Samantha Chic

9.21.2016

LA Life // Our trip to Disneyland & the 3 foods you must eat there!

Disney, Disneyland, Mickey Mouse, food, food at Disney, Southern California, Anaheim, Sleeping Beauty, Sleeping Beauty's Castle, churro, pineapple, Dole whip, beignets, mint julep

Recently, Ryan and I went to Disneyland - the Happiest Place on Earth! We had been talking about it for months but weren't sure when would be the best time to beat the crowds. I had a hunch September would be a good month (we had some pretty good luck going on vacation in Maine in Sept. after Labor Day two years ago) since most kids are back in school, it's after Labor Day, and still early enough before the Holiday season.


Disney, Disneyland, Mickey Mouse, food, food at Disney, Southern California, Anaheim, Sleeping Beauty, Sleeping Beauty's Castle, churro, pineapple, Dole whip, beignets, mint julep

One thing that helped us make the decision was the Is It Packed website. I hadn't heard of it before, but if you're considering going to a theme park in Southern California, you definitely want to check it out. They do real-time and projected crowd tracking so you know when's the best day to go. On the particular Sunday we chose, wait times were expected to be around 30 minutes.


Disney, Disneyland, Mickey Mouse, food, food at Disney, Southern California, Anaheim, Sleeping Beauty, Sleeping Beauty's Castle, churro, pineapple, Dole whip, beignets, mint julep
Luckily for us, the crowds - or lack thereof - were even better than the website predicted. We only had to wait 30 minutes twice (for Space Mountain and Splash Mountain), a handful of rides were only 15-20 minutes, and the rest were all 10 minutes or less. SCORE! We got a chance to ride everything we wanted, and a few things twice.

On top of the rides, one of our favorite things was the food. Yes, theme park food is always pricey and probably not worth it, but I like to think it's part of the experience. If you're not sure what foods are worth it, here are the three things I recommend at Disneyland.


Disney, Disneyland, Mickey Mouse, food, food at Disney, Southern California, Anaheim, Sleeping Beauty, Sleeping Beauty's Castle, churro, pineapple, Dole whip, beignets, mint julep
1. Churros - At $4.75 each, they're not cheap, but they're totally worth it! Ryan and I ate 5 between us (towards the end of the day they three in a third one for free). 

Each time we got one, they were hot, perfectly cooked, and covered in cinnamon sugar to perfection. Definitely worth having as a sweet treat! They have several carts located around the park so you can grab one anytime.


Disney, Disneyland, Mickey Mouse, food, food at Disney, Southern California, Anaheim, Sleeping Beauty, Sleeping Beauty's Castle, churro, pineapple, Dole whip, beignets, mint julep
2. Pineapple Dole Whip Float - Over in Adventureland near the Enchanted Tiki Lounge is a little stand serving up one of the best cold treats you'll ever have, especially if you love pineapple as much as I do. 

The Dole Whip Float is pineapple flavored soft-serve in a cup of fresh pineapple juice and it is ah-ma-zing! It's only served at Disneyland so it definitely adds to the experience.


Disney, Disneyland, Mickey Mouse, food, food at Disney, Southern California, Anaheim, Sleeping Beauty, Sleeping Beauty's Castle, churro, pineapple, Dole whip, beignets, mint julep
3. Beignets & Mint Juleps - I've heard so many people rave about the beignets at Disneyland so I knew we had to grab some from the Mint Julep Bar in New Orleans Square. The beignets aren't just cute, but they're light and pillowy and delicious. 

While in line, a woman told me that the original beignets with powdered sugar are the best things in Disneyland, but the mint julep isn't that great. I actually really loved the julep since it was light and refreshing.


Disney, Disneyland, Mickey Mouse, food, food at Disney, Southern California, Anaheim, Sleeping Beauty, Sleeping Beauty's Castle, churro, pineapple, Dole whip, beignets, mint julep

As an honorable mention, I'll throw in the Mickey shaped soft pretzel because, again, it was just too cute to pass up. It tasted like any other soft pretzel you might get at a theme park, but I couldn't resist.

Also, you may not be able to wear costumes to the park if you're over 14-years-old (kind of not fair), but that doesn't mean you can't show your Disney love with some cool shirts and jewelry. 

Shop some great items (I'm partial to the Hakuna Matata tank) here:


Overall, we had a great day at Disneyland - we got there at 9 a.m. when the park opened, rode a ton of rides, watched the parade, ate some great food, stayed for 13 hours to see the fireworks over Sleeping Beauty's castle, and enjoyed every single second of it. What's your favorite things about Disneyland? Tell me in the comments below!


