Saturday, December 31, 2016

How to attend the Ultimate Tailgate Experience for Monday's Rose Bowl Game!

Here's how you can attend Ralphs ULTIMATE TAILGATE EXPERIENCE!

Who's ready for the Grandaddy of them All!?
The annual Rose Bowl game will take place on Monday, January 2.
USC and Penn State will face off for the third time in Pasadena (their last game at the Rose Bowl was in 2009 and the Trojans won...yay!)

It's really exciting to think of game day, especially if you have a fun tailgate party to attend.
Back in October, I took my boys to the USC vs. UCLA game but we spent more time at the Ralphs tailgate party, which was So. Much. Fun. They had an incredible array of food, drinks & live entertainment, we almost wanted to stay there all day!

Well, Ralphs is once again offering shoppers an opportunity to enjoy their amazing pre-game bash on Monday!
You can get one free admission to the Ralphs Ultimate Tailgate Experience at the Rose Bowl Game when you purchase $25 of participating items at Ralphs!

When shopping at Ralphs, look for participating items with this label!

Tickets to Ralphs tailgate event cannot be purchased. In other words, you have to buy qualifying items. You can see participating vendors and other rules here!

If you're anything like me, spending $25 at the grocery store is not hard at all, especially when you've got a family of four...hehe.
If you plan it right, a trip to Ralphs this weekend may get you more than one ticket and you've got yourself a date at one of the biggest American College Football events of the year!
I certainly plan on making it out on Monday... See you there?

 Oh! and don't forget your Trojan gear... the boys' outfits are ready to go!!

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Grand Floridian Hotel-- a Perfect Combination of Fancy & Festive!

I had the pleasure of staying at this deluxe Walt Disney World Hotel and I still can't get enough of it!

The Grand Floridian Hotel & Spa is a majestic option for your next Disney World vacation. It's a stunning Victorian-themed facility with all the modern day amenities you can imagine. Many weddings take place at the Grand Floridian, where brides can request a Cinderella style horse-drawn carriage or a room with a Magic Kingdom Castle view.

For your little princess, the 1900 Park Fare Restaurant serves a Supercalifragillistic character breakfast and a Cinderella's Happily Ever After character dinner. Little girls are encouraged to wear their own royal dresses and take a picture with their favorite princesses.

A gorgeous 5-story atrium serves as the home of an enormous and beautiful Christmas Tree and a giant Gingerbread House during the Holidays. Guests can line up to purchase sweets from a cast member inside the sweet house!

Outside of the Grand Floridian, lush landscapes and pretty flowers adorn the grounds. An Alice in Wonderland themed kiddie splash area is perfection and the adjacent Gasparilla Island Grill serves the best lobster sliders ever!

I think the Grand Floridian is a gorgeous place to stay if you want to feel like royalty.
The truth is, I haven't even begun to scratch the surface with everything this hotel has to offer-- there are restaurants, shops, a spa, water shows, lobby entertainment, Alice themed tea parties and much more!
It's priced so that guests enjoy a most luxurious experience...
And if you ask me, that's what vacation memories are made of-- unique experiences!
I was lucky to have stayed here during my last trip to Orlando and I left the resort promising myself to return with my boys in the near future.
I mean, why not?
Life's too short to not splurge on a luxury hotel, especially if you happen to be planning a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth, don't cha' think?
Cheers, friends!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Simple "Gingerbread House" Vanilla Cake

A simple, preservative-free dessert to celebrate the Holiday season!

In my December Degustabox, the goodies were worthy of a year-end celebration.
There were so many good things!

Among them was a Pillsbury cake and frosting duo that sounded great for a Post-Christmas dinner treat, especially because they contain no colors or preservatives or artificial flavors. The simple instructions printed on the packaging on the cake box called for only a few ingredients: eggs, milk and butter.

The frosting was so creamy and simple-- just add water and butter:

 For the gingerbread house, all I did was cut a large gingerbread sheet into small sections, I used the vanilla frosting to stick the sections together to create a house. Then I decorated it (using the same frosting! The snowman was put together with three small marshmallows and a toothpick. I used an edible food pen to draw the eyes.

