MaryAnne’s 10 Favorite Summer Things

MaryAnne’s 10 Favorite Summer Things

We’re well into Summer now, as we approach the end of June. I just wanted to share some of my personal favorite items that I must have with me, on me, or in my beach/pool bag.

1. Nexcare Waterproof Bandages – the little ones are bound to scrape their knee at some point, most likely while running to the pool with excitement. Yes, I’m that mom with the waterproof bandages. These things save the day. Treat the boo-boo and carry on with water fun!

Nexcare waterproof bandages

2. In addition to SPF 30 (or more) sunscreen for your body, you’ll need to protect your face. I discovered this Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Face Oil Free Lotion Sunscreen. It feels great, hydrates and moisturizes – while protecting you from the sun’s damaging rays. I wear it even though I’m not going to the pool or beach. Protect your face!IMG_0011_23. Everyone who knows me knows I have OCD. I wash my hands quite a bit. Oh, my gosh this is the BEST summer hand soap! Bath & Body Works Island White Pineapple. MMMMM. It takes me back to Hawaii every time!


4. Another wonderful Summer scent – Bath & Body Works Waikiki Beach Coconut Body Lotion. So yummy!


5. I don’t drink soda, but when I do… I drink Coke. Not Diet Coke, just Coke. Vanilla Coke is delicious, especially with a splash of Malibu Coconut Rum. My perfect poolside adult beverage.


6. Smell good for date night – This is my go-to fragrance, year round. I just wanted to share this pretty photo of my most favorite perfume that I never get tired of. Chanel Chance. I’ve been wearing it for years. I try other fragrances, then go back to Chanel every time.


7. Pretty jewelry –  I’m not good at accessorizing. AT ALL. Jim bought me this set and I wear it with everything, mostly because of the purple haha! It’s just so pretty and goes with a lot of my casual and dressy clothes. Chloe + Isabel is available through my beautiful girlfriend, Phoebe. Here’s her link:

IMG_0009_28. Garnier Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream for Dry Skin – After a day in the sun, this is perfect for hydrating the skin. I love the gel-cream, it’s refreshing and not oily.

IMG_0012_29. Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream – We keep the large 16 oz. of this stuff handy year-round. It’s great for the kids after a shower, and I use it at night on my dry heels. All Summer in flip-flops is hard on the feet. Moisturize!

IMG_0006_210. Quarters – lots of them! Keep quarters in a zip-lock baggy in your car. Not all parking meters take debit/credit cards, especially at the beach. One of my favorite #RandomActsOfKindness is dropping a quarter in an expired meter near my car.

IMG_0005_2A few safety reminders:

  • Watch those kiddos in the pool or ocean. Even if there’s a lifeguard.
  • Never leave pets or kids unattended in the car, for any reason, for any length of time.
  • Sunscreen! Always!
  • Hydrate! Lots of water to drink.
  • Check on your parents, grandparents, any elderly loved ones if they live by themselves. It’s good to stay in contact with loved ones anyway! :)
  • Be safe with and around fireworks.

Have a great Summer! 










Knott’s Voyage to the Iron Reef

voyage-to-the-iron-reef-ride-knottsKnott’s Berry Farm has a new interactive 4-D ride called Voyage to the Iron Reef! We are so excited to experience it for the first time this weekend. This ride is located on the newer section of Knott’s, called the Boardwalk. We’ll embark on a 4-minute thrilling journey into the sea where we’ll find the Kraken Queen and battle creatures with our freeze-ray guns and score points along the way. This is sure to be a fun adventure for the whole family! “Easter eggs” of various iconic treasures from Knott’s past are hidden throughout the ride and interact with the blast of our freeze-ray guns. (Here’s a couple of hints: Look for the famous Roaring 20’s sign! Also, look for the hidden Snoopy in the all new ride dock mural.)

Another new addition is the all new Boardwalk Arcade, located beneath the Voyage to the Iron Reef. Stop by and check out all the new video, redemption and merchandise games. Later in the Summer, the laser tag compound will reopen with a whole new look and feel, which will compliment the steampunk-inspired design of Voyage to the Iron Reef.

Stay tuned for our recap of this fun attraction at Knott’s! The kids are super excited.

Marissa and Jessie at Knott's Boardwalk

Marissa and Jessie at Knott’s Boardwalk


The best way to check out Voyage to the Iron Reef and the rest of Knott’s this summer is to purchase a 2015 Knott’s Season Pass. They’re available for as low as $86.00 or four payments of just $21.50 (plus applicable taxes and fees) at for a limited time. Have a great summer!!! XOXO



Other ways to connect with Knott’s:

Knott’s Berry Farm app (App Store & Google Play)

Knott’s Facebook @KnottsBerryFarm

Twitter  @Knotts

Knott’s Instagram @KnottsBerryFarm


Knott’s Berry Farm
Address: 8039 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA 90620
Phone: (714) 220-5200


“The opinions in this article are my own. I do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them.  I have a relationship with GigaSavvy, for whom I create original editorial content.”

