Talk about decking the halls!  Roger’s Gardens in Newport Beach is a great place to start your shopping for holiday decorations.   A little confession:  we were on our way to the tree lighting at Fashion Island, and we were late getting out there (you all know, taking about 20 mins to get socks and shoes on, then having a last minute bathroom emergency as we start loading up the car). When we realized as we sat waiting in a long line of cars to get into the packed parking lot that we would not be able to find parking and get to the lighting in 12 mins, we planned our escape. Yes, the kids were a little disappointed to miss the official Christmas tree lighting, but we promised to bring them back another evening to see the tree.  Seeing festive lights behind us, we flipped a U turn and followed the lights.  To our pleasant surprise, we drove into a twinkling oasis.  I have had Roger’s Garden on my list for awhile, so  this accidental discovery was so timely.

For those that are not familiar, Roger’s Garden is a spacious outdoor nursery with an equally expansive indoor store.  At the back of all this beautiful garden is their Farmhouse restaurant.  The kids were so excited to roam the nursery that is currently decorated with beautiful holiday lights – simply magical!  Holiday tip:  if you call the Farmhouse restaurant, they are completely booked for reservations until January; however, we simply walked up and put our name on the wait list before exploring the garden.  The wait was only an hour on a Thursday night, with plenty of open seating at the bar, but I will assume that it will be longer if you go on a weekend.  This was just the perfect amount of time for us to enjoy the lights and do a little shopping.  The have beautiful decorations and ornaments, with a good selection of traditional and marine themed holiday items – we are in Newport Beach, after all!  The kids got some adorable fuzzy beanies with koala ears and owl ears (yes, I probably overpaid, but they were so darn cute!).  There is also a coffee cart in the middle of the garden, so you can grab a coffee or a hot chocolate on a cold evening.  

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The Lido Theater in Newport Beach elicits charm and class. Especially during the holidays. Let’s get this holiday started!  All the malls are decked out, lights are going up around the neighborhood, and holiday music is playing on KOST.  And really, we need every single day that we can get to squeeze in all the fun activities around town and beyond!  Between our two families, we have so many holiday traditions, new and old, we’re lucky we’re not starting up in June!

Lido Theater Newport Beach

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On Wednesday, October 18th, artist Kelsey Montague unveiled her “Wings” mural in Orange County at the Village at La Floresta in Brea. Her #WhatLiftsYou project has been sighted all over the world. (Click here to see her Instagram.) Most of us have seen her wings in social media all over Los Angeles. This is most exciting for us OC locals because now we can access her beautiful creation in just a short drive!

Kelsey Montague’s #WhatLiftsYou campaign gives people the opportunity to become a “living work of art” as they pose in front of her wings and share with the world what inspires them most in life. You can see many of these photos on Instagram when you search the hashtag #WhatLiftsYou. What a wonderful uplifting phenomenon!

whole foods view

You can find the wings mural on the left side of Whole Foods Market.

kelsey montague wings oc

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Portillo’s Near Me: a Chicago Institution now in Buena Park

Portillo's Hot Dogs - marquee

There’s a heavy hitter in town!  Welcome to the OC neighborhood, Portillo’s!  Yes, there’s a Portillo’s near me. Portillo’s is a Chicago institution and it has recently opened in Buena Park.  We will travel anywhere for good food, but we love when our favorite places come home to our part of the neighborhood. Portillo’s is a much loved and mainstay in the windy city.  We are thrilled that OC folks can get a taste of Chicago without traveling.

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Kids Eat Free Restaurants

Kids Eat Free Restaurants

Below you’ll find a list of kids eat free restaurants in the OC for every day of the week. We created this list because we couldn’t find a good list of meal deals for our youngsters. Our families eat out a lot!  We are so often on the go:  running from one sporting and kid’s activity to another, so it’s just easier to grab a bite out with no dishes or cleanup.  We prefer to eat family style, whether at home or away. I am not a huge fan of most kid’s meals; and really for the price of two kid’s meals, it’s better for them just to order a regular entree to share.  First, they have a much wider range of options.  I cannot tell you how much I hate to pay for Kraft’s mac n cheese!  The exception to family style eating:  kids eat free deals!  No, I don’t want to pay for that Kraft’s mac n cheese or the sad little chicken nuggets, but I’ll take a free one! We are on the hunt for better deals for better meals. You can pretty much find a kid’s eat free deal most days of the week, and a few on the weekends.  This is great for those dinners with friends when you have one table for kids and one for adults, and they can just order their own meals.  Make sure you come back to this list and check for updates and comment! Enjoy!

Sunday

Back Bay Bistro – Kids 10 and under eat free after 4pm on Sunday Family Pasta Night.

Dickey’s BBQ Pit – Kids 12 and under eat free all day with the purchase of an adult entree.

Eats Kitchen & Bar – Kids 12 and under eat free EVERYDAY during dinner!

IHOP – Kids 12 and under eat free from 4pm-9pm with the purchase of an adult entree.

Ways & Means Oysters – Kids eat free with each paid adult.  Although the kid’s menu is limited with just 3 options: fish and chips, mac n cheese, or grilled cheese; they have a decent happy hour Mon-Fri from 2pm-6pm, with their 5 for 5 deal: 5 selected booze and bites for $5.  Also, check their online daily bulletin board for the deal of the day like the $9.99 Maine lobster or $2 fish or shrimp tacos.

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