Archives for July 2012

Roadtrip – Casa Grande Ruins National Monument – Coolidge, Arizona

Our Latino Heritage road trip continued towards the Southwest to Coolidge, Arizona.  We had the opportunity to obtain a guided  tour of the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument with the National Park Service Superintendent, Karl Cordova.  His staff is  dedicated to conserving, preserving, and providing an atmosphere for recreation at the Casa Grande Ruins.  They also reach out to the local community and visit local schools.

The Casa Grande Monument is one of the largest prehistoric structures ever built in North America. It is the first prehistoric and cultural site in the United States.   The four story structure was built around 1300 and is located about an hour drive from Phoenix, AZ and Tuscon, AZ.  The protected area spans about 472.5 acres.  It’s purpose remains a mystery.


The area is also home to the largest cactus in the United States, the Saguaro cactus.  A mature Saguaro cactus is about 40-50 feet tall, 125 years old and weighs about 6 tons.   I felt so small next to the Saguaro cactus.  The cactus was a source of food and the wood was used to create tools.

As I walked towards the structure it’s very hard to imagine that a structure made out of sand, calcium carbonate & clay is still standing after over 650 years.  We learned that the area also didn’t have any water which must have made it a challenge to obtain and transport water during the period.  The ancient Sonoran people did all their building without the basic tools similar to what we use today.  Their basic tools were their hands, a digging stick and a planting stick.  It’s amazing how much they accomplished.  It’s obvious that the Sonoran desert people were very resourceful and innovative.

In speaking with the Superindendent, he advised that Archeologists discovered evidence that the ancient Sonoran Desert people who built the Casa Grande also developed wide-scale irrigation farming and extensive trade connections which lasted over a thousand years until about 1450 C.E.

The next time you’re near Tucson or Phoenix, Arizona consider going to the Casa Grande and explore the history.   It will be an educational opportunity for the entire family.   To discover our shared heritage at National Park Services find out what is happening in your local community or order a map of National Park Museums in the Southwest and other regions at and plan your next roadtrip.


The #LatinoHeritage roadtrip celebrates the contributions of American Latinos throughout the national park and historic places across the country.  For additional information regarding the Casa Grande Ruins, please visit  For additional information regarding the American Latino Heritage programs,  check and Support the American Latino Heritage Fund.  For live tweets, please follow the conversation on Twitter by checking the #LatinoHeritage hashtag on Twitter.

Disclosure: The Latino Heritage roadtrip was partially funded by American Latino Fund, Verizon Wireless & General Motors.  The vehicle driven during the roadtrip was provided by General Motors.  All opinions and content rights are my own.

Question:  Did you know that the National Park Service is honored to connect with people in local communities?   Have you visited any local National Parks are near your community?  What is your favorite local National Park to visit?

Road Trip: Arizona and Vicious Dust Storms

We continued the Latino Heritage Roadtrip towards Arizona as soon as we finished our trip to San Diego Old Town & Old Point Loma Light House.  It was a very long day on the road, approximately 409 miles.  Not many scenic stops, routes or historical sites on our trip towards Scottsdale, Arizona.  However, the landscape was beautiful.


After a short nap, I woke up and noticed gloom in the sky and a very dark cloud in the horizon. I asked my husband what that was — it looks like a huge cloud of rain. However, at that exact moment I noticed it was far away from us. It looked like we were going in the opposite direction of the huge dark cloud. However, within a couple of minutes it looked like we were headed straight into it.


The dust storm was incredibly strong and the winds were powerful. There were moments when we had zero visibility, but we got us through it safely, in part because of the vehicle we were driving, GMC Terrain.  We felt very safe in the crossover.

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, here are the steps to safely handle dust storms:

  • Avoid driving into or through a dust storm
  • Do not wait until poor visibility makes it difficult to safely pull off the roadway —do it as soon as possible. Completely exit the highway if you can.
  • If you encounter a dust storm, check traffic immediately around your vehicle (front, back and to the side) and begin slowing down.
  • Do not stop in a travel lane or in the emergency lane; look for a safe place to pull completely off the paved portion of the roadway.
  • Stop the vehicle in a position ensuring it is a safe distance from the main roadway and away from where other vehicles may travel.
  • Turn off all vehicle lights, including your emergency flashers.
  • Set your emergency brake and take your foot off the brake.
  • Stay in the vehicle with your seatbelts buckled and wait for the storm to pass.
  • Drivers of high-profile vehicles should be especially aware of changing weather conditions and travel at reduced speeds.
  • A driver’s alertness and safe driving ability is still the number one factor to prevent crashes.

