Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Date Your Spouse: California State Escape

Hello!  Are you ready for another Date Your Spouse post?  I sure hope so because that's what I'm writing today.  (Really awkward if you weren't ready.)  Today, for our most intellectually challenging date yet we tried out California State Escape which is escape room games.

*** We were given comp tickets in exchange for an honest review.  Opinions are always 100% mine and 100% honest.***

If you haven't heard of escape rooms, they are like a live action puzzle game that you solve.  You go to their location and they have rooms set up with themes and storylines.  You usually have 60 minutes to try to solve all the puzzles and "escape" the room.  (In the state of California, due to fire safety laws, they cannot actually lock you in so usually the door you enter through is open.  If you get overwhelmed or need a water or potty break, you can just walk right out.)  There are a huge variety of different rooms.  There are rooms that are family friendly where people bring their kids or rooms that are super scary.

California State Escape (CSE) is one of the more immersive experiences I've had.  I've been to escape rooms that were super simply decorated like an office.  California State Escape is more like walking into a movie set.  Everything is highly detail oriented and you definitely feel like you are in the scenario.  Also, they do not pair you with strangers at CSE.  You do the room with only the people who you came with.  This is nice because it can be really awkward to work with people you don't know.  You also have a host who will give you clues if you want.  The host watches and listens to you from another room to see where you are in the puzzle.

We decided to try their puzzle called Space Sector which is considered to be one of the less difficult puzzles.  They usually suggest that you have at least 5 people for this room so it's perfect for a group date.  We were only able to find one friend to go with us on this day and we did fine.

What makes an escape room a really great date is that it's very interactive!  You have to communicate well and work together to solve the puzzles.  In fact, sometimes you physically have to have multiple people on a puzzle to get it to work.  It's also really interesting to see how your date responds in certain situations.  Who is adventurous enough to climb into crawl spaces?  Who gets frustrated and takes all the puzzle pieces from people?  (Spoiler alert, the last one is me.)

We had a GREAT time at California State Escape!  We were able to escape our room with about 6.5 minutes to spare.  We were challenged the whole time but never to the point of frustration.  There were definitely moments when I thought we wouldn't make it out on time which I think it part of the fun.  Our host Brandon was attentive and gave good clues without ever giving away too much.  An escape room is a great experience to have before dinner so you have something fresh to talk about over your meal.

Overall, I can't wait to go back to California State Escape!  The whole experience from booking to checking in to leaving with photos was great!  Everyone is really friendly.  The detail laden rooms, immersive experience, and complex puzzles justify the cost.  This would also be great for work places to have team building events.  They are currently working on a new room which I've heard will be WIZARDLY and I am super excited for that one to open!

Have you tried an escape room?  What are your thoughts?  Also, do you have ideas for a date?  Please leave them in a comment below!

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Friday, April 20, 2018

Date Your Spouse: Chef's Dinner at Zocalo Sacramento

Hi friends!  I hope you're doing well!  I have to tell you that "research" for the Date Your Spouse series has been super fun!  We are really pushing ourselves out of our usual routine and it's a been a great time!  This next date is a location we've been to before but an event we had never attended.

Every month, usually on the first Monday, Zocalo Midtown offers a Chef's Dinner event.  (For May, they are having the dinner on April 30 to kick off a week of Cinco de Mayo celebrations.)  The Chef's Dinner is a 3 course meal where each course is paired with a drink all for only $30 a person!  The drink is usually a cocktail, wine, or beer.  This is a steal!  Usually an entree alone would cost over half that amount not to mention drinks!  (I was given tickets to this event for review.  As always, all the opinions are mine and 100% honest.)

Zocalo transforms their restaurant for the Chef's Dinner.  They block off about half their restaurant for the event.  (The other half is for regular dinner service.)  They set beautiful tables with place settings and floral arrangements.  Menu cards are printed out for each guest.  It's really nice attention to detail.  The restaurant itself is already beautiful and always decorated tastefully but they go a step beyond for the Chef's Dinner.

We got to attend the April 1 dinner and the theme was SPRING!  Oh how I love spring menus!  I love the fresh vegetables and how we start to see fruit again!  This menu was phenomenal!  They even started us with an extra little bite and champagne bellini in addition to the 3 courses.   We were also served chips, salsa, and the house bean dip.

This menu featured an asparagus salad which was so delicious!  We got big but tender stalks of asparagus that was perfectly grilled, topped with arugula salad on top of a poblano puree.  I loved every single bite of this dish!  This was paired with a Heretic Lager since Heretic Brewery was their partner for this month's dinner.

