Great seats still available for FBT’s Giselle this weekend!

Festival Ballet presents Giselle this weekend, March 22nd & 23rd, at the Irvine Barclay Theatre. FBT originally presented Giselle in 1993 to rave reviews, and it promises to be acclaimed again this season. The beautiful ballet is an artful OC outing of culture for adults and children. Young ballerinas will particularly be struck by the spectacle and allure.

Giselle is a ballet and story of mystery, majesty and magic. The ballet was originally presented in 1842 in Paris. The original cast included ballet legends Carlotta Grisi as Giselle and Lucien Petipa as Albrecht.

The role of Giselle is one of the most sought-after in ballet, and corps scenes portraying the Willis are both exquisite and haunting. Appearing in the lead roles with Festival Ballet are Gillian Murphy and Cory Stearns, principals with American Ballet Theatre, along with FBT’s highly accomplished company dancers.

The classic is a tale of a young peasant girl who dies of a broken heart. Giselle, engaged to Loys, is celebrating a plentiful grape harvest with her village when her jealous admirer, Hilarion, reveals that Loys is actually Duke Albrecht and that he is already betrothed to Batilde, a princess.  Maddened with sorrow, Giselle dances a crazed dance that eventually turns fatal.  In the end, Giselle’s loyalty shows that love can transcend death.

Here is a look at the dancers preparing for the big weekend ahead (photos courtesy of the talented Dave Friedman)!

Tickets: $40 adult, $37 senior, $35 child
Saturday, March 22, 2014 @ 7:30 PM
Sunday, March 23, 2014 @ 2:00 PM

The Science of Gingerbread thru Jan. 5 at Discovery Science Center

It’s a deliciously sweet time at Discovery Science Center with The Science of Gingerbread on through Jan. 5th.

Inside the kitchen, you’ll find much more is going on than pouring and mixing – it’s “science at work. ” We recently visited for holiday fun, and the kids had a imaginative time running about and exploring all to see and do. The award-winning Gingerbread Competition entries are displayed throughout the Center and are something to behold.

Holiday fun includes:

  • DSC’s Holiday Colors & Lights stage show
  • Meet Santa and take your photo with him
  • Build and race your own candy car in the Gingerbread Derby
  • Decorate holiday cookies and eat them too

During the 8th Annual Science of Gingerbread Competition, enjoy the creativity of local companies, schools, families and organizations that have submitted their gingerbread creations. Between the sweet sights, Santa stop and curious science (of laser harps and much more), DSC makes for a great winter break outing.

Discovery Science Center  |  2500 N Main St. Santa Ana, CA 92705

VIDEO: OC Family goes backstage opening weekend for FBT’s Nutcracker thru Dec. 24

This weekend FBT’s Nutcracker opened to Orange County audiences. The sold out shows were a hit for the holidays. Here’s an exclusive OC Family backstage look at some of the fun, cast and charming happenings. It’s a delight to always share FBT’s acclaimed productions. Here’s a look and cameo with my Gingersnap daughter, Zoe.

Shows run through December 24th at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, but get your tickets fast at It’s the biggest and best OC Nutcracker, so the two-week run always sells out fast.

More ahead from me here, or keep up with me at, on Facebook and Twitter.

Also look for my stories each month in the OC Register Family Magazine.


Celebrate the season at Disneyland Resort

Do you make it a tradition to celebrate the season at Disneyland Resort? Nothing quite puts you in the sprit quite like all the festive decor on Main Street, a visit with Santa, the seasonal sweets and treats and rides like Small World all dressed up for the holidays. We recently checked out the fun on Family Media Day, and it was a winter wonderland with the cold weather.

This holiday season, some must-see stops include “World of Color – Winter Dreams,” an all-new version of “World of Color.” And new inside Disney California Adventure, you’ll find “Disney ¡Viva Navidad!,” a daily celebration of Latino culture and holiday traditions. The culture is charming and celebratory–my little guy was definitely in the spirit as we checked it all out.

My family and I delighted in the special seasonal decor on Buena Vista Street and in Cars Land. And after hitting the Cars cornucopia, we made our way through both parks.

It’s especially fun and festive to share the season with another family, like we did here with @Momfluential. The holidays are perfect for bringing family together at Disneyland Resort–everyone feeling like a kid whatever their ages.


Also, be sure to ”A Christmas Fantasy” parade and “Believe…in Holiday Magic” fireworks and snowfall on Main Street U.S.A. in Disneyland Park.

We definitely showed our Disney Side and made the most of the season.

