Book Nerds Unite!

I am such a book nerd.  I adore reading.

One of my favorite authors is Kelly Corrigan.

I love her work so much that I signed up for her mailing list.

I smile to myself when I get emails from her, because I like to think she’d be my friend if she knew me.  (Yah, I’m a dork.)

A few weeks ago I received an email from her announcing her new book called Glitter and Glue.  She offered a signed copy of the book to the first few people who responded to her email with their name and address.  I didn’t know that I won until this arrived in the mail:

photo

I can’t wait to read it.  Once I do, I’ll review it here.

In the meantime, check out this video of Kelly doing a reading.   Beware:  You will cry.  But it’s worth it.

By the way, Kelly will be here in Manhattan Beach on February 22nd doing a reading from Glitter and Glue at Pages:  A Bookstore, the worlds coolest book store.  I’ll be there – join me!

If you loved “Gone Girl” you will love….

Happy New Year! (Yes, very belatedly!) I’m happy to get back to blogging and writing about things that make me happy.  In order to find more time to write, I’m going to focus on writing shorter posts about things that I love:  food, cooking, dining, wine, fitness and reading.

I devoured the book “Gone Girl,” by Gillian Flynn.  Have you read it?  If not, go to Pages and pick it up.  You won’t regret it!

Since finishing the book, I’ve been searching for that next “can’t stop reading” book.  I found it:

The One I Left Behind

I really enjoyed Jennifer McMahon‘s “The One I Left Behind.”  It’s a tight thriller.  I think I finished it in two days.  (Sometimes insomnia is a good thing – like when you want to finish a fabulous book!)

If you have a book recommendation – please pass it along.  I’m always looking for my next obsession!

UrbanSitter: Book a Sitter on the Run

I need a back up sitter.  Or seven.  It’s so frustrating to have a sitter cancel, or to not be able to book one when you desperately want to go out or get to a meeting.  I found a solution that is affordable, simple and very easy to use – UrbanSitter.

Founded by four parents in need of reliable sitters, UrbanSitter is a website (and an app) that allows you to book sitters who have been recommended by your Facebook friends.  You can sort sitters by availability (time and date), background checks, location, and even by rate.  You can also see the reviews of the babysitters.   It’s incredibly simple.  The real magic of UrbanSitter is that it syncs with Facebook  to show you babysitters personally recommended (used and reviewed) by your friends.   I always feel better booking a sitter knowing someone else I know has used them in the past.  In addition, many of the sitters on the site can provide you with their own background checks. And, my favorite part of the service – many of the sitters take credit cards! No cash involved.  How amazing is that?

I recently attended a luncheon hosted by my gal pals at MomsLA & UrbanSitter at Tin Roof Bistro in Manhattan Beach.  Many of the local sitters where there and we were able to interview them in a round robin of speed interviews.  I was very impressed with the women who were there representing the service.  I met many Loyola students, a mom who home schooled her kids who is babysitting to earn some cash on the side, and a filmmaker, who loves working with kids in her spare time.

A few other great things about UrbanSitter:

• Badges on sitter profiles indicate average response time to job requests, number of ‘repeat families’ who have booked them multiple times through the site, and if they accept credit cards for payment.

• You can also post a job for last minute help or recurring needs like Monday/Wednesday/Friday sitter or even full time nanny. Just write a description of your job and we’ll let you know when sitters express interest. You can also sort your list of candidates by the same filters as in a search and easily book interviews.

• Sitters keep their schedules online, so parents can book jobs and interviews for a specific date/time — instantly at the click of a button!

• Stay organized with handy email reminders and access to your babysitter bookings.

UrbanSitter is running a sweepstakes contest – you could win a year of babysitting for date nights.  (Or a few hours alone!)  Click here to enter!

 Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post for MomsLA and Urban Sitter. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

 

Thankful…

for beautiful, random, sweet, heroic moments caught on camera.

Take time to focus on all the good in our world during this Thanksgiving holiday!

Terranea: Heaven is just a few miles away!

