Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation is Everything an Action Film Should Be!

This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.

Friends! Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Is to not miss seeing Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, hitting theatres across the country this Friday, July 31. My advice to you? ACCEPT.

When I received this mission myself from Pattie, there was no doubt I had to accept. As a lover of action movies, the Mission: Impossible series, starring the How-Does-He-Always-Look-So-Good Tom Cruise, is at the top of my favorites. They have become the must-see action adventures, with each one offering us a new, exotic location and characters to love, hate or both while Cruise’s Ethan Hunt is forever our hero.

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation review

Our latest installment has perhaps the most mind-blowing introduction scene. We meet up with Benji (Simon Pegg) camouflaged as grass while waiting to get word from Ethan to open an airplane’s door…he is just hanging on the outside. As all systems don’t go as planned, this exhilarating intro had me in chills, and this was all barely five minutes in! Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation finds the always lovable Pegg in perhaps most prominent role yet in his role of fellow Agent and hacker, Benji. The true bond and depths of Benji’s, Ethan’s and the rest of The Impossible Mission Force (IMF) friendship is quite present in Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation.

For Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, Hunt has accepted the mission to bring down a Syndicate of terrorists who kill to order and have their eyes on London’s Prime Minister; “The Anti IMF”, as Benji describes them. With trouble back home in the states, William Brandt (a stunning, strong character played brilliantly by Jeremy Renner, who nearly seems to slowly be becoming a new Tom Cruise in the versatile department) is at odds with The CIA on his top-secret involvement with IMF and Hunt’s whereabouts, yet bringing down the Syndicate just might get Brandt some brownie points with the agency.


And, what would Mission: Impossible be without the mighty female lead? Swedish beauty, Rebecca Ferguson fills the shoes as Ilsa, a mysterious woman who we never can 100% trust. As Ethan enlists her help in bringing these bad boys down, Ilsa is quick with information and their excursions to deal with the Syndicate range from The Vienna Opera (a dazzling scene combining stage fight, action, music and a theatrical performance going on) to inside a water tank sans oxygen mask, a scene that gave me chills down my spine!

With each Mission: Impossible having a new Director, I admire the abilities each has had in making it their own, while never straying away from the overall feel of a Mission: Impossible film. With Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation’s Christopher McQuarrie, he has brought to the table the ability to keep the ACTION coming. You barely have time to catch your breath with Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation before we’ve moved onto the next thrilling chapter. While previous Directors might have found their approach with the spread out of chase scenes and lengthier dialogue, McQuarrie knows how to create numerous scenes that keep his audience on the edge of their seat.

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation film review

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, hits theatres this Friday and while this message will not self-destruct in five seconds, I hope you check out this new Summer smash! Get your tickets at Fandango.

This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.

Daycation at the Bungalows at Pacific Edge

I was recently invited to spend the day at one of the fabulous bungalows at Pacific Edge Hotel, and I fell in love with a part of Laguna Beach that I didn’t know about before that day.

Pacific Edge Hotel in Laguna Beach

I soon found that tourists and locals know about Pacific Edge as Laguna Beach’s prime oceanfront retreat. You literally cannot get any closer to the water’s edge. You can trip and fall onto the beach right from the hotel! It’s THAT close.

Pacific Edge also offers newly redesigned guest rooms (most with stunning panoramic ocean views) and features a whole lot of great amenities including our favorite spot: the private, beachfront Bungalows. These spots are the perfect luxe destinations for special celebrations and events, and even just a “daycation” getaway.

Gorjana Griffin bungalow

Bath mat anchor

In all my years, I never imagined that a spot like these private, beachfront Bungalows existed. They’re everything that you would expect from a gorgeous beach city, but also incredibly accessible!

The Bungalow: What can you expect

Along with stunning interior décor, each Bungalow includes a comfortable living room that overlooks the ocean, a VIP Bungalow host, a private bathroom with shower, bar area, valet parking, catered food and beverages, and a private deck area. It’s truly an experience that everyone needs to have at least once.

Shower at Pacific Edge Hotel

Stripped beach towels

Each Bungalow can comfortably house up to ten guests, and they’re great for adults and kids. Take note that they are daytime spaces, and as hard as it’s going to be, you have to be on your way come nighttime.