By the way, Degustabox is a monthly food box subscription that costs $20 (including shipping).
I've shared many recipes based on awesome food products delivered inside my Degustabox, including:

July Cantaloupe Drink
August Mini Donuts
September Ratatouille Shrimp
October Harvest Snack
November Chicken Tikka Masala Pizza
For more information on Degustabox, click here.

Hope you join and have some food adventures!
Thanks for reading :)

Friday, December 16, 2016

New Year's Eve Dinner with Avocados from Mexico!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #VidaAguacate #TusFiestas #CollectiveBias

Avocados have long been a part of the Mexican culinary experience. Archaeologists have found proof of avocado consumption in Central Mexico tracing back 10,000 years.
As I prepare for the holidays, I always find myself looking for ways to incorporate aspects of my Mexican culture into my party plans. This year for New Year’s Eve, I’m hosting an elegant and intimate dinner party, with some traditional activities and an avocado entrée!

Before I start on my avocado recipe, I’d like to share a New Year’s tradition that is very popular in Mexico – eating 12 grapes within the first minute of the new year. Each grape represents a goal you’d like to fulfill in the new year. Guests can either share their goal out loud, or simply think about it as they’re eating each grape during those first 60 seconds. If your family is like mine, this can get super rowdy and hilarious! But this is basically the reason why you see small glasses with grapes at each table setting. 

A newer tradition I’ve been practicing for three years now is having guests write a list of goals for the new year. You place pens and paper (preferably small cards with envelopes), you write your resolutions, seal them in the envelope, and place them in a jar. Those who can accompany us the following year can read their previous year’s goals out loud and see if any of them were fulfilled throughout the year!
And finally, the most important tradition in our holiday parties is the food. Sometimes we celebrate with tamales, other times with pozole but this time, I’m creating a three-course meal, and the first course will be made with Avocados From Mexico! Isn’t this a good way to connect with our heritage!? First of all, they’re always in season. That is primarily why we are able to have guacamole at our table year-round. But this New Year’s Eve, I’m trying something different and giving our traditional love for avocados a new twist.
Avocados From Mexico are the real deal (they’re always delicious). When they’re ripe, the skin turns dark, and the fruit is soft and easy to slice, cube or smash. For my New Year’s Eve dinner, I’m making a simple Shrimp Stuffed Avocado recipe:

Ingredients (serves 4)
     4 Avocados From Mexico
     1 cup peeled, cooked shrimp, chopped
     1 teaspoon garlic salt
     1 tablespoon olive oil
     ½ cup celery, diced
     ½ cup red onion, diced
     ½ cup mayonnaise
     Salt to taste
  1. Start by cooking the shrimp in a pan with olive oil. Add garlic salt as you cook the shrimp to give it a little seasoning. Set cooked shrimp aside.
  2. Finely dice the celery and red onion. Once the shrimp has cooled off, chop the shrimp into small pieces.
  3. Mix the vegetables in a bowl with the shrimp and add the mayonnaise. Mix well

  1. Once your mixture is ready, slice your avocados in half and remove the pit. Once they’re sliced and the pit is removed, peel the skins.
  2. Scoop the shrimp mixture into the cavity of the avocado halves.
  3. Optional: Add a bit of salt over the stuffed avocado. Serve immediately.

The idea here was to think outside the box when using something as traditional as Avocados From Mexico for your holiday meal. Even though this recipe doesn’t require too many ingredients, your guests will likely enjoy the flavors! But there are many other great avocado recipes. You can find them here. Also be sure to check out the Aguacates de Mexico Facebook page for additional inspiration!
What are your New Year’s Eve dinner plans? I’d love to know!
Thanks for reading!

En Español
El aguacate siempre ha sido una parte de la experiencia culinaria mexicana. Los arqueólogos han encontrado pruebas del consumo de aguacate en México desde hace 10.000 años.

