Scoring sweet swag, reviewing awesome products and living the rad mom life.

Archive for the ‘events’ Category

13 Surprising Things About Sanrio Puroland (Hello Kitty Land)

In case you didn’t know there is a magical place tucked in the little town of Tama – located within Tokyo, Japan.  It’s where a special lady lives with all of her best friends!  Her name?  Hello Kitty!  And yes she is a lady and not a cat.  Make sure you tell your friends that,  I get the feeling she doesn’t like being referred to as a cat.  😉  She lives in a castle called “Sanrio Puroland” although many people refer to it as “Hello Kitty Land”.

You might be familiar with Sanrio, they have locations all over the world and you can’t miss them – they are small, but colorful and bright stores. They sell lots of stationary, school supplies, and accessories as well as stuffed animals and apparel. We took our kids here during Thanksgiving week to celebrate my daughter’s birthday and I was pretty excited to go as well since I loved going to the Sanrio store when I was a kid.  So here are a few things I learned about our adventure!


  • Take the train.  It’s a fairly easy train ride and the park is only a 5 minute walk from the Tama train station.  You even get to walk down Hello Kitty Street. 🙂


  • Buy your tickets beforehand.  I got our tickets on GoVoyagin – it’s like the Groupon of Japan.  We ended up paying $19.50 for each adult and my daughter. Kids under 3 were free. You don’t even have to print anything, you can just show the barcodes right on your phone. If you plan to go frequently or want to purchase a Puropass (like a FastPass), then you may want to get your tickets from the park’s website.  Keep in mind, the price increases for weekend and holiday visits.


  • It’s indoors.   One thing that might really surprise you is that the entire theme park is indoors!  I think this is pretty awesome since the weather conditions aren’t always great here in Japan.  You don’t have to worry about your kids being too hot or too cold and you can leave the ponchos at home. 🙂


  • It’s kind of small.  Since the entire park is inside, you can imagine that this place isn’t all that big.  It’s four stories high but doesn’t really have a huge circumference and there’s an escalator and elevator.  But the steps are kind of built into the enchantment of the place so my kids loved going up and down the stairs.  They do have a large stroller parking area and locker rentals so you don’t have to lug around your bags and coats.
  • The details are amazing!  No Hello Kitty detail was left behind here.  You will see prints of Hello Kitty and her friends all over this place – down to the wallpaper and the vending machines!
  • Even the food is themed!  There are a few cafes/restaurants located throughout the park.  They serve all types of Japanese cuisine as well as French fries, pastries, and ice cream.  But you will see that Hello Kitty has made her mark on the food (and snacks), too!
  • There are rides.  Even though everything is indoors, there are a couple of rides within the park.  One is a boat ride that takes you through a land of mechanical characters and the other is a little car ride where you take photos in different themed rooms.  We had to wait about 25 minutes for each of these, but the PuroPass will get you in faster in case you’re in a time crunch.
  • There’s an arcade.  If you need a break from the rides or want to play some games, there’s a spot for that.  The park has an arcade area with a small carousel and little 100 yen arcade style rides.


  • There are plenty of opportunities for character meet-and-greets.  If your little ones aren’t afraid of giant and crazy costumes, then they will love the characters at Hello Kitty Land!


  • Catch the parade.  There are a few shows that happen throughout the day.  You’ll want to pick up a show guide at the front, but make sure to watch the parade!  They will start roping off areas (just like they do at Disney) long before the start of the parade, so make sure you grab your seat early.  They also sell light up wands for 1500 yen and your kids WILL want one so they can interact with the performance.  Since we were there the day after Thanksgiving, the show was Christmas themed and it was a mix of Japanese and English songs.
  • She’s worth the wait.  You will have the opportunity to meet Hello Kitty herself!  She has her own wing of the castle and it’s extra magical!  We waited about 30 minutes, but I did see the wait times increase at times.  You can also skip the line with the PuroPass.  Once it’s your turn, you are ushered into her special house.  There are lots of photo props and interactive areas – and it’s beautiful!  Then you wait in another short line to actually meet her.  You have the option to purchase a rose for 500 yen to give her during your meeting.  In exchange she will give you a gift as well.  We didn’t purchase this option so I’m not sure exactly what the gift was although it appeared to be a small notebook of some sort.  Also, this was the only spot where personal photography was not allowed.  We bought our Hello Kitty photo with the frame for 1600 yen.
  • There’s SWAG!  If you are celebrating a special occasion, head to the Information Desk when you first enter the park.  They will give you a card that you wear around your neck with your name and celebration date.  Then when you walk around, everyone will give you a sticker for your card and in our case, wish my daughter a Happy Birthday.  It really made her day extra special!  They even gave one to my son so he wouldn’t feel left out.  Instead of ‘Happy Birthday’, his occasion was ‘First Visit’.


