Tech Thursday Tips | Why You Should Use Paperless Post App

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in partnership with Paperless Post.  However, All opinions are my own.

 

I’ve been looking for an easier way to send out invitations and thank you notes. I recently reviewed the Paperless Post app and found that it is very innovative and easy to use.  Paperless post is an events platform with beautiful invitations for every occasion and smart online planning tools to help make gathering easier.

Paperless post provides an easier way to design and send out greeting cards, invitations and gather with friends.  Paperless posts is so innovative it also enables you to organize, schedule sending, followup and track the event from your desktop or phone.  It also lets you select customizable templates to fit your needs, personalize every details including the font and layout and track the status of your events with an inbox.  Paperless post designs are worth celebrating.

Paperless Post Kate Spade

 

One of my favorite features of Paperless posts  is the designer stationary with envelopes.  They have lots of colors and designs to choose from.  My current favorites are the floral cards.    They bring a smile to my friends and family every time I send one.

Paperless Post Thank You

The best feature of Paperless Post is that you can use the app on your desktop or on your phone. Check my Paperless Post Instagram story highlights for videos on how easy it is to use the App.

 

I recently used the Paperless Post app to send a Thank you card and Greeting Card to my family.    It was so easy to design the card, add a background and send.  It takes less than 2 minutes to send stunning cards.  I love Paperless post!

Paperless Post Kate Spade You're A Star

 

Paperless Post Congratulations

 

You are invited to see the latest invitations, thank you cards, love notes and more, designed exclusively for paperless posts.  Consider planning  your next adventure or event with Paperless posts. For more information visit www.paperlesspost.com

 

Download Paperless Post

 

 

Best Places To See California Wildflowers Super Bloom

Updated 3/11/2019

Rain brings 2nd super bloom in 2 years

Wondering where the best places to see California Wildflowers Super bloom? With the recent combination of heat and heavy rains we are expecting Wildflower Super blooms all over the Southland again this year.   Every year between the months of February thru May, the California Wildflowers season blooms in desert and coastal areas.    We normally get superblooms once a decade, but with the abundance of water and perfect amount of sunlight we have two super blooms  within a 2 year period.  It has been a spectacular wildflower season in Southern California, especially the desert areas of Lake Elsinore, Chino Hills, Borrego Springs and Antelope Valley.

The perfect combination of rain, heat and terrain conditions cover barren landscape areas with an abundance of mass wildflowers forming colorful fields of flowers called Super blooms.

 Best places to see California wildflower super blooms

 

Antelope Valley California Poppy Preserve
The 7 mile state park expects the first poppies to bloom between March 1 to April.  You can visit the poppy preserve anytime during the months of March and April to view the beautiful Southern California wildflowers in bloom.   Antelope Valley California Poppy Preserve Park is open from sunrise to sunset.

Make it a day trip and visit the poppies during the 2019 California Poppy Festival which is scheduled for April 27-28, 2019. The Festival is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days, and takes place rain or shine!

Photos in the flowers are not allowed.  Visit the site for up to date information.  This area is also kid-friendly.

 


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Anza Borrego Desert State Park
Anza Borrego Desert State Park’s superbloom is in full effect.  With the recent rains there is a burst of color across the desert.  The Superbloom typically only comes every ten years, but this is the second time in 2 years the Superbloom has returned.  This years superbloom is expected to be more spectacular than the last.    Anza Borrego Desert State Park has trails, camping groups, water falls, bighorns and wildflower preserves. The March and April bloom are expected to cover most of the park. The bloom is expected to peak in the middle of March – beginning of April, depending on temperature and rain.   Check the Anza Borrego Wildflower updates for exact dates.   Check the State park site for details on camping reservations.    This area is also kid-friendly.

There is water and tables.  There is some shaded areas.  There are restrooms.

Chino Hills State Park
Chino Hills State Park is a state park of California, in the United States. It is located in the Chino Hills, foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains.   The hidden gem is popular for its Wild Flowers trails in Chino Hills State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you. Facilities consist of a picnic area, camping sites, equestrian staging area and corrals, a historic barn, water and restrooms. 

