Monday, July 30, 2012

A series of unfortunate events :(

My dreams of winning a mini van at the educator special taping of The Price is Right was shattered when at 4am we hit something black the size of a large papaya in the second to the right lane on the 101north about 5 miles from the CBS studios! Dang LA freeways!

Luckily it was early and on the usually busy 101 freeway the cars were sparse. We swerved a little and quickly turned off to the shoulder. Thank God we were safe and didn't hit any other cars!

My girlfriend quickly checked out the damage: both right tires were completely flat!

We called OnStar they were very friendly. They suggested we be brought to the local Chevy dealership. Of course in the heat of things I agreed to be picked up and be brought where ever to get my car fixed! While we were waiting to be towed, I found the paperwork for my tire warranty at Discount Tire so when the tow truck arrived, we asked to be brought to the closest Discount Tire.

Once at the discount tire, the tow truck guy was in a hurry to disconnect our car and he quickly left. He left our car in the middle of the parking lot, not in a particular parking spot. So I jumped in the car to put it into a parking space and to keep us secure since it was still dark out only to find that the batteries were dead! So I called OnStar again to ask for a jump. The lady was really nice and in a short while a tow truck came to jump us.

7am comes and we talk to the rep at Discount Tire to get out car fixed. We come to find out "discount tire center" is different from "discount tire". So my warranty was not valid there!

I call the nearest Discount Tire a.k.a America's Tire to verify my warranty and ensure they had my tires in stock. Everything checked out and they said they'd be ready for us!

I call OnStar again to ask to be towed to the correct Discount Tire (which also goes by America's Tire in LA county) 6 miles away. After 50 mins on a threeway phone call with OnStar and a Chevy road side rep (Melaine), they denied my request for a tow to the correct Discount Tire/America's Tire. They would only take me to the closest Chevy dealership.

The Chevy rep even called the generic Discount Tire as we sat in our car in front of the business to confirm that they did not have my exact tires and that they would not honor my warranty. The rep at the generic discount tire said that the person who called was very rude. That person was the road side assistant rep from Chevy, Melanie.

Apparently, the first tow was supposed to take me to a Chevy dealership but the tow truck guy was nice enough to take us to a discount tire, too bad it was the wrong one! OnStar and Chevy explained that either the tow truck company or myself was supposed to get approval to be brought to Discount Tire instead of the closest dealership. I was never made aware of that during the calls I made to OnStar that morning. So, from my understanding OnStar will only bring you to their affiliate dealership, not where you need to go to ensure your safety and security!

After repeated requests and explanation that we were brought to the wrong place and that we were left with a dead battery, OnStar and Chevy would not cover a cost for another towing! So being on the phone threeway conversation with OnStar and Chevy, I asked if they were basically leaving us stranded and their reply was "I'm sorry Mrs. Garcia, there is nothing we can do for you".

Frustrated, my girlfriends and I got on the phone with each of our car insurance companies, we were able to get a tow truck to take us to the correct Discount Tire.

After a 2 hour wait, we finally got picked up by the third tow truck to go to Discount/America's Tire with the help of my girlfriend's Century 21 car insurance road side assistance. Because the tow truck only has one passenger seat, my girlfriends ended up walking the four miles to the Discount/America's Tire to get some exercise and enjoy the LA weather.

On my ride in the tow truck, I received a call from OnStar checking on my status and "if everything has been taken care of with your vehicle". I simply said "no, I was not taken care of and I had to arrange for my own towing". Then the OnStar rep explains my expense is reimbursable. Again, this wasn't mentioned in my previous 50 minute call! The rep then began to give me the details about how to obtain a reembursement. I explained I was in the tow truck and the rep said I could call their 800 number anytime to get the info. Our call ended with her saying "Thank you for choosing OnStar, we look forward to taking care of your needs in the future". Ya right...

