raised by culture

raised by culture: July 2013

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Look & Feel Good With These #ALLERGYFACE Tips!

This post is part of a sponsored campaign on behalf of Latina Bloggers Connect and the makers of ZYRTEC®

The past year has been full of travel for me - new cities and different weather has been keeping my allergies in full bloom.  There is nothing worse than having to deal with itchy, watery eyes, runny nose and itchy throat while on business (or even vacation!)  I hate canceling out so when I show up, everyone thinks I'm sick and contagious!  It also takes a toll on me mentally... wondering if I look ugly because of ALLERGYFACE!  The absolute worse for me though are headaches associated with my allergies.  I just want to stay in bed all day!  I recently was in Chicago and started feeling headachy... there was no way I could miss out on an important dinner so I took a quick cool shower and I immediately felt better.  Here are tips from my mom to help with ALLERGYFACE!     

  • Avoid allergens - Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen and make sure your hotel pillows are hypoallergenic. 
  • Good air quality - Sometimes you can't help being inside but make it a point to crack open a window or go outside for fresh air! 
  • Take short cool showers - This relieves my face like you wouldn't believe and makes me feel energetic. 
  • Drink peppermint tea - This is amazing for clogged up noses.
  • Eat wasabi - Open up your tear ducts and sinuses

My favorite tip from Carmen Ordoñez is how to help with puffy face!  I often experience this when traveling so now my go to drink is watermelon juice!  Watch her video below for more amazing, easy tips!

The makers of ZYRTEC® have partnered with beauty and fashion expert, Carmen Ordoñez from VivaFashionBlog.com, to help women combat “ALLERGY FACE™” – the beauty challenges like a puffy face, watery eyes and a red nose that are associated with typical allergy symptoms.

Carmen Ordoñez’s personal motto is that you can look great without breaking the bank.  You don’t need pricey beauty products to achieve great results.  In the second video of her three-part, bilingual video series, created in partnership with the makers of ZYRTEC®, Carmen shares her simple, do-it-yourself beauty solutions to help women tackle allergy-related beauty challenges.

What beauty tips did YOU learn from your mom or grandmother?

Visit ZYRTEC® on Facebook at Facebook.com/ZYRTEC to learn more about how to combat ALLERGY FACE™.

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Monday, July 22, 2013

The Newest Huggies Brand Ambassador Is Us!

Disclosure:  This is part of a compensated campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and Huggies.  However, all opinions expressed are my own.

I am so happy to announce that I am a Huggies Latina Brand Ambassador and I'll be developing a series of posts over the next several months!  This brand ambassadorship is super special to me because I have used Huggies on all four of my babies!  My littlest of four just turned one in April so we still have another adventurous year or two in diapers!  I'm also excited to announce that telenovela actress and Miss Universe 2006 Zuleyka Rivera is partnering up with Huggies as the new Huggies spokesperson to try out their new and improved diapers and wipes!  She will be sharing real-life parenting tips via a monthly webisode series that includes personal moments with her son Sebastian!  Zuleyka's partnership and webisodes were launched during an exclusive preview event in New York that several Latina Mom Bloggers also attended!  

The biggest reason I have remained faithful to Huggies over the years is because their diapers are comfortable and have never let me down!  It's important for me to have dry kids especially since we're always out and about!

My Omie bear enjoying art at Galerie Michael in Beverly Hills
My Omie bear <3
Huggies Latino Playdate event in New York unveiled an exclusive preview of Huggies new parenting webisodes featuring Zuleyka and her son Sebastian!
Webisodes will be uploaded monthly and will be available on Huggies Latino Facebook page - You can check out the first one here!

Grab a pack of Huggies Snug & Dry Diapers with New SureFit Design and Huggies Natural Care Wipes with New Triple Clean Layers and join Zuleyka as she puts Huggies to the test. Visit Huggies.com/tuprueba for more information on the new Huggies products.

Huggies® Snug & Dry Diapers with NEW SureFit* Design:
Provide up to 12 hours of leakage protection
Unique flexible waistband for all-around fit
More conforming gap-free fit

Huggies Natural Care® Wipes with NEW Triple Clean* Layers:
Gentle on baby’s skin, thick enough to clean the mess
Strong, soft, absorbent layers

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July Is National Vacation Rental Month!