Wishing you the happiest of times if you visit the happiest place on earth this month!

More happenings ahead from me here, or keep up with me at, on Facebook and Twitter. Also look for my stories each month in the OC Register Family Magazine.

Pacific Symphony’s Nutcracker — Dec. 14 Just for Kids ages 5-11

If you have children ages 5-11 who’s you’d love to take to the Nutcracker, but aren’t sure they’re ready to sit still for an entire ballet performance, consider Pacific Symphony’s Nutcracker for Kids on December 14th. The condensed 45-minute version created just for kids takes place at Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. It’s a rare opportunity for children to see this holiday delight paired with a live orchestra performing the classic sounds of Tchaikovsky.

Alejandro Gutiérrez is the peformance  conductor. The show is known for selling out each year for this very limited 1-day ballet, so buy your tickets quickly.

During the show, children will be enchanted with the fantastical world filled of dolls, mice, sugarplums, fairies and exotic places such as Spain, China and Russia. And they’ll be be captivated by Trepak (Russian Dance), the Waltz of the Flowers and of course, the loyalty of Clara and the bravery of her Nutcracker.

The show is part of Pacific Symphony’s Family Musical Mornings: fun, fascinating 45-minute concerts designed especially for younger children 5-11. All of which allows you to enjoy family fun time together while enhancing your child’s (or grandchild’s) love of music. I’ve taken my kids to several of the Family Musical Morning concerts, and they are fabulous! I really can’t say enough about them. [If you're booked on the day of the Nutcracker, note that in less than a month, on January 11, PSO be sharing the wonderful opera music of The Magic Potion, their very own kids’ version of Donizetti’s Elixir of Love, featuring amazing singers and actors.]

During the Family Musical Mornings there is also Musical Carnival pre- and post-show fun, kids can enjoy free hands-on activities and meet Symphony musicians, sing, dance, play, color, try musical instruments and enjoy themselves in thematic activities related to the concert. The Musical Carnival happens at 9 a.m. for 10 a.m. concertgoers; 12:15 p.m. for 11:30 a.m. concertgoers.

A highlight of PSO’s Nutcracker for Kids is the acclaimed guest talent of Orange County’s own Festival Ballet Theatre–one of Southern California’s most vibrant and accomplished regional ballet companies.

Boasting a roster of impressive talent, the company’s productions also feature internationally acclaimed guest artists from American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, the Kirov Ballet, New York City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and Scottish Ballet.

For more on the Nutcracker for Kids and upcoming shows, click here. 


More happenings ahead from me here, or keep up with me at, on Facebook and Twitter. Also look for my stories each month in the OC Register Family Magazine.

Snow in the Forecast at LEGOLAND® California Resort

Have you been to LEGOLAND® California Resort yet? Right now is a special time to experience the hotel with seasonal park fun including more than 50 tons of real snow on the ground, festive treats and holiday entertainment. It makes for a cozy themed escape just outside of OC.

I recently surprised my kids with a surprise stay at the Hotel as the snow was getting underway. They were wildy thrilled as you can imagine.

It was such a treat to be steps away from the park entrace as we awoke, had breakfast and simply stepped from Bricks into LEGOLAND.

Staying at a completely kid-friendly resort was refreshingly fun with no worries of my kids being crazy, loud or slightly out of control. Their favorite aspect of the hotel? The elevator, hands-down. It transforms into a disco scene as the door closes.

My youngest son had his first rollercoaster experience, and he was hilarious to watch. LEGOLAND really has something for all ages, and now with the hotel on property, it’s a true getaway.

This season, the fun includes: Holiday Snow Days and Winter Nights, as the Park’s Fun Town transforms into a winter wonderland. Also, new this year is a snow-tubing experience gliding down 7-foot tall snow-covered tube runs. Finally, don’t miss the the 30-foot tall Christmas tree that’s created out of more than 245,000 forest green DUPLO® bricks and is adorned with more than 400 LEGO ornaments. Fireworks go off each night too Dec. 26 through Dec. 30 at 7 p.m. The best view to see the festive fireworks display is in the Park’s Fun Town.

Happy holidays, from my family to yours.

For more on LEGOLAND® California Resort and their Holiday Snow Days information, visit or call (760) 918-LEGO (5346).


More happenings ahead from me here, or keep up with me at, on Facebook and Twitter. Also look for my stories each month in the OC Register Family Magazine.