Mientras me preparo para las fiestas, busco formas de incorporar aspectos de mi cultura mexicana a mis planes. Este año para Año Nuevo, pienso celebrar una cena formal e íntima, con algunas actividades tradicionales y una entrada de aguacate!
Antes de comenzar con mi receta de aguacate, me gustaría compartir una tradición de Año Nuevo que es muy popular en México: comer 12 uvas en el primer minuto del año nuevo. Cada uva representa una meta que te gustaría cumplir en el nuevo año. Los invitados pueden compartir su resolución en voz alta, o simplemente pensarlo mientras hacen lo posible por comerse cada uva durante los primeros 60 segundos.
Una tradición nueva que he estado practicando durante los últimos tres años es hacer que los huéspedes escriban una lista de metas para el nuevo año. Se colocan plumas y papel (preferiblemente tarjetas pequeñas con sobres), cada persona escribe sus resoluciones, los sella en el sobre y los coloca en un tarro. Aquellos que pueden acompañarnos al año siguiente pueden leer los objetivos del año anterior en voz alta y ver si alguno de ellos se cumplió!
Y, por último, la tradición más importante en nuestras fiestas es la comida. A veces celebramos con tamales, otras veces con pozole, pero esta vez, estoy creando una comida de tres cursos y el primer platillo será hecho con Aguacates de México! ¿No creen que es una buena manera de conectar con nuestra herencia? En primer lugar, siempre están en temporada. Eso es principalmente la razón por la que podemos disfrutar de un rico guacamole en nuestra mesa durante todo el año. Pero para Año Nuevo estoy intentando algo diferente y quiero darle un nuevo toque a nuestro amor tradicional por los aguacates.
Los Aguacates de México son lo mejor (siempre deliciosos). Cuando están maduros, la piel se vuelve oscura y la fruta es suave y fácil de cortar. Para mi cena de Año Nuevo, estoy haciendo una receta simple de aguacates rellenos de camarón:
Ingredientes (para 4 personas)
• 4 Aguacates de México
• 1 taza de camarones pelados y cocidos picados
• 1 cucharadita de sal de ajo
• 1 cucharada de aceite de oliva
• ½ taza de apio cortado en cubitos
• ½ taza de cebolla roja, cortada en cubitos
• ½ taza de mayonesa
• Sal al gusto

1.     Comience cocinando los camarones en una sartén con aceite de oliva. Agregue sal de ajo mientras cocina el camarón para darle un poco de condimento. Ponga los camarones cocidos a un lado.
2.     Pique el apio y la cebolla roja. Una vez que el camarón se ha enfriado, pica el camarón en trozos pequeños.
3.     Mezcla las verduras en un bol con los camarones y agrega la mayonesa. Mezcla bien.
4.     Una vez que su mezcla está lista, corte sus aguacates a la mitad y quíteles la semilla. Una vez cortados y deshuesados, quita las pieles.
5.     Llena las cavidades de las mitades de los aguacates con la mezcla de camarón.
6.     Opcional: Añade un poco de sal sobre el aguacate relleno. Sirve inmediatamente.

La idea aquí era de hacer algo diferente con algo tan tradicional como lo son los Aguacates de México. A pesar de que esta receta no requiere demasiados ingredientes, los invitados probablemente disfrutarán del platillo! Pero hay muchas otras recetas de aguacate. Usted puede encontrarlas aquí. ¡También asegúrese de visitar la página de Facebook de Aguacates de México para obtener inspiración adicional!
Participa del sorteo de Aguacates de México donde estará regalando tarjetas de regalos.
#VidaAguacateSweepstakes ¿Cuáles son sus planes de cena de Año Nuevo? ¡Me encantaría saber!
¡Gracias por leer!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Our Santa Experience at California's Largest Outlet & Retail Shopping Center!

With 11 days left 'till Christmas, visit Ontario Mills to get it all done (Santa pics included)!

In his first-ever experience meeting Santa, Toby was NOT happy.
He cried and cried and turned red crying.
The photographers at the Simon Santa Photo Experience at Ontario Mills were only able to take a single picture before I had to remove the little boy from Santa's lap.
Meanwhile, big brother Benny was having a blast. He asked Santa for a "dinosaur toy" and spent time playing interactive video games inside the World of Wishes, which is part of the Simon Santa Photo Experience. 

(Memory: The last time we visited the Ontario Mills Mall, Benny was much younger and figured out the perfect way to ruin our mommy date at the Rainforest Cafe... he cried because the talking animals scared him!)

