Hotel Review in Santa Monica: The Viceroy Hotel


Unique boutique hotel, The Viceroy in Santa Monica, California had me curious.  Last time we stayed in Santa Monica, we totally indulged and spent way too much money at the lovely Shutters on the Beach resort hotel.  That blog post coming soon.  We absolutely loved it, but with one in college now and one headed there soon, we needed to spend less money this time around.  I still craved nice, unique and a little bit fancy, especially since I knew I would blog about our stay.  I went to my AMEX card website and looked at hotel recommendations.  The Viceroy’s website immediately caught my eye, but would the property look as nice as the website pictures?

Picture from the Viceroy Hotel Facebook page

Most often the answer is no.  Read on to see my answer to this.

I really liked what I saw each time I revisited the Viceroy’s website, so I booked us there.  This boutique hotel is situated on the corner of Ocean Blvd. & Pico, just steps from the beach and within walking distance of the Santa Monica Pier.

So, did my instincts pan out that this property would be as nice as advertised online?

YES!

My video review is below.  And let me add, the biggest reason that I give this property an almost perfect score is because the staff was truly a team that aim to please their guests.

From the moment we checked in with the super nice, professional, warm and friendly hotel front desk clerk, Acquah Dansoh, we were completely spoiled.  Acquah commented that since we were on a mother & daughter trip and that it was our first time staying at the Viceroy, he wanted to celebrate us so he upgraded us to a full ocean view room at no extra charge!  Nice surprise!  Then he served me a glass of welcome complimentary champagne.  Cheers to that!  I was feeling very at home already.  And the first-class treatment never ended the entire time we were there.  Everyone, the maid, the concierge, Jeremy, the restaurant staff…all were so nice to us and spoiled us each and every day.  When we ordered room service, it was delivered promptly.  The hotel restaurant, Cast served delicious California fare (be sure to try the Charred Brussels Sprouts with sour mustard seeds, wholegrain mustard, manchego and pepitas). The pool area was super cool and the entire property and team have a collective peaceful and joyful vibe.

Photo from Viceroy website.

All seemed to love working there.

Only two complaints.  Parking cost $55 a day…ouch!  But all the hotels located in that area charge as no street parking is allowed.  And we wished the rooms had balconies, but other than that, our stay was absolutely perfect.  Here is our video review…

My Favorite Survival Tool Tip For Parenting Teens


LA here we come.  My teen girl and I are headed to LA once again to check out potential colleges.  She will go off to college in just two short years.  Those years will be short…and we will have some long days.  Long and challenging days are gonna happen when raising teens who are straddling the fine line between kid and adult.

Each year as they approach 18 (and I know as my son is almost 21, so I have lived this once before) we parents have to have faith and let go a little more.  We also have to have boundaries, rules and consequences.  Consequences that are calm and fair.  And when our testy teen gets really testy, we parents must try to forget that we are human and respond in a calm, loving and controlled manner.  Not easy.  Parenting is not for sissies.  And sometimes we parents can’t help but be human and get a little too testy right back with a raised voice or being tempted to give that teen the silent treatment for the next few days as we lick our parental wounds and maybe take their testy teen words personally.  The irony is that these testy teens want to do it all on their own…BUT…they do, almost subconsciously, want limits because they want us to keep them safe.  Sometimes these years can be hard to endure with a hormonal changing teen who is growing up in an uncertain and crazy world.

And good news parents!  I have a wonderful survival tool for parents!  Two in fact!

When I have been pushed to my wit’s end by a testy teen, I first consult with my hubs.  He is so good at using humor combined with limits and consequences when our teens break a rule or tell us a fib.  We first remember that we were not perfect teens ourselves and that these last few years parenting a teenager may be our most defining years as parents.  This is it.  Our last few years to get it as right as we can before we send them off into this crazy world.  This uncertain world sure seems crazier to me since my own teen years back in the 80s.  So back to my tools that my gal pal told me about and these two tools have helped me SO much.  The tools are two very helpful books that not only get my teens…but also get the parent!  I felt so understood as I read these books.  Tools are presented with how to talk calmly to your teen, how to actively listen and translate teen talk and how to really enjoy your kid, while navigating the tricky teen waters.

