Sparks of Magic

Disney's Frozen 2 Teaser Trailer

Disney, EntertainmentCamilleComment
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They’re baaaaaack. Ana, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf!

I’m not sure how you feel about Frozen, but I love it and I am not here to sway you either way, because I am totally biased. I love the story, the characters and YES the music! :) I’m thrilled that the power couple Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez are back with songwriting and the film will feather the familiar voices of Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Goff and Josh Gad!

The Frozen soundtrack is one of my favorites. Our family car isn’t tech friendly so we have a cd player and the only cds I own are Disney. Currently for the kids Moana is the running favorite that I play, but I also have Frozen and Into the Woods. haha. Let’s just say if they are being difficult, I will play Let it Go! :)

ANYWAY, here’s the new trailer for Frozen 2, see for yourself, but make sure to come back because we need to chat.

SO! What do you think? I have so many questions, which is typical of watching any teaser trailer. Why is it so desert-like, what the heck happened to Ana’s hair (it’s super cute, but still), why are there so many reindeer and why is Elsa stuck on some random island?! I got scared for a minute when I didn’t see my boy, Olaf, but he popped in there! You know how winter was coming for so long in GOT? Well looks like Fall or something dark is taking over Arendelle, if that is where they are even at!

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We get no glimpse into who the “villain” will be in this trailer, or why it seems everyone is separated. Something went down, and I’m anxious to find out. I guess we have to wait until they release more peeks into the film!

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Please tell me someone is excited to see this!

Frozen 2 opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2019!

My calendar is marked. :) How about you?

2019 Word of the Year: Restoration

Wellness, ThoughtsCamilleComment

Last year, my focus was on all. the. healing. Recovering from the loss of family, income, lack of self-love and acceptance, amongst other things and more kept surfacing as I was healing. At first I was not sure I picked the right word for 2018, but came to the realization that the healing process is not always pretty.

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I let go and allowed myself to be poured into, accepting things that I couldn’t change or control, learning to sit and be still which I am still learning but the process has been sweet, especially with my Daddy home again. He is an amazing example of that, no matter what trials come your way, keeping your head up, looking forward and learning from it all. So, I’m excited to say that I have and continue to do just that. Healing is a serious process, and isn’t complete just because the year ends. However, as healing continues, we see restoration on the horizon, feelings of completeness, even newness in many areas.

This year I hope and will work towards restoration in my mental wellness, physical health, finances and self confidence. All of those things felt so broken in past years, and began healing last year.

There are so many ways to help manifest a word for 2019, but the most helpful information I found was from an amazing creative, Lucrecer Braxton, she did a Facebook video a few weeks ago, and talked more in depth about the process of establishing YOUR word. Even more awesome, she also creates your word in hand-lettered calligraphy so make sure to visit her Etsy Shop! I can’t wait to receive mine, and I’ll be sure to share it on my wellness instagram page!

My word came as an overflow from my life experiences and word (healing) last year, which might be totally different than how you might determine your word. Take your time, don’t rush the process and feel throughout.

Ok. So, what exactly is RESTORATION? Well there are a few definitions at Dictionary dot com and I am interpreting my restoration as a combination of these two:

  • the act of restoring; renewal, revival, or reestablishment

  • restitution of something taken away or lost.

You see, my goal is not to be in an unimpaired condition or perfect state. That’s not possible. I love the idea of being revived and reestablished. The last couple of years have made me aware of how much I lost myself through lack of self-love and confidence. As I began healing last year and made intentional moves towards allowing myself to love and be loved, things began to change.

I wholly believe in manifesting magic, and the power of words spoken to self or out loud. There is power in positivity and believing that good things are transpiring even if you don’t see them, that they are here even if you don’t feel them, and they are coming for you even if you’re unsure. How do we battle those doubts and fears? Speak these good things into existence.

My year began in a big way, I traveled to Florida with my best friend, Sarah, on a work trip mixed with some fun! We stayed at Walt Disney World Resort, I attended FLOCK Presents and we made strategies for our businesses and how we would achieve our goals for 2019. I share more on my Elli Mac Consulting Blog about conferences and business info!

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Friends, I’m so serious about restoration in 2019, it has already begun to manifest itself in more ways than one, which is so exciting! I’ve won a few things this year, had some great conversation and connections in regards to work, clients and opportunities and it’s barely February!

Did you decide on a word for 2019 yet? If so, share in the comments! If not, do you plan to? I look forward to checking in with you and seeing how we all are progressing through the year!

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Alpha Burritos: Easy Appetizers for Late Family Dinners

Reviews, FoodCamilleComment

My family has become accustomed to knowing that their Mama is not a Michelin star chef, nor am I June Cleaver or Martha Stewart. I have a tendency to do the same meals over and over, and honestly when I say “do,” it really means my hubby does it because I requested it! I love meals that are quick and easy, doing the job of nourishing bellies and souls. Unless I am in the kitchen cooking with my hubby or kids, I’d prefer not to be in there. However, as my mindset of wellness and clean eating continues to change and I learn more and more, I realize the importance of making our eating and health a priority but also giving ourselves grace in knowing that we will never be perfect and sometimes we need to warm something up in the microwave!

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We had my parents over for dinner the other night, and the menu was homemade enchiladas, black beans and rice, so I thought having burritos as an appetizer would hold them off until the real meal was complete. You see, we are a bit more flexible with meal times at our house, while we typically have a meal plan, we don’t really have a “meal time” and it varies by day. My parents on the other hand are a little more scheduled, because while we can eat at 7:30 pm (kids are late risers), they’re ready to go by 5:00pm!

In typical fashion, I was running around with my daughter and mom perusing estate sales and thrift stores during the day, then more errands in the afternoon and totally forgot to thaw the organic ground turkey for the enchiladas for dinner, so let’s just say we already were having a late start for dinner. I also forgot to delegate the task, so there’s that otherwise someone would have done that for me. Enter the idea for a pre-meal snack, aka appetizer!

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Thankfully I knew that I was going to be doing a taste test with the family for Alpha Burritos this weekend so I ended up whipping together some fresh salsa and firing up the panini press! These burritos are so easy to make, you warm them in the microwave for about 80 seconds (always check your wattage and read the label) and then use the panini press to add a light grill mark. I like to brush a dab of butter or ghee on the outside so it gives the burritos a nice little crunch. Alpha Burritos are GMO Free and each contain 11grams of protein per burrito. Additionally, they contain anywhere from 300-320 calories.

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Taste Test

I wasn’t sure how my family would take to the Alpha Burritos since they are plant-based and most of us are not vegan or vegetarian, but I wanted them to try them due to the clean nutrition label and high levels of protein. We are really trying to limit our processed food intake, but sometimes when we are traveling and only have a microwave available for heating food I am always looking for new products that have clean ingredients.

