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WINTER IS COMING... WE SUGGEST AVOIDING IT

WINTER IS COMING... WE SUGGEST AVOIDING IT

We’re spoiled here in Los Angeles. It’s beach weather pretty much year round. As many of you pack away your swimsuits and bundle up for the cold weather, we would like to propose an alternative option. Take a warm vacation! 

We did a ton of research and rounded up 5 family friendly destinations to consider. Added bonus, many of them offer discounted rates this time of year!

Sayulita, Mexico

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This place is full of charm! We’re not surprised it’s become a popular blogger vacation destination. Sayulita is a coastal village just north of Puerto Vallarta with a laid back vibe and thriving artisan community.  If you’re looking for a more authentic cultural experience, this is the spot. Here you're able to mingle with the locals in a relaxed environment. The town square, pictured above, is known for being inviting, walkable and full of color. Its also easy to get to (read: short flight with your wild animal children). The average temperature this time of year on the beaches of Sayulita is a warm 90 degrees. 

 Paradise Island, Bahamas

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Yes, this is a more mainstream popular one, but the verdict is out: The Atlantis Hotel in the Bahamas is a winner for families with young kids. The Atlantis hotel boasts 141 acres of water attractions including a specific area for you little ones including crazy water slides you will want to ride yourself and petting tanks full of sea creatures. And for the Mamas and the Papas – there are CPR certified baby sitters on call just by pressing 1 and getting the operator. 

On a budget? Comfort Inn Suites on Paradise Island offers rooms at a fraction of the price and includes passes for entry into the Atlantis water parks. Best of both worlds!

Another hot tip, try the conch fritters. Trust us.

 Costa Rica

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Costa Rica is the perfect place for Dora and Diego fans to go to town on their Spanish and quest for cute creatures. Dubbed the Switzerland of Central America, thanks to its natural beauty, peaceful politics and it’s “pura vida” lifestyle, Costa Rica will not disappoint. Monkeys, sloths, humpback whales, iguanas, they’re all here, along with tropical rain forests, amazing beaches and tree houses to bed down in. This is one place we would not mind going back to. 

Kapolei, HI

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Our next stop is Kapolei, Hawaii. More specifically the Aulani Disney resort. During the winter months this amazing resort offers great off season prices with all the magic of summer weather. Disney's Imagineers worked side by side with local artisans, designers, builders, and historians to create a one-of-a-kind resort on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. They  provide several amenities for families with little ones including a Beach House kid’s club, a private snorkeling lagoon that helps you keep an eye on your whole crew, a golf course, hiking trails around the resort, water sports, a water park and even sailing. We're headed here in a few weeks and cannot wait to share how our trip goes with you!

 Santa Monica, California

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We couldn’t leave our hometown off the list. This time of year is our favorite time to be here! In this case less is most definitely more. Less people. Less Traffic. Less lines. Less. The weather is perfect and the beaches are quiet in the loveliest way. The pier is basically an amusement park for kids above the water and the list of good eats is so long I will have to save it for another post. My point, come visit. Just don’t tell your friends. Let’s keep it a secret.

 First time taking your little one to the beach? Read our tips on how to make it a huge success here

DO TRICK-OR-TREATING RIGHT

DO TRICK-OR-TREATING RIGHT

It’s that time of year again. For most of you across the country the temperatures are dropping, the leaves are changing and your little one is flip-flopping on whether they want to be a Elsa or Anna… it’s Halloween!

If this is your first time trick-or-treating with your baby and even if you’re a veteran in the candy-getting game, we have some tips on how to make the night a success and emerge home relatively unscathed with minimal tears.   

 1. Give in

Just give them the candy. This is what Halloween is all about! Kids, whether they have experienced it before or are newbies, inherently know beneath that shiny wrapper is something they want. Badly. It’s something with more sugar content than you would give them in 6 months. But! It’s Halloween, so if you want to avoid the tears walking from house to house, set up a rule --  one piece of candy per street and maybe keep your route minimal. 