  • Everyone is super friendly!  Okay, maybe this isn’t surprising since it is Japan and all.  But everyone was very friendly – not just the employees, but the people in the park too.  It’s a pretty crowded and busy place, but anytime my son had a meltdown or fell (he falls a lot) – someone would stop and check on him.  Also, everyone that worked there spoke enough English to communicate basic instructions which made things a lot easier.

Overall, we really enjoyed our day at Hello Kitty Land!  If you plan to go, check the park schedule because it does close fairly early so you’ll want to give yourself enough time to explore everything.  And if you don’t have kids, don’t let that stop you from visiting this little gem.  We saw a lot of couples there without children and they looked even more excited than the kids we encountered.  🙂

Have you been to Sanrio Puroland?  What did you think?  Would you go if you had the chance?


I’m off to review the next event!



4 Ways to Get Involved With the Honolulu Marathon!

“Disclaimer: I’m promoting the Honolulu Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!”

The Honolulu Marathon is coming up on December 10th,  and I have great news!!  There’s still time to get involved!  Here a few ways for you to get in on the action!

photo courtesy of
  • RUN!  There are 3 chances to run during the Honolulu Marathon weekend – The Kalakaua Merrie Mile is on December 9th in Waikiki.  Participate in this one mile fun run and then head over for a fun beach party and concert!  All ages welcome!  The Start to Park 10k is on December 10th and has the same start time and location of the Honolulu Marathon.  This is perfect for those who want to get a taste of the marathon course, but aren’t quite ready to run 26.2 miles.  The Honolulu Marathon – Then there’s the main event on December 10th.  It’s the fourth largest marathon in the United States and is commonly referred to as “26.2 miles in Paradise”.  Who doesn’t want to run in PARADISE?! ***Fun Fact: Last year, there were over 33,000 entrants and over 14,000 of them were from Japan!



photo courtesy of


  • Expo!  The expo will be held on December 7th, 8th, and 9th at the Hawaii Convention Center and is free and open to anyone!  You can register for any of the running events here at the expo, so it’s not too late to run any of the races! But if you aren’t up to running, then just enjoy roaming the expo and checking out all of the fun vendors!  You may even score some samples and swag!  You can also check out the vendor list and their booth locations here.
honolulu marathonexpo

photo courtesy of

  • Witness Greatness!  After everyone has run the Kalakaua Merrie Mile, you can cheer on all of the elite runners!  This is your chance to see Olympians from all over the world in action!  Check out who all will be running in the Elite Field here, including the current marathon world record holder, Dennis Kimetto    Also, be on the lookout for two-time Olympian, Nick Symmonds as he has announced that his final professional race will be this year’s Honolulu Marathon!
honolulu merrie mile

photo courtesy of

  • Tracking!  Even if you can’t make the event, you can still track your friends, family, or favorite racers!  You can follow the live results and watchlist page or you can download the event app!  Create a watchlist of all of the participants you are tracking and then see their progress as they cross each timing mat.


What do you think is the most interesting part of the Honolulu Marathon?!  Will you be participating this year?

I’m off to review the next event!




6 Tips for LEGOLAND Brick-or-Treat!

If you are looking for some Halloween fun with the kiddos this season, then you may want to check out Brick-or-Treat party nights at LEGOLAND California and Florida!  We attended the party last year in California and the kids really enjoyed it!  It may seem a little overwhelming if you’ve never been before, so here are a few things you will want to know before you party the night away!

The Brick-or-Treat event requires a separate admission ticket.  You can purchase a ticket online beforehand (in case the event sells out for the night…it happens) or you can purchase one at the gate.  We took our chances and bought our Brick-or-Treat tickets at the gate (we already had LEGOLAND tickets).  This year’s tickets are $59 for the party alone or $79 for a full day plus the party.  Note: they do actually check the wristbands and if you don’t have one you will be directed away from the park.


