Photos: California Sunsets – Oceanside

Oceanside Beach is one of my favorite beaches to capture a sunset!  You can stroll down the pier, listen to the waves, enjoy lunch at the local diner on the pier and watch a beautiful sunset.

 

Celebrating 365 Days of California Strawberries Farm & Culinary Event

Did you know that  nearly 90 percent of U.S.-grown fresh strawberries come from California, with more than 1.7 BILLION pounds being harvested annually – basically, if California were a country, it would be the world’s largest producer of strawberries!

I recently attended the 365 Days of California Strawberries Farm & Culinary Event and learned about the process of growing, cooking and  celebrating life with strawberries.    We enjoyed over 30 different appetizers and entrees made with fresh California Strawberries and toured a California Strawberries farm.  All our strawberry inspired recipes can be easily made at home.

California Strawberries Beach Side

We started off the festivities with a beachside gathering with strawberry appetizers and main dishes.  We had grilled salmon with fresh strawberry mango salsa , strawberry salad with berry dressing, chocolate dipped strawberries and strawberry shortcake.  Two of my favorites dishes were the strawberry gazpacho and strawberry mango salsa.  The gazpacho was light and delightfully sweet.  I also couldn’t resist getting second and third servings of the Mango Salsa with tortilla chips.

 

 

California Strawberries Farm Tour

The following day we headed out to a California Strawberries Farm for a hands on tour of a family owned and operated Strawberry Farm.   We walked through the strawberry fields, learned how to properly pick strawberries, touched and smelled the soil with our bare hands and ate fresh strawberries. We also learned about the hard work, discipline and dedication involved in farming Strawberries.

There are more than 400 strawberry farmers in California, many from multi-generational farming families who grow both conventional and organic strawberries. California grows more organic strawberries than any other place in the world.

Terry & Will Terry (L-R) - Father & Son - Terry Berries Strawberry Farmers

Our favorite multi-generational strawberry farm is Terry Berries Farm, the farm we toured.   Edgar Terry an Oxnard native and farmer was raised by a family that has farmed in Ventura, California since 1890. A fourth generation Californian, Edgar wanted to be a farmer since he was a child.   Edgar runs his family owned business, Terry Farms, Inc., alongside his wife of 29 years, Martha, who handles HR for the company. His son, William, handles the day-to-day farming activities, while his daughter manages employee compliance, hiring and food safety. Edgar’s brother runs the machine shop.  In addition to growing strawberries on 200 acres since 2002, Edgar grows a variety of crops, including celery, peppers, cilantro and spinach on about 2,000 acres of land.

 

California Strawberries Culinary Event

After our California Strawberries Farm tour we celebrated with more Strawberry inspired recipes.  Our specially prepared menu highlights the nutritional benefits and creatively prepared recipe ideas for  cooking with strawberries:

We enjoyed fresh herbs in farms cheese with stuffed strawberries rolled in pecan bacon.  Yes! Bacon.  These yummy appetizers were very savory.  The lacinto kale salad with strawberries, red grapes, spicy candied pecan & blue cheese was my favorite entree.

After enjoying the mountain views  for a couple minutes we enjoyed our next course, grilled chicken tacos with savory strawberry serrano, fire roasted corn, red onions, avocado salsa with ancho cheese.   We also savored a peanut butter, strawberry jam and bacon Kobe slider with waffle fries and strawberry ketchup.  The strawberry ketchup was delicious!

We ended our culinary experience with a strawberry shortcake popsicle and strawberries and ice cream.   It was truly one of the most amazing culinary experiences I have ever attended.  My palette is still dancing!

California Strawberries Nutritional FUN facts

  • Superfruit: 8 strawberries contain more vitamin C than an orange. Low in sugar, with only about 50 calories, strawberries are a great source of fiber, folate and potassium.
  • Stay smart with strawberries: According to a recent study, eating strawberries more than twice a week appears to delay cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years!
  • Good for your heart: Potassium found in strawberries can help control blood pressure and fight strokes. Plus, antioxidants, fiber and phytochemicals in strawberries have been shown to reduce total cholesterol levels.

 

The next time you buy and eat strawberries, I hope you remember my California Strawberries tour and consider creating nutritional strawberry inspired recipes to celebrate life. Make sure to visit California Strawberries for strawberry recipe ideas & additional tips.