2. Make it Comfy

True Story: When I was four my mother (bless her) decided it would be adorable if I dressed up as a birthday present for Halloween. She got a box that was huge relative to my four-year-old self and cut out holes for the legs and the head, wrapped it in Birthday wrapping paper, topped off with some ribbon and a bow. It was adorable, but I couldn’t sit down. Like, at all. Four years old and couldn’t sit for hours without taking the whole contraption off. Needless to say, neither of us left that trick-or-treating adventure in the best of moods. I was the cutest Birthday Present around so I’ll give her that. All of this is to say: Make sure whatever costume you make or purchase is something your kiddo won’t mind spending an extended period of time in. They will most likely want to put it on the second it’s within your house, so testing this out before the big night shouldn’t be an issue.

3. Plan Ahead 

Don’t end up in an area that you think would be great, only to find the front porch lights off and no candy or costumes in sight. Most cities have specific Kid-Friendly neighborhoods that are ideal for making your trick-or-treating experience the best! Here at home in Santa Monica we have Gillette’s Regents Square, which is our favorite spot for young kids who tire quickly. You will save those little feet a lot of walking around and still get plenty of candy (and plenty of chances to show off that super costume).

Also a Santa Monica local? Another great spot: 16th Street north of Montana between Alta on Georgina, but this spot can be a little spooky for little ones. Which brings us to our next point…

 4. Scary Costumes

While we prefer the cute costumes around here, it is Halloween and no matter where you go you’re going to see people leaning more towards the horror side of things. If you’re little ones are old enough to understand, make sure you prep them that you may see some people that look a little creepy or scary, but it’s all fake and they are just having fun. It might not work 100% of the time, but at least when they see that Walking Dead zombie costume, they will have a little context.

5. Take advantage

Let's be real. Frozen character costumes will inevitably be everywhere. Why not switch it up a bit this year? Halloween is your one chance to dress your kid up as a garden gnome or chipotle burrito to repay them for all the late nights and tantrums. Do not let this opportunity slip through your poorly manicured fingers!

 Happy Halloween from Olivia + Ocean!

SPLASH PAD TIPS AND TRICKS

SPLASH PAD TIPS AND TRICKS

The splash pad is a fun outdoor activity that will keep your child entertained and cool during those long summer days. Of course, we are partial to any outdoor activity that involves water! Here are Olivia + Ocean’s tried and true tips and tricks for a successful splash pad outing.

1. Mind the drought.

Most splash pads are city owned. Many cities have been making efforts recently to regulate water use. The splash pad you frequented last summer may have a new schedule or may not be operating at all. Before you put all the effort into getting your kids packed up in the car, make sure you check your splash pad’s current days and hours of operation.  

2. Swim diapers are best.

Our favorite swim diapers can be found online here. Pack a few extra in your bag. Changing their diapers often is important to keeping the splash pad clean and safe for everyone as the water is recirculated.

3. Put on swimsuits and sunscreen at home.

Sunscreen takes some time to become effective. Get them in their suits and lather on the sunscreen prior to heading over. By the time you get there they will be protected. Once there, reapply every 30 minutes.

4. Wear non-slip water shoes.

Although the surfaces of most splash pads are made of material to prevent them from slipping. They are also usually at public parks. You never know what may be left behind on the floor. We recommend these cute waterproof sandals  to keep them safe.

5. Don’t plan to be there for two hours.

Even on a hot day, kids can get cold being outside in the splash pad water for too long. We have found that 30-45 minutes is the perfect amount of time for them to enjoy it before their lips start to chatter and it is time to wrap them up in a warm towel and head home.

6. Bring lots of water to drink.

Active children need a lot of water on a hot day and the splash pad water is not safe for them to drink. If your child is at an age where they will listen to you (we use that phrase loosely), be sure to warn them not to drink the water.

7. Pack the essentials.

Sunscreen, extra swim diapers, sun hats (if they will keep them on), towels, water, dry clothes to change into and a few plastic bags to transport wet items home. Oh and snacks. Never leave home without snacks!