Walgreens San Francisco “Flagship” Store Grand Opening, A Traveler’s Dream! #SFWAG

Growing up, my family always went to our neighborhood Walgreens for all of our over-the-counter and prescription meds. Walgreens was conveniently located near our home and we trusted them, after all, they are the nation’s largest drugstore chain. My mom knew that whatever she needed, she could find it at Walgreens. That hasn’t changed, but boy, so many other things about Walgreens certainly have! If you haven’t been inside a Walgreens lately,  you’re going to love this post. The new Flagship Walgreens just opened up in San Francisco, at the corner of Powell & O’Farrell. When Collective Bias invited me to tour the new Walgreens, I had no idea what was in store for me. The moment I walked through the doors, I thought to myself, “This ain’t my Mama’s Walgreens!”SONY DSC SONY DSCSONY DSC This Walgreens is big and bright, and did I mention Big?! I’m talking 18,000 sf and 2 stories tall! It is unlike any other Walgreens I have ever been to. There are 15 cash registers and 90 employees, we’re talking huge here! It reminded me more of a department store, than my friendly, neighborhood Walgreens. We began our tour upstairs.SONY DSC First stop, was the LOOK Boutique beauty department, and it is fabulous! It features tons of prestige and niche cosmetic, skincare, and hair care brands that you don’t normally find in drugstores. For example, you can find the U.K.’s number one skincare line, “No 7,” created by Boots, here at Walgreens. No 7 is known for their anti-aging beauty serums. (I’ll take 2 of everything, please!) The specially-trained beauty advisors can help you choose just the right product for your skin type. They’ll even touch-up your make-up for you! If your brows are looking a little rough, just head on over to the Ramy Eyebrow Bar to get some expert brow shaping and grooming services! How fantastic is that? Getting your brows done at Walgreens… I told you this wasn’t your Mama’s Walgreens! SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSC Walgreens main purpose is to help people get, stay & live well… so it made perfect sense that we toured the Pharmacy next. The pharmacy is open 8:00am-8:00pm Monday through Friday, 9:00am-6:00pm on Saturday, & 9:00am-5:00pm on Sundays. Nimesh Jhaveri-Executive Director of Pharmacy Operations, was on hand to give us the grand tour. He explained to us how the role of the pharmacist is changing & evolving. Walgreens wants to be your one-stop healthcare shop. It makes perfect sense, Walgreens’ are everywhere, you can find one on virtually every corner. Why not utilize them to the fullest extent? Vaccines, sports physicals, urgent care- it’s all available at Walgreens. They even  do diabetes screenings and can check your cholesterol levels! Not everyone has access to a nearby doctor, but we all have access to a nearby Walgreens, right?!

As someone who loves to travel, I’m lovin’ this new Flagship Walgreens! Imagine being a tourist here in San Francisco and getting sick. You don’t know where the nearest doctor is, or urgent care… but you do know where the nearest Walgreens is, at the corner of Powell & O’Farrell! (They have suitcases too!) Walgreens is working hard to be your first choice for health & daily living. Once you’ve taken care of all your health and beauty needs, you might be a little hungry. Walgreens has that covered too! SONY DSCSONY DSC Your eyes are not deceiving you, that is a smoothie bar. Smoothies are available at the new Walgreens in San Francisco, along with a juice bar. But that’s not all. In keeping with their mission to keep you well, Walgreens also offers hundreds of fresh food items. Produce and high-quality, on-the-go meal options such as wraps, sushi, salads and sandwiches are made fresh daily. SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSC When I tell you this Walgreens is like no other I have ever been to, I truly mean it! You can purchase Fro-Yo here… awesome! You pay by the cup size, not by weight… even better! There’s a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine dispensing 130 varieties of Coca-Cola fountain drinks. (I’d never even seen one until I toured this Walgreens!) The Upmarket Cafe’ offers a barista preparing fresh brewed premium coffee & espressos. Got a sweet tooth? You’ll love the freshly baked pastries and other goodies the Upmarket Cafe’ has to offer. SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSC And then there was this! The promised land for chocoholics! A replica of Ghirardelli Square. It has one of the largest (and yummiest!) selections of Ghirardelli premium chocolates and gift selections in the San Francisco area. SONY DSCI could go on & on about this new Flagship Walgreens. It’s the first of its kind here in Northern California and it promises to bring customers a unique shopping experience. This store has it all! With offerings like fresh food, an enhanced beauty department and unique pharmacy- this is My Walgreens! Next time you are in San Francisco, be sure to drop by and check it out for yourself, and don’t forget to try the Vanilla Fro-Yo, it’s delicious!

