Newest Hottest Place to Live in Irvine: Los Olivos #LosOlivosTweetup

There’s a new hot place to live in Irvine: Los Olivos. This upscale apartment community has all the amenities you can imagine. It’s like living in a resort! Lots of Irvine Apartment Communities feel like a resort, but Los Olivos is the most decadent place you’ll ever experience. Lush palm trees everywhere, 6 salt water pools with spas, 8 community parks, plenty of outdoor dining/entertainment space with BBQs, cardio theater fitness center, spin & yoga classes, Wi-Fi, 4 Clubrooms for parties, onsite Market and dry cleaning service and electric car outlets for your Earth friendly vehicles. The list goes on and on!

6 salt water pools at Los Olivos!

6 salt water pools at Los Olivos!

Another great feature at Los Olivos is the direct walkway to the 1.2 million square-foot Irvine Spectrum Center! You can enjoy great restaurants, shopping and entertainment without your car! You can also walk to the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater for all kinds of concerts. I couldn’t believe all the amenities at this property.

The apartments are stunning. Every unit is gorgeous, with hardwood-style flooring, granite or quartz countertops, full size washer and dryer, even crown molding and high ceilings in some units. I don’t know where you’ll find an apartment that comes with stainless steel appliances. Only at Los Olivos!

I had the pleasure of previewing this amazing property before it opened, just a few weeks ago. I loved all the different 1-2 bedroom floor plans. They even have a 2-story 2.5 bedroom townhome with a den or loft.

Here are a few photos:

The property is beautiful. The units are loaded with high end appliances, designer touches and everything you’ll need. The icing on the cake is the service. They have a separate Leasing Office to take care of potential residents, and Resident Services throughout the property, dedicated just for residents! A whole layer of extra customer service, just for you. That means if you live at Los Olivos, your needs will certainly be met. If anything needs service, you’d like to plan an event, or look into upcoming events with the Full Time Activities Director, anything at all – you’ll be sure to receive the VIP treatment.

Stop by Los Olivos and ask a Leasing Consultant to take you on a tour. Or attend the Irvine Apartment Communities #LosOlivosTweetup on May 1st 6-8pm. Mingle with Orange County’s finest social media influencers, network with local business people and check out the mini social media keynotes.  Drinks and hors d’oeuvres graciously provided by Paul Martin’s (on a first come first served basis).

At the Los Olivos Preview w/ the Veturis sisters!

At the Los Olivos Preview w/ the Veturis sisters!

For more info about the May 1st Tweetup:

Los Olivos Apartment Community
350 Gitano, Irvine, CA 92618
Leasing Center: 877.914.7686
Resident Services: 949.988.3400

Holiday Family Fun: “A Snow White Christmas” at the Pasadena Playhouse

Our 10 year old Marissa has been watching Victorious on Nickelodeon since the show first aired 3 years ago. I took Marissa to see to Victoria Justice (star of Victorious) at the OC Fair this summer. She had a blast! When I told her we were spending a day with the family at the Pasadena Playhouse to see Ariana Grande (also from Victorious) for “A Snow White Christmas” she let out the most joyful squeal! Our 5 year old Jessie was just as excited!

Ariana Grande, Neil Patrick Harris and Charlene Tilton in "A Snow White Christmas" at The Pasadena Playhouse.

Ariana Grande, Neil Patrick Harris and Charlene Tilton in “A Snow White Christmas” (photo credit: F. Scott Schafer.)

December 22nd was our exciting day to road trip it from Irvine to Pasadena. The kids arrived with wonder in their eyes, as we entered a festive courtyard dripping with holiday cheer. There were snow covered trees, snowmen and carolers singing the classics. A gorgeous Christmas tree adorned the lobby and an antique armoire was nearby, topped with a beautiful golden menorah. Cookies and hot cocoa were available for the kids at the concession stand as well as “special” coffee for Mom and Dad. We took a free family photo at the sleepy village backdrop. (The photo was later available on the Lythgoe Family Productions’ Facebook page.)

