Friday Five: 5 Things You Must Do/Eat/See at the OC Fair This Year


We are a fair family. At least ONCE every summer since my kids were born we hit the OC Fair. We have built years of memories and now we have added new ones with our new family — including my stepkids and their dad into our tradition.

We got to the OC Fair the first day it was open this year and spent the day doing all of our favorite things. Here is my list of things you simply must do this year at The OC Fair.


1.) The pig races. This was the first time my stepkids had seen the famous OC Fair pig races. I have to say when you try to talk someone into seeing pigs race it does sound kinda silly but rest assured — they loved it! It’s a MUST when visiting The Fair. TIP: Check the schedule for race times and get there early for shading spot.



2.) Your favorite ride. For my daughter Emily and me, this is it, The Sky Ride. Everyone has their ride of choice, but this is a crowd pleaser and on a hot day, a welcome way to cool down.




3.) The OC Fair corn dog. We like the dogs that are sold from the smaller trucks throughout the fair. The larger ones from Chicken Charlie’s are a bit too big for us. These little jewels are just perfect!


4.) The exhibits at The Fair. We love Centennial Farms the best! Emily has to see the OC Beekeeper exhibit every year and the garden there is a great way to remind kids where all those yummy veggies come from. Check out their daily schedule, here.

5.) Hit the Sky Way.  This is by far the best view of The Fair.



Friday Five: 5 Ways To Know For Sure You’re A Dog Lover



This is George. Doesn’t he look like he wants a baby brother (see #3)


This week’s Friday Five is dedicated to all the dog lovers out there.

1.) You greet every new dog you see on the street with a friendly “Hello dog!” Yet, it never crosses your mind to say hello to the person walking the dog.

2.) You believe your dog has impeccable instincts when it comes to a person’s character and instantly and irreversibly don’t like anyone your dog doesn’t like.

3.) In your never ending campaign for a second dog you insert every mention of it into your conversations with your husband. For instance, “Wouldn’t a second dog love this movie?” Or another — albeit, more risky — tack is to mention how much you want another baby and then quickly downgrade to just another dog is okay, too.

4.) You don’t miss an opportunity to talk for your dog to other people, especially in a passive aggressive tone or to get them to do what you want them to do: “George says he’d love to go for walk right now but he has nothing to wear because you didn’t do the laundry” or “George says he’s really sorry for getting into the garbage but if he had another dog to play with he wouldn’t do such a thing! (see #3)” or “George says he thinks YOU should go lay down in YOUR bed.”

5.) You roll down your car window and chat with dogs who have their heads out the window. You do this not just to embarrass your children but you truly want to know if they are having a fun time in the car.

Other Friday Fives:

Five of the most troublesome crowd walkers identified

Five ways to know you’re late for your own funeral

Five men who have my permission to wear a tank top (no others are allowed. period. except when painting the house)



Friday Five: 5 Things You Need to See During Disneyland’s Diamond Celebration

MICKEY AND MINNIE DAZZLE IN NEW COSTUMES FOR DIAMOND CELEBRATION (ANAHEIM, Calif.) Ñ Appearing at Sleeping Beauty Castle, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse look dazzling in their sparkling, new costumes, created especially for the Diamond Celebration at the Disneyland Resort. Mickey and his friends will debut their new costumes when the Diamond Celebration begins on May 22, 2015. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)


This is a very special edition of Friday Five. Can you believe that our old friend Disneyland is turning 60? In some ways it seems like it has always been here. We can’t imagine Orange County without it, but in others it seems like the memories are just a short time ago.

Disneyland Resort is naturally ready to celebrate with special shows, enhanced attractions and touches of diamond sparkle throughout the park. The Diamond Celebration officially kicked off on May 22 and will last for about 18 months  (through next summer). You will have lots of time to see and do all of the things in my “5 Things You Need To Do During Disneyland’s Diamond Celebration.

1.) “Disneyland Forever!”  fireworks show.