Sadly, I had to leave ALL the taste testing to the family since the burritos are not gluten free and contain soy, something that I personally do my best to stay away from. Gluten aside, I think if the burritos were without the soy I would buy them more often for my crew, but with a family history of soy being an issue sometimes to our current health ailments, I honestly don’t see myself purchasing these consistently. For my family members that are Vegan and Vegetarian, these will be nice go-to’s in the freezer when they visit and we need some appetizers, snacks, or side dish!

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First response from my testers was that they really liked them, my dad loves meat, and is always hesitant about what I try to feed him, but he seemed to enjoy the fresh salsa topping the Chick’n Fajita burrito! My mom had the Philly Sandwich, and she added her own salsa on top (I thought salsa on Philly Cheesesteak was a little interesting, I would have opted for sautéed mushrooms and swiss myself, haha). My hubby ate the Pizza flavor. While they all said they liked the overall texture and flavors, they felt it still wasn’t seasoned enough, and kind of bland. This opinion was amplified when I revealed that it was 100% plant-based and had no real meat in the burrito. Perhaps it was in their heads, because they couldn’t tell at first. I found that interesting, but again, could not taste it myself so I have to share their opinions with all of you!

I think if there were more garnishments and varied toppings for them it would have added more flavor. But these would do the trick for a quick bite at the hotel while we travel!

About Alpha Foods

Based in Glendale, CA, Alpha Foods is committed to animal welfare, a healthy planet and healthy humans. They offer burritos and hand pies as plant-based convenience foods. There are four burrito flavors, Mexicali, Philly Sandwich, Chick’n Fajita and Pizza! I was able to find three of the four flavors, unfortunately my local Walmart was out of Mexicali - but I bet that would have been a hit! Being in Northern CA, I found Alpha products at Walmart, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Safeway. You can find a store near you » here.

Another fun thing I love about Alpha Foods is that they have a recipes tab, showcasing some great pairings of food and drinks for their burritos and hand pies! OH, yes, hand pies. I sure hope they add in some gluten and soy free options to their product line up, soon!

How do you satisfy the initial hunger of your family when you’re running late? Want to jazz up your party food? These would make great appetizers, just add guacamole, salsa sour cream, and/or marinara (for Pizza) on the side!

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Disclaimer: As a blogger for Moms Meet, I was sent a panini press, veggie chopper and complimentary vouchers to try Alpha Burritos and share my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

Must-Have Virtual Tools to Prep for Holiday Gatherings

EntertainmentCamilleComment
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Managing a household every day is one thing, but taking it to another level with company for the holidays is a totally different story. Thinking about the holidays can be somewhat stressful: the cleaning, cooking, prepping, and decorating - all while trying to keep a handle on everyday life with family typically leads me to doing absolutely nothing unless it’s immediate family.

However, in the spirit of the holidays and really over the past year wanting to spend more time with my loved ones and connecting with those typically outside of my circle, I’ve decided that I want to host a holiday open house in our home for local family and friends. While I LOVE my paper planners, there’s something special about virtual and automated sharing of tasks.

I have approximately three weeks, and am going Pinterest crazy, but there are three virtual tools that I am learning to love, that have also been paramount in both inspiring & helping me plan, prep and organize my ideas for this upcoming event: Paperless Post, Food 52, and Wunderlist.

Paperless Post

Parties need people, and Paperless Post is a great way to send, gather and track RSVPs digitally using emails for invitations. My one frustration is that there is no text sending feature from the desktop, because honestly most of my friends I connect with via text message. As a graphic designer, I have to say I am pretty picky when it comes to pre-made invites and cards. But, these are gorgeous digital invitations, AND you can even design and get them printed through Paper Source. My other favorite feature are the many ways to customize the RSVPs. The service is free with add-on components based on your design selection and card type. The currency are “coins” and each invite is approximately 2 coins. When you sign up you automatically get 25 coins to get started. From there you can purchase packages, refer friends and earn more coins. Who’s ready to party?! :)

Food 52

If you follow me on social media, you’ll know that I am not a foodie, or food blogger, and really don’t even do the majority of cooking in my home. However, I am great at offering ideas, creating the meal plan, and delegating the process. One of my recent findings is the Food 52 website, where they have a community, kitchen & home goods and lots of delicious recipes on a beautiful and aesthetically pleasing website!

Wunderlist

I keep my entire family, lists and work tasks organized using the Wunderlist app. Favorite feature? Syncing the app across all of my devices and with my family members! We set up a shared list for Costco, Target, Sprouts and even chores! There is also a feature to print lists and they come complete with check boxes which is handy for my children that need to tangibly check off their tasks.

So, tell me how on earth do you keep yourself organized when it comes to parties and gatherings?

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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by Paperless Post and contains affiliate links. Should you purchase through these links, Sparks of magic will earn a small commission. Opinions are always mine; thank you for supporting the magic!

Toy Story 4 - More New Characters & Teaser Trailer!

Entertainment, DisneyCamilleComment
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I just about burst in tears of laughter watching this teaser trailer of two new characters, Ducky (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key) and Bunny (voiced by Jordan Peele), and their “reaction” to the news of Toy Story 4.

We are huge fans of Key and Peele at our house, their voices are so recognizable and they are hilarious. I feel they’ll add an element to the film that engages our teen kiddos differently than other Toy Story films. They really have no connection to Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, so new voices and comedic personalities will bring a fresh perspective.

Ducky and Bunny are carnival prize toys, and their goal is to be won, which is definitely not something the other toys in Woody’s crew can relate to. Their adventure I am sure is going to be side-splitting!

I know, this is my second post on the film just short a few days apart, but I am pretty excited about it! Mark your calendar for June 21, 2019!

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How We Manage Homeschooling Five Kids Plus Some Options to Get Started in California

FamilyCamilleComment

Well, we did it and took the leap this year, our journey to homeschooling has begun. I guess I shouldn't say that it’s just beginning, because I've homeschooled our kids off and on since our eldest (now a Senior) was in Kindergarten, but this is the first year that we have ALL FIVE of them home and WE are working together.

Did you get that? Yep. WE.

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Jeff and I are a team in pretty much everything, but until recently, school has always leaned more towards this Mama’s court. However, since I am also working from home and focusing heavily on our transition to Los Angeles, we decided to meet in the middle for the kids’ education for this season in life.

At the time of this post, we are home educating 2 in middle and 3 in high school, with one graduating in Spring 2019. I know that people see the fun perks, like school at Disneyland and other destinations, more time spent as a family for travel and 1:1 learning and have this glamorous idea of what it’s like to be a home educator. I love homeschooling, but to be fair if you are considering it, it is A LOT of hard work especially with older students and it is not an easy feat. They get on our nerves. They don’t get to do what they want. They literally eat up the entire house since they’re home all day. They can’t be on social media during school hours (oh yes, they love that part *total sarcasm*). They have to have a schedule. They also have to get dressed. Granted, we do have our lazy days in pajamas, because if you can - why not, however brushing teeth before coming to the table is always a must! Oh, and yes, they have to do work. Thankfully we have an amazing and supporting Education Specialist through our charter school, along with a great team of Special Education teachers for our kiddos that need extra help. When we look at the pros and cons, especially a mid-year relocation, it made the most sense to round them all up, strap on our teaching hats and buckle down to make it work!