Y’all know I love to take photos, and I have many more to share with you. You can see them all all on my #SFWAG Google+ Album.

For more Walgreens info, here’s their website. You can follow them on Twitter and FB too! Be well!

**I was invited to the opening of the Walgreens store opening by Collective Bias®.  I was compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias ™ and Walgreens #CBias #SocialFabric  All Opinions are my own.**

You Say McWrap, I Say McYummy! {Giveaway for S.F. Bay Area Readers!}

I was recently sent a couple “Be Our Guest” cards by McDonald’s so I could try their new Premium McWraps. I’d been hearing a lot about them from some of my blogger friends, and was anxious to sink my teeth into one.

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  • The new line of meal-size wraps combines fresh vegetables, tasty sauces and juicy chicken breast fillets in a warm tortilla.
    • All Premium McWrap varieties come with a choice of either grilled or crispy chicken, so that guests can customize their meals according to their individual dietary needs. There are 3 Premium McWraps to choose from:
      • Sweet Chili Chicken McWrap: sweet chili sauce, creamy garlic sauce and sliced cucumbers
      • Chicken & Bacon McWrap: creamy garlic sauce, bacon, cheddar jack cheese and tomato
      • Chicken & Ranch McWrap: ranch sauce, seasoned rice vinegar, cheddar jack cheese, sliced cucumbers and tomato
      BIEPfhMCQAIzWtqI’ve been a McDonald’s fan my entire life. Growing up, I didn’t get to eat there as often as I wanted, so anytime we made a special trip to the Golden Arches, it was party time! I am happy to see McDonald’s incorporating healthier food options into their menu. Grilled Chicken, can’t get much healthier than that, right?! The Premium McWrap is something I would make at home. I tried the Sweet Chili Chicken McWrap, with the Grilled Chicken. BIEQJueCYAA4n3_As you can see from my photo (above), along with sliced cucumbers, there’s also some greens in the mix! Was it good, you ask? Yes! It was delicious! The sweet chili has just the right amount of sweetness to it. It’s very flavorful and filling. One Premium McWrap filled me up. But don’t take my word for it, McDonald’s want you to try out their Premium McWraps for yourself! BIEREWVCAAE2Um0
  • This GIVEAWAY is open to San Francisco Bay Area readers only, sorry to everyone else. If you live in the Bay area-please enter for your chance to win!

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Disclosure: I was provided “Be Our Guest” cards so I could try the new Premium McWraps & to facilitate this giveaway. No other compensation has been provided. All opinions are my own. I hope to bring you many more great meal options from McDonald’s in the future!

Have You Tried NEW Honey Bunches of Oats GREEK?!

I was recently sent a box of Post’s new cereal, Honey Bunches of Oats Greek, to review. Our family is very loyal to a handful of cereals, Honey Bunches of Oats, is one of them. I was super excited to try this new version of one of our faves! HBO_GREEKYOGURT_3D_Average_LEFT-1

This new cereal has 33g of whole grain per serving (over 2/3 of your day’s whole grain requirement) and 5g of protein. I like the 0g trans fat & 0mg cholesterol too! It provides 12 essential vitamins and minerals. Wondering about calories? There are 230 calories per cup.

As I poured the cereal into my bowl, I was curious to see if it would look any different than the other Honey Bunches of Oats I’m familiar with. It does look different. There are 2 unique granolas made with real Greek yogurt, crispy whole grain flakes and just the right amount of honey for that sweet taste I (we) love! SONY DSC SONY DSC It was time to test out the new flavor. I poured the milk and took a big spoonful. It’s a winner! Delicious goodness, it put a smile on my face! My kids were actually “fighting” over the box! The oldest said it was his & the little one said it belonged to the whole family! Needless to say, they loved it too! I can see myself stocking up on Honey Bunches of Oats Greek, whenever it goes on sale! I’m going to need a stockpile, I can already see it!

If you’d like to learn more about Honey Bunches of Oats Greek, or any of Post’s other cereals, please Like them on FB and follow them on Twitter.

Disclaimer: I am part of the Mom It Forward blogger network. Mom It Forward and Honey Bunches of Oats partnered in support of this campaign. Honey Bunches of Oats compensated me for participation in this campaign. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

LEGOLAND Hotel – So Worth The Eight Hour Drive!