Every year it seems that Disneyland Resort amps up the magic to new levels. This all-new show is the the most vibrant and immersive show yet! Projection, pyrotechnics, some of Disney’s favorite music and surprises create a spectacular spectacle from almost any vantage point. I have seen the show three times — from Main Street U.S.A, from the front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle and from near “it’s a Small World” — and from every angle the show is simply stunning.

Some surprises are in store if you watch from Main Street U.S.A so I would recommend that position if you just have one shot in the Diamond Celebration to see the show.

2.) “Paint the Night” all-new electrical parade.

One thing I loved about the entire Diamond Celebration is Disneyland’s mixture of fresh ideas and technologies mixed with sentimental nods to the past. The  “Paint the Night” Electrical Parade is reminiscent of the old-school Electrical Parade that we grew up seeing at Disneyland. The new parade has a kinetic creativity that only Disneyland can achieve with over 1.5 million LED lights, vibrant music and lots of activity that happen as the parade makes its way down Main Street U.S.A. Some of my favorite parts were the above reference to the old parade with this drum float. Just like we remember.


This Woody float stole my heart with the Lite – Brites studding the floor. I loved it!

My kids loved this float from the movie “Cars” but the star of the show is, of course, Frozen.


3.) World of Color “Celebrate the Wonderful World of Walt Disney”

I was lucky enough to five years ago to see the premiere of World of Color at the Disneyland Resort (See that video, here). It was like nothing I had ever seen before. The emotion the water show evoked in not just me, but many who saw it was undeniable. It was innovated at the time, but now with the addition of projection and the a couple of hosts — Mickey and Neil Patrick Harris — it feels complete.

When my family and I previewed the new show we found ourselves loudly singing along to the music, dancing in our section and, honestly, soaking wet! But it was fantastic! From top to bottom the show is the best yet. Definitely a must-see this summer.

4.) The new Matterhorn Yeti

The classic Disneyland ride the Matterhorn Bobsleds have a new red-eyed, snarling yeti that is sure to scare the daylights out of your kids — but in a good way. You have to see it the next time you’re in the park. This isn’t something specifically for the Diamond Celebration, but I added it to the list because he showed his angry face at the same time the celebration began.


Also, don’t miss the new photo spot outside the Matterhorn Bobsleds. So much fun.


5.) The Enchanted windows on Main Street U.S.A.

Don’t miss the Enchanted Windows that Disneyland has created for the Diamond Celebration. I got to see the first one when I was there. Watch the video below for more details and to see the first window:

(All photos except for Matterhorn postcard are courtesy of Disneyland Resort


people-hate-us-on-yelp-1024x1000YELP can be a business’ best friend or worst enemy. Bad reviews from customers or former employees can be frustrating and sometimes unfair. Though the success of YELP hinges on honest and credible reviews, there are still some strategies businesses can implement to boost their score in honest ways.

I am an Elite Yelper (Follow me here). I believe in it. I, honestly, would be lost without it. Given that, you can take these suggestions not as a professional, but from a fan of YELP.

1.) Offer a check-in coupon or YELP deal. (See the details on those, ) These help your business because YELP will feature coupons and push your profiles out to drive revenue. (They take a percentage).

2.) Respond to all reviews, not just the negative ones. Responding to reviews can help boost the odds that you’ll get a higher ranking in the site’s search results.

3.) Advertise on YELP. This is helpful because of the perks it adds to your business page. When you advertise with YELP you can add videos, larger photos AND no ads (including competitor’s) can run on your page.

4.) Ask patients/guests/customers to write a review. Though YELP discourages this practice, it is widely known to perk-up a business’s ranking. The most effective way to ask for a review is at the “point-of-purchase locations.” Basically, a plaque at the front desk asking customers to write a review on YELP works best.

5.) Check to see if good, positive reviews are being filtered out by YELP’s algorithms. If you see that there are some good reviews are not appearing in your company’s reviews – look through your business page metrics – reach out to the reviewer and ask him to fill out his profile more completely and perhaps add more reviews. Incomplete profiles, like ones without photos, sometimes get filtered out as spam.