Arm yourself with these two books…Yes, Your Teen Is CRAZY!  Loving Your Kid Without Losing Your Mind

And…Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall? 

Aren’t those great titles?!  And the books are great, too.  Since I started reading them, my girl and I are getting along better.  One thing I had to admit, as I read these books, is that I had to change some of my parenting behavior to better understand what my teen is going through with all of the pressures kids face in today’s world.

Knock on wood as I have been lucky since my kids have stayed out of the trouble, make good grades, work hard and are focused.  But that doesn’t mean that we haven’t had some really hard days, too.  The books have given me the tools to help guide both my teen and myself through these incredible years.  And both feature chapters for all kinds of challenges that come with these years.

These years are priceless.  The last few before we become empty nesters.  The last few where our beloved kids live under our roof.  When one leaves, they are so missed and yet I felt myself so excited for my son’s future and his own excitement that those happy emotions for his future eased my sadness of letting him go.

I will do this again in 2020 with her departure.  And I will be a full-fledged empty nester.  That will be tough.  I want to do these last two years right in so many ways.

I feel close to both of my kids.  I left big careers and put my heart and soul into raising them.  And when I worked, I did the same thing as so many parents do to the level of exhaustion.  This is our biggest job in a very scary world.  It is also a world full of opportunity.  It will soon be their world.  As the roots are set and we now finish up the wings, these two books have eased the challenging days that are the normal push and pull of the teens growing up…and the parents letting it happen as safely as possible.

Here’s to raising teenagers.  As the first book I recommended says, these last few years with our kids may be our most defining parenting moments.

I am thankful for my excellent partner in my hubs, my amazing parents and in-laws who are an incredible village to my kids, to my gal pals whose ears and a shared bottle of wine remind me that we are all in this together.  And to these two books and authors.  So awesome to have discovered these helpful books (thanks to my cherished pal, Lizzy for telling me about them).

I have read both and I go back to certain chapters when needed.  Sometimes when I feel like yelling back at my kid, I pick up these books instead.  Almost instantly, I have a better understanding of why my child is so frustrated with whatever the situation is.  I get cool down time by reading the book, time to think about my response or future response…and I discover smoother parenting waters.

Yes, these books have helped me quite a bit. As I am a hard-working Mama with the best intentions to raise the best adults I can.  On most days, I do OK.

And I am human.  And on those days, I grab these books or I remember helpful passages from the parenting pages and move forward with those tips on what to do and what not to do.

So, if you feel like you need a little extra guidance on lovingly parenting your teen in today’s world, check these two gems out.  We are in this together, parents.  You truly won’t believe how fast your child, then preteen and then teen becomes an adult.  What an amazing job we are given helping them find their way there.  My son turns 21 soon.  So hard to believe!  And yet he is still my little boy in my heart.  Two years left to parent my little girl as a teen.  I am cherishing the time.

Hope this helps you, too.  Now I am signing off and am off to LA to make some memories and help my girl plan her future.  Cherished time…and did I mention that I am secretly packing the books?  Just in case I need a quick teen/parenting reference on the road  😉

Dad’s Day Gift Giveaway Winner!!


Thanks to all who entered the drawing for the Dad’s Day!  Father’s Day is coming right up on next Sunday, June 17th and our prizes are fun…Included in the prize pack is the sweet sign (that can be hung or stood upright) that says, “i know a HERO ******i call him DADDY” along with the iHome Drop Splashproof Bluetooth Wireless Speaker with Speakerphone that pairs with his smart device to provide a wireless speaker and speaker phone.  It is splash proof, so it works by the pool (not immersed, though), in the shower and out in the rain.  Plus receive the very nice Olba’s Herbal Remedies Olbas Oil and Olbas Inhaler This is a good massage oil and inhaler that also helps to clear sinuses.  A Father’s Day greeting card is also included.

Now without further ado, let’s announce today’s winner (winner drawn through random.org)….

Charly Arthur from Phoenix, AZ!!!

Congrats Charly and thanks for following managedmoms.com!

