Kampgrounds of America: Ojai, CA

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Ojai Camping: Packed

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Newport Beach // Fashion Island

Last weekend the boys and I were invited to a weekend stay at Fashion Island Hotel in Newport Beach, and with as crazy and hectic as its been for our family the last few weeks, I jumped at the opportunity for a little getaway. Even though we live just 20 miles South of Newport, living here you start to grow complacent of the amazing things Orange County has to offer and sometimes its great to pretend to be on vacation even in the cities you live in. Newport is one my favorite little towns because its quant and beautiful but there are so many great restaurants and shops that there is so much do in a weekend, and its perfect for family entertainment! The best surprise of the weekend was being invited to treat Raj to Breakfast with Santa on Sunday morning during our stay at the hotel, this ended up being the highlight of our entire month, I can’t say enough how special this experience was.

Because Raj knew that we were visiting the hotel to have breakfast with Santa, it somehow got into his head that the hotel was also where Santa goes to vacation. At first we thought it was hilarious, but walking into the hotel and seeing their décor, from the beautiful Christmas tree at the entrance to the sweetest little gingerbread cookie village in the lobby, it was soooo easy to make Raj’s idea feel like reality. The receptionist greeted him with the sweetest dolphin stuffed animal, and boom, he thought he had just received “the first gift of Christmas” – MAGIC!!

Once we made it up to our beautiful room and took a little tour around, we knew we wanted to continue the fun of pretending this is where Santa stays, so we decided to show Raj how Santa lives it up on vacation and instead of leaving the room for dinner, we decided to stay in and order room service. I loooove eating at all of the great restaurants in Newport, but since we wanted to make the night extra special we decided to save those for another night (I made a list of my favorites below) and we watched Christmas movies in our PJ’s while eating dinner. We loved that we could stream movies straight from our phones to the TVs in the room, it really was the perfect night!

We absolutely loved the room amenities. From the huge vanity, separate from the bathroom which is soooo important when multiple people are getting ready, to the huge bath tub and shower… us U’s were very very comfortable!


Breakfast with Santa was everything you could have ever dreamed of for your children. Santa was one of the most engaged, sweetest, jolliest Santas I have ever met and Raj was smitten with him. Because the event was a little more personal the kids all had so much time to talk with Santa, bring him letters and cookies, and Santa even read them a story! I don’t think I could explain how magical it is to see your children light up over such a great experience; Raj hasn’t stopped talking about it and tells me daily that he misses Santa!! I think it is something he and we will remember forever.

Fashion Island is hosting one more weekend of Breakfast with Santa this Sunday and trust me when I say if you’re in town stop everything and take your kids, it will be the highlight of the season, I promise!!

Get your tickets here

If you are thinking about taking a vacation to Newport I wanted to make a quick travel list for you. Whether you are from out of state, out of town, or a local like us, it’s always nice to plan a relaxing getaway in this beautiful city. From the beaches to shopping and restaurants, its a fun place to visit with so much to do!

THINGS TO DO

Fashion Island Hotel – the hotel offers seasonal experiences all year long. If you are coming around holiday time check their site to see what experiences they have to offer, from movies over the pool in summer to Christmas activities in the winter, there is always something happening at the hotel!

Fashion Island mall – located just across the street from the hotel, there are so many great stores and shops (my favs are Nordstrom and Anthropologie)

Beaches – from Crystal Cove to Newport Beach, these are some of California’s most popular and beautiful beaches

Balboa Island – if you have never taken an afternoon to walk around this little spot you are missing out. It has that entire old town beach vibe and there are shops and places to eat and the scenery is gorgeous (make sure browse some of the beautiful homes in the neighborhood as well)

Lido Marina Village – the prettiest strip of shops you will ever see! Such a classic beach town vibe with sooo many photo opportunities that you’ll make every Insta star jealous!

WHERE TO EAT

My personal favorites: Fig & Olive, El Cholo, CUCINA enotecha

Have you ever visited Newport? I know all of my locals have but I would love to hear from those of you who aren’t from California. Locals, what are some of your favorite spots?

 

Thank you so so much to the Fashion Island Hotel and all of your incredible staff. You really helped make this holiday season extra special for my family and I could never thank you enough for creating such an incredible experience that Raj will remember for the rest of his life!

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