Friday Five: Five most troublesome crowd walkers identified

OCfairSummer is coming. Doesn’t it seem like during summer you spend a lot of time in crowds:  the OC Fair; Disneyland; the Beach?  Walking through tight spaces with loads of people jammed in together is challenging to your nerves and hazardous to your feet.

In today’s Friday Five, I identify the most troublesome of all crowd walkers.  We’ve all been guilty of being at least one of them at some point.  I’m the worst #4 ever.


1.) The Sudden Stopper. This person seems like their cruising along just fine and then *BAM* for no reason at all they suddenly stop, leaving a trail of bumping and cursing behind them. Sadly, there is no cure for The Sudden Stopper.

2.) The AboutFacer: A highbred of the Sudden Stopper, these people will stop on a dime, pivot and start walking the other direction.  This is the most problematic of all the crowd walkers because you find yourself face to face with the aggravators.  Please try to watch your language around the kids. (Note to self, really.)

3.) The Red Rover Walkers: These people insist on holding hands with their entire extended family while walking through a crowd.  On an emotional level I totally understand it, but on a practical level, can’t they see the peeved wake of people they are creating?  Surely that can’t be good for the family’s morale.

4.) The Searcher: These are the people who, while walking amongst a sea of people, suddenly have something they absolutely MUST find at that very moment. They search their purse, their phones for that email,  their backpacks, their strollers, right in the middle of friggin’ crowd.  These are really the most pathetic of all the troublesome crowd people.

5.) The Stroller People: Okay, not to bash on moms with strollers. I was one for years. I know how hard it is; the dirty looks; the tight spaces; the need to have a place to hand your shopping bags. I get it.  But some of the stroller people need to remember they are pushing a stroller, not a bulldozer.  For the reputation of moms everywhere, please remember to be polite and accept there are just some places your stroller (God bless it) can’t go.  If you are a stroller person, please to smile and say “Thank you” when people let you by, remember you’re a mom with a stroller, not the Queen of England.


Other Friday Fives

Five of the most troublesome meeting personalties identified.

Five men who have my permission to wear tank tops.

Friday Five: The Five Most Exasperating Meeting Personalities


(To see more of my Toonlets click here.)

I have attended my share of meetings.  So, I feel totally qualified to identify the “5 Most Prevalent and Exasperating Personality Types.”  Everyone fits in to some group, even if it’s just a little.

1.) The “Forever Asserting Their Own Agenda” Meeting Personality.  

This is the person who, no matter what the topic is of the meeting or the specific matter being discussed at the moment, has to insert his own agenda; whether it be a gripe, a dig at a particular person, or a blatant grab for accolades.  The “Forever Asserting Their Own Agenda” person has mastered the art of the self-serving segue: Which always leads back to their own not-so-hidden message. They try to cover their motives with sappy compliments and shameless kiss-assery.

 Phil: I think the IT team has done a fabulous job implementing our changes.

    FSOA Person: Yes, and if I had a full team instead of three part-timers, I could do my     work just as efficiently as our crack IT team. Well done, Boys!

2.) The “Put Out to Be Here” Meeting Personality.  

This is me.  There is nothing I like more than to rush into a meeting (because I’m drop dead busy an barely have the time to make it), plop myself down, dramatically sprawling my papers and accouterments all over the table. With a GIANT Starbucks in hand (because I’m drop dead busy and barely have time to sleep or get lunch) I act like the whole meeting is the most boring waste of time ever. Secretly, these people (me) are just happy to be called to a meeting at all. That someone wants their input on even the most minuscule item is a total rush–don’t let the ‘huffs and puffs,’ big exaggerated yawns, and constant checking of their iPhone fool you.

3.) The “Contrarian” Meeting Personality.  

This person is hands-down the most annoying meeting personality. They often start their flood of questions with the word “question,” like this, “Question, why do WE have to pay for any of this?” and their favorite expressions include: “Let me play devil’s advocate here,” and “Yes, but on the other side of the coin.”

Argh! These were the people in college that when they raised their hands in class, you heard an audible groan from the rest of the pupils.

4.) The “Thinks He’s Will Ferrel & Sometimes Speaks in a Bad Fake English Accent” Meeting Personality.  