Chill at The Queen Mary – Ice Skating, Ice Kingdom, Tubing fun

It’s only the second year for Chill at The Queen Mary, so many in SoCal still don’t know about this ice wonderland. Chill just opened and runs through January 6. There’s candyland decor, ice skating in front of the Queen Mary, and the stunning Ice Kingdom is set to a chilled 7 degrees! (“We can brave it” attitude pic from the kids below.)

This year, the Kingdom’s theme is Nutrcacker ice sculptures in front of a 24-ft. Queen Mary replica and ice sled racing festivities.

From the Holiday Village to all the winter food treats, there really is so much to take in. But definitely don’t miss the ice skating. It’s completely charming with the night lights of the boat and holiday music playing.

You can buy tickets for various experiences, but I’d recommend the CHILL EXPERIENCE
Ticket includes all day access to the ship, live entertainment, holiday activities, timed admission into The Ice Kingdom and its slides, PLUS Ice Skating

General Admission: Starting at $29.95
Child (4-11): Starting at $14.95

There’s also a Chill VIP Hotel package if you’ve never stayed aboard the ship and are brave enough to sleep with the ghosts. It’s unforgettable.

Here’s more of a look from the Chill night. 

The Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Highway • Long Beach, CA 90802

Information: (877) 342-0738 • Hotel Reservations: (877) 342-0742 • QUEENMARY.COM


Happy holidays!

More happenings ahead from me here, or keep up with me at, on Facebook and Twitter. Also look for my stories each month in the OC Register Family Magazine.

Perfect weather for Irvine Park Railroad’s Pumpkin Patch

Now that the weather has finally cooled, it’s the perfect time for fall pumpkin fun. We recently visited, and the kids were running nonstop to all the activities.

Open through October 31st, the patch at Irvine Park Railroad is located inside of Irvine Regional Park in the foothills of Orange.

In addition to all the seasonal photo opps, activities include: train rides, hay rides, panning for gold, a child-friendly haunted house, a hay maze, a moon bounce, carnival games, cookie decorating, John Deere tractor racers and more.

We tried the Wheel Fun Rentals® at Irvine Park this year, and it was a wild ride. My daughter took the wheel for a very short bit till I feared for my life. You can also rent paddle boats. (Bike and paddle boat rentals are open daily at 10:00 am through October 31st.)

Admission into the Pumpkin Patch is free. Prices for all other activities vary; visit for information and costs.

Get out there this weekend and enjoy all the good times. Of course, don’t miss the train and hayride–highlights of a great day.

The Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin Patch is open daily through October 31st.

Weekdays 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Weekends 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

More happenings ahead from me here, or keep up with me at, on Facebook and Twitter.

Also look for my stories each month in the OC Register Family Magazine.

Music Factory: Fashioned to be the coolest music school. See their remodel.

If you’re looking to get your kids in a music school that stands out, take a look at Music Factory OC. They don’t just talk the talk, they like to walk the walk, from the stage to their studio school. So they didn’t want to just be rock-n-roll, they wanted to be all things rock-n-roll—and unexpected rock-n-roll—from the moment you walked in the door.

That said, and with the funds raised as part of their Music Factory Indiegogo remodel project, they’re revealing their first restyled room, as they get in full swing this month to remodel the entire school.

Here’s a look, plus Q&A with the swank Artistic Director Lauren Chanel Cobb about the project and her unique slant on style (beyond black tees and headbanger stuff).

OC Family: Share your vision and inspiration for the remodel.

Lauren: “I set out to create an atmosphere that is not only visually attractive, but one that feels very creative. I believe surroundings trigger emotions that float in our subconscious—and here is the perfect place for that. I want everyone to enter into another world outside the reality and chaos of Orange County.

OCF: Tell readers about the funds, the plan.

Lauren: “We raised about $5,000 on Indiegogo for the remodel. We’re aiming for a complete makeover, even some construction. We definitely had to be smart and creative in our remodel, but that’s part of this whole process anyway.”

OCF: Is life imitating art with you?

Lauren: “All through my education, both fine arts and music have been my main focus,  which continued into my college years at The Academy of Arts in San Francisco. My imagination is a bit over the top, and I am very lucky to be able to utilize it here. I really lucked out on my career here. Often dedicating your education to being a working artist and musician doesn’t always pan out, so now is my chance to create an artistic explosion!”

OCF: Will there be a wrap party?

Lauren: “Our goal is to have the school reflect finished by the end of October. During this process new ideas always arise though, so we may add a little more surprise transitions along the way. The school will remain open during this entire process, so our work will all be after-hours (pretty common for musicians anyway, right). We want to celebrate when it’s a wrap for sure.”

OCF: Any parting words?