I’m very thankful to California Strawberries for the opportunity to tour a California Strawberries farm and the Terry Family for sharing their love and passion for farming strawberries.

 

 

Disclosure:  I was invited by California Strawberries to tour a California Strawberries Farm.  All opinions are 100% my own.

 

Question:  What is your favorite strawberry inspired recipe?

Virtual Tour of 911 Memorial in New York

I had the opportunity to visit the 911 Memorial.  The memorial commemorates the September 11 attacks in 2001 and stand in the same location where the World Trade Center stood.  The experience was very solemn. 

We stood in silence for over an hour and crossed several lines and check points.  Once we entered the memorial  we walked through the park full of walkways and trees.   The memorial plans to install 400 oak trees in stages and symbolize hope, rebirth, renewal and resilence.   The trees will eventually grow to 80 ft in height and will also provide environmental benefits to Manhattan.  We also walked through the paths of  the twin memorial pools where the WTC twin towers once stood and read the names of victims who lost their lives.  

Towards the end of our tour we visited the survivor tree, which withstood the 9/11 attacks.  The callery pear tree was found among the rubble of the WTC and was badly burned, but still had a live branch.   The tree was nursed back to life at the NYC Parks and Recreation and returned to the 911 memorial site in time for the grand opening.  

Today on the anniversary of September 11 we honor the memory and service of all men and women who lost their lives and the families affected by this event. We also honor the men and women and families who protect our freedom.

For more information about the 911 memorial or to plan a visit go to www.911memorial.org.

Virtual Tour of 911 Memorial in New York

Question: Have you visited the 911 Memorial? Do you plan to visit the 911 memorial?  Do you remember what you were doing on 9/11? How has this event impacted you?

Google Glass Find Your Island Challenge

 

Sharing some photos and a video from our recent #FindYourIsland Challenge. The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel recently sent five Google Glass Explorers on the ultimate adventure on The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel for the Find Your Island Challenge. We experienced the best of the warm Gulf waters and breathtaking islands through a series of Google Glass challenges, from kayaking and parasailing to creating delicious cuisine and capturing beautiful sunsets all while sharing our experience #throughglass.

Enter the beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel Find Your Island sweepstakes to win your own vacation experience.  The grand prize includes your very own trip to Fort Meyers & Sanibel as well as a pair of Google Glasses!

Captured on Google Glass: Our cameraman #throughglass

Captured on Google Glass: My first time parasailing! It was a very calm and serene experience above it all.  I didn’t want to go back to the boat. #throughglass

Very thankful to the Beaches of Fort Myers for the challenge.  So honored to be included in this great experience with fellow Google Glass Explorers “Loki” Williams, Jeris Miller and Keith Kaplan.

 

We found our island!   Visit the Beaches of Fort Myers  & Sanibel and find your island.

Find Your Island Google Glass Challenge


I’m so excited to share the news!  I will be participating in the Find Your Island Challenge with four other Google Glass Explorers. Take the time to meet the Find Your Island Google Explorers, read our bios and join us on an adventure of a lifetime by following the #FindYourIsland hashtag.   This seriously feels like a high tech version of survivor challenge!

 

Travel Details

We’ll be traveling to the  Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel from September 6-9 and sharing our experience through a series of Google Glass challenges.  We’ll be kayaking, eating delicious cuisine and enjoying beautiful sunsets.   I’m so excited to be a part of this campaign with a great group of Google Glass early adopters.

 

 

Giveaway

You can also enter to win your own Google Glass vacation experience at  http://woobox.com/g9nns5.  The grand prize includes your very own trip to Fort Meyers & Sanibel as well as a pair of Google Glasses!

 

I’m off to finish packing!   I hope you will join us on our adventure!

 

 

 

Question: What will you do with your Google Glass vacation package if you win?

Ford Trends – Go Further With Ford Conference 2013

I had the opportunity to attend the Further With Ford  ‪#‎FordTrends‬ 2013 Event & Conference in Detroit, Michigan.  Ford brought together 200 of the nations thought leaders, media and influencers to discuss 13 Trends of 2013, focusing on  five key trends: Disrupting the Drive, Greentopia, Returning to Your Senses, Sculpting the Future and Trust Is the New Black.  

