Northgate Market – Norwalk, CA

#northgatenorwalk raisedbyculture.com

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 raisedbyculture.com

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Back To The Future With The Mazda 6

#DriveMazda raisedbyculture.com

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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Christmas At Knott’s Merry Farm

#MerryFarm raisedbyculture.com

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

#bellajuliacafe raisedbyculture.com

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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EveryDrop For California

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#EveryDrop raisedbyculture.comThe drought is going on four devastating years. As someone who makes it my business to know the news, I only started paying attention to it last year when I was invited by California Farm Water Coalition on a farm tour and saw firsthand the impact it has on our farms. Talk about eyes wide shut. It wasn’t until actually seeing where the water line should be at the Oroville Dam that it really hit hard. 98% of farms here in California are family owned. If there is no water, there are no crops and no money. I heard horror stories of families losing their farms. I honestly had no idea how much of an impact that trip made until I got home and started taking real inventory at how this drought was affecting all of us. I started to see dying lawns everywhere, noticed the rising cost of food (dairy, meat, cherries) – I made sure to educate family and friends about water usage. Thanks to Scotts® EveryDrop™ I can share how to make the most of available water using these lawn + garden water conservation tips!

  • Morning is Best – if you must water, do it in the morning. Water evaporates in the afternoon before plants can use it and can cause fungus or other diseases int he evening
  • Mow High – grass 3-4 inches long has deep roots to access underground moisture, reducing the need for surface watering
  • Mulch Planting Beds – mulch reduces evaporation and helps retain rainwater
  • Use a Wetting Agent – wetting agents like Scotts® EveryDrop™ is designed to help move water into the soil, consistently and evenly. This helps reduce wasteful runoff and pooling
  • Adjust Sprinklers – avoid watering the sidewalk and driveway
  • Check for Leaks – outdoor faucets, sprinklers and hoses can crack and leak
  • Avoid the Wind – watering on windy days can spray much more than your lawn and garden
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Taste of Downtown Disney 2015 Recap

I’m a big softy when it comes to kids. One of my favorite fundraising events Taste of Downtown Disney benefits CHOC Walk in the Park which benefits CHOC Children’s. I rarely talk about how my now 16 year old Damien was admitted to CHOC when he was born. He was born ten days late with an infection. He was admitted to NICU and stayed for 5 long days. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I started supporting last year and will continue supporting this wonderful organization for as long as I’m able to!

Check out my recap video from Taste of Downtown Disney 2015 – it was a tasty, good time!

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zpizza Jr. Chef Pizza Party

#zpizzaJrChef raisedbyculture.comThis is a sponsored post in collaboration with zpizza.

My kids never say no to pizza. It is funny that they say no to a million other things like you know… picking up their toys, cleaning up their mess, eating vegetables but never pizza. This is where I admit to slacking as a parent. I’ve never actually made pizza with the kids. I used to love making pizza when I was a kid so I don’t know how we even got to this point. I know, I’m a terrible, horrible parent but I’m trying and this is how you make up for that. A zpizza Jr. Chef pizza party! zpizza does all the work. You pretty much just place the order, pick up the new Jr. Chef pizza kits (or you can host it at your local restaurant), invite some friends over and let fun happen!

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Taking The Queen To Medieval Times

#MedievalTimesCA raisedbyculture.comThat’s my mama. She turned 61 this year. Way back when I was a wee one, I didn’t understand her and swore I’d be nothing like her. And then I got older and see her in my parenting sometimes. I wouldn’t have it any other way actually. I made a promise back when she got diagnosed with cancer that we would see her every year. This year she came out for my firstborn’s (her first grandchild) graduation and was here till after her birthday. We celebrated her birthday last year too. It is tradition now. The pressure is on to top each year cause my mama kicked cancer to the curb. So what do you for the queen? You take her to the castle. Medieval Times Buena Park, that is.

Here are my tips to enjoy the castle:

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Montejo, Manny Mota + Mariachi

#VivaMontejo raisedbyculture.com

#VivaMontejo raisedbyculture.com

You can’t visit Dodger Stadium and not fall in love with one of LA’s most iconic landmarks. I went to my first game a few months ago and it was love at first sight. The historic ballpark is home to Hall of Famers, no-hitters, MVPs and Cy Young Award winners. And since 2014, home to Montejo, the official beer sponsor of the ballpark. Beer and baseball, the perfect match. So when you get an invite to attend a tailgate dinner on the field prepared by Chef Eddie Ruiz of Corazón y Miel, you don’t say no. You thank the Universe and start a countdown clock. This would soon be my favorite night of summer, celebrating my new favorite M’s: Montejo, Manny Mota + Mariachi.

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Summer Fun in SoCal #FiOSConnectsFamilies

Remember last month when I teamed up with FiOS SoCal to bring you the FiOS SoCal Experience at Fiesta Hermosa? The good folks at Verizon know me and know I like fun so I’m super excited to partner up with them this month to kick off the Verizon FiOS SoCal Summer Fun Sweepstakes!

Enter today through July 19, 2015 at FiOSSoCal.com and you can earn an extra contest entry when you share your favorite summer activity using #FiOSConnectsFamilies. Prize includes a four pack admission to a Southern California amusement park! Two winners will be selected!

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Your New At Knott’s Summer Checklist

#NewAtKnotts #KnottsIronReef raisedbyculture.comDrums please! Summer, summer, summertime! Summer officially starts at California’s best theme park – Knott’s Berry Farm on June 13! Summer means freedom. Free to sleep in, sleep late, finally no homework (cause homework for them is homework for you) and do whatever you want for at least two months. Oh to be a kid again! We usually do a big family trip each summer but this year we’re staying close to home. Methinks we’ll be just fine with our season passes to the farm and Soak City!

  • First things first, you have to save Knott’s from the Kraken Queen! Voyage to the Iron Reef is the park’s newest ride. Wait, is it a ride or is it a game? The hybrid 4D interactive game ride is nothing short of spectacular. Beat your kids score, make them cry.
  • Cool down in the Charles M. Schulz Theatre with Snoopy’s new ice show, Blockbuster Beagle! The ice shows are my absolute favorite attraction at Knott’s cause air conditioning and seats. Just kidding.
  • In the day, make your way to the Calico Square Stage for Vertical Impact. The high energy show is set to today’s most popular songs combining trampoline stunts, bmx bikes, skaters, dancers and aerialists. At night, it switches up to Vertical Impact, Geared Up! The stunts are electrified and taking it to the next level. DJ Nytemadness will be on the ones and twos keeping the party going! Every show ends with an informal meet and greet so get your selfie sticks ready!
  • Big Band Swingin’ Sundays, Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies, Ghost Town Miners Bluegrass, Big Fat Steve Band, Salsa Dancing and Charlie Brown’s Happy Campers will keep the Farm buzzing with fun this summer. Pick up a schedule when you get in the park to see what’s going on.
  • The streetmosphere of Ghost Town is alive with new residents Clem Culpepper, Ma & Pa Shine, Nathan Quickly and these other townsfolk! Come back and tell me which one is your favorite. I’m gonna stalk Ma & Pa Shine and get them to tell me all about the moonshine biz.
  • I dare you to find the Catawampus. I never knew he existed until this year. I’ve been going to the park since I was a tween. I always learn something new with each visit!
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