Kris Lythgoe (Writer, Producer) is no stranger to show business. His father, Nigel is executive producer of “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance.” Kris’s mother, Bonnie (Director, Producer), has dedicated 30 years to choreography, directing and producing for TV. “A Snow White Christmas is Kris’ fourth panto. Along with Elizabth Doran (Executive Director), Sheldon Epps (Artistic Director), Michael Orland (Musical Director), Spencer Liff (Choreographer) any many other talented players, Lythgoe Family Productions is a theater powerhouse that is sure to deliver the goods.

Ariana Grande and Curt Hansen in "A Snow White Christmas" at The Pasadena Playhouse. (Photo credit: Philicia Endelman)

Ariana Grande and Curt Hansen in “A Snow White Christmas” at The Pasadena Playhouse. (Photo credit: Philicia Endelman)

I had no idea that the show was going to be so interactive and family friendly. This modern version of Snow White was written with all ages in mind. Our 5-year old, 10-year old, and my 40 something-year old husband and I were thoroughly entertained the entire time. We laughed at every social media reference and technology joke. “How will we find Snow White? Google Maps!” was one of the lines that tickled me. The kids cheered for the court jester named Muddle (played by Jonathan Meza), yelled “NOOOOO! Don’t eat the apple!” to warn Snow White (Ariana Grande), and “BOOOOOOO’d” the Wicked Queen (Charlene Tilton). These were instructions we discovered while reading the program. So this is American Panto.  There were more sing-along surprises for the audience to enjoy. Lucky kids with a “golden ticket” were able to get on the stage and participate during one of the songs. It was very cute.

The music was everything from 80’s pop star Huey Lewis & the News and Hall & Oates to current tunes by Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Bruno Mars. Just a hint of Gangnam Style was thrown in there for good measure.

Ariana Grande and the Seven Dwarves  (Photo: Philicia Endelman)

Ariana Grande and the Seven Dwarves (Photo: Philicia Endelman)

Ariana Grande’s vocals were incredible. Her sweet voice and range captivated us all. Our favorite song was “Firework.” Her performance was flawless. I can see why she has 3.9 million followers on Twitter @ArianaGrande. Everyone loves her!

Neil Patrick Harris (from the TV show “How I Met Your Mother”) played the “Magic Mirror” with his mostly serious facial expressions and signature eyebrow maneuvering skills. He told the Wicked Queen that Snow White was the fairest one of all every time he was asked. Of course she wasn’t pleased with this and the plot thickened.

Most of the traditional storyline of the tale is evident, but be prepared for some interesting twists.

Overall we had such a wonderful time. I didn’t want the show to end! Panto is the perfect way to expose children to theater, without being so concerned about them sitting perfectly still and quiet for 2 hours. When is the next one, Lythgoe Family? Aladdin, next year? Can’t wait! The Pasadena Playhouse is a charming venue. We will be sure to keep an eye out for more shows. Looking forward to our next theater outing!

-MaryAnne Wendt

A SNOW WHITE CHRISTMAS will play from December 13 – 30, 2012 with a gala press opening on Wednesday, December 12, 2012, at 7:00 p.m. The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101. The performance schedule is Tuesday through Friday at 7:00 p.m.; Saturdays at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.; and Sundays at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. There are no performances on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 18 and 19 as well as Christmas Day. A special Christmas Eve performance will take place on December 24 at 7:00 p.m. Ends Dec. 30.

Tickets are available by calling The Pasadena Playhouse at 626-356-7529 or by visiting The Pasadena Playhouse Box Office, Tuesday – Sunday from 12:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. during non- performance dates. On performance dates the Box Office is open Tuesday – Saturday from 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are available 24 hours online at Group Sales (8 or more) are available by calling 626- 921-1161. For additional information visit Cost: $22 to $100

Marissa (10) and Jessie (5) enjoyed "A Snow White Christmas!"