Last week, I was invited to a media event for the grand opening of the LEGOLAND Hotel, in Carlsbad, CA. It included an overnight stay at the hotel and admission to the park. To say I was excited about this invite, would be a huge understatement! It’s like I was a kid all over again, that’s how stoked I was. Part of my excitement, was knowing my little guy was going to be able to take part in this adventure with me. We are huge LEGO fans, my little one is a future master builder, I’m quite sure of that. We took him to LEGOLAND once before, when he was about 2 years old; I was so happy to have the opportunity to take him back now that he is older. Early last Wednesday morning, we loaded up the car and got on the road… EIGHT hours later, we arrived at our destination. Yes, we really drove eight hours to get there! As we pulled into the parking lot of the hotel, I knew this was going to be an amazing stay.SONY DSC

FUN LEGOLAND HOTEL FACTS:

  • There are approximately 3,422 LEGO models in the entire Hotel created out of more than three million LEGO bricks!
  • Behind the reception desk in the lobby there is an entire wall created out of 6,000 LEGO Minifigures!
  • Seven of the large LEGO models throughout the Hotel are animated
  • A family of four LEGO dragons reside in the Hotel: One smoke-breathing dragon at the entrance, a playful young dragon in the lobby sits on top a handle and slowly spins it to make a LEGO river flow, a baby dragon peers over the ledge of the castle in the atrium play area and an interactive bubble-blowing dragon is taking a bath on the patio as she playfully sprays water and “speaks” to young guests
  • The Skyline Café features a LEGO skyline which includes 35 different scenes
  • Ever been in a Disco Elevator? As guests enter the elevator, lights pulsate in the ceiling to music, a mirror ball rotates and a different sound effect announces arrivals on each floor
  • The LEGO Event Room is located on the first floor and can occupy up to 110 people
  • All rooms will have Wifi
  • Six rooms have terraces and are located on the Pirate floor

SONY DSCSee that green dragon, on the right hand side? About every 15 seconds, real smoke spews from his nose! It is so cool! The valet parked our car for us, then we entered the hotel…SONY DSCSONY DSC The front lobby was a good indication of things to come. You see that ship in the background? The kids all got to play on and in that ship later on that night. And the LEGO brick pit to the right? The kids loved it! My little guy enjoyed adding his own bricks to the column in the middle, oh, and this: SONY DSCAfter we checked in, it was time to check out our Kingdom themed room (there are three different themes: Pirate, Adventure, and Kingdom). Here’s our room!!SONY DSC The parents bed is nice and comfy, and away from the kids. They have their own area, and my guy thought that was fantastic! Here’s the kids room:SONY DSCBunkbeds with a trundle bed underneath, room for three! They have their own reading lamps that they can easily access (and as my little one pointed out, “Mom, the light doesn’t get hot, I can touch it!“). They also have their own TV! SONY DSCLook closely at the photo and you will see a couple of LEGO models… see the owl & the mouse? Each room has at least 8 different LEGO models in it- very cute! The room also has a safe for the kids to unlock … they are given a sheet of paper with clues on it and once they figure out the clues, they can unlock the safe and get the treasures that are inside… which are theirs to keep! Here’s the safe that was in our room:SONY DSC LEGOLAND Hotel has thought of everything, from a toilet seat for the kids:SONY DSCSONY DSCNo more falling into the ice cold water for little ones, to a peephole on the door that is at the child’s level:SONY DSCSee that yellow circle on the door, the children’s peephole is right below it- I thought that was brilliant! There is also a Disco Elevator! Yep, you heard me… check it out!

How freakin’ cool is that?! There are other little unique touches like that throughout the hotel, but I don’t wanna give them all away- just trust me when I say you and the kids will enjoy them! When it was time to eat, we walked over to Bricks Family Restaurant, on the first floor. SONY DSC The first thing my son liked about the place was the “tablecloth,” it’s actually a huge sheet of paper that the kids can color… and color he did! SONY DSCHe was so busy coloring, we had to remind him to eat! (He loves to color, ok?!) Once again, LEGOLAND Hotel has thought of everything, check out the children’s buffett area, that is built at their level…  it’s the one in the middle:SONY DSCSONY DSC Our son loved being able to serve his own plate, made him feel like a big boy! I was impressed with the food options, lots of veggies, fruits and organic juices and milk. SONY DSCSONY DSCWay to go, LEGOLAND Hotel! Much appreciated! There was even a smoothie station for breakfast, making smoothies right before your eyes. They were delicious, btw… I posted pics of the smoothies on twitter, (I’m  @MommyPowers if you’d like to see them. I also have other LEGOLAND Hotel pics posted there. Those are all pics I took with my iPhone.) There was an Omelette station there also, using cage-free eggs! Here’s a shot of one of the chef’s in action:SONY DSC If you want a hot breakfast-eggs, oatmeal, pancakes, sausage, bacon, quiche, etc… you got it! If you prefer cold breakfast- muffins, bagels, fruit, cereal, pastries, smoothies, etc… you got that too! While the kids were eating, they had a few special visitors: SONY DSCSONY DSC After dinner, the kids were treated to some entertainment, and they had a blast! First, they got to play on the huge ship in the lobby: SONY DSCSONY DSC Then things really got going when LEGOLAND Hotel turned on the music! Our son is not one to join in immediately, he is rather shy… but not that night! He was dancing and grinning from ear to ear the entire time the music was playing. (And holding his LEGO bricks in his hand!) He wasn’t the only one smiling, seeing him having so much fun filled me with joy! I was so happy that he was having such a great time!SONY DSC I want to give a shout-out to the LEGOLAND Hotel staff, especially the awesome guy that was dancing with the kids. He was able to get them all to interact, and participate and they really liked him. After all the dancing was done, he sat down with the kids and read them  a story.SONY DSCI cannot say enough good things about the new LEGOLAND Hotel, it’s fabulous! It’s an adventure, in and of itself! Before you even enter the LEGOLAND Park-you have already had the time of your life at the hotel! Our little one is already asking when we can go back, and go back we will, over and over again. Here’s some more pics, because I just couldn’t stop taking photos! LOL!SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSC

Thank you LEGOLAND Hotel, for an amazing time! We will be back, real soon!

Disclosure: I was invited to a media event at LEGOLAND Hotel, which included a night’s stay & park admission. All opinions are my own and I have not been compensated for this post.

10 Tips For Moving With Kids

This is a sponsored post.

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I love to travel, that’s why I changed this from a Food blog to a Food/Travel blog. There is, however, one form of travel I do NOT like: moving! I do not like anything about moving, especially moving with kids. The last time we had to relocate, it was a big headache-I’m sure some of you out there can relate. I recently learned about a website called Unpakt.com, a digital marketplace and price comparison site for reputable moving companies. Think of it like Kayak or Expedia, but for moving services! You tell them when, where & what you’re moving and they’ll do all the legwork for you. You will receive price quotes and comparisons that look like this:Unpakt Compare Page Then all you need to do is decide which company you want to go with. I really wish I could have used Unpakt.com when we moved a few years back! Are you moving soon, or know someone that is? If so, you’re in luck!

 Exclusively for This Mama Can Cook! readers: $50 off your next move on Unpakt! Enter promo code: MPW5013.

How cool is that?! And if that wasn’t enough, here’s a few tips to help make moving with kids a little easier.

  1.       Contact the new school prior to moving – Make sure all paperwork for your child, such as immunization forms, have been completed and provided to the school. Additionally, consider asking for a tour of the school with the child’s new teacher to help your child get acclimated.

2.       Change your address before you move – It will take some time for all of your mail to be sent to your new address. Making the change ahead of time will ensure you receive your mail after you move.

3       Book your move early – Hiring a moving company will make your move quicker and more efficient. For help, consider Unpakt, a comparison pricing site for consumers searching for a moving company, to help you make the transition. You can worry about the children and let the movers worry about the rest.

4.       Subscribe to/pick up the town paper – Local papers carry great information about recreational activities for children as well as family events in town. Pick out some fun things to do and sign up for to get your child excited about moving to a new town. This will also allow them to meet other children in the neighborhood.

5.       Don’t pack important papers and documents into random boxes – Keep documents such as birth certificates, closing papers, credit card information, etc. on hand so you can easily access them at all times, particularly if any documents must be provided to your child’s school district for enrollment.

6.       Pack up your child’s favorite belongings in one box ­– Keep this box with you for your child to open as soon as you move in. This will help to create a familiar place for your child in the new home.

7.       Pick up some fun stickers and let the kids label their boxes – Involving your children in fun ways will help them associate moving with fun. Additionally, when the boxes head to the new house, they will be able to get excited about finding the ones that belong to them.

8.       Pack with your child in mind – Moving takes time so be sure to pack at least two days worth of necessary items you will need for your children in a separate box, eliminating the hassle of digging through numerous boxes to find specific items.

9.       Keep the kids away from the moving site – With all of the commotion on moving day, it can be dangerous for your children to be running around in the middle of it all. To keep your children safe and to help you focus on your move, set up a play date with other children in the neighborhood or hire a babysitter / ask a family member or close friend to take your children to their favorite places in town, like the park, a toy store, a do-it-yourself or studio and the movies.

10.       Unpack your child’s room first Moving is exhausting for everyone, but organizing your child’s belongings first will help to keep them calm while you unpack the remainder of the house.

