Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Enjoying ME with ME in NOLA

On a recent trip to New Orleans for the annual American School Counselor Association conference, my co-worker asked me, "Do you miss your kids and husband?" She asked this two days into our four-day conference.

Counselors from the Sweetwater Union High School District representing at #ASCA16
She was surprised by my quick response. "Not really" was my answer.

She is a wife of less than two years, no kids yet. She missed her husband. Dang newlyweds!

Me? Married for over 10 years with two energetic boys. So, when I was asked if I missed my husband and boys, I really didn't.

Some might view my response as selfish, but I needed a few days away.

Yes, technically I was working, spending 7 hour days attending professional development workshops. But after "work", while in New Orleans, it was wonderful to have dinner without having to manage the noise level and squirmy-ness of my two kids. It was a treat to have a nice meal, at a nice restaurant, without having to worry about a kids meal that had to have mac-n-cheese or chicken strips.

Bourbon Street Eats
Fried Shrimp and Oysters at Desiree Oyster Bar
It was nice to be out "late" and not have to feel guilty that I've kept my kids' too long with the grandparents.

Cocktails at the famous Carousel Bar

It was relaxing to come "home" and not have to worry about preparing dinner, cleaning up, keeping my kids entertained with activities to give them "cultural capital", or playing mommy taxi to numerous extra-curricular activities.

View from my room at the New Orleans Marriott
On day four of our trip, when I woke up for our last day of workshops and a bit of sightseeing, I finally confessed, "Ok, now I miss my husband and boys."

I was really feeling the saying, "Distance makes the heart grow fonder". We can easy take for granted the hugs and kisses we receive from our spouse and kids. We can easily take for granted the laughter and loud conversations at home as regard it as annoying noise. We take for granted the daily routines of life: having a home to home to, having food to share at meal time, the pick ups and drop offs to school.

I was ready to go home. I missed their hugs and kisses. I missed the noise of our home. I missed the routine of every day. Being away for a few days helped me recenter myself and remind myself of the great life that was waiting for me at home.
Jackson Square
#ASCA16 Workshop Mode
Highlights of the ASCA Conference 2016:
Highlights of my visit around New Orleans:
Here is a short video that highlights my trip:

I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to better myself as a school counselor and have to the time to really enjoy ME with ME (and three awesome co-workers of mine who made sure I had a great time).

Friday, September 23, 2016

Debate Civility Scorecard for the #PresidentialDebate

Civility and the upcoming presidential debate? 

Civility is defined as "formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech". 

Check out the "Debate Civility Scorecard" developed by UCSD & SDCCD's Institute for Civil Civic Engagement.

If you want a live and interactive experience with the presidential debates. check out this local event:

Who do you think will be the more civil candidate?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Sugar Spa - A Sweet Spot to Relax

It's Fall Break from work! You know what that means? Spa time!

I've seen the trendy "24k Gold Face Mask" on several beauty and celebrity websites and social media channels over the last few months. I was curious. I wanted to try it out!

Lucky for me, The Sugar Spa has opened in Chula Vista!

The facility is calming as soon as you step foot inside. The spa music is playing. The white and blue colors were very relaxing. One of the staff members, Jerome, greeted me by name right away. We went over a few formalities and I was introduced to my technician.

The lobby of The Sugar Spa
When doing the 24k Face Mask, much of the treatment is self-administered. You are given face wipes to clean your face in preparation for the face mask. You then apply the mask yourself and the technician will place you under an LED Light which is scientifically proven to decrease the effects of aging on skin and increase production of collagen.
My face mask before it was put on my face
I was soon on my back in a very comfy lounge chair, ready for my 24k Gold Face Mask.

I sat for 30+ minutes with the minerals, vitamins, and the gold essence working it's magic into my skin. It tingled a bit in the beginning, but the sensation went away after a few minutes. The mask stayed moist the whole time it was on my face, even under the lights. It felt a bit gooey as it sat on my face, but a feel-good, kinda gooey. Even with the gooey-ness, the spa music put me to sleep and I was totally in relax mode. I'm sure I let out a snore here and there.
After the treatment was over, the technician put some toner and sunscreen on my face. He then handed me the mirror so I could see the effects of the treatment. My face looked dewy and rested. It totally put a smile on my face!
After my face mask treatment
The 30+ minutes of taking care of my skin, while sitting quietly in a spa setting was definitely a treat for a busy mom like me. I was nice to be still and quiet, without any distractions. These moments of stillness are few and far between when managing my home and keeping up with work. The Sugar Spa is totally a sweet spot to chilax!

The staff at The Sugar Spa recommends the treatments about once a week. Be sure to check out Groupon for deals on the treatments. The Sugar Spa also offer teeth whitening services and additional facial treatments.

Be sure to follow them on Facebook for specials and exclusive deals!

Thanks to The Sugar Spa for the "gold" treatment! See you soon!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary 24k Gold Face Mask treatment in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are  mine. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Weekend Recap: Family Fun at Great Wolf Lodge

This is the 19th birthday I'm celebrating with my husband. Time flies! This winter will be 20 years since we've known each other. We've shared lots of awesome memories, the most special are the ones we share with our kids.

Hubby always chooses something fun the entire family can enjoy when it comes to celebrating his birthday. This year he chose to spend the weekend at the new Great Wolf Lodge in Garden Grove, CA.

We arrived at Great Wolf Lodge at about 7PM after Friday evening traffic driving from San Diego to Garden Grove. Garden Grove is right next to Anaheim, just a few minutes away from Disneyland.