Marissa (10) and Jessie (5) enjoyed “A Snow White Christmas!”


About MaryAnne:

MaryAnne is a purple-loving blogger for PurpleWays and social media enthusiast from Orange County, California. She loves spending time with her husband and two children and enjoys all things creative and techie. She is also test drives and reviews cars.

She can contacted at or Twitter @MaryAnneWendt.


Violet lights for our Chevy! Thanks! #purple

Everyone who knows me, knows I HEART PURPLE! I have loved purple, wait… let me rephrase – I have fanatically loved purple since I was a kid. Donny Osmond’s purple socks. Dug them. Prince and the New Power Generation, the purple guitar and Purple Rain… all over that! And when I found out my birthstone was Amethyst (February)… OMG!!! PURPLE!!! When I was a smoker…  (Yes, I smoked 1/2 a pack a day of Benson & Hedges Ultra Lights Menthol for 9 years) I lit my cigs in style with my matte purple Zippo lighter. I drove a silver 2000 Turbo Beetle with what? Purple flowers in the little mini vase on the dash. (Yes, I drove a VW before the Chevy. Why did I ever stray from a V8?) I had a faux leather jacket that was… purple. Jim proposed to me with a pear shaped diamond surrounded by what? Purple stones all around. “Of course I’ll marry you!” Okay, I’m sure you get it by now. I effing LOVE PURPLE. (Please excuse my language, but let me say it again: I love purple!)

Okay okay, I’m sure you are sick of me saying that by now. I don’t have a big purple wardrobe, I don’t have purple walls in the bedroom, purple sheets on the bed, or a purple velvet chaise lounge in the living room next to a purple felt pool table. One day. If my husband lets me. Ha ha!

I love when I get a tweet or Facebook message from someone who shares a photo of a beautiful field of purple flowers and tags me. Or when a friend takes the time to tell me they thought of me when they saw something in the store that came in purple. My BFF Kimi even picked up a pair of purple Converse shoes for me while doing her own shoe shopping because she knew I had to have them.

Recently I received a thoughtful gift from PURPLE headlights for our Chevy Tahoe! They aren’t super bright purple. But at night, you can see a hint of violet that shows off our custom chrome grill just right.

I’d show a photo of it but with the chrome and bright lights on I found it very hard to photograph. Looks awesome!!

Just wanted to say THANK YOU for making my day. The fact that they read my profile on Twitter that says I’m a “purple loving techie mom” and sent me a purple surprise shows that they are cool people that will take care of you!

They are the only company in the industry to offer a full 1 year warranty and a 60 day money back guarantee!

Here are all their available colors: Hyper White, Platinum, Deep Blue, Ultra Violet and Yellow.

If you ever need headlights, I suggest you check out their website. They have bulbs for every make of car from Acura to Yamaha.

Here’s their website again:

Thanksgiving To-Go from Knott’s! #KnottsTurkeyDay

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and you know what that means. Turkey and all the fixings! I love spending time with family and enjoying all the traditional foods of the holiday. Pumpkin pie is my favorite. (I think of dessert more than my meal.) I also love the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and yams. Actually, there isn’t anything on the table that I won’t indulge in.

Preparing everything can be quite a challenge and time consuming. If you have other things to juggle… like entertaining out-of-town family members, decorating the home, managing other activities, how will you get it all done?

Here’s the perfect solution: Purchase your complete Thanksgiving meal from Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant at Knott’s! They have everything ready to-go in a box for you.

This weekend our family experienced an early Thanksgiving meal from Knott’s. Everything was wonderful! The turkey was cooked and ready to go, as well as all the sides. All we had to do was heat and serve!