Be prepared. Homeschooling will test your marriage. You need to compromise & work together.

Agreeing to Compromise

Let’s be honest, after almost two decades married we have come to understand the word “compromise” on many levels… but let me tell you - homeschooling will test your marriage. Jeff and I have always had differing opinions about homeschooling, and it never really made sense for our family until this year to have all of them home. Fun fact: Jeff was homeschooled his entire life. He is not too proud of that fact for more reasons than one, but mostly because he missed out on a normalized social aspect and his schooling was due to sheltering not academics or opportunity for advancement in the real world. Our kids are little social butterflies most of the time, so he was/is most concerned that this area of their lives would/will suffer. You see how I am still including the present? Because it still scares him, LOL.

I, on the other hand, think that homeschooling is amazing - no matter how many times I’ve sat at the table and cried over planning another week of studies or rearranging schedules to accommodate appointments, travel and other things to keep them on track. In full scorpio fashion, I am a ball of emotion and energy so I can get a little excited with my doomsday thinking if I forget something. You feel like (because you kind of do) have the responsibility of your children’s entire future on your shoulders, and while it scares the shit out of me, it also empowers me because I CAN do this and I AM doing it. It’s not perfect, I am not perfect and my kids are not perfect. However, I am always reassured that they are doing well and we are making it work. The opportunity and flexibility, the joy of seeing our kids “get it” when it comes to certain subjects that are naturally tough, especially after spending years in traditional school coming home confused as hell - to me, is worth the tears, frustration and hard work.

So, how on earth do we make it work for us? I decided to share some of the ways that have helped us over a few blog posts, but be mindful as your family will have different needs than ours. There are so many blogs and articles on homeschooling in CA, and I assume if you’re reading this we know each other in real life, so I would hope that my input actually means something to you. If you have questions, reach out! :) This post focuses more on the options available in California to get this series started.

Homeschool Options 

In the state of California, we have options when it comes to home education. This is simply a brief overview and list of those options and should not be the foundation of your decision-making process. Dependent on your area, seek out school options, call and email, meet their administrators in person and ASK QUESTIONS. YOU are the advocate for your children’s education, speak up and find out what will work for your family based on your children’s needs and learning styles. We have children that have Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and Section 504 accommodations and we have Support specialists and teachers that must follow the same mandated regulations as if they were in traditional school. We have always homeschooled through a public charter school so as a disclaimer for this and all future posts, my experience is the perspective of a public charter family in CA. Additional note: NOT ALL CHARTERS ARE THE SAME.

  1. Homeschool Program through Public Charter School: Just as it implies, you are enrolled in a public school and when you homeschool through this option, you are provided funding but you are also 100% responsible for using those funds appropriately for curriculum, enrichment and field trips. You work with an Education Specialist (ES, a Credentialed teacher) to plan your children’s path and they guide you on how to spend your funds. Funding amounts vary based on school, grade of student and location. Because this is public school, the purchase of religious products and services are prohibited. In our experiences, we meet in person or virtually with our ES every 20 school days or once per month.

  2. Homeschool Program through Private Schools: Many times this is an online or video program, additionally many programs are religious-based. As stated, this is private school, so it will also cost money to attend once accepted. For us personally, and with so many children, it is was not a viable financial option and we like the idea of them learning varying perspectives and having more flexibility in curriculum for each child.

  3. Independent Study through Public Charter or Private School: This is done through a public or private school location with varying ways of your student(s) receiving education. Some allow your student(s) to be onsite for an allotted amount of time and work from home the remainder. Some schools have scheduled classes to attend and they provide the curriculum. This option typically does not include any funding as curriculum provided covers CA standards based on grade level.

  4. Private School Affidavit (PSA): This is the option I am least familiar with, but you file with the state as a private home school to educate your own children. Based on CA Ed Code, there are filing dates, which are October 1-15th. More on that is here.

Ok, I know, that could be a lot to swallow if you’re just toying with the idea. However, once you decide the school option, there are still more areas to consider that include the age/grade of your child, their academic goals, learning styles and your desired time commitment. I am excited to embark on sharing our experiences here and touching on every one of those areas. I am grateful to live in a state that allows us options as parents to participate fully in our children’s education.

Do you homeschool? If not, have you considered homeschooling? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Toy Story 4 Teaser Trailer

Entertainment, DisneyCamilleComment

Just when you might have thought the adventures for Woody, Buzz and friends were over, we get a sneak peek into a new, big world that Woody finds himself in with his new kid, Bonnie.

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If you recall previous films in the franchise, a toy’s purpose is to be there for its child, so when Bonnie brings home a repurposed spork called “Forky,” things take a little turn and the poor guy seems to have a serious identity crisis! 

©️Disney•Pixar

©️Disney•Pixar

Forky, voiced by comedian Tony Hale, is convinced he doesn’t belong, I mean, he honestly looks like a cute Pinterest fail, and I can only imagine the level of comedy that will ensue as he tries to find his way in the toy room!

I’m excited to also share that the all-star cast that I grew up to love from 1995 is still voicing their respective characters in this fourth release. 

Here’s a sneak peek at the teaser trailer!  

Toy Story 4 and Forky debut in the US on June 21, 2019!  

Keep up with all the happenings online:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PixarToyStory/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/toystory

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ToyStory/

YouTubehttps://www.youtube.com/user/DisneyPixar

Pixar films get you at the core, so I’m excited to see what they have for us in Toy Story 4!  

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Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo | San Mateo 2018

Events, Food, WellnessCamilleComment

Living gluten free in 2018 is so much easier than it was a decade ago, when I found out I could no longer partake in most of my favorite foods, including Disneyland churros. However, over the years I found other sensitivities to foods (dairy, soy, other grains) that affected more than just my gut, but also my mind and mental wellness.

Today, this lifestyle is becoming more typical for my family as we are shifting our mindset together to more whole foods, organic, mostly grain-free and always being extra careful about my daughter’s life threatening allergy to peanuts and legumes.

I was so excited to find out that there is an expo dedicated to connecting brands that offer all gluten free foods to consumers! With over ten sponsors and eighty (yes 80) gluten free brands, it will take two days to get through each booth and learn at the educational classes about living gluten free and allergen friendly, whether for yourself, your loved ones or to increase your awareness for others.

Check out the brands in attendance »

About the GFAF Expo

The event is two days:
November 17th & 18th, 2018
10 am - 3 pm both days.

Location: San Mateo County Event Center - Fiesta Hall
Parking is $12 per day (no in/out privileges)

Ticket Info

What do you get with your ticket?

