A Modern Family Dinner Story

#dennysdiners raisedbyculture.com

For a good two years of my childhood, I had a standing date with my parents. Almost every Wednesday night, like clockwork, we would go out to dinner at a chain restaurant because kids eat free. I remember this vividly because this happened in the time before my 12th birthday. Before I aged out of the restaurant’s promotion. It was something I enjoyed too because dinner wasn’t rushed and stressful and I didn’t have to do dishes but because my parents actually enjoyed dinner. They both worked 9 hour days, 5 days a week and had to commute to their jobs. I didn’t get it till I was a parent raising my own children at what a luxury dining out actually is. And when you work freelance like me and my husband do, getting out of the house and having good food on a budget is everything.

Denny’s makes that happen more often than not for us. Always open, kids eat free, $2 $4 $6 $8 menu but the pièce de résistance is actual sit down, face to face, quality time with my family. We go over our day and have real conversation. The kids enjoy our once a month standing dinner date at Denny’s. I know this because they ask about it. We started putting a calendar up so they know exactly when we’re going. It is one thing we all look forward to these days. 

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Ghost Town Alive Takes You Back To The Future

#GhostTown75 raisedbyculture.com

Disclosure: I was invited to check out #GhostTown75 – All thoughts are my own.

Flashbacks on flashbacks. I wrote a piece last year for the Knott’s Berry Blog about Ghost Town Characters and I was pretty obsessed with Ghost Town then but now for the 75th Anniversary, Knott’s outdoes itself. Ghost Town Alive! is truly incredible. I’ve never experienced anything like this. For the first time ever, you can step inside + explore the Sheriff’s Office, Barbershop and Goldie’s Place. I’m ready to move in actually.

On point with the details. When I tell you it is about the little things… Get yourself a Calico Gazette. The best free souvenir you can find. Frameable even.
#GhostTown75 raisedbyculture.com

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To San Diego And Back

#DriveHyundai raisedbyculture.com

That’s a 2017 Phantom Black Hyundai Elantra Eco. We had one for a week. Our truck was out of commission and my schedule was packed with local travel on a holiday weekend. We would have to make the trek to San Diego and back twice. Super panicked, I reached out to DriveShop to see if they had anything in the fleet to help us. And this phantom black beauty arrived. I was feeling it. Needed to keep our costs low because we still needed to get our truck fixed and read that this baby would be easy on gas. YASSS!
#DriveHyundai raisedbyculture.com

We surprised the LEGO loving 4 year old with a trip to LEGOLAND! We got invited to see the newest edition to Miniland, One World Trade Center. He was so wild when we pulled up. Peep all that room. Look at it! We packed an extra bag to hang at the waterpark and snacks for on the road.

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California Cruising

#DriveKia raisedbyculture.com

I stay inside with the kids when DriveShop drops off cars for us to check out. Chris handles all that. He gets the keys, paperwork and sometimes goes for a test drive around the block to feel it out. We requested a van for when my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and niece were here in June to celebrate my husband’s birthday. When I tell you this man nicknamed his new “man van”, a snow white pearl 2016 Kia Sedona SX-L, the Storm Trooper… and promptly snapchatted it + happily cruised around in the first ten minutes it was in his possession… it was love at first sight. And I felt the same way. He is so picky with shoes, that I was lowkey worried a van wouldn’t cut it on his cool meter. But all was good and he was down for some California cruising.

On the agenda, our must-see California:

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An LA Sunday Funday

#SundayFunday #DriveKia raisedbyculture.com

♫ Cause it’s Sunday last day for a fun day
Back to business as usual come Monday ♫

By the power of the internet, let’s flashback to March. My work with We All Grow Summit wrapped up and I planned on taking a month off. I lowkey laid on the couch for a week. But that’s not really how this life goes. You have to be ready for anything. My homies at DriveShop happened to reach out to me during my break and was like do you want to roll in a 2016 Mazda3 s GT for a week? OH YES. It was time to get out and do thangs. I wanted in on a good ol’ LA Sunday Funday for sure. We did want to see what the Shake Shack hype was all about. And maybe some shopping and art gawking.