The Latino Heritage Roadtrip aims to document  the his­tory of the nation through four regional road trips span­ning thou­sands of miles in the north­east, south­east, south­west and mid­west. The American Latino Fund celebrates the contributions of American Latinos throughout the national park and historic places across the country.  Check to learn more about the programs and Support the American Latino Heritage Fund.


Please join me and my fellow road trip colleagues as we go on an adventure of a lifetime.  For live tweets, please follow the conversation on Twitter by checking the #LatinoHeritage hashtag.  Please check back later for additional photos.

The vehi­cle being dri­ven on this road trip is pro­vided by Gen­eral Motors. Please fol­low @GM_diversity on Twitter.

Question:  Have you ever encountered severe weather conditions on a roadtrip?  How did you handle it?  What additional tips would you provide for handling severe weather?


Roadtrip to Cabrillo National Monument, Old Point Loma Lighthouse and Old Town San Diego California

We’ve started our American Latino Heritage roadtrip of the Southwest with stops in San Diego, Arizona, New Mexico & Nevada. We’re visiting historic sites protected by the National Park Service that honor the contributions of Latinos throughout American history.  As I prepared for the trip I identified a number of historical sites in my surrounding areas, especially in my home town of San Diego.   I never realized these treasures existed in my back yard.

Being raised my a single mom in Mexico and then in Calfornia didn’t give my mother many opportunities to take us on field trips, other than visiting relatives in Mexico.  As I’ve become an adult and raise children of my own, staying connected to my heritage is something that is very important.  This road trip has been a perfect opportunity to connect with my Hispanic Heritage.

On day one we encountered the beauty of historical sites in San Diego, including the Cabrillo National monument, Old Point Loma lighthouse and historic Old Town San Diego.

In 1542, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo stepped into history as the first European to set foot on what is now the West Coast of the United States. A monument was buit on a hilltop where it is believed he landed.  We watched the story of the 16th century exploration and walked towards the grounds of the monument. The monument is also home to one of the most breathtaking views of San Diego.

We also visited the lighthouse. This was my husband’s first time at the Cabrillo Monument. It was exciting to see him explore the surroundings.  The lighthouse is very small.  The people that lived in it were very resourceful with space.  Walking around the lighthouse I couldn’t help to think whether the residents were lonely on top of the hilltop.

Cabrillo National Monument features a 16th century Spanish History museum where you can learn about the Spanish explorations. The lighthouse museum also highlights life at the Lighthouse and the history of the longest standing Lighthouse keeper family, the Israels Lighthouse keepers who lived and worked at the old Point Loma lighthouse for 18 years.





We traveled to the heart of the city of San Diego to old town and also saw the very first elementary school that was opened in San Diego and La Casa de Estudillo.  I’m looking forward to sharing more photos on the epic home on my Facebook page.

For additional information about Cabrillo National Monument visit the National Parks Services Cabrillo National monument page or Old Point Loma page.

The American Latino Fund celebrates the contributions of American Latinos throughout the national park and historic places across the country.  Check to learn more about the programs and Support the American Latino Heritage Fund.

Please join me and my colleagues as we go on an adventure of a lifetime.  For live tweets, please follow the conversation on Twitter by checking the #LatinoHeritage hashtag.  Please check back later for additional photos.

Question:  Have you ever gone on a roadtrip to a National Park or historical site?  What park did you visit? 



Never Leave Your Child Alone In A Car for “Just A Minute”

Yesterday I observed two people leave their kids in the car for “just a minute”. I saw a car stop in front of Office Depot. The man hopped out of the car and left the car running in 100 degree weather! As I crossed the street towards the parking lot I looked at the car and said, “Hmmm, maybe not a good idea to leave a Mercedes with the engine running and the keys in the ignition parked on the curb”.


I also saw an infant in his car seat with his little brother consoling him in the back seat. I stood there  and watched the kids with my friends until the dad walked out of the store, hopped back into his car and drove away without a care in the world.

A couple hours later I went to Radio Shack with my husband and as we parked the car we noticed that the vehicle next to us had its windows down. A little boy stood up from the back seat of the car and started walking around the car.  We notice that the child was by himself in the car. He waved at me and looked worried. Then the unthinkable happened, he opened the door.

Seriously, I just couldn’t take it anymore! I got out of  the car, walked into the store and looked for the store clerk, mom or dad and found the parents. The Mom says, “My husband was keeping an eye on him while we were in the store for just a minute”.  They noticed that their son was walking outside of the car, picked him up, put the kids in the car and they drove off.

When a child is left alone in the car there is no one there to make sure the temperature is safe for them. They also can’t protect themselves from other people that may want to cause them harm.   Someone may not always be around to watch kids that are left in the car by themselves.  Everyone says, it just can’t happen to me, but all it takes is a minute to put your child in harms way.