Get there early!  The party starts around 5pm, but you’ll want to get there earlier in the day to eat, ride rides, and rest a little before things get poppin’.  Once 5 o’clock rolls around, the park gets pretty packed and lines will get longer so plan accordingly.  Then the fun characters come out!

Bring your costume!  Brick-or-Treat isn’t just for little boys and ghouls! Mummies and Daddies can dress up in their favorite costumes too!  And get creative because there will be a costume contest!  Even the Legos dress up! 😉

Bring your dancing shoes!  There will be a couple of different dance parties throughout the night, so make sure you attend so you can show off your Monster Mash moves!  And don’t forget to enjoy the pretty lights!

Get a treat bag or bring your own!  There will be treat stations throughout the park so make sure you have a bag for all the loot!  They do give them out at the park, but you could bring your own as well! Some stations have longer lines than others, so just be prepared to wait a little in some spots.


There will be SWAG!  In addition to treat stations, there will be opportunities to complete missions and score Limited Pop Badges!  Speaking of SWAG!  Let’s check it out!

FullSizeRender - Copy

Lots of fun stuff!  And the kids were more than satisfied!

Would I attend this event again?  Absolutely!  Yes, you pay a little more to get in, but I think that it’s completely worth it!  There are shows, parades, special treats, and more! And the kids will love all of the fun decorations and pumpkins!

Brick-or-Treat party nights is open every Saturday evening in October so get your tickets soon!

You can find all of the event details here!

Have you attended a Brick-or-Treat party night?  What was your favorite part?

I’m off to review the next event!



3 Reasons Why You Should Run the Honolulu Marathon!

I’ve read before that something like less than one percent of the population has actually completed a marathon. You can Google it if you’re a stats person.  Less than one percent though.  Let that sink in for a second.  So either those people are pretty admirable or pretty crazy, it really depends on how you look at it.  I am not part of that group…yet.  I think one day I’d like to run a marathon, but then I flashback to pulling myself over the finish line of a few half marathons and second guess myself.  But, after learning about the Honolulu Marathon I’ve decided that I may need to add this to my bucket list of races!  And here are a few reasons why:

Scenery!  I think this is a pretty obvious one given that it’s Hawaii and all.  The course goes through downtown Honolulu, through Waikiki, and up and around Diamond Head. Also it’s in December, so the weather will be perfect!


photo courtesy of

Swag!  Swag for this event includes: commemorative shirt, finisher medal, post race festival, malasadas (yum!!), and breathtaking scenery!

honolulu pic

photo courtesy of

And the number 1 reason you will want to run this marathon??  No qualifying times! No entry limits!  Walkers welcome!  That’s right!  This race is for EVERYONE over the age of 7!  First timers, marathon vets, everyone!  Now you might be thinking, “Wow, this race must be super crowded since they accept basically everyone.”  Well, it is.  I asked a two-time finisher of this event and she confirmed that yes, it is crowded.  However, she also added that it’s VERY organized and well worth the experience.  She also added that the malasadas were pretty amazing. 🙂

Have you booked your flight yet?  😉  Well here are some key event details:

Date: December 10th, 2017

Location: Ala Moana Boulevard/Queen St., Honolulu, Hawaii

Start time: 5am – that’s not a typo…but no course limits, remember?

Price: $185-$265 (Military and dependents – $85)

Bonus: Use code “BIBRAVEHNL” to save 20%

Not ready for a marathon just yet?  There is also a 10k and fun run option.

So if you are looking for a RaceCation or a Christmas present to yourself, the Honolulu Marathon is where it’s at!

Didn’t qualify for Boston this year?  Cheer up!  You will qualify for Honolulu! 😉

Hopefully, I will make it to this event one day.  But until then, I’ll just dream about it…sigh…

Have you run the Honolulu Marathon before?  I’d love to hear about your experience!

I’m off to review the next event!



“Disclaimer: I’m promoting the Honolulu Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!”