  • Coupons from the best gluten-free & allergen-friendly brands

  • FREE samples from exhibitors- baked goods, pizza, healthy options & more

  • Discounted products available for purchase

  • Informative classes related to the gluten-free & allergen-friendly lifestyle

  • Free reusable bag to carry your goodies

  • The chance to meet your favorite brands, restaurants, authors & bloggers

Adults (Ages 13+):
$15 - 1 day or $25 weekend pass

Kids (Ages 3-12):
$5 - 1 day or $7 weekend pass

Family pass (2 adults and up to 6 kids) - Sunday only
$35

Purchase tickets »

Early bird promo code: ADVANCE for 20% off tickets through November 16, 2018!

Follow along with me on social @camilledashana (twitter & IG) and the hashtag #GFAFExpo - Hope to see you there!

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I will earn a small commission through each ticket purchased. I am attending this event as a media professional and will receive complimentary access to the Expo in order to report and share my experience with my readers.

Our Disney Dreamers Academy 2018 Experience

Family, Disney, TravelCamilleComment
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In March 2018, our third daughter was blessed with an all-expense paid trip to Walt Disney World thanks to Steve Harvey, Essence Magazine and Disney Parks. She applied for Disney Dreamers Academy in the fall of 2017, and just a few days before Christmas she was sent a congratulatory letter that she was accepted and could bring a guardian for the trip. We all knew it would be me, Jeff said he knows the boundaries when it comes to Disney magic. :)

Our trip was absolutely amazing. I've posted about it on Instagram and my personal Facebook, but have yet to sit down and journal the experience to the keyboard. I wholeheartedly went as a Mama, not an influencer, not a blogger. Sure, I took pictures and posted a few times, but my intent was not to capture and Instagram my way through because many times I miss a lot in that mode; I wanted to soak up the experience and be present with my girl.

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I am so glad I did.

It was a whirlwind, jam-packed week of laughter, learning, fun, tears, excitement and I could not be more proud and equally honored to have shared the moments with KeiLana and the other 99 teens and guardians in attendance. Along with the teens, we parents learned so much.

I was blessed with reconfirmation on direction in MY life. My mind and spiritual wellness were refreshed and renewed in walking my path. I was reminded that my journey is mine, as my children’s are theirs. While we are a team and work together to better our collective lives, still, at the end of the day I cannot walk their journey for them - and they cannot hinder me from walking mine.

We were told the event was a set up for us as parents. SURPRISE! We were also there because we needed to be. I can’t argue with that, I truly believe we are where we are supposed to be. I felt it. I made some new friends that I hope and believe will last as we watch our kids grow up and pursue their dreams, encouraging each other along the way.

The kids (and us parents) were reminded by Princeton Parker that our “what if’s” are often rooted in fear, that we hinder ourselves from moving forward in that mindset. Most of all, our daughter has found a tribe of likeminded peers; She is part of this amazing group of 100 that has chosen to be, not just exist.

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Who will you be?

If you want to BE - you must make a choice.

If you want to exist - you just have to breath.

– Princeton Parker

I will continue to share our experience here so stay tuned, there was so much to take in! For those that are in high school ages 13-19, applications for the Class of 2019 are currently open until October 31, 2018!

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Disclaimer: My daughter was selected by Steve Harvey Radio Network, Inc and Disney Destinations, LLC (“Disney”) to receive an all-expense paid trip (flight, hotel, food, Disney World admission) to Florida with a chaperone (me), based on her application to The Disney Dreamers Academy. No further compensation was given.

Clean Beauty - type:A Natural Deodorant Review

Reviews, WellnessCamilleComment

Growing up, I have always been extremely self-conscious about body odor, and it has taken me years to find products that a) work and b) don’t give me an allergic reaction. It wasn’t until my exposure to Mamavation and Shiftcon that I found products that helped with alleviating any skin issues, but most natural deodorants have yet to truly help with the odor for longer than a couple of hours.

Sweat is a natural process and helps our bodies eliminate toxins, therefore we should not be preventing the sweat ( like using anti-perspirants) from happening. I choose deodorant that helps absorb the sweat through natural ingredients and oils.

There are two formulas of type:A, “The Minimalist” which is fragrance-free, and I selected “The Visionary” which is described as having a Citron Crisp naturally scented with essential oils. The essential oils give the deodorant a nice touch, it is not too strong or overpowering and the consistency of the deodorant is just right, dries clear and doesn’t feel sticky or wet.

What I love about Type:A’s natural deodorant

Easy to apply - Many natural deodorants have a pasty consistency, making application messy and more difficult when on-the-go. Let’s be honest, the last thing I want to do is hand rub stuff under my armpits when applying mid-day. The tube is easy-to-use, has a soft silicone top and at 2.8 oz it is travel-friendly!

Great for sensitive skin - The first natural deodorant I switched to a couple of years ago was Tom’s of Maine. I chose it because it was natural and assumed it was gluten free. I quickly realized after a few weeks of itchy armpits that I was allergic to it because of the ‘hops’ - for some reason I did not put two and two together that it was wheat (duh me, beer and hops). It worked keeping odor at bay, so I just assumed I had a reaction to the razor from burns. Nope, it was the deodorant. Contrary to what some blogs I have read will say, gluten still effects me in cosmetics not just food. I get itchy and break out. It makes sense, our skin is the largest organ and we absorb anything we put onto it. Reminder, I am not a medical professional, so it is important that you listen to your body when it comes to allergies and consult with your doctor.

Non-Toxic, Aluminum, Paraben and Phthalate Free - As this lifestyle of green & overall wellness shift happens for me and my family, I am navigating towards purchasing products and supporting businesses that have a natural, non=toxic focus. Since I am not the only one with skin and allergy issues, it is important that I find products for all of our family that are free from unsafe chemicals and synthetics that contribute to a whole slew of health issues. type:A is transparent in its ingredients list on their website which is awesome. Additionally, type:A’s formula is 100% non-toxic using only plant-derived or safe synthetic ingredients.

Quick results - Honestly, it is the first deodorant that worked immediately. My first try I applied it prior to a workout and I was impressed (and yes I smelled my pits) and smiled. I’ve been using type:A daily for almost two months now and typically only have to apply it once per day (although our 100º weather in CA has amped the sweat so a refresh has been necessary over the summer). I carry one in my purse/backpack and was prepared for our most recent trip to the Happiest Place on Earth so that we could all stay fresh and happy!

I am so excited to have found a deodorant that keeps me fresh and without the worries of what my skin, and my family’s skin, is absorbing daily. I will continue to seek out non-toxic, safe products to add to my clean beauty routine!

Have you tried type:A? Do you have a favorite non-toxic deodorant? Let me know in the comments!

This post is sponsored by type:A Deodorant and contains affiliate links. I was provided with a free product for my test and review to share on my blog, however all opinions are my own magical thoughts. If you choose to purchase through these affiliate links, Sparks of Magic will earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting the magic!

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The Future of Sparks of Magic

ThoughtsCamilleComment

I am really excited to share that there are some changes going on here. The blog is getting a visual facelift, including the logo (thanks hubby) and a lot of things are happening in the background in relation to my content moving forward. 