I think next time I may not be so nice and watch people’s kids that are by themselves in their car and I’ll call the police. And then again, I think I’ll watch the kids because who else will.



Eva Smith Tech Life Magazine





Question: What would you do if you saw a child by themselves in a car? Would you ignore it? Would you find the parents?  Would you call the police?

Dollar General Comes to California and $25 Gift Card Giveaway #DGlatino

Great news for California moms and families – Dollar General is opening 50 new stores.  Dollar General is different because it is convenient and affordable.   The stores are typically located in suburban, rural and metropolitan communities.

I recently had the opportunity to shop at a new Dollar General Store in Southern California.  In preparation for my shopping experience, I checked the online site for coupons, discounts and deals.  I clipped the $5 OFF $25 or more at DG coupon on Saturday, 7/14/2012 coupon and a couple of $1 and $2 off coupons for household and beauty products.  I also printed the coupons using the coupon print application provided by Dollar General and saved over $13 at the checkout!


The store is well stocked with National name brand food, snacks, school supplies, cleaning supplies, apparel for mom, dad and kids, party supplies and beauty supplies.  Find out more at –> .  I was able to purchase household products for our home, beauty products,  treats for our puppy and back to school products for my nephews — all at a discounted rate! If I had to do similar shopping at any other store I would have to go to 3 stores.   It’s a one stop shop for household needs for families.  Overall, I had an excellent experience.


In addition to giving discounts to shoppers, Dollar General also gives back to the community.   Dollar General is committed to the communities it serves and has a longstanding tradition of supporting literacy and education.  More information about the Dollar General Literacy Foundation can be found at


To celebrate the opening of additional new stores, Dollar General has provided me with a $25 gift certificate to share with my readers. The deadline for this Giveaway is July 31, 2012.

This giveaway is open to to US entries only. 18 and up. This is part of a sponsored campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and Dollar General. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Tech Tuesday: Google Analytics Retiring Old Version & Focusing on New Version

Google Analytics announced today that they were retiring the old version. The new version include Google Analytics Real-Time,  a set of new reports that show what’s happening real-time on your site.  Google Analytics Real-Time was released on September 2011.  My favorite features include Social Reports which provide insight on social media source &  traffic being referred to your site. The mobile report also provides a comprehensive report on mobile devices referral to your site.  The new version of Google Analytics puts a lot of useful information at your fingertips.

For example, If you’re working on a campaign, you can immediately see the traffic that is being referred after you publish your article via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Stumbleupon, Reddit, or other Social Media platforms.

The data can be useful to bloggers and marketers to develop future social campaigns and help determine the best time of day for the increased traffic and the source of traffic for your campaigns.  I’m loving all the new features.

Question:  Are you using Google Analytics? What is your favorite Google Analytics Real-time feature?

Home Sweet Home! OCFair Opening Day – Top 5 Tips For Surviving #OCFair

The “Home Sweet Home” themed OCFair 2012 opened on July 13, 2012 to a huge crowd of thousands of fans from across the country. We had to be there for all of the excitement and gathered a group of foodies to enjoy the fun!  The Orange County Fair has grown from a small community celebration to a huge 23 day celebration.  Last year a record 1.4 million people attended the fair.   This year the fair is scheduled to open Wednesday thru Sunday on July 13 – August 12.  The There’s No Place Like Home themed event is a tribute to the love of food and respect for the environment in which it is grown.   The focus is also on  locally grown, sustainable concepts and up-cycled creativity.


We were so excited about the theme and calendar of events that we purchased full passes for the entire 23 days!   Let’s just see how many times I can go to the fair for lunch during the 23 day extravaganza, especially on $2 OCFair Food Fair days!

Here are my Top 5 Tips for surviving the OCFair.

#1:  Wear comfortable clothing, a hat & take Cash:

I had the shoes and outfit all planned out.  Little cute flat shoes with a denim dress and an orange hat. However, I did not take any cash. Thankfully between my purse, car & pockets I found $7.  The Fair parking costs $7 Cash and doesn’t accept credit cards or debit cards for parking.   Some of the vendors also do not accept debit or credit cards.    I had to get a couple dollars from the ATM to buy food and paid a $3 service charge to use the ATM.   Thankfully there are many ATMs scattered throughout the park.  However,  to avoid delays and service charges make sure to take plenty of cash.

#2:  Make it a Day trip and Take a group of family and/or friends: 

Life is about creating memories with the people you love.  Consider getting a group of people or family members together and making OCFair a memorable day trip.   I’ve been working in the OC for over 16 years and have never attended the OC Fair.  Getting together with my foodie friends is something I will always remember. Sharing the experience with friends made my first visit to the OCFair extra special and FUNtastic! There are so many things to see at the fair including crafts, educational demonstrations, food exhibits, celebrity chefs, livestock, musicians, performers and more. Check the daily events calendar online or pick one up at the gate for all the the details.