The Bungalows: What is included

  • Fully private bungalow with keyed access from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Bungalow VIP Host at your service
  • Catering from The Deck, Bottle service and more
  • Air conditioning and flat screen televisions
  • Direct access to the hotel’s private beach
  • Beach Attendant to set up lounge chairs, day beds, umbrellas, and beach towels

Pacific Edge hotel in Laguna Beach

Planter with succulents

Another fun feature about the Bungalows at Pacific Edge is that each one features a signature design and atmosphere courtesy of one unique brand: Billabong, Fox, Gorjana Griffin, Sailor Jerry and the all-new XS Bungalow. We stayed at the Gorjana Griffin bungalow, and that’s the same one that I would love to visit again. It’s super cute, trendy and has my favorite color scheme. It also has many cute touches that look very DIY-friendly, like painted rocks as bookends, succulents in a bowl and painted coral.

Gorjana & Griffin Bungalow

West coast casual meets east coast polish in the gorjana & griffin bungalow. Founded in 2004, gorjana & griffin is a local Laguna Beach lifestyle brand that has developed into a global accessories company, known for their fashionable, socially conscious, and high quality jewelry for men and women. This modern yet comfortable setting mixes playful nautical elements with contemporary furnishings in the design aesthetic inherent of the gorjana & griffin name.

Pacific Edge Hotel cabanas on Laguna Beach

The Bungalows: Good eats by The Deck

When you enjoy one of the Bungalows, you can expect to the most delicious food from the only open-air, beachside restaurant in Laguna Beach, The Deck.

The Deck on Laguna Beach

Cheese, crackers and dried fruit appetizers

Grilled cheese in Laguna Beach

Menus are available to you at each bungalow and your VIP host will take your order. The kids and I enjoyed a plate of grilled cheese and tomato soup, and it was delicious. My ultimate test for restaurants are the simple dishes. If they can knock a grilled cheese out of the park, then I’m not wrong in assuming that basically anything else I order is going to be pretty damn good too.

The Deck is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Monday through Thursday from 4-6 p.m.


If you’re local to Southern California, you can also take advantage of the Bungalow Beach Club where you can “Live like a local, beach like a VIP.” Membership to Pacific Edge Hotel’s Bungalow Beach Club include, VIP discounted access to Bungalows, 20% discount off guest room bookings, complimentary valet on each visit (up to 10 vehicles), a welcome amenity each visit, unlimited non-alcoholic beverages, free Wi-Fi and more! I’m trying to talk the hubster into getting a membership. It was the perfect daycation that I would love to repeat at least ten times more during the year.

Laguna Beach California

Cabana at Pacific Edge Hotel

A few tips:

Take snacks and drinks for the kids, especially if they’re picky eaters. They have a mini-fridge available for you to use.

Feel free to leave the beach towels at home – there’s plenty available in the bungalow.

Ditto with shampoo and body wash – the bathrooms are fully stocked with toiletries.

Keep a super close eye on the kids, the waves can get really aggressive, real quick.

Ask the beach attendant for beach toys, they’ll have some on-hand.

Pattie Cordova in Laguna Beach

Kids playing in Laguna Beach

The Deck on Laguna Beach

Address: 627 Sleepy Hollow Lane, nestled between the Pacific Edge Hotel and the Pacific Ocean, just off Pacific Coast Highway.

Website: http://www.thedeckonlaguna.com

Pacific Edge Hotel

Address: 647 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Website: http://www.pacificedgehotel.com

Laguna Beach waves in California

Bungalow Daycation Giveaway

Are you falling in love with the bungalows at Pacific Edge? We’re excited to partner with Pacific Edge Hotel to offer one lucky reader a chance to win a Bungalow daycation! Use the widget below and enter to win a daycation and experience it for yourself.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is not a sponsored post. I was invited by Pacific Edge to enjoy the bungalows to facilitate this post. All thoughts and ideas remain my own.

Tips for choosing the Best Stroller

We recently attended Club MomMe’s Must Haves event in Newport Beach, California. Club MomMe is great at hosting events that inform moms, dads, and families about everything that we need to know about as parents. This particular event was all about what is new and innovative, from baby gear to big kid toys. The founder of BabyGizmo.com, Hollie Schultz, was amazing at presenting all the different products and explaining the ins and outs of all the gear. At the end, I got to pick her brain about one of the biggest purchases we make as moms – strollers, and picked up some great tips on how to choose the best stroller.

Bugaboo runner stroller

Tips for Choosing the Best Stroller for your Family

Buying a stroller can be overwhelming. You go to the store and see the row of strollers and it just seems none have all the features you want. According to Baby Gizmo’s Hollie Schultz, you must first figure out what you want in a stroller before going shopping. She suggested three questions to ask yourself about the stroller you want.