The Fashion Alley at Ontario Mills is the perfect combination of festive and oh so sleek!

This time around, we visited Ontario Mills to check out the amazing Simon Santa Photo Experience and to get some holiday shopping out of the way. Earlier this year, Ontario Mills unveiled a new expanded area called Fashion Alley-- an 80,000 square foot addition to the already fabulous mall-- that houses a California Welcome Center for out-of-town guests and unique shops like UNIQLO!
The mall is totally decked out for the holidays and makes for a fun shopping experience, albeit squirmy crying kids-- still, we managed and had tons of fun.

The Swarovski shop inside Ontario Mills is every glam girl's dream!

For Disney fans like me, you'll be excited to know the Disney Outlet at Ontario Mills carries Disney Parks merchandise, currently at 50% (yay!). The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory has the cutest Holiday-themed candy apples.

Benny went for the Snowman candy apple-- moments after this picture, he took a bite out of the Marshmallow hat!

Ontario Mills is located at the intersection of Interstates 10 & 15 in Ontario, CA, 38 miles east of Los Angeles. It is open regularly from 10am to 9pm.
Friends, we only have 11 days left till Christmas. If you are anything like me and tend to leave Christmas shopping to the last minute, a trip to Ontario Mills may prove to be worth your while. There is something for every person you know!

Happy Shopping!

This is a sponsored post. I received a gift card in exchange for a story about my experience. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


A fun, winter family outing involving everybody's favorite Disney characters!

Beginning this week rev up for non-stop family fun with four of your favorite Disney stories when Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment comes to Los Angeles! 
This action-packed ice spectacular showcases beloved characters from
Disney•Pixar’s Cars, Toy Story 3, Disney’s The Little Mermaid plus the enchanting Academy Award®-winning Frozen. 
Produced by Feld Entertainment, Worlds of Enchantment will offer shows from December 15 through January 8, 2017 in Los Angeles (STAPLES Center), Anaheim (Honda Center), Long Beach (Long Beach Arena) and Ontario (Citizens Business Bank Arena).

See you at the Staples Center!?
Oh wait! But make sure you get your tickets ahead of time!

DISNEY ON ICE presents Worlds of Enchantment tickets

See ya real soon!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Family Outing to the Rose Bowl Flea Market

The Rose Bowl Flea Market offers LA families a fun way to spend a Sunday morning

The saying "One man's trash is another man's treasure" couldn't have felt more accurate on the day we made a trip to the Rose Bowl Flea Market a few Sundays ago.
The truth is, we never intended to visit the flea market.
Paul and I had planned to jog around the Rose Bowl and take turns pushing the kids on their stroller, except, Paul forgot a key adapter and once we arrived, there was no way to connect the seats to the stroller! We were not going to make Benny walk for 3 miles so we walked across the parking lot instead, to check out the ever-so-famous Rose Bowl Flea Market.

Where should I begin?
It was definitely a fun family outing.
For starters, there's a $9 admission fee per person.
My first thought was, geez, eighteen bucks to get through the door, just to shop for old stuff!?
Well, we started by ordering lunch. And of course, we each wanted something different. Good thing there was food for all tastes.

Next, we started walking the dozens of aisles with stuff for sale.
There were many local vendors selling their homemade crafts, which I actually loved.
We tasted and bought a slice of the world's most moist cake, which was delicious.
We saw such things as taxidermy bats, an old carousel horse, Christmas ornaments and bric-a-brac to last a lifetime.

There were some fabulous vintage finds, like glamorous fur coats, authentic bomber jackets, old school mickey phones and decades-old chandeliers.
The kids loved it. Benny had ice cream as he walked and explored junky stuff, like empty Pez containers and asked questions about antique dolls that looked rather creepy.
We bought very little but enjoyed a whole lot, especially because my husband has this ability to make friends and chatted up a storm with several vendors.
Open on the second Sunday of each month, the Rose Bowl flea market has been around for 45 years and features 2,500 vendors every month.

It offers a pretty cool way to spend a Sunday morning in LA County, but be prepared to shell out some cash (an old Ghostbusters pin that Benny liked was offered to us for $50). But it wouldn't be labeled the "shopping place of the stars" for no reason!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Take the Stress out of the Holidays with a Celebrity Cruise!