To see the wildflowers pay the entrance fee, drive about 2 miles to the HORSE CAMP sign and park your car.  The poppies are located on Bane Ridge Trail.  Protect the wildlife and plants by staying on designated trails .   The park closes at 5pm so plan your trip accordingly to allow enough time to see the poppy flowers and leave before the park closes. 

 

Crafton Hills
The hills near Crafton Hills Community College are covered with flowers.  The flower bloom is located on Sand Canyon Rd in Yucaipa, California. There is also several hiking trails at Crafton Hills Preserve.  If you live near Yucaipa, you must get out and see them.

 

Death Valley National Park
Don’t go to Death Valley looking for a Superbloom this year.  Due to less than normal rainfall its unlikely a Super bloom is expected in Spring 2019.   Check the forecast on the State park site to check the conditions for the Southern California wildflowers superbloom.  However, stay tuned.  If we see any wildflower sightings we’ll update here.

 

Related: 2019 Travel Guide – Roadtrip to Temecula Winery Getaway

Diamond Valley Lake
Diamond Valley lake amenities include hiking trails, boat rentals, fishing and lake views.  The seasonal Wildflower 1.3 mile loop trail is currently open Wednesday thru Sunday and is accessible via the Diamond Valley Marina with a $10 entrance per car.  There is  also a $3 fee per person to enter trails.

The Lakeview trail and seasonal wildflower trail are open from 6am-4:30am before March 10.  After Daylight savings, park hours change to 6am-5:30am.   Entry to park is denied 1 hour prior to closing.   In addition to the California poppies,  deep blue arroyo lupines, purple canterbury bells, yellow rancher’s fiddleneck, white popcorn flowers, and pink red maid the lake also has 16 species of birds and plants.  The flowers are expected to reach peak bloom mid-March thru beginning of April.   Best time to see the poppies is from 9am-3pm.

Entrance Cost: $10 entrance.   $3 per person to enter trails.  Senior and Veteran Discounts.

 


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Walker Canyon Trail
The Walker Canyon Trail Poppy Fields super bloom is currently at peak bloom. The recent rains during the month of February and March has made this super bloom the best one yet.  We’ve never seen so many poppies in this area. There are two recommended trails at Walker Canyon located off of Lake Street on Interstate 15 (I-15) and Walker Cayon.  There are multiple trails at Walker Canyon, including a hike near the creek, but the favorites are at the corner of Lake Street & Walker Cayon and further down Walker Canyon.  If this is your first time recommend we recommend you stay on either of the two main trails.

No cost parking is available along Walker Canyon Road. For safety and compliance, a Lake Elsinore Sheriff Station Community Services Officer (CSO) will be on site Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. to assist with traffic. Parking will be available seven (7) days per week. All  available parking is parallel parking only.  Check site for map of trail and parking availability.

Due to the steep hills  at the entrance of the main Walker Canyon trails this is not a kid-friendly trail.  If you are looking for a place to take photos with your children consider driving further along side Walker Canyon road and take photo of the wildflowers on side of the road.   The state park rangers have opened a section at the end of Walker Canyon at the base of the trail to take photos.   The section is located next to the cellular tower.

There are porta potties along Walker Canyon Rd.   There is no water.  There are no shaded areas. There are no built in restroom facilities.  There are no seating areas or tables.

Parking & Entrance Cost: Free

 

Southern California wildflowers

White Water Preserve
Whitewater Preserve has scenic desert hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail near Palm Springs. White Water Preserve is closed until further notice. Whitewater Canyon Road has been severly damaged from recent storms rendering it impassible. White Water Preserve will re-open once the county repairs the road and determines it safe for public use.  Kid friendly areas.

 

Tech Life Wildflower Tips   

Plan ahead. Wildflowers are no longer just a local attraction.  Visitors are taking 3-9 hour road trips, planning weekend trips and visiting from far away.   If you are planning to visit the wildflower super blooms this year wear comfortable shoes, wear layers of clothing, carry 1 or 2 bottles of water, hydrate and stay on the trails.  Consider packing a lunch to avoid the huge crowds.   However, local business really appreciate the business.   Most wildflower preserves have kid friendly areas, but keep your eyes out for critters.  Take lots of photos.  Spending time with nature is healing so don’t forget to put your phone and camera down from time to time and take it all in.

Consider using Paperless Post to coordinate your next wildflower adventure!

 

Happy Hiking!