The main course was a lamb in red chile broth with beans, rice, and tortillas.  This was paired with Heretic Evil Twin which is a red IPA.  The lamb was great!  It was really flavorful.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE the green rice at Zocalo, it's one of my favorite things about the restaurant.  Their hot tortillas that are a hybrid of corn and flour tortilla are TO DIE FOR.  Needless to say, I cleaned my plate.

The dessert was a strawberry shortcake done "dulce de leche" style paired with a Fresca Sting which was like a spicy strawberry margarita.  Personally, I do not prefer "soaked" cakes.  The texture is not my jam.  I did eat the drier parts of the cake and I really enjoyed it.  I ate all the strawberries and whipped cream.  Other people around me LOVED the cake!

Overall, the whole experience was amazing!  The value was incredible!  I could easily spend well over $60 on an evening of food and drinks and not even get dessert or appetizers.  This dinner is probably one of the best values in Sacramento!  Plus it is a lovely event full of happy people and delicious food!  I will definitely be returning to the monthly Chef's Dinner!        

I think a Chef's Dinner is probably a date that suits me best.  What kinds of dates suit you?  Do you have a date idea for me?  Please leave me a comment and let me know!

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

I Feel Pretty: An Important Movie with a Crucial Message

Last night I attended a media preview of the film I Feel Pretty that will release April 20.  I joined a large group of women for a happy hour then we went to see the movie.  My friend Emily went with me and I thought it would just be a fun night with a chick flick.  After the movie, my friend and I had the most heart wrenching conversation about the issues of self confidence and body positivity.  This is a conversation that needs to be had so I'm going to add my little bit to it today.

In I Feel Pretty, the main character Rene is played by Amy Schumer.  (I'm going to try not to spoil anything.)  Rene struggles with self confidence in the beginning of the movie.  Then she has an accident at Soul Cycle, bumps her head, and wakes up seeing herself as beautiful.  While the film has its' flaws, my take away was the theme that nothing needs to change about you other than your perspective and attitude.

This is HUGE for me.  I didn't lose weight or all the sudden become beautiful one day.  I changed my perspective through what I call "Exposure Therapy."  I posted a photo of myself a day everyday for Dressember (which is such an important campaign.)  By the end of the month, I started to be ok with the way I looked in photos. This then translated to being ok with the way I look in real life.

Another important point is that I have a daughter and like it or not, I'm her role model.  In the movie, Rene says talks about how being a little girl, we have ALL this confidence and then over time with people's comments or perceptions, that fades away.  I find this thought TERRIFYING.  I have the most spectacular, smart, funny, and beautiful daughter in the world.  She has ALL of the confidence.  You CAN'T TELL HER NOTHING.  And I fear the day that some person makes a comment about her body or her outfit that crashes through her shield of confidence and hits her heart.

Because of this, I've cut the negative self talk out from myself (at least out loud.)  If I'm trying on outfits, I try to say "I don't feel like wearing this dress today" instead of "this makes me look fat."  I will say "My skin is bothering me this week" and not "I have horrible skin, I hate it."  This shift shows my daughter that these things are temporary and don't rule my life.  But they used to.  I used to stand in front of the mirror and detest my fat rolls, my acne marked skin, my unruly eyebrows, my widow's peak, my everything.

The thing is, I still have a lot things I used to hate about myself.  Probably more so now.  But I decided that my body and more importantly my soul couldn't thrive if all I did was sit there all day and tell myself how much I HATED my flaws.  I switched to trying to be kind to myself.  I switched to giving myself grace.  I switched to saying "my hair is rocking" and "this dress looks awesome on me."  And it literally changed my life.

What I loved about I Feel Pretty is that Rene did not "body swap" or lose weight or have a makeover, she shifted her perspective and her whole life changed.  And I just wanted to echo that message to you.  CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE AND CHANGE YOUR LIFE.  When I finally decided that I was WORTH something, the world decided I was worth something too.  I'm not saying it was easy.  I'm just saying you can do it and you are SO incredibly worth fighting for yourself.

Huge thank you to STX Entertainment and Katie from the Wake Up Call for inviting me to this event!  Please go see this movie and have the conversation about how confidence can change your life.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Date Your Spouse: At Home With Datebox

Hi friends!  I'm so sorry that so much time has passed since my last Date Your Spouse post!  Life has been crazy and there have been some dates we went on that didn't quite make the cut for a blog post.  But don't worry, I have a great one for you today!