From first glance, you might think this person would be the most annoying, but not so (see #3).  Even when this person breaks into a reenactment of the latest SNL skit or repeatedly uses the latest catch phrase (Yeah, Baby. Be-Bye. That’s What She Said) or decides to speak in an English, German or Canadian accent sporadically throughout the meeting, they still have their place in a meeting, if not just to give us all someone to bounce our eye rolls off of or to get us all something to drink by playing along, “Be a lovely and go fetch us all a spot of tea, Mate.” Oh, they love that and will do anything if asked in this way.

5.) The “This Meeting is Totally Justified” Meeting Personality

This is almost always the person who organized the meeting, but sometimes falls on the assistant of the person who called the meeting.  They constantly are reminding you they called the meeting, why they called the meeting and how happy they are that there is, thankfully, a meeting and at the end, how useful the meeting has been to everyone involved. The further the distance the attendees had to travel to get to the meeting, the stronger the personality trait.


Other Friday Fives:

Five ways to use ’80s music to annoy your children and amuse yourself.

Five things my high school boyfriend is doing now if my mom’s predictions came true.

Friday Five: Five ways to know you are (really) late for your own funeral


For Halloween a very creepy Friday Five.


How to know you are really late for your own funeral.


1) Your children, who are now fully grown, cut you off in the parking lot with the Escalades they bought with their inheritance money.

2) You unknowingly compliment your husband’s new wife on her shoes.

3) Reading your eulogy, your brother keeps referring to you crossly as his “late, VERY, VERY late, beloved Sister.”

4) The pew you are sitting in is dedicated “in memory of” you.

5) When you go to sign your guest book, your fingers shatter into a million pieces.

Inspired by Beetlejuice when I wrote this 🙂

Happy Halloween!

Friday five: Top 5 movies for when I get the ‘mean reds’

Friday Five:

There are those movies that always bring you back to life. The ones we pop on when we’re home sick (or recovering from being *thrown* from a horse) or once they come up during channel surfing on a rainy day, we just have to stop and watch.

They’re our “go-to” movies.

We all have them.  They’re the ones that take us away from the messy house, gloomy day or whatever it is that’s given us the “mean reds.”  We collect them and pull them out when we need them.

Since I’ve been home I’ve watched all of mine. Most are firmly in the “girl movie” category, but when I’m down, cute shoes, witty banter and George Peppard are what I need.  Here they are in order of their perking-up effect–#5 being my all-time favorite.

1.) Pride and Prejudice (2005): Mr. Darcy?  He cheers me up every time.

2.) Waiting for Guffman: Anything with Christopher Guest will do, but this is my favorite. “…just a Coke.” Hilarious.

3.) When Harry Met Sally: Nora Ephron (the writer) is kind of like an idol to me. This is one of my favorite parts. “She look okay to me…”

4.) My Favorite Year: This is an obscure movie from the ’80s. I like it because it’s terribly funny and clever, but also because it reminds me of my brothers. We can recite this movie almost line-by-line. It was a family favorite and it always chases away the mean reds.


5.) Breakfast at Tiffany’s: There are so many wonderful things about this movie; the look of it, Holly’s charm and complexity, Fred Baby, the last scene with cat… I’ve watched it four times since I’ve been home. I just want to crawl inside and live inside this movie.

Honorable Mentions: Amelie, Say Anything, Bridget Jones’s DiaryThe Muppet Movie (don’t judge), Moonstruck, and naturally, His Girl Friday.

Friday Five: Okay, top 10 parenting movie scenes

I love to quote movie lines. This was a habit handed down from my dad and now I do it to my kids.  Growing up it wasn’t uncommon for me and my brothers to quote movie line after movie line without ever speaking an original word to each other all day.

Watching movies has always been an important family pastime. So, I thought for this Friday Five I’d actually do Ten. Ten of my favorite parenting scenes from movies.

1.) Steel Magnolias:

This is one of the saddest, most heartfelt scenes I can think of related to parenting. Sally Fields in “Steel Magnolia” as she comes to grips with losing her daughter. I love how the sorrow is broken up by humor.