Champagne Wishes and White Wine Dreams (A day in Temecula)

Maybe you’re a wine connoisseur or maybe you’re a wine newbie, either way…at some point you may be interested in attending a wine tasting.  And if you’re like me, you might be a little bit clueless about wine tasting and what to expect.  Earlier this year,  I had the pleasure of going on a wine tasting tour in Temecula, CA with a group of friends.  I was a little nervous at first because I don’t know a whole lot about wine, but it turned out to be a wonderful and memorable experience!  Here’s a little bit about my trip to wine country and maybe it will help you get a better idea for what to expect on your future wine tasting!


The first perk of this trip was that our group was able to take a Limo Bus to Temecula from San Diego courtesy of First Command Financial, Inc.  If you’re going with a group,  I highly recommend taking a bus, taxi, Uber, etc. OR make sure you have a designated driver so that you can enjoy all the wine you want without worrying about the logistics of getting home.  Bottom Line – have a plan, be responsible.  The best part of taking a bus is that you can drink on the way! Yay!  We had mimosas and bagels on the way up (again, courtesy of First Command Financial, Inc.) and it made the trip extra fantastic!

Our first stop was Ponte Winery!


Wine tasting turned about to be way easier than I imagined!  You just walk in, pay for your tastings, and taste away!  It’s $20 for 6 tastings and you can split these with a friend if you aren’t ready for all 6 (which is what I did since I knew we were going to more wineries).  And if you just wanna come for the atmosphere, you can also order a coffee and check out the beautiful gift shop.  Then you can head outside to enjoy the scenery or grab some lunch at the restaurant! And bonus: you get to keep the glass!


Next, we headed over to Wilson Creek Winery.  This winery is also $20 for the tasting room and keepsake glass, but again you can split it with a friend.


Wilson Creek offers a great selection of white and Moscato wines and they are also known for their wine slushies!  Yes, that’s a thing and yes, it’s as amazing as it sounds! 🙂

Another awesome thing about Wilson Creek is that it’s a family friendly winery!  They have a playground for kids, live music, an outside bar, a restaurant, and lots of room for the kids to play and run!  They also had a nice gift shop and plenty of beautiful scenery to enjoy!  We stopped here to eat lunch courtesy of Jersey Mike’s and of course, First Command Financial, Inc.

Wilson Creek turned out to be my favorite winery because they make Almond Champagne and it’s fabulous!  🙂

Our last stop was Callaway Winery and the price is $10-$25 depending on if you want to do a tour with your tasting.


This seemed like a smaller tasting room than the others, but it also had the most interesting scenery.  They even have wine stations which are like little wine vending machines!


You can also enjoy a meal at their restaurant or visit their unique gift shop.  The views were especially spectacular…I could have stayed here all day!


Seriously, all day…


Overall,  I had an amazing experience visiting wine country!  Even if wine isn’t your jam,  I would recommend going to Temecula just for the atmosphere and breathtaking views.

Not only did I enjoy my wine…I enjoyed my SWAG, too!


And of course…wine is always better with friends! 😉


Have you been to a wine tasting?  What was your experience like?  I’d love to hear!

I’m off to review the next event!


6 Things to Know about the Home Depot Kids Workshop

If you’re looking for a fun event to keep the kiddos busy, then check out the Home Depot Kids Workshop! It’s offered the first Saturday of every month and it’s fun for the whole family!  Here are some things you should know before you go!


  • It’s FREE! – Yep, Home Depot Kids Workshops are free!  You will want to register at so that the store can prepare for all of the kids.  But one important thing to note: Registering does not guarantee materials.  It’s possible your local store could run out of the materials for the advertised monthly project, but I’ve heard that they may offer a previous month’s project so that your kids don’t leave empty-handed.


  • Arrive Early! – The event is held between 9am-12pm or until they run out of supplies.  Also, some stores hold the event indoors while others set it up outside.  My local store held the event outdoors and fortunately we never had any issues with running out of the monthly project regardless of our arrival time. I have, however, seen them run out of paintbrushes and paint but that was closer to the noon timeframe.   So I do recommend arriving early to get a feel for your store and to guarantee that your kids get all of the materials.  Also, dress appropriately in case your store holds the workshop outside as well.