It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to get an insiders look at the Ford culture and innovation.  Ford shared how they bring value and innovation to product design by focusing on the relationship with the consumer and the importance that trust has in the success of a company.  Ford  also gave us a sneak peek to test equipment, partnerships they are working on to improve sustainability and a first hand look at car prototypes of the future. I’m very excited about the way Ford is integrating technology into their product testing & development to make the vehicles of the future almost human-like.  Can you imagine a car of the future sensing your mood and modifying the climate in the car based on it’s interpretations? It’s going to happen!

One of the things I also liked about the Ford Trends conference is that I was able  to reconnect with fellow bloggers and influencers.  Ford Trends conferences provided the forum to learn, network and  partner with fellow bloggers on the test drives and sessions. 

 

Top Five Highlights at Go Further With Ford — Ford Trends 2013 Conference

Visiting the Henry Ford Museum. I was able to learn about Henry Ford’s innovation and legacy.  There are many Ford vehicles, including the Model T and several Presidential cars.  I was also able to sit in the restored Rosa Park’s bus which inaugurated the civil rights movement.  The Ford museum acquired the bus in 2001 after outbidding the Smithsonian Institute with a winning bid of $427, 919.  After doing a little more research, I also learned I sat in Rosa Park’s historic seat.

Meeting Apple Computer CoFounder and Philantropist, Steve Wozniak,  was definitely a lifetime highlight for me.  As an Engineer, I have always admired his innovation.  Steve Wozniak is credited for being the main designer of the first Apple computers. Steve Wozniak also intrigued us with his input on how technology is being integrated into the cars of the future.

We also toured the city of Detroit and participated in various Ford car test driving expeditions and had the opportunity to preview the Ford concept Atlas truck.  The car is futuristic and perfect for a man that loves big trucks with a little edge.  I learned to drive the Fusion Energi efficiently and also tested tried to drive the Ford Fusion around the track in 40 seconds.  I definitely would recommend the Fusion Energi to drivers that are looking for an earth friendly economical vehicle.

 

We celebrated the 50th birthday of the Ford Mustang, my favorite Ford vehicle! Happy Birthday Mustang.  Wishing you another 50 years of success! Ford launched a cool Youtube channel to celebrate 50th anniversary of the Mustang. Watch the Ford Mustang countdown on Youtube by clicking the link.

 

The most memorable part of the conference were the speakers. One of my favorite presentations was the Returning to Your Senses session by Google’s Jenny Lyyken and her discussion on personal choices that attribute to our health, happiness and work balance.  It definitely left a big impression on me and was a great reminder to be a compassionate leader in the workplace.

 

The 13 Trends to follow in 2013 video presentations are also available on Youtube.  If you have the time, I would recommend you watch them or at  least one presentation.

Question:   What was your favorite session at the Ford Trends conference?  What was your biggest takeaway from your favorite session.

Wordless Wednesday: Tranquil Vacation Spaces

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday link up! This week’s topic is Tranquil Vacation Spaces.   

My favorite Tranquil space is Glen Ivy Hot Springs Spas.  It’s the perfect place to relax, detox and rejuvenate.  We travel to Glen Ivy a couple times of year for a  girls day out.  It’s a perfect getaway day trip to unwind.  I also take an annual mother, daughters and granddaughter day out where we pamper my mom.

Question:  What is your tranquil vacation space?  If you’re linking up, be sure to include the title of your photo.

 

Roadtrip to Petrified Forest National Park – Arizona

The Petrified Forest National Park is a United States national park in Navajo and Apache counties in northeastern Arizona.  It is considered one of the largest concentrations of petrified trees in the world.  The tree trunks in the forest have fossilized as petrified wood and is noted for its agates and late Triassic fossils.

A Spanish explorer is rumored to have named the area “El Desierto Pintado” (The Painted Desert) because the hills looked like they were painted with the colors of the sunset.

The trees in the petrified forest look like someone sawed the logs apart but are actually cracked over a period of time.  We were very fortunate to hike throughout the park.  The climate changed several times during our visit at the National park. At the beginning of the exploration there was heavy rains, winds and monsoon warnings.