 

* This post is updated weekly during wildflower season.  Make sure to bookmark and check this post annually for updates.

 

Related: 2019 Travel Guide – Rejuvenating Our Souls with a Pacific Crest Trail Hike

Related: Pics of 2019 Super bloom

2019 Socal Roadtrip – Inland Empire Splash Pads

June is just beginning, but the summer heat has already shown up in the Inland Empire.

A splash pad – a recreation area with no or little standing water – is a great place to cool off in the summer heat without all the stress of going to the neighborhood pool.

A splash pad is something all of the children can enjoy – from bigger kids to toddling babies. One-year-olds love to splash in a small pool of water.  Older kids love watching other kids manipulate streams of water and sticking their feet in the fountains in the ground.

Inland-Empire-Splash-Pads

Photo Credit: City of Lake Elsinore

Splash Pad Tips

  • Wear sunscreen and bring an umbrella if there is not going to be shade nearby.
  • Wear a swimsuit to play in the water and consider water shoes. Avoid flip flops that get slippery when wet or catch on rubberized ground.
  • Don’t bring the family dog to a splash pad. Not only could a child with a fear of dogs be forced to leave the pad, but even a well-trained dog could get nervous or overexcited around screaming, running kids.
  • Since there is no need for a lifeguard at a splash pad, keep a close eye on your children.
  • Wear swimsuits to a splash pad if possible, including swim diapers if needed.

 

 

Inland Empire Splash Pads

There are many splash pads all over Inland Empire (Riverside and San Bernardino counties) – from public spaces, regional parks to water parks.

Here’s a list of some you don’t need to pay admission to get you started.

  • Citrus Park Splash Pad at Citrus Parkin Corona is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. until September 30th. The splash pad, which features water cannons, leaf-like structures and other ways to play, is near two playgrounds and grass areas for drying off in the sun.
  • Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga has a small fountain feature splash pad in the center of the shopping area, close to Bath & Body Works and Ben and Jerry’s. There is a family-friendly bathroom nearby for changing.
  • Monte Vista Park in Chino features a fenced-in splash pad with a tall geyser spray and has benches nearby.  The seven-acre park, which also features playgrounds and basketball courts, will have the splash pad running 7 days a week  Open  June 14 – September 1 from 10am-6pm.
  • The colorfully-lit interactive fountain at The Shoppes at Chino Hills is in the middle of the shopping center. There is a bathroom for changing nearby, so change out of your swimsuit and get dry before you go shopping or have lunch.
  • Veterans Park in Colton has along with the splash pad has large trees and grass nearby for moms to stay in the shade. There is two playgrounds, other activities and a library and community center.
  • The splash pad at Tom Minor Park in San Bernardino is right next to a covered area with picnic benches and a playground. However, there are no bathrooms at the park – the nearby Arco station bathroom (by Starbucks) is the closest option.
  • Lake Elsinore’s Canyon Hills Community Park has a splash pad along with its 18 acres of park activities and sport fields. The  whimsical splash pad is walled off and surrounded by umbrellas to keep parents cool.

Updated 06/20/2014. Posted 06/04/2014.

2019 Travel Guide – Roadtrip to Temecula Winery Getaway

Updated 03/11/2019

There are many things to do in Inland Empire, but the jewel of the valley is Temecula Wine Country.  Temecula Wine Country is a little known secret nestled between San Diego and Los Angeles and offers a variety of options for a romantic getaway or a getaway with friends.  Whether you are a foodie and music lover like me or a wine enthusiasts, there is something for everyone to enjoy.   Out of town friends that have never visited the area before, always go home feeling like the have enjoyed a little bit of paradise.

We recommend the SIP Temecula Passport for first time visitors or any of the Temecula valley winegrowers events.  The seasonal events typically includes wine tasting at over 30 wineries with gourmet food pairings and are a great way to visit all the wineries and discover  new favorite places.  The SIP  Temecula Passport is a weekday passport to 5 wineries at a discounted rate.  If you’re visiting Temecula for the first time we also recommend a stop into Old Town with a visit to EAT Marketplace or Le for brunch and Havana Kitchen for dinner.

