Northgate Market – Norwalk, CA


This is a sponsored post by Northgate Market and Society Culinaria. All opinions are my own.

Four times in 8 days. That’s exactly how many times I’ve been to the newly reopened, reimagined Northgate Market in Norwalk. I’m lucky I live 10 minutes away cause this is my new grocery store. It is a unique and fresh experience, it is everything. I’m not just saying that either. The Mercado Project debuting at #NorthgateNorwalk takes your favorite local Latino/Hispanic grocery store to the next level. The traditional, old school mercado gets a modern transformation from the Gonzalez family’s younger generation while staying true to the culture and history. The family is true architects of community. This is the future and I’m here for it.

If there’s one thing I hate, it is going shopping at 3-5 different stores to get my grocery shopping done. Not anymore! Authentic foods to go: hot food bar serving up chorizo mac ‘n cheese, rajas con queso, arroz… soup bar, salad bar, salsa bar and a tamale bar! The tamale bar had the usual suspects + some I haven’t seen before: bean & cheese, turkey, pumpkin and jalapeno & cream cheese.#northgatenorwalk

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Jalapeño Cornbread Dressing


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

This is where I confess I’ve never made tamales in my life. There is not one tamale making bone in my body. Maybe that’s being a little too dramatic. Not that I haven’t wanted to learn how to make tamales cause I love tamales. It goes back to my attempt at making homemade tortillas for my husband when we first moved in together. Oh the pressure of cooking Mexican food to his mama’s standards, so intimidating! I never aced tortilla making but my son says I make a mean quesadilla, I can throw down on enchiladas too. But the one thing I got on my suegra is my jalapeño cornbread dressing. I make it twice a year, for Thanksgiving and for Christmas. This year is special because my mother-in-law is here from Texas for turkey day!

Inspired by Maseca Corn Flour and La Morena Jalapeños

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Back To The Future With The Mazda 6


This car is fly.

The homies at DriveShop knew what they were doing when they sent over the 2016 Mazda 6 i Grand Touring edition in soul red for our weeklong trip to Palm Springs. Ya girl + the familia was stylin’ + profilin’ out there. I love a good road trip but I suffer from a little anxiety. I blame it on having kids and getting older. The one thing that makes me feel safe is a safe car. I totally looked up the NHTSA rating – 5 stars and IIHS calls the Mazda6 a Top Safety Pick. Check. All systems go. Back to the color – soul red. This car made celebrating my 40th birthday feel like my 21st birthday. Vibrant and seeking adventure.

This baby got us to Palm Springs real smooth. Since I play navigator, I was feeling the forward-obstruction warning system and blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert. Features you miss when you return to the real world in your 10+ year old truck. Comfort, both kids fell asleep on the way there – I thought we would hit traffic but we got to the Coachella Valley in about an hour. No complaints cause comfy. I’m mostly in charge of the sound system and a/c too. With temps ranging from 108-112, you know I was pushing for 65 degrees at all times. The Mazda6 cooled quick and maintained.

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Modern Baby Shower Gifts + Ideas

#SoMuchMore #johnsonspartners

Today we’re using JOHNSON’S® Baby products as part of a #johnsonspartners sponsored post for Socialstars.

For the first time, JOHNSON’S® is unveiling an exciting line of limited edition Circo designer bottles, sold exclusively at Target and and these are them! How cute are these colors and designs?! My mind immediately went into gifting + planning mode when I saw these. Baby shower gift or centerpiece, gift for a new mom, styling and profiling in a nursery or bathroom. I like when brands step it up. Modern times calls for modern design. This is how you stunt!

I’m a minimalist, modern kinda girl + here are my tips on how to rock these:

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Christmas At Knott’s Merry Farm


You could go back four years and watch me say the same thing, Knott’s Merry Farm is my favorite time of the year. There is nothing like Christmas at Knott’s Berry Farm. I said in 2012 it was pure magic, our 2nd year of starting new family traditions happened in 2013 and last year, it officially became our family favorite. This year is going to be extra special with my in-laws coming in from TX for a holiday visit. I cannot wait to watch my sons show their abuela and abuelo around.

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Biscuit Du Jour At Bella Julia Cafe


I’m no Jonathan Gold or Anthony Bourdain but I know food. I never get invites to check out new restaurants where the chef is actually there. That might sound intimidating to some but it is what dreams are made of for me. Like any proper foodie, I read up on Bella Julia Cafe and checked out the menu before our brunch date. Reading is one thing, some things look better in black + white but actual first impressions are everything. We arrived early and found a spot in front of the restaurant. Cause in LA you are either the one that beats traffic or the one stuck in traffic. We waited in the truck for the restaurant to open cause the morning after Halloween was made for prime people watching. #SundayFunday activated.

Here’s where I get to the part about first impressions that last a lifetime. Chef Chaza came out to greet us just as we were about to be seated, she held out her hand to my toddler (he’s quite the foodie) and he went in for a hug. It was the absolute cutest thing he’s done in awhile. Somehow that made us family. Chef Chaza has the gift of making anyone feel at home in her restaurant. That doesn’t come easy but chef nails it.