My favorites performers were the Peking Acrobats.  However, the most memorable exhibit is the Let Freedom Ring exhibit located in the Family Fairway.  The exhibit features steel beam sections from the World Trade Center and is meant to serve as a tangible reminder of the events that occurred during September 11, 2001 and a symbol of renewal, inspiration, unity and hope for our nations future.  There is also a daily tribute for heroes It also has a small park to sit and reflect.

#3:  It’s all about the Food! Eat lots of food, be merry & share: 

I shared my food with fellow foodies and we were able to enjoy more food than when I go to the fair with smaller groups.  I ate Kettle Corn, Chicken Charlie’s Maui chicken with fresh pineapples, a Fried Oreo, a Veggie Kabob and  a Pasilla Chile with pepper jack cheese.   Take advantage of the $2 Taste of Fair Food Days which occur every Friday from Noon-4pm.  Purchase $2 items from the food vendors for a delicious time with family and friends.

Every Thursday is Food Truck Fare Thursday. Check the Food Truck lineup for schedule of trucks in attendance.

The Courtyard Wine seminars is the perfect stop for wine enthusiasts.  Enjoy cheese & wine pairing with 8 award winning wines on Saturday and Sunday.

The exhibit is located in the heart of the Home Sweet Home exhibit at the Exhibit Promenade and includes a chocolate lovers paradise at the Chocolate unwrapped exhibit to enjoy divine all natural chocolate making demonstrations by Xan Confections. Robert Irvine the Host of the Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible will be there on July 26 and Fabio Viviani, Finalist on the fifth season of Bravo’s Top Chef on August 2.  All demonstrations will include Q&A followed by autograph signing.  Chef Ray Presents owner will be at the Fair creating amazing fruit and vegetable sculptures.  Greggy Soriano Cake Lush & Pastry chef and celebrity cake designer will also be at the OC Fair daily creating cake designs.

#4: Buy the SUPER PASS:

If you’re planning on returning to the OCFair more than three times and/or considering attending a Pacific Amphitheatre event make sure to purchase the Super Pass.  The benefits of purchasing a Super Pass includes Admission to the OC Fair for all 23 days.  Express entry at all the Fair gates, 2-for-1 concert tickets for select Pacific Amphitheatre events,  20% off select events in the Hangar and Action Sports Avenue, a carnival ticket book.

#5 OC Fair Admission & Carnival  promotions:

One of the things I admire about the OCFair is its Philanthropy. OCFair supports local community efforts by giving back to the community & families with promotions that pay tribute to our military veterans and discounts to make the OCFair a family event. The OCFair also provides a way for visitors to give back with WE CARE WEDNESDAY promotions.

Here is a summary of the OC Fair Admission & Carnival  promotions during July 13-August 12:

  • Everyday is HEROES GET IN FREE Day!  Active military or veterans get a FREE admission daily with ID.
  • Every Thursday is Kids Day. Children 12 and under get  FREE Admission. All day.
  • Every Friday is Seniors Day. $2 off senior admission plus free Ferris wheel and merry-go-round rides — all day.
  • Every Friday from Noon-4pm is $2 Taste of Fair Food Day.
  • Every Friday is  $2 Rides and $2 games Day. Sold until 4pm.
  • Every Saturday & Sunday between 10am-11am is Rise and Shine  Day – $2 Admission
  • $30 unlimited carnival rides every Wednesday & Thursday plus 2 free games. Sold until 5pm. Valid until 8pm.
  • July 18 – Food Drive.  WE CARE WEDNESDAYS. Bring 5 canned food items for FREE Admission
  • July 25 – Children’s Book Drive. WE CARE WEDNESDAYS. Bring 1 new children’s book or 3 gently used children’s books for FREE Admission
  • August 1 – Clothing Drive. WE CARE WEDNESDAYS. Bring 5 gently used clothing items for FREE Admission
  • August 8 – School Supply Drive. WE CARE WEDNESDAYS. Bring 1 new school supply item valued $5 or more for FREE Admission.

Make sure to check out the for calendar of events and daily promotion details.

There’s No Place Like Home! Enjoy your visit to the OCFair.

Question: Have you ever attended a local fair? What is your most memorable experience at the fair?  What is your favorite food to eat at the fair? What additional tips do you have for someone attending OC Fair 2012?


Join us for the American Latino Heritage Roadtrip Twitter Party! #LatinoHeritage

Although the Latino community accounts for approximately 54 million Americans, Latinos represent less than 13% of national park visitors. Continue reading “Join us for the American Latino Heritage Roadtrip Twitter Party! #LatinoHeritage” »


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