The staff at Discount/America's Tire were very helpful and quick to work. Another hour or so and $$$ later, two new tires and a new tire pressure sensor, we were finally in a fully functioning car once again! The guys here, any location, are always nice, are patient with answering all questions, and work quickly.

Today I learned:
1: road side service through your car insurance is more reliable than OnStar.
2: OnStar is a waste of money, their loyalty is to their affiliate dealerships, not their customers
3: Discount/America's tire always is reliable!

The minivan winnings at the Price is Right will have to wait until next time! I'm thankful to my girlfriends for keeping cool during the stressful day!

Here are some pictures of the day's events:

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Dancing, Crafts, and Mochi!

Our family is so fortunate to have great friends to invite us on their "single" outings! When I say "single", many of our friends are still single and childless. My boys at times can be loud and rowdy, which is a turn off for some single folks to have to spend the day with. But our single friends love our boys and are so great with them when we hang out!

Yesterday our friends from LA invited us to check out some fun free events going on in DTLA!

Our first stop was National Dance Day at the new Grand Park in Downtown Los Angeles. This weekend is actually the grand opening of the Great Park! The park has a huge lawn, cute hot pink benches, tables, and chairs, and an awesome fountain with dancing water that the young (and not so young) can play around in! The festivities of National Dance Day included an appearance by some dance celebrities like Nigel Lithgoe and Mary Murphy of Fox's So You Think You Can Dance, group Zumba and Hip Hop routines where the entire crowd participated, and a few food trucks to feed the masses! I wasa able to try The Cool Haus food truck that I've wanted to check out for a long time! I had a potato chip cookie with a maple bacon ice cream sandwich, YUM! Also, Homeboy Bakery was selling their yummy bakes goods. My boys loved the huge chocolate chip cookies! 





Our next stop was the Renegade Craft Fair at the Los Angeles State Historic Park. The Renegade Craft Fair had lots of awesome crafts from around the country. I went to this craft fair telling myself I wasn't going to buy anything. I was going to soak in everything I saw and use the ideas to inspire myself to create! But when I saw the Mockingjay pin from Enchanted Leaves, I had to have it! My husband saw my excitement so he,  being the prince charming he is, bought it for me! I hope they bring his event to San Diego eventually!




Out last stop for the day was Little Tokyo. We love mochi ice cream so we had to go to the original and best place in LA to get your mochi, Mikawaya! Mochi ice cream is only $1 here, where at other places you pay at least $2 per piece! The peaches and cream was heavenly! We browsed the shops and soaked in the sights. We even saw a local celebrity, Arthur Nakane. The one-man band was features on America's Got Talent and The Jimmy Kimmel Show. Cool guy!


I love day trips like this. It allows me to turn off my brain to the stresses of work, 
my messy house, and other things that worry my mind!
Our family got to spend some time with great friends and 
we got to appreciate Los Angeles in some new ways!

Quick breakfast for hungry boys!

To change up the usual pancakes for my boys, I decided to use my baby cakes cake pop machine to cook up the pancakes!

15 minutes and I had cute little pancake pops that my boys love to dip in maple syrup mixed with a drop of chocolate syrup! I had a few myself with some "Breakfast in Paris" tart cherry preserves and butter.

Happy Sunday!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"Eat your Cupcake" Virtual 26.2 Marathon



Join me as I participate in my first VIRTUAL 26.2 Marathon for the month of August 2012!

I got the idea from 
http://marathon.joggermom.com/!

Run, walk, bike...whatever will get you your 26.2 miles!

Its EASY! Starting August 1st, you have the entire month to complete your 26.2 miles!

Use www.runkeeper.com or the RunKeeper app for your smartphone to track your miles. We can join each others' "STREET TEAM" to see how each other is progressing!

When you've completed your miles, treat yourself to a yummy cupcake as your "medal"!

Use your this event page, your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram with #Cupcake26.2 to see everyone's progress!


Take time to breathe...