Ask yourself:

  • What is my lifestyle?
  • What is my price range?
  • What features do I care about?

Tips for choosing the best stroller

These three questions are a great place to start. When referring to lifestyle, what are things you plan to do with baby. Do you plan to go jogging with baby in tow? Then look into getting a jogger. Are you fashion forward? Then maybe you want the stroller to be an extension of your style. Also, take into account the size of your car storage. Nothing worse than the stroller taking all your space or maybe not fitting! Price is always tricky because what your pocket allows might not be what your eyes want. A good point to make is if you are planning on using the stroller for many years to come, then buying a pricier stroller can be a good investment. Features, for me, was the hardest question to tackle. It seems that not one stroller has all the features I want. In those cases, pick your must-have features and use that as a guide line.


As for Hollie, she has her own top five features she looks for in a stroller:

  • Large Canopy
  • Adjustable Handle Bar
  • Accessible Basket
  • Wheels must be hard rubber, not plastic
  • Easy Fold

These are all a must for a good stroller. For me, I would also add that the seat be fully reclining since my babies seem to love to nap in the stroller. Also, the “easy fold” feature is most definitely important. There is NOTHING worse than a stroller that requires three or more steps to open and close, especially since it’s very likely that you’ll be doing all of those steps while having a two year old trying to escape.


Once you have figured out your “musts,” head to a store where you can test drive the stroller. Simply seeing the display is not good enough. Go ahead and go through your list of must-have features one-by-one – how it opens, closes, etcetera.

Best Budget Strollers

Finally, I asked Hollie Schultz which brands she prefers. In the higher price range, she recommended Britax, UPPAbaby and Bumbleride. On a more budget-friendly range, she recommended GB and Infantino. We’re happy to see that our stroller, the GB Evoq, is one of her recommended brands (check out our YouTube video featuring the GB Evoq Travel System).

If you’re in the Southern California area, we invite you to visit ClubMomMe.com and sign up for their newsletter. You’ll get a notice on their upcoming events, from Los Angeles all the way down to San Diego.


We hope these best stroller tips will help you make stroller shopping less overwhelming. Personally, we’re looking forward to getting our first jogging stroller, the Bugaboo Runner. Come back later as we’ll be doing a full review and video featuring the stroller.

The last car seat you’ll ever need

I’m two kids and seven years in to car seats. I’ve owned them all, and multiple ones too. Between the hubster’s car and mine, we have at least four. Our last car seat that was introduced into our family was an Evenflo convertible car seat. Now that my youngest kid is older, I’m looking to choose a car seat that saves us money. For us, that’s in the Evenflo Advanced Transitions 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat.

Evenflo Advanced Transitions 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat

This amazing new car seat is much like a convertible crib. It stays in the family for years and grows up with the child. It all starts as a 5 point harness car seat. Great for kids from 22 lbs to 40 lbs., the car seat is the one that most parents buy right after the infant car seat. After that, parents will usually get a booster car seat with the high back, and later, the booster car seat without the back.


The Evenflo Transitions 3-in-1 Booster features an innovative design allowing you to transition the seat between three different modes of use. This seat can be used as a harness booster, high back booster and a no back booster. Sporty style elements appeal to children, as will the integrated cup holders. The seat accommodates children ranging from 22 to 110 lbs. This combination booster provides an exceptional value for a seat with such a wide support range combined with an array of innovative features.

The Evenflo Advanced Transitions 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat can easily be the second car seat you purchase, and also the last. In doing this, it saves you a ton of money.


You’ll also save money with its removable car seat cover. Throw it in the wash and keep your car seat looking new.


and then you have the rubber bottom under the seat. You won’t need to buy the car seat protector! More savings.


The handy cup holders means another less attachment to buy, and this one is wide enough for most cups and containers.


This money-saving car seat is fabulous. It’s super plushy and the kids are kept safe (it’s been designed and tested for structural integrity at energy levels approximately 2X the federal crash test standard).