Summer is here!

Photo by Jim Wendt

Photo by Jim Wendt

Summer is here! It’s starting to warm up here in Orange County, California. This is where we start planning fun things to do! I love weekends with my family. We are mostly at the pool or any of the beautiful beaches which are just a short car ride away. I have been super busy as the chauffeur to both Marissa (13) and Jessie (7). Marissa has carpool to OCSA, voice lessons and commercial auditions in Los Angeles. Jessie has karate classes twice a week.

As we settle into our new home (we just moved last month, in the same neighborhood), I’m starting to think of fun things to do this summer.

Aside from the pool or beach, how will you spend your time with your family in the next couple of months? Let me know in the comments, below. I would love to hear from you! It’s been a while since my last blog post!

Marissa’s Commercial: Milk Life and Quaker Oats

quaker-oats-the-almost-late-button-large-10Congratulations to Marissa on her Milk Life commercial! It has been airing the past few months in Spanish on Univision Hispanic TV and just recently started airing in an English version and is a now a collaboration with Quaker Oats! We just found out earlier this week when family members were texting photos of their TV during Dancing With the Stars on ABC! We’ve seen it on NBC, Nickelodeon, Fox Sports and according to a website that tracks commercials, it’s been on a few other networks. This is Marissa’s first SAG national gig. Very exciting news!

The Milk Life campaign has been sharing the benefits of milk and its 8 grams of protein per serving. While partnering with Quaker, it shows consumers the option of mixing Quaker Oats with milk instead of water to get that added benefit.

In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the commercial from the MilkLife website.  Go Marissa!!!

Snow White at Ebell Theater


What:  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

(Director: Laurie Holden / Choreographer: Amanda Murphy / Musical Director: Elena MacDonald / Costumer: Julie Onken / Sets: Lewie Stier, Clay Davison & Paul Holden)

When: Oct. 12, 2014 (closing show)

Where: Ebell Theater – 625 French Street, Santa Ana, California

Cost: $10.00 show only / $15.00 with Tea Party (pre-order online)  or $12 show only / $17.00 with Tea Party (at the door, check or cash)

I was sorting the mail on Sunday morning, and came across my Ebell Theater post card and realized it was the closing show for Snow White. Since it was Jessie’s (age 6) last weekend of her Fall Break, I thought it would make for a fun Mommy-Daughter outing! So we put on our dresses and headed out for a Tea Party and Show.


Jessie picked out her dress.

Jessie was so cute as she picked out a dress in her closet. It was a pink and fancy! We haven’t been anywhere dressy in a while and I noticed we didn’t have any dress shoes that fit her. We found some ruffle socks and paired them with her sparkly sneakers. Perfect! I braided her hair and finished it off with a bow in the back. Jessie looked like a Princess! She was so happy to have some Mommy time.


Pretty hair!

We arrived at the Ebell Theater at 12:30. They have an optional Tea Party that is held in a separate room at the theater, one hour before the show. It’s from 1:00-2:00pm. Cookies, tea and lemonade is served. The characters walk around the room and greet the guests. There was a fun Q&A game, similar to the game show “Jeopardy” with kid friendly categories related to princess and Disney stories. There were a couple of large groups celebrating birthdays and some wore tiaras as part of the birthday party theme. How fun! Even the Mommies wore tiaras.

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We sipped from our tea cups and had a lovely time. Pinkies up!

Soon it was time to enter the theater and take our seats. Before the show started, there was a raffle ticket drawing and 2 winners won a Princess themed goody bag and a 3rd winner received a cash prize. We didn’t win anything, but Jessie politely clapped for the winners. I prepared her for the fact that we may not win anything, and it’s good manners to clap for others if they win. A good lesson to teach the kids.


6 tickets for $5.00!

Speaking of learning opportunities, attending shows also gives our kids opportunities to behave properly and practice their etiquette. It’s not only fun, but a great place to be polite and social. :-)

The show was an hour long. Perfect for little ones. Not too long and very entertaining. The cast is young and talented, ranging from 5th grade to 12th grade from schools all over Orange County. Jessie loved the story and laughed a lot! Carmella Manapat, who played Snow White was so cute and sang like an angel. The Evil Queen, Bria Booth was mean and hilarious!

After the show, the characters were lined up, sitting in chairs and guests could wait in line for a Meet and Greet. The actors autographed the playbill or cast photo, which was available for sale for $1.00.

Actors signing autographs

Actors signing autographs

For more information about the shows at Ebell, visit their website:

You can also look into auditions if your child loves Musical Theater! Next show:  “Christmas in Neverland” opens December 13th!