2.) Say Anything:

This is from my own personal YouTube clips channel. From “Say Anything” John Cusack explaining to his girlfriend’s dad what he wants to do with his life. Classic. One of the most quotable dialogs ever.

3.) It’s a Wonderful Life:

Just a classic. You’ve seen it, you know. When George rushes home to sees his family…*tear*

4.) Kramer vs. Kramer:

Reaching back to the ’70s, if you’ve never seen this movie, it’s a must. This scene in particular is an iconic parenting moment: The Ice Cream Scene.

5.) Mr. Mom:

Oh, Michael Keaton! One of my favorite comic actors. Mr. Mom is an ’80s classic from start to finish, directed by Ron Howard. A must see. I was so happy someone had this up on YouTube, sorry about the ad that runs before it. Not only one of my favorite parenting scene, one of my all-time favorites movies. Keaton tries to talk his young son into giving up his blanket. “…the next thing you know, you’re strung out on bed spreads” So funny.

6.) Whip It:

This movie about Roller Derby has so many touching parenting moments in it. There’s a scene at the end, which I couldn’t find, between the mother and daughter that’s so real and moving I cried unabashedly when I saw it. Go watch this movie.

7.) Kicking & Screaming:

Will Ferrell at his very best. Part of the charm of this movie is Ferrell’s character loses it and acts out towards kids–mostly other people’s kids–in ways a lot of us parents can only fantasize about. Kind of a “Parents Gone Wild” movie. This is my favorite scene…

8.) Parenthood:

This is a littler known movie (that now has it’s own tv show) also directed by Ron Howard. Lots of good stuff in this movie. Real parenting moments. The hard things. This too is from my personal collection of movie clips on YouTube. This scene plays out that moment when you, as a parent, realize your kid is just like you, and not in a good way. It also is powerful as the parents, Mary Steamvirgin and Steve Martin start to realize there is something wrong with their son.

9.) Terms of Endearment:

Okay, Mom saying goodbye to her sons right before she dies. This scene is a must watch.

10.) Life is Beautiful:

Lastly, one of the most powerful, yet soft and subtle, scenes about parenthood, ever. Life is Beautiful is about, among other things, a father’s love for his son. In this scene, Roberto Benigni and his son are in a Nazi death camp. Benigini tries to protect his son from the horrors of their situation by pretending the whole experience is a game–specifically in this scene “translating” for a German soldier the “rules” of the game. *fantastic *brave* funny*heartbreaking*

Please feel free to leave your picks.

Friday Five: My top five movie boyfriends


1. Lloyd Dobler in “Say Anything.” 

 Lloyd, played by John Cusack, is graciously honest, quietly confident , and completely devoted to Diane.   This is one of my favorite scenes from “Say Anything” where he tells Diane’s dad what he wants, no, doesn’t want, to do with his life. Classic Lloyd Dobler.

(This clip is from my YouTube Channel: SuzClips.  I choose my favorite clips from movies or copy and post them myself if I can find them. )

2. Mr.Darcy from “Pride and Prejudice”: The Matthew Macfadyen version.

Oh, Mr. Darcy with your long black jacket, wildly successful career, and sullen-faced attitude, you’re no match for Lizzy’s wit and charm.  Give up already and admit you love her…

…nicely done, Mr. Darcy.
3. Robby Benson as Nick Peterson in Ice Castles. 
(Read my whole post about him.)
4. Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles. 
I dare you to find a female between the ages of 35-45 years old who didn’t have a major, rewind the VHS a million times to the birthday cake scene, crush on Jake Ryan.


5. Westly in Princess Bride.  
All he said was “As you wish…”  That about closes the deal for me and he’s got that whole Dread Pirate Roberts thing going on the side.  Irresistible.
# 1 is really up for grabs between Mr. Darcy and Lloyd Dobler.  I’d like to see them fight over me for it.


Other Friday Fives
Five tips and factoids for male readers of Alive in Wonderland
My top five ’70s TV crushes.