Friday, May 19, 2017

Tips for a Stress-Free Trip to the #SanDiego County Fair

Going to the San Diego County Fair can be lots of fun with a bit of planning ahead of time!



Here are a few of my tips from our last few visits to the San Diego Fair which I hope will help make it an awesome visit for you and your family:

Finding RESTROOMS with pee-urgent kids in a crowded place is not fun. On a busy day, the restrooms along the main fairway of the San Diego County Fair, as well as inside the main exhibit halls have lines, especially for women. Plan your restroom breaks at the restrooms less-traveled which can be found in the in-field of the race track near the kids fun zone and the beer garden. The restrooms near the wine garden in the garden show area are not on the fair map so they are usually not crowded.

FAIR FOOD is part of the fun but can cost you a fortune if you don't plan accordingly. You can visit the fair website to plan ahead on what you'd like to eat. You are allowed to bring outside food and drinks into the fair so bring your own drinks and/or refillable water containers to save a few bucks. The portions at the fair are pretty huge so plan to share. When we go to the fair, we each choose one food item to try and we share. This year we had the the foot-long sausage corn dog, Australian beer-battered potatoes, fish and chips with friend zucchini, and a huge slice of pepperoni pizza. It was more than enough for the four us us to fill our tummies.

Finding a PLACE TO SIT once you've gotten your food can also be a chore especially when the fair crowds are in full-swing. Again, the garden show area behind the O'Brien Hall has shaded seating. It's tucked away, hidden from the crowds.  Our family has always been successful in finding a spot to sit there. Hubby and I take turns sitting with the kids, while the other gets in line and grabs our eats. It works out every time!

Don't forget to take advantage of the SUMMER READING PROGRAM with the San Diego County Fair. The reading log can be downloaded and printed from the website. Each child can earn free entry into the fair by reading 10 books and completing their reading log. Simply bring the reading log straight to the entry gate and your child is in!

Lastly, the San Diego county fair WEBSITE has specials on ride tickets and admission prices so check ahead of time to plan to have a great time!

Visit www.sdfair.com/ for updates and specials. See you at the 2017 fair!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Washington DC Day Three: Visiting The White House

One of the highlights of our family vacation to Washington DC was our visit to The White House. I have heard throughout the years that being granted a visit to The White House was very rare, all the more so with our new president. This made our visit extra special.


A few months back, when planning for our Washington D.C. trip, I did a bit of research on how to request a visit to The White House. I gathered that the best way was to write our local representative who would be able to help with arrangements. On Congressman Scott Peters' website, there was a specific section to request visits to The White House, The Capitol, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, FBI Headquarters, and the Library of Congress.


I did our requests 4 months in advance of our visit. It is advised to request your visits as early as possible. I quickly received an email from a staffer from Rep. Peters' office. She explained that my requests had been submitted and would be forwarded to each department in DC granting the tours. She also explained that, at that time, tours to The White House were not being processed pending the inauguration of the new president and his policy on White House tours.

Over the weeks following, I received separate emails with confirmations for the The Capitol and the Bureau of Printing and Engraving. Shortly after the news outlets shared President Trump's interaction with White House visitors, I received my email confirming our tour of The White House.


On Day Three of our Washington DC trip, our visit to The White House was first on our itinerary. 
From our hotel, we took The Metro to the Federal Triangle exit which is The Metro station closest to The White House Visitors Center.

On our walk towards The White House Visitor Center, we walked passed Trump Tower. It is two blocks from The White House. There were several black, heavily tinted SUVs that dotted the street adjacent to the hotel.

The White House Visitors Center is a block away from The White House tour entrance. A
While we waited for our tour time, we enjoyed the exhibits.



I really enjoyed the short film narrated by the former presidents. 


Although there was a small gift shop, we didn't buy anything since bags are not allowed during The White House Tour.

We arrived at the line to start our tour at the suggested 15 minutes before reservation time.



Before our tour began, there were three security checks. At check point one, I was held by the secret service agents since my identification and my reservation did not have matching birth dates. As they held onto my ID, the cracked a few jokes at my 4'11" height, even having my stand next to the shortest of them all to prove my height. Being me, I really wanted to bust out my camera but I figured it would have been awkward. Total secret service agent fan girl moment. Ha!

They ran my security check again and after about 30 minutes I was cleared. At security check point three, there was a security dog and a metal detector we all had to go through. No bags of any kind are allowed on The White House tour. My small wristlet was even questioned by secret service.

Once inside The White House, a secret service agent explained the tour was self guided and self paced. We took our time while we walked around. There was a clear path of red velvet ropes of the self-guided tour. 


We tried to stay behind the pack of visitors in our tour to enjoy our time and take a pictures without others in the background. Although we were advised the tour was "self-paced", there was a secret service agent right behind us, moving us along, as we were the stragglers behind the rest of our tour group.

Each room was beautiful. I really wanted to take video to catch a the grandness of it all, unfortunately video is not allowed in The White House.

After looking through my pictures, I realized the Secret Service Agents did a great job of keeping out of my photos. Perhaps they're trained to do so!