Wishing all a Happy Father’s Day and for those of you that are missing that special dad on that day (and every day) I send you hugs.

Dad’s Day Gifts Giveaway Drawing!


Father’s Day is coming right up on Sunday, June 17th so here is your chance to enter for a chance to win a couple of Father’s Day gifts!  The gift pack is this…Included in the prize pack is the sweet sign (that can be hung or stood upright) that says, “i know a HERO ******i call him DADDY” along with the iHome Drop Splashproof Bluetooth Wireless Speaker with Speakerphone that pairs with his smart device to provide a wireless speaker and speaker phone.  It is splash proof, so it works by the pool (not immersed, though), in the shower and out in the rain.  Plus receive the very nice Olba’s Herbal Remedies Olbas Oil and Olbas Inhaler This is a good massage oil and inhaler that also helps to clear sinuses.  A Father’s Day greeting card is also included.  For your chance to win these four gifts for Dad, simply do this to enter…

  1.  Email your name, email address and address where you want the prize pack sent if you are drawn (winner drawn through random.org).
  2.  Email to [email protected] by this Saturday, June 9th (10pm Phoenix time).

We will post the winner’s name on Sunday morning so we can get the prize mailed out first thing on Monday morning, so it is received in time for Dad’s Day.

Good luck!

Fun & Fabulous Father’s Day Gift Ideas


Father’s Day happens on June 17th, so here are some gift ideas that I showed in my segment today on the Your Life Arizona morning showMany are sold at local retailers for good last minute ideas.  I also found some unique ones that can be ordered, so take a look at this now so you have time to get your Dad’s Day shopping done.

Unique Ideas:

*Customize something fun specific to Dad – I ordered this burnt orange T-shirt from Tee Chip for my Texas Longhorn alum hubs.  This shirt says it all and I am excited for him to see it on Father’s Day as I think it is perfect, comfortable, fun and this theme fits him perfectly! 

I ordered this from Tee Chip for $26.95 and I had no issues with the company, but I found a lot of reviews that complained of long shipping delays, so please note that I only ordered from Tee Chip once and had no problems, but others did.  You could do something similar for the father you are shopping for with his alma mater printed like this one with other customized gift companies.  I found a ton of companies that do this kind of stuff online.  Or go to one of the As You Wish locations and create something like this there on a mug, etc.

*Make Dad a customized drink kit – Pair his favorite coffee, tea and/or scotch, whiskey, etc. in a basket and add the HyperChiller(sells at site for $29.99).The HyperChiller turns any beverage into a perfectly cooled drink in one minute without ever touching ice.

Photo of this cool device, that is a perfect Dad’s Day gift is from the HyperChiller website.

With the HyperChiller’s simple multi-chamber design, a beverage is exposed to the equivalent of over 30 large ice cubes.  The drink is then protected by two layers of food grade stainless steel.  This way there’s zero dilution in the process of cooling. Just leave it in your freezer, then take it out, pour your beverage in (coffee, wine, spirits etc.) and the HyperChiller will rapidly chill it in just one minute. This handy device can be used several times in a row.  When done, place back in the freezer to use again later. It’s compatible with all brewing methods and even fits directly into most full-size single cup brew.   

*Make Dad a Manly Spa Basket – Place his favorite soaps, shaving products, a nice bath robe and more in a specialty spa kit for him!  Add slippers, a gift card for a massage, a bottle of wine, healthy herbal teas or a gift card to a spa store.  I kept mine simple, as you can see below…Olba’s Herbal Remedies Olbas Oil and Olbas Inhaler is included in my gift basket for a good massage oil and inhaler that helps to clear sinuses.  The oil is great for massage and I like the Olba brand because it doesn’t smell feminine, making it perfect for Dad.  Olbas originated in Switzerland over 100 years ago and is made with a blend of six essential oils including peppermint oil, wintergreen oil, oil of cloves, juniper oil, eucalyptus oil and cajeput oil.  The Olbas Herbal Remedies Aromatherapy Inhalant and Massage Oil .95 fluid oz bottle sells for $19.95 here.