The box contained:

Complete 12-14 lb. Turkey
1 Quart of Country Apple Stuffing
2 Quarts of Mashed Potatoes
2 Quarts of Gravy
1 Quart of Candied Yams
8 oz. of Cranberry Sauce
8 oz. of Bread and Butter Pickles
1 Quart of Whole Kernel Corn
1 Dozen Farm Baked Rolls
Butter and Boysenberry Preserves
Choice of Boysenberry Pie or Pumpkin Pie

(Suggested serving is 6-8 people, but we were able to serve 12 adults and 3 children.)

Thanksgiving To-Go: Complete Meal from Knott’s!

Pumpkin Pie (We added the whipped cream)

How did everything taste?

All the food was great. The turkey was cooked just right. The Country Apple Stuffing was perfectly seasoned. Candied yams were classic. The big container of gravy was perfect for the turkey and mashed potatoes. Everything tasted just like the traditional Thanksgiving meals I have enjoyed for years. I wasn’t sure what the pickles were for though. That was something different for me. Maybe it was for the rolls. The pumpkin pie was the perfect ending to a turkey dinner. We added whipped cream to the pie and served it with coffee. Everyone had happy tummies. We enjoyed the rest of the evening together while Michael Bublé played on the iPod.

How easy was it?

This was seriously the easiest Thanksgiving meal we ever served. We showed up to my Mom and Dad’s house with the box. We unpacked everything. We put the turkey in the oven for 1 hour. Then we started heating up the side dishes in the microwave. All the sides were packed in microwave-safe containers. Then all the food was placed on serving dishes and we set the table. And walla! Dinner is served!

How much does it cost?

The entire Thanksgiving Dinner To-Go from Knott’s costs $99.95

For more info:

Visit or call (714) 220-5006

If you would like to dine at Knott’s:

Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant will also offer a Thanksgiving Champagne Brunch, November 22, 2012, 9 am to 4 pm.

Adults: $29.95
Seniors: $23.95
Children: $17.95

The Knott’s Thanksgiving Day Brunch features:

Three hand-carving stations offering Rib of Beef, Roasted Turkey, and Baked Ham
Omelet Station
Belgian Waffle Station
Fresh Salads
Pasta Station
Peel and Eat Shrimp
All Knott’s classic dishes including Mrs. Knott’s Chicken
Fresh Thanksgiving Desserts from our bakery and much more!
Over 70 home-cooked dishes to enjoy.

Guests can make reservations by calling (714) 220-5006

Happy Thanksgiving!

However you choose to have your Thanksgiving meal, whether it’s creating your own special dish, unboxing the Knott’s To-Go meal, or dining out… I wish you a wonderful holiday with your loved ones! I’m looking forward to enjoying the day with my family and counting my blessings. I’m so thankful to have my health, my awesome husband, amazing children, many family members and great friends in my life!

Special thanks to Knott’s for providing the above mentioned Thanksgiving Meal To-Go for me and my family to experience. No other type of compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.



Bacara Resort. My First Girls Getaway! ~ @BacaraResortSB

Santa Barbara

My first weekend away from the family in 12 years of marriage and 10 years of motherhood . I was feeling a little uneasy at first. Was the home neat and tidy? Was the laundry done? Do the kids have enough food and snacks to get them through the next couple of days? Would the home STAY neat and tidy while I was away? All I could do was trust that everything was going to be fine. My husband is great with the kids when I have to go somewhere for the day. I was sure they’d be fine for the weekend. Our girls are 10 and 4 now. I was long overdue for a weekend break with my girlfriends!

I was excited about our plans to visit Bacara Resort and Spa in Santa Barbara. I haven’t visited the area since my Yearbook Editor’s Conference in 1988 when I was a Senior at Irvine High. (Oh shoot, did I just date myself?) Not sure why I waited so long to revisit Santa Barbara! It’s such a quick drive up the coast, maybe less than 3 hours from Orange County.

My first girls getaway and I spent it with Candice, Debbie and Shannon. I met all 3 of them  through social media. Who knew that you could meet fun people on Twitter? Yes, we all met on Twitter! The first time we met IRL (in real life) was at my birthday gathering at Elephant Bar almost 3 years ago. We have enjoyed many tweet ups, networking events and simple girl time together since then. I was very happy to spend this time with them.