I spy a Secret Service Agent in the Blue Room
Here is the route of our tour:

The entire tour took about an hour. Every room we saw in person were rooms I've seen throughout the years in photos and videos, in history books, magazines, documentaries, and news programs. It was amazing to have visited "our" house, The White House. 
Cross Hall

Mrs. Obama with School Counselors in the East Room

Ms. Luansing, the school counselor, in the East Room
Garcia Fam in the East Room

Jelo sending top secret texts from the East Colonnade
President Obama and Bo having fun in the East Colonnade

Jelo in the Red Room
Obama and Biden in the Red Room

East Room smiles
East Room thoughts

The spot where the first families trade off




After The White House, we did a bit of shopping at a few gift shops right across the street. These were the only touristy gift shops we found. The others were found inside the museums and inside some of the monuments. The shops right across the street from The White House had the most selection and were more reasonably priced than the gift shops found inside the museums. 

We squeezed in more sightseeing on Day Three:





Metro to George Washington University stop and strolled through the university












  • Washington Monument
  • WWII Memorial
  • Reflecting Pool
  • Lincoln Monument
  • Vietnam War Memorial
  • Korean War Memorial
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Monument
  • Tidal Basin
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
  • Thomas Jefferson Monument
  • Pentagon 9/11 Memorial
  • Shake Shack for Dinner 
  • National Museum of American History
  • Walked along the National Mall with a stop at the carousel
  • National Air and Space Museum
  • Catholic University of America
  • Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
  • Dinner at Bonchon
  • The White House
  • Georgetown
  • National Postal Museum
  • Union Station
Be on the look out for day four of our Washington DC trip where we visit The Capitol!


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Gift of Time for Your Dad or Grad #ad

June is almost here! Looking for a unique, timeless gift for your dad or grad? Jord Wood Watches will surely impress! With the options to personalize your timepiece, this gift will be one of a kind.


Jord Wood Watches are hand-crafted wood timepieces using raw material, inspired by refined design. They are focused on creating timepieces that are modeled after a modern lifestyle. Jord Wood Watches value sustainability, efficiency, and experiential living. They make their watches for people who don't just have somewhere to be, they have somewhere to go.


Pictured here is the Fieldcrest series, Zebrawood and Maple women's Jord Watch. Zebrawood is considered a luxury hardwood and is most commonly used in veneer application. JORD uses only whole wood stock to create their Zebrawood watches. Maple watches are made from the outer rings, known as the sapwood. The grain is typically straight with slight waves and has a fine, uniform texture. 

Enter to win a $100 gift code to use on your Jord Wood Watch purchase. One lucky person will win, but everyone will receive a code worth $25 once the contest ends! The contest will close 5/21 at 11:59pm.

Wooden Wrist Watch

Visit https://www.woodwatches.com/ to browse the beautiful collection of wood watches for the unique gift for your dad or grad!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary Jord Watch in exchange for this blog post and social media shares. All opinions are mine. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Tips for Visiting The Broad in Los Angeles with Kids

One of the things I love about social media is learning about different activities our family can do together. My network of family, friends, and mom bloggers leaves me with lots of ideas and options to keep my kids busy. One of the recent posts I've seen on a few feeds is The Broad museum in Los Angeles.


The colorful, eye-catching pieces of art was something I knew my boys would enjoy, as well as giving us a chance to engage in conversation about different kinds of art and art expression.



Here are some tips to make the most of your visit to The Broad:

1) Plan Ahead
Although The Broad has free admission, a visit during peak times of the year can find you waiting in a line to get into the museum. We didn't plan well and waited about an hour in line. Advanced ticketing can be done online. Reserve your tickets at least a 90 days in advanced to get your desired day and time to visit.

Jelo killing time while we waited to enter. We waited about 45 minutes. 
2) What to Eat?
The curb right in front of The Broad has at least half a dozen food trucks to satisfy your hunger. There is a nice grassy area adjacent to the museum with places to sit and enjoy your lunch.

A row of food trucks right outside The Broad
3) Special Exhibits
During our visit, we had hopes to see Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room but we didn't reserve our tickets in time to do so and the stand-by tickets were too late into the afternoon for our day trip to LA. Be advised, advanced ticketing for entry to the museum is separate from the tickets for entry into special exhibits. Tickets for entry to the special exhibits can be done online or stand-by tickets are available first-come, first-served each day at the museum.



4) Bring your smartphone and headphones
There are audio tours for adults and kids that you can access from your smartphone. I saw a few kids with their headphones on listening as they were intently enjoying the art.We didn't plan well and didn't have our headphones ready.




5) Visiting with kids? Pay attention to the "explicit" signs on the wall.
There are a few graphic pieces of art that portray violence or exhibit sexual content. I am pretty open with my kids when it comes to topics like this but once we entered the "explicit" areas, I knew my kids were going to have questions to the images they saw that I wasn't ready to answer. I would recommend going into the "explicit" exhibits first to decide whether on not it's OK for your kids to view.



We had lots of great conversation in the car on the way home about the pieces of art we saw. 

Here are some questions to guide the conversation:
1) What was your favorite piece of art? What about it did you like?
2) Any of the art remind you of something you have experienced or seen before?
3) Which of the art did you not like? Why?
4) Why do you think the artist used paint/photos/cutouts/glass? Would you add anything?
5) Why do you think the artist created that piece of art?

Visit www.thebroad.org/ for more information. Our family enjoyed our visit to The Broad and hope your family will also!

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