In the middle of the trip is was hot but very clear.  It was a perfect opportunity to see all the colors of the Petrified Trees.

Towards the final hour of our hike we were alone in complete silence with the petrified forest and we were able to capture the beauty of the forest and a close and personal view of a colorful collared lizard which makes the Petrified Forest their home.  It was a surreal experience for a city girl like me that loves trees.

One of the things I couldn’t help but wonder is how the Petrified Forest was formed.  According to the Petrified National Park the forest dates back to 218 million years ago.  There was a large river system with coniferous trees, tree ferns, and some gingkoes trees along the waterways. As the trees died naturally, some floated downstream to form log jams.

The mineral silica, from volcanic ash, in stages of crystallization replaced most of the organic wood to form petrified trees.  The various “forests”  are those log jams which form the individual parks.   Today some people use petrified wood as a semi-precious gem.  However, it is against the law to remove petrified trees from the National park.

For additional Petrified Forest National Park photos, please go to my FB page HERE.   To plan a visit, go to the Petriefied Forest National Park website:  http://www.nps.gov/pefo .

 

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

Roadtrip to Socorro, New Mexico established 1598

On our Latino Heritage trip through New Mexico we decided to make a stop off the beaten path just to explore a city. Definitely found a lot more than what I was expecting in the small town of Socorro, New Mexico — population 10,000.  The town is so small if you don’t purposely look for it you will miss  it.  So thankful we didn’t miss it.

The city is full of Hispanic culture and history.  Many the buildings and business in the small town were established by Hispanics in the 1800s.

San Miguel Church est. 1821

 

San Miguel Church est. 1821

 

The Lupe Torress House est. 1898

I have a lot of appreciate for this small town because they preserved this history and their heritage proudly.

For additional photos and historical facts about Socorro, NM, please go to my FB page HERE.   To plan a visit, go to http://www.socorronm.gov/ .

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:   Have you ever planned a roadtrip or a vacation to learn more about your heritage?

 

Roadtrip – White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

My heritage is both Mexican and American with a huge influence on Latino culture due to my upbringing by a Latina Mom in Mexico and border town of San Ysidro, CA.  I embrace my bicultural heritage and through the Latino Heritage road trip discovered Hispanic Heritage across America and influence of Hispanics in each of the places we visited.

I had the pleasure of visiting the White Sands National Monument during our Latino Heritage road trip.   The visitor center and monument is located  on U.S. Highway 70, 52 miles east of Las Cruces, New Mexico.   The white as snow dunes were created over three million years ago and look like a comma from outer space.  The White Sands National National Monument was established in 1933 and is one of the world’s natural wonders.

The visitor facilities has a lot of Hispanic influence and was constructed over a period of six years during the Great Depression.   The building was designed to reflect traditional regional Pueblo architecture in the area.  The architects also relied  on the local craftspeople including Hispanic woodcarvers for some of intricate designs.  I really admired the workmanship, latillas and vigas of this adobe building.

The visitor center also features a fully bilingual state of the art museum exhibits with English and Spanish text.  The exhibits provide the history of the architecture of the adobe visitor center and tell the story of the geology of the world’s largest gypsum dunefield, unique plants and animals.

After checking out the exhibits we headed towards the sand dunes.  I jumped out of the car and started snapping photos and literally dancing in the Sand.  This place is phenomenal! It’s a beautiful site to be on top of a White Sand Dune. You can also walk on the dunes with bare feet, even in the hottest summer months.  The sand feels cool and soft to the touch.  White Sands Monument is also very popular among hikers and photographers nationwide.

I also had the opportunity to interview two National Park Service Rangers during our visit as well who shared tips for visiting the glistening White Sands National Monument.

 


If you’re planning a recreational or educational trip to New Mexico head on over to the White Sands National Monument, bring a camera and stay awhile.  Some of the best Park Ranger guided events are scheduled around sun down. We’re definitely coming back! Plan your trip here: http://www.nps.gov/whsa

Disclosure: The Latino Heritage roadtrip was partially funded by American Latino FundVerizon 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 Parks have online resources to help you discover historical sites in your local city or nationwide? Have you ever planned a roadtrip or a vacation to learn more about your heritage?

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