Lobby at Bacara Resort

The Property:

As soon as I walked into the lobby of Bacara Resort and Spa, I knew I was in for a treat. I saw candles lightly flickering on the tables with fresh flowers and many places to sit and relax. I searched for the venue on Foursquare to checkin. Yes! Complimentary WiFi throughout the property! (Thanks, Bacara for a wonderful amenity for us social media geeks.) Outside was just as lovely. Grassy hills, lush landscaping and a pool with stunning ocean views awaited us. I couldn’t wait to jump in the pool!

Pool at Bacara Resort

The Rooms:

We had a double queen room with Spanish tile floors, dark wood furniture and beds with big fluffy pillows. The ceilings had wood beams and a ceiling fan with matching wood blades. I could hear the sounds of the water fountain right outside our door in the courtyard. I loved the patio overlooking the garden and nice patio furniture. The bathroom had shower with a glass door and a separate soaking tub with wood shutters overlooking the bedroom. If you would like privacy while in the tub, you can close the shutters. I enjoy hotels with a lighting magnifying mirror. I feel so glamorous when doing my makeup! I liked the silver tray with white candles on the side table. A nice touch that I don’t often see in hotels.

The Bistro at Bacara

Dining & Cocktails:

  • Miro – Four star restaurant with New American cuisine with a great view. Miro’s wine cellar houses 12,000 bottles of wine from 13 countries. Fireside tapas and signature cocktails are available at the Miro Lounge. Open for dinner and Champagne Sunday Brunch.
  • Bisto – California-Mediterrannean cuisine on a beautiful stone terrace with ocean views. Nice and relaxed setting for adults and children. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Sunday Brunch looked scrumptious. I opted for a Bloody Mary. My Sunday tradition if I happen to be someplace that serves them.
  • Spa Cafe – Upscale take out cuisine like sandwiches, salads  and treats. You could grab a cocktail here, too. I’m always on the lookout for drinks. It’s vacation, after all!
  • Bacara Bar – Amazing signature cocktails here. I highly recommend the “Anacapa Ginger” – so yummy!  This place gets jumping on a Saturday night, especially when wedding guests spill over into the bar area. Good times!
  • Pool & Cabanas – You can order burgers, salads and kids meals poolside. Cocktails too, of course. You can rent a cabana and really live it up. The cabanas include TV’s, safes and refrigerators.

Anacapa Ginger at Bacara Bar

 The Spa, Fitness Center & Salon:

Guests can enjoy the Spa’s pool, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, whirlpool, lounge areas, fitness equipment and fitness classes at no additional charge. I like that there is a private saline pool at the spa. It’s great if you want some quiet time away from the main pool.  The spa offers 60 treatments including massage, scrubs, bronzes, hydrotherapy, polishes, masks and facials. You’ll love the eucalyptus steam room! So refreshing after a yoga class or workout. The Fitness Center has 3,500 square feet of space with all the latest in cardio equipment. After a workout, pampering treatment and luxurious shower, you may want to see what the Salon has to offer. You can get your hair, nails, make-up, eyelashes and waxing all done in one place. No wonder Bacara Resort is a popular place for weddings!

The Spa at Bacara


Bacara Resort is absolutely beautiful! This place is perfect for a weekend girls getaway, romantic weekend for two or a family vacation. Bacara would also be the most memorable backdrop for a wedding or special event. From the moment you arrive, you are greeted by valet and hotel staff that are friendly and eager to help. There are golf cart rides available to and from your room anytime. The rooms are fabulous, the amenities and service is excellent and there’s free WiFi throughout the property. I also loved the sand play area near the pool. I’m sure the kids would love the option to play in the sand or enjoy a swim. There’s something for everyone at Bacara Resort. I highly recommend this place and look forward to returning here again.  ~ MaryAnne.

