Tuesday, June 20, 2017

We LOVED the Lincoln Date Night Experience

Date nights are few and far between for hubby and I. I know this is the case for many couples as well. Be it finances, time, or babysitting, for many of us getting away for a date night for a few hours is tough. 

Thanks to Witt Lincoln of San Diego and the "Lincoln Date Night" promotion, we got this cool ride and some cash to enjoy a night out. Well, for us it wasn't really a date night, it was more of a day outing with included some lunch and shopping as a pre-father's day treat for hubby!

So, how does it work?

What did we LOVE about the Lincoln MKZ?

The car drove really well, but what I loved the most was all the features inside the vehicle which made for comfort and enjoyment. 

First, I loved the seat coolers! Today was one of the first warm days of summer here in San Diego so the seat coolers were very much appreciated! The subtle cool air was awesome!

Second, the seats have massage functions! The driver and front passengers have their own controls for massage features on the seats. For my long commutes to and from work, these massage seats would be heavenly after a long day.

Third, the sound system in the MKZ was impressive. The clip in the video below does not do it justice. You can read all about the 19-speaker sound system here.

Marco Jimenez, Internet Consultant from Witt Lincoln was super helpful in getting us set up! The entire experience from vehicle pick up to drop off was no pressure. There was no sales talk, just a simple offer "If you are ever in the market to buy a car, please consider us, " and that was it.  The entire experience really was a genuine offer to experience the Lincoln MKZ without any strings attached.

You can email marco.jimenez@wittlincoln.com or call 619-358-5018 to inquire on the availability of the vehicles for your own Lincoln Date Night.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Benefits of Holistic Healing with Dr. Luib

What is holistic medicine?

The premise of holistic medicine is healing the whole individual: body, mind, and soul. 

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Catherine Sy Luib of the Luib Health Center of San Diego.
She believes that it is important to take time and use a holistic approach to make sure that she treats the root cause of an individual's pain or illness and to not just address the symptoms being experienced.

She believes that pain or illness are a result of an imbalance between the mind, body, and spirit. They all work together to maintain wellness and harmony. When there is an imbalance, the whole individual is affected, not just that one spot or symptom.

As I've gotten older, I've started to listen more to my body, especially when it comes to stress at work. I've found when I'm in stressful situations at work (MIND), I get my migraine headaches and feel fatigue (BODY), which results in an irritable mood (SPIRIT). 

One of those stressful times at work
Most recently, I hurt my shoulder cleaning the bathroom. I was on my hands and knees, getting to the nooks and crannies behind the toilet where boys always seem to aim. With one wrong swipe of my arm, I heard something pop and a horrible pain stabbed at my shoulder. Urgent care said I had STERNOCLAVICULAR JOINT PAIN with TRAPEZIUS (NECK AND SHOULDER) STRAIN. I was sent home with codine, ibuprofen, and an arm brace. The pain should have subsided within a week. A month later, my shoulder still hurts.
So, for my visit with Dr. Luib, I talked to her about my shoulder pain. She suggested I have the combo treatment which included lying on a Biomat for Cellular Healing with Amethyst Crystals, Sound Therapy using Tibetan Bowls, and aromatherapy with lavender essential oils.

Here is a snippet of my combo therapy experience:

Thank you to Lora of LoraSaysSo for taking the video!

After my 15 minute treatment, I felt so relaxed. I've listened to Tibetan Bowls on YouTube to help me sleep, yet nothing compares the the "live" version. The sounds were hypnotizing, where within a few seconds my mind had cleared, by body got really heavy and relaxed. The lavender helped me focus on my breathing, deep breathing in to take in the aroma and exhaling to relax. The Biomat was warm on my back, relaxing my muscles. I could feel my shoulder was a bit looser, less pain. The 15 minute treatment left me energized as if I had taken an hour nap. Dr. Luib did notice a few snores that escaped during my treatment, it was that good!

Benefits from the Amethyst Biomat, taken from www.luibhealthcenter.com:
  • The temporary relief of minor muscle and joint pain stiffness;
  • The temporary relief of joint pain associated with arthritis;
  • The temporary relief of muscle spasms;
  • Minor sprains and strains, and minor muscular pain;
  • The relaxation of muscles;
  • And the temporary increase of local circulation where applied.
Benefits of Tibetan Singing Bowls taken from www.yogayoga.com:
  • Reduce stress and anxiety significantly
  • Lower anger and blood pressure
  • Improve circulation and increases blood flow
  • Deep relaxation and pain relief
  • Chakra balancing
  • Increase mental and emotional clarity
  • Promote stillness, happiness and well being
  • stimulates the immune system
Benefits of lavender oil taken from DrAxe.com
  • Reduces anxiety and emotional stress
  • Heals burns and wounds
  • Improves sleep
  • Restores skin complexion and reduces acne
  • Slows aging with powerful antioxidants
  • Improves eczema and psoriasis
  • Alleviates headaches
  • Stimulate the immune system

Dr. Luib also gave me sample of Theramu Relieve which she carries in her office. Made with Emu Oil and pure hemp extract, immediate relief is experienced when applied directly to area of pain. I placed a pea size portion on my shoulder before taking a nap. When I woke up, I didn't feel the usual pain I feel when I wake up.

A few of the services offered at the Luib Health Center include, but are not limited to:
  • Chiropractic
  • Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
  • Herb and Vitamin Supplement

Dr. Luib offers free consultations. Visit her website to call, email, or send an online form to schedule your appointment.