Disney, Disneyland, Mickey Mouse, food, food at Disney, Southern California, Anaheim, Sleeping Beauty, Sleeping Beauty's Castle, churro, pineapple, Dole whip, beignets, mint julep

Disney, Disneyland, Mickey Mouse, food, food at Disney, Southern California, Anaheim, Sleeping Beauty, Sleeping Beauty's Castle, churro, pineapple, Dole whip, beignets, mint julep

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8.31.2016

LA Life // Exploring Los Angeles County's beaches


I know the unofficial "end of summer" is coming up with Labor Day, but technically, summer goes until Sept. 22 so hopefully you can get a few last beach days in this year. One of my favorite things about moving to Southern California is being able to go to the beach whenever I want!

It's true what they say, though, once you live near the beach, you don't go as often as you think. Luckily, my job is in Santa Monica just a few blocks from the beach so I can usually go walk along the Pier a couple times a week. Every weekend I try to go to the beach as well, but sometimes we have other plans, or I just feel like hanging at home and swimming.

If you'll be coming to Los Angeles though anytime soon (or even over Spring Break), these are some of our favorite beaches...

Dockweiler State Beach
This is where Ryan and I went to spend the 4th of July. Featuring three miles of coastline, Dockweiler State Beach is definitely one of the nicest beaches in the area and it's the only one where you're allowed to operate fire pits. If you want to have a picnic on the beach, this is definitely the place to do it! You will have to pay for parking here. It is possible to drive up into the adjacent town and parking off-street, but be prepared to walk 30 minutes to the beach if you do so.


Santa Monica Pier and Beach
As I mentioned, I work in Santa Monica just a few blocks from the beach and pier so I absolutely love walking the 10 minutes down there to people watch, soak in some sun, maybe dip a toe in the water. Santa Monica is definitely a tourist place though so keep in mind that it will probably be crowded (pretty much all year-round). In terms of parking, most tourists try to get beachside parking, but honestly, I think you'd be better off parking at the Civic Center. It's $14 a day M-F and then $5 a day on Sat. & Sun. and it's only a few blocks from the Pier.

Venice Beach
Located a little south of Santa Monica, Venice Beach is also a popular tourist destination but the beach is usually a little less crowded. Venice has a nice boardwalk that features a ton of different shops, food places (Get a pineapple smoothie from Cairo Cowboy - trust me!), art installations, and just about every type of person you can imagine. There are a few parking lots for $10 a day but they fill up quickly. If you can get there early in the day, free off-street parking is your best bet.


Playa Del Rey Beach
I almost don't want to tell you about this one because it's kind of a hidden gem. If you keep going south down the coast, you'll hit Playa Del Rey Beach. It's just a small little area of the coast with no boardwalk or pier or anything, but it's great to relax and escape because there are so few people there. It's actually located right near LAX so you can watch the airplanes coming and going. For parking, there is a lot or two that hold like 20 cars, but you'll need to park off-street here.


What's your favorite beach (in LA or outside)? Tell me in the comments below!





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7.19.2016

LA Life // Hello Kitty Cafe in Glendale

Hello Kitty, cafe, Glendale, cookies, doughnuts, macarons, coffee, cake, food truck, Los Angeles, Irvine

A fun fact about me - the first apartment I had all on my own after graduating college featured several Hello Kitty items. In fact, my whole kitchen was Hello Kitty themed (thanks to Target) with a microwave, coffee pot, hand mixer, crock pot and toaster.

Sadly, after about a year the microwave caught fire. Let me tell you, flames out of Hello Kitty's eyes is a scary, scary sight! And unfortunately, the rest of the appliances didn't make it with me on our cross country drive. As much as Ryan tolerated the Hello Kitty toast, I'm pretty sure he was happy about this - hah!


Hello Kitty, cafe, Glendale, cookies, doughnuts, macarons, coffee, cake, food truck, Los Angeles, Irvine
So, when I saw the Hello Kitty Cafe mobile truck was going to be in Glendale this weekend, I knew it would be the Hello Kitty fix I needed. It was parked at the Glendale Galleria on Saturday from around 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. but I didn't get there until 4:30ish.

Luckily when I got there, the line wasn't as long as I had previously seen on Twitter, but I still had to wait about 15-20 minutes. I ordered the Hello Kitty cookies and macarons as well as a coffee mug. The also had doughnuts and petit four cakes, but I didn't want to splurge too much.

The cookies were basic sugar cookies that were a little hard for my taste, but the macaroons were actually really good! It was actually my first time in Glendale as well and I enjoyed walking around the Galleria (and picking up a jacket at Forever 21)!

While this truck only had desserts, they also opened a Hello Kitty Cafe "pop-up shop" with more menu items in Irvine this weekend as well. I'm not sure how long it'll be there, but I may need to make a trip as well...


Hello Kitty, cafe, Glendale, cookies, doughnuts, macarons, coffee, cake, food truck, Los Angeles, Irvine


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