on a Words adventure, where they meet interesting characters and figure out their characteristics to defeat them. They pick a character and use a selection of words to move around on the map. Enemies on the map have a series of characteristics that they must match to get past them. The educational benefits include collaborative learning; social-emotional skills; number sense and math confidence; spatial sense and visual acuity; reading and vocabulary; creativity and problem solving; hand-eye coordination and self expression. Lettertopia features 40+ levels, 6 playable characters, and 36+ enemies.  This game can be played with 2 players, but you can also form teams so the whole family can play as well.

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The Genius Starter Kit + Family Game Night comes with the Osmo base for iPad or Fire Tablet and the physical pieces that transform the tablets into a hands-on learning tool for kids, where they can arrange the game pieces in the physical world to engage with characters on the screen.  No other games on the iPad or tablet can engage my kids quite the way that Osmo games can.

The Genius Starter Kit is available for iPad and Fire at Osmo and Amazon – for iPad; for Fire Tablet.

Coding Starter Kit

Just in time for back-to-school, Osmo introduces Coding Starter Kit which combines bestsellers Coding Awbie, Coding Jam and Coding Duo (no longer sold separately), and makes coding accessible and fun through hands-on learning games specifically designed for kids 5 to 10.

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We have been interested in getting our kids into coding, and this kit has been such a wonderful way to introduce basic concepts in a fun and engaging way.  Children can learn basic coding concepts including problem solving, computational thinking, and coding fundamentals, in addition to more complex concepts, such as sequencing, looping, logic thinking, and pair programming.

The Coding Starter Kit features novel packaging, hardware updates, durable, new coding blocks/game pieces which can be used across all 3 games, and the introduction of sequenced learning via 3 game levels–Coding Awbie/beginning, Coding Jam/intermediate, and Coding Duo/advanced.

Coding Awbie

Coding Awbie is the beginning level game which allows kids to use the coding blocks included with the kit to control Awbie, a playful character who loves delicious strawbies. With each coding command, you guide Awbie on a wondrous tree-shaking, strawbie-munching adventure! This is a really fun way to introduce kids to basic coding concepts and commands.

Coding Jam

In Coding Jam, you can use the same blocks and snap them together in coding sequences to create an endless variety of musical compositions! My kids love composing their own tunes by arranging the blocks into patterns and sequences.  They get to know coding’s creative side while developing an ear for rhythm, melody and harmony.  And the game allows kids to safely share their jams with friends, family and the jam community too.

Coding Duo

Coding Duo is Osmo’s most advanced coding game.  You can solve advanced side-by-side puzzles solo or with a friend for double the fun and challenge.  Watch strawbie-loving Awbie and friendly monster Mo work together to overcome brain-stretching challenges.  One player codes for Awbie and the other codes for Mo, so collaboration and strategy pave the way to success!

 

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The Coding Starter Kit is available for iPad and Fire at Osmo and Amazon – for iPad; for Fire Tablet.

*This is a sponsored blog post, but all opinions are my own.