*Camping Gift Kit – Create a basket with camping items. Pack with his favorite camping essentials and his tried and true camping faves.  Other ideas are…

 

*Yoshi Copper Grill & Bake Mats ($9.99 for a 2-pack sold at amazon, Walmart, Walgreens) — Give the dad who likes to grill these handy mats that enabling grilling without the food falling through the grate.  Foods still have grill marks, too.  The mats still must be cleaned, but not the grill.  Perfect for the camping gift kit and for an outdoor or cooking/grilling themed gift.

*iHome Drop Splashproof Bluetooth Wireless Speaker with Speakerphone – I paid $24.99 for this at Walgreens, BUT I found it for only $11.99 at Groupon.com so definitely check that site for Dad’s Day gift savings.  That is 50% savings.  This handy contraption pairs with your smart device to provide a wireless speaker and speaker phone.  It is splash proof, so it works by the pool (not immersed, though), in the shower and out in the rain.  A great gift to pair with a camping kit.

*The Mini Fire Fighter product.  I do want to say that I haven’t personally tried this product, so I haven’t tested it myself.  So do keep a fire extinguisher on hand.  Check out what this compact user-friendly aerosol firefighting product does.  It is safe, easy to use and tested to EU and USA standards. Mini Firefighter is an essential safety tool to have around the home, the car, in the caravan, near the BBQ, in the toolbox, on the boat or in fact anywhere there is a risk of a fire.  Mini Firefighter is non-toxic, non-irritant and biodegradable which can be used with care in confined spaces.  It’s high cooling capacity forms a stable, heat resistant seal which suffocates the fire stopping re-ignition and turning fat and oil into a soapy mixture.

Picture from the Mini Firefighter website.

Mini firefighter is also easy to clean up as the foam dissolves after use.  I think all households should have this on hand and it makes for a fun and smart addition to Dad’s Fun Thank You-Do-It all gift basket!  The 8.45 oz can sells for $19.50 here.

Last Minute Easy to Get Gift Ideas

These items are sold at some drug stores, Amazon and other local retailers, so this is stuff that you can grab last minute locally…

*Jumbo Moscow Mule Mug ($10.99 at Walgreens) – Moscow Mule cocktails continue to be all the rage and my husband loves to make these, so I got him this fun jumbo sized one for Dad’s Day!  Pair with the ingredients needed to make a mule and this makes a fun gift basket idea. 

*Crafted Imports Bar Set – ($12.99 at Walgreens) – This is great alone or pair with the fun jumbo Moscow Mule mug.

*I know a HERO**I call him DADDY block sign – ($9.99 at AJ’s Fine Foods) – This sweet red, white, blue and yellow sign is a block that can sit on his desk or can be hung on the wall.  A great one from a child to Daddy.

*Crafted Imports Golf Pens ($9.99 at Walgreens) – Pair this set of three golf club shaped pens with a golf store gift card.  Perfect!

*Why A Daughter Needs A Dad & Why A Son Needs A Dad little mini books – ($5.99 each at AJ’s Fine Foods gift section) – These precious little mini books include passages like, “A daughter needs a dad so she will know what it feels like to be somebody’s favorite.”  The son book includes touching phrases like, “A son needs a dad to let him be his equal now and then.”  These little books melt my heart and I bet they will melt a father’s heart, too.

*Hallmark All Star Grandpa Baseball ($9.99 at Walgreens) – Ten bucks and fun alone or if you want to go big, give this to Grandpa along with tickets to a major league baseball game! 

*Signature Greeting Cards Best Dad Ever with removable koozie – Check stores that sell greeting cards for this fun one that includes a koozie.  Pair with his favorite beer and your gift is all set.  I found this card for $8.99 at Walgreens.

*Grasslands Road I Love That You’re My Dad Frame ($17.99 at AJ’s Fine Foods) – Beautiful ceramic/metal frame that fits a treasured 4 x 6 picture for Dad.  This is a great one for the sentimental Dad or Grandpa who loves photos.

*Hallmark Super Dad Trophy ($9.99 at Walgreens) – Perfect from a kid to a Dad this cute trophy has the father wearing a cape. 

Did I list any ideas that fit the father in your life?  I am wishing all a Happy Dad’s Day.