July is National Vacation Rental Month!  My family loves visiting new places but we haven't had a chance to stay at a vacation rental yet.  Staying in a vacation rental offers more space and many of the conveniences of home such as fully-equipped kitchens, washer/dryer units and multiple bedrooms. Sounds dreamy to me especially with growing boys who need privacy to talk to their girlfriends while we're on vacation!  I also dig the option to cook our own meals - this would save us so much money!  I'm in charge of booking a place to stay when we travel and the only request the kids have is that there is a pool.  What's important to me when booking a place is location, price and reputation.  There is nothing worse than doing your vacation research, expecting your rental to look exactly like the pictures and arriving at Bates Motel.  Creepy!  For peace of mind, book with a professionally managed vacation rental provider such as Wyndham Vacation Rentals® that has a "Vacation Rental Bill of Rights®" service pledge ensuring quality standards (vetted rentals with accurate images), comprehensive customer service and real-time payment and bookings.

It is not too late to make vacation plans this Summer!  Wyndham Vacation Rentals is offering summer deals at up to 35 percent off nightly rates on bookings made throughout July at www.WyndhamVacationRentals.com

You really don't have to pull our legs to convince us to go on vacation.  My kids were made for it!  Seeing pictures of properties on Wyndham Vacation Rental's site has me wanderlusting about Colorado now.  Where are you off to next?  Happy Travels!
Beaver Creek, CO
Image provided by Wyndham Vacation Rentals
Breckenridge, CO
Image provided by Wyndham Vacation Rentals

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Smart & Final Downtown Los Angeles Grand Opening!

Downtown Los Angeles has been undergoing a much needed revitalization and it is always exciting to learn about a new business opening.  I know the general area because my dad worked out of Downtown LA - there are a bunch of different districts: art district, flower district, jewelry district, fashion district and the most popular but not a "district" at all is the LA Live area.  This is home to the Staples Center and Nokia Theatre!  Los Angeles is extra busy with business and tourists so opening a warehouse store in the bustle of it all is smart.  We went to check out the grand opening of the Smart & Final Extra! store on Figueroa (between 8th & 9th streets) on Thursday and was seriously oohing and ahhing at how close it was from LA Live.

Going to a game at Staples Center but spent too much on tickets and parking?  Walk a couple blocks and pick up some grab & go sandwiches, salads or even sushi!  Grab yourself a drink from Downtown Grind inside the new Smart & Final Extra! store - it features Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf!  There is even an outdoor patio with FREE wifi!  But let me tell you what impressed me the most and if you are from a big city I know you'll agree --- FREE 90 MINUTE PARKING!  
Smart & Final Downtown LA Grand Opening #ChooseSmartLA Smart & Final Grand Opening Downtown LA #ChooseSmartLA
Not only is parking FREE for 90 minutes but the parking garage is well-lit, secure and you don't have to fight/wait for a space!
Smart & Final Downtown LA Grand Opening #ChooseSmartLA Smart & Final Downtown LA Grand Opening #ChooseSmartLA Smart & Final Downtown LA Grand Opening #ChooseSmartLA
I had no idea Smart & Final was born in Los Angeles in 1871!  Knowing history of businesses is important to me - I love to spend my money at companies financially vested locally!
Smart & Final Grand Opening Downtown LA #ChooseSmartLA
Colorful veggies always signals me that a grocery store is good!  Variety is another sign of a good grocery store!
Smart & Final Grand Opening Downtown LA #ChooseSmartLA Smart & Final Grand Opening Downtown LA #ChooseSmartLA Smart & Final Grand Opening Downtown LA #ChooseSmartLA Smart & Final Grand Opening Downtown LA #ChooseSmartLA
Meat.  I love you.  Rib Eye Steaks are dreamy.  This would be perfect for people who work in the city to grab a steak on the way home from work!  (Remember - FREE parking!)
Smart & Final Grand Opening Downtown LA #ChooseSmartLA
My second favorite - flap meat aka skirt steak aka CARNE ASADA!  That's right people, get it and grill it!
Smart & Final Grand Opening Downtown LA #ChooseSmartLA
Didn't get a chance to text your love when you were busy all day at work?  Bring her home flowers!
Smart & Final Downtown LA Grand Opening #ChooseSmartLA Smart & Final Grand Opening Downtown LA #ChooseSmartLA Smart & Final Grand Opening Downtown LA #ChooseSmartLA
Grab and go sushi is a big deal to me.  If I worked in the city, I would eat this everyday.  I kid you not.
Smart & Final Downtown LA Grand Opening #ChooseSmartLA Smart & Final Grand Opening Downtown LA #ChooseSmartLASmart & Final Downtown LA Grand Opening #ChooseSmartLA
Maybe you fancy soup, salad or sandwiches?  Smart & Final has you covered!
Smart & Final Grand Opening Downtown LA #ChooseSmartLA Smart & Final Grand Opening Downtown LA #ChooseSmartLA
And you cannot forget an ice cold bottle of Mexican Coke!  What's the secret?  REAL SUGAR!
Smart & Final Grand Opening Downtown LA #ChooseSmartLA
Downtown Grind featuring The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is right inside!
Smart & Final Downtown LA Grand Opening #ChooseSmartLA
Check out the Downtown Grind outdoor patio with FREE wifi!
Smart & Final Downtown LA Grand Opening #ChooseSmartLA

Smart & Final Extra! is officially open!  
845 S. Figueroa St., #100
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 629-0039
(213) 629-0045

Open 7 days a week from 6am - 10pm 

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Friday, July 19, 2013

My Mom's Cheesecake Recipe = My Avocado Ice Box Pie Recipe

Disclosure:  This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with Latina Bloggers Connect and Avocados from Mexico.  All thoughts are my own.

When you grow up on an island and later in Southern California, you get used to living in perpetual Summer heat.  I didn't mind as a kid because on good days, my mama would make her cheesecake.  Or maybe it was days I had to beg?  I don't remember... I'm getting old.  My mom used to tease me and my friends with her cheesecake.  I remember the first time I asked her for the recipe - she got defensive and told me she would just make it.  I think she secretly liked having us beg her for it.  Imagine my surprise when she finally gave in and showed me her coveted recipe card.  3 ingredients and it looked so easy to make!  I thought she slaved in the kitchen all day but nooo...  to my horror and delight, I found out she got the recipe from a package!  I decided to put my own spin on my mama's cheesecake since my sons love cheesecake and sometimes have to sneak in healthy food options like oh, umm yummy & nutritious avocados from Mexico!  So you guessed it, I hid the avocados in my take on avocado ice box pie!  It is cooling and light for those hot Summer days!  (And you don't have to slave away in the kitchen all day - just say you did!)

Avocado Ice Box Pie Ingredients
1 Oreo pie crust (or graham cracker pie crust)
1 8 oz. Cool Whip whipped topping
1 8 oz. Cream Cheese
1/2 cup Sugar
1 Avocado


  1. Mix cream cheese and sugar until smooth, set aside.
  2. Cut avocado in half, remove seed.  I only used a quarter but you can use more or less.  Scoop out avocado from the peel, put in a mixing bowl.  Using a fork, roughly mash the avocado.
  3. Add avocado and cool whip into cream cheese and sugar mixture and fold ingredients until smooth.  
  4. Pour pie mix into crust, refrigerate for 2+ hours.  Garnish with avocado and serve!  
Note: I used organic sugar and the sugar crystals were naturally larger - this is why the pie looks a bit grainy.

Do you have an avocado creation you would like to share?  Sign up for the Avocados from Mexico community and upload your recipe!

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My Kids Are Champions For Kids

I hate to admit that there was a time in my life that I was too consumed with our lives and/or oblivious to the fact that there are homeless kids right here in America.  Don't get me wrong, I see poverty daily in my own neighborhood but kids living on the streets or in cars?  I was blind to it.  I never thought that this could happen here but sadly, it does.  I subscribe to the theory my parents raised me on - if you have a roof over your head, clothes on your back and food in your tummy you are more than good.  I hate that some kids don't have simple necessities or access to things like... water.  Food is a luxury to some, not the newest tech gadgets, toys or pricey shoes.  We don't have a lot of money but my kids are champions for kids - they enjoy giving and that makes them my superheroes.  It's important to teach our children that giving makes you feel good.  Each one, teach one!    

Ask yourself and be honest, are you doing enough for your community?  Spin Into Action with Spinbrush!

Here are some SIMPLE Service Project tips from Champions for Kids! 

GATHER your community to collect fun toys and colorful children’s items (like books, games, blankets, and toothbrushes)!
COUNT the number of items you collected and take photos!
DONATE the items to a local hospital, shelter, or foster care agency in your community to give kids hope, comfort and fun in challenging situations.
DOUBLE your impact by reporting your project at championsforkids.org/share during the month of July 2013. Let us know how many people were involved and how many items you collected, and Spinbrush® will make a matching donation of up to 1,000 Tooth Tunes™ toothbrushes (total) through Champions for Kids to help children in need!

I enlisted the help of my 7 year old Duke and we went shopping at Walmart to stock up on Spinbrush!  For each one you buy, Spinbrush will make a matching donation!  We bought crayons, coloring books, games, toys and puzzles!  Duke was so excited to deliver them to our local charity, Mary's Kitchen in Orange, CA because he knows that it is helping kids just like him!  Mary's Kitchen provides breakfast, hot lunch and a sack meal to the homeless of Orange County from Monday-Saturday.  Showers are also available Monday-Saturday.  We chose Mary's Kitchen because we have been helping our local homeless for the past couple years and continue to support our community.
Champions For Kids Champions For Kids Champions For Kids Champions For Kids
Duke enjoys being a Champion for Kids because he loves being a kid that helps other kids!
Duke CFK!

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Duke Painting With Alexandre Renoir = Priceless. @Mastercard #Priceless #LA #MC

Our satARTday in Los Angeles started with Duke taking an art class taught by French Impressionist Renoir's great grandson Alexandre Renoir.  Take that in for a moment.  A descendant from one of our great painters Pierre-Auguste Renoir to teach my 7 year old son their wet-on-wet technique.  This was huge for our family because my husband Chris is an artist and fine arts major.  We regularly take our family on trips to museums, galleries and art shows.  The bigs actually just asked us last weekend if we could visit LACMA.  I honestly couldn't believe they asked, it was a proud parenting moment for sure.  Art is everywhere in our home - We are surrounded by my photographs, my husband's paintings, originals and prints we've purchased over the years...  Art is ingrained in our lives.    

If I could buy my way into VIP everything, I would.  Not all of us have the luxury of being invited to coveted events but when you have MasterCard, you can have tacos & tequila with Chef Bobby Flay, get the best seats in the house at Dodger Stadium or have your child paint with Alexandre Renoir.  Experiences like these are Priceless.

Priceless LA is amazing.  I regularly check the site to see if MasterCard added new experiences I can be apart of.  Signing up is free (and easy!)  The next class Alexandre Renoir is teaching happens in September, it is only $25 and ALL proceeds are donated to the Children of War Charity.

Duke & Alexandre Renoir #Priceless #LA #MC
The perfect backdrop for little artists!
Duke & Alexandre Renoir #Pricless #LA #MC
It is amazing the legacies we create for our families.  Renoir's paintings hang in Galerie Michael right next to his great grandson Alexandre Renoir's paintings.
Duke & Alexandre Renoir #Pricless #LA #MC Duke & Alexandre Renoir #Pricless #LA #MC Duke & Alexandre Renoir #Pricless #LA #MC Duke & Alexandre Renoir #Pricless #LA #MC Duke & Alexandre Renoir #Pricless #LA #MC Duke & Alexandre Renoir #Pricless #LA #MC Duke & Alexandre Renoir #Pricless #LA #MC Duke & Alexandre Renoir #Pricless #LA #MC Duke & Alexandre Renoir #Pricless #LA #MC Duke & Alexandre Renoir #Pricless #LA #MC
Minecraft obsessed 7 year old paints a scene from Minecraft.
Duke & Alexandre Renoir #Pricless #LA #MC Duke & Alexandre Renoir #Pricless #LA #MC Duke & Alexandre Renoir #Pricless #LA #MC Duke & Alexandre Renoir #Pricless #LA #MC
A Priceless moment is when Alexandre Renoir noticed Duke painted Minecraft and told us the story about how his 6 year old son loves Minecraft too!  Duke was impressed!
Duke & Alexandre Renoir #Pricless #LA #MC Duke & Alexandre Renoir #Pricless #LA #MC

This was truly an awesome experience.  Our family was honored to take part in this, thank you MasterCard for keeping art & culture alive!

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