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As my space here evolves on the internet to reflect my soul more, you will find that I'm going to be diving into all areas of magic within me - light & bright but also dark & heavy, it's who I am. I am learning to be more open about my life lessons and truths as an individual, partner, wife, mama, daughter, and friend.

The lifestyle content will still be here, the focus in that will be family, wellness and travel. Our goal as a family is to live well collectively and individually, and see the world together. We can't do all of that if we aren't in good health, so we'll be making some changes this year as we all heal our guts, minds and souls. 

I will still share our family's Disney adventures and whatever my heart fancies at the moment that is Disney-related. While Disney is not my main focus anymore, it will not go away.

All of my old content will remain in this space, just a shift in what you see moving forward is what will change. I will still partner with brands in the future, and I will disclose those partnerships so you know that if you purchase through my affiliate link or use my code you understand that I will receive a small commission. I appreciate each purchase because while this is something I absolutely love doing, it is time consuming and every little bit earned helps our family thrive more. I will only work with brands that share similar lifestyle values, showcasing products and/or services focused on eco-wellness and being family-friendly.

I am super grateful to have you on this journey with me and look forward to a new year and a lot of fun!

The Year of Healing: Hello, 2018.

Family, ThoughtsCamilleComment
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2017 shook me to my core, broke me and opened my heart in ways that I was not ready to experience, let alone imagine. I felt like I was repeatedly hit with a ton of bricks throughout the year and never enough time to get up and recover from the previous blow.

The past year, and my heart, seemed overwhelmed by loss:

  • I was laid off from a full time, well-paying and benefitted job that I loved.

  • Loss of my second dad (Father-in-law) hit hard, unexpected and filled me with emotions that I still cannot fully express. I still struggle with how to grieve, when to grieve, and how to move forward. Over eighteen years of memories remain in my heart, including those now cherished most, are of caring for him in his final weeks, days, hours - it will always be bittersweet.
  • Missing out on opportunities that I swore were for me, so I set my heart on them only to receive rejection after rejection.
  • Loss of my Grandmother-in-law, a woman that always remembered me, encouraged me and prayed for me & my family, even when her mind started to fade and couldn't remember her own children's names.
  • Loss of my naivety of the world we have always lived in regarding race and religion. This loss was not bad in the sense of the aforementioned situations, because a veil was lifted from my eyes and mind, but it was like ripping off flesh from a wound I didn’t even know I had. This loss was a good one, but painful nonetheless.

My eyes, heart and mind were wide open - to everything and to everyone’s pain but my own. I always dove in to be a fixer, to see other people happy, to help heal their hurts. At first, I saw the various losses for myself and pushed it aside so I could deal with the situations at hand because things had to be done. I mean, hello - I am “The Magic Maker.” I set myself up daily with high expectations and in the last year seemingly felt like I failed most of the time.

I felt guilt day in and day out because I never felt  like what I did was enough. I never felt like I was enough as a mom, caregiver, daughter. I never felt like I was enough for my husband. Granted, these are all things that I told myself, none of them are true. But I convinced myself that this was the case. I had to be more. I had to be better. I was so focused on pleasing other people that I didn’t realize that they weren’t asking me to do any of that.

The stress I experienced began to manifest in my body physically and overwhelmed my already riddled mind with more anxiety and depression.

I stopped writing. I stopped running. I stopped caring on the inside and no matter how hard I tried to fake it, I just couldn't make it. 

Contrary to some people’s beliefs, depression is not a choice. I didn’t wake up and choose to go completely dark. I do try to find the magic in everything, but this time and at that point the reality of my life seemed to only have been touched by darkness.

I felt there was no other way. I began to close my heart. Even though I visited Disneyland as often as I did and even met Kerry Washington (OMG), I still couldn’t shake feeling so broken.

Then, I began reading and listening. I figured if I couldn't write, I could at least maybe listen, keep learning and somehow figure out how to heal. There are few people in my life that I have felt truly listened and held conversation with me and my fast moving mind and my late Dad was one of them. When I was unable to chat with my blood Daddy, he was there for me as if I were one of his own kids. He knew me since I was 17, which is half of my life. Even in his final hours he was chatting it up with his kids, throwing out gold nuggets of wisdom. What he told my youngest sis is one that will stay with me forever. He always focused on love, the importance of giving it and receiving it. At the end of the day, that’s what matters. It’s all about love. It’s all we need. It is the core of our being and existence.

Essentially, and for lack of butchering his words, I will paraphrase, but he told her teach her kids to love themselves. To be comfortable in their own skin, love wholeheartedly and fully.

Once Dad passed away I found myself having conversations with him and they have been little chats that I treasure and have taken to heart. Month two of his passing, I woke up with a strange sense of peace (it has come and gone, but this day it was clearly a moment I remember and feel). It was the first time I woke up and forgot about the previous night terrors and overwhelming sadness that my heart had been feeling.

I remembered and then before I could become sad again, my heart heard, “Remember what I told Joy? That’s for you, too sweetie... You must love YOU.”

Oh. I see...slowly but surely...*lightbulb*

I need to love myself.

That’s how our kids will learn to love themselves. I can’t teach something I don’t know or experience. It was then that I realized I was in desperate need of some self love and care. Just like Dad, that's all he said. He didn't give me a long speech or make me feel like I was doing anything terrible. It was a gentle, loving reminder to take care of my own heart. I was clearly not doing that.

I was broken inside, trying to help other people pick up the pieces of their lives. Yet, my oxygen mask wasn’t fully on. I knew that at some point I had to change how I was living. I am so thankful that even through his heartbreak and grief, my husband saw my needs and suggested that maybe it was time that I seek counsel. So, I began therapy. I started journaling, saving my thoughts to sort out offline. I started running again and even occasionally went to the gym. Those things helped, but it really was conversation, sorting out my thoughts, allowing myself to feel and be okay to not be okay without guilt or stigma for seeking help.

With the prompting of a sweet friend , I chose a word that I want to use to set precedence for this new year. Initially, I chose “manifestation.” I was desperately seeking resolve, closure, new things, and seeing dreams and goals come to fruition. Almost as quickly as I envisioned “Manifestation,” the word “healing” came to mind and I knew that is what my goal would be for this year. The word kind of picked me. From there, my friend reminded me that I needed to cultivate the soil so that things could grow and I would see that manifestation in the end. I am continuously learning to enjoy this journey, to accept both the light and dark magic that surrounds me (more on that in an upcoming post), embrace and feel the emotions that surface but let them pass through.

I’m learning to be more open with myself and with that kind of comes a “no more bullsh*t” type of feeling that has seemed to surface. My time is no longer to be wasted worrying about what others think or how I should perform or live my life. It’s wasted time and energy, and no one has time for that. I’m learning to say “no,” and move on without guilt. It’s not always easy, but my heart and soul feel so much better to just move forward.