Evenflo Advanced Transitions 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat

Product Features

  • 3 modes in 1:
    • 5 point harnesss 22-65 lbs
    • High-back booster for 30 – 110 lbs.
    • No-back booster for 40-110lbs
  • Seat features three separate foam layers of different densities that prevent pressure point build up
  • Comfort Tech cushions are comprised of three layers – comfort, support, and endurance – that works together to equalize pressure points, keeping kids safe and comfortable
  • Two Position Recline
  • Height Adjustable Headrest
  • Dual Integrated Cup Holders
  • Buckle pockets that tuck the buckle tongues away, making it easier and safer for kids to get in and out of the seats and ultimately protecting kids from buckle burns.
  • Back removes transitioning seat to no back booster
  • SureSafe installation; equipped with quick Connectors and Latch Guides for a safe and quick installation
  • Dual, seat integrated cup holders
  • Side Impact Tested


My son, at 4 years old, 40 pounds and 43 inches, is reaching the last few months of using his car seat in the five-point harness combination. Moving him into the booster seat with the high back will be super easy, thanks to detailed instructions and video provided by Evenflo.

using-theEvenflo Advanced-Transitions-Booste-Car-Seat

The kid is enjoying his car rides on his Evenflo Platinum Evolve 3-in-1 car seat and I’m enjoying not having to spend money on any more car seats for him.

Evenflo® is taking extended use and comfort to the next level with the introduction of the Evenflo Platinum Evolve 3-in-1 car seat. Visit Evenflo.com for more information.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Evenflo®. The opinions and text are all mine.

Laundry day made better

I hate doing the laundry, but whether I like it or not, it has to be done – and I might as well make it a fragrant experience. So every other day, I drag our hamper downstairs, separate the clothes into two piles and get to work. Thanks to my partnership with Suavitel, I get to work with Suavitel Fragrance Pearls right next to me.

Favorite Suavitel Fragrance Pearls fragrances

I start the dreaded task by adding in detergent, a nice cupful of Suavitel Fragrance Pearls, then the clothes. I always buy both of the Suavitel Fragrances Pearls fragrances because I like to use them for different loads. The Soothing Lavander scent is great on towels and linens. Fabulous Field Flowers is perfect for everything else. I run the washer y ya, it’s done. When the cycle is done I get a wonderful-smelling load of laundry to put in the dryer.

How to use Suavitel Fragrance Pearls

Add a little or a lot.

Suavitel in soothing lavender

Put the in-wash scent booster into the machine BEFORE the clothes.

How to use Suavitel Fragrance Pearls

It gives you five times longer lasting freshness!

Make clothes smell better with Suavitel Fragrance Pearls

I grew up with Suavitel (the fabric softener) at home, so when they introduced the fragrance pearls, I was all over it. It’s hard enough to remember how much detergent to put in, so having to remember how much fabric softener to use isn’t really my thing. With Suavitel Fragrance Pearls, you don’t have to remember how much to put into the washer. Just add a little, or a lot!

Bonus? I can use the little fragrant pearls elsewhere. My current fave is adding them to little satchels and hanging them in the closet – closest to the dresses in the back that I don’t really use too often. I also throw them under the car seats for an easy DIY car deodorizer.

Add suavity fragrance pearls in satchet

Let’s face it, laundry day sucks. But if we buy the good stuff that makes our clothes smell better, it almost makes up for it. At the end of the day, you can lay your head on lavender-scented pillowcases and go to sleep with a smile on your face.

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Suavitel. All thoughts and ideas remain my own.

Traditional Guacamole Recipe

My mom spent the weekend with us and we were lucky enough to have her make a few traditional dishes that I’ve missed since I’ve moved out. I was especially happy to see that she whipped up a nice bowl of guacamole using our family’s traditional guacamole recipe. Every bite was a taste of home and full of memories.

authentic traditional guacamole recipe

Traditional Guacamole Recipe


  • 3 avocados
  • 1 tbsp diced onion
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp cilantro
  • 1/4 cup queso fresco
  • Salt to taste


  • Peel the avocados and remove the pit. Mash the avocado with a fork into a bowl. Gently stir in remaining ingredients.

traditional guacamole recipe

Our traditional guacamole recipe is easy to make as it is. You can make it even quicker by buying the ingredients pre-diced in those handy plastic containers.


Queso fresco can be found in most stores now, thanks to its popularity. Our favorite brands include Cacique and Los Altos, but other brands will do too. Once opened, keep the rest of it fresh in a tight-lid container. Use it within two weeks (if you can stay away from it that long). If you other Mexican cheese available, a great alternative is Queso Cotjia – it has a stronger taste and gives it a great authentic flavor.

Guacamole and chips

I hope you enjoy our guacamole recipe and that you keep the recipe in your family as long as we’ve had it in ours.

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