Bacara Resort:

Address:  8301 Hollister Avenue, Santa Barbara, CA
Phone: (805) 968-0100
Twitter: @BacaraResortSB

Sightseeing/Things to Do in Santa Barbara:

  • We were able to visit Downtown Santa Barbara (see #2 on the map) at State St. and walked around near the Granada Theater.
  • The street was lined with cute little shops and restaurants.
  • One day I’d like to come back and check out the wineries!
  • Beaches: The beaches are gorgeous. BUT: Beware of tar! I saw lots of people wiping tar off their feet.
  • We found a great art place called The Painted Cabernet. Painting and mimosas in the morning! What fun! (Separate blog post on this experience coming soon!)

Shannon, Debbie, MaryAnne & Candice at Painted Cabernet

Photos on my YouTube:

Music >>  “As You Were” by Boney James

Slater’s 50/50 in Huntington Beach

Slater's 50/50I met up with my friends Candice Cendana & Chris Voss for lunch last week at Slater’s 50/50 in Huntington Beach. This place is the hottest place for burgers in OC! Why 50/50? Their signature burger has 50% beef and 50% bacon in it. You HAVE to try it. If you are vegetarian, they have  veggie burgers too. They also have a crazy burger called the Peanut Butter and Jellousy. What? It’s ground beef with peanut butter, jelly and bacon!

I love the checklist you get so that you can customize your burger exactly how you want. You pick the size of your patty, type of patty: beef, turkey, veggie or the 50/50 beef/bacon combo. Pick your bread or have it lettuce wrapped and they have all the add-ons you can imagine. The possibilities are endless! This was actually my 3rd visit. The first time I went big and tried their 50/50 beef/bacon burger. You want to scream profanities upon first bite, it’s that good. My 2nd visit I backed off and had a veggie burger. This time with Candice and Chris I had a classic beef burger with brie. Yup, brie cheese on my burger! Sooo yummy! I really wish I had the video camera rolling on my iPhone when Chris took his first bite. I would need a bleep sound to edit out all the cussing. I think he liked his burger. Haha! We did record a clip of him taking bites of his heavenly meat. Yeah, he liked it. We all liked it. A LOT! Candice enjoyed her veggie burger. I just donated blood that day, so a good dose of red meat is just what I needed. I was afraid to indulge in a cocktail though. I think you can get buzzed quicker if you’re missing a pint of blood in ya. So I took sips of Candice’s drink. They have a really good Cucumber Mojito. I enjoyed it twice before. Once I get a really good cocktail at a particular restaurant, I tend to order the same one every time I go back to visit.

All I have to say is Slater’s 50/50 makes a damn good burger. If you haven’t been here before. You are seriously missing out.

Slater’s 50/50 in HB –
Twitter: @Slaters5050
Address: 8082 Adams Ave., Huntington Beach, CA 92646
Phone: 714.594.5730

Chris Voss, me & Candice Cendana

Chris Voss, me & Candice Cendana (Screenshot from Chris's video)


Kid Friendly Vegas

Jim had a conference in Las Vegas May 17-19, so we decided to head out with the kids and enjoy some time together. I had a blast entertaining the kids during the day, and enjoyed dining and sightseeing with Jim in the evening. We were very lucky to find a great babysitter to come to our hotel & watch the kids at night. Las Vegas turned out to be an amazing family getaway.

The Hard Rock Hotel

Hard Rock Hotel

Rockin' Kids at the Hard Rock

The Hard Rock Hotel is one of our favorite hotels. Rock and Roll blaring though out the entire casino and pools. Everywhere you look, you’ll find all kinds of music memorabilia like signed guitars on the walls and displays of outfits the stars wore at their concerts. Marissa (10) loved Cee Lo’s Swarovski crystal covered jumpsuit and Jessie (4) couldn’t stop looking at Axl Rose’s motorcycle with flames on it.

