Category Archives: Travel

Our Family Vacation to Catalina (Plus 7 Travel Hacks) and My New Bag

We just got back from vacation on Santa Catalina Island! We love how close the island is. For us, a short ferry ride, and an even shorter drive from my sister’s house near Long Beach, delivers us to Avalon.

Golf Carting around Catalina

And once you get there, you feel transported to another country. The cobblestone streets remind me of Europe and cars are few and far between. Many streets in the main town, Avalon, are entirely blocked off for pedestrians.

Santa Catalina Bubbles

Most places are close enough to walk. Or if you do want a quick ride, hop on a golf cart!

Golf Carting around Catalina

Beach Bums

Catalina FloatiesIn fact, my sister’s family and ours were mostly beach bums for four days straight. We lounged in the sand, ordered food and drinks from the Descanso Beach Club –brought to our towel, danced to live reggae, and floated in the ocean for hours. You can see golden Garibaldi swim right under you in the clear, turquoise water.

Santa Catalina Island

Mama’s New Bag

Thanks to a cute online baby store, The Baby Cubby, my new bag had enough room to carry snacks, sunscreen, water bottles for everyone, wipes, UV sun protection shirts, and more. The Baby Cubby had the MZ Wallace Parker Tote in their curated selection of “diaper bags,” and given the room, I could see why. Yet other high-end retailers, such as Bloomingdales and Nordstrom’s, sell it simply as a purse. (Unsolicited advice to new parents: if you are going to buy a diaper bag, don’t get something that looks like one! Get something you can use for years after.)

MZ Wallace Parker Hobo

Full Disclosure: Baby Cubby sponsored this post by providing me a gift certificate, which I used on the bag. No one sponsored our vacation – but just putting it out there – email me at if you want to sponsor our next trip!

MZ Wallace Parker Hobo

Additionally, I liked that the hobo bag offered three different options for straps, including cross-body, and one that looks dressy-enough for a night out. Another thing that sets Baby Cubby apart from other baby boutiques is that they always price match, even Amazon. (How often do you shop at the cute boutiques for ideas and then go online to find the lowest price? I know I do. One of their selling points is saving you time – they research the latest and greatest products AND ensure it’s the lowest price possible.) In my particular case, Baby Cubby marked the bag I wanted to such a deep discount that they couldn’t even offer it online. I ended up calling the store to place the order and after calling on a Friday, I had it in hands by Tuesday.

Mama Bird’s Catalina Travel Hacks

  • MZ Wallace Parker HoboChange into jammies at a restaurant after dinner, hop on the ferry, and let the kids get sleepy on the way home. (I had room for their change of clothes, long pants for me, toothbrushes, an iPad…)
  • Restaurants don’t give away free glasses of water. When you order “just water,” waiters bring plastic bottles. Put any leftover in your purse, water is precious on the island!
  • If you are fair, or just don’t want the sun 24/7, bring a UV sunscreen shirt.
  • Bring PBJs and snacks to the beach and let the kids splurge on ice cream or a virgin piña colada instead of buying every meal.
  • Baby wipes help clean sandy hands before eating.
  • Pack empty plastic bags to bring home wet suits — you will want to swim until the last moment.
  • To prevent seasickness on the ferry, dose up with Bonine (for those over 12), Dramamine (any age) or brush up on my favorite morning sickness remedies.

Until Next Time, Catalina!

Catalina Express