What a fun day with Jessie! Next time we’ll plan ahead and attend with some friends!

Tea Party & Show at Ebell!

Tea Party & Show at Ebell!



Fall is here!

halloween-2011Fall is here! The weather is finally cooling down. Pumpkin Latte’s at Starbucks. Pumpkin patches are getting set up all over town. Halloween costumes and decorations are in all the stores. Candy! Knott’s Scary Farm! Trick or Treating with the kids! I love all the Fall traditions. Marissa (12) is working on her costume. Jessie (6) is going to be a Princess! With each year, the kids get a little taller, a little wiser, and more beautiful than ever. I’m so proud to be their mom. I’m so thankful we have our health, our family, and another holiday to celebrate together.

Enjoy Fall with your family!




What kinds of things do you enjoy in the Fall?

Feel free to comment below!


In memory of Tyler Kirkland

The unthinkable happened. On the night of Tuesday, September 2, 2014… Tyler Kirkland texted his parents & friends, then took his own life. He left this world way too soon. A 10th grader at Irvine High School. Son to Dean and Kristi. Big brother to Ashley. Friend to many at his school. He played baseball, made films, played video games, did all the things most boys his age do. He had the biggest and sweetest smile. I never had the opportunity to meet Tyler. We are friends with Dean and our daughter Marissa is friends with his sister Ashely. I just recently became friends with his mom, Kristi. This tragic event has hit our community very hard. It doesn’t even seem real. You don’t think this sort of thing could happen to you or anyone you know. I learned more from his mom, that it was a combination of things he was going through. Tyler internalized his feelings and was having a hard time for years. But the bullying didn’t help. I can’t even imagine what he must have been feeling inside. And the heartbreak that his parents are feeling during this difficult time. I am so sorry for their loss. I pray for them. We aren’t supposed to outlive our children. We are supposed to go first. Not the children. They should never feel such a pain that they don’t want to live any longer. Bullying. It’s just a thing we read about, we tell our children if this happens to them, tell someone. It’s not easy to tell someone. The fear of making things worse by telling. All those fears. This bullying has got. To. Stop. Hug your children tight. Tell them they are beautiful. Tell them it’s okay.

The Memorial Service for Tyler is on Saturday in Lake Forest at Saddleback Church at 10am.
If anyone is interested in attending, the event details are on Facebook:

Here are some photos that I came across, shared by Dean and Kristi:

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I thought about Marissa’s Talent Show performance when she was 10. She dedicated this song to anyone who has been a victim of bullying. Rest in peace, Tyler Kirkland. xoxo

Never Forget. 9/11

Today is a somber day. As we reflect on this sad anniversary of 9/11/2001, I pulled some clips from our NYC trip that we took 4 months ago to share our visit to the Freedom Tower. It’s now called One World Trade Center. This magnificent structure soars into the clouds, standing at 1,776 feet tall.

One World Trade Center

One World Trade Center

Here’s the video:

What have we been up to lately?

As you can see, I haven’t been on PurpleWays lately. It has been a crazy past few months. What have we been up to lately?

Why This Ride – my other website where I get to have fun with my friend James reviewing cars. We have articles and videos and all kinds of fun stuff in the works. You can check us out there.

2014 Dodge Charger SRT burnout

2014 Dodge Charger SRT burnout

Reviewing cars with James and Roxy

Reviewing cars with James and Roxy

I know, I'm not handsfree. I was only using my phone to hit record on my GoPro app.

I know, I’m not handsfree. I was only using my phone to hit record on my GoPro app. At a stoplight! (2014 Cadillac ELR)

Our family has a new addition! My sister Adrianne and brother in law Adam just had their 2nd child, Maya in July. She’s beautiful! Their first child, Gunnar is in the 2nd grade now. Our big crazy family just got bigger.

Baby Maya at 2 months old.

Baby Maya at 2 months old.

OCSA – Marissa’s in the 7th grade at OCSA for Integrated Arts! So exciting. Thanks to our 6-family carpool and 8-seater SUV, I don’t have morning drives to OCSA. I pick up Marissa and her schoolmates in the afternoon. She is loving school, always keeping up with her homework and thinking of creative approaches to her assignments. In addition to her academic classes, her conservatory includes Acting and Creative Writing classes. For P.E. she takes Jazz Dance. Outside of school, she still takes vocals and guitar classes. Busy girl!


Marissa at registration day at OCSA

Marissa's OCSA ID!

Marissa’s OCSA ID!

Jessie is in the 1st grade now! How time flies. Our little Jessie is now a first grader and is loving school. She has good friends that she sees on the playground at recess and in our neighborhood.  Jessie’s first karate tournament is coming up 9/14. Wish her luck! Jessie also wants to learn how to play golf. We may be signing her up for lessons soon.