  • Be Patient! – Especially with the younger kids!  The workshop is geared for kids around the 5-12 age range, but I’ve seen kids and adults of all ages enjoying the project.  The instructions include step-by-step details with illustrations and the projects are pretty basic so don’t think you have to build an entire house or something.  But the nails can be kind of small and you probably don’t want your two or three-year-old swinging around a hammer, so you will have to do some work if you plan to bring the younger kids.  My 3 (almost 4) year old had fun helping with the building process and then I gave her full creative control with the paint and stickers.  Also, you will be sharing tools and possibly paint/paintbrushes with others at your table so have some patience with the other kids, too!
  • There’s a Facebook Group! –  I mean, there’s a group for everything…right?! 😉 Someone (not Home Depot) created a Facebook group to connect people around the country and so that everyone can share their workshop experiences and finished projects.  And if you are searching for a particular project from a previous month, you can request that someone send you something that you missed.  They usually request that you send money for shipping, but nobody should ever ask you to send money for the project itself.  If you see anyone selling these projects or pins, please report them to the admin.  These projects are free and nobody should be making a profit from it.  And if you’d like to know what exactly you will be creating each month, you can also find the annual calendar along with the bonus holiday events posted within the group.  You can find the group here.


  • There’s SWAG! – Every kid receives an apron with their name on it; a unique pin that illustrates the project; and a certificate of completion!  If you forget your apron the next month, don’t worry, they’ll give you another…but it’s fun to see how many pins you can collect on your apron!  I’ve seen some aprons completely covered!


  • Have Fun! – Most importantly, just have fun…because learning is fun!  Even if you arrive late and they run out of some supplies, just make the best of it!  You’ll enjoy watching your little builders focus on their projects and really showing their creativity!  Join in the fun and get messy too! (Most stores will have wipes on the table.) The employees really enjoy the event too so be sure to thank them for their kindness and positivity!  You’ll create lasting memories with your kids and they’ll love showing off their completed projects to their family and friends!

***Contact your local store to confirm time and availability!

Have you attended a Home Depot Kids Workshop?  What did you think?!

I’m off to review the next event!


PAW Patrol is on a Roll!

If you have tiny humans that LOVE Paw Patrol then you’ll want to load them up and head to the nearest Roll Patrol Road Tour!  This is different than the PAW Patrol Live! Tour and bonus: It’s free!  So if it’s not in your budget to attend the PAW Patrol Live! Tour then I definitely recommend checking out the Road Tour.  Here’s a little preview of what awaits you and your little PAW Patrollers at the Roll Patrol Road Tour!


If you want to guarantee an entry into Adventure Bay and save yourself a little time, then preregister your family online.  If not, you may have to wait in a longer line and register on a tablet at the actual event.

You will then be given a wristband and the fun will be begin!


The kids will love spending oodles of time in this life size and interactive PAW Patroller!  They can spend time in the command center, look out upon Adventure Bay, pose for photo ops, take a spin on the slide, and much more!

They can also pick their favorite PAW Patrol car and pedal along a kid-sized track!

FullSizeRender - Copy (3)

Then head over to the play table area to try out the newest PAW Patrol toys!

IMG_7522FullSizeRender - Copy

And have a blast at the kinetic sand table!  I really loved this stuff!

FullSizeRender - Copy (2)

And keep a lookout for an opportunity to meet your fave PAW Patrol characters!

Every location is a bit different, but at our event: Chase was on the case, Skye took to the sky, and Marshall was all fired up!  You will also receive a free printed photo at your meet and greet to commemorate your day!

So was there any SWAG?!

Well the event was free so it’s kind of swag in itself.  BUT we did get photos and some sweet headwear!



A couple of things to know:

  • Plenty of staff were on hand to keep things safe and organized.
  • The event is outside so prep for the elements.  It was really hot the day we attended.
  • The event is free – but preregister to guarantee entry!  Also, many of the Roll Patrol events are held within another event.  For example, this event was an attraction within the county fair.  So fair admission prices were still in place.
  • It can get crowded so be prepared!
  • There’s a lot of interaction on the tour, but nothing to actually purchase (i.e. toys).
  • Every location could be a little different, so what you see here may be slightly different than what would be at your event.  Check the event page for more details!

Ready to hit the road?  Check here for the 2017 dates and locations!

And checkout #RollPatrolTour on Instagram to see more pics of last year’s event!

Overall, I really enjoyed the event and my daughter had a blast!  So I would say…mission accomplished!!

Have you experienced the PAW Patrol Roll Patrol Tour?  What did you think?!

I’m off to review the next event!




Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: