Sunday, August 30, 2015

Discover The True Meaning of Beauty with "Violet" at SD Repertory Theater

There's nothing like a night at the theater! For a night I'm taken away from the work and family thoughts that fill my mind and am taken away to another world, another time, someone else's life.

The last two productions of the San Diego Repertory that I've had the chance to watch, Oedipus Rey and Honky, were such a great experience it made me look forward to "Violet" all the more!

San Diego REPertory Theatre (San Diego REP) presents “Violet,” a modern fairy tale musical composed by 2015 Tony Award Winner Jeanine Tesori, based on “The Ugliest Pilgrim” by Doris Betts. “Violet” is a production filled with show-stopping anthems of the 1960’s American south.

Violet has been scarred most of her life. At age 13, a freak accident left her face disfigured. As she matures in the hills of North Carolina, Violet dreams of becoming beautiful. Her faith convinces her that a televangelist in Tulsa can heal her. As she turns 25, Violet hops a bus and begins the journey towards what she is sure will be a miraculous transformation. On the road Violet discovers the true meaning of beauty - what can be seen and can’t.

I shared the evening with hubby and my fellow bloggers as we filled a few of the "tweet seats" for the evening. Of course we sat in the back rows of the theater as to not disturb the rest of the audience. Having my phone on and interacting via social media is not the norm for live theater, but SDRep values the power of social media so we tweeted our favorite parts of the musical throughout the performance. It is definitely a unique way of experiencing live theater.

Tweeting in one hand and wine in the other! 
The singing and music in "Violet" reminded me of my show choir days in high school. I was tapping my feet during the upbeat numbers, then melting with sentiment during the more dramatic scenes. The story of "Violet" is one that many can relate to, especially when it comes to physical appearances. As hubby tweeted, "Great reminder of how our loved ones see us better than we do in a mirror".

"Violet" plays now until September 13th. Don't miss it!

Monday: No performances
Tuesday (first week only) at 7 p.m.
Wednesdays at 7 p.m.
Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m.
Saturdays at 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Sundays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Tickets start at $36 to $75 / Students $18 / Military $20
Discounts for groups and seniors available.
San Diego REP Box Office (619) 544-1000
For group sales, call Vaughn Rainwater at (619) 231-3586 ext. 617.
Tickets available for purchase online at
Four hours free parking in the Horton Plaza Garage with validation at the theatre.

Lyceum Stage at San Diego REPertory Theatre
79 Horton Plaza San Diego, Calif. 92101-6144

Connect on social media:
San Diego REP Facebook page
San Diego REP Twitter account

Friday, August 28, 2015

Filipino Fusion in San Diego with Chef DJ Tangalin

I've been very lucky the last few months to partake in the up and coming Filipino fusion food scene in San Diego with visits to Ocean Pacific Grille in the Gaslamp and Filipino Food and Bakery in Barrio Logan.

Because being a mommy comes before being a foodie, a good friend of mine, Joyce from InnerLotus, hung out with my friends from the San Diego Filipino Blogger Network, to check out Chef DJ Tangalin at JRDN Restaurant at the Tower 23 Hotel in Pacific Beach for me. This is the place where Filipino fusion cuisine is poppin'! 

I was following the Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram feeds while SDFBN enjoyed the evening with Chef DJ Tangalin and my mouth couldn't stop watering! 

Short Rib Siopao with Blueberry Gastrique...

Photo from
Poached jumbo shrimp, melon, and avocado were tossed in a lime dressing and presented in a young coconut topped with a refreshing granita...
Photo from
Chef DJ Tangalin's story of growing up in the Philippines and discovering his love for food...

SDFBN enjoyed six courses of yumminess!

To read more about the gastric adventures at JRDN Restaurant at the Tower 23 Hotel in Pacific Beach make sure to read Joyce's blog post >>>HERE<<<!

I can't wait to visit JRDN Restaurant for myself!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

#ThrowbackThursday: Happy 15th Educator Anniversary to Me!

2015 marks my 15th year as an educator: seven years as a high school English teacher and the last 8 years as a high school counselor at my alma mater. It's never a boring day as a educator, each day brings its unique challenges and surprises.

One of the not-so-glamorous parts of my job as a school counselor is breaking the news to students and parents that they have not met the requirements for graduation/Therefore, these students are considered a " Non-Grad" which makes them ineligible to participate in the graduation ceremony and receive their diploma. I always have about 5 of my 100 seniors who end up as non-grads: they failed one too many classes or didn't pass the California High School Exit Exam. After several letters and phone calls home and numerous one-on-one meetings with the student regarding their credits, the "non-grad" message at the end of the school year is still a surprise for many students and parents. Some parents are mad and I become the target of their frustrations, some are understanding and realize the shortcomings of their child is the reason for their non-grad status. Either way, students and parents are rest assured they have summer school and the fall semester through our alternative programs to complete their requirements and still graduate by the end of the calendar year.

Every year also brings lots of celebrations at the closing of the school year. I've been honored again to participate in the San Diego FilGrad, honoring outstanding graduating Filipino students. Being able to congratulate each of the graduates for the hardwork and impressive accomplishments is a wonderful feeling. The keynote speaker, city council member, Todd Gloria, whose father was a member Filipino Navy, shared his words of encouragement for the graduates to follow their passions. The event was held a the special event suite at the San Diego downtown library. The views were awesome!

With Ms. Stephanie, Valedictorian of Sweetwater High 

Awarding each student with a graduation stole to wear at their respective graduations

Our own graduation ceremony at Sweetwater High School brings with it a sigh of relief every year. I like to look back and recap the accomplishments I've made in my career. People who know me well know I am always busy with a new project and juggling a dozen tasks at the same time. This past year, I co-chaired the SUHSD Counselor Standards committee which was able to lower counselor caseload from 400 to 350 for the upcoming year - this is something that has not happened in 8 years. I also initiated the Red Devil Way award to recognize outstanding students each week. I also am proud of our monthly College and Career Awareness Days which brings college representatives and career experts to meet with our students every month. None of my success at work would not be possible without the awesome team of school counselors and support staff I work with everyday. They are an amazing group of people are are truly my work family.

Congrats to the Class of 2015! Cheers to 15 more years as a educator!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Weekend Recap: August 21-23

I had a wonderful weekend and I just wanted to share!!

Friday night started off with dinner at Crust in the Torrey Highlands neighborhood in San Diego. I totally loved my spaghetti and meatballs. I love my meatballs. The restaurant is totally kid friendly which is a bonus with my two little boys!

Click to add a blog post for Crust Pizzeria on Zomato

Saturday morning my kids did some quiet painting while I caught up with laundry. Later that day, #dancingDJgarcia had a two hour rehearsal with for his Padres Kids Crew performance on Sunday.

After dance rehearsal, we dropped off the boys to grandma and grandpa so hubby and I could have a long over due date night. I was carded at the movie theater for the rated "R" movie (I know right?), Straight Outta Compton, which was awesome! 

Our visit to AMC theater was reminiscent since hubby worked there over 15 years ago. There has been lots of upgrades to the theater such as assigned, luxury, reclining seating as well as a full bar in the lobby. Very cool!

We had a late night dinner at Boiling Crab which was a treat. Late dinners without kids are few and far between so we enjoyed every minute. Also, one of our sons has a really bad seafood allergy so just stepping into the restaurant sets his allergies off. I savored my gumbo and Cajun spicy shrimp!

Click to add a blog post for The Boiling Crab on Zomato

Sunday we picked up the boys and headed to church first thing in the morning. We then picked up a quick lunch at McD's and headed down to Petco Park for the Padres vs. Cardinals game where our DJ would perform with the Padres Kids Crew! It was warm out but it was a great time nonetheless! DJ did a great job!

I hope everyone had a great weekend as well! 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Don't Believe the Counselors, Just Watch!

Liliana Silva Diaz and I have been heading the SUHSD Counselor Standards Committee for over a year now.

A year ago, the SUHSD had left out school counselors in their Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) in 2014. The LCAP is basically a school district's plan on how to support student achievement, especially for at-risk populations like English Language Learners, Foster Youth, and etc.

The SUHSD 2014 LCAP included teachers, parents, and other support staff, but no mention on school counselors.