Here's a stress-free New Year's Eve idea-- head to the ocean!

Ok, so Thanksgiving Day is over. Christmas and New Year's Eve are officially right around the corner!
I didn't have to go through the trouble of prepping, cooking, entertaining and cleaning for yesterday's turkey celebration... My mother-in-law prepared a delicious feast and we enjoyed a great time at her house.
But Christmas will probably be a different story because I do love to host and entertain guests.
And as far as a New Year's Eve celebration-- I'm thinking a top chef dinner overlooking the ocean, a fancy gala event where I can get all dolled up and an awesome concert to end the night. Doesn't that sound great!?

Well, Celebrity Cruises has several holiday cruises with perks and discounts (some that allow you to book into 2018). They start as low as $499 per person but you can book a 7-day Southern Caribbean Cruise or another itinerary sailing over Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year's.
By the way, award-winning singer and songwriter Demi Lovato will perform outside Port St. Maarten on December 28, for those guests traveling to the Caribbean!

Fun, right? Also, aboard the cruises some top chefs will be creating unique menus.
I think I need some Vitamin Sea!

Visit Celebrity Cruises for more details or call 1-888-283-6879.

 *This is NOT a sponsored post. I received an email about this promotion and simply wanted to share :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Perfect Car Seat for Toby!

New in 2016: Britax presents the Advocate Clicktight, a state-of-the-art addition to its' collection of highly rated & dependable car seats

A few weekends ago, my husband Paul and I had the honor of becoming little Ricky's godparents (story here).
The baptism mass was held at 10am about an hour away from home, in Long Beach, CA. 

Paul and I knew from the get go that we'd have a very busy morning so we split up parental responsibilities in order to make it to the mass on time. 
My tasks were to bathe and dress the boys and get them seated and buckled up for the road trip to Long Beach.

Paul would pick up his suit at the dry cleaners, make breakfast and pack the diaper bag.
Well, I impressed myself because I was able to get everything done, including my own hair and make-up, without Paul reminding me that I "take too long"! We arrived at the church with plenty of time before the baptism mass started.

My fast & efficient morning performance (lol) was due in part to the ease of installing our new car seat, the Britax Advocate Clicktight with Anti-Rebound Bar. I first learned about it here.

It's a big car seat. It's a bit heavy too but it's incredibly easy to install. Once you have it secured in place, this seat does not move. Period. It's also very comfortable. I say this because Toby has fallen asleep every time we've buckled him in (something that didn't quite happen with his old car seat).

Other cool things about the Advocate ClickTight:
3 layers of side impact protection, an impact-absorbing base, steel frame, and an anti-rebound bar for maximum safety.
  • The Anti-Rebound Bar (ARB) minimizes forces associated with crashes by stabilizing the car seat when installed rear-facing.
  • Rest assured your child’s harness is within range of proper tightness thanks to the Click & Safe Snug Harness Indicator.
  • Premium padding and fabrics wrap your child in comfort.
- See more at:
* It offers 3 layers of side impact protection
* The Anti-Rebound Bar (ARB) minimizes forces associated with crashes by stabilizing the car when installed rear-facing. 
* It has an impact absorbing base which compresses to reduce the rough force of a collision
* Features a 7-position recline which makes for easy angle adjustment
* Proudly engineered, tested and made in the USA

Need I say more? Well, there is plenty more to be said about this car seat! You can read all about it & watch demo videos on the Britax Website.
The Britax Advocate ClicktTight retails for about $439 and it's worth every single penny. 
I'm just thrilled to own this super sturdy and reliable car seat that can be installed so easily. So proud to have my Toby finally enjoy the comfort and ease of a Britax product, just like big brother Benny did.
By the way, the trips to and from the baptism and proceeding reception were very smooth. Conclusion: a comfy car seat means a happy baby.  A safe and sturdy car seat means happy parents. And when baby and parents are happy inside the car, we've reached success. 

Britax ClickTight Knowledge Center

User guides & Instructional Videos

Thank you, Britax!

*This is a sponsored post. I received a Britax ClickTight Advocate Car Seat in exchange for a review on this blog.