***I received a complimentary Datebox for the purpose of review.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and 100% my own.***

My hubby and I tried DateBox!  DateBox is a service that delivers a box to your door with a fun date idea that can be done at home.  (They also offer a digital only version for only $7.99!)  This is a perfect way to have a date at home after the kids go to bed or any time when you're home needing a date.  Spoiler Alert!  I'm going to show the inside of a box so you can see if it's worth the value to you.
We got a box for a "S'mores Date" which I thought was a fun idea!  And they really thought about everything for this date!  Here's what came in the box:

The box includes:
~ Candle making supplies for two small candles
~ S'mores kit with chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers.  Also, skewers to roast marshmallows.
~ 2 mugs and 2 packets of hot cocoa mix
~ Deck of cards
~ Coupon for a free Redbox rental
~ Instruction book

I loved the instruction book for the Datebox!  It's written in a super fun way like one of your friends planned a date for you.  It also has great additional things for your date like a Spotify Playlist (which we didn't get to listen to since we're not members), Conversation Starters, instructions for 3 different card games (only 1 I've played before), and instructions for your date.  They also have great ideas like for our date they suggested we build a blanket fort to go with the camping feel of the s'mores.

I thought the whole thing was so well planned out!  I thought the idea of making candles that you use later is such a fun idea!  It gives you a different experience that you might not do on your own.  They really thought of everything in this box.  One box is good for hours of fun.  I think it's well worth the $39.95 price point since you just open the box and the whole evening is planned for you.  Not only that but we keep all the items so if we wanted to recreate the date, we could.

What are your favorite stay at home date ideas?  Have you tried a date subscription?  Let me know!

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

March 2018 New Finds

Hi friends!  So sorry for the late post!  This month has just blown by for me.  The whole beginning of the year has just gone by in a flash.  Does everyone else feel like that too?

I was so ready for the sun to come out in March.  How about you guys?  I'm just over wearing layers and pants all the time.  I feel like spring has great weather even though my allergies go nuts!  There just something about having more light during the day that makes me happy.  I'm starting this post with one of my favorite photos from last month which was taken by Jeff Bravo Photography.  This was taken for a collaboration with my friend Amanda for her company Bloom Sacramento.  She offers weekly and monthly flower subscriptions using flowers she grows herself and flowers from local flower farms.

1. Allie Studio Elk Grove Map Coordinates Pillow.  If you checked out my Feb New Finds post, you probably saw me holding a super cute Sacramento pillow from Allie Studio.  I knew I HAD to get my hands on an Elk Grove pillow since if you know me, you know I'm ALL about Elk Grove!  I love the jute fabric and the type writer font.  It's just the perfect pillow for me and my kids aren't allowed to touch it.

2. The Latest Scoop Passion Fruit Guava Sorbet.  It's no secret that I've been obsessed with the flavor of passion fruit for the last year.  It's tart and tropical and I just can't get enough.  I was craving some passion fruit one night and I found this sorbet at The Nugget.  It's just so fruity and delicious!  The sorbet has a very nice texture too!  (Sorry it's half gone in the photo!  But not THAT sorry!)

3. Floral print.  Please give me ALL the flora print clothes, accessories, notebooks, pens, etc...  This is a trend that I'm into 100%!  I guess this shouldn't be shocking since I've always used flowers in my Instagram photos (when I can) and when I do crafts.  I'm really loving florals on dark backgrounds right now especially on clothing.

Causally hanging out at the Home Depot

Tapas on patios!

4. Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick.  In the winter, my lips dry out a lot and I haven't felt like putting much on them.  I decided to try out these Neutrogena chubby lip pencils because one of my favorite YouTubers EmilyNoel83 really loves them.  I love that they are super light and moisturizing!  They feel nice on my lips and the color is subtle enough that I can apply without a mirror.  They have a fruity smell.  Overall, just an easy product that I've been reaching for.  (In all these photos I'm wearing this lip product.)

5. Dessert Table.  I got the chance to make a dessert table for a charity function with my Sacramento Tuesdays Together chapter.  We had an event called Gram and Give where we made Instagram ready stations all over my friend Jeannie's new studio Bloom Collective Roseville.  It was a really beautiful event!  I'm in love with the dessert table I created with the help of my friends Katelynd who donated cake pops and Stacey who donated cookies.  I tried to keep it light, fun, and springy.

What were your favorites for March?  Let me know in the comments!

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