Because of our efforts, and the team of awesome counselors from all over the district who sit on our committee, we were able to work with the SUHSD to include school counselors in the LCAP, thus lowering counselor caseload from 400 to 360 to one counselor to best support graduation and college-going rates. This is the lowest caseload in San Diego county and below the average in California.

Over the next year, we will also be spearheading the standardization of counseling practices such as 6-year plans and parent workshops across the 24 high schools and middle schools in our district that serves over 41,000 students.

Today we presented at our quarterly district counselor in-service. We shared successes and facilitated discussions on potential standardized practices across the district.

Here's out powerpoint:

We have lots to celebrate, but lots of work still to do. We didn't want our presentation to be all serious pump up all of our counselors, Liliana and I called on our friend Bruno Mars to help us with a little song and dance!

Although our teacher counterparts in being leaders in curriculum and professional development are compensated, Liliana and I are not. It is our hope, that in the next year, we prove the investment in standards development for school counselors will be seen as important, and compensated fairly.

In the meanwhile, "don't believe me, just watch"!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Giveaway: Make Back to School a Breeze With the Samsung Gear Fit

I received a Samsung Gear Fit from ATT San Diego in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are mine.

I know many of you can relate...I'm completely dependent on my smartphone.

Without the beeps and buzzes of my phone, I'd never be anywhere on time or remember any of my meetings or family activities. I'd be at a loss without anyone's phone number or email address. I'd lose track of my "to do's" and never remember my shopping lists.

Thanks to my Samsung Gear Fit from ATT, I can free myself a bit from my smartphone. The Samsung Gear Fit totally suits my busy mommy lifestyle and has made this school counselor's back-to-school days effortless.

The Samsung Gear Fit is the first fitness band with notification capabilities to handle any task with ease. Using Bluetooth technology to connect to my phone, it accepts phone calls and dismisses alarms. I can even view emails, text messages, and other app notifications with a simple tap. My Samsung Gear Fit allows me to be discreet while checking emails, text messages, and calendar reminders.

I'm behind on my messages! I'm enjoying the weekend too much!
It's been a whirlwind first few days of the new school year for me at work. This week I had accidentally double booked two parents conferences at the same time. Thank goodness for Samsung Gear Fit buzzed and a notification showed on the screen while I was meeting with parent #1. Without my Samsung Gear Fit, I would've looked at my calendar too late and would've had a very upset parent waiting for me.

Reminder for one of many meetings I have during the week.
Made it just in time for #DancingDJGarcia's class!
I also love the fact that the Samsung Gear Fit uses S Health™ to track your steps. It's my very own digital pedometer that syncs with the S Health™ app on my phone. I'm a few steps closer to the 10,000 steps goal every day!

Customized wallpaper and total steps for the day - almost at 10,000 steps!
I've also been experimenting with the monitor feature to track my heart rate, especially during stressful times of the day. It's helped me check myself to relax, use biofeedback, and not stress out so much. The Samsung Gear Fit has the first-ever built-in heart monitor that easily responds to my touch.

Here's a video of the heart rate monitor in action. Don't be alarmed by the high heart rate. We're having a heat wave in San Diego and I just shooed my noisy kids out of the room so I could shoot this video!

The Samsung Gear Fit is priced at $199, and is available at ATT stores and online at

The Samsung Gear Fit has become a back-to-school necessity to keep up with important work notifications, health goals and schedules. The customizable alerts provide me with need-to-know information about work and kids. Parents and educators, and even educators who are parents, the Samsung Gear Fit is for you!

Other Product Features
  • The Samsung Gear Fit has the world’s first curved 1.83" Super AMOLED® display, a hybrid display technology.
  • Customizable bands are available online at to fit your mood, wardrobe or to replace a broken band.
  • Battery lasts on average 3 to 4 days.
  • Dustproof and waterproof
  • *Water-resistant and dustproof based on IP67 Rating, which tests submersion up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. Not shockproof. Covers must be tightly closed.
I'd love for YOU to be ready for Back To School with a Samsung Gear Fit! Thanks to ATT San Diego. enter below to win one for yourself!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Best wishes for a smooth back to school season!!
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