As I heal, as I write more and seek genuine interactions with others during my time here on earth, I am reminded that I am a spiritual being simply experiencing humanity. All of this will fade away. My soul, my existence will live on just as my Dad’s before me. Every moment is one that I am learning to feel – and let go. Life here is truly about the journey. I’m hugging and loving my hubby and babies tighter. I’m appreciating the moments that I will never get back. I’m learning to love myself and be okay to let go of perfection. I’m learning how to let go of needing to control, and letting those that love me do just that - love me hard. Sometimes we forget to allow others in, to let them love us and see us at our most vulnerable point. As a highly sensitive and emotional person, I never thought that I was repressing anything... until it was almost too late.

As a side-note, don’t mistake my revelation as me being a doormat for other people’s negativity because I’m here for the love. I still won’t take bullsh*t. I can and will love from afar if I must. I prefer closeness and hugs, but remember, this is my year of healing, I won’t knowingly allow myself to be subjected to that nonsense.

Friends, here's to a legit 2018, filled with all kinds of magic, love, continuous learning, good health, and most of all a road to the healing of my soul, allowing newness to manifest in ways that I couldn't have imagined for myself. 

Are You Color Blind?

CamilleComment
jeffandmillie.jpg

I’ve been thinking of conversations with people in my life about “living while black,” and to be honest, if another person tells me they don’t see me as black… That they don’t see my “color…” That I’m “not like other black people…” Or my favorite (insert eye roll) “you’re only half,” as if I am supposed to just ignore half of my being. Let’s try and pretend the “one drop rule” doesn’t exist. Even though my kids are a quarter black, they’re black. They will always be black, and we choose to teach them to embrace it. So, I just can’t. Not today. Not ever again. I’m doing my best to remain open, love all, and expand myself. But when it comes to this, I will no longer accept or tolerate ignorance. You are not ignorant when you make those comments and dismiss me when I explain how that makes me feel. At that point, you CHOOSE not to see ME.

On a brighter note, I often have shared how accepted and loved I was by my late Dad, Steve, and while most people probably assume my comments of him accepting me for who I am is simply because I am his daughter in law, it’s not – I am referring to him loving me regardless of my skin color. Caring for him in his final weeks of life, I was only reassured of that love and my heart is filled with gratitude to have those moments. Dad was anything but ignorant. Even in his final days, he was learning and growing.

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How did I get so lucky to have two amazing Dads? Both so different in looks, but both so full of love for their children and other people’s children – regardless of what they look like. My Dad Steve loved me, for ME. I never for a second doubted that. I’m heartbroken that I have lost such an amazing man, white ally, friend and father who truly accepted me regardless of what I looked like. He saw me… as his beautiful, free-spirited, biracial daughter, but never made me feel any less because of it. Like my blood Daddy, he encouraged me to think I could do great things, that nothing was impossible. Yet, he was aware of my reality and that I would have to work harder than someone with less melanin, that his grandkids would also share that reality. He never tried to act like he understood my feelings on issues of race but always listened attentively, never made me feel like I was overreacting, never dismissed me or my emotions, and always reassured me of the love he had for me and his multiracial grandchildren. He always wanted to learn more, grow more, to know how he could be a voice and how he could make things even just a little better.

This post is more than just a memoir of who my Dad was in this life, but a call to action in hopes that maybe it will inspire you to stand up and speak out, to love others more – like he did. Start within your own families and circles. Commit to learning and growing, being better for yourself, your children, and others.

White friends & family, I beg you, please don’t be color-blind. And if you have been and want to open your eyes, ask questions, read, and put in the work. Mamademics has amazing resources and articles on advocacy and being part of the change. The answers are there if you really want to find them. With the current state of our nation, and the fact that some people are just now coming to grips that racism is still rampant, baffles me. Why? Because a large majority of our nation is color-blind. They might not be out marching with torches or wearing a hood, but they are everywhere. They’re teaching our children in our schools, “serving and protecting” on our forces, and the sad reality, for some – share a family name.

We need help.

White supremacy never left because you pretend that you’re color-blind in order to absolve yourself.
— Danielle, Mamademics

White people hold the ball in their courts, they always have, from the very beginning of our nation. The intent from the beginning was domination and supremacy. We know that justice for all did not include anyone other than the white male. Today, we take the stand and fight for rights and equality, but our nation was built on the backs and blood of people of color.

We want peace. We want to live, we want to be who we are without fear for our lives. You know, sometimes kids are taught that they are not to start a fight, but they sure as hell can finish it. Well, we can try and defend ourselves, but even then it comes with a price – usually our lives. Now what? We definitely didn’t start this fight and we are tired. We defend and fight back daily in our minds (which most of the time is a battle ignored in and of itself), our homes, in the streets with our black and brown brothers and sisters, in our offices, in our paychecks – or lack there of. We can’t end this alone, it’s always been in your hands.

As my family member, friend, reader, acquaintance, fellow human being, I’m asking you this:

Will you be part of the solution to finish this fight once and for all?

I know many of you might be thinking it’s taking on the world and the thought might even overwhelm you (it should because there is A LOT), perhaps because you think you don’t know those brown and black bodies in the news, and don’t see how this all affects you. Your privilege is showing.

So could you at least muster up enough f*cks to give for me? Still not sure? How about for my kids?

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If you can’t answer that with a yes, save me the time of weeding out those who are silent in my networks and hit “unfriend.” Seriously. Open your eyes. Don’t be silent. Teach your kids to love AND teach them about the realities of life for so many other people that don’t look like them. Love is great, it’s a starting point, but action is needed. People of color are not just being broken down, we are being destroyed – one by one – and it started many years ago, and continues in full force today.

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

It’s time to wake up!

Freedom in Release

Thoughts, Family, WellnessCamilleComment
Ocean-PointReyes.jpeg

It’s been way too long since I’ve written from the heart, and I look forward to sharing more. I’m in the middle of rebranding the blog both in design and focus. It’s something I’ve talked about since the beginning of the year but just haven’t gotten to it. As our family’s life has shifted dramatically in the past couple of months, it seems like the most appropriate time to shift in my space on the web.

Even in darkness I know there is beautiful magic and I appreciate the magic so much more going through this seemingly dark period in my life, after my dad-in-love’s passing. I think that’s what Dad continues to show me.

We live and love through our journey and must find that magic to hold onto.

It’s not easy by any means and every bit is a learning and growing experience.

Let Go

One of the things I am slowly learning, is to let go and free myself. In order for me to truly be free I have to allow others the same freedom. I must let go all the way, and that includes releasing others of my expectations. Why? Because it keeps me bound in my mind. I begin to worry about things that aren’t necessary to worry about. I want to be free. I liken this to being at the beach and I want to truly feel the warmth of the sun, the coolness of the water; I’ve gotta get up and go in. But if I’m holding the hands of people that aren’t willing to feel those things with me, and waiting for them, I am still bound. I’m not free because I won’t release their hand. Essentially, I have to let go.