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The Peanuts Movie Comes To Camp Snoopy


It has been a week since The Peanuts Movie came out. You know how I know? Each passing day that we haven’t seen it, my 9 year old reminds me. He’s a good kid but I’m pretty sure if we don’t see it this weekend, I might get disowned. And I wouldn’t even be mad at him, I raised him on The PEANUTS Gang. With Knott’s Berry Farm + Camp Snoopy being our second home and all. We can’t even drive past the front of the park or behind it without my 3 year old throwing a tantrum. Some days be rough! So imagine getting the chance to meet Charles M. Schulz son + writer-producer Craig Schulz at the park with director Steve Martino and cast of The Peanuts Movie.

You know it’s gonna be a good day when you see a blimp! The Peanuts Movie blimp cruisin’ over Knott’s Berry Farm

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Denny’s Is My BFF

Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

A big shout out to Denny’s for sponsoring this Life is Beautiful post!

You know when the familia and I went to Vegas for Life is Beautiful Festival (my 9 year old wrote that piece #proudmamamoment) we had to check out the Denny’s on Fremont Street. I heard about it on my internet travels and had to investigate for myself. Full bar, happy hour and wedding chapel, you say? Maybe we could get a drink before the festival or on the way back to the hotel. I was totally up for any of that. We might can see a wedding? Yes please. The powers that be (me) couldn’t have planned our hotel situation more perfect. The restaurant was right between the hotel and the festival venue. It was about to be on!

This is where I admit to having Denny’s TWICE. No shame. No guilt. The day we got in, Chris and the boys were still feeling a little sick so we placed a to-go order after scoping out Fremont Street. The biggest reason: you can always count on Denny’s. Like your BFF; quality, there 24/7 and good to you. Life is beautiful like that. It was so good that we decided to eat there for lunch the day of the festival. While we were waiting, a couple and their newborn walked in and the staff went crazy for them. That right there is a good sign. If I’m assuming correctly, she is part of the staff there. If you love your job that much to bring your new baby in to see them, that’s a place I want to spend my money. These are the things that matter to me. Life is beautiful like that.

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Surprise Backyard Movie Night Mini Party


This post is sponsored by Orville Redenbacher’s Popcorn.

I can now add a big red check next to “first outdoor movie” on my family’s list of things to do in the summer. That adventure opened a whole new world for my sons. Never in their dreams did they think that watching a movie in the backyard was an option. Kids are easy when it comes to planning a movie night party: get them comfy and just add popcorn. I make my popcorn in the microwave cause, hello, it’s super easy to make and saves on time. Now that I’m working from home, I’m always looking for ways to save me time. You can’t buy or borrow time! The plan was to surprise them.

Here’s how I did our movies-in the-backyard mini party:

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Celebrating My Nana On Dia De Los Muertos


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

My Nana passed away a lifetime ago. She left me right around the beginning of my life, my adult life. She missed the best parts of me – the birth of my four sons and getting to know my husband. She would have loved them. She was the one to teach me how to cook, she taught me about love by loving my papa, her kids and us grandkids. 20 years is a long time to be gone, especially when you make such a big impact on our family’s life. When I discussed making a Dia de los Muertos altar for her this year, Chris didn’t hesitate. I printed photos, picked out flowers and candles. He did the lettering on the candles and was my creative director. He set up the altar with love and care. And then he shared a photo on his Instagram and I cried. His caption read:

For my wife’s grandmother. I never met you, but I love you. 

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Go To Sleep, Baby!

#johnsonspartners #somuchmore

I used baby products by JOHNSON’S® to care for my little one as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars #johnsonspartners #SoMuchMore

After a long day of parenting, parents everywhere just want their kids to sleep! Go to sleep, baby! I know I do. I want to chill. I daydream of taking a long bath with no interruptions or maybe sneaking an ice cream while I watch a foreign film. Sometimes I rush the sleep process. Cause let’s be real, there are days you have to rush the sleep process. It is all for your own sanity. And don’t even get me started on sleep not being guaranteed, there are times that even putting them to sleep isn’t enough cause they wake up during the night! And with daylight savings time coming, it is going to throw a disruption in the routine. Ahhh, that’s the struggle! Raise your hand if you’ve been there and you need help.

My piece of advice, do JOHNSON’S® 3-Step Bedtime Routine. JOHNSON’S® understands that a good night’s sleep for your baby is a good night’s sleep for you. (Applause from sleep deprived parents everywhere) That’s why they developed they developed the clinically proven 3-step night time routine to help your 7-to-36-month-old child sleep better and longer. YES PLEASE.

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The Great American Milk Drive

#CAmilkdrive raisedbyculture.comThis post is sponsored by Real California Milk.

My home runs on milk. We only function with the important ingredients in life, you know… cheese, ice cream, milk, butter. My toddler can’t even get through the morning without a cup of milk. I just can’t picture life without dairy so imagine how shocked I was to find out that it is considered a luxury for some. I had to join California Dairy Families and the Great American Milk Drive to help those in need. In fact, to help those who need nutritious California milk, California’s more than 1,400 dairy farm families have pledged $100,000 in matching milk donations to the Great American Milk Drive – equal to 20,000 gallons or 320,000 servings of milk – through the end of the year. People can donate one gallon of milk for just $5 at $100,000 of total California milk donations made by the end of the year will be matched by California Dairy Families. Enter your zip code and donations will help your local California food bank.

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