Our hotel room was very nice and modern. The beds were so comfy. Seriously, it was like sleeping on a cloud. Now I want a memory foam layer on our bed at home and pillows just like the Hard Rock. The view from our window of the main pool was entertaining. Young adults in their bathing suits, dancing all crazy. I think they were doing a mating dance. I was afraid to take the kids down there at first, unsure of what they might see. Then we noticed other pools surrounding the main pool that looked less crowded. Our bellhop arrived with our luggage and ice chest. Yes ice chest. Which brings me to some good road trip travel tips…

comfy bed at the Hard Rock

Comfy bed at the Hard Rock!

Travel tips:

Drinks, Snacks & Pool Floaties — Bring an ice chest! Pack your own drinks & snacks. Don’t bother touching the honor bar, unless you want to pay $6.00 for a small bag of potato chips. We brought bottled water, Capri Suns, soy milk, Gogurt, bananas and cereal. No need for a pricy breakfast. I also brought Odwalla green smoothies since I’d be without my blender for 3 days. Whenever we’d head out for the pool we would pack our snacks and drinks so we didn’t have to order anything. Huge money saver! If it’s hot out, I suggest pretzel sticks, goldfish or granola bars. Try not to bring anything with chocolate because it will melt. Keep the kids hydrated with lots of water. I let them alternate between water and Capri Sun Roaring Waters. They love that stuff. Bring extra ziplock baggies to take small portions of snacks on the go. Pool floaties! We brought 2 water noodles for the kids to float with. The gift shops will have inflatable rafts or tubes, but they’re expensive.

Pool #1: Water slide pool at the Hard Rock

I love the sandy lagoon pools at the Hard Rock. I was a little worried for Jessie at first, since this was her first time on a water slide since the baby slides at Wild Rivers in Irvine 2 years ago. (Sadly, that water park is gone now.) I should have known she would take on the slides with no fear. She’s my little daredevil. She went right up the stairs to the slide with her big sis and didn’t even look back at me or Jim. They giggled all the way down the slide as their little bodies gently plunged into the cool water. Moments like this are just priceless. I can stare at them all day with those big smiles.

Jessie and Marissa at the Hard Rock pool

Jessie and Marissa at the Hard Rock pool

Notes: You must be a registered guest to visit the pool at the Hard Rock. The pools are intended for young adults. You might see guys and gals dancing “pretty close to each other” and the music may have explicit lyrics. The hotel staff will encourage guests with children to stay away from the main pool and enjoy some of the other less crowded pools and the water slide. I suggest you stay at the water slide pool. It’s a lot of fun!

Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas
4455 Paradise Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 89169
(800) 693-7625

Pool #2: Shark Tank Water Slide at The Golden Nugget

This was the pool the kids were most excited to visit. A few days before our trip, we looked at the Golden Nugget’s website and saw photos of the water slide that went though the shark tank. Wow! We had to go here. The kids went right up the long flight of stairs to the top of the water slide without a care in the world. Even my little Jessie, late in the afternoon without a nap… had no problems getting to the top. Jim waited in the pool, at the bottom of the slide for them. Both of our girls couldn’t wait to slide down the tunnel and experience the tank. More giggles all the way down the slide. You can hear their happy squeals echo though the tunnel as they landed into the pool and swam towards Daddy.

Jim and Jessie at the tank at Golden Nugget

Jim and Jessie at the Tank at Golden Nugget

Notes:  You don’t have to be a registered guest at the Golden Nugget to experience the Tank swimming pool. The pool is open to the general public for a $20 fee. I really love how this hotel is away from the Strip. It’s less touristy and the vibe is more casual. Although we didn’t stay here this time, I would definitely consider staying here next time! The hotel has a very inviting atmosphere for families.