These three. Lovers of shiny cars, smooth rides + a bumpin’ system. Me = lover of safety. Happy to be in a car that isn’t ours? ALL THE WAY YES. Happy to be cruising in a 2016 Mazda3 s GT to LA? YESSIR. Buckle up fellas + let’s ride!

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Keeping Your Home Safe For Kids

#ArribaCerradosSeguros raisedbyculture.com

Thank you to Tide + Latina Bloggers Connect for sponsoring this important discussion about safety!

If you ask me what phase of life I’m in, I’d tell you I’m on the refresher course of parenting. This is where I’m teaching my firstborn how to be a parent to my first grandchild. I’m putting an emphasis on safety because let’s be real, things have changed dramatically since he was a baby in the 90s but one thing remains the same, it only takes a second for an everyday household item to become a danger. Especially for families with children age 5 and younger. Laundry pacs didn’t even exist way back then! Still considered a new form, many don’t even realize they are a laundry detergent. I teamed up with Tide to bring you tips on how to keep your home safe both in and out of the laundry room!

Studies show that while parents often take precautions to properly child proof their home, such as locking away cleaning products in their kitchens, the laundry area is often overlooked.

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An Epic Vegas Vacation With Kids

#DriveHyundai #LifeIsBeautiful raisedbyculture.com

You know you had an epic summer vacation when you are barely recovering in January. We usually do one big family trip out of state every year. Orlando, FL in 2013. Austin and San Antonio, TX in 2014. 2015 was going to be mellow. I was actually happy that our families were going to come to us. On the trip radar: Palm Springs for my epic birthday (more on that soon) and a Las Vegas primer for the kids. I did Life is Beautiful Festival solo in 2014 and had to take the familia. Art, music, learning and food – I was into it and knew they would be too. On this year’s lineup, our favorites Kendrick Lamar, Run the Jewels and Ghostface Killah with BADBADNOTGOOD.

The wanderlust was strong, I even curated a story about what we’d do in Vegas with the kids.

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Three Kings Day Shopping With JCPenney

#JCPStyle #DiMeMedia raisedbyculture.com

This is part of a sponsored collaboration with JCPenney and DiMe Media. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Christmas and New Year’s went by completely way too fast for me. It was like time just ran out. I didn’t get to get my shopping on like I wanted to. I definitely had to make up for it with some Three Kings Day shopping at JCPenney. This year is our first year celebrating Día de Los Reyes and I wanted to make Rosca de Reyes for my familia. I was on the hunt for fancy décor, new kitchenware and fun gifts that will last a lifetime so my sons will continue the tradition.

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Holiday Cards Are Our Forever Tradition

#HallmarkTradiciones raisedbyculture.com

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Hallmark. The opinions and text are all mine.

Snail mail to my parents and in-laws are everything. Like if you don’t send them a card for the holidays, that means you don’t love them. And maybe you should move out of the country cause it is that serious. The guilt is real. I’m not going to say which of our mothers threw a fit one time cause we were late on a birthday card. She pointed out it was the one thing she looked forward to from her only familia in CA. I promise, we learned that lesson real quick. Apparently a phone call or text doesn’t cut it! We have never made that mistake again.

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Tastes Of The Holidays At Denny’s

#DennysDiners raisedbyculture.com

Disclosure: I’m a proud Denny’s Ambassador. When you support my blog, you are supporting our familia! Don’t be a hater.

It is no secret the October-December holidays are my favorite. Favorite flavors, favorite weather! There is only a small window of time in Southern California where I can bust out my boots and I want to be out + about getting my frozen fashion on when this happens, not holed up at home in a hot kitchen! Lucky for me and the family, there’s always Denny’s and the seasonal Tastes of the Holidays menu. Check it out:

  • NEW! Pumpkin Pecan Pie Pancake Breakfast
  • NEW! Holiday Harvest Skillet
  • NEW! Rudolph™ Pancake Breakfast
  • NEW! Santa’s Milk & Cookies Shake
  • Holiday Turkey & Dressing Dinner
  • Build Your Own Holiday Slam® (Seasonal flavors: Gouda-Apple Chicken Sausage, Pumpkin Pancakes)
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Pecan Pie
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Surprise Backyard Movie Night Mini Party

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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

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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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