Crazy princesses! Jessie and her friend Tessa.

Crazy princesses! Jessie and her friend Tessa.

Jessie's an orange belt! Her and her Sensei at Tajik Karate.

Jessie’s an orange belt! Her and her Sensei at Tajik Karate.

Jim’s sister (in Colorado) is a published author! Laurie just launched her first children’s book, called “The Crabsderbill & The Pot of Gold.” We were so surprised to see the character’s names in the book, Marissa and Jessie! Thanks, Laurie for including the kids in there! The book is available on Amazon.


The Crabsderbill & The Pot of Gold by L.A. Bisel

Marissa’s latest recordings – Marissa was in the recording studio this summer at 17th Street Recording in Costa Mesa with the legendary musical genius Lewis Richards. She recorded a cover song called “Trouble Sleeping” by Corinne Bailey Rae. It was her first time to sing with a live band. She was so at home in the studio. We’re very proud of her. The musicians are from Lew’s band called The Outriders. They are amazing! Her track is available on iTunes, GooglePlay and CD Baby. She also shot a music video during the recording. It’s on YouTube.  She also worked at another studio doing background vocals for Sesame Street Live. :)

"Trouble Sleeping" cover by Corinne Bailey Rae

“Trouble Sleeping” cover by Corinne Bailey Rae


Marissa’s first paid gig as a filmmaker – Marissa also makes movies. Jim’s company gave Marissa a small budget to hire actors and produce a video for the company to pitch their products. She took on the task like a pro. Wrote, directed and edited the whole thing, complete with green screen effects and music with custom lyrics. What a story teller, this kid. I hope one day I’ll be allowed to share her final project publicly, but for now it’s still in stealth mode. (I can share offline… if you are interested in seeing an unlisted link let me know!) All I can say is the video was shown to the potential customer and it was one of the pieces of the presentation that helped land the business! Wow! So cool.

Marissa and her actors.

Marissa and her actors.

Marissa’s commercial – Her Milk Life commercial hasn’t aired on Hispanic cable in a while. We are keeping our fingers crossed that they will make an English version of it. They keep sending Marissa holding fees, so that must mean something good right? Meanwhile she still has auditions in Los Angeles every so often. It’s a drive, but worth the opportunities!

Milk Life commercial in Spanish

Milk Life commercial in Spanish

Me – I volunteer in Jessie’s classroom twice a week and I’m also the PTA’s Financial Secretary. We recently had our Ice Cream Social and it was a lot of fun! Our PTA President Phoebe is awesome.

With PTA moms, President Phoebe and Parlimentarian Jennifer

With PTA moms, President Phoebe and Parlimentarian Jennifer

Jim – He’s been working hard at the same company, doing Internet marketing, E-commerce, social media and SEO. He works hard. His friend Dana just came for a visit from Texas and they enjoyed a day on the golf course with their friend Ed. Jim also enjoys cooking and photography. He just shot some big wave photos in the recent swell that hit Orange County.

Jim, Ed and Dana

Jim, Ed and Dana

Big waves at the Wedge in Newport 9/8/14

Big waves at the Wedge in Newport 9/8/14


Jim and I are very proud of both our children. We are here to support them and help them go after their dreams. If you work hard and stick to your goals, anything can happen.



If anyone is interested in more information about auditioning to OCSA next year, how to find an agent and go out for commercial auditions, etc. Anything at all, I would love to share any experiences with you! Just sent me a message in the contact form. Or just drop me a line and say hello!

Love, MaryAnne. xoxo

Knott’s Berry Bloom to bring in Spring!


Spring has arrived! Where can we bring the whole family and have all kinds of fun? Knott’s, of course!Enjoy Knott’s Berry Bloom is happening April 12 – April 27, with extended hours of 10am to 10pm! We’ll be there this Saturday to enjoy the Boysenberry Festival at the Ghost Town, dancing at the Bloomination Dance Party and Jessie can’t wait to join the kids (ages 3-11) at the Easter Beagle’s Enormous Egg Hunt! There will be food and wine tasting as well. Entertainment by Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies at the Birdcage Theater will be awesome! Play giant board games at the new Boardwalk near Xcelerator or make a splash at our family favorite, the newly renovated Timber Mountain Log Ride. There really is something for everyone!

Would you like to take a virtual ride on the Timber Mountain Log Ride? Here it is!

Purchase your tickets or….  even better —> Season Passes to enjoy Knott’s all year round! Click here for info:

See you there!

Knott’s Berry Farm
Address: 8039 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA 90620
Phone: (714) 220-5200

The opinions in this article are my own. I do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them.  I have a relationship with GigaSavvy, for whom I create original editorial content.