Your Freedom is Your Own

I have to free myself from how I think they should be, live, respond, believe, or feel, in my mind. I also can’t live in fear for others because their journey is not mine. I can’t do that for my kids or husband , my best friends or my family. I’m not abandoning them by any means, I’m simply opening myself to let go. I’m still there, but I’m in the water. I’m experiencing my freedom. For others, their freedom is on the sand because perhaps they feel trapped by the water. I can’t be mad that they don’t feel free in the water. Why would I want someone with me if they’re in fear? Let’s say they physically decide to go with me in the water, but they are now trapped in their own minds, too. Their lessons and learning aren’t the same as what I need.

Will we eventually be in the same place and share the same emotion? Perhaps, and if not, I have to be okay. I have to appreciate them on the sand, or in the air, or in their car, haha. I have to appreciate that our journeys will always be that – OUR OWN. One isn’t better than the other, they’re just different.

Release Others

We have to get to a place where we are looking at how we are living and release ourselves and others from expectations. Does it hurt sometimes? Sure it does, it can be scary feeling as if we are alone wherever we are, but we must allow ourselves to feel the hurt, and just let it pass through. We can’t dwell and we must focus on our own hearts because they also have to live and learn and grow in theirs.

Keep loving friends, keep living and spreading your magic. Let others splash in the water or roll in the sand. Let them experience and grow in their freedom how they need to. Love and appreciate where they are because they are learning and growing, just in a different way.

I'm going to ShiftCon 2018 & You Should, Too!

Food, Travel, EventsCamilleComment

As a ShiftCon influencer & volunteer, I have been given free admission to ShiftCon 2018. This post contains my affiliate link for event ticket purchases. All opinions are mine.

© ShiftCon

© ShiftCon

I am really excited to share that I will be at ShiftCon in Irvine, CA, February 1 -3, 2018. I know it seems so far away, but I have to tell you how ecstatic I am because I have been dying to go since I first heard about this event in 2015. 

If you are a social media influencer and/or blogger that wants to be part of the movement of shifting perspectives, then this conference is totally for you!

Shifters prize themselves as being part of something bigger than themselves. We are a community with a mission to change the world. It's a focus on wellness, green and sustainable products and technology. – ShiftCon
© ShiftCon

© ShiftCon

Ok, so what is ShiftCon?

It is an eco-wellness social influencer's dream. It is a conference filled with the community of like-minded people that want to create a more sustainable earth and work with brands that bring value to their lives and their audience's lives. I've been following the event on social media for the last two years, gawking at all of the fun, but also the wealth of knowledge that is shared by the numerous experts in the fields of health, food, wellness, communications, legislation, social media and healing.

See past speakers here.

© ShiftCon

© ShiftCon

Join us for three days of learning, growing and life-changing experiences! There are two influencer/blogger options when you purchase your tickets. The ELITE track gives you access on Thursday to an additional 9 workshops, totaling 24 workshops! The Influencer/Blogger track gives you access beginning Friday to 15 workshops.

ShiftCon - Sparks of Magic.jpg

In addition to all of the learning, there will be a lot of fun! There's an expo hall where over 40 brands will be showcasing their products and services. You'll go home with 2 swag bags and be fed a reception meal, 2 lunches and 2 breakfasts, plus featured snacks and refreshments!

© ShiftCon

© ShiftCon

© Hotel Irvine

© Hotel Irvine

Location, Location, Location.

The event will be held at Hotel Irvine, and the rate is $179 per night. Book early and know that when you reserve your room, a one night's hotel fee will be charged to your card for reservation.

Will I see you at ShiftCon? I hope so! Make sure to say hi! I look forward to learning, growing and shifting with all of you! Get your tickets now!


A Magical Mama's Day Gift Guide

Fashion, DisneyCamilleComment

If you're anything like me, you love getting and giving gifts. I also really love shopping and supporting small business. So, I decided to compile a list of some of my favorite Magic Makers that are crafting away and supporting their families!

As a work from home mama, I can't tell you how awesome it is to know that I have support in my endeavors because juggling businesses, blog, kids, marriage, and school can be rough. There are many days when I just want to lay on the floor... But, because of my amazing hubby, kids and tribe of friends that are family, I press on. 

Welcome to this month's Blogorail Black Loop. Today we are sharing gift ideas for Mother's Day.

With Mother's Day just around the corner, I was thinking of what I would love to open for the special occasion, and came up with a few of my top magical gifts that would support small businesses run by Mamas, meaning quality products for me and pixie dust pay for a mama-preneur on Mother's Day. A win for everyone!

There are so many awesome women that are movers and shakers, and while I can't list them all, I am sure that you will find something for the magical mama in your life (or for yourself) amongst this list! 

Already picked out your gifts to give for Mother's Day? You know what they say.

Treat. yo. self.


Mama & Little® Silicone Jewelry • If I had access to these pretty little pieces when I was toting around my babies, it would have been a lifesaver. I can't tell you how many broken pieces of jewelry I've endured from curious little hands and mouths. The jewelry is food-grade silicon and BPA free. These are perfect gifts for new mamas, aunties, and anyone that holds babies! 

Custom Wood Signs & Graphics by EllieJoy Boutique • This little shop on Etsy is owned and operated by Rachel, who also happens to be my cousin! She's an Air Force Chaplain's wife, mama to five and graphic designer. We both began design around the same time in the early 2000s. 

I'm super excited for Rach's new venture and wanted to share that she does custom work outside of what is listed in Etsy, so check out her work and follow her adventures on Instagram and Facebook, too!

LILLIAN & CO Bracelets • These are beautiful statements to wear. As a mama who dares to live my dream, these are perfect mantras and reminders on a daily basis to live in our magic and spread it far and wide. With twelve (12) different sayings, you're sure to find one that is perfect for the Mama in your life. I found this little gem of a company on Instagram one day, and drool over the pieces often. They stack perfect with other bangles and watches! I am hoping that the "Go Live Your Dream" bracelet graces my wrist soon. :)

Spireside Candles (formerly Anthology Candles) • Handmade in the USA, these are whimsically inspired candles and wax melts. I fell in love with their product branding and photos on Instagram! Pineapple Whip is on my wish list, along with Main Street Bakery and The Confectionary. I know, I know so much sugar. :)

For more Mother's Day Gift Guides, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Black | Mother's Day Gift Guides Loop:

Recap: Disney Food & Wine as an AP Holder

Disney, Entertainment, FoodSarahComment
©Sarah Brow

©Sarah Brow

Did you get a chance to visit Disney’s California Adventure Park is the Food and Wine Festival

I wanted to share my recent experience as an Annual Passport (AP) holder. Throughout the year Disneyland Resort has special events and often have exclusive experiences for AP holders. The AP Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival Sip and Savor pass was a great purchase & experience, so I look forward to more AP events in the future! It was a great way to really get the most out of The Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival experience.

The AP Food and Wine festival Sip and Savor Pass was $45, including tax, and consisted of 8 coupons.