Temecula_Wine_Country_Getaway2

Wilson Creek Winery

Temecula Getaway Guide

If you’re planning a weekend getaway to Temecula Wine Country print this vetted list of favorite Temecula Wine Country destinations and prepare for a breath-taking weekend  of scenic views, great food and wine tasting.

Make sure to visit this page before making a trip again and again as I’ll keep adding additional tips & discounts when available.

Temecula_Wine_Country_Getaway61

Leoness Cellars Winery

 

Temecula’s Best Wineries

Europa Village Winery – Europa Village is an elegant and charming winery.   The European style reminds you of an Old World European village with some modern flair.  Some of the best things about the winery include the wine cave, ample seating spaces and views of the vineyards.    The staff is very knowledgable and friendly and make you feel like a part of the family.  The Dans de Vin Artists Series and  Moscato wine is one of the favorite wines in the region.

Leoness Cellars Winery –  Founded in 2003, The Leoness Cellars Winery also known as “The Village of Dreams” cellars is located in the rolling hills of wine country.  They also have a great restaurant and tasting options.   The White Merlot is one of the favorite Rosés in the region.

Miramonte Winery – Known as the hippest Winery in town, the Miramonte Winery is nestled on top of a hill overlooking the Temecula wine country! Some of the best features of the winery include the outdoor veranda, vintages, Live music and water misters.  The winery also serves several Mediterranean plates that pair well with your wine tasting.  The Miramonte Winery Sangria is also one of the finest Sangrias in the region. The owner is also very savvy with Social Media and you can find him online from time to time sharing his insider wine and entrepreneur tips.  Also, keep your eyes open for Mojo, the hippest dog in wine country.

Robert Renzoni Vineyards & Winery – The winery is located on an Italian Villa in Temecula Wine Country.  The history of the families wine make experience also dates back to Italy.  You will literally feel like you have been transferred into a small Italian Villa in Italy when you walk thru the winery.  The restaurant also serves an assortment of delicious salads and fries.  You can also purchase their signature olive oil, vinegar, marinara sauce and hot chili sauces.  The Moscato wine is one of the favorite.

Wilson Creek Winery – There are so many things to do at Wilson Creek, including concerts, picnics, lunch, tastings and dinner.  I recommend an early afternoon brunch at The Creekside Grill.   There are several delicious plates including the Cheese plate, Bruschetta and Gerry’s Reuben sandwich.   Make sure to get the mimosas any time of day.

 

Temecula_Wine_Country1

The Restaurant at Leoness Cellars – Pear & Gargonzola

 

 

Temecula’s Best Dining Spots

Creek Side Grill at Wilson Creek

E.A.T. Marketplace

Havana Kitchen

South Coast Winery – Vineyard Rose Restaurant

The Restaurant at Leoness Cellars

The Restaurant at Ponte Winery * reservations recommended

Broken Yolk

Le Coffee Shop

Valle d’Brume

Temecula Wine Country Accommodations

The Inn at Churon

The Inn at Europa Villa

Temecula Wine Country Villa Chateau $399-$699 per night – sleeps 12

Temecula Wine Tasting Transportation

We recommend the all-inclusive day trip on the Grapeline Wine Tours.  The shuttle will stop at four wineries and includes a picnic lunch, behind the scene tours of vineyards and wine-tasting.

Temecula Wine Country Discount Tips

If you’re looking for a luxurious experience at reasonable prices also check-out Travel Zoo Temecula Wine Country offers and Groupon for huge discounts on afternoon wine tasting tours, horse back riding, spa treatments and more.  Travel Zoo discounts typically need to be purchased in advance so plan accordingly.

 

I hope you enjoy your stay in beautiful Temecula Wine Country.   Bookmark this post and check it annually for updates.

Cheers!

Eva Smith Tech Life Magazine

 

2019 Travel Guide – Oceanside Pier

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.  It is also one of the friendliest places to park your car, go fishing, enjoy the sun, a stroll on the pier, take a coastal walk and lunch or dinner at Ruby’s diner.

It is one of my favorite places to visit during the summer.  We have made a lot of memories there.

 

 

Additional details

City of Oceanside Pier

Address

Located at N Pacific St, Oceanside, CA 92054, you can

Local Restaurants

Ruby’s Diner

 

Celebrating 365 Days of California Strawberries

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?

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 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 www.alhf.org 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? 

 

 

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