I feel so blessed to live near the ocean.  I love the sound of the waves and I don’t mind having sandy floors after visiting the beach.  It’s a small price to pay for being near the water.

My husband, Adam, also loves the beach.  He turned 40 recently, and we wanted to take a weekend away to celebrate this awesome milestone.  We travel a lot in our rv, so we like our creature comforts. And, we like having the kids with us, and we like having Sunny, our 165 pound Newfoundland, at our feet.  We wanted to visit a resort that would allow all of us, the Goldberg Traveling Circus, to have a fantastic weekend.  Initially, we had a few places in mind that were in Orange County.  Luckily, thanks to our great travel advisor, Dolly Shukla, owner of the Savvy Traveler, we decided upon Terranea, in Palos Verdes.

Here’s the adults only pool – sweet!

First, I’m going to tell you about the resort, and then I’m going to tell you all about working with Dolly Shukla, because she made our experience absolutely incredible.

Terranea is the perfect place to go in SoCal if you are looking for a plush and relaxing family adventure.  The service everywhere is really great.  When we first arrived with Sunny and the kids, I was nervous about taking him into the hotel and through the crowd of people checking in.  The valets were really sweet and helpful while we unloaded.

Once we were in our room, I realized that I didn’t bring food and bowls for Sunny.  I called housekeeping and they immediately dropped off a doggie dish!

This picture is one of my favorite from the trip:

 

Two happy kids and one big fat dog…. all on the bed!

Our room was fine – it was the basic floor level room, which was perfect for us.  We had easy access to the grounds and the pool so it made it easy to take Sunny out when necessary.  (They offered an upgraded room, too.  We looked at it, but since it was a third floor room, we kept the first room we were given.)  Here’s a shot of the view we did have from our room:

Lovely!

I surprised Adam on Sunday morning by having a handful of friends and their kids meet us for brunch at Catalina Kitchen.  It was amazing, and really well priced.  Ms. Shukla was incredibly helpful setting this up.  She seems to know everyone – and she contacted her friend, Justine, who manages Catalina Kitchen.  She followed up on our reservation and made sure we were sitting inside as requested.  The brunch went off without a hitch and the service was incredible.

We found Dolly through Fresh Brothers – she is a customer of ours.  When she met Adam, she told him she was a travel agent.  He gave me her information and I was a little hesitant about contacting her.  These days, we all think we can do it on our own.  Booking travel, especially.  There are so many websites out there that make it seemingly easy to book your travel online.  However, once you work with Dolly, you’ll know what a difference having her on your side makes!  She ensured that we had a dog-friendly room, she smoothed the way for a fabulous birthday brunch and checked in with me to make sure everything was perfect.

I’ll leave you a final photo to show you how much Sunny loved Terranea:

To contact Dolly:

Dolly Shukla- CEO, The Savvy Traveler

(310) 403-8857

* I was not compensated for this review.  I did not receive compensation from Ms. Shukla or the Savvy Traveler.  We were given a little more TLC from the resort because of Dolly’s help with booking our reservation.

Another word for trash…

Trash day is so not fun here in the sand section of Manhattan Beach. The tight alleys and countless construction crews make it tough to naviagate around the monster trucks.  It can’t be easy to drive the trucks either.

I spotted this trash can a few weeks ago, and it summed it all up:

What I Did During Summer Vacation

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged.  I took a creative personal sabbatical.

In other words, I took a break from writing.  But more on that in another blog post…

In addition, I’ve been busy.  We’ve been busy.

Fresh Brothers made the cover of Pizza Today, and was named “2012 Pizza Today Independent Pizzeria of the Year.”

Pizza Today is our industry trade magazine.  They chose Fresh Brothers as their #1 Indie of the Year out of all the other pizzerias in the US.  What an amazing honor!

And in a round about way, that leads me to this:  I was nominated as one of Circle of Mom’s Top 25 Mompreneur Bloggers.  Would you please take a moment to vote for me?  I’m currently in 11th place.  Which is great.  But I’d love to make it into the top ten.  A girl can dream, right?

Frozen Planet at the Hollywood Bowl Ticket Giveaway

I really enjoyed watching the Frozen Planet series on the Discovery Channel this year with the kids.