As a high school counselor, this time of the year is very stressful: student schedules, balancing teacher classes, demanding parents, and etc. I take my work very seriously. I take to heart that my work is a reflection on me, my work ethic, and the priority I place on meeting the expectations of the students, parents, and teacher I serve. Then things don't go as well as I plan them to be, it can become very stressful.

When the stress starts, I feel the tension in my shoulders and the build up of headache all day long. When I start to feel like this, I turn off my fluorescent lights, close my door, turn on my dim desk lamp, close my eyes, visualize things that make me happy, and breath deeply for a few minutes. It slows down the day, helps me put my priorities in perspective, and alleviates the stress I'm feeling. 

Day in and day out, in all the busy things we do, we have to take care of ourselves.

Wish me luck for the first day of school tomorrow!

Monday, July 23, 2012

San Diego's Comic Con 2012

My husband used to love Comic Con "in the good 'ol days" as he refers to it. Before the massive crowds,  before it became "Hollywood", and when it was really about comics. In the 14 years we've been together, we've gone once. That was before we were married, before kids. I'm not really into the comics, but I'm into the "Hollywoodness" of it all. Yet, I could do without all the crowds. 


This year because I participated in the Walking Dead Escape that was part of the Comic Con festivities, we decided to take the boys and walk around the outside of the actual Comic Con, around the Gaslamp area, to   check out the folks in costume. We did see the long lines getting into the Comic Con which was not cool! Little did we know there was lots to see for free...and we still scored some Comic Con swag!


The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were doing a huge promotion, having people check in on their mobile app to score some TMNJ masks and trucker hats!


Family Guy and the Simpsons statues were seen all over the pedicabs around Gaslamp!

Inside the Marriott Marquis, Nintendo was hosting a party with kiosks to try out their game consoles.
We found Mario...

saw a group Dance Central session...


and grabbed a hug from Kirby!

Along the SD Convention Center concourse, we saw the Three Stooges with their new girlfriends =\

We even almost got attacked by zombie Minnie Mouse!

Retired Batman was enjoying the San Diego sun, just chillin' while his cars were on display!


 We even caught a glimpse of Emmy Rossum being interviewed for an Extra exclusive for Comic Con.

We even got to pose with some of the Avengers!

It was a great time! It wasn't too crowded along the streets. We might not do the actual Comic Con again (for awhile at least) but I'm definitely looking forward to the sights along the outside again next year!


Strawberry Banana Summer muffins


There are many things that make me relax: shopping, reading, being a couch potato with my boys, and baking! After a stressful day at work, I decided to bake muffins with some over ripe bananas and left over strawberries. I've never made strawberry banana muffins before. A few clicks on the internet and I found this awesome recipe from the Joy of Baking:



Strawberry Banana Muffins Recipe:

1/2 cup (1 stick) (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract
2 large ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
1 cup (240 ml) fresh strawberries (cut into bite sized pieces)
2 1/4 cups (295 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (160 grams) light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon (4 grams) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 grams) salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners or lightly butter or spray the muffin cups with a vegetable spray.
In a small saucepan melt the butter. Let cool to room temperature.
In a medium sized bowl whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract and mashed banana. Add the melted butter and stir to combine.  
In another large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Gently fold in the berries, making sure they are coated with flour. (This helps to prevent the berries from sinking during baking.) Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are just combined. Do not over mix the batter or tough muffins will result. 
Divide the batter evenly among the 12muffin cups, using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. Place in the oven and bake until a tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 to25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Can be stored for a few days at room temperature.
Makes 12 regular sized muffins. Preparation time: 20 minutes.





Here is my final product!


I made a batch with chocolate chips and my boys loved it!

I hope everyone is having a great summer! 

Friday, July 20, 2012

My First Attempt At Jewelry!

I love accessories, especially earrings, bracelets, and necklaces! 
I know of a few friends who make their own jewelry so I decided to give it a try!