I hope these tips will come in handy-share them with your friends and family. Do you have any moving tips you’d like to add to this list? Feel free to leave them in the comments. Thanks!

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Unpakt.com. The opinions are my own.

A Healthy Choice in Frozen Foods

**Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. **

ConAgra-Foods

There was a time when I never bought frozen foods, I didn’t think they were as “healthy” as fresh foods. I didn’t think the ingredients could compare to fresh food. Over the years, my feelings have changed and I now buy frozen veggies, fruits, and even meals. What changed my mind? Well, for one, I learned that many of the vegetables used in frozen meals, (like ConAgra Foods brands Healthy Choice and Marie Callenders) go from farm to freezer within 24 hours. Frozen meals give me access to high-quality ingredients year long, no matter what’s in season at the time.8567942164_f15f959227_c

Another thing I realized is that the frozen meals of today are not the frozen meals of yesteryear. Gone are the days of flavorless, microwavable meals. Today’s frozen meals are bursting with flavor, nothing like the cardboard you may have experienced in years past! Trust me, I’ve been there, tasted that! Yuck! To learn more about the future of frozen foods, check out this video:Another thing I like about frozen meals is that they save me from having to cook Every. Single. Day. Some days, especially if I’m in the house all by myself or have a really tight schedule, I just don’t want to cook… or I don’t have time to cook what I really want to eat. I keep a couple of frozen meals in the fridge, that way I know I can have something tasty in a matter of minutes. It also keeps me from “overindulging,” as I have been known to do on occasion. (GASP!) Yes, I like to eat and sometimes go overboard. I don’t have to worry about eating too much when I eat a Healthy Choice or Marie Callender’s meal, the portion-controlled servings are just the right size. They also have over 80 meals under 400 calories each, Score! But wait, y’all want food pics, right? Here ‘ya go! SONY DSCSONY DSC There it is! Let me tell you something, I think I could have passed this Chicken Margherita meal off as home-made, it was that good! (Not that I’d ever do that!)

ConAgra Foods frozen meals give families access to real ingredients like crunchy, freshly cut vegetables, homemade pasta and ripe fruit year-round. Just like most people blanch veggies before freezing them – ConAgra Foods does too – to help preserve color, texture and keep them fresh!

Give it a try sometime! Marie Callender’s hearty pot pies are filled with tender meat, freshly cut vegetables and Marie’s authentic golden, flaky crust. And Healthy Choice recipes use chef-inspired ingredients like, apples instead of sugar for tart sweetness and a splash of red wine for a punch of flavor instead of added salt.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of ConAgra Foods.

Golden Grain Hidden Veggie Pasta GIVEAWAY!

**Disclosure: I was provided with Golden Grain Hidden Veggie Pasta to facilitate this review and giveaway.** products-hidden-vegetable                  I don’t know about your kids, but mine really don’t like to eat veggies…especially the little one. He’ll eat fruit all day & night, but trying to get him to eat vegetables is another matter. That’s why I was so excited to try Golden Grain Hidden Veggie Pasta! There’s 1 serving of veggies per 4oz of pasta.

The pasta comes in four different varieties: Spaghetti, Thin Spaghetti, Small Penne & Twisted Elbows. Golden Grain’s Hidden Veggie line of pasta has the same great taste, texture and color that you’ve come to trust from Golden Grain. The pasta contains Carrots, Corn & Squash… Shhh, don’t tell the kids! I decided to use the Spaghetti noodles in my Chicken Noodle Soup, I was curious to see what the family would say. (I must add, that when I serve Chicken Noodle Soup to my little one, I only put chicken, noodles & broth in his bowl- no veggies! The Pic below is of my own personal bowl of soup, with veggies in it!) SONY DSC Guess what? Mister “I don’t like veggies” ate the soup… noodles and all! Victory! Woo-Hoo! He had no idea his noodles contained veggies. I was grinning from ear to ear as he finished his meal. I will be buying Golden Grain Hidden Veggie Pasta from now on-hopefully one day he will like eating vegetables; but for now, I am thankful I found this pasta!

My “This Mama Can Cook!” FB page recently hit the 1,000 Likes mark, and I am pleased to say I have partnered with Golden Grain for a Giveaway… and it’s a good one! The winner will win a year’s Supply of Golden Grain Veggie Pasta… how awesome is that?! The Year supply of pasta consists of 24 coupons for 1 free package of Golden Grain Hidden Veggie up to $1.99 maximum retail value. Giveaway for U.S. only, 18 and above please.

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**Disclosure: I was provided with Golden Grain Hidden Veggie Pasta to facilitate this review and giveaway.**