The Tank at Golden Nugget

The Tank. Photo courtesy: The Golden Nugget

Golden Nugget Hotel Las Vegas
129 E. Fremont St.
Las Vegas, NV 89101
(800) 634-3454

Pool #3: Mandalay Bay Beach

Mandalay Bay

Mandalay Bay

Our 3rd pool to visit was at the Mandalay Bay Resort. Such a gorgeous property. There are 3 swimming pools, a wave pool with sand and lazy river, spread across 11 acres. Our first mission was to hit the waves. There was a 48″ height requirement and no floaties allowed at the wave pool, so Marissa took off on her own while I watched Jessie. There is a kiddie pool connected to the wave

Jessie at the Mandalay Bay

Jessie at the Mandalay Bay

pool, so I was able to keep an eye on Jessie to the left and glance over to the right and see Marissa in the distance, enjoying the waves. Ahhh, the joys of being a mom of 2 kids with a 5 1/2 year age gap. Both kids in the water, neither of them within my reach. I stayed closer to Jessie since she was the smaller one. She splashed around and danced to the music. I was confident that Marissa would be okay. There were lifeguards all over the place, too. I heard them blowing the whistle at kids for all kinds of penalties. No floaties allowed in the wave pool, no running, no swimming right where the waves break. Safety was clearly a priority at the Mandalay Bay. The lazy river was super fun! We brought our water noodles to float with and Marissa enjoyed a tube. There are 2 waterfalls that dump water onto your head. The kids laughed equally hard every time they got to the waterfall. I couldn’t stop laughing with them. I don’t know why, but it was funny every time. What a fun day. Memories that will last with us forever.

Lazy River at Mandalay Bay

Lazy River at Mandalay Bay

Notes: You must be a registered guest to visit the pools at Mandalay Bay. This hotel is very family friendly. There’s even a Shark Reef Aquarium with a clear tunnel that moves you though the shark tank. It’s open to the public. The kids will really love seeing this. $18/per adult and $12/per kid age 5-12.

Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89119
(877) 632-7800

3 Pools in 3 Days:


Other places the kids might enjoy:


The hotel lobby has beautiful glass art on the ceiling. It’s a chandelier called Fiori di Como by glass sculptor Dale Chihuly. This piece is composed of over 2,000 hand blown glass blossoms. The kids stared at the ceiling with amazement.

Lobby at Bellagio

Lobby at Bellagio

Botanical Gardens – The Spring 2012 garden display is breathtaking. You’ll see beautiful flowers, a working carousel, a sailboat, and bumble bees and hot air balloons hanging from the glass ceiling.

Botanical Gardens at Bellagio

Botanical Gardens at Bellagio

Bellagio Fountains – The kids will love the water fountain show! It’s spectacular. The fountains shoot up in the air so high and moves gracefully to the music. Such a sight to see and it’s free. The shows play every 30 minutes during the day and every 15 minutes at night.

3600 Las Vegas Blvd. South.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(888) 987-6667

Sugar Factory at the Paris Hotel

Get your sweet fix at the Sugar Factory. It’s located in the front of the Paris Hotel. A huge assortment of candy, cupcakes, cake pops and other baked goods. They also have gelato and coffee beverages. Their tee shirts are super cute too. Who wouldn’t want a tee shirt with a bling’d out cupcake on it? Of course I had to get one for Marissa. I picked out a cute cupcake shirt for Jessie that said “Hot Mess” on it and it smelled like cupcakes, too.

The kids at Sugar Factory

The kids at Sugar Factory

Sugar Factory at Paris Hotel
3655 Las Vegas Blvd.
South, Las Vegas, NV 89109
(877) 796-2096


So much to do in Las Vegas! We were so lucky to find a great babysitter so I could get out in the evenings with Jim. The kids really loved spending time with her. Contact me if you want to know more about her. You really CAN take kids to Vegas! We’ll definitely do another road trip there again soon.

Road Trip to Vegas

Special Thanks to:

Hard Rock Hotel
The Golden Nugget
Mandalay Bay Resort
LifeProof – my waterproof iPhone case!