Here are a few of the items I bought at Michaels to get me started. 
I had bought a few things from Walmart also (forgot to take a picture). 



Here are some earrings I made from 3 inch eye pins and Amethyst/Sapphire Mix Dyed Howlite. 
I love drop earrings! I though these came out super cute. 

Here are matching earrings and necklace made from copper bead spacers, twill tape, and the eye pins again.  My friend Joyce is seen here knotting the twill tape between the beads. 

I think I did pretty well for my first try! =)
Joyce says need to invest in some needle nose pliers to make the job of jewelry making easier! 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

It's Not Nagging: Why Persistent, Redundant Communication Works

In my first week back to work after a restful, stress-free summer vacation, has been very demanding. Deadlines are pressing and I'm feeling under the gun!

Although I'm the kind of person who expects things to be done after being told once, perhaps I need to be more redundant in asking for information? Maybe management need to be more redundant in communicating? It's Not Nagging: Why Persistent, Redundant Communication Works

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Caviar Manicure - Dollar Tree Find!

 I came across the Ciate Ciate Caviar Manicure a few months ago at the checkout counter at Sephora. Sephora is so good at placing the most enticing items near the checkout to entice those impulse buyers! The associate saw my interest and did the manicure on one of my nails to show how it worked. It was so pretty, but I did not want to buy a bottle of "nail caviar" for $25. I instead placed it on my wishlist in hopes someone will be nice enough (hint, hint hubby) to buy it for me for Christmas. 



Yesterday at the Dollar Tree, I came saw these:
  

The little beads looked just like the "nail caviar" at Sephora! Each pack was, of course, only a dollar! I mixed some of the colors together to have the same "rainbow" effect of the Ciate Caviar.


I was so excited to try it out! I used my OPI base coat and a layer of "Fifth Avenue" pink color by China Glaze. Nail by nail, while the nail polish was wet, I sprinkled the "caviar" on my nails.
 

And here is how it turned out!
Nail polish never lasts long for me with all the things I do day in and day out. I'm curious to see if the caviar outlasts my morning shower =)

Another neat nail buy at the dollar store was this hexagon nail file. 
Each side, top and bottom, as 1 of 7 steps to file and polish you nails:
1) Course grit to shape nail
2) Medium grit to refine shape
3) Fine grit to smooth edges of nail
4) condition nail
5) Smooth nail
6) nail buffer
7) polish and shine
 

If anyone is curious, these were bought at the Dollar Store off of Aero Drive in San Diego!

Happy Dollar Store Shopping! 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

DIY: iPhone Holder

Another Pinterest Inspiration!

This one was so fun to do! It's a great way to use old lotion bottles! I used some material I bought from Joann's on clearance and modge podge I had on hand to put it all together. I think I'm going to make some of these to give away for Xmas!




Monday, July 16, 2012

Road Trip: Are we there yet?!

This week's topic for Honda Dealers Like Moms sweepstakes is "Road Trip: Are We There Yet?"


Since we've had kids, it hasn't been easy to take a vacation. Yet, we love weekend trips to Los Angeles! 


Our most recent visit was to the Getty Museum where my boys got to participate in a few activities to learn about art and even make their own pieces of art! The Getty is so beautiful with its numerous galleries, architecture, and gardens. 













My boys have even become familiar with the landmarks along the 5 freeway and we love to play games along the way. We read the road signs looking for certain words, we keep a look out at the sights looking for certain colors, numbers, etc. my boys even know the exits for our "potty breaks". 



 




Fun songs keep the boys busy also! Our favorite CD to listen to is Ziggy Marley's "Family Time"




My kids love their iPad and iPod also. The apps, games, and movies they have are not only entertaining, but educational also. Their favorites right now are Reading Rainbow, Mickey's Road Rally, and ABC Food





We're about due for another road trip! We're thinking Las Vegas...what are your thoughts on bringing kids to Las Vegas?
  
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