©Sarah Brow

©Sarah Brow

With over ten festival marketplaces there was definitely something for everyone. Like many AP events, alcoholic beverages are a separate fee. Even then, I knew that I had to try the Mimosa Flight, located at The Uncork California Marketplace.

The Mimosa Flight included a Pear Mimosa, Apricot Mimosa, and Mango Mimosa. My favorite? The pear!

©Sarah Brow

©Sarah Brow

If Mimosas weren't your thing, there was a Beer Garden located in the Paradise Grill Marketplace. You know, if you prefer drink like Gaston. :)

WHAT I ATE

Nuts and Cheese | Brie toast with fig and mint with roasted California almond crumble

I Heart Artichokes | Fried Artichoke Carbonara with Garlic Aioli & smoked bacon

Bacon Twist | Baby iceberg and heirloom tomato wedge with peppered bacon and blue cheese dressing & Smoked bacon mac & cheese with barbecue-seasoned crispy onions

Off the Cob | Sweet corn nuggets with beef chili, spring onions and sour cream

Sweet & Sourdough | White cheddar lager soup topped with bacon, served in a mini Boudin Sourdough Boule

LA Style | Chicken Teriyaki slider with spicy Dole® pineapple jam & Korean barbecue beef short rib tacos with Kimchi slaw

It was really hard deciding what my favorite food was, but my top 3 favorite bites were:

  1. Sweet corn nuggets, from Off the Cob
  2. Chicken Teriyaki sliders, from LA Style
  3. Fried Artichoke Carbonara, from I Heart Artichokes

Pass holders also received a special AP button at each marketplace location, with a Sip and Savor Pass redemption.

The AP corner included a special photo opportunity, a Festival handout, a free Food and Wine Festival button (the design changed weekly) and of course you can't forget limited time merchandise!

Did you attend Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival, too? We would love to know what your favorite bites were from the Food and Wine Festival! Please share your thoughts with us!
See ya real soon!

xo, Sarah

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Official Teaser Trailer

Entertainment, DisneyCamilleComment
© Disney/Lucasfilm

© Disney/Lucasfilm

I don't know about you, but we are counting down to December 15, 2017. Disney has just released the official teaser trailer and poster for Episode VIII.

See for yourself.

"Breathe. Just breathe." – Luke Skywalker

If you remember, we last saw Finn under glass like Snow White, poor guy. I want him to wake up so badly. It's just so eerie to see him laying there STILL. He'd better not die on us. Although, my daughter reminded me that this film picks up from the last one and he was just injured. Let's hope she's right. 

From the trailer, Poe Dameron is running from something, with our favorite droid, BB-8. I'm looking forward to seeing more of him in the film. He's a bad ass pilot. Oh, and BB-8 is a little smart hunk of technology. He brings so much humor. Lucasfilm always does a great job of bringing EVERY character to life.

We also all know Kylo Ren is just a ball of crazy and we don't trust him, so I have no idea what to expect with him in this next film aside from bad things.

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Um. ALL tears when I saw General Organa's silhouette. For reals. I will be bringing a box of tissues (most likely Star Wars themed) to the theater.

And now, the cliffhanger.

OMG. What hell did Luke just say?! Did you catch it? At the very end. Go back and rewind. I will not be a putting that out into the universe. 

© Disney/Lucasfilm

© Disney/Lucasfilm

I have so. many. questions.

Sound off, Magic Makers. What are your thoughts?!

May the Force be with us all!

Star Wars: Forces of Destiny

Entertainment, DisneyCamilleComment
©Disney/Lucasfilm

©Disney/Lucasfilm

Star Wars fans rejoice because Disney and Lucasfilm have announced a new animated shorts series that celebrates the stories of iconic heroes throughout the Star Wars universe. Fans will be delighted to see key heroines of the films: Rey, Jyn Erso, Sabine Wren, Princess Leia, Ahsoka Tano. There are books, toys and even a TV special that will be following later this year!

"Star Wars Forces of Destiny is for anyone who has been inspired by Leia's heroism, Rey's courage, or Ahsoka's tenacity," – Kathleen Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm

About the Series

Narrated by Lupita Wyong'o (Maz Kanata), the Disney YouTube channel will launch the animated shorts in July 2017. 

What's extra exciting, is that the series will remain true to the Star Wars canon, so fans will have an opportunity to see, as Kathleen Kennedy stated, "small moments and everyday decisions that shape who these characters are." It's important for us to remember that even small decisions impact our destinies, and our kids need to understand that, too! We can't wait to watch them together.

©Disney/Lucasfilm

©Disney/Lucasfilm

©Disney/Lucasfilm

©Disney/Lucasfilm

Adventure Figures

Joining Disney and Lucasfilm on this venture is Hasbro, showcasing newly created 'Adventure Figures' (think dolls + action figures). If you watched the Star Wars Celebration live stream | Day 2, they revealed the 11" figures to Daisy Ridley (Rey), Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano) and Tiya Sircar (Sabine Wren)!

©Disney/Lucasfilm/Hasbro

©Disney/Lucasfilm/Hasbro

It is so important that our kids can run down toy aisles with strong female character representation, and more options that don't involve a beach outfit, stilettos, or shopping bag. I was not a fan of dolls growing up and I loathed dress-up dolls. In addition to the fabulous heroines we will see other favorite heroes, sidekicks and villains in the consumer products line. 

Star Wars Forces of Destiny Sparks of Magic.jpg

The figures will hit the shelves in August 2017, along with a global launch of bedding, toys, books, and apparel. OH, Did I also mention that Hasbro will roll out Star Wars Forces of Destiny role play and accessories? You'll find Rey's Extendable Staff and a new electronic Jedi Power Lightsaber toy. I'm most excited about that staff, and I'm sure my kiddos will be thrilled!

Will you be watching Star Wars: Force of Destiny this summer?

Spring Break at Dillon Beach, CA

Travel, FamilyCamilleComment

Spring break has come and gone. 

We spent our family vacation in Dillon Beach on Bodega Bay, CA with my husband's family. Every year, they rent a home that sits midway up the mountain of Oceana Drive. IT IS GORGEOUS. 

This quaint little beach town is about 30 minutes west of Petaluma, CA but approximately two hours from us (Lodi). As a SoCal girl, the first thing I will tell you is that this is a cold beach. I usually pitch a fuss about having to wear a jacket on the shore. I know, such a baby. However, our kids love it though and somehow manage to still dip their toes (or depending on which kid) or whole body into the freezing water. 

Some of the fun things they enjoy include digging holes, hiking up the mountain, and rolling down the massive sand dune. 

If you plan a trip to Dillon Beach you should know a few things:

It was amazing time spent just revelling in the beauty of the coast and closeness of our loved ones. We are forever grateful for the memories we get to make with our babies, and that they get to grow up appreciating these moments of family, creation and fun.

Pictures say a thousand words, so I will leave you with Jeff's amazing visuals.

Other sights & experiences in the area:

What are some of your favorite spring break excursions?