Lauren: ”Life is better when you play music, which is what this remodel is all about when it comes down to it, right? We want students to enjoy where they are learning with us. Some may call our remodeled school ‘The most rad studio in OC.’ Or perhaps ‘The most stylized studio.’ Or maybe just the place ‘Where ‘rock-n-rollers’ take their kids.’ We’ll let the people decide.”

More happenings ahead from me here, or keep up with me at, on Facebook and Twitter.

Also look for my stories each month in the OC Register Family Magazine.

We partied at Mickey’s Halloween Party. A look at the 1st-night fun!

As promised, I told you I’d party-report back on the night. Here’s a look at the fun and what’s in store for the special 12 nights ahead this October. Mickey’s Halloween Party is a separate ticket event, and it’s worth it for many reasons, including the opp to dress up in the park with your kids, the fact that you have the park to yourselves (non-ticket holders are escorted out for the evening), the ride lines are shorter (ridiculously so after 11 pm too), the many trick-or-treat trails, and overall, it just makes for such a whimsical, rare night seeing everyone in costumes.

I’ve never dressed up for the party, but decided to go for it this year. My girl and I were 50′s gals and the boys were Skeleton men; the kids really loved seeing Ray and I in attire.

Before we even got our tickets, we hit Studio 365 for a makeover for Zoe. She has had her eye on the Studio for many years and was giddy getting her hair and makeup done with her little girlfriends. Studio Disney 365 stylists are do’ing up their latest look called “Take Two.” It’s available for a limited time only, October 1 – 31 at Studio Disney 365 in the Downtown Disney District.

There are also other makeover transformations for kids such as “boo”tiful Halloween Minnie Mouse-inspired transformation at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Disneyland park, debuting this month. And boys will love  The Pirates League makeover at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree in Disneyland, where they’ll be turned into an authentic pirate, even take a pledge. (If you are planning on visiting the Disneyland during Halloween Time, be sure to book ahead to make the makeovers part of your night – call 714-781-STYLE (7895).)

We of course had to hit the Haunted Mansion to spy on Jack Skellington and his crew. It’s a tradition for us that we never miss.

Here are the boys “resting their boys” on Main Street.

The kids were psyched for the trick or treat trails all throughout the park. And may I say I had not even a candy bar this year (part of my recent diet oath); I opted for apples, carrots, a few cranberries  and whole grain Cheez-its.

The decorations throughout the park are so amazing this season, and everyone needs their photo by the big pumpkin. Disneyland managed to get the night’s bloggers together for this fun shot.

Other festivities on our night of frights included the Monsters University Dance Party and the “Halloween Screams” fireworks, which is exclusively for Mickey’s Halloween Party guests. It’s fabulous!

Believe it or not, my little pumpkin made it till midnight, then crashed at 12:01. It was a full night for sure!


Visit Haunted Mansion Holiday, brought to you by Jack Skellington, from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, and the residents of Halloween Town.

Dare to ride  Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy.

Take a spooky stroll down Main Street, U.S.A., which is transformed into a Pumpkin Festival with hundreds of hand-carved pumpkins on display — and no two alike.

Observe Dia de los Muertos and a traditional skeleton display (Frontierland through Nov. 3).


And new at Mickey’s Halloween Party 2013: 

Monsters U Dance Party at Tomorrowland Terrace

The dates:

The special after-hours Mickey’s Halloween Party begins Sept. 27 at Disneyland Park and features:  the “Halloween Screams” fireworks spectacular. Mickey’s Halloween Party dates are: Friday, Sept. 27; Tuesday, Oct. 1; Friday, Oct. 4; Tuesday, Oct. 8; Friday, Oct. 11; Tuesday, Oct. 15; Friday, Oct. 18; Monday, Oct. 21; Wednesday, Oct. 23; Friday, Oct. 25; Monday, Oct. 28; Wednesday, Oct. 30; and Thursday, Oct. 31.

The party:

Adults and children are invited to dress up in costume and trick-or-treat at Disneyland Park, enjoying candy and healthy treats. These party participants can also arrive before the party to “mix in” with regular Disneyland guests for three hours prior to the start of Mickey’s private bash.

To purchase tickets (there are advantages to purchasing tickets early (such as discounts and first choice of nights)

For tickets, click here to buy or call 714-781-4400.

Have a great Halloween season everyone.

More happenings ahead from me here, or keep up with me at, on Facebook and Twitter. Also look for my stories each month in the OC Register Family Magazine (including the October cover story on Halloween).


[Disclosure: My family received complimentary media tickets to the event to share the experience with readers. All opinions are my own.]