Aging Orange County Star Gets a Makeover

It’s so Orange County to get some work done, isn’t it? A nip here... a tuck there... plump, suck, cut, lift... and voila! A younger, fresher face to show to the world! Well, an old Orange County favorite recently had some amazing work done and the results are FABULOUS!

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What's New at Knott's?

There's been a lot of noise at the back of the park in the last few months, and it's not just coming from the roller coasters!  There's a whole new family friendly fun zone called the Boardwalk, and major updates to the perennial favorite, Timber Mountain Log Ride. 

I recently got to go on a media Hard Hat tour behind the scenes at the popular Southern California theme park to check out all the happenings before the  multi-million dollar developments open to the public. Although they didn't let us go too far into the Log Ride for safety reasons (DARN!), we did get complete access to the back lot area that will be home to the new Boardwalk.

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Family Fun on New Year's Eve at Knott's

For the last several years, The Joneses have celebrated New York New Year's. We don't actually go to New York. What we do is celebrate on New York time, which is a not-too-late hour of 9PM on the West Coast. We've done this because our kids were too young to stay up all night without melting down. So by 9:30, we have dinner and ring in the New Year, usually with another family with little ones, and by 10PM, we're all heading to our respective beds.

But now that they're getting older and mostly beyond the meltdown stuff, it might be time for Mr. and Mrs. Jones to go out on New Year's Eve again. We wanted to go some place that we could ALL have fun and where we wouldn't be bored. Where did we decide on? The Joneses will be ringing in the New Year as a family at one of my all-time favorite family hangouts:

Knott's Berry Farm!

Knott's Berry Farm on New Year's Eve

Knott's Berry Farm will have something for all of us this New Year's Eve. There will be all kinds of dancing and music (including an Elton John tribute band), a family-friendly comedian/magician, "Snoopy on Ice" ice skating show, and of course, all the rides and attractions that my kids and I have come to love. Knott's Merry Farm will still be in full swing, which means the sparkly lights will be in full glow, making the evening merry and bright. Somewhere between all the fun and walking under sparkly lights, we'll have to tear ourselves away for a delicious dinner of succulent fried chicken and pie at Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant.

YUMMMMMMM!!!!

Even though my kids are older, they're not too old for the Peanuts Gang, so we'll definitely be at Camp Snoopy for the special performance by Charlie Brown and the Peanuts Gang at the Camp Snoopy Theater. There, the Peanuts Gang will ring in the New Year with song and dance and some fun with the audience. At midnight, all eyes will be looking above Calico Square for the Midnight Mayhem fireworks show.

Ooooh... Aaaaahhhh...

Special New Year's Eve Rates at Knott's Hotel

After all that fun and excitement, we'll be heading off to bed at Knott's Hotel right next door. Knott's Hotel is offering a one-night stay package that includes passes to the park and a breakfast buffet, starting at $199 +tax for two people, and $249 +tax for two adults and two kids. (You can book on-line at www.KnottsHotel.com) Park hours are 10am to 1am. And to enjoy Knott's for all of 2013, Season Passes are only $66.99! Buy them before the New Year and guess what? You get one free visit for the remainder of the month, plus get in for only $9.99 for any additional days.

What a way to end the year and begin a New Year with the family, huh?

Can't wait to go out on New Year's Eve again!

2011: What a Year!

I knew it was going to be a big one, but I had not idea what was coming.

The year started off with a fabulous trip to Ford headquarters in Detroit. You know what? 9 degrees in January is really not that bad! As part of a group of bloggers and journalists hosted by Ford, I got to enjoy the North American International Auto Show where Ford unveiled more cars with green technology that makes sense. A pleasant bonus was being introduced to The Head and the Heart at a show sponsored by Pandora one evening. They're a cool indie band from Seattle that I absolutely fell in love with. Needless to say, my new favorite Pandora station is named after them.

Spring sprung with all kinds of interesting fun.

My husband and I got back together, for one. Right after that, I returned to Austin for SxSWi with a blow up doll. Judy was a big hit, standing out in the crowd and getting her picture taken all over the place. Quite a success since she was wearing my client's logo the whole time. Word of caution: always take a spare blow up doll... just in case.

In April, my friend, Sondra and I, along with a bunch of usual suspects in the San Diego social media scene raced through the Gaslamp looking for answers to clues in the Fiji Scavenger Hunt. SO much fun! We definitely need to do that again. That same month, my Fab Over Forty friend, Kari Solyntjes asked me to be her So Cal correspondent for the Redbook party in honor of the Kardashians Mother's Day cover. It was a great party and I was loving Kris and Kim... which makes the whole sham marriage scam even slimier for me. Oh well. The cupcakes were awesome. Ask SweatPantsMom.

And just like I envisioned on my dream board, I was featured in our local rag, the San Diego Magazine as part of the Best of North County issue! I got to spotlight a few things I love about the seaside town I was living in: Oceanside. That issue came out in May, just in time for my birthday. What a gift to unwrap!

That summer, Blogher came to San Diego! I was pleased to answer questions about the event at our local station, KUSI, although I was a wee bit hoarse from the Vicks party at East Village Tavern + Bowl the night before. No worries, though. I had plenty of cough syrup to soothe the throat! One special event was a dinner hosted by Sony Pictures. We got to preview Pan Am, a show I am still ticked about being canceled. Jets and swank... how can you say no to that? Aiming Low hosted its first official BlogHer party, Come As You Are. Robin Plemmons tattoed me with some nice words on my arm ("I will cut a bitch") before we headed down to jump on beds at the CheeseburgHer party. It was so great seeing all of my favorite bloggers in my town. I'm pretty sure the consensus was that everyone wanted to return to our fine city. I know it's far for many, but oh my lanta, it's worth the trip.

Also that summer, I was part of a group I like to call "The Strawberry Girls." Five bloggers from across the country convened on the strawberry fields of Monterey to learn all about my favorite berry from the California Strawberry Commission. We learned about the safety and transportation of the strawberry, as well as tasting some incredible sweet and savory dishes and drinks flavored with them. We each hosted a party in our own regions. The LA party I got to host was the final leg of the tour. The food and presentation was a big hit with all my guests, as was discovering the California Strawberries app that holds all kinds of nutritional information and recipes in store.

Fall came and it was back to business. Kids went back to school and I went to work. I even got myself an office, cuz I'm all serious like that. So serious that I painted purple tulips on the wall. Sondra and I soft-launched Smart & Social, hosting a few social media seminars and strategy sessions for beginning bloggers and business women. We've also been strategizing on some webinars to get more bang for our bucks; bucks being time.

The end of the year brought a couple of trips to my high school workplace, Knott's Berry Farm. The kids loved the trips so much, they now want season tickets. Another sweet experience was going to the Pantages for a symphony performance in honor of 25th Anniversary of The Legend of Zelda. It doesn't suck being a brand ambassador for Nintendo. :)

And just for giggles, I launched Stuff Mexicans Like. Orale!

My year is coming to a close with a new beginning. I'm enjoying the sweet serenity of a new home to start the new year and the next chapter of my life off right. I'm excited to see what 2012 has in store!