I just want to snuggle those little polar bears. Wrong, I know.

The LA Philharmonic is presenting a show called Frozen Planet in Concert at the Hollywood Bowl. What a brilliant idea. Beautiful music accompanied by amazing images from the series that aired on the Discovery Channel

Details:

Two shows:  July 6th (Friday) and July 7th (Saturday) at 8 pm

Artists:

Los Angeles Philharmonic

George Fenton, conductor

 Additional Info:

Following the success of Planet Earth Live, the world premiere of Frozen Planet in Concert comes to the Bowl’s big screen in the latest co-production of the BBC and Discovery Channel. The ultimate portrait of Earth’s last great wilderness, the polar regions, will be presented with stunning imagery with live orchestral accompaniment conducted by composer George Fenton..

Presented by LA Phil.  For tickets and information, visit HollywoodBowl.com.

WIN TICKETS!

I’m excited to give away four tickets to the Frozen Planet concert on Saturday, July 7th.   To enter to win, please do the following:

* Leave a comment here about why you want to win.  (Easy, right?)

* For one extra entry, Tweet this “I just entered the @MBMomBlogger @HollywoodBowl #FrozenPlanet ticket giveaway & you can too:  http://wp.me/p1rGlf-MZ

Good luck!  The winner will be chosen on Monday morning, July 2nd  using Random.org.

* I am being compensated for this post in the form of tickets for performances.  All opinions are my own, and I am sharing this opportunity with you because I truly love the Hollywood Bowl!

Don’t have a will? You are being a neglectful parent.

I have a friend whose father recently passed away.  She misses her dad terribly.  Worse, her father didn’t have a will.  She’s stuck dealing with the nutcase ex and the legal system, from several thousand miles away.  It’s costly, dramatic and frankly, devastating.  And, we held a fundraiser last year for a Kristy Kaplon, a young mother who was pregnant with twins.  Her husband, Brian, was shot and killed by his best friend.  He had no will.  Can you imagine the hell that she went through?

When the MomsLA gals approached me about doing this sponsored post about estate planning, I jumped at the chance to share some wisdom about planning for the future with y’all.

There are a million reasons not to put together a will and/or estate plan.  My friend Kim Tracy Prince covered this subject a while ago.  The first reason that I hear frequently from people is that it’s expensive to put together a plan for the future.  Let me tell you this – you know nothing about expense until you have to deal with the legal system in a probate situation.  It’s extremely unkind to do to your children and loved ones.  If you don’t do it now, they will have to go through hell later.  And never mind when there are small children involved… if you don’t have a will set up when you have children, I honestly believe it’s neglectful.  Enough preaching from me.  I’m not the expert.

Meet Sona Tatiyants, an Estate Planning Attorney, who talks about why you need a will or an estate plan:

And here’s some information on what happens to your kids if something were to happen to you:  (In other words, why you need to get up off the couch and make a plan, Stan.)

Right now you are either feeling smug or scared.  Which is it?

Smug? Then you’ve gotta plan.  Yay you!

Scared?  You need a will and an estate plan.  It’s doable.  Very doable.  Just get it done.  Your loved ones will be thankful that you did. And so will you.

For more information, check out Sona Tatiyants, Los Angeles Estate Planning Attorney’s website.  Or, find her on Facebook or Twitter.

* This post is part of a sponsored campaign for Sona Tatiyants, Estate Planning Attorney, and MomsLA.com.

DISCLAIMER: The contents of this video are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Tatiyants Law, MomsLA and Debbie Goldberg aka Manhattan Beach Moma make no warranty about the accuracy or reliability of the information in this video or any linked sites.  Transmission of communication is not intended to create and receipt does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Any reliance on the information in this video is at your own risk.

Funny is Sexy: Meet the DollarShaveClub.com

Best line ever:  “I’m no Vanderbilt, but this train makes hay.”

* I am in no way affiliated with this company.  My funny friend Mrs. Mach shared this video with me last night and I couldn’t help myself – I had to repost!

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