Dr. Luib also has lots of very informational blog posts on her website. Here are a few I enjoyed reading:

Thank you to Dr. Luib for hosting Lora and I on behalf of the San Diego Filipino Bloggers Network.

Please visit http://www.luibhealthcenter.com/ and give Dr. Luib's Facebook page a LIKE!

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

Monday, June 12, 2017

Visiting Washington DC with Kids: Day Four

Washington DC with Garcia Memories:
Day One
Day Two
Day Three

By the time Day 4 of our Washington DC trip came around, our boys had become pros on the Metro. I was impressed with their ability to follow along on the maps and use their Metro etiquette.

We started the day at The National Archives. We tried to get their early since we were not able to secure reservations. The archives opened at 9AM, we got there a little before 9 and there was already a long line outside. Most of the people in line were school field trips. The line moved quickly and soon we were inside viewing The Constitution and The Bill of Rights. No pictures are allowed inside.

Next was the Library of Congress which was the main reason for our trip. The boys were excited to see the "largest library in the world". Once inside the boys were expecting a traditional library, but a really large library. They thought they'd be able to browse the shelves and get lost in the books. Unfortunately, the Library of Congress doesn't work this way. Nonetheless, they were awed by the library, even if it was from the balcony, behind glass windows.

Next stop... The Capitol

We had a short walk from The Library of Congress to Congressman Scott Peters office in the Longworth House Office building which is one of three buildings which house the offices of the House of Representatives. Here we met an intern from San Diego who would take us to our tour of The Capitol.

The intern took us through the underground tunnels from the Longworth House Office Building to the Capitol Building. There were two security checks in the tunnels, as well as lots of "official" looking government people busily walking to and from, with lots of important conversations in passing. The security guards look a vial of my essential oils. Apparently, peppermint oil is a security threat. Anyways. In the tunnels, they boys were impressed there were small Best Buy, Verizon, and AT&T stores, as well as Subway, Baskin Robbins, Dunkin' Donuts, and other eateries.

At the end of the tunnel was the The US Capitol Visitors Center where the intern secured our tickets and set us up with our tour.

Highlights of The Capitol:

United States Capitol rotunda
Within the Rotunda there are eight large paintings about the development of the United States as a nation. On the east side are four paintings depicting major events in the discovery of America. On the west are four paintings depicting the founding of the United States.

National Statuary Hall
The National Statuary Hall Collection in the United States Capitol is composed of statues donated by individual states to honor persons notable in their history.

Hello CNN
The House of Representatives Chamber
The House was not in session but were were able to sit up in the gallery. We had to check in all our bags before going into the chamber. Again, no pictures allowed inside. I hope our boys remember the experience of sitting in the gallery when they see footage of the House of Representatives on the news.

Next stop was the Bureau of Printing and Engraving
I'm bummed we were not allowed to take pictures during this tour. It was amazing seeing pallets of $20 bill sheets. It literally smelled of money in the factory. There was a point in the tour when one of the technicians held up a sheet of $20 dollar bills and said the total was $250,000. WOW!

Before heading back to our hotel, we had to have one last view of the cherry blossoms from my favorite spot at the MLK Monument.

We had a great family vacation in Washington DC. The city is very easy to get around and there is so much to see and do. Of course we didn't see everything we had hoped to see. We'll hope to visit DC again in the future. I'm very blessed to have been able to share this experience with my husband and kids. Garcia Memories were definitely made!

Click here >> Day One
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

Click here >> Day Two
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

Click here >> Day Three
The White House
National Postal Museum
Union Station

Click here >> Day Four
National Archives
Library of Congress
The Capitol
Bureau of Printing and Engraving
Cherry Blossoms

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Happy Me with the #AirBrushApp

Weekends are days off, even from makeup. I sleep in a bit longer and spend less time getting ready for busy Saturday mornings driving my boys to and from their activities. 

Jelo and I snapped a few pictures together this weekend and I looked really tired in the pictures. Despite our big smiles, you can tell from my face I'm a tired, working mommy.  Bags under my eyes and a bleh skin tone. My lips even look ashy, ew!

Thank goodness for the magic of smartphone apps to work magic on my face!

The Airbrush app is super easy to use and has many different functions. You can remove acne, smooth and firm, and even reshape your face. The "makeup" function has different makeup settings like subtle, modern, nude, and smokey. 

Here I used the "nude" setting which is most like the makeup I use on weekdays at work. 

 Yes, that's make up on Jelo's face too! But that was easily remedied. There's a function to only put the makeup filter on certain faces on the picture.

Here I am with my virtual makeup on and Jelo without!

Here are a few before and after photos side by side. There is a subtle difference, enough to make me less "haggard" looking, haha!


I do believe that natural beauty is best. I am comfortable being out without makeup on days when I don't have to be at work. When at work, for me, makeup is part of my "professional attire". It makes me feel "put together". 

I use apps like Airbrush for the posterity of my photos. When photos show up on "On This Day" feeds or when I visit my hashtags like #GarciaBrosSay, I want to be able to see myself as pretty and happy, not tired and haggard looking. I won't remember years from now whether I had makeup on or not. What I will remember is how happy the day was and how happy I look in the moment. 

I've had lots of fun with this app. It's FREE and is awesome! The Airbrush app is available on both Android and Apple app stores.

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

Washington DC with Garcia Memories:
Day One
Day Two
Day Three

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!

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