We spent Friday night exploring the resort and playing a few games at the arcade. The kids loved the games, earning tickets, and cashing in for prizes. It was a great way to kick off our stay.

The next morning, we got up early to be the first ones at the water park. The Great Wolf Lodge's highlight is it's huge indoor water park which is only accessible to hotel guests. The water park opened at 9am on the day of our visit. There were a few early birds there with us so the water park was not crowded. We had our choice of lounge chairs and picnic tables. The kids were able to roam the water park with out waiting long lines for the water slides. The venue was clean and comfortable.

As the day progressed, the water park had more guests but it was never crowded. The kids still were able to enjoy the water park without long waits or crowded attractions.

By mid-afternoon though, the water park was in need of a "pick me up". Lunch trays with left over food, stray napkins, drink cups, used towels were all over without a staff member in sight to clean up throughout the day. I mostly blame the guests who did not clean up after themselves. Other than that, the rest of our stay was excellent!

By about 3PM, my kids were exhausted. They had, as they said, "Too much fun". We definitely had a great time!

Tips for your visit to Great Wolf Lodge:
1) Beat the crowds and visit the water park early.
2) Sign up to be an exclusive member for special rates and discounts.
3) Book early, rooms sell out quickly. Our stay was only one night since our planned 2nd day was sold out. We wish we could've stayed longer.
4) Military families have special discounts!
5) The resort has so much more fun to do in addition to the water park. Plan to purchase a Wolf Pass to save on the other attractions at the resort. Staff says these attractions could occupy 6-8 hours of fun so play accordingly! We hope to visit again to try out all the extra attractions!

Visit to plan your family vacation soon!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Hands On Technology Camp for Kids

I love "On This Day" notifications on Facebook. Today, this funny video came up on my feed.

This video is 5 years old. My son Jelo was three years old at the time. Yes, this is him doing a vlog. He was vlogging before I was! It's hard to make out what he is saying but there are a few words I can make out, "Hi guys...blah blah blah...Facebook...blah blah blah...Google.....blah blah". His rambles continue until he sees me approaching (you can spot me at the very end of the video) and he ends is vlog entry.  

My Jelo has had a passion for all things technology his whole life. You can see his technology inventions and creations on Instagram with the hashtag #GarciaYayTechnology.

A photo posted by Lysabeth Luansing-Garcia (@lovelylysa) on

He started with the iPhone 3G, using apps like Starfall and Teach Me to learn his phonics, numbers, colors are more. As he grew up, as did his devices: iPod Touch, Nexus 7, Motorola Xoom,  iPad Mini, Kyrocera Tribute, iPhone 4s, Windows Lumia 365, and now iPhone 5c. These are all hand me downs from his daddy, who works in the technology industry, and grandparents who upgrade at every chance they get.

Some of his favorite apps today are Pokemon Go, CNET, Minecraft, BrainPop, and TenMarks. The YouTube videos he likes watch include CNET, tech tutorials, and Minecraft videos.

This past summer, Jelo was able to participate in two technology summer camps which he enjoyed immensely!

The first camp was Hands On Technology. We are very thankful for the scholarship he received for technology camps can be very pricey.

With Hands on Technology, Jelo learned about computer programming, engineering, and even essential typing fundamentals which many students doing get during the regular school year.

Jelo was able to build this own Android apps, games, and even design his own circuits projects. I loved seeing him excited about his learning and being able to apply what he had learned.

Here is a video of him explaining the MIT App Inventor that he learned how to use at Hands On Technology Summer Camp.

I'm so very proud of my little guy and his dedication to exploring his love of computer science and technology! Thank you again to Hands On Technology for allowing Jelo to be a part of their program this year!

For more info on Hands On Technology, visit their website or visit them on Facebook

Saturday, September 10, 2016

GIVEAWAY: Passport to Adventure - Disney on Ice

My boys are growing up too fast. I hope they don't grow out of their love of Disney too soon.
Disney on Ice 2015
When I asked them if they wanted to watch this season's Disney on Ice, I was afraid they would respond with the "Ew, noooooo! That's for babies!" answer which seems to be their response for many things these days. Instead, they said "yeeeeeees!" and asked if they could bring their little cousins!

Garcia Bros. and their cousins are excited to see the tour guides Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in the magical globetrotting getaway. Disney On Ice Passport to Adventure. The show will take all in attendance to the timeless worlds of Disney’s The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan and the #1 animated feature film of all time, Frozen. Celebrate some of the most memorable Disney tales and landscapes with all your favorite characters in one fun-filled ice production, coming to San Diego from October 6th – 9th at the Valley View Casino Center.

Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure features an international team of award-winning figure skaters, high-energy choreography and a colorful set that captures all four unique worlds. Upbeat music, lovable characters and unforgettable moments make this an experience families will cherish forever!

Thursday, Oct. 6, 7pm
Friday, Oct. 7 , 7pm
Saturday, Oct. 8, 11am, 3pm, 7pm
Sunday, Oct. 9, 1pm, 5pm

Valley View Casino Center
3500 Sports Arena Blvd., San Diego CA 92110

Ticket prices start at just $15!

Special Opening Night discount tickets available for only $12 each (not valid for VIP/Front Row levels)

All seats are reserved; tickets are available for purchase online at or charge by phone at 888-9AXS-TIX or visit the Valley View Casino Center Box Office.
*tickets prices are subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply

I'm giving away a family 4-pack of tickets to Disney On Ice Passport to Adventure

Enter here!

For more info on Disney on Ice:

Garcia Family will be there opening night! Hope to see you there!

Disclaimer: I received complimentary tickets to Disney On Ice in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are mine. 
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